Vegan Scene


It’s Happening!
April 4, 2011, 6:49 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, recipes | Tags: ,

Hello again.

This is yet another tardy post but what can I say? The pace of our lives is  fast, too fast, lately!

But guess what? We’re doing it! The vegan house share!! And we are psyched but also overwhelmed with the ominous and never ending list of DIY that we incurred upon arrival at the sweet May Cottage nearly three years ago. Oh, well. We’re working on it and now we seem to have lots of helping hands.

We’ve had nearly a dozen awesome, inspiring vegans write to us and tell us they want to check this place out and possibly move here.  From the feedback we’ve received so far, there seems to be a real need and desire for some kind of affordable vegan community living and we’re thrilled that there are like-minded folks out there with whom we are able to share our time and space.

We can only  accommodate a handful of those folks at present, but we’ve got a big plot of land and a few dilapidated dwellings onsite that, with a bit of love and a few fun days working together in the sunshine, will be perfect homes for more people.

I’m just a little bit sad that most of my time will be spent working in London. Part of me wishes I could stick around here all of the time, but alas…I will be up when I can!

Switching modes entirely, I wanted to share a really healthy and delicious food we’ve been making every week as of late. Thanks to a local green grocer that somehow gets massive shipments of just-out-of-date organic goods and then sells them for extremely low prices(!!!!!!!!), we have had a steady flow of ridiculously cheap hemp seeds. Usually hemp seeds are like four quid for 250g, but right now we are getting about a kilo’s worth for £1!!!! So while this recipe might not be as cheap for you, wherever you are in the world, it is still worth every penny.

Hemp seeds are good for you. They are probably one of the best sources of complete protein on this earth, full of vitamins, minerals, and an amazing ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 fats. Just google them if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Raw Hemp and Pumpkin Seed Butter

Ingredients:

250 g raw hemp seeds

big handful of pumpkin seeds

sea salt to taste

2 or 3 big cloves of fresh garlic

half of a small onion

lemon juice from 2 or 3 wedges

tablespoon or two of cider vinegar

maybe a tablespoon of water

Method:

Blend hemp and pumpkin seeds in the food processor to a paste-like consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend some more. Keep in a sealed tupperware container or sealed glass jar for up to one week. Eat with crudites, crackers, and other dishes. Just make sure it doesn’t get too hot, otherwise you’ll damage the omega fats.

Also: for a really creamy raw hemp and pumpkin sauce/salad dressing/yogurty-dip, simply add more water (probably about a cup more).

 

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Vegan Scene @ May Cottage
March 15, 2011, 4:31 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, gardening, health | Tags: ,

Hi!

Many apologies for the delay in new postings on this weblog. There is so much going on here and I’m very excited about our new projects and opportunities.

I’ve got several updates in the coming weeks about delicious new foods and recipes we’ve been inspired by lately, as well as what we’re sowing; as the light and warmth come around again, it’s obviously time to get our hands in the soil!

Today, I want to share our proposal of opening our house to other vegans. We want to make it a living, breathing vegan community!

Daley and I have both stumbled upon unique career opportunities in London, which is 120 miles away from our current location. Unfortunately, these opportunities don’t seem to be cropping up locally at the moment, so we feel we’ve really got to move down into the city for an undisclosed period of time. I’ve been studying and certifying in naturopathic therapies, and have found work in a brilliant naturopathic clinic as a colonic hydrotherapist. Daley has found a gig as chef in vegan restaurant that specializes in raw food.

Rather than sell up and ship out, we want to keep our cottage going with the spirit of nonviolence and progression. We’d love our place to become a beacon and haven for like-minded individuals where projects can thrive, where it is feasible for vegans to join together in a residential community to spread awareness, grow and cook vegan food, and look after nonhumans that are in need of support.

We’re not doing this for profit, but rather out of a deep-seeded need to not revert this place back to the status quo simply because we can no longer be here.

To an extent, we’ll be sharing our lives with one another so this project needs to be based on trust, respect, and thorough vegan ideals.

If you’re interested in joining us or know someone in the UK that might be, check out our website www.wix.com/veganscene/maycottage for details.

Thanks all, and look out for more postings here very soon! We’ll take several big leaps of faith and sow many seeds in the coming months!

Home Sweet Home: May Cottage in Nottinghamshire, UK



No Wonder the Kale Isn’t Growing.
December 25, 2010, 7:34 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, gardening

This is one of the coldest winters on record in the United Kingdom. An article published today on Sky News reports that,  “with the icy weather set to continue, the UK could be heading for one of its coldest winters since 1890.”

I was glad to bump into a gardening acquaintance from our village last night as we were grocery shopping. He said that all of his crops were dying in these uncharacteristically harsh conditions, just like mine! It may sound silly, but I’ve been feeling lately like I’ve let my garden down since many of the annual “winter hardies” started keeling over. The truth is, they are meant to forge on through the cold without any protection, but obviously The Big Freeze has been extremely crippling! Sad but true. I’m still interested to find out if they resume activity when a major thawing out occurs.

All of this leads me to speculate on the term “self-sustainability.” Because the kale (and chard, leeks, turnips, Brussels, lettuce, etc) won’t grow due to the weather, we are buying it from outside sources. But what if the big food giants were to cease existing? We’d need to be ready with preserved and stored foods. If we depended on the very land we lived to feed us, our lives and diets would be different. Our ideas of sustainability would need to be rooted much deeper. We’d need to grow more to store more, and we’d spend lots of our time with these activities. I often wonder about the rhythms and truths of that sort of existence; sometimes it seems strange to me that we are so far removed from that kind of reality.



the cat that lives here
December 13, 2010, 10:32 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, health | Tags: , ,

His name is Taco and I don’t feed him meat. I don’t get his dead people for him; he does that for himself. I think it is wrong for me to eat dead people, and I don’t want to go feeding them to Taco, either.

A lot of people, vegan as well as meat and secretion eaters, think that providing a plant-based diet for Taco is unnatural, that it’s wrong. However, if the standard of “natural” is meat-based kibble, then I think it may well be more natural and certainly contains less chemicals and a much more consistent moral judgement!

The truth about meat-based kibble is that it is a processed, chemically altered product created from by-products of the meat industry deemed “unfit” for human consumption (and obviously somehow fit for nonhuman animal consumption!). Many people claim that animals need the nutrients in meat-based kibble, however, because of the extremely poor quality of meat and the over processing of it, this kibble is nearly always fortified with vitamins and minerals that come from (WHOA) plant-based sources! This includes that much debated amino acid, taurine, that cats must obtain from an external source because they cannot produce their own. Yes, Virginia, the fortified taurine in meat-based kibble comes from a plant.

So, anyway, Taco is a two and a half year old cat and he is healthy and active. He’s an “outdoor” and “indoor” cat because he has access to a cat flap that’s always open. I am happy to provide as much of a free and comfortable home to him as possible, but I regret the too-frequent times he brings home a dead or near-dead creature and I despair in the actuality that he wreaks havoc on the local wild life population. Just a few days ago, he brought in a traumatized sparrow that thankfully did not appear to be physically wounded. We had to help this deeply perplexed creature by picking her/him up, and placing him/her outside to fly away. The point of  this story is to explain that I don’t know and I don’t suspect that Taco only eats 100% plant-based foods. To the contrary, I think he regularly supplements his diet with murdered nonhumans.

I’m sure he’d engage in this deeply ingrained behavior regardless of whether he ate meat- or plant-based kibble, and it is important to me that I make sure NOT to engage in any murdering myself, other than to provide a home for a murderous cat, which I can justify, because he is a victim of domestication, like so many other souls on this earth, and deserves not to be abandoned.

Taco does alright on plant-based foods. Besides kibble, he is regularly offered chickpeas (mashed and whole), sweet corn (he loves), seaweed, lentils, tofu, and anything else he expresses an interest in.

I wholly recommend trying your cat on vegan kibble if you don’t like slavery.

(By the way, we use a brand named Ami.)



The DIY Dilemma
November 13, 2010, 8:36 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy | Tags: , , , ,
Ecos paints diy vegan casein

This is ECOS animal-product free paint, but I'm not too certain about their plastic pot...

By Daley

Despite all the vegan ethos and yummy homegrown food that gets cooked up around here, things are not always as pretty as they seem. Over the past week, we have been trying to get our heads around the sheer depth of animal consumption and how it infects many aspects of our lives. Sometimes, no matter how hard we think we are trying to avoid it, the results of mankind’s animal exploitation creep up and bite us from the most unlikely of places. This is a cautionary tale of one such occasion.

We have spent the past few months without a fully functioning bathroom, mainly due to the fact that it was never really installed properly to begin with. The walls and floor were bare, and our bathtub was positioned against a window so that we couldn’t add a shower. There were pipes laying all over the place, and  the whole thing looked like it had been fitted by a bunch of cowboys on there lunch break, which as it happens, was the case (but we knew all this when we bought the house…). So,anyway over the past year, I have spent a great deal of time re-routing pipe work,replacing a non existent lintel that should have been above the window, re-laying the floor, plastering the walls, and basically trying to get the place into a basic useable standard. We have gotten to the tiling and painting stage, and it is here where we’ve become conscious of a snag that has always been there.

I was in search of some paint, some gloss paint in particular, for the frame around the bathroom door. I was looking through the endless shades of white and comparing the prices when the warning sign on the side of a tin caught my attention; “Warning: Volotile Organic Compounds content 50 to 70 percent.” I’ve always known that mainstream construction material has a horrible impact on the earth and have a deep interest in “green” alternatives, but suddenly it hit me that I really couldn’t buy another tub of white paint from B & Q.  What on earth would make me want to chuck that stuff around my house? No, in this day and age, there has to be some other product out there that isn’t going to give my body a toxic cocktail. Back home to Google!

I ended up at this site: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/HomeGarden/paintgloss.aspx

The most worrying  yet informative part of the site was the “Animal Ingredients” section. I found out that not only do conventional, everyday paints contain toxic substances that are bad for our health, they are also full of an animal product called casein, which has now become the major part of my living nightmare.

You see, whenever I see a vegan label or decide something is vegan, I will always wonder if this casein i lurking in the packaging (and so will you after reading this). Casein is made from milk and is a product often used in just about everything you can think of that is made from plastic.This article just about covers anything else you might want to know about what products may contain casein:   http://nzic.org.nz/ChemProcesses/dairy/3E.pdf

So, if after you have digested that, and you  haven’t decided to paint the walls a nice shade of red from your freshly slit wrists, you might want to take a trip over to ECOS paints, should you require something less subtle to cover your walls (http://www.ecospaints.com).

Now, the climbing doesn’t get any easier the farther you get up the mountain. For a start there is the price of this stuff. Five litres of white currently runs at £29. 62 , add around a fiver if you want a colour, then add £8 for shipping, because nobody stocks this paint, and you can only buy it direct from ECOS. Don’t forget to add the tax!

I ordered 5 litres of a colour and 1 litre of white gloss. With all that added, it came to a total of £66. And although it isn’t necessarily ECOS Paints’ fault, I am still waiting for the paint to be delivered, 8 days after ordering it. I wonder how many bacon butties have been eaten by the handlers of my lost-in-transit tins of paint.

By comparison, I could have nipped to  the DIY store and bought the conventional equivalent of ECOS paints for around £35-£40 and finished painting my bathroom that evening. I am glad to have bought the ECOS paint over the other options, but it has caused me some headaches. I would like to have posted about what it was like to work with it, however i am still waiting for it to arrive!

To conclude, I’m left thinking about several questions relative to vegan consumerism. How vegan is any product, packaging, or company? A particular product might not contain any animal products, but what about the packaging? I’m quite concerned now that all the “wonderful” plastic products we use and buy will contain casein or some other animal product, and the fact that we may never know for sure is cause for concern.



creative advocacy
October 27, 2010, 6:13 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy | Tags: ,

I saw this highlighted on the Living Vegan blog and I thought it was a pretty cool way to give attention to vegan advocacy .



“Don’t buy into the false dichotomy between flesh and other animal products.”
September 12, 2010, 6:59 am
Filed under: ethos/philosophy | Tags: , , ,

The header is a quote from one of Gary L. Francione’s latest articles. Francione is a leading vegan philosopher and professor of law and philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law. He’s written six books, speaks publicly, and keeps a live blog, all central to his “abolitionist approach” stance on the treatment of non-human sentient animals.

The quote came from a succinct but powerful article he published last week, “Ingrid Newkirk on Principled Veganism: ‘Screw the Principle,’ “ which is a criticism of a statement given to Time Magazine from Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA. In the statement, Newkirk advocates against all or nothing vegan outreach and instead wants “simply to get more people to eat less meat.”

In the article, Francione points out that that kind of advocacy in no way helps animals, only animal industries. He explains that the “flexitarian” or “vegetarian” animal welfare movements are misguided in thinking that there is a way to humanely raise animals for slaughter. He argues against the general concept of “happy meat,” explaining that it is a myth sold to consumers to justify and actually increase animal consumption.

The “happy meat” stance suggests, for example, that so-called organic dairy manufacturers treat cows “humanely,” when in reality, cows are being tortured no less than conventionally raised dairy cows.  The use of the term “organic” in relation to dairy (or any other animal product) refers only to the requirement of organic-certified feed, and has absolutely no implication over the quality of life or treatment an animal receives. Both organic and non-organic cows endure cyclical lives of gestation and constant milking in close confinement. Every dairy cow is forcefully and continually made to produce  offspring in order to stay lactating to produce the milk consumed by humans.  The offspring constantly generated from milk production are separated from mom 0 – 2 days after birth, and become meat or dairy commodities themselves. Organic and non-organic dairy cows are “culled,” on average, at four years old. They are so exhausted of their biological resources that by this very early age, most are unable to produce what is considered to be “enough” milk to be an efficient commodity to the dairy industry. Cows that develop mastitis, an infection in the milk glands due to over-milking, are viewed as disposable in both organic and non-organic practice, and are sent to slaughter. Life expectancy for a healthy cow raised outside of the food industry is twenty to twenty five years. [http://www.chooseveg.com/dairy.asp]

Francione points out in his response to Newkirk that every single cow in commercial rearing for meat and dairy endures a gruesome life and slaughter, even if their produce is marketed as “humane,” “vegetarian,”  or “organic.”

Repeatedly in his publications, Francione very deftly states the case that it is inherently wrong to use sentient animals and that veganism is the “moral baseline” that needs to be adapted by all so-called animal rights activists. He is well worth a read so click the above link to check him out!