Vegan, Low Fat, Gluten Free
This week a very small thing happened that made me sad, and then it made me quite angry. Someone posted a judgmental comment on my Instagram! Don’t worry, this happens all the time. Mostly I laugh, and show my friends. Sometimes I troll them and write something dumb on their Instagram. Usually I just ignore it and feel mildly flattered that people take the time to comment on my photos at all.
But this particular thing upset me because it was a judgment about the fact that my photo of breakfast had eggs in it. Yes, I do eat eggs. I’ve never claimed to be a vegan here or on any other internet space, but I completely understand why one might think I am vegan when so many of the things I eat and make are animal product free. (Plus I also hashtag all my vegan photos a ridiculous amount of times – #veganfoodshare #vegansofig #bestofvegan and my possible favourite/most dumb of all hashtags #healthyveganfoodshare)
But I really hate when people criticise others (period) but more specifically when they bring judgment to an aspect of that person’s lifestyle choices, when that person is obviously making a conscious effort and doing what they can already. It doesn’t achieve anything except encourage that person to become defensive, and usually to defend their actions even more than they normally would. I’ve noticed ever since that this kind of thing isn’t confined to veganism or just dietary choices; it transcends every social choice we make.
In case I’m not make sense here’s an example – if someone talks about how they’ve started recycling and how it is easy and everyone else should too, there is always that person that points out “Well you use a washing machine which is a huge waste of water resources!” What? Why does one thing cancel out the other? Why must making the decision to recycle suddenly transform someone into an environmentalist responsible for every aspect of their lives having a negative impact on the planet??
This happens when I say I am a vegetarian all the time. “But you eat yogurt. And eggs.” “But you eat tofu made of soybeans which means you kill monkeys living in the rainforest.” “But you use dishwashing liquid so you kill sea life” and the list continues. This kind of thing is so unproductive I almost can’t give a polite reply anymore.
I really care about animals. I mean I really care. I rarely have to justify it to the people I know because it’s obvious. I see those ads on the back of buses protesting against live animal export and I cry on the street like a baby. But I never ever look down on my friends and family for eating meat, or buying leather, or any decisions they make. Why? Because it isn’t my place, and it achieves nothing. It reinforces the stereotype that vegetarians and vegans are extremists and should therefore be silenced or ignored.
I believe that if the people I care about, and the rest of the world for that matter, properly understood how cruel and self-serving the meat production industry has become, they would give up meat in a heartbeat. Wilful ignorance is probably the most dangerous thing our generation possesses, because it affects all of us on so many levels. I’m guilty of it myself. I know in my heart of hearts that eggs come from chickens, and yes I only eat free-range organic, but there’s still hundreds of male chicks bred each year for laying purposes that are killed.
The only thing that can actively change people’s minds isn’t judgment or criticism, it’s education. When systems of cruelty and oppression are properly exposed, 9 out of 10 times people will find they cannot live with the knowledge that they are an active and thriving part of that process. I don’t eat meat because I am fully aware of the cruelty animals are treated with in the meat industry, and I can’t justify it to myself anymore. Sometimes I wish I could just scream this at people to see what is staring them in the face, but I don’t. They would think I was crazy! Instead I try and educate them – recommend books, movies, explain the truth behind the industries at work. I never pass judgment because it just shuts people out, which is exactly what happened on my Instagram.
I didn’t agree with the comment. I didn’t stop eating eggs, instead I felt insulted and riled. I didn’t think about what that person was trying to say, which is that the egg-laying industry is poorly constructed and impossibly cruel to chickens. Something I identify with! If they had started a discussion and explained why they don’t eat eggs, things could have turned out differently than how they did.
Have a lovely week everyone!! PS I made rice paper rolls inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme and they are delicious!
One year ago: Mixed Berry and Honey Frozen Yogurt
Crispy Chilli Tofu Rice Paper Rolls – inspired from here
1 packet large rice paper roll sheets
2-3 bunches thin vermicelli noodles
250g firm tofu, cut into 1cm by 1cm strips
2 tbsp chilli oil (olive oil with 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
1 carrot, very finely sliced
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
large handful of butter or iceberg lettuce, shredded
handful of thai basil
handful of mint
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
For the Sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari for gluten free
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp palm sugar
1/2 a birds eye chilli, finely sliced
1 shallot strip, thinly sliced.
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
Place the carrots in a small bowl and mix the vinegar and water together. Pour over the carrots and leave to pickle for at least 20 minutes.
Shallow fry the tofu strips in the chilli oil until golden on each side.
Cook the vermicelli according to packet instructions. Have all your filling ingredients at the ready!
Place three plates out in front of you, and all your bowls of filling in front of that. In the plate on the far right, boil a kettle of water and pour enough water in so that the plate isn’t overflowing, but you can submerge a rice paper sheet.
Gently dip the sheet under the water, using your fingers to stop it curling in on itself. Once dunked transfer it onto the second plate. Lay a few sprigs of basil and mint in the centre of the paper, followed by a small tangle of vermicelli. Lay a strip or two of tofu, two pieces of carrot, a piece of avocado and some lettuce on top. Take up the bottom of the circle closest to you and pull half way up over the ingredients. Keeping it in place with a finger, take the top half of the circle and fold down to cover the rest of the ingredients. Peel the left hand side of the circle firmly up and pull tightly to the right, over the ingredients. Now continue to roll the roll towards the right, until the rice paper roll is completely rolled. Place on the plate far on the left and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Makes about ten. enjoy them fresh!