Vegan thoughts with Jake

Jake Yapp on breaking bones and grape misdemeanours

A report came out a couple of months ago saying that vegans were 43 per cent more likely to break a bone than omnivores. There was a lot of theorising about less calcium and all that stuff, but my theory is that we're more likely to be in the Fruit and Vegetable aisle of a supermarket, and therefore we're more likely to slip on a grape.

That's a thing, apparently. Supermarket managers live in a constant grape-sweat. Grapes are well slippery. Of course, no mention was made of meat and dairy consumers rates of heart disease or bowel cancer or, you know. All that.

What a report like that does, of course, is to open an escape window for the consciences of those omnivores uncomfortable enough to have a vague sense that what they're doing is wrong.

WELL I CAN'T GO VEGAN BECAUSE MY AUNTY VI BROKE HER HIP THAT TIME IN 1987 SO I'M AT RISK AND ANYWAY I COULDN'T GIVE UP CHEESE I AM SORRY. Phewwww. How relieved they must have been. It does raise a question of where one's personal line gets drawn in veganism.

The thought of my kid being ill and there being questionable products in his medicine is easily enough for me to break out in grape-sweats, but I suspect there isn't really a vegan in the UK that hasn't handled banknotes out of the principle that they contain a tiny trace amount of animal tallow.

The truth is, it's hard to be an absolutist vegan. And this is what the conscience-pricked Omni will gleefully latch onto: you can't live a life with zero animal harm as a by-product, so you might as well do what you want to do and eat what you want to eat. We're all as bad as each other.

Well, OBVIOUSLY, I disagree. I think an important component of this is intent. My intent, with the life I lead, is to be someone who causes little harm.

(I latched onto this when I saw an episode of the landmark TV show Face to Face as a teenager. Paul Eddington - Jerry in The Good Life - was being interviewed.

He had terminal cancer, and the interviewer asked him how he'd like to be remembered. He said 'It sounds a bit silly, really, but I hope I'm remembered as some who didn't do much harm'... or words to that effect. It really stuck with me).

I can't grow all my own food and harvest it by hand, and it's a sad truth that small animals are often harmed in the harvesting of crops.

The reality is that I can't avoid eating those crops, short of setting up a hydroponic courgette farm in my bathroom.

Striving to do little harm feels like a realistic goal, rather than throwing out the whole endeavour because a little harm is inevitable. Otherwise where do we stop?

Does the tuberculosis virus have rights? I don't think the increased risk of a broken bone is ever meaningfully going to cause a vegan to give pause.

Most vegans are used to a degree of trade-off when it comes to health or convenience versus our values. We'll just have to be more careful, I guess.

And if ever I do end up in hospital with a shattered pelvis, um it'd be lovely if you were to come and visit. Just maybe don't bring any grapes...

Group of young people practicing yoga In the prayer position at gym, Concept of relaxation and meditation
Group of young people practicing yoga In the prayer position at gym, Concept of relaxation and meditation

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The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.