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14 MIN READ TIME

Moving into conscious eating

I’ve been starting to run little experiments – small adventures in curiosity, trying different things out and seeing what works, how I feel, and what ‘sticks’ for me. One of those adventures was becoming vegan and, alongside thousands of others, I took part in Veganuary. It was lovely to feel part of a group and a movement, and to feel supported by others who were doing the same thing. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14. My reason for becoming a vegetarian was that when I was 10, I visited a farm with my family. We were all from London and a tad naïve as to what visiting a farm would entail, I guess we’d imagined some kind of a petting zoo. Unfortunately, for the sponge-like mind of my 10-year-old self, it was a factory farm. Those images are ingrained in my mind forever and as a child, I’d just lie in bed imagining I was one of those animals.

But, I never thought to go vegan. I saw those happy-looking black and whites in the fields eating the lush grass and all seemed well with the world. That was until I went to a campsite last year on a dairy farm. The trouble started on the second day – one of the gorgeous cows gave birth and the farmer took the calf away, immediately. He had a quad bike with a trailer and rode around the campsite with this tiny, hour-old soul in his truck. After the agony her mother experienced giving birth. After the months of discomfort she felt. When every cell in her body was telling her to nurture her youngster, her baby got taken away. She cried for three days solidly – all day and all night, and so the campsite became a place of sadness and mourning to me. If they’d left the calf for weeks would that have been better? I don’t know. But watching the cows waddle uncomfortably with their over-full teats made me want to cry. These beautiful, sentient beings are brought into the world just to suffer. My word. And all of this because ‘I like cheese’.

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Mar/Apr 2019
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