Please Welcome Guest Blogger, My Mom “Why I Became Vegan”

“Why I became a Vegan”

According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living (Penguin, 2005) a vegan is “one who avoids causing harm or exploiting other living beings as much as humanly possible. This involves excluding all animal foods and animal-based items from their lives.”


I’m one simple person who has recently made a conscious decision to live my life with greater compassion toward all living creatures. This premise of compassion is the heart of what it means to be a vegan. When you become aware of the animal suffering going on in the world, and you become determined you will no longer contribute to it, you have already taken the first step in bringing your compassion to the next level. The following is my personal story on how I’ve arrived to this point….

My oldest daughter, Lisa, became a vegan (along with her beautiful family) a couple of years ago. She’d read the The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health (Benbella Books, 2004) and become convinced that becoming a vegan would be a much healthier, more compassionate lifestyle.

My first thought was, “I have to give up CHEESE? Oh my.” I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t become vegan overnight. I more or less inched myself along, learning along the way. First, my husband and I cut out all meat. Surprisingly, it was not a difficult transition. I could be a vegetarian, I’d thought! I invested in a couple of vegetarian cookbooks. I also discovered an informative and inspiring cooking show on PBS called, “Christina Cooks.” Christina Pirello had been diagnosed with cancer at a young age and went into total remission after she chose to follow an organic, vegan lifestyle. My path of discovery continued….

This past summer my daughter, my grandchildren, and I journeyed to upstate New York to spend the night and visit a farm sanctuary there. When I entered the car in Connecticut, I was a vegetarian. When I returned from New York, I had committed to becoming vegan.

For the past 50 years animal agriculture in the U.S. has been taken over by large corporations that dominate the marketplace for meat, dairy and eggs. Industrial farming conditions are so harsh that animals commonly succumb to injury, illness and disease and millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse every year. On today’s industrialized farms animals are denied even the most basic humane consideration. Every year in the U.S. nearly 10 billion animals are raised, marketed and slaughtered under the most unconscionably cruel conditions. I had to ask myself, “How can I continue to support this?”

Visiting a farm sanctuary proved to be a very moving experience for me. My family and I discovered first-hand that farm animals are gentle, smart and friendly, just like dogs and cats! Like us, they want to be free of pain, live in a clean place and be treated with kindness. (For more information, please visit farmsanctuary.org)

According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, raising animals for meat generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, trucks, planes and other form of transportation combined. Going vegan is not only a compassionate choice for animals it’s a greener choice for our beautiful Earth!

As chef Christina Pirello would say… “Cows are vegetarian. They eat grass. Skip the middleman and go for grains, beans and veggies that are loaded with protein!”

I choose to be vegan because I truly believe each of us has the capacity to make the world a better place. I choose not to be overwhelmed by what I can’t do. I choose to be EMPOWERED by what I can do. I am now making an effort to make more conscious and compassionate choices.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948)

I invite you to join me.

Coconut~Chocolate Bread

I have never been much of a bread maker, but as the weather is beginning to change, I am getting the itch to bake!

I bought a wonderful book called, “My Bread” by Jim Lahey. Not all of the bread recipes are Vegan, but many are. I highly recommend buying this book because the recipes are fabulous & the photos are gorgeous!  This is the first bread I have made from his book, and “oh my goodness” it is good!

You’ll need:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of bread flour

2 cups loosely packed unsweetened large flake coconut

1 cup Vegan semi sweet chocolate chunks

3/4 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups cool water

wheat bran or additional flour for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, half the coconut, chocolate, salt and yeast. Add the water and using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is puffy and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, dust work surface with bran or flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the center of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface, generously dust it with wheat bran or flour and sprinkle it with 1/2 cup of the remaining coconut. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. Lightly sprinkle the surface with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft free spot to rise for 1-2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/5 quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color, but not burnt, 20-25 minutes more.

7. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool.

Absolutely Adorable Children’s Book “Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice”


I have recently come across a Children’s book, that is not only colorful, comical &  tons of fun to read, but also has a really important message. It’s titled “Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice”. Got all of that? 🙂 The author is a lovely young lady named Nathalie VanBalen, and I have a feeling that her new book is going to have a lot of children asking the question “how does it feel to be food”?


The book’s characters consist of 2 juice loving Vikings, a compassionate & “thinking” girl named Thora and 2 little tweeters. And they all live together in one squarish house. The Vikings soon learn that the newest & greatest addition to their juice mixture should be ground up yellow spotted snail shells, because of their high protein and vitamin content. So of course they gather up as many snails as they can find.

As soon as Thora hears about this, she firmly reprimands the juice loving Vikings and says “yellow spotted snail shells are NOT for Vilkings”!!

What happens next??? I’m not going to tell you! But I will tell you that this book is a must have for your child! I think it would also make a perfect addition to your child’s classroom. It sends the message of compassion, yet it is not a strong “pro-Vegan” story, that some parents and teachers may not approve of. So basically it is a fabulous way to promote cruelty free living to children, without upsetting the “grownups”! 😉

In a nutshell, my kids & I really enjoyed this book & I highly recommend it! It’s a little “outside of the box” which makes it all the more interesting! I used lots of funny voices while reading it, and my daughter found that pretty darn hysterical!

Please check out the book’s website www.thorathinks.com , where you can purchase Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice and also enjoy some online activities with you child.

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