After going Vegan for a week, I’ve been challenged to go veggie and see how it compares. Seeing as I forced my vegetarian flatmates to go vegan with me, it only seemed fair I joined them – even if it was just for a week. With Abbie having been a fully-fledged vegetarian for over six years, and Katie having been veggie for just over two months, their motivations for making the lifestyle change were surprisingly similar; both agreed ethical reasons were at the forefront of their decision, followed closely by environmental and health. It’s not surprising that much like veganism, the number of vegetarians in the UK is on a steep increase with more than 1.2 million of the UK population estimated to be vegetarian and big names like Leonardo DiCaprio supporting the cause by discussing their own experiences as vegetarians. However, with a little over half a million vegans, vegetarianism is clearly the dominant lifestyle choice. Still sharing many of the major benefits of the vegan life, such as being claimed to reduce the risk of heart disease and the unquestionable environmental pros of the diet, vegetarianism seems to be the happy middle-ground where many of the benefits of a vegan diet are still found, but you can also eat actual cheese – sounds like the perfect scenario.
During my stint as a vegan, I didn’t particularly miss meat, but I found it rather difficult to find alternatives to daily necessities and dairy products. In light of this, the transition into the veggie diet really wasn’t that challenging. Swapping meat for healthier alternatives such as vegetables, Quorn or tofu turned out to be cheaper, meaning not only was my health thankful for the swap, but also my bank balance. General day-to-day life was also far easier as a vegetarian, with more options available and, honestly, a less restricted diet was welcomed with open arms. However, this was inevitably a catch-22 situation, as the newfound love of all things healthy and plant based quickly became a distant memory when dairy and chocolate were on the cards again.
With everything considered, I feel myself coming to the ultimate lifestyle cliché: everything in moderation. Whilst cutting out meat didn’t turn out to be a huge struggle, the reintroduction to dairy and even just basic milk was a huge relief. In terms of health and the environment I truly see the positive impact of a vegetarian diet, but that doesn’t mean to say the odd chicken nugget would do any harm. All in all, I definitely will be cutting down my consumption of animal food products and meat because, at the end of the day, if doing it for yourself isn’t enough, then do it for the environment, and do it for Leo.
Image: Vegetarian Nation