I wanted to take a moment to talk about the latest craze which seems to be sweeping the health and fitness bubble at the moment. Have you noticed that everyone at the moment is turning vegan? I share my thoughts on the latest craze.
What is vegan?
A quick search for the word "vegan" and you'll discover that veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food clothing or any other purpose.
This entry is quickly followed by a list of famous people who are also vegan; including Bill Clinton, Natalie Portman and Usher.
What being a vegan isn't, is just giving up eating meat or other animal products. There is a heck of a lot more to it than that. It is a whole lifestyle change and a decision that should be taken for the right reasons and not something that you should force yourself to do for a month each year.
At the moment I feel like there is a lot of pressure to become a vegan and I also feel that there is an increasing amount of pressure by society to put labels on things. I really care about animals. I am an animal lover. I have a dog who I would do anything for but that doesn't mean that I have to give up eating meat. I can still act in a way that seeks to exclude exploitation of animals and shop carefully to ensure that foods are ethically and sustainably sourced. I am not going to stop wearing leather shoes because of Veganuary. I will however try and limit my red meat intake but that is because studies show that too much red meat can increase the risk of heart attacks and also colon cancers, not because it's trendy.
You don't have to go vegan to save the planet.
I think it is really important to know why you do something and why you have a certain belief. Don't give up eating meat because your favourite fitspo has or because it's the faddy thing to do next month. There is so much more to being a vegan than what you eat and I am really worried that people are promoting a "diet" only and not the wider implications of this lifestyle shift. Instead of changing your diet for one month, consider making smaller but more lasting changes e.g. always source free-range produce.
Whilst I am not at all telling anyone they shouldn't be a vegan if they want to. I would imagine that most of us can all be more mindful about what we eat, how it will affect our life, the planet and the animals on it and how your lifestyle choices will affect your friends and family (your dietary choices affect your whole family). You don't have to go vegan to save the planet. Collect litter, walk, take a bike, use a re-useable shopping bag, turn your heating down slightly, turn your electronic devices off standby and turn lights off when you aren't using a room. I want to save the polar bears as much as the next person but I am not giving up eating meat to do it and if you don't have to either. There is still a lot that you can do to do good and help save the planet without overhauling your life and becoming a vegan.
I'd really be interested on your thoughts about Veganuary and being more conscious about the world we live in.