Our generation has been very involved with climate change and taking action to reverse our actions. Many are deciding that they would wish to be vegan or vegetarian for ethical or climate reasons. However, the change to a no-meat diet can often be difficult because of parents or siblings. My family is of German nationality, which means that we used to have a decent amount of meat in our diet, even though we are now promoting veganism whenever we can. Our transition took almost a year and this is how.
Our first vegan introduction came through my sister. She chose a no-meat diet because of ethical and climate reasons: that killing animals in slaughterhouses is inhumane, and bad for the environment. She decided to eat as little meat as possible, and soon her ethical approach got recognized by my mum: who cooks our meals. This led to us eating meat only a few times a week.
One catalyst which quickened the process was that our family, at the time, did not drink much cow’s milk as we discovered that it was unhealthy. Another aspect which added to this was the fact that my mum and I both are intolerant to cow’s milk. Which already discouraged a lot of cow’s milk at home while also encouraging home cooking or baking. So we did not feel the need to be vegetarians to keep the milk products.
The second catalyst is my dad, who originally was not completely for the idea of a fully plant-based diet. However, he has done plenty of research on the vegan lifestyle and has long been convinced of its benefits for health, not ethical reasons; because of this, he has become an even bigger preacher than my sister ever was.
I shamefully admit that I was the last in my family to change my diet completely. Mostly because of the notion many people have – meat is delicious. And yes, my entire family still agrees with that. But, the vegan fake meat industry has expanded rather drastically over the last few years. A few years ago fake meat was tofu, but now there are many companies developing healthy, vegan and also delicious fake meats. I have become attached to these fake meats, so much so that it is easy to dismiss the idea of wanting a real steak.
Much like how every city has a pull or push factor for people: a plant-based diet is extremely similar. If you can find a reason to leave real meat (ethical, health, climate) or find a reason to love the alternatives (fake meat!), the transition is not so difficult.
Convincing others, however, is where you can truly show off: because, in the end, you realize there aren’t many reasons to stay with real meat.
Grade 11 student