18. Why Try Vegan?

Gluten

Hello all!

In light of my last post on ethics, I thought I’d discuss more of the documentaries that I’ve watched. In addition I will look at what impact they’ve had on my outlook and diet. The majority of the documentaries once again push towards the vegan diet. Having said that, one documentary looking at the paleo diet which is also popular amongst the health community.

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives: Vegan

So many vegans recommend this documentary across YouTube. I worried that it would be another video filled with animal suffering, as I find it difficult to watch. However it was a pleasant surprise to see so much scientific evidence in the documentary instead. The film follows Doctor Esselstyn and Doctor Campbell throughout their lives, leading up to the discovery of a plant based diet in their research. According to much of Doctor Campbell’s results from studies in both the Philippines and China, those who ate more plant based diets were less likely to develop cancer, whilst those who were more affluent would become sicker with time. Now this isn’t to say that wealth equates to poor health. In fact many could argue the opposite (myself included!) In these countries the wealthier could afford to consume more meat, which is what in turn lead to their decline in health.

All of this information can be found in greater depth in Campbell’s book The China Study, listed below:

Cowspiracy

Cowspiracy
Ah, Cowspiracy. Another film that I feared would show animal cruelty footage, but instead was limited to a couple of scenes. It made me jump hearing the knife chop off the duck’s head, but these things typically make me feel afraid. The documentary looked at the cause of our environmental destruction and the involvement of agriculture within that. It was interesting to hear about what green companies are/aren’t doing for the planet, as I thought they were the key players in making change happen. Moreover, it made me think back to something that I said in my last post: “If I don’t have it in me to kill an animal for food, then why on earth am I consuming it?”

Love Paleo

Paleo
Love Paleo can be found on Amazon (link below) and is available to prime users to watch. It’s main focus in the beginning is on people who are facing dietary discomforts, with particular attention to coeliacs. I admit that my body doesn’t process white bread particularly well, but does everyone need to exclude gluten from their diet? I’m not convinced. In spite of that I’ve been very interested in the paleo diet this year, so to find a documentary on it was a welcome surprise!

It also spoke of reintroducing saturated fat into the diet, along with using all cuts of meat. Recently if I were to buy meat for omnivorous family members I’d stick to leaner cuts, and the thought of trying the foot or nose makes me feel physically sick. Along with a love of rice and beans, I’m no longer as sure that the paleo diet would work for me, as I wouldn’t want to remove them from my diet.

Products from Amazon.co.uk

So, why try vegan?

Try vegan because it’s an ethical way of living. Consider trying vegan because the animals have thoughts and feelings just like us, and I’m sure they don’t appreciate being killed in the way they are.  Even if I can convince one person to give it a try, I’ll be satisfied.

I’m not sure how it would work for me considering my nut allergy and dislike for avocado, thus limiting my source of healthy fats. Thankfully there is coconut, which I adore! Unlike when I tried to go vegan as a teenager, I’m better educated on the nutritional needs of the human body and will try to maintain that to stay healthy. Furthermore I will be taking it slowly in transitioning from an omnivorous diet to a vegan diet, as I don’t wish to shock the body. This will involve at least two plant based main meals per day, leading into the main three meals and two snacks being plant based. I hope to do this over the course of two months.

P.S. I’ve left Earthlings out of this to avoid making it way too long!

Wish me luck!

17. Ethics


Ethics, ethics, f-fix!

As of late, I’ve been trying to be more ethically conscious in what I do and what I consume, and what I’ve noticed is that I really need to work on committing to my belief system!

I’ve been giving clothes away to charity for a number of years, but not actively purchasing secondhand myself, which is pretty bad. To make matters worse, I often think about buying secondhand but end up buying new, to the point where I’m feeding consumerist culture and accumulating too much. This is exactly what I don’t wish to do and I’d like to cut back on that habit.

Minimalism

This leads me on to the first of many documentaries that I’ve watched recently, aptly titled Minimalism. Its principle of keeping the essentials is a bit of a reach for me, but it struck a chord nonetheless. The ideas presented link well with what is commonly known as the KonMari method, which has lead me to taking inspiration from the two sources. I can undeniably say that I could easily reduce my clothing collection, however in order to truly declutter I’d need full reigns on the house, which isn’t possible when living with parents. I enjoy living in clear spaces, free of clutter and dissatisfying junk and I aspire to have that in my future environment.

Greatest Speech Ever

The second video/documentary that I watched was Gary Yourofsky’s Greatest Speech Ever on YouTube. I’d been planning to watch it for around two years now (I recall both Ellen Fisher and Essena O’Neill recommending it), so I’m very glad that I finally found the time to watch it! His approach is a tad blunt, yet at the same time necessary for spreading the message of eating a diet free from animal products. The use of shock tactics in sections was also very effective in causing me to rethink my choices, in that I couldn’t bare to watch the slaughter of a cow by its throat, or see animals being stunned and tortured “just because”. If I don’t have it in me to kill an animal for food, then why on earth am I consuming it? It just puzzles me how separated we’ve become culturally from the source of our foods, as we pick up plastic wrapped slabs of meat in the local supermarket. It stops us from focusing on the true background of where the foods we consume come from.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 1 & 2

My third (and fourth) documentary watched was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 1 & 2 by Joe Cross. This was the most casual of the documentaries that I’ve watched recently, but also the most publicly relatable in terms of its hybridity. I loved how they used animations in both films to present scientific information, as it contributed to informing me on general biology, as well as making me want to listen on to see Joe and Phil’s progress. It’s very much an inspirational documentary in that you come away wanting to try and incorporate juicing into your diet, but more importantly wanting to eat more plant based foods, not only for your sake but also for the sake of the planet.


But where does this leave me?

Currently it leaves me wanting to continue watching, learning and growing. I still plan to watch Vegucated, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives and Paleo to further my education on how to live and consume ethically. Despite almost everything I’ve recently watched being primarily vegan, I feel it’s only fair if I look into a meat eater’s perspective for a balanced argument. It just baffles me how we can eat meat without thinking of how it made it to our plates, in the same way that we don’t think about where our material goods have come from and what it took to get them here.

To summarise:

  • Donate clothing to charity

  • Give excess food to food banks

  • Buy secondhand as much as possible

15. Sources of Inspiration: Food Edition

As I may have mentioned before I love cooking, and I’m always looking for new ideas to inspire me. From “What I Eat in a Day” videos on Youtube, to relatable grocery hauls on Channel Mum and recipe hunting on Yummly, I’m forever on the hunt for ideas that are tasty, healthy and affordable.

Most recently I’ve been watching Iceland haul videos on Channel Mum along with meal prep videos on Youtube. I love how some of them come with recipes, as I’m always looking for new methods to create healthy meals for myself and my family. Students are often not given credit for being capable in the kitchen, so I’d like to be one of the people that dispel that myth by giving you one of my recipes!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tin of chickpeas

1 tin of kidney beans

1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 small tin of sweetcorn

2 chicken breasts

Lightly salted tortilla chips (as required)

700ml of vegetable stock

Chilli flakes (as required)

Garlic powder (as required)
Instructions:

  1. Chop up chicken breast into small chunks and put into crockpot.
  2. Drain chickpeas, sweetcorn and kidney beans before adding to the crockpot.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes to the crockpot.
  4. Add a small amount of garlic powder to the crockpot. I used two shakes of the container (I know, such accuracy!) because I only wanted a subtle flavour to come through.
  5. Add chilli flakes to the crockpot. Now I like a lot of spice, so I added quite a few shakes of the container at this point!
  6. Mix ingredients in the crockpot together.
  7. Turn on low for 6-7 hours.
  8. Serve & enjoy! I like to add tortilla chips on top for an added crunch. I love the Mexican take on croutons that it provides.

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