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Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

Hi everyone! I'm currently a lacto-ovo vegetarian, however I wish to go a step further. I was shocked when I read a previous topic on how dairy products affect cattle and I would like to give them up altogether. As I'm from Australia, the products mentioned by members from the US and UK aren't really available here. Are there any good milk/cheese/yogurt alternatives out there in Aussie supermarkets? Also, I wish to keep eating eggs (free range only) and was wondering if there were any ethical issues relating to the treatment of hens that I should be aware of.

Responses (17)

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    Posted by Sonja and Dirk at 05/22/10 17:53:20

    Congrats on moving towards veganism. :-) I'm American, but I did visit Australia last November and there was soy milk in every grocery store I saw (Coles, Woolworth, IGA), even out at Ayers Rock. I also bought a can of soy cream to take home as I can't find it here. In Sydney and Melbourne, I found Cheezly although it was the soft kind, not the hard block I prefer. I don't know where you live, but I recommend checking out your local health food store as they probably have more products. The "Uncheese Cookbook" is good for making dairy free items at home. You can also look into vegan societies as they can probably give you more guidance on what's available. Here's a link to the main one, but there are probably local chapters as well.

    As for eggs, free range, organic and cage free have no bearing on how the hens are treated. There may be no battery cage, but they are debeaked and stuffed by the thousands into huge sheds with no light just the same as regular hens. Also, regardless of how the hens may be treated, the male chicks are killed at birth at the hatcheries as they are as useless as male calves are in dairy. The hens are sent to slaughter at one to two years old as their egg production declines and they become too "spent". Hens are genetically engineered to produce more eggs than is natural. Please check out this website:

    I was lacto-ovo for years before becoming a vegan several years ago. From personal experience, I can say that it may seem difficult at first, but the longer you do it, the easier it gets. I don't know any other way to live now. Your whole perspective on the ethics issue evolves. As author and advocate Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says, you become "fully awake". You realize that there is no humane way to "use" an animal. You may not have learned all the specific details yet, but just believe that if an animal was involved, it was exploited in some way. Animals are not ours to use. I highly recommend listening to Colleen's podcasts. She is fabulous.

    Good luck!

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    Posted by 10hcaro at 05/22/10 18:40:54

    Thank you for the advice! It'll be a big step for me to give up dairy, eggs and even honey, so I might try it gradually (starting with milk/cheese/yogurt). I hear Thai and Indian cooking is good for veganism as you use a lot of reduced fat coconut milk instead. The only issue I have is getting my calcium and B12 requirements (I'm already borderline anemic and I really don't want another deficiency). I take it that these replacements are fortified with the necessary vitamins and minerals?

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    Posted by Sonja and Dirk at 05/22/10 22:52:54

    Give up what is easiest for you first and work your way from there. Every step gets you closer. :-) As for Thai, beware of fish sauce and for Indian, watch out for ghee. Both can be good though if you know what to ask about. I have lots of vegan Thai places here in LA, so it's easy for me. You may have veggie Asian places near you too. Just remember, we each slip up in our transition, so just keep trying.

    In regards to calcium, dairy is actually a poor source as the animal protein in it is acidic and our bodies are alkaline. In order to neutralize the acid, our bodies leach calcium from our bones and then we excrete it out in our urine. Leafy greens and beans/legumes are great sources of calcium. The highest rates of osteroporsis occur in countries with the highest dairy consumption.

    B-12 is the only supplement that you need to take, but you can take a multi-vitamin if you are concerned. I take a B-12 sublingual pill suitable for vegans. Some foods are fortified with it, but I wouldn't rely on them exclusively. Here's some more info:

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    Posted by 10hcaro at 05/23/10 01:25:22

    Wow. Guess it just shows how ignorant I am, hey? I'll definately stock up on the leafy greens then! Thanks again

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    Posted by Sonja and Dirk at 05/23/10 13:33:42

    No worries, it took me years to learn all that! ;-) It's not common knowledge as even most doctors don't know it or believe it. If you want to learn more about vegan nutrition, I highly recommend reading The China Study.

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    Posted by lmzeigler at 05/24/10 21:12:32

    I second the recommendation of Colleen's podcast! I listened to one episode of that in 2007 (The Protein Myth episode) and decided on the spot to go vegan. There are also some great books that are loaded with good info. I recently read Jonathan Safron Foer's Eating Animals and LOVED it.

    I also second the information on free range eggs. The treatment of the hens even in "free range" facilities is just so awful, and the term is really nothing more than a marketing strategy that plays on people's natural affection towards animals.

    Good luck in your transition and congratulations on your decision. I LOVE being vegan and really encourage you to give it a shot!

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    Posted by Suz at 05/29/10 12:57:28

    joining the chorus!! :D
    echoing all that has been so beautifully said above!!

    please DO listen to colleen's podcasts.
    ultra-inspiring for moving to fully vegan..
    and for staying there!! and spreading the word...

    check out the china study... listen to dr. campbell's podcasts.

    once you hear colleen, bet it happens pdq!! (pretty darn quick) it did for me.

    keep us updated, aussie-friend!!

    evolve! -- suz :D

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    Posted by VeganMainstream at 06/13/10 13:16:49

    Good luck on going vegan! I would agree with everyone else in that it is important to remain a member of online vegan communities for inspiration and tips. I say online because oftentimes it is hard to find other vegans unless you live in a bigger city.

    Here is a great vegan newsletter that offers descriptions of new vegan products and businesses, interviews with vegan professionals, and general vegan news stories. is also a great site for recipes! As well as the blog

    Have a great day!

  • evelyn68's avatar
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    Posted by evelyn68 at 06/13/10 22:55:21

    If you are thinking to go for a vegetarian than first stop to eat the eggs. there various sources available instead of eggs like protein milk shake and fresh fruit juice. go for it.

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    Posted by Chase Morgan at 09/26/10 14:33:41

    not nearly as difficult as youd think start reading labels and doing your own research until then look for foods fortified with b 12 calcium and flax omega 3 its been about 7 monthes for me so far and its been great my hardest thing was that i didnt feel full for the first few weeks but i got used to it fruits and veggies dont leave you with that heavy feeling dairy does which i now think of as an upside to veganism not a downside

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    Posted by sunshine7 at 10/19/10 00:57:22

    I am sure true story below is more than enough for people to avoid all dairy products.

    A Cow's Milk Is Not Yours to Take
    May 3, 2010
    tags: dairyby Marji
    .I wrote this last year. I'm giving myself permission to repost it here. As Mother's Day approaches, I feel it is all the more pertinent.

    I am struck by how much we, women especially, ignore or are ignorant of how female farmed animals are treated – the manipulation of reproduction, the forced separation of mother and offspring, all the ways we shape, mold, break females to suit our needs.

    Elsa is a former dairy cow, the calves are "by-products" of the dairy industry, unwanted male calves.
    This never appeared to me more powerfully than the first time I helped a cow give birth. I have no biological children, so I have no point of reference on what it must be like. There is obviously an intimate connection, the sharing of food and life, but there is that line of separation made most obvious when the infant is so rudely introduced to the world. It all seems so uncomfortable, these months of waiting, belly growing, nourishing this other life. But with few exceptions, the day of birth appears, to all involved, a momentous, dramatic event usually ending with all parties exhausted, but content.

    Back to the cow. She was in hard labor, stuck with an oversized calf who just did not want to leave. I could not blame the calf too much. I was asked to help pull this unknowingly stubborn baby from the womb. And I did, literally pulling on tiny hooves and perfect calf legs. Out popped a slimy mostly bovine-looking creature. The birth was shocking for me, though I'm certain not nearly as much as for either cow or calf.

    And then.

    The calf was whisked away. Away from his mother, from his clan, from those nine months of calf certainty that when he was born, he would be born into something, a world with a mother, with milk. Instead he was carted off. Though only moments old, he sensed the wrongness of this separation and attempted to cry, a strangled sound. His exhausted mother struggled to stand, took a deep breath and screamed. It was an ear-piercing bellow. She attempted to follow her calf, to provide what a mother provides – nourishment, grooming, comfort. She was blocked by gates and people, by space and by unyielding greed for what rightfully belonged to her calf, her milk.

    Sadie never groomed any of her own calves
    Everything done to a dairy cow is a stripping away of her essence. Her choice in a mate is denied, she is artificially inseminated. Her choice of when to mate is taken from her, she is "synched" to breed with the other cows in the herd. Nearly every single dairy calf is removed from his or her mother the day they are born. She is even denied motherhood. We must add insult to injury by taking control over her milk source, her udder. She is milked on our schedule and bred to produce the amount and type of milk we like. Then, in a cruel twist, we take her milk and use it for ourselves and our children. Milk that nurtures the growth of a frolicksome calf, milk that is given and received on a natural cycle of hunger and satiation, milk that is bovine, not human.

    I never gave it much consideration until that heart-wrenching moment of mother lost, child gone. It hit me so hard I could not intentionally drink milk again. As a woman who wants nothing more than to be in control of my own body, of my own decisions and choices, how could I ever deny that to another female? Whether she is bovine or caprine or human, it does not matter. What we take is hers to give and given the choice between feeding a human or her own flesh and blood calf, I think the answer is quite obvious.

    Which is why I implore, beg, demand, people to seek out dairy alternatives, to stop being part of this system that exploits what should be a beautiful bond between cow and calf and turns it into profit margins. If not for yourself, then for the cows and calves. Think of Sadie (right ) who gave birth to seven calves and never nursed one, who was tossed aside when she developed an udder infection, whose only worth was in how much milk she produced, how many calves she dropped and not in her intelligence, beauty, engaging personality or her love for other cows. If not Sadie, then think of Freedom, Summer and Nicholas, the boy dairy calves whose first experience of the world was a coldness, a separation, a movement from a warm, soothing womb to the cruel auction block and slaughter. They cannot ask in words to stop drinking milk, but I think they ask with their stories, their clear desire to be a calf in a calf's world, a mother in a mother's world, and not beef, milk, veal in ours.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/19/10 08:09:57


    sunshine7's post deserves to be upgraded to become a permanent HappyCow page with its own url.

    Do you still have the photos s7?

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by sunshine7 at 10/19/10 11:35:28

    That is great idea johnnySensible!I typed link and clicked but it is not working.Please type 'A Cow's milk is not yours to take' on search engine to find this well written article to make people to boycott all dairy product without much effort.Also, did somebody mention site?English is second language and very difficult for me.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by sunshine7 at 10/22/10 13:18:46

    I tested 1 minute ago and link above worked.
    People should copy link above and when people post their messages to express their difficulty of avoiding dairy products, you should copy link above to help people.
    We can reduce heartbreaking pain and suffering of billions of cows and their calves by educating people about cruelty in dairy farms.

  • jive's avatar
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    Posted by jive at 10/22/10 15:52:38

    Very well said sunshine7. I look forward to reading more.

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    Posted by AndyT at 10/29/10 05:16:58

    Do yourself a favour and read the book 'The China Study' By Dr. T. Colin Campbell.

    It might help to know that milk and dairy products are actually quite harmful to your healtn ...

    Best regards,

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    Posted by Chia at 10/29/10 09:41:31

    When I was pregnant, and even though I was aware of the suffering of industry farmed cows, my body craved eating fatty food like dairy for its obvious high fat content. So I bought from local organic dairy farmers and did not think too much of it.

    After my pregnancy, I received a pamphlet that discussed about how dairy cows are continuously kept artificially pregnant and that their newborn calves are dragged away from them from birth (for veal). That just broke my heart.

    And even though I believe my local organic dairy farmers are much more humane than the big conventional farms, I decided to stop consuming dairy.

    Dairy alternatives:
    Add nutritional yeast to your food
    Make your own cashew cheez
    Creamed avocado is buttery and fatty

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