Tag Archives: animal rights

A Vegan World-Imagine That!

Healthy Vegan Breakfast of Chia Seeds and Colorful FruitsI recall when the “Imagine a Vegan World” Support Group began meeting last year in Honolulu. I loved the ‘Vegan World’ part but I’d been vegan 8 years and didn’t feel like I needed support as such.

“Why attend?” I thought! It’s held during supper time but nowhere near any vegan eateries! Whose brilliant idea was that?! Looking back, I realize I was being selfish.

Imagine a Vegan World was started by Terry Bear in early 2013. The group’s founder and visionary went vegan 3 years ago influenced by her vegan daughter.

Terry considers everyone a vegan or on the way to becoming one.  “First I was vegan for “the health of it,” says Terry, “but after reading Will Tuttle’s ‘The World Peace Diet,’ I was completely transformed to a passionately compassionate, ethical vegan.”

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Crazy Sexy Kitchen Makes Plant-Based Excitement

Several years ago, there were only a handful of vegan cookbooks. Today, there are dozens, and I recently learned there are 200 new vegan cookbooks on the way!

Great news, unless you are deciding which cookbook to add to your library. Fortunately for me, I did not have to choose, as I received a hardcopy version of Crazy Sexy Kitchen as a gift.

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Vida Vegan What? Just Don’t Miss the Next One!

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Two years ago, by the time I learned about the first Vida Vegan Conference, it was already too late to sign up. I was living in Tokyo at the time–shortly after the “3-11” (Fukushima) disaster–and was feeling pretty uneasy.

I didn’t know how it would happen, but I was determined to make it to the next VVC bloggers conference, to be held 2 years later.

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Millennium Tops San Francisco Gourmet Vegan Restaurants

For all its reputation as a food mecca, and its hippy image, I was surprised to learn on a recent visit that downtown San Francisco is home to only 10 vegan restaurants.

Three of these 10 are part of the Loving Hut chain, which-despite their use of excessive oil and textured soy protein, and cafeteria atmosphere–are far superior to any non-vegan fast-food, and provide an animal compassionate and practical alternative for those transitioning to a plant-based diet. Continue reading

Finding Vegan Inspiration for Radiant Health

The recently concluded Veganpalooza 2012 had me glued to my chair for hours at-a-time. Co-hosted by Dr. Will Tuttle, author of World Peace Diet, and Steve Prussack, host of Raw Vegan Radio, the tele-summit was the largest vegan educational event ever, with 12,000 listeners.

Distinguished speakers included well-known vegan authorities Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neil Barnard, Rory Freedman, Cherie Soria, Kathy Freston, T. Colin Campbell, Rip Esselstyn, as well as others previously unfamiliar to me, such as Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Dr. Brian Clement, Dr. Milton Mills, Gabrielle Heaver, and Rich Roll, dubbed “One the 25 fittest men in the world” by Men’s Health Magazine in 2009.

Whether the information is familiar or you’re hearing it for the first time, Veganpalooza awakens you to just how much there is to learn about vegan living, from animal rights and diet to ecology and spiritual and physical vitality. The positive energy fed my feeling of optimism there is growing momentum for shifting to a plant-based diet.

As a long-term vegan, I didn’t need convincing that a plant-based diet is the healthiest for humans, for animals and the planet. Veganpalooza’s numerous medical experts reiterated that nobody needs animal foods to be healthy, and anyone and everyone can thrive on a vegan diet.

The most inspiring speaker for me–as a marathoner and would-be triathloner– was the 45 year-old Roll, with amazing athletic achievements since turning vegan following  a “health-scare” five and-a-half years ago, including completing the Epic5 Challenge consisting of five Ironman triathlons on 5 Hawaiian islands within 7 days. Continue reading

Do You Like Coffee in Your Milk, or Milk in Your Coffee?

A recent article in the Washington Post discussing the effects of various foods on heart health identified the greatest health risk of coffee to be weight gain from blended coffee beverages packed with empty calories from sugar and dairy fat.

Lately, it seems the creator and biggest purveyor of the beverages has been trying to rise above criticism they’re as guilty as McDonalds and other fast food chains for contributing to high rates of obesity and diet-related diseases.

Along with introducing oatmeal to its menu, Starbucks published guides to 20 Drinks Under 200 Calories” as well as “Favorite Foods under 350 calories” on its website.  Unfortunately, Starbucks plays down the healthiest beverages (full-leaf teas, brewed coffee, espresso, caffe Americano, etc.) which all have under 10 calories. For example–if you’ve grown tired of Pike Place–did you know you can order any beans Starbucks carries be prepared with a French-press?

Adding milk or cream and sugar to brewed coffee is so common among Starbucks’ U.S. customers, the baristas “leave room” in the cup by default. No wonder hard-core coffee drinkers (those who know the difference between an ibrik and a v60) don’t take the chain seriously, especially after it introduced the lightly-roasted Blonde coffee (now its most popular), further blurring the line with pedestrian coffee.

Of course, only Starbucks’ pure coffees/teas and those made with soymilk–instead of dairy milk–are of any interest to those on a whole foods plant-based diet (those who haven’t given up caffeine, at least).

For the record, Starbucks custom-blended soymilk contains more calories and saturated fat than its skim milk. However, soymilk contains no cholesterol (vs 5g for non-fat milk) and does contain fiber, a beneficial nutrient found only in plant-based foods. Continue reading

How Can “Animal Lovers” Eat Animals?

Strolling through Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park today, I came upon some leafletting animal rightists planning a demonstration against animal testing. I proudly told them I followed a whole foods plant-based vegan diet, and naively assumed they did, too.

Somewhat guiltily, one admitted she doesn’t eat meat unless it’s served to her (and would therefore go to waste if she didn’t eat it), while the other said she would ideally like to be vegan, but not being vegan doesn’t mean she can’t help animals, such as rescuing rabbits from laboratory tests. I asked whether they didn’t think it hypocritical that they were protesting animal testing, when animals are routinely abused, and then slaughtered in food production.

The irony is that I started off as a dietary vegan, but now feel I am more protective of animal rights than most animal rightists, because I understand how unnecessary it is to use animals for anything. In fact, the greatest animal suffering of all is caused by food production, followed by clothing production, laboratory testing and entertainment (zoos, circuses, etc.), according to PETA. Those girls must have been sorry they picked the wrong guy to leaflet!

If you proclaim to love your household pets and other animals in general, then how do you explain being able to eat fish, cows, pigs and chickens, or the product of their suffering, i.e. eggs, milk, dairy products, etc.?

Kyoto Yakiniku-ya Gives Birth to Vegan Cafe

The ultimate result of Tai-ichi Matsuda’s battle with his conscience is great news for Japanese diners, and animal lovers everywhere.

It all began when the owner a popular south Kyoto yakiniku-ya (Korean-style barbequed meat restaurant)* went searching online for a family pet, and landed on some animal rights web sites.

For the first time, Tai-ichi learned about the way breeders and pet shops abused animals, how meat production is cruel to animals and pollutes the environment, and that eating animal products was harmful for one’s health, too.

Like most people, he had always believed we needed meat to survive. But the more he learned, the more he questioned his values and came to understand a vegan lifestyle was the right path for him. Within a week, Tai-ichi proceeded to give up meat and fish, quickly followed by eggs and dairy products.

He had kept it a secret for a month, before his wife became suspect. “Why don’t you eat meat any more?” she asked. He feared telling her, especially since the yakiniku-ya had been their livelihood for 10 years. Thankfully, Atsuko (along with his 3 young children) agreed to share his vegan crusade, yet doubted the former meat-lover would stick with his decision for long.

But while Tai-ichi never questioned his own ability to stay vegan, deciding the fate of his yakiniku restaurant consumed him with worry and depression for months.

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