This is the woman I love!

Today is our anniversary.

Yes, November 20th, 2010 was the day we became married.

And in celebration of that day, and more generally in meeting Jean some three years previously, I want to republish the following. For when I met my darling Jeannie she had been vegetarian for many years and in turn we both became vegan.


Why people become vegans: The history, sex and science of a meatless existence

By    Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Oregon

November 19, 2018

At the age of 14, a young Donald Watson watched as a terrified pig was slaughtered on his family farm. In the British boy’s eyes, the screaming pig was being murdered. Watson stopped eating meat and eventually gave up dairy as well.

Later, as an adult in 1944, Watson realized that other people shared his interest in a plant-only diet. And thus veganism – a term he coined – was born.

Flash-forward to today, and Watson’s legacy ripples through our culture. Even though only 3 percent of Americans actually identify as vegan, most people seem to have an unusually strong opinion about these fringe foodies – one way or the other.

As a behavioral scientist with a strong interest in consumer food movements, I thought November – World Vegan Month – would be a good time to explore why people become vegans, why they can inspire so much irritation and why many of us meat-eaters may soon join their ranks.

Early childhood experiences can shape how we feel about animals – and lead to veganism, as it did for Donald Watson. HQuality/

It’s an ideology not a choice

Like other alternative food movements such as locavorism, veganism arises from a belief structure that guides daily eating decisions.

They aren’t simply moral high-grounders. Vegans do believe it’s moral to avoid animal products, but they also believe it’s healthier and better for the environment.

Also, just like Donald Watson’s story, veganism is rooted in early life experiences.

Psychologists recently discovered that having a larger variety of pets as a child increases tendencies to avoid eating meat as an adult. Growing up with different sorts of pets increases concern for how animals are treated more generally.

Thus, when a friend opts for Tofurky this holiday season, rather than one of the 45 million turkeys consumed for Thanksgiving, his decision isn’t just a high-minded choice. It arises from beliefs that are deeply held and hard to change.

Sutton and Sons is a vegan fish and chip restaurant in London. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Veganism as a symbolic threat

That doesn’t mean your faux-turkey loving friend won’t seem annoying if you’re a meat-eater.

The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain famously quipped that meat avoiders “are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”

Why do some people find vegans so irritating? In fact, it might be more about “us” than them.

Most Americans think meat is an important part of a healthy diet. The government recommends eating 2-3 portions (5-6 ounces) per day of everything from bison to sea bass. As tribal humans, we naturally form biases against individuals who challenge our way of life, and because veganism runs counter to how we typically approach food, vegans feel threatening.

Humans respond to feelings of threat by derogating outgroups. Two out of 3 vegans experience discrimination daily, 1 in 4 report losing friends after “coming out” as vegan, and 1 in 10 believe being vegan cost them a job.

Veganism can be hard on a person’s sex life, too. Recent research finds that the more someone enjoys eating meat, the less likely they are to swipe right on a vegan. Also, women find men who are vegan less attractive than those who eat meat, as meat-eating seems masculine.

The fake meat at one Fort Lauderdale restaurant supposedly tastes like real meat. AP Photo/J. Pat Carter

Crossing the vegan divide

It may be no surprise that being a vegan is tough, but meat-eaters and meat-abstainers probably have more in common than they might think.

Vegans are foremost focused on healthy eating. Six out of 10 Americans want their meals to be healthier, and research shows that plant-based diets are associated with reduced risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and Type 2 diabetes.

It may not be surprising, then, that 1 in 10 Americans are pursuing a mostly veggie diet. That number is higher among younger generations, suggesting that the long-term trend might be moving away from meat consumption.

In addition, several factors will make meat more costly in the near future.

Meat production accounts for as much as 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and clear-cutting for pasture land destroys 6.7 million acres of tropical forest per year. While some debate exists on the actual figures, it is clear that meat emits more than plants, and population growth is increasing demand for quality protein.

Seizing the opportunity, scientists have innovated new forms of plant-based meats that have proven to be appealing even to meat-eaters. The distributor of Beyond Meat’s plant-based patties says 86 percent of its customers are meat-eaters. It is rumored that this California-based vegan company will soon be publicly traded on Wall Street.

Even more astonishing, the science behind lab-grown, “cultured tissue” meat is improving. It used to cost more than $250,000 to produce a single lab-grown hamburger patty. Technological improvements by Dutch company Mosa Meat have reduced the cost to $10 per burger.

Watson’s legacy

Even during the holiday season, when meats like turkey and ham take center stage at family feasts, there’s a growing push to promote meatless eating.

London, for example, will host its first-ever “zero waste” Christmas market this year featuring vegan food vendors. Donald Watson, who was born just four hours north of London, would be proud.

Watson, who died in 2006 at the ripe old age of 95, outlived most of his critics. This may give quiet resolve to vegans as they brave our meat-loving world.


Well all I can say is that if Donald Watson can do it then so can Jeannie and me.

26 thoughts on “This is the woman I love!

  1. I have been Vegan for a while now… Two years ago, a few months after starting my resolve not to eat animal products, but sort of relapsing here and there, I saw a Cardiologist sort of accidentally about my cholesterol levels which were a tad high. My totals had crept up to 5.8 mmol/l (225 mg/dl) and so he suggested a carotid artery ultrasound to check for arthresclerosis (mainly to put my mind at ease as he thought everything looked not too bad). Both he and I were a bit shocked to find several plaques. The Cardiologist asked me if I would like to go on statins (Lipitor) as both the plaques and my age indicated that it would be beneficial. I said no, and that I would continue my vegan diet and try to eat whole plant foods, not too much junk and see what happens.

    Two years and a bit on from that consultation, I had an EKG, stress test and a full doppler ultrasound on my carotid arteries. The latter took so long, that I was beginning to worry if the lab doctor had found something serious. Finally, she turned to me and after sitting up, she said, rather incredulously… Why did you want this scan? I paid for it in Thailand where the previous one had been done. I explained that the Cardiologist (also in Thailand) had suggested I have a followup. She told me that the previous results were on my records, she could not find the actual scan that had been done by the Cardiologist himself. I told her, that I had a printout, but had not thought to bring it with me. It indicated clearly where the plaques were. While not occluding the blood vessels, they were quite bad.

    The doctor said, shaking her head, “your arteries are totally clear… I can’t find anything… I checked every millimetre.” She went on, “Tell me what you did to get rid of the plaques. .. My doctor has told me I have very high cholesterol and my arteries are filling with plaques.” The woman was slim like me so she was shocked. I told her about my Vegan diet and that my cholesterol had dropped from 5.8 mmol/l to 3.5 mmol/l. She looked bewildered. I converted it. I dropped from 225 mg/dl to 135 mg/dl. Her eyes grew wide…” just with diet?” I nodded.

    “But it is so hard to give up meat,” she lamented, looking at me with tragic eyes. “No, I found it easy, and I haven’t missed meat. I just make sure that I get my protein from beans, legumes and nuts and I take methylcolbamine (B12). I told her that my husband eats lots of meat, but has been told that he is anemic and has low B12. I explained that factory farmed animals are not healthy for us. Better to eat healthy plant foods.

    Imagine… Me, telling a doctor how to be healthy!

    I have seen some awful images of cruelty inside factory farms. Terrible stuff that will never leave my psyche. Even if I weren’t healthy, and admittedly, my osteoporosis scores are nothing to crow about, I would never promote that cruelty by eating animal products again.

    Happy Thanksgiving can be held with all the fruits of Autumn… Pumpkins, squash, root vegetables, and all the harvests of summer plantings.
    They are the produce of sunshine, rain and soil nutrients. Animal products are now the product of living away from sunshine, away from healthy water, and fed a multitude of unnatural things and antibiotics (to stop them dying from disease). I know what I would rather have inside my body.

    Please, if you haven’t thought about a Vegan lifestyle like Paul and Jean, do so now. We are not weird people. We are caring people who see animals as an extension of our own selves, not a commodity to abuse and enslave for our palettes.


  2. Happy anniversary to you and Jean. Your wedding day is one day after my Birthday. So celebrations all round.
    May you both have more wonderful years together.


    1. Wow, Sue, there are some relationships on here that go back a long time. To say that I value them, Sue, is just to touch upon how special they are. And yours was one of the first to follow me, dear friend. Thank you for your greetings!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a LOVELY photo to remember your day! I so enjoy checking in every once in awhile and glad you are all well. I used to live in southern Oregon, you and some of your stories remind me of ‘home’… Good fortune to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glenda, did I know you used to be in Southern Oregon? But either way it’s good that you are reminded from time to time of this place. Thank you for your kind words!


      1. Yes! In both Jacksonville and Medford. Found the sweetest Dobermans of my days in Shady Cove and Cave Junction, a most unusual white Shepard from Southern Oregon Humane, and a stalwart Shepard/Collie in Grants Pass. Those roots are deep and abiding … And VERY pup-centric❤️ Are you cooking a tofurkey today?? Enjoy!


      2. I’m pretty forgetful these days, Glenda, but just love those stories of you and your dogs.

        No idea what we are having for our evening meal but certain that it will be delicious! You enjoy yours!


  4. Happy Anniversary Paul and Jean! Have a lovely vegan celebration! I’m mostly vegetarian with the inclusion of poultry and eggs. It’s a life sustaining diet for me approaching 80 years. Happy Thanksgiving! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Christine. The reason we went the final step to vegan is that whatever they put on the label it’s a long way from treating animals humanely. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

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