Saturday, 19 September 2009

I am vegan

Just trying writing that out! I am still vegan, with the odd unavoidable lapse, but am sticking to the mantra, 'I am vegan for today'.

It seems that moving towards veganism is more of a process than an instant state of being. For a long time I have thought I 'ought' to be vegan. It is the logical point to aim at from being vegetarian. There can be no milk or it's products without cows having calves, half of which will be male. They are mostly either considered a waste product or raised for veal as I understand it. Eggs lead to the same problem, there are many male chicks born which are seen as no more than a by-product, and hens rapidly come to the end of their useful laying lives. Dairy cows often live their lives in large sheds, not grazing the fields as we like to imagine they all do. They are engineered to produce around twice the milk they would naturally make for their calves, from whom they are torn. I do not want to be part of supporting this cruel industry, of lives being no more than a waste or by-product. The environmental issues are compelling too, but to me, only as a supporting one for the animal welfare case.

But, I love food, I adore nice cheesy dishes, cakes, eating out. Will I just have to accept my life is less food focused and replace my delight in eating yummy things with going to the cinema or something? It seems that, at present at least, food is even more of a focus, making sure I get plenty of nice things, checking labels, etc.

Running a vegetarian guest house raises it's own problems. I do not plan, at this stage at any rate, to make the guest house fully vegan. I therefore have to accept I will need to taste some dishes. Will I find myself with rather large taste test portions?!

Being vegan ought to be a gentle, non aggressive option. But, it seems it is the opposite in some ways - it raises uncertainty, discomfort, questions, defenses. I do not want to be seen as difficult, I do not want to be the centre of an awkward scene in a restaurant as I question ingredients and eyebrows get raised higher and higher. Being organised and arranging vegan meals when booking will doubtless help with this, and I have already been pleasantly surprised by the extent to the knowledge of one pub's staff recently.

It seems that it is more acceptable to have allergies or health reasons to be vegan than to do it for ethical reasons. We recently went to our local Indian restaurant. As I had only been vegan for a few days, I would have felt a fraud to say I was vegan, so I asked for dishes that were dairy and egg free. They told me the ones we had selected were dairy and egg free, but that one of them contained almonds. I was flummoxed for a moment, wondering what the relevance was. Of course, they thought I had an allergy to dairy products, and that I might also have a nut allergy. It seems rather sad that the health considerations of the individual are more recognised and valued than consideration for other creatures.

Another issue is waste. I am still cooking eggs for guests for example. Sometimes these break when I am frying them. I usually eat the broken ones. I cannot now do this. Is it worse to give the dogs yet more treats than to eat it myself?

Will I be able to keep making felt? I am only just getting into it, I have already stopped painting on silk, I do not want to give up using wool in felt making. I recognise each person has to do what they can, there are no absolutes. But, I know how I feel about 'vegetarians' who eat fish. Is a vegan who makes felt similar? Or, is it better I go as far as I can, possibly extending the process as I go, rather than becoming trapped and ending up not doing any of it?

There will be many more questions raised I am sure, and I will keep to 'vegan for today' for now and see how it goes, reporting here. Ooh, I am hungry. We have the most yummy bramble jelly made by Dawn, which goes very well with the homebaked bread, and the little bit of soya marge I use instead of butter, should mean I start losing weight...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Being vegan

I have now been vegan for four days! It has been easy so far, but we are going out tomorrow, so it may all get more troublesome! By telling myself I am only doing it for a few days, it makes it easy. One of the guests who left today said that is how she still does it, and she has been vegan for three years! I have lost three pounds as well, which is a very good thing, but today I ate a potato rosti and the big baddy - peanut butter, by the spoonful. A big spoonful. Two big spoonfuls.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Vegan for a week

I have decided that I can no longer go on supporting the cruel dairy and egg businesses in the way that I formerly have. To this end, I yesterday decided to try being properly vegan, just for a week.

I didnt tell anyone, even Simon, as that would make a 'big deal' of it, I just wanted to keep it as something I was quietly doing. We have vegan guests staying, so it is easy to have what they are eating, as we usually do, but then not supplement it with the butter etc., I usually use. Simon now knows, as I showed him some of the horrendous images which make me cry and which lead him to say we should be vegan, and I told him my plan!

I plan to blog about it, mainly as a way to record how it is going for myself, with no expectation of the blog being read by others. if it is, that is great!

One day in, and it seems fine so far. But, what will happen when we go out or have vegetarian guests eating supper? What of the wonderful chocolate Brownies at my favourite cafe at Trebarwith Strand? I can have their veggie burger though, it is vegan...

And my main anxiety - will I forget?!