Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yummy Mini Pizzas

These are so simple and so delicious! And really you can use anything you have on hand that sounds good. Here is how I made my mini pizzas:

3 English Muffins, cut in half
6 thinly sliced tomatoes
3 slices Tofutti American style cheez
2 Gardein seasoned chik'n "breasts", thawed and chopped
6 Tbsp marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the 6 muffin slices on a cookie sheet. Add 1 Tbsp of marinara sauce to each muffin and spread. Top with halved slices of cheese, 1 tomato each, and chik'n. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheez is melted. Ready to eat right out of the oven, and great for a snack!

Friday, June 8, 2012



Speciesism involves assigning different values or rights, or special consideration, to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership. The term was coined in 1973 by British psychologist Richard D. Ryder to denote prejudice against non-humans based on morally irrelevant physical differences.
The term is mostly used by animal rights advocates, who argue that species membership has no moral significance, and that it is both irrational and morally wrong to regard sentient beings as objects or property. Philosopher Tom Regan argues that all animals have inherent rights and that we cannot assign them a lesser value because of a perceived lack of rationality, while assigning a higher value to infants and the mentally impaired solely on the grounds of membership of a certain species. Peter Singer's philosophical arguments against speciesism are based on the principle of equal consideration of interests.
One argument used to show that speciesism is an arbitrary discrimination is called the argument from marginal cases. This says that if marginal-case human beings – such as infants, the senile, the comatose, and the cognitively disabled – have a certain moral status, then non-human animals must have it too, since there is no morally relevant ability that the marginal-case humans have that non-human animals lack. "Moral status" may include a right not to be killed or made to suffer, or a general moral requirement to be treated in a certain way.

Please feel free to read more at the link provided above. Speciesism has caused as much harm as racism in this world, and neither are on their way to ceasing to exist.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Baked Tofu Filets

This recipe is written in case someone is preparing tofu for the first time. This was another spur-of-the-moment creation - hope you like it as much as I did!

Baked Tofu Filets
  • Drain water from firm or extra-firm tofu square and squeeze as much water out as you can. This can be done by hand or by placing it on top of an upside-down bowl and placing something heavy on top.
  • Place tofu in a shallow bowl. Marinade - to taste - with soy or tamari sauce, cajun seasoning, and a little liquid smoke. Let it set 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove tofu square from bowl and cut into 4 even slices. Place on non-stick or sprayed baking pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on each side, or until edges are slightly crispy.
  • Serve straight from the oven. Feeds 2.

    Served here with sweet potatoes boiled with nondairy butter and sprinkled with paprika. (There is a bit of steam in the photo)
  • Monday, May 28, 2012

    What's Behind the Brands We Trust

    Or, "Brands That Animal Test." This is by no means a complete list, so I urge you to do your research when checking out a new brand. Gathered from different resources (listed below), I have compiled known brands/products that test on animals. I've also provided a list of known brands that do not animal test, though this does not mean that they are necessarily "natural" products. Please feel free to comment if you see anything I've missed. I know I've been using many of these for years, and have started weeding them out of our lives.

    Brands That Animal Test
  • Actonel
  • Always
  • Asacol
  • Aussie
  • Avon
  • Bounce
  • Bounty
  • BrAun
  • Camay
  • Cascade
  • Chanel
  • Charmin
  • Christian Dior
  • Clairol
  • Clinique
  • Colgate
  • CoverGirl
  • Crest
  • Dantrium
  • Dantrium IV
  • Dawn
  • Didronel
  • Dove
  • Downy
  • Dreft
  • Dunhill
  • Duracell
  • Era
  • Estee Lauder
  • Eukanuba
  • Febreze
  • Fiber-sure
  • Fixodent
  • Folgers
  • Gain
  • Garnier
  • Gillette
  • Giorgio Beverly Hills
  • Gleem
  • Gucci
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Herbal Essences
  • Home Café
  • Hugo
  • Iams
  • Infusium 23
  • Ivory
  • Jeyes
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Joy
  • Lancome Paris
  • Lever Faberge London
  • L'Oreal Paris
  • Luvs
  • Lynx
  • Macrobid
  • Max Factor
  • Metamucil
  • Millstone
  • Mr Clean
  • Noxzema
  • Olay
  • Old Spice
  • Oral-B
  • Palmolive
  • Pampers
  • Pantene
  • Pert Plus
  • Physique
  • Pringles
  • Puffs
  • Puma
  • Revlon
  • Safeguard
  • Schwarzkopf
  • Scope
  • Secret
  • Sk-II
  • Sure
  • Swiffer
  • Tampax
  • ThermaCare
  • Venus
  • Vicks
  • Wella
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Zest

    Brands Not Animal Tested
  • A Mano Bath
  • ABBA Products
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Abra Therapeutics
  • Advantage Wonder Cleaner
  • AKA Saunders, Inc.
  • Alba Botanica
  • Aloe Vera of America
  • Bamboo (Aesthetics, Aromas, Elements, Minerals, Zen)
  • bareFaced Mineral Cosmetics
  • Basic Elements Hair Care System
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Best Bath
  • Body Butter Factory
  • Calvin Klein
  • Cambria Soap Co.
  • Carma Laboratories
  • Carmex
  • Cassini Parfums
  • Christian Dior
  • Colorsilk
  • Cutex
  • Nature's Gate
  • Seventh Generation
  • Tom's of Maine
  • Zuzu Cosmetics
  • There are so many more, but I urge you to check out the resources below and to look for products that label "No Animal Testing." If they do not, be wary!

  • And my own personal shopping experiences! Plus, you can find any of this stuff with a search engine.
  • Monday, May 21, 2012

    Possibly the Best Pasta You'll Ever Have

    This one takes some shopping (unless you just have random things on hand for such an occasion) and perhaps 45 minutes prep and cook time. But, it's worth it. I used the "kick" sauce (see below) and it was super scrumptious. AND it was introduced to me by a non-veg friend. She wanted to make a meal we could both enjoy :)

    Pistachio "Pesto" Pasta & Kale
  • 8 oz whole grain pasta
  • 2/3 cup toasted pistachios
  • 1 medium garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of kale, washed/stemmed/chopped
  • for tangy/sweet sauce - the seeds of one pomegranate; for sauce with a little kick - red pepper flakes to taste
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While water is heating, break pasta in 1/2" segments and make pistachio sauce by pureeing 1/3 cup of the pistachios, garlic, salt and olive oil with a food processor. Set aside.
    Once the water is boiling, salt it generously and cook the pasta per package instructions. At the very last second, add the kale to the pot of boiling water, and immediately drain the pasta and kale. Using your hands, work the pasta and kale under cool water. Toss gently with a spoon of pistachio sauce and either spin the pasta and kale dry in a salad spinner or continue to toss in a colander. Toss again with the rest of the mixture before serving.

  • Monday, May 7, 2012

    Pauls Valley Artist Kent Stewart

    Local artist J. Kent Stewart is creating quite the pleasing array of paintings and they're actually available to buy. View his site here or visit some of his works in person at Your Framer on the corner of McClure and Chickasaw.

    Saturday, May 5, 2012

    Delicious Vegan Sloppy Joes

    I made these last night for a couple that came for dinner. They were definitely a hit, and definitely delicious. If you are, or were, a fan of sloppy joes, you will love this supremely healthy alternative. I got the recipe from the April 2012 issue of Parenting magazine. Find more recipes like this at

    Black Bean and Salsa Sloppy Joes
    Serves 4
  • In a skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat.
  • Add 3 minced garlic cloves and saute for 1 minute.
  • Stir in 2 1/2 cups (2 cans) rinsed and drained black beans, 1 15-oz. jar mild chunky salsa, 1 Tbsp brown sugar 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Spoon onto whole-wheat buns and top with shredded (daiya) cheddar.

    We also enjoyed ours with romaine lettuce for a few more vitamins and texture. I cannot wait to make these again. Yum!

    (I forgot to take a picture, so here's a snapshot of the picture from the magazine.)

  • Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Your Framer

    A dear friend has relocated her coffee house/boutique/custom framery in Pauls Valley, OK. Amber is very environment-conscious and also vegan-friendly. Her hard-to-find products are a breath of fresh air to this artsy little community. Pictures posted below were taken April 28. The shop has not yet had its Grand Opening, but it's sure to be something you don't want to miss. Duck in for a custom latte or house drip after dining at the Boomerang Grill across the street ;)
    View more photos on Facebook and visit the shop's page here.

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Killing. There is not another word for it.

    I watched this with my 3-year-old son. We talked about what was happening through the film. He concluded with, "we don't eat cows, because that's mean." If he can see it, why can't everyone else?

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    The Interim

    I still owe this blog a tofu scramble recipe, but also look for an upcoming article on known animal-tested products. I'm also researching cruelty-free products as a resource for this project. It's hard to switch brands if you don't know which ones are safe. Hopefully this will be done and posted by the end of the week!

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Homemade (Easy) Mac & Cheez

    I owe you a couple of recipes I've tried recently. Working 7 days a week has me re-learning time management! First the easy one that doesn't require me to write anything down :) By the way, I tried my hand at this because my 3-year-old loves loves loves macaroni and cheese (what toddler doesn't?) and as a southerner it's just one of those staples. He loved it, even though the noodles need to be boiled longer next time.

  • Boil water :D
  • Add 2 cups whole wheat (or quinoa, if you prefer) macaroni noodles. Boil 12-15 minutes.
  • Drain, but don't get hung up on getting every last drop of water out of those noodles - it will help with mixing. Put noodles back in pan.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup shredded Daiya cheddar. Mix well before adding 1 tsp nondairy butter and 1/4 cup nondairy milk. Continue to stir until well mixed. Add more milk or butter if it's not creamy enough for you, but you shouldn't need much more cheez, if any.

    And that is it, folks! Since I hadn't had this childhood favorite since becoming Vegan, it certainly was a treat. I hope you and your family enjoy it too.

  • Monday, April 2, 2012

    And He Eats!

    Finally! I found and picked up some Morningstar Farms chik'n nuggets for my toddler. AND HE'S EATING THEM!!! I am so happy. Out goes the real chicken and please welcome a replacement that my son can't tell the difference. Yes, their breading isn't vegan, but it's a huge step in the right direction. If I can get him to eat these, I can get him to eat Gardein or something.

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    So Good To Be Awake

    Tomorrow, 30 March, 2012, marks my 90th day as an ethical Vegan. :D

    Easy Vegan Chili

    Okay, I threw this together because I had a hankering for chili (on an 80 degree day?) and didn't have half of the ingredients my cookbooks called for. It turned out great. I don't have measurements on here because I basically just added what didn't look like too much ;) Feel free to add more chili powder/cajun seasoning or what have you if you like it hot!

    P.S. Aside from any toppings you may add, this yummy goodness has NO cholesterol, NO saturated fat, and only 1.5 total grams of fat. So enjoy an entire guilt-free bowl (or two)!

  • 1 package soy crumbles
  • 1 can pinto beans in mild chili sauce (check for lard on the label!)
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes with the juice
  • 1/4 cup water

    Throw all of this in a saucepan and start heating while you sprinkle in oh, say, 1/4 tsp or so of the following: garlic powder, onion powder, cajun seasoning (I use Slap Yo Mama), cumin, curry, chili powder, ground mustard. Then add about a Tbsp or so of maple syrup, and about 3-4 drops of liquid smoke. Mix very well and just leave it in the pan til it's hot.

    I have mine shown here topped with Daiya cheddar and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. Enjoy!

  • Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Insanity In A Skillet

    Here's another original recipe that's fast, easy, delicious, and full of texture and nutrition.

  • heat up enough olive oil to more than coat the bottom of a medium skillet
  • add about a tsp of garlic (powder or salt), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice.
  • sautee one sweet red pepper, 1/2 can of chopped portobello mushrooms, 1/2 cup chopped kale, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 3-4 sliced medium artichoke hearts

    This is enough for 2 to make a great topping for rice, pasta or to add to beans for a taco or just wrap in a tortilla. Or if you're cooking for one like me, I had half with some leftover jasmine rice and half with some leftover whole wheat rotini. Yum!

  • Saturday, March 17, 2012

    A Wider Audience

    Asking help from my vegetarian and vegan friends out there. I know I've been sharing my posts from this blog on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. But how to expand even more - to reach out to more people? Especially when I get posts together about cruelty to specific species. Any ideas are appreciated.

    The Truth About Pigs

    It's time for some more grueling information about the factory farm business. Again, I am going to share information from different resources, so some of it may be repetitive. But we are the only ones who can speak out for these animals.

  • Pigs
    1 Pigs snuggle close to one another and prefer to sleep nose to nose. They dream, much as humans do. In their natural surroundings, pigs spend hours playing, sunbathing, and exploring. People who run animal sanctuaries for farmed animals often report that pigs, like humans, enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages.
    2 Pigs communicate constantly with one another; more than 20 vocalizations have been identified that pigs use in different situations, from wooing mates to saying, "I'm hungry!"
    3 Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers' voices and to recognize their own names. Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.
    4 According to Professor Donald Broom of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, "[Pigs] have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than human] 3-year-olds."
    5 Pigs appear to have a good sense of direction and have found their way home over great distances. Adult pigs can run at speeds of up to 11 miles an hour.
    6 Professor Stanley Curtis of Penn State University has found that pigs can play joystick-controlled video games and are "capable of abstract representation." Dr. Curtis believes that "there is much more going on in terms of thinking and observing by these pigs than we would ever have guessed."
    7 Pigs do not "eat like pigs" or "pig out." They prefer to eat slowly and savor their food.
    8 Suzanne Held, who studies the cognitive abilities of farmed animals at the University of Bristol's Centre of Behavioural Biology, says that pigs are "really good at remembering where food is located, because in their natural environment food is patchily distributed and it pays to revisit profitable food patches."
    9 Pigs are clean animals. If given sufficient space, they will be careful not to soil the area where they sleep or eat. Pigs don't "sweat like pigs"; they are actually unable to sweat. They like to bathe in water or mud to keep cool, and they actually prefer water to mud. One woman developed a shower for her pigs, and they learned to turn it on and off by themselves.
    10 In his book The Whole Hog, biologist and Johannesburg Zoo director Lyall Watson writes, "I know of no other animals [who] are more consistently curious, more willing to explore new experiences, more ready to meet the world with open mouthed enthusiasm. Pigs, I have discovered, are incurable optimists and get a big kick out of just being."

  • from
    This video investigates all factory farming, but shows quite of bit of the cruelty endured by pigs.

    Life on the farm isn't what it used to be. The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes portrayed in children's books have been replaced by windowless sheds, tiny crates, wire cages, and other confinement systems integral to what is now known as "factory farming."

    Today the majority of farmed animals are:

    confined to the point that they can barely move,
    denied veterinary care,
    mutilated without painkillers,
    and finally slaughtered -- often while fully conscious.

    Fortunately, each one of us has the power to help end this suffering by simply choosing to eat vegetarian.

  • from

    The majority of the 100 million pigs killed in the U.S.
    for their flesh each year spend their lives in cramped
    metal pens inside filthy sheds. The animals are given
    almost no room to move and they are deprived of
    everything that is natural to them—they won't be
    allowed to step outdoors or breathe fresh air until
    the day that they are loaded onto trucks bound for
    slaughter. They are pumped full of drugs to make
    them grow faster, and many become crippled under
    their own artificially massive weight.

    Gestation Crates
    In factory farms, mother pigs are intensively confined and forcibly impregnated. A mother pig (sow) spends her entire adult life
    confined to a metal crate so small that she can't even turn around or lie down comfortably. Forced to live lying in her own feces and
    urine, she and millions of other pigs like her will not be allowed to step outdoors until they are forced onto trucks headed for
    Pigs are social and intelligent animals who often go insane from their intensive confinement and complete lack of mental
    stimulation in factory farms. With nothing to do and nowhere to go, many pigs spend their days compulsively chewing on the metal
    bars of their stalls.

    "Dead piles" are a constant presence in factory farms. While pigs are fed massive amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive in
    conditions that would otherwise kill them, hundreds of thousands succumb to the stress of violent mutilations and intensive
    confinement. Dead pigs are sent to rendering plants, where they are made into dog and cat food or into feed that will be given to
    pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals.

    Pig Transport
    Pigs are generally given no food or water for the entire trip to the slaughterhouse, which often covers hundreds of miles. One former
    pig transporter told PETA that pigs are "packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually
    comes out." The pigs are shipped through all weather extremes, and many collapse in the heat of summer or become frozen to the
    sides of the truck in the winter. One worker reports, "In the wintertime there are always hogs stuck to the sides and floors of the
    trucks. They [slaughterhouse workers] go in there with wires or knives and just cut or pry the hogs loose. The skin pulls right off.
    These hogs were alive when we did this."
  • Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Still On The Animal-Wagon

    Just nothing new to report lately. I did just get in, bought used, "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Vegan Eating For Kids." Written by a couple of docs and recommended by another. I am hoping this will give me some insight into introducing the exciting world of animal-free foods to my 3-year-old. Only received it yesterday. I will likely post any tips I find especially helpful. It's not plagiarism if it's properly cited, right?

    Really, I'm kidding. I'm a freelance writer ;)

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    The 7 Cruelest Foods On Earth

    from Organic Authority:

    Most of us consider ourselves to be kind and compassionate, and rightfully so. Humans possess a great capacity for empathy and love; and we rely on support systems of family and friends to not only help us in our times of need, but also to bring us joy and pleasure, love and happiness. For some of us, dogs and cats fit into this discussion; they are as much family members as they are companions. But hidden from our sight are the more than 10 billion animals raised and killed for food every year just in the U.S. Instead, we view cows as burgers or ice cream, pigs as ribs and bacon, chickens as nuggets, wings or eggs.

    But if we could see the suffering endured by animals in the name of faster-cheaper-processed foods, we might demand better treatment, or opt out of the system entirely. Can you imagine a world where the harsh treatment of animals happened in the public eye? Could you still stomach a bite of these 7 cruelest foods?

    While there is an immense variety of animals consumed around the world, these make up some of the largest animal populations to suffer in the name of the human appetite.

    1.Foie Gras: This paté made from goose or duck liver is a French delicacy that has also recently become popular in the U.S. But in order to create this fatty liver spread, birds are forced to live with steel pipes rammed down their throats several times a day with excessive amounts of grain and fat pumped in so their livers bloat. Many of the animals cannot stand because of their swollen liver; they suffer injuries, tear out their own feathers and cannibalize each other from the stress. Opt instead for lentil-walnut paté, hummus or white bean puree.

    2. Shark Fins: Regarded as a royal delicacy since the Ming Dynasty, shark fins have become increasingly more popular as more and more Chinese have disposable incomes. The industry has boomed to an estimated 75 million sharks killed each year, threatening the future of several important species. And the act of acquiring the fins is uncommonly cruel: After catching the sharks, their fins are cut off, rendering the great fish incapable of swimming. The mutliated bodies are then tossed back into the ocean where they bleed to death, drown or are eaten by other animals. Besides status, shark fins add little else to soups, so opt instead for a great soup loaded with veggies and herbs.

    3. Veal: Because the dairy industry requires cows to be constantly pregnant in order to produce milk, that means there are lots of newborn baby cows taken from their mothers and forced into veal stalls, so tiny they cannot turn around. These intelligent and kind creatures live in darkness while their muscles atrophy from lack of exercise. After as many as five months in these conditions, they endure a traumatic truck ride to slaughter where many are trampled because they're too weak to stand. Opt instead for seitan or tempeh.

    4. Eggs: The majority of eggs come from nearly 300 million chickens living in what are called battery cages. Roughly just 18 by 20 inches, these cages will typically hold between 5 to 10 birds. The normal wingspan of the intelligent, curious and playful bird is 32 inches, which means they never experience spreading their wings while in captivity. The stress leads them to episodes of fighting and cannibalism, and they also often endure major injuries and illnesses. Opt instead for organic tofu omelets, use chia or flax seed gel for baking, or secure a super small-scale local source of free-range, organic eggs that you can verify are sourced humanely.

    5. Pork: Any dog lover knows that they're intelligent, curious and emotional creatures. Pigs have shown to be even more intelligent than dogs, but because we see them as food, we dismiss their personalities and force them into unimaginable suffering. Mother pigs live in what are called gestation crates, which are so small they cannot even turn around, or in some cases even completely stand. Constantly impregnated until their bodies give out, their newborn piglets are taken away from loving mothers after just the bare minimum of nursing. Without pain relief, tails are docked, male pigs are castrated and sharp teeth are broken off with pliers. Opt instead for plant proteins like beans, lentils and nuts, tempeh bacon and Tofurky sausage.

    6. Dairy: We think of milk as the most wholesome food there is; however, the secret behind the dairy industry is anything but. In order to produce milk, mammals must be pregnant, so cows are constantly and forcefully inseminated. Their young babies are taken away and many become veal. The majority of cows are not milked by hand; they're tethered to harsh mechanical machines that often infect their udders and cause great pain. Opt instead for coconut, almond or rice milks, or source from a vetted small-scale local organic dairy producer that treats their cows ethically.

    7. Lobster: Considered a staple indulgence for seafood lovers, these intelligent and social creatures can live to be 100 years old if they're not one of the 20 million killed each year for food. A captured lobster forced into a tank can suffer a great deal of stress, and their complex nervous systems are very sensitive to pain. Whether being cut open while alive or dropped into a scalding pot of hot water, lobsters captured for food rarely live out their remaining days free from suffering. Opt instead for fungus—like the lobster mushroom—which is meaty and buttery with a slight hint of seafood.


    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Potato Soup - Help!

    I made a potato soup the other day, with new potatoes, kale, and carrots. A chunk of nondairy butter, some onion powder, and just enough almond milk to cover the goods. My problem was - the milk is just too sweet. Any suggestions?

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Look At Me! :)

    As of today, I have been an ethical Vegan for 65 days.

    Vegan Pregnancy

    Okay, so I was seriously considering trying for another baby, but have reconsidered due to a mountain of good reasons. Preemptively, I ordered a couple of books from Amazon for reference, but now don't have a need for them. I will hold on to them, of course, unless you or someone you know can use them. I'll either loan them out, or sell them, cheaper than Amazon, of course. Please leave a comment if you're interested!

  • Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide, by Sayward Rebhal

  • The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book: All You Need To Know For A Healthy Pregnancy That Fits Your Lifestyle, by Mangels, Reed
  • Sunday, February 26, 2012

    From Becoming To Being

    Since I have been Vegan for almost two months, and I know I could never go back to a less compassionate lifestyle, I've changed the title of this blog. I think it's true that I have fully "become" Vegan.

    Good Looking Out

    Went to Elephant Bar with some friends last night. In my pre-Vegan days, I loved their fish tacos. I took a quick glance at the menu online but didn't decide on anything except probably an entree salad.

    Just as I was resigned to order one of those salads minus this and that, my friend said, hey, they have a vegetable stir fry, and showed me where it was. Nothing but veggies, sauteed in sweet and sour, served over rice and wontons. Yay! And it was delicious. I was very thankful.

    So I definitely recommend this awesome veg dish if you're going there. Haven't been? It's at Penn Square Mall, off of Northwest Expressway and I-44. And they also have a great kids menu, if you're like me and still having to feed your kids, well, kid food. If not, they also have a special salad on the kids menu, apples, and steamed veggies :) My child had a corn dog :/ But we'll get there someday...

    Thanks Danielle, for being so thoughtful, and thanks to you and Justin for a fun night out!

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    A Seed Planted?

    A non-vegetarian friend was over last night for dinner. I was making my pan-fried beans and kale (see "recipes"). She said she grew up poor, and had eaten beans so much as a kid she really didn't like them anymore. I told her she was welcome to give it a try, and I could make her something else if she didn't like it. We talked about my decision to become Vegan, and she shared that she could barely eat meat herself, limited to grilled chicken. She asked me if my new diet is expensive. I told her, not necessarily, I have a tight budget so I only go out of my way to buy organic if it's something like tofu or bread, that most of my staples come from the big-chain supermarket.

    She loved the meal and was really surprised by the flavor ;) Then she had some of my Uncle Eddie's Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and loved those. She said, I've never really cooked without meat. So, she may have a new perspective, and will be visiting more often so will be treated to more Vegan meals. Who knows, she may be on the side of the animals before long :)

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    A Vegan Spread

    Today is my son's birthday party. Besides fresh fruit and Vegan cupcakes, I'm providing Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet mozzarella style, cubed. Hope they like it as much as I do! I won't force anyone to eat Vegan, but it is what I will serve in my home.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Tofu Is My Friend - Don't Diss My Friends

    I'm going to go on a small rant here and then I promise I'll leave it be. Why would someone who doesn't eat tofu on a regular basis, let alone know anything about preparing it, keep interjecting "tofu sucks" into my conversation with a non-vegetarian who genuinely wanted to know how to prepare tofu?!?! I made it my goal to educate both of them at that point, but the tofu-hater just kept saying tofu is bland, etc. He obviously hasn't had my tofu ;)

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Birthday Time!

    Below are the recipes I'm using for my son's 3rd birthday party this weekend. Both are from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (thanks again, Amanda!). To be sure this is the recipe I wanted to use, I've already made one batch and tested them out on my coworkers, none of whom are Vegan but gave me the thumbs up! And this was even with a slightly unleavened batch, since my baking powder is a bit old. With a new can on hand, I am ready to make 36 cupcakes for our guests :)

    Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer powder (equivalent of 1 egg)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 3/4 c nondairy milk
  • 1/2 c water, divided
  • 1/2 c non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease standard muffin tins or fill the muffin cups with cupcake liners.
    2. In a food processor or by hand, whip the egg replacer powder and water until it's smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the nondairy milk and 1/4 c of the water.
    3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the remaining 1/4 c water, and beat well to thoroughly combine.
    4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this, along with the egg replacer/milk mixture, to the butter/sugar combination. Beat until combined.
    5. Fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
    6. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Make sure the cupcakes have cooled completely before frosting.

    Yield: 10 to 12 cupcakes

    Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 c non-hydogenated, nondairy butter, softened
  • 3 c confectioners' (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp water or nondairy milk, or more as needed

    1. With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
    2. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners' sugar, and cream for about 2 minutes.
    3. Add the cocoa, vanilla, and milk, and turn the mixer to high speed once all the ingredients are relatively well combined.
    4. Beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp more milk if it's too dry.
    5. Cover the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

    Yield: Enough for one 9-inch cake or 8 cupcakes*

    *I was able to ice all 12 cupcakes with this batch and had enough left over to save for the party
  • Monday, February 13, 2012

    Yay! More Indian Food

    Since I know now I like the cuisine, I got a package of "Sukhi's" Samosa & Chutney. They are Vegan, crispy wraps with spiced potatoes and peas, with a package of chutney, that green sauce. It was yummy! And again, leftovers.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Yummy Tempeh

    If you buy West Soy brand tempeh, this recipe is right on the package. If not, here it is. And it was goood :)

    Tempeh Stir Fry
    1. Slice or cube 8 oz. tempeh
    2. Heat 4 Tbsp. nondairy butter, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp coriander (I substituted a dash of allspice and a squeeze of lemon for the coriander) over medium high heat
    3. Add tempeh and 2 Tbsp tamari
    4. Saute until golden brown

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    I Heart Indian Food

    I finally went to an Indian restaurant with a couple of friends. If you're in OKC, it's called Himalayas and it's in Moore off 12th. Definitely unlike anything I've ever had, but in a delicious way. What's more, they were kind enough to have "Vegetarian," "Vegan," "Contains Milk" and such signs above the different items on the buffet. I wish I could tell you what I had, but couldn't pronounce any of it then and today is no different.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    A Picky Toddler

    I may be throwing in the towel a bit early, but my child has got to eat. It turns out that he's attuned enough to what I'm putting on his plate that he can tell it's not what he used to get. I've tried the best Vegan "chicken" and "hot dogs" and he very plainly doesn't like them. I've given these things to him for a couple of weeks now and he is not being fooled. He loves beans. But he shouldn't and won't eat them every day.

    Hopefully, when he's a little older, we can have a discussion about the foods we eat and he can make a decision for himself. I'm obviously not the one to do it for him. It would have been much different if I'd been living this way before he was born. So, begrudged, I bought a bag of Tyson chicken nuggets today.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    A Vegan Home

    It's taken nearly a month, cos it's damn expensive to replace almost everything in your pantry and fridge, but we now have a happy Vegan kitchen. I've managed to give away everything that didn't meet my new standards. There are still some Gerber meals of my son's that I don't yet know what to do with. But yes, it feels good to have a safe, cruelty-free array of foods to cook with now. On the plus side, I've lost 5 pounds since I started eating Vegan a month ago. Not bad. Can't wait to see the results of my cholesterol test at the end of February.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    The Evidence For A Vegan Diet

    It's been a busy week, but although I haven't been blogging, I have started advocating for Veganism, in my own small way. I plan to continue to grow in this effort, may even get involved in leafleting. For now, here is a helpful, informative article.

    The Evidence for a Vegan Diet

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Easy Pasta Topping

    Not feeling saucy? Try sauteed tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a little nondairy butter, sprinkled with garlic, salt, and onion. Just enough body to go with a full plate of your favorite pasta, and a little change off the norm.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    The Truth About Cows

    Here is the first of many posts I will share information about animal cruelty, especially to those in the food industry. I find it pointless to both paraphrase and cite my references when I can just copy and paste and provide a link. Today, lets talk about cows, these graceful giants, and how they have been abused and exploited by the meat and dairy industries. I urge anyone to read this, to be informed, but I will warn you - it is very likely reading this will make you feel sick, or guilty, or outraged, or all of the above, whether you're vegetarian or not. Please, read, and if you find this information as appalling as I do, feel free to check resources for yourself, and share. The only way we can help these animals is to know, and to speak for them.

  • From
    In the U.S., more than 42 million cows suffer and die for the meat and dairy industries every year. When they are still very young, many cows are burned with hot irons (branded), their horns are cut or burned off, and male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums (castrated)—all without painkillers. Once they have grown big enough, they are sent to massive, filthy feedlots where they are exposed to the elements, to be fattened for slaughter. Many female cows are sent to dairy farms, where they will be repeatedly impregnated and separated from their calves until their bodies give out and they are sent to be killed.

    Like all animals, cows form strong maternal bonds with their calves, and on dairy farms and cattle ranches, mother cows can be heard frantically crying out for their calves for several days after they have been separated.

    Cows are gentle giants—large in size but sweet in nature. They are curious, clever animals who have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to escape from slaughterhouses. These very social animals prefer to spend their time together, and they form complex relationships, very much like dogs form packs.

    Cattle are transported hundreds of miles in all weather extremes, typically without food or water, to the slaughterhouse. Many cows die on the way to slaughter, but those who survive are shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun, hung up by one leg, and taken onto the killing floor where their throats are cut and they are skinned and gutted. Some cows remain fully conscious throughout the entire process. In an interview with The Washington Post, one slaughterhouse worker said, "They die piece by piece."

    The Beef Industry
  • From
    To mark cows for identification, ranchers restrain the animals and press hot fire irons into their flesh, causing third-degree burns, as the cows bellow in pain and attempt to escape. Male calves' testicles are ripped from their scrotums without pain relievers, and the horns of cows raised for beef are cut or burned off.

    While "on the range," most cows receive inadequate veterinary care, and as a result, many die from infection and injury. Every winter, cattle freeze to death in states such as Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota. And every summer, cows collapse from heatstroke in states such as Texas and Arizona.

    After about a year of facing the elements, cows are shipped to an auction lot and then across hundreds of miles to massive feedlots—feces- and mud-filled holding pens where they are crammed together by the thousands. Many arrive crippled or dead from the journey.

    Cattle on feedlots are fed a highly unnatural diet to fatten them up. This causes chronic digestive pain—imagine your worst case of gastritis that never goes away. The stomach becomes so full of gas (a condition called bloat) that breathing is impaired because of compression of the lungs. According to a study published in the Journal of Animal Science, this diet also causes potentially fatal liver abscesses in as many as 32 percent of cattle raised for beef. Those animals who escape this fate may still suffer from a severe increase in stomach acid, causing ulcers to form, resulting in a condition (acute acidosis) in which bloody fluid rushes into the rumen and kills the cow.

    The feedlot air is saturated with ammonia, methane, and other noxious chemicals, which build up from the huge amounts of manure, and the cows are forced to inhale these gases constantly. These fumes can give the cows chronic respiratory problems, making breathing painful.

    Cattle raised for food are also regularly dosed with drugs such as antibiotics to make them grow faster and keep them alive in these miserable conditions. Instead of taking sick cattle to see a veterinarian, many feedlot owners simply give the animals even higher doses of human-grade antibiotics in an attempt to keep them alive long enough to make it to the slaughterhouse.

  • From
    Cattle raised for beef are subjected to numerous painful procedures during their lives. These include the repeated infliction of third degree burns (branding), having their testicles ripped out (castration), and the removal of their horns. To minimize costs, all of these practices are routinely conducted without any painkillers.[1]

    The majority of cattle spend their lives on overcrowded feedlots, "standing ankle deep in their own waste eating a diet that makes them sick", as Michael Pollen writes in the New York Times.

    Typical cattle feed includes corn which the animals cannot properly digest, and "fillers" such as sawdust or chicken manure. This unnatural diet can lead to an array of health problems, such as bloat, acidosis (bovine heart burn), diarrhea, ulcers, liver disease, and general weakening of the immune system.[2]

    During transport to feedlots, auctions, and slaughterhouses, cattle also endure extreme cruelty. Food is not given to the animals during transport or the day before since it will not be converted into profitable flesh. Some cattle succumb to pneumonia, dehydration, or heat exhaustion, and may even freeze to the sides of transport vehicles during long trips.

    Dr. Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian, put it this way: "In the summertime, when it's 90, 95 degrees, they're transporting cattle from 12 to 15 hundred miles away on a trailer, 40 to 45 head crammed in there, and some collapse from heat exhaustion. This past winter, we had minus-50-degree weather with the wind chill. Can you imagine if you were in the back of a trailer that's open and the wind-chill factor is minus 50 degrees, and that trailer is going 50 to 60 miles an hour?" [3]

    Those who make it to the slaughterhouse alive are often electrically prodded off the truck.

    Federal law requires that cattle be stunned (rendered insensible to pain) prior to slaughter. Most cattle are shot in the head with a "pistol" that thrusts a metal rod through the skull and into the brain. However, the law is rarely enforced and routinely violated since shooting a struggling animal is difficult and production lines move at an alarming pace.[4] As a result, some animals go through the slaughter process kicking and screaming as they are skinned and dismembered while fully conscious.

    An April 10, 2001 Washington Post expose revealed: "It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Ramon Moreno works... The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren't. 'They blink. They make noises,' he said softly. 'The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.' Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, and the hide puller. 'They die,' said Moreno, 'piece by piece.'"

    1 Rollin, B. 1995. Farm Animal Welfare. pp. 55-65.
    2 Pollen, M. (2001, March 31). Power steer. NY Times.
    3 Eisnitz, G. (1997). Slaughterhouse (p. 211).
    4 Eisnitz, G. (1997). Slaughterhouse.

  • From
    Veal is a by-product of the dairy industry. In order for dairy cows to produce milk, they must be impregnated and give birth. Half of the calves born are female, and they are used to replace older cows in the milking herd.

    The other half are male, and because they are of no use to the dairy industry, most are used for beef or veal.

    Within moments of birth, male calves born on dairies are taken away from their mothers and loaded onto trucks. Many are sold through auction rings where they are subjected to transportation and handling stresses. The fragile animals are shocked and kicked, and when they can no longer walk, they are dragged by their legs or even their ears.

    Every year, approximately one million calves are confined in crates measuring just two feet wide. They are chained by the neck to restrict all movement, making it is impossible for them to turn around, stretch, or even lie down comfortably. This severe confinement makes the calves' meat "tender" since the animals muscles cannot develop.

    Published scientific research indicates that calves confined in crates experience "chronic stress" and require approximately five times more medication than calves living in more spacious conditions. It is not surprising then, that veal is among the most likely meat to contain illegal drug residues which pose a threat to human health.

    Researchers have also reported that calves confined in crates exhibit abnormal coping behaviors associated with frustration. These include head tossing, head shaking, kicking, scratching, and stereotypical chewing behavior. Confined calves also experience leg and joint disorders and an impaired ability to walk.

    In addition to restricting the animals' movement, veal producers severely limit what their animals can eat. The calves are fed an all liquid milk-substitute which is purposely deficient in iron and fiber. It is intended to produce borderline anemia and the pale colored flesh fancied by 'gourmets'. At approximately sixteen weeks of age, these weak animals are slaughtered and marketed as "white" veal (also known as "fancy", "milk-fed", "special fed", and "formula fed" veal). Besides the expensive veal which comes from calves who are kept in small wooden crates, "bob" veal is the flesh of calves who may be slaughtered at just a few hours or days old. While these calves are spared intensive confinement, they are still subjected to inhumane transport, handling, and slaughter, and many die before reaching the slaughterhouse.

    The Milk Industry
  • From
    Traditional small dairies, located primarily in the northeast and midwest are going out of business. They are being replaced by intensive 'dry lot' dairies which are typically located in the southwest.

    Regardless of where they live, however, all dairy cows must give birth in order to begin producing milk. Today, dairy cows are forced to have a calf every year. Like human beings, the cow's gestation period is nine months long, and so giving birth every twelve months is physically demanding. The cows are also forced to give milk during seven months of their nine month pregnancy. In a healthy environment, cows would live in excess of 25 years, but on modern dairies, they are slaughtered after just 3 or 4 years and then used for ground beef. Credit: Farm Sanctuary

    With genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies, it is common for modern dairy cows to produce 100 pounds of milk a day -- ten times more than they would produce in nature. The cows' bodies are under constant stress and they are at risk for numerous health problems.

    Credit: Dr. Michael W. Fox Approximately half of the country's dairy cows suffer from mastitis, a bacterial infection of their udders. This is such a common and costly ailment that a dairy industry group, the National Mastitis Council, was formed specifically to combat the disease. Other diseases, such as Bovine Leukemia Virus, Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus, and Johne's disease (whose human counterpart is Crohn's disease), are also rampant on modern dairies, but they are difficult to detect or have a long incubation period, and they commonly go unnoticed.

    A cow eating a normal grass diet could not produce milk at the abnormal levels expected on modern dairies, and so today's dairy cows must be given high energy feeds. The unnaturally rich diet causes metabolic disorders including ketosis, which can be fatal, and laminitis, which causes lameness.

    Another dairy industry disease caused by intensive milk production is "Milk Fever". This ailment is caused by calcium deficiency, and it occurs when milk secretion uses calcium faster than it can be replenished in the blood.

    Although the dairy industry is familiar with the cows' health problems and suffering associated with intensive milk production, it continues to subject cows to even worse abuses in the name of increased profit. Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), a synthetic hormone, is now being injected into cows to get them to produce even more milk. Besides adversely affecting the cows' health, BGH also increases birth defects in their calves.

  • From
    Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do—to nourish their young—but calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers when they are just one day old and fed milk replacers so that humans can have the milk instead.[1,2]

    In order to keep a steady supply of milk, the cows are repeatedly impregnated. Several times a day, dairy cows are hooked by their udders to electronic milking machines that can cause the cows to suffer electrical shocks, painful lesions, and mastitis.

    Some spend their entire lives standing on concrete floors; others are crammed into massive mud lots.

    Although cows would naturally make only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves (around 16 pounds a day), genetic manipulation, antibiotics, and hormones are used to force each cow to produce more than 18,000 pounds of milk a year (an average of 50 pounds a day).[3,4,5]

    Cows on factory farms suffer from a variety of health problems including mastitis, a painful inflammation of the mammary glands. In order to further increase profits, Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), a synthetic hormone, is now being injected into cows to get them to produce even more milk. The hormones adversely affect the cows' health and increase the rate of birth defects in their calves.[6] BGH may also cause breast and prostate cancer in humans.[7]

    Cows have a natural lifespan of about 25 years and can produce milk for eight or nine years, but the stress caused by factory farm conditions leads to disease, lameness, and reproductive problems that render cows worthless to the dairy industry by the time they are four or five years old, at which time they are sent to the slaughterhouse.[8,9]
    cruelty in a crate

    Few consumers realize that veal is a direct by-product of the dairy industry. Dairy cows must be impregnated in order to produce milk. While female calves are slaughtered or added to the dairy herd, many male calves are taken from their mothers when they are as young as one day old and chained in tiny stalls to be raised for veal.[10,11]

    The confinement is so extreme that they cannot even turn around or lie down comfortably.[12] As author John Robbins notes, "The veal calf would actually have more space if, instead of chaining him in such a stall, you stuffed him into the trunk of a subcompact car and kept him there for his entire life."

    Many veal calves are deliberately kept anemic in order to produce light-colored meat, which fetches higher prices in restaurants. Their liquid-based, iron-deficient diets cause numerous health problems.

    Motherless and alone, they suffer from ulcers, diarrhea, pneumonia, and lameness.[13,14] After three to 18 weeks of this deprivation, they are trucked to the slaughterhouse and butchered.

    1 Goldstein, D. (2002, May 30). Up close: a beef with dairy. KCAL.
    2 Mad Cow Casts Light on Beef Uses. (2004, Jan. 4). L.A. Times.
    3 National Agriculture Statistics Service. (2004, Feb. 17). Milk production. United States Department of Agriculture.
    4 Blaney, D.P. (2002, June). The changing landscape of U.S. milk production. Statistical Bulletin Number 978, United States Department of Agriculture.
    5 Pace, D. Feeding a bucket calf. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State University.
    6 Christiansen, A. (1995, July). Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone: alarming Tests, unfounded approval. Rural Vermont.
    7 McKenzie, J. (1998, Dec. 15). Is cow's milk additive safe? ABC News.
    8 Karpf, A. (2003, Dec. 13). Dairy monsters. The Guardian.
    9 Wallace, R.L. (2004). Market cows: a potential profit center. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    10 Kahler, S. C. (2001, Jan. 15). Raising contented cattle makes welfare, production sense. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
    11 Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA. (2003, Feb.). Safety of veal, from farm to table.
    12 Webster, A. J. F. & Saville, C. et al. (1985). The effect of different rearing systems on the development of calf behaviour. British Veterinary Journal, 141, 249-265.
    13 Friedlander, L. C. May 23, 2002. Letter to New Jersey Assembly.
    14 McDonough SP, Stull CL, Osburn BI. (1994). Enteric pathogens in intensively reared veal calves. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 55, 1516-1520.

  • From
    The dairy industry spends a lot of money on advertising. You can find dairy ads in magazines, on television, in school cafeterias and on billboards. It is almost impossible to grow up in our society without being told how great dairy products are.

    They definitely fooled me. As a teenager, I was a very proud dairy consumer. Even after I had become vegetarian, I still continued to consume dairy products. I knew that animals were abused and killed for meat, but didn't see anything wrong with dairy. Cows need to be milked and milk is good for us. Those messages were completely ingrained in me. When I was twenty, I found out the true facts about the dairy industry and decided to make the step to veganism. I would like to share those facts with you, so you can make your own informed decisions.

    Cows are mammals. Just like other mammals, when a cow has a baby, her body will make enough milk for her baby. In a normal situation, cows don't need any help getting rid of too much milk. The goal of the dairy industry however, is to make as much money as possible. To get more money, they have several commonly used methods to get cows to produce more milk:

    a dairy cow is impregnated every year, so she continues to produce a steady supply of milk. This is usually done through artificial insemination.

    calves are removed from their mothers almost right after birth.

    especially in intensive dairy farming, cows are genetically engineered and fed growth hormones to force them to produce more milk.

    I recently visited a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. Most dairy cows are raised in intensive factory farms, where the situation for the cows is of course much worse. Still, I think this small dairy farm illustrates some common dairy practices really well.

    The dairy cows are chained by their necks and kept indoors most of the day. Cow trainers hang above the cows to give them a shock when they arch their backs. This forces them to move back to drop urine and manure into a gutter. They are artificially inseminated each year and are milked on average 305 days per year. As with humans, a cow's pregnancy lasts nine months. Having to give birth every year is physically very demanding.

    Even though this small dairy farm has given their cows names in addition to their numbers, it is very clear that their cows are viewed as not much more than milk machines.

    After giving birth, their babies are removed from them and kept in another building. I asked someone who works at the dairy farm about this and was told that removing the calves after birth is "standard practice in the dairy industry".

    Most cows in the regular dairy industry are also given growth hormones, causing their udders to become unnaturally big and heavy, resulting in frequent infections. The Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) also increases birth defects in calves.

    The average modern dairy cow will produce about 100 pounds of milk per day, which is 10 times more than it would naturally produce. Normally cows can live an average of 25 years. Dairy cows are slaughtered and made into ground beef after about 3-4 years. Because of the intense abuse wrought upon their poor bodies, dairy cows - like beef cattle - also frequently end up being unable to walk or stand, causing them to be severely mistreated.

    In the dairy industry, calves are removed from their mothers not long after being born (either right after birth or within 1-2 days). Female calves will be raised to become dairy cows and male calves will be raised and slaughtered for meat. Most male calves are killed for beef, but some will end up in the awful veal industry.

    After being removed from their mothers, veal calves are loaded onto trucks and often sold at auctions. These small and fragile calves are often treated very roughly. If they are unable to walk, they will be dragged by their legs or ears.

    Veal calves are confined in crates measuring about two feet wide. To make their meat more "tender", their movements are restrained by chains around their necks. To give a white color to their meat, the calves are fed an all-liquid milk-substitute, purposely deficient in iron and fiber. After about 16 weeks, these poor calves are slaughtered and their meat is sold labeled as "white" veal. "Bob" veal comes from calves who are slaughtered when they are only a few hours or days old.

    The organic meat and dairy industry have become very popular recently. However, just like any other industry, the organic dairy industry has to make a profit. Even at organic dairy farms, cows are kept constantly pregnant, calves are removed from their mothers and male calves are turned into beef or veal.

    Especially at larger organic farms, the treatment of the animals very much resembles that of factory farmed animals. There are very few regulations in place that deal with the amount of space the animals should be given or the amount of time they should be allowed outside.

    Most animals raised organically are still handled, transported and slaughtered the same awful way factory farm animals are. They are still forcefully thrown into trucks where they are subjected to transportation without protection from heat or cold and without access to food or water. They are still hung upside down, have their throats slit and bleed to death, often while fully conscious.

    Is Dairy Healthy?

    Definitely! It is very healthy food for the calves whose tiny bodies need to grow into big cows. Just like the breast milk from any other mammal, it is especially formulated for the babies for whom it is intended. Dairy is high in fat, protein and cholesterol. It is low in carbohydrates and contains no fiber.

    Should humans be consuming it? Absolutely not! There is no need at all for humans to be consuming the breast milk from another species. The best food for human babies is human breast milk. After a baby is done nursing, there is no need to switch to the breast milk from a cow.

    Dairy products are in fact the leading cause of food allergies. They contain more than 25 different proteins that may induce allergic reactions in humans. Lactose intolerance, the inability to digest the carbohydrate known as lactose found in milk, is common to about 90% of adult blacks and Asians. This condition causes symptoms like diarrhea, gas and stomach cramps.

    Breastfed babies can get colic and other milk-related food allergies if the mother consumes dairy products. Colic is the common allergic reaction infants have to proteins found in cow's milk. They give the baby stomach cramps, which cause persistent fussing and crying.

    If you're still reading, there is more I'd like to share. This is about the book "Slaughterhouse" by investigative journalist Gail Eisnitz. She visited every slaughterhouse in the continental United States, as a method to rule out the "bad seed" excuse. I have yet to read it myself, have only heard excerpts, but I feel that I owe it to the animals to suffer through it. As I said, we are their only voice. Again, I warn, this is hard stuff to read, especially when you get to the section with quotes from slaughterhouse workers. But, knowledge is power. We can do this.

  • From The Humane Farming Association:
    Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry by HFA Chief Investigator Gail Eisnitz.

    "Slaughterhouse is an engaging true-life detective story.... A scathing broadside about exactly what the animals on our dinner plate went through to get there." - The San Francisco Chronicle

    Slaughterhouse is the first book in which workers in the meat industry speak publicly about what is actually taking place in America’s slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouse chronicles HFA's landmark investigations and recounts HFA Investigator Gail Eisnitz' harrowing journey as she enters the meat industry subculture. The book details the industry's wholesale disregard of the Humane Slaughter Act, a federal law passed in 1958 intended to protect slaughter-bound animals from cruelty.

    Eisnitz's investigation begins with a single complaint from a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) worker alleging that cattle there are having their heads skinned while fully conscious. This single complaint becomes a full-scale, groundbreaking investigation.

    Shockingly, slaughterhouse workers admit to deliberately beating, strangling, boiling, or dismembering animals alive. Today’s slaughter line does not stop for anything: Not for injured workers, not for contaminated meat, and least of all, not for sick or disabled animals.

    Due to meteoric line speeds, workers are often unable to stun or bleed animals adequately, and, as a result, animals proceed through the butchering process fully conscious. In the words of one worker: "These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water, and just start screaming and kicking. I'm not sure whether the hogs burn to death before drowning. The water is 140 degrees." Poultry, exempt from coverage under the Humane Slaughter Act, are routinely conscious when immersed in the scald tank as well. Following long government paper trails, it is revealed that contaminated meat and poultry are pouring out of federally-inspected slaughterhouses. Records document major meat packers that marinate rancid meat to disguise slime and smell.... Plant employees miss hide, hair, ear canals, and teeth in product approved by the facility.... Chickens and hams are soaked in chlorine baths to remove slime and odor, and red dye is added to beef to make it appear fresh....

    Top federal inspectors go on record stating that, due to inspection policies developed in collusion with the meat industry, they are virtually powerless to enforce slaughterhouse laws. Not surprisingly, deaths from foodborne illness have quadrupled in the past 15 years.

  • From
    In the midst of our high-tech, ostentatious, hedonistic lifestyle, among the dazzling monuments to history, art, religion, and commerce, there are the 'black boxes.' These are the biomedical research laboratories, factory farms, and slaughterhouses - faceless compounds where society conducts its dirty business of abusing and killing innocent, feeling beings.

    These are our Dachaus, our Buchenwalds, our Birkenaus. Like the good German burghers, we have a fair idea of what goes on there, but we don't want any reality checks. We rationalize that the killing has to be done and that it's done humanely. We fear that the truth would offend our sensibilities and perhaps force us to do something. It may even change our life.

    Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz of the Humane Farming Association is a gut-wrenching, chilling, yet carefully documented, expose of unspeakable torture and death in America's slaughterhouses. It explodes their popular image of obscure factories that turn dumb 'livestock' into sterile, cellophane-wrapped 'food' in the meat display case. The testimony of dozens of slaughterhouse workers and USDA inspectors pulls the curtain on abominable hellholes, where the last minutes of innocent, feeling, intelligent horses, cows, calves, pigs, and chickens are turned into interminable agony. And, yes, the book may well change your life. Here are some sample quotes (warning! extremely offensive material follows).

    The agony starts when the animals are hauled over long distances under extreme crowding and harsh temperatures. Here is an account from a worker assigned to unloading pigs: "In the winter, some hogs come in all froze to the sides of the trucks. They tie a chain around them and jerk them off the walls of the truck, leave a chunk of hide and flesh behind. They might have a little bit of life left in them, but workers just throw them on the piles of dead ones. They'll die sooner or later."

    Once at the slaughterhouse, some animals are too injured to walk and others simply refuse to go quietly to their deaths. This is how the workers deal with it: "The preferred method of handling a cripple is to beat him to death with a lead pipe before he gets into the chute... If you get a hog in a chute that's had the shit prodded out of him, and has a heart attack or refuses to move, you take a meat hook and hook it into his bunghole (anus)...and a lot of times the meat hook rips out of the bunghole. I've seen thighs completely ripped open. I've also seen intestines come out."

    And here is what awaits the animals on the kill floor. First, the testimony of a horse slaughterhouse worker: "You move so fast you don't have time to wait till a horse bleeds out. You skin him as he bleeds. Sometimes a horse's nose is down in the blood, blowing bubbles, and he suffocates."

    Then another worker, on cow slaughter: "A lot of times the skinner finds a cow is still conscious when he slices the side of its head and it starts kicking wildly. If that happens, ... the skinner shoves a knife into the back of its head to cut the spinal cord." (This paralyzes the animal, but doesn't stop the pain of being skinned alive.) And still another, on calf slaughter: "To get done with them faster, we'd put eight or nine of them in the knocking box at a time... You start shooting, the calves are jumping, they're all piling up on top of each other. You don't know which ones got shot and which didn't... They're hung anyway, and down the line they go, wriggling and yelling"(to be slaughtered while fully conscious).

    And on pig slaughter: "If the hog is conscious, ... it takes a long time for him to bleed out. These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water, and start kicking and screaming... There's a rotating arm that pushes them under. No chance for them to get out. I am not sure if they burn to death before they drown, but it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing."

    The work takes a major emotional toll on the workers. Here's one worker's account: "I've taken out my job pressure and frustration on the animals, on my wife, ... and on myself, with heavy drinking." Then it gets a lot worse: "... with an animal who pisses you off, you don't just kill it. You ... blow the windpipe, make it drown in its own blood, split its nose... I would cut its eye out... and this hog would just scream. One time I ... sliced off the end of a hog's nose. The hog went crazy, so I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into his nose. Now that hog really went nuts..."

    Safety is a major problem for workers who operate sharp instruments standing on a floor slippery with blood and gore, surrounded by conscious animals kicking for their lives, and pressed by a speeding slaughter line. Indeed, 36 percent incur serious injuries, making their work the most hazardous in America. Workers who are disabled and those who complain about working conditions are fired and frequently replaced by undocumented aliens. A few years ago, 25 workers were burned to death in a chicken slaughterhouse fire in Hamlet, NC, because management had locked the safety doors to prevent theft.

    Here is a worker's account: "The conditions are very dangerous, and workers aren't well trained for the machinery. One machine has a whirring blade that catches people in it. Workers lose fingers. One woman's breast got caught in it and was torn off. Another's shirt got caught and her face was dragged into it."

    Although Slaughterhouse focuses on animal cruelty and worker safety, it also addresses the issues of consumer health, including the failure of the federal inspection system. There is a poignant testimony from the mother of a child who ate a hamburger contaminated with E. coli: "After Brianne's second emergency surgery, surgeons left her open from her sternum to her pubic area to allow her swollen organs room to expand and prevent them from ripping her skin... Her heart ... bled from every pore. The toxins shut down Brianne's liver and pancreas. An insulin pump was started. Several times her skin turned black for weeks. She had a brain swell that the neurologists could not treat... They told us that Brianne was essentially brain-dead."

    Slaughterhouse has some problems. In an attempt to reflect the timeline of the investigation, the presentation suffers from poor organization and considerable redundancy. But that's a bit like criticizing the testimony on my Holocaust experiences because of my Polish accent. The major problem is not with the content of the book, but with the publisher's cover design. The title and the headless carcasses pictured on the dust jacket effectively ensure that the book will not be read widely and that the shocking testimony inside will not get out to the consuming public.

    And that's a pity. Because the countless animals whose agony the book documents so graphically deserve to have their story told. And because Slaughterhouse is the most powerful argument for meatless eating that I have ever read. Eisnitz' closing comment "Now you know, and you can help end these atrocities" should be fair warning. After nearly 25 years of work on farm animal issues, including leading several slaughterhouse demonstrations, I was deeply affected. Indeed, reading Slaughterhouse has changed my life.

  • From Quotes from Slaughterhouse Workers from Gail Eisnitz’s book Slaughterhouse:
    “I seen them take those stunners – they’re about as long as a yard stick – and shove it up the hog’s ass… They do it with cows, too… And in their ears, their eyes, down their throat… They’ll be squealing and they’ll just shove it right down there.”

    “Hogs get stressed out pretty easy. If you prod them too much they have heart attacks. If you get a hog in a chute that’s had the shit prodded out of him and has a heart attack or refuses to move, you take a meat hook and hook it into his bunghole [anus]. You’re dragging these hogs alive, and a lot of times the meat hook rips out of the bunghole. I’ve seen hams – thighs – completely ripped open. I’ve also seen intestines come out. If the hog collapses near the front of the chute, you shove the meat hook into his cheek and drag him forward.”

    “Or in their mouth. The roof of their mouth. And they’re still alive.”

    “Pigs on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them – beat them to death with a pipe.”

    “These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water and start screaming and kicking. Sometimes they thrash so much they kick water out of the tank… Sooner or later they drown. There’s a rotating arm that pushes them under, no chance for them to get out. I’m not sure if they burn to death before they drown, but it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing.”

    “Sometimes I grab it [a hog] by the ear and stick it right through the eye. I’m not just taking its eye out, I’ll go all the way to the hilt, right up through the brain, and wiggle the knife.”

    “Only you don’t just kill it, you go in hard, push hard, blow the windpipe, make it drown in its own blood. Split its nose. A live hog would be running around the pit. It would just be looking up at me and I’d be sticking, and I would just take my knife and – cut its eye out while it was just standing there. And this hog would just scream.”

    “I could tell you horror stories… about cattle getting their heads stuck under the gate guards and the only way you can get it out is to cut their heads off while they’re still alive.”

    “He’ll kick them [hogs], fork them, use anything he can get his hands on. He’s already broken three pitchforks so far this year, just jabbing them. He doesn’t care if he hits its eyes, head, butt. He jabs them so hard he busts the wooden handles. And he clubs them over the back.”

    “I’ve seen live animals shackled, hoisted, stuck, and skinned. Too many to count, too many to remember. It’s just a process that’s continually there. I’ve seen shackled beef looking around before they’ve been stuck. I’ve seen hogs [that are supposed to be lying down] on the bleeding conveyor get up after they’ve been stuck. I’ve seen hogs in the scalding tub trying to swim.”

    “I seen guys take broomsticks and stick it up the cow’s behind, screwing them with a broom.”

    “I’ve drug cows till their bones start breaking, while they were still alive. Bringing them around the corner and they get stuck up in the doorway, just pull them till their hide be ripped, till the blood just drip on the steel and concrete. Breaking their legs… And the cow be crying with its tongue stuck out. They pull him till his neck just pop.”

    “One time I took my knife – it’s sharp enough – and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into his nose. Now that hog really went nuts, pushing its nose all over the place. I still had a bunch of salt in my hand – I was wearing a rubber glove – and I stuck the salt right up the hog’s ass. The poor hog didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.”
  • Veg-Friendly Or No, Don't Judge Too Quickly

    Upon first referencing Vegan Eating Out and then perusing the menu, I was not thrilled about having chosen Applebee's for dinner tonight. Their pasta is made with egg, and they had very few vegetable mixes to choose from. I told the waitress that I'm Vegan and I ended up ordering a house salad minus the cheese, bacon, and crutons with Italian dressing, and then a side of roasted onions, red peppers, and portobello mushrooms.

    I forgot to request the vegetables be cooked in oil, so I got up just about 10 seconds after our waitress left to find her. She's was talking to her manager, and when she'd finished I apologized for interrupting her, but that I'd forgotten to request the oil. Another manager was standing right there, and he said, that's what we were just talking about, we have canola oil and we'll make sure they are cooked in that for you, not a problem. So I thanked them both and walked away feeling impressed with the waitress and grateful that she had put that much thought into my order.

    After this I was greeted with my house salad, which also impressed me, as it contained a mixture of both iceburg and romaine - yay! My vegetables were cooked well and a great combination. So, even though it wasn't the most ideal meal it was a pleasant experience after all. So, if you're looking at a menu with dismay, just remember that you're allowed to be creative, unapologetic, and give your - likely experienced - waitstaff the benefit of the doubt.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Pan-Fried Beans and Kale

    I modified this recipe to suit my tastes and pantry. I ended up with a dish full of flavor, texture, and nutrition. You can go here for the original recipe, though it does call for parmesan cheese. This barely makes enough to feed two, so you may want to add a bit to the ingredients listed here. Enjoy!

    Pan-Fried Beans & Kale
  • 2-3 large leaves of kale, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra light olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked beans, or 1 can beans (I used pinto)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c chopped pecans
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • scant 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 c grated nondairy cheese or nutritional yeast

    1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.
    2. Add beans in a single layer, stirring to coat. (If using canned beans, be gentle! or you'll end up with mush.)
    3. Add kale and salt to the pan and cook for less than a minute, just long enough for the kale to lose a bit of its structure.
    4. Stir in pecans and garlic. Wait 10 seconds then stir in nutmeg. Wait 10 seconds to stir in the lemon juice.
    5. Remove from heat and serve with cheese or yeast.
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    The First Cooking of Seitan (Say-Tahn)

    First off, unrelated to seitan, I've decided that I'm okay with my son eating Vegan meals at home. Being a single parent, it just doesn't make sense to buy two different types of food, especially when he's so small (3 years). And it definitely makes my stomach stop turning at the thought of continuing to feed him animal products, knowing what I know about the abuse to those animals raised just for our consumption. Again, to be shared in a later post.

    This is a recipe I just threw together but turned out de-licious. Simple, and quick, which is what we sometimes need after a long day at work. This makes enough to feed two, or to have leftovers (which I look forward to tomorrow!). Enjoy!

    Seitan Stir Fry
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 c soy sauce or tamari + 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 c baby broccoli florets
  • 1 c cubed butternut squash
  • 8 oz. traditional seitan* cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 c cooked jasmine or other whole-grain rice

    1. Heat the water and 1/4 c soy or tamari in a large skillet.
    2. Add vegetables and seitan once liquid has reached a simmer.
    3. Cook until vegetables are to desired tenderness and seitan is heated through.
    4. Prepare a bed of the cooked rice, and add the 1/2 Tbsp of soy or tamari.
    5. Use tongs to assemble cooked stir-fry over rice.

    *Seitan is pure wheat protein, or gluten. If you have a gluten allergy you can certainly substitute tofu, just fry in a separate skillet before adding to the rest of the mixture.
  • Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Smoothie = Yum :)

    This morning I made a delicious smoothie. This is another recipe I got from "Food for Thought."

  • 1 whole banana
  • half cup of blueberries
  • 2 or 3 strawberries
  • a bit of orange juice
  • about a cup of nondairy milk (I use almond)
  • my 2 tsp flaxseed for Omega-3s

    This made about a 16-ounce glass full, so it could easily be put in a mug for on-the-go. How delicious, and how nutritious.
  • Friday, January 6, 2012

    A Day Of Firsts

    I had three new experiences today. First, I had ground flaxseed with my oatmeal this morning. I bought it pre-ground in the refrigerated section of the store, to supplement my omega-3 fatty acids. It was recommended to me by a Vegan friend, who uses it in her daily smoothie, and also in a "Food for Thought" podcast.

    Second, I cooked quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) for the first time and was quite impressed by this little seed. It is like cooking rice, is gluten-free, and is a complete, yes, complete protein. It can be eaten as a snack, a light meal, breakfast - as it can be seasoned and added to a variety of dishes. I also picked up some quinoa "spaghetti," to give it a try.

    Third, I did my first Vegan baking today: a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting for my boyfriend's daughter's birthday, and chocolate brownies as a bereavement gift for a family. The cake was a success, waiting for the brownies to cool to make sure I'm not delivering a disaster, and I've shared the recipes for all below. I don't know if that's legal, but I suppose I will find out. For the few people that read this blog, I am sharing these experiences not just for my own reflection, but in hopes that I begin to fathom to be a positive influence and resource for other compassionate humans. Enjoy!

    Chocolate Brownies
    From The Joy of Vegan Baking – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

    • 1 ½ c granulated sugar
    • ¾ c unsweetened applesauce
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 2 tsp ground flaxseed
    • ½ c water
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
    • ¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ¾ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 c nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 c coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With canola oil, grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.
    2. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the sugar, applesauce, and 2 Tbsp water.
    3. In a small bowl or food processor, combine the ground flaxseed with the ½ c water. Add this to the applesauce mixture, along with the vanilla, and stir to combine.
    4. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, and nuts, if using. Add to the applesauce mixture, and stir just to combine.
    5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. The finished product should be moist. Bake longer if you like a cakier result. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    Chocolate Cake
    From The Joy of Vegan Baking – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

    • 1 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
    • ¾ c granulated sugar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ¼ c unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 c canola oil
    • 1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
    • 1 c cold water

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a Bundt pan, 9-inch springform pan, or muffin tins.
    2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water. Mix until just combined. Pour into your prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If making cupcakes, check for doneness after 15 minutes.
    3. Cool on a wire rack. To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely before frosting. You may also dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar and top with fresh raspberries.

    Buttercream Frosting
    From The Joy of Vegan Baking – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

    • ½ c non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, at room temperature
    • 2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 Tbsp nondairy milk, or more as needed
    • Food coloring (optional)

    1. With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
    2. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, milk, and food coloring (if using).
    3. Once all the ingredients are relatively well combined, beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp more milk if it is too dry.
    4. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    The First Cooking of Tofu

    I didn't have a recipe, just got some things together that sounded good.

  • firm tofu, drained, skillet fried with Earth Balance spread, seasoned with Italian seasoning and garlic salt
  • angelhair pasta
  • marinara sauce with a can of tomato paste and mixed vegetables
  • grated Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet mozzarella style

    At first I didn't think the tofu would cook in time but it turned out great, and all the flavors together were quite nice. I ended up making enough for two helpings of leftovers :)
  • Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Knowledge Is Power: Power To Relieve Suffering

    I've been spending time copying recipes and listening to podcasts of "Vegetarian Food for Thought" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cook. All that and impending homework hasn't allowed me much blog time. But I'm learning a lot more about leading a compassionate Vegan life that makes me happier and happier that I've made this choice. I would love to regurgitate some of the horrific things I've learned about the meat, dairy, and egg industries but I will have to save that for a more in-depth blog post with included references. Just know that Colleen came highly recommended to me and that I'm passing along that recommendation. A friend graciously burned all her podcasts to cd for me, and I can't get enough of this wealth of information about my new diet, and so many reasons to no longer include animal products in my life. I do feel a strong need to inform others, so as I said I'll be following up with a more informative post.
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