Taking The Plunge – My Husband’s Vegan Journey!
My husband is awesome. I love that he took the full vegan plunge a while back – my daughter and I love him even more now because of it – and now we get to share everything he orders when we eat out – bonus!
He put together a short story about his thoughts and his journey, and I think you’ll enjoy reading it. Many couples struggle with transitioning to plant-based foods as the male is often reluctant to make the same food choices as his female counterpart. My husband is a testament to the fact that everyone can be ‘woke’, and that change happens over time.
My Husband’s Story:
At 21 I was about as deep as a puddle. As a 21-year-old layabout, if you’d told me that in my late 40s I’d be vegan, I would have said “never”.
Adaptation is not something I do quickly. Listening to people from various walks of life, and finding out why they live the life they live, has always intrigued me and become a characteristic that I’ve embraced as I’ve walked steadily through the footprints of my life.
Hearing around the family table the tales of animal suffering, caused by meat consumption, was something that gradually raised my interest. When I’m questioned by people as to why I’m vegan, or why I don’t eat meat (I wait for the question – it never fails to be asked), I need a good, solid answer. So currently, with my limited knowledge in this field, it is in three segments: health, the environment, and ethics.
Changing to a vegan diet has been easy for me but the initial decision was really hard. I worried that I would miss the taste of meat. Coffee would taste disgusting without milk. Soy is gross, I would say.
You don’t need to know how to cook in a new way, you just need to know what to substitute meat with. For example, a chicken pilau can become a tofu pilau – nothing else changes. Maybe you’d add a nut-based margarine instead of butter, or coconut milk instead of cream.
If I can do it, anyone can – I am not a master chef, more a disaster chef. A coffee with milk can be replaced with soy milk. After a week of having soy milk my taste buds had adapted. I was surprised about this.
Another area of enlightenment for me was animal suffering, and I came to thinking about this by thinking about my pet dog. You may well be eating dog meat on your travels to Indonesia, but aside from the recent media frenzy on this discovery, why should this matter to an omnivore? Aren’t all animals born equal? Drinking a glass of milk brings so much harm to a cow, for example, living a shorter life, a life of being artificially inseminated time after time, having baby calf after baby calf taken from their mothers just hours after their births, and then being sent to a harrowing slaughter when milk production starts to decline. Killing a pig for meat, for me, is the same as killing a dog. These changes in mindset take time to sink in, but eventually, they do.
Yes, there are moments where I feel a sense of loss; where I may be at a restaurant and feel gutted that I can’t have that feta cheese with my pizza, or those anchovies, or that delicious Moules Marinieres. The feeling doesn’t last long though.
Meat substitutes are an oddity to some vegans. But to me, they are a great way to have meat without having real meat. Developed by vegan monks to create a way to nudge people to eating a meat-free diet, I find them to be a great substitute, enjoying all the types of mock meats and cheeses including sausages, fish-fingers, bacon, chicken nuggets, veggie burgers, nut roast, egg-tofu, and even really tasty cheeses like brie and cheddar. Take it from me… tofu seems to taste just like chicken when cooked in any dish where chicken is normally used.
Changing to a plant-based diet also forces you to eat more widely, which improves your knowledge of what to cook and eat for you and your family; for instance, I’ve never eaten so many almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, chickpeas, and lentils since dropping meat off the menu.
Another major headache is when you arrive at a restaurant and have to explain what being vegan means: that being vegan does not mean that chicken is okay. Luckily, more and more restaurants are providing vegan options, and supermarkets are supplying more and more vegan food. The more people that turn vegan, the more expansive the choice will become, and the cheaper it will become too.
My point to this article is, go vegan and you won’t miss out! You will only gain a greater awareness of the multitude of foods out there that are plant-based. Bottom line, my choice to turn vegan is good for me, for my family, for the environment, and for the animals.
If you want be healthier, live longer, improve the planet, and live a harm-free existence – then the way forward for you is to be vegan. I feel really great to have taken the plunge and entered the 21st century with a progressive mindset.
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