I had previously planned out a post explaining my plans for trying veganism for a few weeks, with the idea of then reintroducing some animal products into my diet to become vegetarian longer term.
I didn’t want to rush into this, and hesitated for a long time in publishing that original post. I wasn’t going to do any prep, and wanted to share my discoveries, cock-ups and wins as they occurred. I’ve never tried this lifestyle before, so there were sure to be plenty of the above.
I felt more and more inspired to try the vegan-thing longer term, especially after seeing a documentary called ‘Cowspiracy‘. I was determined that this would be the last thing I watched on the last day my Netflix subscription was active. I had other documentaries that would possibly be a good watch too, but this one appealed most and had been in my to watch list for the longest.
Holy cow! Wow, what a mess. We really are fucking up the planet, aren’t we.
I was shocked by how bad it was. Eggs, no? Even they are not efficient, never mind self-sufficient or sustainable. That was that, I would go veggie ASAP and ease myself into a permanent vegan diet. I started working on it immediately, I even cancelled my plans to establish a chicken coop and try to produce my own eggs.
We never eat that much meat but I cooked up what little we had so that I could start my new meatless meals the next morning.
It could have been that slight indulgence of a meat-heavy meal (no chance was I wasting any more food) or it could have been when I stubbed my toe or when I polished off the beers… I can’t be sure. One or a combination of these actions has left me in bed and/or hobbling in agony with an attack of gout for a week.
Yeah, yeah. I know most people assume gout is the result of a luxurious diet and a lifestyle to match and yet that isn’t always the case. Sure I could lose some weight, but I had been doing so since starting this lifestyle. Less time on the sofa watching telly and more time exploring/foraging in the forest and tending to my garden in preparation for growing some fruit and veg. That in itself could have been another reason for the attack, although I hadn’t lost weight too quickly.
No, it turns out that I am genetically predisposed to having such a problem. :-( Bollocks!
And it turns out that vegan diets can be pretty bad for people with risk of gout attacks.
Vegetarian diets are potentially the best and most effective way to avoid recurring, agonising, potentially ruinous pain. A week without being able to find firewood, prep the veggies or stand up for long periods. Gout is certainly not for the self-sufficient.
So I searched out a low purine diet or gout diet. The first two items on the green list? Eggs and cheese. Double bollocks!
Sometime between finishing the documentary and feeling like my foot had exploded, I saw an article pop-up on the BBC. ‘What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian?‘
Basically the article goes into details of ecosystems that have developed and thrived as a result of animal farming, of cultures that depend on their cattle, on jobs that would be lost and other negative impacts of giving up meat on a global scale. It too mentioned the benefits, also mentioned in Cowspiracy, the need for less agricultural land and a return of more wild spaces. It did point out one simple truth. A field will not necessarily become a forest if it is merely abandoned by farmers. Sometimes plants and animals need humans to reintroduce them and help them get reestablished.
For 7 billion people to suddenly make the switch overnight, as I did, is not a very likely event. To demonize all animal husbandry is not the answer either.
Perhaps the better solution is a progressive move from a meat-eating world to a semi-vegetarian one and soon, sometime in the very near future.
Who knows, moving forward again and a switch to a semi-vegan world with a smaller proportion of omnivores and a majority of vegetarians could just work.
As for myself, I will be going vegetarian from this very moment. I will look again toward getting my own chickens for a personal, organic and healthy supply of eggs.
What about cheese? I’m pretty sure I’d lose my house if I tried getting a goat. I’ll be off to the farmers’ market to seek out some organic producers, once I can walk without screaming the walls down.