The February Edition of The Vegan View

February is a sign of a few things like Valentine’s Day or the closing month of summer. But one thing that stands out from the bunch is that February means deep-diving in to the vegan way of thinking. Well, that’s what the news is signalling to me, anyway.

There is still an abundance of vegan news coming through electronically, which is a sign that anything plants-related is still on the up. From well-known brands opening green-forward stores, to reviews of new vegan establishments, the vegan news isn’t going away any time soon. And that’s a good thing!

Meat and masculinity: why is this conversation still happening?

Broadsheet was quick to report on their new study where 36 Australian men were interviewed on their thoughts on food. Before they were interviewed, the men visited vegan restaurants in Sydney and tried a plant-based burger. Now, I know plant-based and vegan may not always be the same thing. Still, the results were a little staggering.

Broadsheet’s study found that “none of these men, who usually eat animal meat four to five times a week or more, were likely to include plant-based alternatives in their diets permanently.” This is because the respondents have established a strong link between animal meat and their own masculinity. One respondent was quoted as saying that plant-based burgers were “ruining [his] reputation as a man”.

Do non-vegan men still have an issue with a plant-based or even vegan diet? Apparently so. Are societal norms and expectations to blame? Personally, I think so. You can read the full article and additional findings here to make up your own mind.

Surely this would have a negative effect on mental health?

The sad answer to this question would be a resounding yes. Imagine having to uphold society’s view of you at the expense of your own health? It’s a shocking reality yet it would be beneficial for men to discover the benefits if incorporating more plants into their diet. This would mean that breaking stigmas can actually be a bonus for physical and mental health.

According to Women’s Health this month, anyone can help their mental health plan along with “mood foods” such as colourful vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and healthy fats. The full benefits can be found in their brief yet affirming article.

So, how can this be achieved even further?

By eating and not giving a damn what others think, of course! There are heaps of recipes out there this month, such as Sanitarium’s acai and pomegranate breakfast bowl or Weet Bix bliss balls.

Plus, it’s as easy as going to a vegan restaurant that flips the thinking around how vegan ‘meat’ is prepared. Just like Smith & Daughters 2.0 where fire-based cooking and the smell of smoky barbeque are found.

We can all do with a little of Shannon Martinez’s “rogue mentality”, as documented in her interview with SBS Food. But don’t take my word for it. Check out this latest review of the venue over at Good Food. Smith & Daughters 2.0 has also become Australia’s first ever hatted vegan restaurant.

Final thoughts…

Anti-establishment is how you get the establishment to listen. And it’s here where true social change happens. We can all change perceptions by being the change we want to see in the world so the rest of the world listens. This includes all of us – men, women, non-binary…You name it!

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