Vegan activism

New Year, Same Old (Vegan) Me

new-year-chapter-oneThe promotional emails flooding my in box promise all kinds of tips and tricks for a “New Year, New You.” I had no idea that I was in such need of a total makeover. But these emails seem to assume that there is considerable room for improvement.

And sure, I suppose there is. I could stand to eat more fruit and fewer cookies. I should cook more from scratch. I should spend more time meditating and less time obsessing over Donald Trump’s presidential prospects. I should drag myself out of the house […]

By |2017-12-31T21:54:30-05:00January 1st, 2016|Tags: |19 Comments

Lettuce and Bacon and the Environment: Some Thoughts for Vegan Activists

lettuce bacon


Is lettuce really worse for the environment than bacon? That’s what the latest headlines say, based on findings from new research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Allegedly, lettuce produces more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than unhealthy foods like bacon. The media have gleefully proclaimed, based on this study, that vegetarian diets are bad for the environment.

But that’s not what the study showed. It’s not even what the study looked at. It looked at what happens when people eating a usual American diet shift towards a healthier eating pattern as […]

By |2015-12-18T06:44:40-05:00December 18th, 2015|Tags: , |20 Comments

Good Stories and Good Food for Vegan Thanksgiving Activism

The graphic to the left is based on a billboard and poster campaign from Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, a Colorado-based vegan-advocacy group and sanctuary for rescued farmed animals.

When I posted it on my facebook page a few weeks ago, it clearly resonated with many people, given the number of shares it received. In fact, when I shared it on my personal page, it even got a few “likes” from non-vegetarians among my circle of friends.

That suggests to me that this is […]

By |2017-07-11T21:03:31-04:00November 25th, 2013|Tags: , |6 Comments

Vegan Thanksgiving is Easy and Traditional

[updated 11/26/19]

Finding recipes for a fabulous vegan Thanksgiving feast is not exactly a challenge. My own Vegan Thanksgiving board on pinterest is quickly filling up with all kinds of delectable dishes that I will probably never make. The reason I won’t make them is that I tend to be traditional regarding Thanksgiving dinner. I want it to be pretty much the way it was when I was growing up, but with a compassionate makeover.

I might be tempted to make one or two new things some years, but mostly it’s all about […]

By |2019-11-26T10:10:55-05:00November 14th, 2013|Tags: , , |15 Comments

Celebrating Veganism at Vida Vegan Con 2013

Vida Vegan Con (VVC) has to be the most fun event on earth. I’ve been to lots of veggie fests, and they are all wonderful (every last one of them). VVC is a little bit different though; it’s a more intimate gathering that nurtures vegans to help us become more effective, joyful and confident advocates for animals.

As described by the organizers, Janessa, Jess, and Michele, the conference is about “community, celebrating veganism, and becoming better bloggers and sharers.”  There were also plenty of non-bloggers in attendance and I would imagine they got […]

By |2013-05-28T18:31:40-04:00May 28th, 2013|Tags: |11 Comments

Vegan Food for Everyone

On a recent trip to Costco, I found seaweed salad (vegan in my Costco, although in some areas it contains fish sauce), big cheap packages of tofu, little travel packs of hummus, and delectable stuffed grape leaves.

I was thrilled to come across these and other vegan goodies. But when I reported my finds on facebook, a few people voiced concerns. Was the tofu GMO? Wasn’t there sugar in the seaweed salad? And shouldn’t I be shopping locally?

I do shop mostly—but not exclusively—locally. And there is no shortage of tofu in my life since I live five blocks from the local […]

Being Fearlessly Vegan

If you read the comments on this blog, then you know that not everyone in the vegan world is happy with some of the perspectives presented here. The two criticisms I hear most frequently are these: First, that my recommendations, which focus on areas where vegans may fall short, make it seem “too hard” to be healthy on a vegan diet. And second that, because I’m an animal advocate, I care only about making it easy to be vegan—refusing to condemn foods like vegetable oils, nuts and veggie burgers—with little regard for human health.

Obviously, both of these things can’t be […]

By |2013-03-21T09:55:08-04:00March 21st, 2013|Tags: , , |38 Comments

Do Some People Need to Eat Meat?

It’s one of the most frequent questions I get from blog readers: How do we respond to people who insist that they require meat in their diets?

I know very well that some vegans struggle with their health, because I hear frequently from those who are looking for help. Most who contact me are animal advocates who are experiencing nutrient deficiencies (diagnosed through blood work) or they simply don’t feel well.

These are not people who are eating junk-food vegan diets. Anyone who gets sick from eating a diet based on potato chips and cookies will usually have a fairly good idea […]

By |2013-03-02T11:06:01-05:00March 2nd, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , |165 Comments

Be a Vegan Mentor, Find a Vegan Mentor

One of the (very few) things I share in common with Oprah Winfrey is that we were both mentored by our 4th grade teachers. Mine was Mrs. Kellogg, who worked extra hard to bring me out of my shy-kid shell, encouraged me to write, and made efforts to build my self-confidence.  She had a profound impact on me in just a few months.

Over the years, other people, including college and grad school advisors, mentored me as I explored academic and career options. Without a doubt, my most important mentor in nutrition has been my husband Mark Messina. He’s […]

By |2012-08-27T12:35:25-04:00August 27th, 2012|Tags: |25 Comments

Is Umami a Secret Ingredient of Vegan Activism?

In a recent New York Times article, wellness reporter Tara Parker-Pope explored the challenges of going vegan. Those challenges—including knowledge about how to prepare vegan foods and finding support—are real, although not nearly as insurmountable as Ms. Parker-Pope would have us think.

In particular, she focused on the taste and experience of familiar foods, saying “Giving up favorite foods is never easy, food scientists say, for it means overriding taste preferences imprinted on the brain during a lifetime of eating.”

No doubt that’s true, but I’m not sure that we […]

By |2019-12-30T17:19:33-05:00April 18th, 2012|Tags: , , |92 Comments
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