World Vegan Month: A Vindication Of The Veggies

by Rachael Adams

Let’s get real, us vegans/vegetarians get a bad ‘rep’. People are becoming more accepting of the idea but to many, it’s still a barbarity to abstain from meat and animal by-products willingly. People are so comfortable and desensitised to a meat-based diet that anything challenging it scares, confuses and even irritates them. And while most of our engagement with animals sadly comes from our consumption of them, it is unnecessary.

I’m not a preacher!

But have no fear my friends, this will be no preachy affirmation about meat-free morals. This is simply a word of encouragement for those who would shun a vegan lifestyle without so much as a try-out. As it’s World Vegan Month this November, there’s no better time to address your preconceived judgements and try it out for yourself.

The standardised response I receive when I tell people that I’m vegan/vegetarian goes a little something like this – a casual groan of contempt, judgemental looks (it’s all in the eyes) and finally, a firing round of questions about my general life choices. That’s because there’s a lot of mystery to the vegan diet. It’s not because people can’t understand it, but because people don’t want to. Many think vegan food and tasty food are mutually exclusive. People believe that all vegans resemble a malnourished and anaemic form, and that because we love animals, we must hate food. NOT TRUE.

Let’s get VEGucated!

It’s clear, we as a society need to get “VEGucated” and I’m here to dispel the myths. I want to let you know that you can be happy and healthy. You can be satisfied and super adventurous without the traditional omnivorous diet.

If you didn’t know already, a meat-free diet is becoming ever so popular. People are recognizing that vegan/vegetarian food can be fashionable, vibrant and complex. This is reflected in the wider range of products you can purchase in the supermarkets, the variety on restaurant menus and the growth of niche restaurants that cater especially for vegans/vegetarians. And now with the wonders of the Internet and pervasiveness of social media, finding daily inspiration and alternative recipes has never been easier.

To further enlighten you, here are my responses to some of the most common questions I get asked about my lifestyle choice.

  1. Why would you restrict your diet on purpose?

Far from limiting my options, going vegan expanded my knowledge of food and flavours like never before. For reasons of my own, I will never return to a meat-based diet. I would rather eat unappetising meals! But, it’s a happy convenience that veggie food can be so delicious. People make such a fuss about what you can’t eat as a vegan they forget to think about the array of ingredients you can. In my household, my family are amazed as to the amount of ingredients I use that they’ve never even heard of… the carnivorous fools.

  1. What do you actually eat?

Now you may not be ready to hear this but there’s more to the veggie diet than potatoes and boiled veg. On the contrary, there’s homemade nut butters, chocolate fruit fudge, spicy coconut curries and avocado everything. And yes, while I am a sucker for a humble salad or a cheeky chunk of celery, there is so much to be discovered when you are actively looking for alternatives. Fresh ingredients, herbs and spices will become your best friends. You will realise that vegan food really does try to capitalise on flavour in a whole new way.

  1. Do you just dislike food?

This is my favourite question, because it’s the most widely asked and poorly assumed. Remember just because you are a veggie, does not mean you’re not a foodie! I love food – eating it, making it and thinking about it. You have no idea how excited I get over freshly made bread or the pleasure derived from homemade hummus (I’m not ashamed).

Although generally improving in quality, vegan friendly food available in supermarkets either lacks versatility or is expensive. This has meant engaging with food on a whole new level. Ironically veganism ignited my passion for home cooking, my appreciation for different flavours and my open mindedness to a wide range of ingredients. In fact, I like food a little too much as a vegan – not only did my knowledge of food expand, my waistline saw a little (less welcome) expansion too.

  1. Why do you not look more ill?

Often caricatured as weedy and malnourished individuals, people tend to think that vegans are unhealthy. However, not only is vegan food absolutely delicious, it’s a diet saturated with nutrients and protein. That is, if you know how to do it properly. You can be a bad vegan, of course. Do not take for granted the health content of the food. Plant-based foods have many benefits for your health but they do still contain fat. Being vegan does not mean you can eat limitless amounts of food. They still have a fat content and a calorie count. Protein deficiency is also a big criticism but grains, pulses, nuts and beans, are all great sources of protein. These can offer an astonishing array of meal options. Speaking of meal options, you should totally visit this website for allplants discount codes. This is a service that delivers nutritious vegan food to your door.

  1. Do you hate all meat eaters?

I don’t guilt trip or shame people who don’t live the same way I do. I don’t think meat eaters are bad people, I know that most are smart, caring and compassionate individuals. To me, I just think most know little about what veganism has to offer. If people tried a vegan diet they would be surprised as to how much they can alter their consumption of animals with very little compromise. Compromise of flavour, nutrition and satisfaction. When people realise how delicious a plant-based diet can be, they might start eating more plants and less animals. That can’t be a bad thing, right?

People always ask me if I miss bacon. Here’s my answer: No, not in the slightest (sorry).

So come on people open your mind, and of course your mouth to vegan heaven this month – it’ll surprise you.

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