The Businesses That Are Making Changes That Are In Alignment With Our Vision Need Our Support

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I believe in celebrating changes and small successes.  As much as vegans would love to wake up one day to find that whole world has ended animal suffering forever, chances are that it won’t happen that way.  Change takes time and is often slow.  I believe in holding the vision of the world that we want to see and then looking for the evidence of that change and supporting it.  Small steps are the evidence. They are important and deserve to be celebrated.  Right now it is the easiest time to be a vegan because of these steps that businesses have made.   As more and more people embrace this lifestyle, the easier it will become.  Look at the gluten- free diet.  The more popular that it becomes the easier it is to find those food options.  The same goes for plant- based foods. The stores will carry more products and the restaurants will offer more menu items/ vegan alternatives which will in turn result in more people choosing a vegan lifestyle.

Last month Ben and Jerry’s announced they will be offering non- dairy ice-cream options, debuting in 2016, because of high consumer demand. Link

Beef to Tomato Send July 4 Food Cost to Record

 

Chipotle, a large chain made an impressive full switch to serving only non-gmo foods. This is the first restaurant chain that I am aware of to make such a change due to high consumer demand.    They are not vegan, but they have begun introducing  more menu options and that step is worth celebrating.

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I’ve even seen some restaurants offer a completely separate vegan menu in addition to their regular menu because enough people asked for it.    The important thing is when businesses make changes  that are in line with the vision of a vegan world, that they get consumer support. Especially the smaller restaurants.

Last fall a NYC restaurant, made a brave and beautiful leap in support of the vegan vision.  Actually it is the boldest change that I have seen.

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Gustorganics restaurant and bar  located at 519 Avenue of the Americas @ 14th street – New York, NY,  made the brave switch  from a primarily meat based menu to a 100% plant- based, organic vegan menu, after Kiki Adami and Paul Chang realized that meat was one of the biggest players in environmental destruction, climate change and health decay.   They didn’t change the name of the business or the staff.  They took a stand for what they believed and educated the staff on doing things a different way. They had their staff all watch the documentaries Cowspiracy and Earthlings and they educated the chefs on vegan cuisine.   They faced an enormous amount of adversity from their former patrons, including hate mail.  But they stood up for what they believed in and went along with the full change-over anyway.  The food is so delicious and it has become one of my favorite places to dine.

Unfortunately last month they sent out a letter announcing financial challenges that they are facing since making the switch and that they would have to close their doors soon if things don’t change.  This would be so unfortunate. The food is amazing, there is a great atmosphere and wonderful service.  The letter asks over and over “where are you?”,  meaning where did all the customers that were so supportive of the vegan transition in the beginning go. It seems that the number of people that came out to support them in the beginning weren’t consistently there.   Regardless of the fact that they were financially suffering and risking closing their doors, they didn’t change back to offering meat- based menu items.  They held tight to their beliefs.  The drastic change was bold and took an enormous amount of courage and deserves to be honored and supported.  This movement will die if businesses that make the switch can’t financially sustain themselves.  See this short video for their story. 

Small steps from any business are important and  should be honored.  But large, brave steps need and deserve even more support.  If most vegans would love to see a more compassionate, animal loving, plant based world in a very short time, then we have to be there for those businesses that are in alignment with our vision and make drastic changes overnight.  Please support Gustorganics! They can be saved but we are running out of time.   To donate and learn more about their restaurant and transition follow this link to their GoFundMe Page .

Vegan Thanksgiving Pizza

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A Vegan Thanksgiving Pizza is a great option if you are having thanksgiving dinner with just a couple of people. It is also good for bringing to potlucks or parties, or to have any time that you want the tastes of thanksgiving.  It also is great if you are the only vegan at your thanksgiving celebration because you can bring it and get all of the traditional tastes and not have to worry if you are able to eat the sides that are being served.  It stands alone and is very filling.  This pizza is also gluten free if you choose a gluten free crust and use a gluten free flour in the gravy.  At this time there are very few packaged meat substitutes that are gluten free and especially turkey roasts.   In this recipe I used the “Beyond Meat” Chicken Strips to give the pizza the turkey taste and texture and it worked out beautifully.  If you wish to use a different turkey substitute feel free.  This recipe is very easy and the ingredients can easily be bought pre-packaged or completely made from scratch.  You have lots of freedom  to  make it your own.

 

One of our favorite thanksgiving traditions is that instead of eating turkey, we participate in the Adopt a Turkey project at Farm Sanctuary.  When sponsoring a turkey that helps Farm Sanctuary to rescue animals and provide care for them at the sanctuaries as well as helping them to educate and advocate for turkeys and other farmed animals everywhere.  You receive an Adopt a Turkey certificate with a color photo and details about the turkey you sponsored. The certificate is placed in the middle of our thanksgiving table every year.  You can Adopt a Turkey and learn more about Farm Sanctuary by following this link, http://www.farmsanctuary.org/giving/adopt-a-turkey/

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough or Pre-Packaged Crust

Mashed Potatoes

Peas, Carrots, Corn Frozen Vegetable Mix

Canned Cranberries or Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Vegan Gravy

Beyond Meat  Mock “Chicken Strips”

 

Directions: 

Make pizza dough.  Spread on pizza stone and cook according to package instructions.  You want it be already cooked without any toppings on it because when the ingredients go on top we do not put it back in the oven.  Allow it to cool before assembling pizza.

Prepare mashed potatoes using your favorite recipe.  Here is an easy recipe for vegan mashed potatoes if you need one.

Make vegan gravy. You can use pre-packaged or make your own using this recipe.

If making homemade cranberry sauce here is a recipe.

Warm frozen vegetable mix.

Heat Beyond Meat “Chicken Strips” in a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil.  Flip over when one side is slightly browned.  Slice strips into cubes.

Once all of the ingredients are prepared,  you are ready to assemble  your pizza.

Spread mashed potatoes on cooked pizza dough.  This acts as the “sauce” of the pizza.

Then cover with the vegetable mix.

Next sprinkle the cubed “chicken strips”.

Lightly drizzle the gravy over the entire pizza.

Then add dollops of cranberry sauce.

 

 

I wish you all a wonderful thanksgiving holiday!!!

 

Vampire Killer Soup (Vegan)

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I call this Vampire Killer Soup because it contains 40 cloves of garlic.  Garlic soup has many healing properties and is a wonderful substitute for Chicken Soup if you come down with a cold or the flu.  It provides wonderful immune support during the fall and winter months  and tastes delicious.  Many other versions of garlic soup contain milk, butter and cheese. Since dairy is a mucus forming food, this is not the best option for you when trying to recover from a cold.  Even though there are 40 cloves of garlic, the garlic taste is not over bearing.  The soup is a light puree and is very satisfying when you are feeling under the weather.

For more benefits of garlic click here

Vampire Killer Soup Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25 garlic cloves, unpeeled + 15 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top(s) off of your head(s) of garlic and separate out 25 cloves, making sure each clove has an end chopped off
  2. Place the 25 cloves in a small glass baking dish, pour the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until cloves are light golden brown and very tender. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. While letting the roasted garlic cool, press the peeled garlic with a garlic press and set aside.
  4. Squeeze the roasted garlic between your fingertips to release the garlic and discard the peel. Set roasted garlic aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add both the roasted garlic and the 15 peeled/pressed raw garlic cloves and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add vegetable stock and, continuing over medium heat, bring the soup just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until garlic is very tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  7. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a blender, puree soup until smooth.
  8. Return soup to pan and stir in coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  9. Squeeze one lemon wedge over each bowl. Serve.

Passionate Vegans at the People’s Climate March

This past sunday I participated in the People’s Climate March with an estimated 400,000 other people on the streets of New York City.  Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it.  It was the largest march in history and I was so happy to be a part of it. There were people from all walks of life participating including a vast variety of environmental organizations, religious groups, unions, students, elders, anti- corporate campaigns, peace groups, community groups, scientists, celerbrities…the list goes on and on.  It was a peaceful march and a beautiful celebration of people coming together to support a better world.

Just 3 days before,  I watched one of the most powerful environmental documentaries that I have ever seen…Cowspiracy.  Cowspiracy made the case that the leading cause of environmental destruction on the planet is animal agriculture. The movie is well researched and has a lot of statistics. The data is quite shocking.  As a vegan, I  have heard that the leading cause of global warming is the raising of animals for meat, but I honestly didn’t realize just how serious of an issue this was until I saw this movie and it was all put in perspective.

A just a few of the shocking facts presented include:

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental degradation on the planet.  To put it into perspective, fracking uses 100 billion gallons of water per year, while animal agriculture uses 34 trillion gallons of water.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all green house gases, as opposed to the 13% that the entire transportation industry combined gives off.

It takes 660 gallons of water to produce enough meat for just one hamburger.  It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk

1 acre of rainforest (the equivalent of one football field) is cleared every second, with all of the species in it. Most of this is to clear room to graze cattle.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, over- grazing, over- fishing and habitat disruption.

75% of the ocean is now depleted due to over- fishing. It is predicted that we could see fish-less oceans by 2048 if we don’t change our eating habits

For every 1 pound of fish caught, an average of 5 pounds of unintended marine species including dolphins, whales, sea turtles and sharks  are caught and discarded as by-kill.

 

The statistics show that consuming animal products in any form is unsustainable. Often times people think that it is better to eat grass-fed or “sustainable” meat products.  Unfortunately there is no such thing.   The movie points out that due to the amount of land that is needed for grass-fed beef, it is even more unsustainable than factory farming.

 What was almost equally as disturbing as the statistics in the movie was that major environmental groups  didn’t realize or refuse to even mention that animal agriculture is the number one problem destroying the environment.  The movie explores this issue and some of the motives behind it, hence the “Cowspiracy”.  The movie was brilliantly put together and I left feeling motivated to get the word out to every single person I know.  We are running out of time and the entire earth depends on getting this info out there and taking action.

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It seemed serendipitous that I watched this film just days before attending the march.   It felt like this was our opportunity as vegans to spread the word since the biggest contributor to the problem is not known to many people.  It was a massive platform filled with our target audience (people that wanted to heal the earth) and it was our chance to shed some light on the truth.  It was important to help those who were already deeply interested in change as well as the passers-by.  I was proud to stand with such a lovely group of like-minded people.  We handed out flyers and got in to deep discussions.  We were embraced by many.   And whether or not people made the switch to vegan overnight, the seeds were planted either by reading a sign, having a discussion or receiving a pamphlet. It was an important day. It didn’t matter who funded the march, or the motives behind it.  What mattered was that we got to stand together for something that we believe in and share it with the world on a massive scale.

I find that people come to veganism for 4 different reasons… Animal rights, Health, Spirituality or for the Environment.  Since this post is about the environment, here are some more statistics:

Vegans Save Every Day:

  • 1100 gallons of water
  • 45 pounds of grain
  • 30 sq. ft. of forest
  • 20 pounds of CO2
  • 1 animals life

I encourage everyone that is reading this post to see the movie Cowspiracy. Attend a screening and buy dvds. Share the info with friends and family.  The time to act is now! www.cowspiracy.com  

 

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Vanessa with the director/producer/writer and star of the movie Cowspiracy, Kip Andersen

 

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