What do vegans eat? #2: Plant-based milk & cream

Even though you make a decision not to consume cow’s milk (or milk from any other animal), there are still a lot of types of milks out there to put on your cereal, to just drink or to use in cooking or baking. Plant-based milks can be used just like cow’s milk in pretty much any recipe. The same goes for plant-based creams.

There’s a whole bunch of different plant-based milks in the stores – the most common ones being soy-, oat-, rice- or almond-based – from different brands and with a little different flavor. Which one is the best is merely a question about taste, and of course what you plan to use the milk for. Finding your favorite is just a matter of trying different brands, since I have noticed different people prefer very different ones.

  • For drinking or putting in my coffee/chocolate drinks/smoothies I prefer sweetened milk. Usually we buy soy milk, but I also like almond milk for this purpose.
  • For cooking or baking using the unsweetened ones is usually better (in “emergency cases” when I don’t have unsweetened milk at home, I do use the sweetened one for this purpose as well), just for the sake that they don’t taste sweet. Here I like using oat- or soy-based milks.

The plant-based creams that can be found are usually based on soy, oat or rice. There are creams meant for cooking and baking, and also creams that can be whipped. Also here it is mainly a question of taste which is the best one, but I have my favorites:

  • For baking I like to use soy cream, since I have noticed it tends to give more moist cakes than when using for example oat cream.
  • For cooking I prefer oat cream, because it doesn’t have any after-taste, like the soy creams I have tried tend to have.
  • For whipping I usually use soy cream. I have tried using some different oat creams for this purpose as well, but their taste don’t suite me.

I decided not to mention any brands in this post even though I have my favorites. There are tons of different brands out there and their availability vary from country to country, here in Finland we have at least six different brands (probably more) of plant-based milk to choose from, so I’m sure you will be able to find your favorite among them.

Earlier in the “What do vegans eat?”- series:
#1: Tofu

In defense of fishes

Most of us don’t feel connected to fish in any way, we don’t think of them as anything like us. Most of us can also see a fish get caught on a hook, possibly even gutted without feeling too much disgust.

All the way back since I became a vegetarian ten years ago, when I tell people I don’t eat meat they consistently ask me “but how about fish, do you eat fish?”. Fishes are not seen as animals by most of us, even though everyone would agree that they are not plants either. Somehow we think they are something in between – whatever that would be. They are not as good, not as valuable as land animals. Somehow we don’t think they have the same abilities as other animals.

Often when people go vegetarian they start by phasing out land animals out of their diet, but leaving fish (and other aquatic animals, sometimes also birds) on their plate. I did the same, for a short time I ate fish but no other meat, because somehow it doesn’t feel as cruel to eat fish as it feels to eat other animals. Most of us don’t think of fishing as animal cruelty.

I grew up around people who like fishing, my dad is especially fond of this “hobby”. (I’ve also grown up with hunters all around me, but that is another story.) I know my dad would never kill another animal, and I don’t think he is a cruel person. He is just like most of us. I used to fish when I was younger, and I did not have any problem with seeing someone take out the skin and inner organs of a fish. Of course it was not pretty, but I never thought of it as something cruel, as I probably would have if I would have seen someone do the same to a pig – or even a dog or a cat.

Fishes feel pain, especially around the area of their mouth (where the hook of a fishing rod usually gets stuck). They can remember events as far back as three months, and they can manage to create “maps” of their environment in their head to know how to get around. When exposed to pain, fishes have even been found to act out behavior similar to post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Fishes are so much more than we give them credit for.

All in all: fishes are far from stupid, they feel pain and emotions, they live lives that are worth living. We have distanced ourselves from them to such degree that we cannot even feel their suffering – we might even think that they don’t suffer. Even though they move like crazy, unable to breathe, after we have taken them from the sea and dumped them on the ground, we think they are not in pain – is it because they don’t scream? Is it because they look nothing like us?

The connection between veganism and feminism

I wrote this post quite a while ago, but for some reason I never posted it. Since the issue don’t really get outdated I decided to post it now instead:

There’s quite a debate about whether being a feminist also means you should be a vegan. This blogger claims that the two issues are deeply connected, mainly because the animal exploitation industry is highly dependent on exploiting the female reproductive system (even if this industry also exploits male animals in a high degree). Some feminists don’t agree at all, and feel that making such a connection is degrading to human women and to feminism.

I’m not really sure where I stand in this issue, but for me one thing is sure; veganism and animal rights are definitely connected to feminism, just like they are connected to other social rights issues. Some would maybe argue with this too, and claim that the struggle for animal rights cannot be compared with the struggles for equal rights no matter of skin color, gender, sexuality, or any other similar social issue, because one is about humans and the other about animals. I don’t think this matters, it’s all about changing our perceptions of the world, looking outside what is most convenient for ourselves and making this world a better place. The resistance we see against animal rights is the same resistance that was seen when people were fighting to for example end slavery and allow women to vote, and is also seen in the fight for other social issues, like feminism, still today.

What are your thoughts? Are feminism and veganism connected? Does being a feminist mean you should be a vegan?

A visit to Copenhagen: Sights and happenings

We had time to see and do quite a lot during our five-day stay in and around Copenhagen. Here comes a (not so) short summary:

bonfire

The first evening we were invited by one of the staff-members of the hostel to a midsummer-celebration, and decided to go. There was music, drinks, a lot of people and later on in the evening a bonfire. Following a Spanish tradition we wrote down bad things that had happened during the year that we didn’t want to happen again, and threw the papers in the fire. It’s supposed to “cleanse” you of these bad things. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t, but interesting anyway.

We were lucky to have great people staying in the hostel at the same time as us, so we had a really good time this first evening, and also several other evenings when staying up together with them in the hostel.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen Danish royal palace, Copenhagen

Another day we took a free 3-hour walking tour (New Europe) around Copenhagen. It took us to many of the historical spots in the city, including for example the city hall, Nyhavn, the royal palace and the statue of Bishop Absalon (the founder of Copenhagen) all while our great guide Gillian was telling about the history of Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen

After the tour we for some reason decided we hadn’t been walking enough (?), so we walked a little further to see the Little Mermaid, created based on the fairy-tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Tivoli, Copenhagen

One evening we also visited Tivoli, the world’s second oldest amusement park (the oldest one is also in Denmark, a little outside of Copenhagen). It was a positive surprise, I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful since the amusement parks we have here in Finland are just centered around the rides, not so much the landscaping. We stayed until closing, so we also got to see how spectacular the park looked in darkness with all lights lit up.

Kronborg castle, Elsinore

One day we decided to take the train out of Copenhagen, so we headed north, going to Elsinore (Helsingør). There we visited Kronborg castle, or Hamlet’s castle as it is also called, since it inspired Shakespeare in writing “Hamlet”. It was a beautiful castle with an interesting history, I do recommend going here if you’re interested in old castles and history.

Apart from these things we also did a lot more; we visited Christiania (Copenhagen’s free-town) and the modern arts museum Louisiana, met friends who live in Copenhagen and just generally walked around in the city. To summarize everything: great trip, great people, great sights, even mostly great weather!

Thousands of years of ethical vegetarianism

“It is not how we breed, keep and kill animals for human consumption that has been the impetus for vegetarianism for thousands of years. It is that we breed, keep and kill animals for human consumption. Throughout the centuries the common thread in the arguments against eating animals is the fact that since we have no nutritional requirement for the flesh or fluids of animals, killing them to simply satisfy our taste-buds or habits or customs amounts to senseless slaughter, and senseless slaughter is no small thing.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

A visit to Copenhagen: Food

Something that we always do when we travel is to check out the vegan (and sometimes vegetarian) restaurants or cafes in the city or town where we go. Copenhagen has quite a lot of vegetarian places, and we did not visit all of them, but we did visit all the vegan ones (that I knew about), so here’s a post about vegan restaurants in Copenhagen. Enjoy.

Simple Raw Simple Raw

Simple Raw, Oehlenschlaegersgade 12
The place is quite small and truly simple looking. They serve raw food, juices and smoothies. Their menus were very inviting with nice pictures of the food, but text only in Danish (the guy working there – who turned out to also be the owner – was happy to translate for us, though). R had a plate of zucchini pasta, I had a tapas plate with different salads, hummus, crackers and some patties. We also had a smoothie each. The food was good, I do really like raw food and since I don’t have much experience of preparing it myself it’s nice to eat it in restaurants. The place was also calm and relaxing, not many guests at the time when we were there. The price was in the upper end, we ended up paying around 50 € for the food that we had.

 42 Degrees Raw 42 Degrees Raw

42 Degrees Raw

42 Degrees Raw, Pilestaede 32
Another raw place, located in the city center. We went there around lunch time and it was very busy, full of people and quite noisy. We waited in line for quite some time before we could order, and after that it still took quite long before our food arrived. R had a raw lasagna, I had pizza with a salad. For dessert we shared a chocolate cake. All together it cost around 26 €. The food was alright, it didn’t look that presentable but it tasted fine. Nothing special though. Eating in the restaurant was not that pleasant because of the amount of people and the noise from blenders and other equipment, but they also offer take-out, which I would recommend if you are planning to eat their food during rush hour.

Astrid och Aporna

Astrid och Aporna, Jaegersborggade 39
This is a small vegan fast-food place with a few options of mainly burgers and hot-dogs. We had a burger each and paid around 13 €. I liked the burger, the amount of times I have had a burger that I didn’t make myself since I became a vegetarian ten years ago can be counted on one hand, so it was nice. The place has both indoors and outdoors seating, we tried sitting indoors at first because all the places outside were taken, but it was just too uncomfortable, so as soon some quests left we transferred outdoors.

Woodah Café, Abel Cathrines Gade 1-3
Our hostel, Woodah, also has a cafe, like I mentioned in the earlier post. They serve breakfast, which is the same as the one for the hostel guests. When we were there it consisted of home-made bread with hummus, jam, butter or cheese, home-made muesli (with yoghurt if you wanted), fresh fruit and coffee or tea. Apart from breakfast they also serve snacks and a warm meal, as well as different kind of drinks.

Botaniq, Frederiksborggade 26
I had read good things about this place before we went to Copenhagen, so I really wanted to eat here. Unfortunately they were closed for renovation and don’t open again before in August. Thought I would mention the place here anyway, in case someone will visit Copenhagen in the future and would like to go there. If you do, please tell me about it!