I am in the process of creating hands-on activities for children that teach principles related to peace, justice, health and sustainability. These will debut at Kansas City's first ever Midwest Soul Vegfest and be set up in the children's area.
Below you will find descriptions and pictures of the various activities I have created. I will be updating this blog post over the next few weeks as I finish making more of more of the activities. My plan is to document everything with enough detail so that parents, teachers and activists can copy what I have done.
I saw. But this enabled me to appreciate this bigger picture before I was, "educated" to not find it problematic: How companies create biased science and then use it to shape public health policy.
The Carnivore Diet
Anthropologists who have studied various cultures have described a variety of ways that elements of culture are transmitted to individuals born into that culture. These include such things as the usage of language, participation in rituals, the telling of stories, the emotion conveyed in relationship to certain events, and all the day to day, moment by moment choices and behaviors that one can observe in those around them.
Then I pause as if trying to think what kind of milk she might want...smiling broadly I ask,
"YESSSS!" she says with even more emphasis then any of the no's.
And then we settle down to nurse.
Games such as this reinforce our family's view that drinking the milk of any other animal is yucky and an aberration of what is normal.
Once when my younger daughter had a cough for over a week, I took her to the doctor. My six year old went too. She heard me tell the doctor that we've never used antibiotics--or any other drugs -- and wouldn't unless we there was a very serious problem. The doctor agreed saying they are way overused. Then he examined my toddler and reported that her ears and tonsils looked perfect, and her lungs were clear. The only signs of illness he could see were that her temperature was elevated one degree, and she had one small swollen gland. I felt glad to know there was nothing serious wrong and that we could simply let her body heal itself. But then the doctor offered to give us a prescription for antibiotics and recommended a decongestant too. Of course I declined all these things. But it was a good example for my children to see that I do not turn over my decision making to any "authority figures" and that while we may seek out the opinions of others, we still must make our own responsible choices consistent with our own values and beliefs.
Today at lunch my six year old told me that she thinks the reason she does not know much about the world (we had been talking about the legal requirements for home schoolers and how they are slightly different in every state.) is because we don't eat meat, and so she misses out on a part of the world that everyone else knows about. "How do you feel about that?" I asked her -- not sure where she was going with this whole discussion. "Good." She told me..."I'm glad I don't eat meat." I waited to see what else she might offer up, but she seemed to have expressed all that she wanted. This gave me an opportunity to point out to her how not eating meat had nothing to do with not understanding the laws about homeschooling, and that no two people on earth have exactly the same knowledge of the world. I went on to explain how the world is such a vast place that no one can know everything. So based upon our own unique experiences each of us knows slightly different things. Then I pointed out some of the things that she knows all about, which most six year olds wouldn't know anything about. She seemed very comfortable with our discussion.
My point in all this is to raise awareness that hundreds of times a day each of us, as a parent is making choices. The stories we read, the words we use, the way that we offer comfort, the foods we make available, the outside influences we bring into our homes (toys and TV for example) every one of these choices is an element of enculturation. Individually and moment by moment, each choice by itself is probably inconsequential. But together they suggest a path, they create a paradigm. Together they communicate to our children what we value most, what we stand for, what we believe in our hearts.
1) No one should be forced to live near a
2) Prime would increase carbon emissions from
(Note -- this article was originally published on my Compassionate Souls website shortly after my first book came out (about 2001). Neil Miller republished it with permission in his booklet on the Chickenpox vaccine, and 4 years ago I posted it to this blog. I am bringing it to the front of my blog now, because this issue is timely again.)
When I was a child, chickenpox was universally understood to be a generally benign disease in otherwise healthy children. Every spring, chickenpox would wash through the younger grades at my elementary school, and initiate a new group of kids. Most of us remember the disease for its horrendous itching and the occasional scar, but I don't remember any of us fearing it. I grew up accepting Chickenpox as a fact of life, and a normal passage of childhood -- like skinning your knees.
According to the Merck Manual, Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection caused by the
We are LOVING these strawberry shakes. This recipe makes two large shakes -- but that never seems to be quite enough...
Home Made Oil Free Vegan Mayo
A Tale of Two Infectious Diseases
Which one are we being told to fear more?
This year was different from every previous Earth Day I have participated in.
It wasn't because the sun was shining, although that was a wonderful improvement over last year. And it wasn't because we had even more people come by our table -- though that was pretty gratifying too.
Chick Pea "Faux Tuna Salad"
That was why I was especially excited to be invited this year to present at UPC's Conscious Eating Conference in Berkeley, California. My presentation was one of three in the morning, while the afternoon featured a jaw-dropping debate on clean meat -- probably the first such debate to happen in the movement.
There was an amazing synergy at this event. When I gave my presentation: "Don't Push Your Values: Under Pressure -- Social Justice Progress amidst Societal Group Coercion" (see my presentation Here) I didn't know the specific evidence that professors John Sanbonmatsu and Vasile Stanscu (arguing that clean meat would harm animals in the debate) would be presenting to counter the slick polished rhetoric of those trying to promote clean meat at this event. But the debate provided the audience with an amazing opportunity to witness for themselves the very dynamic my slide presentation sought to bring to people's attention -- part of which involves good people facilitating injustices they claim to oppose.
Well known activists, Bruce Friedrich and Paul Shapiro led the crusade to get animal advocates to support clean meat and it is due almost exclusively to the efforts of these two men that many of the large animal advocacy groups have given their endorsement to clean meat. Previously I wrote about ethical problems when Shapiro and Friedrich appeared on stage at KC's first vegfest in my article, How Co-option of Grass Roots Activism Played out in KC's First Vegfest, after that event's organizers made the unfortunate decision to "Trade patronage for power" by having Friedrich and Shapiro as its main speakers. (I just learned of the term, "Tradiing Patronage for Power" from a sociology student at the Conscious Eating Conference, who told me after she watched my presentation that there was a term to express what I was describing.)
This past weekend Friedrich had a new comrade to join him in his rhetoric (Shapiro lost his job at HSUS for sexual misconduct.) Leah Garces, the new president of Mercy for Animals was his partner in the debate and also enthusiastically promoting clean meat.
If you have been working for justice for animals for a long time, you may appreciate how devastating the marketing of "local" "organic" "happy" "humane" meat has been to the cause. Following the growing popularity of the locovore movement the number of abused animals increased dramatically. There are theoretical reasons that may explain this such as the fact that these marketing ploys have given more respectability to killing other beings (as long as it's done the "right" way.)
I can certainly see evidence of this in my own community of Lawrence, Ks.
When Lawrence's natural foods coop formed, it was entirely vegetarian. But once it started selling happy meat, the shelf space dedicated to animals and their bodily secretions began to grow year after year. Coop advertising worked to legitimize and then increase demand for these items. Then the coop began selling CAFO meat, dairy and eggs alongside the "humane" versions. So clearly, rather than simply providing an alternative to CAFO products, Happy meat legitimized CAFO products and paved the way for its growth into new markets.
Happy meat simply provided yet another option for enjoying body parts of exploited beings, while serving to placate some people's moral sentiments, in the process of helping to grow markets for a wider variety of products that involve violence to animals.
As far as I can tell, coop member-owners who justify their meat/dairy/egg consumption on the grounds that they consume "ethically" produced products, raised no objections about the fact that CAFO meat was now being sold at the coop too. Nor have I witnessed the many people I know personally who raise and kill their own animals, refusing to partake of CAFO products when they are served at public events or at private gatherings. And when I went on the local farm tour, one of the farmers who was also a mother, told me that she told her children, "it's ok to eat CAFO meat" because it's going into their, "happy bellies."
So now, alongside the exploding growth of vegan options everywhere, we have record numbers of animals being physically and sexually assaulted and then killed for profit. Since it is now easier than ever to be vegan, as the marketplace of vegan options explodes, how can anyone suggest that the introduction and growth of "humane" "organic" or "pasture-raised" options for meat/dairy/eggs have overall been a good thing for animals? And yet -- that was the very reason that many animal advocates gave some years back as to why we should encourage the growth of "happy meat" options. In fact, one of the loudest voices, from within the ranks of those claiming to support justice for animals was Bruce Friedrich.
It was Friedrich who spoke first in last weekend's debate, and emphatically stated that because the vegan movement has utterly failed (which he supports with numbers showing that per capita meat consumption is at an all-time high) he believes he can do more good for animals now by shifting from promoting veganism to promoting the brand new -- as yet untested technology of clean meat (also known as cell-based meat or cultured meat.)
But to say that we in the vegan movement are not making progress in our work to lay a foundation for the largest peaceful revolution the world has ever known begs the question...why?
Why would someone who claims to care about justice for animals choose to highlight only evidence in a public talk to vegans, that suggests we are completely failing? Friedrich then followed up his assertion of failure with the most sophisticated PR I have ever heard about why promoting alternatives to veganism (which claim to be less terrible for animals -- but still exploit them) will be better for animals then just spending our time promoting veganism. His perspective -- especially coming from someone publicly seen as a supporter of animal rights was chilling to say the least, and looked like the perfect example of what film producer James Laveck wrote about in his extraordinary essay, Invasion of the Movement Snatchers.
Do your own critical thinking...Ask yourself, compared to ten years ago, how often does someone -- who may not even be vegan themselves, tell you about someone they know (a relative, neighbor, colleague etc) who is vegan? how many items at the store now carry a label that says, "vegan" as compared to ten years ago? And why have non-vegan business entities proclaimed 2019 as, "The Year of the Vegan"?
These things suggest veganism IS winning the hearts and minds of people in increasing numbers. When someone goes vegan whether or not they fall off the wagon several times in their journey to grow as an ethical human being -- the fact that they even try is evidence that our peaceful revolution is winning hearts and minds. Many people struggling to quit tobacco have a circuitous path to becoming a non-smoker -- perhaps many vegans do too. Keep in mind, customs that encourage animal exploitation are more ubiquitous and powered by a larger economic engine than tobacco use ever was!
It is also worth noting -- that prior to the Civil War, the number of slaves in America actually increased every single decade -- right up until legalized slavery ended. Does Friedrich know this?
Any one else having a "deja vu" experience regarding Friedrich's promotion of clean meat? In Friedrich's activism with PETA, Farm Sanctuary and Farm Forward, his most memorable messaging was not about authentic veganism (ie, it is wrong to exploit and kill other beings, and vegans should not be endorsing ANY forms of exploitation.) but rather about "suffering reduction," which as we have seen is a slippery slope to justifying ongoing violence. In his time working with Farm Forward (as a founding board member) Friedrich actually encouraged animal activists to support happy animal exploitation. He actually worked to grow the market and production capacities for animal exploiting operations. Look at these screen shots from www.HumaneMyth.org and archived pages from Farm Forward:
Pay close attention to Friedrich's rhetoric now, because once again he is THE single largest, most compelling voice within the animal advocacy movement suggesting that some new trend in exploiting animals will lead to reductions in the number of exploited and killed animals.
Friedrich's arguments that clean meat will be good for animals are similar to those he made about how "humane" meat would be good for them. By Friedrich's own estimation his previous efforts on behalf of animals failed to reduce the number of animals being exploited – so why is he using exactly the same approach in promoting clean meat? In fact, as the professors in this debate pointed out -- industry documents show that investors are expecting that rather then replacing CAFO meat, clean meat will add yet a third option to the menu for those still clinging to archaic culinary traditions based upon violence and exploitation -- with CAFO meat continuing to grow until it can grow no further because of limitations in available land -- at which point, clean meat will still be able to offer continued growth and investment returns.
One of the points I heard both Friedrich and Garces emphasize to the audience was to suggest that because they each have a long history of working on behalf of animals, and because so many other of the professional animal advocacy groups share their view that clean meat is a good idea and will help reduce the number of animals being exploited and killed, that we should trust their judgement and all of us should follow their example and support it too.
But history is full of examples of good people who jumped on board and supported bad ideas that facilitated systemic injustices. Growing justice takes more than hero worship. We need to use our best critical thinking combined with compassion, while keeping our eye on the goal -- creating a world where justice and non-violence are normalized. The character of the people promoting an idea is less important, than evaluating the idea on its own merits. When someone suggests to me that I simply do what they suggest because they are trustworthy, rather than doing my own critical thinking and dig deep for myself -- I suspect that the evidence that supports their perspective probably isn't that good.
One of the problems with the professional animal advocacy movement (ie the big groups) is that they readily absorb the corporate mindset -- which often exemplifies and reinforces paradigms that work better for supporting capitalism rather then justice. With many staff members on their payroll, growing and attracting more members/donations can take precedence over advancing justice. And justice can be hard to measure and quantify -- but the corporate paradigm emphasizes things that can be most readily measured and quantified. As a result they often use, proxies that stand in for things that are hard to measure -- which can lead to erroneous conclusions, that encourage choices that aren't always in line with justice. What is measurable may give no insight about how close we are to a tipping point, that can lead to big jumps in social justice.
I remember meeting a man years ago, who told me of his visit to a communist-block country one year before the wall in Germany fell, and censorship, and other injustices appeared to be at an all time high. This guy recounted speaking with dozens of underground justice advocates who all told him they had little hope that their efforts would create any benefit in their lifetime. But they saw themselves as laying a foundation for their grandchildren, who they hoped might someday be able to travel outside the country and not go to jail for speaking publicly about things they found unjust. But then my acquaintance returned about a year after the Berlin Wall fell, and he encountered a transformed society. The underground activist’s dream had been realized, and this point was made to me: It is hard to know just how close we might be to a “tipping point, when we are in the midst of fighting for justice.
As was brought out in the debate, currently there is no published science to suggest that we are even capable of producing clean meat without needing to feed the cell cultures with FBS (fetal bovine serum) FBS is a product obtained after a pregnant cow is slaughtered and fluids are extracted from the body of her still living baby. But Friedrich and Garces are confident we will come up with a plant-based alternative to this that is scale-able for industrial clean meat production. They are confident too that we will work out how to grow large amounts of cell based meat, in ways that will have a lower carbon footprint than traditional meat production -- even though the professors presented evidence that at it's current state of development this technology is likely to use egregious amounts of energy and produce even more greenhouse gasses.
Yet Bruce Friedrich and Leah Garces suggest that those who would like to see a vegan world, should support this new approach to marketing of animal exploitation. But in my experience Friedrich's prior attempts along this same path -- promoting humane meat --made my efforts to promote veganism even harder.
It was about 15 years ago, when I had my first experience with how counter-productive happy meat would be to justice for animals. In the decade prior to this time, when I told people about the horrific things happening to animals on industrial farms they had only two choices: Stop buying and using things from animals (ie go vegan) or continue supporting the industrial food machine and just look away. I still remember my shock and despair when I was talking with a college student on a downtown sidewalk about veganism and she looked me square in the eye and told me with all earnestness about how she wished I could have been with her when she interned on a small local organic farm. She said that she had been vegetarian before that time, but after she spent time with this lovely farm family and came to see how kind they were to their animals and how they killed them with such respect, she changed her mind about being vegetarian. (Reread that last sentence!) Over and over she kept telling me, “If you could see the respect with which we treated the animals, you would have no problem with eating them either.”
How does killing someone get “rebranded” as “respect?”
And just as importantly, how does being an accomplice to such violence, while embracing an Orwellian view of it, impact one’s ability to recognize other injustices, or oppose certain paradigms that support oppression?
As the debate progressed, it was clear that Leah Garces was less knowledgeable of the details and less invested in the promotion of clean meat then her pro clean-meat partner Bruce Friedrich. It also appeared to me, that this was Leah’s first time, struggling to defend this perspective amidst the new information she learned from Professors Sanbonmatsu and Stanscu.
After the conference, UPC took all the speakers out to dinner at the fantastic upscale vegan restaurant, “Sanctuary,” and every speaker was there – except Leah. This left me hoping that maybe Leah had actually “gotten” the gist of my presentation and was reflecting upon the role she was playing to help promote clean meat, in light of the historical record I shared in my talk, which explained how time and again, otherwise good people have played integral roles in advancing social injustices that contradicted the values that they claim to support.
It will be interesting to see how her organization, Mercy for Animals goes forward now. Will they continue to align with the powerful oppressive mindset – supported by a growing investor base, that is driving clean meat, and supported by most of the people who are her peers within the professional animal advocacy world, or will she break ranks and use her new bully pulpit at MFA to support authentic justice for all beings?
I was heartened when attendees at this event came up to me at the end and explained how they had come in expecting to confirm their perspective that Clean Meat would be good for animals, but that after the debate they now could see clearly how clean meat was just the latest example of green washing. Some went further. They told me that having previously read the OUTSTANDING essay by visionary film producer James Laveck, (linked to above -- but HERE it is again -- please read it!) they knew that they had just witnessed for themselves, exactly how moneyed interests co-opt the long term efforts of grass-roots activists, and set back our work for social justice progress.
I encourage you to watch this debate for yourself and share it widely with others. But to see it in the context of important historical facts, please watch the video of my presentation first
What's Wrong with Informed Consent?
In the Nuremburg Trials which followed the Holocaust, the court drafted what is known as the Nuremburg Code -- rules requiring the voluntary, informed consent of an individual before they are given a medical procedure or are part of a medical experiment. "Informed consent" has been embraced by the global medical community, and most people consider it a basic human right.
So why would well-meaning people push policies that take away our informed consent?
The Cardiovascular Health Study, a project of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute concluded that all males over the age of 65 exposed to the Western-style diet probably have cardiovascular disease and should be treated as such. Cardiovascular disease costs the US about 1 billion dollars a day in healthcare costs and lost productivity. It's the number one cause of death in our country. Because blocked arteries contribute to many premature deaths, some heart doctors propose that as a public health measure, we put statins in the public water supply -- forcing everyone to be exposed to their risks. Though this might prevent some deaths, it would also deprive everyone of the choice to refuse this medical intervention -- which like ALL medical interventions may have unintended consequences for some. Plenty of people on statins have discontinued them, because of the side effects -- even though not taking them might increase their risk of death.
With most health care we do not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Antibiotics can be life saving. They can also ruin people's health. Differing lifestyles, family histories, and even different times, can make the risk-benefit of any medical intervention unique to each. We also have different values. Joan Rivers died after accepting the small risk of death from elective plastic surgery. She valued looking younger more than avoiding this risk. Some with terminal illnesses, agree to be in medical trials and endure horrific, experimental treatments, for a long-shot at living a little longer. But not all of us would make such choices.
But what happens when the financial incentives for certain medical interventions become enormous....AND then corrupt the science seeking to really understand the risk/benefit of those interventions? Doctors and public health officials can be misled too!
Antidepressants are one case in point. Aggressive "education" of doctors made these drugs blockbusters for pharma while side-effects were downplayed. They were widely recommended for pediatric populations before we had data showing safety in this group. Evidence now suggests antidepressant benefits were actually far more modest than advertised -- and they increased suicides in young people. The book Anatomy of an Epidemic carefully deconstructs the long tr ail of biased science, "bought" researchers and "captured" regulatory agencies that fueled record drug company profits, while sacrificing untold numbers of citizens who fell prey to pharma's scheme. That book is a must read for anyone who cares about public health -- because too many pubic servants are acting like pharma's interests are OUR interests and can be trusted. (Note: after writing this post, I was watching this video --and 10 min in learned about how a medical doctor/Pam Popper's business partner, nearly lost his medical license for appearing on the Oprah show and voicing his opinion that psychological problems were NOT caused by chemical imbalances and no one should take antidepresants.)
So given that history, it should concern everyone, that bills that will increase pharma profits by eliminating informed consent for ALL the recommended vaccines (and there are a lot of them with a lot more in the pipeline) are right now flooding state legislatures. What most people don't know, is that we already had creeping financial incentives from insurance companies that reward doctors who have practices with a high compliance among their patients getting every single vaccine that is recommended.
Could it get any worse?
What if Congress passed a law that, gave drug companies complete immunity if their products injured or maimed citizens? Of course to make such a crazy thing more palatable to the public, they would have to include in such a law something that says Health and Human Services would have the task of overseeing the safety on these products and that they would be charged with filing a report every two years discussing what they were doing to assure that these products were being made as safely as possible...
Imagine if a car manufacturer could NOT be sued if someone died because their car brakes were poorly designed or data on crash tests had been fudged to make a car appear safer than it really was....How safe do you think our automobiles would be?
In fact, in 1986, Congress passed the National Vaccine Injury Act, which gave complete immunity to pharmaceutical companies when vaccines injured or killed children. And HHS was tasked with overseeing vaccine safety -- but we now know HHS did not do their job...NOT ONE TIME in over thirty years!
But, as a result of the 1986 law, vaccine companies were incentivized to rush to market with as many new, poorly tested vaccines as possible. None of these vaccines got tested to see if they might harm the immune system, trigger allergies or autoimmune diseases, or cause cancer...not only that, much of the short term safety testing that was done didn't even use a TRUE CONTROL. In fact overall, I have tell you that the "science" they are using to tell us these new vaccines are safe is pretty terrible, HHS has not been doing their job, you can't sue if vaccines hurt your child and oh -- more and more are being mandated for school entry. As a result vaccines are poised to be pharma's best cash cow yet -- and that's saying a lot for an industry that is one of the most powerful in the world (and also has an egregious record of fraud and misconduct.)
It's no surprise given these facts, that growing numbers of parents -- who either witnessed a vaccine reaction in one of their children or heard about someone being tragically harmed by a vaccine, are doing their own research and choosing to NOT do one or more of the recommended vaccines because the risk/benefit of THAT vaccine does not make sense for THEIR child.
Following introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, I met parents who told me that after getting this vaccine for their child, she came down with SHINGLES -- a disease far worse than chickenpox, which was unheard of in children before the chicken pox vaccine was introduced. But soon Chicken pox joined the others as a required vaccine in most states.
Perhaps the worst of all vaccines -- in terms of the risk/benefit for children in wealthy countries is the HPV vaccine. If you have access to the PAP test, you can prevent almost all cervical cancer -- making this vaccine pretty unnecessary. However the HPV vaccine uses a powerful new adjuvant that some science suggests is quite dangerous for some children. An entire meticulously researched book well-referenced to the scientific literature deconstructs the egregious conflicts of interest that paved the way for this vaccine to become recommended -- and even mandated in 3 states. Check out The HPV Vaccine on Trial if you would like to see for yourself what the science really says and how many whistle-blowers have been attacked for trying raise awareness about the shoddy science and terrible safety testing that supposedly showed this vaccine was safe and effective. When a member of the once highly esteemed Cochrane Collaboration failed to fall in-line with pressure to ignore half the published science on the HPV vaccine it led to his firing and then mass resignations of the Cochrane board in protest. And even if you don't have kids this issue could impact you. It appears the CDC is about to recommend this vaccine now for people in the 20s, 30s and 40s. And I know adults who have been forced to get vaccines as conditions of holding on to their jobs.
But it gets even worse. Pharma shills (and those caught in their cult-like mind control) have become impatient with states who still allow parents to refuse a vaccine they don't want for their child. (including in some states the HPV vaccine which has not only harmed many kids, but is for a disease that is not spread by casual contact -- so it cannot be argued that someone eschewing that vaccine poses a threat in a public setting...yet they are claiming that as justification for forcing our young people to get it.
Next week the federal government will be having hearings to consider new federal mandates that will override state laws that do allow parents the right of informed consent on behalf of their child. This would be a travesty of justice -- and I believe would materially harm many children.
Please contact your elected representatives and let them know how much you care about maintaining medical freedom. This page has more information.
I am a microbiologist and I have looked at a lot of the science, and I can tell you that the risk/benefit ratio of every single vaccine varies a lot from one to another...and it varies from one child to another as well. Chickenpox and Diphtheria are not equally dangerous diseases and Hepatitis B does not pose an equal threat to all populations. Parents are not stupid, and when they actually look at the facts and discover that the reasons to vaccinate do not apply equally to all vaccines -- AND that some children really do die or become disabled from vaccines (far more than our media admits too -- that's why the government gave vaccine manufacturers immunity.) THAT is what is undermining our vaccine program -- it's the half truths and the coercion -- not the parent's doing their job and trying hard to make the best decision for their child. No one cares more about the well-being of any individual child, nor appreciates that child's unique family history and environment than that child's parents. That is why parents, not doctors and not the state, must be allowed the basic human right of informed consent and the right to refuse any medical intervention after considering the risks and benefits for their child.
The death rate from infectious disease in America, declined sharply BEFORE vaccines were in widespread use -- and as vaccines for specific illnesses were being introduced the death rate between those we vaccinated for and those we did not (like scarlet fever, TB, Typhoid, Typhus, Malaria) mostly declined at similar rates suggesting that other public health measures (like sanitation) were more responsible for declining death rates than vaccines. So we take away informed consent for vaccines, it will be much easier to take away informed consent for other medical interventions where a stronger argument of saving more lives can probably be made (like putting statins in the drinking water.)
Informed consent is a basic human right. Taking it away on top of giving drug companies immunity if their products injure is a very very bad idea.
Spinach and White Bean Quesadillas
These are actually super simple to make, and so delicious. They are a great alternative to a grill cheese sandwich, and can also pack well in a lunch bag. Made without any oils, these have only a very tiny bit of fat from 2 TBS of sunflower seeds which makes more than 4 servings (of 2 quesadilla's each). This recipe will make at least 8 fat quesadillas -- or if you spread them a bit thinner, you can probably fill an additional 8 pack of tortillas. The filling can be made several days ahead and stored it in the fridge for several days, making it possible and then make up just one or two quesadillas fresh in about five minutes time.
1/2 lb of peeled and sliced russet potatoes (about one large)
1/4 pound of carrots sliced (about one large)
2 cups water
2 TBS raw sunflower seeds
5 TBS nutritional yeast (unfortified!)
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 tsp salt (I use a full tsp when making them for others)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic pealed and finely chopped
1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and pressed in a strainer to remove all liquid
1 1/2 or 2 cups canned or cooked white beans -- rinsed and drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
8 small corn tortillas
1) Place the potatoes and carrots into a covered saucepan with 2 cups of water and boil until soft (about 10 minutes)
2) Transfer the potatoes, carrots and cooking water to a blender. Add the sunflower seeds, yeast, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, chili powder and onion powder and process until smooth and creamy.
3) Saute the chopped garlic in a large saucepan in 1/2 cup of water, stirring frequently until water boils away. Add the drained spinach and stir around for a minute while continuing to cook, then add the drained white beans and smash with a potato masher, until all beans are flattened. Sprinkle with the cumin and coriander and stir well.
4) Add the blended potato-carrot mixture and stir well with spatula, continuing to heat on medium until it starts to bubble. Then turn off heat.
5) Place a dry cast iron skillet on high and set 1-4 corn tortillas in it turning them a few times until they get nice and hot and very flexible. Then spoon about 3-4 TBS of the spinach mixture onto each tortilla and then fold in half making a half-round sandwhich. Gently press each half circle with the spatula while they cook turning them every minute or two until each side gets a tiny bit brown, then transfer to a plate and serve hot.
Cream of Broccoli Soup (oil-free)
We are LOVING this new soup --- and it's really simpler than it may seem looking at the list of ingredients. I ended up creating this recipe after scouring my cookbooks and looking on line -- and not finding a single soup that LOOKED like what I wanted to create (A thick creamy base with soft florets of broccoli in it. as opposed to algae on a pond LOL) while being vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free.
Sorry I was not able to make this recipe salt-free as well. You CAN omit the salt and reduce or eliminate the tamari -- but I will tell you, as someone who makes many things without salt, this soup really does need the tamari at least. The combination of blended potatoes and silken tofu gives this soup an amazing rich creamy mouth feel ---without using any oil.
2 cups finely chopped onions
1/4 cup water (plus more -- added 1 TBS at a time to water to saute the onions)
2 lbs of russet potatoes peeled and sliced.
2 cups of water for boiling potatoes
2 cups of chopped celery (stems and leaves)
2 lbs of broccoli (about 10 cups chopped)
5 cups water to complete the soup
1 box mori nu organic firm tofu
1-2 (depending upon size) cloves of garlic
4 oz can sliced mushrooms (optional)
3/4 cups of nutritional yeast flakes
3TBS gluten-free tamari
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
You could also use fresh mushrooms --- but using canned really saves a lot time washing and preparing the mushrooms -- I like these from Costco
After I wrote my last post, someone emailed me a link to a professional looking website that meticulously laid out a very contrary perspective regarding Donald Watson and his motivations for helping to start the vegan movement. Though the author of that site does not disclose who they are, they went to a lot of trouble to weave together evidence obviously intended to mislead people about the fact that Donald Watson was primarily motivated by wanting to avoid exploiting animals-- while stating that Watson was really most concerned with food and diet.
But then on a different page of the site, as part of the evidence they present there trying to discredit something else, they post an image of the very first vegan newsletter that Donald Watson authored. Though the image they show of the newsletter, does not allow you to read past the first few paragraphs, the actual document -- posted online and by a credible vegan organization does make the entire newsletter readable -- and here, in the fourth paragraph is the source of Watson's famous quote: "We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals..." Making it clear that for Watson, veganism is not just about food and health but foremost IS a moral and spiritual practice -- intended to evolve humanity away from exploitation. Here are screen shots of that entire page:
l A wise former cattle-rancher (now vegan) that I very much look up to, once advised me, "Never get in a pissing match with a skunk." So for that reason I am not going to link to the nefarious revisionist website. But do be on the lookout -- who-ever did this, appears to be very motivated to undermine veganism by presenting a false narrative, and appears to have ample resources to promote it widely.
But I AM going to do my part to raise awareness of the real facts and I hope that all those who care about creating a more just world, and ending exploitation of other beings will join me and do what they can to help more people know who Donald Watson REALLY was and what he really cared about AND why the word vegan was created -- to NORMALIZE in our culture non-exploitation/non-violence.
Is Veganism a Spiritual Path?
Do you know how the vegan
For those who coined the word in 1944 and those who joined these revolutionaries long before most of the world had ever heard the word, “vegan,” veganism embodied the broad themes that universally underlie the major world religions.
Fundamentally, veganism was and is about self-growth on a path that seeks justice and gives guidance as to how to live a good life. In this way, veganism connects us with something larger than ourselves.
However, unlike religions and atheism, veganism does not require one to believe in a deity – nor does it preclude one from doing so. You can be deeply religious, agnostic or atheist and also be a dedicated vegan. And...
Honoring the Vegangels in my life
Are YOU a vegangel?
The idea for this post came from my reflecting upon the many people In my life, who though not vegan themselves, have made important contributions to my work over the years. They are friends, family members and sometimes just acquaintances who on some level, appear to recognize the value of the ideas and facts vegans seek to disseminate. For the sake of this post, I am designating them, "Vegangels." But there are two also important criteria that define them: First, they do not appear to have a need to settle the cognitive dissonance of their recognition of veganism’s importance, with the fact that they are not vegan, by discrediting veganism. Second, they appear to derive some personal satisfaction from facilitating the planting of seeds that may germinate into veganism
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