Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shopping is the Staff of Life, or: How I Eat and Shop, thanks for asking

Although I was an unthinking vegetarian, by which I mean I no longer thought about why I didn’t eat meat, having been vegetarian since early 1990 I was used to scanning menus for what food I could and couldn’t eat. Being vegan is certainly different – my menu-searching skills are laser sharp, I religiously read food labels, and I diligently interrogate waiters. I plan ahead – I read menus online and call restaurants, I think about what I can eat and when and where I can get it, and I have developed a bloodhound-like ability to sniff out good quality non-leather bags and shoes at one hundred paces (oh how I love them!).

I shop at the supermarket and farmers’ markets when I’m out of bed on a Saturday morning on time. I am not forced to frequent health food stores nor am I restricted to wholegrains and dried apricots. I drink some beers but no wines unless they’re labelled vegan. I often take my own food to dinner parties to a) show off my creations when they’re good, and b) ensure that I have something to eat.

I’ll just add this: in almost 20 years of being vegetarian and one year of veganism, across Melbourne, Europe, the UK and India – I have never, ever had nothing to eat. Sure, occasionally it’s chips and salad – but it’s food and it’s there. And I’m not the kind of girl who’ll quietly go hungry.

I do love to shop. A lot. Frequently. And veganism hasn’t slowed me down all that much. I just accept that most coats have wool, most special dresses are silk, most nice scarves are made of silk or cashmere, and designers who design exciting shoes and bags use leather and suede (but stay tuned …. Ellie and Rach change the world with the RoC!). Finding a cruelty-free item that I love now has even more excitement (and it’s cheaper).

I’m off to New York City (avec Buzz) and London (sans Buzz) next Friday for five weeks. Expect me to return laden down with good quality animal-friendly bags and shoes, and fit to burst with a belly full of food.


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