Exclusive Interview: Meet the Dads of Esther the Wonder Pig! »
Thanks to her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, tens of thousands of fans (us included!) get to peek into the surprising and always adorable daily doings of Esther The Wonder Pig, the clever, undeniably photogenic 400-pound pig! It’s truly a delight each day to browse Steve and Derek’s witty status updates and glamorous pics of Esther living her genius, safe, and cozy life in Toronto with her loving dads and dog siblings!
Vegansaurus’ Sarah E. Brown interviewed Esther’s loving dads about life with Esther, how she came into their lives, and their future plans to continue spreading awareness about pigs as pets, not food.
Vegansaurus: What surprised you most about adopting Esther when she was a “mini-pig”?
Steve & Derek: How much attention she needed. It was like having a child running around the house. We couldn’t let her out of our sight or she would get into everything!
V: How did you two meet? How long have you been together? How long into your relationship did Esther come into the picture?
S&D: We’ve been together for over 13 years now. Steve is a realtor, Derek is a professional magician. We met as teenagers working at a restaurant. Esther didn’t come along until about 12 years in.
V: On social media, we all get to see the amazing images of Esther in her full glory—we also get to see her sassy personality. How did you decide to start documenting her presence in your life through social media and your website? And who posts most of the updates?
V: How did you decide to name her Esther?
S&D: We just wanted a fun and “comfortable” name. For whatever reason, Esther seemed like a very traditional, human name and it just clicked. There wasn’t really any sort if inspiration in particular, it just worked.
V: You’ve recently gotten a lot of press, and over 76,000 followers on Facebook (congrats!). In your recent Mercy For Animals (MFA) interview, you talked about how people have reached out to you. What’s the coolest connection you’ve made so far since adopting Esther and telling your story?
S&D: That’s really hard to answer. We’ve heard from some incredible people. Some that still make our heads spin to be honest. We got to do an interview with Sam Simon, and we’ve been on Ellen’s good news blog. Friends at Mercy for animals and PETA have shared about us. There have been some amazing people that run blogs of their own, and have become good friends already. We even have some celebrity followers on Twitter. It’s really crazy.
V: Besides apples, what are Esther’s favorite foods?
S&D: She loves pretty much any fruit or candy. They’re just like humans so if it’s a treat for us, it’s a treat to her.
V: Do you recommend adopting a pig? What is your advice to someone thinking of adopting a pig in an urban setting?
S&D: Be super careful. They are a ton of work and will require some major life adjustments. We had to pig proof our house, learn how to manage and train her and it’s way different than a dog. Pigs are so smart! Esther can open doors, cupboards, and even our fridge. We had to re-evaluate where we keep everything! It was a huge learning curve. We wouldn’t really advise it only because if the work it took. She’s awesome now but caused many a soul searching conversations. It was tough. We wouldn’t trade her for the world but it definitely wasn’t easy. Our advice is do plenty of research and make sure you’re up for the challenge. If you do decide you’re up for it, know it is the most incredible and rewarding experience of our lives. She really opened our eyes and as far as we’re concerned, made us better people. We love her like you wouldn’t believe.
V: Are there any resources that helped you when you first went vegan or first adopted Esther (i.e. pig care tips, etc.) that you’d like to share?
S&D: We found it really hard to get information and hope to change that. We learned on our own as we went along, taking the odd note from websites or our vet. That was the hardest part: How the hell do you teach a pig?
V: Do you have any future plans you’d like to share with our readers?
S&D: We do want to start a sanctuary and will start fundraising very soon. We’ll be opening the Esther store on our website
Thanks so much, Esther’s Dads, Derek and Steve! And thanks to Esther for being so, well, wonderful!All images included with permission by and courtesy of Derek and Steve and Esther the Wonder Pig.
Thoughts on Making My New Vegan Cookbook, by Molly Patrick »
[This post is from Molly Patrick, co-author of the new cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food for the Body and Soul]
Did you know that New Mexico was part of the United States before you watched Breaking Bad? (It’s okay. I grew up there and sometimes even I got confused. It’s not really new, it’s not really Mexico. What to think…)
Breaking Bad didn’t lie on two accounts: 1) New Mexico really is full of meth; and 2) there is nothing like the New Mexico sky.
I grew up in a teepee on a bunch of land in asscrack nowhere New Mexico (you guys, I swear I’m not lying. A teepee!!). I had no running water, no electricity and no plumbing for the first part of my life. I was a teenager when we got our first TV and it was (I kid you not) a black and white 10 inch (dear god, why would I make this shit up).
We had an outhouse until I was ready to graduate high school and I grew up without ever eating meat (to this day I have not tried the stuff).
Actually, that’s not entirely true. When I was six, my Godfather bribed me to eat a bite of turkey on Thanksgiving for $5. At six years old, $5 is like $500 so I totally did it. I also tried Chicken McNuggets once in high school. I gagged a little, kept the sweet and sour sauce and trashed the nuggets.
My unusual and socially awkward upbringing was the root of some of my disgruntled teenage years but as soon as I decided that being mad wasn’t a cool trend anymore I got over it. When I got a little older and discovered how (some) people of privilege operate, I had a whole new appreciation for the way I was raised.
It may not have been fancy but it was full of love, honesty, humbleness, grace and compassion.
Last year, I wanted to share a piece of my upbringing with my girlfriend, Luanne so we quit our jobs and headed South from the Bay Area to asscrack nowhere land. We were on a mission to write a follow-up to our first cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food of South East Asia.
Luanne is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (kind of like New York but in South East Asia) so naturally, she was excited to go to New Mexico to see the aliens.
We were in New Mexico for seven months.
We wrote a cookbook, saw no aliens, tried no meth, saw countless jaw dropping sunsets and sunrises (see pics), soaked our bodies in natural hot springs, played in the snow and drank beer in the sun. We also ate lots of green chili (another one of New Mexico’s little secrets).
I created the recipes, Luanne tasted them, Luanne styled the photographs and I took the pictures. We had an awesome fucking time. I highly recommend quitting your job and doing something bat-shit crazy that makes no sense at all at some point in your life (but don’t go to New Mexico in winter. That shiz is cold. We’re talking high desert @ 6,000 feet, people. Bur).
Here are two recipes from our new cookbook, Bold Vegan, Food for the Body and Soul. There is a discount for Vegansaurus readers! The promo code is: vegansaurus and it will allow your guys to buy the instant download version of our new book for $10 (usually $14.99). [Ed.: YES!!!]
It is filled with 90 Western and Asian classic comfort food dishes. From Vietnamese Pho to Pot Pie and Creamy Alfredo Pasta to Green Onion Pancakes.
Brought to you from New Mexico, with love.
But first, some sample recipes:
Fiery Garlic Tofu
(gluten free if using gluten free soy sauce / nut free)
- 1 14 oz. box (397g) firm tofu tofu, cut into 1 inch squares
- 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch (45g)
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil plus 3 tablespoons, divided (105ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (3g)
- 20 turns fresh black pepper
- 10 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 - 5 dried red chilies, cut in half (add more if you like more spice)
- 1 heaping tablespoon peeled and minced ginger (12g)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (15ml)
- 6 tablespoons water (90ml)
- 1 red onion, sliced into rounds (140g)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (2.5ml)
- Sugar Glaze (1 tablespoon (15g) brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon (15ml) water)
- 1 green onion, cut into 2 inch strips for garnish
Evenly spread out cornstarch on a plate.
Cut tofu and dredge evenly in cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup (60ml) of the grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan.
Place 1/2 of the tofu in oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns of black pepper.
Cook for 9-10 minutes, turning so that all sides get brown.
Take out of pan and place on a brown paper bag (placed on a plate) to soak up the oil.
Place 3 more tablespoons (45ml) of oil in the pan and add the remaining tofu.
Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns black pepper and cook for 9-10 minutes.
Take out and place on paper bag.
Use the same oil and pan and add the garlic, chili and ginger.
Cook for 1 minute and then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 6 tablespoons water.
Add red onions and sesame oil and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the tofu back to the pan, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the glaze and cook for an additional minute.
Garnish with green onions.
Do not serve the red chilies, they are added for flavor, not to eat directly.
If you don’t like spicy then leave the red chilies whole.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
(gluten free / nut free / soy free if using soy free Earth Balance buttery spread)
First, the Cheese Sauce
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2 cups / 240g)
- 1 cup carrot, cut into 1/2 inch rounds (130g)
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced (1/2 cup / 65g)
- 2 cups water (475 ml)
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (70g)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (40g)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk (45 ml)
- 3 turns fresh black pepper
Place potato, carrot and onion in a pan with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
After 20 minutes, turn off heat and add Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a blender and blend until creamy, about one minute on medium. You may need to scrape the sides down from the blender a couple of times for everything to get incorporated.
Add coconut milk to the blender and continue to blend until mixture is creamy throughout.
Place into a bowl and add fresh black pepper.
Now, assemble the whole dish:
- 1 recipe cheese sauce (above)
- 4 cups thinly sliced potatoes, 1/4 inch thick (4 potatoes / 625g)
- 3 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread (45g)
- 1 onion diced (1 cup / 120g)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk creamer (120ml)
- 1/3 cup parsley, chopped (8g)
- 1 tablespoons rice flour (30g)
- 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
- 3 cups of chard, chopped (175g)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
Slice potatoes and set aside.
Heat Earth Balance in a skillet and add the onions, garlic and parsley.
Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the flour and salt and stir for 30 seconds.
Slowly pour in the creamer and stir until mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Evenly spread 1/4 cup (60g) of cheese sauce on the bottom of a 8x11 baking dish.
Place a third of the potatoes over the sauce, covering the bottom of the pan.
Place half of the chard over the potatoes.
Place a third of cheese sauce over the chard (about 1 cup / 230g).
Repeat (another third of potatoes, the rest of the chard, another third of the cheese sauce).
Add the last layer of potatoes and then pour over the remaining cheese sauce.
With a spoon, evenly dollop the onion/garlic mixture on top of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.
Place in the oven and baked uncovered for 1 hour.
You can use any leafy green in place of the chard.
(I’m writing my bio in first person because I think writing about myself in third person is creepy)
If I’m not in my kitchen you will find me behind my camera, in front of my computer, on my meditation pillow, in a yoga class or watching Parks and Rec (I promise I’m not snobby – I’m not even good at yoga. It has been my lifelong dream to touch even my fingers to the mat in a forward bend. It still boggles me that I can’t do it given that my arms are disproportionately long).
I have helped open restaurants in New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona (including Nature’s Express in Berkeley, CA). Before I wrote cookbooks and opened restaurants I was a personal chef.
You can buy my cookbooks on my website, boldvegan.com. While you’re there you can drool over lots of free recipes, check out my guide to getting healthy, 21 Days to Awesome and, sign up for my emails where I share even more recipes and charming banter.
(oh, and I’m always accepting recipe development, food styling and photography work. Check my online portfolio here)
Guest Post: Anchorman 2 cast and celebrity guests largely veto veganism at U.S. premiere »
News anchor Ron Burgundy wasn’t the only legend standing strong at Sunday night’s star-studded step-and-repeat. Also the longstanding “legend,” or, perhaps more accurately, longstanding myth, that we need meat for protein proved alive and well on the comedian-clad red carpet. Pervasive as ever, even the rich, famous and funny are by and large out of touch when it comes to science, sentience and, maybe most compelling to the celebrity set, sexiness.
It’s somewhat disheartening to witness Hollywood so woefully behind the times. With that said, despite persistent prejudices against veganism, a few folks in attendance admitted to having tried a plant-based diet in the past, or offered to give it a go in the future. Others were a little … lost.
Given the global buzz surrounding Jay-Z’s and Beyoncé’s 22-day foray into vegan eating — thanks to nutrition coach Marco Borges — I used this high-profile nutrition news as an excuse to get premiere-goers talking. Some weren’t aware of the power couple’s compassionate challenge, but at least my mentioning it got the gears turning, if only for a moment.
One thing’s for sure, based on star Will Ferrell’s response to one reporter’s query about how he spends time in his trailer, this dude’s nowhere near eschewing meat, dairy and eggs. Said the actor, “You know how those trailers have, like, full kitchens? Little ovens and stuff like that? I’m the only one who uses my oven. I cook fantastic lunches for the cast in my trailer. A lot of chicken pot pies, lasagna. That’s how I relax. I cook in my trailer.”
To this, filmmaker Adam McKay added, “He did a crazy amount of cooking. He had a hotplate in there. He was constantly making tortellini; he was deep-frying calamari. There was constant smoke and smells coming out of his trailer. It was very odd. He put on, easily, 35 pounds during this movie. We had to hospitalize him at one point. It was a major problem.” (I’m going to venture to guess some, if not all, of this is fabricated for entertainment’s sake. Needless to say, both he and Will had all media within earshot laughing.)
Among those in attendance for the film’s debut at New York City’s Beacon Theatre on Sunday night were Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Edward Norton, James Marsden, Jeremy Piven, Brooke Shields, Bobby Moynihan, Billy Magnussen, and more.
Without further ado, responses from a few glittering industry icons to the following question: “As you’ve likely heard, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are right now rocking a plant-based diet, until at least Christmas. Would you ever experiment with veganism? Say for three weeks?”
I’ve done that! I’ve cut my meat down to a couple times a month. But then, if I don’t eat meat, I just eat a lot of pizza and gain weight. It’s a hard one. I haven’t pulled it off yet.
No. I have no interest. I did it when I was a kid. It was cheap. It’s very affordable. I was eating lentils, rice, vegetables. It got to the point where I got tired of it. It’s like I’m at a buffet and I keep switching. I juice in the morning! That’s enough of that [healthy] stuff all day.
I would love to! Vegan food can be very good. But, when I lived in New York, I’d see the vegans. They looked kind of gray. [I’m vegan!] Are you? Well, you look great. I belong to Actors and Others for Animals, and PETA, and Farm Sanctuary, and I appreciate not eating meat, but I just like it. You know, it’s the circle of nature.
Well, it depends what you mean by “plant.” I think I am on a plant-based diet, if you count cows and chickens that eat plants. No? Then I’m not on a plant-based diet. That seems really extreme. I think I need some protein. [There’s protein in plants!] No, there’s not. [I’m a living vegan. I’m fine.] You have to eat, like, peanuts. I dunno. I wouldn’t do it. Taco Bell has no meat in it; I guess I could still eat that. Yeah. I would consider it.
My husband and I actually started! We haven’t gone all the way plant-based, because I’ll never give up chicken. It just won’t happen. But, we have been leaning a lot more toward that in the last month and a half, and it’s made a big difference: physically how I feel, physically in my stomach, in my skin, in my nails. I just feel a lot better. It’s hard for me with cheese; I’m such a cheese and sauce girl. But, I’ve pretty much given up beef. Turkey’s going. We’re trying to give up dairy. Eggs? Not so hard to give up. Forks Over Knives got us started.
Haley Joel Osment
For a role, I would. But, I’m too much of an embarrassing foodie to ever give it up voluntarily. I know it’s possible. There’s lot of options. It’s a lot better now than in the ’90s. My dad was always really into health foods and that was a struggle back then. Now there are actually chefs doing it on a big scale. I will eat vegan food, but also other things.
No, I didn’t know! Vegan? Oh, no. No, no, dear. No, no, no. That would never … I did try to have that green juice a couple of times, but I ate, too. I had it with food. And you do feel better, with the ginger and the rest of it, but there’s no way on god’s green earth I could do anything vegan or juice completely, and not eat regular food. Twinkies, juicing? Best thing ever.
Oh yeah! Forks Over Knives!
No! I love meat. I would eat a seal. I don’t care. I’d eat anything. I’d eat Jay-Z and Beyoncé. I’d eat everything. I don’t care. No, I care about animals, but I don’t know if I could do the vegan thing. I’d do a trial run. If Beyoncé agrees to add more hooks to her new album, I’ll agree to do the vegan thing.
Nell Alk is a writer and editor based in New York City. If something vegan is happening in the world, she is on it.
Book Review: Bleating Hearts By Mark Hawthorne »
If you’re thinking of reading an animal welfare-themed book this year, make it Mark Hawthorne’s breathtakingly well-researched and expertly written new book, Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering. Following his activism-focused first book Striking At The Roots, Hawthorne examines the many unseen sources of animal abuse, mistreatment, murder, and exploitation rampant in our world.
Bleating Hearts features lesser-discussed stories in animal welfare that are incredibly relevant in our modern times. As a vegan who considers herself to be relatively well-informed, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know about many of the specific animal abuses mentioned in Hawthorne’s book. There’s literally so much shit that people do to abuse animals that Hawthorne has painstakingly uncovered, it’s almost unreal. Hawthorne isn’t out to shock—he’s out to inform, providing generous research and sources to show the reader her blind spots and shines light on societal blights many of us have no idea about.
If I were a gambling woman, I’d bet that many of the readers of this blog have recently enjoyed a 49ers or Raiders game either on the tele or in person. If you’re an NFL fan in any capacity, Hawthorne’s book provides the not-too-fun-but-super-important awareness that 35,000 cows are killed every year so their skin can be fashioned into NFL footballs. When I read that stat, I pretty much realized I can’t watch football anymore (not that Michael Vick did great things for the sport’s animal-related PR front). Hawthorne reveals most professional sports kill tens of thousands of cows to use their skin for their balls—and we call them national pastimes.
Have you ever adorned yourself with a pretty fashion feather so popular in fashion in the Bay (and many hippie circles) these days? These feathers didn’t just fall from the sky—they were plucked from live roosters who were abused and killed in the process on factory farms. I’m not sure the anti-oppression spirit of Burning Man jives with this. I have definitely seen vegans wearing these, and would urge them to check out the section of Bleating Hearts that covers the abuse in detail.
I love how cleverly participatory Bleating Hearts feels—in addition to tons of resources sprinkled throughout, the book asks you to consider the page span of the physical book itself and shows that the factory farm cages for battery hens are smaller. I knew battery cages were small, I don’t eat eggs anyway—but it really hit home when I considered that their miserable lives take place in no larger a space than the book page-span.
Other things Bleating Hearts exposes: the humane seafood myth; the trouble with overfishing these little Omega 3-powerhouses called Menhaden; Austalia is the largest exporter of live animals and wool and sheep used for wool are totally abused—there is no way to ethically wear wool, in case that was ever in doubt.
Hawthorne definitely conveys a lot of painful information, but his perspective that sunshine is the best disinfectant is one with which I can’t help but agree and applaud. Bleating Hearts is sad, but it is also incredibly hopeful. It even starts with a story of hope: a story about someone taking a stand against animal abuse. Mark is a tireless activist and it’s impossible whether talking to him in person or reading this book not to feel you can be doing more, too. But he’s also compassionate—while not going easy on animal abusers, he explains systems that are leading to cruelty. It’s not the 20-year old seal clubbers in Canada who are to blame—it’s that the industry exists and gives them the option to earn a living while killing.
I learned in Bleating Hearts that Neiman Marcus and other “upscale” stores were selling “faux fur” that was actually made out of animal products. Imagine the disappointment of spending a shit ton on a faux fur coat, only to discover it’s “fashioned” from a real dead animal? Devastating to the customer—and of course to the animals who died to make such a travesty. Hawthorne reminds us of the consequences of letting our vegan guards down for even a moment when financial interests are at stake.
A few other little tidbits I really appreciated learning about: the fact that water bottle maker Nalgene started out as making equipment for animal testing (gross!), camel wrestling, horse fighting, human and animal abuses inherent to the silk industries, how animals are used for domestic battery, the gross practice of taxidermy as art, and the sizable demand for animals killed for spiritual rituals.
If you care at all about human- and/or non-human animals, Bleating Hearts is essential reading. There is so much to learn about, and there’s no better nor more compassionate guide through the hidden world of animal suffering than Mark Hawthorne. Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering is available for purchase here.
BREAKING NEWS: FDA Recalls Vega Protein Powders For Antibiotic Contamination »
In June, 2012 I ordered some “Natural”-flavored Vega One Nutritional Shake through Amazon. I tossed it in fruit smoothies, raw chia porridge, nut milk, and used it up until it was gone about a month later. Our own Laura Beck wrote an article earlier this year about how much she digs these shake blends!
Imagine my surprise, more than one year after purchasing and consuming this protein powder, when I received a friendly little e-mail from Amazon linking to a press release from the FDA saying the Vega One Nutritional Shake Product I bought was recalled for antibiotic containing trace amounts of chloramphenicol (CAP), an antibiotic used to treat typhoid fever and eye infections!
Though the Vega products don’t contain any CAP in the ingredients lists, apparently some jerk enzyme supplier laced them with CAP because enzyme suppliers are crazy! According to Web MD, CAP can cause aplastic anemia and hella allergic reactions in some people. Pregnant or lactating women should not take this drug! Crap you guys, I ate a tub of this!
Here’s a little snippet from the FDA press release:
As a precautionary measure, Vega is voluntarily withdrawing all of the listed product from the market and has taken steps to ensure all future products are CAP-free, including using a different source of enzymes to prevent further potential contamination and assure consumers of product purity. These actions complete a voluntary product withdrawal and ingredient resourcing that applied to Canadian products as well.
“We’re doing this out of an overabundance of caution and to ensure that when you go to the shelf, you never have to wonder about the purity of a Vega product,” said Charles Chang, Vega President and Founder.
The Vega products were distributed nationwide in retail stores.
People who have severe sensitivity or allergies to chloramphenicol may run the risk of an allergic reaction if they consume these products. There have been no reported allergic reactions from the listed products.
It’s great that Vega voluntarily did this recall, and their new Vega Recall website looks snazzy! But also, like, aren’t recalls supposed to be for fucking gross meat products filled with salmonella, not vegan goodness backed by superhero athlete Brendan Brazier?
I ate this protein powder and I guess I got some trace amounts of CAP in my system. I feel fine, I guess? Still, kinda lame it took this long for them to figure this all out.
I certainly can forgive them, but the question is, will Vega survive this? On that FDA press release, it says you can get a refund. When I called, a lovely French-Canadian message played. I don’t speak French, so I’ll just assume they’re closed at 8p on a Tuesday! If you ordered CAP-traced products, you can call or email Vega for a full refund: 1-866-839-8863 or www.vegarecall.com
Why are we just finding out about this a year later? What is your favorite protein powder made from plants? Feel free to discuss while I continue to fall down a Web MD antibiotic research rabbit hole.
Vegan Yogurt Crisis 2013 Is Upon Us »
WholeSoy & Co. has announced its products will be unavailable until this fall.
If I had to choose one product that imitates the non-vegan world that I pretty much thought I needed to survive, it’d be WholeSoy & Co. unsweetened plain soy yogurt. The tubs of savory probiotic goodness are the best tasting soy variety I’ve found, completely vegan (of course!) and insanely versatile. I loved that it could be fashioned as a sour cream substitute, baked into lovely vegan desserts, or combined with sweeteners like stevia to become a pudding-like confection. I sometimes added nooch to it and called it “Alfredo sauce,” because I’m lazy and have been vegan for eight years and forget what anything animal-derived tastes like.
If, like me, you’ve been hella confused as to WHERE THE @#$@ WholeSoy & Co. yogurt has been for the past few months, you’re not alone. Where has all the WholeSoy gone? It turns out from the WholeSoy & Co. company blog, they got pretty screwed by the facility that produced their products and were forced to halt production:
From the WholeSoy yogurt blog:
"The facility that previously helped us make and package our soy yogurt (called a co-packer in the industry) abruptly closed its doors and stopped making our products giving us only three days’ notice. We were fortunate to have been in the process of setting up a new facility, but moving yogurt production is a complicated endeavor that typically takes six months or more to complete…We have already started with the first steps toward the new WholeSoy Yogurt facility and we’ll work quickly, but we are going to take the time to get every part right. We are aiming for the return of WholeSoy products this fall.”
Wow. I am sad to see the yogurt out of stock but it’s great that WholeSoy & Co. is going to create a new all-vegan yogurt factory!
Many of have been lamenting the (permanent?) end of beloved Wildwood on twitter:
Stay tuned with WholeSoy yogurt updates on their blog and Facebook. Follow Amande updates here. In the meantime, all I can find is So Delicious products: Coconut yogurt and that nasty vegan greek yogurts. Get those because DESPERATION, but I think we’ll be stoked for Fall 2013 when we get at least some of our yogurt favorites back!
How are you surviving Vegan Yogurt Crisis 2013?
Vegans: You’ve got four months to get your asses to Chicago for the fanciest, highest-concept, most ridiculous meal you will ever eat. Starting May 8, the theme for Grant Achatz’s rotating-menu, fancy-schmancy, modernist restaurant Next is VEGAN. See preview video above, which is actually more of a masturbatory inside joke about stealing vegetables from Chicago restaurants, but the music is good, so whatev.
This place is so crazy you don’t make a reservation or order a meal, you BUY A TICKET. And for four months only, we can actually eat there! The May tickets sold out in like two hours on Tuesday (sorry I’m not THAT on top of it), but I bet you can get rid of a kidney or something and find some on the underground market, or follow Next on Facebook or Twitter to hear about when June tickets go on sale.
If anyone goes, please document and share with us! I’m seriously considering buying a plane ticket for this. Seriously.
VIDEO: quarrygirl presents ms. cupcake vegan bakery in london »
i wish i could be more like owner mellissa morgan aka ms. cupcake. disappointed in the lack of british vegan baked goods when she moved to england from canada, she took matters into her own hands and started making treats in her tiny flat and selling them at a market stall. just three years later, ms. cupcake is a world famous bakery in brixton with over 150 different cupcake varieties, several other dessert lines, savory items, and a cookbook on the way.
we sat down with mellissa to chat about why she started baking, why all people (not just vegans!) enjoy her desserts, and how cupcakes can provide an inclusive experience. when in london, be sure to check out ms. cupcake—you won’t regret it!
Eating raw will not ruin your life! »
When Megan Rascal sent me this article asserting that a mostly raw diet is inherently unhealthful, I debated whether to write a response or just ignore it. It’s always a toss-up when ill-informed crap ends up in my inbox; I thought I might ignore it because I believe that giving press to bullshit can sometimes just perpetuate the bullshit, but I decided to respond because of the (growing? I hope not) misconception that raw food = crazy people food, and that high-to-fully raw people know nothing about nutrition or how to take care of ourselves, and are basically just all counting our days until our nutritional deficiencies kick in and turn us into vegetables.
The article I’m referring to, also published on a “science” blog, claims that a raw vegan diet is super unhealthful. I’ll be honest, it’s got some good (if obvious, already widely known) points in support of expanding a raw diet to incorporate cooked food. Yes, some cooked food has value, and yes, if you don’t supplement your B12 or take a multivitamin bad things will happen, but how the author takes these points and comes to such rash conclusions makes me wonder if he had a bad break-up with a raw vegan or something. When I read lines like “You have nothing to gain and much to lose by going totally or even mostly raw,” I wonder if this article was written to prove that the author’s target was on the wrong path, damn it, and look! now it says so on the Internet!
The piece completely misses the point of a high-raw vegan diet, which incorporates tons of raw greens, veggies, and fruits in whole, unprocessed form, and just picks on the zealots who refuse to supplement and only eat bananas. It even brings up the “you’ll kill your kids if you feed them raw food!” argument, which we have heard about all forms of vegan diets and continue to prove wrong.
(Side note: I hate it when vegan doctors are cited to prove that one vegan diet is better than another. This article cites Dr. Eseystein and Dr. McDougal, both of whom have made millions hawking their unique brands of veganism, as evidence against a high-raw vegan diet, which has its own doctors rooting for and staking millions in its value.)
I really appreciate Gena Hamshaw’s balanced, science-driven approach to raw food in her post “Why Raw? Revisiting the Question.” I love Vegan RD Ginny Messina’s compassionate post, “Raw or Cooked Foods? Which Is the Best Diet for Vegans?,” on why raw foodists should consider incorporating some (or lots) of cooked vegan foods to round out their diets and have an easier time staying vegan. There are plenty of folks who jettison veganism or raw veganism when health issues come up, and while I have no judgement for them I supremely admire folks who take every measure to hold true to their values while minding their health needs. Bonzai Aphrodite recently posted this beautiful long-read about how she’s navigated health issues while staying vegan. Brava! I wrote a Vegansaurus post about why there are so many ex-raw vegans and advocated for folks to consider adopting a more expansive raw vegan diet. In the context of these articles, the anger and all-or-nothing conclusions made by this article and many like it baffle me and make me think there’s a personal grudge.
Closing thoughts: Some (but not all) raw foodies are inflexible and unrealistic, just like some (but not all) vegans and some (OK, most) meat-eaters. Everyone should be taking B12, and probably a multivitamin, omega-3, and maybe a D supplement, too. Mostly raw vegans can be very happy and healthy. I am doing pretty damn well on a high-raw vegan diet that includes lots of raw greens-rich salads and raw smoothies and juices on the reg, as well as a variety of cooked foods. I just got my bloodwork done as a routine every-few-years thing so I can brag in articles like this, and my doctor said my blood is so groovy it makes her want to go vegan. So to the author of these articles, I say this: Please don’t judge all high-raw vegans based on a tiny fraction of us who go to extremes, and in return, I promise not to call the raw vegan who broke your heart and alert this person that you’re hella casting aspersions on them.
Product review: Raw chocolate-covered mulberries kick Raisinets’s ass! »
I’m always on the lookout for weird and crazy raw food, so when the Raw Chocolate Co. posted a glorious picture of chocolate covered Brussels sprouts on their Facebook, I was like OH DANG, this is my perfect food!
Sadly, it was a hoax, used to promote what they actually offer: raw cacao-coated mulberries.
After corresponding with an employee about why Brussels sprouts really should be doused in chocolate, she sent me their raw chocolate mulberries and they are seriously no joke. While they’re not candy derived from a brassica, which was my momentary life’s wish come true (and maybe still is a little bit), they are completely delicious and unique.
Here’s why: Think of your first experience with chocolate-covered dried fruit. If you didn’t grow up in Berkeley under the roof of hippie parents who raised you on public demonstrations and farmers’ market samples, your first experience with this dual-natured candy was likely in the form of Raisinets scarfed alongside your friends in the back of a movie theater. Raisinets are shitty and unethical and not at all vegan, but most of us learned to expect that chocolate-coated dried fruit would be chock-full of fillers and sickly sweet; the hard chocolate shell had tons of sugar, the raisins were sweet by themselves.
Now that you’re a grown-up and frequently dip into the bulk bins of organic chocolate-covered raisins at the Valencia Whole Foods or Rainbow, you’ve come to expect less child slavery and animal cruelty in the same hard shell/dried fruit format—it’s just how these things go.
Maybe it’s because Raw Chocolate and Co. is a British company, or maybe they’re true revolutionaries on all fronts—whatever the reason, their chocolate-covered mulberries defy any chocolate-covered fruit industry standards of which I’m aware. The mulberries are sprinkled with the cacao coating in a way that manages to preserve the integrity of the shape and texture of the mulberries, rather than masking their identity with uniform hard chocolate shells. The mulberries’ cacao coating is just the right amount of sweet (using really delicious unrefined sweetener coco palm sugar!) and isn’t a hard shell that takes a second to dissolve into its components but rather a melt-in-your mouth delicate glaze that gently gives way to the superior quality dried mulberries within.
The package also includes all kinds of helpful math about what’s in them: 44 percent mulberries, 56 percent chocolate. 74 percent cacao overall, raw cacao solids, cacao mass, coco palm sugar, cacao butter, cacao powder, and all fair trade—yay!
I highly recommend trying these raw vegan chocolate-covered mulberries. They come in the most adorable tin ever and would make perfect gifts for that special raw foodie or candy gourmand in your life. And stay tuned for my in-development recipe for raw chocolate covered-Brussels sprouts!