How's your Veganuary going?
Kieran asked me that very question earlier today. Unfortunately, I was eating a tuna sandwich at the time!
I wonder whether you took part? If you did, what were your reasons for taking part? Did you learn anything from it?
I am aware that initiatives like Veganuary can have the potential to be a bit divisive. We all have issues that are closer to our hearts than others, and I think that's okay. I cancelled my subscription to a website that rates product and company ethics, because if I wasn't careful I was going to find reasons not to eat, wear or buy anything. No industry is perfect, and there's a wide spectrum of perspectives about what is, and isn't, ethical. I'm also mindful that some vegans don't appreciate people 'jumping on the bandwagon' and then giving it up after a month, when for vegans it's an intentional and permanent commitment.
You can tell from my tuna-based lunch today that I've been far from perfect where Veganuary is concerned, but I am all for finding new ways to eat that offer variety, health benefits and reduce environmental impact. Part of the reason that I didn't commit fully is that, in reality, we have several days a week in our house where our diet is 'accidentally' vegan anyway. I don't get on well with too much dairy, my husband is a lycra loonie and often cuts it (amongst many other things) out for race seasons, and we only buy meat with certain ethical standards - which means we can't afford to eat it that often. And short of keeping chickens, we're not convinced that there's such thing as ethical eggs.
For us, our ethics are about where we spend money and therefore fund practices and we're therefore fairly happy to eat what is put in front of us when catered for by others - another reason we didn't go all-in on Veganuary. Palm oil, soya beans and many other plants can be just as problematic in terms of their effect on the environment - then there's organic food to consider, and fair trade (our top priority), so that if you're not careful it gets difficult to find anything to eat at all. We just try to make informed choices and find balance. I'm aware that others would disagree with me on those priorities though, and that's okay with me.
So, you may have adhered perfectly to Veganuary so far. You also may think it's a gimmick, or an excuse for lectures about food ethics and animal rights. For me, it doesn't actually matter how well you did - if you took part at all.
My challenge to you is to step away from all the food-related debates and look at the motivation behind it. What one small change could you make to improve your wellbeing, your environmental/ethical impact, or both? In my book, if you take that moment for reflection and make a change that's right for you then this month's challenge served its purpose.