Saturday, 1 January 2011

My Vegan Year

2010 was the Year I finally went completely Vegan having been a Vegetarian for 36 years I actually don't know why it took me so long.

I think like a lot of people I didn't realize that the Dairy industry was every bit as cruel as the meat industry I so despised, same for eggs I presumed as I only bought Organic free range eggs it was ok, my motto was always I don't eat anything with a face on and I didn't look much beyond that to be honest.

I always bought cruelty free beauty and cleaning products so I was ok in my little bubble thinking I was doing enough.Wow I can't believe how shallow I sound now looking back, if I thought I was doing my bit I was sadly mistaken.

My first turning point to going truly Vegan is all down to a wonderful lady named Coleen Patrick-Goudreau I caught one of her podcasts earlier in the year and I was truly hooked on the Vegan lifestyle after listening to one episode, everything she said opened my eyes and made perfect sense to me. I then armed myself with two of her cookbooks and I was up and running.

Turning Vegan has been no problem for me maybe it was easier as I was already on a meat fee diet and was used to cooking with whole vegetables I have always embraced healthy living and eating so my new diet wasn't to much of a hassle. I soon discovered the joys of all the various dairy free milks which are on the market I've tried them all and my two favourites are Oat milk and Almond milk I tend to use Soya milk more in baking.

There is a lot of Dairy free products available nowadays in our supermarkets I was pleasantly surprised.I've learned so much on my new journey like how to bake without using eggs all the various things you can use for binding has amazed me leaving a normal life on a Vegan diet is possible.

Many of my friends sounded out the warning bells about travelling and eating out as a Vegan and granted it's not always easy but it is possible it just needs a bit of homework first. I prefer to eat in Vegetarian restraunts anyway I figure if they have gone to the trouble of catering for my wants and needs it's only right I support them. Of course this isn't always an option but I've always found something on a menu suitable for me sometimes it's just a matter of opening your mouth and asking for something to be made without butter on a sandwich or in a baked potato.

Travelling to foreign countries at first was a little difficult but once again do your homework find where there are Vegetarian restraunts and use them, Indian Restraunts are always a good option for me and most Italian restraunts will conjure you up a vegan dish if there is nothing on the menu.

What I visualized to be my biggest challenge was Christmas I must admit I had my reservations here my first selfish thoughts were oh no I won't be able to have my Baileys or my Stilton or all the number of delicious cheeses I usually bought at this time of year, I worried needlessly over my Christmas cakes,mince pies, chocolates,stollen etc. Christmas has always been a big time for me in the kitchen as I love baking Christmas stuff. Well surprise surprise Christmas was a breeze thanks to all the wonderful Vegan blogs I follow I created a beautiful Christmas cakes (Thanks to the Hungry Vegan blog) mince pies were no problem I veganised a recipe I had for stollen turned out delicious as well. I bought Dairy free chocolate for the family I myself am not a huge chocolate lover but do love an after dinner mint I found dairy free ones very easy.

Believe it or not I even found beautiful dairy free cheese by a company called Sheese they do a beautiful version of blue cheese which tasted like the real thing and I made a lovely Stilton and apple pate with it, I also bought their cheddar with Cranberries and chives which was good, basically no matter what your favourites cheese is you'd find it with Sheese.

The drinks was also easy most spirits are Vegan anyway I bought vegan wines and even managed to make my own version of Baileys using Whiskey,Coffee Liquor and almond milk absolutely delicious and actually not as sickly as Baileys can get.

So anyone who has toyed with the idea of veganism give it a go you may be surprised, just do a bit of homework and arm yourself with some good cook books or blogs and you'll be up and running.

Oh and the added bonus I lost several pounds in weight without wen trying just goes to show how animal fats can put weight on.

I'm so glad 2010 turned me into a Joyful Vegan.

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