Saturday, February 27, 2010


I know it's materialistic and expensive, but a guilty pleasure of mine is sporting Nikes. And specifically, Air Max 90s. They just make me feel good knowing they're on my feet. I really like shoes.

Today I stopped by Undefeated, a small shoe store that carries a lot of limited edition and unique shoes from Nike, Adidas, New Balance, etc. I stop by now and again to check things out, but rarely actually buy anything. But, today, I was actualy looking for some shoes. And I temporarily forgot about them being made from leather until I walked in and picked up the Air Max 90s that caught my eye. These:
They're simple, awesome, and my favorite color combo—black and red. And they're leather. There wasn't a question of whether or not I was going to buy them. I knew I wasn't. But I just had to pause, breathe, and experience the loss. It passed quickly. Then, some Adidas caught my eye. From a distance they looked like they could be synthetic. They were also extremely awesome looking:
But, The stripes and heel trim were leather. Damn! So, I was on a mission to see if they carried any vegetarian shoes. I found a few, even a pair of Nikes, and they were all wack. The Nikes were all black and plain with a blue stripe. No thanks.

When I got home, I searched for vegan Air Max 90s. Nothing. Then I searched for vegetarian and vegan on Nike's site. Nothing. Then I clicked "live chat" on Nike's site, and immediately got some vegan suggestions from the rep. They were all hideous, but they existed. I picked out a few I had found that looked synthetic-ish earlier, and they're going to research and get back to me whether they're vegan. Pretty cool. Fingers crossed...

And note to self: Stay away from kick-ass shoe stores filled with shoes you can't buy. That's just not fun.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I used to hit this place pretty regularly. There's one close to my office so I'd go there for lunch once or twice a month. I told myself since the ingredients (besides the meat) were fresh, it was healthier than fast food, and nutritious and fairly affordable. I still think that's partly true. I could have done worse. If you don't know what Fatburger is, it's a CA classic, 50's style burger joint with shakes, wide fries, and charcoal grills.

So, since going vegan, I've driven by the Fatburger sign many times around lunchtime with the feeling of loss. Not so much that I wanted a burger, but that I wouldn't have that type of meal again. And to date, even the best veggie burgers I've had were nothing like an actual burger.

Well, today I decided to see if they had a veggie burger. I wasn't sure if they did. I had ordered cow, chicken, fish and turkey burgers there, but never noticed if they had a veggie option. I figured even if they did it would be nasty, but at least the fries would be satisfying, and I'd know to never go there again and accept my Fatburger-free fate.

Hello Fatburger Boca Burger! Where have you been all my life?! Or, the last 3 months anyway. This thing is amazing. Nothing like a frozen boca. Before I go on, let me stress that you must order this "on the char". This means they cook it on the actual charcoal grill, not just the flat cooktop. It adds a flame broiled flavor. This burger had almost an identical texture to their turkey or cow burgers. It wasn't all soft and mushy and nasty. It satisfied just as much as a regular burger! I'll be going back there for sure.

Then I was curious, what's the nutritional difference between the two? I downloaded the nutritional facts from the website and here's the highlights:

Calories: Cow- 590g, Veggie- 510g

Fat: Cow- 31g (9g saturated, 1.5g trans fat)
Veggie- 20g (4.5g saturated, 0g trans fat)

Cholesterol: Cow- 105g, Veggie- 20g

Sodium: Cow- 1190g, Veggie- 1560g

Fiber: Cow- 2g, Veggie- 11g

Protein: Cow- 33g, Veggie- 33g

As you can see, the veggie burger is comparable in protein and calories, and only loses nutritionally to cow when it comes to sodium content. But neither one is to be envied. So, there you have it. It's pointless to get anything other than a veggie burger here. And I haven't lost a guilty lunch-time pleasure—Fatburger.

Meat and dairy cause cancer

How? Colin T. Campbell, author of the groundbreaking and best-selling book The China Study breaks it down in this video. His findings show that cancer tumor growth can be turned on and off with the introduction and reduction of animal protein.

This following video is 45 minutes long. It's Campbell at a podium with a slide machine. However, I find it fascinating. He covers a lot of the major points of the book. So, when you have time, watch it in full. It answers a lot of questions, some of which I didn't know I had. And it reinforces the health reasons for living a vegan lifestyle, scientifically and unequivocally. (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the link to the video)

Watch the video here

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No more fast food

I used to eat pretty healthy before. But, there were times where I was in a hurry and would stop for fast food. I'd be on my way out on a Friday night, or my way in, or after work or after the gym, or whenever. OK, and there were times when I wasn't in a hurry whatsoever and would get fast food. I usually got a burger, or a chicken sandwich, or nuggets, etc. Barf. Since going vegan, I haven't gotten fast food once. But, I needed a way to fill that gap in those situations where having time and/or the desire to cook falls short. That's where my local Los Burritos comes in.

It's only 2 blocks from my apartment, and it's open late, and they can crank out my veggie burrito in under 5 minutes. +1, +2 and +3. This place is not that great, especially if you're interested in meat. But, they have really good salsa, and it's pretty much impossible to mess up a veggie burrito. Beans, guacamole, salsa, lettuce, tomato, and rice. They don't use lard in their beans, either. I hit this place at least once a week and it does the trick. It works for me in my panic-no-fast-food-what-do-I-do situations.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mac and Cheese

Ok, I'm on a mission. Now that I know this exists, I must try it. I always had a guilty pleasure of mac and cheese. The yellower and cheesier and faker and creamier the better. This stuff looks like it just might fit the bill. And I can't find it anywhere. Eek!

Yes, I know, there are some fantastic vegan mac and cheese recipes. But, they don't look like this. I can only hope it lives up to this amazing photograph.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vegan UFC Fighter Wins

Vegan UFC pro fighter and Ultimate Fighter Season 6 winner Mac Danzig scored a win in his latest fight, UFC 109 on Feb 6. Scores were 29-28 by all judges for Danzig, whose record now stands at 20-7-1. He's the only pro vegan fighter I know of.

That's him, punching the other guy in the face. Not exactly tiny. He's 5'8" and cuts weight to fight at 155 lbs. He's now secured his spot in the UFC and will try and work his way up to a title shot. I'm rootin' for him!

Vegan Dog Food

The idea of my dog eating meat has been lurking in my head for a couple months now. Purchasing dog food with meat is supporting factory farming, so I really need to give it up. But, I of course will not sacrifice my dog's health. I've finally researched it and have decided to give it a go. Lark (my dog), has a somewhat sensitive stomach so it took some time initially to find the right food for her. I'm hoping she transitions to this new vegan one OK.

I've been giving her about 10% of her vegan food a day for the past 2 days, and I plan to slowly increase it over the next 2 weeks. So far, she's had no issues. I went with Natural Balance. It has good reviews online, and my local pet store's employees also said they've heard good things.

If she seems to be OK with the food, the next step will be veterinarian approval. I'll have them do a full blood screening to be sure she's 100% healthy. I'm hoping this works out!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I love the idea behind PeopleTowels. The mission is to stop using disposable paper towels in public facilities, in order to save trees, water and the environment. "How" you ask? This handy graphic from their website breaks it down.

What does this have to do with being vegan? Nothing, really. But, since becoming vegan and being more aware of my environmental impact, things like this excite me. And to get me even more excited, I won their Facebook "How Green is Your Love" contest and scored 3 free PeopleTowels! I'm giving them away as gifts so I can order different designs for myself. I'm ordering this set:

I'm really impressed with the quality. They are 100% Fair Trade, organic cotton. Here's how my fun-filled PeopleTowel day went: They arrive! I'm happy.

This design is for Valentine's Day, but works year round.

The back side has a soft, terry feel to it. They're really lightweight, so they dry super fast.

I plan on using PeopleTowels from now on, or if I don't have one with me, I'll use the good ol' hands on the pants method. And if you're like me and the idea of bathroom door handles grosses you out, use the towel or your sleeve.

And no, I'm not getting paid or anything to promote this company. I just really like they're style, designs, mission, and idea. Hopefully you'll check 'em out!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Vegan Meal/Snack Ideas

Man, I've come a long way since eating veggie burritos, salads and green beans when I first went vegan. Here's a few meals and snacks I've had lately that I've really enjoyed. Enjoy!

Yesterday, I had lunch at my favorite Thai-Japanese restaurant: Pink Elephant. I got the green curry with eggplant, bell peppers, mixed vegetables and a side of brown rice. I was extra hungry, so I also had a salad and veggie egg roll to start. And I ate every last scrap. If you're ever around Topanga Blvd. and Sherman Way, check it out. I've never been disappointed.

I made some pasta the other night, and wanted to incorporate a bunch of veggies into my sauce. It worked out well. I used fresh tomatoes, onions, broccoli and zucchini. I used to put ground turkey in my Ragu and call it a day. This is sooooo much better, and makes a much lighter, fresher pasta.

Today, I made a tasty little snack that I make a lot. I garnished the hummus with olive oil, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. I love olives, so I put some kalamatas on there too. I threw the pita on my gas stove to heat it up, and added some carrots for dipping.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tips for new vegans

Some new vegans have been asking me for advice on what to eat. Here's a list of some things I've found helpful to have around. This is just a start, but hopefully it sparks some ideas. It will be continued in the future I'm sure. And I'd like to get ideas from the readers, too!

Trader Joe's mixed nuts "to-go" packs
I throw these in my pocket, keep a pack in the glovebox, and have them around at work. It's good to eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day, and these do the trick. And they have enough calories to satisfy a hunger urge.

Fortified Rice, Almond, Soy & Hemp Milk
I stress fortified because all of the above milks have fortified versions that are much better for you. They have added B12, Calcium and other essential vitamins. I like to use them all, so I keep them in a rotation. I can't really tell much of a differnce between them, honestly, since they're usually in my smoothies or cereal.

Kale & Collard Greens
Kale and collards have some of the highest nutritional content of any vegetable. I mostly put them in smoothies or pan fry them. I had some collards in my smoothie this morning, and it put a serious pep in my step!

A Blender
Seriously. I use mine every day. And it's nothing fancy. It's amazing how quickly I go through my greens and fruit. No more throwing out what's gone bad because it's all been blended. I wouldn't be able to get enough raw greens in my diet without it.

Not all of them are vegan, but most of them are. They're also great pocket stuffers, and good before or after workouts. They satisfy the need for something sweet and crunchy, with minimally processed ingredients. There's no added sugar, just dates.

Earth Balance Buttery Spread
I love toast, and I love it with butter. I was no fan of margarine, but I'm telling you this stuff is nothing of the sort. It's fantastic.

Earth Balance Peanut Butter
On apples, celery, or on it's own. 'Nuff said.

A Crockpot
I never considered getting one of these, but it's great! And they're only $20 at Target. I basically toss in  a bunch of random veggies and beans, and it comes out pretty good! It's a great way to get in your veggies.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jonathan Safran Foer on The Colbert Report

This is not to be missed. Foer is still on the media trail, and he recently made it to one of my favorite shows. Enjoy.

I'm really glad Eating Animals is still getting public attention. This book has been life changing in varying degrees for everyone I know who's read it. If you haven't read it, read it. There's a link to buy it on Amazon somewhere on the right side of this blog.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jonathan Safran Foer
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I need a cup with a lid

Lids prevent spilling half your morning green smoothie all over your car and your pants when you're kinda running late to work. And, just as an example, it could very well make a mess very similar to this:

But, on the bright side, with the exception of spilling one all over myself, those green smoothies make my mind extra sharp. That's how I was able to crush the high score in Ms. PacMan at the laundromat this weekend. 84,920. Oh yeah.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I didn't get my roll on

Believe it or not, this was tough. I resisted the dinner rolls at Miceli's. Yup. That means it'll only be easier next time. There is something about dinner rolls at an Italian place that makes them hard to resist...crack?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegan Restaurant Review: Cru

Think you can't get some amazing vegan cheesecake that'll satisfy your urge for a giant, sweet, creamy cheese slab? Think again. And what you should be thinking the second time is "I'm going to Cru Restaurant in Silverlake." I know I'm starting this review with dessert, but it was just amazing. This is a picture from their website of what it looks like:


Yeah, it looks like that. But, back to the main meal. The place is really small, and they don't take reservations. But, it's so worth it. I only waited about 15 minutes on a Saturday night, which isn't bad at all. And once we had our seats, I was delighted by the menu. It was mostly raw food, but they also had a decent amount of cooked items. I had the pesto ravioli with cashew cheese and arugula salad. That was a raw meal, believe it or not. I wasn't sure what to expect, and what I got was a refreshing dish with loosely made "raviolis." It was great. Check out the photography on their website and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Eating out vegan is just super fun. I love seeing what the creative chefs come up with, since I'm likely to never cook anything of the sort at home. So, try it, and I hope you enjoy this place as much as I did.

Downsides: I don't recommend going to this place if you're really hungry. The portions are not big. They aren't small either, but just don't expect to leave stuffed. Plus, you'll want plenty of room for the cheesecake, or any of the other desserts that look fantastic. It's a bit pricey, but not crazy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I caved. Thrice.

Last night, I caved. I knew that the hot, fresh, gooey, crispy, delicious dinner rolls on my table at Miceli's Italian Restaurant most likely had butter and/or milk in them. But that didn't stop me. And it didn't stop me the last two times I've been there since going vegan. But, at least I never buttered the rolls.

In those moments, I allowed myself to put the suffering of animals behind my immediate desires. I was totally aware of this as I was doing it. It reminded me of the state of mind I used to be in as a meat eater. It's an odd and not-so-good feeling, and one I prefer to avoid. So, that's it—you ridiculously yummy dinner rolls. Never again! I'm going to refuse you from now on. Yep. I am. Uh huh. Boom. (OK, I'm gonna ask the waiter if they're vegan first...just in case.)