Vegan Relationships

If you haven’t figured it out yet I love a good infographic. I found this one on Alicia Silverstone’s blog (the actress from Clueless) about relationships as a vegan. It would be interesting to survey more in depth about the pros/cons of dating someone who’s not vegan, why it is that it’s harder for women to find vegan men, how the couples meet, etc. Maybe on another post…

Vegan Relationships

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Veggiequeer: A Twist to Veganism

“Veggiequeer” is one of my favorite portmanteaus. It’s a fusion of words originating from two social topics: dietary preference and sexuality (though the word here applies as a reference to dietary preference). While the term “queer” has had a pejorative meaning for most of the 20th century, it’s been reappropriated in the past couple decades— at least in the U.S.— to denote an opposition to binary thinking. More personally my friends and I use it as a suffix for anything that we don’t want to box ourselves into.

A recurring theme on this blog is that no one has the authority to monitor your dietary preference. The problem here is that most people are going to do it anyway, especially if they don’t know many people who are vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, etc. In middle school I didn’t know anyone who was vegetarian, but I also didn’t think it was a big deal. I guess it was a surprise to me when I went on a volunteer trip to Belize for a couple weeks and some fellow members referred to another volunteer as “PETA” because she  was vegetarian.

Too often people make us feel pressure to have a definitive dietary preference. We have to be something, as if the person asking has a burning desire  to categorize what we eat. There’s nothing wrong with asking out of curiosity, there’s just a problem with planning to critique or double-check another person’s diet.

To deal with these situations some of my friends and I use the term “veggiequeer” to describe our diet. What does it mean? Here’s the great part: it means whatever you want it to mean! Generally it’s been used to describe some variations in veganism & vegetarianism or gaps between eating meat and not eating meat. It’s casual. More than likely the person asking will have no idea what you’re talking about and what better time than then to A) explain why you choose to eat what you do B) address stereotypes C) explain the origins of “veggiequeer”! Obviously this depends on the person’s actual interest— use your social cues friends.

Vegan-friendly Halloween Candy

Whether you’re trick-or-treating, handing out candy, or stuffing your face as a distraction from homework, it’s important to have an idea of what candy is vegan-friendly even if you’re not yourself vegan. Here’s a guide to vegan candy that’s offered nationwide and also an online natural candy store.

Let me know if anything needs to be added or removed:

AirHeads Taffy
Blue Raspberry
Cherry
Green Apple 
Sours
Blue Raspberry 
Sours
Cherry
Sours
Green Apple
Strawberry
Watermelon
White Mystery

Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks
Organic Tropical Treat Bunny Fruit Snacks
Organic Berry Patch Bunny Fruit Snacks
Organic Sunny Citrus Bunny Fruit Snacks
Organic Summer Strawberry Bunny Fruit Snacks
Organic Grapes Galore Bunny Fruit Snacks
Organic Pink Lemonade Bunny Fruit Snacks

Biona Organic Tutti Frutti Wine Gums

BoomChocoBoom
Ricemilk Chocolate
Ricemilk Crunch
Dark Chocolate

Brachs Fruit Slices

Charms Blow Pops
Black Cherry
Blue Razz
Cherry
Cherry Ice
Grape
Kiwi Berry
Lemonade
Orange
Sour Apple
Strawberry
Tangerine Mango
Watermelon

Atkinson’s Chick-o-Stick

Chuao Chocolatier
Caracas Dark Chocolate Bar Set
ChocoPod Spicy Maya Caddy
ChocoPod Coco Caddy
ChocoPod Coffee and Anise Caddy
Coco Bar Set
Coffee and Anise Bar Set
Dark Chocolate Seashells
Gingerettes
Orangettes
Origins Chocolate Bar
Classic Panko Bar Set
Spicy Maya Chocolate Bar Set

Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit

Crispy Cat Candy Bars
Mint Coconut
Toasted Almond

Cracker Jack Original Caramel Coated Popcorn and Peanuts

Dots

Dum-Dums

Endangered Species
Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites
Organic Dark Chocolate Chimp Mints

Feel Good Inc.
Macarons

Ginger People
Gin Gins Double Strength Hard Ginger Candy
Gin Gins Hot Coffee Chewy Ginger Candy
Gin Gins Original Chewy Ginger Candy
Gin Gins Peanut Chewy Ginger Candy
Gin Gins Spicy Apple Chewy Ginger Candy
Gin Gins Super Strength Ginger Caramel Candy
Ginger Spice Drops

Go Max Go Foods
Buccaneer
Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups
Jokerz
Mahalo
Snap!
Twilight

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, Original Dark

Goody Good Stuff
Cola Breeze
Sour Fruit Salad
Sour Mix ‘n’ Match
Summer Peaches

Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum

Jolly Rancher Hard Candy

Let’s Do…Organic
Classic Fruiti Bears Gummies
Jelly Fruiti Bears Gummies
Sour Fruiti Bears Gummies

Mamba Fruit Chews

Mary Janes

Newman’s Own Licorice Twists

Now and Later

Panda
Blueberry
Licorice
Candy-Coated Licorice
Cherry Licorice
Raspberry Licorice
Soft Licorice

Pez Candy

Premium Chocolatiers

Pure Organic
Fruit Snacks

Saf-T-Pops

Seitenbacher Gummi Fruit

Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates

Skittles
Blenders
Crazy Cores
Original Fruit
Riddles
Tropical
Wild Berry
Sour

Smarties

Sour Patch
Original Sour Patch Kids
Sour Patch Blue Raspberry
Sour Patch Cherry
Sour Patch Extreme
Sour Patch Fruits
Sour Patch Peach
Sour Patch Watermelon

Stockley’s Cinder Toffee

Surf Sweets
Fruity Bears
Gummy Swirls
Sour Worms
Sour Berry Bears
Fruity Hearts

Swedish Fish

Sweet & Sara
Cinnamon Pecan Marshmallows
Mini Marshmallows
Mini S’mores
Original S’mores
Peanut Butter S’mores
Rice Crispy Treats
Rocky Road Bark
Strawberry Marshmallows
Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
Vanilla Marshmallows
Organic Macaroons

Twizzlers (no more gelatin!)
Strawberry
Chocolate
Cherry
Strawberry Rainbow
Black Licorice
Sweet and Sour Filled

VerMints

Whizzers Chocolate Beans

YummyEarth
Lollipops
Sour Beans

References (I did not include all the candy in the lists provided below, as some are “mistakes” and not actually vegan):
websites of distributors

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4487&catId=2

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/852621

Vegan Starbucks Study Drinks

Tis the season to study your face off. I secretly think that Fall activities in the northeast are just another form of procrastination for college students. How on earth can I write a 10-page paper when there are leaves to play in and instagrams to take?? We’re drinking more caffeine than apple cider at this time of year. At a city university with more than three Starbucks on campus this begs the question: what Starbucks drinks are vegan?

I’ve aggregated suggestions both from already existing lists and from some of my vegan friends, one who was a Starbucks barista himself. Feel free to comment if anything’s changed or is inaccurate!

For all drinks soy milk is your best friend.

Drinks
The basic drinks are vegan (e.g. hot or iced tea; hot or iced coffee with soy milk) and any flavored syrup like vanilla, hazelnut, or caramel.

Syrups
The only syrups that contain dairy ingredients are White Chocolate Mocha, Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Brûlée (Surprise: Mocha sauce is vegan!)

Toppings
Caramel drizzle is not vegan (Caramel macchiato and caramel frapp)
Chocolate shavings on peppermint mochas & the caramel brûlée toppings have labels that read, “processed on machines that share dairy ingredients” so you can decide for yourself how you feel about it.

Summary
Ask for soy milk. Avoid whipped cream, java chips, protein powder (in smoothies), caramel drizzle. Avoid all drinks with pumpkin spice, white mocha, caramel brûlée, and any light frapp.

List of drinks:
Filter coffee
Café Misto with soy
Espresso
Espresso Macchiato with Soy
Café Americano black or with soy
Soy lattes
Soy hazelnut frapp
Hot chocolate with soy
Soy cappuccinos
Etc.

Resources:

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2013/02/06/vegan-menu-items-at-starbucks-natural-flavors/

http://www.peta2.com/lifestyle/surprisingly-vegan-starbucks/

Veggie Shoes

My dad once told me if there’s anything worth spending money on it’s shoes. That didn’t really mean much when I lived in Florida and wore the same pair of sandals every day, but now that I’ve trudged through the snow 3 winters in a row I think I’ve caught on. It’s worth it to fork over a little more for quality.

That being said, it’s harder to find shoes that align with your ethical values than you might think. With food you can go to a store, check out the ingredients, and cook a meal in your home without buying speciality tools. Not all of us can (or should) make shoes from scratch.

Happily, there are a few brands who understand the demand for cruelty-free footwear.

Novacas: Novacas, named for it’s play on “no cow” in spanish, sells most of it’s shoes through vendors around the U.S. It doesn’t have an online store, but you can check out its stocklist to find other online stores that carry them.

MooShoes: An online shoe store that’s animal-friendly, easy to browse, and has a great return policy if your shoes don’t fit.

Aldo – you have to double-check to make sure the shoes you want are vegan, but this brand surprisingly offers  a lot of non-leather shoes.

Sudo Shoes: This exclusively vegan shoe store has a location in Porter Square in Cambridge (a huge win for Bostonians!). My friend, Miles, got his Vegetarian Shoes boots there and he absolutely loves them

Vegetarian Shoes: Has pretty much any type of shoe you could want. (Below: Miles’ artsy instagram of his Vegetarian Shoes boots)

                                      IMG_3760

Banksy’s Stuffed Animal Slaughterhouse Truck

Yesterday in NYC, what appeared to be a slaughterhouse truck with stuffed animals peeking and squealing through open slats drove through the streets of the Meatpacking District. The truck is the work of international graffti artist and political activist Banksy. Entitled “Sirens of the Lambs”, the piece will be touring the rest of the city during the next two weeks, according to his website.

Personally I think as a form of artwork this is a clever way to introduce people to the inhumane way animals are treated in most of the food industry. For children on the street the substitution of stuffed animals is appropriate. Kids are naturally inquisitive and probably asked about  the truck.

Obviously this is a creative piece only meant to be a subtle reminder of a not-so-pleasant reality. It’s not meant to invade people’s lives or shock people with graphic photos, there are other trucks for that, though I’m sure many people are critiquing the truck for not doing any significant form of activism. Even YouTube users are commenting on the supposed “ineffectiveness” of the truck, as if its only goal should be to turn people vegetarian on the spot. Honestly, the truck doesn’t seem to be doing any harm so even if it’s just raising awareness about the maltreatment of animals that’s fine by me!

The “Please Stop Talking About Your Food” Problem

Eating habits and opinions on food production can be touchy subjects for a lot of people. For one thing we were all raised differently in regards to what is “normal” to eat, even if we grew up in the same culture. Food is essential for all bodily processes that enable us to breathe, move, and think, but also what we put in our bodies plays such a huge role in our social and mental health. There is no part of our lives that is not influenced by what we eat. Along with sleeping, breathing, and pooping, eating is one of the few behaviors that all beings have in common.

Because of food’s ever-present power in our lives people become very passionate about it. Some people tweet haikus about food, others make YouTube series of drunk cooking, and still fewer and far less admirable people change Rogers & Hammerstein lyrics into chocolate-praising hymns (The Sound of Music sanctity > chocolate). Tack on all the diets, research studies, and intersectionality with environmental health, animal rights, etc. and there are millions of clashing views about what’s best to eat.

Passion is a wonderful quality to have; it fuels education, progress, and inspires others. There is a difference, however, between respectful passion and stubborn passion. Misused passion can create damaging social dynamics when it becomes a medium for accosting others. Forcing your opinion down someone’s throat will always lead to a coughing fit.

Often vegans, or really anyone else who chooses a more unique diet preference, get a bad rep for being “preachy”.  This is generally a very small minority. Of my ten vegan friends none of them have ever asked me to change my diet, made snarky remarks about my food choice, or made fun of me when I chose to eat that one slice of bacon (I’m vegetarian) like my non-veg friends have. The people I know who eat vegan are very aware of the preachy vegan stereotype and some of them even go out of their way to avoid judgement at restaurants by saying “I’m vegetarian and also lactose-intolerant, what can I eat?” instead of “what’s vegan?” In many ways I think it hurts them more than anyone else.

A couple weeks ago a group of pamphleteers stationed themselves at our campus plaza, dressed as animals, and tried to convince people to turn vegan by yelling about it and holding signs. One of them tried to hand my friend Katie, who’s vegan, a pamplet. When she informed him she was already vegan he looked at her and said “but you are wearing leather shoes and your bag is leather so maybe you should take this.” Someone please explain to me how being  judgmental and rude will convince others to go vegan.

The difference between being “preachy” and having a mutually educational conversation is how open both parties are to discussion. Many of my friends are interested in social justice, earth preservation, human & animal rights, you name it, so I know I can freely address these subjects with them.  However, there are definitely people in my life who have made it clear they don’t want to hear about it and I respect that distance unless they bring it up themselves. Sadly the fear of being perceived as preachy can silence those who have thoughtful, educational tidbits to offer. To make the best eating decisions for our health and our environment we have to be open to learning, even if it’s not what we want to hear.