Response to Katrina Stokes Article About Vegans

6 minute read

According to Katrina Stokes, writing for The Advertiser:

Christmas is just not Christmas without glazed ham or juicy turkey topped with lashings of gravy from the gravy boat that gets used once a year.

Katrina, you’re wrong. I, personally, had a wonderful time with my family this December, spending time together, and reconnecting (even over food!), which is becoming increasingly important with our busy lives which tend to steal us away from the people that matter to us.

Myself, or my entire family did not participate in your version of Christmas, yet we still had a wonderful time together. This is a much more important part of Christmas than eating a dead bird which one unfortunate member of your family had to shove their arm into.

The entire menu is a complete no-go zone for vegans. So, what on Earth are they eating this Sunday?

To start with, Jamie Oliver and friends have a bunch of delicious, vegan, Christmas focused recipes.

Personally, I overdosed on way too many gingerbread cookies before eating far too much delicious homemade curry, and finishing it off with some divine cookies and cream ice cream.

Gingerbread Cookies

The point is, eating vegan does not mean you have to restrict yourself to salads and celery sticks.

There is an entire spectrum of non-animal-based food choices out there, from delicious, healthy whole plant recipes, to naughty, fatty, salty, disgusting (but oh so good) meals.

Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan

If you’re unsure whether a recipe can be made vegan, google the recipe, and add the word “vegan” before or after the search terms. You will find something delicious and animal-free.

Anyway, moving on.

A colleague told me this week her daughter (who has a soft spot for KFC chicken nuggets) is under peer pressure to turn vegan because all her friends are doing it.

I don’t know what school your colleague’s children go to, but it sounds a lot different to when I went to school. Peer pressure to be kind to others? It sounds like that school’s doing a pretty good job.

On the other hand, for every kid “pressuring” somebody into going vegan, there are one hundred others telling the vegan that they’re weird, making obnoxious chicken noises as they shove their faces full of meat, and saying that the vegan kid is gross/unhealthy/etc.

It’s concerning that so many people going vegan are young, uninformed, impressionable teenagers, many of whom are converting before they know the real consequences to their lives and their health. It’s a movement being fed by peer pressure from friends, social media, bloggers and celebrities.

Yes, there are bad eggs out there. There are people telling you that all you need to do to be healthy and look attractive is to eat just bananas and potatos.

But you know what else there is? Paleo people telling you that you can eat all of the meat you want and you’ll be healthy.

The problem is obviously our obsession with weight and get-fit quick schemes. Take away “crazy” people pushing their vegan diets, and you still have crazy people pushing their meat-fest diets, and their juice-fast diets.

Vegans aren’t the problem here.

The mere fact that the Tofurky makers have included turkey in the name is strange given meat is taboo

They’re trying to create products (that taste pretty good, by the way) that appeal to people who care about animal exploitation, but can’t yet give up the traditions they have at Christmas time.

Eating dead animals is taboo, saying that something is a replacement/alternative to turkey meat, is in no way taboo. It’s helpful.

I’d personally rather eat cardboard.

You say that, but have you tried it? No? Then you obviously have no idea, and your personal opinion is based off of nothing, and therefore, worth nothing.

We’re talking about young bodies that are still growing. This includes bones that need dairy, bodies that need protein, iron and vitamins and brains that need sustenance for thinking and studying and for important exams. It’s not a time to be limiting food groups just for the sake of being cool or because everyone’s doing it.


bones that need dairy


Oh, right, you meant calcium?

Hmmm, wrong again.

Vegan calcium

Right, but calcium in milk has a higher rate of absorbtion, right?

Wrong, sorry.

As for all of the other things you’ve suggested that kids can’t get on a vegan diet (the usual suspects, iron, protein, vitamins), according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary, it’s not a problem:

Australians following a vegetarian diet can still meet nutrient requirements if energy needs are met and the appropriate number and variety of serves from the Five Food Groups are eaten throughout the day. For those eating a vegan diet, supplementation of B12 is recommended.

B12 supplementation is recommended, not iron, protein, or any other vitamins.

Current Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend “children and adolescents eat sufficient, nutritious foods to grow and develop normally”. These include a “wide variety” of foods from five groups, including cardinal sins for vegans such as eggs, poultry, milk and yoghurt.

You’re right, that we should eat from the five food groups, however there is no “eggs” food group, nor is there a “poultry”, “milk” or “yoghurt” food group. No food groups need be neglected on a vegan diet.

Food groups

See, every single food group contains options for a vegan diet, even in the pictures.

Don’t make it out like a vegan diet is unhealthy. A vegan diet CAN be unhealthy, but then, the Standard American/Australian Diet is the most unhealthy of all. A diet including meat CAN be healthy, as can a vegan diet.

Then there are the social issues of being vegan. Every friendship group has that one friend who is self-imposed “gluten-free” for absolutely no reason.

Gluten-free ≠ Vegan, just so you know.

Then take veganism, which is about 50 notches above that. You know, that person who orders their meal and says “can I please have the supreme pizza with a gluten- free base, no cheese, no ham, no salami, no anchovies … and does it contain eggs?!”. What a boring, tasteless existence.

Boring and tasteless? I don’t know what vegan food you’ve eaten, but obviously you’re quite closed-minded, otherwise you would realise that you can create and eat delicious food without any animal products whatsoever.

Fast forward to today and the idea of eating vegan is being rammed down kids’ throats …

"You never lamb alone"

Remember this?

Maybe you’ve heard of a company called “McDonald’s”? Pretty sure they use advertising once in a while to meet their goals, and they’re definitely not worried about advertising to children…

Mums and dads are stuck between a rock and a hard place when faced with their child telling them they’re becoming vegan. They must assert their authority, hold firm and inform their children that it’s not necessarily a healthy way of life.

Eating meat is also not, necessarily a healthy way of life, yet that’s forced upon the huge majority of children living in Australia.

If you really care about your child, you will not blindly shut down what they’re telling you. Perhaps you could do some proper research, learn the proper way to eat (it’s not hard, I promise), and help your kid out.

At this time of year, we should take time to reflect on those less fortunate who would no doubt love to eat a triple-smoked ham on Sunday but simply can’t afford it.

If you’re worried about people that are going hungry, you shold know that there is enough grain to feed the world’s population, which is fed to farm animals.

If people weren’t so entrenched in their meat-eating ways, every single person on this earth could eat enough food to sustain themselves.

It’s a stark reminder to everyone that we should enjoy life and that includes eating that piece of full-fat, stinky, oozy cheese without the guilt trip.

Again, you can have disgusting, fatty, oily foods without them needing to come from animals.

Health Nazi ≠ Vegan

We only get one life, so why not live it in moderation and live it well.

The animals being killed for your food indulgences only live once also, and they love their life.

There is no stinky, oozy cheese that tastes good enough to take somebody else’s life away.


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