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Rules, explanations and deliciousness

December 14, 2007

I know I’m not quite in the blogging big leagues so it feels a bit premature to start talking about commenting rules when I only have like 6 comments. Still, better to do it early and it also seques into something else I wanted to talk about. 

So for now the rules are pretty basic

1) No diet or weight loss talk. Not even if it really really really works!!!! Not if it’s a ‘lifestyle change.’ No exceptions and no refunds.

2) If you’ve come here to tell me why being fat is a death sentence, you’re getting deleted. Oh, and you’re totally going to die too, just so you know. Deal with it.

3) My blog. My discretion.

4) This is also a vegan space. At times the comments may be open to discussion of animal rights issues (as they might intersect with the fat acceptance movement) and legitimate critiques and questions will never be deleted. Otherwise, consider this a safe space for animal rights folk who are also working towards personal body acceptance and equality for fat people.

As you might have guessed, it’s this last rule I wanted to talk about. Before you worry, no, this is not an attempt to get anyone to go vegan. There won’t be any gross descriptions of factory farms or sudden nasty pictures.

First, I want people to know that this rule is the result of conversations I’ve had with a few other vegan/AR people who love the fatosphere, but were feeling awkward and sad in food threads and some who have even been told that veganism is just a cover for having an eating disorder.

The thing about animal rights, and this is a way that it is very similar to fat rights, is that it is rarely taken seriously outside of its own circle. It is unlike a lot of progressive movements which even if not completely understood are at least respected as necessary in other progressive spaces. Anyone reading this blog can probably relate to the feeling of being surrounded by people who think you’re delusional, who are saying things and acting in ways which directly conflict with the liberation ideology that you passionately believe in. So with that in mind, I would hope that people understand why having spaces where your ideology is the base assumption is so necessary. Whether that’s having spaces where dieting is not lauded and fat isn’t a villain, or having spaces where animals and animal products aren’t assumed to be for human consumption, it serves a valuable purpose for people.

I also want to say that I had to think about this a lot. Because if there is one thing I just love about the fatosphere, it is seeing people, women especially, talk about food. Not as the enemy or as a drug or as an awful necessity, but the way food should be talked about, as the fantastic, glorious fuel that we are so lucky to have. But for a lot of people who believe in animal rights, it’s hard to participate as joyfully as we would like to. And I think having this one blog where, for those times I do talk about food, we can just let go and not be afraid of being judged (ew, nutritional yeast, tofu!) and without feeling like we have to silence that part of ourselves that simply doesn’t see animals/animal products as food will, I hope, increase people’s participation in food-positive, body-positive politics. Especially for vegan folks who often have to deal with a lot of fat-hate from mainstream vegan organizations (fuck you, peta!)

This does *not* mean that judgemental comments about omnivores will be allowed either. Just to be clear.

I think the best way to end this then is to talk about food. Dessert to be precise. One of the first things I learned to make with tofu after I went vegan was chocolate mousse. I was not optimistic to be honest, but this recipe made a believer out of me. It was thick and creamy and just exactly what I wanted.

Since then I’ve messed about with the recipe and added a crust to make a sort of mousse pie. It is probably the dish most requested by other people I know (none of whom are vegan) and I make it at least once a month.

Ingredients for the mousse:

12-16 ounce package silken tofu

1 package vegan chocolate chips

1/4-1/2 cup soy milk

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the crust

Mint newman-o’s, about 1/2 the package

2 tablespoons earth balance (vegan butter sub)

Method

Crush the newman-o’s in whatever way you like until you have mostly small crumbs

Melt the earth balance in the microwave and mix with the crumbs.

Pat the mixture into a pie pan and put in refrigerator

For the mousse:

In blender or food processor, mix the tofu, maple syrup and vanilla. You may have to scrape the sides and do this several times.

Using a double boiler, melt the choc chips with the soymilk over med-low heat. The melted chips should have a fairly thick consistency so use the minimum amount of soymilk and add as needed.

Add the chocolate to the tofu and blend until fully mixed. Pour into the pie pan and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes.

I don’t take great food pics, but the end result should look like this

chocolate mousse

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13 Comments
  1. Laura permalink
    December 16, 2007 9:14 pm

    Hey, I don’t comment on blogs (because I’m new to the concept of fat acceptance so I just want to listen and learn for the moment). However, I’m so happy that there’s at least one fat acceptance blog written by a vegan. I was worried that I couldn’t be vegan and fat accepting because I voluntarily put restrictions on food and, whilst I don’t want offend omnivores because I love them, I do think of certain foods as “bad” (for animals).

    Think that I need to get over my mortal fear of silken tofu in baked goods (because I hate the soy aftertaste in some vegan desserts) to try that scrumptious looking mousse. Have you seen the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World blog?

  2. December 17, 2007 2:24 am

    Oh, for some reason I didn’t have that bookmarked so thank you. I love Isa and have all of her cookbooks.

    I think the problem is that for people who don’t view the world through an animal right’s perspective, veganism does look restrictive. I think so long as you view animal products as food, veganism will sound like self-denial.

    Have you tried using different kinds of tofu? I find that using extra soft tofu – the kind that needs to be refrigerated -specifically the white wave brand, has a lot less of the tofu taste for some reason.

    That said, I actually like the way the tofu tastes with dark chocolate.

  3. pennylane permalink
    December 18, 2007 9:57 pm

    As a fellow fat vegan–rock on! I think the vegan/fat acceptance parallel thing is really interesting. I find people get very defensive when they find out that I’m a vegan (usually not from me because I don’t like to talk about my eating habits). I also find they get defensive if I suggest that I’m not interested in weight loss or diets or that I might not be horribly disgusted by my own fat body and consider myself (gasp!) healthy. It’s interesting how people can get so proprietary about the choices they make about their own bodies (but I could never give up cheese! I love bacon too much! Vegans are pale!) but feel perfectly comfortable projecting onto others.

    I love tofu and dark chocolate too. Mmmmmmm mousse.

  4. December 18, 2007 10:56 pm

    Mmm, recipe looks awesome, Attrice. I’m an omnivore, but I love tofu in many forms, and I bet this will be one of them.

    As one of the people who’s posted not-so-animal-friendly conversations on my blog, I totally get your need to create this space. And I hope vegans don’t feel judged at Shapely Prose. (Excluded from discussions of meat-eating, I can see, but I hope not judged.) I shut down an animal rights convo because it was just taking things way off topic recently (my own feelings on the matter are complicated, but my blog is not where I want to have that conversation), but I also certainly don’t think all vegans have eating disorders, or anything like that. I mean, any kind of restrictive eating can, of course, be a mask for an ED — or an ED in itself — so I understand where people are coming from when they speculate about that. But it would be ridiculous to suggest it applies to all, or even most, vegans.

    Honestly, I’m happy to see fat vegans making themselves more visible, because of crap like PETA’s anti-fat campaigns, and the general assumption that if you’re fat, you must not have heard of vegetables. It’s one more great form of stereotype-busting, so rock on.

    Also, I’m loving your blog, so rock on with that, too.

  5. December 19, 2007 5:14 pm

    Pennylane,

    Thank you.

    And it is odd how concerned people are with what others are putting into their bodies while simultaneously taking offence at what we choose not to do with ours.

  6. December 19, 2007 5:23 pm

    Kate,

    I hadn’t even seen the thread that veered into animal rights stuff on your blog until someone else posted about it. Honestly, I don’t like people derailing threads whenever something non-vegan is brought into a conversation. It’s not really doing anything for the movement and it puts everyone on the defensive. So my point is that I wouldn’t see that as making Shapely Prose not vegan friendly or anything.

    Mainly it’s the tendency for people to conflate disagreements with tactics in the animal rights movement with it’s principles that gets hard to take. I’ll be the first to jump in a thread about PETA with my own intense dislike of them and their tactics, but then I often have to wade through a bunch of “Yeah, PETA is sexist and fatphobic. But what do you expect from crazy vegans who think animals and people are exactly the same!?” Which puts us vegans in a position where we don’t want to derail a thread or turn in into a discussion on the validity of animal rights, but also want to correct what other people are saying.

    But there isn’t really anywhere in the fatosphere that I see as hostile to vegans.

    I’m glad you’re liking the blog too. Thank you.

  7. pennylane permalink
    December 19, 2007 6:33 pm

    PETA is also racist and classist! And not representative of all or even most vegans! Seriously I’m glad to see more vegan voices out on the Internets if only to indicate that we’re a diverse bunch motivated by all sorts of things, including but not limited to the delicious food. As a vegan who has had an eating disorder, I’m quite sensitive to the arguments that we are either motivated by vanity (moral or physical) or some sort of disorder. For me, being mindful of what I eat and the care it takes to make a balanced and tasty vegan meal has really helped me think about food something good as opposed to something threatening.

    I don’t think the AR tension is unique to the fatosphere. I’ve certainly seen my share of kerfuffles (technical term) on feminist blogs as well. It’s not surprising they don’t want us around; what could be worse than a militant vegan, humorless feminist and miserable fat person rolled into one!

  8. Hope permalink
    December 21, 2007 4:15 pm

    Attrice, you said to “. . . consider this a safe space for animal rights folk who are also working towards personal body acceptance and equality for fat people.” I’m a little late getting to this post, but this definitely describes me and I appreciate having this space. I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years and for most of that time, I considered myself to be vegan. Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve found veganism difficult to maintain. I am one of those fat people who do have problems with overeating/binge eating (whatever you want to call it) and I find the distinction between “disordered eating” and “eating disorders” to be pretty meaningless. I think it is probably just a matter of degree of severity. But in my case, I have absolutely no doubt that my eating issues were caused by society. It is not some sort of inherent psychiatric problem. I was a chubby kid who was put on diets early in life and blah blah blah. It is a common story.

    I’ve always felt a strong affinity for other animals and as an adult, when I learned about factory farming, I became a vegetarian (sometime vegan) overnight and even though my vegetarianism had nothing to do with health or wanting to be thin, I still had my ED/DE issues and those didn’t go away. For many years, I’ve also worked towards becoming an intuitive eater. I’ve been to workshops and counselors and read seemingly hundreds of books, but for me, it really hasn’t been any different from dieting. I don’t get IE. I still often overeat (and the problem with this, primarily, is how uncomfortable it feels) and still have enormous difficulty accepting my body. I thought that I might be a failed intuitive eater because I wasn’t eating animal products and thus didn’t totally “legalize” all foods. Legalized or not, I have absolutely no desire to eat meat or drink milk or eat cheese, but I did feel that restricting foods like cheap easy-to-acquire baked goods and candy, might be making it difficult for me to become an intuitive eater because these were the things I really wanted. (I know there are vegan substitutes, but it is somehow just not quite the same.)

    Anyhow, I don’t want to go on and on about it, but legalizing these things hasn’t helped with my eating issues anyway and I think that the conflicts that I faced had nothing to do with being vegan. Also, I wanted to say that a couple of the comments to this post gave me some perspective. Laura, you said that you think of certain foods as “bad for animals.” And Attrice, you said that “as you view animal products as food, veganism will sound like self-denial.” Both of these comments really clicked for me.

    P.S.
    I also loathe PETA, but one of my favorite cookbooks is The Compassionate Cook (published by PETA). It has easy recipes with easy to get ingredients.

  9. December 24, 2007 5:51 pm

    Hope,

    Intuitive eating is hard for me as well. I’ve been working on it with varying levels of success for a while and I really feel that it’s only recently that I’ve started to ‘hear’ what my body really wants to eat. I have much the same history of being a fat kid who was put on diets all the time and developing issues with ‘bad’ foods …blah blah, such a common story unfortunately. But when I went vegan, it did help me to say “Ok, if you start to crave {insert animal product here} and a vegan version will not do, then you can have whatever it is you want. It doesn’t make you a terrible person and it’s better to have a bit of animal product and stay sane and mostly vegan than it is to be a pure vegan and obsess about food constantly.”

    It worked for me. In the first six months or so I had a few non-vegan foods, but each time I found that they weren’t even close to the way I remembered them and eventually I lost interest.

    I know that some vegans will absolutely cringe at my advocating people eating animal products, but food is complicated as all hell and honestly, most people who would blow their purity whistle have no clue what it’s like to deal with ED/DE. And I think my initial relaxed approach is what made me a successful vegan in the end. If I had been obsessed with purity, then it would have fed my obsession with ‘forbidden’ foods that I was already dealing with and the first time I ate a non-vegan baked good, I probably would have given the whole idea up.

    However, I agree that often these conflicts don’t have anything to do with veganism. I still struggle with assigning values to food and still have days when I fall into the cycle of non allowing myself to eat and then bingeing in the evening.

    Also, and I’m working on another post about this, I’ve found that veganism has helped my food issues tremendously. Having to learn a whole new way to cook and eat has given me a new appreciation for food and a way to learn about flavor and texture and all that which helps me figure out what I actually like to eat.

  10. GLT permalink
    January 5, 2008 1:11 am

    Food talk: OMG mint cookie crust! That sounds ridiculously good.

    And maple syrup is a great sweetener in cookies too. I love these little chocolate almond maple cookies. I adore almond flavor.

  11. Emma permalink
    May 9, 2008 2:27 am

    I have a recipe question! How big is a package of vegan chocolate chips!? I am dying to make this recipe but I don’t know how much vegan chocolate to use! Help!

  12. May 9, 2008 10:54 am

    I think the bag I use is about 9 ounces.

    Although if you’re using the smaller package of tofu, 2 cups of chocolate chips will work just as well.

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