250,000 Year-Old-Man Unearthed: Confirmed Vegan

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[SHAWNEE, OK] Paleontologists at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural Sciences in Shawnee, Oklahoma, announced this week fascinating new findings into the diet and lifestyle of prehistoric man after discovery of a frozen 250,000 year-old human unearthed in Tura, Russia, an ancient village in the Siberian Plateau.

“As we melted away the ice to begin performing an autopsy on the body we were amazed at some of the accompanying findings,” said Dr. Warren Almond, Director of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural Sciences.

“There is no doubt from the data that early man was, in fact, vegan. From the surrounding evidence to the preserved food particles extracted from the specimen’s digestive tract. Paleo man was vegan.”

These findings are in alignment with many of the teachings of Dr. Milton Mills of Falls Church, Virginia. His research and area of expertise has long pointed at signs supporting an herbivorous caveman.

“From the teeth to the toes,” Dr. Almond added during a lunch interview. “As Dr. Mills has said for years, early man was herbivorous and now we can conclusively state ‘vegan.'”

According to the autopsy report, as the ice melted away several items were revealed or dropped out of the encasement, including: Oreo cookies, Daiya cheese, and a half-eaten package of Nestle Double Chocolate Thin Mints; a vegan item that made the PETA Accidentally Vegan Food List.

Other evidence leading to the groundbreaking conclusion was nearly 45kg of hummus, quinoa, and “All Hail Kale Salad” in the digestive tract.

“As if these findings weren’t enough, we noticed that the prehistoric man also wore vegan Birkenstock sandals, a Blood Tight Apparel t-shirt, and carried an iMac with a “coexist” sticker covering the Apple logo,” Dr. Almond concluded. “Case closed.”

 

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Go vegan. 

Dangers of Soy: The Death Toll Rises

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[LAWTON, OK] In the ongoing debate on the negative health effects of soy as it relates to the lifespan of humans, another untimely death this week in Lawton, Oklahoma, directly links soybeans with the passing of a union worker, Shepard Pilgrim. “He was a hard worker for almost 25 years,” said a fellow employee at the Oklahoma Tofu Company (OTC) where Pilgrim was employed. “Sheppy will be missed.”

According to the report from the Lawton Police Deparment, Shepard Pilgrim was unloading crates of soybeans that had just been shipped from Iowa when the delivery truck’s parking brake system failed and rolled backward and pinned Pilgrim against the loading dock. “The slight decline made for a very slow and painful death for old Sheppy,” Sam Drimple, OTC District Manager stated in a phone interview. “For years the vegan community has been warned against the negative health risks of soy and I guess this proves the point. Soybeans can be deadly and can lead to a long, slow death,” he continued. “Poor Sheppy.”

Many proponents of the meat and dairy industry for years have been waging a powerful campaign against soy-based products since it is a natural source of protein, the macromolecules that some believe is better derived from animal flesh. Soy-based foods, and tofu products, are very popular with vegans and vegetarians and are a natural “meat replacer” in nearly ever meal.

“It’s as if these people prefer not to eat animals,” said Trevor Hambone, of the Farmers Against Soy and Kale (FASK). “I mean, animals are made for eating … not tofu. Don’t you think if tofu was meant to be eaten, it would be attached to bones and covered in fur or skin? I mean … I’ve never …”

Soybeans, or soy, have been gaining popularity in the United State and are used in tofu, soy milk and various dairy and meat substitutes. It is also used in fermented foods like miso, natto and tempeh, which are commonly consumed in some Asian countries and are offered at every Asian restaurant from New York to California. While soy is actually good for your health, over 90% of soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified and the crops are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which may be associated with adverse effects on health. So, when selecting soy, be sure to look for “non-GMO” and “organic” certifications.

Soy, it turns out, is also good for your heart. One study suggests that eating foods that contain isoflavones (like soy products) every day may help lower blood pressure and it is thought that the isoflavones work by encouraging your body to produce nitric oxide, which helps to dilate blood vessels and reduce the pressure created by blood against the vessel walls. Additionally, whole soy foods contain high levels of healthy protein and fiber. Fiber helps to reduce bad cholesterol, plus, soy is a much better source of protein for your heart than saturated-fat-rich animal-derived foods.

However, to one Oklahoma company, any amount of evidence indicating the safety of soy doesn’t seem to matter. “I don’t care what the health experts say,” continued Drimple. “Soybeans killed Sheppy.”

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 Cat, Will 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

I am Forming a Vegan Cult … Come, Drink the Kale-Aid

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I am going to start a vegan cult.

Maybe “cult,” is too strong a word but let’s use it as a starting point. By definition, a cult is a religious group or organization with “deviant and novel beliefs and practices.” What could be more deviant than going against tens of thousands of years of human evolution to not consume meat, dairy, eggs, or honey?

In order for this cult to be successful, it will also need an opposing majority who stand against our beliefs. Enter the 97% of the U.S. population who still subscribe to the Standard American Diet (SAD). These meat eating, milk drinking, egg cracking people will think we are the strange ones for not following this “norm.”

This cult won’t follow the norm.

And novel? What could be more novel than stripping your wardrobe, and life, of all animal-derived products and clothing? Don’t we know all those animal hides will just go to waste? And how will we know if that shampoo is safe to use if it hasn’t been tested on a rabbit?

The very practice of being vegan, and being part of an ever-expanding and growing group of like-minded individuals is cult-like and, as our numbers grow, so does our power.

How odd are we to practice ahimsa? Non-violence toward all living beings. We are the strange ones, after all, thinking animals should be treated kindly and not raped or tortured until killed. And that grown adults shouldn’t consume the milk of another species. Or eat the period of a chicken. We are the weirdos.

We are the odd ones.

How odd is it that the members of this cult have lower instances of cancer and heart disease? There must be something we’re doing to our bodies that is unnatural.

Unfortunately, the word “cult” seems to be used primarily for organizations and groups who have evil plans. The Top Ten list of cults includes the Manson Family and the Branch Dividians. Not very good company.

Isn’t it time for a friendly cult to be formed? Can vegans band together, choose a leader (me), and start an international association that promotes our beliefs and encourages others to follow? Veganism for all.

Join my cult. Drink the Kale-Aid, and  …

Go vegan.

4 out of 5 Doctors Prefer an All-expense Paid Vacation – [#Vegan #GoVegan #Pfizer]

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[MIDWEST CITY, OK] The Center for Pharmaceutical Statistics in Midwest City, OK, reported this week that four out of five doctors prefer an all-expense paid vacation over prescribing a plant-based diet. The fifth doctor in the survey had no comment, and was busy packing for his annual, all-expense-paid Pfizer trip to Hawaii.

Lured by free pens and golf umbrellas, doctors across the U.S. admit that going on luxurious vacations two or three times a year is very nice and that, quote: “it sure beats not going on vacation two or three times a year.”

“I could never understand why my doctor was smirking when she was filling out my high cholesterol prescription every month,” said one patient in nearby Norman, Oklahoma. “Now I know. I hope she gets sunburned.”

Other patients interviewed were less shocked by the statistic. “I’d love to go on vacation,” said one man after a recent doctor’s visit. “Unfortunately, I can’t since my medications cost me over $385 per month and I have no insurance. But, what choice do I have? Really. I mean, give up bacon cheeseburgers? Are you insane?”

Doctors everywhere are choosing to grab their pads and pens and write prescriptions for many avoidable, and in some cases reversible, serious health issues. High cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, and others are all manageable by switching to a plant-based diet (combined with regular exercise). However, it seems doctors prefer medicating over educating their patients.

Take two asparagus and call me in the morning, and …

Go vegan.

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A Vegan Diet is SO Expensive. I Can’t Afford to Go Vegan

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“Eating a vegan diet is SO expensive. I could never go vegan.” Really? Right up there with the cheese excuse or the concern that vegans are dropping dead like houseflies from a lack of protein — the other big vegetarian/omnivore argument is that eating vegan (which means, essentially, plant-based whole foods) is cost prohibitive for the average person. Eating more meat, dairy, and eggs somehow is so much more affordable that it’s impossible to go vegan without going broke. Really? It’s not.*

Check this out (prices are current as of July 2013/Northeast Region U.S.):

  • 1 lb. ground beef = $3.10 versus 1 lb. of broccoli = $1.29
  • 1 lb. turkey breast = $2.50 versus 1 lb. of spinach = $1.99
  • 1 lb. bacon = $3.99 versus 1 lb. of portobello mushrooms = $2.15
  • 1 lb. of chicken = $1.99 versus 1 lb. of uncooked brown rice = $1.60
  • 1 gallon of milk $2.99 = versus 1 gallon of almond milk = $2.00
  • One dozen eggs = $3.50 versus 1 brick of organic tofu = $3.25

Total for the omnivore column? $18.07. Total for the vegan column? $12.28. A savings of almost $6. Not to mention the thousands you’ll save over time in medication and hospital bills.

If you took all the plant-based ingredients above, you not only have the makings for a very healthy meal, you could save a ton of money (and, by the way, get plenty of vitamins, minerals AND protein).

Just add a little wheat free tamari, a teaspoon of evaporated cane juice, and sesame oil and you’ll have all you need to make a delicious fried rice. Eating healthy doesn’t require more money but it does require more time and creativity. Taking fruits, vegetable, beans, rice, and tofu and creating delicious meals might be daunting at first but once you explore all the amazing, natural flavors these foods contain … you’ll soon find yourself eating like royalty.

Ge vegan.

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* This does not includes any government subsidies that may be given to families in need. These food items inevitably include dairy milk, cheese, and eggs. One more way the U.S. government is trying to keep its citizens unhealthy.

Vegan Drinks

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Many communities around the world are hosting a networking/social event known as “Vegan Drinks.” The name would imply that everyone brings their own Vitamix, some kale, beets, and apples to show off how they have rigged their juicer to extract liquid from a vegetable to not taste like dirt.  All of these vegetable juices (whether through a Vitamix or with a juicer) taste like dirt. Think: bite an apple; lick the ground. These Vegan Drinks events actually serve wine, beer, mixed drinks, and anything else the establishment offers (as long as they are vegan).

Fruit smoothies, by the way, are delicious. But, I digress.

Last night I attended an Ithaca-based Vegan Drinks event held at Northstar Public House. There were about 15 or so people in attendance and I knew enough of them to actually have a great time. As expected, any time you gather a group of vegans in one place, the conversation turns to food. Diet. Juicers and smoothies. I think that we all crave “real food” so much that we feel as though talking about food will somehow make eating like a rabbit more exciting.

With this said, the food (and the vegan food, especially) at Northstar is outstanding. They get it. They understand that there is a market for vegan fare and accommodate. They use creative ingredients in developing dishes that are truly delicious. Meanwhile, I ate French fries. I think I eat French fries as a way to draw attention to myself. I am a narcissist vegan.

I have attended this event at other area restaurants that don’t get it. They pass off a vegan pizza as a pizza without cheese. That’s not trying. That’s cooked round dough with sauce. Restaurants are slowly realizing that being vegan, dairy-free, and especially gluten-free, are not fads. They are legitimate diets and in some cases health-related issues that have to be dealt with on a daily basis and if you create food for us … we will come.

I am always adding restaurants to the link above so stay tuned for true reviews of places around the world that offer delicious vegan menu options.

Now, if you’re a vegetarian thinking about taking that next logical step, you should attend one of these events. If you’re an omnivore, curious about veganism, stop by. If you want to meet interesting people and talk about juicing, you’ll be more than welcome. But,  keep in mind, when ordering food … please, please, order vegan.

Clever vegan sign off!

On a side note: Ithaca, NY (where I live) was just chosen as the Smartest City in America. Hopefully, this smartness will carry over to our restaurant owners and they will begin offering more vegan and gluten-free options!