Archive | Vegetarian RSS feed for this section

Back on board

14 Oct

You might recall that during my pregnancy I had undeniable cravings for meat. You can read more about my journey with meat eating here.

I had never really cooked much meat before this, so I was confronted with the reality of learning to cook it and, you know I love cooking right? So I’m sad to admit that I actually started to get creative with it and even enjoy it a little.

I had hoped that once giving birth that I could give up meat eating instantly but I found that early on the cravings got worse! Breastfeeding left me feeling dehydrated and hungry all the time and I was craving nutrient dense, high protein food, I was after all, making milk! I was eating around 6 meals in 24 hours and my body was going crazy for meat.

So now not only had I begun to feel used to the meat cravings I was actually enjoying cooking and eating it. It went from being a medicinal addition to my diet to a staple. So now that I’m no longer breastfeeding, my body has calmed down and as I’d hoped, my meat cravings have dissipated. The problem is now that I have an appreciation for meat in my life that I never had before. What’s a girl to do?

Thankfully after being a vego for so long it was impossible for me to eat meat unconsciously. I am very aware of what my choices support and had to make peace with that. I’ve recently been inspired by people who do the occasional-ethical-meat-eating thing and I think that for the time being, that’s what I’m going to do. In no way am I going to have it regularly but I have decided that every once in a while I might choose to have some. I am ok with this.

Still, please don’t offer me meat at your place or expect to be served any at my place. I’ll choose when and where I have it or if I have it at all. That being said, I’m SO glad to be rid of those damn cravings!

Advertisements

Under The Pump

8 Oct

So when Dottie was born, she needed to be taken to the special care nursery and we were separated. When we tried to breastfeed a few hours later she wouldn’t latch. Over the next few days we tried again and again without success. We took her to an osteopath and saw many midwives and lactation consultants, it just wasn’t happening and no-one was sure exactly why.

Initially I hand expressed precious droplets of colostrum around the clock. When we went home from the hospital I upgraded to a double pump and my new life as a pumper began. I pumped every 2 hours for 30mins for the first week, leaving little time for sleep or even caring for Dottie.

Once my milk supply was established we were building up quite a stockpile so I decided to drop back to 3 hourly pumping and then 4 hourly. Still it was hard work and I couldn’t have done it without Bob who became a night feeding pro! Then the pain began…

Firstly my breasts became engorged and full all the time. Although pumping is a good way to express milk it does not at all replicate a baby’s natural feeding rhythm so my body didn’t really know how to cope. Then I started getting lumps from blocked milk ducts. They were incredibly painful and could lead to mastitis. So now I had a dilemma, pumping relieves the pain of engorgement but then tells your body that it needs more milk. So if I pumped before the specified time I would get some temporary relief but would make the problem worse in the long run.

This continued for weeks. I was determined to give Dottie the best start I could but the pain and sleep deprivation was beginning to take it’s toll (not to mention the fact that I was missing out on caring for her). I ended up getting mastitis several times and the lumps continued… as soon as one cleared another would appear and I often had a few at a time.

When I was pregnant, I was excited about having a dairy free child. I never imagined that breastfeeding would be so difficult for me but when I was faced with the difficult reality, I had to consider dairy-based formula as an option.

I resisted to start with. I hated the idea of 1) feeding my daughter something inferior  and 2) supporting an industry which I am passionately opposed to. I may have eaten some meat during pregnancy but I never once consumed dairy or even wanted it. I soon realised though that hating something which could in fact be my saviour was futile, I needed to find appreciation for it and in essence love it.

It took some time but I was able to feel gratitude towards baby formulas and the cows who make them possible. And then one weekend I was pushed over the edge. I was in so much pain, pumping provided no relief. I was living on paracetamol, I couldn’t lie on my side or sleep at all. Bob had to take nearly a week off work to look after me and help care for Dottie because I couldn’t even lift her up. That was enough. We switched to formula. And thankfully I was emotionally ready.

I was planning on continuing to pump with the objective of cutting down to just a few pumps a day. The lumps and pain continued. The blockages were so bad that pumping wasn’t providing relief from the constant agony. So, I stopped cold turkey. I figured that I didn’t have much to lose. I’d have a few days of pain and it would be over rather than having to deal with the pain indefinitely. And I have NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.

Dottie was fed breast milk exclusively for 6 weeks and although it’s not what I’d hoped for, it’s better than nothing. Once the pain was gone, I was able to sleep! Precious sleep. I felt human for the first time in what felt like forever. I was able to hold Dottie and hug people again and I could finally start being a Mother!

100 Bad-ass Posts

6 Jun

So apparently this is my 100th post. I’m actually surprised that it’s taken 3 years to get this far but I suppose it’s a milestone worth celebrating, especially as it’s been 3 years almost to the day since I began the badlet blog adventure. I started this blog as a way for me to vent my “bad” side, share my journey and search for the truth. I intended it only for friends (and as a creative outlet for myself) initially but have since gained followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.

Some days I feel as though I live two different lives, especially working as a counsellor, feeling the pressure to be a good role model etc. but the Badlet blog has kept the other half of me alive… the half that swears and has strong opinions, judgements, challenges and is a little bit weird.

I’ve complied a list of my favourite posts below with a little description. I enjoy looking back on where I’ve come from and how I’ve grown – I hope you do as well. Thanks to all the readers – I know you’re out there, the stats don’t lie, leave me a comment sometime! Much love, Badlet.

Adelaide July 2009 – Not funny at the time but hilarious later – If it will be funny later, it’s funny now.

Hobart Sept 2009 – Glass O Whine – Trying to understand why people ‘need’ to drink alcohol.

Hobart Sept 2009 – The world would be so much shitter without you Colin – My discovery of the life changing book “No Impact Man”

Hobart Nov 2009 – My favourite kind of people – The realisation that Tasmanians are mostly redneck bogans.

Hobart Dec 2009 – Use what you have instead of buying more crap – We survived for 2.5 months.

Hobart March 2010 – This post is for you – All of you.

Hobart August 2010 – Idiots – Talking about yourself is not the same as having a conversation.

Queensland Dec 2010 – I’ll miss you like a cold shower – The truth about living in Tasmania.

Queensland Feb 2011 – Pieces of paper – Is the receipt really necessary?

Queensland April 2011 – The smart state – First impressions of life in Qld.

Queensland May 2011 – Cast your vote – Voting with your dollars.

Queensland May 2011 – Chit chat – Confessions of an anti-socialite.

Queensland May 2011 – Zuck it up – My take on Mark Zuckerberg’s meat challenge.

Queensland Jun 2011 – I need a big loan from a girl zone – Surrounded by boys!

Queensland Aug 2011 – Love is natural – No matter who you’re attracted to.

Queensland Sep 2011 – 10 reasons why I don’t have a TV – For real!

Queensland Feb 2012 – Judge not – My struggle with eating meat while pregnant.

Queensland Mar 2012 – Bad ass for life – Despite having a baby on the way!

Queensland Apr 2012 – Ask a question – Instead of talking.

Nomi Friendly

10 May

In case you find yourself in a situation where you will be making food for me, here’s some ideas and an updated version of my last post about what I can and can’t eat. I’ve had a few situations recently where people have suddenly freaked out about whether or not I can have this ingredient or that ingredient. Here’s the magic rule:

If it is an unprocessed plant food then I can eat it. Nuts, grains, vegies etc – ALL FINE. Gluten is FINE. People seem to think that yeast = gluten but I can eat gluten without any issues. Here’s the 3 foods that I avoid:

Meat  *  Dairy  *  Yeast

That’s it. Meat and dairy are fairly easy to spot and avoid but it doesn’t hurt to check labels for things like milks solids, butterfat, lactose, whey or fish sauce, shrimp paste etc. Yeast is where it can get tricky – it’s everywhere from breadcrumbs to tomato sauce. Avoiding yeast is not just a personal preference – I have an intolerance to it and experience up to a month of tummy pain and symptoms if I eat it by accident. I really want to avoid this!

When dealing with processed foods, these are the major culprits: bread products, anything crumbed, sauces, stock, gravy, potato & corn chips, flavourings, vegetarian meat alternatives, vegan cheese alternatives and tempeh.

Although it is worth checking the label on ALL packaged foods just to be sure.

The ingredients that are known to effect me are:

Yeast, yeast extract, nutritional yeast, yeast flakes, vegetarian seasonings, flavours, seasonings… you get the idea. Anything that is a nondescript ‘flavour’ most likely originated from yeast and is best to avoid.

I do not know of any commercially produced meat alternatives that I can eat! Vegie sausages are out! I do not know of any pre-packaged pizza bases that I can eat – I used to be able to eat the mission ones but they have now changed their ingredients to include both yeast and milk. Thankfully there are a number of things that are easy to find that are nomi-friendly…

Mountain Bread – These make great wraps for lunch with salad and a boiled egg.

Felafels – I can eat most pre-packaged felafels. They go great in wraps, with dips and as a main dish with vegies.

Tofu – I tend to get the unflavoured ones and add soy sauce, honey etc. I can also have dried TVP and soy sauce.

Rice – And all other grains/seeds like quinoa, polenta, millet and barley. I can also have rice noodles.

There are more tips and ideas in my make me dinner post. Thanks for making food for me!

Judge Not pt 1

28 Feb

As you know I have come on an amazing journey to eating vego – vegan – and back again. At each stage as I discovered something new about the food I was eating I slipped into judgement mode towards everyone around me who continued to eat mindlessly. I started to use my own beliefs to decide right from wrong. But as much as I believed that the way humans raise animals for consumption is fundamentally “wrong” I found that dwelling on the oblivious actions of others served only to make myself miserable without actually achieving anything worthwhile…

When you say the word “vegan”, most people will roll their eyes and think of hippy activists, aggressively preaching their cause. (Closely followed by thoughts of a diet of tofu and lettuce). Why is this? Surely the average joe wouldn’t just assume that someone would stand on a soapbox about their dietary choices… it’s probably because they’ve had an experience with a preachy vegan. Sad but true. I don’t care what your cause, if you find yourself saying “My beliefs are right, your beliefs are wrong”, you’re preaching. Being preached to evokes in people the feeling of being under attack, and how do humans respond to attack? They defend.

If someone has a strong belief that meat is a better source of protein that plant foods, it doesn’t matter how much “right” information you shove down their throats, it’s unlikely that they’re going to see your point of view because of the emotion that defending oneself arouses. The truth is, no-one is going to accept anything you tell them until they are ready to hear it. I learnt this the hard way. But once I realised that telling people how wrong they are actually achieved nothing, I let it go. I realised that all that matters is being true to your own values.

Once I made peace with what everyone else was doing and just focused only on things within my control not only did I feel better but obviously my energy had changed because out of nowhere people were “ready” for the information I had to offer. This is the essence of leading by example. Do good for yourself, let everyone else be and you will inspire people. As it turns out, my initial approach was wrong… I thought I had to fix other people but actually all I needed to do was to fix myself!

Read part two of this post here.

UnAustralian

25 Jan

So it’s been a few years since the bombardment of ads from Meat and Livestock Australia telling us to eat more lamb. They have been very successful in their attempts to associate lamb with Australia Day and to bring lamb back as a popular option. The commercials have won people over with their humour, patriotism and jests at minorities and foreign countries – and as a result, thousands of people will be eating barbecued lamb today.

Their campaign has been very successful, and just as with the dairy industry advertising drinking milk for strong bones – people have begun to believe the message without realising that it’s a result of advertising. In this case the message being that it’s unaustralian not to eat lamb.

If “not being unaustralian” means being a drunk, racist, consumption-mad, shirtless meat-head then I’ll gladly choose unaustralianism any day. There will be no lamb (or meat) consumed at our place today not that I consider Australia Day much of a cause for celebration anyhow. Perhaps instead of eating lamb I’ll simply be grateful for the lifestyle and abundance made available to me as an Australian resident and enjoy eating plants, that grew without suffering.

Vegans on guard!

14 Jun

I recently heard a great quote…

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

-Arthur Schopenhauer

This made me feel al bit better about all the shit I cop from people all the time about not eating meat and also explains a few things about climate change haters too…

I believe that some people don’t ever mature past the first two stages. Well that’s certainly been my experience anyway. This is the ego at work. The ego serves only to protect and preserve one’s own self image even at the expense of all others. Most people though, don’t realise that this is what they are doing. They take great pleasure in pointing out all the ways that I’m not living a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle…

“If I point out your flaws then I can feel better about myself.”

and do their best to make avoiding animal products look ridiculous….

“If I make a joke of vegetarians then it’s easier to justify my own meat eating.”

I don’t know how many times upon discovering that I’m vegetarian, people have said to me, “If we are not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat? (Insert smug chuckle)”. In the beginning this used to fire me up because: 1) I’m not claiming that humans are ‘not supposed to’ eat meat and 2) This question is designed to fire me up. This is not interesting conversation nor is it respectful, friendly or even remotely attempting to show an interest in my dietary choices. If you’re genuinely interested, let’s talk. If not, shut your mouth.

Sometimes I do get a little opinionated here on the blog but you know me, you know that generally I’m not preachy at all about this stuff. I could be the type to come around to your house and smugly crap on about how everything you eat is terrible for you, many vegos/health-nuts do this. But I respect individual’s right to make their own choices in their own time.  You can eat/do/think whatever you want. So why are people picking a fight with me?

The quote above holds so many answers. It all makes so much sense to me now.

Even occasionally thesedays when I’m under attack I can’t help but get defensive. Yes I do struggle with the idea that someone could have me all wrong. People usually choose one typical animal product to hound me about. Here are my responses!

Eggs. Yes I eat eggs. No I’m not 100% vegan. For the time being eggs are a good complete protein for me to include in my diet. I pretty much only eat them at home. Once I step outside the house I usually won’t touch anything using egg as an ingredient. I know that even the free range/organic eggs involve some level of cruelty once their laying slows down but I just do my best to purchase from local, ethical farms for now. Some farms sell or give away their older hens to prevent them from meeting their end just because they don’t produce 1 egg a day any more. See my post on animal products to read more about chickens raised for egg production.

Leather. Yes I own some things that are made from leather. Yes I know that this is the skin of a dead cow, I’m such a bad vegetarian, shame on me. I’m a real fence sitter when it comes to leather. On one hand, I don’t like that an animal has to die (after having a pretty mediocre life) to get it and on the other hand, leather is a sustainable, ‘natural’ material that makes alot of sense. Let me explain… would you prefer synthetic, oil-based, potentially toxic clothes/couches/seat covers/shoes/bags that break, scuff and wear out OR would you rather use a fabric that although it involves some cruelty/environmental damage will last for many years, reducing the need for those items to be replaced as often and thus breaking the cycle of obsolescence? This is a tough question to answer. Some people simply cannot justify the environmental devastation caused by cattle farming not to mention the animal cruelty/slaughter no matter how ‘sustainable’ leather may appear.  My personal opinion has a focus on waste reduction: If humans are killing cows for food anyway then why not use the skin to make something useful? From this stance I’m a believer in leather for now although I buy it sparingly and prefer second hand where possible. If however, our eating and farming habits changed then I would have to reevaluate my stance on this.

Feathers. I haven’t bought anything containing feathers since before I became a vego over 5 years ago. If faced with this decision now, I’m not sure which way I would turn… Feathers used for quilts, pillows and sleeping bags come from geese ducks and chickens. The best case scenario (given the circumstances) is that these birds are slaughtered for both their feathers and their meat. Like with leather, I would feel happier knowing that the body of the bird is also being used for another purpose and not just  being killed for the feathers then discarded. But there is no way to know for sure. Many ducks and geese have their breast feathers painfully plucked off seasonally, a practice that although ‘sustainable’ is not something that I agree with. Again, if I choose the artificially created alternative it’s likely I’ll discover that not only is the product inferior in quality, durability and earth-friendliness that it’s also made from something that I don’t want to be in close proximity to for hours on end while I’m sleeping. Thankfully I have no need to buy anything of this nature anytime soon although I would probably look into options involving natural materials rather than plastics before turning to feathers as an option.

Honey. Some people include bees and other insects when they are ruling out ‘animal products’ and therefore, honey is another product that involves cruelty and should be avoided. I personally agree that the majority of commercialised honey bees are terribly abused and mistreated however I do believe that it IS possible to keep bees ethically. I use honey that is organic and has not been heat treated from a farm that is transparent about their bee keeping practices. Raw honey is really good for you (in small amounts) and it lasts forever (literally!) so I think it’s handy to have around at home.

Wool. This is tough. Wool is used for so many things: carpet, clothing, felt, curtains, blankets. Many vegans are strongly opposed to wool with good reason. Sheep are violently sheared and are kept in extreme conditions. I get it. But once again, like with leather, I think that as a useful, sustainable material it outdoes it’s artificial counterparts. It lasts a long time, it’s biodegradable, it’s relatively easy to manufacture (at the expense of the animals). In saying that I do avoid wool where possible especially where a good plant based alternative exists. We will be re-carpeting our bedrooms soon and I’ve been looking into natural fiber alternatives to wool and plastic but wool would definitely be my second choice.

Fur. Breeding animals purely for fur is just plain cruel. The cause of death for many of these animals is being skinned alive. It’s truly horrendous.  And the animals aren’t then used for meat either so it’s a terrible waste for something which is completely unnecessary. We’re not cave men, clothes are made of all kinds of warm fabrics now. Fur has no place in clothing thesedays.

Gelatine. This shit is pure filth. I can’t believe people feed this stuff to their kids and have no idea about what it really is. Find out some really simple info here or a pro gelatine vid here which explains how massively processed it is and how much power it uses to create. Agar Agar is a perfectly good alternative which actually has nutritional value too. It does everything that gelatine can do. Agar also does not require so much processing which means it does not require masses of electricity like gelatine does. And gelatine usually goes hand in hand with sugar, food colouring and junk food in general – all stuff that I tend to avoid.

Hot Chips. Hot chips are not vegan nor are they vegetarian. I know, it’s not fair because hot chips are possibly the best comfort food ever. I love them. Have you ever wondered why when you fry potatoes and home that they don’t taste as good as from the chip shop? That’s because the ones from the chip shop have been pressure cooked with animal fat (mostly beef) before being frozen, transported to the shop and then cooked again in oil that is likely to contain flavour additives or animal products anyway. Occasionally it’s possible to find chips that are made without the animal fat but it’s rare. I must admit that this is my one downfall. I will cave for hot chips. I will throw all my values around organics, animals and health out the window for some salty, oily potatoes. I have seriously reduced my chip eating recently though and I feel great about it. I do give myself a break if I happen to be somewhere with limited food options although one day I really hope to give them up all together.

So yes… I know. I’m not a great vegan by anyone’s standards however I’m not afraid to be exactly where I am on my journey right now. I am informed and approach my life with awareness and am happy with that!

Also this girl feels it.

Animal Products

26 Mar

I’ve been avoiding writing about this topic for a while now but I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe to avoid being labelled as a preaching vegetarian or a vegan activist. Or maybe because the net is already SO full of blogs and websites about this stuff – and we’ve all had enough of it. Well fuck it. No more excuses. I’m not aiming to please on this blog so I’m just going to share my shit and you can take it or leave it. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

So here’s my thoughts on human’s use of animal products.

The term “animal products” is something I’m quite desensitised to but when you actually stop and think about it, it’s pretty fucking gross. Eating, drinking, wearing stuff that came from animals – it seems normal in our society. I find it hard to imagine my leather shoes once being a cow. That’s because we’re programmed not to think about it.

Occasionally you may associate a cut of meat with the animal’s body part: ribs, breast, rump etc but even then it’s easy to detach. In fact detachment is essential if you want to continue to eat meat. Human’s are compassionate beings by nature. I’ve seen meat eaters brought to tears, turn away in disgust and become instant vegetarians after watching footage of animal slaughter for food production. I’ve also seen cowardly meat eaters refuse to watch footage like this or even hear THE TRUTH about the treatment of animals raised for food. It seems strange to me that anyone would prefer not to know the truth about anything – even if that means feeling something that challenges you. I spoke to Bob’s Dad just after I had finished reading Eating Animals and told him about the book. He seemed quite interested so I offered to lend it to him. He declined and said that he liked eating meat and probably wouldn’t want to eat it anymore after finding out the truth so he’d prefer not to know.
There’s only one word for that in my opinion: Gutless.

If you’ve seen the sort of footage that I’m talking about you cannot deny that the whole process feels wrong on every level. I personally have given up watching footage of animal slaughter as it does nothing to enrich my life and I have never encouraged anyone to do so however, if you are curious however (as many are) here’s a few tame vids to give you an idea:
Cows
Chickens

I wasn’t able to find a pig vid that didn’t have the direct audio. The audio is usually the most disturbing part. Anyway I’m sure you can look further if you’re interested. Well let’s talk a little more about the killing process… most animals are “stunned” before being “knocked” by the bolt gun and having their throats slit (or decapitated in the case of birds). Stunned means that they cannot move but can still feel everything. In many cases, the animal is not killed instantly by the bolt and feels the full pain of bleeding to death. Pain that you could never imagine.

Now think for a moment about what pain, fear, anxiety, stress does to the bodies of any mammal… adrenalin and other chemicals run through the muscles/meat. I’ve read about fear and pain being stored in the cells of the meat and seen countless individuals become vegetarian as part of their spiritual journey and find that they can then easily surrender unhelpful fear in their own life. Coincidence?

It’s common for “conscious meat eaters” to only animals that are shot in the head outdoors rather than in an abattoir like kangaroos and deer (venison) or killed humanely. Personally I think that “killed humanely” is an oxymoron although I can understand the reasoning for these choices..

So, animals raised for meat live to die, we get it. So what about their life then?
Well it’s pretty shit.
Pigs and chickens are raised in indoor environments that are so far from their natural habitat it’s not funny. Pigs are kept on concrete floors in stalls that are only slightly bigger than their bodies. Their tails are removed without anaesthetic. They are not able to turn around, roll over, run, stretch lets alone walk on grass, cool off in mud, socialise or form a bond with their offspring. They’ve been selectively bred to be meat-heavy, grow unnaturally quickly and are given antibiotics to prevent disease. It’s a mystery why antibiotics are losing their effect on humans isn’t it?

Chickens beak’s are clipped with a burning hot blade. They do not see the sun. Their factory farms are unhygienic and pungent. Their 45 day life goes so quickly that often by the time they are due for slaughter they cannot walk under their own weight. Many chickens are so abnormally heavy that they go for days or weeks before slaughter with broken legs. It is common for chickens to go crazy in the light/fresh air deprived factory farms and attack other chickens (hence the beak clipping) and a high percentage of birds experience untreated infected wounds while on their way to becoming food.

So what about cows and sheep that get to run around free in paddocks? They have a great life, right? Well it’s arguable whether a life that exists purely to die and be eaten isn’t really much a of a life at all. Cows and sheep are forced to endure weather extremes often without adequate shelter and water. Why waste water on something that’s just going to die in a couple of weeks anyway? In fact all animals have to travel long distances, sometimes hundreds of kilometres to be slaughtered while exposed to the elements and denied food and water.

Certainly cattle that get to roam around in spacious paddocks and feed leisurely on grass have the most stress free life of all animals that are bred in captivity for food. This new wave of “grain fed” animals being a healthy alternative is a bit of a crock. For most non-organic meat, these animals are fed genetically modified, pesticide laden wheat and corn. And, err… why is this good?

If the food given to cows was instead given to people the 1 billion starving people in the world could have something to eat. I’m not making this up, it’s true.

So cows chilling in a paddock might have an arguably decent life, but there are other issues to consider… Like the planet!

40% of the worlds forests have been cleared for cattle grazing. Hello? Trees absorb carbon!
Cattle grazing destroys topsoil. Nutrient rich topsoil is essential to sustain plant life. Once it’s gone, it takes years to reform – and that’s only if erosion doesn’t continue which it normally does.
One third of the planet’s surface is dedicated to livestock. Imagine if that land was dedicated to growing crops of food for people.
Animal agriculture creates 40% more carbon emissions than all transportation in the world combined and is the number 1 contributor to climate change.

Do you need to read that again?

The highest contributor to global warming is meat/dairy production. Environmentalists who eat meat are a joke.

These are real stats – check em.

Getting back to animals having shitty lives, let’s think about animals that aren’t farmed for meat but for milk and eggs.
Let’s start with chickens. Battery hens surely have the most tortured existence of all. You’ve all seen photos of them, crammed into multi-level cages, no light, no space, no standing, flying or stretching. Just sit, eat and lay eggs. That’s it. And after 12 months as egg production slows, you guessed it… dead.
So you think you’re doing you’re bit by buying only free range eggs? Until last year the term “free range” was not regulated and could be used to describe just about any battery conditions, including hens that were kept inside but given access to a tiny outdoor area for an hour per day. This is now changing and the rspca give certification to legitimate free range eggs. But guess what? Even free range, organic “happy eggs” come from chickens which are kept purely for the purpose of making money and after 18 months the chickens reach their expiry date.
So even if you have your own chickens or choose free range eggs for home, whenever you eat out or go shopping and choose a product that contains eggs, you can almost guarantee that the eggs are not free range. A slice of cake, a bottle of mayonnaise… unless specified you can bet the eggs used were from an evil battery farm.

Now finally to the poor, old dairy cow. Their story is heart wrenching. Why? We’ve all seen the cute black and white dairy cows having a chilled out life in the paddocks next to the dairy. It doesn’t seem so bad…
The cows are continually artificially inseminated to keep them in a constant state of pregnancy/lactation. If you think human women have gruelling birth experiences, imagine giving birth to a cow! LOTS of cows! Then the minute after she gives birth her calf is removed instantly from her. Cows are programmed to care for their young and experience grief and depression in the same way that a human losing a newborn would. Male calves are slaughtered for veal (if you are a vegetarian who consumes dairy – you are still a supporter of the veal industry). Female calves are separated from their mothers “to avoid attachment” and are fed GM soy and corn as well as antibiotics and other medications to prevent illness.
How fucked up is that? The offspring never get to drink the milk that is produced by their mother for them.

Humans are the only species to drink the milk of another animal.

Here’s another situation where we’ve been brainwashed and desensitised to the idea. Think about it. Drinking the milk of a COW is fucking gross.
You would cringe at the thought of sipping on the milk of a cat or the milk of a monkey or even the breast milk of another human… but drinking the breast milk of a cow if perfectly fine?
It is common practice for milk producers to milk cows with sores/wounds on their teets meaning that blood and puss end up in the final product. And dairy products do not have to contain any information about additives, preservatives added to them during processing (in fact the same goes for meat and supermarket/non-organic vegies).
So milk is one thing but what about other dairy products? Cheese is SO far removed from it’s original state that it’s incredibly easy to forget that it comes from a cow (and rennet from stomachs of cows, sheep and pigs). The further away a product is from it’s source, the easier it is to forget about where it comes from. Cheese on toast may seem like a mouth watering, quick, easy snack but it actually at some point involved a significant amount of cruelty, not to mention a whole lot of processing and many kms of travel. Are you willing to accept that?

So why should we even care about these animals? Humans have been using them for so long that it just seems normal. Let me ask you this?
Why do you have a love of birds but have no trouble eating a duck?
Why do you protect your children and not respect the cow’s desire to protect her children?
Why do you love your dog and feel fine eating a pig? Did you know that pigs are more intelligent and more loyal than dogs? In fact they are more intelligent than 3 year old humans!
A question I often ask myself is: Why are there so many vets and animal lovers who are so fine with eating meat…

The answer is: selective information filtering and LOTS of conditioning.

It would just be WRONG to go to a cafe and not see bacon & eggs and cafe lattes on the menu. Would it?
I can’t imagine a Christmas without ham/turkey/chicken. Why not?

Excuses. I’ve heard them all on this topic. We get hung up on ‘tradition’ and can’t see past the ‘convenience’ of animal products. Considering the MASSIVE cost to the earth, meat production seems far from convenient.
In fact, while inflation has seen price rises in just about everything over the past 20 years, meat prices have stayed about the same. The meat industry uses low prices to keep us eating it. So who’s paying for the inflation? The animals living their short, tortured lives in factory farms and of course, the planet.

I haven’t even touched on seafood. This post is already long enough so I’l save that for another day. If this info has made you want to learn more or create change then here’s some books, websites and films that I recommend:

More info of milk
Eating Animals Book
Food Inc Documentary
Home Documentary
Food Matters Documentary

Idiots

25 Aug

Some people are so clueless that it hurts. For example:

Upon informing people that I am a vegetarian, they proceed to say dumb things like…
– Wow. That must be so hard
– Really? Don’t you hate it?
– I could never live without meat

As well as the classic… – What do you eat?

Tofu and lettuce of course!

In fact almost every single time I inform a meat eater that I am vego they go on to talk about eating meat.
The other day I actually had a woman laugh at me and then give the third response above (I could never live without meat) and went on to tell me about the massive steak she was planning for dinner. ??

Some days I’m amazed that people can be so socially backwards.

Bob’s parents stayed with us recently and his Dad talked about meat during EVERY single one of our meals together. That was over 10 meals.

I can sort of understand the meat-talking. I think it comes from a nervous place where people are not sure what to say so they start talking about the closest thing they know about the subject – and often end up talking shit or offending the other person.

For example:

Someone starts talking to me about how much they hate Jim Carey and how they find him incessantly annoying, saying things like “I avoid all movies that he’s in” and “When I hear him talk it makes me so angry”.
Then I start talking about all the Jim Carey movies I can think of and start acting out stupid quotes and skits from them, “Smmmokin!”

Inconsiderate much? Careless yes? English good?

Ok. Maybe not a great example. But you get the point. Here’s the problem…

Unknowingly people change topics of conversation to be about THEM.
And sometimes they do it knowingly too.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Taking it in turns to talk about yourself is not a conversation. It’s not. It’s just plain and simply that, taking it in turns. There’s no real engagement, no learning and no real sharing either.

You might think that when you take your turn to speak that the other person gives a shit but the truth is… they probably don’t. They’re too busy thinking about what they can say that tops what you’re saying. It might sound like this: (taken directly from a conversation I attempted to have with Bob’s Mother)

N: I’m going to finish painting this door
J: Oh yes, painting is great fun. When I painted our doors at home I really enjoyed it
N: Yeah, I don’t mind it. It does get a bit tedious after a while though. I’m up to number 8 now
J: Oh well I never did that many, only the ones downstairs
N: uh huh
J: *counts* 5 I think
N: Not sure
J: And because they were all the original doors they just looked fantastic
N: Yeah these are new doors which makes a big difference
J: And you’ve reminded me, I don’t think I ever painted our hinges
N; Yeah I think our look really good painted
J: I’ll have to look into that when I get home…

And on it went. This is what happens when both people attempt to tell their own story without engaging with the other person about theirs. In fact the closest I came to engaging was when I said that I was ‘Not sure’ about how many doors they had.

By then end of their stay I had stopped bothering trying to share any part of myself and communicated with them only by entertaining their mindless chatter.

This frustrates me beyond belief!
When I calmed down I recognised that the reason I was so upset was because of my own expectations. There’s two main ones:

1) I expect that people (parents in particular) should have an interest in what I/others have to say
2) I expect that people (especially parents) should have courtesy and respect for others in social encounters

And the plain old stinking truth is that people will never fulfil these expectations. In fact having expectations like these in place serves only to fuel my own suffering. e.g.

I’m in a cafe ordering nachos. I order the vegetarian one without the cheese. The woman looks confused so I reiterate… I would like the beans, the salsa, the guacamole and the sauce but just without the cheese. She finally gets it then the woman making coffee next to her turns around and says aggressively “Pff what’s the point?!”

I perceived this to be rude and disrespectful and ended up feeling agitated at the time. I now realise is that my agitation was caused because of my expectations. Because I wanted my experience to be different to the way that it actually was.

I was talking to a psychologist friend the other day who said that if you expect people to be stupid and inconsiderate then you’re far less likely to be disappointed by their actions or inaction. This made sense to me although it appeared to be a little pessimistic. Funnily enough though, he’s exactly right.

I’m a natural optimist. I like goodness and happiness and easyness and lovelyness and I’ve learnt to hope for it in all areas of my life. But life just isn’t like that. The truth is that people will be rude and inconsiderate, they will put themselves first and show others no respect and some parents are just selfish jerks.

It’s sad but true. Accept it and be free 🙂

Managing Temptation

2 Feb

We are now a few days past the 4 week mark and we have not even made a significant dent on the crap in the pantry or the freezer.

I’ve stopped taking photos of everything because if we keep going at this rate then we could be doing this experiment for a long time – and I’m sure you are not all that interested in what I have for dinner every night…

Last week we ran out of sweet biscuits and flour and I found this to be rather challenging. We improvised a little by making a chocolate pudding with a base made from nuts & banana which was pretty good.

But at the 4 week mark we decided that we needed to go shopping for some essentials. We bought plain flour, shampoo, handwash for Bob and I caved in and bought a packet of plain chips. I had been craving them for over a week and I couldn’t resist when I saw that they were on special!!

We also got some white chocolate and Bob just had to get some blue maize tortilla chips. We then visited a new asian grocer and bought some steam buns and mock meat. When we got home I realised that I didn’t really need most of what we bought and I noticed that as soon as I gave myself permission to buy some stuff I just turned into this crazed buying machine.

Why? I’ve definitely noticed that I experience enjoyment when buying stuff, even when the packaging goes against my ethos on wastage and pointless plastic. Do I buy a product I like or avoid it to avoid all the packaging that’s involved? It’s a tough choice that I think many people are facing now. When we have the technology to produce PLA and other plant based, biodegradable alternatives to plastic I’m amazed that plastic is still legal!

But anyway… the title of this posting is ‘Managing Temptation’ and I need to confess that I obviously haven’t done that very well this week. I do however think that the flour and the shampoo were necessities.

Well it’s good to know I’m still living by my values to some extent, last night I made capsicum & basil pesto and I’ve gotta say – it was better than any pesto I’ve ever bought.

When I quit smoking everyone would ask “Are you saving any money?” and if I was I never really noticed it but since we’ve committed to buying less impulsive crap I have actually noticed a significant amount of savings. It’s awesome, not to mention it’s the first time in my life that I’m saving money without even trying.

So the experiment continues on. We are on the verge of running out of some major staples (shin noodles included) so hopefully things will get start to get exciting before too long.

Here’s some little pics of some stuff we’ve been cookin!

Oh yeah and the reason I haven’t made a post for a while is because Livejournal suspended my account because they suspected that my page was some sort of evil bot. I’ll let them apologise for the delay.