As a 100% vegan, and cruelty free charity we’re dedicated to ensuring the welfare of all animals as well as making healthy, responsible choices. To this end, today the DC founder, Emily-Jane Stapley, and I headed over to our local coffee shop to do a little taste test! While Emily is a committed vegan, I myself am not and so I wanted to learn more about dairy alternatives.
Sadly, our options were somewhat limited as there was no almond, or rice milk available to try. This is an indication that while veganism is becoming more main stream, the choices on offer still aren’t as varied as that of ‘normal’ menus. However, we did order a coconut mocha, a soy latte and a hot chocolate with soy which were all pretty tasty.
One of the reasons people don’t try dairy alternatives is because they’re afraid of change, but its also because they simply don’t know what’s out there. Having recently tried coffee with almond milk, I can tell you that the taste is fantastic, there’s no bitterness afterwards and that it actually creates a smoother, fresher cup. So what were the results of our dairy free experiment?
Overall, each drink had its pros and cons; for instance, the coconut mocha was much sweeter than we’d expected, the coconut taste was quite strong and unless you love the added flavour it doesn’t mix well with the chocolate / coffee combo. It’s a bit like having whipped cream, but then asking them to add vanilla, unless the drink has been specially blended it’s going to taste a little strange.
Next up, we have the soy latte, an old favourite of Emily’s thanks to the fact that soy and the coffee blend well, the foam adds a little extra sweetness and the coffee taste isn’t diluted. In fact, DC founder, Emily Jane- Stapley, mentioned that she’s gotten so used to the soy taste that she sometimes thinks there’s dairy in it when there isn’t!
In my opinion, soy milk and coffee work really well, you can’t taste anything different and when mixed with the foam it tastes delicious. If you’re new to dairy free alternatives, then soy milk is a great choice because, if anything, it infuses to make that coffee taste a tiny bit stronger – great for early morning starts!
Lastly, we tried the hot chocolate with soy and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Partly, because it didn’t taste how I think ‘ hot chocolate should taste’, which, as Emily pointed out, ‘society conditions us to believe that dairy should be included’. She’s right because in a couple of months time the chances are I’d get used to the flavour. It was also slightly sweeter, but seemed to have lost the rich ‘milky’ creaminess I love so it ended up tasting like a ‘just add hot water’ version instead. Overall, If I was really thirsty / cold I’d not turn down any of the drinks, but I have to say I enjoyed the coconut mocha the best while Emily prefers the soy latte.
So, apart from having a lovely coffee break, why did we do this?
Well, partly it’s to show that choosing a dairy free alternative isn’t scary, or weird and that actually you won’t miss much. However, something to note is that almond milk doesn’t go too well with tea so start off with a splash rather than pouring in a whole jug! It’s also to highlight that by making a few simple changes we can all help save lives. I’m not overreacting either.
PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and their mission statement is as follows:
“ We believe that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for our entertainment or abuse in any other way.”
PETA have clear guidance on what the core issues are, and why we should all consider switching to a plant-based or at the very least a vegetarian diet.
In a nutshell, there are several issues around choosing to eat meat from an ethical, sustainable and even emotional angle. Firstly, all animals are sentient beings, they all have feelings and are capable of feeling pain, loss, joy and happiness just like us. Despite what many people like to think think, farm animals are not all hand reared nor free range and the practices involved from getting our food from field to plate are often barbaric and downright cruel. Unlike humans, animals cannot tell us when they’re in pain so are often forced to live in horrendous conditions or undergo painful procedures.
Believe it or not, meat actually isn’t that good for us either and a meat-heavy diet tends to increase our risks of having heart disease, diabetes and a stroke. In fact, people who enjoy a plant- based diet are often healthier, and happier than others. Research has shown that your skin, nails, and hair all improve and you’ll find yourself with a lot more energy.
There’s also a sustainability issue at play as industrial farming is now at an unprecedented level, space is at a premium and, unless we start becoming more environmentally aware ASAP, in generations to come there simply won’t be enough arable land left. According to The Vegan Society “The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe.”
There are, of course, many other reasons people choose to go vegan, or vegetarian but these are the three main ones. Why should we kill thousands of living beings for, essentially, our own enjoyment when a mouthful of chicken lasts only a few seconds? We wouldn’t keep humans, or even cats and dogs in crowded, dirty and cramped conditions so why is it fine when it comes to cows, chickens or pigs? As a meat eater myself it’s impossible to defend my choices against such overwhelming evidence, the only response I have is ‘meat tastes nice’.
Not a great excuse is it?