Sweet Utopia Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Quick Saffron Creme Sauce April 20, 2010

Filed under: Recipes & Food Ideas — sharonsweets @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , ,

photo by ellesil, flickr

This is a versatile, mild cream sauce. You can customize it to your taste and use any kind of mushroom or vegetable with it, or use it plain.

Serves 4

1 cup boiling vegetable broth
10 strands saffron
1 cup silken tofu, drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh finely ground black pepper and vegan Parmesan for garnish, optional

Stir the saffron strands into the boiling broth and let sit for 5 minutes to infuse. Combine the broth-saffron mixture with the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. Heat as needed in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Serve over capellini or with seitan cutlets with black pepper and vegan Parmesan if desired.

You can also add chopped tomato, mushrooms or shredded vegetables and cook in the sauce for a few minutes for a twist.





But They’re Cage Free and Organic, So… February 3, 2010

Filed under: Animal Production — sharonsweets @ 4:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s a big problem that’s hurting animals at the same time as making people feel self-satisfied and falsely good about eating animal products. Here’s the truth about what you might imagine are happy chickens running around a farm. And, no, there are no “happy cows,” contrary to the beef and dairy industry’s major PR push.

According the the USDA (via Farm Sanctuary), “cage free” conditions for egg-laying hens and “certified organic” conditions for all farm animal species actually refer to the following:

  • Farmers are not required to provide “cage free” laying hens with access to the outdoors. Often, hens are crowded by the thousands into large barns where each bird is allotted approximately one square foot of space.
  • “Free range” birds raised for meat often lead lives very similar to their factory farmed counterparts. They may be crowded by the thousands into factory-like warehouses with no flock size limits, and the outdoor area may be little more than a barren dirt lot that is difficult for them to access.
  • “Natural” and “naturally raised” labels have little or no impact on animal welfare, and can be applied to products from animals raised in unnatural factory farm conditions. The “natural” label on animal products applies only to how meat, dairy and eggs are processed, and it has nothing to do with how the animals are treated when alive. The “naturally raised” claim is a misnomer, merely requiring that the animals be raised without antibiotics, animal by-products or synthetic growth promoters.
  • The “organic” label requires that all animals be given “access” to the outdoors, and that ruminants (i.e. grazing animals) have “access” to pasture. “Access” is not defined however, and as with free range requirements, the outdoor area may be unappealing and difficult for individual animals to reach. Organic mega-dairies have utilized loopholes in government standards to confine cows in factory farm conditions. Challenged by organic food advocates, the USDA has moved to clarify standards for pasture access.

Make sure you share this information with people that think it’s ok to eat eggs or animals that are raised “cage-free” or “organic”–it’s all pretty much white-washing the same cruel industry it always was. It’s better to stop eating eggs altogether, but if you’re not quite there yet, visit a small local farm and really see how the animals are treated, if they are living a good life.

Go vegan, for your health, for the environment, for your conscience, and of course, for the animals. Please check in for future posts about the truth behind the animal industry.





What Can Vegan Do For YOU? February 2, 2010

Filed under: vegan health — sharonsweets @ 9:23 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Eating a vegan diet is not only about sacrifice for animals and the environment, though that is enough reason for most people to go vegan and stick with it. Here’s a list of some not-so-subtle things that eating a vegan diet can do to enhance YOUR life. If you’re on the fence, this will speak to your selfish sensibilities. You can eat a delicious balanced vegan diet and receive these benefits and more!

-Have a Healthy Heart. Eating vegan means you are not eating unhealthy cholesterol and saturated fats. You’re not clogging up your arteries. You’re lowering your blood pressure. You’re eating a lot of heart-healthy foods daily. If you have high cholesterol or blood pressure already, this is nonnegotiable. Go vegan NOW!! You’ll get results!

-Lose Weight. No, this isn’t an automatic thing. There are overweight vegans. You have to eat a healthy balanced diet and then you will lose weight because you are eating much healthier food, without the saturated fat of heavy animal products. I lost twenty pounds by switching from a vegetarian diet full of cheese and ice cream to a vegan diet that still includes plenty of treats.

-Reduce Your Risk of Many Diseases. Eating plenty of fiber and a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, while eliminating the unhealthy animal products is a great way to increase your protection against diseases such as colon and other types of cancer, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and more. Risk of prostate, colon and breast cancer can be dramatically reduced by replacing meat and diary products fresh fruits and vegetables. Plenty of leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. A gluten-free vegan diet can relieve suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. A healthy vegan diet can help prevent osteoporosis as well.

-You’ll Get PLENTY of Protein. You will be asked “How do you get your protein?” on a daily basis, but relax, because you will have all you need and more. Protein from plant based sources–soy, wheat protein, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and beans–are more easily assimilated by your body so you need less. Besides, estimates of how much protein people need have been vastly inflated. With protein, more (than the RDA) is not necessarily better. There do not appear to be health advantages to consuming a high protein diet, and diets that are high in protein may even increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease. Soybeans, quinoa (a grain), and spinach are high-quality protein sources.

-Get More “Glow” and Energy. You will benefit from the direct energy within healthful, mostly natural foods, rather than funneling it through a dead animal or animal excretions and associated toxins, and that energy will go directly to you. You’ll feel energetic and look radiant!

-Feel Clean. There’s just this clean, clear, happy karma feeling you get when you know you’re eating pure foods that are not derived from the death or abuse of another creature.

-Explore What Turns You On (In a Culinary Sense). What better way to kickstart a new passion for food than by exploring all the new options you’ll have? Don’t look at it as restriction, because I have never met a carnivore who eats the variety that any of us vegans do. There’s a virtually limitless of new foods available to the vegan to try.

-You don’t have to give up chewy, meaty food. The new vegan meats mimic any kind you’re used to, and every one that comes out gets closer and closer to the taste of real meat, so much that many vegans can’t even bear to eat them!

-You don’t have to give up dessert! Just pick up a copy of Sweet Utopia: Simply Stunning Vegan Desserts and you can enjoy easy-to-make, indulgent desserts that have no cholesterol and are a whole lot healthier for you.

-For the ladies–Have a Healthy Pregnancy. I had two marvelous, easy and healthy pregnancies that I attribute to eating a vegan diet. And yes, I still caved in to all my vegan cravings. But the base diet is so healthy and well-rounded that you will get the nutrients you need to grow another life in abundant health.

So, you can be a little self-centered and enjoy a vegan diet today!!





Are You Green (I Mean, Vegan)? January 28, 2010

Filed under: vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 12:14 am
Tags: , , ,

Well, word’s finally gotten out that you can’t go around calling yourself an environmentalist if you’re not a vegan. Even if you drive a Prius and unplug things when you go out. That means anyone who eats meat or animal products is contributing to global warming and the destruction of the earth at a higher rate of those who do not.

It’s great if you drive an energy-efficient car, you insulate your home, unplug appliances and turn off lights, use items with less packaging and recycle, etc. But once you pick up that burger 0r chicken patty, you’re wrecking your record. Cows emit tons of methane. And that’s not just it. Their waste destroys land and and overuses and pollutes our water. They are eating many times the amount of grain that could be fed directly to people, wasting so many resources in the process. Livestock also contributes about 2/3 of ammonia emissions, which acidify the environment, causing acid rain and much other damage. Chemicals and antibiotics that the animals are loaded up with don’t just go away. They are found all over the environment, such as in the water supply. Forests of all kinds, including rainforests, are cleared to make room for animals to pasture. Recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang finds that “livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.”

From PETA (goveg.com):

“More than half of the water used in the United States today goes to animal agriculture, and since farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population, the run-off from their waste is fouling our waterways. Animal excrement emits gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that poison the air around farms, as well as methane and nitrous oxide, which are major contributors to global warming. Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and feed crops to feed farmed animals, and this destruction causes soil erosion and contributes to species extinction and habitat loss. Raising animals for food also requires massive amounts of food and raw materials: Farmed animals consume 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains that we grow, and one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. go to raising animals for food.”

It’s really impossible to be an environmentalist if you use animal products.

For some more really fascinating related facts from “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins, see http://www.soystache.com/environm.htm