For some, taking the transition step by step is easiest. First you might give up one type of animal (eg pork), then all red meat, then chicken, then fish. Or perhaps you will make your lunches vegetarian first, or eat vegetarian until 5pm. Or maybe you want to just do it right away!
There are lots of reasons to go veg, and some very compelling reasons to act now. Sustainability is a big one. Credible scientific evidence tells us that we only have a small window of opportunity to act now to protect our planet from the disaster of global warming, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources. Scientists are telling us food production from animals is one of the largest factors causing all of these.
Every day, each of us is contributing to the future our children will experience. Surely we want to protect that future for them.
Climate change can seem too big a problem for us to deal with in New Zealand. However, the same choices we make that contribute to climate change are causing big problems right here in our own country. We are seeing serious water pollution and environmental damage caused by animal food production. We are losing many of our beautiful native birds and bush, and we are destroying our waterways. Our unique identity as New Zealanders is in large part due to our beautiful landscape. Each day, every one of us can be part of protecting it.
Animal welfare can seem like a luxury that we cannot afford when faced with our own day to day challenges. But to those animals suffering their entire lives in the production of animal-based food, it’s no luxury. Most people are kind-hearted and do not like to see an animal suffering.
Our own lives and problems right now can seem so much bigger than animals and a future we can’t see. However, we can all agree our legacy to our children is ours to protect. We will want to be able to tell our children and grandchildren that we were on their side, protecting their future, when it counted the most – right now.
Each day, choose to do one small thing differently. Then each night, when you go to bed, you can think “I did something good. I did it today and will do it again tomorrow.” Once that one small thing is a habit, choose another small thing to change.
So what could that look like? Remember it can be small and is about building a habit.
Maybe you could replace meat in your sandwich with hummus.
Then, you could choose a yoghurt with no gelatine, or even choose a coconut yoghurt.
Ok, so a month later you are doing both those things. Now what?
Those two changes mean you are now having a vegetarian lunch.
Each time you have made the one small thing a habit – choose the next small thing. You are making a real difference.
When you run out of ideas, well that’s what we are here for. And remember you are part of the solution. Enjoy playing with it and enjoy the feeling of knowing the difference you’re making to the future is a positve one.
There is a lot of information about going vegetarian/vegan out there and you’ll find lots of useful things here, but you will gain so much more by joining the NZ Vegetarian Society. Not only will you receive our introductory pack and our quarterly magazine, “Vegetarian Living NZ”, you will also benefit from the invaluable knowledge and tips that fellow members share. We are here to support you, by providing information, answering your questions and of course having fun together.
Talking to other committed vegetarians reaffirms your convictions and at our gatherings you can relax and trust that all food will be safe to eat! You’ll be free to discuss ethical aspects of vegetarianism, health and recipes, concerns you have or problems you’re experiencing. Meeting like-minded people can make all the difference to the ease of your transition and the joy you experience from it.
When you join the NZ Vegetarian Society, you help us to help you and others considering going vegetarian. You strengthen our voice!
It’s a decision you’ve made. We make them all the time and yours happens to be that you don’t eat or wear animals…. but the digs don’t stop. How do you cope?
Get ready for the tired old jokes. There will be people who will attempt to poke fun at your new lifestyle with jokes that could be a lot funnier. Take them with good grace and be proud of what you’re doing for animals, the environment and your own wellbeing.
You may have loved ones who are genuinely concerned for your welfare. The fears are unfounded but genuine all the same. So be gentle with them.
If you’re challenged politely and a conversation would be productive, it’s a great opportunity to educate. At other times, agreeing to disagree is the easiest way to extricate yourself from a confrontation. Providing your own beautifully presented and yummy dish is an excellent way to quell any ongoing comments. You can choose dishes from any cuisine but if you want to stay with the ‘traditional’ theme, there are nut roasts with gravy, vegan wines and beers and wonderful desserts that you can try out.