The Flaming Vegan

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Always Looking for Those Elusive Vegan Options
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Always Looking for Those Elusive Vegan Options

I was at my local supermarket recently buying much needed groceries to stack my fridge. It was my first shop in over a month – I'd been in India and Nepal on holiday. As I laid out my bounty of fruit and vegetables, the shop assistant rolled her eyes at the thought of having to weigh and price so many different fresh-produce items. I politely apologised and explained it was my first big shop since leaving the country. She asked me about my holiday and if I enjoyed India. I replied by saying I had an amazing trip yet it felt strange being back and not seeing any cows walking freely on the roads and through traffic. Her response: "Oh, you can see them in here!"

It was one thing to groan about weighing my fruit and veggies, but this last comment was a snide side-swipe for this vegetarian. I laughed dryly because I was unsure how to respond. Yet, her comment made me start to think about India and Australia, and the pivotal differences in these two countries' meat-eating ways. India is predominantly Hindu so beef is out of the question. Many Australians, on the other hand, love a good steak and grill tonnes of it on their barbecues every year. India's restaurants are visibly marked either "Veg" or "Non-Veg" or both. Here, a meat-toting restaurateur is somewhat allergic to the 'V' word so a lonely vegetarian option on a menu tends to be little more than a token gesture. If I'm lucky to find a 'V' option against a tempting dish, I later discover that the meal is usually doused in parmesan cheese or cream.

Parallel to these misconceptions and a lack of 'V' on menus, Australia is still battling scathing public debates surrounding live meat exporting, factory farming and animal rights. Thankfully, there is a healthy rise in Australian vegetarian and vegan restaurants, cafés and grocery stores, and the rate is increasing.

While I don't think Australia will ever reach a point of allowing its cow population to wander the streets, a healthy growth in vegetarian and vegan commercial options is a good indication that we're heading in a more conscious and 'V'-friendly direction.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Veganara
    Voted. Great blog Justine. I had heard that Australia is not very veg-friendly. I hope to visit sometime, so I am glad to hear that it is gradually getting there! That cashier was really quite rude! But we get that in Britain too, snide remarks about veggies/vegans, like the one you had in the supermarket. You might be interested in my latest recipe, Super Sizzling Stir-Fry - check it out, and please vote if you like it>:-)
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  2. Justine de Jonge
    Justine de Jonge
    Thank you for your kind words Veganara! It's getting better though I must admit. Once you know where to eat, you're safe. I have also started to see a rise in vegetarian recipes in Aussie e-newsletters I'm subscribed to, plus some magazines. I think the movement is on a roll as those taking on vegetarian and vegan lifestyles increases. And thank you for your recipe tip. I'll check it out :)
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  3. SnakeWitch
    I totally agree. But, there is a movement going on in Australia - you may have heard of it - called Animals Australia. ( And, Australia is apparently far more advanced then several other industrialised countries on the 'V' front. Anyhow, I voted and love your post. I have a new article about bridges built for animals. Come check it out!
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    1. Justine de Jonge
      Justine de Jonge
      Thank you so much SnakeWitch, Yes, the movement has indeed started. It's gaining momentum too which is a great thing. I haven't heard of Animals Australia but I'll definitely check it out! I'll check out your article too :)
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