Liberation Pledge……fail!

All vegan meal out 🙂

I think its a little obvious, I’m crap at this blogging thing! Sorry its been so long!

So, how hard can it be to take The Liberation Pledge – I took it a few months ago, I was super positive, I thought my friends and family will be happy to forgo eating meat for one meal to spend some time with me…You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Especially after not having seen either friends or family for over a year!

I thought I’d start with an easy one.. my parents. It was my birthday in July, mum and dad offered to take me for a meal, but instead, I suggested that they drove up to South Yorkshire and I would take them for a meal – as long as it was in an all vegan restaurant or cafe. Neither mum or dad were keen, but they agreed. I was off work that week so we decided that we would go out on my actual birthday, a Tuesday, they would drive up at lunchtime and avoid the worst of the traffic…..

This is where the problem started, we’d decided on Sheffield, I was picking them up at Meadowhall and driving in to Sheffield City Centre….. I happily searched for a fully vegan restaurant to take them to…… I couldn’t find any that were open at lunchtime on a Tuesday. I suggested a little later to mum and dad, but they didn’t want to be driving home at rush hour… (to be fair if I’d retired , I wouldn’t be too interested in driving the M1 at rush hour, when I didn’t have to, either.

So, I settled on The Riverside at Kelham, as I had seen excellent reviews for their banana blossom ‘fish’ and chips. It wasn’t the all vegan establishment I’d been looking for, but at least there was lots of choice…… except when we arrived, almost everything vegan was sold out WTAF! I think I had the choice of two things (none of which was the lovely vegan fish and chips I’d been looking forward to trying!), I chose the non-dirty burger (the dirty burger was sold out)… mum and dad could not be persuaded to eat vegan when there was other choices on the menu, even though the deal was I would pay … so I ended up paying anyway, despite them eating meat 😦

A week or so later, I was due to meet my best mate for lunch, back in my hometown, due to covid I hadn’t seen her for 1 ½ years or more. I broached the vegan restaurant suggestion, but she asked what she would eat… I pointed out all the tasty options, but she laid a guilt trip on me, she rarely gets to afford a meal out (we don’t buy each other birthday or xmas pressies now, instead going out for a nice meal once a year), and she had really been looking forward to it… etc etc So once again I found a restaurant with lots of vegan options as opposed to solely vegan. Not complaining, the meal was nice and they did a great vegan dessert…. but obviously its another fail on the liberation pledge.

Back to mum and dad, visiting me again… they said they’d take me out for lunch, I said how about I cook my beautiful vegan lasagna….mum said she didn’t really want to eat squashed up in my house (it is tiny),,,, however, she has not used that excuse in my pre-vegan meal cooking days! So they took me to a local cafe, that did do a great Moroccan beans on toast…. but its another fail!

This weekend, they were coming up to visit again, I suggested cooking again, I suggested going to Meat is Dead in Leeds and I would drive, so they didn’t feel they had to drive 1 1/2hrs to visit me and then drive a further 30 mins for lunch.. but mum said she really didn’t want to spend any more time in a car and could we just eat locally… well obviously, I live in the sticks, there isn’t a fully vegan place on my doorstep… so I suggested I’d just meet them halfway (Chesterfield). Now there is a vegan cafe in the place we’re meeting….but no they didn’t want snack food, they want a proper meal…. so once again, its a pub lunch, they have one vegan offering.. lets hope its not sold out!

Meat is Dead – eating alone where I have full control over where I eat!

I know I’m not being strict enough, how do others do it? I need to tell everyone that if they want to see me it has to be in a place where death isn’t on the table..but I also know this will upset my parents….. it will anger my sister, I know she will just tell me to go to hell… and my mates I guess could be persuaded, but I expect they will all say initially, why can’t we compromise……. So suggestions on how others cope with this greatly appreciated?!

For now, I’ve taken my liberation pledge bracelet off, as I feel I am making a mockery of it 😦

Vegan-ish dog

Chase has been vegan-ish for over a year (I’d never use that term for humans, so don’t judge me using it for him!).

Before I switched his food to vegan dog food, he had been raw fed…. then I went vegan…… I feel Chase would probably like to have something to say about this haha!

Chase had very itchy skin and was on steroids, so what coincided with me going vegan was the vet suggesting a prescription diet and coming off the steroids. The idea of a prescription dog food is that it is a more unusual protein source and could therefore help alleviate any allergies. So he was placed on Hills Prescription Diet for the first month of myself being vegan… it did work, he was off the steroids but not biting his feet and continuously licking his bits any more.

So I figured what could be a more unusual protein source for a dog – than what he would get from a vegan diet… and so started his vegan journey. I tried him on three foods initially, of those three foods, there was only one that he really wouldn’t eat. However, I noticed that he kept throwing up a little bit of bile morning and evenings (not every day, but almost every day). I asked the vet about it and they said it was probably heartburn.. yes, dog’s can get heartburn too. She said that I could give him a treat in between his meals to see if it stopped it. It did, but it was something I wasn’t totally happy about…

As well as this, I found both of the vegan foods that he would eat not particularly appetising looking, they were very dry and crumbly. Both companies stated that the recipe had been in use for 30+ years or so and I felt that there hadn’t been any progression in the foods, so I decided to keep looking.

I researched a food called Wild Earth, I really liked the sound of it, it sounded new and innovative and used biotech to invent a high protein dog food…. alas currently it is only available in the states… so I continued looking.

Then I found Solo Vegetal – “Solo Vegetal is a highly nutritious, unique 100% vegetable-based food for dogs. It contains all the required nutrients for a well-balanced and healthy diet and is very palatable. If your dog has skin or gut problems caused by food intolerance or food sensitivity, Solo Vegetal might be perfect for them. It is also great if you prefer to feed your dog a vegetarian or vegan diet.”

They specialise in food intolerances, so I was especially interested and ordered a bag, its not cheap! When it arrived, I started to mix it in with Chase’s previous food and then two weeks ago he was eating it solely. His skin complaints are still gone and he has stopped the throwing up thing, so assuming it was heartburn it has gone!

The food looks more appetising, although it is a baked food, it looks fresh and sort of moist (although it is a dry food). I’m really happy with it and Chase seems to love it, He licks his bowl out with gusto!

As for Chase being vegan-ish – he still has the occasional duck (his original unusual protein source) treat. My thinking behind this, is using the baby analogy. If I placed an apple and a duck in front of Chase, he would eat the duck! So his food is vegan and most of his treats are vegan, but with the occasional duck fillet treat – mainly because it last him a bit longer, all his other treats he hoovers up in seconds and then begs for another. Once he’s had a duck fillet treat, it takes him longer to get through it and then he stops begging!

No Spend Year 2021

My aim for 2021 is to have a No Spend Year. I am a marketing person’s dream, I literally see something and have to have it, I rarely put in much thought… in fact the only thing that would stop me spending money normally is if it wasn’t available online – because I weirdly hate actual shopping!

So, I thought 2021 would be the ideal year to save some pennies (2020 would have been even more perfect but there you go, that ship has sailed!), I suspect most of the year, if not all of it will be spent pretty much in the same way as 2020, ie at home with a good book!

So its my year, so I get to make up the rules:

No spending on anything that isn’t essential – this means, food, cleaning products, petrol, skincare products are all allowed.

Books are allowed! For me books are essential, I always have a book on the go, however, I am going to force myself to read all the books in my Kindle library before buying any more – there’s a lot, because I see something and I press buy even though I have probably 30 or so books in my TBR virtual pile! I read about 90-95 books per year, so I will still be buying quite a few!

Gifts and cards are also allowed, I’m not going to not buy things for others.

I will allow myself one takeaway a month (this can be one meal out a month should a time come when you can actually eat out again), so I better spend it wisely… or not at all, since it will be healthier! The exception to this rule is me and my best mate normally have a posh meal out once a year for both of our birthdays and christmases combined – however, this didn’t happen last year for obvious reasons so could (hopefully) happen at some point this year.

Current bills and subscriptions are allowed, however, I have cancelled my vegan beauty box subscription. No film purchases are allowed, if its not free/included with my tv packages I can’t watch it. I can’t pay for any additional tv packages.

No apps/games unless they’re free

No frivolous clothes spending – I can only buy something new if I actually need it – ie underwear, socks would be fine, as would new dog walking trousers if I rip current ones etc.

I will allow myself a holiday should the time come when I can go somewhere – this would probably be camping, they normally are – if it is camping then there is no limit as long as I stick to the rules above. If I was to stay in a hotel/guest house then that will be limited to one stay for the year.

Vegan Camp-Out – is an exception – I would have gone last year but it was cancelled and I got a refund – I haven’t bought a ticket yet for this year since everything is so uncertain – if it is going ahead then I will be going.

Charities I support will remain unchanged – I currently have one Patreon, one teaming, two animal sponsorships, I am a member of the Vegan Society and I am a Gold member of Animal Justice Project, I also have National Trust and RSPB memberships.

Think that’s it for the rules, not sure how much I will save doing this as I haven’t worked it out – I’m aiming for £500 a month initially. At the end of each month I’ll transfer over money saved into my savings account. I would expect January to be maybe slightly lower as I got paid early so did spend money over Christmas.

I may get stricter with my rules as the year progresses – I’ve tried to be realistic, there’s no point starting if I don’t see myself being able to stick to it, so the current rules reflect this…. should I find myself glowing with all the money I’m saving then I may make things a bit harder and save more!

1 year Veganniversary

So today is my first year veganniversary, I was ridiculously excited for this day! Below is my estimated savings through my first year of being vegan:

1 year veganniversary

People think going vegan is some sort of sacrifice, it’s the best thing I have ever done and as all ethical vegans say, I wish I’d done it sooner. 

I didn’t go vegan because I hated meat, I went vegan because once you see the fear, pain & suffering in another beings eyes you can’t contribute to it.  I can no longer look at a cow or a pig (etc) without seeing fear in their eyes. When I first went to a vigil, I was close to tears, I honestly hadn’t expected it, I thought I would be sad, but when I looked at the cow as she threw her head back in the truck I almost cried – I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t do anything to save her.

Before going vegan I loved meat, I used to boast that I liked my steak so rare you might as well slice it straight off the cow, I didn’t think about the fact those animals I ate had the exact same feelings of fear & pain as we do, and they’re just babies.  Cognitive dissonance is real, that’s why I really want my friends and family to see how I see animals now, compared to how I used look at animals, but it’s so hard to get them to listen, they want to remain ignorant for their own pleasure the same way I used to.

I couldn’t watch someone kick a dog, I can’t watch footage of the Yulin dog meat festival so why would I be able to watch someone kick a pig, cut their throat, while they struggle to live? It is not acceptable to treat a living, breathing, sentient being like a barcode.

Not only that, I fail to see how so called intelligent people don’t realise that how we treat animals is killing us. We’re in the middle of a pandemic caused by our treatment of animals, a factory farm is the same breeding ground for disease as a wet market is. My friends and family look forward to a day when Covid-19 will be in the past, not realising that it will never be in the past, we will just have Covid-21, Swine Flu or Bird Flu etc – until we change how we treat animals we will never be safe from zoonotic diseases – 3 out of 4 zoonotic diseases are caused by factory farming.

Factory farms could not function without widespread antibiotic use, as the animals are forced to live in cramped, filthy conditions, we’re on the brink of antibiotic resistance apocalypse… then you can die from an infected blister or a cut on your finger… we won’t have to wait for our destruction of the climate to kill our children and grandchildren, the way we treat animals will do it for us.

I haven’t even mentioned that the way we treat animals is also the main culprit in climate change ….

The government needs to stop subsidising the meat industry and start subsidising plant based food initiatives then meat will no longer be the cheap product it is,. I really wonder when we will have someone in power in the government that is intelligent and proactive enough to actually see this and do something about it.

Finally, I thought I’d share my list of recommending viewing:

To witness the cruel world our farm animals live in:

Earthlings, Dominion and just in case you watch these and think the UK doesn’t do this – Land of Hope and Glory.

To see how we are brainwashed into believing meat and dairy is good for us:

Cowspiracy, What the Health, Vegan 2020 (YouTube), Gamechangers, Forks over Knives

Say Cheese!

So, before going vegan, I was one of those people that thought I would never be able to give up cheese.

My go-to junk food was pizza.. my favourite being from the local pizza house, that cooked an unbelievably cheesy pizza (I only used to add onion). Also, my fave snack when there wasn’t anything in the house was a block of cheese, I could munch on cheese at any time of the day, I was like an overgrown mouse!

So, after going vegan, did I sat here feeling sorry for myself because I can no longer have a piece of cheese, or a cheesy pizza? No of course I haven’t. Once you open your eyes and see the cruelty in the dairy industry, cheese suddenly loses its appeal. I could never say that my desire for the taste of cheese is more important than the life of a calf or the pain of a mothers separation from her calf.

I find it completely ridiculous that I never realised the cruelty in the dairy industry. It’s a little embarrassing that I managed to get to my late 40’s without realising why cows produced milk. Who knew, they had to be pregnant, I honestly thought cows produced milk because they ate grass!!! I also never knew that a cow was pregnant for 9 months the same as us, or that their calf would then be removed within hours of their birth so we could have their milk.

I’ve enjoyed a number of vegan cheese alternatives, some better than others, none have replaced the melty cheese really, but it doesn’t matter to me, I just don’t eat so much pizza – not a bad thing! I’ve found my homemade pizza is good, also One Planet pizza is pretty good.

A few weeks ago I accidentally ate something that contained cheese, I was mortified! It was a Good Life spinach & mushroom Kiev. It said on the front cheesy filling, but until that point every Good Life product I’d had was vegan, so I had stupidly thought they were a vegan brand and cheesy filling was ‘cheesy’ filling.

When I took the Kiev out of the oven, most of the filling had escaped, I did think it looked realistically burnt like cheese in the pan, but even then I never made the connection. Because most of the filling had been released it wasn’t until I’d almost finished it that I tasted a cheese flavour … I was just thinking to myself, wow, they really nailed the cheese like taste.. when I thought oh fuck. I was too ashamed with myself to check the packaging at that point, I just threw it in the bin.. a day later I checked online and realised that I had indeed definitely eaten cheese (probably other stuff too!). I felt sick. I can’t describe how guilty I felt, not helped because I’d been enjoying it until the lightbulb moment.

Anyway the point of this post, is, once you make the connection as to who suffers and dies for your food, clothes, beauty etc you cannot knowingly contribute to that any longer, not if you really do care about animals and hate animal cruelty – going without a sprinkle of parmesan is not the same as going without the baby that you carried for 4 months (goats gestation period).

Why I became Vegan…

Prior to becoming vegan I had been following Joey Carbstrong for about two years, I watched all of his arguments with interest but I still never made that switch. But the more I watched the more it started to resonate with me, it was a slow burn.

I started eating less meat throughout 2018 and 2019 and I also switched to plant milk in 2017. But I still heard myself utter the same excuses that every other non-vegan says to Joey on his outreach videos… even with all that I still never woke up. I distinctly remember using the argument, but bacon though (I hate myself now!!!) and I can’t give up cheese, it tastes too good… I used many more, all vegans have heard them all before, I wasn’t saying anything revolutionary!

Because of following Joey for so long, I knew all of the films I should watch – Dominion, Earthlings, Cowspiracy and Land of Hope and Glory… but I knew that once I watched these I wouldn’t be able to ignore any longer the pain and suffering I caused due to my desire for taste.

Fast forward to November 2019, I watched Game Changers. I had already been following Dr Michael Gregor for a while and also had his book How Not to Die, so some of the film wasn’t new to me, the How Not to Die book had been part of my motivation for cutting back on the meat I ate for the previous two years, but I had always found it difficult to stick to 100%.

Watching Game Changers really struck a chord with me, health wise it is a very powerful film, by the end of the film I was thinking I was going to switch to a plant based diet 80% of the time and 20% whatever I wanted. This was my approach in planning my new diet for the next couple of days… then the weekend arrived…and I started having second thoughts (in a good way!), I thought why only 80:20.. why not 100%.

So I sat down that Saturday afternoon and I found Dominion and Earthlings online, I watched them back to back, four heartbreaking hours. I cried almost start to finish through Earthlings – the crash test head injury test on a live primate broke me.. it still breaks me. Once you witness the terrible injustices we cause to animals you cannot forget it – you also cannot go on paying for it to happen.

The rest of the weekend, I watched Conspiracy and Land of Hope and Glory, it was an eye opening weekend! I went into work on the Monday and told everyone I was going vegan. I didn’t go fully vegan overnight, I spent the next few days using up any meat in my freezer, there wasn’t much, same with the cheese, butter and eggs. This took me in to December, I spent the first three weeks of December, researching exactly what being vegan meant – the hidden ingredients I needed to look for and also the clothing, beauty products, footwear changes etc – basically I did the crash course into being vegan throughout that month and I had a deadline to have fully transitioned by – this was going to be the 1 January 2020 – I’d signed up to Veganuary.

People at work and friends had taken the piss saying if the footage I had seen was so awful why didn’t I switch overnight, to be honest, I just wanted to get it right, I’m an all or nothing kind of person, and I wanted a deadline day for the switch to happen – by that point I wanted to have fully learned everything I needed to know….also I was due to have Christmas Dinner at my sister’s house – my sister is very easily upset and can sulk for years, I honestly didn’t want the drama of telling her I wasn’t going to be eating her dinner!

As it happened, I ate the Christmas dinner at her house, the subject of my switch to veganism obviously came up that evening, we had a huge debate that turned into a bit of a row.. followed by her telling me that I couldn’t stay for Boxing Day as everything in her house had been smothered in some form of animal product (yes, she can be that childish!).. so first thing Boxing Day morning, I popped round to my parents and told them I was going home as I couldn’t be bothered with the arguments about the fact there was nothing for me to eat (yes, she even said that all her vegetables were unsuitable etc etc)….. I had one meal that day – a takeaway pizza from the services on the M1 followed by my mums mince pies, that she had packed for me, when I got home… the next day – the 27th December I was vegan.

I’ve never looked back. It is also a little amusing that I remember stating that I would just be vegan, I wasn’t going to be actively vegan. I didn’t see myself trying to turn any of my friends and family…or anyone else for that matter… oh how that changed – practically from the word go!