As 2017 has seen my life peppered with much change, all pleasant I may add, this post is way overdue. Consequently, I have not been able to devote as much time to my blog, but I am endeavouring to churn out at least one article a month.
The post below was exclusively composed by an esteemed colleague and friend Marion Welsh. The topic is extremely pertinent to me since my eldest daughter became vegan a few years ago.
Hence, currychick is often asked by others how she manages and copes cooking for a vegan. Moreover, I have discovered there are several misconceptions due to a lack of knowledge about veganism. I am hopeful that this post will clear up several of these misconceptions. As always feel free to message and comment if you would like more information.
What is a vegan?
A vegan is person who doesn’t eat or use any animal products or by-products. A vegan aims to live as cruelty-free a life as possible – this might be for health reasons, ethical reasons or environmental reasons. Veganism is not decided by race, culture, geography or finances – anyone can choose to be a vegan.
Why did you choose to become vegan?
I grew up in Rockhampton – the Beef Capital of Australia – so the term vegan, or even vegetarian, wasn’t something I’d ever heard. While I was studying at University I met a guy who was vegetarian, and eventually we ended up living together in a share-house that was a mix of vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters. Due to the nature of living in a share-house and sharing meals, I was eating a lot more vegan dishes. I started to listen more carefully to things and started to question my eating habits. One day, something just ‘clicked’. I made the decision to go vegan from the start, as opposed to vegetarian. I gave up dairy products first because I knew I would find that harder. The last meat I ate was a tin of tuna and I remember all of a sudden just thinking ‘I’m not even enjoying this’. I didn’t want to be a part of any animal’s suffering anymore. This is my eleventh year of being vegan and there are still some times where I don’t get things right – but it’s all about minimising harm.
What types of food do you enjoy?
I enjoy a huge variety of food – anything from pasta dishes to Oreos to a green salad to peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Here’s what I ate today:
Breakfast: Sultana Bran with soy milk
Morning tea: Handful of fresh cherries
Lunch: Leftover mac’n’cheez from previous night’s dinner
Afternoon tea: Homemade coconut cupcake
Dinner: Vegetable and tofu stir-fry
Dessert: Coconut and mango yoghurt by Nakula
Are there health risks or implications?
There are vegan alternatives of all nutrients the human body needs and in fact the Dieticians Association of Australia states “with good planning it is still possible to obtain all the nutrients required for good health on a vegan diet.” Vegans need to be mindful with their diet choices in order to make sure they have enough iron, B12, calcium and omega-3. The most common health risk or implication is probably low iron, but this can also be attributed to other health conditions.
Can others around you eat meat or is this offensive?
Obviously it would be awesome if I didn’t ever have to see people eat meat…but in saying that, I live in the real world. While I find the appearance and the smell of meat disgusting, I’m not going to stop friends and family from eating around me. As I said before, it’s all about balance. I know some vegans thrive on confrontation but I’m not one of them.
Some advice/sites/recipes/foods/outlets you recommend for vegan or would be vegan readers?
There is so much information around these days, it would be hard not to find vegan resources. In Brisbane, we now have TWO vegan stores as well as many places where you can go to eat a vegan meal.
- Firstly, check out the website of the Dieticians Association of Australia
- Here is a great website with lots of information, recipes and even a 30 day vegan challenge
- If you want to read more about veganism, check out Alicia Silverstone’s book ‘The Kind Diet’ – the first half of the book discusses veganism and the second half of the book gives you delicious recipes.
- I also recommend a little book called ‘But you Kill Ants’ – you can even find it published (with permission) on Vegan Australia
- There are also many great documentaries, like ‘Vegucated’ but just a warning that some documentaries may be hard to watch – for example ‘Earthlings’ narrated by Joaquin Phoenix
- Lastly, head over to YouTube and watch some Regan the Vegan videos, or choose someone from Peta’s list
- Find some awesome vegan Instagram accounts and follow them for inspiration. If you live in Brisbane, check out @brisbaneveganeats to see where you can get delicious vegan food.
A million thanks to Marion for guest writing this amazing post packed with loads of valuable information.