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Eating better. Vegan Manifesto. Part 2.

The future is in danger, or how I learned more about the world and embraced hard choices.

By The Food GuyPublished 4 months ago 8 min read
Eating better. Vegan Manifesto. Part 2.
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The result of my first month and the journey.

Before I started veganism I had heard a lot about the difficulties that come with it. There is a difficulty in making balanced food that meets all the nutritional needs, eating out with friends, speaking with people without sounding preachy, choosing vegan products and finding necessary ingredients. I don't know about other people but these days most of the necessary products are already available in supermarkets. Food supplements, vegan meals and snacks, approved labels on the toiletries and even amazing vegan restaurants that are kicking ass are everywhere. It was a revelation that there is a whole hidden world of better living. My main goal to do a “vegan month” was to become a better food developer. In one month of being vegan, I end up learning how to create deeper, more interesting flavours, that fuller, kinder life requires learning, however, it is within reach, and I loved learning about these things. At the end of January, I looked back on how many types of dishes I made for the first time, how many products I tried, how much I run without prior experience and how much better I became at it. And I though to myself "It would be a shame to let all this knowledge be wasted". It felt so easy for me to be “a vegan for a month” that I decided to stick with the more meaningful way to live forever.

What I learned.

Veganism is a celebration of life, new ideas and flavours.

In January 2019 I attended a “vegan night” event for work purposes. I discovered for myself that London has already developed an elaborate vegan food scene. At the event, I have seen that veganism is celebrated by thousands of people through food, of course, and also by sharing what it meant to individuals, how they started to follow it and where they see it bring humankind. "Vegan night" was taking place at the warehouse area for the market, a nice space that could easily fit a thousand people. All around the main square, were food stalls, one of the buildings was designated for desserts and drinks, where a warehouse hosted a DJ with plenty of room for people to dance. Food options were far and wide - Asian cuisine with stir-fries, dumplings, bao, tempuras and ramens; Italian pizzas, arancini balls and pastas; Indian curries, salads, chapati, rotis and samosas. The rest of the food was - steak sandwiches, ch*cken wings, hot dogs, hamburgers, stews and desserts including brownies of all shapes and forms, cookie doughs, fruit bowls, smoothies and cakes. From the variety and taste of the foods I tried, it was clear that cooks want to share their passion for veganism AND future flavours. Everyone I met was excited to chat about what they do. Many people who attended the event weren’t even vegans, they came to have some fun.

Veganism, while being a restrictive movement that focuses on the elimination of animal objectification, using animals for food, and reducing carbon footprint is really not that different from the average way of living.

Today we have classic cuisine with traditional ingredients, modern cuisine where traditional flavours are enhanced with modern cooking techniques, and fusion food which comes from a mixture of multiple cooking cultures. Vegan food is a mixture of all things. It is a super modern way of cooking using ingredients from all over the place, old and new methods to develop precise flavours and textures required while recreating authentic dishes with maximum empathy.

What’s next?

After seeing the glory of vegan food and tasting it for myself I realised that the world of food is forever expanding like the universe we live in. In the next 10 years, veganism will be the goal for the majority of people to achieve. It is not a small goal, most countries in the world are heavily reliant on the meat industry to support their nations’ rations. Meat is rooted in the lives of millions, if not billions, of people. It has cultural, religious, historical and personal meanings. Traditions and heritage won't be given up easily. I’ve seen the anti-vegan movement. Heavy meat eaters are taking extra steps to consume more meat in all its forms for attention and resisting changes. Luckily, to a conscious person, veganism isn't an anti-movement. Of course, it can be a rebellious act against traditions and established cultures, a way to show you are different, resulting in a subculture of kindness. And to me, it sounds like a good start to a different way of living.

I believe the carnivore diet isn't going to survive because it is unsustainable, unhealthy and misunderstands the change needed in the world. Eventually, it will be forgotten. In the meantime, plant-based movement will have many challenges to overcome.

First, we have to do loads more work to resolve the climate crisis. One of the steps is to reduce carbon through the reduction of cattle that produce methane and requires beyond a reasonable amount of resources to support. The next step is to produce more food from plants for the growing population of humankind, which requires much less water, time and complexity to produce the same amount of food compared to the animal-made portion of the same nutritional value.

The second main reason is that we understand how other creatures feel and we cannot ignore that anymore. Animals feel pain, boredom, loneliness, happiness and family bonds. Some of the same feelings we cherish. Taking that away is abuse. It is not animal abuse. It is deliberate harm to the other form of life for one's own benefit. Humans have to move past that to create a better future. If we are to overcome the climate crisis and terraform other planets we have to look for a better way of living (and eating).

On the way to creating a future where we will share the planet with other creatures instead of enforcing our own rules, we need to set some goals.

One. We need to abolish factory farming. It is a practice of applying industrial processes to the growth, killing and harvesting of animals for food. Such a way of making meat is prone to the usage of steroids and growth hormones that are harmful to both animals and human beings eating it. To improve the efficiency of space to the number of animals raised and improve the profit, animals are raised in a tiny amount of space (often in cages - think prisons), fed grains and corn that aren't their natural food, and killed in thousands per minute all across the globe. It’s a supreme way of cruelty, that’s why you don't see it on TV.

Two. More plants need to be grown for human consumption. Wider variety will benefit human health and support sustainable agriculture. Turning plants into the cheese, meat substitutes, supplements, milks and other ingredients that animals were used for will help to replicate what we enjoy already without extra complexity, with more yields to feed growing numbers of people.

Three. Spread the vegan culture. It is a movement based around being aware, making a better living on Earth for all kinds, and creating a healthier, tastier, and all-around more sustainable way of living.

Where was I?

Sometimes there is a thought, an idea, that feels bigger than life. It makes you think about the future, the prospect it will open up and the changes that will follow. My story isn't that. When I’m hearing the facts about the inevitable destruction of the environments we live in due to human activity, I think that I have to do something.

I didn't want to change the world. I wanted to make a meaningful contribution. I started with myself. A vegan diet is the first step to solving a humongous problem, in one tiny step. However, the significance of this baby step should not be underestimated.

I have changed my diet for the experiment, to understand people and their food. To be closer to something people are passionate about. And in the process, I rediscovered my love for cooking and experimentation. Spending hours on end roasting, boiling, mashing, chopping, mixing, baking and plating my grains, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables. I learned techniques and practiced them again and again and again to deepen my knowledge. Through the foundation I built, I decided to step up my game and chose a new career path. I got a job in a vegan restaurant. Working among passionate, experienced, and friendly people, I learned that veganism is a different thing for everyone. It has many meanings, with the spectre of sacrifices people are willing to make for it. I have moved cities to get better at what I do, to learn more, and to spread what I know. At the same time, I learned a new meaning of running, embraced friendships, and encouraged others to make meaningful changes, to try harder and be kinder. It leads to many difficult conversations.

Being vegan started as a fun experiment and ended up being the most important decision of my life so far. I love what I do, I feel great and I see no end to cooking and sharing amazing vegan food with everyone.

Being aware of factory farming, abusive animal practices, lies of the industry giants, and the system built on profits and growth that disregards lives and perpetually worsens our planet with an overdose of fertilisers, antibiotics, hormones, pollution, burnings of the forests, slaughtering, culling and many other unethical decisions.

This got me thinking that the world we call home needs a little shake-up.

This is my rebellious statement. A story of finding the meaning of life.

This is a PART 2 of the "Vegan Manifesto" series. You can find more stories and essays (including the other parts) in my profile. This piece was written in the summer of 2020 and re-edited and re-published in 2023.

If you like what you read and would like to support me, I accept tips, comments, likes and other kind thoughts. Thank you for reading!


About the Creator

The Food Guy

I read about food politics like it's a Harry Potter.

Eating my way through culture and cooking up the future.

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