So maybe you don’t want animals to die. Maybe you feel bad about the suffering some of them go through. Maybe you really wish you could live a life that’s as sustainable and caring as possible. But how? How can you even think about limiting or discontinuing your consumption of animal products? It’s such an ingrained part of society. It’s everywhere. We’re taught that it’s natural, that it’s normal, that we as human beings have superiority over non-human animals. That it’s our right to consume them. But is it our right to allow them to suffer? To be the cause of their suffering? No.
Do you think as I do? Does it sadden you when you see those horrific videos of pigs in cages too small to move? Where farmed animals may never see the sun or fell the grass under their feet, where their lives are taken advantage of purely for our purposes of consumption? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider at least limiting your impact—and here’s my little handy guide of how.
This is probably one of the easiest things to change, because of the variety you have in what you choose to drink. There’s so many choices! You’ve got multiple types of soy milks, each creamier than the next, or almond milk, sweet rice milk, coconut milk, macadamia milk and hazelnut milk. Whether its cooking or coffee, these things work just as well. Personally, I think the cheap soy milk is great—and bonus, it contains lots of protein and nutrients to fill you up.
This is often the most difficult thing I hear people say. In fact, I used to be one of those people. Having been vegetarian for 7 years before becoming vegan about 10 months ago, I would always respond with yes, I’m vegetarian! But I could never go vegan. I love cheese. Dairy is my favourite food group. And it really was. But after researching what a lot of dairy cows go through—that they’re (often) artificially inseminated and kept pregnant their entire lives to produce dairy, with their babies taken away to become veal or future dairy cows—I decided no food could ever be worth their cries.
Even so, replacing cheese was really difficult for me. Some vegans avoid substitutes all together, by using other ingredients—like avocado or tomato paste—for that “melty” effect. However, as a former dairy lover, I do enjoy cheese—but fear not! There is plenty of choice for cruelty-free dairy! Biocheese happens to be a favourite of mine, and for around $7-9, it’s certainly worth it. The texture is a little different to your usual cheese, but it’s super creamy and to die for when melted—even better than actual cheese, I’d argue. There’s also Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream, both of which are super creamy, tasty and useful in cooking. Any health food store will sell plenty of these kinds of things—and even Coles and Woolworths. Furthermore, I’ve recently discovered you can make your own cheese, using things like cashews, and nutritional yeast flakes, which have together create a creamy, cheesy flavour. Google is your best friend—explore, experiment and have some fun eating some tasty creations.
Meat is probably the easiest thing to replace, give up or reduce. We really do not need it to survive—you can get all your nutrients and more from plants. But if you do long for meat, there are vegan alternatives. Firstly, you have things like grilled mushrooms, or other veggies—using the right flavouring, they can be quite similar. Tofu is also a great substitute when cooked well. A personal favourite of mine is to thinly slice tofu and coat with paprika, salt, pepper and garlic, before searing it and making a delicious dipping sauce to go with it—healthy and super easy for lazy people like me. There’s also plenty of fake meats. The frozen section of supermarkets normally have a great choice of burgers, sausages, pies, schnitzels, and so on. Textured soy protein is a new personal favourite of mine—it’s super cheap at around $3 for a big bag; just add water and heat. It can be used for the same kind of thing mince is used for.
There’s also plenty of online shops where you can find all sorts of goodies! Lam Yong has a physical and online store, and they sell everything. I am crazy excited to try vegan prawns, soy duck and vegan drumsticks.
There’s really plenty of options. I’m not here to force you—I’m just expressing my experiences in attaining a healthy cruelty-free lifestyle. Going vegan has been the best thing I’ve ever done, and my life, as well as the lives of the animals who are slowly being saved by this movement, is better for it.
My partner and I tried this recipe out of an experimentation that turned into—seriously—the BEST vegan chocolate thing I’ve ever eaten. And it wasn’t even that difficult! If I can do it, I figure anyone can do it—assuming you have some kind of blender available (we use one of those Magic Bullets or whatever).
So, all you chocolate lovers rejoice! Here’s a delicious and simple recipe you’ll love!
- Orange juice
- Peanut butter (a few table spoons)
- Coco powder (or some form of chocolate powder that’s vegan.)
- Fried noodles (or some kind of dried noodles—just to add some crunch! It’s delicious, trust me.)
- Dark chocolate
- Skewers (can be used without, though)
- A blender
Note: use as much of these ingredients as you wish. The dates are the basis for the recipe, so that will essentially be the amount of mixture you end up with. I’d recommend using more peanut butter than you’d think.
- First, you’ll want to soak your dates in some orange juice. This will soften them and add some sweetness. If you want to soak them overnight, that’s great—but I’m impatient, so I let them soak for a few minutes before microwaving them (but not for too long!). You want them to be soft enough to blend.
- Combine the soft dates (drain the orange juice—though you can use a little of this for a bit of extra moisture if you wish) with the peanut butter, coco powder, and blend.
- Put mixture into a bowl, and add the fried dry noodle bits, which should be broken apart. Mix.
- If the consistency is right, you should be able to roll the mixture into small, bite-sized balls using your hands. Place these on a tray (use foil or baking paper if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to wash it up later).
- Melt some dark chocolate—enough to cover the pieces. You can do this on the stove at a low heat (make sure to stir thoroughly so you don’t burn it) or the microwave.
- Use the skewers (or whatever you think) to pick up the chocolate pieces, and dip them into the dark chocolate. Cover as much as you can. If you have left-over chocolate, simply use a spoon to pour on top of the chocolate balls.
- Place tray in fridge—serve when the chocolate has set.
This process actually doesn’t take too long, and my god: they’re delicious, and very worth it! And there you have it folks—enjoy!