|Rob Regent's Story|
|Written by Rob Regent|
|Wednesday, 07 March 2012 20:00|
I’m in my 30s and married with one beautiful 6-month old girl called Nieve. I’ve been vegetarian since 1998 after attending an incredible presentation by a Melbourne based nutritionist, John Toomey. Since then I’ve been an on-again off-again Vegan and have not worn leather for about 8 years. I’ve managed to maintain a Vegetarian lifestyle despite travelling extensively through Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific in the last 10 years. This includes living for a year as a vegan while working and travelling through Sierra Leone, Guinea and Mali in West Africa – three of the world’s least vegetarian friendly countries. I’ve also managed to maintain an incredibly active lifestyle, playing first grade cricket for years, regularly lifting weights, running and mountain biking, and am currently in training to run the Paris Marathon. I do all this because I love it but also to prove to the naysayers in my life that being a Vegan doesn’t mean I’ll end up emaciated and dreadlocked with bad breath, yellow teeth and chained to a tree somewhere in Tasmania wearing hessian pants...
Once I made the decision to become vegetarian, I read profusely to really get my head around my reasons – other than thinking it would help me score with the ladies! My foremost reason in the early stages was for health after reading about the stuff that goes into meat and because everyone agrees that eating more vegetables can never be a bad thing. My reading led me to get a much deeper understanding of the environmental benefits being vegetarian and once I read about and saw some films about the horrors of the meat and dairy industry, I realised the ethical importance of being vegetarian. I feel like I’ve evolved to have a more intellectual/philosophical motivation for being vegetarian now. Knowing what I know from years of reading books/etc, searching the web and watching documentaries, I couldn’t intelligently go back to eating meat. Plus I feel great, feel like I’ve hardly aged in 10 years, and really love the food I eat. I took the 30-Day Vegan Challenge run by Animal Liberation Victoria in November last year during which I read Vegan Freak. After I got past the horrific editing and spelling mistakes, I went straight back to strict veganism and am loving it.
When I’m not being an awesome vegan, I work in international development, designing and managing programs in developing countries that use sport to improve people’s lives. My main focus is in the disability sector, but my career has enabled me to work in refugee camps in Sierra Leone, Palestine and Lebanon, townships in South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, special schools in Fiji and Samoa. In my spare time I volunteer with a variety of charities – Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Camp Quality, Barnardos and the White Ribbon Foundation. I really enjoy organising events and being involved in planning and creating ideas. At the moment I’m raising money for Cerebral Palsy Alliance as part of my marathon adventure.