Wednesday, September 28, 2011

100th post - My Veg*n story

I have been a bit slack on the blogging front in the latter part of this month which is partly due to Vegan MoFo preparations. Before we enter into October being the Vegan Month of Food I felt the need to reach a milestone – 100 posts! I planned this post some time ago as I thought it would be a good time to share my story of how and why I became vegetarian and my progression to veganism.  I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who has been reading and commenting on my posts as it means a lot and gives me motivation to keep blogging.

As a child I adored animals, my favourite toy was an enormous plush dog aptly named “Doggie” who was just one of many cherished “pets” in my soft toy animal collection. Dolls were never of interest to me and I don’t recall owning one. I grew up in a house where there was always a pet (if not several) around and I was always trying to add to our brood by bringing strays home. I adored the country and watching animals peacefully grazing on our way to visit my Nanna in Gippsland was the highlight of the journey there.

Meat was on the table every night of the week, as a child I loved eating it and never really made the connection between what was on my plate to the furry friends I cherished so much. In a home economics class at secondary school we made veal schnitzels and our teacher always encouraged us to take the recipes home and cook them for our families. Veal was something that had never been served at home and I remember being totally repulsed at finding out that it was flesh of a baby cow when I questioned my mother about it. I cooked the schnitzels that night and somehow managed to eat, although there was no enjoyment in the meal whatsoever. I only ate veal on a couple of other occasions after this, simply to be polite when eating at someone else’s house. Calves have always had a special place in my heart and I could never deal with the thought of eating such a gorgeous innocent creature.

I flirted with half-arsed vegetarianism when studying at Uni for a brief period however this was limited to not eating red meat. This was brought to an end during my pregnancy when I caved into intense cravings. I fell back into the habit of eating meat on a daily basis for many more years.

The middle of 2008 was the last time I ate meat. Surprisingly, my decision to stop eating meat wasn't really my idea but was brought on by several discussions and a bit of gentle prompting from my husband. This was mainly due to his concerns about factory farming which we had been blissfully unaware of up until then. I resisted for a while as my primary concern was how on earth I was going to cook different interesting tasty meals every night of the week. So we began by having a meatless dinner once or twice a week for a short time and building up a small repertoire of meals that we all enjoyed I agreed to give vegetarianism a try. We never looked back...

In fact, I totally embraced vegetarian food, became enthralled with trying out new recipes and the interest I always had in cooking was taken to a whole new level. I discovered veg*n blogs and was amazed and inspired with the creativity that these amazing people applied to their cooking.  I became even more interested in factory farming issues and animal rights. I stopped purchasing leather, wool, etc. and changed household products to cruelty-free brands.

After reading “Eating Animals” by Johnathon Safran Foer I wanted to go vegan straight away. I had loved not eating meat up until then as my conscience felt clean however this was no longer the case when I discovered more shocking truths about egg and dairy production. I wanted to stop consuming these nasties straight away and not contribute to the life-long suffering of these poor animals. It did not happen this way as I decided that more research into a balanced vegan diet was required. I had read stories of people that were unable to sustain veganism due to various reasons and wanted to ensure that I was covering all bases when it came to nutritional requirements.

This transitional period lasted for a while, much longer than I would have liked as we moved out of our house for renovations and in with my accommodating in-laws. I didn’t feel that it was going to be feasible to commit to a vegan diet until I was back at home and in my own kitchen. It was difficult enough to impose our vegetarian ways on our gracious hosts by needing to prepare our own meals every night as well as storing the food we required. Over the months, I kept decreasing the amount of dairy in my diet and wasn’t interested in eating eggs at all. Vegan meals were on the menu the majority of the time and food containing dairy wasn’t enjoyable for me anymore.

The renovations became complicated and drawn out and as well as being frustrated with them I just couldn’t wait any longer to go vegan. Milk in my daily coffee was one of the last things to be substituted which was something I was certain was going to be very hard to adapt to. After I bit the bullet and tried a few different varieties of soy milk, my taste buds adapted in a couple of days. There was to be no more waiting now, renovations or no renovations I was going vegan!

The man was the only person that initially knew and was very supportive of my decision. I never expected that he would follow my path as he has always been a bit of a sweet tooth and a total sucker for ice-cream and chocolate. When we moved back home, he secretly went for a week without eggs or dairy, proudly announced that he was joining me and has never looked back either.

It has been almost a year which has been a very happy and delicious time. Whenever I sit down to eat I don’t have to think about contributing towards the suffering of farmed animals which makes every meal a positive experience.


  1. Congratulations on 100 posts! Great to hear your story - funny to hear that you were worried what to eat as a vegetarian - you seem to eat lots of really interesting dishes and I love how you go about veganising lots of regular ones. Great that your man has been supportive of your veganism.

  2. Great to hear about your vegan story, everyone's story is so unique!

    I'm joining you for vegan mofo, yay for another aussie doing it!

  3. Congratulations on 100 posts and thanks for sharing your story :) It's really great to see and hear how others have made the shifts, and come to love them. As someone who still dabbles with dairy (and eats fish...) I love hearing about how people made the final jump to 'true' veganism.

    One question for you, too: what brand of soy milk did you find worked in your coffee? I am yet to find one that doesn't curdle! Tea just about copes (or I have it black) but coffee and soy haven't yet gelled well in my kitchen.

  4. Thanks Johanna. My pre-veg diet was very high in meat, and apart from cannelloni I really hadn't cooked vegetarian meals. I enjoyed cooking but I wasn't as adventurous as I am these days. Making the step to stop eating meat definitely expanded my horizons into cooking with different cuisines I hadn't attempted before.

    Thanks K. I like reading vegan transition stories on blogs and everyone does have their own tale to tell. So glad to hear you are doing vegan mofo again. I'm looking forward to it but hope I can survive the month!

    Thanks Kari. I love reading these stories too so I wanted to share mine. I use Vitasoy Hi-Fibre or Soymilky in my coffee but I use a coffee machine at home with a milk frother. If I heat it up too much it can curdle although 99% of the time it works fine. I'm really not sure how it behaves when added to instant coffee though.

  5. I really enjoyed reading your story about how you transitioned to a vegan diet. Congratulations on your year anniversary and 100 posts! I read in your above comment how you're more of an adventurous eater now. Isn't that funny and wonderful that taking animal products out for many people equals more variety and more adventure in their diets? What seems like it's going to minimize, actually maximizes. I had the same experience; my diet is so much more interesting and varied now after being vegan for four years than it was before.

    I'm looking forward to reading your MoFo posts! It should be a fun month.

  6. Thanks Mel - my low grade coffee habits may be the problem :P I might experiment with heating it slightly before adding it to the instant coffee.

  7. Thank Cadry, I wanted to share my story at an appropriate time and 100 posts felt like the right moment. I actually look back on my previous diet with a bit of contempt as it was rather boring in comparison to current times. Totally agree with your statement about taking away meat and animal products can maximise your eating. MoFo has been fun so far!

    Sorry I couldn't be more help Kari! Heating the milk slightly may help you. I was an instant coffee drinker with milk and 2 sugars for many years but now I can only drink the proper stuff. I usually only have one a day, if it's good coffee that's all I need!