Angora Wool

Many people love the look and feel of angora wool. Most people however would be appalled to find out how their lovely angora sweaters, scarves, hats and gloves were made.

Most animals used in our society for human consumption – be that in the meat, fashion or entertainment industries – are neglected,  ignored – treated as property.  Often they are unnecessarily abused as well. They rarely, if ever, receive veterinary treatment when they need it. They often go without food and even without water.

And these are just the basics that all creatures need.  Animals need enrichment and to socialize. Farm animals rarely are treated humanely even on so called ‘humane farms’.

Are you ready to see how angora rabbits are treated?  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently did an investigation in the UK and here is what they found:

http://action.peta.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=43174&utm_campaign=27012016+-+Kooples+Angora+-+Post&utm_source=PETA+UK+Facebook&utm_medium=Promo

If this upsets you, you can do something! Stop buying angora wool! Stop buying any wool.

https://newveganblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/the-wool-truth/

Tell people about it!  Share this blog!

Get involved to support animals:

http://www.hsi.org/campaigns/support_farm_animals/

Let companies know that you do  not support this by taking action!

No animal should be treated in this way.  No animal should be left in a cage by itself. No animal’s injuries should ever be ignored.

Not every angora rabbit in this industry has it this bad, but they all suffer.  Ask yourself is it worth it for a piece of clothing?

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Yummiest Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Ever

Anyone who knows me also knows that I have a huge sweet tooth.

One of my favorite things to make is Peanut Butter Fudge.  Before I became vegan, I made it with milk and butter.  I thought I would have to give it up forever but I just figured out an amazing vegan recipe for it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One 14 ounce can of coconut milk – I use the Aroy-D brand
  • 2 cups of organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  •  1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of natural peanut butter

Here’s what to do:

  • Mix the coconut milk and cane sugar together and bring to a boil slowly over a medium heat
  • Use a big pot so that it doesn’t overflow onto your stove!
  • Stir constantly
  • Boil and keep stirring for approximately half an hour or until hardball stage – you will know it has reached the hardball stage if you can drop a small amount of the mixture from a spoon into a cold glass of water and see it change from liquid to more of a solid as it moves through the water

When it has reached the hardball stage, take it off the heat immediately.

Fill your sink with a couple of inches of cold tap water and place the pot into the water.  Stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. You will see it get thicker almost immediately.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla – it will bubble up a little and smell absolutely amazing!

Add fine sea salt to taste while the mixture is still quite hot – I add approximately 1/2 teaspoon – this replicates the buttery taste I love so much in fudge.

Add the peanut butter, 1/2 cup at a time, and keep stirring until it gets quite thick.

Spoon the mixture into a dish and place in the fridge.  It will be ready to eat very soon but quite warm.  Cut it into squares before it gets too cold with a sharp knife.

Refrigerate until hardened.

If you like your fudge creamier, simply remove the mixture from the stove a little earlier than hardball stage and add less peanut butter.  I’ve tried both ways and both are delicious!! The creamy version can be stored in, and eaten straight from, the freezer.

If you have a sweet tooth like me, you won’t be able to get enough of this fudge! 🙂

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Plant Strong

Hey!

If big, strong men do it (http://engine2diet.com/), and big, strong animals do it (http://www.vegansouls.com/top-vegan-animals), why don’t you do it?

Be Plant Strong today!!!

It’s (surprisingly) easy, delicious and when you need it, totally decadent!!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/satisfying-vegan-dinners#.etn3bqMX8y

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/decadent-brownie-recipes/

With a few simple changes to what you have in your fridge and pantry, you can do it!

http://vegankit.com/be

Do it for yourself. Do it for the planet. Do it for the animals.

Enjoy!!

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The Pledge to Be Vegan

After almost 14 months of being vegan, I ate salmon. I didn’t even like it. And afterward, I felt like a failure.  I wondered how someone so devoted to animals and to veganism as a way of life could have stumbled.

I wanted to be stronger than that–and I wanted to show others that it is really possible to be vegan.

I reached out to friends and it helped a little, but I still felt bad.

I went online to look for support and I came across this blog:

http://www.choosingraw.com/what-if-i-mess-up-why-going-vegan-is-not-a-pledge-of-perfection/

Here are some excerpts:

“Pledging to be vegan doesn’t mean that you’re pledging to be perfect; it means you’re pledging to try. Intentions matter. Whenever I write about the choice to be vegan, I return to the Vegan Society’s definition of veganism, which has always rung true to me. Veganism is:

A way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.

Another iteration of this pledge is this:

[Vegan lifestyles are] ways of living that seek to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

What I like about these definitions are their clarity and their inherent gentleness. The Vegan Society makes clear that veganism is a pledge not only to eat non-animal foods, but also to avoid commodities like leather, which are often a by-product and support the continuation of factory farming. At the same time, the language used here—“encourages,” “possible and practical”—indicates something important, which is that even the most passionate proponents of veganism are merely asking people to do their very best. Effort and intention is the point: results matter too, but in my opinion, they take second place to the ongoing intention of make vegan choices, day in and day out. Sooner or later, most vegans accidentally consume non-vegan food, or they encounter some sort of temptation, whether food or commodity. Whether or not these temptations get the better of us is less important than how we react to the experience: does one non-vegan choice beget more, undermining the lifestyle altogether, or do we simply recognize that we struggled, forgive ourselves, and remain committed to making vegan choices as we go forward?”

I realized after reading that even though I had not been perfect, I could still be vegan if I decided to commit to it again.

Which I did.

For anybody else out there who may be feeling badly for not being a perfect vegan, read Gena’s blog. It will help you see that nobody is perfect and your blunder may just make you even more committed to the lifestyle as it did for Gena and as it did for me!

What? Good news for chocolate lovers!

My favorite vegan chocolate bars-Terra Nostra-are no longer available at the local place I shop.

The cashier there said that all dark chocolate is vegan though so just buy any of them. I checked the ones my local store carries and not all of them are vegan but for the most part she was right!

I checked a few other kinds of dark chocolate online and they are mostly vegan! 🙂

Some of you may be laughing because you already knew this but I am very happy right now!!!

I don’t know why I thought they all had milk in them – I suppose the ones I checked previously did and I supposed they all did.

Well-good news today!!!

Indulge people – indulge in lovely vegan dark chocolate.

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Getting used to Being Vegan!

It’s been over three months now and I’m really getting used to being vegan. I can’t believe how many delicious things I’ve discovered to eat! There are so many great recipes out there from the ever and ever larger vegan community.

My vegan butter recipe is a simple mixture of coconut oil and sea salt (I use a coconut oil that doesn’t taste like coconut for this).

I create cheesy dishes when I want them using nutritional yeast.

I bought some vanilla soy ice cream this week and it tastes so delicious – I could never miss ice cream!

I use a mixture of soy and rice milk in coffee – it’s so yummy I will never miss milk!

I eat coconut milk ‘yogurt’ instead of one made with animal milk.

And my friends are helping too! I had a potluck at my house this week and one of my good friends (who is not vegan) brought over a 100% vegan dish for us all to enjoy! I fed my friends vegan chocolate for dessert and they loved it. I don’t think they could have really noticed a difference had I not told them anyway 🙂

My biggest test to date though was last week when a colleague brought in a homemade sugar pie – those who know me know that this is my absolute favorit-est treat in the world. It wasn’t too difficult to resist though. And I know there are vegan sugar pie recipes out there anyway for when I want to indulge.

I have read that it only takes 2 weeks to give up a habit or get used to a new one. Three months in – I’m definitely well into my new lifestyle and loving it!!

New Vegan Culture Shock

Culture shock is a big issue for travellers in destinations abroad and also for when they return home (reverse culture shock-after taking in and accepting a new culture, finding it hard to re-immerse yourself in your own once you return).

As a new vegan I feel as if I am experiencing culture shock myself.

I have embarked on an exciting and important new adventure while the world around me remains the same.

People in my circle (even close friends) don’t (seem to) want to hear much about my new path or read my blog even though I’m so excited and I’ve lots to share with them about my new experiences! I want to tell them how easy it is to go vegan! I want to tell them about the new recipes I am finding and creating!! I want to tell them the bad stuff too – how animals suffer for us so much and on such a huge scale it’s almost unimaginable. I feel as if they should want to know just as a traveller feels his friends and family should want to hear about his adventures and even go there to experience it themselves.

But the truth is that they don’t.

It really hurts when this happens – it’s shocking to share such an enormous change in your life and feel that it’s not really being heard or appreciated.

I watched ‘The Ghosts in Our Machine” last week-end. I was talking to my sister the next day about it-and she said, “People don’t want to know.”

It appalls me this. It really shocks me on some level and on another level, I know it’s true and it even makes sense. People don’t want to know and even can’t handle that much information and in fairness I suppose everyone has their own lot to deal with. Why should everyone want to go to Africa just because I do?

Me – on the other hand, I want to know….about veganism and about animal rights. And I want to know the bad stuff too so that I can educate others and try to make changes.

Sitting around the lunch room last week at work watching everyone eat pizza while I ate my vegan lunch made me feel as if I really don’t belong anymore. Being vegan can be a lonely choice – not hard to be vegan in the sense of what I eat, but it’s hard watching everyone else blindly putting suffering into their mouths. They don’t know what I know, feel what I feel, value what I value and for that reason I feel a strong sense of culture shock at times.

It’s lonely.

Like moving to a new country by myself.

Bill Gates is Talking about Veganism

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Here is what Bill Gates is saying:

http://www.iflip4.com/video/bill-gates-is-going-vegan.-heres-why-you-should-go-meat-free-too#.U9EXd9Ig9wU

And he’s investing in a vegan start-up:

http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/bill-gates-is-investing-in-a-vegan-meat-start-up.html

He talks about the sustainability issue – as good a reason to go vegan as any I think. He also talks about fake meat (meat and dairy created by scientists to mimic the real thing) which I don’t go for – who knows how food made in a laboratory environment will hurt us in the long run? But the sustainability issue is a big one.

More and more countries that historically did not eat meat and dairy are starting to. Studies show that the consumption of meat and dairy in developing countries is rising to an astonishing level and in conjunction with rising income levels:

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/11/3907S.long

Depleting the land of the earth in the way that we do for food consumption cannot continue forever even if we want it to and even if more and more of us can afford to.  Using up the land hurts the animals and plants that live on it, but it hurts us ultimately too.

Animal agriculture is causing huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions which is hurting our planet.

If we cannot live without the earth, we’d better think about making some changes.

Animals need so much food to grow to the sizes we want them to be before we slaughter them for food. Doesn’t it make more sense for us to simply eat the plants and grains they eat in the first place and also save them from the suffering they have to go through for us?

The UN is recommending global dietary changes as a means to our survival:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

Some people are looking at a vegetarian diet-a good place to start in reducing humankind’s reliance on animals.

‘Meatless Mondays’ have been around for a while encouraging people to try a day a week without meat.

http://meatlessmonday.ca/

Bill Gates is talking about ‘fake meat’.

Whatever small steps we can take will be a huge help in healing our planet and our lives.

I prefer a plant-based diet with vegetables balanced with legumes, nuts and grains. It’s surprisingly easy once you let go of your pre-conceived notions of what you need to be healthy and happy.

Veganism – the way of the future!

Changes I’ve Noticed Since Becoming Vegan

Here are three changes I’ve noticed about myself since becoming vegan:

1. Better skin

2. My face looks younger

3. No more 3 o’clock slump

I didn’t go vegan for any of these reasons but they are certainly nice side effects!

I’ve always had nice skin but lately it seems to be glowing!  And it looks younger.

I often felt tired around 2 or 3 pm and had to have an afternoon coffee to make it through the day-no more!

Mostly though, I feel great about my actions better matching my values.

I’ve still lots to learn about living a truly vegan lifestyle but I am definitely on the right path.

The Wool Truth

sheep

Just as with dairy, we often don’t think about the animals we use who aren’t killed for our use as having particularly terrible lives when in reality, they very often have it worse off for not being killed.

I learned more about the practice of sheep shearing and also of mulesing shortly after I purchased a large woolen rug for my home last fall.

I knew wool came from shearing sheep of course, but I thought that getting that wool was a simple and painless process for the animal. I thought it might even be a good thing in that it would keep them cooler in hotter climes, when in reality, I learned that sheep in a natural setting do not grow more wool than they need.

When I learned how these sweet animals are treated in order for us to get wool, I vowed not to buy it anymore.

Mulesing, for those of you who don’t know, is a process done to remove the wool and cut off skin from the buttock areas of the sheep to prevent a disease called flystrike.  It is often, if not usually, done without anaesthesia. The resulting pain can last for days.

Read more here about mulesing:

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/mulesing.php

Though it continues to be practiced, it is not recommended by the RSPCA of Australia, who produce much of the wool we use. They recommend alternatives in this article:

http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-is-mulesing-and-what-are-the-alternatives_113.html

I have also read horrific stories about sheep genitals or faces being shorn right off during shearing, stories which haunt me.

No clothing is worth that kind of suffering.