Guys, your friend Megan is super fancy. Or at least I kind of was on Thursday! I went to a fancy dessert tasting in Manhattan thrown by Vegan Divas (heads up: the homepage has music. But it’s kind of the greatest song ever). They are an upscale vegan dessert company in New York and I got to try a wide array of their offerings.
Vegan Divas is very much focused on health so their desserts are preservative free, their cookies are fortified with fiber and they substitute spelt flour in place of regular flour. However, they do this without sacrificing taste and presentation. Look how pretty:
Fernanda Capobianco, the owner of Vegan Divas and a vegan of fifteen years, was at the party, as was her husband François Payard, renown pastry chef. François made a pretty funny speech with zingers interjected by Fernanda. An interesting thing François said was that he’s learned that you can better taste the flavor of food when it’s made without butter. He said butter coats your mouth and without it, there is no barrier between you and the food. Interesting! Fernanda then said her piece about the many health benefits of a vegan diet. I was like, OK, but do the desserts taste good?! Well let me tell you, they do!
The chocolate cake pictured above was rich and delicious. In fact, everything chocolate was really good. If you like chocolate mousse, you have to try theirs. It’s made with tofu and I think it’s a signature dish. I thought it was great and I’m not even that into mousse! I am into donuts though and I really liked these chocolate-topped baked donuts (get out of my way, coconut donuts!):
Since the donuts are baked and not fried, we are not talking Ronald’s, but they were good. And you can’t tell from the picture but these are mini donuts! Like mini-mini donuts. Very tiny. I love very tiny food!
My very favorite thing was the carrot cake! I haven’t had a good carrot cake in a while and this really hit the spot. Very moist and yummy but not too sweet:
Another highlight were these wacky “sand” cookies:
I love them! They were salty and reminded me of these wheat biscuit/crackers Carr’s used to make.
Now I will introduce you to my favorite party guest, Hanly!:
OMG Hanly rules, he’s a Seeing Eye dog! And a party animal. Plus, he has his own wine label! Well, his owner does. But his picture is on the label! Alex Elman supplied the delicious wine for the party. I got a chance to speak with her and she said her wines are all vegan and organic. And they were sure tasty! I definitely recommend this wine and it seems to be widely available. You can check for it near you.
Back to Vegan Divas, you can buy their products at a number of places in New York. They also do catering! For those outside of New York, they do say they ship to the continental US (sorry my out of country friends! Now you have to visit me!). My official recommendations are the carrot cake and anything chocolate. And if you are gluten-free or have any other allergies, I think this is the company for you. Order Vegan Divas and have your own fancy dessert tasting! You know what would make it even fancier? Invite me! I light up a room.
Large midwestern hog farms have for the last few years been battling a mysterious foam that is forming on top of their barns. In the worst case scenarios, the foam blocks ventilation ducts and the barns explode — yes, explode — killing the thousands of hogs inside.
This is so disgusting and sad. The most recent explosion was last Sept., killing 1,500 pigs and injuring a worker.
This story is as gross as the lighthearted Green Acres scenes are inappropriate. I’m sure you also like how the reporting talks about the monetary loss and makes no mention of the pigs that die in explosions or any workers that are injured (#priorities).
For more info on this story, our boyfriend Tom Philpott has some good coverage over at Mother Jones. He makes the point that these explosions are relatively rare. Except that six crap-foam explosions since 2009 kind of seems like a lot to me, even though there are thousands of facilities that haven’t exploded. But however rare these explosions have been, Philpott says that the foam itself “has become alarmingly common.” So we can probably expect some more explosions in the future.
What does Grist think the solution is?:
The pork industry has been funding research into the foam and how to stop it. But as I see it the answer is simple. Get the pigs out of the barns and onto pasture, and raise them at a less intensified scale without the need for huge manure-storage “facilities.”
While that’s preferable to exploding barns, I’d go a different direction: free the pigs! Maybe a hotdog isn’t worth all this trouble.
Diving horse show returning to Atlantic City? No mother-loving way.
Are you kidding me? The Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey wants to bring back the diving horse show this summer—as in the “show” where a horse dives into a pool from 40 feet in the air. What the actual fuck, AC? Come on. There is nothing right about this. It’s depraved and shameful. This is the kind of news that makes me want to take a two hour shower to try to wash off the contemptibility of humanity.
But don’t worry guys, the Steel Pier has done their research:
In the course of making the decision to include the diving horse, Steel Pier Associates conducted significant research into past practices, including speaking with people who were directly involved in the act that occurred in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Through this research, we determined there was no animal cruelty or abuse that occurred in the past.
So their method of research was to ask the very people that condoned the diving horse show in the past if they condone the diving horse show? Wow, make way for science! Obviously they definitely shouldn’t consult the Humane Society, who is strongly opposed to the show.
People, we can’t let this happen. Let’s call these mofos! The press release says “for more information contact Sharon Franz, Sales and Marketing Director for Steel Pier at 609-345-4893” so let’s call her! And one of the Steel Pier owners, Tony Catanoso, has been super outspoken about how great this will be. Let’s call Tony Catanoso! I found this on the Facebook group opposed to the diving horse show:
HUGE NEWS: Vegan Mission Burger is back TONIGHT for one night only!
You all know how much we loved the Vegan Mission Burger while it was still around and if you don’t, you can read the insane tale of our mutual love here. I don’t think I’ve written so passionately about anything in my life, and I’m a very sensual person.
Well, TONIGHT, it is back for one night only! Along with drinks and Berlin-style Ping Pong, which we have no clue what it is but Allan from Mission Mission FUCKING LOVES IT so it must be alright.
About the Vegan Mission Burger, Allan writes:
ALSO: on this night there will be VEGAN MISSION BURGERS. Which are hella good. Like possibly even better than the meat versions BECAUSE THEY ARE EPICLY AWESOME.
So let’s all get up on it? It’s tonight at the Noise Pop Pop-Up at The Bold Italic HQ. Confused? For all the details, check out the Facebook wall and LET’S EAT.
Sponsor a dear chicken this Valentine's Day! They need love too!
Harvest Home Sanctuary is having a sponsor-a-thon RIGHT NOW until Valentine’s Day! For $15, you can sponsor a sweet rescue chicken for one month! Select recurring payments to sponsor your pal every month! I’m partial to Little Wayne above (nickname: Pretty Ricky!) who was rescued from a hoarder last year. I just donated my $15 for Pretty Ricky and you can too!
From Harvest Home:
Among the 200 animals living at Harvest Home, 100 chickens call the sanctuary home. Our goal for this campaign is to find a sponsor for each chicken by Valentine’s Day.
For just $15 a month, you can sponsor a rescued hen or rooster. Sponsorships make marvelous gifts for your animal-loving family and friends. You can make a meaningful impact in the life of one of our adorable birds this year.
First up, our own Sarah M. Smart was interviewed by Grubwithme! I am late in reporting this because she forgot to tell me about it. I forgive her because she calls me a saint in the interview. My favorite part is the last question where she says she doesn’t want to give too much away about what’s to come—like we are a soap opera! We totally are. Stay tuned!
Rose Pedals, the source for everything vegan and wedding, has a super round-up of vegan Valentine’s Day gift guides, resources, and fun events. Check it out! My favorite part is when they say I’m funny. That part was great.
Have you been following PETA’s lawsuit Tilikum v. SeaWorld? I guess it just wrapped up with the judge deciding that the 13th Amendment does not apply to non-humans. I thought it was a very interesting case. Should the 13th Amendment apply to non-human animals? I don’t know but it’s definitely an interesting idea. Second discussion topic of the week!
Buzzfeed does it again!: The 15 most adorable bunny bathtime photos! [Update: We just learned from our awesome readers that bunnies shouldn’t be bathed! So don’t do that with your bunny, okay? For lots of reasons why, see our comments. OUR APOLOGIES to our readers and the bunnies!]
Oh jeez, I am just not sure which way to go with this article, "The Maximum-Gluten Diet." So I’m gonna try to hit them all, and you’re going to go along with it because I’m doing the work of three people at my day job and I’m in the middle of a move and I’m studying and I sleep four hours a night, “LOL!”
First, the article talks about how much healthier, yummier, and more versatile wheat gluten is than tofu. It’s quick to dismiss the soybean cake, saying it’s only popular because it was “there” when the world needed it and is the reason behind gluten’s slow rise to national consciousness, or whatever.
All right, man, you need to BACK OFF the already much-maligned tofu. I would eat (properly cooked) tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never even think twice about the gluten (aka seitan) I was missing. I know I’m not alone — all the tofu ladies, all the tofu ladies, put your hands up! Dudes, too, of course.
Before everyone tells me to chill out, I get it. The author is just trying to spread the seitanic word in a lighthearted way. He gives celiacs a nod. And seitan IS good, don’t get me wrong. But it’s just as easy to have a bad plate o’ seitan as it is to have a mushy tofu blob. Have you ever had spongey gluten? Worse than silken tofu scramble, in my opinion.
But the real sticking point of this article with me is the recipe. He’s like, “Let’s spend 10,000 hours listening to podcasts and washing flour!” And I’m like, “Who even listens to podcasts? Doesn’t homeboy have Spotify?” But then I’m also like, “You don’t need to wash flour.” This is because 1) I have a lazy streak and 2) you can buy wheat gluten (sometimes called vital wheat gluten) AT THE WHOLE FOODS.
If you want to make seitan yourself and you don’t have a copy of Veganomicon, you need to get one, right now, and make its recipe for Simple Seitan. Have you guys figured out that I’m a total Isa fangirl?
Finally, here is a short list of why tofu is superior to seitan (or at least just as good, I don’t like to play favorites):
1. It’s not a problem for celiacs or the scads of folks with a gluten sensitivity. Yes, I know some people are allergic to soy. 2. You can buy it at the Trader Joe’s. 3. It takes less time to make, maybe an hour compared to the 12 you’d spend kneading dough underwater or the hour and a half if you just buy vital wheat gluten at the store. 4. It soaks up flavors, blending into the background or playing a solo, depending on what you do with it. 5. You can use it in desserts — The first vegan cheesecake you ever made (or will make! It’s easier than it seems!) probably featured tofu in a starring role. Can you imagine sweet seitan? NAST! 6. YOU CAN BUY IT AT THE TRADER JOE’S.
Herbivore, everyone’s favorite S.F. Bay Area vegan restaurant (to feel ho-hum about) just released an updated menu (warning: PDF). They added fajitas, pizza, penne with meatballs, and a bunch of other stuff. I’m curious if it’ll all be good like the shawarma or kale salad or bad like EVERYTHING ELSE. I know sometimes I’m hard on Herbivore but that’s because they’re completely complacent and could be bring so much more deliciousness to the table. I’m super thankful there are all vegan restaurants but I want those restaurants to be better than all the other restaurants! So that when people eat at them, they’re like, “G’DAMN! VEGANS KNOW WHAT’S UP!” Not, “This was alright?”
I mean, look at Native Foods! Chef Tanya is ALWAYS BRINGING IT! Testing recipes, updating menus, holiday meals, events, everything! Herbivore seems like they don’t really care about making customers super happy and are fine with being just serviceable.
Anyway, what do you think of the new menu items? Have you tried any? Will you try any? Do you think I’m pretty? Let’s dish.
New vegan stuff at Trader Joe's, in pictures! Because I'm too lazy to write anything!
Sampled the Japanese fried rice and the meatless mandarin orange morsels (pretty sure this is Gardein!) together today and it made me wanna holler, throw up both my hands. The display for the samples even said, “VEGAN!” and I was pushing people outta the way being all, “Ooh girl, it’s my time to shine!” I ate like nine samples while I asked the chef all sorts of questions about her family and what not. She had no clue what I was doing, totally thought I wanted to be her friend. SUCKER.
Ever been to a MAGICAL city? My idea of a magical city would be one that feeds me truly delicious vegan food from the time I drag my ass out of my 10,000 thread count sheet covered bed until I pass out from too much tequila at night. Have you ever experienced such a thing?
Colibri Custom Catered Travel is committed to serving travelers who seek sustainable and organic farm-to-table, gluten free, and/or vegan cuisine. Now that I have your attention, the locale for this fabulous vacation happens to be Travel + Leisure Magazine's #4 pick for top ten world destinations: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
For seven days and nights, your trip includes all custom catered meals, outdoor adventure, town and farm tours, musical performances, tequila tastings, cultural experiences and more. A spacious hacienda in the middle of the historic center of town provides both private rooms and spacious dining areas under one roof. Your hostess and founder of Colibri, Cate Lazen is not only a former San Miguel de Allende resident, she was also diagnosed with celiac disease years ago and she knows how hard it can be to trust a restaurant with our vegan or gluten-free needs. Hence, a business built around the freedom to travel and eat well without worry. Cate is quite magical herself and the cost of the trip pays off in spades just to hang out with her!
Hold on to your sombrero, there is MORE! Colibri’s vegan chef Alicia Rivero has fantastic ideas for stuffing our vegan pie holes. Just to mention a few, how do these sound? Artichoke Dip with Basil Infused Olive Oil, Panzanella Bread Salad with Fresh Herbed-Tomato Sauce, Farm to Table Pizzas, Potato Gnocchi with Truffle-scented, Pesto Sauce Braised Eggplant in “Creamy” Saffron Sauce, Root vegetable Latkes with Red Onion Compote, Breakfast Granola with Nut Milks and Fresh Berries, and French Toast.
The list is lengthy, but these are just a few that sound drool worthy. Colibri supports sustainable farming, non-GMO foods, responsible water use and fair treatment of farm workers. San Miguel de Allende’s organic movement is in high gear, promising fresh, seasonal produce that serves as the foundation for vegan dishes. . Through Colibri you will get your foodie on responsibly. Check out how to get a tan, meet a hot lover, and eat your brains out without Montezuma’s revenge on their Facebook page.
Keri Siry lives in New Jersey with her 2 dogs Sammy and Honey Bee, new cat Hank and her 4 year old daughter Gemma and husband Darryl. Vegan for 8 years, Keri loves to share recipes and meatless know how via her blog at the Politics of Food.
Gabby Wild's 12 in 12 for 12 project: fancy clothes for endangered animals!
Gabby Wild is a young, driven animal activist. This year, to raise awareness of and money for endangered species, she’s wearing exactly one outfit every month, each one designed around a different endangered animal.
January’s animal was the amur leopard, and January’s outfit was this dress, designed by Althea Harper.
February’s animal is the bactrian camel, and February’s outfit is a jacket, top, and pants, designed by Laura Zwanziger and Max Gengos.
You can find out more about Gabby’s 12 in 12 for 12 project at her site, where you can also donate to help save the animals she’s supporting. She’s got some awesome designers participating (love you Jay McCarroll!), and I love the image of a veterinary student (she studies at Cornell) working in a lab in a floor-length gown.
Also this video about why she chose the bactrian camel is pretty charming. [Can’t see it? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
I also appreciate that not all of the animals she’s supporting are cute and cuddly, which can be an issue with “save the animals” causes. Some of the animals she chose are kind of ugly, or terrifying in that way that generally benign animals can totally freak you out (river dolphins give me the ultra-creeps and I don’t know why). But Gabby Wild, being an apparent super-human, cares about animals ugly and adorable, and has a unique way of showing it. What are you doing this year for the world?
Looking for a child or romantic partner, but too busy/tired/misanthropic/low-wage-earning? Room for love in your heart, but no space for another human in your life? You need a pet, my friends! And just in time for Valentine’s Day (and Galentine’s Day, and Palentine’s Day*), the SF SPCA is hosting an Adoptathon! Get the pet you need at the price you can afford! Attend an animal-behavior workshop! Get a tattoo of your pet! Meet an Animal Planet celebrity!
Beginning Friday, Feb. 10, from 4 to 8 p.m., attend a cocktail party at the SF SPCA Adoption Center hosted by Jackson Galaxy of My Cat From Hell. Ken Een of Frisco Tattoo will doing animal-themed tattoos! The next day, Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., you can attend Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Mojo Workshop, and get his help finding the adoptable animal for you.
Throughout the weekend, the SF SPCA will offer reduced adoption fees on all cats and dogs over six months of age: $10 on Friday, $11 on Saturday, and $12 on Sunday. Yay, pets! Go find emotional fulfillment in a mammal that won’t ever lose interest in you, or find you anything but perfect.
PCRM defends their ridiculous cheese thighs campaign
We posted last week about PCRM’s* idiotic cheese campaign and just hoped it would go away, but they’re back this week with even more ridiculousness. Neal Barnard, founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, wasn’t content with spreading crap on his own site; he wants to infest the rest of the internet with his rationalizations. Barnard’s piece on Crazy Sexy Life is super-disappointing and filled with hateful rhetoric disguised as caring. Moreover, so much of this shit is ludicrous coming from someone who is a PSYCHIATRIST—aren’t you supposed to care about the emotional wellbeing of others? I feel bad for anyone who was under his psychiatric care. BUT MOVING ON.
Here’s the deal with this campaign: If PCRM wanted to tackle the issue of clogged arteries from animal cholesterol, why not show that? Because people of ALL sizes deal with it, and it’s HONEST. Oh, yes, but it’s not as provocative as the big belly.
What REALLY sucks about this campaign is that it sounds reasonable and supportive, but it’s actually the same old crap (“I’m not racist, but…”). The hypocrisy of Barnard’s “of course fat people shouldn’t be shamed because they’re HELPLESS VICTIMS OF THE FOOD INDUSTRY but we should totally SHAME FAT PEOPLE SO THEY STOP BEING HELPLESS VICTIMS OF THE FOOD INDUSTRY” approach — it’s so twisted! I’ll leave you with this bit of business that reader/occasional contributor/great person Rick Kelley left in the comments on our last post. It’s outstanding, and helps to explain exactly what’s so fucked about this tactic:
The “angle” these ads use — namely, “fat bodies are disgusting, so go vegan” — is shared with countless advertising campaigns selling every sort of bullshit imaginable, to all of our detriment. They posit a particular kind of “desirable body” and shame those who fail to attain it. Branding veganism as a weight loss strategy doesn’t do anyone any favors, and it doesn’t make new vegans (unless week-long fad dieters count). These ads have nothing to do with health, not anymore than some soap or deodorant company is committed to health (and a garden-fresh scent). No one is disputing the health benefits of a plant-based diet — Forks Over Knives is routinely embraced, recommended, and celebrated throughout vegan circles, most definitely on this site — but rather rejecting the notion that a “vegan brand” to sell “ethical eating” by way of a “stop being so fucking fat, fatties” campaign is anything but mean-spirited and counter-productive.
Here are a few reasons why, from the practical to the ethical:
(1) More than anything else, this resembles diet ads, and constructs veganism as a diet. Diets are by their nature temporary and end-goal oriented. If someone goes vegan to lose weight and they don’t, it seems unlikely they’d continue. If they do, it seems likely they’ll stop after they’ve attained their goal.
(2) Whether or not someone loses weight, the use and property-status of nonhumans isn’t remotely addressed, because there is no framework or analysis to understand it. You can go through a two-week vegan diet weight loss plan cloaked in fur and leather, occasionally shooting a dog, as easily as not.
(3) It’s alienating and reinforces notions of vegan exclusivity, superiority, and contempt for human animals.
(4) By playing into normative ideals of the human body, it reinforces patriarchal notions of beauty. Despite the inclusion of a male-presenting body in the ad, no one being at all serious would argue that advertising (including this one) primarily targets men. The idea here, as FUCKING EVERYWHERE, is that female-presenting bodies are by definition thin; if not, they are gross and in need of recuperation (i.e. shaming).
(5) By focusing on isolated, individual bodies (and certainly not whole bodies) outside of any world they might inhabit, it erases people’s lived experiences. It erases the fact that different cultures view bodies in different ways; it erases the realities of people’s access to healthy foods, which are enormously pre-determined by class structures; and it erases the most basic fact of all, which is that we live in these bodies we find ourselves in, the social value of which is determined by things often outside of our control (like fucking PCRM ads, apparently).
To end this manifesto/comment, I’d just point out that one thing a “vegan movement” (should it ever arrive) needs to do is to link nonhuman animal oppression with all the other oppressive structures that dominate our lives (like patriarchy, class oppression, racism, rigid systems of normative ideals, capitalist marketing as a means of social change, etc.). Damaging nonsense like this hurts that future effort.
I encourage PCRM (and really everyone ever) to read Health at Every Size, learn about our so-called “Obesity Epidemic,” and read up on the big business of fat hate. I wrote this same shit to PETA last year but you know, since PETA and PCRM are literally in bed together (UGH MY EYES! Seriously, picturing that just sent shivers down my spine), it can’t hurt to remind them. Show compassion for everyone and work on effective campaigns that breed love and respect for all. THE END.
*PCRM has such great campaigns, why are they focusing energy and money on this one? My experience is that Animal Rights groups that focus on too many campaigns just do them all poorly. Why not work on one thing and do it really, really well?
Get it together and stop killing horses, HBO's "Luck"
HBO has a new show called Luck. It’s about horse-racing, a “sport” I understand has been losing popularity for decades and is probably still around because it, like dog-racing, is legal to bet on in states where gambling is only otherwise legal in Indian casinos. Which speaks very highly of it as a “sport,” right? Definitely you want to be in a place people frequent because of the opportunities to gamble while wearing enormous hats presents.
Luck is a show about a dying American pastime made even weirder by the vernacular specific to this pastime that, because it’s dying, very few viewers of the show understand. Have you read the internet during the past six weeks? Everyone who talks about television is all, “Oh Luck, the dialog is impenetrable and the actors are all individually and specifically creepy and threatening, and the last show its creator made was also a thematic mess, but he also did Deadwood and HBO means ‘Serious Television Business,’ so we’re going to pretend to love it! Horses!”
My first point is, you’re probably not watching Luck, and you shouldn’t, because it’s nonsense. If you are, though, you may have noticed that in place of the standard “No animals were harmed” notation in the credits, there’s a line that says “The American Humane Association Monitored the animal action.” That’s because animals were harmed during the filming of this television show, specifically two horses, which actually suffered such serious injuries they had to be euthanized. No, I don’t know why veterinary medicine hasn’t solved fatal horse injuries; it seems awfully 19th century to still be putting horses down when they break their legs, right?
HBO tells the New York Observer that yeah it was totally tragic that we got those horses killed, but after the second one died we “suspended production” to figure out how not to kill any more horses while filming our television show about this shitty sport that fucking wrecks horses specifically bred to be fucking wrecked and that no one except the people involved in their wrecking gives a fuck about—that is, they’ve “adopt[ed] additional protocols specifically for horse racing sequences” and they’re earning that AHA-trademarked “No animals were harmed” line that will appear in future episodes’ credits.
Sorry two horses had to die before you figured your shit out, HBO and the producers of Luck, but you’ve got David Milch and he’s a genius! And horse racing was once upon a time the sport of kings or whatever. So you’ve got that going for you.
[photo of (Brazilian!) horses by Eduardo Amorim via Flickr]
Each zoo holding elephants must hold a minimum of three females (or the space to hold three females), two males or three elephants of mixed gender. If a zoo cannot meet this standard, they must apply for a variance. Before the variance can be issued by the Accreditation Commission the zoo (a) must describe their plan to obtain additional elephants or describe their plan for deacquisitioning their elephants and (b) must describe what will occur if they experience the loss of one elephant. In most cases where an institution has one remaining elephant, the remaining elephant will receive a recommendation for relocation at another AZA institution from the Elephant TAG/SSP. Adult males (6 years and older) may be housed alone, but not in complete isolation. Opportunities for tactile, olfactory, visual, and/or auditory interaction with other elephants must be provided (Rasmussen et al. 1982).
By 1 September 2016, no further variances will be issue
This is because they know elephants are social animals and need friends! The new standard requires three elephants so that if one elephant dies, the other is not left alone. Jeez, a sole elephant in a zoo is so depressing.
This is nice news for the poor elephants stuck in zoos, but do you know why else this is cool? This means a lot of zoos just won’t be able to have any elephants! I’m sure most will be traded to other zoos with enough room for three, but maybe some will be sent to sanctuaries! We can hope. At the very least, the elephants in captivity will have a higher quality of life as socialization is very important to them.
I don’t know much about the AZA; they seem like a confused organization. Of course I don’t support zoos, but if there are going to be zoos, I do support animal care and welfare standards. The AZA proudly claims to have (and seems to have) much higher care standards than the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, and they oppose things like the use of apes in commercials and bullhooks for elephant training. Meanwhile, they accredited Have Trunk Will Travel, a company that trains animal “actors” and also uses bullhooks on its elephants. That doesn’t make much sense. Then again, they are very involved in wildlife conservation and promote the idea that all zoos should be donating to efforts to conserve animals in the wild. Yet they are also super pro-zoo and act like zoos are sanctuaries and education centers instead of animal-exploiting businesses.
I don’t know what to make of the AZA, but I do like this new rule. Let the ellies have pals!
Help out Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary with lingerie and baked goods this week!
We love Harvest Home, vegan baked goods, and fancy underpants. This week, these entities form a triumvirate of awesome, in which purchasing the latter goes to help the former, by which we mean: Buy some underwear and cupcakes for Harvest Home!
First, on Saturday, Feb. 11, Harvest Home is having a fundraising bake sale! Stop by the corner of Grand and MacArthur in Oakland between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for vegan treats (and maybe bunnies? maybe?), and help fund the over $4,000 in vet bills Harvest Home has already incurred in 2012. It’s a rough year for rescues, you guys. If you want to bake for the sale, email them ASAP. Get details on the sale at its Facebook event page.
Second, from Feb. 7 (today!) to 14, Purrfect Pineapples is taking donations for Harvest Home! With every minimum $5US donation, you are entered to win one of three Purrfect Pineapples gift certificates! (Brilliant idea: donate $5 10 times.) You may be familiar with the vegan lingerie company from Megan Rascal’s gift guides. Because she’s based in Toronto, Erika has to do a long-distance donation, and being a wonderful person, she’s making it a weeklong public event that rewards you for participating! Vegans are the nicest people.
Baked goods and pretty underpants: Two great vegan things that are easily fetishized together. Wait, no, try again: Two great vegan things that help home bunnies like Twix up there, doing his infamous slipper impression.
[photo of the eminently adoptable Twix by Harvest Home via Flickr]
Do your in-laws just not understand your veganism? Repair your relationship on TV!
We love this majestic bitch, but we need more vegans on TV!
There’s a new TV show that’s looking for vegans who have difficult relationships with their in-laws, in regard to their veganism. I KNOW this describes some of our readers, so I’m helping to spread the word in hopes that some super normal and cool vegans will want to be on TV, earn some money, and possibly even maybe get some real help with their relationships. OK? Let’s represent!
Here are the details:
We’re currently casting a powerful new series on A&E that’s dedicated to helping couples — married or unmarried — who for one reason or another are struggling to maintain a civil relationship with an in-law. Specifically, we’re reaching out to couples who feel like their in-laws don’t respect their vegan or vegetarian lifestyles. It’s a topic that plenty of couples can relate to. They can offer one-one-one family counseling with a professional (on AND off camera) as well as a generous financial honorarium [Ed.: !!!] for their time and commitment.
If you’re desperate to repair your relationship with an in-law before it’s too late, we want to hear from you! Families who appear on the show will have the opportunity to work with a professional relationship expert who will help them to identify their issues and repair their relationships.
If you’re interested in being on reality TV (the saddest and greatest of all American dreams!), representing as a non-crazy vegan, making a little cash, and maybe even (MAYBE?) getting some actual help with your relationship,* EMAIL ME!
*Although, let’s be real, this is reality television. You probably have as much of a chance of getting actual help as Lindsay Lohan has of making it to her 30th birthday GOD BLESS HER
The Vegansaurus guide is just $1.99 if you feel like owning it. MAYBE YOU DO, MAYBE YOU DON’T—either way, we still love you! Just a little more if you do and a little less if you don’t, because that’s how love works.
For a number of years prior to 2011, to assist with supply, McDonald’s USA used some lean beef trimmings treated with ammonia in our burgers. We were among other food retailers who used this safe product.
So there you have it. Meave and Laura were not lying to you. “Lean beef trimmings treated with ammonia,” I’m lovin’ it! Glad to hear they got rid of it but still, VOM. Can’t believe it took them this long. Look at that stuff! LOOK AT IT. Anyway, I’m sure they’ve replaced it with a really high-quality product. That sounds like McDonald’s, always looking out for people.
Celebrities love the Alkaline diet. Just go vegan already, you dopes
Details has this little sneeze of an article, just a hiccup really, about the popularity of the Alkaline diet with the muscled bo-hunks of Hollywood. Yes! “The hardened Spam tower known as Channing Tatum” (LAWSON) appreciates a daily high-alkaline smoothie, as does Mr. The Dutchess (the Dutke?), Josh Duhamel.
The Alkaline diet seeks to balance the body’s pH levels by eating a diet heavy on “fresh citrus and other low-sugar fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, and legumes and avoiding grains, dairy, meat, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and fungi.” The idea is that high-alkaline or alkaline-forming foods are more easily processed by the body.
One might say that this is another way of describing the diet every nutritionist and dietician worth their salt advocates, with the usual terrifying caveats (it’s not a diet if you don’t have to give up at least two foods that make life worth living). One might say that people love pseudoscientific explanations for their choices—“I’m not eating bread because carbs kill!” “I’m not eating sugar because acid!”—but one might also say that if people are eating a plant-based diet and laying off the g-d meat then who cares what kind of nonsense is influencing them to do it.
I don’t understand why people who eschew meat and dairy in favor of beans and greens are eager to call themselves followers of all kinds of scientifically unsupported diets, instead of using the word “vegan.” Bill Clinton isn’t afraid of saying it! Why are you dummies?
A pal of Vegansaurus just got a fancy new job and wants to know what fancy vegan shoes and accessories she should buy, so here are some of my suggestions! This is for chicks. Men, check out my men’s dress shoe round-up from last year because that list was the hotness.
I’ve said it a million times, but Beyond Skin is definitely my favorite vegan shoe brand. Eco-friendly and worker-friendly, they are also beautiful. If you want a simple pump, I love a good kitten heel like the Leona:
I have these and they look sexy, clean, and chic. The low heel makes them good for wearing for extended periods of time. They have limited sizes now (though there’s a few other colors that might be in your size), so get on that if they have yours.
If you want to go with a classic menswear look, I like oxfords like this Antique Brogue from Vegetarian Shoes on Mooshoes:
Sorry for the bitty picture, but I like the Selene from Bourgeois Boheme:
This mary jane comes in black and brown. Black shoes are great for work but you should have at least one pair of brown shoes.
Basically, one pair of brown dress shoes, black heels, and a nice pair of oxfords is a good work shoe collection to start with. Then you can build your collection from there with some more exciting shoes! I love this new Eva flat from Beyond Skin:
I’d expect you have to break these in a little but it will be so worth it! These are very stylish but conservative enough for an office. I love these so very much. Cally says they are great too! So you know they’re great.
If you want to go taller (and cheaper), Lulu’s is a great resource. I like this GoMax Oksana pump:
I doubt I could wear these but women in offices definitely do wear shoes like this. If you can do it, go for it.
Now that we have some nice shoe options, let’s look at bags! Matt and Nat is definitely the best brand for vegan professional looking bags. I really like this laptop bag, the Creed:
This is super-pro. It’s classic but sleek and modern.
Another Matt and Nat bag, the Barnes has that whole lit professor look:
If you have a smaller laptop and want to go more feminine, check out this Taylor Satchel from Reveal:
Very pretty. But my laptop is large and in charge.
As for other things you may need, a belt is nice. I like the Garrison from The Vegan Colleciton because it has a gold buckle and I’m all about gold (silver is 90s!):
For nice wallets, Matt and Nat is again great but I’m also a big fan of Shiraleah. The Sutton wallet by Shiraleah is pretty smart:
I used to have a Shiraleah but I lost it. It was so great though, really good quality. Looks like Shiraleah has a laptop bag or two as well.
From Discovery, a baby pygmy elephant is rescued! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THERE ARE PYGMY ELEPHANTS? That means there’s probably one that will fit in my purse. They’re actually super endangered though so don’t go putting them in purses, guys.
I’m hesitant to share this but it could be something really good for orcas! Some ex-Seaworld people made a site and it sounds good, it’s just that it has a countdown to Burning Man on it. I just can’t look at a site with a countdown to Burning Man on it.
Last week I got the scoop about an all-vegan market in the Mission. The Mission?! I’m there all the time (burritos and bars). How did I not know?
The Detox Market is amazing. I was so nervous to be going to a beauty boutique, looking like a hot mess after work, but it was so soothing in there! Clean, bright, and very well organized. Inside I met Rachel (hey girl!), who walked me through the store and explained all of their products and philosophies.
The Detox Market sells organic, vegan (and local when possible!) products. In each genre—be it tea, toys, lipstick, salt, chocolate, candles, NAIL POLISH—they only sell one brand! Rachel explained that they choose the best of the best! The highest quality of everything! Believe me, it shows.
I can’t possibly go over every product in the store, but I’ll show you what stuck out to me. You’ll just have to check it out yourself!
The Can-Can Cleanse! Rachel offered me a sample of the green juice and it instantly revitalized me. For a split second I thought, “Maybe I can do a juice fast!” Anything is possible, right?
TAZA chocolates! Valentines Day is coming up. Or someone’s birthday, I’m sure.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that nothing good comes out of Florida. They are wrong for two reasons: 1.) I was born there; and 2.) The Spice Lab salts come out of there! Florida FTW!
Of course there were many different varieties, but OMG! Truffle salt? Yes please and thank you.
Water-based nail polish! Just what Sarah and I need when we have girl’s night with cake vodka and sing-alongs to Katy Perry!
They have sooo many flower essences. Which I always just kind of brushed off as a hippie thing, but after my visit, I’m reconsidering. Rachel held up a card featuring about eight pictures of flowers; I was to point to the one that visually appealed to me the most. The one I choose, which looked like a bird of paradise, was “Quiet Mind.” I was thinking it meant that I was mellow and introverted, but I was wrong! She told me it means I’m really stressed and need to calm down, try to focus and find clarity. Then she sprayed me with my appointed flower essence. She’s good—I want to go back and get Quiet Mind essence! And spray it all over myself the recommended five times a day!
Guess what? Soy wax is out and coconut wax is in! That’s what these Pure Light candles are made of. Let me tell you, they smell delightful. Mother’s Day can’t come fast enough. (My mom loves candles!)
Don’t these Inna Jams look pretty? They are made in Berkeley! Local product alert!
Last but certainly not least is the Kusmi Tea collection. This tea is from Paris. So fancy! I smelled a couple different varities and it’s good. I’m not even really a tea person, but I’d brew myself a cup of this stuff (probably the detox one).
There is so much more at the Detox Market, including skin care, makeup, and sunscreen. Seriously, all organic and top of the line. Toothpaste even! Rachel gave me a sample of some acai toothpaste that I just love. LOVE! Get up and go! If I had known about this place before Christmas, my shopping would have been so much easier. You can find something for almost anyone here. Or just go treat yourself.
The Detox Market is located at 969 Valencia St., between 20th and 21st streets in the Mission. There is also a shop in Los Angeles, at 8380 Beverly Blvd. Happy shopping!
It’s time for the Valentine’s Shop-Up, kids! The most fun you can have at the vegan bar (that’s A LOT of fun!)! Let’s all go and drink bloody marys and let our hair down and buy some vegan wares! Get a load of this action:
Your favorite vegan pop-up market returns on Feb. 12 with the Vegan Valentine’s Shop-Up!Vegan Shop-Up is NYC’s only all-vegan pop-up market featuring the best small businesses around.
As always we’ve gone above and beyond to bring you the hottest and greatest in vegan goods. Get ready for a head spinning array of handmade soaps, Brooklyn-made hummus, botanical tinctures, raw chocolates, jewelry, letter-pressed Valentines, eco-friendly fashions, hot foods, sweets galore, and yes, LOADS MORE. Find something for your Valentine! Find your Valentine! Recover from heartbreak! Fill the gaping void in you heart with pink cupcakes and sugared cookies! We’ve got you covered.
Plus! It’s been one full year since our first Vegan Shop-Up and we’re gearing up to party! In celebration of our 1ST BIRTHDAY we’ll have some special treats to say thanks for everyone’s support this past year.
30+ vegan vendors. Happy hour. Birthday surprises. Valentines. Tipsy daytime flirting. Bottom line: WE WANT YOU THERE.
Beets! They are delicious and so good for you! I learned how to make them a few years ago in Chicago, when my then-roommate, Jeremy Cox (also a vegan! That’s why I picked him!) showed me how. He was also the one who introduced me to sauteing the beet greens! Beet greens? Let me tell you, back then, I was a 27-year-old who didn’t know kale was edible. What? I’ve come a long way since then! Let’s get this started! Making beets the way I do is a little bit of a process, but so worth it! You need to steam, then sauté. Elbow grease never hurt anyone, right? If you have a different approach, as always, post in the comments! Let’s trade tips!
1. Buy yourself a bunch of beets, greens included! 2. Wash and chop your beets. I like to leave the skin on, and then cut it off once the beets are steamed. 3. Steam your beets until fork tender. I NEVER use a microwave to cook food. (Just saying! I prefer you use the stove top method, but I’m not your mom!) 4. Now that your beets are soft, peel or cut the skins off. Wash the beet greens, stems and all. I cut the stems into 1 inch pieces and slightly tear chop the greens into smaller pieces. Like, the size of spinach leaves! 5. In a pan, heat up some oil. I use whatever is available—sometimes it’s vegetable and sometimes it’s olive. Put in your beets, stems and greens. Sauté on about medium/medium high heat until greens are cooked to your liking! When I made mine, I didn’t use any seasonings; I think beets are that flavorful! Plus, I think you’ll find that the stems and greens are a bit salty by nature. However, I bet some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar added to the sauté process would be delicious. Garlic powder? Probably!
About to steam!
Serve. Knock the socks off everyone. My Dad loved this side dish. Man, it always feels great to impress my parents with my cooking prowess! (And to give my mom a night off in the kitchen when I’m home!)
When the beets exit your body the next day, don’t worry! You don’t have to go to the emergency room, I promise! It’s just that beets have a tendency to turn EVERYTHING red [Ed. note: Jenny! Gross!].
Valentine’s Day is approaching! I may have touched on this in previous years but I’ll say it again: Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you Valentine’s Day is some made-up Hallmark holiday! It’s as old as dirt! Look it up, bros.
Now, I don’t think Valentine’s Day has to be some crazy event, I think dinner and flowers is perfect! But if you want to step it up a little from flowers, here are some super gift ideas:
Here’s a sweet treat from Rescue Chocolates, “Wild at Heart” chocolate hearts filled with raspberry ganache! You can find some at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe! These are so simple and pretty and the proceeds go to great animal organizations so you’re sweetie will be all the more impressed!
This doesn’t need much commentary from me. You obviously need one. Get it from Chocolate Decadence!
Here’s a twist on the traditional candy gift, from Vegan Etsy Team member Feedyourface, Vegan Organic Valentine’s Day Caramels with raspberries, dark chocolate, vanilla balsamic, and white pepper! That sounds YUM with a capital DANG!
Ok, last Etsy treat gift! This is Iheartveg’s Vegan S’mores Kit: Valentine Edition! I like this because it’s sweets for your sweet but it’s also kind of an experiential gift! Because s’mores aren’t just a food, they are an activity! So you can give your sweetie the kit and then make them together! Ohhhhh, maybe over a campfire! Romantic! Jeez, you’ve outdone yourself.
Lingerie, whether you plan on wearing it for your lovey or giving it to your lovey to wear, is a crowd-pleaser! And this set comes from vegan lingerie shop Purrfect Pineapples and has little white hearts on it. So romantic!
Don’t forget the appeal of an old-fashion card! Only old people give out cards any more and old people are the best so you should give out cards and be like an old person. This cutie cute cute one comes from Vegan Etsy Team member MyZoetrope. You know what would be cute? If a BOY got this for someone! Boys never give cards. That would be adorbs. You guys should do that.
Experiential gifts are all the rage in the past few years, simply because a lot of us just have too much stuff! And really, isn’t it memories that build a romance? At least that’s what I hear. So here’s an idea: get tickets to Urban Food Crawl’s “Suds & Sweets: An evening of beer and dessert pairings” in LA! There will be mini vegan cupcakes and truffles paired with a beer flight! So fun! And nothing stimulates a romance like beer. If you don’t live in LA, you should still totally get tickets to this AND get plane tickets to LA! That would be awesome. I would totally marry you if you did that for me. Or not marry you; Whatever you were going for, I’d be down!
That’s all for now, pals! Have a happy Valentine’s Day and hug your lovey for me.
I’m sure you can read the above flyer, so I will not repeat the details, but I will ask you: What could be better than Mooshoes, yummy vegan baked goods and saving whales?! Pro tip: nothing!
You can still sign up to bring baked goods, all the info regarding that is on their Facebook page. If you are just coming to shop, they ask that you bring your own containers to take your yums home, so we keep the environmental impact to a minimum! Good thinking.
From what I hear, there will be chocolate lollipops, Rice Krispies treats, carrot cake, croissants—not to mention mini cupcakes, mini donuts, and mini pies! I love a mini treat. You know what else I love? SHOES*. So be there or be, etc.
*UPDATE: I hear Mooshoes will be donating 10% of all in-store sales that day to Sea Shepherd! Go Mooshoes!
You guys, I am going to end this semester with superpowers. This is not because Allen and I have been experimenting with disastrous chemical compounds or doing dry runs of superhero vs. villain (Allen is the reluctant villain, of course) in our spare time. No, it is because I spend one evening a week yelling at people in a darkened basement. This by itself is OK, because basements aren’t that scary and I have full audio/video hookup to play as many Real Housewives videos as I want, but I am also across the hall from the “cancer risk” lab and next door to “possible radiation.” Down the hall is a room full of cut-up dead people that scared the shit out of me when I was forced to visit it in high school (not as a punishment but as a science learning experience).
I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of power I will develop, and I’ve narrowed it down to something that would have to do with being slightly dangerous, overwhelmingly adorable, and able to take naps in any location or position (god, I love to nap). In short, I will likely be able to morph into a sloth at will.
Being a sloth will be awesome because sloths are really in right now. For instance, only recently, amazing celebrity Kristen Bell (omg! I have all of Veronica Mars on DVD! I once cut a whole week of college just to watch two entire seasons of that show!) had a full-on panic attack upon discovering that a sloth was nearby.
Could you imagine how awesome it would be if your superpower was to make other people have anxiety attacks of happiness? No one would be able to rob a bank while I was nearby! Murders would be a thing of the past! “Adore my cuteness!” would be my battle cry!
After fighting evil (Allen), I would happily go and hang out with my sloth friends on a sloth farm and eat bananas and leafy greens. I would just have to make sure the other sloths wouldn’t be as adorable and try to take over my turf. They’ve already beaten Lady and the Tramp. Check out the two adorable sloths that are sharing some sort of bean. Adorable.
Although I would be a sloth I would also be an honorary opossum and chill with my pals Pear and Pearl. I know I’ve featured Pearl before but this was before I knew that she was certified in the art of animal psychoanalysis.
I went to school for many years in order to practice therapy on humans, but I can’t even come close to the way Pearl handles rapport, alliance, and resistance. I wish she would open her own graduate school where I could supplement my degree with a Ph.D in hanging out with adorable animals. Call me, Pearl, I want to enroll!
That’s it for this week. Please send me links for next week, and try not to rob a bank this Wednesday. I haven’t gained my superpowers yet!
Rachel Ray does good for some animals (still cooks others)
Look, I’m going to be honest here—I really love Rachael Ray. When I have extra money, I buy her magazine; if I had cable, I’d watch 30 Minute Meals. Her recipes are SO EASY to veganize, and they are quick! I know you all want to make a fast dinner during the work week. Stop hating and start veganizing her simple, yet tasty and creative, recipes! Plus, she didn’t go to culinary school and neither did I. No pretension here!
Anyway, on to something that has to do with animals. Rachael Ray has teamed up with Katherine Heigl to save some dogs! Let’s not talk about how I feel about Katherine Heigl, okay? (Let’s just say that I love Grey’s Anatomy and cry to it every week.)
On her recent show, Rachael Ray donated $150,000 dollars to Katherine Heigl’s animal charity, the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. It’s all about raising awareness about spaying and neutering dogs. Which reminds me of the only PETA poster I ever loved (and even owned, but sadly lost in some move between apartments in Chicago):
Now, I’ve mentioned before how I feel about apps vs cookbooks: books all the way. And the harsh truth is I’ve never been impressed with the recipes in How It All Vegan. So I can guarantee if I hadn’t gotten this app for free, I’d never have downloaded it.
On the one hand, I’ve had it for a couple months now and I’ve yet to get inspired to make any of the recipes. How’s that for radical honesty? I’m the worst reviewer ever! But no not really, because I think that says a lot about the fact that this app doesn’t really fit into my life.
On the other hand, I’m impressed with what Kramer’s done, and I think for some people, it could be a really great tool. The app includes 60 recipes, 10 of them brand new. You can access them by meal, or by other categories like “gluten-free” or “with video”
The videos are well-done and fun to watch; my favorite is about people who say they don’t like tofu (Kramer says that’s as dumb as saying you don’t like cake flour; of course you don’t like plain tofu! Also then she stuffs her face with cake flour. Classic).
Within the recipes, you can do all sorts of iPad-y interactive stuff, like add ingredients to a shopping list or email an invitation to come eat food to a friend.
You can’t see the list of ingredients and the list of steps at the same time, which I imagine would be a pain while actually in the kitchen, except the steps themselves are really detailed and take that into account. The photos, as you can see, are hella pretty.
Anyway, at $6.99, this is a cheap alternative to an actual cookbook, and you can have it with you even at your grandma’s house or on vacation or whatever. May this be the beginning of a flood of wonderful authors truly taking advantage of the digital format! I’ll probably just late-adopt on this trend though.
OK, here’s the recipe I promised! Sarah’s people were cool enough to let us use it! Let us know how you like it if you make it!