/' http-equiv='refresh'/> Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands: 2012


The Species Barrier #2 Podcast and Show Notes

Ruby Roth's book controversy, young people's knowledge of where food comes from, cats and wildlife, new alarming climate change studies, Rio +20's sad outcome, Caroline Lucas on police tactics and Trident we report back from the bring & share at Lincs 2 Nepal and more.....

Show notes for episode #2 of The Species Barrier:

Feeding the world and animal agriculture: http://www.wholevegan.com/vegan_organic_and_environment.html

twitter @speciesbarrier


Vegan B&B Cornwall Review

We had the pleasure of being the first guests at one of the very few vegan bed and breakfasts in the UK (Another being Fox Hall in Kendal). It is based near Mevagissey in Cornwall, a stone throw away from The Lost Gardens of Heligan and not far from The Eden Project. Kay and Simon live with their son Hugo and are a fantastic vegan couple who made us feel like we were at home from the first minute. We can't say enough positive things about our trip, the only downside was the weather but that's Cornwall for you! The bedroom was beautifully done and large with a very comfy bed and a large en-suite bathroom with a great shower.
The Bedroom
Breakfast is included, a very healthy and delicious porridge filled with lots of tasty treats and their own freshly baked bread and preserves. It was very nutritious and kept us going well into the afternoon, one of those meals that makes you feel fantastic and so energised. We had dinner at the house two of three nights (£5 for two courses) and on both occasions the food was equally tasty and the portions generous. They also offer many drinks (various teas etc) and you have to try the homemade nettle beer which even Ruth loved and she doesn't even like beer usually.

If all this wasnt enough they also share their home with the friendliest cat we have ever met called Flea. He's a dog in a cat's body, soft as anything, you can pick him up, stroke his tummy and he purrs continually. Kay and Simon are very lucky we didnt cat-nap him! Lupin the other resident feline is also friendly, albeit much more reserved.
Friendly Flea
All of the above combined with a prime situation in a lovely part of Cornwall you would expect the price to be high but that isn't the case. At £20 per one person bed and breakfast and £35 for a couple it represents amazing value and is of course totally VEGAN! We expect it to become very popular but will certainly hope to return as long as there are still vacancies to allow us to do so! You can contact them via airbnb.


Species Barrier #1 Podcast & Show Notes

Pilot episode... This week we introduce ourselves, tell our personal vegan stories, talk to Lincoln's MP Karl McCartney to gage his environmental beliefs, check in with new coffee shop Lincs2Nepal regarding their vegan options, discuss the killing of calves on TV, vegan boxers... and more...

Listen to The Species Barrier Episode 01 Why Vegan here: http://archive.org/details/TheSpeciesBarrier01WhyVegan

Or download/listen to the mp3: Here

Show notes for episode #1 of The Species Barrier:

Definition of veganism: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vegan

Lincs2Nepal: http://lincs2nepal.wordpress.com/

Jimmy Doherty and The Giant Supermarket on killing calves: http://jimmysfarm.com/jimmy-doherty-tackles-veal-issue-on-new-channel-4-documentary-series/

Lincolnshire farmers urged to power Biomass Plant: http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/Lincolnshire-straw-willow-crops-help-power-nation/story-16363961-detail/story.html

"Veganism: Saving The Planet One Plant At A Time" winner of the Young Environmentalist Film Award for 2012. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQynrc0C3xc

WBO Welterweight champion Tim Bradley on his plant based diet: http://theplanteater.com/2012/06/01/boxer-tim-bradley-on-his-vegan-diet/

Mike Tyson on being vegan: http://www.treehugger.com/culture/mike-tyson-loves-being-vegan-its-changed-his-life.html

Better Transport address Lincolnshire's wind farm controversy: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/blogs/roads/070612-lincolnshire

Greenhouse gas levels pass symbolic 400pm CO2 milestone: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/01/record-greenhouse-gas-trouble-scientists

Avaaz Petition on renewable energy in Lincolnshire:  http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Continue_Renewable_Energy_Investment_in_Lincolnshire/

Lazy Day Foods: http://www.lazydayfoods.com/engine/shop/index.html


First UK Vegan Radio Show- The Species Barrier



First pilot episode of what we believe to be the first and only vegan radio show in the UK is this Thursday at 2pm, locally on 107.3 Siren FM or online at http://www.sirenonline.co.uk/

This week we introduce ourselves, tell our personal vegan stories, talk to Lincoln's MP Karl McCartney to gage his environmental beliefs, check in with new coffee shop Lincs2Nepal regarding their vegan options, discuss the killing of calves on TV, vegan boxers... and more...

Show notes and podcast will follow after broadcast.


Bring and Share: Wednesday 20th June

In episode one of The Species Barrier radio show we found out about Lincs2Nepal from founder Gary, on the Wednesday the 20th of June we held a vegan bring and share at the venue. The evening was a great success with around 25 people attending and Gary was glad to report that as a result that day saw the highest takings to date.
The gastronomical merriment ensues
As you would expect with a bring and share a wide variety of vegan food was brought along for the event. Everything from avocado pesto pasta to Lasagne to pizza, to sausage rolls, to cashew nut balls and many salads etc. For dessert Ruth had made iced doughnuts and espresso chocolate chip cookies, suffice to say it was all very well received and people also purchased tea and cake in order to further support Lincs2Nepal’s work.
Tempting tasters
We were kindly sent some Kara chocolate coconut milk so instead of hoarding it as Ruth was tempted to we took it to the meet up to see what everyone thought of it. Kara’s coconut milks are widely available in supermarkets and join a wide range of alternatives to cow’s milk, along with soya, almond, hazelnut, quinoa, hemp and rice milks.
We asked the attendees what they thought of the evening, listen in to episode two of the The Species Barrier entitled "Vegan Children" for the result.
Everyone is welcome to attend and if you’d like to come to a future meetup then follow Vegan Outreach Lincoln East Midlands on facebook or this blog for a heads up.


Review: Vegan Freaks

Going vegan? Quite right too! The right tools are the most important things you can have and 2005's Vegan Freaks, Being Vegan in A Non-Vegan World is certainly a fantastic tool. Vegan Freaks was the first book that Ruth read about veganism and it is still her favourite vegan book of all time.

Written by Bob and Jenna Torres who used to do a fantastic, irreverent podcast also entitled "Vegan Freaks", the book has every piece of information you could want from why you would go vegan, to how to go vegan, hell is other people, what to eat and drink, how to get involved in vegan groups and things you would never consider being non-vegan (Some wines etc).

The cover of the new edition

It is written in a funny and compassionate way and even now after being vegan for five years Ruth can still pick it up and learn something new. She loves the chapter called "Hell is other people" and can't tell you how much it has helped her deal with non-vegans, those who think they're nutritionists the moment you mention you're a vegan, those who stick meat in your face (Dad!) and how to turn negative events into positive ones (bring food, especially sweet and exceptionally tasty stuff).

It's a small book, only 150 pages long but one that every vegan should have and available cheaply new or used (Always the environmental choice) on Amazon what are you waiting for? Ruth has the first version but there is a newer, updated version so get that if you can.

Bob Torres released a further book in 2007 entitled Making a Killing: The Political Economy Of Animal Rights.


Easy and Delicious Carrot Cake Recipe with Orange Frosting

Here's one we made earlier
Ingredients for cake:
500g self raising flour
2tsp baking powder       
8tsp ground cinnamon 
4tsp grated nutmeg  
200g vegetable margarine (I use Vitalite)
200g sugar (brown)
200g golden syrup
500g  grated carrot  
1 cup coconut/soya milk- coconut milk is more creamy.

1) Melt margarine, sugar and syrup over a low heat. Stir, and take off the heat.
2) Put flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl and pour sugar mixture on top
3) Whisk and add milk
4) Stir well and then add the grated carrots
5) This makes one cake- fill a 8.5 to 9 inch cake tin and cook for arouns 25-35 mins or until a skewer comes out with just a few crumbs
6) Leave to cool then remove from cake tin.

Ingredients for Icing:
12 tbsp vitalite or pure dairy free margarine
1.5 cups of icing sugar
1 orange (rind and juice only)

1) Grate the rind off and squeeze three tsp of juice from the orange into the mixture.
2) Whisk all of the miexture together until right consistency
3) Add more icing sugar if you want thicker or more juice to make it thinner.
4) Apply the icing to the cake.


Channel 4 Shocks The Public With Truth

Currently 58 people have complained over footage showing male calves being killed on a farm as part of a recent Channel 4 programme. Surely near all of the complainants meanwhile drink cow's milk. What are they trying to do? Scare TV channels into never again daring to show them the truth? No facts on our TV set please, our heads are happily in the sand, out of site, out of mind and all that good stuff?

The killing of calves is absolutely standard practice in all methods of dairy farming. The male being a by product of his mother's continued forced pregnancy cycles, deemed useless due to his lack of profitability. Then humans step in to steal and sell the milk intended for him from the grieving mother. The fortunate female calves meanwhile get to become the grieving, exploited mothers of tomorrow.

The less said about Jimmy Doherty's cynical pushing of how cute and innocent the slaughtered calves are the better. His conclusion as a farmer is that they should instead be kept around longer and then dished up as "rose veal", a position the ever toothless RSPCA and CIWF support. Sensationalism and self-promotion in the total absence of any consistent ethical foundation.

Cute... and sentient.

It never fails to surprise how ill informed the public currently is regarding how other animals are needlessly used on their behalf.  That the big animal welfare charities have solicited huge amounts of money and single issue petition signatures but neglected to educate on the very fundamentals of egg and dairy production is hugely telling. The failure assures that basic, grassroots, vegan advocacy performed by individuals will be vital to countering comforting, childhood myths many still hold regarding Old McDonald and his farm.

Remember vegetarians that if you demand dairy products then you also by default demand the killing of calves to produce them. This certainly makes for a puzzling irony regarding the avoidance of rennet in cheese, which after all is made from the stomach lining of slaughtered calves.

Don't want cows, calves or any other animals exploited and killed on your behalf? Go vegan.


Bransby Home of Rest for Horses Stall

We are having a stall at Bransby Home of Rest for Horses open day this Sunday 11am to 4pm. We'll be selling cupcakes,cookies etc to raise money to print recycled paper recipe pamphlets to give away to encourage people with easy and yummy vegan recipes. We will also have a load of educational information,cookbooks to flick through and of course we will be there to answer any questions. Hope to see some of you and if you have any requests let me know ASAP.


A Vegan Taste Of Cumbria

Typically when we visit an area we will fire up Happy Cow to check which places best cater to vegans. Sadly The Lake District doesn't have any exclusively vegan places to eat that we can in good faith fully promote on ethical grounds. However there are two stand out candidates for places that will at least deliver tasty, nutritious vegan meals should you wish to visit them. These are the vegetarian daytime cafe in Keswick The Lakeland Pedlar and the more traditional vegetarian restauant/hotel at Lancrigg (specifically The Green Valley restaurant) in Grasmere.

The Lakeland Pedlar Shop Front
The Lakeland Pedlar Bike Shop & Wholefood Cafe

The Lakeland Pedlar combines a bicycle shop with a wholefood cafe. It is quite casual, laid back and dog friendly so your companions are free to join you at the dinner table.

The menu clearly states which options are either vegan or can be adapted into a vegan option. There are daily specials for soups and main meals. Marcus had the day's smoothie (Raspberry and banana), the day's special of Lentil Shepherd's Pie and salad, whilst Ruth had gluten-free Nachos and salsa. There were several vegan cake options including carrot cake and raspberry slices. Marcus picked the hefty chunk of chocolate cake, sadly there were no gluten-free vegan options for dessert so Ruth had to go without. All of our choices were satisfying and tasty.

The Lakeland Pedlar opens 9am every day and closes 4.30pm weekdays and 5pm weekends. Vegan Society members can claim 10% off.

Restaurant View L
Lancrigg's Green Valley Restaurant

The egg and dairy selling Lancrigg advertises in The Vegan Society magazine much to the chagrin of Professor Gary L. Francione. Whatever we make of the decision to promote their business in a vegan publication, the onsite Green Valley restaurant certainly can be said to be experienced in catering to vegans with high-end, delicious options available.

There are a selection of appertisers and starters, most of which are suitable for vegans. Marcus had the bruschetta and sage pate, Ruth the gluten-free chickpea and coriander falafels, both came with a salad garnish. For the main Marcus had pumpkin and cashew tart with ratatouille, potatoes etc, Ruth had roasted vegetable salad with smoked tofu and seeds. For dessert Ruth had chocolate mousse and coconut sorbet, whilst Marcus had chocolate, toffee and nut ice cream sundae. To drink we had organic pomegranate juice, a coffee and Egyptian Licorice tisane. All meals were decadent and made to a very high standard. Accordingly it is not cheap and for many it will be best saved for special occasions.

The Green Valley restaurant is available for outside bookings or to users of the hotel. Lancrigg have extensive, beautiful forested grounds (with a waterfall as a backdrop) which are well worth exploring whilst there.


Travelling as a Vegan

Apologies for the delay in posting new blog entries but we have been busy planning lots of new and exciting things for VOLE, joining up with likeminded groups and looking into lots of outreach opportunities.

A lot of people we talk to seem to have a belief that veganism outside of the home is difficult and that it means giving up enjoyable parts of life such as eating out and travelling, which begs the question why aren't they at least vegan at home? Regardless in the following blog post we hope to counteract this misapprehension by showing in reality just how easy it is.

We have just returned from the Yorkshire Dales, staying very near the Lake District. It's absolutely stunning and if you like nature and the outdoors we cannot recommend it highly enough (just bring a raincoat!). The UK truly is a beautiful country and so many people forget what diverse places we can visit on our doorstep. Back to the point, travelling as a vegan. Ruth has been vegan for almost five years now and in that time she has lived in Hong Kong, travelled to South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and all over the UK. She has never considered eating animal products and has found being vegan to be achievable no matter where she's been.

If you live in the UK there is NO reason to complain about veganism being hard. All the major supermarkets sell a selection of "milks" made from soya, almond, coconut, hemp etc. Sainsburys and Co-Op label their products vegan. You can get vegan toothpaste, washing up liquid, washing powder, cleaning products etc from the co-op that are labled as free from animal products and not tested on animals. It's the Co-Op own brand and well priced. We happened to forget our toothpaste (whoops!) and were staying in a small town with no Co-Op or health food shop so chose to use the old vegan version, bicarbonate of soda until we found one. We have to admit it tasted very strange and but it was a cruelty free method of cleaning our teeth and that's all that matters.

When on the road, do as the vegans do...

When travelling first start by doing some research. What is the local diet like? Do they have dishes that are vegan by default? What is the word for vegan in the language they speak? We also carry The Vegan Passport, a very handy little booket, it's only £2.50 from The Vegan Society and explains in many languages what a vegan is, very useful when there isn't a direct definition available.

Happy Cow is a fantasic reasource for finding restaurants that offer vegan food, it lists whether they serve animal products so you can choose the vegan one over a vegetarian one where possible. It also lists health food shops for getting specialist ingredients. It is international so you can find shops and restaurants all over the world and they are graded by price and user reviews which is handy.

Colleen Patrick Goudreau puts out a fantastic free vegan podcast called Vegetarian Food for Thought which is the first podcast Ruth ever listened to. Colleen's very compassionate and has an amazing way of putting across ideas and lots of useful tips. She has created many podcasts on travelling as a vegan that are well worth a listen.

The best advice we can give for travelling is to always plan ahead. Have suitable containers available for packed lunches and snacks. Even look out for nature's own bounty, we found some wild garlic, which makes a delicious pesto. Contact places you will be staying and let them know you are vegan and exactly what that means, so many places bizarrely think that fish bodies, cow's milk, chicken bodies etc are acceptable.

Even when you've covered these bases it's always best to have some back up food handy. One time in Namibia when Ruth was a vegetarian, staying at a lodge who had been informed that she was vegetarian. When she arrived however there was nothing available, in fact she was told (quite seriously) "you can eat the carrots". This could have been a serious issue but she had planned ahead and had a can of baked beans in the car and they had potatoes so the good old standard baked potato and baked beans made for a quick, nutritious meal. Easy when you want it to be!

Please email us if you have any questions or comments on travelling as a vegan.


Meatout 2012: VOLE Events

Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands (VOLE) held a free food stall as well as a free food event and film screening to mark "Meatout 2012". As meat alone isn't the sole problem we gave out alternatives to various animal products; meats (duck, meatballs, beef slices, sausages etc), cheeses (Sheese, Cheezly and the much vaunted Swiss brand Vegusto) and the most important food of all...chocolate! They also offered free cupcakes and cookies to show how delicious animal-free baking is.

The university stall was met with great interest, countless many vegan leaflets were taken, many discussions were had and many compliments were given regarding the free food.

The University Stall
Film Screening Table
There was a huge spread available for the film screening and whilst the majority of attendees weren't yet vegan, they nearly to a person returned to laden their plate with seconds. Curiosity satiated that vegan food is delicious and varied they then settled down to question prevalent attititudes towards other species via 1981's The Animals Film. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
For the latest news, views, activities and articles from VOLE, visit the blog at: http://veganoutreachuk.blogspot.co.uk/

VOLE featured in 'Your Lincoln' magazine

In a previous article we spelled out the impressive case for veganism as the 'Environmentalist diet'. Vegan Outreach Lincoln East Midlands were featured in Your Lincoln Magazine's Spring 2012 edition on how best to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside a cake-laden image from one of our stalls the article read as follows:

Vegan Diets are not as difficult as they may seem...

We (Marcus and Ruth) are both longtime vegans. Whilst animal rights reasons are at the root of this choice, there are added advantages for personal health and the environment.

Science shows switching to a plant based diet is the single best thing we can do for the planet. Animal agriculture has higher greenhouse gas emissions than any other industry (including all forms of transport combined), 51% of the total according to some studies. Similarly there are problems as regards clean water supplies, the clearing of forests and the inefficient use of land and crops.

Vegetarianism doesn't address these issues as it maintains that other animals still be farmed for their eggs, dairy etc. Seeing as none of these products are necessary heath wise, veganism can be seen as a vital part of a green lifestyle.

We are members of education group Vegan Outreach Lincoln East Midlands and both enjoy cooking and eating a wide variety of foods, including cakes such as those in our photo! You can contact us, find out more regarding veganism and what a positive, easy step it is to take, as well as get some delicious recipes at our website: http://veganoutreachuk.blogspot.com


In Defence of Vegan Education

We had an article published in the abolitionist on some of the hostility we faced from the old guard traditional welfarists to us doing vegan education. We've pasted it below but it is well worth going and reading the rest of The Abolitionist online magazine here.

On November 12, 2011 we participated in the Lincoln Veggie Fayre as co-organisers and volunteers—our last act as members within a local welfarist group. The previous year had seen over 600 visitors so it seemed a good opportunity to inject a vegan message into proceedings.

To give context, the fayre had originally been founded by grassroots vegan activists in 2008 with the values of free entry, free vegan food and vegan education. It had certainly lost its way since those noble beginnings, with the original founders and co-organisers being pushed out one by one until quite different values remained. The group remaining, despite having the word vegan in its title, had taken every opportunity to bask in the media glow, particularly that of the toothless Nocton “victory”, when the infamous local dairy proposal was refused by default on environmental grounds. Vegan education was clearly no longer the main goal.

 In a rare meeting the few members in attendance were told that 2011 would have admission fees and free food was to be restricted, despite decent profits the previous year. Luckily we eeked out one last whimper of democracy and such negative shifts were at least temporarily delayed. The fayre would go ahead with free entry, although there would remain a thinly disguised war on the free food. We thought this bizarre, as this was meant to be an advocacy event.

Determined not to let the event shift too far from its roots, we put in many hours of preparation and organisation. We dutifully vowed to uphold the free vegan food and education elements to the best of our abilities. We took our stations on the Friday afternoon, preparing the food on site as is required. We even introduced new, healthier items like giant bowls of quinoa salads.

Getting the ingredients we asked for out of the group coffers was made predictably difficult, so, we often had to reach into our own pockets. We didn’t expect to recoup the money, but considered it instead a donation to veganism. We would be there until late evening providing a huge spread, a great testament to the efforts of a small remaining band of principled volunteers.

Sadly, on the day of the event we were again exposed to an attitude of total antagonism towards the free food from the welfarists: “It’s stopping people from buying stuff,” was an oft repeated mantra amongst the disgruntled few. Ironically, never one to miss a media opportunity, the self-proclaimed “director” went on the radio pushing free food (and entry) as the main attraction to any would be attendees.

Suspiciously, all the food was put out in one go—rather than staggered as is customary, so all visitors get a chance to sample and taste through lunchtime and beyond. Unsurprisingly this led to dwindling supplies a few hours in, which must have caused those guided by the profit motive great pleasure.

In fact, outrageously, many people were even left unsure as to whether the food was suitable for vegans! This now under publicised baseline had been explicitly stated in previous years by helpful vegan volunteers dishing up food and having conversations with visitors as they did so. This year the tables were shifted around and reduced so that it wasn’t possible for anyone to perform this helpful duty and, instead, the food was just angrily dumped out with no further supervision or care.

Regardless, the bounty of vegan goodness was still very well received by a curious public. So what better way to cement and nurture that interest than by sharing the recipes? Alas no, our efforts to put out cards with an online link to the recipes we had prepared were thwarted and routinely gathered up in an odd display of ego. A bizarrely covert form of vegan advocacy, where recipes that make transitioning easier are hoarded instead of shared.

Well there lays the next problem, the total lack of vegan advocacy at the fayre. Oh sure the event had a baseline of veganism buried away somewhere, but it was seen as an almost dirty word to be ashamed of, or , “radical” even (more on that one later). The local welfarist group had vastly scaled back its vegan educative materials and chosen instead to put prime focus on their private business’ stall. A cynic might suggest this played a part in the lurch towards the aforementioned commercialisation of the fayre.

Who could expect any more, though, when the event had become near totally enthralled to the whims of VIVA!, the self-proclaimed biggest vegetarian group in Europe? They took a double stall in a prime location, choice position on all sponsorship materials, and their director Juliet Gellatley was to dominate the speaking schedule with not one but two lengthy talks. Meanwhile her assistant would fill any remaining gaps by giving VIVA! cookery demonstrations.

Again, for the sake of honesty, VIVA! do have a vegan message buried somewhere, however it takes a firm backseat to all things “veggie”. Given they do choose to use only the anaemic tag of vegetarian in their name, that’s no great surprise.

Most important to the organisation seems to be self-aggrandisement and crowbarring the word VIVA! into every phrase. Don’t go vegan, “go VIVA vegan!” and, more to the point in most easily appeasing the general money-donating public, don’t go veggie, “go VIVA veggie!”. As outsiders, there’s a feeling that they are not interested in getting people to go vegan, so much as getting people to donate money. Even if they do go vegan, it is correctedly called ‘Viva Vegan!’, so as not to lose out on potential members. Any concern that people might be put off—by linking veganism to a specific business—is ignored in favour of profit.

In the face of these overwhelming odds, we took it upon ourselves to assume the role of pariahs and provide the one and only stall focussed purely on vegan education. It was a great success, with plenty of people interested in the logical, unequivocal message of opposing all use of other animals in equal measure.

It is surely refreshingly consistent to hear such a message, after VIVA! confuse with messages implying kangaroo leather is worse than standard leather, or that there is an equal moral footing for buying free range eggs rather than not buying eggs at all. As a result our blog has received a good number of hits and we’ve had plenty of feedback and call to continue the discussion.

Of course when presented with a hundred welfarist messages and only one of abolitionist veganism, the path of least resistance is to obey the flashy slogans of the big animal welfare authorities and go “veggie”. However, we definitely provided food for thought by exposing people to ideas that they otherwise wouldn’t have received. If nothing else we introduced a meme that runs contrary to the near worthless platitudes contained in the perceived wisdom. As such, attending the event, whilst not without its difficulties, was certainly worthwhile.

During a rare gap in the VIVA!-led festivities, we even found a vacant slot to present a talk to a standing room only audience. Giving the accessible and purposefully vague (yet accurate) title of “How to Best Help Animals.” the abolitionist vegan message was received with great curiosity and interest, with many people staying behind to comment that they couldn’t disagree with the logic of the argument. For full context, the speech we presented can be found here.

This is not to say there weren’t problems: the following Sunday morning, after our labour and volunteering had conveniently been fully exploited, we were issued a letter informing us that our memberships of the local animal welfare group had been terminated with immediate effect. Other dirty tactics to discredit our efforts sadly followed, but not all local animal welfare groups need be so antagonistic towards vegan education. So, whilst egregious, this behaviour needn’t put off other advocates from attending similar events to present a much needed alternate perspective.

Our satisfaction is in having consistently and logically promoted the interests of other animals rather than one ego-led self-promotion and mutually gratifying PR exercises such as that between private enterprise and attending VIVA! patron Benjamin Zephaniah.

Vegan education was edited from the videos and photographs of the event and director of VIVA! Juliet Gellatley was overheard to call us “trouble causers” and our commitment to vegan education “radical”. “Go be radical somewhere else” was the royal decree. Interesting statements coming from an organisation that officially responds that veganism is the answer, when asked by potential donating vegans. There’s a business-forced inconsistency here that is not hard to spot.

We immediately fired off a letter of complaint to VIVA! towers, expressing our disappointment and querying why they are so openly hostile towards non-violent, vegan education but received no response at all. The arrogance of big money animal welfare organisations seemingly knows no bounds. Perhaps we needed to offer a financial donation in order to get a response?

Oh well, here’s to The VIVA! Veggie Lincoln Roadshow 2012. Be sure to have your entry fees at the ready, plenty of spending money and a packed lunch just in case the free food is in short supply.


Pancake Day Recipe!

Who doesn't like a day that involves eating pancakes? Here's a great recipe that we use, it was adapted from The Thrive Diet book and is wheat and gluten free, low fat,healthy and tastes absolutely AMAZING! In fact they're always our breakfast for birthdays,holidays,anniversaries and basically any time we want something special for breakfast.

Blueberry,Banana and Buckwheat Pancakes
Makes around 6 decent sized pancakes

1 cup of buckwheat flour (can be bought in most supermarkets)
1/4 cup of ground flaxseed/linseed
1 tsp baking powder (gf free)
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 medium sized banana
1 cup of blueberries (or whatever berries you have,we use frozen mixed berries)
5 fresh dates/dried dates (obviously no stone)- soak in 1/8th cup of boiling water for 10mins,keep water to use
3 tsp agave syrup or maple syrup or whatever your sweetener of choice is
3/4 cup of soy milk or coconut milk (increases fat but makes very creamy). If you prefer thinner mixture add more milk.

Blend all in in a food processor until smooth then oil a pan and heat until very hot.

As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the size you want. It should take only half a minute or so to cook depending on thickness.

Lift the corners with a palette knife to stop from sticking and use to turn over when ready. Cook for the same time on the other side then serve.


Veganism: The Environmentalist Diet

The social commentators over at Freakonomics, who apply impartial, economic rationality to social issues incredulously asked why many in the environmentalist movement obsess on the evils of coal, yet neglect the huge issues caused through our use of animals. The article is entitled Agnostic Carnvivores and Global Warming: Why Enviros go after Coal and not Cows and it certainly makes a fair assertion:

"Forget ending dirty coal or natural gas pipelines. As the WPF report shows, veganism offers the single most effective path to reducing global climate change."

Switching animal products makes little difference. Nor does being a Locavore:

"The evidence is powerful. Eating a vegan diet, according to the study, is seven times more effective at reducing emissions than eating a local meat-based diet. A global vegan diet (of conventional crops) would reduce dietary emissions by 87 percent, compared to a token 8 percent for “sustainable meat and dairy.” In light of the fact that the overall environmental impact of livestock is greater than that of burning coal, natural gas, and crude oil..."

Freakonomics conclude:

"I’d suggest McKibben, 350.org, and the environmental movement as a whole trade up their carnivorous agnosticism for a fire-and brimstone dose of vegan fundamentalism."

More than just a metaphor

Of course there is nothing new in this message, animal farming has been proven to produce higher levels of greenhouse gases than any other sector of industry, that includes every mode of transport combined; planes, trains, automobiles... the lot.

Cows especially, as ruminants, farmed for their meat and dairy produce a lot of methane, a gas more than 20 times more potent than the more commonly cited CO2. Often the human-caused greenhouse gas contribution from livestock is given as 18%, although one study suggests as much as 51%, as per This study by The World Watch Institute on behalf of The World Bank.

Non-ruminants such as chickens still consume vast quantities of grain. Often it takes eight to twelve kilos of plant protein to produce one kilo of animal protein. 60% of global grain production goes to farmed animals. With 925 million humans lacking enough food as we speak, needlessly breeding non-human animals into existence then feeding them this way surely represents a criminally, selfish act of negligence.

The grain is often produced in ecologically sensitive areas such as the cleared Amazon Rainforest, where 80% of the soya produced is used to fatten up farmed animals around the world, 85% of the total clearance is done so in order to make space for cattle ranching.

Meanwhile with 884 million people lacking access to clean water it takes 2400 gallons to produce one pound of meat. That's a total of 235 trillion gallons of clean water annually just to produce meat alone. Truly a food stuff of the self appointed "global elite".

Topsoil is being destroyed, previously fertile land is increasingly made barren and native plant species are going extinct. As are wild living animal species, pushed out of existence as this monolithic global animal farm spreads. Currently nearly one third of the earth's surface is covered by farm animals.

Dietary impacts

It's not just the big environmental groups who are afraid to rock the boat and offend their vastly omnivorous membership base. Former vice-president of the USA, Al Gore much vaunted for his impressive An Inconvenient Truth lecture and admirable missionary zeal in educating the public on the threat of climate change, failed to make one reference to livestock impacts during his entire film. In fact the only cows that feature in the documentary are those used to positively make reference to the Gore family business of cattle ranching.

The companion book did make clear the significance of animal product reduction and Al has since stated that: “It’s absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis – not only because of the CO2 involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process.”.

In the March of 2014 Gore confirmed he was now vegan, stating that: "Over a year ago I changed my diet to a vegan diet, really just to experiment to see what it was like," he says. "And I felt better, so I continued with it. Now, for many people, that choice is connected to environmental ethics and health issues and all that stuff, but I just wanted to try it to see what it was like. In a visceral way, I felt better, so I've continued with it and I'm likely to continue it for the rest of my life.

Buoyed by Al Gore's veganism, prominent UK environmentalist and journalist George Monbiot finally came down in favour of the position. This decision was based largely on his findings while researching the book Feral, which focused on rewilding. He rescinded his previous opinions that animal agriculture could be done sustainably and that there are better uses of the Lake District's Hills etc (one example being re-forestation) than allowing them to become "sheepwrecked" by the destructive, non-native grazers that are farmed by humans.

With the same problems regarding land use but touted for the health benefits of their milk and flesh, the niche market for grass-fed cows has found them to actually be worse environmentally than the individuals used within the ubiquitous feed lot system.

In 2006 The United Nations specialized organisation The FAO sufficiently understood the political imperative and concerned over issues of environmental sustainability and food security presented the report Livestock's Long Shadow, again confirming the wide, varied issues implicit to the industry.

The study's authors later made clear that more intensified factory farming would be required to meet demand, a suggestion that fails to consider the interests of the other animals who are being used or whether animal farming need take place at all.

Sadly with an ever growing human population and animal products occupying a place as a food of status and social climbing, the amount of animals farmed continues to rise. This is despite the evident truths regarding dietary impacts and the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change.

Domestication as a driver in species extinction
Paul MacCready, the founder and Chairman of AeroVironment and designer of the first solar-powered aircraft, has calculated the weight of all vertebrates on the land and in the air. He notes that when agriculture began, humans, their livestock, and pets together accounted for less than 0.1 percent of the total. Today, he estimates, this group accounts for 98 percent of the earth’s total vertebrate biomass, leaving only 2 percent for the wild portion, the latter including all the deer, wildebeests, elephants, great cats, birds, small mammals, and so forth.

Prominent film director and environmentalist James Cameron announced his veganism as an ethical imperative: "It’s not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere.”

“I’ve had an epiphany recently,” Cameron said. “I want to challenge all of you as people of deep conscience, people who are environment stewards of the earth and oceans … By changing what you eat, you will change the entire contract between the human species and the natural world."

Described as "the film that environmental organisations don't want you to see!" 2014 saw the release of Cowspiracy, a highly influential documentary that seeks to explore the ecological impacts of animal agriculture and why the big green organisations are yet to give the issue the focused importance it merits.  Louie Psihoyos, Oscar-Winning Director of "The Cove" said that "Cowspiracy may be the most important film made to inspire saving the planet." A must watch for the green-minded, director Darren Aronofsky called it "A documentary that will rock and inspire the environmental movement."

A plant-based diet just happens to be one of the healthiest ways of eating yet we continue to unnecessarily inflict suffering on other animals despite the catastrophic, detrimental influence it is having on them as individuals and the very sustainability of this one planet all species depend upon. Ecological concerns are yet another reason among many to go vegan, it's easily done and if you need any assistance do drop us a line...


Vegan Cats

After our last blog post on vegan dogs we got a few questions regarding feeding cats a vegan diet. We apologise for taking a while but we've been busy both doing outreach and planning for some pretty exciting outreach opportunities that we've got coming up (more soon)!

Firstly (and most obviously) a disclaimer, neither of us are vets. Ruth has studied animal nutrition at degree level but no one is professing to be an expert in feeding cats a vegan diet. We have done a great deal of research into this topic and believe we have all the information that we would need should we rescue cats. As per usual if you have any questions or comments you can email us, leave a message under this post or write on our facebook page/group.

Similarly to the dog issue, when we as vegans oppose speciesism it is less than ideal to feed our companion animals other animals over the course of a lifetime. Veganism is unnatural for cats they say, well so is feeding them (for just two examples) environmentally-destructive cows or fish from the overly-exploited seas, animals they could never hope to catch via their own means. On which topic please don't allow cats to kill native wildlife, they are a human-introduced predator and as such occupy a potentially devastating place in ecosystems, especially given their vast numbers.

Neither belongs in a "petfood" can.

Now onto diet, cats are often more finicky than dogs, and their nutritional requirements are more complicated however this shouldn't put you off transitioning a cat that lives with you to a vegan diet. Unlike dogs where switching food is a generally a relatively easy switch (being that most will eat anything!) changing a cat's diet is something that will likely simply take a bit more time and patience.

I would suggest start with the current food (this is for wet food) and add a small percentage of the new food and see how that goes (hopefully the cat wont notice the difference). Next day add slightly more and keep continuing until you're at 100% vegan food. This all assumes that you have no issues with the cat disliking the food. Should you get to a point (lets say for this example 50% of each) where the cat won't eat the food then there are a few good tips that I've been told. One is heating the wet food up very slightly (obviously please be careful!) this enhances the smell and can make the food seem more appealing.

Nutritionally there are a few things to look out for. Firstly cats need a considerable amount of dietary vitamin A as they cannot make their own (biosnythesise). It is important to ensure they have sufficient as without it they can get health issues including hearing,skin and intestinal issues.  Another important nutrient for cats is taurine, again a diet lacking this can cause significant health issues. Both these and all essential nutrients  can be found in vegan cat food and many cats have thrived on these. We have linked to both ready made wet cat food, kibble and Vegcat (a nutritional supplement to put in homemade food) at the bottom.

One of the most common health concerns with vegan cats is urinary tract infections. Because of anatomical differences, the risk of urinary tract problems is much lower in females than in males. Both genders can develop crystals in their bladders with females this may cause discomfort but the crystals do not cause blockage. This means that that urinary tract infections are much less severe in females than in males and are much easier to cure. In male cats however a blockage can occur and can be severe.

Females, as mentioned above, can usually be given a 100% vegan diet with no problem. And so can many males. However, we really need to stress that if you want to make your males completely vegan, you need to be very dedicated and vigilant when it comes to maintaining their urinary tract health. What does this practically mean? Well basically you should make sure you get your cats ph checked every 6 months (more so when you initially introduce them to a vegan diet). You can buy ph strips for cats online to do at home, they're easy to use and give you a quick indication as to whether your cats ph is fine (or not). Feline ph should be between 6.4 and 6.5, any higher or lower then make a vets appointment!

Next, NEVER feed a male (or female really but especially a male) a strictly kibble diet. Most vegan male cats will do best on NO kibble whatsoever. Cats usually get most of their fluid from their food, which is important for ph and flushes the urinary tract stopping minor infections. They will drink water but not enough to make up from not having water in their food. If they will only eat kibble then consider soaking it in water for a few minutes prior to soaking.

Also add enzymes pH to every meal, you can easily get hold of them and they're a good idea regardless of whether the cat that lives with you has urinary tract issues as they aid digestion and help with metabolism. Get hold of enzymes with vitamin c and cranberry extract as this help acidify the urine and soothe the urinary tract.

So experimentation is key. With so many permutations available you should be able through sensible, gradual analysis to find the ethically optimum diet for your cat. If you have tried everything you can and still can't get your cat to accept a fully vegan diet then it is better to have them on a percentage of vegan food like a 75% vegan wet food mix than a fully meat based diet. Try and get to as high a percentage of vegan food to animal-derived food to at least feel you are best reducing the suffering this one animal, you are responsible for is causing.

Finally, the other most important thing is to spay and neuter! We owe a great duty of care to the overflow of domesticated animals we have brought into being and should always vehemently oppose the wanton selfishness of breeding new ones into existence.

Ph Supplement
Vegkit for kittens and lactating females
Vegcat for homemade food
Benevo wet cat food
Benevo Kibble
Ami Cat- comes in different weights


Vegan Dogs

We (Ruth and Marcus) live with two rescue dogs, Lilly and Molly, a mother and daughter pair, they're fantastic and we absolutely adore them. They have more energy than we have,in fact we wouldn't be surprised to find that Lilly (the mother) has more energy than any dog in the world. They first came to live with us as the animal sanctuary at which I (Ruth) volunteered (will go back soon) found out that they were about to be put down having been in a private kennel for eight weeks. They were dumped there by their previous owners who not only had obviously abused them (Molly is scared of strangers, especially men until she knows them) but then deserted them in a flooded house! The neighbours called the RSPCA who contacted the owners who then took them to these kennels and abandoned them.

When they arrived they were dirty, had very matted hair (they have long coats that need brushing and trimming) and Lilly had a corneal ulcer on her left eye which was long overdue treatment lest the entire eye be removed. Extra medical costs for a pair of black (unpopular fur colour in rehoming) dogs unlikey to be rehomed aren't taken lightly.

The animal sanctuary didn't really have room for them as the woman who runs it does it all on her own, has over 23 Dogs, 20 + Horses, Geese, Rabbits, Cats etc. So we agreed to foster them. I (Ruth) have rescued/fostered/snuck into my bathroom non human animals since I can remember (so that's A LOT of animals) and I've loved and cared for them all but have found other homes for all but one (who lives with my parents in HK).

It is probably pertinent at this point to mention that 1) Marcus is allergic to excessive dog fur 2) Lilly and Molly have two of the worst coats for shedding I've ever seen being Belgium Shepherd Collie crosses with big undercoats.  Anyway despite this issue, we fell in love with them within seconds, despite all they had been through they very quickly came to trust us, they never left our sides, Molly now hides behind Marcus whenever she's nervous (an impressive achievement for a dog who wouldn't come our from under the table if he was in the room for the first week). 

Lilly at the Beach

Molly at the Beach
Before we agreed to even foster them though we had a conversation about what they would eat. We knew that as vegans we couldn't pay for one set of animals (those made into food) to be used and abused so another (the girls) could eat. I'm very fortunate in that my degree included units on animal nutrition as well as access to professors to discuss dog nutritional needs with. We both did a lot of research including reading this free ebook on vegan dogs. We saw no reason that they shouldn't be healthy and happy on a vegan diet so that's exactly what they've been fed for the last 22 months.

We tried them on v-dog flakes initially which they didn't like then tried v-dog nuggets which they love. They also get some extra cooked food now and again which could be anything from potatoes, kidney beans and olive oil to whatever we had the night before (no onions, dogs are allergic).  They also adore carrots, seriously, we can't peel one or say the word without them being at our heels! Not only that but they took to nicking cabbage out the pots where we were growing them, cute initially but much more destructive than cabbage fly!

It's not just our opinion that they're healthy, according to the vet at their last check up about 6 weeks ago she said "They're in fantastic shape, the right weight and are very healthy. Keep doing what you're doing!". Now that's high praise from someone who peddles Iams. The other dogs vets are seeing are increasingly overweight (sometimes obese!) and listless apparently.

We knew that it was vital to us that the dogs were vegan, we couldn't justify the speciesism of feeding them other animals so we were willing to try everything and I think that is very important. Try lots of different foods, in the UK alone there's V-dog flakes,V-dog nuggets, Ami dog (hypoallergenic), Benevo,Yarah and vegedog which is a supplement powder to put on cooked food if you choose to go that way. What we're trying to say is there's so many options to try that with a bit of patience you will find the one that suits your companion/s.

We know there are those reading this who will think we're very odd and that dogs aren't vegan in the wild so shouldn't be fed vegan. You're right, dogs are natural omnivores (not carnivore as many believe) and scavengers. However post-domestication they eat whatever humans choose to give to them and the fact is that every essential nutrients required in a dog's diet can be met without any animal product whatsoever.

Every single essential amino acid, fatty acid, carbohydrate,vitamin, and mineral can be provided properly and so it can be absorbed. Therefore feeding dogs a traditional dog food with other animals and/or animal derived ingredients is certainly causing unnecessary suffering.

Finally it is vital that the dogs you rescue are spayed/neutered, there are already 120,000 dogs a year  abandoned  in the UK and 7551 are put down for no reason other than a lack of a home. With so many unwanted animals already, bringing more into existence increases competition for the few homes there are.

Helpful links below and remember email us/leave comments on the facebook...

Lembas - where we get our dog food,a wholefood seller in Sheffield
Veggie Pets - Labels which foods are vegan
Cerea dog chews at veggie pets although we find them everywhere,dogs adore them


Vegan Health and Fitness

If you're already vegan or going vegan and want some very good, healthy recipes I would seriously suggest getting hold of "Thrive Foods". It's the third in the series of thrive books written by a vegan ironman triathlete and creator of the vegan supplement range Vega, Brendan Brazier. The first two books, "Thrive Diet" and "Thrive Fitness" are good but a little overwhelming for someone who isn't a professional athlete and wants easy meals. Although the pizza from the first thrive book is amazing, not pizza in the traditional sense but so delicious (in fact we've just had if for lunch!).

As well as being vegan the recipes avoid common allergens, processed corn,wheat,gluten and soy. It's not just a cook book but explains what foods are best for top health, it's a really interesting read even if you don't stick to it totally (we certainly don't).

Brendan recommends certain harder to find foods such as stevia (sugar substitute can be bought on ebay) and maca powder for endurance. If you decide to add these to your diet then we recently found a vegan company (always good to support them first!) called Organic Burst that does maca powder,wheat grass and some other food supplements. Do you need to have all these extra supplements? No, you can live very healthily without them but for those with chronic illness, who are very active, catch every virus etc then a little boost can certainly help.
 Organic Burst (honestly we're not getting paid for this!) are nominated under best new product for the Natural Lifestyle Awards 2011, they're a small vegan company so need help getting known, taking two minutes out your day to vote for them would be great. http://www.targetnaturalmedia.com/nl_awards_2011.php

 Another book we got over Christmas was Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness by the very well known (and loved) vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke. It's a great book to have around for when your beloved (but highly irritating) uncle visits and tells you that all vegans are puny weaklings. Robert most certainly isn't puny and calling him weak would be a mistake. The book sets out how he eats, trains and lives as a vegan. It has sections for serious athletes such as how to get sponsored and some for us mere mortals such as how to get motivated in the first place! An all around enjoyable and inspirational book.

  If you are getting into weight lifting or bodybuilding the best vegan protein powders to get are hemp, pea or brown rice, either separately or if you combine them they're a great compliment to each other. Obviously you can get plenty of protein from your food generally but straight after a hard workout having a big meal can prove taxing for the digestive system.

New Year's Resolutions

Hello, we hope everyone had a great holiday period and 2012 has started well...

 The start of a new year brings with it the desire to change things, make this year better than the last and do things we had put off doing last year. However so many people start with grand, admirable but perhaps a tad unrealistic resolutions,such as "I won't eat anything that's not healthy until i'm x(usually 3 stone lighter than they are) weight" or I'll exercise every day this year" or to bring it back to veganism "I'll convince all my friends to go vegan".

  Unrealistic resolutions tend to lead to failure and make you feel worse than when you started. Lets be realistic here, if your diet consists of mainly junk food and you never cook because you hate it then making a new years resolution that says you'll eat perfectly,never touch crisps again and cook three meals a days is not realistic. It doesn't take into consideration that a)you may not know how to cook b) you're human and not suddenly perfect c) how you are going to achieve this? d) why do you want to do this? You would be better making 12 small step resolutions (one for each month) that work towards your overall achievement. For this example you could start by writing down what you normally eat for a few days, look at what you would like to alter.  Month one's resolution could be to cut down the number of packets of crisps you eat from seven a week to one. That doesn't have to be overnight either, week one you could go from seven to five, week two from five to three, week three from three to two and week four from 2 to 1.  Having an idea of what you'll eat instead or when you might have a craving is a good precaution to take.

If you're trying to lose weight then replace them with some fruit or raw veg (carrot sticks, broccoli, celery the list goes on). If you're just doing it for health then how about some nuts (preferably without oil and salt on). A good book with healthy recipes and minimal fat (although remember folks fat is not the enemy and you need some to be healthy) is Forks over Knives.

  If you don't usually cook but want to then there are some great beginners vegan cookbooks out there, we've listed some links to them at the bottom of this page. 

If you're an omnivore who has decided to go vegan this year, great! We know people who have made the change in different ways. You can go cold tofurky and go from omnivore to vegan overnight but I would suggest having read  a little around the nutritional aspects as you don't want to end up six months down the line saying "It was too hard,I couldn't eat anything,I didn't feel well" as this wont do you, the animals or those you're contact with any good. Go to the vegan society's website there they have good well researched nutritional information that shows how you needn't be a junk food vegan. You are a walking billboard for veganism, if you are fit and healthy people will be much more interested in the message you are giving as they can see that you can be healthy and vegan.

 The alternative and the way we progressed to veganism is to do it gradually. Most people take this to mean go vegetarian then vegan. As we've said in many blog posts we do not think that there is any moral/environmental improvement to being a vegetarian as opposed to an omnivore. Dairy cows are directly linked to the veal industry and it is said that there is often more suffering in a glass of milk than in a pound of steak. What we would do is when you finish the milk in the fridge is go out and buy a selection of alternative milks, a few brands of soya milk (they all taste different), almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk etc and try them all and decide on which one you like. Then when you next need to get more mince then replace it with vegan mince, which can be found in the freezer section of most supermarkets.  Continue until you're replaced all animal products. This way you not only make the change gradual and less scary but also avoid wastage.  

Finally with making resolutions that involve you changing others,others will only change if THEY want to. You can give people all the knowledge and logical arguments they need to make the change but unless they're ready they won't. Pushing people often makes them resentful. I would suggest doing things like getting them copies of your favourite vegan cookbook, bringing vegan food when you visit them, cook a vegan meal together, watch/give them a copy of Forks over Knives. Offer to let them borrow them any animal rights books you have (Gary Francione's books are good). Most importantly be there to openly,kindly and honestly answer any and all questions they have no matter how silly/easy they may seem.

Remember we're here to help, you can leave a comment under here, go onto our facebook groups or email us at veganoutreacheastmidlands@gmail.com

Easy vegan cooking- "Students Go Vegan"
Easy vegan cooking - "30 Minute Vegan"
Dummies Guide to Veganism
Vegan on The Cheap
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