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Sunday, 14 June 2009

100th Post!

It's my 100th post! Finally! I know I took a long time to reach 100 but I'm glad I've reached it! It was also my 1st bloganniversary about 2 months ago but I totally missed it; I been so busy lately! Becoming vegan is the best change that I've been able to introduce in my life so far and starting this blog is the best thing that happened after that. I've come across so many other interesting blogs and made some cool friends with so many other bloggers. I love the blog world and thanks to you, my readers and those who inspired me, this blog is still going good! :)

This post is also a reply to a comment I received on my previous post from someone anonymous who signed as Pipo. I made this into a post instead of just a reply to the comment because I feel there might be other readers who might have the same questions or concerns regarding how to make the shift to and maintain a vegan lifestyle or for those who might just be curious on the subject.


It's difficult to be vegan

I turned vegan when I was living in London in 2007. And I have lived in Mauritius for 1 year as a vegan. (This is when I started this blog as a motivation to help me through).

To adopt a complete vegan lifestyle in Mauritius is a bit hard, if not practically impossible; a lot of products are not available and hence I didn't have a choice for certain things. I tried to use herbal products whenever I could but I could not guarantee they were vegan. It's not as easy as it is to be vegan in the UK for example. London is a very vegan-friendly city by the way. However, in Mauritius, you can be a dietary vegan quite easily though, with a bit of planning (I’ll come back to this a bit later).

At the beginning you will definitely take time to adjust. I did not suddenly become vegan. It was a gradual process where I started cutting all the meat first, then milk, then fish and eggs followed by honey. Then I moved on to other products like beauty products, clothing, footwear etc.

It is practically very hard to be 100% vegan as we live in a totally vegan-unfriendly world. Sometimes you will be gutted to find out you've mistakenly bought/consumed something non-vegan (well, at least I do. At restaurants that just put non-vegan dressings on salads for example!). But you can try your best like every other vegan is.

There are a lot of food products that are starting to emerge; there are quite a few brands of soymilk available in Mauritius. You can also make your own soymilk if you buy the grains in bulk at grocery shops. (While in Mauritius I used to buy it in Port Louis near the market, in London and Dublin, any supermarkets or Chinese stores stock them. Google for homemade soymilk or this video gives you a good idea how to make soymilk at home (you’ll need a blender):


Not many places where to go eat outside?

Even over here in Dublin, Ireland, where I currently am, there are not that many places that I can go to. But I’ve never found food from outside that tasty anyway. Food prepared with love at home taste far better.

Although I do not recommend the consumption of overly processed foods, sometimes to save time you can buy vegan sausages and burgers in the Frys brand that are available at most supermarkets (any Way supermarkets in Mauritius usually stock them). These are very handy for bread fillers.

You will find your products around once you start being vegan. I found that when I started to become determined to get through this in Mauritius, things/products/whatever I needed were coming to me like I was a vegan magnet! And I was so happy!

And if you want to eat out from time to time, there are restaurants who might want to cook only vegetables for you. I even had a pizza without cheese once at Panarotti's in Beau Bassin (Mauritius). Ok, they were a bit shocked at the thought of having to make a pizza without cheese. I said I was allergic and Pizza Hut usually makes it for me (that wasn't true! haha!), and so, they made it! lol!

Photobucket

I know it's kind of cheating to say that I'm allergic, but most people don't have a clue what veganism is about and restaurants are more worried about making a profit rather than being ethical. But for me, as long as I am not contributing to the suffering of animals in my food, I believe I'm helping (even a little bit) to make this world a better place for every species to live in. We all have our ways of contributing to this world. I try my best to buy, consume and wear cruelty-free.


Always plan your week ahead to maintain a healthy diet

If you are going to rely on food outside everyday, this might not be the healthiest option. For example, like Pipo mentioned, dhal puri (dhal puri is a typical Mauritian style Indian bread made with dhal) and roti (Indian bread, usually served with vegetable curry in Mauritius) contains too much fat to be consumed daily.

A bit of planning will certainly help. Plan your week ahead - make a list of what you intend to cook for each day of the week, then do your shopping.


Make your own lunch

Some ideas:
Make some humous ahead of time; it keeps for 4 - 5 days in the fridge. You can use this as a spread in bread with salad. Humous is not popular in Mauritius and yet is so easy to make and so tasty. It is basically like a chutney made with boiled chickpeas.

A nice and easy humous recipe from Recipezaar.
(If you can’t find tahini in Mauritius, just replace by 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds)

Or another simple one from Celine’s blog.

Cook extra the day before for dinner, then take leftovers for lunch. There are a lot of vegan blogs out there that have loads of ideas for lunch and other meals. Vegetables with pasta / couscous are easy meals to prepare.

Some sites to browse for easy recipes:

http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/
http://www.chooseveg.com/

And for easy plus sensational recipes go to Jessi’s (Happy Vegan Face) recipe index. It’s impressive, so don’t be scared, most recipes are easy to follow. I particularly like the patties and burgers section! Yum!


Invest in a vegan cookbook

You can invest in a good vegan cookbook. Ok, for this one, I’ll have to rely on the advice of my vegan readers who own vegan cookbooks.

What would you recommend to new/aspiring vegans?

I only own Now Vegan by Lynda Stoner and it is pretty good. There’s a good variety of recipes and of course you don’t have to follow them exactly. Recipe books are mostly there for inspiration then just use what you have on hand and create!


Snacks

If you are not allergic to nuts (I am, unfortunately), they are quite handy wholesome snacks to eat anytime during the day. Not too much though, because they have a high fat content.

Always carry some fruits in your bag with you. I find bananas are quite good for hunger pangs! Grapes and mandarins / satsumas are great at any time you want some extra energy!

Well, any fruits you like will do.


It's expensive to be vegan

If you plan and are willing to make the effort, a vegan lifestyle is no more expensive than a non-vegan one. Buy in bulk if you have space. Food stuffs like grains, pulses, potatoes keep well for a long time. Buying them in bulk will reduce the cost. If you have a back garden or balcony, think about growing some vegetables and herbs.

Being vegan will certainly improve your health which means less trip to the doctor's and less money spent on medical treatment and medecines. Turning vegan doesn't mean you won't need any medical attention at all. However, medication will help treat the problem on a short term basis while being vegan is a long term option to target the cause of diseases in general. For me it's long term and constant health improvement!


Need some inspiration (to help end animal suffering and reduce environmental pollution)?

I was often very much bugged by people who were trying to dissuade me from being vegan at the beginning. This happens even until now. I watched this 'Meet your meat' video (and many others that you can find on Youtube, search for vegan videos):
Warning: this video contains disturbing scenes

I cry every time I watch this! I recommend you do watch it completely, and you will never need more inspiration than this to be vegan! This is what I think of every time I'm been 'attacked' about my vegan lifestyle. Then I know I'm doing something that makes me feel right about myself.


Happiness and Health!

After being vegan for 2 years, I don't regret anything at all. It's the best thing I've ever done in my life. My family is now also trying to reduce their meat consumption. BoyfriendLovlie (also vegan) and I, together we've influenced quite a few people who are now very happy and thankful!

My health is so much better. My cholesterol (yes, although quite slim, I had high cholesterol level at the age of 26!) has considerably gone down to a normal level without the use of any artificial methods like pills.


You can still be social

When I go out with friends and I know there won't be anything I can eat there, I just eat something in advance, then just have a drink with them.


Size matters!

The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear that you are vegan is that you must be super skinny! We all know this is not true. The rules are the same, to lose weight eat less calories that what you spend and to gain weight eat more protein and exercise.

If you think it’s difficult to gain muscular mass on a vegan diet then, this is Boyfriendlovlie before turning vegan and then after turning vegan with 16 months of training:

Boyfriendlovlie_before_after


Conclusion

I wanted to keep this short but I guess I did not want to leave out anything I wanted to say either. So I hope I’ve answered to some questions that most people interested in veganism generally ask themselves. By helping to end animal suffering and reduce environmental pollution, what you gain are personal satisfaction, achievement and great health!

One last advice I would give to aspiring vegans is to document themselves thoroughly on veganism and how to eat healthily on a vegan diet.

I wish you all a healthy vegan lifestyle!

16 comments:

  1. Happy 100th Post! Wee!
    Ok, Mr. Lovlie is a hottie-pie, just sayin'. The best looking guys are vegans, it's true!
    Wonderful, well thought-out post with great advice for a newbie. For cookbooks, it depends on where they live, but I would say Veganomicon - so many recipes & explinations and things to build on, and the ingredients are easy to find or sub for the most part. Also Vegan with a Vengeance is a good starter book I think.

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  2. That was a fantastic post!! Very informative and helpful :) I hope that Pipo comes back to read it, and I'm sure it will be great for others also.

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  3. fantastic and mega thorough post, Lovlie! kudos, and congrats on the 100th post.

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  4. Happy 100th Post!!!

    This is a fabulous one =)

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  5. Congrats on your 100th post.
    lovely info about the vegan lifes tyle and tips :) I sure agree with your words on -food prepared with love at home is far better :)

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  6. Hi Lovlie,

    I love your blog...I've been following it for several months now. It sounds like we've been vegan for about the same amount of time...my husband and I went vegan 2 years ago after many years as vegetarians. For us too, it was the best thing we ever did.

    Just a shout out from a fellow Happy Vegan.

    PS: I used to live in Dublin; I worked at Cafe Fresh in Powerscourt Centre...unless it has changed substantially, it's a good option for lunch.

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  7. happy 100th post! what an excellent post, indeed! it’s full of excellent advice! hooray for healthy vegan lifestyles! dan & i have never felt better since becoming vegan – we love it!

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  8. This was really an inspirational post.

    @pipo - Well mate, the fact is we do not feel the need to learn new things (eg. cooking) until we require it. I just completed my studies in UK and prior to that, i could only prepare stuffs like noodles. After coming here, i started cooking (became vegetarian) and it was actually interesting (always trying new things with the vegetables). Well the first time you'll cook a lentil soup or other thing, you wont expect it to be good :p. So just improve on that. As for vegan cooking, lovliebutterfly has a perfect blog and on that, i must thank her for those recipe she posted before:). I also like bbcgoodfood.com

    By the way, congrats on your 100th posting.

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  9. That was a great post! Congrats on your veganiiversary and on the 100th post! Here is to 100 more.

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  10. Happy Veganversary and YAY! for 100 posts!
    I found exactly the same problems and issues as you, being vegan in Spain. But it made me look more to wholefoods which is undoubtedly a far healthier option than pre packaged frozen sausages and fake meats that I moan about not being able to buy so much. Don't get me wrong - when I do go back to the UK I do stock up all the treats like that and mayo and Sheese and Toffutti and Tartex etc etc, but they are real treats for me and savoured as such.
    Eating out was and is a real pain because I am limited to 2 restaurants (but two's better than none right!!)and I also order Pizza with no cheese and tell restaurants I'm allergic - it's the only way to make sure they don't slip any in which happened to me the first time I ordered a vegan Pizza!

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  11. Happy 100th post!

    This is a nice read :)

    Regarding pizzas, most of the time I order mine without the cheese. I like cheese but not overly cheesy ones ...

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  12. Hey there lovelie!
    Nice to have you back,missed your recipes!So glad your around,Happy 100th post!
    What a lovely idea to post these guidelines..I can relate to so much!I also know there are so many intriguing questions for so many out there..it is definitely not a very easy path,as many places are not too vegan oriented.But I try to remember in those cases to keep it simple and there can always be a sollution,since the base of all our food is vegan! There can always be a fruit/veggie/nut or grain on hand..the problem starts where there are too many processed foods..I just came back from Cyprus and it was not always that obvious..
    I think another point to remember is to maintain a balanced diet-so IMPORTANT! A mistake some vegans make including myself,with all the concentration on keeping things vegan we tend to forget to make sure we get all the nutritional components we need,such as protein etc.Not a difficult task-just one to remember,thats all. :) Thanx,Mia.

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  13. Hi all

    Thanks lovlie for giving us(especially me for my comment) so much of your time. It sure was very inspirational.

    Now u told us about the 100% veg pizza, I guess it'll get a little fishy at pizza hut when they'll get more of these "alergic to cheeze customers" :D

    My first try has been a salad with veg dressing. That being too sour I had to add sugar to it.

    All this sure need a lot a patience(and courage too), but its worth it, really.

    Anyway,got to leave u now,think my lentil soup is ready :D

    Peace to you all.
    ~ pipo ~

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  14. nice, but i think you have to mention that people should take b12-pills on a vegan diet. no choice there. you have to be responsible!

    buy buy

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  15. I'm currently staying in Mauritius and I've turned vegan 1.5 years back. It's tough being vegan here. But still I don't give up :) I think at Debonairs you could try the vegetarian hot sub without the cheese. The Customer care told me that it's vegan when I emailed them and asked them. At pizza hut you could eat the vegetarian thin crust pizza (without the cheese of course!). It's vegan. Check it on their website. Options are always out there but you have to look for them. I hope in the near future that more vegan foods will be available on the mauritian market and i hope to see more vegan restaurants in mauritius. Thank god they opened one in Port Louis. . I have yet to visit it. It's hard to find vegan cookies, biscuits and cakes in the supermarkets. Tofu is a good source for protein for vegans. And if you require ghee in your cooking use vita vanaspati ghee in your cooking. It's made from plants. When we cook briyani at home, I've started to use this ghee. Soya milk is easily available in supermarkets here now. Check if your margarine contain any milk ingredients. Tara margarine is suitable for vegans. It doesn't contain any milk. I'm eagerly waiting to get soy cheese here! Soy yogurt too isn't available here :( I really wish they could open a vegan sweet shop in mauritius too. I miss eating indian sweets. In bangalore we have a vegan indian sweet shop. The shop name is Kanti Sweets. That's all for now.
    Regards
    A.V

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  16. Thanks A.V for these info. They are very helpful and I'm sure other readers will find them helpful as well.

    Soy cheese is not available in Mauritius yet but as for yogurt, you can try make your own with this recipe here:

    http://havecakewilltravel.com/2009/05/26/homemade-sorta-soygurt/

    I've tried it and it's nice. Hope this helps. :)

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