An occasional series in which ordinary people
talk about living a plant-based life
Our latest contributor Pedro had seen distressing videos of meat industry cruelty without being inspired to change his diet. But when the time came to do so, it came by surprise
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Pedro, I’m 31, and I live in London. My family is composed of my parents, a younger sibling and several uncles/aunts. I’m a currently a media systems engineer; I was, until what seems like a lifetime ago, a record producer for several years in Oxford. Now I’m living in London and working in the VOD/broadcast industry. I love music, play bass/guitar, gaming, and just technology in general.
You’re vegan now; were you vegetarian before? What led to that? How long have you been vegan? What led to that choice?
I went straight from being an omnivore to being vegan after watching the documentary Earthlings. For no obvious reason, one night I decided to watch it, and 15 minutes into it, I felt had no choice but to become vegan. That said, I still forced myself to watch it all the way through. That was almost three years ago.
Do you see yourself ever going back to being an omnivore?
No. Never. That’s not even a possibility.
Are you a ‘healthy’ vegan? Often people assume we’re all fitness-obsessed, when the reality is that we come in many flavours and for many people life is an eternal hunt for vegan cake. What makes up your diet?
I’m strictly wholefood plant-based – no oils, no processed crap. After six months of hunting for all the vegan junk food possible when I first went vegan, it just naturally happened and now I really feel that I value individual foods (for example, biting into a steamed potato tastes amazing after your taste buds ‘detox’ from being used to loads of sugar and oils and sweeteners).
Where do you shop?
I shop in regular supermarkets and farmers’ markets.
For many vegans, the initial realisation of facts that make us turn to a different lifestyle is pretty life-changing and alienating. We view things differently, from the supermarket shopping experience in a meat-eating world to the people around us. How was that change – the reality of being an outsider in many situations – for you?
It led to some grim times to be honest; it’s similar to the red-pill scene in The Matrix. You have to come to terms with the realisation that our species and society as a whole celebrates the torturing and killing of billions of animals every year, for absolutely no reason. You realise how every single person comes up with the same excuses, literally the same; it’s like cognitive dissonance is a networked consciousness. It also led to seeing my friends, family, and people in general differently. Even after showing all the facts, all the horrible things, seeing their faces in shock or even crying but still, somehow, they continue to perpetuate those exact scenarios.
Do you mix with many other vegans – does your lifestyle mean that you come into contact with people of a similar outlook regularly?
No, I don’t, but I do seek out vegan forums and groups online.
Do you live in a meat/dairy eating household? And if so, how is that? Do you feel you have more in common with vegans?
I don’t, and I feel that I have more in common with vegans than the majority of other people who don’t believe plant-based is the way forward.
Do you, as most of us have to, eat out with non-vegans often and how do you feel about their eating choices?
Yes, I don’t eat out often, probably a couple of times a year, but it does enrage me internally and leads to internal struggle to hold my tongue.
Are you involved in any form of activism?
I have been, not any more, but am thinking of getting back to it.
How do you feel about the vegan jokes… you know, that vegans can’t go five minutes without mentioning the fact or they explode?
They don’t faze me at all… I don’t really care.
Do you believe that the meat and dairy industries have a future? If not, what do you believe the timescale for change to be?
How do you think we best ‘convert’ omnivores to a plant-based lifestyle? And do you actively try to do this?
I don’t actively try to, I just answer facts and logic when asked; a couple of friends have turned vegan whilst doing that.
How do you feel about the horror-show videos of the reality of meat? Do you share them? Do you feel they have a positive place in changing people’s understanding of the meat and dairy industry?
They’re the best chance we have. Some people will never care, yes, but like me, in the past I had always seen them and never cared. Yes, it shocked me and made me depressed, but then I went on to eat animals 10 minutes later. One day, for some reason, I was predisposed to have an open mind and it worked instantly, so yes, I believe it’s the main way, as it’s the undeniable truth.
Are you positive about the future of veganism?
Yes, I truly am. Mainly now with the mainstream media picking up on hit pieces on veganism, defending farmers and animal agriculture, attacking vegans. These things just show how the movement is growing, that’s how change usually happens, reporting on it then smearing it.
What does being vegan mean to you?
For me, being vegan complies with the initial definition by Leslie J Cross, founder of the Vegan Society, in 1949: “The principle of the emancipation of animals from exploitation by man.”