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Tag Archives: vegan
Last week, if you had looked closely, you would have thought I was being a huge hypocrite.
I was at my desk, eating lunch. Slung over my chair was a new, black, ladylike, vegan coat by Vaute Couture. On my feet were black, microsuede, platform booties by Crie de Coeur. And I was eating a chicken salad.
What could account for this odd sartorial/culinary dissonance? Am I a poser, buying vegan just to say I buy vegan while I contribute to the murder of poor little caged chickens with my choice of lunch?
Actually, there is a method to this madness. The chicken salad in question was from the Whole Foods prepared food bar–organic, hormone-free and humanely raised. And the outerwear and shoes in question are more than just vegan.
You see, I have no problem with eating meat as long as I know where it comes from. This is for the usual liberal guilt reasons (I happen to like my Chesapeake bay free of mounds of nitrate-rich chicken poop, thanks) but also out of concern for my own health. More than 3,000 people die each year from food poisoning, and I myself came down with a mild bout after succumbing to the siren call of Perdue chicken fingers at a Yankees game last year. Still, as long as I get my meat–pork, chicken, duck and the occasional hamburger–from a local farm, I feel OK about it. And I’m especially OK with eggs and yogurt from the Greenmarket.
So why go to the trouble and expense of buying vegan products? They’re not even going in my mouth!
Well, when it comes to beauty products, many are vegan as a sort of checkmark in a long line of conscious requirements of the modern consumer: No testing on animals–check. Organic–check. Paraben-free–check. Container made from post-consumer recycled content–check. Vegan/free of animal products–check. So I really just end up with vegan face lotion and deodorant.
But when it comes to clothing, something I’ve found to be almost universally true is that if someone takes the time to ensure their clothing and/or accessories are vegan, they’ve also taken the time to ensure their products are also sustainably and ethically made. Take, for example, these brands:
- EcoCloset shoes are vegan, plus eco-friendly, non-toxic and made in an ethical, sweatshop-free factory in China.
- Beyond Skin shoes are vegan, plus handmade in Spain.
- Olsen Haus shoes are vegan, plus fair trade and sustainably made.
- Elizabeth Detroit shoes are vegan, plus made from recycled plastic in the United States.
- Neuaura shoes are vegan, plus are made in a sustainable factory in Brazil.
- Pansy Maiden bags and accessories are vegan, plus made the U.S. of sustainable materials.
- Matt and Nat bags and accessories are vegan, plus use sustainable and upcycled materials.
- Reveal bags and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
- Vaute Couture outerwear is vegan, plus made in New York.
- Crie de Coeur shoes and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
See what I mean? Yes, I still have plenty of leather in my closet, especially the vegetable-tanned kind. But no, I don’t think it’s weird to pull money out of a vegan wallet to pay for Long Island duck breast. Do you?
My vegan baking skills are laughable (I once topped vegan maple cupcakes with bacon bits) but perhaps yours are better? If so, this one is for you …
Vegan brand Earth Balance is holding its third annual bake-off, and you could win a vegan trip to Vegas. Not bad! Just submit your best vegan recipe for pies, cakes, cookies or cupcakes.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- Roundtrip airfare for two to Las Vegas, Nevada
- A two night stay at the vegan friendly Wynn Hotel*
- Upscale dining at Country Club restaurant* (one of the Wynn’s finest restaurants with a full vegan menu!)
- tickets for two to go see “O” by Cirque du Soleil*
- $1,000 in spending cash!
8 weekly winners will also receive:
- A $100 Whole Foods Market giftcard
- A years worth of Earth Balance products (in the form of 12 free coupons)
- A copy of the book Sticky Fingers by Doron Petersan
- A copy of the book Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli
Your recipes should be your own original creations and contain one or more Earth Balance products such as any of the buttery spreads, nut butters or soy beverages click here to see all eligible Earth Balance products). The recipes must be plant-based (vegan) and free of any animal products (no dairy, eggs, meat, honey, etc.). An original photo of your finished dish is also required. You can submit as many recipes as you like from November 26 to December 23, in the following categories:
Nov. 26th – Dec. 2nd: Pies (Due tomorrow!!)
Dec. 3rd – Dec. 9th: Cakes
Dec. 10th – Dec. 16th: Cupcakes
Dec. 17th – Dec. 23rd: Cookies & Bars
This contest is open to U.S. residents only, who are at least 18 years of age. For more information, frequently asked questions and tips, read the Holiday Bake-Off F.A.Q. To read the Official Rules CLICK HERE.
Vegan cupcake image credit: Flickr/Continuum Design
This summer I heard the fact that if you wanted to make the most impact, you would be better off becoming a vegetarian than replacing your Hummer with a Prius.
Well, I immediately began cutting down on my meat consumption. But as with most eco-friendly tips that are thrown about these days, it wasn’t that simple.
You see, cutting down on the amount of meat you consume is a great thing to do. In a world where water and food resources are being strained, it makes sense to eat your calories in corn itself. It takes 16 pounds of grains to produce one pound of beef. Yikes!
Here’s the catch: the factoids above assume you are eating corn fed beef. Mmm, corn-fed beef. Sounds great, doesn’t it? If you go to the fancy steak house, Lewnes, in Annapolis, they tell you a beautiful story about the rich marbling of their corn-fed beef from Texas. But the best meat, the meat that is delicious and – more importantly – safe when it comes to food-born illness, is grass fed beef from your local farmer.
Yep, if you can ask the name of the cow or pig or chicken or turkey that provided your dinner, then you know that farmer took extra special care of that animal. Grass fed beef is more sustainable naturally, because the cows eat grass – not corn – which keeps corn from being taken out of the food chain. If everyone ate grass fed beef instead of corn-fed beef, that would reinsert 80% of the corn grown in the US back into the mouth of Americans. Grass fed beef also doesn’t require a bunch of pesticides and hormones.
I learned all of this from Michael Pollan, and it changed my view of meat and food.
So that leads me to my new designation: Conscientious Carnivore. It’s a growing movement that is turning vegetarians back into carnivores. This article this morning from The Gothamist turned me onto the phrase, and I love it. It means that you can enjoy sizzling bacon, as long as you know that pig was free of hormones, was raised sustainably, and got to wiggle its little corkscrew tail in happiness, instead of shoved into disgusting pen with a bajillion other pigs.
It means you are still eating sustainably, and showing the meat industry that you have standards when it comes to meat. That you want safe food, delicious food, food that doesn’t take corn out of the mouths of those who need it.*
So be a conscientious carnivore! Head to the farmers market, or almost as good, Whole Foods, and grab yourself some grass fed beef, free-range chicken, or scrumptious bacon. And read this book. I will.
*The corn fed to cows is not edible by humans. But think of what the land used to grow it could be used for instead. Sweet corn! Orchards full of apples! More sustainable grown beef!
I like leather. I like how soft and smooth and nice it feels on my feet as it hugs them on a cold day. I like the way it looks when it’s stitched with heavy thread and studded with metal rivets. It seems substantial, like it’s a real investment in my wardrobe that will last long enough for me to hand it to my daughter some day.
I also like fur. I like the way it softly caresses my neck and shields me from an icy wind. I have fond memories of snuggling into my mother’s wolf and rabbit floor-length fur coat. When she wore it, it meant we had a special night out to the ballet, to a play, to the symphony. It meant a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant all the way in Baltimore or D.C. – or when I was even younger – the Nutcracker in Raleigh. I associate fur with a new flouncy dress and a special trip to New York to see The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera, and eating from the biggest buffet I’d ever seen at the Plaza.
This is why it was a real stretch for me to seek out and go into a vegan shoe shop called Moo Shoes on the Lower East Side. I have no moral issues with fur or leather. But I figured that if eating less meat is good for the environment, buying less leather must be too.
First, let me make something clear. I would never be a vegan. Vegans say pearls and silk are bad. I never heard of torturing silk worms to make them produce more silk. They also can’t eat dairy products. That’s just silly. Someone in Germany even asked me if it’s true that a vegan will wait for an apple to fall off the tree before they will eat it. Ummm, hope not!
So here I am at Moo Shoes, trying to be open-minded. Moo Shoes is such a stereotype in action. They had No Meat! buttons piled in bins, posters, stickers everywhere. The girls behind the counter were surly and unkempt. Not exactly inspirational fashion plates. Though I did enjoy petting one of the two cats.
I picked up a pair of booties, the ones in the picture above, to try on. Look closely at the picture. If you have ever experienced leather shoes with thick stitching and stacked wooden heels, you can tell just from the picture that these are not high-quality shoes. They didn’t feel high-quality either. When forced my feet into the plastic casing, they chafed against the inside. The shoes felt brittle. In short, they felt like $30 shoes from J.C. Penny’s junior section.
But I rationalized. “If they’re cheap,” I thought, “I can wear them and wear them out and it doesn’t matter! I’ll save money and save the environment. ” So I turned the box around to look at the price.
$129. Seriously? I yanked the shoes off my feet, put them back in the box, and marched out of the store. The shop girls who were ignoring me, mostly, seemed happy to see me go. They might have noticed my trusty black leather purse that I’ve carried for four years. It still looks fashionable and perfect.
I suppose they were just jealous.
If you want to read a laughable article where someone extolls the virtues of vegan fashion (you can still wear denim bustiers apparently, thank GOD) check out this site.