Fifty Shades of Vegan: "#Foodgoals?"
This was a diary entry from last year, roughly three weeks after first committing to veganism. Another fun trip down memory lane for me - I remember the spiral had ended, I had more or less hit the bottom and fully adjusted to the new diet. Therefore it was time to begin seeking active opportunities to improve it. This entry details the predominant philosophy I continue to live by today - I want the green footprint of my diet to be as small and direct as possible. Such a philosophy basically sets quantifiable parameters for me to oscillate beyond the boundaries of a strict vegan diet depending on the eco-friendliness of the food source. It's all explained below, enjoy!
-- #FOODGOALS? -- 2/11/2015 12:30pm
Perhaps most importantly I’ve arrived at a primary resolution I would like to divulge.
My reasons for not eating animal products are at this stage purely environmental. Think large-scale commercial farming; pig “pens” the size of football fields, 500 cows in one paddock, “free-range” eggs where 10000 chickens per hectare sounds good (good, not great). means nothing when all of them are fighting to get feed from the same one place in that hectare. These are what I’m avoiding.
Preferring to be safe rather than sorry, I’ve written all of them off for the time being, until I can figure out exactly what I’m contributing to when I buy such produce. Each industry will face my anally-retentive fine-toothed comb of research, one by one. I’ll evaluate whether it’s impact on the environment is marginal enough to include me as a “guilt-free” - but likely still distant - consumer.
Because that’s what this is all about - guilt. My pathetic and temporarily paralysing inability to not react to the stats in Cowspiracy and Food Inc. Forget what you thought the horror genre included Rolls, because these docos have you scared shitless.
A small part of me holds the optimistic suspicion that they’ve sensationalised the problems, beaten it all up into a media frenzy to make a quick buck, and in reality provided only surface research that will be easy to dismiss once I dig a little deeper. Nay, deep down I am pessimistic, worried my own research will in fact send me even further away from a mainstream diet. I’m worried I’ll stumble upon some proper JFK-conspiracy-type shit that will send me into hysterics and further reduce the diversity of my pantry. Big breaths, stay calm. This will all be ok. Don’t think about steak. Don’t think about yoghurt. Don’t think about eggs. Don’t think about salmon fillets, or honey, or hot dogs, with cheese, and aioli. Fuck.
I’ve explained this because it means I’m not going to be a regular vegan; I’ll be making concessions according to the research I do. For example, ideally I’ll discover that my neighbour is a covert farmer with a completely green, environmentally offset property a half hour’s drive away where I’ll be able to get chicken, eggs and dairy year-round. I anticipate a much more sober reality.
I expect to only unlock a couple of small food groups here and there: a legitimate, local, open-range chicken farm for good eggs; a hobby farmer who can sell me small quantities of legit dairy from his one cow to make my own yoghurt, etc. This is if I’m lucky, which I’m usually not. I basically want the green footprint of my diet to be as small as possible.
So the resolution I mentioned (ages ago before I got side tracked). I’m going to eat animal produce I source myself. Firstly, most of the “meat” I refer to will be fish. Secondly, I have an eccentric close friend/housemate who is convinced we’re going to hunt a kangaroo with a bow and arrow, skin it, filet it, and freeze the meat. I think the possibility of this plan actually coming to fruition is narrow, so I’d estimate <1% contribution to the meat I will actually consume. Ordinarily I’d write it off altogether, but Jack’s infallibly entertaining volatility just may prevail. He could easily go a little too deep with his pax and spontaneously organise it. So there’s still a chance that it really will happen.
The other, much more likely 99% of the meat I hope to retain in my diet will be fish. I am an enthusiastic fisherman - I am aware the expression is usually ‘keen’ fisherman, but ‘keen’ would imply I know what I’m doing as far as where to fish, what to fish, with what bait, etc. So enthusiastic fits better, as I love fishing but I have very little effective knowledge or experience. But the fish I do catch? Free game. Gonna hoe into that like there’s no tomorrow. The way my cravings are going, the first fish I pull in I’m anticipating a full Lord of the Rings, Smeagol-style raw munchies session. “Give it to us precious, give it to us fresh… still wriggling”.
My personal conclusion from all of this is that I don’t have a problem with eating naturally occurring sources of meat within my personal reach. If I can haul a fish in from the ocean that I’ve caught myself (without the aid of a trawler and 50 dead whales on the side) then I’m going to eat it without a second thought. I’ll bloody enjoy it too, because I’ll have really earned it. Nothing like long-term deprivation and a bit of time spent by the sea to whet the appetite. Or alternatively a few nights in the outback brushing flies spotting kangaroos for my mate to fire at. Either or. Hopefully both.
From this post you may have astutely gathered that I will not (repeat, I WILL NOT) be a vegan who is aggressively and outspokenly against all animal products because of namby-pamby bullshit about how all animals should just hold hands and cuddle and be nice to each other. Animals eat other animals. Shock horror. It’s bloody natural! As natural as the wind in the trees, the tides rising and falling, natural as needing to take a shit in the morning. Like all those things, it is senseless to try and say no to nature. It’s just the sourcing of the majority of animal products that I’m saying no to.
My first fishing session is scheduled for this Sunday. The plan is to catch enough fish in one afternoon to last me in the freezer til Christmas. Wish me luck!