Let me say straight off that I am an omnivore. I will eat just about anything apart from endangered animals and foie gras. I mean, the traditional process for producing foie gras seems downright cruel to me. Yes - I draw the line at foie gras.
I suggest that every omnivore is different from the next. We each have our preferences and dislikes. I have never been fond of octopus and if I never eat it again in my life I will not be bothered. When it comes to vegetables and fruit, I will eat just about anything though I am not fond of pears. On the other hand, my wife likes a nice juicy
pair pear but hates okra for some unfathomable reason. She is also not fond of fatty bacon - preferring the really lean stuff. Such idiosyncrasies are typical of omnivorous humans - well perhaps only those of us who are fortunate to live in the affluent west.
Years ago when our Ian was but a babe in arms, we invited a family we knew round to our house for a nice Saturday evening meal. Jazz was a teaching colleague and his wife Fiona was a part time primary school teacher. They had two small boys - one of whom, years later, tragically killed himself when he was at university.
A couple of days before the meal, Jazz informed me that he and Fiona had recently decided to become vegans. Oh hell - I thought- for we had never consciously prepared a vegan meal before. Nevertheless, with extra effort we managed it and the vegan meal went down well though I would have liked to see a fat pork chop on my plate. Before they went home, one of the little boys told me in confidence that his parents still ate meat occasionally. After all that effort I felt we had been played. Bloody vegans!
Roll the clock forward about thirty years and our son Ian tells us he has decided to become a fully fledged vegan. Christ all bloody mighty - a flaming vegan! That's all we needed to hear.
In the last seven years, Ian has been on an astonishing journey. From starting as an unemployed vegan who could not foresee where his life was going to becoming a champion for meat and dairy-free dining. He and his old schoolmate Henry have produced six vegan cookbooks and a seventh book about vegan living called unsurprisingly, "How To Live Vegan". They have been on television numerous times and even had their own ten part TV show called "Living on the Veg".
I have observed this plant-based journey from close quarters and Shirley and I are of course immensely proud of what has happened thus far. We have also learnt a lot more about what veganism entails and what it means to be vegan. Of course, we have eaten many vegan meals.
Now I return to my first point. Just as omnivores are different, so are vegans. Some people become vegan because they hate the idea of killing animals. With others it is about making their small contribution to the battle against climate change. Less meat consumption means lower carbon emissions. Some people are just part time vegans, only consuming meat, egg or dairy dishes at the weekend. After all, veganism is not a religion. Some vegans are very strict about avoiding all animal products but others are more chilled about it. Some vegans dislike the idea of fake meat products but others embrace them, happy to admit that they enjoy those old food sensations - eating pies, burgers and sausages for example. Why not? Those fake meat products do not involve any slaughtering.
Over these past seven years when plant-based eating has grown massively in popularity, I have been surprised at the amount of angry veganismism I have encountered. It's a bit like the prejudice that is part and parcel of other -isms, like sexism for example. Just as it is wrong to paint all women or all men with the same brush, making sweeping generalisations on the basis of gender, so surely it is equally wrong to do the same thing with veganism.
There is no typical vegan. They are all different - like people in the omnivore world. In my estimation, veganismism is a bad thing. Rather than blowing off about vegans, it would be better for angry veganists to consider why plant-based diets are on the increase just like vegan products in supermarkets. More and more young people are turning away from animal products in favour of plants and this is a trend that seems set to continue. Thankfully, it is no longer weird to be vegan.
I like your topic about all vegans being different. You could expand it further to Catholics being different or farmers, drivers etc.ReplyDelete
Far too often people make sweeping generalisations.Delete
I have always been interested in vegan cooking, and have tried my hand at it a time ro two, three, four? I know it's not something I would do everyday but I do like trying new things.ReplyDelete
As such, I have just ordered Bosh!: How to Live Vegan and can't wait to get into it!
We don't have to go the whole hog as it were. Reducing meat consumption is also good. My daughter and son-in-law only eat meat at the weekend.Delete
I could never be a true vegan, apparently they eat no animal product at all, not even eggs, and I do love eggs. I often have vegetable stir fries without meat though, because meat here is expensive, but when I can afford it, meat is on the menu.ReplyDelete
When you have one of your vegetable stir fries you are being vegan River.Delete
My son always claimed that he fell asleep on the couch as his wife watched 'What the Health'. He said when he woke up, he was informed that they had become vegans. He's pretty laid back and went along with it for some time. But he's gone back to meat, and has become an excellent smoker. His brisket is amazing. They do a balance, these days. They are not vegan, but they eat plenty of plant based meals. My daughter in law is an excellent gardener, and gets amazing results from her little space.ReplyDelete
Reducing meat intake is a good thing. The main reason we eat so much meat in the west is down to one simple thing: Refrigeration.Delete
You have my signature for the campaign against veganismism. Love the comic strip!ReplyDelete
Like you, I am an omnivore (but dislike octopus and most other seafood). During the week when I am on my own, meat does not feature on my menue. On weekends, I vary; some weekends (such as the past one) I cook and serve only vegetarian meals (not vegan, though - I love cheese too much). Other weekends, O.K. and I will make wild boar goulash or grill merguez - a much favoured summer dish for us.
But when I buy meat, I am not out to get the cheapest deal, but look carefully at the label; where is it from, what class of animal raising is it (they range from 1 - the worst - to 4 - premium - in this country).
I know that I am very, VERY lucky in having been born here and to be able to live the way I do. When one has to fight for their food just to survive, such considerations probably do not enter the mind.
Thanks for giving this topic your customary thoughtful consideration. Not all of us feel driven to become vegans but we can all reduce the amount of meat we eat each week.Delete
Each to their own and, as long as they're not harming anyone else, I can't see any problem. However I have heard from a reliable source that a vegan diet on its own is not altogether healthy as our bodies naturally and biologically require other nutrients (which then have to be found elsewhere for example in the form of a vitamin pill) to avoid medical problems arising.ReplyDelete
Our Ian does take a few supplements but in any case a vegan diet is much healthier than a diet that consists of pizzas, cheap pasta, kebabs and chips.Delete
I have tried some of the vegan food, admitted it is from the supermarket and not made from scratch but found it not to my taste. On the other hand lots of people would reach at the food we like, hearts, liver, kidneys and all meats, lots of butter and cheese. We were vegetarian for many years and the kids have never forgiven me for some of the meals I served up, Marrow and lentil bake being one of them, lol, But they all grew up healthy well adjusted adults.ReplyDelete
I think it is seen to be trendy now to be vegan and we are all being hoodwinked. Some of the vegan food is very processed.
Just my humble opinion.
I am sure that our Ian and his vegan friends have not been hoodwinked. Next time you visit McDonalds try one of their new plantburgers Briony. I think you will like it.Delete
I am not a vegan. But mostly eat vegetables which I love and not meat which I hate. But have always cooked meat for those who want it, so I'm not sure where I stand. Like the Librarian I love cheese and also fish on occasions. So probably moderation in all things is the answer, and we should be grateful for the food on our plate;)ReplyDelete
In my blogpost I should have mentioned that some people do not eat meat simply because they do not like it.Delete
We have reduced the amount of meat we eat on a weekly basis but still eat lots of fish. I don't think I could convert to a vegan diet as I enjoy consuming flesh too much.ReplyDelete
Our Ian and his "Bosh!" friend Henry are not out to convert omnivores to veganism. In fact they would applaud you and his lordship for reducing your meat intake. Like you I could not go the full distance.Delete
Briony from Crafty Cat Corner has voiced one of my concerns about veganism - that it has become trendy. It's the "in" thing, and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon - it's fashionable to say that you are vegan, just as years ago it was fashionable to say you'd become vegetarian.ReplyDelete
Like Thelma and Librarian, I too, love cheese, (any cheese) and it forms a regular part of my diet. I also love vegetables, and frequently have non-meat meals. But I shall continue to eat some meat, and I'm fond of fish, including shellfish. Having tried it several times, I draw the line at octopus which is a huge favourite with the "natives" here.
For whatever the reason people turn to vegan foods, I hope that it is a carefully considered dietary change, and that they take the necessary supplements to keep themselves healthy.
Reading your final comments to Addy, I don't eat pizza, can't abide pasta in any form - cheap or otherwise, and kebabs and chips don't feature in my diet either, along with sugar and milk. I've only once eaten at McDonalds and that was in Bordeaux years ago!
Almost all my meals are are prepared from scratch - and now I'm off to make some sausage rolls!
It sounds to me that you don't eat a lot of meat Carol and yet you enjoy a healthy diet. You might be right about vegan or plant-based eating being the "in" thing. Of course electric vacuum cleaners were once the "in" thing and yet decades later they are still with us. The only reasons that modern people have been able to eat meaty diets are a) refrigeration and b) modern farming methods.Delete
It's interesting that "vegan" is now the word (and the expectation) du jour. When I was young it was considered progressive to be a vegetarian, but vegan was seen as outlandishly extreme. I still think of myself as mostly vegetarian (though Dave manages to feed me a piece of meat more frequently than I would ideally like) but I've always consumed dairy products and I doubt I'll ever stop.ReplyDelete
I can also recall when "vegan" meant extreme - out there on the edge of sanity.Delete
I do think that if everyone, even us omnivores ate less meat and more vegetarian, vegan meals, the planet would be better off for it. Factory farm is a hideous thing and let's face it- if we had to kill and clean our own meat, most of us would be vegetarian, at least. Have you ever read Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma"?ReplyDelete
No I haven't. I will have to add that to my endless "Books To Read" list.Delete
I'm an omnivore who eats octopi and fois gras upon occasion. The only thing put before me that I haven't been able to even attempt to taste is balut, fertilized and fermented duck eggs. I just can't get past the visual aspect yet but haven't ruled out never trying it completely.ReplyDelete
We eat a fair number of vegetarian meals in our diet and probably get some that are truly vegan as well. I like both aspects but would never see myself becoming entirely one or the other just because it is so difficult when dining outside of ones own house. My brother's two girls have both been vegan at one point or another and it has always been a struggle. It is a struggle for those around them to cater to their dietary desires and produce tasty meals when the cook, is cooking a new to them recipe. Mostly my nieces just eat frozen vegan patties or other cloned foods which are probably not terribly healthy either. In the end, the both eventually tired of the struggle of trying to eat vegan while being in a social circle that wasn't and now both are back to being mostly vegetarians with occasional meat eating.
I like the idea of your son putting in the effort to create and publicize tasty vegan dishes. It certainly makes it easier for us omnivores to invite over a vegan for a meal and not scare them away with the food.
Nice to read that when it comes to food you are as open-minded as I am. I would never snarl at vegans or vegetarians.Delete
My cousins are vegetarian and so was their mother, my aunt. My cousin's husband had a shirt that said, "I'm not vegetarian because I love animals, but because I hate vegetables."ReplyDelete
I don't eat much meat but I also don't eat many vegetables either. A long time picky eater who has finally made peace with the fact that I am a picky eater. I think eating vegan is a good idea but not for me. I like butter and cheese too much.
I read an autobiography of Oliver Sacks and he said he had pretty much lived on cereal and sardines his whole life and I quit worrying about my diet and it's deficits. I am what I am.
Like me, I am sure you sometimes eat vegan meals.Delete
I began a WFPBD seven years ago for health reasons. I find it easier to be a vegan since I still eat a lot of processed foods (ruining the "whole food" part). And some vegans might shun me since I still eat honey (we have hives). It didn't cure my health problems, but I know it's better for my health in general. Probably my main reason for staying vegan is that it's right (IMO) for the planet. Still... I like to fish and occasionally hunt, we have some beef cattle, and I cook lots of meat for my carnivore husband.ReplyDelete
I really admire everything your son is doing.
Honey? I have already contacted The Vegan Police Kelly!Delete
"it is no longer weird to be vegan".ReplyDelete
Some Swedes once told me about a competition held in Norway to find a slogan to restore self-confidence in the face of incessant mockery from the Swedes. The winner was "It is not demeaning to be Norwegian."
Ha-ha! That almost rhymes. "When you are Scottish clouds of midges appear when it's hottish!" "Belch if you're Welsh!" "If your clothes are gairish you must be Irish!"Delete
I eat very little meat and am mostly vegetarian. I don't classify myself as one though. I love vegan main dishes, as long as they don't rely too heavily on fake meats or "cheese." Nothing better than a tofu stirfry! MY older daughter was vegan for many years and now is a mostly vegetarian sometimes pescatarian.ReplyDelete
In making these food choices I would say that makes you and your family quite untypical over there in The States.Delete
The Princess had a class during her undergraduate training that involved visiting animal food production factories. That was it! No more meat or chicken She does, however, continue to eat eggs and cheese and fish. Now, she values the life of all animals as Large Animal Veterinarian. Big Bear and I are coming closer and closer to never eating meat as we are down to about once per week. Yes we miss it and do have the occasional "fake" meat burger. When I see reports or watch the nature channels and see how much thought and caring and intellect animals have, I wonder about our theory that homo sapiensReplyDelete
are numero uno in the animal world. But that discussion is for another time.