Tag Archives: kind living

Guest Blogger: AusVegan – If Not You, Then Who? If Not Now, Then When?

27 Nov

Always happy to welcome another vegan blogger to the VBU! family. Cameron Blewett is a very busy vegan blogger. He has contributed to VBU! with a post from his blog AusVegan. Here’s his bio, “Based in Brisbane, Cameron is a prolific blogger with a number of sites relating to different subject matters. This one is dedicated to his passion for veganism and Animal Rights. His main site CameronBlewett.com.au is where he does most of his posting, along with his new site VeganSexual.com.au which aims to challenge the common held misconceptions of being male and vegan. Make sure you don’t miss a post on AusVegan.com by subscribing to the mailing list here. You can find Cameron on Google+ , Twitter, or Facebook” Welcome Cameron!

If, as a vegan, you aren’t going to take a stand and promote veganism, then who do you think will?
If you aren’t going to promote it now, when will you?

I was sitting down last night, pen in hand, going over the various discussions I have had with people over the past few days to get ideas for coming blog posts, when the sound of a freight train in the distance broke my concentration.

For some reason I decided to pay a little more attention to it, and see if by just listening to it I would be able to tell if it was a standard freight train or a cattle train heading out to the Dinmore slaughterhouse.

At the time and possibly out of denial, I made the assessment that it was just a regular freight train because there wasn’t the distinctive ‘rattle’ of the gate on each wagon, and there was a noted absence of the lingering smell that usually accompanies these trains. Continue reading

Guest Blogger: Vegan Weight Watchers

11 Jun

As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that”, in my opinion, there’s always a blog for whatever your interests are. Emilee, editor of Vegan Weight Watchers proves just that. You can be vegan and be mindful of your weight while on the program. Here she is in her own words, “Editor of the Vegan Weight Watchers blog! I add multiple posts each week specifically written for people using the Weight Watchers program to lose or maintain weight while following a vegan lifestyle. Posts include PointsPlus friendly vegan recipes, product and restaurant reviews, as well as interesting vegan tidbits from around the world and across the web.” Please follow Vegan Weight Watchers on Twitter; please welcome Emilee!

My story:
My journey with Weight Watchers started in June 2009. I lost 25 lbs and became a lifetime member that October. I have since been able to maintain my weight loss while sticking to the Weight Watchers program.

My husband has struggled with gastrointestinal discomfort since we met in 2003. Following an endoscopy, no diagnosis was reached for my husband, and I was shocked when his doctor said he would be on medication indefinitely. After watching several documentaries and doing research online, I proposed trying out a vegan lifestyle (which almost instantly cured his lifelong stomach issues). Due to my experience with the Weight Watchers program, I knew I would have to be careful to stick to my daily PointsPlus values – it is a popular misconception that vegans only eat lettuce and are rail thin. However, I was disappointed about the lack of resources online for fellow Vegan Weight Watchers.

With this blog, I hope to help keep others’ weight loss journeys interesting while sticking to a plant-based vegan lifestyle.

In our family, and amongst our circle of friends, my husband and I are the only people who practice a vegan lifestyle. The question “Where do get your protein from?” comes up on a regular basis so I wanted to share a few low Weight Watchers PointsPlus sources of protein that we incorporate into our diet. Please keep in mind this is a SHORT list of the protein content of select vegan foods — and yes protein does come from sources other than meat and dairy!

To put some context around the numbers below, the average female should be getting between 37-50 grams of protein each day. The average for a male is just a bit higher from between 48-63 grams per day. You can find more information on this here.
As you can see, by eating a variety of vegetables, beans, legumes, grains and nuts it is very easy to meet the daily protein requirement.

vegan weight watchers protein sources

For a more extensive list of plant-based foods that provide protein visit: Protein in the Vegan Diet
Be kind, feel good.
Em

Guest Blogger: V is for Vegetables – Zucchini Boats

8 Jun

As we all know, V is for Vegetables, that is also the title of Vanessa’s blog. Here she is in her own words, “My name is Vanessa and I have lived in Indiana my entire life. However, I have certainly spent plenty of time seeing the world. My journey to veganism actually began in the UK. I was there when Mad Cow Disease was at its worst and I haven’t had a hamburger since. Then slowly other animal products disappeared from my life and now plants are all I have left. But that’s definitely not a bad thing. I’ve grown from being a picky eater who can’t cook to a vegan food blogger. It’s been a fun ride so far and I can’t wait to see what else comes my way.” Please follow Vanessa on Twitter and of course check out her site! Please welcome Vanessa!

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I love using food to display food. Therefore, I love zucchini boats. No need to get dishes out. Once these cool off, you can shovel them right in. Exactly my kind of food. You could really fill these “boats” with anything but I used a tomato and couscous mixture. The addition of a grain in the filling helps add nutritional variety so that I’m not simply scarfing down vegetables. Yes, it’s possible to scarf down vegetables. If you spend enough time around vegans and vegetarians you will witness the ability to devour broccoli like it’s a chocolate raspberry cupcake covered with brownie bits and drizzled with caramel. Yes, broccoli. It’s what’s for dinner and dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat couscous (prepared according to package)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and trim off the stem.

3. Scrape out the insides of the zucchini using a melon baller or a teaspoon. Set the insides aside. On the opposite side of the zucchini half, slice a little skin off lengthwise so that your boat is less likely to tip over. We don’t want any passengers couscous to end up in the Atlantic pan filled with water.

4. Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the garlic and onion. Saute for 5 minutes.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes, carrots and zucchini insides and cook another 5 minutes.

6. Add the prepared couscous to the sauteed mixture and season with salt and pepper.

7. Allow the mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes.

8. Fill each hollowed out zucchini half with 1/4 of the sauteed mixture.

9. Place the zucchini halves in a shallow pan filled with 1/4 inch water.

10. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Yields 4 servings

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Adapted from: Annies-Eats

Guest Blogger: Grow it Kindly

16 May

Please meet a new blogger to join the VBU guest blogger ranks, Stephanie from Grow It Kindly, here she is in her own words, “My name is Stephanie, and I moved from San Francisco to Grass Valley, CA in March of 2012 to live with my partner at Animal Place, a sanctuary for farmed animals. I have volunteered the rest of this year to expanding the veganic garden at the sanctuary into a model micro-farm for growing food kindly – kind to the earth, kind to the animals, and to the community of people we hope to reach and engage through this project.” Connect with Stephanie on Facebook. Please welcome Stephanie!

As a new activist, I am still experimenting with how to most effectively speak up for animals. I recently learned, secondhand, that my remarks about [the journey of] going vegan were perceived as chastising. This was not my intent, and clearly, I need to work on refining my message. If only I’d begun all of this sooner.

A dozen years ago, I hosted a dinner party for a circle of friends and one apologetic vegetarian. Annoyed that the latter had messed up the evening’s menu, I remember muttering to my then-partner, “I could never date a vegetarian”. How does one go from staunch omnivore to vegan activist? It didn’t happen with the snap of fingers. But it could have.

As I learned more about nutrition, I made small adjustments to my diet over the decade that followed. No red meat. Less dairy. Cage-free eggs. Organic. Local. When I heard reports about the environmental destruction caused by animal agriculture, I may have even patted myself on the back; after all, I wasn’t eating cheeseburgers anymore.

It wasn’t until I attended a passionate speech by activist Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in 2009 that I took a hard look at the torture I was putting on my fork. She spoke of the rape and slavery of dairy cows, the cruelty of egg production, the purging of our oceans and other horrific truths about eating animals. With great skill, she told the hard-line truth. It broke my heart enough to also break down all of my defenses. In a snap, I went vegan.

The truth about animal agriculture hurts, and most people don’t want to accept it. We get defensive about our past and present actions. It is less painful to buy into the message from

Douglas and Linus, two male “discards” from the dairy industry, were bottle-fed in the barn and pasture beside the micro-farm.

popular authors like Michael Pollan; it’s OK to kill animals and the planet, as long as you don’t do it too often. Even better if it’s local. Attached as we are to the prevalent culture and comforts of certain foods, we resist making changes that may seem overwhelming. We don’t know how to prepare vegan food. Many people worry about protein. We imagine the awkwardness that our new veganism may inspire in social situations.

There are so many excuses for not doing the right thing. For this reason, I believe that it usually takes more than opening someone’s mind. In my own personal experience, an open mind put me on the path of baby steps for a decade. In order to make urgent, meaningful and necessary change, a heart must break. I wish that I had crossed paths with a hard-line, truth-telling activist earlier.

The talented and eloquent Colleen reaches audiences nation-wide through public speaking, podcasts, articles, and most famously through her beautiful cookbooks, such as The Vegan Table and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. At Animal Place, my internship in the veganic micro-farm gives me the opportunity to be truthful with volunteers, visitors and people in the community who are curious about what I am doing. This is my venue to – as best as I can – speak up for animals.

Our model farm is not isolated from the rest of the sanctuary. One can see and hear the animals while tending to the tomatoes, and it is important to relate the stark differences in our cruelty-free farming practices in contrast to how food is produced in animal-based systems. Most not-yet-vegan inquiries are polite. When others respond defensively or not at all, uneasiness hangs heavy in the air. Now what? Well, at least they will leave with that dis-ease in their minds, and perhaps that feeling will sink down into their heart someday. Perhaps this is better, even, than polite.

I’ve yet to break any hearts, but I’ll keep on trying.

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