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And the bean of the week is: Chickpeas!

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Most weeks, I cook a batch of beans or lentils to be used for meals over the next few days.  I’m starting with a family favorite.  Over the course of this week, I will use the cooked chickpeas to make soup, chickpea cutlets, and hummus.  Not a bad yield for a mere 1.5 cups of dried chickpeas! 

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No claim to perfection

Welcome to my blog, ‘Verging on Vegan’.  Before I say anything else, I want to set people straight on the ‘verging’ part.  Veganism, for me, is like a distant horizon a person can approach, but never quite reach.  So, don’t expect me to arrive someday, unless our world goes crazy plant-based all of a sudden.

I know some people claim to be vegans.  In fact, I used to be one of those people.  I don’t label myself vegan anymore, mostly because I think it’s impossible to avoid all animal products one-hundred percent of the time.  Riding in a car, for instance, requires rubber tires treated with stearic acid–an animal product. I’m not giving up my ticket to ride, at least until the Fred Flintstone mobile is perfected.

It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to aim for perfection, but for me, it’s easier, and more accurate to say that I’m person who lives as close to a vegan lifestyle as possible and, thus, avoid labeling myself as vegan. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s very freeing to live a lifestyle, rather than defining myself as that lifestyle.

Plus, it gives me a little breathing room for when I give in to the occasional dairy/egg craving without running the gauntlet of the vegan police. Anyone can support veganism and the principles behind it this way, which makes plant-based consumerism attainable to all–a huge plus, in my opinion.

I’ve been living this way for almost forty years, and for most of that time, I coveted new vegan products in shiny new packages. I still get really excited when I see vegan innovations in the marketplace, but it’s complicated for me now.    I started to think about what happened to the shiny, often plastic, packaging which contained the things I’d buy. One day I was enjoying a stroll on the beach.  I came across a shore bird pecking at a ribbon attached to an old deflated mylar balloon.  I chased the bird away, picked up the trash for ‘safe’ disposal, but found the whole experience unsettling. I could throw the trash ‘away’, but where exactly was ‘away’?

I started to research the whole subject of plastic waste, and came across Beth Terry’s blog, MyPlasticFreeLife (formerly known as Fake Plastic Fish).  That was it for me.  From that point onward, I have tried to refuse buying new plastic whenever possible.  The challenge has been rewarding, and I hope to share my successes, as well as failures, as I make inroads to new territory which I hope is replete with tasty plants and less plastic.

My goal here is to try to encourage and support everyone to do what they can to make this world a better place for people and animals the world over, and the earth we call home. I’m close to vegan and plastic-free, but still a sinner (ask any bonafide ‘vegan’ and hardcore plastic-refuser). Join me here, if you can, in what I hope will be a friendly place where we can strive to reduce plastic and animal-product consumption and still be accepted even if life gets in the way.

Rex’s Basil Patch

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I call my husband ‘Rex’ due to his handle–VegesaurusRex–on a site we both frequent. I thought I’d add a glimpse into Rex’s summer oasis in December. We have been having fresh pesto almost every weekend due to our indoor basil garden, housed in a couple of Earthboxes with plants which were started outside in late August and brought inside before the frost. I’m hoping that clipping the plants carefully will allow them to come back several times before spring. I also want to add that the Earthbox planters are–you guessed it–made of plastic, but they were gifts which will be put to good use until they aren’t usable any longer.