Harvest Home volunteer orientation on Saturday! Get a tour, help some animals!
Karen the chicken wants you to feed her greens! Harvest Home is looking for new volunteers. It’s a six-month commitment to one four-to-six-hour day per month of work that includes “barn cleaning and animal health tasks,” which isn’t much! You could hang out with all the animals and help keep them happy in their spacious Stockton digs.
This is your chance to support Harvest Home’s excellent work with your mighty vegan (or not!) body instead of your sad, malnourished pocketbook. Get some like-minded friends and make a day of it. The animals need all of us!
i’m so excited about today’s video with masa of echo park! as you probably know, i’m a huge pizza fan, and masa makes my all time favorite vegan version—an authentic chicago deep dish with teese soy cheese. we caught up with owner rob rowe and learned what makes the deep dish special, why it takes so long to bake, and which menu items everyone can enjoy at masa. check it:
I’m just passing on the news here, but I thought you NYC’ers would want to know about this. Lula’s is in danger! From the New York Post:
A bitter divorce battle between the co-owners of a popular vegan East Village ice cream shop is threatening to shutter the hotspot, court records show.
Derek Hackett and ex-wife Blythe Boyd, both of Manhattan, opened Lula’s Apothecary in 2008 while still married — quickly establishing a loyal following that included Paul McCartney’s ex, Heather Mills.
But the couple got divorced in 2012 — and earlier this month, Hackett filed papers in Manhattan Supreme Court demanding the business be dissolved because Boyd is hoarding the profits for herself.
What do you think? Is this just a tactic and Lula’s will never close? I don’t know much about divorce but it seems like a messy and tragic business. It will be sad if Lula’s closes though, I know many a vegan who cherish that spot.
Chipotle bringing tofu "sofritas" to the Bay Area!
This is kind of old news but I don’t think we covered it: Next month, a.k.a. February, Chipotle will be serving “sofritas,” a shredded tofu filling in the Bay Area locations. According to AP, “The Denver-based company said the tofu will be braised with roasted tomatoes, chipotle sauce and poblano peppers.” Sounds alright to me!
I know it’s not cool to like chains but I’m a big Chipotle fan. Their guacamole is just so good. And they give you so much! And I didn’t get that pinto bean drama because I knew it had pork in it for years…how did I know but no one else did? I’m not sure. But I thought everyone knew or I would have told you.
I know Laura was bummed they stopped serving the Gardein burritos, and that would be way better than tofu filling, but this is still cool. Everyone try one for me!
Alchemy Creamery: Brooklyn-based vegan ice cream with wacky flavors!
Look what I found in the Carroll Gardens Union Market last night! A new (to me) vegan ice cream, Alchemy Creamery. It’s all vegan and also gluten-free, though I don’t know if gluten is a concern with vegan ice cream.
There was some sort of pumpkin spice flavor, an apple cinnamon flavor, and then the chocolate chai-flavored “Fixation,” which I bought and you see above. It’s nice and creamy. In a word: delicious. The flavor is more chai than chocolate I think. The chocolate is bitter enough to balance out the chai though, which I usually find too sweet. Right? Chai is always so sweet. So yeah, this flavor isn’t that chocolatey but it is bittersweet enough to balance out the chai sweetness.
I want to try the apple cinnamon one next! Actually, if you look on their site, there’s hella crazy flavors I need to try. I will let you know what progress I make. Of course being Megan Rascal, I had to suggest a flavor I want to the makers, that flavor being coffee. Not mocha—strait-up coffee! A nice person named Giuseppe (right?!) answered my email saying he’s working on an espresso and donut flavor that will be out in the summer. I say hells yeah to that.
Apparently you can now buy the ice cream at all the Union Markets in city! And they will also deliver to the NYC area. How will we get it to our west coast friends?! I will work on this. But you will have to trade me those vegan cinnamon rolls they have at the SOMA Whole Foods.
New TV show stars plant-based diet advocate! Premieres tonight!
What Would Julienna Do? premieres tonight at 7 p.m. (EST I think) on the Veria Living channel. I’ve never heard of this woman or this television channel but YOU KNOW I love this trailer because of the hilarious dog at the end! He’s a comedic genius!
The anthology, edited by the fantastic Kara Davis and Wendy Lee with a foreword by Carol J. Adams, features 21 pieces by women artists, feminists, vegans, chefs, professors, and writers from all backgrounds. All proceeds from the anthology go to the wonderful vegan multimedia collective for change, Our Hen House.
I was thrilled to put to paper some of the many ways that Carol J. Adams’ work has impacted my life and activism career, and to share how my relationship with my brother Asher grew due to our mutual love of Carol’s book The Sexual Politics of Meat and shared commitment to veganism!
Here is the description of the book Defiant Daughters from Lantern Books’ website:
One writer attempts to reconcile her feminist-vegan beliefs with her Muslim upbringing; a second makes the connection between animal abuse and her own self-destructive tendencies. A new mother discusses the sexual politics of breastfeeding, while another pens a letter to her young son about all she wishes for him in the future. Many others recall how the book inspired them to start careers in the music business, animal advocacy, and food. No matter whether they first read it in college or later in life, whether they are in their late teens or early forties, these writers all credit The Sexual Politics of Meat in some way with the awakening of their identities as feminists, activists, and women. Even if you haven’t read the original work, you’re sure to be moved and inspired by these tales of growing up and, perhaps more important, waking up to the truths around us.
I am so honored to have been a part of this collection; the other writers are incredibly talented and truly carry the torch of Carol’s work, more than 20 years after The Sexual Politics of Meat was first published. I hope you’ll check out the book when it comes out in March. You can pre-order by clicking here. Additionally, you can “like” the book’s Facebook page and stay tuned for excerpts posted by other contributors in anticipation of the launch. There’s likely going to be a hella fun vegan book launch party in the Bay Area, and there’s already one planned in New York City and Los Angeles, so stay tuned! Yay!
Farm Sanctuary has two genius ideas for showing your honey (there’s an agave joke in there somewhere…) you care this Valentine’s Day.
Gift idea #1:
"Farm Sanctuary’s beautifully-packaged, delectable, organic, fair trade Vegan “Milk” Chocolate Heart, which opens up to reveal even more vegan sweet treats inside! Made from rice/almond “milk” chocolate, it’s the perfect expression of love and compassion this Valentine’s Day. Price: $18.00. Available for Pre-Order. All proceeds go to support Farm Sanctuary’s work on behalf of abused and neglected farm animals.”
Gift idea #2:
"Skip the flowers and Adopt A Farm Animal instead! Sponsoring a rescued cow, pig, sheep, goat, or chicken who resides at one of Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters in NY and CA is a cute, original way to show you care. Gift recipients receive an adorable adoption certificate complete with a color photograph, adoption card, and an invitation to schedule a VIP tour to meet their adopted friend!”
So there you have it, two genius gift ideas that help animals! Also, can we talk about that calf and her/his funny expression? Hilar.
About two weeks ago, I got to attend the opening celebration of the new Bliss Grand restaurant in Williamsburg, BK! Finally I can tell you all about it. The Bliss Grand owners have another venue in the area, a more casual place, but they wanted to open a more upscale restaurant. Mission accomplished! The place is very nice. Here’s the back bar area:
I love the exposed brick! The party was hosted by none other than Joshua Katcher. Here’s our handsome host:
To his right is the main dining area.
I totally drilled Joshua on vegan fashion. He told me he has some more items coming out from Brave GentleMan now that he’s launched the suits. He’s going to have some more affordable accessories and home items to complement his suit line. We also discussed the diligence it takes to create ethically sourced, sweatshop-free fashion. He is thorough!
They had a number of dishes out for us to try. My favorite thing we had were these little empanadas!:
Well actually, the empanadas were great, but it was the sauce that blew my mind! It’s a cashew margarita cream sauce and it is out of control delicious. It had a rich parmesan cheese flavor. And it totes has tequila in it because they are hardcore.
Other super popular items were these truffle oil fries (we eat truffle oil, no? They don’t still use pigs to find truffles, do they?) and this kale salad. Someone said the fries were possibly the best fries they ever had. And they were definitely delicious:
Other than the amazing food, I must also say the owners were incredibly nice. And not JUST because they kept me rich in delicious vegan wine.
The Bliss Grand is located at 167 Grand street at Bedford. Definitely worth the trip!
I went to one of the veggie Grubwithus dinners, the Vaute Couture one of course, and I met such nice people! One such person was Sarit. I got to talk to her all about her new site, forAnima.com, that’s launching next month. She sent me a little blurb:
forAnima.com is a vegan marketplace that is a cross between Etsy and Macy’s for vegan products and services. forAnima’s mission is to empower both consumers and vegpreneurs, and encourage self-sufficiency within the community. We believe that the more we empower vegan business owners, the more more money will flow back to animal causes. We also believe in the power of consumers to make change.
We were talking about this idea at dinner—you know, the notion that if you hire a vegan lawyer or vegan hairdresser, it’s good for the vegan movement because you know that money isn’t going toward milk or leather or what-have-you.
Like any normal person, I love Etsy, but even with veganetsy, it’s still difficult if you want to shop just from vegan vendors. This will make it so easy!
Like I said, the site isn’t live yet but I saw a preview and it looks awesome:
I can’t wait! I’ll be sure to tell you when it’s live.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
Want to see the future of food? BusinessWeek had a great feature yesterday on the amazing Hampton Creek Foods.
Mom-to-be Hollywood star Kristen Bell cares about other moms-to-be, including pregnant pigs! That’s why she sent a letter this week to the National Pork Producers Council asking that they stop supporting gestation crate confinement. And just this past week alone, Marriott, General Mills, Au Bon Pain, and IHOP/Appleby’s all announced that they’re shifting their pork supply chains away from gestation crate confinement.
In response to the introduction of an anti-whistleblower bill that was just introduced in Wyoming, the opinion page editor of the Casper Star-Tribune blasted the sponsor, saying the “shameful bill is a new low for Wyoming.”
Video of the week: If you think mice can’t play fetch, basketball, or track and field, this stunning video is for you.
i wish i could be more like owner mellissa morgan aka ms. cupcake. disappointed in the lack of british vegan baked goods when she moved to england from canada, she took matters into her own hands and started making treats in her tiny flat and selling them at a market stall. just three years later, ms. cupcake is a world famous bakery in brixton with over 150 different cupcake varieties, several other dessert lines, savory items, and a cookbook on the way.
we sat down with mellissa to chat about why she started baking, why all people (not just vegans!) enjoy her desserts, and how cupcakes can provide an inclusive experience. when in london, be sure to check out ms. cupcake—you won’t regret it!
Have you subscribed to Quarrygirl's vegan video series yet? This week's entry features the queen of British vegan baked goods, Ms. Cupcake! Vegan Philly cheesesteak puffs?! My life is empty with you.
When Megan Rascal sent me this article asserting that a mostly raw diet is inherently unhealthful, I debated whether to write a response or just ignore it. It’s always a toss-up when ill-informed crap ends up in my inbox; I thought I might ignore it because I believe that giving press to bullshit can sometimes just perpetuate the bullshit, but I decided to respond because of the (growing? I hope not) misconception that raw food = crazy people food, and that high-to-fully raw people know nothing about nutrition or how to take care of ourselves, and are basically just all counting our days until our nutritional deficiencies kick in and turn us into vegetables.
The article I’m referring to, also published on a “science” blog, claims that a raw vegan diet is super unhealthful. I’ll be honest, it’s got some good (if obvious, already widely known) points in support of expanding a raw diet to incorporate cooked food. Yes, some cooked food has value, and yes, if you don’t supplement your B12 or take a multivitamin bad things will happen, but how the author takes these points and comes to such rash conclusions makes me wonder if he had a bad break-up with a raw vegan or something. When I read lines like “You have nothing to gain and much to lose by going totally or even mostly raw,” I wonder if this article was written to prove that the author’s target was on the wrong path, damn it, and look! now it says so on the Internet!
The piece completely misses the point of a high-raw vegan diet, which incorporates tons of raw greens, veggies, and fruits in whole, unprocessed form, and just picks on the zealots who refuse to supplement and only eat bananas. It even brings up the “you’ll kill your kids if you feed them raw food!” argument, which we have heard about all forms of vegan diets and continue to prove wrong.
(Side note: I hate it when vegan doctors are cited to prove that one vegan diet is better than another. This article cites Dr. Eseystein and Dr. McDougal, both of whom have made millions hawking their unique brands of veganism, as evidence against a high-raw vegan diet, which has its own doctors rooting for and staking millions in its value.)
Closing thoughts: Some (but not all) raw foodies are inflexible and unrealistic, just like some (but not all) vegans and some (OK, most) meat-eaters. Everyone should be taking B12, and probably a multivitamin, omega-3, and maybe a D supplement, too. Mostly raw vegans can be very happy and healthy. I am doing pretty damn well on a high-raw vegan diet that includes lots of raw greens-rich salads and raw smoothies and juices on the reg, as well as a variety of cooked foods. I just got my bloodwork done as a routine every-few-years thing so I can brag in articles like this, and my doctor said my blood is so groovy it makes her want to go vegan. So to the author of these articles, I say this: Please don’t judge all high-raw vegans based on a tiny fraction of us who go to extremes, and in return, I promise not to call the raw vegan who broke your heart and alert this person that you’re hella casting aspersions on them.
Animals Asia is the No 1. (if not only) organization that rescues and houses moon bears from the bear bile trade in China and Vietnam, while working to end that awful practice. We love them!
Last year Animals Asia’s $2 million, 29-acre Rescue Center in Tam Dao National Park was threatened with eviction by the Vietnamese government. But they worked it out, and can stay! “Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has concluded that the rescue center’s operation should be maintained, and that construction on the project’s second phase should continue,” said Communications Manager Maya Gottfried.
This is wonderful news not only for the 104 resident bears, but the 77 human employees of the center, as well as the tens of thousands bears being held and milked for their bile in China and Vietnam. Thanks, Vietnam! And thanks to Animals Asia for tireless work on behalf of the bears.
Puppy Bowl is back! We love Puppy Bowl, because puppies + adoption = television GOLD, and we are super-happy to alert you to this year’s starting lineup. The Puppy Bowl IX players are here! Let’s size them up!
My favorites this year are Daffodil, of Harley’s Haven Rescue in Souderton, Pa., because look at THAT FACE. She is like the platonic ideal of That Puppy in the Window and I just want to make her happy.
I am also pretty enamored of Sally, from North Smithfield, R.I.’s Furever Dachshund Rescue. She is long of ear and body, and short of leg, which are qualities I appreciate in a dog.
Finally, ol’ Lenny here, from Gimme Shelter in Sagaponack, N.Y., because he looks tough. It’s hard to look tough when you’re an itty-bitty puppy with tiny milk teeth and awkwardly oversized paws.
Who are your favorites? I’ve never picked an MVP, but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got a football field full of puppies. Puppy Bowl IX airs at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, on Animal Planet.
Update: Blitz is totally going to kick A because her name is Blitz and she’s wild-eyed! -Megan
If you don’t like junkfood, move on. For everybody else, these crackers are for you! They are totally great. I want to marry them. They remind me of Cool Ranch Doritos, I think? Is that what it is?
I wrote to the company about the “natural flavors” and they said the “vegetarian natural flavors” are vegetarian…I was like, yes, but it just says “natural flavors.” And they wrote back again to inform me that vegetarian natural flavors are both vegetarian and natural…so, not clear. But you can decide on your own if that makes it or breaks it for you. They also have monoglycerides and diglycerides which I don’t really know anything about but someone else wrote them and got a response stating those are from vegetable oils. And PETA does have them on the “Accidentally Vegan” list. I don’t know much about the parent company Nabisco though.
If you are comfortable with those answers and supporting the company, then go get these because they are AMAZINGFANTASTIC!
You’ve probably stumbled across (or follow!) Bianca’s blog, Vegan Crunk (a Vegansaurus favorite!), which has been around since 2007. I found it a couple years ago while traveling through the South, looking for a vegan place to eat in Memphis. Bianca had me covered with her Memphis vegan dining guide, and so I got to eat tofu scramble at Brother Juniper’s (which I would love to tell you was delicious, but unfortunately I was so very sick, and therefore had to douse it in hot sauce to clear my sinuses. It looked scrumptious!). Anyway, I was super delighted to find that she had published a cookbook and even more stoked to be generously given a copy for review!
I own many cookbooks that I just love, and Cookin’ Crunk has definitely made its way to the top. The recipes are straight-forward and quite manageable, while the task of gathering the accessible ingredients can be accomplished at one grocery store. Of this Bianca says (via email), “I was raised in a small town in Arkansas, and it’s Whole Foods-less. So I was thinking about those people in small towns. … Of course, there are some things, like nooch and black salt … but I figure most vegans can find those things, even if they order online.”
Another feature of this book I’m taken with is that the recipes are so flavorful, sometimes with only a few ingredients: She knows how to spice food up! Last but not least, the narratives and anecdotes presenting each recipe are warm, funny and make me feel like Bianca’s in my kitchen, guiding me through these culinary adventures, dishing out the history of these meals. Cookin’ Crunk was one of my favorite vegan finds of last year, and I honestly cannot wait to make everything in it. I definitely recommend you add this cookbook to your collection. But don’t just go and hit up Amazon; if you buy it through Vegan Crunk, you can purchase a signed copy!
All right, onto the food!
The very first dish I made was the Jalapeño-Lime Watermelon Salad. Now, I was taken aback by mixing jalapeño, lime, and basil with my watermelon, and thought for sure I’d hate it. Turns out, I don’t know if I can eat watermelon all by it’s lonesome in the future, EVER AGAIN.
The second thing I made was the Mess O’Greens with Turnips. I’m embarrassed to admit that this combination of food is too bitter for my California palate, so now I substitute kale and sweet potatoes for collards and turnips!
Here we have the Deviled Tofu Bites, which were reminiscent of the food at my own family get-togethers growing up.
Entree-style is the Country-Fried Tempeh Steak with Soy Milk Gravy (and a side of the Mess O’Greens), which is one of the best things I have ever tasted. It was better than any comparable restaurant version I’ve had, for real. Full disclosure: I used the bake option instead of frying it. Looking at this picture reminds me that I need to make this baby again real soon!
Of course there’s a dessert section! Pictured above is the Old-Fashioned Coconut Pie and it’s KILLER. I’ve made it about five times, I love it so much. I make desserts for a living, which means I’ve both baked and eaten A LOT of vegan treats; let me tell you, this pie is beyond words. I could probably eat the whole thing in one sitting, which is coming to you from someone who usually wants nothing to do with sweet and decadent desserts in her off-time.
What are you waiting for? Go get yourself a signed copy of Cookin’ Crunk!
An animal behavior professor, reports NPR, has concluded that crustaceans do, in fact, feel pain.
As for what this might mean for those of us who occasionally dispatch a crustacean or two, the best way to minimize potential pain is likely electrocution or driving a knife through the creature’s brain, Elwood says. But as most of us lack specialized machinery and knowledge of crustacean anatomy, the easiest way is still dropping the crab in a pot of boiling water.
If you’re determined to eat animals, I guess how much they suffer before becoming their dinner doesn’t matter at all.
NPR had a nice report on Friday about the lives of chimps after they have been “retired” from scientific study, specifically those at the National Institutes of Health. Yes, “retired” is a bullshit term and life for lab animals is horrific, but obfuscatory vocabulary shouldn’t detract from the actual greatness of taking chimpanzees out of those labs; we made their lives hell, but now we are taking them out of that hell.
NPR focuses on two facilities that take in research chimps, Save the Chimps in Florida, and Chimp Haven in Louisiana. Both sanctuaries tell science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce that they are willing and able to take in more of the NIH’s retired chimps (which number in the hundreds), but because “Congress put a [$30 million] cap on how much the agency can spend on chimp sanctuaries when it passed the CHIMP Act in 2000,” and the NIH has already spent almost $29 million so far. Save the Chimps and Chimp Haven are raising more money to meet demand, but for 100 recently retired chimps, the NIH instead chose to make them “ineligible for experiments,” and “moved [them] to a different lab that had space to house them” instead of sending them to sanctuaries.
The cost of keeping a chimp in a lab for a year, $15,000, is close to the annual cost of housing a chimp in a sanctuary. As Greenfieldboyce reports, the sanctuaries are working on raising $5 million right now to take on the retired chimps, as well as make room for chimps expected to be retired by the NIH soon. The story is an interesting read (and better listen), if you can get past the “retired” euphemism. Because come on, NIH, none of these chimpanzees ever applied for the “jobs” you gave them.
[Photo of Chimp Haven resident by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr]
This is the grasshopper mouse, a carnivorous rodent found in Southwestern U.S. deserts. These wacky mofos are totally hardcore! They eat scorpions and howl at the moon. For real. And forget about digging their own burrows—they run up in other rodents’ homes and kick them out. And if times are tough, cannibalism is not beyond them. Damn, mouse, that’s some cold shit. This video is ridic:
OMG I want one! Why are they so crazy? National Geographic has another vid if you don’t mind some bug carnage. These baddasses don’t mess around. But remember: “Thug means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Buzzfeed kills it with "The 19 Most Annoying Things About Being Vegan"
God bless Buzzfeed, amiright? Buzzfeed staffer Jack Shepherd hits the nail on the head with this list of annoying things. You have to read it and tell me if you think it’s as dead-on as I do. Did he miss any? Here are my favorites:
I hate wraps so so much. Bread is why I eat sandwiches.
So true. :(
And of course #19 is the truest annoyance of all: “The comment section for every article ever written about veganism.” And don’t worry, there are plenty of terrible comments on his post. I wish I could shock people through the internet. Just send a few volts per level of obnoxiousness. Disqus should add that feature.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
How many factory farmers does it take to screw in a light bulb? It doesn’t matter since they want to keep us in the dark anyway! How? Read on.
Rather than trying to prevent animal abuse on factory farms and in slaughter plants, the industry is trying to prevent the public from finding out about that abuse in the first place. So far in 2013, numerous states have introduced anti-whistleblower bills (aka ag-gag bills) aimed at criminalizing investigations at factory farms. You can read coverage of the fight this week in New Hampshire and Nebraska over this.
Did you see the news about fitness fanatic and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel touting the benefits of the Engine 2 (vegan) diet?
The Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting story about the controversy surrounding battery caged laying hens being displayed at Pennsylvania’s Farm Show.
Finally, in the common sense department, new research provides further evidence that crabs and lobsters feel pain..
P.S. Video the week: Just what you always wanted…feline reactions to printers.
I mentioned cute rescue calf Stanley from Animal Place recently. At that time, he was sickly and couldn’t hang out with any other cows. BUT he just met his new BFF Theo and it’s the cutest! The two will be roomies until they are big enough to join the grown up cows. An illustrated diary of their meeting:
I pretty much covered it in the headline but yes, Animal Place is giving away TWO Cinnaholic gift certificates! As it says, you don’t have to be in the Bay Area but it’s just for US residents. A couple years ago I ordered a bunch of their rolls to Philadelphia and I can confirm they travel well and are ridiculously good!
Julie Gueraseva dishes on new vegan style mag Laika!
I recently told you about Laika, the new vegan lifestyle magazine, and now I have a special treat! Laika's creator, Julie Gueraseva, was kind enough to answer some questions for us! I don’t know about you guys but I find these answers pretty awesome and inspiring. Enjoy!
Why did you start Laika Magazine? Julie Gueraseva: I want to see animal liberation happen in my lifetime. And if not within my lifetime, then at least see definitive indications that it is in active progress. This magazine is my way of contributing to the movement, utilizing everything I have learned and all of my skills to their maximum capacity in advocating for animal liberation. I can be frank here: this magazine is a very strategic tactic. Of course, it goes without saying that I wanted to express my creativity and give other talented people an opportunity to do the same. Of course, I want to offer readers compelling, engaging and imaginative subject matter. But the real mission of this magazine is to spread compassion. And the strategy is basically carrying out this mission via a creative, dynamic format. I believe in a diversity of tactics. And this magazine is just one tactic. We all gotta get our hammers out and start hammering away at monolithic decaying status quos in any way we can, until they crumble.
How long did it take to launch Laika and produce the first issue? The idea came about a year ago. The first photo shoot happened in January 2012, but the bulk of the work happened from June through October. So I would say about 5-6 months. In terms of the launch, I planned the party in about two weeks, and before that I was conscious to not put out much advanced buzz, because I felt that something like this needed to be delivered as a surprise, unexpected.
Were there any surprises along the way? There’s many surprises I could talk about, but I will highlight one particular thing… Right before I launched, I thought that orders for the magazine would come primarily from metropolitan areas, concentrated on the coasts. But it turned out to be totally unexpected. It’s not concentrated in any particular geographic area- it’s from all over the country, literally. New Mexico, South Carolina, Minnesota, East Coast, West Coast, North, South, towns I’d never heard of, even a Military address. And digital is from all over the world- places as far as Sweden, Australia and Brazil. It just feels to me now that there’s more of us than we’ve been led to believe. It makes me feel very encouraged and hopeful. And if those subscribers are not all vegan, then they have definitely been awakened to something, and are tuning into their compassion.
How has the magazine been received by the vegan community? Very beautifully. I have seen some genuine, wonderful support, from people I have never met— but suddenly they feel like family. (I was very touched that you Megan—never even having met me before—not only came to the party, but also wrote a post about it the very next day, and a very genuine post) [Ed. note: I know, I’m the best!]. So basically, I have seen kind gestures and words, that have been very touching, very moving and it is hard to even write about them without tearing up. We’ve all been discouraged sometimes, if we’ve been hurt or let down by someone. I’ve heard from time to time philosophical questions posed…are people inherently good, or bad? Well, after this experience, my life-long belief that people are in fact inherently good has not only been reaffirmed, but I see now just how much infinite we are all capable of. It’s all there. I am really really inspired by Laika’s readers right now, and the vegan community as a whole.
Has there been any response from the non-vegan community? Well, interestingly, the very first piece of press came from Crain’sNew York—not known to be a vegan publication. And I remember the person who did the phone interview with me was completely respectful and genuinely interested in the concept of a vegan lifestyle magazine, and essentially treated it as not some kind of niche publication, but just a new interesting-sounding publication worthy of covering. And then after that, I definitely got a lot of positive feedback from omni friends, and friends of friends, who had seen the magazine (some of them tweeted about a “vegan magazine”). I’ve also gotten inquiries from people interested in contributing— not all of them vegan, and a few emails from people within the design community complementing the design. Many of the vegan readers have reported showing the magazine to their non-vegan friends and family, citing positive reactions. It does feel like word has spread to outside of the vegan community, and is continuing to do so.
How did you get so many great vegans involved? Some people—like Joshua Katcher and Melisser Elliott—I had already known, admired, and had worked on other projects with. My twin sister Stacy is someone I’ve known since birth, who is also vegan and a great writer, so she was a natural choice. And then there were people who I either sought out, or was put in touch with by other peers—like Hannah Kaminsky, who was introduced to me by Melisser. Some connections really felt like kismet, like with writer James McWilliams. My friend and fellow vegan Jessica Turner (who had by then been modeled for the magazine’s beauty feature) forwarded me an article of his one day out of the blue, which I really loved. I already knew who he was of course, and thought—what if I could get him to write a piece for my magazine? To my astonishment, he enthusiastically agreed. As did Melissa Schwartz, when I asked her if she would shoot the cover. I had already been a fan of her photography and activism, and finally met her at the Animal Rights Conference in DC over the summer (which was an inspiring, energizing experience—highly recommend everyone to attend one). After the conference, I reached out to her and proposed my cover idea, and she ended up shooting a beautiful cover, as well as the back cover.
Besides veganism, are there any other social issues you’d like Laika to address? I would like to examine all of the aspects of animal agriculture and its toll on our world— the environment being one. Workers’ plight within the animal agriculture system is something I would also like to address. There are egregious workers rights violations, exploitation. It’s just a horrible industry for not only animals, but people as well. Slaughterhouses, for example, have the highest turn-over rate of any industry in the world. I’d like to shed some light on that. The psychological damage of working in an industry that exists to satisfy a demand for which there is no justification, are catastrophic.
There are many issues I am passionate about. Any kind of human rights violations shake me to the core. What is happening in Gaza right now is very distressing to me; indefinite detention, recently signed into law—deeply troubling. Is that something I can see being covered in a vegan lifestyle magazine? I don’t rule it out. But my focus is advocating for animals. I side with Leo Tolstoy, who once said: “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
What is your favorite non-vegan magazine? For articles, the Atlantic; for design, this design magazine called Grafik. I check out Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine. I don’t know if I have a “favorite” mainstream magazine anymore. I used to. There have been some really great, inspiring publications, like Vibe in its early days, the British music magazine Q; I used to look at a lot of fashion magazines like French and Italian Vogue. But over the years, they’ve become harder and harder to look at, with all the dead animals permeating the pages. Which is a reason I started Laika. No risk of seeing dead animals! These days, if I look at a non-vegan mag, it’s mostly for research.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite animal?! A tie between koalas and turkeys. If I ever come face to face with a koala in this lifetime, I will have an epic melt-down, in the style of Kristen Bell and the sloths. Turkeys, I’ve met in real life. They have qualities I most admire and enjoy in others: curiosity, kindness, affection and loyalty. They are unique and completely charming and fun to be around. One turkey in particular has my heart - Beatrice. She lives at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in the Catskills. I met her there last summer, and I miss her.
Emmy’s Organics is a pretty amazing company. The owners met at a music festival, and the good vibes seem to permeate their raw macaroons, granolas, trail mixes, and other tasty all-gluten-free raw vegan products. sent me a complimentary batch of their new Superfood Trail Mix featuring cacao, goji berries, raisins, and cashews. I used the superfood trail mix and Emmy’s outrageously yummy Peanut Butter Banana Granola containing hearty buckwheat, and rich large chunks of nuts and banana atop a homemade raw vegan strawberry banana smoothie. It was the most delicious and decadent breakfast I’ve had in a while!
Raw vegan strawberry banana smoothie Serves 1 to 2
Ingredients 2 cups strawberries 2 bananas 1 cup almond milk 6 to 7 drops Stevia, or maple syrup, or coconut nectar, or agave 1 tsp. maca 1 tsp. cacao powder 1 Tbsp. chia seeds 1/4 cup ice (optional)
Instructions Blend and top with superfood trial mix and granola!
It’s rare to find raw food that hits the mark in multiple categories—savory, breakfast, and dessert—but Emmy’s truly do. I approve of these products! Check them out online and in stores!
“There are some folks in animal agriculture who caricature HSUS, charging that we are trying to end animal agriculture. But why would we work jointly with the United Egg Producers if we were against all animal agriculture? Why would HSUS have a pig farmer serve as its VP of Outreach and Engagement who leads our Rural Affairs program? Why would we work with the Nebraska Farmers Union on marketing of humanely produced animal products? Why would I serve on the board of the Global Animal Partnership, which conducts an animal welfare rating program and certifies products from farmers who raise animals in humane and sustainable ways?”—
Chuck Jolley, a longtime food industry PR king, read HumaneWatch’s latest eye-rollingly nonsensical “exposé” of HSUS, shockingly took HumaneWatch’s side, and then got to interview HSUS’s own Wayne Pacelle.
When asked what he would like to say to the readers of cattlenetwork.com, the above quote is how Pacelle answered. From an abolitionist standpoint, it’s kind of mind-blowing, like, why should we support an organization that isn’t working toward abolishment of animal agriculture? But realistically speaking, isn’t it better to ensure food-raised animals have the best/least horrible life possible before people kill and eat them?
One day this debate will be settled, right? Before global warming makes life on Earth impossible and we all have to move to Mars, right?
We were immediately taken with Billy the minute we saw him. That face is just too much and the conditions he came from are so terrible, it’s hard not to melt when you see him happy. We are very sad to hear that he passed away. But like the video says, we are consoled a little by the fact that he had such a good home in the end. That’s the most we humans can do for these poor abused pups, right? Try to make their time on earth as happy as possible. We are grateful Billy got to experience what it’s like to be loved and cared for.
The first thing I thought about this post was, “Isn’t this old news?” I read about this last year in Time and NPR has a story about it from early 2011. The price of quinoa seems to have grown rapidly since 2011 but it’s the same issue. I’m not saying that makes this unimportant; it just makes me wonder what the Guardian has been doing with its time. Did it take two years to come up with that stomach pun?
The second thing I thought was, “Why is this just our problem?” I agree that vegans should be concerned with how our food choices affect people in addition to animals, but vegans make up, what, 1.5 percent of the population now? I’m guessing that we aren’t the sole drivers of the quinoa fad. So why isn’t this considered an omni dilema as well? Are vegans the only people expected to have consciences? Supposedly many omnis attempt to eat in line with their ethics, but Blythman only addresses us. I want “food journalists” like Blythman to educate, but this is just like, um, thanks for policing my ethics for me? And like, can YOU stomach it?
What really doesn’t help that last point is that she doesn’t seem to have her facts straight. On soy for example:
Soya, a foodstuff beloved of the vegan lobby as an alternative to dairy products, is another problematic import, one that drives environmental destruction. Embarrassingly, for those who portray it as a progressive alternative to planet-destroying meat, soya production is now one of the two main causes of deforestation in South America, along with cattle ranching, where vast expanses of forest and grassland have been felled to make way for huge plantations.
If you’re going to play morality police for other people, you should know what you’re talking about. First of all, plenty of non-vegans do eat soy, and there are vegans that don’t. But more importantly, any “food journalist” should be well aware that the soy that’s destroying the Amazon is grown almost exclusively for livestock consumption (Google it). If anyone should be embarrassed, it’s meat-eaters. She also makes some vague reference to vegans and food miles. Whatever.
As for quinoa, personally I don’t eat it too much. I’ve had it about four or five times in my whole life. I’m just not that fond of it. But regardless, I wonder what to do in these types of situations. Like, if we stopped buying quinoa, would that help people in Bolivia? I don’t see how it would. So what’s the right answer? I would think it had to do with politics and if the Bolivian government can control prices and exports. But really I don’t know—do you? If you don’t, Blythman is not here to help. She offers no solutions, insights, or suggestions; she just uses this very complicated situation as an excuse to question our values as vegans. If she has some solutions or a plan to solve the quinoa issue, I’m all ears. But I don’t need some omni telling me how to be a better vegan.
Product Review: Williams Sonoma and Navitas Naturals smoothie mix belongs in your porridge!
I rarely make it to big-chain malls these days (I mean, who has the time!) but I do remember visiting the Williams Sonoma at the mall as a tweenager—and that it didn’t have too many veg options. When I heard the exciting news that Vedge Restaurant co-owners Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau are doing a deal with them for all-vegan sauces and they’ve now teamed up with beloved raw vegan company Navitas Naturals to make superfood smoothie mixes, I got so excited! Looks like Williams Sonoma has totally decided to make vegan deliciousness happen on a large scale (they have more than 250 stores nationwide).
I haven’t tired the Vedge Sauces, but Navitas Naturals and Williams-Sonoma did send me a complimentary bag of one of their three new organic superfood smoothie blends—the Protein Smoothie Mixer! It’s high quality (As you’d expect from Navitas) and made with the nutrient-densest superfoods, including hemp powder, maca, and cacao powder. You can definitely taste the hemp, but the low-glycemic sweetener lucuma (grown in Peru) helps offset that a bit. This certified organic powder blend is super simple to use, making smoothie-making a no-brainer: Just toss it in a blender with ripe fruit and and any other nut milk or fresh ingredients you like. No guessing, no measuring. It’s superfood smoothie-making for the average bear! Get it at Williams Sonoma stores and online.
While smoothies are great, sometimes you’re living with five people in a two-bedroom apartment in the Mission and your roommates left for Burning Man and forgot to pay the electric bill, and the Vitamix just won’t run that day. Or maybe you just don’t feel like slurping your breakfast all the time—chewing is nice, too. Regardless of your motives for going blender-free, this superfood smoothie mix chia porridge will satisfy your palate and keep you going for hours!
Superfood smoothie mix chia porridge Serves 2 to 3
Ingredients 1/4 cup chia seeds 1/4 cup Navitas Naturals-Williams Sonoma Protein smoothie mix 1/4 cup raisons or goji berries (or both!) 1/4 cup blueberries (optional) 7 drops liquid Stevia 2 cups almond milk 1/4 cup water