Eastbourne man takes part in meat-free diet research

A vegetarian in Eastbourne has played a part in a study into how accessible meat-free diets could work for people with learning disabilities.
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Dan Awcock, who lives in a supported living service in Lewes Road, took part in the research alongside others with learning disabilities.

Mr Awcock also did a voice-over for a short video in which he explains why he chose a vegetarian diet.

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The research was part of a wider study ran by Choice Support, which looked into what people with learning disabilities think about eating meat.

Dan Awcock.Dan Awcock.
Dan Awcock.

As part of the findings, the group discovered everyone they had spoken to stopped eating meat because they loved animals and felt bad about them being slaughtered.

Choice Support also found people used the internet to do their own research on the issue, and it was often seeing something on TV or online that made them consider not eating meat.

The group said they also found people felt that for the most part those with learning disabilities are not aware that animals are killed for meat and said there was not enough easy‐read information available to make informed choices.

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Finally they believe that better health was highlighted as a benefit of adopting a meat‐free diet by almost everyone, believing it to be lower in fat with fewer links to diseases.

Mr Awcock gave up meat in the 1990s, but since then says he’s found vegetarian options have improved because there’s more choices available.

Over time, Mr Awcock has become much more into his cooking with Italian food being a personal favourite.

Mr Awcock has participated in cookery courses to improve his skills, and sometimes gets help from the staff in Lewes Road in order to make the best meal choices.

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The service in Lewes Road, where Mr Awcock lives, is part of Achieve Together, a provider of support for people with learning disabilities, autism and associated complex needs.

Mr Awcock said, “I like creating my own dishes, I really enjoy Italian food with different kinds of pasta.

“You’re definitely on the right path by cutting meat out.

“I’m glad I gave up meat when I did, I’d never go back to eating it.

“I think it’s healthier to be a vegetarian – it’s better for us, a plant-based diet.”

“Everyone involved in the study was relaxed and natural, with good knowledge and all seemed happy, enthusiastic, and glad to take part.”