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Are nuts and seeds too high in fat to include in my vegan diet? By Linda Smillie APD

Pine & Pistachio Nuts

I recommend nuts and seeds to the majority of my vegan clients. Nuts and seeds are energy dense foods rich in bioactive macronutrients, micronutrients and phytochemicals.  Some vegan health professionals advise restricting dietary fat, including fat found in whole plant foods such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut and avocados. Many vegans restrict or completely avoid these foods for this reason. Is the avoidance of healthful fats really necessary for the average vegan? It is true that there is good evidence for the use of very low-fat plant-based diets for people with severe coronary artery disease however there is little evidence to suggest that such diets should serve as the gold standard for vegans. Some of the most long-lived, healthy people in the world consume diets that often exceed 35% fat (such as the Mediterranean). The Mediterranean and many Asian diets are traditional plant-based dietary patterns that include nuts and are reputed for their beneficial effects on health.

Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of healthful fats, including essential omega 3 fatty acids which are known to improve blood flow, enhance immune function and reduce inflammation. They are rich in minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc, and are important sources of vitamins, especially vitamin E and folate. They are good sources of plant protein. Nuts and seeds are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants which favorably alter inflammation, oxidized LDL and endothelial function. Nuts and seeds have a low carbohydrate content and thus have the lowest glycemic index of any whole plant foods.

The research on nuts and seeds and human health is overwhelmingly favorable. Their consumption is associated with a reduction in heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, overweight, macular degeneration, dementia and gallstones. Consumption of nuts has been positively associated with longevity. Maximum benefits are associated with intakes of about 30-40g per day. Because nuts are high in healthy fats they are high in calories so try not to graze on nuts if you are concerned about your weight. A 2013 report in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that daily nut eaters were less likely to diet of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.

Eat a variety of nuts and seeds, as each variety has a unique nutrient profile. Include omega-3 rich varieties such as chia, linseeds, hempseeds and walnuts. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, a mineral which functions as an antioxidant and has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Tips to include more nuts and seeds in your diet:

  • Snack on nuts and/or seeds
  • Add nuts and seeds to salads and stir frys
  • Add nuts and seeds to smoothies
  • Add ground nuts such as flaxseed meal or LSA to your porridge or smoothie
  • Use nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter (preferably no sugar and salt)

By Linda Smillie APD

Protein and Vegan Diets – by local accredited dietician/nutritionist, Linda Smillie (BSc, Grad Dip Nut Diet)

Photo and dish by Darren Cutrupi (Plant Health Man)

A well planned vegan diet can provide all the nutrients you need for good health. “But where will you get your protein from?”, we hear them say!

Protein is a vital nutrient which has many important roles in our body such as growth and repair of body cells, formation of enzymes and hormones, normal functioning of muscles, transmission of nerve impulses and immune protection.

Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are roughly 20 amino acids found in plant and animal proteins. Nine of these are “essential” and must be supplied by diet as they cannot be made by the body.

It’s surprisingly easy to get adequate protein on a well planned vegan diet. Remember that plants provide 65% of the world supply of edible protein! Eating a variety of different plant foods ensures that you will be getting enough of all the essential amino acids. Great vegan sources of protein include legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, soy products, textured vegetable protein and vegetables. Be sure to make these foods a feature of your diet.

It was once thought that certain combinations of plant foods had to be eaten at the same meal to ensure adequate essential amino acids. We now know that the body stores essential amino acids for the short term so protein combining is not strictly necessary at each meal but can occur over the day. Soy protein from tofu and tempeh and some grains (amaranth and quinoa) are considered ‘complete’ proteins so are great additions to your vegan diet.

Individual protein needs are quite specific and are related to our body mass. The average omnivore diet often contains way in excess of these needs. For most, protein needs range from 0.75g per kilogram of body weight to 1.2g per kilogram of body weight. This amounts to as little as 40g for a petite adult female to 60g for an average male. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more protein as do aging adults and athletes. Seek the advice of a health professional if you need help working out your protein requirements.

Here is an example of a daily intake that provided 60g protein…

Breakfast:  Smoothie made with soy milk, ground flaxseeds and fruit

Lunch: Vegetable and legume soup with a slice of wholegrain toast

Dinner: Tofu stir fry with vegetables, cashews and brown rice

Snacks: Rice cakes with tahini, piece of fruit and handful of nuts/seeds

Written by Linda Smillie – Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist.  BSc, Grad Dip Nut Diet

I am a Canberra based dietitian who specialises in plant based diets and gastroenterology. If you are new to plant based eating or a long term vegan I can help make sure you are getting all the essential nutrients you need to optimise your health. I practise at Waramanga and Garran. Email me at for more details.

Advocacy Resources

Vegan ACT Logo

Practical Advocacy

Suggested resources for animal activism & advocacy in the ACT

This list was put together for those who attended the Vegan ACT Practical Advocacy Workshop but are applicable to everyone wanting to be a voice for the animals.  Our aim in presenting the workshop, was to give people the tools to become a more confident advocate for the animals. By exploring ideas pertinent to animal activism and delving into the wide world of vegan outreach methods, we hope attendees feel more equipped to take on the types of advocacy that appeal to you.  Remember, local organisations always love volunteers and new ideas, so never be afraid to reach out & gain some great experiences with like-minded people.

Get started!
For whatever type of advocacy or activism you’ve got in mind, there’s nothing quite so educational as having a go! So, either get out there and give it a shot or get in touch with one of your local organisations for
guidance or help (especially if it’s a little more complex).

Featured Organisations


  • Vegan Advocacy by Casey Taft:  Taft is a psychologist and has utilised his knowledge applying it to advocacy. Easy to read with real life scenarios.
  • The Sexual Politics of Meat by.Carol Adams:  ‘The Sexual Politics of Meat shows how a process of objectification, fragmentation, and consumption enables the oppression of animals so that animals are rendered being-less through technology, language, and cultural representation.’
  • Aftershock by Pattrice Jones:  An invaluable book. ‘Aftershock explores the culture of trauma that people have created through our violent exploitation of the Earth, other animals, and one another’
  • Animals and Ethics by Angus Taylor: ‘Can animals be regarded as part of the moral community? To what extent, if at all, do they have moral rights? Are we wrong to eat them, hunt them, or use them for scientific research? Can animal liberation be squared with the environmental movement? Taylor traces the background of these debates from Aristotle to Darwin and sets out the views of numerous contemporary philosophers’
  • Change of Heart by Nick Cooney
  • Veganomics by Nick Cooney
  • Empty Cages by Tom Regan
  • Striking At the Roots by Mark Hawthorne
  • But You Kill Ants by John Waddell
  • The Life Long Activist by Hillary Rettig
  • Strategic Action for Animals by Melanie Joy

Many books on vegan activism can be found online, at Harry Hartog Woden & can be borrowed from Jen at


A Bird They Called Dinner TEDx talk by Bede Carmody (on You Tube)


Thank you!
Good luck!
Stay in touch!

All Mother’s Day – A meme, letter and video to get people thinking


‘Motherhood destroyed by profit’, a letter to the Editor of the Goulburn Post:

AS we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s pause for a moment to think about the millions of mothers worldwide who will not only not be honoured, but who routinely have their motherhood destroyed for profit.

If you get Mum her breakfast in bed with bacon and eggs, give a thought to the young pig who was slaughtered to produce the bacon. He or she was taken from their mother at an early age, causing stress to them both.

The mother spent much of her pregnancy in a concrete and metal indoor stall with barely room to move. She would have undergone about four artificial inseminations and pregnancies over two years until her yield of piglets dropped below the required number and she was slaughtered.

Then think about the hens who have laid the eggs. Not only did they never see their mothers, but their own innate “mother hen” behaviour was thwarted, their eggs being taken away immediately: no chance to nest, let alone raise a clutch of chicks.

The milk in Mum’s cup of tea or coffee comes from a cow who had her calf removed a matter of hours after birth so that we could suck the milk from her for our own use. She has been artificially inseminated annually, involving a human arm being inserted into her, for a handful of years before the exhaustion caused by constant lactation and pregnancy means she will have no more value other than to be slaughtered for hamburger meat.

These farmed mothers have similar maternal instincts to our own mums, but instead of respecting them, we trample on them, all for foods we can do very well without.

Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence, ACT.

Mercy for Animals Video:  Here’s to all mothers!


Follow ‘Vegans For a Year’ journey to full Vegans

Vegans For a YearBy Gavan Fairclough

Hi guys I know I’m preaching to the converted but I thought some of your friends on the cusp of turning vegan may enjoy following our journey.
We have dabbled before with being vegan for short periods of time and feel the time is right to encompass the lifestyle wholeheartedly. We will be posting lots of interesting articles and of course what we learn along the way.
We will be holding monthly vegan banquets at my house in Goulburn and would love you guys to come. I’ll keep you posted on dates. Below is a link following our journey to become full vegans many thanks :).

Health food shops in Canberra by Sonja Barfoed

Let's Be Natural, MawsonWritten by Sonja Barfoed

Just in time for healthy new year’s resolutions! Canberra has some wonderful (but not always easy to find/know about) health food shops and places to bulk-buy or bring your own containers. Make sure you check they’ve definitely re-opened after the holidays!

I have a theory about the proximity of health food shops and art galleries – a good opportunity to improve your entire health and outlook.  Read more…

Pay Tribute to Turkeys – The Heart-Wrenching and Heart-Warming Truth

By Rowena
Written in December 2015

At a time of year when much is spoken about good will to all, we must surely spare a thought for turkeys.

I was prompted to create this post when I had the very good fortune to come across this heart-warming podcast from Big Fat Vegan Radio in which several people are asked to tell a story celebrating the lives of the Turkeys closest to them.  It is such a delight to hear about happy, healthy turkeys living life to the full.  As shown in this Video from Farm Sanctuary:

For those that don’t know or need a simple way of showing the heart-wrenching reality that most of our turkey friends face we can’t go past this recent offering from the amazing Bite Size Vegan:

And no!  It doesn’t just “happen like that in other countries” it happens right here in Australia too! Check out this highly informative website and activist materials by Canberran Vegan and Animal Activist, Lara Drew for Animal Liberation ACT:

Here is Lara being interviewed about the launch of the campaign by Leigh-Chantelle of Viva La in 2011.

Thank goodness for Bede Carmody and his A Poultry Place sanctuary!  You can read his latest newsletter here (which includes bank details for very welcome donations).  You can also keep up with the latest from the sanctuary by liking the fantastic facebook page:

As we have seen and heard, it is clear that turkeys just want to have fun so let’s end with this wonderful Christmas poem dedicated to our fine feathered friends.  Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

Talking Turkeys!! By Benjamin Zephaniah

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas
Cos turkeys jus wanna hav fun
Turkeys are cool, an turkeys are wicked
An every turkey has a Mum.
Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
Don’t eat it, keep it alive,
It could be yu mate an not on yu plate
Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.

I got lots of friends who are turkeys
An all of dem fear christmas time,
Dey say ‘Benj man, eh, I wanna enjoy it,
But dose humans destroyed it
An humans are out of dere mind,
Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
Dey all hav a right to a life,
Not to be caged up an genetically made up
By any farmer an his wife.

Turkeys jus wanna play reggae
Turkeys jus wanna hip-hop
Havey you ever seen a nice young turkey saying,
‘I cannot wait for de chop’?
Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
In many ways like yu an me.

I once knew a turkey His name was Turkey
He said ‘Benji explain to me please,
Who put de turkey in christmas
An what happens to christmas trees?’
I said, ‘I am not too sure Turkey
But it’s nothing to do wid Christ Mass
Humans get greedy and waste more dan need be
An business men mek loadsa cash.’

So, be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
In a plate of organic grown beans,
Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
An spare dem de cut of de knife,
Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted
An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’.

And just one more video :).  This 2015 Farm Sanctuary Thanksgiving feast for Turkeys!

House Sit and Swap Site for the Vegan and Vegetarian Communities Launching December 2015.

 Written by Karen Bevis, Kindred Spirits House Sit or Swap

Kindred Spirits House Sit or SwapWe are looking for the support of the veg*n community to help get this project up and running. There will be a function on the website to be able to specify ‘vegan only’.  We are vegans ourselves, and very keen to support the vegan community.

Kindred Spirits House Sit or Swap is launching in mid-December 2015. This international web-based service will be the first house sit or house swap website specifically for vegans and vegetarians.Website owners, Karen and Chris, are long-term vegans based in Tasmania, who understand how important it is for ethical vegans and vegetarians to know that their companion animals are well cared for while they are away from home, and that their kitchen is not used to prepare non-vegetarian foods.“We have always struggled to find other vegans or vegetarians to mind our home and our precious companions while we are away” said Karen, “so we have had less holidays as a family than we would like to. We need to trust that who stays in our home shares our ethics, and will provide good care for our small menagerie of rescued non-humans. We have created this service as we know this is an issue for others in a similar situation.”Site users will be able to browse listings of house sitters, listings of properties requiring a house sitter, and properties available for house swaps. Once site users register and become a member, they will be able create their own listings and make contact with other members to arrange house sits or swaps. Registration for a 12 month membership will be free for a time while the number of listings on the site builds and an active community of like-minded people is created.You can sign up for the E-News now at Start planning that holiday!

About House Sitting and House SwappingHouse swapping is a great way to explore your own country or the world! Accommodation is free, giving you spare cash to do extra activities on your holiday, and you can self cater with all the comforts of home, in a kitchen where no animals have been cooked and there are no nasty smells or surprises in the fridge! You can swap notes with your house swap partner on where to find great vego eats in the local area.House sitting is a fantastic way to save money on accommodation while travelling, or while saving money to buy your own home. House sitters provide their services for free, looking after a home while the owner is away, providing care, walks and cuddles for any non-human residents too.Having a house sitter in your home provides peace of mind while you take a well-earned break, and having your companions cared for at home is much less stress for them than using a kennel or a cattery – and it is free too!

P: 61 429 015 110

‘Someone’ Animal Rights Song by Local Artist

by Rowena

When I heard about the UC Vision Song Contest, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if ‘Someone’ could raise awareness and plant seeds of compassion?’ This is what I came up with:  Hope you like it! (literally and on youtube 😀 ).  See below the video for the lyrics and PAQ.

Lyrics to ‘Someone’ by Rowena:

There’s someone close to you
All curled up and sleeping.
When they pass away,
There will be so much weeping.
You’d do anything to make sure they were never harmed
While billions so like them are killed, tested on and farmed.

Who decided who could live and who would die?
Someone to adore or just someone to deny?

There’s someone in this fridge,
There’s someone in that freezer
And there’re countless other selves
Who never made it to the shelves.
Each someone who wanted a long and happy life
All hope of that dashed by an awful bloodied knife.

Who decided who to breed and when they’d die?
There’s simply no excuse for making fellow creatures cry.

There’s something in those products
Meant for someone’s stolen baby.
When our mother’s milk dried up
Surely not just maybe
It was time to grow up and let nature take its course
For we can find all our food from cruelty-free source.

Who decided how they’d live and how they’d die?
Let’s stop the industries from selling us their lies.

There’s just enough water and plants grown
To sustain our kind directly
Yet, while our population grows,
It’s fed to livestock on death row.
Those who say “I don’t care ’cause people come first!”
Are in fact creating human hunger and thirst.

Who decided who to feed and why they’d die?
We need to right the wrongs if we’re to hold our heads up high.

Who’s deciding who will live and who will die?
It’s up to you and me in what we do and what we buy.
It’s up to you and me in what we do and what we buy.

PAQ – Potentially Asked Questions

  • Where can I read more about the issues raised?  All over the web! but this is my favourite booklet:
  • What recent films can I watch to find out more? There is Lucent (2014) for the animals, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014) for the environment, and Forks Over Knives (2011) for health.
  • What’s your hair doing? It’s like me. It does its own thing :). I did do another take where my hair was much more cooperative but this one sounded slightly better. Music wins over vanity :).
  • Why did you make this video? For the animals. The UC Vision Song Contest required a video clearly showing the performer. So here it is :).

Send a message that the Magpie Cull is not okay

by Chelsea J Cotter

This is so horrible, barbaric and unfair! These Canberran magpies have become accustomed to being fed by humans and are now being killed for it. They and the babies left behind in nests do not deserve this.

Please help send the message that Australians think this ‘cull’ is NOT okay. Send an email to both The Canberra Times and Territory and Municipal Services at:

New Vegan Cookbook, Vegan Ninja, Helps Nepal Earthquake Recovery

Vegan Ninja CoverBy Paul Maguire

On sale now at Harry Hartog Books, Westfield, Woden and Book Passion, Belconnen Markets, Belconnen.

I’ve just had self-published Vegan Ninja – a cookbook of confronting ecological proportions and personal meaning, through Echo Press, Griffith, ACT. The first half is the reasoning behind being vegan and the second has almost 90 recipes. A percentage of every copy sold will go directly to a friend of mine Yudav Gurung, of the Himalayan Light Foundation, in Kathmandu. He has been doing earthquake relief work since the day after a devastating earthquake killed more than 8000 Nepalese in April this year.  My wife, Julie, daughter, Eve, and I met Yudav four years ago when he, and his organisation, helped us install a solar lighting system in a remote Nepalese medical centre. We live in the Hunter Valley (one of Australia’s biggest black coal districts) and I’m a long-time member of the Queensland Vegan Society. Thank you.

Cost:  paperback $25, hardcover $35, e-book (through Echo Book’s website) $9.95.
For more information, see

Chenoa’s New ‘What Travelling Vegans Eat’ Facebook Group

Banana and Oat Waffles in Cusco, PeruMessage from Chenoa Wilson, Canberran Vegan

Hi everyone!
My partner and I are currently travelling through the world and often get the comment “Oh, but it must be so hard travelling as a Vegan…” Actually we’ve been eating like a king and queen here in South America and I was inspired to create a group called What Travelling Vegans Eat, combining two of my loves; good Vegan food and travelling!  I thought it could be a good space for those of us travelling to share our experiences and be inspired as well!
If you’re interested at all or know someone who would, feel free to join and share too!



Tip-Off: ‘Touch of India’ now use Animal Fats

Tip-off from Tara Ward, Vegan ACT Member

We’ve recently discovered that both the Indian food outlets in the two Canberra Centre food courts in Civic use dairy in ALL of their vegetarian curries and dahl. The outlets are called ‘Touch of India’ (and may have once been ‘Jewel of India’?). We noticed that the outlet up near Dendy used to say on its menu board that no animal fats were used in its cooking, but the board has now changed and it no longer contains this statement.

Patrick Duthie Art

Patrick Duthie ArtPatrick Duthie is a local vegan artist, designer and author who prides himself on quality work and taking the time to create art with passion and integrity. He works in many different and creative mediums like painting, drawing, digital art and design, and large-scale artworks such as murals and banners.
Most recently he has designed logos and t-shirt designs for many ACT organisations and sanctuaries such as the Animal Defenders Office (ADO), Little Oak Sanctuary, Signal Hill Sanctuary, Aussie Farms and of course Vegan ACT.
In 2014, Patrick released his first book; a children’s book called ‘Living with Monsters’, both written and illustrated by himself. This book is now available online and in store at Harry Hartog Bookshop in Woden.
He’s also done many more personal assignments including pet portraits and tattoo designs, and is more than happy for anyone to approach him with a request or idea of their own. Should you be interested in a quote, go ahead and email him at

To see more of his work visit his website or follow/like him on Twitter (@patrickduthie), Facebook (Patrick Duthie Art) or Instragram (@p_duthie) for regular updates on his current projects.


‘Pigs in the Middle’ – Background Briefing, Radio National

pigs in the middle

Written by Rowena (Tipped-off by Tina)

This 40 minute report (aired on Sunday, 16 November) is well worth the listen.  Without overtly stating it, it goes to show how important it is that footage comes to light so things are not hidden from view with everything going unchecked.  It is pivotal that people know what is going on.  Thank goodness for films like Lucent bringing the dark into the light!

Listen to it here:

Click here to read about the Canberra screening of Lucent.

The Ghosts in Our Machine – Film Review by Jacky Sutton

Written by Jacky Sutton, Vegan ACT

The Ghosts in Our Machine is a beautiful, poignant anthem to lost souls – ours and the non-human animals brutalised by global capitalism and our rush to consume without empathy or conscience. It was filmed by Jo-Anne McArthur, a Canadian photographer, who travels the world to bear witness to the callous sadism of humanity in its reduction of living beings to fur coats, body parts and play things. But unlike the underground footage exposing the horrific brutality of factory farms and abattoirs this film is easy on the eye. Relatively speaking.

Instead of shocking audiences into awareness – and hence, according to some schools of deterministic behaviourism – action, Jo-Anne has decided to focus on the humanity within us all, human and non-human, to reach out across language and categories to touch the heart of our common sentience. Her pictures of terrified foxes and mink in cages contain no violent scenes of blood and gore. The gruesome fate of these living beings is latent, banal, to use Hannah Arendt’s term, and in the mind of the beholder. We know what is in store and, like her, can do nothing.

The footage of the walking dead are interspersed with bucolic scenes from the Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York, where Jo-Anne goes to decompress from the front lines. We watch as pigs and cows and chickens and goats – as well as animals we have classified as “pets” – gambol and frolic in a bucolic Disneyland of living beings just doing their thing. The contrast to the cowed and brutalized is implicit, a ghostly palimpsest of our inhumanity to the Other.

Sitting in the Dendy Cinema in Canberra City Centre on July 20 it was hard to believe that I was watching a film about animal rights. And that the cinema, on a bright sunny Sunday, while not packed had a respectable showing. Could it be that the tide is finally turning? And that we can finally acknowledge our responsibility to protect the precious, fragile world over which, like it or not, we rule, from its worst enemy – ourselves?

I hope so.

Kudos to Animal Liberation ACT and Little Oak Sanctuary for organizing this event. And to Dendy Cinemas for screening it.


The Second Round Success of the Vegan Curious

Rachael Neilsen 1Written by Rachael Nielsen

So, I’m telling friends I’m making the transition as I research scrambled tofu. I’ve watched Earthlings, I’ve read Eating Animals, I have vegan pals, I’ve been a vegetarian for long enough to prove I’m committed. I believe in vegan values and I want the exploitation of animals to end. I’m planning to find cheese replacements at the health food stores and phase all animal products out, but two months pass and I’m still ‘making the transition.’ So I had to ask myself ‘why am I struggling?” I did eventually identify some reasons I am having trouble, and which perhaps other new vegans are distressed about as well.

Actually Buy Groceries

Don’t be like me and fail to buy groceries for yourself, so that you’re left with what your family or housemates have left in the fridge. Don’t feel bad, just buy plenty of food and start incorporating alternatives into your pantry so you have vegan options, especially when you need something at 3am.

Going vegan requires us to give up the privileged idea that humans are more entitled to life and freedom, and thus anything non-human is OK to exploit. Giving up eggs and dairy (etc.) requires not only going through an ideological process, but research and a very good relationship with health food stores and food markets. Mainstream supermarkets sell things like soy, almond, quinoa, oat and rice milk and a variety of helpful alternative foods.

The Belconnen and Fyshwick Farmers Markets should be regularly visited. Also bond with health food and organic stores. One of my favourite organic places is As Nature Intended at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. I also love Mountain Creek Wholefoods at the Griffith shops. They both sell a bunch of essential products that are going to be hard to find elsewhere. Also, a number of organic, heath and alternative food stores (as well as some Chemists) often stock cruelty free beauty products, like Sukin.

Read the Wise Words of Others

Absolutely buy vegan cookbooks. You will not think up everything that is brilliant to cook and you will need the wisdom of those that have gone before you and experimented until they found the perfect replication of cheese sauce. These cooks will introduce you to making cheese from cashews, and how to use tahini. Most of us haven’t been eating like this before, so the tips and products of the ’20 year vegans’, are beyond useful. Two books I love are the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon and Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

There are also apps for vegan recipes and for finding vegan restaurants, as well as a plethora of youtube channels that will teach you how to make a whole range of food, including icecream! I like the Raw. Vegan. Not Gross series on the Tastemade channel. I’m not into eating raw all of the time, but what Laura makes it still suitable for vegans of any style and she’s bloody ingenious.

For some unfathomable reason there is a burgeoning vegan community on Instagram. Search the hashtags and you will find an immense amount of vegan recipes, which often link back to recipe blogs. I follow many vegan-orientated Instagram feeds and get plenty of ideas for meals. Instagram was what originally got me interested in being a vegan; I saw the food, creativity and passion of friends and strangers which inspired me to buy Coyo (coconut yogurt) and soy icecream. I didn’t know these products existed, but when I found out, I was thrilled.

Keep At It

Not all of us are going to become straight edge vegans in a weekend. If you are vegetarian, then you can start by replacing one product at at time. Maybe slowly being less dependent on eggs is easiest for you? My favourite egg replacement is scrambled tofu. Start by replacing cows milk with a non-dairy milk you enjoy. When you order a coffee, get it with soy milk. Once you get into the habit and get used to the taste, start thinking about what dairy products are in desserts or the usual food you eat. Can you make a variation on a cream cheese bagel yourself? What vegan (friendly) cafes are around that could provide you with a sandwich similar? Websites like Vegan Easy and WhyVeg are Australian and list a lot of vegan replacements available (with photos of the products!) and information on where you can get them.

 Get a Vegan Community

Rachael Neilsen 2Another challenge of going vegan is dealing with the responses of meat eaters. When telling people about my choice, I often got the response “that’s cool that you are vegan” squashed into the back of “I couldn’t live without my meat though.” This kind of answer is a way of not interacting with what someone is saying and the (threatening) idea they are presenting. Nevertheless, it possible for your meat-eating friends and family to support and respect your beliefs once they move past defensive reactions. But regardless of how supportive those around you are, joining vegan meet-up groups, picnics and other social events are essential for feeling understood and supported, and gaining wisdom. People who share your beliefs are going to sympathise with your particular concerns and will likely be able to suggest a product, book or way of seeing things that will help.

If you find yourself despondent from the constant, small digs; the frequent sounds of “I don’t know why anyone would want to be vegan” and “I think eating meat is part of being human” then I suggest going to a cafe with vegan options (Essen, The Front, Roasters, Sweet Bones, My Rainbow Dreams, Satis) and taking out Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer for the first or third time. Maybe read one of the books I’ve started on, The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Berkoff. It’s important for morale to fill yourself up with positive influences. I not only suggest going to fresh food markets, health food stores and vegan meet-up groups because it will help with maintaining eating vegan, but because it puts you in close contact with people who can support you.

I’m sure there will be more challenges to come. Like, for instance I’m still not certain if I need to carry those juice box-sized soy milks with me everywhere, so when I go to friends’ houses I can have tea. But hopefully I have solved some of the challenges of going vegan.

Connect with me:
Twitter: @rachaelandjane

Eggs are unhealthy for you, painful for chickens

Article by Canberra Vegan

A recent study found that men who consumed more than 2.5 eggs per week had 81% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer compared to men who consumed less than 0.5 eggs per week [1]. This isn’t an isolated finding. Looking to the medical journals, eggs have often turned up as a risk factor in cancer development [2,3,4,5] , including (ironically) ovarian cancer [6].  Read more…