Thursday, 2 October 2008

SHOUT VEGAN!

Thank you for visiting the site and following my progress as a new vegan mother. As it has now been over a year since I became a new vegan I don't feel so new at it, in fact, I feel I have learnt so much I need a bigger place to shout about it and have therefore built a new site which I would love you to visit.

www.shoutvegan.com

This is more of a magazine than a blog and is still in its early stages. If you have something you feel you could contribute please let me know, otherwise I hope you come and visit me there instead of here.

And if you found this site as you are on a similar journey then please look back at the posts over the year.

I often sound negative about the difficulties faced as a vegan but I would not have my life any other way and feel so rewarded by the choice to not exploit or harm animals in my life. I hope this is something you now or soon will experience as it is a wonderful way to live. Miller and Heidi continue to be happy, healthy and somewhat silly children who love animals and would never knowingly eat them.

I also hope the new site will give more chance for discussion and maybe even a place to make more new and supportive friends,

Love,


Jill xxx

PS The new site, Shout Vegan, is named for exactly that reason, sometimes I feel I should apologise for being vegan, then I realised that was just ridiculous, I should shout about it x

PPS Do I ever shut up? But if you want to follow the yoga, then visit my other sites:
www.yogababy.tv
www.yogababy.ning.com

And keep up with our artistic efforts at...
www.barklive.com

Bye x

Friday, 26 September 2008

Vegan Wine



So I am back from my training course in Brighton and it was so nice to be soemwhere that vegan food is widely available. Of course you need to know where to go but that doesn't take long to find out. Waitrose was handy for a quick hummus, carrot and salad sandwich, the Sanctuary cafe beautiful for home made vegan soups and salads and the selection of thai restaurants with so much choice of vegan, especially tofu dishes was lovely. Paskins Town House where I stayed was a delight and possibly make the best vegan breakfasts going...but enough of that! Today I want to talk about something else....Wine!

I never stopped to think about what was in the wine I drink. Usually I think carefully about everything, especially the food I eat as so many animal parts turn up in the least expected things and clothes and shoes need to be checked out thoroughly for animal skins etc but wine, well, wine is just grapes isn't it?

NO!!!

I watched a documentary about what was in wine and I must say I was and still am horrified! Not only at the amount of sugar and additives I have been gulping down but also how un-vegan most alcohol is. I have, until yesterday, been drinking Guinness twice a week as I discovered last year that it was an easier cure for my low iron than using iron tablets (and no, the low iron isn't because I don't eat steak as my mother and grandmother, huge meat consumers, both have this too) yet now I have learnt that stout is fined using fish bladders. Yum. So, no more Guinness for me. Well, at least I can enjoy a glass of wine. Um. No, actually. Most wines too are fined using fish bladders, or if not, using egg whites. Some wines even contain traces of milk. Put you off? Yes, did me too. So what do we vegans do? I have looked around and found a few sites which list vegan wines, usually listed by which Supermarket you can get them. It doesn't help me so much seeing as here in Norway you can only buy wine from the government wine store and they have only a limited selection of which I have no idea if they will contain traces of animal parts and secretions or not. I did send them an email two days ago but no reply as of yet and I am not hopeful of any reply at all (that's how some things work here). So if you know of a truly informative website which lists many vegan wines please let me know and I can email the goverment store and request them.
Of course, I could go teetotal and cut out all alcohol (some vodkas and other spirits also use animal parts in the processing by the way) but I don't really want to.... but I won't make animals suffer for my wants so we will have to see...!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Today's post is one where I share some information I have found which I feel is really valuable to the vegan/vegetarian cause. The below excerpt is from this months Time magazine. The article is called 'Skip the Steak'. In doing so you can save the lives of animals who suffer on a daily basis. You know what you should do. Just do it.

Skip the Steak

By Bryan Walsh

Which is responsible for more global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac? Believe it or not, it's the burger. The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions—even more than transportation—according to a report last year from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Much of that comes from the nitrous oxide in manure and the methane that is, as the New York Times delicately put it, "the natural result of bovine digestion." Methane has a warming effect that is 23 times as great as that of carbon, while nitrous oxide is 296 times as great.

There are 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo on the planet, along with 1.7 billion sheep and goats. Their populations are rising fast, especially in the developing world. Global meat production is expected to double between 2001 and 2050. Given the amount of energy consumed raising, shipping and selling livestock, a 16-oz.T-bone is like a Hummer on a plate.

If you switch to vegetarianism, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to research by the University of Chicago. Trading a standard car for a hybrid cuts only about one ton—and isn't as tasty.




And here is the Guardian's view


UN says eat less meat to curb global warming
· Climate expert urges radical shift in diet
· Industry unfairly targeted - farmers

* Juliette Jowit, environment editor
* The Observer,
* Sunday September 7 2008
* Article history

A joint of beef

A joint of beef. Photograph/Alamy

People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change, the world's leading authority on global warming has told The Observer

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.

His comments are the most controversial advice yet provided by the panel on how individuals can help tackle global warning.

Pachauri, who was re-elected the panel's chairman for a second six-year term last week, said diet change was important because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems - including habitat destruction - associated with rearing cattle and other animals. It was relatively easy to change eating habits compared to changing means of transport, he said.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are generated during the production of animal feeds, for example, while ruminants, particularly cows, emit methane, which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide. The agency has also warned that meat consumption is set to double by the middle of the century.

'In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,' said Pachauri. 'Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there,' said the Indian economist, who is a vegetarian.

However, he also stressed other changes in lifestyle would help to combat climate change. 'That's what I want to emphasise: we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy.'

Pachauri can expect some vociferous responses from the food industry to his advice, though last night he was given unexpected support by Masterchef presenter and restaurateur John Torode, who is about to publish a new book, John Torode's Beef. 'I have a little bit and enjoy it,' said Torode. 'Too much for any person becomes gluttony. But there's a bigger issue here: where [the meat] comes from. If we all bought British and stopped buying imported food we'd save a huge amount of carbon emissions.'

Tomorrow, Pachauri will speak at an event hosted by animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming, which has calculated that if the average UK household halved meat consumption that would cut emissions more than if car use was cut in half.

The group has called for governments to lead campaigns to reduce meat consumption by 60 per cent by 2020. Campaigners have also pointed out the health benefits of eating less meat. The average person in the UK eats 50g of protein from meat a day, equivalent to a chicken breast and a lamb chop - a relatively low level for rich nations but 25-50 per cent more than World Heath Organisation guidelines.

Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientific adviser for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, who will also speak at tomorrow's event in London, said government could help educate people about the benefits of eating less meat, but it should not 'regulate'. 'Eating less meat would help, there's no question about that, but there are other things,' Watson said.

However, Chris Lamb, head of marketing for pig industry group BPEX, said the meat industry had been unfairly targeted and was working hard to find out which activities had the biggest environmental impact and reduce those. Some ideas were contradictory, he said - for example, one solution to emissions from livestock was to keep them indoors, but this would damage animal welfare. 'Climate change is a very young science and our view is there are a lot of simplistic solutions being proposed,' he said.

Last year a major report into the environmental impact of meat eating by the Food Climate Research Network at Surrey University claimed livestock generated 8 per cent of UK emissions - but eating some meat was good for the planet because some habitats benefited from grazing. It also said vegetarian diets that included lots of milk, butter and cheese would probably not noticeably reduce emissions because dairy cows are a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas released through flatulence.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Break out!


We had some visitors yesterday. As we were going about our daily activities at home, Matthew told me to have a look in the garden. Upon doing so I saw four cows wandering around, enjoying the grass! The had found a gap in the fence at the back of our house and thought they would take a little trip. As our garden has nothing that the cows could have done any damage too we left them to it. Heidi and Miller had a great time stood on the balcony mooing at them and the cows mooed back each time! They hung around for most of the morning and when I looked out in the afternoon they had gone. Not back to the field. Just gone. Maybe moved to a different field, maybe dead ready to go on someone's plate. I feel such affection for cows, even more so when I get in close contact. They are beautiful animals, such gorgeous eyes and lashes and such soft skin (much preferable when still attached to the cow). I took a video which I will post when I can figure out how to do it on my new camera! One of them was very curious about our old Volvo and kept circling around it giving it a good sniff, the others were out exploring and seemed to be having a jolly good time.
I notice cows everywhere. Maybe other people do not see what I see - well I know they don't! A few days ago I drove past a field where I saw one cow with such full udders. It looked so uncomfortable and the cow could hardly walk properly. It reminded me of when I began breastfeeding Miller and how sore I was when he missed a feed or when I woke in the morning if he had slept for longer than usual. I wanted to stop and get out of the car and do something but what do I do? Do I go in the field and try and milk the poor thing, what do I do? I did nothing and I felt so bad for my inability to act. Yet this is just one animal and this is an animal in what I would could a good situation (not that there is such a thing in truth), out grazing on grass for one thing unlike the majority of dairy cows who never see a field now....
I have to stop this blog post now, it's too upsetting...

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What about Protein!


What about it? What is the big obsession with protein? When I tell people I am vegan it is usually the first thing they say to me, followed by 'What about Calcium', usually followed by a disapproving glance or two.

I thought it would be useful to share with you foods which have a high protein value. If you are a vegan you can rest assured you are getting enough protein if you are eating a varied and healthy diet and if you are not vegan you can read this and put your minds at rest that we are not all going to waste away from protein deficiency. Infact although protein is essential to our diets, most people eat far too much which can interfere with our ability to absorb calcium. We only need protein to account for 1 of every 10 calories we consume. The average vegan male needs to be consuming around 55-70 grams each day and the average female around 45-60 grams. After each food I have listed how many grams of protein are in a typical serving.

Lentils (1 cup cooked - 18g), Soyamilk (1 cup - 7g), Brown Rice (5g), Jacket Potato (4g) Wholewheat bread (1 slice - 3g), Spinich (5g), Baked beans (12g) oatmeal (1 cup - 6g), Broccoli (4g), Peas (9g), Peanut Butter (8g), Tofu (11g), Bagel (9g), Spaghetti (8g), Almonds (4g), Cashews (5g), Soya Yogurt (6g), Sunflower seeds (6g), Black beans (1 cup - 15g), Soya beans (1 cup - 29g), Kidey Beans (1 cup cooked - 13g), Chickpeas (1 cup cooked - 12g)

So you can see that a vegan diet is not devoid of protein. If you are a vegan and still concerned just make sure you have some of the above list in you home ready to use. We usually make up a batch of hummus (chick pea dip) which we snack on regularly with pitta bread, tortilla chips or raw carrots. I also make up nut mixes to have as snacks (which Heidi, my 3 year old loves - almonds, cashews, walnuts (for omega 3) and dried fruits). If you make salads or breads, throw in some sunflower seeds and linseeds (for omega 3 also). Marinade some tofu in soy sauce and add to a veggie stir fry, add spinich to your favourite pasta recipe, have baked beans for breakfast on a saturday morning - maybe experiment making veggie sausages - I came up with some great ones last week made with cooked red lentils and soya pieces mixed with soy sauce and breadcrumbs. Just experiment!

Ok, that's today's post. It won't stop people asking the question but at least you have some facts at your disposal!





Cashews 1/4 cup 5 2.7
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 5 2.4
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 5 2.1
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 5 13.0
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 4 6.8
Potato 1 med.
(6 oz) 4 2.7

Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers' information.

The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text).

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Elephant Hunt


This morning I began work at the studio by researching the life of Jumbo the Elephant for an idea I have for a short film. As I was meandering around I went further into the history, wondering how Jumbo, the famous circus elephant, was captured. It seems his capture came as part of the ivory trade with his parents being killed and Jumbo being caught for export. I then had a look at the ivory trade and researched how elephants were hunted and killed. I thought, as many of you probably thought, that elephant hunting was now illegal and only practised by rogue hunters outside of the law. Um, it seems that is where I am mistaken as I found this website and have been gobsmacked for the last fifteen minutes reading articles on the site. I would really advise you visit the site and do whatever you feel needs to be done to change this horrific 'sport'.

http://www.safaribwana.com/HUNT/elephant07.htm

The site tells you how great it feels to bring down a beast (nice choice of word) the size of a London bus (not that hard with a big gun, should it really make you feel strong?). It is a challenge. Go enjoy yourself! If that's not for you, you can try murdering another animal of your choice, perhaps leaving cubs without a mother, just to make you feel nice.

This has made me angry and I apologise if this blog entry is not as in depth as it could be but now I need to go and do something about the absolute horrific nature of some individuals. I will today write my short film, not about Jumbo but about the injustices being carried out today towards living, breathing, intellegent animals who deserve people standing up for them.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Well, Summer seems to be over here in the Arctic, not that we really had one in the first place! The nights are getting darker now, we have said goodbye to the Midnight Sun until next year. I am just over the flu that has knocked me out for around two weeks and to top that off I had serious toothache resulting in my having to have one of my wisdom teeth out on Monday so now I hope that is the end to illness and pain for a while!

I plan to revert back to the plan of posting up some articles and research which I feel are important to the vegan cause so this will be my last personal post for a little while as I dig up some interesting facts about the meat and dairy industry!

Life as a vegan is so wonderful, I cannot express how it makes me feel other than saying it gives me immense strength to speak out, not just for the animals but for anything I believe is injust. I feel empowered and no longer just go along with general opinion just because I am afraid to be different.

I have taken the step to gain further yoga training and am due to take my first weeks intensive course in Brighton in the UK next month. I have reserved a room at a vegetarian hotel called Paskins, the children will come over with me and stay with family and Matthew is staying put with the dogs. This will enable me to further my plans for a yoga studio here in Northern Norway. Our Yoga baby web tv show is also flourishing with plans for the new show running smoothly too.

I have also been in contact with a society for the welfare of animals in Norway who are sending me some leaflets in norwegian that I can distribute here. It does not seem to push the idea of veganism but it is a start and they are heading in the right direction. After seeing a course advertised locally for 'learing how to put up electric fences to stop livestock escaping' I am even more determined to raise awareness of animal suffering here. It's a steep hill but I am feeling fit!

Wishing you all a pleasant day,
Jill x

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Summer Flu

I am taking a little time out as I have been ill with flu for 2 weeks! Good job I know how to make great vegan soups! Back soon x

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Latvia


What can I say about Riga other than GO! I think it takes its place at the top of my favourite cities list. I had rad so many conflicting reports about Latvia's capital and some do have some truth to them, for example, beware of paying more in some taxies than others, try and avoid the moronic groups of tourists all staring at the same thing at the same time etc but to be honest if you have any nounce (common sense) about you at all you will find your own way around, do some research about great places to go and you will probably like us, have a wonderful time here. The Musuem of occupation should be on your list even if just to be aware of what the people here have been through and of course you have to indulge in a little cafe culture too. The people we encountered were very freindly and helpful (contrary to what we had read), our hotel (The Nordic Bellevue) was a pure delight and Bjørk in concert at Riga Arena was really special.

In terms of being vegan in the city, well, really it wasn't a problem. I contacted the hotel by email in advance and explained we were vegan. We were given our own soya milk each morning and tratedby the chef to a mixture of vegan breakfasts including baked mixed beans and olive oil toast, fried mushroom, potatoes and broccoli which did sound odd fro breakfast but I really enjoyed it and fresh fruit salads. Out in the town we found a lovely pizza place called Il Patio where they were only too happy to make cheeseless pizzas, a japanese restaurant which I cannot recall the name of but it was opposite the hotel had a heap of vegan food on the menu. I sampled around 4 dishes there during our stay including potatoes in black bean sauce and vegetable singapore noodles and all were delicious. Where we could not find vegan dishes we simply asked the waiter and they spoke with the chef and prepared us something with no trouble at all. Indeed on our first night we arrived at 11pm. It was past 12 when we went in search of food having not had a vegan option on the flight. The 4 rooms restaurant in the main square happily made us a fresh vegetable pasta with olive oil and potato wedges with a salad. What more could you ask for?

So all in all this was a wonderful trip. We will certainly return. Next time we will take the children rather than leaving them at home with the folks. There is a beach resort near the town which we did not have time to get to but we will perhaps stay there on our return.

Now it is back to work and play!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Our neighbours


These adorable cows have been moved into the field opposite our house. Yesterday Heidi and Miller were playing in the paddling pool on our small balcony and were overjoyed to see the cows and spent the first ten minutes mooing at them from across the road. The cows are so friendly and come down to see what you are upto when you go to collect the post. I am not going to spend this post talking about what may or may not happen to them later, I guess I will leave that upto you. What I will say is that Heidi and Miller are becoming even fonder of animals.

The other day I was looking in a dog manual to see if I needed to take Paris, our black 11 year old Labrador to the vet about a sore she has on her leg and Miller was fascinated by the book which has pictures of all different dogs in it. It has since become his favourite thing ever (apart from potato & veggie cakes and dark chocolate rice crackers - much to my sofa's dismay!) he carries it around everywhere, cries if Heidi takes it off him and points at the dogs and says 'der'.

I also now have acquired some bumper stickers for our cars and I put one on my old beat up volve that says 'Love animals, don't eat them'. Matthew (my husband) says it makes me look like a drifter but frankly I don't care. I am feeling rebellious!

My parents arrive on Thursday so I must have a clean up soon, considering my mum once said I was the messiest person she knew! Oh well, you can't have everything! x

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Arctic Fox


This is an Arctic Fox. Isn't is just beautiful!

We took a trip to the Polar Zoo recently. Yes, as a rule I don't agree with Zoo's unless they are for conservation but this zoo is pretty good as zoo's go, the animals have so much natural space and a lot of attention. It is like being out walking in the mountains. What a gorgeous animal this is. I was hypnotized by it. The kids loved the trip which we took with Grandma after I had returned from the yoga holiday. Heidi in particular fell in love with the Reindeer.....which people eat as you know...
Miller loved the wolverine, which I had never seen before and is possibly one of the most amusing animals around, with the biggest claws I might add!


So just wanted to share these lovely pics, have a nice day x

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Animals in Norway

I was surprised last week to find out the area I live in is known for horse meat. Shocked and horrified...yet what is the difference between eating horse and eating lamb? There is no difference, it is just what we are culturally conditioned to. Eating horse is disgusting but so is eating any corpse of an animal, raised and killed in an oppressive and painful way. As the horse eating came as a shock to me I thought I would find out more about where I live and below are some extracts from the Norwegian Animal Welfare website. Even though these are just facts (no comment on the suffering of these creatures), they still to me make sad reading.


Fur farming

The Norwegian Fur Breeder´s Association organizes the approx. 600 fur farmers in the country. Norwegian farmers produce mainly fox and mink pelts. Saga Furs of Scandinavia does the international marketing of all Scandinavian fur. Oslo Fur Auctions is a main participant in the Norwegian fur trade.

Farm animals

Norway produces eggs, chicken and turkey for own consumption. Usual high intensive breeds are used. Battery hens is the usual production system in egg production. The Centre for Poultry Research aims at serving the poultry industry.


Geno is the Norwegian association for breeding and keeping of cattle. Geno´s cow breed, NRF, is genetically composed to serve a combined dairy and meat production.

Fish farming, fishing and marine mammals

Norway hunts both seal and whale. The Ministry of Fisheries provides information about marine mammals. In March 2004 the Norwegian government presented a Report to the Storting on whaling and sealing (White paper to the Norwegian parliament) explaining Norway’s policy on marine mammals.
Farmed fish is Norway´s second biggest export product. Salmon is the most usual fish bred in captivity. Norwegian Seafood Federation publish facts and figures about fish farming.

Wildlife

Angling and hunting is popular in Norway. This includes small game hunting, big game hunting, as well as freshwater and seawater angling.

Statistics Norway provides plenty of statistics on hunting in Norway.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Vegan Outreach

Just a very quick post as I have just come across this site whilst looking for more ways to spread the message of veganism. You can download leaflets, posters etc and the site is full of ideas! I feel I have a lot to do!....

http://www.veganoutreach.org/

Monday, 23 June 2008

Meat and Misery!


Home from the yoga holiday and feeling healthy and revitalized. However I did suffer a vegan moment during one of the nights out. It came as most of the girls ordered mixed grills and a huge array of animal parts arrived at the table. I just could not bear to see so many hacked up animal corpses. Animals who did not deserve to die, animals who did not ask to be born just so they could be killed after a short life to end up on a dining table. I felt so sick and upset at the scene that I had to leave the table and sit away from the group whilst they ate. The rest of my night and the following day was spent wondering how my refusal to engage in an inhumane and cruel lifestyle was making any difference to the animals. I was looking at a small bowl of Parmesan cheese brought with my spaghetti napolitana (even though I had asked for no cheese) and thinking how a newborn calf had been killed for the rennet in its stomach to make this and then looked up and saw everyone else in the restaurant stuffing meat in their mouths. Are my choices making any difference at all when everyone else continues to eat corpses of defenseless beings, beings which experience pain, suffering and despair at our hand? I was so deflated but now I come home with renewed vigour to stand up for what is right. I feel I must do so much more to raise awareness of animal treatment, even if it means that some people will dislike me for it. I do not mean that I will start protesting outside the local slaughterhouse (yet), only that in future, when people say to me, 'Do you mind if I eat this infront of you', I will say 'Yes, I do mind but surely it is the animal you should apologize to, for it is the animal that has been killed because you did not feel like ordering vegetarian lasagne today'. Harsh. Yes, it is harsh but I feel I must live my truth. For years I tried to fit in, desperately in need of approval and acceptance. Maybe now I have realized my love of a compassionate life stands higher than that.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Cretan Night

Hi from Crete,
The yoga holiday is going wonderfully. Everyone is relaxed and refreshed and we still have two more days. I have taken a little break from the heat to check my emails and thought I would write a little update. Last night we went to a Cretan night and were supposed to be served traditional Cretan food. What the students got was a pork chop and potatoes, it not only looked disgusting (and a have a picture to prove it and will post it later) but I think it tasted pretty bad too. My vegan food (which I hoped would be really good) consisted of a bowl of vine leaves. After a complaint I was also given a bowl of deep fried courgette which was just awful! So far it has been hot and miss with the vegan food options. I have been able to buy soya milk and vegetable margerine, baked beans and salad. Apart from that it has been limiting. In the restaurants I have had both good and bad experiences. One night I had a traditional Cretan meal of beans, potatoes and carrot ina tomato sauce which was so good and another night a no cheese pizza which was also a delight. One meal I must recreate at home is stuffed tomatoes and green peppers (a rice and veg stuffing) as I loved it! The bad choices have come when I could find nothing to adapt on the menu and the chef has just thrown a bowl of fried veg at me with no effort to even make them taste nice! It has been a little tough to see the amount of meat being eaten in restaurants, especially if people say it isn't much good (poor animal, to be killed and chopped up and then criticized) but that's what happens when your awareness is raised. All I know is that it gives me more strength to spread the message of vegetarianism and veganism.
Til next time x

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Last minute running around!

Just getting my last things organized before we leave for the yoga holiday on Saturday. Grandma arrives tonight so the kids are going to have a real treat when they wake in the morning and find her here! The owner of the villa is kindly buying some essentials for me so I can have a cup of tea with soya milk! I am trying today to leave the websites in a good state in case I cannot update whilst I am away. I started a new social network for yoga and health which is picking up nicely - www.yogababy.ning.com but I really want some more members so if you or anyone else you know is interested in anything yoga related, please spread the word. Yoga Baby is going really well now, we have been in magazines and on the news so viewing figures are up! I will be filming a new show soon too so looking forward to that. It's all go here! Speaking of which, Mr Miller just woken from his morning nap so I'd best be off!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Helpful vegetarian & vegans!


I have had a great deal of support since turning vegan from many places and this is so encouraging. Although most people I encounter on a daily basis have no idea why someone would choose to be vegan, I found the internet is a wonderful place to meet people who do have a similar view on compassionate living.

Just the other day I was wondering how easy it would be for me to get soya milk and basic supplies whilst on a yoga holiday next week in Crete so I thought I would search google for vegetarian+Chania (the nearest town to where we stay) and 'The Green Terrace B&B' popped up. As I could find no other information in the time I had I sent them an email (not really expecting a reply as I am sure a b&b would be busy at this time of year and I am not a guest) but the next day I received such a nice email back, with details of where I could get supplies, complete with directions and some further information which may be really useful to me. So I would like to say thank you David and Kathy for your kindness. By the way the place looks beautiful so if you are ever thinking of a trip to Crete, drop them a line - their website is www.thegreenterrace.com.

So now it is less than a week until my students and I travel and my excitement is tinged with a little nervousness. I will miss the children and my husband desperately I know but at the same time am truly looking forward to catching up on some rest, practicing yoga twice daily and enjoying the Greek culture. I will try and post whilst I am away depending on the internet access where we are staying and am hoping to get some stunning yoga pics whilst there. This will be my first holiday as a vegan so as for my vegan experience....I will let you know!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Eating only Rabbit can kill you.


I watched an episode of a UK tv programme I like called 'QI'. It's a quiz show without really being a quiz show, based on peoples general ignorance! Here I found an odd piece of information but worthy of sharing. The topic which dominated the show was 'If you eat only Rabbit you will die'. This was taken as a huge joke at first until fully explained. Rabbit contains protein. Protein = good in most people's opinion. However, rabbit does not contain anything else the body needs, no fat which the body can use and no vitamins or other nutrients useful to survival. A diet of only rabbit can lead to starvation/death. The joke during the show was to make sure you eat Rabbit with peas and carrots. Rabbit meat actually also draws vitamins out of your body so I think you would be much better off not eating Rabbit at all. Not to mention how adorable Rabbits are, and lambs, and calve, and chicks, ducklings and piglets.....



I did find some research to back up these claims and as usual found lots of other things that really got my back up. Below is one of them. So dignified. Let them sniff life, then kill them, aren't we such a humane species....

If you have to buy meat, or if you'd like to earn some extra money, think about raising rabbits. Rabbits are popular because they have lots of babies that grow quickly into big rabbits that you can eat. One healthy doe, can produce five litters of six rabbits each year. That is about 30 kilograms of meat a year. The meat, when cooked, tastes like poultry meat: rabbit curry and chicken curry taste just the same.

When your buck and your does are living in clean, dry, safe hutches, you are ready to think about breeding your rabbits. To breed the doe, put her into the cage with the buck in the early morning or evening when it is cool. Watch her carefully to make sure she mates. It should take only two or three minutes. If she does not mate, you can try again later. After she has mated, put her back in her own cage.

Thirty one days after mating, her litter will be born. Three days before the baby rabbits are due, give the mother a nest box where she can give birth. Put a little soft, dry grass in the box and the mother will mix it with her own fur. The nest is also a warm, dry place for the young rabbits. There are usually 6 to 10 babies in a litter. The baby rabbits will not open their eyes for about two weeks. Do not touch any of the baby rabbits until they are 7 days old. If you touch them, you will change the way they smell, and the mother won't feed them. If you must touch them, rub your hands over the mother first. That way, you won't change the way the babies smell. The rabbits will be ready to eat in only four months. You can wean them at 2 months of age. When the baby rabbits are weaned, it's time to breed the doe again. Feed them for 2 more months and, when they weigh 2 kilos, they're big enough to eat.


(Info from farmradio.org)
(Rabbit image courtesy of Jeff Clow)

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Circus is in town



Hey everyone, the circus is in town!

Maybe I'll give it a miss. In case you've missed it, I live in Northern Norway. Circus Merano are Norway's touring circus. These are just a couple of creative commons pictures I found but if you want to look at Merano's website www.merano.no, you can find birds, dogs and goats as well as the elephant and horse, performing for the happy children.

I mention the fact that I live in Northern Norway for a good reason and that is because it is a long long way from anywhere else, including southern Norway. I have seen these circus trucks traveling and the conditions look none too comfortable. When we needed a car two years ago, Matthew drove to Trondheim, the next major city south from us to get a better deal. It took him 11 hours to drive it and that's only a little way down! I cannot think what these animals go through during these journeys. Yet I guess that's nothing compared to how they were trained to perform such wonderful crowd pleasing tricks.

I have always had a huge problem with circuses that exploit animals. Why can't a circus build a reputation on the clever things 'people' are capable of? Yet if people decided to boycott circuses that use animals, these companies would be forced to make a change. Yet the audiences still come. Those who would 'rather not think about it' keep this inhumane activity going and prolong the suffering of animals such as these. For those who say these animals are happy, they are not. Both you and I and everyone else knows it.

As I passed the poster for the circus the other day I was playing a CD in the car. It is Heidi's favourite CD and used to be one of my old albums entitled 'The Runaway Train'. Just as we passed the poster, 'Nellie the Elephant' came on the stereo and I sang it all the way through to Heidi's amusement. We listened to it 3 times with Heidi joining in as she learned the words.

Please let you children grow up knowing that animals deserve better.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Reindeer













Today Heidi, Miller and I took a trip to the next town below us, Bardufoss, whilst Matthew spent the day at the studio editing and uploading Yoga Baby (that's one good husband I have!) On our way we passed a family of Reindeer om the main road. I was able to stop and get a couple of pics so thought I would post them up. It also reminded me that people here, including my friends, eat Reindeer meat. I remember just before I left the UK seeing Reindeer meat listed as a delicacy in an upmarket (apparently) supermarket. It doesn't bear thinking about when you see a family of animals like this, doing no harm to humankind, just going about it's survival. What happens to the children in this family when its mother and father are caught and killed, or shot in the name of sport (hunting is a popular pastime still)? Does anyone even care. Well, they should. Heidi was thrilled to see these beautiful creatures and I would never ask her unknowingly to eat the flesh from one of them. How could I and be a caring and conscious individual? Not when our survival doesn't depend on it. I just hope the family I saw today and which brought such a moment of joy to us, will live a peaceful and natural full life.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My boots

Hi all,

I hope you are enjoying Summer. I cannot believe it is still snowing here. Yes, I know i live in the Arctic but this is late for snow even here. At last I am due some sun soon as I am leading a yoga holiday mid June to Greece, I'm excited but my first time away from the children so it will be hard too.

Last Saturday I had a rare opportunity to go out socializing which was very pleasant, beside a lot of drunk people falling around the place, I got to see a great band and met some Swedish people working on a contract up here. However during this night my vegan argument fell down a little! I had on a pair of suede knee high boots. I have had these boots for a number of years and when I turned vegan I toyed with ideas of what to do with them. After some thought (perhaps not enough) I decided to keep wearing them for now until I found a vegan pair I liked and could afford with the thought that I could not save the cow now and throwing them away did not gain anything for the animals. So, here I was, talking about veganism in a bar at 2am and the conversation moved to my boots. I explained my choice as I have above but it did not sound convincing, even to me. I felt like a fraud.

The outcome was that I came home, took the boots off and threw them in the rubbish pile. I now realize that it is hypocritical to talk of my compassion for animals whilst wearing their skin. I realise I may not have money to but vegan boots on the internet right now but at least I can make my choices whereas the cow being killed for its flesh and skin does not have any choices.


Just found this definition of Suede on Wikipedia as I wondered if it was just cow skin - here is the answer...
Suede leather is made from the under side of the skin, primarily lamb, although goat, pig, calf and deer are commonly used. Splits from thick hides of cow and deer are also sueded but due to the fiber nature have a shaggy nap. Because suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, suede is less durable but softer than standard ("full-grain") leather. Its softness, thinness, and pliability make it suitable for clothing and delicate uses; suede was originally used for women's gloves. Suede leather is also popular in upholstery, shoes, bags, and other accessories, and as a lining for other leather products. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and absorb liquids quickly.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Veal


Ok, by now you know my views on meat eating but if you cannot stop your habit immediately, how about letting one thing at time go. Let's start here.





Calves raised for veal are taken from their mothers immediately after birth and raised so as to deliberately induce borderline anemia. Calves are then denied basic needs, including access to their mother's milk, access to pasture and exercise and often prohibited from any movement at all in order to produce the pale-colored flesh for which veal is coveted.



Calves confined in veal crates, usually measuring 2-feet-wide, cannot turn around, stretch their limbs, or even lie down comfortably. Scientific research indicates that calves confined in crates experience "chronic stress" and require approximately five times more medication than calves living in more spacious conditions. It is not surprising, then, that veal is among the most likely meat to contain illegal drug residues, which pose a threat to human consumers. Researchers also report that veal calves exhibit abnormal coping behaviors associated with frustration including head tossing and shaking, kicking, scratching, and stereotypical chewing behavior. Confined calves experience leg and joint disorders and an impaired ability to walk.

Based on these finding and incredible outreach and advocacy by animal advocates, the American Veal Association has just passed a resolution calling for the veal industry to phase out the use of individual stalls. This is a good first step by the industry in recognizing the suffering that calves destined for the veal industry must endure. However, our work is far from over.
What You Can Do

1. Please don't buy veal, and educate others about this abuse.
2. Contact restaurants in your city and urge them to take veal off the menu. Ask them to sign a "no veal" pledge.
3. Contribute to Farm Sanctuary's campaign to end veal production.

Farm Sanctuary - East
P.O. Box 150
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
ph: 607-583-2225
fx: 607-583-2041 Farm Sanctuary - West
P.O. Box 1065
Orland, CA 95963
ph: 530-865-4617
fx: 530-865-4622

Thanks to Farm Sanctuary for the information.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Potato, lentil and baked bean cakes.


So this could be the oddest dinner I have made the kids in while but it turned out to be one of the best I had ever made! I wanted to share it because Miller and Heidi absolutely loved the outcome of this thrown together mess of leftovers. You could make it from fresh and I'm sure it would be even nicer! Apologies I don't ever measure - it's more fun that way!





Potato, Lentil and baked bean cakes:


Some cooked red lentils (I had made some earlier in the day and used a full cup of cooked lentils blended with half a roasted red pepper and some olive oil to make a sandwich spread which was pretty good too, need to play a bit more with this recipe!)
Mashed potato (or ready to go mashed potato mixture)
Flour (just to take the stickyness out of the mixture)
Couple of spoons of cooked baked beans
Optional herbs

Mix everything up (make sure lentils well drained). Add touch of water to mixture if needed to get a patty like consistency. If too much add a bit more flour or some breadcrumbs. Heat a frying pan, drizzle pan with olive oil, form the cakes into whatever shape you like - I was going to make mine into fishes with Heidi but her favourite show came on tv and I suddenly wasn't very interesting any more. Cook until crisp on each side, cool a bit, and serve, preferably with a salad if your children will entertain it, I am struggling with getting my two to eat salad but they are eating so well now I don't mind so much :-)

And there you have it. If you didn't tell anyone the ingredients I am sure you could pass these off as a posh dinner appitizer with some rocket and a chilli sauce dip - gorgeous!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Essentials


Just a very quick post today to share great site with you. It is called Vegan Essentials (www.veganessentials.com). After searching all the stores here to find a hand cream without animal parts in with no success I had a look on the web. I had ordered some vitamins from vegan essentials before so went there to have a look and the range of goods they have is brilliant. It even gives you currency conversion to your preferred currency and is super easy to navigate around. I ordered a bundle of stuff, hand cream, face cream, soap, deodorant, blah blah and I think my order can to around 15 us dollars. Not bad!

So, that's it for this post, apart from to say the cute picture is of Heidi and Miller taking yoga practice with me. Ended up more like wrestling but what the heck!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Benefits of being vegan

I realized on my way to the studio this morning that I may appear very negative with respect to writing about veganism, however I am in general a positive individual. I guess it is just that those things that seems unfair and cruel tend to stick in your mind the most and that is what drives the need to write a post about it. As I have said previously, being vegan is difficult at times as your awareness is raised as to what animals have to endure and what used to pass unnoticed now slaps you in the face. Yesterday for example I was almost sick in the petrol station paying for fuel as all I could smell was cooking bacon and it smelt so disgusting. For me, the image of burning dead flesh of a helpless, possibly tortured creature cannot be separated. Yet being vegan also brings with it an amazing quality of life. So today I want to talk about the positive aspects of being vegan. I did touch on this in one of my early posts, just after I had changed my lifestyle from pesco vegetarian (fish eating vegetarian) to vegan so now I thought I would make sense to talk about the benefits 8 months later. Everyone is different and I am not saying that these are benefits to everyone following a vegan diet, all I can say is that these effects are real to me and I would like to share them!

1. The psychological benefits: Knowing that I do not contribute to animal suffering makes me feel better about myself as a person. I do not eat the flesh of animal, chew their dead ribs, crunch on their skin, chew minced up body parts, spread smoothed out paste from animal organs on my sandwiches, drink milk intended for that particular animals babies which are taken away from them and usually killed, grate cheese that a small calf may have been killed for a part of its stomach, wear leather that has been skinned off a helpless animal, use cream that has parts of a murdered pig in it, eat eggs from a hen that might have had its eyes pecked out by its neighbour, trapped so close together they have gone mad.....I could go on but my point is that knowing I do not do this makes me feel more alive and part of a change in the world that will come.

2. The physical benefits: I have so much more energy since giving up dairy and my diet is so much more exciting. Before I stuck to the same meals, repeated over and over, now I am looking for new things, choosing new ingredients and experimenting and it is a lot more fun and I feel my body is getting more nutrients and I feel I am taking better care of myself. My skin is amazing, no blotches, no cellulite, no lumps of fat under the skin, a better skin colour and smoother skin in general. My breath is always fresh and doesn't smell of rotting food (sorry meat eaters but you do smell of meat a lot of the time). My figure has changed, not only did I drop a lot of weight in the first month but my shape has changed, admittedly I practice yoga regularly but have always done that so veganism must have made the difference...and it's a good difference. My nails are stronger and I have half moons at the bottom of the nail (I was always told that was a good sign you are getting enough calcium) where I never had them before, my hair is softer and shiner (I used to colour my hair but now it looks so healthy I no longer do it), my joints never feel stiff, I have fewer colds and I have less bags under my eyes even though Heidi still wakes me up at 6am most mornings!

I am sure I've missed some but I hope this list gives you some food for thought and if the psychological benefits don't get you, maybe you'd like some of the physical benefits! What's the harm in giving it a go for a month or even a week and see how you feel. What could you lose, apart from an ingrained untruth that meat eating is acceptable.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Ah...saturday

It's a beautiful Saturday morning here in our Arctic hideaway. Matthew has taken Heidi and the dogs down to the lake, then he is off to collect a paddling pool and sandpit I bought for the kids last week but couldn't fit into the car (the boot now refuses to open on our clapped out volvo) and I'm sure he will get a few odd glances carrying a paddling pool considering we are still surrounded by heaps of snow! My justification is that there were 2 in the shop and I spent all last Summer trying to find something suitable that I didn't have to build myself so I wasn't about to let it go!
So I am home with Miller who is sleeping now and the place is so peaceful. It's a shame I couldn't maintain my peaceful happiness for a longer time as all it took was a look out of the window to the neighbouring farm to remember it will soon be lambing time and I will have to listen to the sound of baby goats being murdered. I can't predict how I will react or what I will do. I have thought about filming what I see and hear and posting it on the net but I guess we'll just have to see. It's hard being vegan as so much of what other people consider normal is so unacceptable to me. Anyway, I must get back into enjoying this gorgeous sunny day. When Miller wakes up we shall tootle off down to the studio to film next weeks edition of 'Yoga Baby' which is picking up a lot of speed. We were featured on a Sky News report recently and will be featured in the next edition of Mamma magazine here in Norway. I hope having a raised profile will make it easier to get a vegan message out to people...one can but hope!
Enjoy your weekend and please let the animals enjoy theirs.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Please read the below article from Seattle Weekly and see if you agree with me when I say 'Jonathan Kauffman you are a disgrace to the human race and if anyone values your opinion then more fool them - you are an arrogant and cruel individual with blatant disregard for life'. Please if you are a meat eater, read this and think about whether this lifestyle is acceptable anymore because it is not. I have stopped saying 'I believe it is not'. It is just not.

Jill.



Baby Goats Taste Better

Whether served in a high-end tagine or $6 birria plate, goat is becoming Seattle’s other red meat.

By Jonathan Kauffman

September 12, 2007

Kevin P. Casey

El Paisano’s goat is adorable in a whole ’nother way.

Extra Info

Lola 2000 Fourth Ave., 441-1430, www.tomdouglas.com/lola. BELLTOWN. Open for breakfast/brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night daily.

Rosticeria y Cocina el Paisano 9615 15th Ave. S.W., 763-0368. WHITE CENTER. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

Kokiri 32703 Pacific Hwy. S., 253-838-4288, FEDERAL WAY. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

Right now, pork is the iPod of the food world, more of a social movement than a trend. Every culinary magazine and newspaper food section has been giving the pig serious love, and Seattle has seen whole-hog dinners and salumi one-upmanship among its chefs. These days it takes a brave restaurant snob to confess that she hasn't tried pig ear or rendered her own lard.

But sneaking up behind pork—not yet a fad, but more than an oddity—is goat. Many of Seattle's more adventurous chefs have been serving the meat.

"Ten years ago people wouldn't touch goat, but it's becoming more and more mainstream," says Brock Johnson, chef of Lola, which has been serving goat on the menu continuously since the restaurant opened in June 2004. "We just felt that it really fit Lola and what we do here. It's one of our most popular dishes."

A number of other restaurants feature the meat intermittently. "One of my cooks goes out and gets goats from a friend who has a small farm," says Matt Dillon, chef of Sitka & Spruce. "We make sausage [i.e., merguez and chorizo] and use the saddles and do roasts. I also love goat neck, and do a pasta with it."

Jeremy Ravetz, sous-chef at Lark, says, "Goat has a pretty low meat-to-bone yield [meaning a high proportion of waste], so we tend to use it for special dinners such as our Whole Beast Dinner." Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez of Harvest Vine prepares Basque-style roast kid, though he thinks the meat is at its prime only a few weeks of the year. Tamara Murphy, chef of Brasa, concurs. "When I want them is when they're babies—that's when they have the most delicious flavor," she says.

Goat may still be a screw-up-your-nose proposition for many white Americans, but worldwide it's consumed as widely as, if not more than, beef. Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Korea and Vietnam, Africa, southern Europe—all goat territory. And truth be told, most of the local restaurants where you can eat goat meat are non-Western.

But if you prefer to cook your own, and Pixie and Trixie aren't in the backyard, you'll have to search a bit. Goat meat is most popular with recent immigrants, so chichi markets like Whole Foods and PCC don't carry it. Asian grocery stores such as Ranch 99 and Mexican butchers like White Center's Carniceria El Paisano sell goat; however, the most reliable, widespread source is the dozens of markets around the area that cater to Muslims. Shahid Anis, owner of Pakistani-N-Indian Grocery, says that he sells about 15 whole goats a week—all halal, all locally sourced—as well as 30 pounds of frozen goat meat imported from New Zealand or Australia.

If you're searching for local, sustainably raised goat meat, Sea Breeze Farm on Vashon Island sells 30 to 40 kids a year—basically a sideline from its dairy-goat operation. And now's the time to buy: Since the farm's (caprine) kids are born in the spring, their meat is currently at its best. You can call the farm (567-GOAT) to pick up a live animal or buy prepackaged, fresh meat at the Sea Breeze stand in the Ballard, U District, West Seattle, and Vashon farmers markets.

I rarely skip over goat when I see it on the menu. Still, when people ask me how it tastes, I have to admit: either really good or really bad. Chef Dillon agrees, "The problem with goat is it goes from tender to tough quickly."

When it's good—you have to pick just the right goat at just the right age to roast it right, so in my experience, braised is far more consistent—goat is the perfect red meat: tender and lean (goat meat is not heavily marbled), with all of the richness of beef and none of its barnyard overtones, as well as a seductive whiff of lamblike muskiness. Able to take on strong flavors, this is a meat to pair with your biggest cab or Barolo. When the meat's bad—undercooked or too-quickly cooked—a piece of goat can take minutes to chew. At some places, it's hacked into fat-coated chunks studded with bone shards, so eating each piece requires as much concentration as jaywalking across Denny Way in the middle of rush hour.

But the payoff is often worth the gamble.

Right now, Lola's goat ($25) comes in a tagine, a flat-bottomed casserole with a tepee lid. As the lid is removed at your table, a wash of spiced steam rolls up from big chunks of meat, whose braising liquid has been reduced into a glossy brown sauce. Flanking the meat are a peach-half striped with grill marks and a pile of crinkly, dark-green mustard leaves. The goat meat teases apart into long, tender strands with a fork, and its rich flavor, accented with the Moroccan spices in the braise, pairs beautifully with the ripe fruit. The only problem: The sauce, which I'd typically sop up with bread, is oversalted, and salt saturates the greens, rendering them inedible. It's a botched flourish to a gorgeous hunk of meat.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Garlic and walnut spaghetti

Miller is ill today and because I didn't feel like bundling the kids up and out to go shopping I decided to see what I could make with what I had in and the result was a gorgeous and super speedy spaghetti. Heres the recipe and it did me and the two rascals:

1 clove garlic
teaspoon green pesto
3 mushrooms
small handful of broken up walnuts (great for your source of omega 3)
olive oil
spaghetti

Cook up some spaghetti. Heat some olive oil and lightly fry the garlic, pesto and mushrooms. Throw in the walnuts last and cook for a couple of minutes. Throw the pasta in the pan with the rest and add a touch more oil and some black pepper. Serve. If I'd have had a green salad to accompany the dish it would have been perfect but it was still pretty good!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Think like a chicken!

Very quick today, just wanted to tell you about a great site I found! It's called 'Thinking like a chicken: philosophical stories and essays about chickens". I especially liked the poetry. If you have a few minutes go and get lost in the site at...

http://www.upc-online.org/thinking/

Monday, 7 April 2008

Ready meals

Last night I watched a tv show about the success of ready meals. It was quite fascinating. I, like many others I imagine, had not given much thought to how a ready meal is put together. I do not eat ready meals now but in the UK I occasionally bought one of if I was in a hurry or couldn't be bothered to cook. You know the type of food I mean, you can find them in any supermarket, either refrigerated or frozen, perhaps rice on one side and a curry on the other. There are countless variations but the principles are the same.

The programme showed a successful factory which produced millions of these meals for big name supermarkets. Let me describe the scene. The staff in wellington boots, hair in a blue plastic net and blue plastic gloves. Huge tubes filled with ingredients, already cooked, the press of a button and a certain amount spits out the bottom into a tray. Next a bucket of hacked up chicken, a blue hand reaches in and pulls out the desired amount and it is thrown in another section of the tray. Next another tube full of a coloured sauce squirts down over the meat. Another hand squashes all the food down into the sections and the package is put on a conveyer belt to be vacuum packed. All very clinical and extremely unappetising!

What hit me most was the vats of meat. I cannot imagine how many carcasses made up those vats and buckets. Just lumps and lumps of flesh being thrown about by human hands with no regard for what that animal used to be, what it felt during it's probably short and uncomfortable life, what pain it experienced whilst being killed or whether the animals deserve to be slaughtered and hacked up just for a lazy human with no conscious thought about the processes involved to sit and shove a ready meal in his or her face. Am I angry. Yes, I'm angry. Each day I become more angry about meat eating.

I still get asked on a regular basis why I am a vegan and it is always the case people don't really want to know the answer. I started responding really politely saying it is a personal choice and that it feels the right thing to do for me but now I want to answer more strongly and tell people exactly why, down to the last detail, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them feel. I want to tell people exactly how much suffering animals go through just so they can eat a bacon sandwich, I want to tell them the pain of a cow suffering bout after bout of mastitis until she can no longer produce milk and is killed, I want to tell them how pigs are dropped into vats of boiling water, often still conscious so that their skin can be softened for them to eat, I want to tell them how chickens trapped in barns start to go insane and peck each other eyes out, I want to tell them that when fish are brought up from the depths their eyes often pop whilst they are still alive, I want to tell them that calves are slaughtered for an enzyme in their stomachs that makes cheese taste better, I want to tell them that when i watch them eat meat I feel sick thinking that they are eating the flesh of an animal which had no choices in life, was denied any pleasure of living, that was not allowed to form a bond with its parents, that was not allowed any emotional attachment, that was treated as a nothing, a thing lacking intellegance and therefore denied any basic rights. Am I emotional? Yes I am emotional and I am proud of that.

Til next time, please think about your choices.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Advert in the Co-op



Dinner anyone?

Advert for 'wild pig meat' on the noticeboard at the local Co-op food store here in Storsteinnes. Described as 'feast food'. I was so close to writing something on the poster or calling the number to ask if I could buy a pig but then I realized they were dead already.

How can people do this?

Saturday, 29 March 2008

But we were made to eat meat!

Hi, todays article is taken from www.learning how.com.au. I like to vary the places I look for information and this was a nice article I came across. Have a nice weekend x

Why Be a Vegetarian When Humans Were Meant to Eat Meat?


While many meat eaters make the argument that humans weren't made to live without meat in their diets, there is actually plenty of biological evidence to the contrary. Our bodies more closely resemble the physiology of herbivores than carnivores: our digestive system shows that our optimal food is plant matter, not meat.

While the human body is capable of digesting meat, eating meat long-term is known to cause many health problems. High cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis are all directly linked to eating meat. Although eating meat infrequently does not seem to significantly raise our risk for these maladies, the typical American diet contains so much meat that it effectively poisons our bodies. Were we designed to be meat eaters? The evidence suggests that we were not.

Why Be a Vegetarian? Why Wouldn't You Be One?


There are even more reasons to be vegetarian, but the most compelling reason is the one that resonates with you personally. Being a vegetarian means that you are removing your support from an industry that produces more waste than all other American industries combined. You are standing up in favor of a healthy life and healthy planet, and you are doing a good turn for animal rights. Being a vegetarian comes with many, many benefits for your physical, emotional, and financial well-being – and no detrimental effects to any of these.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Millers Birthday


Happy Easter!
I hope it is one that hasn't involved you eating animals and if you have, I hope you might consider making a change, trust me, it is worth it!

Friday was Millers first birthday and we spent it at a new indoor soft play area in Tromsø. We had a great day, Miller learned how to climb pretty high and went on some big slides with Mom, Dad and Heidi. We ate there for a birthday lunch, the kids had french fries and bread from the cafe and some extras we had taken along and after explaining our diet to the kitchen were made some salad baguettes and the vegetarian pate which I now rely on came out of my bag! It was a really great day. Here in Norway almost everything is closed over Easter as it is a BIG holiday here. Most things shut down on the Wednesday lunchtime and reopen again the following Tuesday so to have this place open on Good Friday was fabulous and we all returned home tired but happy!

As to my decision on the baby milk issue, I have started to introduce cows milk for Miller. It is not a decision I made lightly and I so wish there were other well tested options for us now but I don't know enough yet to risk him not getting all he needs so we will try this for the near future and then re-assess later. Thank you for your comments and I welcome more advice anytime!

Enjoy the rest of the holidays and here's a little something you might find worth a look x



If you are feeling like a change after Easter and are not already vegetarian or vegan, please take a look at the below from www.goveg.com. If you are already a compassionate eater, you can ask others you know.

Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days!

Whatever the reason, there's never been a better time to go vegetarian. Sign the pledge to explore a vegetarian diet for 30 days, and we'll send you an e-mail with our top tips on the best places to eat out, our favorite recipes, the tastiest animal-friendly snacks, and the most delicious pre-packaged vegetarian meals.

If you're already vegetarian, you can still help animals by becoming a "pledge recruiter." Click here to ask your friends and family to take the pledge to be veg!

"Chew on This"—in three minutes, learn 30 reasons to go vegetarian.

Here's the link - go take a look, after all, what harm can it do? (Jill)

http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/30_day_veg_pledge?qp_source=vegpledgegen

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Magic beans time again...!


Money money money!

Don't you just hate it!






So life is all good and well being a freelance arts educator until you reach a point where your money runs out! So now I am spending very little time wondering what food to choose in the store and more time wondering how the hell I am going to pay for it. It's a frustrating time at the moment as I am working every minute I can, either writing one of my two blogs (this one and my childrens novel www.snoredust.blogspot.com), presenting yogababy.tv each week, working on youth projects in the local area (eg www.handteater.com) , trying to build up our art studio (www.barklive.com), taking my exams to qualify as an Alexander technique teacher and looking after two small children. All of which I do not get any pay or funding for.

So what are my options when work possibilities don't pan out, like at this moment in time when a few projects have fallen through? I cannot take a part time job for low pay as that will not cover the nursery school fees needed for my children plus I already work every minute I have and refuse to sacrifice what I already do. The truth is that living in a foreign country is frustrating when it comes to seeking financial assistance. Not one artistic project I have applied for funding for has been accepted. See my handteater page (listed above). I tried to get support from every Norwegian grant agency but preference is given to Norwegians. I cannot get support from UK arts boards as I do not live in the UK. I have to date applied for over 10 seperate projects ranging from starting a theatre school in this rural area, to taking puppet productions to kindergardens, to running workshops on scriptwriting, publishing photography for local youth, making an exhibition of traditional art and taking 10 local children to a theatre performance in the next town. I forget the rest. Just so you know, I have a bachelor of arts as an arts educator with a spesialism in childrens and physical theatre, have a masters in scriptwriting and scriptediting for film and tv, an a trained actor, qualified yoga instructor and english teacher. How can I be in this situation?

There. That's my rant. I needed to get it out of my system and there it is. So lets see what I can add to this blog on a more positive note. Well, maybe it would be fitting to discuss living as a vegan on a budget!

VEGAN ON A BUDGET!

That means one thing to me... BEANS....! All varieties including magic ones are on my shopping list. it's a good thing we all love them. Here is my menu for the next goodness knows how long!

Jacket potato with kidney beans and chick peas in a chilli sauce
Baked beans on toast
Brown bean and lentil casserole with onions and potatoes
Bean and lentil soup
Bean and potato pie
Bean Burgers
Bean surprise (That's whatever I have in my cupboards, maybe the surprise is I have run out of beans)

Til next time!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Weaning


Hi! Todays blog entry is a little different because today I am asking for your advice. As the title of the blog tells you, I am a new vegan mom and that means I don't have answers to a lot of questions. Each day is a learning process for me and my family but this topic is one that has me well and truly confused! I have researched the issue and get conflicting refults so I thought maybe the best thing to do was ask you! I know I have non vegans and non vegetarians who regualrly read (and great to have you!) but I also know there are many experienced vegan mothers out there too who could help me with this one...and for the curious I hope you will read any comments that come back to help you too!

So, the topic is weaning. I did begin weaning Miller when he was 9 months old and at the time the advice I found said that he was too young to be put on soya or rice milk and that the only alternative to breast milk was standard formula. So, I began substituting one feed, the another, until I was only nursing him twice a day. I will add that my decision to wean was due to Miller beginning nursery twice a week and my work commitments, I am not a full time stay at home mom. However, when Miller had a stomach illness in the New Year, he would not tolerate food or formula and would only accept my milk so I began re-establishing breastfeeding and was lucky that I was able to do that. it took time and a lot of body contact between the two of us but my supply returned. I am now nursing full time again which is great but things may now need to change...

Firstly, Miller is at nursery twice a week and I find it difficult to express the same as he drinks, maybe I get one bottle where he would have two or three so I cannot store enough and soon my freezer supply will run out. Also I am taking the yoga girls on a yoga holiday for a week in June and the children will stay home with Matthew. So what are my options?

I have introduced soya milk and although Miller turns his nose up at it most of the time he will drink it occasionally. he does not like rice milk and they are the only two alternatives I have here. I could try him on formula again but last time I tried him he threw up. The research I did stated that as a vegan, it was best to breastfeed for minimum 2 years or use formula...it didn't say what to do if you can't do either of these things! I have never tried Miller with cow's milk and don't really want to, it makes me so sad. (See my entires on cows and dairy)

I have also read reports about too much soya milk being a concern...is there any truth to this?

I would really welcome your thoughts on this... At home with Heidi today making flapjacks and destroying the kitchen!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Cheese



So today I thought I would continue with bringing you interesting things I have found on the net. It seems to work well with the blog that I mix snippets from my daily life with things that I think you might like to read about. Today's theme is cheese. Cheese....hum, there was a time when if I had to choose one food I could not live without then this would be it. I was a huge fan of cheese, when I lived in the UK my favourite choices were mature cheddar, red leicester, bavarian, brie, camenbert, feta, mozzerella and don't mention philadelphia... I must have eaten cheese daily as a vegetarian (or as I thought I was), cheese sandwiches, cheese on toast, cheese on pizza, lasagne, sprinked on spaghetti bolognese, cheese and crackers, cheese flavoured crisps, cheese and onion, cheese slices, greek salad...and on moving to Norway of course Jarlsberg was added to the list of most purchased items.....well I think you get the point.

So, you might ask, what on earth is wrong with cheese? It's only cheese after all! So for all of you who want to know why I turned my back on all this deliciousness, see the below article. I will add that after I realized what was in a lot of cheese I started to research how milk was obtained, more on that later, and it just became the right thing to do for me personally.

I guess it is fair to say I had a cheese addiction. It is also fair too say that without cheese I feel a different person - a person living in a body with a lot less fat for starters (I used to have cellulite - not any more - could cheese be the main culprit? All I know is those little bumps of fat I had under the skin - thank you and goodbye!). Can not eating cheese really make such a difference to the way you feel? I am convinced of it. Why not give it a try? Eliminate cheese for a week and see how you feel, chances are you'll feel goooood!

I guess if you cannot let go of cheese at least research which cheeses contain dead animal parts and avoid them, at least then you are limiting the suffering. You can see my earlier blog entry on dairy cows to see why avoidance is the best option but you make your own choices in life! Here's the article, it is only short but to the point, courtesy of www.veggieglobal.com...


Many cheeses contain animal rennet, which is an enzyme often made from the stomach of calves and lambs. For example, some cheddar and traditional parmesan cheeses contain animal rennet.
However, rennet is also obtained from vegetables, such as cardoons. In the UK more cheddar cheeses are being made using vegetable derived rennet (but check the labelling to make sure). There is absolutely no difference in the taste between cheeses that are made with either animal or vegetable rennet. Animal rennet is a cheap by-product of animal slaughter.
The other thing to watch out with cheeses is if "pepsin" has been used in the making process. Pepsin is an enzyme from the stomach lining of pigs and is also used in preparation of some other foods containing
protein. The problem is that "pepsin" may not show up on a cheese ingredients listing, even if the cheese doesn't contain rennet.
ALWAYS look on the label when buying cheese to make sure it's suitable for veggies. Remember, if you eat cheeses that contain dead animals you are NOT vegetarian.


Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Aqua massage and snow therapy











It is snowing like you would not believe here today. We had a thaw last week and the roads cleared. We had a feeling it was a bit early and we were right! Each time I go out to get some wood or let the dogs out the snow falls into the porch and we get sweeping! I don't think I can be bothered going out today, clearing the car, warming it up, wading out in my boots with a child on each hip so am in the process of making soup and bread so I can be lazy and stay indoors. I do love this weather actually but today I am a little tired after two and a half hours teaching yoga last night and a full day at Bark (our arts centre) working on scripts and second life collaborations.

Today I wanted to share with you an experience from last week. One of my yoga girls in the next town works in a natural therapy clinic (www.westbytunet.no) . It is a gorgeous place and I took up an offer of trying the new aqua massage and floatation tanks. What a lovely experience that was. First the aqua massage, 15 minutes of pure bliss, especially after an advanced yoga session, you can choose your level, soft, medium, hard or a combination and just let it do its job..and it is good, really good, if you get the opportunity give one a try, chances are you will be hooked! The floatation tanks are very unusual, you get into a pod which is filled like a large bath with warm water and epsom salts. You have to be careful not to get the salt in your eyes and seal any cuts you may have but that's beside the point. You then just let the water hold you, lie back and relax, relax, relax. I stayed in for 20 minute and that was enough for me but you can be in for longer if you wish. It takes a few minutes to actually get used to the idea of being still, if you are anything like me you want to push gently off the sides and imagine you are in space but then again, maybe I'm just strange.

So, what a 'time out'. Highly recommended. What is not recommended is what I did immediately afterwards. So relaxed was I that after being in my car for just 3 minutes after leaving the clinic I encountered a snow drift, decided it was no problem and 1 minute later drove the car off the road, down a ditch and got stuck, had to get out of the car, knee deep in snow which soaked my trousers and went into my boots, walk to the petrol station without gloves as I had forgotten them and wait an hour for someone to come an tow me out!

What I also failed to mention was that I had offered to make a late supper for Matthew and I and had all the ingredients in the car with me so Matthew was sat at home with an empty stomach waiting for me to finish off my silly antics!

I got home at nearly 11pm, cold and a bit shaken with a fading memory of how great I felt not that long before! So we ate and went to bed and fortunately I didn't do much damage to the car, just a wheel wobble which I think is due to some ice stuck somewhere! I did bury the car so no surprize there!

Isn't it nice to know that even vegans can be complete idiots!

Bye x



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