Seeing as I have actually started posting now, I thought I should probably introduce myself.
I'm a soon-to-be-30 year old guy, living in New Zealand (the windy little island country to the east of Australia in the south Pacific ocean, for those who haven't heard of it). I grew up in Australia, but have been living here for about 5 years now, with my partner and our cat. I've been on spark for about 6 years now, have lost and regained weight a few times, but I think I've got myself sorted out now, and I'm currently doing well with regards my goals.
I had always been eating a high proportion of vegetables and vegetarian meals for environmental and cost reasons, but when I discovered that dairy products were giving me health problems, I gradually stopped eating all animal products except honey (with some exceptions) for environmental reasons. Milk products were something I liked the taste of, but if I couldn't eat those for health reasons I didn't really have any reasons to continue eating animal products at all.
I do eat honey - we need bees to pollinate the food crops we depend on for life, and bees in this country are affected by a parasitic mite introduced by humans. If we don't protect them in managed hives, there are no bees and the food chain that supports us falls over. It would be nice if people saw protecting the bees and hence the food web as a good enough reason to farm them, but no-one does anything in this day and age unless there's a financial return, so I'm happy to eat honey to keep the beekeepers going to keep the bees going to keep the web of life going! Others are welcome to differ, but that's my personal practice. (honey's also religiously/culturally important for us, so it's a bonus to still be able to use it without feeling my ethics are violated).
I also eat animal products on the odd occasion when I can't control what I'm being served. The rules of hospitality are culturally important to me, and so if I go to an occasion where someone else is feeding me and I can't bring a dish or suggest a restaurant where I will be able to eat something, and I am served meat or dairy products (in such a fashion that I can't just 'eat around them'), I will eat them politely. This doesn't happen very often.
I still wear my existing leather and wool clothing, and as my motivations are primarily environmental and economic, this doesn't really worry me - I will wear them until they require replacement, and then source the most ecologically appropriate replacements. That may be more leather shoes or wool clothing, given that both can be produced in a relatively sustainable fashion here (the land sheep are grazed on can't be used for cropping anything, not even forests, as it's very steep) and plastics made from fossil oil are not sustainable.
Because of all of the above, I don't generally call myself a vegan, as that term here is generally associated with an animal use abolitionist philosophy, and that doesn't agree with my personal principles in some areas. I generally describe myself as a very strict vegetarian, if I must use a label.
My partner is an omnivore, so that also has its challenges. He's generally happy to eat vegan meals, generally he gets something non-vegan for lunch to take to work, and the meals we share at home are vegan.
The other challenge is that New Zealand, being a small and relatively remote country, doesn't have some of the products that people elsewhere take for granted. Very little soy is grown here - what is grown here is generally made into boutique organic tofu or tempeh (at $5 for 250g!), but most soymilk, tofu, etc has to be imported and so is expensive. Ditto rice milk. Almond milk is practically unheard of, unless you make your own. Vegan cheeze is available at $10/200g (generally Sheese, imported from England). For reference, $10 buys 4L soy milk, or 1kg flaxseeds, or about 4kg apples. Fake meat products are similarly rare and expensive. So, we eat a lot of beans, rice, tofu and vegetables. Sometimes it feels like variety is lacking, but really it isn't - it just means that special products are rare treats, as they should be. I do find it quite frustrating when I'm looking at vegan recipe books or blogs and there's something that sounds wonderful, but has 'vegan cream cheese' as an essential ingredient. :(
Anyway, that's me. Nice to find a reasonably active community to be a part of!
| Body Fat %: 65.6