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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  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>:-)
  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 :)
  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!
    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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