“Oh, I could NEVER go vegan!”
I’ve heard this a few times, and you know what? I thought exactly the same at first. The idea of going vegan seems too extreme, too complicated and too confusing. What on earth will you eat if not the things you always have eaten? Where would you find the substitutes? It seems complicated and recipes look complex and I don’t have time for that!
Those were the ideas I had, and initially I hit a few stumbling blocks but once I worked out what substitutions I needed and how to use them best, it was smooth sailing. And, like any diet, it’s as complex or as simple as you want it to be. I love spending time in the kitchen cutting, chopping, blending, cooking… But not everyone finds that as soothing as I do, or has the time to create lengthy recipes.
Many vegans are of the mind that eating dairy is worse than meat, because of the treatment of the animals in the dairy business. You can read more about that here if you wish. For me, I had no real drama switching to soy milk (and it doesn’t have to be soy, the number of plant based milks out there now is crazy, have a look at a post at Two Vegan Girls for more on that!) I had no problem taking away butter and switching to margarine/nuttelex which has a really yummy taste, and I rarely used cream or yogurt anyway (however for great alternatives try Mimicreme Cashew Cream, Riches or Hadar Non Dairy Whipping Cream [Available from Jewish stores], Redwood Wot No Dairy?, Coyo Yoghurt, Pura Veda Yoghurt and the list goes on!).
The trickiest things for me, were cheese and sour cream. These were things I used a lot. Cheese in particular was difficult to omit and there were a few times I fell back to it after eliminating it for a while because I loved it so! What really helped was twofold. First, waiting 2 months to try some substitutes meant that I had forgotten what dairy cheese tasted like and so was not mentally comparing the substitute. Secondly finding some really high quality vegan cheeses.
Buy Vegan Cheese in Melbourne
- Botanical Cuisine makes a great raw vegan cheese
- Vegusto have an awesome range of strong flavoured cheeses, available at Radical Grocery, Vegan Perfection, Vegan Online, Leo’s and speciality health food shops
- Notzarella is great for putting into things, not the best cheese on its own. Available at Radical Grocery and Cruelty Free Shop Online
- Cheezly is a good melting cheese, but it depends on your taste – some don’t like it straight up and some do! Available at Radical Grocery, Vegan Perfection, Leo’s and speciality health food shops
- Sheese have a wide range of firm cheese and soft spreading cheese, great with crackers and an antipasto platter! Available at Radical Grocery, Vegan Perfection, Leo’s and speciality health food shops
With access to these lovely options and with nutritional yeast to make a cheesy sauce, I was cruising with these in my fridge (and if I don’t seem to be using them up fast enough I grate and freeze the blocks, a handy tip I learned from a friend!).
Other Awesome Dairy Free Goodies in Melbourne!
There are so many dairy alternatives available in Melbourne. To name a just a few…
Tofutti offer a range of delicious dairy alternatives available Australia wide.
From icecream sandwiches, cheese slices, sour cream, cream cheese to crepes! Read more about tofutti here.
Toffuti products are available from Leo’s, many health food stores, Jewish stores and some items in Coles/Woolworths.
Cocolusious are available in health food shops, Leos and Thomas Dux. Simply delicious and Australian made!
Zebra Dream Icecream is taking over Melbourne! Australian made, delicious and creamy coconut icecream. You can try Zebra for yourself at World Vegan Day 2013! They’re also available at Cinema Nova, Carlton to enjoy during a movie!
Photo credit: Animals Australia
Chocolate options are endless in Melbourne. To name a few brands, Sweet William, Whittaker, GOGO Max, Elis Bars, Sjaaks, Leda, Lindt, Biona…the list goes on!
Or Make Your Own..
For my own sour cream that happily sates my Mexican cravings, this is a simple recipe to whip up and store. Check it out!
Checkout this coconut oil base vegan butter recipe!
Vegangela shares her awesome recipe for making dairy free cheese yourself! Check it out here.
Check out this recipe for making your own yoghurt, if you have the time and patience – that is!
Life is complete with an easy to make cheese sauce recipe!
Make your own vegan chocolate with this brilliant recipe!
Our favourite Chef Chloe has some of the best and easiest icecream recipes around!
Step by step, and armed with knowledge, it’s easy to change your diet across to one that is;
- Healthier for you
- Better for the planet and;
- Kinder to animals
There can be no arguments that a plant based diet is less harmful to the body than any other way of eating. Books such as The China Study and documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Earthlings are great sources of information on this.
Food That Kills - Presented by: Dr. Michael Klaper – 1993
In terms of recipes and the idea that vegan cooking is complicated, I want to suggest to you that ‘accidentally’ vegan things like vegetable curries, stir-frys with tofu, lentil bolognese, stuffed mushrooms and capsicums, soups, salads, wraps, Mexican, pastry parcels… all are really easy and quick to throw together. Below are some great websites for vegan recipes!
I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!
Living Vegan have an awesome vegan cheat sheet that lists all the natural vegan products that are ‘accidentally’ vegan in the supermarket. What sort of chips don’t have milk solids, biscuits that are vegan (think choc ripple biscuits, lemon crisp, strawberry shortcake, BBQ shapes, original doritos, skittles…) This list is so handy to print out and have handy in your bag when you go shopping, especially when everything seems new and overwhelming.
When you realise all this and see how easy it can be, and decide to give it a go, the reward that comes will amaze you.
There is a natural high that comes from being vegan, it makes you feel so good about yourself!
Want to give being vegan a try? Sign up for the Vegan Easy Challenge today!
Yay for being vegan!