I was sitting in Café Del Sol on a sunny Saturday in June the first time I realised I was interested in eating less meat. I was spending the afternoon with my friend Sadi, and we decided to meet for coffee. She ordered almond milk with her drink. I was interested.
She explained to me that she had been a vegetarian who ate no meat for a long time, but had recently made the switch to eating a vegan diet that included no animal-derived products — meat, cheese, eggs, etc. I made the typical vegan jokes — you can Google most of them — and said I didn’t mind as long as she didn’t “try and convert me.”
She didn’t. She told me that she had some knowledge that she wanted to share with me and that was that. No obligation. She shared with me details of the role that animal agriculture has on our environment and the positive health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Sadi told me, for example, that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. I wanted to know more before committing to eating less meat, or in my terms, being meat-less. The transition to not eating meat was slow, but it started with a community: The CaymanVeggieVegan Facebook page was my best local resource. It was the chatroom of my dreams, especially in answering my questions:
Is oat milk on special anywhere? — “Someone posted that yesterday. Try Bay Market first.”
Favourite vegan dish at Pani Indian Kitchen? — 16 comments in one hour.
Any recommendations for a vegan cooking class? “Everyone loved the Chef Express class at Bon Vivant with Chef Maureen Cubbon!”
Once I knew where I could get my guidance, advice and weekly specials, my next step was figuring out how to eat.
Books & Books has a huge range of vegan cookbooks and even has some helpful vegan staff, too. I found my favourite cookbook was “Thug Kitchen,” a down-and-dirty cookbook that made vegan eating look tasty and cool. Spoiler alert: it is.
At that point I had figured out how to live a meat-less life, where to shop and what my options were for eating and living the lifestyle of my choice. However, I was missing the “why.”
I sought more knowledge and found it in documentaries like “Cowspiracy.” The film recounts our human desire to do more to help our environment and states that one of the biggest contributions we can make is eating less meat. The film is available on most streaming platforms, like Netflix, for free.
I remember feeling daunted on the journey from meat-less to meatless, a little over two years ago now. It probably seems daunting to others who just want to eat less meat. My recommendation is to remember that while your contribution, whether it’s one meatless meal or living a vegan lifestyle, is making a difference. It may feel like a drop in the bucket, but eventually, even that bucket
Dart’s Green Team has identified September as its “Meat-Less Month,” during which it will encourage staff members to eat less meat. HR Coordinator Alanna Warwick-Smith is the deputy chairperson of Dart’s Green Team.