I went vegan for a week, and it wasn’t that bad.

 By Lucy McConnell

As a veteran carnivore, I cannot remember the last day that I did not consume some sort of meat product. As a resident of the worlds meat-eating capital, I certainly conform to the average statistic which states that Australians consume 90.21 kilograms of meat per person annually, according to the Organisation of Economic Development and Co-operation and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (OECD 2016). This enormous consumption of meat is coupled with a strong social and cultural importance to Australians, indicated through the plethora of “Eat More Meat” advertisements, for almost every form of animal protein.

(TVC for Australia Pork 2016)

(Meat and Livestock Australia, 2016)

(Meat and Livestock Australia, 2016)

As a self-professed gym junkie, “Protein” is an important word in my vocabulary. However, in recent years I have developed a new awareness of the ethical and environmental impact of my love affair with meat. If the world were to continue eating at the rate in which we are now, in 2050, 455 metric tonnes of meat would need to be produced annually to feed the soaring population predictions (Bunge 2015). This equates to the utilisation of every acre of the earths surface to simply grow the crops needed to feed this livestock, let alone the rest of the world. (Bunge 2015). On top of this, the agriculture industry is the biggest contributor to global warming, a carbon footprint greater than that left by all the cars in the world (Vinnari 2016). Prof Tim Benton, at the University of Leeds affirms this, stating that “The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprints would not be to abandon cars, but to eat significantly less red meat” (Carrington 2014).

At this point, I was still not 100% convinced that I could give up meat, but along with my gym addiction, scrolling Instagram is a relatively favoured hobby of mine. With this growing awareness of the effect of meat on the world, there is also a strong social media voice advocating for the negative affects of meat on the body. A new army of food bloggers has emerged, flooding these social media platforms with colourful arrays of clean and healthy food, claiming that veganism has cured their IBS, cancer, and other debilitating illnesses, through the healing power of plant based foods. Anegla Liddon, author of the successful blog “Oh she Glows” and Ella Woodward, author of the equally thriving blog “Deliciously Ella” were amongst the few platforms that I explored, mouth watering.

(Woodward 2016)

(Liddon 2016)

According to registered dietician, Rick Miller from the British Dietetic Association, “There’s lots of well-controlled science and research to show that adopting a predominantly plant-based diet probably has the biggest impact on health [compared to other diets] for all the chronic diseases” (Magee 2015). With all this hype, I set out to conform to a completely plant based diet for one week. After all, I’m hoping to be alive in 2050, and as I’ve already stated, it is looking like meat will no longer be the staple it is in our diet today.

I was sceptical to begin with. In my mind a high carb, high fat and lower protein diet was not what I had been conditioned to believe was ideal for my active lifestyle. However, after overdosing on nut butters, avocadoes, low GI carbs and plenty of leafy greens I found that I experienced a whole new level of satiety and energy that I did not have before. On top of this, in just a few days I had dropped a whole two kilos, and my once painfully dry skin was starting to ease itself back into a more hydrated balance.

Admittedly, I am unsure as to whether this could be a permanent lifestyle for me, however, given the predictions about the future of meat I am no longer attached to my habit of eating meat two out of three meals a day. I think it is something we can all strive to adopt, because 90.21 kg of meat a year is probably a little over the top.

REFERENCES:

Berlis, M. and Berlis, A. (2016). The Future Of Meat, Thefutureofmeat.com, http://thefutureof­meat.com/ [Accessed 29 Sep. 2016].

Bray, H & Ankeny, R. 2016, “Its Complicated: Australia’s relationship with eating meat”, The Conversation, 20 October, Australia, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://theconversation.com/its-complicated-australias-relationship-with-eating-meat-67230>

Bunge, J. (2016). How to Satisfy the World’s Surging Appetite for Meat, WSJ, http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-satisfy-the-worlds-surging-appetite-for-meat-1449238059 [Accessed 29 Sep. 2016].
Carrington, D. 2014, “Giving up Beef will reduce Carbon Footprint more than Cars, Says Expert”, The Guardian, 22 July, United Kingdom, Viewed 24 October 2016, < https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars>

Liddon, A. (OhSheGlows), “I’m back with another weekend menu suggestion!…”, Instagram, 7 February 2016, < https://www.instagram.com/p/BBc3qi5h1bh/&gt;

Magee, A. 2015, “I went Vegan for 60 days – and it changed my life”, The Telegraph, United Kingdom, 1 August, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11767954/I-went-vegan-for-60-days-and-it-changed-my-life.html>

Meat and Livestock Australia 2016, The Opponent, Television Advertisement, YouTube, Viewed 24 October 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRNIRxU2qqQ>

Meat and Livestock Australia, 2016, Spring Lamb 2016 | You Never Lamb Alone, Television Advertisement, YouTube, Viewed 24 October 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9Ka3a7cdYw>

Ting, I. 2015, “Australia is the Meat-Eating Capital of the World”, Sydney Morning Herald, October 27, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/australia-is-the-meateating-capital-of-the-world-20151027-gkjhp4.html>

TVC for Australia Pork, Australia Pork – Get Some Pork on Your Fork, Television Advertisement, Vimeo, Viewed 24 October 2016, < https://vimeo.com/36329969>

Vinnari, M. (2016). The future of meat consumption — Expert views from Finland, Sciencedi­rect.com, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162507000480 [Accessed 29 Sep. 2016].

Woodward, E. (DeliciouslyElla), “There’s a new recipe on the blog today for a potato and peanut curry…”, Instagram, 17 October 2016, < https://www.instagram.com/p/BLoRjkJB99Q/>

Feature Image: Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “I went vegan for a week, and it wasn’t that bad.

  1. Thats amazing that in just a few days you were already feeling difference in your skin and energy levels! I never would of though eating alot of meat would have such a bad influence to our bodies.

    Like

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