Should have started this back on my first day of becoming vegan, 30th December 2013.
We were staying in a hotel and had bought ourselves a whole load of cheeses and biscuits to feast on in the room. Roule, strong cheddar and blue St Agur, plus crackers, nuts, grapes, chocolate pastries and wine of course. It was lush but I did get heart burn and felt so lethargic the next day I had no energy to do anything.
I had been listening to the audio book of Tom Campbell's My Big Toe as I went to sleep at night. Most often I fell asleep as I listened so I'm not sure how much I have taken in, but it's had some profound effects on my subconscious as I have made several lifestyle changes. The book talks about all living things being equal on a molecular and evolutionary level, with similar patterns of behaviour and efficiency and common goals – i.e. to survive and become more efficient as a species. I realised we are all one, we should not raise ourselves above all other creatures on the planet, we should embrace, nurture and harmonise to become more efficient and so evolve.
First of all, I became ravenous for food documentaries, I began watching every documentary I could find, including Food Matters, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, Farmaggedon, Food Inc., I learned about nutrition and the body's ability to self heal, with arguments against the medical establishment and all the pills we pop to treat symptoms, rather than go to the source and protect our body from damage in the first place.
I learned as much as I could find about our modern farming practises, where animals were kept, what they were fed, how they were treated, what drugs they are given, how they keep a cow lactating to produce the milk that we drink. I was shocked, sickened, emotionally low at the reality of our treatment of animals. I burst into tears and had to leave the room at one point when I watched a production line of screaming piglets being hung upside down and having their testicles hacked off. Similarly watching calves get dragged off the teat and separated from their mothers while they are being roughly re-inseminated. The terrible noises of the upset, abused and frantic animals reminded me of film clips I have seen of the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps when children were separated and dragged screaming from their parents. My eyes were finally opening to the reality of the situation, how we have turned farming into a factory operation with animals as the ingredients, producing chemically enhanced versions of foods that we take for granted as nutritious. You know most farm animals are given antibiotics as part of their diet to fight all the infections they are expected to get from amputations, excrement and bad food. Antibiotics are now in the meat that we eat. No wonder we are developing immunity to antibiotics.
Overnight on the 30th December I decided I was never going to eat meat again, and at the same time, it dawned on me that to be free of my involvement with cruelty to animals, they only way forward was to give up dairy too. I decided that never again would an animal be killed or enslaved and mistreated for my benefit. Then of course, I realised that I couldn't wear their skins either, so vowed to buy no more leather shoes. But I am holding on to my winter leather boots for the next twenty years if they will last, as it would be just as unethical to throw them away when an animal died to put them on my feet!
The first two weeks were hard and then I suddenly adapted. At the beginning I craved cheese, milk chocolate and chicken, but I enjoyed researching replacements such as vegan soya milk and cheeses, dark chocolate and soya meat products such as tofu and mince. I ate a lot of quorn at the beginning until I realised it is made with organic egg, but as the weeks went by, I didn't want to replicate meat. It just wasn't necessary. I learnt that cancer cells actively grow in a protein diet above 10% - most western people probably eat more like 30-40% meat and dairy so it's not really a surprise that cancer is flourishing. Humans only need between 5-10% protein in a healthy diet, and a potato is 8% protein! So there you have the answer. There is enough protein for our needs in vegetables and pulses. We have been brainwashed by the meat and dairy industry into thinking we need to eat lots of protein...when actually it is making us ill.
In the first week I started making fruit and veg smoothies every day. They were delicious but I went to the toilet up to six times a day – it was horrendous – but as the documentaries had warned me, that was my body detoxing and cleaning itself out, and eventually my toilet habits went back to normal.
By week three, I had changed my eating habits quite drastically and I was very excited and full of energy. I discovered butternut squash and how good it tastes and filling it is. I used it in stews or just microwaved a slice for a couple of mins and chopped up with walnut oil, advocado, tomato and walnuts, plus balsamic vinegar. It tasted so good, I ate tonnes of the stuff for two weeks solid!
I tried many soya, rice and oat milks and settle on hazlenut milk as my (decaffeinated) coffee companion. And now for a treat, I found that one or two squares of dark organic chocolate was enough instead of a whole bar of milk chocolate.
I went to the health food shop and stocked up on nuts, seeds and dried fruits such as dates, apricots and cranberries. Now I just randomly add a handful of them to any of my meals or breakfast cereals when it suits. Another hard thing to take on board was the fact that there are a small selection of vegan wines available. But I thought all wine was vegan?! No, apparently wine is usually filtered through fish bladders to make it clearer....ugggh.
I have continued watching documentaries and am now moving towards buying only organic produce after learning about Monsanto's domination in the soya bean world with it's genetically modified seeds and giant lawsuits against farmers who try to grow their own. Plus another chemical giant, Bayer, and all the chemicals being sprayed onto crops around the globe and how poisonous they are to other species. Petrol based fertilisers and pesticides are killing bees, birds and butterflies and turning the top soil barren. We are killing our own eco system and if the bees stop pollinating our fruit and veg, we and the animals will have nothing to eat, apart from genetically modified corn and factory-farmed antibiotic treated and urine-sprayed meat. What kind of creatures will we become on such a diet?
It's now been 8 months and I think I have changed for good. I don't think there is any going back because once you know something, you can't unlearn it. If I see a piece of meat on a fork I think of screaming piglets and wailing calves. It doesn't make sense to me to treat animals so badly, or to spray foods and the ground with poisons which are making us and the eco system sick on a global scale. That can't be efficiency in the long term. We are sabotaging our own species...
Rant over for now. I wonder what's next!