Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World came out last year and spurred several notable Kathy Freston appearances on major talk shows, including Oprah, Martha, and Ellen (my fave, duh. I LOVE YOU ELLEN!!). Surprisingly, it didn’t make the VegNews list of 2010’s most influential non-cookbook books and frankly, that’s a mistake. However, its message is not abolitionist, so I can see why it might be omitted. The book simply encourages you to make gradual changes and provides convincing evidence and testimonials.
I understand why some vegans have a problem with the non-abolitionist approach. I get this way occasionally, too. Even though Meatless Monday is great—and I’m grateful for friends who’ve said my influence has caused them eat more vegan food—it’s still annoying sometimes. I want to shout at everyone, “DON’T YOU JUST WANT TO STOP EATING THINGS THAT USED TO BE ALIVE?” This book does not shout that.
Veganist is super-interesting. It outlines 10 promises that Freston assures will come true if you make an effort to adopt a vegan diet. A good chunk of it focuses on the health benefits of a vegan diet, the evidence for which is overwhelming. She interviews several specialists on heart disease and diabetes and knocks your socks off by showing you how far-reaching the effects of eliminating cholesterol and animal fat can be. She also has a few weight-loss testimonials. I can’t totally agree with that one however—I haven’t lost a pound since going vegan. I am still sexy though. And single. Ahem, gentlemen.
The most powerful chapters for me were the ones on animal suffering and spirituality, especially the story of two generations of cows who live and work on a dairy farm. This is a heart-wrenching and in-depth tale that reveals the horror of the milk and cheese industry, told convincingly by Freston. It’s nice to see her focus so clearly on the foodstuffs most folks have the hardest time giving up. Talking about a slaughterhouse or a broiler farm would be almost easier and more acceptable, but she takes the difficult path and does so brilliantly.
The spirituality chapter is wonderful. It shows many angles of all religions and encourages you to question what your god would really think of you eating animals and participating in a world of violence. It is a fascinating argument, backed up with evidence from spiritual texts and testimonials from different spiritual advisors, and it got me thinking in a way I hadn’t before.
I was apprehensive about reading this book. My opinion of Kathy Freston has always been tainted. She has written a bunch of self-help-type “finding love” books, she used honey on her Martha Stewart appearance, and her whole involvement in that “vegan-ish” Oprah episode was annoying—I felt like the whole thing was basically just Michael Pollan jerking off.
However, she handled Martha Steward’s difficult questions with grace, she put her hand on Michael Pollan’s arm when he said there was nothing wrong with eating animals and gently disagreed, and my distaste for self-help/love books is mostly just because I am single (and sexy!).
Ultimately, I think Veganist is excellent. It’s an easy read, but her arguments are indisputable. Though I don’t know how many people it will actually convince to go vegan, it’s an excellent source of inspiration and information, especially regarding health issues. It provides great insight into the vegan lifestyle: There are shopping lists and meal suggestions in the afterward, which any parent or sibling of a vegan would find informative and useful. It would make a fantastic gift for a non-vegan family member, too.
If you are already vegan and looking for a solid read, pick it up. If you’re feeling particularly abolitionist, you might not like it. Nevertheless, it’s very good and I think Freston’s exposure, along with the great information she provides, will create a huge ripple effect. Even though it may not make people go vegan, it will open a lot of eyes, minds, and hearts to the long list of benefits this lifestyle provides.
Good job, Kathy Freston. Now, let’s get me a boyfriend!
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight and writes for US Weekly’s Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz and read about her animal-friendly adventures here.
Ever wonder what a four-month-old fox cub gets up to when Mom’s not looking? Taken in Bursfelde, Germany by Duncan Usher, the photo above captures our foxy friend mid-ride as he and a pal made use of an old conveyor belt situated in an abandoned gravel mine.
The fox thinks it’s people! It’s the cutest thing in the world, right? Right.
[image by Duncan Usher via the Daily Mail]
A team of Spanish and Moroccan scientists analyzed 20 samples of cow’s milk using the most highly sensitive test of its kind, and discovered they contained 20 different painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. WTF?! You heard right: The results, which were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that cow’s milk contained traces of anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used as painkillers in animals and humans. Check the totally terrifying graphic below:
Dr. Evaristo Ballesteros of the University of Jaen in Spain, who led the study, told the Daily Mail that “We believe this new technique will help provide a more effective way of determining the presence of these kinds of contaminants in milk or other products.” Using the same tests, Ballesteros and his team also found traces of painkillers ibuprofen and naproxen, hormones, and the antibiotic triclosan present in human breast milk. If these findings are true in Spanish and Morrocan milks—human and animal alike—they are likely true for milk produced in the USA and all over the world.
Scary stuff, kids—get off the udder!
[infographic via the Daily Mail]
Hello friends! I’ve been meaning to do a men’s dress shoe round-up for like ever but I totally forgot because HELLO I DO HAVE A LIFE. Just kidding, I was busy watching hulu. But then twitterer @Midnighthaircut reminded me, so here we go!
From Alternative Outfitters, we have the men’s Frey loafer in brown!:
Sorry, Cally is unavailable for comment so you will just have to go with my opinion for now. I think these are BEAUTIFUL.
Up next, the Brogue from Ethical Wares:
What do you think? I think they are a little square but classic.
Here we have the Justin shoe from Novacas (I like the brown ones that Mooshoes has but the pic was terrible so here they are in black. I guess the black is pretty nice too):
Now where I really scored was over at Vegetarian Shoes. They have several I like!
The antique Brogue for the dandy:
The Regent boot:
And the Jenson for the mod hipster:
Of course if you want to be a total pimp, which I know you do, you can get the new vegan loafer from Gucci:
Though the site says they are unavailable and I have no idea where to get these.
If you work in a more relaxed office like mine, you could totally do the Solis from Keep:
And there you have it! The men’s vegan dress shoe round-up! Congrats. Tell me if you get any of them and tell me which you like the best.
I forgot about Bourgeois Boheme, they have some great men’s shoes like this super-sharp Graham above.
My roommate Crystal Paul and I, as the charming and charismatic hostesses/brilliant chefs we are, can usually be found throwing parties at our apartment. She’s great at finding amazing vegan recipes online, then making them a delicious reality. The last party was a Mad Men-inspired cocktail/vegan hors d’œuvres rager; elegant debauchery at its finest.
Crystal’s deviled eggs! Follow the recipe she used at Vegan Good Eats!
Our spread: vegan shrimp from Rainbow, Oreos, stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, and all the way on the bottom left—that’s my spinach dip. One of these days, if I’m feeling generous, maybe I’ll give you the recipe. Fine, twist my arm, as soon as I write down how I made it, I’ll post it.
Say what you will about Camilla*, but girlfriend is a pal to animals! According to CNN,
Last fall, Camilla opened [Battersea Dogs and Cats Home]’s new cattery, and mentioned to staff that she’d love another Jack Russell since her beloved Freddy had died. (Freddy was such a part of the family that Camilla’s son Tom named his own child after the dog!)
When a Jack Russell was left at the shelter, the staff emailed photos to the Duchess.
“I just couldn’t resist her, she is gorgeous,” Camilla told Britain’s
Daily Mail of seeing the pup’s pictures. “It is so exciting. I can’t wait for her to meet the family.
First off, A CATTERY!! And secondly, her son named his kid after a dog! My kinda family! Because don’t think for a minute that if I ever make the mistake of bringing a child into this godforsaken world that it won’t be named Hazel. And finally, awww! The British royal family knows to rescue! Which makes them better than our royal family, what with the accepting of gifts of dogs bred for sale and complete inability to successfully govern and shit. GET IT TOGETHER, OBAMA! Jesus.
Here is a picture of a Jack Russell that is not Camilla’s Jack Russell, but they all look kinda the same, which is to say: CRAZY. This guy is named Russell (creative!) and he’s up for adoption at the Oakland Animal Shelter! Adopt his adorable ass, why don’t you!
*Man, she had it rough for awhile. British gossips be gossiping! But you know what? They need to recognize that she did not break up Charles and Diana (RIP)—he was ALWAYS gonna be with Camilla! I mean, I was like four years old when all that shit went down and even I knew that!
You guys, Allen pulled some kind of back muscle this week and it has been hell here at our house. Allen is always in the living room rubbing himself with some strange green thing called a Thera-cane, or rolling around on an oddly textured orange thing, or engaging in what he says is stretching but looks suspiciously like pony play, hooked up to some rubber band contraption to the door that leads to the kitchen and I cannot eat. If he isn’t moaning around he is sitting on front of the television and calling me from the living room—on the telephone—to tell me that it is time to make him lunch.
Our conversations always go like this:
Allen: It is lunch time!
Me: What would you like me to do about this?
Allen: I want lunch.
Me: Make yourself some lunch, then.
Allen: But, my back…
Me: OMG I am reading and also I am so comfortable and I just saw you doing like cartwheels. Make it yourself.
Allen (in the most pitiful voice imaginable): But I hurt sooooooo much! Please help me! Meow meow meow!
At this point I feel bad and go to the kitchen to rustle up something for him to eat. Unfortunately, I cannot find the potato he is asking for (mother of god!), and gently yell into the living room to find out where he might have left a 10-pound bag of potatoes AMD why he was heaving it around if his back hurts so much.
“Allen,” I say, in the gentlest way possible. “where are the potatoes?”
“In the lefthand cabinet,” he says, suddenly robust and healthy. “And hurry up! I want to eat before my show comes on.” And that, officer, is why I murdered my boyfriend in cold blood. It was a crime of passion. Also, I was reading, and he was disturbing me with his physical problems.
Allen trolling me for lunch is like one of these cats who are into water. There are two things I learned about cats when I was a kid: Cats hate dogs; and cats hate water. What the fuck is this, then? Look at these cats just playing in the water like it’s no big thang, just pawing around in the sink. Look at these cats taking luxurious baths! I bet you that this is what cats do when you are not home. You try to give your cat a bath and it claws the shit out of you and leaves your hands looking like they’ve been through a meat grinder. As soon as you leave the house, however, the cat’s all up in your shower, washing itself with the expensive soap your horrible boyfriend doesn’t let you use because it is just for show.
These memories are making me irritated. Allen is going to be home soon and will probably force me make dinner for him because he spent the whole day at work and I spent it in a recliner eating bonbons. I am going to be so mad! I hope you are just as mad at Allen as I am for trolling, but if you’re not, I leave you with this amazing .gif of an ape eating his own boogers while another ape openly disapproves. That’s what relationships look like. Send me links for next week and have a great first day of school!
[photo by s. myers via Flickr]
These pictures surfaced on Twitter last night along with a gagillion tweets with the hashtag #cachorroneza (Neza puppy) denouncing the abuse of the poor pup. Who would do that to a puppy? Mexico is pissed! The location of the flagpole has been identified as Colegio de la Agencia de Seguridad Estatal in the city of Neza, Mexico. What I can gather from google translate (my Spanish is rusty!), that’s a
private* police academy.
Some news sources have covered the story but there’s been no explanation from the school about WTF happened. They are however now aware of the power of social media to get the word out! It’s a great tool for civil unrest, is it not?
As terrible as this action is, the reaction from the public makes me feel hopeful that there are good people in the world who don’t think you can just do whatever you want to an animal. Go Mexico! Go Twitter!
I hope you are safe now, cachorro Neza, but I worry you are not. I will wish for the best though! You deserve a nice family and a warm bed.
*Update: Readers have told me it’s public and run by the government. Awful!
This is four-year-old Natalia with her neighbor’s dog—cute couple! Natalia is mostly vegan save for her one vice: About twice a month, she succumbs to the call of string cheese. Her mom and I discussed interviewing her as a vegan or vegetarian but it seems our input was unnecessary: “I asked her the questions as vegetarian, and she said, ‘I’m vegan!’” I like a girl who speaks her mind. Apparently she also asked if her dino would be on a magazine at Whole Foods. I don’t think I have that kind of sway but dream big, girl!
What is your favorite food?
Natalia: Quinoa or chocolate pizza.*
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake?
Natalia: One that has blueberries and football candles.
Why are you vegan?
Natalia: Because I love animals! They are cuties.
Do you like being vegan? Why?
Natalia: I like it. Because.
Is it ever hard to be vegan?
Natalia: No. It’s healthy!
What do your friends think about you being vegan?
Natalia: They think my food looks cool.
What is your favorite animal? Why?
Natalia: Chickens, because they are funny. [Bawks like a chicken]
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it!
Natalia: Um, yes. I like blue dinosaurs also. I can draw a pink one named Natalia.
Hi, Natalia the dino!
As per usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me! It’s fun!
*Totally got the recipe! And OMG I want it for breakfast like now. Mom note: “the recipe was born out of the fact that if there is not something sweet in the kitchen at all times, I will be shunned by my family. I threw some things together that I had on hand and it turned out to be delicious and is now apparently Natalia’s favorite food after quinoa (weirdo).”
Pizza crust, either homemade or store-bought
2 tsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (OMG my salivary glands reacted to just typing that)
3/4 c vegan chocolate chips
Hazelnuts, pretzels, candy, coconut, whatever you want on your pizza
Preheat oven to 450 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the dough out and brush it with Earth Balance. Cook for about 18-22 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and spread the hazelnut butter onto the crust. Top with chocolate chips and return to oven for about a minute, just until the chocolate has melted. Sprinkle with toppings of your choice and devour.
Do me a favor: Recall the plight of the moon bear. Then HURRY and write a $20 check to the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, and attend dinner at the Loving Hut at 524 Irving Street from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, August 29. After dinner, you’ll be treated to a talk from Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia, and she might be accompanied by the organization’s Vietnam Director Dr. Tuan Bendixsen, so that’s cool.
I know you’re broke (me too!), but bring any extra money you have to throw their way to help save the bears. We just received word of this event yesterday, but reservations are needed by today. However, if you email or call Nancy Loewen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-750-0614, like, NOW, you could probably still get on the list. DO IT.
[photo by Will Ellis via Flickr]
I think some guy in a thick, very old book once said that it’s better to be a fisher of men than to give a man a fish and multiply it to feed thousands. Right?
Anyway, fishing sucks, but destroying the habitats of the fish who still remain is worse. And that’s exactly what is happening today: man-made increases in seawater carbon dioxide levels cause fish to lose their “handedness,” or preference for turning one way or another.
Poor dumb fish! Not-so-poor dumb humans who keep fighting EPA regulations, among other obvious mistakes!
My favorite thing in the world is picking popcorn out of my teeth. Why? Because it gives me something to do AND it means I just ate a shit-ton of popcorn, which is one of many reasons to go to August’s SF Vegan Drinks tomorrow, Aug. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m at Martuni’s.
Why else would you go? Besides all-you-can-eat vegan popcorn, you can
get hammered meet other local vegans and network to your little heart’s content. This month’s special is something called the “VDSF,” a martini with this new SF edition of Absolut Vodka (no idea) and juice, for $5. VegNews will provide attendees with a list of nearby veg restaurants to help you soak up the booze later, and if you’re working on a veg project, you can yak into the microphone to anyone who will listen at 7:45 p.m. Plus if you’re like me—cough-UNEMPLOYED-cough—you don’t have an excuse NOT to go. I’m bummed they did away with the vegan hot dogs, but I hate everything there’s always next time.
So, bummer news! Souley Vegan has a sign in their window that reads:
Souley Vegan will no longer be open for brunch on Sundays starting August 28, 2011. We will be offering Breakfast from 6 to 9 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays… BEGIN date to be announced soon. Thank you!
And that’s almost 100 percent verbatim because the fantastic Rick went to check it out for us. So—6 a.m. breakfast on Friday and Saturday and no brunch FOR NOW. They’re supposed to move the brunch to weekdays, but I’m not sure when that’ll happen. I don’t know what kind of business plan this is! I am a little worried! I don’t think I’ve ever been up at 6 a.m.! Like, not once in my life! However, for all you earlier birds and club kids, have at that breakfast and let me know how it is. If it’s amazing, which I’m guessing it might be, I need you to bring some elephant-grade No-Doz and come at me.
Now, let’s all stare at the Toasty Crispy and relax.