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Day 3 Becoming Vegan

Day 3 of learning to become a vegan. I was inspired last night to start slowly with my diet, and read the ‘Vegan Basics Guide’ pdf provided by Viva! an American organisation dedicated to educating people about veganism. Have a read of it if you’d like and let me know what you think.

 

Starting out has been a little daunting, I’m now realising by taking this lifestyle I’m going to have eliminate a few things I love eating, like (gasp!) milk chocolate. But like the guide by Viva says, it’s okay to start out slowly and take things at my own pace, remembering the whole reason why I’m doing this, not just for myself, but for the planet and the animals. So today I put myself to the test and went to the grocery with the key idea of what it’d be like shopping if I can only eat the things that a vegan would. First aisle, chocolate and confectionary, I am drawn to this aisle, but realise I can’t really eat anything from there, interestingly enough, the next aisle was the health food section, an aisle I don’t think I’ve ever actually bought anything from. I looked for alternatives for chocolate and there’s a wide array of products out there. I ended up buying a dairy free, gluten free and even nut free chocolate, that surprisingly tasted really good almost like the normal milk chocolate.

Next aisle after chocolate & confectionary, oh gosh! It’s the dairy section. Milk obviously is a product of cows, and like the vegan basic guide explains, the dairy industry is no picnic for the animals involved either. In order to produce milk the cows need to be constantly impregnated, their offspring usually sent straight to the slaughterhouse for veal products, not only causing the stress of separation of  mother and calf, but also trauma as the cows udders are being overused to produce milk and at most times getting infected with disease and swollen from the abuse of growth hormones and multiple milkings each day. So, with that in mind, I am steering clear as much as I can from dairy products. A great alternative, and a much healthier one at that for dairy milk, is soy milk. I remember growing up, my dad always used to drink soy milk (he’s lactose intolerant) but he always had so much energy. I bet the soy had a lot to do with his healthy diet. Moving along, I see butter, something we use with pretty much everything, from bread, to toast, to using it as our choice for frying with, from various sources I read margarine can be a good substitute, you still need to check the label since some still have animal products in them, but there were a couple of margarine brands at my local woolies store that were completely animal free.

 

One of the misconceptions I had previously to doing this little grocery trip was that eating healthy was expensive. Wrong! I ended up only spending $12 on a variety of vegetables and fruits, and saved by not buying all those junk foods and dairy products which after reading the labels stated they had animal products in them. In the end all up my grocery bill for the next week was $60, where I usually spend around $100+. I’ve started to become more creative in my meal planning, and plan to make things like Pumpkin in coconut soup with brown rice, and having raw carrots and fresh apples as snacks during the day.

 

It can be hard thinking of substitutes for meat, and I haven’t gotten the hang of it just yet (hey gimme a break it’s only the 3rd day hehe). I’ve started reading labels of the food I purchase, something I’ve never done before, and I’m finding it so strange how there are ingredients in some foods you’d never think would be in them. For instance, did you know that barbeque sauce has corn syrup in it? I thought it was just like tomatoes and spices. Or how about some cheeses? some of them use rennet (taken from the stomachs of calves). It has been a very educational day, and while I am getting my head wrapped around all of these sort of ‘rules’, I’m beginning to also broaden my eating style, while at the same time it looks limiting, it’s also opened up to so much more choices, like the guide says, ask any vegetarian what they eat they’ll be confused what you mean because there is just sooo much out there; vegetables, fruits, tofu, vegie patties, nuts, soy milk dried fruits…etc. there are a lot of substitutes out there you just have to look for them.

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