Friday, June 19, 2009

Evyl Shnukums' Guide to Vegan Living

Because I have all the zeal of a recent convert, and because switching to veganism can be tricky in a place like South Africa, I have decided to write mine very own beginner's guide to being vegan.

First off examine your motives and ideas. If you approach this as a huge sacrifice, you will probably endure pain. If you approach it as a conscious, "fcuk you I won't buy what you tell me" decision, you'll have a lot more fun.

Bear in mind that a. this list is hardly exhaustive and b. I have been vegan for a total of 6 months, so I am hardly an expert. And of course the links here are rather lazily added, I'll add more when I can be bothered.

  1. Let's get the worst out of the way. Say goodbye to cheese. This is the one thing you probably will miss. Few cheese replacements are any good although Bute Island Cream Sheese is awesome, and Free Food's No-D Cheese (available from Fresh Earth) melts well in white sauces etc.

  2. You gotta like veggies. This may seem obvious, but I hear whispers of people who don't like vegetables. I feel sorry for them :)

  3. Meat is actually quite expensive so going vegan means you can afford to buy awesome stuff like cashews and capers and other tasty things you can eat instead of meat and animal products.

  4. Learn to cook. If you can toss up a nice veggie meal you will a. save money, b. eat less frankenfoods, c. have a prettier plate and d. still get all those nutrients people are forever quizzing you about. Find lots of recipes here.

  5. Don't let all your food consist of substitutes but do make use of them when convenience is an issue. Some substitutes (e.g Fry's, Bassets' Tofu Treats Ice Cream) are as good as the oringinal.

  6. Pack a lunchbox. Even if you have a work cafeteria, the chips and/or green salad will seem a bit samey by the third week.

  7. Get recommendations from people about restaurants, or go there and check out the menu. Don't be afraid to ask waiters, caterers etc what is in the food. They will usually be quite helpful, considering that some food allergies can be fatal they will usually be happy to tell you exactly what goes into a dish. Shahi Khana in Norwood and Sho Ming in Kensington, for example, are very understanding and helpful.

  8. Be prepared to get flak from people. The majority of people are cool with veganism but some people seem genuinely offended that a person may not want to eat dead animals.

  9. Arm yourself with knowledge. Read up on nutrition. Neutral sources like Patrick Holford will be a good start, as will veggie websites and recipe books. Also read up on general facts. E.g. if someone tells you that the Amazon is being cleared to grow soy for vegans, tell them that "85 percent of the world’s soybean crop is processed into meal and vegetable oil, and virtually all of that meal is used in animal feed. Some two percent of the soybean meal is further processed into soy flours and proteins for food use…" . Even better, refer them to Livestock's Long Shadow, published by the FAO.

  10. Join the Vegan Society.

  11. Do not be discouraged. Be assured that however small the difference *you personally* make, the cumulative difference made by all people who try, will have an effect.

  12. Remember that veganism is not really just a dietary preference. It is a lifestyle choice, and in some cases a political statement. It includes boycotting companies who test on animals (and trust me the bastards are everywhere), boycotting fur, boycotting products with animal ingredients. In a similar vein I avoid buying clothes made in China. It's that "fcuk you I won't buy what you tell me" approach again. No I'm sorry I will not buy your factory farmed chicken, your cosmetics tested on helpless animals, your tissues made from old-growth forests' trees, or your branded crap made in a sweatshop.

1 comment:

LadyRaven said...

how do I follow your blog? where is your follow button?