Paper towels suck!

Occasionally I’m burdened with the task of buying toilet paper, which for a product you wipe your hind end with, seems extremely overpriced.

When I walk through the gauntlet of paper products at the store, I’m suddenly reminded, people still buy paper towels!

Another extremely overpriced paper product that serves little or no purpose in daily living; paper towels. I can assure you that there was a time that paper towels were not in existence. In fact, paper towels have only been widely produced since the 1920’s. Scott paper company started producing them in 1907 to prevent the spread of disease in public restrooms, which, until then, commonly used cloth towels. Our use of paper towels has grown incredibly since then. North American consumers use a staggering 8 million tonnes of disposable paper product per year!  Paper towels account for approximately 37% of the total product use.

Jess and I stopped buying paper towels around 3 years ago, and I can’t believe we didn’t stop sooner. There is almost never an occasion that we need one. We have between one and two dozen cloth kitchen, bath, and miscellaneous towels, that we wash (an no additional cost) when we do our other laundry. We keep one roll of paper towels in an “out of reach” cabinet for emergency situations. They are for cleaning up dog vomit, or other really gross things that would otherwise merit the disposal of a perfectly good cloth towel.

We probably use this roll up in about a years time. Since using paper towels is a highly “Habit Forming” practice, the average household uses 2-4 rolls per month, which produces an annual cost of close to 50 dollars! That’s a lot of money to simply throw away, when there is other options available. Not to mention the disastrous effect that paper products have on the environment. From the clear cutting of forests, to the huge amount of landfill waste. These paper towels are aiding in the destruction of the environment, and they’re doing it on your dime!

If you are an avid paper towel user, try going cold turkey! I promise you wont miss them! Remember that there ARE valid uses for paper towel, so keep one roll stashed in a place you wont see it, just in case you need one.

SOURCE: http://www.risiinfo.com/magazines/pulp-paper/magazine/october/2008/PPMagOctober-Tissue-market-continues-to-grow.html

Stop Using The “P” word

If I hear one more person say “Protein” I swear I’m going to lose it. In the day to day life of a vegan we are constantly questioned about protein. “Where do you get your protein?” “How on earth do you get enough protein?” or “Be careful! I had a friend that was a vegan, but he had to start eating meat… because he wasn’t getting enough…” Whatever… you get the idea. Omnivores say this stuff with such wide-eyed fervor that it kind of makes me laugh. You can tell that some of these people are genuinely surprised that we can even stand up, let alone hold a conversation with them. They’re baffled that the deficit of protein hasn’t put us into a permanent fetal position.

I have a standard response to this query now. I simply ask them, “Do you know what ‘Protein’ is?

Every single time I ask someone this (Including a lot of vegetarians and vegans), they instantly go silent. You can literally see them probing the deepest parts of their brain trying to remember what the heck protein is. Surely they know what it is right? They just accused someone of not getting enough. They must know!

They don’t. Most people don’t.

It’s okay that they don’t know too. It’s not our job to know this stuff really, but we should know it, for the sake of our health. It’s also not our job to run around verifying everyone’s protein intake either, but a few of us have jumped at the opportunity to do so, and THOSE people better know what the heck protein is. If this is you, then you need to keep reading, or one day someones gonna ask you a question that makes you look really dumb.

Let me explain it to you.

There is no such thing as Protein. There is not a phyisical “Thing” called protein. It doesn’t exist. Get it out of your head. Protein is the title that we have given to collections of “Amino Acids.” (From now on we could start asking each other “How do you get your Amino Acids?”)

Amino acids are organic compounds (when I say organic I don’t mean pesticide free) made from carboxylic acid and amine (-NH2 + -COOH), plus a side chain that differentiates each amino acid from the nxt. Yeah, there’s not just one type of amino acid, there’s actually more than 500 different amino acids, and there’s a boat load of them that are NOT in a double cheeseburger. In fact, a good majority of these amino acids can be created by your body!

Of the 500+ amino acids know to man there are 20 that we call “Standard Amino Acids” these are the most common of the amino acids, and the ones our body uses to create proteins. Of the 20 “Standard” amino acids, there are 9 that we call “Essential. These 9 cannot be created De Novo (By the body) and therefore must be taken in as food. Here they are:

Histidine, Isoeucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine.

These nine little amino acids are the worlds most sought after. Athletes, body builders, health conscious people, vegans and vegetarians alike, are constantly aiming to consume as much of these acids, as they can. They’re aiming for that dirty word… “Protein.”

In order for your body to utilize amino acids as “Proteins” it needs more than one; it  needs, as we would say, a “collection” of amino acids. When you consume a food item that has all of the amino acids needed to make proteins we call that a “complete protein.” We find these types of protein in, you guessed it; Animal Products. Meat, cheese, eggs, and dairy. Likewise, there are a handful of complete plant proteins as well, such as the soybean, but we do not commonly find complete proteins in plant sources. And yes, this is absolutely the downfall of a Vegan diet, and most vegans are keenly aware of this. The ones who are not, will eventually get ill, start using the “P” word a lot, and might even go back to torturing animals for the sake of whoopie pies, and ding dongs.

Aside from eating the few “Complete” plant proteins, vegans get their proteins by eating several foods that contain different amino acids. When these acids are eaten together the body can utilize the different amino acids to create a complete protein. “So where do you get your amino acids?” I would encourage you all to look further into the sources of your amino acids. There are tons of plant sources that contain high doses of essential amino acids. You just have to do a little reading. Which we should ALL be doing no matter what we’re eating.

Here’s a couple helpful links to get you started!

And dont forget! If you enjoyed this blog, please show us some love, and “share” it with others!

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/tips-for-vegetarian.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002467.htm

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Say “I’m vegan.” like you mean it!

For those of you who still beat around the bush when using the word “Vegan,” Stop!

Nobody seems to be prouder of their efforts on the planet than vegans, and rightfully so, but we often do not grant our way of life the solidarity that it deserves. This is because we struggle daily with the implications of being vegan in a world that does not support it. The cause for this outside resistance in rarely supported by factual claims of wrong doing, or even by well thought out emotional conflict. In fact, typically the conversation is broken down to a simple and arrogant, “Meat tastes good, so I eat it.” or something similar. At which point most vegans, feel the overwhelming sensation to just walk away from the conversation, and I would like to say that most times, this is probably an advisable course of action. The conversation, at this point, has been fully converted into a neanderthal-like debate, and it is highly unlikely that you will find any sort of penetrating wisdom to spring into the conversation.

(Conversely, sometimes we become the neanderthal-like debaters, and I can’t stress how important it is for us to avoid this. Choosing to set a higher moral standard for oneself (becoming vegan) is contradictory to being uneducated in that decision. Granted, not all vegans have been so for very long. In fact, plenty started just yesterday! Which means that vegans should be at varying grades of education in vegan topics, and this is absolutely okay. Stay educated, stay vegan.)

There’s vegans shaking their head while they read this right now, muttering, “It’s my choice… I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.” To which I absolutely agree. The choice to resign from the cruelty and oppression propagated by our diet, clothing, and various products, is entirely your own, and it is a decision that comes with some seriously positive effects. However, these positive effects are typically the driving force in making these alterations to our daily life, which is why there is seldom a lack of interest in furthering this positive influence.

Reproducing vegan interests via social media, daily interactions, and of course through our own actions, is coincident with the initial motivation to go vegan. This is an important concept to understand, because it differentiates veganism from other diet oriented actions. Becoming “Paleo” or “Gluten-Free,” is not an action that speaks outwardly to others in a sense of morality. It is merely indicative of what you perceive to be a healthy diet. On the other hand, when announcing to someone that you are vegan, you are immediately placing them in a direct conflict with their own actions, especially since this most frequently occurs when the situation involves food. The contrast screams.

Although they may not seem to mind your comment too much at first. They cannot defeat the inescapable moral dilemma you have just boxed them into. They are forced to compare and contrast your actions with their own. An event that is insidious, and wide reaching. In your making plans with a group of friends for lunch, dinner, coffee, etc.;  who picked the restaurant? Most likely your friends often resign to letting you pick the restaurant, so that everyone has an option for food. This is an action that both makes them acutely aware of their contrasting moral beliefs, as well as conditioning them to a level of comfort with veganism. How much more powerful of an action can you possibly create!

It is also critical that vegans announce their morals with conviction for the sake of granting them validity. Can you imagine if a person of any religious belief system or mass movement, in trying to convey their message to you, was even slightly timid about what they were convincing you of? You would be absolutely unaffected by their argument. This person doesn’t even know what they stand for, and they are trying to convince you to believe the same? It would be preposterous.

Be proud of your ethics, and state them with clear concise conviction.

“I’m Vegan!”

D. Scofield.

Dont Forget! If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with others!

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Vegan Just to be Vegan: Finding your footing in the vegan ethics.

Most vegans are intimately familiar with making unshakable moral decisions at a moments notice. On a daily basis we are confronted with a demanding task to relay our firmness of purpose to others, and most of us do this in an unrelenting, but tactful way. This is because most vegans are already severely convicted in their view of animal rights, and rightly so. It doesn’t take much of an analysis to reach the conclusion that the world is in a despicable spiral of abusive behavior towards other sentient beings. Using these realizations, vegans have found a path to corrective actions, as well as a bigger picture that they can try to illuminate to non vegans as well, in an effort to lead them to a positive path as well.

For a majority of the vegans I know, this is nothing more than a reflexive performance of premeditated ethical posture. This regurgitation of predetermined values is sometimes more harmful to the vegan image than it is helpful. As important as it is, occasionally we come to a point where animal welfare must take a back seat to tasks of greater concern, and simply ignoring this fact is in actuality, a very unethical decision. To be a supposed “pacifist” in these scenarios, is really just a less culpable way of making a bad decision. You are ignorantly choosing to put animal welfare in front of a long list of far more important topics. Jonathan Foer states this brilliantly, saying, “Whether we’re talking about fish species, pigs, or some other eaten animal, is such suffering the most important thing in the world? Obviously not. But that’s not the question. Is it more important than sushi, bacon, or chicken nuggets? That’s the question.”

I have seen vegans fail this test on far more than one occasion. I call this phenomenon “Vegan just to be vegan.” Whenever I see this take place, it’s akin to a high school popularity contest. In fact, I promptly liken it to more cliche movements like the “Straight-Edge” scene. Now, before you straight-edge readers out there get in a tizzy, let me explain.

In the straight edge crowd there are a multitude of authentically drug free people, to whatever extent they deem sufficient. Some abstain from illicit drugs and alcohol, while others further abstain from sexual acts, prescription drugs, or even caffeine. At any stage and degree of straight edge, there are a ton of people who are genuinely convicted in their beliefs about this sort of mind altering, and destructive activity. However, there is undoubtedly, a significant portion of the straight edge scene who is merely conforming to these strict rules for the sake of gaining acceptance from their peers. They are not convinced of the value of these morals in the same way as their peers are, and they may not even adhere to them when departed from their company. It starts to become clear that these people do not have the same intentions. To form a parallel comparison, they are just being “Straight edge just to be straight edge.”

This type of egotistical foundry is not exactly what I’m speaking of in the vegan community, but it’s similar enough that I find this to be a relevant analogy. It is very similar indeed, but not precisely the same. Instead, within the vegan community, certain individuals hold on to the vegan framework so strongly that it become almost counterproductive, or absurd, and it is most certainly not an effective way of solving the problems that we intend to.  Although, we are all in the habit of demanding better treatment for animals, it is imperative that we do so in a very unhurried and methodical way. Making statements, protests, and oppositions in a hurry may come at a cost. It may be that we are doing so at the sake of a more pressing and concerning issue.

This idea of “Methodical Response” is absolutely crucial in conveying our goals to the public, and I would urge all vegans to do their best to ensure this happens. Making hasty decisions in a world that is so infinitely tied to the animal agriculture industry is self-destructive. The vegan movement absolutely cannot afford these costly sacrifices to public imagery. We are far outnumbered in this battle, and any footing that we lose to these types of troubles, will almost certainly be grounds that we do not get back.

D. Scofield

BIB:

Foer, J. S. (2009) Eating Animals. New York, NY: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company

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Largest selection of vegan meats in Denver!

Okay, that statement may be a slight bit presumptuous, but it is certainly the largest selection of Vegan meat alternatives that I have ever seen.

The Viet Hoa Supermarket in Lakewood is a true gem in Denvers vegan selection. Besides their expansive selection of meat alternatives, they also have hard to find produce, and tons of vegan dry goods. Miso paste, at least a dozen alternative milks, spices, and hundreds of other items. If you’re vegan, and you live in the Denver area… this place is a “MUST GO. I was absolutely blown away by this place! The staff are very friendly, and helpful as well, and their prices are ridiculously competitive.

They are Located at 225 S Sheridan Blvd Ste B Lakewood, CO 80226 and they are open 7 days a week.

Go.

Now.

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A “Mud Pie” Never tasted so good

4960b5_1510e0ea14a849335ab72d2f99965f62.jpg_srz_289_408_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzBig trucks, bibles, and barbecue, are staples across the state of Kansas, and especially in the heart of Kansas city. But somewhere in the sprawling city, three individuals; Sharon Hughes, as well as Michael and Ashley Valverde, are doing something different. The ‘Mud Pie Vegan Bakery’, sits in the heart of KC; surrounded by tattoo shops, bars, consignment shops, and of course…. barbecue. Sharon, Michael and Ashley opened this establishment in February of 2011, and you can clearly see, it is doing magnificently! They even won readers choice in 2013 for Kansas cities “Best Cupcakes,” an accomplishment that is nothing to sneeze at, given the vast amount of bakeries in the city, and had an article published in the April 2012 issue of VegNews. Mike Valverde says, “All of our pastries go through quality control, which involves all three owners tasting them, if even one of us isn’t happy with the products, then we don’t start selling them”

I’ve been to a lot of bakeries, but this one seems to be more inviting than any others. Something about the face of this bakery just begs you to come in. Set inside an old house in the ‘restaurant row’ of KC, it looks like home… it looks like family. Incidentally, that’s exactly what it’s like inside too. I barely had to wait in line, or if i did, I didn’t notice. I was far too busy trying to make my selection from the vast array of vegan pastries to choose from, which included several Gluten-Free options. Although the staff are not familiar with me personally, while I wait in line, every other customer is greeted by name. I am apparently standing in the middle of a seemingly unbreakable chain of regular patrons. A Group of individual that ‘Mud Pie’ clearly understands the importance of. They take time from each transaction to sincerely that each customer for stopping in.

Co-Owner Mike said that the biggest struggle they have faced as a Vegan bakery has been “Just, making it work in such a small intimate space.”

As you search through the many rooms of the old house to find a place to sit and enjoy your coffee, and pastry, you can literally hear the history creaking beneath your feet, and the sound of the houses’ floors makes you want to cozy up on one of the half dozen couches to read a good book. I can assure you that if you choose to do so, you will be well taken care of during your stay. Before you start reading, you’ll need to take a minute to appreciate the eclectic art they host on their walls. This coffee shop, unlike so many others, has a very good collection of artwork up.

“Wholesale” Was Mikes response when I asked him what was “next” for ‘Mud Pie.’ Mike says that they have lots of outside interest in getting wholesale accounts established throughout the city. “It’s just a matter of getting set up to do it right.” The ‘Mud Pie’ apparently refuses to come to anyone with a sub-standard product.

From the Hobo Bakery to you…

Eat ‘Mud Pie’

For Hours and directions, you can visit their website.

My family wont support me going vegan.

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This is one of the most common problems that I hear about, and I want to take a little time here to address the issue as best I can.

In regards to “Going Vegan,” there are lots of reasons that you may be concerned about the influences of others, especially when it comes to your family. I most commonly hear this problem from teenagers, because they are still under the oversight of their parental figures. Which typically means that they are also not the person in the household who is responsible for the decision making when it comes to the dinner table. Most likely they are not the ones paying for the food either. If this sound like you, then please keep reading, cause this is a very important discussion.

Whether you are currently an omnivore, or already an active vegetarian; your decision to go fully vegan is of an importance that is hard for others to reconcile with. Whether you are doing it strictly for health reasons, or you have a growing concern for the deeply flawed industrial farming system.  Don’t forget this. When you get discouraged with things, it is important to remember why this decision is important to you. Do more research, make smart decisions, and “Live With Less”TM.
One thing that is important to remember in this situation is that you may never change your families stance on your decision to go vegan. This may be a  bit of a tough pill to swallow. We all want to have the acceptance of those closest to us, but the harsh reality is that it may never truly come. I will say however; the longer you stick to your beliefs, the more people will understand how important it is to you, and the less they will tease, prod, or bother you about it.

What I’d like to do in this blog is offer some practical advice to teens that are struggling to get their parents to understand their decision. The following solutions may not be perfect for everyone, but I hope that some of you will find some advice worth using here. If not, then hopefully it will at least jog some of your own ideas.

Talk to them! (Difficulty: Easy-Difficult)

I’m not putting this one on here to be silly. Some of you may be severely underestimating the power of a conversation with your family.  Here are some practical pointers on how to approach this:

-This CAN NOT be done in a spur of the moment “Fly-by” conversation. You need to get them to take it seriously, because it shows them the you take this seriously. Start by saying something like “Mom, dad… I want to sit down with you guys tonight and talk, I have something I really need to talk to you about.”

-Don’t tell them that it’s about “Going Vegan” at this point. Chances are good that your family already knows what you want to talk about, and reiterating it may just make them annoyed, and they may decline speaking about it all-together.

-Notice also, that you’ve set a time with them. Hold them to it. When the time you have set up to speak to them comes around, tell them that you haven’t forgotten, and you would like to have that talk now. This will show them that you are responsible, your on top of things,  you’re a good kid, and you can handle this decision.

-Be Prepared. This is the most important part. Your family is going to have a lot of tough questions for you, so do you research, and be prepared to answer them.

Pay for, and prepare a vegan meal for your family. (Difficulty: Moderate-Hard)

Nothing could make a stronger statement to your family than this. You are essentially letting them know that you have a sound understanding of what it means for you to go vegan. You’re demonstrating that you have an understanding of how to prepare vegan dishes, and what it costs to do so. You’re also demonstrating a compassion to them by taking the time to prepare them a nice meal. hopefully when they are thinking more about your decision to go vegan, they will remember how generous and supportive you were to them.

Stand your Ground. (Difficulty: Hard)

Be careful with this one. While I do recommend doing what is best for you, you also need to remember that this is a very delicate situation. you will need to use your best judgement in handling this situation.

Ultimately it truly is your decision. While your parents are the ones who pay for your food, clothing, and shelter… it has to be understood that you are an individual as well. Most likely your parents are going to tell you something like “If you don’t like the food we buy you, don’t eat it.” Which is what you will have to do. That means taking on even more responsibility. Maybe your allowance, job money, Christmas money, and other income, will have to go to buying food that you feel good about eating. That will mean making some sacrifices in other areas of spending. If you don’t have any money, then this decision may mean finding a way to earn some money. Imagine how your parents will feel about your decision, when they see you out mowing lawns to pay for tofu! There is no decent parent in this world that wouldn’t respect, and admire that sort of dedication. It may be the very thing that changes their mind.

I hope that some of this advice is helpful. If you are somebody reading this blog who has already conquered this problem. Share with us what you did to alleviate the struggle.

(Here is a REALLY good video from a teenage kid to other teenage kids, on the subject of “Going Vegan“)

Thanks for reading,

Denman Scofield (Owner)

The Hobo Bakery

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