Archive for November, 2010

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.


November 7, 2010

Interview with a Vegan

It seems that a large population of vegans and vegetarians are college students, which is not surprising to me, as college students tend to have some very progressive ideas.

Kristen Lambert is a 20-year-old vegan who attends Utah Valley University. She follows a vegan diet and has interned at the Vegetarian Resource Group, an organization dedicated to educating the population about vegetarianism.

In order to gain some insight as to why other people my age chose to be vegan, I spoke to Kristen about her dietary choices.

ME: What motivated you to become a vegan?

KRISTEN: The idea first manifested itself with animals rights, but has grown to include environmental and human rights.

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

KRISTEN: Being a vegan or vegetarian is an attempt to prevent as little harm as possible. This is not just a dietary change, but affects your entire lifestyle. Not partaking in animal products or bi-products is as important to me as making sure that the system responsible for dispensing misery is destroyed.

The true meaning of veganism in my opinion is a philosophy of compassion that provides a voice for the voiceless, whether that be animals who are human or aren’t.

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

KRISTEN: My mom has always given me great advice; pick your battles. That is to say, I’m not against people being militant about hidden animal derived ingredients, as I for one have been called the “vegan police” on numerous occasions, but I also believe that seeing the forest for the trees is important and small issues are usually symptoms of larger underlying problems such as improper food labeling.

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

KRISTEN: I don’t believe that it is possible to be 100% vegan, so in order for me to feel content with my actions I try to do the best I can. The products that people use (even if they don’t directly contain animal ingredients) have likely destroyed a living creature’s habitat, but if you are in any way able to reduce suffering through something like not supporting a subsidized meat and dairy industry that inflicts pain, you should.

If I am able to avoid purchasing products that are known to contain animal ingredients, I will. In regards to a product like rubber which I am assuming is most likely referring to shoes, I either buy them second hand from a thrift store, or snag some from a dumpster, neither of which supports that industry or a wasteful society.

ME: What do you most consider when making dietary choices?

KRISTEN: First and foremost, is it vegan? I would prefer the food to be from alternative sources (like a dumpster or maybe Food Not Bombs) that don’t support an agricultural system in desperate need of worker’s rights, but those options aren’t always available. If I am buying food I try to stay with organic, fair trade and local if possible.

ME: Has becoming a vegan made you feel healthier?

KRISTEN: In terms of mental engagement and social activism, definitely. If you are asking about physical health, that depends on the day. I still fall victim to what seems like my eternal enemy- sugar.

ME: How do you make sure you get proper nutrition?

KRISTEN: Any nutritionist talking about a vegan diet will likely tell you the same thing: eat a varied diet. I am fortunate enough to love vegetables and other whole foods. However, if you aren’t able to find all of the necessary nutrients you need in your food (which is something to strive for) then supplements such as vitamins can be important. One nutrient that cannot be derived from plants is B12, and thus it is important to eat foods fortified with it (nutritional yeast, soy milk, an some cereals) or consume lozenges or drops containing it.

ME: Do you make an active effort to introduce the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle to other people?

KRISTEN: I certainly try. I am fortunate enough to be a decent cook and baker, so I offer to make vegan food for people to show them how tasty it can be. None of that unseasoned tofu out of the package nonsense!

If someone wants to talk about issues concerning veganism and ways they can become vegan I am more than happy to talk with them. In the past I helped pass out pamphlets at events with Vegan Outreach, and would like to start up again soon since I am a strong believer in changing people’s minds through education. Usually if you are passionate about your beliefs and open to communication with others, sharing your ideals isn’t too difficult.