November 2011

Microbe-Destroying Bok Choy and Tofu Soup

Vegan comfort food

 

Hey there animal abstainers. Hope your tofurkey day was delicious and especially free of awkward truncated explanations of your dietary choices (always fun to be the one guy at a family gathering who's not chowing down on bird). I spent most of mine eating without abandon and lying around playing Skyrim, so I slothed out pretty successfully despite the absence of tryptophan in my system. Unfortunately, consuming excessive quantities of starchy, fatty goo left my immune system in something of a distracted state and now I'm sick as balls. So I decided to gather up the remaining fresh ingredients in my neglected fridge and swirl them together into a formidable weapon against the microbes living in my membranes. 

Tofurky as a Holiday Meal Centerpiece for All

Now that Thanksgiving has passed us right on by, many of us start that countdown ‘til Christmas. That special Christmas meal is often as remarkable as the Thanksgiving one, even more important for some celebrants who host friends and family members that come in for Christmas. Dispel the myth that vegetarians get the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it comes to delectable foods and rock a few vegan main dishes along with those irresistible side dishes.
 

Vegan Hemp Ice Cream Bars

If you are looking for a great vegan ice cream bar substitute, take a look at TEMPT brand of hemp bars.  These yummy bars come in four flavors – chocolate, coffee, fudge swirl and blueberry swirl.  They have a bit of coconut oil along with the hemp and the flavor and texture is (if I may say) better than dairy.  They contain no dairy or cholesterol, and are also gluten and soy free.

These bars are quite good.  Even my non-vegan friends like them.

Vegan Cats: the Pros and Cons for Your Pet and the Environment

It's only natural for someone who's gone vegan to want to erradicate all meat products from their life and purchases. However, is a sudden change of diet in your cat, one that deprives him of the meat he likely savors, worth it? Many cat owners struggle with the issue, trying to find the real answer to what the right thing to do really is. You certainly don't want to hurt other animals, but you don't want to hurt your beloved pet either. Here's some information that may help you make the right choice for you and your furry child.
 
Taurine
 
The critics of a vegan diet for cats are quick to point out that taurine is a necessity for a cat's survival. You know what? They're absolutely right. However, synthetic taurine has been massively produced and consumed since the 1930s. Meat-based products often contain the synthetic version as well because natural-occurring taurine is decimated in the manufacturing process. You can feed your cats products that have the synthetic version added, or you can feed them supplements, such as Vegecats. Although taurine is not found in any plant source, the synthetic brand is what most cats get, anyway. 
 
Cat Health
 
Male cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections when following an all-vegan diet, especially when they are primarily fed kibble. Male cats should have plenty of liquid with their food, especially if you are trying to get them to go vegan. Male cats can be very uncomfortable with frequent urinary tract infections, and some male cats get this unless they are fed a more Western traditional cat diet. However, there are ways around this if the owner is willing to put in the effort and time to work toward the male cat's health and keeping him on track with a vegan diet. Again, the first consideration needs to be making sure he eats next to no kibble. He should be fed wet food and vegan food that's specifically prepared for him with a taurine supplement. 
 
Female cats have an easier time going vegan than their male counterparts because they are less susceptible to the dreaded urinary tract infections.
 
Ultimately, it's very important to do what is best for your cat. Speak with an objective veterinarian if you have any unanswered questions.

On Veganism and World Hunger

The Facts
 
Well over 800 million people on the planet go hungry every night; they wake up hungry every morning, and they spend their waking hours in need of food. It's a horrible thought, but it's an even worse reality for so many people.
 
In the United States, over 90 percent of agricultural land is used for livestock in some way. A sad fact is that large expanses of land that could be used to grow food for humans are used for crops for farm animals that are bred only to be killed. Resources like water are also used in this manner, taking away from other uses to help the hungry.
 
According to GoVeg.com, it takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat. According to the Animal Spirit Website, "It takes 23 gallons of water to produce a pound of tomatoes. It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. One acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes. One acre of land can produce 165 pounds of beef." 
 
In the face of looking at such hard facts, many people feel helpless. However, there is something important that people can do to start things in motion for a positive change. We can all make vegan choices for a kinder world in many ways, including for those hungry people in the world.
 
Solutions
 
John Robbins is a famous vegan and author. He wrote "Diet for a New America" that convinced many to go vegan in the 1990s. He stated, "The existence of so much hunger in the world is a reality we cannot deny. It is a reality that challenges us deeply: it asks us to become more fully human."
 
Going vegetarian--and preferably vegan--is one of the best ways that you can contribute to stopping world hunger. While I am socially awkward and not very influential, I have helped open the eyes to some very influential friends. They've convinced dozens of people to go vegetarian because I convinced them, never by being preachy, but by answering questions when asked. Living by example is a great power to inspire change around you.
 
Other things that you can do include starting in your own community. There are hungry people all over the world and in every state in this prosperious United States of America. You can make a difference by volunteering in your local soup kitchen (and by providing yummy vegan dishes). Volunteer for shelters and Meals on Wheels programs as well. There are emergency relief opportunities, and the chance to feed people at churches or temples.
 
Vegan Power
 
Write a list of the reasons why you want to go vegan if you decide to do so. Helping the world's hungry is likely to be at the top of the list. However, going vegan isn't something that must be done overnight. In fact, Paul McCartney, a long-time vegetarian, recently asked for simply a Meat-Free Monday. If you take small steps toward a vegan lifestyle, you stand a greater chance in sticking to your goals and making long-term changes for good.
 
Try vegan replacements for your favorite foods. There are delicious vegan ice cream sandwiches that would trump their dairy predecessors in any taste test. If you're at Houston's, try the veggie burger that rivals any meat burger known to man. You can even opt for a veggie burger at Burger King. By making the transition painless and tasty, you'll realize that you actual open yourself up to choices you've never tried or picked before. Rather than seeing veganism as something that is restricting you, you'll soon realize that it expands your horizons.
 
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