Humane products – are they all what they claim?

Lists are linked in first tabs/ pages above.

It should be is illegal for any product to wrongly claim “not tested on animals” on a label but it’s common practice. Aside from the cruelty to animals, cruel products are also often cruel to the planet.

Organisations like BWCSA certify products that want to be labelled as humane (and verifying their suppliers do not test either) and they do it free of charge. Animal-testing. on the other hand, is a business with vested interest that goes hand-in-hand with the development of new useless (e.g. with chemical fragrances, or fragrance-masking chemicals) and often harmful products. If you’re looking at products not listed here check the label for official bunny logos, not just any bunny; and the brand names would be listed on the sites too such as if you search by country of origin of the product here. If it is a local product, not that I’ve seen any, maybe suppliers won’t be local and I bet audits can be done from overseas.

I mentioned soapnuts/ reetha before, it’s also called quassia and here, shikakai and perhaps siaka (verlan? :D) is the same. It’s a plant whose fruit/nut sold as dandruff remedy. I’m going to get a tree and find a spot for it in someone else’s yard and find out eventually. I’ve seen branded shikakai products (Are their other ingredients tested on animals? They’re often strongly scented). The powder can easily be dissolved for shampoo and personal care, or as is in laundry – very little is needed e.g. 2 nuts for a load can be reused. People who have land available suck and make false promises. After all, we’re in (pro-) colonial Africa.


The BWCSA approved products aside from BUAV’s list in case any shop has begun to stock them. Sadly (quite like BUAV in the case of Marks&Spencer) BWCSA does not support BDS which is the biggest consumer-action since Apartheid because we supporters recognise that it is an Apartheid by the state of Israel. Since Woolworths supports the state of Israel economically, its products should be boycotted. BWCSA has a long-standing partnership with Woolworths, I used to only shop there or with small businesses/artisans. It is extremely hard for me to be housebound and my only mental references are Woolworths products. I should be happy Woolworths Home/clothing is popping up everywhere in my homeland but I boycotted them as long as BDS encouraged that as a tactic.

Businesses are not half as faithful as NGOs are towards them. PicknPay here would not stock BWCSA-approved South African products! In Mauritian PicknPays (3 stores, of the South African chain) all South African brands I was looking for seemed to have been replaced with animal-tested products from France and Australia, products I’ve never seen in SA. I wrote to one local PicknPay and until many months later, the manager didn’t get back to me… eventually in 2015 they closed down.

La Vie Claire sucks since ownership changed (2015/2016). Just as well no one contacted me for the letter action I proposed on this blog before.

Do PLEASE lemme know if people sell home-made products locally. I think one would need an insect-free kitchen/ space which is also mold-free then heat and humidity would decrease shelf life. Unfortunately it means privilege and air-conditioning.

If you’re wondering about the “fragrance-free”, multiple chemical sensitivity is an illness with reactions to fragrances and other chemicals. I have some chemical allergies, not fragrances a priori, but generally find fragrances unpleasant.

If you use cruelty-free in your home, I’m sure you’d like to find your hosts keep cruelty-free soap. If they don’t, you can tell them about it. Fragrance-free people don’t have that luxury, they may not be able to even enter a house with fragrances. Heck, even outside buildings, there may be tar, fertilisers and incense (which employs child labour, then these child workers will suffer from MCS for instance, and die of it). They can buy expensive masks if they get money to buy these online but what they or their friends use in their houses or on their skin has to be fragrance-free.


Call for Submissions – Disabled Vegan Reader and The After Coetzee Project

A pig wearing an old-fashioned prosthetic hind leg and bandaged, looking up at a pork leg hanging, as it would at a butcher's shop. Image credit Barbara McClure.
A pig wearing an old-fashioned prosthetic hind leg, bandaged, looking up at a pork leg assumably on sale, hanging as it would at a butcher’s shop.    Image credit Barbara McClure.

As previously announced on our facebook page, The Disabled Vegan Reader has an extended deadline of December 1st for submissions but it’s possible that as soon as they have enough submissions they may well go ahead with publication. Don’t take my word for it though, I’ve been moving overseas around the previous deadline and missed all but one announcement. I’d check more recent announcements if my internet connection was decent.

A related print Anthology is The After Coetzee Project, same editor, same deadline and this one centering around animals and their voices.

Green Vadai and coconut chutney (gluten-free, vegan, savoury)

For mid-day snacking yesterday, I made sprouted green mung vadais, hardly different from the traditional version. It’s merely a healthier and greener version; it might be considered fusion cooking, it would taste a bit odd to someone accustomed to vadas and I’d have to elaborate.

Sprouting is the easiest thing: soak overnight then sprout! Mine sprouted in porcelain and terracotta bowls, layering soaked beans at the bottom of a bowl is a sprouting method (thanks, Leandra!). Rather than give them a light sprinkle of water the next day, they better be used or chucked in the fridge to stop the sprouting to get best results with this recipe. The ‘dough’ can be made kept in the fridge a day or 2 or frozen for up to a week.

If you can’t find plantains/ breadfruit/ green bananas/ yams, potatoes or soon-to-ripen green bananas or what seems green to a western grocer will do, but it may have a hint of sweet and use more mung maybe. You’d want a slightly crumbly dough that nonetheless sticks together, like for making bean burgers. These can also be made with mung only and whether with starchy veg or chopped veggies or both, they make great burgers. Vadais are usually made with well-soaked split black urad dahl (black mung bean) and quantities may differ from above. This version would cook faster than regular vadas, kachoris, chilli bites – thus figuratively greener as well as literally (full of mung pulp, thus high in fibre).

Morchaigal Vadai

2 cups mung beans after soaking and sprouting 1 day (with skins)
1 large green banana (boiled) yielding about 1 cup mashed.
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp ginger (to be ground)
1/2 dried chilli (as above)
1 or 2 curry leaves (as above)
5 or so onion slices (as above but optional)
1-2 tsp cilantro, chopped finely (or spring onion)
Oil for deep-frying*

Boil banana then simmer 5 minutes or just until the skin starts to split (if it’s not so green, just a few minutes until a knife goes in easily). Mash and leave to cool.

Grind everything (except cilantro or spring onion). Mix in the mashed banana and cilantro or other chopped greens. Make into donut-like shapes (5-8cm wide) by first making little balls, then flatten them and make a hole with your pinky. Make as many your pot can handle, without crowding them as you drop them in hot oil. Deep-fry on low heat turning once, until both sides are brown. Let them drip in a bowl, colander or on kitchen paper before serving.

I tried baking at 175’C/350’F for 10 minutes max on each sides. They weren’t like you’d expect them to be and I don’t think they’d be any good when cooled. Pan-frying both sides works, oiling only 1st or 2nd side (in my cast iron griddle, non stick might need no oil?). There is also this method.

My brown rice idlis (with rice flour only and baking powder instead of fermentation) were a flop – the perils of cooking too many things at once, or downside of adapting cuisine to my allergic needs. Since I can’t eat dahl, had it with coconut chutney and this stew – which can be made stove-top..perhaps there’s a part 3 coming up. Stews can also be made with kachoris or koftas but that would’ve meant making more dishes to eat my veggies.

This is how I always made chutney, with as few ingredients as possible:

Simple Coconut Chutney
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1/2 inch ginger (optional)

3/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
1 red chili
1 tbsp oil

(C): Some tamarind pulp soaked in water or juice of half a small lemon (1 tsp)
salt to taste

Grind together ingredients (A) with a little water until all the coconut is ground.

Heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds then red chilli and curry leaves. When the seeds crackle, add (A). Stir, immediately turn off the heat, and squeeze in the lemon half. Stir again and voila, coconut chutney.

Great with dosa or a bunch of Indian dishes, it can probably replace pachadi. Substitute only garlic instead of above spices if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol issues (coconut quite fatty for non-vegans?).

The other day I made kuttu dosai without flax seeds and they were amazing, and I’ll call them that because people have asked me what buckwheat is like a million times recently, using foreign names can lead to less questions. I can’t eat dried whole/split lentils, non-soy beans and legumes/pulses unsprouted. I can however eat insane amounts of unsprouted soy (more amino acids), soy is defo good for me and healthy!

Red Velvet Chocolate cake (gluten free, sugar free, nut-free, vegan)

I added ‘nut-free’ even though some may find it misleading but cashew is a seed and perhaps someone with nut allergies would be fine with it if, like me, they can’t quite eat nuts and if they can eat most seeds. Sunflower seeds are a good substitute.

My new environment keeps expressing pity and asking me ‘what do you eat?’ besides worrying about my nutritional needs. I’d mentioned in the last recipe post that I was also concerned about me-friendly food options while moving to the middle of an ocean. I buy things online from overseas due to my allergies but food tends to be heavy and needs to be purchased more frequently, my concern was about lack of variety (there is a variety of veggies but different from my habitual ones) and unsatisfied cravings. That said I have access to a grinder and oven after many years, and different ingredients available. There’s chesnut flour (from France) but no coconut sugar and the rare imported coconut oil, never local although coconut trees are loaded with coconuts everywhere.

This perfect sugar free GF vegan carrot cake made baking a breeze. Hail, Ella! Ella, elle l’a dum dum dum dum (it’s a French song)… so I had month-long birthday celebrations, I’ve been enjoying variations of Deliciously Ella’s carrot cake then modyfying this Beet-avo chocolate cake recipe, as below. Not long ago, I thought I’d never bake again because I don’t get sugar substitutes here (I’m allergic to agave, xylitol, and about all options I’ve tried, I react to dates but far less so after baking). I don’t frost, imported rice syrup is too pricey and I haven’t figured another option but who needs frosting on yummy cake. Sugar can be replaced with fruit too. I’d never considered tropical fruits cake material before but one banana can replace an egg, pineapple can replace citrus or vinegar and is even better because it adds sweetness and has super powers like bromelain. No raisins for me but cranberries gave a colourful and delish cake, it seems to bring out the pineapple taste (unless it hapenned to be a more pineapply pineapple).

My beet-choc cake baked in half the time. I subbed almonds with cashews again, replaced avo with a banana but applesauce would do too, though it’d be less sweet. Avo’s not in season, there’s pricey apple puree, coconut flour has two possible uses and it seems cake isn’t one of them. It’s amazing how many bananas a few trees can give, cakes or cookies are the best way to use up the ripe ones, they tend to all ripen at once.

I’ll post a sort of meal-plan format, I don’t care about balancing individual meals, it’s just what I’m eating today (part 1 and part 2). So I had chocolate cake for brekkie, yes and almost half of one, it absolutely doesn’t taste of either beetroot or banana so let’s call it:

Red Velvet Chocolate cake

1 very large beetroot, diced (2 cups) and shredded, or grated.
1 cup/125g cashews, ground.
2 cups/250g buckwheat flour.
1 heaped tsp baking powder (sub 1tbs vinegar if you don’t find gluten-free?*)
1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
50-80g cocoa powder (according to colour pref: red to dark brown)
pinch of himalayan or sea salt
2 tsp vanilla powder or extract.
1-2 cups water to cook beetroot
1 cup mashed bananas or applesauce.
2 tbs canola oil or some other oil.
1/2 cup/125ml date syrup
1/2 cup/125ml agave syrup (optional)

In a pan lightly toast cashews, stirring often, then leave to cool (mash bananas and do next step in the meantime); grind cashews (original recipe uses ground almonds, do they even sell ground cashews? not cashew butter)

In a pot, cover shredded beet with water and mashed bananas – bring to a boil then simmer for 20 min. I had hardly any liquid left when it was cooling. If using less sweetener (as I did), you can make up the missing volume with the left-over liquid. You can drop the oil in to melt while it cools if using coconut oil that is solidified. This can be pureed or not (made the texture more crumbly).

Preheat oven to 200′C and oil a round cake tin. Whisk together all dry ingredients (flour through to salt or vanilla) in a large mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients with cooked beetroot in a separate bowl, gradually add to the dry ingredients.

Mix until fully combined and pour into tin. Bake for 20-30 min (depends on your cake tin material and liquid sweetener, it takes up to 40min with rice syrup, in warmer weather if that ever makes a difference with convection ovens), until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. It’s yummier warm or room temperature.

Now I’ll go figure out what quantity of what went into these sprouted mung vadas. Part 2 coming up…

* I just started baking I’m not experienced, and allergic to vinegar and orange juice, I’m not sure it’s necessary to sub, but vinegar+bicarb makes a cake rise, however this one also has banana… each of these are egg substitutes like flax meal, flax/chia gel and other things.

Serena Williams sure gets enough calcium

PBS’s image of an elated Serena Williams jumping, celebrating her 19th Grand Slam title.

At an age when other players are apparently heading for or towards retirement from tennis, Williams won the AUS Open (yay!) – perhaps thanks to a vegan diet? The sports media would not likely mention it, they’d rather encourage sexism [aside from the predicatable personality cult of male tennis players and people not caring much about female players… as in every sport, right?] – is Nadal’s success ever attributed to his girlfriend?

Many sportspersons’ successes are co-attributed to their coaches to some extent but all good teams and players have good coaches. I noted excessive attribution to Serena’s boyfriend coach while googling about her. Aanyway…

John Salley had mentioned Serena’s diet change, the former NBA player advocates for a vegan diet… There was also a video interview of her somewhere. (March 2014 update she tweeted @JugoFresh – raw vegan stuff ; Jan 2015 update There’s an article on Venus’ diet)

Other notable vegan sportspeople include Carl Lewis, Fiona Oakes, lifelong-vegan professional basketball player Milani Malik, vegan philosopher and wheelchair basketball player Sarah Stewart and boxer Omowale Adewale.