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.

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