Posts Tagged ‘veganism’

Vegan Butter Recipe

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Wish I was an English Muffin... Vegan Butter, ready to spread.

Vegan butter is one of those things that sounds a whole lot more exotic than it is. Those of you who follow Gone Pie, know that we have been making our own butter to bake with for quite a while now. We use a firm butter for baking.

If you’re a subscriber to our Treat Plan, you have received in your package, at various times, recipes for both our firm baking butter and our spreadable butter. Friends have been telling us to sell our spreadable butter for a while. Honestly, making butter at home is so easy, that selling it seems wrong.

It’s not as convenient to make butter as it is to buy it. You might think that now. Once you make it and familiarize yourself with the process, I bet you’ll think differently. Vegan butter is super easy and super inexpensive to make; if you spend 10ish minutes in the kitchen you can make enough butter to keep you and those around you buttery and happy.

I, personally, believe the commercial palm oil based vegan butters are something we do not need to buy. We do not need to support companies that ignore our concerns and produce hollow statements about sustainability to  keep us buying their products.

I give all the credit to Mattie at VeganBaking.net, Rae Sikora, and Miyoko Schinner for showing me just how easy it is to make butter at home. I just tweaked their recipes to  come up with a recipe that works for me.

Their recipes all use slightly different amounts of milk and oil and coconut oil. The different proportions effect the firmness of your butter. As Rae mentions in her recipe, the more coconut oil you use, the firmer your butter is.

BUTTER BUTTER BUTTER. I love butter. I talk about it a lot. So no more talking. Here is the recipe I use for spreadable butter for toast.

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together the milk, vinegar, and salt. Let it sit until curdled. You can get together your other ingredients while this is going on. (Please notice in her video that Miyoko does not even curdle her milk, but just adds vinegar to the oils later. I like the process I am describing here.  Both work equally well.)

  • 1 cup refined coconut oil (melted and cooled)
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil (melted and cooled)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil*
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sesame oil (not toasted!!!)
  • 2 teaspoons liquid soy lecithin**
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Combine the oils in a food processor. Add  the coconut milk, lecithin, and xanthan gum. Process for a minute or two until completely homogeneous. Pour the mixture into any mold you like. I generally put mine in unbreakable 16 ounce containers. Nothing fancy.(Miyoko does not use xanthan in her recipe. The first recipe I followed used it, so I use it. But I’ve tried Miyoko’s butter, and it is awesome without it. So the choice is yours.)

This butter stores really well in the fridge. I have had it for many weeks without any noticeable change. It also freezes well. We always make at least a double batch and keep the extra in the freezer.

The particular oil combination I use, makes the butter I like. You can follow one of the recipes I linked to. Or mess around yourself with oils. It’s fun. AND EASY! I have played with proportions and oils a lot. Everything has worked out fine. This is the recipe I like the best for flavor and spreading.

*Canola oil is a super mild tasting oil.  Canola oil is quite often genetically modified. As I try to avoid GMOs, I use organic oil. You can substitute another oil here if you prefer to avoid canola entirely.

**Unfortunately, the two types of lecithin I know of are both common allergens. If you use sunflower lecithin, this recipe is soy free. Which is great if no one you know is allergic to sunflower…

#PBCRRBNBB

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Behold the #PBCRRBNBB... peanut butter caramel rocky road beer nut brownie!!!!

Peanut butter caramel rocky road beer nut and bacon brownies… the brownie so unbelievably hip, it’s a hashtag! And a monumental taste treat. Now everybody say it… Peanut butter caramel rocky road beer nut and bacon brownies. Not very catchy. Thus the initials.

Some places are really good at naming their treats. They have such good names right?  I always end up with these endless description names. So… this time that would just be too much. Thus we call it #PBCRRBNBB.

The #PBCRRBNBB start with a pan of super moist peanut butter brownies ( beer nuts and vegan marshmallows baked in). Next we top the brownies with chocolate frosting, followed by more beer nuts and marshmallows, chopped chocolate, vegan bacon and peanut butter caramel!!!!! And, of course, more chocolate frosting… They are the ultimate rocky road extravaganza; combining sweet, salt and goo!

Ingredients: vegan fairtrade sugar*; gluten-free flour blend (sorghum flour, buckwheat flour*, amaranth flour*, garfava flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, brown rice flour*); dates; brown rice syrup*; coconut milk*; gluten-free vegan fairtrade semi-sweet chocolate (evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, non-dairy cocoa butter); glutenfree vegan fairtrade chocolate liquor*; non-GMO canola oil; coconut*; peanut butter*, Gone Pie beer nuts* (raw peanuts*, vegan fairtrade sugar*, maple syrup*, smoked sea salt); vegan marshmallows coconut oil*; vegan fairtrade unsweetened cocoa powder*; aluminum-free baking powder; spices.

*organic ingredient

I have many reasons, that I love this product so much! For starters… they make people so happy. Last weekend we debuted these bad boys at the Vegan Shop Up and people were going crazy for them. And they sold out super fast.

This recipe came to be out of a new subscription plan we are now offering. This plan is tree nut free. As a vegan, I am particularly sensitive to being served a well thought out dish or dessert, minus an offending ingredient. In my world, that just means you’re serving me an incomplete item, that you didn’t bother to re-conceptualize properly for my needs. Can’t have that!!!!!

Gone Pie beer nuts* (raw peanuts*, vegan fairtrade sugar*, maple syrup*, smoked sea salt)

In March the regular subscribers received the long time Gone Pie favorite rocky road brownies… loaded with nuts. How to re-work these for the tree nut free plan… hmmm…. Since I could use peanuts and coconut, the obvious answer was beer nuts and bacon. And since the bacon is made of coconut, why not work the coconut in more fully. Say with toasted coconut marshmallows?

And why the coconut bacon to begin with? Because it is super deliscious and blends in really well. And because it is made by my friend Kyle and I want to support him. But that isn’t really what you were asking is it?

Why on earth would vegans want to eat something that tasted even a little bit like bacon? The simplest answer I can give you is this. The vegans I know, gave up the foods they eschew for reasons other than enjoyment. There are plenty of cheese obsessed vegans out there. Believe me! Cruelty free versions of standard fair are heartily enjoyed by vegans. Many of us did not stop eating animal products because we didn’t like the way they tasted. We stopped because we didn’t want to take part in animal exploitation.

For many of us, the desire for such foods goes away. For many others, it does not. I’ll probably not eat these brownies now that they are perfected. They don’t really appeal to me.  Thankfully I was able to taste them along with people that thought they sounded (and tasted) amazing. And that’s another reason I love these brownies. There are some things that come easier than others. This one is so far outside my comfort zone! And yet, apparently, I nailed it. Yay me!

Bacon brownies anyone?

Order #PBCRRBNBB!

Gramma’s tempeh pot roast recipe

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

I don't know how people photograph their meals! I just wanted to eat. So these rushed offerings will have to do.

This tempeh pot roast was our dinner last night. It was amazing. We used a very fresh local tempeh this time, which made the dish even better than it usually is.  We served it beside kale and noodles in tahini sauce. Perfect pairing!

I know there must be a really great story behind this recipe. I should really ask my mom. I love the weird combination of ingredients she used adapting her traditional recipe to this amazing vegan version.

CARAWAY MARSALA TEMPEH POT ROAST

-olive oil
-1 or 2 packages tempeh (we used this soy-free variety)
-1 large onion (1/4 inch slices)
-3 portobello mushrooms (1/4 inch slices)
-dry minced onions
-dry minced garlic
-2 dozen or more peppercorns
-2 peppers, red and/or yellow (minced)
-caraway seeds
-2 bay leaves
-1 cup vegetable broth
-1/2 cup mirin
-3 Tablespoon OrganicVille Tangy BBQ Sauce
-1 cup or more vegan Marsala wine

  • Layer the bottom of an oven-proof pan with the olive oil.
  • Layer the sliced onions and mushrooms on the bottom of the pan.
  • Thoroughly sprinkle both sides of tempeh with onion and garlic flakes, then place the tempeh on top of the onions/mushrooms.
  • Combine remaining ingredients – EXCEPT MARSALA – and pour over the top of the tempeh.
  • Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Add marsala 1/2 hour before serving.

Vegan Art and Activism

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
I feel very awkward posting this!

The painting of me....

Last Wednesday, I was privileged to attend a Vegan Art Show right here in NYC. This was a really great, SUPER well attended event.  Being there reminded me that I have been neglecting to share about an amazing vegan artist and activist I have had the pleasure of getting to know for the past year or so.

The artist, J. Muir, was looking for more subjects for paintings for a recent art show in Quebec. For some reason, I seemed a likely subject!?! J. and I have never met in real life, but often have long virtual discussions about veganism, activism, gender, farming, baking, the environment… I was honored to be painted by a person I admire so! Seeing how my image came to life in J.’s painting was truly remarkable.

I thought it would be nice to share a bit more about the artist and the way activism is part of the art that is created. In J.’s own words….

I use a large amount of recycled materials to construct my paintings.  Your painting was mounted on recycled melamine and plywood paneling that I recuperated while working at a cabinetry shop (if not, the materials would be in the dump right now).  It was painted on canvas that I found at a second-hand store, in a big roll for $5.  I use non-toxic paints, no cadmium or cancer-causing agents, and no bone black or animal ingredients in the acrylic paint (that I know of so far, you can refer folks to my project of researching vegan art supplies).  But I do have to say that I was using up some old paint that someone gave me, so your painting does have some toxic yellow on it. :(   If not I wouldn’t have been able to finish it – my budget for art supplies is pretty limited.

I’m just now starting to produce paintings after somewhat of a pause.  I used the time to try to re-focus and find out where I was going with my art.  I worked on some block prints and silk screen images.  My current subject matter revolves around humans, animals, and plants, reflecting my love of the natural world.  It’s figurative work which is deeply influenced by Fauvist artists as well as Myfanwy Pavelic and Lucien Freud, among others.

Inasmuch as imagery can help cultivate respect and admiration for animals and their habitat, this could be seen as ‘vegan’ art.  I guess my work follows more Lee Hall’s vision of how we should be showing free-living animals in their dignity, beauty, and autonomy, instead of dwelling on the victimhood of nameless, unknown slaughter-bound captives.

My world view is definitely reflected in my art.  I adore trees and tomato plants, grasshoppers and gophers.  I love big predators and thrill to the sound of coyotes yip-yipping to each other through the valley where I live.  Even though it may give me chills on my evening walk, I recognize that I’m in their territory, and that life involves risk – and I would rather have some wild world left than to live in dull safety in a dead environment.  I abhor toxic chemicals and everything that destroys the forests that I hold precious.  I believe that humans can grow up as a species and take responsibility for our use of technology, aligning ourselves with natural processes and living in harmony instead of carelessly destroying the very habitat that sustains us all.

As activists, we all strive to live our values as fully as we can. It is always so inspiring to encounter others who bring their values to their work. J. is an inspiration to me and I hope you have enjoyed this little introduction!

An acrylic giraffe painting by J.

Veggie Conquest celebrates one year!

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The secret ingredient is basil!

I can’t believe it is one year since I went to the first Veggie Conquest.  I have tasted some pretty amazing food at these fun competitions. Honestly Veggie Conquest doesn’t seem particularly competitive at all.  There are prizes and there are winners, but overall, I would say the events are more of a celebration of vegan food and the wide variety of creative/energetic folks that are out there making it! It seems to me, that everyone that attends one of these events is a winner.

It has been amazing to watch Jessica Mahady, the event’s organizer, and her dedicated crew of volunteers make each event better than the one before. Veggie Conquest has an amazingly devoted following and sells out almost instantly. I believe this time, the taster tickets sold out in 10 minutes.

At VC5, we will all be treated to a variety of entrees, each of which will feature basil in it’s creation. I am also delighted to be participating in this event as a judge along with Kevin Archer and Wendy Roberts I have to say, as a timid and less than adventurous eater, these events have been mind and palate expanding. I am definitely relieved that the ingredient being featured this time is one I actively like!

Once again, as at the first event, Gone Pie will be donating glutenfree chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I am also pleased that Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral, the author of two vegan cookbooks, has given me a couple of her cookbooks to contribute as prizes. Priscilla is quite a cook and I am pleased to be working with her on the next edition of “Dining With Friends”.

Gone Pie goodies at June 15th NYC book event for “On Their Own Terms”

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

On Their Own Terms, by Lee Hall

This coming Tuesday June 15th, Gone Pie is proud to support an evening of discussion led by Lee Hall, author of the newly published “On Their Own Terms: Bringing Animal-Rights Philosophy Down to Earth” at the Bluestockings Bookstore/Cafe/Activist center in Manhattan. Our contribution to this event will be some lovely little sweets to keep our minds fresh and focussed to engage in this dynamic event.  We will be making a selection of cookies and mini-cupcakes.  For more information on the event, please click here.For more information on why Gone Pie is as pleased as punch to contribute to this event, read on!

As vegans we all have our own way we seek to inform and interact with others.  I find, so often, I know what I feel but lack the ability to say it.  When I read Lee’s writings, I find myself more able to express myself.

“We don’t achieve what we can’t conceive, so let’s think of what we want, and let’s think in big, bold strokes.  Acknowledge the magnitude of the change you seek, and then map your route. ” This book is an amazing resource, clearly written to inform and empower each of us to action.

Lee Hall encourages us all to define our advocacy.  I met Lee on twitter and was at once uncertain how to communicate and slightly intimidated. Other prominent writers in our community do anything but encourage dialog.  I assumed the same would be true here.  Not so.  As I fumbled for words to communicate and explained my discomfort,  Lee’s response was simply “Vegan baking is direct action”.

I urge you all to come out to this event and engage with Lee Hall. See you there!

My first vegan moment/memory

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I think this is one of the most beautiful images in the entire world, an image of free roaming animals, living the way they were born to live. This is the kind of thing that makes my heart happy!

This weekend, I was reminded of my earliest memory that I can attach to my vegan evolution. It was so many years ago that I have no idea how old I was. It just feels like it has always been a part of me. I guess I must have been about 9 or 10. I was sitting with my family and there was a horse race that every one seemed so very excited to watch. The beauty and splendor of these majestic beasts was an awe inspiring site. The festivities surrounding the event were no less intriguing to me. The race progressed and one of the horses fell and broke an ankle. I was devastated by this. I asked the next day if anyone knew how the horse was doing? I was told it had been “euthanized”. I was now doubly devastated.

This feeling has stayed with me all these years. Every year when the excitement in the media turns to horse racing, I feel that same feeling. It just haunts me. It actually grows as I do. I now understand the entire institution of horse racing is pure evil. Not only does it require the enslavement and forced breeding of these wonderful and powerful beings, but it does so for entertainment and the economic enrichment of a hideously privileged sector of society. There is not one thing about this gathering that I do not disdain. I actually feel shame to be part of a society that allows such exploitation to exist.

So as I sat with my family this weekend, and someone suggested we put on the race I mustered up all my strength to say “Really?” No one answered. I briefly wondered if I had actually said it out loud. And then I just got up and left. I knew this was a crowd that lacked understanding of the reality they were partaking in. I refused to witness it and left. I wonder if I did the right thing. I should have said more and been sure I was heard. I felt unable to do so.

I have already had endless debates about dog shows, zoos and food with these very same people. I did not choose to engage on this day. Perhaps my lack of meaningful words was weakness. I really don’t know how to deal with people anymore when these kinds of situations arise. I just can no longer bear witness to such atrocities. I feel by sitting there I am tacitly implicated in this evil. If anyone even wondered for a moment why I left, then my action spoke the words I lacked.

I believe if one truly opens their eyes they can see how wrong it is to enslave and exploit, to purpose breed for sport and entertainment, to observe such festivities. The defiance that exists in people when asked to question their animal exploiting ways was more than I could face that day. For just this one day I chose silence, as I could not bare the disappointment of their words in response to mine….

Carefully chosen ingredients

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Vanilla beans as they grow

One of the most challenging and rewarding parts of the Gone Pie experience for me, is selecting the ingredients that we use in our products.  This is no small task. We consider taste and quality first and foremost.  This can be tricky.  There are some amazingly tasty products on the market that just do not fit into our concept.  Obviously all of our products are 100 % free of animal ingredients.  The impact of a product on non-humans extends beyond the actual ingredients.  Organic production and corporate responsibility are among the factors we consider in selecting our carefully chosen ingredients.

Some examples of how we select ingredients follow.

Palm oil is a perfect ingredient to illustrate how we consider environment in our choices.  This is a seemingly vegan ingredient.  Just  a little research will inform you that palm plantations are displacing natural forests to satisfy steadily increasing human palm oil consumption.  This, to me, makes avoiding palm oil a must. Palm oil is purely vegetable derived, but the consequences of its production, for me, make it an ingredient I cannot consider vegan.  Producing our treats in the most environmentally responsible way is always going to be central to Gone Pie.

Last week while ordering basic oil for baking, my distributor advised me that buying the larger 5 gallon tub would save us significant money.  There are a myriad of environmental considerations in selecting ingredients. In this case the concern was Genetically Modified (GM) ingredients. In the past only the one gallon containers were non-GM.  Avoidance of such foods is part of the Gone Pie vegan agenda.   The distributor was able to provide me with documentation that the oil was indeed produced with Identity Preserved (IP) non-GM ingredients and I was able to save Gone Pie some coin without compromising our values!

Another consideration for us, is whether a product is made in compliance with Fair Trade standards. More and more Fair Trade products are available all the time.   At Gone Pie we use a most delicious and ethical vanilla.  The producer partners with local farmers and contributes a portion of the profits back to the farmers and their communities.  Their organic farming practices support a friendly habitat for bird species, enabling organic cultivation with minimal impact on the local habitat.  In their own words: “Our vanilla vines are grown on shade trees in Papua New Guinea.  These shade trees make great homes for local birds that help keep our vanilla vines healthy and free from pests.”

I often wonder what other people consider in selecting their ingredients.    Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what matters to you.  Perhaps we can inform each other on how we make socially responsible vegan decisions.

P.S. Later this week I will be posting a vanilla giveaway. We really love this vanilla – on every level – and want to share it with you. Stay tuned for more info….

What is this Gone Pie all about?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

“And you will hear the call
All action great and small
Received joyfully”

Patti Smith, “One Voice”

As 2009 came to a close, I had reason to reflect upon the year and what Gone Pie is and is becoming.  It has been a brilliant year for Gone Pie and it has become more and more important to me to define what we do and why we do it.  Pretty much every one reading this can bake or has a favorite bakery that they can get their vegan goodies from.  So why is it that Gone Pie is different?

Gone Pie is very much a manifestation of who I am and how I endeavor to live.  I have never been one to indulge in very decadent food or sweets.  Growing up, I was the one that passed on the ice cream, caramel apples, candy bars.  You name it.  All the normal kid stuff.  It was too rich for me.  I loved my Mom’s chocolate coconut cake and chocolate chip cookies.  And I loved baking.  Kind of limiting to just make two things!

Enter  The Tassajara bread book!   This was a life changing book for me!  Those darn hippies were making some mighty fine real food.  I loved everything in that book I made.  And I am pretty sure I made every recipe and variation there was!

I guess it is just part of my nature to embrace a value in food that is beyond the mere sensory experience.  And that is exactly what it is that makes Gone Pie what it is today.

Gone Pie evolved out of a former business that was not vegan.  To the limits of my knowledge at the time, I endeavored to embrace my real food beliefs.  I was lucky to be drawn to the East Village of New York City, a natural home for the food I was making.  We gave a lot of food away, walked all over the neighborhood with our recycling and generally felt ourselves to be conscious and enlightened beings as we fed the locals real food.

Enter the vegan squatters!  We were known throughout the neighborhood to give away a lot of food we hadn’t sold.  “Do you have anything vegan to give away.”  Hmmm…  What’s that?  I learned from them the basics of this beautiful approach to life and food and today’s  Gone Pie was on its way to being.

I had found a structure and cohesion that were lacking in my previous real food philosophy.  Once I learned about veganism, so many elements of my beliefs were so much clearer to me.  Underlying all my concerns for food and the planet was a respect for life on earth.  Nothing can more perfectly manifest this than veganism — a lifestyle totally free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.

Environmentalism and nutrition are important to consider.  Once I discovered veganism, I realized they were just aspects of the bigger picture.  Veganism brought all my hippie dippy dreams together into a cohesive lifestyle.

My conservationist nature and concern for value in food are elements of what veganism means to me now.  I understand they are not strictly part of the definition.  But shouldn’t they be?  How can food derived from highly processed ingredients such as white flour be truly vegan?  How can highly packaged products be truly vegan?  How can palm oil be considered vegan? Shouldn’t veganism embrace a lifestyle that minimally impacts our planet?

As a baker, I understand the joys of a decadent indulgent dessert.  We need to be rewarded in this life.  But as we seek to please our senses, we must  consider how this is part of the big picture.  Everything we do effects the environment.  Just by living, we tax our planet.  Shouldn’t we be careful to try and minimize this effect?

So that is what Gone Pie is –  a diabolical plan to create truly delicious and, hopefully, responsible, vegan treats.  We use, what one friend has called, “delicious science” to create exceptional baked goods that embrace this philosophy .  Food is for tasting, and Gone Pie would not exist if our food was not good.

That is where the science comes in.  Our recipes are involved and slightly annoying!   We use combinations of ingredients when one might work.  One might work, but a combination will always make for a more balanced flavor, and, hopefully, a  more nutritionally balanced result.

I write these words hoping they resonate with those reading them.  I hope I can share some of what has motivated me in my work.  I plan on trying to reach more people this year by posting more recipes that can be made at home.  I think nothing teaches a food philosophy like tasting it!

Have I won you over?  Will you be replacing the margarine, the refined white flour and sugar in your recipes?  I hope so!  And so does the planet.  We are all in this together, every time any one of us takes a well thought out conscious  action to help our environment it is important.  It is, in fact, received joyfully.

Honoring compassion while working for the revolution

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Wild free-roaming horses and burros

Compassion according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  This is the definition I intend here. Compassion is a very important issue for me.  It is an element in myself I don’t like to keep down.  Impulses that seem to embrace compassion can often be at odds with my goals as a vegan.  Here I try to find a way to embrace compassion as I stay true to my beliefs that non-humans are not ours to own or exploit in any way.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we vegans approach non-vegans and each other. I keep revisiting the rhetoric I read daily about which path is right and what we as vegans must do to move our cause forward. I know for sure that our movement is not about promoting a philosophy or an individual who supports a particular philosophy. It is about ending human exploitation of non-human beings. That is a daily action we all take as we share our vegan thoughts, tend our gardens and share our vegan food. It doesn’t always feel like enough and can seem downright frustrating at times. Are we really getting anything done? Are we really making any difference? Sometimes I feel so fired up by my beliefs and sometimes I feel so drained by them.

The one thing I know is that we vegans are a crew of uncommonly compassionate beings. And while compassion is an important element of our nature, it is not the foundation of our beliefs and can easily be ignored as we work towards our vegan goals. We feel for the non-human animals who are exploited by our fellow humans. This way of thinking leads to endless campaigns being undertaken by caring individuals that address single issues of suffering. I find that many of these campaigns exploit often misguided compassion. Yes, I do believe compassion can be misguided. Here it is crucial to distinguish between campaigns that modify suffering and those that end actual use. The latter campaigns address issues that can actually move our cause forward. I characterize compassion as misguided when our love blinds us to actual results. Any number of  alleged improvements in animal husbandry can be seen as caring. But upon more careful consideration, no improvement in the treatment of a non-human that enables subjugation to continue is truly compassionate. In actuality, it is a clear case of misguided compassion that likely prolongs suffering and exploitation.  I will not even address whether or not these modifications actually improve living conditions for exploited beings.  That to me is an irrelevant point, as nothing that allows continued slaughter is something I can see as an improvement.

But what of other causes that seek to end one form of oppression, possibly in one geographic area? Examples that come to mind are the work being done to ban fur, companion animal breeding, and horse drawn carriages. Is it very likely we will work very hard for these causes for small results in the grand scheme of world veganism? Yes. But who are we to call these gains small? Can you imagine a day when tourists arriving in NYC can no longer ride in a horse drawn carriage? How powerful of a message would that be? Who can say if we can achieve this goal? But it is a worthy one. It won’t end all horse breeding or exploitation, but will be a powerful message in support of our non-human friends. Think of all those romanticized scenes in movies that would be historical documentation of past abuse rather than advertisement for the continuation of it.

And what about putting some energy into opposing the budding industry of breeding boutique breeds for enslavement as companion animals? This is clearly a small issue, a sub-issue of the cruelty of breeding companion animals in general. I see it as a very important manifestation of the way humans feel entitled to enslave and exploit non-humans for their entertainment. Efforts here are clear efforts to resist human enslavement of non-humans with no unintended negatives resulting.

I get immediately energized when I think like this. How can we as good caring persons not see this kind of compassion as a good thing? Yes, these are single issues that will not achieve our entire goal. But these are single issues that only help my non-human friends. They don’t promote further servitude. No feel good myth is created. When I work to promote them I do feel good, but it’s not just feeling good that matters.  (The same can be said of dubious animal husbandry changes that promote prolonged suffering and exploitation, which may make some activists feel good but do not end abuse of our non-human friends.)  It is feeling good in a way that is not aligned with further exploitation.  It is more than feeling good.  It is making change and encouraging a shift in the vision of non-humans as here for human exploitation.  This is what I call honoring your compassion while furthering the respect due to non-humans (veganism).  This kind of change, even when modest, and the subsequent invigoration is very good for the movement.

What is better for the movement than a vegan fired up and fueled by their beliefs? Who will more effectively spread the word, one energized and happy in their beliefs or one weighed down by the language and the rhetoric of a philosophy that so many find inaccessible?  I know, for me, the choice is clearly the former.