I am a veterinarian and have been vegetarian for some time, but personally uneasy about my consumption of animal products (cheese, milk, eggs). I have an interest in reducing animal suffering and pain, and promoting a good life for animals.
I am concerned about the welfare of farmed animals, but also the environmental impact of current farming practices and the issue of world hunger. For me personally, the removal of animal products from my diet seems like the most logical approach. I understand that many disagree but my aim is not to be divisive. I am seeking to ensure that my behaviour is consistent with my personal ethic.
I am also time poor and not what I would consider a brilliant cook so I was a bit daunted by a perceived need to turn into a chef so I could eat vegan, and I thought I was going to crave the things I could no longer have (chocolate, milk in tea).
Veganuary has been amazing as I can simply look up an ingredient I have (eg mushrooms) and get a bunch of recipes on the site. Plus there is plenty of recipe sharing and support on the Facebook page. The process has made me much more mindful about what I eat and the cooking I have done has been enjoyable and quite simple (preparing quinoa is even easier than cooking rice). It has been an excuse to explore all manner of interesting foods like vegan cheese and soy “tuna” and taste combinations (I’d recommend Veganuary for any foodie just for that benefit). If in doubt I cook by the motto “eat the rainbow” (including plenty of colour in each dish). And vegan chocolate is increasingly available.
For me it has been interesting learning just how much of what we consume are animal products, but also an opportunity to support local producers of high quality, ethical food and be thoughtful about the businesses I support.
The most powerful change for me was that I had previously thought about animal welfare as something I was occupied with between meals. Now its something I think about each time I eat, and that is a positive difference for me.