Thursday, August 21, 2008

srs bsns, guyz

My vegan diet is going freaking awesome. I'm not missing milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, whatever. Actually, now that I think about those days it feels kind of gross. My skin is the first difference I noticed, which also means I probably won't be wearing skin make up, seeing as good vegan cosmetic is hard as hell to come by already. All non-vegan make-up is saturated with rendered animal fats mixed with poop (yay, poop!), but I'll gross you guys out some other day.

In terms of food, I barely felt like "giving up" anything. Trust me, I have a huge waiting list of recipes and foods I'd love to try. Most importantly, my ice-cream machine isn't any less loved. Soy milk, nut butter, and a little bit of agar agar (I love that word...) makes yum yum. I haven't tried seitan, tempeh, and TVP yet. I'm not too big on analogues/mock meats, since I'm those people who gets grossed out about eating meat (red meat, especially) even before I became vegetarian.

I found a brand of soy-cheese, and it's actually quite good! But unfortunately, I was fooled by the grand imge of "soy" cheese (read, vegan) and neglected to read the ingredients. Casein, a milk protein, was along the list... darn. Well, lesson well learned. I'll pick up some nutritional yeast to try when I get the chance.

Making the vegan switch actually broadened my menu. Things I thought I'd only try once in a while in restaurants, especially ethinic and regional cuisine, I learned to make and love and enjoy at home, every day and every night. I'd never thought I'd eat Mexican, Middle-Eastern, Chinese, Indian, and so much more every day of the week. It's wonderful!

At first I switched to vegan for personal-health benefits. Then I began to read about ethical, environmental, and political issues. It's quite mind-opening! I felt, slightly better, that I read about them after cutting out animal foods from my diet, because if it was any other wise, I'd feel so much more guilty and horrible about myself as a human being.

I understand a lot of young vegans meet difficulty when their non-veg family try to cope with the fact. To my parents' credit, they are awesome and totally OK with it. Though my mom still questions my choice of lifestyle, she would never interfere with it (doesn't mean she won't eat my FABULOUS vegan cooking). I have a own set of cookware, and cooking for one is seriously fun.

Aside from food, everyday shopping for house-hold item and clothing become tests. While I have always been pretentious about label-reading, I suppose I will have to work even harder now. Once again, living with my non-vegan family is a conundrum. Can really convince my Chinese-mum to buy that 4 dollar bar of vegetable soap, or that 6 dollar vegan toothpaste? If you think I can, you frankly don't know Chinese mom's. All can say is, I'm working on it. When it comes to clothing, it's rather straightforward to identify animal sources, so I'm not particularly worried about that.

Some people have negative perceptions about vegetarians, vegans in particular because of their "radical" diet habits. Hippie stereotypes (actually, I'd take it personally as a compliment) aside, non-veg*ns perceive vegans are elitists. Even though my transition from a meat-eater to vegan took barely three months, I can't help but silently judge my meat-eating friends. Is that wrong? Absolutely, and that's all I can say. But will that make me stop making and keeping my non-veg*n friends because everything ultimately (shouldn't) comes down to eating habits? Oh, pshaw, far from it. Though, will I occasional gross you out? You bet.

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