Vegan On A Budget: Preserving Food

posted in: Vegan On A Budget | 1

Vegan On A Budget: Preserving Food

 

Ok folks, if you really want to be vegan on a budget we need to talk about preserving food.  Yes, I mean things like pickling, fermenting, cellaring, dehydrating and canning veggies or sauces like your grandma used to do.  And today there are other, more high tech, methods you can use to get the job done as well.  For example vacuum sealing and freezing foods are fast, simple and inexpensive ways to keep food from spoiling.

You may be wondering why you’d want to learn how to preserve food when we live in a world where every grocery is filled with canned, frozen or heat’n eat foods.  There are two reasons… cost and nutrition!

Food other folks make and package for you is far more expensive than when you do it for yourself.  Especially vegan foods because they are still in relatively low demand.  As demand (and therefore production) increases costs will come down.  But in the mean time it’s going to be WAY CHEAPER for you to process your own food.

When you are good at preserving food you can take advantage of sales when you find them.  Also, foods that are in season are far less expensive especially when you buy them in bulk or from a farmers market.  So knowing how to keep a bushel of apples, tomatoes or cucumbers from spoiling is a budget saving skill to have.

Preserving Food Saves MoneyAs to nutrition… it’s pretty self explanatory.  Even when the cost of vegan hot dogs comes way down they still aren’t going to be all that good for you.  And folks who make foods for the masses will still have to add preservatives and other things to make them shelf stable that you may prefer not to eat.  YOUR spaghetti sauce is always going to be tastier and more nutritious than what you can get in the store.

Great! Now that you know why preserving food yourself is a good idea let’s talk a little bit about how to do it.  There are dozens of methods for preserving food, some of them ancient and some very modern and high tech.  To keep this post from being so long that no one will ever read it we are going to give you a brief overview of the most commonly used ways to preserve food.  Then in the weeks to come we’ll dive deep into each method in a post of their very own.  Let’s get started…

Preserving Food Via Canning

Canning preserves your food by pasteurizing your food then vacuum sealing it into glass jars.  What that means is you need to heat it to a specific temperature and keep it at that temperature for a specific length of time.  How hot it needs to be and how long it has to stay there depends on the type and volume of food being canned.   Canning isn’t hard but you can’t “wing it” you’ll need a canning guide and some supplies like glass jars and rings (that you can reuse) and one time use sealing lids. Canned foods stored in a cool dry place will retain their quality for at least a year.

Preserving Food Via Freezing

Freezing keeps your food from spoiling by reducing the temperature to a point were bacteria becomes dormant.  Yes, it’s bacteria on and in your food that “rots” it and makes it go bad.  True freezing for really long term storage requires a temperature of at least 0°F.  This is just not possible with home freezers which usually keep foods between 10°F – 32°F.  So you’ll want to use the food in your freezer with in a few months.  Storing food in the freezer is super simple.  I’m sure you already get the basics of it.  But here are two tips for getting the most out of your freezer. Use freezer bags NOT storage bags and freeze foods FAST.  You can do this by keeping them in small batches like ice cube trays or larger but shallow layers.

Preserving Food by DehydratingPreserving Food Via Dehydrating

Dehydrating food preserves it by removing the water that bacteria need to grow.  This will keep your food from spoiling for a very long time IF you get all the water out.  Folks used to dehydrate or “dry” their foods by stringing them on thread and hanging the strings from the rafters in warm dry rooms, often near fire places like in the kitchen.  This method is very low tech and can still be done easily if you live in a dryish climate.  Luckily we are not dependent on the weather these days because appliances like dehydrators are readily available and don’t cost too much.  This also lets us make yummy foods like fruit leathers!

Preserving Food Via Pickling

Pickling preserves your veggies by soaking them in a bath of alcohol (like apricots soaked in brandy), salt or acid.  The dill pickles we are all so familiar with are just cucumbers stored in spiced vinegar (which is an acid).  Pickling is super easy but can be unsafe if you are careless with the prep work or if they are stored at room temperature without also canning them.  For this reason we recommend you get yourself proper equipment and a pickling guide.  Then plan to partner your pickling with canning, fermenting or refrigeration at the very least.

Preserving Food Via Fermenting

When you ferment your food you preserve it by culturing or growing “good bacteria” in it to keep the “bad bacteria” from growing.  Wine and sauerkraut are fermented foods many of you will be familiar with.  Just about all veggies can be fermented in one way or another and a great many recipes are available.  As a rule fermenting doesn’t require much in the way of specialized equipment but each method is different and requires different stuff to get the job done.  Just be sure to get a fermentation guide because attention to detail is important if you want to avoid LARGE messes and get the tastiest results.

Preserving Food Via Vacuum Sealing

This is the most high tech food preservation method we’re going to talk about here.  Basically what you are going to do is put your food into a bag and remove ALL the air from it.  Just like you, bacteria needs oxygen to grow so when you pull it all out of the bag it can’t grow and spoil our food.  As a bonus vacuum sealed food packages take up a lot less space and many can be kept at room temperature.  So this method is really good for folks who like to hike or camp.  For added protection you can toss vacuum sealed foods into the fridge or freezer where they will keep a VERY long time.  The only draw back is a vacuum sealing appliance and special bags (specific to the machine you purchase) are required.

WARNING: these machines are always shown being used with a hunk of meat. Don’t be grossed out or turned off. You can use it with your lovely vegan food too.

Preserving Food Via Cellaring

Probably the least known to us today but the best known to our grandparents or great grandparents is cellaring food to keep it fresh for a long time.  It is also the lowest tech way to preserve food.  Basically, cellaring means you store your food in a temperature, humidity and light controlled environment.  If you think of a wine cellar or a root cellar you get the idea.  With the proper environmental conditions you can keep whole foods such as apples, potatoes, cabbages and squash for six months or more.

So you see, there are plenty of easy ways for you to stretch your food dollar and keep your family well fed with highly nutritious food and still be vegan on a budget.  No, home preserving isn’t some sort of arcane art lost to the mists of time.  With a tiny bit of effort you’ll be preserving food like a pro!

Some Stuff To Have YOU Preserving Food Like A Pro!

 

Ball Complete Book of Home PreservingBall Complete Book of Home PreservingFoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealing System with Starter KitFoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealing System with Starter KitThe Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and CookerPresto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and CookerFoolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, and MoreFoolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, and MoreNesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75ANesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A

&

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Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary!

posted in: Animal Sanctuary | 0


We would like to introduce you to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary! They are a non-profit farm animal sanctuary who take in abused and abandoned animals in need of a home. They have 400 acres out in Poolesville Maryland where they keep all their new and lovely friends. They’ve been helping farm animals for nearly 20 years now.

 


This is Terry Cummings. In this video she talks a bit about how she and her husband came to start Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary and why.  As I was looking around and researching this sanctuary for today, I came across this little interview and it really sparked a connection with me as much as the animals did.  Her story of how she became vegan like so many started with a love for animals.  Top that off with moving to farmland and getting to know some fine bovine… who were later shipped off to slaughter which sort of puts things in perspective for her.

 


And here we meet little Evie and Erwin!  Two happy endings that could have been so very sad.  Little Evie only has three legs (in case you couldn’t already tell) but that doesn’t seem to stop her. Just watch the little girl go!  If you want their full stories, you’ll have to watch the video above to find out!

 


Here we have the longest of the videos I’ll be sharing today, but also one of the best.  You get to hear about even more of the amazing animals and their stories here, but also some of how Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is run!  From a few paid staff members to summer interns and volunteers.  You know how they say it take a village to raise a child?  Well, it takes a village to run a sanctuary too.

If you’d like to learn even more about Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary you can go their website right here!  It’s worth remembering that places like this run off donations and volunteers, so if you can’t donate try and spend some time there, if you can’t spend time there donate.  If you can’t do either right now, share their message and show this sanctuary and others to friends, family and people on social media so that they can help out.

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How To Make Vegan White Sauce

posted in: Cooking 101 | 0

How To Make Vegan White Sauce

When I set out to share how to make vegan white sauce with all the new vegan cooks out there I had no clue there were so many different ways to do it.  The video just below shows how I grew up watching my grandmother and mother make a white sauce. Only without any of the cruelty filled ingredients.

But when I set out to find a video that demonstrated this simple process I was flabbergasted to learn you can just as easily make your vegan white sauce gluten free too by using potato’s, tofu or cashews as the thickening agent instead of the flour!  You may laugh but this was a huge revelation to me.  So rather than simply share with you the way I have always made my vegan white sauce I decided to share with you each of these methods.

Simple Vegan White Sauce ~ Bechamel

 

 

  • Coconut oil or vegan butter
  • Flour
  • Coconut milk, almond milk or other veggie milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

You melt some fat in a pan.  Shake in some flour.  Stir-stir-stir over medium heat so it doesn’t burn and cook it into a rue (which means cook it until the flour doesn’t taste “raw”).  Slowly pour in your milk while whisking to avoid lumps.  Salt and pepper to taste.  POOF!  You just made a white sauce!

How To Make Vegan White Sauce ~ Potato Based & Gluten Free

Guys, I have no clue why we never thought to make white sauce in this way before but it’s a real eye opener for me.  As you’ll see when you watch this video (or read the overview below) it is ridiculously simple and makes a delicious white sauce for just about any use.

  • Coconut milk or other veggie milk
  • Steamed or boiled potatoes (we think starchy potatoes like Idaho work best)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic

This video goes into some detail on how to make your own veggie milk.  Don’t let this frighten you.  You don’t have to make it yourself.  Store bought coconut, almond or other veggie milk works just fine.  On the other hand if you want to make your own it is stupid simple as she shows.

Put your steamed potatoes into your blender.  Cover with veggie milk and blend until smooth.  That makes your white sauce “base”.  You can then spice and thin it to taste based on what you are planning to make with it.

Fat Free Vegan White Sauce or Béchamel Sauce

 

  • Tofu (silk or other soft works best)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Almond or other veggie milk for thinning to desired consistency

This vegan white sauce is totally fat and gluten free.  I think of this recipe as more of a “sauce base” than as a sauce in and of itself.  But that is a bonus because you can make it in advance and use it to whip up a creamy soup or sauce for veggies or something like stroganoff in a hurry.  Keeping this on hand makes for quick meals and we are all in favor of that.  Also, recipes don’t get any easier than this one.  If you know of one I WANT to know about it.  Share in the comments please 🙂

So there you have it, now you know how to make vegan white sauce in three great ways. And don’t forget two of them are gluten free, too!  Why not give them all a try and see which one you like best.  You may find you like them all and will simply use a different “white sauce base” (as I have come to think about them) for different kinds of dishes.  For example, I have come to LOVE the potato based white sauce for cream soups but I keep a batch of the tofu based bechamel in the fridge for making quick cream dishes like creamed peas or to use in place of sour cream.

Do you know how to make vegan white sauce in a way we didn’t cover? We’d love to hear about it.  Why don’t you share it in the comments below so we an all learn from your success 🙂

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Vegan Ballet Shoes For The Compassionate Dancer!

posted in: Fashion | 0

Vegan Ballet Shoes Collage

We’ve gotten so many requests for this, so many people looking! So, without further ado… Here are the vegan ballet shoes we’ve found! It was perhaps… a tad more difficult than we had originally thought. Not only that, but there is a surprising lack of options in terms of brands. But, at least there are options for whatever your needs are! I found both ballet slippers and pointe shoes that are sure to suit our ethical needs. So, here we go!

 Pro-Line (Stretch Canvas) From Cynthia King Dance Studio

http://cynthiakingdance.com/vegan-ballet-slippers-store/copy-of-activiste-vegan-ballet-slippers

First off lets start with a lovely pair of vegan ballet shoes from Cynthia King Dance Studio.  This is their pro-line, and here’s what they have to say about it:

100% Vegan Split Sole Canvas Ballet Slippers- Improved synthetic split-sole, providing optimal grip- U-shaped vamp- Soft pleats- Delicate cushion at the ball and heel- Soft, breathable stretch canvas upper- CRUELTY FREE!

Okay, so.  These are vegan and cruelty free, as you can see.  They aren’t playing around either, these are professional quality vegan ballet shoes.  Some of the ONLY vegan ballet shoes, actually.  Who knew they’d be so hard to find?  I went into this post expecting this to be a pretty simple thing.  …Hah…heh..hah… simple.  The Pro-line doesn’t offer children’s sizes, but the Activiste line (which I’ll talk about in a moment here) does.

Vegan Pointe Shoes From Grishko

I gotta say, I was looking around forever trying to find vegan pointe shoes.  After much poking around I found out that Grishko will veganize some of their pointe shoes, not all, but quite a few models.  They can veganize the vegan pointe shoes with suede soles, switching it out for one made of cellulose instead!  They’ll even go so far to prove the safety and friendliness of their products by:

Staff at the Moscow factory often taste the glue to show customers that it is even edible!

As far as I can tell, Grishko is the only company who offers fully vegan pointe shoes, though I have heard rumor that Gaynor Minden is seriously considering making a vegan option available for their costumers.  I haven’t seen anything on their website, but I’ve heard read through my various poking that if you email/ask them for a vegan option they may provide one.  Meanwhile, Grishko is also willing and able to veganize their ballet slippers.

Activiste From Cynthia King Dance Studio

 Here is Cynthia King Dance Studio’s Activiste line of vegan ballet shoes.  Perfect for grown ups and kids alike, as it comes in both sizes!  Totally vegan, ethical, cruelty free.  They come in pink and black, so you have your pick there as well.

I Found A Video Talking About Both Grishko And Cynthia King Dance Studio’s Vegan Ballet Shoes!

I certainly found this useful, as she covers a few of the pros and cons of the shoes here. Tries on the ballet slippers and pointe shoes for you to see and discusses the feel of them.

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If Vegans Said the Stuff Meat-Eaters Say

posted in: Vegan Humor | 0

Are you ready for a dose of vegan humor?  If you could use a good belly laugh we suggest you take a peek at “If Vegans Said The Stuff Meat Eaters Say”.  It’s a hilarious video PETA put out a while back.  We’ve seen it many many times and it never fails to make us giggle with such memorable one liners as…

  • “But where do you get your fiber?”
  • “Did you know that Hitler ate meat?”
  • “So, there was this couple and they fed their baby meat… and the baby died!”
  • “Do you think eating meat is just… like a “phase” you’re going thru?”
  • “Do you mind if I eat this carrot in front of you?”

Honestly, bookmark this page.  Then the next time you come home from a BBQ, Picnic or other mixed gathering and your mind is reeling from all the insane things folks say to or about vegans watch this video.  Giggle at the stupidity.  You’ll feel LOADS better.  We promise.

If you want to feel even better still, share this and other bits of vegan humor that tickles your fancy because nothing makes for better vegan activism than sharing a giggle with friends.  You’ll be amazed at how far a smile and a joke can go to get people to open their minds a little.  They’ll laugh with you now and think about it later.  Heck, they might even share it with their friends too.  You just never know when something will catch on.

And remember… if we vegans didn’t eat all those vegetables there would be mass hysteria as “Veggies Took Over The World!”  There would be corn clogging the streets, watermelons cascading from buses… CARROTS CLOGGING THE CAPITAL!  So for goodness sake people Go Vegan and EAT YOUR VEGGIES!

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5 Vegan Potato Salad Recipes That Are Summer Ready!

posted in: Yum Yums | 0
Vegan Potato Salad Recipes

Looking for some nice vegan potato salad recipes to get your summer really started?  Perhaps pack away for that family potluck or work dinner?  These mouthwatering picks are sure to get you started and make even the most die-hard carnist beg for a bite.  You and I both know that you want them to try it (part of the secret vegan plan, obviously) but THEY don't.  So, without further ado enjoy these 5 vegan potato salad recipes!

Vegan Rainbow Potato Salad

Vegan Potato Salad Recipes... Rainbow Potato Salad

The folks over from I Love Vegan have really outdone themselves this time.  I must say, this rainbow potato salad sounds as good as it looks.  Fresh veggies, vegan meyo and super colorful potatoes make for a lovely dish.  It'll be great to take out on a picnic with your family, even the most die-hard of carnists are liable to want to at least... try... one... little... bite!

 

Herbed Red Potato Salad Recipe

http://cookieandkate.com/2015/herbed-red-potato-salad-recipe/

This blog really never fails to deliver on yummy and interesting recipes.  This potato salad is no exception.  It's a nice and fresh salad, no mayo needed with delicious fresh herbs.  She even has a great tip for us, which you can read right here:

After some trial and error, I discovered that the key to making the best mayo-free potato salad is blending the dressing in the food processor with some starchy reserved potato cooking water. You end up with a super creamy, herby emulsification that infuses the potatoes with fresh flavor.

Kate 
cookieandkate.com                 

​To see the recipe go on over to the blog, don't be shy now!

 

Vegan Potato Salad

http://thelemonbowl.com/2015/06/vegan-potato-salad-recipe.html

This one is definitely a pleasant twist on your traditional potato salad.  The folks over at "The Lemon Bowl" tossed together in a hummus vinaigrette, add in some scallions, parsley and perhaps the most unexpected thin for me out of a potato salad... Mint!  Unexpected, but pleasant.  I admit I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to potato salads, but this does sound like a really good twist.

 

Avocado Dill Vegan Roasted Potato Salad

http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2015/7/31/avocado-dill-vegan-potato-salad

Here is another (beautiful) potato salad brought to us by the folks over at "Edible Perspective".  Using avocado for the dressing and then some fresh dill to add some herby goodness... Well, you can't go wrong.  Much like the mint in the previous recipe, I hadn't thought to use avocado as a dressing base for a potato salad.  Silly of me, really, but I just hadn't!  This really looks good and I hope you'll all join me in giving this a try.  All hail Avocado's (and Seitan but that's something entirely different, now isn't it?).

 

Potato Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing

http://simpleveganblog.com/potato-salad-vegan-ranch-dressing/

And lastly, but certainly not least is a ranch-based vegan potato salad from the "Simple Vegan Blog"!  The ranch is vegan too, fear not.  They've figured out how to make their own (isn't that great?)  Not only that but the folks there took the time to remind us that:

If you can’t get all the dressing ingredients, don’t worry! Be creative and remove or substitute any ingredient, your dressing will be so delicious too.

Iosune & Alberto 
simpleveganblog.com

Lets face it, we all get a little to hung up on getting "ALL THE INGREDIENTS" sometimes.  It's always nice to have a healthy reminder to breathe and go with the flow.

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Sanctuary Sunday: Stormy The Blind Cow a Rowdy Girl Sanctuary Update

posted in: Animal Sanctuary | 0

You asked for it, you got it folks... here's what's been going on with Stormy the blind cow that Renee King over at Rowdy Girl Farm Animal Sanctuary took in last year.  Ever since we published a post about this little cutie last year we've had folks asking us for updates on how she's doing.  Rather than waxing poetic on her adventures we thought we'd just show you instead.

And for those of you who are new to the story of Stormy the blind cow, we decided to start this video journey with her arrival at Rowdy Girl.  You'll get to see for yourself how loving and special the folks at this beef ranch turned vegan farm animal sanctuary really are!​

Stormy The Blind Cow Arrives at Rowdy Girl

Awww... look at how little our Stormy is!  She fits inside a large dog crate when she arrives at the Rowdy Girl Ranch!  How scary that must have been for her.  Little does she know her new amazing life is about to begin!

 

Stormy Has Trouble Leaving The Travel Crate

Poor baby, our Stormy doesn't know how to get out of her travel crate.  Luckily for her the kind folks at her new home know just what to do and soon she has all four feet firmly on the ground.  What a blessed life is ahead of her.

 

Stormy gets welcomed by the Rowdy Bunch

First things first... Stormy wastes no time meeting the neighbors.  Look how sweetly the other cows greet her.  They are all so interested and concerned with the newcomer.  How can anyone not acknowledge that animals like cows have feelings just the same as dogs?

 

Stormy figuring out her surroundings 

Look how brave Stormy is!  She is a cow on the move.  Our little girl doesn't let a little thing like blindness keep her from exploring her world!

Renee and Stormy. Her first bottle 🙂

Here's Renee giving Stormy the blind cow her first bottle of milk in her new forever home.  Thank goodness she took to it so quickly some animals, not to mention people, resist being bottle fed.  In fact, my daughter never would take a bottle.  Good thing Stormy isn't so stubborn!

 

Stormy Walking the fence line.

After only a few days you can see how much more confident Stormy is in her new home.  Surrounded by her animal friends and cheered on by Renee she is scootin around like a pro!

   

Stormy Getting The Hang Of The Baby Bottle!

Stormy LOVES her bottle!  As you can see she has got the hang of it just fine!  "Don't call me late to dinner, Mom!"

 

Stormy The Blind Cow and Herman Making Friends

Awwwww... Stormy is making friends with Herman the pig.  So sweet 🙂

 

Stormy The Blind Cow Visiting The Big Girls!

We are really truckin right along now, cautious but confident.  Stormy is on a mission to visit the big girls out in their pen.  She has gone from barely being able to stand to this 150 pound confident calf.  And notice how stylish she is in her harness?

 

Stormy Lovin Time at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary!

My goodness I wish it was me there giving Stormy her daily (or is it hourly) dose of lovin?  What a blessed life she leads now.   So different from what her fate would have been if she hadn't been born blind and found a home here at Rowdy Girl Farm Sanctuary!  We wish all cows could live such happy lives.  With your help one day they will 🙂

 

Our Stormy Girl Is Growin Up!

Oh my, our bottle days are numbered.  Stormy is growing up and learning all about solid food.  How cool is that?  

Well folks, we hope you have enjoyed this video "round up" of the adventures of Stormy The Blind Cow.  We know both she and Renee really appreciate your interest and concern.  We encourage you to learn more about what they do over at Rowdy Girl Farm Sanctuary.  How Renee and her husband turned their Texas cattle ranch into a farm sanctuary is truly inspirational.

As you might expect, feeding a cow is an expensive undertaking so if you'd like to help Stormy or any of the other lucky animals that call Rowdy Girl home you can learn how to do that right here.  We know Renee and the gang really appreciate anything folks can do to help out.

Edit: We are sad to have to tell you that Stormy The Blind Cow crossed the rainbow bridge.  She is a sad victim of the historic Brazos River flood.  We leave this post live in loving memory of this sweet little girl.  For full details on what happened and a lovely photo tribute to her please see what Rowdy Girl Farm Sanctuary has published here.

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Vegan Leather Tote Bag Ideas For All Seasons

posted in: Fashion | 4
Vegan Leather Tote Bag

Lets face it, summer, winter, autumn or spring you need a vegan leather tote bag!  They are big enough to fit everything you need, be it pitch fork, axe, p-...wrong list.  Seriously though, think of all the snacks you can fit into these and tell me it isn't perfect?  So, without further ado here are the five vegan leather tote bags we found!

New Hobo Slouch Hippie Vegan Leather Tote

This stylish vegan leather tote bag is prefect for any occasion.  Dress it up, dress it down, add a splash of color!  It's just the right size too, not gigantic but still big enough to put everything you need in.  The color of this beige tote makes it very versatile.

Beaute Bags Metro Large Handbag Padlock Tote

This sleek and stylish vegan leather tote bag is sure to get peoples attention!  Garnering compliments for quite a few costumers who've previously purchased it, it's made of quality material and looks like a high-end tote.  One happy costumer from amazon even got told this looked like it must have cost her at least 300$!

Kenneth Cole Reaction Clean Slate Pebble Tote Bag

Just tell me this color isn't gorgeous?  A good size, not to big but not to small.  It'll fit the stuff you need (you know, bowling ball, pitch fork) while looking effortlessly chic and sleek.

Hynes Victory Womens Convertible Shoulder Handbag Backpack

Wanting something perhaps a little more edgy?  Try out this vegan leather tote bag.  It's sure to give you the "grunge" feel that you're looking for.  It comes in two colors, black and grey.  It also has pockets galore with zippers to close them (organization ahoy!).

Humble Chic Women's Reversible Vegan Leather Tote

This bag is reversible, meaning you can turn it inside out and use it that way as well.  It comes in several different colors, so you have your pick!  Perfect size, summer or winter, you can shove snacks, gloves and a blanket in there or as a beach bag for the warmer months!  

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My Vegan Story: Lindsay Bell aka Leicester Vegan

posted in: My Vegan Story | 0
My Vegan Story: Lindsay Bell
What does "vegan" mean to you?

To me, veganism is a peaceful, compassionate way of living. In a world that is so full of hate and violence, why would we want to live any differently?

​How long have you been vegan?

I have been vegan approximately 2.5 years. It was a slow transition for me, so I can’t give you an exact date.

Lindsay Bell visiting Apollo!

Visiting Apollo, who is living out his retirement in a field with other horses and mini-donkeys!

​What first inspired you to go vegan?

My journey to being vegan has been a long one. I was raised as a vegetarian, started to eat fish and chicken as a teenager/young adult and then in my early 20s started to eat red meat on rare occasions.

​Then one day my husband, who was raised on meat and two veg, decided to go vegetarian and I decided to as well. The switch wasn’t difficult – as I mostly cooked only vegetarian food at home anyway. Then, about 3 years ago I noticed more people around me going vegan, including my mom and her partner who is an ER doctor in the US. That, coupled with watching a few compelling documentaries, is what finally convinced me to make the switch to veganism.

​Tell us about your vegan journey. What was the transition to veganism like?

It was exciting! I love to cook, and this was an entirely new challenge that I took on with gusto. I started to research vegan recipes, substitutes and swaps, and discovered so many amazing new foods and dishes I had never had before. I also really enjoyed veganizing the foods I loved as a non-herbivore.

​What resources (people, books, blogs, films, etc.) helped you with your transition to veganism?

My mom helped for sure – although it took a while. I used to roll my eyes whenever she’d talk about the benefits of a “whole food plant based diet”. I think the problem for me was that I didn’t care about the diet – but I care about animals. So the word vegan means more to me. That said, I could see how good she looked, and was seriously impressed at how her partner (the ER doc) lost weight and got off statins by making the switch.

​There were some very instrumental videos as well – Forks over Knives, Blackfish, Cowspiracy, Specieism (although that came out after I went vegan). I haven’t watched the movies that show animal abuse – I’m so sensitive that I’m not sure I could stomach it.

Fred wants cuddles from Lindsay Bell!

Fred is Lindsay's rescue kitty! He seems to be demanding some cuddles.

​Were your friends & family supportive of your choice to go vegan?

Definitely! My husband was supportive because he benefited from my new enthusiasm for cooking, and the rest of my immediate family are vegetarian or vegan anyway. I do have friends who tease me, but it doesn’t bother me. The only person who I butt heads with is my father in law – but that’s just because he likes a good argument!

​What do you love about being vegan?

I love the way I feel – both physically and emotionally. I feel more empathy towards all living things, including people, although that is tested at times I admit.

​What inspires you to stay vegan?

The animals. Plain and simple. I cannot disconnect from what is on my plate to how it was produced. I have always been an animal lover, but it wasn’t until I went vegan that I realized how damaging the meat, dairy and egg industries are. Animals are treated as commodities, not as living, sentient beings with complex emotional lives.

​What challenges you as a vegan?

The food part of being a vegan is a cinch. The tough part is eliminating non-vegan things from your daily life, like makeup products that may be tested on animals or bedding made with down feathers.

​The other tough part is seeing people you love eating animal products. You know they are good people, and you know that if they took the time to really understand animal agriculture, that they would make the choice to go vegan. But it’s just not that simple, and you can’t preach to them because that is a sure fire way to be stonewalled or worse, cut out of their life.

Lindsay Bell cuddles her sisters foster pup!

Sammy here is Lindsay's sisters foster dog. Gettin' some love.

​What is your favorite vegan food or recipe?

I love ALL FOOD. That is not an exaggeration. My love of food has only intensified since going vegan. That said, I have a particular fondness for Mexican food having grown up in Arizona, and for Indian food now that I live in the curry capital of the UK.

​I love making all kinds of different tacos (jackfruit, roasted veg, tofu scramble), but my favorite recipe at the moment has to be these crispy avocado and jalapeño tacos: https://leicesterveggie.com/2016/05/17/crispy-avocado-and-jalapeno-tacos/

​What advice would you give to new or wanna'be vegans?

I always tell people to do what feels right. That could be jumping in straight away, or taking your time by slowly eliminating animal products from your life. Educate yourself – watch documentaries, visit blogs you like and get on twitter to join the supportive vegan communities. Cook – get out some vegan cookbooks and get started. There are so many great vegan dishes you can make that you should never feel like you’re depriving yourself. Finally, be gentle with yourself if you slip up, and be gentle with those around you who are not yet vegan – we are all on our own journey.

​What gives you hope for the future?

I am hopeful. We have to be, right? It would be naïve to think things will get better immediately, but you can’t let it bring you down. Yes animal abuse is rampant, yes animal agriculture is damaging our environment. But veganism is taking off and becoming mainstream, and more light is being shed on the realities of these industries, helping to bring about real change. I am hopeful. At least I try to be. If I wasn’t, I’m not sure how I’d get out of bed everyday.

​Website: leicesterveggie.com
Twitter: @LeicVeggie
Instagram: leicveggie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leicestervegan/

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Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary!

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There's always something happening at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary!  From birthdays, like Lexi's in the video above to events like their July Jamboree which saw more than 1,600 people!  Woodstock really is an amazing ambassador for Farm Animal Sanctuaries everywhere.  We here at the Vegan Banana encourage you to look into them and lend your support where you can!

You can go learn more about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary at their website over here!

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