One of the issues for many people when the subject of “Veganism” comes up is the word Vegan itself, and the profile followers have made for themselves.
A common feeling is that Vegans slouch around with hunched shoulders and wearing cardboard shoes, looking thin, pale and undernourished. And that all words having anything to do with health food, plant-based diets, healthy eating and so on, can be wrapped up into one word – Weird.
This would be fine if we lived in a world of fit and vibrant people going about their daily lives with vigor and cheer. However, in many parts of the world, this just doesn’t happen, does it?
We live in a world troubled with (often) self-inflicted illness like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. So why don’t many more people take up the Vegan (or Vegetarian) path?
Food today for many people comes in boxes and packets. The boxes and packets are quite big, as they have to have large printed panels on them listing all the additives and e-numbers that are inside. Greens and other fresh Veg have to be eaten sparingly, if at all.
Real food is heavy and filling. As a rule of thumb, If you don’t eat it with French fries and plenty of ketchup, there is something seriously wrong with it.
So changing the mindset is a tough task.
Regrettably, unless individuals are shown, and absorb, the true facts about the cruel price animals pay to provide our food, they will remain happily ignorant. And a Vegan diet is so far removed from their standard diet they have grown up with, they would be very reluctant to change, no matter what incentives.
Even the Vegetarian diet (no animal meat), where dairy produce is acceptable, is a difficult path to follow.
So Semi-Vegetarianism may be a possible route to persuade skeptics to try and adopt a healthier lifestyle, and at the same time reduce the alarming amount of meat required to satisfy the worldwide requirements.
Pollotarians eat Chicken and other poultry, but not animal meat.
Pescetarians eat Fish and other seafood items, but no animal or dairy produce. World Fish stocks are not in good shape, and will not last forever, but that is another issue for another day.
Fruitarians eat only fruit.
Flexitarians eat a Vegetarian diet (or Vegan, according to their wishes) but may have meat and dairy on occasions. Now while this particular diet plan may seem like a bit of a sham diet, there are positives.
Firstly, it may encourage converts who would be happy to explore new, healthier ways of eating, while still retaining the safety valve of consuming some meat now and again.
Never eating a beefburger or a rump steak again may be too much to grasp, but being able to eat one or two a month would help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms issue.
Secondly, it would help those concerned about the lack of protein and other nutrients in a non-meat diet, that they could be assured that with occasional meat top-ups, they would be getting a balanced diet.
In all probability, once the taste and positive energy of a plant-based diet kicked in, the need for meat would recede over time anyway.
So if a full Vegan diet may be a turnip too far right now, a more flexible approach is available. Becoming a Flexitarian sounds ok, is a step in the right direction, and the ability to fall back on meat and dairy during the wobbly times would help to stop the doubts and the comments from family and friends.
Oh, and Flexitarians definitely don’t wear cardboard shoes.
Your comments are welcome on this subject. Would love to hear from you.
Best wishes, Chris