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Plan for March 20th: Meatout Day!

Meatout was founded in 1985 to encourage people to “kick the meat habit” for a fresh start to spring.

Meatout facilitates and brings together nearly a thousand pro-veg outreach events in every state and two dozen countries.

The goal of Meatout 2014 is to inspire 25,000 people to pledge to eat vegan on March 20th.

How to help…
Hold an event in your community.
Join an event in your community.
Ask your friends to take the Meatout Pledge.​

EZ advocacy… use your social networks to spread the word about Meatout and encourage pledges.

VINE Sanctuary needs your lunch money!

Instead of treating yourself to a Friday lunch at your favorite place, why not bag a lunch and donate the money you would have spent on going out? The money that you were going to spend on lunch may not seem like a lot to you, but could help VINE buy hay, birdseed, grains, and greens for chickens, cows, ducks, sheep, geese, turkeys, pigeons, doves, and emus rescued from abuse and neglect. Nearly 500 animals live at VINE, and all of them need breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

We are asking you to get together with your friends, family, co-workers or classmates to collectively give your lunch money to VINE on Fridays. You could do this once or, even better, make it a “first Friday” tradition every month. Encourage people in your community, office and /or school to do the same by joining you for VINE Friday Lunch!

This is a fun way you can make a difference right from where you are. You get to decide the details. Will you eat together inside or outside? Will it be a pot-luck or will everybody brown-bag it? If this will be a regular lunch date, will you always meet in the same place or will you move around for variety?

Not up for organizing an event? That’s OK. You can have Friday Lunch with VINE anyway! Just brown bag it (or use a groovy lunch box like ours) on Friday and send the money to save to VINE. You can do this once, every Friday for a month, one Friday every month or every Friday.

VINE Friday Lunch To do list
1. Pick a date: decide when you want to give your lunch money to VINE
2. Contact VINE for brochures to share with your lunch-mates
3. Decide if you are collectively bagging your lunch or having a pot luck(*) event.
4. Choose a place to meet up with your lunch-mates.
5. Decide who to invite.
6. Invite them!
7. Have fun at lunch. Enjoy your lunch-mates’ thanks for organizing such a fun get-together.
8. Collect donations—all participants can decide for themselves what they would have spent on lunch, though of course anybody who wants to donate more should feel free to do so!
9. Send in the donations to VINE by check or via PayPal.
10. Feel good, knowing that you have helped to feed the animals at VINE.

*If yours will be a workplace or on campus lunch, it may be a good idea to plan to bring in a pot luck meal. If people don’t have time to pack a lunch, bring a lunch for them. Pick something easy that you like to cook that feeds a lot of people such as a crock pot of vegan chili or soup. You may want to make extra, so that you can invite anyone who passes by to join you.

Questions? Contact Jennifer at Jennifer@bravebirds.org for any support you may need for this project!

Join us on a Vegan Cruise!

Cruise Photos 3MP-76

Greetings Everyone,

I hope this fall season is treating you well and you have embraced all of the incredible root veggies in season this time of year. Vegans love this time of year as it promotes healthy soups, stews and casseroles. As the temperatures get cooler, we often think ahead to warmer temperatures and vacations that get us out of soggy and wet weather conditions. I am about to turn you on to an incredible vacation get away happening in March 2014 designed for the ultimate vegan experience!

On March 1st, 2014 the Holistic Holiday at Sea will celebrate its 11th anniversary! This year the cruise will travel to the Eastern Caribbean on one of the world’s premier Italian luxury liners, the MSC Divina. This year our cruise ship is bigger and better, the MSC Divina combines the style and sophistication of Europe with American comforts and convenience. We will leave from Miami, FL and travel to beautiful Philipsburg, St. Maarten, historic San Juan, Puerto Rico and luxurious Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
This year’s line-up is nothing short of epic. We are proud to announce that world renowned endurance vegan athlete, Rich Roll will be joining us this year, along with Chef AJ, Jessica Porter, Robert Cheeke, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard and Bryant Terry to name a few. This isn’t your typical vegan conference.

Here’s what you can look forward to in one day:
• Rejuvenating and centering physical activities. Choose from yoga, run/walk, qi gong, meditation or some time on your own to take advantage of the morning’s energy.
• Amazing vegan meals with a buffet and/or table service
• Lectures and cooking classes throughout the morning
• Free time on ship or at port
• Lectures, cooking classes, private sessions on nutrition, astrology, shamanic healing
• Evening socials planned for every night
• Conversations with great likeminded individuals

When you mention you discovered this opportunity through our website, you will receive a $50 on board credit to spend in the plant based bookstore or on a personal service or consultation. So be sure to mention The Vegan Voice at this page. This will be the cruise’s 11th anniversary and it will be a spectacular celebration of holistic health. Join us in March for this unique vegan vacation!

This cruise is also an excellent opportunity to turn your non-vegan friends on to an experience like no other. This cruise is much more enjoyable as a group experience. It’s an excellent way to share your vegan life experience with the ones you love. There are families who attend the cruise together, many people have met their soul mates on the cruise and have formed life time friendships. This cruise is hands down an amazing healthy and fun opportunity for anyone wanting to adopt a more holistic approach to their lives.

Join us in 2014 on our new cruise ship and expect to have your life changed. This unique vegan cruise is an unforgettable experience.

On Thanksgiving

A guest blog by Rich Lysloff

I grew up like everyone else in America…celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. For over forty years I got together with family and friends and ate the usual fare with a big turkey as the centerpiece. It was always joyous and I was always so extremely grateful for the bountiful abundance that we have in our country. Now since going vegan several years ago I still do the same thing. The only difference is that I now do it without the turkey. And I enjoy it even more so! I always enjoyed all the side dishes more than the turkey anyway. The salad, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing and cranberry sauce, the pumpkin pie etc. I still eat that stuff sans the animal products like butter and milk because I have learned to prepare these dishes vegan style which is far healthier. I eat really well but I don’t get that overly stuffed full feeling like I used to…just happily satiated and content. And now, since going vegan, I give thanks for not only the food that is so abundant in my life….but for the knowledge and the awakening in my mind, heart and spirit that no other being has to suffer and die for me to live and celebrate. I wish you all a happy, healthy and compassionate holiday season.

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Rich Lysloff is a manager at Whole Foods in San Fransisco, CA.

Another great idea! The Urban Food Chain.

Urban Food Chain1 from Kinship Filmworks on Vimeo.

THE URBAN FOOD CHAIN campaign

YES, A TV SERIES? BETTER REACH

We want to share real food issues with an urban audience, with those most affected by diet related illness.

We are writing, shooting and editing the pilot episode for our television series, The Urban Food Chain. We intend to pitch the series to OWN, PBS and BET. With your help, we can show these networks that there is wide audience support for urban food issues.

The URBAN FOOD CHAIN is about empowerment!

“For too long the issue of healthy food and access to healthy food has been considered a white middle class concern. Really the folks who need the most benefit from a food movement are Black and Brown folks – who really are the ones suffering the most.” Neelam Sharma, Community Services Unlimited 2011

Genius Startup Idea!

It’s 2013 and 2.5% of Americans are vegan, 5% are vegetarian, 1% suffer from celiac disease, $12.5 billion is spent on kosher foods per year, and more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.

Now, doesn’t it seem strange that the majority of vending machines still sell typical “junk food,” like fatty potato chips and powdered donuts?

A huge group of on-the-go snack consumers are being ignored.

This is why Nature’s Eats Vending was created. Nature’s Eats stocks ONLY vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and gluten-free products in vending machines in schools, office buildings, airports, gyms, and other public places.

Nature’s Eats is unique because they source the tastiest snacks targeting specific dietary restrictions and sell them at prices comparable to the unhealthy “junk food” you normally see in vending machines.

Best of all, their snack selections are clearly labeled for convenience. Vegetarian options are displayed on the top row, vegan options on the second row, gluten-free options on the third row, and kosher snacks on the fourth row. The fifth row carries healthy drinks, like water, coconut water, and all-natural fruit juice.

Since items are clearly marked and separated, there is no need to guess about which items contain what ingredients. Customers can quickly make a selection based on their dietary needs, pay with cash, credit card, or smartphone, and enjoy their snack!

As part of their mission, they want to ensure everyone has access to healthy snack choices, especially those in underserved communities. Their involvement with local organizations helps to feed the hungry and educate youth on the benefits of adopting healthy eating habits.

They have also launched a crowd funding campaign – http://igg.me/at/natures-eats-vending/x/4958724

The money raised will be used to purchase vending machines and inventory. Donors will also receive great Nature’s Eats rewards. Now that’s an idea we can get behind!

Live from Main Street Vegan Academy

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Today was amazing in so many ways… Not only was it World Vegan Day but it also happened to be the first day of Main Street Vegan Academy in New York City. We were teleported by the 2 train to the heart of Harlem… Right off of Malcolm X Blvd and 116th Street lies a LEAD certified, environmentally friendly, condominium tower which serves as the home base of Victoria Moran and Academy Headquarters.

Victoria asked us to introduce ourselves, tell where we were from and confess to the group one thing that we still do that is totally NOT Vegan. The answers were highly amusing and ranged from the mundane “I have leather couches” to the unforgivable “I sneak meat into my recipes.” Okay, that one was a joke.

After introductions, Jason Wyrick, owner of The Vegan Culinary Experience, spoke about his experience being diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes and his foray into veganism. He has since lost over 100 pounds and reversed his disease! What a come-back kid! He taught himself to cook and now contributes recipes to PCRM’s 21 Day Vegan Kickstart and other Neal Barnard books.

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Dinner was a delcious quinoa mac and cheese, steamed broccoli, Aztec Salad and a daringly delicious, spinach salad. Dessert was phenomenol with a sample of DF Mavens hand-crafted ice cream and a donut from Baby Cakes. I know, I know. Life is tough but somebody’s got to do it.

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Creator of the Vegan Guide to New York City, Rynn Berry, delivered a thoroughly enjoyable history of veganism with accompanying power point show. Academy students got to test out their acting chops and read parts of Berry’s play “Tea with the Tolstoys” while TAZO flowed.

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It was an incredible start to a life-changing week for 15 lucky vegans! There’s lots more to learn tomorrow and class starts at 7:30 a.m. so I will see you darlings tomorrow.

Bravo, Our Hen House!

Did you guys get a chance to read Our Hen House’s Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan’s open letter to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times? It is amazing! Spectacular! Oh, just read it already…

Dear Mr. Kristof,

We are writing to you because we are perplexed. You seem like such a nice guy. We want to like you. In fact, we admit it, we do like you. And we especially like what you do with your column over there at the New York Times. You frequently focus on issues that, if it weren’t for you, wouldn’t get much, if any, attention. Often, these are issues that involve women and children — whether it’s sex trafficking or extreme poverty or sexual violence as a weapon of war.

These are tough issues — no question about it. It’s hard for any of us to know what to do about these seemingly intractable problems. Since we don’t think we’re actually doing anything to support these harms, how can we stop them? At first glance, there’s no direct link between us and them. It’s easier not to even think about them. But then you come along, refusing to allow us to become complacent. You’re doing something about these atrocities, and bringing us — your readers — along with you, empowering and emboldening us to take action. The fact is is that by shining a light on what’s happening out there in the world, you can actually succeed in getting so many people upset that the policy changes that need to take place are more likely to happen. And you also refuse to let the rest of us get away with thinking that that’s not my problem. It may be hard for one person to feel that they can have an impact, but each of us has to learn about what’s going on and push for those policy changes. We have a responsibility.

We know that if it were up to you, change would come at a faster clip. But these kinds of problems can’t be solved by one person, even if that person writes for the New York Times. So, Mr. Kristof, you do what you can. And, ultimately, that’s a lot.

One of the issues you’ve written about a bunch of times is animal agriculture. We are beyond thrilled about this. You go there! Hardly anyone in the mainstream press is willing to do that, especially when it comes to caring about the horror of what the animals are going through.

And, as always, what you write comes from the heart. Most recently, you wrote a piece about poultry that not only highlighted how smart the birds are, but recounted the most heartbreaking tale imaginable about the geese you used to help slaughter when you were a farm kid. The way you wrote that story brought tears to our eyes. You’ve got the gift, no doubt about it.

And, no doubt, you have hope that policy changes will result from these writings as well. People will get angry. As a result, lawmakers will step up to the plate, companies will worry about their bottom line, and changes will be made.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe changes will be made.

But, here’s the thing: Unlike trafficking, or lack of educational opportunities in the developing world, or rape culture in Darfur, animal agriculture isn’t out there beyond our reach. It’s right there in your refrigerator, on your plate, ultimately in your mouth. Unlike those other issues, this is one that you are directly responsible for funding. And it’s pretty hard to see why legislators would do anything, or companies would clean up their act, when even their critics don’t see any reason to stop doing business with them. After all, they’re not in this to be beloved. They’re in it to make money. And if you, who understands so well what is going on out there, isn’t willing to pull the plug on the money, who is?

This fact clearly doesn’t escape you. You have mentioned in column after column that maybe the fact that you feel this way about animals, but still eat meat, makes you a hypocrite. Well, once again, you’re right; it does make you a hypocrite. And clearly you know that, or you wouldn’t keep saying it. Some people don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors for animals, but you do. So how is it that you suddenly think it’s OK to be a hypocrite? Sorry, but just as in any other area, you can’t let yourself off the hook just by admitting you know that what you are doing is wrong. Should customers of child porn get away with saying that they know it’s wrong, but they really wanted to? Of course not.

You promised recently that if enough people were interested, you would write on your blog explaining why you still eat meat. We’re so very interested. So please, yes, write that article. And if you’re going to give us some hoo-ha about “humanely raised,” do it right, OK? Don’t go there unless you’re willing to explain how it’s considered “humane” to never let the animals outside; to kill chickens without stunning them first; to take baby cows away from their mothers; to kill male chicks right after they hatch; to never let a hen hatch one of her eggs; to breed chickens so that they have enormous breasts and are ready for slaughter in 8 weeks; to cut off the beaks of laying hens; to kill hens once they stop laying eggs; to castrate, or cut teeth off, or remove horns, without anesthesia. Assuming that you find that those things are “humane,” then tell us if there is anybody out there who is raising animals without doing any of these things. (You’ll find it’s not possible.) Or, for that matter, explain why is it considered “humane” to kill animals who want to live — when you don’t have to breed or kill them at all? And, Mr. Kristof, do your homework. Don’t give us some nonsense, as you have done in the past, about farmers who give their cows names, without also explaining what those farmers do with their cows’ babies just so they can take the milk instead.

Oh, and another thing: You certainly do not come across as an elitist. So don’t just tell us that by buying “humane” products, you support the farmers who grow them, unless you’re willing to also explain how everyone — not just rich Americans — is going to be able to afford to buy animal-derived products produced according to whatever rules you think are good enough. And tell us how there is going to be enough land and water on the planet to do this worldwide, for everyone.

And assuming you can come up with a way to do all of this that you still think is “humane,” tell us how you’re going to get laws passed requiring these standards — since not everyone is going to embrace this voluntarily — and explain how all of these rules for so-called “humane animal care” will be enforced.

Or, on the other hand, just stop eating them. Join the movement to end the suffering of animals, not just to tweak it, or to disguise it. It’s so much easier. It’s so much more effective. And there’s no hypocrisy needed.

In solidarity,

Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer, Our Hen House

Why not just eat the real thing?

A guest blog by Steven Lantz

A lot of people ask, “Why do vegans and vegetarians try to make their food taste like the dishes they remember with meat in them. I mean why not just eat the real thing?” We all enjoy memorable flavors and traditions, we just think about it more than others. We weigh the morality of what it entails against any desire to have a “flavor” After 5 years I have learned a trick or two about eating, matching flavors and keeping it “real” and whole. Whether you agree with the idea that animals should not be killed or not, evidence is stacking up that eating meat and dairy is bad, not just because it is factory farmed but because it is not good food for us to eat in any large amount, and certainly not in the amounts in the American diet. Here are a couple of points to think about on this Meatless Monday.

1. What you think of as those memorable flavors are most often provided by the plants that season your meat. An example is the two things you probably love most about bacon are the smoke and the salt, neither is provided by the pig flesh itself.
2. “Why not eat the real thing?” well that should be obvious, “the real thing” involves a tortured and abused animal that wanted to live. “The real thing” has dietary cholesterol and large amounts of saturated fat. “The real thing”, hasn’t been the real thing in 100 years of compromised factory farming practices. and “The Real Thing” doesn’t exist, all dishes you eat have changed countless times over the years to adapt to ingredients and cultural shifts in eating. What you think is tradition I think of as “culinary laziness”

Claudia’s inspirational Story

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Pic on the top (Before Vegan): I was 46 and 138 lbs, married to a Kansas meat and potatoes/ BBQ & meat smoking expert- my favorite meat was rib eye steaks and boneless pork ribs.
Medical status was overweight, high BP and elevated cholesterol levels and Vitamin D deficiency, hypothyroid condition that required daily medication. Gave up red meat when someone very close to me died of colon cancer at 50. I went into a healthy lifestyle regimen that included vegetarian eating and running for exercise. After my friend’s death, I wanted to live on with the selfless love I had given to him in the final stages of his life- it was Veganism- gave up all animal products and vowed to kindness and giving for its own sake. After loosing a loved one to colon cancer I nagged and badgered my ex to get tested given that his history put him at high risk. He eventually got a colonoscopy only to find confirmed stage two: cancer! So my Vegan journey began. Favorite foods: big beefy and exotic everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salads, Thai Green papaya salad, coconut rice and vegetable curry, Japanese veggie hand rolls, grilled portobello mushroom sandwiches.

Picture on the bottom (After Vegan): age 50, 106 lbs, normal cholesterol, normal BP, normal vitamins and minerals, reduced dosage of Thyroid supplement. Exercise regimen includes yoga, running, swimming and rest 2 days per week.

David Starr was my source of support and information initially. The personal story is actually much more profound but I wouldn’t use it a Vegan advocacy sales pitch- I was compelled to leave my marriage of 20 years to be with the dying man who was my soul mate since I was 10. Had not seen him for almost 18 years when I found out he was terminal. We had three magical months inching toward seven more before he died in my arms. So you see taking care of this body was a sacred commitment. And a tribute to him.

That’s the real story.

-Claudia Ginsberg