“An unnatural life span”

An-Unnatural-Life-Span

On Tuesday, Colleen from Compassionate Cook posted a blog post on the paradox of “humane” meat, dairy and eggs. The post included this picture that shows the differences between farmed animal’s life span today and their natural life span. Among other things, she wrote:

“The unappetizing process of turning living animals into butchered body parts begins at birth and ends in youth – whatever they’re raised for and however they’re raised. Relative to their natural life span, most of the animals are slaughtered when they’re still babies, as illustrated in the graphic above.

[…]

What does it say about us that when given the opportunity to prevent cruelty and violence, we choose to turn away—because of tradition, culture, habit, convenience, or pleasure? We are not finding the answers we are looking for because we are asking the wrong questions.

The movement toward “humanely raised food animals” simply assuages our guilt more than it actually reduces animal suffering. If we truly want our actions to reflect the compassion for animals we say we have, then the answer is very simple. We can stop eating them. How can this possibly be considered anything but a rational and merciful response to a violent and vacuous ritual?”

Humble

“The truth is, I feel humbled being vegan rather than superior to those who aren’t. I have no cause to be self-righteous. There was a time when I ate animals and made excuses, and I feel grateful to be armed with knowledge and awareness and to be able to act on my values of compassion and kindness. Rather than feel morally superior to people who eat animals, I feel great sorrow for the animals who suffer and for the humans who inflict that suffering.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

I’m not perfect

Veganism is not about being perfect, it is not about keeping yourself “clean” from animal products, and it is certainly not about being better than other people. At least it shouldn’t be, and I hope that there are very few vegans that have this as their goal. For me being vegan is simply about saying no to something that you don’t approve of, to refuse to support something you think is wrong.

There are people out there who like to point out things that I don’t do well, things that other vegans don’t do well, or pointing out flaws that the vegan lifestyle has. Of course the vegan lifestyle is not perfect,  and vegans in general are not perfect either. I am certainly not perfect, but I don’t either claim to be. Just because it is not a perfect lifestyle that solve all problems, doesn’t mean that it is not a good lifestyle or that it is something that we shouldn’t follow or support.

We will never be perfect. That is not what it should be about, and I don’t want people to believe that that is what I’m striving for. Because I’m not. Yes, it would be great if I could be perfect, if I could do exactly everything right, if I could just know the perfect way of saving this horribly lost world that we live in. I can’t do that. But just because I can’t do everything, doesn’t mean I will not try to do anything at all.

I will try to do the best I can. Sometimes I will fail, sometimes I will do things that are wrong or things that I’m not proud of afterwards, but I will not stop trying to do what I believe is right. I don’t give up and close my eyes to everything that is wrong just because I can’t be perfect, and no one should.

Recent food experiments: Seitan

Seitan is a very meat-like food made of wheat protein, or wheat gluten. It is high in protein and iron. There are two main methods of making seitan; the traditional one where you “wash” out the starch of wheat flour until only the gluten is left, or the modern one where you use already processed gluten flour. In some places you can also buy it ready-made.

I’ve made seitan from scratch before, using the first method of “washing” out the starch. It has turned out ok, edible, but not so great. So I’ve been planning to make it out of gluten flour for a long time. Especially after we went to Budapest this summer and I tasted some very yummy grilled seitan. Recently I finally bought some gluten flour.

To make the seitan I followed a recipe in the book Vegaanin Kotiruokakirja by Jere Nieminen. This is a good beginners book, because the recipes are simple and don’t contain too many ingredients. It is mainly based on processed foods like dried soy or tofu and doesn’t have much recipes with more basic vegan foods like beans or vegetables, but one book can’t have everything, can it?

Seitan steaks

4 dl wheat gluten flour
2 tbsp paprika/red bell pepper powder
1 tbsp crushed pepper
1,5 tsp salt
about 2,25 dl water
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

1. Mix the dry ingredients together and add water, oil and soy sauce into the bowl.
2. Mix the dough for a couple of minutes or until the structure is “elastic”.
3. Cut the dough into about 5 same sized steaks and shape them as you want them to look.
4. Boil the steaks in water for about 15 minutes.
5. Pour away the water and let the steaks cool a little.
6. Fry the steaks in a little oil a couple of minutes on each side.

Even though the recipe is for “steaks”, you can still use it to make other things. Just cut or shape the dough differently before boiling, exchange the spices etc. Only your imagination stops you in this matter. Experimenting is good, it makes food fun!