December 13, 2010

Feeling Festive?

Have a holiday celebration with your friends! I like to celebrate Christmas early with my friends, as every year I return home to New Jersey to visit my family for the week of Christmas. If you too would like to have a holiday feast with your buddies, PETA has made it is easy for everyone (vegans!) to be able to enjoy the food.

Happy holidays!

 

Not only does the PETA website have suggestions on how the non-vegans out their can accommodate their herbivorous friends  in their cooking, but they also have an entire vegan menu of potential dishes to make. They list multiple possibilities  for appetizers and snacks, soups and salads, side dishes, beverages and whole lot more.

If you simply must use disposable plates and utensils for your holiday party, try using the eco-friendly variety. Simply Smart Living has a wide array of “green”, disposable bamboo dishes and cutlery.
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December 12, 2010

‘Tis the Season

For vegan eggnog! Before I went vegan, eggnog was one of my favorite drinks and I had no problem drinking it out of season. I haven’t had eggnog in years, as I never once considered that it could be made vegan and still taste good, or even like eggnog.

After seeing eggnog on in the grocery store the other day, my appetite for it returned full-force and I ended up trolling the Internet for a veganized version. I’m not a fan of consuming soy all that much, so finding a recipe that was vegan and soy-free was a bit difficult. After much searching though, I found a delicious recipe in Elana’s Pantry that contains no soy.

The directions instruct you to make your own almond milk, but if you don’t have the time, simply substitute the store bought variety.

Enjoy!

Vegan Eggnog (dairy free, egg free, gluten free)print this post
3 cups almonds
4 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons yacón syrup
2 teaspoons nutmeg, ground
¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
pinch cloves, ground

  1. Soak almonds overnight
  2. Discard soaking water and rinse almonds in a deep bowl of water, repeat until water is clear
  3. Place soaked almonds and 4 cups of water in a Vitamix
  4. Blend on highest speed for 90 seconds
  5. Strain milk through a fine mesh paint bag, discarding solids
  6. Place almond milk in a half gallon mason jar
  7. Add vanilla, agave, yacón, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, then shake well
  8. Refrigerate until cold and serve
Serves 6

 

 

December 11, 2010

The Boyfriend

Michael Metzner is not a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but he is well informed on the cruelty-free lifestyle. Michael is the boyfriend of a vegan and has learned a lot about veganism through his relationship.

ME: Has dating a vegan changed the way you view veganism at all?

MICHAEL: I have a better understanding of why people choose to be vegans now. My girlfriend has certainly informed me about what’s wrong with the meat and dairy industries!

ME: Do you agree with her dietary choices?

MICAHEL: I respect her for her decision to try and make compassionate choices, but I don’t see myself becoming a vegan any time soon.

ME: Have your conflicting dietary choices ever caused problems between the two of you?

MICAHEL: Well, I know that she wishes I were a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but she also knows that I am quite stuck in my ways! My girlfriend has very strong beliefs when it comes to food, but I don’t share the same convictions. Even so, I make every effort to find her something vegan, and delicious, when we go out to eat.

ME: Do you find going out with her difficult?

MICHAEL: Not really, I’ve discovered that there are plenty of accidentally vegan dishes out there. If I want to eat meat, it’s usually possible for my girlfriend to find multiple vegan-friendly dishes at the same restaurant.

ME: Where’s your favorite place to eat in Frederick?

MICAHEL: Lucky Corner! They also have an entire section of vegetarian dishes on their menu, which makes my girlfriend happy.

ME: Which is the most important thing!

MICHAEL: Yes, of course!

 

December 10, 2010

Vegan Holiday Findings

It amazes me how many companies and products exist today that are specifically aimed towards vegans. I am constantly stumbling upon new vegan websites and  restaurants and hearing about new vegan products form my friends.If you’re looking for something to get for your vegan friend this holiday, there are plenty of animal-friendly presents out there!

For instance, for those of you who are into video games, I’ve discovered a Play Station 2 game called Whiplash. In this game, the player is a caged animal used for testing and must escape. Not only that, but he or she  must free the other animals from their cages as well. You can’t get much more vegan than that! This game would make for a great present for any animal rights activist.

Rose City Chocolatier is a chocolatier that has an entire line of vegan chocolates. They sell gift baskets and holiday-based chocolate figures as well. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers for your vegan friend, try the santa chocolates.

Vegan themed holiday greeting cards are also abundant and a good choice for the vegans in your life. My favorite card I’ve stumbled upon on the internet reads, “Soy to the World“.

It’s time to get shopping! Happy Holidays!

December 7, 2010

Tales of a Vegetarian Cattle Farmer

There are a wide variety of reasons for people to go vegetarian and even an extensive range of thoughts on what vegetarianism is. Audra is a freshman at Montana State University and has some unique ideas on vegetarianism.

ME: What are you studying at Montana State?

AUDRA: Ranch management actually. My dream is to run a cattle ranch with a bed and breakfast on it.

ME: So, you want to be a vegetarian cattle farmer?

AUDRA: I know it sounds weird, but it makes perfect sense to me. I choose not to eat meat because I don’t like the way the meat industry is currently run. I watched that movie Earthlings and it disturbed me so much I haven’t touched meat since.

ME: That’s very interesting. Would you eat meat if it were raised on your own farm then?

AUDRA: I’m sort of a walking contradiction. At this point, even if I know meat comes from an organic farm and the animals are raised well, I still wouldn’t eat it. I’ve not eaten meat in so long I’ve really lost a taste for it. I guess what it comes down to is that I am very attracted to the idea of supplying meat to people that comes from a good place. If you’re going to meat, no one can stop you, but you might as well buy it from someone who has respect for the animals.

ME: I know what you mean. I wish more people were more conscience of the effect their everyday choices have on the world.

AUDRA: Yeah, the world will never go vegetarian, so I feel like I might as well try to make the industry better. I’ve always loved the idea of the west and I know some people think it’s strange, but yeah, I want to be a vegetarian cattle rancher!

ME: Well, I hope your dream comes true.

AUDRA: Me too!

 

December 5, 2010

Vegan Update

From my weekly visit to the Veg News Magazine website, I discovered that six different 7-11 stores in New York City are experimenting with vegan meals. Offerings will include Pad Tai and artichoke and spinach noodles. So if you live in NYC, go check out the new grub!

Looking for fashionable vegan shoes? Try Moo Shoes.

In other news, if you’re a female vegan (or a male who just happens to like makeup), Urban Decay has an entire section online dedicated to vegan makeup. A purple paw print marks all of their products that are animal-free.

I’ve also recently discovered Moo Shoes, a vegan-friendly website that actually sells fashionable shoes. If you’re vegan and you’ve ever tried to find a pair of boots that weren’t made of leather but didn’t look terrible, you can understand how difficult the search is!

If you’re stuck on gift ideas that are environmentally friendly and cruelty free this holiday season, try visiting the Ethical Superstore. Even if the name is a bit pretentious sounding, the site is full of beautiful products. Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers (try the hand-trimmed fair trade soap) or beautiful gift-wrap, this site has it all.

December 4, 2010

A View from the Other Side

I was raised as an omnivore, it wasn’t until I was 17 that I decided to go vegetarian. In reality, what I really wanted to do was follow a completely vegan diet, but at the time, I was living with my parents and I wasn’t sure how they would take it.

A year later, after moving into a college dorm room, I informed my parents that I had become a vegan. I was entirely surprised at how well my mother took the news.

Since becoming a vegan, every time I return home my mother is very accommodating with the meals she cooks. When we go out shopping together, she helps me scout out non-leather boots, purses and belts.

I’ve always been curious about how my mother truly initially felt about my veganism and how she feels about it today, so I sat her down and asked her about.

ME: What was your first reaction when you found out your daughter wanted to be a vegan?

MOM: Dear Lord! What does this mean and how difficult is this going to make my life?!

ME: Before I so wonderfully decided to become a vegan, did you know much about it?

MOM: A little. I just thought it was so limiting and I was worried about what you would eat.

ME: Has my being a vegan changed the way you view food at all? How?

MOM: Extremely. I learned a lot, and we, the family in general, eat a lot less dairy and meat now. I have changed my diet maybe for different reasons than you. I see how we have made the dairy and meat industries so polluting and how the majority of non-organic food is nutritionally a zero.

ME: How do you view veganism now?

MOM: It is a very limiting diet and I do worry that you get enough variety in your diet. But I have learned a lot and I do agree with you. The family is now more aware of what is in the food we consume and I try to make educated choices. We definitely eat way more fresh vegetables from local farms and our own garden now, something we did not pay too much attention to before. The whole family is healthier because of you! I will live a LONG time!

 

 

 

December 1, 2010

It’s the Thought that Counts

There are many people who would not consider themselves a vegan, or even a vegetarian, yet they are very conscience of the impact the food they eat has on their bodies and the world.

Sami Fink is a senior in college and a former vegan. Due to health reasons, she has recently returned to a mostly vegetarian diet, but she still believes in the principles behind the vegan movement.

ME: What motivated you to become vegan/ vegetarian?

SAMI: I have always been inclined towards a vegetarian diet, so when I made my first vegan friend I decided it might be interesting to take it a step further and challenge myself with a vegan lifestyle. I suppose my initial reasons were mostly based on animal rights, but later on I started to really embrace the environmental aspect of it.

ME: What do you believe the true meaning of veganism/vegetarianism is?

SAMI: I don’t think there is a “true” meaning to veganism and vegetarianism. I think the reasons and values vary so much from person to person that it’s hard to put a definitive value on what it means. That being said, I (personally) see vegetarianism as a way of rejecting the culture of valuing economic benefit over reasonable living. I am no longer vegan (and I have broken my veggie diet a couple of times in the past year) but I am still very passionate about ethical consumption and living. It’s about making the right choice, not the easiest choice.

ME: Do you think it’s important to be militant about hidden animal ingredients or trace amounts of hidden animal products?

SAMI: I don’t think it’s necessary to be militant at all, for me, anyway. I stopped being a vegan because after three years of my best attempts to have a healthy diet, I realized that it is not a feasible diet for my body. Everybody’s body needs different things, and some people do great as a vegan- I, however, do not. I still eat vegan a lot of the time, but I feel like I need dairy sometimes. I don’t think it does animal rights or environmental justice movements much good to nit-pick. I think its more about eating healthy, supporting local diverse farms, and nit-picking more about where your products come from, not if they have a possible slight trace of milk in it.

ME: How do you choose which products that contain hidden animal products you use? For instance sugar and rubber.

SAMI: I actually try to minimize some of the hidden animal products that are out there from my diet. I get non-processed and bleached sugar, I avoid gelatin, etc. Still, there is SO much that it is nearly impossible to avoid. My bike has rubber tires, but I try to get everything for my bike recycled or second hand so that I am not consuming brand-new products. It’s also another reason to shop secondhand or vintage!

November 21, 2010

Veg Web

The Internet is an amazing resource for vegan information. There is a plethora of sites relating to vegan food, activism, nutrition, fashion and events. In my perusing of the web, I have found a wide variety of helpful and entertaining vegan sites.

Vegansaurus is a fun vegan blog based out of San Francisco that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Among Vegansaurus’s pages are links to tasty recipes like apple cider cups, interesting news, such as a story about a paraplegic raccoon that underwent back surgery and interviews with such people as Anja Keister, a vegan burlesque queen.

Madcapcupcake has more delicious recipes for vegan baked goods than your heart and stomach could ever desire. The Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodle recipe is to die for.

Vegcast and Raw Vegan Radio both have extensive pod casts on all things vegan if you’re more in the mood to listen than to read.

Vegan Soapbox takes an in depth look at animal rights, vegan organizations and morality.

No matter what sort of vegan information you are looking for, there is a website out there that can cater to all your animal-friendly interests.

November 15, 2010

Meatless Mondays

Meat Free Monday is an environmental campaign, headed by Paul McCartney, which purpose is to draw attention to the impact of meat production and consumption on our planet.

Meatless Monday is another campaign that also encourages people to abstain from meat one day a week in order to help improve “personal health and the planet”.

The Meatless Monday logo

People such as Yoko Ono, Kate Moss and Al Gore are all professed followers of Meatless Monday.

Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, stated on the Opera Winfrey Show, “even one meatless day a week—a Meatless Monday, which is what we do in our household—if everybody in America did that, that would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.”

Clearly, the movement to reduce meat consumption is growing and whether it’s for environmental, health or animal rights reasons, this is positive news.

The Huffington Post publishes articles every week regarding Meatless Monday, along with vegetarian and vegan friendly recipes. One of my favorites is Tuscan White Beans and Winter Greens Soup.

If you are already a vegetarian, encourage your friends to go meat free once a week. If you are a carnivore, consider going meat free once a week- you’ll be helping more than just yourself.