Gentle persuasion is something I try very hard to stick to. It is something I desire to hold onto and keep it close to me as I wander through life seeing things that make me cringe. I will tell you that i am quite passionate about things I see as unfair or hurtful. I like to think of myself as the superwoman in a special suit that can come to the aid of those that I see suffering needlessly. Someone to put up a gentle but firm arm in between those things I see as being the cause of harm and those about to be harmed.
One of those things that I believe in firmly is being vegan. Yes I know I am sure there are some people that have had bad experiences with vegans. But know that I try to offer people the opportunity to experience what the food is like. I try my best to reinforce the experience with something positive. Am I perfect? No. Have I offended people? I am pretty sure I did with the vehemence in my voice and cause. Even though my voice remained calm at the time. I do have strong feelings.
I began in January as a vegetarian. We consumed Milk and Eggs and Cheese and Butter and yogurt and anything but the flesh of animals. I thought things were going along rather well. But my boyfriend Alexi made his feelings known to me. I respect his feelings above almost anyones and so I listened to him. I said well I cannot just go vegan like that *Imagine a finger snapping in the air* Yet he really believed in this and while I was not ready for it, I went ahead with it. I walked and most likely stomped up to my neighbors flat and knocked on his door. I tried with a calm voice to explain to him that we had some food for him. Was I happy in this moment? Not even close. But he came down and I methodically went through everything to see what we could have and by the time I was finished my neighbor had several bags of food.
The whole time I sat in my chair with an occasional glare at Alexi. I was not a happy camper but I remained silent. Our neighbor who is a lovely man left with the food and I had a calm talk with Alexi. See I cannot take yelling or being yelled at. It hurts me.So I told him that I was not happy and what would we be eating? I think a typical question for anyone that wonders what vegans eat. I felt lost to be truthful. So I told him if we are going to be vegan I had to have some things that did not change.
1. Hot Tea or coffee with cream in it.
2. Toast with butter.
Honestly those were big deals for me. He duly wrote down on a list the things that I needed and then put his notebook away. I took care of him and he held me that night as I think I still grumbled a bit. When we woke up I made him what I could. See I have always had quite a bit of pride in my cooking skills. I grew up in a house where my mother shooed me out of the kitchen and did not teach me anything. So here I was basically starting over. I was just lost..so throughout that day I did some research on the internet and later that night when Alexi came home he brought home soy milk and hemp milk and some dairy free butter spread and bread and fruits and tomatoes. The next morning he made breakfast. I was handed tea that tasted exactly the same as I remembered. He had purchased also single cream soy milk. The toast was a bit lighter than I was used to but I ate it slowly trying to get used to the taste.
He left for work and I tried my hand at my first vegan recipe and I found out that it was delicious. Here I was slowly over time working with ingredients I had never even heard of. Some i recognized but had never had before. So I had tofu, tahini, all these new herbs I had never head of.
The first thing I did was walked into the kitchen and grabbed a scone mix. I checked to make sure I could use it and jumped up for joy when I found that I could. I got the cocoa powder and some dried apricots and some ginger pieces and some almonds and some California seedless raisins. I mixed in some apple juice instead of the egg and then the required water and made my first vegan dish. I checked on the oven scared they might burn and they didn't. I was being a bit silly. When I took them out I looked at them sniffing them a bit apprehensive. Then I tried one and it was good. I would have jumped for joy if I could have. So I put them in a bowl in the microwave and waited until Alexi got home.
Now every night I run him a bath and make him a cup of tea and set up a candle and some incense and sometimes I make a dessert. I spoil him but he works so incredibly hard. He deserves it and I would do anything for him. Making him smile is a joy I look forward to. He loved them ! That made me so happy. This being the first recipe I did not write it down. But I fixed this from now on.
My next experiment was this one. *Points Down*
This recipe feeds myself and then a full lunch for my boyfriend. You will need.
2-3 Large potatoes.(Any color you like)
1/2 cup of onions (I usually use frozen)
1/2 cup of bell peppers(I use frozen that I cut up myself)
1/2 cup of any other veggies you may like.I recommend tomatoes,leeks,mushrooms,carrots,peas.Usually anything you have handy.
Half a cup to a full cup of pressed tofu pieces. You can usually find them in your dairy section and sometimes in the frozen section.
1 Heaping tablespoon of turmeric
Enough fresh ginger that when cut up fills your palm heaping.
Two garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste.
Now I usually begin by cutting up my potatoes into cubes and wait until the water in the pot is almost boiling. You can check them by pulling one out and testing it. You only want them about halfway cooked no more. Then on the other burner you put in some hemp,olive,sunflower oil...whichever you prefer. Enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Then put a lid over it and cut up your ginger and garlic. Once you have that you put it into the hot oil with the onions and peppers and whatever other vegetable you picked out. Cover on high for about five minutes then turn it down to medium low or setting 3 on your hob.
Then stir it and watch it cooking.Make sure it does not burn. Then stir in the turmeric salt and pepper. Cook until slightly all dente. Or a little more if that is what you like. Put it on a separate plate.
The potatoes once they are halfway done drain them and set aside. Then put a little more oil in the pan and once hot on high again toss in the potatoes and cook until crispy and golden.
At this point your potatoes will look exactly how you like them. Then toss in the tofu and the vegetables you just cooked. Mix well. Serve hot with a cut up tomato on the side or some greens etc.
This is my favorite dish right now. I hope you like it !
Well once I made this I was hooked. It was more of an experiment in the kitchen after this. Since then I have learned of the practices in the animal industry and have felt so sad. There is a difference since I learned all of this. When I go shopping and I see people and their carts full of meat and cheese and eggs and milk.. I know that they are doing themselves a disservice. Once you know the information it is impossible not to unlearn it. So you find yourself biting your tongue when you see people doing these things. When you see them not reading labels. I cringe when I see people doing there things and I have to hold back from saying anything. It is as if I have been instilled with this need to help my fellow man. I want to help them. I want them to live healthy lives and help all of these millions of animals that suffer needlessly.
My friends, bless them know how vehemently I feel about all of this. They know and they listen to me patiently. Some of them are trying to make changes and I feel good. But at night when Alexi is home I ask him. Am I doing the right thing when I tell them? Do you think they resent me? Do you think they wish I would just shut up so they could go on with their lives and not think about these things? Do they understand that I really sincerely care about them and I want them to live as long as possible and be healthy? Do they know that all this pain I am living in only strengthens my will to try and give other people a better life? I am not pompous, nor a know it all. I am always learning more. Every day.
Some people I think just listen and move on in their life. If I manage to plant a seed in one friend and help them then good. I do not watch animal cruelty videos because it is fun for me. I do not watch it because it makes me feel good. But it is knowledge. It is a perspective. It cannot and should not be ignored. So I share these things with my friends and I hope one day that people will stop.
I hope for a world where there is no more animal product consumption.
This is a list of animal products. When you read all the things they make out of animals you may feel sick. You may recognize some of these ingredients as items that are in your own products. Products that you might use every day.
Now PETA is a good source of information. But I am not some enormous blind follower of them. Every group has it's issues. I am not trying to pass judgment.
Now are there some people on this planet that cannot be vegan? Yes I think so. Some of the tribes that live up towards the Arctic circle are limited on the things they can eat. So would i force them onto a vegan diet? No of course not. For the man who live in a rural part of the world that cannot afford to feed his family and is getting no help. Say he goes out and shoots some rabbits to feed his children. Am I going to go down there and preach to him about how wrong he is? No of course not. There are exceptions to almost any thing in this world really.
Some of the biggest arguments that I hear is this.
1. Being vegan is expensive - No actually if you think about it buying a bag of chickpeas some bulk herbs and some oil combined with some rice, potatoes or pasta and bags of frozen veggies are actually much cheaper than meat cheese eggs and milk.
2. Being vegan is hard - No not really. It is a change. That is the hard part. Adapting is the eventuality if you are determined. IF you need help then I do have a vegan beginners group on facebook. Here is the link http://www.facebook.com/groups/310251979023374/ You can ask me to join and I am happy to offer you help.
3.But meat tastes so good - no not really. It is a texture you have grown used to. Most people do not just put meat in a pan and cook it and eat it. They cook it with spices and cover it in gravies or marinades etc. You can do the same thing with tofu and it has a large portion of protein in it. If you have any doubts. Watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNCGkprGW_o They name Americans quite a bit but this is also true for people in any modern industrialized country.
http://www.readersdigest.co.uk/fruits-of-hot-climes/fast-food-facts-effects-and-health-risks-of-a-junk-food-diet/html Talks about the UK.
4. Animals do not feel pain. What about free range?
Farm to Fridge - The Truth Behind Meat Production
I am quite sorry to show you these. But the screams these sentient beings make haunt me. They stay with me. I suffer with pain every day of my life. How can I possibly justify causing millions more animals to suffer without trying to help them? I just cannot do it. If you tell me I cannot watch this because it is painful. I will tell you again. Imagine how painful it is for them. I beg you to reconsider your habits please.
Please Reconsider Your Choices..