Vegan Cooking

Recipe: Chickpea Scramble with mushrooms and baby spinach

I have been meaning to try this recipe I found online for a long time and finally today I gave it a go. The original recipe, Chickpea Scramble with Swiss Chard, is a little different to the one I did today, as I didn’t have Swiss chard (or silver beet, as we call it here in Australia) or a fresh lemon, but it still worked out ok, even if I did improvise a little!

For future recipes, I will probably add less salt, or none at all, as I don’t always cook with salt and it didn’t quite suit my taste buds. Also, I will probably add less lemon juice or try fresh juice and see if this changes the taste at all. I love adding capsicum, tomatoes and corn to meals as well, because I love the colours and for some reason, having more colours makes it feel healthier for me, so I’ll probably do this too. Feel free to comment any adjustments you made and tell me all about it!

For information on nutrition and the original recipe, go to My Darling Vegan.

Chickpea Scramble with Mushrooms and Baby Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 run of drained chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 large, flat mushroom, or 6-8 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or similar

Method:

  1. Heat oil in pan until melted and cook onion, mushroom and garlic over medium heat until onion is soft and clear (or to personal taste).
  2. While this is cooking, combine chickpeas, turmeric, lemon juice, salt and nutritional yeast in a bowl and mix. Soften the chickpeas a little, but don’t mash them completely. Add to pan when onions are cooked.
  3. Cook together for about 5 minutes, stirring through together. The chickpeas will have a saucy consistency due to the lemon and nutritional yeast, so make sure to cover the onion and mushrooms well.
  4. Add baby spinach and continue to cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until spinach is slightly wilted. You do not want to cook the spinach for too long, as prolonged exposure to heat can reduce the iron content of the spinach (Dr Greger).
  5. Serve immediately. Add any extra salt, pepper, chia seeds, almonds, or any topper you desire. This can also be eaten on toast or in a wrap.
  6. Enjoy!
Veganism

The consequences of seeking approval from others

I never wanted to actually be an activist. It wasn’t something that spoke to me on a deep level.

I tried though. Convinced by another’s arguments and my own need for approval surfacing, I tried.

I went to a Cube of Truth, although in truth it was a bit of a shambles because they decided at the last minute to move it to a location closer to the CBD. I had been riding my bike all morning and wasn’t keen on the extra ride, so I went home, not getting to see it in its full glory.

I was able to stay for the discussion and role play, which was informative and confidence boosting. Still, I was really only there to see how it all works, see it in action, dip my toes in before I took the whole dive. I’m cautious like that. Sometimes…

The whole time I was there, it felt wrong, I felt wrong. I felt like an imposter, like a sheep in wolves clothing. It didn’t feel ‘mine’.

Please don’t mistake me, it’s not that I had to be the one to ‘find’ it. I’m not that shallow. But when you are with your tribe you feel it in your bones. Your heart sings with happiness and you look around and you ‘see’ all of the people there. You belong. It feels ‘mine’.

I can’t say I ‘saw’ anyone, not even the ‘friends’ I was there with. I felt alone, out of place.

Still, I thought I could do some stuff behind the scenes. Help raise some funds for the group so they could get more gear, etc. Give back that way.

So, I offered to organise a fundraiser in the form of a psychic and well-being fair. The last fundraiser I had been a part of raised $3000+ for the cause, I thought the Cube could have used a similar amount to buy resources for their events and maybe even have a stall and a talk on the day to raise awareness… apparently not…

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realised what was going on.

I have said earlier that I had allowed other people to dictate to me how to ‘do friendships’ and it left me hurt and disappointed. Without going into too much detail, it was this friend who had convinced me that I should be an activist.

It seems I looked at my choice not to be an activist as wrong, and made changes accordingly.

I allowed myself to be drawn into a world that I knew I didn’t belong for the wrong reasons: an attempt to be fully accepted by this friend. I let my need for approval control my choices (as I said before also, I had moved past this) and I changed who I was to fit someone else’s ideal.

I am not an activist.

I am a teacher. I am a healer. I am a psychic and (budding) medium. My passion is to help people clear their blocks, become more conscious of the patterns that are holding them back and help them move forward. This is who I am. This the life I am working towards.

It’s OK that I don’t want to be a public activist. It’s not who I am. I might still do stuff behind the scenes, and even find a way to hold an event fundraiser for another cause who will welcome the donation.

But, public activism doesn’t make my heart sing. I am probably more passionate about reversing all of the damage the patriarchy has caused so women can be totally free and safe in the world. So men can own their own natures and not feel inadequate when they don’t meet the standards of masculinity put forward by the patriarchy. So all people in the world can just be themselves. Totally and completely.

My other passion is showing people how bad animal products are for your health. Giving them the facts about nutrition and educating them on how the body works so they can see for themselves the harm certain foods do to their body. This might be a hobby or sideline gig though.

Anyone telling me that it isn’t OK to be who I am, for whatever reason, is putting conditions on their love and I don’t need that. I love myself too much now to be bound by others’ rigid guidelines of acceptance and approval. I will not jump through hoops so people will like me. I’ll just find another circus!

I totally honour and even agree with her reasoning as to why we should all be activists. However, honouring myself is more important.

I never want to feel like an impostor again.

Blessed Be! xx

 

Veganism

The problem with labels and judgements

This is probably going to be a little bit ‘rant-y’. You have been warned…

Yet again I have been disappointed by the vegan community.

Apparently, eating ethically sourced, local honey, but only when you are sick, isn’t ‘vegan enough’. Apparently, eating eggs your own backyard chickens laid isn’t ‘vegan enough’.

I’ve been attacked and ridiculed before for not being vegan, this is not new to me. I rode a horse up the Andes (which was freaking amazing btw), but that’s not vegan. My choice to not be an activist didn’t make me ‘vegan enough’. Now, the honey thing.

I’ve also seen others being attacked for their choices and it’s not fair.

It’s judgemental and intolerant bullshit and it needs to stop.

It’s at the point now where I don’t want to be associated with veganism at all, thinking of even changing the name of the blog. Maybe something like ‘plant-based Mystic’ or ‘cruelty-free Witch’. Maybe ‘And harm none’ as a nod to the rede.

I went so far as to want to eat a Big Mac as a giant ‘Fuck you!’ to the vegan community. I didn’t, because of the animals, my own health and the simple fact I made a commitment, but when you are ready to go against everything you stand for, your core values, everything that makes you you, you know it’s serious.

The thing is, I’ve spent my entire life not being ‘enough’. Not smart enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough, quiet enough, interesting enough, not experienced enough… the list goes on.

I’ve made a resolution in my 30s to steer clear of anyone telling me I’m not enough, because I am, by the Goddess! My basic existence tells me I am enough. The fact that I think and breathe and try to be kind, tells me I’m enough. And I’ll be damned if I am going to let anyone tell me I’m not enough any more.

If that means not associating with or as a vegan, then so be it. I’ll find another label for myself and go that way.

Or just stop using them.

The other thing that annoyed me was someone’s argument that other people’s choices to adjust the term in practice makes their lives harder. Well, guess what? That’s your problem! Not mine. I am honouring myself, just like you are honouring yourself. Don’t you think that you being an intolerant arsehole makes my life harder? No one seems to think of it that way do they?

On a more practical note, the other argument was ‘When I have to explain to people that I don’t eat honey when other vegans do is inconvenient’. Well, I don’t know what restaurants you are going to, but unless they are 100% dedicated vegan restaurants, everyone has to explain themselves! I think this person was just pissed that other people aren’t ‘doing it right’. And coming from someone who used to be concerned with ‘doing it right’, it is exhausting and a waste of time. My advice? Stop, before the stress kills you…

I just wish people would be less concerned with right and wrong and just embrace those people who are trying. Accept those people who are educated enough to want to make the change and dedicated enough to risk living ‘without cheese’ or ‘bacon though’ for the good of the animals, themselves and the planet. Why can’t we just spend more one educating those people who are still unaware, and less time bickering among ourselves and judging our own for our eccentricities.

I have made an educated choice to consume honey, based on medical and scientific studies. I have also chosen to do my own research and find ethical, sustainable and cruelty-free sources of the product. If this effort and thought doesn’t make me vegan, if it’s not enough to fit into the club, then so be it. I’m done with trying to live up to the expectations of others and too old to care what you think of me.

Rant over. 💖😇🕉

Blessed Be! xx

Spirituality

How I will stop moaning and start doing

I’ve just been watching a clip by Lee Harris, his April energy update, and in it he says that we need to stop moaning about the wrongs in this world and start finding solutions.

Ok, it wasn’t quite that blunt, but I have the right to paraphrase! This is what I took from it anyway.

So, what am I angry about this month? What am I moaning about this month?

That people don’t want to take responsibility for their pain, but rather blame others.

This one is a hard one because there isn’t much I can actually do. You can lead a horse to water, as the old saying goes. But, I can refuse to accept responsibility and remove myself from the situation. If I stop allowing myself to be someone’s scapegoat, then perhaps this will lead them on an inner journey of self discovery and healing when they no longer have anyone around to blame. Or, they’ll find someone else. Either way, what happens after isn’t my responsibility either.

My other option could be to start a healing business. I am a Reiki Master after all, and I have done a lot of work on myself so I have a lot of strategies that can help. But again, the horse analogy comes into play. On the other hand, if I build it, they will come, right?

That I am not living my purpose

This is a tricky one, because I’m not entirely sure what my purpose is. I know what I am passionate about – helping people move past their patterns and programs and becoming the best version of themselves – I am just not clear on the best way to do this. Is it through tarot and Numerology? Is it through energy healings? Is it through Mediumship? All of these things have helped me, as well as kinesiology, meditation, yoga and journaling, but I’m not qualified to offer advice on most of these.

So, I guess my only plan at the moment should be creating a plan. What can I do to help people? How can I best serve humanity? What are my strengths and how can I use them for my purpose? This one will take some further contemplation.

That people still haven’t realised how bad animal agriculture is for our health, the animals and the planet.

This is where activism comes in. I will write a post about this later, but I’m not sure my role is standing up holding banners outside of circuses or rodeos. I’m just too sensitive to energies for that kind of activity. My strengths are organisation and practical assistance, so perhaps my role is to help people organise protests, get permissions and check legal requirements, create banners for them and to organise people once they are there? Maybe it is simply to volunteer at festivals and fairs like the Alive festival? Maybe it is having conversations with people, planting the seed and leading them to documentaries and information about what is really going on? This way they will come to their own conclusions and make the decision themselves. It’s a kind of quiet activism, non-confrontational, yet just as powerful.

That people still think being a feminist is a bad thing

Luckily for me, a lot of this information has come in conversations with students at school. One student said that how feminists are getting their point across is abrasive and turning ordinary men against them. My response was that until you had experienced what women have experienced, you don’t really have a say in how they should respond. Not sure if he understood what I was trying to say, but I hope he at least came away with a better understanding of what the feminist movement is all about. Even yesterday, students were talking about feminism. It seems it is on the rise, but not in a good way. Perhaps my ‘planting the seed’ idea could work here too? Give them a different opinion and some resources and let them on their merry way. I can’t force people to see things from a different perspective, but I can give them another one and hope they open their minds.

So, it seems there is quite a bit I could be moaning about this month. There is probably a lot more too, I just haven’t sat with it long enough.

I do know this, nothing changes if you continue to do the same thing. In order to change your life you must first change your actions. So, here’s to change! Looks like there’s quite a bit coming for me.

What are you moaning about this month? What are some ways you could solve this problem?

Veganism

Why I’m Choosing Activism

I never wanted to be that person who held up the posters at Rodeos. Or that person who went to slaughterhouses to film the appalling conditions of the animals.

I always wanted to be the quiet vegan, the one that shared their knowledge with those close to them in the hopes of helping them to make the change.

I would share what I had learned and hope they joined me, comfortable with the fact that I had helped a little.

They would then share their knowledge and it would spread, quietly and efficiently across the globe. Word of mouth works right? Also, I can just lead by example, right??

This view has now changed after an enlightening conversation with an activist friend.

She was talking to another friend of hers about activism and trying to understand why her friend wasn’t an activist. Her friend answered basically the same as I would: I don’t want to be one of those pushy vegans. She too was quite happy just doing her own thing, confident in the knowledge that she was part for change.

Then my friend said something that would change my mind. Quite simply and lovingly, and for that I love her.

Her argument went something like this: if it wasn’t for all of those women getting out of their lounge rooms and fighting for what they believed in, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have today.

The truth of this statement struck me, like a mallet to the chest.

In the past, I have connected with this energy, the collective of strong women who came before me, and it’s real and still exists inside of us today. I have had moments of intense gratitude for the women who came before, who fought for their rights so I could enjoy mine.

I just know my friend is right – if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have what I have. If they had all sat on their bums in the safety of their own happy marriages, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

And the dichotomy is real. I have one grandmother who was treated with respect and love, allowed to do what she wanted when she wanted, who had control of the money and the house, who was effectively the boss of her home. I also have another grandmother who was raped and beaten on a regular basis by a drunken husband and had to watch as her kids were beaten as well. This grandmother is now completely deaf in one ear because of the abuse she suffered. I know all too well the extremes of the patriarchy.

If it wasn’t for the women who had the courage to stand up, I probably would not be here today, as at least one grandparent could have been beaten to death. If she didn’t have the courage to fight for her own right to be safe and those of her children, to stand up for her beliefs, my life would be totally different.

So I made a choice. If not for the animals themselves, then for all of the activists that came before me, for women’s rights, against racism, to end Apartheid, against slavery. If these people didn’t stand up for what they believed in and had the courage and strength to make this world what they believed it should be, our world would be much different and I have nothing but respect and gratitude for them.

I believe we do not need animal products to be healthy.

I believe that to subjugate and exploit any being, to do things to them without consent and against their clearly visible will is wrong.

I believe that we need to stop animal abuse, because for me, all life is sacred.

So I’m going to start on my activist path. I’m not one to jump right in the deep end, I’m going to test the waters of some groups and see which one is the best fit. I’m going to give my time the best way I know how to promoting Veganism and helping to end animal abuse. This might mean simply volunteering at vegan events or it might mean holding banners outside of rodeos, who knows?

I am going to devote more time to being active in what I believe in.

For the animals and in the memory of all of those people who came before me and helped shape the world we live in.

I am also thinking I will include women’s rights to this list, but I’ll see what the universe sends my way. 😁

Spiritual Awakening

The Holier-Than-Thou Effect: overcoming self-righteousness.

We’ve all been there. At least once. It usually comes from something we’ve learned about ourselves, the world or spirituality.

We understand immediately that not everyone else knows this, or comes close to seeing it, and some of us start to feel superior. As if we are part of a secret club that is separate from and better than everyone else. We start preaching to people about how this truth will change their lives.

For others, including myself, this feeling of separation leads to intense loneliness. In an attempt to overcome this, we start trying to help people by preaching our truth to them, hoping they too see what we see and come and join us.

This is what I call the Holier-than-thou Effect. The self-righteous behaviour and attitudes that are the result of feelings of separateness or superiority through our own personal growth and healing.

The main behaviour sees us preaching our ‘holier-than-thou’ truth to all and sundry. We see that other people are struggling and, out of a desire to help, start providing unsolicited advice about what they should do to help themselves.

This is the key, it is unsolicited. We take it upon ourselves to point out what we see about other people’s behaviours and attitudes and how they are blocking them from reaching their full potential.

And we value our advice. It came from years of experience. What better advice is there than from someone who has ‘been there, done that’?

But our advice falls on deaf ears. We become frustrated at our thwarted attempts to help these people. We question over and over why they can’t see what is plainly and clearly in front of them, sometimes within them. We don’t understand why they just don’t accept what we are telling them and commit to our suggestions for moving forward.

The truth is that what worked for us, and hopefully continues to do so, worked because we are who we are. It worked because we were ready to hear the message. It worked because we were ready to do the work.

What worked for us may not work for other people, because they come with their own unique set of programs, patterns and experiences. Reiki changed my life. That doesn’t guarantee that it will for my neighbour. Essential oils have helped me with so many physical and emotional issues. That doesn’t guarantee it will for my sister. Being vegan changed my life and allowed me to fully accept and love myself for who I am. That doesn’t mean it will for my best friend.

These things worked because they are igniting a part of who I am. They are tapping into my own individual soul’s vibration and unlocking the blocks to my own happiness. It is my own recipe for peace.

Someone else’s recipe might be kinesiology, nutrition, counselling, theta healing, crystals, angelic reiki, past life regression work, dance, Kundalini work, medication, art therapy, yoni massage, yoga, Zumba, chakra clearing… The list goes on.

What worked for us may not work for someone else.

Being self-righteous and preaching our truth to people who don’t want to or aren’t ready to listen only drives a bigger and bigger wedge between them and us. In some cases this wedge becomes that large we can no longer reach each other.

We must learn to wait until they come to us. We must be patient and compassionate with people who we know are clearly in need of healing. They must come to the path of their healing journey on their own. We must also accept that they may never be ready.

All we need to do is hold space for them when they are ready.

Spiritual Awakening

Veganism and Spiritual Awakening

I have recently celebrated my first vegan anniversary, my Veganniversary. It has and continues to be an interesting journey.

There were a few things I expected to change. I expected to shed kilos. I expected my palette to change over time. I expected to have more energy, although this last has been sporadic for reasons that will become clear shortly. I expected to experience better overall health.

Other things happened that I wasn’t expecting. The negative reactions to my choice. The amount of ‘assumptions’ I had about diet. That people continue to accept these assumptions, despite my best efforts to the contrary. The judgement both inside and outside of the vegan community.

Most of all I wasn’t expecting the spiritual side of me to gain momentum. I have been on a spiritual journey for at least 5 years, intentionally cultivating my skills and growing as a person. Not in all that time have I had such profound and fast changes inside of myself and with my skills.

These are some areas in my spiritual life that have changed in the last 12 months:

  1. Becoming more sensitive to energies and emotions: I have always been highly sensitive, an empath. I had just learned, through years of bullying and being told I’m too sensitive, to shut it down. Now, since removing animal products from my diet, it’s all flooding back to the surface. I am way more sensitive than I ever knew, which certainly brings its own challenges. Despite this, I feel that now I am filling my body with high energy foods, my channels have opened up further and I am becoming way more aware and sensitive to energies.
  2. Quicker Manifestation: Along with this comes the other amazing characteristics of a spiritually awakened life – manifestation. I am manifesting things so much quicker these days! Obviously the smaller the desire, the easier it is to come to you, but I am manifesting sometimes within hours! I am vibrating at a higher rate, which is allowing all the positive things I always wanted to come to me. They are now attracted to me, rather than being repelled.
  3. Accelerated Personal Growth: This is perhaps the negative or lesser known side of manifestation – manifesting situations that trigger your crap to be healed! When events or situations occur now though, I am getting the lessons quicker. This is allowing me to move forward at a much faster pace, which means the lessons also come quicker. My brain is not foggy anymore, so I can see my own patterns and behaviours much clearer. I have released so much this last 12 months, and as I continue to delve deeper into the onion of my inner self, I become stronger and stronger, able to deal with the really deep, traumatic stuff. This has lead to me being sick for most of the last 12 months and experiencing bouts of low motivation and fatigue. As I release the emotions, trauma or patterns there is a physiological reaction as the energy leaves, usually cold or flu like symptoms, headaches and general lethargy. Then I get a nice break for a few weeks where I am walking tall!
  4. Increased Intuition: My intuition has really kicked in, stronger than ever before. It is not being dampened by negative or lower energy foods, so it is able to get my attention more. I am still working on the habit of rationalising my nudges and learning to trust it, but I am able to hear it clearer in the first place and that’s a huge step for me.
  5. Deeper Meditations: I have been meditating for a few years now and have had some amazing experiences. None of them prepared me for what most often happens now. I don’t go anywhere or see anything much anymore, I used to go on some amazing adventures with dinosaurs and fairies and the like. Now, I mostly just sit in the energy and listen to the music. What is deeper is the change after I meditate. I immediately notice the change in my own energy, even after a short 15 minute meditation. Now that I am not clogging my body with low energy or processed foods, my meditations have a more profound effect on my energy, clearing away negativity and promoting higher increases in my vibration than ever before. I feel so much more calm and at peace after a meditation and I am totally grateful and happily surprised by this change.

I hope I have explained this last one effectively. All of these changes have lead me to a deeper connection to myself and Spirit, whether it be my guides, angels, deity or whatever the reality of Source actually is. I feel way more connected in general and I can only attribute it to the change in diet. Doreen Virtue talked years ago, in a book I can no longer remember the title to, about the negative effect of meat on your vibration, I just didn’t think it could be this amazing.

Please, if you have experienced similar or different changes, I would love to hear about them. 😁

Good luck and happy vibration raising!!

Veganism

Happy Veganniversary: what I’ve learnt about the world

Today marks my first anniversary of deciding to commit to ‘this vegan thing’.

I’d done Veganuary and felt confident that I was on the right track. My reasons started out based on health, but over January 2017 had evolved into ethical and environmental ones.

My eyes were open and there was no going back.

Little did I realise that the next 12 months would be some of the most challenging of my entire life. They would also be some of the most rewarding.

To mark my 1st Veganniversary I thought I’d share my new found truths.

What I’ve learned along my Veganism Journey

  1. A lot of my general knowledge was actually unsupported assumptions. Surely they just put a cow and a bull in a paddock and let em work it out for themselves? No. A million times no. Artificial insemination makes perfect sense from a business perspective – why leave something so important to chance? But the cows will need to be milked anyway, or they’ll get mastitis, right? No. A trillion times no. No other mammal continues to produce milk after a certain time after birth, why do we think cows are any different?
  2. Free range doesn’t necessarily guarantee humane. In a dark barn with barely enough room to move isn’t the free range they show you on the packets!
  3. Protein is not as important as the meat industry wants us to believe. Most of my sources (books, nutrition courses, websites and documentaries) tell us we only need around 80mg of protein in a day. Anything more than this will be eliminated from our bodies as waste. This we can get through a variety of plant foods, such as beans, almonds and sunflower seeds, in abundance. Plus, we can plan to get exactly what we need, rather than overdosing and using vital energy eliminating the excess from our bodies. Seems like simple math to me!!
  4. No matter what facts you give people, admitting they were mislead is very difficult. And I’ll say ‘mislead’ as opposed to wrong, because wrong would indicate a conscious decision was made. This is rarely the case in society. Maybe it’s a pride thing, who knows! There have been less than a handful of people I’ve spoken to about the impacts of animal agriculture, backed up by statistics, who don’t choose to ignore or forget what they heard and continue to do what they always did. Health of the planet, be damned!
  5. No amount of ‘shorter showers’ will come close to the amount of water I’ve saved. Using the stats given in Cowspiracy, converted to the metric system, for each kilogram of meat I don’t consume, I’m saving over 5000 litres of water. That’s 500 “shorter showers” a week! A WEEK!!! Why doesn’t the Australian Waterboard give us those statistics??
  6. Being vegan doesn’t guarantee compassion. This one breaks my heart. To profess so much compassion for animals and then not show it to your fellow species is not only sad, but hypocritical as well. Under this heading comes tolerance as well, but in the form of a lack of tolerance for people doing their best and living by their rules. Vegans can be among the most judgemental people I have ever come across. I thought indoctrination was only for the religious? Apparently I was wrong.
  7. People think they are being funny when they show you pictures of dead animals. This has really mostly been from teenagers, but I’ve had adults make jokes about me eating their chicken salad for lunch. We don’t go around showing them pictures of things that offend and upset them, like dead babies or decapitated human heads, so why do they do this to us? It’s blatant disrespect and, done enough, bullying and harassment.
  8. Sometimes you are surprised by the least likeliest of people. Some family and friends have been ultra supportive of my choice, even choosing to eat with me when they have other options. I know it is highly unlikely these people will ever become vegan, but I can appreciate when they support my choice and show it with their forks! It’s even better when you can have a decent conversation with them where they listen to your reasons and engage in a positive way!
  9. There is a such thing as a fat vegan and I’m fast becoming one! I am only a little bit sad to say the clincher for my choice was discovering that French Fries were vegan! Oh, happy day!! And this was before So Good and Over the Moo released their dairy free ice cream…
  10. Sometimes it seems animal products are in literally everything! From hot chocolate powder to plastic bags, animal agriculture seems to have its claws in all our commonly used products! Luckily for us, most things can be easily replaced. Equally lucky is that most restaurants always have hot chips on the menu!

I am sure there is plenty more that could and should go on this list, but these are the stand out lessons for me!

Let me know what you’ve learned on your journey and let’s see if we can’t spread the word together!!

And for whenever yours is…

Happy Veganniversary!!

Veganism

Veganism: too hard as a trend, too easy for your health

I work with a lot of children. Teenagers. Easily impressionable, concerned about what others think, while at the same time wanting to stand out, to be a leader, a ‘trendsetter’, although most of them would die before using that word. They all secretly want to be that kid who started the craze or new slang term no one really knows the definition for, often they themselves.

I had a thought this morning about using this drive to persuade kids to be vegan. Just a silly romantic thought, but a bought nonetheless.

I quickly let this idea go, however. And not because I teach in a public school and shouldn’t be ‘preaching’ to the kids about anything.

I let it go because veganism as a fad or trend would be hard. Too hard. Like dieting. People adopt it for a while and then eventually revert back to their original patterns. I don’t want veganism to be a trend. Something people turn to in order to be cool. More importantly, it’s not about that on a fundamental level. It’s about something bigger.

Veganism for the right reasons is easy. It’s easy to eliminate diary from your diet when you know what happens to the cows to produce it and have an emotional reaction. It’s easy to stop eating meat when you know how bad it is for your health. It’s the easiest thing in the world. It builds commitment and perseverance to have a deeply emotional reason for doing it. It’s easier still to stay on the path when the reasons for being on it are deeply personal, when you own it.

Veganism as a fad would be hard. Veganism for health and ethics is easy.

This is why using the ‘you’d be cool! You’d start a trend!’ argument would only work so far. Sure, it’d save millions of animal’s lives while they were in the fad, but I’m afraid that, like most diets, once they went back to their old ways they’d overcompensate for missed opportunities. This would then undo all the good they did do while being vegan.

So I’ll stick to the ‘be the change’ angle and hope for the best. Hope they (and people in general) ask questions themselves that I can answer honestly, with statistics and from love. Hope that they’ll listen to the answers. Hope that one day they will all see the truth and make the choice that is best for the animals, the planet and more importantly for them, themselves.

Vegan Cooking

10 Must Haves for any Vegan Kitchen

In the short time I have been vegan, I have found many new recipes for amazing foods that I never thought I’d be able to cook, let alone enjoy eating! I have also found that there are a few items that you must have in your kitchen at all times. These may be for nutritional purposes, they make an excellent base for most meals or simply because you love them.

beans

  1. Beans: I usually have a few tins of baked beans, four bean mix and chickpeas in the cupboard. I will often add the chickpeas straight from the can to salads and add a tin of the four beans to savoury nutmeat (see below), salsa or bolognaise. A quick, cheap and easy meal has been baked beans on toast with baby spinach, nutritional yeast and chia seeds. This allows me to be lazy while attempting to get all protein and iron* I need in one meal.
  2. Nutmeat Casserole: I am a huge fan of Vegie Delights Casserole mince. I usually make a savoury nut-mince, just like my Great-Grandmother used to make. Well, almost… Cook some onions, zucchini, mushrooms, peas, corn, beans or any other vegetable, add some veggie stock or vegan gravy to the nutmeat and serve on toast or mashed potato. I have recently started adding Nutritional Yeast to the mix and it has been amazing! I have also use the original nutmeat version to make a stroganoff, but I find it tedious to get out of the can and I am nothing if not a lazy cook! It was worth the hassle in the end though…
  3. Zucchini: I am not 100% sure what the nutritional information is for this most versatile vegetable, but it is green, so it has to be good right? I put it in everything from spaghetti bolognaise to salsa! I just love the taste and texture and it is easy to cook! Baked zucchini is my absolute favourite though… (Apparently Americans call this a courgette, just to confuse the situation even further!)
  4. Spinach: this little baby is amazing and I have added it to everything at least once! A great source of iron, I usually go for the baby spinach variety, but any will suffice. It is a tasty addition to morning fruit smoothies, lunch salad or wrap, and pasta or savoury mince. Again, I put it in everything and see what happens. It is also quite nice in fried rice! Just don’t cook it too long, because I read somewhere that over cooking changes the chemical make up and effects its iron levels (I can’t remember where I read/heard this, but correct me if I’m wrong…)
  5. Tofu: I have been on a nice little love affair with this amazing food! I have used silken tofu to make sour cream for my nachos and salsa. I have scrambled it and eaten it on toast for breakfast. I have even simply fried it and added it to my salad! It is a great source of protein, calcium, iron* and a host of other vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies healthy.
  6. Coconut milk or cream: This is my go to substitute for cream in traditional recipes, so we can still enjoy potato bake, pasta, lasagne and soup!! Also, you don’t get that nasty film of fat that other creams give when cooled. This also helps with the transition, as it allows us to eat what we always have so the change isn’t as drastic.
  7. Mushrooms: As my most favourite food in the whole world, I usually don’t cook a meal if it doesn’t have mushrooms in it. Even then I usually just add them and see what happens! Mushrooms are a good source of protein* and many other vitamins and add a beautiful flavour to any dish. But, I may be biased…
  8. Oats: A wholegrain that is a great source of iron and fibre*. Most Australians will eat these as a hot porridge for breakfast, but I have recently discovered the overnight oats craze, which is much nicer on a hot Australian morning. For overnight oats, add 1:1 ratio of oats and plant-based milk into an airtight jar and place in the fridge overnight (i.e. I cup oats to 1 cup of milk). I also add a tablespoon of peanut butter, a teaspoon of maple syrup, a couple of shakes of cinnamon, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cacao powder and a generous pinch of desiccated coconut. In the morning I will add dried blueberries or sultanas (which are also a good source of iron). Just be careful that your plant-based milk doesn’t have high calcium levels, as this can impair the absorption of iron in the body (this information came straight from my Doctor, who I suspect of being plant-based…).
  9. Nutritional yeast: This is a recent addition to my list of must-haves, I often add it to hot dishes just to see what will happen! It is one of the main ingredients in my tofu scramble that gives it a cheesy flavour without all the pesky cruelty to animals! This is a good source of protein and B vitamins, including natural B12 (according to the label)!
  10. Herbs and Spices: Herbs are a great source of antioxidants*, especially parsley. Tumeric* has also been shown to help fight cancer cells and is easy to add to any dish by simply cooking it with the pasta or rice. It will change the colour of the food, but not the taste! Just start playing around with tastes and see what you like.

mushrooms

Mostly, this is a list of the things I like to keep on hand at any given moment. I’m not one for meal planning, as I tend to just eat what I feel like at the time. Often if I’ve pre-cooked something I won’t want it later, not sure why, but this list has helped me to stay on the vegan path and made the transition easier.

Have I missed anything? Feel free to add your must haves in the comments below!!

 

 

*Dr Michael Gerger’, How Not to Die. A very basic reference, I know. Definitely not Harvard worthy, but google the book’s title for more information! Also, Dr Greger has a website for further information.