Thursday, 12 January 2012

Vegan. It’s a scary word.


Or is it?

I used to think it was. Perhaps it stems from growing up in an Italian family, or from my days working in hospitality. I will always remember working in the corporate suites at the MCG and Telstra Dome, and I regularly had to serve 3 course meals to the guests (scallops for entrée, steak or chicken for main, cheesecake for dessert). Let’s just say one of the big 4 banks had loads of money to splash with their private, fully catered for corporate suite!!

One Saturday afternoon at Telstra dome, a family came in (mum, dad, 9yo son) and they had requested vegan food. What the kitchen produced for their ‘meals’ embarrassed me and I think scorned me from then.

Entrée was a green salad consisting of lettuce, diced tomato and a few slivers of cucumber (without dressing). Main was a bowl of steamed mixed vegies (again no dressing), and dessert was a fruit platter.

Seriously.

I don’t know what the hell the kitchen was thinking (full of ‘chefs’), but it was pretty embarrassing serving this and at the time, thinking this was all these poor vegans could eat.

Fast forward 8 years (whoa……… I feel old), I am now a more educated and mature (snigger) person.

Vegan food is DA BOMB!!

Curry’s, tagines, burritos, chunky soups, intricate salads, cakes, cookies – and you can wash it all down with a glass of wine or two! The variety is massive, and the options endless.

For Christmas, I baked a chocolate banana cake and got LOADS of compliments from L-whacks meat-loving family. I only mentioned to a couple of them that it was actually vegan (they were very surprised!).

Admittedly, I am still trying to find the best alternatives for some foods – yoghurt & milk are the main culprits – and there is the small issue of my addiction to milk chocolate. BUT 85% of my current diet is vegan, and I plan on increasing that percentage. I dislike mushrooms and avocado, and these two vegetables appear in many recipes, but they are easily substituted (as are all animal products) for a delicious meal.

Diet & nutrition is something I will touch on another day, but once I got reading about health benefits of a vegan diet – I wonder why I didn’t do this earlier. Cutting out meat from my diet had been on my mind for a while, but thinking I HAD to eat red meat for iron, eat chicken for protein, and that nuts were the enemy because of their high fat content – all this has changed.

To finish this post, I will leave you with something to ponder. I stumbled across Ellen DeGeneres’s vegan blog through my hunger (geddit?!) to learn more – here are some home truths about animal farming.
  • Animal farming is the number one cause of climate change in the world. In fact, it has a 40% larger carbon footprint than all transportation around the globe combined. That means that every car, truck, bus, train and plane on our planet combined is almost half as bad for our planet as modern animal farming.
  • Animal farming is a huge drain on resources like water and grain. It takes 2,500 gallons of water (approx. 9500 litres) to produce a pound of meat, compared to only 25 gallons (95 litres) to produce a pound of grain. 70% of the grain grown in the US is used for producing meat. If that grain were being fed directly to people, no one would have to go hungry.
  • Currently, a third of the land on our planet is used to raise farm animals. One large factory farm can create as much waste as the entire city of Los Angeles.

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