Vegan Scene

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


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 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


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.)

growing and juicing wheatgrass- without the special juicer!
October 30, 2010, 11:37 am
Filed under: gardening, health, recipes | Tags: ,

I don’t have one of those awesome specialized wheatgrass juicers, so for the past week I’ve wondered what to do with a mop of long wheatgrass growing in the green house. I’ve read that wheatgrass fiber is not digestible by humans, so I felt I couldn’t just lob it in the food processor whilst making a green smoothie. A dear friend came to visit this week and she has had extensive experience with wheatgrass at a raw food wellness centre in Puerto Rico; she even washed her eyes out with it! She offered up the perfect solution: put it in the processor, add water, and strain. She said the end product wouldn’t be as concentrated as the properly juiced stuff, but that there would still be a very nutritious and digestible liquid. Cool!

Yup, the strained wheatgrass/water mixture smells and tastes strong! it may not be as intense as wheatgrass that has been juiced properly, but we're now sat here drinking fresh wheatgrass goodness.

To grow the grass, we simply soaked the seeds overnight, spread them out atop some compost, and made sure the seeds were always hydrated. The seed germinated and grew quickly. I can tell that several servings will grow from this little tray!

if i am what i eat, i’ll have a green smoothie
August 31, 2010, 7:56 pm
Filed under: health, recipes | Tags: ,

Lately, we’ve been revisiting our eating habits. I mentioned in a previous post that Daley and I are excluding refined sugar, flour, and margarine from our diets. We have also been trying to increase our raw food, and specifically leafy green, intakes. To this end, we have introduced the green smoothie into our lives, specifically in the part when we eat our first meal of the day.

Although I’ve included vegetables and greens in the fresh juices I’ve made, I don’t have too much experience with whole fiber green smoothies.

We’ve had three solid mornings of green smoothies in a row so far.

I am enjoying the taste of my smoothies and thinking the green breakfast benefits my over all feeling of wellness. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but I feel awesome after I consume one of these. I would like to make it a habit, and since prep and clean up takes only a few minutes, I can rely on this as my go-to breakfast. Previously, my breakfasts would usually be some sort of salty left overs or bulgar wheat, as well as a piece of fruit. I would never include greens in my first meal of the day, let alone raw greens.

Now before you think about gagging and go back to your bagel, I want to tell you that this delicious smoothie is composed of about 60% fruit and 40% green leaf de jour. This means that we enjoy a fruity, mild, fresh, and non-offensive concoction. You don’t taste the greens very much at all. Of course, if we tinkered with the percentages, we’d have more “green” tasting results. We’ve been using about 200 grams of greens (baby spinach or kale leaves, although we plan to use others), some berries, and a base that is either  peaches, a mango, or a few bananas, and water. We drink a big mug full each.

Fine tuning our diet is an ongoing process, and the saying “what you get in is what you get out,” definitely applies. The more I choose whole foods, and especially the raw green ones, the better I feel. I haven’t kept the date, but it’s been at least 4 weeks since I’ve consumed refined sugar. I’m doing great- mostly I fix a craving with whole dates or by using date puree in a recipe. Sometimes that recipe includes cocoa if I feel like eating a chocolaty food. On one occasion, we purchased a pricy bar of raw cacao sweetened with agave nectar. I do feel like we’ve cheated a bit with the agave, since it contains just as much fructose as high fructose corn syrup. But I am learning more and more that naturally sweet fruits are a satiable and healthy way to get sugar in the system.

Along with the smoothies and exclusion of refined foods, I’ve been taking care to have plenty of sprouts sprouting, as well as some waiting to be eaten in the fridge. I’ve also been taking more salads for lunch at work, and we usually eat one as a preface to dinner at the end of the day. I’m still eating my far share of cooked whole foods, but definitely trying to up my percentage of raw. On that note, I’d love to embark on a 10 day, all raw cleanse soon! After all, if I am what I eat, I should be eating living foods to be alive.

I’d like to give a shout out to The Raw Family, as they provide a really great (and free!) resource with information and recipes regarding green smoothies.

hello, young sprout
July 29, 2010, 7:04 pm
Filed under: gardening, health, recipes | Tags: , ,

Sprouts are meant to be some of the most health giving foods ever. They are alive as alive could be. They have phytochemicals, pretty much every nutrient, proteins, and enzymes. I love googling the health properties of different sprouts, especially when I’m having a slow day.

My favorite seed to sprout is definitely broccoli. It very quickly turns from a sleepy, black seed to a bright green, crispy carpet of yum.

broccoli seeds ready to eat after 2 days of germination!

broccoli seeds, ready to eat after only 2 days of germination!

We love all the different kinds of sprouts around here. Alfalfa is especially healthy and tasty, but I have discovered it is a faster growing sprout in cold weather. My alfalfas were germinated the same night as my brocs, but these guys still need to grow. In the winter, when the kitchen is much cooler, the alfalfa  zooms out of its golden shell.

alfalfa having a slow day in the heat

If you’re new to sprouting, you will need to find a jar and a piece of breathable cloth like moslin or cheese cloth.  You could also purchase a sprouting container. In my experience, the container is worth the money. With the jar, you can’t drain off as much moisture, making for damp, sometimes moldy growing conditions. The design of the container (we use a  Vogel Biosnacky) allows for more moisture to escape.

Most seeds need to be soaked overnight to get them germinating, but some only need a few minutes of soaking. After this step, put the seeds in a jar for a few days, rinsing and draining once to twice daily. Before long, your sprouts will be ready to eat.

There are so many different seeds to sprout. We’ve tried chickpea, sunflower, mung bean, buckwheat, and the spicy radish!

in need of vegan scenery
July 22, 2010, 7:06 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, health | Tags: ,

You can not go to a vegan town; you can not go somewhere substantial on the map and immerse yourself in the culture, the food, the ideas of veganism.

We do not have a town. We have little huts, sometimes just little rooms, dotted along a small but growing number of roads, the biggest of those being  the information highway. A big enough congregating point is necessary; the word ‘enough’ is exacting- we need all the world to stop partaking in violent exploitation.

This big idea is an extreme challenge. We all know myriads of people that will never give it up, will never break the illusion that exploiting animals is essential to their existence. When you think about your friends and family, their mindsets and habits, you start forming the assertion that we are going down a path of destruction and that we are helpless to stop it.  But undoubtedly, we are less helpless then we allow ourselves to think.

In the face of a grim existence, let ours set an example. A few suggestions: In lieu of standard “organic” practices that use mainly animal manures, let’s grow our own– properly. Without animal inputs. Without pesticides. Let’s create genuinely sustainable growing systems. Let’s show our new garden to the people in our communities. Show them that it is not a secret that we can live like this, without subordinating other species to constant slavery and murder.

Cook and talk about it. Cook, eat, grow, and definitely sow.

Remember, whenever we sow seeds, it is for the future. It is always about thinking ahead. Let’s make a great, abundant, delicious garden. Let’s grow this vegan scene larger than its current plot.