Biscuits Be Gone!
It’s May 2020, we are in lockdown from Covid-19, and I’m trying really hard to watch what I eat. I watch the dark chocolate digestive biscuits flying in to my mouth at a great rate, that’s for damn sure! But something has been in the back of my tiny brain for a while. I try to eat well on most days to fuel my HIIT, strength, running training and hectic, anxiety lead life. I’m a fitness coach and pro drummer and I love to feel energised by exercise and support my small 61kg, 42 year old frame with reasonable nutrition. I know, well I thought I knew, some of the science behind proteins, carbs and all those other macros and was convinced that vegans miss out on what us carnivores eat. Meat is best. But something has been bugging me, right in that small bit just at the base of the neck and it wants to find its way to the front, just by my eyes.
I gave up drinking alcohol back in early 2000, whilst still serving in HM Royal Marines Band (Plymouth). No mean feat in that society, I can tell you. What I did to give up was to replace it with something I knew was better for me and adopt a lifestyle around it. I’ve been a tee-total for 18 years; longer than I was drinking for. No more lost moments; no more hangovers; no more large expenses; no more idiotic behaviour; no more horrid alcohol depression after an incident whilst on deployment. (Ps, all fine now but mild PTSD plagued me for years and the main reason I quit).
I gave up beef a two years ago for two reasons. Firstly, stress had brought along acid reflux and beef, usually my most favourite spaghetti Bolognese, would send it going mad until early morning. Secondly, I started reading about the effect that agriculture is having on the planet, mostly beef; I couldn’t ignore it. For all its faults, I like this planet. I can’t support that. I went plant based milk last year.
In around December/January I started watching and learning more. I found some documentaries a bit one sided and some of the science presented quite suspect. I, as a headfast meat eater didn’t believe these narrow, skewed ‘scientific studies’ done on small numbers of people would get passed reception of the American Medical Association or the British Journal of Medical Practitioners. I found myself arguing with my more knowledgeable girlfriend, not with an up to date science based view, but belief that meat and animal products were better for you in proteins and minerals and that vegans were missing out on the benefits of all that animal products have to offer us.
Being a sportsman I thought that making gains and supporting the body during massive physical output would come from the calories and nutrients that animal products would give. Reading articles about B12 deficiency in vegans and how it was not great for you to eat just plants, because you miss out of this ‘vital’ mineral, was nearly cementing my side of this argument (though I’d been deficient in B for years). Again, there was still this little burn in my brain as I hugged my kids dog Freddie and ‘ahh’d’ at animals online and enjoyed birds singing and watching cows in the field when I ran. I’d even stop to say hello to lambs eating grass through the fence in the lush green hills in Seaford, UK. My family has always been one of animal loving. My dad is incredible with any animal. They feel totally comfortable in his company.
People seem to hate vegans or veganism. It’s because being vegan is all about the activism of animal welfare and people don’t want to be told after many, many years of ‘meat and two veg’ that it’s wrong. Nobody on the high street wants to see pictures and videos of slaughterhouses and chickens in horrible situations. They don’t want to believe that their ‘free-range’ is only actually just 1m worth of space at the very most. It also conjures up a kind of hippy vibe and only eating rabbit food. That’s why many vegans say “plant based diet”. I don’t want to be an activist. My friends and family would hate me if I told them they’re wrong in eating meat. I'd like them to watch and read and come to their own conclusions, as I have done.
My final push came from two documentaries, Supersize Me 2 and Cowspiracy. Seeing what the planet is to become from the meat industry, and how on a small scale I can actually do quite a lot in saving water, pushed me over the edge from seeing the chicken industry in the USA. I tried hard to believe that it wasn’t happening here. I was wrong, it’s not as bad, but it isn’t good.
I’m now in my early stages of changing. Seeking advice in keeping healthy, because you can still have crap food being a vegan. Vegan cookies are amazing! I’m learning about the macros I need to make the muscle gains I want. Most of what I believed or thought I knew about plant based nutrition was utter rubbish. I’m a man of science and I followed the evidence, not my belief, and it changed my view. The lies the meat industry gives the consumer is outstanding, great marketing.
I’m learning to cook better and the meals are absolutely delicious, and very filling. I may slip up but I know that I couldn’t live with this hypocrisy any longer. “I like eating meat and I care for the environment and love animals” is bollocks. I was trying to justify a lie to myself.
I’m trying new, wonderful things things. TOFU CAN F*** OFF THOUGH! Yuk. And I’m sorry to say but no more dark chocolate digestive biscuits for me.
Written by Matt Hobson 17th May, 2020