25 Jun

On being vegan

People ALWAYS say (amongst other things)”but don’t you miss [xyz animal based product]”.  I have to admit that prior to the full swing to Veganism, I was worried that I would miss cheese, and a nice portion of fish and chips.  Ice cream, cream, I thought that I’d miss them too but as I age I find that my body is less tolerant anyway to fatty foods, particularly dairy based, so no, i do not miss eating pure artery-clogging animal fat.  My health and the planet are way more important.

I first went  vegan twenty-plus years ago and back then it *was* hard – all nut cutlets and expensive specialised health food shops.  Now, you can buy vegan ice cream for about two pound fifty in Aldi and cheap fruit, nuts and seeds there and in Lidl.  Frys and Linda Macartney do amazing reasonably priced stir  fry strips which go far as long as you are modest with the servings and combine them with ample veg.

But then there’s the cheese thing. That was a major thing to give up for me – after all what is more comforting than a nice cheesy baked potato or some macaroni cheese? For lush melty cheese-alike and for a slice in sandwich or melted in a toastie pocket I got for Violife. It’s more expensive than dairy cheese but any cheese is not great for the health so it’s a reminder to eat less of it..

For a home made recipe that is great with everything from nachos to macaroni cheese, I use this recipe, from Veggie on a Penny.  Nobody can believe it’s mostly made from carrots and potatoes! The bonus of vegan cheese is that it lasts a lot longer than dairy cheese in the fridge.

But a nice chippy tea is hard to beat right? The Avant-garde vegan made my tastebuds beam with happiness (if that is even possible…probably not!) with his vegan fish and chips recipe. The fish is made from tofu and noori and is every bit – if not more – melt in the mouth than battered cod. With the added bonus of not destroying the oceans and hurting sentient beings.

Being vegan is not hard these days. Eating out is not withing my meagre budget so is not an issue but I am told that restaurants and chain pubs offer an ok selection these days.

So, what are you waiting for? Give up animal products for your health, the animals and the planet.  Make this next month Veganuly and take an exciting leap into new cuisine.


07 Mar

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

by Melanie Joy

love dogs eat pigs wear cows book coverPicture is from Amazon bookshop

I’ve experimented with various “isms” for several decades now and decided to complete this year’s Veganuary.  I’ve been Vegan before, several decades ago and was edging towards that way of life anyway so at the beginning of the year I ditched the last of my food of animal origin and climbed aboard the Vegan ship, sailing to the brave new world of Cruelty-free.

I digress, and will do some more vegan-ish posts in the future no doubt but this vegan lass called @vegangangsta79 somehow came on to my radar and she was singing the praises of this book (the one in the title).  I flippin love Audible because I can listen and paint at the same time, or, walk and listen, it’s an amazing invention even though you have to buy it through the less than ethical Amazon which grates a little on my sensibilities.

So when she mentioned it, it caught my eye and I’ve just finished listening to it.  A lot of the stuff I knew, or kind of knew but it spelled out the meat, fish and dairy industry in graphic detail.  It was pretty disturbing to me in my current shell shocked and depressed state to have such heart-wrenching violent imagery beamed straight into my brain, but I persevered.

It’s an accurate book about the topic, but it is a little subjective.   If you have an inkling of doubt about the meat you eat or the dairy you consume then it’s a good read, if you have a strong stomach.  It’s the holes in much of this Vegan media that I think will put off the more analytical amongst us.  She uses examples of people who have had second thoughts about their consumption of meat after being presented with the realities of animal death and rearing.  I know carnists who have happily reared their own animals, gotten to know them and then went off to hand kill them and eat them.  Most people might feel squeamish about this, but a lot of people won’t.  I think it would benefit from more scientific evidence that animals are sentient beings.  Having been called a conspiracy theorist myself, I analyse everything I read for hints of propaganda and sadly this book is full of it.

The mere mention of “The matrix” will allow some people to relate to the carnist world we live in but it would definitely black-mark this book as conspiracy theorist propaganda, though it may make the book more relatable to others.  I’d love to see a genuine work that presents solid facts that Veganism is better for our animals and the planet, with counter arguments from the meat producers that can be slammed down by good science.  I have yet to find such a work, but the nearest I found was Cowspiracy.

FYI – I brought my son up to be Pescatarian and I was one too until recently.  The factual book that I listened to that immediately horrified me and made me stop eating fish was Unatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts.  I was shocked and horrified and genuinely embarrassed to be a human after reading that.  It’s factual, written by a fisherman and really opened my eyes – I genuinely did not know about the destruction of the oceans until last year.  Seaspiracy summarises key points of the book very well.

In summary, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows is a harrowing but interesting read but may alert your “conspiracy” neurons.  The way animals are treated is accurately reflected in the book but it’s obvious that the people mentioned in it were cherry picked for their sympathy with the animals.  There are plenty more who simply do not give a flying fuck where their food comes from, as long as it tastes good. But, this is the age of Aquarius man, the world is a-changing.


01 Feb

Love dogs?

Love is in the air, and what better way to how it than to commission a pair of trainers featuring your faithful, loyal, incredible four legged loves?  This pair of Chuck II Converse were to celebrate the love for two dogs close to the owner’s heart, one still here and the other sadly passed.

Why not send me some of your beloved pet’s ashes so that I can mix them up with the paint?  Then I will paint them onto your shoes and they will still be with you whenever you walk.

28 Jan

Vegan shoes

Armed with new knowledge about the detrimental effect of animal agriculture and fishing on our dying planet (plus, I kind of love the animals, all of them and don’t want to be complicit in pain and torture), I decided to join in Veganuary.

Already using vegan paints and brushes, I thought it’d be helpful to find some Vegan shoes to recommend to people.

I wrote to Vans, but they didn’t reply.

Converse sent me a reply:

Dear ShoeDoodles,

Thank you for sending your email to us here at the U.K Converse online store.

At this current time, Converse does not manufacture any Vegan products due to the lack of demand for this particular product. Now this is something that Converse is looking into, and what I can tell you is that Converse is looking into designing an animal free product, although I have no information as to when this will happen.
 Thank you for your understanding, and on behalf of Converse.com, I wish you a fantastic day.

If our team can be of any further assistance, please send an email to HELPME.EUROPE@CONVERSE.COM or call us on +442035142048 (standard rates, prices from mobile may vary). You can reach us from Monday to Friday between 8am – 8pm and Saturdays between 10am – 6pm. See you soon on Converse.com.

Best regards,

Customer Service

All is not lost though, because I did find Ethletic, who are an inspirational fairtrade company who produce “good shoes with good karma” and are pretty darned nice people all round.

Toms also do a pretty big Vegan selection as well as giving away one pair of shoes for each one bought for them.

Do you know of any more Vegan footwear brands that would be good for me to paint? I’d love to hear about them, so I can add them to this list.

25 Jan

Hello world

Hi everyone!

Welcome to ShoeDoodles’  new blog.  A customer, over Christmas, asked about me, who I am, a little about my life and so it occurred to me that a way to answer questions such as this might be to begin a brand new shiny blog and then you can read it and find out about the intricacies of the ShoeDoodles household, our interests, life, and anything else that might crop up along the way.

So here we are, at the beginning of 2017, and at this moment in time I am:

  • a whole life unschooling mother
  • an artist
  • a vegan
  • an animal lover
  • a believer in a fair and equal society

I love my work and beleive I have finally found my calling in life.  The happiness I feel from my customers makes my heart shine like sunshine.  My son is amazing and inspires, supports and lifts me every day and everything I do is to make his life as happy as humanly possible.  Our pets (one dog, one snake and two gerbils) are all rescued animals and make our home even more full of love.

So, readers, what else do you need to know?