I didn’t think I’d ever partake in the process of writing a blog post in a month of Sundays. I didn’t ever think I’d ever make the gargantuan shift—after 29 years of eating an animal-based diet—towards a plant-based, vegan lifestyle. But 2017 was a year where for me—and no doubt many others on this path—there was a shift in mind, body and soul. So let me try —try being the operative word here—to extol the virtues of this now-mainstream state of being; a way of living that, once an open mind and a glance towards the bigger picture are focused on, will actually leave you thinking "you know what, I sort-of understand it."
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or two, you will have noticed that far more people are becoming more aware of, and are shifting towards a plant-based lifestyle, subsequently leaving behind the traditional animal-based diet (meat, dairy, eggs and fish). But 2018 has seen the movement really hit an upward curve. Veganuary captured the minds and hearts of many and although I’m not a fan of temporary fads, it at least had designs on a longer-term implementation of new (and healthier) ways of eating. Restaurants are catering for the increased demand and adding plant-based options to their menus, as more and more individuals are beginning to go vegan. It’s rapidly entering the consciousness of the public, and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. So what possibly could encourage anyone to make such changes?
Jacqueline E. Purcell once stated this: "You must unlearn what you have been programmed to believe since birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible." The reality is, we open ourselves up to so many possibilities and ideas if we let go of what we’ve been taught—and this includes our dietary choices. Unfortunately the fact remains; humans are creatures of habit. We generally don’t like change. I can attest to this, as I was introduced to the idea of a plant-based lifestyle about three years ago and could not get my head round a diet absent of any animal products. So many aspects of life have been so well-indoctrinated into us from an early age, and we don’t know any better. Culturally; traditionally; habitually—what we know now about a multitude of subjects is all we’ve ever known. But that’s where the process of unlearning what we’ve been taught has eternal value, and re-learning information based on what is actually out there and available to us should follow suit. I could write scriptures on the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of a vegan lifestyle, but I am fully aware of the natural cognitive dissonance of the human psyche when confronted with a wave of challenging ideas and ideals. So I won’t do that. You can seek out that information in your own time.
So what would I suggest? It’s quite simple. Try and find out where your food comes from, and how it is made! I think as humans, we have generally lost that naturally inquisitive nature we had as children; that "nosiness"; the penchant to try and find things out—even if we know it may directly affect us. We’ve been so accustomed to what we’ve been told about certain foods having positive physiological effects, that we don’t even bother to find out how the food—once-living, may I add—actually ends up on our plate. It’s often said that "if animal slaughterhouses had glass windows, everyone would be vegetarian or vegan"—if you thought about that statement rather than let it be a fleeting few words, wouldn’t that trigger inquisition? Wouldn’t that encourage you to actually take the time to try and find out how formerly living beings end up wrapped in the supermarket, and then onto your plate at home? All it requires is an open mind, and although this is something that isn’t easy to obtain—as my previous outright rejection of this lifestyle would bear out—it ultimately became the making of me, and many others. I would hope that the archetypal snowball effect would go into full motion; the natural inquisition so often suppressed within us would be reborn and people would ultimately find so much content that would definitely make them question what we’ve been taught, and ultimately what has influenced our day-to-day dietary choices. So give it a thought; unlearn, re-learn, and make decisions based on what you find out for yourself as opposed to what you’ve been taught. And who knows, you too may adopt a plant-based state of mind.