Let those words sink in for a moment. They, "Made peace with killing."
(Updated from it's original posting in 2017)
Back when I tabled at the Kaw Valley Seed Fair, where I gave away hundreds of free vegan food samples and literature. one of my most memorable encounters was with a couple of young women just barely out of their teens. These women, one of whom indicated she had been vegan at one point, told me with earnest conviction that as a result of interning on a small local farm, they now ate animals and no longer found it uncomfortable because they had, “Made peace” with killing them.
Let those words sink in for a moment. They, "Made peace with killing."
There was an amazing turn-out for the first vegan BBQ in Lawrence, Ks -- which coincidentally was 25 years to the month after the first vegan BBQ in Kansas City! Although many people came and went over the course of the several hours of this event I counted about 100 adults there at one point -- but don't really know how many attended over-all. Below are photos of the event. (All the best ones were taken by Emma Perkins --Thanks Emma!)
I originally wrote this post two years ago. I have just added a bit of video from the entertainment at last year's (2017) Summerfest --- It's a really funny musical skit featuring Miyoko Shinner (Founder of Miyoko's Kitchen) Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org and Dr. Ted Barnett (Rochester Lifestyle Medicine). This year, (2018) The big news is that Vegetarian Summerfest will henceforth be called Vegan Summerfest. Enjoy!
Highlights of the 2016 NAVS Vegetarian Summerfest
If you've never been there -- words and pictures simply fall far short of capturing the magic, the love, and the soul-affirming feeling of connection, hope and healing that is the essence of the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest Conference. Scroll down to see lots of pictures from this year's conference -- and notice what a vibrant looking bunch of humans are there! I've been to many other conferences -- and although they may share similar speakers, offer equivalent educational opportunities, provide tantalizing food and fun social gatherings, nothing I have yet experienced comes close to creating what the majority of the 600 plus attendees who pilgrimage to this event each year experience: Summerfest quite spectacularly and reliably renews people by immersing them
Is history about to repeat itself?
Back in the 1990's a group of activists in the UK created and passed out a flyer, titled, What's Wrong With McDonalds. In response the fast food giant hired under cover agents to infiltrate the group and then served them with legal papers threatening to take them to court for libeling the McDonald's corporation. The activists didn't know it at the time, but the McDonalds company had a history of threatening it's critics with a libel suit, but then offering to drop charges, if the defendents would apologize, never criticize McDonald's again and keep confidential McDonald's threatened legal action.
But this one time McDonald's bullying didn't work as planned. The activists
Join me for a trip down memory lane. Here I document the birth and early years of organized vegan activism in the Kansas City area. A special thanks to all the people -- including many who contributed but don't happen to be in these pictures and clippings. Together we helped lay the foundation for the exponential growth of vegan products, vegan-friendly menu items, and vegan community that now make it attractive and easy for so many more people to make the connection and go vegan!
In 1992, I knew of exactly three vegans in the entire Kansas City area. Victoria Moran, her daughter Adair (who went by the name of Rachel, back then) and myself. Few knew to say, "Vee-gun" rather than, "Vey-gun" let alone what the word, "vegan" meant.
So in 1993 a small group of vegetarian's started what I believe was the first vegetarian society in Kansas or the greater KC area -- and we called it Vegetarians of Kansas City. At first all we did was have monthly potlucks in Siobhan Defeo's home. Siobhan and a friend of hers had gotten the ball rolling by putting up notices on bulletin boards at Clearly Nature's Own at 43rd and Main, seeking to find other vegetarians. Soon after, there were 10 to 20 of us regularly sharing monthly meals and dis-
Of all the new products I sampled at the HUGE Asheville VeganFest...one in particular stood out as something I needed to tell everyone about. It's a delicious new product called "Hempe." The sample I tasted was air fried with very little oil, and used no additional seasonings and was AMAZING!
Even better --- now my soy-allergic friends have yet another terrific vegan protein to enjoy -- that is entirely free of soy products!
I bought this package here at the festival (it has "FARB PAID" on it because I had them hold it for me in their coolers a bit before I was ready to trek it back to my
Before I share with you the recipe for how to make these, I want to frame the process for you. While you can make burgers from just about any combination of beans (or lentils which is what I used here) vegetables and ground up nuts or seeds, the trick is getting them to stay together AND not remain mushy inside once they are cooked. The key is to have enough WHOLE beans (or lentils) that are NOT too smashed up and for the mixture over all to be not too wet nor too dry when you form it into the patties. Keep this in mind and you really don't need to follow a recipe at all. The other thing that matters is getting a really great finished taste. That is accomplished by using a nice variety of vegetables and herbs for flavor. This is especially important when you omit oil (and salt if you choose to.) Beets make a great addition because of the color that they impart as well. Although I didn't use any sweet potatoes in this version, I could have just as easily steamed up a sweet potato and then mashed it and added it to the mixture. Sweet potato pairs especially well when using black beans instead of lentils. This makes about two dozen small burgers. If using
Long ago I had a passion for crepes. Miyoko Shinner's revolutionary, Now and Zen Epicure, cookbook is what got me started. Her Gateau de Crepes recipe on page 146 taught me how to make the most fabulous eggless crepes. I loved filling them with all variety of tasty fillings.
Then I went gluten free...AND decided to minimize the use of oil in my food preparation. Eggless crepes made with gluten-free flours and little to no oil...I just couldn't seem to pry them off the pan except in tiny pieces. My crepe days were over.
A few weeks ago however I stumbled upon Petra Scott's Food Blog, and learned how to make the most fabulous, easy, and versatile Flax wraps which are a great stand-in for crepes in my recipes. Now I have a new widget in my gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, no-oil repertoire, and I can't wait for you to taste what I have created with it.
When I was in grade school in the 1960s-70s I never heard of anyone with a peanut allergy. I knew of exactly one case of someone with asthma. Her diagnosis stood out in my mind for two reasons: First because she didn't have to run laps in gym class, (which I envied at the time) and second because her disease, "Asthma" was so rare. I virtually never heard of any other cases for at least ten more years. (Full disclosure to give some perspective here -- as a child, I read our Family Medical Reference Book for fun.) Allergy, Asthma, Autism and ADHD, are referred to by many as the, "Four A's." There is much overlap in the populations afflicted with each of these.
In 1941 Allergist Warren Vaughan wrote what appears to be the very first book to explain to the public what an allergy was. It was titled, Strange Malady. That book also documents milk, egg, strawberry and wheat as the most significant allergies at that time. There was no mention of peanuts as a trigger for allergies...
Although it uses a lot of ingredients, this dressing is simple and quick to make. It is very low in fat and full of flavor, with just half a gram of fat (from the tofu) per two tablespoons. Just place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until rich and creamy. Store unused portion in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. It's a great dip for vegetable slices as well. This makes about two and half cups.
Last night was the first meeting of the new, Plant-Based Paleo Support Group and one of the recipes that I demonstrated and then served was this Heart-Beet Salad with Goddess Dressing. This recipe was originally published in my book, Get Off Gluten.
The Goddess dressing is made entirely without oil or sugar, and the combination of Goddess Dressing with cooked beets is amazing!
Earlier this evening, my husband and I sat down to a common dinner that we love -- home made black bean burritos topped off with Pace Salsa.
For the past ten years, my family's consumption of Pace Salsa surely made us one of Campbell's better customers. Not just because of how much we eat, but because of all the demos I do, and food I make for others. I would purchase salsa in the largest size glass containers sold, sometimes bringing home a dozen jars at a time -- just to make sure I didn't run out. But that is in the past. I won't be buying Pace products any more.
What, you may be wondering could have caused a passionate salsa lover like me, always looking for the best food bargains too (Pace is often the least expensive salsa I can find) to stop eating the stuff (right in the middle of dinner) and vow to not eat it any more? Well it was this. I was
I love this for its simplicity and that I can have a delicious and satisfying breakfast in about five minutes time. You can use any non-dairy milk in this recipe. I like to make my own, however, for this recipe, you can even use a much simpler home made milk -- simply take 1 TBS of sunflower seeds (or cashews or almonds) and blend them in a blender with 1/2 cup of water -- no need to filter as the added fiber works well in this dish. If you'd rather purchase milk and are curious to know what to look for on the label, I discuss all that HERE. If you are using a store bought milk that is already sweetened and or flavored, you can OMIT the stevia extract and or vanilla. If you don't have stevia, a bit of maple syrup or a 2 finely chopped dates would work too. Also -- you can use any combination of fresh, frozen or dried fruit in this as well -- below is the combination and amounts I typically use. While this does make a terrific breakfast, it can also be a perfect afternoon snack or pick-me-up too.
This is one of the most basic recipe building blocks that I use in the kitchen. It is super simple, and can be made from mostly non-perishable pantry staples. It replaces store-bought sour creams -- which are often not only quite pricey, but contain added oils, high sodium and or other undesirable ingredients. Make sure that the tofu is organic and Non-GMO project verified, as soy products have a high likelihood of being genetically modified and/or contaminated with Round-Up or other chemicals. Silken tofu gives the best result, but you could use another tofu in a pinch. I always buy the firmest tofu I can find -- the difference between soft and firm is simply how much water has been squeezed out. No point paying for extra water.
It’s no secret that gluten-free foods are one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry. Yet many mainstream health and nutrition sources still discourage adoption of a gluten free diet for anyone without a laboratory confirmed diagnosis of Celiac Disease (CD). Some widely touted studies have suggested that “gluten sensitivity” may not exist, and suggest that FODMAPS, not gluten are causing the GI symptoms that people assumed were from gluten.
There are other studies that suggest many who are harmed from gluten have no obvious GI symptoms and may be negative for CD by every known test. Sometimes they present only with anemia, or osteoporosis which many doctors still don't know can be caused from consuming gluten.
Every currently used medical test to identify those who might be harmed by gluten, has many
Make Your Own Cashew Ice-cream Without Sugar or Oil and Save Money! Maple Vanilla Cashew Ice-cream Recipe
I rarely buy ice-cream any more, as it is very easy to make my own, and then I can be sure it doesn't have added oils, sugar, carrageenan, or anything else I might wish to avoid.
Not only that but a pint of cashew Ice cream from the store, typically costs about 5 dollars. You can make a pint of this maple-vanilla cashew ice-cream for just a dollar or two! Although this doesn't take much time to make, you must plan ahead, as it does need some time to freeze. I do not own an ice-cream maker --but I assume you could just pop this recipe into one if you own one...but I make this using my Vitamix. You could probably mix the ingredients up using a less powerful blender and just blending for a longer time, but once you have frozen the mixture into an ice-cube tray, I imagine you would need the power of a Vitamix or other powerful blender to turn it into soft-serve. Perhaps a food processor fitted with an, "S" blade would work for this step though.
I remember clearly how I felt the day I learned that I might be at risk of exposure to Mad Cow Disease from buying and eating locally grown organic kale from my food co-op.
I'd been vegan at that point for over 20 years. One of the benefits I had counted on for myself and my family from our choice to be vegan, was the fact that by not eating meat or dairy, we were not being exposed to the prions that cause Mad Cow Disease.
But that was before I signed up for a gardening class taught by local organic farmers. Imagine my surprise when I heard them describe how they sprayed dried animal blood, bone-meal and fish emulsion right onto the leaves of their organicly grown greens. This they said, was a superb way to quickly, "feed" the plants nutrients which they would absorb directly through their leaves.
I felt sick.
It had never occurred to me that by supporting local organic farmers and buying their garden
In 1942 President FDR – husband to social justice hero Eleanor Roosevelt, signed an executive order that put thousands of law-abiding Japanese American citizens in prison camps. There was little outcry. In the 1970s, in collaboration with doctors, our government forced African American men to endure late stage syphilis. Few with knowledge of this objected. U.S. history begins with violently removing indigenous inhabitants from their ancestral lands. Shockingly, in the 1800s, some abolitionists opposed women voting. Today some who support civil rights for people of color oppose marriage equality for LGBTQ identifying individuals. The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, describes a large American hospital in the 1950s injecting cancer cells into hundreds of patients without their knowledge or consent. Three Jewish doctors were the only ones to object. But their views were marginalized as being “overly sensitive because of the Holocaust." History is full of similar examples. Perhaps that is why Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
The Holocaust is one of the most egregious examples of human’s capacity to look away and disregard injustice. After hearing about it, many wanted to know, “How did so many seemingly average people allow it to happen? The classic experiment by Stanley Milgram sought to answer this. His data showed that under certain conditions, half of us will go along with things we know harm others. Milgram stated, "Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process." Some cultures (and by implication their cultural practices) appear to be less vulnerable to this. So it’s worth asking, what practices might make us less likely to ignore injustice threatening someone else?
I learned about Phenylketonuria in my prenatal class, when I was pregnant. PKU is a genetic disease in which the gene that codes for a certain protein (an enzyme) that enables one to break down the amino acid, phenylalanine is defective. As a result, this amino acid accumulates and becomes toxic to the brain. Left untreated it can quickly result in severe and permanent mental disability. Although the incidence of PKU is only one in ten thousand births, all fifty states have laws requiring newborns to be tested for this genetic disease. That is because the effects of untreated PKU are devastating but completely preventable with treatment. Detection is simple -- they prick the heal of the newborn, and get a small blood sample. If the blood has high levels of phenylalanine this is considered positive for PKU. The treatment then is a strict, low protein diet for the rest of one's life.
Unfortunately the timing of when this test is done most of the time, increases the risk of a false negative -- meaning there is the possibility of NOT identifying a baby with PKU. Babies born to vegan mothers may even be at INCREASED risk of being falsely told their baby does not have PKU, because the vegan diet...
"Beware of Vendors Promoting Batteries, Solar Panels and Other Gizmos" Warns Out-Of-Touch Kansas Country Living....
Margaret Kramar just shared with me a letter that she sent to Paul Wesslund of Kansas Country Living Magazine. As I doubted that the magazine will print Margaret's excellent letter, I wanted to do my part to amplify her important sentiments. So here it is: