Often, the first thing people ask when they find out we’re vegans is “but isn’t that really difficult?”. There’s a perception that giving up dairy and eggs is really tough. But actually, veganism is easier than ever in 2017. When I first went vegan in 2010, it was admittedly a bit more complicated.The only dairy alternative you could easily get was soy and sometimes really watery rice milk, and any almond alternatives were thick and sickly and really expensive. We had barely heard of oat milk. Vegan ice cream was a rock hard lump of frozen soy milk with sugar. Vegan chocolate was meh. And I won’t even mention the vegan cheese. Gross.
But today, it’s a really different story. Case in point above – even Ben and Jerry’s are making vegan ice cream these days, and it’s absolutely divine. Granted, it’s still a bit hard to find, but the Alpro counterpart is in almost all supermarkets across the UK. It’s almost on par for taste, although it doesn’t have brownies in it. Come on, Alpro. Get with the game. Even the smallest of supermarkets offers a variety of milk alternatives, from hemp to coconut, everyone sells chia seeds, tofu and soya yoghurt and two giant supermarket chains have released their own vegan cheese alternatives with are absolutely beyond our wildest 2014-cheese-dreams (technical term).
Almost all restaurants have a vegan option (even the christmas menu at our local pub, which blew my mind when I saw it) and they become more refined by the season. Sure, we’re all still waiting for chain restaurants to start introducing a decent vegan dessert (VEGAN BROWNIES ARE NOT THAT HARD). But in the grand scheme of things, we’ve come miles since the days of (unsalted) veggie broth (Because salt isn’t vegan…?) and canned fruit salads. All these developments are ensuring that veganism is easier and more accessible than it has ever been before.
But it goes further than that. Attitudes have really begun to change. I have only ever experienced support, mild curiosity and an interest in reducing meat consumption from my friends and colleagues. People don’t tend to make stupid comments, I’ve not had to listen to many odes to bacon, my friends all love vegan cake and my family happily go a week without meat or dairy when they come to visit. Although I can’t get them to give up milk in their coffee, any suggestions?
The public’s willingness to experiment with new foods has meant that vegan options are becoming popular even with meat eaters. To me, this is a really exciting development. The more we can get people to try and love vegan dishes, the more people become convinced that you don’t have to sacrifice flavour, enjoyment and fun when you ditch the meat. And with every amazing recipe, every beautifully-photographed dish and every successfully shared meal, veganism is easier to promote and sustain. This is why events like Vegan MoFo are so important – the more we share and the more accessible we make information and resources, the more people will decide to take the plunge!