Monday, December 19, 2011

Anatomy of an apology: Daiya makes nice

I was so furious when Daiya Cheese posted a video entitled “Being FAT is now illegal in Japan”. Each fat hating comment and stereotype fueled this anger, which is why I quickly wrote up a blot post about it (and posted on facebook and emailed the company). The only thing I was seeing on their facebook page was empty apologies that clearly did not understand why people were upset.

When I got an email from Daiya Cheese requested my phone number so the CEO could give me a call, I knew it was a good sign. When I talked with Greg, CEO, and Andre from the company, my fire was completely put out. While Greg had a good explanation for not being around when the controversy started and being unaware of it, he did not use it as an excuse. Instead, he sincerely apologized for what happened. He told me exactly how he was going to remedy the situation. They were creating a code of conduct for facebook and would delete the really hateful posts by others. He was clearly frustrated with the social media employee, who up until that time had done a good job. He promised to give her training to understanding why the video post was so insulting to others. Andre shared with me his past of being bullied and they both shared how the hateful message from the video post goes directly against what they believe and what the company is about. What a relief!

I felt listened to. The apology was heartfelt. There were no excuses, just accountability. They were being proactive to remedy the situation and were addressing people’s concerns. They kept asking for my feedback and made sure I knew that their doors were open for further communication. I was impressed! Here is a video of Greg apologizing for the incident so you can see for yourself.

Companies have a human component, especially the smaller ones. I understand mistakes can happen. We all make them. To me it is more important how a mistake is handled, than what the mistake itself was. My hope it that this is a learning opportunity for everyone involved, especially the social media person. Daiya Cheese has won me back as a customer and I have new respect for them as a company.

Although there was a lot of hate being smeared across their facebook page, there was also a lot of people speaking up and showing me that fat vegans and their allies are out there and have a beautiful voice. It was nice feeling connected to them and even made some new facebook friends and was introduced to a new blog. I can’t convince every one to be open to the truth and be considerate, but at least I could find others who live like my motto; health at every size, respect for every body.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Daiya Cheese posts video that promotes fat hate - Updated!

UPDATE: Today I talked with Greg, the CEO, and Andre from Daiya cheese and I left our conversation feeling the company is in the process of taking appropriate measures to resolve the hurtful video posting on facebook and make sure situations like this do not happen again. I will be sure to blog about follow through of these measures and feel very confident that the company is sincerely good and will remedy the situation.

Daiya cheese just posted a video on their facebook page titled “Being FAT is now illegal in Japan” and then asked, “Should this be adopted in North America?” People have been commenting like mad, both upset and agreeing. Many comments were downright insulting and inappropriate. Daiya then did a post saying they did not want to offend anyone, just encourage a discussion. They obviously still do not get it.

By posting this video, Daiya is leading a discussion that promotes hatred. The idea of making fat people illegal contributes to stereotypes that we are all lazy and eat unhealthy. It contributes to the shaming of fat people and tells us they we need to change. It does not ask important questions; such as can you be fit and fat? The answer is YES!

You can see this when reading the comments by others. I get so enraged seeing how rampant fat hatred is and how quickly our concerns are dismissed and made fun of. People are not just speaking their mind; they are attacking me. I have been fat as long as I have been conscious of my existence, been fit majority of that time and vegan over 15 years. I have experienced people’s stereotypes and have been targeted for my size in ways you could not imagine. This includes, ironically, having a hamburger thrown at me during a mcdonalds protest and names slung at me by a car passing me as a bike up a huge hill.

Corporations have been profiting from people’s insecurities and promote unhealthy diets and unattainable bodies. As a result, our society is filled with eating disorders and bad body image. There is a solution. Promoting a healthy diet and exercise, along with body confidence, will contribute to a healthier population. A person’s size has no relevance in the talk about health. As a society, we should focus on health at every size and respect for every person.

On Daiya’s wall I posted that they should educate themselves about this issue, and even volunteered myself to be contacted to do so. Their response? A thank you for my post and that I can email them at any time. What! Wasn’t I already contacting them? And isn’t it their responsibility to educate themselves and correct their ignorance? I try to give companies a chance for a positive response since I have been at the other side of controversy before, but their response it not acceptable. Please join me in telling Daiya their post and behavior is irresponsible and not acceptable. Daiya should educate themselves why this post is considered offensive to so many and make a true apology. Email them at

And if you personally would like to know more about this topic, feel free to contact me, or check out some of the links below.

Big Fat Facts

Health At Every Size

Dances with Fat Blog

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pumpkin Baking

I went to a housewarming party last month and had been wanting to try and make pumpkin bundt cake. Well, I couldn't find my bundt pan so I ended up using the same recipe I developed to bake into cupcakes. I then glazed them simply with powdered sugar whisked with a little vanilla and coconut milk. I am not a huge pumpkin fan, but I do love ginger so I made sure to add just as much ginger as cinnamon and I think this helped me enjoy the cupcakes, along with the extra moisture from the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

3 Tb. Flaxseed Meal
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Oil
1 cup Unrefined Cane Sugar
1 cup canned Pumpkin Puree
1/4 cup Molasses
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Soy, Almond or Coconut Milk
2 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp ground Ginger
1 Tb. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

Combine the flax and water and let stand a few minutes. Cream together the oil and sugar, then add the pumpkin, molasses, vanilla and milk. Add the flax/water mixture to the other wet ingredients. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to wet and mix until just combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. Bake 40 minutes for 9-inch cakes and 50-60 minutes for a loaf pan.

* For gluten free, use 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour, 3/4 cup sweet white rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch and 2 tsp guar gum for flour. This has not been tested in this recipe, but it has worked in other cake recipes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Thanksgiving story and some favorite recipes

Looks like Obama's daughter may get there is something wrong with eating turkey.
- Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

My very first all vegan Thanksgiving was about 15 years ago. I was in college and talked my family into allowing me to make the entire meal, so it would all be vegan. My sister picked me up in Eugene to head to Portland and she broke the news that my parents had a "thanksgiving" meal the week before since they would be missing out that year.

I was devastated! I loved my family and was glad to be visiting, but the whole point of me working so hard to create a delicious vegan meal was to save a turkey! This is the biggest fight I can remember having with my parents as an adult. I was over the top agry, and they were apologetic. The next 10 years, I don't think they ever ate turkey, so it may have made up for the life taken so many years back.

My parents are not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I will say they have been tremendously supportive of my activism over the years. This even includes when I get arrested or clubbed by a police officer (during the Seattle WTO protests)! Ok, that last part actually made my dad super proud!

Anyway, in case you are still desperate to find the perfect Thanksgiving recipes, here are some of my personal recipes I use every year.

Stuffing (my personal must-have Thanksgiving dish)

Thanksgiving Gluten Roast (bottom of post) or Miso-Maple Tofu

"Buttermilk" Biscuits

Pumpkin Pie

Monday, October 10, 2011

Creamy Cannellini and Kale Soup

I discovered small sun dried tomato bits in the bulk spice section of a local market and thought they would be great to use in all sorts of culinary applications. The first thing I thought of was soup! I wrote out this recipe on a whim during the summer months, and finally the weather is cooling down to give me the opportunity to actually give it a go. Yum! The flavors go well together and are simple enough that they do not compete. Hope you enjoy it as well!

Creamy Cannellini and Kale Soup

1 Tb Olive Oil

1/4 cup Shallots, chopped

4 cloves Garlic, minced

2 – 15 oz. cans Cannellini Beans

4 cups Vegetable Broth

2 head Kale, chopped

½ cup Sun Dried Tomato pieces

Salt to taste

Sauté the olive oil, shallots and garlic until golden. Place the beans in a food processor along with the sautéed shallots and garlic and blend. Add broth until it's a smooth consistency. Add contents into a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the remaining broth, kale and sun dried tomatoes. cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Add salt to taste before serving.

* If you are unable to find smaller sun dried tomato bits, you can use the regular size and just use scissors to cut them a little smaller. Using sun dried tomatoes that are not in the oil works best.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An inside perspective

I’ve been having trouble writing this, but I think it is important. I am not sure if I can express the frustration I feel about this issue, but I will try my hardest. I don't want people to think I am attacking, but I hope my inside perspective can be helpful. Not everyone will agree with me, but that is ok. I have worked at Bob’s Red Mill for over 8 years and I know Bob personally. I know he has a big heart, is compassionate and truly cares about his employees and people’s health. When it was announced the other week that Bob donated $25 million to form an institute of nutrition and wellness through OHSU, I thought it could be a really good thing. The idea that any money could go to animal research did not occur to me, until The Oregonian quoted OHSU referring to the Primate Research Center. I don’t think Bob himself considered that OHSU would use some of the money to fund animal research.

“The Informed Vegan” blog posted an article titled “Bob’s Red Mill Funds Animal Testing”. Suddenly all over the web, animal rights activists were responding by commenting on Bob’s Red Mill facebook page, sending emails, calling and writing letters. Everyone took the blog post face value, which was filled with misinformation. For one, Bob and Charlee Moore made the donation, not Bob's Red Mill. They may be the founders, but a couple years ago Bob announced he was giving the company to the employees. This transition is still ongoing, but employees due now hold stake in the company.

Knowing Bob, it broke my heart to see all the negative reactions from activists. As an activist, it broke my heart that people did not educate themselves more or try and approach their concerns in a manner that was more productive, rather than just react and vent. Bob isn’t directly involved in facebook, yet a post about a fundraiser dog wash for Dove Lewis Animal Hospital where employees were volunteering that weekend were taken over by comments concerning this issue. When a post suggested people send Bob a letter to be most effective, a response was that Bob’s Red Mill was trying to silence the public. People were assuming the worse, when in fact, writing a letter was the best way to get through to Bob. The company was encouraging feedback so Bob could hear from the public and make a decision about this issue in a responsible way. People were calling for a boycott of Bob’s Red Mill products before Bob could even respond to the question of animal testing.

Bob and Charlee did announce this week that no funds would go towards animal research. The main goal of the institute is outreach and education. I heard many activists vocalizing concern that the donation would free up money so OHSU could spend more on animal research anyway. This was not a blanket donation. The donation will create a new institute and will only fund it specifically. There was also concern OHSU would not honor the Moore's decision, but it is a legally binding. I completely understand how people hate OHSU. It is sad that the top-notch medical schools are so wrapped up in animal testing. These same schools have more access to the public, however, so education programs through them can reach more people and have a larger impact. I’ve personally had both my sisters saved by the medical doctors at OHSU when no other hospital could help them. They were not saved by animal testing, but they were saved by the hospital’s status and ability to hire good doctors.

It is really easy to hate. It is really easy to tell people what they should or shouldn’t have done. But the problem is when a response is so negative, then those targeted for the message may miss what you are saying. Bob may have heard that there are a lot of people against animal research, but he may have also seen animal rights activists as mean and unreasonable. I personally felt I was in the middle of trying to calm down activists to communicate concern effectively, while try trying to calm down coworkers getting frustrated with being attacked.

There are times when anger and yelling your message is needed for a campaign. And then there are times when a more diplomatic approach is needed. The best approach to an issue needs to be considered before action, both on an individual level, as well as an organized effort. Bob has supported the vegan community in the past and donates to a lot of animal sanctuaries and other community organizations. Communicating with respect and giving him a chance to respond would have been more effective for the desired outcome, and represented activists in a positive light. Although there are people who will never be happy about Bob’s donation, he’s giving up his life’s work to invest in the future wellbeing of others. Even if you don’t agree with where the money is going, hopefully you can acknowledge his generosity.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodby Friday Harbor Labs, Hello Vida Vegan Con!

I did not want to leave San Juan Island! No matter how much I complained about the cafeteria food, being around nature everyday, having close encounters with killer whales and learning a subject matter that I care so much about, felt incredibly right. I had envisioned myself being on the island doing work with the whales, and having just a taste, I know I will be back. I made many friends who I’d never guess I would connect so well with. I was shocked to find myself in a place of sadness when I got home. Of course it was great seeing my beloved kitties and rats. It was wonderful sleeping in my own bed. I am looking forward to cooking a real meal. But the experience was so profoundly amazing and exactly what I wanted to be doing, I mourned that it was over. There will be more of these experiences. The class at Friday Harbor Labs was just the beginning, but I am missing being there greatly.

Where I spend many hours looking for and watching Southern Resident Killer Whales

My transition to Portland started off with all those feelings, and I had the Vida Vegan Con blogger conference to attend the next day. I had been looking forward to the conference, but I never had a chance to really process my feelings of being back. I had a momentary breakdown when I first got there and started to talk with people. But I collected myself and went to a panel on positive blogging. Before the talk began, a woman saw my nametag and told me she had been looking for me. She had read my guest post on the conference website and complimented me on it. This random compliment from a stranger transformed me, and suddenly, being home wasn’t so bad after all. I enjoyed the positivity panel and looked forward to more talks. The next day, I gave a talk about activism and was again feeling great being back in Portland. Everyone was so incredibly nice and knowledgeable and welcoming. I talked with Jasmin Singer from Our Hen House and did an interview for a pod cast. I was impressed by her eloquent speaking ability and how nice she is. The whole experience was a wonderful reminder that there is community all over the place if you just open your heart to it. And my depressing transition back home suddenly became an empowering experience.

Thanks to all the organizers of the conference. Jess, Michelle and Janessa are all fabulous hard-working women who know how to create an amazing event. I was able to make up for the 5 weeks of bad food in the two days I was at the conference, eating a lot of flavorful meals and sweet desserts. It was also fantastic to see so many of my friends at once while being welcomed back home. And the swag bag from the conference is also something to talk about! Damn! I never received so many free things before. I am now the proud owner of a pepper grinder. I love pepper!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Once again it is all about whales and cafeteria food

It is hard to balance criticism and appreciation sometimes. I really appreciate how hard the cafeteria at Friday Harbor Labs works to provide for all the different dietary needs of the students and staff. I am however, tired of no thinking outside the box. No tofu scramble or even a potato veggie medley. Everything is so carb heavy and I have only seen whole grains for lunch or dinner maybe twice. They were not kidding that I would want to supplement my protein since there is vegan protein available in meals less than 25% of the time. And 90% of those times it is garbanzo beans. Variety please!

Sadly, I don’t always trust what they make for me.
Majority of the cafeteria staff has been super nice. One woman, however, gives all cafeteria a bad name. She once grabbed a bowl of strawberries I had for dessert from my tray to give to a gluten free person, and told me I could have the angel food cake. I had to argue to convince her it was not vegan and so she then told me gluten free people never get dessert so I should still relinquish my strawberries. I only get dessert if they have sorbet and can tell me the ingredients. That has happened twice. Gluten free people can have ice cream and they even have special gluten free cookies for them. Just saying.

One gripe I have with the cafeteria actually has nothing to do with me. I believe that if someone has a deathly allergy to an ingredient (such a one student's peanut allergy) they should not cook with that ingredient while the person is needing the dining services. The student doesn't feel comfortable eating there for the entire day due to cross contact concerns alone, which is completely understandable.

I am sure you can tell that I am getting tired of over 3 weeks of just cafeteria food. I miss my cooking! And choice! I hope to borrow my TA’s kitchen this weekend to make a tofu scramble, and am looking forward to it.

In other news, San Juan Island is still awesome! I am doing a behavioral project of orcas and their breaching behavior, so that means driving out to the west side every day and look for them. The beginning of August they headed west and left town for almost a week, but suddenly they are back and I have had extreme luck in seeing them for a few days in a row now, while sitting out in the beautiful (but not too hot) sunshine. The other day a cool thing happened. A very small pod of orcas (about 4 of them) headed south and they seemed to have different behavior than I am use to seeing and a male orca has a super large curved dorsal fin. A classmate suggested these were transients, and she was right. After watching them for about 15 minutes, suddenly a large pod of resident orcas headed north into our view. The transients were kinda boring, but the resident orcas put on a show right away. There were breaches all over the place and then they started to forage for fish and did more breaches, and tail slaps and spy hops. It was great!!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 1 at Friday Harbor Labs (with Orcas)

I have been on San Juan Island for a week now and it was been an adventure! I have done prey sampling in False Bay, surveys for marine birds and mammals from the ferry, identified all the different types of gulls and cormorants, and most excitably; watched a pod of orcas pass by the cliff we were on very close to shore!

I went from an 8–5 office job to field trips, going out on boats, experiencing nature on a daily basis, walking through the campus a lot and trying to stay awake during lecture. I love it! It is fun to push my boundaries and do new things. It is empowering to drive a motor boat for the first time. It is exciting to learn so much about the wildlife around me.

The campus is centered fairly close to Friday Harbor along the water. Deer roam freely and eat all day long. One morning I saw 10 deer before breakfast. I get to see kingfishers fly by and barn swallows all over the place. I heard a rumor that river otters frequent the campus as well, but I won’t believe it until I see it.

The dining staff has been incredibly accommodating for my vegan diet, along with other people’s various dietary needs. I have seen everything from vegan pizza to stuffed peppers to roasted sweet potato. The sad thing is, so much of the food is incredibly carb-heavy. It has already been a week and I am getting tired of it. Who knew I became so whole grain based! I am missing my quinoa! Although I am missing much more than quinoa, whole grains is what I am lacking the strongest it. I might even have to talk with the cafeteria to not only suggest using whole grains, but ask her to not make me special lunches, and just give me hummus for the salad bar.

Considering how great everything else is here, that issue pales in comparison. I look forward to the many more weeks ahead of me learning more about birds and mammals and exploring the island! And of course any opportunity to see orcas. That can be a matter of luck, and today I had a lot of it, spending 3 hours at Lime Kiln Park and seeing pods of the killer whales almost at all times. Check out more of my photos at my flickr account.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My wildlife adventure begins!

The next 5 weeks I will be living in a dorm on San Juan Island taking a class on ecology and conservation of marine birds and mammals. I am fulfilling a dream of mine to get back into wildlife biology and pursue a career in which I hope to help animals, especially marine mammals. This is the first step and in the fall I am going to school full time and quitting my day job.

I will not have access to a kitchen at all. Even though I have not been cooking as much lately due to a hectic schedule, I hate the idea of not having that option. I will instead be eating dorm food. They have a vegetarian option, but not vegan, although they know a vegan will be staying there. I have been assured there will be hummus every day and a salad bar, and oatmeal, so I can't do too bad. I am also bringing up some marinated tofu, tofurky, almond butter, trail mix and dandies to help supplement my food supply. I really hope I have a chance to roast those dandies!

So I will report back on the dorm food, but most importantly, my adventures on the island. I plan to see lots of orcas and spend many nights watching the breathtaking sunset at San Juan Island park. I hope to meet lots of great people and make connections for my future career. I want to take lots of pictures of the deer, porpoises, eagles and foxes that grace the island (or shores). I will allow this time to reinvigorate my passion of animal rights and trying to create a world a better place. And I am so excited to see if all transpire!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh PETA, how you annoy me!

PETA is sexist and fatphobic. They degrade anyone they can in order to further their message of animal rights. I could go on for days (or pages) about how PETA hurts the animal rights community (and message) with their use of women to “sell” animal rights, or how degrading fat people with their hate hurts their chances of people listening, and how as a fat vegan I am completely disgusted with their treatment of people.

I have heard the arguments about how so many people got involved in animal issues due to PETA, and how the fact they are so accessible allows animal rights to reach more people. There are organizations that can do all the good things PETA does, without all the bullshit. Whenever discrimination and hate is used in a campaign to support animals- it is not effective and harms the movement.

But this isn’t even what I want to discuss today. I read an article about how vegan food is being provided in San Francisco prisons- that is great! Regardless of where a person is on earth, they should be given the option of eating vegan. However, PETA was given credit for this change due to a large protest in the 90s that resulted in mass arrests. PETA had nothing to do with this action, which was a sit-in at Neiman Marcus because they sell fur.

I was arrested that day along with individuals from a large community of smaller animal rights organizations wanting to see the end of the fur trade and made their way to San Francisco for support. We did not have funding from a large organization and we were coming together as a collective to make a difference. PETA was not involved in any way, and them getting credit for this action corrupts what we were doing. PETA is not a community player. If you try to talk with them about the hateful message they perpetrate through campaigns, they will respond by ignoring you, sending form letters or attack.

I felt I had to say something because so often in the media (or assumptions by prison officials), those with the money get the credit. This happens in the corporate world all the time, and happens with PETA way too often. There are so many hard working individuals (and smaller groups) who really care about animal rights and want to make a difference for the world. To me, individuals make a larger impact than non-profits who spend half their revenue on fund-raising. You don’t need to put up a billboard with naked women and controversy to get a message across.

The presence of all the smaller organizations that day, coming together from all over the west coast to form such a strong community was amazing! I miss those days where a united effort drew people in from all over to take a stand and make a difference. There are still lots of organizations out there, so please find one that resonates with you and not let PETA represent what animal rights is all about.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

White Beans & Cream Chili

Even though the summer is thinking of coming to Oregon (at least it is finally spring weather!) I was still craving something warm to eat. I discovered when I had pneumonia earlier this year that consuming warm foods really did help, and when I drank ice water (my favorite!) my body was not too happy. The last few days I’ve been feeling like I am fighting to stay healthy, so this chili seemed like a good answer. I get bored with soups and chili sometimes, but the addition of green chilies and the vegan sour cream really brought out the flavors. Enjoy!

White Beans & Cream Chili

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 medium Zucchini, chopped
1 medium Yellow Squash, chopped
1 Tb Olive Oil
28 oz. White Beans (any variety)
14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 Vegan Bouillon Cube
2 cups Water
8 oz. Diced Green Chilies
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic Granules
½ tsp Cumin
6 oz. Vegan Sour Cream

Sauté the chopped vegetables in the oil over medium-high heat until almost soft. Add the beans, tomatoes, bouillon cube, water, green chilies and spices. Cook about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add more water if you would like it to be more of a soup consistency. Add the sour cream and blend into ingredients. Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the chili is the desired temperature.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Portland Folks - Blind Cafe is Back!

This week, The Blind Cafe comes back to Portland, and I highly recommend the experience! Read about my first experience from December to see what to expect. I think I especially love this idea since it introduces people to a new perspective. It challenges you to find comfort in an unfamiliar place using different senses than usual- all while enjoying vegan and gluten free food.

I really appreciate the fact that the entire menu is vegan (since otherwise I would not be able to participate) and that some proceeds benefit the Portland blind community. To find out more and to purchase tickets, check out their website.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Portland's 2011 Vegan Iron Chef

Last year’s Vegan Iron Chef in Portland was quite the event! Three amazing vegan chefs competed for the 1st annual competition, which was sold out and enjoyed by many. Prizes were given away to audience members, excitement was in the air in anticipation as to what the contestants would prepare, and the vegan community was celebrated. The organizers of Vegan Iron Chef out did themselves by putting together such an exceptional event. And that was just the first year!

July 10th will be the 2nd annual Vegan Iron Chef, and the tickets are selling fast! Make sure to get yours before they are all gone, since I guarantee they will sell out. This year’s contestants include Piper from Kitchen Dances, Jeff with Homegrown Smoker and Morgan with Dovetail Bakery.

The new website for Vegan Iron Chef was also just announced, and it is beautiful! Check out my Vegan Joys recipe featured on the website, since I am sure you will love them if you didn’t see them originally posted on my blog. There are also instructions for making your own vanilla; something I’ve been meaning to try for quite awhile.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegan Celebrity Smackdown

Natalie Portman recently told the world that she is no longer vegan, sighting her pregnancy and the difficulty to curb cravings with sweets and getting proper nutrition as the reasoning. While Natalie admits that people do have successful pregnancies as a vegan, I guess she doesn’t care enough to give it a go. Getting proper nutrition, regardless of diet, can be difficult in a world of processed foods, and even more so for a pregnant woman. However, eating a vegan diet is a great way to eat a healthy diet and just a little bit of planning will allow you to get all your needed nutrients.

It appears to me that Natalie is sidelining her morals for pure laziness. Celebrities have the money and resources to be successfully vegan, no matter the circumstances. Vegan indulgences such as cake, cookies and ice cream would be easy for her to obtain as well. She has the privilege to make a conscious decision to continue following her previous decision to not contribute to animal suffering.

I think the reason this makes me so mad (besides the fact she is contributing to the suffering of animals and knows better) is that fact she is saying to the world that veganism is difficult, that having morals is not enough to be successfully vegan and that it is okay to harm animals with your choices. Maintaining a vegan diet may be hard in some circumstances, but being pregnant in Hollywood definitely does not count.

Natalie is the second celebrity within the last six months to admit to cheating or going off a vegan diet. Late last year, Al icia Silverstone admitted to cheating on a vegan diet by eating cheese while drinking at parties. Al icia has claimed herself as a spokesperson for veganism and profits from talking and writing about a vegan diet. While some people argue that she is human and her cheese-eating just shows people that mistakes can happen and that is okay, I think she is demonstrating that veganism isn’t that significant. She is downplaying the important decision of choosing a vegan diet for the animals, the planet and our own bodies.

No one is perfect. We are all human. Al l we can do is the best we are capable of. I would rather someone be mostly vegan than not vegan at all. But I do think celebrities who stamp themselves vegan have a responsibility to not give veganism a bad name. Or dismiss it by cheating when they feel like it. These individuals are turning their back on a decision to treat animals with respect by not eating them or contribute to their suffering. This gives a message that you don’t need to take veganism seriously, which is not true at all. Hopefully the public can recognize the faults in these people, not a vegan lifestyle.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup

I was the last at my work to get sick this season, but I didn't just get a cold, I got pneumonia. I am still not 100% yet, but am doing much better. While sick, I did not eat too much, but soups were a staple. Mostly I ate canned soups (which I don't think are very good) but when I had a little more energy I did get around to making my own. My original idea was a potato dill soup, but somehow that turned to this instead. Get your soup on before the sun comes back.

*Please excuse the bad photo. I forgot to take a pic with my good camera before eating the last of it at work.

Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup

3 cups Potatoes, chopped
1 Red Onion, chopped
2 medium Zucchini, chopped
3 small Squash, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tb. Vegan Margarine
1/2 tsp Garlic Granules
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
3 cups Coconut Milk (I used So Delicious)
2 cups Broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until soft. Drain off liquid until there is about 1/2 cup of water still in pot. Mash potatoes until half mashed, half has some texture. Add half margarine, garlic granules and nutritional yeast. Set aside.

Saute the onion in half the margarine until soft. Add the garlic, zucchini and squash and cook until slightly browned. Add the potato mixture, coconut milk and broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat until hot and serve with bread or a salad.