Vegetarian Thanksgiving: A Squash Main Course

When Maria Marlowe, a New York resident, switched to a vegan diet eight years ago for health reasons, she tried to persuade her family to do the same.

“When someone converts to vegan eating they preach a lot, and I preached,” she said. “I was like the food police. I made people feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t effective.”

But this year, Ms. Marlowe’s family will celebrate its first all-vegan Thanksgiving. How did she persuade her meat-loving family to go vegan?

“I decided to show — not tell — how good vegan food actually tastes,” she said. “I lightened up a bit.”

This spring, Ms. Marlowe visited her sister in Miami and prepared most meals, offering her sister vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes based on foods purchased at the local farmers market. She also took her sister to vegan restaurants. When Ms. Marlowe left, her sister decided to keep eating a plant-based diet and has since lost 70 pounds. Impressed by the results, their father switched to vegan eating and lost 20 pounds.

At the Marlowe family Thanksgiving this year, no turkey will be served, and vegan dishes will be the main course, including this stuffed acorn squash recipe Ms. Marlowe calls “Three Sisters Squash.” (The sisters in the recipe are the Native American staples beans, corn and squash.)

“It has a little bit of everything,” she says. “It’s filling and satisfying, and the garlic melts into the crust of the squash, and it’s so amazing. It will be the star of our first official, completely vegan, Thanksgiving table.”

Three Sisters Squash: The sisters in this recipe are the native American staples beans, corn and squash, which together offer a delicious main course for vegan diners.

More reader-submitted recipes from Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2014:

Panzanella of Plenty: A reworking of a traditional Italian summer bread salad, adding fall produce so that it resembles a traditional American Thanksgiving stuffing.

Brussels Sprouts Sliders: A creative and fun way to enjoy a great fall and winter vegetable: crunchy “buns” of roasted brussels sprouts with a tasty middle of caramelized onions and tempeh that makes for “dreamy bites of pure umami goodness."

Black Rice, Beet and Kale Salad With Cider Flax Dressing: This delicious salad resulted from an effort to create a hearty vegetarian dish while at the same time offering a delicious gluten-free option.

Really Big Beets: A show-stopping main course for the vegans at your dinner table — and one that even meat-eaters will want to eat.


Free Vegan Cookbook: A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays


There are many, MANY vegan cookbooks available. Here's a free vegan cookbook from Ed Begley and James Stone.

Within the electronic pages of A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays, you’ll find the following:

  • Festive and seasonal cocktail recipes.
  • Exclusive content from Holidazed.
  • Yummy starters, like my Roasted Beet Hummus.
  • A plethora of side dishes, such as my Bourbon Glazed Carrots.
  • Decadent desserts.
  • Infographics for easier cooking.
  • A charming foreword by my friend Ed Begley, Jr.

As a vegetarian of 25 years, I know just how challenging holiday meals can be. Actually, any community meal, really. Which is why we are here.

It’s one of the reasons I started the Cooking Stoned. I wanted to showcase that vegetarian cuisine could be interesting, gourmet, and mouthwatering. The same goes for veganism. But more often than not, vegan food blogs are so “political” that what makes good food good is actually overlooked. Be honest, we’ve all seen them. It’s granola-y, boring, and sad. Really sad. They make the DMV look like the happiest place on earth.

But we know vegan cuisine is anything but. At its core, it celebrates earth’s bounty and a harmony with nature, which is a beautiful thing. So there’s no excuse for those extra helpings of sadness.

Here's a link to download the book for free.

When you make a choice to eat a certain diet, or even to just adopt some guidelines about the foods you choose to eat, it can be a great decision for you, in terms of your health or your budget. But for your friends and relations, it can seem like a royal pain for them to make sure they're serving foods you can eat, and holiday gatherings and events that center around eating can take on a whole new twist.

I've been vegan for about 16 years now, and I've never regretted it once (OK, just that one time), because I've experienced some great health benefits since making that choice. It's not too terribly difficult to transition over to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but it's not exactly easy either, especially if your idea of being a vegetarian means eating only carrot sticks or cheese pizza or PB&J sandwiches every day. After all, you don't want to show up to a holiday meal with your family and only eat the salad and appetizers, and you don't want to bring a dish that looks more like it belongs in the compost pile than the dinner table.

Thanks to a couple of veg-friendly guys, Ed Begley, Jr. (vegan for 22 years) and Jerry James Stone (vegetarian for 25 years), you don't have to be "that guy" at Thanksgiving, because they've put together a collection of 15 fabulous vegan recipes that aim to help you make gourmet vegan food that looks as good as it tastes, and they're giving it away for free.

The recipes in the Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays run the gamut from appetizers to cocktails to side dishes to desserts, and includes cooking tips and more.

"After 22 years of being a vegan under my ‘canvas’ belt, I’m ready to share some of my survival skills with you. These recipes will help you navigate all those holiday tables covered with hams and turkeys." - Ed Begley, Jr.

Some of the recipes included in this e-cookbook are Roasted Brussels Sprouts Mac n Cheese, No-Bake Pumpkin Crème Brulee, Bourbon Braised Carrots, and Roasted Apple and Squash Soup, which can probably help turn a boring vegan Thanksgiving into a gourmet feast where nobody even remembers that everything is completely vegan.

"I wanted to create mouth-watering food that everyone would love. It’s food that celebrates the season with classic dishes. From appetizers, soups and salads to sides, desserts and event cocktails, I’ve got you covered." - Jerry James Stone

To get your copy of this free vegan e-cookbook, head over to Cooking Stoned.


Native Foods Expansion


Downstairs in the kitchen of the new Native Foods Cafe, Jackie Perez preps the meat and sauerkraut for a Reuben sandwich. It's 11:45 a.m., 30 minutes before the two-hour lunch rush will start, bringing in hundreds of hungry businessmen and women from around Dupont Circle.

Perez, the restaurant's national kitchen trainer, is surrounded by a dozen other employees who are topping cheeseburgers with bacon, tossing salads and plating sweet potato fries.

"It's amazing, you have to try it," Perez says of the Reuben, a best seller on the cafe's menu. The Native Foods version of the classic American bar sandwich is missing a key ingredient, though: in place of corned beef, slices of rye bread are piled with spiced seitan, a wheat-based protein made by combining gluten flour, spices and stock or water and then simmering the mixture to remove as much starch as possible. Native Foods goes one step further by adding beet juice to the mixture so the seitan, sliced deli-style, takes on the red coloring of the meat it mimics.

Everything on Native Foods Cafe's menu is vegan. The fast-casual chain is expanding across the country, capitalizing on Americans' growing enthusiasm to make more conscious choices about their food and converting meat lovers to what's been known as a hippie food movement by vegan-izing American classics such as the bacon cheeseburger and mac and cheese. The Washington store is the chain's 22nd and the first on the East Coast; it will soon be followed by another location in D.C.'s Penn Quarter.

Co-owner Andrea McGinty proudly points out that most people who stop in for a bite to eat aren't vegan, rather people looking for "a better way to eat." She prefers referring to the cafe's fare as plant-based, finding that it's less of a turn-off when explaining the concept to newbies.

"Native Foods serves fun comfort food that happens to be vegan," says McGinty, who is based in Chicago. McGinty and her business partner, Daniel Dolan, bought Native Foods from the company's founder in 2009. At the time there were just three restaurants, including the one in Palm Springs, Calif., where McGinty first discovered the cafe while on vacation 14 years ago.

"There was still a stigma on this word vegan," she says. "I thought, this could be so much fun to do. Every time I introduced it to anybody, they loved the food."

She took on the restaurant with hopes of expanding and a conviction that vegan food could become mainstream. Her timing may have put the business in prime position to succeed. She took the business outside California with a store in Chicago that opened in 2011; McGinty wants to have 200 stores in the next two years. Meanwhile, Americans are adopting all manner of specialty diets, nixing gluten, going vegetarian on weeknights, seeking alternative forms of protein besides meat, and trying unfamiliar vegetables like kale and grains such as farro.

A 2011 report by The Hartman Group found that 6% of Millennials identify as vegetarians, compared to 5% of Gen X and Boomers combined, and 12% say they often opt for vegetarian meals, vs. 10% of Gen X and 5% of Boomers who say the same.

Caroline Smith, 25, and Elizabeth Barnes, 22, are at Native Foods Cafe for the first time for lunch, but Smith says the two have been checking out the menu online for the past week. She is a vegetarian, while Barnes says she is "95% vegetarian."

They're both excited that Native Foods has such a large selection of veggie-heavy meals. The menu includes starters, salads, "earth bowls" usually made with a base of quinoa or brown rice, wraps and sandwiches, and desserts.

"Some places it's cucumbers on white bread with cheese or something and that's it," Barnes says of the vegetarian options she finds at other restaurants.

Native Foods serves dishes with vegan proteins including tofu, seitan and tempeh, which is made with soybeans and millet. The seitan and tempeh are made from scratch daily in Native Foods' kitchens. The cafe displays signs explaining each protein so customers understand what goes into the dishes.

There may be a learning curve, and new vocabulary, to veganism, but that hasn't affected the flow of customers into the restaurant. Since opening Sept. 30, Native Foods in D.C. has been averaging 600 customers a day, 50% more people than the average Native Foods nationally.

"I think people are attracted to this concept because the food tastes good," McGinty says, adding that at Native Foods people can still eat their favorite foods without the usual guilt or gluttony associated with fast food. "We want to change the way America eats, one restaurant at a time."



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Let Them Eat Vegan Wedding Cake

10373520_726109577451441_886351446670461233_nHer family wasn’t vegetarian – let alone vegan – but they never used butter, milk or eggs in their baking. “That’s just the way they baked,” said Kristi Touchette, 40.

She’s not sure why, but recalls a relative mentioning a connection to the Depression, when eggs and milk were in short supply so cake recipes were devised without them. Handed down through the generations, these recipes may show up in your family cookbook today, as they do in mine, with names such as Depression Cake, War Cake and Wacky Cake.

Touchette didn’t give much thought to the matter when she was growing up, but her family’s approach came in handy when she became a vegan and again six years ago when she decided to lean on her sculpture degree from the Maine College of Art to produce high-end, 100 percent vegan custom cakes.

And so Ahimsa (which means nonviolence in Sanskrit) Custom Cakes was born.

Today, Touchette has become the go-to baker for Maine vegans in need of wedding cakes or special occasion treats. At this time of year, she is in the thick of the fall wedding season.

But here’s the interesting thing: most of her customers aren’t vegan. “I have maybe 1 or 2 percent vegan customers,” said Touchette, who bakes from the certified kitchen in her Auburn home.

It may be that the bride and groom are trying to accommodate guests who are vegan or have allergies to, say eggs. Or the draw may be simply that her cakes – in unusual and appealing flavors like French Toast (vanilla bean cake with cinnamon-maple frosting) and Blueberry Pancake (vanilla bean cake baked with Maine blueberries with cinnamon-maple frosting) – are beautiful and delicious.

That’s what Kim and Allen Cornwall of Scarborough found. Before getting married last June, Kim discovered Touchette’s website, liked what she saw and booked a cake tasting, though neither she nor her now husband are vegan.

While Kim admits to “loving sweets,” Allen says he is “more of an ice cream and pie guy.” But the samples Touchette served during their tasting made him reconsider. He really liked the frosting; she liked that Touchette uses “real ingredients,” like vanilla beans and Maine wild blueberries. “Kim and I both looked at each other,” Allen said, “and we knew this was the one. This was the cake.”


Avoiding eggs, butter and milk isn’t all it takes to produce a vegan cake. Touchette covers her cakes with edible vegan fondant, which is made with agar from seaweed rather than gelatin from animal bones. To make edible sugar flowers and other decorations, she reaches for unbleached, organic evaporated cane juice that isn’t ground using charred animal bones (a common processing technique for white sugar and one that is not considered vegan). Touchette also uses many organic ingredients.

Touchette designs traditional cakes and unexpected ones, according to her customers’ desires. Among the latter is a wedding cake shaped like a tree and one made to look like a stack of books. (In her free time, Touchette continues to sculpt, using steel, wood, fabric and other non-edible ingredients.)

The cakes start at $4 per serving, with the biggest, most complicated ones costing more than $1,000, comparable to similar, non-vegan custom wedding cakes.

10378251_741685719227160_6252886902412787384_nThese cakes take time and care, of course, and Touchette doesn’t like to overbook. She says the most wedding cakes she’ll bake in a season is 35. Because of this, brides and grooms do well to call her at least six months in advance. This year, some of those calls may come from friends of Kim Cornwall, who has passed Touchette’s name on “because she’s great.”

Another testimony of sorts took place at the Cornwalls’ wedding reception. The couple didn’t tell guests the cake was vegan, because, as Allen observed, people may have a “preconceived notion that a vegan cake may not taste good.”

“We’d specifically planned on having cake leftovers,” Kim said, noting that for the reception for 110, they ordered a four-layer cake (each layer a different flavor and served separately) for 130 people. “But there was no cake left,” Kim said, still astonished all these months later. “A lot of people went back for seconds.”

And thirds. And fourths.

“We only got a little bite when we cut the cake,” Allen said.

This may be why Kim added, “I can’t wait for something else to come up so we can have her do another cake.”

Avery Yale Kamila is a freelance food writer who lives in Portland. She can be contacted at:

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila



all images, courtesy of:

The Secret of These New Veggie Burgers: Plant Blood


Patrick Brown, a 60-year-old Stanford University professor turned first-time entrepreneur, says he has found the secret to replicating the taste of red meat: plant “blood.”

On a recent afternoon in his company’s expansive laboratory, Mr. Brown poured a deep-red liquid into a plastic cup. The thin concoction looks like blood, has the same distinct metallic taste, and is derived from the molecule found in hemoglobin that makes blood red and steak taste like steak.

But this bioengineered blood comes from plants and is the crown jewel of Mr. Brown’s three-year-old company, Impossible Foods, which has so far created a hamburger that looks, feels, tastes and cooks almost like the real thing.

“Livestock is an antiquated technology,” said Mr. Brown, a biochemistry scientist known for his genetic research.

Impossible Foods is part of a wave of well-funded startups seeking to replicate meats, eggs, cheese and other animal-based foods with plant matter. Their aim is not only to upend the trillion-dollar animal farming industry but to also create a more sustainable source of food amid mounting environmental pressures.

Several of these companies, including Impossible Foods, have attracted the financing of Microsoft Corp. Beyond Meat, of El Segundo, Calif., sells soy “chicken” strips and beef crumbles made with pea protein and plans to add a burger to its menu. San Francisco-based Hampton Creek Inc., which is in the process of raising $50 million, people familiar with the matter have said, specializes in mayonnaise, eggs and cookie products made from similar ingredients. And New York company Modern Meadow Inc. collected $10 million this summer to make meat, and leather, from stem cells.

Impossible Foods, which revealed its company publicly for the first time to The Wall Street Journal, is one of the top-funded with about $75 million in venture capital from Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, Mr. Li’s Horizons Ventures and Mr. Gates.

A large bulk of that money has gone into Mr. Brown’s manufacturing facility in Redwood City, Calif., a sort-of Willy Wonka lab for fake meat where white-coated lab technicians dump large vats of fresh spinach leaves and other plant matter into a giant blender that breaks down the greens into plant proteins.

Elsewhere, machines rapidly cook raw ground meat and send blasts of smells to scientists, who carefully log the characteristics and strength of each smell. And all across the lab, several tests are happening concurrently, some dedicated to improving the flavor, texture and smells, and others designed to improve the cost efficiency of its processes.

Mr. Brown is more mad scientist than cliché Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

With a thick head of gray hair and a hefty academic resume, which includes a medical degree and two decades as a Stanford University professor, he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the precocious, 20-something founder.

Mr. Brown says he stumbled on the idea for Impossible Foods about three years ago, when he realized while on sabbatical that his background in science could have an impact on the massive animal agriculture industry, which has been criticized for its large carbon footprint.

“The system that we use today to produce meat and cheese is completely unsustainable,” he said. “It has terribly destructive environmental consequences.”

Meat and dairy industry groups have said they are committed to improving sustainability and have taken measures already that reduce their use of resources and their environmental impact, such as developing techniques to reuse waste and biogas.

But to change an industry, he couldn’t just create a better version of meat alternatives found in grocery stores today. Instead, he wanted to understand the fundamental, molecular reasons why meat tastes like meat, and create a product that is on par or better.

“We want the hard-core beef lovers, the guy who’s basically saying, ‘You know, I’m literally on the opposite pole from a vegetarian, in no conceivable universe would I accept any substitute for meat,’” he said.

Tricking carnivores isn’t easy.

Impossible Foods first had to deconstruct the hundreds of basic flavors and smells of cooked ground meat including compounds that alone taste like sulfur and saw dust.

One of the most important findings was the role that heme plays in meat flavor. That molecule unlocks flavors when it is exposed to sugars and amino acids, giving cooked meat its distinct taste.

The company also had to figure out how to solve texture by identifying the right compounds from plants to recreate animal tissue. So far, it has functional versions of fat, connective tissue and muscle made from plant compounds.

The result is a dark red patty that looks and feels like raw ground beef and transforms as it cooks. During a demonstration with the Journal, the patty gradually browned and caramelized on the grill, releasing oil from fats and producing the smell of cooked meat. In the mouth, the patty pulls apart the way burger meat does. The taste isn’t perfect, though—arguably several rungs below a gourmet burger, and more akin to a turkey patty.

Yet there are still many hurdles separating Impossible Foods’ burger and the wide-scale disruption of the animal farming industry.

This small patty, which is currently made in small batches, costs about $20 to produce. Although the burger doesn’t require grazing cows, it still involves harvesting five plant species in large quantities. Mr. Brown says he aims to create cheaper manufacturing processes and the cost of raw materials will fall as scale increases. Impossible Foods, which has already started testing the burger in undercover food trucks, is expected to begin selling to stores as early as the end of next year. By then, Mr. Brown hopes to be on pace to produce 1,000 tons a year.

But even as the taste and cost of the burger improves, Impossible has a giant marketing challenge ahead to woo meat lovers. Even vegetarians, wary of overly processed food, may be suspicious of all the ingredients even if Mr. Brown says they are all natural.

“I don’t get the fake meat movement,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, who is skeptical that such foods will win mainstream adoption or are better for people. “One of my food rules is ‘never eat anything artificial.’”

—Jason Dean contributed to this article.

Write to Evelyn M. Rusli at



5 Awesome Reasons We Could Have a Vegan America by 2050

785px-Bill_ClintonAfter undergoing quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 and a later stent surgery, Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010. Since then, he’s lost 20 pounds, and is now an advocate for vegan and meatless diets.

“I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now,” Clinton told a CNN reporter. “All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy.”

Clinton is not alone. If the growing number of vegans continues to rise at the same pace, we could have a meat- and dairy-free country by 2050. Here’s the proof:

1.  The Rise of Fast-Casual Chains. Casual-dining chains like Red Lobster and Olive Garden were all the rage in the 1990s but have faced decreasing traffic in nine out of the past 13 years. Instead, so-called fast-casual dining is red-hot. Chipotle, Panera and Five Guys offer cheaper, quicker, but also higher-quality, dining experiences. Fast-casual is the fastest-growing segment in the restaurant industry, with an 11 percent increase in sales in 2013. These chains are not all vegan, but they generally offer fresh, nutritious food, with vegan options — a very different proposal from the dreary over-cooked meat and fish options available at Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

2. Changes in the Fast-Food Industry. Chains like Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and many more have pledged to phase out products derived from the industry’s most horrific practices. Moe’s Southwest Grill offers tofu, Chipotle offers “Sofritas” (delcious tofu braised in a variety of tasty spices), and Tropical Smoothie Café offers Beyond Meat as a substitute to any chicken wrap, sandwich or salad. The vegan chain Loving Hut has 43 restaurants in 15 states. Native Foods Café plans to open 200 new locations. And yes, McDonald’s is not doing so well.

3. Consumers Are Becoming Aware of the Horrific Effects of Eating Meat. Meat impacts the environment so severely because livestock require so much more land, food, water and energy than plants to raise and transport. Producing a four-ounce (quarter pound) hamburger, for example, requires seven pounds of grain and forage, 53 gallons of drinking water and water for irrigating feed crops, and 75 square feet of land for grazing and growing feed crops.

4. Meat consumption Is Down. In 2012, Americans consumed 12.2 percent less meat than in 2007. Half of us are aware of Meatless Mondays, and nearly as many of us are eating at least one vegetarian meal a week. If you search on Google for “vegan caterer” you will get 16,200 results. And the most vegan-friendly cities aren’t always where you might expect them: there’s Portland, Ore., Los Angeles and New York, but the list also includes Chicago, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. A Google News search for “vegan 2013? provides 24,200 results, while a “vegan 2003? search provides only 1,650 results.

5. The Famous Are Going Vegan. It’s not just Bill Clinton. Long-time vegetarian Natalie Portman went vegan in 2009 after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. As she wrote in a blog on Huffington Post: “The human cost of factory farming — both the compromised welfare of slaughterhouse workers and, even more, the environmental effects of the mass production of animals — is staggering.” Similar to Natalie Portman, comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres switched to a vegan diet in 2008 after reading several books on animal rights and diets. “I do it because I love animals,” DeGeneres told Katie Couric. “And I saw the reality and I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.” Degeneres’ wife, Portia de Rossi, agrees; their 2008 wedding featured a vegan menu. Other big names who are vegan include Al Gore, Mike Tyson, Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix and Usher.

As it turns out, we may not have a choice. While celebrities like Clinton have been advocating a vegan diet, leading scientists have issued stern warnings about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegan diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.

A vegan America by 2050? Hooray!

What do you think? Could the U.S. be vegan by 2050?


Vegan America by 2050?


I'm making a prediction: America will be vegan by 2050.

Sound preposterous? Not if we work together to make it happen.

Consider that until the 1900s millions of young children worked in our factories... and how untenable that would be today. Consider that a country built on the backs of slaves elected Barack Obama in 2008. Consider that seventeen states in a country where gays lived painfully in the closet just decades ago, now allow them to marry. "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," Martin Luther King said, paraphrasing a longer quotation from transcendentalist Theodore Parker. Our nation's history speaks this truth.

And consider that a 2012 study found that when ten percent of the population holds "an unshakable belief, that belief is always adopted by the majority of the society."

Most importantly, consider what's happening before our very eyes:

1. Meat consumption is down, while "all things vegan" are on the rise.

In 2012, Americans consumed 12.2 percent less meat than in 2007. Half of us are aware of Meatless Mondays, and nearly as many are, in fact, eating at least one vegetarian meal a week. A Google search for "vegan caterer" yields 16,200 results. Our plant-based pals are in cities that you'd expect (Portland, Chicago, New York) but more encouragingly, in those you wouldn't, like Smithfield, North Carolina, a town where homes are filled with the stench of hog manure and where manure mist settles on homes, cars, sidewalks, and laundry left on the line. A Google News search for "vegan 2013" provides 24,200 results, while a "vegan 2003" search provides only 1,650 results. From 2005 to 2014, Google trends reports a 3-fold increase in vegan interest.

Naturally, our changing attitudes are changing industry:

2. Supermarkets are changing.

No matter whether you live, your favorite supermarket likely looks pretty different than it did five years ago. According to, one of the Top Ten Food Trends predicted for 2013 was new vegetarian and vegan proteins, and in the two preceding years, over 100 meat substitutes were introduced to grocery stores. Some supermarkets, like Whole Foods in Northern California, are replacing egg-based mayonnaise with a non-GMO canola product called Just Mayo, and while the department may still be called "dairy," it's easy to find non-dairy milks, butters, and sometimes even cheeses there.

3. Restaurants are changing.

Our rejection of agribusiness is evident in changes taking place in the fast-food industry: chains like Burger King, Wendy's, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts and many more have pledged to phase out products derived from the industry's most horrific practices. More significantly, the success of vegan items in traditional chains AND of vegan fast-food restaurants suggests that not just our attitudes, but our palates are changing. Moe's Southwest Grill offers tofu, Chipotle offers "Sofritas" (tofu braised in a variety of yummy foods) in 17 states and plans on expanding, and Tropical Smoothie Café offers Beyond Meat as a substitute to any chicken wrap, sandwich or salad in all 300 locations. The vegan chain Loving Hut boasts 43 restaurants in 15 states. Native Foods Café plans to open 200 new locations. The most telling news may be that McDonald's, long the undisputed fast-food king, is struggling, with one public relations disaster after another and lackluster sales for several years. Even CEO Don Thompson notes that the chain has lost some of its "relevance" with customers.

Oh, by the way, it's not just fast food that's changing. Forbes says one of top ten 2013 food trends was "High End Vegan," and over half of the 1,500 chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association for its "What's Hot in 2011" list included vegan entrees as a hot trend.

4. The super-rich are driving industry-wide change.

If billionaires know one thing, it's how to spot a trend that will make them richer. The fact that they're investing in vegan start-ups is a pretty clear indicator that they believe America is ready and waiting. Among these visionaries are Bill Gates, who has invested in Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods and has blogged about how, in essence, we must go vegan to meet our demand for "meat." Hampton Creek Foods recently raised $23 million from Asia's richest man, Li Ka-sing, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, while PayPal's Peter Thiel has invested in Modern Meadow. With money behind them, these vegan start ups have the potential to transform the future of food.

Dr. King uttered another oft-cited statement: no lie can live forever. This one is going down: We see the barbarism and reject it. We know the protein myth is, well, just that. Person by person, we're understanding the link between our diet and planetary devastation. As my pal Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House wrote recently: It's all coming together.

Vegan by 2050. Let's say it. Let's believe it. Let's make it happen.



Sorry Portland, PETA Names NYC Most Vegan Friendly City

angelica kitchen new york vegan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has declared New York the nation’s most vegan-friendly city.

To mark the occasion, PETA presented City Council members with a Manhattan skyline replica carved from vegetables, complete with a Chrysler Building made of radishes. “New York has really gone for the green,” Dan Mathews, Senior Vice President of PETA, 1010 WINS. “They’re really focusing on vegan gourmet items and making them at a pretty cheap cost, no longer just at upscale eateries, and I think that’s the big difference.”

Several City Council members attended Wednesday’s event and one suggested that the council adopt “Meatless Mondays” at City Hall to highlight healthy eating. “New York boasts more than 140 vegetarian restaurants, countless veggie-friendly establishments, and the first vegetarian public school,” stated City Council member Corey Johnson.

“The trend in green cuisine is healthful, draws food tourists, and employs thousands.” Actor Alan Cumming, star of Broadway’s “Cabaret” and CBS’ “The Good Wife,” was also on hand for the City Hall presentation. Cumming started eating vegan two years for his health and out of concern for animals. He praised the city’s commitment to vegan restaurants.

The vegetable skyline was sculpted by food artist James Parker.



Alison Eastwood and Team up to Help Chimpanzees Retired from Biomedical Research

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - September 4, 2014 - Actress and director Alison Eastwood is lending her star power to help 110 chimpanzees from a biomedical research laboratory get a new start.

The chimpanzees have a new home at Keithville, LA-based Chimp Haven, following their retirement from the New Iberia Research Center. Eastwood and nonprofit crowdfunding platform have created a campaign to enlist the public to raise funds needed to provide lifetime care.

"We owe them," said Eastwood. "These self-aware, social animals sacrificed so much for the benefit of humans. They deserve the best possible care during retirement, both physically and emotionally."

Chimp Haven is an independent nonprofit organization that serves as the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary for federally owned chimps no longer involved in studies. While the CHIMP Act approved by congress in 2000 - and amended in 2013 - earmarks partial funding for their care, approximately $600,000 per year in additional public support is needed to support the Sanctuary's 110 newest arrivals.

The chimps range in age from two-year-olds to senior citizens of 50, and many carry infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, which adds to the cost and complexity of their long-term care. After a transition phase to assess their health and behavior, chimps are housed in large social groups with the freedom to determine on their own how they will spend their days.

By creating a crowdfunding campaign, donors know that even small contributions make a big difference. takes no percentage of donations, so all funds go directly to Chimp Haven. The user-friendly site also makes it simple for donors to find projects that serve their favorite animals or projects in their own state or region.

Visit the campaign and learn more at

To view a video by Eastwood about the campaign please see

For additional press materials, photos, etc., please see

About Alison Eastwood
Alison Eastwood is an actress, film director and producer but most importantly an animal advocate. She grew up in Carmel, California where she spent her childhood riding horses, which instilled a deep love and respect for animals and nature. She combined her passion for helping animals, and knowledge of film and TV, by helping create and co-hosting "Animal Intervention" for the Nat Geo Wild Channel. She recently founded the animal welfare and rescue nonprofit, Eastwood Ranch Foundation, to rescue dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in Southern California, along with raising awareness for animal rights. For more information, visit

About Chimp Haven
Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, is currently home to 210 residents and is located in Keithville, Louisiana, about 22 miles outside of Shreveport. It was founded in 1995 by an alliance of professionals from research, animal welfare, and the pharmaceutical industry who saw the need for humane, cost-effective social housing for unwanted chimpanzees. Chimp Haven opened its doors to its first two residents in 2005. Since then, 299 chimpanzees have called Chimp Haven home.

At the sanctuary, chimpanzees live out the remainder of their lives in large habitats where they develop close relationships in complex social groups. They have the freedom, many for the first time in their lives, to make choices about how they will spend each day. They receive full-time veterinary care, nutritious diets, daily enrichment activities, and compassionate husbandry. Chimp Haven's mission is to provide humane, lifetime care for chimpanzees no longer used in biomedical research, as pets or as entertainers; and to educate the public on the needs for conservation in the wild and protection in captivity.

About Love Animals
Launched in early 2013, is the only nonprofit crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping all species of animals including pets, farmed animals, wild animals, and aquatic animals. The nonprofit uses innovative technology to increase donations to animal welfare and wildlife conservation groups, which currently receive only two percent of all giving.

At Nonprofits can easily showcase their projects most in need of funding; Animal Lovers can run crowdfunding campaigns to support their favorite causes or raise money for veterinary care of pets; Donors can have a fun and interactive giving experience where they can choose from a wide array of projects and control how their donations are spent. At, donors can take a few minutes, give a few dollars and have a big impact for animals. is free to use. It takes no percentage of donations raised through the platform, which means more money directly helps animals.

Twitter: @loveanimalsorg

How To Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria

how to be vegan


Jane and I just had the opportunity to read How To Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria.  This is a great book for people considering a vegan lifestyle. It touches on what to eat, what to wear, things to consider when furnishing your home, and travel. But perhaps, my favorite chapter is the section on manners. Ms. Castoria promotes the idea that it "makes more sense to encourage people in what they are doing to make the world better than to hound them for what they are not doing," a philosophy we can soundly endorse.

This book is also a great reference for people who are not vegan, but have vegans in their lives. It provides enough of an overview in an easy to read and understand format, that the reader will gain an understanding of what vegan means in all its iterations. It illustrates that being vegan isn't something difficult and bizarre, but rather a compassionate way of life. The book also contains 50 recipes, a sampling of things to make from breakfast to dessert.

We've been vegan for over 7 years now, so we really didn't learn anything new reading this book, but this was a good refresher. We especially enjoyed the travel section. Ms. Castoria recommends Shojin, our favorite vegan restaurant, as one of the restaurants you should visit when in Los Angeles. We heartily concur!




fresh from the garden