I’ve been a vegetarian for 13 years, since I first started animal welfare activism as a teenager. And yet, despite the years I’ve spent volunteering for animal sanctuaries and donating to animal welfare organisations, and now working for OneKind, I haven’t made the switch to veganism.
Why is that? For one, I’ve always thought it would just be too hard. The thought of further limiting my diet when it can be a struggle to eat at friend’s houses or at restaurants as it is seemed like a lot of effort.
And for another, it’s just plain easy to ignore the problems of the dairy industry on a day to day basis, especially when society normalises the use of milk, butter, and eggs in day-to-day cooking to the point where it can seem impossible to feed yourself without using them.
But since moving to Edinburgh, I’ve realised that my assumption of veganism being ‘limiting’ is just not true – there are loads of vegan restaurants and cafes, and most popular places to eat out have a vegan option on their menus. Not to mention the fact that major supermarkets carry vegan lines of ready meals, meat substitutes, and dairy substitutes that aren’t even that much more expensive.
Really, it’s about a change in perspective more than it is about changing my diet – once you really educate yourself about the plight of dairy cows and chickens, and look at the broader environmental impact of the industry as well, it’s harder to not be vegan. In fact, since I’ve started really considering making the switch, I find it easier and easier to just choose not to consume dairy products when I’m out and about – once you do flick the switch, it’s easy to stay committed.
So, I’m taking the Veganuary pledge, and kicking of the vegan chapter of my life this January. I’ll be sharing updates here every so often to let you know how I’m going, and would love your feedback or advice in the comments section below.
If you’re thinking about giving Veganuary a go, why not head to the campaign website – it has loads of resources to help you, and a great community of folk taking the challenge to give you solidarity.
Stay tuned for more of my vegan adventures soon!