One of the best and most wonderful things (and there are plenty) my daughter has done for me, is to point me in the way of veganism. It has helped me to clarify things in my life, to identify another purpose for my place on this planet, to heal from emotional injuries and to improve my health. Now this did not happen overnight. It has been an ongoing healing and discovery of sorts-one that I hope continues for the remainder of my life.
What the heck are casomorphins? Well, they are, “peptides, i.e., protein fragments, derived from the digestion of milk protein casein. The distinguishing characteristic of casomorphins is that they have an opioid effect”.
Originally Posted on January 13, 2010.
The Busy (Happy!) Vegan
Why vegans do it better OR Give up the cheese!
As I mentioned, this is a shock to many people around me, given the sheer volume of cheddar that I consumed in a given week. This is why I understand why ovo-lacto vegetarians are hesitant to give up non-flesh based animal products. I never believed it could be as easy as it has been – but a couple of great cookbooks and an understanding of exactly what goes into making some of my ex-favourite foods helped me leave them behind and never look back.
- Often used as a gelling agent in different products like marshmallows, gummy bears, medicine “gelcaps”, paintball shells, photo film and hairstyling gel.
- Made from pig skin, cow hides, pig and cow bones, which can be boiled down, or prepared through environmentally disastrous curing, acid, and alkali processes.
- The pork and beef industries would not survive without being able sell its by-products (hides, bones, etc.) for other uses such as leather and gelatine.
Even organic, free-range (if you can actually ensure that it is “free-range”) egg farms acquire egg-laying hens from chick “factories” which routinely slaughter male chicks, typically by drowning or suffocation.
A chicken’s natural lifespan is about 5-10 years, with the possibility of living up to 10-12 years. The egg production of egg-laying hens peaks at about 2-3 years, largely due to living conditions. At this point, they are deemed “spent” and sent to the slaughterhouse. In other words, when we eat eggs, we contribute to the early death of chickens.
Dairy products are produced by impregnating cows, and then collecting the milk that is intended for their calves. Calves are formula-fed: the females typically follow (involuntarily) in their mother’s footsteps and become dairy cows; males are used for veal, which means they are slaughtered very young, some as early as a few days old.
A cow’s natural lifespan is about 25 years. “Spent” dairy cows are killed at about 4-5 years old.
This one’s the kicker: many brands of cheese are not vegetarian! Rennet is a coagulating product that is used to separate milk curds from milk liquid (whey). Rennet occurs naturally in mammalian stomachs, and is often harvested from cow stomachs. Vegetarian rennet is available, but is usually derived from microbial or genetically modified sources.
There is a fair amount of controversy about whether honey is vegan or not. Honey (at least the kind of honey you’d typically find at Loblaw’s in a cute bee-shaped jar) is a food source created by bees, for bees, and stored by bees as wax honeycombs in beehives.
Commercial beehives entail the confinement of bees, and the theft of their food source for our purposes (toast is just as yummy with jam!).
A queen bee has a natural lifespan of about 5 years. Commercial beekeepers typically kill the queen after about 2 years, and select a new one on behalf of her colony.
10-20% of bees in commercial beehives die prematurely over the winter… not all of them by accident.
Annie’s Vegan View
May all beings be happy and free.
May all beings be happy and free.