Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: Beg

I would say I do a decent amount of reading about animal welfare.  A few months back I read Rory Freedman's Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals.  Freedman's Skinny Bitch has long been regarded as a manual of sorts in terms of the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle.  She has a way of writing which is accessible while taking on a no-nonsense tone - otherwise known as real talk.  She portrays the loving relationship she has with her dogs while also providing graphic descriptions of the suffering animals endure at the hands of humans.  This dichotomy forces the reader to examine why a select group of animals deserve our affection while it is somehow acceptable for others to bear abuse, torture, and death so that we can make movies, look trendy, and eat steak.  This book delves into animal cruelty in many facets of society, covering the big topics like puppy mills, animals in the entertainment industry, clothing, and the food industry, while also addressing common practices like de-clawing cats, health problems in purebred dogs, and the abandonment of pets.  There are many parts of the book that are not easy to read.  What I appreciate is that by the end, you, the reader, feels empowered as an individual to make a difference with your new-found knowledge.

Freedman writes,

"Researching this left me sick, angry, and devastated."

"But this is real, this is happening, and you need to know.  So try to hang in there if your brain is slipping."

"For me, the V-word means compassion and a willingness to put principles above desires.  But I know that for many people, veganism and vegetarianism mean something else-- something weird and annoying and radical and fringe.  Veganism never hired a good publicist, so some people think it's lame, creepy, or miserable."

Whether you're an animal advocate and already consider yourself informed, or admittedly don't know much about this subject, you must read this book.  It will renew your passion for animals or open your eyes to their exploitation.

Blogger's Soundtrack
Phillip Phillips - "Home"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Veg-Life and Privilege

Something I often ponder is the relationship between privilege and the vegan life.  I guess there are two branches of this issue in my mind.  First, what about all of the other suffering going on in the world?  I disregard any commentary that says caring about animal welfare is an insignificant pursuit because animals aren't as innately important as humans.  Animals are defenseless against the harm inflicted upon them by people, and I generally don't engage in any kind of debate about that, because it boils down to personal belief.  So that's not what I'm talking about here.  What I am talking about is, outside the debate as to whether animal's lives matter, why focus so much energy on animal cruelty, when  poverty, violence, discrimination, war, and countless other problems plague communities, countries, and the planet at large?  Am I doing enough to impact real change through this vegan lifestyle?  I think my first answer is that I won't ever feel like I'm doing enough.  As a Women's Studies major in college, I became incensed by inequity - things bothered me at a fundamental level, and I wanted to stop reading, get out, and do something.  When I started teaching, I realized that Gandhi's words, "Be the change you wish to see in the world," resonated with me even more deeply.  My students faced many challenges, both in and out of school, and although my life experiences differed vastly from theirs, the best thing I could do was to exemplify empathy, perseverance, tolerance, and dedication every single day.  Similarly, being vegan is a way of embodying an ideal of peace and refusing to accept cruelty at an essential level, and it pervades the choices I make daily.  This lifestyle serves as a basic groundwork for what I will and will not agree to or participate in just because it's the status quo.  What I'm saying is, I believe the first step towards change is living out your values in a very basic way.  I love the line from Man in the Mirror- "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change."  There are other ways I look to impact change each day.  As a teacher, I work to provide special education students with the same opportunities as their general education peers.  I seek to expose injustice to my students, while also promoting the idea that one person can make a difference, and leading students in developing their own activist philosophies and designing service projects dedicated to problems they care about solving.  Can I solve all of the world's problems?  No.  But I can live in a way that embodies certain values.

The second part of my inner monologue questions whether being vegan is realistic for the population at large.  A lot of what I write about - gourmet cookies, vegan restaurants, vegan beauty products - sometimes seems inconsequential when viewed through the lens of economic disparity.  I'm fully aware of the privilege associated with this sort of life.  I deliberately take a light-hearted approach to veganism in order to debunk stereotypes and to show that being vegan does not have to signify being miserable and deprived.  I do think about individuals who are living in regions where vegan-friendly foods are not as readily available, and people and families who are just trying to scrape by.  I do think that healthy eating is something our country needs to work on in general-- to me, paths towards eating more fruits and vegetables and consuming less soda and fast food are all in the same vein as the veg-life.  And those conversations are most important in low-income communities, where fast food chains are often the most widely-available food option, and healthy choices are harder to come by.  To me, it's another glaring form of inequity.  Do I expect everyone to become vegan?  No, but I do look for change that leads to a greater availability of healthy food choices.

My eighth graders always liked to say things along the lines of, "It doesn't matter if you don't eat meat.  There are plenty of other people who still do."  We could say that about any individual effort to impact change, whether it's participating in a 5K charity run or volunteering in a soup kitchen.  I choose to believe that the actions of one person do make a difference.  Whether or not that difference is immediately clear, the reverberations of our actions can never fully be known.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Notes from a Frigid Friday

It's currently 14 degrees here in Boston-- and 70 back in Phoenix.  Really, what was I thinking?

This was my day, in a nutshell:

Icy windshield in the morning.

Chef Chloe's vegan salted caramel cupcakes, from Chef Chloe's Vegan Desserts.
These were quite the hit at work.

Fantastic new water bottle sporting activist quotations arrives.

Time to bundle up and hit the gym.

Blogger's Soundtrack
 Alabama Shakes - "I Found You"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gourmet Vegan Cookies

Cookies are my weakness - I'm the vegan cookie monster.  However, they are not my favorite thing to bake. My oven is quite small and will not accommodate a full cookie sheet, so multiple batches are always required.  Minimalistic baking projects like loaf cakes are therefore a better fit for my current kitchen situation.  Wherever I go, though, I'm always on the lookout for an amazing vegan cookie.  Here are three gourmet vegan cookie companies that are out of this world wonderful.

This Chick Bakes
This company operates out of NYC and carries a variety of vegan and gluten free cookies, along with the traditional variety.  I found them at The Tiger Lily Cafe (Port Jefferson, NY), and they are carried at various stores throughout the city and Connecticut.  Of course, you can order online, so no worries if you're not in the area.  My favorite is the vegan peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie.  Chewy and filled with chocolate chunks.  Nom Nom Nom. 

Alternative Baking Company
I discovered these cookies one day at Whole Foods and immediately fell in love.  I tried the Phenomenal Pumpkin Spice cookie, and it was, well, phenomenal.  In addition, the package points out that "No single food choice has a farther-reaching and more profoundly positive impact on the health, the Environment, and all of life on Earth than choosing vegan."  Wow!  There is nothing better than eating an amazing cookie and simultaneously supporting a company that shares my life philosophy.  Alternative Baking operates out of Sacramento and also carries a line of gluten free cookies..  You can order online, as long as you buy at least three cookies.  If you "like" their page on Facebook, you might win some free cookies.  Do it!

Liz Lovely
With a slogan like "baking a difference," how could anyone not love these cookies, "baked in the mountains of Vermont straight from our heart to your tummy." So cute.  So delicious.  These are probably my favorites.  Liz Lovely's cookies are sold throughout the country and are carried in stores all over Boston.  I've seen them at Star Market and Life Alive.  My favorites are the Triple Chocolate Mint cookies - they are sold two in a package, and it's hard to save one for later.  There are nine other varieties.  Order online with a minimum purchase of $24.  You will not be disappointed. 

What are your favorite vegan cookies?

Blogger's Soundtrack
 The Civil Wars - "I've Got This Friend"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vegan Beauty Revisited

Awhile back I wrote about some vegan beauty products which are currently on the market.  Since that time I've done a much better job of using only cruelty-free, vegan bath and beauty products, so I will go ahead and recommend the best I have tried. As I've said before, going vegan is a process.  You shouldn't feel badly if you don't have it all figured out at once.  I've been vegan for close to four years and I'm constantly evolving and discovering new things about this lifestyle.  That's kind of what this blog's about.

Tom's of Maine
For whatever reason I thought this toothpaste must be fake for some time.  Then one day I was at the grocery store and I actually picked up a tube and read the label. It looked something like this:

That was enough convincing for me.  Once I got over that mental hurdle, I discovered that the company also makes mouthwash, floss, and several types of soap.  I'm currently a fan of the daily moisture beauty bar with olive oil  and Vitamin E.  Also, the soap isn't the weird kind that doesn't lather.  I'm now a huge proponent of Tom's. 

I discovered this shampoo when I was visiting my parents and found it in their shower.  These chemical-free products are not tested on animals and from what I can tell, most do not contain any animal products.  I'm currently using the Argon Oil shampoo, and it has left my hair quite smooth and silky.  The bottle states that Renpure products are tested on "The Redmond's," which leads me to imagine a family testing haircare products on each other in some kind of basement laboratory.  The website looks legit, though.

Bath and Body Works
The jury is out on this one.  I love Bath and Body Works.  Their bottles state that the products are not tested on animals.  They do not have the vegan label because some of the products do contain animal products.  I read the labels and make sure I'm not buying any of those.  I'm a huge fan of Forever Sunshine, even in the winter.  This vegan smells great.

The All Natural Face gets the praise it deserves
I mentioned this vegan cosmetics company which operates out of Framingham, MA about a year ago.  Once I started using this stuff I threw away all of my other products and never looked back.  The first day I started using the powder foundation I walked into work and people kept stopping me to say that I was "glowing" and asking me what makeup I was using.  I've had a skin problem that started when I was thirteen.  The moment I started using the products Crystal at the All Natural Face recommended, my face miraculously started clearing up.  I use the strawberries and cream face food cleanser, vegan oil makeup remover, powder foundation, and even their lip gloss.  I don't use any type of soap or moisturizer on my face at all.  It's unbelievable the effect these products have had on my face.  I've also tried the lavender raw sugar scrub, which has left my skin feeling super soft.  Oh, and the products are very affordable.  I could go on and on about this company.  Try it for yourself.

If you want more information about cruelty-free products, I suggest visiting, a fantastic blog with lots more recommendations.  Besides the fact that harming animals so that we can look and smell nice is an ugly concept, it's important to know what's in the products that you're using every day on your body.  Stay away from products that are tested on animals - it's completely inhumane- and stay informed about what you're using on your skin, for the love of Pete (or PETA)!

Blogger's Soundtrack
Young the Giant - "Apartment"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review: One Dish Vegan

My kitchen is small.  It's a very retro galley kitchen- quite narrow with cabinets so high I need a step ladder to reach the second shelf.  The stove and oven are two separate entities on opposite sides of the kitchen.  The oven is more like the "Easy Bake" variety than a full sized kitchen appliance.  I can't keep much food in stock because there simply isn't anywhere to put it.  Needless to say, I have to get a little creative with organization and when preparing large meals.  I am proud to say that I have hosted several successful dinner parties, cooking everything in shifts throughout the day and running the dishwasher before the guests arrived.  Yes, I do have a dishwasher, which is more than some people in Boston can say.

This kitchen has forced me to be a minimalist in terms of what I own and store, and most of the time in terms of what I cook.  That's why I'm pretty excited about the book I just bought, One Dish Vegan.  It's written by the same author as Vegan on the Cheap, which I also love.

Things I like about this book:
    -The recipes do not call for weird ingredients. 
    -Total prep and cook time is typically about 30 minutes.
    -Many of the recipes incorporate kale.  Love.
    -As the title suggests, you only need one giant pot or dish to make a great meal.

Some of the recipes I'm excited to try:
    -Lemony quinoa with spinach and chickpeas
    -Black bean and avocado rice salad
    -Lentil and butternut soup
    -Black bean soup with kale and sweet potatoes

Recipes I have already tried:
    -Chickpea and kale stew
    -Tunisian chickpeas with sweet potatoes and greens

Both of the meals I have tried so far have been great! I served the second one with quinoa just for the heck of it.  Quick, delicious, and healthy - woo hoo!  I recommend this book for anyone who has a packed schedule and doesn't have the time to cook every night.  I threw together one of these meals and ate it for the rest of the week.

Blogger's Soundtrack
"The Moon Song"
I went to see Her this weekend at an independent theater that I love.  It was profound and esoteric. And Joaquin Phoenix is vegan.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Vegan in Vermont and Maine

What do you associate with New England?  For the shoppers out there, it's probably LL Bean and Yankee Candle.  For the tourists, it's fall foliage and colonial history.  If you love the outdoors, there's hiking and kayaking in warm weather and skiing in the winter.  Sports fans are all about the Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins (gross).  And the foodies get excited about lobster and New England chowda, Ben and Jerry's, craft brews, and pure maple syrup.  Overall New England is a great place to live or visit, but you may not immediately think of it as the most inviting place for vegans.  I initially felt the same way and was sort of worried about moving here.  Clam chowder sure disturbs me and I just want to set all the lobsters free. To my surprise, I have discovered that vegan-friendly cities do exist outside Boston in this corner of the country.

Brattleboro, Vermont
This past October a friend and I took a day trip up to Brattleboro, Vermont, which is about a two hour drive from Boston.  Neither of us had been to Vermont yet, so we decided to hop in the car, enjoy the gorgeous foliage, and add another state to our repertoires.  I have to say that Brattleboro is one of the most interesting places I have been.  I have heard lots of jokes about crunchy hippies in Maine and Vermont, but I was really not prepared for what we encountered here.  As we parked the car, a building with a psychedelic mural was set to our left and "Everyone's Books: For Social Justice and the Earth" stood to our right.  Stepping out of the car, we encountered an elderly gentlemen with a Dumbledore-esque beard and headband tied Rambo-style, donning cut off jean shorts, Birkenstocks, a tie-dye shirt, and a fabric satchel.  "This is weird," I said.  I kept saying that the entire day.

There are a bunch of vegan-friendly establishments and places that embrace the hippie vibe in this town.  We ate lunch at the Whetstone Station Brewery, which is situated right over the Connecticut River, offering picturesque views of the foliage in the fall.  I thought this place would  be great, but it ended up being a huge disappointment.  There were yellow jackets everywhere, which made our lunch slightly terrifying.  It took over an hour for our food to arrive, and I found it surprising that half the beers on the menu were not available - it's a brewery, for goodness sake.  I had sweet tots with a pita pocket.  It was fine.  I really just wanted to get out of there.    After lunch we headed over to Brattleboro Books, an independent used bookstore with books piled from floor to ceiling and in every nook and cranny, followed by Everyone's Books, where I picked up some justice-themed postcards and perused the stacks, which were filled with activist titles.  Loved it.  There was also Mocha Joe's, a coffee shop with vegan baked goods, and Twice Upon A Time, an antique store where we had a lot of fun searching for treasure amongst the maze of shelves and old furniture.  I personally liked Beadniks, a bead store which also sold things like scarves and hacky sacks.  Of course we stopped in a tourist shop to pick up some authentic maple syrup and maple candy (please refer to the Friends episode where Ross and Chandler drive to Vermont).  Overall, I enjoyed Brattleboro and was super surprised that this counter-cultural vibe existed in a town in Vermont.  It was as if part of Berkeley had been transplanted into the middle of the woods.   

Portland, Maine
I also traveled to Portland this fall, this time to attend the "Lives in the Balance" conference, as I've been implementing some of Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving with my students.  Portland is also a two-hour drive from Boston.  I had been planning on going for some time, as lots of people told me I would love it.  They were right.  I was only in town for one day, and most of that day was spent at the conference.  However, I did get to walk around a bit in the afternoon, and I can't wait to go back when the weather is warmer.

Portland is a quaint city.  As in Vermont, every guy seems to have a beard and a flannel shirt.  So hipster.  I just loved the way this city seemed old and new at the same time.  The shops are a mix of brand name designers and small indie boutiques.  There were plenty of places I didn't get to, like the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro.  I did enjoy a Yummus Wrap and cherry chocolate chip cookie at the Local Sprouts Cooperative Cafe, where a bunch of guys were filming some kind of movie and the girls next to me were having a philosophical discussion about college life.  Then I went into Knit Wit  and bought some vegan yarn for some upcoming projects before I had to hit the road again.  As I said, I'll be back.

 There you have it.  A vegan girl can definitely get by in New England.

Blogger's Soundtrack
The Head and the Heart - "Down in the Valley"

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Crazy Beans - Miller Place, NY

There are not too many places to hang out in my parents' neck of the woods on Long Island.  That's why everyone got so excited when Crazy Beans opened in Miller Place.  It's a coffee shop and bar with good food and a lovely atmosphere - woah.

I heard about Crazy Beans from my brother, who had gone there to play at an open mic night.  That's another thing - open mic night?  Comedy night?  Live music?  Trivia?  Places like these abound in Boston and also where I lived in Phoenix.  The owner, Callie, opened a place which would be typical elsewhere, but has filled a huge void around these parts.  Speaking of the owner, she is SO nice.  I know her by name because every time I go to Crazy Beans, she's working and takes the time to have a conversation.  The last time I went, I didn't realize it was cash only and she told me to enjoy my meal and pay later.  What.

The interior of Crazy Beans is eclectic.  There's an assortment of interesting chairs and paintings and paper chains hanging from the ceiling, which is tiled in black and white.  People of all age groups are chatting, enjoying coffee in weird mugs or tea in mason jars.  There's a bar with local wines and beers.  There's a variety of baked goods and an extensive food menu.  The vegan option is the veggie wrap (without cheese), which is kind of spicy and includes avocado (my fave).  My brother had a gigantic grilled cheese (not vegan) with green apples - he was in love.  I've also gone in there and ordered a hot chocolate with soy milk on a frosty winter night - not all places offer the soy option.

Anyway, Crazy Beans is a fun place to meet up with friends and the food is great.  The one downside is that it's kind of small and gets packed pretty quickly.  Also, I've heard they have a delicious brunch, but I don't think there are any vegan options on that menu.  But who am I to complain.  I recommend going for lunch and seeing who you bump into.

Blogger's Soundtrack
Young the Giant - "Your Side"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Next month I'm going to visit Phoenix for the first time since I moved to Boston a year and a half ago.  I lived there for five years, and I really miss it, especially this time of year, with the snow and frigid temperatures in this part of the country.  I haven't seen my friends or students since moving, although of course we have kept in touch, and I can't wait to be back in the Southwest for a few days.    

There are lots of great vegan/veg-friendly restaurants in Phoenix, and one thing I have missed in particular is Sprinkles Cupcakes.  I know I've mentioned this before, but Sprinkles is a high-end cupcake shop with a few locations around the country.  There is a store-front in Scottsdale, not far from where I lived in Central Phoenix.  Over the summer I went to the one in New York, and biting into that vegan red velvet cupcake took me right back to the days when I would buy my students Sprinkles cupcakes to celebrate their birthdays.  It was kind of a big deal.  Each student would select the cupcake of his or her choice from the menu.  Kids waited all year for this.  Anyway, I wish they had more vegan choices, but red velvet is the only one at the moment.  They also carry gluten-free red velvet.  The cake is perfect and rich and the frosting is so-sweet and some kind of vegan cream cheese and it's unbelievable.  A friend from out of town once claimed he was going into a sugar-induced coma after eating one of these cupcakes.

I can't wait.

V is for Vegan.

Blogger's Soundtrack
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: "Home"

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sweet Grass Grill - Tarrytown, NY

This week I went to a conference with some of my coworkers in Tarrytown, New York, which is just north of Manhattan, right on the Hudson.  Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is set here, and notable former residents include Mark Twain and Bruce Jenner.  Yup, I just included them both in the same sentence.  I grew up on Long Island but I had never been to Tarrytown before.  It's a 3 1/2 hour drive from Boston, and I felt stressed out about the trip because one can never be sure that there will be anything vegan to eat when traveling.  I therefore did some research and found out that there was a vegan-friendly restaurant just around the corner from the hotel - Sweet Grass Grill.  The website states "Sweet Grass Grill is a casual restaurant serving local and seasonal food right in the heart of Tarrytown. With relationships with about a dozen local farms, the menu at Sweet Grass Grill varies week to week depending on the daily harvests."  Sounded perfect.

The restaurant is located on Main Street, which is lined with little shops and was decorated with lights, giving it that quaint feeling you would expect from a small town in upstate New York.  There was also a parking lot right next to the restaurant, which was quite convenient.  Living in Boston has definitely made me appreciate a decent parking situation.

The menu included several vegan options-- vegan shepard's pie, multiple salads, and a black bean burger.  There were also many traditional items on the menu, which my coworkers appreciated.  I often debate to myself the merits of a mixed menu versus a completely vegan establishment.  I think it's great to expose people to vegan dishes, but it seems like if meat is available, it's what the omnivore is going to order no matter what.  I've been to lots of vegan restaurants that my non-vegan friends have really enjoyed, so to me, if you're going to go vegan, why not go all the way?  Anyway, that wasn't the mission of this restaurant, it's my own personal agenda.  I ordered the black bean burger with sweet potato fries and everyone else ordered chicken or salmon.  I also had a lovely glass of organic Pinot Grigio and for dessert a vegan mousse.  All of the food was delicious.  The black bean burger seemed to incorporate tofu and was served without a bun.  One thing I appreciated was that the portions weren't gigantic so I didn't feel overly full and was still able to partake in dessert.  Also, The Head and the Heart was on the playlist - love that band.  Overall, I would recommend the place if you happen to be in the area.

Blogger's Soundtrack
The Head and the Heart: "Lost in My Mind"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

When Being Vegan Isn't Fun

I love being vegan.  But sometimes it actually sucks.  There are days when it seems like the entire meat-eating, dairy-loving world is in cahoots against you, as you altruistically march to the beat of a different drum.  It's times like these that you can't help wonder if you should just give in and eat that cannoli, buy a pair of leather boots, and wrap yourself in a down comforter like everybody else.  I assure you, friend, this too shall pass.

1.  You go to a restaurant and there are no vegan options on the menu.
Really, in this day and age, any restaurant that does not offer veg-friendly options is run by a bunch of jerks.  Ok, that was kind of mean, but how hard is it to have at least one vegetarian or vegan meal on the menu? We're used to the standard fare- pasta primavera, hummus wrap, a no frills salad.  You peruse the menu and realize that french fries aren't even an option.  Soon thereafter your friend nudges you and asks what you are going to eat.  You try not to be that obnoxious vegan snob, but you're actually really hungry and starting to feel anxious.  Super.

2.  Your coworker brings in donuts/pastries/chocolate cake/Godiva chocolate/something mouth-watering and totally not vegan.
The workday was already long enough without watching everyone else revel in how delicious the non-vegan dessert item is while you sit at your desk writing lesson plans and smiling while secretly shooting lasers out of your eyes while their backs are turned.  Excellent.

3.  You wake up and realize that you're out of B-12.
You won't be out of work until 5, whereupon you will be stuck in traffic, whereupon the only store that sells B-12 is Whole Foods, which is on top of a huge hill, whereupon it starts snowing and you don't have four-wheel-drive, and you're starting to get a headache.  Great.

4.  You've been wearing the same winter coat for ten years because you bought it before you were vegan and you can't find a decently warm vegan coat under $500.
You'd think animal feathers would be out of fashion at this point, kind of like wearing real fur.  You'd think.

5.  You sit down at a meal with a bunch of strangers and someone asks you to explain why you're vegan as dinner is served.
You actually want me to tell you where your chicken came from as you eat it?  Really?  I try to go with something vague like "I choose not to participate in animal cruelty."  Did I ask you to justify why you are eating meat?  No.  I did not.

6.  You find a beautiful pair of boots but they are leather.
For Pete's sake you really wanted those boots, and they're on sale, too.  Other people just go to the store and buy a pair of boots, and there's nothing complicated about it.  But not you.  Outstanding.

7.  People make idiotic comments like "plants have feelings, too" and expect you to respond as if these are logical arguments.
You laugh politely, but really?

8.  You order a purportedly vegan meal and it is served coated in cheese.
Cheese = dairy = animal product = not vegan.  Then you have to smile politely and explain that you have a dairy allergy because people don't take vegans seriously, send the meal back, and hope the waiter doesn't spit in your food before bringing it out.  Wonderful.

There are days when seemingly petty circumstances make you rethink whether living the examined life is worth it at all, when everybody else seems to be basking in the blissful simplicity of just being omnivores.  Yes, people will get under your skin, and repeatedly dealing with the same scenarios will get on your nerves.  But what about the time your friend cooked you an amazing vegan meal, or when you inspired someone to go vegan, or you discovered a terrific vegan bakery, or scored a pair of vegan boots that constantly get compliments?  Oh, right.  About that.  Being vegan is actually pretty great.

Blogger's Soundtrack
Vampire Weekend - "Unbelievers"

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year Musings

My (smart, slightly sarcastic) 16-year-old brother does not understand the concept of New Year's resolutions ("Why wait until a particular day to do the things you want or improve your life?").  I agree with him on some level, but I also see January 1st as a moment for reflection on the past 365 days and on what the next 12 months should be about.  So while I won't include the specific ideals I personally hope to embody in 2014, cheers to peace, happiness, and expanding horizons in the new year.

That being said, I believe going vegan would be a great new year's resolution --  clearly.  I'm approaching my four year anniversary of vegetarianism in February.  Changing the way you eat fundamentally alters the way you live.  The other day I ate a delicious vegan cookie, and the wrapper pointed out that no other dietary choice you can make has a greater impact.  Be still my heart --  yes.  The best way to make a difference is by exemplifying what you believe-- refusing to participate in animal cruelty, reducing your carbon footprint, eating local, organic produce, living simply so that others might live.  Even if you could not care less about any of those issues (I'll suspend my disbelief), the profound impact that veganism has on one's physical and emotional well-being is huge.  You will never feel better than you will on a plant-based diet.  You will try new foods and learn about amazing restaurants that you have walked past every day for years.  You will make new friends who are also vegan (really, it's true!) You will educate yourself about what you put into your body and live according to a set of values which permeates all you do. If that doesn't convince you, hey, even Beyonce and Jay-Z are doing it.

Happy New Year.


Blogger's Soundtrack
John Mayer - "Dear Marie"