Being Blind to the Obvious

The last few weeks have been hectic for me and the holiday weekend put an interesting twist on my already wacky schedule. So, I admittedly wasn’t 100% present for a lot of that time.

Case in point, I have been looking for my nail fileĀ for 2 days (stay with me here, there is a relevant point to this!). I normally keep it in one place as acknowledgement and acceptance of my diminishing memory capacity, but when I looked it was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t a big deal and life went on but there was still this nagging thought in the back of my head.

So, I’m sitting at my desk today, looking at the same things I always look at (except for the Santa Claus decoration that was added over the weekend) and realized I had been staring at my nail file the entire (f-ing) time! It was right in front of my keyboard quietly waiting for me to notice it. At first, I was relieved but then I kind of freaked out. How the heck could I have NOT seen it before?

Aside from the possibility that my office fairies were pulling a fast one on me – it wouldn’t be the first time! – I obviously wasn’t paying attention to what was right in front of my face.

Then I wondered – is that what is happening with the people who don’t see the problems with factory farms, our non-sustainable food supply, GMOs, and mainstream medicine? Are they, on some level aware, but oblivious to their inability to see? Maybe.

Maybe being blind to the obvious is preferable to acknowledging reality when it is so dependent on our ability to be truly present.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Why is Tal Ronnen, The Conscious Cook, Vegan?

I picked up a copy of The Conscious Cook because I was getting in a culinary rut and wanted some inspiration. I had heard of Tal on various websites and because of his connection with Oprah, so I knew his cookbook would be a great resource.

In the book, I found a nice infographic about why Tal is vegan. He put it so succinctly that I felt compelled to share it.

Health
Cutting out animal products means virtually eliminating the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Your energy shoots up and your weight is likely to drop.

Ethics
Most of us question the morality of eating animals, and many people who feel it’s absolutely wrong do it anyway out of habit. Eating with a clear conscience – feeling good about everything you put in your mouth – lightens up your life.

Planet
Factory farming of animals consumes and pollutes insane quantities of water and demands so much feed that it threatens forests. And because greenhouse gases from animal emissions are destroying the atmosphere.

Helping Others
The grain fed to livestock could feed at least twice as many hungry people in third-world countries. Weakening the livestock industry by buying less or no meat is a step toward rejiggering resources to save lives.

And he tosses in a couple extra noteworthy quotations…

Because Albert Einstein said so: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Because Paul McCartney says so: “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you can do.”

Have you read Tal’s cookbook? Please share your thoughts below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

“To accept the factory farm feels inhuman.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals has been on my list for a while and now that I’ve read it, I wish I had not taken so long. But a part of me must have known it was better that I waited – until I was truly ready.

This book has shifted my world and it has been a disturbing and revelatory journey. I can feel the seeds that were planted while reading his stories, experiences and conclusions slowly growing inside this little noggin’ of mine and I’m quite terrified of what is going to come of them!

Seriously – there is some pretty heavy stuff that has been floating around in there since I finished this book!

As upsetting as it was, I am so glad that it was Jonathan who guided me through the rationalizations, philosophies and astute observations in such a way that I could finish what he had started.

My heart and stomach cannot take much – if any – of the graphic details that are so prevalent in the conversations about factory farming but somehow he was able to present it in a way that I knew it was important that I know it, not just for shock value, but as building blocks to seeing the bigger picture.

Now that I have seen that picture, and recognize that I am not behind the camera observing but participating – by my action AND inaction – I realize I must act. Inertia, complacency and neutrality are not going to cut it when you are dealing with people who see everything as a commodity – who see animals and humans as expendable.

Everything is Illuminated Mr. Foer – and it’s all your fault!

Have you read Eating Animals? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Help the Hens in Battery Cages by Replacing Your Eggs

According to the American Egg Board, the U.S. produces about 75 billion eggs per year. That enormous amount is being produced by the more than 325 million egg laying hens confined in battery cages (small wire cages stacked in tiers and lined up in rows inside huge warehouses). Those shockingly high figures only represent 10% of worldwide egg production. Of course, this kind of massive production is in response to demand. Fortunately, demand is something we all have control over when making food choices for ourselves and our families.

My food choices became much easier for me a few years ago when I realized that I was eating an embryo of another animal when I was eating an egg. I distinctly remember the moment when I cracked an egg to discover 2 yolks and immediately had the image of twins in my mind. I realized that each egg I had eaten could have been a living thing if the natural course of events would not have been interrupted by an industry who knew I would buy what they were selling. Anyone else have the Incredible Edible Egg tune in their head right now?

So if you are disturbed by my last post and do not want to contribute to the suffering of animals, a seemingly small yet amazingly effective change you can make is to reduce or eliminate eggs from your diet. To make this a simple and easy decision, I wanted to give you some wannabe vegan options that are readily available, much healthier and guilt-free.

Each one of the following is equivalent to one egg:

  • 1/4 cup plain silken or soft organic tofu ( non-organic is made from GM soy)
  • 1 organic banana (assuming the flavor goes well with the rest of the ingredients)
  • 1/4 cup organic applesauce or pureed prunes (you may want to add 1/2 tsp baking powder to offset the heaviness of the fruit)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground organic flax seed in 3 Tbsp. water (my personal favorite for baking)

If you are looking to replace egg whites in a recipe:

  1. 1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

There are also a lot of pre-made egg replacements you can buy at the grocery but I avoid using them. They have a lot of what I consider unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients because they need to be preserved in order to be shipped and sit on store shelves. It doesn’t make sense to me to replace something unhealthy with something potentially even more unhealthy because of convenience.

So, please take some small steps in the direction of compassion by using less or no eggs in your diet. I, along with all of the future hens who will be saved because of the reduction in demand, will be forever grateful.

If you want to learn more about hens in factory farms, please visit:

If you would like to see more statistics about egg production and consumption, the USDA website has very up-to-date reports and tables you can download.

Let me know if you have any thoughts and/or suggestions about egg production or using egg replacements in the comments section below, on facebook or via twitter.