Here’s Dolores, my new kitty, giving her super roar to save tigers. Like our favorite kitty star Lil Bub, Dolores and me are so sad that there are only a few thousand wild tigers left. It’s terrible! That’s why Greenpeace has started this initiative with the help of all the cool internet cats like Bub, Cats Save Tigers.
And your cat can be a part of it too! Go to CatsSaveTigers.org and you can make your own kitty meme and even donate.
Vegan Drinks is tomorrow night! Imma be there, will you?! You’d better!
Also, this month benefits Empty Cages Collective and, besides funds, they need towels, blankets, and sheets for the cute animals! So you are encouraged to bring or drop off any of these items to Fontana’s tomorrow night.
Youth Empowered Action vegan summer camp? Sign me up!
… said my inner 13-year-old. When I first heard about Youth Empowered Action (YEA) camp, I started mentally packing my bags. All of the food is vegan, though the campers, kids ages 12 to 17, range from vegan to vegetarian to omnivorous and everywhere in between.
I got the skinny on YEA from founder and executive director Nora Kramer, and man, does she make me wish I could relive my teenage years. This is not your run-of-the-mill soggy-sandwich, papier-mâché-crafts, learn-to-swim camp. This camp is something incredibly special. Campers who attend YEA are on a mission to make effective change in one area of their choosing — factory farming, vegetarianism, the environment, gay rights, bullying, education. Talk about covering the spread! I don’t remember being half as passionate about anything more than how many inches of exposed leg I could get away with at that age.
At YEA, campers build skills to address the issues most vital to them. YEA covers four core areas of activism: knowledge, skills, confidence, and community. By the end of the weeklong stay, campers will have created an action plan to hopefully implement in the real world. YEA alumni have done some incredible things! Some campers have successfully petitioned for veg options at their schools; others started animal rights clubs, organized fundraisers for charities, created online stores for cruelty-free crafts, and gotten rid of dissection in their classrooms. It’s no wonder YEA camps are fostering the next generation of game-changers, law-makers, activists, environmentalists, and vegans. These kids are set up to succeed through confident and effective activism.
YEA camp is structured to allow every camper to tell their story and share their cause with their peers. By the end of camp, everyone has learned something new about the issues of their peers, and some even take steps to live a cruelty-free life once they leave camp. That, in addition to the vegan camp food, really makes YEA not only the perfect place for budding philanthropists, but for helping shape the future generations of our compassionate world.
A typical day of food at YEA camp looks like this:
Breakfast: French toast or pancakes, with cereal, soy milk, and fruit.
Lunch: veggie burgers, burritos, and sloppy Joes.
Dinner: pizza, pasta, vegan sushi, and a veggie tofu curry.
Dessert: brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and s’mores.
ALL VEGAN. You know I had to leave you with the goods.
These kids not only learn how to better care for the world and solve its problems, but, most importantly, they develop sense of community with their peers who are doing the same. And Nora, if you ever decide to start an adult YEA camp, sign me up!
You can find more info about YEA and their ongoing summer camps online. This year, there are sessions in Oregon, California, and Massachusetts; the California session began on Sunday, and Massachusetts’s begins August 9. If you have a young activist on your hands, check this place out, and help them become the leader they were born to be.
Jessica Schoech is the founder of The Vedge App, an up-and-coming app that will revolutionize the way we find veg food worldwide. She is a self-professed crunchy vegan mom (cloth diapers, anyone?), wife, and foodie, who finds the most joy in welcoming people of all backgrounds to the green side, especially vegan parents and children. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at Power to the Veg! on Facebook.
Finally, the white chocolate we've all been waiting for (and it's vegan! bonus!)
Vegan white chocolate, like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, has historically (yes, HISTORICALLY) been nothing more than a magical lie. A goddamned beautiful magical LIE! And if you could get your hands on it, it tasted like overly sweet white chalk, or worse. I don’t know what’s worse than overly sweet white chalk but if you’ve eaten most vegan white chocolates, you would know. And actually, non-vegan white chocolate, for that matter. That stuff can be FUNKY, and NOT funky FRESH. It’s a hard dish to crack, but it’s finally been done, and for that we should all get down on our knees and praise Easter Bunny. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Let’s get to the candy.
It is just … it’s otherworldly. It’s sweet, but not insanely sweet, and oh so creamy, and it melts on your tongue. It is the best stuff on Earth. Order it all now before I do because not only do I want to eat it solo, I want to add it to baked goods and melt it on top of berries. It is the nectar of the gods and you NEED IT. Also, you probably need everything else Melodi makes because girlfriend is a vegan candy GODDESS. Make way for the REAL Tooth Fairy, because she has arrived and she is Good.
Vegans, come party in the Hamptons on August 9th at PCRM's Passion for Compassion!
Want to celebrate the animals with the country’s fanciest vegans this summer? Of course you (and your money) do! That’s why you’re attending PCRM’s Passion for Compassion: Creating a Better Future for Animals and People even in the Hamptons on Saturday, August 9!
Get your tickets here! This year there’s a special free shuttle from NYC; it says RSVP by July 15, but there may still be a few spots available, so call/email ASAP to get on there. We are imagining it’ll be an amazing vegan party bus! YAY I ALWAYS WANTED ONE OF THOSE.
On Saturday, my fella took me to Rockaway Beach. Last year I didn’t go to any beaches, and I am determined not to waste another summer. We took the A train to the shuttle to the Beach 98th Street station, which has a stained-glass sign that reminds you of a time when this country cared about not just infrastructure, but its aesthetics.
Once there, we frolicked in the (kind of dirty and weirdly smelly) water (I miss you, California); it rained a little bit in the late morning, but it cleared up by the afternoon, and we went in and out of the water and read in the sun until we were hot and sticky and starving.
We walked a little ways over to the Beach 96th Street concession stand, which is a bunch of restaurants making fast food at counters. I washed up in the (admirably clean) restroom, to emerge to my young man brandishing a Modelo Especial michelada. Thanks to Barnivore, I know Modelos are all vegan, but most micheladas I’ve encountered have come with something hideous like Worchestershire sauce, which point I immediately raised. “No,” he said, “I had them list the ingredients and it is completely vegan.” Whoever is making micheladas at Rockaway Beach this summer, bless you; it was light and spicy and so refreshing. (Ugh, Meave, get to the part about Champs. No, let me brag about my boyfriend being the most considerate, adorable omnivore partner a vegan could ask for.) “Also,” he said, “There’s a Champs inside.”
I almost dropped my drink.
There it was! Champs! The best vegan diner on the East Coast! Beloved of Vegansaurs far and wide! Check out the menu:
We ordered burgers, broccoli fritters, and salted watermelon. Pictured: my burger, because I was too hungry to bother with photographs of all the food. I try, you guys, but I am but one woman, and sometimes my appetite overpowers my picture-taking abilities. Trust, though, the fritters were tasty and the salted watermelon awakened a serious craving for more watermelon right now all the time I want it.
OK and the burger:
Would you look at that thing? It is glorious. The slaw is crisp, the pickles are sour, the sauce is spicy, the patty is of good texture, and the bun doesn’t get in the way. It is exactly what you want at the beach, and I strongly suggest you New York bathers get your butts to Rockaway right now. Look what awaits you! And word is Champs may not last the season, so hurry! We can have flawless vegan diner food on the beach! Truly, the world is our oyster mushroom.
(Note: There’s also a Champs on Bushwick Avenue at Dodworth Street in Bushwick, which is my new Sunday go-to; I can never seem to remember to capture my meals before they’re gone, but it’s all been spectacular. I had a tuno salad and a watermelon slush for dinner tonight, and my boyfriend is in love with the soysage. Review coming as soon as I can put camera to plate.)
It's Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use: Packing meat and packing heat!
Well, it’s hard to know where to begin with something as crazy as this, but here you go:
This week Ron Prestage, the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council—and of Prestage Farms, which HSUS exposed with an undercover investigation—allegedly tried to get inside the US Capitol building with a loaded semiautomatic gun. Who knows what he was planning on doing once inside, but fortunately police arrested him. He spent the night in jail and was arraigned the next day.
One can only speculate about what was—or wasn’t—going through his mind, but perhaps he’s not too pleased about the fact that, according to the Wall Street Journal, meat’s getting more expensive than fruits and veggies.
Or maybe he’s upset that rock legend Steven Tyler of Aerosmith this week slammed gestation crates and urged a ban on them in Massachusetts.
Or maybe he didn’t like Al Sharpton’s MSNBC segment this week with HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle and former HSUS investigator Cody Carlson about how cruel and un-transparent the meat industry is.
Guest Post: My favorite masculine vegan has a pussy
As of late, conversations about masculinity and meat eating have re-emerged, partially in response to John Joseph’s book, Meat Is for Pussies, and also from a segment on NPR about masculinity and veganism. But this conversation has left a lot to be desired from many vegans, especially feminists.
It’s great to see traditional assumptions about masculinity challenged by veganism, but we can do better. I date a butch lesbian vegan who is training for a marathon, lifts weights, is masculine, and has a pussy. Below are five of the most frustrating aspects of the conversation.
1. Hardcore veganism is feminist The idea that there is a real man or that one type of man is a “pussy”* and another is more masculine is a) homophobic and b) misogynist. There is nothing hardcore about reclaiming traditional patriarchal language and behavior in the name of an ethical movement. And remember: If you aren’t sure how to do better please ask a vegan feminist. We would love to help!
2. Ethical veganism is not a diet or about controlling your body All people who are vegan eat a plant-based diet and strive to live a compassionate life towards human and non-human animals alike. This extends to varying degrees into all consumer products, as well as different practices one supports. There’s plenty of debate about how veganism extends beyond the plate.
One thing that is not up for debate, however, is that ethical veganism is not about restricting food as a diet or about controlling your body. With the emphasis on proving vegan diets can also provide for the nutritional needs of those who run ultra marathons and body-build, the conversation seems to have become confused. As the NPR segment argues, men are generally the face of this misconception.
3. Veganism doesn’t need to be saved from feminity A lot of this conversation about masculinity and veganism is people reacting to being bullied for being too feminine or behaving like a girl (or a “pussy”) for being a vegan. The basic premise that this is something to tolerate or build a defense against is offensive in its own right.
Eating plants is not an inherently feminine behavior, nor is eating meat an inherently masculine behavior. Anything that encourages either side of this argument is essentialist and tired. This is not to say that being treated as an outcast or ostracized for making an ethical choice many people consider weird is not difficult, just that it’s part of the patriarchy, man. Making ethical vegan choices is something to be proud of for no reason other than the inherent virtue of making the right ethical decision, which has nothing to do with your gender.
4. Veganism shouldn’t need a mainstream male stamp of approval to be taken seriously If you’re going to get media attention for being male and vegan, please say something feminist and mention some of the inspiring feminist vegans who you know and love!
5. Where are my male feminist allies? It’s very annoying to see instances of misogynistic language promoting veganism get the seal of approval by prominent male vegans. Those in the position to hold the microphone with the most amplification have a responsibility to say something and push our movement to be less homophobic, and more feminist. And if you aren’t sure how, please pass that microphone on to a #feministvegan who does.
*Similar to queer, the word pussy has been reclaimed by some feminists, probably most notably the feminist Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Read more about that here.
Jamie J. Hagen is a Boston-based writer who writes about feminism, feminist security studies, and LGBTQ politics for such publications as Rolling Stone, Autostraddle and RH Reality Check. She tweets @jamiejhagen and you can visit jamiejhagen.com for more of her work.
You guys! I’m writing about delicious tofu for Nasoya and I’m really enjoying it so far and I want to share the posts because TOFU YUM. Get into it:
I used to be ambivalent, at best, about tofu. I simply saw it as a white, square block of jiggly goo that tasted like nothing. Even after being vegetarian for quite some time, I pretty much avoided (what I thought was) the flavorless block like the plague. However, one dish changed that all.
My friend Hannah loves tofu. She loves it so much. Honestly, I was kinda freaked out by her love for something I considered so “meh”. Well, with one simple, easily remixable kinda-recipe, she showed me the tofu lovin’ light. Hang onto your hats, because you’re about to become a tofu convert.
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an idea. Feel free to play with the spices, but the premise is oh so easy. You just press your extra firm tofu to get all the excess water out, cut it into cubes, and then cover it in a mixture of soy sauce, nutritional yeast, potato starch, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix it up and create a scrumptious sludge to coat your tofu with Then, you put some coconut oil in a pan on medium-high heat and fry those suckers up. What’s next is totally up to you! You can toss the tasty cubes in pasta, throw ‘em on nachos, top a salad, or just snack until you’re full. Which, with all the delicious protein in tofu, won’t take long.
After becoming a convert to tofu and its delicious ways, I became insatiable. I mixed it into puddings, baked it with a cornmeal topping, and fried it up with sauces and spices. What I learned is that tofu is a gorgeous blank palette. It soaks up all the goodness and turns out dishes that are not only tasty, but oh so good for you. I’m now proudly Team Tofu all the way!
Is there anything better than vegan chicken & waffles? (Photo courtesy Crossroads)
Tal Ronnen strikes again, and this time he means BRUNCHNESS. Starting this weekend, you can go to Crossroads in Los Angeles on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and indulge in both savory and sweet dishes (guaranteed not to disappoint). Some menu items include Chicken & Waffles (drool on photo above), French Toast (gluten-free options available), Crossroads Benedict, two types of frittatas, and much more. Also, for you boozy brunchers, there will be a “tableside bloody mary cart.” (Can you roll me out of there on said cart when I’m done chowing down?)
Click here for the full menu, and to make your reservation!
Stop the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium from becoming a death trap for birds!
The Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium could kill thousands of birds each year.
Despite state guidelines requiring bond-funded buildings to protect birds from window collisions, the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority rejected calls last week from Audubon and other groups urging them use safer types of glass.
For less than 0.1% of the entire billion-dollar cost of the facility, the Vikings could incorporate bird-safe glass, which could help prevent birds from fatally colliding with the stadium’s huge glass windows.
And, we know that it will work. The Javits Center, once New York City’s biggest bird killing structure, updated its glass to a bird-safe variety and reduced bird collisions to almost zero.
According to scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Smithsonian Institution, up to 988 million birds are killed annually in the United States by collisions with buildings, especially glass windows. The new Vikings stadium will feature nearly 200,000 square feet of glass.
If we have a solution that we know will prevent bird deaths, why not act on it?
Animal News You Can Use: The meat industry can't stop whining
The meat industry’s leadership seems to be in a panic over how prevalent the term “factory farming” is these days. My coworker Matt Prescott takes them to task in a new Washington Post commentary, explaining that meat production is in fact far more factory than farm, and that it was the industry itself which helped coined the language used to describe these inhumane places.
They’re also complaining about California’s historic and humane law banning foie gras, even calling for the Supreme Court to nullify that law. One of them got into the ring with me this week on NPR’s Los Angeles affiliate to debate the issue. You can listen to our debate here, and read more about it in the LA Times.
What else do they complain about? The fact that some countries are concerned about American chicken products being soaked in chlorine. I discuss the issue in my new commentary, “Got Chlorine? Your Chicken Might.”
Finally, they love to complain about all the studies showing that eating less meat improves health. Well, the title of an article in Men’s Journal this week won’t make them happy: “Go Vegetarian, Live Longer.”
Have a wonderful weekend!
P.S. Video of the week: Think we’re the only species that likes to surf? Check out these black swans!
Los Angeles vegans, come to Sharon Palmer's Plant-Powered for Life book launch at Real Food Daily!
Delicious vegan food (a free tasting menu!), lively discussion between Plant-Powered for Life author Sharon Palmer and Real Food Daily owner Ann Gentry, and a raffle—anything else on a Wednesday night would be snoozeville in comparison. All this goodness happens Wednesday, July 16 (that’s tomorrow), from 6 to 8 p.m. at Real Food Daily in Pasadena.
Los Angeles: Come to This Sriracha and Beer Dinner at Mohawk Bend!
YOU GUYS! It’s time for another DELICIOUS “Authors Worth Celebrating” dinner event at Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, Los Angeles! And you should be there because this one involves SRIRACHA and BEER. Yes.
Join Randy, celebrated Los Angeles writer and BJCP Recognized Beer Judge, for a four-course vegan meal inspired by his plant-based book, “The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook.” Randy will explore the culinary delights of Sriracha through an evening of delicious vegan eats and California craft beers.
Monday, July 21
6:30pm Mohawk Bend 2141 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
About the Authors Worth Celebrating series: The “Authors Worth Celebrating” series at Mohawk Bend spotlights authors who share Mohawk Bend’s community values. With inspiration from the guest author, Chef Erick Simmons creates a delicious multi-course meal for attendees to enjoy while they get to know the guest author, and the inspiration for their books, through robust conversation. Past authors featured include Joseph Shuldiner, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Tal Ronnen, Laurie David and Mayim Bialik.
Up a small highway from the beach cliffs of Mendocino, surrounded by lush, color-popping gardens, sits the breezy Stanford Inn by the Sea eco-resort. I mean, don’t you already feel more relaxed?
Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve even visited? I went for the first time a few months back and I can’t believe it took me this long.
Full disclosure: while still a bit folksy, this was a luxurious vacation for me. I normally crash on friend’s couches or find the cheapest possible sun-bleached California motel. While The Stanford Inn is no such place, it’s also not a hyper modern or glam resort of the boutique hotel variety.
It does, however, serve you fresh, warm vegan chocolate chip cookies upon arrival, and every day after that. God, I wish someone would leave gooey cookies out for me nightly back in the real world.
There’s also a complimentary dessert and tea-time nightly for guests. And this was my introduction to the Stanford Inn at the Sea, after a windy drive from San Francisco. With my husband and rescue chug in tow, I walked past an already-crackling fireplace in the modest, lodge-like common area and devoured a rich chocolate torte with hints of orange along with a mug of hot mint tea.
When we made it to the room, there were vegan dog treats wrapped in plastic with a bow and the aforementioned chocolate cookie plate — because we needed more desserts — along with a rustic bedroom set and wood-burning fireplace, already roaring. We opened the picture window porch doors to views of endless greenery and far off waters. It’s all feeling very Danielle Steel at this point.
We traipsed through the gardens to meet the lodge’s elderly llamas, who lived up to their expected cuteness, along with a few donkeys and at least one pony. Below that we walked down to Catch a Canoe & Bicycle Too, on the edge of the river. The inn has a deal with Catch a Canoe, and guests can ride complimentary mountain bikes during their stay.
Later, we made it back to the saltwater pool and Jacuzzi at the Inn, essentially enchanted in the atrium trimmed with wild plants.
Throughout our stay, we munched complimentary breakfasts at the Raven’s Restaurant (attached to the inn) of delicious, decadent vegan Florentines and benedicts and the signature brunch dish: The Stanford Citrus Polenta over braised greens with cashew cream sauce. We returned nightly for the excellent tempeh burger, tamari-maple glazed tofu, and winter ravioli with butternutsquash filling in beurre blanc sauce.
Did I mention that our dog happily sat at our feet during the entire stay?
Perhaps it all sounds a bit (cashew) cheesy, but the comfort of knowing everything you’ll be eating is both vegan and yummy, matched to all those romance novel touches of crackling fireplaces, windswept beaches, colorful gardens, and secluded-feeling saltwater pools makes the Stanford Inn a rather irresistible spot for veg couples.
Elephant Raju is saved after 50 years of abuse, cries during rescue
This is Raju! See how happy he looks? Well happiness is a brand new feeling for Raju as he was only recently rescued from years of abuse. Get the tissues! No, really, I might be crying a bit.
Raju had been working as a begging elephant in Allahabad. People would give the mahout tips in exchange for ‘blessings’ by Raju. Most of the food he got was inappropriate for an elephant. However, half starving, Raju would eat almost anything.
His mahout would beat him to make him keep begging and he was made to wear spiked chains that dug into his skin.
His mahout and previous owner were non-cooperative and made things very difficult to rescue Raju. They put more chains on him and pulled the spikes tighter and then had people blocking the roads leading to the rescue truck.
Awful!!! Makes me so mad! But Wildlife SOS did not give up! But after dealing with those terrible people, Raju himself was a challenge. It took a while to gain enough trust with Raju to get him on the truck to safety, but after coaxing with fruit, they say Raju realized he was finally in good hands, and he began to cry.
From Wildlife SOS:
Have you ever seen a grown elephant cry? This photo is a reminder to all that elephants have strong emotional lives and they have the ability to suffer deeply. This photo was taken of Raju when the rescue mission first began. He had a flood of tears from his eyes when our team first moved in to secure his freedom Some would question that Raju was truly weeping. However, our team that witnessed this moment know differently. This photo is shared at this moment not with the intention of depressing everybody, but with the hope that we can use it as an educational tool to enlighten others that elephants around the world need our help.
Here’s Raju now! This is him munching on a jackfruit at the sanctuary. He looks so pleased!!!!
And Wildlife SOS bought a literal truckload of jackfruit for him!
It's Summertime! Make Magic Vegan Banana Ice Cream!
I’ve written about the super-simple, delightfully healthy frozen banana ice cream trick before, but I thought we could use a refresher since it’s hot as all get out again! And happy day, I found a nice how-to video from our fave chef Kathy Patalsky! The pic above is hers, this vid will show you how to make this at home! Spoiler: It’s very easy! Here you go:
I took the liberty of looking up some exciting banana ice cream recipes for you guys, because I’m so nice to you. And I’m super into taking liberties. Here are the recipes that peaked my interest:
If you are, like I am, getting ready for a big BBQ today, check out my coworker Sayara Thurston’s good piece on why “Cutting Back on Meat Doesn’t Have to Mean Fewer BBQs.”
And while there are a number of good reasons to enjoy a holiday from meat, the Washington Postreports this week on an important one. In their words, “How much your meat addiction is hurting the planet.”
Do you think ag-gag laws are nuts? Well, so does this meat industry pundit, who writes in his column, “The Insanity of Ag-Gag Laws,” that “The real damage done by ag-gag laws is the sense that animal agriculture has something to hide.” You think?