An Introduction to Vegan Living

The vegan lifestyle is not one which is easy. We must step out of the comfort zone and into the selfless mindset of the spiritually conscious.
Say goodbye to every birthday cake, prepare to open the blind eye that has been turned your whole life!
If this sounds like becoming a vegan will be one of the most important decisions you make, then it has been described accurately. Today, most of the world are blissfully ignorant, and selectively choose to not observe the reality of the animal farming industry. For the most part, vegans share the same (or very similar values) with everyone else in the world. If every human had to slaughter every animal they eat, had to feed cattle hormones to make them produce milk, most of them would not do so.
As a meat and animal protein eater, there is only one valid reason to support what they choose to do: 'I like the taste'. As a vegan you will be confronted with plenty of arguments questioning your choice of lifestyle, and almost all of them will be totally invalid.
But this post is not a list of reasons of why you should become a vegan. Our motivation for this will feature in another Transitions blog and we will put a few resources on our Tools page. This is a guide on 'how' to change your life for the better.

As a vegan, food is not as readily available in any diversity from your nearest restaurant and cafe down the road. Your culinary skills will start to develop exponentially before your eyes. We hear many complaints that people do not have the time to cook meals for themselves and some people claim to be handicapped as soon as they enter a kitchen, but not to worry. There are still options for vegans out and about (which we will touch on later) and vegan cooking is the least time consuming of all food based activities!
But before we get into the meals themselves, what tools do we need? Since being a vegan, our weekly shop is approximately 1/3 of that of an omnivore. Fresh fruit and veg can be bought at excellent prices from local green grocers and supermarkets always provide an excellent range in and out of seasons. Seasonal eating is always going to be your cheapest method, and you will be sure to learn of several new foods every season for the first couple of years (we are still discovering more now).
The common misconception about vegans. Is that we live off rice pasta and vegetables. We can assure you this is not true. Aside from a huge array of vegan meat alternatives which can be found in many supermarkets, our diet is no different from a vegetarians. The only difference is that we replace a lot of the animal fats, with fantastic alternatives.
Laura's big weakness was cheese, which we are sure is something many people suffer from, but fear not. With a simple search online, you can find hundreds of great recipes for delicious vegan cheeses made with everything from cashews to coconuts and from soy beans to seeds. The same applies with milk, which can be replaced by rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, and James' personal favorite, Macadamia milk. The thing about animal fats, is that the most attractive thing about them, is that they are a fat, which when added to something sweet or salty, becomes delicious. Try and think of any plant based fat to replace your current animal fats, and you will find this to be true. We even have a recipe for some delicious chocolate brownies which use avocado instead of butter (you will have to check the tools page for that one)!

Eating out as a vegan is where things are not quite as easy, but is definitely more interesting! We are lucky in Brisbane to be spoilt by a small selection of excellent vegan restaurants such as Vegerama and Forest cafe, but we appreciate this is not the case everywhere. For those of you without these choices, do not worry, as your meals out are about to get a lot more exciting. Almost every restaurant we have been in can have a go at making something vegan. Whether they are altering a dish on the menu already, or starting from scratch, this is a great way to actually judge how good a chef is!
Occasionally it doesn't turn out perfectly (we spent 3 days on Sumbawa island in Indonesia eating rice, sauce and 1 or 2 questionable vegetables!), but we have been lucky enough to enjoy some real delights including everything from vegan pizza with a peanut sauce instead of cheese, to delicious burritos with extra guacamole to account for lack of dairy.

Mostly, vegan cooking is incredibly easy. With no need to worry about undercooked meat & fish, and no stress about your eggs and milk going off, vegan food tends to have a longer shelf life, and a shorter cooking time.
A simple pasta dish for 2 can take you as little as 10 minutes from start to finish, and an incredibly nutritious breakfast of porridge and avo mash on toast takes approximately the same time. So for anyone claiming they don't have an extra 20 minutes in there say for breakfast and lunch, try waking up a tiny bit earlier and make your day as productive as possible.
Even vegan burgers, stir fry, and vegan Mexican food takes around 20 minutes to prepare from scratch. In terms of efficiency, there is not better option.

If you have any questions, as always, do not hesitate to ask!

For information on how vegan living can save you loads of money check out our 3 ways to save money article!