Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Animal advocates will cherish you...

An open letter, crossposted from

I could not agree more....


Dear Friends and Family,

As you plan your Thanksgiving dinners I urge you to pardon a turkey this year.

Each year nearly 300 million turkeys killed in the U.S. Most of these turkeys spend their entire lives crammed together in cages or sheds. They live, breed, and die according to our wholly unnecessary desire to consume dead turkey flesh for a holiday meal. These turkeys suffer heart attacks, broken limbs, lameness, and death from their genetically-induced accelerated growth rate before they even reach the slaughterhouse.

See for yourself in this video:

The ones who do get to the slaughterhouse are often cruelly tortured on their way to death, as uncovered by investigators:

If you won’t avoid turkey for the animals, do it for your health or the environment. Gentle Thanksgiving offers ten reasons to have a turkey-free holiday meal:

10. Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.
9. You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.
8. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.
7. Animal advocates will cherish you.
6. You won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.
5. Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.
4. Commercial turkeys are too obese to breed. Won’t happen to you.
3. Your kids can tell their friends about their cool “tofurky.”
2. You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?
1. You won’t fall asleep during the football game.

Have a truly happy turkey day by not eating turkeys. Happy for you and happy for turkeys. Give everyone something to be thankful for.

Here are some vegan Thanksgiving recipe ideas, either for you or for the vegetarian or vegan sharing your holiday with you:


Oh, and in case that's not quite doing it for you, check out this link as reported in today's New York Times....

Someone wise once said of their vegan Thanksgiving dinner:

It is better to show grace than to say it.

Stay Vegan, friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Delivery from May Wah!

Just the thing to lift sagging spirits... a delivery from May Wah!

A couple of weekends ago at the Boston Veg Food Festival we were treated to samples of vegan chicken, beef, shrimp and the like and really enjoyed them. Just for a change, not as an everyday food. OK, I guess it is a bit strange to be munching on a vegan chicken leg and really enjoying it, but it was the taste and texture that did it for me. And, of course, I never said that I didn't like the taste of meat...I just can't stomach the taste of cruelty.

And so it was with no small measure of glee that I enjoyed this for lunch:

My Beloved opted for less fat (I know, I know, there's a lesson in that for me) and got a heaping serving of channa masala and tofu saag. Believe me, it tasted divine.

OK, fast forward to last Sunday evening. My Beloved and I were reliving the high spots of the BVFF and decided to check out May Wah's website. We ended up ordering mainly 'seafood' but with some 'chicken' thrown in for good measure. Having duly noted our vegan status in the comments box, we sat back and waited.

Today is Tueday.

And look what was on the front door step when we got home:

Ohhhh, the excitement...

The tension mounts...

The final lineup...

Vegan chicken, codballs, tuna, prawns, salmon and crab.

Isn't that amazing?

Yes, it's true that it's not a good thing to have these as staples for your diet. But they won't be, they're just treats and are now safely stashed away in the freezer! All of which means that it's now time to get back to my pot of thoroughly healthy puy lentil soup with fresh rosemary and thyme, which is simmering on the stove. So, for this evening, I bid you Good Night and stay vegan, friends!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A small, secret wince...

Given my focus on food, plus my previous 30-odd years as an omni, it will not surprise you to learn that I am not exactly the most svelte vegan in the world. A chunky vegan is closer. And downright voluptuous (in places) is probably most accurate. However, I am trying to change this both by being conscious of what goes onto my plate and by working out at my local Curves. Although I am extremely proud of my choice to turn away from animals and ther secretions, I always have a small, secret wince when I tell new people that I'm vegan because I know that I don't physically represent a great advert for the health benefits. And I do so want this to change.

So while I was sweating it out around the circuit tonight, I decided to take the 'Nothing to Lose' pledge, the newest scheme Curves has come out with. During the holidays, members pledge to basically maintain the status quo - you don't have to lose weight, but you shouldn't gain either. OK, I thought, that'll be helpful - it'll encourage me to keep to my thrice-weekly schedule and to not go crazy over the next 5 weeks or so eating everything in sight.

But it was with no small amount of sadness and disappointment that I then noticed the 'Closed for Thanksgiving' sign displayed at the reception desk. It sported a clip art image of a roasted turkey, surrounded by all of the fatty trimmings with banners proclaiming 'Happy Turkey Day' arcing above it.

And I couldn't help but think that a real opportunity had been lost here. Wouldn't it have been less fattening and healthier all around to have promoted a meat-free Thanksgiving celebration? Was this not the perfect way of showing members how a vegetable-based dinner stacks up - calorie-wise - against a cruelty-free alternative and perhaps a mean to turning people on to reducing or eliminating animals from their diets. Apparently, for all the healthy eating hype, Tradition trumps Dietary Good Sense every time.

And on a separate but related theme: yesterday marked the first time this year that we were offered the grocery store discount coupon for the Butterball turkey. I gaped at the clerk in amazement, she might as well have offered to roast my dog for me. My Beloved handled it better than I, simply pressing the coupon back into her hand and saying gently 'We don't need that'. But when confronted by this sort of thing, I feel like I always go to pieces. Having seen some of the undercover investigations in Butterball processing plants, words can't describe the anger and sadness that descends on me when a teenager at a checkout glibly offers me a discount on the bodies of those tormented birds.

It's been a difficult day.

Stay vegan friends.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Please check your brain in at the courtesy booth....

Who says Friday night in with a burger and fries can't be a great vegan experience? Well, whoever it was was sadly deluded....Last Friday My Beloved and I were just completely exhausted from the week as a whole and all we wanted to do was check our brains in at the courtesy booth, sink our behinds into the sofa and our teeth into a big, juicy, cheesey burger. So that's exactly what we did....

and the full thing:

The cheese was a slice of the rice milk cheese and doubled really well for the standard American Cheese. The rolls were onion and herb, the salad fresh and crisp and the burger (hiding modestly in the pic above) was a giant portabello mushroom, sauteed off in a little Braggs and olive oil. 'Meaty', juicy, succulent and really hearty, this burger paired very nicely with some oven baked 'fries' (potatoes, olive oil, salt, papper, chilli flakes, a dash of paprika....) and a large glass of red wine. Ahhhh, the's a beautiful thing.....

Yesterday, we opted for something just that little bit less 'junk food-ish' and, having spent the day tramping around a muddy farm in the cold New England drizzle, we had a bit of a blow out at dinner. Finding organic butternut squash on sale for $1.49lb, we selected one that would have fed a small army never mind the two of us and stuffed it with a mix of black and mahogany rice, kidney beans, canellini beans, red onion, carrots, tomatoes and various herbs (I forget now which ones...) and served it up with some garlicky green beans and a small side of scalloped potatoes. This is not the best pic, but it gives the general idea.

I swear either I have to get a better camera or maybe just read the manual for the one I have. Sheesh!

OK, so that was the main course. We went a bit overboard and also indulged in a spoonful of dessert too: an autumn fruits crisp with Tofutti vanilla ice cream. I got the base recipe from The Peaceful Palate but added pears to the apples and cranberries and just a touch of ginger.

The topping originally called for 3/4 cup walnuts but, having none, I subbed in a mix of sunflowers seeds, sliced almonds, chopped dates and pistachios. Added to this is 3/4 cup maple syrup, a pinch of salt and a cup and a half of rolled oats.

And so here it is with some yummy ice cream....

On reflection, I suppose that this really is one of the few advantages of being in New England in November - the abundance of beautiful fall produce and the sheer inevitability of gorgeous desserts. OK, so I know you can get apples, pears and cranberries on the gloriously sunny west coast but, when it's 80 degrees outside and the AC is running, who wants 'fall fruit crisp'?

Right, am off now to thaw my bones in front of the fire.

Vive le weekend!
And, until next time, stay vegan, friends! :)