I’m sure you’ve heard it all, vegans. “Where do you get your protein?” “But what about iron intake?” “Are you sure you’re getting enough calcium?” These questions often come up because of people’s misconceptions and incomplete information about vegan diets, and they can be annoying when you know that many omnivores aren’t getting all the nutrients they need.
But when you’re vegan, you will have to pay special attention to some nutrients—probably not protein, though—because they are harder to get from plant-based diets. That doesn’t mean they’re impossible to get, though, so read on so you can school the next person who tells you you can’t be healthy while being a herbivore.
Zinc is one such nutrient—a mineral, in this case—that you should keep an eye on. It’s an important one for your body; it’s involved in dozens of enzymatic reactions, needed for cell growth and protein synthesis, and important for your immune system—some studies have suggested that zinc supplements can help prevent and recover from colds. Helpful at this time of year!
This is why zinc can be tricky for vegans: Absorbing it from plant foods is more difficult than absorbing it from animal foods. The RDAs for zinc are 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men, which isn’t so high, but the authors of Vegan For Life suggest getting 12 mg for women and 16.5 mg for men to make up for lower absorption.
Fortunately, a lot of vegan-friendly foods do have some zinc content: A cup of Bran Flakes has 2 mg; a half-cup of cooked quinoa has 1 mg; two tablespoons of wheat germ has 2.7 mg; a half-cup of cooked adzuki beans has 2 mg; and two tablespoons of almond butter has 1 mg.
You can also use a few tricks to maximize your zinc absorption. Have some vitamin C with each meal, even just a squeeze of lemon. Coffee and tea can affect zinc absorption, so have yours between meals. Toast nuts before you use them, and sprout beans and grains. And go for whole grains instead of refined. (Bonus: these tips also help boost iron absorption!)
I think that one of the best things we can do as vegans is work to have a healthy diet, so we can show other people that this is a satisfying, ethical, and nourishing way to eat. And pass these tips for zinc along—it’s apparently cold now (still in denial) and we could all use the immune boost.
Terri Coles lives in Toronto, Ont., where she enjoys barbecuing, feeding feral cats, going to local music shows and getting really mad about hockey games. She blogs about her adventures in plant-based eating at The Vegina Monologues.
[Photo of adzuki bean and sun-dried tomato burgers from joanamendes via Flickr!]
Our final Vegan MoFo of 2011: Easy Artichoke Pasta
I learned today’s amazing secret super-speedy dinner from my mother. Thanks mom! I made this for dinner this week and my husband liked it so much he got sad when the leftovers were gone. Best part? Nearly zero effort.
Ingredients Pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti this week, but anything goes) A jar of marinated artichoke hearts (make sure they’re the kind packed in oil) Nutritional yeast
Instructions Cook and drain your noodles just like the package says.
Chop up the artichoke hearts into smaller pieces, maybe like 3/4 inch cubes or so.
Mix the artichokes and the oil in which they were packed into the pasta.
Smother in nutritional yeast.
Devour while congratulating yourself on how easy dinner was.
And thus concludes our Vegan MoFo for 2011. It was the most fun ever, and we can’t wait for next year so we can gorge ourselves with even more deliciousness!
[Photo from Yumsugar, where you can learn to marinate your own artichoke hearts if you want to get crazy like that]
Imagine this: You’re a stay-at-home mom and a fiction writer, and suddenly you need $30,000 to repair water damage at your house. You could sell your child into slavery, obviously, but Nicole Kornher-Stace of New Paltz, N.Y. came up with a way tastier and more legal option: sell vegan caramels on the interwebs.
Her Etsy store is called Feed Your Face, and did I ever! The budding entrepreneur contacted Vegansaurus to see if we wanted to try her desserts and then tell you about them. Duh, next question. What I didn’t expect was that she’d send along two delicious little nuggets of each of 11 different flavors. Holy fatness, my day was made! And my dentist’s, too!
Nicole started making her caramels for fun, and because her three-year-old will only eat vegan sweets (rock on, kid). All her candies are vegan and gluten-free, and don’t have no corn-syrup neither (she uses coconut milk for the fat). She wraps them in parchment paper, which you can compost, so that’s cool.
Best of all, they’re damn yummy. The texture is on the gooier than chewier side, with some flavors even downright fudgey (though that varies with your room temperature), but the taste is all caramel, all the way. I didn’t love all flavors equally, though, so here’s my own personal, subjective, and totally professional review:
Pomegranate balsamic: win! Tangy and not at all like a salad.
Spicy mango: great chewy texture, would be perfect after Indian food.
Dark chocolate sea salt: way too salty for me. Really salty.
Dark chocolate orange: pne of the less-chewy ones (kind of crumbly), but the taste—orange oil and deep chocolate—is awesome.
Green tea chai: Can I have this drink in a coffee shop please? Someone call Starbucks.
Double ginger: YES YES YES! Kind of like a ginger chew but less intense and sweeter, and like a ginger snap but gooey! (I do love my ginger).
Spicy chocolate: I think the chocolate is what fudgifies the texture; these have a nice kick without being overwhelming.
Sea salt: still pretty salty but more edible than the chocolate sea salt ones. If you’re into salt and sweet, you might really dig these.
Espresso: Coffee flavor’s definitely there but this is less “Pow!” than some of the others.
Maple: like pancakes and Canada! Nice maple flavor, kind of extra sweet.
Pumpkin spice: perfect for this time of year! Really nice, like pie. Holy crap, you could make pie with melty caramels on top or something. Score!
In short, if you’re looking for a yummy special fix, I definitely recommend what Nicole’s putting out there.
Nicole also has a section called Cookies For a Cause, where she’ll sell you a PDF of some cookie recipes she’s developed, and 50 percent of profits from that sale go to charity. Cool idea! Even cooler idea: Use her recipe to make cookies for a bakesale (like Sunday’s SF Vegan Bakesale) and then give THOSE profits to charity, too. So much giving!
Book review: "Rabbit Food" cookbook has a lot of info and cute drawings
I’ve been sent an adorable copy of Beth Barnett’s cute new cookbook, Rabbit Food, to review, and it contains much more information than simply recipes, which is good because I had to modify substantially the savory recipes I made. I’m a bitch, sorry!
That being said, I’m a big fan of “Beth Bee,” as I understand she goes by. This book is accessible to vegans, vegetarians, and omnis, as the preface says: “I know that not everyone using this book will be vegan or completely vegetarian. This book will not self-destruct in protest. It’s happy you’re at least at the table!” However, it’s worth noting that a few recipes contain honey.
The book’s zine roots are apparent in the by-hand illustrations and spiral binding:
MOUSSE ≠ MOOSE, sillyhead!
The book goes on to discuss the vegan perspective on the food supply, health considerations, and the history of food in North America, a section that is highly fascinating and covers the food practices of indigenous peoples up to now. Then it gives you some tips for starting your first garden, whether urban or regular. The last bit before you get to the food (which is what we’re waiting for, right?) shows you how to sew your own reusable grocery bags and produce bags, the latter of which is, to me, a novel idea.
The breakfast, soup, entree, drinks, and sweets recipes include such tasty gems as Easy Baking Powder Biscuits and Almond Gravy, Split Pea & Potato Soup, Tofu Pot Pie (recipe below), Nutritional Yeast Cheese, and Cocoa No-Bake Drops.
While the sweet recipes were winners, it is my opinion that fresh onions and/or garlic would be a welcome addition to almost every recipe. Some recipes half-ass it with onion and garlic powder, but I really think the fresh versions are worth the trouble.
I will now share this Tofu Pot Pie recipe from the book with you. While it looks a bit involved and has a lot of parts, it really doesn’t take too long to make. You can mix the crust and/or cook the tofu in advance, even. Sadly, it could use some modifications that seem so obvious to me now, so you’ll see a few spots where I edited it below.
A light burned out in my kitchen, and I can’t reach it. Deal with it.
Tofu Pot Pie The crust! Ingredients 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup plain “milk” pinch of salt
Instructions Mix everything together; knead. Set aside while preparing filling for pie. Then preheat the oven to 450 F.
Separate the dough into two slightly unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece between two sheets of parchment paper (do this, trust me) and then lay it into the pie pan. Cover the crust with foil, fill it with dry beans or pie weights (do this too, trust me!) and bake it for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven, and set aside the bottom crust and the extra dough.
The gravy! Ingredients 2 cups boiling water 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 vegetable bouillon cube 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes 1 tsp. salt (EDIT) 1/2 cup unbleached flour 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute because Trader Joe’s does not carry poultry seasoning, or lime juice, for that matter) 1/2 cup diced minced onion
Instructions Boil water, add the bouillon cube and oil, mix together flour & yeast and then add SLOWLY while whisking, stirring out lumps. Add diced onion last. Stir and cook on low to medium heat until thick. Set aside. IGNORE THIS.
Saute your onions in a saucepan with the vegetable oil until they are nice and soft; otherwise your pot pie ends up with crunchy onions, which, when in a soft, soupy setting, fully gross me out. Do not—I repeat, DO NOT—add your onions last as the recipe mandates.
Add water and bouillon cube and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. While you wait, mix the other ingredients together. Once water is boiling, whisk in the dry mixture little by little. When it gets thick, remove from heat.
The tofu! Ingredients 1/4 cup flour 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes 1 tsp. salt 3/4 tsp. garlic powder 1/2 tsp. black pepper 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning 1 lb. firm tofu, cubed
Instructions Shake to mix everything but the tofu together in paper or plastic bag. Add tofu cubes and shake to coat well.
The filling! Ingredients 1 lb. breaded tofu (from above) 2 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 cup chopped potato 1 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped carrot 1/2 cup green peas 1 cup diced onion (EDIT: To make this easier and faster, instead of celery, carrot, and peas, I just used two cups of “ghetto veggies.”) 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (EDIT) 1 tsp. salt (EDIT)
Instructions In a large skillet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, sauté everything on medium heat. Stir frequently, cooking for about 20 minutes total, or until the potatoes start to soften up. They don’t have to be completely done, as they will cook more in the oven. Remove from heat and mix in the gravy from Part 2.
Y’all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over five years of vegan cooking, it’s never trust a recipe without garlic. Here’s what you really want to do: In a separate skillet with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, saute the tofu, flipping as much as you can, until it gets nice and brown and crispy.
While you’re working on that, heat the remainder of the oil in another, much larger skillet. Saute the onions and fresh celery, if using, until they’re soft (maybe 8 to 10 minutes). Add the garlic and salt, and stir until that shit is fragrant as fuck. Then add the rest of your veggies and continue cooking until everything is cooked through. Mix in the tofu and the gravy.
N.B. You will need a big-ass skillet, and don’t make the mistake of using cast-iron on your tofu (royally fucked that up myself).
For assembly (FINALLY)! Instructions Decrease oven temperature to 375 F. Then pack all the filling into the pre-cooked bottom pie crust in the pie pan. Pat down the filling to remove pockets of air. At last!
Roll out the second half of the pie crust dough (between the two pieces of parchment paper). Drape and position the top crust dough over the filling, and pinch it together at the edges with the bottom crust. Using a sharp knife, cut a few decorative vents in the top.
It’s motherfucking pumpkin season, folks. Every year around this time, I gorge on the sweet squash by inserting it into as many concoctions as possible. The amazing flavor and lovely color herald the fall holidays, my favorites. So when I woke up this morning with a headache brought on by far too much wine last night, I needed something sweet, bright, and comforting. Hence this pumpkin oatmeal was born:
Pumpkin Oatmeal for One
1 cup water
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 can pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or maple syrup, or sugar, or whatever)
assorted pumpkin-esque spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg—OR just some pumpkin pie spice)
Put water in saucepan and bring to a boil. When it’s boiling, add everything else, and reduce the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s as runny or dry as you like. Add raisins or nuts or something if you’re nasty. Eat away your hangover.
Hey, fish-eaters! Do you diligently select fish species that are low in mercury and not in (as much) danger of over-fishing? Good luck with that! Consumer Reports has a new study, Mystery Fish, that’s going to put a snag in your plan.
As always, don’t forget to read Laura’s Week in Vegan! It’s always chocked full of good shiz.
[The plaintiff] says she and her co-workers were subjected to peepholes in the women’s showers, their underwear being stolen from their lockers and found wet with a substance one reported to be semen, unwanted groping and hugging by male workers, and sex-related drawings in a break room.
Murphy-Brown’s lawyers said they did everything they could to stop the harassment. They also suggested the women drilled the peepholes themselves? OK. The jury decided the corporation didn’t take adequate measures to stop the harassment but didn’t act in malice, so they awarded the plaintiff $30,000.
Not that sexual harassment doesn’t happen everywhere all the time, but the meat industry has a history of not giving a shit about its employees. We’ve all read “Blood, Sweat, and Fear" by now, right? Smithfield Foods, the corporation that owns Murphy-Brown, is allover that study. But here’s Smithfield’s policy on harassment:
Smithfield is committed to providing our employees with a nondiscriminatory work environment free of any type of harassment per company policy and the law. Supervisory employees must investigate all complaints of harassment and employees are advised on their responsibility to report violations. The company will take appropriate disciplinary actions for violation of policy or law.
"Free of any type of harassment" means free of sexual harassment. But they don’t mention sexual harassment specifically, which is a big red flag to me. You don’t even address it in your workers’ rights policies? At least pretend you care about it on paper.
Like I said, sexual harassment happens allover all the time but here’s my main point: If they can’t keep their own employees safe, how can we trust them to keep “humane” conditions for the animals they are charged with? Animals who can’t complain to the boss, who are completely helpless and voiceless?
For a laugh, a quote from Murphy-Brown’s site:
"At Murphy-Brown, our commitment to producing high-quality pork products while protecting the environment and promoting animal welfare isn’t just a motto, it’s how we operate."
Yeeeah, doubt it.
As a bonus, here’s the Humane Society’s video on gestation crates and conditions for hogs at Smithfield Foods:
Big news: The REAL Paleo diet is pretty damn close to vegetarian! HA!
Apparently the paleo diet wasn’t exactly meat meat meat. It was mostly veggies. On NPR’s food blog, anthropologist Barbara King lays it down:
Our ancestors began to eat meat in large quantities around 2 million years ago, when the first Homo forms began regular use of stone tool technology. Before that, the diet of australopithecines and their relatives was overwhelmingly plant-based, judging from clues in teeth and bones. I could argue that the more genuine “paleo” diet was vegetarian.
BAM! That’s called science taking one for the team. Thank you for being so brave and smart, science!
So I think that means all those disciples of the paleo diet better switch to a diet of almost exclusively veggies, right? And some grains? And a whole shit load less dead animal. And at the very least, the next time you run into the paleo diet bullshit, you can have some valuable information to BAM! them with. And most importantly, you can just call them out on being on a low carb diet like a little Zone dieting Atkins dieter. It’s like, if you’re only gonna eat bacon wrapped chicken breasts on beds of lettuce, at least admit it’s because you’re on some creepy diet, and not because you’re “getting back” to what our ancestors ate. DONE AND DONE!
How great are soy curls? They’re the greatest, right? To me, they taste like slices of chicken breast, without all the gross fat and tissues. They’ve got this amazing texture, and unlike some vegan meat products, they’re super great for you. Basically, they’re dehydrated soy protein made from whole, non-GMO soybeans that are slowly cooked and stretched and dried and BAM. They’re also high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, with 10 grams of protein in every serving. All that, and they’re SO EXTRA DELICIOUS. They really are! And I know I get excited about everything, but even Meave likes them! And she really doesn’t like everything! So there you go, proof that you have to try them: Meave’s Seal of Approval! Oh, and I just learned from Mandy in the comments that they’re gluten-free! They’re the perfect food!
Now that I’ve sold you on soy curls, I’m gonna give you a bomb recipe for them. It’s straight ripped from Julie Hasson, because she’s in Portland, the Land of the Soy Curl, and is a brilliant recipe inventor and chef, and the lady knows what’s up!
All you do is this:
Soak your soy curls in hot water, like it says on the package. You can add some vegan chicken broth into the water to add some extra delicious flavor, if you’d like. Once they’re hydrated, you need to squeeze out the extra water from the soy curls. It’s satisfying. Then, you take the soy curls and put them in a frying pan with a little salt and oil. Once they’re fried up and a little crispified, add in your favorite BBQ sauce and cook for a couple more minutes until it’s all gooey and delicious.
You want it now, right? YEAH YOU DO. If you’re in S.F., you can find soy curls at Rainbow, or if you live somewhere else/better/worse/different, check out this list of where to buy, or you can buy them online directly from the beast. It’s six bags for $28 (including shipping), that’s like $4.65 a bag, which is a pretty good price, I think. Plus, it’s hella soy curls and you’re gonna want to put them in EVERYTHING, so don’t hate, celebrate! With soy curls!
There's going to be a vegan cupcake and cupcake-themed art party in LA!
Cupcakes and art happen to be two of my favorite things (along with elephants, Netflix, and Fla-vor-ice) so I’m so jealous of you L.A. folks! Urban Food Crawl, a vegan food tour company, is hosting Cupcakes + Art: a vegan cupcake competition and cupcake-themed art show! Deets from Urban Food Crawl:
Cupcakes & Art Sunday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m. at Hold Up Art, 358 E. 2nd St. Los Angeles
The $35 ticket includes entrance to the event, where you’ll be tasting and judging cupcakes from 10 local bakers. Proceeds from the art sales will go to the winning baker’s charity of choice! Stay tuned to our blog for more info on the participating bakers. There are a limited number of tickets available!
Oy, I’m so jealous! You can see the list of bakers and artists on their event page—it includes BabyCakes LA! So. Jealous. Is anyone going? I want a full report! Also, we are sending someone so you’ll get a full report, too. We can give full reports to each other. Good times! Also, they’ll be lots more Urban Food Crawls, so stay tuned to their site to eat so much more. Yay LA!
n1 a: Trademarked name for a lightweight, breathable fiber derived from coconut-husk waste discarded by the food-service industry. b: Reduced to charcoal, combined with recycled polyester, and spun to maximize its surface area for warmth retention and moisture wicking. c: Said to resist odors better than traditional polyester fill. 2: Used in Nau’s insular jacket, a two-layer, sealed-seam shell with a helmet-compatible hood that the Portland clothier describes as “made for the mountain.”
Totally rad. Down is the worst. Geese are plucked live on some farms because it yields more down (if you kill them first, you only get one batch of feathers). And as the video linked above shows, it’s virtually impossible to be sure the down you are buying doesn’t come from live-plucking. So how about an environmentally friendly, cruelty-free alternative! Huzzah!
Guest post: We can have tigers as pets? WTF, right?
Rachel wrote about the tragedy in Ohio last week; I’m sure it didn’t escape your notice—the release of 56 wild animals kept as pets before their owner Terry Thompson committed suicide, and the subsequent death of 49 of them, got a lot of media coverage. That meant that many of my friends read about it, and pretty much universally asked “How the hell did he get those animals in the first place?”
Well, the short answer is that Thompson bought them, mostly, and he was not doing anything illegal when he did. Near the end of his term, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an order that outlawed the ownership or sale of certain wild animals—but Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources never enforced the rule, and the order expired in April when it wasn’t extended by now-Governor John Kasich.
As it stands, in Ohio you can own animals like grizzly bears and lions, as long as you house them on your private property, and aren’t breeding, exhibiting, or selling them—even if you have an animal-cruelty conviction, as Thompson had. Further, you can have those animals living on your property and don’t have to let anyone know about it. And in some states, these animals are available for sale, which is how people like Thompson got them in the first place.
I posted on Pawesome a while ago about a petition to change laws about exotic-animal ownership in Indiana; this isn’t just a problem in one town or one state. It sounds crazy that in Ohio and other states you have to license your dog and can’t own a pit bull, but you can literally have a baboon or wolf in your backyard. But it’s true.
This is not a good situation for these animals. Born Free USA campaigns against keeping wild animals like the ones at the Ohio property in captivity. Taking care of an animal like a tiger is no small feat: Think of what your cat eats in a day and multiply that by about 100 times. They need a huge quantity of food, as well as specialized veterinary care. And when they don’t have the proper environment or enough space—which is hard to provide for a large animal when it’s living on private property—they suffer physically and mentally.
Keeping these animals as pets is just cruel. Many owners of these animals claim to love them, but as Susan Orlean said in the New Yorker, love isn’t defined by a desire to possess.
It’s dangerous for people, too, when wild animals are kept as pets. Dogs and cats have been domesticated for millennia; tigers and lions and wolves are all wild, unpredictable animals. We can’t know how they’ll react, or what will upset them, and we can’t blame them when that happens. That is how they are: They’re wild. Someone easily could have been killed by one of the animals let loose in Ohio this week, and it’s remarkable that nobody was.
Want to know what the laws are in your state? Check out this Wall Street Journal interactive infograph to find out if your state allows private ownership of large cats, wolves, bears, primates, or dangerous reptiles. If you’re not happy with the answer, write to your state and federal representatives to tell them why, and ask them to change things. A reminder of the toll of this week’s Ohio deaths—and that it could have been a hell of a lot worse—wouldn’t hurt; neither would pointing out that elections are coming up.
Regardless of the laws where you live, head to Change.org to sign the petition letting Gov. Kasich know that Ohio’s laws need to change, now, before something like this happens again.
Terri Coles lives in Toronto, Ont., where she enjoys barbecuing, feeding feral cats, going to local music shows and getting really mad about hockey games. She blogs about her adventures in plant-based eating at The Vegina Monologues.
Giving out vegan candy this Halloween? Don't forget to add your house to the list!
Help the lil’ vegan kids have a happy halloween! Give out vegan candy and make sure they can find it by registering at No Trick Treats! My favorite vegan candy is of course Pennsylvania’s own Peanut Chews. Those are the yum. Is anyone giving out vegan candy? Oooo my brother gives out candy, I should totes make him go vegan this year and add him to the map! I’m getting one family member at a time!
Hey guys, look what Sarah made! It’s tofu pot pie from Beth Barnett’s new book, Rabbit Food! Sarah will have the recipe and a full review of the book for you on Monday. For today, admire her photo skills.
Thursday, October 27, 2011. 7pm-10pm. 21+. At Angels & Kings. 500 East 11th St (btw A & B) [map] $1 off draft beers and well drinks
This month, a portion of the bar proceeds will be donated to Community Solidarity, Inc., and we encourage you to bring along additional monetary contributions as well. Community Solidarity helps to collect and share veg*n groceries with groups like Long Island Food Not Bombs. Since becoming a nonprofit in May 2011, they have shared nearly a million pounds of food with tens of thousands of people!
Let’s get our swerve on! In the name of community and solidarity! I know it’s raining but it’s not like you’re going to melt. Or ARE you?! Bwahahahaha! Halloween! Fun times!
This month's SF Vegan Drinks celebrates Halloween!
It’s that time of the month again, and I don’t mean my PMS (although that, coincidentally, is also happening right now, so BACK THE FUCK OFF).
What I mean is it’s time for SF Vegan Drinks, the monthly party sponsored by VegNews and your Vegansauri at Martuni’s. Swing on by tonight (Thursday, Oct. 27, 6-8 p.m.) to get drink-drank-drunk with us. In celebration of Halloween, the $5 drink special is a “Trick or Treat Martini” made with Stoli Chocolate Raspberry vodka, which sounds ah-mazing but also not really as All Hallows’ Eve themed as the copious amounts of vegan popcorn you can consume. If you’re very concerned about this discrepancy, just join me in having two or five of these drinks and you’ll feel much better.
Super fucking sad: Last Javan Rhino in Vietnam now dead
Super sad news alert: The last Javan Rhino in Vietnam* is dead, and so now they’re completely extinct (in Vietnam). Yep, some poachers wanted the last rhino’s valuable horn so they killed him and cut it off. Or maybe they cut off his horn while he was still alive and left him to die. Who knows! Who cares! Answer: nobody, and that’s why they’re extinct.
Anyway, the horn will now be used in some bullshit fake medicine for stupid humans and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Maybe part of it will even be carved into some hideous tchotchke! Perhaps in a couple hundred years, someone will find it in a locker in San Dimas, and it’ll be appraised at a couple thousand dollars, and woo! Won’t that be great? I am not sure what we can do, but I did spend some time looking around the Stop Rhino Poaching website. Anyone know anything about them? Might be worth looking into?
What a sad, fucked up world this is.
*correction, there are some in other countries still.
If you have eyes and use the internet (Twitter), you have probably seen Russell Brand’s claim that he is going vegan! At first I was all, “Oh yeah, Russell, sure. Why don’t you marry Katy Perry while you are at it?” Then I realized I was being such a hater! Dude has been vegetarian since he was 14! Yeah, Russell, watch Forks Over Knives with the Mrs. and go vegan! Do it, PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian of 2011!
I’m just being a hater because I thought he was hot in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and then was the funny/OMG so sexy-hilarious host of the 2009 VMAs. Jealousy—it’s not attractive. DAMMIT RUSSELL, WHY KATY AND NOT MEEEE?
The Tweet heard ‘round the world. Or, at least in most vegan circles.
We have our own storefront on Ethical Ocean now! We picked out a bunch of cute vegan things to show you! And if you click the link above to Ethical Ocean (or our forthcoming banner), we get a percentage of anything you buy. We will use the money to do Vegansaurus-y things! OH AND there’s a special Meatless Monday Unicorn cartoon on our storefront, brand new! He’s such a wisenheimer.
I’m pretty excited about this. Ethical Ocean is really cool. They don’t just have vegan things; you can also search for things that are environmentally friendly or sweatshop-free—or all three! I will prob buy my holiday presents from them. It’s nice to buy people stuff that also makes you feel good because the company is all conscious and whatnot. Happy shopping!
Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi are opening a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles!
How fucking cool is THIS?! It’ll be on Ventura Avenue in the San Fernando Valley, and I will move to Los Angeles to eat there. And you think I’m joshing, but I am totally serious. Fuck a San Francisco Bay Area, I need to have dinner with Ellen and Portia like I’M MEANT TO.
I will move there and we will eat every meal at their restaurant and we’ll be best friends and they’ll adopt me and we will have so many hugs and then we will watch television and swim in the infinity pool at the mansion-house they bought me.
Oh! And then they will bake me chocolate chip cookies and they’ll tuck me into bed and I really have to stop doing this because it’s really making me hate my life. Ugh.
That Occupy Everything movement happening right now? You should get involved. Here’s why.
Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, as Denver’s first big snowstorm of the season began to nose in, a friend and I started wondering about how our city’s little band of protestors were doing with the harsh weather. We hatched a plan to go find out. Then we hatched an even better plan: We’d bring the protestors hot chocolate.
Once we had the idea, everything fell into place. The thermos, paper cups, vegan marshmallows, and sleeves of Oreos I had lying around seemed joined in unified destiny. Good thing I had like four jars of cocoa powder in the cupboard and had just made a fresh batch of soymilk too. I made sure this cocoa was rich and hella good, because I wanted to show the Occupiers some love and also felt like I was proving something about vegan food.
There were only about 10 people hanging out on the sidewalk next to Lincoln Park as light snow fell, but another 40 or so were huddled like giant burritos underneath soggy tarps (Denver police won’t let the protestors set up tents, even in the snow. Fuck, just writing about this and looking at their website I feel guilty that I’m huddled warm inside here. It’s like we can never do enough!).
Obviously people loved the hot chocolate, but they loved it even more than I imagined they would. And they wanted to hear more about it being vegan. Minds were blown that Oreos have no dairy. Vegan marshmallows were declared “Way better than the regular kind.” In about 20 minutes, I had done more truly positive, accidental evangelizing than I could have pulled off in a week’s worth of PETA flyering.
I’m not that good an activist, you know? But I made hot chocolate. It was tiny. But it helped.
Beyond what you think about the wider Occupy Wall Street cause, this is an excellent opportunity to help people think about their food and experience the deliciousness of the vegan world.
Our Hen House has a really smart and well-researched post up about all this, so I’m going to quote liberally from them because I’m lazy efficient.
“Those passionate about speaking up for the underdog—even if the underdog constitutes 99 percent of the population—are the perfect audience for the message, “you are what you eat.” In other words, as we stand against injustice, as we embrace the notion of breaking down the walls that marginalize and subjugate many of us, let’s not forget the non-human victims of oppression.
Also, let the cynical-me point out that cold, hungry people really love the food you give them. Context is everything. Not-cynical-me response: They say that hunger is the best sauce, but I’d add that a sense of community is pretty damn tasty also.
More Hen House wisdom:
"This is, famously, a leaderless movement. So start connecting. Go down to your local Occupy protest, talk to people, find out who is providing food, learn and follow the Twitter hashtags (like combining #OWS and #vegan), and get involved with reshaping our world.”
So consider this a nudge. I’m going to try to do more. You could too. We have a place in this thing.
[Ed.: I know a lot of our readers are in the S.F. Bay Area, which means there’s even more reason to get out to Occupy Oakland or Occupy San Francisco tonight. And if you can’t tonight, the next night. And if not the next night, the night after that. Or all the nights! And bring vegan cookies, yo! —Laura]
Guest post: Good news from Canada: The Toronto Zoo's elephants are headed to the PAWS sanctuary!
Today was an awfully good day for animals in Toronto. On top of the news of the city council vote to ban shark-fin products, councillors also voted to send the Toronto Zoo’s three elephants to the PAWS animal sanctuary in California next summer.
Back in May, I posted at Vegansaurus about the three elephants: Toka, Thika, and Iringa. The Toronto Zoo recommended that month that their elephant program be phased out and the elephants moved to a better location, in part because research has shown that elephants in smaller herds suffer ill effects.
In June I wrote a Vegansaurus post about a motion tabled before Toronto’s city council to ban the sale, possession, and consumption of shark fin soup in the city. I’m stoked to report that after a 38-4 city council vote yesterday, shark fin soup is now banned in Toronto. Woo!
The bylaw will take effect in September 2012; fines for the possession and use of shark-fin products will range from $5,000 to $100,000.
For a while it looked like the ban might not happen, when Mayor Rob Ford and a few other councillors argued that it was outside the city’s jurisdiction and instead a matter that lay with provincial authority. I suspect that similar bans in other cities helped make this happen.
Compassionate Cake is a vegan bakery in Milwaukee and they need our help! And that is because they’re in the heart of dairy country and fucking representing with a vegan bakery, and all of us need to GIVE IT UP! And by IT, I mean our cold, hard cashola CHA-CHING$$$!
The owner, Jess, has been baking for a nonprofit coffee shop since the summer, and they’re fundraising to expand their kitchen so she can have a storefront, and sell vegan pastries to all the cheese-curd-loving fatties in Wisconsin! And I say that as a vegan-cheese-curd-loving fatty so NO HATE. According to the lovely Kelly Peloza:
Jess’ desserts fucking rule (she made me my birthday glitter unicorn white chocolate speculoos cheesecake!) and we need a good vegan bakery in Milwaukee! And I think they’re mailing cupcakes out to people who donate if they’re not local. Woo!
Rarr! Cantaloupe are scary now. That sucks. Though this one from chrisdonia on Flickr is obviously cute and awesome.
You’ve most likely heard about the whole huge Listeria food-poisoning thing going on, right? If not: Twenty-five people have died and more may still from food poisoning that, it turns out, came from eating cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado that was contaminated with Listeria bacteria (which I love saying and laugh every time I hear, even though Listeria bacteria are nasty little buggers).
This outbreak saga has been dragging on for a couple months now, and because it started in Colorado, I ended up hearing about it pretty early on, before they’d even figured out the cause. At first, all the news stories talked about how Listeria most often shows up in processed meats and cheeses. “Ick!” I thought. “Luckily the vegans are safe.”
THEN it turned out that the deadly stuff was coming from cantaloupe. And that’s when I got mad.
I’d just finished reading the excellent Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, of which he devotes a big chunk to detailing the connection between CAFOs (factory farms) and infectious disease. The gist: We’re all gonna die of the plague because of the horrible diseases that thrive in those hellholes, whether we support them or not.
Thus it was with great confidence that I began proclaiming that the cantaloupe thing was going to trace back to factory farming somehow. Poor plants, taking the fall for what was at heart a systemic problem with the meat industry. Anything that makes people eat less fruit is a national tragedy in my book.
Well, last week the FDA release their first report about their investigation into Jensen Farms.
I was right. Kind of.
Turns out that gross equipment in Jensen’s fruit-packing house helped spread the Listeria. And no one can be quite sure where the bacteria came from. But the FDA’s best theory is that a particular truck that hauled damaged fruit to a cow farm might have brought the bacteria back.
I wish the evidence were clearer-cut. Obviously the cantaloupe farmers messed up, and it’s not all the meat industry’s fault. BUT STILL. I challenge you all to be agents of the cantaloupe’s resurrection. Buy melons when they’re in season! Eat them! Don’t get poisoned—buy from small farmers and wash the outsides! But redeem the poor cantaloupe!
Veg friendly foodies: put on your Halloween best! Veg-O-Ween, New York’s vegan Halloween dance party, returns for a second year on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Crema, an upscale Mexican restaurant happily taking on the vegan challenge for the event. Adding hand-passed gourmet tapas and a happy hour to the delicious mix, this year’s party promises to be bigger, better, and a bit fancier than the last.
The party will be emceed by vegan comedienne Kate Wolff and DJed by vegan DJ Lil Ray. Guests are encouraged enter both the costume contest and raffle to compete for prizes from local and national vegan vendors. Happy Hour is from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. (early arrival is a must!). Tasty vegan desserts will be provided by the amazing Vèritè Catering.
Where: Crema, 111 West 17th St. (between 6th and 7th avenues) When: Saturday, Oct. 29 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door (21 and over). Advance tickets are on sale now.
I don’t have a Halloween costume yet! OMG. Usually I am a super-scary zombie-something—zombie-flapper, zombie-housewife, etc. As it turns out, I’m totally great at zombie makeup! Who knew. Like, I scare chicks at parties because my wounds look so icky. But the makeup gets all over my stuff! So I’m thinking of switching it up and being a mod-vampire. Or a something-vampire. I’ll still look scary but I think there’s less chance I’ll get fake blood and spirit glue on my shit. What is everyone else being?
Product preview: Surprise healthy snack boxes from Lollihop!
That’s quite a headline, I know. But that’s what it is! Lollihop sends people monthly boxes of healthy, organic snacks that they promise are tasty. And they decided to do a vegan box! It’s just one month but they say that next year they will be doing a full every-month subscription thingy (now that would make a great holiday present!). They are sending me a sample, so I haven’t tried it yet, but I wanted to tell you guys about it early as you have to order before Tuesday, Nov. 1. See, they are only doing 500 of them so there is a limited quantity! They ship the boxes mid-November for a late November/early December delivery.
I find this very exciting! I like surprises! They are also all about transparency in ingredients and healthy, organic stuff—but they don’t talk about weight-loss, just health! They say they literally interview everyone they source ingredients from—hilar! They work with big companies like Larabar and small companies I’ve never heard of like Somersault Snack Co. (sunflower seeds!). As an added bonus, I think the graphic design is super-cute.
More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.
Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!
Ingredients A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!) Extra virgin olive oil Roma tomatoes Fresh ground salt and pepper Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)
Optional vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor) Tomato sauce Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.) Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?
Instructions Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.
Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.
After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.
Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.
With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!
Party time! Some great people have organized an event to raise money for Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY: Farm Funding Tuesday! I love Farm Sanctuary! They have the best little animal stories of triumph. And I love bars! That’s where they keep all the booze.
It’s at Halyards in Park Slope/Gowanus, Brooklyn. Check out their donors and sponsors:
I had grandiose plans for my last vegan MoFo of entry this month. Grandiose! But what do I do? I sign up for a Monday post, knowing full well (but thinking maybe this time will be different) I work all weekend and will not be able to put anything (recipes) together by Sunday night. Silly me. So I give you the tired, frantic, vegan girl’s dinner.
I like to think of the stove as not a mess, but abstract art.
A study in Nature this week gives you a new round of paintballs to shoot at the non-vegan world in your mission to convince people that flesh-licking is for zombies. Basically, the researchers asked, “How the hell can we possibly feed the 9 billion people we’ll have on this planet by 2050?!?! FUCK!!!”
In a tiny little nugget of optimism, they found that it actually might be possible to do such a thing, IF we change a lot about how we deal with agriculture on this planet. That’s a huge if.
The team, from four different countries, looked at farm data and satellite images and probably went cross-eyed and bonkers and needed glasses from all the number-crunching.
They found that we could double food production AND reduce environmental impact, for only three easy payments, act now because this offer won’t last, if we:
Stop clearing land for agriculture: We have enough land, we need to use it better.
Catch the rest of the world up to the “developed” world in terms of crop yields (god help us, is that really a good idea?).
Use fertilizer and other chemicals in a smart and frugal way.
Stop throwing so much food out (a third of all food right now!).
EAT LESS MEAT.
YES! The scientists actually say that moving toward plant-based diets will help end world hunger. According to one of the study’s authors, three-quarters of the world’s agricultural land is devoted to raising livestock, either for grazing or for growing feed.
So put that in your quiver. It’s not like scientific conclusions sway many minds (see: climate change), but it’s nice to know we’re right, you know?
Product Review: Galaxy Nutritional Foods' new vegan cream cheese!
[Totes awesome Instagram pic of the whole operation]
I got a chance to sample Galaxy Nutritional Foods new vegan cream cheese and I give it all my thumbs up! It’s yummy! First I made a bagel with the chive and garlic flavor, complete with tomatoes from my parents’ community garden plot, and it was tasty. I will say that it wasn’t garlicky enough for me—if you tell me it has garlic, it has to be garlicky with a capital HOLY MOLY. But it was good and didn’t have that kind of weird aftertaste some vegan cream cheeses have, you know?
BUT THEN! I decided to take the plain cream cheese they sent me and make vegan red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! MINI red velvet cupcakes! I made mini bundt cakes too but I can’t figure out how to make them look nice with frosting; they are more glaze-friendly. Now, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s red velvet cupcakes with VANILLA frosting. BLEH! It’s GOT to be cream cheese. I used this recipe and it was good for the cake but I don’t recommend the cream cheese frosting recipe that goes along with it. The frosting recipe doesn’t have any sugar in it and kind of tasted crazy. I looked at every other cream cheese frosting recipe on the internet and they all had two to eight (eight!) cups of confectioners sugar in them, so I added about a cup to my butter-and-cream-cheese mixture. MUCH IMPROVED! My final decision: YUM! Excellent cream cheese frosting! My omni sister loved it too, and my mom said it was delicious and it’s the only red velvet cake she’s ever liked! High praise.
[The only mini cupcake papers we could find in our house were Halloween-themed! SPOOKY!]
The thing I like about this vegan cream cheese is that it’s like kind of tangy—you know how real cream cheese is a bit tangy? Like plain-yogurt-tangy? Yeah, it’s like that. Tofutti and those others totally lack that. Maybe it’s because this is the first vegan cream cheese that’s cultured? Could be! You know how science is! I think this cream cheese would be really good for making those simple cream cheese-based cheese cakes; those should be a bit tangy.
My sister said you can’t tell how small and adorbs the cupcakes are so we took a pic with Mitsy to show scale:
Sad news: There’s been an oil spill on New Zealands coast, pouring 350 tons of oil into the ocean. WTF! This is crazy! There’s more oil in the ocean than salt right about now. And it’s taking its effect on the environment and animals in said environment. And now? The penguins need sweaters, so they don’t preen their feathers and ingest the oil. Sheesh. That’s sad. But look at that penguin! So cute!
That’s the sad news, here’s the bad news: While they no longer need any more sweaters, in the instructions for making them, they said the sweaters could only be made of wool* for some reason? I guess we could have used reclaimed wool? I don’t know. Maybe we should start our own cotton sweater drive? I’m a great driver!
I’m just reading though that this is not the first penguin sweater craze—makes sense, as it’s not the first oil spill. Penguin sweaters over the years:
South Africa, 2000. He’s all, “you guys look like CLOWNS.”
It’s sad circumstances and it’s horrible that animals suffer so much because of our greed and neglect—but damn it, those penguins do look sharp in sweaters!
*A bit about wool and cruelty. It does appear mulesing is being phased out in New Zealand, so that’s good. But while mulesing is the cruelest practice in wool production, I don’t think things are that sunny for the sheep at non-mulesing wool operations. There’s still being castrated without meds, packed into a warehouse, violently shaved in a speedy fashion (time is money), and all that other good stuff. So don’t wear wool, even if you’re a cute penguin. OMG are you thinking what I’m thinking? Say it with me: PENGUIN WETSUITS! THEY EXIST:
I went to El Rio on Monday to partake in some crazy shenanigans, including a friend’s rock show and $1 PBRs. On a Monday! Nuts, I know. Rocky Yazzie was also at El Rio, though for different reasons entirely. He sets up shop in the backyard of El Rio on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to make and serve his amazing frybread! Laura posted about this last year, so I felt we could all use a refresher, because you need to eat it NOW.
You can get your frybread sweet or savory. The sweet frybread comes with honey and powdered sugar, but I’ve read he has agave nectar for vegans. I didn’t even think to ask that night because I was in the mood for savory! My burrito plans were out the window.
It’s Rocky! And my flash. Sorry.
You know you want this! Navajo-style taco (sans cheese) with vegan bean stew, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions atop his fluffy frybread. Frybread that he makes to order. And the stew? So flavorful and just the right amount of spicy. Get it! $5 a taco, and believe me, they are big enough to share.
Rocky sets up at 8 p.m. and serves until he runs out. See you at El Rio!