Ethical eating explored

Ethical eating explored

Kate Smith, ECU Reporter

The Perth Multicultural Vegan and Vegetarian Food Fair is being held on October 22 at the South Perth Community Centre where plant-based dieters will get the upper hand of options for once.

According to Roy Morgan Research, veganism is on the rise with 11.2% of Australia’s population now being vegan.

So, what exactly is life like as a vegan?

Vegan Perth defines vegans as people who take on a broader philosophy and lifestyle that considers animals in ALL of the choices that they make, not just when they sit down to eat.

This means no leather bags, wallets, or jackets. No sheep wool UGG boots, rabbit fur vests or fluffy woollen jackets that millennial fashionistas are currently obsessed with. Simply natural cotton and bamboo alternatives are the standard for vegans.

A documentary on Netflix called What the Health?  is sweeping around Perth and has converted many meat eaters to vegetarianism. Clinton Fisher from Greenwood has been a meat eater all of his life but after watching the documentary, he hasn’t touched meat in 12 weeks.

“The only vegetable I use to eat was potato, I use to buy junk food every day. Now I’m eating vegetable curries and all sorts and I feel great,” he said.

I have recently watched two of my close friends transition to veganism. One wears her vegan diet with a badge of pride, the other cringes every time she dines out and hopes that nobody questions her … again.

Although ethical eating is commended for bettering human health, supporting animals and bettering the planet, vegans also face struggles, such as the initial transition to meat alternatives.

“I suffer with low energy and mood swings regularly when I’m not eating enough nutrients from alternative foods,” said vegetarian Daisy Taylor.

Heath from The Raw Food Kitchen in Fremantle advised ECU Daily about these particular health risks related to veganism.

“Make sure you get blood tests for vitamin B12 and iron levels. We need to be aware of certain potential protein deficiencies, for example the amino-acid taurine,” he said.

Veganism requires a lot more research about how many nutrients you are giving yourself.

But, when you get it right, Heath believes it’s the best way to live which is why he’s built a cafe where he not only makes and sells vegan goodies, but also hosts informative workshops about plant-based diets.

“It’s a light and cleansing style diet and it’s great for the microbiome, that’s gut health. You feel pretty energized when you get it right, plus it’s the best diet for the planet sustainability-wise. As far as conservative science, a plant-based diet is the most effective diet for cardio-vascular disease, weight loss and many cancers,” Heath said.

Natasha Popovski transitioned to a vegetarian diet a few years ago and believes the pressure from society is not as common as it used to be.

“One downside with being a vegan is that it can feel a little alienating at times particularly in social situations with friends and family … I do get an odd individual every now and then challenging my position, but I do not feel ostracised by society as a whole,” she said.

She has committed to her new lifestyle and sees experimenting with food as a fun little endeavour and over time she has become passionate about all aspects of being vegan.

“Veganism has gained a lot of traction and people are far more aware of the realities surrounding the damage that the farming and agriculture industry has on the planet, as well as the exploitation and cruelty inflicted upon animals,” she said.

Perth Beauty Vlogger Lauren Curtis is known for taking her role model status to her 3 million Youtube subscribers seriously. Lauren loves constantly showing her millions of followers her daily eating choices and although she obviously eats meat alternatives and mainly vegetables she refuses to call herself a vegan.

When posting to her snapchat followers she said: “I’m not going to label myself a vegan publicly because that just creates a target on my back. Once you do that people start watching your every move and think they have a right to pull you up on everything. I shouldn’t have to justify myself to people, it’s my decision, and neither should you.”