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!


           
Locavore
Powered by Local Dirt (www.LocalDirt.com), 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 MyGreenDirectory.info, provides you with all the eco companies, news, and events in your area that you’ll ever need.

greenFacts
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.

TrashSmart
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.

Ecohookups.com
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.

iRecycle
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.

Aluminate
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,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Perils of Dealing with Vegans and Non-Vegans



I am always at a loss for words when it comes to speaking to people about the veg lifestyle and not have them look at me with either severe confusion and/or pity. While it is probably one of the hardest decisions to make, it is the most rewarding and self-affirming decisions ever. Period.

Recently I saw a friend post on FB a picture of a frozen vegan meal that was mofongo. (This is a dish that  is meat, seafood, chicken, and/or pork laden.) Being Puerto Rican she felt that no one should 'mess' with a traditional dish by 'veganizing' it. She said that if you wanted to eat vegetables, then eat vegetables, but don't touch her food. I really had no idea how to respond to that. She probably doesn't remember I am vegan so it wasn't like she was daring someone to respond. But, I did feel like I had to say something, even though the words failed me.

After giving it some thought I realized that it wasn't that "we" were interfering with her food so much, but rather we were trying to get back a little of what we'd traded for the ethical life chosen. You miss home cooked meals that bring back nostalgia. You're not trying to have a tradition ripped away from someone else. I never did add to the comment. (Let's face it, on FB if you don't respond within minutes it's at the bottom of your timeline before you know it.)

Another experience I had was a highly charged "discussion" with a vegan on LinkedIn. I added a comment to a discussion thread agreeing about having empathy for those who don't see eye to eye with you as a vegan or vegetarian. Out of nowhere a man begins to verbally attack me with a rage like I'd just eaten a plate of osso bucco in front of him! He hurled several arguments my way, almost identical in form to the logic used by non-vegans who come up with arguments like 'If we stop eating meat, the earth will be overrun with cows.' It was just so preposterous and he became more and more detached and venomous that I left the discussion. He ironically was the type of person I COULD NOT STAND as a non-vegan who felt they were the Messiah on Earth and their rage and disgust at your omnivore flaws would instantly cause you to see the error of your ways and go veg.

Two very different people. Strangely enough the non-vegan would have been the more worthy human to engage in a mature beneficial conversation. For me it is not about sitting on a throne a vegan righteousness condemning people who will just stick to the guns harder, even if you are starting to make sense to them. It is about having intelligent discussions that change peoples ways of thinking that what they've always done or always eaten doesn't make it right.

Am I wrong?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Finally In Roma!


The month of May found me in Rome, Italy. This trip was six years in the making because my then boyfriend and I had heard enough great things that made us want to go. It was fortuitous that my hubby came across Tierno Tours on LinkedIn. Not only do they do personalized small tours of southern Italy, but they added a vegan one as well. We were on the second outing. More on that later...



The tour was of southern Italy, but there was no way we were flying all the way to Italy and not see Rome. For that reason we started and ended the trip there. Based on the recommendation of a friend, we chose to stay our first nights in Rome at the Hotel Art by the Spanish Steps. The hotel is trendy and well laid out with a funky open area garden within the hotel with access to it by some steps near the back. Everyone was genuinely warm and helpful.

It is a kitschy hotel in that each floor has illuminated hallways that only come on once you open your room to leave or step off the elevator. The rooms are small, but containing great decor and the essentials. Besides, you are not in Rome to hang in hotels, they are a place to recharge so you can get out and see more of the city later.

There was so much done in such a short period of time...I can't believe I am back. I miss Italia!
To Be Continued...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Vegan Survival Guide in Rome


I have just come back from the trip of a lifetime. There are countless entries to follow on how great this adventure was. It will take me some time to accept joy in writing these posts and not severe depression at the fact that I am no longer breathing and living the blessed lifestyle that is led by those in southern Italy.

HRH (His Royal Highness) and I went on a Vegan Tour of Southern Italy via Tierno Tours—more on these wonderful people and their tour business later!

Because Italy has been a dream of ours for about six years or so, we couldn't go all the way there and not do Rome, so we bookended the Eternal City on either side of our tour. I admit I was very nervous about staying in Rome. The whole reason HRH selected this tour was so that I wouldn't have to worry about my meals (The tour is 100% vegan and even teaches you to make a few traditional dishes too). But while in Rome I was on my own. I compiled these tips and hopefully they come in handy for anyone blessed enough to be going to heaven on Earth anytime soon.

1) Do some research! Find out the traditional veggie friendly dishes of the area you are going to. Ask friends and family who have traveled there. Toss the question out on FB (just, for security sake, don't broadcast when you will be leaving thereby telling thieves the dates your home will be unattended! It has happened.)

2)  Get a translator app for your smart phone. They usually cost at most a few dollars and trust me, you will need it at one point or another if you don't speak the language and are straying away from the big cities. Don't be cheap.

3)   Toss a few snacks into your suitcase. Sure you will find their versions of (veggie) snacks eventually, but in a pinch on that first day or night in the hotel when you're feeing for a snack you'll be loving on that Lara Bar!

4)  Pack a water bottle if you can. You will never be thirsty in Italy, especially Rome. There is a water fountain at almost every turn with an ever constant flow of natural spring water that could put Poland Spring to shame. You don't want to dehydrate on your adventure do you?

5)  Learn key words/phrases in a pinch. This will help when you are stocking up on snacks once the Lara Bars are gone and you must ask for something at the market or cafe. You will feel a sense of accomplishment being able to read ingredient labels in another language so that you know which items don't contain eggs, dairy or animal by-products. It is easier to do than you think. (Hello, I did it!)

6)  It's how you say it. They say to avoid restaurants that have English on the menu. I didn't live that dangerously. (I've read that if the menu comes in 4 or 5 different languages, YOU.WILL.PAY.MORE. Basically should back away slowly from that establishment with your meager dollar to euro funds in tact.) I say all this to say this: learn to ask "What can you give me..." rather than coming out with the well-meaning but arrogant and off-putting "I don't eat..." and our long list of vegan no-nos. Italians take serious pride in the food they make and present to you. Some establishments are small and have no menus because what they make that day, is what they have in the kitchens fresh! Be a good traveller and keep that in mind when you make a request for dietary adjustments.

7)  And how ironic is my last tip—When in Rome, do as the Romans! I was on a short cruise and was given the tastiest of multi-course meals. Halfway through my second (or third?) course I saw cooked egg yolk hiding the in nooks and crannies of other food on my plate. Needless to say, I finished my meal because the woman who had tried to adhere to my dietary needs had slipped up in making the dish, but overall the entire meal was tasty. If it were something like milk in my gelato, then I would have spoken up, as I would have been worshipping the porcelain throne within a matter of hours. This error wouldn't kill me and respect and appreciation for my hostess' efforts were more important.

There you have it. Hope my adventure makes your adventures a little more worry free.

Salute! Chin-chin! (Cheers)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Movie Mash Poster 2


Playing around once again and really getting the hang of Photoshop! It's not totally fancied up yet, but I think they will improve as I go....

Which movie mashup is this?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Change Has Come...

So they always tell you to think of a name that you want to be stuck with. Well I tried and it didn't work. Initially, the name was for a defunct store I had.  I never liked the name. Sounded like a "cheezey" chick flick or overly floral perfume.

So my hero for the longest has been Friedrich Nietzsche. Even named the dog after him. He was a brilliant philosopher who literally had so much in his head that he felt he would go crazy if  he didn't get it all out. Well, he did sorta lose it, possibly from being too smart for his own good. It's almost like he looked at the Art of the Covenant, but survived with a much darker psyche.

Anywhoo, loved the name, but let's face it—it's not the easiest to spell, so I fudged it a bit. So now when I ramble on about things, this blog will go wherever and not be bound to rules. So it is spoken (or typed), so it is done.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Some Veg News


Last week I did a bit of a wrap up on some animal news. Now I am spreading a little love in regards to food and the "plight" of the vegans and vegetarians...
It seems that there are more and more people trying the veg thing. That is really great. I for one feel all a tingle when I read that an A-lister has gone vegan. But ever since Ginnifer Goodwin's flipflop and Natalie Portman's slide, I don't put too much faith in celebrities until they have some longevity and not doing it because it's cool. (As much as I love my VegNews magazines, my desire to rip up the cover with Ginnifer  on it overcomes me each time I see it!)

So while it seems cool that Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood might be going veg, the jury is out. I'll do the waiting game on this one. Apparently this discovery was made at the Wynn in Vegas. I cannot wait to get back to Las Vegas, for the simple fact that I know where I will be spending much of my time! Apparently, Las Vegas is catching on too to providing for us "finicky eaters."

At the end of the day, it is all about the planning. And there are some excellent sources on the web that provide a few helpful hints here and there...

I myself have been dabling with some of my desserts. I tried yet another recipe for The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. This cookbook has not given me a flop yet. I love it. My earlier creations still shock me sometimes! Anyway, I didn't get a chance to take pictures, but the Lemon Poppy Seed cookies were ridiculously easy with so few ingredients that EVERYONE has in their kitchen right now!!!

I attempted cakepops which turned out pretty well, but the really happy accident were my rum balls... more on those another day.








Thursday, April 5, 2012

In the News


image from freephotosbank.com
photographer David Lockeretz



Several topics going on today in the world as it relates to the most devoted of animal lovers.

There is concern that dyeing chicks sends the wrong message to children who get these live "peeps" for the holiday...really? Do we even need this as a tradition? Who started this? And when did coloring live animals have anything to do with a man dying on the cross for your sins?! There are some lawmakers not to right in sunny Florida. The sun's fried their common sense.

I'm not sure how I feel about this protest. On one hand, I get that zoos are ideally a place for us to see animals we wouldn't normally get a chance to, or that they open a child's curiosity to the animal kingdom. But at the same time, these creatures are prisoners, and I myself can't go to zoos anymore because one day I might hurt someone's pesky brat that is mercilessly tapping on the glass of some unfortunate creature about 1 foot from the sign that says not to, while mom and dad look on like idiots. That one is a tough call for me.

This just breaks my heart, a rescue of dogs subjected to fights in the Philippines. Ever since I learned from The Dog Whisperer that a dog is a dog first and its breed second, I have a new appreciation for pit bulls. What is so sad is that (1) these animals have already been put down for their poor condition, (2) some of them were rescues from a previous raid, (3) and the Philippines doesn't even have (thank dog,) a real market for dog fights—these fights are broadcast to other countries!

Good news! After all the bad, finish this off with something good from North Dakota. Stiffer penalties for animal abusers.

I know some people get all up in arms that animal rights activists, or just vegans and vegetarians love animals more than they do other people. Not true. (Usually. This coming from a New Yorker, in a city where people push your tolerance button daily.) Most of us just feel for those that can speak for or defend themselves. Is that so bad?



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Travel Agreement- Sheldon Cooper Style


This "agreement" was created as a Christmas gag gift for a friend who really is demanding, but doesn't see himself that way. He makes Sheldon Cooper and his Roommate Agreement seem logical and necessary.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My doodle for the I Corinthians love verse. Quite challenging to come up with a visual representation of each sentence, but I got quite a few in there.

Friday, March 30, 2012

This was a Photoshop Experiment....

It amazes me how some folks lap up the venom that is spewed out of certain types of "informative" media, but to each his own I guess. It's one thing to be biased, it's an altogether different kind of monster (literally,) when it's just propaganda that bends to certain people's narrow-minded fears and allows them to hide their so called prejudices behind "patriotism."



I may have said too much, but it's my right, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Mash Up Poster

A while back I had did a movie game named Movie Mash for the iphone based on a drinking game I saw on Cougar Town. So the app is on the App store, which is kinda cool...
A few months I saw Mad Magazine did a spoof of movies and is was like a visual of my app! Way cool!
I've been playing around with photoshop and this was one of my first puzzles come to life. Lots of fun.

Can you guess what the mash up is?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Words

Okay, aside from these words right here. Some of my photography. Trying to see the everyday as more than mundane.



Right now I am obsessed with the depth of focus shots. I am so amazed that the camera does things that I want it to do, but WAYYY better than I could have imagined!

Does anyone else amaze themselves with what they get from the lens?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DIY Kitchen Drawer Liners

So, I am a bit crafty, but the visions for projects do not always appear in reality as they do in my head. Oh well. So I wanted to remove the Christmas wrapping I had lining the kitchen drawers, and figured I would use the tons of scrapbooking paper I have lying around. And to add to the cleanups in the future rather than throwing the next liner away, I decided to use contact paper to cover the paper. That way I could just wipe it off and reinsert.

Seems easy enough right?....Riiiight.

Before...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Typography Experiment 2: "Bear Huntin' Time"

I know the title seems off for a vegan lover o' the animals, but wait.

NYC Through the Lens

I had a great day walking through the wonderful city that is New York the other day. Armed with the camera, hubby and good friends, I walked the heck out of that town!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Typography Experiment 1

I love looking through the web for cool typography posters. Good design really is making the complex look simple. Here are a couple of my attempts.




It took me a while to figure out how to do this in Photoshop, and now, I have learned that these bad boys could be a breeze (sorta) in Illustrator! I am so ready to tackle some more typography pics.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"Vegan" Wine Glass




I have wanted to do this project for some time. At one point, it was a lofty idea to create these glasses with etchings for some kind of event, but then time wore on and I just never got around to it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freebie on Friday

Here is a little calendar I have been working on...

I have put myself to the task of creating a calendar that is not the conventional one. It is a challenge to push my creativity to think out of the box literally — get it? (Calendars are all boxy... moving on!)

So for the month of February I went with a legal sized sheet of paper and rather than the lovey-dovey junk of Valentine's, I put in some interesting animal facts and poignant quotes about the beings that we share this  planet with. The layout is slightly different to a traditional calendar, with room to write a few things... I will keep playing with the layouts...