Why aren’t you eating horse, omnivores?  »


If Americans are being honest with themselves—if anyone who eats meat is being honest—there is absolutely no reason killing horses and eating the yielded meat is intrinsically worse than the thousands of other animal killings that happen in slaughterhouses around the country every day. If you’re alarmed that the wrong meat was slipped into your frozen lasagna, that’s reasonable. (Vegetarians, of all people, can appreciate the perils.) But if the very thought of killing horses disgusts you in a way that killing cows or pigs does not, you are entertaining an odd delusion that eating a big steak cut from a cow is elegant while eating similar meat cut from a horse is low-class and vile.

Dreamy meat-avoider Cord Jefferson has some words for outraged, snobbish omnivores regarding Europe’s ever-expanding horse meat scandal.

As vegans, we obviously want all meat-eating to stop, but until then (FIGHT FOREVER, PLANT-BASED SOLDIERS) we can at least point out the blatant hypocrisy involved in turning your nose up at horse meat and then gleefully eating cow organs. You shouldn’t be deceived by food labels; nor should you think that eating any one animal’s flesh is morally superior to another.

What do you think? Are you horrified and a tiny bit smug but totally keeping it to yourself because no one wants to hear from the smug vegan?

[Photo by Eduardo Amorim via Flickr]


The Vegansaurus Diet: Momzilla!  »

Welcome back to the Vegansaurus Diet! This week features Louzilla’s mom, who “decided to try to eat vegan for a week while [Louzilla’s] dad was off visiting his family in Arizona. She didn’t end up doing it 100, but maybe something like 90, which is still really awesome!” It is awesome; good job, -zillas!

What does a meat-loving omnivore eat when she tries out veganism for a week?

Breakfasts: 2 cups of coffee (black) every morning. Then, after exercising, oatmeal with chopped walnuts and a cup of OJ, or occasionally some peanut butter spread on toast.

Lunches: Usually leftovers from dinner, or a peanut butter sandwich–no jelly for this fruit-hater.

The Dinners:
Saturday: I made spaghetti with “wheatballs” from Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap. Topped with Newman’s Own marinara sauce and rounded out with a side of steamed kale.

Sunday: We went to the grocery store and picked up some rosemary artisan bread and veggies. I sliced and pan-fried onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant and tossed it all with a dash of balsamic vinaigrette. Spread some homemade hummus on each slice of bread and put it all together while Mom made a side of oven-baked sweet potato fries with sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. mmm!

Monday and Tuesday: I wasn’t home for dinner these days, so no pictures, but Mom made and ate cabbage and leek soup from 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes.

Wednesday: Puttanesca. This picture is deceiving, because there are really more veggies than that but it wasn’t mixed well and they all ended up at the bottom topped with the spaghetti! I would totally link you to the recipe for this meal that we can both always agree on (and is super easy to make) if only my mom could remember where she found it!

Thursday: Again, I wasn’t home, but Mom had the rest of the leftover spaghetti & wheatballs. She just finished heating them up when our microwave of 28 years died!!

Friday: Stir fry made with leftover veggies from Sunday’s sandwiches and seitan based off this recipe, served over quinoa and with a big salad.

My two biggest celebrations from this week are that I got my mom to try hummus (which she’s always said she didn’t like) and seitan (which she’s always been leery of) and both were successful! What does she have to say about the week? She found herself craving meat, doesn’t want to give it up for good, but is still trying to decrease her consumption of it. Overall, a huge leap forward from when I first went vegetarian 5 years ago!

[all photos via Louzilla. Originally published here]


Surprise! Another quest for “ethical eating” ends in an omnivorous diet  »

GQ's food writer, Alan Richman, has an eight-page article in the July issue on his recent “ethical eating” odyssey, and is it ever illuminating and not at all like The Omnivore’s Dilemma rehashed!

Sorry, that was a lie. In reality, his conclusions are not very far from Michael Pollan’s, except Richman’s a lot snider getting to them. Underneath his Big Quest persona, he seems kind of angry:

"Today our true believers fervently pursue such principles as ecologically sound, socially just, humane, halal, kosher, nitrite-free, gluten-free, free-range, certified organic, or raw, whatever their cause demands. Yet not even vegans, our ultimate culinary ideologues, can match the commitment of those who dedicate themselves to the land. Farmers are, literally, America’s unwashed nobility."

This sets the tone for the entire article: Richman loves and idealizes farmers, and dismisses vegans and vegetarians out of hand. Here’s a typical zinger: “I don’t romanticize vegetables. I don’t believe in their nobility, nor have I been convinced by those who claim plants have feelings and scream silently when tossed into a hot pan. (I wouldn’t mind if that were true, since it would require vegans to starve themselves to death.)”

Poor Alan Richman wants it both ways: to be able to eat ethically without taking into account the fact that killing animals is unethical. Raising animals to kill them for your meal is unethical.

Check it: “‘We Americans prefer not knowing that the food we eat had a life. That way we don’t have to face the awful truth—that the food we eat had to die. We push away fish that arrives whole, with its glazed eyes, distressed not by the fate of the animal but by our own discomfiture, a dinner date ruined. Most of us would prefer that our livestock were treated indifferently, even inhumanely. If we consider animals inconsequential, a meaningless food source, we won’t be ill at ease when they emerge from the kitchen nicely cooked.”

Wrong, Richman. Vegans don’t eat animals because we know they have lives, and we aren’t so selfish as to presume we have the right to take away their lives for our meals. We’re the ones going undercover in slaughterhouses to expose the horrific conditions for the workers and the animals, and the ones protesting those conditions. We do not consider any animals inconsequential, because we don’t make an arbitrary distinction between “food” and “pet.”

Eric Ripert, however, does make incomprehensible distinctions: he’s a practicing Buddhist, and “says that if he were to operate his restaurant under those religious teachings, the decision of what to feed customers would be simple: vegetables, nothing else.” And I’d play the Goldberg Variations, but I don’t own a piano, so I can’t. You are a practicing Buddhist, but you own several seafood restaurants, and as a judge on Top Chef you eat all kinds of animal products without blinking. So what’s the point of mentioning this, exactly? It’s not endearing—it sounds crazy. Of course not all Buddhists are vegetarians, but saying you would serve vegetables, except you already serve fish, so you can’t—that is fucking stupid.

Equally stupid is Dan Barber’s assertion that “Where we are, the environment is telling you to eat meat.” Did he ask the soil himself, Richman? Did you put your digital recorder down to the soil? It’s one thing to need a few animals to help with the ecosystem; it’s quite another to house “an animal-breeding facility.” That’s using them, which is gross and disrespectful. But Alan Richman loves farmers! So Dan Barber can have sockeye salmon flown to upstate New York from Alaska because he believes they have the best fisheries, and it must be acceptable because he’s a farmer and a chef. Don’t question him, he’s supreme master meat-farmer.

Then of course Richman gets to bring up Mollie Katzen’s later-in-life switch to an omnivorous diet: “‘For decades I ate brown rice, broccoli, and tofu…. And I felt tired, depressed, and irritable. As I’ve aged, I’ve felt a need for animal protein.’” Omnivores love it when vegans and vegetarians start eating animal products again, like it’s a giant game of red rover and they’re winning. Mollie Katzen is a grown-up and entitled to her own decisions, though maybe if she’d been able to eat more delicious vegan cheeses, tasty protein sources, or even just more non-animal-based fats (olive oil! avocados!), maybe she wouldn’t have felt this “need.” Who can say? None of us here eats exclusively brown rice and vegetables, though.

Ultimately, it seems like Alan Richman’s problem is that even if he could find food that met his nebulous standards, he wouldn’t know what to do with it, and further, he has no faith in “we” “Americans.” Again, if he stopped ignoring the non-animal-eating community, he might stop despairing so much. We know how to cook at home, because the majority of restaurants in the majority of the country do not cater to us. Instead of using the whole animal, we use the whole vegetable—cook the leafy greens, and use their hard ribs for stock. Our diets are richer, cheaper, healthier, more varied, and (arguably) more delicious than an omnivorous diet.

Richman moans that “We no longer regard food as a gift, the way so many foreign cultures and religious families do. Instead of giving thanks and expressing gratitude on holidays, we gorge ourselves with meat.” Has the idea of a Thanksgiving without meat ever occurred to him? It’s fantastic. What about potlucks, or brunches? Within the vegan community, we cater to each other while we work and wait for the greater community to cater to us. Group meals are exciting and fun, each dish a present to friends. We get a lot of joy out of cooking and eating, part of which comes from knowing that animals didn’t suffer and die for our meals. How exactly is that "ethical eating run amok"?

Richman’s narrow-mindedness does him a serious disservice. If he really wanted to discove how to eat ethically, he should have researched vegans and/or vegetarians. Otherwise, he frames his article disingenuously: this is “talking to independent farmers and a couple of restaurateurs about how I can feel less guilty about eating the same way I do now.” And that is a bunch of bullshit. At least Michael Pollan made an effort. Alan Richman used his budget to travel around eating a lot, get his relatives to write about their own hard work living consciously, and type up the same stuff everyone else has been saying about eating meat and vegetables and Alice Waters and Dan Barber since the publication of The Omnivore’s goddamn Dilemma. What a waste of time.


Omnivores are selfish bastards  »

Raising all those animals for you to eat is unsustainable and absolutely ruinous to the planet. Don’t hate me for saying it—the U.N. did! And of course the comments, even in the good old smarty-trousers Guardian, quickly devolve into meat-eaters demanding that people leave them alone because it’s not their fault the Earth is going to burn up in a toxic flameball by the end of the century; blame those (foreign) people having all those kids! It’s overpopulation of humans, plain and simple!

Never mind that meat and dairy agriculture uses 70 percent of worldwide fresh water and 38 percent of all the land, ever. It’s all those people having all those kids!

Man is it so hard to change your diet? Maybe instead of being subtly racist, overtly selfish dicks, you could stop eating all those animal products. Just a suggestion! Because I’m vegan and I plan on contributing to the human population someday, and I would appreciate it if you fuckers would try a little bit harder than “usually putting the plastic water bottle in the recycling bin instead of the trash” because THAT ISN’T GONNA CUT IT ANYMORE. And my future vegan children deserve oceans that are less than 50 percent trash-island/petroleum products/fish carcasses. Also: breathable air. Are you going to deny my babies BREATHABLE AIR, you FUCKING MONSTERS?

You could at least try Meatless goddamn Mondays without pitching a fit.


Special for veg-friendly omnivores: get a job!  »

The SF Weekly recently laid off its restaurant critic, and is searching for a new one. Want the job? We want you to have it! Obviously, we can’t; that’s why we have Vegansaurus, right? Right. But you, careful, considerate omnivores who for whatever reasons haven’t given up your animal-unfriendly diets yet, certainly could!

I know, it sounds insane, vegans encouraging you to eat meat. Well, we’re not, exactly; what we’re thinking is, we need more mainstream restaurant critics who enjoy vegan food, and understand that you can eat very well without animal products. If you’re going to have to review new dead-cow and dead-fish restaurants, you could try the veg options at those places, or at least note if there are any. I tend to skip the reviews in publications of all sizes, not just because they almost never review vegetarian or vegan restaurants, but because they usually don’t even address the concept of not eating animal products. People like us are left to figure everything out for ourselves, which is ridiculous; if you want to increase your audience (I’d say “sell more papers” but the Weekly is free), broaden your range. Include us. Our demographic spends a lot of money on food; we’re interested in what’s new and delicious, and we love to read good food writing. How about throwing us something other than a bone?

So omnivorous readers, and readers with omnivorous friends, what do you say? An actual writing job has opened up at an actual publication; all you eligible people should apply, already.

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