#myveganstory | Brendan

We live in a world that’s so messed up, it seems nothing we can do will make any real difference. What can I do about Famine? Violence? Disease? Climate change? Deforestation? Pollution? Over fishing? The list seems endless and each problem insurmountable. My vegan story began when I realized that there was one simple thing I could do, to not only reduce my contribution to many of these problems, but also become part of the solution.

Animal agriculture is the number one cause of almost every environmental disaster you can name: from deforestation to climate change; from over fishing to desertification. Add to that the enormous inefficiency of growing plants to feed to animals instead of eating them directly; the majority of antibiotics produced are used on animals and the majority of infectious diseases come from animals. When I discovered that on top of these there were negative impacts of animal products on our health via obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, I really had to ask: is it necessary?

But by far the most persuasive reason I discovered to stop eating animals and their ‘products’ relates to the hypocrisy I saw in myself. I love animals, I’m crazy about my dogs and cats and even the chickens we used to have as pets. I would never do anything to harm an animal and would go out of my way to help animals in distress. And yet I was funding the most barbaric mistreatment of pigs, cows, sheep, chickens and fish (not to mention dogs, rabbits, rats and mice used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical testing). As if they were different to the other animals I loved. This sort of discrimination is identical to racism and sexism.

But as I discovered, there is great news: we can opt out! We can thrive on a diet that avoids, as far as possible, the use of animals. And while we’re at it, we get bonus health points, and massively reduce our environmental impact to boot.

Everyone has to eat. If you’re looking for a new-year’s resolution why not choose to make a difference with every meal in January.

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#myveganstory | Muriel

Here’s #‎myveganstory, maybe it will help inspire a #‎newyearsresolution or two, to take on the #‎veganchallenge!myveganstory

I was a self-proclaimed “ethical vegetarian”: I bought into the humane myth, and sought out “ethical” dairy and eggs. It somehow did not occur to me that dairy cows didn’t live out their lives in pasture, and neither did laying hens. I started to do some digging, and soon realised that there is no such thing as ethical dairy or eggs: cows are enslaved for their mammary secretions and chickens for their menstrual products; male calves are torn away long before their natural weaning period, and killed for their soft flesh (veal) and skin; billions of male chicks in the egg industry are killed every year, at just a day old, by gassing, maceration or suffocation.

As I was starting to learn all of these terrible realities, which the media and big business had quite carefully hidden from me, I had the opportunity to try vegan for 40 days with Brendan. He was looking for something to do for Lent, and couldn’t think of anything meaningful. I suggested we do the vegan challenge. BEST IDEA EVER. It wasn’t scary (I didn’t have to give up cheese “forever”) and it was awesome not to do it alone. Long story short, I never looked back. As I did more reading and met other vegans, I became happier and more comfortable in turning my back on that horrendous industry, and instead, discovering dozens of new foods. I bought my first vegan cookbook (The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau), and learnt to love cooking. I’d always enjoyed baking, and I loved the challenge of baking without eggs and butter.

Being vegan today, in Cape Town, is easy as (vegan) pie. Seriously. There are hundreds of awesome vegan people here, and loads of “alternative” products in the supermarkets, and restaurant menus are becoming more and more vegan-friendly. Oh and of course, living in the Google age, there’s really no excuse!