World Vegan Day is part of Vegetarian Awareness Month all through October - although WVD itself is actually 1st November! It's marked by all kinds of fun and events all around the globe, designed to get you involved and get you thinking - while still having a great time. In Melbourne their annual vegan festival includes groups such as "Lush Australia", "Aduki Independent Press", and my personal favourite, "Lentil As Anything"! There is a strong community of animal rights activists in Melbourne and these guys are out in force on November 1st to show their city what it's all about. Across the pond in Boston MA, the Boston Vegetarian Society commemorates the date by giving out free vegan food for a whole weekend! Free food - now that's my kind of activism! Veganism has been around officially since 1944. It was originally defined as "The doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals." This now extends to using animal products for food, clothing, or any other kind of material gain. Statistically, a vegan diet includes fewer calories than a meat based one, and also causes the metabolism to speed up, actually burning calories faster! No wonder so many celebs are turning to this way of life: Brit comic Russell Brand, pop star Alanis Morissette and and the gorgeous Jessica Chastain are all keen supporters of the cause... One of the key ingredients in vegan cooking is the soy bean, which can be used to make soya milk, tofu, and tempeh. Tofu in particular is used loads in Asian cooking because its neutral flavour is great for taking on complex sauces and seasonings. I love cooking with tofu, not always as an alternative to animal product but just because this ingredient is so versatile and so yummy! My Japanese Tofu with Soy Dipping Sauce is a great example of how an entirely vegan dish can be nutritious and still (I think you'll agree) delicious :) I just love exploring culinary cultures, discovering new dishes from them and being inspired to create some of my own. You don't have to be a vegan to enjoy learning about veganism, and you certainly don't have to go meat-free to appreciate how tasty vegan food can be! x
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