Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vegan vs. Vegetarian vs. ... Not

The idea of switching to veganism or proper vegetarianism (as opposed to my current version - more on this below) has been on my mind for a while now. This stems from my reading of other food blogs, my own interest in health and healthy eating, growing concerns over the environment and our deteriorating planet...and the niggles that I experience when thinking about the reality of eating meat, keeping chickens in sub-optimal conditions (even for 'free range' eggs), and drinking the milk of another animal when no other creature does this.

How do I currently eat? I'm often considered vegetarian by friends, by virtue of not eating red meat (by which I mean beef, lamb, veal, pork / ham / bacon...), which I haven't eaten for approximately 10 years. But I do eat chicken and turkey, at a frequency of 3 to 4 times per month, and fish and seafood, at a frequency of 1 to 2 times per week. So clearly I'm not vegetarian.

I could imagine dropping chicken and turkey, and indeed would quite like to (my main consumption is through Subway, and chicken salads). As I enjoy fish hugely, and think of tuna as an easy protein source, I'm less sure about seafood. But it would be possible.

What about the switch to vegan? I dislike cheese, so that wouldn't present a problem. I would have to adapt to using egg replacers in baking, and might miss the very occasional poached egg I enjoy, but could cope with that. I don't drink much milk (having been lactose intolerant as a child, I've never regained the taste), and could easily transition to soy or other non-dairy alternatives for hot drinks and cereal. The sticking point for veganism is yoghurt.

I love yoghurt. It is one of my favourite foods. I also love frozen yoghurt, especially soft serve. I enjoy non-dairy versions too, like frozen banana-based soft serve, but really like the yoghurt varieties as well. So I would miss yoghurt, at lot. Although soy versions are available, I've only been able to locate 2 brands where I live - and neither has many flavour or fat versions available (they're all full fat and all fruit flavoured; I like to alternate between flavoured and natural).

Other possible challenges? Other people's cooking - which would apply to anyone making the transition. I have to admit, probably also chocolate. For baking, cocoa and non-dairy chocolate would work fine. But my preferred chocolate is dark, and I haven't yet found a vegan / dairy free dark chocolate where I live.

My current thinking is to try to transition to a more vegan like approach: reduce or eliminate the chicken and turkey, reduce dairy in 'non-essential' (to me) forms, and keep the things I can't quite conceive of giving up yet.

I will keep you updated on my progress...


  1. Do you have coconut milk yogurt in Australia? Love love love it! :-)

  2. @Bree
    Noooo :( It sounds great! As far as I know, we only have soy and goats milk versions. And not many options for each!


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