Beginning the new year with resolutions for positive change in our lives is one thing – following through is another! The UK charity ‘Veganuary‘ has provided encouragement to those interested in adopting a more compassionate, climate-friendly diet for several years now. Over 150,000 folks signed up for the 2018 Veganuary challenge, pledging to eat a 100% plant-based diet for the month. Achieving short-term goals can lead to lasting change, and so public relations executives for animal agribusiness have been taking note. At a recent dairy council conference in Glasgow, delegates supported the launch of a UK-wide campaign clearly designed to counter the so-called “rising tide of veganism” advanced by initiatives like Veganuary. They are calling it ‘Februdairy!’
Prominent adverts lauding UK dairy products are scheduled to appear in tube and railway stations this month, while farmers themselves are encouraged to post and tweet promotional messages daily. Februdairy’s social media piece may have already soured however, as opponents have been swift to parachute in, exposing the reality of animal suffering routinely white-washed by industry propagandists.
Meanwhile, with the popularity of dairy continuing to plummet on this side of the pond as well, industry is doubling down on athletic sponsorships in order to boost sales. The Milk Processor Education Program in the USA, for example,
has a 5 year partnership with the US Olympic Committee. Other campaigns involving college athletes promote chocolate milk as a post-recovery workout drink. The emphasis is always on the wonders of dairy’s ‘natural protein’ and other nutrients (designed for baby bovines) as advantageous to optimum human health. In reality, there is nothing necessary in a glass of animal-sourced milk that an athlete can’t acquire from plants. But dairy marketing boards – and animal agribusiness in general – have continued to benefit from associating their products with strength and physical fitness. The bad news for them is that an excellent new documentary aimed at “the biggest demographic brainwashed by the protein myth…young males,” is poised to change the game completely.
Produced by James Cameron (‘Titanic,’ ‘Avatar’) and directed by Louis Psihoyos (Academy Award winner for best 2010 documentary, ‘The Cove’), ‘The Game Changers‘ features Fighting Champion James Wilks and other elite athletes not only thriving, but excelling on a 100% plant-based diet. Its diverse cast includes the likes of ultramarathoner Scott Durek, two-time World Surfing champion Tia Blanco and record-holding weightlifter Kendrick Farris alongside Damien Mander (founder and CEO of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation), Germany’s Strongest Man Patrick Baboumian, and many more inspiring individuals. Scientists, doctors, sports nutritionists, public health officials and environmentalists examine the facts about our food choices, leaving virtually no stone unturned. Handily, ‘The Game Changers‘ exposes the regressive gender bias that has traditionally linked meat with masculinity and strength, and plants with similarly stereotypical notions of femininity and weakness. Beyond raising awareness about the actual advantages of a diet that excludes animal products, the film underscores the preventable damage animal agribusiness is wreaking on our planet and how we will all benefit from the plant-based revolution. Watch for it!
Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for folks considering switching to a vegan diet is the belief that it is bound to be too restrictive in terms of variety and taste. Happily, this too is a myth that can definitely be put to rest. The following delicious recipe is sure to warm you up on a blustery winter’s day…bon appetit!
Slow Cooker Jambalaya
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 8 ounces seitan (wheat meat)*
- 8 ounces of vegan sausage*, cut into 2-inch slices
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. miso paste
- 1 1/2 tsps. Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 T. chopped fresh parsley (optional)
*You can make your own seitan like I do, but Green Cuisine’s Wheat Cutlets are great in this recipe, and they are available at Edible Island Whole Foods Market in Courtenay along with a tasty selection of vegan sausages.
Drizzle the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker crock pot with olive oil. Combine the tomatoes with juice, seitan, sausage, onion, green bell pepper, celery, vegetable broth, garlic, miso paste, Cajun seasoning, thyme, and oregano all together in the pot. Simmer on low for 4 hours. Add your rice to the mix and turn up the temperature to the high setting for about half an hour (until the rice is cooked thoroughly). Serve, garnished with parsley… and enjoy!