I had the most amazing adventures the last week and I cannot wait to share with everyone my fantastic week, but until then I have business to attend to. It is time for another Ask A Vegan and I am super excited to share a most wonderful and sweet girl with all of you.
I have been internet friends with Mandee for about two years now. She was my first friend on Flickr and I loved all of the great food she posts photos of. I was impressed with the amount of raw foods she had in her diet and the amazing gluten free baking she was doing. Mandee has since started her own fantastic blog and has been setting up Sydney bake sales that raise hundreds and even thousands of dollars for local charities. She is an incredible and beautiful girl and I hope that one day I will have the pleasure of meeting her in person, and if I have to fly to Australia to do it, I will! (:
Location: Sydney, Australia
Website: Cupcake Kitteh
How long have you been Vegan?
Over 4 years
What made you decide to go Vegan?
I grew up surrounded by pets and I always loved animals. I used body products not tested on animals but when I found out that the Body Shop had been sold, I decided to find another brand to use. While searching online for cruelty free products I kept finding websites about going vegetarian, this started me thinking about the animals we consider food and it did feel wrong. I also read about vegans and knew that I had to go vegan right away, not just vegetarian.
It also occurred to me that I’d been caring for domestic animals for years as a veterinary nurse, why shouldn’t that care extend to all animals, not just the cute and cuddly ones but the ones that most people consider food as well. I was horrified to read about the conditions that animals endure before they’re killed and it was definitely something I could not ignore any longer.
How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
I feel fantastic. When I was younger I often had sore throats and headaches and it was assumed that I was lactose-intolerant. After a year of being vegan my health had improved immensely and I haven’t had a cold in years.
Are you open about your Veganism?
Yes, I will definitely mention it if the occasion arises. I think I am more confident now that I was in my first year or two. The more confident you are, the better your response will be to anyone who wants to question your way of living.
If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
I run the Sydney Vegan Bake Sale ( link: http://sydneyveganbakesale.blogspot.com/ )
We’ve been going for 2 years, we started after participating in the first Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale ( link: http://www.veganbakesale.org/ ). We have vegan brochures at our table and we’re always happy to discuss veganism with customers.
What does your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
At first family and friends were concerned that it was an unhealthy way to eat, that I would be missing out. Now I have friends that love to eat at vegan/vegetarian restaurants with me and they love my baked goods like cupcakes and cookies.
My Dad participated in the Vegan Easy Challenge last year and was vegan for a month. My boyfriend has always been respectful and supportive of me and while he isn’t vegan he will eat vegan meals and is always on the lookout for vegan food products for me as well as recipes that we can veganise.
What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Think about the reasons why you want to go vegan. A lot of people go vegan but find it too difficult or decide to quit after a month or two. For me it was always going to be a lifestyle choice, not a phase or a fad. My love for animals is enough for me to stick with veganism and honestly it hasn’t ever felt difficult. If you see veganism as a restriction or a diet, it will feel hard. If you see it as a selfless and positive thing to do, you will find it easy and you will be happy with your decision.
Buy some vegan cookbooks, read vegan blogs and educate yourself and on why you’re doing it and what to eat. When I first started cooking I was eating the same thing every night (tofu, mushrooms, baby spinach). Now I cook so many different meals and I definitely eat more of a variety of food and it’s much healthier too.
Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
I probably would as a last resort if I was on a road trip. I’ve driven up the coast and in the past the only food along the way was McDs. But I’m sure I’d have plenty of vegan snacks to get me by!
I think if fast food chains offer a veg/vegan option it’s good for people transitioning or for people who need a quick meal option but most vegans would agree it’s better not to support large fast food chains.
What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
”What do you eat?” because there are so many food items that are vegan, if people thought about it for a few minutes they might be able to answer the question.
What is your favorite dish?
Hmmm! This is a difficult question because I have SO many favourites. Right now I am loving the cookbook Viva Vegan! and one of my favourite meals from it was the guatita (peanut potato stew).
What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia but at Christmas I tend to make a salad, a main meal like mini pot pies and dessert is either gluten free pudding, cake or fresh fruit.
If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Banana and coconut are two of my favourite flavours so I’d make a banana cupcake, spiced with ginger and topped with coconut icing and shredded coconut.
Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
Cauliflower Cheeze (adapted from my Mum's recipe) - gluten & soy free
450g cauliflower (1 cup)
1 T corn flour
1 T Nuttelex (or other vegan margarine)
3/4 C rice milk
A pinch of mustard powder
A large pinch of salt
1/2 C cashews
1/4 C macadamias
1/2 C water
Pre-heat oven to 160C. (320 degrees)
Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes. Arrange in a baking dish in a single layer so the florets are packed together.
Melt the Nuttelex is a small pan, add the corn flour and whisk to make a roux, 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the rice milk, continually stirring. Add the mustard powder and salt. Remove from heat.
Blend the cashews and macadamias with 1/2 C of water. Add more water if needed, you want the consistency of a thick sauce. Add nut mixture to the milk mixture, combine.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden.