MeatyVegan Exclusive: Interview with Film Star Lexi Love

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Why shouldn’t a follow-up vegan celebrity interview with Rob Bigwood be none other than multi-award-winning entertainer Lexi Love. Model, actress, and star of countless adult films and music videos; Lexi Love also happens to be vegan.

Lexi was nice enough to answer a few questions about being vegan and offers us an exclusive glimpse into her life and into her refrigerator.

MV: How long have you been vegan and what inspires you to stay vegan?

LL: I’ve been Vegan for 8 years, it’s the way I live. I hope to inspire others to eat healthier through a vegan diet.

MV: I know Riley Reid is also vegan, do you know any other actors in the industry who are vegan?

LL: I don’t know Riley Reid, and I haven’t made films in years, but if she has a twitter I’m going to follow her and add her to my Vegan list.

MV: What is your favorite vegan food and what non-vegan food do you miss the most?

LL: Favorite food is a toss up between kale, Chanterelle mushrooms, and vegan pizza. Most non-vegan foods have been replicated or are able to be replicated … so now there’s really nothing to miss.

MV: What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

LL: Fresh homemade vegetable juices, lots of greens such as mâché rosettes and kale, fresh fruit, gluten-free vegan bread, Daiya cheese, Braggs apple cider vinegar and amino acids, daRosario Organics truffle vegan mayonnaise, Chanterelle mushrooms, and raw cashew butter.

MV: Do they have craft services on your film sets? Do they provide you with vegan options?

LL: When craft services were available on set, they’d always make a special meal for me. Every set I’ve worked on, craft services or not, always kindly accommodated my Veganism.

MV: What “level” vegan are you? Do you still wear leather? Do you sometimes wear leather for your films?

LL: I don’t wear leather jackets, I gave them all away years ago. I still wear leather shoes until more options become available. I read labels on items I purchase to see what they are made of and won’t buy them if they are made from animal skin or other parts. The producers and directors I have worked with have always been willing to work with me on wardrobe and have never tried to force me to wear anything.

MV: Are you a cat person or a dog person?

LL: I have a very cute iguana. Cats and dogs are great but unfortunately agitate my allergies.

MV: Did you see “Blackfish”?

LL: I haven’t watched any of the documentaries. I read a decent amount but don’t watch much of anything.

MV: Who is your celebrity crush? And what celebrity would you want to make dinner for?

LL: Since I don’t watch TV or go to the movies very often, or watch music videos, I don’t know enough about any particular celebrity to have a crush. But, if I was to make dinner for any celebrity I think I’d choose Prince.

MV: Do you ever hashtag #foodporn? Because that’s kind of ironic.

LL: No. I think it could be offensive to people who don’t enjoy porn and I wouldn’t want to push them away from healthy eating with a hashtag.

Bonus question: What’s next for Lexi Love?

The next place you will be seeing me is in Director’s Cut by Adam Rifkin and Penn Jillette. Which I am incredibly excited about :).

PS – Feel free to check out vegankitchen.tv … they are awesome!

Watch for Lexi in the upcoming “Director’s Cut” and follow her on Twitter, “like”her on Facebook, and … of course …

Go vegan.

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MeatyVegan Exclusive: Cowgirls & Collard Greens: an Interview with Kayle Martin

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One of the most rewarding aspects of being vegan and being a vegan blogger is that you quickly become part of an extended family. Vegans from coast-to-coast meet up online and, sometimes in person, to share recipes, thoughts, ambitions, goals, time, and ideas. There is a vegan celebrity underground.

I’m not talking about Woody Harrelson and Joaquin Phoenix, although they can both attend our next potluck, I’m talking about the Vegan Zombie, The Fat Gay Vegan, Happy Herbivore, Guys Go Vegan, Tuxedo CatWill Travel for Vegan Food, Peaches and Greens, Melisser Elliott, and Kayle Martin of Cowgirls and Collard Greens.*

Kayle is a two-time breast cancer survivor, a graduate of the Living Foods Institute and the Founder and Chief Cowgirl of Cowgirls & Collard Greens, a cowgirl themed vegan lifestyle website and blog. Kayle actively shares her cancer story at conferences, on national radio programs and has been featured in the Keep A Breast magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine, and most recently was a guest on The Vegan Zombie’s cooking show. In her free time, Kayle juices greens, counsels newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at her local hospital, seeks out new vegan restaurants, and lives a life full of fun! And I was luck enough to grab her for an interview.

MV: Who is your #1 vegan celebrity crush?

KM: Can my vegan celeb crush be female? Those who are close to me know that my all time favorite vegan, is Kris Carr. Kris is a fellow cancer survivor (cowgirl), New York Times bestselling author, the star of her own film, Crazy Sexy Cancer, as well as the author of several books with similar titles. If it weren’t for Kris Carr, it’s not likely I’d be having this interview with you right now. She’s the primary reason that I am vegan. I’ve met her twice briefly, but sadly I’ve had bouts with verbal diarrhea both times. It would be a dream come true to spend some quality time swapping stories and recipes with Kris while hanging out on her farmette in Woodstock, New York. Can someone please make a cowgirl’s dream come true?

MV: If we opened your refrigerator right now, what would we find?

KM: That’s a really good question, and perhaps an embarrassing one too! This may be the interview where I come clean with something … cowgirl doesn’t cook. Can you believe it? That probably sounds pretty strange coming from a vegan, but to be truthful, I am on the go quite a bit. I joke that my nickname should be “Vegan on the Go”. But to answer your question, I do have the basics in the refrigerator, and by that I mean, vegan condiments. Vegenaise anyone?

MV: How long have you been vegan and how long do you plan to stay that way?

KM: I’ve been vegan for nearly six years after being vegetarian for most of my life. I’ve never understood the whole “I used to be vegan” thing. It puzzles me that people can revert back to eating meat, dairy and eggs after knowing (and feeling) the the amazing benefits that a plant-based diet provides. Plus, being vegan means trying to suck less, right? Who wants to suck more, I mean really. This cowgirl is vegan for life. Yeehaw!

MV: You used food to fight cancer. Do you think that others are missing out on a tasty cure?

KM: Of course I do! I became a raw vegan within a few months of my initial cancer diagnosis, and within a matter of days I felt the most amazing I had ever felt in my whole life. Drinking green juice and eating raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds really put a pep in my cowgirl step! I truly believe that food can heal and serve as medicine. Plus, being vegan is not only tasty, but it’s so good for you! There’s a great t-shirt that Compassion Co makes that says, “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan” and that’s exactly how I feel. Being vegan is both easy and delicious!

MV: What are your top two favorite books on being vegan? Favorite movies?

KM: I have to say that Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is one of my favorite “vegan” or health related films. There’s so much inspiration in that documentary. I often tell people who are curious about veganism, health or wellness to watch it. If the grossly overweight truck driver in the movie, can make the change anyone can! As for books, I am sort of obsessed with vegan cookbooks which is really strange considering I don’t cook. I think they are pretty and make nice, colorful additions in my kitchen. My most recent purchases have been Eating Vegan on $4 a Day by Ellen Jaffe Jones and Cookin’ Crunk by fellow country vegan, Bianca Phillips.

MV: Sweden boasts a 10% vegetarian/vegan population, do you think the U.S. will get there?

KM: I do. In the six years I have been vegan, I have seen a tremendous rise in the interest of veganism and plant based diets. You see vegan items on nearly every restaurant you go to nowadays. My hope is that veganism isn’t just a fad or trend, but that it really sticks. The results are really the proof. I have kept 25-30 pounds off on a vegan diet just simply by my food choices alone. Someone quote me please; veganism is the future, and the future is vegan.

MV: Why are Swedes so cool and what is your favorite country to visit for vegan foods?

KM: Swedes are cool, though I can’t say I have ever visited Sweden. I hope to someday. Hands down, my favorite place to travel is Italy. While not super vegan friendly, they like their meat and cheese, I did manage to get by on a 100% raw vegan diet when I traveled there a few years ago. You’d often find me stopping to purchase raw fruits and veggies at small local grocers and at farmer’s markets. Because I am not on a 100% raw food diet anymore, I think traveling in Italy will be much easier the next time around.

MV: What do you hope people take away from your website cowgirlsandcollardgreens.com?

KM: I’d like folks to know that being vegan isn’t hard and that anyone can do it. It’s a matter of setting your mind to make the change, just like any goal in life. Because of a cancer diagnosis, I went vegan overnight, but some people might need to make small steps to change their lifestyle gradually. Perhaps through my story and my blog, people can recognize that I am healthy and feel great even after not one, but two breast cancer diagnoses. In fact, I was never sick while undergoing allopathic cancer treatments, and I believe plants had a lot to do with it. My greatest hope is for people to take their health into their own hands. If I can inspire just one person to live a happier, healthier life, then I have done my job.

MV: Where’d you learn to dance like that?

KM: Ha ha ha! You mean like this?

As a child, when I wasn’t on horseback, you could often find me singing and dancing. I used to tromp around the house making up dance routines to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. I was even in a “show pop” singing and dancing choir in both junior high and high school. Can you say sequins and cummberbuns?

MV: If I were coming over for dinner tonight, what would you make me?

KM: See answer to question #2. Ha ha! You might be out of luck if you come to my house for dinner, especially unexpectedly. Knowing me, I’d probably grab some fresh vegan tamales from my local co-op. I’d steam them, and top them with salsa, guacamole and some vegan sour cream. If you came for breakfast, however, I’d make you The Green Cowgirl, my delicious cancer-fighting green juice. Check it out here. Either way, just give me a heads up before you head over; I’d like to at least pretend to be prepared!

I will, Kayle!

You can find out more information about Kayle by visiting her website: www.cowgirlsandcollardgreens.com, “liking” her on Facebook, or following her on Twitter.

Go vegan.

* There are many, many, many more vegan bloggers, writers, chefs, and celebrities I’ve become close with. Too many to list here.

Guest Contributor: Top Vegan Athletes Changing the Face of the Vegan Lifestyle

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Article contributed by reader Melissa Grant

By virtue of the extensive study and discovery of vegetarian and vegan diets and their various nutritional attributes, more and more people, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, are turning to these diets as a healthy alternative as well as for ethical animal welfare reasons. While for some, the vegan diet is instrumental in a particular and religious social setting, for others it is very much an individual choice, and while gaining popular ground in North America and Western Europe, it still faces numerous challenges and to some degree stigmatisation. Is cutting out red meat and especially fish, renowned for its wealth of nutrients and attributed to the good health of so many societies really a wise choice? Yet asking such a question, while valid in one sense seems redundant in another, and not just because studies have debated for and against the potentially harmful consequences of eating red meat.

Not only have several cultures survived on such diets for thousands of years, but some of the world’s top performing individuals who require an above average fitness level have turned to a vegan diet as an instrumental part of their regime. They have grown up in Western society and their genetic code is not, one may argue, optimised to diets which are commonly practiced elsewhere, yet for some vegan athletes, it is part of their key to success, proving that a vegan diet, when practiced effectively and conscientiously, not only leads to a good quality of life but gives the human body the sustenance it needs to be a high performer.

Of course, this means that in several areas, some additional compensation has to be done where the required intake of protein, iron, and vitamin B12 can be challenging to come by outside of meat. But as several athletes are able to attest, it definitely isn’t impossible.

Olympian Heroes

Due an impressive performance in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain has seen an immense renewed interest in professional and amateur sport as more and more people are inspired to get out and get active, in part thanks to the athletes who helmed the nation’s impressive 65-medal tally. The first to begin this tally was silver-medallist Lizzie Armistead, a long-time vegetarian (since the age of 10, basing her choice on not eating animals) who championed a demanding 87-mile road cycling race. Though Lizzie is not entirely vegan, her example suffices because she gains the majority of her nutrients from the very stuff which grows out of the soil, and is yet another athlete from a long-line of Olympians to make this decision. Australian swimmer Murray Rose, an avid vegan aptly nicknamed “Seaweed Streak” won four golds in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, and American sprinter Carl Lewis improved his already substantial tally (four gold in 1984) with his 1991 victory at the 100m World Championships which he hailed as “his greatest race”, completed after turning vegan.

Muesli Equates to Muscle?

Yet veganism is perhaps an unsurprising lifestyle for Olympians participating in endurance sports, more open-minded in the sense that athletes, while muscular, do not carry around a lot of brawn. What of the bulkier types, participating in sports such as American football and wrestling? Meet Jim Morris, winner of the 1967 “Most Muscular Award” in New York.[i] While Jim did eat meat during this time, he made the decision years later to improve his health by changing diet. “It was only after I retired from competition in 1985 that I started considering my health and eliminated what I had over the years identified as the cause of my digestive, respiratory and joint problems, namely all animal sources,(beef, fowl, dairy, pork and fish). I continued having fish on rare occasions as my “treat”.” Jim continues to body-build, and has been named as PETA’s “most senior pin-up” advocating not only the rights of animals but several studies into the nutritional values of vegan diets, proving that meat isn’t necessarily instrumental in physical well-being.

Another popular athletic legend is the recently-retired NFL football player Tony Gonzalez, former tight end for the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs. Gonzalez is esteemed for his impressive record for most single season receptions and most touchdowns by a tight end, and most career receptions and reception yards by a tight end. Though Tony’s diet would eventually revert back to eating chicken and fish, he owes much of his career-fitness to trying alternative diets.

Strongman Patrick Baboumian, marathon champion Brendan Brazier and fighter Mac Danzig are also high-performing athletes who have switched to veganism, and credit much of their success to the diet. Attributing nutrition not only to fuelling training but aiding in recovery, it turns out that plant-based meals are the way forward and are substantial enough to allow the body to build up a healthy mass, even reporting that after switching to these diets, they felt better overall. This goes against the grain of popular public belief that such diets are unsustainable for an athlete, but recent studies in this field are providing more and evidence that this isn’t necessarily the case, and having real-life examples can only help as well.

Changing Perspectives

In 2012, Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times “Well” blog consulted with experts David C. Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University, D. Enette Larson-Meyer, an associate professor of human nutrition at the University of Wyoming, and Nancy Clark; all three are very active individuals, participating in marathons and other competitive sports. All three concluded that yes, vegan and vegetarian diets are possible, using the example of vegan distance runner Scott Jurek as a case in point. Most specifically, they addressed what has been a long-time question for athletes regarding getting enough intake of vitamin B12 which is plentiful in red meat, stating that now, many cereals and snacks are supplemented with the crucial mineral.[ii]

As more and more people are learning about the benefits of vegan diets and discovering that not only can they enjoy a greater quality of life, but also achieve some of their most ambitious goals with the aid of high-profile public figures who have embraced the lifestyle and found their own lives more fulfilling because of it, veganism is becoming an accessible and healthy option for aspiring athletes and will continue to do so for years to come.

[i] Greatveganathletes.com “Jim Morris, vegan body builder.” Accessed 3 April, 2014.

http://www.greatveganathletes.com/vegan_athlete_jim-morris-vegan-bodybuilder

[ii] Well.blogs.nytimes.com “Can Athletes Perform Well on a Vegan Diet?” Accessed 3 April, 2014.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/can-athletes-perform-well-on-a-vegan-diet/

Photo of Jim Morris © PETA. PETA.org

MeatyVegan Exclusive: Interview with Rob Bigwood from AMC’s “Game Of Arms”

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For the first in my interview series I wanted to chat with someone who I thought would fit the MeatyVegan image and what’s meatier than a professional vegan arm wrestler?

Rob Bigwood currently stars in AMC’s new reality series “Game of Arms” and he took the time this week for an exclusive interview with MeatyVegan. What I really loved about this interview is that, while I knew Rob was vegan, I didn’t know he was an ethical vegan and his answers to so many of these interview questions are right in line with my own beliefs.

I used to be a pretty impressive arm wrestler in my youth but when you see the guns on Rob you really can get a sense of true power and muscle. Proving, once and for all, that plant-power is true power and anyone who wants to argue this point, is welcome to go arm-to-arm against Rob Bigwood.

MV: Rob, you’re a professional arm wrestler and a vegan, doesn’t this mean you’ll never beat a meat eater? Don’t you need meat to be strong?

RB: I beat meat eaters all of the time! There are much healthier and cruelty free sources of protein and eating butchered animals limbs isn’t my thing.

MV: Most vegans are asked “where do you get your protein?” I’d like to ask, where do you get your haircut?

RB: I like this question a lot! I’ve been going to place in downtown Manhattan right off of Broadway for the past two years, but I also have a soft spot for Astor Place Barber.

MV: What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

RB: Fresh Direct was just delivered this morning so this could take a while. Organic broccoli, almond milk, almond and peanut butter, coconut oil, Earth Balance, beans, berries, wheat bread, avocado, spinach, there is too much to list … should I keep going?

MV: Has your role on AMC’s new show “Game of Arms” led to other acting offers? Will we see you in the next Julia Roberts’ romantic comedy?

RB: Ha! I’m a terrible actor and feel extremely awkward in front of the camera. But I wouldn’t mind a scene with Scarlett Johansson, just saying …

MV: How do you train to arm wrestle and is the arm you don’t use to compete with basically weak like an overcooked green bean?

RB: The best way to train is to actually arm wrestle. It hits all of the weird angles and positions that are impossible to duplicate at the gym. I compete with both arms, though I was warned not to after the surgery on my right elbow. My right hand, forearm, and bicep are stronger at the gym then the left but it’s the exact opposite on the arm wrestling table.

MV: What inspired you to become vegan?

RB: Growing up we are conditioned to ignore where our food comes from with clever advertising. I never connected that the hotdog or cheeseburger that I was eating was once an innocent animal that had its life viciously robbed. It was somebody’s mother, father, brother or sister. All animals have the same feelings and share the same fears.

MV: What inspires you to stay vegan?

RB: Because I know in my heart that it is the right thing to do despite what others think or say. Animals need a voice and things (factory farming) need to seriously change.

MV: If you could have one non-vegan food converted to vegan food and taste exactly the same, what would it be?

RB: I haven’t found an amazing vegan Reuben yet. Please tell me where I can find one!

MV: If you weren’t arm wrestling, what would you like to be doing?

RB: I’m actually an Interactive Art Director. I design mobile apps, websites, and anything else interactive. We just launched the new Comedy Central app for Android and Apple devices and it’s a pretty awesome!  I’ve also worked on some other huge brands including Air National Guard, Citi, Emirates, MSG and Pepsi to name a few.

MV: What would you say to the younger readers who want to get stronger about being “powered by plants”?

RB: Do a little research on balancing the right nutrient dense proteins and carbohydrates but most importantly listen to your body. Vegan food can taste amazing and is the complete opposite of boring. There is absolutely no need to contribute in taking the lives of millions of innocent animals each year. Forks Over Knives and Peta’s Vegetarian Starter Kit are a few good places to start.

I couldn’t agree more.

Watch Rob Bigwood prove that plant-power can dominate on AMC’s “Game of Arms.” Upon airing, the premiere of “Game of Arms” was watched by 1 million viewers, with 626,000 of those viewers among adults 18-49. It is AMC’s highest-rated reality series premiere of all time. Check your local listings.

Go vegan.

If You Stop Selling Cigarettes in Drugstores, Shouldn’t You Stop Selling Meat?

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Originally posted on Meaty Vegan:

Marlboro Recently the Tobacco-free campaign where I live has been plastering the buses and the radio with the “duh” messaging about selling cigarettes in drugstores. Why would drugstores still sell cigarettes when they also sell the drugs and medications to both help quit as well as deal with the nasty side effects and diseases of smoking?

Why does my gym give away free pizza and bagels?

They have a captive consumer that completes the “circle of death.” Drug companies (and doctors) rely on sick people to survive. Healthy people contribute nothing to the global economy so let’s keep Americans ill.

CVS drugstores this year made the very smart decision, in spite of the fact they will lose billions in revenue, to stop selling cigarettes. The pressure from the public and the obvious disconnect in this messaging will eventually force other drugstores to follow suit and stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products…

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My Name is Eric and I’m a Omnivoraholic. Confessions of a Recovering Omnivore

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“My Name is Eric and I’m a Omnivoraholic,” I lamented in front of a room full of total strangers.

“Hi, Eric.” The reply in unison was ominous but what did I expect from a group of vegans who now consider themselves “recovering omnivores.” We were all once meateaters, milk drinkers, and egg scramblers.

“It has been just over two years since I last ate meat.” Knowing me, it was probably chicken wings. Or possibly a pepperoni pizza. Or steak. Just thinking about it now makes me harken back to those “good old days” when I could eat whatever I wanted. Meat, cheese, eggs … sometimes all three of these appeared in one breakfast and later that day in my lunch. And dinner.

I knew I had a problem when I saw wing sauce drippings on my bed sheets and I had a half-eaten baloney sandwich in my back pocket dripping mayonnaise into my shoes.

I had hit rock bottom.

And that’s when I found Omnivores Anonymous (OA) and I learned about the 12-step program for quitting meat, dairy, and eggs for life. We learned we were powerless over meat, dairy, and eggs. But mostly cheese.

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. His name is T. Colin Campbell.

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to fruits and vegetables and embrace a plant-based diet.

We cleared our closets of wool, silk, and leather even though we loved our Limited Edition Tommy Bahamas Pool Ball shirt and meanwhile, we cleared our arteries of gunk and goo and fat and poo.

We all had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other omnivores, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. We knew it was in us to grab a hold of our own destiny, to clear a path to better overall health.

But, most importantly, we knew it had to be done … for the animals.

We had all made a commitment and you, too, can make the commitment to …

Go vegan.

The One-Day Vegan Challenge: Making it Easy on the Omnivores

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My birthday is this Sunday. I’ve always loved my birthday, pretty much since the day I was born. My Mom always tells a story about me being a little boy growing up and being happy with anything. Didn’t have to be a toy. I just found happiness in anything and everything. I was always grateful. These days I am still that way and I’m feeling happier than ever. In fact, for my birthday this year I really only want one thing:

For you to be vegan for one day.

This Sunday, April 6th, in honor of that historic day in Queens, New York, I want you to go vegan. If you’re already vegan (which many of my followers are), please pass this challenge along to the omnivores in your life. One day. Sunday brunch through Sunday dinner.

This is very different than the popular Meatfree Monday (which I love, by the way and is a perfect follow up to this Vegan Sunday) because being vegan also means not consuming dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) or eggs. Drink your coffee black or splash in delicious vanilla coconut creamer. Make rugged roasted potatoes with thick cut onions and rosemary. Make a tofu scramble or retrofit that scramble into a quiche. Eat fruit. Vegetables. Oatmeal with brown sugar. Or, finally check out that vegan restaurant you’ve been avoiding. Trust me, you won’t go hungry.

This also means for this one day set aside your wool socks and leather belt and dress like a vegan (which is jeans, t-shirt, and canvas shoes, if you’d like). From the moment you wake up on Sunday … be vegan.

Think about what you are eating, wearing, doing, saying, and thinking.

For one day.

If you’ll do this for me, for my birthday, I will be even happier than I already am. Let me know you’re up for the challenge, or you have convinced someone to try it by commenting here on my blog (or, comment on Monday to let me know how it went).

Go vegan (for one day).

Fusilli Pasta Grilled Chicken with White Mushroom Cream Sauce: @MeatfreeMonday

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While I wait to get my hands on more BeyondBeef, the beefy new product from the good folks at Beyond Meat, (so I can create my soon-to-be-award-winning BeyondBeef Stroganoff),  I whipped up this recipe for tonight’s dinner.

Fusilli Pasta and Grilled Chicken with White Mushroom Cream Sauce.

It’s gluten-free and vegan, rich with flavor and PACKED with protein. I threw in some ingredients we had in the kitchen and it turned out delicious. Just how delicious? My 15-year-old daughter (who is not yet vegan) loves it … and that always makes a father proud.

Want to get started on your own Beyond Meat recipes? Start here and print out this buy one get one FREE coupon!

Go vegan.

 

10 Questions with Gene Baur

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Originally posted on TIME:

[taboola-video-module]

Your organization, Farm Sanctuary, is a farm in what sense?

It’s a farm in the sense that it has barns and pastures and fields. We grow hay for the animals, but it’s primarily a sanctuary, a place where animals get to live out their lives.

Like a Florida for livestock?

Kind of, but most farm animals who are raised and slaughtered in the U.S. are killed when they’re a few weeks or months old. You know, the only native farm animal in North America is the turkey. Turkeys have been so profoundly altered that they cannot even reproduce naturally anymore. And they grow so fast and so large that their hearts and their legs have a hard time supporting them. For some, it would be better if they were not born.

You’re a vegan. Isn’t it possible to eat eggs or wear wool without harming anything?

Whenever animals are…

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A Slice of Heaven: Gluten-free Vegan Pizza from Verde Pizza in Baltimore

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I’ve never reviewed a restaurant on my blog that isn’t vegan. Until now.

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Jen and I recently traveled to Baltimore for a conference and of course, any time you go to a new city you have to find the best vegan restaurants and try them out. Unfortunately, after a few failed attempts we discovered Baltimore isn’t as vegan-friendly as we’d hoped.

However, and this is a pretty big however, we did discover Verde Pizza on South Montford Avenue and, while it’s far from vegan, our gluten-free, vegan lives will never be the same.

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We met a friend of Jen’s for lunch on her recommendation. I was disappointed that we weren’t going to a vegan restaurant but glancing over the menu online it seemed like there could be some nice options and they do advertise a “nearly gluten free” pizza.

We had no trouble finding the corner restaurant, were promptly seated and ordered one of their “nearly” gluten-free pizzas (the Verdure Miste) with no cheese and what we got was quite simply the greatest gluten-free, vegan, wood-fired pizza we have ever tasted. The crust was out of this world and the freshness of the ingredients was incredible. It was one of those “are you sure this is gluten free?” moments since the crust was stretchy and crispy and delicious. Perfetto!

Now, they probably could sprinkle on some vegan cheese on any of these pies … but they better not. They are perfect just the way they are. Sono stato chiaro?

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And the atmosphere? When all my hard work finally pays off and I have an extra million dollars and finally open that really nice vegan restaurant in Ithaca … I’m going to have the people of Verde come help with the decor (and I will consult with them on turning their place vegan). Verde è Bello!

They did such an incredible job of designing a beautiful, welcoming and upscale space with the perfect touches around every corner. Not convinced? Check out this photo of their bar area on their website. Nice, huh?

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The second time we were there (this time for dinner) we actually got to meet the owner, Edward. An Italian-American from Brooklyn. He spent a good 20 minutes telling us about the place and was full of questions about our diet. He really listened and you can tell he puts a ton of care into each item on the menu.

Why are their gluten-free pizzas “nearly” gluten-free? They prepare them with 100% gluten free flour (shipped directly from Italy) in a dedicated gluten-free prep area and use an independent gluten-free paddle to move them in and out of the oven … but their pizza shares the same 900 degree space as the regular pizzas. The crust cooks for about 90 seconds and comes out with tiny air holes and crispy edges. Jen, who has been gluten-free for over ten years, didn’t have a reaction so I am convinced that gluten “can be cooked off,” in spite of what we’ve been told.

From where we were seated, we also got to watch each of our pizzas being handmade in the open kitchen and the dough that is formed is stretchy. Exactly what you would want a pizza dough to act like. I also am convinced Edward is quite proud of his pizza maker … since it’s his son. Tutto in famiglia!

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If you live in Baltimore, go to Verde. If you plan to go to Baltimore, plan to go to Verde. If you know someone who lives in Baltimore, send them to Verde. If you’re driving anywhere within an hour of Baltimore … go out of your way to get to Verde. And tell them the Meaty Vegan sent you. Capish?

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Really … how good are their pizzas? Jen and I each ate one ourselves that night and we ordered another one to go. Fuhgeddaboudit!

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Oh yeah … go vegan.

Where Milk Comes From

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Pour yourself an ice cold glass and sit down while I tell you just where that delicious milk comes from.

You see, milk comes from a cow. But not any ordinary cow. This cow has to be lactating. And, as we all know, in order to be lactating, you have to have recently given birth.

Now kids, ask your parents if you’re allowed to read this next part.

In order to have given birth, this cow has to be pregnant. And, as we all know, the easiest way to impregnate a cow is to insert your arm far into the cow’s rectum in order to position the uterus, and then force an instrument into the cow’s vagina to artificially inseminate her. The restraining apparatus used is commonly called a “rape rack” and it’s not a very pleasant image. Drink up!

Once pregnant, the cow waits about the same amount of time as a female human to give birth but the big difference is that once the cow gives birth, her newborn calf is forcibly taken from her (this way you’re sure to get the milk you want for your bowl of Frosted Flakes). They’re great!

If the newborn is female, she will likely be raised to live the same life as her mother. If the newborn is male, well, that lucky little feller will be kept lucid in a small plastic box and killed within the first few months of his life for veal. Cheeses, that doesn’t sound too nice … does it?

Now that she’s rid of her pesky calf, this old girl is ready for a’milking! A farmer firmly grabs hold of the cow’s teats and rolls down his fingers and pulls on each nipple until milk begins to squirt out and fill his bucket. Or, in most cases, the cow is instead hooked up to a painful milking apparatus that automatically milks the cow for hours, leaving her bloodied and sore to the point where infection causes pus that is mixed with the milk and becomes a part of that decadent bowl of ice cream you’re about to enjoy.

Now, once the cow stops producing milk, the cycle is started over again until the cow reaches a point where she can no longer get pregnant and then she’s killed. How’s that for a milk shake? And, so …

That’s where milk comes from! Enjoy!

Go vegan.

If You Stop Selling Cigarettes in Drugstores, Shouldn’t You Stop Selling Meat?

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MarlboroRecently the Tobacco-free campaign where I live has been plastering the buses and the radio with the “duh” messaging about selling cigarettes in drugstores. Why would drugstores still sell cigarettes when they also sell the drugs and medications to both help quit as well as deal with the nasty side effects and diseases of smoking?

Why does my gym give away free pizza and bagels?

They have a captive consumer that completes the “circle of death.” Drug companies (and doctors) rely on sick people to survive. Healthy people contribute nothing to the global economy so let’s keep Americans ill.

CVS drugstores this year made the very smart decision, in spite of the fact they will lose billions in revenue, to stop selling cigarettes. The pressure from the public and the obvious disconnect in this messaging will eventually force other drugstores to follow suit and stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products. This is a very good move forward toward a healthier nation.

But when will the public, and these very same retailers, make the same connection with meat, eggs, and dairy?

The headline for an article that was heavily circulated this week reads: “Diets high in meat, eggs and dairy could be as harmful to health as smoking.” You can read the entire article here but the basic message is in the headline. Meat, eggs, and dairy cause cancer. When you see someone smoking, you imagine their lungs suffering. When you see someone drinking, you think about their liver deteriorating. But, how many people watch someone eating a burger or bacon and think to themselves: “hmm … he’s going to get cancer … probably shouldn’t eat that …”

It’s just not as obvious.

I’ve said it previous posts, I believe in my lifetime there will be warning labels on meat, eggs, and dairy. These foods are actually causing more cancer, and other horrible diseases, than smoking will ever cause, but, alas, you can still buy them at your local drugstore. Of course there is a solution for all of this …

Go vegan.

Manna Organics Tri-Color Organic Popcorn. Perfect for the Oscars or The Walking Dead

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IMG_5797I’ve been very lucky lately to have opportunities to try some really delicious products that may have stayed under my radar. One of these is Manna Organics Tri-Color Organic Popcorn. Perfect for that Oscars party (or … will you switch back and forth during The Walking Dead?)

When it comes to a good popcorn it all comes down to freshness and, in this case, the fact that it’s tri-color and organic. This popcorn tastes as good as it looks. Whether you toss it in nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, drench it in vegan butter to be more decadent, or just sprinkle with a little sea salt …

How do you make perfect popcorn every time?

Start with Manna Organics Tr-Color Popcorn. In an oversize pot with a lid, add enough sesame oil to just cover the bottom of the pot and drop in three kernels.

Start on medium-high heat until the three kernels have popped. Your oil is now ready.

Pour in enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pot and put a lid on it (ours has a glass lid which is VERY helpful when making popcorn). Keep a watchful eye on this as you lower the heat to medium as all the kernels begin to explode. Shake the pot every 30 seconds or so to make sure none stick and start to burn.

Once the popping has decreased to 2-3 per second, turn off the heat and move the pot to a cold burner. Let it finish as you give it a few more shakes.

Perfect popcorn!

My pic for Best Picture? 12 Years a Slave.