Tuesday, 28 February 2012

PETA promoting veganism at any cost

PETA, the famous American animal rights organization recently released “Boyfriend went vegan”, a controversial video which is part of the campaign “BWVAKTBOOM” that stands for "Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me."
I was surprised to see this kind of publicity. Not that I am huge softy, but I really thought this campaign should be discussed. What made it controversial material you may ask? Is it because it’s sexual, too extreme, or simply offensive towards women?




This is what you find on the homepage of their website http://www.bwvaktboom.com/:

“For years, women have been open to the physical, emotional, and karmic benefits of veganism. But now, more and more men are discovering the perks of a plant-based diet. More specifically, a dramatic increase in their wang power and sexual stamina. 

Unfortunately, the consequences of all this mind-blowing intercourse can often lead to sex injuries such as whiplash, pulled muscles, rug burn, and even a dislocated hip.”

Moreover, on the website, you can find information on how to “safely“ turn into a vegan. They give tips and show testimonies of people going through “BWVAKTBOOM”. But of course, this is all meant to be humorous…

We all know PETA is well known for its controversial ads, and it is certainly not the first time they promoted vegetarianism with sex, take “Veggie Love” for example, the ad was banned from the 2009 super bowl. This video was sexually suggestive and stated vegans had better sex. I don’t think PETA using sex as a promoting tool is the issue here since I believe it to be a relevant argument; veganism does have an impact on health in general, hence on sex health. The problem most people have with this campaign goes beyond that.

In the clip “Boyfriend went vegan”, you see a young women wearing a neck brace carrying some vegetables, looking messy and beaten-up. The scene is accompanied by a semi-dramatic music while the narrator explains that the character suffered from “BWVAKTBOOM”, a painful condition.

What I understand from this video is that they want to promote veganism among men by reversing the myth saying a vegetarian diet is not a "manly" thing. PETA saying that vegan man could bring it like a “tantric porn star”, was meant to gather men’s attention.

However, despite all the reasoning, I don’t feel comfortable watching the video. I know the message they want to convey has nothing to do with domestic violence, but for some reason it sounds totally wrong. No matter what angle I look at it, I can’t find this humorous; in fact, nothing about this campaign really touches my sense of humour. Is this a special kind of humour that I can’t understand? It could be interpreted as if they don’t consider women’s abuse as a serious issue; therefore they went and made a joke based on that!

You can see how people reacted to the campaign on YouTube and even on their website; it is mainly negative although some people found it hilarious. There are victims of abuse that gave their opinion and for most of them this was offensive! At what price should we promote veganism? And should we lose respect for the other causes while doing so?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

“Aux Vivres”: the place to be!

A couple of days ago me and my non vegan friend decided to try “Aux Vivres”,a vegan restaurant downtown Montreal on Saint-Laurent street. We were both starving, especially me!

The ambiance
 Maybe it’s the way the space it’s distributed, but it looked smaller than it is; in fact there was enough room to sit the many people that kept on coming that evening!
 Also, I found it to have a subdued ambiance, probably due to the lighting.Whatever the reason I find it nice and cozy.
Before getting our table, we had to sit at the juice bar for 5 minutes; there I had the opportunity to take a look at the clients’ dishes. My observation was that the smoothies seemed to be popular and that, despite the winter here in Quebec. Another thing that caught my eye was the water glass jars that were on every table, they looked like old fashion “milk” jars. I have a thing for random small details…
We finally got our table and it was near the entrance. The cold winter (on that day at least…) came along with the clients through the non-stop door opening, so I had to leave my coat on. It didn’t ruin my fun; the restaurant was pleasantly noisy and I was enjoying myself.  

The Food!!
Of course, the most pleasant part was the food! Their menu comes with a wide variety of vegan, local organic food. As the main dish you can choose between salads, burgers, sandwiches and rice bowls (I’m trying that next time!). My friend and I chose a sandwich on fresh chapati. I ordered the Mekong sandwich and my friend the BLT; we shared. I preferred hers, it made me say: “I want more it’s so tasty!”, while the Mekong didn’t do it for me. The vegan BLT is quite something, the vegan mayonnaise mixed with the coconut bacon and the tomato just melts in your mouth! If you are a food lover like me, this simple treat could make your day!

Note : Sandwiches can be served on bread or homemade chapati (yummy!) (7,50$,10,50$)

MEKONG
grilled tofu, pickled carrot & daikon, mint, coriander,
lettuce & Thai peanut sauce








BLT
coconut bacon, lettuce, tomato & mayo







LA VIE EN ROSE (smoothie)
berries, banana, orange juice, soy-coconut milk,
flax protein

Furthermore, the portions are huge and more than fulfilling!  I had to order my desert to go : the chocolate apple cake. I have to say I wasn’t that impress with it, it was ok. I was expecting something decadent! My friend made me taste her Smoothie; now that’s a desert! I also tasted their latte, which was less expensive than most places, and it was just perfect.

The Service
I love when the waiters just interrupt you when necessary and give an efficient and polite service. Our waitress was all that and she even manage to be around while her section was full. In addition, the kitchen delivered pretty quickly so I’m guessing they have a good team over there.

Prices range for a main dish is 7, 50$ to 15$, that’s awesome since it’s the kind of place where you wish to comeback often.  Last word but not least, they serve brunch on weekends!




Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Let`s face the truth about pets` food!


There are so many things to say about pets: how we interact with them, how we treat them and how awfully cute they can be (sometimes at least). But there is an issue that should concern us more than anything else, because it puts their health at stake, and that is: industrialised pets’ food.

Here is a question for you: how much do you know about your pet’s nutrition? If your animal happens to be overweight or worst, obese (which is now the trend), then hopefully you gave it some thought. Your pet’s nutrition should be seen as a serious issue, as you’re his owner.

 I know many people, including my sister and one of my friend, are deeply concerned about the health of their animals. They are informed and feed them with the best food they can afford. However it is hard, mainly because pets tend to follow our society sedentarily and gluttony!

Hungry pets

Mr Fletcher (or as we call him: the rabbit)   
My friend owns 2 cats and 1 rabbit. One of the cats comes from a shelter; she is then –always- in the starving mode, she is so adorable though!
As for the rabbit, Mr Fletcher, he has an unexplainable, insatiable appetite! If you leave the refrigerator doors open, he’s going to jump in and rob you from your carrots or anything he will be able to grab. Whether it is eatable or not; he’s willing to take his chances.  In fact, the garbage bags must be in a secure place and one should avoid dropping any food on the floor!

Chato
My sister’s dog is always hungry, and will trick you into serving him more food; he cries as if nobody has fed him yet. He has an omnivorous taste and will run away with your sandwich freshly made. When it comes to food, he is not afraid of anything.

I notice many pets are like this in some level or another. It’s annoying, sometimes funny, but it’s mostly unhealthy.  I say unhealthy because usually the pet’s owner, in an attempt to comfort their animal, will feed them more pet food which is no good!

Big corporations have been taking advantage of the pets’ food industry for a while now. As you might suspect, contrary from what the advertising say, the food is total crap, and it’s making the animals fat and/or sick.

Animal food is not all made all come equally (I’m talking about their quality here). The average pet food that you find in the supermarket is junk filled with too many calories, additives and not enough nutrients.

Pets’ food is mainly made with by-products or as it is called for mammals: meat-and –bone. What is it exactly you might ask?  As the Born Free USA organisation defines it, it is everything that’s usually not consumed by humans, namely: heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, ligaments, fat trimmings and unborn babies! There is also a thing called “4D” that stands for dead, dying, disease and disabled; this kind of meat can be found in your pets’ food…

Also, since corporations are, and always will be prone to find creative ways to save some cash, they are now relying on vegetable protein sources. It might sound healthy, but it isn’t. Those starchy carbs and cereal grains don’t add any valuable nutrients to the meal. It only contributes to a good deal of empty calories.

In addition, the dry food is cooked twice at a very high temperature. Meaning, that not only many nutrients are destroyed but also the proteins are altered. Altered proteins are carcinogenic.

Since there is an obvious lack of nutrients, they fortify the pets’ food with vitamins and minerals….You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that this isn’t the best way to nourish any animal. At the end of the day, you have a pet eating a highly processed meal made out of stuff that, in my opinion is supposed to go in the trash (or ideally, it never should have been produced).

Is there any alternatives?

First off, wet food will always be a better option than the dry one. It is less processed, has more protein and since it’s canned, it has fewer preservatives (still mostly made with by-products).
Secondly, according to Born Free USA, the high premium quality pets’ food as well as the organic or “natural” pet food is made with higher quality ingredients. They don’t use by-products; however they rely on leftovers from the meat used for human consumption. I personally would prefer that for my pet.

 Third: What about Vegan pet food? If you think about it, it kind of makes sense. We are feeding our pets with meat coming from industrial farming; we are not helping the cause against animal abuse…However, cats and dogs ARE carnivores. So, for this reason, the subject is a controversy. Some organisations are against it while others approve. On the other hand, there is no solid proof that it could be more harmful the average pack of pet’s food.

While discussing with my friend Nancy, the owner of Mr. Fletcher, she said: they (pets) count on us, we are the only ones on earth they have; it is our duty to protect them.  I think it’s time to take a closer look to what our little friends eat and since we are the ones who chose to adopt them, try our best to feed them correctly.


Reference:
Author, last name first. "Get the facts: What’s really in Pet Food." Born Free USA .May 2007. 13 January 2012. <http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=359 >



Thursday, 12 January 2012

MY MOM'S BANANA-CHOCOLATE CAKE

I have no idea where my mom found this recipe; I believe she took it from somewhere and modified it to make it her own. What I do know is that it tastes great and its vegan! She sometimes uses maple syrup instead of granulated sugar. She once tried with unsweetened chocolate instead of cacao, it was equally good but different…
I have to say love my mom’s cake, it’s light, moist and not too sugary. You can also turn it into cupcakes if you feel like it!!

1 cup of flour (my mom uses any kind)
1/3 cup of oil (canola preferably)
3/4 cup of maple syrup or 4/5 cup of granulated sugar
4 mature bananas (the kind that are too pasty to be eaten!)
1 pinch of salt
¼ cup of water
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
100 grams of dark unsweetened chocolate OR cocoa powder (my mom’s uses cocoa usually and I found that the chocolate tends to mask the taste of the bananas)
½ of a teaspoon of baking soda
¾ of a teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat the Oven at 180oC (later you will rise the temperature)

1)In a bowl pour the baking powder and baking soda and the flour. 
2) Make a puree with the bananas. In another bowl mix the puree of bananas with the oil, the syrup (or sugar), the vanilla extract and the water (mix well).
3) slowly pour the dry ingredients and the cocoa (or chocolate) into the wet ingredients.
4) Pour the batter in a cakepan and  bake at 350oC , leave it for 35-45 minutes

Note: if you wish to turn this recipe into cupcakes, leave it in the oven only for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, 6 January 2012

My Vegan Holidays

                                                           The nice table setting at my aunt's house


My family isn’t vegan, not even close to it. So I had to cook some little things for myself. I also wanted to give my family a taste of vegan goodies, I baked a bunch of mint chocolate cupcakes.

                                     I baked another batch for my coworkers, there are tasty ways 
                                            to promote veganism....

It’s funny how people have the wrong idea and make assumptions on vegan food such as : is there any sugar in the cupcakes? What kind of ingredients is in there? I do agree that sometimes vegan foods go to unknown territories, but I really thought that these cupcakes look like legit ones, and I didn't expect so much questioning concerning the ingredients !

Up to this point I didn’t realize how misinformed people were….I spent so much energy tryng to explain to my family what veganism was and how it is the best way to “save” the planet. I totally forgot that my speech wasn’t in any case sounding like vegan food had the potential to be tasteful! Veganism has such a bad rep among the hardcore “traditional”. It is as if veganism was a pledge against taste. Hopefully, little by little it will become an interesting idea to explore….











You can find the recipe here :
http://bankruptvegan.blogspot.com/2011/12/chocolate-peppermint-cupcakes.html?spref=bl










This is a vegan cranberry sauce....


My personal tofu recipe....
                                       traditional Christmas dish....(non vegan)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Veganland for bags, shoes and accessories

VYA Madrid, They don’t claim to be vegan, but they do make awesome good quality stuff NOT made from leather. Their products come from Madrid, Spain and since there is only one store in my area (Montreal, Canada), their products end up being kind of exclusive. The Brand actually makes a conscious effort on being exclusive by having a limited amount pair of shoes of the same model for a given size…

I owe this little discovery to my mom…She bought me a pair of shoes from there that I finally decided to exchange ,and when I went to the store I was amaze by the variety and finally went for a the little pair of boots that caught my eye.



I said they are good quality because here in Montreal the temperature is now below zero and they seem to handle it, my feet a warm and dry! Oh and by the way they were only 60 bucks!!
I bought something for two of my friends : little hand bags. Their cute and I think the picture don’t give the exact idea of what they are because they actually seem to be made out of suede leather.



So there you go, the proof that one can find vegan goodies at a reasonable prices! Oh …,wish I knew this when a bought a 200$ vegan boots (at a vegan shop) that didn't even last a year!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Simple as pie Easy as Cake : Vegan lemon cupcakes



Lemon Gem Cupcakes

For the holidays I decided to bake a cupcake recipe that I tested a couple of times...It’s tasty, moist and easy to do… Just be careful with the quantities because, and I can’t stretch this more; it’s very moist. Meaning it could get more time to bake and/or will not rise enough. In the original recipe it says to add 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoon of sugar, I think if you are planning to use the thick frosting you can leave it at 2/3’s like I did.

About the frosting, I took it from somewhere else. The one in the book works well if you only want a subtle glace (and if you want to save yourself some extra calories!). I chose a thick Vanilla frosting that I tinted with food colorant. It gives them a nicer holidayish touch…Holidays always involves unnecessary sugar, got to love it!

Final thing, I believe I said to fill the muffin cups up to ¾’s but on the recipe it says 2/3’s, follow your guts. As for the timing, it always take me more than 20 minutes, more like 25-30.
That being said here is the Recipe! Enjoy J

*ORIGINAL RECIPE FROM THE COOKBOOK “VEGAN WITH A VENGEANCE”

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 F, Line twelve-muffin tin paper liners. Sift together the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the oil, sugar, rice milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until smooth. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full; bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin thin and place on a cooling rack. Frost when cooled fully.

Lemon Frosting
¼ cup nonhydrogienated soy margarine, softened
¼ cup soy milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Whisk the margarine with fork until fluffy. Stir in the soy milk and the lemon juice;
Ass the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth. (It may take 5 minutes or so to get it to be the right consistency unless you employ an electric handled mixer). Refrigerate until ready to use.


The vegan frosting I used in the Video:

Thick (Vanilla )Frosting
From www.VeganMachine.com
3         tablespoons vegan margarine 
    1/3 cup vegetable shortening
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other extract)
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
(Food colorant if you want…)

Directions:

1. Mix margarine, shortening and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer.  

2. Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix until combined evenly.

Source of recipe: I wrote this recipe.

Makes: 2 Cups, Preparation time: 5 minutes
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