when we were young…

writing with passion, living with vision and acting with intention

Vegans: Odd or Enlightened? {Taking a step outside the meat box}


vegan eating, meat and dairy free

Okay, so there are some things happening around here.

We are becoming “that” family. You know, the ones who are actually crazy enough to plan on building and living in a mud hut (better known as cob house and seriously, way cool), the type who opt for natural remedies and medicines before filling a prescription at the pharmacy; the kind who are willing to give the vegan diet a go…

That last one kind of just happened. I’ll admit, I’ve been of the thought that vegans were “an odd bunch” to say the least.

It started with a documentary – gotta love another person’s compilation of regurgitated information. We all know that the meat industry practices are highly controversial and downright cruel but what do you do? Most of us aren’t in the position to farm our own cattle or poultry for consumption or even have a small farmer down the road to support. I feel like too much of my life has already been spent defending why I can’t change things and simply resigning myself to the age old expression “that’s just how it is.” I am increasingly willing and ready to see how myself and my family can try different ways of sustaining ourselves outside of the standard model (buy big houses, multiple vehicles, work lots, fill time and keep busy, shop for cheap and quick, fall asleep by the light of our smart phones, repeat). Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying any of this is bad or that I am giving up my smartphone. I honestly don’t know what conscious living means for me but it is something I am passionate about pursuing it. To me, it simply means seeking to reduce my carbon footprint and make more mindful choices regarding my food consumption. Which brings me back to the vegan thing. Our plan is to eat a vegan diet for one month with the exception of eggs since we buy them from a neighbour’s coop down the road.

Why are we going vegan this month?

  1. Why not? There’s a possibility mine and my boys’ skin issues might clear up (We have sensitivities to cow’s milk, mild but still annoying).
  2. So many meal plans (my own included) are centered around meat despite the fact that a diet high in meat leads to high cholesterol. Why not explore a world of getting all the protein we need without consuming meat? Might just add some new standby dishes to the old reliables (spaghetti, tacos, chicken stir fry…).
  3. I’m not okay with being indifferent to the factory farming practices anymore. It’s not a simple choice and I don’t judge anyone (ourselves included) for being meat eaters. I just want to step back and evaluate how much meat I want/need in my life.
  4. Meat production and distribution accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all mechanical transportation around the globe combined.

Some interesting facts…

  • Canadians consumed approximately 238.32 lbs. of meat (per capita) in 2002 – think about eating approximately 953 4 oz. burgers a year.Β  Only 40 years earlier, that number was 177.47 lbs ( roughly 710 burgers).
  • In 2011, 42,043 people died of coronary heart disease in Canada accounting for 21.84 per cent of all deaths. The same year in South Korea, only 6,587 people died by the same disease according to The World Health Organization. Might this have something to do with the fact that South Koreans eat 56 per cent less meat than Canadians? I’m betting it has something to do with it.
  • Livestock farming results in the creation of 90 million tonnes of methane. According to a journal article that appear in Elsevier (2009) regarding food and climate research, global meat production accounts for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
  • Meat and dairy consumption is predicted to double by 2050 despite GHG needing to drop by at least 50 per cent each year in lieu of potentially dangerous consequences.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I like eating meat. I love cheese. I don’t actually want to cut these things out forever. But, I am pretty excited to discover new ways of cooking and baking and I will be sure to post my favourites here in this space. Who doesn’t get tired of the same old, same old?

chipotle veganaise, vegan cheese, lots of veggies

Disclaimer: Research shown is not a product of cutting and pasting but rather hours of scouring documents and articles in search for legitimate sources.



Author: whenwewereyoung...

A stay at home mom of two boys under two, love TED talks, swing dancing and of course, writing. When we were young is my sharing of motherhood, the beautiful, the ugly, the happy, the sad and the world my boys are growing up in.

20 thoughts on “Vegans: Odd or Enlightened? {Taking a step outside the meat box}

  1. I look forward to sonera yummy recipes! πŸ™‚

  2. Go for it! Just watch out for carrageenan that is in many meat alternatives.

  3. Ha, ha! As a vegetarian for over 20 years, I’ve definitely received the “odd” verdict many times:) But over the years I’ve learned everyone’s bodies are different. My body works well without meat and fish, it doesn’t work well without dairy though. So vegetarian was the option that worked for me. As for the idea of a cob house, my mother built a cob store on her property on Gabriola. You can check out what she did here: http://potagerway.com/2011/11/cobbage/ Good luck if you make one – they’re a neat idea.

    • A good point, you make, Renata. I think I can do just fine without dairy – probably better. I suspect that I work better with meat in my diet. This will be a good learning experience I think. I checked out your mother’s site! So well done! Such an exciting way to build.

  4. Awesome! We eat a 50-50 diet on a regular basis which I am pretty proud of and we all love it. It’s nice to have meat and it’s nice to legumes or quinoa. I know that even if you don’t stick to the vegan diet (and maybe you will) you will definitely have more ideas and recipes to work with going forward which is always great when feeding a family. I do echo what Gemma said, be careful with a lot of the meat alternative products, they are filled with junk! Also soy can be pretty awful for you too.
    Enjoy and good luck!!

    • Exactly my thoughts, Parrish. I truly feel that even if I don’t come out vegan on the other side, I’ll have gained a lot through giving it a month trial. I totally forgot about carageenan when I bought that vegan ham! That’s the other challenging side of vegan eating hey, GMO soy and meat additives. Oh bother…

  5. I was vegan for a year. Eventually I stopped because I was a lazy teenager who wasn’t eating properly. There seem to be more vegan options now than there were then. Probably making it easier to get what you need. Good for you πŸ™‚

  6. Interesting. I have friends who are vegan and vegetarian, so we’ve shared meals with them and tried their food. I could do vegetarian no problem (I can take or leave meat, no big deal) but I LOVE dairy and eggs so that would be tougher for me. When I was growing up, we raised all our own vegetables and meat. We were almost self-sustaining and I liked that, but I agree with you, it’s not always practical. And buying local, organic, free-run meat is SOOOOO expensive. I’m interested to hear the results of your experiment. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  7. Good for you. I have tried to move our family to a gluten free diet in the past and it’s a lot of extra work, and life got in the way. I imagine Vegan will be a hard but rewarding journey. Look forward to hearing updates.

  8. We’ve experimented with a few different dietary changes in the past. Unfortunately for me, I need some meat in my diet as I have low iron and low blood pressure! I whole heartedly agree with you on factory farming practices and try to buy local, grass finished meat wherever possible, and only have it a few times a week. It’s expensive!!! Good luck with your experiment!

  9. Good for you. Making diet changes like this is always interesting to see the effects on your body. I know when I cut out wheat hat I had a huge boost of energy and my skin issues cleared up along with some GI issues. I was so impressed!!

    • Thank, you Andrea. Yes, I think it is a good opportunity to see how your body fairs minus certain food groups. How great for you that your skin and GI tract improved! Good for you for the discipline it takes to give up certain foods!

  10. That’s really great that you’re trying something different and better for your carbon footprint. It can be tough to change a diet you’re used to. Just recently, because of some health issues, my husband’s had to change his diet quite a bit and I’m doing some of it as well in support. Good luck with the month of being vegan!

    • Thank-you, Salma! It is challenging but it helps to find some staples to revert to when you can’t think of anything new. That’s awesome that you are supporting your husband’s changed diet by participating in it as well.

  11. Great post! We haven’t cut out meat or animal products completely, but we’ve definitely cut down. I just posted a recipe for vegan chocolate cookies!

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