Saturday, December 21, 2013

Vegan Knitting and Holiday Baking

No posts since September - time really flies.  I haven't been doing much cooking, but I've been knitting and baking a ton.  Here are some of my favorite recipes of late:
To my delight, one of my co-workers baked vegan sugar cookies this week, and they were out of this world with vanilla frosting.  Here's the recipe for those yummy vegan Christmas cookies - it's quite simple, which is the best part, besides how good the cookies are.

As I mentioned, I've taken up knitting.  I learned the basics just four lessons at Stitch House Dorchester, and after that I started using YouTube videos and Pinterest patterns to make gifts for everyone in my family.  This holiday season I tried my best to avoid commercial Christmas.  It's far more pleasant to sit at home knitting than to be standing in line at the mall. My challenge has been to find to vegan yarn, since most of the local knit shops sell wool, angora, merino, and various other blends.  I did some research on the wool industry, and I'm not interested in wearing a scarf that represents sheep being tortured.  There are plenty of alternative fibers - it just requires some extra leg-work.  Fake Sheep is a blog about vegan knitting with lots of info about various alt fibers.  As always, living the veg life makes things a bit more challenging, but it's all part of being the change. 

Have yourself a vegan little Christmas.

Blogger's Soundtrack
 She and Him Holiday Pandora Station

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Perfect Pumpkin Waffles

Fall is the best season, and I only appreciate it more after having missed out on it while living in Phoenix.  Fall fashion, football, New England foliage... I'm even learning how to knit!  Fall also gives me an excuse to indulge in anything and everything pumpkin.  You will find me drinking pumpkin ale while watching the fall television premieres, moisturizing with pumpkin lotion, eating pumpkin spice ice cream (with hot fudge) at Fomu, surrounding myself with pumpkin candles... I even have my kitty eating pureed pumpkin.  In addition to all this, I've been doing lots of baking.  You can find my recipe for ooey, gooey chocolate chip pumpkin bread here, and a great recipe for pumpkin muffins at the Post Punk Kitchen- so delicious.  Another one of my favorites is pumpkin waffles.  Anyone who stays with me gets treated to vegan waffles- if you visit in the fall, they will be of the pumpkin variety.  Here's the recipe:

3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbs unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup canned pumpkin (puree, not pie mix)
1 Tbs canola oil

1.  Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2.  Combine the milk and oil separately, then add to dry ingredients.
3.  Add the pumpkin and apple sauce to the bowl and stir until mixed thoroughly.
4.  Make waffles using your waffle maker!

This recipe is really easy and the results are amazing.  Definitely a must if you are a pumpkin addict. 

Blogger's Soundtrack
 Lana Del Rey - "Summertime Sadness"
 I got my red dress on tonight
Dancing in the dark in the pale moonlight
Done my hair up real big beauty queen style
High heels off, I'm feeling alive

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Super Easy Blueberry Muffins

I bought two pounds of blueberries last weekend.  I couldn't eat all of them so I made these blueberry muffins and brought them to work.  Since there were none left by the end of the day, I will go ahead and say they were great.  I doubled the recipe and it made 14 muffins.

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prep your muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients, then add the almond milk and oil.  Stir to combine, then add the blueberries. 
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are just browned.

Blogger's Soundtrack
  Bob Dylan - "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bean and Quinoa Tacos

I've been wanting to try something different when it comes to Mexican cuisine, given that I generally stick with my trusty fajita recipe.  I found this recipe for bean and quinoa tacos, and I decided to modify it a bit and whip it up for a dinner party.  I was excited about the blue corn taco shells that this blogger used, but sadly I was unable to find them.  I will continue to keep a lookout, though-- blue corn chips are my favorite so I will obvi become addicted to the taco shells.  I went with multigrain shells instead this time.

Here's my version of the recipe:

  • 1 yellow onion onion, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes (1 can)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 12 taco shells of your choice
Toppings (these are my favorites, but you can do whatever you'd like)
  • sliced avocado
  • chopped tomatoes
  • baby spinach

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and saute on low until translucent, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. 
  2. Stir in quinoa, pinto beans, black beans, and diced tomatoes.  Add the lime juice, cumin, and chil powder.   Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the taco shells according to the package directions-- mine required heating at 350 degrees for 4 minutes.
  4. Spoon bean/quinoa mixture into taco shells and add your favorite toppings. 
(It's a very easy recipe.)

A couple of things to note with this recipe:  it worked well for me to cook the quinoa as I was chopping the ingredients and cooking the onions, garlic, and peppers.  By the time all that was done, the quinoa was ready to be added.  I started out with a skillet, as the original recipe suggested, but there was simply way too much food to fit, so I had to dump everything into a large pot.  I am not big on spicy food, so you may need to add more cumin/chili powder, depending on what you prefer.  As far as servings, there were four of us at dinner, we each ate two tacos and some chips, were completely full, and had lots of leftovers.

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OneRepublic - "Counting Stars"


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vegan Grilling Part 2: Grill Your Pizza

This week I started reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubino.  She writes,
My research had revealed that challenge and novelty are key elements to happiness.  The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an expected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction.  If you do new things-- visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people-- you're more apt to feel happy than people who stick to more familiar activities... This is one of the paradoxes of happiness, we seek to control our lives, but the unfamiliar and the unexpected are important sources of happiness.  (74)
Going vegan has given me new challenges- from the early days of restocking the cabinets and reading food labels religiously to finding veg-friendly restaurants and ordering off not so veg-friendly menus.  I really enjoy trying out new recipes and putting together my own meals, and I haven't been doing enough of it lately.

That being said, I make pizza a lot, but I have never grilled it before.  I used my vegan pizza recipe and the steps for grilled pizza found here, which are basically the same regardless of which site you visit.  I was apprehensive about doing this, because I envisioned the dough dripping between the grates.  This actually didn't happen, but the dough did cook very quickly, so you must be ready to flip it fast.  This is the trickiest part.  We actually ended up using broiler pans for the second two pizzas, but then we sacrificed that "grilled" taste.  All three pizzas tasted incredible, though -- maybe even better than traditional oven-baked pizza. 

Here's what I'll be sure to do next time:
  • Shape the dough into personal-sized pizzas.  It was hard to flip the dough because it was too large.
  • Invest in a large spatula for flipping.  My brother actually wants to buy a pizza spade.
  • Make sure you have everything you need outside, including pot holders.  You have to work quickly so you don't end up with a scorched mess!
  • Work with multiple people.  Between flipping the dough and adding all the layers of ingredients, you need some assistance at the grill. 

Like most vegan challenges, this one was definitely worth all the work.  

Blogger's Soundtrack
Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding - "I Need Your Love"

Homemade Vegan Ice Cream and Sorbet

I <3 ice cream.  My apartment is 1/2 mile from the vegan ice cream shop in Allston and that makes me very happy (yes, I've mapped out the distance).  Admittedly, however, vegan ice cream can be pricey.  A pint of soy ice cream typically costs at least $5, unless you buy Soy Dreamy at Trader Joe's, which is the best store bought vegan ice cream anyway.  I recently became interested in making my own ice cream after spotting some recipes in Chef Chloe's dessert book and Vegetarian Times magazine.  Therefore, for the past week I have been experimenting with a bunch of different combinations.  Once you acquire an ice cream maker, concocting your own ice cream and sorbet is simple and cheap. 

For one thing, if you puree enough fruit to fill your blender, that's pretty much all you need to make sorbet.  Next boil 3/4 cup water and 3/4 sugar, stirring until the water has cooled.  Combine the pureed fruit with the water/sugar solution and refrigerate for at least an hour, until it has cooled throughout.  The final step is to add this to your ice cream maker and follow the directions for your particular machine.  Most of them require freezing the mixing bowl overnight.  Being an impatient person, I only froze mine for six hours, so my first batch didn't turn out all that well.  So far I have tried this with fresh cantaloupe and watermelon.  The watermelon sorbet was particularly delicious and refreshing... and cheap.  You can use fresh or frozen fruit, in whatever combinations you like.  There are some more creative recipes herehere, and here in the Vegetarian Times this month- the avocado recipe looks pretty tasty.

Things I want to try: raspberry-lemon sorbet, substituting agave for sugar, and making ice cream using coconut milk and agave- specifically, mint-chocolate chip ice cream.  More to come on that soon.

(Pictures Coming Soon)

Blogger's Soundtrack
 "Your Love" - The Outfield

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vegan Grilling

When I first went vegan, there was a lot of stress accompanying food-related events- each holiday and party meant a new meal to figure out.  Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I usually have ideas in mind ahead of time, but there are still "ah!  What will I eat?!" moments.  I've recently been doing a good amount of grilling with my family, and I realize that at one time I had no idea what to prepare for all those inevitable summer barbeque parties.  There are actually a lot of options, which I will share, but first, a few tips:

- Invest in a grill pan.  There are a few reasons for this.  First of all, I never feel completely assured that all of the meat and juices are completely gone, even if the chef scours the grill or even has a huge fire going, in the case of charcoal.  Something about it is just unsettling to me.  Also, veggie burgers can easily fall apart and vegetables will slip between the grates, while a grill pan keeps everything together.  Seriously worth it.

-Let people know ahead of time that you're vegan.  Even if you're planning on bringing your own meal, the hosts (hopefully) will be nice enough to at least have a veggie platter or some fresh fruit, which they might not have done otherwise.  I've attended two parties this summer where the hosts had a plethora of vegan food - quinoa, potato, and pasta salads that were really good!  Often I don't expect people to prepare anything special, but I forget that just because it's vegan doesn't mean everyone else won't enjoy it, as well.

Now for the recipes:

1.  Vegan Black Bean Burgers
This is one of my favorite vegan recipes, in general.  I got it from VegWeb and modified it a bit.  My family actually likes them more than eating meat off the grill, and that's saying a lot.  These have just the right amount of spiciness and definitely fall apart while you're eating them.  Topping with slices of avocado is a must and they're delicioso on a whole wheat bun.

  • 3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, minced in food processor
  • 2 large stalk celerys, minced in food processor
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced in food processro
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup original hummus
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup quick oats
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium low
  2. Sauté garlic & onion in oil until soft
  3. Add the celery & pepper, fry until softened
  4. Mix in the herbs & spices and heat through
  5. Mash or puree half the beans
  6. Combine all beans with cooked vegetables and quick oats.  Mix well by hand.
  7. Add enough of the hummus or liquid seasoning to moisten mixture fairly well
  8. Form 10-12 flat patties (this will get messy!).  Spray a grill pan and grill for about 10 minutes, until the burgers are warm and browned.  You can also fry them on the stove using olive oil.

 2.  Sweet Potato Burgers
These have also recently become a family favorite.  These burgers are not actually cooked on the grill, but are fried or baked instead.  They are still a great substitute for traditional burgers.  I made a batch, baked it in advance, and brought it to a party where more people tried it than I had anticipated.  These are also great with avocado, but I've seen people eat them with ketchup.  The recipe can be found here: Lunch Box Bunch

3.  Grilled Vegetables / Skewers
This one is super easy!  The other day I sliced up a bunch of zucchini squash and red and yellow bell peppers, keeping them in sizable slices.  I arranged everything on the grill tray, sprayed it with olive oil, and grilled for about 10-15 minutes.  The results were delicious.  If you want to get a bit fancier, buy some wooden skewers and include whatever you like- onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, eggplant - there are lots of options.  There are many recipes online for vegetable combinations and marinades.  Here's one that looks great: Vegetarian Times

4.  Grilled Potatoes
It's so simple!  Here are a few ideas:
    -Slice sweet potatoes in half.  Wrap each half in foil.  Grill for 20 minutes.
    -Peel and slice a bunch of red skin potatoes into rounds.  Add a thinly sliced red pepper, green pepper, and sweet onion.  Wrap in foil, drizzled with olive oil.  Grill for 30-40 minutes.

There are so many options for vegan grilling - sometimes it's just hard to think outside the box of what you have eaten in the past.  All of these recipes are healthy and satisfying- you'll be glad you didn't eat that hot dog (gross).  So choose a recipe and get started!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vegan Food in the Neighborhood

While most who visit Boston travel to the North End for authentic Italian cuisine, I take visiting family and friends to healthy vegan places.  I'm sure they don't mind missing out on lasagna and canolis to partake in veggie wraps and smoothies.  It's an acquired taste.  Two new veg restaurants recently opened in the Greater Boston area, and in the past week I have recruited friends to try both.  Here's what I thought:

Walnut Grille
Newton, MA
I went to the Walnut Grille for lunch on a very hot day.  Unfortunately, the air conditioner was broken, and thought I was going to melt off my sparkly vinyl chair.  The menu had a wide selection, including smoothies and desserts, which always earn bonus points in my book.  I ordered the falafel wrap with sweet potato fries (obviously) and my friend had the quinoa and black bean burger with a salad and side of broccoli.  I haven't talked about this before, but I'm kind of obsessed with sweet potato fries.  I order them everywhere I go, and I'm definitely a snob when it comes to assessing the quality of said fries.  I also eat a lot of veggie wraps and falafel, since it's frequently the only thing veg-friendly item on the menu at traditional restaurants.  That being said, it was a delicious lunch.  The fries were amazing and the wrap was filled with greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and did not have too much tahini, which is another thing I'm picky about.  I ate half the meal and had an awesome lunch the next day, as well.  The owner offered us free ice cream since it was sweltering in the place, but we opted out and made a beeline for the car, where we proceeded to blast the AC.  I have since heard that the AC has been fixed, so I would definitely recommend this place - good food, friendly staff, and ample parking. 

Root - Inspired Food and Juicery
Allston, MA
I have been super excited because this place is within walking distance from my apartment, and a few doors down from Fomu ice cream (at the former location of Peace o' Pie).  I went for dinner on a weeknight, and arrived just before a big crowd hit.  When I walked up to the front counter, the girl working seemed kind of aloof and unfriendly.  She didn't greet me or even ask to take my order.  I guess I was expecting some more enthusiasm, since the place has only been open for a week.  I ordered the LA Wrap with herb fries, and so did my friend.  We seated ourselves near the AC, since again, it was a very hot day, and this place wasn't too cool, either.  On a side note, I appreciate environmental consciousness, but when it's 93 degrees out, I don't enjoy sweating through my meal.  Once we had our meals I noticed that a different person was working at the counter, and that she was actually smiling.  While we were eating, the place began to fill up with a mixed crowd of young professionals and tattooed hipsters, all of whom seemed to be enjoying their different varieties of juice in mason jars, salads, and sandwiches.  Overall, the meal was tasty, and I'm glad to have a vegan restaurant so close by, but in the future I will probably choose the take-out option.

All in all, the food was good at both places, and it's wonderful to have a few more veg-friendly establishments in the neighborhood.  Also, I need to order something besides a wrap and fries the next time I eat out. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eating Animals

I just started reading Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer, and the first chapter has me thinking about excuses people make for why they "need" to eat meat, and the pettiness of those reasons when stacked against the billions of animals that die each year as a result of factory farming, in addition to the environmental impact of said factory farming, not to mention the negative impact eating animal products has on a person's health.  This blog is not meant to be a series of diatribes, but I do have to say that the longer I'm vegan, the more disturbing factory farming becomes to me.  Maybe it is because I stopped affording myself the luxury of blissful ignorance.  Years ago when I did eat meat, I ignored the things that bothered me about doing so.  When I started educating myself about where my food was coming from, eating meat became very difficult.  It made me feel sick.  Watching other people eat meat bothers me more and more these days.

My tone today is much more serious than usual, perhaps because I've been exposed to many more questions and comments from family members as of late.  Safran Foer really struck a chord with me: "I can't count the times that upon telling someone I am vegetarian, he or she responded by pointing out an inconsistency in my lifestyle or trying to find a flaw in an argument I never made. (I have often felt that my vegetarianism matters more to such people than it does to me" (33). One of the comments I hear most frequently is: "Don't you know that plants have feelings, too?"  Seriously?  More commonly people tell me that they "could never go vegan."  In reality, they do not want to go vegan.  It's not convenient.  What follows is a list of other common remarks I get, and my (slightly sarcastic) responses:

"I have to eat meat.  Otherwise I will not have enough energy."
I have not eaten red meat, pork, or fish in eight years.  I stopped eating meat completely three years ago.  I work ten hour days with middle school students, then come home and run several miles in the evening.  I would say those tasks require a significant amount of energy, and I'm doing just fine.

"I just don't think I could go without cheese.  I just love cheese so much."
I used to be a dairy fanatic.  I ate a cheese sandwich every day for lunch and my dinner was usually covered in cheese.  I ate ice cream every day.  Then I realized that I am probably lactose intolerant and this stuff was making me feel ill.  When I think about eating cheese or dairy ice cream, I think about the abuse that animals endured to make that slice of cheese or dish of ice cream possible.  And then it doesn't sound so great anymore. 

"I have to eat meat.  Otherwise I would be starving."
I never feel hungry after eating a vegan meal.  Period.  Your body needs to adjust to not feeling gorged all the time.  The end.

"How can you not eat pizza?"
I eat pizza all the time.  It's loaded with vegetables and really delicious and you would love it if you tried it.  So come over and I'll make you some vegan pizza.

"So you really can't eat cheese?"
Still, no.

"I just can't hear the details about where the meat comes from."
If you know it's that bad, why are you eating the stuff?

"You won't even eat a clam?  A piece of shrimp?"
Does it have a face?  Did it have a mom and a dad?  Then, no.  It's pretty simple.

I was raised to have a great deal of compassion for animals.  My cousin posted this on Facebook today, and it's a pretty accurate portrayal of me:


However, I don't think you need to be crazy about animals to understand why an individual would choose not to eat meat and other animal products, or to consider changing your own lifestyle.  If you want to eat a slice of cheese, that's your prerogative.  You won't hear me asking weird questions about your dietary choices.  I just ask the same in return.

Blogger's Soundtrack
Incubus - "Warning"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Veg Life

I've been on February break for the past week, which has been nice, since the school calendar in Phoenix was completely different, and I haven't had a school vacation in February since I was in high school.  I grew up on the East Coast and went to college in Providence, but never spent much time in Boston until moving here this year.  It's also interesting being back on this side of the country and viewing some of my favorite places through the new lens of being vegan.

The All-Natural Face
I visited the All-Natural Face in Framingham, which is not too far outside of Boston.  It's a vegan cosmetics, bath and body company which only uses natural ingredients in all products.  The owner came right out and did a consultation with me, matching a foundation to my skin tone and showing me how to use all of the products.  She also explained all of the ingredients to me, the positive effect these would have on my skin, and why typical over-the-counter cosmetics and skin products can be ineffective and irritate the skin.  The products were super affordable-- I purchased toner, foundation, face scrub, make-up remover, and lip gloss for $50, but I actually only spent $25, since I found out about this place through Groupon.  Most items can be ordered online, but if you have the opportunity, I would definitely recommend driving out to the store and speaking to the owner about which items would be best suited to your skin.  I am very excited about using these cosmetics, since I have been looking for cruelty-free make-up that actually works for quite a while.

Cafe Paragon
This was one of my favorite places when I was an undergrad.  My sister and I were driving through Providence, so we stopped for lunch.  I felt very nostalgic walking down Thayer street and reminiscing.  Everything at Paragon is delicious, but this time I enjoyed an eggplant dip appetizer and the falafel wrap with sweet potato fries.  The wrap was overflowing with oh-so-yummy hummus.  And sweet potato fries are just my favorite in general.  I loved Paragon then and I'm glad that my being vegan has not changed that.

Osaka Japanese Sushi
There are lots of sushi restaurants in the Brighton/Allston/Brookline area, so I sure am glad that my friends in Phoenix introduced me to this cuisine before I moved.  Osaka has a Hibachi dining area, but there are also regular tables.  I chose miso soup, an avocado/cucumber roll, and a sweet potato roll, and I even used chopsticks this time!  I was pretty impressed with myself, considering I generally struggle to eat with a fork without dropping food all over myself.  Some of you know what I'm talking about.

I also visited the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, which reminded me of the impact that one person can have.  I'm working on this Pinterest board of figures and quotations to keep me inspired to "be the change."

Blogger's Soundtrack
Alabama Shakes - "You Always Alright"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crazy Vegans

According to my "traffic sources" stats, one of the top ways that people find my blog is by doing a Google search for "crazy vegans."  How rude!  I did a search for "crazy vegans," and the top was result was from Urban Dictionary:

level 5 vegan

A vegan who won't eat anything that casts a shadow.

As used on the Simpsons episode "Lisa the Tree Hugger", animal/enviornmental rights activist, Jesse tells Lisa that he is a level 5 vegan, who wont eat anything that casts a shadow. Such thing doesn't exist, mind you.
Lisa: Oh, the earth is the best! That's why I'm a vegetarian.
Jesse: Heh. Well, that's a start.
Lisa: Uh, well, I was thinking of going vegan.
Jesse: I'm a level 5 vegan -- I won't eat anything that casts a shadow.

I usually just tell people that I don't eat or use anything that had or came from something that had a face, a mom, or a dad, but that's just me.

I also came across a Facebook conversation thread this week in which someone stated that vegans are "walking skeletons."  Gosh.  I do agree that lots of hilarious jokes can be made at the expense of vegans, but it becomes a bit annoying when people base their viewpoints on complete myths or their interactions with individuals who are just not very good at being vegan.

This propensity to "pathologize" vegans could also be viewed as a strategy used to maintain the status quo (see the following blog:You Crazy Vegans!).  Much like my post, "This is What a Vegan Looks Like", the purpose of this one is to normalize veganism.  Since "crazy vegans" is apparently such a common search query, someone has to redefine "crazy."  If by "crazy," you mean well-informed, socially and environmentally conscious, healthy, and passionate about living in accordance with my beliefs and values, why then, yes, I am a crazy vegan!

 And so are these people:

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Assistant Manager of Library Operations at a Public Library on the South Side/Yoga Instructor

I became vegan during a yoga teacher training in Boston.  If you would've asked me 10 years ago if I would ever be vegan, I would have accused you of being drunk.  I was a meat and potatoes kind of kid growing up with a strong addiction to fast food and sweets.  The first time I saw a whole avocado was at my teacher training and it got me really curious.  I went vegan strictly for health reasons (at first).  I found that eliminating all processed food along with dairy, eggs, and meat gave me an immediate increase in energy and it also cured my asthma and seasonal allergies and helped me get off all medications.  My body reacted really well to a whole foods, plant based diet, especially fermented foods and herbal supplements, and I can't really imagine going back!  

Springfield, VA
I am a Technical Trainer for a company called Catalyst based out of Denver CO teaching legal professionals how to use software reviewing their documents for trials.

A close friend convinced me to try a vegan lifestyle for 30 days--essentially a pledge off of PETA's website. By committing to the lifestyle for 30 days, I  did extensive research by reading several books and forcing myself to sit through PETA's featured "Meet Your Meat" video, though it was horrifying to watch. All of this helped  to solidify my decision that as long as I could keep my body healthy eliminating meat and dairy, that I would not continue to contribute to the inhumane killing of animals for meat production. Little did I know, there was so much more I would discover by making this decision including a slew of health benefits I hadn't considered before, environmental contributions, and an overwhelming sense of clarity and control over my body and health. I dropped 20 lbs within the first year of being vegan, had loads of energy to continue my cardio workouts, and never had an excuse to feel guilty or sluggish after eating a meal again. Going vegan even inspired me to volunteer at an animal shelter for 2.5 years so I could do my part in helping local animals find loving homes. Overall, the ability to practice compassion was my main driving force in becoming vegan and since then, haven't looked back since!

With vegan baked goods taking over the world and even showing up at Disney World, Ellen DeGeneres demystifying veganism, Bill and Chelsea going vegan (what is Hillary waiting for), vegan small businesses popping up everywhere you look, and lots of intelligent and creative people from all walks of life jumping on board, why yes, as far as "crazy vegans" are concerned, we're all mad here.

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Muse - "Madness"