Tag Archives: Vegan GR

Let’s Talk Turkey: F*CK Factory Farming

Since the data says that 97% of people are against cruelty to animals, it’s time for a reality check folks. I don’t like to push politics and policy on this blog much, but the reality of it is factory farming is fricking terrible. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for the quality of food that omnivores consume and it’s effing terrible for the ANIMALS on the farms. Most people don’t realize that there are no federal laws protecting farm animals from cruelty while they are housed on a farm or during transport to slaughter. There are limited protections for cows and pigs at slaughter that are inconsistently enforced and no protections for chickens or turkeys. Factory farms—which raise and slaughter billions of farm animals each year—view animals as cheap commodities rather than as individuals with their own needs and feelings. The cruelty inflicted by factory farms on these helpless animals is unconscionably brutal and would be considered a felony if cats or dogs were the victims.

To raise awareness and a few bucks for the Farm Sanctuary’s amazing mission and work, in October I’m walking with Team Vegan GR in the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals to give animals a voice and to challenge the cruel practices of the factory farming industry. Please support my participation in the Walk for Farm Animals by making a donation today!

For more than 25 years, Farm Sanctuary has relied on the Walk for Farm Animals to support its life-saving mission to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassion. For more information about Farm Sanctuary, please visit their web site: www.farmsanctuary.org.

Need additional inspiration? Education? A kick in the ass? Let’s talk turkeys: 

Turkeys raised for human consumption are crowded into poorly ventilated industrial production facilities, sometimes with as many as 10,000 birds packed into a single factory building. In 2007, 265 million of these naturally explorative and socially sophisticated birds were slaughtered in the United States. Bred to grow alarmingly faster than their wild counterparts, turkeys suffer from numerous health complications, including heart disease and painful leg disorders.

turkey factory farm

  • Due to selective breeding, commercial male turkeys rapidly grow to a weight 3 times larger than wild male turkeys in only 4 months. Rapid growth and resulting heavy body weight can lead to heart problems and painful leg issues, which can eventually lead to crippling.
  • Male turkeys are bred to develop such large breasts that they can no longer mount females to reproduce naturally. Artificial insemination managed by humans is responsible for all reproduction in domesticated turkeys.
  • Turkeys may be confined so tightly that each bird has only between 2.5 to 4 square feet of space each. This space only gets tighter as the turkeys grow larger.
  • The dusty, ammonia-filled air inside these facilities is a consequence of poor ventilation and overcrowding. This highly contaminated air is associated with a host of health issues, including respiratory damage and irritated, swollen eyes.
  • Because a single worker may be responsible for the care of as many as 30,000 birds, these and other illnesses and injuries can easily go unnoticed.
  • Crowding at this level can cause turkeys to injure each other with sharp beaks and toes — a concern to producers because it damages the flesh — so turkeys often have portions of their beaks and toes removed at a young age. Turkeys are routinely debeaked, a painful process in which part of the sensitive, nerve-filled beak is removed using a hot blade, shears, or a high-voltage electrical current. It is also a practice for turkeys to have a portion of their toes removed with surgical shears. Each mutilation is done without pain reliever or anesthetic of any kind.

turkey poults on factory farm

  • Once they reach market weight — on average, 99 days for hens and 136 days for toms — turkeys are thrust into crates and transported to slaughter. Severe injuries, such as dislocated hips and wing fractures, have been reported as a result of rough handling during crating.
  • Transport may involve travel over long distances, subjecting turkeys to unfamiliar noises, motion, and extreme temperatures. These stresses, coupled with the deprivation of food and water during transport, contribute to the hundreds of thousands of turkeys who die before they even reach slaughter.
  • Following a stressful transport, turkeys arrive at the slaughterhouse. Although the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires animals to be rendered insensible before shackling and slaughter, the USDA does not interpret this law to include birds killed for food, and it does not protect turkeys

So WTF are you waiting for? Support me in my walk to educate the public about these egregious abuses and support legislation to end them.  Gobble, gobble. That’s “thank you” in turkey.

EcoTrek Fitness Bars-Yep, They’re Vegan

This is a reblog from Kolene Allen of VeganGR. Periodically they review items for sale that are vegan or accidentally vegan. EcoTrek Fitness bars are available online, sometimes shipped in health/wellness boxes, or if you live in the Midwest…grocery stores and gas stations. My personal fave is the Chocolate Raspberry bar. Tastes too good to be healthy-really, it does.

I would never call myself an athlete, but I do try to keep in shape by running 3 miles 3 times a week. My post run recovery usually includes a green smoothie, normally packed with coconut milk, whatever fruit is in the house, and a handful of spinach or kale.

The times when I’m in a hurry and need something in a pinch, or I don’t feel like fussing with the blender, I reach for an energy bar. There are many on the market, though many of them are not vegan. And of those that are vegan, few qualify as edible due to the taste factor. That all changed when Cari Draft, founder of Grand Rapids based EcoTrek Fitness, sent us a sample of her whole food bars to try out.  Cari founded a program that offers outdoor group workouts that integrate cardio, strength training and flexibility. Then she created her very own whole food bar that is packed with 10 grams of protein and created from ingredients of the highest quality nutritional content. There are no refined sugars, artificial sweeteners or genetically modified ingredients anywhere in the bars.

Despite the fact that these bars contain green foods like spirulina, wheat grass and spinach, you would never know it. There are three flavors to choose from and each one is covered in chocolate and tastes like a candy bar!  Each one is 100% vegan and made right here in Grand Rapids. There are three flavors currently available. Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, and my favorite, Dark Chocolate Raspberry. During my first bite I thought, “There’s no way this is good for me.”  I did a double check of the ingredient label, and I was wrong. These bars are packed full of goodness.

You can find EcoTrek Fitness bars at every single Meijer store and at a number of other places in Grand Rapids and Michigan, or buy them online.

For more vegan goodness, check out VeganGR.com

VeganGR Blog Take Over Part 2: Quick Sauerkraut

You know you have good friends when they take a veggie gift and your smartass comment about blogging for you and actually do it. So Jon and Kolene over at VeganGR have been the recipient of some ridiculous veggies from my summer surplus…Jon, the resident chef, and Kolene, the photographer came up with Sauerkraut when faced with a do or die cabbage situation a few weeks ago. Here’s what happened, according to Jon:

Faced with an exorbitant amount of cabbage (I mean, A TON of cabbage. See previous post about Adrienne’s gift of 40lbs of veggies), there was only one choice.

Sauerkraut.

Now, let’s be clear about this. I am lazy, and I hate waiting. I also have a mild fear of home fermentation.  Recent attempts at rejuvelac based cheese turned into a science experiment into mold than a delicious vegan chèvre. I am determined to plod on, but until I become the king of producing lactic acid, I needed another solution.

A Google search for “quick sauerkraut” turned up far fewer hits than you’d think. This recipe looked promising, so I went with that.

I didn’t have apple cider on hand, ‘cause like, who does? So I doubled the water. To balance and bring in the sugar I think the cider was intended to, I added a little sweetness. The result was really nice, and the hit of a recent summer barbecue!

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 medium green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 ¼ C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 2 T sugar

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in pan, and add onion. Cook over medium heat until onion turns translucent.
  2. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for 30-45 minutes. You want the cabbage nice and tender. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add a little more water.

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VeganGR Blog Take Over Part 1: Eggplant Gravy

I have a small problem: I bite off more than I can chew. This would explain a few things: 1) my 15 lb weight gain in the last two years, 2) my zest for ordering multiple appetizers and never being able to eat an entree at a restaurant, and 3) subscribing to multiple CSA’s in the summertime and then freaking out when it gets to July/August and I have like, triple of everything.

I hate letting good food go to waste so I act as veggie broker to my friends giving them extras of my goods that Mr. Wonderful and I will just watch shrink and die in the confines of our fridge. In the case of eggplants, luckily I can broker all of them off to friends. It’s the only veggie I do not like, well, at least I thought I didn’t until my friends at VeganGR got a hold of my surplus and made eggplant into gravy!

I told Jon Dunn to write a guest post for me and then I could keep my own mouth shut up there, so here’s what he has to say:

There are lots of advantages to being friends with Adrienne and Derek. But the best is that they give us veggies. LOTS of veggies.

Seriously, Adrienne has admitted she’s been overwhelmed with the summer haul from her three (3!!) CSA shares. So, she’s been kind enough to share the wealth. The only requirement was that we blog about what we did with them.

So today, let’s talk eggplant. Adrienne is not a fan, so it was an easy decision to slough them off on us. It’s a good thing, because I can’t get enough of them! I thought I’d share with you a unique recipe I created one time that was kind of an accident.

I had an eggplant, wasn’t sure what I was making for dinner, but threw it in the oven. Then I started making other foods that were ENTIRELY unrelated to an eggplant. So here I was, with a beautiful roasted eggplant and mashed potatoes. So naturally, I made gravy.

Combined with cashews, garlic, and a bit of herbs, the eggplant comes together in a really silky smooth gravy when you blast it in a high power blender. Make sure you fully roast that nightshade. Hopefully for those of you that hate this wonder-veg, that dread of seeing the eggplant in the CSA box will vanish with this recipe!

Ingredients:

  •  2 medium eggplants
  • ½ C raw cashews (these need to be soaked if you’re not using a high power blender such as a vitamix)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt (more to your taste)
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • pepper to taste
  1.  Cut your eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the skin, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Roast the eggplant in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the skin looks all nice and toasty.
  3. Remove eggplant from the oven and remove the skin (let that sucker cool a bit before you go burning yourself!).
  4. Drop all the ingredients into your blender, set it to high and let it go for a couple of minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready when it’s all silky smooth.
  5. Serve over mashed potatoes, baked tempeh, chicken fried tofu, or any other amazing food that begs for a nice home-style gravy.

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Grand Rapids Magazine Goes Vegan

It’s about damn time. A full feature on the vegan community in Grand Rapids. Cheers to all of my friends that landed within the pages of the spread. Want to know what’s going on in veg eats in West Michigan? Check out the March edition of Grand Rapids Magazine to find out how/where you can embrace a cruelty free lifestyle without traveling too far from your front door.

Vegan Spread

 

 

Oh, check it out!

IMG955227

Photos courtesy of Jon Dunn/Kolene Allen, VeganGR.

Happy Birthday to Me! Vegan Cupcake Recipe for YOU!

In honor of my birthday today (36 is the new 26), a vegan cupcake recipe for your nom nom pleasure.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3 C all purpose flour
  • 2 C white sugar
  • 6T cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 T white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.  Gently add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.

Scoop out 1/4 C batter into cupcake wrappers.

Bake 350 x 12-16 minutes depending on your oven.  My batches all averaged about 15 minutes in a conventional gas oven.

Let cool and frost with your fave vegan frosting or Pillsbury chocolate frosting (both dark and milk chocolate varieties are accidentally vegan).

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Thank you to my friends Jon Dunn and Kolene Allen of VeganGR for sharing this recipe with me.

When life gives you over-ripe bananas, find an egg replacement and add a few walnuts to make Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now, and I have always had strong feelings about going vegan, as in, I’d really love to and then I start thinking…of cheese, eggs and Greek yogurt.

Confession:  I am a dairy whore.  The thought of not eating Habanero Mango Cheese from Horrocks ever again frankly makes me nearly faint.  Like most things, jumping in to a vegan lifestyle with both feet is so scary, so I will make small changes where possible and hopefully will get there someday.

My friends Kolene (@suckahpunch) and Jon (@jon_dunn) however, have basically jumped in head first.  I’m so proud of them.  They began a Twitter group Vegan GR (@vegangr) and a website where they scope out vegan friendly restaurants and vendors around GR and basically run around doing good all day long.  I’m serious.  Case in point, Kolene’s birthday wish is raising money for Carol’s Ferals a non-profit feline organization which performs TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services in Western Michigan and Jon works for Best Friends Animal Society  where he is the wizard behind their online presence.  I know, right?  You want to hate them, but you cannot help but love these people!  I don’t even LIKE cats and I gave to Kolene’s birthday wish.  They are compelling people for the case of a vegan lifestyle.  Lots of give in those two.  They inspire me to try, at least sometimes, to foster a vegan diet and so perhaps with their help, I will kick my dairy habit and become a vegan too.

I’ve posted vegan baked goods on this blog in the past (Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles) from PPK’s Isa Chandra, but this recipe I took from this little cutie named Claire who runs this blog called Vegan Cooking.  Check her out and while you are at it, bake a vegan dessert like this one I’m giving to Kolene for her birthday.

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Vegan Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Demerera Sugar (I subbed brown sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • Equivalent of 2 Eggs Using Egg Replacer (I used 1T Golden Ground Flax Seed Sprinkles which I picked up at TJ Maxx of all places for about $3, mixed with 3T tap water)
  • 2-3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts, egg replacer, bananas, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 mins (until knife comes out clean). Cool for 5 mins before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.