Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teething and Walking

Here I am at the tail end of a monstrous week of teething, it took me swiftly back to those first few weeks with a new born, no sleep, lots of crying, just add no eating! Very frustrating and as far as I can tell there are no new teeth up, not that I can see anyway, I am blessed with a boy who will bite your finger if you put it in his mouth, don't blame him really, I would too.

Jasper has started swimming lessons which he seems to enjoy, it's quite fun to go too. Our instructor tries hard to encourage him to 'kick, kick, kick, kick,' and he just grins at her and floats on his way. No one tells Jasper what to do...

I must also mention that he is walking too, he loves too strut his stuff and damn is he proud. I have gone a little crazy buying shoes for him now he is on his feet. I got a couple of cute booties from Isabooties, as well as some Dunlop first walkers and sandals from local stores. I really wish they would make more decent vegan baby and toddler shoes, not even wants their child walking around with cow hide wrapped around their gorgeous feet.

Jasper is enjoying new foods when he chooses to eat, at the moment he likes dolmades, baba ganoush, veggie sushi, falafel, hommus, polenta and pumpkin fingers (one of his favourites) pasta, semi dried tomatoes and avocado toast.

Just bought Vegan Lunchbox and Vegan Lunchbox around the world so hopefully I will get some new ideas to keep him interested.

Fingers Crossed!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leaf blowers, roaming pooches and no more chocolate!

It feels like I haven't written a post in ages, and I haven't. A lot of has been going on, I have moved my family to the burb's and that was about as much fun as watching someone gnaw on ribs. I was dreaming of a peaceful bush outlook, quiet streets for my cats to romp around in and neighbours who would bring me scones with homemade jam....
ok well maybe not the scones, but so far I have found people in my new 'hood' have an affinity for leaf blowers, water blasting their driveways, washing cars on cement and not lawns, using power tools at 6pm on a Sunday night and letting their dogs run free on the streets. Not exactly what I anticipated but give me time?

My little boy celebrated his first birthday last weekend and the party was a success, I made some vegan caramel slice, snickerdoodles and orange and choc chip muffins. The caramel slice was a massive hit and I loved telling people it was vegan, little by little by non vegan relo's are experiencing yummy vegan treats and loving them. The recipe for the caramel slice can be found on the Cruelty Free Shop facebook page. The recipes for the snickerdoodles and muffins were taken from a great cookbook, 100 Best Vegan baking recipes. Love it!

I guess you could say that was the joy before the new regime begins, as of today I am trying a no wheat, no sugar and no refined foods diet. I don't need to add no animal products for obvious reasons. My naturopath suggested it would help me shed some of the baby weight that is still hanging around, it has been a year now so I am ready to drop it. Besides that being my motivation I also believe it is one of the healthiest ways you can eat, but it will be hard, no more reaching for some lindt choccie when I have a craving, no baking any sugar treats, no quick pieces of toast with rice syrup, no more... I better stop before I completely depress myself. I am thinking of trying it for a month, but if I make a week I will be VERY proud of myself. I also need to exercise, it is all so obvious isn't it? then why is it so hard to implement? At least Jasper and I can exercise together, I'll push the stroller and he can sit back and enjoy our new suburb, accompanied by a whizzing whippersnipper soundtrack...

Till next time...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Take it... PLEASE!

Things are a little hectic here at home at the moment as we are packing up the house getting ready to move in a few weeks. I remember when moving was so simple, you hire a ute or truck and load your few possessions on and off you go to the next house share, unit or borrowed couch. I have done them all.

Now I have a husband, two cats and a baby, plus a load of stuff I cannot remember accumulating. I love a good purge and by purge I mean getting rid of a whole lot of stuff that I do not need nor ever have. I love simplicity, I love having just the bare essentials to ensure comfort. I have never been a hoarder, I don't keep old love letters, show programs or magazines. I don't keep clothes, shoes, jewellery just in case I might fit into it, need it or like it again one day. I donate, recycle, sell, give away, anything to ensure it doesn't end up in land fill. I have to admit this weekend has been a test of my patience. I had organised a pick up for a charity, I had some decent furniture and other misc items that they could have given to a needy family but due to regulations about 85% of it was left behind, so I found another charity that would take it. I offered the rest to friends but no luck, so I put some on it on freecycle and had instant responses but still they remain in my home. I know what you are thinking, the stuff is either rubbish or so ugly no one would insult their house by putting it in it but I promise, it isn't horrid and if I didn't already have way too much stuff, would remain with me.

My frustration is that I am loathe to throw anything away, I cannot justify more crap being made while perfectly good stuff goes to land fill. More pollution, more trees being cut down, more chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere so we can sit on shiny new chairs. I guess my point is... well, persevere, find a new home for the stuff you no longer want or need, swap with friends, buy from op shops, just try not to add to the pile of junk already accumulated on this planet.

I have just a few things left now and I will persevere, I will find my lovely things a new home, I will celebrate when I do!

On a lighter note, we had the yummiest mexican food for dinner last night, imagine if you will, a vegan burrito filled with beans, avocado, salsa, corn, tofutti sour cream, cheezly cheese, tomatos, lettuce and lovely spices. YUM!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eating Animals - No Thanks!

My birthday is coming up and I have already received part of my present, Jonathan Safran Foer's book, Eating Animals. I had previously studied his book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in which the central character is a young vegan boy and am thrilled that Foer has lept into non fiction to bring us this study on the complexities of eating animals. I am only at the beginning but I am already completely engrossed and somewhat repulsed, for example when he is discussing KFC (vile) workers caught urinating on the slaughtered birds. Gee if that doesn't make you want to give it a miss, what will?

Foer is such an intelligent writer and I am moved by his motivation to write this book, that is the birth of his son. Like any good parent, he wanted to know about the food he would be feeding (or not feeding for that matter) his son. You can read his letter to the worlds largest meat processor, Tyson foods here.

Another reason that I admire Foer, is that I am envious of his bravery. I am not the bravest of people out there, sure I am strong, capable, blah blah blah, but I couldn't go to a factory farm, I couldn't visit an abattoir, I can barely watch many of the videos circulating including the current one of the horrid animal abuse at the Conklin Dairy Farm in Ohio, I have seen the first few seconds of it and had to stop the video, if you are braver than me, you can watch it here and then petition to have them shut down.

There is also a tremendous amount of bravery needed to raise your child as a vegetarian or vegan. So many people raise their eyebrows when you tell them your child will not be eating meat, the amount of times I have been told to give him a chop to gnaw on...I find myself constantly needing to assure people that he is getting all his nutritional requirements and then some. This I find ridiculous, after all I believe a plant based diet to be the healthiest one I can give my child and myself but here is the problem. I was raised in a meat eating family, I was brainwashed to believe that I would curl up and die from illness if I didn't consume dairy and meat and let's face it much of society still think this way. So I find myself thinking of how I can reassure my son that being veggie is normal and healthy and compassionate when he will be faced with so much judgment from people who just haven't done the research or simply do not want their own belief systems challenged.

Luckily he is being raised in a family with very strong beliefs on the food we consume and the way animals are treated. He will be supported every step of the way as he moves into new phases like schooling. I already have some lovely books for him on the topic of vegetarianism.

Check out 'That's why we don't eat animals,' by Ruby Roth. Also 'Herb the Vegetarian Dragon,' by Jules Bass and Debbie Harter. I would love to hear about any books you can recommend for children. It is a journey for the both of us, for him as he discovers new foods, meets animals and makes associations and for me as I lead him and learn from him. I am hoping he will thank me one day for not making him eat animals. He will be able to look in their eyes and know he has done them no harm.

He is also making it VERY easy for me, I gave him some yummy veggie tofu fingers yesterday for the first time and he absolutely devoured them, what a blessing, my darling little veggie boy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I won!

I had a lovely surprise yesterday. I entered a competition on a fellow vegans wonderful blog, Kiss Me, I'm Vegan and I won! Now this is exciting because a) I generally don't win things and b) it is helping to spread the vegan love. I would love you to check out all the wonderful stories from all the winners and finalists.

I adore finding other blogs by inspired people who thrive on spreading the message of compassion for animals. After all they need us to speak for them. So have a read and let me know what you think.

While I am on the topic, I would like to mention a place that is very dear to my heart. I have only been able to visit once because of distance but it was a truly remarkable day, (despite the rain, freezing cold and wind!) that place is Edgar's Mission.

Pam Ahern has devoted her life to taking in rescued animals and focussing on their mission statement, 'Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit organisation that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans. We endeavour to achieve this by education, advocacy and empowerment.'

My husband and I visited on our way driving back to Sydney from Melbourne, we had the honour of meeting Edgar, the inspirat
ion for Edgar's Mission who has now sadly passed away. He was absolutely adorable, huge and glorious! There is nothing, besides my family, that fills my heart more with joy than spending time with a whole assortment of animals. A cranky rooster even had a go at me, it was my fault really, I was too close to his chickens so I didn't mind, it was quite a sight.

Have a look at their website and if you can get there I strongly recommend you check it out, otherwise donate or buy some of their merchandise, it will be worth every cent. And no, I assure you I have no affiliation with them besides great respect.

Check out this short clip of Edgar making his bed. It shows you how pigs behave naturally and what they cannot do when they are in factory farms on concrete floors.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oprah go veg!

Bub is in bed after a lovely play date with his 'girlfriend' Layla. A cup of tea and a little break, time to switch on a bit of Oprah, (a guilty habit I occasionally indulge) and guess what? she is doing a show on conscious eating. She is discussing the film, Food Inc, Alicia Silverstone has just been on and she is mentioning another great vegan hero, Kathy Freston. Although Oprah treads very gently when encouraging people to re examine the food choices they make, I am grateful that she has the sense to focus on these issues. Her capacity to influence people is astounding and unparalleled, so the more shows like this, the better, now if only she would go veg, millions would follow!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lunch is Served.

Yesterday I had a cooking frenzy, when you have a baby you never seem to stop steaming, mashing and freezing vegetables. Now that Jasper's taste buds have started developing, he is beginning to get a bit fussier and I can no longer throw three vegie's together and serve it up. This is both exciting and frustrating. I love that I can introduce more variety to his diet, different legumes, grains and vegie's but frustrating because of his more discerning palate, he will let me know immediately if it isn't too his liking. Imagine a baby sized Matt Preston peering at you from under bangs of newly grown hair.

So for lunch today he had a lentil and vegie mash up, a recipe taken from Annabel Karmel's book 'Feeding your baby and toddler' I do recommend this book to new mum's as it does have some great ideas for recipes but I warn you there is an overflow of meaty dishes which you can alter or just ignore.

I followed this with some homemade apple and cinnamon puree.. mmm yum, he loves it! For breakfast I often give him some apple or pear with some quinoa (the super grain) or amaranth. Fortunately he loves to eat.

For myself I delved into my Alicia Silverstone's new cookbook, 'The Kind Diet,' and made Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms, Leeks and Peas. It was quite yummy, however I did add some parsley, the more greens the better and a bit more salt. It just needed a little more seasoning for my liking. If you exclude the wine, which I did you can offer it to your older bub or child as well.

Oh and I grated some yummy vegan cheese over the top. I will tell you more about 'The Kind Diet,' once I have finished reading it but so far I love it. It is full of accessible, credible information about where your food comes from and the impact foods have on your body and of course on animals and the planet.


And so I begin...

Hi there and welcome to my blog. My name is Liz and I am mother to a very feisty, almost 9 months old baby boy, Jasper. I have started this blog with the aim of sharing my journey into vegan motherhood with you. I intend to share recipes we like, products we use, causes we care about, books and movies we love, as well as information I find useful to help my family live a healthy, cruelty free lifestyle. I think it is important to have respect for all living beings and to find ways to reduce your footprint on our planet.

So a bit about me, I was born in Sydney, Australia where I currently reside. Most of my career has been spent working as an actor, a singer/songwriter, a writer and a freelance journalist and now a full time mum. I do writing when I can fit it in, a bit of editing here and there and the occasional interview.

I had a regular column with Vegan Voice Magazine and have also written for Natural Health and Vegetarian life. As well as articles on veganism/animal rights/women's rights and short stories for other magazines. I have a degree in communications, spent 3 years at acting school, have travelled and have worked in almost every type of job imaginable. I have a wonderful husband, two cheeky cats - Virgil and Karma, my gorgeous boy Jasper and a house full of bulging bookcases.

I intend to post as often as possible, to post loads of photos of yummy food and if you aren't vegan, to inspire you to give it a go. It really is the most peaceful, rewarding, healthy and compassionate way you can live your life, as it isn't just a diet but a lifestyle. I look forward to sharing my stories with you and to hearing yours.