It is a hard task to change the fundamental aspects of our character. They say the first seven years are most important, for those years are the foundation upon which the rest of our lives are built. In my early days, I learned that it was a sin of such mammoth proportions it would bring great shame upon our household, if I were to be a foodie fuss-pot. Asking for seconds was a compliment to the host, making room for pudding was a masterclass in etiquette, plates were to be scraped clean. Wolf it all down, child.
It’s so ingrained in my psyche that I grew up to be a woman always a little bit fatter than I’d have preferred. Always buckled up in pain because I ate so much ‘for the hostess’. Thanks Dad, great work with your parental guidance there.
In my teenage years, I developed a friendship with a petulant, stubborn, wonderful man and his character rubbed off on me. ‘Bloody love meat’ we’d say, ordering our burgers. We mocked vegetarians, tee-totals and anyone who didn’t ‘bloody love’ all the things we ‘bloody loved.’ Because we were right.
I celebrated the day my nephews, brought up as vegetarians, declared themselves meat eaters, as some kind of war won by the legends who loved meat. I teased a friend who wanted to be a part-time vegetarian. Soup loving wally, that’s what I jeered. Who’s got time for soup, unless it’s bacon soup, amiright?
I gave little thought to the process involved in getting that finger lickin’ good bacon onto my plate. I was semi-conscientious. I bought the posh-looking meat in nice packaging. The free-range chicken, the organic beef. I scorned people who ate in fast food restaurants while guzzling the meat in my nice cosy middle-class restaurants. You know, the ones that don’t tell you on the menu that their meat is free-range and organic.
I’m no longer that person. I’m not the person my dad brought up and I’m not the person my friend so loved. I’ve been tinkering on the edge of teetotalism for a few years. When the science people worked out sugar was bad and fat was good, I made huge changes to my diet. My dad mocked me for being a fuss-pot and a major disappointment.
And now, I think I’m about to become a v…. a ve…. a vegan. There, I said it.
My husband suggested maybe I could become a quiet vegan, so I don’t embarrass him when we’re with friends / eating out. Quiet as my blogging skillz will allow, old boy!
I blame my brother.
There I was in my blissful ignorance, chomping on my burgers, pouring cream in my coffee and melting cheese over my lunch, when my brother shared a video on Facebook.
This makes for uncomfortable viewing. But I’ve seen it and now I’m going to burn it onto your retinas too:
You just can’t unsee it.
I started looking at other stuff Erin Janus has done and found out that chickens fair no better They slice poor little chook’s beaks off with a hot guillotine so that when they’re all cooped up they don’t peck each other to death and just get on with laying eggs for us. Pecking is ALL my chickens do – all day long! To take that away from a chicken just so it’ll churn out more eggs for more greedy humans? I don’t want to be in that game anymore.
I started following some vegan Instagrammers for inspiration. I discovered a whole bunch of sexy celebs are vegan – does one need any bigger a shove toward veganism than Beyonce, hot totty Jared Leto, legendary Woody Harrelson (of course he is) and my own personal favourite vegan: Tyrion Lannister himself, my main man Peter Dinklage.
Then veganism made the news! My vegan community (too soon to call them mine?) were furious with Gourmet Burger Kitchen for mocking them in an advertising campaign this week.
Then my mum told me she’d heard on Radio 4 that 1 in 400 people are now vegan and the number is rising rapidly.
Then I read that the people who make these things up made up Veganuary – encouraging meat lovers to go vegan for January, in a small step towards making a big difference to sustainability, animal welfare and the future of the planet.
Well hello, Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Whadaya know, veganism is all around me. I was just too blinded by meat to see it before.
Fun Fact. Raising and feeding livestock accounts for 91% of all deforestation. Just a thought.
Kim MK2016. Some marked changes from Kim MK1999. But I like her. She’s a little smarter, a little more informed. A little less drunk and a little harder to invite to dinner. She’s bought two glossy, photo-heavy vegan cookbooks, you know, to get started. Not so eager to impress the meat loving friend of yonder year. She bloody loves meat so much, she wants it to carry on being cows, pigs and chickens, rather than dinner.