Thursday, July 19, 2012

Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World

I have found that the longer I am vegan, the less joy I get from television. Odd? Not at all. Think about it: every commercial break you are inundated with ads for things that not only disgust you now (fast food, meat and dairy commercials, etc.), but you are also seeing ads for products that you know only exist because of the Standard American Diet. It used to annoy me, now it works my last nerve as I am subjected to empty drones raving the merits of acne and heartburn miracles, or youth in a bottle, or the "cures" to dozens of other SAD inflicted ailments.
Patient heal thyself! We cannot ingest pain and suffering and misery and the adrenaline surge of death of other creatures and expect that our bodies don't reject them! It amazes me how people think I am the weird one because I'd rather spend $40 for three or four bags of veggies, fruit, and grains instead of spending hundreds of thousands in a few short years on surgeries that are nothing more than band aids.
People rather not know how their food got to them. They feel that ignorance is bliss and vegans threaten that ignorance. Now whenever I think of the adage it plays slightly differently for me, ignorance isn't bliss, ignorance is ignorance. And that is what pharmaceutical companies, food chains, and all those whose pockets get bigger want to maintain: a "blissful" population.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Veganpalooza 2012

Veganpalooza is a teleconference happening right now. It is free to listen to and there have been some really interesting people that have spoken so far. I am not sure if it is too late to sign up, but the information that is being shared is really valuable. So is worth trying to get in on the action. The teleconference is hosted by Dr. Will Tuttle and Steve Prussack.

It is a veritable who's who of leaders in the field of vegan/vegetarian nutrition, those devoted to spreading compassion, and others whose message is simply that this approach/this lifestyle is what will save our planet. So far I've listened in on Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physician's Committee on Responsible Medicine, Dr. John McDougall, author of The Starch Solution,  and Dr. Thomas Lodi speaking on how a vegan diet can (and does) heal cancer. Marisa Miller Wolfson, Rip Esselstyn,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Green Product: EcoBrew

I have always wanted one of those coffee machines that make the single servings of coffee. There was one in the lounge area of the last apartment I lived in in Chelsea. As many times as they've gone on sale, I just couldn't buy one. Why? They seem so not green in the waste they create with the individual packaging...
But the gods of green have rewarded my patience! On my last grocery trip, as I was wandering down the coffee and tea aisle, what do I see but this beautiful invention: Ecobrew

How. Awesome. Is. This?!?!
It seems simple, but I am in love and ready to buy a Keurig right now!! Green is great. I get to have my coffee and drink it too.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Alone: Ethical Vegan vs Health Vegan

So I went out with friends to celebrate birthdays and new jobs recently. Although half of them were not vegan, they allowed me and the other vegan in our group to pick a veg place.
I have raved and loved The V Spot (in Park Slope, Brooklyn) for so long that they had to see what all the fuss was about. The food at this Spanish-influenced slice of paradise did not disappoint.
The raw nori rolls let me have a sushi indulgence guilt free. The whole wheat lasagna filling and delicious to the point I had to restrain myself from gluttony!VSpot feast
And the Philly cheesesteak empanadas were yum. I always go for the Colombian ones, but this was almost as painfully good. VSpot feast
So afterwards, the group headed over to another restaurant for after dinner drinks and met up with the relative of the other vegan in the group. Because it was yet another birthday celebration, there was cheesecake.
My veg friend put a slice down in front of everyone- including me! I asked her what she was doing (serving me the cake, as she knew that wasn't something either of us would eat). I drew the conclusion that because she was eating it (it was a Junior's cheesecake- hello, we were in Brooklyn) she assumed I would too. The look of disappointment on my face was enough to make her feel the need to explain away guiltily that she isn't as strong as I am. Whatever.
While my intention was not to make her feel bad, we've discussed our previous lapses with baked goods-and I personally vowed to do better. I told her that it wasn't an attempt to make her feel bad, it was just that I felt alone. She's my vegan partner in crime, or was...
There is a difference between an ethical vegan and one who does it for health reasons. The commitment level seems different. I could be wrong. For me, dairy and egg industries cause so much more suffering to animals than the beef, poultry, and other meat industries.
For the most part I am the only vegan-hell, vegetarian, I know. My friend is doing a massive job in choosing to be vegan and I am happy for her. Maybe I should leave it at that and focus on me and my efforts.

Eco-friendly Apps

I have been doing a bit of research and found that there are a slew of apps for the "green-minded." There is something for everyone, the craftnista, the macho-man, the gamer, the child—and the list keeps going! Below I've listed some that I've come across. I don't have the memory on my poor phone to download them all, but a quick review is listed. Plus, you've nothing to lose, cause they are all FREE! Don't like one? Delete it!

Powered by Local Dirt (, this app helps you by local produce in the US, and the Canadian provinces of BC and Ontario.

Whirleo (game)
A fun game about tops in the land of Rotopolis trying to clean it up.

Organic Spa Magazine
(Green products, environmentally sound, but not animal free). It would seem likely if those behind the app are concerned about the environment, that animal welfare isn’t far behind, but I saw no evidence of this as one of the criteria for making informed choices. Either way, worth investigating for yourself if that floats your boat.

Do It Gorgeously
Free app that packs a lot of information, recipes and videos about making non-toxic products for you, your family, and even the family dog. Not all animal free, but really great collection in a free app. So much info, I still can't get over it.

One Stop Green Mobile
Receive daily tips, conduct your own energy audit, get your home’s green score, and find ways to be more energy efficient and save moolah at the same time.

My Green Directory
This app, powered by, provides you with all the eco companies, news, and events in your area that you’ll ever need.

A basic app that gives you a couple hundred facts about how humans affect the environment and how you can make better choices now to improve those stats.

The Glad company provides updated lists of locations where you can recycle household items, links to Facebook so you can share with others, and is motivated to help you waste less. Had gotten top ratings so far.
A social networking community committed to making being green “chic.”

In Bloom
Customize this app based on your dietary and eco preferences.  Your are given the businesses closest to you that are Organic, Locavore, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Paleo friendly, Raw, and environmentally friendly.

If you want to be good and recycle those batteries rather than (gasp!) throwing them in the garbage, where do you take them? iRecycle will tell you where many items can be brought in your area.

Good Guide
While shopping, scan the barcode of the item with your camera and instantly be provided information regarding well over 100,000 products. Based on your criteria of safe ingredients to animal rights to environmental concerns, the app rates the “worthiness” of the product, thereby empowering you to put your money where your mouth is.

Earth Friendly Products
This app informs you about the most eco-friendly products on the market today and educates you how to read labels and provides a glossary of terms to know.

Environmental History
This app scours the information highway to gather information on anything having to do with the environment. It is based on information coming from the Environmental History journal.

Trash Blast Free
Game that challenges you to be quick on your feet (or fingers, in this case) while trying to sort items for recycling.

Recycle Hero Free
With two modes, you are challenged to sort the trash that comes into your recycling center.

Gazelle - Gadget Trader
This app allows you to see the worth of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and if you want to sell, they send you a prepaid shipping label to mail it in. You are paid via PayPal, check or gift card. The company comes with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Gimme 5 - #5 Plastic Recycling
Provides you with recycling locations for the odd items like yogurt cups and Brita filters. Includes reward system.

Track how much money you can potentially earn by recycling your cans. Provides the nearest centers to you. Allows you to track as a team or solo, can set monetary goals, fun facts and videos included.

Make Change, Not Waste
Whole Foods Markets shoppers are rewarded by doing green acts in exchange for coupons you can unlock for some of the top green brands carried at the stores.

Eco Guide
Tons of information provided for those interested in living a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

Thred Up
A sort of consignment shop for your children’s clothing. List items and create “bags” of clothing, set prices, sell. There is an iPad version (iPhone version is currently in Beta testing), and an online site where you can see the value of items and have pick up via the mail for items to send to Thred Up.

Quite a list, eh? As there are lots more, feel free to send in a review about others I may have missed. I wanted a list of FREE apps, that were eco friendly, (and animal friendly apps would be awesome too).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vegan Wine and Organic Food

The original title of this entry was "Vegan Wine and Organic Food: Unicorns of Southern Italy" because these concepts are truly foreign to these people. Early in the trip, Gretchen mentioned how the vegans see met on the first vegan tour and their lifestyle opened her eyes to new ideas. For example, she never knew

Monday, June 25, 2012

Catskills Animal Sanctuary Shindig

I had the great joy of finally going to an animal sanctuary a few weekends past. It was the Catskills Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York. It started off as a rainy, dreary day. After an hour or so,