Saturday, January 14, 2012

Death On A Factory Farm

In the summer of 2010, Troy's brother, Tyler recommended we watch a documentary about factory farming that was on HBO called Death On Factory Farm. This documentary focused on pigs. We watched.
I couldn't recall the name of this documentary, just that it was about pigs, so I recently texted Tyler, and he could only remember that it was HBO.
I Googled:  factory farm pigs HBO. Found it.

It was very disturbing. Especially after learning that pigs are so smart, and are not all that different from us.
I can't remember the documentary very clearly, but I do remember it confirming everything that I had previously read about animal agriculture: it's hell. 

On that note, I appreciate being reminded why I'm vegan.
It reminds me to never give up. To keep trying, there are still billions of nonhuman animals that need me to keep at it. It's good to have reminders. Maybe it's just me and my brain injury, but there are moments when I need reminders.
It is good to educate myself on vegan things. That way I can speak to whatever I'm hearing people talk about. I have no problem being a voice for nonhuman animals. Even if I can't always access my words, and I sometimes trip over what I'm trying to say, and I often forget figures to quote.
I have to say, my memory is absolutely improving all the time!!

I definitely feel that anyone eating animals owes it to themselves, the animals, the planet, and the people working at those facilities, to watch how that               (fill the blank with whatever animal part or secretion) ended up on their plate.
Or on their back, or in their face moisturizer. Etc.

This thirst for more knowledge has not only grown my vegan library, but I own lots of different documentaries. I have a dozen more listed on my iPhone to watch. All have been very good! I'll review them here soon.
I thought I'd start from the beginning of my vegan journey, and catch you up to what I'm doing now.
It's the paleo-diet! Kidding! That was a joke. 
Speaking of, not to jump way ahead, but you must listen to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's newest podcast episode, The Newest Diet Fad: Paelo.
Okay, 'must' seems like an order, what I mean is that I strongly recommend listening. It's really informative and insightful.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Challenge!! Veganize This: Hungarian Torta

Okay, here's the recipe my mom uses to make her torta. There are lots of versions, even within my own family, maybe your family makes something similar.

The version of this recipe that I had, has terrible directions! Terrible!
"Add the vanilla extract? What vanilla extract?! There's none listed...and how much?!?" Argh.
I didn't get it, so I had Troy look at it. He was super confused, so I talked to my mom. Luckily she was able to email me her recipe(which uses no vanilla extract!). Then we added more instructions because my family recipes seem to not include instructions. :P
Meeting with my mom in person, twice, 6 emails, and 5 phone calls later, I was able revamp the recipe so not just my mom gets it.
This recipe has many steps, it takes about 4 hours, but I am begging you to help me veganize this! Please note that this recipe can be reduced.
Please? I'll be your friend forever.                 

Hungarian Torta

The Dough-Torta Layers

This should make enough for 3 to 4 large cookie sheets.The layers get cut in half, once baked, so 6-8 layers.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheets with foil.  Coat the foil on the cookie sheets with lard and dust with flour. Be sure to coat all the lard with flour.
  • 18 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp  salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • 18 eggs, separated               
  • 18 Tbsp granulated sugar
Beat egg whites till stiff. Add half (9 Tbsp)of the sugar. Keep beating till mixed in well. Set egg-white mixture aside.
Beat egg yolks till thick, adding other 9 Tbsp of sugar.
Fold dry ingredients mixture into egg yolks. Fold in the egg-white mixture.
Put batter in just to evenly cover the pan.Watch carefully as it bakes quickly. Should be a very light brown.
Remove from oven, remove foil from pan and turn over onto brown paper. Gently remove foil from layer.
Repeat till all layers are baked.

 The Torta Filling

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs(whites and yolks)
Beat these together until they're a creamy yellow colour. Put mixture in fridge to keep cool.
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
Place in a pot, mix and boil, stirring constantly. Boil till mixture forms a thread when dripping off a spoon (till it is thick to drip off spoon-my grandma calls this 'threading'). Immediately, but slowly, add to the egg mixture beating all the time. Beat till completely mixed. And mix for a couple minutes longer.

Once quite cool add the following butter mixture:

  • 2 cup unsalted butter, softened  
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, add more to taste
Sift the cocoa powder into the butter. Then mix butter mixture with the cooled egg mixture.Cut the dough layers in half put frosting between each layer and top. Be sure to alternate the layers to prevent lopsided Torta.
Trim sides of cake and frost.
We cut the cake into thin-ish slices, rather than the classic cuts like the cake shown above.
I always loved this cake served frozen. My mom likes it room temperature. But to each their own!
Please don't hesitate to message me, or tweet me any questions!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Violated?! An 'Ah-ha' Moment

I had a really interesting talk with my counselor, Jo, regarding anxiety and depression and trauma.
We talked about my anxiety level and why I seem to have so much of it.
Basically, she was saying that while I was in the coma, things were done to my body that I had zero control of. Things like, having the catheter placed, the feeding tube up my nose, all of the monitors attached to me, being strapped down, and the tracheotomy. All of this was done while I was unconscious. My brain has no memory of these events. But my body does.
Which helps explain my high level of anxiety around medical professionals, namely.
After she explained why being in a coma, in itself, would be traumatic.

As she was explaining, I thought, so I was violated?
She confirmed, that yes, violated.
I mean, violated so medical professionals can help heal my body. It was a good thing! Fair enough.
But apparently, my body doesn't really see the difference or remember it that way.
We've been doing some S.E. work to help release that energy that my body is clinging to. Somatic Experience Exercises helps your body release the tension it kept from the traumatic event.

This talk with my counselor got me thinking more.

Maybe the reason that I find being vegan a pretty simple decision is because, on some level, I can relate to our 'food' animals. These animals also have zero say in what we do to them, or what happens to them. I know there is much protesting on the part of the nonhuman animals, we just don't care.
I don't want to violate anybody. Or pay to have anybody violated, on my behalf.
Not doing it.

The other ah-ha moment I had in the last few months, was also related to veganism and the collision.
Can you really blame me for thinking about it all the time?! 
I don’t remember much from the car collision.
I do recall making the decisions on what to wear for work that morning.
I do remember being panicked and absolutely terrified!! I truly remember the absolute panic I felt.

I am not supporting an industry that profits from anybody’s terror.
I don’t care how ‘humane’ or ‘happy’ that animal was.

I was happy in my life, but when it comes time to die, it’s fucking terrifying!!

Seems like an easy decision to me. 
Vegan. There you have it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bought Husband Wool Sweater...Damn

My first day of being vegan was September 12, 2010.
Within that first week, I found out about these really cool looking sweaters while at Metro Pet Market. They're from a company called Granted Clothing. Super cool sweaters.
Minus one detail:
Made from wool.      wah wah  
I never bothered looking into the how we get wool.
I saw the sweaters, and I knew Troy would want one.
They are very similar to the sweater that The Dude wears on The Big LebowskiVery cool!

Speaking of!!
For the last six hallowe'ens we have hosted a costume party because Troy's birthday is the 29th.

Scott(of 'Shannon & Scott', of our adventure friends)usually comes dressed as a drunken pirate.

This year Scott dressed as "The Dude". It was rad! 

Some guy in skull sweater

Back on topic, Alyx!!
I saw the skull sweater and I ordered Troy one for his birthday.
He loves it.
I mean, it's a siwash, and it has skulls!
What's NOT to love?  Again, rhetorical. I don't love that it's made with wool. I'm actually rather irritated. And a bit sad.

This is where I forgive myself for making the mistake. I have learned from this mistake.

You may wonder what the problem with wool is. I wondered the very same thing.

Thankfully, I found the answer on Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's podcast, Vegetarian Food For Thought.
The episode titled, The Shearing of Sheep, told me what the problems are with wool.
I know there are many YouTube videos that talk about this as well, I just really appreciate the way that Colleen delivers the information. Compassionate and truthful.

My next task is to commission someone to knit a vegan sweater with skulls for the love of my life, Troy.
I can do many things, but I don't know how to knit.
I'll start with

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Content Warning

You probably noticed that I recently put a content warning up before you enter my blog.
I did this because I tend to drop the f-bomb here and there.

I feel guilty about a kid(not a baby goat) reading the foul language. I don't know.

What do you think?

I kind of feel like, meh.                       I think I may remove it.

Does it really matter that children see me using that language? Do porn sites even have content warnings? Hmm, probably not . . . it IS porn! Are you really surprised to see naked people???
And how often do kids stumble onto a brain injury blog focused around veganism?? Besides, kids have parents for a reason. So parents, start parenting.
There are way more offensive websites out there.

I was raised by a Catholic, and my understanding is that Catholicism is all about guilt.  

I am not Catholic. I'm not sure what I believe . . .

There's probably nothing to feel guilty about. I mean, my mom taught me to not ring doorbells in case there's a sleeping baby, for crying in the sink!

I am still in the habit of knocking, even when I know that there are NO babies to wake.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Don't Eat Eggs

It's funny . . . because I did LOVE eggs!
Every way possible!
Egg salad, scrambled, hard-boiled, sunny-side up, over-easy, eggs Benedict, in omelets, in sandwiches, and in bagels(with cheese and salsa!). Loved eggs!

The reason it's funny, is because once I started to associate eggs with the pain and suffering and truly see what they are, I was able to change.
Now when I think about chicken's eggs, I have zero interest or desire to eat them.
I think about all of those birds forced into that tiny 'living' space with other diseased, miserable birds. Forced into those terrible conditions. Only to meet a cold end.
I watched Mercy For AnimalsFowl Play a couple months ago. Very disturbing!
I refuse to give my money to that industry! Well, my taxes still pay to subsidize...but I am not giving them the money that I have a say about! Damn it!!

There are ways of creating the same, or very similar, flavors and textures that I crave. I really and truly don't feel like I've 'given up' or 'sacrificed 'anything for the vegan cause. If I want it bad enough, I'll either find a way to make/get said item, or I'll practice patience and wait till I can have it. It'll be more special, is my thinking.

That being said, my grandmother makes this dessert that is incredibly delicious. My family calls it Hungarian Torta. I love it. My grandma even made some to serve at our wedding.
I think it's so good.
But I grew up with it. Troy doesn't think it's that great. In fact, once he heard the ingredients, he said it's actually a little gross.                 Wah Wah
It is absolutely not vegan. It has a lot of eggs. A lot.
I would love to veganize this torta, but I am lost. I definitely need help.
**I'll post a link to the recipe once I get some more details from my mom. It is the most poorly written recipe that we have ever read! It's so confusing! I have many many questions for my mom, and once she's able to give me more direction, I'll post the recipe. That will be my challenge.
          Veganize this!(see, then I'll post a link there, where it's underlined!)

About six months into my veganism, I watched a video on YouTube, "Best Speech You Will Ever Hear-Gary Yourofsky". It was amazing! 
I bring up this inspiring speech because Gary Yourofsky talks about chicken's eggs. He refers to eggs as 'chicken periods'.
This was mind-wrinkling for me.
Chicken periods?!? Come on, now, they are different!
                       ...once I started to think about it though...

Yes, I realize it's not quite the same as eating human menstrual fluid. 
But it's damn close.

The real difference is that our babies grow inside of us.
For birds, the chick gets all of its nutrients from inside of the egg, while baby humans first get all of their nutrients from the menstrual lining in their mother's uterus. The same thing happens to female chickens as female humans: If the egg is not fertilized, it gets discarded. It leaves the body.

Ta Dah! Eggs and periods. Well, to be completely accurate, for birds, the egg leaves the body either way.

So, yes, eggs are nutritious.
Nutritious for chicken fetuses!
They do have a hell of a lot of cholesterol!
Yes, I realize that we aren't really eating the "unborn fetuses of chickens". They are unfertilized. Still, that's fucking gross.
Chicken periods.