Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Vegan’

Gallery

Cow Appreciation Day

Ironically a b*tch (sans her twin sister) called me an “obnoxious cow” last night. Thank you I feel true kinship to and admire cows, unlike to a lowlife like you.

Funnily enough the site engineers where I live in the ‘Solent’ were freaked out last year when Mum and I would stop to talk to the cows this site bought to use after we moved in. As usual the cows came from throughout the field to be near us instead of ignoring us like they do most people, if only the people here would do that. The site engineers always make a point of stopping and/or highlighting their presence like on Monday when we were returning and one of them was just sitting within sight of the entrance/exit on his vehicle, started it up as soon as he saw us, went all of approx 2 metres, stopped, dismounted and stared licentiously at us the whole way to our residence.

When they do allow the cows in the field behind us nowadays, groups stand behind our caravan and call, especially when we’re asleep. Wonderful, beautiful creatures.

On this planet everything and everyone is an asset, we all a property reference; and what’s the ‘best’ method for resources? “Waste not, want not” of course and if its ‘best practice’ then as long as a bunch of companies do it it makes it harder to change because if ‘they/so many’ do it it must be ok/apparently better regulated.

The body parts of a cow de-animized/spiritualized and renamed (the name being a signifier of ownership/use/property) to ‘beef’ and ‘cattle’.

Cow body parts beef

Cow Body Parts Used

And this is you/’us’:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer scene – Blood Factory

Nice and efficient.

And as usual the majority fight against/terrorize those trying to get them out of this cycle, partially because they don’t want to face themselves in a mirror too. (The bloodletting above happens in Doppelgangland, the fake/wish/alternate/evil place and when Buffy gets killed/doesn’t belong there she stays here.)

Anyway this was my previous Cow Appreciation Day post:

Cow Appreciation Day – Sacred Significance

https://fashionthatpays.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/cow-appreciation-day-sacred-significance/

Cows represent the giving without taking nature of motherhood, though in practice this has gone too far.

Kamadhenu – कामधेनू (Sanskrit) [from kama desire, wish + dhenu milk cow]

Kamadhenu (Sanskrit: कामधेनु Kāmadhenu), also known as Surabhi (सुरभि Surabhī), is a divine bovine-goddess described in Hindu mythology as the mother of all cows.

Kamadhenu or Kamaduh is the sacred cow, who is regarded as the source of all prosperity in Hinduism. Kamadhenu is regarded as a form of Devi (the Hindu Divine Mother) and is closely related to the fertile Mother Earth (Prithvi), who is often described as a cow in Sanskrit. The sacred cow denotes “purity and non-erotic fertility, … sacrificing and motherly nature, [and] sustenance of human life”.

Kamadhenu, the mother of cattle who is also sometimes described as a Matrika (“mother”) goddess.[3] Other proper names attributed to Kamadhenu are Sabala (“the spotted one”) and Kapila (“the red one”).[4]

The cow symbolizes the dharma itself. It is said to have stood steadily upon the earth with its four feet during the Satyayuga (world’s first age of truth), upon three feet during the Tretayuga (the second stage of less than perfection), upon two feet during the Dwaparayuga (the third stage of dwindling and disappearing perfection) and only on one leg during Kaliyuga (the fourth and current age of decadence).

http://www.harekrsna.de/kamadhenu.htm

Note: Remember that part of the meaning of Lalita who is the Divine Mother ‘Devi’ is ‘Red’.

As a form of the Devi she originally had the proper naming style which included one of the Devi’s names, her name originally being Dhenu Ambika (Cow of Ambika – Ambika being a name of Lalita) but as usual over time with streamlining and downgrading the status of the the cow goddess, cows in general and the hiding and replacing of the Divine Mother in the public eye, the name was changed with the Divine Mother’s name removed and the ‘kama’. The name should be Dhenu Ambika. In Bengali the name is Gomata or Gaumata (depending on the dialect/transliteration). Go/Gau-Mata = Cow + Mother, aka Mother Cow.

Cows in general are seen as symbolic or the children of Dhenu Ambika and hence are supposed to be sacred, not prayed to directly but in association with the Divine Mother and her forms.

Dhenu Ambika Gaumata Sacred Divine Cow Mother Goddess
As usual being taken advantage of:

Dhenu Ambika was an amazingly powerful and benevolent being but is pretty much seen as a cornucopia to be taken for granted and used continually like trying to trick a genie in a bottle to constantly grant all wishes and desires. She is an integral part of various religions in various forms which I will outline later on but unfortunately has become ‘the gift that keeps on giving’/being taken from. Typical of the choosing of ‘gods’ and deities to pray to really but given much less respect and homage than the most popular ones people pray to and pray to mostly for reasons of wishing for prosperity, money/wealth, good fortune, fertility and longevity before/over protection, comfort strength, wisdom usually associated with mother goddesses (though the well known, current so-called mother goddesses were/are not directly associated with the Devi, they are replacement consorts for the usurping pantheon).

According to the story of her first known appearance She emerged from the ocean or sea of milk (Kshira-Sagar) an ocean described as made from/under direct jurisdiction of the Moon Cow. She emerged whilst the ‘gods’ and ‘demons’ of the time were playing tug-o-war and churning the ocean desperately trying to get power and be the strongest. The sacred cow appeared and was ‘won’ by the ‘gods’ who then somehow thought they could present her to ‘the seven sages’ and then most notably became the possession of sage Vasishta. The churning of the ocean of milk is described as a cosmic battle hence implying a war in space or other dimension and they were fighting specifically over/for Soma/the elixir of life later known as Ambrosia (there’s actually a dairy brand called Ambrosia).

Note: It is said the ‘gods’/deities were created from/born of the soma – soma being the primordial blood/dark matter hence connected to the Mother Goddess but as shown above also to the ocean of milk. Blood, particularly menstrual blood and milk have a significant correlation (humans are said to be made from moon clay) and the children of it fought for control over it and it’s source the Divine Mother and everything/one directly associated with Her.

Soma was produced by the churning of the primal sea (Kali’s ‘ocean of blood’ or sometimes ‘sea of milk’). Or Soma was secreted by the Moon-Cow. Or Soma was carried in the ‘white pot’ (belly) of Mohini the Enchantress. Or the source of Soma was the moon. Or from Soma all the gods were born. Or Soma was the secret name of the Mother Goddess and the active part of the ‘soul of the world’.

http://members.efn.org/~finnpo/indigenia/Menstrual%20Blood%20-%20Walker.html

Dhenu Ambika apparently had a daughter called Nandini (the masculanized versions/bulls are currently seen as pets for two of the modern father-trinity and seen as clumsy but powerful comic side-characters) who was also given to a sage to give him and his friends to live off of.

Further on she is described as bearing many golden cows called Kapila cows, who were called the mothers of the world, mother of all cows. The later you go into texts though things get more convoluted which the current high ‘gods’ claiming they made her and other versions who they’ve also called the mother of cows, buffaloes and horses; one even says a supposed lesser creator deity (not of the current faux trinity) made her after he drank soma from the ocean of milk. So where did he get the soma from to make her when it and the milk comes from her? Chicken and egg anyone? The later you go into the ‘stories’ the more and more of her children are given away and used for things people use cows and bulls for including heavy labour/work and battle. Yeah people, giving away and pimping others is not good. Being a parent and/or custodian/guardian/having a ward doesn’t mean ownership over the body/mind/soul of them. Having children or obligations/duties in the forms of dependents is an allowance with limits, something that has been given (or not in many cases in this world where its forced, tricked, expected), some call it a blessing (though there’s division over that between people who think beings on Earth and perhaps elsewhere have been tampered with and those who believe in evolution and/or direct creation via modern religions) and acting like they’re assets/property (the same goes for treating women/wives as something to be owned) is both sacriligeous and unethical.

Biting that hand that feeds, well worse than that actually:

‘Bhumi Devi’ or ‘Mother Earth’ is symbolised as a cow in the Vedic tradition, as just like the earth, the cow is an endless giver of resources and nourishment.

‘The cow is a mother to mankind whom we should love, respect and protect. Her milk sustains the life of many species, including humans. Her dung provides fuel and bricks for millions of rural families across the Asian countries. Her urine is medicine for the sick. When she dies her skin provides us warmth and protection through clothing.’

http://www.harekrsna.de/kamadhenu.htm

How convenient.

So the idea of using, abusing, skinning, crushing, siphoning, consuming generally or downgrading by moving the creature away from it’s original self/look by calling it ‘meat’ and eating a symbol of your mother and furthermore the Divine Mother doesn’t make you want to throw up? Cannibalism at it’s ‘best’. I’ve come across quite a few people who can’t cook ‘meat’ themselves, who can’t bring themselves and/or are disgusted/repelled by the look of a carcass and then some of them can’t eat it if still looks like a body part on their plate i.e. they need it carved up for them into slices. If your mind is giving off such strong warning triggers, don’t ignore them.

Hypocrisy:

Cows live anything but a nice life in India let alone the world, even back when Hinduism was the significant majority religion there (and pre-partitioned Bangladesh and Pakistan). Just because we see some wandering about stopping traffic or apparently doing their own thing doesn’t mean much when you think about how much it takes to provide society with what it wants. Any type of farming/cultivation takes an almost incomprehensible amount of space and amount of ‘source item’ e.g. the animal necessary as well as sustenance and output, to produce what people want. Dairy farming like poultry and any other animal farming is horrific, and ‘free range’ is anything but ‘free”. People seem to have fanciful ideas about animals being treated better than humans and making up things like comfortable, air conditioned, constantly fed and attended to transportation and luscious Green fields etc, baby chicks can be sent like any inanimate object in a parcel to small scale/home human breeders/rapists and so many are dead and crushed and the live ones in terrible shape by the time they reach their destination. Whether normal battery style or ‘free’ they are forced to breed over and over until they can’t any more and then their bodies are used for countless bi-products in consumer items and what happens to the male calves? Ha, sold off for beef and the other ‘items’ from their flesh, bones, blood, organs, dung etc that the female cows get sent off for after being thoroughly abused and worn out. Nothing sacred about that. Even ‘family cows’ who’ve done their ‘service’ and die are used as a resource afterwards, anyone else eat and use their family members/pets/friends after death?

Previously and perhaps still in some places oxen and bulls were used as sacrifices to the ‘gods’ and then they were eaten by the people… Yeah… So whilst the males were used to rape cows (as is done world over and for all species in this obsessed ‘buy a baby whenever we feel like it’ for pets and using animals for everything or rape to ‘conserve’ world) they were also sacrificed. So holy and devout. Ritual sacrifice is so damned stupid and twisted, whether it be animal/human or plant – it’s like the question ‘what do you give someone (you like) who has everything?’ The answer to that of course is sincere friendship, commitment, appreciation etc all those nice adjectives – but what do people do? They breed, use and hack down the beloved creations of said creator and offer them up on a plate for the creator to supposedly enjoy and metaphysically feast on before then eating it themselves, heck can’t let it go to waste can they especially once it’s been touched by the ‘god’ damn they’ll get even more blessing out of it then. Like Hindus looking down on thinking of menstruating girls/women as dirty (and not allowed to attend/carry out pujas-prayer rituals/go to temple) yet they’re obsessed with wearing the Red powder on their heads which represents menstrual blood and they particularly covet the statues that apparently ‘bleed’ by themselves.* Sickos and psychos. That’s using the Creator as a fount, not giving thanks or worship but then again the people are just copying (like that’s an excuse) their lesser deities who did/do the exact same thing. Those guys – both the so-called deities and the obvious demons – can even demonstrate extreme devotion and prayer for mind boggling periods of time all for the sake of boons and forgiveness and then turn right round and call themselves all-mighty, the Creator, and go on a rampage. Over and over again. Seriously the Divine Mother has been waaaay too forgiving in his-story/scripture and that’s going back far enough to even really notice Her since history (once the Vedas came into it – the ar*ehole deities got the knowledge/specifics/technical info on creation and life, and made Earth into ‘Hell’/prison planet) does a apt job of hiding, omitting and downgrading Her. The pack mentality behind ritual sacrifice reminds me of pilgrimages – people are apparently on a holy journey to visit special places and show how pure they are or to be cleansed and then what often happens? Stampede. Crushing those ahead, stamping over, pushing/shoving, not giving a damn, being so desperate to touch a building or get near a high up priest is so holy, not.

*Note: Interestingly enough the powders – sindoor (the toxin laden one) and kumkuma (the natural one) are used in the oppression/repression of women of whom many think it traditional and their duty so continue with it. Sindoor is the one traditionally used on women (surprise surprise given the risky ingredients it’s made of) to signify they’ve been bought/sold, sorry ‘married’, and are fertile – full of life and colour. Then if they are widowed (since divorce is sooo unlikely and heck they aren’t really burned alive with the corpse of the husband anymore though many are again sold/married off to the husband next male kin if he had any since it’s awful for a girl/woman to have independence and she’d be seen as a burden on her family otherwise) they go through elaborate rituals to remove the sindoor showing that losing the husband means the girl/woman is now barren and lost her life force (unless the family marry her off again of course, so her vitality is based on their choices). Such women use sindoor everyday and the extra traditional ones also wear a nose ring and toe rings (how much ‘joining’ by marriage symbols do they need – taking it to the point of shackles, seriously it’s not the wife that represents ‘the ball and chain’ and nose rings in this context can be likened to rings unnecessarily put in animal noses so they can be chained). Kumakuma (representing the chakras/energy vortices) however is worn by men and women after attending temple rituals rather than home ones, how ‘lucky’ for the guys.

Anyway…

Just because the Mother/Cow/Earth has so much richness in her being doesn’t mean you’re supposed to take it apart as a resource and make it into a corporation. There’s a difference between being looked after, having what you need, given by the parent and falling into the universal sins of greed, lust, envy, gluttony etc and further being power hungry and addicted. Heck some people drink the blood directly they’re so damned greedy and desperate for what it confers, cow’s blood (and milk) being related to human female blood especially menstrual blood as described HERE in significance.

The lives of the very gods were dependent on the miraculous power of menstrual blood. In Greece it was euphemistically called the “supernatural red wine” given to the gods by Mother Hera in her virgin form, as Hebe. The root myths of Hinduism reveal the nature of this ‘wine’. At one time all gods recognized the supremacy of the Great Mother, manifesting herself as the spirit of creation (Kali-Maya). She ‘invited them to bath in the bloody flow of her womb and to drink of it; and the gods, in holy communion, drank of the fountain of life — (hic est sanguis meus!) — and bathed in it, and rose blessed to the heavens’. To this day, clothes allegedly stained with the GOddess’s menstrual blood are greatly prized as healing charms. W.R. Smith reported that the value of the gum acacia as an amulet “is connected to the idea that it is menstruous blood, i.e., that the tree is a woman.” For religious ceremonies, Australian aborigines painted their sacred stones, churingas, and themselves with red orche, declaring that it was really women’s menstrual blood.

The same elixir of immortality received the name of amrita in Persia. Sometimes it was called the Milk of the Mother Goddess, sometimes a fermented drink, sometimes sacred blood. Always it was associated with the moon. “Dew and rain becoming vegetable sap, sap becoming the milk of the cow, and the milk then becoming converted into blood; — Amrita, water, sap, milk, and blood represent but differing states of the one elixir. The vessel or cup of this immortal fluid is the moon.”

http://members.efn.org/~finnpo/indigenia/Menstrual%20Blood%20-%20Walker.html

Note: I remember some episodes of ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ in which she fought with one of the Amazons over ambrosia and the ambrosia was shown as Red jelly…

Also hypocritical that the so-called modern divine trinity and their consorts/family are seen as the be all and end all, the top of the Hindu hierarchy yet all the gods are believed to reside in the body of Dhenu Ambika (the ancient Egyptians believed the same and later Greeks continued to as well).

Her four legs are the scriptural Vedas; her horns are the triune gods Brahma (tip), Vishnu (middle) and Shiva (base); her eyes are the sun and moon gods, her shoulders the fire-god Agni and the wind-god Vayu and her legs the Himalayas. Kamadhenu is often depicted in this form in poster art.

http://www.harekrsna.de/kamadhenu.htm

Why is that? Because they came from the Mother who is of course greater than them and reside within her cosmic body/space. They did not make Her or Her forms.

Another hypocrisy in modern post-vedic/post-diluvian Hinduism is that Dhenu Ambika is often associated with the Brahmin caste aka priest class, whose wealth she symbolizes. Hmmm. A reason why the streamlined version of Hinduism aka Buddhism (the belief system that egotistical Indian prince spread when he decided things were about to get too tough for him after a lifetime of taking advantage of all his privileges and of which he effectively become god/top of later on) worked/works so well is that it does away with the obvious caste system based on reincarnation. [*1] Brahmins and Brahminis [*2] are not supposed to be wealthy in a material sense yet because of the caste system of which they sit atop – they often are and you don’t get rich by being nice (unless you win the lottery) let alone stay rich enough to keep it in a family/obsession with longevity and the descendents of course get less and less visually pious. A whole caste is made up of much more than the poor priests who walk around with the clothes on their back, a walking stick and a food bowl.

Notes:
*1 – Reincarnation also being a ‘modern’ construct, an excuse for life being made so shitty here and a reason for well off people to tell others they haven’t earned better. It’s also the lack of explanation for what death really is, particularly difficult to explain in virtual reality, so instead we have a soul society who get recycled.
– in the reincarnation system being born as a cow is seen as one of the highest, most sacred levels. The cow is also a symbol of enlightenment in Buddhism. But as anything connected to the Divine Mother it’s desecrated in ‘real’ life.
*2 – lady priests who we barely ever see/hear of nowadays – most female yogis/gurus we see in the West are White women who’ve converted to Sikhism through yoga mind/body/spirit practice which is Hindu anyway, Sikhism being a very young religion.

Cows were often gifted to Brahmins and like ‘cattle’ in general were/are seen as stock/assets (heck we’re all seen as livestock on this planet and numbers or ‘useless eaters’/consumers) and milk/milk products (milk, curds, ghee/butter), urine and dung are used for pujas – this is apparently seen as pure, good and prosperous for the family. The products of forcing the family cow to pregnancy over and over is seen as a good, holy, wealth aka ‘happiness’ giving thing. Of course to keep this practice is maintained as pujas and sacrifice cannot technically be carried out without milk products – vicious cycle.

Cows are ‘given’ a one day holiday every year – the ‘pet’/family used and small scale owned ones anyway, do you honestly think the big farmers/traders/companies would lose precious profit doing so other than perhaps a token one or few for show – where the cows are washed and decorated (how nice for them) in temples and given offerings for the wish of them continuing to produce. Twisted much? They’re not even giving thanks/appreciation for the cows, they’re bloody hoping for more to come, like they’re not going to force it anyway – they’re really celebrating their own behaviour and hoping to continue getting away with/doing it. And one day off a year!?! Ha and I thought modern working annual leave was stingy. Hence I’m not writing in regards to that celebration which is scheduled for Halloween this year in line with Divali, I’m writing today as it’s world Cow Appreciation Day.

This is a Mantra recited in praise of Gomata.

Gomata Mantra
Sarvakaamdudhe devi sarvatithirbhishechini l
Pavane surbhi shreshte devi tubhyam namostute ll

गोमाता मंत्र
सर्वकामदुधे देवि सर्वतीर्थीभिषेचिनि ll
पावने सुरभि श्रेष्ठे देवि तुभ्यं नमोस्तुते ll

Sacred Cows In Various Cultures:

HATHOR

Hathor Divine Cow Sky Mily Way Goddess

Hathor Divine Cow Sky Milky Way Goddess

Also Hathor

The most famously known is Hathor, a goddess of many forms and directly connected to Isis, Inanna, Astarte and of of course Dark Mother Kali.

Hathor was often shown in cow form or like Isis depicted with cow horns on her crown (the horns also representing the crescent moon and menstrual blood) and sun disk in the centre. She is also associated with the constellation Taurus. She is known as the Divine Sky Cow. Her form Hesat is her earthly manifestation. As Hesat she carried and nourished the ‘gods’ from wet-nursing/mothering to everything else they considered nourishment and her milk was said to be the ‘beer of Hesat’ (note the blood-milk-soma-ambrosia-mead connection).

Hathor comes from the earlier ‘Mht wrt’ (meaning ‘Great Flood’ – ancient Egyptian doesn’t have vowels, it’s a guttural ‘dead language’ that we can only guess how it was spoken) who was a cow mother goddess.

Another early cow mother goddess was Bat (Ba = part of the soul) that Hathor took over from and both her and Nut are also associated with the sky and Milky Way (ocean of milk anyone?) Bat was rarely depicted but when found was shown as human female with bovine features such as horns and ears. I would say eyes but all the Egyptian and Hindu goddesses have beautifully drawn/accentuated eyes and cows in general have beautiful eyes too. (Sidenote – the later Greek goddess Hera was known as the ‘oxen eyed’ though not associated with cows other than that.)

Egyptian Cow Goddess Mother Bat Bata Ba

Bat

Hathor Cow Goddess of Death & Goddess of the Moon
The Egyptian Hathor was a goddess of the Sun represented often as a cow with the sun-disk placed between its horns

“Het-Heru:” The Cow Goddess Of Spiritual Blessing
Meaning “the House of The Holy Land,” Het-Heru (or “Hathor” as the Greeks pronounced it) is the symbol of MOTHER NATURE as the “house” in which we live.. in other words, the World around us. She was invoked for every form of blessings that Mother Nature can give; Life, Health, Strength, Fertility, Wealth and the Joy of Life. Adored at many Temples in Egypt including Medenet-Habu in the Sinai (where Moses and the Israelites stopped on their journey briefly) Hathor survives in Hebrew tradition as “the golden calf” of Exodus. Those born of her Totemic Lineage are deeply devotion-oriented and prone to lives of BLESSING OTHERS rather than self-service. From Education of the young to Healing the body, mind and soul, Het-Heru can be found wherever JOY is being celebrated as a Blessing.

http://www.home2b.nl/goddess-page-hathor1.html

THE CAILLEACH BHÉARA and Irish and Celtic cow associated goddesses in general (not sure whether specifically Welsh or Irish under the word ‘Celt’)

The great Old Goddess of Ireland was the Cailleach Bhéara, or Hag of Béare in Munster. She “existed from the long eternity of the world.” [cite] A woman of Tiree once asked the Cailleach how old she was. She replied that she remembered when the Skerryvore rocks were fields where barley was farmed and when the lakes were little wells. [MacKenzie, 162-3] Her great age was a sign of power, truly venerable, and proverbial: “as old as the Cailleach Bhéarra.”

This cailleach was named Boí, “Cow,” a title she shared with Bóind and other ancient Irish goddesses. She was also called Sentainne, “Old Woman.” The Irish said that “she passed into seven periods of youth, so that every husband used to pass to death from her of old age, so that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were peoples and races.” [O Hogain, 67]

http://www.suppressedhistories.net/secrethistory/crones.html

Her name was cow but she was the Crone/Dark Mother and was known for having a magical cow that many coveted, so direct relation but a separate being like the cow being a form of the Devi.

In Ireland there were several ancient cow goddesses, some like Dil and Damona, who both ruled over fertility, but about whom little is known today.

Then there is Bo Find, who manifested as a white cow. She transformed Ireland from a barren land into a green and fertile one. She came from the Western Sea with her sisters Bo Ruadh, the red cow goddess and the black cow goddess, Bo Dhu. Their different colours represented the different phases of the moon.
The sisters all went to different parts of the island. Bo Find went to the centre where she gave birth to a male and female calf. These twins were to provide food for the people by giving milk and ploughing the earth. Their work done, the cow sisters then departed back to the sea.

Another goddess was Anu who was a guardian of cattle and health. Fires were lit for her in midsummer and her priestesses sang the dying to sleep.

Brigit was a Celtic mother goddess to many European tribes. Some suggest her name came from the Sanskrit word brihati, an epithet of the divine. She was a goddess of regeneration and abundance and her protection was said to be very great. She was seen with a pair of oxen called Fea and Feimhean.

As Christianity began to grow Brigit, also known as Bride, was transformed into a popular saint. Legend says her mother was carrying a pitcher of milk when she was born and the infant was bathed in it. She was unable to eat ordinary food and was reared on the milk of a white, red-eared cow. This was a special animal with links to the otherworld in Celtic mythology. The companion animal of the adult saint was said to be a cow, who gave her all the milk she required.

Ancient myths link us to past ages where cattle were venerated

OTHERS

Zoroastrianism
Further information: Vohu Manah

The term geush urva means “the spirit of the cow” and is interpreted as the soul of the earth. In the Ahunavaiti Gatha, Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) accuses some of his co-religionists of abusing the cow.[18] Ahura Mazda tells Zarathustra to protect the cow.[18]

The lands of Zarathustra and the Vedic priests were those of cattle breeders.[19] The 9th chapter of the Vendidad of the Avesta expounds the purificatory power of cow urine.[20] It is declared to be a panacea for all bodily and moral evils.[20]

Jainism
The name of the first Tirthankara in Jainism is Rishabha, “The Bull.” The religion forbids the killing of cattle, whether for the consumption or sacrifice.

In Norse mythology, the primeval cow Auðumbla suckled the ancestor of the Frost Giants, Ymir, and licked Odin’s grandfather, Búri, out of the ice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_in_religion

END

Cow Mother Motherhood Child

True beauty owned and controlled, used and abused on this prison planet.

The public respect cows so much that milk/dairy products are not seen as luxury ‘goods’ and demand the cheapest possible price for them, cheaper than junk food except when they are made into things like highly sought after cheeses and chocolate, which doesn’t taste half as good nor anywhere near as nourishing as simply made or raw chocolate imo. Reminds me of places in ‘third world’ oh wait ‘developing’ countries (aka stripped to the point of absolute poverty) where certain fizzy drinks were produced and were so cheap they were practically on tap and far more easily available/accessible than clean water – wonderful for the people eh, so lucky. Then in some ‘modern-first/developed world’ countries promotional tactics of companies like Coca-Cola used to tell people to feed their babies with their product to ensure their social well being aka popularity and not being picked on. Similar to the days in Western countries where gin was practically on tap though ‘soft’ drinks weren’t outlawed or restricted at any point.

The word ‘cow’ and even ‘holy cow’ like the feminzation of many words is used as an insult.

When we see cows and all animals that are used for consumer goods, ‘sport’ (though hunting, baiting and freak/circus/carnival/road shows shouldn’t be called sports as ‘sport’ implies that the participants have agreed to play fully understanding the rules and that they are fair) to display pieces in pet shops and zoos we are overcome with sadness. Humans have truly become a vampiric species taking it beyond blood and psychic vampires.

What you have sown so shall you reap.

GuhyaKali Kali Lalita MahaKali Kalima Divine Dark Mother

GuhyaKali the secret form of Kali that is rarely depicted/talked about. She with all the animal heads.

Gallery

A Vegan Discovers Pachamama

I read the blog entry below last year and found it inspiring, being vegan means you have to know where you can eat/drink or buy beforehand though in modern towns there’s usually at least a health food store. What I really liked reading about was the ‘chicherias’ and their respect to the Andean Earth Mother ‘Pachamama’. Peru is a fascinating country and with the Andes bordering other beautiful and mysterious countries the allure is deeply compelling.

https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/beaten-track-south-america-vegan%E2%80%99s-experience

Friday, 11 September, 2015
Dana Roberts discusses experiences that opened her eyes as a vegan traveller in Peru, and provides tips for like-minded vegan adventurers.

When you’re traveling as a vegan, most of the guidebook recommendations aren’t helpful. The stand-out restaurants suggested by Zagat and others will often make you pay a hefty sum for a plain salad, even though you asked them not to include the lobster on top.

However, there is an attractive alternative: use veganism as an opportunity to push yourself away from the well-groomed tourist path. You might just realize that there is still a lot out there to discover.

The market of markets in CuscoWhen my boyfriend Lou and I arrived as fresh-faced vegans in Cusco, Peru, one of the first things we did was explore the local markets. However, we quickly realized that not all markets are created equal. For example, many of the central markets listed in the ‘off the beaten path’ guidebooks were built to support the huge influx of tourists, and the fruits and vegetables they sold miraculously doubled in price in comparison to other, peripheral markets. When I was chatting with a local chef about this problem he happily suggested I go with his father to the largest market, 20 minutes from the center of Cusco, and discover what a real city market was like. This was the holy grail, the market that all the other markets bought from, and it showed. You could only buy in bulk: a crate of strawberries, or a massive bag of potatoes. It was a vegan paradise of sorts.

This early realisation to get out of the centre and to actually talk to more locals was a turning point in my travels. Empowered to continue exploring the city, I met up for coffee with a local photographer named Wayra. He agreed to take us to a few of his favorite ‘chicherias,’ small bars usually run by one woman, where the only drink served is a home-brewed fermented corn drink called ‘chicha.’Drinking ‘chicha’ After hiking up what felt like 100 flights of stairs, we finally made it to one of these local bars, barely visible from the street. It was marked by a small bouquet of flowers hanging in a pot next to the door with a red flag made of plastic – this combination of flowers and ‘bandera’ lets you know that you’ve come across a ‘chicheria.’ As we entered he explained that before we could take our first sip, we must make an offering to ‘Pachamama,’ or mother earth, as a gift, by pouring out a little of our drinks onto the dirt floor. We sat in a small room with a tin roof as the rain pelted down amongst a group of elderly Cusqueño men. After everyone felt satisfied with the number of toasts that had been made to the earth, and to each other, I took my first sip. The only way I can describe it is a mix between hard apple cider and a very sour, almost cloudy beer. Sitting among the locals, drinking a beverage that has been made this way since Incan times, I was struck by how far my plant-based way of life had taken me. Drinking ‘chicha’ with new friends in the outskirts of Cusco will forever be one of the most interesting things I’ve done while travelling.

A Green Point catered partyAfter being on the road for about a month, I could feel myself getting tired of going to restaurants and trying to explain: “no leche, no carne, no mantequila, no huevo, etc…” All that changed the day I was walking through the artsy neighborhood of San Blas and stumbled upon Green Point. It was an entirely vegan restaurant nuzzled away in a side alley that like the ‘chicheria’ could barely be seen from the street. When I sat down for dinner I couldn’t believe my eyes – an enormous menu with everything from vegan lasagna, vegan ravioli, vegan tofu fried rice, lo mein, etc. There were plates from all around the world—all veganised—and all completely affordable. It was such an amazing and exciting moment to kick back with a vegan menu, to be able to relax when the waiter came by, and to finally get to try a lot of Peruvian dishes that had previously been off limits. The chef, Fabricio, had created a vegan ceviche made with avocado, mango, corn, lime and coconut, which was one of the best dishes I ate in Peru. There was even a vegan version of “lomo saltado” a traditional Peruvian dish normally made with steak and sautéed veggies. Getting to try most of Green Point’s menu and meet the wonderful people who worked there made me start to feel less like a traveller and more like a guest in someone’s home.

Cusco will always remain special to me as the first place we travelled as vegans, and where I gained so much perspective when it comes to getting to know a new city. To my fellow vegan travellers, I would recommend doing a little research before landing. Peruvians are familiar with the term “vegetarian” but many of the waiters think that vegetarians only abstain from red meat, not white meat like chicken. As a vegan traveler, it’s worth memorising all the Spanish words for meat and dairy products, especially butter and cheese. Beyond that, I would also recommend remaining flexible and trying to find accommodations that allow you to cook for yourself once in a while. This way you can shop at the various local markets and begin to explore the unbelievable diversity of fruits and vegetables available in Peru.

By Dana

Dana and her boyfriend Lou run Plant Based Traveler, a vegan travel show dedicated to demonstrating that while being a vegan backpacker involves more planning, it is infinitely more rewarding.

Mum and I aren’t religious or ritualist but I do like the way they ‘pay’ respect to Pachamama and in personal, non-hurtful ways like giving back a little food that wasn’t made via sacrifice. We do similar, every time we cook we give a bit back to the fire and when we don’t it takes it… Hard to explain but it’s not like the usual ‘damn I dropped a bit!’ I’ve been saying ‘thank you’ to anything I use, that seems like it has ‘personality’, even if that just means it works hard and has ‘moods’, for a long time. It’s just a quick reflex but I mean it. So when I wash my hands for example I say thank you to the water, heck I even say it to inanimate objects like the photocopier. Whether they have any kind of sentience or not they help me and I’m grateful even though ultimately ironically I’m not grateful for life or the ‘experience’ as many people put it.

As with any source/’resource’/’fount’ though respect can be turned into homage i.e. a ‘set in stone/print’ allegiance/contract which is usually too ‘gimme gimme gimme’ on some sides who get distracted by codes of coded behaviour over the importance of what it is they should be doing. For example when Catholicism spread in South America, Pachamama was absorbed into Virgin Mary imagery as other goddesses were worldwide and rather than being respectful that’s iconoclastic imo. For example ‘The Virgin of the Mountain’ (there is a lot of Pachamama mountain imagery and some of the ‘symbiotic’ Christian/Catholic juxtaposed images are terrible morphs) and animal sacrifice described below:

http://info.handicraft-bolivia.com/Pachamama-Mother-Earth-a346

The Pachamama is the highest divinity of the Andean people since she is concerned with fertility, plenty, the feminine, generosity and ripening crops, besides providing protection.

The name Pachamama is translated into English as Mother Earth since pacha is a word in both Quechua and Aymara that means earth, cosmos, universe, time, space, etc. in English and mama means “mother.”

The concept of Pachamama is directly related to agricultural wealth since the economy of the indigenous peoples is based on agricultural production. Nevertheless, most of the population in Bolivian cities is indigenous (mainly Aymara and Quechua), including as regards their customs, so their beliefs are still common in modern society. However, there have been some changes as the Catholic faith has become more prevalent. In some ceremonies the Pachamama is worshipped through the Virgin Mary.

This symbiosis or sincretism can be clearly seen in the picture The Virgin of the Mountain where the Mother Earth, represented by the mountain is above the Virgin Mary as well as being her skirt.

Worshipers venerate the Pachamama with offerings through rituals like the challa. Likewise it is very common for the Pachamama to receive the first serving of beer at their social gatherings since believers pour a few drops on the ground before they take their first sip. This is a way to thank and feed the Pachamama.

One of the most common offerings to the Pachamama in the Aymara culture is a llama fetus which, once dried, is buried under the foundations of a building or in the crop fields during August to attract wealth and wellbeing and to keep bad energy away.

Also, in the Andean culture the Pachamama is the goddess who protects all material goods and at the same time rules over the spiritual universe. Therefore, she symbolizes the human environment in every aspect, so those who believe in her will maintain a balanced, reciprocal relationship with her.

Then there’s the point that we use our ‘resources’ so recklessly and greedily that there came a point when the Bolivia felt it necessary to establish Pachamama’s ‘legal rights’ as if she’s subject to the bits of her body’s made up jurisdictions; might as well make her human, make all the profit/advantage you can out of her and then charge her rent and utilities for the privilege of being used and act like you’re doing her a favour. I’m not criticising the Pachamama Alliance who were/are working for environmental and indigenous people’s harmony, just the irony of the situation.

Stepping in the Right Direction: Giving Mother Earth Rights

This last October Bolivia enacted an expanded version of its already revolutionary 2010 Law of the Rights of Mother Earth. Titled the Framework Law on Mother Earth and Integral Development for Living Well, the new law exemplifies indigenous values in that it recognizes Mother Earth as a “living dynamic system,” and grants Her comprehensive legal rights that are comparable to human rights.

Honoring the Larger Living System that Envelops & Sustains Us

In general, the law “…says Mother Earth has the right to exist, continue life cycles and be free from human alteration, the right to pure water and clean air, the right to equilibrium, the right not to be polluted or have cellular structures modified and the right not to be affected by development that could impact the balance of ecosystems.”

The law is seen as a bold step in the right direction for a number of reasons. Bolivia has particularly felt the effects of climate change, as the video above portrays, as well as environmental damage from deforestation and its dependency on extractive industries. “In 2010, Bolivia ranked 137th out of 163 countries in annual environmental performance index by Yale and Columbia universities.” It is hoped this law will improve environmental and human rights conditions in Bolivia itself, and expand on the precedent Ecuador set when it incorporated rights of nature into its constitution.

Challenges On the Path To Realizing Mother Earth’s Right to Thrive

Not surprisingly, however, there are critics and skeptics who question the appropriateness, and/or perceived idealism, of giving Mother Earth legal rights. And there is also the question of how the law will be enforced. While a Ministry of Mother Nature will oversee enforcement, and an ombudsman will be appointed, the big question is how the law will be realized on the ground. Even champions of the law recognize this will be difficult, at best.

On a practical level, there is resistance to measures the new law calls for that require existing practices to change. For example, the right of Mother Earth not to “have cellular structures modified” means genetically modified seeds will be phased out. At the same time, much of Bolivia’s agricultural industry uses genetically modified seeds. Ninety percent of all soy, Bolivia’s third-largest export crop, is grown with transgenic seeds. Demetrio Pérez, the president of the National Association of Oilseeds and Wheat Producers, says Bolivia cannot return to traditional technology because “99% of crops are transgenic.” And in this article, originally posted in Yes! Magazine, Nick Buxton writes, “In 2010, 70 percent of Bolivia’s exports were still in the form of minerals, gas, and oil. This structural dependence will be very difficult to unravel.”

Two leading Bolivian indigenous rights groups ,CONAMAQ and CIDOB, have also rejected the law, stating that it undermines indigenous rights by not requiring indigenous consent for development projects, and promotes “standard development” that will continue to harm the environment.

On a conceptual level, some argue that the law is contradictory, mixing human’s and Earth’s rights together, leaving the door open for one or the other to be exploited. Carwil Bjork James writes:

The rights of Mother Earth, rights of indigenous peoples, rights of peasants, right to development, and the right to escape from poverty are all intermixed. CONAMAQ argues the law “incorporates the ‘right to development and the right to esacape from poverty’ so as to justify a developmentalist, extractive, and industrializing vision. In my analysis (and here I’ll put my environmental policy degree on the line), combining these rights into a single mix will allow future Bolivian governments to decide on which right gets prioritized. Under the aegis of “‘integral development,” governments can decide to value oil revenues spent on antipoverty programs over an indigenous people’s rights to refuse drilling on their territory.

The validity of these concerns and doubts can only be speculated on at this point.

Stepping Toward a New Vision by Re-thinking What Counts as the “Public’s Interest”

Despite concerns, it’s difficult to deny the law points us in an important direction. It recognizes the inextricable connection between human and environmental well-being, that we are pushing Mother Earth past sustainable limits, and that all people and institutions need to take part in reversing this trend.

Begonia Filgueira states in this article, “To say that the Earth is of public interest is also a major shift. There are many EU and UK laws which allow the public interest to trump over environmental concerns; the public interest not being normally defined as the well-being of the Earth community or the Earth, but determined largely by economic standards. By including the Earth in the public interest, there is an automatic shift from the human centric perspective to a more Earth community based perspective. And if there is a conflict between human (individual) and Earth/human (collective) rights, how is this meant to be resolved? The law says that the bar, the limit will always be the destruction of living systems.”

At bottom, Bolivia deserves credit for recognizing, in a more substantive way than any other nation so far, that humans ultimately will not thrive if the Earth as a whole cannot. We’d love it if you would share your thoughts on Bolivia’s law, and/or giving rights to nature in general.

The Inca people had a similar to ethos to other Brown peoples of the Earth whereby when they were conquered (over and above their civil in-fighting) by White people they foretold of a long period of suffering followed by the potential/opportunity of being peaceful, again apparently, and over time that becomes a fusion of invaders with invaded or specific races when it comes to the later Abrahamic religions and peoples. Wishful thinking/planning of the desperate? One group of Inca said that after 500 years of materialism and falling will come the time (1990 onwards) where people would have the opportunity to work together for better. Then there’s more widespread American prophecy of the Eagle of the North uniting with the Condor of the South, the eagle being masculine and condor feminine which makes sense from the right and left hand path philosophy – the feminine is the lower/the left (and in practice for humans ‘dirty’ or ‘wrong’/dark/evil) and the masculine the higher/the right (and in practice for humans the ‘better’/light/good, even ‘enlightened’). In concept masculine and feminine aren’t the same as human fe/males but in practice the older cultures were more feminine and totally so the further back you go, so with the domination of what became the US over the indigenous I can see why many describe the eagle as masculine and condor as feminine. The same goes for ‘The Children of the Sun’ part which is apparently what we’ll be when we unite, technically all Brown people are children of the sun in terms of climate though the term colloquially refers to Native Americans for many people, but the ‘sun’ in this has multiple levels (doesn’t everything?) There’s fireball in space, then there’s the ‘light’ of spirit and apparently these ‘new’ people will have a ‘new’ light. I’m writing this whilst living in a place that almost is sunnyland and thinking over recent years when we’ve moved ‘sun worshippers’ (of all skin colours) have followed; and let’s just say they were grasping, greedy opportunists who were/are obsessed with glorifying themselves whilst gorging on the energy of others. No wonder they’re happy in this place steeped in religious symbolism and clubs.

According to some people the Incas like the Indians may have had ‘ages’, the Inca ones being Golden, Silver, ‘Goni Killas’, Bronze and Iron age/Ayar Auka. Considering that the above ‘prophecies’ weren’t really prophecies but directions given by people to people to guide/be a plan, they remind of people who wish for the return of some ‘Golden Age’. It sounds beautiful but is it? Mass ascension has never been my thing. The Incas were too modern for me (I’ve always preferred prehistory) in that they too had the ‘masonic’ influence other ancients were overcome by. (Using ‘masonic’ – the corruption of the sound/voice/truth of the mother aka ma-sonic- as a description of the influence which under one name or another has over history been obsessed with being ‘all knowing yet unknown’ themselves whilst knowing everybody else’s lives inside out and making ‘sacred’ secrecy (the workings of the universe) and sacred silence (personal reflection/thought) into dogmatic, militant, bureaucratic systems of thought and control, which became prevalent on the ancient cultures and into today’s world.)

http://realitysandwich.com/146869/prophecy_eagle_and_condor/

The following is excerpted from Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience, forthcoming from Inner Traditions.

The prophecy of the Eagle and Condor is remarkable in that it marks the first truly international indigenous prophecy widely embraced by both Native and European-descended peoples, yet in approaching it, we need to be wary of the word “prophecy.” Anthropologist Adine Gavazzi reminds us that prophecy in the West involves a diachronic historical process, which among the peoples of the Andes and Amazon does not exist. Rather, there is the experience of cyclical and synchronic time, where different levels of perception of reality occur simultaneously. In other words, people do not witness prophecies unfolding in the linear progression of historical time. They live and experience the reality of myth — and in post-colonial America, such revitalization of the mythic core is a potent means of cultural and political resistance.

According to anthropologist Jeff Jenkins, the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor is within several (Andean Quechua, New Mexican Hopi, Guatemalan, Honduran and Mexican Mayan, Ecuadorian Shuar, and other) traditional indigenous cultures of North, Central, and South America. From these different regions come prophecies with a common theme of arriving to a point in time when “the human family would face the choice of evolutionary transformation into symbiotic presence within the more-than-human world or to continue in the destruction of the planet.”1

The genesis of the prophecy is shrouded. Naturally, throughout South America the indigenous Harpy Eagle and Condor figured prominently in the cosmo-visions of Pre-Contact native communities, yet there is no clear lineage of transmission for the version now in circulation.

Jenkins, inquiring into the prophecy’s origin among certain Shuar, Quechua, and Shipibo elders, reports, “What I glimpse into their understanding is that, early in their history as a people, the ways of the Condor and the ways of the Eagle were shown to them. Initially, this understanding was irrespective of north/south dichotomies. Through the generations of emergence, powerful personal spiritual and physical encounters clarified who the Condor was and who the Eagle was, as with any major plant, animal, mineral ally. I understand that the Condor archetype was symbiotic with the jungle Harpy Eagle archetype prior to European conquest. They soared together in both jungle and mountain terrain through the lands. The concepts of north and south and their respective archetypal and geographical resonance became clearer through subsequent centuries, when the symbol of the bald eagle became the dominating force of USA orchestrated mass genocide of the indigenous peoples. The indigenous condor consciousness was seen as inferior. The regenerative efficiencies (harvesting carrion and bringing back the energies of the dead) of the condor’s ways were disregarded. Symbolically and literally, the condor began its journey through torturous endangerment to the brink of extinction. The associations of north and south were, if I understand correctly, emergent and co-arising with the expanded intricacies of the way history panned out in the north and south.”2

One version of the prophecy comes from Lauro Hinostroza, a Peruvian healer who now lives in Mexico City. It states that in the historical cycles of the Incan peoples at the end of the eighth Pachakuti (each Pachakuti corresponds to five hundred years), the Eagle peoples would dominate the Condor peoples for one Pachakuti. This coincided with the arrival of Europeans, with their extractive economy and industries, leading to the exploitation, depopulation, and even genocidal eradication of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The reign of the Eagle peoples was foretold to nearly bring into extinction the Condor peoples.

The prophecy continues with the claim that the tenth Pachakuti, from the end of the twentieth century, would be a time for the peoples of the Condor and the Eagle to fly and mate together in a creative symbiosis to restore and regenerate the Earth community.3

One marker of this opening of the tenth Pachakuti is the emerging unification of indigenous peoples and traditions, North and South, as well as the “indigenizing” of Westerners previously without a native consciousness of connection to the Earth and its larger, non-human community.

There are no historical documents, however, to buttress the claims of an Incan origin of this prophecy, and one hankers for a lineage. In reviewing our earliest record of Incan folklore and mythological cycles, the Huarochirí manuscript, commissioned by the Jesuit priest Francisco de Ávila in the late 1500’s as part of his campaign to eradicate the power of the pre-Conquest priesthood and worship of the huacas among the indigenous Andean peoples, there is no trace of Hinostroza’s pachakuti scheme nor the particular eagle/condor symbolism of the prophecy.

Yet the absence of written documents does not preclude a direct lineage out of the time depths of indigenous America. Since the inter-cultural nature of the myth supports it being a confluence of many different indigenous prophetic streams — especially if a cross-fertilization with the Hopi and other prophetic traditions of the North, which do have a “turning point,” occurred — it is probably futile to seek an original trace among surviving documents. It is through surviving culture that we need to gaze into the backward abyss of time.

One strong candidate for the cultural origin of the prophecy is the Taki Onkoy movement, which flourished in the latter 16th century and was widely mistaken until recent years to have been simply a short-lived political and cultural uprising against Spanish domination, until the work of Peruvian scholar Luis Millones disclosed the spiritual depths of the Taki Onkoy, including its enduring nature.

Spanish chronicles report an ecstatic dance, conducted at the huacas: sites (or loci, since humans, plants, animals and other beings could also be huacas) in the sacred topography of the Andean people where the divine nature of the cosmos was especially manifest and accessible. There the participants underwent a process of purification, sloughing off the imposed foreign traditions cutting them off from their ancestral memory and vital connection to the indigenous cosmos, while reestablishing their communion with the huacas.

The dance of the huacas, (so akin to the tragically short-lived Ghost Dance of the Northern plains), we now know has continued through the centuries, in disguised forms such as among the Danzantes de Tijeras, until the present. For example, in Arguedas 1962 account of the “Rasu Ñiti,” or death dance among the Danzantes, we see the ancestral spirit of the mountain, Wamani, appear in the form of a condor to the agonizing dancer. In this way, dancer can die in peace, because in the trance of the dance the continuity between the past of the ancestors and the future of his surviving family and pupils is guaranteed by the presence of the condor.

Among the Ashaninca of the high rainforest, whose ancient culture displays the ability to integrate the knowledge of newcomers (as they did upon receiving many of the Incan refugees into their communities), the practice of Taki Onkoy particularly flourished. Yet it was not a mere Incan import into their culture. It rather appears both as a form of shamanistic revival that erased religious superstructures, Christian and Incan, as well as a millenaristic practice, intended to reestablish the original balance with the natural world, the spiritual ancestors and the sacred landscape thru the awakening of the huacas. The messianic rebellion of the Ashaninca, led by José Santos Athahualpa in the 18th century which attempted to reestablish indigenous rule in Peru, appears to have drawn much of its spiritual inspiration from the Taki Onkoy.

In the end, it is clear that the Taki Onkoy is not just a historical episode. As Lawrence Sullivan writes, “The myths and rites of the Taqui Ongo religious-dance uprising…defy, escape or recreate their own initial historical setting in the sixteenth-century Peruvian Andes. Not only by their periodic reappearance in Andean History but also by their reappearance in ethnographies and in our own imaginations, these images transcend their original situation. Their presence among us in the twentieth century makes them and their meanings part of our own historical situation in a way that must be reckoned with”4

This way of ceremonial re-membering, with its messianic promise of the resurgence of native consciousness, enduring for centuries under the baleful, coercive glare of the European invaders and their predecessors, is not simply a heroic expression of a profound cosmology capable of encompassing a foreign belief system. It reminds us that the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor did not materialize out of thin air — it is a gift to us of hundreds of years of native resistance and tenacious remembering.

It is, in short, a brief lyric from a profound song of nostos.

Notes

1. Jenkins, An Ecozoic NeoNative Wisdom: Interfacing Cosmological Indigenous Ritual And The Story of the Universe, 10-11.

2. Personal communication.

3. Jenkins, An Ecozoic NeoNative Wisdom: Interfacing Cosmological Indigenous Ritual And The Story of the Universe, 10-11.

4. Sullivan, Lawrence, Icanchu’s Drum, 56.

Works Cited

Jenkins, Jeff. An Ecozoic NeoNative Wisdom: Interfacing Cosmological Indigenous Ritual And The Story of the Universe. Ph.D. diss. California Institute for Integral Studies, 2012.

Sullivan, Lawrence E. Icanchu’s Drum: An Orientation to Meaning in South. American Religions. New York: Macmillan Co., 1988.

It’s interesting, we’ve got the human and indeed more-than-human or non-human perspectives on Mother Earth and how we coulda, woulda, shoulda in terms of behaviour. I wonder what hers is, I doubt she’s willing to forgive and forget.

I like the Earth but she’s a little Mother who needs more than the ‘help’ ‘here’, I think I’ll wait for a or the Universal Mother to come and clean up proper.

In short musical form this is what I think happened 😛

So now its:

Tick tock the clock’s about the stop and She won’t be placated nor mollified.

Oh well you shoulda treated ‘your’ woman right, too little too late and too insulting trying it now, as these ladies say:

Gallery

“Plants Are Alive Too”

“They look after each other, communicate with other plants and animals and feel/react too so vegans are fake.”

Well D’UH it takes people of all diets so long to remember/realize and acknowledge what is common sense and observable – of course plants are alive and have sensory perception. That however doesn’t make vegans and wannabe vegans illogical, this argument is in the same vein as happily spiteful, extreme and/or exceptional examples used as statements against anything and the first thing it reminded me of was when I used to debate in a teenage/young adult forum and one of the topics that came up alot was homophobia and the ridiculous “if gays can marry each other, what next, marrying animals?” 🙄

The point of veganism is to consistently reduce harm done to others and to yourself, absolutely as much as possible. There are very few people in the world that can be ‘true’ vegans and they’d have to live in enclosed environments and not tread on the grass. The same goes for tons of not-really-but-call-themselves ‘vegetarian’ pescetarians and it’d do less damage (although of course either way the animals end up the same and distributed to all manner of industries like those experimented on too) if actual vegetarians gave up dairy/eggs/honey instead of meat – that goes both for vegetarians in general and those doing it pre-veganism. Also self styled human carnivores who are obviously not just consuming/using animals. But vegans (not the same as plant-based dieters) are trying, hard, in a world where many think that doing more – adding more steps, processes, ingredients, business/transport links etc is normal and wanting/doing less is extreme.

Then there are those of us who want to get to fruitarianism and breatharianism/inedian – the former being fruit/nut based but some types and still actively done in parts of India for example are those who only take what has fallen/come off the plant or do not destroy the plant while harvesting, and those who do not eat veg/fruit (which are designed to be eaten btw) that grow underground part of root systems or are roots. I know I that thrive the most as a fruitarian but due to accessibility cannot do that. Breatharianism is something I’d really love to do but do not believe it possible for most in polluted and highly electrical environments (that’s on top of natural background radiation) but there have been examples and kudos to them for being stronger than I.

Then our bodies are hosts to innumerable flora and fauna and that’s before getting to the unwanted and parasites proper.

Not being able to prevent/save or do enough in one area is not an excuse to see life as a free for all to partake or even indulge in any and all areas.

“Vegans have a hidden agenda” or “they’re hypocrites and unnatural”

are not reason to think that it’s ok to take from the backs and energy of others let alone making yourself ill in the process (physically and/or mentally and for those that believe – spiritually – and no I’m not talking about people who mistake detox symptoms as ill health from apparently ‘going vegan’, uncomfortable cleansing means there’s alot to deal with.) If anything it should make people wonder what can be done to cause less pain and continuance of creating life to suffer or for your own ends, like vegans are doing and like those vegans who are doing it for the planet as a whole.

P.S – Today is ‘Water a Flower Day” so go ahead (don’t stamp on it in a defensive, bullying way as a reaction to this post/me and perhaps even laugh at such immature behaviour) and hey why not talk to it, they make good listeners 🙂 (and no I don’t mean artificially made spy rocks&plants used by US border control.)

Gallery

VWC Ultimate Hair Repair Serum – An Excuse to Sniff Me?

VWC Ultimate Hair Repair Serum Organic Argan Oil Prickly Pear Seed Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn, Olive, Aloe Vera Orange Blossom Essential Valerie Widmann Cosmetics Natural Vegan

I consider my hair to be at least a sentient semi-autonomous-part of my body and though I usually trust it, it can be difficult keeping it from caressing people it likes and stopping it strangling those it doesn’t, so I wouldn’t want to hear what it may sometimes say behind my back. We have a standing agreement; it has almost free reign, looks cool no matter how messy it is, almost looks after itself and I home-colour my roots maybe three times a year, go easy on the hair dryer and have stopped my Mum experimenting on it to see if a style would look good on Her via proxy.

That’s why I wouldn’t normally try and then review a hair serum since there are very few products I would use on it so I hope that speaks volumes because I only tried this due to the ingredients and am very impressed with Valerie Widmann’s Cosmetics (VWC) Ultimate Hair Repair Serum.

It’s an oil blend and the oils used in my opinion give it that va va voom.

To my mind this is a sleek product in a strong, clear, tall glass 55ml/1.85 fluid ounce bottle with a plastic pump dispenser that actually works since the inner tube goes to the very bottom and unlike many bottles actually has the description, ingredients and directions on a label as well as the branding. It comes in a matching box which is handy since the glass isn’t dark and doesn’t slow down oil degradation.

The recommended method or as I call it ‘method 1’: A Serum To Wash Out

‘Instructions for use: Massage oil into scalp and leave for circa 20 minutes to 1 hour. Then wash hair as normal.’

As a wash-out oil treatment it works like all good oils do in my experience aka it depends on your hair type and scalp sensitivity. If you have dry to average scalp/hair you’ll probably notice more of a difference i.e. softer skin and the oil lightly coating the hair as it rinses through which should stay in place unless you then shampoo/condition and/or towel dry so much that it mostly comes off on the fabric.

My hair isn’t dry so doesn’t absorb oil that much, but it does hold on to it well without feeling greasy – so basically this blend with this method doesn’t suit my needs so much because I already use oils. That means I didn’t really notice a difference in using this except a bit of sting on the areas I’d previously scratched (not a problem for me, that’s the kind of thing that happens on raw skin depending on the oil and it subsided) and I have to wash and wait for my hair to dry before I can use this which I’m not inclined towards.

Method 2: A Leave-In Hair Conditioner/Moisturizer

Overall I preferred it left in, there’s nothing obvious in the ingredients which necessitates it being washed out as far as I’m concerned, it’s just an oil so I’m ok with that but for those whose hair gets unmanageably greasy quickly (though bear in mind the more frequently you wash hair the quicker it’ll get greasy/used to doing so) it’d probably be easier to wash out as instructed.

Finding a good leave-in conditioner is akin to finding a good pair of shoes and. That. Is. Hard. I rarely find shoes that are comfortable and I can walk long distance in and I rarely find a leave-in conditioner my hair will accept whilst still looking cool enough to wear sunglasses (since I don’t like them on my nose). I’ve tried lotions, balms and oils and been unhappy with most of them – not this one. It covers, softens, smoothens, moisturizes and does it straight away, it also absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a noticeable residue – bonus!

It can also be steamed instead of washing out. Note – this doesn’t involve heating the oil beforehand. I put the cold oil on both my scalp and hair then steam it in and when it dries voila soft, shiny, vibrant, bouncy hair. To steam either put your hair up in the bath/shower or even in a double helper by steaming your face under a towel hence aiding your nasal passages and skin whilst also steaming your hair. To dry, a hair dryer with cold to medium level heat will suffice, not too high or for too long though as not only is that damaging but remember hot oil cooks.

Steaming means not stripping the hair with extra washing and serves me better for detangling than using specific ‘detangling’ ingredients in a lot of products naturally derived (different to ‘natural’) and synthetic, I find those do detangle my hair but also leave it ‘squeaky’, less elastic (so easier to snap/break) and too light/voluminous which means ‘flyaway’ for some people and necessitating some kind of holding product like a spray.

Comparisons to other oils used on the head

Doesn’t itch.
My scalp likes to breathe and tends to itch a lot when leaving any product on it so even though I use oils I tend to focus on the hair but this one doesn’t bother my skin although those with sensitive or problem skin should always do a patch test.

A little goes a very long way.
It takes 2 squirts to cover my scalp and a further 2 for all over my hair – to me that’s not much as it would usually take 2-3 times as much, and I find it spreads very well even through thick, coarse/wiry aka curly hair.

Detangling – knots what knots? Bedhead? No problem.
The simplest, quickest detangling product I’ve used period when leaving it in. I can run my fingers through my hair with barely any effort and undo knots easily. I don’t often have hair hijinks but it calms stray strands and mushed areas like music to a beast.

Good replacement for coconut oil – a Winter oil
You can go from looking salon fresh one moment to Worzel Gummidge (a scarecrow) the next if you go from a warm environment to a cold one e.g. indoors to outdoors and vice versa whilst wearing coconut oil. It’s wonderful and gotten very popular but not very practical in the Winter; olive oil, shea, cocoa butter are also wonderfully nutritious but not for people who can’t handle the weight. This is a lighter, versatile alternative.

Method 3: Scent

I’m not a perfume wearer since you never really know what’s in them except alcohol and the notes (there are some attractive make-your-own kits though!) I’ve only ever bought two perfumes and that’s not for lack of trying. I once went through a bunch of those sample sticks to the counter assistant’s frustration only to buy the first one I chose and knew I liked and had always liked but wanted to see if anything better had come along since. Both of those perfumes were purloined by someone who wouldn’t buy them for himself. Cha. I do however like oils for scent and find them much more sensuous.

So it nourishes and in my opinion smells gorgeous! For many people this could be the first and potentially most important factor because it’s a strong scent; sweet, rich and reinvigorating (and I’m glad it doesn’t have added perfume, even a natural one) I’d wear this for the scent alone! Well… I might reconsider now that I write it down, I’ve been told that I smell really sweet – something hormonal on my part perhaps or just something pervs think up for a line. Adding more sweetness might increase those who sniff you at bus stops or stand close to you on the tube in those ridiculously rare moments when it’s not ‘rush hour’ and there’s actually space to move. Then again it might make you sickly sweet, hmm… So potentially offputting for those who find a little too much oil to be pungent or dislike of ‘Oriental’ type fragrances.

Method 4: Face/Body Oil

This is probably the fastest way to use this product and yet it’s my favourite – my hair doesn’t need much of it, but the rest of me does!

It’s light, absorbent, refreshing, moisturizing and healthy – it’s made my face look less blotchy from all the sleeping-under-the-blanket weather issue, removing the blemishes from a recent foray into food with White sugar, soothing my nose (and surrounding skin from) and nasal passages from a cold and has been helping with the burn mark on my left hand. An all rounder.

Interestingly enough I can feel the resistance when using it on drier body parts like my hands, it doesn’t spread as easily or the skin feels abit rough/’sticky’ until it sinks in but elsewhere it’s smooth like other oils.

Ingredients and General Properties

Organic Argan Oil, Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn Oil, Olive Oil, Aloe Vera Oil, Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Orange Blossom Essential Oil, natural preservative, Vitamin E.

Note – only the argan and prickly pear seed oils are organic, ‘organic’ means being certified and hopefully adhering to rules and guidelines from certain organizations. That doesn’t necessarily mean others don’t meet those/similar standards or are low quality just that the manufacturer couldn’t, wouldn’t or haven’t yet gotten organic status. (That doesn’t include extraction and refining if refined.) Then there’s genetically modified (GM or nowadays GMO) crops, one of the reasons for many turning to companies like this and I’m highlighting this point because there is controversy over GM corn (and soy and many tend to lump GM and non-GM versions together in the argument). That can make it confusing with ingredients that either aren’t labelled ‘organic’ or ‘GM’ (if the ingredients are labelled at all) or aren’t one or the other.

Argan & Prickly Pear Seed – Very high in essential unsaturated fatty acids including omega 6 & 9, also in Vitamin E. The former has Vitamins A & F and the latter Vitamin K. They are commonly used for antioxidant activity, regeneration/healing, dry/mature skin and dry/damaged hair.

Sesame – Sometimes called the ‘Queen of oils’ and has a multitude of health uses – edible, medicinal and cosmetic. There are far too many properties to list but they range from antibacterial to protecting against radiation-induced DNA damage.

Coconut – High in essential unsaturated and saturated fatty acids including medium chain triglycerides, high in Vitamin E, has many uses including being a natural sunscreen.

Corn (Maize oil) – Depending on how you look at it is either a filler or additional help to the others. It’s med-high in Omega 6 and possibly Omega 3 but the ratio is said by some to be unhealthy. For cosmetic purposes noted for Vitamin E but has others. Susceptible to heat damage.

Olive – Known as one of the healthiest fats and one of the most studied – a multifarious edible, medicinal/preventative, cosmetic oil full of essential fatty acids and polyphenols. Everything from an anti-inflammatory to pain relief.

Aloe Vera – Not usually thought of in oil form, has all the usual qualities but concentrated. Soothing, said to prevent hair loss by improving blood circulation in the scalp, prevents/treats dandruff & itching, moisturizes skin & retains the moisture.

Orange Blossom (Neroli oil – not the same as Orange Blossom ‘absolute’) – an interesting and pricey essential oil that has many medicinal uses, generally thought of as mentally revitalizing yet physically soothing, hormone balancing and resistant to sun damage hence holds its properties well. Also known for its strong and sweet flowery scent.

Valerie Widmann Cosmetics

This item was provided by VWCosmetics in exchange for a fair opinion and company mention. It’s available to buy for €28.95/£22.71 at:

http://www.vwcosmetics.com/products/organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil-products/hair-repair-serum.html

‘It does not contain parabens, alcohol, synthetics, sulfates, petroleum, GMOs, animal by-products, artificial colours, silicones (no dimethicone!) and fragrances… Added to this is an exotic blend of oils which repairs and restores the shine in your hair. It nourishes, conditions, treats and repairs dry, colour treated, heat damaged hair leaving you with a silky, shiny, luxurious finish.’

VWCosmetics is a German company that imports from fair-trade cooperatives for their organic, cold pressed argan and prickly pear seed oils and aspires to a higher quality, unique selection of products.

Conclusion

This works both as a boost and maintenance product. For those wary of oils due to having oily skin remember there are oils actually used (including some of the above) to balance that for many reasons such as astringent properties.

I siphoned some oil into a smaller bottle and found that 20 squirts equated to 8ml so if you used it for a hair&scalp treatment once a week at 4 squirts a round that’d be upto 9 months of use. However if you’re using more and in various ways it’d decrease much faster, I’ve been using it for 10 days and down to 2/3 but then I was experimenting… Although I like it in most of the ways I’ve tried it so I can see it lasting approximately a month. But hey, it’s worth it.

Gallery

Veggie (and Fruit) Burgers The Way They Should Be

It’s taken me a while to put this post together due to wanting a variety of examples (and I’m posting this whilst not hungry so all the better 😉 ). Basically I saw some vegan friendly veggie burgers in a supermarket on special offer back in the January sales and thought it’d be nice to have something different and that I hadn’t had in ages. They tasted similar to many others I’ve had over the years and weren’t anything unexpected but still, Mum was very disappointed and thought they were like cardboard and to me they just felt like mush, something to perhaps have with a plateful of other things to compensate. Not for the first time since I started focusing on preparing food from scratch I wondered why I’d ever bothered with them.

Anyway as usual when we don’t like something we (try to) do it ourselves.

The results

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Vegan

It’s big! That’s a dinner plate, not a small one.

A Chunky veggie burger, vegan friendly and easily made allergen friendly by using preferred flours etc.

It’s a very simple recipe – just veg of choice, flour of choice, abit of sea/Himalayan salt, just enough water to make it sticky or into a batter and a little oil of choice.

The amounts used depends on the size of your pan, how many you want to make and how thick you want them to be. We initially used:
500g of veg,
1tsp of salt,
just enough flour & water to make it sticky,
1 heaped tbs of chia.

Chia seeds are used for their nutritional value and gelatinous quality e.g. as an egg replacer; they literally open/turn inside out with the jelly surrounding the shell. However ground flaxseed/linseed is also a popular choice (1 tablespoon flaxseed/linseed plus 3 tablespoons water) although I find slippery elm a fine and much cheaper alternative. Plus it has the benefit of not sticking all over my mouth/teeth/gums like chia. That said we’ve found that this recipe doesn’t need egg replacers.

Heat enough oil to shallow fry, add some mixture and fry on high heat for upto 5min per side or just before it burns – the chunkier the burger the more heat it needs but it also depends on the strength of your cooker. Cooking it that way made 2 burgers but we decided that a little oil was needed within the mixture as well to ensure cooking all the way through and to improve taste, it also shortened cooking to 3min per side but others may prefer it with less oil.

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Vegan Fried Frying

We found that makes very chunky and filling burgers as pictured but if you make the mixture into a batter rather than just sticky you can make them thinner in the pan to get 3-4 burgers. You can also add tomato sauce, an alternative milk instead of water (which makes them creamier) and spice. I think this would really have benefited from fresh herbs as well such as coriander, parsley or dill – Mum says pesto lol.

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Vegan

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Vegan

The benefits of cooking them like this:

You control what goes in and don’t have to put up with cheapening filler and sometimes unnecessary formulation ingredients like rehydrated textured protein, methyl cellulose, yeast, dextrose, added gluten, hydrogenated or hydrolized ingredients.

It’s a very versatile method and we tried different bases like beans and fruit, yep fruit 🙂

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Chunky Bean Vegan

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Apple Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Vegan

Apple

This is apple and instead of salt we used 1 heaped tsp of demerara or molasses per apple and we found 1 apple made upto 2 burgers/fritters. More sugar can be used but we like them to be slightly tart tasting. The density of the fruit determines the texture of the outcome e.g. apples are harder and actually tasted like strudel whether we used water or a mix of water/milk but we also used pears and just milk and they tasted softer and more like pancakes.

Homemade Veggie Vegetable Fruit Burgers Fritters Pancakes Healthy Vegan Pear Argan Oil

I actually used organic unrefined argan oil in the mixture for this pear batch!

On the whole these are very filling, we could only eat 1.5 at most at a time!

Gallery

VWCosmetics Prickly Pear Seed Oil – The ‘Next Big Thing’ After Argan?

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review

Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) Seed Oil is another treasure finding its way out of Morocco following its hugely successful predecessor Argan (Argania Spinosa) Oil. It’s currently one of the most expensive oils available to buy purely for its own value rather than say, couture brand label mark-ups and packaging so it’s quite an honour to be writing about something that I wouldn’t usually come across. If Argan oil is known as ‘liquid gold’ then would that make Prickly Pear liquid platinum? I took it for a test drive to see 😉

Please note – the bottle of 10ml Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil I’m reviewing was provided by VWCosmetics at http://www.vwcosmetics.com/ in exchange for a fair opinion and company mention, both of which I always include as a matter of course in a review 🙂

OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION

I was offered the chance to try this oil whilst nursing a scald/burn on my left hand so this review is the sequel to the one featuring Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex, it continues the treatment here’s a re-cap of where I left off:

Timeline

Approx 1 week after the burn

Time for a change from the aloe vera and lemon juice, started using Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex.

Approx 1 week after that

Time for another change – I find it best to do this as the skin (body in general) can get used to one thing/treatment and the effects can plateau but I still needed more healing so started using the Organic Prickly Pear Seed oil (OPPSO) on affected area and the above oil on the areas around it.

And approx 1 week after that

Dabbing apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ intact on the wound as a finishing touch, this was left to the end as it is a high strength, unrefined vinegar and not generally found on the highstreet. It’s very strong (so should be diluted) and also very versatile for health, cosmetic and cleaning – so using it here to eat through the damaged layers, heal, soften (yes this type of vinegar softens skin – and hair – whereas lemon juice dries) and lighten the skin. Using OPPSO and argan afterwards.

Note on terminology from now on:
OPPSO – refers specifically to VWCosmetics Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil
PPSO – refers to prickly pear seed oil in general, organic or not, virgin & cold pressed or not.

WHAT IS A PRICKLY PEAR?

It’s not a pear as we know and love but a colourful cactus fruit that grows in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Ever heard that joke about treating a porcupine for pins and needles? Well this plant and its fruit are covered in spindles so it no joke when local growers say to leave the higher growing fruit to the birds since it’s not a good idea to use ladders near these plants!… Ouch. They remind me a tad of dragon fruit on the outside and pomegranates on the inside so that should give you an idea of how exotic they are and how small their seeds are. The Daily Mail stated that it takes 1 million seeds to make 1litre of oil and the Chelsea Physic Garden say that their 3in spines used to play 78rpm records on gramophones before steel needles, yikes! They have a Mayan heritage but were also found throughout Africa as a precious resource for food and health then taken to the Mediterranean where they were hailed and regaled before being brought to the spotlight again in current times.

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review

Photo credit: photowalk.mostlyfiction.com/category/desert-plants/

What are those spikes protecting?

A heck of a lot of vitamin content (E & K primarily) and unsaturated fatty acids (Linoleic/Omega 6, Oleic/Omega 9 – has the ability to penetrate beneath the upper layer(s) of skin for longer lasting benefits) as well as saturated acid (Palmitic), minerals and amino acids. And that’s just in the seed oil, the rest of the seed and fruit as a whole are very nutritious. In terms of cosmetic use PPSO is suitable for residents of such dry climates and when shared with the rest of us, in theory a great health booster particularly for those advancing in years and those with dry skin/hair, lines/wrinkles and for some masking to removing discolouration of skin and light scarring. I’ve read about those with heavy scarring and birthmarks having ‘miraculous’ results but personally I doubt that would happen for me. There doesn’t appear to be many sources of info (other than the invaluable and irreplaceable experience of the those who’ve been consuming/using it for ages of course) but the general consensus is that PPSO outclasses argan oil in tocopherols and tocotrienols (the 10 groups of Vitamin E) and leaves olive oil in the dust so to speak hence has the highest amount of Vitamin E out of most oils available for cosmetic use. Other oils noted for Vitamin E are wheat germ and almond. Remember though that Vitamin E can only be taken internally in much smaller amounts than topical use – so olive oil is still excellent for eating and for thicker texture.

I’ve tried to explain Vitamin E in a number of reviews but basically unlike other vitamins it’s not a single ‘thing’ – it’s a group of compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols (5 of each) that are collectively known as Vitamin E though on many products you’ll notice a prominence of tocopherols mentioned e.g. ‘tocopherols enriched’. As a beauty aid Vitamin E is noted and used for anti-oxidant ability and focus on regeneration so all round anti-aging and weather protecting.

PUTTING IT THROUGH THE PACES

First impressions – texture and packaging

The oil is lightweight, has a faint scent that reminds me of cocoa butter and is very smooth – that might sound strange but many oils thicken and get blobby to in the cold but this one doesn’t. That might be because it’s a ‘stable’ oil meaning that it retains more of its nutritional value in conditions that other oils would start to degrade in, given that it’s cultivated and used in hot climates with bright sunshine it’s impressive that it also holds well in the cold. It’s also quick to absorb.

It comes in a cute, little dark Brown glass bottle and matching thick card Brown box. It has an inbuilt, plastic dropper pipette which I found was slow/clogged at times so perhaps not quite wide enough but other than that functional and prevents waste.

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review

On the burn

I started using this on the burn because I felt it would be better to use a single ingredient product to get the full benefit, product blends are great but sometimes I feel the properties are competing and you might not get the force of the ones you want as they are subdued by others. I was tempted by another product I had used in the past that is a powerhouse of oils but I decided for the burn area itself to go with the OPPSO for the higher concentration of Vitamin E. I’m not one who goes for either phrase ‘if you eat well it shows so you shouldn’t have to worry about your skin/hair/nails’ or ‘the product you apply in one area spreads and affects all the other areas so why bother with specific areas’ … I agree with both to an extent as through research and experience (and quite frankly common sense) one does affect the other, it’s all connected but at the same time some areas need more attention than others and tailored attention at that. That’s exactly why in my Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil review I stated that I felt it important to keep the whole hand well nourished so the skin around the burn wouldn’t suffer as well and could indeed boost aid to the affected area but at the same time the affected area has different/extra needs.

By the time I started using this my skin had that overly smooth/non lined look like a gel blob were it liquid and if left like that looked as if it would probably acquire that somewhat shiny look of stretch mark and cut/torn based scars as well as the lines from the surrounding skin. I wanted to avoid that because it’s a large and noticeable area.

I only needed upto 4 drops to cover the affected and surrounding area and used it regularly especially after washing. I found that it wasn’t as softening or smoothing as I had expected but my hands are problem areas in that respect and need more in the way of lotion or body butter for that effect. However it addressed the shiny tissue issue and made the skin look more ‘real’ and matte again. It now looks more like a birthmark or skin discolouration than an injury scar and the area is not raised but level with the rest of the skin. I think that’s the most I could hope for given the severity of the burn, my skin being prone to scarring and using this at a later stage of the treatment instead of earlier.

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review Natural Burn Treatment Home RemedyVegan

Uneven skin tone

Interestingly enough PPSO has notable amounts about both Vitamins E and K; the former being a blood thinner and the latter a thickener – in that sense I can imagine that having a balance of both would or should assist with uneven skin tones, not taking into account skin colourants but more the formation of skin cells. That said old scars and marks run deep and can take years to noticeably reduce since even new skin copies the old when it comes to those so it’s important to use something that is high in Omega 9 to get to those layers or be present when they grow, it’s one thing to have the Vitamin E it’s another to get it where you want it to go, (argan oil has much more Omega 9 than PPSO).

It’s supposed to help with shadows on the face and like many other people probably have been doing I’ve been sleeping under the blanket since on the onset of cold weather and that leads to blotchy facial skin and the darkening of the sides of the nose and under the eyes especially. I’ve tried the oil in that area and haven’t noticed any difference but that’s unlikely to change unless I come up for air and actually get some more oxygen! I’m thinking if I steamed my face & neck and then put this on as an overnight moisturizer it would have a much better chance.

Other

I had a few places of torn skin near my cuticles and this healed them in no time, they didn’t even itch – just went straight back to normal skin.

It’s apparently also really good for achieving glossy locks with a little going a long way, since this is a 10ml bottle and I’m pre-occupied with my skin at the moment I haven’t tried it but I’d hazard a guess that since its rich in Omega 6&9 it’d be better for thick and/or coarse (prone to curling, wiry) or dry and/or damaged hair – it might be too heavy/greasy feeling for light and/or thin hair unless washed out shortly after or heat dried-in.

VALERIE WIDMANN COSMETICS

Looking at the VWCosmetics website I was impressed by the passion shown by the founder for the products from production to sustainability. There is a focus on organic argan and prickly pear seed oil products, both of which are grown by fair trade women’s cooperatives with an interest in helping and forwarding their position in society and protecting their environment. Acquiring both oils is extremely labour intensive e.g. for OPPSO the seeds have to be carefully separated from the pulp and ‘Because each seed contains only 5% of oil, up to 35 kilograms of seeds are necessary to get about 1 litre of Oil.’

There is a lot of info on the site so I won’t reproduce it here but it’s poignant to note that this is pure OPPSO and not a cheaper alternative where PPSO has been blended with other oils or actually from the cactus blossoms and not the fruit seeds.

Also for company info:

VWC OPPSO is
-produced on demand ensuring freshness
-elite quality
-first cold-pressed
-organic and unscented
-sustainably harvested
-virgin and unrefined
-does not contain artificial or chemical additives
-paraben and cruelty-free
-brown bottles for maximum protection
-distributed from Germany in consideration of the strict German cosmetic directives

OPPSO Eco – Certification
VWC only works with Producers in Morocco that have their OPPSO classified as a “Natural and Organic cosmetic” holding both ECOCERT and USDA certification.

CONCLUSION

I think on the whole I’d benefit a lot more from OPPSO if I was older or had weather beaten skin/hair, the fact that I use oils regularly (and have a high oil ‘fat’ diet) perhaps made the effects less noticeable but I can imagine that if the weather was hotter, more oil used and dried in over a longer time period the properties would have more of a chance to shine. Plus this is a small bottle but I’d be interested to see how it fairs on other problem areas on the body. That said in terms of healing damaged skin for both a burn and tearing it did a good job and for that I’m grateful – to Mother Nature, the women who cultivated this and Valerie Widmann who offered it at a coincidental time.

10ml Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil €24.95/£19.57

http://www.vwcosmetics.com/products/organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil-products/10ml-organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil.html

Gallery

Dr Organic Vitamin E Pure Oil – A Solid Middle Range Contender

My left hand was recently scalded and though luckily the worst of it didn’t cover the whole hand quite a large and noticeable area was affected so I was looking for a product that would help. To show how this item fits into the wider perspective I’ll quickly outline my actions to treat the burn thus far and the reasons why I ended up with this particular oil.

Timeline

Day 1

Immediately after the burn I held my hand under the cold tap for approx 15min, then held half a potato over it until the pain went, held an aloe vera soaked gauze over it for a while and then packed grated potato over it with bandage, replenished every 3 hours for 9 hours.

Day 2

Got my strength and mobility back in that hand, no pain and the skin looked good and smooth in general but after a while the most affected area showed itself and was very Red with an obvious outline/perimeter. Over the next few days I applied aloe vera and lemon juice to it (no more bandages whilst indoors), I was satisfied the residual inside heat had passed but didn’t have access to an oil I wanted I use yet.

Approx 1 week later

Time for a change, the aloe vera and lemon were great but since they were both juice (would have preferred raw aloe vera gel) they were drying, which isn’t a bad thing but it was a toss up between wanting to let the affected skin dry and fall off but also needing the rest to be well nourished and heal as much as possible. The skin was a lot darker, itchy over 2-3 days, still Red in places but more Brown and very distinct from the rest of my hand. I was leaning towards a Dr Organic’s lotion (preferably the Vitamin E, Aloe, Coconut or Tea Tree) but ended up with the Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex instead.

Approx 1 week after that

Prickly Pear Seed oil on affected area and the above oil around it.

A very similar incident happened when I was a child, my Mother immediately plunged my hand in a bowl of cold water for what felt like ages (which is something to be careful of since it doesn’t always soothe and you mustn’t add to the stress on the skin by potentially ‘freeze burning’ it), someone else suggested putting butter on it (never put butter or oil on just after the burn unless you’re sacrificing a body part for a cannibal who likes fried meat). Thankfully Mum didn’t listen, she used Sudafed and later we went to a doctor and got something prescribed. That all led to weeks of heavy bandage, skin that looked like bacon, lots of uncomfortable itching, stinging, then all the peeling and general ‘grossness’. Being a lot older now I don’t have the masses of regenerative ability I used to and my skin is prone to scarring, the above actions are not a recommendation just a run through of my actions for myself and if I had more of a choice there are other products I’d use but as it is this review focuses on the second week when using Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex.

Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil Complex Review

Advice from staff at Holland & Barrett, compromises and being budget friendly

I had intended to get a lotion because oils are generally expensive though I wasn’t too keen on the lotions because Dr Organic include a lot of formulation ingredients (e.g. preservatives) but they do use aloe vera as the base and in comparison to other organic, cruelty free and mainly natural products readily available on the highstreet you get more for your money with 200ml at approx £7 (more or less depending on the particular lotion).

That said I was in two minds about lavender oil and tea tree oil, both are supposed to be very good for burns and I usually like to mix them as I find the latter makes the former more moisturizing and the lavender compliments the tea tree but again, essential oils are very costly and you’ll be lucky to find big sizes in ready made blended oils on the highstreet. Bigger bottles of both refined blended oils and higher quality and higher concentration blended oils are available online but then you’re balancing delivery time and higher prices. I mulled over a tea tree tincture but decided against it and then against tea tree altogether as it encourages scar tissue to form, not a bad thing in terms of quick healing but not what I wanted.

It came down to a couple of the Dr Organic aloe vera gels and the lotions so at that point I asked for advice. In my experience most H&B staff are well informed about their products, a bit like Lush staff but less effervescent, and in their favour also open to possible as well as specified uses for products and not reticent in recommending other stores if they don’t have something suitable. The H&B lady thought a Vitamin E product would be best since Vitamin E focuses on regeneration, it had been my first choice for the lotion but we agreed the oil would be better since this case wasn’t just for normal skin; overall it’s more pricey but for an oil, organic oil at that and considering that a little goes a long way it was probably the best option. There was also the Dr Organic Vitamin E Scar & Stretch Mark Serum available but she thought that was better for once scarring had occurred and older scars in general, from my point of view that one’s not vegan so I couldn’t use it anyway.

This currently costs £8.99 at 50ml (though they have great sales & a rewards card).

The proof is in the pudding

The ingredient list is very simple; sunflower seed oil, rosehip oil, tocopherol (compounds associated with Vitamin E, source unknown here), jojoba seed oil, calendula flower extract, Damascena rose oil, citronellol and geraniol. To me that suggests rosehip and rose oils diluted into sunflower and jojoba seed oils as otherwise the price would be much higher, their scent is also very faint instead of heady which fits that theory. All of the oils are well known for their extra smoothing and softening effects with the rosehip and rose having a focus on anti-aging and the calendula a refreshing/revitalising component.

I find this oil very easy to use in that it feels light, isn’t sticky and spreads well only needing upto 3 drops per application to fit that part of my hand. When I first used it on the burn I felt a slight ‘stinging’ sensation but only that time, with regular use I found the affected area quickly and visibly retracted, the Redness decreased and the Brown increased particularly around the perimeter. The top layer(s) of skin became more noticeable in readiness to and indeed started to peel off but instead of being crispy and flaking it came off neatly and without pain when reaching the surrounding skin. Interestingly enough the skin underneath didn’t look as ‘ready’ to be revealed as I would have expected with even a couple of White bits (something I’m not used to lol) but they’re slowly getting darker, other parts were Pink but that wasn’t an issue. The perimeter was and is darker than my regular skin so a bit of a concern but since Vitamin E is associated with treatment for uneven skin tone I’m hoping it’ll all reach a good balance.

I have to reiterate that I would have preferred a stronger oil and this is very mild with sunflower and jojoba being gentle bases for more intense oils so after a week’s use I wasn’t too happy with the outcome. I hadn’t expected miracles, it had initially proved helpful by dealing with the top layer(s) but the underneath wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Being a pessimist-realist I worried that it’d end up scarred and it was showing signs of that overly smooth/non lined and shiny texture/look of scarred skin but I was given a stronger oil that I then switched to for the affected area. I’m still using the Vitamin E blend around the skin though as I find it a good maintainer for normal skin.

Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil Complex Review Opinion Natural Healing Vegan

Stretch marks, scars and more, oh my

The packaging states that this is helpful for dry skin, uneven skin, scars, lines/wrinkles and stretch marks. Having been an active youth subject to a lot of incident and injury from freewheeling ok falling/tumbling down slopes landing underneath my bicycle, jumping off swings at high arc, street hockey to more mundane indoor things like apparently falling off a chair as a child and breaking an arm I’ve alot of scars. I tested this on a range of them; some old (over a decade) stretch marks on my arm (thank you push-ups, not), a bite mark on my hand that’s relatively recent and a breakout on my face (I rarely eat refined White sugar but did recently for filler and immediately suffered for it with inflammation and spots) and the results varied. I found this worked best on my face with the spots automatically feeling slightly itchy and being visibly reduced overnight, whereas on the older scars there wasn’t any difference. I hadn’t really expected any either since scars are notorious that way and this is a light oil. I find the best ones are the really thick oils and butters like olive, cocoa, shea and coconut – they don’t really reduce old scars as much as disguise them like a soft lens in a romantic film when a lead character comes on screen. They soften the skin enough to make the appearance of scars less ‘harsh’ and jagged, that smoothing also makes the skin look and feel younger which in my experience adds a little glow (more noticeable on darker skin) though if you stop using them the scars become more noticeable again.

In regards to dry skin perhaps the cold weather is hindering it because it’s softening but not really making the skin ‘fill out’ which in itself would combat lines/wrinkles too. It doesn’t tone or tauten – though it doesn’t claim to – but just in case you were hoping for that this is not one of those (fruit oils are better for that). Again, I can imagine this working better in warmer weather.

What is Vitamin E?

I generally know the term ‘Vitamin E’ to apply to a group of health promoting compounds from various plants/foods rather than a single vitamin. A fat soluble nutrient and an antioxidant, which infers to me that it’s a healthy fat (obviously if consumed consciously as part of a lifestyle/diet read up on the possible effects of large quantities and remember that fats are used for many functions in the body not just affecting weight) which is easily broken down and helps prevent oxidization in the body which can lead to degenerative effects such as the ever dreaded aging but also health maladies. It’s linked to a healthy immune system, skin, hair and eyes but the benefits and risks are different depending on topical use or ingesting with the latter needing more careful consideration and recommended amounts for internal use are much lower than the ‘Tocopherol Enriched (10,000iu)’ of this product.

As a now common term in the skin care industry Dr Organic describes it ‘as a moisturiser it helps combat premature skin aging and also protects and soothes dry dehydrated and sun exposed skin. It also restores elasticity and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections by increasing hydration.’

The packaging – Mainly a Disadvantage

This is the one point where the brand falls down on the whole imo. There’s generally too much of it or its awkward. In this case the oil itself comes in a dark Brown glass bottle with inbuilt dropper pipette which is handy and hasn’t clogged in use but the box is twice as big as it needs to be (as you can see from the photo), has an two lids and is literally half empty. I’m guessing they thought they could print the info they wanted on it instead of adding a leaflet inside but its unbalanced and almost makes you think there’s something missing.

Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil Complex Review Opinion Natural Healing Vegan

About the brand

Dr Organic or ‘dr.organic’ is a cosmetic brand primarily available at Holland & Barrett. The ‘Dr’ is a British brand, are enrolled in a number of organic standard certifications and have a plethora of awards.

They describe themselves as providers or ‘bioactive skincare’; bioactive basically means a substance that can be used to affect or promote a response from a living organism, and/or can extracted from a living organism. To me it sounds like a very general slogan which can be applied to any number of cosmetics and non-cosmetics alike however from what I’ve seen of the brand it seems to imply that they are interested in conveying the beneficial properties of the items used without clashing or heightening/playing down some characteristics over others. It’s a lot to ask/a big claim and of course different people have different experiences, their products seem quite mild in general but there are some ingredients I’m not keen on.

Quoted from http://www.drorganic.co.uk/about.asp

Our Promise…
Organic ingredients
Bioactive ingredients
Natural ingredients
Natural ingredients are used in all formulations.
No harsh chemicals
No animal ingredients
All our products are suitable for vegetarians. In some products we used by-products from animals, most of which revolve around honey, these include; honey, royal jelly, propolis and bees wax.
No animal testing
No mineral oils
No GM ingredients
Preservatives (naturally derived)

The ranges available are Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, Tea Tree, Vitamin E, Lavender, Manuka Honey, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Rose Otto, Coconut Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil and Dead Sea Mineral. All of the ranges are vegetarian friendly and most vegan friendly.

Each range has a variety of products available including the usual Lip Balms, Body Butters, Hand & Nail Creams, Face Masks, Face Scrubs, Soaps, Body Scrubs, Body Washes, Face Washes, Shampoos, and Conditioners etc. Some more interesting items are toothpastes, deodorants and items focusing on the foot care.

All in all

Some of the glossiest (and feathery-iest) people I know eat tons of sunflower seeds so even though it sounds like a common oil and not particularly impressive, this unrefined version contains a lot of Vitamin E and thankfully in this blend doesn’t have that heavy, greasy feel or smell usually associated with it. Jojoba is also not the best for smell but is also subdued in that respect here. It’s lightweight and whilst not a quick absorber it’s not too slow and doesn’t thicken in the cold weather so makes a decent barrier oil that protects, nourishes and encourages skin growth. On the whole it’s value for money.

Gallery

SoyLove – A Maker of Many Milks, Soups, Tofu & Much More!

Whilst I appreciate the machinery in our daily lives which aids more than takes away or adds in stress/tasks to do and say thank you to them directly (yes I do that), there are two types that I can honestly say changed/enhanced my life; the laptop and netbook I’ve had in the past 14-ish years (primarily due to the internet) and the Soylove milk maker.

In the past 2 years that I’ve been regularly using it when asked “what does it do?” I’ve thought to myself “what doesn’t it do?” Since I’ve discovered a lot of uses in that time beyond its advertising and all the tutorials I read/watched from people making homemade alternative milks and tofu prior to investing in one. I say alternative milks because I mean milk that does not come from an animal so dairy/lactose free being the main allergen labels; common alternatives include soy/soya, rice, oat, coconut, almond and hazelnut though I’ve had/made others like walnut, cashew and peanut so the experience of a product like this is helpful for those with grain intolerances and nut allergies also. Some people don’t call them milks because they’re non-animal, others use the term plant milk(s) but for the purpose of this review I’ll simply refer to them as milk.

Many people who try something different from their usual shopping habits are confronted with large sections of the supermarket that they never really noticed before and the variety of any product can be mind boggling. Some will give up trying if/when they come across a brand or product from a brand that they don’t like and believe that other if not all of the products/ranges will also be disagreeable to them. It’s that mind barrier that’s difficult to overcome when talking about or buying items in front of others that they find unusual. However with more people recognizing food sensitivities in themselves and those close to them and with the ‘vegan/vegan friendly’ and ‘gluten free’ tags becoming a common sight on food packaging more people are thinking about how consuming in similar ways to such diets/lifestyles might benefit their own be it for treatment, maintenance or prevention. So an appliance like this can also be very helpful to many people including foodies/those interested in trying and benefiting from the increased variety it brings – seriously becoming vegan forced me to learn to cook from scratch, learn so much about ingredients and opened the door to so many more ingredients; knowing how to put them together and in what order for both nutrition and taste has become instinctive.

1 tofu soy milk maker

WHAT IS IT THOUGH AND WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

A milk maker is basically a hot grinder/blender, like a coffee grinder but built to get more yield – I mean for home and not industrial use. It heats up and removes the traditional necessity of soaking the beans first. There are many types, most tutorials I studied involved basic blender style designs but I wanted something more sturdy/durable and so I opted for what was ‘second best’ at the time of those available to me as they were quite pricey as an upfront purchase but I’m glad I made this decision because as I said before it’s really turned out to be an investment. At the time the general price on eBay was £140 but I put in an offer and got mine for £100 including shipping. Sound expensive perhaps? Think about it this way; the price of 1litre cartoons of milk/juice (as that is the main and larger size alternative milks are generally sold in) and how much that adds up to every month let alone annually and if there’s more than one person in your household that shares the drinks, and perhaps it is essential for them. That’s a lot of money for mostly water (even a heck of a lot fruit juices are from concentrate) and water that you don’t know where it came from, how/if it’s been treated/what’s in it, how/if it’s been filtered, what type of filter(s) let alone distilled and/or remineralized. What I’ve learned? I only need 80g of soy beans to make 1.5l of milk, and ‘okara’ and ‘thick bit’ (all of which I will explain) which make upto approx 200ml and how every part of that end product is valuable. That’s 8% of a box I’d pay varying prices for depending on the brand/sale and I don’t need added vitamins because I have the bi-products from the cooking process neither do I have to worry about consistency or taste because I can make it just the way I/we like it.

I bought my milk maker and a 25kg sack of organic soya beans from a reputable wholesaler and that was that, well a couple of teething problems (which I will also explain) but worked those out and it’s been worth it.

tofu soy milk maker review

tofu soy milk maker review

In the box:

The maker comes in 4 main pieces;
A) The head/heating element and control panel
B) The base with movable handle
C) A freestanding sieve that fits onto the head
D) The power cord

Along with those came:
E) Manual
F) Handheld sieve
G) Measuring container – upto 100g
H) Muslin cloth
I) 16 sachets of Nigari salt

It’s very simple to use and there’s only three buttons/functions; 1) Tofu, 2) Milk/Porridge, 3) Tea (and all three options can be used for various soups). There’s no on/off button, it turns on when you plug it in and beeps & blinks (Red LED light per button) to tell you what it’s doing. I’ll explain the processes per function in the next section.

Basically the ingredients go into the freestanding sieve which twist fits onto the head or they go directly into the base, the head then sits on top and has a rubber seal, the dual purpose handle is pulled upwards and locks it all into place, you then press the button/function you want and let it get on with its job.

Most milk makers I’ve seen look like blenders in that they have clear and transparent bases/casing and are very plasticky. This one is bulkier and there’s an inner layer of the base made of steel with measurement markings at 800ml, 1300ml and 1700ml. The outer layer is plastic and there’s vents at the bottom along with standing grips. One the whole it reminds me of a milk churn. Once filled with ingredients and locked into position it can be quite heavy, I’m ok with that and mum found it easier the more she used it. At the time another sieve could also be bought separately (I use mine frequently and there’s not much wear and tear so haven’t needed an extra one.)

tofu soy milk maker review

tofu soy milk maker review

COOKING

MILK

Steps: (Dried beans are generally used)
1) Pour water into base
2) Measure beans out into measuring cup/container and put them in the sieve & fit it to the head.
3) Place the head on top of the base and lock both parts together by raising the handle.
4) Put the plug in a socket and switch it on, the maker will beep.
5) Press Option 2, the Milk/Porridge button – its LED comes on, it flashes when grinding and when the job is completed.
6) After 20min heating it will beep again to tell you its about to start grinding, it will grind 7 times (approx 10sec a time), then it’ll do its final heating/settling for a further 5min and then give a series of shorter beeps to tell you it’s completed.

7) At that point you just switch it off at the mains and remove the power cord from the maker. Note – the handle has to be in locked position for the maker to start, conversely the cord has to be removed before the handle can be released/unlocked; I find this to be a handy safety feature.
8) Lower the handle into unlocked position and have a couple of small plates ready, a spoon, a ladle and perhaps a pot. Lift the head slowly as a lot of steam will come up, I then shake/move it around gently to get all the loose milk still in the sieve out before then putting the whole thing on a plate.
10) Untwist the sieve gently (it’s hot and messy) and put it on the other plate. The sieve will contain bean pulp called okara.
10) Your milk will be ready in the base with a layer of foam/froth on top and can be drunk/used hot or cooled. To cool I pour it into a pot as the base keeps the heat in. The very bottom of the milk is heavier and creamy, it’s also a type of pulp so tastes grainy but don’t worry about it, it has lot’s of uses and can be separated by using the ladle to take off the milk or sieving the whole lot with a sieve over a pot (I just use the ladle).

When I first started using this it was trial and error getting milk we both found desirable. The instructions state to use 100g soy beans and either 800ml or 1500ml water. However I found that the 800ml mark didn’t really reach the beans in the sieve and they need to touch the water to soften, heat properly and mix with the water to make milk so the results would be thin and watery. The same happened at the 1500ml mark though the results were less watery – I guess that option is better for people who like semi-skimmed style milk. I found this to be a common issue online for many milk maker users and it was quite offputting especially as people in general have a habit of comparing shop bought to homemade foods and thinking they should be the same.

I went against the instructions and used the 1700ml mark and have found that perfect for our needs; not only is there more milk but it’s thicker, consistent and we find it better for taste and food prep/recipes. We’ve also found that 80g of soy bean instead of 100g makes the milk smoother so that’s a saving too.

Homemade milk differs from shop bought in that its ‘heartier’ /more ‘robust’ umm basically not as processed so it’s not smooth as silk and doesn’t have vitamins/minerals, sugar or oil added. Depending on the brand the level of Whiteness and thickness varies too; homemade looks Cream coloured and the vitamins/minerals aren’t as filtered out plus you have the okara and ‘thick bit’ with all the nutrition leftover. Depending on one’s tastes sugar can be added; to drink I like it with date syrup best or some other kind of fruit syrup (no refined White sugar included), liquorice, or molasses or muscovado best out of the unrefined sugars but demerara is nice too. (Many people use stevia plant.)

Other milks

The same steps are applicable to other milk source ingredients but the amounts of source ingredient vary so experimentation is necessary to find your preferences. For example I’ve tried a bunch of different beans and bean combinations but have found soya to be the most effective and have the most uses (our Asian ancestors and friends have been making the most out of them for ages so had longer to figure that out well before my 31 years 😉 ). Nuts are a lot better suited in that every type I’ve used blended and came out well and I use 1 full use of the given container/cup maximum; interestingly enough my almond milk is Pink whereas all the shop bought ones I tried were White (perhaps a different type is used as standard or its due to processing). My personal favourite is coconut of which I use 3 cups since it’s lighter and that’s the most the grinder will manage efficiently. I love coconut milk because I automatically make it into hot chocolate with raw cacao powder and date syrup *dreamy*! (Most health based chocolate is dark which given the masses of mainstream chocolate has become an acquired taste but coconut milk has the propensity to hold a lot of chocolate really well and comes out velvety smooth, rich and/or sweet depending on one’s sweetening preferences dark, extra dark or milky.)

Any of these homemade milks blend texturally with the usual drinks hot or cold or foods like cereal in the way animal milk does whereas many shop bought milks tend to have different mixing steps depending on the brand otherwise they can separate, turn into curds or simply “look/taste funny”. That’s not to say they aren’t helpful or delicious but a little experimenting can be necessary to find the right method and many people tend to give up on the whole idea after a failed attempt. Perhaps that’s why I’ve noticed the major brands have now formulated their products to be very consistent and mimic ‘normal milk’ to prevent people being put off by any extra effort or doing something different. Heck many even taste the same box to box per brand product from what I’ve recently sampled which to me says they’re not as natural as they should be and that applies to any food be it fruit, veg or spice. Not every batch will be the same in shade of colour, texture or intensity if minimally processed and taking into account growth/environmental conditions but that’s commercial standards for insurance, ‘quality assurance’ and guarantees.

SOUP

The sieve in not necessary for soups as the ingredients go straight into the base. Depending on the desired consistency button/Option 1 can be used for medium grinding (5 times), Option 2 for full (7 times) and Option 3 for gentle stirring (where you want a very liquidy soup just to be heated and evenly spread).

The recipes given in the manual are Eastern Asian in style using a cup of rice and chopped veg and water to make a broth style soup. They recommend the 800ml marking but I find that’s not enough for rice or for soup in general unless you want one portion and know the exact quantities of ingredients to prevent risking it coming out too thick/dry, the 1500ml mark is generally better.

When it comes to soup making with the maker I’m a lot more liberal with quantities. Why? When I use the maker the soup comes out great to fantastic regardless as long as I use the 1700ml mark. Hand on heart I have not made 1 ‘bad’ soup with it and it’s always well blended – the smoothness depends on the ingredients – but mixed in a delicious way and that’s also regardless of how many herbs and spice I use (I tend to be quite heavy handed with those in comparison to alot of Western cooking but can use less and love Mediterranean food which I find is medium to rich in herbs/spice).

Nowadays I only use pots for stew making because the maker can make any traditional veg/fruit soup or combination of random fruit/veg really well. For example tomato soup comes out richer and smoother than I manage in a pot or some random mix like sweet potato, leek, celery, coconut cream, water, fresh coriander or dill with olive or sunflower oil and cayenne, Black pepper and a dash of curry powder and the results will be well received. Or my personal favourites (great for cold weather) warm/sweet and spicy Red apple soup (Red apples, a Red bell pepper, paprika, cayenne, garam masala or cinnamon/cardamom/Black pepper and/or ginger, a complimentary oil like grapeseed, possibly some dried fruit and water or milk) or Sweet/tangy Green apple soup (Green apples, Green bell pepper, mint, liquorice, perhaps a touch of unrefined sugar, cinnamon and/or nutmeg, complimentary oil like safflower and water/milk).

Regardless of the soup you make, bear in mind the grinder has to be able to grind without too much effort so there has to be enough liquid in place to heat and blend with, either or both water/milk.

Also note that even though the maker isn’t hot to the touch from the outside it is hot on the inside; I made liquidy soups (the type easily drunk out of a mug rather than eaten with a spoon) a couple of times and I burnt the heating element in a couple of places where tomatoes (tinned, whereas never had a problem with fresh) stuck to it. I’m also reticent to use it at the hottest times of day in hot weather because the room temperature adds to the cooking temperature.

TOFU

This is a major pulling factor for many soymilk maker buyers as silken and firm tofu are very versatile and a staple ingredient for many alternative diets/lifestyles, plus buying little blocks of the stuff is more expensive than buying milk. I noted a number or families having two makers to make enough tofu weekly. However tofu making is very labour and water intensive and a hot, slow process hence the prices and why even many Asians in Asia used to and still buy it rather than make it. It’s also cheaper than meat in a lot of places there so many have it as an alternative but it is appreciated for its own qualities; basically it’s not just or mainly consumed by ‘special dieters’. Many a supermarket in East Asia will have shelves of various types, rather than the single product from a brand or two here.

Note – silken tofu is generally better for soft food items like shakes, desserts/pudding or ‘cheeze’. Some people in the West put non-vegans off for example by serving up silken tofu in a lump who end up developing a mental resistance to tofu in general (yes Come Dine With Me I’m looking at you – it’s bad enough many people thinking of ‘vegan friendly’ food as ‘food for vegans’ rather than food mostly everyone can eat and vegans being the ones not able to eat what others do, and that a lot of food is already vegan without being labelled as such). Silken tofu as part of a savoury or main meal is an acquired taste and needs knowledge/practice to pull off e.g. finding it in main dishes will usually mean being in a veggie friendly Chinese restaurant.

Steps for making firm tofu:
1) Follow the steps for the soy milk making above. Only, use Option 1 for tofu grinding (it will grind 5 times instead of 7) and do it 3-4 times. Yep, 3-4 times. Have a big pot ready (as well as clear workspace and time.)

The reason for less grinding is that you don’t want milk for this, you need soy infused water.
2) Each time the maker completes a round on Option 1, pour the soy water into your big pot which needs to be kept on the cooker and at the heat it left the maker. Alternatively since the water is hot and not likely to cool soon, wait ‘til you’ve finished all the rounds and then heat up the pot to just under boiling – it needs to steam but not boil.

Each time the maker finishes a round you can put aside the okara for other uses.
3) Once you’ve got 3-4 lots of soy water and it’s being heat maintained on the cooker, add 1 sachet of Nigari salt per round so 3-4 sachets. There’s actually only a tiny bit of salt in each sachet which I’d liken to a ‘pinch’. Stir gently and the water will curdle/separate – those curds are the tofu hence the name bean curd.

Why Nigari? Nigari is traditionally used for tofu making, however it is a specialized item not easily available on the highstreet. It’s magnesium chloride, a coagulant from sea salt. Different salts make different textures, degrees of firmness and taste. For firm tofu Nigari or Gypsum (calcium sulphate) tend to work best though Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) and Himalayan salt work nicely too. Some people use vinegar or lemon juice. For jelly style and silken tofus a mixture of coagulants (and/or gums like agar agar) can be used.
4) Catching the tofu curds. Have some muslin ready in a bigger sieve over another pot near the sink. (You’ll notice from the photos that the muslin given is still new, that’s because I use a bigger sheet that I can squeeze and twist.) Using the handheld sieve given scoop up the floating curds and put them on the muslin, this is not easy. I use a combination of sieves and stop in between to stir, I also add the salt in between scooping instead of in one go at the beginning.
5) Once you’ve taken out as much of the curd as you can, turn the cooker off and leave it to cool. The leftover makes excellent cooking water and some people use it as plant feed. Turn your attention to the curd mound on the muslin.
6) Now this is where the muscle workout starts, unless you have a tofu press, which I don’t. Wrap the muslin as tightly as possible around the curd and squeeze out as much water as possible. I’ve hand washed my clothes/fabrics for most of my life so I’m used to wringing but for many this will take a few goes (obviously try not to rip the cloth 😉 ). It doesn’t have to be totally waterless/dried just enough to set and firm.
7) Loosen the muslin a bit, enough to flatten and shape the curd, and wrap it again. Put something weighty like exercise weights, old fashioned kitchen weights or food tins on top of it. Obviously it’s best not to use a plate underneath the curd unless it’s strong, a tray or draining board is better. Leave for approx an hour.
8) Remove the weights and gently unwrap the muslin, there’ll likely be some curd stuck to it. The block inside is tofu, gently put it on a plate and leave in the fridge to fully set though it is edible fresh.

I find tofu made like this is lighter and somewhat fluffier in texture and taste than the well known shop brands here though there’s a couple that are very similar to homemade. It can also be more crumbly unless you add a bit of oil to it whilst setting. I’ve found the common theme in shop brands to be a sponge like texture with a very thin yet firm outer ‘layer’, not a crust but the outside exposed to air firms more and perhaps processed in some way that holds better in chunks and diced. Homemade is softer and so whilst it doesn’t hold in the same way when fried or in broth soups it is great in curries and thick soups.

TEA

I don’t use this for making tea but I have tried Option 3. It’s a bit long for making tea but helpful for strong teas that need slow, gradual heating/steeping to preserve as much nutrition as possible and bring out the flavour.

OTHER FOOD USES

In this section I’ll include most of the things I’ve used the milk, okara and ‘thick bit’ for.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-okara.htm
Okara is a byproduct of the soymilk manufacturing process, consisting of the bland pulp which is left behind after pureed soybeans are passed through filters. It is extremely nutritious, sometimes more so than products like soymilk and tofu, and it can be used in a variety of ways. In Asian cuisine, okara is a not infrequent vegetarian ingredient, and interest in this ingredient has grown in the West. Most okara, however, is mixed into animal feed, since large amounts of it are generated in the soymilk making process.

When soybeans are turned into soymilk, they are soaked and pureed to form a slurry. The okara is the fibrous, insoluble part of the soybean left behind, and it is rich in calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and riboflavin. When fresh, okara is creamy white to yellow, and very pulpy. It can be dried at this point to turn it into a powder, or it may be cooked and frozen for future use. Fresh okara is not very shelf stable, and it needs to be used quickly.

There’s a ton of recipes using okara here from luscious desserts to macaroni cheese, I’ve even seen it used in dressing – http://okaraproject.blogspot.co.uk/

Cream:
Whilst the maker has saved me money on for the above outlined foods it’s also meant I have an abundance of cream or ‘thick bit’ as we call it and the only difference in texture it has to the okara is that it’s creamier/more liquidy so they’re easily mixed together. As such I can use it for all manner of cooking from food thickening, enhancement and ease of re-heating instead of adding more water or milk in cake/bread making whether fried or baked, to an alternative White sauce. It also negates the use for specified egg replacers because when mixed with water/milk and oil it does the same thing and since I cook with bicarbonate of soda, various oils, coconut oil/cream/milk and sometimes if I’m lucky bananas I don’t need egg replacers for fluffiness/raising. For those that do want specific replacers regularly many use cashew cream or what’s known as a ‘flax egg’ – a spoonful of flax/linseed. When I really need extra stickiness depending on the nature of the recipe I use peanut butter, a sticky flour like chickpea or oat, garlic powder or then there’s guar gum in bread making.

Butter:
Mum found this one by putting milk into a finished oil bottle that still had some sunflower oil in it and left it in the fridge. After a while she noticed it had turned to butter.

Mousse and blancmange:
I used to eat a fair amount of Alpro soya desserts which years ago were thought of as alternative yoghurts though they were/are far more mousse like and nowadays there’s a lot more available in the ‘soyage’ dessert/alternative yoghurt ranges that are actually yoghurt like. Interestingly enough Alpro also sell a ‘custard’ which is really their vanilla soya dessert in a bigger portion, it can be heated or left cool. I found that by heating the ‘thick bit’ and okara on a cooker and leaving it to cool then setting it in the fridge I can make richer and less gloopy/rubbery mousse and almost blancmange.

Chocolate mousse – I add some cacao powder and unrefined sugar to the ‘thick bit’/okara mix in a pot and heat to it a high heat, not boiling but hot enough to steam stirring gently continuously until it becomes glassy/mirror like. I then leave it cool before putting in the fridge and leaving it there for a few days until it solidifies enough that there’s no excess liquid.

Blancmange in texture (my style and not Pink) – I add a bit of milk, sugar and/or dried fruit like raisins and bake it at 180degreesF instead of heating it on the hob. Leave it to cool and again put it in the fridge for a few days.

Pie:
This was a great discovery; mum and I had gone to the seaside and collected a bunch of fresh seaweed, washed it through (froze some) and made a 7 litre gorgeous spicy seaweed stew served with firm tofu and fried onion. However seaweed takes a long time to eat/finish and we were going away so wouldn’t finish it in time, taking a stew wasn’t exactly practical. So she mixed the remainder with some thick bit/okara we’d been saving up (ok I just hadn’t got round to using it) and put it in the oven. It turned into one of the best pies I’ve ever had, it was in traditional style as in quite heavy/dense and it even made its own crust! We sliced it, put it in a container, took it with us and I enjoyed that pie for days to come it didn’t lose taste or go hard/dry, my dinner was sorted.

Pancakes or French toast:
Pancakes need some kind of egg replacement as described above otherwise the sugar will caramelize and burn sticking the mixture to the pan. However if you’re got good hand/wrist skills like Mum does (I can’t flip or shape) and handle the mixture quickly it makes a scrummy style ‘French toast’ without the sticky/eggy additions.

Milkshake/Ice Cream:
A blender is needed for these, a strong blender for the ice cream unless you’re ok with waiting after putting the shake in the freezer. I generally make shakes with crushed ice, a banana and milk as the base with anything I have on hand as the topping be it cacao powder with sugar/syrup and peanut butter or fruit. The blending is tough if you don’t have a blender but you can manually crush the ice beforehand, then using a handheld mixer or spoon to beat it and then whisk. Many people who don’t like bananas use cashew nuts instead.

Coconut or nut pulp:
When making coconut milk I use coconut ‘chips’ which are shavings or large flakes and get leftover pulp which is desiccated coconut but soaked in milk so can be left to dry or used wet. We use both coconut and nut pulp in both savoury and sweet foods, they’re great for nutrition and bulking. Sometimes I leave them to dry and use them as toppings instead.

Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is expensive however homemade coconut milk like others has foam/froth on top but depending on the room temperature such as if it’s a hot day coconut oil will also form on top. Remember coconut oil can be made from heating coconut milk until it separates and in this form it’s honeycomb in appearance (like the way pure olive oil looks when cold) whereas usually it turns to liquid quickly when warm. This way it’s easily scooped off and has innumerable uses.

Flour:
If left to dry okara and even ‘thick bit’ becomes floury which is helpful for adding to other flours (since you don’t get much) when making dishes. It can also be turned back into liquid like any flour can e.g. powdered milk but it lasts longer dried than wet since ‘thick bit’ and okara will go off after some days in the fridge unless cooked again.

MAINTENANCE

Cleaning

This maker is quite finicky to clean due to the design, many makers are simply cleaned like blenders but here whilst the sieve can be put in the dishwasher if you have one, the rest has to be carefully cleaned and the parts are quite intricate. I use a scourer gently over the metal and have gotten used to the process/what to look for and how to handle and hold the weight of the head. Before that it was tricky getting all the food that gets underneath the blades, in the screws and all the nooks and crannies of the head and sieve. Also you have to be careful not to get any water inside the head, I’ve found it’s ok if water gets in the seal as it comes off but I dry it quickly and put it back on and use a damp cloth or tissue over the head. I used to wash it after every use but the more frequently we use it I tend to wash it every 2-3 uses. There were a few times when it refused to work until I washed it and that’s usually when the sieve or element has too much debris stuck to them. It’s intelligent that way “Eh Dolly, I know you believe in looking after and thanking your tools because they do so much good work for you but I could do with a bath you know” or “It’s bloody hot in here, I’ve made how much for your tofu. I’m hot enough to shorten my rounds and yet still able to produce what you want. I know, I’m wonderful, you don’t have to applaud, oh go on then.”

Steam and noise

It releases a short burst of steam before it starts to grind and then a lot of steam comes up when you lift the top from the base.

It’s noisy, not as loud as blenders I’ve used but still loud so it’s good that it grinds in short bursts and doesn’t need to do so for very long.

Durability

As described we’ve used the maker in numerous ways and frequently and I found after a year and a half cracks appeared on the top of the base, right underneath where the head sits. That worried me and I certainly didn’t want to them to grow so we started soaking the beans and not filling it up to squeezing point with non-liquid ingredients when soup making. Soaking the beans for the maker only requires an hour or two in comparison to general bean sprouting or cooking which can take anything from 8 hours to days. Thankfully no more cracks have appeared and it’s a lot more stable, at times before we used to hear the blades struggle to grind properly which was worrying.

CONCLUSION

Full specs are here: http://www.soylove.com/eng/subpage.php?p=m21

There are updated models on the market that are probably more streamlined with more functions maybe even faster but our one is beloved 🙂

Advantages: Multi – Purpose, Efficient, Value for money, Fresh food with lots of possibilities .

Disadvantages: Heavy, Not so easy to clean .

All the pics in the gallery are of food I’ve made using milk, okara and ‘thick bit’ in and the recipes are in the Food & Recipes section of the blog 🙂

Gallery

Victorian Tips of the Day 6 & 7 – Cooking

TIP 6 – Mushroom Ketchup!

Break some large mushrooms, throw over them a good quantity of salt, and let them stand two nights. Strain and press out the liquor, and put into a stewpan with black pepper bruised, sliced ginger, shalots, and horse-radish. Boil it an hour, strain it, and bottle it up quite close when it is cold. If well boiled, tied down properly, and set in a dry place, it will keep two or three years; otherwise it will soon spoil.

mushroom ketchup recipe Victorian

TIP 7 – For a Cold!

A remedy for the ‘common cold’ eh, there’s so many some more proficient than others and quite a few healthy ones that boost your immune system in general. I haven’t tried this one but it doesn’t sound bad, pretty tasty actually!

Take a tea-cupful of linseed, a quarter of a pound of stick liquorice sliced, and a quarter of a pound of sun raisins, put them in two quarts of soft water, and let it simmer over slow fire, til nearly reduced to one quart; then strain off, and add to it, while it is hot, a quarter of pound of brown sugar-candy pounded.

James W. Laughton, The General Receipt-Book, c. 1845

Note – Linseed it known as flaxseed in the US.

Gallery

Pleasingly Piquant Plum Treats

I picked some early plums recently hence they are still very sour, ever seen an anime character eat a dried/preserved plum only for their face to pucker up so much it looks like they’ve been caught by an invisible vacuum cleaner? They’re like that at this stage but without the dehydrating of the mouth so a lot of sugar is needed even if you have strong tastebuds and like sour things they need a little something :-). I let them ripen for approx 1 week until they were Red but obviously ripening off the tree meant they retained their sourness rather than acquire sweetness.

Note – I used demerara sugar (didn’t have any molasses or muscovado but demerara has a stronger sweetness so more suitable for this anyway, the other two are subtle and build richness slowly in the taste whilst eating but the plums would be overpowering for those here), soy milk and sunflower oil in this recipe.

Step 1:

Chocolate sauce. This can be made in one of three ways:

plum-trifles-chocolate-sauce
a) Raw – Make a simple chocolate spread with cacao powder, sugar/syrup/fruit syrup and oil. Once mixed, stir in a bit of milk (coconut or almond/hazelnut/cashew are great for chocolate sauce but soy, rice or oat milk are fine too). Most unrefined, edible oils are fine except you know, olive or some other strong savoury oil like mustard 😉 (although Coleman’s do sell Mustard chocolate…)

b) Cooked – Heat cacao powder, milk of preference and sugar in a small pot; high heat but not boiling and gently but continuously stir until the chocolate turns glassy. Turn off the heat, leave to cool and thicken.

3) Cooked – Melt down a chocolate bar or cooking/baking chocolate, with the latter you’ll need to add sugar and/or milk.

plum-trifles-chocolate-sauce

Step 2:

Preparing the plums.

plum-trifles-early-small
I washed them, halved them carefully removing the seed (of which I haven’t decided what to do with yet, dry and fry or sprout instead) and fried them in oil and sugar. The amount of oil an sugar purely depends on your taste preference but I personally chose to fry these because I find early and/or non-organic fruit make my throat, gums and tongue swell and itch so I had to cook them.

Quick, shallow fry only otherwise they turn to mush (some people stew early and bitter/sour fruit to make into jams/conserves). Now the inside will always be sour unless you use lot’s and lot’s of sugar, which I didn’t, using approx 3 tsp I found that the skin became nicely permeated with the sweet fried taste and was complimented by the sharp sourness of the insides.

plum-trifles-frying-fried
Unfortunately I didn’t have a light oil or oil well suited to sweet things/desserts such as grapeseed, coconut or safflower so used sunflower. For those not allergic to nuts, a nut oil such as peanut or macadamia should work nicely.

plum-trifle-base-fried-raisins-sultanas
Mum judiciously said to add dried fruit aka raisins/sultanas to them because they’d probably still be sour, She was right.

Step 3:

Serving accompaniments.

plum-trifles-chocolate-cream-cookie-raisins-sultanas
Starting from the top of the photo going round clockwise we had a) a plain one, b) one with coconut chips, c) chocolate sauce, d) choc chip biscuit dipped in and, e) one with some soy cream.

I also tried one with peanut butter and then a mix of peanut butter and chocolate sauce – both were yummy 🙂

plum-trifles-chocolate-cream-cookie-raisins-sultanas

The egg cups aren’t ours, as we don’t eat eggs but found ’em in a cupboard and they looked cute.

Other ideas could be vegan ice cream, cheese, yoghurt, jelly, other fruit particularly sweet ones, sprinkles, flaked almonds/nuts etc

After I’d sampled those,  to Mum’s distress I put them altogether with a dollop of fig spread, trifle style – which She said was un-artistic, unacceptable and rather than trifle style was messy style. Well, what can I say? We take turns being barbaric 😉 (Usually she mixes her food and I like to keep sections separate to taste each flavour but I appreciate the mixed taste too and hey, at least trifle has strata so can be eaten in layers 🙂 Though I wouldn’t recommend that with such a base, the tartness is better buffered by the surrounding ingredients.)

plum-trifles-chocolate-cream-cookie-coconut-biscuit-raisins-sultanas