Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the Worldcame out last year and spurred several notable Kathy Freston appearances on major talk shows, including Oprah, Martha, and Ellen (my fave, duh. I LOVE YOU ELLEN!!). Surprisingly, it didn’t make the VegNews list of 2010’s most influential non-cookbook books and frankly, that’s a mistake. However, its message is not abolitionist, so I can see why it might be omitted. The book simply encourages you to make gradual changes and provides convincing evidence and testimonials.
I understand why some vegans have a problem with the non-abolitionist approach. I get this way occasionally, too. Even though Meatless Monday is great—and I’m grateful for friends who’ve said my influence has caused them eat more vegan food—it’s still annoying sometimes. I want to shout at everyone, “DON’T YOU JUST WANT TO STOP EATING THINGS THAT USED TO BE ALIVE?” This book does not shout that.
Veganist is super-interesting. It outlines 10 promises that Freston assures will come true if you make an effort to adopt a vegan diet. A good chunk of it focuses on the health benefits of a vegan diet, the evidence for which is overwhelming. She interviews several specialists on heart disease and diabetes and knocks your socks off by showing you how far-reaching the effects of eliminating cholesterol and animal fat can be. She also has a few weight-loss testimonials. I can’t totally agree with that one however—I haven’t lost a pound since going vegan. I am still sexy though. And single. Ahem, gentlemen.
The most powerful chapters for me were the ones on animal suffering and spirituality, especially the story of two generations of cows who live and work on a dairy farm. This is a heart-wrenching and in-depth tale that reveals the horror of the milk and cheese industry, told convincingly by Freston. It’s nice to see her focus so clearly on the foodstuffs most folks have the hardest time giving up. Talking about a slaughterhouse or a broiler farm would be almost easier and more acceptable, but she takes the difficult path and does so brilliantly.
The spirituality chapter is wonderful. It shows many angles of all religions and encourages you to question what your god would really think of you eating animals and participating in a world of violence. It is a fascinating argument, backed up with evidence from spiritual texts and testimonials from different spiritual advisors, and it got me thinking in a way I hadn’t before.
I was apprehensive about reading this book. My opinion of Kathy Freston has always been tainted. She has written a bunch of self-help-type “finding love” books, she used honey on her Martha Stewart appearance, and her whole involvement in that “vegan-ish” Oprah episode was annoying—I felt like the whole thing was basically just Michael Pollan jerking off.
However, she handled Martha Steward’s difficult questions with grace, she put her hand on Michael Pollan’s arm when he said there was nothing wrong with eating animals and gently disagreed, and my distaste for self-help/love books is mostly just because I am single (and sexy!).
Ultimately, I think Veganist is excellent. It’s an easy read, but her arguments are indisputable. Though I don’t know how many people it will actually convince to go vegan, it’s an excellent source of inspiration and information, especially regarding health issues. It provides great insight into the vegan lifestyle: There are shopping lists and meal suggestions in the afterward, which any parent or sibling of a vegan would find informative and useful. It would make a fantastic gift for a non-vegan family member, too.
If you are already vegan and looking for a solid read, pick it up. If you’re feeling particularly abolitionist, you might not like it. Nevertheless, it’s very good and I think Freston’s exposure, along with the great information she provides, will create a huge ripple effect. Even though it may not make people go vegan, it will open a lot of eyes, minds, and hearts to the long list of benefits this lifestyle provides.
Good job, Kathy Freston. Now, let’s get me a boyfriend!
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight and writes for US Weekly’s Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz and read about her animal-friendly adventures here.
Ever wonder what a four-month-old fox cub gets up to when Mom’s not looking? Taken in Bursfelde, Germany by Duncan Usher, the photo above captures our foxy friend mid-ride as he and a pal made use of an old conveyor belt situated in an abandoned gravel mine.
The fox thinks it’s people! It’s the cutest thing in the world, right? Right.
A team of Spanish and Moroccan scientists analyzed 20 samples of cow’s milk using the most highly sensitive test of its kind, and discovered they contained 20 different painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. WTF?! You heard right: The results, which were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that cow’s milk contained traces of anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used as painkillers in animals and humans. Check the totally terrifying graphic below:
Dr. Evaristo Ballesteros of the University of Jaen in Spain, who led the study, told the Daily Mail that “We believe this new technique will help provide a more effective way of determining the presence of these kinds of contaminants in milk or other products.” Using the same tests, Ballesteros and his team also found traces of painkillers ibuprofen and naproxen, hormones, and the antibiotic triclosan present in human breast milk. If these findings are true in Spanish and Morrocan milks—human and animal alike—they are likely true for milk produced in the USA and all over the world.
Men's Vegan Dress Shoe Round-up: Step Up Your Game, Bros!
Hello friends! I’ve been meaning to do a men’s dress shoe round-up for like ever but I totally forgot because HELLO I DO HAVE A LIFE. Just kidding, I was busy watching hulu. But then twitterer @Midnighthaircut reminded me, so here we go!
My roommate Crystal Paul and I, as the charming and charismatic hostesses/brilliant chefs we are, can usually be found throwing parties at our apartment. She’s great at finding amazing vegan recipes online, then making them a delicious reality. The last party was a Mad Men-inspired cocktail/vegan hors d’œuvres rager; elegant debauchery at its finest.
Our spread: vegan shrimp from Rainbow, Oreos, stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, and all the way on the bottom left—that’s my spinach dip. One of these days, if I’m feeling generous, maybe I’ll give you the recipe. Fine, twist my arm, as soon as I write down how I made it, I’ll post it.
Say what you will about Camilla*, but girlfriend is a pal to animals! According to CNN,
Last fall, Camilla opened [Battersea Dogs and Cats Home]’s new cattery, and mentioned to staff that she’d love another Jack Russell since her beloved Freddy had died. (Freddy was such a part of the family that Camilla’s son Tom named his own child after the dog!)
When a Jack Russell was left at the shelter, the staff emailed photos to the Duchess.
“I just couldn’t resist her, she is gorgeous,” Camilla told Britain’s
Daily Mail of seeing the pup’s pictures. “It is so exciting. I can’t wait for her to meet the family.
First off, A CATTERY!! And secondly, her son named his kid after a dog! My kinda family! Because don’t think for a minute that if I ever make the mistake of bringing a child into this godforsaken world that it won’t be named Hazel. And finally, awww! The British royal family knows to rescue! Which makes them better than our royal family, what with the accepting of gifts of dogs bred for sale and complete inability to successfully govern and shit. GET IT TOGETHER, OBAMA! Jesus.
Here is a picture of a Jack Russell that is not Camilla’s Jack Russell, but they all look kinda the same, which is to say: CRAZY. This guy is named Russell (creative!) and he’s up for adoption at the Oakland Animal Shelter! Adopt his adorable ass, why don’t you!
*Man, she had it rough for awhile. British gossips be gossiping! But you know what? They need to recognize that she did not break up Charles and Diana (RIP)—he was ALWAYS gonna be with Camilla! I mean, I was like four years old when all that shit went down and even I knew that!
Hello, friends! It's WTF Wednesday! (on Thursday!)
You guys, Allen pulled some kind of back muscle this week and it has been hell here at our house. Allen is always in the living room rubbing himself with some strange green thing called a Thera-cane, or rolling around on an oddly textured orange thing, or engaging in what he says is stretching but looks suspiciously like pony play, hooked up to some rubber band contraption to the door that leads to the kitchen and I cannot eat. If he isn’t moaning around he is sitting on front of the television and calling me from the living room—on the telephone—to tell me that it is time to make him lunch.
Our conversations always go like this: Me: Hello. Allen: It is lunch time! Me: What would you like me to do about this? Allen: I want lunch. Me: Make yourself some lunch, then. Allen: But, my back… Me: OMG I am reading and also I am so comfortable and I just saw you doing like cartwheels. Make it yourself. Allen(in the most pitiful voice imaginable): But I hurt sooooooo much! Please help me! Meow meow meow!
At this point I feel bad and go to the kitchen to rustle up something for him to eat. Unfortunately, I cannot find the potato he is asking for (mother of god!), and gently yell into the living room to find out where he might have left a 10-pound bag of potatoes AMD why he was heaving it around if his back hurts so much.
"Allen," I say, in the gentlest way possible. "where are the potatoes?"
"In the lefthand cabinet," he says, suddenly robust and healthy. "And hurry up! I want to eat before my show comes on." And that, officer, is why I murdered my boyfriend in cold blood. It was a crime of passion. Also, I was reading, and he was disturbing me with his physical problems.
Allen trolling me for lunch is like one of these cats who are into water. There are two things I learned about cats when I was a kid: Cats hate dogs; and cats hate water. What the fuck is this, then? Look at these cats just playing in the water like it’s no big thang, just pawing around in the sink. Look at these cats taking luxurious baths! I bet you that this is what cats do when you are not home. You try to give your cat a bath and it claws the shit out of you and leaves your hands looking like they’ve been through a meat grinder. As soon as you leave the house, however, the cat’s all up in your shower, washing itself with the expensive soap your horrible boyfriend doesn’t let you use because it is just for show.
These memories are making me irritated. Allen is going to be home soon and will probably force me make dinner for him because he spent the whole day at work and I spent it in a recliner eating bonbons. I am going to be so mad! I hope you are just as mad at Allen as I am for trolling, but if you’re not, I leave you with this amazing .gif of an ape eating his own boogers while another ape openly disapproves. That’s what relationships look like. Send me links for next week and have a great first day of school!
Police academy hangs dog from flagpole, Mexico gets PISSED
These pictures surfaced on Twitter last night along with a gagillion tweets with the hashtag #cachorroneza (Neza puppy) denouncing the abuse of the poor pup. Who would do that to a puppy? Mexico is pissed! The location of the flagpole has been identified as Colegio de la Agencia de Seguridad Estatal in the city of Neza, Mexico. What I can gather from google translate (my Spanish is rusty!), that’s a private* police academy.
Some news sources have covered the story but there’s been no explanation from the school about WTF happened. They are however now aware of the power of social media to get the word out! It’s a great tool for civil unrest, is it not?
As terrible as this action is, the reaction from the public makes me feel hopeful that there are good people in the world who don’t think you can just do whatever you want to an animal. Go Mexico! Go Twitter!
I hope you are safe now, cachorro Neza, but I worry you are not. I will wish for the best though! You deserve a nice family and a warm bed.
*Update: Readers have told me it’s public and run by the government. Awful!
This is four-year-old Natalia with her neighbor’s dog—cute couple! Natalia is mostly vegan save for her one vice: About twice a month, she succumbs to the call of string cheese. Her mom and I discussed interviewing her as a vegan or vegetarian but it seems our input was unnecessary: “I asked her the questions as vegetarian, and she said, ‘I’m vegan!’” I like a girl who speaks her mind. Apparently she also asked if her dino would be on a magazine at Whole Foods. I don’t think I have that kind of sway but dream big, girl!
What is your favorite food? Natalia: Quinoa or chocolate pizza.*
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Natalia: One that has blueberries and football candles.
Why are you vegan? Natalia: Because I love animals! They are cuties.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Natalia: I like it. Because.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? Natalia: No. It’s healthy!
What do your friends think about you being vegan? Natalia: They think my food looks cool.
What is your favorite animal? Why? Natalia: Chickens, because they are funny. [Bawks like a chicken]
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! Natalia: Um, yes. I like blue dinosaurs also. I can draw a pink one named Natalia.
Hi, Natalia the dino!
As per usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me! It’s fun!
*Totally got the recipe! And OMG I want it for breakfast like now. Mom note: “the recipe was born out of the fact that if there is not something sweet in the kitchen at all times, I will be shunned by my family. I threw some things together that I had on hand and it turned out to be delicious and is now apparently Natalia’s favorite food after quinoa (weirdo).”
Le recipe: Pizza crust, either homemade or store-bought 2 tsp Earth Balance buttery spread 1/4 cup Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (OMG my salivary glands reacted to just typing that) 3/4 c vegan chocolate chips Hazelnuts, pretzels, candy, coconut, whatever you want on your pizza
Preheat oven to 450 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the dough out and brush it with Earth Balance. Cook for about 18-22 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and spread the hazelnut butter onto the crust. Top with chocolate chips and return to oven for about a minute, just until the chocolate has melted. Sprinkle with toppings of your choice and devour.
Help save moon bears, get tasty Loving Hut noms in SF!
Do me a favor: Recall the plight of the moon bear. Then HURRY and write a $20 check to the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, and attend dinner at the Loving Hut at 524 Irving Street from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, August 29. After dinner, you’ll be treated to a talk from Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia, and she might be accompanied by the organization’s Vietnam Director Dr. Tuan Bendixsen, so that’s cool.
I know you’re broke (me too!), but bring any extra money you have to throw their way to help save the bears. We just received word of this event yesterday, but reservations are needed by today. However, if you email or call Nancy Loewen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-750-0614, like, NOW, you could probably still get on the list. DO IT.
I think some guy in a thick, very old book once said that it’s better to be a fisher of men than to give a man a fish and multiply it to feed thousands. Right?
Anyway, fishing sucks, but destroying the habitats of the fish who still remain is worse. And that’s exactly what is happening today: man-made increases in seawater carbon dioxide levels cause fish to lose their “handedness,” or preference for turning one way or another.
My favorite thing in the world is picking popcorn out of my teeth. Why? Because it gives me something to do AND it means I just ate a shit-ton of popcorn, which is one of many reasons to go to August’s SF Vegan Drinks tomorrow, Aug. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m at Martuni’s.
Why else would you go? Besides all-you-can-eat vegan popcorn, you can get hammered meet other local vegans and network to your little heart’s content. This month’s special is something called the “VDSF,” a martini with this new SF edition of Absolut Vodka (no idea) and juice, for $5. VegNews will provide attendees with a list of nearby veg restaurants to help you soak up the booze later, and if you’re working on a veg project, you can yak into the microphone to anyone who will listen at 7:45 p.m. Plus if you’re like me—cough-UNEMPLOYED-cough—you don’t have an excuse NOT to go. I’m bummed they did away with the vegan hot dogs, but I hate everything there’s always next time.
So, bummer news! Souley Vegan has a sign in their window that reads:
Souley Vegan will no longer be open for brunch on Sundays starting August 28, 2011. We will be offering Breakfast from 6 to 9 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays… BEGIN date to be announced soon. Thank you!
And that’s almost 100 percent verbatim because the fantastic Rick went to check it out for us. So—6 a.m. breakfast on Friday and Saturday and no brunch FOR NOW. They’re supposed to move the brunch to weekdays, but I’m not sure when that’ll happen. I don’t know what kind of business plan this is! I am a little worried! I don’t think I’ve ever been up at 6 a.m.! Like, not once in my life! However, for all you earlier birds and club kids, have at that breakfast and let me know how it is. If it’s amazing, which I’m guessing it might be, I need you to bring some elephant-grade No-Doz and come at me.
Now, let’s all stare at the Toasty Crispy and relax.
This is Leeluu! Cute name, right? Cute kid too! From her mom: “Leeluu has been a vegan all of her almost 3 years on earth. She loves cookies and can growl like a monster. We live in Nova Scotia, Canada.” Everybody now, growl like a monster!
What is your favorite food? Peanut butter sandwiches.
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Pumpkin pie.
Why are you vegan? Cause I am.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Yes, cause the food is ummy.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? No.
What do your friends think about you being vegan? Nerd.
What is your favorite animal? Why? Duck, cause its really cute.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! Yes, yes!
LYFE Kitchen to open very soon, and here's the menu!
LYFE Kitchen (Meave wrote about them earlier this year) is set to open “later this month” (it’s already August 23! When, dammit! When!) at 167 Hamilton Ave in Palo Alto. As a refresher, LYFE kitchen is an experimental healthy fast food restaurant from some former McDonald’s head honchos, Oprah’s chef Art Smith (WHAT’S UP, O!), and vegan chef extraordinaire, Tal Ronnen. Because of Tal’s involvement, there are tons of vegan options on the menu, and they all look damn good. That’s a picture of the vegan corn chowder, I WILL EAT YOU. I THOUGHT all the desserts were supposed to be vegan, but they’re not marked as such, even though that banana run cheesecake sounds like something from Tal’s cookbook?? I dunno ‘bout that!
I got to interview Art Smith earlier this year and he was a very charming Southern gent of adorability and I fell straight in love with him. He told me Moby played his wedding’s after-party (yes, a wedding with an after-party! MARRY ME, ART! I, too, love to party hard!) and the whole thing was vegan (at Moby’s insistence, although Art thought it was a great idea, too!). Man, TO BE RICH AND IN LOVE. Although not to be a bitch but to be a total bitch, I’d probably have Leslie Hall play my after-party. Sorry, Moby! You just can’t work a gem sweater like my girl Leslie!
Anyway, what do you think of the menu? Will you be going to Palo Alto to eat there? I am pretty sure I will because even though the target demographic is soccer moms, I can eat just as much as those bitches! Also, I’d like this idea to succeed, and for the vegan options to sell well, and for LYFE Kitchen to grow bigger than McDonald’s and for us all to eat vegan banana rum cheesecake in a field of dreams! LET’S DO THIS.
“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also signed up. However, instead of blocking its name, said PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt, the organization will launch peta.xxx as a pornography site that draws attention to the plight of animals.”—In “NO DOY” news of the day, PETA is launching a porn site! Because why not draw attention to the exploitation of animals by exploiting ladies? Of course, I’m sure they’ll have a few dudes with carrots (or eggplants?) covering their dongs but I’m mainly expecting naked skinny white ladies nakedly dancing in front of footage of Meat Your Meat. Actually, that sounds kinda awesome, in a Clockwork Orange type of way. I don’t know, I’m waffling between SEX SELLS and PUKE. I guess I’ll go jerk it and then cry myself to sleep. What a world!
The contest will only run until midnight PST TODAY so get on their Facebook pagetheir website and MAKE IT HAPPEN! Because if you do, you could be making out with me and Meave ALL WEEKEND LONG. GROSS HOT. Also, if you’re already going to the con (what we awesome people call it), let us know so we can all say hi and hold hands and run in circles and fall down in fields of poppies and get high as fuck and eat many brownies. MAGIC.
It’s that time again: I’ve accumulated enough questions/found enough time in my busy schedule of unemployment (now accepting paying-job leads!) to write another round of Ask a Vegansaur! This one only consists of two questions because they are long. Deal with it.
Tim asks: We know that the traditional vegan rejects honey as part of the general “exploitation and abuse of living creatures” principle. But what about the use of bees as pollinators? Bee colonies are used in large numbers for commercial agriculture. Should “real vegans” mostly reject strawberries, blueberries, almonds, and other “confined bee” pollination-required forms of vegetable matter? Dang, Tim, you smart! Before I answer the question, I’d like everyone to know that when you eat figs, you might be eating wasps: Wasps can get trapped inside a fig while pollinating its flower and subsequently DIE. That’s nasty, but I digress.
In truth, I have not thought about this much before, but I’m going to try to answer this question reasonably and intelligently. Although bees can’t give consent, I would say that it’s difficult to “force” bees or other insects to do your bidding because they are relatively small and hard to trap. Bees can and will leave the hive for any reason their bee brains deem fit. You can smack a bee or squash it, but it’s risky to humans. Plus it’s hard for the layperson to gauge a bee’s emotions, so you won’t see a bee squealing in fear like a pig about to be slaughtered.
I feel beekeeping is on a different level than factory farming. All we ask the bees to do is pollinate (the byproduct of honey is another topic), which they’d do anyway, and then we harvest the plants. So while almonds, berries, and the like might not be vegan in the sense that they’re technically the result of animal byproducts, I don’t think it’s necessary for vegans of any stripe to avoid them. Am I in the wrong? What do you readers think?
Ellen asks: I work at a grocery store where they put labels on the products for specific nutritional info. Now, I was looking at some of the info on some products that weren’t labeled vegan, and they did not contain any animal ingredients, but there is a statement saying that they may have come in contact with milk/eggs or that the product is processed in a facility [with] non-vegan products. Would you still consider these foods vegan? Or are they considered non-vegan because of the chance that they came in contact with something like that? One of the unfortunate facets of veganism is that we have to place a lot of trust in the products we choose to consume. Readers might recall the Emes Kosher-Jel scandal of 2005 or so, in which a product most vegans considered “safe” was shown to contain gelatin. While that was unfortunate, I don’t think that made anyone who had consumed it no longer vegan.
Because food manufacturers are being held increasingly responsible for food allergen content, good hygiene practices for workers and machines are becoming more popular. We should try to do the best we can with what we have. The point is that we’re thinking about it. The more we support vegan products, even though they might share facilities with non-vegan ones, the more likely the companies might be able to afford their own facilities one day.
To answer your question succinctly (tl;dr): Yes, I still consider these products vegan, especially because the likelihood that they came into contact with trace animal products is minimal.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
It's not all bad: Otters return to English rivers!
English river otters are back! The Guardian reports that the animals are now living in every county in the country, which is amazing, considering that they nearly went extinct in the 1970s.
The resurgence in England’s otter population is due to the otter-hunting ban of 1978, and the significantly improved health of English rivers. Wonderful, all around. Although let’s not forget that otters are also “wanton killer[s],” selfishly eating up all the fish that people would like to be catching themselves. The NERVE.
Top 10 links of the week: a joyful skip through veganism!
[Downer that the whale is in captivity but we can still appreciate its beauty. PS: Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Sorry dudes, I haven’t done links in a few weeks, so this list spans the last month or so. Were you guys sad without links? Which kinds of links do you like the best? I want to know so I can do the best possible job!
Apparently in Ukraine, restaurants keep bears and make them drink vodka. Well, not any more! Really though, wtf.
From Grist: “Is your Cheese Killing the Planet?” The article says, “bottom line: the vegans are right,” but I think their real message is one we’ve heard many a time: “bottom line: CHEESE IS YUM YUM! WEEEEEE!” Maybe we can add some comments.
Bonus link: If I don’t say this every week, I mean this every week: don’t forget to read our Laura’s Week in Vegan over at SFWeekly every Friday! And leave comments to make her feel nice. Laura deserves to feel nice. We all do! Except some people.
The VegNews Veggie Awards are ON! And Vegansaurus is nominated for Best Blog! And my column, “Ask Laura” is nominated for Best Column! Well, all the columns are nominated for best columns but still: WOOHOO! So please vote for us! And for me! Or you don’t have to vote for us, no bigs, we’ll still love you through our tears. However, you should still vote because there are fantastic prizes to be won, including year supply of Coconut Bliss ice cream, a VeganTreats dessert party flown straight to your face, and a CARIBBEAN CRUISE! Now, go vote so that you can get your ass on that boat and set sail to DELIGHT!
Where do vegans in the San Francisco Peninsula eat? I’m always spending time there with my family, getting dragged to Cheesecake Factory, as I know of no where I can take my omnivorous family that we will all be happy. I hear there’s a Patxi’s down there, which I believe the family could get into (I’d totally get my own personal vegan pizza! I love not having to share food!)
Two new eating options have come to my attention and both look extremely tasty. First there is Calafia Cafe, located in Palo Alto. It looks like omni’s and vegans have plenty of delicious, fancy, entrees, appetizers, sides and small plates to choose from, plus they have gluten-free options! Everyone wins! I’ll have the black bean and rojo tofu tacos, please (I’m kind of obsessed with vegan Mexican food).
Next up, Milk Pail Market in Mountain View. From the website alone, it’s hard to tell if they have vegan cheese options, but rumor has it, they carry vegan versions of gouda, monterey jack and pepper jack. How exciting!
Have any readers hit up either of these places? What do you think?
What is going on with meat inspection? In the past month, there’ve been seven recalls due to listeria contamination, three because of E. coli, and three for salmonella, nearly 36,723,700 pounds of food, almost of it meat. The number’s sort of enormous thanks to Cargill’s recall of 36 million pounds of “ground turkey products” on Aug. 3 because of salmonella contamination. Disgusting.
Many foodborne microbes are present in healthy animals (usually in their intestines) raised for food. Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter by contact with small amounts of intestinal contents. Similarly, fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed or irrigated with water that is contaminated with animal manure or human sewage.
Right, we know that, CDC. It’d be nice to know how the shit-water gets to the produce, or how the carcasses come into “contact with small amounts” of unexpressed poop. Over a century since The Jungle exposed the horrible conditions of the meatpacking industry and people are still getting shit teeming with bacteria in our food. You think after another 100 years the agriculture industry will stop making us sick?
It has recently come to my attention that in Elle magazine you call women who have condoms at their house “tacky.” As a woman, I am horrifically offended. Perhaps you did not realize that we are living in a time in which STDs run rampant? Perhaps you did not realize that pregnancy comes from unprotected sex? I have to take care of myself, and yes, that means I have condoms in my drawer. While it is always a little awkward when someone you are newly seeing pulls one out (Why do they have those? Who were they sleeping with before? How recent? Is there someone else?), let’s not kid ourselves that a Walgreens is always open or a feasible distance away. I need to look out for myself. But according to you, I am tacky? Turns out I’m also STD-free, which I think is decidedly un-tacky.
I’d now like to point out an incident involving you and your band (The Black Eyed Peas) that I find, for lack of a better word, tacky.
To wit: Performing a concert in Spain that “is a major sponsor” of the TV show Involución, which directly supports the abuse and exploitation of chimpanzees. Involución, translated as “devolution,” is a competition-based reality show in which a chimpanzee called Darwin (real name Noah) competes alongside humans in very humiliating and unfavorable tasks (mostly for the voluntary human participants). Animals don’t belong in the entertainment industry; they’re often abused to make them perform. Noah is no exception, as he belongs to animal trainer Steve Martin, who has already been cited numerous times by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. I understand your band has supported PETA in the past, by urging KFC to treat the chickens they cook more humanely. So what about other animals, specifically Noah?
Please, will.i.am, take a stand against unprotected sex, and animal abuse and exploitation.
Sincerely, Jenny Bradley
SECOND BONUS LETTER!
Dear Everyone Else Ever,
Please sign the petition telling the Black Eyed Peas to stop supporting chimpanzee abuse!
Your government hates you: the feds spent taxpayer money to buy surplus dead chickens!
So, you know that OUR GOVERNMENT with OUR MONEY bought $40 MILLION worth of chicken that nobody wanted? Because the chicken industry is killing more birds than ever, even though demand for dead birds is slightly waning. UGH YOU CANNOT WIN AGAINST PURE EVIL AND STUPIDITY.
Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States (we love him!) wrote up a piece about this over at VegNews. He writes:
As demand for chicken meat remains far below the number of birds who are actually being raised and killed, rather than allowing the market to adjust to basic supply and demand principles, the federal government Monday announced it will buy $40 million of unwanted chicken products that will be dumped on our nation’s school kids and others in federal food programs.
In short, chicken-meat companies have continued increasing the number of birds they raise for food while demand has remained flat. Normally, in a free market, an industry that produces beyond what consumers want will contract. But not the poultry industry. It instead relies on regular government support in times like these—and by that I mean nearly all the time.
Read the rest here! And then GET PISSED! By being vegan, I like to think that I’m affecting the market because my money isn’t going toward these fucks, and because the industry doesn’t slow down to keep pace with the declining demand, the government just buys the surplus. It makes me SO MAD. I’ll never stop being vegan, and I’ll never stop rejecting that disgusting industry, but this really makes me want to live off the grid and not pay a single fucking cent in taxes and become an anarchist and just cook out of my trashcan and live in a hobbit hut and call it a day. I don’t know what good that’d do anyone but the point is IT MAKES ME CRAZY.
Now we know: Chipotle puts bacon in the pinto beans. Thanks for the assist, Twitter!
I love Chipotle! Good thing every time I go there, I order the black beans—I had no idea they cooked their pinto beans with bacon! Or maybe I had heard that, which is why I always order the black beans. Point is, bacon in the pinto beans is not clearly marked anywhere! Thanks to Seth Porges, Chipotle is going to change their in-store menus to state that they cook pork with the pinto beans.
While we do have Porges to thank for this change, I think we also owe a huge thanks to the real hero here: Twitter. If it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t be able to stalk my favorite celebrities/bloggers quite so easily, AND Steve Ells, CEO of Chipotle, may not have heard and responded to Porges so quickly! Within two hours of Porges’ tweeting and emailing Ells, he got a response promising action. Unfortunately, that action does not include removing pork from the beans altogether—yet?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you spend too much time on the internet. This is how shit gets done! Voices are heard! Actions are taken!
A delicious, pork-free burrito bowl from Chipotle. What?! I’m an American! I want my fast food! Cruelty-free with a extra side of guacamole, please.
With the Snooze app, you can donate a quarter to a worthy organization every time you hit the snooze button. Um, AWESOME! Genius idea. The money goes through Let Give and you get to choose which charity to donate to from a list of non-profits. They only have a handful of orgs you can donate to but one is Nature Conservancy, which protects stuff like, you know, nature and that sort of thing. No but for real, they fight to protect coral reefs, migratory birds, rainforests and more. So I think that would be a good organization for us late-sleeping vegans to support. Another good option might be City Harvest in NYC, though they aren’t super vegan.
Alright, that’s all on the tech beat today! Just had to share because it’s totally cool.
Interview with Vegan Author/Model David Raphael Hildebrand!
David is a vegan model and author from Philadelphia living in Brooklyn! Just like me! Except the model and author part! AND GUESS WHAT: We have the same birthday (February 25th and I love Edible Arrangements)! So we are both Pisces by popular understanding. It is hard being a Pisces so we are naturally bonded and new best friends.
David was kind enough to do an interview for us! We love to interview attractive interesting vegans! Without further ado:
First of all, how cool are people from Philadelphia? D. R. Hildebrand: Very! Put it like this, on a scale of one to two we’re definitely a two.
Next of all, why are you vegan? D. R. Hildebrand: Why am I vegan? Because the moral of life is not to take but to give; and I’m not willing to take what I wouldn’t otherwise be willing to give.
How long have you been vegan? D. R. Hildebrand: I was raised pesco-vegetarian. My oldest sister was on a class trip to a farm when I was still a toddler and she came home a changed lady. The whole house went vegetarian and that, as a result, was the way I came to know the world. When I graduated from college I lived abroad for two years, in Germany and Israel. Almost as soon as I arrived in Germany I met a spunky Aussie sheila named Sarah who was running rootsofcompassion.org and was a vegan chef (Sarah has actually cooked for Sea Shepherd. Pretty cool, no? If you’re ever in Melbourne, definitely visit her). Anyway, Sarah introduced me to vegan pastries, vegan activists, and to a little thing called—are you ready for this?—conscious consumerism. It’s wild, I know. That was about eight years ago and I’ve been clean ever since.
Favorite animal? D. R. Hildebrand: Are you kidding? Camels! They have this warmth, this air of aplomb. They’re so gracious.
Got any companion animals? Pictures! D. R. Hildebrand: I don’t. I travel too often and that would be unfair.
D. R. Hildebrand: That’s a tough one. Call me extravagant but I really enjoy rice and beans. I make a mean tuna melt (chickpea and soy) and a pretty kick-ass sweet potato kugel. This might sound over the top, I know, but I love a freezing cold apple with peanut butter. Am I glutton? [Ed. note: I love apple and peanut butter too! I’m all about Pink Ladies right now]
Favorite cookbook? D. R. Hildebrand: Hmm, another good one. I tend to get new ideas straight off the web. Vegan with a Vengeance is pretty much an obvious necessity though.
Favorite vegan restaurant? D. R. Hildebrand: Oh, you’re killing me, I’m starving! A few way up on the list are definitely Sacred Chow, Pure Food and Wine, Angelica Kitchen, Wild Ginger, Gobo, and Counter, but really that’s just not a fair question. I’ll tell you there’s this tiny, really tiny place called Terri at 23rd and 6th that’s maybe a year or two young. The Thanksgiving sandwich is insane. The meatball sub, the cupcakes… And they keep stacks of The China Study front and center for sale. Love that little joint. [Ed. note: that’s up the street from my work! I go there all the time! The chickpea tuna melt is out of sight and when the omnis are good on Meatless Monday, I get them apple cider donuts from there]
Who’s got better vegan food: Philly or NYC? D. R. Hildebrand: Please don’t hate me Philadelphia… [Ed. note: they are not a forgiving people]
Vegan celebrity you want to bang? D. R. Hildebrand: Now that’s just shocking. I assumed we were both advocates for non-violence.
Peta: Y/N? D. R. Hildebrand: When PETA’s at its best—stealth, savvy, brazenly creative—they rock. When they get all puerile and lose their cool—pie throwing, blood slinging—they rock less. The celebrity campaigns have been great. What they need to do is connect more with kids. We all need to connect with kids. Compassion needs to be a lifestyle and a culture. Children already seek it so why not bring it to them and cultivate it?
LOLCats: Y/N? D. R. Hildebrand: I don’t see the humor in belittling personifications, but that’s just me…
So, you model, are you super into fashion? Who’s your favorite vegan designer? D. R. Hildebrand: If jeans and T-shirts count as fashion, then yeah, I’m into fashion. I have a lot of respect for Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (former model by the way) of Vaute Couture, MATT & NAT, Olsen Haus, Dalia MacPhee. I have a lot of respect for Stella McCartney, too. She fights a much more rigid status quo than most people realize.
Are a lot of models vegan or what? D. R. Hildebrand: You know, I’ll show up for a shoot in New York and the catering company will bring almost no meat or dairy. It’s amazing. My guess is the number is pretty high. Of those who do eat and drink non-vegan meals, many probably do so rarely. I’ve definitely never heard of a model on an Atkins or South Beach diet. Those are just a crock of shit and everyone knows it.
What’s your book about? Is the protagonist vegan? Any overt or covert vegan messages? D. R. Hildebrand: I thought you’d never ask! It’s called Walking Marina and it’s a straight-forward look at the male modeling industry. The protagonist journeys through a gauntlet of experiences and does, along the way, gravitate to veganism. Yes, there are covert and overt vegan messages throughout, not because I am, but because it jives with the plot. You can find the book at my site, www.drhildebrand.com, or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Do you have any amazing nicknames I should know about? D. R. Hildebrand: None that I can think of. Got any suggestions? [Ed. note: we’ll be taking suggestions, audience!]
Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day? D. R. Hildebrand: Absafrickinlutely! Why not tonight? [Ed. note: OMG no one ever says yes! I don’t know how to respond!]
Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything! D. R. Hildebrand: Yeah, how’d you get so darn vegalicious?
There’s actually a recipe!: 1 part Earth Balance, 2 parts vegan chocolate chips and a half ounce of sunshine!
NPR has collected the amazing story of a six-year-old German cow called Yvonne, who three months ago got past an electric barrier and escaped to the forest, where she’s been living ever since. Why did she run? Perhaps a sense of impending doom, as her owners had intended her for the slaughterhouse. Her nominal owners have offered 10,000 euro for her safe return, but in the time as a fugitive Yvonne has become a sort of folk hero for the residents of Zangberg.
Yvonne has successfully avoided accidental and deliberate death so far, and brought significant, international attention and tourist traffic to Zangberg. Not bad for an animal who might’ve been Zangberg’s supper. Everyone’s happy! Except maybe her previous owners, and the people who run Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary—they want Yvonne to make a permanent home at their facility, but they can’t catch her, either. Some of us just need to be free.
Ecouterre brings us wonderful news: Brave Gentleman has a line of vegan ties! They are made of “a blend of organic cotton and recycled hemp, then stiffened with interfacing derived from recycled plastic bottles—a manufacturing first for ties. All eight designs are crafted in New York City’s historic Garment District under fair-labor conditions.”
I’ve heard it’s difficult to find vegan ties, or at least vegan ties that aren’t those hideous, squared-off, knitted monstrosities. These eight designs are not those; they’re neat, basic without being boring, and altogether quite pleasing (except for the wide-wale corduroy. God save us from wide-wale corduroy).
They’ve even got bow ties in two widths, if you’re into that sort of thing. Frankly I feel like we’re still recovering from Tucker Carlson’s nauseating bow tie appropriation of the last decade—outside of a tux, of course—but if you feel confident in a bow tie, then by all means, put one on.
I am super-into these ties. I’m also super-into that J.Crew, casual-preppy, “summer in Kennebunkport” look, and they hit that note perfectly, so maybe that’s it. Regardless, if you have some money to drop on classic, U.S.-made, vegan accessories, Brave Gentleman’s got the neckwear for you.
I try my best to ignore PETA in my day-to-day existence. It’s bad enough to hear about them from every omnivore with contemptuous questions and stupid jokes on an oh-so-clever t-shirt (we’ve all heard “people eating tasty animals.” A thousand times). But sometimes I can’t ignore the fact that PETA goes out of their way to represent the veg communities as awkwardly or offensively as possible—the sexism and objectification, the racism, the fat-hating(check out the bio of their female Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door 2011). Yet occasionally PETA will do something good, like compiling a list of veg celebrities to make it easier to find celebrity crushes without any lingering guilt. Every time I talk about PETA, I feel as if I’m talking about that one family member that’s embarrassing and says horrible things but still remembers to send you a card on your birthday.
Fox40 reporter Andria Borba was not amused, calling PETA an “attention-whoring animal rights organization.”
I don’t know, guys. I just don’t know anymore.
Less depressingly, PETA has grouped People’s “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive,” Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, with likes of Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, Pamela Anderson, and Andy Dick, which is clearly offensive to science as a whole, but I’m more surprised that the writers for People know what an astrophysicist actually is. Dr. Tyson joined PETA for one of their printed PSAs, which states, “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that kindness is a virtue” (pretty cute, I must admit).
Dr. Tyson also sat down for an interview with PETA’s president, Ingrid E. Newkirk, wherein he explains that he allows his children to watch nature shows but will not take them to the circus. Can you imagine having a father that has 12 honorary degrees!? Check out PETA’s video featuring highlights of the interview:
I appreciate PETA, for their campaigns that state the obvious (Kentucky Fried Cruelty), and for convincing hot high school girls that by “go[ing] veg” they can do more than just love puppies, but their awesomeness is hard to see behind all the embarrassing stunts they pull while claiming to represent the veg community.