Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegans, Freegans, & Free Meals

Last night, Lee and I made Southwestern-Style Vegetable Casserole from Supermarket Vegan: 225 Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes for Real People in the Real World and it was quite delish! One of the more simple vegan dishes I've made lately, it contains sweet potatoes, black beans, red onions, green peppers, corn, tomatoes, green chili, cumin, cayenne, and smokey barbecue sauce. It's topped with crushed tortilla chips and baked. The recipe called for canned sweet potatoes, but I used fresh. I just sauteed them up for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients. I think I went a little overboard with the cayenne though, so next time I will use that with caution, as my hot spice tolerance is pretty low. Lee, on the other hand, absolutely loved it. It will definitely be added to our frequently-used-recipes box. 

This year, Lee and I made a resolution to eat more vegan meals for our health, for the environment, and of course for the animals, and so far we've done really well! We cook almost entirely vegan at home, with the exception of the purchase of a small pouch of cheese once every 2-4 weeks for Lee's half of our homemade pizzas. I eat my half sans the cheese, loading it with veggies. I really don't miss the cheese at all. Especially the ill after-effects like coughing phlegm, and constipation.  
Southwestern-Style Vegetable Casserole

I am guessing that when you eat dairy regularly you build up an immunity, because after months of not eating it for long stretches of time and then having a dish with some cheese in it, immediately afterward we are coughing up a storm. In the days following, our internal processing doesn't run as smoothly as it did previous to the cheesy meal. I don't know about you, but on top of the fact that dairy is meant for infant calves and not adult humans, this tells me we shouldn't be consuming it and I am glad to be weaning myself from it. Other more positive side effects we've noticed in ourselves would include: increased energy, better sleep, and weight loss, not to mention the load it takes off our conscience to no longer be contributing to the poor conditions and abuse that farmed animals endure, as well as the waste of land and resources used to produce store-bought animal products, and of course all of the pollution produced from all of that animal excrement. I urge you to at least try Meatless Mondays if you aren't ready to incorporate more vegan meals into your diet, you will be doing a world of good.

Speaking of our unethical system of food production, today I learned about the Freegans and their movement thanks to a Care2 article. While I've heard about people doing all of the things that they do (and even I have reclaimed things from dumpsters, just not food), I had no idea there was an organized movement. I found it all very interesting to read about. Especially how the term Freegan was derived from vegan, yet they have embraced eating roadkill? Hey, but if you are going to eat a carcass then I think roadkill is probably the most responsible way to do it these days. The Freegan's philosphy is sort of reminiscent of Dolly Freed's Possum Living, which was published back in the seventies.  A lot of people might think that this is sort of a desperate way of living, but I don't know about that. I think that it's a choice, a choice that can allow you to work less for the man and more for yourself. It becomes an adventure to forage... which is what humans did long ago before we all got lazy. If you are a avid thrift store shopper, you may understand somewhat, because it's not always just about getting something cheap... we actually like to dig and forage to find what we are looking for. It's instinctual. It makes us active. We were designed to be active. Not sit at a desk and order in a pizza!

However, when it comes to roadkill, unless running over a can of beans counts, I won't be joining this movement. I am all for a free meal, but since gutting and skinning isn't my thing, I'd rather do dishes at a place like SAME to score a free salad. How wonderful to have a type of business that allows people to pay what they can for a meal, and volunteer time if they can't! We need more businesses like this in the world today. We need more people to get out of the mindset that earning profits= success. In the end it's not about the big house you fill with junk you don't need, the fancy car, the smart phone, or the hip clothes. It's about the quality of the relationships you have with people that truly matters. 

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