Vegan’s Delight


Vegan Dogs (and homemade dog food!)

Anytime someone meets my dogs (and they’re aware I’m vegan) they ask if my dogs are vegan too. I would have thought the answer would be an obvious “yes” but most often, people seem surprised when I tell them, “yup, the whole family is veg!”

I get the question via email too, so I thought I’d put it out there that yes, my dogs are vegan and they are thriving.

If you’re wondering if dogs can be vegan, the answer is yes. Dogs, like humans, don’t need meat to survive. The pugs’ vets in Boston, Los Angeles and New York City have all been supportive of their vegan diet and one even said she would recommend a vegan diet over an omnivorous one if she thought more dog owners would be open to the idea.

Although there are several brands of vegan kibble on the market (Nature’s Balance, V-dog, Wenaewe, Pet Guard, Avo Derm, Natural Life, Evolution Diet and Wysong) I prefer to make vegan dog food myself.

It all started a month ago when we ran out of vegan kibble at home, and to make matters worse, the store was sold out, too. Obviously the pugs couldn’t go hungry so I made them a plate of rice and beans. The next morning I made them a plate of peas and apples and that night, peas and beans. It continued on for days and by the time the store had called to say they had our kibble, I didn’t bother to go buy it.

Of course, Scott was skeptical. He wondered how long I’d last at making fresh meals for our dogs every day, twice a day — but a month later I’m still doing it!

I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in the pugs since we started on home cooked meals. Although they liked their vegan kibble, they were never excited about meal time. Really, they could take it or leave it. Now they bark and do circles — they couldn’t be more thrilled to eat their supper.

I’ve also noticed a change in their…bodily functions. The pugs were never constipated or anything, but we always had to walk them around the block a few times before they were ready to do their business. Now, they poop much quicker and with more ease. I’m convinced it’s all the added fiber. There is little to no fiber in kibble, so it’s not surprising they’re going much more easily now.

I’ve also noticed a change in their urine. Quaid and LilyBean used to have deep yellow pee, which always made me worry they could be dehydrated. Now their urine is much, much lighter in color. I’m convinced its because they’re getting water from their food now. Water is in the rice they eat and the beans I cook for them– vs. kibble which is dehydrated.

By now you’re probably thinking “This sounds great, but I don’t have the time to cook two meals for myself, let alone my dog!” But I promise, you do — and it will save you money! I’m spending a fraction of what I used to on kibble!

Here’s how I do it: I cook an entire bag of brown rice once a week, storing leftovers in my fridge. I do the same with a bag of beans and I’ll steam or bake sweet potatoes while I’m add it. Every day I’ll put brown rice, beans and either a sweet potato or thawed frozen peas into their bowl. It takes seconds.

I’ve also recently started added chopped fresh apples and zucchini from my garden. I also keep a bag of puffed brown rice on hand, and a few cans of beans, just in case I run out.

When I started making my own dog food, I was skeptical I’d have the time or energy to keep up with it — but it hasn’t been a problem at all and now it’s a habit. I’ll put rice and beans on the stove when I’m watching a movie, cleaning the apartment or doing something else. An hour later I have all their food done for the week and I’ve been known to swipe some for myself, too.

I’ve also realized that I can thaw frozen peas under hot water in less than 20 seconds when I’m really desperate. (They really love peas!)

I can’t recommend making homemade vegan dog food enough. The pugs seem to like every bean, vegetable and fruit I throw at them, but they’re particularly fond of: corn, peas, sweet potatoes, black beans, kidney beans, black soy beans, tempeh, apples, bananas, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, brown rice (they actually won’t eat white rice), collard greens, kale, spinach, whole grain cereal and oatmeal.

Just be sure to avoid giving your dogs raisins, grapes, garlic, onions or mushrooms.

Perhaps my pugs are the luckiest dogs in the world, at least in terms of their food (they’re still envious of dogs with big backyards!) but hopefully with this post I’ll convince a few more dog owners to nurture their pets with natural, plant-based foods!

Update: we now live abroad where I have no choice but to feed the dogs home cooked meals. I start with a protein base — beans or lentils, and then mix in leftover raw vegetables (chopped well), pumpkin (for Lily Bean’s eyes) and any leftovers or leftover grains I have, like brown rice. We joke that the dogs are our compost bin. I always make sure to give them a mix and variety — right now their food is a base of lentils, with bell pepper, cucumber, yellow squash, cabbage, lettuce and cauliflower, plus some leftover rice.

Supplemant: I use veg-e-dog supplement as a proactive measure. The company sends great dog food recipes with their vitamins which I love!

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Eating out: a vegetarian’s dilemma

Vegetable wontons … is Asian the only reliable choice for meat-free eating out. Photo: Gary Schafer

How easy is to find vegetarian food on restaurant menus? That depends on where you are and what kind of vegetarian you are – and it helps to be in love with quiche, risotto or pasta with tomato sauce, the standard veggie options in many places. If you eat eggs and dairy products, the choices are wider, but for vegans who avoids both, along with meat, poultry and fish, it’s trickier – unless you’re in a big US city. On a trip to Chicago, Ondine Sherman, managing director of the animal protection organisation Voiceless, found so many vegan friendly restaurants she was spoilt for choice.

But while Australian restaurants increasingly offer a vegetarian option and are happy to ‘vegetarianise’  dishes by removing ingredients like prosciutto, many meatless offerings rely heavily on cheese, she says – and the term ‘vegan’ can leave the wait staff scratching their heads.

“I often have to explain what it means, but hopefully this will change as more people ask for meals free from animal products,” says Sherman whose menu wish list includes more dishes based on legumes rather than cheese.

Still, ordering an all-plant brekkie in Sydney is getting easier – along with the usual eggy breakfasts, more menus now include toast with avocado, mushrooms and spinach.

Japanese food also has good options for vegetarians, including vegans, says Sherman whose favourites include agedashi tofu, glazed eggplant with miso sauce – called nasu dengaku – as well as edamame (green soy beans) and miso soup.

“Thai restaurants can be difficult for vegans because of fish sauce but they do offer many great tofu dishes. Indian food is ideal for vegetarians and very healthy with a variety of protein-rich lentils and beans,” she says.

Not that Voiceless is prescriptive when it comes to what people should or shouldn’t eat, stresses Sherman who believes that a ‘purist’ approach to eating isn’t helpful to the animal protection movement.

“Although most Australians might want to eat ethically, they’re not prepared to become 100 per cent vegan all the time – but significantly reducing animal products and eating only free-range will make an enormous difference to animal suffering,” she says.

But while she thinks Australia has a great food culture and has become friendlier to the idea of ethical eating over the last five years, we’re not ahead of the pack when it comes to vegetarian or vegan food – at least not compared to the US and UK.

“I think that MasterChef and other cooking shows that set food fashion really need to step up to the plate – excuse the pun – and help educate the public,” she says.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, things have improved since animal advocate Glenys Oogjes, gave up eating animal foods more than 30 years ago. Back then, eating out and being vegan often meant one option: a veggie stack.

“It’s getting much better. With South East Asian and Indian food, vegetarian dishes are just a normal part of the cuisine – the preponderance of meat on some restaurant menus is often more a concession to western tastes,” says Oogjes, executive director of Animals Australia, the organisation which revealed mistreatment of animals in Indonesian abattoirs.

“I can also be reasonably confident that if I go to a Middle Eastern or a Mexican restaurant, there’ll be something I can eat –although I’d be less confident in a French restaurant. There are more vegetarian or vegan restaurants around too and they’re not just catering to vegetarians either – it’s becoming more the case that not everyone wants to eat meat all the time.”

Looking for menus that embrace more plant based dishes? The Animals Australia website has a guide to eating out with tips for finding veggie options, as well as listings of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in cities around Australia.

Incidentally, for vegetarians who eat cheese, Parmesan can be a pitfall as  most Parmesan cheeses are made with rennet derived from enzymes from an animal’s stomach – generally from . milk fed calves. However Chew on This has tracked down one brand, Pantaluca, which is made from non-animal rennet.  If you prefer cheese made without animal rennet, check the label or see this  guide from the Victorian Vegetarian Network.

Do you look for vegetarian options on restaurant menus?

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World’s First Loving Hut Vegan Hotel

World’s First Loving Hut Inn

Loving Hut Inn is the first vegan inn in world with the unique concept of the vegan Loving Hut chain of restaurants. Loving Hut Inn is a completely vegan, non-smoking inn located in the heart of Carinthia, Austria on Lake Klopein. Situated on Lake Klopein, 1.8 kilometer long and 800 meters in width, with a depth of 48 meters and temperature of 28°C, one of Europe’s warmest lakes for swimming. The region’s beautiful scenery makes it one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.

100% vegan, not just food and beverage, but also lifestyle. Loving Hut Inn has been lovingly and attentively arranged and is as an example of the practical application of the environmental vegan lifestyle in areas extending beyond nutrition. So, Loving Hut Inn have been careful in decor, to use no products or components of animal origin. In addition, all items such as soap, shampoos, and cleaning products are free of components and, of course, animal experimentation and are chosen preferably from natural and environmentally friendly ingredients.

Food & Beverages

In this restaurant you will find a large menu with many local and international dishes. All the food is prepared fresh, guaranteed 100 % vegan and from ingredients that are not genetically modified as they have checked all ingredients and contents. When possible, vegetables and fruits are obtained from organic farmers in the region. In addition, mainly use organic, fair-trade products. Loving Hut offers non-alcoholic, organic wine and beer, organic sodas, organic soy milk shakes, fruit juices as well as a variety of teas and coffee beverages.

The inn also has a small vegan store with a library in which, in addition to alternative food items, you can find vegan cosmetics, clothing and accessories as well as cookbooks and informational books on vegan nutrition and lifestyle. There is also a wide range of free information, recipes, and tips for the vegan lifestyle.

A vegan breakfast buffet rounds out our service so their guests, in good conscious, can enjoy their vacation in a relaxing and healthy environment. They want to give an example of an alternative that is advantageous to health, animals and the environment while greatly increasing quality of life through small lifestyle changes. All of the dishes in restaurant are purely plant-based (vegan), lovingly prepared, and served in a beautiful, friendly and tranquil atmosphere. Loving Hut do not serve alcohol but offer many non-alcoholic beverages.

Loving Hut is leading the way in promoting an alternative, sustainable lifestyle on our planet. Loving Hut stands for love, peace, compassion, ecology and healthy eating every day of our lives!

Next time, when you travel to Austria, this would be the best place to relax and spend a few days there. Below, I will show you a few tourist attractions.

New Update!
Vegan Ice cream!!!
Lactose and cholersterol free!
Vanilla, Choco, Strawberry, Hazelnut, Blueberry, Yoghurt-mango, Raffaello-coconut!
Made from soy & Made in Austria!

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Baking up vegan delights

Doron Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington, D.C

Driven by a love of animals, Doron Petersan went vegan more than a decade ago.

But memories of her favorite treats haunted her. But this vegan wasn’t about to let a lack of butter or eggs stop her.

“There was a real lack of decadent and tasty vegan baked goods at the time,” Petersan said. “I realized a lot of the things we were missing could be made vegan, so I started experimenting.”

Friends started asking her to bake for them, too, and a bakery was born. In 2002, she opened Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, the first vegan bakery in Washington, D.C.

Building on 10 years of recipes, she’s been taking on traditional ingredients and showing up the competition on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” which airs at 7 p.m. Sundays. Pitting her vegan recipes – no eggs, butter, dairy or animal products of any kind – against traditional favorites, her vegan cupcakes won top honors. Twice.

Now she shares recipes for vegan favorites including sticky buns, cheesecakes, tiramisu and her bakery’s popular Little Devils (inspired by Devil Dogs).

From which flours work best to egg replacers and dairy-free ingredients, Petersan offers solid baking advice in her first cookbook, “Sticky Fingers’ Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes” ($27.50, Avery) available in stores Thursday.

Petersan, 39, lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and 7-month-old son. When she’s not baking, she competes in bike races with Team Sticky Fingers.

Want to try her cupcakes? Baked goods ordered from her site,,, are shipped around the country every Tuesday.

Q.You not only took on traditional cupcakes, but won two challenges on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”?

A. “Cupcake Wars” influenced how people perceive us. People who thought, “Eww, vegan baking,” they’re inspired to try us.

We won twice against traditional bakers. We’re not just scooting by because we’re the only game in town. Every single bakery and Whole Foods offer vegan bakery, and that’s competition. We enjoy that. Bring it on.

Q. You studied dietetics at the University of Maryland. Why not culinary school?

A. I’d always worked in restaurants growing up. That’s how I made rent money. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was volunteering at shelters as a vet tech. That’s how I became vegetarian, working with all these animals. Then I started learning about what it took to be vegetarian and vegan.

I took a class for dietetics that was mandatory. I was fascinated. Some stuff is more difficult than others, but it’s all about the science. There’s no magic to the egg and dairy.

Q. Any non-vegan options you miss?

A. I’m not going to lie. Of course, there are flavors I crave or want. I wouldn’t say I don’t miss anything. You grow up with certain flavors you love. I re-create it. . . .

I do want my mother’s meatballs or lasagna just the way I remember it. That’s what I did with the bakery. I found a recipe for chocolate cake and found a way to tweak it. . . .

We don’t allow any carob in the bakery. We’re not going to win over non-vegans with just really good carob-covered cookies. You need really rich and delicious flavors to capture the memories.

Q. Anything you haven’t been able to re-create?

A. There are certain recipes that are extremely difficult. For instance, cannoli is absolutely one of the things I grew up eating and love. I have a very specific flavor in mind. My grandmother used to make it, very distinct flavors. It’s difficult to get those flavors up front before you taste soy or cornstarch.

We’ve got the shells or the sauce down, but the filling we haven’t. I’ve tasted a million and one cannoli, vegan and non-vegan, but I still haven’t gotten it.

Q. Your baked goods have playful names like Gilbert Ganachefried and Banana Chimp Bread. How does what you call something play into whether people will try it?

A. So much. We discovered people’s perceptions of how it tastes is going to affect the outcome of what they like. If you call it a “soy-based treat with seitan,” that sounds disgusting. People want caramel gooey stuff and things they relate to delicious.

Q. You’ve spent a decade creating vegan treats. What do you want people to know about this cookbook?

A. These recipes are not some magically different baking recipes. These are recipes that any baker can do. It’s about food science and chemistry. . . . It’s not just for people with food allergies. First and foremost these recipes are delicious. Second, they’re vegan.

Q. Have you seen a change in availability of vegan ingredients?

A. Nonhydrogenated margarines and shortenings are much easier to get now. When we started, you could only get Crisco. We’re able to do more in terms of healthier options.

Q. Most popular item in the bakery?

A. In our store specifically, hands down our most popular flavor is chocolate. No matter what we do or come up with, chocolate is the main flavor.

With “Cupcake Wars,” we’ve been on (Food Network) three times, won twice. We always bring the flavors back to the store and see what sells best. We just had Johnny Cashew, a chocolate cupcake with cashew candies on top. We couldn’t keep them on the shelf. Just for a little extra chocolate, people were going nuts.

Q. Why are cupcakes still so popular?

A. I think the popularity of cupcakes in our store and “Cupcake Wars” helps keep the momentum. But it started long before “Cupcake Wars” was a twinkle in someone’s eyes. Hand-held desserts are always popular. You wouldn’t know there was an economic crisis going on by the amount of cupcakes we sell.

Q. You’ve got a bit of a Bettie Page look going on for the book cover, with the addition of a few tattoos. Any tattoos featuring baked goods or for the new book?

A. As far as tattoos, I can’t help it. I’ve always been fascinated. My grandfather was in the Navy. I do have one from “Cupcake Wars,” a cupcake inside a television. What I’ve found as I’ve gotten older, the tattoos hurt more and more. That, and now I have a baby. I don’t have the disposable income I used to.

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11 More Must-Have Vegan iPhone Apps

These helpful new apps keep vegan recipes, info, and tools only a click, tap, and swipe away.

Take a look around a subway car or a waiting room, and you’ll probably see many faces gazing into a handheld touch-screen display. Smartphones are here to stay, and their unparalleled level of convenience is largely aided by the advent of hundreds of thousands of apps, which make everything from ordering a pizza to scanning a barcode doable in seconds. Even better, veg-friendly apps are on the rise, with new ones popping up seemingly every day. Here are a few of our recent favorites, and don’t miss our first list of 10 Vegan Smartphone Apps to Make Life Easier.

Animal-Free (Free)
This free, award-winning app is a pocket dictionary for animal ingredients, from the obvious to the covert. Its built-in barcode scanner allows users to check products for undesirables, and those without a camera can check using product names or specific components.

Gardein Recipes (Free)
Faux-meat master Gardein launched a new app this July featuring its tasty, cruelty-free products in tons of innovative recipes, such as Korean Soft Tacos, Five-Spice Chik’n Noodle Salad, and Summer Grilled Scallopini. Users can also see where to buy Gardein products in the app’s locator feature.

Go Vegan! ($6.99)
Author of the cookbook How It All Vegan Sarah Kramer authored this aptly titled app, with features 50 of her recipes for breakfast, entrées, salads, soups, desserts, and more. The app also has video cooking tips from the cook herself and a customizable shopping list.

All Things Tofu (Free)
Veggie Award-winning tofu brand Nasoya created this mobile app, which helps users compile tofu-based recipes through its handy Dish Whiz tool, according to meal, ingredient, and dietary preference. Nasoya will also be updating the app with video tips, and encourages consumers to take the Tofu U healthy living pledge in order to win rewards.

HappyCow ($2.99)
The popular vegan travel website has gone handheld with this on-the-go guide to plant-based dining. An interactive map allows users to filter local businesses for veg-friendliness or find nearby health food stores, while the category browser makes finding veg sushi a breeze.

21-Day Vegan Kickstart (Free)
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine makes going vegan wildly easy with this awesome resource that helps participants plan healthy, delicious plant-based meals for every day of their program. Stay motivated with words of encouragement and chow down on Couscous Confetti Salad, Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and more, and it’s simple enough for your tech-challenged mom to use.

VeganXpress ($1.99)
Finding your road-trip style cramped by dismal vegan options at fast-food eateries? Look no further than Vegan Xpress, a convenient database of the vegan options at many popular fast-food and chain restaurants around the country. Puzzled at Papa John’s? Get the breadsticks. Desperate at Denny’s? Try a baked potato with sautéed mushrooms and pico de gallo. Better yet,  the catalog is constantly expanding with new places and menu items.

Roaming Hunger (Free)
If you live in virtually any metropolitan area in the US, it’s likely that a veg-friendly food truck is somewhere in your midst. The question is, how will you scout out this roaming vehicle of deliciousness? The answer: Roaming Hunger, an app that offers real-time locations for more than 800 different trucks nationwide.

Vegan Cupcakes by Isa Moskowitz (Free)
If you are one of the many, many fans of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s amazing vegan cupcakes, you’ll be pretty pleased by this complimentary, cupcake-centric app that offers 75 different flavors and frostings to try in your own kitchen. S’mores, Mucho Margarita, and Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip are just a few of the flavor concoctions that are offered.

BNB ($2.99)
This app’s moniker stands for Be Nice to Bunnies, a fitting name for an app that helps users find cruelty-free products that are not tested on animals. Search by company, category, or product to ensure that your shampoo, detergent, or nail polish is vegan friendly.

Do Eat Raw ($0.99)
Get access to more than 300 raw vegan recipes with this nifty archive of entrées, salads, breads, crackers, desserts, smoothies, and more. Better yet, users can add photos of their own creations, use a built-in timer for keeping track of dehydrating foods, and save the favorites that have them coming back for seconds.

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Vegan & Vegetarian Differentiated

Animals are abused in slaughterhouses. There is only one way to stop that, go vegetarian. This is a video I made about vegetarianism and veganism and animals. The pictures belong to either Peta, Peta2, or Google. The song is Everything by Lifehouse. Add me on Facebook: Nellyanne Elizabeth Nash 😀 and join my group MaybeGreenLuvvIt & if you want, like my animal rights page: Animal Rights MaybeGreenLuvvIt. I made all of the names my username here on YouTube so you could remember them easily. Save the Planet, go vegetarian 🙂

Facts & information on being Vegan and Vegetarian. Very well differentiated for your general knowledge. Lets learn something today!

Video courtesy of MaybeGreenLuvvit from YouTube

Simple & Not Too Sweet: Perfecting Winter With Vegan Chai

The Indian spicy sweet tea and milk beverage called chai is more than just a cupful of yummy. The spices are actually tonic herbs that soothe digestion, boost mood and reduce inflammation—which of course can all be thrown out of whack by drinking dairy milk. But you can still enjoy the flavorful brew, without the dairy, and with all the benefits using this simple vegan chai recipe.

One of the greatest elements of making chai from scratch is that it fills your home with an aroma that you simply won’t get from steeping a teabag. And by using fresh ingredients, you pull more of the medicinal benefits, too.


1 cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
¼ of a nutmeg, grated
2 tablespoons of cardamom pods
1 half teaspoon of black peppercorns
A big 1 inch chunk of gresh ginger, grated
1 large vanilla bean sliced
1 dried red chili pepper
2 tablesoons maple syrup, agave nectar (honey is used traditionally, but not vegan) — add more if you want it sweeter, but the nondairy milk will give it an extra sweetness and you might find you like the spicy heat better than the sweet!
1-2 tablespoons loose leaf tea: traditionally black tea is used, like a good ceylon or darjeeling, but you can substitute with oolong, green, white or an herbal base like rooibos or even chamomile. Steer clear of mint, citrus or any flavored teas, though.
2 cups water
2 cups nondairy milk (almond is amazing!)


Mix water and herbs in medium saucepan and bring to low simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes. Then add the tea and let simmer for another five minutes. Strain out the solids and return liquid to the pot. Add in milk and sweetener and heat low heat until warm. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon or nondairy foam.

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Bill Clinton Goes Vegan

Photo by Flickr User marcn

A year ago, Bill Clinton made headlines for his “almost vegan” diet. Now, he is in the spotlight again for his diet, claiming he is now 100 percent vegan.

PETA’s “Person of the Year” appears to be living up to his title by sharing his message about the health benefits of a vegan diet.

“I had played Russian roulette because even though I had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on much of the cholesterol in the food I was eating,” Clinton said, according to the Boston Herald. “I still – without any scientific basis to support what I did – was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol without knowing it. So that’s when I made a decision to really change.”

Some studies have shown that vegans have a lower risk for developing diseases like cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Bill Clinton not only wants to improve his own health but also the health of others. The Clinton Foundation has teamed up with the American Heart Association to provide better school lunches and promote exercise.

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The reason to become a vegan is not only for diet purpose, it will also keep us to become a healthy person and have a lower risk of sickness or diseases.

Lazy Vegan Miso Soup

There’s nothing quite like sitting down at a nice Thai or Japanese restaurant and sipping on a warm bowl of miso soup. It’s equally nice to enjoy this dish from the comforts of your own home, especially on a rainy or sick day when you want nothing more than to be curled up in sweatpants with a movie or a good book. Unfortunately, miso can often be misleadingly made with a soup base called dashi, which is a mixture of water, dried seaweed and fish flakes.

The good news is that this simple and delicious comfort food can be recreated as a vegan soup with very little effort. Typically,  pair the soup with a nice, fresh Asian salad or vegan lettuce wraps.

When you’re feeling the blues or needing a little pick-me-up, just go to your fridge and use whatever vegetables and protein products you have on hand to fuel your miso.


  • 1 pkg. Silken tofu, or whatever tofu you have on hand. Silken makes the miso more closely resemble the restaurant-style dish
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • ¾ c. green onions, chopped
  • 6 medium-large white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 TB miso paste. South River organic sweet white miso paste is one that can last for decades in your refrigerator.
  • 2 large vegan bouillon cubes or 2 TB Better Than Bouillon paste. Follow instructions on container.
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 4 – 6 c. water

First, slice your vegetables. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you like. Celery works well, as does seaweed, or any variety of mushroom.

Drain your tofu and cut into tiny cubes.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once your water is boiling, dissolve the miso paste in the water. Stir.

Add your vegetable broth or vegan bouillon. Stir.

Add carrots and/or other vegetables (not your green onions or mushrooms) and let all the ingredients reach a full boil again. This will soften your vegetables. Once your miso is to this point, bring to a simmer.

Just a couple of minutes before serving, add the green onions. sea salt, and mushrooms.

Then add the tofu.

Let ingredients cook for 2 -3 minutes to allow the flavors to mix together, and serve!

Makes 4 – 6 bowls.

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Reasons a Vegan Diet Can Cause Weight Gain

Many people choose a vegan lifestyle for ethical, health, or environmental reasons. But if you’re solely going meat-, dairy-, and egg-free because you think it will help you drop pounds, you may end up gaining rather than losing weight. Remember that just because a food is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthier or lower in calories. Keep these points in mind to avoid plumping up on your vegan diet.

  • Chowing on vegan junk: French fries, tortilla chips, and Swedish Fish are all free of animal products, but they’re also high in fat, sugar, and calories. Just because some junk food is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthier.
  • Loading up on bread and pasta: Many people don’t know how to cook vegan meals, so when you head to a dinner party or out to a restaurant, get ready to eat some dinner rolls and spaghetti! There’s nothing wrong with eating bread or pasta, it’s just that they’re high in calories. A dinner roll will run you over 200 calories, and although one cup of cooked pasta is a little over 200 calories, plates tend to be two or three times larger than an appropriate serving size. If bread and pasta are staples in your vegan diet, it’s no wonder your pants are fitting a little snug.
  • But that cupcake is vegan!: Made with butter, milk, and eggs, most cookies and cakes are off-limits. But missing out can be a little depressing. When you stumble upon a vegan carrot cupcake with Tofutti cream cheese frosting, you indulge. Go ahead and enjoy vegan treats once in a while, but eat your sweets in moderation. Like junk food, animal-free foods do not equal calorie-free treats.
  • Nuts for protein: Snacking on handfuls of nuts, smearing peanut butter on your banana, and wondering why the scale numbers are increasing? Yes, nuts are a great source of protein for vegans, but they’re also high in calories — a two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter will run you 210 calories! Do check out these protein-rich, low-calorie vegan meals.
  • Overdoing it on the dairy-free products: It’s amazing how much Daiya cheese and Soy Delicious nondairy frozen desserts taste just like the real thing. It can be really exciting to discover these foods after living without them for so long, but a vegan can’t live on dairy-free ice cream alone.

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What Are Vegan Desserts?

Vegan foods cannot contain any type of animal product. Poultry, fish, and meat are the most obvious items that must be eliminated from this type of diet. Eggs, honey, and dairy products cannot be eaten by vegans either, and create a bigger problem when finding acceptable vegan desserts.

For any baked good to be considered vegan, it can not be made with eggs, milk, cream, or butter. Acceptable egg substitutes are soft tofu, applesauce, mashed banana, or cornstarch. Milk can be replaced with soy milk, nut milk, rice milk, or even water. For buttermilk, a mixture of soy milk and vinegar can be used as a substitution. Vegan margarine is available in some supermarkets and health food stores.

Placing several substitutions in a regular recipe can be tricky. Using a vegan recipe for baked goods is the best option for making satisfying vegan desserts. Vegan recipes can be found for cookies, cakes, pies, and brownies.

Fruit crisps and cobblers are among the easiest vegan desserts to make. For a quick and easy crisp, simply pour oatmeal prepared with soy milk or water over fruit. Blueberries, sliced apples, and peaches are great options. Fruit salads combined with vegan marshmallows and nuts are a simple dessert choice as well.

Nut products, such as peanut butter, are important to a vegan diet because of their protein content, which vegans may have trouble getting elsewhere. Desserts containing nuts such as chocolate peanut butter pie, or macaroons made with coconut and dates, can be healthful as well as delicious. Cookies are particularly easy to work nuts into, from peanut butter cookies to chocolate chip cookies loaded with extras such as pecans and almonds.

For those who prefer prepackaged dessert products, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has put together a list of vegan baking mixes. Included on the list are Betty Crocker Bisquick baking mixes, Aunt Jemima Coffee Cake Mix, and Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Gingerbread Mix. Several flavors of Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Frosting made the list, as well as Pillsbury® Treat Toppers in chocolate or vanilla. Many Jello-O instant puddings are also considered vegan by PETA. Vegan baking products on PETA’s list include Crisco® Original Cooking Spray and All-Vegetable Shortening, Keebler® Ready Crust Graham Cracker Pie Crusts, and Blue Bonnet® Light Margarine.

By working creatively with dairy substitutes, nearly any traditional dessert can be made into a vegan dish. When purchasing packaged mixes, consumers should always double check the label to make sure that the contents adhere to vegan standards. Many products that aren’t labeled as vegan, still meet the appropriate requirements and can be used as delicious vegan desserts.

Article excerpted from

Vegans are by no means stuck eating boring foods, you can still enjoy delicious desserts. Besides, you can get many vegan desserts recipe on the dessert. Start to make your vegan desserts today!

Fruits and Veggies for Vegans

With a little help of your fantasy even the simplest vegan meal can look gorgeous. As you probably know, vegans do not eat nor misuse other animals for clothing, etc. So do we really need any meat to eat? No, we don’t.

Article excerpted from

These are the fruits and veggies for vegans. Be creative to create a colorful and attractive dish.

Why Vegan Over Vegetarian?

A lot of people wonder why a vegan diet is a better option than a vegetarian lifestyle. The words are actually often used interchangeably. What’s vegan is already vegetarian, but what is vegetarian isn’t always vegan. More simply put, a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry or fish. Vegetarians do, however, consume dairy and eggs. Vegans, on the other hands, abstain from eating any animal by-products. They don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs or even honey. The term vegan also refers to a lifestyle free of animal by-products. Vegans do not buy leather, fur, wool or any other by-product from an animal.

Health Concerns

A vegan diet is better for your overall health. Vegans don’t usually have problems with cholesterol. The reason for this is simple–there’s no dietary cholesterol in vegan foods. However, vegetarian foods, like cheese and eggs, still contain dietary cholesterol. A vegan diet is heart friendly.

Vegans need to be sure to get enough vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements and foods such as flax seed can make sure that a vegan gets all needed nutrients. On average, the vegan diet is much healthier than the average American diet.

Body odor is often eliminated or greatly reduced by a vegan diet. Observers from health experts to Oprah have stated that, when you don’t eat meat or dairy, you naturally smell better. Going vegan eliminates a lot of body odor concerns.

Although studies are still being conducted, a vegan diet has shown to reduce the risks of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. In countries where very few animal by-products are consumed, there is also a lower rate of breast cancer diagnosis. A vegan diet that is also organic and not filled with processed foods is ideal to contribute to optimal health.

Weight Issues

A vegan diet, as long as its not filled with vegan junk food, can lead to easy weight loss. As a result, going vegan can also lead to a lower BMI level, the now popular index that attempts to correlate weight and health risks. It’s debatable if BMI levels themselves actually mean anything, but a lower weight can be a great relief for those battling the bulge.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has produced a food group chart that reflects what vegetarians, vegans and others should be eating for optimal health. Don’t look for animal by-products there. It’s a healthy food group chart without the need for dairy, eggs or meats at all.

Ethical Concerns

A lot of people choose vegan over simply being vegetarian because of ethical concerns. The dairy and egg industries have repeatedly been exposed for animal abuse in the same way that the meat industries have. In order to make a stand against violence against animals of any kind, many people take it a step further and commit to the vegan lifestyle.

For those who are concerned about the environment, going vegan is also something seen as inevitable. Plant-based foods take up fewer resources than animal-based foods.

Picture from

Article excerpted from

Now I know the difference between vegan and vegetarian. It is not easy to go on a vegan diet because you will need to feel comfortable with the foods that didn’t contain any meats, eggs or even honey! However, vegan diet does give many benefits such as reduce the risks of sickness and weight loss. Why don’t we start to have vegan diet by doing it one or two times per week?

Vegetarian delight: An interview with Lacey Sher

The Oakland chef, caterer and restaurateur is the author of the recently published “You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!: 200 Recipes for Simple and Delicious Animal-Free Cuisine.”

What’s the origin of the book?
I had a restaurant, Down to Earth, in New Jersey. My partner and I decided to put together the recipes of all of the food we served there.

Are you a vegan?
I’ve been a vegetarian for 13 years, about nine of them, vegan.

Does the book offer a particular philosophy?
We promote whole foods and eating close to the foods’ source — and far from the package.

Are there misconceptions about the vegetarian diet?
People think you need a lot of protein, but it’s really about balancing.

How do you feel about soy?
It can be major for beginners, but you don’t necessarily want to be a “soyatarian.” Choose soy in whole form, such as tempe or beans.

What’s your favorite recipe in the book?
The chocolate cake; it’s simple and awesome. I also like the Blue Corn Hempeh, a Southern-crusted blue corn tomato pudding.

What’s next for you?
I’m going to open a vegetarian wine-bar-cafe called Encuentro with Eric Tucker of Millennium.

Do you ever eat potato chips or a Snickers bar?
Of course! I eat chips, the natural ones. And I eat chocolate — good chocolate.

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PETA Designs Condom Wrapper For NYC Department Of Health Contest

peta, condom

The next time you’re feeling a little horny, PETA would love to be there.

The animal rights organization recently had a supporter submit a design on their behalf for a contest the NYC Department of Health is running. The goal is to see who can design the most eye-catching and informative packaging for its free condoms.

“The cholesterol and fat that are found in meat, eggs, and dairy products can clog the arteries that go to all your organs, not just your heart,” says New York activist Emily McCoy, who designed the ad. “It’s a hard medical fact: Men who choose broccoli over bratwurst slash their risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes–and impotence.”

Finalists for the condom contest will be announced in February. New Yorkers will then select a final winner by casting votes online. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as if PETA’s wrapper will make the cut — as the judges are looking for something that “reflects New York City’s distinctive culture and style while also promoting safer sex.”

Article excerpted from

Vegan condoms? Yes, some of you do look puzzled. In fact, these latex condoms are actually NOT made out of casein – a protein derived from milk.  Many condom manufacturers use casein, but in a vegan condom, none of these. In my humble opinion, it is great to promote safe sex although the target market for these condoms are mainly vegans. It is simply not because you are a vegan you must use this condom, but its simply thinking about being animal-friendly and protecting them. Tried one before? Share with us your tale.

Vegan Cake Recipe: Blueberry Apple Crumble Cake

Vegan Cake Recipe: Blueberry Apple Crumble Cake

A common misconception about eating vegan is that guilty pleasure foods, like decadent desserts, are out. That couldn’t be more untrue! This vegan cake recipe proves that you can have your (vegan) cake and eat it, too.

Vegan Blueberry Apple Crumble Cake


  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic canola oil
  • 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1 large apple, sliced

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil and flour a medium-sized cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir the blueberries with the oats, chopped almonds, flour, soda, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, mash your bananas with the canola oil, almond butter, ground flax, vanilla and sugar. Add apple slices and blueberry mixture to banana mixture and stir just until moistened.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and top it off with some homemade granola and a few extra sprinkles of sugar. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe excerpted from

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Vegan: Great For Kids!

Bill Clinton and Mike Tyson have joined the ranks of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi in adopting a vegan diet, clearly signaling the popularity of the diet among adults. What I’ve been hearing as I travel around the country, though, is that more and more kids are adopting a vegan way of eating, and some parents who are unfamiliar with it are curious about this new trend, especially since it’s so different from what they grew up with. So how should you react when your child announces one day, “Mom/Dad, that’s it — no more meat, dairy, or eggs for me!”?

First of all, be really happy. Children today are in the worst physical shape of any generation in history. One in three is overweight. One in five has an abnormal cholesterol level while still in high school. One in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in his or her life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A child who has decided to go vegetarian — or, better still, vegan — gains a measure of protection against all of these problems. And isn’t it a great thing that your child cares and is concerned about where his or her food comes from? Good job! Developing and acting on empathy is surely a good thing for everyone.

The American Dietetic Association, which reviewed all of the science on vegan and vegetarian diets, says that they are better for our children than diets that contain meat, dairy, and eggs. In the ADA’s position paper on plant-based diets, they write, “Vegetarian diets in childhood and adolescence can aid in the establishment of lifelong healthful eating patterns and can offer some important nutritional advantages.” As just one example, researchers studied a group of 1,765 children and adolescents in Southern California, and vegetarians were, on average, about an inch taller than their meat-eating friends.

That makes sense: Look at the many athletes who are now going vegan because it improves their endurance and performance: Mac Danzig, the Ultimate Fighting Championship winner, ultra-marathoner Rich Roll, tri-athlete Brendan Brazier, “Olympian of the Century” Carl Lewis, and football star Ricky Williams are but a few who nod to their diet as a big contribution to their success.

So as more and more of our kids adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet, we would be wise to join them. The American Dietetic Association explains: “Vegetarian diets are often associated with a number of health advantages, including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels, and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Vegetarians tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and lower overall cancer rates.”

And vegan food is very easy to work into your routine: You just find the meals that work for the family and can go into your weekly rotation. Some very simple options include bean burritos, baked beans and veggie sausage, lentil soup, whole grain breads, pizza made with Daiya (cheese made from tapioca) or any other kind of non-dairy cheese, vegetable soups and salads, oatmeal, rice, quinoa (a complete protein grain), and non-dairy milks like rice, almond, oat, or soy. You might also want to check out some meat substitutes like veggie burgers and dogs, etc. Every mainstream grocery store now stocks Morningstar and Boca products, both of which are great transition foods for the new vegan. Best of all, they are well liked by most kids.

Are you one of those parents (close to 100 percent, in my experience) who worries about your child’s eating habits? According to Dr. Neal Barnard, faculty member of George Washington University School of Medicine and President of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine:

Vegan children have better nutrition than other kids. This is in part because they are skipping the cholesterol and animal fat, and in part because as they search for new foods to eat (to replace the meat), they often discover and start eating healthy foods. While all kids are supposed to eat their veggies, according to the ADA, vegan and vegetarian kids actually do!

Here are two simple rules that ensure good nutrition:

  1. Each day, have foods from the four healthful food groups: whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), vegetables, and fruits.
  2. Include a reliable source of vitamin B12, such as any common multiple vitamin or fortified foods.

Let’s consider a few key nutrients that are critical for growing children. Here’s what Dr. Barnard says:

Protein: There is ample protein in grains, vegetables, beans, and bean products (including tofu and soymilk). If your child consumes a normal variety of these foods over the course of a day, she will receive all the protein she needs.

Calcium: Green leafy vegetables and legumes — or “greens and beans,” for short–are rich in calcium. This is particularly true for broccoli, collards, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. Less valuable for calcium is spinach, because the calcium in spinach is poorly absorbed. You’ll also find plenty of calcium in fortified foods, such as fortified orange juice and most soy milks. And don’t fight over vegetables your child doesn’t like. Just serve the ones that do go over well. Tastes broaden as the years go by.

Iron: Greens and beans come to our rescue again. They are rich in iron. And vitamin-C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, tend to enhance the absorption of iron consumed in the same meal. If you are concerned, a daily vitamin-mineral supplement will have you covered easily.

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy blood and healthy nerves. It is not found in unfortified plant foods, although it is present in dairy products and eggs, which you may or may not be serving. But vitamin B12 is easy to find in many fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soymilk, and in all common multiple vitamins. I recommend that everyone — vegetarian or not — take a multiple vitamin or other convenient source of vitamin B12 every day. Studies show that meat-eaters often run low due to poor absorption.

Dr. Barnard goes on to say:

“If you are interested in trying soy-based meat substitutes, they may have health benefits. Girls who consume soymilk, tofu, or similar products on a daily basis during adolescence have significantly less risk of breast cancer in adulthood, compared to people who avoid soy. That said, soy products are not essential. There is plenty of good nutrition in the other beans, as well as in the broad range of vegetables, fruits, and grains.”

So how do you do it? Some of my friends “lean into it” as a family by starting off with Meatless Mondays and then progress to eating less and less meat, all the while getting more comfortable with adjusted menus. If your child wants to stick to a vegan diet while everyone else is catching up, you could serve him or her black bean burritos while the family has the regular with meat. You can use veggie meatballs (found in your grocer’s freezer section) in pasta instead of beef. And while everyone else is eating chicken with mashed potatoes, your child can enjoy Gardein chik’n (a plant-based high protein meat substitute that looks and tastes very much like chicken) and mashed potatoes made with non-dairy milk and Earth Balance non-dairy butter.
A stir fry with tofu, rice, and veggies is super fast and tasty for everyone, as is a hearty chili with beans and veggie protein crumbles (again, found in your grocer’s freezer). It’s really quite easy to “veganize” your favorite family traditions. Good snacks are bagels with peanut or almond butter, whole grain pretzels, or apples and bananas. And a great way to sneak in a veggie for your child is to make a smoothie with juice or non-dairy milk, blueberries and banana; then throw in a handful of frozen broccoli. You can’t taste the broccoli (I promise!) and because of the blueberries, your kids won’t see green!

Happy Eating!

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A vegetarian dish that even meat-eaters will enjoy

Grilled cauliflower steak with roasted vegetables and topped with a chipotle compound butter.Grilled cauliflower steak with roasted vegetables and topped with a chipotle compound butter.

Peggy MacLeod of St. Petersburg, Fla., seeks the recipe for “a delicious and interesting vegetarian entrée — a grilled cauliflower steak with chipotle butter” that is offered by the Z Grille in St. Petersburg.

Chef Zack Gross of Z Grille said he developed the seasonal dish because he wanted a vegetarian entrée that had a meaty feel to it. “It’s really hard to make a dish that appeals to non-vegetarians and vegetarians that has different textures, but also has a lot of flavors,” he said. “I think this dish hits on all those fronts.”

There are a lot of steps, but none is difficult. If the prospect of making all the elements at once is daunting, try making the cauliflower at one meal, the squash at another and the mushrooms at a third. When you feel comfortable with each process, do them all to make the dish. Here is the recipe for the cauliflower steak with acorn squash skins, roasted shiitake mushrooms and chipotle compound butter. It will make more butter than necessary for the finished dish. Leftovers will last about a week in the refrigerator and would be good on other vegetables, meat or fish.

— Ellen Folkman, St. Petersburg Times


  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup garlic, minced, divided use
  • 1 can chipotle peppers, drained and minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs, minced (thyme, rosemary, sage; whatever you like or is fresh)
  • 1 cup oil (olive, canola or whatever you use for salad dressing)
  • 3 whole acorn squash, cut in quarters, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup Manchego, grated
  • 1-1/2 pounds of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Into butter, mix 1/2 cup garlic, chipotle peppers, cilantro, salt and pepper. It will turn a cool red color. Refrigerate.

Trim sides of cauliflower, then cut across head to make “steaks” that are about an inch thick. A head should yield at least two, maybe three steaks.

To make the marinade, mince herbs and mix with oil and 1/2 cup garlic. Carefully coat cauliflower with marinade. Allow to sit for at least two hours, but it can marinate overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash on baking sheet and roast for about an hour. Remove from oven and turn on broiler. Sprinkle squash with cheese, then place under broiler to melt cheese, just 1 or 2 minutes. When finished, it should look like a potato skin.

Place mushrooms in a large skillet with tablespoon of butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes.

Heat grill (gas, charcoal or grill pan), and grill sliced cauliflower — as you would a steak — over very high heat. Flip the slices only once. Don’t play with it. They will be fragile and can fall apart. Grill about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

To assemble dish, put cauliflower on plate with 2 or 3 pieces of squash and a spoonful of mushrooms. Top the hot cauliflower with the chipotle butter and serve.

Note: Puree the cauliflower trimmings and add to mashed potatoes.

Makes: 4 to 6 steaks.

—Zack Gross, Z Grille, St. Petersburg

Recipe excerpted from

Vegetarian vs. Vegan: Health showdown

micco caporale
The differences between vegans and vegetarians are often misunderstood. Which is healthier? Photo by Micco Caporale

Lately, I’ve had some issues deciphering the health risks and benefits of vegetarians and vegans versus meat eaters. I’ve had conversations about this topic with people that I know. I know vegetarians and some vegans, but after talking with them, I was still left wondering: what makes them different health wise? Are vegans healthier than vegetarians?

After doing some research, here’s what I’ve found:

According to a vegetarian nutrition website, vegans are often thinner and have lower blood pressure and cholesterol than vegetarians. This leads to vegans having a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. The website states that there is this health difference because vegan diets are richer in dietary fiber and higher in potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins C and E. Also, eliminating meat from a diet doesn’t necessarily mean that saturated fat and cholesterol intake is lowered if dairy products are still being consumed. So, vegetarians may still maintain a high saturated fat and cholesterol intake by eating dairy, which is a problem that a vegan diet eliminates.

According to this research, vegans are healthier than vegetarians. But, what are vegans missing out on that vegetarians are getting from their diets?

Well, according to the website, vegans are missing out on one major thing: calcium. While dairy products provide a great source of calcium, there are other ways that vegans can make up for not eating dairy. Another thing vegans aren’t getting is vitamin B12. Meat, eggs and milk contain plenty of this vitamin, but plants contain none. Vitamin B12 is not as easily gained in other foods like calcium is, and it is a very important part of a diet because without it one could develop early dementia, lack of coordination and memory loss. B12 can be found in soy and rice beverages, some cereals and meat substitutes.

So, I understand what vegetarians can eat: anything but meat. But, what does a vegan diet consist of? Well, vegans eat anything that’s not from an animal. That’s where my questions begin. So, what exactly can vegans eat?

Well, according to the Vegan Society website, vegans can eat more than you would imagine. There are vegan alternatives to virtually any food including vegan chocolates, ice cream, yogurt and the list goes on and on. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) website states that some of your favorite products are vegan and you didn’t even realize it. For example, Pepperidge Farm Turnovers, Murray Butter Cookies and Cracker Jacks are all vegan along with a number of snacks such as chips, cookies and candies.

I now have a better idea of what it means to be both a vegetarian and a vegan. After analyzing the health risks and benefits, it seems that vegans are healthier, and it might not be as hard as I thought to be a vegan after all.

 Article excerpted from

Zuckerberg: Just Go Vegetarian Already

Zuckerberg: Just Go Vegetarian Already

You may have read about the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly beginning a personal challenge that means he now kills animals himself for meat, instead of letting a slaughterhouse or butcher do it. Some articles have indicated this approach is more honest, but is it? Are meat-eaters lying to themselves about where their meat comes from? They may not like to think about the animals that died to feed them, but who could blame them? Another said he has learned from a butcher to slit their throats because it is said to be the kindest way to end their lives, but ending an animal’s life to make it into dinner isn’t the least bit kind–there is no ‘kindest’ way to do it. CNN quoted him as saying he has learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising animals. It may be true that eating meat from animals raised on small farms and fed organic food  is probably better for the environment, and might be healthier for consumers, but it still isn’t kind.

Meat-eaters I have met usually say they eat meat because they like it, and that is good enough for me, as I respect the freedom we all have to make our own personal choices. Some say they eat meat to get protein, but a vegetarian diet has plenty of protein, and it doesn’t contain the animal cholesterol that contributes to heart disease. If you have seen the new movie Forks Over Knives, it states that almost all heart disease is related to the use of an animal-based diet, and that for some people they may experience a reversal of heart disease when they convert from an animal-based one to one that is plant-based. The movie’s tag line is “Warning: This Movie Could Save Your Life!” and Roger Ebert said he believes that is true in his review of the documentary.

So it seems a little odd that Zuckerberg stopped in his dietary change at killing his own animals for meat, when it is much easier and less harmful to animals and to one’s own health, to simply stop eating an animal-based diet. It is definitely is better for the environment, as animal agriculture contributes very much to global warming and has disrupted natural landscapes tremendously for conversion to pasture and feedlots. Also, most of the plants cultivated by industrial agriculture today are used to feed animals, so they can later be eaten by people, according to Forks Over Knives. If we shifted all the food grown to feed animals we could feed all the world’s starving people, the film indicates.

It appears Zuckerberg is heading down the path towards vegetarianism, but gradually as many people do. First they give up beef, then fowl, then dairy milk, and some go all the way to vegan. Others continue with dairy milk and and eggs, but subsist mainly on vegetables, grains and fruits. Some are mainly vegetarian, but eat seafood once in a while. Changing one’s diet is not generally an overnight process, unless there has been a medical intervention with some urgency, such as Bill Clinton’s removal of most meat from his diet to help reduce his heart disease situation.

When removing meat from one’s diet initially, a common complaint is fatigue, but this is not due to a problem with the meat-free diet, it is due probably to being uninformed about where to get iron, and an amino acid called carnitine–but you can easily get carnitine from a supplement or by combining rice and beans, which contain the amino acids to make carnitine. Zuckerberg’s reported posting on Facebook of his personal animal slaughters seems more than a little theatrical, and one wonders if it is a publicity stunt. If he is really interested in sustainability, why doesn’t he just drop meat altogether?

Image Credit: Jonathan Billinger

Article excerpted from

10 quick vegetarian facts

1. Approximately one quarter of the world’s population enjoy a mostly vegetarian diet.
2. It is estimated that a lifelong vegetarian will save the lives of approximately 760 chickens, 5 cows, 20 pigs, 29 sheep, 46 turkeys and half a tonne of fish.
3. Many animals are vegetarians, including rhinos, elephants, giraffes, guinea pigs, rabbits, gorillas, hippos and goats.
4. Vegetarians do not eat fish!
5. Famous vegetarians include Albert Einstein, Pythagorus, Leonardo da vinci, Gandhi, Mary Shelley, Paul McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Natalie Portman, Tony Benn, Monty Panesar, Morrissey, Russell Brand and Stella McCartney.
6. A “westernised” diet containing meat requires up to 3 times as many resources as a vegetarian diet.
7. Vegetarians enjoy the lowest rates of obesity, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.
8. The word “vegetarian” is derived from the Latin word “vegetus” meaning lively or vigorous.
9. Veggies are no more prone to iron deficiency than meat eaters! Even those who do eat meat get a high percentage of their iron from vegetarian sources.
10. Anyone eating dairy products and eggs will get plenty of vitamin B12 in their diet. Other good sources are fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, yeast extract and soya drinks.

View / Download this PDF document here.
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Should you give up being vegan when pregnant?

PregnantActor Natalie Portman recently announced that she had relinquished veganism during her pregnancy to satisfy cravings for non-vegan foods. Is adhering to veganism in the face of strong pregnancy cravings impossible? Alison Waters, who has had three vegan pregnancies, argues that it isn’t – and that pregnancy is, in fact, an optimal time for vegans to stick with it.

15 May 2011

“Perhaps others disagree with me that animals have personalities, but the highly documented torture of animals is unacceptable,” asserts actor Natalie Portman in her October 2009 opinion piece on Eating Animals.

Portman attributes Jonathan Safran Foer’s book with transforming her from a “20-year vegetarian” to a “vegan activist”. She states: “What Foer most bravely details is how eating animals pollutes not only our backyards, but also our beliefs. He reminds us that our food is symbolic of what we believe in, and that eating is how we demonstrate to ourselves and to others our beliefs … This book reminded me that some things are just wrong.” 

In light of her passionate comments, what can we make of Portman’s recent decision to revert to vegetarianism during her pregnancy? “I actually went back to being vegetarian when I became pregnant, just because I felt like I wanted that stuff,” Portman said during a radio interview in April this year. “I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy and that sort of stuff.”

Portman acknowledges that women “do stay vegan: during pregnancy, but adds: “I think you have to just be careful, watch your iron levels and your B12 levels and supplement those if there are things you might be low in in your diet”. Portman discusses her experience of non-vegan food cravings: “If you’re not eating eggs, then you can’t have cookies or cake from regular bakeries, which can become a problem when that’s all you want to eat…”

These remarks imply that Portman’s cravings overrode her vegan values – barely 18 months after she referred to herself as a “vegan activist”. Does her decision to consume animal products mean that she no longer regards the torture of animals as “unacceptable”? Portman was obviously deeply influenced by Foer’s text. She made an intellectual and rational decision to become vegan.

So, are pregnancy cravings so powerful that they can override deeply held beliefs?

Journalist Elisabeth Lambert recounts her experience of pregnancy cravings and morning sickness during her ‘vegan’ pregnancy. Lambert adopted a vegan diet for health-related reasons two years prior to her first pregnancy. “I declared to all who would listen that I planned to stick with veganism throughout my pregnancy.”

In her article, ‘I’m pregnant, vegan and all I want is a Junior Burger’, Lambert reveals that her first trimester morning sickness could only be alleviated by the consumption of a fat-laden, sugar-loaded, salt-burdened and very non-vegan burger from McDonalds.

“I let myself go into a burger stupor, knocking back burger after burger. When I finally battered the demon inside with beef and buns, my husband, slightly bemused, pointed out I’d knocked back five Junior Burgers in under 20 minutes.”

Lambert’s “insatiable appetite” for Junior Burgers continued in to her third trimester. She admits to having ‘the smallest of niggles in the back of [her] mind’ that she had ‘failed’ her baby and herself. However, Lambert declares: “If Ms Portman, Oscar-winning actress with millions in her bank account to spend on chefs, dieticians, nutritionists and health professionals, couldn’t keep up a vegan diet during pregnancy, then how was a mere mortal like myself expected to?”

On the day that Essential Baby published Lambert’s Junior Burger article, Lambert introduced a second article, Vegan Checklist for Pregnant Women, with the following statement: “As a result of choosing to be a vegan throughout my pregnancy, I have put together a basic checklist that all pregnant vegans and their partners/supporters should know.” (My emphasis).

It should come as no surprise that Lambert – who devoured “a bunch of burgers from the Golden Arches: during her pregnancy – includes the following suggestion in the checklist: “It is imperative to keep in mind that there are definitely some situations when expectant vegans should consider revising their diets to include animal products.”

Lambert concludes the checklist with a comment from Dr Leon Massage, founder and medical director of the Body Metabolism Institute and spokesperson on weight loss and nutrition for the Australian Medical Association (VIC): “I have treated many people, and women in particular, who have had a problem with their immune response after several years of strict vegetarian or vegan diets …. when small amounts of fish or chicken were added to their diets, symptoms improved dramatically.”

This comment does not refer specifically to pregnant women. A search of the Body Metabolism Institute (BMI) website reveals that Dr Massage is ‘an eminent practising doctor who has specialised in weight loss for more than 20 years, [and] is passionate about weight loss, health and disease prevention’.

The ‘checklist’ and the BMI website do not provide information about Dr. Massage’s professional experience with vegan pregnancy. Pregnant vegans are entitled to ask why Lambert included a generalised quote in her vegan pregnancy checklist – referring to vegetarian and vegan ‘women in general’ – from a doctor who specialises in weight loss.

Perhaps Lambert included Dr Massage’s comment to provide a justification for her decision to abandon a vegan diet during pregnancy.

I am disappointed by Lambert’s decision to refer to her checklist as ‘vegan’ – and to introduce it by giving the impression that she maintained a vegan diet during her pregnancy.

There are an abundance of ‘mainstream’ pregnancy books, websites and articles that ‘inform’ women about the ‘necessity’ to eat animal products in order to grow a baby and thrive during pregnancy – Lambert’s checklist is merely another contribution of this nature.

I expect a ‘vegan checklist’ to provide pregnant vegans with information and support about maintaining a healthy and nutritious vegan diet. Pregnant vegans would be wise to avoid Lambert’s checklist. The checklist may be popular with people who believe that a vegan pregnancy is risky and irresponsible, as well as pregnant women seeking validation for their decision to abandon veganism and ‘give in’ to non-vegan cravings.

Morning sickness, pregnancy cravings and Natalie Portman have been used as rationalisations for Lambert’s monumental failure to maintain a vegan diet during pregnancy. Lambert made an intellectual decision to become vegan for her own health. Yet, she abandoned veganism during pregnancy – an optimal time to uphold a healthy and vibrant diet.

Pregnant vegans speak out

Clearly, vegan women are not immune to pregnancy cravings. I was surprised to experience a persistent – and unwanted – craving for a very non-vegan ‘food’ during one of my pregnancies: cottage cheese. I had not regarded dairy products as a food source for 10 years prior to my pregnancy. My commitment to the vegan ethos ensured that I did not indulge the craving. A desire to live in concert with my deeply held value system – and logic – prevailed. And I am a ‘mere mortal’.

Health-conscious vegans may find themselves craving junk foods during pregnancy. Vegan mum, Kerri, experienced cravings for unhealthy foods: “Suddenly, all I could think about was junk food … greasy, disgusting, artery-clogging fast food. Once a healthy, whole grain and salad lovin’ vegan, I suddenly became a junk food craving lunatic.”

In her humorous article, ‘Not-So-Vegan Pregnancy Cravings’, Caity McCardell discusses the challenges of dealing with unwanted, non-vegan food cravings. She affirms: “For me, there’s more at stake than my cravings. I’ve made a commitment to animal welfare and I’m determined to live up to that stand. I know from experience and research that my body and my baby don’t need animal protein.”

McCardell acknowledges the difficulties that non-vegan pregnancy cravings can present: “If you’re vegan and pregnant and craving crap, you have all my sympathy. I understand the pain and frustration and discomfort.”

She provides advice for pregnant vegans who are experiencing unwanted cravings: “I encourage you to focus on your compassion, your commitment and the larger picture … Seek out people who will help you be strong.”

McCardell suggests that pregnant vegans ask themselves the following questions: “What does the original commitment to health, animal welfare, the environment mean? Does the decision to be vegan disappear if a speed bump gets in our way? Do we abandon our principles when our hormones are so wacked out?”

I do not aim to underestimate the negative impacts of morning sickness and food aversions. As someone who experiences debilitating morning sickness during pregnancy, I can relate to Lambert’s encounter with morning sickness. I endured all-day nausea throughout the first 16 weeks of my pregnancies.

During my first pregnancy I vomited each day of the first trimester. There was a period when dry crackers and toast were the only foods I could stomach. I felt repulsed by foods that I had previously adored – like tomatoes, eggplants, hommus; and my favourite breakfast, banana and berry smoothie.

Portman’s comment, “I think you have to just be careful…” gives the impression that embarking on a vegan pregnancy may be risky. Lambert’s checklist certainly reinforces that view. I regard it as unfortunate that the negative promotion of vegan pregnancy may influence women to abandon their veganism.

Vegan mum, Kenya, writes on her blog, “I feel a sense of obligation to continue documenting the healthy existence of our vegan twins. All of the disinformation out there on vegan pregnancy and raising vegan children must be combated. When I peruse other ‘vegan’ pregnancy blogs I am astonished by the number of people that think exploiting animals during their pregnancy is okay. Vegan pregnancy isn’t hard…”

Pregnant vegans are able to obtain optimal nutrition on a vegan diet – and grow healthy vegan babies.  The American Dietetic Association maintains that “well-planned vegan and vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation”.

In their book Becoming Vegan Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina state that a vegan diet “can support very healthy pregnancies, however, vegan mothers do need to ensure adequate intake of energy and nutrients”.

Queensland Health has developed a comprehensive guide to healthy eating for pregnant and breastfeeding vegans. The guide states: “A well planned vegan diet is able to meet nutrition requirements for pregnancy and breastfeeding.” And there is no recommendation for vegan women to consume animal products! It is a genuine ‘vegan checklist’.

McCardell has advice for pregnant vegans, such as Portman, who consume non-vegan food during pregnancy: “Please don’t get down on yourself. You can always jump right back up on the wagon and eliminate the animal bits again.”

Can we expect Natalie Portman to rediscover veganism after the birth of her child? Will she raise her child as a vegan? In her opinion piece, Portman asks, “What stories do we want to tell our children through their food?”

I sincerely hope that she is influenced again by the man she refers to as “brave” – who states in Eating Animals: “Feeding my child is not like feeding myself: it matters more.”
Article excerpted from

Food Poisoning – Top 10 Sources

On April 28, 2011 the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute released information regarding the top 10 sources of food borne illnesses.  The hope is that those in charge of protecting us from such food borne illnesses will use the information to help prevent outbreaks.  Unfortunately to date their efforts have not been coordinated and thus are not as effective as they could be.

According to Michael Batz, who is the main author of the report, “Government agencies must work together to effectively target their efforts. If we don’t identify which pairs of foods and microbes present the greatest burden, we’ll waste time and resources and put even more people at risk.”

Currently the top 10 food pathogen combinations are responsible for economic losses of 8 billions dollars annually from lost work days, medical costs, and severe disabilities caused by illness.

Here are some of the highlights pulled directly from the report:

  • POULTRY contaminated with Camplylobacter bacteria topped the list, sickening more than 600,000 Americans at a cost of $1.3 billion per year.
  • Salmonella in POULTRY also ranks in the Top 10, with $700 million due to costs of illness.
  • Salmonella is the leading disease-causing bug overall, causing more than $3 billion in disease burden annually.
  • In addition to POULTRY, Salmonella-contaminated PRODUCEEGGS and multi-ingredient foods all rank in the Top 10.
  • Four combinations in the Top 10 – Listeria in deli MEATS and soft CHEESES, and Toxoplasma in PORK and BEEF – pose serious risks to pregnant women and developing fetuses, causing stillbirth or infants born with irreversible mental and physical disabilities.

While a vegan diet is not immune to food poisoning, I found it interesting that 8 out of the 9 foods mentioned were animal based foods with poultry mentioned 3 times…4 if you count eggs.  We can drastically reduce our exposure to these food borne illnesses by simply eliminating our consumption of animal based foods.

To read the results of the study directly from the University of Florida, click here.

Salmonella image courtesy of

Article courtesy of

Vegetarians at lower risk for metabolic syndrome

A recent study by researchers at Loma Linda University showed that vegetarians had a 36% lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared with people who ate animals.

Good news, except, what the heck is metabolic syndrome?

Well, according to Wikipedia, metabolic syndrome is a combination of disorders that, when mixed together, dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome affects about one in five Americans and seems to be brought on by factors such as stress, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and now – according to the new Loma Linda University Adventist Health Study 2 – perhaps an animal-based diet.

The study found that 25% of vegetarians (people who ate meat, poultry or fish less than once a month) had metabolic syndrome.  That number increased to 37% for semi-vegetarians (people who ate fish regularly and other meats less than once a month) and to 39% for non-vegetarians.

“Trending toward a plant-based diet is a sensible choice,” said Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the study.

The Adventist Health Study 2 is a long-term study of the health of 96,000 Seventh-Day Adventist across the United States and Canada—this particular study focused on a random sampling of 700 participants.

I find it interesting to note that, despite the fact those who avoided meat were less likely to end up with metabolic syndrome, still a full 25% of those vegetarians who participated in the study had the disease.

It’s a good reminder that a vegetarian diet is not necessarily a healthy diet.

Article excerpted from

Vegan Burger

Vegan Burger


  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice (measure uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced finely
  • 2/3 cup carrot, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground coarsely

In a large saucepan bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook rice until is a bit dry. If it is too sticky and damp, dry it by spreading it on a tray for awhile.

After the rice cools, add the other ingredients, mix well, and knead the mixture a bit until it feels sticky. Form into patties about 4 inches round and about 1/2 inch thick (not too thin).

Place on a nonstick baking sheet, and put into oven preheated at 450 degree F. Bake for about 25 minutes, flip and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

You can also cook the pattie in a frying pan coated with cooking oil.

Note: If the mixture is too wet or too thin, the patties will not hold.

Serve on your favorite bread or buns with lettuce and tomatoes, and sprouts, etc… Enjoy.

Serving size:

Prep time:
60 minutes
Recipe courtesy of

10 Genius Vegetarians

Albert Einstein
Einstein in Western culture is synonymous with genius. Reports say he was vegetarian just for the last year of his life. However, he had a guilty conscience about eating meat, and agreed with the vegetarian outlook, “Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

Leonardo Da Vinci
One of the greatest inventors in all of human history, it is believed he was also a lifelong vegetarian who chose such a diet to avoid killing or injuring other creatures.

Nikola Tesla
He invented at least 700 devices, and was both an engineer and visionary. The form of electricity you are using right now to power your computer (alternating current) resulted from the work of Nikola Tesla.  Most accounts say Tesla moved gradually towards a vegetarian diet, first by eliminating meat but still eating fish, and then by quitting that also. He wasn’t vegan though, as he used dairy milk as his main protein source, after abandoning meat.

“It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact.”

Srinivasa Ramanujan
One of India’s greatest mathematicians, he was also a strict vegetarian.

The man is iconic enough that no description here is required. He was vegetarian most of his life.”If we are to be nonviolent, we must then not wish for anything on this earth which even the meanest or the lowest of human beings cannot have.”

Vincent Van Gogh
He is considered one of the world’s most original fine art painters. Although various websites list him as a vegetarian mostly, there are some references to his accepting meat once in a while. This may be because of his lifestyle and living in conditions where other people were trying to take care of him, and he didn’t want to offend them.

“In the afternoon, at the table, the three of us would eat with the appetite of famished wolves; not he, he would not eat meat, only a little morsel on Sundays, and then only after being urged by our landlady for a long time. Four potatoes with a suspicion of gravy and a mouthful of vegetables constituted his whole dinner. To our insistence that he make a hearty dinner and eat meat, he would answer, To a human being physical life ought to be a paltry detail; vegetable food is sufficient, all the rest is luxury.”

Thomas Edison
Mr. Edison was credited with over 1,000 inventions.There are some references to him having stopped eating meat for health reasons, “During the recent illness, from mastoiditis, of Mr. Thos. Alva Edison, the famous inventor ceased using meat and went for a thorough course of vegetarianism. Mr. Edison was so pleased with the change of diet that, now he has regained his normal health, he continues to renounce meat in all it’s forms.”

There are also a number of quotes attributed to him indicating a love of animals and condemning violence towards them.

This Greek philosopher and mathematician was also a vegetarian. In the writings of Ovid, he was depicted as having said, “Alas, what wickedness to swallow flesh into our own flesh, to fatten our greedy bodies by cramming in other bodies, to have one living creature fed by the death of another.”

Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was one of America’s most beloved writers. He is listed as a vegetarian on various sites such as and Wikipedia. He was also against using animals in research and for educational purposes.

“I believe I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.”

Franz Kafka
A writer of some of the most memorable German-language fiction, Franz Kafka was also a vegetarian. He is believed to have said this when visiting an aquarium, “Now at least I can look at you in peace. I don’t eat you anymore.”  That was after he became a vegetarian.
Article excerpted from

Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town

408 Coldharbour Lane
London, SW9 8LF
Wednesday to Sunday 11am-6pm

Ms Cupcake is fast achieving London Vegan icon status, a standing her baking has seen the business achieve since well before throwing open the doors of the city’s first all-vegan bakery. Always presenting herself in an eye-catching 1950s housewife ensemble, the woman behind the cake has a sparkling personality to match her retro-inspired shop design. From market stall (you can still find her at Greenwich and Brick Lane sometimes – check her website for details) to full retail bakery, it’s no surprise the business has been such a success; her cakes have had folks trekking across the city to devour since the start.

And to make things even more enticing she’s selling more fabulous animal free confections in the Brixton shop. Cookie cakes, vegan marshmallows and scones feature among the usual line-up of cupcakes and cake slices, companioned with an array of other vegan favourites like Goody Good Stuff sweets and vegan chocolates. Cookbooks, brand-matching retro kitschy accessories, and of course cupcake themed gifts are also for sale.

Finally, it’s here! After many months of hard work and planning, London’s first vegan bakery has opened in Brixton. My friend Jojo, the blogger behind Vegan in Brighton, and I journeyed to the city yesterday to support Ms C’s opening day and to sample some of the wares (throwing the former in there to make it sound like the trip wasn’t really all about the latter).

We felt right at home (and not just because the shop was decked out with pretty much the same Ikea furniture in our homes). Ms C’s warm welcome and the friendly smiles of the entire staff, who are all extraordinarily marvelous by the way (I want to take them all home), will make anyone keen to settle in for some serious cake consumption.

There’s limited seating outside, shared with the cafe next door (where you can grab a coffee to enjoy with your cake), but it’s all under cover. Go sit with some strangers and make new friends. Do it.

Vegan cupcakes and cookies

In addition to cupcakes, there are cookies, cookie sandwiches, and cupcakes in a cup (for the serious sugar seekers). Flavours change frequently, so you’re pretty much going to have to show up every day to get a chance to sample them all. Vegan bakery stalking is a practice I highly recommend.

Ms Cupcake Herself

One of my favourite things about Ms C, aside from her confectionery prowess, is her support of other vegan bakers. Competition is stiff and she’s on top, but her friendship with, awareness, and support of her baking counterparts never ceases to give me the warm fuzzies.

Vegan Cookie Sandwiches

There are also plans in the works to offer classes at the retail location, so be ready to get your icing mitts on and create! Kids can enjoy decorating classes, and once the shop is up and running the fun will be extended to grown-ups too.

Vegan Cake

Drool away, and be sure to remember Ms Cupcake does private orders too! If you’ve got a birthday, wedding or cake fetishist awareness party in London, then she’s the lady to talk to.

Brixton is quick 7 minutes hop one stop down the line from London Victoria on mainline rail services, also accessible by tube in 10. From London Bridge grab the Northern line South to Stockwell and change to the Victoria line for Brixton. The shop is just a few minutes’ walk from both the mainline and underground stations.

Article excerpted from

6 Tasty Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Relying too heavily on animal-based proteins can make you fat, a new study finds. Fortunately, vegetarian sources are easy to come by.

By Emily Main,

We all need protein to survive. But there’s a common misconception that we need all our protein from meat, milk, and other animal-based sources. Past studies have shown that relying too heavily on red meat as a source of protein can impair your vision and shorten your lifespan, and new research published this week out of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland has found that it can also increase your risk of colon diseases.

According to a different study, also published this week, choosing vegetarian sources of protein can help you lose weight. Belgian researchers studied the diets of just over 3,000 adults and found that men and women who ate more plant proteins had lower BMIs and smaller waist circumferences.

Adults need about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, and it’s pretty easy to get your protein requirements from the following plant sources:

1. Edamame

Containing 28 grams of protein, a single cup of cooked soybeans contains the same amount of protein as a three-ounce steak. Whole soybeans have more than three times the protein of tofu and soymilk, so you’re better off finding interesting ways to cook the beans rather than resorting to more processed versions of soy. For instance, edamame, the Japanese snack, is a form of salted, boiled soybeans, but you can also mash up the beans for a mashed edamame and pita sandwich or to use in edamame hummus.

2. Quinoa

Quinoa, the ancient South American grain that’s getting more popular lately, has the most protein of any grain—10 grams per cup. Not only is it a good source of plant protein, but, along with soybeans, quinoa is also one of very few non-meat “complete” proteins, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. Plus, it has lots of whole grain fiber. Technically a seed rather than a grain, quinoa can be used in place of rice or mixed with dried fruit and nuts for an easy breakfast. Or try it in this recipe for quinoa with spinach and cheese, which can serve as a main dish.

3. Other beans and legumes

While soybeans are the best in terms of protein content, other beans and legumes, including white beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas, aren’t far behind. Their protein content ranges from 14 to 19 grams per cup. Interestingly, dried beans have higher protein contents than canned, so avoid the hormone-disrupting BPA that usually accompanies canned food by purchasing dried beans will provide you with more protein. Another benefit to beans and legumes is that they’re high in healthy complexcarbohydrates, making them a good addition to a moderate carbohydrate diet because they’re beneficial to the colon.

4. Green veggies

Vegetables don’t pack quite the power punch that beans and whole grains do, but you can still get a good amount of plant-based protein from them. Spinach, collards, and other leafy greens contain around 5 grams per cup, cooked, while other green vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and asparagus contain slightly more, about 6 grams per cup, cooked. Medium artichokes have about 4 grams of protein, and they’re starting to come into season now. The easiest way to enjoy artichokes is to steam them whole and dip them in melted organic butter for an easy appetizer or afternoon snack.

5.  Mushrooms

Add a few sautéed mushrooms to your leafy greens to up their protein content even more. A cup’s worth of white mushrooms will add 3 grams of protein to any dish you’re making, and shiitake mushrooms will add slightly less than that. If you don’t eat mushrooms all that often, read our article on cooking mushrooms. And since it’s that time of year again, consider growing your own mushrooms in a backyard garden. It’s easier than you think!

6. Peanuts

All nuts contain protein, but the amounts vary widely depending on which type you pick. Fortunately, peanuts are some of the tastiest and they have the highest protein levels, at 8 grams per ounce (that’s two tablespoons). Grab a handful as an afternoon snack, and you’ll wind up with nearly as much protein as a piece of fish.

Article excerpted from

Vegetarians Have Lower Risks of Diabetes and Heart Disease


If you are a vegetarian then you should be thankful because a study revealed that vegetarians have a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.

This study took samples of blood sugar, blood fat, blood pressure, waist size, and weight. All these factors affect the metabolic syndrome in the body that can trigger diabetes and heart disease.

After studying those samples, it was found that vegetarians have a lower tendency of being attacked by the two diseases.

In a study which took samples of 700 people, metabolic problems were found in 23 out of 100 vegetarians, whereas 39 problems were found in non-vegetarians and 37 problems in semi-Vegetarians.

“I expected that there will be difference, but I had no idea that it would be this much,” said lead researcher Nico Rizzo from the Loma Linda University, according to reuters.

Using a questionnaire on diet, the researchers categorized people who are being investigated as vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and semi-vegetarians. Researchers also measured their Body Mass Index (BMI).

The average BMI of vegetarians are 25.7 or lower four points from non-vegetarian. BMI above 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is considered obese.

Courtesy of MedicMagic

Article excerpted from

Malaysian Minister of Health Datuk Liow Tiong Lai Wins PETA Proggy Award

Malaysian Minister of Health Datuk Liow Tiong Lai Wins PETA Proggy Award

Malaysian Minister of Health Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, a vegetarian who has made his diet the cornerstone of his healthy lifestyle, has won a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific Proggy Award for Promoting a Vegetarian Diet. Proggy Awards (“Proggy” stands for “progress”) recognise animal-friendly achievement in 21st century culture and commerce.

“I’m concerned about the health of the people in the country, especially with regard to the healthy lifestyle”, says Datuk Liow, who holds a degree in science and nutrition from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a master’s in business administration from Universiti Malaya. “I would emphasise more on prevention and healthy living instead of curing patient and health.”

Going vegetarian is a key in helping to prevent a variety of diseases, including today’s leading killers. Meat consumption has been conclusively linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and several kinds of cancer. Pathogens also place meat-eaters at risk. E coli, salmonella, listeria, the bird flu virus and mad cow disease all result from raising animals for food.

Going vegetarian is also the best way to help the planet. A recent UN report determined that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, ships and planes in the world combined. The report states that the meat industry is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. Of course, adopting a vegetarian diet is also the best way to help animals who might otherwise suffer on factory farms and be slaughtered for food.

Want to follow Datuk Liow’s lead and do your part to help animals? Pledge to be veg for 30 days today, and we’ll e-mail you our favourite recipes as well as tips on making the switch to a vegetarian diet.

Click Here to Pledge to Be Veg!

Article excerpted from

Eating Vegan: Why I Love Being Vegan

happy carrot

Every once in a while an anti-vegan article makes the rounds, bashing veganism as an unhealthy, unyielding, and unethical lifestyle choice. After running across one today, I felt like it was time to look at what’s great about being vegan.

Just to be clear here: I understand that a vegan lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It’s a big change from the lifestyle we’re raised on, but it’s one I’ve chosen along with many people that I know. Not vegan? I’m not judging you. I just love being vegan, and here’s why!

Why I Love Being Vegan

It’s compassionate. For most vegans, compassion is at the top of the list. That means living a cruelty free lifestyle that doesn’t harm animals, but for many of us that notion of compassion goes much further. That means being kind and being tolerant. It means making mindful choices about the food and products that we buy, and it goes beyond just avoiding animal products. Most of the vegans I know support small farmers, organic agriculture, and fair labor as well as animal rights.

The vegan community. There is a strong, kind, supportive worldwide vegan community, and I am happy to be a part of that!

For my health. Yes, it’s easy as (vegan) pie to live on vegan junk food. Potato chips are vegan. So are french fries and most white bread. If junk food is what you’re after, you’re going to find it no matter what your diet. Health was one of the driving forces when I chose veganism. You can tell me that animal fats aren’t that bad for you all day long, but when I went vegan, my cholesterol went from the mid-200s to a normal level, and it’s been that way ever since.

Helping animals. Animal rights are at the center of veganism. No matter how humanely you raise that cow, it’s tough to argue that killing it is humane.

It’s delicious. I love food, and I have to tell you that there’s no way I could have gone vegan if it weren’t for tasty vegan food. I don’t mean fake meat and vegan cheese. I mean mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, lentil burgers, quinoa, good dark chocolate, mashed potatoes, and all of that other vegan food that I cook, enjoy, and share every day.

I feel like there’s a misconception that veganism is this exclusive club, and that all vegans are quietly judging you for what’s on your plate, and I just don’t think that’s true at all. Sure, there are some douchey vegans out there, but it’s unfair to judge all vegans based on one or two interactions. There are some meat eaters who have been pretty cruel to me about my lifestyle, too, but I don’t think all meat eaters are jerks because of a couple of ruined meals. We’re all people trying to be our best selves. I just don’t see the need for hostility.

Article excerpted from

10 Best Diet Tips for Vegans

A vegan diet excludes intake of any animal product including eggs, dairy, and meats. A well-balanced and varied vegan diet can be healthy, but it needs careful consideration. Since a vegan diet is quite restrictive, it is imperative to ensure that all vital nutrients are provided.
A vegan diet should include an adequate intake of fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins by choosing a wide selection of foods such as cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. A vegan diet should include different combinations of foods and recipes to ensure that the diet doesn’t become boring and nutrient deficient.
Proteins must be provided in the vegan diet by consumption of seeds (sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds), soy products (tofu, tempeh), nuts (almonds, walnuts), and legumes (lentils, beans). There is usually no need to add protein supplements to meet the RDA or recommended dietary allowance if one eats one to two good sources of protein with each meal.
A vegan diet is generally low in saturated fats and cholesterol. However, a healthy vegan diet must add heart friendly fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acid. Restricted intake of refined and processed foods, margarine, coconut oil, and seed butter helps to maintain the required level of fat in the body.

To ensure optimum intake of calcium, a vegan diet should include green leafy vegetables, soy products, and fortified fruit juices and cereals.

Exposure to sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes a day helps a vegan get the required vitamin D that is usually deficient in a vegan diet.
Dried beans, sprouts, dark green vegetables such as collard greens, kale, broccoli, turnip greens, and blackstrap molasses, are good sources of iron and must be included in a healthy vegan diet.
Another diet tip for vegans would be to substitute popular recipe ingredients with vegan ingredients. Cottage cheese or processed cheese can be replaced by crumbled tofu, and a cup of milk by rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk.

Article excerpted from

Animals Killed By Vegan Diet?

A number of people have contacted me about the Animal Kill Counter in the sidebar of this blog saying that is a very useful reminder of just how many animals are being killed every second of the day by the meat, dairy and egg industries.

The rates of deaths are staggering… and that’s what many of us want to help eliminate.

However, have you stopped to consider how many animals would still die if there was a worldwide move to purely plant-based diets?

One person who has taken on the task of finding an answer to this question is Mark Middleton, artist, web developer, and animal advocate. Mark has looked at the research into the numbers of animal deaths associated with producing a million calories from eight different foods categories.

Here, Mark gives a little background to his project:

The idea that a vegan diet kills as many or more animals than a meat-based diet is sometimes used as a rationalization for consuming meat, and this idea serves to add uncertainty to the ethical case for a plant-based diet. In an attempt to help clear up this uncertainty, I have made estimates of the number of animals killed directly by slaughter as well as through crop harvesting in order to produce one million food calories from eight different categories of food, shown in Figure 1.

Click to view Figure 1

Figure  1: A diet of plants causes the fewest animals to be killed. Leaving chickens and eggs out of our diets will have the greatest effect on reducing the suffering and death caused by what we eat. [Source: Mark Middleton/Animal Visuals]

The visual is interactive. You can click on the three tabs to show the different death statistics associated with harvest, slaughter, and both harvest and slaughter. You will notice that the chicken and egg-producing industries account for the highest death rates.

Mark has written detailed notes to go with this graphic which you can find over at Animal Visuals. I urge you to go read it in conjunction with the visual representation above. In conclusion, Mark states:

The results of this estimation show that a diet that includes animal products will result in more animal deaths than a plant-based diet with the same number of calories. The production of chicken meat results in vastly more animal deaths than any other category of food. Based on this estimation, someone wanting to modify their eating habits in order to reduce animal suffering and death should start by removing chicken from their diet, then eggs. Although beef may cause more animal deaths than pork, pork probably causes more suffering, because most of the beef-related deaths are wild animals, and in comparison, a greater number of the pork-related deaths are factory farmed animals. The most animal suffering and death can be prevented by following a vegan diet.

Thanks again to Mark for his great work on this project and his use of innovative methods of helping to highlight the plight of so many animals in the modern food industry. The findings of Mark’s project are available at Animal Visuals.

Article excerpted from

Why honey isn’t vegan

(NaturalNews) Many people with omnivorous eating habits understand the basics of vegan living, that most vegans don’t eat or wear meat or animal products or by-products. Yet many of these same people are taken aback when a vegan explains that she won’t eat honey. They don’t understand why a vegan wouldn’t eat honey. Here’s why.

Vegans choose their particular lifestyle for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is to protect their health. Vegans have studied the findings of legitimate scientists and have discovered that eating animal protein is hazardous to one’s health. Eating animal protein (whether it is found in meat, eggs, or dairy products) can be directly linked to multiple Western diseases (also known as “diseases of affluence”). Some of those diseases include cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and osteoporosis, to name a few. A great many vegans have chosen to eliminate all animal protein from their diets to gain these health benefits. Even vegetarians don’t benefit from the health a vegan diet offers.

So where does honey fit in? Honey is an animal product, produced when bees digest nectar they have collected and then regurgitate it. It is an animal product, just like an egg or milk. Yes, a bee is an insect and not technically considered an animal by many people, but a bee’s body changes the composition of what it ingests, just like other animals. According to Raw Food, honey contains “animal ferments” as well as protein. If animal protein is harmful to one’s health, then honey also falls under that category.

However, there is another reason vegans won’t eat honey, and that is because it is harmful to another living creature. According to Daniel Hammer, bees do experience pain and suffering while they are being exploited for their products (not just honey but also beeswax, royal jelly, and more). There is simply no way beekeepers, humane or otherwise, can avoid harming or killing bees while they are extracting the bees’ products. Many vegans choose their lifestyle because they wish to avoid harming any other creature, and so they choose not to eat honey.

Just as vegans won’t eat honey, they also won’t eat or use these products for the same reasons:

  • Silk
  • Other animal non-food products, such as leather and wool
  • Fish oil (non-vegan omega 3 supplements)
  • Other hidden animal products, such as gelatin
  • Other foods processed with animal products, such as non-vegan sugar, processed using a bone char filter

Vegans will continue to educate their omnivorous friends and relatives, hoping to avoid awkward situations when dining together or when accepting gifts. Refusing to eat honey may seem confusing to non-vegans at first, but when they understand the rationale behind a vegan’s choices, people should have a better idea of why vegans avoid bee products and other products derived from animals or insects.

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Survey reveals that vegan stereotypes are false

A new survey of over 2,000 vegans worldwide, called Vegan From the Inside, offers the truth about people who live on plant-based diets. The respondents of the survey were required to have been on an animal-free diet for at least three months.

Survey author Janice Stanger, PhD, notes that “On balance, the rewards of a vegan diet far outweigh the challenges that respondents describe. A totally plant-based diet is an ideal that is easier than some might believe.”

Likewise, Dr. Pam Popper, Executive Director of the Wellness Forum, says, “Finally, some documentation showing what those of us who have been teaching people to adopt a plant-based diet for years have known all along. The diet is easy, people love it, they get great results, and they generally stick with it.”

The survey results debunk common claims about animal-free diets, including fallacies such as vegans are “pale, weak and unhealthy” or that a “vegan diet has too many carbs.” Other debunked myths are that a “vegan diet is boring” and “all about deprivation.”

In fact, the survey results actually found that most participants “enjoy cooking more” and have felt “fulfilled results of their eating choices.” Additional common misconceptions claim that a “plant-based diet requires significant discipline and is difficult to maintain” and “vegans can’t enjoy eating out.” Particularly in response to the latter argument, some respondents added that, as veganism is becoming more mainstream, eating while out is easier.

One respondent even remarked, “Going vegan was the best thing I ever did!”

Finally, a positive light shed on the positive change of going animal-free!

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Fruits and Vegetables For Your Health

Color wheel

There’s no disputing that fruits and vegetables are healthy and that you should eat as many as you can. They are low in fat, calories, and sodium, have no cholesterol, and are high in fiber.

Fiber from fruits and vegetables helps fill you up so don’t feel like eating more, and it also helps move the digestive process along. Of course, these foods are also full of vitamins and minerals that provide your body with energy.

Most people eat too few vegetables and fruits, both in quantity a day and in variety. The most consumed vegetables in America are potatoes, lettuce, and tomatoes. The people who eat the most vegetables and fruits in the USA have the lowest risk for chronic diseases.

Also, those people are less likely to need vitamins and supplements to have a healthy diet since the vegetables and fruits provide all the nutrition they need.

Fruits and vegetables are full of phytochemicals, which are chemicals that come from plants and provide color to the food. There are more than 12,000 phytochemicals in nature, and eating fruits and vegetables, rather than using supplements, is the best way to make sure you are getting enough of them in your diet. Each color food has a different type of phytochemical that helps your immune system function properly.

We are going to use the rainbow’s help to show the benefits of nature’s foods. Since the same chemical gives the food its color, typically the foods of that color have many of the same healthful components.

You will notice that some of the benefits and some of the colors overlap, so don’t be too stringent on getting one of each color. Just eat a great variety. Also, fruits and vegetables do not have just one vitamin, as we commonly believe. They are a mix of several vitamins and minerals.

  • Red Fruits and Vegetables

The phytochemicals in red foods are carotenoids and anthocyanins. One of the most abundant carotenoid is lycopene. Lycopene helps reduce damage from free radicals in your body and it also prevents heart disease, cancer, prostrate problems, and reduces the skin damage from the sun. These red foods help memory function, urinary tract health, and makes your heart healthy.

  • Orange Fruits and Vegetables

Carotenoids are the powerful phytochemical in orange foods, and they are what give the foods their color. Carotenoids repair DNA and help prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as strengthening our vision. These orange foods also give us the right amount of vitamin A, which keeps our eyes and skin healthy, and protects against infections. They are also known to boost the immune system. Some of these also cross over with the health benefits of the yellow foods below.

  • Yellow Fruits and Vegetables

Yellow foods are high in antioxidants like vitamin C. Vitamin C keeps our teeth and gums healthy, helps to heal cuts, improves the mucus membranes (like when we have colds), helps to absorb iron, prevents inflammation, improves circulation, and therefore prevents heart disease. Some of the darker ones also cross over with the health benefits of orange foods.

  • Green Fruits and Vegetables

These foods have the phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles, which both prevent cancer. They are also good for the circulatory system and have good vitamin B and minerals. Green vegetables also help with vision, and with maintaining strong bones and teeth. Some of the yellower green vegetables have carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that help to prevent cataracts and eye disease, as well as osteoporosis.

  • Greenish/White Foods

The strong phytochemical in these whitish/greenish vegetables is called allicin, and it is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral chemical. Some white foods prevent cancer and heart disease, and lower cholesterol levels. Celery is often dubbed as a useless vegetable because it has no calories, but it does have minerals like good sodium that help keep the joints healthy. Also, the selenium in mushrooms is healthy as well. This group helps maintain low cholesterol levels in your body as well as a healthy heart.

  • Blue/Indigo/Violet Foods

The blue, indigo, and violet foods are great for their anti-aging properties. These foods have tons of antioxidants, which are called anthocyanins and phenolics. They help improve circulation and prevent blood clots, so they are great for the heart and can help prevent heart disease. They are also known to help memory function and urinary tract health and to reduce free radical damage.

Here’s a great chart that outlines the phytochemicals in each of the food color categories. Sources of Phytochemicals

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Vegan Starter Kit

Explore PETA’s “Vegetarian/Vegan Starter Kit” – the guide that will help you go vegetarian now. It has everything you need to get started: recipes, tips on eating out, health information, videos and more!

Information discovered at

10 interesting vegetarian facts

Thought you knew everything there is to know about the vegetarian diet? These few facts may surprise you:

1. Vegetarianism has traditionally been linked to the people of ancient India. Even today, Indians make up more than 70 percent of the world’s vegetarian population.

2. The first Vegetarian Society was formed in 1847 in England. The main aim of the members was to dispel the common belief that it’s not possible to lead a healthy life without eating meat.

3. There are varying degrees of vegetarianism. The strictest of vegetarians not only steer clear of all forms of meat, they also avoid all animal products, including honey (bees are often killed in the production of honey), and foods which might contain traces of animal products, such as bread baked in buttered tins and sugar to which bone charcoal has been added (to make it white).

4. You might recall the scene in Notting Hill where William Thacker (Hugh Grant) goes on a blind date with a slightly off-the-wall “fruitarian”. Fruitarianism is a very real form of vegetarianism, where the diet consists of fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant material that can be gathered without killing the plant (e.g. pears can be picked without killing the plant, carrots cannot).

5. Many vegetarians follow a meat-free diet in an attempt to lower the pressure meat production places on the environment. According to, growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the United States’ water supply and 80% of its agricultural land.

6. Other people go the vegetarian route for religious reasons. Some of the denominations that actively advocate vegetarianism include the Hare Krishna and Rastafarian movements.

7. British research shows that a child’s IQ predicts his likelihood of becoming a vegetarian as a young adult. You guessed it: the smarter the child, the more likely he’ll eventually shun meat.

8. While veggie eating holds many health benefits, it also has other interesting effects on the body: research shows that avoiding red meat improves the sex appeal of male body odour.

9. The list of famous vegetarians includes Sir Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osborne, Sinead O’Connor, Brad Pitt, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and Leonardo da Vinci.

10. And then, of course, it’s believed that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian during the latter part of his life. In fact, it’s said that he predicted that the world of the future would be vegetarian. Records show that Hitler amused himself by telling grim stories of slaughterhouses while entertaining meat-eating guests. When they were put off their food, he would mock them for their hypocrisy. On one such occasion, he remarked: “That shows how cowardly people are. They can’t face doing certain horrible things themselves, but they enjoy the benefits without a pang of conscience.”

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McDonald’s targeted in US health ad

Unhappy meals: American doctors’ TV ad features a corpse holding a hamburger and the line ‘I was lovin’ it’. McDonald’s, which has thrived in the recession, isn’t laughing.

McDonald’s fast food is graphically linked to health problems in this ad from a doctors’ group urging viewers: ‘Tonight, make it vegetarian’

It is an image to sap the flabbiest of appetites. An overweight, middle-aged man lies dead on a mortuary trolley, with a woman weeping over his body. The corpse’s cold hand still clutches a half-eaten McDonald’s hamburger.

A hard-hitting US television commercial bankrolled by a Washington-based medical group has infuriated McDonald’s by taking an unusually direct shot at the world’s biggest fast-food chain this week, using a scene filmed in a mortuary followed by a shot of the brand’s golden arches logo and a strapline declaring: “I was lovin’ it.”

The line is a provocative twist on McDonald’s long-standing advertising slogan, “I’m lovin’ it” and a voiceover intones: “High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian.”

The commercial, bankrolled by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), goes further than most non-profit advertising and has drawn an angry reaction from both the Chicago-based hamburger multinational and the broader restaurant industry.

The National Restaurant Association criticised it as “irresponsible” and said it was an attempt to scare the public with a “limited” view of nutrition. A McDonald’s spokesman said: “This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers. McDonald’s trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them.”

The commercial, to be aired initially in the Washington area but potentially in further US cities, comes amid an increasingly lively debate in the US about healthy eating. The first lady, Michelle Obama, has made nutrition a signature issue and is leading a campaign to encourage physical fitness and improved diets – particularly among American children, a third of whom are overweight.

The recession has hardly helped the healthy eating cause. McDonald’s has enjoyed a relatively prosperous financial crisis as diners opt for its affordable offerings in place of more expensive high-street restaurants. Its global profits for the six months to June were up 12% to $2.3bn, powered by sales rises both in the United States and Britain.

The PCRM’s director of nutrition education, Susan Levin, made no apologies for singling out the golden arches: “McDonald’s is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world. Its name and its golden arches are instantly recognisable. We feel we’re making a point about all fast food when we talk about McDonald’s.”

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Types of Vegetarian

When you’re cooking for vegetarians, it helps to know what “kind” they are.  Yes, there are many different kinds of vegetarians.  Every person makes their own individual food choices, but most vegetarians can be divided into these main categories:

  • Vegans avoid all animal products.  They don’t eat eggs, dairy products, or even honey.  Many vegans also avoid anything made from animal products, such as leather, fur, and wool.
  • Fruitarians eat only fruits, seeds, nuts, and other plant components that can be gathered without harming the plant.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products, but not eggs.  They may or may not avoid non-dietary use of animal products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products.  This is the most common group of vegetarians and what most people think of when someone says they’re “a vegetarian.”
  • Pesce-vegetarians include fish in their diet.
  • Pollo-vegetarians eat fowl, such as chicken and turkey, but avoid red meat and pork.
  • Flexitarians mainly eat vegetarian food, but will occasionally make exceptions.

Very strict vegetarians don’t really consider people who place themselves in the pesce, pollo, or flexitarian categories to be “real” vegetarians, but it’s not like there are firm labeling guidelines.  Many people begin their transition to vegetarianism by eliminating red meat and then slowly purging their diet of other animal products. And once people discover the incredible variety of vegetarian choices, they’ll never miss the meat!

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Vegan Professionals: The Top 10 Careers That Vegans SHOULD Have

Something that strikes me about most vegans I know is that we tend to be driven folks, whether that means aiming for the most coveted position at work, or striving to work in environments where our veganism will be an asset. I often think to myself that “the world would be so much better if we had more vegan (insert super-cool job here).

1. More Vegan Researchers
I can’t help but assume that if more vegans became scientists, we’d have more opposition to animal testing in the US. One of the main factors keeping vegans from entering the field of research is vivisection. I think the world would be a much better place if there were more men and women in white coats refusing to test on mice and rats.

2. More Vegan Chefs
Of course, the world would be better off with more people cooking good food, especially if their pots and pans aren’t covered in greasy animal fat. I love cooking myself, but I do wish there were more professional vegan chefs. Sure, there are folks like Tal Ronnen and that one guy’s wife from that one McDonald’s documentary. But we need more!

3. More Vegan Athletes
Nothing looks more credible and noteworthy to omnivores than a big, strong vegan. I’m personally tired of the whole “vegan bodybuilder” craze, but vegan athletes sure do make vegans look good! If anything, it shuts up dads and uncles who insist that vegetarians can’t build muscle. There’s nothing like an Olympian or two to prove people wrong.

4. More Vegan Business Owners
This one is a given. If I had my way, there would be a vegan business on every street corner. Even if the businesses aren’t inherently “vegan,” it would be nice to know of successful vegan business owners. Heck, if I knew that the guy who owns the carwash down the street is vegan, you can be sure that I’d be washing my car a couple times a week! And us girlie vegans can’t get enough of vegan accessories. Bring on the purses!

5. More Vegan Vets
I can’t express enough how much I want to be able to tell my veterinarian with total confidence and pride that I feed my cat a vegan diet. Even though I know that my liberated companion animals are healthy, vegan vets are hard to come by, and I’d rather not be advised to switch to Purina once a month. And just as the world would be a better place if we had more vegan veterinarians, it would be even better if we had more vegans being consistent and feeding their pets vegan food as well.

6. More Vegan Politicians
I know what you’re thinking: We don’t need more politicians! I agree. However, just imagine if you could vote for a vegan in a political election. I know I would feel at least a little more secure in the hope that the person I’m voting for may have values somewhat in line with my own. Just something to think about!

7. More Vegan Doctors
Imagine going to the doctor and not having to hear a rant about multivitamins, teeth falling out, calcium deficiencies and getting enough protein. We need more vegan doctors supporting our lifestyle and ethical choices and more vegan nutritionists congratulating us on our smart food choices, and making good nutritional information available to new vegans. If there were more doctors advising people to go vegan, the world would be a much better place.

8. More Vegan Teachers
I remember a teacher once posing a question to a class I was in: Do you think Michael Vick should be allowed to play football again after what he did to all those dogs? I said “Of course! What, are you going to fire the rest of them for eating meat?” She replied with, “Well…that’s different.” Here’s to wishing we had more leaders and thinkers putting more thought into what’s on their plates.

9. More Vegan Religious Leaders
This may seem like an odd choice, but think about what religious leaders do: They guide hundreds of people in the right moral direction, every day. If we had more people guiding people toward moral eating, wearing and consuming, the world would be vegan in no time. As Gary Francione says: The world is vegan, if we want it!

10. More Vegan Moms
Moms rock. And hey, so do dads. Hands down, the best job you can have is to be a parent. I know we all wish our parents would go vegan. I’m still working on mine! If there were more vegan moms, that means more vegan kids, which means more vegans in the world – and what’s better than that? Vegans need to procreate!

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