This lapsed vegan-turned-omnivore is thinking maybe the vegans are right, after all…

My confession: I’m a lapsed vegan.

I was a vegetarian for a long time, almost five years, and then a vegan for ten years or more after that. I stayed vegan right up until I bought my own farm and it seemed crazy to buy tofu from China while we had our own organic lambs in our own farm, barely a few feet away.

So I became a meat eater again. What started as a “only our own meat” exercise gradually became an “all meat” thing, and before I knew it, I was an omnivore again.

Sayonara veganism.

Now I’m not one to criticise other people’s diets any more, although I certainly used to be that way. Maybe being a meat eater again has helped me gain some perspective. I hope it has. I hope I’ve mellowed.

But I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, we need to start eating less meat again.

However…

Maybe the hard and fast lines aren’t helpful. Maybe we need soft lines, soft focus, and an understanding that judgement and rules aren’t useful for anyone.

Maybe the way forward is to be kind – to ourselves, to others, as well as to the planet.

I love food, and I’ve come to really enjoy my meat again. But I can’t help thinking that we’re all eating way too much of it. Humanity’s endless lust for protein is killing not just the planet but us as well.

I’m hearing about the way our fisheries are collapsing.
I’m seeing the way dairying is killing our river systems here in New Zealand.
I’m seeing and hearing the way cattle are destroying the Amazon, which used to be the lungs of the planet.
I think we all just need to take a breath, own the damage we’ve done, and recognise that our diets are a significant factor in all this.

I think we need to change.

So I’m drawing a line in the sand. I’m going back. Not to veganism again, not yet. But to being vegetarian during the week, and to leaving meat for weekends instead.

It’ll require a re-schedule of our rotational menu, but I think we need to do this. Two days of meat should be enough for anyone. We can also have meat on birthdays or special events, if they fall in the week. But I think reducing our meat intake won’t hurt us, and will probably make us healthier.

That’s what I’m going to do. Because the only way to be the change in the world is to make the change we wish to see.

earth

5 thoughts on “This lapsed vegan-turned-omnivore is thinking maybe the vegans are right, after all…

  1. Love the idea of reducing the number of meals containing meat (as I sit here waiting for my grilled chicken). While some protein is necessary and meat provides all the necessary amino acids, I agree that we tend to eat too much – my family and globally.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t agree more πŸ™‚ Maybe the key to eating healthily and well while managing the planet responsibly isn’t rules and regulations but balance and common-sense. I think we most of us probably eat too much meat, and I also think that different forms of vegetarianism – and even veganism – can be unsustainable too (chips and potato cakes are vegetarian, but I’m not sure either is healthy, and all that oil probably isn’t sustainable!).

      However, the first guideline for anyone should be not to judge others, but to make changes that are workable for ourselves first, and lead by example.

      Finally, maybe looking at *quantity* and wastage is a good idea too. If we start by eating the right amount and not too much, and not wasting food, we’re going to cut down on the amount of demand on the earth as well.

      Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just embarked on the vegan trip, but haven’t set any strict rules for myself… I am afraid I’ll fail if I do.
    I do eat vegan much as I can, but yes, I eat meat. I’m trying to do it only at home, even if I don’t have my own animals, I know my meat is from the farmers market and the fish was caught by friends’ lines.
    How about your overall health? Skin? Weight gain when you went back to omnivore? πŸ™‚ Would love to hear!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi – I’m actually really healthy now but,compared to the norm, I still don’t eat a lot of meat and many of my days are meatless or almost-meatless and have been ever since I became an omnivore again. I also eat a lot more green stuff than most. So I’m probably not the typical omni. I’ve definitely put on weight since going back on to meat, but I’m also nearly a decade older, so I don’t know how much is attributable to diet and how much is just getting older.

      What I *do* find is that I generally get picked as being a lot younger than I am – usually by about ten years. I’m not going to complain about that! I think eating a high-plant diet really improves skin, and I’ve always had really good skin. I do notice that heavy meat eaters my age do look a lot older.

      Overall, I’d have to say, being as unbiased as I can possibly be, that being vegan isn’t the answer but that eating a whole lot more plant stuff definitely is the way to go. If I were going to “design a best diet” based on my experiences, I’d have to say it would be almost all veg, and definitely avoiding dairy, but without all the processed vegetarian and vegan foods that are available, which I think are just as junky as anything with meat in it (tofutti, tofu burgers, veg patties etc.). Junk is junk. I think eggs are good, and I never noticed ill effects from them, and I think beans are brilliant.

      One thing I will say about being omnivorous is that I really noticed how much easier it was to eat out in a healthy way when I went back to meat. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but eating out as a vegan was next to impossible without everything being deep fried, being very oily or just a salad, and every “vegetarian option” seemed to be loaded with cheese, which I think is pretty bad health-wise. I think a small piece of meat or chicken is probably a lot healthier than a vegetarian pastry loaded with cheese and oil, which seems to be a standard “option”.

      Re the fish thing, that’s an interesting one. I love fish, but I’ve been limiting my intake for quite a while now, because there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the amount of fish we’re eating is absolutely trashing fish stocks around the world, and that “sustainable fishing” is really a bit of a lie. Yes, I still eat fish, but I’ve reduced it to about once, maybe twice a month if that. And I won’t even go into the whole slave labour prawn thing happening over in Asia -I don’t want to contribute to human misery where I can avoid it.

      I don’t think strict rules are useful for diet. Strict rules work when quitting cigarettes and for people with substance abuse problems, but when it comes to food, I really do think moderation is the key to good health and sustainability. Its just my version of moderation is moving more towards veganism / vegetarianism most of the time, with a bit of meat here and there, because that’s what I can’t help but conclude is the right thing to do, both for me and for this planet.

      Thanks for such interesting questions, and all the best in your dietary journeys πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for that awesome answer. I agree with you so much especially on the vegetarian ‘cheesy’ options eating out! So much better to just have some chicken and veggies than the vegetarian alfredo or pizza! Great point. I also agree with what you say about the ‘junk vegan’ food! That whole idea makes no sense to me. I guess when I see myself on this journey, it’s a journey towards whole foods + plant based, and if there’s meat, fish or eggs, that is the ‘spice’ never the ‘base’. I’m doing it for the planet and my health πŸ™‚ (and looking younger? Yes please!)

        Like

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