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A Magazine for Sheffield

The Vegans Are Coming

I must admit to being vegan and a bit embarrassed about it. I made the decision to avoid meat, eggs and dairy products years ago, but also decided not to mention it to other people unless I'm asked, because it makes some feel awkward or guilty. Perhaps they've seen movies loaded with McDonalds product placements, portraying vegan characters as cranky and holier-than-thou, out to convert everyone and take over the world with non-leather whips. Perhaps that's just my imagination, but I don't want to condemn anyone else. It's their choice, and I know it's sometimes cheaper or quicker to eat non-vegan, especially in inner city areas. Each to their own, but veganism's been great for me. Personal motivations for going vegan can vary. Health reasons, concern for animals and the planet, mistrust of the food industry - these all count. There are no killer arguments against it, unless you're in some life or death starvation situation. Growing crops to feed to cattle is clearly less efficient land usage than simply eating crops, so I decided that, for me, veganism was simply logical. The 'need' for meat as a source of protein is a myth. There have always been healthy vegetarians around to prove this since the dawn of history. Well, at least since the start of Jainism in India some 3,000 years ago. I mention all this because next month the Vegan Approach returns to our brilliant city. It's a month-long event introducing people to vegan lifestyles. It kicks off with an introductory workshop and free vegan food fair (4 June, Quaker Meeting House). Anyone can join in and get free samples, resources and mentors to help learn nutrition, recipes and guidance on meat-free living for vegan beginners. It's a really practical way to help people to think and learn about their diet. If you're already vegan and could lend a hand, get in touch. Nowadays there's a large selection of good vegan food available, especially in Sheffield (see the very useful listings at The Blue Moon Café near the Cathedral deserves a special mention for being excellent. Many other restaurants are vegan friendly, such as the new Humpit hummus and pita bread bar on Leopold Street. Pure on Raw in Shalesmoor goes even further and offers meals with no cooking. Raw food techniques include sprouting and juicing using ingredients you've never heard of. Believe me, it's delicious and very nutritious. Veganism means using no animal products at all, so you can get great quality non-leather footwear from Guat Shoes in Crookes. There's even a local wool-free knitting website, There are numerous regular, tasty vegan get-togethers in Sheffield as well. Finally, Sheffield Vegan Festival is coming up in July at Cutlers' Hall. This happens around the country but it's a first for Sheffield. It promises to be really interesting, with speakers including vegan athletes and environmental activists. OK, this article is a load of militant pro-vegan propaganda, as if vegan extremists are trying to take over the world with tofu. Actually, writing this was cathartic. I think I've just lost my embarrassment about being vegan. Now, where's my non-leather whip? Sheffield-Estelí Bike Ride Sun 15 May | 8-10am departures | Hallamshire Squash & Tennis Club Sheffield's twin town of Estelí is in Nicaragua, one of the world's poorest countries. In solidarity, mutual visits, educational, environmental, arts and children's projects are funded by this annual ride. Sponsor and cheer the riders on from just next to Endcliffe Park as they head into Derbyshire. Dirt! The Movie Wed 25 May | 7pm | Central United Reformed Church Free screening of a film narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis on the environment, economics and socio-politics of soil, and the power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with the ground. The film follows Global Justice Now's short AGM (6:30pm) and newcomers are very welcome. )

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