The rise in veganism has broght about some really amazing alternatives. These alternatives have had new money and science pumped in to the point where the difference is virtually undetectable. So small I really think the only difference noticed is the name and brand. This post is not neccesariy for vegans but for non vegans. And let me state, not to push people into veganism. In no way is forcing anything on anyone a good strategy. But what I do hope to share is that there are products available that have no harm on animals and taste just as good as what you usually choose.
A little flexibility on both sides can go a long way.
While there is a strong portion of vegans advocating that everyone goes vegan immediately, and admittedly that would be amazing, it’s not viable. Life is not made of idealistic dreams. Those ideals absolutely push society forward however some reason should also be in place. Getting everyone to go vegan immediately will not happen. And if we as vegans interact with people with the attitude that everyone has to become vegan right now, then we will get nowhere. Pushing people with their back up on the wall creates tension and animosity, not the key to moving forward.
Instead, we should encourage small steps. Small actions and swops that will collectively aggregate to a big difference. Let’s look at like this: if there are 66 million people in the UK, and if those 66 million people all swopped out two animal-based products in their home for a vegan one, the collective difference is 132 million votes towards vegan products. Those 66 million people giving their money to plant-based companies to expand their ranges, improve their products and reduce their prices. What I am trying to say is:
For change to happen, we should encourage small changes where possible that leads to big change overall.
We as vegans should allow some felxibility on our views and interactions. I am fully aware of the dire situation towards animals and the environement but like I said, and as history can back up, pushing people does not work. So for sustainable real change, we must be kind, patient, educational and positive for all to see, appreciate and follow.
For non-vegans, it’s no longer a hippy quality to be vegan. ‘a step of action in response to the horrific animal abuse, the environmental disaster that is animal farming and a taking back of our health and vitality. And as a citizen of the world, it is all of our responsibility to take action where we can. If that means buying vegan mayonnaise instead of regular, then that’s it. If it means buying vegan chicken nuggets for the kids instead of “chicken” then that’s your action.
Do what you can, where you can, as far as you can. Every bit that anyone can do is a psoitive step towards a better future for us all.
So what swops and actions am I talking about? Let’s look into some food we can replace and some things we can do in our everyday life that accumulates into positive changes. One thing I love about it is that when non-vegans start taking these small steps, they feel really good about it. And when vegans respond with kindness and encouragement then they are fueled to do more. ie: the science of positive change.
I have to admit, when I went vegan, there was very few, well I don’t remember any at all, vegan cheese options. And when the first vegan cheese came out it was rather disappointing. So my initial vegan journey was void of any alternatives and I resigned to it staying that way. When the big cheese boom happened I didn’t really follow suite.
Recently however partner encouraged us to try the Violife Vegan Feta and guess what folks, it tastes just like regular feta. Now don’t take my vegan word for it. My family was there and they all happily agreed, it tastes like the real thing. So next time, instead of buying into the dairy industry and buying cheese, why not go for the Violife cheese range? While the texture may be slightly different, does it really matter in a burger or salad? If it tastes good and it does less harm to the environemnt then why not? Violife is one of many brands but in my humble opinion, is ahead of the game.
Like I mentioned before, when I went vegan there were not many options. There was soy milk, but dare I as a vegan say. I don’t like soy milk! So, again, I resigned to never having any kind of milk again. I switched over to black coffee and forgot about cereals. Then, like cheese, the alternative milk scene boomed. My favourite was quinoa and almond milk but as we now know, they are not so sustainable. Being a sustainable vegan is a whole different kettle of tofu but one I try to be mindful of. In comes oat milk. I tried Oatly for the first time the other day and once again, pleasantly surprised.
I want to clear something up before we continue. Some alternatives, like milk, are not going to taste like dairy milk. A lot of people that try milk alternatives reject it because it doesn’t taste like milk. Well, of course, it’s not dairy milk! What necessary is that flexibility I mentioned. There is a vast difference between absolutely disliking the taste versus it just tasting different but not necessarily so bad. Open up to new things. After a few days, you wont even know the difference. But do you know who will feel the difference? The cows and their calves supplyig the dairy. Educate yourself on the dairy industry and make your mind up from there. I am yet to meet anyone that continues dairy after finding out the real truth.
This is a bit of a hit and miss for some. Some brands have totally smashed it and others have some work to be done. But overall, there is something to say for some meat alternatives. I am not proposing to ditch all meat at every meal. Well, unless you want to of course. If not, why not try some different meat options.
Sainsbury’s offers a great alternative meat sausage. The caramelised onion sasuage is a great replacement for your Cumberlands. And healthier! Quorn has also developed their range. Their hot and spicy “chicken” burgers are fantastic. A great and honestly undetectable alternative for crispy chicken burgers. These have been a firm fav in my home for a long time. Another fantastic brand to try out is the Linda Mccartney vegan range. Their meat style pies are a total winner. Add some chips and gravy and enjoy a beautiful vegan meal. No different from a regular meat pie.
There are so many brands out there offering meat style alternatives. We are all citizens of the world and the health of the planet and the treatment of animals is our responsibility. Changing over to a fully vegan diet is not always an option for everyone but as this post wants to encourage, its to take steps where you can. Once a week, try a meat alternative. I am 100% sure that you will find a few things you are happy to use instead of meat. An easy way to make a difference. An easy way to do something small for animals, the planet and the future of your children and theirs.
Yes, some of the products do cost more. But there is more at stake than a few pounds.
For the sake of transparancy, I want to talk about cost. Firstly, no, veganism in and of itself is not more expensive than a meat diet. The original most basic idea of a vegan diet is whole foods. Plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, lentils and whole grains. From this perspectice, it is quite cheap.
The price tag comes in when buying alternatives. I totally understand that a lot of people are counting pennies and when it comes down to it will opt for the cheaper option but let me ask you 3 questions…
- Do you want to fund the animal cruelty that is the meat and dairy industry? This is no hogwash. Look beyond the happy pictures and propaganda and you will find physical and physiological abuse of animals for products that for a few pounds more you could avoid.
- Do you value your health and longevity? Its not just vegans claiming serious health benefits of a healthy whole foods vegan diet. Many doctors and scientists are backing it up. Are those few pounds at the end of the month worth it when you are ill?
- Do you value the future of your children and their children? The path we are on of killing animals, farmed and wild is sad. The future looks bleak for our kids and our grandkids but if we take earnest notice, if we took responsibility now, we could make a difference for then. Aren’t those few extra pounds worth clean water? Are they not worth fresh air and a habitable climate?
We should make decisions today with the long game in mind. Look forward to how industries will impact our future. And sadly to say, its not us who will suffer the consequences, its our children and theirs. I absolutely adore and deeply respect Greta Thunberg for her stand against the governements and their lack of attention to her and her peers future. And rightly so. If I were 15 years younger with all the data coming out on the state of our planet, I would also be deeply afraid. Its a grim outlook.
But we have power. We can make better choices. You dont have to become vegan right now today (unless of course, you want to). You can rather make better decisions on a daily basis. Out for coffee with mates? Choose oat milk. Buying burgers at the store, why not try vegan options until you find the best one? Start meatless Mondays and Thursdays with friends and family.
We live in a society where we demand perfection from each other. But instead, why not support and encourge small steps and achievemnets that will lead to the next. Let’s take veganism a step further to offer kindness and consciousness towards one another, to rather include all than exclude. To educate rather than shame. Let’s all come togther and work towards the health of our shared home: Earth. Lets come together to transcend treating animals as commodities and see the consciousness and life expereince in their eyes. Let’s offer them freedom and rights that we demand for ourselves and others.
We can do it.