vegansaurus!

10/05/2010

Whoops, PCRM’s not perfect  »

Good old Deceiver. Usually they totally stick it to the hypocrites, and we can all roll our eyes and giggle and wonder about the stupidity of the world.

But just like the rest of us humans, sometimes they take it a bit far. Implying that PCRM President Neal Barnard is hypocritical for having worked at McDonald’s, because PCRM has a new anti-McDonald’s ad campaign doesn’t actually make sense. It’s certainly not “ironic.”

No one’s led a blameless life—even Jesus of The Bible had his inexplicably rude moments, remember? And we’re all allowed to change our minds. Rarely do you find a committed vegan who was born and raised that way. Most of us had to learn, and for some of us that took exposure to a lot of gross stuff first—perhaps working at a McDonald’s.

As Laura says, it’s like, remember how you used to believe in Santa Claus, and sleep with men who undervalued you? You live, you learn!

[disclaimer: our Laura was at one time a contract employee for PCRM, and Vegansaurus continues to advocate for the Healthy School Lunch Program as proposed and lobbied for by PCRM. That said, come on.]

09/30/2010

Our beloved Elizabeth Kucinich wants you! to support Healthy School Lunches!  »

The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act—gosh that sounds wholesome—otherwise known as H.R. 5504, has finally been placed on the House order of business. Unfortunately, the House is taking its “autumn recess” before voting on it, even though the previous legislation—a one-year extension of an even earlier bill—expires, oh, today. Good call, guys!

Elizabeth Kucinich is very concerned about how this will affect the public schoolchildren of the U.S. So is your Vegansaurus, actually. Our Laura worked extremely hard to help get language into this bill that would ensure veg options for public school kids, including non-dairy milk, and we really don’t want to lose that because of selfish politicians who require pork—literal or political!—to vote for any bill. Kids need healthy, tasty school lunches! And you know we aren’t concerned about CHILDHOOD OBESITY AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! so much as just getting the kiddies a good, vegetable-protein-based meal five days a week. You always pay taxes; why not let some of them ($8 per taxpayer over the 2011 to 2015 period) go toward something you believe in?

You can help out immediately by calling or emailing your congressional representative today to express your support of H.R. 5504. We need to tell them all to make this their top priority when they return from their “autumn recess,” a.k.a. “campaigning break.” If you hate kids, do it for Elizabeth. If you don’t care about people at all, do it for the animals that won’t have to be killed for the veggie kids’ meals. If that doesn’t move you, do it for your favorite pink dinosaur!

09/15/2010

PCRM’s ad campaign: Science says Big Macs are nasty!  »

[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine* (PCRM) released the above commercial totally and morbidly dissing McDonald’s after a recent study they conducted shows just how unhealthy McDonald’s food is. And McDonald’s is pissed!:

This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers. McDonald’s trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them.

Outrageous and outlandish? Them’s fightin’ words! But PCRM’s findings are pretty scary. The Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese has 42 grams of fat, 740 calories, 155 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,380 milligrams of sodium. HOLY CRAP! Check out that sodium number! Good lord. Even the sweetly permissive USDA only recommends up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and that’s counting foods with naturally occurring sodium (although mostly those are dairy products, ew).

Other people are backing McDonald’s in this time of need, including the Wall Street Journal community. So far, 54 percent of them say the ad is unfair! Wah! BTW, I say we go over and vote. Give them some perspective! Our Meave had a few words to say in response to this:

Of course the WSJ crowd is voting it “unfair”; readers of the WSJ are [stereotypically] super-capitalist, super-individualist Randies who’d be libertarians if they weren’t so into government breaks for big corporations. “We are responsible for our own decisions,” says a commenter, as though anyone can make a good decision without pertinent information. UGH.

Besides, this Question of the Day isn’t asking, “Is McDonald’s responsible for all heart disease, ever?” or “Should the government expand healthcare to cover people who ONLY EAT MCDONALD’S BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID POOR FATTY FAT FATS WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER?” It’s an AD CAMPAIGN. And one might think that WSJ readers, being on the whole very staunchly pro-business, would support the right of an organization to run whatever ad campaign it so chose. I suppose that when that ad campaign comes into conflict with the interests of a major international corporation, WSJ readers would rather see the big, profitable corporation continue to dominate.

Everyone’s favorite, Eater, had a bit to say in McDonald’s defense, calling the ad “a crazy new commercial” by PCRM, adding that

PCRM is known for their somewhat insane vegan agenda—back in May, they wrote a press release advising KFC to follow the same guidelines the FDA sets out for tobacco producers and not advertise near schools and put a warning label on Double Downs. In this this ad, they recommend “Tonight, make it vegetarian.”

Somewhat insane vegan agenda? Duck and cover! But then the example they give sounds very sane to me, considering another study showing how fast-food chains target children and then feed them horrible crap.

Now, if you are a vegan anything like me, you love your vegan cupcakes and vegan fried food. It’s like we always say, vegan doesn’t equal healthy. But we’re not talking about cupcakes; we’re talking about POISON. Remember Super Size Me? This stuff will kill you! And the main difference is that they don’t want to tell you. Vegansaur Jordan was just saying the other day that she will tell you in plain language that her vegan cupcakes are far from vitamin bars. And if PCRM wants you to know about the nutrition information of McDonald’s food and its ramifications on your health, what is so “unfair” about that?

*Disclosure: Our Laura has worked on contract for PCRM in the past.

04/21/2010

04/08/2010

Winning hearts, minds, and stomachs: Adventures in vegan cooking  »

A year ago, I couldn’t do anything in the kitchen beyond stir frying vegetables and pouring cereal. My family looked upon my Thanksgiving Tofurkey with pity. I was the lone vegan in my circle of family and friends.

But a lot’s changed in a year. Before, it was like I was vegan by default. I would never think of not being vegan, because I knew that veganism was the best thing I could do for animals, the environment, and myself. I liked that every day, I was doing something good. But I didn’t really talk about it or think about it that often. And the food I ate, while vegan, wasn’t really food I was excited about; it was processed, quick, and often involved a box of Swedish Fish in front of the TV.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a little vegan candy. But in the past year I’ve learned that when you really let the values and joy of veganism into your life, and your kitchen, the effects can be astounding. I’m not sure how it started. Maybe I just got tired of broccoli and rice every night; maybe I wanted to take advantage of having a real, kitchen, rather than the dollhouse-sized one in my college apartment. Regardless, last summer, I started to cook. Like, really cook. I made everything myself, from fruit tarts to spaghetti sauce, to my own homemade bread, to an aioli mayonnaise. And though it took a lot more time in the kitchen than I’d ever spent there, it deepened my relationship with food, and got me back in touch with what I was putting into my body. Along the way, I found a real fondness for the culinary arts and even, I hope, gained some skill.

Now I make a big vegan meal at least once a week at my parents’ house. They still have a nicer kitchen and more cooking equipment than me; plus, I could never handle all those leftovers myself. Cooking healthy, interesting vegan meals and getting knee-deep in as many vegan cookbooks and recipes as I can get my hands on, like stuffed acorn squash from The Vegan Table or marinated tofu skewers with coconut peanut sauce from The Candle Café Cookbook, has coincided with an all-around vegan makeover. Not only am I more educated about vegan cooking and nutrition, I’m more in touch with my vegan self and more apt to share my vegan experiences and enthusiasm, including my food creations, with the people around me. My boyfriend, who I never thought would join me down the vegan path, became vegan. This was probably from a variety of factors—like learning about factory farms, the fucked-up way people treat animals in general, and how the meat industry is wreaking havoc on our environment—but I like to think my cooking also had something to do with it. Because hey! being vegan DOESN’T mean you’re stuck with raw tofu and salads all time.

After I casually let my mom know about the PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program, she decided to give it a try. After all, she’s always looking for ways to stay young, stay healthy, and not have a stomachache—I suggested many a time that veganism might be the answer. It’s been over a month and mom’s going strong. Her new vegan chef daughter is helping her with meal ideas and recipes. Even my dad, a personal trainer, is asking me for non-meat protein ideas he can tell his clients about. My aunt, a definite non-vegan, will sneak into my freezer to steal one of Alicia Silverstone’s vegan chocolate peanut butter cups.

I’m not saying that your cooking will magically turn everyone you know into fellow vegans. But I do think the joy you exude, in and out of the kitchen, rubs off on others and shows them that vegans can get excited about food, and that being vegan is a joyful, exciting way to live. Food is so often the centerpiece of an event, and the kitchen is often the most-used room in the house: if you inject a little vegan-ness into your food and your kitchens, you might see a ripple effect into other areas, and other people, in your life. I’ve toned down my cooking-from-scratch habits a bit. I still make my own bread, but I buy my aioli from the store. And every once in a while I’ll still make a Tofurkey sandwich. But getting down and dirty in the kitchen is one habit I’ll be keeping, and I hope, with love and some more culinary mastery, I can help veganism find its way into more people’s hearts, and their stomachs.

This is Kayla Coleman’s second post for Vegansaurus! Kayla is a freelance artist and writer in the Bay Area. When she’s not baking vegan goods or spoiling her pets, she is working on her up and coming blog, Babe in Soy Land — look for it!

01/30/2010

American crazies, awesome people in other countries, vegan marshmallows, illegal meats, travels with produce, expensive shoes on sale and more in this week’s link-o-rama!  »

We didn’t have a link-o-rama for a couple of weeks, whoops. Good thing we saved up all those links, so you have tons of good reading for this weekend.

Let’s get some shoes! Vegan shoes, on sale through the end of the month. Ohhhh man, I wear a 7.5 U.S./37.5 EU if anyone wants to buy me a special present for being so great.

Can I kiss, like, everyone in Ghent? Last year, the city decided that Thursday would be Vegetarian Day, meaning city-run cafeterias &c. (they FEED THEIR CIVIC EMPLOYEES? WHAT?) and schools (ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS) would have to serve exclusively vegetarian food every Thursday. According to this week’s episode of the best radio show ever, Inside Europe, this is going really well. The kids love it, the citizens love it, and what the hell Ghent has 91 vegetarian restaurants?!! (note: download the podcast, skip to 49:20 to go directly to the pertinent story.)

Awesome Sharon of Veg Table is moving to Australia! Before she goes, she leaves us a final post on delicious local eating. Not included: her visit to Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles, which she wrote about just for us.

Speaking of linking to our own stuff, have you checked out the posts on John Mackey’s latest jerk-ass anti-fat-people bullshit, and on the travesty that is the new Weird Fish menu? The comments, they are many! We love it when you express your opinions, as long as you are civil/pertinent.

Super-smart Vegansaurus writer Steve contributed to the SF Appeal today, on the subject of non-meat-eaters keeping meat-eating cats. We are pretending not to be jealous that we didn’t ask him to write about this here first. Proud! We are proud, good job, Steve!

Vegetable tourism: in which British people travel the country in search of the birthplaces of famous varieties of produce. It’s quirky! Much like British people! But this seems more worthwhile (and tastier!) than, say, doing Jane Austen novel reenactments at Bath. That is like 10 lorries’ past “quirky” and well into “insanator” territory (READ OTHER BOOKS, GUYS).

Some grumplestiltskin at 7x7 magazine just can’t get over the fact that they don’t serve real actual from-an-animal cheese at Gracias Madre. Just, why call it “cheese” when it’s totally an amalgam of weird stuff, ugh.

Meat-smuggling: not just a single-entendre! Apparently some people do this because in Europe—mostly Italy—they do especially fascinating things with animal parts that are so much more interesting and authentic than the weird and fucked up things people do with animal parts here. GOD, you are SO GROSS, SHUT UP.

But gosh, maybe if the U.S. had laxer meat-import laws, people wouldn’t spend so much time murdering horses and selling their bodies for food. Right? Because meat-eating is like the hardestcore thrill-seeking, LIFE ON THE EDGE!! BEEF!

Oh, Michael Pollan. He doesn’t think it’s possible to make your own Twinkies! I can make you an organic, vegan Twinkie that tastes like French kisses from angels.

PCRM (employer of one of your Vegansaurus editors) made a list of the five best cookbooks of the decade, and guess what, they’re all VEGAN. The actual cookbooks I cannot endorse—one by certain pseudo-nutritionist insanators, another having been published roughly two seconds ago—but the point is that a vegan diet will save your life. Tell your everyone.

Michelle we love you: who wants to veganize the First Lady’s shortbread cookies? Come on, you want to.

Monsanto, the most evil of all agricultural corporations (that we know of), is facing an antitrust hearing from the Justice Department. Considering that “about 93 percent of soybean plantings last year” are connected to Monsanto, I’d say this is pertinent to us vegans. Although considering the DoJ is following up claims made by motherfucking DuPont, this may just end in (more of) our rage tears.

Someone is considering opening an exclusively vegan store in the Bay Area? WHAT YES PLEASE. Be nice and helpful and take this survey and let’s make this happen like yesterday.

Bitches hate Ingrid Newkirk: she is the Anti-Feminist Antichrist and PETA wages endless war on Sensible People’s Precious Sensibilities. Hey ladies!

Kelis “would demand [the chinchillas and minks whose pelts make up her luxurious coats] be put to death" if they weren’t already being raised on farms for the express purpose of being anally fucking electrocuted and made into those "luxurious" coats she loves so damn much. She also demands that the anti-fur brigade turn their attention other causes, like the poor people who pick vegetables, and sufferers of female genital mutilation. Because you know you can’t try to change more than one shitty situation at a time and VEGANS HATE HUMANS, I WOULD MURDER THE REINCARNATION OF EINSTEIN TO SAVE A RABID CAT, DID YOU KNOW?

Big ol’ vegan Erykah Badu released a bonus track from her (maybe) new album today, which is glorious.

Physically bigger vegan Georges Laraque (we’re everywhere!) is the best hockey player in the entire world ever, and raised a ton of money for Haiti recently. You guys I think we should start following the Canadiens.

Thanks, meat-eaters, for wrecking everything for the polar bears. Fucking THANKS A LOT.

Russia, on the cutting edge of being the total embodiment of a heartless fucking bastard, wants to get back on the cutting edge of space travel by sending a monkey to Mars. Don’t worry though, a robot will feed it! I wish this were from The Onion.

Here is an interview with the super-hardcore and super-amazing Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She tolerates no bullshit and makes delicious food, we adore her.

Some employees of HarperCanada, inspired by friend-of-Oprah Tal Ronnen, took a two-weeklong vegan challenge. Apparently in Toronto it is hard to find vegan bread? I don’t know. Regardless: nice effort!

Forbes isn’t exclusively the domain of classist, poors-hating white dudes you want to punch in the face! It’s also the home of a guy who, following Mark Bittman’s advice, eats mostly vegan. He calls the diet “[his] health care plan,” awesome! If only my vegan diet would scrape my teeth and cure my astigmatism, we’d be peas in a healthy fucking pod!

A significantly less offensive magazine: Potluck Mania!, by super-vegan/author Joanna Vaught, which absolutely deserves its exclamation point.

Vegansaurus favorite Sweet & Sara were featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped series. Hooray!! Also, thanks, now I am dying for a peanut butter s’more. Relatedly, make your own (terrifying) vegan marshmallows!

12/18/2009

Vegansaurus Last-Minute (totally selfless!) Holiday Gift-O-Rama!  »

It’s down to the wire, folks. If you’re anything like me, you’ve left your holiday stuff to the last minute (though, to be fair, you had the best of intentions and meant to get started in September), and now you’re faced with the seven-day holiday insanity challenge. Well, friends, I am here to help. Here it is, the Vegansaurus Last-Minute Holiday Gift-O-Rama!

1. Signed cookbooks! Famous vegan cookbook author and all-around great person, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, is selling off signed copies of all her cookbooks! The best part? 100 percent of the proceeds are going to Out to Pasture sanctuary in Oregon. Time is of the essence on this one so order quickly if you want it in time for Christmas! Shipping included, prices are $28 for Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar; $32 for Vegan Brunch; and $42 for Veganomicon.

To get your signed book, send a paypal to ppkshop@gmail.com and include the book(s) that you would like. If it’s a gift, remember to include the recipient’s address! And please let them know who Isa should sign it to.

Perennial favorite Farm Sanctuary is offering holiday gift adoptions again this year! Sponsorship/adoptions range from $10 per month for a rabbit or chicken up to $50 per month for a cow, which pays for all that animal’s needs throughout the year. With your adoption, you’ll receive your adopted buddy’s photo and biography, and best of all, a VIP tour to meet them! 

3. For the salty dog in all of us, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is offering gift memberships for the holidays. You pay $25 or more in your recipient’s name, and they get a certificate acknowledging the donation, a copy of the Sea Shepherd Log, and a sticker with the Sea Shepherd logo (which is, if I may say so, badass). Your membership dollars go toward helping the Sea Shepherd keep saving those whales! There are also options for making recurring donations as well as Sea Shepherd shirts, bags, water bottles, and other goodies on the site if that’s more your thing. However you give them money, it’s going to a good cause, so spend away!

4. If you’re planning on plying someone with vegan cheese (or vegan shoes! or vegan acne medication! what! asshole!) over the holidays, why not order from Vegan Essentials and save 10 percent on any order (including sale items!) with coupon code “holiday10”? OR orders shipping within the continental USA (sorry Hawaii and Alaska! You always get screwed! Oh and every other country, sucks to be you! USA! USA!), you can get a free upgrade from UPS Ground to UPS 2nd Day Air on orders over $50 (total cost excluding shipping). Make sure to choose UPS ground as your shipping option when you check out and you’ll be upgraded at no extra charge. Both offers expire at midnight on Dec. 19 (that’s tomorrow!) SO GET ON IT. If you’re looking for more delicious vegan treats, VegNews* has a store up and running that includes some damn cute holiday cards & VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS (plus lots more awesome stuff!). Also, giving a subscription (available in tree-free form too for all you people who care about the Environment GOD) to the magazine is only $20 and spreads the vegan love all year long! Finally, Herbivore put out a gorgeous coffee table book of their art. It’s a super classy present.

5. Finally finally, just about every animal rescue takes a beating around the holidays. Whether it’s a farm animal sanctuary that experiences an influx of turkeys or a cat rescue that overflows with discarded holiday kittens, all animal charities accept donations and are grateful as hell for the help. Is that curmudgeonly aunt of yours a secret rabbit person? Donate to Save A Bunny in her name! Bam! Done! Have a friend who loves cats but can’t reasonably take in another one? Donate to Give Me Shelter Cat Rescue, and they’ll do the taking in for her. Oh, and there’s always the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine,* The Humane Society, Rocket Dog Rescue,* Grey2K USA, Animal Place, Compassion Over Killing, Mercy For Animals, Animal Acres, Home At Last, and many, many others. All you need is a credit card or paypal account, and your holiday shopping is just minutes away from being done.

Happy holidays!

*Members of Vegansaurus are presently employed by/volunteer for these organizations.

11/30/2009

Not TOTALLY vegan-related exactly BUT it’s fun to watch the awesome VEGAN Congressman Dennis Kucinich tear Rick Santorum a new one. That sentence is really funny if you read Dan Savage.

I triple dog dare you to show me a better example of good vs. evil. That isn’t from Star Wars, NERD.

Tie this all in with Elizabeth Kucinich being the new head of Public Affairs for PCRM and damn, I totally get what the Mormons are going for because everyone should be allowed to marry them.

08/20/2009

School Lunch Sound Off THIS SATURDAY!  »

The School Lunch Sound Off is an event for students, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens to meet up, enjoy delicious snacks, and talk about the future of the National School Lunch Program and the push to get some healthy, non-dairy vegetarian (read: radio-friendly way to say vegan) options instated.

There will be an interactive segment where students (and anyone else who wants to!) can write letters, draw pictures, plant seeds, and enjoy other fun projects to get closer to where our food comes from. In addition, there will be a contest for students (ages 4 to 18) to create drawings, paintings, songs, poems, or skits and submit them for a chance to win an iPod! Woohoo! Contest entries can be submitted at the event or before the event by e-mailing lbeck@pcrm.org.

There will be tons of free food provided by SF Vegan Tamales, Brassica Supperclub, and Sugar Beat Sweets! You will also have the chance to win some sweet door prizes, and the event itself is free! Please come and pass on the info to everyone you know, in particular students who want to start the school year off with a new iPod!

Oh, and did we mention that Marilu Henner will be there? Yes, the star of Taxi and writer of numerous books on nutrition. There will also be health and education experts on hand to give short presentations and answer all your questions.

The Shout Out takes place at a.Muse Gallery (614 Alabama Street in the Mission) from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 22. More info here! But what else do you need to know? Be there or be a traitor to your cause.

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