Archive for December, 2009

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photos by: Chapendra, margolove, meetminneapolis, and irene.

Well, it’s been quite a year! A lot of big changes have happened in my life (getting married, going back to school full time, quitting my coffee shop gig, moving downtown, visiting Boston and Denmark…) I think it’s fun to look back on the year and see what you’ve accomplished and what you were up to a year ago. Every year of my adult life has been drastically different from the others. I’m consistently inconsistent. I can always look back and say, “If you had asked me a year ago where I would be today, I never would have imagined this.” I think the biggest surprise was not being able to find a job in my field. I was certainly one of the victims of a failing economy. But, I was also partially to blame. I had a good job in Salt Lake, but quit so my husband and I could move back to the Midwest. My husband found a really good job very quickly and I was sure I’d be able to find something. As the months passed, my confidence collapsed, my anxiety shot up, and I started to feel totally worthless. And it didn’t help that others were constantly asking me if I had found a job yet. It’s amazing how much we rely on jobs to define us.

One of the few things that was consistent in my basket case situation was this blog. It was something that was completely unique to me and made me feel somewhat important. I had dedicated readers who looked forward to reading what I wrote! So, I have you to thank for keeping me hopeful. For a while, I was determined to make my blog my job. Unfortunately, my business skills are pretty nonexistent and I was never able to make much money. And for some reason, Google AdSense rejected me. Twice! Perhaps vegan blogs are not part of their acceptable repertoire.

But, maybe all the mishaps are blessings in some way. I am fortunate enough to be able to go back to school and pursue yet another degree that I am passionate about: psychology. I have no idea what the future holds for me in this area, but I am optimistic.

I guess what I’ve learned from all of this (assuming there is a moral to this story) is that nothing about life is concrete. Sometimes you gotta just roll with the punches and turn the hardships into strengths. I have a lot to be thankful for: a great family, a great husband, a cool apartment in a great location, a great education, an adorable cat, good friends, and my health. And I’ve rediscovered my interest in the French language. C’est vrai!

It’s also important to remember that even though there may be things about your life that others consider unconventional, they may be just right for you. Like being vegan in a non-vegan world. Besides, living a “conventional” and stagnant life is boring.

So take some time to reflect on your amazingly unique existence and to look forward to a new year with many new adventures!

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So, I’ve attended 2 of the Big Ten schools (UMN and UW), and I thought it would be a fun idea to post resources for vegan & vegetarian options around the Big Ten campuses. Big universities are pretty good about catering to wide varieties of dietary needs. It’s something I really appreciate, being back in school. If you have any other links you’d like me to add, please let me know!

University of Illinois- Champaign-Urbana
http://campusvegetariansociety.blogspot.com/
http://www.meetup.com/The-Champaign-Urbana-Vegan-Meetup-Group/
http://www.vegguide.org/region/282

Indiana University
http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/94/2/Bloomington/Vegan-Friendly-restaurants

http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/Indiana-Vegetarian-Restaurants/Bloomington-Vegetarian-Restaurants.htm

http://newsinfo.iu.edu/web/page/normal/7483.html

University of Iowa

http://vegan.fm/isitvegan/doku.php?id=iowa

http://www.uiowa.edu/obermann/visitors/food.html
http://www.vegetarianusa.com/city/Iowa.html

University of Michigan
http://www.vegguide.org/region/240
http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/michigan/ann_arbor/
http://www.uhs.umich.edu/vegetarian
http://www.michigandaily.com/content/a2-deemed-paradise-vegetarians

Michigan State University
http://www.vegguide.org/region/427
http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/michigan/east_lansing/
http://www.vegetarianusa.com/city/Michigan.html

University of Minnesota
http://www.exploreveg.org/resources/campus.html
http://twincities.metromix.com/facets/restaurants/topic.restaurants.food_type.vegan
http://www.goveg.com/f-vegcities-minneapolis.asp
http://twincitiesvegans.blogspot.com/
note: Pizza Luce’s vegan pizza is heavenly!

Northwestern University
http://www.goveg.com/f-vegcities-chicago.asp
http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2007/oct/30/food/chi-nuveggiesoct30
http://www.northwestern.edu/nucuisine/nutrition/

Ohio State University
http://diningservices.osu.edu/dining/dininglocation.asp?franchise=7
http://www.vegohio.com/search_results.asp?category=Restaurant&Region=Columbus
http://vegancolumbus.com/

Pennsylvania State University
http://www.boutell.com/philly/vegan/
http://www.vegpa.net/search_results.asp?category=Restaurant&Region=All+of+Pennsylvania
http://www.happyvalley.com/posts.php?cat=Vegetarian
http://www.foodservices.psu.edu/vegetarianism/

Purdue University
http://www.housing.purdue.edu/HTML/Dining/Vegetarian.htm
http://www.vegindiana.com/search_results.asp?category=Grocery&Region=West+Lafayette
http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/indiana/west_lafayette/

University of Wisconsin- Madison
http://www.goveg.com/f-vegcities-madison.asp

http://www.vegmadison.com/restaurants.html

http://www.veganmadison.com/drupal/
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/48291/top_vegan_restaurants_in_madison_wisconsin.html?cat=22
note: the Jerk Tofu at Jamerica is AMAZING!!

Screen shot 2009-12-28 at 11.48.17 AMThanks to everyone who participated in the Vegan Coat Contest! You guys had some really good suggestions.

The winner is May! Thanks again, everyone! I hope you’re all staying cozy! And Happy almost New Year!

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I just saw a very powerful, upsetting, but incredibly good documentary last night called The Cove. Here’s the description:

Flipper was one of the most beloved television characters of all time. But ironically, the fascination with dolphins that he caused created a tragic epidemic that has threatened their existence and become a multibillion dollar industry. The largest supplier of dolphins in the world is located in the picturesque town of Taijii, Japan. But the town has a dark, horrifying secret that it doesn’t want the rest of the world to know. There are guards patrolling the cove, where the dolphin capturing takes place, who prevent any photography. The only way to stop the evil acts of this company and the town that protects it is to expose them….and that’s exactly what the brave group of activists in The Cove intend to do. Armed with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, the members of the small group, led by the most famous dolphin trainer in the world, devise a covert plan to infiltrate the cove to document the horrifying events that happen there. Along the way, they uncover what may be the largest health crisis facing our planet— the poisoning of our seas. Part environmental documentary, part horror film, part spy thriller, The Cove is as suspenseful as it is enlightening. The final result is a heart-wrenching, but inspirational, story that shows the true power of film in the hands of people who aren’t afraid to risk everything for a vital cause.

Watch the trailer:

It’s a documentary I think everyone should see. People need to be aware of what goes on in the shadows: the harm that is caused, not only to the animals, but to the people that are unknowingly eating dolphin meat, which contains extremely toxic levels of mercury.

If you still need gifts for the holidays, or need to get yourself a lil’ something, you can buy it on Amazon:

I’m taking a holistic health and healing class this semester, which has been wonderful. It’s a stress-free class that teaches people to live more mindfully and healthily. I’ve learned such teachings as Reiki and Qi Gong, studied folk and alternative medicine, discussed spirituality, learned methods for stress reduction, and much more!

Today for class, I got to watch a video that really hit home and I would love for you guys to watch it, too. It’s Mark Bittman, the New York Times food writer, talking about food’s connection to the environment, and our health. You may already know a lot of the information he relays, but he discusses it in an interesting way. If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/mark_bittman_on_what_s_wrong_with_what_we_eat.html . It’s on TED.com which is a wonderful site for finding fascinating lectures on many issues.

Screen shot 2009-12-09 at 11.56.29 AMI picked up a package of Knorr’s Garden Herb Rice with Spring Vegetables. It’s so easy to make and it’s so yummy. For added yum, I threw in some mushrooms. If you’re looking for a meal that’s low in effort and high in taste, pick up a package of this. It’s got 2 full servings of veggies in each pouch. And if you’re a veggie nut like me, you can always jazz it up by adding even more veggies like broccoli, or spinach, or whatever! It’s part of their “Sides Plus” line, but it can easily be the meal itself, in my opinion. And if you’re vegan, you’re likely no stranger to the concept of utilizing “sides” as your main dish. We live on the edge!

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photo by Danielle Delaney

You may have heard chit-chat about the concept of growing meat in a lab as an alternative to slaughtering animals to for meat. Well, Times Online has announced that Holland scientists have, in fact, created something in a lab that’s kind of, sort of like meat! Grown meat that’s more like “wasted muscle tissue” at this point, which, oddly, no one seems to want to be the first to taste test. Actually, due to lab rules, they’re not allowed to. Yet. It sounds gross and creepy, but think of the pros, here. PETA sure has. They are offering $1 million “to the first team of scientists that can develop a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro (lab-grown) chicken meat.” They say, “As far as we’re concerned, if meat is no longer a piece of a dead animal there’s no ethical objection.”

Now, I think meat is pretty gross, but I’m no stranger to faux meats. And I can understand the demand for this sort of thing. Imagine if fast-food joints like McDonald’s started using this stuff! I mean, the meat they use is kind of, not really like meat to begin with because it’s all processed and low-grade. So, why not swap it out for something that requires no animal sacrifice! And it would be so good for the environment! You may lose your appetite imagining these scientists (are you near a toilet?) massaging live pig cells resembling “sticky muscle tissue,” attempting to, ultimately, create a synthetic version of pork… but meat consumption is not going away any time soon, so, this could be a wonderful alternative.

Read the article here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6936352.ece

Now, if only they could mass produce some amazing vegan cheeses that have similar consistency and taste to gourmet cheeses and spreads that I could buy just about anywhere, I’d be a happy lady. Don’t judge me, I grew up in the dairy state.

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