Category Archives: Vegetarian and Vegan

Happy World Vegan Day

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People are born with compassion for all animals and then they are gradually habituated to not caring about the plight of farm animals. Image from Pixabay

The Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA) blog has alerted me to the fact that it is World Vegan Day and the start of World Vegan Month.  This has prompted me to do a job that I have been putting off for a while.  I have added a new category called “Vegetarian and Vegan” to my blog, and I have gone through my old posts and put the relevant ones into this new category.  There aren’t that many but now it’s easier to find them.  Just look to the right, under the pictures of the “community posts I like”, and click on the folder icon to see all my categories.  You should see “Vegetarian and Vegan” at the bottom of the list.

If you can’t be bothered to do that (and I wouldn’t blame you), I recommend the short stories Alien Report and Alien Harvest.  I was working on part 3 but my graphics machine is still causing me problems so I haven’t been able to finish the illustration that goes with the story.  There’s also this story that has vegan leanings.

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Adam And Eve Were Vegan…

…until they messed everything up and got kicked out of the Garden.  We were meant to be gardeners not farmers.  The Garden of Eden is the model of what God originally intended for mankind.  He wanted to walk with us in the Garden.  People often quote the parts of Genesis where God gives us dominion over the natural world but they ignore the part where we are told:

Here are all the herbs, God told them, that seed on earth, and all the trees, that carry in them the seeds of their own life, to be your food; food for all the beasts of the earth, all that flies in the air, all that creeps along the ground; here all that lives shall find its nourishment.

Coecke van Aelst, Pieter (follower) - The Fall of Man - Google Art ProjectWhen God gave us dominion over the natural world He wanted us to be responsible custodians not exploitative tyrants.  He gave us everything we needed – water and plants and fruit of the trees – to sustain ourselves and the creatures under our care.  There was just one fruit that was off limits.  God gave mankind free will and relied on us to make the right decision.  However, we failed, and the fallen world can no longer sustain us with ease.  God tells Adam:

Thou hast listened to thy wife’s counsel, and hast eaten the fruit I forbade thee to eat; and now, through thy act, the ground is under a curse.  All the days of thy life thou shalt win food from it with toil; thorns and thistles it shall yield thee, this ground from which thou dost win thy food.  Still thou shalt earn thy bread with the sweat of thy brow; until thou goest back into the ground from which thou wast taken; dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Notice that God still doesn’t say that we will need to eat animals to survive.  He doesn’t give permission for us to do that until after the great flood of Noah’s time.  I’m not a saint, a theologian or a Bible scholar so I don’t know why He did that.  Maybe the earth was just no longer able to support man on a vegan diet at that stage.

Now for those of you who are thinking that surely God didn’t mind people killing animals because He expected sacrifices, in fact, He didn’t actually like them or want them.  God tolerates our weaknesses out of love but when He deems that we can do better He asks more from us.  For example, in Matthew 19:8 we hear Jesus explaining why divorce was permitted in the past but not under the New Covenant:

It was to suit your hard hearts that Moses allowed you to put your wives away; it was not so at the beginning of things.

It is not a sin to eat meat and animal products; even Christ had to eat the same diet as His contemporaries.  But now that we have progressed, the Western world could probably support a vegan lifestyle for us all.  God does not require us to be vegan, but given that many of us are now able to do so, I think we should.  Vegans have much less of an environmental impact than meat-eaters.  For the sake of the animals and the environment that God put into our care, and for the poor who are often exploited for the sake of meat production, we should at least work towards it.  I’m not trying to be holier than thou; I know it’s hard.  I’ve been vegetarian for over twenty years but, even though I decided it was the right way to live a few years ago, I still struggle with veganism.

If you want information on how to make the switch you could start here, and if you need more convincing you could visit Stacey’s informative blog, Our Compass.

A Simple Way to Reduce Suffering

Want to know an easy way you can reduce suffering in the world?  If you’re a meat-eater, all you have to do is stop buying and consuming meat products.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  I gave up meat over twenty years ago.  Even though I loved the taste of meat (my favourite meals were beef wellington and bacon sandwiches) I didn’t find it difficult to stop eating it.  Why?  Because I realised the same thing that the people in this video realised:

And if you’re already vegetarian?  Go vegan!  Start here.

Thanks go to Stacey for the info in this post.

Almost Vegan Yums

This blog has been very quiet lately.  I guess I got out of the blogging habit while I was sick.  Also, I don’t have much to share.  I’ve been catching up on chores, plus we’re trying to decorate the house.  Not very exciting, but it has to be done.

I thought I would fill the space with a couple of my recent cooking experiments.  This is for your amusement/enlightenment as much as anything else.  I’m much more comfortable spending my time in the kitchen making cabinets or painting than I am cooking.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking.  In fact, I love to bake.  The thing is I’m just not a very good cook.  I don’t know why but I’m really scatterbrained about it.  I always forget to buy a vital ingredient, or I buy the wrong thing, or I forget to put something into the mix, etc.

First up is a recipe for Boursin-style cheese from the Bunny Kitchen blog that I mentioned in a previous post.  I’ve been having trouble getting some of the ingredients for my vegan experiments.  Poppy, who runs the aforementioned blog, suggested that I might be able to get the unsweetened soya yoghurt for this recipe from Tesco’s.  Having been previously disappointed by their poor selection of soya yoghurts, I was surprised to find that this time they had quite a good range.  I was so excited by this that I forgot to check that the plain yoghurt was unsweetened.  When I got it home and realised my mistake I decided to give the recipe a go anyway (sorry Poppy!).  I added extra salt to compensate for the sugar in the yoghurt.  I also left out the garlic, even though that’s my favourite flavour in Boursin, because I didn’t want to smell of it.  Anyway, given all that, it turned out to be quite edible.  I was impressed by the texture – authentic and creamy.

The second recipe turned out to be very tasty, just not as vegan as it was intended to be.  It’s a recipe that I adapted from one that we got years ago off the back of a tofu packet.  It wasn’t until I was congratulating myself on making a successful vegan meal that I realised that I had used egg noodles.  Doh!  Anyway, here’s the recipe (it serves 3-4 depending on how many noodles you add):

Ingredients

  • packet of firm tofu, pressed* and cubed
  • tamari sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • half an onion, chopped
  • ginger root, peeled and grated (about an inch cube is more than enough)
  • pinch of herbs
  • sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • red pepper, chopped
  • half a green pepper, chopped
  • tomato puree
  • cream from tin of coconut milk stored in fridge overnight
  • pasta or noodles

Method

  1. Let tin of coconut milk settle in fridge overnight.
  2. Marinate tofu in oil from jar of tomatoes for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight.  You can also add a dash of tamari sauce at this stage for a bit of extra flavour.
  3. Cook pasta or noodles according to the packet instructions.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pan/wok, fry the onion in the oil that was used to marinate the tofu.
  5. Season tofu with salt and pepper, and fry with the onions.
  6. Add peppers, then mushrooms, then tomatoes.
  7. Stir in coconut cream, tomato puree and noodles.
  8. Enjoy!  😀

I’ve been quite vague about the quantities and timings because I think you should decide how much suits your taste buds.  If you have any questions please leave me a comment below.

* There are usually instructions on the packet about how best to do this.

Easter Eggs

My apologies in advance to my vegan readers; we used a lot of eggs in this crafting session. Please see my previous post for more on the egg issue. A small consolation is that no factory-farmed eggs were used: Sally bought duck eggs and was given chicken eggs by a neighbour who keeps her own birds.  Also, after writing the previous post I went out and bought a vegan egg substitute.  It won’t be any good for Easter crafting but hopefully I can now make cruelty-free cakes and so on. 🙂
Sally’s daughter supplied us with two kits from the States; thank you Erin. I haven’t seen this kind of kit in Ireland. There were all sorts of ways of decorating the eggs. My favourite was the wax crayon used to create “resist” designs with the dyes. I hope you enjoy the photos. You might remember the bunny ears from last year; my daughter has inherited the hoarder gene from someone (not me, obviously 😉 ).

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Egg on my Face

I haven’t been looking forward to posting this.  However, I said that I was going to do a serious post about eggs, and here it is.  I have a confession that must be made before I show you my Easter crafting photos.

Why do I have egg on my face?  It concerns my egg consumption habit.  One doesn’t have to look far for evidence that egg production is cruel at any scale.  Leaving aside the horrific videos one can find on the Internet, all one has to do is ask oneself what happens to all the unwanted male chicks?  The answer is obvious; they must be disposed of somehow.  Even if they are not tossed alive into meat grinders or plastic bags, they still have to be killed.  All those sweet little fluffy yellow lives snuffed out before they’ve hardly begun for the sake of my omelettes and French toast (and so on).  And that is only the tip of the iceberg.  What about the cruelty of keeping birds (you know, those creatures with wings that fly wherever they want) captive and stealing their eggs?  Knowing all this you’d think I’d be able to stop eating eggs, wouldn’t you?  But no, I just keep on doing it.  It’s a bad habit that I can’t seem to break,  I have many excuses, but mostly it’s an unthinking habit.  It was only after I’d had a marvelous day decorating over a dozen eggs for Easter that I realised how badly my actions are divorced from my beliefs.

So, what am I going to do about it?  Well, I think a good start is to find lots of new egg-free dishes.  I’ve been thinking about this for a while so when I saw a competition on Bunny Kitchen blog for a vegan cookbook I decided to enter it.  The recipes sounded so delicious I was eager to win.  And I did: when I was making the transition from flu to chest infection, I was delighted to receive an email telling me the good news.  My sincerest thanks go to Poppy of Bunny Kitchen for that.  The book arrived a few days later.  My mouth has been watering as I’ve been reading it.  However, being ill, I haven’t had the energy to try any of the recipes yet but I will let you know how I get on as soon as I do.

Alien Harvest

(For the first part of this story click here.)Aliens 2Number 1: So how is the harvest going, Number 2?

Number 2: Overall, very well.  We hit a few problems but they mostly worked in our favour in the end.  For example, it turned out that most of the males couldn’t breed in captivity.  However, the males that will breed are able to produce a more than adequate rate of pregnancy.  The males and females that fail in the breeding pens are sent to slaughter.

Number 1: What is that irritating buzzing I can feel in my tentacle tips, Number 2?

Number 2: Oh, my apologies sir, I forgot to warn you about that.  Don’t worry, you get used to it after a while.

Number 1: But what is it?

Number 2: It’s the animals, sir.  Sometimes they vibrate the air that comes out of the respiratory organ so violently that we can feel it.  It’s worse when we tip their upper appendages (we have to remove the tips because they’ve been using them to damage each other and the equipment).

Number 1: Could it be a sign of distress?

Number 2: Oh no, sir! [laughs] It’s just a reflex, they can’t feel pain like we do.

Number 1: Oh good.  So tell me about the malnutrition problem.

Number 2: As you know, most of the incoming animals are malnourished in some way or other, sir.  The ones that are undernourished have such poor quality meat that we were considering not harvesting them at all.  However, we hit upon the ingenious idea of processing them into feed for the breeders (apart from the eyes, of course). [colours up proudly]

Number 1: What a fabulous idea, Number 2, I shall consider a suitable reward for your team.  Now, I gather that there have been significant problems with the milking pens…

Number 2: Well, the quality and quantity of the milk drops off radically when the offspring are removed.  Also, the females are having to be force-fed and there are numerous cases of mastitis and so on.  [blackens with fear]  We may have to consider dropping this side of the harvest sir.  There are just too many problems and the yields are too low.

Number 1: Don’t give up just yet Number 2.  Give our experts a bit more time to work on the issues.

Number 2: Yes, sir.  Will that be all, sir?

Number 1: Yes…  [distractedly] I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that buzzing…

Alien Report

AlienssmallNumber 2:  Reporting, sir!

Number 1: Yes Number 2?

Number 2: We’ve identified a candidate species.  Removal is projected to stabilize the climate, increase biodiversity, and halt various kinds of serious environmental degradation.

Number 1: Sentience?

Number 2: No significant telepathic or chromatic communication, no faster-than-light travel, and no ability to optimize their environment.  (Sir, [vibrates with disgust] they excrete into their water sources, and dump vast quantities of other waste products into the water, soil and air.)

Number 1: Bottom line?

Number 2: Mature individuals can breed at any time with minimal preparation.  Most of the flesh consists of high quality protein and fat.  It’s a little contaminated due the animal’s dirty habits but it can be cleaned up.  The skin can be treated and used as clothing and so on.  The eyeballs are particularly tasty and may turn out to be a highly profitable luxury item.  The females lactate, and we may be able to use some of the glands for perfume.

Number 1: So Number 2…, this is going to be a very profitable harvest.  :mrgreen:

Parable for the Short-sighted

There once was a king who had three beautiful daughters.  The first daughter was tall, dark-haired and witty.  She spent her time in the stables, laughing with the stable-hands, and riding around the king’s large garden on her favourite pony.  The second daughter was shorter, blonde and gentle.  She spent her time in the stables, grooming the ponies, and wandering around the garden watching the birds.  The third daughter was also tall and dark-haired, like the first, but quiet and studious.  She also happened to be short-sighted, and liked to spend her time with her nose in a book or lying in the garden watching the ants.

Now, the king was getting older and perhaps a little foolish.  He decided to test his daughters’ love for him.  They were summoned to his throne room to sit at his feet.  He told them that they must go into the garden and bring back the most precious thing they could find, to show him how much they loved him.  The first daughter rushed off immediately, knowing exactly what she was going to bring back.  The second daughter left next and headed for the orchard.  The third daughter sat and thought for a while.

Here is what they brought back.

A black, scented rose:

Black rose“There is nothing more beautiful in the garden, father.  No other kingdom produces such beautiful flowers” said the first daughter.  The king was delighted and buried his nose in the bloom.

A late apple blossom:

Appleblossoms“Our garden is so fertile that the apples blossom twice.  No other kingdom produces so many delicious fruits, father” said the second daughter.  The king was very pleased and he sniffed delicately at the blossoms.

An earthworm:

Earthworm 01“Without the unseen and unthanked earthworms, our garden would not be so beautiful or fertile, father” said the third daughter.  The puzzled king looked down at the cold, squirming creature that his daughter had placed gently in his hand.  He recoiled and dropped it.   Then he swelled with rage and sent everyone scurrying out of the throne room.

That evening the third daughter found herself being escorted to a carriage.  She had been banished.  There had only been time to pack a small bag and she wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to her sisters.  Tears flowed quietly down her cheeks onto the ground.  Perhaps it was these salty tears that did it but no-one really knows why; that evening the worms started to leave the garden as well.  Slowly, slowly, unseen and unthanked.

Well, the years turned, the king grew older and died, and the two princesses took over the kingdom.  The first daughter was well-loved by the people and was always seen out-and-about visiting all four corners of the kingdom.  The second daughter was also always out-and-about, helping the sick and the needy.  Everybody agreed that the two princesses were doing a wonderful job.  Nobody noticed that the apple trees in the royal garden no longer blossomed twice and that there were no more black roses.  At least, not at first.

One day, when the princesses had almost-grown children of their own, the first daughter thought back to the day that the king banished her sister.  It was something that she had tried to forget.  “How could my sister have been so foolish?” she thought, but then she looked out at the garden and was shocked.  The soil was packed hard and dust blew around the skeletal bushes and trees.  There were no flowers or fruit this year and she had hardly noticed.  The palace staff had worked hard not to let the shortage affect the princesses and their families.

Soon after, a carriage pulled up outside the cottage where the third daughter had made her home.  When she heard her sister’s request she quickly packed bags for herself and her three daughters.  “We’re going to visit your aunts,” she told them.  She bundled them into the carriage and hurried into the cottage for one last thing.  “Can’t leave without this,” she told the driver, and held up an empty box.  The driver was even more puzzled when she bent down and scooped a handful of earth into the box.  He could have sworn he saw something wriggling in there before she closed the lid.

http://3psbyseeker.com/2014/01/14/thanks-be-to-the-earthworms/

[Note added 16/01/14:  A friend was bothered that the king never got to see his error.  That is one of the main points of the parable – the ecological impact of our actions often affects not us but our children and our children’s children.]