Thursday, 29 November 2007

So, last friday night and the car was full of goodies and food for the weekend I was running. Matthew offered to take everything down for me. It had been a cold day and the snow was thick. Here we have snow ploughs clearing the roads but no gritters like in England when it snows so sometimes there is just a layer of ice left on the roads. We have snow tyres so usually it is no problem. Not this night! I got a call a few minutes after Matthew had left starting with those lovely words..'Don't worry love but...'

He was going 20 miles per hour over the top of a hill and lost control. He knew there was nothing he could do so lifted his legs off the brakes and up towards his body so as to avoid injury and waited for the inevitable! He went down a ditch and through a fence, just missing a tree!

Fortunately he was fine and walked home. We called for assistance and got the car back onto the road. Our car is a bit worse for wear but let me tell you about our car...

She is called Bente. We always name our cars for some reason. This one is called Bente as it is a Norwegain name and when we bought her we didn't have much money so just wanted something to get us through the first winter. She was ideal and had had a active life, you could tell by the dents in her bodywork - so 'Bente' was a good name. Well 3 years later she is still with us and now has another huge dent in her old body! You can see Bente on the picture - that's our place.

Matthew's mum, Marilyn is having a great time with the children and has adapted well to the vegan house! She has not asked for anything and has even read my 'Peaceful Palate' cookery book!


Sunday, 25 November 2007

Healthy and happy...and tired...

Well the weekend has been fantastic. Two great days of peace and tranquility. I feel part of a community today and realised how much I missed that. I am lucky that the people here are accomodating enough to speak to me in English as although I pick up a lot of the spoken Norwegian now I still sound ridiculous trying to talk. I hope it wil change in the future but I find it truly difficult. I began learning italian before we moved over here and that seemed a breeze but Norwegian is all about how you say things and I can believe I am pronouncing things perfectly but no-one understands me at all! Anyway, that's a different subject altogether! My mind is tired but a happy tired. I am not a spiritual person but yoga has a way of transcending time and place whether you are spiritual or not and this weekend has refocused me.

So, you are asking, did I raise the vegan issue? The answer is this.. barely. I believe it is enough for people to know about my personal choices and they can take it from there. Sow a seed and who knows what will grow....some people might even stop by and read the blog once in a while...

Matthew's mom arrives on tuesday for a visit so we are looking forward to seeing her and the children will be pampered non-stop! My mom in the meantime is trying to buy us a tumble dryer so the kids don't get damaged by the damp washing we hang on the clothes horse...."if it's not one thing, it's your mother" (Peter Kay quote).

Just realised I didn't tell you about the car and the time!

Peacefully yours...

Friday, 23 November 2007

Weekend & weaning

First I would just like to comment on this picture. I wrote the blog entry below and knowing how difficult it is to read the first few lines I thought I'd add another pic. I went onto flicker creative commons and looked up baby bottle (can't remember the exact words but something like that) and this came up near the top. It made me quite emotional.

Anyway, must go as Matthew has just slid off the icy road and our car is now in a ditch... more on that next time, here's the blog entry!....

So I have just finished my preparations for my yoga and health weekend which starts tomorrow morning. I am really looking forward to a whole weekend of yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation, posture focus, discussion and good company. Although I am teaching it feels like time out for me in a way, considering most of my time is spent looking after two very young children!

I have taken the decision recently to partially wean Miller to make it easier for me to get out and do a few more things now. I have researched the issue and know most would recommend as a vegan wanting to raise vegan children that I should continue nursing for at least a full year but it is difficult. I teach in the evenings and Matthew was struggling to give Miller a bottle so I opted to express and combine bottle and nursing. However, that's not as easy as it sounds and my supply has dimished somewhat. So we are on a mixture of nursing and formula (I cannot get dairy free formula so I think Miller will have to have this until he is at least one.) I have to have a weekend away from home soon too so at least I feel comfortable knowing Miller is happy with a bottle and with Daddy putting him to bed sometimes (they get some special feeding time together too which is a plus).

Matthew is helping me cook a vegan lunch for the weekend tomorrow. He is making paella and he's pretty good at playing chef so I'm glad to have him onboard! I have made a carrot cake, some chocolate flapjacks and some of the mushroom and almond pate which I made for the first time just a few weeks ago and now love more than anything. I have bought a selection of breads and fruits too. I think..or at least I hope the group will be in for a pleasant surprise.

And so to bed to get some rest!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Yoga and Veganism

My lifestyle has changed over the years as I became more self aware as a person. Turning vegetarian seemed natural and vegan even more so. Living a peaceful lifestyle is very important to me and my family. I have practised yoga since my teenage years and qualified so that I could spread the word. One thing led to another and now Miller and I have a weekly vlog called 'Yoga Baby'. We aim to get mothers and their little rascals doing yoga for a variety of reasons. Mainly to have a great time whilst getting back in shape after childbirth but of course yoga is a lot more than that. Not least it promotes a healthy and non destructive lifestyle. Moving into stillness gives time for reflection and promotes positive thinking. I run yoga classes here and hope I present myself as someone who makes compassionate choices. I have no vegetarians or vegans as students yet try and make it known that I have made that choice and maybe raise some discussion. I believe yoga and a non animal diet co-exist beautifully together and would encourage anyone, new mom or not to give it a try!

If you are interested or if you know a new mom who would like to see the show, you can go to our site or subscribe through or itunes (we have a group 'Yoga Baby' on facebook too - the show is a free weekly series, demonstrating new poses and breathing techniques - sometimes it runs smoothly, sometimes Miller has other ideas!

I guess I like to think people can be flexible with their life choices...

Vitamin D drops for babies

Another short, succinct post as I just dropped by the site to tweak a few things and plan to write a more informative blog entry tonight when the little ones are snoozing but wanted to share this gem before I forgot it! I ran out of vitamin d drops for Miller a few days ago and it's essential for us - remember also we live in near darkness up here in the winter so can't get vitamin d from the sunshine! I asked Matthew to call at the pharmacy in Tromsø. They didn't have any and the assistant suggested cod liver oil as that particular brand had vitamin d in. Matthew said we were vegan and was told. 'Well, your baby won't get any vitamin d then, will it!' Matthew later said he wondered why some people chose their professions! We got it later from the local pharmacy who had plenty in stock and served us with a smile instead of condemnation.
Peacfully yours,

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Meat, fish or birds

Just a little something I spotted in the local supermarket. 3 chopping boards for the kitchen, each a different colour. I will translate from the Norwegian...

Different colours for good kitchen hygiene:
Blue for fish and seafood
Red for meat
Yellow for birds

Maybe people here don't eat vegetables.

Have a good weekend x

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


Pigs and Piglets: Bacon and crackling

Today I'd like to share a report I have been reading...

Access Farm Sanctuary Research Report,
The Welfare of Sows in Gestation Crates:

For more info go to

Modern breeding sows are treated like piglet-making machines. Living a continuous cycle of impregnation and birth, each sow has more than 20 piglets per year. After being impregnated, the sows are confined in gestation crates — small metal pens just two feet wide that prevent sows from turning around or even lying down comfortably. At the end of their four-month pregnancies, they are transferred to similarly cramped farrowing crates to give birth. With barely enough room to stand up and lie down and no straw or other type of bedding to speak of, many suffer from sores on their shoulders and knees. When asked about this, one pork industry representative wrote, "...straw is very expensive and there certainly would not be a supply of straw in the country to supply all the farrowing pens in the U.S."

Numerous research studies conducted over the last 25 years have pointed to physical and psychological maladies experienced by sows in confinement. The unnatural flooring and lack of exercise causes obesity and crippling leg disorders, while the deprived environment produces neurotic coping behaviors such as repetitive bar biting and sham chewing (chewing nothing).

After the sows give birth and nurse their young for two to three weeks, the piglets are taken away to be fattened, and the sows are re-impregnated. An article in Successful Farming explains, "Any sow that is not gestating, lactating or within seven days post weaning is non-active," and hog factories strive to keep their sows '100 % active' in order to maximize profits. When the sow is no longer deemed a productive breeder, she is sent to slaughter.

The overcrowding and confinement is unnatural and stress-producing since pigs are actually very clean animals. If they are given sufficient space, pigs are careful not to soil the areas where they sleep or eat. But in factory farms, they are forced to live in their own feces, urine, vomit and even amid the corpses of other pigs.

In addition to overcrowded housing, sows and pigs also endure extreme crowding in transportation, resulting in rampant suffering and deaths. As one hog industry expert writes:

Death losses during transport are too high — amounting to more than $8 million per year. But it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out why we load as many hogs on a truck as we do. It's cheaper. So it becomes a moral issue. Is it right to overload a truck and save $.25 per head in the process, while the overcrowding contributes to the deaths of 80,000 hogs each year?

Prior to being hung upside down by their back legs and bled to death at the slaughterhouse, pigs are supposed to be 'stunned' and rendered unconscious, in accordance with the federal Humane Slaughter Act. However, stunning at slaughterhouses is terribly imprecise, and often conscious animals are hung upside down, kicking and struggling, while a slaughterhouse worker tries to 'stick' them in the neck with a knife. If the worker is unsuccessful, the pig will be carried to the next station on the slaughterhouse assembly line — the scalding tank — where he/she will be boiled, alive and fully conscious.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Where we live

We live in a village about an hour and a half south of Tromsø, the highest University town in the world. It's way above the Arctic Circle and a unique place to live! It's a stunnignly beautiful and quiet plave to raise our family and we do love most things about it, however difficult being a vegan here may be. We have the snow now and yesterday the temperature was minus 7 so I guess winter is here to stay. Heidi was in kindergarten yesterday and I needed to take a trip into Tromsø to go costume hunting for a tv trailer we are filming so we took Miller with us, all wrapped up and happy for a day out. The trip was really successful however my pockets came back empty. I decided to call at a health shop, there are two chains of health food shops in the town and prices are high. I came home with two small bags and mins 500 kroner which is around 100 usd! Ouch! So now my cupboards have some useful extras (including rice chips, vegan cookies, vitamin b12, soya milk in plain and strawberry, soy yogurts, infant cereal, marinated tofu...yes I know it's lazy but I sometimes have a busy day and it's nice to go for an easy option!...and that was about as far as my money went!) I basically bought one (yes just one, that's how much things are) of everything they sold that was vegan friendly, the selection isn't very big and I am disappointed that the stores also sell non vegetarian products right alongside the others eg leather shoes and would you believe baby food with calf meat in - yes I have emailed a complaint to the head office.

I know it is best to work with whole foods and I do enjoy my new found cookery skills but sometimes it's nice to cheat a little!

Have a positive weekend!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

My response

Firstly, apologies for the banner obscuring the words at the start of a new blog post, will try and sort that out soon!

Short and sweet today! In response to my phone conversation (see below) I sent my mom two emails. The first was a report from The Vegan, an indepth study of a vegan lifestyle for infants and toddlers, examining all aspects of the diet. The second was a blog by Collen Patrick-Goudreau (if you don't read her work or listen to her podcasts, you're missing out - - this particular blog was entitled 'Maternal Instincts' and moves me so much I hope it sparks some recognition in my mom too. I included a note from me that said 'some research for you if you want to read it, you don't have to' and then I don't feel like I'm forcing a negative dialogue.
Both children and Matthew have a cold today (no, I don't think it's due to veganism!) so at home with the chores today however it's nice to be able to check emails and post entries whilst at home now!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Conversation with Mom

I knew the conversation was coming and yet still wasn't fully prepared for it. As a new vegan, I had all my arguments ready yet my family seemed fairly quiet. Time passed and I sort of forgot about the lack of opposition. So today I am in the middle of a normal conversation with mom when we start to discuss our visit to the UK after Christmas. I will happily relay the conversation as I'm sure my mom will agree that she is guilty of asking questions she knows will upset me a little but she still asks them. We started by mom asking what food she needs to get in for the family when we visit. So, we are two adults, a two year old and our youngest will be 9 months. So I suggest (bear in mind it is just early November now and we are visiting end of december but mom is thoughtful and plans ahead) fortified soya milk, dairy free margarine, vegan substitutes eg veggie mince, pasta, beans, lentils etc. Hmm, a bit much, will send it on an email later, mom. So the kids need their own rooms now, I am still nursing but Miller sleeps better in his own space and just wakes once now in the night. Anyway, back to the diet… Are you sure it is a good thing for such young children to be on a strict diet? Yes, I am sure, I've done the research. So what don't you eat exactly? Well, animals or animal products. Umm. Well, that's meat, eggs, cheese, milk… Oh, it's quite restrictive then? Not really, you'll be surprised. We can eat cereal and soya milk, toast, pasta, casseroles, rice, soups…I'll even make you a vegan chocolate cake when we come. Are the children getting all they need? Yes, I think they are healthier than before. Heidi used to eat crisps as a snack, now she has almonds, hazelnuts and grapes. She used to eat heaps of cheese on toast, eggy bread and drink cups of milk and not much else. Now she eats veggie soups, casseroles, paella, basically all the healthy stuff she wouldn't eat before. She also has a supplement as a safe guard. Are you sure it's healthy. Yes, I've been researching it well. I think we have a better diet than meat eaters, meat eating has been related to many conditions including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and other things. We get all the protein we need from lentils, tofu… But what about calcium? Um, we have calcium fortified soya milk and you can get calcium from the veggies we eat. Where's your research from? I bought a vegan nutrition book, it tells me all we need to know. It's written by doctors. Um, are they vegan doctors? (Not sure about this one!) Um, not sure mom, think so. Have you read research by non-vegan doctor? At this point I was interrupted by my son getting into mischief – Miller is at pulling to standing stage and can easily get into sticky situations! So, have to go mom, not to do with the vegan stuff, just need to go….

Needless to say I left the conversation feeling a bit deflated. Shame as it had started with Heidi first talking with my dad and calling him 'Gramps' which she has had some difficulty saying and then singing songs to my mom. I did add late in the conversation that I hoped my mom knew I would not do anything other than give my children the best things they needed… I guess a lot of vegans can relate to this.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Annual Japanese Dolphin Catch

You may have heard the recent outrage regarding the Japanese dolphin hunts. Fisherman in Japan slaughter thousands of dolphins to be used in pet food. The hunts this year received added attention as protestors were involved in violent clashes with the fishermen.

Why is it considered such an outrage to murder Dolphins but perfectly acceptable to murder cows? Why this double standard? Well, aren’t dolphins intelligent? Yes they are. So are pigs. But Dolphins are friendly. So are lambs. Yes, but Dolphins are cute. So are 6 week old veal calves. But Dolphins live as a social group. So do other animals we abuse, given the chance. Ah but Dolphins care for their young. As do chickens, pigs, sheep, cows and ducks. Or is it just that it is not in our western culture to eat Dolphins. Or cats. Or dogs. Does that make it wrong? Or does it make all animal eating wrong. Surely if one is wrong then so is the other?

I recently saw a t-shirt which I considered purchasing. It had a picture of a plate with knife and fork. In the middle of the plate was a live dog. I cannot remember the slogan but it was along the lines of ‘why not, you eat other animals’.

I would hesitate as a meat eater before condemning other cultures for their animal slaughter. Look closer to home.

Of course it is not right to murder dolphins. 23 000 dolphins and porpoises each year are murdered in Japan. The sea turns red with blood. The killing must stop. IT MUST STOP. So must the murder of helpless, frightened animals which end up on the plates of people who would be as upset as me at the terrible fate of the dolphins.

Please. Please see that all animals have the right not to be murdered.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Cancer Link

Yesterday I saw a news report which highlighted a new report linking meat eating and cancer. Today I have been perusing the news sites and have found some interesting points which I'd like to share.

On the sky news website if you type 'red meat' in the search box, the first thing that comes up today is

1. Red Meat Linked To Breast Cancer

Eating small amounts of red meat every day can increase a womans risk of breast cancer, according to a study.

Number five..

5. Sausages And Burgers Could Cause Cancer

A food watchdog has called a meeting with manufacturers because an additive used in some sausages and burgers is feared to cause cancer.

Number seven..

7. Cancer Scare For Bacon Butty Lovers

Bacon butty lovers are being warned that eating five of their favourite snacks each week could cause cancer. The bacon research followed the diets of 135,000 adults.

Typing in cancer brings this up first..

1. Third Of Cancers Are Caused By Lifestyle

Up to a third of cancers could be caused by the victims lifestyle, according to researchers. (My note - this study highlights red meat, alcohol and smoking)

On to Google. Typing in 'cancer' brings this up first...

Poor diet ratchets up cancer risk
Excess fat can cause up to a third of all cases, study says, putting lifestyle choices on par with quitting smoking


From Thursday's Globe and Mail

November 1, 2007 at 4:15 AM EDT

The most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the association between cancer and obesity concludes that excess body fat triggers many types of the disease, as does the consumption of even moderate amounts of alcohol, red meats and processed meats.


A Harvard Medical School study has discovered a link between red meat consumption and breast cancer.

The researchers found that women who consumed more than one serving of red meat per day almost doubled their risk of developing some types of breast cancer, compared to those who ate fewer than three servings a week.

The epidemiological study assessed the diets of more than 90,000 pre-menopausal women in their 20s, 30s and 40s over 12 years.

The findings come after years of advertising promoting the health benefits of red meat and telling Australian women, in particular, to eat more iron-rich lamb and beef.

It seems that the meat industry can no longer promote red meat as being good for you. I wonder how long this will take to filter down into the general population. Not that long methinks. My parents, once daily meat eaters are aware that too much meat is bad for them. Now vegetarian pasta replaces mince hot pots. However, they still cling to processed ham on sandwiches and 'good' cuts of beef etc. So why instead of suggesting people 'limit' their meat consumption, don't the governments around the world suggest cutting out the meat? Surely advocating a vegetarian lifestyle would cause less heath problems, mainly diabetes, obesity and certain cancers? A vegetarian diet has been proven to improve health dramatically, for more information, please visit where you can see the results of long term studies conducted on vegetarians and vegans.

Visit Yoga
blog template by : header image by Vlad Studio