Guilt-free Gelato – Raw, Vegan, 1-button, 5-ingredient Deliciousness

Yes, I have been MIA of late.

The lack of posts are attributed to moi doing more eating than ‘raw food-ing’ of late.  Winter does that to the best of us.  (At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😛 )

Let me make it up to you!  An easy peasy dessert awaits.

Late in the night, hubby and I had a hankering for something sweet.  However that something sweet couldn’t be the calorific equivalent to slaving away for 2 hours on a treadmill.

Enter some staple vegan ingredients.

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

I was all out of frozen bananas (my go-to substitute for icecream), but was determined to make this work.

Throwing everything together in my trusty kick-ass blender, I pressed a button and waited for the magic to happen

Guilt-free Gelato – Raw Vegan Choc-Blueberry 

handful frozen blueberries
2 tbs agave
1/4 cup coconut cream
4-5 tbs raw cacao powder + optional raw carob nibs
1 tsp vanilla essence
ice blocks (approx 3-5)

Blitz the heck out of it till creamy.  Scoff.

Ohh, so good.  The creaminess of the coconut combined with the obliterated ice blocks gave it a soft-serve luxurious texture.  I decorated with a sprinkling of shredded coconut on top.

Hubby gave it the thumbs up too.

The flavour combinations are endless!

Does anyone have any rare flavoured gelato recipes?  I’d be keen to try something out of the ordinary, like fig and macadamia perhaps?

instant gelato, blender required.

instant gelato, blender required.

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Top 10 Vegan FAQs: Common Myths and Answers

veg·an  /ˈvēgən/ (Noun) A person who does not eat or use animal products.

I was having a conversation with a woman on my lunch break when she queried what icecream brand I preferred – Sara Lee or Browne’s.  I smiled and said I was vegan so I didn’t eat either.  Her facial expression evolved to one uncannily similar to that of a stunned mullet if I ever saw one.  It was as if she just witnessed an immaculate conception.  I checked to see if I had inadvertently grown horns on my head.  I hadn’t.  I glanced around.  There were no aliens behind me either.

“Wow! Vegan! That’s pretty extreme, it must be so hard!”

“Umm, no, not really.” I answered. “I eat icecream – it’s just made from nuts, tofu or coconuts – not animals.”

What invariably follows is the usual barrage of questions and well-meaning comments that I’m often subjected to.  I must say at times I liken it to being subjected to the Spanish inquisition!  People are curious creatures.  I’ve noticed regardless who is asking the questions, there are common themes which arise time and time again.

So drawing from my experience, here’s a standard set of Vegan FAQ’s for carnivores, omnivores, vegos, vegans and everyone in between!

Question 1: Where do you get your protein?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question, I could buy a wardrobe-full of pieces from the (vegan) Stella McCartney collection!

Hats off to the meat and dairy industry: I covered this in a previous post.  They are indeed fantastic marketers.  There’s a widespread fear among the majority of the population they’re not consuming sufficient protein.  We’re led to believe our protein shortfall will inevitably result in weight gain, hunger or muscle loss.  Cue panic and mass hysteria.

It is simply not true. Plants have protein, people.  Kale for instance, has more protein than red meat.  As do many other vegetables.  There is abundant protein from non-animal sources – you just gotta know where to find it.  Grains, legumes and pulses are all protein-rich.  For instance, many of the foods on this link are ones I regularly consume.  Google not only the protein but nutritional content of some staple vegan foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, blackbeans, chickpeas (I could go on forever) – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

mccartney collection advertisement "stella <3 bambi"

mccartney collection advertisement

Question 2: Our predecessors ate animals, isn’t it natural to eat them?

Yes, cavemen did eat animals.  They also lived in caves and ate their own poop in desperate times.  That was eons ago and they had no choice, if they did not eat meat they would die.  For them, it was a matter of survival not of personal taste.  Our predecessors were true hunter gatherers, like any other species in prehistoric times.  They did not wander down to the nearest Woolie’s and pick up a kilo of chops.  Did you know out of the billions of species on the planet, we are the only one that eats cooked meat?

Alright, let’s see you hunt a la naturale.  Go fashion a spear out of wood, stake out your prey, run after it (using your legs not a car!), hunt it down, use your bare hands and teeth to rip into raw flesh.  Natural enough for you?  I don’t believe we are natural carnivores.  We can thrive just as well, if not better, on a plant-based diet.

Low and behold, we have evolved.  We can make choices in food consumption now.  Choices that no longer impact whether or not we survive.  We’re living in a different time, spoiled with a plethora of plant-based foods.

Question 3:  Why the emphasis on not killing animals, plants are also living beings?

Do plants feel pain? I am not aware of any research that confirms this.  We know animals feel pain and suffering, much like humans.  The central nervous system signals to the brain when pain is felt.  How would you explain the tears that fall when a mother cow is separated from her calf at a dairy farm?  All animals, not just those commonly slaughtered for food (cows, chickens, fish) feel pain.

Let’s simplify.  Think of spearing a whale.  Compare that to trimming a hedge.  Which would you rather do?  If ground-breaking findings support plants can actually feel pain, a vegan diet still causes less suffering.  Animals require feed.  By eating animal products, you are creating the demand for the slaughtering of animals.  The result is you’d be killing both the plants (feed for the livestock) and the animals.  A Western meat-heavy diet kills more plants than an exclusively plant-based diet due to the land and feed required to raise livestock.

Question 4:  What’s the environmental benefit of following a vegan diet?

This arguments expands on Question 3.  Global meat production has increased rapidly in the past half century, partly attributed to the meat-centric eating habits of the burgeoning Chinese and Indian middle class.  This equates to global warming, pollution, topsoil erosion, water scarcity and potentially endangering many species – more animals means more crops are required to feed them.  The earth cannot cope with a simultaneously increasing farm animal and human population.  A vegan diet requires only 1/3 of the land of a conventional diet.

Question 5: So what do you eat?

Definitely not just carrot sticks and lettuce leaves.  My answer is “everything you eat”.  A little substitution of ingredients, and you can veganise any recipe your heart desires.  People are of the mindset veganism is this limiting, extreme lifestyle which pigeonholes you into consuming only fruit and veg.  But it’s not just fruit and veg.  There’s an extended family of vegan foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, tempeh, seitan, polenta, couscous, tofu, millet to name a few.  Check out your local health food store and the array is mindboggling.

It’s not a boxed in, exclusive diet.  Educate yourself, start experimenting and asking questions.  You’ll be surprised at what you can create in your kitchen.

Question 6: I can’t afford a vegan diet.

Says who?  It’s the poor man’s diet!  The cheapest staple items are vegan.  Compare dried beans at $4/kg vs red meat $15/kg.  Pasta, rice and bread are easy on the wallet too.  Cook up a kilo of beans and you’ve got lunch for 2 adults for the next five days.  Cook up a kilo of meat?  You’ve got one meal for two people.

The higher end of the price spectrum are ‘superfoods’, gourmet cheeses, yoghurts and icecreams.  These are special occasion foods anyway.  Solution?  Make your own.  Yes, chia seeds may be $20/kg, but you only need 1 tablespoon a day.  It lasts for months.  Ditto for items such as maca powder, wheatgrass powder, spirulina et al… a little goes a long way.

As I said before, we now have the opportunity to choose what we put in our mouths, without fear we’ll become extinct.  Healthy veganism is about prevention, not cure.  Jamie Oliver loves to bring attention to the fact that homicide accounts for 0.8% of deaths, whereas diet-related disease is a whopping 60%.

Spend more on fruit, veg and other good stuff for you now and avoid ridiculous medical and surgery bills down the track.  Perhaps even eliminate the need for facelifts or expensive face creams and lotions?  Sign me up!

jamie oliver aka naked chef

jamie oliver aka naked chef

Question 7: I’m quite the athlete / fitness fanatic. Wouldn’t I faint from hunger / not be able to perform on vegan foods?

Hmmm, tell that to Mac Danzig, Carl Lewis, Scott Jurek, Steph Davis, Martina Navratilova, Robert Parish, Dave Scott, Alexander Dargatz to name a few.  Google vegan athletes and you’ll come up with a list of ultra-sports people from wrestling, running, MMA, bodybuilding and many sports in between.  Muscle can be built from plant-sourced protein, even better than animal protein.  Why?  Plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals yet have no saturated fats or cholesterol.

Mac Danzig

Mac Danzig

Question 8: What about travelling overseas?  It’s hard enough being vegan at home.

Happycow website.  Happycow app.  Lifesavers.

Preorder your meals before you fly.  All airlines have vegan menus available.  No-brainer.  I pack nuts, fruit, snack bars or bliss balls in my travel backpack. Also there are travel-size vegan essentials in some healthfood stores such as squeezable coconut oil and sachets of chia seed.  Although more pricey and not as good as fresh, supplements (vitamins, minerals, probiotics, green powders) do come in handy when you don’t have access to appliances and a kitchen.

Do some googling – some of our best experiences have been visiting the local farmers markets!  Good thing to know where your local supermarket or healthfood store is, and map out how to get there from your hotel too.  Learn from my experience:  note the opening hours.  We trekked all around Lyon in the freezing snow looking for this “must-see” specialty food co-op… we arrived nearly 2 hours later – only to find it closed early in winter.

I’ve never visited a restaurant that did not have a veg only dish.  And if for some reason they don’t, I’m sure they will be willing to create one for you.  I recall being in Spain and there were no vegan dishes on the menu.  I asked for a dish identical to the one hubby ordered, but asked for the meat to be excluded and doubled the veg instead.  They were more than happy to accommodate.  Most mainstream restaurants have vegan options, such as seasonal vegies or house salad.

Little-known vegan haunts are everywhere.  We love stumbling upon vegan treasures the world over.  It’s part of the fun and makes for priceless memories.

happycow.net

happycow.net

Question 9: If a vegan diet is supposed to be so healthy, how come I got sick on it?

Bizarre.  Many people report being healthier on a vegan diet, even eliminating various allergies, ailments and diseases that plagued them for years.  Any diet lacking a variety of vitamins and minerals can be unhealthy and deficient, not just a vegan one.  So focus on nutritional content this time round.  Perhaps you felt unwell not because it was a vegan diet, but rather it was an unbalanced one.  There’s plenty of information out there on what constitutes a well-balanced vegan diet.  Read up on it, speak to other vegans and by all means ask questions!

Question 10: How extreme are you?  Do you wear plastic shoes, roam around on a pushbike, have a penchant for tie dye and pay no attention whatsoever to personal grooming?

Many people mistake ‘vegan’ as a codeword for “tree-hugging hippie with generous lashings of patchouli”.

They come in all shapes and sizes, undiscriminating against race, sex, age or gender.

One well-known vegan is Anne Hathaway, of Les Miserables fame.  She famously insisted the Tom Ford gladiator heels she wore to the red carpet premiere were to be remade in faux leather (she also wore custom-made vegan shoes in the film).  Other celeb vegans are Drew Barrymore, Woody Harrellson, Stella McCartney, Russell Brand and Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi to name a few.

Everyone is at different stages and makes their own personal choices.  I wish vegan shoes / cosmetics / skincare / vegan-anything really was more affordable.  Who doesn’t!  And yeah, I can understand (and have felt) how difficult it is to fork out three times as much for the vegan option compared to the mainstream option.

Some vegans dedicate their efforts to eliminating animal foods and animal by-products from their diet, others embrace the vegan lifestyle through their homewares and furniture choices, some through deciding what charities to support.  It’s a full-time job being 110% vegan 24/7, as so many products contain eggs and other animal sources, even beer and wine!  We are limited by our available resources (time, money) and do the best we can with what we have.

No matter where you are on your journey, every little bit helps.

“We do not inherit the planet from our parents, instead we hold it in kind for our grandchildren.”

I absolutely love the quote below from a man I profiled in a previous post.  It really sums up what veganism is all about – so compelling on so many fronts.

“I learned there wasn’t just my one reason for being a vegetarian or veganspiritual, there were several others: ethical (animal rights), economic (it was cheaper), ecological (less polluting and better for biosphere), health (many factors), and aesthetic (wasn’t it more beautiful?)”  Warren G

What about you?  Why did you choose to follow a vegan lifestyle?  Or what’s holding you back from it?

Karen B: Raw healing – A Nutritionist, Naturopath, Chef and Author heals herself

Karen Bartz, 56, is a fully Qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath who resides in Perth.  She seems to live in Heaven.  No, not the one with the big pearly gates, instead this Heaven is the raw vegan cafe at FERN, short for the Fremantle Environmental Resource Network.  I’m an avid frequenter of the cafe, gorging on the delicious raw vegan fare whether it’s mexican burritos, chocolate macaroons or cold pressed chai lattes.

Four years raw

Four years raw

FERN runs on donations businesses and volunteers.  Monday night is soupi night, a vegan feast by donation. For those yet to drop by, make it a must do on your list!  There are chickens roaming around the grounds, bicycles to ‘adopt’, a free library to browse through and lessons to learn in sustainability, gardening and overall health and well-being.  The cafe is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am-4pm.  Often there are special events such as Drum Circles, Reiki Sessions and Fire Walking.  The FERN website is currently under reconstruction so for those seeking upcoming event information, the Soupi and Fremantle Environmental Resource Network Facebook pages are the place to go.

Karen is the author of best-selling book ‘Raw Food Awakening’ and has been on a raw vegan diet for the past 4 years.  She also runs regular raw food classes.

Below is her story…

Your journey to vegetarianism / veganism:

I became unwell while studying naturopathy and nothing seemed to work.  I was fed up with medical tests and supplements.  One day I doused my food to see what was best for me to eat – so much was making me feel worse!  I switched to 80% raw at that point but still ate minimal amounts of fish.  I totally eliminated dairy and eggs.  Miraculously, I felt better and six months later had an all-raw lecturer at college.

“I then went the other 20% and after two weeks felt better than I had in 30 years.”

I believe by experiencing the 6-month gentle introduction on 80% raw was just what I needed, considering I was coming from the dark depths of unwellness to begin with. Incidentally, prior to raw food I tried the blood type diet.  I am blood type O, according to the diet I was supposed to do better on the Paleo diet.  It was not successful for me.

raw goodies by Karen

raw goodies by Karen

What’s the most remarkable benefit or change (could be physical, mental or emotional) you’ve noticed since becoming vegan?

I feel extremely well and energised!  I could not run the cafe for 6 days a week at the age of 56 that’s for sure.  I cannot eat dairy in any case, as I get a hormonal reaction from it.  With meat I am affected by the adrenalin present in the animals’ system so I get stressed and fearful.

At college they thought I was a little strange but now three of my lecturers from that time work in the raw food industry.

Also, I was not expecting the enlightening experience of spiritual awakening on raw!

A typical day’s meals for you?

Breakfast: Large bowl of chia porridge with homemade nut milk with just vanilla powder and cinnamon to sweeten, topped with chopped fruit.  Today I had pear, strawberry and mango.

Lunch: Large salad with dehydrated onion bread and a nutcheese for lunch.

Snacks: Usually a dehydrated cookie and a large green juice in there somewhere.  Occasionally beetroot juice.

Dinner: Usually more onion bread or dehydrated pizza crackers with avocado and more fresh fruit.

I do drink herbal tea.  Current favourites are lemon and ginger and chai with heated nut milk.

Biggest challenges / obstacles of being vegan:

None.  The pay off is huge plus I get adverse reactions if I stray from my raw vegan lifestyle.  I also surround myself with what is required to stay on track as it’s that important to me, hence I choose to run a raw vegan cafe.  Problem solved!

Advice to newbie vegans:

Follow your heart, consider raw food over processed vegan junk food

Biggest misconception about vegans:

That they are less physically strong.  Studies prove otherwise.
That they are intolerant/aggressive.  Perhaps some are.
But the most successful at influencing others, I have noticed, are the ones who aren’t.

tiramisu

tiramisu

Life motto / personal philosophy:

Follow your heart

Favourite vegan products:

Barefooters, Italian rubber shoes with cork liners, Chia seeds.

Inspirations:

Valerie Boutenko, Fred Bisci PhD

Karen’s Chia Porridge

1 young coconut
3-4 tbs chia seeds

Blend water and meat of 1 young coconut and then stir in 3-4 tbs chia seeds and stir till thick (about 5 minutes).

Alternatively blend a handful of raw almonds with 1 1/2 cups filtered water and then add chia seeds to that.

You can stir in the blender on slowest setting or food processor. Serve with chopped fresh fruit.

384202_333503380000073_2123772656_n

Donnie H: From fried and fat to fit and fabulous

I met Donnie Hemphill a year or so ago, and since then we’ve met up a handful of times every few months.  At each encounter, it amazes me how he seems to be turning back the hands of time.  At nearly the milestone of 40 years young, he has the energy and youthful glow of someone at least a decade younger.

Born and raised in farm country Davenport, Iowa, Donnie earned a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering degree from the University of Iowa.  He is working as a Civil Engineer and has worked in  the States, Libya and is now settled in Australia.

His renewed zest for life has sparked his current hobbies of Latin dance, photography, and becoming fit again after years of being a “lazy fatty” – his words!

He is truly enjoying livin la vegan vida loca lifestyle… which includes gently spreading the word.

A bit of background:

I was born and raised in Iowa.  Yes.  You are correct.  That’s where Captain Kirk of Star Trek was born, or will be in the future.  My last girlfriend said “It is like a movie place.”  That it is.  Thinking Field of Dreams?  You’re right on.  Corn and soy bean crops all around you; and a State Fair where you can get everything fried on a stick.  Even fried butter.  A beautiful place, but also a land where mega hog farms are polluting the air and ground water, and a place where if you speak out against eating meat you will likely be ostracized by the majority.

Being an Iowa boy, I grew up eating the local fare and by my adult life I required meat at nearly every meal.  Like most I was completely disconnected from where the meat I was eating came from.  It wasn’t until I moved to Libya in 2008 that I was reconnected.  There I saw the animals before and after.  But none the less I ate all sorts of lamb, baby camel, pigeons and even sheep heads boiled north African style.  I went with my Mexican friend to buy them from the butcher and several Moroccan friends prepared them.  I ate mostly the tongue as the cheeks and skin were extremely greasy.  Goodness, the memory of the tongue going down my throat gives me the creeps.

Iowa boy pre-vegan

In the early Libya days we were in a hotel and had rather nice brekkies and dinners but the lunch at the office was extreme – you would be asked, ‘chicken or beef?’  and would receive a warmed up shwarma TV dinner, piece of fruit (the best part), and a rainbow of sodas to pick from.  Later it was five of us to each mansion villa and my Moroccan friend would make me 2 boiled eggs in the morning.  Lunch had evolved into a nice buffet; a mixture of Arabic foods and some Western dishes including with many veggies and salads, and hummus with way too much tahini.  So you could eat healthy there, but I didn’t.  Dinner at the villas was horrible attempts at making Western foods due to politics and policies, so shopping for food and preparing our own dinners became a routine and cherished social event, often  accompanied with bootleg booze, sheesha smoking and Moroccans.  Good times..

My colleagues were evacuated from Libya due to war in 2011, I had left just days before major conflict broke out and travelled to Malta to stay with a girlfriend.  After welcoming half of my colleagues who arrived by ferry boat, I returned to the US.  During my time at my parents’ house in Iowa, I would eat bacon or sausage every morning; mostly because I couldn’t have it in Arabic Libya.  I fattened up a bit during that time I think.  After a couple of months at home, I headed off to Australia stopping in Poland first.  A girlfriend and I travelled Krakow & Warsaw and I recall being angry when she made me eat at some healthy raw veggie place in lieu of the marvellous pizza joint I had spotted earlier.  I remember not wanting this healthy raw vegan crap.

BEFORE: bloated and lethargic

BEFORE: bloated and lethargic

I eventually arrived in Australia and transferred directly to Hobart, Tasmania (as you do).  I spent a few weeks there, seeing a bit of Brisbane too, and finally arrived in Perth to settle into and start my new life.

I arrived in Australia a meat eater.

Opening up to vegetarianism and veganism: 

The point of my trip to Poland will make sense now.  We decided to date long distance – Miss Poland and I.  Something we did to pass the time was read books to each other on Skype.  I did all the reading aloud, yes, I was whipped.  Ha ha.  Continually finding new and interesting books to read became a chore.  One day I saw a book called Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I laughed, and thought to myself, “This will be funny if I get a book called Eating Animals.”  The cover read, “this book will change you.”  I thought to myself, “No way.  I’m from Iowa.”  But wouldn’t ya know it, the cover had been right.  The book did change me.  The laugh was on me.  This book was my first real introduction in to veganism.  I had vegan hippie friends in the past, but no one ever explained why to me.  They just looked at me like I was from a different country as I ate my sausages, biscuits and gravy whilst they nibbled away on rabbit food.  But I never asked why either…  Perhaps this is why I now gently inform people about why I am vegan, only after luring them in with a raw vegan cheese cake.

Back to the book.  This one, like many others, touches on all the basic arguments for becoming vegan, but its unique delivery comes with lots of psychology.  Several points sank in quick to my then 37 year old skull; sustainability, factory farming, by-catch, health risks, why eat some animals and not others, and so on. 

After reading the book, I was changed.  I couldn’t get the philosophical arguments out of my head, yet I still loved my learned taste for meats and animal products.  With my brain was now switched on, I began to slowly reduce the amount of meat I ate.  My primary health motivation for some reason was to prevent cancer, so I decided to eat natural vegan foods, as many different colours and types as I can get my hands on.  Throw in a few super foods like hemp seeds and chia seeds, and how could you be wrong?

I began to realize there were many wonderful foods I had never really eaten.  I was fortunate there were lunch time eateries  near my office job in the Perth CBD.  I started going to one salad place that offered healthy dishes including super foods; something not so easily available in my rural American homeland.  I used to live off on 99 cent double cheese burgers or spicy chicken patties from the evil M.  Now I was eating salads with all sorts of toppings like quinoa, pumpkin, beetroot, chick peas, and brown rice.  At that time, if the accidental piece of chicken ended up in my serving, it wasn’t such a big deal.  I was still eating the occasional salmon sushi too.

Over time, my taste for beef, chicken, and pork dwindled to dislike.  If I “accidentally” got some in my mouth, it tasted greasy and left vivid visuals in my mind.  I eventually lost my taste for fish also.

I started hanging out with like-minded people in Animal Rights Advocates and Social Vegans in Perth, and made some friends with folks in Sea Shepherd as well.  It was fun discovering places to eat vegetarian and vegan foods, and to share the joy and excitement of new delicious healthy foods.  This was about the time I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan, never again purchasing eggs, milk or cheese.  I was introduced to RAW foods soon after and took some raw ‘cooking’ classes.  I enjoyed it, but it seemed a bit too extreme in the beginning.  Who can afford a $500-1000 super blender?  So I buy the raw stuff whenever I see it out and about.

Recapping – in August 2011 I read the influential book. By my birthday in October, I was eating vegetarian fair.  By March 2012, I was vegan.  And in July 2012, I was beginning to explore RAW foods; how to prepare RAW and where to buy them already prepared.

The most remarkable change since going vegan: 

I wasn’t expecting anything to happen to me physically that I could notice, and for nearly a year it didn’t.  I remained the overweight middle aged man I had been for most of my life.  I only consider myself to have been fit just a few times prior when I was training and eating better.  I am sure drinking too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes were factors in my excess weight at different times also.

AFTER: The lean, mean vegan machine

AFTER: The lean, mean vegan machine

By June 2012, I had dropped one trouser size – down from 38” to 36”.  I was over joyed!  By January 2013, I had dropped another size down to 34”.  I was stunned with disbelief.  Then by March of this year, yet another reduction occurred in my trouser size – 32”.  Obviously the combination of diet, exercise and eating habits have all contributed to my shrinking waist.  Today, I continue to tweak my program hoping to build more muscle and shed off even more fat.

Since going vegan my allergies have gone away.  To be fair, this could also be due to no longer smoking and living in a warm dry climate like Perth.

I am dumbfounded when people guess my age to be much younger, as I am secretly dreading entering my 40’s.  But with a renewed vigour for life, I’m looking forward to living the rest of my days to the fullest.  I feel like I’ve been given a second chance in life.  I’m settled in to a great city, living a simple good life, and enjoying the now.

I’m at a good place in my life.

IMG_2533

Livin’ la vegan lifestyle

My parents, to my surprise, love to humour me by eating all the vegan foods I prepare for them when visiting.  During my last trip home at Christmas, my girlfriend and I enjoyed playing tourist at the local Walmart.  I was pleasantly surprised at all the vegan products we found there.  It was interesting to compare as we had previously explored the Walmart where she was living in Puebla Mexico.

Typical meals:

So what does my vegan diet look like?  When I can, I love to look at all the exotic pretty foods you see the cute vegan girls put up on Facebook.   But at the moment I’m busy with work and dancing, and only manage to get to the local chain grocery store, where if you are careful, you can still put together healthy menus.

  1. A couple of Medjool dates or similar – first thing in the morning
  2. Veggie spinach wrap or – 8:00 AM
  3. Nibbling on almonds, sultanas, and wasabi peas all day long…
  4. Green smoothie – 10:00 AM
  5. Brown rice or quinoa with assorted grilled veggies
  6. An apple or pear
  7. Fruit and home made hummus & veggie wraps
  8. Continued snacking of almonds, rice milk, and juices

I eat a lot and am never hungry.

Advice to newbies:

Go slow and gradual.

Your life motto / personal philosophy:

Things happen for a reason in life.  I can’t say I know why, so I’m gonna just ride the snake as Jim Morrison used to say.

My Inspiration: 

Committed by Dan Matthews – I don’t know why but Dan’s stories and overall confidence about his cause really inspire me.  Some of the highlights were during PETA protests; one on an Italian fashion runway dressed as a priest, and another near my parents in Des Moines, Iowa dressed as a bunny with a sign reading “Eat Veggies Not Your Friends.”  The farmers were outraged and drove them out by arming children with bologna to throw at them.

Favourite recipe or dish:

Raw cheese cake and raw pizza

What is the point?  Who cares?:

Good question.

I don’t have the answer.

But I do know that I look better than I have in 10 years and have a renewed passion for life, all of which is intertwined with veganism in some way.  So see what it can do for you.

“Lose weight, feel better, become healthier, live longer and save the planet by becoming vegan.”

Warren G: A scholarly take on veganism

This is a profile of a man who now calls Fremantle home, after living in cities such as New Orleans, New York, Minneapolis, Melbourne, Townsville and Perth.  He has been vegan since 1974, and is who I’d classify as being extremely advanced in the kitchen and more knowledgeable still about all things veganism.

I’ve sampled many of his delectable creations, such as whipped cashew and pear dip, chia guacamole, cauliflower ‘rice’, sprouted quinoa salad and was even given an impromptu ‘Sprouting for Dummies’ crash course.

His fascinating and detailed story spans over 5o years.

The Basics:
A 63 yo, New Orleans-born Cornell University-graduate, Warren Gossett is the son of a pharmacist and school teacher.  He was a computer programmer for the University of WA prior to retiring in 2005, and still occasionally tutors primary school and first year university students.  He spends his time engaging in the private study of  whatever interests him: mathematics, chemistry, physics, music, dancing, history.

Warren had a typical American diet up until he was 16.  This was highly processed fare such as hot dogs, bacon and eggs, Kellogg’s Cheerios and Wheaties, fried chicken, ice cream, buttered corn, fairy floss, lemon meringue pie, and Whitman’s sampler chocolates.

Vego since: 1966
Why go veg?
A mystical experience in August 1963.  I read a public library book which talked about the selfishness of killing animals and the karma it created.  I first read the word vegetarian.  I finally applied the idea to myself in 1966 when I finished high school, moved away from home and could start choosing my own food easily.  Except for about five months in 1972-73 when I decided to accept a girl friend’s diet I have been a vegetarian or vegan ever since.

Note that I started out as a vegetarian for what could be called spiritual reasons.  I knew nothing of the other reasons for being a vegetarian and I had never heard the word vegan during this college phase (1966 – 1972).

I was a summer hippie in California 1967 and 1968 and had brown rice and macrobiotic food the first time.  Now of course I avoid alcohol or drugs.

I came across a book call Dweller of Two Planets by Phylos the Thibetan (Frederick S Oliver).  It turned out to be a fascinating explosion of mystical philosophy from 1899 California.  It suggested a beautiful path that we followed through this life and many lives because reincarnation was central to the book.  I was in!  There were mentions of the value of studying vegetarianism, astrology and numerology as well as science.  I did so over the years.  The reason given for vegetarianism was that it was selfish to kill animals and the karma it created was bad.  You couldn’t compensate the soul of an animal for the loss of its life experiences. Compensating a plant soul was possible or at least more possible.

This has remained a key part of my philosophy and mystical view of life over the last fifty years.

Vegan since: 1974
Why the next step?
When looking for a new house to share I met potential housemates.  One was a vegan and gave me two books when we met, along with  with another guy, to consider the house-share possibilities.  We never lived together nor met again but this meeting had a lasting influence on me.  The last things for me to give up was goat cheese and choc chip cookies.

I was especially influenced by Viktoras Pisces Kulvinskas’ second book in 1976, Survival into the 21st Century.  I learned about and tried fasting, sprouting alfalfa, mung beans, fenugreek and sunflower seeds.  He mentioned exotic things like wild food, unfired food, fruitarianism and breatharianism and the Aquarian diet.  Now instead of Kulvinskas’ term unfired food we usually say raw food.

At the 1978 North American Vegan Society convention in rural Pennsylvania I learned about sprouting, factory farming, vegetarians in sports and first heard of a group called Sea Shepherd.

“I learned there wasn’t just my one reason for being a vegetarian or vegan, spiritual, there were several others: ethical (animal rights), economic (it was cheaper), ecological (less polluting and better for biosphere), health (many factors), and aesthetic (wasn’t it more beautiful?)”

the effervescent Mr G

the effervescent Mr G

Influences: The books were Love Your Body by Viktoras Pisces Kulvinskas and Mother Nature’s Guide for Folks Who Like to Eat by Dick Gregory.  The arguments in the books convinced me that I didn’t need to eat dairy products and that the dairy industry was harmful in several ways.  I had already given up eggs because of boredom, concern about cholesterol… plus I had too many of them in college.

Philosophy: Still oriented to mysticism and science.

A typical day’s meals:  My diet is easy to arrange.  I just go to Coles, Woolworth’s or occasionally Manna Wholefoods, Peaches or Kakulas Sisters and get vegan things.

Idiot-proof meal?  I like organic pasta and black eye peas, they’re my fail safe meals.  I also like rice, potatoes and pumpkin.  I’ve discovered that celery is very versatile:  It lasts well in the fridge and can be consumed raw, cooked for 20 minutes or juiced.

 “I moved to Australia in 1980 to eventually work as a computer programmer.   Some people in Minneapolis had thought Australians drank a lot and ate a lot of meat so how would I fit in.  My mother assumed it was part of my travelling phase and I’d be back in six months. But I knew it was a warm country with lots of fruits and vegetables.  I had enjoyed the two week holiday in New Zealand and Australia I took earlier that year for my 30th birthday.”

Warren’s Whipped Cashew Dip

Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 30mins)
2 pears (goldrush)
optional: vanilla extract, lemon juice, agave / stevia (to taste)
Throw away soaking water from cashews.  Peel and core the pears.
Blend in a food processor until smooth (about 3 minutes).
Taste – add optional ingredients if your tastebuds want and blend again.
Add filtered water if you like a thinner dip.

Serve with vege crudites, crackers or toasted bread.