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Why People Say Almonds and Avocados Are Not Vegan

Avocados and Almonds are [Vegan] Red Herrings

Ever since this ridiculous clip from (one of my favorite shows), QI, the Internet has been abuzz!

The fact that there’s so much buzz around whether or not avocados and almonds are VEGAN and that vegans are hypocrites for eating them reveals four things to me:

  • 1. that non-vegans love to play the gotcha game.
  • 2. that vegans haven’t done a very good job clarifying what “vegan” means.
  • 3. that almonds and avocados have become red herrings to distract and deflect away from violence in animal factories and slaughterhouses.
  • 4. non-vegans who use this argument are belying the fact that they have no other strong defense for justifying eating animals.
  • 5. Vegans take the bait every single time.

Vegans Are Imperfect Because Humans Are Imperfect.

Here’s what I think.

There is no such thing as a certified vegan, and there is no way to attain perfection or purity — as imperfect humans in an imperfect world.

And that’s not what being vegan is about.

So…should I eat foie gras because my organic kale was grown in soil amended with chicken manure? Should I eat pork and chicken’s wings because the apples I buy were pollinated with domesticated honeybees?

That makes absolutely no sense.

The idea that we should do nothing because we can’t do everything is illogical and self-defeatist. Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.

This is Not a Vegan Problem. It’s a Human Problem.

What’s more, before European colonists brought the honeybee to the United States, native bees alone pollinated all the wild flowering plants and the crops grown by indigenous peoples. That was before we replaced diverse habitat with monoculture (almonds and avocados).

So, the reason farmers RENT bees is because we’re wiping out native bee populations and because these monocrops are intensively farmed.

THIS ISN’T A VEGAN PROBLEM TO SOLVE. This is A HUMAN problem that CAN be solved with some resourcefulness, ingenuity, foresight, and frankly compassion on the part of farmers, scientists, and policy-makers. 

You wanna help bees? Stop wasting time criticizing vegans for doing something. Look in your own back garden to see what you can do to make a difference, and don’t do nothing!

Imperfection is built into begin vegan, because imperfection is built in to being human.

Know Your Numbers (Cholesterol)

In today’s episode of the 15th year of the Food for Thought Podcast, I provide the optimal numbers experts recommend for your total cholesterol, LDL (“bad cholesterol”), HDL (“good cholesterol”), triglycerides, and a little thing called homocysteine. 

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Nama Juicer — Use this link and coupon code COLLEEN10 and get 10% off my favorite juicer.

Plaine Products — Use this link and coupon code “compassion” for 15% off my favorite zero waste bath and body products.

Complement — Use this link and coupon code “joyfulvegan” and get 10% off my favorite supplements.

From Excuse-itarian to Vegan

In this episode, I address a few of the typical excuses people have when it comes to becoming vegan — from “I don’t really eat a lot of meat, dairy, and eggs” to “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” See if any of it resonates with you. 

AFFILIATE PARTNERS

Nama Juicer — Use this link and coupon code COLLEEN10 and get 10% off my favorite juicer.

Plaine Products — Use this link and coupon code “compassion” for 15% off my favorite zero waste bath and body products.

Complement — Use this link and coupon code “joyfulvegan” and get 10% off my favorite supplements.

Halloween Movies with an Animal Theme

Don’t worry! I don’t recommend films in which animals are the victims of gruesome violence. So, grab some popcorn, get a pen and paper, and settle into this episode where I share my suggestions for films that are perfect for Halloween — for kids and adult alike. 

AFFILIATE PARTNERS

Nama Juicer — Use this link and coupon code COLLEEN10 and get 10% off my favorite juicer.

Plaine Products — Use this link and coupon code “compassion” for 15% off my favorite zero waste bath and body products.

Complement — Use this link and coupon code “joyfulvegan” and get 10% off my favorite supplements.

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Can You Eat Eggs And Still Be Vegan?

Is there such a thing as an egg-eating vegan?

Because hens don’t have to be killed to obtain their eggs, many people have been conditioned to perceive eggs as being healthy, humane, and cruelty-free, despite the fact that the majority of them are from factory farms.

To demonstrate their compassion for animals in general and battery cage hens in particular, as well their desire to promote animal welfare, they buy eggs labeled free-range, cage free, humane, and organic, believing they are not contributing to animal cruelty and factory farming.  

Many people often declare that they get eggs from local farmers or backyard hens, who are genuinely cage-free. That leads them to ask me one of the most common questions I receive about veganism, ethics, and animals: what’s wrong with eating eggs from backyard hens / chickens since it doesn’t contribute to animal cruelty. What if that person is vegan in every other way but eats the eggs of their own rescued hens? Or sanctuary hens? Or their hens who are “pets”? In other words:

  1. Is it unethical / problematic / perpetuating cruelty to avoid buying factory farmed animal products but eat eggs from rescued hens? AND 
  2. Can that person call themselves vegan?

Truth Bombs

  • To call yourself vegan, the presumption is you don’t eat animal flesh and fluids. That’s not an arbitrary characterization. While there are grey areas related to being vegan, it’s safe to say that the most basic definition of that is that you’re not eating anything that comes out of an animal. 
  • There is no such thing as a vegan overlord. In the end, whatever you call yourself is up to you.
  • Eggs are loaded with problematic dietary cholesterol, animal fat, and animal protein — not to mention being carriers of foodborne pathogens such as salmonella.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reside in plants — not animal products. Skip the middle chicken and get your nutrients directly from the source: plants.
  • If there is no rooster, there is no chance the hens’ eggs will become fertilized. No rooster, no chick.
  • Intention has a lot to do with the decisions we make about the critters in our care.
  • Being vegan is about doing what we can to foster compassion and to avoid contributing to violence. It’s not about being perfect, and it’s not about being pure.
  • Being vegan is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I don’t aspire to be as vegan as I can be. I aspire to be as compassionate as I can be. 
  • In order to help animals, we need to change the paradigm from one of entitlement to one of communality.

Vegan at Work: When Your Job Conflicts with Your Ethics

It’s one thing to opt out of eating animal products at home and in our personal lives, but what about adhering to our values in the trickier, grayer areas of our lives, such as in the workplace? What if you work for a software company and you’re put on a project to build a website for a fishing company? What if you work in a restaurant and have to serve meat? What if you work in a job that requires you to cook meat? These are real scenarios for many people, and the answer isn’t to “stop being vegan” because things are complicated. Take a listen to my thoughts in today’s episode of Food for Thought.

Herbed Cashew Cream

I was tempted to call this recipe “Basil Cashew Cream,” but I didn’t want to limit you. Consider this delicious spreadable cheese a basic foundation to which you can add any variation of fresh herbs or other ingredients. From The 30-Day Vegan Challenge.

There’s also a version of my cashew cream matched with the Black Olive Bruschetta. It’s sooo good! The photo references are my Strawberry Bruschetta — also in The 30-Day Vegan Challenge — but you can use this cashew cream in many ways, especially as a spreadable cheese. I served it recently for an afternoon tea party I hosted with girlfriends, and it was just perfect. 

Yield: 1½ cups or 12 servings

Note: Because the cashews have to soak for at least an hour, you will want to factor that in to your total prep time.

Ingredients

2 cups (300 g) raw cashews soaked in 3 cups (720 ml) of water for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced basil
¼ cup (60 ml) water

Directions

Once the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them in a strainer.

Place them in a food processor, along with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Turn on the machine, and let it run for a few seconds to start combining the ingredients.

Add most of the water, and process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes, turning the machine off periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Before adding all of the water, I like first seeing what the consistency is; it’s always easier to add more than it is to take any out!

Salt, to taste. The consistency should be thick but spreadable.

For Your Modification

  • Instead of basil, add chives, dill, parsley, or any combination you desire.
  • Add finely chopped sundried tomatoes and/or olives instead of or along with the fresh herbs.

For Your Information

It will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.

Vegan Eggless Meringue Cookies {Recipe}

Yup, you read that right—meringue in a vegan recipe. In December 2014, French chef, Joël Roessel, discovered that the liquid from canned beans such as chickpeas has a chemical composition that mimics the functional properties of egg whites. Hence, aquafaba (“water from beans”) was born and the word coined by Goose Wohlt.  

There is so much buzz on the internet about this amazing discovery that I couldn’t possibly reiterate it here, but I will say that some people find that unsalted chickpeas work better than those that are salted; I haven’t necessarily found that, but there you have it.

Ingredients

Liquid from 1 can (15 ounces or 425 g) of chickpeas (about ¾ cup or 180 mL)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

⅛ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (150 g) white granulated sugar, made fine by first pulsing it in a coffee grinder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 °F (100 °C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and set aside.

Drain the liquid from the can of chickpeas, and add it to a mixing bowl along with the vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and salt. You may use a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment). (Mixing by hand will only wear out your wrists and not give you the peaks you’re seeking.)

Set your mixer on high, and slowly pour in the sugar as the beater is running. Beat for 10 to 15 minutes, though you may need to stop once or twice to scrape down any sugar that sticks to the side of the bowl.

After 10 minutes or so, check the meringue. You’re looking for the stiff peaks characteristic of meringue. There have been times these peaks have formed after only 6 minutes, so just keep an eye on it.

At this point, if you’d like to add any food coloring gel, spoon a portion of the meringue into a separate bowl, and carefully fold in the coloring.

Use a pastry bag or a spoon to dollop the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 1-½ hours, then turn the oven off. If you want a crisp outside and chewy center, this is essential. You may open the oven door just a smidge, but leave them in the oven for at least an hour — up to 24 hours.

Store in a cool, dry place. They are best eaten the day you make them, but if your environment is very dry (not humid), they can last a few days in an airtight container.

For Your Edification

Aquafaba is not only the liquid from canned chickpeas but from chickpeas made from scratch, as well.