vegansaurus!

08/28/2012

Ask a Vegansaur: Vol. 07: Where can you get a vegan tattoo in the Bay Area?  »


Me, getting my boogie on, with a number of tattoos

This is a one-question post, but it’s one I mulled over quite a bit and polled a number of artists, so I hope it is helpful. DOWN TO BUSINESS:

Jacinda asks: Do you know any vegan-friendly tattoo artists in the Bay Area? I’m having a problem finding people. I search on Google and can’t find valid info for current people. All the ones I find are all old info. Any help you might have would be appreciated.

There is a TON of misinformation out there with regard to tattoos and veganism. I spoke to my artist (who happens to be a vegetarian) and several others to get a better feel on the situation. If you don’t agree that they are the experts in their field, I advise you to skip this entry. Here’s what I learned:

What makes an ink non-vegan is its binder, or carrier. Basic colors, such as most blacks (obviously not bone black, which uses bone char as the pigment), greens, reds, and so forth, are likelier to use no animal products. Less common colors—things like lavender, turquoise, chartreuse—might use binders and mixers that are not animal-friendly, just because that’s what’s keeping the color together.

Specifically vegan inks are available, so if you really want to use them, find an artist you like, and ask if he or she can use them. However, it seems to be a common opinion among tattoo artists that these inks don’t hold up as well. Remember, this is something you are putting on your body permanently, so you’d ideally like it to last forever. 

Here’s my advice for anyone seeking a tattoo anywhere: Find a pool of artists whose work you like (on the internet, through a friend, etc.) and bring them your idea(s). A knowledgeable artist will be able to tell you what is feasible and keeps within animal-friendly parameters. 

I hope that helps. The internet has yet to reach a consensus on this subject. If you are or know of a tattoo artist who specifically caters to vegans, now is the time to share.

Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk! 


[Photo credit: me]

05/24/2012

Vegan Roadtrip: Vegas, take two!  »

In under one year I’ve been to Vegas twice! And I don’t even gamble (unless we’re talking about the guys I date, but we’ll save that for another time). I went with another femme fatale you may have heard of—Sarah M. Smart, anyone? Sarah was in Vegas for work, plus it was her birthday weekend, so this whirlwind vacay was taken with our friends Brent and Britney. Party time! Sarah and I often get asked how we have solidified such a strong, vegan friendship and we’re like, “Trips to Vegas, Katy Perry, and a mutual affection for cake vodka!” That’s how it’s done.

imageUnfortunately, I was a little under the weather for this trip, which meant more poolside lounging and eating, as opposed to a little something I like to call “elegant debauchery.” Poor me, right? Poor, hot-tub soaking me.

I like to stay at the Hooters Hotel and Casino, which boasts three pools and two hot tubs! Don’t forget, they have a sandwich that can be made vegan and eaten poolside, the Sassy San Franciscan!

Now, let’s get to the food! In terms of eating, Vegas has got it going on, if only for a little (entirely vegan) place called Pura Vida. Pura Vida is located in downtown Vegas, which is few miles off the strip. It’s like a part of Vegas only the locals know! And now ME!

imageThe brunch I had at Pura Vida was one of the best vegan meals I have ever had. Chef Mayra is creative, brilliant, and quite the spitfire! It may sound as though I’m exaggerating with my whole “It was the BEST,” but I sent my vegan friend and co-worker, Nate, there a few weeks later when he went to Vegas and guess what: He said the same thing, and also that chef Mayra remembered me! How sweet. Next time you go to Vegas, make Pura Vida your first priority! (Maybe go to Vegas just to eat there?) And make sure you talk to the chef, she will brighten your day!

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Brent ordered the empandas for an appetizers and they were delicious! I especially liked that they were very light and not greasy. I can’t find them on the online menu, and also cannot remember what they were filled with! Oops. However, everyone at the table agreed they were tasty and that the chutney they came with was superb! Look how vibrant the colors are!

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I am going to Vegas again, hopefully in the very near future, to chow down on this baby: the Latin’tude breakfast burrito. It changed my life. Look at all those colors! So fresh! So beautiful! I might go back to Vegas and ask it marry me; I mean, when in Sin City, right? Another note on chef Mayra’s food—it’s organic, and she has many gluten-free options available. Now go!

Sarah, Britney, Brent, and I also hit up the Cheesecake Factory in Caesar’s Palace. (Please don’t tell anyone I made them go to Kardashian Khaos in the Mirage afterward, okay? Like, for an unsatisfying dessert.) I’m okay with eating at the Cheesecake Factory, because they have this cocktail called the Asian Pear Martini that I just adore! Plus, they have this new Skinnylicious menu, with many vegan or easy-to-veganize options.
I like to get the beets with goat cheese salad, minus the goat cheese. It is still very satisfying, with beets, arugula, pecans, apples and a vinaigrette dressing!
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I also like to get the mushroom lettuce wraps! They come with shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, water chestnuts and green onions, all sauteed in a light soy dressing. They are very refreshing, especially wrapped in the crisp, lettuce leaves.

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Lettuce taco, coming atcha!

Another place the four of us went that is worth mentioning is Red 8 in the Wynn hotel. It is an Asian Fusion bistro, with many vegan options, including vegan dim sum! How exciting!

We ordered dim sum, which I sadly do not have a picture of. I also cannot find their dim sum menu online, but I will say that the jade dumplings feature another love of my life, spinach!

Britney and I split the Gardein cashew Chick’n, celery, mushroom, and ginger entree, as well as the tofu and shiitake. So delicious! Now that I’ve broken the bank at both of the vegan restaurants I wanted to at the Wynn, I don’t feel the need to go back in the near future—unless of course my future sugar daddy is paying.
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Chick’n, cashew, celery, mushrooms, and ginger plate!

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Tofu and shiitake plate!

I know there are tons of places I didn’t get to in this last trip, but I will eventually. I can’t wait to get back to Vegas! It is my vegan haven!

05/23/2012

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor go vegan! Let’s hope it sticks!   »

In news that I know you are all anxiously awaiting, another celebrity couple tries out veganism! This time, it’s Zoolander and Melody from Hey Dude! Just kidding you guys, I don’t seriously live in a world where actors are the characters they play. (Yes I do.)

Christine Taylor talks all about the transition here. Regarding her kids, she says they are having a harder time with the switch, and explains “My daughter loves veggies but doesn’t love fruit. My son loves fruit and doesn’t love veggies.” That’s so funny, because you know who else like veggies but doesn’t like fruit? Sarah! I just don’t get it. I even love the kind of fruit that everyone has a problem with—berries with little seeds! All the fruit for me, all the time! (except papaya, I don’t like that one. [Ed. note: WORD.])

Christine Taylor is also the spokesperson for Nourish body care products. I looked into Nourish, and it sounds like an awesome company—vegan and organic! I saw that the products are sold at Whole Foods, so I hopped, skipped, and jumped on over to the store across the street in search of body lotion. Sadly, the Upper Haight Whole Foods only carries Nourish body wash, and I prefer bar soap. Lavender mint lotion, you will be mine—I bet it’s at Rainbow!

xoxo,
Your Vegan Celebrity Correspondent

[photo via Ecorazzi]

05/21/2012

How to STAY vegan: 13 tips!  »

 

Cleavage shot by yours truly

Anybody can GO vegan. Heck, my dad makes a joke that goes, “I’m vegan… BETWEEN MEALS!” Ha! Got me there, Dad!

The point is, many people decide to go vegan and they’re all about it for a while. Then they get frustrated. Or bored. Or lonely. Or demotivated. Or any number of less-than-optimal states of being. We’ve given you tips on how to GO vegan, now we’d like to tell you how to STAY vegan.

From Jenny and me, 13 tips on staying vegan:


1. Spread the word!
Tell everyone you’re vegan. Reaffirming this fact not only to myself but also to people I meet might make me obnoxious, but it also keeps me feeling like the public is watching my every move. And nobody likes feeling hypocritical. They tell you to do this when you’re going to quit smoking too—it just makes you more accountable. 

2. Get a vegan tattoo!
I’m sort of joking but not really? I got one (pictured above). It’s there to judge me, forever.

3. Remember why you’re vegan!
Re-watch Meet Your MeatEarthlings, or reread Diet for a New America. Listen to podcasts like Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and We Like It Raw. Revisit why you went vegan in the first place when you’re feeling shaky. Ask yourself on the regular, why you are doing this. Animals? Environment? To bring more compassion into your life? It will help remind you why this sometimes challenging way of life is worth it. And it’s fun to see how your commitments, ideas and thoughts about this way of life change over time. As my therapist tells me, check in with yourself on the regular!

4. Stay in the know!
Watch new exposés. Read new studies. Every time the “health community” “learns” something about food, pay attention—you might have forgotten all the pus and antibiotics in that hunk of cheese you’re craving. Have all the information in your grasp. This is particularly easy to do if you have the Internet. God bless the internet!

5. Take it easy on yourself!
Forgive yourself if you do something that’s not vegan. You’ll learn what to watch out for on ingredient lists and which brands of face lotion are tested on animals. You will learn SO MUCH, it’s crazy. You can always choose to do something different next time, and guilt-tripping yourself isn’t going to make you feel motivated to continue in this lifestyle. It’s okay if you’re not perfect, you’re human! Your lifestyle isn’t about being more vegan than anyone else and mistakes happen. This is especially important when beginning or coming back to a vegan way of life!

6. Listen to your body!
If you do slip up, pay attention to your body. If/when you do something that’s not vegan, on purpose or on accident, think about how it makes you feel physically in addition to mentally. You might notice you feel better without those eggs clogging up your arteries!

7. Build your vegan community!
Find vegan friends. You can do this through a meetup, through vegan blogs (ahem), or by complete accident. Talk to them when you’re feeling low about veganism. For every vegan you don’t want to talk to, there are at least five more you do. You have a vegan BFF out there just waiting to be found! It took me five years to find Jenny Bradley. Patience pays off.

8. Throw a party!
If you are a social being and like to have people over, throw a vegan party! I like to have monthly potlucks, in which I invite everyone I know and ask them to bring a dish, if they so desire! Of course it must be vegan! It brings out the creativity in my vegetarian and omnivore friends, and they get really excited when they veganize their dishes! I swear! It’s the cutest. Plus, everyone loves eating! Food at parties gives people something to do and talk about!

9. Experiment in the kitchen!
Try new recipes, like, all the time. Rice, beans, and kale are all healthy, but some deep-fried tofu cubes or a few bites of homemade vegan ice cream shouldn’t kill you (of course, consult your doctor if you’re at all worried about that). If you’re bored with what you’re eating, going back to the omni side could look terribly appealing.

10. Go to vegan venues!
Hit up vegan restaurants. Don’t have any near you? Make a point to take some road trips to the closest ones. There’s a big wide vegan world waiting for you!

11. Be prepared!
Traveling while vegan can be an adventure. Plan accordingly. You can always eat at Subway or Taco Bell on roadtrips, but bring snacks! Everywhere! Weddings, plane rides, whatever circumstance has you not eating for hours at a time. I have found this is especially important when arriving somewhere late or if you have a food allergy! I firmly believe raw, dehydrated foods are the best for these situations because they are healthy and flavorful. Basically, pack nutrient dense foods (bagels, pretzels and bread have a tendency to leave me hungry and unfulfilled as opposed to kale chips, dried fruit, nuts or a superfood Powerbar).

12. Let the vegan haters hate!
Don’t let assholes (I’m including myself here) shame you into quitting. I’ll be like, “Oh, people who support PETA are human lice,” but then I’ll totally forget to look at ingredients on some random granola bar I bought because I was hungry and end up eating something with whey in it and not feeling so high and mighty after all. Plus a few days down the road you’ll probably see me looking up a recipe on PETA’s website. The point is that this is your choice, and people who are jerks to you about it are just that: jerks.

13. Let the omni haters hate!
Pick your battles with omnivores. Haters gonna hate and you’ll wear yourself out when you feel like you are always on the defense to testy omnivores. Sometimes I just laugh jerks off, because in the end, I don’t care what they think of me and I know I gotta do me! Remember, it’s about you! This is your life, your diet and your choices! Everyone will have an opinion (they always do!) but in the end, my goal is to show everyone what a healthy, happy, satisfied, well-adjusted, fun vegan looks like.

There you have it! I hope this list helps you stay vegan and stay strong. It’s a great thing you’re doing, keep up the good work!

05/18/2012

Social Kitchen and Brewery in the Inner Sunset has tasty vegan options!  »

Social Kitchen and Brewery serves beer and has vegan options—that’s all you really need to know, right? It’s located in the Inner Sunset, which means even when it’s busy, it’s not like trying to find a seat in a Mission bar, feel me? I love this place ‘cause it’s close to my ‘hood, they always respond to my tweets, and there’s specialty crafted beer.


Vegan chili! So flavorful—I was very impressed!


Roasted Brussels sprouts chips! I loved these babies!


French fries! Standard bar food, but look: They come in little metal pails and are seasoned to perfection!

They have more choices than I’ve shown, but since super-eater Sean Hugunin wasn’t with us, there was no need to order every vegan option on the menu.

Let’s not forget the beer!

I always order IPA because it tastes the best. Featured is Social’s Easy IPA—delicious!

Social Kitchen and Brewery is located at 1326 Ninth Ave., in the Inner Sunset. Let’s go, I’m free on Saturday night!

04/21/2012

Earth day is on Sunday: let’s talk reducing, reusing and composting!  »


Another year, another Earth Day! I like to look at Earth day as a New Year’s of sorts — I examine the steps I’m taking to reduce my carbon footprint, and also try to make new resolutions, then revisit old ones I’ve let slide. For instance — when I buy coffee, there is no reason I should ever come out with a paper coffee cup and plastic lid. I have travel mugs! I made a resolution awhile back that if I didn’t have my mug with me, I wouldn’t buy coffee. It’s time I re-evaluate that one, and stick to it!

I can’t write this and not mention how green the vegan lifestyle is, after all, my motto is “every day is Earth day when you’re vegan”! There are always more steps we can take, to reduce our consumption of resources! Let’s inspire each other!

The Vegansaurs have compiled a list for you, of the things we do (besides being vegan) to take care of this planet and it’s resources, so that we don’t have to move to Mars and allow the destruction of another planet in this galaxy to begin!

Sarah — “I reuse everything, literally everything: takeout containers, foil, Ziplock bags, shopping bags, boxes, teabags, etc. I’m not a hoarder, yet! Oh yeah, biking! I do this, too.”

Rachel — “I carpool to work and bike around town whenever I can (so much harder now that I don’t live in the Bay Area anymore!). I buy almost all my clothing and as much household furniture as I can used. I carry my own water around so I’m not stuck with bottled.” She also shops at farmer’s markets, supports local business, and brings her own bags to the grocery store. As far as household care, Rachel covers her windows in plastic during the winter so she doesn’t have to use as much heat and programs her thermostat “to mellow out at night and while I’m gone.”

Laura —“I compost everything! I throw out one bag of actual garbage, like once a month. It’s crazy what you can compost between the city and your own backyard! Amazing! Oh, and buy as much stuff used as possible, except underwear because I’m not Lindsay Lohan. Or swimming suits… speaking of which, do you have a pool? It is hot as shit out! And don’t use chlorine in that pool! But do use salt water or whatever is naturally antibacterial so you don’t get gangrene or chlamydia from me.”

Meave — “Composting! Plus, making your own vegetable stock from scraps, buying those recycled, recyclable toothbrushes. Washing everything in cold water. Public transportation and walking because driving is the worst. Filling a big jug with water when you’re heating it up to do dishes and then using it to water plants/dog/yourself/ice. Little things like this seem insane, but you have to look at it as habit-changes, not like ‘adopting crazy behavior’. It’s like how you had to learn to always read ingredients. You just learn to put the giant bottle under the tap, until the water’s hot, or wash your ziplocks instead of throwing them away”.

Megan — “I buy organic! I buy organic sheets, organic food, organic everything! Just so there’s less junk in the earth.” 

Mark forwarded me a spam message about hot tubs. I am assuming it was to prove the point that no paper gets wasted when one sends an email, as opposed to snail mail. And also because he’s funny.

Jenny (that’s me!) — My mom hates going to the the grocery store with me, because I never use those plastic fruit and vegetable bags — I think they are so wasteful! More than anything I try to keep my consumption of plastic products down, because the thought of the Pacific Garbage Patch terrifies me. I wash all my clothes in cold water, I try to not buy coffee out unless I brought my own mug, I use canvas bags when food shopping, and when I cook, I try to use ingredients that come in the least amount of packaging possible. You will hardly find processed cheeses or creams in my recipes. Like Meave, I also walk and take public transit everywhere!

Now it’s your turn! What measures do you take, to live a greener lifestyle?

Don’t forget, if you live in the Bay Area, there is not one, but two events for you to attend on Sunday — Berkeley Vegan Earth Day and Earth Day at Hayes Valley farm

04/09/2012

After the horrors of earlier today, this little slice of heaven brought to you by the Facebook stream of one Diana Stout. By the time these li’l’ guys grow up, the #beararmy will be in the process of conquering the world. Right, guys?! Don’t worry, bear buddies, we’re always recruiting, at all ages.

Bears are being buried alive! Please help!  »

Oh god, this is horrifying: Bears are being buried alive in Appalachia. I guess what’s happening is as companies further clear-cut, bulldoze, and blast the earth in search of coal, the debris is piling up on top of the entrances to black bears’ dens. Mountaintop removal coal mining is FUCKED UP. It doesn’t just hurt bears, though — flying squirrels, salamanders, mussels, and more are all facing habitat destruction. Here’s what you can do: Save your “bear-ied” puns for another day, and give your hard-earned dollars (if you can spare them) to the National Wildlife Federation. The organization is working with local leaders to stop this insanity. Do it to it, my rich(er) friends.

[Photo credit: NWF]

EDIT: I have been alerted to NWF’s support of “sustainable” hunting. Sorry, guys! Still looking for another organization working on this particular problem. Thanks for your comments!

04/03/2012

Save the tiniest (but still kinda big) dolphin from extinction!  »


Tiny animals WHAT! Unfortunately it’s not all fun and games for these Maui dolphins found on the west coast of New Zealand, and they’re not as tiny as I thought they would be.

The 55 Maui dolphins left on the planet, including as little as 20 breeding females, are facing “imminent” extinction, according to a new study, because of commercial fishing. These dolphins grow to about 5.5 feet long, live about 20 years, and have only about three or four calves in their lifetimes.

Commercial fishing is evil, duh, and not just for catching fish for people to eat. Trawling and vast fixed nets held in place by anchors have been blamed for killing the Maui dolphins. Sign the last-ditch effort petition to save the relatively tiny Maui dolphins!

[image via Daily Mail, photographer not identified]

03/27/2012

New York has Yoga for Bears! Yes, really!  »

Animals Asia is a prime source of my bear news, so I’m pleased to inform you of an awesome-sounding New York event: Yoga for Bears!

Yeah, I said it. Unfortunately, it’s not what you’re thinking: Yoga for Bears does not feature bears doing yoga, but it’s the next best thing. The event kicks off with a full-length yoga class for all levels, followed by vegan lunch, and a talk and Q&A with Animals Asia. You’ll leave with all sorts of knowledge about how to get involved with Animals Asia and a rad T-shirt. Worth the $50 ticket price? I think so, especially since flexibility is a highly desired trait among soldiers in the bear army.

Yoga for Bears takes place at the Jivamukti Yoga School in New York City on Sunday, April 15, from noon to 3:30 p.m. Register here!

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