During lockdown 2020 my partner and I started meat-free Mondays and got on well with it, giving time and effort to creating a scrumptious veggie meal. It was such a success we later changed from Meat Free Mondays to Meat Treat Mondays, having meat only on that day. I found this transition rather smooth and didn’t feel like I missed meat. I know people always go on about bacon and how they could never live without a bacon sandwich and I confess, I was one of them. But during this process, I found myself craving meat less and less, including bacon. I also found that I was constantly checking where the meat that I did eat was coming from. I found it quite difficult to pinpoint the source and when I was able to locate where the meat had come from, found that the certification that meant the meat was free-range, wasn’t as straightforward as I'd like it to be, in fact, I found it quite complicated. This led me to be constantly plagued by thoughts of what condition the animal had lived in. Could it roam outside? Was it fed well and organically and finally how was it killed? If I couldn't trust the meat industry then I couldn't be part of it.
Profit will always come before sustainability in the meat industry and that just didn't sit well with me.
So I don't eat animals. I find this choice to be a simple one for me, in the grand scheme of things. I don't eat meat alternatives either, that’s not due to me not appreciating them and all they offer but just simply, my journey enabled me to explore vegetables and what I could create with them so meat alternatives don't really offer me anything vegetables can’t. I believed I would never become a vegan because butter and cheese were and still are an Achilles heel for me but the fates would be the decider, as after 6 months of being vegetarian, my body decided to let me know that it had become intolerant to soft cheeses (the good ones) dairy and eggs! So I have - quite reluctantly - become a vegan and you know what, it’s actually rather surprisingly undemanding on my time, with minimal effort. I must say that I would not have been able to do all this, with the same amount of ease and acceptance, had I not had my family and friends to support me. Not once did I hear anyone complain about my dietary requirement when I went to a dinner party, on the contrary, they were always asking my thoughts on the dishes they had created especially for me… A girl could get used to that sort of treatment!
But this is just my journey and thoughts. One person's story in a plethora of journeys and stories regarding food. I find after writing this that I don’t feel the need to label myself as vegetarian or even plant-based.
I eat what makes me happy, whether that is ethically, spiritually or physically and urge anyone who reads this to start a positive conversation with food and what it means to them. - Safiya.