Meet Sunsational sunflower seed milk, the new deliciousness on the block!  »

Remember back in the day when rice milk and soy milk were your only choices? Ha! We spit on you, Past, with our vast and growing selection of dairy alternatives!

Voilà another addition to the dizzying array: Sunsational sunflower seed milk! If you live in the Northeast, Florida, or parts of the Midwest, you may have already seen it on the shelves of your local Whole Foods or hippie co-op. For the rest of you, expect it to be on Amazon in the next month or so, and in the meantime, I think you can order it directly from a guy named Steve at the product’s website, via the contact form. I believe that’s what you do, if it’s different, I’ll update this review! 

So far Sunsational comes in two flavors, Original and Vanilla. I got to taste them both, and find them quite pleasant, with a nutty but mild sunflower flavor. There’s no unsweetened variety, which I would prefer since this milk is definitely on the sugary side, but that may come in the future. The main drawback is the unappealing grayish color. I swear I’m not drinking newspaper pulp, guys! No seriously. 

Conclusion: if you see this stuff in the store, it’s totally worth a try. Hooray for choices!


Guest post: the Milk Board is still rude  »

Two weeks ago, the Milk Board launched an incredibly sexist ad campaign claiming that chugging a buttload of milk will cure PMS woes, both for the ladies experiencing the symptoms, and for their heteronormative male partners. These claims were based on a research article published in 1998, which the Milk Board called a “recent study.”

In those short two weeks, the Milk Board learned that PMS isn’t the only thing that can make women irritable and blood-hungry—being insulted and attacked makes us that way too! (but, apparently we’re that way all the time, right? Oh wait…). In response to all the negative media coverage of the campaign, the Milk Board changed strides. The previous has been changed to (oh, witty!) as they attempt to clean up their mess. They also issued on of the weakest apologies in the history of corporate fuckups:

The sincerest part is the sentence that says, “Others thought it was funny and educational.” Let’s not forget that this is the same Milk Board that told us “happy cows come from California.” They tried to sue PETA in 2007, too.

Don’t be fooled, though. This group of sexists still thinks they deserve a pat on the back and a cookie for their irrational campaign. Our buddy Steve James told the New York Times, “Taking down is not a failure in any way. I don’t see it as ending it or pulling the plug. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish.”

The Milk Board is also encouraging people to “join the discussion” on their Facebook page (which you have to “like” before you can participate). If you are hungry for some mindless arguing and repetitive banter that insists that “milking cows relieves the pain in their swollen utters”, and “Some girls get cranky when they’re on their periods. Some don’t,” then by all means, join in!

Also, this is some bullshit:

There’s really nothing I love more than watching a pair of harpies throw floppy slices of cheese at each other. [Can’t see the video? Watch it on]

If you’d like to voice your concern about the Milk Board’s consistent attempts to encourage sexist stereotypes and mask the real issues within the milk industry, feel free to contact Jocilyn Preskar, director of public affairs for the California Department of Food & Agriculture at (916) 654.0317. While Steve James’ phone number and email address are conveniently missing from the internet, his LinkedIn account is fully available!

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.


Top 10 links of the week: a festive boat ride through the sea of veganism!  »

[This poor turtle got his leg burned and it had to be amputated. Poor guy! I’m glad they gave him a wheel but am I the only one who thinks this wheel is kind of difficult to maneuver? He’s using it kind of like a stub, it looks like.]

Brooklyn Bliss is doing a giveaway for a four-piece Paul Labrecque curly hair care kit valued at $92! They tell me the brand is vegan. Go enter or whatever, you curly-headed bastards.

The NYT has the story on what happens when you get rid of top predators. It’s bad. Didn’t we talk about this last week? I could look but I am tired and it’s hot.

Here’s a dumb article about locavorism vs. not eating meat. What if you eat neither meat NOR dairy?

Pikas are a real animal and they are really cute and they are in danger!

Apparently they have less cattle in America so beef costs are going up. I’m sure they can just get more from the Amazon! Slash and burn, baby!

Here are some stories from people who had terrible health issues that went vegan and got healthy!

Peru has banned wild animals in circuses! Huzzah!

The Milk Board makes an apology for their crazy-ass PMS campaign! Shocker.

In South Dakota, 1,500 cows died from heat exhaustion. Poor ranchers, am I right? Guys, they will lose money!

Fucking Saratoga and their horse races.


Hey ladies, the Milk Board thinks you’re a bitch!  »

Yesterday was a rare occasion: I ventured away from my home in the East Bay to take a leisurely stroll through San Francisco with my partner. The sun was out; no one had mindlessly shoved past me on the sidewalk. I naively thought that nothing could ruin this perfect day.

Then the dairy industry swooped in and took a giant, sexist shit on my day with their new ad campaign that is plastered all over the city.

As if “Got Milk” ads and posters weren’t disgusting enough with their trademark milk mustache, the Milk Board has decided to also explain that women are horrible, moody and unreasonable because of our menstrual cycles. To broadcast their views, they’ve created the Everything I Do is Wrong campaign, claiming that milk can ease symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), based on a “recent” (1998) study. This isn’t the first time they’ve cited such studies and used depictions of panicked, fearful and powerless men frantically purchasing milk for their untamable female partners.

[can’t see the video? watch it on]

Let’s look at all the things that are obviously wrong with this campaign:

  1. The Milk Board doesn’t say how much milk ladies would have to consume to have an effect on their PMS symptoms. According to the 1998 study, women would have to drink at least four glasses of milk per day, every day, to show some ease of PMS symptoms (fatigue and insomnia were not affected). On top of that, noticeable changes wouldn’t even begin until after three months of your daily milky medicine.
  2. According to the World Health Organization, the amount of calcium absorbed into your system decreases the more of it you consume.
  3. Milk and dairy products aren’t the only available sources of calcium, but are the unhealthiest! Leafy greens, soy, grains, beans and some fruits are incredibly high in calcium. In order to meet the daily recommendation, you’d only need to consume one cup of tofu, or two cups of cooked spinach, or a feast of figs! And don’t even get me started on quinoa and kale.
  4. Oh, Milk Board? None of the above foods have cholesterol or the saturated fats that are associated with milk! Actually, while I’m at it, let’s also mention that consuming excess fats is actually bad for your menstrual cycle, too. Speaking of excess crap, the “Got Milk?” website claims that drinking milk will make you prettier and “less frumpy.”
  5. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Milk Board Executive Director Steve James says that they went into the ad campaign with “a little trepidation” because PMS is a “sensitive subject.” Other members of the Milk Board claim that the ads are “tasteful,” “fun,” and “effective.” Sure, effective in pissing us off and insulting our intelligence! Hey dudes, maybe it’s a sensitive subject because the media continues to play on blatantly sexist stereotypes that all women are blood-hungry bitches during their periods?

James’ interview ends on a high note: “We did it in the past, but the women just didn’t drink enough milk. If they’d only drink enough, we wouldn’t come back.” Instead of encouraging women to exercise regularly, drink enough water, and eat a balanced diet, the Milk Board wants ladies to consume 1,460 glasses of cholesterol-loaded and cruelty-derived milk a year with the weak promise that it might help you not be a huge bitch all the time, and that it will save your heterosexual relationship from the mighty curse of monthly menstruation.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.


Walmart is selling flax milk?!  »

, Walmart is selling flax milk at 2,500 of their stores. Damn, Walmart! Way to be modern! Walmart is still an evil beast but it’s cool that the milk will be available in such an accessible store. This flax milk comes from a couple in North Dakota, which started producing flax 11 years ago and has a full line of products under the company Flax USA. I’ve never heard of flax milk but it does appear people have been making it at home for a while. Any readers make their own flax milk? What’s it taste like?!

Here are some of the nutrition details from the Flax USA site:

  • 50 to 60 calories per serving
  • As much calcium as dairy milk
  • Zero cholesterol
  • Zero saturated fat and zero trans fat
  • Non-GMO

Flax is a great source of omega-3 and the milk is enriched with vitamin A, D, and B12. Flax is also high in fiber! Gotta love some fiber.

I’m really into flax because it’s supposed to be good for crazy people and I need all the help I can get! Well, omega-3 is supposed to be good for crazy people and flax has got it. There was a study conducted on depressed mice (?) that showed they exhibited fewer depressive behaviors (?) when given alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the type of omega-3 that’s in flax. Of course knowing how inaccurate animal-testing can be, this isn’t the most solid evidence. And depressed mice? Really? I’m imagining a mouse that, like, won’t leave the house or take calls from friends. He’s no longer interested in things he once enjoyed.

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine actually released a statement on this study basically saying it was inhumane and effed. They should have just tested on people; everyone already consumes foods containing ALA so it’s not like it would kill people if they tested on them. Leave the depressed mice alone. Or better, let them all go so they can come live with me or Laura and we can eat ice cream and watch Bridget Jones together. Sometimes you just need to wallow, you know?

Here’s a great “primer for the mental health professional" on omegas and major depression that collates all the different studies. It’s dense like whoa but I pulled out some points. Most of the studies are done with fish oil, not flax. In several different studies, scientists saw a correlation between low levels of omega-3s and depression. High rates of fish consumption (gross) has a correlation with lower levels of depression, bipolar disorder, season affective disorder and lower rates of postpartum depression. A small Harvard study showed that a very small amount of EPA (another omega-3) reduced aggression and depressive symptoms in women with borderline personality disorder (which is very difficult to treat). And there are a lot of other studies, OK? I can’t just tell you about all of them, I have things to do and naps to take! But basically, the journal wants you to know that there has been a ton of study results that indicate omega-3s could be really good for depression but then again, none of it could be true. Yay science!

Fish oil has different types of omega-3s than flaxseed oil but your body can convert ALA to those other types (though only at a pretty low rate). The debate over fish oil versus flaxseed oil is a bit confusing. It seems though that with flaxseed oil, your body needs to take an extra step to get omega-3 benefits by converting the ALA so it’s not as efficient as fish oil. But that’s for heart disease and cholesterol, I don’t know about mental health. It was specifically the AHA that helped the depressed mice. Some people say you just have to take more flaxseed oil. I can do that. Since we aren’t going to eat fish, it’s time to hit the flax milk!

OK, I’ve sufficiently bored everyone. Carry on!


Forget iodine pills, just quit dairy!  »

So, there’s been a run on iodine pills here on the west coast because it’s protective against radioactive iodide, and lots of people are freaked the fucked out. 

Well, our friend Brant at The Telling Compulsion has some news from Dr. David J. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, and it’s MESSED UP! I mean, for most people. Not for vegans. Yet again, we’re doing everything right:

Dr. Brenner said the iodine pills were protective, but were “a bit of a myth” because their use is based on the belief that the risk is from inhaling radioactive iodine. Actually, he said, 98 percent of people’s exposure comes from milk and other dairy products.

“The way radioactive iodine gets into human beings is an indirect route,” he said. “It falls to the ground, cows eat grass which has got the radioactive iodine in it and make milk with radioactive iodine, and you get it from drinking the milk. You get very little from inhaling it. The way to prevent it is just to stop people from drinking the milk.

You see? Science wants you to go vegan. And you can’t argue with science! Hey, I have an idea: Let’s rub Coconut Bliss all over our bodies because that’s got to extra protect us, right? SCIENCE!


SF Green Festival, meatball awards, the miracle of birth, delicious local tofu, Czech dumplings, urban gardening and more in this week’s link-o-rama!GE  »

Green Fest is in San Francisco this weekend; let Vegansaurus guide you through it.

Win a copy of 500 Vegan Recipes! Hurry up and do it by Tuesday, Nov. 17!

The clever fuckers at the California Milk Advisory Board will be filming their latest “Happy Cows come from California” commercials in New Zealand. Torture the local cows, but don’t let the state benefit from production fees: such lovely people they are.

Local chefs discover that tofu is not an abomination against haute cuisine. Color us shocked. And hungry for samples!

Another poor review of Eating Animals, from another Gawker associate. Shut up, Joshua David Stein, you are much too pleased with yourself and your criticism.

For the strong-stomached, the birth of an elephant. Miracles: kinda gross! This goes for every human who records the births of their own young as well.

And in New Zealand, a shark gave birth to four live sharklets, thanks to the intervention of another shark? Freaky, gross, amazing.

Oh delicious: a recipe for Czech fruit dumplings! Yes PLEASE.

Filling closets with clothes for yourself is acceptable human behavior; filling a closet with matching clothes for your cat is NOT. I recognize we’re all guilty of anthropomorphism to some degree, but this not OK.

Watch out, sickies: you can pass on the swine flu to your companion animals.

Remember Nicolette Hahn Niman’s ridiculous op-ed renouncing her ranch’s responsibility for carbon emissions? Peter Singer gives her brief, precise what-for.

King of Jerkoffs A. Bourdain says humans are allowed to eat animals because they are “smaller and stupider” than us. Ari Solomon says, intelligence is as intelligence does, bright boy. (Although we should note, Mr. Solomon, that “stupider” is an inflected comparative and most certainly a word.) (Grammarsaurus!)

More meat and more dairy makes Jack an angrier, more hostile and depressed boy; more carbs and less meat and dairy makes him happier and peaceful.

Friend-of-Vegansaurus Graciela has a new blog in which she explores urban gardening in L.A. We are so envious of all her lovely greens!

Check it out, another E. coli outbreak in ground beef!

Kind of pretty, kind of disgusting: your internal organs rendered in produce.

Genetically engineered apples that stay crispy without refrigeration!

Congratulations Ike’s, winner of Peta’s best vegetarian meatballs! Enjoy them in a (vegan) Meatless Mike or a Not-So-Sloppy Ike.

An interview with our hero Deborah Madison, vegetarian chef and cookbook author extraordinaire!

Last year’s fascinating story "Morality bites," by the Chicago Tribune's Monica Eng, is included in Best Food Writing 2009.

Publisher’s Weekly selects this year’s best food books; titles include the bizarro Almost Meatless (“almost”? come the hell on), the revolting Lobel’s Meat Bible, and two books Vegansaurus wouldn’t mind unwrapping this holiday season: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, and Salt to Taste: The Key to Confident, Delicious Cooking. Neither is vegan, but both seem extremely useful.

Revolting, slightly terrifying tale of a food writer’s giving in to a murderous impulse and shooting a baboon, and the global fallout.

Ours friends at Veg-Table are looking for writers for their city guides. GET ON IT, YOU WRITERLY PERSON.


MILK: “nature’s wellness drink!” or, How propaganda becomes fact   »

We are superfans of Sociological Images blog, and today they call our attention to more deviousness by every vegan’s favorite single-entendre ad campaign, good old Got Milk? Apparently 2009 marks 12 years of famous people hawking the “benefits” of milk, as though anyone needed reminding that cows milk is the nectar of the gods, and abstaining from it condemns you to a brief, miserable life of being short and weak, ending in a painful, osteoporosis-related death. Not to mention how happy producing all that milk makes the cows, and their little male calves, lifelong members of the Future Veal of America club. Cows milk is SO FUCKING AWESOME, why aren’t you drinking some (from the carton, like a real man) RIGHT NOW?

Chicago’s ABC affiliate would certainly like to know! After all, according to the Got Milk Campaign representative (a.k.a., an employee of the California Milk Processor Board), cows milk is “nature’s wellness drink!” It helps you grow, it helps you play, it helps you be the best goddamn human you can be! Eschew it, and you’ll be fat, weak, and morally decrepit before some apple-cheeked seven-year-old can fish his Oreo-brand cookie out of the big glass of icy cold vitamin-D-enriched milk he dropped it in. Don’t believe her? It’s on the news, for heaven’s sake! If it weren’t true, they wouldn’t air it on the news, would they? Enjoy these informative three-and-a-half minutes:

When was the last time you heard soy milk presented in such a positive light on the local news? Never, right? The most recent nonsense I can recall was all that braying about “too much soy” causing little heterosexual boys to become homosexual, because of the evil hormones in soybeans or something. As though anyone supporting the consumption of cows milk products can talk about the dangers of hormone ingestion.

The treatment this news anchor provides this dairy industry spokesperson is something we’d expect from a morning show host interviewing some actor about a film about happy puppies—no real questions, no discussion of issues, just, “Tell me what’s great about your product!” and three minutes of shilling. I can’t say I’m surprised, being of the “all TV news is a bunch of bullshit” school of civic cynicism, but that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed. Twelve years later and they’re still demanding that we Get more torture-Milk, and still no one is questioning them except loopy health nuts and vegans. Ugh.

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