23 Things I Learnt at 23 – Lesson Eight: Eating animal products in great quantity isn’t necessary

Eating animal products in great quantity is unnecessary and unethical, but I will always believe in moderation of all things.

I do not wish to offend vegans or meat-eaters, as contradicting as it may seem, I consider myself to be both. I am what I call a ‘part-time vegan’. Why? Well, force really. I have a kidney condition which means I have to avoid protein and salt, something many animal products are high in, so a few years ago I was advised by health specialists to become vegan as often as possible, whilst maintaining my general health.

the vegan societyphoto credit to The Vegan Society

This has been a huge challenge but one that has made me learn an awful lot about diet and myself. I have coped better than I ever imagined cutting out animal products, which if you knew me as a meat-eater you would be just as surprised by. I used to believe a meal was incomplete or not as tasty without meat, I now think that in a lot of cases the addition of meat is unnecessary and actually, often makes us lazy in our meal choices.

Becoming vegan has opened me up to the joys of products like vegan soft cheese, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, tahini, vegan chocolate, avocado spaghetti (which is not spaghetti made from avocado), tofu curry, and vegan mayo which is fluffy, vinegary goodness that everyone should at least give a go. It has opened me up to new ways of baking, and it has done wonders for my health, and I don’t just mean kidney’s. I get less bloated, I sleep better, my skin is clearer and I’m happier – an unexpected but great consequence.

But more than that, it has made me think about how much damage we do to the environment, to our bodies and to the poor animals sacrificed for food and the resulting waste. It makes me realise that although I began this for health reasons I do believe that ethics now come in for me. However, I would never cut it all out completely because I have also seen, when I have been a bit too ‘good’ the downsides, the tiredness, the low immune system, the sudden weight loss, the frail hair and nails – we need meat but not anywhere near the quantities we have it in. Moderation is key.

Related articles:
Medical professional must take notice of mental health during chronic illness diagnosis
Learning to live with an invisible illness: my battle with MSK
Catch up with the rest of my 23 lessons in ‘In My Opinion’ 
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