Growing up in 60's Australia meant eating meat was the norm. With a family history of heart disease and weight problems, I decided as a teenager to learn all I could about nutrition and improve my diet. I was mostly vegetarian as a young adult, but later in the 80‘s when I heard about the horrors of factory farming and the life-long misery and awful deaths of so many animals, I was compelled to become a vegan.
Peter Singer’s book, Animal Liberation, further opened my eyes, particularly regarding the double standards we have towards different creatures. The book really clarified the concerns I had about the suffering of other species at the hands of ours.
It has become easier over the years to find vegetarian and vegan products to replace some of the old foods we have traditionally eaten, like dairy products and processed meats. Even without those substitutes, I feel satisfied and enjoy much better health living on seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables, legumes and some grain foods. Coconuts and carob are like treats to me, and although not a great cook, I like to experiment with ingredients like these to make healthy and simple alternatives to sweet treats.
Availability of non-animal clothing materials has also expanded. These alternatives, along with the milder weather enjoyed by most of us since the ice ages, have reduced the need to wear animals skins and fibres. The need to hunt and kill for food, too, has largely declined. I understand where poverty is highest, those needs may still be present, so my favourite charity is one which gives access to healthcare, clean water, mosquito nets, safe childbirth and family planning choices. http://www.psi.org/
I am not a particularly sociable person, partly because of the sadness in seeing so little positive change in human habits. With health and the environment showing clear signs of strain, there is a chance that will turn around. I dream of the day when not eating animals becomes the norm. Veganuary and all the people involved have given me a fresh surge of hope!