I don’t think I had even heard the term plant-based diet a couple of years ago. When you blog, all sorts of people get in touch with you. Some vegans wanted to share their story with me and I was happy to give them the space on the blog to do so. Friends and family members started to announce they were going vegan. Most seemed surprised at how easy they found this. Famous celebrities started to announce how a plant-based diet was improving their health. I have always had an instinct that more colorful foods are better for us and a plant-based diet is full of them.
Should you move to a plant-based diet?
I can really see the benefits of moving to a plant-based diet for our own health and to help the environment. However, I do have concerns. How much research has happened to ensure that such a diet is safe for all age groups and those with particular health conditions? I particularly worry about whether a plant-based diet will give a child all they need to develop properly.
Having expressed those worries, I am aware perhaps meat-eaters have health issues we do not know about. As with so many issues in life, it is so easy to keep on doing the same things even when they are not good for us. How many of us have odd health niggles such as bloating that we do not investigate. It sound radical but is a great idea to take vegan tests if you suspect you might have an intolerance or food allergy. If you ask me, it is better to find out one way or the other anyway.
My food choices over the years
I was born in the late Sixties and brought up in Yorkshire. Although my mum did not call it meal-planning we had the same meals pretty much every week. Meat was a big factor so there would be sausages, lamb chops, pork chops, stew and dumplings and steak and kidney pie. Sometimes I think the only reason we ate fish at all was because we were Catholics. Fish happened on Fridays. When I went to university, I had two friends who were vegetarian. This was a time of experimentation so I became vegetarian too partly because then it was easier to cook for all of us. I did learn some of the arguments behind vegetarianism from one of these friends. My husband is a big meat eater so most of our meals are meat-based particularly as he does not like fish. As the children get older I ensure they eat less meat. They enjoy fish, fruit and vegetables.
Learning about the impact of eating meat and dairy
I was late to thinking about the environment. I was a bit ignorant and even resented recycling. However, I do love our planet with a passion so should put my money where my mouth is. Research from Oxford University demonstrates that cutting meat and dairy products from our diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.
We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people. But still, around millions suffer from chronic hunger because the majority of this food goes to feed livestock on farms. Plant based diet is currently believed to be the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on Earth. We simply have to wake up to these facts and change our ways.
I claim to be an animal lover so should not turn a blind eye to the suffering of animals just because I have enjoyed eating meat and dairy over the years.
It does seem that moving to a plant-based diet is a powerful thing to do for our own health, to protect animals and to save the planet. I just think we need to really do our research and take appropriate tests before making that leap.