Tag Archives: vegan blogging

Guest Blogger: Rachel In Veganland – Thoughts on the Tattooed Vegan Body”

1 Sep

Always wonderful to welcome back a VBU! alumni and Rachel, author or Rachel in Veganland is certainly one. Her first post on VBU! titled Not Skinny was incredibly popular and poignant. You can see her second post Tahini Chickpeas here. And her third post Breakfast Polenta here. Please welcome Rachel for a fourth time with another thought provoking article! You can follow Rachel’s posts through email, and find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome back Rachel!

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Recently, I got tattooed again. There are few photographs of my body here on the blog but if you follow my Instagram feed, I’m pretty open about any time I’m back in the chair and under the needle. I love tattoos and tattooing–I’ve wanted to be heavily tattooed for my entire life. My love of body ink recently culminated with the completion of my Alice in Wonderland half sleeve–a project that my tattooer and I have been working on for nearly 3 years. Suddenly, I realized the other day that I’ve become the person (at least visually) that I’ve always hoped I would be. I guess I am finally at the point in which I can say with confidence that I am heavily tattooed. (Finally!)

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I often find myself thinking about tattoos. Mine, my friends’, the tattoos I see via social media, the ones my tattooer is making for his other clients, you get the picture. I’ve always been fascinated by the way in which people physically and visually engage my tattoos and by default my tattooed body. At my last place of work, I was always asked about my tattoos, while my male counterparts were not. I’m nearly always approached in public by strangers who ask about my tattoos, regardless of who I am with, and I’ve never seen any of my tattooed male friends approached by people we don’t know for inquiries about their ink.

Coming from a gender studies background, I’ve put my sociological goggles on and watched with interest the changes in how people engage me as I’ve become more and more heavily tattooed. Then, back in December, a friend of mine posted this article to Facebook. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.

(As in stop reading this, and read the Guardian piece. Right. Now.)

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Suddenly, everything I’d been thinking and feeling as a tattooed lady began to fall into place.

Because I’m becoming more and more engrossed in and have always been enamored with tattoo culture, I’m becoming more and more aware of heavily tattooed ladies in the public eye: we have starlets like Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga who are visibly tattooed, one of my all time favorite fictional characters Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, and then models like my major celeb crush Ellegy Ellem who have made their careers from being badass tattooed curvy ladies. That all being said, the world of tattooing is still largely male dominated. There are several female tattooers (Heather Bailey and Marina Inoue are two of my favorites that my tattooer introduced me to.) who are gaining popularity, and celebrity tattooing brought along by TV shows like Miami and LA Ink and Ink Master have also begun to normalize women’s place as both the tattooers and the tattooed.

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“Did it hurt?!” (Of course it did. Some more than others, no I don’t mind the pain.)

“How many do you have?!” (11, and I count my half sleeve as one now.)

“Aren’t you worried about getting a ‘real job’ with those?” (Absolutely not.)

And, the cherry on top: sitting at, oh my favorite watering hole for example, and having some random person walk up and grab my sleeved arm, and start touching my tattoos.

Now, here’s where intersectionality comes into play.

I’ve thought a lot lately about the potential overlaps between vegans, veganism, and tattooing. A lot of vegans that I know personally and that I see on the interwebs happen to be tattooed. Several of my veg-lebrity crushes: Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Jasmin Singer, and Melisser Elliott are all heavily tattooed ladies. (Also aside–ever find it interesting that the blogosphere in general not to mention the vegan blogosphere is dominated primarily by women?! That’s a whole other cup of tea, but couldn’t write this post without a mention.)

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So: we have the tattooed body. We have the vegan body. The female body. Now, how about the tattooed vegan female body? As a vegan, as a woman, and as a curvy tattooed lady, there’s a lot of scrutiny placed upon my body by friends, family members, strangers. As soon as someone knows I’m vegan, they see me differently. They see my body differently. The begin to read my physicality by the preprogrammed stereotype of vegans that so many outside of the vegan world are presented with. (Specifically I’m thinking of the: toothpick/malnourished/deprived trinity of prejudgement.) I’m not a toothpick by any means. I’m proud to say, hell yeah, I’ve got some curves. I hope that I successfully break those stereotypes and welcome people to the idea that vegans come in all shapes and sizes.

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The same goes for my tattoos–as soon as someone sees that I’m heavily tattooed the way that they engage my body visually, from physical contact to staring at my larger or more noticeable ink, changes. I hope that I can break those stereotypes too. That tattooed women are “cheap,” and don’t care about their bodies, that tattooed women’s bodies are for male consumption and because they lack tangible “feminine” value should be placed within male control. In fact I feel the opposite. Just like the food choices I make, each and every one of my tattoos has been a deliberate, conscious decision that brings me joy and makes me feel at once feminine, powerful, and sexy. By taking control of what my own skin looks like, every waking moment only shows that this body and skin are MINE and that they hold real value to me as truly personal sources of both beauty and pride.

To paraphrase my favorite section of that brilliant Guardian article (and adding my own food/vegan philosophy to the mix): by choosing what I put on and in my body I’m saying that MY standards as a queer, vegan, tatted lady are more important than those society might try and place on me. My very skin is an act of defiance.

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: A House Full of Health – Such a busy day! Testing!

8 Oct

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks. Hope everyone is enjoying the magic that is Vegan Mofo. Please welcome back a veteran VBU! contributor – Marsha, author of the blog A House Full of Health. You can see her first post for VBU! here, second and third. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and of course her blog. Welcome back Marsha!

First day of Vegan Mofo and here I am blogging at 7pm! Yes, I’m behind! But, let me tell you about my day.

I woke 12 hours ago ready to start my day. For the last 2 weeks I’ve been “testing” recipes for a business venture I’m looking to pursue. Plant-Based Personal Chef. Today was another testing day. My steps are simple. Go grocery shopping, pick up fresh bread (if needed), cook, package, dishes (interlaced throughout the day). Sounds easy, right?

Wow! It’s hard work! Rewarding. But, taxing. Maybe I’m just getting old??!!

Last night I took some time to prepare my menu for the week. I used to do this on Thursday evening to subsequently shop on Fridays but with shopping on Mondays, for the time being, busily worked on it last night. Anyway, when preparing a menu I decide on what we will be having for dinner each night as well as ingredients I need to get and at which store. I then wrote down each item I would be cooking including all the “kitchen gadgets,” I would need and all the ingredients for each. This makes it easier to know how many total carrots (or other item) I would need. This makes prep that much easier.

Menu:

Monday: BBQ Ranch Quinoa Salad. This is a recipe I was so excited to try off of Wendy Polisi’s page Cooking Quinoa.  This is to be served with chips and salsa. Guacamole too!

Tuesday: Since I’ve gotten in the habit of salads on Tuesdays I’m keeping with the theme. Big Ole Salad night! With a Country French bread.

Wednesday: Pita sandwich. Filled with a quinoa, chickpea salad. With black-eyed pea hummus. Sweet potato fries as a side dish.

Thursday: Chili (oh yes! It’s that time of year again. I can finalize my recipe!) with rice. Cornbread as a side dish.

Friday: Spaghetti with “meatballs.” Garlic bread as a side

Saturday: Tunisian Bean Stew with Country French Bread. Salad as a side dish. I was wanting to use pumpkin since it’s October and all so I found a great recipe on Susan’s website, Fat Free Vegan.

Sunday: Roasted Squash stuffed with quinoa. Cranberry green beans (getting ready for Thanksgiving too!) as a side dish.

One thing I learned in Culinary School (among many, of course) was getting everything ready for prep. Mis En Place. If I need carrots for 4 of my recipes it would be best to get them all prepped at once. It does seem to make things a tad easier.

I felt as though I had an assembly line going on for produce. I had 7 onions to cut!

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets, my egg slicer. Although, I never use it for eggs. Funny, huh? I use it for mushrooms. Sometimes black or green olives. It’s so convenient and easy to use!

For my chili I roast up some red bell peppers and jalapenos. Today, I did something a little differently. I cut the red bells into large slices. The jalapeno, I cut in half. I roasted that way, it was actually easier than doing them whole. I love roasted veggies!

I believe I sauteed a pound a half of mushrooms today. I guess I like to incorporate mushrooms. They are so flavorful, meaty, and full of great nutritious value.
Today’s cook took 8 hours. That’s not including the 2 hours it took to shop. I’m still learning and I’ve realized this one every recipe I chose had many components. Each one took longer than anticipated which is why my 5-6 hour cook time ended up being extended. I’m in learning mode, that’s for sure.
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I’m wiped!
We are certainly prepared for the week. And, the hubby got dinner on the table tonight. He did the finishing touches so I could spend some time with my little one.
This is why I do this! More time with the family. So, yes, a little late on my blog but I have a good excuse, right? And, I now have dinner for the week! Yay!
What time savers do you do in the kitchen?
Do you ever prepare meals ahead of time?

Marsha
~PlantStrongMoma
http://www.ahousefullofhealth.blogspot.com
http://www.ahousefullofhealth.com

Guest Blogger: La Vida Vegga – VeganMoFo 101: Let the MoFo-ing Begin!

1 Oct

Happy Vegan MoFo everyone! So excited for all the fantastic blogs that signed up. I’m sure the recipes are going to be amazing and just mind blowing. Every year I think man, people are too creative and it shows. We have a brand new VBU! contributor – Kelly, author of La Vida Vegga, her post is perfect to kick off VeganMofo. Here she is in her own words, “I’m a born-and-bred Rhode Islander living in Madison, Wisconsin. Being vegan in America’s Dairyland isn’t always easy, but I make it work. If I’m not in the kitchen cooking up something delicious, I’m giving belly rubs to my Ewok-ian dog, working on some sort of crafty project, or blogging over at La Vida Vegga, my humble little home on the web. Come say hi sometime!” Keep up with Kelly at her blog, and Twitter account. Welcome Kelly! Happy first day of VeganMoFo everyone!

Orange banner with the words Vegan Month of Food 2012.

Perhaps, in your wanderings around the world wide web today, you’ve noticed a preponderance of animal-free foods. Or maybe you logged into Google Reader this morning and found far more unread items than you’ve ever encountered on a Monday morning. Don’t worry; you’re not imagining things – this, friends, is the first day of VeganMoFo. If you’re a vegan who likes food and blogging, chances are good that you’re already familiar with the wonder that is VeganMoFo. If you’re not acquainted with it, boy howdy, are you in for a treat!

Treats? I love treats! What’s Vegan MoFo?

No, it’s not your answer when someone asks about your dietary preference (“Vegan, mofo!”). It’s the Vegan Month of Food, a month-long celebration of cruelty-free, conscience-friendly, and oh-so-delicious eats. VeganMoFo was the brilliant brainchild of a few folks at the PPK (that’s Post Punk Kitchen to you!), and this is its sixth year running. Participants pledge to post anything and everything related to vegan food for at least 20 days in October, although some folks go all-in and post every single day. I’ve taken that approach since I first started participating in 2009, and it’s both exhilarating and exhausting. (I like to take breaks by posting about simple meals… like roasted delicata squash rings. So good.)

Close-up of the squash circles.

Squashy.

What makes VeganMoFo special is that all participants, even our meat-eating friends, must promise not to post any non-vegan food during October. This saves us from seeing images of raw chicken wrapped in bacon, topped with mozzarella, and deep fried in lard (or whatever it is that omnis are into these days) when all we want is to look at a picture of a pretty vegan cupcake, damn it. VeganMoFo is all vegan, all the time!

I love vegan cupcakes. What else will I see?

If you’ve never gone blog surfing during VeganMoFo, this month is gonna blow. your. mind. Many bloggers spend months planning and coming up with truly amazing themes. Last year, the Wikos took us on a culinary tour of street food around the world, from Buenos Aires to Sri Lanka to Seoul and all points in between. And Cara from Fork and Beans delighted us with adorably cute Halloween-themed delicacies that’d make Martha Stewart green with crafty envy. I’ve never quite managed to come up with a single theme for the entire month, but last year I did a couple of Recipe Showdowns (pitting three recipes for a single dish against one another) that were quite popular. Eating mac & cheeze and brownies all month long… sigh. The life of a MoFo blogger is hard, y’all.

A photo of three brownies stacked on a plate; they're obviously fudgy and have a crackly top layer!

The winning brownie recipe!

This year promises to offer just as many inspiring themes. Lidia, who blogs at Air Eater and coordinates Vegan Bloggers Unite! will share an entire month of raw pizzas. Cold and Sleepy Cooks will feature 31 days of dips. And Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen will create a month’s worth of delightfully fun themed dinner parties. These folks and 500+ others will pull out all the stops to make October the most mouth-watering month of the year.

Okay, Kelly, I am thoroughly convinced that VeganMoFo is the greatest thing since vegan marshmallows. How can I participate?

If you haven’t signed up to participate, it’s too late to get into the official blogroll (though you could certainly participate in spirit!). If you’re not a blogger, the best thing you can do is read, read, read and comment, comment, comment! First, check out the blogroll and subscribe to one (or all!) of the RSS feeds using your reader of choice. Then, prepare to be inundated with a flood of awe-inspiring posts. And please do comment on them – your support and cheering-on really does give participants the motivation to continue posting! And don’t just comment on those super-popular blogs that already have 200+ comments by the time you settle down with your Google Reader and a giant mug o’ coffee on a Sunday morning – support the little guys, too. They’ll really appreciate it. And by they, I mean we. 😉

As MoFo progresses, check out the official MoFo blog and website for best-of posts, troll the PPK forums to see people’s favorites, and let us know you’re reading! And if you begin to get MoFo fatigue halfway through October when your reader has 1000+ unread items, you haven’t slept in two weeks, and you’re turning as orange as an Oompa Loompa from making at least two pumpkin-based recipes every day… take a breath, mark everything as read, and start fresh. It’s okay. We won’t blame you for not reading every single post.:)

Got questions? Leave me a comment! And stop by my blog during MoFo – I’ve got lots planned, including more Recipe Showdowns. Want a sneak peek? Oh, fine, since you asked so nicely:

Glass baking dish with pumpkin cinnamon rolls drizzled with a white icing.

Pumpkin cinnamon roll showdown – commence!

Happy MoFo, y’all!

Guest Blogger: Cult of Kale – Apartment Compost – Tips and Tricks!

14 Aug

Nothing like getting back to the earth in a garden kind of way. Our newest guest blogger Erica, author of Cult of Kale, has a green thumb and has wonderful tips to help you get green. Here she is in her own words, “Erica is a long-time vegan and Urban Horticulture student living in Arizona. Born on Earth Day, she has always had a drive to do her part to live a sustainable lifestyle. She blogs about urban gardening, vegan noms and sustainability on her blog.” Please follow Cult of Kale on Facebook, and Twitter. Please welcome Erica!

Since posting the tutorial for my apartment sized compost bin, I’ve learned a lot about how to make the compost work best and wanted to pass that information on to my readers.

A shovelful of my compost ready to nurture
some seedlings.

Since we have such limited space for compost, we want to do everything we can to help the compost work harder. I do this by following four simple rules:

  1. Blend Everything. I keep all my scraps in a bag in the fridge and at the end of the day I blend them all up in my blender with some water. Blending breaks down the food and makes it easier for the microbes to digest the food. As a bonus, if you have a yard or a large raised bed you can add this directly to the plants by digging a small trench or several small holes and buying it in the soil.
  2. Turn the compost everyday! This one is so important, and so easy to do if you keep it in a small container like I do. The compost needs to be turned daily. This introduces oxygen to your pile and speeds up the breakdown process.
  3. Water your compost – just not too much. If I’m not adding enough blended scraps I will bring a small pitcher of water to my compost every day or every other day depending on the weather. You want to keep the compost damp, but not too moist. If you see any signs of mold growth, let the compost dry out and reduce the frequency of watering.
  4. Add coffee grounds to your compost. If you’re not a coffee drinker like my family, you can get these for free from a local coffee shop. Coffee is Nitrogen rich and after composting will be great for your plants. I don’t know if there is any proof it helps the compost break down faster but it seems to help in my small bin. Either way it’s a free, nutrient rich addition to your small bin.
My compost has a rich earthy smell and despite not blending the first few batches a few weeks ago, the only item in my compost not broken down is a stick that came from pruning pomegranate tree. I cannot wait to use this compost in my fall garden!
Have you started a compost? Do you compost in a small bin like me or do you have a larger area dedicated to it? Do you have any tips to speed along a compost?


Guest Blogger: Life of a Vegan

18 Jul

Most of us discovered veganism in our late 20’s and even 30’s, our newest blogger VeggieGirl29, is starting early. Here she is in her own words, “I’m a Vegan teenager that has been vegan for 7 months now and vegetarian for three years. I feel like I open the eyes of the younger generation that wants to make the switch but their parents are against it. I also face the struggles in high school and being a teenager and being vegan as well. I feel like I open eyes.” Follow her on Twitter and her blog; please welcome VeggieGirl29!

So the other day, I was talking about my veganism and such. WELL, someone asked me if I believed in God. Obviously I said yes. They’re response was, “God put meat on this earth for humans to eat.”

Here’s my response to that:

First, greed is a deadly sin. How greedy certain people get about meat, gets kind of sickening. People kind of over do it on the whole meat thing. I saw someone eat a beef rib, a hamburger, a hot dog, and I think one other thing I couldn’t tell you. That is being to greedy and taking too much from animals.

Second, it has been proven that ANY organism shouldn’t be drinking other animals milk, humans shouldn’t after the age of two. We aren’t suppose to be having milk and cheese in our systems… So God didn’t give us that, we forced it upon ourselves.

Lastly, if God wanted me to eat meat so bad, wouldn’t I be in the hospital at this moment? I mean honestly, if eating meat was so good for me, wouldn’t I be getting sick? But isn’t it the other way around? Becoming vegan I have lowered my chances of getting heart disease incredibly and up my chances to fight diseases.

Sorry if I offended  anyone with this post, but I was offended with at response that man gave to me. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian out that, you are no less that anyone else just by what you eat.

With all my respect,

VeggieGirl

P.S. you can always ask me questions and follow me on Twitter @VeggieGirl29

 

Almost 2012!

30 Dec

Happy almost New Year to everyone! Hope you’re all enjoying what’s left of the holidays and of course relaxing. I really am looking forward to 2012, I believe it will be exciting and offer new opportunities, plus a lot of cool people to meet.

Here’s wishing you the best and look forward to the exciting times ahead!