On the fourth of March, my place of work had a stall at Portsmouth’s Vegan Fest. We were offering our range of in-house brewed beers that contain no finings (fish swim bladders) and are therefore vegan friendly.
As a meat eater, it was definitely an interesting experience.
I am often quite vocal, when challenged, in my attitudes toward veganism and other forms of dietary practices. I personally hold the view that human beings are designed to be omnivores. The way our teeth and stomach are physically designed is an indication to how we have evolved to consume different types of food.
Though I do think that some people could stand to lose some meat from their diet, balance certainly is everything, I acknowledge that naturally occurring proteins (be it fish, egg whites or meat) are definitely something that we all need.
“I wanted people talking about renewable energy sources or more ethical everyday things”.
In primary school, we learn about the different food groups and are told we need a little of everything. How come as adults then we seem eager to ignore this information? Surely denying what your body needs and depends on is going to create some issues along the way.
At Vegan Fest, it was easy to see the appeal of veganism. There was a lot of vegan food stalls, two ethical clothing stalls and about three vegan toiletry stalls. Though I wanted more. I wanted people talking about renewable energy sources or more ethical everyday things.
I wanted less ‘I-don’t-eat-anything-with-a-face’ and more ‘I-want-to-save-the-planet’. It is a tall order, I know, especially from a meat eater (the meat industry creates the most CO2 pollution in the world) but I couldn’t look past the lack of the environmentalism that I always feel should go hand-in-hand with veganism.
One organisation that was present at the event was Sea Shepherd, a conservation group that aim to clear pollution from the ocean. I was pleased to see the group, present with what looked like a visible lack of flyers (hopefully as a way of reducing paper waste) through a heavy crowd listening to a brief presentation. I could feel the energy that the Sea Shepherds were giving off – it was infectious.
I did not feel judged at Vegan Fest, though I did not disclose whether I was or was not a vegan (no one really asked). I would, if I had to, classify myself as a flexitarian – someone who eats a range of vegetarian to non vegetarian meals often due to financial and economic reasons. Unfortunately, after today, I have not been swayed into veganism. I am quite okay with my omnivore diet. Though I have made small steps to be less wasteful in life by not buying as much food with packaging from the supermarkets (often supporting local businesses like bakers and green grocers), using less energy around the house and recycling more, which is something I have struggled with living in Portsmouth.
Vegan Fest was a fun day to work on. It was definitely something I would consider doing again in the future. I simply feel that we need a balance in our diets, but the environment does not have to pay the price for that. What is wrong with going back to native foods that are found seasonally rather than shipping all these different foods from around the world?