This year will be my first vegan Christmas. In fact I’ve only been vegan about a month, but I can honestly say that I never want to go back to eating animal products. I’d been mulling it over for months. Over the last 18 months I’ve gone from eating chicken and fish, to being pescatarian, then vegetarian and finally vegan. It might sound absurd, but the thing I was most concerned about was milk in tea and coffee. I’m a total caffeine addict and couldn’t get through the day without it.
I’ve been making my morning porridge with coconut milk for ages, simply because I like it. But I don’t like it in hot drinks. I tried oat milk (not bad) and hemp milk (gross) but finally discovered that Alpro soya milk tastes even better (at least to me) than dairy milk. Once I’d solved that problem I knew the rest would be relatively easy. That said, I did slip up on my second day of being vegan and automatically grated parmesan on my soy mince bolognaise! Luckily Isobel was happy to have that serving!
I’d read plenty of articles about the cruelty involved in dairy farming and became more and more uncomfortable about supporting the industry. But it was the badger cull that finally prompted me to make the change. I won’t get all preachy here, but there’s plenty of information out there if you want to read more. The Badger Trust has all the latest news and research.
Basically, the cull was implemented to combat the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Humans can catch bTB, but public health control measures, including milk pasteurisation and the BCG vaccine, mean it is not a significant risk to human health. In October 2013, culling in England was controversially trialled in two pilot areas and repeated in 2014 and 2015. It was expanded in 2016 and 2017 to a larger area, including Cheshire where I live. As you may know, I volunteer at a wildlife hospital, which occasionally takes in badgers. Unfortunately I’ve never seen a live one, although if the next planned cull goes ahead in 2018 I’ll be going out some nights with the Wounded Badger Patrol.
I don’t agree with killing a legally-protected animal in order to appease farmers who are mainly interested in profit. So I have to put my money where my mouth is and stop consuming their products. Ethics aside, I feel much better. I’m eating more nuts, seeds and vegetables and less sugar. Although I am partial to Tesco’s 45p bars of vegan chocolate 😉
A question I’m asked frequently by people who know me when I tell them I’m now vegan is “what about all those leather shoes and bag?” Well, it’s true, I do have a lot of leather accessories and some might find that hypocritical. I could either sell every leather bag and pair of shoes I own and start again with vegan leather, or stop buying leather from now on and carry on using what I’ve already bought, which is what I’ve decided to do. It’s specifically the eating of animals and animal products that I’m concerned with, but it seems both logical and ethical to stop buying leather and suede from now on.
Becoming vegan with Christmas on the horizon might seem a bit foolhardy, but there are lots of alternatives to turkey. This year I’m having a Linda McCartney roast. When I was vegetarian I ate a lot of Quorn but that’s made with egg white, although they have now brought out vegan options too.
Apart from milk in tea and coffee, the other things that I didn’t want to give up was Yorkshire puddings. My mum’s Yorkshire puds are heaven on a plate (and my husband’s come a very close second). I experimented with a recipe I found on the internet which is just soy milk, flour and baking powder. They were edible but a bit biscuit-like. I’ve since found some pre-made batter mix that I’ll be trying on Christmas Day. Hopefully that will be an improvement.
I won’t be partaking of the Quality Street or After Eight mints this year, but I’m sure Isobel will happily eat my share! I wasn’t able to find any vegan Bailey’s (apparently it sold out really quickly) so I’ll be making my own festive tipples. Recently, I was sent some Yutaka silken tofu to make a vegan egg nog with, so I’m sharing the recipe with you in case you fancy trying it.
· 1 pkt (349g) Yutaka Japanese-style silken tofu
· 13 fl oz soy/ almond milk
· 1 tbs vanilla extract
· 1 oz sugar
· 2 tbs soft brown sugar
· ¼ tsp ground turmeric
· Freshly grated nutmeg
· ¼ pt rum
Combine all ingredients (apart from nutmeg and rum) in a food processor until well combined and then chill. When ready to drink add rum and mix thoroughly, pour into glasses and sprinkle nutmeg over each glass.
I had never tried egg nog before, but I’ve got to admit that even without the rum it was delicious! The recipe doesn’t say what type of rum to use, but I bought Tesco’s own spiced rum for added flavour. This is the most delicious Christmas drink – even better than Bailey’s in my opinion. I might even leave a glass out for Santa tomorrow night 😉 Cheers to my first vegan Christmas!