Thursday, 26 May 2011

Why am I vegan?

I was asked recently how chocolate can be seen as animal cruelty.
Well this is actually the catalyst for my being vegan.I could write a massive essay here, but I'll try to keep it concise.

Just so you know, I wasn't raised vegan, I became vegan February 10th 2011. My favourite foods included roast pork, McDonald's, OMG I LOVED McDonald's (and it shows!), KFC and DAIRY! Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, full cream milk by the litre, CHEESE, oh how I LOVED CHEESE!!!

So, this is why chocolate is bad. Apart from the usual reasons of fat, sugar and empty calories,
chocolate that contains dairy products, or anything else made from or containing dairy for that matter is, to vegans, a cruel product. This is due to the abhorrent conditions in which the cows are kept.

Female cows are kept in a near constant state of pregnancy so as to be able to produce milk. Baby male (bobby) calves are then taken from their mothers usually within 12-24 hours of birth. They are then transported to be slaughtered within their first week of life. They are usually starved and deprived of fluids for transport so as to not make a mess for the truck driver. The bobby calves can be transported for a couple of days and in all weather conditions which means they can literally bake in heat and freeze in cold, even to the extent that their skin freezes to the sides of the trucks.
This causes excruciating injuries and even amputations in the efforts to pry them lose! Many die in transport from the conditions, injuries or starvation.
After getting to their destination, the slaughter house, they are kept in horrible conditions, tied up, for as long as 4 months, so as they can not exercise or develop their muscles. This ensures they will become tender veal. Yep, veal is a waste product of the dairy industry!

And what happens to the mothers? They are connected to the electric milkers in stalls where they can't turn around or lie down. The calf that they gave birth to will not get more than a couple of feeds from the milk that was produced for them to drink, instead it is stolen and bottled for human consumption! And on top of all that the mother and the calf experience horrible mourning and distress caused by the separation.

And why have I said that male calves are a WASTE PRODUCT of the dairy industry? Easy! They can't get pregnant and produce milk, therefore rubbish a.k.a. veal!

These 3 calves were rescued recently from the dairy industry, you can read about them here:

Now, just like humans and other mammals it is only necessary for a mother cow to produce milk for her infant to grow, to give nutrients and antibodies for that infant's survival and to get them through the most important growth period of their lives! After a young mammal has weaned from it's mother her milk dries up and is not produced, ever again, unless she gives birth to anymore young. This is why it is so unnatural for a cow to be milked. The only milking ANY animal requires is from the young she is supporting.

"Cow's milk, by design, grows a 90 pound calf into a 2000 pound cow over the course of two years. It allows calves to double their birth weight in forty seven days and leaves their four stomachs feeling full" From Skinny Bitch, 2005, page 56.

Why is this significant? It is to demonstrate how fatty the milk is and to show the nutrients required to grow a cow is taken and given to humans, this starts to make the mind boggle!

After learning some of these facts I started doing a lot of, continuing, research, and I also found that dairy products contain a fairly high amount of Iodine. Why is this bad? Well, the good news it that it's not bad for everybody. But, it is to me as I have Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), and too much Iodine is harmful to me and my thyroid. I was on medication, but for the last month I haven't been taking it. I just may have healed my thyroid, naturally.
I do NOT, however, recommend stopping any medical treatment without previously consulting a physician. I didn't, but I have a great understanding of my autoimmune disease and my body, so I was not hesitant in weaning off my medication. And I am ecstatic to report I feel completely fine!!

So what started as an animal cruelty issue for me turned into a health issue, and this is, in a round about way, why I'm vegan and chocolate is animal cruelty.
I have, however, only gleamed over the tip of the dairy industry iceberg and not even looked at the diseases, antibiotics, chemicals, hormones, addictive properties, pus and mucous in milk. Nor Have I looked at any other animal products, for that I'll ask you to refer to my previous post Food for thought... and get you thinking about watching Earthlings.

So now I've made your head hurt thinking about the implications of consuming dairy. Well that's exactly what made me turn vegan! Now I'm not trying to turn the whole world vegan (even though it would be nice) but, I am trying to get people to think about where their food, clothes, shoes, couches, bedding etc come from.

-SJ xo

Some great websites:

Animals Australia 

Animals Australia - Bobby Calves

Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania

Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania - Dairy Industry


Brightside Farm Sanctuary

Edgar's Mission

Skinny Bitch

The Veganist; Kathy Freston

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Morning tea.

This slice has become a favourite morning tea for myself and my non-veg hubby. 
I found the original recipe at and the first time I made it I did it to their directions, the second time I made it, however, I did some minor tweaking and came up with something that, personally, I liked more.
I love this as a mid-morning snack, especially during a busy working day. I'll have some with chocolate soy milk, and being full of protein and fibre I find I can easily make it through to my consistently, unfairly, late lunches! 
Plus, it satisfies my ridiculously sweet tooth! Oh, oh, it's also healthy :)
Oatmeal Slice

  • ¾ cup organic sultanas
  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • ¼ tsp/good pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats, plus some extra for sprinkling
  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • substitute for 1 egg
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar/coconut palm sugar/rapadura/muscovado
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup/agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Walnuts or choc-chips (optional) could also be added, but I don’t think they are needed
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, or line it.
  2. Soak sultanas in boiling water and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, bicarb soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats.
  4. Drain sultanas and set aside.
  5. Blend tofu in a food processer until smooth.  
  6. Add prepared egg substitute, oil, sugar, maple/agave syrup and vanilla. Process until mixture is smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides with rubber spatula, process until well combined.
  7. Add flour mixture, sultanas and (optional) walnuts/choc-chips to the food processor. Pulse on/off until all the ingredients mixed.
  8. Turn the mixture into the dish and spread into an even layer.
  9. Sprinkle the top with some extra rolled oats.
  10. Bake until light golden and firm to the touch, approx 30-35 minutes.
  11. When done, remove from oven and cool in the pan. Cut into bars.
Bars can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for many months.

Yum, chocolate!

A while ago somebody put a post on either (I think) Animals Australia or Brightside Farm Sanctuary's Facebook page. The post was for the Cruelty-Free Chocolate Mud Cake. 
Unfortunately I don't remember who posted it or which wall it was posted on, but I did scribble down the recipe. I did, however, manage to record a quote from the original post "Genuine, rich, totally delicious mud cake".
Two nights ago I made said recipe and found a new favourite, I also found out that the quote is very true!
It may seem like a slow process , but I found it great to have this cooking whilst making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen and whatever else I had to do that night, so I was actually pleased to have a 1 1/2 hour baking time.
NOTE: This is a VERY wet mixture, do not try to thicken it up.

Cruelty-Free Chocolate Mud Cake

  • 2 blocks (200 grams) dark chocolate e.g. Lindt 70% (this is what the original recipe calls for, but I prefer 100g Sweet William and 100g dark Lindt).
  • 250g margarine
  • 1 ½ cups fresh coffee, probably as strong as you can handle
  • 2 cups caster sugar, I use raw caster sugar
  • 2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbs water, whisked well
  • 1 tsp of vanilla paste or 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 160oC.
  2. Roughly chop or break up the blocks of chocolate and place into a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Add the margarine to the bowl and melt them together in the microwave, on high at
    30-45 second bursts, mixing at the end of each burst, until fully melted.
  4. Whilst the chocolate is melting boil 1 ½ cups of water to make your coffee, I used instant, but if you have an espresso machine or even just a plunger that would be much better!
  5. Don’t forget to keep checking on the chocolate!
  6. Once coffee is made add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
  7. Whisk together the egg replacer and water and add it and the vanilla to the coffee mix. Mix together well.
  8. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour and cocoa together.
  9. Add the coffee and chocolate mixtures, combine thoroughly.
  10. Grease/line a 20 cm round cake tin, pour in the mixture and bake for 1 ½ hours.
  11. Allow to cool as well as you can be patient for! Cooling completely would be best though, then you can decorate. I only dusted mine with pure icing sugar, but you could make a chocolate glaze, if you feel you can handle more chocolate that is!

Monday, 16 May 2011


After watching Earthlings on Saturday night I was left feeling quite emotional on Sunday, especially at work at the shelter. So it was quite uplifting when I came home to this:

 Left to right: Rico, the 7 month old bold tabby, who I rescued from work and Simba, the 9 month old red Burmese. They have become best of friends, with the occasional power struggle, and I found them in a bed, holding each other. I just wish I hadn't woken them up.
Too cute!! <3

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Food for thought...

You may have heard Ellen talk about it on her show, maybe you've seen the poster, or maybe you have seen it for yourself. If you have you have seen it you have probably felt the way I do now.
But in case you don't know what I am talking about Earthlings is a documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and touches on the relationship between nature, animals and humans, or, earthlings.
I first heard Ellen DeGeneres mention it on her show a while back, and she said that it was due to this documentary she became vegan. I had not long become vegan and I was intrigued. Well I finally watched it tonight.

Don't watch it unprepared, however. This film is quite graphic, and I believe it should be! The film shows and talks about how we humans exploit non-human animals in the interest of food, fashion, pets, sports/entertainment and science, in particular vivisection.
This is a "meet your meat" kind of documentary, but not just meat; medical treatments, couches and coats. Also what happens to horses, bulls and sheep that are used in sport, as well as animals, especially elephants, that are used in circuses.

This heartbreaking and difficult to watch. It should be.
I don't care what anybody's background is, whether they are rich or poor, from an English speaking country or not, vegan/vegetarian or omnivorous, I feel that everybody needs to watch this film.
My hope is that within my lifetime farming methods will change to be sustainable, clean and cruelty-free, so that those of us who choose to eat meat, dairy and egg products will be doing it less regularly, but also in a much healthier way for the animals, the consumers and our planet. Of course I would rather see nobody eat meat, dairy or egg products, but the longest journey must start with a single step. To me that step is education, educate people who are ignorant to where where dinner or shoes came from, educate people who work in palm oil plantations or who capture monkeys from the wild and sell them in the exotic pet trade.

I'm angry and upset as I knew I would be, so I'm going to sign off with some of my favourite quotes:

"If slaughter houses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian." Sir Paul McCartney

"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields."
"What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit to their cruelty." Leo Tolstoy

"In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought." Isaac Bashevis Singer

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men." Leonardo da Vinci

"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love." Pythagoras 

You can stream Earthlings for free at or on YouTube. You can follow Earthlings on Twitter @EarthlingsMovie or like them on Facebook, they often post articles from around the globe.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Melinda's Tuscan-Style Risotto Cakes

The greatest thing about my new lifestyle is experimenting with foods I never would have tried before.
Why would I buy a packet of gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free anything when I don't have to eat it?
I still don't have to eat gluten free, but a lot of the vegan alternatives I now eat happen to also be GF.

I can still get scared about the new things I'm trying, but in a good way, I've had very little failure so far, and I am eating everything I cook, which is amazing as I am a notoriously picky eater!
This is how I felt about the risotto cakes. Firstly packet items don't usually taste as good freshly made foods, and secondly there's always some flavour I find in packet mixes that I'm not particularly into and I usually ending throwing the whole lot out.
I saw the packet mix in the supermarket and got excited and bought it. After I left the supermarket I had reservations and it took me about a month to make them.

So today I finally made them so I would have something to easily throw in my lunchbox for work this week. I had one for my lunch today and as I was dishing up I realised I forgot to go shopping this morning so I didn't have a side salad or any veggies to steam and have on the side except for frozen corn, so it was a bit of a funny lunch. I am, however, pleased to say that they turned out alright and with a salad will make a great lunch for me at work tomorrow, especially as they are a source of protein as well.

Now the great thing about this packet mix is that as well as not containing any gluten, there are no animal products in it and the instructions include the vegan substations. So instead of  butter, egg and cheese I used Nuttelex, Orgran egg replacer and Parmazano hard cheese replacer.

So with planning like this, there's no reason to have a bad lunch :)

My Days Off.

I’ve not been too well lately, so I have been filling my days with reading other people’s blogs, finding recipes and being quite lazy around the house really.
Whilst I was being lazy I kept having cravings for recipes I have found, or ones that I wanted to veganise.

Now that I am feeling better and I have a day off I am acting on those urges and currently have two recipes on the go: Melinda’s Tuscan-Style Risotto Cakes and Chewy Oatmeal Bars that I found at

I made the bars last week as a great on-the-go snack for me, but of course, my non-veg hubby ate most of them on me. I don’t mind though, my new lifestyle is all about sharing, and I love that he gets interested in my new foods. Thing is though I think I have improved the recipe immensely with my changes and substituting some ingredients for healthier ones.
So I’m gonna go now and check on my progress and then I will give an update a little later this afternoon to let you know how I’ve gone. Fingers crossed! 


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Welcome to my blog.

Good morning everybody :)

For my first post I wanted to share with you all a very yummy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe that I loved as a child, and last night I "veganised" them and they are disappearing very quickly! 
So here it is, enjoy :)

PS I used the oven method as it is a lot quicker, and less messy in the long run.

SJ's Oatmeal Cookies

  • 125g vegan margarine
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar/coconut palm sugar
  • Equivalent of 1 egg, No-Egg, egg re-placer, such as Orgran brand
  • ½ tsp Dutch spice or mixed spice (cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)
  • 1 cup plain flour, you could use plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats, NOT microwave quick oats

Microwave Method:
  1. Cream margarine and sugars until light and fluffy, add egg re-placer and mix well.
  2. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  3. Place teaspoons of mixture onto large greased microwave safe plate (about 6 at a time). Cook on med high for 1 ¼ - 1 ½ minutes depending on microwave.
  4. Allow to cool slightly on plate before removing onto cooling rack.
  5. Repeat process until all mixture is cooked.

Oven Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 170oC.
  2. Cream margarine and sugars until light and fluffy, add egg re-placer and mix well.
  3. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  4. Grease a baking tray with a thin layer of cooking spray.
  5. Roll teaspoons or so of mixture into balls, and squish slightly in your palms, place on tray, ensure there is plenty of room for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, depending on size, I make them about a dessert spoon size.
  7. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes prior to transferring onto a wire cooling rack.
  8. ENJOY, a glass of soy milk helps cut down the sweetness (: