Friday, January 29, 2010

Eats and beats

Last week's ins and outs.

My mate Una's birthday dinner. Despite us being overwhelmingly famished I sensibly insisted we only get 4 entrees between us and then there will be room for dessert. I was wrong. We couldn't even finish the entrees. What a pair of soft bastards. We got the avocado tempura, lentil dumplings, balsamic gnocchi and the green papaya salad (I just made all these names up but you get the gist). Strangely, it wasn't as great as last time but I have no idea why. The champagne was great though. As was meeting Kristy and Toby sitting across from us; me umming and ahhing over whether it was more polite to yell across the restaurant or walk up and ask if she was Kristy then slink away embarrassed if it wasn't. But then Toby got out the camera and took a bunch of foody shots so it became pretty obvious it was them and I opted for the yelling. On a small negative note, this was the second time I have been there for a 6pm booking and they haven't been open 'til about 15 past. In this case, they still hadn't put the sign to open by then, but we got cold and bored and sober so charged on in anyway.

Camera Obscura
From Shakahari to gorgeous, gorgeous music at The Corner in Richmond. Very fucking packed though and could barely see anything except shoulders. But I was also a bit extremely tipsy by then so maybe I wouldn't have been able to see anything regardless. Luckily my ears loved it. Second small world moment of the evening: Carla and Toby were there, driven home by Kristy afterwards. Didn't know this 'til I read all your posts!

Passion Foods
Random stop in the other day in the hunt for Purely Decadent soy icecream, or their freshly made coconut black sticky rice pudding. They had neither which would have made it a completely soul-destroying mission if it hadn't been for the magical discovery that is their fresh Coconut and Lime Sago Pudding with berries. I didn't know I liked sago, but this shit was divine! Get it!

Bright Young Things - Full Moon Dinner
Review to come, dependent on their response to the email I sent them.

Bowl of Soul
Yumbo! Just had lunch there today with two of my workmates as it's become one of Jane's faves since our first visit. Stake-Out Sandwiches all round and it was great. My boss, who thinks I'm a bit weird being vegan but is cool with it, commented to the waitress "That was delicious. And um, if that sounded like I was surprised, well, I was!"  And then the ignoramus I unfortunately work with asked what we had for lunch and I told him burgers, to which he asked "With what? Meat?" (he knows I'm vegan). I said it was vego to which he responded in his caveman fashion "Ugh".

Actually, I was gonna end that review there. But I can't. Ignoramus Caveman then asked if I get a lot of wind from eating vegetables. If I wasn't such a sweet soul I would have asked him if he got a lot of fat from eating shit.

The near future
I'm off on a miniscule roadtrip down Great Ocean Road for the weekend. WOoooo!

The dark side of dairy

I promised myself that my next post would be something happy and positive so I'm sorry to say that this one isn't!

If my previous post on quitting cheese didn't highlight the really horrific side of dairy, Mercy For Animals (MFA) have released an undercover investigation of standard practices on a dairy farm.

I couldn't watch the video for long, maybe 10 seconds, up to the part where the worker puts his fingers in the calves eye sockets to hold his thrashing head still while he burns his horns off. I doubt you want to watch it either but just in case, here it is.

For the less confronting version (quoted from MFA):

Evidence gathered at the dairy facility reveals:

Cows with bloody open wounds, prolapsed uteruses, pus-filled infections and swollen joints, apparently left to suffer without veterinary care

"Downed" cows - those too sick or injured to even stand - left to suffer for weeks before dying or being killed

Workers hitting, kicking, punching, and electric-shocking cows and calves

Calves having their horns burned off without painkillers, as a worker shoved his fingers into the calves' eyes to restrain them

Calves having their tails cut off - a painful practice opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association

Newborn calves forcibly dragged away from their mothers by their legs, causing emotional distress to both mother and calf

Cows living in overcrowded sheds on manure-coated concrete flooring

Workers injecting cows with a controversial bovine growth hormone, used to increase milk production

MFA do great stuff educating the public on what horrors Big Ag tries to ensure consumers never know about. Of course they don't want us to know - if their bottles of milk and clingwrapped packets of meat had photos of where they really came from no-one would buy them. Most people don't even know that a cow has to have a baby, like any other mammal, to produce milk. Let alone what happens to that baby.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bacon and chemical castration.

You know, in the short time I have been veg*n I thought I had learnt a lot about health, farming, environment, and animals. This one was a complete surprise though.

Pfizer, a huge pharmaceutical company, are now selling drugs (Improvac) to farmers in the UK so that they can castrate their pigs by injection rather than manually doing it. And this information is not required on the label of pork products. Consumers don't need to know this shit, obviously. It's more important for farmers to get that extra £1 a pig. And amidst this swine flu induced recession desperation, for many pig farmers it couldn't come at a better time.

Pigs are castrated so that the pork tastes better. The physical castration of slicing out a piglet's balls with a razor without anaesthetic sounds horrific so who knows which would appear to be less cruel, I'm not even going to go into that.

But the chemical castration is temporary, and 'shrinks their balls' so that the effect on meat flavour is the same. The only thing is, it's temporary so the pigs are slaughtered BEFORE it wears off. That is fucked. People are eating that shit.

I'm quite used to this sort of stuff now, so the biggest shock was actually that these drugs have been injected into pigs in Australia for a decade! Who knew? Would you feel safe feeding these drugs to your kids?

Oh, and just in case you prefer animal welfare approved products - they seem safe and imply some sort of natural and/or organic life - RSPCA Freedom Foods are likely to endorse using these drugs on their 'freedom' farms. Don't they paint such a beautiful picture of freedom?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

HSUS invests in fast food chains.

Money wins, right? Well, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have purchased shares in various cruel fast food companies in an effort to change procedures or purchasing decisions related to animal welfare.

I can't quite decide exactly how good this is. I mean, it's surely better than letting these mobs continue with their horrendous practices of purchasing factory farmed crate pigs, or chickens that are cut and boiled while conscious. Surely this is a step in the right direction?

But, how much money have they spent to get enough shares to have sufficient influence in these 38 food-related companies? Money spent on how to kill animals as opposed to not killing animals? Are they really going to fix anything here? Is McDonalds going to become cruelty free? Or just end up polishing up their tarnished name to look like a much shinier, "humane" version of cruelty?

I can almost picture it now - McDonalds ads showing happy animals running free through the fields, and declaring all their products as certified humane. Allowing those who were previously unsure about eating from McDonalds to now feel good about their decision.

Never mind that slaughterhouse practices, and this means in practice, not in theory, have not improved despite decades of animal welfare campaigning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

L'Oreal funds the beginning of the end of animal testing.

Wow, this is great news. I never thought of L'Oreal as particularly animal friendly so it's great to see them funding research for creating an animal-free testing procedure.

And really, is a mouse going to wear lippie? Human skin cells are much more appropriate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Melbourne chefs' vegan Australia Day menu. Take that MLA.

And my second super-mini-post-that-relates-to-a-previous-post for the day is this.

Sure, we all have a billion recipes copied and bookmarked, and I, myself, probably won't make any of these on Australia Day due to sheer laziness with following recipes. But just knowing that Melbourne based professional chefs and food authors, Allan Campion and Michele Curtis, have prepared a delicious, cruelty-free menu is enough to make me 'woohoo!' and give the finger to MLA and their bollocksy Sam Crapovich lamb ad.

Would you like pink slime with that?

If my previous post on pink slime wasn't enough to make you choke on your burger, here's a bit more to the story highlighting just how corrupt and unsafe the whole meat industry is.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raw food and kicking cancer in the a-hole.

I've mentioned a bunch of times about my family going vegan for health.

Well, my brother Paul still has cancer and despite over 2 years of surgery, chemo, radiation, experimental drugs, meditation, vegan diets and Dr Gawler retreats he is still fighting the battle we thought he had won at the start.

After watching Simply Raw they have decided to fight even harder and try a 30 day raw vegan diet to beat this bastard.

They went 90% vegan last year so that part is pretty much sussed. But raw is a whole new thing for them.

Jules, my beautiful sis-in-law, has been cooking healthy vegan meals for her, Paul and their 3 year old daughter day in and day out. No cooking with oil, no added salt, no refined white stuff, no junk, no fried stuff, and with his fussiness, no mushrooms, no stirfries (unless they are amazing), no eggplants, no pineapple...

I do already follow a few great raw blogs but as always, there is often an overwhelming amount of info out there that it's hard to know where to start. If anyone has any top tips for making this adjustment easy hand them my way! Fave quick recipes that don't require dehydrators and crazy kitchen appliances and 38 hours of presoaking are preferable!

Or let Jules know, she's started a blog about her raw masterplan.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lamb on Australia Day. MLA vs Frys

What a load of marketing bollocks.

If you haven't heard or seen this campaign by agribusiness to promote it's product by claiming it makes you a real "Australian" on Australia Day you're not missing anything except an opportunity to be sucked in by marketers telling you what to eat in order to be patriotic.

The reason I hate these campaigns is that many people don't feel they are being marketed to or advertised to unless it's a brand and it's obvious. Think of all the suckers who took Sam Neill's word as gospel/science when he claimed we need meat to make our brains bigger. And to evolve past the chimps. And that meat is an essential part of your diet. People took that as science and fact and not as a marketing push from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Now, I don't expect people to take this Lamb on Australia Day as science, but I also don't expect them to see it for what it is - and that is another marketing push from MLA.  Let's hope this doesn't get adopted as another blind tradition simply to make money for agribusiness out of animal suffering.

Roll in the hero, Fry's Vegetarian for their spoofed version. Thanks Fry's! Take that, MLA!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spammers suck.

Sorry guys, due to someone thinking this a relevant spot to sell sex (or at least that's what I think it is, it's all in Asian characters except for the word SEX), I have had to turn on comment moderation.


Friday, January 8, 2010

My dreamboat and my flaw

Oh yeah, by the way, in case anyone cares to hear, remember that guy I was sort of seeing who made the jokes about a housepig you could peel crackling from on demand?

I decided early on that I wasn't really keen on pursuing anything - he just didn't do it for me. But, you know, I didn't tell him he was a knob, I was nice about it. But he said lets go on some more dates. I said lets just hang out and you might not even fancy me or want to take me on dates after all.

And in his limitless empathy and understanding he told me that he can't imagine I could have many more flaws. "I've already accepted your biggest flaw of being a vegan, so I think I could probably deal with anything else."

He wasn't even joking, he was trying to win his way back into my heart. Oh, the romance!

What a keeper.

Well, anyway, enough messing about. I better get to work on improving myself and fixing this major flaw of mine, I've spent long enough denying I have a problem.

Licking the pink slime from the slaughterhouse floor.

Oh God, I knew slaughterhouses were bad, and burger meat was bad. But I didn't know about "pink slime" or ammoniated beef. This is the slime and muck and shit scraped off the floors of the slaughterhouse. It used to be made into pet food but now it is pushed through tubes that 'clean' the meat with ammonia to attempt to kill all the E. coli, salmonella, etc. However, ammonia levels high enough to kill the pathogens render the meat inedible so the ammonia level is reduced, and the pathogens survive.

Even worse than eating pink slime with cowshit and ammonia mixed in is that ammoniated beef is exempt from routine testing and recalls. And it doesn't need labelling as it has been reclassified as a processing agent.

This is the stuff that goes into the American federal school lunch program, 5.5 million pounds of the stuff last year alone got fed to kids every day at school.

It's also the very same stuff that goes into your hamburgers from McDonalds and Burger King.

And those at your supermarket.

This is absolutely fucking disgusting. Regardless of whether you love your meat, who the fuck would want to lick the floor of a slaughterhouse?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Human Rights and Veganism.

'Why are you vegan? We should focus on human rights before animals'.

If you care about human rights, you should care about veganism.

If you care about human rights you probably don't want people to be exposed to the dangers, humiliation and disgusting treatment they face working in slaughterhouses whilst earning a pittance.

Did you know slaughterhouses actively employ illegal immigrants so that they cannot be protected by the Employee Rights Act?

Did you know they can be immediately dismissed from their jobs if they question routine inhumane treatment of the animals?

Did you know they often wet themselves on the killing floor because they are permitted minimal toilet breaks?

Did you know it is the most dangerous job in the world? Never mind that they get paid minimum wages, with little to no insurance or employee protection.

Did you know the violence they face everyday gets taken home to their families?

Did you know just living near a slaughterhouse greatly increases your risk of disease, rape and violent crime?

I haven't linked all these claims as there are far too many out there. If you care to read more about any of them, just google or check out some of the links below.

Or get your hands on a copy of Slaughterhouse.

Working Conditions in American Slaughterhouses
Killing for a living. Low wages and long hours
Child labour charges
Crimes Unseen
Medical Mystery Solved in Slaughterhouse

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Year in Meat

The Year In Meat.

Check it out. Erik Marcus has compiled all you need to know about everything veg*n related that happened in 2009.  Did you miss anything last year?  Who did Big Ag bully?  How many tens of millions Americans got sick from Big Ag's contempt for consumers?  Which underdogs said screw you Big Ag? Who banned eating babies?

All this and more!!

Do you need to be smart to have a right to life?

Non-human personhood for dolphins. I can't decide if this is cool or not. Cool that some people are recognising that other animals are worthy of having rights of their own. Yay, a step in the right direction.

But less cool that this is based on how intelligent (by our standards) they are compared to humans. What does it matter that they are intelligent? That certainly doesn't mean less intelligent species deserve to suffer at our expense. Few would ethically argue against human rights for people who are a bit fucking stupid. And who would suggest severely mentally disabled people be kept in a cage for us to experiment on?

All animals naturally want to live their own lives and avoid death, and unless it's necessary for our survival, why is granting that so complicated?

Don't forget to read the article's comments if you're in the mood for frustration.

Edit:  Oh, it appears there are some even better comments on this dolphin link.

Posted by This is retarded, Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 1:23 pm  
When a dolphin goes to the moon, builds a pyramid, or paints the Sistene Chapel, then they should have rights. I'll settle for building anything, creating anything, or improving their condition beyond what it was a hundred thousand years ago. Oh wait, that won't happen. Tony Norman's comments are typical of extreme environmentalist morons. So dolphins didn't commit 'genocide?' Woof'inghoo. That's good enough to let them vote for president and have free health care I suppose, right? Human accomplishment and happiness is what matters. 

I'm not even going to talk about "Human accomplishment and happiness is what matters."  But I do wonder how many Sistine Chapels he painted to get his rights. Or how he enjoyed his trip to the moon.

Posted by Katrina, Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 6:01 pm
You know, my kitty cat is a person. She is my family, so I think she should get a free education, unemployment, health care, food stamps, and a drivers license. Idiots. 

Yep, your kitty cat deserves to have a nice life right? You don't want people testing chemicals in her eyes or injecting her organs with diseases. Where did this bullshit about food stamps, free education and driving licences come in?

This whole intelligence thing makes you wonder - how are these people confusing animals having rights with them also voting for president?

After reading those comments I doubt a dolphin cares to get his free education from these bright sparks....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wiki Veganica, My Little Pony gets led to his death, and Chicken Salt

No time for real posting.

Instead - links of interest today:

1.  Wiki Veganica is born! (um, as in Wikipedia Vegan Style, not as in an unfortunately named child)

2.  Only this year I discovered the horror that is horseracing. If you didn't know, here's your chance. Shame this wasn't at a more pertinent time such as the Melbourne Cup but hooray for mainstream press publishing this. Thanks to Elly for this link.

3.  Good ol' big ag fucking with consumers for the sake of profit. Saline injected chickens? Vom x 100000.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009: The good, the bad, and the wildly optimistic.

2009 sucked because
- my brother Paul hasn't kicked cancer's arse
- my Dad had a stroke
- I moved flat 3 fucking times! (and I'm moving AGAIN soon)
- time was wasted on a bunch of men not worth naming who turned out to be giant twats

2009 ruled because
- 3 of my friends went veggie
- 4 people in my family went 90% vegan for health reasons
- Dad's diabetes looks like it's on it's way to sodding off
- I started this blog and found lots of great Melbourne Veg*n bloggers
- I've got to see my family more now that I'm no longer in London
- I have moved to the coolville that is Collingwood

2010 will rule because
- ......  (hmmm this is a lot harder) ....
- my Dad will reduce his diabetes meds and get healthier
- Paul will beat cancer
- my office will move to Collingwood
- I will meet a great fucking guy with good musical taste who doesn't tell me that my being vegan is a flaw he's 'learned to cope with' (for real).
- ......(maybe I will just go for wildly optimistic pipedream dreams while I am at it)
- I will win lotto without buying a ticket
- I will win the pub quiz at Grumpys
- I will get fit and actually enjoy running

Xmas BBQ Brunswick Stylee

I'm starting to realise I'm not a big fan of Xmas. Hooray for holidays and endless slothing about. But boo for that part of Xmas where you get sucked into bullshitty depressing sentimentality. I much prefer my hard, cold lump of coal that fills that space in my ribcage.

That aside, Xmas day was pretty cool this year. I did have my brother Scott with me so wasn't completely without family at a time when not being with family makes you feel like a giant lonely loser.

Scott and I went to a mate's Xmas BBQ lunch-boozeup-evening in East Brunswick and I know Xmas is meant to be exciting cos of family and friends and booze and presents and overeating and pinata-beating-xmas-violence, but I was excited cos there were about 7 or so veg*ns and I wasn't the party-pooping-vegan-at-a-BBQ I was expecting to be. AND even better, an entire half of the brand new BBQ was fenced off from the meat so I didn't have to sneak my food in the gaps between the snags and lament the gross animal fat all over my food.

But the best thing about Xmas was my phone call to my parents in NZ and Mum telling me the great news about Dad's blood sugar that day - down to an all time low of 5.6. WOOOOOOO!!! And I think even Dad was a little bit secretly excited. Really, how could you not be? Maybe I will get what I asked Santa for for Xmas.

Bowl of Soul, Port Melbourne

There are 3 great things about this place:
1. Yum.
2. Yum.
3. Yum.

Omni friend: Wow this is delicious, so tasty!
Me: Nom nom nom
Omni: Yum, so good.
Me: Mmmm, this is great!
Omni: Drool drool
Me: Gobble gobble

Unabridged Version:

To beat our back to work blues my mate Jane and I checked out this place I had read reviews from before, particularly Carla who, it appears, has shares in this joint.

Going for the most unvegan sounding meal I got the 'Steak Out' sandwich with fakin bacon and cheezly, which was a somewhat guilty pleasure reminiscent of olden day greasy beef burger indulgence. Hit the spot perfectly and at $12.80 has kicked The Maori Chief's Veggie Burger square in the nuts. (Sorry Billy).

Jane went for the Satay Chicken burger which looked great, super juicy and, in a strange complimentary way, had perfectly stringy 'chicken'. Luckily Jane is one of those veggie friendly omnis who enjoy faux meat without having to compare it to the 'real thing' and also goes to Enlightened Cuisine of her own free will. (no way!)

As we left Bowl of Soul she declared "That's how a burger should be".

And at that, we found our new Monday lunching spot.

Bowl of Soul
118 Bridge Street
Port Melbourne