The vegan or vegetarian diet has become a fad, young people are proud that they have taken the moral or health stand not to consume any meat or animal product. Whole families are also making the move to change their diet from a conventional one to no more meat.
I was 14 and young and wanting to change too, I told my Mum I was not going to eat anymore meat. I really don’t remember whether I decided this for moral reasons or health but I remember the day I decided.
I was on a school camp and mixed grill was always served, so either sausages or some sort of lamb. It was cooked terribly, tasted terrible and in fact it seemed like boot leather to me. After camp I declared to my Mum that I was not to be given meat. My Mum continued to serve up the same food but just didn’t give me meat.
When I was 19 I left home and moved to the USA to go to university, I continued my vegetarian diet and ate at the university college cafeteria avoiding the meat. At this point I started to gain weight, I had colds all the time, I didn’t get a period in 2 years and generally I wasn’t my usual energetic self. I always seemed to be hungry, and so ate copious amounts of food to fill the void. I continued to gain weight and I remember when I got home to Australia my Mum felt that if she could have just put a pin into me she may have been able to take the puffiness out of me. At no time did I blame my vegetarian lifestyle I thought it was healthy.
Once back in Australia and eating my Mums food again the weight soon came off. It was not until I was 29 and pregnant that I started to want and crave meat. It was so powerful that one day I just ate meat. I started to feel good and decided that maybe I should eat meat during my pregnancy. I had a healthy son, and have eaten meat, although sparingly for the past 22 years.
In hindsight I realise as a vegetarian I was not at my best health and when I look back at my education, especially my anthropology training I realised throughout history that there had only been one civilisation that was vegetarian and that was the Hindu’s. For 5000 years they continued this style of eating but they were never vegan, they relied heavily on dairy; including ghee (butter), yogurt, kefir, milk and cheese.
To become a vegetarian or vegan the decision is either for health or moral reasons. At no time during my 15 years as a vegetarian did I have the wish to eat fake meat, but many of the new converts to this diet have no qualms about eating the fake meat products and fake dairy products. This to me is a real worry as many of the fake meats are made with texturised vegetable protein, hydrolysed vegetable protein, soy protein isolates, carrageenan and many other strange named ingredients that have their own health ramifications and concerns.
If you choose to be vegan or vegetarian then why do you still have the need to eat fake meat and fake dairy or fake animal products? This is what puzzles me the most.
To be vegan and raw is not easy, it takes a lot of planning and preparation to create the meals that you need to sustain you. I am not against anyone who chooses this diet but if you do it, do it right, don’t just cut out meat or animal products, research what it is you need to do in order to make sure you have the nutrition you need to sustain energy and health.
Most people who go on the vegan or vegetarian diet begin to feel good straight away as they begin to take note of what they are eating, but I’ve heard over and over that after several years they begin to go down hill if they have not done the diet right or if they have depleted their body of some essential nutrients that can only be found in animal products.