Everybody who has switched to the vegan diet/lifestyle has switched for a reason. Some people do it for the health benefits, some others do it for the environment. Or, in the case of this one researcher, you’ll do it for the animals.
Two years ago, Cambridge University archaeologist Dr. Pía Spry-Marqués committed herself to the plant-based lifestyle, after researching the history of pork.
“Every vegan seems to have their own lightbulb moment when something clicked and they stopped eating animal products,” said Dr. Spry-Marqués, who is originally from Spain.
“My son was born three years ago and I was nursing him. People looked at me funny for breastfeeding my child, and yet it was fine to drink lattes with cow’s milk, or eat chocolate spread,” she told The Independent.
“I started thinking about how it’s weird to drink cow’s milk. I was writing the book and researching factory farming and pigs nursing piglets and it was all too much. I decided that I would go vegan the next day. And that was it.”
Dr. Spry-Marqués immersed herself into the history of pork, from the Paleolithic era to today, and learned about how pigs are empathetic, sentient beings. According to The Independent, she also learned “about the extremities of industrial farming, where pigs are castrated without pain relief and kept in harsh, cramped conditions. And how the byproducts of this process end up in all sorts of items from paint brushes to medical gauze to yoghurts to china.”
Dr. Spry-Marqués talked to us a little bit about the history of pork in her book: Pig/Pork: Archaeology, Zoology, Edibility. However, she failed to mention much about the food she was eating.
“The only time I saw pigs were the dead piglets on display in Spanish butchers, or legs of ham in restaurants and bars,” she said. “But you’re so disengaged it doesn’t shock you to see their pale soft skin on the counter. Now I think about it, it shocks me that it didn’t shock me before.”
“I love Iberico ham. I love chorizo. But it’s just not worth it,” she added.
Some history that we can learn from Dr. Spry-Marqués is that porks were first domesticated in Turkey around 9,000 years ago.
“Now we think of that region as pig free, but it is actually where it all began.”
Pigs were domesticated in China as well, one thousand years later. It has also been suggested that a reason why Jews and Muslims do not eat pork is to differentiate between religions. However, transporting the meat could also have been a part of it.
Now, two years after converting to veganism, Dr. Spry-Marqués says she feels healthier, just like most other people who convert to the vegan diet.
Interested in going vegan? Check out many great vegan recipes here to get started!