Tuesday, November 07, 2006


So today I was shocked to discover that my blog was listed as a "blog of note" on Blogger. Aw, shucks. The comments and emails have been pouring in, and I've been trying to respond to many of them. Some of my comments never appeared, so I am a bit worried that something might be awry with the comment feature. Nevertheless, I proceed undaunted!

Unsurprisingly, I've heard several times today questions (and occasionally insults) about why I don't eat animal products. I've never really addressed this before on my blog, mostly because I figure if you're looking at a blog about how to make vegan ice cream, you probably aren't asking, "Why vegan?" Since I've gotten so many new visitors, though, I figure now's the time to answer the question.

To distill my reasoning to its purest form, I am vegan for the following reason:

Animals raised for food (whether for meat, milk, or eggs) suffer tremendously. We do not need to eat animal products to be healthy. Therefore, this suffering is unnecessary. Causing unnecessary suffering is unethical. I want to live an ethical life.

I could detail the abuses suffered by animals on modern farms--whether organic, free-range, or conventional--but there are many websites that already have this information presented in a clear, factual, and documented manner.
So there you have it. On a much lighter note, tonight I spoke to the Stanford University animal rights group about promoting veganism as a way to reduce animal suffering. I specifically talked about Vegan Outreach's Adopt-A-College program. Best of all, I made cupcakes! (I figured that ice cream would melt.)

So here's your lovely host, displaying carrot cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World).


  1. i would like to comment that my family raises beef cows, specifically to eat. I know a lot of farms do make their animals suffer, whether by ignorance or otherwise, but i would like to point out that not all meat-raisers are like that.
    I know, and would like to share, that our animals are completely organic. We never give them shots, unless they're sick or hurt, we don't do steroids, antibiotics, or anything like that, we even feed them ruffage grown on our farm. When they're butchered they're dispatched, for lack of better word, as quickly and painlessly as possible.
    As this is what we do for a living, I don't see anything wrong with it. I know several other farmers who treat their animals the same way. We would never purposefully hurt one of our cattle, and i feel it's wrong to imply that all farmers are the same.
    Don't get me wrong, i really do respect the fact taht you've chosen not to eat animal products. I have no problem with that, and I don't want to imply that I do. I just want to spread the word, as it were, that not all farmers are cruel to their animals, and perhaps give you a look at what we do.

  2. Hey Agnes,
    I don't lysha, and she doesn't know me either, and I have a feeling we live in different parts of the world, but I also live on a farm, and our animals - sheep and cattle - live a perfectly happy, humane and 'natural' life - unlimited access to water, shade, grass etc. It's unfair sometimes for people to generalilse about how animals are treated on farms. And I know, having read up on "The ethics of what we eat" that Australian farming standards are more humane than American ones.
    I also respect your vegan decision - I have several vegetarian friends - but I'm wondering, does it make eating and food choices hard?

  3. Evil Ryan1:37 AM


    I commend you for making a decision to make your life more ethical. But I suggest you take it a step further.


    Start eating people. Just to show them what it's like to be treated so poorly.

    Granted, this may possibly go against your ethics also.. but I thought I'd throw that out there.

    On a slightly less serious note, I find it very interesting where people choose to fight their battles. I know some people worry a lot about how ethical they live their lives, and perhaps this is a path they choose that may lead them towards enlightenment.

    Life is life, though. You make of it what you will, and it's all a matter of perspective.

    I just happen to see it from the perspective that people are not purposely taking a cow and inverting it inside out using spiked wooden tongs in order to make the meat more tender, for example.

    When that starts happening, perhaps I'll take a step back and decide I need to eat people with very sharp chopsticks.

  4. Anonymous2:14 AM

    Hi! I loved your blog....as a vegetarian myself...I wish there were more blogs like this out there. I thought you might be interested in viewing this 24 hour internet tv show that promotes vegetarianism and compassion toward all beings.

  5. spain4:01 AM

    Some doctors do not share your opinion.
    Animal suffer, but it's on our nature to eat them, we really need those proteins on uor body.

  6. Beasts of the field are there so we wont all starve.

  7. Anonymous4:46 AM

    Hi Agnes, I have been veggie for a few years, and a month or so ago I decided to make the switch to veganism. I never really liked dairy products anyway, and I don't consider eggs to even be vegetarian.

    Anyway, I love cooking, so I have a blog all about delicious Indian vegan food, mangoidli.blogspot.com. It's got quite a wide range of recipes, including several experiments with tofu to make cheese-like dishes. Have you ever tried using tofu in ice cream, as I have heard of its use there.

    Anyway, you've inspired me to try veganising my favourite indian ice-cream-type pudding, courgette halwa-kulfi. I made it up myself, and now I feel the time has come to try to veganise it. I must also try making mango kulfi, perhaps with coconut milk. My only problem is that you have to reduce the milk to thicken it for kulfi, and this would pose problems with some non-dairy milks, as I have heard that they do not heat well. Any suggestions?

    Sorry about the long post, but I love your blog! Please check out mine if you can!

  8. Anonymous5:28 AM

    may all beings be free of suffering! free the oppressed!
    thanx for this nice blog.

  9. Thank you for your blog.
    I for awhile tried to do the vegan thing , but live with my husband and 2 boys who enjoy meat. I have found it hard to entirely remove it from our diets. BUT in any event I would like to and agree with you on the cruelty that DOES exist. Thanks so much !!

  10. Anonymous6:39 AM

    As a fellow opinionated vegan I feel compelled to interject.

    Lysha d, how can you claim, "We would never purposefully hurt one of our cattle" and "not all farmers are cruel to their animals" when the very act of "dispatching" of them is cruel. Just because you let them live happy lives until their deaths does not make up for the fact that you are raising them to be slaughtered. If I "dispatched" of you, I would be most definitely be considered cruel.

    Doctors who don't believe that vegans can live a healthy life are totally ignorant. It is not necessary to eat animals (for their protein or for any other reason). We can obtain every nutrient we need from plant sources. We certainly aren't going to starve if we don't eat "beasts of the field." If we were "supposed" to eat meat to survive, don't you think our teeth and digestive system would more closely resemble carnivores than herbivores? Also, interesting to note, humans (and other herbivores) develop high cholesterol from eating animal products. Carnivores do not develop high cholesterol - no matter how much high cholesterol laden food you give them. There are many more biological reasons why it is not in "human's nature" to eat animals but unfortunately, I don't have the time to get into it all right now.

    I urge everyone to educate themselves further on this matter. Knowledge is power.

    1. Anonymous4:53 PM

      Well said. Do the research.
      Check out Gary Francione - he's got it spot on.
      'Veganism is not a sacrifice, it is a joy.'

  11. Agnes, this is an awesome blog! I share your views and lifestyle, and have linked to your blog on mine, The Mills River Progressive
    To all of the meaties who have written comments to defend their lifestyles, all I can say is, you are very uniformed. We do not need meat or animal products to live and thrive, period. We have the teeth, saliva, intestines, and stomach acids of herbivores - not carnivores, or omnivore animals like canines. This is a biological fact. That's why the consumption of animal products causes many chronic diseases in humans. Cultures who consume little or no animal products don't have the diseases we have. Meat is dead, decomposing flesh - you are literally eating a rotting dead body. And even animals raised "humanely" die a painful, frightening death. There's no reason for it, we don't need these products, we've just been conditioned to their taste. No one dies for my food, and I don't wear or decorate with carcasses. It feels really good to say that. My life is all about speaking up for those with no voice, and products derived from suffering and death have no place in it.
    Congratulations on a fantastic job of educating us with yummy, vegan treats!

  12. Hooray for vegan ice cream! I love your blog, Agnes. Just sayin'.

  13. Man, i'm truely amazed that you manage to have a blog only about Vegan icecream and cakes...For how long can it go on? Will the vegan icecram recepies ever end? Anyways, i'm a vegetarian myself and i'm really glad to have found your blog, now i will start making vegan icecream!
    Keep kickin against the system!
    - Philip

  14. Sigh. I nearly didn't post my "Noteworthy" entry because I'm honestly not interested in engaging in a debate on animal cruelty and veganism. After all, this is a vegan blog; I always imagined that only people interested in vegan food would be here. But. Still.

    So let me say, please, let this be the end of the back-and-forth. And let's keep this civil, if nothing else.

    1) Lysha D--First I would like to thank you for your calmly worded post. I think we actually probably have a lot in common. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. It was a small family farm (still in operation today), and as far as raising animals for food goes, it was pretty "humane." I even sold cattle to pay my way through college. (Obviously, this was in my pre-vegan days.)

    However, when we sold the cattle, we had little to no control over where they went. To a feedlot, to the slaughterhouse...it was out of our hands. We couldn't promise them that they'd be dead before their skin was removed.

    Right now there's a drought in Oklahoma. The pastures are so dry that my parents can't afford to buy all the supplemental feed they'll need to keep the cattle through the winter. So, despite their best intentions, the cattle will be sold to whomever places the highest biid. My parents aren't bad people. I'm sure you're not a bad person. However, I do believe that whenever we turn an animal into a commodity, we lose some of our ability to treat that animal fairly, and compassion is lost in the process.

    Finally, I'd like to add that even if your farm, or my parents' farm, is perfectly, wonderfully, 100% humane (which I would hesitate to say), they are sadly in the smallest minority. All too often I see people justify their consumption of all meat (usually from factory farms) because they've heard of one or two farms that are called "humane." Lysha-D hasn't said this, but I wanted to point out the illogic of the position nevertheless.

    2) Just a Girl asks if being vegan makes food choices hard. Well, it was a bit different in the beginning. As I said already, I grew up eating LOTS of meat on a cattle ranch. But I went vegetarian (and then vegan) slowly, adding a new recipe maybe one day a week. I developed a new set of recipes (and discovered that many of my old favorites were actually vegetarian with a minor modification!), and I discovered new restaurants and new dishes at old restaurants. If I'd gone vegan overnight, I might have been overwhelmed with the change and decided it was too hard. But because I did it at a pace with which I was comfortable, it was a sustainable and lasting change.

    Nowadays, I have little to no trouble finding food when I'm on the road or visiting friends. Many restaurants have some kind of vegetarian option. Even when I'm home in Oklahoma, being vegan isn't a problem.

    3) Darkman--We won't starve if we don't eat animals. We feed the animals we eat the grains and other plant proteins we grow. So we are essentially creating a "middleman" in the food chain. We would have far more food available to us if we cut out that middleman and focused growing food for a plant-based diet.

    4) For the wonderful Vivacious Vegan and the lovely Anna Van Z, allow me to go off on a tangent:

    I honestly don't care about our digestive systems or the shape of our teeth or how much cholesterol we can injest without raising our cholesterol levels. I think that bringing up these issues distracts from the main point that: Animals raised for food (whether for meat, milk, or eggs) suffer tremendously. We do not need to eat animal products to be healthy. Therefore, this suffering is unnecessary. Causing unnecessary suffering is unethical.

    We could argue until the cows come home (get it? haha!) about what our ancestors ate, about my cholesterol level, about the shape of our teeth, but all of that doesn't really matter. Even if our bodies can handle an omnivorous diet, that doesn't mean we have to eat that diet. The American Dietetic Association, among others, has stated that a vegetarian or vegan diet can be perfectly healthy, just as many balanced omnivorous diets can be healthy.

    What I think is important, however, is that one diet creates less suffering than the other. Being veg*n is a powerful way to take a stand against the routine and relentless abuses of animals raised for food. To stray from this central point is to do an injustice to the animals.

    OK, y'all, can we get back to ice cream now? :)


  15. I just wanted to say that I agree 100% with what you wrote in your comment above, Agnes. All of those issues of biology really do obscure the point, which is animals suffer when we eat them.

    I'm also thankful that it was your blog and not mine that was listed on Blogger. If it's listed there for very long, I have two words of advice for you: Comment Moderation. LOL

  16. Congrats on being a noteworthy blog :)

    The title of your blog caught my attention. I deal with Gluten Free Desserts quite a bit, and one of the things many of us gluten-free individuals also have to deal with is dairy-allergies or intolerance. The two seem rather closely related. So, the whole vegan-ice-cream thing may very well be of interest to the GF population as well.

    I looked through your recipes. Most seem like they would be well-suited to a gluten-free diet, since most of your ingredients are intrinsically GF. Very cool! I'll keep a watch on your site. And, I think I need to buy an icecream maker :)

  17. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Thank yopu for your recipes and concerns! I have bookmarked your site under two different categories and will definitely be stopping by to keep up with the recipes!

    Izzlebug (

    I have not gone to beta yet so I am signing in as "anon." until I get to it. My blogsite is izzlebug.blogspot.com)

  18. Regardless of your nutritional choices and ethics, your love of ice cream is what drew me to your blog and your creativity will keep me reading.

    I'm an omnivore, but slowly reevaluating now that I can see there's options out there that include ICE CREAM!

    Shine on Agnes :)

  19. Neat blog! You can find some more information on health, environmental, and ethical aspects of veg*ism at www.trianglevegsociety.org - check out our Thanksgiving, the country's largest vegetarian Thanksgiving! I'd love to try your vegan ice cream recipes, and am glad to have found your blog!

    --Dilip www.dilip.info

  20. Great Blog, Agnes!!!

    I was actually wondering how you address makeup, skincare and vitamins, being a vegan.

    I'm not a strict, strict vegan, but I really try to stick to veggies and pasta, egg-beaters and of course Boca Burgers -- stuff like that.

    I attended an Arbonne party (and afterward signed up as a consultant for the discount) and that's when I learned that gelatin is actually an animal byproduct and that there other products in our daily beauty and skincare routines that are animal byproducts and I had NO IDEA!!

    I'm curious if there are other companies that have products that are Certified Vegan like Arbonne does....I'm looking at the vitamins I bought from them and I see the Certified Vegan symbol, and I'm looking at my normal CVS vitamins and I don't see the symbol...so I'm just curious as to how you address that...

    Obviously, I'm sure you know of something, but I haven't been able to find another company that offers Vegan Certified items....

    (you can visit www.firstclassbeauty.myarbonne.com to see the products if you have no idea what I'm talking about)

    I'd love to hear your input...


  21. To Compassionate Chic--

    You raise some good questions. I would first refer you to the excellent and thought-provoking essay "How Vegan?" I think it answers many of your questions.

    Basically, we cannot ever eliminate all of the animal products from our lives. Rather than obsess about minor ingredients in our vitamins or cosmetics, we should focus on the greater goal of reducing animal suffering. To quote from another Vegan Outreach essay: "To me, veganism is not about personal purity, but a way to stop suffering. You don’t have to avoid every animal product, just the obvious ones for which an animal was bred, raised, and eventually killed. Some vegans avoid all they can as a symbolic gesture, but minuscule amounts of animal products or by-products will fade away as the meat, dairy, and egg industries fade."

    So with that philosophical basis, I make the following specific decisions. I don't buy cosmetics, personal care products, or cleaning agents that are tested on animals. (I do not obsess over minute amounts of animal products.)

    Luckily, there are many companies that are cruelty-free! (Many of these companies also do not use any animal products at all.) You can find a list of companies here. This list also tells you which companies use no animal products at all, if you are interested.

    So for cosmetics, I usually buy drugstore brands like Almay or Revlon (because I'm cheap). There are also department store brands like Estee Lauder or Clinique that do not test on animals.

    For personal care products like shampoo or soap, I usually shop at Trader Joe's--again because I'm cheap. Natural food stores like Whole Foods or Wild Oats also stock many cruelty-free products.

    For cleaning products, I shop at (again) Trader Joe's. Target also carries "Method" brand cleaning products. I love their laundry detergent. A friend of mine recently told me that the Kirkland cleaning products at Costco are not tested on animals (she wrote the company), which is great for those of us on a budget!

    Finally, I usually buy my vitamins at Whole Foods. Many of the Whole Foods vitamins specifically say "vegetarian." However, I am not opposed to buying vitamins that are not specifically marked as vegan or vegetarian.

    The small amounts of animal by-products in cosmetics and vitamins will fade away as animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) themselves become less popular. I think that I can do more to reduce animal suffering by spending my time actively promoting veganism, than I could by obsessing over labels.

    This hasn't been terribly coherent, so again I recommend reading "How Vegan?" And then maybe also this essay.


  22. Hi, I just got your link from a vegan friend of mine, here in france, 'cause I wanted to start making icecream with no milk...and wow! you're blog is absolutely wonderfull!! I'm definetly going to steal many of your recipes, thank you so much!!!

  23. i pretty much love this post of yours, because it was on my birthday!

    but i like your recipes too.

  24. Anonymous1:51 PM

    I am vegan, and while i do not agree with everything said above and i have plenty of my own to say on the topic, this is obviously not the place for it! :) Back to ice cream- food from heaven!
    Agnes, i have a few questions, and this may not be the place for those either, but i'm not sure where to post them...
    Have you ever tried to use agar as a thickening agent?
    Have you ever used lecithin to make a more creamy, less icey texture?
    Have you considered making a "cake batter" flavored ice cream? I am going to experiment (cake batter is my old favorite from omni days), but you are much more experienced than i!
    And thank you for making so many selections of vegan ice cream without tofu- i am not a soy person. Thank you for the effort you put into this site in general and for caring to put others before your own taste for meat (etc.), and for being educated when so many don't take the time.
    best wishes always,

  25. To quickly answer Anonymous's questions:

    I haven't ever tried agar or other thickening agents, or lecithin.

    I don't know how I'd go about making a cake batter ice cream...I've never heard of this idea! I'll have to ponder this mystery!

  26. If you would like to read why I am vegan, here is my link to my blog,


  27. Moriah5:37 PM

    When it comes to veganism, there's more than just animal rights. There's worker's rights, health, and environmental issues. One girl I know became vegan purely because of the aesthetics of meat (and stayed vegan for other reasons). Some people (like me) are vegan because they can't digest milk or eggs.

    @ Evil Ryan

    I realize you must have been kidding, but I'd like to reiterate the point of veganism: to reduce suffering. I'm a vegan who cares for the environment and animals, yes, but I also donate to Vegfam (which helps people overcome extreme poverty), PCRM, and when I have a free weekend I volunteer with Feed the Children. My point is: like omnivores, vegans/veggies care about lots of issues. We're not out for vengeance!