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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Miracles of a Banana!!!!

By : Meghana Komarla

This is interesting.

After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey.. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.\

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. InThailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood Enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.

It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe it's time to change that well-known phrase so that we say,

'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!'

Banana is Great!

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Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/miracles-of-a-banana

Viva Vegetarian

By : M Raghavendra

One day, we hope no animal will suffer or die for the reason to satisfy the taste bud of others. We held great respect to every human being in the world. But let us think for a second. Every single day, billion and million of innocent animals lose their precious lives because of eating meat. (Not to mention they lose their freedom all of their life).

There are many reason involved. Many people grow up as meat eater and did not recognise this is wrong, and some choose not to see their truth. Regardless what is the reason; there is a great suffering and cruelty behind that piece of chicken, steak for their dinner. Let us not judge others, but Let us help other by share more Benefits/knowledge of Veggie Diet to them. (In a nice and respectful way). So they can discover and learn that Vegetarian/Vegan foods can also be delicious, healthy and easy to make too~!!

"All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill."~Buddha

Let’s spread compassion and peace~ Viva Vegetarian / Vegan !!!

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/viva-vegetarian

Easy Paneer Tikka Masala (Dry / Gravy)

By Meghana Komarla

Paneer marinated in a variety of spices.

Usually tikka's are done in Tandoori however my version is done on stove top. I promise you guys, this recipe makes you feel so proud and happy. This is so healthy your gonna enjoy every bite of it ;)
Here this recipe has two versions, one you can serve it as an appetizer and second gravy. So you can decide how you want it.

Serves 4
Category - Lunch / Dinner

Paneer - 400g (1/2 inch thick cubes)
Oil - 1tsp + 5tsp
Butter – 5tbsp
Onion - 1 (Finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 (Finely chopped)
Green Pepper / Capsicum - 25g (Finely chopped) Totally optional
Coriander / Cilantro - 2tsp (Finely chopped)

Ground the following to paste -
Plain Yogurt - 4tbsp
Lime juice / Amchoor(Dry mango powder) - 1/2 to 3/4tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/4tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Garam Masala Powder - 1tsp
Tandoori Powder - 4tsp (Available in Indian Stores)
Garlic - 6 pods
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Pepper Corn - 1
Green chilli - 1
Salt to taste

For this recipe you will also need Skewers. Make sure these skewers are comfortable to work on stove top.

Keep aside about 2tbsp of the paste separately, we will use this for the gravy.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the Paneer pieces along with the ground paste. Keep the covered bowl in the refrigerator for 20 to 30mins.

Drizzle 1tsp oil over the Paneer mixture just before you cook. Put the Paneer onto the skewer and cook on the stove top, cook all the sides evenly. Let the flame be on high.

You can stop at this point and can serve as an appetizer.  Serve with Tikka Chutney.
For the gravy -
In a wok heat the oil and butter, add the onions, saute till transparent. Then add the green peppers saute for 2 mins next add the tomatoes and saute for 5mins. Next add the ground paste which was set aside earlier and saute till the mixture leaves oil.

Now add water as per your required consistency, bring to boil and add the Tikkas. Lastly garnish with cilantro and add lime juice if necessary.

Enjoy with fresh Bread of your choice.

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Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/easy-paneer-tikka-masala-dry-gravy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chilli Chunky Manchurian (Vegan)

By : Meghana Komarla

Ingredients:

  • Soy Chunks - 150g (Here I have used mini soy chunks)
  • Onions - 1 Medium (thinly sliced)
  • Capsicum / Green pepper - 1 Medium (thinly sliced)
  • Green Chillies - 10Nos. (Slit into half, lengthwise) Adjust according to your preference
  • Salt to taste
  • Soy sauce – 2tsp
  • Garlic - 6pods (Finely chopped)
  • Ginger - 1/2 Inch (Juliens)
  • Vinegar - 1 1/2 to 2tsp
  • Tomato Ketchup - 1tsp (Add more if kids are eating)
  • coriander / cilantro - 3tbsp (finely chopped)

Directions:

In a microwave proof cup add the chunks, 2 pinches of salt and water (enough to cover the chunks). Cook for 4 to 5 mins or till the chunks are tender. Remove once they are done and run the chunks under cold water for 2 mins. Next squeeze the water from the chunks and keep aside.

Now time to start the tempering. Heat oil in a wok, add the garlic & saute for 1 min. Add the onions, green chillies and ginger & saute for 3 to 4 mins. Then add the peppers saute further for 2 mins. Next add the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar and the soy chunks. Saute for 3 to 4 mins. Lastly add the salt and cilantro.

Note : If you like super spicy then add green chilli sauce.
You could add spring onions too.

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Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/chilli-chunky-manchurian-vegan

Instant Indian Salad

By : Vru

Serving: 2-3 persons
Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes - 2 nos. finely chopped
  • Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
  • Cucumber – 1Medium size grated
  • Carrot- ½ Well grated (Optional)
  • Beetroot – ½ grated (optional)
  • Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp. finely chopped
  • Green chillies - 2 nos. - lengthwise split into halves
  • Peanut Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – ½  tsp (optional)
  • Salt- To taste
  • Curd – 3-4 Tbsp.

*To make peanut powder:

Take one bowl of peanuts and roast them on a pan for around 10 minutes. Keep on stirring.Let it cool down  and then blend it into blender for 3-5 seconds. We don’t want smooth texture of powder.

*Method:

In a bowl, mix tomatoes, onions, grated cucumber, chillies and curd. Add sugar and peanut powder. Mix it well. On the last moment before serving add salt to taste. Garnish with coriander.

Cucumber releases water after adding salt hence, salt to add on last moment.

It goes well with Paratha, Rice, Rozeto, or just like that.

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/instant-indian-salad

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Am I eating??

By : M Raghavendra

Paul McCartney

"We stopped eating meat many years ago. During the course of a Sunday lunch, we happened to look out of the kitchen window at our young lambs playing happily in the fields. Glancing down at our plates, we suddenly realised we were eating the leg of an animal who had until recently been playing in a field herself. We looked at each other and said "Wait a minute, we love these sheep - they're such gentle creatures. So why are we eating them?" It was the last time we ever did."
~ PAUL and LINDA McCARTNEY

It takes a moment to change lives..

It takes a moment of thought to see and realize the truth! sadly most people can't afford even that!

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/what-am-i-eating

Tomato Coconut Fried Rice

By : Meghana Komarla

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Tomato - 4 Medium (finely chopped)
Onion - 2 (thinly sliced or finely chopped)
Boiled Fresh / frozen geen peas - 3/4Cup
Boiled Beans - 50g (Cut to half inch lengthwise) Optional
Boiled Carrot - 1 (Diced)
Cloves – 8
Elachi / green cardamom – 3
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Oil - 8tsp(Adjust if using butter)
Basmati Rice - 3 Cups
Coconut Milk - 2 Cups
Water - 4 Cups
Salt to taste

Ground the following to a coarse paste -
Green chillies - 15 to 18
Red chillies - 15 (Remove the seeds, soak in hot water for 30mins)
Fresh Ginger & Garlic - 25g each

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Rinse the Rice several times in cold water, later soak the rice in water for one hour.

In a large pot, add the soaked drained rice, coconut milk, water, 1tsp oil and salt to taste. Cover the pot and let the flame be on high for 5mins. Next simmer the flame, and let it cook for 10mins. After 10mins, open the lid and check if the grains are cooked, if uncooked continue cooking till done. Cover the pot and keep aside till the tempering is ready.

In a big wok start the tempering, heat the oil add Cloves, Elachi & Cinnamon saute for a min. Next add the onions saute till light golden brown. Now add the ground paste saute till raw smell leaves. Next add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Later add the beans, carrot, green peas, saute for 2mins. Next add the cooked rice slowly and combine. Mix throughly and the Tomato Coconut Fried rice is ready.

This rice is served with a gravy, Its the base of green peas masala. Please follow the link below. You can prepare the original green peas recipe or prepare only the base or for the same recipe, add in your own combination of veggies.

Green Peas Masala -
http://meghustastebuds.blogspot.com/2011/01/green-peas.html

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/tomato-coconut-fried-rice

A Cruel and Heart-Wrenching Incident of Slaughter I Had Read About a Few Days Ago

By : M Raghavendra

It was about midnight and we are just slipping off to sleep when screams of severe pain snapped me back to reality. Someone was murdering a child outside our bedroom window. I jumped up and peered out. The body was slung to the branch of a tree and was howling pitifully. They are skinning it.. Its a Goat.

Poor kid..I could see the black shapes moving among the shadows..and realized that the neighbors were Satanists and are performing a sick, sadistic ritual to placate their evil spirits. Couldn't they go "Trick and Treating" instead? There was a severe crack of bone as they tore their poor victim apart in their frenzy.

It turned out that our neighbors were having a separation party and had killed a goat for the occasion. They were having a big party to celebrate. In fact, It was a two goat party and we were treated to Slaughter part-2 the following morning. The children were sitting around in eager anticipation. I had thought the midnight killing was to spare them, But no.. here they were in the best seats. I had a great view from my bed room and like bullfighting, this was definitely a spectator sport.

The handsome white male goat had been strung up to the hanging tree by its hind legs and for some reason didn't like it. It screamed horribly. The father and the two oldest sons stood by ready to do their bit. One of the sons grabbed the goat's horns to stop it swinging like a pendulum while the father danced around, his large knife glinting in the sunlight, trying to find the best angle of attack. The father stepped forward and put the knife to the goat's throat. The creature stuggled so fiercely that the two killers could bearly restrain the animal's head. In a few moments, a thick line of red liquid began to pour from the Goat's neck. All the while the goat screamed hysterically. Suddenly, the father stepped forward again, grabbed the goat's genitals and sliced them off with one swift stroke of the knife. There was now an empty pale pink patch between goat's legs. All the while it kept panicking and screaming, though now, sensing that the game was up, was putting up less of a struggle.

The Five and Six year old were by now, in a high state of animation running around copying the horrowing death cries of agonized goat. After some minutes, It became still. The steady trickle of blood from its neck continued. the children danced still danced around screaming in mock imitation of the Goat's last agony.

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/a-cruel-and-heart-wrenching-incident-of-slaughter-i-had-read

Gert's Moussaka, Vegan Style

By : Debkay25@msn.com

While chatting with a my lifelong friend/sister, Barb, on Facebook the other day she mentioned a couple of her mom's family recipes, Moussaka and Stifano.  I think of Moussaka as a Greek lasagna, usually made with eggplant and ground meat, lamb or beef.  It has layers of potatoes, a tangy tomato meat sauce, cheese, and a generous amount of creamy béchamel sauce poured on top of the layers, and topped with cheese.

Gert was one of my favorite mom's growing up.  She had a wide range of talents and great stories to tell of her life experiences.  We remained friends as I became an adult.  I'd come to visit Barb unannounced and if she was not home it wasn't a problem.  I was at home there and stayed anyway. Sometimes Gert & I would crack open a bottle of wine and talk through the night.  I was more at home at her house than my own parents' house. She lost the battle with stomach cancer some years ago and I do think about her from time to time and miss her. Gert was a lot of fun to be around.  She has lived all over the world and when she made an authentic ethnic dish, it was authentic.  I don't think she'd mind what I did with her family recipe. I also made a vegan version of her Stifano, a Greek beef stew, using stew meat size seitan pieces.  I'll be posting that later.  Simmering for three hours in the crock-pot, this dish made my house smell wonderful.

My version of Gert's Moussaka, vegan style.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large eggplants, sliced 1/2" thick
  • 1 14 oz. tube Gimme Lean ground beef style veggie protein – I think Soy curls would work well for this dish
  • 3-4 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 cup organic Panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil such as Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil, I used hazelnut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce, I just blended my home canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried parsley
  • small sprig of fresh rosemary fresh thyme leaves, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • about 1/2 - 3/4 cup Daiya mozzarella style vegan cheese
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup, 1 stick, vegan margarine, I used Earth Balance organic
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 3 cups non dairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Direction:

Slice and cook the potatoes in a small amount of water for ten minutes or until just tender, al denté.  Set aside.

Peel and slice the eggplant and the zucchini and toss them with a little sea salt.  Then I put them in the dehydrator for an hour or so to let the moisture evaporate.  If you don't have a dehydrator, you can put the slices between paper towels and weight with another plate for an hour or more.

While the eggplant is drying, prepare the 'meat' sauce.  Dice or crumble the veggie protein which looks a lot like ground beef and brown it in a couple tablespoons of oil.  Then add the diced onions, garlic, sea salt, and pepper.  When the meat was brown and onions tender add the cinnamon, nutmeg, herbs, and tomato sauce.  Stir well, add the wine, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring a couple times.

The eggplant can be steamed, or sauteed with or without a breading.  I chose to dip them in some egg replacer and dredged in a little spelt flour.  Then I gently fried them in a little hot oil just until they were golden, not very long.  Then put them aside on a paper towel until I needed them.  I suppose when I have fresh picked eggplant from the garden I could just put the slices 'as is' without any prior cooking. But, since I used eggplant from the market which is probably not so fresh, it needed some tenderizing first.

Lightly oil a 9" x 13" pan and sprinkle the panko bread crumbs in the bottom.  Leave a small space around the edges of the pan so the bechamel sauce can ooze over the sides of the dish. Make the first layer with the sliced potatoes.  Top with a layer of eggplant slices, add the tomato 'meat' sauce, sprinkle with the shredded Daiya cheese.  Add the zucchini slices next.  Top with a layer of eggplant slices.

Preheat the oven to 350º and make the béchamel sauce.

Béchamel Sauce

Melt the vegan margarine.  Using a whisk, add the flour to the melted margarine whisking continuously to make a smooth rue.  Allow the mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to turn brown.  Add non dairy mild in a steady stream, whisking continuously.  Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil.  Remove from heat, and stir in turmeric, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan.  Smooth the bechamel on top and sprinkle remaining cheese.  Bake in 350º oven for 45 minutes or until sauce is a nice golden brown color.  Allow to cool for 15 - 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Most of this dish can be made ahead of time, but it's best to make the béchamel sauce right before you intend to bake it.

Enjoy! I am going to go have some right now.

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/gert-s-moussaka-vegan-style

Seitan Stifado

By : Debkay25@msn.com

The second recipe Barb sent for me to try last week was a Stifado.  Stifado dishes are stews, and they are easy to recognize: they include onions - a lot of onions. The most commonly used are whole small boiler or pearl onions, but larger onions can be used as well, and the quantity is often equal in weight to the main ingredient.

Stifado dishes can be made with meat, poultry, seafood, game, or another vegetable as the central ingredient, with onions, wine or vinegar, tomato, and a selection of spices (often including cinnamon) creating a flavorful base. Generally made on the stove-top, there are a few stifado variations that can be made in the oven. I started mine on the stove-top and simmered it on low in the crock-pot for three hours.

I don't remember having or making stifado before, but Barb loved it and sent me her mom's recipe so I thought I'd try it.  I had most of the ingredients, I think the only thing I had to purchase was the seitan and the wine.  I wanted to make it 'vegan style' and  wasn't sure what I would use for a meat substitute.  I had thought about super firm tofu, but then I saw seitan in stew meat size chunks in the cooler at the market.  The seitan worked out great.

It's a rich stew, I am usually a bit leery of Greek cuisine when we go out as I haven't liked some of the strong flavors. I enjoyed the gravy for this stew, but did think it might be a little strong for my husband's taste.  I was tasting it while cooking though and I think by itself it was a little strong. Combined with the roasted red potatoes, I was pleasantly surprised, it's a really nice dish.  I love the color and it made the house smell pretty wonderful while it was simmering too. I think I'll make this with a zucchini or summer squash and a nice vinegar instead of the wine when the vegetables are happening in the summer.

I didn't change this recipe much except to replace stew meat with seitan.  I roasted some red potatoes to pour it on and served it with a fresh green salad of:  chard, collards, kale, red bell pepper, kalamata olives, some roasted and steamed kaniwa seeds, splash of pumpkin seed oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.  The greens for the salad were picked fresh from my garden. Not out of the ordinary except that it is February.  It's not usually dry enough to get out to the garden, but we have had some warm dry days, it's been very refreshing.

Gert's Stifado, Vegan Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb seitan, cut into bite size chunks
  • Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil, I used hazelnut oil
  • 3 cloves, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 3 pounds small onions, I just used 4 very large onions chopped large

Directions:

  1. In a heavy pan brown seitan over high heat in a couple tablespoons oil, add garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, and allspice, stir well. Add tomato paste and wine with 1 cup water.  Set aside.
  2. Saute the onions in olive oil until golden brown and then add to the sauce, cover and simmer on very low heat for 2 to 3 hours until seitan and onions are tender.
  3. During the cooking process the sauce should cover the seitan and onions.  Add more water, if necessary.  Sauce should be thick when ready.


Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/seitan-stifado

Chocolate Vegan will Travel

travelBy : Amber Griffin

“Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.” – Kurt Vonnegut

I'm a vegan, I LOVE chocolate. The only thing I love as much as Chocolate is to travel. I absolutely love to travel. For many years I was a Vegetarian traveller, which has it's share of challenges. It is unbearably rude to decline food when offered almost everywhere in the world. And when you don't eat ANYTHING, that can lead to uncomfortable situations. It's pretty easy to travel vegan in the tropics where there are a plethora of fruits and veggies and rice and beans coming out of your yazoo. You just learn the local language for "Without milk/cheese/egg/meat, please" and learn the words for "deathly allergic to" for when you are in someone's home. All well and good. I have survived flying by the seat of my pants having only to sacrifice my ideals in the name of politeness a couple of times... shudder.

Last Summer my partner and I spent 2 months in Iceland. We hitch hiked and camped the entire time. Do you have any idea what they eat in Iceland??? Do you have any idea what is available to eat, in Iceland?? I'll give you a hint... it's not all that wool.

In Reykjavik there are a couple of good vegan friendly options like Cafe Babalo and my favourite soup and salad bar of ALL TIME at 'Kryddlegin Hjörtu'. Most of the time the only place to eat out in a small town is the notorious Gas Station/grocery/fast food bar/community hub. There you will inevitably find a small variety of packaged foods, an ice cream and hot dog counter and a few tables to eat at. I ate many a bag of salty popcorn with an American flag on the package. In larger towns where there was an actual restaurant I was usually limited to the odd combination of a salad with fries. Sometimes luck would have it that they had a salad bar!!! Those were the days!

Iceland has been blessed with geothermal activity and uses it in hot houses to grow delicious nutritious veggies that can be found in some odd places for a few kroner.  I could eat the Tomatoes, the carrots, and the rich moist rye bread. That's it, that's all, that's Iceland.

A vegetarian would allow for Skyr , and local cheese's... but a vegan will have to do her research and bring her own artillery of nutritious foods. I did that, and though it took time and planning, it was well worth it.

For multi day hikes you need lightweight nutritious energy food in addition to more bulky protein sources and quick easy to cook hearty and hot meals. You will need to get rid of all extra packaging and portion your own "just add water and heat" meals.

This is what we brought from home:

  • 300g vegan chocolate (like I'd leave home without it!)
  • lb of almond butter (use it up before climbing over mountains for days)
  • 1036g Chocolate Vega Meal Replacement
  • 12 pack of chocolate Vega whole food vibrancy bars
  • 12 assorted cliff bars
  • 12 assorted Larabars
  • 12 Super Food Slam ProBars (these are amazing)
  • 635 g Progressive Vega Greens
  • 336 g Coco Camino dark hot chocolate
  • 984g Carb-Boom Strawberry Kiwi gel
  • 129 g Ultima Replenisher Lemonade
  • 552g Vance's DariFree Potato Milk Powder
  • A huge bag of nuts and dried fruit

With our tight student's budget we didn't want to buy all pre packaged meals so I bought in bulk:

  • cooked, dehydrated balck beans
  • bulk dehydrated vegan chili
  • dehydrated hummus
  • cooked dehydrated kidney beans
  • dehydrated potato flakes
  • Barley flakes
  • brown rice flakes
  • Oatmeal

Portion out tantalizing mixes of grains and beans into zip lock bags and season with nutritional yeast, dried herbs, spices, and bullion. Write cooking directions on the bag in permanent marker.

With the proper planning and preparation you should be able to go anywhere without going hungry.

Good luck!!

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/chocolate-vegan-will-travel

Yummy Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

By : Debkay25@msn.com

Oh my gosh, these are good! Those were words from my husband and I every time we split one of these last night.  So glad I immediately popped most of them in the refrigerator.  That way they aren't in our view to pick up every time we walk in the kitchen. We really do have to give these away today because although they are vegan, they do have lots of sugar.  We shouldn't be eating all of these. My friends Christy and Les are moving today.  They have lots of help, I am sure, she has at least four children around as well as some cousins to help.  I'll drop a dozen over for a nice treat for the hard working crew, her large family.  They'll know what to do with them.

Our local vegan/vegetarian potluck is next Friday so I thought I'd practice a dessert.  There are lots of guests at our potluck who are new to plant based eating and I do like to lure them in with the sweets.  I want to let people know that eating a plant based diet doesn't mean just chewing on raw celery, carrots, and broccoli.  There are so many fun things to enjoy, but many of us in the U.S. just weren't raised with cakes and cookies made without eggs and milk.  I was surprised when I learned to bake vegan six years ago.  I had no idea I could get a beautiful, moist fluffy cake without using dairy or eggs. These are a winner and I plan on making them next week: Coconut cake with coconut creme Frosting.  The cake is rich and fluffy and the frosting creamy and full of flavor. This cake rose very nicely, a challenge for most vegan cake baking.  I've had quite a few cake attempts become 'brownies' or 'bars'.  Fresh lemon juice and zest are added to both the batter and the frosting so they have a nice citrus flavor burst.

The recipe I used is from a blog post I recently ran across called Vegan Thyme.  I bookmarked it immediately.  She makes other items, but so far I haven't gotten past her cakes yet, beautiful tasty cakes. It looks like a blog similar to my own.  The author says she created her blog to remember.  I understand that, so many things I have cooked in the past I'd like to make again, but don't remember all the ingredients because I didn't really measure and I didn't write anything down.  Keeping the blog has helped me record some of the creations I make as well as keep recipes and links I'd like to reference again.

I made cupcakes instead of a layer cake.  This recipe yielded 24 beautiful cupcakes.  I baked them for about 25 minutes at 350º.  I toasted large coconut flakes and added a little lemon zest to the top of the cupcakes. I didn't flatten the batter to make it even in the cupcake pans as the cake recipe suggests.  I just used a 3 oz. scoop and let the cake do what it does.  As you can see, it turned out just great.

Vegan Coconut Cake

*Adapted from Ina Garten

Makes two 9-inch cakes

  • 3 sticks unsalted vegetable margarine (cut into cubes and set out at room temp. for 30 minutes)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replace mixed with 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup of water (or the egg replacer of your choice equivalent to 5 eggs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • zest of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 350.

  1. Line two 9" cake pans with parchment paper, then spray with non-stick baking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl (the stand mixer works best)--add the room temperature margarine and sugar and beat on medium speed for about five minutes until the mixture is very light and very fluffy.
  3. Prepare the dry ingredients in a separate bowl--the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
  4. Mix together the egg replacer powder with the water. Now, add this to the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for another two minutes. Add the extracts to this and mix well. Now you add the milk and flour mixture in the following manner: first add a third of the flour and then a third of the milk to the sugar/egg mixture. Mix well after each addition--about fifteen seconds of mixing--then add another third of the flour mixture, another third of the milk and repeat this step until the flour and milk are all used. Remove the beaters from the bowl and fold in the shredded coconut and lemon zest to the batter with a spoon. Don't overmix it!
  5. Spread the batter in the cake pans and flatten with a spatula to make sure the batter is even on top. Bake for 45 minutes. The edges of the cake should be golden brown in color and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely on cooling racks.

Vegan Coconut Butter Cream Frosting

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable spread
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted vegetable margarine
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar--or more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (*this is a key flavor enhancer!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut (for sprinkling over the cake after it's frosted)

Cream together the first three ingredients then begin adding the powdered sugar one half cup at a time. Continue adding the sugar until the desired consistency of your frosting is reached. Add the extracts and lemon and zest. Mix well. If you see that you need more powdered sugar, add only about a quarter cup at a time.

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/yummy-vegan-coconut-cupcakes

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tofu Quiche ~ Vegan and Gluten Free

TofuQuiche

By : Debkay25@msn.com

I made some awesome tofu quiché in muffin cups yesterday.  I created a variation of my friend Felicia's recipe.  She brought some to the last potluck and I always have some tofu and fresh veggies around. Thought I'd give it a try this weekend. This is an easy meal and can be made with just about any vegetables.  She did find out while creating her recipe that the vegetables that contain the most moisture, like zucchini, should be dried a little or sauteéd first. I sliced a yellow zucchini very thin and weighted the slices between paper towels for about 30 minutes.  I had some fresh asparagus spears and just chopped them in about 1/2 inch sections. I also chopped some green onions to add to the vegetable mixture.  I didn't use mushrooms this time, but that's OK, my honey doesn't care for them much.  I also didn't have soft tofu, but I did have some vegan cream cheese in the fridge, which is made with tofu.  It worked great.  The little quiches came out firm, but fluffy. For my gluten intolerant friends, it's not only vegan, it's also gluten free.

Tofu Quiché
by Felicia Divina

  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 c chopped vegetables, spinach works best for me but anything low moisture, if you use zucchini saute first to get moisture out or dry it with paper towels. (I used asparagus, green onions, & sliced yellow zucchini.)
  • 1 1/2 c chopped mushroom, sauteed (add the rosemary here if you are using dried)
  • tsp chives
  • tsp rosemary
  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 1/2 c plain tofu
  • 3 or 4 TB nutritional yeast
  • 2 TB cornstarch  (I omitted the cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp tahini (heaping, I love the stuff)
  • 1 tsp tamari (Tamari is my addition to her recipe)
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch turmeric (I used big pinch turmeric, about a teaspoon)

I also added a sprinkle of cayenne to the top of each and a little Daiya cheddar and mozzarella style vegan cheese.

  1. Spray muffin tin, spoon veggies into tins
  2. Blend everything but the veggies in food processor or blender until smooth.
  3. Pour over the veggies. Bake at 350º for about 25 to 30 minutes, they will be firm and golden brown.

TofuQuicheBefore

WholeQuiche

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/tofu-quiche-vegan-and-gluten-free

Question Society

By : Geo

Something I said a while ago, thought it would be relevant:

The countries with the highest rates of cancer, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, and just sickeness in general, also correlate with the countries that have the most meat and dairy intake.

Maybe, just maybe, all the glamorization of it is just for profit, and not for your health; just like those prescription meds that only masks symptoms and leave you perpetually hooked for life. Maybe we're afraid to question ourselves and habits because "its tradition" or we naively think we"need" it. Maybe most of society is too oblivious to the truth.

We say we are free, but if you know something is toxic, inhumane, and downright primitive, but can't give it up because of "taste", are you really free? Or is that exactly how they want you... maybe

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/question-society

Oh my vegan! :)

healthy fruitsBy : Leanna Gonzalez

Health propaganda, pseudo health facts, fallacies, call it what you will, misleading information manipulated and put out there that are completely false. Corporate money paid for false claims. And this needs to be fixed.

Sitting in my nutrition class today, I find myself unable to withhold myself from not taking my 'professor' seriously. The 'My Plate' that replaced the My Pyramid which has a cup alongside the plate of what your foods be divided like labeled 'Dairy.' I almost laughed that 'dairy' need to be included because, in fact, any source of any nutrient you'll ever need is more fittingly found in your natural foods. Leafy greens, and alternative milks (which have over 50% more calcium)... Or the aspartame section about what happens when you're 'sensitive' to it and that the only thing listed for those who should not consume it are individuals with PKU. At this point I felt this was getting a little ridiculous because NO individual should consume aspartame if you truly knew what all the studies and facts point at. Brain tumors included. Now I feel like I have some HUGE research to do questioning everything in my book even more than it let's on. We are being killed through food. Cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, stroke, etc. Major studies have shown the connection to a meat-eaters diet.

Did you know that juicing and getting all those micro nutrients does such AMAZING things for you?? I even bought a juicer immediately after watching the  'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead' documentary. It has very inspiring juicing stories! It is a must see! As well as Forks and Knives of course. :)

It's almost funny that I find people saying something like, "A little poison won't kill you if you have it in moderation, moderation is the key!" lol. If something is truly bad for you shouldn't you just not consume it at all? Especially when there's safer, even yummier and more healthy, alternatives. Everything can easily be replaced. Hell, I think vegan cupcakes and treats taste better than any egg, milk recipe I've ever had (when I used to consume that)! Some things just should never be eaten and that is that. :) Not "pick your poison", NO poison needs to be chosen. Just a change in diet.

I have HUGE goals. Oh, yes. I want to become famously known for my contributions to the veggie community. Be the best advocate I can! :D My lifestyle had plunged me into a major movement in my life! Yoga, gym, juicing, vegan diet. Oh, I feel so wonderful! And one day I want to perform research and studies and further make all the arrows point to a murder-free all-natural plant-based diet. :) They basically already do when you look into it so I have work to come up with better ideas! lol or maybe... I can help people heal like the many stories and documentaries I've heard and watched through a plant-based diet.

And you can't get mad at someone for promoting good nutrition, animal well-fare, and a better environment all in one can you? :) That'd be pretty absured! lol. It's also funny how people get mad at veggies for 'preaching' when other major movements can have the freedom to be as loud and aggressive as they want. Why should we tiptoe around the issues we address like broken glass? No. Our movement also needs to be heard, our passion, our voices, our love! <3

Why has the oppressor been seen as better than the oppressed? For the animals, we are their voices. For health. For love. We are the voices of that as well. There is a price to silence, and I'm not going to take that price.

(This article inspired me more about this as well: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/i-am-not-going-to-ap...)

Anyways, I'm just hyped up right now. Just to add a little more...Here's some copy and pastes from a book I purchased called 'Veganist', if you like it please look into purchasing it to learn more and support the author :

All food poisoning--all foodborne viruses, bacteria, and antibiotic-resistant infections--comes from animals, including humans. Over 95% of the meat, dairy, and eggs we eat comes from factory farms, where the animals are pumped full of drugs to keep them ALIVE and speed up their development and productivity. In fact, chickens get twice the antibiotic dosing than cattle do, because the conditions they are raised in are the worst of the worst and therefore require more medicine to keep them alive long enough to be killed for their meat. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control reported finding fecal constamination in 90% poultry, 75% beef, and 43% pork.

A man was scheduled for bypass surgery with multiple blockages in his coronary ateries. After just eleven days on a low-fat, plant-based diet, the pain was gone. He canceled his surger. Dr. Esselstyn publish his findings in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Doctors and others have published their results, which prove that vast numbers of people who have beaten heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, impotenence, dementia, and more by changing the way they eat.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Neal Barnard agree that whole foods, plant-based diet minimizes the likelihood of stroke, obesity, hypertensions, type 2 diabesters, and cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, rectum, uterus, and ovary.

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/oh-my-vegan

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Gore Gore Ghouls

By : Richard Deboo

Posted on Vegetarian Friend By Debbiedeboo

I have something of a liking for gory horror movies and watched a great film the other day, “Inside”, a French movie from 2009 starring Alysson Paradis and Beatrice Dalle.  A genuinely very fine film, emotionally taut and deeply involving.  There’s also a heck of a lot of blood on show.  I strongly recommend this movie.  It lingers in the memory long after the final titles have rolled…

InsideBut I know that a lot of people won’t watch it because it is violent, it does have a lot of blood being splattered everywhere. A lot of people just don’t like that stuff.  It’s not a film for all the family.  It’s not uplifting, it’s not a feel-good film … it is brutal and cruel.  And a lot of people just don’t like that.  And I can understand that.

But what I can’t understand is why many of those same people seem okay about the meat and dairy industries.  If they don’t like violence, and lots of blood being spilt, and cruelty and brutality, why then do they like eating meat and dairy products?

At least with “Inside” I know that everybody’s okay.  At the end of the filming Alysson Paradis and Beatrice Dalle had a shower, cleaned off the fake blood, and went home.  The studio hands got their buckets and sponges out and cleaned off the fake blood from the walls.  The hammer and the knife didn’t really cause injury, pain and extremely violent, bloody deaths… it was all pretend.  Beatrice Dalle is a very good actress and a very nice person I’m sure – she doesn’t really maim and kill.  She wouldn’t really do that for a living.

Cattle-processing-slaughterhouseThe slaughterhouse is real.  The knives and the hammers really do kill.  The people who work there really do maim, torture and kill for a living.  The walls are splattered with real blood; the channel on the kill floor runs very deep with a shocking torrent of real blood.  The workers’ clothes are saturated in real blood, real scraps of split flesh, stained with the slashed mess of evisceration, the tissue of brain and spine.  The slaughterhouse is truly hell on earth, an unceasing, unremitting, unyielding scream of violence, viciousness and cruelty.  It is a totality of brutality.  Mercy is dead at the gates.  Within is only murder.

The slaughterhouse only exists because of those who want to consume meat and dairy products.  The violence only happens because of those people.  Those damned, bloody deaths only happen because of those people.  The person who walks the supermarket aisle and picks up the meat and reaches for the carton of milk has directly, absolutely caused the bolt to be fired into the animal’s head, has switched on the conveyor belt to take day-old baby chicks on a short death rattle journey to the mincing machine, has spun the blade that slashes the throats, has powered the slicing blades that rip the animal’s insides from his or her body, even as they breathe their last.  The kill floor is awash with deep rivers of blood pouring from destroyed bodies that were only destroyed because of that person reaching out in the supermarket to do their weekly shopping.  They made it happen.

The gore in the slaughterhouse is brutally real.  An intense agony that never ends.  No credits roll.  No pretence, no fantasy, no “story”, no joke.

People might not like my taste in movies but I can always and absolutely honestly say that no-one was harmed in the creation of that entertainment but when someone sits down at table to enjoy their meat and dairy they absolutely cannot ever say that no-one was harmed.  They caused harm.  They killed.   They may have washed their hands thoroughly before sitting down to eat but I can still see the stain of blood that lingers on their fingers and rings their mouth with every bite.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We Are The Ones

By : Richard Deboo

Posted on Vegetarian Friend By Debbiedeboo

The following is the text of the speech that I gave at the TW VegFest event in Tonbridge Wells,  England on Saturday 19 November, 2011.

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone

Those words of course are the opening lines to Edgar Allen Poe’s masterful “Alone“, one of the finest, most lyrical short poems of the 19th century.  I sometimes feel, as someone deeply committed to the protection, the welfare, the rights of my animal companions in this world, that I am somewhat different, somewhat …alone.

It is only when coming to an event such as this that one realises that … I am not alone, that … we are not alone … we are not alone in the universe, there are other, similar life-forms just like us out there … there are, in fact, lots and lots of us but even so, our differentness is often exaggerated by the indifference of a society that refuses to play its part in the beautiful drama of compassionate living.

Here are but a few telling tales from my own recent past.  Last year when the football World Cup was on in South Africa, a few of us decided to go to the pub after work to watch one of the games – 16 of us went in total.  As it was after work, people wanted to get some food as well; 15 of us ordered a burger and chips.  I didn’t order the burger; I didn’t even order the chips – they looked a bit rank to me!  I subsisted that evening entirely on the nutrients to be extracted from a large number of bottles of Peroni, and I think that I rather well really… but the point was made, that I was the different one…

At Christmas time, we had a party at work and much was made of the catering that was going to laid on for us – on the evening there were great long tables filled with food, people eagerly picking at the goodies on offer … except that there was nothing there for me.  One of the catering staff came over and said, “oh – you’re the one.  Your food is out the back, I’ll go and get it.”  Apparently I was the one … but not, unfortunately, in the same way as Keanu Reeves in The Matrix… back she came with a plate, looking quite pleased with herself.  I took the plate and looked at … well, some soggy green things (it was difficult to tell exactly what they were) not so much drizzled but drowned in oil, limp leaves hanging over the edge of the plate, looking for all the world like the melted clocks in Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, except that this was no work of art … my mate sniggered and snorted as he drank from his beer and yes, once again I was the different one…

A few years before that I was working at a major investment bank in the City of London and as an investment bank they of course had great wads of cash to flash around spending it on whatever they liked.  This was before the credit crunch … and I find it interesting that following the credit crunch they’ve ended up with even more cash to splash now for failing than they ever had when they were apparently succeeding … such are the mysteries of global capitalism…

Anyway, back then the bank decided to throw some cash down at the lower orders who worked there, such as myself, and they sent us on a ridiculously expensive 3-day residential training course at a terrifyingly posh hotel out in the Kent countryside … I’m sure this hotel had never had to put up with the likes of me before and if I hadn’t have had my company pass I’m sure I’d have been shot at the gates as a peasant intruder… but I did have my company pass so there was nothing they could do about it and they had to let me in…

We did the training during the day and that was all very boring, but it was in very fine, oak-panelled surroundings, every detail a deliberate expression of a place luxuriating in its own exclusivity and opulence … but it was in the evening, at dinner, that the hotel really wanted to impress …

From early evening drinks we were ushered through to the dining-room, a space perfectly dressed in exquisite finery, the other guests already making delicate chinks of sound as cutlery met china under the murmur of soft conversation… a piano player made gentle tones at the grand piano … a full grand piano, no baby stuff for this place … we were seated at a long table for the eight in our group, plus our two trainers.  I had, of course, explained my dietary needs to the hotel beforehand – as a vegan one learns very quickly to seek to pre-empt any major confusion at the mere mention of that apparently alien-sounding word…vegan.  Even so, when the hors d’oeuvres when brought through mine was a piece of a fish … I explained this problem to one of the waiters who said, “oh you’re a strict one?” before taking it away.  Maybe I didn’t want a starter anyway.

Then the main event.  The main course.  This was where the chef was going to demonstrate his creative brilliance, his culinary genius… and this was full silver-service.

We each had a waiter dedicated to us with the maitre d’ in full command of his staff.  Each of the waiters stood at our side, holding the silver platters in their hands, the silver domes sparkling in the evening light.  With a nod the maitre d’ gestured to the pianist who paused his playing, the room fell silent and the waiters placed the platters before us.  A moment to savour as we waited for the revelation of what was in front of us.  With an orchestrated wave of the maitre d’s finger the waiters reached over in perfect synchronisation and lifted the silver lids – my colleagues to a one “ooh-ed” and “aah-ed” and “wow-ed”, gasps of delight as they looked on in wide-eyed wonder at their plates.  I looked at my … risotto in something less than wonder.  “Is that it?” one of colleagues said as she gazed across at the sorry-looking damp rice splodged on my plate.  What could I say?  At least the chef had managed a vegan risotto.  But they feasted well, my colleagues, that evening on their varieties of so-called “game”, the chef’s speciality, naturally, the hotel’s speciality, naturally, and I was once more “the one”…

The second evening we had the same service, the same dedicated attention to our needs, the same sliver platters, the same nod to the pianist, the same ritual with the team of waiters, the same revelation of the chef’s virtuosity and remarkable talent … and I had the same risotto.  And I saw the same, pained sorrowful looks from my colleagues.

The final evening after a third day’s training, and for the last time the ceremony unfolded as before, themaitre d’ ushering us through to the dining room for one more meal … one more example of the chef’s magnificence, one further chance to sample the pleasure of his genius; one further pause by the pianist as the waiters raised the polished, silver domes one last time and once more the same “oohs” and “aahs” and “wows” from my colleagues and .. oh yes, once more the same risotto for me!  Once more I was singled out, I was different, I was alone.

I complained of course although the hotel was completely unconcerned; they make plenty of money by filling plates with plenty of so-called “game” birds, reclining afterwards in the rich rewards from so much praise from so many well-fed, well-satisfied guests.

I mention these incidents not because I felt bad about any of them, not because I felt embarrassed by what happened, and not because I felt that I was in any way wrong for being “the one”, for being “singled out” in that way … on the contrary, the very opposite was true then and is still true now …

I seriously could have cared less about being “the one”, and I would only have preferred more “ones” to make us into a many… but I was fine without the burger and chips in the pub that day, looking around the table and seeing their hands greasy with the stain of flesh dribbled with oil to burn away the blood; I was fine, really, with those limp leaves at the Christmas party – how else could I ever enjoy a party, a festiveoccasion, if I had corpse parts on my plate?  And I was massively unfazed by the pained looks of my colleagues in that hotel as they looked sadly at my plate, and I looked at them and saw their cheeks fat with the torn shreds of the violently slaughtered, their faces reddening and bulging with the stuffed remnants of an eviscerated life.

They may have laughed and joked at the table, at the party and in the pub but when I smile I do not have the tattered flesh of the slain hanging from my teeth, my skin does not ooze the rotten grease of death and when I breathe I do not exhale the swallowed scream of the viciously killed.

There was nothing wrong with being “the one” … but the one thing that is wrong in all of this is that it is the wrong way around – it is the one who rips into the bodies of the dead who should be singled out; it is the one who demands that others die for his or her gratification who should be the one who receives the quizzical, confused glance as we ask, “but why would you want that?” and it is the one whose pleasure is found in the sufferance and destruction of the weak and undefended who should feel isolation from his or her peers, the silence that folds like a shadow that comes from being the odd one out.

There should have been fifteen in the pub that evening who were uninterested in any flesh-based burgers, the xmas party should have been heaving, swinging with the many who could eat whatever they wanted from the long tables, crowded with vegetables, fruits and all manner of non-animal cuisine, and below those silver domes should have been riches aplenty for those whose appetites are sated not by blood and death but by the plant-based offerings of a world of food bursting with goodness, and so they would have been if that chef was worth even a fraction of the cost of a meal held under the glittering light of the chandeliers in that dining room.

So why is it not the right way around?  Why is it so wrong?

Because we are led to believe lies.  The world is warped, the truth is twisted, the facts are falsified, and the lies are laid out before us for our delectation and consumption – if we choose the lazy way and ask no questions, challenge no assumptions, and suppose that every presumption is promoted for the best of intentions, for the noblest of reasons, with everyone’s best interests at heart.

No.  This is a dark heart of corruption and distortion; the truth is crushed and lies roll over us; we are led to believe not only that animal body parts and their secretions are essential to human health – despite the irrefutable scientific evidence that disproves this categorically, but also that it must be so hard to live as one who has no animal products in the diet; people are made to feel that it’s just too difficult to change, that it’s just so hard to adapt to a life free from meat and dairy.

We should not be surprised that this is so.  The animal farming industry is worth billions of pounds in profit and those companies – whether producers, distributors or retailers – engaged in “feeding the masses” have a vested interest in everything remaining the same, in keeping the population pacified and docile, the mass of humanity leaning backwards, eyes rolling, tongues lolling and mouths agape as tons of rubbish is poured down their throats.  But we don’t have to take their rubbish, we don’t have to fill our bellies with the bloody remains of the cruelly killed, we don’t have to stain our lips with the stolen milk of worn-out, run-down traumatised cows bellowing for their calves, now lying dead with a bullet in the head, shot within hours of being born.

We don’t have to do any of that and stopping doing it is one of the easiest things we can do … as well as one of the most profoundly compassionate and beautiful acts we can ever perform.

All that we have to do is to see them, those farmed animals, and see them all for who they really are, and see ourselves for who we really are and then just to modestly adjust our behaviours and live our life slightly differently, so that we can live a life whose every moment is devoted to compassion.  This is all that we have to do, to adapt to a life of kindness and consideration for others.

We are an adaptable species.  We can adapt to anything.  You’d be surprised what people can get used to, you would.  It’s amazing really, our ability to adapt.  There were men, and it was only men, who were taken as prisoners to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the Second World War and were forced to “work” in the murder chambers and crematoria as what the Nazis called Sonderkommando, a “special” team whose task it was to remove the dead bodies from the gas chambers, remove any gold teeth and jewellery – including intimate examinations for any hidden items, and then burn the bodies, either in open pits or in the crematoria.  Often, these men saw and had to deal with the bodies of their families from whom they had been separated only hours before – and now they had to destroy them, utterly and completely.  Some of those men “worked” in that horror, that abyssal nightmare, for months even in some cases years.

Even under this most extreme of psychological tortures and trauma they survived, they maintained their decency and their dignity … they … adapted.  That is a testament to their courage, the strength of their humanity and their determination to bear witness to this most grievous of evils.  But they adapted.

All that I ask is that we all adapt to soya milk instead of cow’s milk, adapt to tofu instead of ham, adapt to … letting other lives live.  I ask only that we all live without the factory farm with its cages and chains, live without the weekly livestock market selling animals to their death, and that we all live without the slaughterhouse as the backdrop to our daily rituals, its walls running with blood, spilt just for us.

We can have Weetabix for breakfast instead of sausages and bacon; we can have pizza, curry, burgers just the same … just without the animal pieces, and we can have life all around us not death in us and surrounding us.

We can so easily live in a way that harms no-one, that causes no-one to suffer, no-one to feel pain, no-one to die, to lose their life just for us.  From the moment we raise our head from the pillow in the morning until we rest it down again at the close of evening we can live and we can know that everyone else lived and no-one died because of us … no-one was shot because of us, no-one was stabbed in the heart because of us, no-one was anally-electrocuted because of us, no-one was kicked in the face, and punched in the eye, and beaten on the head and burned and scalded, and yelled at and cursed and hated and pushed and pulled and thrown and … … no-one screamed in pain because of us, no-one bowed their head and cried and died just because of us …

And we can live so well!

There’s a reason why heart disease, and diabetes, and obesity and dementia and cancer and so many other desperate afflictions are so rare amongst those who have no animal-based foods in their diet – certainly when contrasted with the meat-eaters in our society.  Even taking everything else into account – lifestyle, exercise, age, gender, ethnicity, family history – all of the medical data all point the same way: that a plant-based or vegan diet is not only a healthy choice but the healthiest choice …

It allows us as human beings to live long and healthy lives, with a much, much lower risk of so many diseases that terrify so many.  It is not inevitable that 1 in 3 of us must contract cancer as is suggested by so many cancer charities; heart disease is not an inevitable fact of life that can only be held at bay at best by surgery and a lifetime of popping pills; we do not have to spend the majority of our later years debilitated, in chronic pain, with worn and diseased bones, bereft of energy, vitality, the very life sapped from us even as we live … and wheeze and stagger, bent-double towards a cold, early grave.

The one who is considering, but hesitating, about whether to make that choice and absent all animal products from their life – from their food, their clothes and furniture, cosmetics and household products, should ask themselves the simple question – what’s the worst that can happen?

Will their arms fall off?  It seems unlikely.  Will their eyeballs boil in their heads and explode outwards in a shower of tissue and membrane?  That’s not expected to happen.  Will their stomach erupt in a spasm of fiery rejection of fruits and vegetables, and be ripped asunder in a bloody horror of self-evisceration?  That’s doubtful too.

The worst, the very worst that can happen is that going shopping might take a bit longer as they scan the ingredients list of items on the supermarket shelf … that’s how bad it will ever get …

Now what’s the best that can happen?  The person will feel healthier, more full of energy, and will know that their new diet is one that is most definitely more friendly to the environment, knowing that the precious limited water and food available on Earth is not poured into the mouths of livestock animals but is still there for the billion humans who are desperately parched and hungry.  And they will know too that they are not responsible for any pain, any suffering, any violence, any cruelty, any beating, any bloodshed, any killing…

They will know that they are living a truly compassionate life, one that respects all life, one that cherishes life, one that really offers hope to those who hunger and thirst in our world, and offers safety and sanctuary to those who deserve our mercy, and protects and cares for the natural world, that safeguards the rainforests, the mangroves, the coral reefs, the rivers and seas and oceans, the savannahs and the forests, the fields and the wetlands, all secured for future generations to treasure the richness of the variety of life lived therein, and one that offers care and kindness to those who are undefended, that looks after the weak and the fragile, a life that expresses love in fullness and without hesitation, concession or compromise, a live of love lived completely and absolutely, a life of goodness, decency, kindness and compassion offered to all without exception…a long, healthy, wonderful life of joy and love …

That’s how good it can be.

And we can all do it. We can all live that life.  The power is ours, to change our lives and the lives of so many others.

We do not have to wait for anyone to tell us what to do; we do not have to wait to be given permission to do what we want to do; we do not have to wait to change the world.  We can do it now.

We are often made to feel powerless, by lobbyists, by Governments, by big business, but they’re wrong  -they don’t own this world; we do.  They’re not in control; we are.  They don’t have the power; it’s ours.  In truth, they’re running scared from us, terrified that we won’t show our loyalty by always shopping at the same supermarket, always buying the same brands, always voting the same way … if we take away our loyalty, if we refuse to buy into what they want us to do, then there’s nothing that they can do about it … and they know it.

They want us to feel weak, but we are strong; they want us to feel helpless and hopeless but hope is ours to offer and help is ours to give.  They want us to feel that we can change nothing, but we can change everything.  The power is ours; we are in control – of our destiny and the destiny of those billions of others in our world … and we can change the world … by thinking differently, by acting differently, by choosing to live differently, we can change the world.

It doesn’t matter that we get “singled out”, that people regard us as “the one”, because we’re the ones that are taking a stand, we’re the ones that are making a difference … and we are the ones that the world has been waiting for!

 

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