Our week with Veganism is complete - with varying success. As mentioned previously milk was easy to cut out, as were eggs and yoghurt. The harder challenges were; butter; chocolate; honey; and hidden animal products in processed foods.
Honey is an interesting topic for vegan discussion as it is technically an animal product, but that animal is not being held captive as a cow, chicken or pig might. Therefore we have heard of honey-eating vegans and non-honey-eating vegans. Sam thinks of eating honey as utilising the labour of bees, much as you would use a horse to pull a cart - it shouldn't hurt the animal if done correctly.
From an environmental point of view honey is a controversial topic as honey bees pollinate the flowers of food and non-food plants, which is an excellent service - but in Australia most of the honey bees are non-native. There are native (most not honey producing) bees in the area we live, so keeping bees can have a competing effect on local populations. Whichever way you look at it, honey is definitely not as controversial or cruel as the dairy industry.
The dairy industry take calves away from mothers to get their milk. Female calves are mostly reared to become dairy cows themselves, whereas the males at some point are killed (apart from a rare few used for breeding). This means even as a vegetarian you are indirectly supporting an industry that kills animals. Some dairy farms such as Paris Creek try their best to give the bobby calfs a bit of a longer, fuller life. When we drank cow's milk we tried to get Paris Creek whenever possible - the fact it is not homogenised makes for a much better flavour.
The reason butter and cheese are such a challenge for us is pure taste. We don't use butter within dishes as it's so easy to replace with oil and not be able to taste much difference. It's the "butter on toast" where I do notice the flavour difference compared to vegan alternatives like Nuttelex. From now we will change to only Paris Creek butter and only for on toast so a block should last us at least a month. And with cheese we only now want to purchase small pieces of high flavour cheese for eating just with crackers - not half a block of Bega within meals you can barely notice. Perhaps in the future we will be able to move entirely away from our cheese and butter but for now it's time to severely reduce.
I thought chocolate would be a big challenge for me also, but in the end a nice dark chocolate seems to satisfy and I find myself eating a lot less before I'm content.
Lastly, dairy in processed foods caught Sam out when at a work function. I think this is just a process of slowly learning what types of processed foods do and don't contain dairy. It will be a lot of label reading, but I think we all have time to slow down a bit at the store and learn about what we purchase.
Our Week With Veganism has been brilliant, and although we have not made the firm decision to become Vegan from now on, we are committed to cut out a lot of the dairy that was previously a part of our diet.