Tuesday 23 December 2014

A Week With Veganism - Part 2

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.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

A Week With Veganism

We have begun our Week With Veganism and so far it's going eggcellently, or rather not so eggy.

For a few months now we have made the change to soy milk and found that a very easy transition. Our preferred brand by far is Vitasoy, either Vitasoy Original (organic soy beans) or the Soy Milky range. I especially enjoy the chocolate version - which will surprise no-one that knows me.

I have also found coffees and hot chocolates are just as enjoyable with soy milk. Although I'm not sure why coffee shops charge more for soy milk when it's really no more expensive than regular milk? Pure money making probably.

One difficulty we have had going vegan is pure habit. I went to eat a mini muffin that someone brought into work then when it was inches from my mouth remembered this week of veganism and placed it back in the tray. Hopefully none of my colleagues minded that I handled it - they didn't see anyway.

So far this week our friends have been very supportive which is surprising as vegan dinners are seen as quite a jump from vegetarian cooking, but the support is also not surprising as we have amazing friends. They have already made us a vegan dinner that has surpassed any we have made ourselves this week. Below is some home-made soba with eggplant and mango, and some coleslaw with the a dressing of peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

But there is more of the week to go with some big challenges, which go by the names of  milk chocolate and that great vegan divider - honey...

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Let the games begin

We have decided it's time for some weekly challenges to try out some of the things we have been told time and time again will make us happier/healthier/better citizens for our planet

We will begin on Monday with A Week With Veganism (also known as A Week Without Meat and Dairy)