I have been a meat eater all my life - and living in South Africa for almost two decades, anyone who knows the country will agree, any excuse, it's "light a fire and burn some meat". On returning to England with my daughter, I continued - bacon, sausage, burgers, steaks - chicken or fish if I wanted to be "healthy" - then six months or so ago, my daughter turned vegan - just like that.
I was worried about her health so I researched it, and realised that rather than a worry, it was actually a relief – the only thing she would lack was B12, and her chances of contracting life threatening diseases were basically slashed by this one simple lifestyle choice.
I wasn’t convinced for myself, however, despite her pleadings and protestations, I still loved streaky bacon and cheeseburgers.
A month or so into her life change, she asked me to watch a documentary, “Earthlings”. After much persuasion, and after she had gone to bed, I watched it alone in my room with my headphones on. I cried buckets – and those of you who know me know I NEVER cry!!! I didn’t even cry at my ex-wife’s funeral (mind you, I was the one who shot her, so that’s understandable I guess) JUST KIDDING!!! – I seriously cried my eyes out… I became an “overnight vegan”. At first I still loved the smell of bacon and would look at a steak and think “that does look juicy”, but I couldn’t even imagine ever supporting such a cruel industry ever again.
The health benefits are just off the clock. As one doctor said, “There is nothing in modern medicine that comes even close to the benefits of a plant based diet” – that’s good enough for me! After watching “Earthlings”, even if a plant based diet was unhealthy, I would have followed it and accepted the consequences – but the fact is it is WIN WIN – it’s good for the animals, good for the planet and GOOD FOR YOU!!!
Finally, friends used to ask me “What do you eat if you can’t eat meat or dairy? It must me so boring”… Well, I show them pictures (I am an irritating food photographer – if you look at my Instagram or Facebook page, you will see food food food – and believe me, it’s not boring!!!!) I have had many compliments from my meat eating counterparts and often cook for them just to prove that a vegan cauliflower dopiaza is just as tasty and ten times healthier than it’s meat counterpart…
In 1997 Mary Schmich wrote a column for the Chicago Tribune which Baz Luhrmann released as a song the following year… “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen” – the line that sticks with me was “If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it”…. Well fast forward to 2016…. “If I could offer you only one tip for the future, go vegan!”
Documentaries to watch?
Forks over Knives