I love cheese. I also like a challenge. Although I’ve lived the last 10 years as a more-or-less vegetarian I’ve always resisted going the “whole hog” har har. And, thanks primarily to my hearting of fermented dairy products and buttery baked goods veganism always seemed way too out there. A life without hamburgers does not a sacrifice for me make. A life without cheese curds and croissants is another thing entirely. Of course, because I think that I couldn’t do it now I find myself wanting to try; it is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now but it would need to be a finite period of time. A month, perhaps. Long enough to see if it makes a difference in how I feel and how I eat but short enough that I don’t become a vegzilla.
Instead of jumping right in I’ve started to trial some animal-free alternatives to some of my favourites. Yesterday I brought home three things: coconut milk-drink, almond milk and creamy cultured almond aka almond yogurt. I needed to know if some of my favourite things could be adapted or would need to be entirely replaced. Verdict? Coffee is great with coconut creamer. Better, in fact. Vegans 1. Oatmeal with almond milk instead of cow’s milk? I could transition for sure. Vegans 2. Almond-yogurt surprise? It looks like a translucent yogurt and tastes pretty good. The texture of regular yogurt has always bothered me so it wasn’t exactly a dietary staple to begin with but I could definitely stand a little Amande with berries and granola for a quick breakfast. Vegans 2.5.
Could I do without milk? Probably.
After doing a bit more research, though, I discovered that my diet will require more adjustments and label reading than I thought. Aside of the obvious no meat, eggs, milk, cheese or gelatin there are a few others. No casein or whey which is added to quite a few processed products including bread. No honey. Watch out for omega-3 products because it was likely added via fish oils. AND no refined white sugar. At least not without researching which companies use bone char (ew?) to help get sugar than white colour.
I haven’t been scared off yet. In fact, my next goals are: try agave and/or stevia as a sweetener; learn how to cook with tempeh.