Gluten-free Vegan Spinach Quiche … Anyone?

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I promised Ted Allen (of Chopped fame) I would make him my famous gluten-free, vegan, spinach quiche for brunch. Since he wasn’t coming over anytime soon, I made it for Jen instead. As an omnivore, I always was expert at whipping together (pun intended) a delicious morning quiche and now I needed to create the vegan version of it.

Since I had the foundation of my delicious tofu scramble already perfected, it took little effort to add the other required ingredients and spices to create this round masterpiece. It turned out amazing and I’m sure if Ted ever makes it over … he’ll love it, too!

It’s so satisfying knowing that this classic dish can be prepared without eggs or dairy. A healthy and vibrant version that plates beautifully with rosemary rustic red potatoes and a cup of Gimme! coffee.

Recipe to follow on my recipe link above. Or, message me and I will personally send you the recipe.

Go vegan.

The Healing Power of Plants; or, How Being Vegan Can Save Your Life

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If you haven’t watched the movie “Forks Over Knives,” I mean seriously watched it. Or, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” and again, unplug everything for two hours and pay attention to these movies — I would be very impressed if you didn’t walk away a changed person. A person who wants to take control of their life and get a handle on healthier eating.

After watching these films, you would be a person who witnessed clear evidence that living a plant-based diet is better for your health. That switching to a plant-based diet today (or tomorrow, if you’re not quite ready) will reverse the years of damage that was inflicted on your body by consuming animal flesh, dairy foods, and eggs.

If you’re vegan. 100% vegan. You can stop reading now. You get it. You know all this. Go back to eating kale. However, if you’re vegetarian or omnivore…

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New Farm Concept: Choose Your Very Own Pig (Slaughtering Instructions Included)!

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[ANADARKO, OK] The Happy Pig Petting Zoo and Farm in Anadarko, Oklahoma announced this week a new concept in “farm to fork.” By allowing children visiting the farm to choose a piglet to take home, and providing “fattening” and slaughtering instructions, families in Caddo County are “bringing home the bacon.”

“This is the newest trend in sustainable farming,” said Trevor O’Hara, Director of the Happy Pig Petting Zoo and Farm. “Kids love playing with their food and this is just taking that concept one step further. Their little faces light up when they realize that the same pig they just named will become pork chops later that night.”

The zoo is arranged in sections labeled for each cut of pig and visitors are provided a colorful map to help navigate the 340-acre farm. Once the family finds their way into a pen, they can spend the day getting to know the exact pig they will be taking home to slaughter. There is also a concession stand that sells spare ribs, bacon cheeseburgers, and the signature menu item, The John Hamm sandwich.

“Freshness guaranteed!” said one zoo attendee, as he helped his 7-year-old lift a 9-month-old piglet into the backseat of their mini-van. “It don’t get no fresher. We’ll be eating this little feller tonight and again tomorrow morning. I can smell the bacon already.”

Every pig sold comes complete with easy-to-follow, full-color, slaughtering instructions.

Oklahoma State officials denied an interview but did write “Oklahoma state laws allow for livestock to be sold when the intended use of the animal is consumption. As if there is any other reason for pigs to exist. Knowwhaddamean?”

Go vegan.

Actual Humans Now Used for Human Product Testing

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[LAWTON, OK] With no end to the 14-day U.S. government shutdown in site, affected agencies nationwide have switched from animal testing to actual human testing on many popular consumer products. Items such as toothpaste, mascara, shampoo, mouthwash, and even cigarettes are now being tested on human beings, as opposed to animals.

“This is not something we’re pleased with,” stated Gordon Mantooth of the Palmotive Testing Labs in Lawton, Oklahoma. “In the past we’d use rabbits, dogs, or in some cases, monkeys to test our mouthwash and other home products and now we are forced to test these products on people. It’s just terrible. I feel so bad for them … having to try mouthwash that hasn’t been previously tested on animals. What if the end-product doesn’t leave their mouth feeling fresh?”

Over 1,000 products on the market today are still being tested on animals. Everything from home toiletries and cosmetics to pesticides and cigarettes. Now, with this change in national policy, there are hundreds of thousands white rats “Jonesing” for a cigarette with no relief in site.

“Every year, millions of animals are poisoned and killed in barbaric tests that were crudely developed as long ago as the 1920s to evaluate the toxicity of consumer products and their ingredients.” as stated on the PETA website. “Rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other animals are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of a test substance or endure the pain of a chemical eating away at their sensitive eyes and skin –– even though the results of animal tests are often unreliable or not applicable to humans.” Isn’t that better than risking human reactions to human products?

Now, with most of the testing labs across the nation switching to this new policy, the testing will be applicable to humans since these products and their ingredients will be directly tested on live people.

“It’s ridiculous it’s come to this,” said Republican Congressman Ronald Matthews via phone interview. “Products need to be tested on animals so we know they are safe to use on humans. How could anyone expect a cigarette to be safe for us if it hasn’t been vetted by a laboratory animal? You can blame Obama. Now, if you’d excuse me, I still have to hit the back nine before heading to the club.”

The U.S. government and supporting agencies had no further comment at this time.

Go vegan.

Vegan Holiday Poem ~ by Shel Silverstein

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Was reading bedtime stories to our little, vegan, baby boy tonight when I came across this veganesque poem in “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” I’ve probably read this book a hundred times over the years but this time “Point of View” has so much more meaning.

Perfect for this time of the year and something you’ll want to share.

Point of View, by Shel Silverstein

Thanksgiving dinner’s sad and thankless
Christmas dinner’s dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey’s point of view.

Sunday dinner isn’t sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.

Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
‘Til I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner’s point of view.

Ethical Vegetarians are like Bigfoot. They Don’t Exist

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Before going vegan I really only knew vegetarians, most of which were pescatarians. Now that I’m vegan, I see the hypocrisy.

Most vegetarians cite ethics as their reason for not eating meat. “I am an ethical vegetarian,” they’d boast, eating a cheese omelette washed down with coffee loaded with cream. Or lox with bagel smothered in cream cheese. “I’m a vegetarian but I still eat fish sometimes.” Then they’d go on to talk about how they can’t eat meat knowing what happens to the animals.

What these ethical vegetarians don’t realize, or choose to ignore, is that by eating dairy (including all cheeses) and eggs, they are supporting animal abuse as much as if they were chomping down on bacon wrapped tenderloin.

There is no such thing as an ethical vegetarian.

I think somehow they think that free-range,grass fed, or cage-free means that it’s okay to borrow some…

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Being Vegan is Drastic! I Could Never Consider Veganism!

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A friend of mine (fellow vegan) posted a link to an article on my Facebook page last week about The Abatement of Cruelty. To quote the author of the piece, commenting on Matthew Scully:

“His recommendation – veganism – also seems to me a bit de trop. Yes, we can live without meat. But our species evolved as meat-eaters and we were once capable of husbanding animals humanely on traditional farms. It does not seem to me to be wrong to eat meat as such, but rather wrong to eat meat produced in the way almost all of it now is. Going vegan is an admirable choice in this context, but there are less drastic moves.”

I would love to know what makes some people think that subscribing to a vegan diet, to which this article refers, is drastic. Is eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein more drastic than being chained to a prescription drug for life for high blood pressure? Is eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein more drastic than having your chest cracked open for bypass surgery? Is eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein more drastic than having to take a blue pill in order to perform sexually for your partner because of clogged arteries?

Is eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein really more drastic?

It’s healthier, that I know. It’s a great way to lose weight and improve hair and skin. It’s a way to challenge yourself in the kitchen through vibrant new recipes with colorful ingredients. It’s a way to know that everything you are eating is good for you. It’s not, by any logic, drastic.

A dietary vegan benefits from so many wonderful aspects of a plant-based diet. They also have the added advantage of knowing that what they eat didn’t involve the torture and murder of innocent animals.

And that makes all of this much easier to digest.

Go vegan.

Darling Live Pet Monkey! Live Delivery Guaranteed!

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Darling Live Pet #Monkey! Guaranteed Live Delivery [#vegan #govegan]

This is a real ad. Not only is this a real ad, but I remember this ad in the back of my Spiderman comic when I was a kid! To think that they were selling live monkeys for $18.95 and guaranteeing a live delivery … is just so wrong. I mean, not that a live delivery is wrong but just that they were shipping monkeys for $18.95 is wrong. They also mention in the ad that these little Squirrel Monkeys are “almost human” and like lollipops (which, of course, is their primary source of nutrition in the wild).

Does anyone know anyone who ordered one of these? Comments, please.

Go vegan.

My Sister: The Born Again Vegan

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My sister is now vegan. She was vegetarian for a while but had a serious addiction to cheese (more specifically, had a serious addiction to an Italian restaurant). Over time, I think she was seeing, and learning, about how a plant-based diet is not only good for your heart — it’s good for your mind. She read Victoria Moran’s brilliant “Main Street Vegan,” and decided being vegan was for her. I’m so happy that she is committed to being vegan and I know that over time, like me, it will all continue to come into perfect focus.

This week, she started a blog. The Born Again Vegan. A launching pad for her thinkings about being vegan and a place for her to share recipes and ideas and humor about begin vegan (which we all know there is plenty of out there). Please follow her blog and comment on her entries.

I’m not sure how much impact I had on her decision to go vegan but whenever I see someone I know, especially someone I care about, giving it a try … it makes me feel like I am making a difference. Like this is all worthwhile.

And, while he won’t admit I had anything to do with his decision, I also have a follower (in Wales) who recently went vegan after having numerous arguments with me about “no one is vegan.” I am taking credit for Michael becoming vegan … and that makes me feel even more like I am making a difference.

Then, two weeks ago a friend of mine messaged me from out of the blue on Facebook saying she loves my blog and is thinking about going vegan (but is sure her husband wouldn’t but maybe he would). I read and re-read her message. The fact that I wasn’t alienating her with my constant vegan posts and links … the fact that I was getting through to her and she was listening … the fact that, on some level I was inspiring others to stop and to think

I now know I am making a difference.

Ge vegan.

Elvis Costello at the State Theatre in Ithaca and the Vegan Connection

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Since I was in high school I have been obsessed with Elvis Costello. In many ways, I feel as though his words and music ushered me into adulthood. I can distinctly remember the first time I listened to “Armed Forces” on a cassette tape on my boom box in my bedroom at my Mom’s house on Park Avenue. While “Armed Forces” actually was released in 1979, I didn’t discover it, or Costello, until around 1982. It was this album that sent me on a mission to buy everything Costello had ever recorded (and in those days, I had to buy two copies of everything: vinyl and cassette tape).

I had never heard music like that and it changed my life.

I bought “My Aim is True” and discovered “Watching the Detectives” and “Allison.” I bought “This Year’s Model” and fell in love with “Radio Radio.” I bought “Get Happy” and fell in love with the entire album. It was this album that made me realize how incredible Nick Lowe is and I had to buy everything by Nick Lowe which later made me buy everything by Dave Edmunds and Graham Parker and John Hiatt. The list goes on.

Every album in my collection traces back to Elvis Costello.

Through the years I explored all of Costello’s albums and made connections to all his collaborators. I started a band. We covered Costello. “Imperial Bedroom” and “Punch the Clock” remain two of my favorite albums to date and now, with The Roots, Costello once again is redefining himself and writing incredible music … 37 years after “Less than Zero” was a UK-only release.

That brings us to today. In just over a month, on November 7, I am finally going to see Elvis Costello, solo, in concert at the State Theatre in Ithaca. I originally didn’t want to go.

I’ve had other opportunities to see him perform in the past, and turned them down. I was always selfish about my love for Costello and felt I didn’t want to share him, and the music that raised me, with 2,000 other people. I wanted Costello to myself. Have him come over for dinner and we could talk about the Stiff Record days and everything he’s been up to since. But this concert is different.

It’s where I live. In an intimate venue featuring a solo show. I got one ticket. Front row. Center.

Turns out I am friends with both the Executive Director of the theatre where he is performing as well as the booking agent for the show. They both convinced me that this was the concert. The opportunity. My moment to share with Elvis Costello. This was as close as I could come to having him over for dinner.

Now, since this is a vegan blog, I always insist that each post have something to do with being vegan … so, here it goes (in the style of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon):

  1. Elvis Costello recorded with Nick Lowe.
  2. Nick Lowe married Carlene Carter.
  3. Carlene Carter is Johnny Cash‘s stepdaughter.
  4. Joaquin Phoenix played Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line.”
  5. Joaquin Phoenix is vegan.

Boom. Go Vegan.

Celebrate Mocktoberfest! A Meat-free 16-Day Event!

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Ah! October! You leaf-changing month, you. We love breaking out the boots and scarves and big puffy sweaters and tossing a football around in the cool, crunchy grass. Oh, wait, that’s not us … that’s the Kennedys.

In addition to football and the Fall harvest … apples, and cider and pumpkin carving, October is famous for Oktoberfest, the 200-year-old German holiday that traditionally features men in lederhosen, overflowing mugs of beer, kielbasa and other meaty dishes. Many, many, meaty dishes. It’s clearly not a vegan holiday.

But it can be.

In fact, this news article points to Munich, Bavaria and the introduction of vegan tents at this year’s festivities. Interestingly, Munich was also recently noted as one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world. Who knows? Future Oktoberfests could actually be centered around vegan dishes, whole foods, and vegetables (of course, all still being washed down with beer … can’t deny the beer).

From the ABC News report:

“As the event becomes more international, people with special dietary requirements and different culinary tastes are becoming the norm,” says Wolfgang Nickl of Munich’s city council, which is responsible for organizing Oktoberfest.

It’s not only foreign visitors who struggle with the meat-heavy menu, though. Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise in Germany. About 800,000 of the country’s 7 million vegetarians forego all animal products, according to the Association of German Vegetarians (VEBU). “Whether it’s environmentalism, climate protection or health concerns, there is a growing awareness among Germans when it comes to the vegetarian agenda,” says VEBU spokeswoman Stephanie Stragies.

With so many mock meats now available and so many more coming on the market, there is no reason that Oktoberfest can’t become a 100% meatless event. When this happens, think about how happy all those cows, pigs, and chickens will be. They’ll want a beer.

Go vegan.


Adorable pig photo © SanctuaryOne.

Thanksliving is Coming by Guest Blogger Rae Sikora

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Thanksgiving is fast approaching and many progressive and socially conscious types have already ordered their “organic,” “pasture raised” turkeys, allowing them to eat the traditional meal without the guilt of supporting factory farming and chemical laden agriculture. However, most good intentioned people won’t look any further to discover the truth behind their meal.

Organic standards do not include regulations about the treatment of the animals.

A friend and I visited a local, organic farm with a good reputation for environmental and humane standards. The farm’s reputation seemingly held true. Their 1,000 birds are raised in large outdoor hoop-houses with green pasture surrounding. Their feed is organically grown on the farm and hangs from feeders accessible to any of the birds who are able to walk to them. They even slaughter the birds right on the farm, avoiding transport to a large slaughterhouse facility.

Yet even under “better than average” conditions, the turkeys suffer. Most people ordering organic birds assume they are not genetically bred for weight gain. Organic and non-organic turkeys are bred to be slaughter-ready at 18 weeks.  They are so obese that their legs cannot handle the weight of their bodies. In fact, many birds are completely lame by two months.

Some of the turkeys we saw were stuck in the straw, unable to get up, and struggling to make it to food and water while healthier birds pecked at them. Others, already dead, were being removed.

Our tour guide, the farm manager of 11 years, was kind and open with us. He told us he was proud of the facility and happy to show us around. In the slaughter building we were introduced to a worker he nicknamed “the killer.” The manager chuckled and said they actually, “refer to him as the ‘harvester.’” I asked the young harvester if his job was difficult. Thoughtfully he replied, “It was hard at first, but it gets easier.”

They then showed us the procedure. The birds are “gently” pushed into wall mounted funnels head first and upside down. With their heads hanging below an opening at the base of the funnel, the “harvester” slices the major arteries on the bird’s neck. A bucket catches the blood below. In the words of the harvester, “I slice with a clean hundred dollar surgical knife. I am careful not to cut the airway. We need them alive, breathing and bleeding to drain all the blood out or it gets too messy in the next step. It is very fast. It only takes two minutes. They are breathing the whole time and their legs are kicking.”

I stood there struck by his words, “only two minutes.” I recently led a workshop where I wanted people to guess how long a minute is. Everyone closed their eyes. I told the participants to open their eyes and raise their hands when they thought a minute was up. I timed them. Almost everyone had their eyes open and hands raised in about 30 seconds. A minute is a long time. Two minutes of hanging upside down with your major arteries sliced open and bleeding is a really long time.

After touring the entire facility, from pasture to the freezer filled with hundreds of tidy packaged birds, we walked slowly back to my car feeling distressed by our experience. I have met some “used-to-be vegetarians” who have turned to a meat diet again because of the availability of animal products labeled “humane.” Everyone who chooses to eat animal products labeled “humane”, “cage-free”, “organic” or “free-range” should visit the facility providing their meat, dairy or eggs. Anyone wanting to live compassionately would not support these industries. They would hopefully realize that these labels give people permission to turn their backs on the violent reality of eating these foods.  The creation of all animal products involves exploitation for profit including confinement, social deprivation, mutilation, reproductive manipulation and pre-mature death.

Make this Thanksgiving a Thanksliving by modifying tradition to include non-violence toward all beings and caring for the earth and your own health.


Rae Sikora is one of my absolute favorite people on the planet and a true inspiration. She is also a co-founder of Plant Peace Daily, Vegfund and the Institute for Humane Education. I was fortunate enough to meet her this past July at Summerfest.

Go vegan.