Friday, October 10, 2008

Tag: What's in Your (Vegan) Freezer?

I'm initiating a new game of tag for vegan bloggers: what's in your (vegan) freezer?

Here's how it works:
  1. Take a picture of the items in your freezer

  2. Post the picture to your blog and give a summary of the items

  3. Tag 5 vegan bloggers

Here's a look into my freezer:

As you can see, I have the essentials:
  • Frozen organic fruit (strawberries, blueberries)

  • Frozen organic vegetables (peas, corn, asparagus)

  • Amy's No Cheese pizzas

  • Amy's burritos

  • So Delicious soy ice cream (Peanut Butter Zig Zag & Praline Pecan)

  • Tofu (freezing and thawing produces a nice texture)

  • Waffles

  • Ezekiel bread, english muffins, and (veggie) burger buns (I love Ezekiel)

I obviously have fewer options than I did in Seattle but I can't complain about the vegan options here on Prince Edward Island. The reason for the frozen vegetables is that it's hard to find everything I need (organic, anyway).

I'm tagging:
  1. VeganCowGirl

  2. VeggieGirl

  3. Chocolate Covered Vegan

  4. Lindsay I-F

  5. Rural Vegan

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Can Find Tempeh Burgers but Not Tempeh

Before moving to Prince Edward Island (PEI) I was prepared to go without tempeh. I heard it was nowhere to be found on the island.

I haven't found tempeh but I have found tempeh burgers. Atlantic Superstore in Charlottetown sells them. They're made by Green Cuisine and are available at the store near me in Original and Barbecue flavors.

Apparently Green Cuisine is a vegan restaurant in Victoria, BC. They also happen to sell some of their products.

The tempeh tastes like Australian tempeh. (I lived in Australia for six months.) It's softer and more moist. I like Canadian/Australian tempeh and tempeh I previously bought in the U.S. the same I believe. They're just different.

I make due with what I have here on PEI. It's understand that my options are limited because I am in the middle of nowhere. I just open the package of burgers and slice them into small pieces and use them as I would from a normal package of tempeh. My wife made an amazing stir-fry with tempeh, kale, red potatoes, and great spices tonight. (I love kale).

For those of you not in Canada: sorry, Green Cuisine's products are available only here.

Has anyone been to the restaurant in Victoria? I never made it up to Victoria when I was living in Seattle.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Male Cat is No Longer Vegan

This is an extremely difficult post to write but I believe in transparency in the animal rights movement.

Owen, pictured above attempting to cook himself, is no longer vegan. This deeply saddens me because it forces me to buy animal products but I am acting in his best interest as his guardian.

First, here are some facts about urinary tract infections (UTI) you may or may not know:
  1. It is much more common for males to become blocked

    • A veterinarian at the clinic my wife previously worked in claimed to have seen a female cat blocked just once.

  2. Tabby cats, especially orange tabbies, are more prone to getting blocked and developing UTIs.

Owen, being an almost six-year-old male orange tabby cat, is extremely prone to UTIs, getting blocked, and developing crystals in his urine. He had problems urinating even before he was on a vegan diet. However, it seems to have worsened in recent months.

My wife and I tried everything. A product I've highly recommended, Enzymes pH, just wasn't cutting it. We made sure he had clean water in his water fountain, which is supposed to help to prevent blockages.

When he did become blocked we used homeopathic medicine to relieve the blockage with success. (I'll have to blog about the stuff my wife uses to relieve blockages in a future post.)

On top of his urinary problems we found some sores on Owen over the summer and took him to the vet. We discovered he has an autoimmune disease. He also had eight teeth pulled while we were living in Seattle. Oh, and he has a significant heart murmur due to the fact that his aorta doesn't line up properly. (We had to take him a veterinary cardiologist to have special tests performed.) The cardiologist said this conditions is extremely rare and was the first case he'd ever seen.

So, as you can see, Owen is no normal cat. He has horrible genes. Natural selection would have killed this cat off long ago.

Here's a lit of Owen's health conditions:
  1. Asthma - this is due to his moronic first guardian who smoked inside and gave him asthma and wheezing. His wheezing has improved considerably over the years. (We are both completely drug-free.)

  2. Heart murmur - this is due to the fact that his aorta doesn't line up properly

  3. Autoimmune disease - he develops sores on his body

  4. High propensity for UTIs

He's our cat and we love him all the same. I love Owen just the way he is.

Anyway, it became clear to us that we were going to have to change his diet. We experimented with feeding him a mixture of eggs and his current food. (This was a sample meal suggested by a holistic veterinarian in a natural healing for pets book.) It didn't cut it.

After searching for hours online I came across a brand called Organix, made by Castor and Pollux. It appears to be the only organic cat food product on the market.

Too bad I can't buy Organix in any store here on Prince Edward Island. I asked about special ordering it with no success. So, I brought two cases of the stuff back with me when returning from Washington, DC. (I recently flew back to the U.S. for several days to attend my best friend's dad's funeral.)

The next best thing I've found is a product called Innova, made by Natura. I can buy this at the farm store near my house.

Note that both products are moist food. You should never feed your cats dry food. I have had numerous veterinarians tell me this.

We're currently feeding Owen a combination of the two. I figure some organic food is better than none. I'm still mixing Enzymes pH into his food as well.

So far he seems to be doing a little better. It's hard to tell sometimes if he's uncomfortable due to his autoimmune disease or a blockage. We've been monitoring him and he is urinating.

We were instructed by the veterinarian who diagnosed Owen with an autoimmune disease to try the following things in order:
  1. Change his environment. Apparently a lot of dogs and cats develop allergies when living in damp climates (mold and mildew).

  2. Change his diet. We're currently on this step right now. I hope this will do the trick because the next solution isn't ideal at all.

  3. Put him on steroids. Steroids could help clear up the effects of the autoimmune disease but would destroy his immune system. This would not be a good thing for a cat who's a genetic dud (no offense Owen).

Just because Owen can't thrive on a vegan diet does not mean your cat cannot.

Female cats are easy. If you have a female cat you can easily feed them a vegan diet with next to no concern with them getting blocked. I highly recommend Evolution. It comes in kibble and you'll need to mix it with water and allow it to soak in the fridge. You can follow my instructions on veganizing your pets here.

Male cats are more challenging. If you have a tabby he will have a higher propensity to becoming blocked but you may still be able to feed him a vegan diet. It's worth investigating. If he has problems switch him back to a non-vegan diet.

Anyway, I wanted to share this latest development in my life with the animal rights community. It feels odd to walk into the store and purchase animal products. I have a responsibility to Owen, though, and I'll always act in his best interest.

For the animals,