This is a review in several disjointed parts due to several factors, such as: many of us wanted to review it; and the person who called dibs really dropped the ball. But finally we consolidate the opinions of three Vegansauri. Enjoy!
Source claims to be “a multi-dimensional dining experience,” but I can’t verify that because I was adrift in a delicious lagoon of faux meat and cheese the entire time I was there. Also, how cute is it that the meat analogs are named after the noises the real animals make? Answer: SUPER-CUTE.
The waitstaff was really welcoming and eager to explain everything on the menu; everything can be made vegan! Music to my ears. The owner I met is super-friendly and possibly a bit overzealous, but WHO CARES because the food is delicious. While the friendly, sexy cashier (he totally was) explains the food to you, you can gaze into the mouth of the DRAGON’S FACE OVEN, in which Source makes all its pita, bread, and pizza crusts from scratch. No small feat.
Disappointingly (for me!) Source doesn’t not serve alcoholic beverages. What they do serve are kombucha-like elixirs made with a fermented substance called Jun. They are made with raw honey, which may or may not jive with you. They also serve raw yerba mate lemonades mixed with strawberry, blueberry, or straight-up lemon! My dining companion ordered the strawberry lemonade and OMG! It tasted like a strawberry daiquiri. So delicious, I was able to forgive the absence of rum.
I also noticed that my water glass kept refilling, as if by magic. Good service here, folks!
Let’s run down some of the food. After struggling to choose a dish on the extremely extensive menu, I went with an avocado oink bits burger, with the homemade cashew-based vegan mozzarella. I couldn’t believe my taste buds. I haven’t eaten a burger in over four years, and this is what I remember it tasting like. Their version is hearty, and even kind of has the look of a burger, thanks to the beets. But not in a gross way, I swear! This isn’t a Boca Burger-like substitution; it’s just, I don’t know, meaty. It’s obviously made with vegetables, yet has that grilled, burger-y taste. My omnivorous dining companion completely agreed: I wasn’t just being a crazy I-haven’t-eaten-meat-in-so-long-these-tofu-dogs-taste-like-the-real-thing-right vegan.
The cheese was so tasty, I wanted double the amount. The avocado and oink bits were a little lacking, but the burger was so delicious and MIND-BLOWING, I totally forgot what I had ordered and therefore didn’t even notice the other parts of my burger were shoved sparingly in the back of the pita. This is saying a lot, because I usually don’t forget things like avocado and vegan bacon.
More food: Buffalo cluck: spicy and saucy. Baked VEGAN spinach artichoke fondue: really on-point with the flavor, but the texture was chunkier than I would have liked.
Fries: super-interesting salt and sauce choices (rosemary salt with spicy BBQ ketchup? Hell yes). Bahn mi pita: Similar to the oink bits burger, the veggies and sauce had slipped to the bottom of the pita and broke the back of it, turning it into more of a salad; also, I wasn’t crazy about the chewier texture of the quack, but then again, I’ve never had real duck, so maybe it’s spot-on. Kraut bow-wow: Most food is made in-house, but the bow-wows are Field Roast apple sage sausages. Fine by me!
Philly cheese moo: OH MAN this is yummy, but I could stand a little more strength of flavor in the “cheese.” House salad: comes piled super-high on a tiny plate, really full-featured with a tangy dressing. Country shepherd’s pie: too brothy and bland, would not order again.
Cluck parm: This is the king of all sandwiches. It’s just so “cheesy” and tomatoey and crusty and GOOD. Get it, girl.
On to the desserts! Twinkees: YUM! Nothing like the Twinkies you remember, no: much richer, softer, and sweeter. It’s like angel food cake with canned icing, so good. Cupcakes: dependent on availability, but it was a pretty good, standard vegan chocolate-raspberry cupcake.
Another veg restaurant pops up on Chicago's Northside!
Every time I blink, a new veg restaurant opens in Chicago! Don’t get me wrong—it’s always welcome news. But how am I supposed to choose where to eat when I visit with so many options?? Easy. I’ll just go to all of them. I’ve already walked the Magnificent Mile and been atop the Sears Tower (I don’t care what its new name is, it will always be the Sears Tower to me), so that frees up all my time to eat EVERYTHING VEGAN in that city.
The view from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods parking lot.
The new restaurant in question is Quesadilla: La Reyna del Sur, which is located in Chicago’s Bucktown/Logan Square neighborhood at 2235 N Western Ave. Logan Square is also unofficially known as the best neighborhood in Chicago. (I should know, I used to live there! California Ave. represent!)
Unfortunately, Quesadilla’s (can I call you that for short?) has no website of its own, but Second City Vegan has a review! Any Chicago-based Vegansaurus readers hit the place up yet? What do you think?
Rachel here, on the vegan Pride beat again. I’ve drawn a Venn Diagram for you so you can understand better what’s going on:
As you know (because I told you a few weeks ago!), there will be some hot vegan action at the San Francisco Pride Festival this weekend. What you might NOT have known is that you can start that action early by going to the Food Not Bombs vegetarian potluck on Friday afternoon, as a side of asparagus to the Transmarch’s seitan picatta. Did that even make sense?
Never mind. Here’s what they say about it:
"Join SF FNB for our annual tradition—the Chez Gay cafe and potluck at the Transmarch! We’ve been doing this for four years now and are super excited for it to be this time of year again! San Francisco Food Not Bomb will provide some food, be cooking veggies at the park, but PLEASE bring veg food to share.
All are welcome to share food and eat.
(As always?) bonus points awarded for: *bringing food to share or chopped food to grill *remembering your own utensil / plate *dressing in costume—double points if it’s French *wearing your “vintage” chez gay tuxedo t-shirt (if you want one I think we still have the screen to make some the morning of) *volunteering to cook in the hot sun
If you would like to volunteer for prep work or cooking at the park, email!
We’re generally a chill bunch, but disrespect for queer, trans, genderqueer or gender variant folks will not be tolerated.
Resident consumer here, with a review of more free stuff. This time, it’s these summery VivoBarefoot cuties sent to me by the good people at Planet Shoes. The first ones I chose sold out right before I tried to get them, so I settled for these (“settled”—they were free shoes). I definitely wanted to try out the “barefoot technology,” plus these had a removable, washable insole, and my feet have the STANK, y’all.
Not pictured: my feet and unshaven calves, because they are disgusting.
These say they run true to size, so I rolled with European size 39 (that’s 8.5 in real sizes). They’re described as “beige,” but I like to think of them as “yellow.” VivoBarefoot takes advantage of the recent barefoot running trend (or maybe it’s just a trend among my Facebook friends), so most of their shoes are marketed toward runners. I, however, tend to run about 10 steps before collapsing in pain, so I went with the more casual-looking shoe.
The first time I wore them, I left my home in San Francisco to go to Souley Vegan in Oakland, which involved quite a bit of walking. To be honest, I wasn’t psyched at first. My feet were sweaty (I didn’t have socks), and my calves were a mite sore. I guess this is what walking in bare feet would be like? Do padded, cushioned shoes make walking easier? I definitely felt the earth move under my feet, if you know what I mean. Even though I could feel the gravelly bits and sewer grates, it didn’t hurt, probably due to the super-thin yet puncture-resistant soles. It’s worth noting that the shoes didn’t cause blisters or pressure my ingrown toenails or bother my plantar fasciitis the first time I wore them, which is unusual for me. Everything is wrong with my feet.
As I became more used to the “barefoot” walking sensation the more often I wore them, I really started to like them more. Screw those weird “toning” shoes; walking with barefoot shoes makes me STRONG! Plus they look super-cute with skinny jeans and a wifebeater-style tank top.
Would you like Vegansaurus to review your product? We would (probably) like to review it! Get in touch! Thanks to PlanetShoes for all the vegan shoes!
Say it’s one of those days where not only is your stomach hungry, but so are your eyes. Maybe you are hanging out with omnis who don’t want vegan food, I mean, what are they supposed to eat at a VEGAN restaurant?! Enter Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe: options for everyone! Incredibly attractive punk rock clientele and employees (it’s co-owned by Green Day’s Mike Dirnt, after all)! BEER SPECIALS! As a car-less San Franciscan, I would probably eat more meals at Rudy’s, but getting to Emeryville is a pain, especially on public transit and an empty stomach?
Fortunately, Rudy’s just opened a new location in Uptown Oakland! At its new addy, 1805 Telegraph Ave., Rudy’s is next to the Fox Theatre and within walking distance from the 19th Street BART station. Perfect! Tofu Rancheros, I’m coming back for you!
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe is open at its new location from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., and boasts $1 Bud, Bud Light and Miller High Life beers from 9 p.m. to midnight. I’m so there!
This is Isabelle with her vegan dog Bean! HOW FREAKING CUTE?! She is from Benicia, Calif. Isabelle has been vegan since conception and will be 10 in July. Happy early b-day, Isabelle! Give Bean a big kiss for me. Kissing dogs is good for you—gives you antibodies!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Isabelle: Salad. I REALLY like healthy food!
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Chocolate, mixed with vanilla (I like a mixture of sweetnesses)
Why are you vegan? I really don’t want to decrease the animal population AT ALL!
Do you like being vegan? Why? Yes, because I know, deep inside, that it’s not a good thing to be eating animals, so I did just the opposite: To NOT eat animals!
Is it ever hard to be vegan? Yes, very much so! I usually feel left out when most of my friends (One is a vegetarian) have more treats than I do!
What do your friends think about you being vegan? I really don’t know! In my opinion, they think that it doesn’t exactly make much sense!
What is your favorite animal? Why? Ugh! The hardest part! It’s hard to choose, because I love ALL animals! But I’d say my top five are: Dog, parrot, meerkat, cougar, and rodents! Especially rats! I LOVE rodents! That’s part of the reason that my friends kind of think I’m kind of nuts! (Even though I think so myself!) I know it’s uncommon to like rats, but all I know is that I do! (Most of my other friends are kind of overly cautious about rodents in general!)
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! I LOVE them! And I’d LOVE to draw one for you guys! I LOOOOOOOOOVE drawing! Anything! Even an octopus! You know, the eight-legged dudes! You could even HIRE me to be your artist! And I mean it!
Vegansaurus World? OMG I LOVE IT! I want to live in Vegansaurus World! Isabelle, as soon as I get an art budget, you’re our lady!
Hey guys, there is a vegan who needs our help. Chelsea has hit some rough times and she needs to move herself, her dog and her cat from Oakland to Cleveland, Ohio, to take care of her mom who suffers from the progressive, non-treatable form of multiple sclerosis. Her mom lives with her younger brother, who is autistic and relies on her mom’s support. They really need her home and so she’s trying to raise some funds to move. You can help Chelsea by donating money here.
Here’s Chelsea’s dog Ellie, ready for summer.
If you want to contact Chelsea directly, email me and I’ll put you in touch.
How to be a fancy and demanding vegan, part two: know the owner!
Previously on How to Be a Fancy and Demanding Vegan, we discussed dropping a shit-ton of money and calling ahead. Today, we discuss the vegan power you yield when you know the owner! It’s a mighty, mighty force. I was with my ever-urbane brother and sister-in-law again, just as I was in our first installment. In truth, I didn’t know the owner at all, it was my bro. He’s the man. Got mad connects.
My parents were in town and wanted to get dinner together so my brother made plans for us at Locanda Vini & Olii in Brooklyn, where his homeboy is one of the owners. My mom was like, “Did you make sure Megan can eat there?” And my brother was like, “who do you think you are talking to?!” He had made sure it was all set and they knew a fancy and demanding vegan would be in the house.
We didn’t look at the menu because menus are totally out. Instead, his friend kept bringing us dish after dish—there were like five or six courses! I was ready to burst! With pleasure. While the rest of my family shared their omni dishes, I got my own, totally vegan dishes made special just for me. SO FUN!
The picture at the top is this strawberry and radicchio salad they made me. First, they brought out all this crazy meat for my fam and then they were like, “OK, now we’ll go get your salad!” And I was like, “A salad? Bleh.” And then that beautiful bowl of goodness comes out! I was in love.
Before that, I had this salad-ish dish:
It was called something like “the first day of spring,” but in Italian—so romantic! Sorry for the poor picture quality, the lighting was low. Which suits my features. I think I just called myself ugly. Moving along! With the first day of spring,With the first day of spring, they also brought out the most amazing thing ever: Bread soup! BREAD soup! Soup, made of BREAD! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It was bread soaked in goodness and tomatoes and all this other stuff. It wasn’t soupy, it was more like the consistency of polenta. But here’s my question: why don’t I eat bread soup for every meal?!
The bread soup was really good but it was actually just my second favorite thing; my REAL favorite thing was this funny pasta!:
It was basically like gnocchi but in the shape of gummy worms. And it was HELLA GOOD. This is what I’m talking about, people! From now on, it’s all about bread soup and skinny gnocchi. Seriously, let’s break away from veganism and form our own sect where we only eat stuff made out of bread and pasta in the shape of gummy worms. Who’s with me?!
They didn’t have a dessert for me and my dad was crushed, because he’s adorable, but I was like, “Dad, I assure you, I’ve had enough omni restaurant sorbet in my vegan lifetime.” Besides, I was seriously about to burst! I didn’t even tell you about the artichoke soup and this pesto made of some leafy green instead of basil. And the bread was damn good too. And the wine! The wine was perfect! Rosé is so hot right now. So hot.
That is today’s lesson, everybody: know the owner. Until next time, stay classy, vegans! And thanks, Locanda! Let’s get married!
UPDATE!: According to my brother, Locanda Vini & Olii would treat ANY vegan this way. So please see the previous How to Be a Fancy and Demanding Vegan because you should still prob call ahead. But you don’t have to know the owner! At least not here. Though I still recommend it! It’s totally baller.
Calling all vegan drinkers: SF Vegan Drinks on Thursday!
Man, I want to try one of the $5 Tropical Dream Martini’s that Martuni’s will be serving. There is nothing I love more than drink specials and sexy vegan lushes. Call me for the afterparty! (I have to work. No fun for me!)
As always, it’s at Martuni’s (the corner of Valencia and Market Streets), from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 30. More info here.
Laura was in town briefly before her whirlwind vacay, but that was just enough time to get vegan ice cream! See what Laura has?: Priorities.
We went to Stogo together as neither of us had been there. We heard mixed things about it: some people are totally into it; some don’t like it at all. It’s not just vegan, it’s like hypo-allergenic, basically. They don’t use real sugar and stuff. I like my ice cream unhealthy!
I tasted the cookie dough and the hemp chocolate (they have other kinds of chocolate, kind of neat). The cookie dough wasn’t that cookie-doughy so I got the hemp chocolate (see below). Here’s what I can say: the hemp chocolate was SOLID. Very chocolaty good! So when in doubt, get that. But they let you try lots of flavors so you should do that. BONUS: they have cupcakes from BabyCakes and some treats from Cocoa V!
Who’s been here? What are your thoughts? Is it on your New York vacation hit list?
Macaques abused in Indonesia: it blows! Sign a petition to stop it!
Horrifying. This is a performing macaque on the streets of Indonesia. And check out this crazy photo gallery in the Denver Post. I saw that and I was like, HOLY. CRAP. Those pictures are frightening! I looked into it and it turns out that the Mirror also did an exposé on this phenomenon earlier this month. And then here’s a Boing Boing photo gallery from April. But the Denver Post one is the scariest! Not bloody or anything, just freaky. The doll heads. THE DOLL HEADS.
Topeng Monyet, or dancing monkeys, is a particularly cruel practice where juvenile macaques are forced to perform (dance, ride bicycles, wear masks) in the crowded and busy streets of Jakarta. An illegal trade in wild macaques that are captured from the wild has built up around the phenomena known as Topeng Monyet.
JAAN provided the Mirror with photos and info in an effort to raise awareness about this awful practice. According to the various articles, endangered macaques are illegally taken from the forest as babies, sold on the streets of Indonesia, and tortured into performing for their whole lives. They are forced to walk upright, which they learn by being chained by the neck so that they have to stand. Fucked. Up.
There is a petition to stop this practice, which you can sign here. I’m not sure what else to do besides signing this petition but I believe international attention can make a difference! So let’s get people to sign this! You can also donate to JAAN here.
“According to Centers for Disease Control, nearly twice as many people die annually from tainted meat than died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Making a powerful comparison, Kristof points out that “while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives.””—The New York Times Compares Antibiotic Abuse on Factory Farms to Terrorism. Via MFA Blog.
Product review: Lucini Cinque e’ Cinque, a.k.a. Tuscan frittata!
Laura heard of this vegan Frittata mix by Lucini and she showed it to me. Your friend Megan Rascal was like about to die: I LOVE QUICHES AND FRITTATAS and all that eggy crap! So I wrote Lucini, my new best friends, and they sent me frittata mix, gratis. When I email people, they send me free shit. And when I dance, orphaned children find new homes.
How does it taste? It’s a little odd, but once you get used to it, it RULES. I’m obsessed with it and keep thinking about it ever since we made it. Like, for real.
The mix is essentially chickpea flour. First, I made one of the mixes straight-up, no veggies or nothing, and it was a little strange. It kind of has a custard-like texture? I don’t think you should make it and serve it plain . The pack even says to serve it on baguette or with tomatoes or something.
So I gave it another shot! My brother and I made it totally frittata-style and it was so great! We made the rosemary mix with broccoli, mushrooms and garlic. We had it with some kind of hearty toast my brother had. At first it was a little odd, but then once we got used to it, it was awesome! We BOTH had a slice for breakfast the next morning. I still thought it had a custard-y texture but my brother said it was like eating mashed potatoes with a bunch of veggies in it. We both agreed that it’s more frittata/egg-like when you eat it with toast. Also: I needed to add a serious amount of sea salt, but that’s me.
The other great thing about this frittata mix, it is SO EASY to make! But I have some tips for you: if you don’t know, generally when you make a quiche-type thing, all the fillings are pre-cooked. So we steamed the broccoli and sauteed the mushrooms before we put them in the batter. Something that is served raw, like tomatoes, you might not cook, but do pre-cook most other veggies. Also, we had to cook it for quite a while longer than it said but we got some extra water in it when we added the mushrooms. Lastly: halfway through, you are supposed to open your oven a little and let it cook for the rest of the time with the oven door a jar. This lets all the extra moisture out. My oven does not just stay open so a little thing you can do is stick the end of a wooden spoon in between the door and the oven just to keep it open a bit. The end of your spoon will probably blacken a bit but it’s not a big deal, unless you are a crybaby brother. This is also a great tip for when you are making biscotti. Got to dry them mofos out!
Here’s a pic out of the oven:
You can see it’s a bit moist in the middle but it had stopped giggling when we wiggled it so we took it out and it was fine. Oh, another bonus: it’s pretty healthy! Go health!
Moral of the story: two thumbs up, but you have to be open-minded at first bite. Go forth! I want someone to make it in a crust like a real quiche. Do it!
Interview with Dr. Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Institute!
I went raw once, for five months! It was the absolute best I’ve felt in the four years I’ve been vegan. The energy! The new and exciting foods to try! Living in Chicago at the time, I was able to gorge on all sorts of delicious raw fare from Karyn’s Raw, Cousins IV and The Chicago Diner (do they still serve raw food, Chicagoans?). I used Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Kitchen and Matt Amsden’s The Rawvolution as my how-to guides at home. Life was good, though it’s much easier to be raw in the spring and summer in Chicago—you can assume what happened once winter started to set in.
Three years later, I’m living in beautiful San Francisco, and I still go off and on with this raw food thing. I JUST CAN’T STICK TO IT. I think every person’s body has individual needs and sensitivities, and for me personally, the raw food diet works best. I’m a huge advocate.
But this post isn’t about me (what?), it’s about the healing powers of being raw. Recently, Dr. Brian Clement spoke at San Francisco’s New Living Expo in a lecture titled “Raw Foods and Cancer.” Dr. Clement is the director of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, which uses raw vegan diets to help people recover from serious illnesses and heath challenges. Dr. Clement has been a vegan for 38 years, and a raw foodist for 36! Talk about motivation to get back on track and buy ingredients for a salad (and a slice of tiramisu from Cafe Gratitude)!
Dr. Clement was gracious enough to offer us at Vegansaurus some insight about raw foods, the Hippocrates institute and his favorite go-to raw recipe!
Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan? How long have you been a raw vegan? What inspired you to initially become a raw foodist? Dr. Clement: I began as a vegetarian 41 years ago and a vegan 38 years ago. Thirty-six years ago I adopted a raw/living diet. Long before it was accepted to be obese, I was—carrying an extra 120 pounds and smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. When taking the first step as a vegetarian, I saw exceptional improvements and organically, moved to a raw vegan diet that opened my eyes to the potential food has in prolonging life and warding off disease.
What exactly is the Hippocrates Institute? Does it serve as both a raw food retreat and cancer center? How long have you been there and what do you do? Hippocrates Health Institute was the first and is the foremost natural health center globally. We pioneered the field of complimentary healthcare and opened our doors 55 years ago in Boston. We have attracted guests from all corners of the globe that attend the Lifechange program for one of two distinct reasons: first, to conquer the disease they are harboring (cancer, heart, diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s, HIV, autoimmune, etc.); second, as serious health-seekers who do not want to fall victim to such maladies. Everyone from Olympic athletes to stage-four cancer patients by the hundreds of thousands attended our program, for the first 30 years in Boston and over the last 25 here in West Palm Beach, Fla. My tenure began in the mid-’70s and I thank God every day for the passion-filled, fulfilling work I pursue.
How do you feel people can take control of their lives and their health by eating raw foods? In your opinion, what are the benefits? Why go raw? Every creature on earth, except domestic and displaced animals, lives on a 100 percent raw food diet. Here at HHI, we have clinically proven for more than half a century that such raw vegan fare slows aging, prevents disease, and even helps to reverse it. The core science on why these raw green foods afford such attributes are the: HORMONES, OXYGEN, PHYTO-NUTRIENTS, AND ENZYMES that they contain. In addition, proper selection provides the highest source of complete protein, essential fatty acids, and ultimately the most nutrient-dense energy filled foods on earth.
What does a typical day of meals, snacks, and juices look like for you? Although the diet end of the HHI program is tailored for personal needs, most maintenance cuisine would look a bit like this: Fresh raw vegetable and sprout juice that may include wheat grass in the morning, followed by sprouted cereal or fresh ripe organic fruit, etc. A mid-morning snack may be sprouted and dehydrated nuts and seeds or some type of sprouted cracker or raw bread. Lunch should begin with a hardy large green and sprout salad adorned with your favorite dressing (vegan thousand island, Italian, Mediterranean, etc.), a nut and seed or grain and bean burger or loaf followed by some raw dehydrated raw cookies or cake seasoned with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and the legal sweetener, Stevia. Mid-afternoon snacks may include seasoned sprouted seeds and or ripe organic fruit. Dinner should begin with a nice fresh raw vegetable and sprout juice, a delicious raw carrot soup, a moderately seasoned bean and green salad, and tiff and quinoa sprouted grain croquette. You can find a wide array of delicious choices in Dr. Anna Maria’s recipe book Healthful Cuisine.
How do you feel about a raw food diet of solid foods versus a juice “cleanse?” Are they necessary? What about an alkaline cleanse? Proper juices made from nutrient-dense foods like sprouts and fresh green vegetables provide an extraordinary amount of nutrition. This does not preclude the need to eat solid raw food preparations. This body building cuisine will assure that the metabolism will maintain solid weight so that one via exercise can have a strong skeletal and muscular system.
Is it important or necessary to take supplements on a raw food diet? Is the food enough? If supplements are necessary, which ones? After researching hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom have lived on healthy diets, we have found that our high-stress, unnatural and polluted lifestyles require us to embrace good whole-food supplements. Whole-food forms of algae, sea and fresh water, raw pollen’s living green powders, bacterial forms of B12 and in many cases, targeted whole food supplementation boost the immune system and are examples of what one may require after a good nutritional evaluation.
Any favorite recipes you’d like to share with the Vegansaurus readers? Our busy lifestyles limit the time most of us spend preparing foods so quick-to-design are our favorites. Worldwide, you can walk into green markets and purchase an already washed variety of salad greens. Mixing them together with fresh herbs, healthy oils, and easy to purchase sprouts manifest a power salad in two minutes. Opening a package of arame seaweed and soaking it in fresh water for a short time and draining it affords an opportunity for you to cut scallions, chives, or sweet onions into the delicious vegetable so that you can crush garlic and place olive oil over this main course fare. This takes less than four minutes to achieve. Everyone’s favorite desserts can be easily manufactured with a dehydrator (does not cook, dries) a bowl of your favorite raw dough (as an example, sprouted oats placed through a good juicer with a blank affixed-run these sprouts through so that they homogenize into a dough). In the bowl, place your favorite seasonings and or sweet oils and form into cookies you can fill your dehydrator with these treats so that you will have fun, healthy foods for days or weeks to come.
Thanks, Dr. Clement! I wonder if they offer work study programs? I could use some time in Florida to go raw. Anyone want to sponsor me?
It’s no secret—we vegans get kinda lazy sometimes. Plus it’s not always easy to just run to the market and pick up all the necessary ingredients when we’ve developed an insatiable craving for fresh-baked, straight-out-of-the-oven, warm and chewy cookies—am I right? Enter YisRoYal vegan cookie dough!
That’s right my gluttonous friends, pre-made and ready to bake cookie dough. Born from a family’s fruitless search for wholesome treats that fit their dietary principles, YisRoYal’s gourmet doughs are 100 percent vegan and free of soy, artificial sweeteners and coloring, bleached flours and hydrogenated oils. The name YisRoYal stems from the Hebrew name Yisra’el, meaning “to be upright with God,” and was chosen in accordance with the company promise to “respect all creation by using only organic, whole ingredients.” How neato is THAT? Though it boasts a two-month shelf life, I knew the dough wouldn’t last long in my household, baked or otherwise. All three tubs—one each of the three flavors, Chocolate Chip, Spicy Ginger and Oatmeal Raisin—lasted the first night without disturbance. Come night number two, however, the temptation was just too much and I cracked each tub open carefully. After two bites of each, I sealed them back up and tried to hide them from myself in the back of the shelf…but it was no use. Another bite here and there left me with about three-fourths of each flavor remaining and I knew I’d better get to baking these darn things.
Per the instructions, I pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees and spooned 12 cookies from the Chocolate Chip tub to the (lightly greased) cookie sheet. Easy peasy!
Twelve minutes later, PING! Cookies! Done!
Honestly, it was so easy I felt like I was cheating. I let the first batch cool and proceeded to bake three more batches and less than one hour later, I have more cookies than I know what to do with. That’s a lie, they’re already half gone. The cookies were totally delicious: sweet but not overly so, not grainy or crumbly like many other vegan cookies, just the right amount of chips/raisins—a total success. My only suggestion would be to keep the cooking time to 10 minutes on the nose. The instructions say 10 to 12 minutes; however, after 12 minutes, the bottoms of each batch were slightly burned. Once I got the hang of it—spacing, dollop size, baking time—they came out picture-perfect. Only they didn’t last long enough for the picture part. To quote my omnivorous boyfriend, “These are fucking GOOD, yo!” I can’t think of a better endorsement than that.
Top 10 links of the week: an extravagant dance through veganism!
[Hilarious picture my grandpa sent me, from his friend: “People living in Colorado Springs wondered why their rainwater barrel was almost empty every day. They set up a couple of cameras and look what they caught on film”]
I meant to post this a while ago: an interview with the lovely Leanne from Vaute Couture!
My discussion topic of the week: Did you see this piece in HuffPo about why veganism makes non-vegans so angry? Why do you think they get so angry? I think they are bitter because we are morally superior! In my humble opinion.
Achieving balance and vitality the "easy way," with YogaEarth drink mixes
I didn’t realize until later that I might not have been the best choice for reviewing YogaEarth's Balance and Vitality* [Ed. note: Vitality is just vegetarian! See update at the bottom!] drink mixes. I do not practice yoga, and I would not describe my lifestyle as “active” (I sit at a desk for eight hours a day; how about you?); however, I’m always up for products for the lazy vegan, like drink mixes that promise to provide long-lasting energy, 16 percent of my daily protein needs, antioxidants, electrolytes, and other healthy mystery ingredients, and satiate hunger. So here we are.
Another thing to note is that I think drink mixes are generally kind of icky (Vega shakes, I’m looking at you): they’re gritty, they’ve got fake sweetener, and they come in weird flavors (maca can kiss my ass). However, YogaEarth’s mixes are actually good! It is hard to mix them up enough so that they don’t get grainy toward the bottom, but if you can, the flavors are light and fruity and don’t leave a nasty aftertaste. Bonus: You can mix it into tea, juice, water, (soy) yogurt, smoothies, cereals, etc.
Balance, the yellow packet, tastes a bit tart, rather like watered-down apple and beet juice when mixed; I liked it! The green packet, Vitality, tastes more like a tropical green tea than anything else, although it’s supposed to have additional tasting notes of kiwi and Irish moss. When I combined Balance and Vitality in the same drink, it was really hard to get it to a drinkable texture, so I didn’t do that again. However, I really loved Balance with hot ginger-apricot tea in the morning before a swim.
Speaking of swimming, I tested these in relation to working out as well. I don’t practice yoga, but I do exercise—in the swimming pool and in the weight room. So I followed the instructions on Balance, the pre-workout fuel: “Drink at least 90 minutes before physical activity.” Then I went to a session with my personal trainer (I am a yuppie now, guys). It was super-hard, and I credit Balance for keeping me from vomiting. Afterward, I decided to wind down with Vitality and some sauna time. I think the taste (not horrible, but my least favorite of the two) kept me from drinking too much water as I sweat my balls off, which I have a tendency to do. I didn’t notice changes in my energy, weight loss, or feelings of hunger after drinking them regularly, but maybe I’m just guilty of a few deadly sins.
This product gets good reviews not just from yours truly but also “Top 10 Dietician” (this is a thing?) Ashley Koff and Vogue magazine. So it’s healthy, tasty, and fashionable! Plus you feel like you’re doing your body a favor when you’re drinking it, so if nothing else, these mixes cause a great placebo effect, kind of like yoga (or at least, that’s what I tell myself to justify not doing it).
*UPDATE! It appears the Vitality one is not vegan—it has both bee pollen and Royal Jelly (some other bee stuff) in it. Balance seems to be OK.
The drink mixes were given to me for free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Come to a vegan bakesale benefitting Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary. On Saturday June 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market Splash Pad Park, at Grand and Lake Park Avenues in Oakland.
Today we have a big kid! She’s 16! PLUS, totes European. This is Lucy with her cat Dessy. She’s from Bulgaria! So exciting.
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Lucy: Anything vegan. I really enjoy pasta and tofu as well as different types of salads and sugar-free vegan ice cream.
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Well, I’m not really into sugar, so I don’t have a fav kind of birthday cake.
Why are you vegan? Because I respect all forms of life on this fragile planet and don’t want to contribute to cruelty. Veganism stands for living in harmony with the world around you and that’s what I want to achieve.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Of course, I do. It makes me feel useful or at least I know my diet is not harmful to the planet and all the creatures we share it with.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? To be honest, yes. Considering the fact that I live in a country where almost no one is vegan and where we don’t have any vegan restaurants or stuff, it can be hard sometimes. There’s one good thing about it though—I learned how to cook my own meals, which is awesome, hehe. And being vegan even in a country like that is always a LOT better than being an apathetic meat-eater.
What do your friends think about you being vegan? They often wonder how I survive without animal products. That’s the lack of education, sigh. But there’s always hope things could change and we won’t give up until this happens.
What is your favorite animal? Why? I can’t say I have a favorite animal. They are all unique and I love them all.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! Of course! I know of one pink dinosaur that everyone likes and that deserves a portrait by me.
Cupcakefest is gonna rock New Jersey on Saturday! Go eat cake!
The Nico Blues will play to an audience of cupcakes on Saturday. Minus 10 for the moose on the right wall, but plus 30 for the carrots on the back wall. Carrots!
Sweet Avenue Bake Shop—which we hear is awesome from reliable ‘sauruses (see what I did there?)—is co-sponsoring an all-day music and CUPCAKE festival in New Jersey this Saturday. Screw the music, I want cake, but to each his own I suppose.
Cupcake Festival 2011 is FREE (though I bet the cake isn’t UPDATE from Danielle at Sweet Avenue: “While we’ll be selling regular-sized cupcakes at our shop all day, every Cupcakefest we hand out thousands of free mini cupcakes all day!” SCORE!) and proceeds from raffles and other such shenanigans will go to an animal shelter in New Jersey. The poor creatures are already in New Jersey, let’s help them, shall we?
Full details about the event here, and the scoop on the bands here. East Coast, you owe it to yourself to go jam with cupcakes. Did I mention cupcakes? Om nom nom.
This is hilarious and awesome. An Australian tour guide has reported that great white sharks like rockin’ out—specifically, AC/DC. Songs like “You Shook Me All Night Long” apparently appeal to the sharks because the low-frequency range is compatible with their sensitive hearing. SHARK DANCE PARTY!
Guest post: “I FELL INTO A K-HOLE OF ADORABLE.” Fostering kittens for the SF SPCA RULES!
It’s kitten season! And when I heard the San Francisco SPCA was hurting for foster homes, I realized that duh, I need KITTENS in my FACE! I’m still sort of in the rebound period after losing my ridiculously amazing ferret six months ago (you know, where you want to borrow everyone else’s animals but aren’t ready to commit?) so a perpetual cycle of kittens and loss sounded like an awesome fix. I signed up for the next kitten-fostering class at the SPCA.
The two-hour class was taught by Alison Lane, the SPCA Foster Coordinator, who is super nice and helpful. In it, we learned:
Fostering saves lives. Because of foster homes, the SF SPCA is able to take in about 1,000 more kittens a year! BAM!
It is a lot of work. Fostering kittens requires a minimum time-commitment of two hours a day. You have to be available to take them to the SPCA for regular vaccinations and in case of emergency.
You need a safe, easy-to-clean kitten room away from resident animals. A bathroom is recommended for good reason (more on this later) but I’m poor and share my bathroom with five people—so my bedroom it is.
You keep the kittens until they weigh two pounds and can be spayed or neutered and put up for adoption. So you basically get them at the height of preciousness and socialize them to be awesome pets.
The SPCA gives you a surprisingly thick volunteer manual [.pdf], which conveniently doubles as a kitten calendar minus the white squares.
They also provide dry and wet food (Fancy Feast! These bitches eat better than me!), plus a “vegetable” scale to weigh them every day. You buy the litter box, scoop, litter and scratching post (for a total of $15.23 at the SPCA).
For you losers out there who can’t cut it as a freelance writer or artist and have to go to your square JOB that pays you a boring SALARY or whatever from 9 to 5, you can foster kittens, too! You just have to feed them and change their litter before you leave for work, when you first come home, and before bed. Plus they will probably liberate your employed soul, so you should totally do it!
When I got home, I emailed Alison and made an appointment to pick up my antidepressant kittens the following Saturday. I DID NOT get wasteyface the night before, but NESTED like a neurotic mama-goose cat-lady—and magically got up before noon on a Saturday to pick up my kitten babies. After a brief run-down with Alison, she brought out my kittens; Clover and Stars were two tiny, mewling, black amaze-balls, one longhair and one shorthair. I was a little bummed that if all went well, I’d only have the little bros for a week (they start you off easy), but OHMYGOSH KITTENS!
DAY ONE THE CUTENESS IS ALMOST UNBEARABLE. I’m serious. Because like, there’s nothing to do about it. UGH! You basically get blue-balled by cuteness.
Clover and Stars are exceptionally badass cats — they’re both super playful, curious and affectionate, but I’m quickly learning their individual quirks. Like that Stars FUCKING OWNS the feather toy. And Clover asks to be picked up. AWWW!
DAY TWO I wake up to two black kitten noses pressed against my face. I remember that Alison specifically said not to take kittens on your bed, but they jump up themselves and won’t listen to me! Besides, I love feeling LOVED!
It’s over. I’m hooked on cuteness contact high.
DAY THREE I have officially fallen into a K-HOLE OF ADORABLE. I thought the kittens would make me more productive by keeping me in my room and on a schedule, but it’s hard to get anything done when you are anchored to a chair by an impossibly adorable purr-bomb all up in your lap and you can’t even reach your computer.
I (metaphorically) stop showering and delete my Facebook (metaphorically). Kittens are all I need now. Kittens make me happy. An anonymous kitten has a little accident on my brand-new duvet, but whatever! Kittens!
I bought them a scratching post, but they prefer my yoga matt (now destroyed). Eye shadows are hockey pucks, curtains a rock-climbing wall. I leave Stars and Clover alone longer than a few hours for the first time and return to find my beloved person-sized trout pillow soaked in urine on the floor.
But whatever, right? Kittens! Anyway, it seems they will definitely reach their goal weight by day seven, so I make an appointment to drop them off soon. Sadness.
DAY FIVE: WHY ARE YOU PEEING ON MY BED WHEN I HAVE GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING I LOVE YOU SO MUCH WHY???!!!!?!
DAY SIX I wake up to discover the kittens have officially started using my bed as a litter box (AKA KITTEN POOP ON MY DUVET WTF). I call Alison, who explains that I should have contacted her immediately when the kittens were having litter box issues, so they won’t learn bad habits and be returned by their families when adopted. Of course I feel shoot-me-now HORRIBLE (even though she assures me it’s fine).
I decide to cut my losses and return them a day early. I was SUPER sad to say goodbye but I think my shame softened the blow a little.
Fostering kittens is seriously effing amazing and IT SAVES LIVES and you should do it! Just don’t fuck up like me! If you have to use your bedroom, get a kitten corral or large cage for when they are unsupervised. I already got mine. BAM! That’s right; this kitten mama is coming back for more! That’s how good this shit is, man.
If you are interested in fostering kittens, please contact your local SPCA or rescue group. For information on fostering with the SF SPCA, click here. To sign up for the next foster class, email the Foster Coordinator Alison Lane at email@example.com. Do it!
UPDATE: Clover and Stars have found their forever homes! If you are interested in adopting a kitten or cat from the SPCA, click here.
Aurora Wells is a writer and artist living in San Francisco with persistent dreams and borrowed kittens. While working on her first graphic novel, she writes about death and pours shots at a dive bar. Art, animals and alliteration are some of Aurora’s favorite things. She will do pretty much anything for that vegan cookie.
After their wildly successful Spring Shop-Up in April, the awesome folks over at Vegan Shop Up are kicking off the summer season with yet another goodie-laden event!
That’s right, you ravenous vegans! The big event is happening this Sunday, June 19—Father’s Day!—at our mega-favorite vegan watering hole, Pine Box Rock Shop, from 1 to 5 p.m. Featuring everything from hummus to skin care, raw ice cream to kombucha, tempeh to truffles, there will definitely be a little something for everyone. Vendors include Green Pirate fruit and veggie juices, Sprout skin care, Gone Pie baked goods and Pretty Monsters soy candles and balms. Empty Cages Collective will be there reppin’ our animal friends, too! So come on out, enjoy a delicious vegan bloody mary and waffle brunch with Dad, and spend some cold hard cash in support of vegan businesses! OR ELSE!
Shark fin soup bans aren’t just gaining traction on the West coast—this week, Toronto’s city council tabled a motion to ban the sale, possession and consumption of shark fin soup in the city. They’re following the lead of nearby Brantford, which became the first city in North America to ban the soup. This is all pretty great news for sharks.
So why is shark fin soup so bad? Well, it kills 73 million sharks every year, to start, according to Oceana— but what’s really awful is that it kills those sharks in a terribly wasteful way. In “harvesting,” the shark’s fin is cut off while the fish is still alive. The shark then gets thrown back into the ocean to drown, bleed to death or be eaten by another creature. No other part of the shark even gets used. And shark species are increasingly threatened; when a top animal on the food chain starts to disappear, it’s bad news for an ecosystem.
Traditionally in Chinese culture, shark fin soup is seen as a sign of prosperity—serving it to your guests during important occasions like weddings is expected by many people, especially older generations. That’s made it harder to get bans in place, but things are changing: aside from in Brantford, the soup’s been banned in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, and California may be next. Some argue that the ban targets Chinese people unfairly, since many other favorite animal foods are raised or killed in nasty ways; they have a good point there, so maybe we should do something about that too!
Toronto councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker compared the killing of sharks for their fins to use in soup to hunting elephants just for their ivory tusks. “Playing the piano in the city of Toronto actually led to elephants being slaughtered in Africa. We’re learning now that simply going to a restaurant and eating shark fin soup is leading to a slaughter in the oceans and we want to have that stopped,” De Baeremaeker said.
Toronto has a large Chinese population, so the move is sure to receive some opposition. In its current form, the ban would come in gradually so restaurants can go through their existing stock for the soup—that way they can’t claim that they’ll be losing too much money on shark fins they’ve already purchased.
Moreover, the motion has the vote of another councillor, Kristen Wong-Tam, a former president of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto—her support for this ban will hopefully go a long way within the Chinese community. Wong-Tam grew up eating shark fin soup for special occasions, but stopped once she learned what’s really behind it. “We are not going to bring up a fish—a shark that’s 150 pounds—from the ocean, cut off the fins and throw the rest of it back” to sink and die,” she said. “Because we found this out, mom and dad and my sisters and I just decided, the soup no longer had taste. It was no longer something we desired. Oftentimes at banquets we’ve actually refused it.”
See? When you educate people, they can change their minds, even older generations who have been eating the soup for years. The director of Sharkwater, Toronto native Rob Stewart, also favors the ban. If a coming report on shark fin soup is approved, the city will vote on the ban in the fall. Write to Toronto’s city councillors to tell them how awesome they’ll look to the world if they make this move.
Terri lives in Toronto, Ontario, 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
I was sitting at my desk, staring at my coffee, when my co-worker walked in with a bag of cherries and said, “God, organic fruit at the farmers’ market is fucking expensive.”
At least we have a farmers’ market nearby selling local, organic fruit and vegetables, I thought, and my co-worker has the resources to buy some. When discussions of veganism and privilege come up–as they seem to be doing with increased frequency—there’s some understandable defensiveness from vegans, and some valid concerns that the “veganism is for rich white people” trope is both wrong and insulting to anyone not rich or white. But there remain striking differences food access across communities. This should concern everyone, but especially us veganism advocates.
“On average, higher-income areas have twice as many locations with fresh fruits and vegetables compared to the lower-income areas…14 times more locations with frozen fruit and six times more locations with frozen vegetables.… In addition to being generally less available in lower-income areas, the variety of produce is also limited in these locations.”
Some of these findings are helpfully laid out in chart form:
Other sections point out things that should be obvious to those of us who live, work, or generally exist in urban cores, but are worth stating plainly: there are fundamental differences between supermarkets and small corner groceries; meat and dairy alternatives are virtually nonexistent in many communities, despite high levels of lactose-intolerance in some of those populations; that, along with being “cash-poor,” many providers in low-income communities and communities of color are “time-poor,” way too overstretched by multiple jobs and responsibilities to travel to a distant shop for decent produce, return home, and prepare dinner. The FEP study calls this “environmental racism.” Check out the full thing, along with their recommendations, here [pdf].
Your ability to make healthy food choices shouldn’t depend on your address or income, and lack of access to fruits and vegetables amounts to a public health crisis in many places. The growing trend of farmers’ markets accepting food stamps is a welcome development: by expanding access to good food rather than restricting access to junk, it’s also a much smarter, and less paternalistic and classist way to encourage people to eat well. (Another option would be to eat all the locavores, provided they were humanely put down, with reverence for all that they would provide us, but that’s a topic for another post.)
As vegans, it should matter to us especially. When we tell others to go vegan–which we should–it’s crucial to consider what barriers might stand in their way. Some are ideological, reflective of long-standing habits and assumptions, but some are more practical, like whether they can get to a market that sells non-gross apples. The ability to do so does mark a sort of privilege that needs to be recognized and dismantled, even if anti-vegan internet goofballs like to cite it for their own purposes.
And finally, concern about food security and access shouldn’t be the domain of a borderline-sociopathic “locavore” community that seems to raise these issues only to argue that we need to kill chickens in our yards. We shouldn’t cede that ground (sign a petition against at-home chicken-slaughter right now!). Everyone deserves decent food, produced sustainably, locally, and without poisons, and vegan advocates should be on the frontlines of that push. The FEP’s work is a good place to start.
Rick Kelley is a recent transplant to the Bay, having fled the brutal Minnesota winters for warmer climes. He spends his days at a Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pup, Bandit. He’s also currently active in organizing against Oakland’s “Let’s All Kill Some Chickens in Our Yards For Fun” proposal. He used to blog, and might do so again someday.
I was visiting Never Felt Better in Sacramento when the owner, Shawn, gave me a tip: if I had the time, I should visit the gluten-free and vegan bakery called Azna Gluten Free, located in Cameron Park (about 30 miles east from Sacramento). It happened that I did have the time, so I decided to make the trip.
Although Anza normally offers sandwiches, burritos, lasagna, and calzones, in addition to their sweet items, they didn’t have any sandwiches available to eat when I visited; I made do with a baked good instead. Of course, it was still difficult to make a decision. After conferring with a fellow customer and gazing over the display, I picked a mini cinnamon roll and blackberry scone, as well as a spoonful of some roasted yams and sweet potatoes (cooked with olive oil and many seasonings, and the only savory items available).
Really, EVERYTHING on their menu is vegan and gluten-free; I could eat ANYTHING I wanted. I was in special-diet heaven.
The scone was a little crumbly, but the berries added sweetness and made it a little moister. The mini cinnamon roll was chewy and yummy and just the right size. The roasted yams were delicious, I couldn’t believe how well-seasoned they were. I wanted to just keep eating them, but I got too full.
The service was friendly and fast, even though there was just one guy there, and he seemed to be in charge of baking AND serving the customers. Prices were on the moderate end—my entire “meal” cost $10.25 with tax—and I left feeling more than satisfied.
Geanna lives in Portland, Ore. where she can be found hiking, eating, or writing about food (sometimes she goes to work, too). Find her on Twitter @greenvegnliving or check out her blog, Green Vegan Living.
Fourteen-year-old Julian and nine-year-old Astrid live in Vancouver, B.C. and they’ve been vegan their whole lives! The hilarious picture above was taken at an all-vegan Mad Tea Party—jealous! And my goodness, these kids are DEEP! We’ve got some real thinkers!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Astrid: Pizza—vegan pepperoni and Daiya cheese, thank you. Julian: Inside out German Chocolate Cake!
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake?
Astrid: Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Julian: Chocolate pudding cake! [Mom note: I was a vegan baker by trade for five years; the kid knows his cakes.] [Ed. note: So. Jealous.]
Why are you vegan? Astrid: Because I feel animals that aren’t human should have the same rights as us. Also, I think that it’s not right to kill animals and sell them for the prices that people do, because you took a life away, and you’re selling it for cheap. Also, another thing, I find animals reeeeeaaallllly cute.
Julian: I suppose one of the reasons is because I was raised that way—that could be a slight influence. If I hadn’t been raised vegan, I may not have even thought of being vegan. But since I have been raised vegan, I’m more aware of stuff like, there are a lot of impacts that supporting mass animal farming has on the environment. It accounts for the majority of air pollution, and raising animals takes up a larger amount of grain crops than humans do. And besides all that, it just isn’t right to cause such a huge amount of suffering for no real necessity.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Astrid: Totally! It’s awesome because I feel that because of my awesome mom’s cooking, I can have almost every single thing that meat-eaters have, without having this disgusting thought in my mind that I’m eating a dead animal. That’s just nasty. It’s awesome to be vegan. [Ed. note: love it!]
Julian: Yes, definitely. Because there’s absolutely no reason to not like being vegan, as long as you have someone doing some good cooking, capable of making both nutritious and tasty meals.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? Astrid: Well I think when kids at school bring in cupcakes or cake or something and they’re sharing them with everyone and I’m sitting beside someone stuffing their face with that, I can get a little jealous if I don’t have something vegan. So I could say that’s hard, but in another way, it’s better to not take the cake or whatever because of what it is, and how the animals were treated for the milk and eggs they use. Booyah. Julian: Now that I’m in high school, I’m being exposed to people who are physically more mature rather than behaviourally mature, so sometimes it’s a bit disturbing to be a vegan around these people, because they have violent and/or scary feelings about how animals should be treated. Recently I have observed a class dissection and it turned out to be more of a way to output anger than actually learn any anatomy of the creature. Like, they were violently dismembering the rat and joking around about the evisceration. I thought that was a really disrespectful thing to do to the animal who was killed to be studied.
What do your friends think about you being vegan? Astrid: I’ve changed one girl in my class’s mind, and she is changing how she eats because of it, but she’s not vegan yet. I’ve told lots of other people about it and they think it’s interesting, what I eat and what I bring for lunch; they think they might try being vegan when they get older.
Julian: Most of my friends are fairly nonjudgmental about it. Most of them are surprised by the concept when they first hear about it but get used to it eventually. Although most of my friends are quite ‘off’ when they think about the nutritional aspects. They often underestimate the amount of nutrition you can get from vegan foods.
What is your favorite animal? Why? Astrid: This is a hard one. I think I’ll have to go with a panda, because they’re vegetarians and they’re my two favourite colours, black and white. They also are really cute (obviously), and they are really cool how they can climb.
Julian: Platypus. Because they are mostly vegetarians, and they look amazing. They are not in fact part beaver, part duck.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! [Mom note: They both like pink dinosaurs and accept your challenge.] ]
LOVE THEM! Julian’s vegansaurus is RIPPED! And if you can’t see what Astrid’s says, “Vegan is tasty! My fave food is carrots and cabbage,” what a healthy dino! Or Irish dino? That’s what they eat in Ireland, right? Sometimes I make stuff up. As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!
My childhood summer camp experiences consisted of crying at ghost stories (I don’t like being scared, okay? "Thump, thump, drag" still gives me nightmares), singing depressing, melodramatic songs, and hiding from other campers (to avoid ridicule and bear attacks). How I wish we’d had YeaCamp (Youth Empowered Action) in those heady summer days! YeaCamp is a VEGAN summer camp for future activists to focus on a world-changing issue that’s important to them. Past food has included stuffed shells, veggie curry with coconut rice, and ice cream sundaes. YUM! Sign me up! And please think I’m cool!
Feathers are for birds, not hair extensions or jewelry
Do my eyes deceive me? Please say yes. Please tell me this isn’t Ke$ha on a PETA poster. Tell me, make me understand how, exactly, does PETA choose the ‘spokespeople’ they feature in their ads? Seriously.
WAIT, ARE THOSE FEATHER HAIR EXTENSIONS SHE IS WEARING? IN A PETA AD? FOR REAL? (Maybe feather earrings? This is a joke, right? That seal sure is adorbz, though.) This feather fashion is ridiculous and has got to end. Sporting dead animal parts as accessories is not hip, it’s disgusting. Let’s not kid ourselves, this feather trend is neither ethical or cute.
This is the adorable Anna! She’s almost five years old and lives in St. Paul, Minn. I’m loving her short-sleeve sweater over long-sleeve look! And the shades! THE SHADES! Anna’s dad blogs over at This Little Piggy Had Tofu so check it out!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Anna: Corn on the cob.
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Strawberry.
Why are you vegan? 'Cause we don't want to eat animals 'cause they want to be free and out wherever they live.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Yes. ‘Cause we don’t eat animals and I like animals. I don’t want to eat them ‘cause I want them to be free.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? Yes it is sometimes, when they’re not vegan and they want to turn vegan. Dad: Oh, you mean it’s hard for other people to go vegan Anna: Mm-hmm. Dad: OK, is it hard for you to be vegan? Anna: No, ‘cause I’m already vegan. [Ed. note: fair enough!]
What do your friends think about you being vegan? I don’t know what they think. Dad: Do they know you’re vegan? Anna: Yes. Dad: And they don’t really say anything about it? Anna: No.
What is your favorite animal? Why? My favorite animal is a sheep. ‘Cause it has furry stuff on it and it goes “Baa! Baa!” [Dad note: Anna will sometimes correct books when they refer to an animal as an “it,” yet she will occasionally make the same mistake herself.]
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! Anna: Yes I do! Yes! [Dad note about the picture: That’s a triceratops eating grass. And there’s grass behind the triceratops. And above the triceratops. And a flower and a sun. Because why not?]
LOVING IT. As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!
Backyard chickens: resourceful or evil? (comic included below!)
I don’t eat eggs, but I’ve always said that if I did eat eggs, I’d want them to be from chickens that I had the chance to get know. You know, the kind of chickens that live in your backyard. That way, I’d be sure they weren’t suffering and creating an environmental apocalypse like those poor factory-farmed chickens. Once, before I was vegan, I even lived in a house with chickens in the yard, and they seemed to be all zen about their lives.
But maybe that’s not good enough.
I started thinking about this whole issue this week because of a listener-submitted Perspective on KQED radio. I was minding my morning business, falling over trying to put on pantyhose, when this lady comes on the radio all sad about how her neighbor didn’t like the noise her chickens made. In order to keep the peace, she gave them to a good home. She says she’s now buying her eggs from Trader Joe’s.
How’s a vegan girl to feel about this? Not all bads are created equal, and eggs from your yard seem to have a lot going for them that eggs from Trader Joe’s don’t. I respect omnivores who are making conscious choices about their food and trying to do better than the shudder-inducing status quo. These people should be our allies, right?
Then again, backyard chickens aren’t exactly zero-impact. But as an April Treehugger post by Sami Grover points out, no-impact is not an option for any of us. Tofurky, Daiya and even cashews and kale aren’t zero-impact either.
While I was mulling it over, an awesome comic on the subject by former UC Berkeley student Alfred Twu showed up in the Vegansaurus inbox. He makes some really good points I didn’t know about, like that chickens stop producing many eggs after a few years and then what do you do with them?
I’m going to present the comic in its entirety below, so just a few more thoughts before I do.
Obviously based on my life choices I think it’s best to abstain from chicken products of any kind. But I’m also really loathe to foist my choices on others, and as I said, I admire the thought and can-do spirit that often accompanies the decision to raise chickens.
So what do you think, readers? Deluded bourgeois cruel slavery? Well-intentioned but misguided? Better than the alternative, just like vegetarian is better than not? Let’s talk this shit out!
Also read the comic because it’s AWESOME. Alfred made it in response to at a time when an ordinance being considered in Oakland, and his a group has a petition against the ordinance you can sign if you want.
Ok, without further ado, the COMIC! Don’t forget to discuss in the comments section. It’s like homework but awesomer.
Chicken image at the top used under CC license via Lost Albatross on Flickr.com
Vegansaurus interview: Lindy Loo of Yeah, That Vegan Shit!
Lindy Loo wants you to read her funny-as-hell food blog, Yeah, That Vegan Shit. Perhaps you’ve already heard about it. Just maybe you’re already one of her 660+ followers, a list that has steadily swelled since she started her blog in 2006. Her blog was even featured as one of the ten best vegan blogs by Vegansaurus’ Laura at VegNews. Once you’ve had a steady dose of Lindy’s suggestive and delightfully scatological humor, you will doubtless want to read some of her other stuff, too. She blogs regularly at several sites where she talks about, among other things, being vegan in Cleveland, and “Things that Make [Her] Heart Go Squish.” And did I mention she’s hilarious? And an awesome vegan cook? Her posts are sweet and raunchy and full of useful information for an enterprising (and maybe a little slutty) vegan cook. The archives are an especially good source for everything from recipes (Black Bean and Chocolate Chili…WHAT?) to musings on food that looks like poop. Just click the link titled “Recipes to Make You Scream with Unbridled Pleasure—OH OH OH OH YES YES YES!!!!” Lindy Loo agreed to indulge me in an interview, which I submit for your reading pleasure
Vegansaurus: What inspired you to start a food blog? Lindy Loo: I thought, “Hey, how can I get laid more often? I know! I’ll start a potty-mouthed vegan food blog!” I mean, who DOESN’T want to immediately shag a chick who’s a vegan, a blog nerd, and likes to talk about poop a lot? I also started the blog because I wanted a kind of self-support that would help me keep on track while I transitioned to vegan. I work better and am more motivated when I have a bit more structure and a constructive way to funnel my energies. Posting and testing out recipes regularly made the transition to vegan much more fun. It also does a world of good to regularly have people post comments because it reminds you that there IS a community out there that loves and supports one another, even if they’re not in your immediate area. So yeah: all that. And the getting-laid thing.
How would you describe your blog? John Waters meets Robin Swoboda meets vegan cooking?
What motivates you to keep blogging? The community. I appreciate so much the support and comments from people, and I like the constant reminder that there are like-minded folks out there. I also like to know I’m helping explode the stereotype of the uber-serious, stuffy, judgmental, humorless vegan, and that my blog and recipes have helped make the transition to veganism more enjoyable for newbies. Blogging also keeps me motivated to constantly try out new recipes, which is good ‘cause otherwise I’d probably just eat pizza all the time.
What is your favorite food blog? To be honest, I haven’t been keeping up with vegan food blogs since my editing job ended last year. BUT that being said, I have always loved Don’t Eat off the Sidewalk. Katie is MAD sassy and funny as hell, and she takes gorgeous food pics. She also likes zombies and horror flicks. I guess I mostly just kinda wanna make out with her and then have her cook me dinner. She’s kind of the vegan Betty to my Don Draper.
In the infamous desert-island scenario, what three food items would you bring with you? Ha ha ha. This seems like the most futile question ever since they’d get eaten immediately and then you’d still have to resort to sucking the juice out of coconuts. But nonetheless…avocado sushi. For sure. Nothing quite makes my heart pitter-pat like a perfectly constructed bite of avocado sushi. Pesto pasta of some sort would be among my survival gear. I can eat LOADS of that stuff. And then something desserty. Hm. Maybe the Vegan with a Vengeance chocolate chip cookies. Definitely one of my go-to dessert recipes.
What do you like best about being vegan? I like blowing people’s minds with it. It’s so much fun creating delicious meals or desserts and serving them to unsuspecting folks and then being like, BLAM! YOU’VE BEEN VEGANED!!! It also does a world of good in helping make people realize that eating vegan isn’t all iceberg lettuce salads and raw carrots. That it’s also ooey gooey decadent caramel fudge pies and sexy seitan piccata. I also just really like how being vegan has made me a much better cook. It makes me more resourceful and inventive, and I love the challenge of it, especially when it comes to vegan baking.
Do you have a least favorite defensive-omnivore question? If so, what is it? My least favorite, defensive-omnivore ARGUMENTS are actually just the ones that omnivores leave on my blog all the time, essentially consisting of a completely disorganized, verbal diarrhea of non-factual vegan-slamming where you can tell they have no ACTUAL idea about the statistics and information they’re spouting off about. I don’t even make an effort to respond to these folks because it’s not worth MY while or their while. Those kind of omnivores make my brain short circuit and make me have to get off the internet immediately so that I don’t randomly start shouting things like “Your mom is a omni-whore” and “If I wasn’t vegan, I’d eat your baby’s face off.”
Any advice for aspiring food bloggers? When I first started blogging, I had a concerned older female blogger send me an email telling me that maybe I should change the name of my blog and not be so foul-mouthed because I was alienating my readers. Obviously I didn’t take her advice, and my blog has since had more than a million hits, has over 650 followers, and got a nod in VegNews as one of their VegWebmistress’s favorite blogs [Ed.: That’s ME! I love Yeah, That Vegan Shit]. So my advice would be: Write in ways that are true to you and your heart. You’ll be surprised as to how many vegans like a good poop joke.
Marla Wick lives in Sebastopol, a small community in Sonoma County, California, where people never change out of their yoga pants. She spends her time cooking, baking, knitting, and raging about politics when she’s not working as a freelance editor and writer. She blogs about food, animal ethics, cultural politics, and horror movies at Vegan-Squared and Bully Pulp. Photos by Lindy Loo.