Tag Archives: vegan blog

Guest Blogger: Carrot Top Vegan

4 Apr

Please welcome first time guest blogger, Farrah Pileggi, aka Carrot Top Vegan. Farrah started a food blog to record her journey through veganism. A newbie vegan, she loves exploring the culinary world of compassionate cooking and inspiring others to join her in the vegan lifestyle. Follow Farrah on Twitter here.

I am the foodie who gasps over the beauty of a display of Roma tomatoes at the grocery store. Many of you know, I find the art of produce inspiring. So when I found these gorgeous collard greens, I knew I had to stuff em’ with something good!

My step-daughter was a super assistant today!

After our trip to Williamsburg, I was craving some good BBQ flavor. Always on the hunt for the best BBQ sauce I decided to try making my own.  In the words of hubs it was, “WOW!” Thick and sweet with a hint of vinegar and spice, he was eating it out of the bowl. Dinner was divine tonight!

BBQ Quinoa Stuffed Collards, Cheesy Corn Pudding, Sweet Potato Casserole

Carrot Top Vegan BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup onion, pureed

3 tbsp garlic, pureed

1/4 cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon

21/2 cups ketchup

6 oz can tomato paste

1/4 soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoke paprika

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp liquid smoke

1 tsp ground mustard

Instructions:

In a large sauce pan or large skillet with lid, cook onions, garlic, and bourbon over med-high heat for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisk until combined well. Cook for 5 minutes then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vegan BBQ Quinoa Stuffed Collard Greens

Ingredients:

1 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup garlic, minced

2 cups zucchini, diced

1 cup corn

1 cup lima beans

2 cups COOKED quinoa**

1 tsp salt

pinch of black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground mustard

1 cup plus extra bbq sauce (recipe above makes plenty)

10-12 large collard leaves, stems removed and steamed**

**Make sure you have cooked quinoa. I steamed the collard leaves for about 15-20 minutes to soften them up and make them pliable.

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Cook onions in a large skillet coated with cooking spray for about 10 mins. Add garlic, zucchini, corn, lima beans and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Add quinoa, spices and bbq sauce and mix well cooking for another 8 mins until everything is heated through.

3. Lay collard green on flat surface and stuff with about 1/2-3/4 cup of mixture depending on size of leaf.

4. Fold sides in, roll up and place package in 13×9 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Stuff all the leaves and put in pan. Top with bbq sauce. Cover pan with foil and put in oven and cook for 35 minutes.

Little packages of barbecue delight!

Stayed tuned…

…recipe for the cheesy corn pudding coming soon!

Guest Blogger: Typical Housecat – Vegan Nail Polish Guide

12 Mar

For all you nail polish lovers, you’re in luck, the post below is from Kristiina, the writer of vegan blog Typical Housecat. Here she is in her own words,”Just another girl who loves painting her nails and making stuff. I post a swatch of a different vegan-friendly nail polish every Monday for Mani-Monday. I also write about vegan fashion and DIY. Recently I decided to write out a short guide because I see so many questions on twitter about which brands are vegan and cruelty-free and it was easier to send a link to my nail polish page than to write a list every time. I update it regularly as I find brands so check back when you can, enjoy!” Please welcome Kristinia! If you are looking to write about similar topics, she is looking for a few good collaborators, please reach out to her on her blog.

{ Vegan Nail Polish Guide }

All nail polishes (not necessarily the entire brand) listed above are to the best of my knowledge cruelty-free with vegan-friendly ingredients but I have not read the ingredients of every single color they make, if you notice a color that is not vegan please let me know so that I can update this lil guide. I did not include OPI because they are owned by Coty (huge animal-tester) now. Essie is owned by L’oreal, another huge animal-tester. If I’ve missed any just let me know. There are a couple I’m waiting to post until I figure out if they are 3 free or not.

To see swatches of colors I’ve tried click here.

* These brands are 3 free.

Guest Blogger: Meszcomics

1 Mar

Vegan blogs come in all forms and Lee, the creator of the character Sin-Cat, has contributed a post. The vegan comic strips (his blog) exists to promote his comics which in turn exist to promote Animal Rights veganism, gay rights, feminism and lots of other anti-prejudice rants. Check out the Adventures of Sin-Cat here: http://www.milliondollaryack.com/meszcomics/sin-cat/  Please welcome Lee!

Hunting Season is upon us in the UK. This Is a baaaaddd thing. Jemima from Riot Grrrls With Jetpacks gets involved. Sin-Cat likes Ferns.

RGWJPJemima

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This week Sin-Cat meets a sort of skull headed voodoo woman that plays pool and grants wishes. Sin-Cat likes a pool hall. He likes to drink bourbon, talk gangsta, and crack onto any men that catch his cat glance. He also finds that the pipe cleaning fluid is often poorly guarded and he can brew it up into a ganky mess that he can swap for meth fueled dubstep mp3s.

Evil Pool Girl Boxer Punch

Meanwhile in the inexplicable Meszcomics multiverse, if you have been keeping up to date with Sin-Cat’s twitter feed you would know that he has recently married Shane McGowan. And is being menaced by Shadows.

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Guest Blogger: An Unrefined Vegan

29 Feb

Our newest guest blogger is Annie, writer of, An Unrefined Vegan. Below is her post titled The Vegan Option. 

About Annie in her own words: “I’m an avid home cook and baker; on-again off-again artist; slow but dedicated runner; health nut; aspiring yogini; devourer of crossword puzzles; blogger and animal lover who has settled in rural Oklahoma after living all over the world.  Fast Food Nation convinced me to become a vegetarian over seven years ago and The China Study nudged me into veganism – a truly wonderful place to be.”

New Yorker Cartoon

From the February 13 & 20, 2012 edition of The New Yorker

In November 2011, I published an article on Technorati called Misguided Eating: The Nose to Toes Food Trend, which promptly sank into oblivion.  But I’m not finished with the topic.  And that’s because what inspired the Technorati article continues to inspire me: our fascination with meat.  This time around my inspiration comes from a local (and I mean, a very local) paper.  The kind of paper that has lots of photos of junior high sporting events and interviews with 95-year old veterans celebrating birthdays at the retirement home.  Don’t forget the crime reports of petty thefts and break-ins.  There’s all kinds of interesting information to be gleaned from small town newspapers.  For instance:

A few days ago while I was preparing lunch, Kel was entertaining me by reading aloud from the newspaper.  He came across the meals menu for the local school area and he knew I’d get a kick (i.e., my blood pressure would soar) out of it.  Sample Breakfast items included: cinnamon roll, strudel, a variety of (dairy) milks, breakfast pizza, sausage.  Sample Lunch items included: breaded fish, Frito pie, beef stew, cheeseburger, grilled cheese, cheese sticks.  Two things struck me: the menu has changed little from when I was in school; and it is still spectacularly unhealthy – heavy on meat and cheese, sugar, refined grains and oily, fried foods.  Even the vegetable items are cooked with meat (lima beans and ham, for instance) or battered and fried.  Each day there is the “main” menu item and an alternative.  Maybe something for the non-meat eaters?  No.  The alternatives are as wretched as the main items.  Couldn’t schools at the minimum provide a few healthy alternatives?  How about, for instance, a vegan option?

What we are very successfully doing is raising the next generation to eat as poorly as we now do, to place animal products at the center of their diets and to learn to tolerate vegetables only if they are fried in fat or cooked with meat.  We are grooming our children for a litany of health problems (some of these kids already have Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) long before they reach middle age.  They will become, like us, dependent on pills to “manage” their entirely diet-controllable diseases.  We are teaching them to view vegetables as side dishes and animals as products.  We are encouraging them to be ignorant of the origins of their food and to be senseless to the pain and suffering from which their chicken nuggets and hamburgers are produced.  It’s unnecessary, willfully ignorant and short-sighted.  And PS: We can easily figure out which industries are subsidizing the school lunch programs.  Money is more important than health and ethics.  The following excerpt is from the March edition of the Nutrition Action Health Letter:

School Meals.  In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed long-overdue improvements to subsidized school meals, requiring less salt, fewer fries, and more fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

That spelled bad news for sellers of pizzas, fries, Tater Tots, and the like.  So they quickly got their pals in Congress not only to block the USDA’s plan to limit how often kids could be served potatoes, but to classify pizza as a vegetable.  (Isn’t it amazing what a shmear of tomato sauce can do?)

Despite a roar of outrage from the media, members of Congress once again sided with their campaign contributors.

The question is: why do we as a nation remain so short-sighted?  Is the overwhelming evidence for adopting a plant-based diet over an animal-based diet not enough? I haven’t even touched on the environmental impact of “food” animals – nor the horror of the miserable lives and senseless deaths of these same animals.

I am not one to advocate that the government dictate what or how we should eat – they’ve spectacularly botched the job thus far and frankly, the less government intrusion in my life, the better.  And I believe strongly in personal responsibility.  But since they have claimed the job of feeding our children while those children are in school, shouldn’t our government do so more responsibly – with the goal of raising healthy, strong, informed citizens?  We are an educated nation.  We have an infinite amount of health information at our fingertips.  There is no excuse to continue to eat the way that we do – to continue to compromise our health and the health of those too young to understand how the food they eat affects their growing bodies.  We must do everything we can from inside the home and within the community.  Children must be raised to respect not only their bodies, but to respect the lives and bodies of those that lack the voices and means to speak for themselves.  Start in your own home.  Vote with your shopping list – and send your kid to school with a healthy, cruelty-free lunch.

Guest Blogger: Little Things Big Things – Mock Meat Loaf Recipe

11 Nov

More than happy to welcome back a previous guest blogger Elysha, writer of Little Things Big Things.

I am going through a mock meat craze at the moment. I think I am trying to hold on to the dregs of winter and indulge in comfort food while I still can. It won’t be long until it is too hot to eat let alone turn the oven on. Golly, I am getting hot flushes just thinking about it.

So while there is still the remnants of a chill I decided to make a meat loaf. You know, minus the meat. I served it with a side of truffle oil fries. Not the healthiest side but certainly the yummiest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this you will need:
4 slices bread
1 cup soy milk
bean curd sheets
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 onio, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 packet mock mince, I use Linda McCartney
“beef” stock, I use Massel
800g brown lentils
1 cup peas
100g spinach, finely chopped
1 cup carrot, grated
1 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 drops of liquid smoke (you don’t need this but it did add a nice flavour)
1 teaspoon chilli sauce
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
rosemary
thyme
salt and pepper, to season
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Soak the bread with the milk and leave it off to the side to soften.

Combine the soy sauce and BBQ sauce in a bowl and coat the bean curd sheets in the sauce. Leave it off to the side to marinate.


This is the brand of bean curd sheets that I used. I bought them from The Loving Hut and used about half the packet.

In a large fry pan cook the onion and garlic until the onion starts to soften.

Stir through the mock mince along with equal parts “beef” stock.

Once the mince has defrosted add in the lentils.

Along with the peas, spinach, one cup of tomato sauce, liquid smoke, chilli sauce and worcestershire sauce.

Once the mixture has cooked transfer it to a large bowl and leave to cool until you can pick the mixture up in you hands. Once it has cooled add in the milk soaked bread and give it all a squish around with your fingers until it combines.

Mix through some dried rosemary, thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper and cover the edges with the bean curd sheets. The edges are a bit tricky to keep up but once you get some mixture in there it will all stay together.

With the remaining soya/BBQ sauce mix add in the remaining tomato sauce along with the sugar and mix it together. Pour half of the sauce into the base of the loaf tin.

Pack the mince mix into the loaf tin making sure that the bean curd covers all of the edges. I left the sides and the top free though so that it crisped up a little. Pour the remaining soy/BBQ/tomato sauce mixture on the top of the loaf.

You might notice that I remembered about the carrot at this stage. Try to remember it before hand and preferably add it in when you stir through the peas but my way worked out anyway. It’s not like there was clumps of carrot in the center and none at the edges or anything. Nope.

Pop the Meaty Loaf into a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.

Once it is finished baking take it out of the oven and leave it in the tin for five minutes before turning it out onto a serving tray. It should *fingers crossed* all stay in shape.

Look at that crispy skin… yuuummm.

(On a side note, Kris hates when I call non-skin “skin”. What do you guys think?)

Serve the Meaty Loaf with a side of truffle fries.

Or a salad. If you are, you know, one of those… healthy people.

There was a little bit of left over meaty mixture so the next night I mixed the left overs with 400g of spinach and a cup of noosh and popped it into some puff pastry and turned it into little pasties for dinner.

Guest Blogger: High Raw Happiness

2 Nov

Blogger Steve Swann has been a vegetarian since the mid 70’s and on and off the Paul Bragg Toxicless Diet and Healing System since age 17. In his words, “honestly, mostly off but with regular periods of strict adherence to the program, usually lasting just a few months.”

Steve is married with three sons ages 16, 20, 24. He works in IT (computer) security and keeps fit by running, biking and generally just not sitting around a lot. Welcome Steve!

Steve at 5K

Summer 2009

This quick vegan chili is surprisingly good!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1 green (or red) pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno sliced and diced seeds and all
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or other natural salt
  • 1/2 +/- teaspoon cayenne pepper (instead of black pepper)
  • 2 zucchini halved lengthwise and then sliced thin (4mm) crosswise
  • 2 carrots sliced thin (3mm)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cans (19 ounces each) organic black beans, drained
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (use Mexican green chili tomato instead)
  • 1 package frozen corn kernels (or two ears cut off the cob)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 cups sliced okra
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Directions

1. In a 5-quart heavy pot heat oil over medium high heat and add the onion, green peppers, garlic, salt and cayenne. Stir for a few minutes until the onions start to melt (about 4 minutes).

2. Stir fry the tofu cubes with the tasty onions et al. It’ll be great if you can brown it a little.

3. Add zucchini, carrots, okra, chili powder, cumin and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Cook stirring occasionally until carrots are crisp tender (about 8 minutes). Add beans, tomatoes, corn and the remaining vegetable broth. Simmer until thickened and carrots are soft (about 30 minutes or half a day in a crock pot). If I’ve left out any ingredients, add them now!

My home away from home

Dr. Bronner's "Hippie Soap" is excellent for washing produce.

Gypsy Chili Ingredients

* I call it “Gypsy Chili” because the recipe was given to me by a beautiful young gypsy woman, who in turn had gotten it from a wise old woman (Martha Stewart).

Guest Blogger: Carrie on Vegan

28 Oct

Carrie Forrest is a graduate student in public health nutrition and the author of the blog Carrie on Vegan. Through her writings, step-by-step photo guides and recipes, Carrie inspires readers to prepare plant-based recipes that are 100% delicious. Carrie firmly believes that superior health is achievable through nutritional excellence and specializes in whole-food, simple recipes that are low in added fats, sugars and salt. Welcome Carrie!

I’m honored to review the new Rabbit Food Cookbook as part of the book’s “blog tour.” The cover of the book is adorable and inviting:

The book itself is really neat. It starts with a brief history of our food supply in the United States and includes interesting information such as how ice was cut from Northern lakes in the late 1700s to preserve food, since iceboxes and freezers weren’t yet invented. Also, it wasn’t until 1815 when the first cookstove was introduced into households. Up until that point, people were cooking on open fires in large fireplaces (I can’t even imagine how difficult that must have been).

The most charming part of this book is the fact that the author, Beth Barnett, did illustrations for each recipe. The illustrations are a clever substitute for traditional cookbook photos. Beth is obviously a very talented artist and I admire how much care went into this book. There is even a detailed section on how to make your own grocery and produce bags.

But, a cookbook isn’t actually worth much without good recipes, right? I read through a lot the recipes before selecting one to make. I was impressed by how comprehensive this cookbook is, with very tempting recipes from “Eggless French Toast” to “Crunchy Broccoli Salad” to “Tofu Pot Pie.” Given my love for Indian food, I chose to make the “Chana Masala” recipe.

The ingredient list is pretty short which also makes it a good fit for me, it only calls for: garbanzo beans, ginger, onion, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste and spices:

Making this recipe was a breeze. I heated up the oil, spices, garlic and ginger:

Added the onion, tomato paste and lemon juice:

Last, the garbanzo beans and liquid from the beans:

I simmered it for about 15 minutes and served it over rice (shown with a some steamed greens):

This dish was a wonderful example of how a quick recipe with few ingredients can taste much more complicated. The spices, of course, make all the difference. And, even though I normally don’t use oil in my cooking, the two tablespoons were spread out over at least six servings.

Here is the full recipe:

Chana Masala – printed with permission from Rabbit Food Cookbook

Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained, with liquid set aside (I recommend using no-salt added beans)

1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbs lemon juice

2-3 Tbs tomato paste

1/2 to 1 tsp salt, to taste (I left out the salt completely)

2 Tbs vegetable oil (you could use coconut oil if you prefer)

Spice list:

1 tap garam masala

2 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I recommend 1/8 tsp unless you really like spicy food)

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp amchur (supposedly available at an Asian grocery; I could not find it so I left it out)

Directions:

Heat oil with spices, ginger and garlic first. Then, add onion, tomato paste, lemon juice, and finally about 1 cup of leftover bean liquid. Allow to simmer briefly. Next, add the chickpeas and stir. Cook covered for about 20 minutes. When ready, the chickpeas will have soaked in the flavor of the sauce and will be tasty all the way through. Serve with rice. Garnish with fresh tomatoes and cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.

While this book isn’t exactly Fuhrman-friendly (it uses oils, salt and sugar), it is very inspiring and reasonably healthy. I plan to make more recipes from this book with the necessary modifications for my eating style.

Here’s the rest of the “tour dates” for this book if you want to check them out:

October 25—Cook Vegan Lover
October 26—Bake and Destroy
October 27—Carrie on Vegan
October 28—Vegancraftastic
October 29—Manifest Vegan
October 31—Vegansaurus

Click here if you want to order a copy of this book.

Wow, can you believe we are nearing the end of Vegan Mofo? I originally wanted to blog each weekday for a total of 20 posts this month, but it looks like I’m going to end up with about 14 or so. Not bad for my first year! For a listing of all my posts so far, click here.

Also, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a bottle of Ovega-3 DHA/EPA! There will be two winners randomly selected and the odds are pretty good right now. It is really easy to enter and the giveaway ends on Friday, October 28th. Enter here.

carrieonvegan@gmail.com
www.carrieonvegan.com
Twitter: @carrieonvegan

Guest Blogger: Jessivore

14 Oct

I went to high school with Jessica and oddly enough we were in the same college program, just one year apart. I was so glad to find her on Facebook and see we were both vegan. Jessica is a lovely person who seems somewhat shy, yet can pin you down in a wrestling move in a flash. Recently married, she is beaming and with her amazing diet and work out regime I can’t blame her. In her own words, “I am a holistic nutritionist, and studying to become a Shiatsu therapist and an acupuncturist.” Pretty neat. Please welcome Jessica!

Pumpkin spice mini cakes

Although I have vigorous enthusiasm for fall, I am not really a Holiday Person. We all know Holiday People – at the first hint of fall colours and cooler temperatures, they pull a series of boxes out of storage and proceed to deck their houses with dried corn, pumpkins, gourds, and various types of straw and grasses. Even though Hallowe’en is a few weeks away, they probably have some cobwebs and skeletons hanging off their windows already. Me? I am still working on a list for last year’s Christmas cards. Oops.

In spite of my holiday shortcomings, I am a gleeful festive baker. Give me an occasion, and I will happily bake something for it, likely in miniature size. Because a mini cake or a cupcake is so much better than agonizing over what sized slice is too large from a regular-sized cake!

Pumpkin spice mini cakes combine the best holiday flavours, and give you a hit of beta carotene to keep your skin glowy. And really, pumpkin and spice – do you need any more convincing?

Pumpkin spice mini cakes

I am blessed with a pumpkin-shaped cupcake tray that is really only appropriate for a short time every year, so that’s what I use for these. However, they are equally tasty in regular cupcake form. And don’t let their cute little shape trick you into thinking that they’re difficult to make – once you have the ingredients together, just mix in two bowls, then pour into one bowl, then bake.

Here’s what you need:

  • Cupcake pan or mini cake pan – this recipe will make 6 cups of batter, so you will end up with about 12 mini cakes or 24 cupcakes
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter OR vegan margarine
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin (not pie filling!)
Here’s what you do:
  • Preheat your oven to 350F and grease your trays with butter. Some people are cool with baking two trays together and rotating halfway through – but I’m not completely sure my oven understands this principle, so I always bake in shifts. It’s your call what you want to do here. Prep both trays at the same time no matter what you choose, to save you time later.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, whisk applesauce, sugar, butter and pumpkin puree until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix gently until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into your pan and smooth out the top. Bake until it passes the toothpick test (about 40 minutes for the mini cakes, and 25-30 for cupcakes), then remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
Now, go make these and be thankful with the people you love!

Guest Blogger: Bones Jones

11 Oct

Our first guest blogger from the UK! Very exciting. Please meet Bones, here he is in his own words, “My name is Bones, I live in Stourbridge in the Black Country (an area of England that’s not Birmingham). I’m 46 and married to Mrs Bones (lol), we don’t have kids. My hobbies are falling off surf-boards dressed in tight fitting neoprene, writing stuff for cash-money, tracking down beer with no bits of fish or other crap in it and taking on supermarkets over the appalling labelling. After a long career as a journalist and Producer at the BBC, I am now setting up my own vegan catering company called Gold and Green. I support Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club and Worcestershire County Cricket Club. My ambition is to surf the Severn Bore listening to Husker Du, open a vegan bar and brewery in Cornwall, employ someone else to run it and spend all day surfing.”

Some time at the start of the 1980s, I read a piece in a Sunday paper about how chickens were intensively grown and processed, which utterly revolted and disgusted me. I thought I was going to vomit just reading the article.

And mom had cooked chicken for Sunday lunch…

I couldn’t face, let alone eat it and only just managed to retain the breakfast cereal left in my stomach. From that day, I vowed never to eat chicken or poultry (knowingly) again. As far as I’m aware I haven’t.

I had difficulty sleeping for weeks after; my dreams were plagued by haunting, terrifying images of upside down chickens, feathers casually ripped from their flesh. Brutal, unyielding machines mutilating beautiful living creatures. Scrawny necks stretched like a rubber band, bleeding to death, never having been outside their prison cage. The pervading stench of avian terror.

Just writing this, I’m suddenly back in our front room in Kingswinford all those years ago and feel nauseous again. Even the smell of chicken crisps makes me want to throw up.

I don’t know who wrote the piece that had such an effect on me – it is not really important, what matters is that those words had a profound and long-lasting effect. I am not sure if the fact that I’d been into punk rock for years helped me to question accepted ‘normals’ or whether that fact that I was always getting told off at school for constantly asking ‘why?’ had anything to do with it?

Back in those days Tim Berners-Lee had yet to invent the World Wide Web; if you needed information you had to read books or newspapers. Or go to the library. Or write letters. Or ask questions. I didn’t have any role models or anyone to ask, so I had to find out for myself.

The more I investigated, the more unsettled I became and the harder I found it to eat meat. Fish wasn’t a problem as we never had fish at home and I didn’t like eggs anyway. I started just having vegetables while my family had the meat as well. My parents thought it was odd and expected me to grow out of it, but eventually after a long struggle and a lot of research, I managed to become vegetarian.

I’d never heard of the word vegan until I left home to go to college…

Follow Bones on twitter here: @bonesjones

 

Guest Blogger: Until We Eat Again

5 Oct

Please welcome Willie, an American living in Toronto blogging about being vegan while doing his Ph.D. I met Willie in September of this year as we have a mutual vegan friend in common. Very charming fellow! Please enjoy his blog post below.

Hi all!

So today is October 1st, which this year is day one of the Vegan Month of Food, or as it’s more curtly known around the interwebs, VeganMoFo. For those not familiar with this yearly event, VeganMoFo brings together hundreds of vegan bloggers under the shared aim of publishing a continuous stream of content for one entire month—and when I say continuous, I mean a post every day. Why any sane blogger would ever agree to this is beyond me, and why I ever agreed to this is definitely beyond me. Yet here I am, one lunatic among many, signed up and ready to write.

While some bloggers choose to do a specialized theme for VeganMoFo, I’ll be keeping things more or less the same here at UWEA: which is to say, a healthy mix of recipes, restaurant reviews, and general reflections. And today for my first post, I wanted to kick things off with a more reflective post and talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while, and which seems like an appropriate way to inaugurate this month of madness: namely, why I blog.

(And okay, yes, I also wanted an excuse to post these photos of me posing with my friend (and personal photographer)‘s kitten.)


There are many reasons why I started blogging, many of which I’m sure other bloggers share: I wanted to share my food life with others, to keep in touch with friends near and far, to become part of the food blogging community, to meet new people and forge new friendships, to keep a personal record of all the food I make, to help myself remember all the recipes I like, to provide some extra motivation to challenge myself more in the kitchen, and of course, to let my mother know I’m still eating.

These are all excellent reasons for anyone to blog, and even if this were all there was to blogging for me, I’d probably keep doing it. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that blogging is the ideal medium for the vegan movement. That is, I believe that blogging is the best form of activism that vegans have got going for them right now, and that we have more to gain by blogging than does your average food blogger. Here’s why:

Veganism has made some amazing strides since its inception in the mid-20th century. Today, more people than ever recognize the ethical reasons for being vegan, and many are starting to see the environmental and health benefits, as well. And this is great: veganism is not just a diet but also a lifestyle and ideology, and it’s important for people to see and understand this. However, it’s clear that these arguments only do so much, as there are plenty of people who acknowledge them yet keep on eating animals. And this shouldn’t surprise us, since persuading people by reason alone has never, ever worked.

So what’s missing? As I see it, though people may know why to be vegan, they still don’t know how, or if they can. That is, though people may agree that they should be vegan, and may even want to be vegan, taking that extra step to actually doing it and being vegan can be very difficult. It’s not simply a matter of weakness of will, either; rather, what non-vegans need most is information on how to do it: what vegans eat, how we stay healthy, and where we still struggle—in other words, the normal everyday stuff of how we live our lives. In this way, the biggest challenge facing the vegan movement right now is convincing people that not only is veganism right, but that it’s also joyful and doable, even for perfectly ordinary folks. And this is where blogging steps in.

First and foremost, blogging is egalitarian. Anyone can blog about whatever they want; no agent or publicists or book contracts are required. Because of this, most of the vegan food bloggers you’ll find are ordinary folk—people who are amateurs, if not complete beginners, at writing, cooking, and often, veganism. These are not people trying to make a living off you reading their blog; they’re just folk with a story to tell. Thus if the vegan movement wants to show outsiders that vegans are people with lives like everyone else, the vegan food blogging community provides the perfect place to start.

Second of all, blogging is down-to-earth. On food blogs, nothing need be elevated or haute cuisine; and since bloggers are most often not professional chefs, they actually are the perfect example for other non-professional chefs to follow. What newcomers to veganism need most is food that is tasty and also simple, affordable, and unintimidating—and to me, food blogs are the best place to find such recipes, since bloggers themselves are often still relative novices in the kitchen and always on the lookout for new culinary shortcuts and secrets. The ingenuity and small tricks you’ll see and learn on blogs are the sort of thing you’ll rarely read in books or hear from chefs, but they can really take your cooking to new levels. (The abundance of blog photos guiding you along every step of the way also helps on this score.) Which is all to say: if you want to learn how to become vegan, food blogs are an excellent way in.

Finally and most importantly, blogging is diverse. Possibly the greatest asset blogging has over any other medium is its sheer diversity. Since anyone can do it, lots of people do, and the variety of vegan food bloggers you’ll find out there is astounding. And this means that every fledgling vegan has all the more chance of finding a blogger that speaks directly to them and their unique situation. Whether you’re an aspiring vegan mother, father, student, or ultra-marathon runner, there’s a blog for every lifestyle. And this is what non-vegans most need to see: that vegans are just like them, with busy lives and multiple responsibilities—and nonetheless able to eat the foods they know they should.

And that’s why I keep blogging: because I honestly feel like it’s part of something bigger, to whatever small extent; because I want others to hear my story and see how a grad student copes with the pressures of being vegan; and because I think it’s precisely the sort of activism that’s most needed right now if veganism is to gain any real presence in the population.

And I guess that’s part of the reason I signed up for VeganMoFo, too, making this a fitting way to start off the month. So get ready: you’re about to see a lot more blogging here than ever before. Just don’t expect to see another post this long until this month is over.

VeganMoFo #1/31

Until we eat again,

Willie