Tag Archives: veganism

Guest Blogger: The Passion for Compassion – Dark Side of the Vegan Moon

24 Mar

Let’s welcome our newest blogger Fern Demeo, author of The Passion for Compassion, to the VBU! fold.

Here she is in her own words, “I’ve always found it difficult to write about or describe myself to others, after all we are such complex creatures with a vast range of strengths and insecurities! I am (obviously) an animal lover and have been my entire life. I grew up as a single child and my animals were like my siblings, except far more accepting and unconditional! I remember scolding other kids in the play ground for frying ants with magnifying glasses; catching injured birds who had flown into the classroom and trying to rehabilitate (unsuccessfully!) baby mice whose mother had been killed by the neighbour’s cat. The truth is, I found a considerable amount of solace, peace and acceptance with the animal kingdom. I was raised by my Mum taught me strength and gentleness, respect and concern for all life. Always concerned for the underdog, mum taught me to advocate for those who were voiceless and vulnerable.

When I lost my mum in 2007, life as I knew it changed forever. The grief and despair is beyond what words can describe. Part of my ongoing journey towards wholeness after losing mum has been re-aligning with my passion- to be of service to the animal kingdom in whatever way I can. This fills me with a love so deep that it begins to shine some light into the gaping hole that grief left behind.”

Please join Fern on her blog and new Facebook page. Welcome Fern!

 

The other night whilst taking a few moments to enjoy the silence, I looked up and saw a gigantic Godzilla spider (ok it wasn’t that big- maybe a 50 cent piece in diameter- but for a long term arachnophobic, that IS equivalent to Godzilla). Fear filled me, adrenalin pumped through my veins and my fight or flight mechanism went into overdrive. Fleeing was seriously contemplated, though the thought of not knowing where Godzilla was lurking, forced me to confront the fear.

But then another fear came online- If I am wanting to live a truly compassionate life and extend that to all beings… what was I going to do with this fricking spider? I was terrified to get too close to it, unlike the countless creepy crawlies I capture and release outside. And in my own darkness- I ashamedly admit that I was seriously considering spraying it, despite having always hated the thought of spraying another living being (such a prolonged and agonising death). But then a sobering (and slightly unwanted in that moment) epiphany – Why does humanity seek to destroy what it is fearful of or misunderstands?

All of a sudden I was flooded with images from World War Two where nearly six million Jewish people were murdered under the Nazi dictatorship, in Hitler’s racially motivated ideology for a superior “Aryan race”. I was then transported to Cambodia where a close friend and I had walked in absolute horror through the killing fields and Tuol Sleng, a former high school which was used as a place of torture at the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Memories and images which still haunt and sicken me today.

Many other heinous historical moments –towards both mankind and the continual assault on our sentient animal relatives- rushed through me as I stood and stared at this helpless ‘Godzilla’ spider. I was deeply ashamed at my initial instinct to kill what I was afraid of, to eradicate a life which I did not fully understand. As Friedrich Nietzsche so aptly said “Man is the cruelest animal” to walk this earth.

What made me superior to this being, to sentence it to death because I was too fearful to confront my own fears and insecurities? There was only one alternative- capture it so I could set it free and in doing so, acknowledge the dark side of my own humanity.

My methodology for doing this was long, terrifying and quite honestly, ridiculously comical. Thank goodness for empty plastic containers (with opaque walls so I couldn’t see inside), thick cardboard and a dose of courage to make me look at the deeper message of this unwanted visitor. And so as I write this, I am both comforted and unsettled by the Buddha’s wise words: “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways”. Perhaps the world would be a safer place we could all acknowledge our own darkness?

 

 

 

Sorry about all the weird text formatting- am trying to do too many things at once here with my zoo of crazy animals!

Thanks so much for all that you do :)

x

Guest Bloggers: Mindful Wanderlust – Thailand changed my life…Why I went Vegan

12 Sep

Always inspiring to hear stories of other vegans and how they came to the lifestyle. Two such people are Giselle and Cody, authors of Mindful Wanderlust. Please do visit their blog, not all the pictures came out properly through the HTML for some reason and it would be a shame to miss out on their adventure.

Here they are in their own words, “We’re Giselle and Cody. Two kindred vegan spirits and travel lovers wanting to share our experiences around the world with people while doing it in a compassionate and responsible way.

We have been traveling around the world long term. We hope to inspire others to do the same and free themselves of people’s expectations. We look forward to meeting new people on our journey, learning about ourselves and others, while being mindful and considerate.

Join us for glimpses of art, working with animals, culture, yummy vegan food, and whatever else we find that piques our interest.” Follow Mindful Wanderlust on all channels: Blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Welcome Giselle and Cody!

To be fair, it could have been any country.

Why I went Vegan

Elephant Nature Park in Thailand

But it was Thailand. And I could have been volunteering with orangutans, or sloth bears. But elephants are one of my favorite animals, so I chose elephants to spend time with.

I have been an animal lover all of my life, (or perhaps a “some” animal, lover) but that love grows much more powerful and true when you stop eating them.

How can you truly love them while causing them so much pain and suffering?

Two years ago I stopped eating cows, chickens, and pigs directly after watching Earthlings. I stopped eating fish a few months before going Vegan.

This August marks my 1 year Veganniversary!

Why I went Vegan

Momma Rommie

While at Elephant Nature Park, Cody and I had the honour of spending some of our time with a new born baby Elephant. The rest of our time was spent with several dogs, cats, and people. We had the chance to take a trip to Nakhon Phnom (border of Thailand and Laos) to help out with over 2000 dogs that were rescued from the illegal dog meat trade. We made a video about our experience (You can watch that here) and the response was great. Many people shared the video and made several comments about how disgusting it was that people eat dog meat, and how terribly inhumane the dogs were treated. This made me wonder why so many of us think it is ok to treat pigs, cows, chickens, etc, so inhumanely (I question it on a daily basis).

Billions of cows, pigs, chickens, and several other animals suffer all of their lives. Why are dogs any different? Because we chose them to be pets and not food? Because they are loving and sweet? Have you ever spent time with a cow, pig, or sheep? I have, and they are beautiful, loving, and gentle animals as well.

They don’t want to die.

I made the connection.

Why I went Vegan

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

I am wide awake and fully conscious of what goes into my body, and the products I choose to purchase will never again be made with any or tested on any animals. I only wish I had made the connection sooner. I was not born Vegan, but I am Vegan for life, in more ways than one.

When it comes to flesh; a dog, is a cow, is a pig, is a chicken. There is no difference. Remember this when you are condemning another culture for eating dogs and cats.

There was a time not too long ago that we treated humans in the same way. Some were worthy of a life of freedom, and some were not.

My experience with all of the people at Elephant Nature Park who have so much love and care so much for these animals has permanently opened my eyes and changed my life forever. I can’t turn my back on them. I will no longer be responsible for the pain and constant suffering of another living being, and it feels wonderful and freeing. That is why I am Vegan.

I also encourage people to use their words wisely as it is not that you “could never quit eating cheese, chicken, or bacon”

It is a CHOICE. I loved cheese as much as the next person, but I chose non violence and peace, as I am well aware of the calf that gets ripped away from it’s screaming mother right after birth only to go straight to slaughter because he is useless. 5 minutes of flavor is NOT worth the tremendous suffering involved. There are alternatives to cheese, milk, eggs, and meat. Everything is an acquired taste.

The meat and dairy industry are not looking out for your health. People are being lied to, people are getting sick, and there is mass suffering going on around the world, not only for animals, but for humans too.

Such little compassion for our fellow beings, and all for taste?

They all suffer as much as we do.

Why I went Vegan

Beautiful and Gentle Bull in Northern Thailand

This is what changed my life.

Animals are my family. ALL animals. We share this earth with them. There is no picking and choosing. We humans are not more important. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.

The exploiters making money from meat and leather have done an amazing job in separating a cow from a juicy steak or a $700 leather jacket.

It’s quite easy to be desensitized, but that steak did not want to die, and that jacket was once skin that felt the sun, and wind on it.

Just think about that. We extinguish life like it is nothing. Billions and billions of precious lives.

Why I went Vegan

Rooster at Elephant Nature Park

People think being Vegan is extreme. I think shooting a bolt unsuccessfully into a cows skull so it goes down the slaughter line and is sliced in half while still alive is extreme.

Debeaking chickens without anesthesia, injecting them with growth hormone so they grow rapidly, and their legs are not strong enough to support their bodies so they break, or are severely crippled and in constant pain is extreme. I think cutting piglets tails off with no anesthesia, beating pigs, and breaking their backs for fun while still alive and in excruciating pain is extreme.

These are not isolated events. This is insanity and violence on a daily basis.

The world will not change for the better until we begin to treat all sentient beings with love and compassion.

What I share is not opinion. It is fact and truth. The problem is, most of the time people do not like the truth unless it benefits them.

There is so much suffering that we can all so easily end. It really is that simple. It starts by thinking about more than just yourself.

I am being the change I want to see in the world. Compassionate, non violent, kind, aware. Vegan 100% cruelty free.

It has changed my life.

For more information on living a compassionate cruelty free vegan lifestyle check out these links!

Gary Yourofsky is a Vegan animal rights activist. His speech helped in opening my eyes. How can you argue with him? You can watch his speech here GARY YOUROFSKY

Earthlings is a feature length documentary about the speciesism and animal abuse perpetrated by humans for entertainment, companionship, food, clothing, sport, and scientific research. The film is narrated by long time Vegan and academy award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix. You can watch the video here EARTHLINGS

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.

~Plutarch~

Non violence leads to the highest of ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.

~Thomas Edison~

Why I went Vegan

Flower loves Everyone!!

“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would have objected to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.

~Gary Smith~

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t…..the pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.

~Mark Twain~

Guest Blogger: So I’m Thinking of Going Vegan – Is There A Vegan Blog Heaven? ;)

5 Sep

Another brand new guest blogger on VBU!, please welcome Have Gone Vegan. Here she is in her own words, “I’ve been vegan for 5 years, reside in the Niagara region of Ontario Canada, and my blog deals with vegan identity and how we can try to become better vegan advocates.” Follow Have Gone Vegan‘s blog and please give her a huge welcome!

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Clicked on a bunch of vegan blogs I hadn’t visited for a while the other day, only to be greeted by a Sorry, the blog you were looking for does not exist. more times than I liked. Yikes. Or, I found blogs all forlorn, lonely and dusty, abandoned by former guardians. And I get it, I do. I once read that most blogs have a shelf life of about a year, and blogs can take up a lot of time, energy and a life of their own if you’re not careful, but I always worry when I come across abandoned sites. Because where do dead blogs go anyway?

Did the author lose interest? Steam? Did life demands crowd out the time necessary to cultivate a blog that needs attention to survive? That I understand too, as I have a few of my own previous blogs floating around as my passion shifted to veganism. But I could never get myself to kill off my ex-loves (who knows who might still be helped, inspired or amused by them), so chose to leave forwarding addresses instead.

My real worry with vegan blogs though, is that its owner has had a change of heart. I remember reading a blog by a self-described “middle-aged vegan chick” and being quite excited (yay, I’m a middle-aged vegan woman too and can relate!), and poof, before I knew it the blog had disappeared completely. Fine, I understand if you don’t want your record of thoughts to exist online if you’re no longer contributing, but maybe give some kind of notice? Otherwise, I’ll be wondering if you’re no longer vegan, that you’ve chosen to unsee what you once saw, and unknow what you once knew. And that would be too sad for words.

This summer I’m trying to get caught up with blogs I’ve neglected, perhaps prune a few from my list that are no longer a good match for me (it’s not your blog, it’s me!), and add some new ones to the mix. Hard, because I think all vegan blogs deserve readers, but it’s almost impossible to read them all, and if you’re anything like me you already suffer from information overload. One blog I will be keeping an eye on though is by someone whom I recently “met” online. While Linda writes at My Name Is Fluffy, her thinking and reasoning is anything but, so check out her site if you like.

And keep on vegan blogging everyone! :)

Guest Blogger: Eclectic Dialectic – The Deer

6 Mar

Our newest contributor is Tonya, author of Eclectic Dialectic. Tonya is an aspiring writer who loves to write, reflect, and edit; refine the creative process; and explore language. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in English (honors) and Women’s Studies, earned a graduate certificate in Social Theory, completed the coursework for a master’s in Geography, and attended law school for a bit. Hobbies and interests include reading, writing, yoga, activism, meditation, documentaries, foreign and classic films, music, Kentucky Wildcats basketball, and being open to whatever life and the universe place in her path. Veganism is an integral part of her worldview; she has been vegan since May 25, 2010 and was became vegetarian in June 1998. Follow Tonya on her blog and Twitter account. Welcome Tonya!

I was never much of a meat eater. When I was a kid I was a persnickety eater. Vegetables were always eaten before meat was; meat was pushed to the side or pushed around on my plate. This was years before I learnt about factory farms or began to examine ethical ramifications of subsisting through the suffering and perishing of a sentient being. For whatever reason I was repulsed by meat. When I was growing up I never handled raw meat and subconsciously did everything whatever I could to avoid the horrifying reality of animals’ slaughter.

My maternal grandparents kept chickens. Some were used to produce eggs and others raised until they were “fat enough” to kill for that Southern delicacy of chicken and dumplings. When Mamaw had to wring a chicken’s neck, remove its feathers, and harvest parts deemed suitable for consumption I beat a hasty retreat. At the time I groused that I couldn’t watch because the work was “gross.” Now I wonder if I was too sensitive to witness the ending of a life and protected myself from the horrors of death by removing myself from the scene of the slaughter. When Mamaw made chicken and dumplings for Sunday dinners I tried to not think too much about where the chickens had come from. I was disconnected from the source of my meat.

Years later I was forced to make that connection. Papaw and many of the men in my family were and are active hunters who regularly “bag” a buck or few. Meat is always processed and parceled out to any family member who wants venison. For years I adored venison; the sweet, gamy, pure, lean taste greatly appealed to me. It was the exception to my take it or leave it approach to meat. Eating venison was almost orgasmic. Never mind the cuteness of Bambi. I loved my venison chops, steak, sausage, burgers, and chili. I often saw deer my family had slain; they were displayed while points on antlers were counted and hunter(s) congratulated. I never really thought about how those deer had felt as they pirouetted and pranced until their lives were cut down with a crossbow.

My apathy and appetite shifted when I was confronted with the visceral, textural proof of a life cut down. Mamaw was cooking dinner on a typical summer day, and I was helping her. When she asked me to handle the venison burgers I reluctantly agreed. When the tender, cool meat touched my palm something shifted in me. Handling the bloody venison awakened something in me. I saw the deer’s life and death. Images of a buck protecting, feeding, and loving his family were juxtaposed with him running, shrieking, and taking his last breaths. My vision startled me. I sobbed, nearly fainted, and vowed to become vegetarian on the spot because I couldn’t be part of and live through his death.

My family was understandably startled, amused, and confused by my reaction. I didn’t tell them I had connected to the buck’s spirit on such a profound level. They chalked my reaction up to typical teenage weirdness and teased me. Being a vegetarian in meat and potatoes country was definitely a novelty. They didn’t think I would last a week. My initial dalliance with vegetarianism lasted for well over two years and took me throughout much of high school. It was the impetus behind my refusing to dissect animals in anatomy. At that time I didn’t know anything about factory farms or how to balance my diet and cook delicious, nutritious vegetarian meals. Considering what I was up against lasting as long as I did was quite a feat. Years later I permanently recommitted to vegetarianism and eventually transitioned to veganism, and I can thank that fallen deer from my youth for being the light that illuminated the darkness.

 

Guest Blogger: Rachel in Veganland – Not Skinny

15 Feb

It always makes me happy to see another lover of Alice in Wonderland. Everyone, please meet Rachel, she is the author of Rachel in Veganlnd and this is her first guest blog post. Here’s a bit about her: Rachel Fesperman is a vintage loving crazy cat lady living in the High Country of North Carolina. Her blog, Rachel in Veganland is just over a year old and chock full of (vegan) food, photos, and antics that range from rants on food politics to the adventures of Beans the Wonder Rabbit. You can follow Rachel’s posts through email, and find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Welcome Rachel!

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Lately, I’ve been feeling frustrated with the emphasis on weight loss, skinniness, and veganism as health craze. For me, my veganism has always been multi-factorial. Here on Veganland I’ve taken a pretty bold stance on animal rights, that has left little if any wiggle room for my reasons for this lifestyle. This is why I find the health fad surrounding veganism to be so incredibly frustrating.

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No, I don’t eat refined sugars, fats, or carbs. Yes, I do include alcoholic beverages in my lifestyle, as long as they are cruelty free. I do salt (some of) my foods during preparation, but rarely at the table. Of course I am concerned with health, but I’m not monitoring my food intake rigorously. I choose the foods that are best for me and Maddie, and I don’t pick anything that I wouldn’t give a scrap or two (or three) of to Beans the Wonder Rabbit.

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Processed foods tend to have complications that far succeed health. These foods are often very cheap, and if something is low in cost, it means that someone somewhere is bearing the brunt of that cheapness, usually animals, and workers both in the food processing/packaging industry as well as in the farming/growing industry. So why isn’t this our focus? Why aren’t basic safety, wellness, and (human/animal) rights at the center of our discourse? Why are we so compulsively attached to this health-based obsession centered on skinny=healthy=better?

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While I am happy that people choose to go vegan, and am glad to see more and more people adopting a cruelty free lifestyle, I’m frustrated that our vegan community (especially the blogosphere) seems to focus almost solely on the healthy foods/lifestyle side of things. I’m glad that people will eat Daiya over cheese, broccoli nuggets over chicken, but I’d like to see our focus shift from counting calories and eliminating saturated fats to the exploitation of the beings who have to give us those lipids in the first place. I am glad to see healthy vegans, I am inspired by healthy vegans, but I am more inspired by a healthy vegan who has a healthy outlook rather than waistline. I fear that Naomi Woolf’s fabled “Beauty Myth” and our distinctly Western cult of thinness control the vegan psyche.

When you become vegan, you change your relationship to food. Well, now it’s time to change it again.

I am not a “skinny” vegan. I am a happy, healthy vegan not just in form but in mind and spirit. I care about issues far greater than my own body and health, though I know that the intersectionality of veganism and human health is not solely coincidental.

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What kind of an example are we setting for the people who read our vegan based literature and for our (vegan) children? If we are compulsively healthy, won’t they be too? What kind of self-esteem does this build, for adults and children alike? Unfortunately the health-centric world leaves a lot to be desired, and often readers and others who watch from the wings might feel that they come up short.

I believe this dominant healthy obsession over the vegan blogosphere continues and upholds the fixation on women’s bodies. It is an obsession that enforces smallness and being tiny, slapped with the label “healthy.” Such a paradigm forces thousands of women to struggle with their relationship to food. I believe that our (vegan) blogosphere should focus on abundance not deprivation.

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I invite you to comment, and if you’re a blogger I invite you to (re) blog about this issue. Please add to the discussion by sharing your thoughts, ideas, and responses via Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere.

Guest Blogger: RedGlitterX – Easy Chocolate Ice-cream – Vegan (recipe)

9 Jan

Always lovely to have people come back to the VBU! family. One such bloggers is RedGlitterX. From Australia, here she is in her own words, “With degree in theology and feminism, am also a Ordained Clergy Person, I have a strong social justice and civil rights ethic. The fight for animal rights is one of the more important, how we treat animals is a reflection on ourselves.” Her first post with VBU! was about the different names we give foods around the world. Her second post was a Decadent Triple Chocolate Cake recipe and her third, a dinner menu from the last trip of the Titanic, her fourth, post was about what Veganism is. For her latest post she is back with a lovely dessert recipe. Find her blog here: Vegan Animal Liberation Alliance. Follow her on Twitter as well. Welcome back Red Glitter X!

Easy Chocolate Ice-cream – Vegan (recipe)
Easy to make and even easier to eat. This chocolate ice-cream is a good substitute for those who miss it, or just want something that they can make at home to avoid the commercial products (which require a science degree to understand the ingredients list).

This recipe does not require an ice-cream machine. All measurements are rough-guides, adjust for taste.


This chocolate ice-cream stays smooth when frozen, does not form ice-crystals, and if left in a serving bowl too long melts into a tasty chocolate milk drink

Equipment:
Medium sized saucepan
Tablespoon – for measuring
Spoon – for stirring
Freezer-safe container with a lid
Grater (optional)
Measuring jug (optional)

Ingredients:
4 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar (or char free sugar of choice)
2 heaped tablespoons of corn flour
pinch of salt
pinch of spice, eg. cinnamon, nutmeg
100 grams of grated chocolate (chocolate bar style chocolate)
conversion: 100 grams = 3.5274 ounces
about 3/4 of a litre / quart Milk of your choice (eg, almond, soy, rice)
conversion: 1 litre = 1.05669 US quart

Method:
Add some of the milk to the saucepan, heat over a very low heat

In the same bowl that ice-cream will be made in, mix the cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn flour, salt, spice

Add cocoa mixture to the slowly heating milk, mix well to remove any lumps

Chocolate milk mixture will start to thicken, stir well so it does not burn on the bottom

Add rest of the milk

Add the chocolate, grated or choc-chip sized to the milk, keep stirring. Do Not let the chocolate burn

When chocolate is melted, transfer to a freezable container.

Freeze, this will take a few hours

Variations:
add cherries to give it a hint at Black Forest flavour
add alcohol-soaked raisins for a more adult variety
add chopped banana and flaked almonds
grated chocolate for choc-chip chocolate ice-cream

Guest Blogger: Carrie on Vegan – Photo Food Journal & Vegan Delish Giveaway

21 Dec

Our newest VBU! contributor is Carrie Forrest, author of Carrie on Vegan. Here she is in her own words,”I am a graduate student in public health nutrition and I write about my recipes and adventures in healthy, plant-based living. I recently released an app for iPhones and iPads called Vegan Delish that features 60 simple, vegan recipes with all kinds of cool features like a digital shopping list and social media sharing options.” Carrie is the first contributor to have an app – how cool is that? Love how everyone is so creative and inventive. Keep in touch with Carrie on Vegan through: Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feed. Also check out Carrie’s app Vegan Delish: iTunes Preview page, website, and Facebook page. Please welcome Carrie!

Good morning and happy “What I Ate Wednesday“! Today I’ll be showing a picture of everything that I ate yesterday. It is always an interesting exercise to document everything I eat in a day, plus I hope you find it helpful in some way.

Breakfast was some leftover green smoothie with some buckwheat groats and almonds on top:

Leftover green smoothie with buckwheat groats and almonds.

I went for a hike in Palm Springs around 9 a.m. Despite cloudy skies, I thought the mountains were so pretty:

Cloudy skies in the desert.

Alan and I hiked further than we have ever gone before:

Carrie on a hike.

We then went to Costco to try and beat the holiday rush, but it was still craziness. I stocked up on all kinds of fresh fruit, frozen fruit, frozen edamame, etc. It was a huge load:

Attention Costco shoppers...

After all of that, lunch was much appreciated. I make a big romaine and vegetable salad with my Wild Blueberry Zinger Dressing, edamame and mandarin oranges for dessert:

Big lunch salad with edamame and oranges.

Here’s a closer view of the salad:

Lunch salad with peppers and broccoli.

Yesterday afternoon was spent catching up on work and doing a few errands. I decided to try using the pressure cooker again after my successful experience last Saturday night. This time, I just used brussels sprouts, collard greens, mushrooms, onions and water:

Ingredients for pressure cooker.

I checked with Jill Nussinow’s fantastic book, The New Fast Food, for the cooking times on the sprouts and the greens (don’t forget to enter to win a free copy of the ebook here!). I settled on a cooking time of two minutes for everything and I estimated about a cup of water. I added it all to the pot:

Sprouts, mushrooms, onions and water in the pressure cooker.

The chopped collards went on top:

Collard greens in the pressure cooker.

I locked on the lid, set the timer to two minutes on high pressure, and sat back and hoped it would turn out okay. I figured the worst that could happen would that the sprouts would be undercooked:

Fingers crossed that this works!

While I waited, I also made a really easy cream sauce for the veggies. After all, who wants to eat plain steamed greens? To make my typical cashew cream sauce less fattening, I substituted garbanzo beans for half the nuts in this recipe. I was so pleased with the results, the sauce was still very, very creamy and flavorful:

Cashew & Bean Sauce.

Here’s the recipe:

[print_this]

Cashew & Bean Sauce

6 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons dried onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon dried mustard

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth.

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I used the quick-release setting on the PC when it was done and here’s what it looked like:

Cooked veggies in the pressure cooker.

I was so happy that everything was cooked to perfection! It’s not exactly a beautiful dish, but here’s what the final product looked like:

Veggies with sauce.

I’m telling you, this was a hit and I’ll be making the same exact thing tonight for dinner.

For dessert last night, I made a version of my Chocolate Cherry Bomb that I’ll be posting in ice cream form on Friday. It was so decadent and yummy:

Cherry Smoothie.

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this photo food journal.

To wrap up today’s post, I’m doing another giveaway of my recipe app Vegan Delish! I received 50 promo codes from Apple when we did our last update and I want to share them with you. If you already own Vegan Delish, you can still enter and you can give the code to one of your friends or family members. So, I’m giving the code to 50 readers selected at random who leave a comment on this post and who do any of the following things:

1. Tweet this message to your followers on Twitter “Check out Vegan Delish, the healthy #vegan recipe app for iPhones and iPads: http://bit.ly/TNOWnc.”

2. If you already own the app, leave a review on iTunes. Note: if you downloaded the app using a promo code, then Apple won’t let you leave a review.

3. Do something else to help me promote Vegan Delish, like tell your co-workers about it. Tell me what you did. I trust you.

You can do any or all of these things, just leave a separate comment telling me what you did. You have until Sunday, December 23rd, to enter.

Thank you for all of your support!!! I hope you have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you back here on Friday.

Guest Blogger: New Vegan Age – A perfect time to stop eating animals

20 Dec

Love when we have veteran posters come back! One such contributor is Tom of New Vegan Age. Please feel free to search the blog name on VBU! to read more posts from his lovely blog. Especially Kim Stahler’s post, featured on VBU!, caught a few people’s attention. Follow New Veagn Age on: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and of course the blog itself. Welcome back Tom!

Would you be able to kill an animal? If not, and you still eat meat, you’re not living in alignment with your values.

 
I know, I know. People sometimes say, “Animals kill and eat each other. We’re no different.”
 

Well, as one of my heroes, Harvey Diamond, first pointed out to me in his brilliant Fit For Life books, could you kill an animal yourself? Could you do what other animals do—chase it down, strangle or smother it, tear it apart with your bare hands, and swallow it raw?

 
This deliciously-seasoned, nutritious,
colorful holiday stuffing is but one of
thousands of delicious recipes that
prove giving up meat isn’t a sacrifice.
If you react to this question with disgust—and couldn’t or wouldn’t yourself actually go through with killing a living being—you’re already a vegetarian in belief, if not yet practice. In addition to the growing number of health and environmental reasons to turn exclusively to plants for nutrition, many vegans and and vegetarians stop eating animals because they would not ask someone else to do for them what they themselves would not do.
 
“I would not kill a creature,” said another of my heroes, Peace Pilgrim. “And I would not ask someone else to kill it for me, so I will not eat the flesh of the creature.”
 
Other signs that you might “already” be a vegetarian or vegan include:
  • You find the sight—or even idea—of a butchered animal or slaughterhouse unsettling.
  • You sometimes sense a “vague uneasiness” when you buy, order, or eat animal products.
  • You sometimes feel like you’re not living in alignment with your “true self.”
After Thanksgiving 1997, I realized I no longer wanted to have others kill animals on my behalf, and I declared that holiday the last time I’d ever eat turkey. A month later, I made Christmas the last time I’d ever eat ham. That New Year’s Day’s became a natural time to celebrate the “good luck” tradition of pork and sauerkraut with the resolution to never eat animals again.
 
You know, the holidays are the perfect time to give yourself, the planet, and animals this gift. It’s already a time of reflection, of renewal, of gratitude, of introspection, of compassion, and, of course, of commitment. If the thought of killing your dog or cat—or any animal—gives you a lump in your throat and a knot in your stomach, you’re already a vegetarian in belief, and you’re ready to take this exciting next step.
 
Best of all, there’s no sacrifice at all in being vegetarian or vegan, only the rewards of a rich variety in food, improved health, and a much lighter spirit.

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 La Raza – ¡Vegan La Revolucion!

20 Nov

Today on VBU! we have a brand new contributor who is excited to celebrate her one year of veganism. She was kind enough to give VBU! the Sunshine Award. Please meet Karla of Vegan La Raza. “My name is Karla. I am Mexicana/Salvadoreña and have been a vegan since October 2011. I started this blog to look at my identities as a woman, a person of color-specifically a Latina, and a vegan. Because of these identities I have experienced oppression in many ways during my lifetime. As someone who carries a history of injustice and violence, I choose not to perpetuate violence and exploitation towards other living beings, including human and non-human animals. Something has to change. I want to be part of that change.” We can all agree with Karla’s sentiments. Click here to find her blog and here for her Facebook account. Please welcome Karla!

¡Vegan La Revolucion!

A revolution is the overthrow of an oppressive system and replacing it with a more just, humane one.

I started this blog as a result of the cultural push back I experienced when I became a vegetarian and later a vegan. Compassionate eating felt like swimming against the current— I was made to feel like I was working against something bigger than myself.

Meat has been a part of my identity since I was an embryo and it played a central role in the happiest moments of my life through celebrations and traditions.

I was deeply moved and committed to el movimiento when I was in college and loved learning the “other history”, the non-white history of Los Angeles. I looked forward to spending the month of December at La Placita Olvera, not because I was a devout Catholic, but rather because I loved being around la raza, mi gente. I didn’t question the irony of animals being blessed in the center of the church plaza while everyone else devoured beef tacos.

Birria (goat meat) was the thing to eat at bautizos and weddings. Sometimes, I heard friends would go to church for a baptism, then to celebrate would kill a goat in the backyard and the party-goers would eat it. And yes, this all happened in Los Angeles. It’s hard to understand why learning about an animal being killed in a backyard would make a person cringe. How is that animal different from the thousands of animals being slaughtered everyday? Different from the hundreds of animals dying as I type this sentence?

Vegan La Raza was intended to be an outlet to express my experiences as a Latina vegan in a culture of meat. I’ve continually justified meat eating as a culturally Latin@ thing. Gandhi believed in leading by example not by preaching or ranting. I have successfully done that, but the other day, I was having lunch with a group of vegetarians and for once did not feel censored. This awareness made me realize that eating meat and using it as an excuse that “it’s embedded in Latin@ culture” is a weak and dismissive attitude lacking analysis.

Meat plays a central role in a patriarchal culture that objectifies and dehumanizes women by reducing our bodies to meat. Being a man consists of eating a chicken wing while being served by a woman with teeny orange shorts and a shirt that says, ‘Hooters’. Should the historical and cultural connection between men and meat continue to uphold patriarchy in our society?

World hunger could be addressed if the grains given to nonhuman animals were given to humans. Instead, we (all who exist within this system) choose to give clean water and food to animals who are waiting to be tortured and slaughtered. Should world hunger continue exist because we cannot go a day without eating a slice of bacon?

Deforestation in order to produce grazing land is a major environmental problem. So to all the “environmentalists” out there, planting a tree or starting a community garden is worthless unless we are working collectively to keep corporations from destroying natural resources to profit from factory farming.

Animals are killed by the millions in order to make money. Quality, regulation, life, workers, and the environment are irrelevant—profit is everything!

So, when people of any culture choose to uphold death and consumption in order to justify or cleanse their conscience, I hope they think twice about everything else the dead flesh they are putting in their mouth stands for — herstories and histories of oppression, death, exploitation, and capitalism.

It’s time to become conscious, empowered beings. If humans are considered (self-proclaimed) the brightest animals on earth, let’s take a step forward, put defeatist attitudes of self-control behind us and overthrow dominant cultures.

¡Vegan La Revolucion!

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