Archive for September, 2010

September 29, 2010

Vegan…Mainstream?

The fast food chain Chipotle is now offering vegan chicken at two of their locations in Los Angeles. This “chicken” is marinated in chipotle adobo sauce and then grilled. You can get it in a burrito with all your favorite toppings- black beans, rice, guacamole and peppers to name a few.

Though Chipotle is only experimenting with vegan chicken in select restaurants, it is quite significant that they are serving vegan chicken at all. Clearly, the movement to live in a more compassionate manner has gained some serious attention if a massive chain like Chipotle is willing to offer specifically vegan options.

Another burrito joint that offers a vegan alternative, and is closer to home for those who live outside of L.A., is California Tortilla. Their No-Meato Burrito comes with a variety of vegan deliciousness; guacamole and zucchini being two of my favorite toppings.

It is amazing to see that the vegan diet is finally being recognized by the mainstream. When you get down to it, companies only offer what sells, so there must be enough vegans out there to support major companies’ endeavors into animal-friendly dishes. It’s an exciting to time to be a vegan!

To find restaurants and stores that offer vegan food and goods near you, visit the Happy Cow Compassionate Eating Guide website.

September 20, 2010

Sugar: Maybe not so Sweet

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that sugar is not always vegan. There are two main types of sugar in the United states- cane sugar beet and sugar. Unlike beet sugar, cane sugar is often refined using animal bone char. The problem for vegans is that beet sugar is rarely labeled as such and it is impossible to distinguish between the two types of sugars in taste or appearance.

There are alternatives to consuming normal table sugars, such as date sugar or maple sugar, and of course, you can always just avoid sugar altogether. The issue really comes down to how committed a

A field of sugar cane.

person is to maintaining strict veganism. When you get down to it, most products in the United States are not vegan as they are transported in trucks composed of steel and rubber: products which are produced with the use of animal fats.

As Vegan Outreach points out, groundwater is also filtered through bone char, so it’s important to draw the line somewhere. They urge vegans to concentrate on the more obvious animal products and not get carried away. It’s important not to forget that the true purpose of veganism is to live with compassion, not to starve yourself!

On a side note, September 2nd was the birthday of Donald Watson, the man often referred to as the “father of veganism”. Watson is responsible for founding the Vegan Society and for coining the term “vegan” itself. Although he passed away five years ago, it is important to remember the man who started the movement for a compassionate lifestyle. A 2005 interview with Watson can be found at vegnews.com.

September 9, 2010

Mac and Cheeseless

Growing up, box mac and cheese was my favorite food to eat. I especially

The lovely Cafe Green logo

loved the mac and cheese that came with shell macaroni because the cheese powder would get caught inside the shells and make them taste extra cheesy and delicious. Since making the switch from vegetarian to vegan almost four years ago, I haven’t tasted anything remotely like mac and cheese, as I’m not a big fan of soy cheese (yech!). A few weeks ago though, I ventured into D.C. with my boyfriend and we ate at Cafe Green, an organic, fair trade and vegan friendly restaurant. I decided to go wild and order their Mac N Cheese Soul Plate- it turned out to be the best dish I have ever eaten ever (well, definitely in the top ten!) and it didn’t include any real cheese or otherwise. If you can’t make it to Cafe Green yourself, I’ve gone to the trouble of finding the Best Mac and Cheese in the Entire World…Seriously recipe. Just follow the link and you will be tasting heaven in your mouth in no time!

September 9, 2010

Vegans can Party too!

I have to confess that there is one area that I have been slacking in when it comes to upholding veganism- alcohol. Strangely enough, many brewing companies use animal products, such as fish bladders and gelatin, in order to filter impurities from their beverages. Some liquors and champagnes are actually made with the use of animal bone char (gross).

Despite the fact that I’m entirely repulsed by such practices, I’ve always found the thought of researching every beer or wine I want to drink (and I admit, there are many!) daunting, as the use of animal products in alcoholic beverages is often not listed on the labels.

Recently, I’ve decided to be a bit more conscientious about the alcoholic drinks I consume; luckily, I found a website that lists over a thousand breweries, wineries and distillers and which, if any, products they make that are vegan. I was overjoyed to discover that one of my favorite beers, Chimay, is actually vegan friendly! If you haven’t tried Chimay yet, I would highly recommend it to vegans and non-vegans alike.

Chimay is brewed within a Trappist monastery in Belgium by the monastic community, hence its holy deliciousness! To see an ever-growing list of vegan alcoholic beverages, visit barnivore.com and to learn more about animal products used in alcohols, visit the Vegetarian Society website for a complete overview of clarifying practices.

Chimay

The tastiest vegan beer ever!

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