Give yourself the gift of a DOWNER »
I know not everyone watches as much TV as I do so I’m not sure if you’ve all seen the latest KFC commercial.* It’s a peach. Just kidding, it’s crazy! They tell you to “give yourself the gift of time,” this holiday by getting their $19.99 “Festive Feast” for your special dinner. They want you to make a TRADITION out of it. Dudes, that’s fucking TRAGIC. I can only imagine that you would only buy this meal for Christmas or your holiday of choice if you really had to because you can’t cook and can’t afford anything else. That is such a downer, KFC. Like I said, TRAGIC. It’s especially a tragedy considering the cost of KFC to your health and the planet is way more than $19.99.
This is my favorite scene in the commercial:
They have this winter wonderland thing going on with snow and all and then this giant snowball drops down! But wait! That’s not a snowball! Gross.
The truth is that you don’t have to eat KFC’s “feast.” If you have no money and aren’t the best cook, you can still make a great family meal. Actually, in my family, on Christmas eve our traditional meal is spaghetti! Spaghetti is cheap! Math time! Let’s look at the figures:
Walgreens sells Barilla spaghetti (16 oz.) for $1.59 and Ragu pasta sauce at two jars for $3; that’s $4.59 with extra sauce to boot! They also have garlic salt for $.99 and olive oil for $3.49, and my corner store sells french bread for $.99; for $5.47 you’ve got garlic bread (with plenty of olive oil left over). For vegan meatballs, I’m afraid you won’t have any luck at Walgreens—though in SF and NYC, you might find some at your corner store (we live like liquor store kings!). VeganEssentials.com has Nate’s meatless meatballs for $5.29 so I’d imagine they’d be priced similarly at the grocery store. All together, that’s $15.35 and you’ve got sauce, olive oil, garlic salt, and probably meatballs left over. BOOM! Yummier and cheaper than the KFC meal!
So this year, give yourself the gift of spaghetti! Yay!
*That link is probably temporary. But see it now!
Un-Cookbook review: The Raw Healing Patch! Veganize your rawness! »
In my last post on Vegansaurus, I offered a few strategies for making raw organic foods more accessible and affordable, especially for young people and lower-income folks living in the Bay Area. Wherever you fall on the raw-to-cooked spectrum, it’s indisputable that the raw food movement is helping to bring more folks into the vegan fold, which is something all vegans can be happy about. It seems to me that if we find creative ways to motivate raw foodists to go full-on vegan (e.g., rain down on them with mad knowledge, advice, free vegan food and love), we can help them discover that, through raw veganism, they can make a huge difference not only for their own health, but also for the health of the planet. A couple good places to start are local nonprofit People’s Grocery and Lauren Ornelas’ fabulous food justice/human rights/environmental advocacy group the Food Empowerment Project, which work to source ethical products and make organic produce accessible to everyone.
In the spirit of accessibility, I recently got my hands on a copy of The Healing Patch Cookbook produced by the down-to-earth, super-ecologically conscious, queer veg couple Julie Cara Hoffenberg and Sarah Woodward, who together make up the raw food team known as The Healing Patch. The cookbook, which they were kind enough to also make available in an eco-friendly e-book format, is utterly unpretentious, and a great way to usher rawies into the ethical vegan eating path. Hoffenberg and Woodward make clear throughout the witty cookbook that their way of eating and (un)cooking is just that—their way—and that they would never wish to impose them on anyone else; yet they are very clear that raw veganism has remarkably improved their lives. Healing Patch’s primary goal is to offer gentle coaxing to adopt a raw vegan lifestyle, basing their recipes and advice on what helped Woodward heal after her battle with ovarian cancer. Thankfully, they do this without laying on the sorts of guilt-trips or strict guidelines usually found in these .
Healing Patch’s recipes are really easy to make, require no esoteric ingredients, and have cute little factoids, including nutritional profiles. They also offer useful tips on economical home sprouting, gardening, selecting the best produce for each season, and how to substitute recipe ingredients for whatever is local and fresh whenever possible. They succeed at providing ample tricks for being a raw vegan while healing yourself and the planet at the lowest possible expense.
The one issue I take with this otherwise charming volume is that some of the recipes include dairy, ostensibly in order to help folks to “transition more gently” to raw veganism. This is disappointing, especially since the authors clearly believe in the tenets of raw veganism and oppose cruelty and oppression. It seems to me like the duo hasn’t quite made the connection that the dairy industry is horribly cruel and directly supports the meat industry. Maybe they should pick up feminist masterpiece The Sexual Politics of Meat by my personal hero Carol J. Adams—which, by the way, has just been released in a newly updated 20th anniversary edition!
Once Healing Patch gets educated in the ways of vegan feminism by Adams, I’m sure they’ll be willing to make all of their recipes totally vegan. Feel free to comment to them about this on their website—it will be good practice for the raw foodists you’ll be converting to raw veganism in the near future! Anyway, hopefully the next edition of The Healing Patch (which I do hope they eventually write!) will address this concern.
This is the second post written by Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah!
The poor vegan’s guide to eating raw and organic on the cheap in the Bay Area »
As an early 20-something living in the Mission, working for just above minimum wage at a peace nonprofit in East Bay, balancing my drive to be an ethical consumer while adhering to a hella tight budget can be a real challenge. To avoid breaking the bank, I often bypass expensive bars, shops, concerts, clothing stores in favor of free or inexpensive local shows, lectures, art openings, meditation classes and second-hand clothing and wares. But as an ethical vegan who eats primarily raw, when it comes to feeding myself and those I care about, there are no exceptions: I refuse to purchase anything but organic, local when possible, fresh produce and raw vegan food.
It’s a no-brainer that a diet rich in raw foods is extremely healthful and sustainable for the planet. Cooking foods, especially greens and other nutrient-dense vegetables, kills their live enzymes and makes them less usable by the body. I personally believe that life is about balance, and I am certainly not out to keep anyone from downing ample quantities of Souley Vegan’s sinfully good baked Mac n’ Cheese. But it’s indisputable fact that we vegans need to care for our health. I would argue that the raw food movement has been really remarkable in that it brings a lot of folks to veganism that might not otherwise be motivated to care about food-justice issues. The vegan and raw food movements definitely intersect, but it would be naïve to say that someone who is raw is vegan. Many raw foodists eschew cooked foods but still eat raw dead animals and consume feminized animal protein (raw cheese, milk, etc.).
Unfortunately, raw organic vegan food in the Bay Area has gotten a bad rap for being pretentious (ahem, Landmark) and/or financially inaccessible. This keeps a lot of lower-income folks, especially minorities, out of the raw food movement. A recent raw food festival I went to at the Living Light Raw Culinary Institute in Fort Bragg, Calif., featured speakers, music, tons of raw food products and ultra-fancy, expensive appliances like Dehydrators, sprouters, spiralizers, and ultra-fancy juicers and blenders and, unsurprisingly, very few young people and people of color. This event only further confirmed my suspicion that the raw vegan divide seems to follow class and age lines, and that’s something that I think can easily change. It’s something I want to see change.
So how is it possible to be an organic raw vegan food while living on the cheap? My first piece of advice is to glean as much information as you can from the Internet about what raw foodism is all about and how to do it right (you probably won’t feel super hot if you eat only raw nuts and dried fruit). For some Bay Area-specific tips, check out my nifty guide below. If you’re lower-income and struggling to be a raw food vegan, please share your story with me. I would love to help us band together to figure out creative ways to make raw veganism easier and more fun!
1. Go to Farmers’ Markets as they are about to close. Many vendors offer surplus produce at free or heavily discounted prices.
2. Check grocery stores produce sections for bulk bags of slightly bruised or perfectly ripe organic produce. These are often marked down to almost nothing.
3. Find a Food Not Bombs in your area: The vegan organization provides free, mostly organic vegan meals, which often include raw food.
4. The Gratitude Bowl. Café Gratitude offers a sliding-scale raw vegan dish. It’s filled with kale and tahini and is very filling. If you can afford to subsidize someone else’s bowl, it’s a great way to support lower-income folks’ access to raw food veganism.
5. Visit Alive!* at the Tuesday and Thursday Ferry Building Farmer’s Markets. They offer many hearty items at a much smaller price than they do at their restaurant.
6. Host a raw vegan potluck with your friends. Everyone can chip in and defray the costs while creating a delicious spread. Try Gone Raw for recipe tips.
6. Buy Kaia Foods.* A raw vegan company located in Oakland, Calif., Kaia is committed to making truly affordable raw foods including granolas, sunflower seeds and fruit leathers that are delicious and totally healthy. Plus they donate 1% of their profits to combat world hunger.
7. Sprout your own sprouts! Bike over to Rainbow (or any other grocery store) and pick up some bulk dried chickpeas, mung beans, lentils (just not kidney or black beans, they are poisonous raw!), soak them overnight, then let them air-dry in a mason jar with a bit of cloth or mesh on top. Rinse them once or twice a day, letting them air dry until they have cute little tails. To avoid any bacteria that might grow in those wet, moist environments, after sprouts are full grown, soak them in a bowl of water with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (it’s totally safe!) for half an hour. Rinse, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for super-filling, super-cheap, protein-rich, crunchy treat for salads, wraps, etc.
*Full disclosure: my beautiful, also raw vegan girlfriend works at Kaia Foods and I myself worked for a total of one days at the Alive! Farmers’ Market stand.
This post was written by Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah!
Recipe Alert! Warmth in a Bowl: Baked Oatmeal! »
It’s cold as a witch’s tit here in the Bay Area these days. So cold, in fact, that this hardened Canadian is wearing leg warmers OVER HER PANTS. That’s right; it’s chilly. I know it can be hard to drag one’s ass out of bed in the morning when it’s still dark and all you have to look forward to is a cold and maybe rainy slog to work (or whatever you do with your time), so I thought I’d share a little recipe that’s been making my mornings just a little more awesome. It’s called baked oatmeal, and you are WELCOME, friends.
In addition to being Canadian, I’m also a Scot, so I know from oatmeal, and this is the best I’ve ever had. PLUS, it’s dirt-ass cheap, and it’s quick, so you can throw it in your oven while you’re showering, and it’ll be just about done by the time you’re ready to eat it!
Adapted from the recipe over at Everybody Likes Sandwiches:
Mix together in a mixing bowl:
- 1 cup oats (not the instant kind!)
- 1/3 cup dried fruit (I like chopped dried apricots, but you could use anything—you could even use fresh or frozen fruit, just reduce the amount of liquid a little bit)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Pinches as desired of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and allspice
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (you could also sub maple syrup or agave)
- 1 cup soy/almond/rice/hazelnut/whateverkindofveganmilkyoulike
- 2/3 to 3/4 cups juice or water (I used a bit of OJ mixed with some water, but apple would probably be a good bet)
- You can also add some shredded coconut or ground flax if you feel like it.
Pour that mixture into a casserole dish and bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes. If you have some nuts handy, throw them in a baking dish and put them in the oven for the last 5 minutes of the oatmeal’s cooking time.
After the oatmeal is baked, pull it out of the oven and serve right away. Top with more non-dairy milk, sweetener, the nuts you roasted (chop ‘em first) or whatever your little heart desires! Personally, I like this with a bit of that coconut milk creamer and about 80 cups of coffee. Enjoy!
Images: Jordan Pattern