Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 1 of my Vegan Apprenticeship

Well first a disclaimer:  This was not my first day of eating only plant based food.  For a few months in 2009 my husband and I had one day a week of eating only fruit and veggies.  But the idea behind that was just to have a day each week of detoxing from consumerism and the processed foods it promotes.  It was different because I had no intention of trying to expand the weekly fruit/veg restriction to the rest of the week.  The current challenge is to investigate a Vegan diet, try new recipes and find out about Vegan nutrition with a view eventually eating almost exclusively a Vegan diet.*
The hardest thing about Day 1: 
Tea without milk!  This will take some getting used to.
I bought 3 kinds of soy milk and tried them all.  My verdict: the "So Good Lite" was the most palatable in tea.  I know that taste buds are adaptable so I am certain that if I stick with it eventually tea with soy milk will taste great to me, and tea with regular milk will taste blah.  Hmmm, may take a while!

So to make the transition easier and quicker I am going to stick with soy milk in my tea when practical (ie at home), even though I my plan is to only do one day of strict dairy-free per week at the moment.

The easiest thing about Day 1:
Enjoying scrumptious vegan Chewy Cherry Ripe Cookies.
One downside for me of transitioning to a Vegan diet is chocoholic tendencies.  But hooray!  This vegan chocolate-fix alternative was very satisfying.  I will post the recipe.

Biggest Disappointment on Day 1:
The hot cross buns I had bought (without checking the label) not only had milk but also shortening and "animal fat".  What they mean by animal fat I am not exactly sure but the name says enough.  So no hot cross buns for me this Good Friday.

Cool Find for Day 1:
Nuttelex brand of margarine alternatives.  I bought the "Olive" version, which, unlike the other brand of olive spread already in my fridge, does not have milk solids.   Pictured below is my dinner of hearty and delicious Vegan Corn Chowder and the dairy-alternatives that helped make it.

*I say "almost exclusively Vegan diet" because I have a lot of work to do on the nutritional and health aspects of a strict Vegan diet to see if it is a good long term option.  In Western society these key concerns of B12 and Iron are made easier by the "fortified" soy milks available, but I think that I philosophically feel more inclined to aim for a "natural" diet rather than one dependent on supermarket products.  However I have a lot more reading and thinking to do yet around these complex issues.  I am currently reading The Ethics of What We Eat" by Peter Singer and Jim Mason which I am finding really useful at this stage in my journey. 


Brett said...

I notice you are using the fresh soy milks. Have you tried the UHT versions? I think the UHT versions have a smaller ecological footprint because they don't need refrigerated transportation and storage. (This seems to apply to the dairy versions anyway.)

I haven't tasted the fresh soy milk actually. I'd be interested in how you think they compare to the UHT versions.

Mandy Gardener said...

I have tried some UHT versions. The taste is fairly similar. I was concerned about whether the packaging for the UHT soymilk can be recycled. Do you know if it can be? I know that "brick packs" for most things like juice etc say something about "recycle where systems exist" but that practically they are un-recyclable because the 3 layers (plastic, paper, foil) are fused so tightly.

I would be very happy to use either fresh or UHT based on lower carbon foot print.

Will have to do some research about this! Seems every decision has ethical considerations, and often the issues are not that obvious or easy to assess!

Mandy Gardener said...

Brett - I can confirm that the UHT and "fresh" versions of my two favourite soy milks taste the same!
My favourites being SoGood Lite for general use like in tea and on cereal, and Vitasay organic CalciPlus for when I want something creamier - like in baking, porridge of in the Soy Chai Lattes I have just made for David and I.
I think that you are probably right about UHT having a lower carbon foot print. Many thanks for the tip. So I have switched to UHT, but will try to find more info re: recycling of packaging.