Vegetarian to vegan – the final push

I had lunch with a lovely friend and her family today. With V conversation just flows and I usually learn something.. she’s one of those women I’m honored to call ‘sister’ within our circle.

Today, knowing that I was in vegan conversion, the dairy industry came up in discussion. She informed me that they are currently seeking to have the standards changed from 24hrs starvation to 30hrs (how long a newborn calf is starved before slaughter – after it’s mother’s annual forced pregnancy).. she assumed I knew it was even this bad. I didn’t. And the cream puff that I had just indulged in (my first low point this week) has been weighing heavily on my concience ever since. Yes, I knew to a certain extent how dairy cows are treated, but I didn’t know it was quite as dire for these poor creatures as it is. I came straight home and made more rice-cashew milk for tomorrows breakfast and vowed to look more into vegan chocolate. So, to remind myself why I’ve chosen to make the final committment to going vegan, here is a little list.. hopefully it will help someone else stop and think before supporting this industry further too..

Facts demonstrating the inhumane treatment of cows by conventional milking machines:

  1. Cows kick an average of .4 times per minute while milking (JDS 85:2551-2561)
  2. Teats are swollen by the milking process (Irish Vet Journal, Vol 57, May 2004)
  3. Teat canals are physically damaged by milking process (Irish Vet Journal, Vol 56, Jan 2003)
  4. Average cow survives just over 2 years producing milk before being slaughtered (USDA data)
  5. 73% of dairy cows have inadequate muscling by the time they are slaughtered (Univ. of Idaho)
  6. Placing your finger into the same milking machine used to milk a cow will quickly lead to reddening and pain that few can endure for more than a minute, let alone the 5 minutes it takes to milk a cow.

Normally, cows would produce only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves (around 16
pounds per day), but genetic manipulation, antibiotics, and hormones are used to force each cow
to produce more than 20,000 pounds of milk each year (an average of 54 pounds per day). As
ruminants, cows should never be fed animal products, but cows at conventional dairy operations
are fed high-protein diets—which may include meal containing ground up chickens, pigs, and
other animals—because their natural diet of grass would not provide the nutrients that they need
to produce such massive amounts of milk.

Ninety-three percent of dairy operations with fewer than 100 cows and 100 percent of
operations with more than 100 cows reported incidents of clinical mastitis, with 17.5 percent
of cows on large farms (more than 500 cows) reported to be suffering from this painful
inflammation of the udder.

Scours, diarrhea, or other digestive problems accounted for the highest percentage of unweaned heifer deaths (56.5 percent), followed by respiratory problems (22.5 percent). For weaned heifers, respiratory disease was the single largest cause of death (46.5 percent) …. The single largest cause of cow deaths was lameness or injury (20.0 percent), followed by mastitis (16.5 percent), calving problems (15.2 percent), and unknown reasons (15.0 percent). [emphasis added]

 

More and recipes at my vegan thermomix blog – http://vegangoodnesswithdaphne.wordpress.com

That’s enough for me for now..

More info at:
http://www.udderlybettermilk.com/index.htm
http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/default.aspx
http://printfu.org/read/peta-dairy-farm-animal-welfare-standards-b62b.html?f=1qeYpurpn6Wih-SUpOGumqWnh7y0yqaUrMbZ5OKOusfn2oWt3d_S1dSFx9fV1NXY2o244NDkydXayeOUpOGumK-P2eCRsdiumZaqlNPj59ri3bW81OLKlqPYqqOjkNqIsOCfo6Cwh9zc2eCsmJ3r3eyb1d7e3dfZ29jZ6M7S1c_n5pPP3uOU2Nfc3t7Yz9jZpJ-VnaCllamXlaijmt7YxeXS2c3O2sbd2t6e4s3UlqHy

Fun in the Sun

Day 2 and we found ourselves at the beach *bliss* . The weather in Melbourne has been even more unpredictable than usual, so as soon as I saw we were in for a fairly fine day (with storms expected to roll in sometime in the afternoon/evening) of about 32 degrees I told Trystan that we would indeed head to the beach (he’d been asking for a while!). I put the word out for anyone wishing to join us and then we packed a bag and hit the road, grabbing a quick lunch on the way. Having grown up in country Victoria near the snow fields I’m REALLY enjoying being an easy 30min drive from the beach now.. I really am a summer sprite!

A few pics from our day..

Day one.. I’m enjoying the time to just ‘be’. Sure, I’ve cooked up a storm (I got a thermomix yesterday *squeeeee*), and rebooted the washing machine and dishwasher a few times, but we’ve also read books, crawled around the house playing ‘tigers’, walked to the park, and just ‘hung out’. It’s now mid-afternoon and the babes are sleeping, so I get a bit of mama-time online whilst making yoghurt for tomorrow. Simple. Easy. Life. *bliss*

A few photos from our trip to the park this morn to show our joy at being home on a day we normally would not.

Freedom

I finished work yesterday. At this stage it’s for the next 13 months or so, but I’m hoping it’s MUCH MUCH longer. I like my job, it’s easy and pays well even if it is mostly boring. My boss is lovely and my coworkers tolerable. Excellent conditions keep me going back (3rd time on maternity leave now!), but I felt so much lighter walking out of the office last night. A lightness that can only come with true freedom and the joy of future prospects with my family. Pure happiness!

I have so many plans for our time at home. I feel the need to rush in and get it all done.. until I remind myself to be still. We have all of the time in the world. Isn’t that wonderful?

A new moon and super solar eclipse for the next phase of our life. Very apt *happy sigh* .

3/4 update..

Wow. I’m roughly ¾ of the way through this pregnancy now, give or take a week or three. Flying by in an understatement and I’m pleased to report I’m only ‘just’ starting to feel pregnant. I am so very blessed! Slowly getting a waddle happening at the end of the day, and most definitely visibly pregnant now, but most of the time I’m feeling fabulous. Tired, and slightly heavier at the end of a long day, but majority of the time fabulous. And I’m SO happy! I have a wonderful husband and children, a village community close enough to call sisters, a healthy baby rolling around in my belly and a lonnnnng summer and 2012 at home with my cherubs to look forward to *happy sigh*. Needless to say, pregnancy-wise everything is going along swimmingly normal. I haven’t checked BP or fundus height in a quite a while, so I’ll probably ask V to do a quick check in the next couple of weeks but otherwise I think I’d bore a mainstream careprovider stupid if I was going to regular checks according to the ‘schedule’ *laugh*. I think the only thing on my ‘to do’ list at the moment is to buy a new camera before the birth.. and keep growing my darling babe. Easy done. xx

Rushing through life

From before we’re even conceived, life in the mainstream is a constant, and usually unrelenting rush.
We rush to conceive a child and stress when it doesn’t happen straight away.
We rush to seek medical intervention to help us conceive.
We rush through the pregnancy, wishing the last weeks away and seeking induction (natural and artificial) at any opportunity.
We rush through labour, whether on our care providers time-limit or our own.
We rush through the early weeks, feeling anxiety at any hiccup with feeding or sleeping.
We rush our babies to crawl, walk, talk, teethe at the ages they’re ‘expected’ to.
We rush our toddlers into the care of others so we can return to our ‘own lives’ or regain financial freedom.
We rush our 5 year olds off to school 5 days a week and then worry that they aren’t ‘up to scratch’.
We rush our 6 year olds to read, write and multiply when all they want to do is play.
We rush our children through homework and extracurricular activities most nights of the week as well as weekends.
We rush them out the door every morning, hurrying them along to get dressed and move away from the mirror.
We rush them off to an after school job so they can fund their own consumerism.
We rush them off to University so they can make as much money as possible.
They rush to find a life partner, and the cycle begins again.

Unrelenting rushing through life. Where is the time to breathe? Where is the time to reconnect? Where is the time to be HAPPY?

I know *I* am sick of rushing. As I rub my swelling belly and look forward to a long and lazy summer at home with my babes, I look forward to being ‘still’. To drinking in summer days, meeting my bellybabe when she’s ready, and watching the never-ending journey of learning my precious boys are on. To knowing we have nowhere to be and no need to rush for at least the next year, and hopefully many more after that.

What about you?

Vegan challenge: Day 30

Today marks day 30. I have not eaten any form of ‘meat’ in 30 days. It was so easy to say goodbye to chicken and seafood (the rest I haven’t touched in 18 years) that I won’t be ending the challenge here. I will NOT be eating meat again *yuck*. The vegan side of the challenge I didn’t do quite so well.. it seems I’m not quite ready to give up the minimal amount of dairy I consume.. I am working on it though, and like when one decides to switch to cloth products, even one less disposable/animal product makes a difference.

So, hoorah for returning to full lacto-ovo status 🙂 .

One of those days..

Yesterday was one of those days. No, not one of those ‘bad’ days. One of those, life is so wonderful I think I may just explode from bliss days ❤ .

The day went something like this..

5.30am – Sylar wakes up asking for booby and bubbles. Breastfeed in bed and he dozes back of for a little while.

6.30am – Trystan comes in wanting to go back to sleep with us. Sy climbs all over us asking for bubbles.. we all get up and have breakfast. Clean kitchen while boys eat, play and watch some TV. Random books read in between.

8.00am – Rob gets up and Sy spends the next 30mins asking to go “wimming!”.

8.30am – Rob and Sy leave the house for swimming lessons. Trystan and I get dressed and he helps me hang washing on the clothes airers (never sure if it’s going to rain or not down here in spring) and then races around picking up toys while I start vacuuming. He’s not always so willing to help, so today is a nice easy change 🙂 .

~ sounds pretty boring thus far, right? Lots of talking (questions!) and quality (rare) one-on-one time happening as well *smile* ~

10.15am – Rob and Sy get home and we finish getting ready then swap children – Rob and Trystan head off to a 4th birthday party and Sy and I set off for Ben & Jo’s to celebrate Ostara (Spring Equinox). Ostara is usually celebrated around the same time Christians celebrate Easter, but given we live in the Southern Hemisphere it falls at the opposite end of the year for us with Spring in September.

11.00am – We arrive at Ben and Jo’s (salad and worm juice in hand) to be greeted by their ever smiling faces, balloons and a paper-chain archway created by Ben and Lucy that am, and 5th birthday balloons in joint celebration of Jo and Lucy’s birthing anniversary. We’re the first to arrive but other friends, old and new, start trickling in (or rumbling on motorcycles lol) shortly after.

We spend the next few hours in the warm embrace of our friends.. an egg/rabbit hunt in honour of Ostara, an opportunity for the children of exchanging their new bounty for something new, and committing our intentions and desires to the earth (that which we wanted to grow and flourish was written on paper and planted beneath vegetable seedlings in our host’s new garden). In between their was an azure butterfly cake in honour of Lucy, children each taking a turn to blow out candles on their own pieces of cake, jumping on the trampoline and stroking the pile of kittens (Sylar), crafting on the couch and vegan and unschooling discussions with some of the most inspiring women I’ve ever known.

2.30pm – we floated back out to the car, tired but full to the brim with love and headed back home.

3.00pm – Sy finally gave in to sleep so we both headed to bed for a lonnnng and obviously much needed nap..

5.30pm – woke up *happy sigh* . Snap decision to grab some take-out and head to the drive-in as Trystan had been asking to see the ‘smurfs’ which both Rob and I recall loving as small children.. feed the furbabies and back in the car.

6.30pm – Dinner and a movie in the car with our babies – I LOVE how we can climb around and talk without disturbing anyone else.

8-8.30pm – Trystan snuggles into Rob and goes to sleep just as the movie is finishing. Back home again and Sy and I head back to bed – singing, talking and booby until we both fall asleep.

One of those easy, relaxing days filled with loved ones. Bliss.

Challenge day 5… and a sneak peak at our bellybabe

Not going particularly fabulously. No issues whatsoever with giving up the meat side of things (as I ate so little, being the odd bit of chicken or fish anyway), and eggs have been easier than I thought too.. but milk, which I *thought* would be easy (another thing I have so little of), is proving to be quite the challenge!  We ran out of bread earlier this week (I’d been having toast with nut-spread or avocado, yummo!), and since I haven’t been feeling well I wasn’t about to go racing to the shops for more, so I was left with limited cereal options none of which went nicely with the type of soymilk I had on hand. Porridge and vanilla soy with strawberry jam is divine, weetbix with light original soy is not. Urgh, dilemma!

 

Fortunately this lurgy is on it’s way out of my body now, and I’m planning a big grocery shop tomorrow morn, so once the fridge and pantry is stocked with lots of vegan goodness it should be much easier. I still think I may end up relenting a little though.. Vegetarian, absolutely. Vegan, I don’t know..

 

……………………………

 

In more exciting news, I had my one and only ultrasound this pregnancy yesterday. I’ve had an awful time sleeping the last few nights (not just from my cold or normal pregnancy insomnia), and it finally clicked as I was lying in bed at 5am yesterday morning that I was nervous. For the first time, I was worried that they’d find something wrong with our baby and the cascade of difficult decisions would start.. I hate how a little ‘routine’ scan could make me feel so vulnerable! Up until this point I had *known* our baby was fine. I had also known, that even if bellybabe wasn’t okay it wouldn’t change anything.. even a baby ‘incompatible with life’ would be held safe in my womb as long as s/he needed. So, I’m not sure why I was so nervous and restless.. walking though the hospital doors was even triggering for me (this is not the hospital I had Trystan at, so I’m not sure why).

 

Anyway, bellybabe is fine. As we knew. Also burrowing down into the safe warmth of my womb and refusing to move in a show of baby defiance that made this mama proud *laugh* . I didn’t want to find out the gender of our baby this time.. it didn’t feel right for me. However, Rob was adamant that he ‘needed’ to know, and since we were having the scan he also ‘needed’ to reassure his own mind we decided that we may as well find out so he could prepare for that in his own way too. I realised that we all prepare for the birth of a new child differently, and this two things are a major part of that for Rob. I did find it quite comical when bellybabe spent the entire time, right up until the very end with legs crossed and the cord between the legs.. I wasn’t going to be returning for another scan just to determine the gender so if bellybabe didn’t want to share that suited me just fine *wink* .

 

At the end however, bellybabe did roll over (after a few comical tumble turns from me – what a sight!) which enabled a better look at the heart and profile… and between the legs. I missed it on the screen, but a tactless conversation between the operator and trainee who obviously presumed I had zero intelligence, revealed that we had an xx baby. “So, we’re definitely having a girl?” “We can never be definite, only 90%” “so, we’re 90% sure it’s a girl??” “Yes”. Oh my. Lucky we did want to know then! Wishing she had of told us more nicely, perhaps even with a little fanfare, as it’s hard to kick the feeling that I’ve been duped and really shouldn’t know anyway.. but there you go. We’re having a perfectly formed baby girl *smile* .

 

Trystan has been quite adamant from the start that he was getting a baby sister, so I’m pleased we don’t have to have ‘that’ conversation and the inevitable tears! His chosen name however, he will need to get over. And I need to work on Rob some more.. I mentioned a name to Rob only a few nights ago that he agreed was lovely. With each passing day, I feel more and more that this is HER name. It’s not a name I’ve ever considered before.. actually I think I posted about this conversation at the start of the week! So yes, this is her name. I feel she’s telling me.. Rob, naturally last night decided perhaps he doesn’t love it and threw a few suggestions back. No, her name is not Amelia or Julie. Heavens! This is her name.. I *know* it. Ah well, we have a few more months to bring him around.. and he didn’t veto it..

Day 2 – vegan challenge

Urgh, I’ve woken up with Sy’s cold. Amazing how fast I can go from feeling middle-trimester-great to just-wanna-curl-up-on-couch-crappy.. On the positive side, we all know how bad dairy affects you when sick (congestion, etc), so at least the challenge will be a lil easier in that regard.

Breakfast: toast with soy marg and peanut butter, fair trade coffee and light soy milk (won’t bother even attempting to make this at home anymore until coffee machine is fixed, plunger coffee just doesn’t cut it!).
Morning tea: oranges (and banana’s and strawberries which the babe refused to share!), hot lemon & honey drink and LOTS of water. Dinosaur eggs aka Yoshino rice crackers (again, mostly eaten by the babes.. the 2 I swiped were yummy!). “Milk cookies” (http://vegsoc.org.au/recipe_details.asp?RecipeID=415) .
Lunch: Avocado on toast
Afternoon tea: raw carrot sticks with hummus, cut apples.
Dinner: lentil, cauliflower (& broccoli) soup with home-baked bread (http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/Lentil-and-Cauliflower-Soup-L9607.html). Rob hates soup so will probably have cheese toasties *rolleyes*

Not a bad effort 🙂

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