Why I’ll never be vegan

I became a vegetarian when I was 17. I’m 48 now and I’ve never looked back. I raised my eldest without red meat. He rejected chicken very quickly and gave up fish and became fully vegetarian (his own choice) well before he left primary school. At the start of this year, he did Veganuary and then went on to become vegan.

In terms of climate change, the reasons for going vegan are very sound. For starters, vegan food requires significantly less farmland than meat production. The land is required to both graze animals and to grow food for them to eat, so that they can then turn into food for us to eat. Reducing the farmland required for animals, means that land can be returned to a tree-covered state, helping to slow down climate change. Reducing animal consumption would also reduce global water consumption (because of course the animals drink water and it is also required in food production). And we’ve all heard about the impact of cow farts on the environment. It’s no joke – livestock may actually be responsible for up to 18% of global gas emissions.

I’m as interested in climate change as the next person. My main contributions to slowing it are wearing my clothes until they’re falling apart, sometimes walking to the supermarket rather than driving and never putting the central heating on when I’m alone in the house, no matter how cold I am.

But should I go one step further and go vegan? I have given it a lot of thought.

As it happens, I’m about as close to vegan as a vegetarian can get anyway. I’ve always hated milk, and the IBS I suffer with every day of my life is triggered by (among other things) dairy and eggs. So I don’t drink milk, put butter on my toast or eat ice cream. I eat soya yogurts and I very rarely even eat milk chocolate. Since my son went vegan, I’ve even given up Quorn (which on the whole isn’t vegan), as I eat the same food as he does.

But I really, really love cheese. (Yes, I know it’s dairy, but by keeping my dairy intake low I can keep my IBS to a manageable level.)

You can get vegan cheese, of course. But it’s rank. My son has tried many varieties and, while some are better than others, he’s concluded that it’s easier just to live without cheese, because it really isn’t very nice.

(I’ve discovered it is better on products like pizza than in packets of cheese you buy in the supermarket. I’ve had a couple of vegan pizzas which I’ve quite enjoyed.)

The other thing I love is my daughter’s baking. My daughter started baking this year and she very quickly discovered a real talent for it. Her cakes are amazing. They give me great joy. Why would I want to give that up?

(Yes, I know you can do vegan baking. She’s made a couple of vegan cakes for her brother. The best that can be said of them is that ‘They don’t taste too bad’. They’re OK, but they’re not in the same ballpark as ‘proper’ cakes.)

So, having given it a lot of thought, I’ve concluded that I’m not going to go vegan. I’m happy as a vegetarian.

My conscience is clear because, in terms of the food I eat, I’m already going way further than everyone who eats meat and the vast majority of vegetarians too. And I’ve been doing that for over 30 years.

All of the advice around is that people should move towards a more plant-based diet in the interests of climate change, not for everyone to go vegan. Even Sainsbury’s has been running a campaign recently advising people to replace half of the meat in their meals with something like chickpeas or kidney beans.

Of course many will choose to go vegan and many won’t.

But if more people cut down on meat and animal products, it would make a real difference to climate change.

And I’m there already. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years.

Vegan, Plant-based, Climate change, Vegetarian

Author: Sarah Mummy

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    • It’s great that you were making a vegan casserole! Even omnivores can cute down a little bit.
      Wow, that related post was from such a long time ago. It feels like a whole different life!

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  1. We eat less meat than we used to but my family wouldn’t go veggie and definitely not vegan. I do try making veggie meals and sometimes they go down well other times not so much. x

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    • It’s good that you eat less meat than you used to. Not everyone wants to go vegetarian or vegan, but even cutting down a bit is good. I must admit it’s rare that my three meat eaters have a meal which is entirely veggie.

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  2. We have very similar views on many things! I’ve been veggie since I was about 5 years old and wouldn’t dream of eating meat or fish, but missing cheese is what puts me off going vegan too! I hate milk too.

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    • Ha ha, we are very similar! I wasn’t sure if you were vegan or not. I think we are definitely doing our bit without going fully vegan. x

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  3. Well done to you. You’ve obviously been a big influence on your eldest too. I would love to even move us to be more vegetarian but our diets are terrible. We love milk and get through loads of it too – so couldn’t see us being vegan either. In fact eggs and diary are probably some of the better bits of our diets. Every year I mean to look into being more vegetarian and we have a few dishes but never end up agreeing on things we all like.

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    • Thanks very much! My eldest used to drink loads of milk. Literally right until he became vegan, it was his main drink. He found the first few days as a vegan very hard, then something changed and he just lost the desire to drink milk and didn’t miss it any more.
      As a family we also struggle to find meals we all agree on. I do try to do a meat and vegan version of everything, rather than make two entirely separate meals. But my daughter has very bland tastes and my eldest likes really spicy food, so there’s usually one or other of them complaining!

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  4. I have always been a meat eater but I must admit that I do eat less and less meat than I used to. You can make such amazing vegetarian meals and when I do, I always think about it. I couldn’t be a vegan though, like you I love dairy too much especially cheese!

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    • It’s good that you’ve cut down on meat. If everyone did that, it would definitely make a difference. We have three meat eaters in the house, so nearly all meals have two versions (or three if we have one with cheese and one without!).

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