There is ‘milk ingredients’ in just about everything! I should have been paying closer attention to this from the start because I have intolerances to dairy, but once you start to read ingredient lists again you start to wonder to yourself ‘does salt and vinegar flavouring really need milk in it? Why does “hint of lime” need milk? Who the heck puts milk in guacamole??’
I don’t talk about my diet much (unless it is to complain that the intoxicating smell of fresh-baked bread is a form of torture that should be covered under the Geneva Convention), but in the past six months or so, I have had to start paying closer attention to what I eat. My food intolerances (gluten and dairy) decided that they would not be ignored anymore, and since I’ve been vegetarian for nearly a year now, I thought that it couldn’t really hurt to give the Veganuary thing a try. I’m halfway there, anyway, right?
Now that it’s over, I look back and not a whole lot has changed. I did go back to putting butter on my toast (on the rare occasion that I am out of avocados), and I had a flourless dairy-free cake for my birthday (which I am assuming contained eggs), but my day-to-day life is much the same. I cook from scratch and eat mostly vegetables and nuts and mushrooms, and my homemade vegan cheese powder is delicious on popcorn.
It has me thinking of the merits of the flextarian diet where meat consumption is drastically reduced in an effort to add more plant-based foods. I like this compromise. For people who can’t or simply don’t want to give up meat entirely, I think that it is a good way to respond to the threat that the animal agriculture industry poses to the climate of our planet.
Environmental conservation has been a central part of my belief system for more than 20 years, and I feel good that there are options that I can support that can make a noticeable impact. It’s also good to see that things like buying second-hand rather than new (when you can), reusable everything, and composting are gaining traction in mainstream life.
My own city of Calgary introduced a new beet-based brine for salting the roads that uses 90% less salt this winter, and last year rolled out a ‘green box’ program for household compost waste. And this is a town that runs on the oil and gas and cattle industries.
I can’t say for sure if I will become full-time vegan. I tend to take these things one meal at a time. I doubt I will bring it up again here because I’m not a recipe person, and I don’t like to have the sorts of conversations that lead to people getting defensive of their own choices. If they ask, I will tell them and why, but otherwise, I feel that dietary restrictions, whether medically necessary or ethically chosen, are a personal thing. Good to know when you are making a meal, but otherwise, not really a centre of average conversation. Unless you try to tell me that miracle whip and mayonnaise taste the same. Then you may have a fight on your hands 😉