Lion burgers, or Why I am never reading the news again  »

You’ll have to forgive me if this post is a little rough around the edges; it’s really hard to type while you’re holding the pieces of your recently exploded head together. Anyway, the outrage this time is none other than lion burgers.

Some genius in Mesa, Ariz. (thanks again, Arizona!) got the bright and not-at-all crazy idea to serve up burgers made from locally raised, free-range LION at his Italian-ish looking restaurant, Il Vinaio as a kind of tribute to the World Cup happening right now in South Africa/whorish publicity stunt. Never mind that South African cuisine traditionally skews away from hamburgers, lion or not—to me, this reads like just another episode of “Adventurous Eating for Assholes.”

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised; this is the next logical step in the whole “meat is the new black” offal slide into culinary hipsterdom. As offal-eating websites and articles descend on the internet like a pack of intestine-filled locusts, culinary hipsters are apparently ever striving to find new and horrible ways to indulge their palates. It appears that lion burgers are the next step, and all I can really say is UGH.

What makes this perhaps even more sad and pathetic is that the restaurateur who’s so interested in pushing the envelope that he secures LION MEAT for his menu apparently can’t do better than a fucking burger. A BURGER. That’s right—the exact type of food that was INVENTED to disguise the taste of inferior meat is now being used as a showcase for the meat of an ENDANGERED FUCKING SPECIES? In what kind of fucked-up universe does that make sense? I guess it at least puts the lie to the old saw the whole-pig-and-offal set like to trot out, about how “limiting” it would be to cook without meat. Sorry guys, looks like the bar for culinary crutch just got set a couple notches higher.

[Thanks to Rosie for the heads-up & investigation!]


Raw vegan food from Vivapura rocks!  »

Unless you’ve been living in a fantasyland that involves subsisting on only defrosted leftovers from SF Vegan Bakesales (hey, I don’t judge!), you probably know we vegans can benefit greatly from supplementing our deep-fried vegan Twinkie intake with some raw greens now and then.

Whether or not you fall into the camp that refrains from cooking their food, if you enjoy yummies that taste amazing and are still healthful for you, I highly recommend checking out the excitingly awesome products from the brand-new raw vegan superfoods company Vivapura, located super-close to the Tree of Life raw vegan retreat center in Patagonia, Ariz., which is a tiny town (pop. 1,000) 20 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border where approximately one in 10 residents is a raw food vegan.

Since I live just up the road from Vivapura (I’m currently living and working at working at the Tree of Life), I recently had a chance to drop by the Vivapura warehouse factory and sample a bunch of their stuff. According to Vivapura’s website, superfoods are “plant-based foods that boast extraordinary energizing and healing properties due to their abundance and density of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, and other vital nutrients.” From the stuff I tried, I have to say I can’t feel a noticeable change in my body, but either way, Vivapura’s stuff tastes amazing. Their superfood products range from raw regulars like cacao nibs, cocounut flakes, gogi berries etc. to more obscure items like wild-harvested spirulina crunchies (spirulina is a protein-packed algae that tastes way better than it should) and several proprietary blends of upscale, nutella-like coconut chocolate crème spread. All of their products are organically grown, ethically sourced and sold at really reasonable prices! (Note: Vivapura does sell a few bee-derived products, which I avoid of course, but everything else is animal-product-free.)

As of right now, Vivapura is only available to SF Bay Area folks through ordering directly from the company’s website or the Tree of Life Culture of Life Store. The good news is Director of Retail Sales Erika Rier assures me Vivapura has laid the groundwork to get their loveliness into Rainbow Grocery, and other local Bay Area independent organic stores really soon. If you want Vivapura products sooner rather than later (which, trust me, you do!) Rier says to request them from your independent local organic retailer.

This is the latest post by Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah! [image from Vivapura]


Super-dog saves the day!  »

Another heartwarming story of a lost child saved by the efforts of a loyal dog. Blue, a Queensland Heeler (shut up with your breedism!), went missing along with three-year-old Victoria in Cordes Lakes, Ariz. on Thursday afternoon. That night, temperatures went down into the 30s—that’s Fahrenheit, bitches. The girl and the dog were found by a helicopter on Friday morning. It was actually the dog that the rescue crew first saw, then the girl. Blue was looking for help! I know it! The police are saying he kept the girl warm through the night and protected her from god knows what animals they have in AZ. OMG SO CUTE. So it was a happy ending, plus, the dog totally got to ride in a helicopter. BONUS!

Every year or so I hear a story in the news like this—a kid wanders off and gets saved by the family dog. I love these stories! I mean, if dogs could learn to keep kids from wandering off, that might be preferable, but keeping them safe until people find them is the next best thing. And WAY CUTER!

I searched the internets to see when the last time something like this happened and look what I found! The New York Times has some old shit up, I know this, but I didn’t know they had a story from 1879 about a dog saving a drowning boy! Awesome! Check it out:

Is that not just the cutest shit ever?! YES DUH!


I am Seva, hear me roar! Raw vegan adventures at the Tree of Life  »

Today I awoke to a gorgeous sunrise over the desert mountain range of Patagonia, Ariz. The wispy clouds swirling around the peaks in the distance reminded me of the geography of my previous hometown, San Francisco. Besides that, the red rock and cactus-infused landscape here at Tree of Life, which is nestled in the midst of highly spiritual nexus of several energy meridians, is a totally new environment for me. But with each day, this oasis feels more like home.
It is my fourth day here at Tree of Life, or as many folks here affectionately call it, “the Tree.” I was brought in to be the Tree’s newest Seva, which is “a deeply intense spiritual journey of commitment, intimacy and transformation.” Being a Seva provides an opportunity for those with spiritual perseverance (or, netzakh in Hebrew, a language spoken in the Essene Kabbalistic Jewish tradition that, along with the American Lakota tradition and the Nityananda Yoga traditions, underpins the spiritual foundation of the community here) to do an individualized work-trade that harmoniously links their particular gifts and the needs of Tree of Life community. 

Besides paying for my flight from SFO and transportation from the Tucson airport, situated an hour and a half from the Tree’s location in Patagonia, and a small fee to live in the staff dorms, every other aspect of living here is included in the work-trade arrangement. This includes yoga classes, meditation and chanting sessions, Inipi (sweat lodges), access to hot tubs, a sauna, personal growth workshops, music and dance programming, incredibly delicious, mostly local and all-organic vegan live food cuisine, and most importantly, the invaluable chance to immerse myself in a unique, spiritual, raw vegan community. All of this is in exchange for my commitment to help Tree of Life to innovate and expand its online media presence to spread the organization’s beautiful teachings of peace, spiritual living and live food veganism to heal the planet.

From just a few short days here, I can already see how much this place changes lives. The day after I arrived, I attended a women-only Inipi, which involved howling and crying and singing and sending out prayers for women in our lives and all women everywhere in a steam-filled, womb-like cavern under the guidance of the fabulous, highly-respected live foodist, dance, spiritual and energy healer Parashakti. Afterward, as we 15 or so women toweled off while sipping organic green juice and grapefruit juice in a warm teepee, people shared the most beautiful words of gratitude for the experience. I felt myself getting wet around the eyes, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just leftover steam!

Thanks for reading! I’ll keep try to keep Vegansaurus updated with my raw vegan Tree of Life adventures, including copious pictures of the amazing things the live vegan café prepares.

This is the latest post by Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah!


Arnold is lame; Arizona is awesome  »

It is better living for animals in Arizona, thanks to SB 1115. The governor signed the bill yesterday, which passed 28 to 1 in the Arizona state Senate, and 53 to 1 in its House. Impressive!

The legislation addresses mostly dog and horse issues. More broadly, it “prohibit[s] the intentional, staged fighting of any species of animal.” Did you know that people make different kinds of animals fight each other? Fucking sickening. But! no longer in Arizona!

Compare this to California Governor Fuckface, who cannot deal with the fact that people concern themselves with animal welfare. Oh how I hate that man.

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