I’m a meat-eating, sausage-making, blood-loving, porcine-fiend. I love the taste of salty, blistered pig skin fresh from the oven; I adore the tails and entrails. I eat everything that is on the animal, except for the bones from whence I scoop the marrow.
I’m a nose-to-tail, indiscriminate omnivore.
Not this month though. My flesh-eating ways have been culled for 31 days, giving way to an more humane diet: veganism.
When I announced this to friends and family, the first question was ‘why?’. Why put myself through this?
Because I’m a meat-eater with a wobbly spine. I want to challenge myself by treating vegetables like more than afterthought, I rely too much on the flesh of ungulates and birds.
I do think about the animals I eat, where it comes from and how it was treated during its life, but I don’t think think I’ve ever cared. I have looked an animal in the eye before killing it, and consuming it later. I’ve always been pragmatic, I think most conscious meat-eaters are, rather than letting emotion get in the way of my plate of Peppa Pig’s belly fat.
My favourite chef, and he’s really a hero to me, is Fergus Henderson. He said: “nose-to-tail eating is not a bloodlust, testosterone-fueled offal hunt. It’s common sense, and it’s all good stuff,”
I agree with that, picking the eye-fillet and chucking the rest is an insult to the animal. But do I really care that much? Do I care enough to stop eating animal products?
I never thought of environmental implications, sustainability or anything past the last oink or moo that came from the animal’s mouth. I just thought: ‘the animal lived happily, it died as humanely as possible, the end’.
I challenged myself, I started reading books on food production history by the likes of Michael Pollan, Peter Singer and Jim Mason, and I thought I should give it a go.
So, as my friends laugh at my daily struggles to grasp vegan life, I resolve to stick to it – at least until the end of January.
Since starting, everything has become a conscious decision. The supermarket visit has become less of a mad dash, more of a library visit.
Lactose, eggs, all that kind of stuff, whey too – they’re part of just about everything it seems. But it’s making me think: what are our ingredients? What are our ingredients’ ingredients?
And after a week, honestly, it’s been relatively easy. I feel good, but I’m not sure how I’ll be in the next couple of weeks.
I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see.