The University of Southampton
Life at Southampton

Veggie deluxe with extra sass

We will get you… No matter how long it takes… You will succumb to the lettuce lifestyle.

I’ve been talking the talk of vegetarianism for a few years now but the walking of the walk has been quite debateable. I’m no hypocrite, so don’t worry; I’m not going to try and brainwash you into binning your steaks.

This blog post is merely a pond onto which I will scatter a few thought-crumbs about my venturous voyage into the (v?)orld of veg.

Don’t get too smug, veggies

To all the veggie preachers out there, practice what you preach. There is a smug vibe that’s projected by veggies which is often flawed. Sure this orange is organic, but how far has it come to get here? Maybe more miles than non-organic, all the while pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as it travelled. Many unseen sacrifices are made to bring food to your table, so bear in mind you ain’t no spotless genie.

Also, some advice for you Quorn lovers: don’t be preachers, be salesmen. By being too fundamentalist you’re just going to scare people off. Ease them into the broccoli bath, don’t throw them in! The transition isn’t easy peasy lemon squeezy. Especially with Charcoal Grill’s perfect post-night out geographic positioning.

Sell me this avocado.

Don’t get too aggy, carnivores

“But hey wait a second… he’s wearing a leather watch!”

Most vegetarians will know the feeling of being harassed by someone for eating fish but not meat, or for occasionally eating meat on the weekend.

No one is squeaky clean, but that’s missing the point. Any reduction in meat is better for the environment and the animals. No matter what your strategy, as long as you’re aboard the veggie wagon in some shape or form, then you’re certainly doing your bit.

It’s not as hard as you think

“Yeah I’d definitely do it, but I just love meat too much” said every human ever.

There are heaps of alternatives begging to be tried – how can you know if you never have? Who wouldn’t love to devour a halloumi, red pepper and hummus wrap!? Supermarkets do tonnes of veggie options and, even at University, the Uni shop has all sorts of delightful veggie consumables. Give it a whirl next time you’re perusing.

The veggie money shot.

It’s not all kosher in the land of labelling

Carbon labels or even welfare labels (such as a red sticker for factory farming) would help people realise the huge amount of energy used in meat production and could steer (spot the castrated bull play-on-words) many into the direction of fewer emissions and fewer tearful cows.

However, labels can be expensive and sometimes it’s only the large companies that can afford the accreditation, which squeezes out the small scale farmers. It’s also very difficult to design a label that has enough information on it but is easily recognisable. For example, even with existing ones, which average Joe knows the true definition of “free range”?

A couple of extra factoids to drive it home

A theory for why Americans are so susceptible to food fads is that, since they are a nation of immigrants, there’s never been a stable food culture. This leads to constant change in what they perceive is right to eat, and unfortunately many eating disorders are a result.

Through being corn-fed (common in factory farming), meat has become a commodity rather than luxury. Only since the 1950’s have cows been given solely corn. Before this era, meat was much more of a weekend treat, which is arguably what it should be now.

If you’re hoping to reduce your negative impact on the environment, cutting out beef is a great place to start. It is by far the most polluting meat, so if you reduce a few steaks, you can keep eating popcorn chicken and still have a happy(ish) conscience.

Have you got any guilty veggie secrets? Any curious questions? Chuck’em in a comment below.


  • Will Harman

    Really interesting article Charlie!

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