Thursday, September 27, 2007

Only cruel-free dating, please

The other day my wife asked if I would ever date anyone who wasn't a vegan. It's a ridiculous question, I know, because I wouldn't be happy being with anyone but her, but she wanted me to consider the hypothetical. As a vegan, would I consider a relationship with anyone not a vegan? I have a hard time thinking that I could have a successful relationship with anyone who isn't a vegan because she wouldn't share the same values as myself. Being vegan is a deep ethical committment, and it revolves around my love for life, the environment and my health. An anti-vegan in the midst would undermine my values. Is it much different than a lover of peace dating a known mass murderer? I think not. The differences between vegans and others are immense. I can't disown my family, and I would never consider it, but having a romantic relationship with someone who would conspire to stink up the house with burning flesh is quite revolting. Perhaps I would be condemning my life to one of loneliness, I don't know, but perhaps there would be more time to pen the great American novel. Anyway, the question was prompted by this online Newsweek article: "Love Me, Love My Tofu." It mentions one of our favorite vegan couples, Bob and Jenna Torres, who run the famous vegan podcast, Vegan Freak Radio.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oh, gross

Yet again, meateaters continue to gross the world out. Check out this Associated Press story:

MAIDEN, N.C. - A man who bought a smoker Tuesday at an auction of abandoned items might have thought twice had he looked inside first.
Maiden police said the man opened up the smoker and saw what he thought was a piece of driftwood wrapped in paper. When he unwrapped it, he found a human leg, cut off 2 to 3 inches above the knee.
The smoker had been sold at an auction of items left behind at a storage facility, so investigators contacted the mother and son who had rented the space where the smoker was found.

To read the rest, click here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Naturally the place to eat on South Padre Island

Tofu salad sandwich

Portabella with mango-chili sauce sandwich and sweet potato fries

For those who haven't heard, Naturally's Health Food Store and Cafe on South Padre Island recently got a lot better. Formally, it was in a much smaller location. Now, it is in what was once a fast food restaurant that became a fine-dining restaurant. Half of the store is the health food part and the other the cafe. The selection in the health food store, while still in a small area by grocery store standards, actually rivals Sun Harvest in McAllen in many ways. They have items that the McAllen store doesn't have. We found organic canned pineapples, organic molases and a brand of organic tofu that Sun Harvest doesn't carry. Anita and I went back again this past weekend so we could take a few photographs. In the restaurant, I got the seasoned tofu salad sandwich on rosemary sourdough rye bread. Anita got the chef's recent creation, a portabella with mango-chili sauce sandwich. Both were fantastic. Just be sure to ask to hold the cheese. Where else could you go out to eat and drink a kombucha and organic tea? Naturally's is definitely the place vegans in the Valley should make a point of going to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maybe veganism doesn't sell magazines

It hasn't been a good year for vegans in the publishing world. We all know the damage done by The New York Times' printing of a column full of fabrications by Nina Planck. Herbivore, the magazine for hardcore vegans, decided to stop printing the magazine. Now, they print a tiny booklet and publish poorer quality stores on the Web. VegNews has been sliding downhill for quite a while in order, I guess, to pick up a larger audience. VegNews doesn't speak to veganism that much anymore; instead, they frame things in a much broader vegetarian sense. VegNews has gotten away from what attracted their core subscribers. These subscribers were reacting to Vegetarian Times basically throwing vegetarians onto the street to appeal to a wider audience (or to make more money). Satya also recently gave up publishing, as well. Now, there's a wide opening if some enterprising person wants to start up a magazine that caters to vegans. Maybe you won't get the widest audience in the world, but we would be loyal as long as you stayed true to your roots. Nothing is more frustrating in the publishing world than people so paranoid about stepping on people's toes. When VegNews and Herbivore were in their heyday, they had no problem printing edgy, even shocking, stories about the food industry and culture. Now, saying something negative is frowned on by publishers worried about selling even more magazines. I'm hoping someone with some decent vegan values sees the need for a new magazine for vegans. Perhaps the next guy won't be so willing to sell out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Some ramblings

Well, it's official, the fall semester is well underway. I haven't written in the blog in a while because I've been using every spare moment to read something for one of my classes. I'm just starting in my journey to earn a master's degree in English. Oh, the things I've forgotten. I earned my bachelor's degree in 1998 so I'm basically playing big-time catch-up. Being back in school is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I was worried the other day at work because I had been asked to attend a lunch meeting that started at 11 a.m. No one would do anything for the oddball vegan, and I couldn't exactly eat lunch beforehand at 10 a.m. I was getting mentally ready to be hungry and miserable for a long period of time. The organizer of the lunch came to talk to me about what I'd be doing at the lunch and made the comment, "I know they won't be serving your preferred cuisine." I responded back (perhaps with a little too much vitriol) with, "I know; it'll be painful." Perhaps it was my bad attitude, but I got a call later that I wouldn't have to attend the lunch. Wahoo! Whining does work. Really, veganism is not simply a preference. This is the core of my ethical beliefs. A vegan is who I am, much like a Jew is Jewish. Really, would people make that sort of comment to a person who had a religious conviction? The lunch is pork and the organizer tells the Jew, "I know it's not your preferred cuisine," how would that person react? Would there be grounds for a discrimination complaint? Also on my mind has been this ridiculous argument by meat-eaters that plants have feelings, too, and vegans are wreaking more pain than meat-eaters. Ummm, no. Say the meat-eaters are correct and plants do have feelings, what is the weight of their argument? Not very good. Take cows, for instance. Of all the corn and soy beans that are fed to the cow, only about 20 percent of those calories are available in the animal's flesh. That means, instead of feeding those plants directly to humans, five times as much cropland have to be used to get the same amount of calories from the cow. In other words, you have five times as much plant suffering from the meat-eater, and you still have the suffering of the cow. Being a vegan would actually cause less plant suffering, believe it or not. Plus, we know the environmental destruction being caused by razing of rainforests to clear the way for land to grow crops for domesticated animals. We have far more farmland than we need right now to feed the world a vegan diet. The same can't be said for feeding the world an American-style meat-centric diet.