What is a Vegan? Are Vegans weird? What do Vegans eat? Why am I not a Vegan?
Up until the weekend I was a person who couldn’t comprehend any dietary restrictions. Whether it was a food intolerance or moral objection – I thought – how awful that must be? What even is a Vegan? Is a plant based diet where you only eat raw vegetables?… They must be miserable.
Vegans amongst you please don’t judge me, I was heniously ill informed
On a whim I decided to watch a Netflix documentary Cowspiracy partly because Leonardo Di Caprio produced it and partly because I was curious – what was I eating?
Without going into the stats it gave me serious anxiety. At university one of my key areas of study was global development and overpopulation so I was well versed in bio engineered crops and mass farming. However I never made the link between climate change and the impact of agriculture. The message I took from the film was… We’re f**ked if our behaviour doesn’t change drastically as a civilisation. For the first time ever I realised I kind of ‘got’ Veganism and why more and more people are focusing on what they eat.
My first thought was – so what’s the difference between veganism and plant based diets?
As the name suggests, a plant-based diet is a diet that focuses around plant foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and zero animal products. No meat, fish, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, gelatin or other animal by-product. Whereas Vegans follow a relatively similar diet but often eschew animal by-products such as leather and wool. I get the impression that on the whole you can eat heavily processed vegan food with all sorts of substitutes that you wouldn’t be able to eat following a plant based diet. I found this Veganism in a nutshell most useful as an explanation.
Is plant based the new vegan?
I asked Irish if he would change the way he eats after watching the documentary… he said no. I was outraged. I’m not saying I a new woman who will live only on kale and berries but I felt obligated to at least reassess my relationship with food. I’d love to hear from any of you who have radically changed your diet?