Can Animal Agriculture be Humane?

Are “happy,” “ethical,” and “grass-fed” the trendy animal agriculture buzz words vegans have been waiting for?

Unfortunately, even if cows are fed grass of the lushest jade pastures and slept on their own personal clouds, the animal agriculture industry will infinitely be the farthest thing from happy or ethical. Humans have terrorized and abused animals so horribly and consistently that now it’s a hipster farming miracle just if the cows eat food that’s actually supposed to be in their diets. Is choosing not to feed cows to other cows really the best we can do when it comes to our treatment of our furry friends? Grass-fed and cage-free has never meant violence-free (as the rise of internet videos of these farms has led us to understand), but what are we saying about our own ethical conduct if not torturing animals before we kill and eat them is our end-all be-all? Of course not torturing animals before they’re killed is obviously better than a combination of the two, but letting animals live without being the receiving end of human violence should just be common, standard ethics rather than the phenomenon it is made out to be.

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The violence used in industrialized farming is only a part of the problem. It goes without saying that the animals raised in ethically marketed farms probably will be happier and healthier in comparison to animals encaged and being fed food that’s not meant for their bodies. However, happier and healthier doesn’t mean the animals will actually be happy or healthy. Regardless of the environment or conditions of these farms, the animals are still being used as machines to pleasure a human’s taste buds. Animals in dairy and egg farming will still get diseases from being used for their bodies beyond their natural capacity, as well as have their reproductive systems damaged, immune systems deteriorating, and their children torn away from them almost immediately after they first lay eyes on them. In farms that supply meat, animals are literally bred to be killed as babies so we can eat their flesh. There is no ethical hierarchy when it comes to the treatment of animals, but we as humans can choose to do better. Not to mention, grass-fed cow farms are still not slacking on the environmental destruction, and the glass of pus-filled, cow-blood-infused milk and plates of chicken periods (eggs) is definitely not our best look!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

White Castle Says “No Meat, No Problem!”

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Food chains around America are not hitting the brakes anytime soon on making plant-based gains! National fast-food Chain White Castle has teamed up with Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods once again for a second veggie burger as cheap as a can of soda! The previous zucchini, carrot and pea burger will be served up alongside the new tempting sliders made up of hearty, protein-loaded black beans, corn and red peppers. You can even top it with a sweet and spicy Thai sauce spread over a classic dairy-free White Castle bun. It’s rumored that the new sliders are just on a trial run until June 1st, so head over to White Castle and find out what all the hype is about!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Second City in America Initiates Fur Ban

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In 2013, West Hollywood became the first city to put a ban in place against the sales of fur, and last week the city of Berkeley became the next! The Berkeley Coalition of Animals has worked and rallied for this new legislation that serves up a hefty fine for those who attempt to not oblige. Minks, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, beavers, chinchillas, bears and even dogs and cats are victim to the fur trade. Several countries in Europe have already picked up on the cruel and violent practices of the fur industry, and have chosen to remove themselves from participation in it as well.

Fur has been a constant hot topic in the media, seemingly being one of the most commonly concerning animal rights issues among omnivores and vegans alike. Celebrities and Fashion Week are continuously responding to the unceasing criticism of sporting and supporting such industries. Given the current astronomic downfall of fur sales even where it is legal, it sounds like it’s only a matter of time before fur suppliers go faux!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

How To Tell Your Family You’re Going Vegan

So you’ve followed FullyRaw Kristina for a year now, you visited an animal sanctuary, and you finally got around to watching Earthlings. You’re feeling good, you’ve got YouTube tutorials lined up on how to eat vegan for cheap, and you think the time has come to make the switch. How will you tell your omnivorous, “I would die without cheese” claiming family?

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  • Step 1 – Get on an Apron: You’re about to make the big reveal, and it’s the perfect time to show your loved ones that there’s more to compassionate eating than plates on plates of grass! Whip up any of your family’s favorite, typically dairy-laden, meat-stuffed foods. Not a cook? The internet’s loaded with recipes, and there’s always the option to get take out from your favorite vegan restaurant (or truck, wink wink 😉 ! Wait until they tell you how good it all tastes before you break the news that it’s all vegan!
  • Step 2 – The Talk: Sit down around the dinner table, take a sip of water, and muster up all your courage to share your newfound social justice venture. There might be gasps, jokes, even tears. Don’t be surprised when members of your family evolve into vegetable therapists and the protein police, it’s only natural.  The potato screams and carrot feelings have haunted thousands for years.  When answering questions, keep in mind that no one likes to be told any of their daily habits are unethical, Try to reason with them by comparing cows, pigs and chickens to any other animal on the planet. Most omnivores claim to be animal lovers, after all, and pigs are known for their astounding intelligence! After explaining all the in’s, out’s, who’s, what’s, when’s and why’s of veganism, assure them that you can bring and/or make all your own food to Thanksgiving’s and other family events around the year.
  • Step 3 – The Follow-Up: It may come as a shock that after explaining the cruelty, environmental destruction, and health deterioration that are caused by animal agriculture and meat consumption, family members will probably still have an immediate reluctance towards veganism. As said before, any newcomer to any social justice movement might be alarmed and resilient if the movement calls their lifestyle into question. Find out what pulls at your family members’ heart strings, and speak to that! If your mom is an avid tree-hugger, pull up Cowspiracy on Netflix and have a movie night. If your other mom is all about health, take her to a local Esselstyn Group Meet-Up and listen to the most jaw-dropping, eye-widenining success stories together. If your little sister is an animal lover, take her on a day trip to the closest farm animal sanctuary. Over time, they may begin to soften, and go from having to be bribed to take a bite of that tofu sandwich you bought for them to testing out veganism for themselves!

Good luck, plant-eaters!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Louisville’s Top Dogs

It’s beginning to feel like spring, aka, it’s hot dog season! SmartLife and Tofurkey hotdogs pair perfectly with a grill, but if you’re feeling like going out for a night, here’s where you can get your hands on a this American fingerfood favorite around town!

  • V-Grits: As of next week, the orange truck is about to start making its rounds! Last year we delivered up house-made sausages sandwiched between a pretzel bun, with toppings ranging from a smothering of Texas chili and sour cream to our Philly Brat with cheese and grilled peppers! Stay on the lookout, we might be coming to a spot near you soon!

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  • Red Top Hotdogs: Red Top is another food truck you can find around town, anywhere from University of Louisville’s campus to the Flea Off Market! They use housemade relishes, grilled onions and jalapeño jam! And to top it off, they always have a tangy housemade Curry Ketchup and hot sauce on hand that I’d pour on anything!

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  • Eiderdown: This European-inspired Pub is takes on a twist on southern comfort food! These bun-less links may not meet all the requirements of a typical hotdog, but their house-made white bean & seitan sausages are equally as tasty served on a plate with a side of crispy fries and potato salad with a kick! All the vegetarian sides use butter, so just make sure your waiter has your butter-free needs noted!

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  • Dairy Kastle: Spotting vegan options might come as a surprise at this seasonal ice cream shop located just outside of Old Lousiville, but the chili dogs, sauerkraut brats and low prices at this vegetarian-owned joint are guaranteed not to disappoint! And what’s better than 1.50$ chili dogs? Following them up with sweet, creamy Pineapple ice cream!

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  • Goss Avenue Pub: This gastropub takes another spin on the American classic! Bun? Check! Relish? Check! Hot dog? More like carrot dog! I haven’t tried this veganized hot dog replica yet, but Jeff & Kristina give this dog a thumbs up and it’s a great option if you’re in the mood for healthier comfort food!

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Give these dogs around town a try and let us know what you think!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Feminism and Veganism Collide

Nearly every activist has a string of causes they stand behind, and that’s typically because practically all social justice issues correlate. The correlation between veganism and feminism is no outlier. Reading a paragraph comparing the two is actually what convinced me to evolve from pescatarian to vegan a couple years back!

All animal products are the result of animal exploitation, but more specifically, they are the result of exploiting female reproductive systems. Even at the most regulated, grass-fed, free-range dairy farms, any female animal will fall into a vicious cycle of being separated from her mother only moments after her birth, and get artificially inseminated through sodomization. She will continue to live only to be repeatedly, forcibly impregnated, sodomized and have her own babies immediately taken away from her just as she was taken away from her mother. Not only will the mother lose complete control over her reproductive system and have her child taken, but she will also start to acclimate a series of diseases due to this system deteriorating her physical health. This cycle of sodomization, forced pregnancy, and child loss will continue until she is worn enough to produce significantly less milk, at which point the dairy farm or factory farm will no longer have a use for her and she will be sold to become cheap meat, leather or dog food while having lived only a fifth of her typical lifespan. Hens used for eggs will be forced into the same cycle, as will pigs and cows in the meat industry.

Without going too deeply into graphic detail (trust me, that was just skimming the surface!), it’s still clear that the practices of these farms and factory farms are unjust. It’s no secret that females having complete control over their reproductive systems and organs is a necessary part of feminism, but prior to going vegan, I never really speculated over animals having choices. I knew they didn’t want to be killed, but it took watching a video of a mother tirelessly struggling to stand between her calf and a farmer for me to understand how aware animals truly are. Any oppression is hard to stomach, but any oppression can also be fought against! Every time we eat is a chance to vote for the world and practices you want to see moving forward. Dairy is scary after all, right? With so many plant-based dairy replicas hitting the shelves, there has never been a better time to make your plate a moral decision and go vegan!

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

 

Sweet Snacks for an Herbivore

Trying to get healthier, but have a sweet tooth calling your name? The SO Delicious Dark Chocolate Truffle ice cream might try to break you, but there are some other yummy snacks that can satisfy a sweet tooth without the after-affects of bowls on bowls of sugar!

  • Little Secrets: These faux M&M’s just hit my local Kroger’s, and I’m a fan! Dark chocolate, sea salt and peanuts make a combination that’s nearly impossible to beat! And it’s no secret that their ingredients are all natural and ethical, with fair trade chocolate and coatings colored with turmeric and spirulina. Just watch out for the Peanut Butter flavor, as it is the only flavor that has whey. They’re additionally good to quiet cravings, just pop in a few and your sweet tooth is set!

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  • Larabars: Larabars are snack bars based of nuts and dates, so they can be great to have in the pantry as a sweet and healthy treat on the go. Different flavors include Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Pie, and Lemon Bar.

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  • Justin’s products: Justin’s has a plethora of sweet products ranging from dark chocolate peanut butter cups (Reese’s has nothing on these!) to chocolatey, nutty spreads. They do have palm oil though!

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  • Enjoy Life Chocolate: Chocolate chips and chunks make any bowl of fruit a little more tempting! Especially when scary dairy is the least of your concerns! You can also make homemade trail mix, blend with avocados for a healthy chocolate mousse, or add a few into your PB&J!

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  • Hail Merry Tarts & Macaroons: These raw vegan products have been spotted in health stores such as Whole Foods and Rainbow Blossom. Within the last few weeks, I’ve frequently seen them on sale around town! All products of theirs are certified vegan and use mostly organic, familiar products such as cashews, coconut sugar and coconut oil. I’ve tried the Persian Lime Tart and the Almond Butter Chocolate Cup! Both were delicious and left my sweet tooth satisfied without feeling sluggish!

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Try these products out next time you’re on the hunt for a healthier, sweet alternative!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

What the Health?!

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Forks Over Knives and PlantPure Nation just got a new neighbor on the list of health-focused documentaries going viral across the web! What the Health? is a new film produced by the creators of Cowspiracy (another personal fave) exposing a surplus of shocking mysteries within animal agriculture and the human diet. The documentary covers everything from insider government lobbying, to industrialized racism, to cruelty-free protein and athletes, and more! They concluded with a series of eye-opening health success stories from victims of these industries who were able to trash entire shelves of medication after spending only two weeks plant-based! With wide eyes and a bowl of ripe fruit at my side, I was in disbelief at how much money is spent to convince humans that animal products are vital contributors to the human diet, despite the various studies that prove how deeply animal products are linked to an increase in bone fragility, deteriorating mental health, and countless lethal diseases.

After watching, the thought crossed my mind that I have seen hours on hours of health documentaries, and none had said anything beneficial about animal products! I was keen to listen to the opposition, but after a quick google search I realized there are no health documentaries that talk about the importance of animal products in our diets! That’s definitely no mistake. Modern doctors and researchers (who aren’t getting paid by Tyson and Yum! Brands, anyways) can’t deny the blatant evidence that meat, dairy and eggs are taking years off of our lifespans and keeping us sick, and thankfully this documentary uncovers all that lobbying vigorously works to blind us from! Check it out and prepare for your jaw to drop!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

10 New Vegan Products to Get Excited About

There was a rad vegan Expo West in California, and there are oodles of new vegan products coming out worth drooling over! Here are 10 that I’m tryna get in my fridge ASAP.

  • Miniature Corn Dogs: Need I say more?! No lie, within 5 minutes of seeing a picture of these babies, I called up Whole Foods and asked for them to get these in stock! No doubt people have already whipped up some killer vegan recipes for this, but imagine the pure joy of opening up your freezer, popping miniature corndogs in your toaster oven, and eating them with mustard just like your 5 year old self used to love. To say the least, I am about getting these in my life.

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  • Vegan popcorn Chicken: So maybe my love for frozen childhood fingerfoods is showing, but the only thing better than vegan chicken is vegan popcorn chicken. Imagine the possibilities… ranch or BBQ sauce??!

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  • Rocket Cakes: Breakfast food just got easier! Why deal with the mess of recipes when batter can pour right out of a bottle? This batter doubles as a pancake and waffle batter. Yum! Add chocolate chips and we’ve got a match made in veggie heaven!

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  • Sausage Ravioli: Ravioli is a favorite of mine: any food stuffed with other food is something I can get behind!

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  • Liquid Vegan Egg: An omelette without the cruelty! I’ve never tried the vegan egg before, honestly because it seemed like a lot of effort, so this sounds perfect to me! Between Rocket Cakes and the Liquid Vegan Egg, you can basically pour a vegan breakfast feast out of a bottle!

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  • Vegan Ham: I forgot that I actually used to like the taste of ham until the V-Grits Christmas box, but since getting a little taste in December, I can’t wait for more! Pass the vegan ham & cheese, please!

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  • Gardein Breakfast Pockets: Breakfast food is clearly a thing I enjoy, especially over simplified, handheld breakfast food! These pockets are filled with vegan sausage, egg and cheese! Basically a trifecta of things most of us thought we couldn’t eat anymore after going vegan! Yassss.

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  • Cocomel Bites: Satisfy a sweet tooth by biting into a Cocomel chocolate, basically a veganized Rolo filled with ooey-gooey vegan caramel. Probably good to eat one at a time… or one bag at a time. 😉

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  • Milk Chocolate Bunnies: Eat an animal in a way that doesn’t harm animals with this cruelty-free chocolate bunny! The only thing better than chocolate is chocolate formed into unusual shapes.

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  • Pumpkin Spice Cheezecake: Vegan cheesecake of any sort is immediately worth digging into, but pumpkin spice? Heck yeah! I am down to eat a piece of this no matter what the season.

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Huge shout out to VegNews for posting all the delicious products the spotted at Expo West! Hopefully these tempting, cruelty-free treats will grace our veg-friendly city soon!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

NABC Brewhouse

This weekend I headed to NABC (New Albanian Brewing Company) Brewhouse, also known as Bankstreet Brewhouse and formerly known as Earth Friends Cafe. You might not expect it judging by the name, but this female-owned restaurant just across the river in New Albany has a plant-eater friendly menu that any vegan will be daydreaming about days after their first visit. They have everything from loaded nachos with vegan taco meat crumbles, to vegan buffalo chicken quesadillas, to buffalo cauliflower (anything will taste good drenched in buffalo sauce, am I right?), and even vegan desserts! Just make sure your waiter is fully aware that you’re vegan before you place your order. On top of all this mouthwatering vegan food that sounds straight out of a sports bar, they hands down have the best rootbeer I’ve ever had – so much so that I have to resist bringing my growler for them to fill it up with that bubbly, sweet deliciousness any time I eat there.  I’ve also added this spot to my mental list of the top eateries in Louisville I’d take an omnivore to. Any place that uses Gardein or Beyond Meat will have your omnivore friends doing double-takes. So try this place out y’all! It’s worth the Indiana crossover toll. 😉 And while you’re over there, be sure to check out the beautiful Black Art Matters Exhibit at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, literally across the street!

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi