WHAT HELPED YOU GO VEGAN LEE?
Several things helped me to go vegan, including...
Spending time with the animals
Chris Packham was my first huge influence. I was watching a BBC 2 programme during lockdown, which he made with his step-daughter Megan, called Chris and Meg's Wild Summer, where the pair go on a road trip with amazing animal encounters.
Along the way, they often stopped off for an ice cream and it intrigued me as to why Chris always opted
for a 'vegan' one. Would it not just be easier to get the dairy version like Megs?
What's the difference here?
Was he simply being picky or difficult, or was his ice cream genuinely the better choice?
I've been a huge Chris Packham fan for years - I adore him and his wildlife conservation work and so seeing him stick to a vegan ice cream inspired me to look into why.
It didn't take me long before I was convinced.
The vegan ice cream was DEFINITELY the better, more ethical, sustainable, healthier and kinder option!
I also discovered how cruel, immoral, unethical, unhealthy and unnecessary the dairy industry is
(more on this next time). So from that day on, I made the decision to not give another penny
of my money to that industry, and I started to look into the benefits of veganism.
I tried vegan ice cream and it has EXACTLY the same taste, flavour and texture as non-vegan ice cream.
I discovered the same with oat milk and soya milk, as well as vegan cheeses and yoghurts.
There was no difference. So now, like Chris, I always opt for the kinder option.
Going vegan is easy if you try to put yourself in the position of the animals involved and if you look at what happens to them in the meat, dairy, egg and honey industries. And why wouldn't you look at it?
All other social justice movements look at the issue through the eyes of the victim.
Ask yourself this: If we would happily watch footage on how our vegetables arrive to our plate,
why can't we watch footage showing how animal products get there?
A lot of people seem to forget that there is a victim involved.
There was a victim involved in order for you to eat your burger.
There were several victims involved for you to enjoy your KFC bargain bucket.
There was a victim involved for you to be able to enjoy your fish and chips on the beach.
These animals are victims. Of abuse, torture and murder.
Victims, just like our pets, who feel pain, suffering and fear.
Are you religious?
I CAN BE...
Then you must know The Golden Rule?
'NO PETTING IN THE DEEP END?'
No. Although that's a useful one. The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Translated, this means, you should treat others, like you yourself, would want to be treated.
Before you go to buy animal products, before you pick them up off the shelf, rather than not give it a
second's thought, just pause for a moment and look at what it is you're holding in your hand.
Ask yourself, 'What animal is this?' and 'How did this animal get here?'
If you don't know, don't you think you should? Or is ignorance bliss?
What you're holding won't look like an animal of course. It won't have eyes, a brain, nostrils, teeth, fur, or anything remotely reminiscent of an animal, because it is prepared in such a way that they don't want you
to see an ANIMAL wrapped up in this small packet covered in plastic.
They want you to disassociate yourself from the death and the mutilation so that you don't hold
yourself accountable. But you ARE accountable. Every time you shop.
They have to fool you into buying it. Otherwise they know you wouldn't buy it.
WHY WOULDN'T I BUY IT?
Would you buy some 'chicken breasts' if the chicken's torso, neck and head were still attached?
What about the feathers? If the beak and eyes were still in the head?
What about a 'leg of lamb' with the stomach still attached?
Why do you think 'giblets' inside a turkey's body grosses out so many people on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving?
'Steak' won't look like a cow. 'Bacon' won't look like a pig and 'nuggets' won't look like a chicken.
So you need to do a bit of work here.
You need to remind yourself which animal's corpse lies in front of you and you need to
consider what they would have gone through in order for you to buy that particular animal.
You need to show compassion, decency, mercy and kindness.
You need to show EMPATHY.
You need to imagine what these animals would have seen, how afraid they would have been (because in a slaughterhouse they would have been afraid, without question) and how they would have spent their last few moments on this earth, knowing what was about to happen.
You owe it to them to think about this stuff. After all, they've essentially lost their entire life for you to
enjoy this one 15 minute meal, which you'll simply forget about minutes later.
Remember - they didn't ask to be born, they didn't ask to be treated badly and they didn't ask to be killed. They didn't ask for any of this.
You also need to see the footage and you need to read the books and the articles.
Knowledge is key and if you don't look into how your food and drink is prepared - food which you
willingly feed to your children - then you won't know.
And if you don't know, you're never going to change - which means innocent animals will continue to be abused, exploited and killed because of you.
If it's easier to convince yourself that they died quickly and painlessly, they didn't.
Every animal is killed slowly and painfully. That's the honest truth of the matter.
BECAUSE OF ME?
Because of your inability to empathise and to show compassion.
As human animals, we've been blessed with something called 'moral agency'
(an individual's ability to make moral choices based on some notion of right and wrong and to be
held accountable for these actions) but what good is it, if we don't use it?
Once I educated myself on the practises and 'methods' used in the meat and dairy industry to
oppress and kill animals, along with watching some harrowing farm and slaughterhouse footage,
I was overwhelmingly convinced that this was something I wanted to take no part in and so I changed my lifestyle overnight.
Luckily, I could just eat plants instead but to be honest, I didn't care what I ate,
as long as it didn't cause this unnecessary suffering to another living being.
WHAT FOOTAGE DID YOU WATCH?
There is nothing that convinces you more, than watching actual footage of what happens to our
beautiful animals on farms and slaughterhouses.
There were several things I watched and several things I read when I was looking into veganism that helped me considerably. Some of the footage can be really tough to watch but then we're dealing with an industry based on the abuse, exploitation and death of animals so it's never going to be a walk in the park.
Watch the following movies (if you dare) to see exactly what goes on in actual farms and slaughterhouses
and to see exactly where your food comes from (click the pictures below):
Farm To Fridge (The Truth Behind Meat Production)
What Cody Saw – Mercy For Animals
Dairy Is Scary (Youtube)
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (Netflix)
Glass Walls - documentary by Paul McCartney
MILK - The White Gold or The White Lie?
Save Ralph - A short film by Taika Waititi
Challenge yourself. Watch them once, get them done in one sitting, and once you've seen them,
you never need to watch them again. But at least you'll know and you'll be a better person for doing so.
I'M SCARED LEE!
YOU'RE scared? Think of the animals out there, right this second, going through this.
You have no right to be scared when you're the one paying for it to happen to them.
All you have to do is watch a documentary, in the comfort of your own home,
surrounded by family and friends. That doesn't sound all that scary.
If you want to go vegan but are struggling with aspects of it, or if you want to learn more about it then I thoroughly recommend joining some of the many Facebook groups on social media.
They're full of other animal lovers and vegans from all over the world and they can offer advice, insight,
hints and tips on how to do your best, and to be your best, when it comes to defending the animals
and living a healthy and cruelty-free lifestyle.
Making changes can be quite a daunting thing at first, particularly when it comes to our diet, and especially after years of thinking it's ok to eat animals, however you'll soon see that it's no big thing at all.
Nothing really changes, you're just removing the cruelty from your plate and eating plant-based versions
of the things you already ate.
Plus, I'm pretty sure you already ate fruit and vegetables, pasta, beans, bread, rice etc anyway
so you're pretty much there.
I also thoroughly recommend the following videos from some of the best vegan advocates in the world.
Intelligent, passionate, compassionate and determined individuals - all of them! Enjoy!
First up... Ed Winters aka Earthling Ed
Australian animal rights activist and advocate for animal liberation and veganism - Joey Carbstrong
There are also tons of fantastic BOOKS that helped me considerably. They were:
WHICH NUTRITIONISTS/PHYSICIANS DO YOU LIKE LEE?
There are many incredibly intelligent and interesting humans out there including:
Physician, Nutritionist, Speaker and Educator - Dr Michael A. Klaper helps people around the world on their journey to health and well-being through whole food, plant-based nutrition. He is an American physician, vegan health educator, conference and event speaker, and an author of articles and books on vegan
I very much recommend subscribing to his:
Physician, Founder of NutritionFacts.org, and author of How Not to Die - Dr. Michael Greger is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognised speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Greger is licensed as a general practitioner specialising in clinical nutrition.
I also very much recommend subscribing to his:
Everything on his website is FREE and his new book How Not To Diet is well worth checking out.
The President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and a Fellow of the American
College of Cardiology - Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, hormonal symptoms, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health, that paved the way for viewing type 2 diabetes as a potentially reversible condition for many patients.
Dr. Barnard has authored more than 100 scientific publications and 20 books for medical and lay readers,
and is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook made available to all U.S. medical students.
I very much recommend subscribing to his:
Dr. Colin Campbell
Dr. Dean and Dr. Ayesha Sherzai
The latest vegan news from around the world covering animal welfare and ethics, environment,
plant-based food launches, health, interviews, and much, much more.
Plant-Based News aims to educate & inspire its audience through unique stories, news, and features
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Visit them and be sure to subscribe HERE!
How often do you spend time with animals? Apart from your pets?
No wonder you see these animals as objects. You need to be around them, observe them and spend some time in their company. Go meet them. You'll feel differently.
Yes. You can meet them! Alive. Unharmed, unexploited and unabused. Imagine that!
My local animal sanctuary is Hopefield Animal Sanctuary which is one of my favourite places to go!
(a separate #PlantBraced on Hopefield coming soon!)
Even their cafe is 100% plant-based!
IS IT LIKE A FARM?
No, it's the OPPOSITE to a farm. At farms the animals are enslaved, beaten, raped, abused and
dragged off to slaughter. The entire thing is a lie.
Never take your child to a farm if you want to teach them compassion and kindness.
At Hopefield however, they rescue unwanted, neglected, exploited or mistreated animals.
FROM THE MEAT AND DAIRY INDUSTRY?
From us. From you!
The meat and dairy industries only exist because we keep them going - we keep buying their 'products'
and if places like Hopefield didn't exist, then these animals wouldn't exist, and that would be a real shame.
For the majority of their lives, most of the animals, particularly the cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, goats and ducks, have only experienced fear and suffering so it's a joy to see them all being looked after and
taken care of, living out the rest of their days, free from harm and abuse.
I cannot recommend more, taking some time out of your day to visit a rescue centre, animal shelter
or an animal sanctuary like Hopefield.
Especially if you have children. It's my son's favourite place in the world!
You get to know the animals there. You get to see how happy they can be when respected, loved and cared for. You get to witness their individual personalities and their mannerisms.
You'll see how shy or timid some of them are or how excited and enthusiastic they are at your presence and when you show them some love and some attention.
Just like us, they each have their own personalities. Sometimes they're grumpy, sometimes they're sleepy, sometimes happy...
SO ALL THE SEVEN DWARVES?
Some animals you will instantly form a bond with and there is nothing more special on this earth,
than forming a bond with an animal.
They may not look like us, they may not sound like us. They may not be able to express their emotions quite like we do but look into their eyes and you'll see no difference. They are a someone, just like us.
There is a conscious, sentient, individual inside every one of them so next time you see an animal, take a moment to realise how lucky they are to be alive and more importantly, how lucky we are to have them around.
I hope some of the above things inspire you to go vegan, or at least make you want to learn more about veganism.
If you can't do it for you - do it for them. They need you right now.
You won't regret it.
Hello! Lee Brace here! Award-winning actor, comedian, writer, photographer and vegan.
Contact me at email@example.com