You will know me by now. There are a couple of things that I love, like cooking and creating recipes. But writing is another passion. Even though I’d love to share only wonderful and colourful veganish creations, I also feel it’s my obligation to create awareness by providing you all with more information about why I went veganish – or, like I am going to share in this post, about rising together to make the world a better place. Because I can’t do that all by myself! I need your help. Let’s start by taking your first pledge: start opening your eyes and simply continue to read this post. That’s an easy one right?
I know many of you are like (the old) me: we love animals and show compassion to others, but we shut off the psychological link between what’s on your plate and where it comes from. When you see a video on your Facebook feed that might be too confronting, you’ll just scroll further. You rather ignore the horrible images so they cannot haunt you next time you’re enjoying your meal. And I get that, seriously. I was like that too. But in order to ‘change the world’ I’d like to start small and introduce small changes. My small change started on a random day. I decided to not be ignorant anymore, and to show compassion to ALL beings, not just the ones humanity chooses to ‘care’ about. And yes, it is confronting and not fun to watch these videos but I felt it was necessary and gave me the extra push into compassion and leaving animals of my plate.
The fact is that following a plant-based diet is considered to be very healthy and sustainable for both your body (no matter its age or state like pregnancy or illness) and the environment. Plant-based eating and veganism is set to be 2018’s mega trend – with companies like Nestle, Danone and Google (trying) to buy plant-based businesses and the latest news of Leonardo Dicaprio investing in Beyond Meat. So we are rising together into the right direction. Which is great!
Along with this an idea was rising… to take a pledge with me. I have pledged since the start of this year to leave animals of my plate forever. It is really not that hard once you get used to it. I even cannot imagine eating meat ever again! I do not crave it at all. My body and mind are thriving on a plant-based diet. My conscience is clear. And, sometimes, when I need a reminder why I’ve made this choice again, I watch a documentary or even this short YouTube video below. The trailer for the upcoming Australian documentary “Dominion” is one of the most eye-opening (non-graphic!) trailers/vids I have came across. So please do me a favour, and take 5 minutes out of your day to watch this video before making a decision to take the pledge.
The doco above is set to release in 2018 and shows the conditions of the Australian (factory) animal farming industry. One of our ‘comforting’ thoughts is that meat, dairy or eggs are coming from a free-roaming cow, a playful pig or curious chicken living as one big happy family, on a green field stretching all the way into the horizon, surrounded by caring and friendly farmers. As you can see, that’s not the case. One other delusional thought is that “there are rules in my country that prevent animal cruelty like this to take place” – referring to Western countries like Australia or the Netherlands. Again, all these images shown in the trailer were filmed in Australia. A Western country where there’s enough room for these animals to roam freely you’d think, right?
So just think again.
And yes, there are ‘better’ options out there like free-range pork fillets, bio-dynamic milk, organic chicken tenderloins or cage-free eggs. But when you conduct some research, you’ll see that these are often just fancy terms industries use to mislead us. In the end, these animals are still cramped into filthy cages, fed antibiotics, forcefully impregnated, castrated without anaesthetics, hungry and thirsty while in transportation…
And they are all scared upon arrival at the slaughterhouse.
They all end up at the same slaughterhouse and face the same fate as 56 billion of their companions each year.
They all die in the end.
They all get chopped up and processed into your burger, hot dog, chicken nugget or salami sausage and vacuum-sealed so you can enjoy how they taste. This sounds confronting, I know. But it’s the harsh reality. And remember that this post started with a pledge to open your eyes and stop being ignorant.
If you just watched the Dominion trailer, you can see some other confronting yet very common practices. Cold, scary barns far away from cities so this can happen behind the scenes. Sick and crippled animals living in filthy conditions. Baby calves, days or even hours old, ripped away from their mothers so we can drink her milk or turn it into cheese. Sheep and lambs being kicked and punched. Pigs being stunned by electricity. Male chicks being ground up alive because they cannot produce eggs or grow fast enough for consumption.
If you could look them all in the eye, what would you say? Would you say I am sorry? Can I save you? Can I help you?
By taking the pledge with me to leave meat of your plate, you can help them. You can save them! I hope this post has started to open your eyes. I hope you are now willing to promise to leave meat of your plate. Even if it’s for 1 meal, or 1 day, or 1 week. Do whatever suits YOU. Making small changes is better than making no change at all. And hey, I have shared lots of delicious recipes that can get you started towards a journey of plant-based eating.
So what are you waiting for? Do you dare to make a change?
And as A BIG THANK YOU for taking this life-changing pledge, I want to finish off by sharing some tips for newbies:
- Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t buy processed foods and a stupid boring salad. Go to your green grocer and throw all kinds of veggies and fruits in your basket. Use products you’ve never even heard before, like pulled-pork style jackfruit, gut-friendly kimchi and nutritious teff grains.
- Don’t be to hard on yourself. I didn’t go vegan overnight either. Take baby steps and try to make changes, like cleaning out your cup boards, replacing your milk in your daily latte to a plant-based mylk, eating more fish first, switching to dark chocolate, introducing vegan protein powders on gym days in stead of whey-based ones… But hey, if you wanna change overnight: go ahead! Just do you.
- Eating out. This isn’t as difficult as you might think. Almost every place nowadays has vegetarian or vegan options on their menu. Simply make that choice to order these dishes – and be amazed by how tasty (and Instagram-worthy) they are! You can also veganise a lot of dishes, by asking to take the cheese or meat out of the meal.
- Try food prepping. This one is so important. We usually fall of the wagon when you don’t bring lunch to work or haven’t done the groceries for your dinner. Be prepared and plan your meals. I make weekly menus and write a shopping list. The weekly trips to the shop save money too (because I don’t buy unnecessary things every time I go to the supermarket or get take outs). Then I food prep on Sundays and make sure that I have lunch made for at least 2 days ahead. The other days will be leftovers from the days before (e.g. Sunday’s leftovers will be eaten for lunch on Tuesday or Wednesday). If you into planning, then cook big batches on the weekend and store this for lunch AND dinner.
- Change it up! Don’t eat the same thing every day/week. I try to experiment every week and buy products that are on special. For example buying a big bunch of kale (used for smoothies and salads), cherry tomatoes (for pastas and salads), quinoa (for lunches and dinners) and cashew nuts (for sauces and salad toppings or even as a snack). Plus, the more you experiment with cooking, the more you’ll start to enjoy plant-based meals.
- Don’t care about other people’s opinions. Believe me, a lot of people all of a sudden will share their opinion and views with you. Do not let them get you down and again, just do you. If they start to doubt your decision, watch some of the videos again to remind you why you started this journey in the first place. If they talk about protein, shove them this post in their face. Invite them over for dinner and let them try some of your plant-based creations. And remember: you are the one that is eating healthy whilst nourishing your body, helping the environment and saving the animals. Karma will catch up on them!
I hope this post has motivated you to take the pledge and share it with your friends and family. And as always, if you have any questions or recommendations, please leave a comment!