Author Archives: Vegetarians of Washington

Leona Lewis has a vegan wedding

Leona Lewis marries

Leona Lewis, a British singer, achieved worldwide fame and success with platinum albums and number 1 singles such as ‘Bleeding Love’ but Leona has said that she would sacrifice it all tomorrow for a global ban on animal testing.

The compassionate singer has been a vegetarian since the age of 12 and, more recently, has transitioned to a vegan lifestyle after learning of the health risks associated with dairy and eggs.

She turned down an £800,000 [$964,564] deal to open the 2008 Harrods sale after discovering that they were the only London department store still selling fur products. In addition to this, she developed her own line of cruelty-free cosmetics with The Body Shop and is an ambassador for Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Essex, England.

The 34-year-old star tied the knot with 30-year-old choreographer Dennis Jauch in Tuscany last month after nine years together. The wedding was held on rock legend Sting’s Italian estate. At the reception, guests were treated to an entirely vegan menu, while the couple’s wedding cake was inspired by a traditional Italian mille-feuille. The multi-tiered cake was the creation of Sicilian dessert stylist and pastry chef Marco Failla, and featured salted dark chocolate cream and Sicilian caramelized almonds. The cake was decorated with berries, fresh flowers and 24k gold leaf.

Leona said the ceremony had a “good energy” around it as they celebrate their special day with 180 of their family and friends.

Land use and climate change

Land use - grass and trees

A major UN report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, addressing land use and climate change, states that the high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fueling global warming. It’s also making it hard to grow enough food for an expanding population.

The document, prepared by 107 scientists, says that if land were used more effectively, it could store more of the carbon emitted by humans. They also said that more people could be fed using less land if individuals cut down on eating meat. It’s estimated that 12 people could be fed a plant-based diet using the equivalent land for one person’s diet centered on meat. This equates to fewer trees cut or burned down to provide land to produce food.

The Earth’s land surface, and the way it is used, forms one of the foundations of human society and the global economy, but we are reshaping it in dramatic ways. Soil is sometimes neglected as part of the climate system, but it’s the second largest store of carbon after the oceans.

In order to feed the predicted 9.8 billion people on Earth in 2050, the world will need to produce 56 per cent more food compared to 2010. If the level of meat and dairy consumption rises in line with current food habits, six million square kilometers (2.3 million square miles) of forests would need to be converted to agriculture – an area twice the size of India. Two thirds would be changed to pastureland, with the final third being used for crops most of which would be used for animal feed, according to the report. The loss of carbon-dioxide-absorbing trees that are being cut down, further adds to climate change.

Johan Rockstrom, former director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Change Impact Research, said: ‘To have any chance of feeding ten billion people in 2050 within planetary boundaries, we must adopt a healthy, plant-based diet, cut food waste, and invest in technologies that reduce environmental impacts.’

Let’s hope this report provides a wake-up call to farmers and policy makers worldwide.

Vegan Backpacking Recipes

Vegan Backpacking Recipes:

Lentil stew for backpackingLentil Stew (per person – multiply up as needed)

Put the following ingredients in a ziplock bag, (multiplying for team members as needed)

  • 1/3 cup green lentils (per person)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • Chili flakes (to taste)

Optional –

  • Pre-chopped fresh carrot, broccoli, cauliflower as desired
  • 1/4 cup dried potato flakes to thicken and add calories as needed
  • 1 pita bread pocket per person

At camp, bring 2-3 cups water (depending on how many servings) to boil.  Add lentil mixture and boil until lentils are soft (20 mins), adding any extra veg after 10 mins.  Pour into bowls or eat from the pot, with pita bread on side.

Cashew Curry recipe

Makes enough for 4 meals – 2 people evening meal and lunch the next day!

Put the following ingredients into a ziplock bag:

  • 1½ cups quinoa (or couscous)
  • 2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • ¼ cup dried onion flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 vegetable low sodium bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Put 1 cup raw cashew halves into a separate ziplock bag.

At camp, bring 3 cups water to the boil in a pot.  Add the quinoa mixture.  Let it simmer until quinoa is cooked.  Boil off any excess water, stirring to prevent burning.  Stir in cashews.  Enjoy!

This can be eaten cold for lunch the next day, so bring a suitable container to store it in.

 

20190808_104954Warming Breakfast recipe

Put the following ingredients in a ziplock bag:

  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed, dry toasted)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup dried blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and/or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried soymilk or coconut milk powder
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts or pecans (dry toasted)

At camp, bring 2 cups water to boil.  Add quinoa mixture.  Simmer until quinoa is cooked.  Serve quinoa in a bowl, topped with nuts.  Milk powder can be included with quinoa mixture, or rehydrated separately and poured over the cooked quinoa.

This recipe would also work with oats, but oatmeal might make it a little harder to clean the pot afterwards!

Backpacking while vegan

Amanda and Doug backpacking - low res

I recently spent a weekend backpacking in the Mount Baker area. Backpacking differs from camping in that you have to carry everything you need for several miles, so you need to make sure your food is as lightweight as possible, doesn’t need refrigeration and is still reasonably balanced, nutritious and provides adequate calories for the exertion of hiking. I took some time planning the meals for our 2 night, 3 day trip.

We carried enough water for the first day, but relied on water from streams and lakes, suitably filtered and/or sterilized, for drinking and cooking the rest of the time. Some members of our group used a steri-pen which uses ultraviolet light to sterilize their water. We used a Platypus filtration unit that could finely filter 4 liters of water at a time, so there was no need to sterilize. It was good to have a selection of methods, since we found we had to trek quite a way from our campsite to find a good water source.

The range of commercial vegan foods suitable for backpacking is increasing rapidly.  Did you know that you can now select from 29 different packets of freeze-dried vegan meals at REI.com? Trader Joe’s has a great selection of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and raspberries, great for adding lightweight nutrition to your morning cereal, and even dried okra, a crunchy and nutritious snack.

However, I prefer to make most of my meals from scratch, even if it takes a little longer to prepare and to cook at the campsite, so I based my meals on what I had in the kitchen. I did order a container of dried soy milk powder which was useful to have with our breakfast cereal and in morning coffee.

To avoid refrigeration, it’s best to take grains you can quickly cook on a campstove. If you’re trying a new combination, I’d recommend that you experiment at home first, so that you get the flavoring mix right.

Grains that are quick and easy to cook:

  • Quinoa,
  • Couscous
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Quickcook rice (eg Uncle Ben’s boil-in-bag, )
  • Oatmeal (great for breakfast, but a bit of a hassle to clean the pot after!)
  • Pita pockets (to eat with a stew)
  • Dried potato flakes (not a grain, but a good source of extra calories to thicken a stew)

Protein sources:

  • Lentils (red lentils cook to a mush, green hold their shape) – 20 mins cook time
  • TVP – textured vegetable protein (meat-like consistency) – soak for 5 mins to rehydrate
  • Cashews, hazelnuts, pecan nuts

Here’s what I chose to take with us:

Breakfasts:

  • Morning 1: Quinoa with cinnamon, hazelnuts and dried blueberries – see recipe.
  • Morning 2: Oats with coconut and raisins, dried blueberries and raspberries, plus soy milk made from powder.
  • Tea or instant coffee

Backpacking lunch - low resLunch (we used leftover curried quinoa for one lunch): 

  • WASA rye crackers
  • Lilly’s shelf-stable hummus.
  • Primal Jerky strips
  • Go Macro bars
  • Dried mango

Mid-afternoon snack: Clif bar

Dinners:

  • Evening 1: Lentil stew with potatoes and carrots – see recipe
  • Evening 2: Curried Quinoa with cashews – see recipe
  • Chocolate and ginger biscotti, made by my friend Jan!
  • Tea

Additional snacks for emergencies:

  • Munkpack Flavored Oatmeal
  • Trail mix
  • Clif bars

The food worked out well. I carried a few additional snacks that fortunately weren’t needed, since it’s always advisable to have some additional food with you, just in case you get delayed and have to spend an extra day out in the wild.

The weather was very mixed, and we were glad to share a tarpaulin erected between trees to cook out of the rain, but all in all, our trip was a big success and we had some fabulous views when the clouds lifted!

 

 

Subway launches vegan option

Subway Beyond Meatball sandwich

Subway has become the latest fast-food chain to jump on the plant-based protein bandwagon by releasing a new meatless meatball sub.  Subway has announced that it will test a sub with plant-based meat, vegan, the Beyond Meatball Marinara, in 685 North American restaurants this September.

“Our guests want to feel good about what they eat and they also want to indulge in new flavors,” said Len Van Popering, Subway chief brand and innovation officer, in a statement. “With our new plant-based Beyond Meatball Marinara sub, we are giving them the best of both worlds.”

The sandwich will feature marinara sauce and provolone cheese on meatballs. Hold the Provolone and choose 9 grain or Italian bread to keep it vegan. This option will be an alternative to their vegetarian patty, which has long been available, but includes a little egg. There’s no mention of whether or not the Beyond Meat-based sub will carry a premium over its regular counterparts.

Plant-based and vegan fast-food options keep sprouting up. There’s quite the competition between Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger to get their products into as many restaurants as possible.  This latest news about Subway follows the launch of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King and other locations. Look out for more meat-free products coming soon to restaurants near you!

 

Slavery in fishing continues

Thai fishing boatThere’s still slavery in the fishing and seafood industry.  We had hoped that the problem of slavery in the fishing industry, once recognized, would be solved but it hasn’t. A new report by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) details cases of slavery, debt bondage, insufficient food and water, filthy living conditions, physical and sexual assault and murder aboard fishing vessels from 13 countries operating across three oceans.

A new report, Blood and Water, details numerous cases of abuse, on vessels flying the flags of both developing and developed nations, from the E.U. and U.S. to Asia and South America. It includes recent investigations revealing serious abuses on vessels ranging from Taiwanese long liners fishing far out at sea for high value tuna, to desperate Vietnamese trawlers illegally entering Thai coastal waters because of the collapse of their own fisheries.

As in other industries where the use of forced labor has been uncovered, forced labor in fisheries is, to some extent, driven by the motivation to reduce costs. Fishermen can be lured into situations of modern slavery by seemingly legitimate employment opportunities, but once recruited find themselves unable to leave because of the threat of violence towards themselves or family members, physical confinement on and off shore, the withholding of wages, and the debts they incur through the recruitment process. Violence is all too common.

But now for the good news. While governments, industry and retailers have not solved this problem, there is something you can do: go veg. The seafood industry not only hurts the fish themselves, and the ocean’s ecology, it also hurts those in the fishing industry. We don’t need to eat fish, and in fact, it’s better for our health if we don’t.  When people stop eating fish they’ll stop selling it. It’s time to stop eating fish!

Alex Morgan, soccer champ’s, advantage!

Alex Morgan soccer starYou’ve probably heard by now that last week, the Women’s US Soccer team blasted their way to a 4th world championship with a 13-0 win over Thailand.  While skill and a rigorous training schedule, plus a lot of determination, have a lot to do with it, Alex Morgan, co-captain of the team, has another advantage – she’s vegan!

In a recent interview with Time, Morgan revealed that switching to a vegan diet has been key to her success on the field. She first adopted a vegan diet, “because it didn’t feel fair to have a dog I adore, and yet eat meat all the time,” she told Reuters. She soon discovered that eating a plant-based diet improved her energy during practice and games. On World Vegan Day, she announced on Twitter that she’d never felt better after eating vegan for a year.

Morgan joins many other athletes in discovering the vegan advantage.  In sports as wide ranging as football, basketball, tennis and weight lifting, several top sports stars freely acknowledge the advantage that going vegan has given them.  See our article on strength and endurance for more examples.

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