Vegansaurus does BluePrint Cleanse: the verdict  »

[Our series on cleanses continues, with a look into the rest of our three-day BluePrint Cleanse!]

If you’re wondering if I broke the cleanse early, you’re right! I totally did. But, it was pretty late in the game, with two juices left on Friday night, I declared enough and ordered some vegetable sushi for delivery. My stomach did not revolt, a BluePrint Cleanse fairy did not appear to punish me, and I went on to (sadly) drink my last bit of cashew milk.

Overall, I enjoyed cleansing, in a kind of sick way. Today, my first day officially back, I found myself kinda craving the green juice, with the celery-ish aftertaste. And cashew milk? Imma find you again. We will meet again, perhaps with vodka to make a “BPC Lebowski.”

I’m not cut out for full-on cleansing. It’s just not me. The headaches were brutal, and the raw food “detox” symptoms were pretty interesting, like non-stop itching on the first day, and all kinds of weird smells.

Positives? Sleeping like a motherfucking baby, especially on day two and three. In fact, I did not need additional sleep aids, and I almost always need a little help. There was mental clarity, which is another thing that is rare in my brain. I didn’t get the energy boost that I was promised, though that could be due to other reasons.

I’m definitely doing another cleanse again (like I said there is a bit of perverse joy out of it), but I’ll stick to one or two days, or BluePrint Cleanse’s Juice Till Dinner.

And yes, I did indeed lose those three pounds. Much better than Cal Teen bars.

BluePrint Clease provided me with a three-day cleanse free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. You can order your own cleanse (available via pick-up in select US cities or via FedEx) at their website.


Vegansaurus does BluePrint Cleanse: Day 1  »

[This post marks the first of what will be a series on cleanses! Several of your Vegansaurus writers will be taking one for the team and trying out a few juice cleanses. First up, New York City’s infamous BluePrint Cleanse!]
I spent most of my day completely miserable. My head ached, and I’m fantasizing about pancakes.

 Why? I’m on a cleanse. I said I’d never be on a cleanse. I MAKE FUN OF PEOPLE ON CLEANSES. Well, make fun of me now, because I’m in this.
The reasons were pretty simple: I feel like utter shit all the time, Also? I really want to lose three pounds.

I’m already very familiar with BluePrint Cleanse thanks to the exploits of one Julia Allison, so I went with that. Also, I’m lazy, and didn’t want to spend any time preparing anything myself. BluePrint is so dummy-proof they actually label the juices for you in the order you have to drink them—I appreciate that. Otherwise, I’d be mixing them all up into one giant juice (has anyone tried this?).

You’re supposed to prepare by slowly weaning yourself off sugar, coffee and carbs in the days before, but I didn’t do that. Oops! To be fair, the day before I ate pretty lightly and had a salad for dinner. That’s a lot of healthy eating for this girl!

Today, I had coffee and a banana for breakfast, and started the cleanse at 1 p.m., right before a conference call. Perfect timing, right!? I didn’t want to think about it anymore, I dove right into that fucker.  I did start my day with a water with lemon like I was supposed to, so I DID read your prep email, BluePrint Cleanse.

The first juice is a green juice, made from lots of good stuff like kale, celery, and other green things. People seem to either love it or hate it, and I loved it. Despite my ultra-unhealthy leanings, I love green juices. And I felt pretty awesome after the first one. Healthy. Like Gwyneth Paltrow must feel every time she sends off her GOOP newsletter.  However, five minutes later, I was starving. The “cheat sheet” to BluePrint allows you a few little snack foods in case you get crazy, including veggie broth, celery, and avocado. So of course, it was time for a snack of broth!

Let me tell you—veggie broth has NEVER tasted so good. That broth was *almost* like the romesco sauce from Ubuntu. In my mind, they were basically the same. About an hour later, was the PAM juice, pineapple, apple, and mint. This juice was really amazing, and could easily be mixed with a little vodka or rum (See? I’m still up to my old tricks! BPC *does* have a cocktail menu, though).

At this point, it was only 4 p.m. Four fucking o’clock. How was I going to make it with no food and FOUR MORE JUICES? A bit later, I chewed on some celery stalks and downed juice number 3, another green juice. This is the same recipe from the first juice, but the batch was not as celery-esque as juice number one.

Despite headaches and the food cravings, I actually feel okay.  All I miss is sugar. Bread. Dear, sweet, sugar. Delicious, wonderful carbs. But what I’m finding now that I don’t have all this food to eat is…I’m bored. I spend so much time and energy thinking about food and eating food that now I don’t have to think about it, I don’t know what to do.

At the end of the night, I’m about halfway through juice number 6, a cashew milk, agave and cinnamon drink, and it is like a little milkshake. It’s a relief: finally some sweetness after all the tart fruit and veggie juices. Number 5, a beet/apple/ginger concoction, was surprisingly much better than I thought it would be. Number 4, the spicy lemonade, was another blend that I felt would be improved with some tequila.

Now, it’s confession time. Because this isn’t going to be one of those cleanse diaries where the author magically floats her way through it, living on smiles. I DID have a handful of baby carrots after eating my permitted “cheat” of ¼ of an avocado. And I broke in another way: I had a bunch of crackers when I freaked out about my salt intake. I have reasons for this that are pretty sound, so I don’t really care that I “cheated.” As far as I’m concerned, I MADE IT.

Other than that, I’m uh, not that hungry. Really. Honestly. Physically, that is. Mentally, I could eat a pizza wrapped in a burrito deep-fried in phyllo dough. Actually, maybe not. But, really, I’m not that hungry at all. I suspect this will only get easier.

Come back for day 2 of my party with BluePrint Cleanse. Tell us, what are your experiences with cleanses, both home-made and commercial?

Disclaimer: BluePrint Cleanse provided me with a three-day cleanse free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. Pancake photo by Moirabot, via Creative Commons.


Twig & Leaf Botanicals is offering us a discount!  »

The fabulous homemade, all-organic, woman-owned Twig & Leaf Botanicals is not only one of our fabulous SXSW sponsors, she’s also offering a very special discount code for Vegansaurus readers!

Head on over to her etsy shop, make your selections, and enter in “vegansaurus” as the coupon code for 20 percent off your entire purchase.

Twig & Leaf’s got all kinds of goodies to make you happy: cooking spices in jars, candles, and lots of home made bath and beauty products.

[Did you know Laura will be a panelist at this year’s SXSW Interactive? If you’ll be at SXSW, come to the panel and say hi!]


GIVE! Vegansaurus’ favorite charitable organizations  »

Your Vegansaurus loves giving! Especially with the internet, it is as easy to give money to an organization doing awesome work that you can’t do as it is to buy a bunch of hot-stuff underpants (for example. Nothing’s on my mind!), and really, do you need fancy new things more than people need to learn to read, or elderly animals need rescue and support? OF COURSE NOT, YOU MONSTERS.

In between the Christmas-present-buying and cookie-inhaling, let’s get spirit-of-the-season-y and donate to some extremely worthy charities. Charities don’t care whether you celebrate a religious holiday in December! They want your money, maybe your time, nothing else. So, as we finally put an end to 2010, annus horribilis, Vegansaurus offers you a short list of charities we especially love.

We each chose one local and one inter/national group, which was difficult! They all accept monetary donations online; all you have to do is choose an amount and your method of payment, and BAM, you’ve helped. Give $10, give $100, whatever you can—it’s so easy and so wonderful, and it makes you feel like $10 million.

Brianna Kaufman
My mom is on the board of directors for this wonderful organization called Haven Hills that provides immediate shelter for victims of domestic violence as well as longer-term transitional housing programs, a 24-hour hotline, counseling, etc. It’s something that both my mother and I really believe in, and since the financial crisis the organization has been struggling a lot and unfortunately might have to cut back on some services.  It’s located in Los Angeles. Donate here.

In Defense of Animals is an animal welfare advocacy organization that campaigns against animal cruelty worldwide. One of their causes that is especially close to my heart is their marine conservation campaign against the senseless dolphin slaughter in Japan. You may recognize this conservationist effort as the impetus behind the “controversial”/mind-blowing movie The Cove. Currently, all donations up to $100,00 made here will be matched. Otherwise, donate here.

Jonas Madden-Connor
Rocket Dog Rescue is where Hazel’s from and Laura is vice president and so I love them. It’s a fine and venerable institution and the dogs! They are cute! Donate here.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition helps make biking in the city safer and more accessible. Bikes and veganism go together like Laura and beauty [Ed.: they’re always like this!]. Donate here.

Jordan Pattern
Home At Last Animal Rescue is a local animal-rescue that rescues animals from shelters where they’re likely to be euthanized. That means that they have a lot of older animals or ones with behavior problems. My husband and I adopted our dear problem cat, Lucy, from Home At Last, and they were a pleasure to work with. Lucy, who is so shy she spent her first month with us hiding under our bathtub, only emerging when we were asleep, needed someone to advocate for her and make sure she got a loving home, and Home At Last did that for her. I know I’m grateful! Donate here.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund do great work. They are a group of lawyers, legal professionals, law students, and volunteers who use the law to improve animals’—and animal activists’—lives. Some examples of the good work the ALDF has done includes filing a petition to prevent the permit renewal of a truck stop that kept a live tiger in inhumane conditions; filing a suit against BP to prevent the burning of live sea turtles as part of the BP spill clean-up efforts; petitioning the Department of Transportation to require airlines to report on the deaths of companion animals who fly as cargo; providing scholarships and internship opportunities to law students interested in animal law; and filing countless legal briefs in cases involving animal cruelty or the unfair prosecution of animal rights activists. Donate here.

Laura Beck
The Southern Poverty Law Center basically uses legal jujitsu to fight for everything good and against everything bad, and are super effective. basically, they go into areas where it’s still all mississippi burning (figuratively and literally) and attempt to set shit straight. Also, they’re matching donations up to $800,000 through the end of the year, so do it up! Donate here.

There are lots of really great rescued farm animal sanctuaries to choose from but this year, Harvest Home Sanctuary will get my dough. They’re superheroes; I can’t believe how much they do with so little. Plus, it’s in Stockton, so it’s close enough to visit and cuddle those cute-ass animals! Donate here.

Maria Diaz
The Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco offers what is perhaps the Holy Grail: free health care for uninsured women delivered by a team of fantastic female practitioners. They focus on gynecological health but also have acupuncture and counseling for you hippies and sad girls. Donate here.

I know there’s controversy about micro-loans, but personally I think it’s a great idea and I love lending money to small businesses in developing nations through Kiva. It takes a very small amount to become a lender—the minimum is $25—and it’s so rewarding to get reports of how the business is doing. Some vegan suggestions: A Cambodian lady grows soybeans and produces tofu; an Ecuadorean man grows cocoa beans; a Lebanese man runs a coffee shop; a group of eight Ugandan people sell bananas. Find a partner here.

Meave Gallagher
I nominate Save A Bunny: you know I love a bun! They’re local, so their ambassadors get to go to all the awesome events, like VegFest, which is where I petted my first rabbit. Like cats and dogs, rabbits have unique personalities and make wonderful companion animals; like cats and dogs, rabbits are very frequently impulse-bought and quickly abandoned, making them the third most frequently euthanized animals at shelters. SaveABunny rescues rabbits from death rows all over the Bay and places them in loving homes. If you can’t adopt me a bunny for Christmas, help out some of their biggest supporters. Donate here.

Room to Read works in developing countries—so far, seven countries in Southeast Asia, and two in southern Africa—to establish libraries, and publish children’s books by local writers and illustrators in their local languages. They build schools, and focus especially on helping girls successfully complete secondary education. Vegansaurus: we love animals, food, and literacy. Reading is the best! And all kids deserve access to great books. Donate Here.

My ma gives to Opportunity House; she likes that it offers homeless people in her town both shelter and the chance to change their lives. Donate here.

Megan Rascal
Founded in SF in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia (the name AND the address!) is a nonprofit program that helps kids with writing! Writing is very important! Plus, San Francisco’s 826, the OG, has a Pirate Supply Store! ARRRR you paying with cash or credit? (Ha!) I know 826 is super-awesome because it is my friend Lizzy’s favorite charity and Lizzy is a genius and probably our future ambassador to China. I wish I was kidding! Lizzy, come home! The program has proven very popular and now there are 826s in eight different cites, so we can donate on the national level, or locally in San Francisco and New York.

I like Born Free USA because I HATE circuses and I LOVE elephants! The circus abuses elephants who are the super-sweetest, awesomest animals ever. They are family animals but the circus takes the babies when they are just two years old; in the wild, they aren’t even weaned until they’re four to six years old, but the younger they are, the easier they are to bully and beat into submission. You can read more about how great elephants are and how they shouldn’t be held in captivity in my previous posts here, here and here. Donate to the elephant defense fund or the organization in general; I’ll be happy with either!

We give money out of love, guilt, hope, terror, habit—not for recognition or praise, of course. We love you if you give $1 to one place, $50 to all of these organizations, and if you’re just too broke, send this link to all your friends and family with money to spare. Add your own favorite charities to this list in the comments! Thank you for being caring, thoughtful activists. We’d cover all of you with baby animals and delicious vegan baked goods if we could. And kisses, big wet grateful kisses. Happy winter holidays, everyone!

[photo by Lawrence OP!]


Any Howard Stern fans in the house? It’s OK. You can admit. This is a Stern-safe space—at least my posts are!

For various reasons, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Howard Stern. I’m pretty sure I learned everything I needed to know about the world listening to his radio show in high school. And, my dad works in his building and says he is a very generous Christmas tipper. Despite his many shortcomings, Stern is A-OK with me. 

So of course I can’t help but link you all to his on-air partner Robin Quiver’s upcoming vegan cooking show, Vegucating Robin. Robin became vegan in 2007; she even eats vegan at such meaty institutions like Per Se!


Bob Harper serves up vegan dinner on “The Biggest Loser”  »

Out of all the reality shows I watch, admitting that I actually watched two hours of weight-loss porn The Biggest Loser has been the hardest one to own up to. Not even my summer obsession with Big Brother summoned the amount of shame I currently feel.

Amidst all the Jillian Michaels yelling and nonstop crying and “emotional breakthroughs,” trainer Bob Harper took several of the contestants to his home and served them a lovely vegan meal on last night’s episode, cooked by a “good friend” of his. The contestants didn’t appear to complain too much; in fact they all talked about how much they loved the color of the food. I didn’t get a chance to write down what Bob served, but if you did, please leave it in the comments! 

Bob went vegan this year in an effort to lower his cholesterol. The actual diet contestants eat on The Biggest Loser isn’t mentioned very often, except when it’s to shill for a brand. He talks a bit about vegan eating in the following video from his website.

[can’t see the video? watch it on!]

It should go without saying that we aren’t in any way advocating what TBL does to its contestants. Vegansaurus remains a no-diet zone! 


Vegansaurus’s sexy Valentine’s Day vegan dining guide!  »

Giving you the gift of game, part 1.

It’s a vegan cliché to go here for a special event, but take it up a notch by booking a table at the Aphrodisiac Dinner (next month’s is February 15), along with a room at the adjoining Hotel California.

While Greens is guilty of a more old-school, covered-in-butter, ’70s-style of vegetarian cooking, it’s so gorgeous you may just have to put up with it. Greens is offering an $88 prix fixe menu on V-Day (double the price of their normal prix fixe menu) but if you want to drop the cash while admiring the ocean (and the good looks of your date), be sure to call ahead to make sure you can actually eat something.

Another restaurant that you can also parlay into an overnight hotel rendez-vous (it’s inside the Hotel Carlton ), Saha is a small plates, Middle Eastern restaurant that’s vegan-friendly. They even feature that holy grail: a vegan dessert at a non-vegan restaurant.

Yes, you can eat the same genre of food cheaper at Udupi Palace paces away but it’s Valentine’s Day, not Tuesday night takeout. It’s time to have some class with your potato-stuffed pancake and array of chutneys. Expect a long wait. Remove some of the class you just earned by going to the liquor store across the street and drinking on the sidewalk.

In the erstwhile Last Supper Club space, Beretta has only recently started catering to vegans in a real way by offering vegan cheese (we think it’s Teese) and vegan sausage on their tasty thin-crust pizzas. They also have an excellent drink menu. This would be a nice V-Day option for a “special friend” or someone you just started dating who you don’t want to freak out. It’s nice, but it’s still casual.

The Front Porch
A Vegansaurus Favorite, the sexy Front Porch rarely disappoints (and if they do, they are very nice about it and will continue to push French fries on you). They have a daily rotating vegan special and wine in a box! No prix fixe, but they say they’ll have some special treats on the menu. As with Dosa, expect to wait for your table.

Restaurants With Explicitly Labeled Vegetarian Options for V-Day That We Haven’t Been To:
Cafe Majestic
: ($70 prix fixe vegetarian menu)
Citizen Cake
Maharani ($42 vegetarian menu)
Mission Beach Cafe ($75 five-course dinner with champagne toast. OpenTable also says there will be vegan options, but no menu on the website yet!)

Know of any other restaurants offering veg options on Valentine’s Day? Any other nice restaurants that you’d recommend? Leave it in the comments!


Farm animals, it seems, were everywhere in 2008. One year ago, a shocking slaughterhouse investigation revealed workers torturing downed dairy cows — and prompted the nation’s largest-ever meat recall. And the year ended with California’s landslide vote passing Proposition 2, which will free nearly 20 million hens, pigs and calves from tiny, immobilizing cages on factory farms — in the nation’s largest agriculture state, no less.

…Americans were universally outraged when they viewed the slaughter plant footage exposing workers using forklifts, prods and water boarding to force sick and injured cows to their feet and into the kill box. Congress held eight hearings that addressed not only food safety risks of allowing meat from diseased animals into the food supply, but also on the wanton, extreme cruelty perpetrated against the animals. The California legislature enacted stronger regulations against slaughtering downed cows and other animals. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans to prohibit the slaughter of downed cows with no exceptions.

Prop 2 is the most popular citizen ballot initiative in California history, attracting a 63.5 percent landslide. More than eight million people voted in support of the idea that farm animals deserve at least enough room to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs. Oprah devoted an entire show to the issue. The New York Times editorialized in favor of the measure. The media’s interest in and public’s support for Prop 2 demonstrated one of its basic tenets: that concern for all animals, including those raised for food, is consistent with the better nature of every one of us.

In 2008, Americans sent an unmistakable signal to Big Agribusiness that we will not tolerate the kinds of cruelty that have become standard practice. We unequivocally established farm animal protection as a social issue worthy of our concern on a national scale. And we recognized our collective responsibility to show mercy and compassion for those from whom we take so much. As we head into February and the rest of 2009, let’s work to accomplish even more.


Your Friday afternoon quote!

"Moving Forward for Farm Animals" by Erin Williams, HSUS communications director for the factory farming campaign, in The Huffington Post.


“ For vegans, there is the traditional Tofurky roast that you must serve so your family can make fun of what a fucking weirdo you are. But they are the fucking weirdos who are eating dead pigs roasted in dead cow gravy. Fucking weirdos! „

BitchBuzz Home: How to Have a Happy Vegan Holiday!

Laura’s post is up at BitchBuzz, a women’s blog based in the U.K. that I also write for.  Check it out and comment, please!


Road trip: Sweet Avenue Bakeshop!  »

We don’t recommend you do this as a road trip unless you have a lot of time and perhaps a Winnebago, so you can travel Road Rules season one-style. For everyone else, New York City has three airports. Pick one! In any case, if you find yourself in north Jersey, as I have for the past two weeks, do check out Sweet Avenue Bakery in Rutherford.

I bought four cupcakes: plain vanilla with vanilla frosting, apple pie (apple cake with cream cheese frosting and apple pie filling), cookies ‘n’ cream, and strawberry fields (vanilla cake with strawberry frosting and strawberry filling). These are big, beautiful, voluptous cupcakes with a lot of frosting, so I recommend sharing or devouring very slowly, perhaps over the course of two days.

I ended up sharing with my highly critical aunt and mother, who were totally shocked when they enjoyed the very cautious bites they took. A note about my family: they are about as un-vegan friendly as you can possibly imagine. You know that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the girl brings her fiancé home and says he’s a vegetarian and her aunt says, “That’s okay, I make lamb!”? That’s us.

They simply couldn’t believe that this could be made with no eggs, butter, or dairy whatsoever. They also couldn’t believe that such delicious baked goods could be made from the hands of an Americano, or white person. They were truly perplexed.

All the cupcakes were amazing but our favorite was the apple pie, fall in pastry form. With a cup of spicy Silk Nog, this was the best midnight snack a girl could ask for. After that, I would say the cookies ‘n’ cream had my heart. The frosting was amazing and who doesn’t like chocolate cake?

Sweet Avenue changes their cupcake selection every day, which they list on their stylish website. If you’re in New York City and you want to visit the bakery, you can take NJ Transit from Penn Station straight into downtown Rutherford. The shop is a a few blocks away. If you’re in Jersey, surely you’re not too far from a car, so get your ass there!

[photos via Sweet Avenue]

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