Making the Change
91. I couldn’t give up meat. I couldn’t live without it.
Why couldn’t you? It’s not because you can’t get enough food or be as healthy without meat. It’s not because you couldn’t afford the alternative foods. Embarrassment isn’t a problem because vegetarianism has become trendy. What’s left? Taste. We ignore animal suffering, torture and death to satisfy our taste preferences. We choose not to think of their suffering, but that doesn’t make it go away.
When did you last dine in a vegetarian restaurant? When did you try going without meat for a month, or a week? Or have you just pictured a vegetarian meal as what’s on your plate minus meat? There are many substitutes available: hamburgers, pies, steaks, sausages, hot dogs, schnitzels and chicken from supermarket freezer and health food sections or health food stores. Do what you’ve never done before and sample vegetarian or vegan restaurants. You’ll be surprised at how tasty and how varied non-meat cuisine can be. Or try any of the vegetarian and vegan recipes on the internet. Go without meat for a month. That’s a morsel of a life span to see how well you cope and feel at the end.
You can live without meat. Expect to live longer and healthier without it. Your choice might be living without meat or living with cancer, heart disease or a kidney dialysis machine. Change now with a free vegetarian starter kit.
92. I couldn’t give up milk.
Decades ago it might have been difficult, but now substitutes are readily available.
There are many plain and flavoured soy milks as well as the less common rice, almond and oat milks. Put a little of any of these, but especially soy milk, in your dairy milk and gradually increase the substitute percentage. The change will be so slight that you won’t notice it. Your health might well notice it, though.
Some rice, almond and oat milks are calcium-boosted. Unlike fortified soy milks, they have no vitamin B12, but nor do they involve cruelty.
You won’t have to give up all the foods containing milk:
Whenever a recipe calls for milk, just use soy milk, or experiment with rice and nut-based milks.
Butter is off your list, but margarine isn’t.
- Ice cream
Non-dairy ice creams abound, particularly in supermarkets.You can choose from soy- and fruit-based varieties.
Milk-free chocolates are plentiful. You can even buy vegan Easter eggs.
If cakes are your addiction, buy a whole book devoted to milk- and egg-free cakes. Samples are Apricot Christmas Crackle, Orange Almond Cake, Muffins and Super Snowballs.
EMBARRASSMENT Back to top
93. I’d be embarrassed if I were a vegetarian.
If you were embarrassed, that would be a small price to pay to reduce animal suffering. But how much would you suffer?
You may be embarrassed initially, but only briefly. Soon you would be proud. Proud to confirm that no animal suffered or died for your tastes. Proud that your body is free of meat fats and poisons. Proud that health and fitness have improved.
You wouldn’t be alone; 600 million vegetarians worldwide will make sure of that. Vegetarianism has become trendy.
In addition, many people gleefully announce that they’re vegetarian when they’re not. Of 10 million such Americans, more than half eat meat, fowl or fish! If 5 million people claim to be what they’re not, it can’t be too embarrassing. Nor is it when 25 per cent of U.S. adolescents describe vegeta-rianism as ‘cool’; salad eaters are rated more moral, virtuous and considerate than steak eaters; and the higher a child’s IQ, the greater the chances of becoming vegetarian.
The increase in the number and acceptance of genuine vege-tarians follows a greater awareness of nutrition and obesity, and meat production. This may be the start of an era when it will be embarrassing to admit that you do eat meat.
A plethora of famous vegetarians shows that you needn’t be embarrassed. A list of history’s top 100 influential people has nine vegetarians. Its compiler believes that Leonardo da Vinci (artist, inventor, astronomer, engineer, philosopher, scientist, vegetarian) might be the most talented ever. Albert Einstein was Time’s ‘man of the millennium’. Herodotus and Persia’s King Cyrus the Great are two more. You’re in good company.
94. It wouldn’t be fair to my family if I became a vegetarian.
In what ways would it be unfair?
Would they be embarrassed about having to admit that they had a vegetarian in the family? Then tell them about all the famous and admired people who have beaten you to the change.
Would it be unfair to give them the extra chores of preparing separate meals for you? Then prepare your own, or prepare some of your meals for them. They might be delighted to discover how delicious vegetarian meals can be and how they’re just as easy to prepare.
It might be unfair to them if you were heavily addicted to smoking, drinking or gambling.They would potentially have a lot more to lose then.
Rather than being unfair, aren’t you giving your family the opportunity to gain one of the most valuable assets any of us can have, namely good health? If your example leads them to adopt the same diet, you might well be sparing them heart attack, stroke, cancer, dementia or other ailments.
95. What a dull life you vegetarians have. No steaks, no hamburgers, no cigarettes, no beer.
A vegetarian is ‘one who abstains from animals for food, especially that obtained by killing animals, and whose diet includes roots, green vegetables, cereals, seeds, fruit and nuts, with or without eggs and dairy products.’ A vegan is ‘a person eating no animals or animal products; strict vegetarian,’ to which we can add wearing no animal products. Nothing about cigarettes or beer there.
Those who are vegetarian for health may choose not to smoke or drink and the religious vegetarians may do so under religious edicts. This is in addition to vegetarianism, not because of it. A commitment to vegetarianism no more pre-vents you from smoking or consuming alcohol than it stops you going surfing or watching the evening news.
It’s incongruous when those who choose a vegetarian diet for health continue smoking. Environmental vegetarians also might wish to avoid pollution from tobacco smoke. But ethical vegetarians please themselves whether they smoke, just as the rest of the population does.
Some of the religious sector of vegetarians and, to a lesser extent,the health sector, avoid alcohol as well as meat. The remaining vegetarians are indistinguishable from meat-eaters in consuming alcoholic drinks.
That leaves steaks and hamburgers.Health food stores and supermarkets carry vegetarian substitutes for steaks and hamburgers, as well as for sausages, chicken, hot dogs, pies, etc. Vegetarian and vegan meals, though, don’t depend solely, or even primarily, on substitutes. Any meat-eater who doubts the taste and enjoyment available to non-meat-eaters need only try a vegetarian restaurant or internet cooking site.
Vegetarians make a profit from abstaining from steaks and hamburgers, and, if they wish, cigarettes and beer. They then have more funds for whatever else might turn them on.
CHANGING BACK Back to top
96. You can tell that being a vegetarian is no good because so many give it up and go back to being normal.
We also see members of political parties, religious groups and sports clubs give up their allegiances and find fulfilment else-where. That doesn’t necessarily prove any fault of the group they left.
What surprises isn’t that ‘so many’ give up their vegetarian commitment but that so many retain it. This is despite our regularly being told how embarrassing being a vegetarian is1, how difficult it is to do without meat and milk and what a dull life we have.
A significant number of religious organisations have a strong hold on their adherents through threats of dire consequences of leaving them, including losing eternal life or suffering eternal damnation. There’s no such coercion to remain vegetarian. So how is it that we see vegetarians keep their commitment for decades or life? While people maintain their concern for the suffering of non-human species they’re unlikely to abandon veganism. And vegans and vegetarians who value the health that those lifestyles have afforded them think twice before going ‘back to being normal’. With 60 per cent of Australians overweight and one in five obese (one in three Americans), being ‘normal’ means excessive weight and increased chance of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and cancer. Abnormality has its advantages.