Let me preface this with I’m veggo. I’ve been vegetarian for nearly 2 years now and not really showing any sign of slowing down. If anything, I’m probably becoming more
disturbingly accidentally consciously vegan in my food practices. But I’ll be honest. I like eggs, I love honey, and creamy ice cream is fucking fantastic – no matter how good coconut based things are. I also use to be vegan for an interesting, accidental stint back in 2010. I had no health side effects, I still have no health side effects, and according to the blood tests I get regularly, my iron and B12 are flawless. So I’m pretty golden. I feel really good, healthy, happy and I love just how many food options I have. It’s becoming increasingly easy to be vegetarian and I’ve started accidentally converting and openly supporting friends and colleagues in to a less-meat lifestyle.
I guess the point of opening with that statement is to give a starting argument in favour of vegetarianism. It’s obviously something I believe in enough to follow myself, and it’s something I’m comfortable talking about with other people. Given that I sit on the fence regarding a lot of things, don’t give much time/effort/thought to a lot more issues, I’d say two years of vegetarianism has kind of become a slowly stabilizing dietary stance. It’s not how I identify, I just happen to be a human who eats a plant-based diet out of preference. Do I miss meat? Not at all. For the first year the biggest struggle was “missing” BBQ Pork Buns. But I get by just fine without them; and one day, I may just get off my ass, find a recipe for them, and make them with my shredded “pork” Jackfruit recipe instead. Then my dietary life will be complete… But I digress.
The reason I switched to a vegetarian diet was complicated. I’m so envious of people who have hardcore stances on things like animal rights, holistic well-being… whatever it is that leads them to make life altering decisions. I simply didn’t have that pivotal moment. I was already weaning off meat because I didn’t love the way it made me feel. I noticed I would only eat red meat like steak when I was seriously craving a steak- which would be about once every six to nine months; And when I did eat it I’d feel physically wretched for days. I’d only eat roasts when I was at friends houses, and I’d rarely buy any kind of red meat- I simply couldn’t be bothered cooking it. It’s also pretty damn expensive and I’m poor. In all honesty, I started going vegetarian as a sign of solidarity with a vego friend living in a house full of carnivores. From there, it just snowballed. I had watched a few documentaries, and while the animal rights side had me feeling queasy, it was honestly the environmental impact that got to me.
The meat industry is responsible for so much more than the slaughter of cute little (or large) animals. Industrial-scale agriculture is in no way waste efficient. Alongside the methane and greenhouse gasses the animals being farmed are producing, the factories themselves generate more waste than some cities. They add to air and dust pollutants. They require astronomical amounts of water and excessive amounts of land for food crops for the animals to eat… to then… become… food…? Just use that land for more ethical human food crop growing?! But that’s a different point. Let’s continue with the bad things.
A staggering quantity of the animals raised for meat/animal products are raised using antibiotics. This is because there are so many diseases animals in small spaces with other animals are prone to. The issue with this is not only it makes it cheaper to farm, therefore more readily accessible, it means that the easy accessibility is lacing us with antibiotic resistance we really do not need. This is not like a controlled dose of antibiotics given to a human when they have tonsillitis. These are randomised antibiotics in sporadic doses given to relatively healthy humans. This means bacteria and other fun bugs evolve to be stronger than the antibiotics we are ingesting. Helloooo Superbugs. I could seriously go on and on and on about how terrible the meat industry is. But I’ll stop here because there are so many websites and advocacy groups and what-nots that push vegetarianism and veganism down people’s throats. This is just the start of why I shifted from red meat to white meat, to no meat.
All of the scary, economical, ecological, environmental, animal rights activistic reasons aside, I still think not everyone can or should be vegetarian/vegan. There’s a lot of reason why, but I think it boils down to 3 basic but significant reasons.
Reason one – It’s currently unsustainable.
Environmentally, we currently cannot sustain the agriculture required for world-wide veggo/veganism. The amount of land and water required for the current crops we use,
not to mention bug control/pesticides and the people who are adamant GMOs are the devil and think pesticides cause Autism are all crucial factors in looking at a plant-based diet. Where there’s profit to be made, obviously it will be exploited. This includes creating seeds that don’t reproduce – forcing farmers to buy crop seeds every season – which, sadly, is partially a problem.
Reason two – Dietary requirements.
This fall partly in to medical conditions for the few, but laziness on a mass scale. A lot of veggos and vegans I know struggle to maintain healthy habits and vitamin/mineral levels. They eat poorly and not a very diverse range of foods – There are so many options these days the only non medical reason is laziness – but it is a voluminous problem. Just because it is vego/vegan does not mean it’s healthy. My favourite example is Oreos. They’re vegan, but they’re definitely not “healthy” by anyone’s standard. Most people I know can’t be bothered constructing a salad for lunch. Most people simply don’t know many vegetarian recipes, despite there being a plethora of content easily accessible from any device in your house or pocket.
Reason three – Job loss.
Until we have sustainable, on-going farming practices that can employ as many people as there is in the meat industry, we’d suffer mass job cuts. Jobs I can think of that could be useful would be solar panel builders and installers. Machine workers, maintenance crew, cleaners, transporters, botanists, GMO scientists and food biologists, water saving and recycling experts, multi level garden architects, apiarists with many, many healthy pollinator hives… Of course loss of jobs and a change of industry also involves a loss of profit – for farmers, warehouse workers, and major purchaser/suppliers – but I feel that is also a different point and argument.
There are probably a lot more reasons and arguments for and against vego/veganism but these are just a few arguments I have personally. I think as a society we can absolutely do more to be kinder to the earth, to the animals, and to ourselves, but we seem to be a long way off from living a sustainable, friendly, healthy green life.
Obviously this is a massive topic, and not everything can or should be covered by one veggo with nothing but her own research to back her, but it is a conversation I love having; So let me know in the comments below your thoughts on global diets! Are you a vegetarian or vegan? What was your reason for becoming so? Are you firmly in the camp of meat eating? Tell me why! I want to hear your stories and ideas on these topics as I always find it fascinating hearing other people’s experiences and perspectives.
Until next time – stay silly, stay kind. xx