I’m a meat-lover and a vegan. The idea of chomping down on some rare flesh doesn’t disgust me, it delights me.
Well, it used to. Now it’s been a while. I didn’t stop eating meat because I didn’t like it – I loved it! I stopped eating meat because I couldn’t justify it any more.
Whether or not the vegan chocolate mint chip was better than its dairy iteration is debatable. But what was clear was that it was absolutely delicious: silky, creamy and very smooth. And totally superior to the chalky, soy-based Tofutti Cuties my lactose-avoiding friends got stuck with at the end of every summer barbecue, for lack of a better option.
Happily, this is no longer the case. The past few years have been a glorious time for vegans and others who stay forgo dairy.
And as the demand for nondairy explodes, so does the number of products on the market, including a slew of brand-new nondairy ice creams, yogurts and cheeses, along with the various nut and plant milks used to make them. And even better, many of these new products actually taste great, which is a boon whether you strictly avoid dairy at all costs, or just want to expand your creamy horizons.
The vegan diet is one ‘trend’ that is set to stay
Sociology graduate student Nina Gheihman is researching social aspects of veganism’s spread. Veganism was at first closely bound to the ideology of the animal-rights movement, she explains, which initially aimed at a range of targets, like wearing fur and testing products on animals. Once activists shifted focus to farm conditions and food, veganism took on the features of what scholars call a “lifestyle movement.” Over time, it’s become more closely associated with general environmental concerns and a “healthism” mentality, bound up with notions of perfecting the body. Trustworthy numbers on how many people identify as vegan are hard to come by, says Gheihman, but a growing number practice veganism in some way: incorporating meat and dairy substitutes in their meals, or restricting their diets at certain times of day or for a period of weeks.
“NO SALADS!” screams the sign on the wall. “MIX DRINKS NOT MORALS” yells another sign behind the bar.
And with that, the tone is set for a meal at Doomie’s, a no-meat fast food joint in Parkdale that is as forceful about what’s on its menu as what’s not.
Doomie’s is part of a trend in Toronto that’s seen veganism take an abrasive turn, with so-called “extreme vegan” cooks pushing in-your-face ethics, making the case that not eating animals is a morally superior lifestyle.
And to even the chef’s surprise, the vegan-or-nothing attitude is not putting off restaurant goers. In fact, judging by the lineups, it’s attracting them.
The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates has adopted a resolution calling on hospitals to provide plant-based meals and remove processed meats from menus.
For now, they’ve booked the food truck spot with the city through to the end of July. They’ll also be at the new Friday Night Market starting in July in downtown Courtenay, and a few special events such as the Gabriola music festival, and a VIP event at Best Buy the end of this month.
The Bandwagon’s offerings have so far been getting rave reviews on their Facebook page.
Everything is $10 or under and includes a “crispy chicken burger” (made from seitan), a “chicken” ranch wrap, a Reuben sandwich made with seitan and sauerkraut, cauliflower “wings”, poutine made with Daiya cheese substitute and gluten-free gravy (chickpea and rice flour, oil, herbs and spices).