The Vegan Update

So, apparently I fail at being crafty lately. I wholeheartedly apologize. One day, the boxes will be unpacked (as much as they can be), and I will have my own little crafting area for the first time ever. Until that day, well, I’ll see what I can do. For now, however, I’m going to answer the question I get a lot, because I know you’re all anxious for the answer!

How is being vegan going?

See? I read your mind, didn’t I? Well, even if I didn’t, that’s what this blog is about. 

Being vegan has been going really well! It’s not as hard as I thought it might be. I was extremely attached to dairy (ask anyone who has known me for longer than 4 months), especially cheese and ice cream. While I cannot say I have noticed a large increase in energy or decrease in weight, I have felt an increase in peace of mind. I am more confident that what I’m putting into my body is good stuff. And isn’t contributing to the suffering of animals.

I have been staggered by all the recipes and ingredients out there that people have produced that make amazing vegan food. Silken tofu is pretty amazing–it can be part of a dressing, or the base ingredient in chocolate pudding. I have had hawaiian pizza with fake ham that tastes so much like ham, I had to pull a bit off and really taste it to confirm that it was indeed fake. And did you know that ground flax can be used as an egg substitute? It is such an amazing time to be entering the vegan world.

I think what amazes me most is raw vegan food. I have eaten amazing raw vegan pizza, and even cheesecake, and it’s just amazing to me that it’s even possible. I really want to try a raw vegan dessert recipe, but truth be told, I’m very intimidated. Raw vegan comes with its own special set of ingredients.

But being vegan is more than what you eat, it’s also what you consume otherwise. Which gets harder. I’m in desperate need of new clothes, but I have no idea where to buy them. I have been told, and agree with, that if I place that much value on how other animals are treated, I need to place value on how humans are treated as well. It’s much easier to boycott food, there’s ingredients in it. But what about clothes? They don’t don’t have labels that say “Made in a sweatshop” or “Made at the cost of small children’s fingers”. And even if it’s made locally, that doesn’t mean the fabric came from equally wonderful sources. So that piece is much harder, and I still haven’t figured it out. I keep telling myself these things take time…these jeans only have so long until the holes are too big to conceal though.

I have also had people ask how my fiance is dealing with being vegan, and I am happy to say that he’s quite content with it. I think it has even brought us closer together. I must also confess that without him, it would be much harder, since he does most (i.e. very nearly all) of the cooking.

Yes, I’ve had to give up a few things, and I can’t walk 2 blocks away to get a snack. But there’s an extremely good chance that snack wouldn’t have been healthy anyway. So…I think I’m better off without it.

I would like to finish off with some of my favourite products:

  • Daiya cheese
  • So Good Coconut ice cream (not soy ice cream, it’s got a weird flavour to it)
  • Almond Fresh unsweetened almond milk — or, for a bit more fun, their chocolate almond milk, which is just the right amount of sweetened, mmmmm.

You will notice that they’re all dairy substitutes. I wasn’t kidding when I say I was extremely attached.

Have you ever tried going vegan? What’s your favourite vegan product / recipe?

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Going Vegan: The Response

So as a previous post mentioned, I’m trying to go vegan. It has been a very eye-opening experience so far. It was amazing how both of our families have been so supportive and done their best to accommodate (even over the holidays!). And some of the responses I’ve received from non-family have been very…interesting.

Top 5 most interesting responses, and my thoughts about them:

  1. “Oh wow, that’s so great for you! I could never do that!”

This, however, actually splits into two separate issues:

a)  “I could never give up meat / dairy / eggs”

Not even 5 years ago, I insisted that I enjoyed meat too much to give it up. Now, it’s a bit gross.

Just 6 months ago (probably less), I was insistent that I could never give up dairy. I LOVE ice cream. It is my comfort food, and one of my great joys in life. It is the treat you could use to bribe me to do almost anything. I had a friend say to me after learning I went vegan, and I quote, “I am so shocked, though. Ice cream was like your vice.”

(Fortunately for me, there are non-dairy ice cream alternatives, like coconut milk ice cream and sorbet, otherwise my mood would be permanently down the tubes.)

Sure, there were (and are) transition periods, but the cravings eventually tapered off. I don’t even crave cow’s milk ice cream that much anymore.

b)  “It’s just too much work”

I’m going to turn on the sass a bit here, but that’s really just a copout. Yes, it would be hard, and yes, it would take work. But don’t all the best things take work? If they don’t, then they don’t really feel that good in the end.

2.  “How do you get enough protein / vitamins?”

Here’s the thing: fruits and veggies have tons of nutrients! The more one incorporates into their diet, the better — vegan or not. As for the protein, there are tons of alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs out there! (i.e. soy, beans and nuts).

3.  “What do you eat instead?”

I drink unsweetened almond milk and have it on my cereal instead of cow’s milk. I eat coconut milk based ice cream. I eat dairy-free dark chocolate (I highly recommend this one). The cheese dilemma has not been solved but I’m fairly hopeful about the daiya fake cheese we just got. I eat tofu and quinoa and beans and greens and fruit.

Honestly, I have never enjoyed fruit and vegetables so much. They were always a chore, before, but now, they taste pretty frickin’ amazing. I marvel at how after stuffing myself (not good, I know, but it’s so tasty) with a raw vegan meal, I can walk for long periods of time without getting nasty stomach cramps.

4.  “How’d you “convince” [force] your fiance to do it?”

Here’s the truth: I didn’t. He was as ready to take the plunge as I was. I find it very hurtful to have people tell me that they think I would force someone into making that change. It’s a huge change, and the only person I can make that decision for is myself.

5.  “Why?”

Because I love all animals and think they deserve to have a good, humane, life and death. Because I care about my health and after thinking about it enough I really started to wonder about all the crap I’ve been putting in my body over the years.

And there you have it. Overall, I’m really impressed with how people are taking it. It wasn’t too many years ago when I treated veganism with equal parts shock and dismay. How different it feels from the other side!

What experiences have you had where you made a big life change and got mixed responses?