A very vegan Christmas

SIENA YATES
Last updated 13:43 21/12/2012
Vegan Christmas
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ
Vegan Wonderland: Tracy, Meia (4) and Szenan Phua are having their fifth vegan family Christmas this year.

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While everyone else is stuffing turkeys, glazing hams and whipping cream for the pav - the Phua family are having none of it. 

Mum and dad Tracy and Szenan have been vegan for five years, and have raised four-year-old Meia the same way.

At first is was a stand on animal rights, then they chose to keep at it for the health benefits.

The couple had both been vegetarian for at least 10 years before making the change just before the birth of their daughter, who now knows no different. 

Stocked up with homemade Christmas treats, young Meia has all she could ask for and the family is still planning an old fashioned kiwi barbeque for Christmas day. 

''The rest of my family is vegan as well so it doesn't really matter,'' said Mrs Phua.

''We have recipes for homemade sausages, ice cream, tofu balls and we have a chocolate brownie each year. Trust me, we're not missing out, one bit.''

Of course there are the nay-sayers munching on a cut of ham who will mock vegetarianism and veganism, particularly at this time of year, but the Phuas prefer to shake it off.

''When we lived in China, we met a man who told us that our ideas were more dangerous than Mao Zedong's. There's always people who are threatened by it, people often feel like we are judging them, but we're not,'' said Mrs Phua. 

''In saying that, that was some years ago. I think that times have changed and people are really accepting and interested. It seems to be catching on too, becoming more popular with celebrities and things and people are starting to do it more and more, which is great.''

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