Sustainable Living: My Veganism Journey

If you’ve been following me over the past 2 years, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to be more sustainable in my ways. Over the past few months, I have been trying to cut out all animal and dairy products from my life since the meat and dairy industry are extremely polluting and water-intensive. Being a vegetarian for the last 16 years, I only struggled with cutting out dairy from my life. But cutting out dairy was extremely difficult for me since I like my cold coffee in the morning, cheesy pasta, yoghurt based smoothies, chocolates, and cheesecakes.

Why cut down on meat and dairy consumption?

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Livestock are responsible for more greenhouse emissions than the entire aviation sector.”

“Feeding half the world’s grain crop to animals raised for meat, eggs, and milk instead of directly to humans is a significant waste of natural resources.”

  1. It is said that if the grain used to feed livestock was instead used to feed humans – we’d solve the problem of world hunger. Forests around the world are being cleared to have more agricultural land to grow feed for livestock. Overall these two industries are very problematic for our environment.
  2. Additionally, lactose intolerance is fairly common in adults and goes undetected by a lot of people.
    • Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.”
  3. Animal cruelty.

My Journey

Vegan oats bowl

I have on and off tried to be vegan since last year but starting with Veganuary in January, I have tried to go fully vegan this year. As of now, I’d say I am 75% vegan and 100% vegetarian. At home, I am 100% vegan but when I eat out or travel, I give myself some leeway.

What was easy for me: Since I’ve been vegetarian for the last 16 years – it has definitely been an easier journey for me. I did consume hidden eggs in cakes sometimes but it was easy to let that go.

What took some effort to change:

  • Replacing dairy milk in my cold coffee. I hate soy and almond milk – I started off with them but they taste SO bad to me. I’ve moved to oat milk now and absolutely love it. You can also consider making your own oat milk at home which turns out to be more pocket-friendly but it is time-consuming and has a low shelf life.
  • Cheese. While I haven’t found a vegan cheesy cheese – I use tahini, cashew butter, oat milk, and vegan cheese powder to make my food cheesy. (I am not a fan of nutritional yeast) Funnily, I have also stopped enjoying cheesy pasta.
  • Chocolate. I love chocolate and finding good and not so expensive vegan chocolate was a little difficult. I still haven’t found any cheap alternates – but it has been a great excuse to reduce my sugar intake.
  • Sweetener alternates. I have been using organic honey as a sweetener for the last few years finding a not-so-expensive vegan alternate has been challenging. I’d love to move to maple syrup but the authentic ones available in India are terribly expensive. I use jaggery syrup as a replacement in some recipes.
  • Vegan desserts. Every time I open the food ordering app, I feel super sad seeing the vegan options available. Again, I see this as a great opportunity to reduce my sweet intake.
  • Eating out. It would be so nice if every restaurant would introduce some vegan options. I really don’t like imposing my veganism on my family and friends.
  • Vegan skincare, hair care and makeup- Again, moving away from staples that work for me to vegan alternates has been hard. But I have found replacements for a few products and I am on the lookout for others.
Vegan pasta

My Advice: I never advise anyone to go cold turkey. It is a difficult journey to undertake and I recommend slowly cutting down your consumption. Set a target of being vegan 2 days every week and slowly increase it to a level that is comfortable to you. It isn’t about a handful of people being 100% vegan – that would have no real impact. But everyone reducing their meat and dairy consumption by 50% – that can help our planet.

Join me on my sustainability journey. Would you consider going vegan 2 days a week?

If you are looking for vegan alternates in India, I am linking some of the products that I use below –

Urban Platter Oat Milk

Jaggery Syrup

Cashew Butter

Cheddar Cheese Powder

Parmesan Cheese Powder

Vegan Chicken Burger Patties

Tahini

Check out my other recent posts –

14 Comments Add yours

  1. A lot to learn about your veganism journey. Thank you 🌍😊

    Like

  2. Aahna Yadav says:

    A lot of new facts I learnt today from this post. You are quite brave to be a vegan. I cannot imagine not eating chocolate or having milk, cheese or coffee. 😮

    Like

  3. This was an interesting and educational read! I am not a vegan or vegetarian but my sister doesn’t eat meat. I try to limit my consumption but its hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the suggestion to not attempt going full vegan in one go. I think that was my mistake many years ago. Little by little seems much better.

    I’ve seen some folk make amazing looking ‘cheese’ on YouTube- like brie, but way too time consuming for me. And, I can’t vouch for the taste. I only tried making the cashew one with nutritional yeast- I didn’t mind it.

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

    Like

  5. Nehal Jain says:

    Ooooh nice progress! I mean, I’m a vegetarian, against all kinds of animal cruelty so hehe, i liked this.

    Like

  6. I would love to do this, and I’m so impressed that you are doing this! Your advice is great! I think I could do this quite well if I lived alone, but right now, I am responsible for my whole family’s meals and they would never go along with this. I am so envious of you! 🙂

    Like

  7. good for you Rue!
    Take away anything but not my chocolate.. hahaha! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Thank you!
      Chocolate was really difficult to give up for me also. I do cheat and eat non-vegan desserts when I head out.☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you’re welcome! I bet.. I eat dark chocolate full of antioxidants (higher than a lot of fruits and veggies! ).. I’m impressed with your discipline. 💖

        Like

  8. Most other things I live with/without very easily as a vegetarian – I cannot yet let go of my dairy in coffee/tea 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Forestwood says:

    Fantastic that you are looking for so many ways to be more sustainable, including going vegan. It is a surprise that the are not a lot more options whet you live, but hopefully more will come soon. The organic, vegan and gluten free options have really blossomed here of recent years. It makes a lot of sense to eat veges and grains rather than eat meat. So much better for us and the environment. Some great ideas here.

    Like

  10. Wonani says:

    I absolutely love this for you!
    I’m willing to try 2 days a week. I’ll see how that goes when I start. 🥲

    Like

  11. Lani says:

    I’m happy you found a milk alternative that you enjoy. I never really liked milk, esp since I’m intolerant so morning coffee isn’t a problem. That being said, my goodness, Starbucks with the milk alternatives! Yes, expensive. I hate how they charge EXTRA for vegan milk, but at least there’s an option somewhere — What’s it like getting coffee in India?

    Nutritional yeast is my go to “cheese” — I order it online since it’s from the US. There’s also vegan chocolate here from one of the local imports — not too expensive either. Check out the labels, often dark chocolate doesn’t have milk products. Sorry I can’t remember the brand, but there’s hope. Be patient (and it sounds like you have been), and hang in there. I’m rooting for you! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy Panda says:

      I also hate that vegan milk costs extra at all coffee places. But considering how expensive vegan milk (6-8 times the cost of dairy milk) is in India – I am okay with paying a surcharge. Most of the bigger chains and some boujee smaller ones offer vegan options. Some vegan cafes have popped up too.

      Thank you so much. I am hoping to do better each month. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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