Monday, April 7, 2014

A random list of good vegan things

A couple of positive articles about veganism in somewhat unexpected places. First, Moby’s “Why I’m Vegan” in Rolling Stone. (In the piece, he tells the touching story of how he originally decided to become a vegetarian - sitting with his cat and thinking that it made sense to extend his love and care for the cat to other animals.* What’s funny about this isn’t that he made the connection, but how difficult it seems for most of us to do.) Second, an article by Tim Cebula in last month’s Cooking Light, “Me: Vegan!”, in which Cebula describes going vegan for a month under the tutelage of Vedge owners Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby. Vedge is easily the best vegan restaurant, and quite possibly the best restaurant, I’ve ever been to - better advisers would be hard to find. The article itself is about as much as you can realistically expect from an issue whose cover entices readers with “12 Ways for Perfect Chicken!” (Cebula’s piece itself begins on a page opposite an Oscar Mayer ad; it notes that “ethical decisions” are behind Landau’s veganism, but that’s the extent of the ethics discussion). Cebula learns about vegan cooking, enjoys his month as a vegan, finds that he didn’t much miss eating animals, and says he’s cut his consumption of meat by about 50%. The piece also contains a few recipes from Landau and recommendations for some high-quality vegan products (including the next item on my list). I’d recommend it to vegan-curious foodies. (I’m torn about even discussing this one, since it presents a non-vegan diet as an acceptable solution, but I figure it can’t hurt for people to be exposed to more positive information about veganism in any case.)

Vegenaise. If you like mayonnaise and want to move toward veganism, this is one of the easiest products to swap in. It’s like mayonnaise, but better…which is pretty much their slogan, but it’s true.

Aerosoles. I’m not one to get excited about shoes in general, but I do like comfort and good design. Not all Aerosoles are vegan, but many are – you have to look at the label. I buy most of my shoes at Marshalls, and it’s easy to scan the rows of boxes looking for the silver Aerosoles ones. (Madden Girl – purple boxes - also makes some vegan shoes, but they tend to be a little too junior for me.) For shoe people, I recently read about Mink vegan shoes. The web site doesn’t give prices, and you know what they say: “If you have to ask,…” I googled: I wouldn’t spend that, or anything close, on a pair of shoes even if I could afford to, but they’re very well designed.

Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Puffs. I first learned of these in December when they were reviewed at Sistah Vegan. I didn’t think they’d be available in my area, but my local supermarket carries them. I can gobble them down, so I just buy the occasional bag as an indulgence.

L’Oréal EverPure Shampoo and Conditioner. I love these. I fear if I describe why I’ll sound like a shampoo ad, but it’s true: my hair is softer, bouncier, and more manageable. Equally important: I’m not allergic.

Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks. Not only are these vegan but they’re basically hypo-allergenic – gluten free, nut free, soy free,… And they’re non-GMO. Great for baking (I don’t like baking but my friend discovered these and bakes me delicious vegan treats).

My tofu scramble. It’s very simple. For one serving, I take half a package (so 7 oz.) soft tofu (I use Nasoya) and press it. When it’s sufficiently drained, I crumble it into a bowl and add about three quarters of a tablespoon nooch, several sprinkles of turmeric (which is one of my all-time favorite spices, though it does stain things), a dollop of Vegenaise (see above), and a pinch of salt, and mix it all together. Then I heat a frying pan with some Smart Balance or Earth Balance on medium-high heat, add the tofu mixture, and “scramble” for a few minutes. That’s it. You can add things to the scramble, but I usually just have it with rye toast. Tofu is fun.

* If you’re interested in the care tradition of animal liberation, you’ll find more information in Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for the Treatment of Animals, edited by Josephine Donovan and Carol Adams (1996).

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