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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Diva Cup

One's vegan-ness can extend far beyond food. For the past few years, I have not used tampons or pads. I have used the Diva Cup. It is amazing.

Diva Cup is a small insertable container that fits like a tampon but does not absorb uterus sloughings (lovely image). It collects it like a ..erm.. cup. It lasts 8 hours so you can sleep with it in. Simply pour it out and clean it.

Diva Cup is made of entirely PLANT materials, no plastic or anything from an animal, not animal tested, not disposable (you buy them once a year), and it works! They are also comfortable and easy to insert. You do not feel it.

In using Diva Cup, you are protecting your health. There is no risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) as there is with tampons. You are helping the environment and animals. You are producing hardly any waste. You are saving money $$$.

Diva Cups cost around $30. I think you cannot order them online but you can locate a store. Most of the organic/health stores I've been to carry them.

You can also get DivaWash to clean it. Do not use any type of antibacterial soap as this could disturb the balance of good bacteria in your parts. You can boil it every few months as it may get a bit discolored but this is only for aesthetics. Again, they suggest you replace after a year.

Anyone else have Diva Cup success stories? Are there any similar products out there? Seriously, if anybody out there is weirded out or grossed out by the idea, I promise it's not gross and compared to the other options it is so much neater and safer. The thought of a septic tank full of tampons or a bathroom garbage can full of pads makes me gag.

P.S. Thanks, my college's feminist group for turning me on to Diva Cup!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vegan Supplements

You can get everything your body needs from a vegan diet. However, you might have to eat for most of the day. So a lot of vegans take pills and other smaller compact versions of food. This is not a blog about what nutrients vegans (people) need, just what I take and have been feeling pretty healthy with.

1) Prenatal Vitamins
I am not pregnant or trying to become so (yet). I have found that prenatal vitamins have the best nutrition especially for a vegan in one pop. I have tried a variety of whole foods/organic/vegan vitamins including some awesome things like iodine from kelp. Here are two types:
DEVA have all the recommended daily intake amounts, but are less than other brands. However, you only have to take one pill per day. They smell bad.

Super Nutrition have a huge amount of all its nutrients. You do have to take three pills twice daily. They are coated in a yummy vanilla cap. I like them better.

2) Omega Three Fatty Acids
I have done some experimenting with these. I have taken a few types of Flax seed oils which are ALA. There is controversy as to whether/how much the body can transfer ALA into the brain/eye crucial DHA. I take 1-2 tablespoons a day in smoothie and drizzled over other food, or straight. (Don't heat it)

I also used to take V-Pure Omega 3 DHA and EPA Oil Capsules. 2x/day. Made from algae. Fish eat algae, fish have high omega 3s, vegans go to the source!
V-Pure Omega 3
For some reason, they stopped making them. No one has them and they seem to have stopped producing them. :o( I can't find its equivalent! The closest thing I've found is a few versions of flax oil + DHA from algae. Maybe if I get into sea vegetables in a big way?

What do you take? Have you found other sources of DHA/EPA omega 3s??

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegan Staples: Hummus

What probably was the impetus to my vegan-ism is hummus. I live for it and by it, seriously. Super flavorful and versatile- a spread, dip, sauce, dressing, binder, what doesn't hummus do?!

I get a lot of my non-perishable vegan ingredients from, so I get 2 shipments of every month. Yep, I go through at least 24 cans of chickpeas a month. These are organic and salt-free (has some seaweed) and cheaper than you would find at an organic store or even conventional grocery store. I have never had luck with dried chickpeas, but that is for another post.

I would love to give you a hummus recipe. Here is where I suck- I hardly ever follow a recipe. Sometimes my noms are a failure, and sometimes they rock but I can't ever get the same results. It is a terrible system. Here is basically how we make hummus, though measurements could be off. Taste test as you go along. This is kind of from my Jewish father-in-law:

3 cans of chickpeas. Include the liquid from one can (good idea to get no sodium added) 
2 large or 3 small cloves garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
Squirt of lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup tahini, Stir well!! (I've always used this kind: Keep in mind this is NOT raw)
Dash of salt
Optional garnish: olive oil, paprika, cilantro or parsley

Add all ingredients to a food processor and go for it. May have to stir/dislodge occasionally. Hubby likes to process the garlic first to make sure no cloves remain intact. There are a ton of variations on hummus. Sometimes I add Old Bay, because I am ridiculous. Others like to spice it up with different types of peppers. Up to you. 

Again, the ways to serve and use it are endless. I like to eat it with carrots and spinach or pour it over a salad. I usually don't like bready things but will occasionally eat it with pita, homemade pita chips, crackers, or tortilla chips. It is also an ingredient in a quinoa recipe we love to make which I'll do a post about. And with falafel, of course. 

Ah, I think back so fondly on my beginning hummus days. Before we had a food processor, I made it with a blender, a masher, and even a fork, and we finally have it down to a science. A science that is hard to share because I eye-ball it. Enjoy! I will try to take better photos of our next batch. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vegan Pets?

I have two fur babies and baby?
Drake and Kitsune, 10 and 11 months old

Meander, 21 months old

I have not done a lot of research on the topic, but from everything I've read and the vets I have spoken with, cats cannot be vegan. Dogs can. From what I gather, dogs can convert plant material into taurine which is necessary to survival, but cats cannot so they must get taurine from animal sources. So, my kitties each food with poultry and fish. We do Newman's Organic. 

And yeah, my snake is not vegan either. Diet consists of frozen mice. 

What do you think about non-vegan pets? Has anyone raised a vegan dog? Is anyone against pet ownership at all? (This is PETA's official stance, though not all members adhere to this). If you want to know more about my pets, let me know! They were all adopted/rescued. I'm sure they will pop up here often as I have no life beyond being a pet parent.

My hubby and Drake, the brown mackeral patch tabby with white

Vegan is Variety

I am so picky when it comes to food. For most of my life, I have been been the unwilling dude from Green Eggs and Ham (who my Kindergarten students figured out is named Mr. Nox from Fox in Sox). As a person transitioning into veganism and now as a full vegan depending on one's label definition, I am so much more willing to try new things (though not something from a pig or chicken, no matter the color).

A Not Exhaustive List of What I've Eaten as a Vegan:
Rice Dream Chocolate Bar mmmm
Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas
Brown Rice
Vegetable Fried Rice from Chinese restaurant

Samosas, chana pindi, and naan from Indian restaurant (future post)
Uh...tortilla chips from a Mexican restaurant
Packaged tortilla chips
Soy sauce
Briggs amino acids
Packaged pita bread
Frozen packaged samosas
Homemade potato and leek soup

Homemade humus (future post)
Homemade quinoa burgers (future post)
Homemade butternut squash risotto
Homemade vegetable risotto
Chex mix
Vegan yogurt: soy, coconut
Lemon juice
Variety of herbs and spices
Packaged brownie mix
Homemade cookies
Homemade vegetable broth
Homemade split pea soup
Homemade lentil soup

Variety of packaged frozen 'chicken' (future post)
Olive, canola, and coconut oil
Almond butter
Sunflower seed butter
Homemade pesto (future post)
Homemade pizza (future post)

Variety of vegan cheeses (future post)
Vegan milks: soy, almond, coconut, hemp (future post)
Coconut water
Vegan ice cream: soy, almond, coconut
Nutritional yeast
Packaged whole wheat buns
Red lettuce
Apples- gala, fiji, pink lady
Bartlet pears
Tomato paste
Goji berries
Orange juice
Orange soda (Ok, it was one time and I totally regret it)
Homemade smoothie (future post)
Vegan chocolate chips, carob chips, grain-sweetened chocolate chips
Raw cacao powder
Maca powder
Variety of flax oils
Ground flax seed
Hemp protein powder
Agave nectar
Cane sugar
Homemade mashed potatoes
Peanut butter
Variety of mushrooms

Earth Balance butter like substance

On my list of things to try:
Textured Vegetable Protein
Sea Vegetables

That's all I can recall at the moment. Even after all of this, I still detest tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra. Apologies because I am world's worst photographer. Anyway, these are some of the recipes I will be posting, but my hubby will eat anything so some recipes will go beyond my weirdly picky tastes. Lots more posts, to come, thanks for reading! I guess the take away message is eating vegan is not restricting and for me it has opened up new food opportunities.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vegan is Fun!

Hi! I am Julia and I'm excited to start a vegan blog. I have been an avid vegan blog reader since last summer and thought I would share my own experiences.

My Diet Background in a Nutshell-

I became vegetarian when I was 12, but I occasionally ate seafood. I became anemic and ate chicken for a couple of months in college to be 'healthier' (stupid college cafeteria lack of vegetarian iron and prot). I have always tried to avoid eggs in anything. For the past three years, I have eaten zero meat or eggs and very little dairy. For the past three months, I have eaten zero meat, eggs, or dairy. I am transitioning into a completely vegan diet and more slowly into an intentionally vegan lifestyle. I may still include some honey in my diet, not sure. I know it takes time to restock a pantry and wardrobe and what not so I'm doing what I can as I can.

What I Expect to Write About-
  • Recipes
  • Reviews: food, kitchen stuff, books, restaurants
  • Reviews: bath/shower/body products, health and beauty products (I'm obsessed with LUSH!)
  • Gardening/growing food
  • Nutrition/supplements
  • Benefits of veganism
  • Controversies within the vegan sphere
...basically the 'why' and 'how' behind my veganism. Please know up front I am not evangelistic about this. Put briefly, it is mostly for my health and also for environmental reasons. To me, vegan makes sense and is fun and delicious! I have never felt healthier! It's the best and I learned a lot of what I know from vegan blogs, so here I go paying it forward! Like all things, it should be an informed personal decision.

Thanks for reading! Please comment! I am a n00b blogger and vegan so most anything would be constructive. I'd love to get some discussion going.