Just the other day I wrote a blog in which I alerted you all to the fact that it was World Vegan Day, 1 November, which a lot of you did not know (shame on you!.... Actually the only reason I knew was because someone posted something about it on my wall on Facebook!) Well, it turns out that we don't just have a day, we have a whole month – yes, 1 November was starting off World Vegan Month! How about that? Is this another hot newsflash to most of you? I admit, it was to me! October was World Vegetarian Month, followed, by a natural progression, by World Vegan Month (logical really, since most people go through the vegetarian stage before becoming vegan).
So we should all feel really inspired this month, shouldn't we? Inspired to spread the word, promote veganism, etc. I know that there have been worldwide demos, etc, we have had quite a few in the UK: on 1 November there was a big street event by one of the AR organisations in Central London, handing out free samples of vegan food, and leaflets. By all accounts there was a very positive response from members of the public as well, which is encouraging (I won't be cynical and say maybe it is just the lure of free food, in these tough financial times! That reminds me that it costs a lot less to feed people on a vegan diet actually, which is the subject of a future blog).
The term “vegan” and the Vegan Society were founded in 1944 in the UK by Donald Watson, and I think the cause has come a long way since then, although we still have so far, so very far, to go. A plant-based diet is right at the root of the animal rights movement, which is the reason I initially adopted it, but it also helps people, the environment and is hugely beneficial to human health. I have heard it described as a movement for social justice, which I agree with. With so many reasons to go vegan, with so many problems that could be solved if everyone adopted it, it is imperative that we do as much as we can to promote it.
I don't necessarily mean actively trying to convert people – in fact, I think that is usually counter-productive, as you have all no doubt noticed. I mean by a kind of subliminal, “guerilla warfare” type approach – take every opportunity to give omnivores tasty vegan food, and win them over through their palates! Without actually making an issue out of the fact that it is vegan. For example, I enjoy baking cakes and cookies whenever I have time, and I often give them to omnivorous people as presents, without mentioning that they are vegan. They are usually very surprised when they find out, and I am sure it helps plant a seed in them, that they don't have to miss out by giving up the animal products.
In fact, a vegan diet is now easier than it has ever been; the availability of meat substitutes, plant milks, egg replacers, etc, besides all the wonderful fruit, veg and grains, of course. Hell, even there are even some excellent vegan cheeses on the market now! (I bought a couple today, the Vegusto brand. They are not cheap, but I don't have them that often, and make them go a long way. That reminds me, I am probably going to make a nice mac n' cheese with them, yum!!) So you don't really have to miss out on any of your favourite foods by becoming a herbivore.
So to celebrate this month I am planning to do some baking to hand out and try to get involved in some of the outreach events in my area, which always need volunteers. The movement is growing, have no doubt about that, and let it inspire you, upwards and onwards!
Picture courtesy of www.worldveganday.com