Jason Joseph is Head of Service Development & Contracts in Adult and Community Services.
THE BEGINNING OF JANUARY
I was really excited about the chance to go vegan for January 2019. I have had lots of conversations with vegan colleagues about what it is like to cut out meat and dairy from your diet. I am a little confused about eating honey, wearing leather shoes, or even shopping from places that support the meat and dairy industry but if you are like me and generally unsure about what this vegan stuff is about, then hopefully this blog will help.
From the 1st January this year I will not be eating meat or dairy products and attempting to not to consume any food stuff that has been overly processed. Vegan eating for me is about eating natural unprocessed foods.
I am consciously not going to get involved in campaigning and more radical action that attempts to dissuade others from their lifestyle choices, but I hope I can give some insight in to how you can change the way you look at your weekly shop or even adapt eating and living habits to be more animal, people and planet friendly.
1 is the loneliest number
The biggest hurdle I have encountered so far is that I am doing this on my own. I live at home with my wife and two kids and although I tried to persuade my family to join me on this Vegan adventure, they didn’t feel they wanted to. This means preparing food for 1. I have managed to suggest that we eat a vegan evening meal at weekends but as I said above, I am keen not to force anyone to follow my own thinking.
I broke my own rules for not eating any novelty pre-packaged foods and bought a selection of vegan treats from Co-op. These were delicious and caught the attention of my two lovely boys who happily munched through them all! Next week I will be attempting cake baking and making my own oat milk
THE END OF JANUARY
It’s been 25 days since I last updated and I am now near the end of Veganuary. It has been a genuinely humbling experience. I have rigidly stuck to my task of not eating too much processed foods and of course going without diary and meat. I did fall off after an extended session in the pub with friends, I was staying with a bunch of families and didn’t have as much control over my dinner choices. I felt like I should eat what they cooked me and although this meant sacrificing my hard work it didn’t feel too bad.
What about the insects
The more I think about whether we should be eating, castrating and generally abusing animals; the more my mind wonders about insects. I think this leads directly to alcohol intake again (re-occurring theme), wine can be labelled vegan, something to do with fining agents but what about all the fruit flies that must be killed in the process of making wine?
I have been consistent in my view that mass industrial farming is killing our planet, but I am not convinced that all life on the earth is scared otherwise we would be hard pushed to eat anything. The honey debate is another that is slightly misleading as bees help pollinate lots of fruit (apples, mangos, plums, kiwi fruit, nectarines etc). I believe working in harmony with our environment is the key not necessarily abstaining from everything. A number of bee keepers would point to the reduction of bees in the world and their work which is reversing the impact of other humans.
My last week
I need to consider what I do next when this month ends, and I am taken by the flexitarian approach of eating whole foods and reducing my meat intake dramatically. I have enjoyed not drinking cows’ milk, but I realised that I hardly ever drink it! I have missed cheese, so will be returning to the occasional cracker. I don’t like replacement meat products like facon and vegan hotdogs etc, but discovering soya mince has been a revelation.
My final thought is more holistic. We need to do more to protect our planet, whether it’s cutting carbon emissions, not planting palm oil and soya for animal feed or just promoting sustainability over capitalist growth. If we all did our share, we can leave this place called earth in a better place.