It’s Animal News You Can Use from Paul Shapiro! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
The Wall Street Journal had an important article about the progress we’re making against the inhumane practice of tail-docking in the dairy industry. And as far as progress is concerned, hot dog giant Wienerschnitzel and Jack in the Box are the latest major pork buyers to announce its plans to phase out gestation crates.
The Toledo Blade had a piece entitled “More black Americans are giving up meat and dairy,” and the San Jose Mercury News ran a good story about HSUS’s work with the Pleasanton school district to implement Meatless Mondays.
Get crazy with smoothies for Nativas Natural's "Smoothment!" Plus: smoothie recipes!
On Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), Nativas Naturals is launching the Back-to-Basics Smoothment—a smoothie movement! From what I gather on social media, a bunch of you hippies are into this kind of “healthy milkshake” thing. You’re in luck—Nativas has got your back. Just head on over to the website, and sign on up! It’s all free of charge, and you’ll gain access to instructional videos, receive free recipes and even get discounts on featured raw, organic products. Just the incentive you needed to plug in that blender, isn’t it?
When it comes to smoothies, I like to think of my friend Caroline as the professional between the two of us. I prefer my blended drinks at a tiki bar, but Caroline actually drinks smoothies for breakfast. I thought that’s what coffee was for? Silly me, I have so much to learn! For all of our sakes (mine especially), I recruited Caroline as Vegansaurus’ own Miss Smoothment! Armed with products and a blessing sent to us from Navitas, Caroline agreed to share a couple of her own recipes with us, to kick off the occasion. Take it away, girlfriend!
“Anyone who follows me on Instagram is well aware that I’ve been obsessed with smoothies lately (I mean, why eat your food, when you can drink it?), so I wasn’t totally surprised when Jenny asked me to help review some of the Navitas superfood products.
You may have seen the colorful Navitas packaging in your local health food stores—I’ve definitely used some of them before (namely the chia seeds and cacao powder—great for raw desserts). Needless to say, I was STOKED when I had a whole box of their goodies to play with.
I usually start my day with a protein smoothie of some sort (using a vegan protein mix and my kitchen staple, the immersion blender), so I did what any excessive American girl would do — I mixed all the powders together for the mother of all breakfast smoothies. I wanted to see how this stood up to my “rigorous” morning workout (hello, I’ve got to be at my best when working out beside the retirees in the San Francisco Presidio Y). I also wanted to see how it compared to the more “performance”-oriented mixtures that I’ve been using. The verdict? I felt totally energized (as much as I can at 8 a.m.), and wasn’t hungry afterward. Not to mention, it was super delicious! (Bonus that all their products are organic—I’m not a fan of drinking chemicals and pesticides in my smoothies—raw, and gluten-free.)
Lately I’ve been having a smoothie for lunch—again, why go through the hassle of chewing your food? Below is the recipe for one of my favorite combinations. I added a few of the Navitas superfoods to the mix, and felt extra pumped. (My boss has a Vitamix, which I try to put to use as much as possible.)
Lunchtime smoothie, serves 2: 3 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein Powder 2 tsp raw Maca Powder 12 oz almond milk Handful of baby spinach (kale is good, too) 1/2 of an avocado Handful of raspberries Handful of strawberries 3 Tbsp organic peanut butter Handful of ice
I shared this with a friend of my boss and she said it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Not bad for a testimonial, eh? I totally agree—why else would I drink this almost every day?
Since I’m already armed with so many of Nativas amazing products, I have no choice but to participate in their Smoothment. I also can’t stand not joining things (only child syndrome). Perhaps you’ll give it a whirl, too (Get it? Bad smoothie puns!).”
As usual, please share your personal recipes with us! Don’t forget to follow my girl Caroline on Twitter and Instagram (@wakeupcaroline)—I can’t wait to see all the smoothie talk that will ensue, while wondering if rum is also a suitable ingredient in your icy beverages.
Guest Post: R&B superstar Usher is eating vegan! And he wants Justin Bieber to join him!
It’s always a big deal when someone famous comes out of the vegan closet. Us normal, everyday vegans celebrate it, and our omnivorous friends think, “Hey, maybe they aren’t so weird after all.” Maybe that last part isn’t always true but we all know we’re the LESS weird ones. And our count just went up by one, as Usher Raymond IV announced he is maintaining a vegan diet. My first thoughts? “Yeah!” [Ed. note: That’s the jam].
I have a sneaking suspicion that he and his 18-pack abs will still be gyrating under unzipped leather coats for the foreseeable future, but a small victory is a small victory. Usher saying he eats vegan has led to speculation that he’s getting his main man Justin Bieber to also gravitate to a plant-based diet, so he’ll have more energy fighting off 12-year-old girls in international airports. The Biebs going vegan will be huge for P.R. in the pro-vegan community, especially when accounting for the 8-to-14-year-old girl demographic. If I see a flock of Bielibers running toward a chrome Fisker in the parking lot of Native Foods Cafe, you bet your animal-loving ass I’m going to ask for a high five. I just better not have to wait any longer for my reuben.
There is more than handful of famous vegans. It’s tough to say who is in it for moral reasons and who just claims it as they get out of a Prius on the red carpet. Natalie Portman for example, isn’t all vegan all the time. But we beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. If veganism gets a little shine here and there from a celebrity trying to better their lives, who am I to complain? We got Billy Clinton to look as good as ever since his vegan transition. I was contemplating buying women’s underwear Wednesday night just so I could throw some at the TV. Lucky for the rest of us dudes, Usher can’t get any prettier. Right?
Let’s hope that Ursher’s selling skills are as good as his sit-up skills and we can mark down more artists in the famous-V column. He reportedly feels great and “loves” eating out at fancy New York city restaurants. Not the best-ringing endorsement to potential or on-the-fence vegans, since people of all diets can eat out in fancy New York restaurants. But we’ll take it! Hopefully Usher will make a Billboard chart-topping single where he serenades an unsuspecting woman on where he gets his protein. I’ll buy that record.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part two!
As I said yesterday, I just moved to California from New York City. It happened very suddenly, and as I’ve gotten more settled, I’ve found a much greater appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Yesterday, Nos. 10-6. Today, the thrilling conclusion!
No. 5: Quintessence When I first got excited about raw food, I had a number of negative experiences with raw food restaurants. I was convinced that it was disgusting and I might never like it. Quintessence changed all that. By far one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city, Quintessence makes incredibly yummy, indulgent, and healthful raw dishes that put all that other raw food to shame. A pearl in alphabet city’s clamshell, I fantasize about their Caesar salad on the regular. Oh Quintessence, I miss your tiny tables and huge salads.
No. 4: The Vegan Bodega Eric Hopf and his family are in the process of opening an all-vegan store in downtown Manhattan. Although it’s not open yet, I’m already in love with the products they’re providing and their dedication to the cause. They currently operate as a pop-up until their storefront becomes a reality. If you can, support these awesome people and their endeavors because this store is going to rock.
No. 3: Honey LaBronx Yes, it’s a bit ego-stroking to put my own podcast co-host on this list. Still, she is one bad bitch. This crazy activist is constantly spotted marching through crowds with a bullhorn, and waving her homemade protest signs in Christine Quinn’s face, and occasionally getting arrested. This queen fights for the animals, she’s exciting, and if it wasn’t for her, I never would’ve ended up in front of a microphone answering questions to new vegans. Check out her cooking show, our podcast, and go see her hot ass live. She is a freaking inspiration, and she looks good doing it. She’s also an okay friend, too, I guess.
No. 2: Soy and Sake Another of my favorite restaurants in NYC. Soy and Sake saved this sushi-lover from a life of fishless moping. They have most delicious vegan sushi rolls, as well as a plethora of dishes to die for (bourbon chicken! rock shrimp!). It is without question the one restaurant I will always visit in New York. It’s also killer for large parties, and I’ve seen countless omnivores be blown away by their food there. Go! Take friends! EAT SUSHI!
No. 1: Sweet & Sara Sweet & Sara is basically my favorite vegan company. Their origin story is beyond inspirational, founder Sara Sohn is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and their products are amazing. AMAZING. The s’mores were one of the first treats I had that made me stop and say, “You know what? I should be vegan. This is awesome!” and I’ve continued to love them with a passion ever since. The last year I lived in NYC I was working in Queens off the 7 train, and I rode by the S&S factory every day, and every day I was reminded that being vegan is fun, delicious, and exactly what I want to be. I love that Sara and her little bunny, Skipper, too. I have half a mind to get a S&S tattoo. Too much? I’m doing it anyway.
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.
[photos: Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne via Flickr; Quintessence raw pizza by Robyn Lee via Flick; vegan sushi from Soy and Sake; Sweet & Sara peanut butter s’more by Veganbaking.net via Flickr]
This week on Fresh Air, Terri Gross interviewed Thor Hanson, a conservation biologist and author of the newly published Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle. As part of his research, he plucked a dead wren to count its feathers. It had 1,500. A tiny wren, like the Australian white-winged fairy wren in the photo!
In the interview, which you can listen to on NPR, Hanson discusses the biological makeup of feathers, why he thinks birds evolved feathers, and how they adapted them to flight. The first feathered animals might’ve used them primarily for insulation, and now, every single individual flight feather is an airfoil, while being part of the airfoil that is the bird’s wing. Double-airfoil action for maximum flight!
Animals are amazing! So is science!
[white-winged fairy wren photo by David Cook Wildlife Photography, via Flickr]
New Vaute Couture coats are on sale! Order yours ASAP!
Our BFF Vaute Couture is going on fall tour! PLUS pre-order just started on new coats and they are 50 percent off for a few more hours! OMG THE EXCITEMENT! I got one last year and everyone says it’s smashing. [Ed. note: Everyone loves mine, too! —Meave]
The details are contained below:
Shop online now, or shop in person later! You can’t get fancier, better-made vegan fashions than Vaute Couture’s!
Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part one!
For those of you who haven’t heard—and honestly, I don’t know how you couldn’t have, I have been tweeting about it like crazy—I have moved to California!
It happened very suddenly and I’ve been a whirlwind of a hot mess the last month. As I’ve gotten more settled I feel I have grown a true appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York City. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Please enjoy Nos. 10-6 today!
Cue the Letterman drumroll!
No. 10: Westerly Market I doubt I’ve ever left this place having spent less than $200 and I have never regretted it. Westerly Market is a magical place filled with all the hard to find vegan goodies as well as an incredible selection of organic produce, bulk dry goods, and frozen meatless wonders—what we all secretly wish Whole Foods actually were. Even while living in Brooklyn I would pack a backpack with Westerly groceries and haul it all the way home. The staff is also incredibly nice and they will order almost any product you are interested in them carrying. I love you, Westerly Market.
No. 9: The Cinnamon Snail This food truck tops the list of awesome things NYC has stolen from New Jersey. Incredibly yummy food, addicting baked goods, and the nicest crew ever, I found myself hunting down the Snail every chance I could and I downright stalked them in my final week as a New Yorker. Cinnamon Snail, I could not love you more. If you don’t follow these dudes on Twitter already, you best get to it. Life is empty without you, Cinnamon Snail!
No. 8: May Wah Thank dog May Wah ships nationwide (I would be inconsolable without access to its vegan pork buns), but there’s nothing quite as fun as shopping in this Chinatown gem and stocking up your freezer with the best of the best meatless meats. It’s cheap, the food is great, and on request the employees will quickly steer you away from any non-vegan products (although there are only a few). I love you, May Wah! I wish I could go buy some dried noodles and frozen faux shrimps right now! [Ed. note: 99 Ranch, Laura!]
No. 7: Vegan Shop-Up The Vegan Shop-Up rules. It’s an awesome pop-up market with only 100 percent vegan goods, from soap to brownies. This bi-monthly event is beyond fun, and a great way to stock up on hard-to-finds. It’s also how I discovered some of my favorite vendors, like Rescue Chocolate, Gone Pie, the Vegan Bodega, and Cake Bites. If you’re in NYC and you haven’t been to this yet, you are MISSING OUT! Get your butt there ASAP.
No. 6: The Vegan Guide to New York City This book does exactly what its title promises, and awesomely, its authors release an updated version every year. There is an iPhone app as well, but it’s from 2011 and they’ve yet to update it, so I’m on the fence about recommending the download. Might be better toget this year’s book. It’s still the flipping handiest thing in the world. Meeting someone in Midtown and you’re pretty sure there are no vegan restaurants in the area? Consult the guide! PROBLEM SOLVED.
Come back tomorrow for Laura’s top five vegan reasons to be in love with New York City!
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.
[photos: Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne via Flickr; Cinnamon Snail by Megan Rascal for Vegansaurus; May Wah vegan meats by Shira Golding via Flickr]
McDonald's to open all-veg restaurants in India! Globalization party!
Veg combo from McDonald’s in Jaipur
Turns out McDonald’s, with is half-vegetarian menu in its Indian restaurants, isn’t “capturing the market” on the subcontinent as successfully as the great McDonald’s globalization overlords would like. How do you successfully sell your chemically delicious, primarily cow-based edible food-like items to a country where many citizens eschew cow-based foods, many others abstain from pig-based foods, and many others don’t eat animal flesh at all?
When the McAloo Tikki isn’t enough: the homemade vegan McAloo Tikki.
McDonald’s, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to open an all-vegetarian restaurant in Amritsar, a Sikh holy city. When it opens “in the middle of next year,” it will be the world’s first meatless McDonald’s, to be followed by the second meatless McDonald’s in Katra Vaishno Devi, near the Hindu holy site of Vaishno Devi. There just aren’t enough Indian citizens eating at McDonald’s, see, and opening restaurants that serve food that conforms to most of the religious and cultural diets observed by Indian people will fix that, for sure.
No word on how much of the menu will be vegan, but we’ll take this. When a major international corporation chooses “less harmful” over “totally and completely harmful and cruel and awful,” we’ll take it. Abolition would be best, but abolition doesn’t sell. What does sell? Fried potatoes. Baby steps won’t help the animals being tortured and killed today, but it will prevent some from being tortured and murdered tomorrow.
Vegansaurus still hates McDonald’s on principle, and of course this move is completely profit-driven. Still, we appreciate them seeing the potential profits in meatless. Congratulations, India; enjoy your chemically delicious meatless menu.
Spencer’s Market looks like an awesome place to obtain new, gourmet vegan food products. When you set up an account, which only takes a few seconds, you can check a box that ensures you view only vegan products. You can also check other dietary needs, like gluten- or nut-free! Let’s eat some artisan vegan snacks and then brag about how fancy we are. Deal?
Rumor has it that there may be a new flavor of Nacheez out in the near future!
Mercy For Animals makes history! First-ever cruelty to animals FELONY conviction!
MFA made history last week, when Brian Douglas of Butterball factory farm pleaded guilty to felonly cruelty to animals on August 28th. It was the MFA undercover investigation at the farm in Hoke County, North Carolina that sparked what is believed to be the “first-ever felony cruelty to animals conviction related to birds used for food production in US history.” Douglas will serve 30 days in jail, followed by 42 months of probation, for the horrifying violence towards the butterball turkeys he executed. On August 31, Butterball employee Rueben Mendoza also pleaded guilty to felony identity theft and misdemenor cruelty to animals. He faces a “consolidated sentence of a minimum of 8 months, and a maximum of 19 months, in state prison”.
I can’t watch the undercover video at the Butterball Factory farm. But it’s up on MFA’s site if you can stomach it. To show my advocacy however, I like to sport my MFA “Not Cool” t-shirt around town. If you get one too, we’ll be twins! We can start a club! Maybe wear them to Vegan Drinks so we’ll know to schmooze with each other? If the merch doesn’t appeal to you, you can always donate to the cause as well! Man, I love Mercy for Animals, and the incredibly difficult work they do on the behalf of animal rights.
The little chick in the stomach is saying “Not Cool”. I love, love, love it!
Of course there always needs to be a naysayer, doesn’t there? Examiner.com plays that role well with this article which I think screams, THANKS A LOT CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND BY THE WAY, MFA IS A VEGAN NON-PROFIT. Rachel touched upon all the same points, about the injustices that the workers must face on on these farms, back in Febuary. I think she covered this issue in a much more compassionate and well-informed (I’m not biased!) way. Thoughts? I noticed there’s nowhere to leave comments, but that might be a good thing considering the comments section usually makes me want to throw myself off a building sick.
ANYWAY. No more turkeys for holiday feasts, or sandwiches OR ANYTHING. Why eat an animal when we can have delicious vegan turkeys???? RAINBOWplease order more this season; I did not get one last year and it gave me a case of the sads. Actually no, because I made this delectable tart, but I want both this year!
When I tweeted about Figgy’s appreciation for his new vegan pig ears, a bunch of people responded. I understand why—it’s hard to find a good veggie chew! And I’ve read chewing is a natural habit for dogs that relieves boredom and stress, and can help clean their teeth. My Figaro doesn’t really care for chew toys nowadays—if he can’t eat it, he’s not interested. So I’ve done a fair amount of searching for the perfect edible vegan dog chew. I don’t know if I’ve found perfect, but I’ve found some good stuff. And it’s all Figgy approved!
Here are the pig ears you can see Figgy devouring in the top pictures. They are from Vegansaurus friend Vegan Essentials. Fig LOVES them. The only prob was one didn’t last that long. It lasted about ten minutes. That’s longer than it used to take him to eat those yam chews though. And like I said, he really liked it, so these will be a regular in the Figgy treat rotation.
This is a long-lasting option that is vegan, as far as I can tell: Paragon crocodile dog chews (there are hedgehogs too!). You can buy these at Figgy’s friend’s store Nip and Bones. The issue with these is that I don’t think they’re super flavorful but that may be why they last so long. It seems like Figgy likes to carry these around more than chew on them—but whatever keeps him happy! He even tries to take them with him on walks, so silly. And he does eventually work his way through them so it’s a nice little chew.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Sam’s Yams; well Fig is totally over those. They had a good run, but they only lasted him about five minutes anyway. But then I discovered these Sam’s Yams bones and Fig will actually condescend to eat these! I don’t know if the chamomile makes him calm but as chewing is a stress relieving activity, it must do something regardless.
Here’s a nice bone Figgy likes, the peanut butter Booda Bone. He’s not obsessed with these, but he enjoys them. I emailed the maker and they said both the peanut butter and mint bones are vegan. Fig likes the peanut butter ones.
This isn’t actually a chew but these deserve a mention. When I first got Fig from the PSPCA, he was a skinny-mini and liked any treat he saw. Now he’s a fatty and he’s so snobby about treats! He is totes over your dry biscuit variety; it’s all about moist, chewy treats. For that I recommend Paw’s Gourmet Chunky Chewies. Figaro loves these. They’re just made of peanut butter, molasses, and oats; so you could probably make them at home but bleh, I hate making stuff (though if you have a recipe you’ve tried and liked, send it and I’ll link it). If you are not opposed to honey, these little molasses bits from Paw’s Gourmet are a great size and also nice and soft. But the Chunky Chewies are honey-free.
Last but not least, don’t forget about a good old Kong toy filled with peanut butter. You can freeze it with the peanut butter inside to make it last a bit longer. You can find Kong just about everywhere. Again, not a chew; but this is good activity and sure to relieve boredom.
There you have it! To all those dogs who think chewiness is next to godliness, there’s sure to be something here for you.
It’s Animal News You Can Use from Paul Shapiro! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals! Yay, Everyone! AND HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND TO ALL!! (Except for the terrible, terrible meat industry, who can go to hell.)
Reuters had a good national story yesterday about HSUS’s new stock purchases of financial firms that invest heavily in the pork industry (as a means of making further progress on the gestation crate issue).
Speaking of gestation crate progress, since last week’s email, Subway, Campbell’s Soup and Harris Teeter all announced that they plan to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. (And Sodexo made a similar claim on laying hens.)
And speaking of progress, BBC had an interesting story about the increase in the number of folks reducing their meat consumption.
And finally, speaking of meat consumption, the head of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame (yes, it exists) had a surprising column placing the blame for the cruelty seen in Compassion Over Killing’s latest investigative videosquarely on the dairy industry. And while on the topic of investigative videos, this week we saw guilty pleas in Mercy For Animals’ cruelty case regarding abuse of Butterball turkeys.
The only downside, if you want to even call it a downside, to an all-vegan establishment is trying to persuade your omnivorous friends and family to join you. Most of the time, I’m able to join up with a group of co-workers or acquaintances after they consume some of our fallen furry friends or head out to a place that serves mostly liquid items. But the inevitable always rears it’s head, and the daunting task of appeasing many different morals takes precedence.
That’s where Ranchos Cocina in North Park comes in. They refer to themselves as a “Mexican and Vegetarian Cuisine” restaurant which is a tad too ambiguous for my liking, because I believe they are much more than that. The meat-eaters in your Donner Party will be happy with the amount of options available, as will the vegetarian and vegan homies. As soon as you and your squad sits down, someone is ready to hand you complementary chips and salsa. Which, if you have no self control like me, doubles as an appetizer. Their menu is recently refreshed and there are much more tiny, bold faced “V”s hanging around on the new menu. “V,” of course, denotes “may be made vegan.” Music to our hippie ears.
My first trip to Ranchos this past week, I was with two fellas of the non-vegan guild. They were able to order non-vegan things while I was able to order my favorite dish on the menu, Breakfast Combination no. 237, Soy Vegan Chorizo con Tofu. Their breakfast portion of the menu is available all day, because they know breakfast isn’t just for sopping up last night’s booze. This meal is a mountain of tofu scramble with soy chorizo and some assorted grilled veggies. Also a side of potatoes (or rice) and beans with your choice of tortilla. I go for the whole wheat tortilla because of it’s size—it unfolds to the size of manhole cover. I feel like I’m getting a bonus that the corn and flour folks are missing out on.
I digress. Their tofu is off the chains, as the kids used to say. Firm and seasoned, you can see bits of either thyme or pepper in the crumbled bits of Mexican-flavored vegan-ry. The soy chorizo is salty, but in that good way, not in the oops-I-dropped-the-Kosher-salt-into-the-pan way. The potatoes and beans give the plate of food that diner taste and feel. But the diner feel stops there, as the food doesn’t sit in your stomach for 15-minutes only to go into emergency mode. As vegans, at least for me, the “feel” after the meal is the best barometer of how “vegan” a restaurant actually is. Ranchos knows their vegan clientele and appreciates our views. It tastes and feels like real, home-cooked food.
I had to hit them up one more time before I trekked back up to the county of The Angels. This time I went right in as they opened in the morning with just me and my hangover tagging along. I’m not sure if it’s because single dining patrons only rack up bills worthy of tips in the $2-to-$4 range or if this man was genuine, but my waiter insisted on being extremely accommodating. I’m never one to base my restaurant visits on the service.
Again, I digress. He, the waiter, assumed of my vegan-ness by my asking for soy milk in my iced coffee and was quick to offer up his opinions on what was good. I was a mere half-a-second away from ordering the “Tofu con Soy Chorizo” again until he suggested the “Vegan Breakfast Burrito.” Which I was more-than-proud of heeding his advice for once the plate landed in front of me. This zeppelin-sized tortilla was easily the biggest burrito I’ve seen, and upon digesting it, the tastiest as well. The same seasoned, firm tofu is used in the breakfast burrito as in the scramble, in a flavor orgy with potatoes, assorted veggies and tempeh “sausage.” It was so big and filling, I couldn’t finish the 1/16th scale of the U.S.S. Enterprise in one sitting. So, if you’re keeping score, that’s chips and salsa, iced coffee (that was refilled thrice times), a ginormous burrito (that was used for two meals) for a whopping $9.16 before tip.
Now, math was never my strongest subject, but if you add everything up, I’m pretty sure Ranchos, Evolution Fast Food, and the many other unheralded San Diego vegan eateries are worthy of L.A.-sized exposure. I don’t want to pit San Diego against L.A., because that’s not a fair fight. Just don’t forget about S.D. It’s more than just a city with mediocre sports teams and a big zoo. So thanks, San Diego, we enjoy your second fiddle. Sometimes L.A. smells funny anyway.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Hella Vegan Eats pop-ups this Saturday in S.F. and also, help them start a food truck!
We love Hella Vegan Eats a lot. Like, tons and tons. All the love! And anyone who enjoys super delicious food feels the same way and that’s a fact! So, we’re psyched to see the menus for their pop-up brunch and dinner this Saturday at Dear Mom in the Mission! Hooray, let’s go:
As anyone with one or two eyes can see, these menus are filled with insanely delicious sounding food so you better bust your butt over there and eat it all! And also, donate to Hella Vegan Eats Indiegogo campaign because we so sososososoooo want them to be successful and serve us mean dean doughnut burger supremes forever! Seriously, if we don’t support this amazing ladies-owned vegan business and they don’t get off the ground then the republicans have already won and we should all just donate our brains and vaginas to science* because honey, trust me, you will not want them in this new scary world. Support them if you don’t want to face a United States that’s basically the set of the alternate present in Back to the Future 2. You know what I’m talking about! Marty’s mom is an alcoholic hooker married to Biff who is the president of the world and biker gangs shoot grandmas in the street and there’s no longer a sun and Crispin Glover is dead or becomes a club kid or something. Point is, that’s our future if we don’t support Hella Vegan Eats. Do it. To it.
World Water Week advocates a meat-free future, for humanity's survival
We’ve talked about the ridiculous amount of waterneeded to sustain our national (and increasingly international) meat-heavy diet, and by “meat-heavy” I mean “20 percent meat-based.” Well, the scientists in charge of World Water Week, happening right now in Stockholm, are now predicting that a meat-heavy diet is an “impossible alternative” to our continued existence.
If you want to read this year’s WWW report, which is really long but also very interesting, here’s a pdf. If you don’t, definitely read the Guardian's analysis (and the internet is full of analyses), which tells you things like “Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world’s arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals.”
My main question is, why not just advocate a vegan diet? Those dairy cows don’t spring from the foreheads of their mothers, fully formed and ready to make milk.
People hate a smug vegan because people hate smug. So maybe this isn’t a reason to be smug so much as a reason to worry. Will our rich, privileged peers* change their diets to support the future of the planet? I hate selling veganism with the “lose weight, feel great” line, but if that’s what it takes to get people to stop eating so much goddamn meat, then fine. Maybe we should start lying to people. “I used to be 1,000 pounds before going vegan!” “I had a vestigial skull attached to my neck from the twin I absorbed in the womb before going vegan!” “I was a horrible selfish jerk who was almost incapable of empathy, and it showed on my hideous face, before going vegan!”
Because there is no reason to eat animals. Science is on our side. And it’s just disgusting that, in the face of facts like these, people continue to do it.
[Photo: ILRI/Dorine Adhoch via World Water Week]
*By which I mean, people who aren’t starving to death.
Ask a Vegansaur: Vol. 07: Where can you get a vegan tattoo in the Bay Area?
Me, getting my boogie on, with a number of tattoos
This is a one-question post, but it’s one I mulled over quite a bit and polled a number of artists, so I hope it is helpful. DOWN TO BUSINESS:
Jacinda asks: Do you know any vegan-friendly tattoo artists in the Bay Area? I’m having a problem finding people. I search on Google and can’t find valid info for current people. All the ones I find are all old info. Any help you might have would be appreciated.
There is a TON of misinformation out there with regard to tattoos and veganism. I spoke to my artist (who happens to be a vegetarian) and several others to get a better feel on the situation. If you don’t agree that they are the experts in their field, I advise you to skip this entry. Here’s what I learned:
What makes an ink non-vegan is its binder, or carrier. Basic colors, such as most blacks (obviously not bone black, which uses bone char as the pigment), greens, reds, and so forth, are likelier to use no animal products. Less common colors—things like lavender, turquoise, chartreuse—might use binders and mixers that are not animal-friendly, just because that’s what’s keeping the color together.
Specificallyvegan inks are available, so if you really want to use them, find an artist you like, and ask if he or she can use them. However, it seems to be a common opinion among tattoo artists that these inks don’t hold up as well. Remember, this is something you are putting on your body permanently, so you’d ideally like it to last forever.
Here’s my advice for anyone seeking a tattoo anywhere: Find a pool of artists whose work you like (on the internet, through a friend, etc.) and bring them your idea(s). A knowledgeable artist will be able to tell you what is feasible and keeps within animal-friendly parameters.
I hope that helps. The internet has yet to reach a consensus on this subject. If you are or know of a tattoo artist who specifically caters to vegans, now is the time to share.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
Growing up in Rhode Island for the better part of my existence, I’ve grown accustomed to having my local habitat being played as the second fiddle. The music and art industries, whether through concerts, shows, or just the available exposure itself to these, seemed to skip the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (yes, that’s our real, full name) altogether. Everyone assumed this was do to our close proximity to Boston and New York and no one from Lil’ Rhody (yes, that is our real “nickname”) wants to drive to New York or Boston because they’re “wicked fah!” San Diego, I find, kind of sees similar persecution. America’s Finest City is well-populated, and has its own vibe with plenty of culture. But we in the vegan community never seem to hear much about what St. Diego has to offer by way of animal-free food consumption—instead, we in SoCal hear much ado about L.A. More people, mainly us compassionate ones, should know of the mini-vegan food Mecca that is in San Diego.
San Diego was supposed to get the mother of all vegan restaurant chains, Native Foods Cafe, but that either fell through, is still being constructed, or Monsanto stepped in and bought the property. Having a world-renowned chain like Native in The 619 (or The 858 or The 760) would have been huge. Both for me and my friends who live there but also for the San Diego vegan community. However, there are equally as tasty treats deep within the cozy confines of the city. If fast food-themed is your bag, similar to Native Foods, there is Evolution Fast Food. E.F.F. is a must-see for me each and every time I’m in S.D. I have a “go-to” choice and “back-up” ready to order. A back-up is sometimes needed because they tend to sell out of their daily “specials.” Which leads me to believe they have a good sized customer base ready and willing to try new things. During my most recent visit just this past week, they had a new special available of which just the description alone made me weak in the knees and caused cold sweats. It was like I was back in high school when my man parts would do what they wished, when they wished. Male-hormonal rages aside, this is what the board read:
And all these fine basic descriptors were supposedly wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. I say supposedly because that Bad Larry was sold out. Bummer. Upon learning the bad news I was back in flashback mode, this time elementary school when I learned Santa Claus didn’t actually check his list twice. Luckily, my standby order is impeccable and cured my sadness post haste. I’ve been a burger-and-fries type of guy since long before my vegan days. And the Bacon Cheeseburger at E.F.F. fits the bill to a T. They’ve recently started using Gardein for their patties on all their burgers, but if processed mock meats aren’t your thing, they also have a house-made bean patty option. I’m a fan of Gardein, so I recommend the O.G. version. The bean patty is too… beany.
Options are always awesome as a consumer, especially when you’re a vegan consumer when you’re about to consume vegan goods. It’s like little bits of Christmas morning each time someone behind the counter asks you a closed ended question regarding your order. In addition to the bean patty or Gardein patty, you can also choose between standard fries or the sweet potato version. I’m excessively sweet as it is, so I always opt for the regular spuds. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Evolution Fast Food isn’t really known in my circle of non-vegan compadres in San Diego. Most think it’s still called one of their previous names and others assume all they serve is wheat grass shots and tofu slabs. It’s a brilliant take on the prototypical fast food menu, just vegan’d out. But they also do soft serve ice cream, smoothies and desserts. Best of all, the entire restaurant is 100% vegan. So you’ll never have to worry about cross contamination or wondering if a bun or slice of bread is also fitting to your compassionate ways. There is also a “drive-thru” window, perfect if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to re-live the times the whole family went down to those golden arches. As far as convenience however, you’re better off parking and walking up.
Stay tuned for San Diego Part 2: Ranchos Cocina!
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California. He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island based Hip-Hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
As I announced on Twitter last night, look what I came upon at Union Market last night! Basilcotta: Regal Vegan’s basil cashew ricotta-style spread. You know I’m obsessed with their Faux Gras so I had to buy this immediately.
My official verdict: very yummy! It’s not as amazing and addictive as the Faux Gras, but really, what is? “Basilcotta” is pretty much the perfect name—that’s what it tastes like: ricotta mixed with basil. I just ate it on bread and it was creamy and good. I would love to have it in some pasta shells! I will try to get it together to do that and let you know how it turns out. Maybe I can mail some to Jenny and make her do it for us!
It’s not on their site yet but hopefully it will be soon and then hopefully you’ll be able to order it like you can the Faux Gras. Does anyone on the west coast carry Regal Vegan? They need to!
Clockwise from the left: Vanilla Chai, Sesame Crunch, and Sweet and Spicy Chipotle.
Hello, friends! Here I am with another product review! This time we have some healthy snack food: Nutty Bean Chick Pz. These are flavored roasted chickpeas. All flavors but the Honey Roasted are vegan. I tried the Chai Vanilla, Sesame Crunch, Sea Salt, and the Sweet and Spicy Chipotle (for those following along at home, that’s all but the Honey Roasted and BBQ). Nutty Bean sent me these flavors to try for free and now I will tell you all about them.
I’ve actually seen roasted chickpeas before; I used to go to the Italian festival in New Jersey every year (which I highly recommend—except for the cannoli eating contest; whatever you do, don’t watch the cannoli eating contest! You will vom!) and they had them in big burlap sacks. Haven’t seen them since then. I always thought it was a good idea though, seems like a healthy snack idea.
So, in brief: they are a bit weird…AND I love them. The weird part is the texture. They are crunchy at first—kind of like wasabi peas or something—but then when you bite into them, they have a kind of dusty texture? I think dusty is the best description. But I think you get used to it and then you can enjoy them with reckless abandon!
The really cool thing is that these are super healthy. If they were bad for you and had the unfamiliar texture, I might not be into them. But I think the health factor makes it a good gamble. There are two servings per package (a good size!) and each serving has 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and only 1.5 grams of fat. It also has 10% of your daily iron, so that’s nice. And a little shot of calcium to boot.
My favorite-favorite flavor is the Sweet and Spicy Chipotle. Yummy! It rules. I’m kind of a nancy about spice so these are a little too hot for me. My solution was to eat like four, then eat a handful of sea salt ones to relieve the spice. Funny Megan! But it worked great.
I didn’t like the Sesame Crunch that much; I think you would definitely like that flavor if you like those little sesame sticks they always sell in bulk candy sections. You know the ones? My mom used to buy those for us when we were hippies. I was never that into them. But if you were, this is your flavor.
As for the Vanilla Chai, I thought I wouldn’t like them because sometimes chai is über-sweet. But to my surprise, this was my second favorite flavor! Not too sweet but nice and cinnamon-clovey. Definitely yum and a nice sweet treat that’s not too sweet.
That’s the other good thing besides the health: these hit the spot. If you want a little touch of sweetness, you got it; if you want something salty, boom. And you can feel like you are doing something good for your body because of the iron, fiber, and protein! So it’s really a great snack option. I officially recommend!
In news that is not actually new and still very depressing, seafood is terrible for human consumption and the environment. These studies serve as such crucial reminders for me, as seafood has been the hardest non-vegan food for me to stop dreaming about. I loved the stuff. I won’t bore you with the gory details of my obsession with raw oysters, but an obsession it was.
Lately, however, I’ve been noticing a plethora of vegan “seafood” around me. I couldn’t be more excited about this! (Maybe with more veggie seafood options, we can lobby for this whole “pescatarian” thing to go away. Every time I check, seafood is still considered meat.) Let’s go over some options, shall we? In pictures, because we all love looking at pictures of food! Isn’t this why we’re all on Pinterest, styling our future parties, houses, and weddings? Yes it is.
Ocean Basket from Loving Hut. Those seaweed patties are my favorite!
You can add soy shrimp to any entree at Thai Idea. Don’t forget about those scrumptious and completely necessary Firecracker balls—they are the best appetizer in San Francisco! Have you been to the new location in the Mission yet?
Fish and chips from Weird Fish in the Mission. Not actually fishy-tasting, yet the batter is perfect, and just what I remember being the best part of traditional fish and chips!
Sea Cake from Real Food Daily in L.A. I don’t know what it’s made out of, but I want it!
What is that, amid all the brunch food at Mohawk Bend in L.A.? HEARTS OF PALM CRAB CAKES. Get me on the next plane to SoCal, I’m sold.
Where else can I get my fix, beautiful readers? What else is out there? I must know! And when do we get a creamy soup in a bread bowl here in San Francisco? Preferably one that rivals clam chowder and is served at Pier 39.
[Photos from Real Food Daily and Mohawk Bend are by my girl Marie Ferrier. Follow her on Instagram @kweenmahreeh!
At first glance, Barcelona doesn’t seem like the vegan-friendliest city. This is bull-fighting country, after all. You see butcher shops everywhere, tempting though completely NOT vegan pastries in bakery windows, and smell not-so-pleasant wafts of seafood in the air. But frankly, I was surprised with how many vegan choices I’ve stumbled upon during my various visits to this city. Barcelona is not only full of amazing buildings, museums, and churches—it is quite progressive when it comes to food. I’ve been lucky enough to travel here three times (for work, mind you, but yeah, I know) and I always discover new vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants.
I found the awesomely named Cat Bar on my last trip to Barcelona. An all-vegan bar named after my favorite animal!? Oh my, I think this could work. Owned by U.K. ex-pats, Cat Bar is a cozy little joint in El Born (the best neighborhood!). Weirdly, it is located right next to a cycling shop that sells San Francisco’s Chrome Bags, so I felt very much at home. I was super-hungry from a morning trip to Park Güell, so I ordered a veggie burger and a pint of BrewDog, a vegan beer brewed in Scotland. They have an eclectic, ever-changing menu with options like quiche, sushi, hummus plates, goulash, and gluten-free chocolate balls, as well as local beers from Barcelona and the Catalunya region. Cat Bar’s website is terrible, so just check out their Facebook for more information. They also have this handy map to navigating Barcelona’s vegan scene.
Juicy Jones is another favorite when I’m visiting BCN. They have a large, sit-down restaurant in the Raval neighborhood (which, to me, is the most intriguing and mysterious of all the Barcelona neighborhoods) as well as a smaller spot with counter-only seating near the Barcelona Cathedral. Juicy Jones is crunchy. This is dreadlock zone, folks. But having living in Santa Cruz for many years, it’s not a big deal to me. As the name implies, you can get various kinds of freshly-made juices and smoothies. They have rotating specials, including an Indian-inspired thali rice plate. My favorite, however, is the tofu bocadilla. A bocadilla is a sandwich on a hard roll, and in Spain, they loooove them bocadillas. The roll at Juicy Jones is fantastic; crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. My bocadilla was garnished with sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and some sort of vegan pâté. The hummus plate is also quite good, though it has nothing on Maoz.
Oh yeah—they have Maoz here! Vegansaurus has already sung the praises of the mind-blowing all-veg falafel joint that is Maoz. There is one location in Barcelona close to La Rambla on Carrer de Ferran. Another great “para llevar” (takeout) place is Wok 2 Walk, which is just up Carrer de Ferran from Maoz. When I’m working, I live off this place. You pick a noodle or rice (stay away from the egg noodles, obviously), your favorite ingredients (vegetables, tofu, pineapple, etc.), and a sauce (I like the curry coconut). A dude whisks it all up in a wok and in minutes, you have a giant to-go container of stir-fry. While it might be tempting, don’t grab an Estrella Damm beer with your dinner. Sadly, Spain’s ubiquitous cheap beer is not vegan.
La Bascula is a rustic restaurant in a defunct chocolate factory tucked away in an alley in El Born. The old-school European ambience alone is enough to visit at least for a café sin leche, but the food is pretty good too. It is mostly vegetarian, but there are a few solid vegan options. I went there for lunch and had a satisfying seitan bocadilla, but when I went back for dinner on another visit I had a fantastic zucchini, tofu, and lentil dish served with basmati rice. Sesamo is a little fancier, and perhaps more “autentico” than some of the other restaurants listed here. They have vegan and vegetarian tapas (small plates), and the standout is a dish of roasted vegetables with vegan goat cheese. The rocket salad with pear (pictured) is not only beautifully presented, but also damn tasty. They also serve ENORMOUS cocktails.
Cruising around La Rambla and need a pick-me-up? The open-air market off the Rambla, La Boqueria, sells fresh juices for just 1 euro. Gelaati! has both soy and rice milk-based gelat,o as well as fruit sorbetto, which is a must if you’re visiting Barcelona in the summer. I ate it in February, however, because a little rain can’t keep me away from my gelato. If you run out of cruelty-free toiletries on your travels, the chain Natura is a good bet for picking up soap, shampoo and more. They’re everywhere—even in the Barcelona airport!
If you’ve tried all of these places (I salute you!) and want to find something else, Barcelona has its very own guide to vegan/vegetarian restaurants and shops, aptly called Sin Carne. ¡Felices viajes!
Ginny Mies is a lifelong Northern Californian who loves long -istance running, metal, margaritas, and is way too amused by her cats. She’s also Mission Mission’s vegan correspondent.
[Photos: Top, the author; second, Niklas Pivic via Flickr; third, David Boudreau via Flickr; fourth, Emilie Hardman via Flickr]
Guest Post: Rosie O'Donnell Announces She's Vegan On Twitter!
For those of you living in the middle of nowhere Arizona eating raw vegan food, meditating and not checking Twitter on your phone every ten minutes, I feel you: I lived that way for a couple years! I assume your main source of information is Vegansaurus, so we’ll just break it down for you: the awe-inspiring Rosie O’Donnell recently suffered a heart attack and has since gone vegan!
Some debate ensued as to whether she really was outing herself as vegan. I tweeted the news that she was vegan and a few people chirped that she’s not. I apologized for the misinformation, and, lo and behold, @Rosie tweeted me:
The vegan-lesbian tribe is getting so full these days! Yay! Since coming out as vegan, Rosie has received a barrage of vegan-positive tweets, Facebook posts, and messages across the far reaches of the Internets. Let’s keep spreading the veggie love and supporting her heart-healthy journey to an ethical, plant-based diet!
Suggested donation of $20, you’ll get two bird shows, snack on vegan tasty treats, get great deals on cool auction and raffle items and learn more about these beautiful birds and why they make such fantastic pets. Please visit http://mickacoo.eventbrite.com/ to learn more and RSVP (free raffle ticket to first 50, no prepayment required).
Eating vegan at chain restaurants: BJ's Brewhouse has vegan options! Vegan pizza options!
I love hanging out with my family and getting away from the city for a few days. The only bummer can be going out to eat with everyone, as I usually end up getting a side of vegetables and a salad with half the ingredients taken out (cheese). I’ve made my peace with the Cheesecake Factory, but that is not the place to go every time I’m visiting. I mean, you gotta wait at least, AT LEAST, a half-hour to get a table, and it’s kinda fancy. What about casual? I just want to eat lunch with my mom somewhere, where we’ll both enjoy our food. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?
No it is not! BJ’s Brewhouse just opened up near my parents’ house and guess what? They have a few vegan options! Not only vegan, but some gluten-free options too! Plus tons of beer, including a gluten-free one (shudder), and delicious cocktails (I’m thinking of you, margarita). When my mom mentioned BJ’s for lunch, I figured I’d be eating a salad, yandet took to the internet to see what the vegan word was. You know what? QUARRYGIRL LOVES BJ’S BREWHOUSE.
Now, I do too! When Quarrygirl said BJ’s pizza was one of her all-time faves, I was excited, but skeptical. Silly me. That Quarrygirl knows her pizza! It is pretty epic stuff.
I got their Portobello Mushroom pizza, with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, oven-roasted mushrooms, and fresh herbs. I just left off the cheese, obviously! They let me get my pizza on a gluten-free crust instead of deep dish, too. I’m one of those people who tells themselves gluten-free is healthier for me, because I love lying to myself! The gluten-free crust was spectacular, by far the best I’ve ever had. It was light and flaky, with herbs baked into it. As for the toppings—taste party! They were the perfect balance of sweet and savory! I saved half my pizza, just so I could enjoy it when my mom and I got back home too. I told her I want to go to BJ’s every time I come visit!
Oh, Portobello mushroom pizza, I wish I could eat you again today (accompanied by another refreshing Piranha pale ale).
Also, this week New Jersey’s largest paper officially endorsed the state’s bill to ban gestation crates for pigs, even citing in its endorsement the op-ed referenced in last week’s email. Boom.
Speaking of pigs, food service giant Aramark announced with HSUS that it will require its pork suppliers to end their use of gestation crates. Bring it.
Finally, five years in a row, VegNews readers have voted HSUS their favorite animal protection group. You can help make it six by voting for us in this year’s Veggie Awards! [Ed.: Vote for Vegansaurus for favorite blog and Ask Laura for favorite column, too, if you want xoxoxoxoxo!]
Oakland's Beer Revolution opening a veg eatery next door?!
SUCH VERY EXCITING NEWS. We love Beer Revolution because we love beer and sitting outside in the sun and drinking beer while sitting outside in the sun, and so we were VERY EXCITED when we heard that they’re opening an all-veg eatery next door.
All the info we could gather from our thorough investigation (phone call) is that It’s going to be called Old Depot Public House, they’ll serve “European food,” and it’ll open sometime in the early fall. Obviously, you can now enjoy Beer Revolution with a side of next-door’s tasty Souley Vegan, but now you can enjoy appetizers at Souley Vegan and then move to Old Depot Public House< for main course and then back to Souley Vegan for dessert and then back to Old Depot Public House for second dessert. If this sounds like too much eating to you then you’re not a real vegan and need to rethink your priorities in ALL of your life, and maybe just jump off the Bay Bridge jk jk be cool.
Man, Oakland, you are really, truly the BEST lately—you know that, right? Yeah, you do. Come here, Oakland. (I’m making out with Oakland, you can go now.)
Please don't hurt the beef industry's feelings by suggesting people stop eating animals during a drought!
Last week, Heather Moore posted 561 words in North Dakota’s Inforum on the benefits of adopting a vegan diet during a drought. It’s expensive to raise animals for food during a drought, she says; why not just eat the grain products, which are always less expensive to grow?
Naturally, this about broke the heart of BEEF Daily Blog’s Amanda Radke, who cannot believe “that a reporter in the heart of a city that is home to an agricultural college would suggest these things.” Not eating meat? In North Dakota? When you could be cutting out your daily coffee and using that money to pay for pork chops?
Never mind that Moore isn’t a “Fargo, ND, news reporter” but a blogger for PETA Prime, and her piece, “Go vegan during drought,” was posted in Inforum’s Opinions section. Radke seems to take Moore’s suggestion personally, as though by advocating an animal-free diet she is slapping everyone who’s ever commercially raised an animal for consumption in their weather-beaten, Midwestern faces. Be cool, Amanda! This is one of the least aggressive or obnoxious op-eds I’ve ever read from PETA—it’s downright reasonable and measured in tone. Really, Heather Moore deserves a cookie.
And Amanda Radke could use a big bowl of cucumber soup. It’s as refreshing as a calm discussion about the economic benefits of eating fewer animal products during a drought!
[Photo of “prairie and wheat field fire north of Richardton, N.D.,” by Darla Hueske via Flickr]
US First Lady Michelle Obama hugs her introducer, 12-year-old Marshall Reid from North Carolina and author of “Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthier Family,” during a Kids’ “State Dinner” in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Aug. 20. This first time event includes 54 children, ages 8-12, from all US states, three territories and Washington, DC, to a luncheon in support of the Let’s Move campaign, featuring healthy recipes and a performance by Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush.
Remember last month, when we talked about Michelle Obama and Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge? Remember, kids from across the country submitted healthy recipes, and one from each state (plus three “territories” and poor old D.C.) won inclusion in the recipe book and a trip to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House? And we got really excited because one of the recipes, by Nevadan Alexea Wagner, was explicitly vegan? Time to get excited again, Kinder Krunchies, because the free e-cookbook is available!
The winning recipe-writers and their parents were feted on Monday at the White House, by the First Lady (and the President), where they served a few of the kids’ recipes, including Arizonan Haile Thomas’ vegan-by-default quinoa, black bean, and corn salad. Haile, by the way, is ridiculously precocious, particularly in the kitchen. Basically she’s a ringer, and we hope our hero Alexea got enough to eat at that omnivorous luncheon.
You can download the cookbook here [pdf], if you’re interested. As for the proud vegan: “I saw sloppy joes at school, but I wanted to make sure they were cruelty-free,” says Alexea, who serves this with kale salad that has shredded carrot, spicy pecans, and sliced strawberries, and a big glass of soy milk.
For your convenience, the following recipes are secretly vegan: Arizonan Haile Thomas’ quinoa, black bean, and corn salad; Coloradan Aiden Gould’s rainbow salad with black beans, mint, and lemon; Delawarean Jourdann Latney’s stuffed tomatoes; Marylander Samuel Hightower’s sizzling tofu with green onions and sugar snap peas; Michigander Avery McNew’s apple oat balls!; Utahan Lahav Ardi’s lentil veggie soup; and West Virginian Alexis Nelson’s golden Moroccan butternut stew (less the honey I KNOW).
There are also a good number of vegan-except-for-cheese recipes, or easy veg-protein-for-meat substitutions. I realize I sound like I’m trying to sell you on this book, which is predicated on the idea that there is a CHILDHOOD OBESITY EPIDEMIC OH NO THE CHILDREN ARE FATTENING, which we at Vegansaurus find generally gross. But getting kids cooking is great! Especially if it’s vegan food! If nothing else, you don’t have to worry about them accidentally contracting a terrifying food-borne illness if you don’t bring illness-bearing foods into your kitchen.
You can see more utterly charming photos from the Kids’ State Dinner at NBC News, and download the cookbook [pdf] at Epicurious. Invite some Happy Veggie Kids into your kitchen!
[Photo by Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images via NBC News]
Discussion question: Printable meat? What the heck?
As a disclaimer, I don’t really understand three-dimensional printing, like, at all. How does it work? Why does it work? Just the idea of it hurts my brain.
That said, what do we think about Modern Meadow’s 3D printable meat? It’s an idea that was born of this other crazytown scientific project, printing human organs; apparently, printing meat would be easier than printing organs, because the meat is “a post-mortem tissue,” which is less complicated a process than printing living tissue.
I have read a couple articles about this project and I still really don’t understand. Like, they’re going to start by “fabricat[ing] 3D cellular sheets composed of porcine cells.” How? If they succeed, will they be eligible for that $1 million from PETA, since technically they have to grown the cells in order to bioprint them? (Though with Peter Thiel money, they probably won’t need it.) What would a tissue-bioprinter even look like?
Most importantly, though, what do you all think? This falls under the same heading as “lab-grown meat,” right, so those of you who would eat test-tube meat would also eat printed meat? And on the ethics tip, would you accept a printed organ, should you ever need a transplant? I totally would, presuming it wasn’t being created unethically. About the meat, as always, I feel ambivalent. Divorcing “meat” from “living animal” is something we vegans work so hard to stop doing, but lab-grown meat legitimately would lack connection to that living animal, so presumably we would be able to uncouple them in our brains again. I just don’t know how to conceive of it, which is maybe what causes my ambivalence. What about you all?
Get more information about Modern Meadow’s meat-printing project at its website.
Did you have broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce growing up? I did, and I miss it. So, I had the brilliant idea to bake broccoli with Nacheez! I used the spicy Nacheez sauce, but if I were making this for a crowd, I’d probably use mild. I made this dish twice in one week, I liked it so much!
This dish is super easy to make, and would make a great side, or meal (eaten over the sink at your parent’s house while watching cable, for example). First, I blanched my broccoli, which was about two small crowns. I used a small amount of broccoli, because I wanted each piece covered in as much Nacheez as possible. Oh yeah, and you can cut up your broccoli before or after you blanch it. Personally, I cut mine before. Next, you want to drain your broccoli! Really well, because extra water will make the cheese sauce thin and runny after you bake it. Put your broccoli and a jar of Nacheez in a baking pan, and bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees! I added some pepper and garlic salt to mine. The second time I baked this, I also added some bacon bits and that really took this dish over the egde!
Blissoma by Irie Star is an all-natural certified vegan skincare line. So, remember I went to Shelter Island for a week? I thought it would be a great time to try the free Blissoma products I got. I didn’t bring any other face stuff so I could really dive into these products. Because I am such a scientist! OK, let’s talk skincare!
Clean: Smooth and Sensitive Facial Cleansing Bar: This bar was great. The base of the soap is oatmilk and I like the idea of that because I know oatmeal is great for irritated skin—prob good for all skin! Left my face feeling clean and nice.
Fresh: Mild Rice Cleanser: This cleanser gave me pause because it was like I couldn’t really wash it off. It left a bit of a greasy feeling behind. But then it did absorb and it was actually nice that for once my skin didn’t feel all tight, screaming for moisturizer immediately after I wash it. And my skin wasn’t any more oily throughout the day.
Restore: Deep Moisture Oil Serum: This I only used once. Seemed like a good intense moisturizer. No adverse effects and didn’t make my skin more oily than it already is.
Smooth: A+ Moisture Serum: This is my favorite product! It’s for “troubled skin” but very gentle, unlike most stuff for pimple-faces. It absorbs well and my skin seemed very clear by the end of the week. I had one pimple before I started using the Blissoma products and I don’t know if it sped healing time (it’s always so hard to tell when something works, right? Just when it doesn’t!) but I think it dried it out and it definitely didn’t make it worse. Yay!
Refine: Clay Renewal Treatment: I liked this mask. It was a little weird because like the rice cleanser, it felt like I couldn’t completely wash it off. But I asked my sis-in-law (who rules, btdubs) if my skin felt greasy and she said it just seemed super moisturized. And like the rice cleanser, it was nice not to have that crazy tight skin feeling I usually get after a mask.
I asked the creator Julie Longyear some questions about her line and natural skincare in general and she had some interesting points.
When I sent these questions, I had just heard that some products claiming to be vegan actually have ingredients that were tested on animals, like preservatives and whatnot. Her response:
Funny enough the first thing the Vegan.org folks asked was to make sure we didn’t have to test preservation on animals. No, we are entirely free of animal testing. The testing process just involves making batches of product with various levels of the preservation ingredients in it and letting them age. Then periodically we send a sample to our microbiology lab and they just take a swab of it and put it on a growth medium plate, incubate for a week and count the fungal/yeast/bacterial colonies that grow. That’s all.
Sounds good! On creating products:
It is a long process creating recipes from scratch. A lot of small lines don’t even create their own recipes. They often purchase a base recipe from a co-packer/private label manufacturer and maybe customize with their own scent or a different herb or whatever and then just stick their own label on it. So much product in the skincare industry is just slightly varied copies of the same old recipes. We don’t work that way at all and my personal opinion is that the private label model is part of the reason customers are often so confused about what to purchase. They think they are trying a different product but often it is just the same stuff under a different label.
This is the stuff we need to know! I found this next part especially interesting, as when I tried the products I really was like, hmmm, these aren’t white…is that OK?:
Some of the challenges of dealing with our botanical ingredients are the smells and colors. As we use mostly unrefined botanical ingredients each herb extract and oil has a color and smell all its own. Interesting things can happen when you blend them, and part of a good finished product is creating an aroma profile that folks will enjoy using as well as something that functionally works on skin. A lot of formulators also just don’t want to deal with this which is why “water white” ingredients are so prevalent in the personal care industry. People assume white lotion = pure. Unfortunately it really often means that the nutrients have been completely stripped out from heavy refining.
Interesting! Am I dumb because I pretty much thought white meant pure? I guess it’s like white paper though, right? “Natural” is brownish. Where did this white=pure thing come from?
Final verdict!: After a week of using the products, I must say my skin looked great! I officially declare these products awesome. And it makes me feel nice putting all those special serums and natural oils on my skin—makes me feel wholesome. And I so rarely feel wholesome.
Another Bay Area kitty needs a home! Check out the details:
Super-affectionate kitty is looking for her forever home. “Junebug” is negative for feline leukemia and feline HIV. She’s spayed, has all shots and vaccines, microchipped and is ready to love you! Junebug is almost three years old and adores sitting on the sink while you wash your face and to be as near to you as possible. She’ll put up both paws to hold your hand close as you pet her. She’ll rub against your legs with her fluffy tail held high and sit on your foot because touching you is most important to little Junebug. A quiet home is best. Indoor home only, please. Small adoption fee.
Holler! My pals at Compassion Couture are having a big clearance sample sale! I want all the Beyond Skin stuff as you know that’s my most favorite stuff ever. I especially want these fancy lace heels so I can be totally elegant while I stomp a hole in some jerk’s foot.
Guest Product Review: Good Greens: Superfood Nutrition Bars That Taste Like Candy!
Good Greens low-glycemic gluten-free vegan bars, which boast 40 antioxidants, 10g protein, Omega 3’s, are low-glycemic, and are free from animal products, could taste like chalk and still get a nod of favor in my direction, because I love supplements so hard. These bars boast some of the fanciest and hyped ingredients in the natural health/vegan world, including mesquite, nori, mangosteen, probiotics, flax, aloe vera, chia seed, mulberry, bilberry, broccoli sprout powder, Nova Scotia Dulse (can we please make this the trendy new lox substitute? Yay Jewish vegan pride!), golden berries, alfalfa sprout powder, beet juice powder, wheat sprout powder, cha de Bugre, Siberian Eleuthero Root Extract, DHA, green tea extract, camu powder, pine bark extract, macs, lucuma, chlorella, and spirulina all grace each label of these superfood-packed bars.
With such a crazy A-list of superfoods, there’s very high risk for flavor failure. It’s like those star-studded ensemble cast movies which have such glorious talent but as a whole miss the mark: Paris Je T’aime, New York, I Love You, New Year’s Eve, etc. (Note: These films certainly had redeeming qualities, so if you love them please excuse this analogy!)
Taste may not be the primary concern for vegan health freaks (myself included!) but Good Greens bars unabashedly shoot for mass appeal. They even have a code to scan with your smartphone to learn more about the products! Can you just imagine a bunch of people scanning these on BART? I (s)can!
While a lot of so-called nutrition bars fail badly when they try to cram so many insanely powerful nutriceuticals (or else are seriously effing unethical and won’t disclose whether they source their cacao from places that use child slavery—F you, CLIF!), Good Greens decided to rise above and make bars that are completely ethical and INSANELY DELICIOUS. I shit you not, these are like CANDY! So how do Good Bars orchestrate a symphony of superfoods without creating sheer mouth cococphany?
Actually, it’s pretty simple: chocolate! Nearly every flavor of these bars includes dairy free dark chocolate as the first ingredient. It turns out, dark chocolate is the great equalizer when it comes to flavor-balancing. These bars are sweetened with healthful ingredients but you’d swear otherwise. The chocolate peanut butter, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate coconut flavors will inspire you to break dance in your “Pigs are Friends Not Food” underwear until you hit your target heart rate!
Good Greens, which sent me free samples of each flavor, are available in health food stores and online.