Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cheater Activism!

I've decided to post today, because I have the feeling that I'll forget if I decide to publish this post tomorrow instead.
Now. Let's get down to the bottom of this, shall we? Just what is cheater activism?
"Cheater activism", as I so fondly call it, is when you stealthily use your membership to a group or use other opportunities to help benefit your cause. I don't mean this in a negative way. In fact, I think it's great-- and you aren't really cheating on anything. To give an example:
NEOPETS! I am currently in one of my Neopets-addiction phases (in case you weren't aware, is a virtual pets website), but instead of just playing the games all day, I am also using my Neopets account to get people to go vegan and take on a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It's easy: in my Neopets shop, I include a dialogue with the shopkeeper, Froggy, about going vegan; I started a "guild" on about kids and teens going green; and I'm going to add some more things to my account that I hope will help inspire more people to take better care of the planet and our fellow creatures. Although this might seem a bit shallow ("You have no excuse to play endlessly on the Internet, even if you are including activism!", says my conscience, and there's also the fact that staring at screens for so long is making me feel a bit light-headed), I do believe it's a start back in the activist-y direction again after taking a bit of a break recently. (I didn't take a break from being vegan or generally eco-friendly, mind you. I only took a break from the activism side of things.) It's useful to incorporate activism into your life in any way you can; after all, why not? The worst that could happen is that it wouldn't work, and you'd be no better or worse off than when you started.
So, how else can we utilize "cheater activism" in our daily lives? Here is a list of some of my ideas.

How To Be A Cheater Activist
  • If you write a book or do another kind of creative project, make sure to either include some info on animal rights etc. in your book/project, or use the publicity you get to help raise awareness on the side.
  • On any social networking sites, online gaming sites, and forums (and, yes, virtual pet communities) that you are already involved in, try to incorporate animal rights on your profile page or in any other places you can.
  • When you go out (especially to events where a lot of people are going to see you!), place an activist bumper sticker on your car/bike and wear an activist T-shirt.
  • When you give people gifts, make sure that you give them some sort of extra little thing that might make them think about being more compassionate through their everyday lifestyle. (E.g. slip them an obviously vegan bar of soap, a coupon for a vegan food product, or a flyer for the upcoming vegetarian festival.)
  • I can't think of any more general tips at the moment, but surely you can think of some that pertain to your own life. For instance, if you're a teacher, you can get your students to study conditions on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. If you're a student, you can inject an animal rights theme into all of your projects (except for math, perhaps-- good luck with that one!). If you're a social worker, you can give out certified vegan candies or treats. If you're a librarian, you can put out animal rights books for all to see. If you can't think of anything that you can accomplish for animal rights through your profession and/or pastimes, let me know in the comments section below this post and I'll get back to you with my ideas as soon as possible.
Here is my conversation with Froggy on Neopets, in case you're interested:
Photo Courtesy of (My Neopets shopkeeper, a.k.a. Froggy!)
"Hm? What's this? The shopkeeper has something he would like to say. Well, go ahead and spit it out, Froggy.
Froggy: Go vegan! You wouldn't eat your dog, would you?
Er, no, Froggy, I'm sure they wouldn't. You make a good point, but many people think that dogs are smarter than chickens, say, or pigs.  
Froggy: Wrong! Did you know that chickens' intelligence has been compared to that of monkeys? And pigs are considered to be smarter than dogs. Besides, as famous philosopher Jeremy Bentham said, "the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" Farms nowadays are very often "factory farms", where animals are kept in isolation and treated badly. Many chickens, for example, never even get to see the light of day. We have to go vegan so that we don't support this awful industry!
You're right, Froggy. But what do you want people to eat instead? 
Froggy: Duh?! Think of all the non-animal foods there are out there! Here's a sample menu:
Sample Vegan Daily Menu
Breakfast: nice big bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup, with orange juice and an apple on the side. Morning Snack: Oreo Cookies (Yes, Oreo cookies are vegan!), or, if you want to go for the healthier version, an apple.
Lunch: Hummus on pita bread, glass of So Good soy milk, veggies with Italian dressing, and Ritz crackers.
Afternoon Snack: So Delicious Vegan Coconut Ice Cream
Dinner: Tofu and vegetable stir-fry (use sweet-and-sour sauce for a mouth-watering effect), almond milk, and papaya fruit for desert.
Woah! It's pretty surprising that Oreo Cookies are vegan. I think also Wonder Bread is vegan. It's important to realize that vegans don't only eat brussels sprouts and tofu. I'm a vegan, too, and it's true that we can eat all sorts of things!
Froggy : Now we're talkin', millyandsugar. Did I miss anything?
Well, you didn't mention what other resources people can turn to to help them transition to the vegan diet...  
Froggy : HEY! I'm a Neopet. I don't know the names of websites outside of! And what about the rules? We're not supposed to talk about that.
Sigh... you're right. Well, then, let it suffice to say that there are plenty of websites just a search engine away that can point you in the right direction to move towards a compassionate diet!"

That's all for this week. I hoped you liked the post! Perhaps next week you'd like to hear about the "extremists" (not PETA, though; I've already talked about them). It's a pretty fascinating subject. See you then!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Muffins

A few days ago my aunt Jen sent me a Sweet Potato Muffins recipe that she got from a book called Finally... Food I Can Eat! by Shirley Plant. I want to post it here on my blog. Here is the recipe as she sent it to me. Enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

"page 186
Sweet Potato Muffins:

(I doubled this recipe)

3/4 cup chickpea flour (I didn't have any, so used quinoa flour)
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch (I didn't have any, so used green pea flour)
2 tblsp. ground hemp seed (I didn't have any, so used ground flax seeds)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all dry ingredients together.

1 and 1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potato (I didn't have enough already cooked, so used some canned plain pumpkin, too)
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1/3 cup canola oil or safflower oil (I didn't have any, so used grapeseed oil)
1/3 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup (I didn't have any, so used agave syrup)
1/2 cup pecans (I am off nuts,so didn't use any)

Mix wet ingredients, and add to dry ingredients. Mix well.

Fill muffin tins, and bake 350F for twenty five minutes (Or until done).

With all my changes. these muffins are heavy and dense, so are probably best done in smallish muffin cups. But the flavour is divine. Oh yes, I also added about 1/4 cup of candied orange peel that I had leftover from my Christmas baking. Yum!!"

Next week, I'm going to be talking about something extra special, but that super-special topic has currently slipped my mind, so it will be a surprise for all of us!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Kinship With All Life" and Animal Rights

Hi all,
Sorry for missing last week's post! I don't know what has gotten into me lately.
On the bright side, it looks like I've had a lot of visitors since I last checked in here.
Today I would like to cover something highly interesting that could potentially change the way we look at animal rights. It's a book called Kinship With All Life, by J. Allen Boone.
I first heard about Kinship With All Life (let us call it KWAL) in a nice little book called Random Acts of Kindness by Animals. The latter book gave an anecdote from KWAL, discussing potential communication with animals.
Intrigued, I got the book and read it. The book is about communication with all animals, including dogs (especially the movie-star dog Braveheart), snakes, ponies, flies, and even ants! The author claims, in a nutshell, that respect for all life and a desire to communicate with animals can help you create "mental bridges" with other creatures. These mental bridges foster two-way communication, through thoughts alone. It could be described as telepathy or ESP.
This might sound far-fetched to many of you, but think about it: people frequently claim that their dogs and other pets can "read their minds". Their dogs know when the owner is thinking about taking them for a walk, and horses are able to sense which way the rider wants to go without the rider giving them any physical cues whatsoever. Animals are able to make group decisions silently and without body language. If this is true, why wouldn't humans have the ability to do this, too? Perhaps we have merely lost our capacity to do this over time, as our connection with nature has dwindled and our lives have become more busy and completely un-spiritual than ever.
If you are still unconvinced (and I don't blame you if you are), I suggest that you read the book and decide for yourself. You can find a list of J. Allen Boone's works here:, and you can buy Kinship With All Life on here: If you live in Ottawa or surrounding areas, you can request to borrow my copy of the book by e-mailing me at rabbit-cat[at]vegemail[dot]com; I highly recommend you do!
Kinship with All Life
If we accept that J. Allen Boone may indeed be correct in his theories, what implications does this have for animal rights? If we truly can communicate with animals through our minds, we will finally be able to make good, joint decisions based on both of our wants and needs. We will be able to work together like never before, not wanting to imprison and kill each other, but instead being able to create true alliances to get mutual benefits. If I wanted to travel to some town without driving a car, for instance, I could find a pony and agree-- with the pony, not just an owner, because by then the whole idea of ownership of animals would be abolished-- that if she takes me to the town, I'll do something in return for her (pay her in apples, for example). The pony wouldn't have to agree, and that's the beauty of it-- animals would have the power of choice. Right now, the animal rights movement is confined to what we think animals want; we make the assumption that animals don't want to work for us without pay, and while we're probably right, wouldn't it be nice if animals truly had the choice to make all of their own decisions?
*Happy sigh*
But in our current world, this is not a reality. People haven't learned how to communicate mentally with animals yet, so I suppose our first job is to try out this mental communication for ourselves to see if it does work. Proper instructions can be found inside the book.
Oh, and if you're wondering whether this has worked for me... well, not fully. For instance, I haven't created the "two-way" bridges that Mr. Boone talks about. I can't tell what they are trying to tell me; at least I don't think I can. However, I have noticed that I can get messages across to animals often enough. For many, that alone is a truly magical experience.

Read the book and try it out for yourselves!