Vegan Action #69

Part 1- Don’t sweat the details. 
Some one emailed me a few days ago and wondered what to do, that the glue on envelopes is made of gelatin and they are a vegan and oh my.  Okay, the deal is this, that stuff tastes gross, don’t lick it anyway.  Really my point is that everyone draws their lines differently.  It’s good to be aware of these things and decide accordingly.  There is no true vegan standard that we are all trying to match up to.  The basis behind veganism is to do the best you can to reduce the amount of suffering and destruction on the planet. It's important to not feel overwhelmed and realize no one can be perfect or 'truly' vegan.  The basic principle is to work towards a cruelty-free lifestyle and make decisions to do the best you can.  We all must make sacrifices and compromises in life but if we focus on doing what we can - that is what will make all the difference.  Sometimes it seems like I meet more ex-vegans than current vegans and I try to figure this out all the time.  I think a lot of it has to do with people getting frustrated reading labels all the time or making an exception for something and then think, ‘well, I’m not really vegan anymore, guess I’ll call it quits.’  Here’s what I have to say, don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t give up.  You are your own judge and you are the one that has to deal with your choices, if you ‘slip up’ then you did and that’s all it is.  Keep doing the right thing.

Part 2- Don’t fall for it.
I hear this all the time, ‘it must be so expensive to be vegan, how do you afford to shop at the natural food stores all the time?’ Such a common misconception.  Heck, now a days, just about anything I need, save for some nutritional yeast and a couple of bulk items, I can get at the regular old grocery store.  Things sure have gotten better in the last five years or so.  The grocery stores didn’t have soy milk or tofu in the early nineties.  I would get my staples there and then have to hand over my paycheck at the health food store for everything else.  But eating vegan is actually really cheap.  Yes, it’s healthy and cheap too.  It’s important to realize you don’t have to buy all those expensive, convenient foods all the time.  In fact, they are often a waste of money, full of preservatives, and usually a lot of packaging is used.  As much as vegans are the minority as target shoppers, those companies that do market us try just as hard to make it so we don’t have to do any cooking, again befalling us to the convenience trap. Cooking is fun.  It takes up more time and effort but it’s better for us anyway.  The best part is to buy all your own ingredients and make everything yourself, you save so much money.  It’s important to find the time in your life to make bread, or soy milk, or cupcakes now and again.  It’s important to me to not be the consumer I often critique.  Just as I don’t buy from Kraft or Proctor and Gamble, I don’t need all those filler convenience foods either.  I can’t afford them anyway.  It is really a disservice to potential vegans to think you have to buy the fake bologna, chicken-free nuggets, the boxed rice, etc. to eat vegan.  Honestly, with fresh veggies and fruit, all you really need is at the neighborhood grocer.  Get your pasta, beans, rice, tofu and get spicy at home.  Sometimes we want to be lazy and splurge, this is what those expensive health food stores are for.  I run in and get my fake-tuna sandwich and piece of chocolate cake now and again.  I feel pretty guilty afterwards when I’m throwing away five pieces of plastic and realize I could make six sandwiches for the price I paid and I don’t do it again for a long time.  The rewards for making your own meals are so greater than the convenience of some stranger making it for you.  Once you get in the routine and plan for the added time, you will be a lot more satisfied.  Keep fighting consumerism and bust out those cookzines.   

krissi@vegan.org  p.o. box 4288 richmond, va 23220   www.vegan.org

Goodies to make:
Vegan Mac and Cheese
3 1/2 c. cooked elbow pasta  1/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes  1/2 c. flour  1 tsp. salt  1 tsp. garlic powder  2 c. water  1/4 c. margarine  1 tsp. wet mustard  2 tbsp. soy sauce.
Mix dry ingredients in a sauce pan.  Whisk in water.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick and bubbling.  Remove from heat and whip in the rest of the ingredients.  It will thicken as it cools.  Pour over the pasta and your done.

Mocha Cupcakes
1 1/2 c. flour  1c. sugar  1 tsp. baking soda  1/4 c. cocoa  1 tsp. vanilla extract  6 tbsp. margarine  1 c. water.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients first then add wet ingredients.  Stir until the lumps are gone.  Pour into muffin pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Check the middle with a toothpick to see if they are done.  Cool and frost.
Mocha frosting
2 1/2 tbsp. melted margarine  3 c. confectioners sugar  1/4 c. cocoa  1/2 tsp. vanilla  1 tsp. soymilk  4 tbsp. brewed coffee.  Cream margarine and sugar.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir till smooth.