A few years ago, Ronan left the Iron Lady to live life and also to bite the apple in New-York. A reference in the world of marketing, he made a 360° turn 4 years ago by deciding to change his lifestyle and become Vegan. For this child of advertising and marketing, his Cinderella-like awakening as a former omnivore took place without Prince Charming, but alongside Morpheus in a 4D transposition of matrix.
He explains to me openly and without detour, his painful path, and this meeting with himself.
Feat-y: HELLO RONAN, COULD YOU ENLIGHTEN MY THANKS FOR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT THE VEGAN WAY OF LIFE REALLY IMPLIES?
Ronan: A Canadian vegan chef, Jean Philippe Cyr (The Buddhist Chef in English), who has a great sense of humor, defines it as: “no animals, no dairy and no friends.” (laughs)
People often confuse vegetarian, vegan and vegetarianism. The first two are diets. For the vegetarian no meat or fish. For the vegan nothing that comes from animal exploitation, so no eggs or milk either. The meat and milk industries are confused, in fact, and their techniques of animal exploitation are barbaric (forced insemination, killing of calves to be able to exploit the milk of the mother …).
In fact, a Vegan is a vegan who goes all the way and consumes absolutely nothing related to animal life. Vegans are extremely informed about the food industry. When I became a vegan, I realized that I was ignorant about a lot of things when I was working in marketing.
When you have that realization, it’s extremely violent. And some Vegans can sometimes have a hard time understanding that violence that they see when they have that awareness.
Veganism includes everything that concerns the respect of life and difference. There is a sentence that illustrates this well for me: “If you ask yourself what your position would have been regarding the abolition of slavery 200 years ago, don’t ask yourself what your position would be today regarding slavery and racism, but rather what your position would be today regarding speciesism and animal trafficking”. 200 years ago, slavery was still considered a “normal” practice, and more importantly, it was “legal”. Moral and legal are two different things. Those who fought against it were seen as lunatics, today no one with any intelligence questions it. The fight against speciesism is one and the same, the fight for the respect of life and difference, of all forms of life. Afterwards, not everyone should have the same rights, we agree that we are not going to give the right to vote or a driving license to a rabbit, it would be completely ridiculous and especially useless, what would he do with it? On the other hand this rabbit has the same right to live freely as any human being.
“The picture of the cliché of prehistoric man eating animals in his cave and dragging his wife by the hair is nonsense. “
Feat-y: YOU SEEM TO BE IN GREAT SHAPE, SMILING, AND WELL IN YOUR SHOES, YOU ARE VERY FAR FROM THE CLICHÉS CONVEYED ON THE SUBJECT
Ronan: The marketing professional is the one who will talk to you. It’s the marketing that puts in your head that meat is indispensable. The cliché of prehistoric man eating animals in his cave and dragging his wife by the hair is nonsense. Anthropologists have shown that meat was a very small part of their diet. We are descended from apes at the base, in fact we are an evolved branch of the great ape. And the great apes only eat 2% of meat, usually insects, as a matter of expediency. They eat mainly fruits, plants and vegetables or legumes. Prehistoric man was not vegan by conviction but by nature, hunting was a dangerous activity, therefore against nature and he simply ate what he was naturally made to eat. He started to hunt when he started to travel, especially in winter, when it is more difficult to find his food, it was a way of survival, not of life.
And from a physiological point of view we are herbivores, we are neither carnivores, nor omnivores as we have been falsely told for a long time: we have a herbivore jaw (flat teeth, jaw made to chew contrary to omnivores and carnivores), we have a herbivore digestive system, herbivore limbs (unless otherwise, we have hands with flat nails, no claws or talons for example), in short, we are herbivores…
And as for your question. It’s simple, since I became Vegan, I have lost 17 kilos. I used to run 5 to 6 km, not more, and since I became vegan I can run an ultra run of more than 50 km without worry. Carl Lewis is a vegan by the way, like the greatest athletes in the world. When you are vegan, you lose fat mass and not muscle mass. You are physically more efficient. Patrick Baboumian, the strongest man in the world, is vegan!
Feat-y: BETWEEN YOU AND ME (YES AND THE FEW READERS) WHICH HABIT WAS HARDER TO ERADICATE?
Ronan: In the products, the one that took me the longest was the eggs. Eggs are everywhere. Otherwise, I was a huge meat eater, for me, a meal was a steak with something around it to decorate.
When you say to yourself “I’m going to take the meat off my plate”, you see your plate, you think “shit, there’s only salad and fries left”!
There are 6 or 7 kinds of animals that we usually eat, the types of vegetables, fruits, legumes … there are nearly 20,000.
So you think, “Well, normally I should be able to get by and not starve.
The hardest thing, in the end, was to relearn how to eat, as our ancestors did, at a time when we ate natural products, those of the earth, we knew neither the pesticides, nor the cancer that goes with them.
I figured “if you take the chemicals that are in what you eat, would you drink the stuff? Well, no, of course not.
Feat-y: DID YOU HAVE A TRIGGER, DID YOU GET UP ONE MORNING AND SAY “WELL, IT’S DECIDED, I’M VEGAN” OR DID EVERYTHING HAPPEN GRADUALLY?
Ronan: It started with organic. I’m a scientist by training, and I’ve been working in marketing for 20 years. I thought to myself, “If you take the chemicals that are in what you eat, would you drink the stuff? Well, no, of course not”, the only reason I consume them is because I don’t see them, but they are there. So I turned first to organic food, simply for health reasons.
So I wanted to know more about where the food came from, how it was produced, and this is ultimately the path of the vegan, the one that consists in becoming aware of what he consumes, until realizing the obvious: we eat living beings that we should not eat, neither from a sanitary point of view, nor from an ethical point of view, nor from a moral point of view.
Then, what made me go vegan was one of the first videos of L214 in which I saw the treatment inflicted on animals in slaughterhouses, and I was shocked. I’ve been asking for information ever since.
Vegans are extremely well informed about the food industry and its abuses. This sometimes gives some Vegans the impression that they are not being listened to, they are simply trying to save lives, it is sometimes a difficult fight. Violence is absolutely not the solution, but it is still necessary to qualify what is violence. Is graffiti on a wall more violent than killing an innocent living being for fun? Than torturing a bull in an arena for example? Or raping a cow to get her pregnant and killing her calf to steal her milk? I don’t see the difference between killing a pig and killing a dog. A pig is even more intelligent than a dog, just as affectionate…
The psychic stress that makes people not want to hear this message is called “cognitive dissonance”, and it’s an area I’ve worked on extensively in my professional life as a marketer. It’s not natural to change. To change is to take a risk
Feat-y: WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHANGES THAT THIS LIFESTYLE HAS INVOLVED IN YOUR LIFE?
Ronan: It changes absolutely everything, starting with who you are. You realize that there are great evils in our society. These evils often have the same and unique cause, which is the non-respect of life. The fights against racism, sexism, sexualism, equality or speciesism are one and the same fight, that of the respect of life and difference. The biggest fight, the one that will have in my opinion a real impact, is the one of animal rights because antispeciesism is the most global: all these fights are those of the respect of the difference and to consider that each one has an equal right to live and to be respected, the non-human animal is the one whose differences are the most striking, when one is antispeciesist, generally one cannot be racist, homophobic or sexist for example.
On a personal level, you realize that you have become aware of something that the non-vegan person has not yet perceived: non-vegans sometimes feel attacked because it is an intellectual shock for them, it is a challenge to your culture, your beliefs, your traditions. The psychic stress that makes people not want to hear this message is called “cognitive dissonance”, an area I have worked on a lot in my professional life as a marketer. It’s not natural to change. To change is to take a risk. You don’t want to tell yourself that what you’re doing isn’t right. So the relationship with others is really hard to deal with. In nature, originally, we are animals who live in tribe, if you are excluded from the tribe you are dead! So even if you are right, you prefer to be wrong and to be alive in the tribe; that’s why we naturally give so much importance to the opinion of others. And we are all descendants of those who preferred to say nothing to stay in the tribe.
Professionally, for me, it’s even harder, I’ve been contributing to this for 20 years as a marketing professional, and I realize that in all of this there is sometimes a lot of fake.
Feat-y: I WILL BE INDISCREET, COULD YOU GIVE ME THE RECIPE OF ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE DISHES AS WELL AS THE WINE TO ACCOMPANY IT (YES, YES IT SEEMS THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS AN EPICUREAN)
Ronan:There are quite a few. I’m going to give you one that I made recently because I don’t have a favorite. It’s inspired by scallops that you replace with King Mushroom. You take the stems of the mushrooms, cut them into large “scallop” style strips. Lay them flat and shear them a little to grill them. You just brown them with a dash of olive oil and lemon juice. You can add some truffle or Espelette pepper. And you accompany with zucchini for example, or a salad. And for the wine, a white Burgundy, a Viré-Clissé for example, or a Meursault or a Puligny Montrachet if you have a bigger budget.
“Me, veganism has clearly given meaning to mine, I feel like I’ve taken the blue pill from Matrix”
Feat-y: IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW, AN INSPIRING PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? (YES I KNOW IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REST, BUT GOOD VIBRATIONS ARE IMPORTANT)
Ronan: I can’t give you one, there are many. There are many ways to approach the vegan cause. There are vegan warriors, there are those who protect, there are those who spread the message and communicate gently… I would say Jane Goodall, Paul Watson (the captain of Sea Shepherd who travels the seas to save whales), Joachim Phoenix, who has been vegan since he was a child. Greta Thunberg, I think this teenager is doing a great job, there is also Leonardo Di caprio, or Arnold Schwarzenneger, not as an actor (laughs), but as the governor of California, he is doing a great job to defend the environment and the animal cause.
Feat-y: IF I LEFT YOU A FREE CHOICE QUESTION, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY AND SHARE?
Ronan: More and more people, especially young people, are having trouble finding meaning in their lives. For me, veganism has clearly given a meaning to my life, I feel like I’ve taken the blue pill from The Matrix. It hurts at first, but then you can see things as they are and move on. It’s a great cause that everyone can participate in very easily. Moreover, the vegan community is close-knit, funny and very positive. In the Vegan community we are epicurean, we like to eat, to have sex, to drink, we live! Come and join us!
Feat-y: WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST OR MOST CURIOUS SITUATION YOU HAVE FACED?
Ronan: When you explain that you’re vegan, the guy in front of you is overweight, obviously not healthy and not very concerned about his food health, and suddenly, when you tell him that you’re Vegan he becomes an expert in nutrition and worries about where you’re going to get your proteins (well, at the supermarket like everyone else!). Or the one who tells you, “no, but man is a hunter”, and who goes hunting for the frozen burgers in trays at the supermarket. For information, in the food chain, man is from a biological point of view at the level of the anchovy, it’s just to relativize the image of the hunter predator (laughs).
Feat-y: THE LAST WORD : IT IS FOR YOU… QUOTE OR SENTENCE, INSPIRING
Ronan: The decision was the best one I’ve ever made in my life.
I think back to my aunt who said to me one day “oh, it’s okay, let go for once, eat a steak”. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life, it’s a choice, a change of life. It has been very difficult. The actress Portia de Rossi, for example, admitted that it was more difficult for her to announce her veganism than her homosexuality, because homosexuality is a fact, you don’t choose it, being vegan is a questioning that affects everyone. I am a liberal in the true sense of the word, that means I love freedom, and freedom implies respecting the other, the other being other human beings, other non-human animals, and our Mother Earth.
I feel that I have found this freedom. The only way to do this is to get informed. So get informed!