They LOVE me (so far)! Advance reviews for “The Skeptical Vegan” are coming in …

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As a first time author I have NO idea how my words will be received by vegan, and the veg-curious, readers from around the world. So far? So good. The initial reviews on GoodReads are all favorable and the few reviews so far on Amazon … are also great (and the book has gone from #1 New Release in Vegan Diets to Cooking Humor since its release)! I am so grateful!

Of course, I want to sell books but, more importantly, I want to spread the word about going vegan (especially to those people who are looking toward their “golden years”). It’s never too late to go vegan and The Skeptical Vegan proves this in every chapter.

Something else I wasn’t prepare for was seeing my book on the shelves at retail locations (including and AMAZING full window display at our local bookstore, Buffalo Street Books). To think that this is the book based on the blog based on the bet is now a gorgeous hardcover book sharing shelf space with the hundreds of vegans I have admired for years. It’s all so surreal.

And I thank you all.

From here, I am working in preparations to attend the Animal Rights National Conference in Washington DC (August 3-6, 2017) and then back home to get back to writing my next book, Mind Your Peas and Cukes: A Guide to Raising Vegan Kids. You know, all in my spare time.

Here are some recent articles and links worth checking out (also, be sure to follow The Skeptical Vegan on Facebook to keep tab on speaking and signing events):

Please share. Comment. Buy the book. Leave a review. And, most of all …

#GoVegan

2017: The Year of the Vegan Book

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V“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

The number of vegan book titles available these days is just incredible and this list is expanding at an amazing rate each year. Just over the last few years some of the most anticipated books, by some of the most respected names in veganism (Gene Baur, Jason Wrobel, Mary Mattern, Jackie Sobon, Ruby Roth, and so many more), were released and this upcoming year is going to prove to be one of the most exciting years yet. Everything from ethical veganism to plant-based cuisine to Dave Loves Pigs, there is a wide selection of books for every taste to round out your own personal collection.

Or, better yet, get some of these books into the hands of your friends to spread the word!

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Below is my own list (so far) of titles you can expect to see. If you have any to add, please comment below so I can update the blog post and we can keep this current through the coming months!

From the good people at Vegan Publishers, 2017 is going to prove to be a very exciting year with new titles like:

  • Farm to Fable by Robert Grillo. This book, written by the director of Free From Harm, who formerly worked in the advertising industry, is about the many fictions we are taught about non-human animals.
  • The Skinny on Soy by Marie Oser. This book counters a massive amount of misinformation about soy that has been put out there by those with connections to the meat and dairy industries.
  • Millennial Vegan by Casey Taft. My next book will be a guide for younger vegans that provides support, tips for navigating in a non-vegan world, and tips for advocacy.
  • Dave Loves Pigs by Carlos Patino. This is a follow up to the popular Dave Loves Chickens, and is about a monster from outer space who can’t believe that humans eat these amazing animals we call pigs.
  • Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary by Julia Feliz. As far as we know, this is the first every vegan-themed board book for young children. It’s about a turkey who is rescued and brought to a vegan sanctuary.

And from BenBella Books, expect:

  • PlantPure Kitchen from the same people who brought us the amazing PlantPure Nation film, cookbook, PlantPure Summit, and so much more.
  • The China Study Family Cookbook from the same people who brought you the China Study film, cookbook, and so much more. Someone should come out with a Campbell’s soup or something.
  • Kushi Institute Cookbook founded in 1978 by Michio and Aveline Kushi, Kushi Institute has offered guidance and support to thousands of individuals, families and organizations. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company is among those organizations which have engaged Kushi Institute to instruct and guide their chefs in creating healthful macrobiotic menu choices which meet the Institute’s  guidelines.

And from Book Publishing Company, check out these titles:

  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS and RECIPES: Using the Power of Plant Foods to Heal and Prevent Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Chronic Pain  by Beverly Lynn Bennett
  • HERBAL ANTIVIRALS: Strengthen Your Immunity Naturally by Sorrel Davis

From Skyhorse Publishing:

Other upcoming titles include:

  • NYC Vegan by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment (VeganMos): NYC Vegan brings New York’s fabulous foods to the plant-based table. The book was written by native New Yorkers as a tribute to the city they love. From the diners and delis of Brooklyn to the traditions of Little Italy and Chinatown, the foods of New York are the foods of the world.
  • The Vegan Air Fryer: Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Foods by JL Fields
  • 15 Minute Vegan by Kate Beskow
  • Now available!MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live–One Meal at a TimeGo Vegan by Kristy Middleton
  • No Meat Athlete Cookbook from Matt Frazier. From the founder of No Meat Athlete: plant-based recipes packed with nutrition to help athletes perform better and recover faster! ORDER here!

#GoVegan

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Crowded Specialty Coffee Market? Maybe There’s Not Mushroom.

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Every so often a product comes along that gets your attention and you know you have to give it a try. This product (for obvious reasons) is the Mushroom Coffee Mix from Four Sigmatic:

Four Sigmatic was founded with the goal of cutting through all of the hype and helping people eat more of the world’s most scientifically studied superfoods, like mushrooms. We wanted to make these incredibly powerful foods taste better and be easier to use, so that they can be simply incorporated to upgrade your existing habits. In other words, no more fads, no more pills, and no more capsules.

Our first mission in accomplishing this was to popularize drinking (yes, drinking) mushrooms.

Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Drinking mushrooms? Well, probably because it sounds disgusting. I’ve made my fair share of smoothies with some pretty strange ingredients but I can honestly say that mushrooms was never one of them.

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Which, as Four Sigmatic would tell you, is a shame since mushrooms are so good for you. In fact, the list of health benefits from mushrooms is so extensive, I’m only going to list some of the most incredible ones here:

  • Anti-inflammatory. Which means it aids in controlling or managing asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure, and stroke damage
  • Weight management. Just one cup a day (of mushrooms, not mushroom coffee) can help individuals lose weight and keep the pound off.
  • Vitamin D. Increased throughout your entire diet just by adding mushrooms.
  • Improved immune system function. Will even fight off salmonella poisoning.
  • Cordyceps benefits (which are found in the mushroom coffee) also called caterpillar fungus or Tochukasu, is a favorite of athletes because it increases ATP production, strength and endurance, and has anti-aging effects
  • Happiness. When mushrooms top your vegan pizza you become happy.

Add a 40mg dose of caffeine into all this and you can clearly see the inspiration behind this otherwise strange combination.

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Now, to be completely honest here, when Four Sigma Foods sent me the two sample boxes of two types of Mushroom Coffee (each contain ten 7oz. cups of coffee) and the one box of Reishi (ten 8oz. pouches) to try, they didn’t know I am a certified a coffee snob. Having worked for years for one of the leading Third Wave coffee roasters in the U.S., I’ve acquired pretty refined taste when it comes to coffee.

Does this instant coffee taste as good as an Ethiopian single-source, freshly-ground, Chemex-prepared pour-over being hand-crafted by a tattooed, bearded hipster humming a Two Door Cinema Club song? Of course not. It’s instant coffee. Is this a delicious (and incredibly nutritious) and easy-to-prepare instant coffee made from 100% Arabica beans better than other instant coffees I’ve tried? Totes.

This would be the coffee to bring camping, boating, hiking, to the office, or anywhere you’re on-the-go. Just add hot water, stir, and enjoy!

IMG_6133But who knows, maybe one day you’ll walk into your local Starbucks and order a Mushroom Spice Latte with Soy Milk? Probably not, so you’re better off getting your fix from Four Sigma Foods.

In addition to the mushroom coffees I got to sample their mushroom “tea” called Reishi (Superfood Mushroom Drink Mix). With reishi extract, star anise, wild mint, licorice and stevia, this hot drink is a delicious, nutritions and sweet start to your day! You really should buy a box of this! Not only is it delicious but the inside of the box is so informative, this whole experience with these #funguys has made me smarterer.

Ready to shop? Get started and click here. Want to receive a special MeatyVegan.com discount code? Comment below and I will hook you up!

Go vegan.

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Watch for the release of The Skeptical Vegan from Skyhorse Publishing in fall 2017!

#Veganism, A Better Way of Living [#vegan #govegan]

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My daughter, who was recently accepted as a freshman to Geneseo, chose veganism as the subject of her senior high school research paper (she got a 97). Let’s just say it’s obvious, between the two of us, who has the brains in the family.

One out of ten of your friends over twenty-four are following the healthiest diet available.  Even more of your younger friends, ranging from sixteen to twenty-four, are following it (Jourdan).  

Their diet consists of only plant-based foods, cutting out all meats, dairy products, and eggs.  Not only are these people healthier than anyone else, they also have a limited chance of getting diabetes, acquiring heart problems, or cancer.  Vegan diets are spreading rapidly to both adults and children.  About five percent of children and infants are on a complete plant-based diet and are vastly healthier than children who are not (Rosen).  Not only does veganism save your life, but it also saves the lives of animals.  

Farm animals are killed in slaughterhouses to be sold in your local grocery store.  Once dairy cows and laying hens reach their reproductive capacity they are murdered, but even before that point they are grossly abused for their milk and eggs.  The way animals are being raised today is “destroying and depleting our arable land, potable water, and clean air.”  The majority of land around the world is used to raise animals for food.  This business is polluting our air and destroying our topsoil due to bacteria, antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides from animal excrement (Fallon).  As we continue to eat more meat, eggs, and dairy; we continue to kill the Earth as well as ourselves.  Living off of a plant-based diet is extremely beneficial to both adults and children, causing them to live longer and have healthier lives.

Fifty-seven million Americans are prediabetic, excluding children, actual diabetics, and people from the other one-hundred-and-five countries around the world.  Now imagine if this number could be erased entirely.  Living off a healthy diet without any meat, dairy, eggs, or any other animal products can not only prevent Type One and Type Two Diabetes but also reverse it completely.  After living on a consistent, low-fat plant-based diet for several months, severe diabetics are able to stop taking their medications and many say that their new-found diet works better than their medication ever could (Jad’on).  Not only can a vegan diet prevent both types of diabetes, but it can also lower high cholesterol levels enough to prevent all heart problems.  Dr. Kim Williams, a well-known and trusted cardiologist in Chicago, learned that his “bad” cholesterol level, also known as LDL, was too high and pursued a plant-based diet.  After only six weeks of his new diet, his cholesterol level went from one-hundred-and-seventy milligrams per deciliter to only ninety.  On average, a healthy LDL level is between seventy to one-hundred-and-thirty mg/dl (Deardorff).  According to the Senior Policy Director for Farm Sanctuary, Bruce Friedrich, meat, eggs, and other dairy products contain very high levels of cholesterol, as well as saturated fats.  These not only slow people down and make them less energized, but also can kill them in the long run.  In August of 1999, the American Journal of Cardiology published an article which stated that patients on a plant-based have become “heart attack proof.”  The evidence to this is that all vegan eaters have a cholesterol level below one-hundred-and-fifty milligrams per deciliter, the “level below which no one has ever been documented as having died of a heart attack” (Fallon).

High cholesterol levels also lead to a slowed metabolism and a less energized personality, which causes extreme weight gain.  People on a low-fat vegan diet feel more energized after only two weeks, however with a regular exercise schedule they are even more fit and active.  In order to keep our bodies in working order, we need complex carbohydrates and fibers, which cannot be found in eggs, meats, and other dairy products.  After a few years on a plant-based diet, the majority of asthma patients are able to stop using their inhaler and patients who have angina, severe heart pains, suffer limited attacks (Fallon).  A vegan diet also benefits those with allergies, eventually eliminating them completely.  People with severe acne or other skin problems, like eczema, will have limited skin imperfections.  Robert Conti was diagnosed with an extreme case of multiple sclerosis, causing his shoulders to lose feeling and almost shutting down his urinary tract and bowels.  After only a few short months on a plant-based diet, lead by McDougall Wellness Center, Conti gained control of his shoulders again and is healthier than he has been his whole life, and he is fifty-six-years-old.  His doctor states that he could no longer detect a plaque build-up on Conti’s spinal cord and Conti says that without his vegan diet he would “be using a wheelchair for mobility and eventually require communication aids” (Templeton).

Gary Fraser conducted a study on thirty-five-thousand vegans, testing illnesses from diabetes and terminal illnesses, and heart diseases.  Fraser found that vegans have little to no risk of heart disease, as well as many cancers (Weintraub).  As for heart disease, it is mainly caused by high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat intake which is found primarily in eggs, dairy, and of course, meat.  The American Heart Association restricted the amount of saturated fat consumption to only six percent of one’s daily calories in order to encourage the utilization of polyunsaturated fats, which prevent heart disease, like omega-three and omega-six (Deardroff).  Heather Moore conducted a plethora of research on veganism and the damages to our health and found that regular consumption of egg yolks is “almost as bad for your heart as smoking.”  This is because smoking and egg yolks both accelerate atherosclerosis, a detrimental disease in the arteries which prevents plaque of fatty material to attach to the body’s inner walls.  Heart disease and cancer are clearly caused by meat and dairy, but can easily be prevented by a plant-based diet.  According to Bruce Friedrich, “people who consume animal products are … four percent more susceptible to cancer.”  The risk of colon cancer is three times as likely in meat eaters than in people who follow a vegan diet (Fallon).  Prostate cancer can be reversed or prevented completely with a vegan diet as well (Weintraub).  An anti-vegan advocate, Thea Jourdan, even states that the risk of bowel cancer is increased by one fifth on a carnivorous diet rather than a vegan one (Jourdan).

Cancer is the number two cause of death in America, but obesity is one of the leading factors that contributes to the other main causes of death. More than sixty percent of people in the United States are either obese or overweight (Templeton), however people who live on plant-based diets have the lowest levels of obesity (Weintraub).  Some of the professions that struggle the most from weight problems are veterans and police officers.  The top cause of military ineligibility is obesity; although, once in combat it is almost impossible to live a healthy lifestyle due to the harmful meals filled with saturated fats and other damaging nutrients.  Almost eighty percent of veterans are overweight or obese after entering the military.  The Pentagon spends over one-billion dollars on illnesses related to obesity and heart diseases, and that number does not take into account other health problems like the common cold.  “Law enforcement is the fattest profession in America” and when all police officers, firefighters, and security guards are combined, almost fifty percent of them are obese.  “Police officers are twenty-five times more likely to die from weight-related disorders such as heart disease than from fighting crime.”  Our nation’s healthcare bill totals over two trillion dollars and seventy-five percent of that treats “heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity” (Atcheson).  Veganism has also been proven to help you live longer, due to promoting a healthier life.  According to David Templeton, “a low protein diet during middle age likely is beneficial to prevention of cancer, overall mortality …”  A study made by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey stated that people who eat protein from plant sources are healthier and live longer than anyone who eats other protein sources, like meat (Moore).

Although living a vegan diet is much better than a carnivorous one, it is important to still eat meals with low-fat content.  Vegans and vegetarian who eat primarily pizza, potato chips, and other junk foods are much less healthy than the average meat-eater.  However, if a plant-based diet consists of low-fat meals, it will be much more beneficial to one’s health than a diet filled with meat, eggs, and dairy (Weintraub).  The main argument on many vegan’s minds is that red meat is extremely dangerous to one’s health.  Thea Jourdan argues that red meats have large amounts of myoglobin, “a protein found in the muscles of mammals.”  Many advocates against a plant-based diet believe it is impossible to get enough protein with a vegan diet; however, a study in Cell Metabolism found that a low protein diet is actually beneficial to all of the same things a vegan diet helps (Templeton).  The only nutrient problem facing vegans is ingesting too many carbohydrates, but it is very uncommon for vegans have to high carbohydrate levels and it is easily avoidable (Deardorff).  Sally Fallon believes that marginal land used for corps as opposed to raising animals is more damaging to the land.  Animal hooves help aerate the soil and urine and manure help to fertilize the soil. Bruce Friedrich counters this argument by mentioning how animal excrement carried harmful bacteria to the land (Fallon).  There are numerous beliefs that a vegan diet for adults is detrimental to the health of adults, but the arguments towards vegan infants and children are much more extreme.

The number of vegan children is progressing just as quickly as vegan adults, both moved from three percent in 2010 to over five percent in 2012.  Youth polls typically follow the same paths as adult one’s, so if the number of vegan grown-ups keeps raising, the number of vegan children will as well (Rosen).  One of the main concerns parents have about switching their child to a plant-based diet is whether or not they will receive enough nutrients.  For the first six months after birth, infants are on a strict diet of only breastmilk.  Breastmilk of vegan or vegetarian mothers’ is just as healthy, if not more, than the breastmilk of a woman who eats meat.  

A study was conducted on four-hundred infants and children, where seventy-five percent of those children were birthed by vegan mothers.  It was found that the infants were low in birth weight, however it was not detrimental to any of the children’s health and the numbers were similar to “well-educated United States white women.”  Nutrients in breastmilk are very important to the growth of children because it is filled with vitamins and minerals.  The content of vitamin A, C, and D are all the same in vegan and carnivorous women.  The only difference between the two types of mothers is the saturated fat, eicosapentaenoic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid contents.  In the breastmilk of vegan women, there are lower levels of saturated fat and eicosapentaenoic acid, but higher levels of linoleic acid and linolenic acid.  High levels of linoleic acid make it more difficult to promote the synthesis of docosahexaenoic acid, which is a n-three fatty acid important for the growth of the brain and retina.  This problem is easily avoidable if the mother intakes more food with high levels of linolenic acid, like flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.  The diet path for vegan and carnivorous children are very similar.  After six months of breastfeeding, infants are moved into solid foods.  Whereas solid foods for meat-eating children consist of a high-protein diet of chicken, turkey, and milk, vegan children get their protein from healthier places, like tofu, dried beans, and other soy-based products.

Vegan infants and children may lack certain nutrients in their diets, but it is easily avoidable and very rare.  Children being raised on a vegan diet may need supplements of B12, zinc, iron, and vitamin D. B12 helps support rapid growth in a child, which can help with infants who were born with a low birth weight.  Zinc and iron supplements are usually not needed, but if infants transitioning into solid foods are not getting enough of either minerals in their diet, a supplement may be needed.  Vitamin D is only recommended for children who do not receive enough sun exposure, but they can be raised just by laying the infant in the sun for a few hours per week.  Aside from needing possible supplements, the only other problem that arises is children who are allergic to soy.  For mothers who are unable or who do not want to breastfeed, the only other option for the first six months is a soy-based formula.  A soy-based formula is just as healthy as breastmilk and regular milk; however, there are no other non-dairy formulas on the market that do not include soy (Mangles).  Only 0.4 percent of children are allergic to soy, so a problem has not arisen where we need another dairy-free formula, but eventually it will be important to let all parents have the choice to raise their children on a plant-based diet.

As of 2012, over five percent of adults and children in the United States are vegan.  Avoiding meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products has been proven to be healthier for both adolescents and adults (Rosen).  Plant-based diets make problems like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer completely avoidable.  If information spreads about the health benefits of a vegan diet, less people will die of these diseases, and others.  A plant-based diet is not only healthy for yourself, but also for the lives of animals who are suffering in order to keep the meat and dairy operations alive.  Over three-thousand animals are murdered per second; that is fifty-six billion animals per year (“Food”).  Raising animals for food is damaging land and air, but using this same land for crops will eventually make it more aerial and fertilized.  Overall, a vegan diet is more healthy than a carnivorous one to both the human body, of adults and children, and the lives of innocent animals.

Works Cited

Atcheson, Robert. “Why Real Men Don’t Eat Meat.” USA Today 30 July 2015: n. pag. Print.

Deardorff, Julie. “Top Cardiologist Sparks Debate by Recommending Vegan Diet.” Chicago

Tribune [Chicago, Illinois] 17 Aug. 2014: n. pag. Print.

Fallon, Sally, and Bruce Friedrich. “Debate: Is Veganism a Better Way of Life?” The Ecologist

[Bideford, United Kingdom] Oct. 2011: 1-4. Print.

“Food.” Food. Animal Equality – Activation for Animal Rights, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

<http://www.animalequality.net/food&gt;.

Jad’on, Kelly. “U.S.: 2 Million Children (12-19) Are Pre-Diabetic, Vegan Diet Helpful.” Basil &

Spice [Jebsen Beach, USA] 08 Oct. 2009: n. pag. Print.

Jourdan, Thea. “Why Red Meat Can Be Good For Your Health.” Daily Mail [London] 03 Nov.

2015: n. pag. Print.

Mangels, Anne Reed. “Considerations in Planning Vegan Diets: Infants.” American Dietetic

Association (2001): n. pag. ProQuest. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Moore, Heather. “A Sin Tax on Meat Could Save Lives.” People for the Ethical Treatment of

Animals [Glenview, Illinois] 10 Apr. 2015: n. pag. Print.

Rosen, Jill. “Feeding Children a Vegan Diet Is Gaining Popularity.” St. Cloud Times [St. Cloud,

Minnesota] 27 Mar. 2013: n. pag. Print.

“Soy Allergy – Food Allergy Research & Education.” Soy Allergy – Food Allergy Research &

Education. Food Allergy Research & Education, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/soy-allergy&gt;.

Templeton, David. “Not Just Vegetarian, But Vegan.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania] 1 July 2014: n. pag. Print.

Weintraub, Karen. “Eat Less Meat.” Boston Globe [Boston, Massachusetts] 9 Sept. 2013: n. pag.

Get Chef’d, Go Beyond, and Go #Vegan

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Through my association with BeyondMeat, I had the opportunity to place an order with the online menu/recipe ordering service Chef’d and … I’ve never been more impressed with a meal delivery service. I mean, who sends TWO leaves of Romaine lettuce across the country? AND two RIPE avocados? I can’t even buy a rip avocados at my local grocer.

Chef’d does.

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… and they do it with style.

I placed an order on a Monday for the two new vegan offerings that featured my favorite Beyond Meat. One was the Beast Burger meal and the other was tacos using the beefy crumbles. After placing the order, I chose the optimum day to receive the package (Thursday), received a confirmation and waited.

Thursday arrived along with this bad boy:

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A GIANT orange (be still my graphic designer heart) box. I rushed home and cracked it open to find two recipe cards for my meals (along with free seed packets from Seeds of Change). Under the shiny insulation were two STUFFED bags full of fresh produce and ingredients to make two complete meals (enough to feed 2-4 very hungry people) and under the bags were the BeyondMeat products (still slightly frozen). Chef’d included everything … and I mean everything you needs to prepare an entire meal.

I had some cooking to do!

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Now, obviously, I’ve got experience making BeyondMeat products but what was so nice about this delivery was that it included everything needed to make a complete meal (including fresh tomatoes … who ships ONE fresh tomato?).

Chef’d does.

Chef’d is perfect for busy professionals, families who don’t have time to meal plan AND shop, and people who may live in a more remote location and can’t get all of what they need locally. Heck … it’s perfect for anyone who wants an amazing meal delivered to their doorstep.

Chef’d does the meal planning, recipe development, shopping, and color-photo instructions for you … you are an instant chef! Trust me … your friends will be impressed.

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Of course, I chose the vegan options (which included this incredibly simple champagne vinegar cucumber red onion dill salad … yes, ALL of those ingredients were included) but there are MANY other options for every diet and lifestyle (including gluten-free). Not shown here is the taco meal I ordered which also turned out incredible!

Finally, many of the recipes are created by famous chefs (many of whom are on the Food Network) and all of the recipes/meals would be PERFECT for your holiday dinners and gatherings!

Go Chef’d and …

Go vegan.

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There’s Nuttin’ Ordinary About This #Vegan Cheese

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Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty “connected” in the world of vegan cheeses. From Miyoko’s Kitchen to VioLife, I’ve been very fortunate to always have on-hand any number of flavors or varieties of simple sliced or artisanal variety vegan cheeses. So, when I have an opportunity to try one I’ve never tried before … of course, I jump at the chance,

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Nuttin’ Ordinary is a plant based company in New Hampshire that manufactures naturally dairy-free, naturally-delicious, palate pleasing foods. The company was created after plans to launch a plant based restaurant in NH fell through back in 2011 and now we can all enjoy their inspirational flavors through their innovative line of vegan cheeses.

In 2013 Nuttin’ Ordinary built a commercial kitchen in Harrisville, NH and started producing cashew cheeses that are described as “clean, simple, and great tasting“… and they are truly GREAT TASTING. Sort of a cross between Treeline and Miyoko’s Kitchen, these spreadable cheeses have all the “Umami: the 5th taste” you’d ever expect from an artisan cheese while at home on a simple cracker or melted into a creamy pasta sauce.

Nuttin’ Ordinary continues to grow and is getting ready to launch their plant based cashew filled ravioli, and will be introducing a couple of new products in 2016. They are a true contender in the new plant based cheese industry that continues to expand everyday and I feel so fortunate that I got to try two of their delicious flavors (original and Italian herb) and I will also get to try their Spicy in the coming weeks.

Nuttin’ Ordinary is currently available at Whole Foods in the North Atlantic region (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, RI, and Northern CT) and are also available at co-ops and independent stores throughout New England.

AND … they now have distribution in New York City at Mrs Greens in The West Village and are looking to pick up more locations in the coming months. For more information, visit NuttinOrdinary.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

And, for your health, the environment, and the animals …

Go Vegan.

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A Vegan Dream Come True: Fast Food Across America Veganized

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I get it. There are vegans who will only eat organic sprouted tofu on top of a quinoa kale salad sprinkled with non-gmo goji berries. More power to them. However, from my personal experience, the vast majority of vegans I know love junk food and many have expressed a longing for (convenient) vegan fast food (evidenced by the incredible success of the new Amy’s Drive Thru [@amysdrivethru] in Northern California … open 11.5 hours a day/7 days a week and the line is consistently around the block).

So, ThankTank Creative, in conjunction with MeatyVegan.com, presents the following famous fast food franchises … veganized.

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Avacados BurgerKing DrMcD KFC LittleCaesars PIzzaHut TacoBell VeganDonuts

“There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.”

~ Willy Wonka (from Charlie and the Dark Chocolate Factory)

Go vegan.

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WIN FREE @BeyondMeat! #FindtheChicken

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It’s no secret that I love BeyondMeat. It started with their chicken and has since expanded into their beef (specifically The Beast and the Beastly Sliders). I’ve gotten to a point where I am coming up with recipes just to incorporate one of their products.

I’ve been lucky enough to try them all at this point. All flavors of the chicken strips, the chicken tenders and poppers, the meatballs, beefy crumbles, the sliders, and The Beast. NOW is your chance to try some yourself by entering to win THREE FREE coupons for any of their products.*

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Entering is so easy. All you have to do is click this link to ThankTankCreative.com and then click OUR WORK from the top menu and browse through our designs. Scroll through them until you find the chicken with the 2-digit number across its breast, then use the form on the bottom of the ThankTank Creative website to enter (simply fill out the few fields and insert the 2-digit number in the subject or message box and click SEND). By the way, we are vegan so we never spam.

That’s it!

We will randomly draw one lucky winner on September 1st from all who enter and mail you the coupons! *

Go Vegan.

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* No purchase necessary. Limited to U.S. residents only. One winner chosen via random.org.

WE HAVE A WINNER: Natalie from Colorado won three BeyondMeat coupons! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!

#Periscope and the #Vegan Community 

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Few things in life can compare to watching Leslie Durso make a homemade marinara sauce while being accompanied by her own personal guitarist; live from her Southern California home. 

Or listening to Jason Wrobel belt out rock tunes or sing happy birthday to a fellow vegan at a vegan restaurant. That man can sing. 

Or maybe you’re into watching Eco-Vegan Gal’s Whitney Lauritsen as she walks her dog, takes questions, and provides virtual hugs along the way to anyone tuning in. 

Or perhaps, live from London, you fancy watching the Fat Gay Vegan miss his bus.  

All vegan. All live. And all in the palm of your hand. 

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s Periscope. The new app from the people who brought you Twitter. Downloaded free, and accessed on your smartphone or tablet, Periscope provides voyeuristic access to thousands of live broadcasts from around the world. 

While the individual broadcasting transmits full audio and video (oftentimes with mixed quality results), the viewer (you) can send short chat-style messages to have read (or ignored). While I’ve done one broadcast from the desk of ThankTank Creative (working on a logo design) and got pretty good reviews (@ThankTankCr8), for the most part, I just watch and interact. 

So far in the vegan community, Periscope has found a nice niche in cooking demos, Q&A sessions, community support, and live events. Some of the known names in the vegan world worth watching include:

  • @lesliedurso
  • @jasonwrobel
  • @ecovegangal
  • @tesschallis
  • @joyfulvegan
  • @wtfveganfood
  • @jlfields
  • @veganyakattack
  • @fatgayvegan
  • @thesexyvegan
  • @abigailcoopertv

While any one of these would be entertaining, nothing can compare to the NEW weekly broadcast that showcases the very best of what Periscope has to offer.  

The new, innovative game show from the always-entertaining Brian Patton of The Sexy Vegan fame, called: “Flex Your Foodie.”

Using Periscope’s live streaming video platform, your host Brian Patton, vegan chef and cookbook author asks food trivia questions during his outrageous weekly game show. 

To make the show even more legit, Brian broadcasts from his garage in California. 

Ranging from easy to mind melting, his questions cover everything from corn dogs to cookies, noodles to nasturtium, and everything in between. The first viewer to type the correct answer into the comment box wins prizes from amazing vegan companies like Beyond Meat, Follow Your Heart, Eat Pastry and more!

A quirky, fast paced, highly dramatic battle of brains (and thumbs) ensues every week, while the host sweats his balls off in this non climate-controlled garage — complete with game show sound effects and broadcast-quality title graphics. 

Not only can viewers win awesome prizes but they learn all kinds of rare and interesting food facts. So even the losers are winners! For the most part I just try to trip Brian up with my own distracting comments. He has yet to block me but I’m sure it’s coming. 

To tune into “Flex your Foodie,” just download the free Periscope.tv app to your mobile device, create an account (sign in with your Twitter account), and follow: @thesexyvegan.

“Flex Your Foodie” goes live every Thursday at 7:45 p.m. PDT, and runs about 15 minutes. 

Do you have a favorite Periscope user? Are you broadcasting vegan content? Let me know in the comment box below and, as always …

Go vegan

The Animal Lyrics Project: A #Vegan Exhibition

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Presenting: The Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition

One thing about being vegan and owning a business is you soon discover that all vegan businesses, even those that may consider each other “competition,” work together. Ultimately, we are all on the same mission and anything we can do to make each other successful — leads to an stronger vegan network.

This is why ThankTank Creative invited more than a dozen vegan graphic designers to enter designs into the first Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition. An online gallery of memes (posters) dedicated to music, graphic art, and veganism. Herein is the result of this invitation.

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ALPBaaOctopuses_Garden_FINAL

ALPBarradudaFINAL

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BlackBird_FINAL

ALPCrocodileRockFINAL

ALPGoAskAlice

ALPIamtheWalrusFINAL

ALPIBKarmaChamelion_FINAL

ALPILikeBirdsFINAL

ALPLionSleepsTonight_FINAL

ALPMaandMyMonkey_FINAL

ALPPiggies_FINAL

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ALPWildHorses_FINAL

ALPYearoftheCatFINAL

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Represented in this first round of designs:

“Boris The Spider” ~ The Who

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY:  Kate El-Bizri / www.kateelbizri.com

“Octopus’s Garden” ~ The Beatles

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Shannon Claire Hickman / www.shannonclairehickman.com / Instagram: @anotherhungryvegan

“Barracuda” ~ Heart

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Jennifer Adler / Survival By Design / www.survivalbydesigncards.com / @SBDCards / FB/survivalbydesigncards

“Blackbird” ~ The Beatles

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Laurie Johnston/Two Trick Pony | www.twotrickpony.com | @LauriePony | Instagram: TwoTrickLaurie We are on FB and Pinterest as well

“Crocodile Rock” ~ Elton John

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: ThankTank Creative / MeatyVegan.com

“White Rabbit” ~ Jefferson Airplane

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Anna Magombe Creative Thinking /annamagombe.com / FB/AnnaMagombeCreativeThinking | annamagombe.tumblr.com / @annamagombe

“I Am The Walrus” ~ The Beatles

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: ThankTank Creative / Teenus McManus

“Karma Chameleon” ~ Culture Club

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Carmella Lanni, The Food Duo / TheFoodDuo.com / facebook.com/thefoodduo / @thefoodduo

“I Like Birds” ~ The Eels

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: ThankTank Creative / Teenus McManus

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” ~ The Tokens

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Elana Lavine / Klean-Slate @klean_slate / Klean-Slate.com

“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” ~ The Beatles

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Candice Wanca / www.fiverr.com/candice23

“Piggies” ~ The Beatles

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Holly Mae Taylor: Motion, Digital, Print, and Web Design / HollyMaeTaylor.com

“When Doves Cry” ~ Prince

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Carmella Lanni, The Food Duo / www.TheFoodDuo.com / FB/thefoodduo / @thefoodduo

“Wild Horses” ~ Rolling Stones

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Candice Wanca / www.fiverr.com/candice23

“Year Of The Cat” ~ Al Stewart

DESIGNER NAME/COMPANY: Eric C Lindstrom / ThankTank Creative / ThankTankCreative.com

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Each of these above graphics are optimized to be shared (clicking brings up the source file) as well as proportional to most smartphone screens (they make excellent wallpaper). Promote veganism … promote the vegan lifestyle.

“The moment I began to understand what was going on with the treatment of animals, it led me more and more in the way of the path I am [on] now, which is a complete vegan.'”
~ Bryan Adams

You can read more about the project and designers here as well as browse the full gallery of images in another format on the ThankTankCreative website. Thank you to all the designers who took part in this exhibition and thank you for all you do for the animals.

Please share and comment below and support these designers as they produce beautiful work … for the animals.

Go vegan.

Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition (Working Title)

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vegan poster art

I have always been a fan of great poster art and typography. The way in which type is used to effectively, and hopefully beautifully, communicate a message is the very foundation of design excellence. We often remind our clients that content comes first and that design follows.

“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”

~ Jeffrey Zeldman

This was the inspiration for an online art exhibition we are curating at ThankTank Creative.

The “Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition (Working Title)” is a collection of assorted posters dedicated to three of our favorite things: animals, veganism, and music.

Inspired by lyrics from songs inspired by animals, written by some of the greatest song writers of our time, we are provided  exemplary content to drive our designs.

Not wanting to have all the fun ourselves (and wanting to make sure we didn’t end up with 10 orange posters), we invited nine other vegan designers to come on board to show of their design chops and to help this exhibit be as diverse as the song titles themselves. The list of designers, so far:

The “Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition (Working Title)” will officially go live on/around July 15th and be featured on numerous vegan blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and through numerous respected media channels. Our hope is that these graphics will be shared and re-shared, promoting great design as well as the message of veganism.

Do you have an animal lyric you’d love to see turned into poster art? Comment below and, as always …

Go vegan.

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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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BeyondMeat Helper Classic Vegan Cheeseburger Glutenfree Macaroni

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I’ll admit it. When I was an omnivore, I used to eat Hamburger Helper. Partly because it was easy to make but also partly because it is so damn delicious. Saute the meat, add the pouch, pour in the water, add the noodles, cover and pace around for 25 minutes while it became a meal as delicious as an angel’s wing.

I don’t eat meat anymore. Nor angels.

But, I am a BeyondMeat fan and, in addition to their chicken strips (and nuggets and The Beast), they make a delicious beefy crumble. Perfect addition to chili, vegan shepard’s pie, and now, my masterpiece: The BeyondMeat Helper Classic Vegan Cheeseburger Glutenfree Macaroni.

The name alone is a mouthful.

To get the party started, finely chop one white onion (think about those onions hidden under the bun of your favorite fast food burger). Saute in a little olive oil until very soft (probably 10 minutes on medium heat). Now put your meat in them. One bag of BeyondMeat beefy crumbles and stir clockwise. Add a little water to keep things moist and at the end add a big squirt of organic ketchup. Stir and set aside.

Bring to boil 4 quarts of salted water to cook your pasta (penne, elbows or spirals). We use only Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice pasta in our house. Cook until done, drain and set aside.

In your 4-quart pot, bring to a simmer a cup of soy (or any non-dairy) milk and stir in one shredded block (or shredded bag) of your favorite vegan cheese (I use VioLife). Stir frequently as this will quickly become a sticky sauce. Just as it looks perfect (add more milk if needed) add salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of nooch. Keep stirring as your assistant pours in the pasta. Keep stirring. Did I say stop?

Once the pasta is fully coated in cheese, stir in the BeyondMeat mixture and serve immediately (as if you wanted to wait). Tastes just like a cheeseburger … doesn’t it?

You’re welcome.

Go vegan.

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