I became a veggie for the new year and giving up meat wasn’t the worst part
‘But how can you live without bacon?’
January 1st 2017 marked the first official day of my meat-free diet. Prior to this, I had been consciously eating less meat and made friends and family aware that from the New Year I would be giving it up wholly. The negativity I received was overwhelming; my friends (excluding the ones who are vegetarian) asked why would I ever want to do that? What about bacon? Whilst also commenting on how they didn’t think I would do it for a long period of time, my family, thanks again for cooking all of the Christmas vegetables in goose fat, thought it was “stupid” and “awkward” and often made jokes regarding the concept of vegetarianism.
So why have we got such a negative attitude regarding both vegetarians and vegans?
This time 6 months ago, I would have had the same views. I would have been the first one making a bacon sandwich after Salvo Wednesday and would have classified myself as a typical ‘meat-lover’. My purse was rammed with £1.99 McDonalds voucher bus tickets and for the majority of my life, I have eaten meat almost every day without a care in the world. So why have I decided to leave behind this great food? At the mention of animal cruelty of environmental issues, people roll their eyes or just stop listening.
Vegetarians, and especially vegans, are doing an incredible thing. I hope that after reading this, the next time you meet a vegetarian, you may avoid instantly stereotyping them and also to learn why this issue is so important.
It’s also healthier! Eating lots of meat increases the chances of heart disease, cancer, obesity and many more diseases. So it’s not healthy, why are we causing 56 BILLION farm animals each year a lifetime of suffering? There must be a good answer…everybody hates animal cruelty right? But no, the only answers are taste, habit and convenience. I did not become a vegetarian because I cared about animals, but since then, learning about it instead of ignoring it, means it has become one of the reasons I offer when people ask “but how can you live without bacon?”
A vegetarian diet cuts your carbon footprint by at least 50 per cent. Haven’t you ever wondered what happens before you buy that neatly wrapped package containing meat? Carbon dioxide is emitted when forests are destroyed for growing food to feed animals and fossil fuels are used to transport animals. In a world where the US president considers climate change a ‘hoax’, this planet needs all the help it can get.
Finally, despite the memes, vegetarians and vegans aren’t the ones gobbling up all the grains and soybeans, cattle are. To eliminate the most extreme cases of world hunger, it would take about 40 million tons of food and 20 times that amount of grain is fed to farmed animals to produce meat. How have we come to live in a world where we are feeding animals in order to feed ourselves when 850 million people across the world do not have enough to eat?
People think vegetarianism and veganism is “extreme” and “unnecessary”, when the reality is people eating meat every day is exactly those two things. People aren’t going to give up eating meat overnight, but hopefully in time people will realise just eating less helps a lot.