But whoever said the latte part has to come from cows? Cow’s milk is for baby cows! It is great for calves–rich in fat and perfect for promoting growth OF A COW. Like 500 pounds growth in a year. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in a growth formula.
The dairy industry is also unspeakably cruel, separating calves from their mothers immediately after birth. Many die. Males are “dispensable” and often killed or sent to veal crates. The mothers mourn for their babies. So we can drink their milk.
Not so long ago, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to block the use of the word “milk” in the labeling of non-dairy products like soy milk and almond milk. If NMPF wants “truth in labeling” then they can label cows milk as a lacteal secretion. Sounds yummy, yes? No.
Shakespeare is credited with the phrase “the milk of human kindness”, referring to care and compassion for others.
(Is it just me, or does the above portrait of Shakespeare look a lot like the actor Steve Weber?)
From Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5, (1605):
Lady Macbeth: Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be What thou art promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature, It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way.
For ambitious and ruthless Lady Macbeth, the milk of human kindness denoted weakness; she was afraid her husband lacked the wherewithal to muder King Duncan as the quickest way to the throne.
I, however, fully approve of the milk of human kindness. And I extend it to the cows of the world by using alternate milks in my latte.
I’ve even started making my own soy milk in my handy dandy Japanese soy milk maker.
Here’s a quick video:
There are some continuity issues in the video (I put the top of the machine on backwards and then corrected it).There are dinner dishes in the sink. I couldn’t get Taste Tester Bob to try the soy milk. I will never forget the time at his friend Dave’s house when Dave was trying to get Bob to try soy milk on his bowl of cereal. Dave was basically chasing Bob around the kitchen with a carton of soy milk. Highly entertaining.
Commercially, I like Wildwood Farms soy milk, and any of the plant/nut-based milks from Califia Farms. I prefer the unsweetened and unflavored milks, but there are options if you have a sweet tooth or like a vanilla latte.
(By the way, I freaked out when I Googled “sweet tooth” and the first image was a horrible scary clown. I do not like clowns.)
Speaking of the milk of human kindness, can we stop with the scary clowns already? Real life is scary enough.
Someday, I will figure out how to make almond milk and rice milk in the soy milk maker. The directions promise that I can! Then there is the okara–the ground up soy beans left at the end of the process. Being from Georgia, I keep thinking the word is okra…
Okara can go into veggie burgers; I’ve put it in stews and sauces for a protein boost. The recipe book that came with the soy milk maker includes okara “chicken” strips, okara bread, and, the one that might be my next video–an okara facial mask!
Oh, one last thing. Please don’t ask me where I get my protein.
I am a 54-year old educated white woman living in an upper-middle class neighborhood in a liberal city in Northern California. We were the first house on our street to have our Bernie Sanders 2016 yard sign in place. Our home is shared with a rescue dog and two rescue cats. I volunteer at an animal shelter. Until recently I worked at a major public university often referred to as Berzerkeley. I have been vegetarian since 1995, an aspirational vegan for the last year. I sometimes participate in animal rights protests. I am not considered weird in my world.
As a child in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1960s, my thoughts about food and animals were confused at best. I grew up in a household full of human children and non-human animals (of the dog and cat variety, with an occasional frog or turtle my brother brought home from the Fernbank Forest behind our house). What was unusual about our family in that time and place was the fact that we were being raised by a single working mother. We lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood, went to good schools, and never felt we were deprived on anything materially. But we were the kids whose father died and whose mother didn’t have the time or inclination to cook.
My mother was not a natural or good cook. She never forced us to eat things we didn’t want to. Stories of children being forced to sit at the table until they ate their [insert hated food here] made me sad. I was the strange child who loved my fruits and vegetables. My memories of dinners at my grandmother Nana’s house are about big bowls of succulent green beans, corn on the cob, sliced summer tomatoes, and juicy peaches. I know she served meat, platters of fried chicken being her favorite. My mother wouldn’t eat chicken for years; as a child she visited her grandparents at their farm in Alabama and saw firsthand how the chickens got from the chicken yard to the frying pan. And she told us about it. And I’ve never forgotten. Nana always served leg of lamb with mint jelly for Easter. I wouldn’t eat the lamb, but I loved the mint jelly. It got melty and oozy and oddly delicious next to the hot green beans on the plate.
Our father was of French heritage from an old New Orleans family. He liked to eat what I think of as weird food, frog legs and snails being the ones that I was repelled by but fascinated by as well. Again, my mother told us the gruesome stories about how when she put the frog legs in the frying pan, they would jump out of the hot pan and land on the floor. Maybe there is a scientific explanation for this and maybe Mom was having us on, but the picture of something I never witnessed remains strong in my mind.
As with many children, my favorite books were ones that featured animals. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is still one I re-read from time to time and holds a place of honor on my bookshelf. Did I connect Mr. Toad with the real amphibians my father supposedly ate or the ones that my brother kept in shoeboxes on the porch? Not that I remember. Did I connect Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) to the bacon in the BLTs I liked up until I became obsessed with plain tomato sandwiches after reading Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh)? I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
I declared myself a vegetarian the first time in 1976 as a 15-year old high school sophomore living with my mother and stepfather at that time in a small town in the Nevada desert. This might have been normal for a teenager living in some places, but not in Gardnerville, a community of ranchers where 4-H was big in school. My friend Kara across the street kept horses, who I was afraid of at first, and sheep. In the pasture were 5 lambs, who grew up to be 5 large sheep. They had names. I thought they were the coolest pets! And then one day the sheep were no longer in the pasture, but cut up in packets in freezer. I never felt the same way about Kara again. Now she was the one who frightened me. I avoided the 4-H kids and spent a lot of time in the art classroom. I would do anything to avoid having to buy the school lunch. Tomato sandwiches and salted carrot sticks remained my reliable go-to lunch.
Then we moved to Sacramento, California, and I fit in a little better. My new friend Julie had a copy of Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971). There was a vegetarian restaurant in our neighborhood. I left home and went to college the first time (it didn’t stick) in a small town on the Oregon border now famous for its Shakespeare theater. The food in the dorms was horrendous; I lived off of the salad bar and instead of gaining the “freshman 10” that is now the “freshman 15”, I lost that amount of weight. There was a food co-op, the first I’d ever been to, that smelled of cumin and faint vegetable rot. But I met a boy, a beautiful boy from another country where only poor people didn’t eat meat. I followed him halfway around the world, and gave up being vegetarian (although his family did still tease me about my “rabbity” way of preferring the salads and vegetables).
Not all things last. The boy and I are divorced, incompatible in ways beyond food choices. Some things do last. I returned to vegetarianism in 1995 after seeing the move Babe. Where I didn’t make the connection with Wilbur in my childhood, I made the connection with Babe in my adulthood. For some reason, I still didn’t make the connection to fish, and I had no idea of how the dairy industry treated animals, so I continued to eat fish and cheese and eggs. I always felt guilty about the fish, but I still ate their bodies on occasion. This all changed a year ago when I went to the 4th Annual Conscious Eating Conference. I had been exploring ideas around compassion and ethics, and was attracted to the program. I went on a whim, something to do on a Saturday. I haven’t eaten cheese or eggs or fish since, although I sometimes slip-up around milk in my coffee if there is not a non-dairy option available. My boyfriend is a firm lacto-ovo-pescatarian. I know animal activists who won’t share a table with non-vegans, but I don’t feel okay with that stance. And since I do most of the cooking and shopping, the fish and dairy are primarily consumed away from home. I also don’t try to make the dog and cats eat vegan. I still have leather and wool in my closet; I can’t bring myself to give away the shoes and coats and sweaters. I now buy vegan alternatives but still love that sweater I bought on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Norway and will not part with it.
I am still conflicted, albeit in smaller, more defined ways and I haven’t managed to bring myself to drinking black coffee (and forget giving up coffee). I still have a terrible sweet tooth, but thank goodness for vegan dark chocolate! There are vegan junk foods, so I don’t always manage a healthy diet. What has changed over time is my awareness and the increased ability to link my desire to not harm animals to my choices I make every day. And my comfort with saying “no bacon” when I order at restaurants. Here’s to you, Wilbur. I finally get it.
The 5th Annual Conscious Eating Conference was held Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. The David Brower Center is a beautiful facility with a Platinum LEED rating that houses numerous non-profit and social enterprises, a conference center that serves the “green event” industry, and yearly hosts 25-30 museum-quality exhibitions focusing on environmental issues.
The program promised an interesting day, vegan food, and a chance to talk to represenatives from activist groups as well as make new friends. I registered, got my hand stamp, picked up my program, and enjoyed the vegan pastries and coffee (with almond milk).
Time to get started. We all headed to the Goldman Theater.
Hope Bohanec: The Humane Hoax
Hope Bohanec is the author of the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? and Projects Manager for conference host United Poultry Concerns.
There is no way to raise and slaughter animals for meat in a humane way.There are inherent cruelties in any animal farming for profit, and deceptive labeling practices to sell the practices to consumers.
I was surprised to learn that dairy is the number one commodity in California. That California Happy Cows campaign? The dairy industry is every bit as cruel as the meat industry.
Edita Birnkrant: Free-Range Ranching and Animal Agriculture’s Devastating Impact on the Environment & Wildlife
Edita Birnkrant is Campaigns Director of Friends of Animals, an international non-profit animal advocacy organization.
His book New Critical Perspectives on Veganism will be out later this year.
Dr. Jones is not suggesting we not be vegan (he’s been vegan since reading John Robbins’ Diet for a New America in 1987), he is advocating for revisionary political veganism that is aspirational, inclusive, and intersectional. Veganism is something you work at, something in your head that manifests in your behavior.
Michael Bedar, Christopher Locke, and Ruby Roth: Fiction and Children’s Author Panel
Ruby Roth is a leading author and illustrator of vegan and vegetarian books for children.
Her approach to vegan activism is to start with what you are good at, get better at it, and use that to make a difference.
Christopher Locke writes animal rights fiction. His series The Enlightenment Adventures starts with Persimmon Takes on Humanity, which I can’t wait to sit down and dive into.
Michael Bedar is co-director of the East Bay Healing Collective. His new novel, Sweet Healing, is ultimately about the meaning of wellness and healing as it chronicles one character’s exploration into holistic approaches to diabetes.
Vegan lunch and time to visit the various animal organizations’ tables. It was also a chance to explore the Brower Center.
Up the stairs at the Brower Center is a lovely outdoor patio.
pattrice jones: Mad Cows, Queer Ducks, and Unconvetional Sheep: What I’ve Learned About Intersectionality from Animals at VINE Sanctuary
VINE (Vegan is the Next Evolution) Sanctuary welcomes and facilitates alliances among animal, environmental, and social justice advocates and makes connections between animal exploitation and other forms of oppression.
Donny Moss: Our Virtual World: Impacting Videos to Help Animals
Grassroots activist Moss made the critically acclaimed 2008 documentary Blinders about the horse-drawn carriage trade in New York. He has since created TheirTurn.net, an online animal rights magazine, and is a leader in the efforts to get the New York Blood Center to take responsibility for the chimps that experimented on and then abandoned in Liberia.
Don’t criticize other approaches; each approach has its pros and cons
Exit your comfort zone
Karen Davis, Ph.D.: My Personal Path and Rocky Road to Thinking Like a Chicken
Dr. Davis is the founder of United Poultry Concerns and one of the eloquent speakers from last year’s conference who inspired me to enroll in my doctoral program of humane education. As she says, go out and inspire and educate others as you have been inspired and educated. I’m taking those words to heart.
Dr. Davis also speaks of “trying to climb inside the skins of the animals we are speaking for”. Among the beautiful chickens she has known personally are Viva, Gabby and Felix.
Instead of “go vegan”, she suggests the phrase “go animal-free” as it brings in the animals and liberation. Being vegan is not about food, it’s about making a better earth.
We ended the day with many of the speakers returning for a question and answer session.
And of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a couple of books.
Thank you to UPC for hosting, all of the wonderful and thought-provoking speakers, the vegan food providers (those pastries were the best), and the David Brower Center. I hope to attend again next year! And now I have a date with Persimmon and her friends.
Every day should be fur free, but Fur-Free Friday is the day of protests that takes place on so-called Black Friday, the day of frenzied shopping after Thanksgiving that so many merchants count on to bring in revenue. I have always stayed home on this day; I’m not a shopper and I hate crowds and the commercialization of the holidays; well, that’s another blog post. But as I’ve become more involved with animal rights and call myself an animal activist, I had to get myself on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and head to Union Square in San Francisco to be part of the protest with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE).
Union Square is, of course, ready for the holidays. The giant tree is up, and the crowds are big.
Santas abound, including the creepy Santa clown, Stephen King variety.
But we are here for Fur Free Friday.
I couldn’t help but notice the disconnect on the part of Macy’s with its holiday windows. The wonderful people at the San Francisco SPCA have their yearly window display featuring adoptable animals, and at the time of my viewing the had adopted out 34 already, yay!
But just a few windows away is a display promoting fur as fashion. Loving one kind of animal and killing another for its fur makes no sense to me. None. Nada. They all want to live. And no animal should suffer for fashion.
I met up with the group and we got ready to do action! And it wasn’t just human activists; we had 4-legged activists with us too.
Attire is important–it sends a message, whether in-your-face or of the more symbolic variety.
Rabbits are killed by the millions, as well as cats and dogs, for meat and fur. They deserve to live, just like us.
The amazing Priya Sawhney of DxE led us on the march, with chants, banners, signs, and a police escort.
I am continually inspired by the young activists of DxE; their passion and energy is contagious.
We ended the march with a performance of Sia’s haunting song “I’m in here”, with Sara Muniz and Jason Andreas Biz on guitar.
If you can’t get out on a protest but want to let retailers know that selling fur is wrong, you can take actions as simple as mailing a postcard such as this one, targeting Nordstrom.
A day of activism really works up on appetite; a friend and I enjoyed a vegan lunch and coffee afterward. Hopefully vegan options will continue to become more commonplace.
After making my way back home, I had to go in and sit for a while with our newest foster cat Kianna, recovering from a fractured pelvis. I am so grateful for organizations like the East Bay SPCA for giving her a chance at life.
If you feel inspired to join us, the next action is this Sunday, November 29 at Dolores Park.
On July 23, 2015 Animal Place liberated 1,500 white Leghorn hens from the agony of battery cages at an egg farm. Dubbed “Liberate Libby” for the poster hen who had her beak mutilated, her feathers battered from rubbing against wire walls, and spent a year with a dozen other hens in a cage, the rescue operation arranged to transport the hens to Animal Place’s Rescue Ranch in Vacaville.
The hens have been undergoing quite a bit of care. When they first arrive, the hens must be declumped, meaning staff and volunteers spend time when the chickens roost keeping them from piling on top of each other and suffocating. The chickens have never lived outside of their small cage and know no other way of being except crammed together. It takes them a while to figure out they have space to move!
They’ve undergone health checks (the hens bred to be layers for industry suffer oft-times fatal consequences of the huge number of eggs they produce and their life spans are seriously shortened). And when their laying days diminish, the majority of white Leghorn hens in California are gassed, their bodies left in landfills.
Today, I went with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) animal activists on a volunteer work day at the Rescue Ranch. Our mission, to catch one by one each chicken to go through a dosing of Ivermectin, a dewormer, as the last part of their health checking. They stay at Rescue Ranch for a total of two months; for the rest of their stay they get to be chickens and also get some socializing. Our first lesson, how to hold a chicken, was provided using Libby herself as our patient demo chicken.
We divided into teams and headed to the barns. Another group had assisted Saturday with quite a few of the hens, so our group had about 900 to catch for their treatment. Needless to say, the chickens didn’t really want to be caught and dosed with dewormer. It took a while for some of us to get the hang of it; go slow and be quiet, and work them into corner. DON’T make a lot of noise, chase them around, and generally make an idiot of yourself! Interestingly, each and every one of seemed to be talking softly to the chickens as we caught and held them, calling them Sweetie and telling them we were sorry and that everything would be okay.
As we caught the chickens, we took them to the dosing line, where 4 experienced handlers were waiting to receive and dose the chickens and send them to the outdoor pen so we could keep track of who had and hadn’t been treated. A fairly efficient assembly line formed.
And eventually all of the chickens were on the outside, not the inside.
Then it was time to clean the barns, oh joy. We gathered up eggs (and there were a lot of eggs), raked dirty straw, scraped perches, spread clean straw and topped the hay bales with wood shavings (for absorption and easier cleaning, I presume). It might sound strange, but the eggs are fed back to the chickens. We tossed them on the ground in the outside pen (splat!) and the chickens eagerly ran and started pecking away. The nutrients they lost are thus returned to their depleted bodies.
I was surprised to hear music playing in the biggest of the barns; apparently it keeps the raccoons from stealing in and killing the chickens. Raccoons don’t like classic rock I guess! There were also much appreciated fans blowing in the big barn. It gets hot in Vacaville.
As a gesture of thanks, Animal Place provided us with drinks and snacks in the shade of a lovely tree. It was hard work, but great to get to know some feisty chickens and spend some time with my new DxE friends.
The California drought is quite apparent in this part of California; the hills are dry and the fire danger is high. It can be hard to believe the drought is as bad as it is living in the Bay Area, but the land is suffering.
Thank you to the DxE organizers for this event. It was my first work day at an animal sanctuary and it was hot but fun. Looking forward to the next one! I hope to eventually get to spend some time with goats at one of these work days. And thank you so much for the hospitality of the folks at Animal Place and for the amazing work they do for the animals.