A Meat-free Meaty Matter; vegan movements are growing – even in Cork!


Corkonians have changed over the past generation; for one thing, people eat out much more. There have been chippers and McDonalds for decades but now there’s a larger variety of convenience eateries. Supermarkets in Cork have gotten a greater variety and more brands. For example, there are many more kinds and brands of pasta. Mexican and other ethnic foods have become popular; bean and rice, hummus etc. And vegetarianism is more mainstream now, whereas a generation ago it was considered ‘fringe’. Now there is often a vegetarian option in stores and restaurants, something that has developed in the last 10-20 years. Although Arthur of Quay coop bemoans the many chain stores replacing local shops on Corkonian streets, budget stores like Lidl and Aldi have also contributed to more vegetables being consumed. Aldi holds special cheap offers on vegetables, and carries soymilk and other vegan items.

A while ago Meaty Matters interviewed friends and fellow vegan activists James O’Donovan and Bronwyn Slater. Bronwyn considers herself somewhat of a ‘scolding’ type, but James tells us he’s perfectly willing to fix his mother a chicken sandwich if that’s what she really wants; ‘Judging others is just a drag anyway’.

Bronwyn runs the organisations Irish Vegan and Cork Vegans, and has been part of the movement to get more vegan choices on menus. There’s also been an explosion of vegan groups on Facebook in Ireland. There are two different foundations for veganism in that one can be primarily involved in ethics, refusing even to buy products that have been tested on animals, or be more concerned with individual dietary health and welfare. As we wrote in our last entry, there is much disagreement over whether we humans actually need meat to get the necessary protein and nutrients. James claims that some studies show that a vegan diet can easily include enough protein, but both he and Bronwyn agree that changing to a vegan diet necessitates a greater nutritional awareness.
Have you experienced changes, good or bad, from going on a vegetarian or vegan diet? Write to us here on Meaty Matters or to sandyandersen@gmail.com and we’ll discuss it!

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