I was up at 3am last night – because toddler – and thought I would catch up with Masterchef.
I needn’t have bothered. Out of all the dishes, only two were vegetarian and all had some animal product in them (one was a dessert).
Meat and dairy feature heavily as if the warnings about cutting consumption of meat and dairy had never happened. Six years ago, the Guardian reported: UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet.
Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: “Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.”
The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.
I’m mentioning the Guardian article because it was so long ago. Since then the world (at least the UK) has slowly going vegan. In Bristol, vegan after vegan restaurants have been opening. The Metro paper has been constant in its support of veganism, the Huffington Post, the Telegraph, and the Guardian as well.
But Masterchef is still stuck in its planet killing ways.
Time to change!
It’s a sad state of affairs when the biggest, and most successful perhaps, call to veganism comes from trying to save the planet rather than admitting that sentient beings should have rights too. For now, they don’t. Something to think about.
After I had my second child, in November of 2014, I started to see her in all living creatures. All babies, mainly animals, were my Lois. Maybe it helped that I had decided in 2014 to go vegetarian and my brain was helping me along with some internalisation.
In zen monk Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, she calls this bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” It is said to be present in all beings. It is the kinship with the suffering of others, this inability to continue to regard it from afar. This is the discovery of our soft spot.
This sense of my baby in every creature is why I don’t want to participate in eating meat or why I don’t want to participate in using animals for humans’ benefit. So this year I am going vegan. Leading a vegan lifestyle is not that easy or straightforward in a society where the use of animals is so common. Milk is in so much food that it’s ridiculous.
I don’t think it’s going to be easy but it is what I want to do. I will need a lot of preparation and an attitude that doesn’t involve shame. To keep me going I will be focusing on all the ways that stop me from being vegan.
I remember wanting to stop eating meat a few years ago – maybe nine or 10 years ago – and at the mere mention of wanting to stop I would get a craving for meat and I would have it. This was very helpful. I knew that one of the things stopping me from achieving what I wanted was simply my ‘desire’ for it. I would then notice this desire come up and see what happened. Just noticing didn’t ultimately make me stop. Learning about the life that animals bred for meat, face, is what made me stop. I watched innumerable videos on cows being abused, cramped conditions, babies being taken away and slaughtered, the pain of mastitis for cows in the dairy industry and much more about their lives. I finally got to a point where I had been vegetarian for a few months and decided to try a beef burger. I was pregnant so my body and hormones were all over the place.
I started eating the burger and all I could sense was muscles and tendons and a very unpleasant experience. I didn’t have to worry about desiring meat after that.
So this next stage is to pay very close attention to all the things stopping me from being vegan. Some things that stopped me in 2015 were hunger, no options at restaurants, not enough preparation beforehand and in terms of the yarn that I dye and sell, not enough knowledge or access to vegan yarn.
Let’s see what happens next. Here’s to a curious 2016.
I thought I had posted this as a draft but alas my iPhone app published it instead. Apologies for the randomness. I was at breakfast a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but notice that all items, even in veggie-friendly places, overwhelmingly rely on animals.
every single breakfast item relies on animals