What I wish I had been told when I first became vegan

LeftistConfessions

When I first seriously considered going vegan it was suuuper daunting. I didn’t really know any other vegans, my friends were omnivores as were my family and my whole life I had been brought up eating meat and dairy and boy did I love it. I could of easily drank two pints of milk a day and given a choice of what to have for dinner, every time I would choose steak steak steak. But after admitting to myself why this was wrong I forced myself to make the change. This is just a brief list of things which I wish I had been told when I first became vegan. (I hope its not to buzzfeed-y).


I do not own this                    

 

FIRST up  – Educate yourself. You better prepare yourself for a whole heap of judging and doubting and interrogation from non vegans. Its just the way it goes. I became vegan thinking…

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Close to home…

I grew up in rural Herefordshire, entrenched deep in its farming community.  So this article strikes a very poignant chord for me as it goes to the heart of one of the hardest conflicts I have being a vegan with my background.  How can I be comfortable with and respect my friends and family who make a living doing something I intrinsically believe is cruel and wrong?  A lot of my farming friends are sadly turning to this form of factory farming of chickens in order to try and stay financially afloat.  I have huge sympathy for how hard farmers are finding it to make a living – especially the potato and dairy farmers, many of whom are going under all over the UK or having to diversify away from what they have done for generations.  But does that excuse them turning to such a depraved method of farming?  Who am I to think badly of someone trying to keep their family above water?  At what point do their immediate needs have to take priority over my ethical ideals?

As a passionate vegan everything about this form of factory farming appalls me – both ethically and environmentally.  But whilst famers feel they have no other option, they are going to continue down this route of desperate mass farming which only spells out bad news for us, the animals and the environment.  The responsibility ultimately lies with the consumers.  When will we wake up to the effects our everyday choices have on the world at large?    When will we stop demanding cheaper and cheaper meat and dairy products in greater and greater quantity at the expense of our own personal health, the animals’ rights and the health of the environment.

The below article is from George Monbiot’s website and was published yesterday in the Guardian:

Fowl Deeds

The astonishing, multiple crises caused by chicken farming.

(By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 20th May 2015)

Man holding a chicken

It’s the insouciance that baffles me. To participate in the killing of an animal: this is a significant decision. It spreads like a fungal mycelium into the heartwood of our lives. Yet many people eat meat sometimes two or three times a day, casually and hurriedly, often without even marking the fact.

I don’t mean to blame. Billions are spent, through advertising and marketing, to distract and mollify, to trivialise the weighty decisions we make, to ensure we don’t connect. Even as we search for meaning and purpose, we want to be told that our actions are inconsequential. We seek reassurance that we are significant, but that what we do is not.

It’s not blind spots we suffer from. We have vision spots, tiny illuminated patches of perception, around which everything else is blanked out. How often have I seen environmentalists gather to bemoan the state of the world, then repair to a restaurant in which they gorge on beef or salmon? The Guardian and Observer urge us to go green, then publish recipes for fish whose capture rips apart the life of the sea.

The television chefs who bravely sought to break this spell might have been talking to the furniture. Giant chicken factories are springing up throughout the west of England, the Welsh Marches and the lowlands of the east. I say factories for this is what they are: you would picture something quite different if I said farm; they are hellish places. You might retch if you entered one, yet you eat what they produce without thinking.

Chicken factory

Two huge broiler units are now being planned to sit close to where the River Dore rises, at the head of the Golden Valley in Herefordshire, one of the most gorgeous landscapes in Britain. Each shed at Bage Court Farm – warehouses 90 metres long – is likely to house about 40,000 birds, that will be cleared out, killed and replaced every 40 days or so. It remains to be seen how high the standards of welfare, employment and environment will be.

The UK now has some 2,000 of these factories, to meet a demand for chicken that has doubled in 40 years*. Because everything is automated, they employ few people, and those in hideous jobs: picking up and binning the birds that drop dead every day, catching chickens for slaughter in a flurry of shit and feathers, then scraping out the warehouses before the next batch arrives.

The dust such operations raise is an exquisite compound of aerialised faeces, chicken dander, mites, bacteria, fungal spores, mycotoxins, endotoxins, veterinary medicines, pesticides, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. It is listed as a substance hazardous to health, and helps explain why 15% of poultry workers suffer from chronic bronchitis. Yet, uniquely in Europe, the British government classifies unfiltered roof vents on poultry sheds as the “best available technology”. If this were any other industry, it would be obliged to build a factory chimney to disperse the dust and the stink. But farming, as ever, is protected by deference and vested interest, excused from the regulations, planning conditions and taxes other business must observe. Already, Herefordshire County Council has approved chicken factories close to schools, without surveying the likely extent of the dust plumes either before or after the business opens. Bage Court Farm is just upwind of the village of Dorstone.

Inside chicken factories are scenes of cruelty practised on such a scale that they almost lose their ability to shock. Bred to grow at phenomenal speeds, many birds collapse under their own weight, and lie in the ammoniacal litter, acquiring burns on their feet and legs and lesions on their breasts. After slaughter they are graded. Those classified as grade A can be sold whole. The others must have parts of the body removed, as they are disfigured by bruising, burning and necrosis. The remaining sections are cut up and sold as portions. Hungry yet?

Plagues spread fast through such factories, so broiler businesses often dose their birds with antibiotics. These require prescriptions but – amazingly – the government keeps no record of how many are issued. The profligate use of antibiotics on farms endangers human health, as it makes bacterial resistance more likely.

But Herefordshire, like other county councils in the region, scarcely seems to care. How many broiler units has it approved? Who knows? Searches by local people suggest 42 in the past 12 months. But in December the council claimed it has authorised 21 developments since 2000§. This week it told me it has granted permission to 31 since 2010. It admits that it “has not produced any specific strategy for managing broiler unit development”¤. Nor has it assessed the cumulative impact of these factories. At Bage Court Farm, as elsewhere, it has decided that no environmental impact assessment is neededɷ.

So how should chicken be produced? The obvious answer is free range, but this exchanges one set of problems for another. Chicken dung is rich in soluble reactive phosphate. Large outdoor flocks lay down a scorching carpet of droppings, from which phosphate can leach or flash into the nearest stream. Rivers like the Ithon, in Powys, are said to run white with chicken faeces after rainstorms. The River Wye, a special area of conservation, is blighted by algal blooms: manure stimulates the growth of green murks and green slimes that kill fish and insects when they rot. Nor does free range solve the feed problem: the birds are usually fed on soya, for which rainforests and cerrado on the other side of the world are wrecked.

There is no sensible way of producing the amount of chicken we eat. Reducing the impact means eating less meat – much less. I know that most people are not prepared to stop altogether, but is it too much to ask that we should eat meat as our grandparents did, as something rare and special, rather than as something we happen to be stuffing into our faces while reading our emails? To recognise that an animal has been sacrificed to serve our appetites, to observe the fact of its death, is this not the least we owe it?

Knowing what we do and what we induce others to do is a prerequisite for a life that is honest and meaningful. We owe something to ourselves as well: to overcome our disavowal, and connect.

www.monbiot.com

* Total purchases for household consumption (uncooked, pre-cooked and take-aways combined) rose from 126 grammes per person per week in 1974 to 259 grammes in 2013 (see the database marked UK – household purchases).

§ BBC Hereford and Worcester, 15th December 2014

¤ Response to FoI request IAT 7856, 13th August 2014

ɷ Herefordshire County Council, 22nd December 2014. Screening Determination of Bage Court Farm development, P143343/F

Quote of the day…

“There’s a strange idea around that it is worse to be ethically inconsistent than to be consistently unethical”

#lovethis

Exactly how I feel when someone rolls their eyes at me for nabbing a tiny square of non-vegan chocolate once in a blue moon just because I ruddy well feel like it

Or when I’m desperate for a coffee and can’t fnid anything other than cow’s milk so steal a splash and people raise an eyebrow as if to say ‘oh, not so ethically minded after all now are we?!’.

The Green Party on Animal Welfare

I voted for the Green Party yesterday.  I believe in voting in line with your values and therefore, regardless of how they would perform nationally, I knew that this was the only party that I could vote for with a clear conscience.

Below is where they stand on Animal Rights issues.  In a world where I feel almost entirely alone in my thoughts on this it is an enormous relief to find a party that feels the same way:

Animal Rights

Background

AR100 The expansion and development of human society has inevitably affected the lives of many other species. Disruption to their lifestyles has been both accidental and deliberate and has resulted in suffering, death or even extinction. The prevailing assumption that animals can be used for any purpose that benefits humankind is not acceptable in a Green society.

Long Term Aims

AR200 To eliminate the wholesale exploitation of other species, foster understanding of our inter-relationship in the web of life and protect and promote natural habitat.

Short Term Aims

AR300 To stimulate public awareness of the rights and needs of animals, to pass appropriate legislation to act by both informing the electorate and implementing suitable district policies.

Policies

AR400 As part of the Environment Commission (see PL410), a section will be set up dealing with the welfare of all animals, wild and domesticated, to oversee their treatment and make appropriate recommendations.

AR401 Local Authorities to provide a local Animal Rights Officer with adequate staff to oversee animal warden schemes, etc., and to liaise with the Animal Welfare Department of the Environment Commission.

AR402 To take pressure off wild animals by voluntarily limiting our population, by actively discouraging and penalising pollution and by preserving and restoring stable habitats. (see ‘Pollution’)

AR403 In the UK, close to a billion farm animals are slaughtered for food every year. Many of these animals are farmed intensively, kept in cramped conditions and denied the freedom to express natural behaviour. High levels of frustration, distress, injury and suffering are common and painful mutilations are routinely carried out to reduce risk of injury. Antibiotics are used routinely to prevent outbreak of disease, resulting in antibiotic resistance and threats to human and animal health. Animals are often transported long distances to slaughter and suffer inhumane conditions both during transport and at the time of slaughter. Besides the impact on animal welfare, high levels of consumption of meat, dairy and other animal products in developed countries are ecologically unsustainable and are linked to many chronic health conditions (See also FA650FA666).

AR404 The Green Party will phase out all forms of ‘factory farming’ and support a transition to small free-range units, mixed rotational farming and extensive grazing (see FA660-661). We support the highest levels of animal welfare in farming and shall ensure that the ‘Five Freedoms’ listed in the Animal Welfare Act are applied to all farm animals. In particular we shall press for maximum stocking densities and appropriate environments for all farm animals in order to permit expression of natural behaviour. We shall prohibit all caged rearing of poultry, including ‘enriched cages’. We shall prohibit all painful mutilations such as beak trimming of poultry and tail docking of pigs.

AR405 In recent decades, genetic selection has continually increased yields from farm animals, often resulting in endemic welfare problems, such as mastitis in cows and bone fractures in chickens. The Green Party will place limits on the ‘genetic yield’ of farm animals and will encourage farmers to use traditional breeds. 

AR406 The Green Party will phase out routine and prophylactic use of antibiotics in farm animals. We shall maintain a ban on the use of growth hormones and imports of food from animals treated with growth hormones. We support a ban on the use of GMOs in animal feed and oppose all genetic modification of animals (See FA720 and AR420). We shall maintain a ban on the use of, and importation of products from, cloned animals and their offspring (See FA666). We shall press for EU and international rules permitting restrictions on imports from countries with lower animal welfare standards (See FA502(c)).

AR407 The Green Party will seek to minimise live transport of animals and will work through the EU and locally to end all live exports for slaughter and fattening. We shall prioritise smaller, local abattoirs, prohibit piece-rate payment of workers and otherwise improve market and slaughterhouse conditions.

AR408 Undercover footage has revealed significant animal suffering in UK slaughterhouses, including animals slaughtered for organic meat. Mandatory CCTV will be required in all slaughterhouses. This will act as a deterrent and provide evidence for animal abuse prosecutions.

AR409 Overfishing and the harmful effects of fish farming are devastating marine ecosystems. Several billion fish are killed annually to feed the UK population, often by methods causing extreme suffering, and millions of fish are kept in cruel conditions in intensive fish farms. The Green Party will work for an end to overfishing, practices harming the marine ecosystem and avoidable by-catches (see MC323-330). We shall prohibit intensive fish farming (see FA657, FA660 and MC341) and restrict the use of fishmeal for animal feed (see FA661). We shall extend the Animal Welfare Act to cover all fishing activities.

AR410 A reduction in the consumption of animal products would have benefits for the environment, human health and animal welfare. The Green Party will support a progressive transition from diets dominated by meat and other animal products to healthier diets based on plant foods, through the use of research, education and economic measures, coupled with support for more sustainable methods of production such as organic and stockfree farming.

AR411 The Green Party will ensure that high quality, nutritionally balanced vegetarian and vegan menu options are widely available and promoted in all public sector establishments such as schools, hospitals and care facilities (see ED190, FA222, HE322). We shall ensure that catering and nutrition for vegetarian and vegan diets is included in all catering certificates and that lessons in preparing nutritious vegetarian and vegan food are included in food technology courses.

AR412 The Green Party will make it illegal to import and/or sell foie gras andany product that is the result of force-feeding.

AR413 To prohibit the import, export and sale of all fur, whether wild caught or factory farmed, and to ensure a ban on fur farming in the UK stays in place. The import of other animal products such as ivory, reptile skins and whale oil, will be prohibited.
AR414 In the UK, millions of animals are used each year in experiments which can cause great pain and suffering. There are significant differences between the physiology of animals and that of humans and the reliance on animal testing and experimentation increases the risks of adverse reactions and hampers progress. A large proportion of animals are used for non-medical testing and for duplicate research which could be avoided. There are now many techniques available for testing of chemicals, drugs and medical procedures and for researching disease that do not use animals. However, these alternatives are often not used and are not adequately funded or supported.

AR415 The Green Party would ban all experimentation and research which harms animals, including harmful procedures used to obtain animal-derived materials. ‘Harmful’ is defined in this context as ‘having the potential to cause pain, suffering, distress, lasting harm or death in animals, except where it is designed to benefit the individual animals concerned

AR416 Government research funds will be transferred from animal tests to non-animal technologies, including epidemiology, computer models, micro-dosing, imaging, DNA chips, microfluidics chips and the use of human tissue. Much greater use will be made of epidemiological evidence and clinical data. Greens would also fund more research into prevention of disease, looking at diet, environment, family history and lifestyle.

AR417 The Green Party is opposed to the harmful use in education of animals and of animal-derived materials where the animals have been killed specifically for this purpose. The Party supports the replacement of the use of animals and animal material with methods such as models, mannequins, mechanical and computer-based simulators, films and interactive videos, plant experiments and observational and field studies, and human studies including self-experimentation. The Party supports the educational use of animal cadavers and animal-derived materials where these have been ethically sourced, such as animals who have died naturally and animals who have been euthanased for humane reasons.

AR418 The Party is opposed to the wholesale breeding, manipulation and destruction of those animals who are chosen as companions to the human race. We will introduce measures to regulate the care and conditions for such animals including a two-tier system of dog-licensing [breeding and non-breeding], licensing of all animal breeders and dog owners, subsidised spaying and neutering, the implementation of good animal warden schemes and a prohibition on the import of exotic animals for the pet trade.

AR419 The Green Party would introduce a requirement that all dogs be microchipped. It would be a legal requirement that when the animal was sold or ownership transferred the owner’s details be updated on the database otherwise the owner listed on the database would be deemed to be responsible for the dog.

AR420 The Green Party will end puppy farming by banning the sale of young puppies and kittens unless the mother is present.

AR421 Patents will not be granted on any animal and strict controls will be introduced to prevent genetic manipulation for profit or curiosity. (see ST363)

AR422 To extend the 1911 Protection of Animals Act to protect both captive and non-captive animals from unnecessary suffering. This will be used to prohibit hunting with hounds, shooting, snaring, coursing and various other abuses of our animal population. The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all blood-sports. We oppose the killing of, or infliction of pain or suffering upon, animals in the name of sport or leisure, and will work to end all such practices.

AR423 To amend the Firearms Act to prohibit the use and private ownership of firearms and lethal weapons, such as air rifles, crossbows, etc., except on registered premises.

AR424 In view of the fact that animal acts in circuses are cruel and degrading to performer and observer alike, we will immediately prohibit the import of, and sale from other sources of, all animals to circuses. We will immediately prohibit the use of animals in circuses and will encourage the re-homing of all existing circus animals to sanctuaries or other suitable establishments with relocation to the wild wherever possible.

AR425 To abolish zoos and private collections of animals except where they are for the benefit of the animal concerned. Licences will only be granted to establishments involved in either captive breeding of endangered species for eventual return to the wild or else those offering genuine sanctuary to animals unable, through injury and other cause, to be returned to the wild and where their living conditions are as close as possible to the animal’s natural habitat.

AR426 The Green Party will end the exploitation of animals in horse racing, greyhound racing and all  situations where animals are commercially raced. There would be an immediate ban on the use of the whip in horse racing and in jumps racing, and on the use of a non-linear track in greyhound racing. A single regulatory authority would be put in place for each sport, tasked with establishing and enforcing strict welfare standards. There would be a requirement for full traceability of all animals involved in racing  throughout their lives (using microchip technology where applicable) and full publication of injury and  death statistics. These statistics would be used as evidence to close dangerous tracks and ban trainers with poor records. Breeding and import of animals for racing will be tightly regulated and monitored to  improve welfare and prevent over-breeding. There would be regulation on the conditions and times of  transportation of animals used in sport as well as the housing of all animals. A high level of compulsory levy  would be imposed on all betting, to be used solely for welfare improvements.

AR427 The Green Party will endeavour internationally to initiate and develop an Animal Rights Division within the United Nations Organisation.

AR428 The Green Party opposes all lethal or harmful uses and treatment of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). In particular, whaling is a premeditated, deliberate and unnecessary cause of animal suffering. It is not justified even if supposedly undertaken as ‘scientific research’ or ‘subsistence hunting’ rather than for commercial profit. It endangers the survival of various cetacean species. The Green Party condemns those governments who seek, through the International Whaling Commission and otherwise, to continue whaling. We call on all governments to outlaw whaling. The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all lethal and harmful commercial utilisation of cetaceans. This includes all whaling, so called scientific whaling and any whaling conducted under the cover-all of ‘aboriginal subsistence whaling’. The Green Party opposes any move to end the current moratorium on commercial whaling. We call on all nations to declare the waters under their control havens from whaling, to provide sanctuary throughout those waters for cetaceans, and to co-operate in achieving global sanctuary for cetaceans in the longer term.

AR429 Xenotransplantation: The Green Party would abolish research into, and the practise of xenotransplantation (the transplantation of nonhuman animal organs, genetically engineered or otherwise, into human beings). Treating nonhuman animals as “spare part” factories is both immoral and inhumane, and is therefore completely unacceptable in an ecological society. Xenotransplantation is yet another instance of corporate profit being prioritised over public health and the rights of nonhuman animals. Xenotransplantation carries the grave danger of virus transferral from nonhuman animals to humans, raising the real possibility of the unleashing of an epidemic amongst the human population.

The Green Party would promote more sensible and effective approaches to enhancing health, such as preventative health measures, increasing the pool of human donors, research into artificial organs, and the surgical repair of damaged organs.

Amazing Vegan Burgers!

These are sensational and well wroth the effort.  Recipe from One Green Planet

Sweet Potato Burgers With Green Tahini [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Serves 12-14

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1 cup packed cilantro or parsley (or half and half)
  • 
3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (1½ cup), steamed or baked, peeled and mashed
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking oats

Green Tahini Sauce:

  • 
1/2 cup tahini
  • ½ cup water
  • 
juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint, cilantro, and parsley (or your favorite fresh herbs)
  • 
1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation

Burgers:

  1. In a food processor pulse and chop the red bell pepper and red onion. Pour the chopped veggies into a large mixing bowl. Place the chickpeas and cilantro/parsley into the food processor and blend until the chickpeas are a thick mealy texture. Pour into the mixing bowl with peppers and onions. Place the garlic, almonds, and spices into the food processor and blend until the almonds are a crumbly texture. Pour into the mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the sweet potato with a fork, or place it in the food processor and blend until smooth. Pour it over the contents of the mixing bowl followed by the oats, and stir well to combine the ingredients. Season to taste with more sea salt and spice.
  3. Place the burger batter in the refrigerator to firm up for an hour or longer.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°, and line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop about ¾ cup of the batter into your hands and form into a tight patty. Place the patty onto the baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining batter. Make sure that the patties are not too close to each other on the baking sheet (2 inches separating is good). Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through. After removing them from the oven, allow the patties to cool for at least 15 minutes before trying to remove them with a spatula or your hands.
  5. Serve with green tahini on bread, lettuce, or solo. Bon appetit!

Green Tahini Sauce:

  1. Place the tahini, water, lemon, herbs, and sea salt into a blender. Blend until smooth, slowly add in the olive oil.

Gooey chocolate brownies!

At last!  A recipe for vegan chocolate brownies that actually works!  And proper sticky rich gooey ones too.  This recipe has been 2 years in the finding and along the way there have been a lot of charred chocolate casualties.  But this one is a keeper and totally idiot proof so get your chocolatey chops around this…

From The Vegan Society website:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 oz / 75g margarine
  • 1 1/2 oz / 45g / 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 floz / 75ml soya milk
  • 7 oz / 200g caster sugar
  • 6 oz / 160g plain white flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 oz / 20g / 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 oz / 115g caster sugar
  • 6 fl oz / 170 ml soya milk
  • 1 1/2 fl oz / 45ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4.
  2. Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring well. Put saucepan into a bowl of cold water and beat sauce until it cools and thickens. Set aside.
  3. Sieve flour, baking powder, cocoa and sugar into a bowl. Mix soya milk, vegetable oil and vanilla essence together. Stir flours, soya milk mixture and sauce together – do not overmix.
  4. Place in a greased and lined tin roughly 10″ x 8″ and bake for 30 minutes.

I ate mine warm from the oven with Booja Booja’s vanilla ice cream.  Heaven!

Coconut Mango Muffin Madness!

Banana Curl, Vegan Girl

IMG_3879So, I told you I have some healthier recipes coming your way!

I had a bunch of champagne mangos (I’ve been very into them lately…can’t get enough) and I wanted to put one into a baked good. I also wanted to bake in some Dang coconut chips as a topping on something and see if they’re just as good in baked items. So, that inspired me to make mango coconut muffins.

These are made with whole wheat pastry flour and no refined sugars. They’re quite healthy, but also tasty. I served them to my classmates early in the morning and they all loved them. Some knew they were vegan, others didn’t, and everyone said they were really good!

I found that they were the perfect texture. Not too chunky with the dried coconut, and not too moist but moist enough. I’ve never described a muffin this way, but the texture…

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Chris Hedges: Choosing Life

Worth reading his book

Vox Populi

The animal agriculture industry is an integral part of the corporate state. The corporate state’s exploitation and impoverishment of workers and its poisoning of the environment, as well as its torture and violence toward animals, are carried out because of the obsession for greater and greater profit.

MINISINK, N.Y.—The affable, soft-spoken dairy farmer stood outside his 70-stall milking barn on his 230-acre family farm. When his father started farming in 1950, there were about 800 dairy farms in New York state’s Orange County. Only 39 survive. Small, traditional farms have been driven out of business by rising real estate prices, genetic manipulation of cows, industrial-scale hormone use that greatly increases milk production, wildly fluctuating milk prices and competition from huge operations that have herds numbering in the thousands.

I grew up in the dairy farm town of Schoharie in upstate New York. The farmers would let me pick through the…

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VEGANISM PROPELLED ON TO POLITICAL AGENDA

Dining Devon

Vegan issues have been catapulted into the political spotlight by The Vegan Society, whose supporters have been using its General Election Tip Sheet to challenge prospective MPs on vegan-related topics ahead of UK polling day on 7 May.

“Thousands have already accessed our Tip Sheet, many of whom are now calling potential MPs to task. The level of response from the politicians has been remarkable, too” said Amanda Baker, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer of The Vegan Society.

“The leading parties are being pushed harder than ever to be clear on these issues. The office of the Conservative Party Chairman (on behalf of Grant Shapps), for example, responded to us re-stating their intention to ban wild animals in circuses, and a wish to encourage other countries to follow the EU’s lead in banning animal testing for cosmetics.

“The Green Party set out their plans to end the badger cull and…

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Best green smoothie recipe

I may have discovered the best green smoothies recipe. Well I haven’t discovered it, The Minimalist Baker has. Here it is – http://minimalistbaker.com/my-favorite-green-smoothie/

I used frozen strawberries and raspberries and also added in a tbsp of chia and a tsp of spirulina and wheatgrass. The peanut butter disguises their flavour perfectly and it just tastes like a creamy bananaey peanut butter milkshake.

All three girls nailed it for brekkie too which is the ultimate green smoothies test.

Success at last!

Germany to End Shredding of Chicks by 2017

Animal agriculture is full of gruesome tactics meant to maximize profit. The culling (also referred to, quite literally, as ‘destroying’) of male chicks minutes after they hatch, is one of the egg industry’s darkest secrets. It was recently announced that Germany is working to end this mass killing of chicks within their industry.

Male chicks on a conveyor belt that ends in a blender Male chicks on a conveyor belt that ends in a blender

Just to be clear: Each year, billions of tiny, just-hatched chicks are destroyed by being ground up alive, gassed, or just shoved in a bucket to suffocate/stomp each other to death simply because they are born male in an egg-laying industry. It’s one morbid aspect of animal agriculture that everyone can agree on being outright wrong. These chicks are literally born to die.

Male chicks are born to die, sentenced to death a few hours after birth. Male chicks are born to die, sentenced to death a few hours after birth.

Many people that learn about this are confused as to why this…

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The Carnists in Your Closet

It’s not often that someone gets up in front of a room full of people, points out their hypocrisies, and then receives a standing ovation. People don’t like their inconsistencies to be highlighted, but when it’s done right, it’s powerful.

Melanie Joy’s Tedx Talk “Beyond Carnism and Toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices” tackles the psychology of eating animals, and does it well.

Labrador steak courtesy: my.telegraph.co.uk Labrador steak courtesy: my.telegraph.co.uk

Why is eating animals so prevalent? Why is it considered radical to exclude animals from your diet? How is it that we believe animals should be treated well, while simultaneously raising them for food in tortuous facilities? Why do we pet our dogs and shake our fists at people who are cruel to them, when meanwhile, we eat a pig that was just as sentient as, and even more intelligent than, our pets? Why do we root for a single animal when it…

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VEGAN (MUST HAVE) COOK BOOKS

dailyveganlife

Howdy, here are some absolute musts in the realm of epic cook books for some seriously laid back rustic dishes or some rather posh nosh meals for guests, there is something below for everyone – The baker, The cook and the aspiring Chef! If it wasn’t for these here books I would most definitely be a a stereotyped cardboard eating coeliac going down a manically depressive road to self loathing. But whey hey! Thankfully people share recipes so I can eat well and force feed my meat eating friends to eat vegan meals when they call over (you know who you all are!) *evil laugh*

Here the list:

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Put Another Drought on the Barb-e!

These statistics are crazy. People have no idea how wasteful and environmentally damaging it is to produce meat. Keep shouting it from the roof tops and the tide will turn I’m sure. People just don’t have this information relaid to them at the moment so we need to communicate it as loud and clear as possible. Well done!

Fluffy Raw Peanut Butter Pie

My middle daughter is obsessed by peanut butter and has an operation coming up so this is the perfect recipe to cheer her up and help speed her recovery. Thank you! X

B&D- Baking and Design

I tried a lot of vegan recipes, who either were made with bananas (no offense, I love bananas, but I don’t like them in a PB Pie), or with greek yogurt (very stiff consistency!)

What I wanted was a fluffy consistency without the loss of flavor of the peanut butter. For people who are following me for a while, know that I recently addicted to whipped coconut cream. So why not combining the fluffiness of the whipped cream with the creaminess of the Peanut butter…..

Gotta say the result was amazing!!!  Never ever have I had something so fluffy and peanut buttery like that. The chocolate crust then makes the pie perfect. Actually chocolate makes every dessert perfect 🙂

peanut butter pie

Crust

1 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp agave syrup
1/3 Cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond milk (you might need more if crust is too dry!…

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Moroccan Spiced Beetroot Soup

StrictlyRootsVegan

moroccan beetroot soup

Serves 4

1 tbsp sunflower oil

6 large beetroot, peeled and cut into small dice

2 red onions, roughly chopped

2 closed of garlic, left whole

1tsp coriander seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 litre of vegetable stock

juice of one small orange

salt and pepper

Method: Toast all the spices lightly in a dry frying pan. Meanwhile, roast the beetroot, onions and garlic with the oil in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes. When the beet is tender, put everything into a high speed blender such as a VitaMix or similar until the soup is perfectly smooth. This is great served as part of a meze or with warm seed-topped flat bread.

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Art of Smoothies

Just Send Flours

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Smoothies are a staple in our household.

They are super quick and easy to make, there are endless possibilities for ingredients, and the best part? I can make them one handed.

Let me explain.

I am incredibly fortunate to be in the position to stay at home with my baby boy. Being with him brings me no end of joy, and having the opportunity to play with him, hold him, dance around and sing to him is an amazing blessing.

But I am hungry.

Charlie’s not napping as much now and he’s still not quite ready to play by himself. He isn’t yet sitting up or crawling and he needs constant supervision because anything and everything he gets his slobbery hands on goes straight in his mouth.

If I’m not playing on the floor with him, I’m carrying him around doing everything I need to do one handed. And that…

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Animal testing

Cosmetics, clothing and cleaning products can call seen a minefield when it comes to animal testing and human rights abuses. But there are really good comprehensive sites out there dedicated to keeping you informed of which brands are safe to support and which you absolutely should not. PETA is one I use regularly but there are masses of others too. So take a minute to do your research and think before you buy.

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Cosmetic Testing – We Name & Shame!

Big brands that test on animals. Who to avoid!

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Did you knfreedom_animals_1ow that in most parts of the world (including Australia), animals in laboratories STILL suffer (and die) to test everyday cosmetics, such as your supermarket brand shampoo, and your fancy new red lipstick? 

When I first went vegan I was all about the food – switching and swapping all my pantry items, and tossing out anything I could find in the fridge that contained any animal ingredients or derivatives. However, my bathroom cabinet and makeup bag was riddled with big names such as MAC, Loreal, Maybelline, Redken…..and (unfortunately) the list went on! I was a sucker for any ‘new & improved’ line of lipstick, nailpolish, or hair care, that promised to make me ‘glow and shine’  – and yes, I was blinded to the reality of what was really happening behind the scenes to get these products onto the shelves in department stores and pharmacies.

Typically cosmetic testing on lab animals, such as rabbits, cats…

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Mother’s Day vegan brekkie

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That’ll do! This is what Ed and the girls have produced this morning for me. Vegan hollandaise sauce (recipe from http://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/2/27/vegan-hollandaise-sauce) on mushrooms, baby spinach and avocado, on delicious multi seed toast.

Completely delicious!

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Ups and downs of an ordinary life – my cautionary tale

Fascinating read

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

Child bunnyAbout me

I’m a very ordinary person. I’m middle-aged, with two sons who are both grown and nearing 30 and I’ve been a single parent since they were about 10. I’m practical and resourceful and until I retired a year ago I was a project manager overseeing the construction of educational establishments for a local authority. I’m analytical with a tendency to over-think things.  I’ve never been attracted to mysticism, organised religion or esoteric pursuits. My mind defaults to scepticism about new ideas until I’ve looked into the pros and cons. I’m not particularly sociable; I have a few people in my life that I care about very much but that’s it.

I’ve never been particularly attracted to babies except for my own, or to animals in general, only those individuals whom I have known, loved and admired. As a child no animals shared our house and as an adult, cat friends have come and gone. For 16 years I lived…

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No such thing as humane slaughter

I’m writing to a lot of ‘meat processing units’ at the moment asking if I can come along one day and have a look around and watch the slaughtering process in person. Unsurprisingly no one is rushing forward to invite me in. This short 1 minute video is of a mobile slaughter unit and is about as ‘humane’ as any slaughtering facility you are likely to come across.

And yet watching this both sickens and saddens me. It just shows, even at the best end of the miserable spectrum, how totally inexcusable it is to take these animals lives just because they taste good. Slaughter at it’s most humane is sickeningly inhumane and does not belong in this day and age. When will we all wake up and see how immoral and unethical our treatment of farmed animals is? It just makes me feel incredibly sad that we live in a world where this is the mainstream diet and veganism is still viewed as extreme. Just bonkers!

What will our great grandchildren think of us? Will they think of us like we do the nazis? Just not be able to fathom how we could behave in a way so obviously at total odds with all of our values, morals and principles. It will be inconceivable to them I think. They will wonder how we could possibly have not seen how barbaric and wrong what we were doing was and we will offer the same feeble excuses – well everyone else was doing it. We’d been doing it like that for hundreds of years. It tasted good. I just didn’t really think about the animals. I probably knew deep down that i wasn’t entirely comfortable with it but I never had to look it in the face. It all happened behind closed doors so we didn’t really make the connection.

Well make the connection. Don’t turn a blind eye. Do the right thing. Live by your own principles. Live by your own moral compass. You don’t want to cause harm or suffering or death to anyone so why would you when it is so unnecessary to your health or happiness? Go vegan today and it will change your life for the better in more ways than you could possibly imagine.

Rant rant rant. Tired. Bed time. Night night.

How to get enough protein on a vegan diet…

The following is an article from One Green Planet that explains very helpfully how you can get plenty of protein on a vegan diet, even if you don’t want to eat soy products such as tofu, seitan, tempeh etc.

So how much protein do we really need? According to Reed Mangels, Ph.D. and R.D., “The RDA recommends that we take in 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh.” So, let’s say you weigh 175 pounds. You should then be aiming for around 63 grams of protein per day. Now, for some tips on how to achieve this feat, all the while staying plant-based, as well as gluten and soy-free.

Learn to love lentils.

Lentils are a protein powerhouse at around 18 grams of protein per cup. They’re also cheap and versatile. A triple win!

Hail the hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds weigh in at 16 grams of protein per 3-tablespoon serving. I like to add these seeds atop salads and throw them into smoothies whenever possible.

Beans are your friend.

Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans…all of them will give you, at minimum, 15 grams of protein per cup. Throw beans on or in to at least one of your meals, and you’ll get a good bit of protein. I like to sneak beans into my breakfasts to get a nice morning protein boost.

Pass the peas.

Other legumes, like chickpeas or black-eyed peas, are a great protein source that can be made into veggie burger patties or cooked in soups, placed on salads, and so much more! These will bring in from 13 – 15 grams of protein per cup.

Quick, eat quinoa!

The gluten-free eater’s go-to rice substitute, quinoa is a staple for me and so many other gluten-free vegans. I eat it probably once every day, either at lunch or dinner. Two cooked cups will add 16 grams of protein to your daily count.

Get those greens.

Even your greens can be a source of protein – especially if you eat them in abundance! Spinach totals at 5 grams per cooked cup, while broccoli will give you 4 grams of protein per cooked cup. If you’re a healthy vegan, you’re eating greens in copious amounts – so add these and other protein rich greens in throughout the day, and it’ll add up fast.

Now, let’s put some of this together to see how easy it can be. If you made a dinner of, for example, 2 cups quinoa (16 grams protein) + 1 cup of black beans (15 grams protein) + a sprinkling of 3 tablespoons hemp seeds (16 grams protein) + 2 cups each of spinach (10 grams protein) and broccoli (8 grams of protein), all stirred up with some delicious vegan stir-fry sauce, your lunch or dinner would be giving you 65 grams of protein – above what is recommended for one day for the average 175 pound person!

Skool of Vegan

Skool of Vegan is a new initiative aimed at trying to get people to look at their eating habits and attitudes towards animals in a more critical way.  Their mission statement is: ‘Because making the connection is child’s play’.   It certainly makes for some uncomfortable reading and I admire their original approach.  Whether you like the drawings or not its hard to deny the underlying truth and i think they do a good job of highlighting the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of what we teach our kids.  I think it’s probably a little too heavy handed for most people’s taste and therefore I doubt they will reach people in the way they’d like to.  Perhaps a less aggressive tone might have spoken to more people…?  What do you think?  Here a few…

'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play

'Skool of Vegan' Draws Cartoons That Make Eating Meat Seem Like Anything But Child's Play

Something to bear in mind as Mother’s Day approaches…

Next time you eat a piece of meat, take a moment to think about the fact that it had a mother.

If it’s pork you’re eating – think about that piglet being removed from it’s mother within just a few days of being born and slaughtered within 3 – 6 months.


If it’s lamb you’re eating – know that it was removed from its mother within a few months of being born and killed within 3 – 10 months.

lamb cute leap leaping jump jumping spring float levitate play playing sheep

If it’s chicken you’re eating – know that it was never even allowed to meet it’s mother and was killed within 6 weeks of being born.

Animal Wallpapers

If it’s beef you’re eating – know that they have been slaughtered within just 1 to 2 years.

loving mother cow and her calf

If it’s dairy you’re eating, know that the calf which this mother had to bear in order for you to steal and consume her milk, was taken away within the first 2 days of its life and either shot or slaughtered at 16 – 20 weeks for veal.

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And if this thought alone doesn’t make you reconsider eating meat then please take a long hard look at these photos and ask yourself how you can possibly justify stealing any animal’s young away from them for the brutal and shameful act of slaughter, merely because you like the way they taste.

These beautiful images are all from this website:

http://m.atchuup.com/wild-animals-and-their-youngs/

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raw vegan vanilla raspberry cheesecake …

Tomorrow’s pud sorted…

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This is another recipe that I stumbled across on Pinterest. A simple no bake recipe. It looked delicious and I had to try it.

The recipe is courtesy of Eat Good 4 Life.

_cheesecakes_

Ingredients
Bottom layer
1 cup Cascadian Farm cinnamon crunch *
1 cup pitted dates
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1-2 tablespoons almond milk

Cheesecake layer
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons almond milk, if mixture is too dry

Top Layer
10 oz organic Cascadian Farm raspberries, defrosted *
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup

* Instead of the cinnamon crunch, I used raw almonds. Fresh raspberries put in the freezer work well too.

Method
1) Soak the cashews in water for 1 hour. Discard the water and line a loaf baking pan with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, mix the topping ingredients and let it sit for 1…

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Let’s Not Taco Bout It

An interesting post which suggests that we should question people’s eating habits with the same level of sensitivity we would if asking about their religious or sexual identity…

Blogging Across the Finish Line

MealtimeImage by gettyimages

“Hi what’s your major?”

“Food science and human nutrition.”

“Oh…you must be really healthy!   Are you, judging my meal right now haha? How bad is this for me?”

If I had a nickel for every conversation I have had like this… For a long time, these encounters would frustrate and even offend me because I thought people were criticizing me or belittling my area of study. Should I feel bad about eating healthy? After all, I didn’t care about what everyone else was eating. While they were worried I was evaluating their dietary choices, I was concerned that I was coming off as some know-it-all health snob. All this lingering uncertainty about who’s thinking what and what’s appropriate to say can get pretty exhausting. I’ve spent four years studying not only the scientific aspects of food and how it affects our bodies, but also the various effects…

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Arcadia’s rude awakening…

So my daughter (Arcadia, 5 yrs old) has started to notice that Ed and I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy and is beginning to ask questions.  This shouldn’t be tricky but of course it is because all I want, as a parent, is to be able to answer any questions my children might ask me, as honestly and thoughtfully as I can and with eating animals this is tricky.  For example… here’s yesterday’s conversation:

Arcadia: “Mummy why don’t you eat sausarcadiaages?”

Me: “Because sausages are made from pork which comes from pigs and I don’t want to eat pigs”.

Arcadia: “Sausages don’t come from pigs mummy they come from shops”.

Me: “Yes we buy them from shops but they are made from pigs that have been raised and killed for their meat”.

Arcadia: “But that’s horrible.  Why would people kill pigs?”

Me: “Because they like the taste of sausages”.

Arcadia: “Maybe they don’t know their sausages come from pigs – I think we should tell them.  Or maybe it should say pig on the packet and not sausages and then people would know not to eat them.  I don’t think the school knows that sausages are pig because then people wouldn’t eat them”.

Now why people would choose to kill and eat pigs when they don’t need to is completely flabbergasting to me so how on earth I explain it to a 5 yr old I don’t know.  Because of course it makes entirely no sense to her – as it doesn’t to me. Now I could tell her what my parents told me which was that pigs and cows are here to provide us with food.  I could say that they live long and happy lives on Old Macdonalds farm before one day, after a long and happy life, they wander down the lane to the cosy slaughterhouse and get turned into scrummy sausages for the lovely butchers.  But of course I can’t because we all know this is utter bullshit.  So I am left with trying to tell her the truth, to arm her with the facts so that she can then make up her own mind, without leaving her entirely dumbstruck, appalled and confused because these aren’t things that a 5 yr old should be feeling.  But the facts leave her feeling all of those things.

Luckily there is a Rastafarian boy in her class who is vegetarian and a Hindu girl who doesn’t eat beef and a Jewish boy who doesn’t eat pork and only eats kosher and lots of Muslim children who only eat halal so she can discuss all of their food choices with them and make up her own mind.

Today she told granny that she didn’t want to eat the fish that she’d bought her for lunch because she didn’t want to ‘kill fishes”.  Granny promptly cooked and fed her fish anyway so its clearly going to be a long and bumpy road…

Any advice from parents, teachers, siblings etc who have fielded questions on the subject from curious small people is very welcome!

Founder of WNY Vegans talks about her diet, misconceptions about veganism

Good article by Melinda Shaw on her experiences as a vegan:

The word “vegan” carries an inordinate amount of caustic weight despite its simple theory and definition. The term sparks trigger quick, flippant responses and reactions based on – from what I have found through casual conversations – a misappropriations, distaste and individual perplexity.

Statements like, “Why would you do that?” “Isn’t is hard to not eat meat?” and “You’re missing out on so many good foods!” spring up regularly, creating inadvertent and glaring testimonies that being “vegan” really means being “different.”

And ultimately misunderstood.

After reading about “Veganuary,” my seminal curiosities led me to dig in a bit deeper in what it is to be truly “vegan.”

I understand the core concepts: no meat, no animal byproducts, and conscious and ethical living practices, but never did I realize that living as a vegetarian, how far off I am from living a vegan lifestyle, thanks in great part to the products I use that contain animal components – as opposed to the foods that I eat.

So “Veganuary,” the promotion of “veganism” last month, afforded me the opportunity to reach out to Melinda Shaw, the founder of WNY Vegans, who spoke about what it is to be vegan.

“A vegan is someone who chooses not to consume any animal products, including meat, fish, dairy, eggs and byproducts made from animals, including honey and gelatin. People generally choose to become vegan for either humane, environmental or health reasons, or a combination of those reasons. Most ethical vegans also generally abstain from using health and beauty products and cleaning products that contain animal ingredients or were tested on animals,” Shaw said.

Also, ethical vegans will desist from wearing fabrics derived from animals, including wool, leather, fur and silk. They also will refrain from attending events and activities where animals are being used for entertainment purposes, such as rodeos, zoos, marinas and circuses.

As a vegan for 23 years, Shaw began living in this manner for “ethical reasons.” Her primary concern was “for the animals.” With more than two decades experience, Shaw attests to the “health and environmental benefits of being vegan.”

“I know that the choices I make every day have a positive impact on the world and do the least harm possible to the animals, my health and the environment. The physical benefits of a vegan lifestyle are tremendous,” Shaw said.

“Today, more people are dying from lifestyle-related disease than infectious diseases! These lifestyle-related diseases are mostly due to high consumption of processed, animal-based foods and lack of physical exercise. We know that most of these diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer, are linked to the over-consumption of animal products and can be reversed through a whole-foods, plant-based diet.”

Thanks largely to innate commonsense and research, omnivorous and vegan diets are, nearly to entirely devoid of animal byproducts, thus traditionally lower in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol in comparison to non-vegetarian forms of nourishment. Numerous studies also support claims that vegetarians and/or vegans appear to have a lower risk for coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and various forms of cancer.

With all the health benefits associated with non-meat based diets, misconceptions about herbivorous diets are incredibly and shockingly pervasive in our society, especially one that has access to answers in as little time as it take for someone to think and type in a question on Google.

“The biggest misconception about being vegan is that it’s too hard and the foods are too restrictive,” Shaw said. “Many people who try or become vegan are pleasantly surprised to learn about the huge variety of foods that are vegan and actually enjoy cooking and eating more as a vegan as they experiment with new foods and flavor combinations.

“The other misconception is that vegan food is expensive, which is just the opposite. Beans and rice are very inexpensive. When you remove the costly meat, dairy and eggs from your diet, which is generally about 40 percent of an average grocery bill, that frees up a lot of room in your budget. You get more for your money on a vegan diet.”

As for vegan foods, the variety available is extensive. Per the recommendations from Shaw (and some of her favorites), there are “vegan” meat products like Gardein and Beyond Meat, which she uses when cooking for those who are non-vegan, and nutritional yeast, an accent spice of sorts; high in vitamin B12, it gives food a pleasant, nutty flavor.

“The biggest apprehension from people about being vegan is concern over what they will eat,” Shaw said. “I will often go grocery shopping with people to show them some of my favorite products. Most people are shocked to see all of their familiar food items in vegan form, such as butter, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, shredded cheese and meat-replacements. It’s a big relief when they realize that they can still eat very similar to what they are used to eating, just in a more humane and healthy way.”

Should you want to experiment with being vegan for a day or just a meal, there are numerous local restaurants that offer vegan dishes. They include Saigon Bangkok, Falafel Bar, and Pizza Plant, to name a fast few.

Also, as the old, clichéd, but ever true adage goes, “knowledge is power.” The more information you have on veganism, the better informed you will be about the relatively misconstrued subject matter. Check out these documentaries: Vegucated; Earthlings; Forks Over Knives; and Food Inc. Or try one of these books: “Diet for a New America,” by John Robbins; or “The China Study,” by T. Colin Campbell.

Now you can go seek out, find out and try out what works for you. Like anything in life, options are good, and this is just another one for your consideration.

“Going vegan changed my life”

The following article was published by the Daily Express on Feb 23rd 2015.  Thought it was worth sharing as is always interesting to hear other people’s stories, how they came to veganism, what they struggle with, what their advice is etc…

Healthy living guru Angela Liddon explains how giving up animal products helped her overcome an eating disorder

"I switched to whole foods and lost 20 pounds."

Veganism is a big trend for 2015. Beyoncé announced recently that she is launching a vegan food delivery service and she is just one of many celebrities who have decided to cut animal products out of their diet completely.

For healthy living guru Angela Liddon however, going vegan wasn’t just a celebrity fad. Instead she says that after years of suffering from an eating disorder, it gave her life back to her.

Angela’s problems started when she was just 11.

“When I hit puberty, I started to get curves and gained a bit of weight. I felt I wasn’t thin enough like the girls in fashion magazines so I started to diet,” she explains.

Starving herself for days on end, then binge eating, Angela, now 32, fixated on how much fat she was eating and the amount of exercise she could do.

“Even though I was very thin my body image was worse than ever. I thought that by losing the weight I would accept myself more but found I only became more critical of how I looked. It was a vicious circle,” she says.

It wasn’t until Angela was in her mid-20s that she decided enough was enough. “I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I lacked energy in my day-to-day life and I desperately wanted to change,” she says.

“My eating disorder also negatively impacted on my relationships as it made me insecure, moody and withdrawn. I knew something needed to give if I was going to have healthy relationships in my life and most of all learn how to accept myself.”

After hearing about how healthy a vegan diet can be she decided to try it out for herself. Soon, she was hooked.

“Eating a balanced plant-based diet gave me so much energy straight away,” she says. “I felt happier, balanced and like I could accomplish so much more. It was a revelation.”

Inspired by her new lease of life Angela, who lives in Ontario, Canada, decided to start a blog to share her struggles with food and how going vegan had turned her life around.

After its launch in 2008 she was inundated with messages from readers. “I was amazed and humbled by all the people who wrote saying that my blog changed their life,” she says.

During the past six years she has created more than 600 vegan recipes and built up six million regular readers. Now, as she launches her first cookbook, Angela says she hopes her journey eating her way back to health will continue to inspire others to go vegan too.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, published March 4, (Penguin, £16.25) is available from amazon.co.uk

FIVE GOLDEN FOOD RULES

1 MAKE TIME

Set aside time each weekend to prepare food for the week ahead. Roast a couple of pans of seasonal vegetables, soak and cook chickpeas and prep kale and homemade dressing for salads. This will make throwing together weeknight meals much easier.

2 DON’T WORRY ABOUT OTHERS

If you want to make changes, do so for you and you alone. Don’t let outside opinions put you off. You never know, if you feel good, look healthy and your skin’s glowing others may want to do it too.

3 SWEAT EVERY DAY

You’ll feel your best if you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It can be as simple as walking outdoors but make sure whatever it is you enjoy doing it. Mix it up to keep it interesting. Try indoor cycling classes, brisk hill walking on the treadmill, weights and hiking.

4 EAT BREAKFAST

Skipping breakfast is never a good idea as you’ll end up starving by lunch and over-eating. If you want something light have a green protein smoothie or a bowl of vegan overnight oats.

5 MAKE ROOM FOR TREATS

Depriving yourself will only make you want something more. Therefore include room for desserts and treats in your diet, in moderation of course.

Try a raw chocolate pudding made with blended banana, avocado, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt topped with roasted hazelnuts and whipped coconut cream. It’s easy to make and, while sweet, it’s full of goodness.

SMART SWAPS TO BOOST YOUR DIET

Ditch: COW’S MILK

Try: Almond milk. Choose the unsweetened kind and use it where you would normally use cow’s milk.

Ditch: DAIRY CREAM

Try: Full-fat coconut cream. You can whip it just like you would regular dairy cream. It’s great in desserts, puddings, soup and more.

Ditch: BUTTER

Try: Virgin coconut oil. You can use coconut oil in just about everything from raw desserts to baked goods to stir-fries.

Heart-healthy, it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. However if you’re not a fan of the flavour you can use refined coconut oil.

Ditch: MINCE

Try: Lentil-walnut taco “meat”. A mixture of toasted walnuts, lentils, chilli powder, garlic, olive oil, cumin and salt.

Ditch: DAIRY SOUR CREAM

Try: Cashew sour cream. Blend soaked cashews, water lemon juice, cider vinegar and seasoning until smooth.

Live and Let Live

Have just watched this feature length documentary on veganism and would highly recommend it to everyone, vegan or not.

It examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan.
Food scandals, climate change, lifestyle diseases and ethical concerns move more and more people to reconsider eating animals and animal products. From butcher to vegan chef, from factory farmer to farm sanctuary owner – Live and Let Live tells the stories of six individuals who decided to stop consuming animal products for different reasons and shows the impact the decision has had on their lives.
Philosophers such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Gary Francione join scientists T. Colin Campbell and Jonathan Balcombe and many others to shed light on the ethical, health and environmental perspectives of veganism.
Through these stories, Live and Let Live showcases the evolution of veganism from its origins in London 1944 to one of the fastest growing lifestyles worldwide, with more and more people realising what’s on their plates matters to animals, the environment and ultimately – themselves.

And it has a lovely soundtrack too…