Jamie Oliver on Veganism & Vegetarianism

For many people in the English-speaking world, Jamie Oliver is something of a food hero. He has encouraged people to cook at home with his ’15 minute meals’, he overhauled school dinners which were previously devoid in nutrition. He always seems to be on the right side of the fence. He has championed organic food for fifteen years, long before many of us caught on to the benefits of organic. In this clip, he discusses his stance on veganism and vegetarianism.

Jamie Oliver – Veganism

"The future is about a plant based diet" – Jamie Oliver Interview by Tim Shieff – Check out the full interview

Posted by Vegan View on Friday, August 11, 2017

Jamie Oliver knows that he is an influencer in the food industry and he’s using his position to make positive change in the world. He’s not only a very likable character, he is intelligent. He knows that the future of food is plant-based, he acknowledges that the future of his health is also plant-based. He quotes a statistic that claims ‘good’ vegan & vegetarian diets typically add 6-7 years to one’s life. He discusses meat-eaters eating less meat, not necessarily cutting meat out entirely. He himself eats vegan twice a week.

“The future is about a plant-based diet, even for the meat-eaters”

–Jamie Oliver

This argument really resonates with me. Surely we can encourage more people to eat less meat by being reasonable, by understanding their frame of mind. Meat eaters eat meat because it’s what they’ve always eaten, or because they love the taste, or because they genuinely see no reason not to. If we approach meat-eaters, all guns blazing, trying to shock and guilt-trip them into instantly becoming radical vegans, it won’t always work. I accept that and I understand that. It took me years to gradually transition to eating less meat to eventually desiring to eat none. Why should I expect someone to see a photo of a slaughterhouse and have a 180º change of mind. It’s too fast, it’s too much to ask. Some people reflect less about the food that they put in their body, some people reflect more. We can open conversations and answer questions but at the end of the day, people need to come to their own conclusions.

There will always be the argument that the planet doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for everyone to take their time to transition to eating less meat. That said, I don’t view forcing everyone to turn vegan overnight as a realistic alternative. It’s ideal, perhaps, but it’s not realistic. I have had many conversations with meat-eaters in the last few years and learned, to my surprise, that even the most avid meat-lovers are starting to incorporate more plants into their diets, and less meat. They’re voluntarily coming to their own conclusions and finding a happy-medium that suits them. Who is to say that it’s not the start of a transition to no meat? For example, one day, a meat-eater opts for a sandwich with cheese, instead of their usual meat sandwich. They enjoy their lunch and then they realise it was a vegetarian lunch. ‘Oh that wasn’t so bad actually’. Just like that, a seed is planted in the mind. People are open to change I believe, but we need time to adjust.

If you’re already vegetarian or vegan, that’s impressive and that’s something of an achievement, but you are not better than anyone else. If you truly believe in the cause, find a way to communicate with meat-eaters. Have a discourse. Listen, don’t lecture. That’s how I see us progressing. To use a cliché, sometimes actions speak louder than words. Cook a reallllly good vegan/vegetarian meal or bake a vegan treat. Share plant-based food with others and afterwards mention that it was vegan, or vegetarian. I like to make delicious food to share with people, and I don’t present it as weird vegan food full of conotations. I present it as a ‘chocolate cake’ or whatever it may be and once people have complimented the taste, I reveal that it’s vegan, or it’s dairy-free, or egg-free. Once I have them snared, I’m like ‘oh yeah btw that was vegan LOL you just ate vegan chocolate cake and enjoyed it! Don’t tell me vegan food is terrible!’

The full interview is here if this interests you:

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  • Reply
    Roisin O'Flaherty
    August 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Really interesting article Kirstyn! I hadn’t seen this video yet. Delighted to have been educated a little bit more. Thanks for your food enthusiasm!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks a million Róisín, I’m happy to see this kind of conversation go mainstream. Likewise, thank you to you for opening my eyes to another sustainable food route. I’m still telling people about your cricket flour brownies 😉

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