The Beast in Me.

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I’ve been a BeyondMeat fan pretty much from the start. The first time I tried the “chicken” I, like many vegans before and since, had to check the ingredients twice to make sure it didn’t contain actual chicken. Taste and texture are so spot-on¬†that its been known to¬†even¬†fool world-class chefs.

BeyondMeat has done it again. This time with beef. The Beast Burger, packed with 23 grams of protein, this is not your ordinary “veggie burger.” In fact, if a veggie burger were walking down the sidewalk¬†and saw The Beast coming from the other direction, it would cross the street. Against the light.

Move over wimpy veggie burgers. The Beast is in town.

I didn’t know what to expect although I had a tiny taste when I was at ExpoWest. The Beast had babies¬†(of course it did) in the form of sliders. I got to sample a BeyondMeat slider and was blown away. Their booth, reminiscent of a certain burgercentric fast food franchise, was slinging the sliders alongside some chicken tenders (which I am anxious to get into my belly after drowning them in Buffalo sauce). The Beast Baby (Beastly Sliders) was very convincing. I was hopeful The Beast was just as good; and it is.

But bigger.

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This is the burger you bring to the BBQ when everyone is expecting you to bring hummus.

This is the burger you bring to the potluck when everyone is expecting you to bring kale salad.

This is the burger you bring to the marina¬†when everyone is expecting you to bring quinoa. But bring quinoa anyway since it’s a superfood.

The very same day that I got to try The Beast for the first time, also happened to be Taco Tuesday so I whipped up some pepper quesadillas with the BeyondMeat chicken. Folded into a gluten-free brown rice tortilla, glued it all together with melted VioLife cheese and Tofutti sour cream, and served with some Mexican rice and hot sauce.

It was a very good day. Beyond very good.

There is no reason whatsoever to eat animals ever again thanks to companies like BeyondMeat (and other trend setters in the meat-replacement market). Delicious, nutritious alternatives make it easier than ever to …

Go vegan. 

Banner_ResizedCOMMENT ON THIS POST if you want me to send you an online coupon toward any BeyondMeat product.

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking: Annie and Dan Shannon Are At It Again

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You know those friends you always extend an invite to for your vegan potlucks? The ones who never know what to bring? Or, better yet, how about your friends who aren’t vegan and panic at the idea of coming up with a dish that everyone will love.

Get them Master the Art of Vegan Cooking (Grand Central Publishing) by Annie and Dan Shannon (Betty Goes Vegan) and these very same people will RSVP with confidence.

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As a matter of fact, get everyone you know this book. As is the case with the authors’ first successful tome, Betty Goes Vegan, this book masterfully guides the aspiring chef through “standards” that everyone knows and loves. A very personal introduction gives you a sense of the authors’ lives (who now¬†reside in Brooklyn) and this lets you know that every recipe comes from the heart.

And, as it turns out, is good for your heart.

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Dr. Greger (among other whole-foods, plant-based doctors) of NutritionFacts.org has gone so far as to say the #1 killer of Americans, heart disease, is 100% preventable.

100% preventable.

How? Well start with the recipes created by the couple behind the successful blog, “Meet the Shannons.” Stick to these recipes and your heart (and waistline) and taste buds will thank you.

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The first recipe I tried was their Vegan Bacon, White Bean, and Spinach Risotto (page 155). To give you an idea of how easy this recipe is, I made this on my lunchbreak. And it turned out amazing.

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Onions and risotto begin to crack in your pan as you introduce white wine and vegetable stock over the course of thirty or so minutes. Stir in the spinach, beans, nooch, and spices and a simple dish is elevated into something amazing.

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As an aside, ¬†I think these two photos of nutritional yeast should be stolen from my blog and circulated widely. “Nooch,” as it’s known to those who use it nearly every day deserves more glamour shots like these. Meanwhile, back to the recipe.

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The step-by-step instructions and use of the phrase “pinch of celery salt,” makes me love this book more than anything. It should be noted that almost every ingredient was Wegmans brand. Wegmans is considered the #1 grocery store in America and they are about to break ground on a NEW store in Brooklyn (so “The Shannons” will soon know why everyone loves Wegmans). The headline of this linked article, by the way, is:¬†Brooklyn Freaks Out Over Wegmans.

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To finish off the overall “retro” aspect of this dish, I plated the risotto in my vintage Mikasa bowl that belonged to my Nana. The pattern on this set will always remind me of her and we’ve eaten many wonderful dishes from this set.

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One more¬†cool thing about this book is that each recipe let’s you know how much each serving costs (just in case you want to charge your friends at the potluck). This creamy risotto costs $1.87/serving and I bet I could charge $5. Maybe $7 (depending on the friend).

You can buy Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking now at most bookstores around the country and online here.

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Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking makes it easier, and tastier, than ever to …

Go vegan.

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Shoot to Kill: Vegans and Video Games

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There is a Facebook group called “Veganism” that has over 30,000 members (this original Facebook page no longer exists but you should join Veganism for All. From time to time I like to post comments or questions, share my vegan point of view, or get feedback from fellow vegans.

This past weekend I posted an image of a video game, Big Buck Safari (this link is to the trailer and worth watching before finishing this post), that I saw at our local mall, with the following caption:

… unbelievable. This is an actual arcade game? In addition to the “Big Buck” you can¬†also¬†kill elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, and … ostriches. Really?

I’m worried about the kids who enjoy playing this.

I clicked “post” and expected overwhelming support, encouragement, and understanding about why I was disgusted by this video game featuring elaborate, gorgeous, detailed animations of wild animals frolicking in their virtual habitat ‚ÄĒ with a target on their back.

What I didn’t expect (in the 150+ comments) was:

It¬īs just a game! I prefer that people kill animals in a game rather than in real life.

… and …

Eric get a reality check. It’s NOT REAL. Every gamer knows this. Do you think people get possessed by Satan just because they like heavy metal too?

… or, this winner …

Anyone who thinks this way is a fucking idiot. I’m more worried about oppressive fuckstains than about kids playing hunting games. Those games are harmless fun.

Keep in mind, I posted this on a vegan page.

Now I’m all for video games. In fact, I used to spend hours playing Doom over a 9600 baud modem and loved grabbing the BFG (Big Fucking Gun) and blasting away all¬†the bad guys. Or my opponent.

At bad guys or my opponent.

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Not wildlife. Elephants and ostriches. Animals.

As each comment was posted I felt my point drifting further and further away. I started to feel like I discovered¬†the dark underbelly of some people’s idea of veganism. Ahimsa, anyone?¬†Again, I am not ignorant in thinking that this is real life but I am clear in my thinking that these comments are being made by vegans. Vegans who apparently enjoy (and will spend money on) lifting a rifle, pointing it toward a running animal and pulling the trigger. I wonder if this is where¬†Kendall Jones¬†got started?

Want to know what these “vegans” might look like? Click here. Notice how before each round the player is reminded to aim for vital areas: HEAD and HEART.

Really? 

As I continued to try to make my point (as well as fuel the content for this blog post), one other phrase kept coming up by my opposition: you need to separate reality from fantasy.

Fantasy: the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.

One of the last comments on this post pretty much summed up my entire experience and my point about the disconnect between some vegans and video games promoting the killing of animals:

Well, Eric C Lindstrom, it’s too bad you thought this kind of oppressive and classist bullshit was welcome here. Next time you think that you have any business expressing this sort of shit opinion, maybe just shove a handful of rocks in your mouth instead.

Spoken like a true vegan.

Go vegan.

Look for my forthcoming book, The Skeptical Vegan from Skyhorse Publishing coming out August 2017.

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