Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Dishing out more veggies" at the University of Southern California

From the Daily Trojan:

Trying to address concerns raised by vegan and vegetarian students last semester, USC Hospitality has begun an initiative to increase the presence and awareness of alternative food options on campus.

The project, called V2O — which stands for vegan, vegetarian and organic — has three goals: expanding healthy eating options, labeling food more accurately and giving free weekly cooking demonstrations for students.

The idea for V2O came about after a number of students ate tamales labeled “vegan” at Everybody’s Kitchen in April, later discovering that the tamales had been made with chicken. The incident highlighted the need for accurate marking of food in the dining halls.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nice interview of Maui vegan Woody Harrelson

I don't feel like a movie has to have a message, necessarily. If a movie's fun and funny and just great entertainment, that's enough. But it's nice to do a movie like "The Messenger" where you feel like people watch it and it's initiating conversations that are important. What more could you hope for?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

20-year HIV survivor credits vegan diet

I don't recommend the medical decisions made by State Rep. Joe Bertram, but they seem to work for him:

Bertram is . . . opposed to pharmaceuticals. He refuses to take medicines designed to boost his weakened immune system. Instead, he eats a vegan diet and hopes for the best because he says the drugs are worse than the disease.

Incidentally, Bertram introduced resolutions this year to support vegan and vegetarian entrees in public schools.

Celebratory dinner for organic farm serves meat; controversy ensues

Dr. Joel Fischer was horrified to learn that a celebratory dinner for an organic farm featured meat. The Star-Bulletin published his op-ed on the situation earlier this week:

"We are judged by how we treat our anmials"

I posted links to the piece on two of my favorite blogs, and interesting discussion threads followed:

La Vida Locavore

Daily Kos

Monday, June 15, 2009

Firedoglake highlights "Food, Inc."

FDL Movie Night: Food Inc.
If what we eat is produced in inhumane, unethical ways that strip the food of its nutrition, how does it then nourish our bodies and souls?

Food Inc. rends the veil of secrecy that hides the ugly part of America's food supply from consumers. It's like that cliche, "You don't want to see how sausages are made.." Or your chicken sandwiches, or beef. Or anything made

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Gluttonous Vegan's Guide to Pa`ia, Maui, Hawai`i

Pa`ia is an old sugar plantation town on Maui's North Shore, about 8 miles east of Kahului (site of the island's main airport). It's now regarded as a haven for windsurfers, artists, guitarists, peace activists, and other free spirits - and tourists looking for a good meal before or after venturing to Hana.

Pa`ia is also a vegan's delight, offering an array of great food choices. It's also a real town, - a walkable town - an increasingly rare and wonderful thing in Hawai`i and the rest of America.

Parking is a problem. I recommend not even trying to find parking on the street or in a store parking lot. Rather, I recommend using the free municipal parking lot on Hana Highway at the entrance to the town (coming from Kahului). Or, you could just take the Maui Bus.

Walking from the parking lot toward Baldwin Avenue, the first place I recommend visiting is Anthony's Coffee. My regular meal at Anthony's is a combination of brown rice, salsa, and avocado. Simple goodness! And the highly efficient kitchen staff often has it ready for me even before I've finished paying.

But, as the name suggests, it's the coffee that makes Anthony's famous. I almost always have the ultra-strong organic French roast. It's pricey ($2+). But refills are offered at a discount. And, if you can handle strong coffee, you'll want a refill. The soy lattes are terrific too.

Anthony's amenities including a flat-screen TV and free wi-fi (although there are no electrical outlets). There are a lot of cool little gifts available.

World-class athletes Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton and their two impossibly cute (and presumably future Olympian) kids are Anthony's regulars when they're on the island.

Proceeding down Hana Highway, you can take a right and walk up Baldwin Avenue to Cafe Mambo. This Mediterranean-themed hotspot features free movies on Thursday nights at 9 and a plentiful selection of vegan appetizers, entrees, and side dishes. There's a wide price range. Combine some of the inexpensive side orders, and you can end up with a full meal that's much more affordable than some of the entrees.

Friendly service from an international staff, hearty stews, and lots of couscous are among Cafe Mambo's guarantees.

Cafe Des Amis - Mambo's sister restaurant - is just a little farther up the avenue. Cafe Des Amis also has a largely Mediterranean orientation, but Indian cuisine is also represented. I recommend the vegetable curry with mango chutney on the side. The coffee is also strong and tasty and will be refilled frequently, without charge. The service can be a little languid, but the wait staff is friendly and doesn't mind gentle reminders.

There's a crosswalk between Des Amis and Mambo that you can use to get to the other side of Baldwin Avenue and visit Pa`ia's unofficial vegan headquarters, Mana Foods.

Although Mana's isn't completely vegetarian, it offers Maui's best selection of vegan food. The prices are reasonable, and the quantity and quality of items are impressive.

Immediately after entering the store, you'll find a plentiful supply of vegan chocolate bars on your left. Proceed up that first aisle a few feet, and you'll find a big collection of pasta sauces on the left and healthy candy bars on the right.

At the first aisle intersection in the store, you can go left into Mana's specialty section for vitamins, supplements, ointments, beauty supplies, and a few clothing items.

Emerging from the specialty section, hang a left to find yourself in Maui's deli. On the right is a diverse salad bar. On the left, you can get pre-made or made-to-order sandwiches, entrees, or desert items. I recommend the sesame seed sandwich, baked tofu, and vegan chocolate cake.

Continuing past the deli area, you'll find yourself in the store's spice, grain, nut, and coffee section. Dozens of bins contain healthy snack items, cereals, and cooking tools. I recommend stepping into this section just for the rich, pleasant aromas, if nothing else.

Leaving that area, go left to check out Mana's refrigerated juices, sodas, and waters at the back of the store.

Take a right down the second aisle. On your left, you'll find hundreds of teas. On your right are dozens of bags of chips, popcorn, and other snacks.

Continue past the next aisle intersection toward the front of the store to find more snacks (on your right) and an array of boxed cereals (left). General Mills and Kellogg's brands and cereals with high fructose corn syrup won't be found. Whole-grain cereals, however, are plentiful.

Make a left turn around the end of the case (pausing to view the bread and pastries there) to proceed up the third aisle and view small containers of soups and other items that, with the addition of hot water, will provide quick, nutritious snacks.

Continue up the third aisle for Mana's modest collection of paper goods and other household supplies.

Wrap around the end of the case and make a right to see huge collections of bottled juices (your right) and frozen desserts (left). I recommend the espresso ice cream (Soy Delicious) and the Kula strawberry sorbet (Ono Gelato).

Proceed past the aisle intersection. On the left are more frozen goods - breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees. On the right are bottled water, bread, and a mishmash of a few other items.

Curl around the end of the case, and go left to enter the refrigerated section. You'll discover, on the right, soy yogurt, soy milk, soy cheese, and a massive variety of tofu, seitan, and other meat substitutes, while on on your left are tortillas, wraps, and the like.

Past the aisle intersection are shelves filled with cartons of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and hemp milk. Proceed around the end of the aisle and turn to the right to enter Mana's produce section - a locavore's nirvana displaying countlegss fresh fruits and vegetables from throughout Maui.

At checkout, get a five-cent credit for using your own bag(s).

After exiting Mana's, go left and walk up Baldwin Avenue until you find yourself at Fresh Mint restaurant, across from the Patsy Takemoto Mink Post Office.

Fresh Mint is Maui's best Vietnamese restaurant and only all-vegan restaurant (it's at the site of a similar prior restaurant called The Vegan).

Fresh Mint's appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts are all affordably priced and delicious. It's a wonderful place to bring someone who's not yet a vegan because several entrees are mock meat dishes.

Head back down Baldwin Avenue and cross Hana Highway to reach Ono Gelato, home to several excellent sorbets featuring local, organic fruits and vegetables. I love them all.

After enjoying a sorbet, walk toward Hana a few hundred feet to find the Green Banana Cafe, an ecologically friendly coffeehouse and Internet cafe. Green Banana has several vegan smoothies (all recommended).

Proceed a bit farther toward Hana to enjoy healthy Mexican food by trying the bean burrito at Fiesta Time.

Across the street is Charley's, a Pa`ia landmark known for big breakfasts in the morning and live rock 'n roll at night. Willie Nelson is a regular. There aren't always a large number of vegan menu items. But Charley's is happy to whip up some roasted potatoes, salsa, and avocado.

Next door is Jacques North Shore Bistro, a trendy spot for the younger generation, which usually features a couple of vegan entrees on its dinner menu.

Cross the street again and go back down Hana Highway toward Kahului, past Paia Inn (a cozy little hotel), to visit the final entry among this list of recommended Pa`ia eateries: Flatbread Company. It's refreshing to see vegan pizzas listed on the menu; no special requests are needed! And the wood-fired pizzas at Flatbread are excellent (as are the salads). I recommend going on a Tuesday night, when profits are partly allocated to a local charitable organization.

I love Pa`ia. I think you will too!

Aloha and mahalo.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kal Penn joins White House staff!

This makes up for the Jon Favreau disappointment

I actually thought the guy from "Swingers" was going to be a White House speech writer. Oops.

Kal Penn is awesome. I love that the star of "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" is a vegetarian! (Michelle better watch out; he's going to be raiding her organic garden for all the freshest fruits & veggies.)

Save the Hawaiian monk seals!

That's exactly what Hawai`i's Congressional delegation is trying to do, as I recently reported:

Earmarks are good for Hawaiian monk seals (and other living things)

This morning's Honolulu Advertiser advances the story:

Congress allocates $5.7 million to help save Hawaiian monk seals; Federal funds will also provide jobs for ocean scientists

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Something Tina Fey & Sarah Palin agree on

They both have disdain for vegans.

I was sort of enjoying Tina Fey's movie "Baby Mama" on HBO - until the gratuitous (and unfunny) scene in which she went out of her way to attack vegans.


Luckily, I switched to CNN right at the time President Obama's speech in Prague began. While he's not a vegan, he doesn't mock vegans, and he and his wife are seeking more progressive food policies.

Tweet of the Day - vegans of the South Pacific

@ebonyofessence Guam Vegan: Healthy Hearts April Specials

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tweet of the Day - Enjoying being vegan in Cardiff (U.K., not Calif.)

@carlawaslike "anything that's not changing is dead" -my girl lauryn. transitioning to vegan & natural.. feels good. in cardiff for the day! : )

Upcoming report on Pa`ia, Maui . . .

I'll be posting a mini-guide to the great little town of Pa`ia within the next week or two. Please send me your tips or other comments by this weekend if there's anything special you want me to cover. Mahalo.

Tweet of the Day for April 1 - a little late because of first fever in months

@iloomis @raatz Feel better! Hope someone makes you some non-chicken soup, or whatever heals the ailing vegan!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tweet of the Day - And so I write to Demi Moore . . .

One of the weirdest things I've ever seen online (and that's saying something) is the hype generated by right-wing anti-government forces in a bizarre coalition with liberal-leaning organic farmers to hype concerns about the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875), a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and co-sponsored by many of the best Democrats in Congress.

This is the bill through which (the hypesters would have us believe) the most progressive Members of Congress are conspiring to imprison backyard gardeners! Yes, tops on Barbara Lee's agenda is the closing of farmers markets and family farms!

After debunking by people like food-policy expert Jill Richardson, the mania from the liberal side of the blogosphere appeared to be waning, with the hysteria relegated to the ranks of Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Michael Savage, and their followers.

Alas, Demi Moore has taken to Twitter to re-ignite the fear. So, I sent her a tweet:

@raatz @mrskutcher The #hr875 hype is off base. Please see (expand) (Dr. Marion Nestle) & (expand) (Congressman Bart Gordon). Thx

And for the first (and last) time, I award myself Tweet of the Day :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tweet of the Day - burrito mania continues!

@Veganism I might have mentioned this already, but this weekend I made 24 burritos for about $5! First time making refried beans from "scratch," too.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Encinitas (Calif.) City Councilmembers to reduce their meat consumption, celebrate "Earth Month"

From today's North County (Calif). Times:

Hoping to encourage people to permanently change their lifestyles, a city committee has decided to make this year's Earth Day celebration a month-long event.

. . .

Among other things, special speakers will discuss environmental issues ranging from statewide water shortages to floating plastic trash piles in the Pacific Ocean. Tree-planting events, creek cleanup activities and drought-tolerant garden advice also will be offered. Plus, residents who cut their water usage during the month may be eligible for cash and other prizes, (Encinitas resident Elizabeth) Taylor said.

City officials will have their own contest ---- they will be asked to go on a "low-carbon diet" modeled on a national effort by the Empowerment Institute, Taylor said. Council members, committee members and city staff members will compete to see who can cut their carbon emissions the most in April. They'll be given tips, including suggestions that they hang their clothes outside to dry, walk rather than drive to events and eat less meat.
I'm proud of the town where I went to junior high and high school.