Sign up for my newsletter for an early look at upcoming titles and events!

Entries tagged with “vegan stuff

OK OK OK. I was going to stay out of the whole Lierre Keith getting a pie in the face thing because (1) Lierre Keith is probably (and hopefully, gawd) at 14:54 in terms of her 15 minutes of fame, and prolonging that seems like a disservice to critical thought and also the world as a whole; (2) I’ve admittedly only read of her book what’s available free on the internet and/or been quoted on the PPK; (3) I’m not entirely convinced the whole thing wasn’t simply a publicity stunt and, finally, (3) I have a reasonable suspicion she has Google Alerts set up for herself and in case she’s a reader of FM/thinking about purchasing Running with the Pack I wouldn’t want to discourage her. Don’t second-guess yourself, Lierre! The werewolf story I wrote has an ex-vegetarian as a character! You’d love it!

But! A member of the PPK has put up a .pdf of an elegant, devastating critique of some of the silliest claims in Lierre Keith’s junk-science manifesto, The Vegetarian Myth, and I couldn’t resist plugging it. Here’s a sample:

The Claim: “Understand: agriculture was the beginning of global warming. Ten thousand years of destroying the carbon sinks of perennial polycultures has added almost as much carbon to the atmosphere as industrialization, an indictment that you, vegetarians, need to answer. No one has told you this before, but that is what your food—those oh so eco-peaceful grains and beans—has done.” (P. 250)

The Reality: Much of Lierre’s book is borrowed from Richard Manning, a well-respected environmentalist and author. Manning understands that human dependence on grain monoculture is not a result of the small percentage of concerned people who decide to be vegetarian, but is rather a historical mistake of which we all share the burden of repairing. Despite Lierre’s insistence, vegans do not need to eat grains nor any sort of annual crop. Why did she target vegans when compared to average corn-fed Americans, vegans consume much less grain?

On the topic of climate change, Lierre fails to address that regardless of type of feed or forage, ruminant animals emit an abundance of methane. She, along with other grass-fed proponents, point out that growing pasture sequesters carbon in the subsoil and claim that farms like Polyface are carbon-neutral. However, she ignores the fact that soil only retains a limited quantity of carbon—once pasture is healthy, it is carbon stable. Any pasture-based livestock production contributes, pound-for-pound of meat, to climate change as much (if not more) than conventional livestock production—an indictment that you, Lierre, need to answer.

Yeah. I think the best part is how reasonable the authors are while discussing the outrageous misinformation presented as fact in Lierre’s Weston Price-sanctioned screed (a “fair and balanced” source to be sure, coo-coo-claiming as they do that the ideal diet contains such things like brains ground up into your casseroles and adding heavy cream to infant formula, no joke). So check out the link above of the first chapter of her book. Read it for yourself. There’s all sorts of wisdom-nuggets like:

Despite what you’ve been told, and despite the earnestness of the tellers, eating soybeans isn’t going to bring [chinooks, bison, grasshopper sparrows, grey wolves] back. Ninety-eight percent of the American prairie is gone, turned into a monocrop of annual grains.

Shit. Pretty much every single vegan site promotes that fundamental tenant of veganism: eating soy brings back extinct/endangered species! With such a devastating critique of “the vegetarian myth” I think I’ll go right out and eat a burger! See, before I discovered Lierre Keith, I thought that a ton of the grains grown in America fed livestock, not people. . . oh, wait, that’s actually true. But who cares? Moving on:

By turning from adult knowledge, the knowledge that death is embedded in every creature’s sustenance, from bacteria to grizzly bears, they [vegans] would never be able to feed the emotional and spiritual hunger that ached in me from accepting that knowledge. Maybe in the end this book is an attempt to soothe that ache myself.

Probably so, Lierre. In the meantime, I’ll remain here in childlike-reasoning-land, where I make a distinction between living creatures who cannot feel pain (bacteria) and living creatures who can (um, grizzly bears), and make informed decisions based on that infantile assumption. Actually, why am I even still talking about this? The folks who wrote the above .pdf already covered it:

The Claim: “I built my whole identity on the idea that my life did not require death…Did the lives of nematodes and fungi matter? Why not? Because they were too small for me to see?” (P. 18, discussed throughout the book)

In Reality: This is a straw man argument. These views are not held by most vegans. The goal of veganism is to eliminate direct, unnecessary suffering at the hands of humans–not to magically end all death. Why shouldn’t the cow with its undeniable ability to suffer take precedence over plants and organisms with limited or non-existent nervous systems such as the nematodes Keith frets about in this book?

Yeah, well, so. ‘Nuff said.

John and I consider our veganniversary to be February 14th, but that’s not entirely accurate. It’s only part of the story. The truth of the matter is that we decided to go vegan on Valentine’s Day, then spent the next few days eating up the non-vegan perishable food in our fridge. But the decision was on the 14th, and thus we honor it every year with a small celebration.

Well, this year, time got away from us, so we’re celebrating today! The 14th just had too much going on: Jesse’s b-day, Valentine’s, and I’ve been less than energetic due to the sore throat I’ve been nursing for a week now (going to the doctor tomorrow if it’s not better, ugh). We had planned to go to the local Chinese vegan buffet over at TsingTao, but then I got a Facebook message that our beloved vegan-friendly pizzeria, Sun Deli, is launching its new lineup of vegan bestitutes, thus prompting a need to go and eat there, instead. Now they don’t just have vegan ranch dressing, vegan cheezy breadsticks, vegan Caesar dressing, three types of vegan cheese (the ubiquitous Follow Your Heart, the melty-soy-free-wonder that is Daiya, and a house-made almond ricotta), house-made seitan pepperoni and sausage, but starting today they will also have tempeh, Gardein “chicken,” and maybe some other stuff! We thought we had it good in Tallahassee when our local pizzeria would make us cheeseless pizza–and we did–but we had no idea.

I guess that’s why I love celebrating my veganniversary (four years!) so much–it’s so fun to be vegan!

I haven’t posted about food-related stuff for a while, so let’s get down to it. First, I want to give a shout-out (the “big ups corner” spot for the week) to Divvies, a company I just discovered because they had a big basket of their cookies at Whole Foods. They are completely awesome! I tried the choco-chip cookies, but I’mma try others next time I go back, to be sure. I really like their slogan: “made to share!” Friendly, and much appreciated I’m sure by anyone in an office or at a party who’s vegan or has egg, dairy, or peanut allergies. They make cookies, candy (chocolates, jawbreakers, and gummy stars, to name a few), and cupcakes. Check ’em out!

As for me, I haven’t been cooking as much variety as of late– mostly I just do rice and tofu and veggies for dinner these days– but I did make a kick-ass pizza the other night, with the cashew goat cheese I made during VeganMoFo, thinly sliced pears, black pepper, and some seitan browned with some shallots, and that was fucking delicious. That said, I actually bothered to document a food experiment last night (!) that eclipsed pretty much anything I’ve made of late. I got the base recipe here, after doing an internet search for seitan satay, but I modified it and used a different methodology, which I’ve outlined below:

Seitan Satay

1 large shallot or two small, peeled and cut into chunks

4 garlic cloves, ends cut off, maybe halved if you care to

2 tsp canola oil

Equivalent of 4 tsp ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

4 Tbs tamari

The juice of two limes

2 Tbs toasted sesame oil

4 Tbs agave nectar

2 Tbs siracha or other asian chili sauce (I use the kind with the rooster on it)

24 oz seitan, cut or torn into chunks (I used 2 boxes of the WestSoy kind from the supermarket)

Preheat oven to 45o degrees F. Take all ingredients except for seitan and throw into a blender, blend until smoothish. Put your seitan in a 9×13 baking dish (lasagna-style) in a single layer, then pour the slurm over everything. It will look like this:

At this point, let the seitan marinate for about 30-45 minutes as you make your rice (I used jasmine), and then bake it for about 15 minutes in the marinade– what I mean is just throw the whole thing in the oven and let it go. While it’s baking, make your vegetable. I made some green beans sauteed with minced garlic (about a teaspoon), 3 cloves of pressed garlic, toasted sesame oil, and salt and pepper:

Pull out the seitan, it should be bubbly and the exposed parts of the seitan should be browned and luscious. I plated everything together, rice, seitan on top, green beans off to the side, and for extra deliciousness I put some cilantro leaves on top, and I also added two condiments: a lime wedge for squeezing, and some peanut sauce out of a jar for adding a touch of peanutty sweetness. OMG.

I really can’t say enough about how utterly delicious this was– I struck gold with the original recipe (the marinade is delicious on its own) and the saucy-method pleased my curry-loving self. So today, wanting a redux of those flavors, I used my brand new To-Go Ware lunchbox and packed myself a feast. Layer one, rice and seitan:

Layer two, green beans. I used the dressing cup to hold my cilantro:

Ready go go:

And speaking of, it’s lunchtime! Posting all this has made me hungry.

Raechel is 26 today! Woo! 26 virtual spanks and one for good luck!


i am so vegan that i google "vegan cake" to post a vegan cake for my vegan friend's birthday

i am so vegan that i google "vegan cake" to post a cake for my vegan friend's birthday

A few days ago I was in a place of rage regarding my veganism, but I’m much more serene about being a vegan who wants to live in the world as a normal person. I’ve realized what was making me so wrathful was the place I’ve put myself in over the years around non-vegans worrying that if I was honest around them they would stop liking me. Maybe that’s the case but I don’t really care anymore. I realize now that for my own peace of mind I need to work on asserting myself more regarding my ethical stance when it comes to my boundaries, and so I’m going to try to do that. And if that loses me some friends so be it because this is who I am.

For example, I have two meat-eating friends that I hang out with pretty regularly at either my house or my friend Raechel’s house. Raechel is also vegan and while she allows non-vegan food in her house she requests that her cookware remain vegan, which is obviously completely reasonable because it is hers. One of these two friends, having some dietary restrictions of his own, is sympathetic to her rule of vegan cookware and my rule of no non-vegan stuff in my house. The other is pretty disrespectful of our choices, lifestyle, ethics, and rules. I say “pretty” and not “entirely” because while he will abide by the rules, he makes a fucking scene about it every time. I tolerate this because he is a very lovable person otherwise, but when I invited him to my house a few weeks ago I asked a friend to remind him of the vegan rule beause I was too afraid to do it myself.

That place of meekness, I realize, will cause me to inherit nothing but anger, and I need to fight my own battles. I think my irritation with being an “Olive Branch Vegan” was not with  being diplomatic, because I really actually enjoy talking to people about veganism in certain contexts and being the vegan people feel comfortable coming to with questions, and all that. My frustration was borne of subverting my passion regarding animal rights and my own lifestyle in order to avoid any awkwardness that comes of me taking this moral stance. The awkwardness is unavoidable, I now realize. And I need to be OK with that.

I’ve had some really rotten experiences over the years as a vegan, as I think most vegans have: some from my family, who have thankfully mellowed in their aversion to my chocies; some from colleagues, who have been complete buttholes to me; some from friends who have hurt my feelings inadvertently (thankfully this last group is very small). I am actually incredibly lucky to have such a sturdy support structure  and good friends. My rage wasn’t about them, it was about me, and my own decisions that have led me to what I perceive as a path of moral invisibility. I’ve worked out a lot of that rage and feel a lot better about it now.

Despite my negative rantings and insanity this morning, I am always continuously amazed and grateful when non-vegans are sympathetic, understanding, and considerate of my world view, especially strangers. I got this email in my inbox this morning from Omerica Organics, a company that makes sustainable, environmentally-friendly, beautiful hardwood plugs. I asked if they could make their plugs without beeswax, and this was the response:

That is no problem at all. We finish our plugs so smooth that
they do not require the wax, we just do it for a nice finish. We
recommend using jojoba oil to care for your plugs anyway, and we
can most certainly finish your plugs with the jojoba instead. We
have had this request before, and it is not a big deal for us.
All you have to do is order your plugs. Then, when you get to
the checkout page, there is a box for special requests. Just
type "Please do not use beeswax to finish, jojoba oil is fine
though". That note will be printed on your order, and the plug
makers will be sure to not use the wax.

Cynics might cry capitalism but I don’t care. These people will be receiving business from me sometime soon. And I resolve, from here on out, to remember this, and more, when I sometimes feel like the world is out to drive me insane.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Raccoon bites off perverts [sic] penis

A raccoon has bitten off a pervert’s penis as he was trying to rape the animal.

Alexander Kirilov, 44, was on a drunken weekend with pals when he leapt on the terrified animal.

“When I saw the raccoon I thought I’d have some fun,” he told stunned casualty surgeons in Moscow.

Now Russian plastic surgeons are trying to restore his mangled manhood.

“He’s been told they can get things working again but they can’t sew back on what the raccoon bit off.

“That’s gone forever so there isn’t going to be much for them to work with,” said one friend.


I wonder if the picture in the article is of the actual raccoon involved, or they’re just profiling.

Though I don’t have any intention of watching the inauguration during the actual event (a classmate of mine sees this as a character flaw, but I really can’t see how youtubing it after class is really any different), I have to say I’m more hopeful than I have been in a few weeks regarding Obama’s centrist shift. It seems that Obama has appointed a vegan named Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory affairs. Sunstein seems like an interesting fellow. Here is a PDF of a primer he wrote on animal rights, and though his views differ from mine in some ways, this guy is no slouch and I’m happy to have him in the White House.

A few choice quotes that make a vegan’s heart hopeful:

“I believe that that meat-eating would be acceptable if decent treatment is given to the animals used for food. Killing animals, whether or not troublesome, is far less troublesome than suffering. But if, as a practical matter, animals used for food are almost inevitably going to endure terrible suffering, then there is a good argument that people should not eat meat to the extent that a refusal to eat meat will reduce that suffering. Of course a legal ban on meat-eating would be extremely radical, and like prohibition, it would undoubtedly create black markets and have a set of bad, and huge, side-effects. But the principle seems clear: People should be much less inclined to eat meat if their refusal to do so would prevent significant suffering.”

TRUE STORY! I feel like this guy pretty alright– reading between the lines, at least. I like his style: basically, I think this passage can be read from a centrist or radical viewpoint. Though he seems to be saying “sure, if you eat meat, just do it in a nice way” it seems more likely that he is actually couching his argument for abolition in centrist terms. A close reading I think would basically be more a long the lines of “IF meat could be eaten without suffering to animals (think that vat-grown meat they’re talking about), THEN it would be OK morally to eat it, BUT since it cannot be eaten without causing suffering, it is immoral to do so.” Ah, philosophy. This is why I just don’t eat animal products and call it a day, unless someone tries to get all up in my Kool-Aid about it.


“Those who insist that animals should not be seen as property might be making a simple and modest claim: Human beings should not be able to treat animals however they wish.”

We just might! Anyways, I can hear the right-wing heads exploding as I type, and probably some left-wing heads too although they blog about it less. More later (maybe), gotta go to school!