This week I started reading The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and I can barely put into words how gripped I am by this book. Truth is it’s the first book I haven’t been able to put down in a long time and I LOVE to buy books – I just don’t have the time (or rather MAKE the time) to sit and read them from cover to cover. I actually have several books on the go at the moment (food and yoga related) that I am dipping into as and when I have a spare moment but THIS book I cannot be parted from. If you are interested in becoming a vegetarian or if you’re already a vegetarian but wanting to make the transition to being vegan then this is the book for you!
I have only recently become vegetarian but vegetarianism and veganism had always interested me as I have never liked the “idea” of eating meat but I had always let my taste buds rather than my conscience guide me. However, there had certainly been a shift in recent years anyway with cooking a lot less meat at home and including several vegetarian dinners each week – not for any reason particularly just a gradual shift in this direction.
A lot of things have happened recently that have caused me to look even more closely at my (and my family’s) diet and to re-assess things. Firstly my Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus at the start of the year and so my Mum – determined to keep him around for as long as possible (as are we all!!) – started researching how to do just that and came across macrobiotics – which appears to be strongly related with the fight against cancer and which as far as I can tell is an even more hardcore version of veganism. Long story short, both my Mum and Dad are following a vegan/macrobiotic-oriented diet (in combination with chemotherapy) to help in his fight against this disease. Secondly I went to see my Nan the other day who suffers from painful arthritis and she was telling me how she tries to restrict certain foods in order to ease the pain she feels. She showed me a book about foods to avoid in order to make living with arthritis more bearable. When I looked through it, it was basically a vegan diet. Combine these two things with the fact that I keep reading about how fantastic people are feeling on a vegan diet that I’m naturally getting interested. Lots of people are saying how much energy they have since not eating meat and dairy products, how their various allergies have cleared up, how their skin has brightened and how they’ve lost previously hard to shift weight. How could all this not grab your attention!? I can barely get out of bed in the mornings so ANYTHING would be an improvement!
So I’m reading The Kind Diet and all the above are reiterated- the weight loss, the feeling of energy, of wellness, etc. etc. I WANT ME SOME OF THIS VEGAN MAGIC!!! :-)
Okay so I’m only newly vegetarian so I’m not going to turn vegan overnight but I’m learning about it and even more importantly I’m learning about the horrors of the meat and dairy industry. I can’t even count how many tears I’ve shed since reading Alicia’s book and I haven’t even reached the end yet. I think we all like to bury our heads in the sand a little when it comes to how our food ends up on our plates but Alicia pulls no punches. She is a woman on a vegan mission and boy is it working. I’m not going to repeat here what she says about cows and how they lead miserable lives from start to finish, the horrific conditions the animals in farming factories have to endure, the poor little male chicks who are surplus to requirements….awful awful awful. I feel horrified to have contributed to the perpetuation of all this pain and suffering through eating meat and dairy products (remember if you do eat meat and dairy then organic versions are a slightly better and more humane option). I think I naively envisioned lots of happy animals having happy lives on a farm and then at the end of it – well, we all know what happens at the end of it. But there is no happy beginning, middle or end for these poor animals.
For me, this is the start of my journey into awareness of what I put into my mouth and where it comes from. I want to explore new foods and enjoy my new meat-free status and perhaps work towards gradually removing dairy from my diet. I don’t have a time restriction and I’m not going to force this on my children but I’m excited at the prospect of bringing about a positive change to my life and my family being able to benefit from this….
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change”