Tag Archives: Why Vegan?

Saturday Morning Scrambled Tofu

29 Jan

aka – best hangover cure known to mankind

Many years ago BV (Before Vegan) I used to cook up huge platefuls of scrambled eggs with onions on Saturday mornings.  We ate them with buttered toast, coffee, and orange juice.  It was one of the best ways to start the day.  Except it wasn’t because the way egg-laying chickens are treated is horrific.  Yes, even so-called ‘free-range’ chickens.

Even PV (Post Vegan) I was always a little hesitant to try scrambled tofu – even though I love tofu – because I didn’t want it to compare to those early morning, hung-over, scrambled egg breakfasts.  But, I was wrong.  I was wrong not to try the mighty scrambled tofu earlier than I did because it is far superior to scrambled eggs in every way.

This one is not very fancy – it’s some diced and grilled onions, tofu mushed up with some soy sauce and some Tabasco, thrown through the frying pan and served, sans toast due to my laziness, with a very tiny amount of salt and pepper.  And a big glass of water and a mug of green tea.

So long, hang-over!

P.S Make sure you buy non-GM tofu (actually, non-GM everything!).  A horrific amount of soy is genetically modified – according to GMO Compass more than half of all soybeans planted worldwide are from genetically modified crops, that includes 85% of American soybeans and 98% of Argentinian soybeans.  It’s not cool.

There is a really good Q-and-A over at the World Health Organization about GMOs, for those interested in looking into GMOs a little bit more.  It’s here.

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Knit One, Purl One, Save One

2 Aug

Knitting is in, and I have well and truly caught the bug.  I am knit-one, purl-one-ing all over the place (actually, that’s not quite accurate, as I’ve just really started doing stocking stitch, which is one row of knit followed by one row of purl.)  I finally get all those lame knitting jokes about repeating instructions between the asterisks.

I have been intrigued by knitting for a while, but I have always been a bit reluctant to venture into the isles of wool because, well, it’s wool! But, I finally did and I found a wonderful plethora of beautiful cruelty-free yarns that look and feel beautiful and warm.  And, then, my wonderful Mother-in-Law gave me a few skeins of this beautiful cotton yarn that just pushed me over the edge.

So, what’s so wrong with wool anyway?

‘Sheep raised for their wool all over the world are castrated and have their tails cut off—all without any painkillers—when they are only a few weeks old. Shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour, which means that they work roughly and fast, leaving animals injured or with open gashes that can become infected. Terrified sheep who don’t cooperate with the shearers are often beaten and kicked into place.

In Australia—where more than a quarter of the world’s wool originates—farmers use tools similar to gardening shears to cut huge chunks of skin and flesh from lambs’ backsides, without giving them any painkillers, in a crude mutilation called mulesing. And each year, tens of thousands of Australian sheep who are no longer producing enough wool are crammed onto export ships to be sent to the Middle East, where they are cruelly slaughtered. Sheep who survive the terrifying voyage are dragged off trucks by their ears and legs, tied up, and beaten and have their throats slit while they are still conscious.’

From Save the Sheep, although you can imagine that life is not much better for goats or rabbits which are bred for their hair.

Of course, this is on top of my general belief that animals are not our slaves and, therefore, not here for us to (ab)use!

Switching from wool to acrylic yarn is an easy and simple way to help out the sheep, along with spreading the word about the wonderful cruelty-free alternatives to wool and other animal-based yarns.  Here is a great site, with simple instructional videos to get you started: Knitting Help.

So, go out there and get knitting – and let people know that your lovely knitting projects are made with wool-alternatives: further proof that vegans don’t miss out on anything!

Finally, here’s why I’m knitting:

  • it’s relaxing
  • it’s not my thesis

Free Range Chickens

28 Jun

I want to say a few things about chickens, raised by this article: ‘Objections Raised over Free-Range Eggs Plan‘ from today’s Age newspaper.  First things first: the image in your mind about what constitutes ‘free-range’ is probably wrong.  Free-range chickens don’t look like the lovely happy chickens above, they are not in an environment which encourages them to undertake natural behaviors (like scratching around in the dirt).  Free-range chickens look like this (from the Advocacy for Animals site, full link below.)

Obviously, this doesn’t describe all free-range chickens – but the Pace Farm Free-Range (RSPCA certified) eggs from Safeway, those chickens look like this.  The vast majority of so-called ‘free range’ chickens do.  And, don’t be fooled about the ‘cage free’ certification on broiler (meat) chickens.  No broiler chickens here or anywhere else are kept in cages.

The point of the article is that they want to increase the number of chickens allowed in free-range classifications.  These birds already live in a space the size of an A4 piece of paper.  The majority of these chickens can’t reach the outdoors because they can’t reach the door.  This is due to vast overcrowding, injuries, lameness, mutations, deformation and disability.  Many of these chickens never, ever experience the outdoors, or anything which even closely approximates natural light.

The most disturbing thing I found in that article was this: ‘Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed supported beak-trimming if it reduced pecking and cannibalism.’  I wonder if those two-thirds of consumers watched a beak-trimming they would still support it.  Or, if they had their lips seared off with a red-hot blade whether they would think it was a good idea?!?

Have a quick flip through Behind The Myth: Cage Free Eggs, and Advocacy for Animals’ The Difficult Lives and Deaths of Factory-Farmed Chickens and think about whether you still feel comfortable with the propagation of such horrific treatment of these birds.

Meaty Revulsion

17 Jun

S and I had lunch at Southland earlier this week, and it reinforced how much I despise shopping center food courts.  It’s not having to question the ingredients of every dish – on the contrary, I am more than used to the ‘does this contain dairy?’ ‘is this made with vegetable stock?’ ‘can I have this made without cheese, please?’  It’s having to watch other people devour over cooked chicken without thinking about the animal behind their greasy fingers, or burgers that are so far removed from ‘natural’ food that you actually can’t equate what is in your hands with a cow being beaten with a steal pipe.  And, even if the cow that ends up in that particular burger wasn’t belted, what the burger represents is ‘the cow’ being beaten.  But, the very worst thing about it is adults feeding their children these things.  Young children who just don’t know better because they still believe what their mother tells them.  It’s just revolting.

Each day, my revulsion at meat, dairy and egg eaters gets worse and worse.  I turn away in disgust from people eating ham sandwiches.  It is actually starting to make me sick.

On a fairly unrelated note: I have recently finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.  As many, many veg*ns have already read – or at least heard of – this book, I don’t want to say too much about it.  When I went up to purchase the book S and I were asked if we were already vegetarians, I replied that I was vegan and that S was vegetarian.  The bookstore lady told us that the book changes people.  I’ve no doubt that it has, would, will change people.  I suppose it did reinforce the beliefs that I already hold, but I find it odd that a number of (prior to reading the book) veg*ns have told me that reading this book has changed them.  Still, I think everyone should read it.  I would love my mum to read it.  People are just so resistant to anything they feel will force them to reevaluate their lifestyles.

But, reevaluation doesn’t stop.  After I read the article Can Meat Eaters Also Be Environmentalists? I was reminded that in terms of my responsibility to animals, just not eating them is not enough, and in terms of my responsibility to the environment, not eating animals or using animal products is not enough.  We should always strive to do more – encourage people to educate themselves and to cut animal produce out of their diets and lifestyles (whether that means ‘meatless mondays’, vegetarianism, veganism, or any other manifestation of decrease).  Not only that but we should remember that by eating over processed, non-local and over-chemical’d produce we may as well erase the good work we do by not eating animal products.

Be kind to the earth, be kind to animals, and don’t eat greasy chicken near me in a food court (actually, please just don’t eat chicken at all!)

Environmental Veganism

10 Jun

Although I haven’t been doing much amazing cooking in the last few days, I have been doing a vast amount of thinking; prompted mainly by the recent proclamation of vegetarianism by a very good friend of mine.  A part of the reason that I think he had not adopted the term earlier (‘vegetarian’) is because of the stigma attached to the label.  It’s the ‘crazy animal activist’ that he wasn’t ready to lumped with as it just didn’t describe him and his reasons for adopting a meat-free diet.  He is a new(er) breed of vegetarian or vegan: the Environmental Veg*n.

Among other things: ‘The global livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined. Most of these emissions are in the form of methane from livestock—a gas that is 21 times more harmful than CO2. In fact, senior NASA Climate Change modellers now think that controlling methane could be a critical first step in attacking climate change.  According to experts, 1Kg of beef is the equivalent in green house gas emissions as driving roughly 170Km in a large family vehicle.’  You can find more over here at ‘Why Veg?‘.

I feel saddened that my friend felt alienated by the stigma of veg*nism, because as fellow vegans (or vegetarians working towards veganism) we should be supporting each other and we should want to save animals and the planet: the two are not at all mutually exclusive, and I care about both equally.  I think we should all care about the planet and want to do everything we can, and by alienating possible veg*ns, I don’t think we’re doing the planet or animals any favours.

The photo above was taken late last year in the Grampians in Victoria – S and I were preparing for our trek through the Nepalese Himalaya.  I chose this photo, rather than one of the amazing, beautiful, though-provoking shots of snow-capped mountains from Nepal because it is this type of environment that we possibly stand to loose – not just the amazing stuff.

Vegan-Pride!

3 Jun

I am vegan for one very simple reason:  I don’t believe that animals are here for humans to use.*

Underneath this comes the ‘regular’ concerns: animal cruelty and abuse, abuse and mistreatment of the environment, my own health.  But, if all these things came ‘right’ I wouldn’t consider consuming animal products again.  If animals were treated well, slaughtered painlessly, the environmental impacts of agribusiness were reversed and the health benefits from eating a plant-only diet were proved false, it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t think that animals are here for my use.  In the same way that I don’t believe that any other human is here solely to serve me (oh, what a terrible dictator I would make!)

I don’t need to quote facts and figures to convince myself that veganism is right:  especially when there are many brilliant publications, like Vegan Outreach’s ‘Why Vegan?’ booklet, or Animals Australia’s ‘Why Veg?’ site.

Oh, and by the way: I love pigs!

*What I really mean to say is that I don’t believe that non-human sentient beings are here for humans to use.