Friday, 14 August 2009

My Ethical/Environmental Living Journey - Vegetarianism.

I recently gave my whole blog a bit of a going over adding labels to all the posts that I had written. I know I should have done it from the beginning, but for some reason I just couldn't be bothered. (With hindsight, I so wish I had, it took an age to do it all!). I was quite pleased to note so many labels to the posts I had written, a pretty mixed bunch of stuff, which I do think reasonably reflects my life - with one exception.

I was appalled to realise that I haven't (unless I missed it) ever blogged about my ethical and environmental journey. I like to console myself with the fact that in most things I am still 'Trying to find me', however on this one subject I think I totally know where I am! I will try and recap now on where this journey started and how it has progressed.

I think the starting point was probably when I met the man who was to become my gorgeous husband. He had been vegetarian since his teens and let onto me in the very early stages of our relationship that he didn't like kissing me after I had eaten meat! I was a little shocked, but not being the sort of person to resist a challenge I very quickly stated that I had better turn vegetarian then - and did. It was an overnight thing, a bit like my spiritual conversion I suppose. I realise now that my reasons for doing so what not really very ethical or environmental, however over the last 15 years I have developed a very keen sense of why I remain vegetarian. It is not really anything to do with not 'eating' animals (or fish) but much more to do with how I feel society treats animals (and fish). I remember growing up when we would go out for a meal and you could have 'steak' as a real treat, these days, it seems you have a right to eat as much of this as you want. It's this demand that is unpalatable for me, as with all demand and supply chains, this means that industry takes over trying to supply as much as cheaply as possible, blow the costs to the animals or the environment. The other side of my argument for being and remaining a vegetarian is that it is how I believe God made us to be. In the Bible we are told that Adam and Eve were given all leaves and grains to consume, it was not until after the flood in the time of Moses that they were told they could consume meat. So it gives me a great reassurance of the future of returning to a 'new earth' when the 'rapture' finally takes place. Considering I eat at least three meals a day, this is not a bad thing to be reminded of on a regular basis.

There is of course another reason - the stubborn part of me is determined to show all those folks who reckon it isn't healthy not to eat meat and fish that it is completely and absolutely possible. And I do delight in every new research article that appears telling us that it is actually possible to be healthier eating a balanced vegetarian diet than a carnivorous one. I am very proud of raising my two youngest (now 8 and 9) in this manner. They know the reasons why I have done this and they are free to choose what they would like to eat when out or when I am not cooking. The one thing that they will often submit to is jelly sweeties (the Haribo variety particularly). I do not purchase this sort of gelatin containing stuff for them but if others give it to them I do make sure they are aware of what it contains but they are free to consume if they wish (mostly they choose to do this!). It does frustrate me that there are not more vegetarian sweeties available, I know it is possible to get non gelatin containing stuff but shops just don't stock them!
I do not mind people asking me why I am a vegetarian, I do not so enjoy it when people try and tell me there are better causes to stand for. Hopefully you will see in the next few posts that be a vegetarian is not my only claim attempting a more ethical and environmental lifestyle.
I have found that as time goes on I am becoming more aware of what I am buying. For a while now I have avoided all leather products (I'm not vegan, but think leather products are in the same supply/demand crisis). Unfortunately I have not been able to do much in the way of shoes, though I do have a few pairs of vegetarian friendly ones (this is due to my foot shape and bone problems). I am very much looking forward to a visit to Brighton next month with my hubby so that we can go and visit the Vegetarian Shoe Shop, we have had some lovely purchases for him from there in the past.
I am sure I could still improve some more on this journey, but it is a journey that I wouldn't swap for anything.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Home Produce

I have had a mixed result in my veg patch this year. We have had some good crops:

french beans
spring onions

and some disappointing crops:

tomato (got blight again!!!!)

We did get some surprising crops, like potatoes which I hadn't even planted, a root in the compost maybe?? Had enough for a meal for the 5 of us and were a good size, but plants got blight after the tomatoes so had to dig up early to burn the plants along with the tomato plants. My mum has helped no end, her early mornings (4.30 am onwards) mean she has usually done a good few hours before anyone else has been up. She managed to salvage lots of green tomatoes which as you can see by the picture have nicely ripened by the window.

So over the last couple of days I have worked in the garden a little and with my sons help have managed to sow some more carrots, transplant some seedlings that mum sowed in trays a few weeks ago, lettuce, sweetcorn and pumpkins and have carefully erected some nets over them, hoping we might get a little more produce before the end of the year.

the spring onions and spinach in the colander are what went into my risotto last night for my husband and I and it really was quite delicious even if I do say so myself.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Acts of Kindness.

I have got a bit of a blog block again at the moment - looking through some photos the other day has made me realise how little I have been writing about what we have been up to. This picture made me think of some lovely acts of kindness that some people have shown us in the last week or so. The picture shows a pile of 'new arrival' cards that I made. These have mostly been sent to folks who we don't see or correspond with regularly. What prompted me to do it was the thought that these folks would have been very upset for it to have got to Christmas and discover my niece appearing in all our cards without us telling them (I also have to confess I couldn't bear the thought of cards arriving without her mentioned in them).

As soon as these were sent out we then went away for a few days, leaving my parents in our home to enjoy some Southern weather (which turned out not to be much better than their midlands weather). They received several phone calls from friends and relatives who were responding to receiving the cards - this made my mum feel good and also meant we got to see my daughters God-mother who we hadn't had chance to tell we were going to be in her neck of the woods.

We also came back to discover several cards written by Aunts and cousins, one of these was from my husbands cousin who I have only met 2 or 3 times, she wrote the most amazing message to my niece welcoming her into an extended family. We have even received a phone call from Australia!

This has been a real unexpected joy and has reminded my husband and myself how fortunate we are to have such supportive friends and family, even if we are not always aware they are supporting us.