"I am a Vegan," say these 4 words to people, and prepare to be bombarded with just about anything! Be patient, smile and wait for it, suddenly everyone is an expert on diet - protein especially, it seems, and if you are particularly fortunate, B12 and Calcium, will of course get a mention! You overhear friends sighing, "We can't go there to eat.........is a Vegan!! And you feel like a nuisance, a freak or an alien, and unless you go to a specialist restaurant (or resign yourself to eating at home) the token dish on the menu that caters for our kind is well, the one we feel we HAVE to order, like it or not! I have often thought about opening a Vegan restaurant and not telling anyone that this is what it is, hang on, I will explain....and have ONE token meat dish on it which anyone who isn't vegan will be expected to like and order! I live for the day veganism is the norm, not the exception. After all, it is healthy, better for the planet and no animals at all are harmed in any way.
I had been a vegetarian all my life, well, since my teens, anyway, and a few years ago went the whole hog to veganism when I heard about the dairy industry. I was appalled that calves are taken from their mothers just so that we can drink the milk, and that male calves from dairy cattle are killed at birth, being of no use! Then it was a small step to researching eggs....... and then the whole thing!
I had a few vegan friends, and probably asked them the same idiotic questions that I had had drummed into me all my life about protein sources, but then I became curious, and started to read and then the more you read, the more convinced you become that not only is any cruelty to living things unacceptable on any level, but the better it is for the planet to stop eating them and exploiting them. In a few small steps I suddenly became an eco-warrior and political activist! I was guilty about what I had unintentionally been doing up until then, and then this turned to anger and frustration with the world, I collected all the material I could, left leaflets in places I hoped might convert someone, joined and volunteered at every charity I could and learned to do amazing things with an avacado!
In short, it was a life-changing decision, but one that I wish I had made sooner. Other people's ignorant opinions do not matter really do they? After all. I eat geat-tasting, healthy food, my carbon foot-print is small, and I hope that maybe thanks to my choices there is less animal-suffering in the world. If enough of us commit to an ethical, cruelty-free and less materialistic lifestyle, who knows what we can achieve?
p.s. I am pretty good with chickpeas too