Tag Archives: veganism

Vegan Thanksgiving Options

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up Thanksgiving. In fact, a big portion of the dinner is probably vegan–or could easily be made vegan. As for the turkey? Swap out the carcass with a delicious vegan loaf!

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of sharing precious time with family and friends. There’s no better way to show people how easy and delicious being vegan is. And if you can share your vegan food with others, they’ll know so much more about how to be vegan.

Here are some options for the holiday:

Host a dinner

Having dinner at your place guarantees you can make it an all-vegan meal and show others the joy of eating cruelty-free.

Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, soup, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are all dishes that are vegan or easily can be. Substitute butter and milk with dairy-free options and you’re set. You can find lots of vegan recipes online–even for things like gravy.

feast

Field Roast* and Tofurkey** make delicious prepackaged loaves that easily take the place of a turkey on the table. Doing an online search for “vegan turkey loaf” will return great recipes for a DIY version.

* Field Roast is made from seitan, a wheat gluten.
** Tofurkey is made from soy beans

Attend a dinner

There are two types of dinners I’ve attended. My favorite are ones hosted by vegans. I get to try all the food, and I get to spend time with like-minded people.

Attending a dinner with people who aren’t vegan is a great opportunity to bring a dish and show people that you can still enjoy holidays and that vegan food is awesome! If being around a slaughtered turkey is too disturbing, plan to arrive for dessert–with your favorite vegan sweets!

Go to a vegan restaurant

Sometimes vegan restaurants will offer a Thanksgiving meal. You’ll likely have to make reservations in advance, but it will be worth it. It’s also a great chance to take friends who still eat meat and show them vegan options.

vegan feast

No matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday, enjoy the vegan food!

 

Screening of the movie Live and Let Live

Live and Let LiveNo, not the James Bond flick (that’s Live and Let Die). This is better!

Next Wednesday, Live and Let Live comes to Seattle and NARN and the University of Washington’s Critical Animal Studies Group is very excited to host.

This feature documentary examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan. From butcher to vegan chef, from factory farmer to farm sanctuary owner, Live and Let Live tells the stories of six individuals who decided to stop consuming animal products for different reasons and shows the impact the decision had on their lives.

After the movie, the Director will be on hand for a Q & A session.

This movie screening is FREE and open to the public so bring your friends & family!

Check out the trailer!
Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Place: UW Allen Auditorium (in the Allen Library) near 15th Ave NE & NE 40th St.

For more info, or to RSVP, check out the Facebook event page.

Meatout 2014

March 20th is Meatout Day. Will you pledge to go meat-free for the day?

MOwomen

Of course it’s best (for the animals, your health, and the environment) to be meat-free every day, but we all started somewhere.

If you can go meat-free for a day, you can try it once a week. Soon, you’ll have so many recipe ideas and confidence that you can ditch meat, eggs and dairy for good.

World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day!

World Vegan Day was started in 1994 to celebrate The Vegan Society’s 50th anniversary. The Vegan Society formed in the UK in 1944. That was the year that the term “vegan” was coined and defined.

Vegans come in all shapes and sizes and walks of life. It’s hard to generalize who a vegan is. Here is a bit of information about what vegans strive for:

Vegans abstain from animal products. Food wise, that means meat (including fish), eggs, and dairy. Veganism extends to other areas as well. Vegans don’t wear animal products (fur, leather, wool, silk, feathers, or any other item from an animal), or use household products containing animal ingredient or products tested on animals. Vegans don’t support captive animals acts like those in the circus or SeaWorld.

Vegans view animals as the sentient beings that they are, and not commodities to be exploited and used by humans. You can read our Vegan FAQs for answers to many questions about being vegan.

vegan starterNovember is World Vegan Month. A perfect time to go vegan. One way to start your journey is by ordering a vegan starter pack. Several organizations have packs to help you get started. The packs include things like recipes, nutritional info, and compelling reasons to go vegan.

 

 

vegan mentor programIf you’re already vegan, and need a bit of support, you can join the vegan mentor program, which matches new vegans with established vegans so you can make a smooth and lasting transition to veganism. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your quest for a cruelty-free life.

 

So whether you’re just thinking about veganism or you’re well on your way, World Vegan Day is a great time to make a commitment to the animals, the earth, and your health.

Letters to a New Vegan

NARN got wind of a neat new project that you might be interested in:

Letters to a New Vegan
Call for Submissions
Deadline: November 15, 2013
Send submissions to veganletters@gmail.com

At the turn of the nineteenth century, a 19-year-old military student wrote a letter to a famous author seeking advice on how to live. “Nobody can advise you, nobody,” Rainer Maria Rilke replied. “There is only one way. Go into yourself.” Having said that, however, Rilke would go on to offer ample advice to the young man, writing him no fewer than ten letters in which he shared his thoughts on thriving in a complex, insensitive world. These letters would become the small but widely-treasured volume Letters to a Young Poet (1929).

Rilke’s bipartite response to his young poet exemplifies the human paradox: We need to go deeply into ourselves and we need each other. Those of us living on the edge of a ground-breaking social movement especially need each other. We need each other’s encouragement and insights; we need to hear how others have made their way—detours, stumbles, and all. Combining the stories of others with our own experience and inner wisdom, we cultivate the sustenance for lives that matter to ourselves and to the wider world.

With that, you are invited to submit your own story to an edited collection called Letters to a New Vegan. The intention of this volume is just as its allusory title suggests: We are looking to create a community of words that can encircle new vegans everywhere, from all walks of life, as they embark on their own journeys. Letters should be no longer than 1000 words (short letters are as welcome as long ones), begin with the salutation “Dear New Vegan,” and end with your name (first or full, your choice) and place of  residence. Between the salutation and closing we ask that you write in your own voice, with authenticity, honesty, and compassion.

A possible place to begin as you contemplate your letter: What would you have wanted to hear when you were a new vegan? What would have helped?

Submission guidelines:

Please email your letter (Word documents preferred) along with a short author bio to veganletters@gmail.com by November 15, 2013. Questions can be directed to this address as well.

A final, important note: We’re eager for letters from people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives. The vegan story is nothing if not multi-vocal.

So you want to be a vegan

You love animals, you care about your health and the environment, and there’s just one nagging thing on your mind. Going vegan. If you’re considering it, congratulations!Veganism is on the rise and people are interested in it for many reasons. Here’s a list that might make your vegan transition smoother.

Find your groove.

hearty salad

For some, Meatless Mondays is a good start. Others might have fun making one vegan meal a day. But if you wake up tomorrow and want to be a full-fledged vegan, go for it! You don’t have to do it in phases. Push yourself but don’t set yourself up for failure.

It’s a journey.

You’re going to slip up. Maybe by accident (“whey is an animal product?”) or on purpose (“I couldn’t resist the pizza.”) That’s not a reason to quit. After a lifetime of developing food habits, you’ll find some are hard to break. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Being vegan isn’t about being perfect.

Eat out.

A good vegan restaurant (or restaurant with vegan options) is really helpful. If you’re at a regular restaurant, look for ways to veganize a dish. Hold the cheese. Substitute a Portobello for a hamburger. Ask the wait staff. They’re usually more than happy to help customers with dietary needs.

Learn to cook.

There’s nothing like taking your health into your own hands. Cooking at home means you know exactly what goes into your meal. Find some recipes online or get a few cookbooks and experiment.

Find replacements.

If you crave meat or dairy, look for vegan versions like veggie burgers, soy or almond milk, and dairy-free “cheeses” so you can still eat your favorite foods. Mock meats (or analogs) are a lifesaver when you’re not sure what to eat and you haven’t found a new way of eating yet.

Don’t live on processed foods.

That said, it’s easy to become a junk-food vegan. Mock versions of your old favorites can be healthy, but they aren’t always. The best vegan food plan includes lots of natural, whole foods. When it comes to health talk, you might hear “whole-food, plant-based” instead of “vegan,” because chips and soda are usually vegan, but they’re not often healthy.

Introduce color.

A colorful plate of whole, plant-based foods is bound to be rich in lots of vitamins. Even my salads are hearty, and include lots of things like quinoa, garbanzo beans and seitan.

mango saladSpeaking of seitan.

Try new foods. You won’t like them all, but you’ll find new favorites and you’ll likely end up eating a more varied diet than the typical meat-and-potatoes American. If you explore a variety of foods from around the world, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the new tastes and number of vegan options.

Expect change.

Meat is calorie dense. It takes a lot more plant-based food to match the calories of animal-based foods. You might find yourself snacking more (healthy snacking is fine). Maybe you pile your plate higher. If you’re eating whole foods, go for it! If you swap a 3-oz. steak for 3 ounces of hummus you’ll probably still be hungry! If you aren’t full, eat more. If you’re eating processed foods though, be careful. Oils and refined foods are fattening and offer very little nutritional value.

Don’t worry about protein.

Yes, it’s absolutely important, but if you eat enough food (meaning you’re not starving yourself), you’ll get enough protein. And a big surprise to many people is that plants have protein! Tomatoes, potatoes, bananas–they wouldn’t grow without it. Beans, nuts and such have more than fruit, but there’s protein in all of it. A plant-based diet provides about 8-10% of calories from protein, which happens to be the amount the RDA (recommended daily allowance) recommends.

Supplements.

Vitamins are a multibillion dollar industry but nothing comes close to whole foods–it’s what we really need. We get vitamin D from the sun, but if you don’t get a lot of sun, that’s one supplement you could take. Dairy is fortified with it, and fortunately, almond, soy, and other milks have it added too. There’s B12 in organic soil (that’s where the cows get it from) but since so much produce is grown with pesticides and other chemicals, soil isn’t what it used to be. A B12 supplement is probably wise. For the record, a lot of omnivores are low in B12 too–it’s not just a vegan thing.

Remember why you’re doing this.

For many, going vegan is all about the animals. Other have health or the environment on their minds. What’s your motivation? Remembering why you’re going vegan will help you stick with it. You can eat whatever you want; you choose not too. It’s not limiting if you think of it as a choice.

Resources:

  • Forks Over Knives – This documentary drives home the value and sound nutrition behind a whole food, plant-based diet.
  • Engine 2 Diet – This website links to books, recipes, and lots of resources for your plant-based journey.
  • The China Study – A comprehensive look at the 27-year study that Dr. Campbell undertook that led to finding on the superiority of whole food, plant-based diets.
  • Whole: rethinking the Science of Nutrition – This is Dr. Campbell’s latest book and explores a new way to look at how–and what–we eat.
  • PCRM – The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine portal has tons of health and nutrition information.
  • Vegan Outreach – This site links to videos, a free vegan starter kit, and lots of resources about why to be vegan (from factory farm cruelty to environmental nightmares).

In-vitro meat makes a debut

Here’s some food for thought: If the main reason for choosing a vegan lifestyle is to reduce suffering, what do you think about in-vitro meat?test tubes

The New York Times recently reported about a hamburger grown in a laboratory from muscle tissue. This in-vitro, or cultured, meat doesn’t require the water, grain, land, transportation, and slaughter of an animal.

The sample being worked on at the moment isn’t vegan–it’s origins are animal in nature (cow stem cells). But future versions could be grown from non-animal sources.

This still sounds like science fiction, and I’ll stick by the loads of scientific findings that meat of any kind isn’t healthy. But if people don’t stop eating meat, perhaps they could gravitate toward in-vitro meat and bypass factory farms.