Tag Archives: kind life

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.
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Guest Blogger: Veggietorials – Kalbi Style Baked Tofu + Pajeon {Scallion Pancake}

12 Sep

Please welcome back the lovely Pacific Islander Kobi and her blog Veggietorials, which is full of beautiful and tasty recipes. I can’t get over how pretty her pictures are and how perfect the lighting is in her photos. You can see her previous contribution to VBU! here, it was a very pretty Cucumber Wakame salad. Do check out her out on all channels: Veggietorials, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube. Welcome back Cobi!

So this is how my crazy train of thought arrived at this recipe: I read an article about a photographer that was recreating death row prisoners “last meals”.Which then prompted me to think about what I would want as my final meal. And the no-brainer answer is Kalbi. My K-peeps understand that Kalbi (Korean BBQ) is a taste that’s hard to give up. For me, it’s more about the marinade and less about the meat. Heck, everything will taste better after a swim in this marinade. It’s the perfect balance of savory-salty-sweet. I used the Hey Shuga organic cane syrup and really liked the flavor. Sometimes I blend in some grated Korean pear, but a lot of times I don’t have it and the marinade tastes just as amazing without it.

  • Perfect for portobellas before you pan fry or throw them on the grill
  • Use a reduced sodium soy sauce for the Kalbi marinade and try it on seitan
  • Marinate tempeh overnight and pan fry

The baked tofu will have a deep flavor and chewy texture. I like to slice the baked tofu thin for banh mi style sandwiches. For salads and stir fries, I prefer the tofu cubed up. And for a quick dinner, I enjoy a Kalbi tofu “steak” with pajeon, kimchi, rice and a salad.

Pajeon (Scallion Pancake) is a savory side dish that looks fancy shmancy but is quite easy to make. I use scallions, green onions, chives or other seasonal veggies from my garden. Dip pajeon into kochoojang sauce for a little heat and a spicy kick. This Pajeon recipe was adapted from Maangchi, the internet demi god of Korean cooking. I was surprised that her original recipe was actually vegan♡. When I tried it without the Vegg and baking soda, my pancake was a globby mess even though I used a non-stick pan. The results were perfect once I added baking soda and The Vegg – Vegan Egg Yolk gave it the flavor of the pajeon my grandma used to make.

Kalbi Style Vegan Baked Tofu & Pajeon {Scallion Pancake}

by Veggietorials

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: bake fry entree side sandwich snack appetizer dairy free nut-free vegan vegetarian tofu Meatless Monday Korean

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Ingredients (4 servings)

For the Baked Tofu

  • 1 block firm or extra firm organic tofu,pressed
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons organic liquid cane sugar syrup or agave nectar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger,minced
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • optional-half Korean pear, grated. When using the pear, place all marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

For the scallion pancake

  • 15 thin green onions, cut into 5 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 2 tablespoons The Vegg,pre mixed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

For the Tofu

Drain tofu.Remove excess water with a tofu press or wrap the block of tofu between two kitchen towels and place heavy books on top for about 20 minutes. Slice the tofu block in half so that each piece is about 1 inch thick. This process will allow the marinade to be easily absorbed.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning and add black pepper to taste. Place the tofu in a rimmed dish and pour the marinade on top. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tofu in the middle of the sheet and bake for one hour total. Flip the tofu over after 30 minutes to cook and brown evenly. Remove from oven and cool slightly before slicing.

For the scallion pancake

Mix together all the pancake ingredients (except the oil and green onions) to create the batter. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over high heat and place half of the scallions in even layer in the pan. Pour just enough batter over the scallions to cover them. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes, until the edges start to form bubbles. Flip the pancake, reduce heat to medium high and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Repeat to make another pancake. Serve with kochoojang sauce if you like it spicy.

Please watch the video to master the technique.

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Guest Blogger: Jason and the Veganauts – Gateway Compassion

1 Aug

Please welcome back one of our early contributors to VBU! Jason, who has changed his blog name from Watch me lose 150lbs to Jason and the Veganauts. Here are Jason’s first, second and third post with VBU!; they have been incredibly forthright and welcomed. You can like his Facebook page here. Welcome back Jason!

Compassion for animals and even other humans is looked upon with scorn by some segments of the population. I believe this is in some part due to the meat industry and their influence in our society. It is a sad fact that Big Meat makes more money when they raise and kill more animals (OK, I’ll need a better ominous name for the meat industry- that seems like a frat brother’s nickname).

When an industry’s profit margin is a result how cheaply it can support and then end life, there are bound to be some ghastly results. However, since the PETA warriors handle all of the shock and awe tactics, I will refrain from the nauseating images and stories and let you mull that over on your own time. Instead, allow me to reflect on my own transformation and at the same try to answer a question Sheree asked.

If you have not noticed it before, there is a comment section at the end of each blog post here. I derive an enormous amount of strength from the supportive comments that a lot of the regular readers leave. I was comforted during the cravings in the beginning, I was educated on my newbie mistakes, and more recently, I was supported during a weight loss plateau. There are some who comment once every few months and others who are more consistently visible, but they all keep me from feeling like I am shouting into the void.

Sheree is one of the regulars. She is a kind, caring vegan who found her way to animal-free living years ago. She has been very upbeat and supportive throughout my nine months of being a veganaut. During the previous post’s discussion, she asked a great question about the catalyst for my change from plant-based dieter to compassionate vegan. She agrees that anyone giving up meat for any reason is a benefit to animal welfare in general, but was specifically curious about my own inner change… and I am NOT going to pass up an opportunity to talk about myself.

Rather than retelling the whole story of my dysfunctional relationship with food, I’ll summarize by saying, I was messed up. It would be fun to try and blame other people but I used my hands and my money to buy bad things to put into my body. It’s hard to shift that kind of blame off of myself.

After soul searching and researching, I came to the conclusion that a plant-based diet would be the healthiest way to reclaim a few of the decades I’d tried to steal from the end of my life. This is a selfish reason to give up meat and dairy and eggs, but I didn’t hear any animals complaining about my choice. The Earth was pleased with the decision as well, but I was not really worried about how a planet felt when chest pains were forcing me to my knees.

During the first few weeks, while the cravings were running their course, I was completely focused on how much better I felt and how relived I was that a simple change in diet could effect how I feel so drastically. I was really enjoying the payoff of the health benefits I changed for. However, it was during this time that my motivation began to morph.

For meat eaters to enjoy bacon in the morning they have to do a lot of compartmentalizing. They have to take the movie Babe and stick it in a mental jail cell that isn’t visited during breakfast. They need to take what they know about the intelligence of their pets versus the intelligence of brilliant pigs and lock that up in another mental jail cell until the bacon is done sizzling. They are forced to repress all of the images of the inhumane living and dying conditions that animals are forced to endure so that we can eat them.

I know what I am talking about here- I ate pork by the handful, beef with reckless abandon, and whole chickens at a time. Meal time was NOT a time to release all of the truths that I had in lock-down. It was the time to pretend that meat comes from a grocery store and not a factory farm. I was never ignorant about the meat industry, I was simply in denial.

An amazing thing happened as the meat-free weeks passed. Every day that passed was another day when I didn’t have to lie to myself. I didn’t need to pretend that meat isn’t a product of another creatures death. I was able to let the truths out of their mental jail cells for longer and longer walks around the yard. Eventually, these truths were allowed to have conjugal visits and that is when they began to multiply.

Compartmentalizing is a great way to cope with conflicting beliefs and overwhelming trauma. It is also a very effective tool for lying to ourselves. Unfortunately, just because we can hide certain truths when they become inconvenient does not make them disappear. It just makes us live our lives in way that is contrary to our actual belief system.

Plant-based dieting may be a selfish reason to give up meat, dairy and eggs- but it is a gateway to compassion. Celebrate this seemingly selfish motive in others because it is the first step in removing their blinders so they can live an honest and compassionate life.

A closing note to you lurkers who read silently but regularly. I see your visits on my view counter and even without you saying a word I am grateful for your presence. It is easy to imagine you all walking with me as I stroll past McDonald’s and through the meat department at my own grocery store. Your silent reminders make it easy for me to walk confidently away from my old life and comfortably into the new one I share with you here. Gratsi.

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: Vegan La Raza – New Vegans Are like Vampires

1 Jun

Being a vegan has its challenges for sure, here’s a post from Karla, author of blog Vegan La Raza. Here she is in her own words, “I am Mexicana/Salvadoreña and have been a vegan since October 2011. I started this blog because I want 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, shapes, and forms 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 nonhuman animals. Something has to change and it will begin with me.”

Well said Karla! Please enjoy!

The other day I was taking a shower and began to crave cheese. That’s the thing about being a new vegan, the cravings for certain foods are still there. While I am completely disgusted by the flesh of dead animals, I do crave some dairy products – mostly cheese.

I remember the first time going vegan crossed my mind. I was sitting on my couch reading an article about cows being raped in order to become pregnant and produce milk. I was horrified! I immediately glanced at my fridge and pictured the yellow block of cheddar cheese sitting inside. Calculating the number of things I would no longer be able to eat gave me a headache, so I put down the article and made myself a quesadilla.

I began to read as much as I could about animal rights. Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz and The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams were two book that helped me understand more about the subject and really pushed me to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Adams discusses the objectification of women and animals in a male-meat centered culture, while Eisnitz describes the experiences of animals and workers in slaughterhouses.

A few weeks after reading these books, I adopted a vegan lifestyle. It’s important to understand that animals do die as a result of dairy and egg production. Male calves are sent to be killed and sold as ‘veal’ and male chicks are ground up alive. Males are of little use in an industry that exploits females while they’re alive and benefit from their dead flesh once they’re too ‘used up’ to birth babies or lay eggs.

Still, I was in the shower a few weeks ago craving cheese. Sometimes, I imagine how it would feel to buy a bag of hot cheetos and munch away in my apartment. Only I would know, I’d satisfy a craving and go on living a ‘vegan’ lifestyle.

Then, a thought crossed my mind, ‘Wow…being a vegan is like a being a vampire with a soul’ – a vampire like Buffy’s Angel or Sookie’s Bill from True Blood. These vampires crave human blood, but they know it is wrong to bite and drain a human being just to satisfy their desires. These vampires resist their cravings and opt to have another blood source. In True Blood, they drink synthetic blood, packaged in bottles called Tru Blood.

This describes how I feel. I do crave certain dairy products, and sometimes the taste of a boiled egg. Then, I think about a calf being taken away from her/his mother and the mother crying, missing her baby. I think of baby chicks being ground up alive only to end up in cat and/or dog food, of chickens living in confined cages, debeaked and stacked on top of each other laying eggs until they’re sent off for slaughter.

Maybe the cravings will one day go away. Sometimes they’re stronger than others. I hope I am always strong enough to curve them and pick up a compassionate food choice.

Guest Blogger: Vegan Monologue – Fruit and Nut Muffins

29 May

Our newest addition to the VBU family, is Siobhán Griffin-Lloyd, she is the author of Vegan Monologue. Here she is in her own words, “I’m 29, I work in the mental health field in FL. Married to a Buddhist. Vegetarian since birth and vegan since 2004.” Please welcome Siobhán!

These muffins cost me $5.00 for the nuts and brown sugar. Scraped everything else together. Made 12.

Vegan muffins are easy to spot in the store because they are flat as a pancake on top. But they don’t have to be. A great baking trick I use solves this problem: heat oven 50 degrees hotter than what the recipe calls for. Put muffins in oven for 10 minutes at that higher setting until they form high “domes”. Then reduce heat to the proper setting and bake according to directions. This recipe uses a tomato juice to increase acidity for baking strength and to add color, but these turn out fine without it.

(makes 12 regular-sized muffins)

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice or blended vegetable juice (e.g., V8) (use soymilk if you don’t have this)

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease and flour the wells of a muffin pan, or line the pan with paper liners, and grease the liners. (To use my dome secret, preheat at 450, then put muffins in until domed, then reduce to 400 and continue.)

2) Whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the cranberries and nuts. (Save some for the tops!)

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, vegetable oil, and tomato juice (or soymilk).

4) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; don’t over-mix, stir just until everything is moistened.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly full. A level (to slightly heaped) muffin scoop of batter for each muffin works well here.

6) Sprinkle the tops with the reserved cranberries and nuts.

7) Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until they’re lightly browned around the edges.

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.