Farmer Focus: Vegan food is fine if you ignore the meat substitutes

This January I have tried vegan food (although not veganism) in “Veganuary”, and I must come clean. Meat substitutes aside, I quite like vegan food (I ate a lot while holidaying in India to avoid “Delhi belly”).

It’s not because I sympathise with the craze, but because I like all sorts of food. Without the regular exercise of farm work and local rugby, it’s highly likely I would soon turn into an obesity statistic.

Vegan food has a bad reputation and it’s quite warranted if you look at something like facon (fake bacon). But if you look beyond the processed rubbish and meat substitutes, there are some really nice dishes.

See also: Meat and dairy sales grow despite backdrop of Veganuary

About the author

Joe Mault
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
The Mault family runs 850 commercial ewes and 60 suckler cows across 155ha (383 acres) near Corwen, North Wales. The farm produces Beltex and Charollais prime lambs and Charollais cross store cattle and Joe also works as a lecturer at a local college.
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So, what’s the problem with a burly, rugby-playing farmer choosing a vegan option in a restaurant? Well, it’s because many will judge that you are one of “them”.

The problem is not with the food, but some of the extremists that advocate the diet. You see on social media the awful abuse farmers receive from these types.

What gives me the right to dictate what someone should eat? Imagine if someone told me to eat marzipan (took me ages to think of a food I dislike). I would probably be quite rude

But not all vegans are like this. Over Christmas we had some family over who we should probably see more of during the year, but Christmas gives us a prompt to get together.

My wife’s uncle declared that his son was vegan and wouldn’t want milk in his coffee. Silence.

The rest of the family waited in anticipation of me marching my wife’s cousin out the house and down the drive. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less. 

What gives me the right to dictate what someone should eat? Imagine if someone told me to eat marzipan (took me ages to think of a food I dislike). I would probably be quite rude.

Thinking back, the vegans I’ve met in the past are nice people, with nothing radical about them. They had their individual reasons for their diet choice.

Reasons varied from not wanting to eat something with a face, to not liking the texture and dairy not agreeing with their stomach – all personal reasons.

Diet is a personal choice. Whether, vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, it doesn’t matter to anyone else apart from you alone. The same should apply if you eat meat – and that’s what many extreme vegans fail to realise.