Giving Up Meat and Dairy

I finally crossed the line.

Thinking about it, it was always going to be a case of when rather than if, but I did it: I’ve decided to stop eating meat and dairy products.

I’d been flexitarian for a long time  to the point where my third-year housemates thought I was vegetarian, until we went out for food and I ordered something with chicken in  and my reasoning always was that I would eat more meat and dairy if I banned myself from it (forbidden fruit being tastier and all that).

I never thought I’d be capable of cutting it out completely.

This post is about my attempts at being animal-friendly, so please enjoy this picture of Pippin. Any excuse! (She’s not even mine, I just really love dogs.)

However, as I’ve educated myself and my tastes have changed, I’ve come to the conclusion that actually, I probably could give it a good go. And I want to give it a good go.

Learning about the meat industry and the dairy industry through fellow cruelty-free bloggers has been an eye-opener and I just don’t enjoy eating animal products anymore. It’s also been helpful seeing what normal people eat in a day, since it’s made me realise that it’s possible to eat a healthy plant-based diet without spending a fortune (or spending every minute of your spare time in the kitchen).

The reaction of the people around me has been wonderful, to tell you the truth, much better than I was expecting.

In real life, my friends and workmates have been interested in hearing my reasons for making the switch (not in a hostile way, just curious) and have given me plenty of food suggestions. My best friend even introduced me to Marks & Spencer Dairy Free Coconut Ice Cream, which is all kinds of yum, so I know where I’ll be going if I ever need a tub of something sweet to cheer me up!

The support from the cruelty-free community on Twitter has been amazing, and I’ve been given lots of tips and links to handy posts and YouTube videos, which I’m currently working my way through. I may compile them into a post if anyone would be interested?

At one point my mum turned to my aunt and said ‘She’s gone vegetarian‘, in the same way you’d tell another parent at school that your child wants to dye their hair green, but she’s been really supportive too, trying out recipes like chickpea bolognese (totally delicious, btw) and making sure we have things like Quorn and cuts of fish in the fridge/freezer.

That brings me nicely to my next point: I’m still eating fish. I want these changes to be gradual and long-term and for me, I don’t think cutting everything out immediately is the answer.

‘Are you still eating chicken?’ my dad asked me.

No, I’m not still eating chicken.

I am still eating eggs, a) because I cook with them a lot and I don’t think it’s realistic to give them up immediately, and b) because egg substitutes are hideously expensive. I’m sticking to free-range for now.

I think that sums everything up so far! I’ll be writing updates every so often so I can share my experiences with everyone. I’m going to be completely honest in these posts, but I need to know: what kind of thing are you interested in reading about? What I eat in a day, other people’s reactions, going out to eat, something else?

Let me know, because as well as documenting this process I want to be able to help others who may be thinking of doing something similar. (And even if you’re not a vegetarian or a vegan, I hope I can at least share some tasty recipes with you!)