Saturday, March 30, 2013

Challenge to Vegan Bakers! Veganize This!

You know that beautiful banana pudding poke cake that has been passed around Facebook?  (I'll post a pic of the nonvegan version below.) I wanted so badly to be the first to veganize it, but there was one problem:  I am the baker.  Both the banana pudding and the coconut whipped topping stayed runny, so my cake is more of a coconut banana soup (with original crushed graham crackers floating on top).  I am handing this over to experts.  Challenge to vegans:  Veganize this recipe and post the result! 

Hints:  I did not plan for it to be healthy, so I used Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix (with Energy Egg Replacer), Banana Cream Pudding Mix, Coconut milk cans for the whipped topping (recipe at savvyvegetarian), original Graham Crackers found at some WalMarts, and a banana.  I think these all would work with someone more skilled than I am!

Nonvegan version:

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Unevolved Atheist

In fairness to all the anti-religious posts I write, I decided a rant at my fellow atheists is appropriate.  There do seem to be many more atheists who are vegetarian and vegan than Christians, and atheists have fewer excuses to fall back on to support their “need” for meat.  But they do use some excuses.  Here are the common excuses I have come across:

1.  “It is the way of the world.  We are predators, so I am proud to eat meat.”  Really?  You are proud?  Why is that something to take pride in; that is not a personal accomplishment.  I also have news for you if you use this excuse.  You are not much of a predator.  The hunter-gather was more of a gatherer-hunter.  The women gathered most of the meals, and the hunters occasionally came back with game – usually very small animals.  Hominids were more lumbering and just did not live up to their “Paleo” reputation.  This about this:  if you were lost in the woods, you would most likely wish you knew the difference between poisonous and nonpoisonous berries and leaves, and you would wish you knew that leeks and tubers were right under the soil waiting for someone with the intellect to dig them up!  But you would only set traps for animals if you had been taught, which most of us have been through stories and television and history lessons.   We were not born with tools in our hands.  Nuts and berries are what is natural for us.

2.  “I don’t mind if I cause an animal pain.  It is part of nature.” (Yes, this was actually said to me.  I was dumbfounded.)  Once again, nature and evolution are used as an excuse to cause an animal pain, and the only reason a modern human wants to cause an animal pain is if the animal “encroaches on the human’s territory,” if the human wants the animal’s beautiful coat for their own coat (making them look smelly and fat), or if the human wants to continue eating meat and drinking milk.  Of course, the animals had the land before humans drew property lines and cut down all the hiding places and homes of the animals, which brought animals in to neighborhoods in the first place.

3.  “My body needs the nutrition.”  No, your body has way more nutrition than it can handle and you can live off your fat for years.  Okay, that’s what I would like to say, but don’t.  Your body does not need meat and it is harmful with all the saturated fat and cholesterol.  Read articles by Dr. McDougall.  What I find interesting is that I will read articles written by quacks like the Weston A. Price Foundation which supports meat and dairy, but people who eat meat will not read articles by doctors like Dr. McDougall or Dr. Esselstyn or Dr. Campbell or Dr. Barnard.  Well, your body is not talking to you when you want meat; it is your brain talking and what you are accustomed to enjoy in the way of food.  I had a woman once tell me she HAD to have beef every single day.  She looked like roast beef and gravy.  If your body needs actual nutrients, you can get all of them so easily without the damaging ingredients in meat and dairy, and you will benefit the earth, environment and animals.  Why pick meat?  It makes no sense.  It actually makes you look less intelligent and less of a person.

4.  I eat ‘humane meat.’”  We know that no meat is humane.  I could post some slaughterhouse videos that would give you nightmares.  Always put yourself in their place.  Would you like to die in a slaughterhouse?  Many of the animals survive the long journey stuffed into a truck after having food and water withheld, the broken bones from the trip and being thrown down shoots, the electric bolt that often misses and makes blood and goo gush out of cows' noses, the blade cutting the neck, the hoist by one leg up the ramp, the dip in boiling water; and get cut up while still alive.  Do not think I am making this up; it is quite common.

These farms with organic food or grass-fed beef are not well-regulated.  The cattle are still raped, the calves taken away to become veal calves or dairy cows when they get too many for their own farms.  The females are impregnated (raped) repeatedly, and the males are castrated with no pain killers, as well as their horns cut off with no anesthesia.  Humane treatment is not possible with all the hungry human greedy mouths in our world. 

5.  “I hunt for my food.”  Most people who tell me this can afford to buy at the grocery store.  I have seen sharp shooters shoot deer (in a video) and the deer stayed alive for over five minutes.  They were not as accurate as they claim, so there is no way drunken humans with a little target practice do anything but slowly kill deer and other animals.  These people disgust me because they will see the animal they have shot, see it still moving, and try to kill it by multiple shootings or by hitting it, but they will claim they shot and killed it instantly.  They shut off their guilt.

My purpose in writing this was not to link religion or non-religion and eating, but to show where critical thinking skills and reasoning, even in very thoughtful atheists, will take a back seat to greediness when the person's own well-being or the well-being of that person's species is not affected. 

I think that takes care of the most common secular arguments I usually encounter.  On the issue of meat eating instead of religion, atheists become the apologists they most ridicule.  (Of course, religious people also use these excuses in addition to the Biblical excuses.)  And the poor animals suffer in all their hands.

Interconnectedness versus the Bible

Animals think, reason, feel, care, love, nurture and mourn.  They have the same emotions humans have.  Humans still think they are superior, different; and eventually point to the Bible for confirmation.  "See, it is written by men right here! We are specially made in God's image!  We can do whatever we want with animals!" 

Chimpanzees perform better on short term memory tests than humans; in that they are far superior.  Fish are superior swimmers, cheetahs superior runners, eagles have superior eye sight; but humans think they are superior.  Certainly we have some superior traits, such as our ability to build, use language (although we shortchange animals' own languages and are just beginning to realize even fish have great communication with each other), and our large brains have enabled complex reasoning, but we seem to have a long ways to go at times in that very area - reasoning.  Yet, we think we are superior and when asked why, we end up pointing to the Bible.  "Sure men wrote it but they were inspired by a supernatural God [who could not pick up a pen].  Men told us we were superior 2,000 years ago.  We can skin animals alive if we need their fur." 

The supernatural God of the Bible needed blood to quench his desire for death.  He needed regular sacrifices, just as the gods before him needed a sacrifice from ancient people who feared and did not understand weather - who figured a sacrifice to please the gods would end their troubles.  Animals have always been the victims of humans' fears, humans' viciousness, humans' ignorance.  "But it says in the Bible we are superior.  We have dominion - it says so and look how we have taken over.  That is proof we can breed (rape) factory farm animals and imprison and torture them however we want." 

And then one day, something hits us.  It might be a case showing different types of hominid skulls.  It might be a factory farm video.  It might be a video such as The Pale Blue Dot.  Something shows us our smallness.  Something shows us there is a much grander life than the history of 2,000 years ago in one desert area in the Middle East.  Something awakens our senses.

Once we look at human and hominid skulls and find we cannot tell where the dividing line is between the homo genus and ardi or australopithecus or other hominid skulls, we might wonder just how divided we really are.  Once we realize our DNA is almost identical to chimpanzees, and we share the same elements as all of life, we broaden our horizons and awaken to nature and reality.  Once we take a video trip to the outer reaches of our universe, looking at billions of galaxies and looking back through time to the microwave background, we realize the likelihood that we are not the only life forms and those other galaxies could not be made "just for us."  Once we even just take an airplane ride and look down and notice humans begin to look like ants and act like ants, and then they disappear all together, we wonder how special our society really is. 

We realize we are looking at our relatives every time we look out the window at a squirrel, bird or blade of grass.  The beauty of time begins to fill our mind and we no longer feel superior, but a long dead conscience arises that says we have been wrong most of the time we have existed, and certainly in the past 2000 years.  We can be kinder.  We have the options to choose what we eat.  We can share our land and our time on this earth with our fellow beings.  We can buy less and preserve more.  We can feel more and be more fulfilled by not acting superior but by using what skills of reasoning we have to help all of life.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The One Omega 3 Food Everyone Ignores!

I will discuss many various options for Omega 3's, and save the easiest Omega 3 source for last! 

Have you worried about trying to go vegan because you can't figure out how to get your Omega 3's?  Many people pop a fish oil tablet for their Omega 3's, when oil is dangerous for a system when it is extracted from the whole - like fish oil is extracted from the fish.  And eating the whole, by eating fish, is dangerous as well, as it has dioxins and pollution absorbed by the lakes and fats and cholesterol. 

You've probably looked at solutions such as ground flax seed, but don't know where to buy it; or you just don't want to take the time to grind the seeds.  Chia seeds are too expensive.  Canola oil has Omega 3's, but again, that's an extracted oil, so you choose fish oil as it is promoted by the "experts" even though it is bad for you in other ways.  Honestly, I would prefer you use canola oil as it kill no animal. 

Hold on!  The experts seem to always be ignoring the kind, non-murdering alternatives!  Tofu has some Omega 3's.  Throw a few tiny cubes into whatever you are eating. (I don't eat tofu often, but felt I should mention that it does have Omega 3's.) 
Some dark green leafy plants like kale have Omega 3's.  I'm not that good about eating those either, although I have upped my dark leafy salad eating.

How about those flax seeds?  Can you go to Kroger and buy some in the health food section and use a coffee grinder to grind those seeds and then just sprinkle a little over your cereal?  I know it's so much work, because sometimes I don't grind them - but I always sprinkle them over my cereal anyway and then just chew them!  That should grind them some!

LASTLY, the big one everyone ignores:  walnuts.  Grab a few walnut pieces and eat those every day instead of popping that fish pill.  You will get vitamins, fiber, food and your Omega 3's all rolled into one!

WALNUTS!  Nuts! As in Darn! Why did no one ever tell us!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vegan List of Foods for Grocery Stores

This is a list I wrote from requests of many vegans (actually most of them were vegetarians, but all the food listed is vegan) of foods we would like to see carried in our grocery stores.  Currently, we must travel a minimum of 35 miles to the next large town to find some of these items, so I emailed our group for their most wanted items.  Now that I have the list I am going around to our two Walmarts, 4 Krogers, our Country Nutrition and possibly our new County Market, speaking with the Produce Manager and presenting the list!  Even if we do not get in any more items, we will have shown we are growing and there will be even more desire in the future. 

I decided to share this list, as some of you might want to take this list or a similar one around.  One of the things I do point out to the Produce Managers is when they carry a product that like a cheese that says "Lactose Free" and is called "Veggie Cheese" but is not vegan!  I flip the cheese packet over and show them the ingredients label with "casein and milk derived ingredient " listed right on the back.  It's a learning experience for them, and so far the Produce Managers welcome my ideas, even though Produce Managers at stores like Walmart have only a set list that they can order from.  They still have promised to send my list "up the ranks."

The one product all stores already carry is Earth Balance, so that is not on this list.

Here is the list:

The starred items (*) are what seem to be the most requested.  
**Vegenaise, bouillons, organic products, the chicken filet, the sausage, cereal, yeast and the cheeses got two stars because they are by far the most wanted.



**Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage (These are the only vegan sausages I find tasty.)
**Field Roast Italian Sausage (These are the only vegan sausages I find tasty.)
**Gardein Chick’n Filets (Basic – can have sauces put on it; or sliced up. Adaptable!)
**Boca Original Chick’n Meatless Patties
**Field Roast Frankfurters (best vegan hot dog)
*Field Roast Celebration Roast (at least for holidays)
*Tofurky (at least for holidays).
LightLife Smart Deli Ham
Gardein Chick’n Strips
Gardein Beefless Tips
Any Gardein product!
Melissa’s brand Soyrizo
Yves Meatless Deli Salami Slices
Yves Meatless Pepperoni


**Vegenaise – Follow Your Heart Original (Like a mayonnaise with no egg.)
Even eaten by meat eaters because it is lighter and tastier than mayo or salad dressing to many people

**Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (I use this all the time!)
**Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
**Galaxy Nutritional Foods – American or Cheddar slices - It must say
          “Vegan” on the front of the package!
**Daiya – Shreds Cheddar
**Daiya – Shreds Mozarella
Tofurky brand pizza

Page 2 – Vegan products


**Edward & Sons - Not Chick’n Bouillon Cubes
**Edward & Sons - Not Beef Bouillon Cubes (Soup bases, extra flavoring in foods)
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup – Imagine brand
KOYO vegan Ramen soup—lots of varieties, such as Garlic Pepper, Mushroom, Asian Vegetable, and Tofu Miso


**Dandies Marshmallows (either marshmallow is fine)
**Sweet and Sara vegan marshmallows


SoDelicious Coconut Yogurt, plain in larger 16 oz pint size
Only -- 7-44473 91410-4
SoDelicious Blueberry Greek style -- 7-44473 90901-8 (small)
SoDelicious Raspberry Greek style -- 7-44473 90902-5 (small)
SoDelicious Strawberry Greek style -- 7-44473 90903-2 (small)
Whole SoyPlain organic soy yogurt


**Red Star Nutritional Yeast (Great source of B12)
**Braggs Nutritional Yeast seasonings (Great source of B12)
**Mom’s Best Wheatful cereal – no sugar! (People miss this product!)
**Organic products!
**Bob's Red Mill Organic Golden Flax Seeds
**Za’atar – An Indian spice 
Edward & Sons Organic Vegan Worcestershire Sauce -- 5 fl oz
Dr. Oetker pudding mixes (chocolate, coconut, banana) (makes good desserts)
Hazelnut coconut coffee creamer UPC -- 7-44473 94116-2
Vegan pesto (Meditalia or other)