vegansaurus!

Oct 10

Animal News You Can Use: No one’s a winner on a factory farm

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Newspapers across the country celebrated last week’s massive litigation win for chickens, with the LA Times headlining that “Hens Win” and even Missouri’s Kansas City Star editorializing that the challenge to California’s hen protection law was “foolish.”

Though we can win battles against factory farms, no one’s a winner on the farms themselves—including workers. That’s why I’m proud to have jointly published this article with the United Farm Workers about the connection between farm animal abuse and farm worker abuse.

And speaking of having it bad, you may have seen the national headlines about the tragedy in California where some teens allegedly broke into a factory farm and clubbed hundreds of chickens. Of course, such violence is unconscionable, but it happens every day. Find out what I mean in my Huffington Post article.

With so much outcry over farm animal abuse, it’s no wonder plant-based foods are catching on so much—and if this start-up has anything to do about it, plant-based meats are about to get even better. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

P.S. Video of the week: Think cats are the only animals who like laser pointers? (Seriously, this is amazing.)

#NEWSFAIL: Vegan authors take on the media! Plus, meet Jamie Kilstein & Allison Kilkenny in Brooklyn on Tuesday!

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Remember that time I interviewed comedian Jamie Kilstein and told you all to go see him at UCB in Los Angeles (you seriously missed out if you didn’t go, btw!)?! Well, during said interview Jamie told me that he, and his also awesomely funny and vegan wife, Allison Kilkenny, had written a book that was coming out this fall. And you guessed it, IT’S ALMOST OUT!!! 

Newsfail: Climate Change, Feminism, Gun Control, and Other Fun Stuff We Talk About Because Nobody Else Will addresses all kinds of issues the world faces today but also includes a whole chapter on veganism. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of this piece of (very informative) comedic gold, and let me be the first to tell you, I for reals LOL’d. Jamie and Allison have perfected the balance of presenting cringeworthy facts about eating non-human animals, with poking fun at how people stereotype and hate on vegans. They also shares a recipe for “Jamie’s Vegan Better-Than-Stupid-Pad-Thai Pad Thai.” Basically, it’s a #lifefail if you don’t buy their book!

#NEWSFAIL will officially be released on October 14th, but you can pre-order a copy NOW! Help put an awesome book promoting veganism on “The Charts!” 

But wait, there’s more! People of NYC (and the large suburban outlying areas surrounding it), you have the GLORIOUS opportunity on October 14th to MEET JAMIE & ALLISON (and buy a copy of #NEWSFAIL), at The Powerhouse Arena,in the hip land of Brooklyn. Don’t even ponder it, JUST GO (and RSVP here)!

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Louro in New York is hosting a vegan dinner on October 15!

imageMushroom and nori soup dumpling!

Emily Chapman is a sous chef at Louro, and though she’s not vegan, she’s into vegan food. That’s why she’s written a six-course vegan tasting menu that Louro is hosting on Wednesday, October 15!

"I believe that being a vegan is a completely misunderstood lifestyle," she says, "So with this dinner I’m trying to showcase to everyone, while catering to vegans/vegetarians, that a vegan lifestyle can be delicious and just as good as ‘normal eating.’" Now, of course, to us vegan eating is "normal eating," but when omni chefs are going out of the their way to cater to us, who are we to quibble over semantics?

Emily says everything is made “in-house from scratch, start to finish,” and it sounds amazing. Check out the menu!

Amuse
Falafel, harissa sauce

"Carrots and Celery"
agave ginger roasted carrots, celery kimchi, sesame rice crackers, soy glaze

Mushroom & Nori Soup Dumplings
black vinegar

Turnips
black pepper orecchiette, turnip green pesto, roasted kohlrabi, turnip purée

Roasted Acorn Squash
smoked barley, mustard greens, grilled fennel, apple mustard

"Loaded Potatoes"
oven baked potatoes, charred chilies & onions, black bean purée, “sour cream”

Caramelized Pumpkin
pecan butter, toasted marshmallow fluff, cranberry syrup

Doesn’t that sounds SO GOOD? So perfectly fall! Also: “pecan butter, toasted marshmallow fluff, cranberry syrup” is this heaven?

Emily’s Vegan Is Good dinner begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 15 at Louro, 142 West 10th Street (between Waverly Place and Greenwich Avenue) in the West Village. Dinner is $55 per person and is BYOB and single seating. To make reservations, call Louro at  212.206.0606.

Hello friends! Time to look inside last month’s Vegan Cuts Beauty Box!
This month was interesting. One hot item was Suncoat, a sugar-based mascara! My coworker tested this out and I actually noticed a difference, her lashes def looked more luxe than usual. There was also a deodorant from Only Goodness Inside, which I saved for my desk mate who is super afraid of aluminum deodorants. I haven’t heard back on what she thought but she was super excited. Ha. She cracks me up.
Other items were an awesome eyeshadow from Lunatick Cosmetic Labs, a microdermabrasion scrub from Derma E, and a deep moister mask from Clark’s Botanicals. 
I got this for free but if you want to try it, the box subscription is $19.95 a month, shipping included (for US addresses. International is more). 

Hello friends! Time to look inside last month’s Vegan Cuts Beauty Box!

This month was interesting. One hot item was Suncoat, a sugar-based mascara! My coworker tested this out and I actually noticed a difference, her lashes def looked more luxe than usual. There was also a deodorant from Only Goodness Inside, which I saved for my desk mate who is super afraid of aluminum deodorants. I haven’t heard back on what she thought but she was super excited. Ha. She cracks me up.

Other items were an awesome eyeshadow from Lunatick Cosmetic Labs, a microdermabrasion scrub from Derma E, and a deep moister mask from Clark’s Botanicals

I got this for free but if you want to try it, the box subscription is $19.95 a month, shipping included (for US addresses. International is more). 

Oct 09

Three Awesome Upcoming Events in the SF Bay Area! Go to These!

image 1. Second Annual Vegan Mac Down
The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition is hosting its second annual Vegan Mac Down vegan mac & cheese bake-off! 

Sample all of the entries & vote for your favorite. 
Get down to grooves from local DJ’s
Get more eats from local vegan food vendors. 

We’re currently looking for competitors! Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, if you’re interested in competing e-mail info@ffacoalition.org.

The Mac Down will be held on Saturday, November 8th from 11am-3pm at the Omni, 4799 Shattuck Ave. in Oakland. Tickets are $8 online, $10 at the door (though it will likely sell out, so be sure to get your tickets in advance!)

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2. Oakland Premiere of Speciesism: The Movie
Speciesism: The Movie is making its Oakland debut on October 27th at the Piedmont Theater. The screening will be followed by Q&A with the director.

TICKETS: http://SpeciesismOakland.eventbrite.com/ (tickets are limited and ONLY available online)

TRAILER: http://SpeciesismTheMovie.com/

Speciesism: The Movie takes viewers on a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening adventure across the country, to expose the biggest secrets about modern factory farms, and to ask the biggest questions about the belief that our species is more important than the rest. You’ll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans.
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3. Cowspiracy Catered Screening in San Francisco
Join San Francisco’s soon-to-be newest vegan restaurant Citizen Fox and the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition for a San Francisco screening of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret on Thursday, November 6th.

Set in the historic Victoria Theater, the screening will feature food from local chefs, a wine bar, and a Q&A session with the filmmakers.

Get your tickets online before they sell out!
Guest post from Katie Cantrell of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition! Thanks, Katie!

Chocolate Inspirations: the vegan toffee-lover’s dream come true!

If anything resembling a vegan Butterfinger makes its way into the world, you better believe your friend Megan Rascal will be all over that, like brown on rice! So of course I had to try these “peanut butter pillows” (at about 6 o’clock in the photo) from Chocolate Inspirations. I wrote the company to get a sample, and as you see, they sent me all kinds of goodies! Toffee galore! 

Chocolate Inspirations specializes in English toffee. They aren’t a vegan company, but they have a whole line of delicious vegan creations (with bone-char-free sugar and everything!):

In 2009 after a suggestion from a Vegan who missed English Toffee, Pam developed a Gourmet Vegan English Toffee. The vegan community pronounced the Vegan English Toffee an immediate success and inspired Pam to create an entire line of Gourmet Vegan confections. In 2010, Marcy, a huge advocate for animal adoption, started Chocolate for Charity where a portion of the proceeds from selected chocolate items are donated to animal shelters around the country.

Yay! Letting vegans join in on the toffee party! And yay for chocolate that helps animal shelters. But, you prob want to hear about the chocolate now, yes? Hint: yes!

Well, the chocolate-topped vegan peanut butter pillows are AMAZING. They are sort of like Butterfingers but much much lighter in texture, like…pillows! You know I always share my vegan swag with my work pals but in this case, I could not. I kept all the peanut butter pillows to myself! I’m terrible! But they’re so good! Salty, sweet, and peanut buttery. YUM!

But I did share everything else with my workmates. The chocolate at about 8 o’clock in the picture is very interesting—it’s cinnamon toast toffee! It sounds odd but it’s very good. Really sweet though, so you can’t be sugar-shy with this one. 

imageI don’t have my own pic, this is from their site, but they also sent this super pretty Italian orange chocolate bar! The office manager went cray for this one. It was popular. 

But my favorite thing, AFTER THE YUMMY YUMMY PEANUT BUTTER PILLOWS OF COURSE, was the chocolate-covered cashew brittle (2 o’clock in the top picture). I’ve never been super into brittle, but it turns out, if you cover it in chocolate, I’m all for it! The chocolate is just so good with the buttery brittle. 

imageAND they sent these adorable chocolate cups! Nice and bitter-sweet. We mixed them with warm almond milk and it was great but I like the suggestion to mix the lil’ one in a cup of coffee—mmmm! These are so cute too. I think they’d be a nice treat for kids. Much more fun than dumping a little bag of powder in a mug!

You’ll also be happy to know that Chocolate Inspirations is on the Food Empowerment Project’s recommended list. And their prices are not even cray! Any toffee-lovers out there? Are you so excited?

Coffeebars: healthy, vegan, coffee you can eat!

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New Grounds Food is a startup by two college kids with a very important mission: coffee you can eat! Enter the Coffeebar. The bars are made with dates, oats, chia, nuts, and fairtrade espresso! They are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, there’s no honey, no refined sugars, no preservatives, and they’re made with all-natural ingredients. I know you kids love that kind of shiz! 

The creators sent me some free bars to try so I can give you the lowdown. Survey says: yummy! It’s not like a candy bar or anything, mind you. I wouldn’t use it as a treat type of food. It’s like a good, coffee flavored energy bar. It has that moist, dense texture mixed with oats that you should be familiar with if you like energy bars. But it has a great coffee flavor! I’m super in to coffee flavored things. So I approve.

You may wonder why not just drink your coffee—I say do both! If you want a hot cup of coffee, grab one. If you want an energy bar, get one of these! imageThey are now holding a Kickstarter fundraiser! They already reached their Kickstarter goal but they have a stretch goal to get new flavors (well, they already had a stretch goal to source directly from family farms but they already passed that…). 

Oct 08

A peek inside The Compassionate Closet: your new source for gorgeous vegan products! Plus 15% off for Vegansaurs!

imageWhat a suave, ethically fancy belt!

Stephanie Boyd is the owner of the brand-new gorgeous vegan online store The Compassionate Closet! Vegansaurus spoke to Stephanie about how and why she decided to open the store, where she finds her inspiration, and more.

Vegansaurus!: When did you start The Compassionate Closet, and where is the HQ located?

Stephanie Boyd: We launched in July 2014, making our debut at the VegFest CO and launching the website later that same month. We’re based in colorful Colorado.

What inspired you to start the store? What were you doing before Compassionate Closet?
My inspiration came from my very own closet. After going vegan and sort of “mastering” what’s on my plate (a task that’s never really done with new veggie food brands, new restaurants, and endless recipes to try!), I turned my attention to my wardrobe and realized that my closet was 
a cemetery! Full of wool, cashmere, leather, and silk—I was shocked and disappointed by the lifetime of cruel choices I had made. So when I set out to turn over my closet, I quickly realized that—although there are vegan, cruelty-free, and fair-trade choices out there—you really have to search them out. That is when I decided to help bring vegan fashions to the marketplace and launch The Compassionate Closet! 

imageDamn these shoes are fine.

Why did you choose to make Compassionate Closet online-only? Will there be a physical store in the future?
Although we’re primarily online, we are working hard to open a physical store in the Denver-Boulder area soon. Meanwhile, we’re making our way around to meet-ups, pop-ups, and festivals to promote and to connect with other like-minded, and inspiring people.

How do you choose which products to feature and sell in the store?
Great question! There is a lot of thought that goes into which brands and products we carry. We look for designers with the same values—ethical, sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free, and that give back—and with awesome style, of course! We look for both well-known and aspiring brands, but brands all must be trusted brands. We want to support designers that are leading the way in creating sustainable styles! 
imageVegan forever! So cool.

You feature some truly amazing, unique vegan products that can’t be found elsewhere (like the Colorado-Vegan sweatshirt I love!) Were you frustrated with other vegan stores’ limited offerings, or did you have a personal “aha!” moment that prompted you to create your own?
All of the above. I love so many of the vegan styles out there, but few one-stop vegan apparel stores exist, and I have a lot of ideas and inspiration spilling over! For example, I am a proud native of Colorado, and as one of the healthiest states in the country, a Vegan Colorado shirt 
seemed like an essential for fellow Coloradans to show off their state pride and their vegan values. Now a best seller! Stay tuned for more original styles coming soon! 

imageCute mini goat bling you can buy from The Compassionate Closet!

Who are your vegan inspirations?
In this meat world, I am inspired by the growing community of fellow vegans and activists! No matter how long or the reasons that led you to veganism, we all have something in common (a core value that shouldn’t be downplayed): we strive to make compassionate, peaceful choices. We all have our own stories of struggles, transition, limitations, and support (or lack thereof); I am inspired by every vegan that has persisted, lives by example, and goes out of their way to educate others of the benefits! 

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This sweatshirt is great if you’re a vegan who lives in Colorado, or you happen to love Colorado vegans!


How has the reception been to Compassionate Closet? Are you finding it easy to spread the word about it?
A-MAZING!! Feedback and demand have been overwhelmingly positive! I get so many compliments on the website and, most often, “thank you for starting this business! We need more vegan apparel options!” The vegan community has been very supportive helping spread the word. Thank you for your continued support! 

Is there anything else you’d like to add for readers?
Yes! We are committed to providing a better life for animals in need. Toward that goal, 5% of all purchases supports the admirable work being done for animal welfare by the people of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. WEAR NO HARM really means something and we want you to know every time you shop with us!

Vegansaurus readers! Save 15% OFF your shopping excursion on The Compassionate Closet with discount code SAVE15 through October 31st!

Oct 07

Secret Vegan Breweries and other News from the Great American Beer Festival

The Great American Beer Festival wrapped up on Saturday, but I’m just crawling out from under my hangover to report on the amazing things I found there. With over 3,500 beers from 700 breweries, there’s a lot to discover, and it turns out that walking around in a Vegansaurus t-shirt with a badge that says “vegan blogger” is a good way to discover the secret vegan levels in the beer-tasting game. Here are some of the best things I spotted in that cavernous, booze-infused hall.

Modern Times Brewery, San Diego, CA

Modern Times Brewery in San Diego might be the coolest.

One of the cofounders of this place is vegan. He doesn’t want to sell anything he wouldn’t eat. So they don’t, and they bother to tell you about it on the can!

In addition, the beer was delicious—and that’s my sober opinion, as this was one of the first things I tasted on Saturday. They’re the only brewery around that roasts their own coffee to put into an oatmeal coffee stout, and it’s hella creamy, basically beer dessert. I want a scoop of vanilla coconut ice cream floating in that, aww yeah.

The bad news: You can only get this beer in southern California. The good news: You can buy their coffee online! And t-shirts. I want one.

Kamala Brewing, Austin, TX

Kamala used to be called Namaste, but apparently another brewery owns the trademark on that name so made these guys change it. Namaste as fuck, right?

Who cares, because this was definitely the most interesting and mind-blowing beer I tried. My fave is one called Bitterama, an ESB brewed with wild rice and bergamot. That’s like EARL GRAY BEER, yo! They also had a rad one called the Smoked Austoner, that my notes say tasted “like Scotch yogurt.” But in a good way. I may have been drunk.

They’re based in a former gas station in Austin that’s also an Indian restaurant and you can bet it’s first on my list of places to hit when and if I ever make it to that great city. And speaking of road trips…

Infusion Brewing Company, Benson, NE 

You’ve got your trip to Omaha all planned out, right? You know, to eat at Modern Love, Isa’s new restaurant? Well, I found you the beer to drink while you’re there: Infusion Brewing Company. It’s a tiny place, and you can only find the beer right there, so it’s perfect. The Vanilla Bean Blonde is one of their most popular, but they’ve got the regular assortment. Go to Omaha, vegans!

Still looking for more delicious ideas? I suggest you cross-reference the list of 283 GABF medal winners with the fine list at Barnivore.com and have a little festival of your own! Just don’t forget the pretzel necklaces, those are important.

4,000 Piglets Die in Factory Farm Fire (alternate title: vegan girl writing this post drowns in a puddle of her own tears…)

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Cute piglet from a Google search, hopefully safe and sound somewhere.

My friends, both vegan and omni alike, seem to be crazy for little piggies these days (BECAUSE HOLY CRAP THEY’RE ADORABLE!!!). My Facebook feed is wonderfully full of pictures and videos galore of these sweet babies, which, I believe, made this news even harder to bear. All I could picture in my mind’s eye when hearing about these piglets were all these adorable faces. Well, theirs’ and the glorious Esther

Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection of The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement: 

“As tragic as this calamity is, what’s perhaps even more disturbing is that it was easily preventable. The National Pork Producers Council has fought tooth-and-nail to block commonsense rules that would require factory farms to install sufficient fire suppression systems like sprinklers. More than 400,000 animals have already died in American factory farm fires this year, and the lives of hundreds of firefighters have been endangered. The National Fire Protection Association has the opportunity—starting at a meeting this Tuesday—to implement meaningful rules that would help prevent these disasters in the future.”  After this fire killed nearly 4,000 piglets in a North Carolina factory farm, the National Fire Protection Association should require similar facilities to have ceiling sprinklers. (FREAKING DUH, PEOPLE!!!!)

I haven’t seen anyone else write about this news, besides The Humane Society, which makes me think that either people don’t think it’s really newsworthy, or that it’s been swept under the proverbial rug of news. Either of which is a bummer.