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31st December 2011

Book Review – Drinking from the Hidden Fountain by Thomas Spidlik

Several days ago I came across a great book in a church bookstore, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain by Thomas Spidlik, A Patristic Breviary – Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World and upon seeing it, thought about “veganizing” it a bit:) It gives a very nice outlook of the Eastern Fathers and has reflections for every day of the year. What can be best just a day before 2012 starts? You can look it up and read it for yourselves. Exploring, one day at a time…

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28th December 2011

Film Review – Making The Connection

Film review

At the Vegan 2011 Festival, I was lucky to get a copy of “Making the Connection” short-film about the beauty of the vegan life style. It was such a pleasure to see all of the different people, sharing their experiences of how being and staying vegan had changed their lives! Produced by Environmental Films LTD in association with The Vegan Society it is a great compilation of stories and experience of people from all walks of life, working in different fields, who with their personal choice are making our planet a more compassionate place to live in.

You are able to see it also on YouTube and share it with both friends and family and/or people who are interested in veganism in general. A very positive and uplifting  half an hour guaranteed.

Please, – Make the connection!

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15th December 2011

A Book Review – Feeding Your Vegan Infant – With Confidence

Practical guide from pre-conception through to pre-school.

Author : Sandra Hood

A book review:

Done beautifully. Easy to read. Highly factual. Up-to-date masterpiece. Do I need to say anything else? Oh, yes, it’s vegan too. But you knew that already didn’t you? I honestly prepared myself for a boring read through, and to my surprise this book wasn’t.

Knowing the author from her workshop/discussion at the Vegan 2011 Festival in London, I firstly bought the book because of its high publicity. Thinking that, as it is one of a kind (for now anyway) it can get away with anything basically. And yes in many ways it was a “basic information” read, nicely presented with no revelations or big secrets to follow or be revealed in the process.  But in my opinion this is the power of it. And not a disadvantage at all.

It clearly carries through that veganism is easy, doable, safe, fun, healthy and even exciting.  And how much better can it be then?

Now when we are approaching Christmas season (depending on the Calendar of course) it is nice to know that this book may be included in Christmas lists of some people and then many more will benefit from it.  Check it out for yourselves. Share it. Smile while reading it, but most of all spread the message of the beauty of a vegan lifestyle in everything & everywhere, even and especially if/when you are expecting…

May God bless you and guide you in His Love and Wisdom,

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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11th December 2011

Glamorous Wok

Shop K4, SunnyPark Shopping Centre, 342 McCullough St, Sunnybank Qld

This is a smart Taiwanese restaurant that was packed on the night we visited. For starters we ordered a dish described on the menu as balsam pears in plum sauce, but were in for a surprise, for the pieces were as crunchy as a gherkin, and the waiter later told us they were slices of bitter melon. Indeed, these ‘pears’ do not grow on a tree but on vines, and are members of the family that includes melons and cucumbers; there’s always something more to learn. The restaurant also offers fried battered mushrooms as a starter. When it came to a main course the menu offered nothing vegetarian, but the cook kindly prepared a special dish for us, made up of pieces of soft tofu with small pieces of mushroom and red chilli. It was bubbling as it was brought to the table and, when it had cooled down a little, delicious with rice. A most enjoyable, as well as educative, dinner!

Glamorous Wok on Urbanspoon

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4th December 2011

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant

42/342 McCullough St, Sunnybank Qld

Some the dishes at this popular restaurant are actually quite mild. The green onion pancakes, for example, seem free of chillis, and the tofu and bak choy soup, which contains more of the latter ingredient than the former, is if anything on the delicate side. But the chilli and seaweed salad, crunchy and dark green, packs a real punch, and the sauce that comes with the potato shreds and chilli is seriously hot. Top of the range, however, is the dish of cauliflower that comes with large pieces of fresh green chilli, dried chilli, lumps of garlic and shallots. It would be fair to say that the original taste of the vegetable has been lost; whereas the spices used in Indian cooking can add value to the mild-flavoured cauliflower, what’s been thrown at it here has smothered it.  Lovers of strong tastes will relish this restaurant, others may feel it’s not really their scene, but everyone will be glad to have a big glass of water standing at the ready.

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2nd December 2011

A New VVOC Contributor – Jason Derry.

VVOC.org is happy to announce that a new author is signing up as a content contributor to the site. His name is Jason Derry and he is a vegan Orthodox Christian based in, Michigan – U.S.A. Jason’s main focus will be Orthodox Saints’ (and religious figures) approaches to animal rights and caring for creation.

He comes to us as a Communication graduate who’s currently finishing his masters degree in Environmental Education. Jason is looking forward to starting a PhD in Communications next year. VVOC.org is most fortunate to have someone of his calibre putting together content for the site.

Jason’s journey is of particular interest (to many of our readers), as it involves becoming both an Orthodox Christian and a vegan, almost simultaneously. Please visit the testimonials page at: http://vvoc.org/about/testimonials/ and read how he embarked down this path.

On behalf of the site’s contributors – welcome to the team Jason. We’re all looking forward to your postings.

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29th November 2011

Highlighted Campaign for December 2011

Tell UNESCO: Bullfighting isn’t culture, it’s cruelty.

Every year, about 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights — stabbed multiple times with barbed lances and banderillas (spiked wooden sticks) before suffering slow, agonizing deaths in front of an audience, including children.

Back in July 2010, the parliament of Catalonia, a region of Spain, voted to ban the “sport” of bullfighting in their region. What a huge step forward that was, in the fight against the cruelty of the bullfight.  You may remember it was highlighted on this blog – WSPA urged the general public around the world to join their campaign to seek the voters within the Catalonian parliament to see that many people around the world regarded it in a strongly unfavourable light.

Despite the fact that attendance at bullfights is at an all-time low (a great indication that people are rejecting this as a “sport”), and that many cities and countries have in fact banned bullfighting, the French and Spanish governments are seeking to protect this cruel bloodsport by asking UNESCO to give it a “cultural heritage” listing.

By going to:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/235/701/860/?z00m=20130990

you can sign a petition asking The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) NOT to sanction this cruel activity under the banner of “cultural heritage”.

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27th November 2011

Problems when Travelling

Italy is a great country for vegetarians: there is plenty of pasta with cheese, pizzas abound, and this is the country that invented the gelato! For vegans the situation isn’t as bright. There are dishes like pasta aglio e olio, a dish very pure in taste in which olive oil and garlic are run through spaghetti, perhaps with chilli or finely chopped parsley, but this will probably replicate the nutrition you received from the white bread you had for breakfast. And the difficulties vegans experience in a country like Italy will be shared by vegetarians in areas where fish seems to come with everything, such as Scandinavia and Japan.

How to deal with this? There are sometimes vegetarian restaurants, often with an organic angle, that one can visit, but these tend to be up-market places for special occasions. Otherwise, it’s often possible to dive into a Chinese or Indian restaurant where there will probably be veggie food. Another alternative is buying dry food at a supermarket. Or one can decide to eat non-veggie food just to get by.

None of these choices strikes me as perfect. It seems somehow disrespectful to the culture of a country like Italy to be eating Asian food there.  Sitting on a hotel bed eating peanuts is no-one’s idea of a fun time. And surely the reasons that led one to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet apply wherever one happens to be.

I’d be very interested in the opinions of readers of this posting, and it will be possible to make comments for some time after it has been posted.

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27th November 2011

Cafeteria Chef Express

Termini Railway Station, Rome

Self-service cafeterias at train stations can be sad places full of sad people, but not this one! As you enter you help yourself to a fresh bread roll, and might then turn to the right, where there is a stand with cooked vegetables, including potatoes fried in olive oil seasoned with thyme, and the oily aubergine so often a feature of Mediterranean cooking. To the left is a salad bar where the choices of include lima beans, beautiful tomatoes and greens. There are dishes of pasta with tomatoes and cheese mixed in, and a fruit salad bar where you can ladle as much fresh fruit as you can handle into a bowl. On the way out there is water and wine, while in the eating area are bottles of virgin olive oil and vinegar to splash over your meal. And just in case you think you are in a cafeteria at the train station, in one corner is a grand piano you may be lucky enough to hear played!

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24th November 2011

Purple Poppy – REMEMBER Animals of War

Not so long ago it was Remembrance Day, and as a person who is from a military family, I was delighted to see people participating. But it also reminded me about the Purple Poppy – the symbol for all the animals of war – victims, survivors and fighting helpers. How many of them are effected even now in present day wars! How many lost their lives in the past and still lose their lives in the present. “Shoulder to Shoulder” with fellow humans – battling, saving lives, so helpful, so courageous and so silent.

I remember, even now, the stories of my family which go back several generations – about the devotion of military horses to their masters. There was even (and may still be in the old Orthodox Christian prayer books) a special blessing/prayer for cavalry horses and their officer/companions – read before any upcoming battle. I’ve heard from Orthodox Christian Americans, serving in deployments, that military chaplains often bless both the serving dogs and mine specialists before they go on dangerous missions.

Animals don’t have a voice but we do! Support the Purple Poppy today. Remember the animals who gave their lives in human battles.

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