7.30.2010

Vegan Quote from Albert Schweitzer

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
—Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)

7.29.2010

We Are Creating!

This is a quote from an episode of "Deconstructing Dinner," forgive me for not remembering the exact author of these lines, but they are just too good to not share:

"It's not just an environmental crisis, it's a moral crisis. And we're never going to solve that by being mere consumers. We have to say 'No, we are creating,' either the solution or the problem."

7.27.2010

Appleby and Me Together for a Day

A few days ago I learned a lot about opossums and much about the misunderstanding we humans have about them. As I was running errands around town, I found this little guy sitting on the sidewalk in broad daylight. I am not sure how he got there, but it was not a mystery why he couldn't leave. For some reason, he was not able to walk. He could move his hind legs but was not able to lift his behind up in the air and stand on all fours.

I fed him a plum and then someone else walking by game him an apricot. He loved both fruits and devoured them. Seeing that Animal Control was going to do nothing positive for him, I decided to take responsibility for the little guy. Someone brought over a box to put him in, on the outside of the box it read Appleby, so that is what I named him. After doing some research, I found a rescue center near by that takes in wild animals, rehabilitates them and puts them back into the wild once they are ready to survive on their own.

I also found out about OSUS The Opossum Society of the United States. They are dedicated to the understanding, protection and preservation of the opossum. If you ever find a injured or baby opossum which seems like it might need some help, don't call animal control, because they might euthanize it. Call OSUS first and save it's life! www.opossumsocietyus.org

I only had Appleby for a short while, but during that time I became so found of him. He was so sweet and gentle. After I dropped him off at the shelter, I was very sad and I still miss him, but I know he is in good hands and with people that will care for him properly. Opossums belong in the wild, to be free and happy amongst their own kind.

Opossum Facts

*Opossums lived during the Age of the Dinosaurs...fossil remain have been found from 70 million years ago! This means that the opossum is part of the Earth's oldest surviving mammal family.
*The opossum doesn't have a permanent "nest" because it is nocturnal and transient. It will spend an average of 2-3 days in the same hideout, then move on. Some weeks later it may return to your place, depending on your hospitality.
*Opossums may growl, drool, and show their 50 teeth when frightened, but in reality are placid and prefer to avoid any confrontation.
*Slow-moving with very sensitive hearing and smell, opossums are not territorial and will adapt to any environment where food, water and shelter exist.
*Besides their natural predators in the wild, humans, cars and cats are the demise for this docile creature. Very few survive to adulthood, and usually live only 1-2 years if they do.
*"Playing 'possum" if one of the most effective ways the opossum defends itself. When unable to flee, extreme fear places the opossum into an involuntary coma. They become stiff and their mouth will gape open. This condition will last 40 minutes to 4 hours. Most predators will abandon their attach, one the opossum is thought to be dead.
*Opossums can not jump. An opossum may get into a trash can if it has already been knocked over by another animal, or if it's against a fence and the opossum drops into it, which can trap the opossum in the trash can. Just tip the trash can over and eventually the opossum will scramble away.
*Baby opossums are usually born between the months of February and June.

7.26.2010

Meatless Monday Original Recipe: Sweet Veggie Rice Pasta

Ingredients:
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
1 package of rice pasta
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh sage
1/2 tbsp. fresh thyme
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup plum sauce
1 cup raw cashews, chopped

Boil water and cook noodles. Meanwhile, saute onion and bell pepper for a few minutes. Add cabbage and cook for another minute or two. Add cashews, soy sauce, plum sauce and balsamic vinegar and simmer for a few more minutes. Once noodles are done, add them to the veggies along with the fresh sage and thyme. Simmer for a minute or so, while covered. Then serve, sit down and enjoy the meal!

7.23.2010

Story of Cosmetics

What's in your shampoo? And your deodorant? And your make-up?

Could it be a proven carcinogen or debilitating neurotoxin? How could you know either way?



Well, some awesome people have made it a point to hold the industry accountable this week and they're pushing for honest labeling and obviously a transition to non-toxic ingredients (good thing I already MAKE my own cosmetics and avoid the hazardous, animal-testing industry anyway!).

Please watch "The Story of Cosmetics" to learn more and find out how to demand change!

This informative and playful video was made by the people at "The Story of Stuff" so be sure to catch their original short documentary about the cycle of consumption, and then "The Story of Bottled Water" to finally ditch that plastic bottle and say hello to a wonderful reusable!

We can do it! Empower yourself with knowledge!

& Have a great weekend :)

7.22.2010

Yummy vegan recipes online!

For those of you new to veganism and not yet decided enough to buy a cookbook, the internet is a great source for tons of excellent vegan recipes.  Sometimes, however, it's good to know the recipes are coming from a person who has children that test and approve dishes before they make their way online!

Enter Dreena, mother of three children and author of three cookbooks, who already writes an excellent blog: http://vivelevegan.blogspot.com/, has yet another blog strictly for recipes: http://viveleveganrecipes.blogspot.com/

I can't wait to try out those peanut butter cookies! Yumm!

7.20.2010

Sweet'n Healthy Sweet Potatoes

Whether you call them yams or sweet potatoes, they're good and good for you. Their orange color is a marker for their beta-carotene content. In addition, sweet potatoes contain calcuim, figber, iron, potassium and vitamins, A, B6 and C. Rated top vegetable in overall nutritional value by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

They may help to stabilize blood sugar levels. That makes them an excellent substitute for white potatoes, whether baked, mashed or turned into fries.
When shopping for sweets, look for roots that are clean, plump, dry and smooth. Store them in a cool, dry place, never refrigerate. They can be stored up to a month, although they are best used within a week or two of purchase.

The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission recommends cutting the roots with a stainless steel knife, as a carbon blade will cause the roots to darken. The commission also suggests using metal rather than bamboo skewers if using sweet potatoes in kebobs; the metal will help cook the potato from the inside.

Sweet Potato Fries

4 sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven 400F. Coat baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2" thick lengthwise strips: toss with oil. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet; bake 15-20 mins.
3. Turn potatoes over; bake additional 15-20 mins or until golden brown.
4. Arrange fries on a platter. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.

Note: For a sweeter version, omit parsley and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg before baking.

Serves 6

Per serving: 142 calories, 2g protein, 5g fat, 4g fiber, 23g carbohydrate, 71mg sodium.

Article from Energy Times, March 2010

7.19.2010

Farmer's Market Roast

Saturday night I made this recipe, inspired by a dinner I had at a non-veg friend's house a few months back and taking full advantage of the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market bounty: French fingerling potatoes (about 1/2 lb) from Out Of Step Farms, asparagus (1 bunch), yellow summer squash (3 ea), spring onions (1/2, sliced) and organic tofu from the Isla Vista Co-op.

Here's what you do:
Clean and chop veggies into large chunks. I cut the ends off the asparagus and then diagonally sliced into threes. You want the tofu large--a slightly large bite-size.

Grease a pan or baking dish with safflower oil and throw all the veggies and tofu in.  Lightly season with salt and pepper if you like and then pour in 1 cup of vegetable broth (organic and homemade is best, but any kind will do. Watch out for those with high sodium!).  Then simply put in a preheated oven at 375 degrees Farenheit for 30 minutes at which point you want to mix the roasting veggies and add more broth if needed (you want to have a bit of delicious juice when you're done). Turn the dish around and bake for 15 minutes more. Check that all the veggies are cooked through (I was most concerned about the squash, since crunchy warm squash gives me nightmares) and ENJOY!

7.16.2010

Happy Friday-Quote of the Day!

Happy Friday everyone!

"When we eat animals who have died violent deaths, we literally eat their FEAR." -John Robbins (from Diet for a New America)

Try to eat compassionately this weekend. Whatever works for you......even the slightest decrease in animal products in your diet is a GREAT improvement.

Till Monday.........

7.15.2010

Anyway, thanks for listening


Colleen Patrick-Goudreau - Vegan Educator from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau on Vimeo.

This is just a reminder for me to "speak my truth" a bit more. It's so easy to get timid about lifestyle choices, especially when they're very different from most others, but it's important to be true to your values, lend an ear and humbly speak what you know to be good.

7.14.2010

Excerpt from interview with Jonathan Safran Foer

Excerpted from Vegetarian Times (May/June 2010) by: Ross Sismonini

Q: How are people's diets affected by the language used to talk about food?

JSF: One of the fastest-growing sectors in the food industry is cage-free eggs. People want to know that the hens producing the eggs they're eating had decent lives. The industry takes "cage-free" as literally as they possibly can, which is to say the animal is literally not in a cage. But 30,000 birds in a single room-where the space allotted each one isn't more than a cage-is simply not what people have in mind when they go out of their way to buy cage-free. Labeling needs to be more accurate.

Q: In Eating Animals, you talk about food, especially meat, in the context of tradition. How can traditions be reinvented so that they don't further distance us from, as you say, what's at the end of our fork?

JSF: Eating is often used to facilitate conversation about what our values are. That's what's so great about ritual. The turkey at Thanksgiving isn't important because it's a turkey, it's important because it's a symbol that makes us think about the past, about how great it is to be American, about what we're thankful for. But Thanksgiving could be an opportunity to serve a conversation that maybe isn't served as often as it could be-about who we are and why we do things the way we do. The absence of a turkey is a much better vehicle for that conversation than the presence of one.

I love that last line.

7.13.2010

Kale: Brief Nutrition and History

Nutritional Value

Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K & C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. As with brocoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.

History

Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales. Today one may differentiate between varieties according to the low, intermediate, or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colours range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown. Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.

During World War 2, the cultivation of kale in the U.K. was encouraged by the "Dig for Victory" campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing.

Kai-lan, a separate cultivar of Brassica oleracea much used in Chinese cuisine, is somewhat similar to kale in appearance and is occasionally called "kale" in English.

Info from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale

7.12.2010

Broiled Pesto Tomatoes

This is one of my favorite and easy recipes. Also, they are always a hit with my friends.......very yummy!

2 beefsteak tomatoes
1-1/2 cup of fresh basil, stems removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tbsp nutritional yeast mixture*
1/2 cup pine nuts
EVOO

Start by cutting the tomatoes in half. Scoop out all the seeds and "gooey" part of the tomatoes. In a small food processor put the basil, garlic, nutritional yeast mixture, and pine nuts. Add a bit of EVOO and begin to pulse until all ingredients begin to puree. Continue adding EVOO and pulsing until the texture is that of a very wet paste. Most of you have seen pesto, so you know what you're looking for. Spoon the mixture into the tomato halves until full. Put the filled tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Put into a broiler and broil for 2-4 minutes until golden and bubbly on top. Enjoy!

** To make the nutritional yeast topping, grind equal parts of nutritional yeast and flaxseeds in a coffee grinder until the mixture is a powder. This can be stored in the fridge and used as a substitute for parmesan cheese in pesto, soups, pasta, etc.

7.09.2010

Vegetarian Quote from Isaac Bashevis Singer

As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)

http://www.veganoutreach.org/advocacy/quotes.html

About the author Issac Bashevis Singer's vegetarian side:

Singer was a prominent vegetarian for the last 35 years of his life and often included vegetarian themes in his works. In his short story, The Slaughterer, he described the anguish of an appointed slaughterer trying to reconcile his compassion for animals with his job of killing them. He felt that the ingestion of meat was a denial of all ideals and all religions: "How can we speak of right and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its blood?" When asked if he had become a vegetarian for health reasons, he replied: "I did it for the health of the chickens."

In The Letter Writer, he wrote "In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka."

In the preface to Steven Rosen's "Food for Spirit: Vegetarianism and the World Religions" (1986), Singer wrote, "When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It's unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent. I can never accept inconsistency or injustice. Even if it comes from God. If there would come a voice from God saying, "I'm against vegetarianism!" I would say, "Well, I am for it!" This is how strongly I feel in this regard."

This information is from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Bashevis_Singer

7.08.2010

PVC or Leather? How about neither!

Recently a coworker brought up his issues with veganism (he is a vegetarian, mind you). Below I'm sharing one that I thought was useful to blog about. Many vegans their lives by blind animal-rights propaganda and that's not always the *best* option. What do you think?


Issue:
We should use PVC (or similar) instead of leather. As long as we have the McDonald's generation eating fast food, there is no shortage of leather. PVC is forever.

My reply:
I agree with you in terms of PVC. I’m a supporter of natural fibers, not plastic ones. Environmentally speaking, vegans should open their eyes to the complex relations of choices (many understand them in terms of food but don’t fully grasp the larger implications) and see that there is a third choice that involves neither plastic nor leather. Although I realize that there are instances where people need an option that is durable, impermeable, etc and in which PVC might be the more tangibly humane choice, most of us can thankfully rely on hemp and cotton for our feet. (If you're interested in learning the terrible effects of PVC production, use, AND disposal please check out Blue Vinyl--this stuff is NASTY!)

I’m aware of the many uses of leather and agree that if an animal is killed for consumption we should consume as much of it as possible. However, the cows that are used for meat in this country (or the ones raised outside of the country for food here) are not the ones that supply leather in most cases. And vice versa, the sacred cows of the Hindi people are sold across the border in Nepal, etc, to be slaughtered for leather. It makes little sense.

There are a myriad of issues that veganism brings up, but I think it’s totally healthy to think and dialogue about these things. If it weren’t for vegans, many people wouldn’t even ask these questions which are highly important in and of themselves. Vegans or not, we all have choices and we should be aware of their environmental and ethical implications all the way from production to disposal.

7.07.2010

Lentils-oldie but goodie!

Pasted directly from www.wikipedia.com:

LENTILS

The plant likely originated in the Near East, and has been part of the human diet since the aceramic (non-pottery producing) Neolithic times, being one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. With approximately 26% of their calories from protein, lentils and generally any pulses or legumes have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any plant-based food after soybeans and hemp[2] and is an important part of the diet in many parts of the world, especially in the Indian subcontinent which has large vegetarian populations.

Ahhhh how I love lentils. Lentils are cost effective, you can buy them in bulk, and they are super duper tasty and versatile. My FAVORITE way to eat lentils is in a super easy cold salad. The beauty of a lentil salad is that you can really put anything in it! Here is a basic lentil salad recipe.....note that I'm not including measurements, as the proportions can be adjusted as need be.

Lentils, cooked

Garlic, pressed

Cilantro, fresh (loosely minced)

EVOO

Red wine vinegar

Lemon juice

Sea Salt

Fresh ground pepper

Put the cooked lentils in a bowl. Add a clove or two of fresh pressed garlic (remember that this is a raw dish, so the garlic taste can be strong-be a bit conservative with it, as it can be really strong). Add the chopped cilantro (if you don't like cilantro, you can substitute flat leaf parsley). In a separate bowl whisk: EVOO, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Pour that over the lentils and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. The great thing about this salad is that you can add any other kinds of fresh (i.e. zuchinni, carrots, celery, etc) veggies or cooked veggies (i.e. mushrooms, asparagus tips, etc). Bon appetit!

7.06.2010

The Plant Organic Cafe

While in SF last week, we visited The Plant Organic Cafe. While not a 100% vegan cafe, this spot offers many vegan options as well as gluten free ones....and they mark each item with a v for vegan and gf for gluten free which helps one make more informed decisions. I had the tasty burgundy colored "Plant Burger", which was a mixture of lentil, mushrooms, beets, cashews and bulgur wheat and came with fingerlings, for about $9.50. This is a good spot to eat at if you are with a group of vegans, raw, gluten free and omnivore folk. Check out their link below for more info.

http://www.theplantcafe.com/

7.05.2010

What I did with left over steamed white rice...

Rice Pudding!! Normally, when making rice pudding, the rice needs to be cooked in the milk, but since we had some left over rice from the night before and it needed to be used, I decided to change the recipe a bit. First I took the rice and soaked it in almond milk for about 2 hrs. Before adding the rice to the milk, I added some ingredients to spice up and give flavor to the mix (cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla extract). After soaking, I transferred the mix into a sauce pan/pot and cooked it on low for about 1/2 hr, stirring most of the time. As the milk started to evaporate, I added more milk so keep a creamy consistency. Once it was done, we served it warm along with some raisins and coconut ice cream....delicioso!

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked steamed rice
+2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. nutmeg
1/4 raisins
3 tsp. vanilla extract
orange/lemon zest optional but highly recommended

7.02.2010

so insatiable a stomach?

This is advice from 2,000 years ago, but it's still incredibly relevant.  Every day I learn of more people that I know that are sick with diseases of affluence, diseases that can be prevented largely by what we choose to eat.

Again from my man T. Colin Campbell and his amazing book The China Study, pp. 345-346:

"How did Seneca, one of the great scholars 2,000 years ago, a tutor and advisor to Roman Emperor Nero, know with such certainty the trouble with consuming animals when he wrote:

An Ox is satisfied with the pasture of an acre or two: one wood suffices for several Elephants. Man alone supports himself by the pillage of the whole earth and sea. What! Has Nature indeed given us so insatiable a stomach, while she has given us so insignificant bodies?"

7.01.2010

Like never before

From The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, pp. 346-347:

"Never before have we affected the natural environment to such an extent that we are losing our topsoil, our massive North American aquifers, and our world's rainforests. We are changing our climate so rapidly that many of the world's best-informed scientists fear the future. Never before have we been eliminating plant and animal species from the face of the earth as we are doing now. Never before have we introduced, on such a large scale, genetically altered varieties of plants into the environment without knowing what the repercussions will be. All of these changes in our environment are strongly affected by what we choose to eat."