I have been pondering this blog for a long time as I feel the whole eating animal products is a touchy subject and it can cause a lot of heated discussions (it has in my own household). However I get a lot of questions about how to become a vegetarian or a vegan often by so many women so I thought to myself “why not just dive right in and discuss such a controversial topic such as eating animal products” lol.
I was going to label this blog “Going Vegetarian” or “Going Vegan” however I feel once you put a label on your eating decisions then it can open the door for a lot of criticism and also a lot of certain types of people turning on you. My dad still doesn’t know that I am a vegetarian/ Vegan as before I had Z I was a vegetarian and one night my dad wanted to bring around KFC to my place for a “family dinner” but when I tried to explain to him that I didn’t want to support animal cruelty in my home due to myself being a vegetarian it was World War 3 and shit really hit the fan and we didn’t talk for weeks. Lets just say as much as I love my dad he is a very closed minded man who thinks his opinion is the only right opinion. So now I just don’t speak about my eating habits with my dad and if we go out I order something without animal products in it and he never questions it.
First thing that I want to clarify is the difference between a Vegeterian and a Vegan. A Vegeterian is someone who does not eat meat however will eat animal products such as dairy and eggs. A Vegan is someone who doesn’t eat meat nor do they eat any sort of animal by products (dairy, eggs etc). I am personally inbetween the 2 catagories and I don’t really like to label myself either of these labels as I certainly don’t eat meat and I try my best to avoid animal by products however I will occasionally drink some cows milk or eat some normal icecream. I recently had some eggs for breakfast and they reacted really badly with me internally (diarrohea til midnight, sorry TMI) so I have sworn that eggs are really no good for me anymore (unless they are in the form of a cake, jokes there is some yummy vegan cake recipes though).
I was a vegetarian for a year before I had my daughter Zephaniah and I was doing amazingly at not eating any sorts of meat however the moment I fell pregnant my body rejected any sort of food but meat. In the early stages of my pregnancy all I wanted was meat and I struggled with that for weeks, I even consulted my doctor on my cravings and asked him for his advice. He simply just looked at me one day and said “It was your decision to be a vegetarian so your the only person that can decide to reverse that decision”, after that conversation with him I called Hubby and told him to stop into Subway and get me a Pizza sub.
After I had Zephaniah I knew that I wanted to go back to being a vegetarian but I wasn’t sure how I would go back to that lifestyle as I had grown to love the way that meat tasted. I tried going cold turkey for a week however that was very short lived. It wasn’t until one day I watched two documentaries on Netflix called “What the Health” and “Food Choices”, these documentaries really changed my outlook on meat and animal products and even fish consumption as we had always been taught fish are good for us.
I always swore off meat due to the animal cruelty factor, I knew that killing an animal to eat it never felt right or humane, how could we look at a cow in the eyes and pat it only to know that it was going to get sent to the slaughter house. Imagine being that cow, sitting in a padock with your family and next minute you and your family and friends are lined up in a truck, driven for hours in the heat to a abotoire that smells like blood. Then imagine being lined up behind your family and friends, one by one, you watch your family members die right before you. The thought of this sends chills to my core. Cows are really intelligent animals, you can call them and they will come to you, you only need to look into a cows eyes when it is on a truck to the abotoire to see its fear and to see that it knows where it is going and that it wont come out of that place alive.
But what I learnt from those two documentaries were more then the inhumane killing of animals, it was more about what animal products and by products are actually doing to our health. Here is some information that I learnt by watching these powerful documentaries:
- Bacon and processed meats have been classed as carcinogenic to humans (a carcinogen is a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue)
- One serve of processed meat per day increases your risk of developing diabetes by 51%
- Diabetes is not caused by eating a high carbohydrate diet or sugar
- Within minutes of eating dead meat bacteria toxins, the body gets a burst of inflammation, stiffening or paralysing the arteries
- The number one dietary source of cholesterol in America is chicken
- Eating 1 egg per day is just as bad as smoking 5 cigarettes per day for life expectancy
- The number one source of saturated fat is diary
- Fish have become Mercury Sponges
- Toxins Bio accumulate in Fish Flesh
- 93% of dioxin exposure comes from eating animal products
- Commercial animals are largely fed GMO Corn, soy and antibiotics
- Eating Organic Meat will not help you avoid contaminants
- Most people in the world are lactose intolerant
- Milk is a hormonal fluid that is only produced by a female cow for its baby to assist its growth
- Dairy products have Pus
- There is no link between milk having enough calcium to build strong bones, milk is one of the by animal products that lacks calcium the most
- Dairy is actually linked to many different types of cancer
- Dairy can increase a mans risk of prostate cancer by 34%
- For women who have had breast cancer, just one serving of whole dairy a day can increase their chance of dying from the disease by 49%
- Eating a plant based diet will give you enough irons, minerals and energy to sustain you and your day to day lifestyle
- Meat products do not contain a high volume of iron and are not good for your internal organs
The list is endless of the adverse affects that animal products and by products have on our bodies and internal organs.
After educating myself on these documentaries and a number of other documentaries I decided that I was going to give being a vegan a really good crack rather then just a vegetarian. So first I cut out any milk products and switched them over to almond milk or coconut milk, then I switched my butter over to a coconut based butter (you can switch to an olive oil base or even margarine), the cheese I switched over to a dairy free cheese and well the meat was easy for me as I don’t really like meat to begin with so all of my meals are normally meat free.
It seems daunting changing animal products for non animal products however it is really simple once you start, most supermarkets cater for Vegans and vegetarians and there are so many alternate replacement products on the market now. Surprisingly there are a lot of products that have “Chicken” or “Beef” flavouring that have no ingredients of actual animal in them and most of the time the “meat like” flavouring is derived from herbs and spices.
However do watch out for Gelatine based products such as cheesecakes, Mouse, jelly, lollies and gravies as Gelatine is a meat based ingredient.
Here is a website I use regularly to see what foods in my supermarket are vegan friendly: https://www.peta.org.au/living/accidentally-vegan/
Practically any meal that normally has meat in it can be changed into a Vegetarian meal you just need to take the meat out of it. Some of my go to meals are:
- Egg plant parmigiana
- Vegetable stir fry
- Salad wraps
- Vegetarian fried rice
- Burrito Bowl
- Lentil and Vegetable Curries
- Pumpkin Soup
- Tomato and Vegetable Pasta
- Vegetarian Pizza
I haven’t had many issues when ordering vegetarian meals at restaurants however vegan friendly meals can be harder to order hence why I like to be flexible with my approach to consuming animal by products however I draw the line at eating meat.
I really hope this blog will help you in your decision to live a healthier lifestyle without feeling the need to eat meat. It has been researched and proven that we really don’t need to consume a dead animals carcass to sustain us and the cruelty is un necessary.
If you have been wanting to go vegetarian or vegan for a while, its better late then never. You will truly not look back and you will have so much more energy and feel like a better version of yourself. You can either do it slowly by reducing your animal product intake each week or you can dive right in and cut all animal products out of your diet immediately, the choice is yours.
Lets save some lives in our lifetime xx