No, it’s not kale in my smoothies – this, I can handle. Welcome to a different take on my Quest for Ethical Excellence reports: things that are just too damn frustrating.
“Disclaimer”: of course, there are way worse things in life. But to balance out the great finds I share here, I figured out it’s only fair to discuss experiences that are really annoying. Also let me hear from you: what is your major turn-off when it comes to green lifestyle?
#1 The Promise vs. Reality Of…
Raw and Vegan No-Bake Desserts
I am very, very curious to learn any non-conventional recipe, but a dessert’s sole purpose is to delight my goddamn senses. A dessert has to be sweet, exciting, and look mouthwatering. It’s the cherry on a menu’s cake and if a dessert is bland, the complete meal is ruined.
And, truth be told, not a single raw & vegan no-bake dessert, “truffle” or “cake” has lived up to this expectation yet.
Well, wait, with one exception. There are those suuuuper elaborate Gratitude cakes that you spend days on making and need highly expensive tools and rare ingredients to succeed. Fresh algae, anyone?
But yes, most of those raw vegan no-bake recipes come in one colour – brown – and they taste the same and they hit me hard with the memory of a Russian joke where a guy declines to eat patties he served his guests saying his mincer hurts.
Oh, and to add to the insanity, if you buy packaged raw vegan pralinés and sweets in the vegan or bio stores, they are five times the price of the finest box of macarons at not even half the taste and looks! Raw and vegan desserts are also the main reason I’ve come to strongly dislike cashews, dates, and maple sirup because that’s what they all seem to be made of in varying proportions. (Do you remember the lovely, easy stuffed dates recipe I posted in 2014? Uh-hu. Didn’t make them once in 2015. Thank you, raw and vegan no-bake recipes!)
The only raw vegan no-bake dessert I like was whipped up while throwing tantrums at stupid raw and vegan desserts 🙂 and is a layered verrine of sweet-sour apple & pear puree, creamy vegan vanilla ‘yoghurt’, and pure, unsweetened grated chocolate. Served cold. I realise it won’t qualify as a “real” dessert for many, while my gorgeous all-purpose caramel – free from dates or maple sirup or cashews – is a real discovery I owe to my newly-developed dislike of these ubiquitous ingredients.
I think it’s a start, because you see, I’d love to have delicious and nice looking raw and vegan no-bake desserts…
#2 People With”The Only ___
In The Village”-Syndrome
If you’re acquainted with the hilarious TV series Little Britain, you’ll remember the tastelessly fun episodes featuring Daffyd Thomas. Or go look it up, I’ll wait… 😉 Now, someone with the The Only ___ In The Village syndrome is basically Daffyd’s follower in the sustainable realms. The blank can be filled ad lib with: from the only vegan in the village to the only eco expert in the village.
Anyone who’s informed and has lead a lifestyle of sustainability for a while – this applies to vegans, vegetarians, fair trade supporterts, health enthusiasts, you name it – knows that a) there’s no perfection and, b) that while it’s worth being persistent, there’s also c) nothing wrong about enjoying your life for as long as you can or with settling for a reasonable compromise as long as there are no “perfect” options. It doesn’t help to lecture or to preach.
Most often, the syndrome occurs with newbies who seem to need this particular tactic to persuade themselves of the righteousness and greatness of their new philosophy. But the syndrome can occasionally flash here and there, hitting even the best of us.
Personally, I do have my beliefs, but I will never force or upset anyone who’s not in the know. To me, it’s most important to know WHY you chose a certain route. In fact, I believe that this is the second most important thing in life after knowing who you really ARE.
I reckon these two bits of vague certainty are my best friends in the teeth of entropy.
#3 When Green Brands
Act Like Conventional
During a panel hosted at a natural cosmetics event last year, an author stated that he never used any skincare at all. While the audience, mostly marketers and brand managers, were picking up pieces of their jaws from the floor, the panel moderator charmingly suggested that he might be using at the very least two skincare products, one to wash his hands and one take a shower, to which the man agreed. After this, things derailed quickly. The audience hated his stance. An anti-consumer! OMG, instead of telling us how to boost sales, all he did was rant about consumption.
I digged his Dr House performance. I think he spoke out something many consumers feel but have no chance, no platform to voice: if you’re a green brand, FFS, don’t behave like a guileful multinational.
It doesn’t become you to chase trends that make you compromise on your ethics.
To trick with labelling.
To tell product stories that are half-arsed marketing copy.
To think solely in categories like target groups and market shares.
To pick ingredients because they sound nice despite the fact they hardly make a percent of a formula.
To position your brand solely to follow a niche. Have some goddamn purpose! Don’t act greedy or self-important. And, if people question your ingredients or production methods, be honest and don’t patronise with “we’re taking care of it, don’t you worry”.
Pretty please, make your consumers’ lives more pleasant, simpler, healthier, better – not more complicated and more expensive.
Be the alternative you are meant to be.
How ’bout that?
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So as you see, the lovely fun of leading a greener and greener lifestyle has a few frustrating moments as well.