Going Vegan

Although I’ve been vegetarian for about 26 years now, I’ve never been particularly attracted to veganism, largely because I didn’t think I’d enjoy eating without the option of dairy products. However, since reading The China Study by Colin Campbell, which links dairy products to a wide swath of serious illnesses from cancer to heart disease to diabetes, I’ve decided to try to go the whole hog, as it were, and become a vegan. I’m not actually that concerned about my health, but I would like to give up dairy to further reduce my negative impact upon the much-abused animal kingdom.

The first thing that concerned me was how to enjoy my muesli without milk. Surely not possible? Then someone told me about rice milk, and to my astonishment I found that it tasted good in its own right, so that not only was it good on muesli, but it can be drunk by itself. (This I can’t do with soy milk, which, quite frankly, I detest). I’ve not got round to trying it with coffee and tea for some reason, but that won’t be much use when it comes to buying drinks in cafes. I’ve actually reduced my tea intake drastically as I find I’m enjoying herbal teas and green tea more and more. However, I do drink about three cups of coffee a day. Has anyone any suggestions? I’m also a bit addicted to muffins with my coffee, which presumably have eggs in them. I guess I need to plan in advance and make sure I take my own vegan snack with me every day, but what is a suitable alternative to muffins?

I don’t go out for meals more than once a week usually, but I’m not making much effort at the moment to avoid cheese or eggs, such as on pizzas or pasta dishes, and I don’t want to insist that people cook vegan food for me if they invite me round for a meal. Fortunately, that’s not much of a problem as I only get invited round for meals about two or three times a year! I also need to look more carefully at the ingredients of processed foods to see if there’s any dairy in them. Do biscuits have eggs in them? God, so ignorant. On the other hand, it’s easy to be deceived. I bought what was labelled as a ‘non-dairy creamer’ to go in my coffee at work. When I looked at the ingredients the first item was milk! How do they get away with this stuff?

The other big step I took was giving up cheese, which I ate every day, and loved it. Once again, though, I found that having made the decision I came across tofu cheese and rapidly discovered that I really like it as long as I have it with lettuce or chutney or tomatoes. There appear to be only two varieties available here – red or white – and I’m not sure if there’s much difference in the taste, but I’m entirely happy with this choice, plus it’s pushed me to having other spreads on my sandwiches, such as hummus and tomatoes, which is delicious.

If anyone’s got any advice to enable me to get rid of milk altogether, and how to avoid cakes and biscuits, I’d appreciate it.



About transitionsl

I've been an English teacher for the best part of 30 years, teaching in England, Tanzania, Brunei, Australia and Hong Kong. I've always been interested in nature and environmental issues, but it was the discovery of Peak Oil about five years ago that galvanised me into trying to help my local community to prepare for what will be a dramatically different world to the one many of us have been used to. I've been helping to run a transition group, following the guidelines created by Rob Hopkins's Transition Movement in the UK. This blog is an attempt to engage in discussion with a wider group of people in Hong Kong on the ways to transition from our current oil dependency to a state of fossil-free local resilience.
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