Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vegan Cat Treats?

I feel like I've been hoping to come across vegan cat treats forever. Do they exist? Can anyone point me in the right direction? (I'm not looking to bake my own.)


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Organic Restaurant in Arlington, VA

While in the Washington, DC area, my best friend and I went to check out this new organic restaurant in Arlington, VA after seeing it listed on VegDC.

Toscana Grill is not all vegetarian but it is all organic.  One entire section of the menu is vegan and other vegan items throughout the menu are clearly labeled.

My best friend and I both thought the food was amazing!  I had the Vegan Veal Parmigiana and a Mocha Frappe (complete with vegan whipped cream).  My best friend had the Vegan Chicken Marsala.  I will definitely be returning when I'm in DC next.  The restaurant, along with my walk through the neighborhood, made me miss Arlington.

Toscana Grill's entire dessert menu is vegan and consists of slices of cakes from Vegan Treats.  They also serve brunch on the weekend.

I spoke with the manager/owner and commended him on having numerous vegan options.  He gave me some background on the restaurant: The restaurant used to be a normal Italian restaurant.  Business wasn't great so they closed shop and reopened with a new angle: being eco-friendly.  They have been open for three months and business has increased dramatically (over 30 percent).  I was told they will be expanding their vegan selection as the demand grows.

Pros: Many vegan options, frappes, close to Metro, nice atmosphere, fair price

Cons: Not all vegan (or vegetarian), website is in flash and not mobile-friendly

If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend Toscana Grill.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Some Boycotts Are Just Stupid

Boycotting can be a great tactic and can help us, as activists, effectively achieve our goals. However, some boycotts can be misdirected, ineffective, and just waste time and resources.

I came across an article on Vegetarian Star the other day about Brigitte Bardot urging a boycot of Canadian maple syrup in order to protest Canada's seal hunt.  In my opinion, this is just plain stupid.

This reminds me of another misdirected boycott a while back: boycotting Wegmans because of the fact that they do not sell cage-free eggs.  What point were we trying to make with that boycott?  To many consumers it sounded like the animal rights community was saying cage-free eggs were an acceptable solution.  Also, as vegans, we should all know cage-free is a myth and a bullshit PR campaign.

Anyway, I live in Canada right now and I'll still be buying maple syrup.  Why?  Because I think boycotting Canadian maple syrup is going to have zero effect on the seal hunt.

Boycotting is part of veganism because we understand the abuse of animals is tied to supply and demand.  However, let's make sure we stay focused.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Steps to Solving Climate Change

(Cross-posted at Billy Blogs:

I'm sick and tired of government, politicians, and corporations dancing around the issue of climate change.  We're sacrificing our planet for economic reasons.  Don't you think that's crazy?  We've also become accustomed to our way of life and are reluctant to change.

We've been destroying the earth for far too long and we need to take action now.

Here's what we need to do to fix climate change:
  1. Adopt a vegan diet
    • Raising animals for food is an ecological disaster.  Eating animal products is the single worst thing you can do for the environment.  It takes far more resources to raise animals for food when we could be using less by eating lower on the food chain.  If you really care about the planet and want to make a change please go vegan.  Take action now: Read more about veganism and even get a free vegan starter kit at Vegan Outreach.
  2. Farm organically only
    • Conventional farming methods are not sustainable and the pesticides, herbicides, and many chemicals are killing us and our planet.  We need to stop subsidizing products that are killing us, ban chemicals, and farm organically only.  Take action now: Support organic farmers by purchasing only organic produce in your grocery store.  Better yet, visit your farmer market and find organic and local produce there.  You can also purchase clothing made with organic cotton.
  3. Green the grid
    • There's a disconnect between flipping on a light switch and understanding how the electricity got there.  Most of the grid is powered by fossil fuels (coal).  We need to switch to solar and wind power and stop using fossil fuels and nuclear power.  If we invest in renewable technology we'll create a sustainable system and many jobs in the process.  Take action now: Invest in solar and wind power or install the technology yourself.
  4. Stop using oil
    • At the same time we're greening the grid we should invest heavily in designing and manufacturing electric cars.  GM created an electric car with a decent range years ago but then pulled it before it went to market (watch the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? for more information).  The technology is there.  We just need to stop letting the oil companies control our policies and our planet.  Those that are smart will switch to renewable energy, those that aren't will die out.  This will also mean people will stop using oil to heat their homes.  Instead, people in colder climates can use electricity from the green grid or something like a pellet stove.  Take action now: Drive only when you need to and buy a fuel-efficient vehicle.
  5. Ban incandescent bulbs
    • We can't just green the grid and still consume the same amount of power.  We ultimately need to use less.  Australia has banned incandescent light bulbs.  Why can't we?  It's such a simple change and uses only 1/4 of the electricity.  Take action now: Switch out your light bulbs with CFLs.
  6. Manufacture only products that meet Energy Star guidelines (where applicable)
    • For the same reasons as above, we need to produce the most energy-efficient appliances.  Take action now: When you need a new appliance look for one that has the Energy Star certification.
  7. Recycle everything
    • I can't believe some areas still don't have decent recycling programs.  We need to be recycling everything we use.  On the same note, we should be manufacturing products with post-consumer material to reuse and cut down on the resources we need.  Take action now: Be diligent about making the most of your area's recycling program.  Recycle everything you can.
Do you have ideas?  Please add your comments.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Price Increasing for Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate

I previously mentioned the fact that eCornell is offering a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program. Well, I received an email from eCornell the other day informing me that the price for their Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program will be increasing on October 3rd. The price will be increasing from $795 to $1,065. You have until October 2nd to enroll and pay $795.

This was a good motivator for me, as I called Nancy Barber at eCornell yesterday and prepaid for the certificate program. She was extremely helpful and explained how flexible the program is. I was asked to choose my tentative start dates for each of the three courses but she informed me that I am able to change the dates if I later find out they're not convenient for me (provided I do so with some notice).

Anyway, I'm prepaid and registered for the Plant-Based Nutrition program at eCornell! I decided to take the plunge and fork over the money, as nutrition has been a passion of mine for a while and this program will focus on vegan nutrition.

If you're interested in enrolling or have questions you can contact Nancy Barber at eCornell:


  • 866-326-7635, option 2

  • For those of you who are also outside the US: 607-330-3205

Friday, April 17, 2009

Plant-Based Nutrition Online Courses Offered by Cornell

My wife just shared some great news with me: Cornell University is offering a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, which you can obtain completely online.

The three-course series (with each course running two weeks) is led by T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study.

The program looks really interesting. The only downside? The price: $795.

Here's some information about the course that my wife received in an email from an Enrollment Counselor at Cornell:

Plant-based nutrition represents a forward-looking view of nutrition that Dr. Campbell developed during his more than 40 years experience in experimental research and 20 years in public policy. This course series presents a different paradigm, considering the topic of nutrition both as a science and as a component of the practice of medicine. It is an expansion of NS 200, a successful Cornell course approved by the Department of Nutritional Science and offered for 7 years. This new online series offers the best of his work as well as the latest information from leading experts in the field.

This certificate series is designed to introduce the ability of properly executed nutrition to maintain health and prevent disease. These courses would be of interest to healthcare professionals, corporate policymakers, individuals wishing to improve health, parents, teachers, and school administrators

Course topics include:

1) Nutrition Fundamentals
2) Diseases of Affluence
3) Principles in Practices

How the Course Works:

In our 2 week long courses you will learn through watching lectures, participating in discussion boards and taking evaluations. The coursework is available to be completed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on an asynchronous platform so you do not have to be online at the same time as the instructor or other students in order to complete the coursework.

Course Pricing:

Prepaid Certificate: $795
Individual Courses: $295

Next available enrollment dates: April 29th, May 13th, and June 10th

I'm strongly considering enrolling, even though I'm broke right now. I think this would be very useful information to have.

If you're interested you can get more information on the program at eCornell.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Miss (Organic) Sweet Potatoes

Apparently it is impossible to buy organic sweet potatoes here on Prince Edward Island. Most farmers seem to grow everything but sweet potatoes and those who do grow sweet potatoes grow them conventionally (with pesticides). I buy only organic so I'm out of luck.

I never realized how much I liked sweet potatoes until I couldn't have them at all. And, yes, I realize this is a strange post.

Anyone want to mail me some? Will they make it across the border? :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My New Vegan Tattoo

I'm back from my visit to the Washington, DC area. I love going back to see friends and family.

Anyway, I came back to PEI with a new tattoo! Here it is:

For those who don't know, it's a modified version of the DC flag. I replaced the three stars with XVX (for vegan straight edge). I am from DC and have a lot of ties to the area and being vegan straight edge really defines a big part of me.

I discovered something while doing my research on tattoos: tattoo ink can be vegan or non-vegan! I didn't know this when I got my first tattoo. I'd heard rumors since but had never done a lot of research on the topic. Well, I spent hours online and was able to dig up some information.

There really isn't a whole lot of information (at least not organized well) available on vegan tattoos. The amount of research I had to do has compelled me to write a blog post or dedicate a web site to the issue. This is forthcoming.

Anyway, I did find out the following three brands of ink are all vegan:
  1. Classic

  2. Eternal

  3. Stable

The information really needs to be put out there for all of us interested in tattooing ourselves. I'm going to put something together and let you know when it's available. I think it'd also be helpful to compile a list of vegan tattoo artists. Given the choice, I'd much rather give my money to a fellow vegan.

I got tattooed at Tattoo Paradise, located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. The guy who did my tattoo, Shawn, was really nice and uses a mix of inks (some being the Eternal brand). He told me he follows a vegan diet as well. Anyway, I highly recommend them. The shop was clean and professional. The guy at the front desk also got me a soda when I almost passed out during my tattoo. (I hadn't eaten in a while and my blood sugar level was low, although I'm also a baby with sharp pain.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Have a New Vegan Cookbook

Yet another vegan cookbook has been published. Hey, us vegans like to eat!

The book is Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine. It was written by Bryant Terry, who lives and works as a chef in Oakland, California.

I scored a free copy of the book from Lindsey Triebel, the Marketing Manager for Da Capo Lifelong Books. (Thanks Lindsey!) I guess this is a perk of being a vegan blogger. (I also recently scored a free copy of the VegOut app for the iPhone and iPod touch.)

Anyway, the cookbook looks really interesting. (My wife was excited when I told her I had a copy because Amazon had been recommending the book to her.)

You can read about Bryant Terry here.

I plan on reviewing the cookbook after I get back home and my wife and I make some of the meals.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Propagandhi Interview on Recent Vegan Freak Podcast

Before hitting the road this morning to start making my way south toward Washington, DC I opened iTunes to sync my new iPod touch and was happy to see it start downloading. I knew that meant there was a new Vegan Freak Podcast. I was extremely excited when I saw Propagandhi in the title of the podcast!

I've been obsessed with Propagandhi since I was 19 and I'm now on the road to see them for the first time when they play in Baltimore. Anyway, it was strange timing that this podcast was posted just before I left for my trip.

Chris Hannah, lead singer of Propagandhi, is on the show and talks about the band's new CD, Supporting Caste, veganism, and many other things. This was a really good podcast (and a few minutes over two hours). I just wanted to give you all a heads-up and recommend that you download the episode.

Oh, also, if you've never listened to Propagandhi I highly recommend doing so.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vegan Tattoo Artist in Washington, DC?

Does anyone out there know of a vegan tattoo artist in or near Washington, DC?

I'm considering getting inked again but would much prefer a fellow vegan to do it.


New Vegetarian Restaurant in Northern Virginia

I was perusing HappyCow in advance of my trip to the DC area next week when I came across something amazing: there's now an all vegetarian restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia! I could walk to the restaurant from the house I grew up in.

This is really a positive sign for me and signifies the fact that the animal rights movement really is continuing to grow. I would have never guessed that Chantilly, VA would be home to a veggie restaurant.

The restaurant is Lotus Vegetarian. Their menu looks pretty good and a lot appears to be vegan.

I told my best friend about it and he went out to try it the next day. He said it was pretty good but no match for Sunflower. But, what is?

I'll be sure to try it while I'm in DC and let you all know how it is.

(Image courtesy of Lotus Vegetarian.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Review: VegOut Application for iPhone and iPod touch

As I mentioned previously, I was given a promo code to try out a brand new vegan app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

The name VegOut brings back fond memories for me. Veg Out was a great vegetarian restaurant in Brisbane, Australia. (I lived in Queensland, Australia for six months.) Anyway, it makes me think of their amazing sweet potato fries. They're no longer open, though.

Anyway, on to the review...

Starting up the VegOut app

When first loading the VegOut app, it attempts to use your current location. I received the following error message: Your location could not be determined. I was bummed but I don't blame the app, as other apps on my iPod touch (such as Google Maps) are unable to find my current location. I guess my iPod doesn't know where Stratford, Prince Edward Island is.

Because VegOut couldn't find my current location I was prompted to manually add my location in Settings. I clicked on Settings and input my address. It worked! The three (yes, only three) results in HappyCow in Charlottetown were displayed. The results were listed by proximity to me and were complete with ratings, a label of Vegan, Vegetarian, or Veg Friendly, and the distance to each.

I was impressed and decided to go back to the Settings menu to play around some more.

Settings for the VegOut app

Here are all the settings you can configure:
  • Location: You can choose to use your current location or manually specify a location.

  • Distance: You're able to adjust the range to search in from your location.

  • Sort by: You can sort by Distance, Rating (average user rating on HappyCow), or Alphabetical.

  • Filter by diet: You can filter by diet to display Vegan, Vegetarian, or Veg Friendly businesses (or any combination thereof).

Information displayed for a business

If you click on a business in your search results you are shown the following information:
  • Phone

  • Type of food

  • Address: Clicking on the address will display the business on a map. You can then easily get directions to the destination.

  • Website: Clicking on the URL will bring up the website for the business. The program keeps a small bar at the bottom to allow you to easily close the window and go back to where you were in the app.

  • Price

  • Details: Clicking here will take you to the entry on HappyCow's website, where you can view user reviews.

Problems encountered using the VegOut app

  1. Current Location: As I mentioned above, the application did not find my current location. However, I think that's a bigger issue with the iPod touch. For some reason it doesn't find me here on Prince Edward Island. I'll be curious to see how well it works when I'm back in DC next month. I'm assuming it'll work much better.

  2. Maps: When pulling a business up on a map, I wasn't entirely clear on how to get back to the app. The app didn't keep a bar present like it did when I clicked on Details to load a website. The only way I could figure out to get back to the app was to go to my home screen on the iPod and load the app again, which took me back to the app's main screen. Maybe I'm missing something. If not, I'd suggest adding this functionality in the next version.

Questions about the VegOut app

  1. Does the app automatically pull new data from HappyCow if/when the HappyCow website is updated? For example, if a new vegan restaurant opens in Washington, DC and is added to HappyCow will that appear in the app right away?

In summary

I love the VegOut application. The only thing I could find that I didn't like was the fact that you can't easily get back to the app once you load a business on a Google Map. If you have an iPhone or an iPod touch I highly recommend downloading it. It's $4.99 and worth every penny. I keep thinking of how useful this app is going to be when I'm traveling.

For more information, you can visit the VegOut application's website or download the VegOut app from iTunes.

(Image courtesy of the VegOut application's website)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vegan App for iPhone and iPod touch

First let me apologize for not blogging in quite a while. It's lame. I've been dealing with a lot in my life recently. Anyway, I want to get back to my blog. I really enjoy interacting with all of you.

My wife gave me a very early birthday present last night (she couldn't wait until June). I got an iPod touch! I've only had it for a day and I already love it. It was actually strange timing that right after I was given my new iPod touch I received an email from Champ Bennett regarding VegOut, a new application he wrote for the iPhone and iPod touch. Here is the press release from the email he sent me:

Brooklyn, NY - Feb 20, 2009 -- Brooklyn musician and freelance software developer, Champ Bennett, has partnered with to bring the largest source of vegan/vegetarian restaurant listings to the iPhone. The idea came to him after having the hardest time finding a good place to eat while touring in Europe in mid-2008. Upon returning back to the States, he promptly got in touch with HappyCow to see if they would be interested in a partnership. HappyCow agreed and development started.

Upon completion of the app, Bennett wrote to Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple, Inc. and well-known vegan) to inform him of the application. "I couldn't think of a better candidate to beta test the app", Bennett said. "I wrote to him, and days later he actually wrote back asking when he could try it out! I responded asking for his UUID so I could build him a beta application that he could run on his iPhone. The next day he announced his hiatus from Apple and I never heard back again. Oh, well."

As of today, version 1.1 of the app is on Apple's AppStore. The functionality is simple: it finds vegetarian restaurants near your location or a custom location; however, there are plans in the future to extend the functionality to include vegetarian and vegan recipes (Bennett's wife is a graduate of the Chef's Training program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts and works at the popular Manhattan raw-food restaurant, Pure Food and Wine).

Champ even provided me with a promo code to download the app for free. I've successfully downloaded the app and transferred it to my iPod touch. I'm going to play around with it.

Stay tuned because an evaluation of VegOut is forthcoming.