Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vegan Credo

Please click here for a condensed, updated, and printable version of this credo.

A credo (Latin, "I believe") is a simple yet powerful statement of belief. It's everything in just a few words. Veganism is simple, too. Is our credo no meat? Is it do no harm? Or, does it go something like this?
I believe that all animals—wild animals, farm animals, and our beloved companion animals—feel pain, make decisions, and are inclined to protect themselves and their families from harm.
I believe that, as beings with a higher intelligence, it is humans' moral, social, and political responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all wild, farm, and companion animals, and not to use or consume anything derived from them for the sake of beauty, flavor, or convenience.
I believe that proposed legislation, laws, policies, procedures, and actions should uniformly and unfailingly address our responsibility to protect animals, ensuring they are never unnecessarily or knowingly confined, tortured, or killed.
I believe that a safe, well-protected, well-cared-for animal population improves and strengthens communities and the lives of the people who live there. 
I believe that an individual’s impact on the environment can be minimized by consuming and using plant-based food and products, and that a vegan diet frees up land to grow food for people that would otherwise be used to house animals and grow the food that is required to feed them.
An inspiring, more comprehensive, and much-better codified universal declaration has already been adopted by World Society for the Protection of Animals. How would you strengthen and further simplify this proposed five-paragraph Vegan Credo?

July 10, 2011 UPDATE: Thanks to those of you who have directly (and in other forums) shared thought-provoking, inspiring, challenging questions and feedback. As you've very helpfully pointed out, we must and will consider certain fundamental questions (and tweak some of its words for accuracy). To some people, there is only one credo, and it is it the Christian statement of beliefs. (This was drafted only to propose a clear statement of vegans' beliefs, and not to replace or update any other accepted credo.) Further, can any succinct statement fully and universally address the beliefs of all vegans? I agree with those of you who have pointed out that it can not. I'll await any other comments and questions that may trickle in, then propose an updated version in a month. Thanks again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Recipe: Philly Vegan Tofurky Hoagie

Yo! Philly sandwich fans!

Though you may hate our sports teams and fans, few people anywhere can turn down an authentic Philly sandwich. Known in other parts of the country as a sub, a well-built hoagie emerges from its wrapper full of flavor, texture, and memories. Vegans, thankfully, can enjoy a slightly-healthier take on the original: No animal products, of course, and crunchy, textured greens that present the flavor of the oil mixture in unusual ways with every bite.

In the early 1990s, I learned the art of sandwichmaking as an employee of Lee's Hoagie House, a venerable Philadelphia institution. Though my internship there was completed well before I became vegan, the preparation and wrapping skills I obtained will last a lifetime, and I'm happy to share them with my vegan friends!
  • Sea salt, pepper, and oregano (to taste) 
  • 1/2 tbsp. canola oil 
  • 1/2 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/8 tsp. Spike gourmet natural seasoning 
  • 1 tbsp. organic Vegenaise® (optional) 
  • 1/4 of an organic yellow onion, sliced horizontally into about six 1/8-inch rings 
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized organic tomato, sliced horizontally into about six 1/8-inch slices (wide enough to hold water and not dissolve) 
  • 1/2 cup organic spring mix lettuce 
  • 10- or 12-inch roll (preferably Amoroso's). If seeded, ensure seeds not baked on using egg whites 
  • 10 to 12 slices of Tofurky® Hickory Smoked or Oven Roasted flavor 
  • 5 to 6 slices of favorite mild cheese-flavored squares (optional) 
  • 2 medium sheets thin wax paper (if not eating sandwich immediately) 
  • 2 regular sheets of sandwich paper (obtained at any deli) 
In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and Spike. Set aside.

 Slice (if necessary) and horizontally flatten out long roll so that two halves are still connected at the spine & bread is facing upward. If desired, spread thin layer of Vegenaise over entire surface of open roll. Place Tofurky slices across open face, laying each new new slice about a half inch from the last for maximum overlap. Repeat with cheese substitute, if desired.

Layer tomato slices across roll, and add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Layer on raw onion rings, and add oregano to taste. Add lettuce mixture to top of sandwich and drizzle oil mixture over top of lettuce, being careful not to oversoak.

Turn sandwich 90 degrees to be perpendicular to your body, with sandwich spine to the left. Use flat edge of large knife blade to tuck vegetables into roll, gently folding it over towards closure as you repeat (generally, 2 or 3 times does the trick). When ready to cut, hoagie should be about 4/5 closed and 1/5 open. Cut in half and serve with organic chips of your choice. (Lately, I've really been enjoying the Pico de Gallo flavor from Garden of Eatin®.)

Be careful to eat the sandwich over the paper or a plate AND away from your body. No matter how dry the veggies and how little the oil, drips will emerge from the other end of the sandwich each time you bite into it. It's something you'll learn to minimize and better manage in time, not unlike how New Yorkers manage to fold a pizza slice in half while also walking, sipping coffee, and texting. If not eating immediately, follow travel directions below.

Travel directions (up to 4 hours)

Turn sandwich away from you and place on horizontal piece of thin wax paper. Gather sandwich contents by pinching paper together at top.

Begin rolling outer wrap from below, gathering ends up as you pass the roll and finish.

Seal with small piece of masking tape. Separately package Vegenaise and oil mixture in tight containers.

Extended Travel Directions (4 to 12 hours) 

Place thin wax paper on bread before main assembly. Package for travel as shown above.