Know What App! »
Hey guys! Vegansaurus is featured in this cool new Know What iPhone app. They gathered a bunch of super-smart experts* to create city guides of awesomeness. We did one for the best veg food in the S.F. Bay Area. So buy it! Because it’s cheap! And fun! And maybe even useful!
The Vegansaurus guide is just $1.99 if you feel like owning it. MAYBE YOU DO, MAYBE YOU DON’T—either way, we still love you! Just a little more if you do and a little less if you don’t, because that’s how love works.
*AND US! WE TOTALLY FOOLED THEM!
iPhone app review: VegScan makes late night junk food shopping easier »
If you’ve been vegan for longer than a year or two, you probably already have your own tricks for picking up packaged food and deciding if it’s vegan in two seconds or less. My first trick is to look for cholesterol. If there’s more than 0 mg, it’s automatically not vegan (it doesn’t go both ways; plenty of non-vegan food has no cholesterol). Then I look for the allergens in bold at the end: “Contains milk, eggs.” Finally, I scan the ingredients from the middle out, where the whey is usually hidden. After being vegan for long enough, you want this go as quickly as possible. You want your Oreos and you want them now.
But, what if it’s 2 a.m. and you’re plastered? Nothing makes sense, labels are blurry, and you mostly don’t care if those Cocoa Rice Krispies are fortified with D3 or not, because who can remember if D2 or D3 is the wrong one, anyway? Really what you want is a simple yes or no. Enter the VegScan iPhone app: stop thinking, start scanning.
To test this out under real world conditions, I decided to get drunk and go for a Safeway midnight junk food run. Because do we really need VegScan at Rainbow or Whole Foods? Probably not. I have two beers, two shots of whiskey, and two shots of vodka, and I’m ready for Safeway. For me, that’s plenty, but not too much; I still need to be able to operate my phone/not lose or drop it.
Using VegScan is dead simple. After you sign up, you can start scanning right away. All you do is hold the camera over the barcode, and press the button. Done. The app immediately tells you if the product is vegan or not.
Or at least it would, if they had enough data. VegScan is still pretty new, and all the data is crowdsourced, meaning that if a product isn’t in there, it’s up to you to type it in and mark if it’s vegan or not. To their credit, they make a game out of it with badges and points (I’m already ranked #11!) but if you’re not the kind of person who enjoys sorting your bookshelves by color on your days off, this could annoy the hell out of you.
Of all the products I scanned, only one matched (Top Ramen Oriental Flavor). Others that didn’t match: Thomas’s English Muffins, Yellow Tail Merlot and Chardonnay, Munchos, PrimoTaglio Provolone Cheese, Chex Mix Original, Doritos Salsa Verde, Guinness, Tostitos Hint of Lime, Baken-ets Pork Rinds, Skippy SuperChunk, bulk Safeway bread rolls, Silk Original Flavor, Hostess Donettes (powdered). So, if you ever scan any of those, you’ll see my opinion of whether or not they’re vegan, and you can vote on whether or not I was lying.*
If you’re a seasoned vegan with the Accidentally Vegan list practically memorized, VegScan probably won’t be too useful. But if you’re obsessed with organizing data—and you know who you are—hurry up and start scanning. Future drunk vegans need you.
Vegetarian Awareness Month! Because vegetarians are pretty all right »
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month—did you know? We totally missed World Vegetarian Day on Oct. 1, too; whoops! Thanks to the SF Appeal for bringing it to our attention, otherwise we might’ve ignored it altogether. Who cares about vegetarians, anyway? All hung up on milk and cheese and eggs and butter, and then the ones who eat FISH and still call themselves “vegetarian,” come on already.
We should care about vegetarians, though. The biography of the average vegan includes time as a vegetarian: all making cheese omelets every day “to get enough protein” before you learned to cook/eat a balanced diet; assuming that if a product wasn’t literally made of meat it must be veg-friendly; naïvely ordering in restaurants without inquiring about chicken broth or fish sauce—rare is the person who wakes up from an omnivorous diet to a vegan lifestyle.
Vegetarians are our pals! Most of them believe in animal rights, just like most of us vegans, and we need to stick together to fight for those beliefs. This month, take time to be extra-nice to your vegetarian friends and family. Their diet is still better than any omnivore’s! Cook them a delicious vegan meal, and if they want to put cheese on top of your pasta with vegetables, pretend you don’t notice (this time). Maybe buy them a vegan cheese to try! If they don’t like it, then you get it back anyway.
Justine Quart listed her favorite veg restaurants in San Francisco in the Appeal, and they’re pretty good! What are your favorite places/dishes? Where would you take your vegetarians, to tell them they’re awesome while hinting that they would be even more so if they stopped eating dairy?
The North American Vegetarian Society is holding a contest for the individual “with the most outstanding activity” and the group “implementing the cleverest outreach” during World Vegetarian Month. You could win free registration, accommodation, and meals at Vegetarian Summerfest ‘11, which—is a big deal? OK, it’s a big deal! To enter the contest, write a little essay explaining your reaching-out and how effective and smart and amazing you’ve been, and submit it by Oct. 30.
Now maybe you want to make dinner for those vegetarians? Or even those omnivores in your life? Maybe convince small children to eat new vegetables? How about seeing how many vegetarians/omnivores you can get to download—and use!—PCRM’s free 21-day Vegan Kickstart app? Yes, technically most of these suggestions are more vegan- than vegetarian-oriented, but if you’re doing nice things for your vegetarians, does it matter that those nice things also serve your hidden agenda? It’s not like it’s an evil hidden agenda.
If being a secret agent for the vegan lifestyle makes you a little uncomfortable, that’s fine (traitor, we will find you). How about just finding all your vegetarians and telling them that no matter how many times you’ve stood in front of the milks at the grocery store, yelling about the dairy industry’s terrible abuses, you respect anyone who doesn’t eat dead animals, and who does work for animal rights. Maybe throw in a hug, if you’re a hugger.* Vegetarians, we are Aware of you; and you really are all right.
*not everyone has a hugging relationship!
A million recipes, a whole bunch of videos, some adorable (rescued!) animals, another fruit in a cute shape AND MORE: Friday link-o-rama! »
The Cute Show visits an alpaca farm. It is unsettling to hear the farm children talk about the little creatures in terms of fleece quality, but I advise ignoring them and focusing on the unbearable squeezeability of the alpacas. Look at their furry little legs and their fuzzy heads! Look at the little bitty blue-eyed deaf one! It’s only four days old you can pick it up and snuggle it LOVE YOU ALPACAS.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau makes the best tuna salad and quesadillas you’ll ever eat: the kind without tuna or cheese! Yes, really. Instructional video and recipes here.
WAY better than the heart- and star-shaped cucumbers: buddha-shaped pears! Will someone in Europe please send us some? Label them “trinkets” or whatever on the customs form, you KNOW how California is about importing produce. Dear state of California, we promise not to let these pears’ seeds come anywhere near your fertile soil.
There’s going to be a small, open-air fall farmers market just around the corner from the White House!
Activism had some effect! Remember how in The Cove, some of the dolphins were sold to aquariums, and the rest were murdered to be sold for meat? Well! Because of international pressure created by audiences of the film, the Japanese town responsible for this horror show has promised not to slaughter the dolphins in the season’s first “catch” (ugh). Instead, the people say they’ll release the dolphins they don’t sell live. Yes that’s still far from ideal, but it’s a huge improvement over mass murder.
San Francisco city Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced an ordinance this week to prohibit the procedure known as declawing on cats. For all the nothing that our local government seems to accomplish, this little piece of legislation is at least a little compensation:
"…[D]eclawing and tendonectomy are inhumane procedures that cause pain, anguish and permanent disability to a cat, and frequently result in behavioral and personality changes in cats subjected to those procedures. The primary benefit of the procedures—the convenience of pet owners—is outweighed by the cruelty of the procedures. It is inappropriate to remove parts of an animal’s anatomy, thereby causing the animal pain and suffering, and restricting and altering its natural behaviors, simply to fit the owner’s lifestyle, aesthetics or convenience, without benefit to the animal."
We like our Board of Supes with a little righteous anger.
Make cheezy quackers with Celine of Have Cake, Will Travel! She’s adorable, they’re adorable, there is nothing not adorable (and delicious!) about this video.
The recipe for “Ultimate Vegan Hot Wingz” over at Vegan Dad looks too good! If I make these, don’t expect to get any! Just me and the hot wingz and LEAVE ME ALONE I’M STARVING.
Har har: Quarry Girl announces the release of their iPhone app, which allows you to just push buttons instead of talking to people. This is all you talk about anyway, right?
MORE DELICIOUS FOOD ALERT! Carrie at Map Mistress tells us how to roast perfect sweet potatoes (Hey! It’s almost fall! CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THIS SHIT IT WAS JUST NEW YEAR’S!) and I know this was mentioned before but VEGAN CHEDDAR CHEESE BISCUITS over at It’s Faturday. That truly calls for a what what in the butt shout out.
Eater SF has a few photos from inside Gracias Madre, the vegan nuevo Latino restaurant by the Cafe Gratitude people. It’s set to open in “late summer 2009,” which technically means anytime between now and Sept. 21. Who’s taking me when it opens? I will eat raw vegan nuevo Latino ANYTHING, especially with those Gratitude nut cheeses, they are the best.
Hey, it’s National Cholesterol Month. You know who has super-duper excellent blood cholesterol? Vegans! Oh yes. Encourage all your non-vegan friends and family members to get their cholesterol levels checked, while you eat dairy-free ice cream out of the carton, in front of them. Because usually you are good and can keep your smugness to a minimum, but no one’s perfect, and basically the NIH is asking you to rub your better health in everyone else’s face, so why not?