For me it has been a natural progression during my life.
One of my jobs at around 10 years old was making deliveries for a local butcher on a Saturday in my (then) local town of Dorking. An eight mile bike-ride from home to Dorking, wrapping labelling and packing the orders into the basket of the shop-bike, the journey on the delivery bike and then the eight mile bike-rid back home – all that for about £0.67 – decimal currency equivalent. That job was an enjoyable job, particularly the interaction with the customers. Times were tough back then, so the actual amount of meat in my family’s diet was not great – we simply couldn’t afford anything but the cheaper meats, e.g. mince, sausages, offal etc.
I emigrated to Australia in the early 1960’s and spent the next 10 years eating a pretty normal diet that certainly included a significant amount of fish and meat products. By the mid 70’s, I had moved to New Zealand and was climbing the management ladder. I was married and with the birth of son number one, we decided to quit the city and move to a rural area at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. That was the first time my life that I had ever had hands-on experience of the entire meat production industry; from farming right through to slaughtering and processing.
By the 80’s following major changes in NZ agriculture and horticulture industries I returned to business life – and back in the city. Promotion to mid management level followed and in the late 90’s another stage in my business life was unfolding – mounting a few steps further up the ladder and a move back to the UK.
I retired just after the start of the new millennium, and became self-employed as an on-line sign-maker. Alas, I was unable to reap any major benefit from the business as within three years my health took a turn for the worse. Osteoarthritis in my hands had worsened in particular, which was the start point. Other ailments though were waiting in the wings, and reared their heads in subsequent years – hyperthyroidism and angina as a result of clogged arteries. Appropriate medication plus two heart operations (insertion of stents in narrowed cardiac arteries) resulted in effective remedies. In 2013 however I was suddenly confronted with serious fatigue as well prostate cancer.
In the early stages of my ailments in the second year of the millennium I started researching on-line as well as in books and similar literature to learn more about health and nutrition – each ailment that I had had (and was still) dogging me seemed to have a ‘nutrition‘ dimension. So, out went the saturated fats and in came low fat (skimmed) milk, olive oil spread. It brought very much to front of my mind what I saw (and still see!) as moral and ethical issues with the farming of animals specifically for subsequent slaughter and the harvesting of an ever decreasing population of fish stocks.
So, I took the decision to not eat any more meat or fish, and no more pre-packaged ready-meals. In came hand-made meals from natural and healthy ingredients. Organic ingredients and foods, salads, vegetables and natural fruits. By 2010 I had became a vegetarian and since then I have never looked back.
The battle with prostate cancer in 2013 though, was an enormously stressful time, but after monthly hormone injections over six months, followed by a further month of daily radiography sessions it seems that that battle just might be over. Time will tell. One day at a time.
Vegetarianism combined with daily healthy exercise activities has meant that I am now fitter and healthier than I have ever been in my life.
The only ongoing item is the fatigue issue. That is now my focus.