A few days ago, I decided to try out veganism for a month. I don’t want to promise absolute veganism forever, but I would like to cut most animal products out of my life, unless they come from a reliably ethical provider. Maybe someday I’ll keep a cow and a few chickens of my own, but until then I’m wary of buying animal products.
Until very recently, I defended my vegetarianism with vague ethics, saying that I could never become a vegan—it would be too difficult to give up the milk, eggs, ice cream, yogurt, and especially cheese that I loved. Then I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals (an excellent book), and I could no longer ignore the horrors of the egg and dairy industries.
Several weeks passed, and without intending to do so, I started browsing around PETA’s website and signed a month-long agreement to go vegan. It was done on a whim, but I’m already convinced that I made a good decision. If I can use this month to learn more about vegan living—what foods to buy and avoid, how to get the proper nutrients, and how to cook delicious meals without relying on animal products—I will be ready to cut these foods almost entirely out of my diet.
- Cheese—this is going to be the hardest, I expect, apart from the hidden ingredients of baked goods. Cheese is actually addictive, which explains why I love it so much.
- Milk—I generally don’t use milk except on cereal, so substituting it with rice milk is an easy choice (my favorite non-dairy milk is hazelnut—it’s deliciously rich and smooth)
Desserts—since milk, butter, and eggs are concealed in most desserts, from baked goods to chocolates (except pure dark chocolate), I will have to forego all desserts for the month. I adore dessert, so this will be a huge challenge.
Eggs—these are a special-occasion food, so I just have to make sure I get the nutrients that they provide (vitamin B-12)
- Honey—I want to do this vegan thing right, so for now I’m putting honey in the animal-products category. This might change as I do more research.
- Yogurt and ice cream
- Chai lattes and hot chocolate—I was very disappointed about this until I discovered that soy lattes taste just as good as the regular kind.