Johanna is your Vice President Arts, Law and Social Science, this year she's supporting ARU Students' Union's student-backed Vegan Policy through the 30 Day Vegan Pledge.
Going vegan can be an intriguing thought – discussions on animal welfare and health, as well as the environmental impact of the meat industry, are certainly gaining traction these days. However, it can seem impossible to cut out cheese (because everyone loves cheese) and make the switch to plant based milk in your tea or coffee because it doesn’t quite taste the same.
I would imagine that most people who go vegan have the same thoughts and struggles, and against common belief, vegans don't necessarily hate the taste of meat, in fact, some people really miss it, but still they make a conscious decision to avoid it for different reasons.
I went vegan over two years ago and I had actually been thinking about it for quite a while, watching YouTube videos and carrying out my own research, and then one day I decided to watch a documentary about animal rights. I was quite shocked about what I saw and even though my brain wanted to fight against it and what I saw, the bottom line for me was the realisation that animals had to die in order for me to eat them, which I hadn’t actually thought about before. From that day on I decided that I’d give up animal products.
"From that day on I decided that I’d give up animal products."
It was quite a challenge to start with because I had to do a lot of research into what I could and couldn’t eat, but after a while I got used to it and now I don’t even have to think about it! I did try vegan cheese to start with but because it didn’t taste right I didn’t eat it for a while. Now I don’t even remember what dairy cheese tastes like because I’m so used to the vegan alternative and I’ve actually found really tasty ones. Supermarkets have a lot of alternatives for different things and they seem to be bringing out new ones all the time - certainly exciting times for vegans! I even found super yummy vegan chocolate truffles in Asda the other day.
"I even found super yummy vegan chocolate truffles in Asda the other day."
I don’t judge people for their diet because I used to eat meat and I’m aware that eating meat is usually the norm. Sometimes people get angry or upset when I tell them that I’m vegan because of this stereotype that all vegans are militant and hate everyone who eats meat, but once they realise that I’m pretty chilled about it, they usually calm down. However, I’m very open to discussing my choices with anyone if they are open to listening.
I’m really excited to help Vegan Society run the 30 Day Vegan Pledge this November as it offers a great opportunity for anyone to try a vegan diet in a supportive environment.
"It offers a great opportunity for anyone to try a vegan diet in a supportive environment."
The Cambridge based Vegan Society has organised regular meetings and they will provide regular emails with tips and recipes for anyone who signs up!
We will kick off the Pledge on 20th November with Vegan Society running a day-long event with Animal Rights Charity, Surge, in Helmore Street from 11am to 5pm sharing information on animal rights in the UK. In the evening they are hosting a screening of animal rights documentary Land of Hope and Glory with free vegan pizza.
I hope to see you come along to the evening event starting at 6pm (LAB 026) to get an insight into animal agriculture in the UK and you can decide if you want to give veganism a go and meet fellow thirty day pledgers. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Earthling Ed, which is really exciting!
All students, from any campus, can sign up (you don't have to attend the launch) and find more information check out the Vegan Pledge website! www.angliastudent.com/veganpledge