Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Top Five Reasons I Am Vegan

1. I don't want to be a hypocrite.

Do you tell people you love animals?  Were you outraged when the National Park Service euthanized that baby bison?  Are you even more outraged by what's happening in Yulin?  How can people eat cats and dogs?!  Are you kidding me?  Do you know they grind up male baby chicks alive?  Do you know that cheese you can't live without means cows being forced to give birth to baby after baby?  They cry and howl for those babies like any mother would.  Nine of out ten of those babies are killed so you can eat cheap beef, or even worse, veal.  I am not just against cruelty against dogs and cats, I'm against cruelty of all kinds.

Either you love animals or you don't.  Either you care about the treatment of other living things, or you don't.  Maybe you should start saying, "I love dogs and cats, but feel free to torture and kill all other animals because they're yummy, so who cares!"  Of course, if you say that, I will think you're an idiot.  But at least then you'd be an honest idiot and not a hypocrite.

2. I care about what I eat.

For many years, I knew what horrific things had to happen for me to eat meat, but I pushed it out of my mind.  Unfortunately, most people don't have to do that because they don't even think about where their food comes from.  I can't tell you how many people have told me, "My meat comes in a package at the store."  Um, no...your meat came from a breathing, living, being who didn't want to be crammed into filthy pens and have their throats slit.  Really people?  How do you think the agencies that are supposed to be protecting us, have allowed for the use of massive pesticides, GMO everything, and high fructose corn syrup in all our food?  Because despite all the access we have here in America, as a society, we choose to stick our heads in the ground and pretend it's not happening.

If you educate yourself on meat and dairy, and still choose to eat both, that's on you.  If you choose to stay in the dark and not know anything about what you're putting in your bodies, or what you're feeding your kids, then that's much worse.  Don't stay purposely ignorant, educate yourself.

3.  I don't want to eat food that's killing me.

Forget about the animals and the torture and death and all that.  How about you focus on obesity rates?  The United States and Australia eat the most meat in the world, and both have the highest rates of obesity.  Everyone is getting fatter and sicker, taking more meds, needing more and more end of life care.  If you talk to people who were suffering from a variety of illnesses then became vegan, many have stories of how they got healthier and stopped needing to take so many meds.  Meat, dairy and processed foods are not good for you.  Use some common sense.  There are plenty of studies linking meat to cancer, argue against them as you may. There's even a Harvard study showing that dairy is not good for you.  I'll keep saying it, educate yourself.

I can personally say, that all my friends that are the most resistant to the idea of even cutting back on meat, are my friends that are very overweight or obese.  Your diet is literally killing you.  Eating meat is yummy?  Eating meat makes you happy?  Open your eyes; eating meat is literally killing you.  I want to be healthy and live a long life.  I want to watch my child grow up and be able to run around with my grandkids one day. I'm sorry if things like that don't matter to you.

4.  I care about the environment.

Yes, I am one of those people...ya know, not an asshole.  I bring reusable bags to the grocery store.  I use rags and not five million paper towels a year.  I never use plastic cups, plates or utensils.  I use cloth napkins, not paper.  I compost and have rain barrels.  I also get that eating meat and dairy is bad for the environment.  Even the United Nations is urging a global move towards meat and dairy free diets.  You don't want to read studies, then watch a documentary.  Educate yourself.

Did you know, "If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million," according to David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  800 Million people....
So they next time you start waxing poetic about how we should take care of Americans before we worry about other people, think about how your refusal to give up meat is directly related to amount of land we have available to grow food to feed Americans, but we're wasting that space to grow grain for animals.  Hmm...heart clogging steaks and hamburgers for a few or feed 800 million people...  How does that make sense?

5.  I want to teach my child about empathy and compassion for all living beings.

Every time I see images of baby chicks being ground alive, or pigs cowering in a corner as they watch their friends throats being slit, or mother cows howling for their babies, I think of that movie, A Time to Kill, when Matthew McConaughey tells the jury to imagine the little girl that was raped was white.  I think, what if these videos were of dogs and cats, maybe then, people would care more.  Maybe then they'd stop posting idiotic comments on facebook and twitter like just saying, "bacon" or how watching those videos are "making them hungry".  Is this what we've turned into?  A mob of unfeeling, unsympathetic assholes?  Really?  That's not what I want my daughter to grow up to be.  I want her to be the best version of herself.  And that doesn't mean pretending horrible things aren't happening, just because I don't want to change for the better.

I was going to post pictures of the horrific ways in which meat makes it's way to your table.  The reality is, if you don't care, then you don't care.   Go Google it yourself.  Or check out this guy's thread.  Choose to eat meat or don't, but please don't choose to remain uneducated about what you're doing.  Educate yourself on what you're putting into your bodies and what you're feeding your families.  These animals matter.  The environment matters.  Not buying into bs that is keeping America fat and unhealthy and reliant on more and more drugs to stay alive matters.  Want more.  Want better.  For everyone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Vegan Meatballs in Warm Yogurt Sauce with a Spiced Butter Sauce

I did a review on I've Been Domesticated of Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Janet Fletcher.  No, it's not a vegan cookbook, but I want you all to realize how easy it is to veganize recipes.  I've made quite a few things in here, and have liked them all.

This recipe is a very loose adaptation of her "Lamb Meatballs in Warm Yogurt Sauce with Sizzling Red-Pepper Butter." I served it with Sri Lankan Red Rice.

I skipped her lamb meatballs, because I think baby lambs belong with their moms, not on my plate.  I used a bag of Gardein Meatless Meatballs instead. (They sell big packs of them at my local BJ's Wholesale.)

In a bowl, I whisked 2 cups of a So Delicious coconut yogurt with 2 cloves of grated garlic and a small handful of chopped mint (I left out the dill and egg.)  Then, after heating a cup of Better Than Bouillion; Vegetable Base, I whisked a 1/2 cup of it into the yogurt mixture, then poured it all back into the skillet.

Add the meatballs, along with salt and pepper and heat on medium-low heat until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are heated through (they need to be cooked for 15 minutes).

For the butter sauce, I melted a tablespoon of Earth Balance butter with a minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (these are guesstimates, I kinda just threw stuff in to taste)

Plate the rice.  Plate the meatballs and sauce.  Pour the butter sauce over the meatballs.  And voila!  It looks fancy, but it was a quick weeknight meal.

What do vegans eat?  The same things everyone else eats, just without all the death and misery.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A List of 2016 Vegan Festivals

I know there are several lists out there already, but of the ones I've found, a lot of the links don't work.  Or they're links to old last year old.

All of these vegan festivals are FREE far as I know, unless otherwise listed.  Most events that are selling tickets are offering discounted tickets if bought in advance.  

I'll try to keep updating this as the year moves along.  A lot of VegFests have already come and gone in the months prior to May 2016.  I won't post too many of those because, what's the point?

If I missed something, feel free to shoot me a comment and let me know!

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  • Alaska VegFest  - Sept. 10, 2016, 10am - 4:30pm, Anchorage, $60 at the door (Sorry.  You missed it.)
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  • VegFest Colorado - July 23-24, 2016, Jefferson Cty Fairgrounds, Golden, $10 at the door (Sorry.  You missed it.)
District of Colombia
  • DC VegFest - Sept. 24, 2016 (Sorry, you missed it.)

  • VegFest Oahu - Sept. 24, 2016, 1pm-6:30pm, Hawaii's 1st Ever VegFest!  How exciting! (Sorry, you missed it.)
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  • Twin Cities VegFest - Oct. 29-30, 2016, 11am-4pm, Coffman Memorial Union (Sorry, you missed it.)
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New Hampshire
  • NH VegFest - May 7, 2016, 9am - 3pm, Manchester (Sorry. You missed it.)
New Jersey
  • VegStock Sept. 10, 2016, 11am to 4pm, High Street, Millville, NJ, FREE TO THE PUBLIC Here's their Facebook Page.  (Sorry. You missed it.)
  • NJ VegFest - Oct. 2, 2016, 11am to 5pm, Hyatt Morristown.  Tickets were originally $50, then $39 as per their blogpost.  Now it's $39 to see all the speakers, and $25 if you want to see everyone except Dr. Fuhrman. (Sorry, you missed it.)
  • Vegetarian Society of South Jersey 30th Anniversary Celebration - Nov. 19, 2016, 10am-5pm, Medford, NJ.  Registration starts at 10am, programs begin at 10:30am. Seating is limited.  Please note:  this event is adults only. $35 for VSSJ members and Medford Leas residents, $45 for non-members.  Register by November 1. Late registration (11/2 - 11/12, space permitting): $45 for VSSJ members and Medford Leas residents, $55 for non-members. For more, 609-848-VEG1 (8341).
New Mexico
New York
 North Carolina
North Dakota
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  • Pittsburgh Vegan Festival - Nov 5, 2016, 12pm-7pm, $5 at the door.
  • Bethlehem VegFest - Aug. 20, 2016, South Side Bethlehem, 11am-6pm. (Sorry.  You missed it.  I'll blog about it soon.)
  • Erie VegFest - Sept. 24, 2016, 10am-6pm, Zem Zem Shrine Banquet and Conf. Center (Sorry, you missed it.)
  • Philly SEED Fest - Aug 14, 2016, Sugarhouse Casino Event Center, food and beer festival, Tickets are $35-65.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Humane League of Philadelphia.  This is not a typical VegFest, more like a few hours of restaurant food samples and booze, plus vendors. One ticket option is for food minus the booze, for you non-drinkers or designated drivers. (Sorry.  You missed it.  I'll post about it soon.)
Rhode Island
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South Carolina
  • Lowcountry VegFest - Oct. 22, 2016, 10am-6pm, Hilton Head Island (Sorry, you missed it.)
South Dakota
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  • SLC VegFest - Sept. 10, 2016, Library Square, Salt Lake City (Sorry, you missed it.)
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West Virginia
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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Baltimore VegFest 2016

Did you go to the Baltimore VegFest 2016?  We did! 

We tried walking around, but someone told us it wasn't open to the public,
and we had to wait in line.  It looked like a flea market set up, so I was confused what the point of the line was.  There was still a half hour before it was going to open, and after a three hour drive, we decided to walk around campus instead.  I will say UMBC is really a beautiful campus.

We went back and man that line got longer and longer.  As it turns out, if we waited in line, we would have gotten the free Baltimore VegFest tote.  I really wish that woman had mentioned that, because we would have waited.  Not that I need another tote, but it was the point....anywho....

We did a ton of walking.  The smoked gouda and pepper jack cheese from Follow Your Heart was a favorite of my daughters.  They also gave out coupons and samples of their VegenEgg.

Ben & Jerry's but we were more interested in trying stuff we couldn't get locally.

So we popped over to Hex Ferments for a kombucha sample.  Thanks to that sample, I got approval from the Tyrant to start making kombucha at home.

The people at Compassion for Killing were really nice.  They said the DC VegFest is almost four times the size of this, so we might have to check it out.  It's in September amidst school time, so swinging a ride out to that VegFest might be hard.

Animal Rescue Inc. brought this sweet chicken named Tulip.  It really struck a nerve with the Tyrant.  I wish more people could make the connection, it's not just puppies and kittens that matter, all of these animals matter.  They feel and hurt and want to loved.

These ladies were really nice.  We love our little feral cat, and the Tyrant was super happy to pick up a free "I Love Feral Cat" button at the Alley Cat Allies table.

We did a heck of a lot of walking.  I was super excited for the pizza, but $10 for a smaller than personal size pizza didn't really appeal to us.  The Tyrant suggested falafel, but I was on then fence.   When we walked over, I noticed the people from the Bmore Alive Falafel weren't serving up traditional falafel, they were over a foot long and crammed full of everything.  .

We waited.  And waited.  Everything was made fresh.  They hand sliced the apples, chopped the beets, kale and cabbage, and hand grated the carrots.  They even made their falafel by hand.  They had a small fryer, which was gumming up the works.  

I never thought to put all those vegetables in a falafel wrap.  I also liked the lavash better than the usual pita bread.  The tahini could have been a bit thicker, but it was still delicious!
Well worth the wait and now I'm inspired to start making falafel at home again.

The Tyrant wants a pig.  I don't think Mr. Chubby Chubby would appreciate a pig.
He only tolerates the cat because he has to.  Sorry, no pig pictures.  We were too busy petting the sweet pigs.  They were selling these great tied died shirts (I'll post a picture another time), that I don't see on their website.  They should really add them to their online store.

The guys from Action for Animals had some great stuff.

But a lot of potty mouth stuff, so nothing we could buy.

This lady from Relay Foods was lovely....unfortunately, they don't deliver to Jersey, yet.

After trying a sample from A Better Batch, we had to buy some. Delish!

I am still surprised and happy that were so many people that attended the event.  We bought a slew of t-shirts and collected a bunch of stickers, buttons and samples.

We had a really great time.  Other than that tote issue which still annoys me because I'm crazy, I had one real issue.  When you went up to the vendors at the non-profit tables, they were quick to point out pamphlets and free buttons, which is nice.  The problem is almost no one told you about their organization.  I knew about a lot of them already, but it would have been nice if they said, "Hey, we are (insert name) and we work to save animals by (insert information)."  I feel like a lot of them missed a great opportunity to really spread the message of their organization.  The commercial vendors had so much to say about who they are and what they do;perhaps, the non-profits could learn a thing or two from them.

The next few VegFests that are close-ish to us are the Asheville VegFest on May 15 and the Charlotte VegFest on May 21.  There is a New Jersey VegFest in October, but they're charging $50 tickets at the door!  Of course, the only one in my state is charging for tickets and everyone else's are free, yeesh.  We're going to pass on that one.  None the less, we are excited to go out and meet fellow vegans and to find plenty of vegan food.  Maybe next time we'll remember to sit and listen to a lecture or two!