Vegan Valentine’s Recipes

It’s the week of LOVE here in the U.S.!

?????????????Whether you are single or attached, you are loved. Incidentally, you also deserve a delicious Valentine’s treat. Of course, there’s nothing like homemade desserts. Better yet are dishes that come cruelty-free.

So, to get you inspired, check out this pinterest site where you can find vegan recipes for scandalous and scrumptious sets like:

Caramelized Banana Shortcake with Chocolate Syrup

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Sugar Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cashew Tarts

Chocolate Tofu Mousse

Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Love,

~~~S Wave~~~

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Purify your “Spirits” This Holiday

Okay, many of us have been writing about ways to make your Thanksgiving dishes cruelty-free this year. How to substitute the turkey with a delicious vegan main course alternative, how to make simple substitutions to classic sides, how to reconsider our decision to kill over 40 million turkeys for a holiday of thanks, etc.

It can be a lot to take in. You deserve a drink!

 

But hold it!

There’s just one more thing I want to mention about that drink in your hand. Did you know that even wine can be non-vegan?? And did you know that many beers contain GMO ingredients? Well it’s true. Bummer, I know.

So to complete your wonderful, humane, conscientious Thanksgiving feast, head to the liquor store armed with these helpful resources for purchasing healthier alcoholic beverage. (Is that an oxymoron??)

Number 1: For non-GMO beers and wines go to althealthworks.com for a list of recommendations.

Number 2: For vegan wines, use the great app barnivore. Just enter the wine you’re considering buying and find out if it contains dairy, honey, or is filtered using animal products.

 

That’s all ladies and gentlemen!! Let the celebrations begin!

cheers

Have fantastic Thanksgiving. Among so many other things, I am grateful for YOU and for your company here on the blogosphere.

Peace, Blessings, and Safe Drinking.

~~~S Wave~~~

Dangling a Carrot With No Shame

Don’t forget to follow Life As a Wave on Facebook! You’ll get more frequent tidbits to lift you up, spur you on, make you laugh, and support you in your growth toward your best self.

For example, this just posted: the best vegan Thanksgiving EASY shopping guide I’ve EVER seen. Don’t miss it! Click on the like button to the left if you’re on your computer. From your phone, click the link above. We look forward to having you join us at the old Book.

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With love,
~~~S Wave~~~

Plan A Cruelty-Free Thanksgiving!

Time to start the Thanksgiving meal planning! Every year more and more people are incorporating vegetarian and vegan dishes into their banquets. And why not?! It’s the time to be thankful. Why not extend some gratitude toward the animals that suffer and give their lives to be our food every other day of the year.

If you are paying attention, you probably know that the farming methods in our country have gone off the rocker and that food production has become an industrial mechanism devoid of compassion, symbiosis, or CONNECTION. Turkey “farming” is no different. Please take the time to read through this article by Ashley Capps at Free From Harm and find out more about the experience of the farmed turkey:

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http://freefromharm.org/animal-cruelty-investigation/12-reasons-you-may-never-want-eat-turkey-again/

WARNING: Graphic content. The text offers plenty to inform and disturb you. The videos might be too much for some.

 

Now that you’ve read and watched that, are you ready to include some compassionate dishes into YOUR Thanksgiving meal? It’s really not that hard! For example, mash your potatoes with almond milk and Earth Balance “butter.” Ta-da! You have vegan mashed potatoes. Don’t over think it!

Here are some helpful recipes that came out this year:

1. From Forks Over Knives, here are 5 dishes that are sure to please! CLICK HERE.

2. Compassion Over Killing brings you enough recipes of classics and newcomers to fill your dinging room table and then some. CLICK HERE.

3. The Huffington Post offers up a list of TWENTY-NINE plant-based holiday dishes! Nom nom! CLICK HERE.

4. And last but not least, PETA serves up a Thanksgiving Survival Guide with plenty of favorites. CLICK HERE.

 

Let’s evolve…one holiday at a time if that’s what it takes. For you, for your family, for the animals and for goodness sake.

Happy vegan cooking!

 

A Side of Veal With My Sundae?

“…boycotting veal…is a pointless gesture if dairy products aren’t boycotted as well.”

– James McWilliams, Forbes, 10/25/13

I had a revelation in 2009 that spurred me to transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. The revelation was basically that cows don’t make milk unless they have a calf. It seems like something that makes a lot of sense. How had I somehow  forgotten that fact? I guess I had never thought much about it at all and walked along in a blissful milky haze thinking of cows as perpetual milk machines, even though a moment’s pause to look at all of mammalian behavior would tell me otherwise. There’s one purpose for milk.

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Once I had that realization, there was an emergence of oh so many of questions that needed to be answered:  “What happens to all those calves?” “How do the cows keep getting pregnant?” “What are male cows used for?” “Does my vegetarianism matter?” Etc., etc. After time spent considering all these aspects I finally came to this conclusion:

I can’t eat dairy without also supporting the meat industry.

Calf being transported from his mother to his veal crate.  Photo credit: I wish I knew.

Calf being transported from his mother to his veal crate.
Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur

This conclusion has gone through not a few philosophical obstacle courses over the years, which are always valuable processes for evolving your viewpoint. I still believe that the vast majority of dairy that we consume comes from inhumane methods of acquisition and is inherently complicit in the industrial meat complex as well. I also believe that as a general rule, cow milk is for baby cows, goat milk is for baby goats, and human milk is for baby humans. I believe the calcium argument is something we’ve been force-fed by the meat and dairy industries and that we are actually healthier if we stay away from dairy. I know that we are the ONLY species that drinks milk past weening and find that weird and kind of gross. For now, that’s where I stand.

Here is one of the most brief yet thorough descriptions I have seen in a long time that illustrates the relationship between large-scale dairy and meat industries. I thought I would share it with you in case you are also a vegetarian having a revelation about milk as an accessory to animal slaughter. Or, maybe this article will serve simply as a another reminder to be humane this holiday season by swapping out some of those dairy products you’re used to for easy-to-find vegan alternatives. It will take 2 minutes to read and is not graphic. It was written by James McWilliams and appeared in Forbes magazine last month. Here is the link:

Milk of Human Kindness Denied to Dairy Cows

Happy and Humane Holidays

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

This post ends on a positive note, I promise. But first the bad news…

There’s a new round of undercover investigative videos out just in time to make you think twice about your Thanksgiving dinner and your upcoming Christmas shopping. First, the animal advocacy group, Mercy For Animals (MFA) has just released documentation from their most recent undercover investigation of farmed animal treatment. The videos are available for viewing on their website, but please know that they are very graphic. As always, I recommend you prepare yourself for some images that are likely to disgust and disturb. To read/view less graphic information, you can read the LA Times report here. You can also sign MFA’s petition to Tyson foods here. This time around, the culprit was West Coast Farms, based in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma which is a Tyson Foods supplier. The person who collected the video was working undercover on the farm just this past September and October and witnessed abuses such as:

– slamming piglets against the floor to kill them

– hitting pigs with wooden boards and a bowling ball

– spiking piglets like footballs

– confining pregnant sows to cages in which they cannot turn around (a common practice called “gestation crates”)

– cutting off piglets’ tails and slicing their genitals to remove testicles without anesthesia (again, not uncommon practices)

I think that is enough for you to get the idea. This kind of treatment has also been documented via undercover investigation at cattle farms, poultry farms, etc. To those of you who would like to imagine that this kind of treatment is a shocking exception to the norm, I would say that after years of following the movement of farmed animal welfare and reading and watching numerous testimonies from people inside the industry, I am not convinced in the least that this kind of facility is somehow the anomaly within an otherwise humane system where transparency is prioritized, animals are respected, and workers are kept safe and happy. That kind of model just isn’t profitable enough to be the norm.

The second report that just came out is from PETA. Earlier this week they released a video also shared by CBSNews based on an investigation into the angora fur industry in China. The PETA statement explains that the investigation showed “workers violently ripping the fur out of rabbits’ skin as the animals scream in pain. After their fur is yanked out, the gentle, sensitive rabbits are left in shock, able only to lie motionless inside their tiny, filthy cages. After they endure this process every three months for two to five years, their throats are slit and their skin is ripped from their bodies.” To read more and to find the video link click here. This method of fur “manufacturing” is no more a deviation from the norm than the treatment of the pigs above. If you are curious about how mink, down, chinchilla or any other type of fur and feather are collected just do a simple search and you’ll find plenty of information. It’s not a pretty picture…but why in the world did we ever think it could be??

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So what does this disturbing news have to do with the holidays? The holidays have become as much a time for personal reflection and gratitude as it is for religious or commercial participation. As I mentioned in the last post, we are seeing daily expressions of thanks-giving on social media and Christmas is a time where we begin to plan the positive changes for which we want to strive in the coming year. Well, here is your chance to give thanks and to make a positive change ahead of the holidays!

First, as you do your Thanksgiving preparations, walking the aisles of your market like you have done every other year, view your choices through a lens of true compassion and thanks. Think about what you’ve learned about the meat and dairy industry…if you haven’t learned something on Life As a Wave then I’m certain you have learned plenty elsewhere. Make the easy decision to replace some of your dishes with humane selections.

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Yes, your family members will wonder why you used almond milk to make your mashed potatoes and will challenge you to explain why your green beans are being served sans bacon. Take it as an opportunity to share what you know! And if you’re wondering how to make animal-free dishes, there’s information everywhere! For example, here is a great list I just encountered: 32 Vegan Recipes That Are Perfect For Thanksgiving. You can easily cover your Thanksgiving table with this list alone.

And fear not…there’s even vegan pumpkin pie!

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Second, the shopping season is here and Black Friday is next week. There are so many reasons to avoid the shopping craze that is coming up, but let’s stay on topic and discuss free-trade, plastic waste, and local economies another day. 🙂 As you shop, will you avoid fur? How about leather? How about down? It isn’t as hard as you might think and again, it shows people that you care! Need some ideas about which corporations are animal friendly? Use PETA’s shopping guide and shop from home. You can also download the Leaping Bunny app to help you shop for cruelty-free products. Or, heck, just check those tags before you put something in your cart.

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I started this post by introducing the “bad news,” but let’s remember that there wouldn’t be a “bad” without a “good.” The good news is that as we each encounter new knowledge (even the kind that makes you disgusted or disheartened) it is a chance for us to decide anew. And there is a great gift of power in that, as I’ve written about before. What is the one new decision you will make today to make it a more humane holiday season?

Happy Thanksgiving,

~~~S Wave~~~

Weekend To-Do-Good List – 6/22/13

I’m a huge fan of To-Do lists. Sticky notes are my best friend. This is an aerial view of my desk at this very moment (3pm, 6-21-13).There IS an order, though you might not see it.

There IS an order, though you might not see it.

About half of those are probably some version of a to-do list.

And so it is with great solemnity and in deep reverence for The List that I share with you a list designed especially for YOU. It’s not just any old “To-Do” list though…it’s a To-Do-GOOD list. So in the midst of the leisure and labor that I’m sure will be part of your weekend, make some time for the giving back that we always want to do but have a hard time finding time for in our busy schedules.

I’ll make it very easy for you. Just click on the links or pictures below to do a small good deed. If you have a campaign, organization, petition, or gathering that you arepart of, that is doing good for the world, and that you would like to share with your fellow readers, feel free to provide a link in the comment section!

Without further ado…… ladies and gentlemen, your weekend To-Do-Good list!

1. Orangutans  

As most of you probably know, the Palm Oil industry is swiftly decimating the wild orangutan populations by destroying their ecosystems. Here are some ways to help:

Sign this petition!

http://act.ran.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3776
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Take this pledge to reduce purchasing products with Palm Oil!

http://commit.tigweb.org/reduce-consumption-of-palm-oil

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2. Veterans

We continue to hear about the social and financial struggles that our veterans face. While I bite my lip and keep this apolitical, I invite you to take these steps to support The Mission Continues…an organization that is thinking outside the box and getting real results in their work with veterans.

donate-to-the-mission-continues

Find out about The Mission Continues from the founder himself HERE.

Visit their website and consider donating to their cause HERE.

3. Healthy Eating

You know that you’ve been meaning to change your diet! You want to eat less meat, drink less soda, try more organic…maybe even dip your toe into the raw food world. You can do it! Challenge yourself to try removing one bad thing from your diet or adding one good thing. Maybe just for one day a week. Find something doable and go for it! Here are some helpful sources to motivate you….

14 Things You Really Don’t Want To Know About Your Groceries

PETA’s Vegetarian/Vegan Starter Kit

Find a farmers market near you with Localharvest.org.

Find vegetarian, vegan, and veg-friendly restaurants and stores near you with HappyCow! They have a great app for this too.