I have been a vegetarian for many years but never thought that I could become vegan because of my love affair with cheese. Becoming vegetarian was really awesome for my cooking skills – to be a healthy vegetarian you have to be creative in the kitchen or else your diet can become very boring and unhealthy.
But for many years I was a little overweight, almost certainly due to my over-reliance on dairy in my diet. So in July I started Weight Watchers to lose the last 15kgs. That meant I really had to take note of exactly what I was eating, and in order to keep losing weight I had to replace almost all of my cheese consumption with low fat plant-based proteins.
So, 12kg lighter, I’m now thinking I could do it, I could maybe live without cheese and be free of the guilt that I have about supporting the inhumane and environmentally destructive practices of the dairy industry. I just wish that vegan alternatives (like Tofutti products) were more readily available and not so ridiculously expensive in New Zealand – I think that would make my transition a lot easier. In this respect, making vegan substitutions, I still have a lot to learn – or maybe I just have to move beyond thinking about ‘substitutions’ and be more creative, just as I had to be when I became vegetarian.
I do have a couple of vegan cookbooks but both are American, and the ingredients often include pre-made/processed products that aren’t available here (which is typical of a lot of American cookbooks).