I warned my wife when we first met that although she does not drink, smoke, party or eat meat, I have always been infamous for all of those things. I am a boy from the bush, the son of a stud cattle farmer. My beautiful wife launched and grew a global charity called Meat Free Week .

“She does what?” roared my father ‘Rockin Rod’, from the tables at our wedding, interrupting my speech, but bringing a hundred people to fits of laughter. It had, until then, been our little secret…

Our lives are so different, but opposites do attract and what my wife and I have created together in just four years has been nothing short of amazing. She has taught me so much.

We are vegan and vegetarian at home, which is something I never in a million years thought I would embrace.  I am sure my family and friends are still in shock. And yes, I am verging on vegan, as my wife and her best friend and business partner Melissa (who co-created Meat Free Week), launch THE VEGAN COMPANY.

I am someone who was raised on meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I have seen first hand the destruction of thousands of acres of Amazon rainforest in order to grow grain crops to feed the cattle that become our food. I have been shocked and amazed at the damage the process of growing the meat we eat does to our planet.

Recently, I took my intention to a whole new level. I undertook a 21 day fast at a Santosa retreat in Phuket, Thailand. This Five Star retreat had me on One week of raw foods, one week of no food, one week of juice only, twenty one days of colonics, yoga, meditation, health and well being workshops and personal training.

It amazed me how light I felt. Not only did I lose 10 kilos in 21 days, but I felt lighter in every way – mind, body and soul. What really amazed me was the quality of vegan food offered – it was better than any Five Star restaurant I’ve eaten at (and I have dined out all over the world for 30 years). At Santosa the chef is a Michelin Star and the food is to-die-for, but you don’t have to be a highly trained chef to create delicious and amazing vegan meals (just check out the recipes on this site!).

I’ll admit that old habits do die hard. I have slipped up on occasion. I have enjoyed being vegetarian at home and on retreats and then ordered organic steak or seafood at a restaurant. But these days, if I do consume meat, I hate the way it makes me feel – so heavy, rather than the lightness I feel from eating a plant-based diet.

As humans, we tend to eat mindlessly. We eat for the sake of eating, not because we are hungry. A lot of the time, we eat meat because we think we have to. A lot of the time we overeat, over-consume, over-use, overdose, over and out …

 

I am back in Thailand again now and on a health kick of vegan proportions. Koh Phangan, where I am right now, is known as the Vegan Island and I have been trying as many of the local delicacies as possible. Karpun kap, thank you very much.

A few nights ago, a lovely Thai lady treated me and a few other travellers to a beautiful buffet of fresh local produce. We devoured fruits and vegetables sourced from the forest out back of our bungalow. It was all vegan and so tasty. Even an old meat eater like me was completely satisfied.

I know that becoming vegan is better for the planet, better for the animals and better for my health. It is a battle for a boy from the bush like me.  But you don’t know what you don’t know, and then when you do know it is very hard to ignore.

I’d suggest if like me, you sometimes have trouble sticking to your intent, that you watch some of the latest documentaries about what meat consumption (and over consumption of everything) is doing to us and our world. Some great suggestions are Coswpiracy, Earthlings, What the Health, Before the Flood, Food inc., Live and Let Live and Vegucated.

Following that, do what you feel is right for you, for others, for our children and our children’s children. I have learnt so much from these factual films and from websites like meatfreeweek.org and thevegancompany.love.  I love to share, and I plan on writing about my journey from Carnivore to Vegan on here often. Please come along for the ride and offer any hints you’d like to share with me and everyone at The Vegan Company.

 

About the Author

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WHO AM I … I am an open book … My name is Matt Towner and I am incredibly lucky. I recently launched my first book in my home town and beachside alternative arts centre of Australia, Byron Bay. One of the main speakers at the Byron Writers Festival, an award winning author, explained that it took him seven years to even have a publisher call him back. I was lucky enough to have a three book deal internationally within seven weeks. I feel very lucky and happy to say that I always have been very lucky in more ways than one.

My dream since I was a child has been to travel the world as a writer. I just never sat still long enough and life kept getting in the way. I still fight these challenges today. But to have a three book deal and more to come and having published some of my fellow authors, my next dream is to convert some of my stories to film and television.​
My stories are a celebration of alternative culture, following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson, Terrence McKenna and others who have travelled this world before me and whom I honour and respect and my stories are adventure travel stories with a sense of humour which I hope that all enjoy.

Visit: matttowner.com

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