One thing I have been attempting in the kitchen for breakfast meals is “dressed up” home fries/hash browns and having that be the main dish to work with. Even though these hash browns aren’t formally dressed up, they still deserve a shout out for playing such a crucial role in curbing your carb-loving, morning appetite.
These hash browns consist of onions, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Toast has always been such a compatible breakfast option so I decided to add these carbs to the menu and dress them up as well. This (Country White) pair includes an avocado spread covered in nutritional yeast and topped with clover sprouts. Simple yet delicious and somewhat fancy!
One of my very favorite things to do as a workout is rollerblading. It’s a workout I do by myself (mainly because I don’t know many others who rollerblade lol) and I love the time it gives me to reflect on anything and everything. It’s a form of meditation, as weird as that sounds. The bike paths I rollerblade on have some amazing views and I do my best to take it all in as often as possible. One thing I’m always cautious of however, are all the little creatures who are currently on the same route as myself. I do my absolute best to avoid rollerblading over them even though I know it’s impossible to dodge every single one. This is a prime example of how and when vegans aren’t “perfect”. We as a species are bound to cause harm to many non-human animals simply for existing. This is an argument I hear often from non-vegans who claim vegans think they’re perfect and claim to not harm any animal. The huge difference between incidents like rollerblading or even walking for that matter, is that the harm is UNINTENTIONAL. Unintentional harm is inevitable. Farming vegetables causes unintentional harm, construction causes unintentional harm, even driving your car causes unintentional harm (most likely) every time. These are unintentional deaths simply because humans exist. INTENTIONAL deaths directly harm others simply for our benefit. The most obvious being the billions of intentional slaughters that happen around the world every single year simply for our pallet pleasure. The second most obvious being the intentional killing of the animals we kill to wear and test on.
Sheesh, just typing this makes me realize how vain we can be as a species. One thing we can all strive for however, is to limit the intentional deaths as much as possible, wherever possible. Most of us live in civilized communities where survival situations are few and far between. Meaning we have (healthier) alternatives when it comes to food and clothing so there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be striving to live a vegan lifestyle. It’s the only way we can limit the intentional deaths (aka murders) of all the innocent non-human animals we share this wonderful planet with.
The title for this blog took longer to type than this amazingly delicious sandwich did to create! Only four ingredients (five including the bread slices) and the only reason this sandwich took 20 minutes to make was because of the time required to bake the Quorn patties.
While the spicy patties are baking, toast the bread slices and smother with the sriracha mayo. Be generous; live a little! Then add some lettuces or greens of choice and patiently wait for the patties to be done for the grand finale. Five minutes before the patties are done, place some plant based cheese on them so that they are nice and melted once the patties are ready. I used the Follow your Heart, provolone cheese brand. Once you let the patties cool for a minute or two, you are now ready to apply to face.
WEAR IT– This one is probably the easiest since it is so diverse. From hats, tops, bottoms, accessories, you name it, you can cater to your preferences and wear your message. I currently am collecting t-shirts. Most are short and sweet (Plant Based, Vegan Vibes, etc.) and a couple are more direct and aggressive. My favorite shirt being designed by Leah Doellinger (favorite animal liberationist and creator of Meat the Victims). My more direct message shirts I wear at cubes and protests. My less direct ones I wear when I’m exercising; either at the gym or running outdoors.
2. SIDEWALK CHALK-TIVISIM– This is a great way to use your creative side to spread a positive vegan message. Do it in public areas like parks and bike paths; even if you do it during “off hours” to be more discrete.
3. STICKER ACTIVISM– This is another area you can get as creative as you’d like to and revolve the stickers around your budget. There are certain websites and Instagram pages (Activismstickers2 for example), that sell super cute ones and in a wide variety. Or if you’re strapped on cash, buy your own labels and a sharpie or two. Carry a few with you when you’re going out. Public bathrooms, bulletin boards and sign posts are great places to speak up for the animals. I mean, if we have to look at other people’s garbage/graffiti all over the walls, why not use the same platform to spread the love. I tagged up a few STOP signs in my day, and I don’t plan on stopping. ;o)
4. SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT– Whether it’s slaughterhouse or factory farm footage, protests, open rescues or farm sanctuary animals, share as much and as often as you can with your social media following. Our job as animal rights activist is to share their story and normalize veganism. Most people already agree with the vegan message of peace for all beings and are morally against animal cruelty. They have to constantly be reminded that they are indirectly funding animal abuse and that this shouldn’t be normalized any longer. Whether you share a plant based meal, rescue animal or graphic footage, the overall message needs to be spread as far and as wide as possible.
5. VOLUNTEER– This is extremely good for the soul. Especially if you tend to fall into the depression/helpless hole that most activists can relate to. I find visiting a local farm sanctuary helps me stay grounded for the animals. I’m fortunate enough to live next to a few and only a handful of hours away from Farm Sanctuary in NY (still on my bucket list to go visit!) Surround yourself with some happy ending stories of individuals who survived the agricultural industry.
Another option would be to join some veganism and/or activism Facebook or Meetup Groups to surround yourself with people who share the same message as you do. This is extremely important to do to remember that you are not alone in the animal rights fight. As often as you may feel alone and helpless as an activist, we have all been there and need to learn to lean on each other to keep fighting the good fight!
Salads don’t have to be boring…especially full blown, plant based salads! There are limitless options to keep them exciting. This one was literally created on the whim.
Romaine lettuce with broccoli sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow corn, red onions and cubed up vegan spicy meatless Quorn patties.
I placed all the ingredients in this container to make it easier to shake up with the dressing. I started with the lettuce, sprouts, then added cranberries and sunflower seeds which are always staples in my salads. Then I threw in everything else before pouring my cruelty free ranch dressing all. over. it.
The outcome was amazing even though I was missing another staple, onion crisps. The hubby loved it and it filled us both up for dinner. Keep the creativity in the salads and they never have to be boring. And may I just say, being vegan doesn’t mean you’re missing out on any meals. Luckily, everything can be veganized these days and the animals don’t have to suffer… That’s the best part!
1. DITCH THE PLASTIC H2O!- Invest in a few eco friendly water bottles for your on-the-go hydration needs. Try your best to choose these when possible. Granted, there will be times when convenience will win or you forget to bring your refillable bottle with you. Don’t beat yourself up over it… just be aware of it and try again next time. I remember getting so excited when the 24 pack of Poland Spring were on sale 3 for $10. That’s 72 plastic bottles in one shopping trip that would last about two weeks. Now I cringe when I walk by the water isle and see all that unnecessary plastic that will soon end up in a landfill or in our waters, wreaking havoc on our planet.
2. CHOOSE REUSEABLE OVER DISPOSABLE- Refrain from using everyday disposable dishware. I know this convenient method saves time on washing dishes, but the environmental impact this waste has is definitely worth changing some habits over. Use reusable dishware whenever possible and try to leave the disposable stuff for large gatherings and parties. I went from buying plastic Solo cups and paper plates every few weeks, to using glass mason jars and dishes at home instead. I even started investing in reusable sandwich bags for Isaac’s lunches. This change is definitely pro zero waste living and budget friendly, yet doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice. Save your money while saving the planet!
3. INVEST IN REUSABLE BAGS- This one is probable a no brainer to most. I think the most difficult thing about this is actually remembering to bring your bags with you when you shop. Keep a stash in your trunk as well as your pantry. Go a bit further and also invest in reusable produce bags to eliminate having to use those fussy little plastic bags as well. For the most part, this is one of the easiest things I’ve gotten in the habit of doing for a greener planet. What I find however, is the grocery plastic bags being useful for my dog and chicken poop waste. Sometimes I would purposely forget my reusable bags when we were really low on plastic ones. To solve this dilemma, I’m working on investing in bio degradable poop bags whenever possible. I stocked up recently when I found some at Burlington Coat Factory for cheap. It made my day!
4. SWITCH TO BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES- These have become more and more convenient to find and are by far the more eco friendlier choice than regular toothbrushes. Your local TJ Max, Marshalls and Home Goods (for my East Coast peeps) carry them at super cheap prices. I paid $3.99 for a 2-pack with charcoal bristles. I’m in love. I also bought a 5-pack for $9.99 and how cool is this…each toothbrush has different color bristles so you can easily tell them apart! They are worth the switch, trust me.
5. BUMP UP THE PLANT BASED MEALS- Last but certainly not least, work on adding more plant based meals to your diet. This is the most important thing you can invest in for a greener plant and healthier you. Animal Agriculture leaves the biggest carbon footprint on our dying planet and also leaves such a stain on our “civilized” society. The deplorable animal cruelty behind farming animals doesn’t happen because we need to eat their dead bodies to survive, but because we choose habits, convenience and greed over their suffering. Since most people center all three of their daily meals around animal products, baby steps and slow transitions are key. Try adding 1 or 2 plant based dinners every week and work towards 3-5 plant based dinners per week. Then maybe try adding a plant based breakfast or lunch throughout the week too. Small changes make big impacts. Strive to make plant based meals a common thing, yet go at a slow and steady pace that works for you and your family.
My almost 6 year old Irish Terrier pup, Cooper has been a vegan in training for the past 9 months. Luckily, he took to the V-Dog brand, so I didn’t have much challenges with that. He’s always been a spoiled pup and likes his dry food mixed with some heated up, fresh food. This is a plus for my V-Dog budget since I can stretch out his stash, while saving money making his fresh food at home.
I usually buy a 30 pound bag every 3 months and give him one cup per day (half a cup for breakfast and half a cup for dinner). He gets half a cup of dry and half a cup of the homemade food twice a day. His fresh food varies from a potato or rice base with mixed veggies. Since our family is plant based and we try to cook whole plant based foods more often than not, I just bump up the portions of whatever we’re having for dinner and set some aside for Cooper, unseasoned. Although there are plenty of safe seasonings for pups, I only use nutritional yeast for him at the moment. I do have a goal to start making his fresh food more in bulk instead of relying on family dinner leftovers. Perhaps once I get into this habit, I’ll dress up his fresh food with some different spices.
I’ve been more cautious on his treats also being plant based. I have luck sometimes at Wal-Mart and Target finding accidentally vegan biscuit treats. I invest in V-dog long lasting bones (pictured above) when there’s a great deal to buy in bulk.
Of course there is always Pinterest as well, to get some homemade vegan dog treat recipes. Some non vegan treats slip through the crack when my husband buys them. I know that if I kept up with the treat supply, he wouldn’t take it upon himself to buy any, so I try not to nag him for it.
I advise anyone who is thinking of transitioning their companion animal to a plant based diet to do their research. There is plenty of evidence in favor of a plant based diet for dogs since they are omnivores (can eat both plants and meat). Cats are a bit more tricky since they are ultimately carnivores, but there are plenty of supplements and plant based diets that cater to cats needs and at the very least, worth looking into further.
Regardless, there are plenty of resources that mention just how un-fresh meat intended for pet food is. They literally separate the rotting corpses of these once beautiful, innocent beings and whatever they deem isn’t “suitable” for human consumption, is then sold to pet food companies. If you knew just how un-fresh pet food really is, trust me you’d explore better options for your furry family members.
At the end of the day, living a vegan lifestyle in a non vegan world will have its challenges. The transition can last months and sometimes even years for people and companion animals. As long as you make sure you’re doing your best while not being too hard on yourself, your and your family’s vegan journey will be more successful and enjoyable. One day and one treat at a time!