“Lobsters do feel pain? Oh. Ummm… well sorry for all the boiling alive guys…”

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So it turns out that lobsters, octopus, prawns, crabs, squid etc probably do feel pain.  This article was recently published in the New Scientist and suggests that all of these animals not only feel pain but some of them feel it more acutely than humans do.

But do people care?  Will everyone who read the latest evidence in the New Scientist or all of you reading this blog post now, finish reading this and then vow to stop eating these animals?  No, most won’t according to what history shows us.  Not until the vegan movement gathers a lot more momentum and swells to much bigger numbers.  Why not?  I don’t understand why otherwise kind, caring, compassionate people don’t change their behaviour once they’ve discovered that that behaviour causes pain and suffering to innocent sentient animals. We’re not talking about political allegiance or tastes in music or something that is inconsequential in terms of pain and suffering.  We are talking about a global genocide that is causing billions of animals every year to endure immense abuse, pain and suffering.  Is that how incapable we are of thinking for ourselves, of acting upon proven facts, of swimming against the tide, of challenging the status quo?  It makes me feel so sad and angry and disappointed. But more than that it baffles me.  I’m not any more compassionate than anyone else.  I don’t love animals any more than anyone else?  I don’t enjoy seeing an animal suffer any more or less than anyone else I doubt.  We all have the same reaction when we see an animal in pain – we empathise enormously and will do everything we can to stop it’s suffering.  So why the massive blind spot when it comes to eating animals and animal products?  Is it ignorance?  It is fear?  I think we all know deep down that the process by which meat gets to our plates cannot be a wholly pleasant one.  But somehow we deem it worthwhile for the pleasure of taste and the fear of change.  So we do everything we can to remain ignorant and hide behind pathetic justifications such as ‘but we’ve always eaten meat’ (and?  we’ve also always enslaved other people and raped and pillaged our way around the world – it doesn’t mean it’s okay!) and ‘we need it for protein’ (no you do NOT).

The second I discovered what happens to the billions of male chicks born each year I vowed to never eat eggs again.  As soon as I discovered that I didn’t need to eat meat of any kind in order to eat a healthy, full and balanced diet I vowed to never be responsible for the slaughter of another pig, cow, duck, chicken, sheep, lamb or chicken.  I just the same way as when I discovered how foie gras was made I vowed never to eat it again. As soon as I discovered what veal was I vowed never again to eat it.  As soon as i discovered the life cycle of a dairy cow I vowed to never eat dairy again.  As soon as I discovered the human rights abuses committed by Primark I vowed never to shop there again.  As soon as I discovered the environmental ruin that Nestle is causing around the world I vowed never to buy their products again.  Why doesn’t everyone else.  Ignorance is a good enough answer if you really didn’t know.  But once you do know – what excuse do you have to continue to perpetuate the problem?

I’m bored of being polite and saying oh well some people don’t want to offend others or stand out from the crowd or be the objects of ridicule.  It’s not good enough.  Do better.  We all need to be better.  How can we pretend to preach the values of right and wrong to our children if we ourselves are knowingly perpetrating these cruel acts of needless violence and suffering day in and day out.  Enough.

Please stop eating and exploiting animals.  No more excuses.

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Thanks for your concern…

I had one of those amusing slash infuriating moments recently that all vegans and veggies have to put up with often.  I was sat eating my lunch (steamed kale, spinach, chickpeas and broccoli with a tahini and lemon dressing) whilst a colleague ate hers (mozzarella and bacon Panini with a packet of crisps).  Over the course of our lunch she tried to explain to me why she thinks veganism is a bad idea.  Her reasoning:

1. It’s too expensive

2. It’s dangerous to cut out entire food groups from your diet

3.  It’s an unnatural diet and not one that we are designed to eat

Hmmm…. I sat there looking from my plate to her plate and back again and wondered how she could not see the irony and complete nonsense of what she was saying.  There was I, a committed vegan for nearly 2 years, eating a plateful of the most nutritious, tasty, cheap, locally grown, organic whole food whilst she sat across from me eating a plateful of high cholesterol, high fat, unhealthy, expensive, factory farmed, deep fried, highly processed rubbish!

Now I’m not saying you can’t eat a really healthy non-vegan diet because of course you can.  But I’m saying it’s astounding how often people will completely ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to discussing the health benefits of veganism.  They’ll start muttering on about vitamin B12, iron levels and zinc and dive straight into the nitty gritty of the possible nutritional shortfalls of a vegan diet if you don’t do it sensibly, whilst ignoring the fact that I’m there snacking on an apple and they’re on their fifth chocolate digestive…

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Easy, tasty, super healthy light lunch…

I baked some tofu for the first time this week and can’t believe I’ve waited this long to try it.  It’s entirely different to stir-fried tofu and the perfect thing for when you fancy a ‘meatier’ texture but don’t fancy mushrooms…  For this recipe I used firm tofu and then pressed it for 15 mins to get as much moisture out as I could.  Then I cut it into 1 inch cubes and marinated it for 2 hours in soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated fresh ginger, chilli paste, agave and minced garlic.  I then baked it in a hot oven (200 degrees c) for 40 mins so it was really chewy and added it to some lightly steamed baby spinach and squeezed some fresh lemon over it.

Along side this I made a really vibrant tasty salad –

1 cup quinoa, black olives, red and yellow tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and torn basil.

Light but filling lunch.  Super easy to make and extraordinarily nutritious!

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Study: Global Veganism Would Reduce Carbon Emissions More Than Energy Intervention

Yet another study proving what a devastating effect the meat industry is having on climate change.

Producing nearly 15% of the Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions, the meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change. Slowly, very slowly, movements like Meatless Mondays and Vegan Before 6 have demonstrated the value, and deliciousness, of adopting a vegan diet, but a carnivorous diet is still seen as evidence of prosperity.

In 2009, researchers at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency calculated that global veganism would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by nearly 17%, methane emissions by 24%, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21% by 2050.

The researchers discovered that worldwide veganism, or even just worldwide vegetarianism, would achieve gains at a much lower cost that an energy intervention, like carbon taxes, for instance.

The study demonstrated tremendous value of a vegan or vegetarian diet in staving off climate change, but there are so many other benefits as well. Antibiotic resistance stemming from the meat consumed that has been pumped full of antibiotics would plummet. Pollution rates would drop significantly as factory farms, the biggest polluters in the meat industry, became a thing of the past. General human health and well-being would rise from a plant-based diet free from cholesterol and pharmaceuticals.

By 2050, the global population is predicted to reach a staggering 9 BILLION people. What are we going to do with all the cows currently taking up 25% of the Earth’s land area?

What do you eat all week?!

So I’ve just done a weekly food shop and thought I’d photograph it for you as people are always asking ‘what on earth do you eat all week’?  So here it is…

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So this was two trips – one to an independent greengrocers in Southfields for all the fruit and veg…

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…and one to Wholefoods for everything else…

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The fruit and veg cost £31 and includes some quite expensive imported goodies such as pineapple, avocados, limes etc..  and the Wholefoods shop came to £52 and includes some quite specialist expensive things like a big bag of Cocoa nibs (£14) to keep me in chocolate and banana soy milkshakes for the rest of my pregnancy!  and Arrowroot for tonight’s frittata fiesta… posh crackers, posh chocolate, a sushi rolling mat, posh dressing, very posh crackers, elderflower cordial etc so this shop would normally have been more like £30.  We then usually do an online shop at GoodnessDirect.com for all our toiletries and house cleaning kit, roughly every 3 months, and that comes to about £50.  So that’s a monthly spend on everything of between £250 and £300 which for a greedy family of four I’d say is pretty good. 

Before turning vegan, we shopped in Sainsburys and I could never keep the weekly shop to under £100 a week.  Meat and cheese are expensive!  And we hardly eat any processed food any more.  We were always filling the trolley up with whatever was on offer in an attempt to spend les and the result was we ate far more, far less healthily, always shopped in supermarkets and spent more money. 

Now, we shop in far more ethical sops, have massively reduced our carbon footprint as a family, buy far better quality food, way healthier food and spend less overall.  And the whole shopping experience is a far nicer one too.  I don’t miss battling through Sainsburys on a Saturday afternoon with screaming children hanging out of the trolley whilst I stuff breadsticks into them in a bid to keep them occupied whist I grab anything with a 2 for 1 sticker on it…    

Now I’m on first name terms with my veg man and the kids help him fill up the bags whilst he teaches them the difference between yellow courgettes and Spanish courgettes and Wholefoods is basically like food porn for anyone who enjoys eating!