Vegfest and some thinking

I've mentioned this a few times now but since having Wilf (as I'm sure happens with many parents) I have really started to look at the world in a different and more conscious light. 

There is a lot about the way our world is run I don't agree with but I guess the cause I feel most passionately about it cruelty to animals. I was raised vegetarian and am very thankful for the start my parents gave me. I clearly remember when I started school asking and being explained to why 'so and so' ate meat and we didn't, in the same way that when I asked why we don't buy certain chocolate as I was told about why my family boycotted Nestle. My parents respected my intelligence enough to feel that I could comprehend the reasons why they were bringing me up in a certain way and ever since then I have never doubted or wavered in my choice to be a vegetarian (and boycott Nestle but that's a different matter!).

When I was pregnant with Wilf, I knew Tom and I were on the same page with how we wanted to raise our child. We attended our local NCT class which further explained and enforced our decisions in certain aspects of looking after a baby, from co-sleeping to breastfeeding. Yet I still hadn't broached the subject of raising our child vegetarian. It was such a big deal to me and I was terrified that he might feel differently. I thought about it for weeks on end until I finally got the confidence to have the discussion. Luckily Tom had never thought about raising him in any other way and thought it was quite funny I had even considered he would have an issue with it.

I guess with any strong beliefs be it religion to recycling you want to share these values with your child. We have always said when Wilf is at an age to be curious as to why he doesn't eat meat this will be explained to him and when he is of an age where he can make a conscious decision he can choose if he wants to continue to be a vegetarian or not. It is not something I think is likely to happen if I'm totally honest (coming from a family of five siblings each of whom have never expressed any desire to start eating meat) for me its something that would never appeal to me.

Since Wilf has been born however I've started to feel that for me that isn't enough, I think it may have started with getting Mastitis. The pain of Mastitis is honestly something I can't possibly begin to describe to you, but if I was to try I'd say it was like being branded with an iron whilst someone sliced through you with a razor over and over..a literal agony, there were times I wanted to die in my sleep it hurt so much. I started to think about dairy cows and that Mastitis effects around 50% of then. How today's cows produce ten times as much milk as they would do naturally for their calves, how their male calves are taken away for veal (or raised for beef) immediately so that they don't become attached, so that it will never drink the milk from their mother that was designed for them. Even in organic dairy farms cows are kept constantly pregnant so they don't run out of milk. Dairy cows organic or otherwise live very short lives as they are sent to slaughter as soon as their milk supply runs out. There is a lot I don't agree with about the dairy industry and the more I think about it the more simply not eating cows isn't enough.

Therefore I am making the decision to cut out cows products from my diet through the next few weeks (we are going on an extended family holiday in two weeks where it will be simpler whilst I am still unfamiliar with vegan cooking just be vegetarian). But by July I hope to have cut them out completely. Whilst I cannot say I am living (for me) guilt free as I will still for now be eating eggs and sheeps/goats cheese but it is a start and I feel a lot better in myself already for making this decision. I am also not going to be calling myself a vegan as I wont be (and like 'vegiarians' who eat fish and chicken (!) that's just confusing for everyone).

Wilf is leading a completely milk based diet at the moment (haha) bar the odd lick of mango here and there, and when he does eat properly we will be raising him vegetarian for now. Tom has also decided that when Wilf is eating solid food he wants to almost completely cut out meat (his diet it 80% veggie at the moment anyway). This is something I hasten to add he has decided to do himself and I have never expressed a wish for him to cut out meat, he is is own person and capable of his own moral decisions!
Someone once said recently that there was little point doing something as it wont make a difference, the fact is me never eating meat or cutting out cows products it very unlikely to make any kind of difference. However the quote that always always sticks in my head and leaves me with no doubt over my choices is 'be the change we want to see in the world' by Gandhi. I want to make the changes I would like to see in the world, and my making this decision I really feel a weight lifting from my shoulders!
I have been inspired by a few people in regards to cooking without dairy, one being the lovely ohdeadrea and another being bonbon mini. I have also been inspired by a (real life!) friend Melanie who was kind enough to lend me some of her amazing vegan cook books!

If the tone of this blog post sounds preachy it is not intended too, I would never try and suggest people should make the decisions I have made. It is however something I feel hugely passionate about and so I hope that is the feeling that comes through.
Living in a largely left wing/alternative city like Bristol being vegetarian is a very easy and convenient life style choice, there is an abundance of shops and restaurants that serve exciting foods.
This weekend we attended the Vegfest.

I remember writing reports at school about what we wanted to be when we were older, I always wrote 'a hunt saboteur'


Madame Guillotine said...

Hurray! I'm really glad that you are finding the books useful! :)

Also, I can't believe I missed the cupcakes at VegFest yesterday!

Holly Exley Illustration said...

Really enjoyed reading this, and talking about the facts involved in dairy and meat farming isn't being preachy! People tend to shy away from the truth because it's really quite unpleasant.
You've encouraged me to explore the veggie/vegan side of Bristol some more. Cutting out cows milk has been something I've been considering for a while now.
The festival looked amazing also!

hello DODO said...

Oh dear lord, Vegfest looks like my kind of heaven!! The cakes!! I think I would have eaten everything...
I've been vegan for about 10 years now (was veggie for about 5 before that). Luckily I really enjoy all the vegan alternatives...Scheese is my life!
The boyf is a meat eater so I often wonder when we have kids what I'd chose to do. I'd always thought I'd let them eat anything at first but it really is tricky, I'm not sure how I'd feel about that when it came to it!

Jess said...

I could never be totally veggie but i must say some of the things you eat look bloody scrummy, Im trying to have one meat free day a week at least as a start ( don't laugh know its pathetic :) , I will never give up my beloved seafood though lol

I have swapped cows milk for goats on a number of occasions due to strange stomach issues, its just everyone else in the house whinges "sigh"

yeah how about some nice easy veggie dinners for one posts? :)

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@Holly Thank you! I do worry how I come across sometimes as passion can somtimes be misconstrued! I'm glad I've encouraged you to look into some of the veggie sides of Bristol! Drop me a line if you want some recomendation of places to eat! x

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@madame guillotine They are amazing thanks so much! And yes how could you miss them! Thats such a shame!

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@hello DODO Thats interesting to hear, it was something I worried about alot but luckily it wasnt an issue, i'm not sure what we would have done if it was..well done on being Vegan for ten years, I may come to you for some tips

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@lil thats not pathetic thats great! Meat free Mondays (or any other day) is a great idea! and thats a good idea actaully (the posts) :) x

Charis said...

Great post hon! Last week was National Vegetarian Week so I gave being veggie a go for a week and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be!

Vegfest looks AMAZING!

Dorothea said...

What a great post - it made me think a lot about decisions I'll make when I (hopefully) have children. My family aren't vegetarian, but I decided to go veggie on my own when I was about 8 or 9 after reading a book about it. I was incredibly militant about animal rights when I was younger, so your hunt sab ambition made me smile :-) I used to write letters to my MP and even to the Queen about animal testing and fox hunting, and it makes me happy that both of those have been outlawed in the UK! My ex-boyfriend was a big meat-eater and I don't think he would have been happy to raise vegetarians - not quite ready to broach subject with boyfriend now, but I think he would be a lot more open to it, as he pretty much eats vegetarian food with me most of the time (which means a lot to me).

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@charis Oh how did I not know that! Well done, thats fantastic :)

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@dorothea Our situations are so similar! My Ex boyfriend would NEVER have agreed with any potential child of ours being veggie and we were very different in our views in that respect. I'm lucky that it wasnt an issue with me and Tom and he had allways been very easy going and never had an issue with eating largely veggie food! It means a lot to me too x

lexi said...

Good for you! I know exactly what you mean about looking at your own life and motherhood and then relating to how it must be for cows. :/ I went vegan in January after 12 or 13 years of being vegetarian and it's one of the best decisions I ever made. I really wanted to go to the vegfest too, but it was too far to travel. Maybe next year. :)

Siobhan Watts said...

Hello, thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. Loving your blog too, great photos and what a gorgeous family you have!

Please feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions about going vegan. I've been meaning to write more about it on my blog, so questions you have might just inspire a few posts!

Have a great weekend. Siobhan x

Boho Mixology said...

This post was fantastic, I really enjoyed it! you have a lovely blog its my first time here.


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