Sunday, September 25, 2011

Are YOU Ready For A Compassionate Holiday?


I am missing my family like crazy right now.  

And when I'm missing my family like crazy,  the only thing that seems to help is blasting my Carpenters Christmas Pandora station (which is playing as I type!) and pretending it's Christmastime for a few hours.  Right now, every single member of the immediate family is on the East Coast, far, far away from this vegan blogger, so I can use all the holiday spirit I can conjure up.

Ma and I before our holiday baking session
Three years ago, when I went vegan (about to celebrate the official V-birthday next month!), my family was wary of my choice, but only because they just didn't know how healthy, compassionate, and delicious vegan eating and living could be. But what makes my family so kiss-worthy is that they were open to my change and growth, and that openness led my sister and step-mom to go vegetarian and my mom, husband, mother-in-law, and brother to go vegan. Now, holidays are a breeze, because my brother, who never used to get involved with the cooking, is the one who bastes the Tofurky at the holidays! What was once a bit of a process - like showing my should-be-a-chef-she's-so-talented-at-cooking mama that vegan Christmas cookies were just as yummy as non-vegan ones - is now a beautiful, joy-filled tradition of making plant-based versions of the comfort and holiday foods we as kids grew up loving. 
If you're a longtime supporter and reader of this blog, you know I'm big on traditions - especially the kind that lovingly evolve and shift as the years go by. For me, vegan living has redefined my traditions - since there is so much love, compassion, and kindness surrounding my every day, the traditions I create and celebrate also reflect that. More so than ever before. 

Our first vegan - and married - Thanksgiving in Brooklyn
I've decided to get the holiday conversations going early. I challenge each and every one of you in the KMIV family to begin thinking of ways to cultivate vegan versions of the holiday traditions you've always loved celebrating.  Whether it's removing the turkey from your table this Thanksgiving and making a veggie loaf or Tofurky instead, adorning your coffee table with vegan cookies and almondmilk for Santa on Christmas Eve, or making vegan latkes at your upcoming Hanukkah celebration, there are countless ways to appeal to your family with vegan goodies and still be a part of the holiday magic. 
Which brings me to a holiday closer to us than the winter ones - Halloween. Creating vegan Halloween traditions can be so much fun for little ones! For our last Halloween in Brooklyn, Steve and I handed out Newman-O's and vegan candies on our stoop, and the kids loved them. Easy peasy!
What kind of traditions will you be veganizing this year? How will you add compassion to your holiday celebrations? Maybe this is your first holiday season living vegan, or maybe it's your tenth. Either way, it can't hurt to remind yourself of why it's so important to make cruelty-free traditions at this time of the year, and really any other time of the year too. 
Let's share our kiss-worthy holiday ideas in the comments section below and get that compassionate ball rolling!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today, I Ate Yogurt...

Amande with fresh berries, agave, and cinnamon...

And there wasn't a DROP of dairy in it!

Okay, this is a huge reason to smile today, folks. 
Amande yogurt - made from Almondmilk. Comes in plain or flavored, big containers or single serving. Tastes just like your favorite childhood yogurt, except no baby or mama cows are harmed in the making of it. 
And the taste? I don't want to give it away... you're just gonna have to try it yourself!
I just cleaned my bowl... and the possibility of another serving is being considered as I type this post.


Now you have NO excuse to keep eating dairy yogurt (seriously!).  What are you waiting for? Go out and get yourself some! Vote for a compassionate - and delicious - world with that spoon of yours!

Still not sure why you should dump dairy? Or meat? Or fish? Or eggs? Check out www.chooseveg.org to learn more. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Am Vegan...


Because of this beautiful article from This Vegan Life.
Because cashew/soy/rice/hemp/almond/oat/hazelnut milks do not come from a mommy cow. And they taste amazing.

Speaking of non-dairy milk, because I stopped drinking breast milk when I was a baby. I do not need to consume the breast milk of another mom, and I definitely do not need to be drinking the milk of another species. Gross.
Because we don't NEED to consume, wear, or exploit a single animal for our food/clothing/entertainment. We just don't.
Oreo at Animal Acres. (Photo © Cameron O'Steen)
Because of Farm Sanctuary. And Animal Acres. And Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. And The Gentle Barn. And Catskills Animal Sanctuary. Basically, every single farmed animal sanctuary around. Period.

Because of animal protection organizations like Mercy For Animals, who spend their days giving farmed animals a voice by sharing undercover investigation videos with the public. And because it finally hit me - every single time I try to educate myself about the plight of farmed animals, I come across a video like the one below. And every time I watch one, every single fiber of my being points me in the direction of vegan living.
Warning: this video contains graphic imagery. Please be prepared - both emotionally and physically - before you watch this. I watched this myself when it first debuted, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But if you haven't seen an animal abuse video before, it is essential to knowing why we continue to fight for these animals. 
Because ice cream, cheese, steak, lobster, shrimp, ham, scrambled eggs, a glass of cow’s milk, and a bowl of chicken noodle soup are not essential for my health or well being. They just taste good. And that is not enough of a reason to continue eating them, when there are compassionate alternatives that taste just as good and do no harm to any living thing. 
Photo © Connie Pugh
Because of nutritionally packed, belly-satisfying plant protein like tempeh, tofu, seitan, chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, any beans!, cashews, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and broccoli. Yes, broccoli! (for those who didn’t know, broccoli has, ounce for ounce, more protein than steak!)

Speaking of delicious vegan food, Gardein. Daiya. Purely Decadent. Field Roast. Tofurky. The list just keeps growing...

Because I will live longer, climb higher, run faster, and be stronger as a vegan. 
Because our bodies do not need more cholesterol than we produce. And it just so happens to be that not a single plant-based food has even a drop of cholesterol. Hmm....

Because they need us to care. 
Because living vegan allows me to be a kinder person to human beings.
 Because there are just too many awesome vegan restaurants out there to not be vegan. 
Because even president Bill Clinton is trying it! 
 Because the UN implores us to switch to a plant-based diet. 
Because living vegetarian is not enough: 
After one or two years of producing eggs at an unnaturally high rate, female fowl are classified as "spent hens.” No longer financially profitable for factory farmers, they are slaughtered. (Source: www.dosomething.org)

A cow's natural lifespan is about 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the intensive confinement, the filth, and the strain of being almost constantly pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows' bodies are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat because their bodies are too "spent" to be used for anything else (Source: www.peta.org)

Because this kind of stuff shouldn’t happen. Ever:
Huge open-air waste lagoons, often as big as several football fields, are prone to leaks and spills. In 1995 an eight-acre hog-waste lagoon in North Carolina burst, spilling 25 million gallons of manure into the New River. The spill killed about 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands to shellfishing.  (Source: www.ndrc.org)
 Because of what the Lorax said:

Unless someone like YOU
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.

What are YOUR reasons for living (or choosing today to start living) vegan? Add them to the comment section below. Have a fabulous, fun, compassionate