I know that many of you have decided to commit to becoming vegan for January, or Veganuary as it is now known. I’d love to know what your motivation and drivers were for making this decision.
Was it for health reasons?
For ethical reasons?
For environmental reasons?
Was it all?
I already eat a predominantly plant-based diet. I will not be committing to going vegan this January. Yes, it’s a bit controversial of me, but I do have my reasons why:
Ethical – I don’t have meat at every meal, and will go days without having any at all, but when I do chose to eat meat it has been raised on small farms local to where I live. I shop either at the farm shop directly or at small butchers so that I can ensure that I am eating produce from well cared for animals. The eggs I eat are from the garden at the farm where I buy my weekly veg box, and the pork is from the same farm where I can see the piglets from birth to full maturity, and they are very well loved animals. I believe that this is an ethical way to eat.
Health – I wrote an article recently about the increased nutritional content of fruit and vegetables that have been allowed to ripen fully on the vine. Whilst there is still fresh fruit and vegetables available at this time of year it’s not the best time of year for variety, and a lot of the fruit and vegetables in the shops will be shipped in from other countries, quite possibly artificially ripened and therefore not of the highest nutrient quality.
Environmental – is consuming fruit and vegetables that have been shipped halfway across the globe, then wrapped in plastic environmental? I think not. Whilst mass produced meat is extremely harmful to the environment, by making changes to your diet and eating far less meat and fish but eating local high welfare stock you could make a positive impact to the environment and support local industry. We have been farmers for longer that we have been flying vegetables around the world.
January has to be one of the worst months you could choose to try to become vegan. There are fresh vegetables and fruit available locally but there is not a massive amount of variety. Whereas it is game season, so it’s the best possible opportunity to buy organic and free-range meat.
I encourage all my clients to eat a wide variety of vegetables, and to eat seasonally. I ask them to consider plant-based protein as well as meat and fish, and I have had many clients that are vegan or vegetarian and work with them to ensure they have a good, nutritionally balance diet.
So, I urge you, if you are going to try Veganuary, please make sure that you are really thinking about the ethical and environment, go and visit your local farms and farm shops. Buy grains that are grown locally – did you know that Quinoa is grown in Shropshire? Seek out the best quality ingredients you can so that your diet is tasty and healthy as well as ethical. Enjoy experimenting with new recipes, but please, don’t buy mass produced fake meat, that isn’t what it’s about.
I cook vegan and vegetarian meals several times a week, so if you would like to try something new please sign up for my free weekly recipes, in respect of those that are eating a plant-based diet, all my recipes in January will be vegan.