I am not a vegan. I have flirted with the idea and I know a lot of hardcore meaters who used to be vegan, but the decision to cut out meat products entirely from one’s lifestyle should be a personal decision on it’s own.
My main motivation to go vegan would be the health benefits. All that really means is cutting out the opportunities to eat stuff that makes me fat like ice cream, grilled cheese, donuts, and cake balls. However, I’ve read a lot about vitamin and mineral deficiencies in poorly planned vegan diets, which sounds not so healthy.
So, because I am not a very good meal planner and I have a serious affection for cheese and eggs, I continue to eat animal products and wear leather while loving every second of it.
Even though I don’t think I will ever be a vegan for long stretches of time over the rest of my life, I know that I will always appreciate veganism, vegan food and recipes, and the philosophy behind the lifestyle. And ever since I moved to Austin in 2004, I’ve discovered a lot of wonderful vegan things, mostly food, that make me very happy.
So in the words of Bird Fly Good – Six Good Reasons to Love a Vegan
1. Silk – Not the fiber. I’m talking soy milk. The taste is definitely something to get used to. I really hated the stuff at first because it just didn’t taste like milk. Then I started drinking the vanilla-flavored Silk and became addicted. The vanilla flavor is extremely delicious when eaten with cereal. But the chocolate Silk is really where it is at. In my opinion, this stuff tastes exactly like chocolate milk, but less thick and without the mean stomach ache that comes with all the lactose.
Another thought: while Silk is completely vegan, I realize that actual silk is not because it is produced by the silkworm. Mull over that contradiction for a moment or two.
2. Fried tofu – First of all, yum. I absolutely love tofu in general, but fried tofu is in it’s own class of “yum.” Like soymilk, the texture takes some getting used to, but fried tofu is definitely a safe place to start if you are new to it. Just think of it as popcorn chicken – fried on the outside and tender on the inside.
3. Vegan soft serve – I’ve professed my uber-love for Toy Joy’s vegan soft serve in a previous post. And I profess my love again with a delicious photo.
4. The animals – Vegans are in it for the animals, no doubt, and many activists, extreme or not, will argue and argue that eating and exploiting animals is an infringement on their basic animal rights. I get it, and I would argue that even decreasing the amount of meat consumed in a regular meat eater’s diet by one-half is just as environmentally friendly and healthy as a vegan diet. But I love vegans because they love the animals, and that kind of passion and dedication to a vegan lifestyle is just impressive to me.
5. Veggie Heaven – I consider the vegan/vegetarian Chinese restaurant to be one of the many landmarks of West Campus/Guadalupe Street, right next to UT. The menu is full of hundreds of Chinese dishes with noodles stir fry, tofu, vegetables, and fried veggie protein balls (think fried tofu, but thicker and more fried).
My favorite items are the vegan curry bun and the sweet bun, which are simply balls of flour dough filled with onions, tofu, and vegetables cooked in a curry sauce, or a sweet red bean paste.
6. Adventurous cooks and eaters – When you subtract all types of meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and even honey if you’re hardcore, you’d think eating a strictly vegan diet would be difficult, and certainly boring. But I’ve actually found vegans to be more adventurous in their eating and cooking than regular omnivores. Vegans tend to spread their wings more in the world of produce and seem to know how to cook and eat every kind of bean and sprout.
I bought a wonderful vegan cookbook called eat, drink, & be vegan by Dreena Burton to learn some new and interesting vegan recipes. I love this book because it is jam-packed with delicious recipes for snacks, sides, meals, and desserts. Some of the ingredients are rather obscure and would be hard to find in an HEB or Randall’s. But another great thing about living in Austin is that we have local grocery stores like Wheatsville, Sun Harvest, and Whole Foods that cater to all types of diets.
My favorite enchilada recipe came from this book: pinto bean, mushroom, and cashew enchiladas, cheeseless and everything.
2900 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
1914 Guadalupe St Ste A
Austin, TX 78705