Make a Veggie Connection in NYC

One of the best way to maintain a lifestyle is to meet like-minded people. Although there are a number of ways to do this, I think you get ‘more bang for your buck’ at a veggie festival. There’s lots of people, products, and information packed into one place and the energy level is amazing.

For you lucky folks on the east coast, there’s an amazing festival coming up that shouldn’t be missed – The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival is from 10am to 5pm, March 3rd and 4th. It’s only $5 to attend and promises to be pretty spectacular. From the website:

Foodies, locavores, vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, and those who simply want to find out more about living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, this is the festival for you! Vegetarian food companies, restaurants, and health and wellness vendors will congregate in New York City to celebrate the delight of vegetarian food and cruelty-free living at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival.

This highly anticipated festival is now a two-day festival and will feature food sampling and meals from New York City’s top vegetarian restaurants and food companies, health and wellness vendors, vegetarian/animal welfare information tables, and live entertainment and activities throughout the weekend. It has never been a better time to see for yourself what the vegetarian buzz is about.

The speakers include Rebecca Gilbert, a former competitive figure skater who healed her body with a plant-based diet and Ellen Jaffe Jones who wrote Eat Vegan on $4 a day. They are going to talk about ways to transition into a vegan lifestyle and do it on the cheap. There’s even going to be a Classical Egyptian Style Belly Dance Class! Plus, a portion of the proceeds will go to For the Animals Sanctuary – pretty cool.

So all of you wannabe vegans – get out there and mingle!

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A Veggie Valentine’s Day

Whether you agree with the idea of Valentine’s Day or not, this one day each year will probably make you think about and evaluate the relationships you have in your life. For some of us, it will be a motivation to get out there and do a bit more to create loving relationships that enrich our life and inspire us to be a better person.

But being a wannabe vegan can create lots of dating and friendship hurdles.

Almost every aspect of getting to know someone is a potential landmine of vegan questions that could easily derail a budding relationship – why did you get soy milk in your coffee? would you like to go to my favorite steakhouse for dinner? why don’t you like butter on your popcorn?

Luckily, there’s one way of avoiding the whole thing all together – find and date another wannabe vegan! It seems so simple doesn’t it? Where do you find these other like-minded individuals also lookin’ for love? The internet of course! Well, to be honest, there are other places you find them but … here are 3 sites to get you started:

VeggieConnection.com – According to the site, it is the largest dating/friendship site for vegetarians and was the winner of the “Top site to find a veggie mate” by VegNews Magazine. They offer free and paid memberships.

VeggieDate.org – According to the site, there are over 16,000 members. You post a profile that can include whatever you want it to. They offer a 2 week free trial and paid memberships.

PlanetEarthSingles.com – This isn’t just for wannabe vegans; its for everyone who wants to live a ‘green lifestyle’. They offer free and paid memberships. Both offer extensive options and lots of extra fun stuff like tests, etc.

Have you tried any of these sites? Any success? Let us know below!

Vegan Advertisement in a Mainstream Magazine

I saw this advertisement in a mainstream magazine recently and thought I’d share it with you. I find it very encouraging that the term vegan is becoming more commonplace and is being used correctly and in a complimentary way.

I’m sure the slew of vegan and vegetarian weddings by celebrities and public figures had something to do with it but I take it as a good sign and look forward to seeing it more in the future.

Have you seen any vegan advertisement in the mainstream media? I would love to hear about them on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Is It Possible to a Be a Fast Food Vegan?

The last few weeks have been crazy busy and I found myself in a predicament the other day – starving and nothing healthy in the refrigerator! I desperately wanted to be lazy, get fast food and fill my empty tummy. But as I was trying to figure out where to go, I couldn’t think of a place that would have a vegan option I wouldn’t have to manipulate so dramatically that there wouldn’t be anything left!

In the end, I opted for a house salad, but I decided to do some research so that next time, it will be a lot less stressful. Because isn’t that what fast food is supposed to be all about!?

So, here are 3 options for filling vegan fast food:

Subway
These are everywhere and offer a huge variety of choices for vegans who want something fast, healthy and easy on the pocketbook. The Veggie Delight Salad or Veggie Delight (without cheese or mayonnaise) on Italian, Hearty Italian, or Sourdough bread are vegan and super filling.

Wendy’s
In 1979, they were the first fast food chain to have a salad bar, so it is no surprise that Wendy’s still has healthy options for veggie folks. A Plain Baked Potato, Deluxe Garden Salad (without cheese) or Side Salad with French or Reduced Fat Italian Dressing are all vegan. If you get a combination of salad and potato, you will definitely be full.

Chipotle
I couldn’t leave out my favorite! In addition to being a cool company, started by a man with integrity, the food absolutely rocks! Vegan options include the Vegetarian Fajita Burrito (with black beans) and the Vegetarian Burrito (with BLACK beans, no cheese or sour cream). Yummy!

Where do you go for vegan fast food? I would love to hear your comments here, Facebook or on Twitter.

Movies and Vegans: “What is Wrong With You?”

I watched Everything is Illuminated last night and absolutely loved it!

Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, it stars Elijah Wood and a cast of characters that are bizarre, yet completely familiar.

I’m not sure what that says about who I am hanging out with these days!

In addition to being a well-made, unpredictable and touching movie, it contains one of the funniest, yet thought-provoking, veggie scenes I have seen lately:

As irreverent as this movie can be, the message is quite clear; there are a lot of people on this planet who don’t have a clue what being a vegetarian or vegan means, let alone why someone would choose the lifestyle.

My blog, along with all of the other vegetarian and vegan-related blogs out there right now, will hopefully change that.

But I also call upon each of you reading this right now to increase the awareness in any way you can so that the initial response of someone isn’t “What is wrong with you?”

Instead, wouldn’t it be great if they asked, “Ya know, I’ve heard a lot of great things about eating a plant-based diet. Please tell me more!”

It would also be great to see a more positive representation of wannabe vegans in the movies too.

I have found it very interesting (meaning good and bad) how people who choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle are represented and will definitely be writing more about this topic in future posts.

By the way, Jonathon Safran Foer is also the author of Eating Animals.

What do you do to increase awareness about vegetarianism and veganism?

Have you seen any interesting scenes in movies that make reference to a plant-based diet?

I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating – Book Review

 

Vegan

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus

 

When I picked up the revised edition of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus at my local library, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hadn’t read a book about vegan issues in a while and as I flipped through the pages deciding whether to check it out or not, the content seemed interesting and broad enough to retain my interest. It did much more than that!

Erik starts the book with Part I: To Your Health. It looks at the state of our nation’s health and our quality of life. He highlights Dr. Dean Ornish’s work, including personal stories about people who have suffered from heart disease. Cancer and The China Project are also examined and links are shown that the consumption of animal products can trigger the development of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Of course, a section about health benefits without weight loss would be incomplete, so he also talks about how a vegan diet can easily reduce your body weight to its optimal level and discusses the work of Dr. Terry Shintani.

The ‘Perfect Food Isn’t’ chapter was of particular interest to me because I experience a dramatic shift in the happiness of my body when I cut out dairy products and I am dismayed by the implications of the constant barrage of messages to drink milk and eat cheese that we experience as Americans. Mr. Marcus does the topic justice by explaining what dairy does to your body and how we are being manipulated by special interests.

The final chapter in this section was the most eye opening for me. It is entitled; ‘How Now, Mad Cow.’ I had no idea what was going on in the 80’s regarding mad cow disease. Now I know that was intentional. I also didn’t fully understand that a discussion on Oprah Winfrey’s show between Howard Lyman and Dr. Gary Weber about the disease was what spawned the well known lawsuit she endured. I also know much more about how this disease proliferates and how we as a species are seriously compromising the health of ourselves and our children (throughout the world) by consuming beef products from factory farms.

Part II starts off with Rescued! a chapter about Gene and Lorri Bausten who started Farm Sanctuary. The chapter Chickens and Eggs is next with a devastatingly complete depiction of the horrific conditions of poultry which are used for egg production or slaughtered for meat. If you are a Vegetarian who eats eggs, you may want to take a look at this chapter before your next shopping trip.

Erik goes on to explore the lives of pigs, dairy cows, veal calves and beef cattle. He notes throughout these chapters how breeding practices and conditions are creating an environment of disease, misery and death, not only for the animals but for the people who consume their products. This section ends with a chapter named The Killing Business. It explores both sides of the slaughterhouse situation and completes the horrific life cycle of the animals.

If you weren’t convinced by now that consuming animal products is not in anyone or any animal’s best interest, Erik goes even further in his discussions about world hunger, public property violations by the National Cattlemen’s Association and his personal journey to his current stance on veganism. The New Four Food Groups from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Vegetarian Starter Kit is included for those who are interested in eating a more plant-based diet.

Overall, I agree with Howard Lyman when he says, “Reading Erik Marcus’s Vegan is a critical first step for anyone wanting to extend both the quality and length of their life, and the planet’s life.” So read the whole book or just those chapters that interest you. I am sure that you will be more informed and more able to make better choices when it comes to deciding what you consume. Once you do take a look, please let me know what you thought!

The revised edition of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus is 211 pages and includes a foreword by Howard Lyman the Director of Eating with Conscience Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States. There are three main sections; To Your Health, The Truth About Food Animals and Beyond the Dinner Table along with two appendices; The New Four Food Groups and Resources.

If you would like to learn more about Erik Marcus, his website and blog can be found at vegan.com. You can also find him on facebook, and twitter.