Why I Stopped Eating Meat

Before I had beef with the meat industry

Growing up I ate everything and anything that my put on my plate. As my sisters are far older than me, I was bought up as the only girl in the house with 2 males, and although my Dad’s meals were always high on fruit & veg, we loved steak nights and my favourite roast was always lamb.

Both of my sisters were vegetarian growing up and I remember always saying (even up until 1 year before I stopped eating meat) ‘I’d NEVER be a vegetarian’…. LOL as now I’m a full blown plant eater!

Lesson learnt = never say never

Playing sport every day growing up meant I thought I needed high amounts of animal/fish protein for muscle repair. Little did I realise that this belief was massively flawed and I only came to understand this when I starting doing my own research and stopped being so narrow minded….

 

Why I stopped ducking out of it all

A Morrisey Concert

On my 2nd date with Sam, he took me to a Morrisey concert. Depressing, dark and apparently, almost dead, he sung his infamous ‘Meat is Murder’ song. In the background there were images & clips of factory farms going on, which I pretty much ignored. After the concert we went to a local Thai and Sam ordered a veggie option, claiming he’d never touch meat again. I just laughed at him and munched through my chicken & shrimp pad thai.

This experience really got me thinking …

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A Beautiful Catamaran trip in Belize

6 months later, Sam and I were on the most beauuuutiful sailing trip in Belize.

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We were staying on islands of paradise, snorkelling  and spear fishing by day and eating fish feasts by nights. I remember getting really into watching the crew spearfish and excited that I’d be munching through it later that day.

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However, on that trip something switched in my head…for 2 reasons…

a) Whilst diving in the beautiful Belizean seas there weren’t the swarms of fish I’d imagined. We definitely saw a large sum of fish, but on the 2nd largest reef in the world and in peak season, I’d been expecting to be constantly surrounded.

This kicked me to start researching. First off I asked the crew where the masses of fish were….they pointed to my belly. After further research I came to learn that over the past decade the number of fish in these seas really had drastically depleted. Fishing boats are going out km’s further each month and some types of fish are becoming scarce.

b) I watched a fish being skinned alive, apparently a ‘humane’ killing method which the crew on the boat carry out daily. I had to run to the other side of the boat as I could feel myself being sick. Watching that fish squealing whilst having its skin cut off of it just couldn’t be something I was de-sensitized to. Many others on the boat felt the same and one of the girls shouted for the skinning to stop unless the fish was fully unconscious first.

Pigging out with Jamie Oliver

JO has done a fantastic job of creating hype around ‘meat free Monday’s’ and he has plenty of ideas on his website  for recipes.

When I moved to Australia I had no idea how much the Aussies worship Jamie just like in the UK. Although I’m never really one to pidgeon hole myself into certain days for this and that, but the concept of reducing products of animal consumption for 1 day a week I always knew would be easily achievable and we quickly adopted this.

Moo-ving my habits through Learning

Seeing some pretty traumatic scenes and watching numerous films didn’t make me change over night, in fact about 6 months after I was still eating the occasional piece of fish.

What it did do though, is start my reading and make me aware of where my food was coming from and the process to get it onto my plate.

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We’re all selfish but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s how we’re built to be for survival. However, I also believe we’re conditioned to act in a certain way due to how we’ve been bought up. Parents tell kids about the ‘necessary circle of life’ and we believe we are carnivores (even though the length of our intestines is built for a plant based diet). In my opinion the worst part of this all is the power of the meat industry. 

 

Reducing Poverty

However, the idea that world hunger can be overcome if more of the grain which we are putting into animals was instead used to feed the starving was my number 1 reason for choosing to stop eating meat.

If by me stopping eating meat can prevent thousands of animals being killed and maybe influence just 1 child not going to bed starving every night then it’s worth every single piece of cheese, egg or chicken breast to me!

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Standing up for animal cruelty

An obvious one yes but, even not being a stereotypical animal lover myself, I still can’t believe what goes on. We’re sold images on the fronts of our meat packets of happy farms, of happy animals, free to roam around and humanely killed. Sadly this is so far from the truth it is ridiculous. To give you just a few startling facts:

  • Apx 9 chickens in a 1 square metre space.
  • Pigs boiled alive to remove their skin
  • 1/3 of cows suffer from mastitis (a painful udder infection)
  • Chickens often have their beaks cut off (to prevent them from pecking each other) without anaesthetic.

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My Health

I believe this is the most important factor as I know that if I didn’t feel better on a vegan diet, I wouldn’t sustain it.

I have before and after blood tests, readily available for anybody to see. Although I didn’t have any significant issues it clearly shows my cholestorol has reduced, iron has increased, sugar level near perfect.

Most importantly though, I have bounds of energy, waking up feeling amazing near enough ever day. I’m running 5k’s in a time I’d never thought I was capable of, doing lots of HIIT classes and always eager to get on my yoga mat.

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Deer-y me there is so much reading to do

(+ lots of youtube/podcasts)

Books including:

  • Skinny Bitch
  • ‘How not to die’ – HIGHLY reccomend
  • Veganist
  • The Starch Solution – HIGHLY reccomend
  • The China Study

Doctors:

  • Dr John McDougall
  • Dr Michael Greger

Podcasts including:

  • No Meat Athlete
  • Rich Roll
  • It’s all about food
  • Mark Dillon
  • Various Ted Talks

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Unintentional Plant Power

A few less meat free meals away gradually turned into several, turning into 50% and then majority plant based, over the course of 3-4 months.

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Becoming vegetarian was such an easy and natural process for me. At the beginning I did try and avoid letting people know but I soon realised this was silly.

It was soon after that I began cutting out other animal products to become completely plant based. However, I never went on a journey seeking to turn vegan and actually I hated the idea of being different. It never actually occurred to me I was becoming vegan, it just happened gradually through a hell of a lot of learning!

I also never once pushed my boyfriend Sam to stop eating animal products, although he actually followed suit with me very soon after. His main reason for doing so is that he was really feeling the health benefits – so much energy, feeling ‘alive’ all the time, rarely having any kind of sickness and his fitness improving to a new level.

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ALWAYS happy to answer any questions, just message me: helenawilton@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

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