6 Vegan Christmas Cookie Recipes That Are Sure To Impress

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With Christmas closing in on us, I find that I get more frantic as I search for just the right things to make.  Well, we can't go wrong with some vegan Christmas cookie recipes, right?  So, off I went to search for a nice batch of vegan recipes to choose from and I thought I'd share what I found with you.  

While this is by no means the be all and end all list of vegan Christmas cookie recipes, I thought it was a decent start.  I hope you guys find it helpful and find something here that you'll enjoy sharing (or not) this holiday.

Chai Spiced Snowball Cookies

Alright, lets start off our list of vegan Christmas cookie recipes with some snowball cookies!  I personally can't wait to try these from Cafe Johnsonia.  One of my all time favorite things has got the be chai tea, so the idea of incorporating all those delicious spices into a cookie?  Pure bliss.

Chewy Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

Next up we have some Christmas sprinkle cookies from Namely Marly.  These remind me of what I think of as "mom cookies".  You know the kind you make when your toddler wants to help?  Some nice chocolate chip cookie dough and then you throw in all the sprinkles you can think of.  Pretty, delicious, and fun for you and the kids.

Vegan Frosted Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

If you're anything like me, you just love you some peppermint.  It's one of the many great things about the holidays, peppermint things are everywhere in multiple forms!  These cookies from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free are no exception. They are all about the chocolate and the peppermint.

Oat Thumbprint Cookies With Raspberry Chia Jam

Okay, okay, okay.  Guys, get a load of these beautiful little thumbprint cookies from My Fussy Eater.  And goodness, is the recipe simple!  These may not be strictly Christmas cookies, but with the lovely red coloring of the raspberry chia jam... I can't imagine anyone would question you bringing these to a Christmas party of any kind.

Vegan White Chocolate Bark

So, I realize this isn't exactly a cookie.  But, it was to pretty and delicious looking not to include for the holidays here. Besides, I think it's cookie-like enough to count, right?  Vegan white chocolate with pistachios and cranberries?  Just try and tell me this wouldn't be a hit with the family.  The guys over at Fork & Beans really nailed this.

Pistachio Praline Linzer Cookies

Last but certainly not least, we have some pistachio praline linzer cookies from the Bittersweet Blog.  They are just so cute and they look so yummy!  I'm a real sucker for pistachios as well, so they pretty much had me from the time I read the title.

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6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts Now In Many New Styles!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

Check out these 6 awesome vegan T-shirts! So, as some of you guys might remember, awhile back we here at Vegan Banana put together some vegan t-shirts for you!  Recently we've been given the opportunity to offer our designs on some different types of shirts, from sweat shirts to long sleeved t's!  So, we figured we'd put together a post to show ya'll a few of our favorite Vegan Banana designs!  Please let us know what you think about them!  We'd love to know. 

So, without further ado, please enjoy these 6 vegan t-shirt designs!​

Vegan Love Bug!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

Vegan love bugs are everywhere, I'm pretty sure I even have a few in my own home.  I bet you have at least one if your home too!  So, don't you think this shirt makes a great gift for them?  ...Or you?  Don't give me that look, I know how much you like hugs!

Vegan Because I Give A Shit!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

Whether you're vegan for the animals, environment, or your health... I think it's pretty safe so say that you give a-... That you care!  Show off your vegan-ness with this (one of our 6 awesome vegan T-shirts), tell people how much you care.  It's a simple yet effective way to get the message across, don't you think?

Vegan Since...!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

How long have you been vegan?  A year?  Ten years?  More?  Show off your dedication to this life and the lives around you with these shirts. 

I Got 99 Problems And Protein Ain't One!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

Aren't you tired of people asking where you get your protein?  Because god knows... Plants don't have any.  Okay, even I rolled my eyes as I typed that, so I know you guys have to be squirming.  It's an annoying question, sometimes asked from a place of innocent ignorance and sometimes... Not.  This shirt is definitely an amusing way to start off, or end one of these conversations without to much drama (we hope!).

The Definition Of Speciesism!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

The definition of Speciesism shirt has to be one of my favorites that I made.  Sounds a bit silly, because the shirt itself is a bit long winded.  I suppose I just found something cathartic in wearing around the definition of it all.  

Vegan Chick!

6 Awesome Vegan T-Shirts

Are you a vegan chick?  Do you know a badass vegan chick?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, this is a pretty damn cool shirt, if I do say so myself!  Declare your awesome vegan self to the world.  Be proud and loud!  ...Or quiet, that works too.  You do you.

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Vegan News: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Found On Pig Farm!

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Vegan News: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Found On Pig Farm!

Here’s a bit of terrifying vegan news for you  today.  Yes, antibiotic resistant bacteria or “superbug genes” have been found by researchers from the Ohio State University’s veterinary medicine team on a pig farm.  Here’s what NBC News is reporting…

Researchers have found a rare and frightening superbug gene on a U.S. pig farm and say their discovery suggests raw meat could carry the dangerous germs into the human population.

“It is an extremely rare gene. How it got on this farm, we don’t know,” said Thomas Wittum, chair of the veterinary medicine team at The Ohio State University, who led the study team.

Yes, you read that right, they don’t even know how the antibiotic resistant bacteria or “gene” got onto the farm.  This particular pig farm has been a “closed herd” since the 1960’s.  Because of this they are thinking that the bacteria had to have been imported on equipment or people somehow. Scary right?

The article goes on to say…

The gene is called bla IMP-27 and it gives bacteria the ability to resist the effects of a class of antibiotics called carbapenems.  Carbapenems are considered an antibiotic of last resort, so germs that resist their effects are very difficult to kill.

Worse, this superbug gene is carried on an easily swapped bit of genetic material called a plasmid, and the researchers found it in several different species of bacteria on the farm.  That suggests the bacteria have been passing the gene around.

That last bit there is particularly frightening, at least to us.  It means that this gene is “infecting” (for lack of a better word) lots of different kinds of bacteria.

The worry is that the gene will get into bacteria that infect people. A type of antibiotic-resistant germ called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are especially dangerous. If they get into the bloodstream and cause an infection, CRE germs kill half their victims.

Just this summer researchers sounded the alarm about a drug-resistant E. coli sample carrying a gene called mcr-1. It was also carried on a plasmid, and the fear is such an E. coli bacteria with the mcr-1 gene could pass it to another superbug with other mutations — creating a truly super superbug that resists all known antibiotics.

Something similar could potentially happen with the bla IMP-27 gene found at the pig farm. Via nbcnews.com

So the scary vegan news of the day is that we are litterally breeding the antibiotic resistant bacteria that will wipe out the human race right in the food supply!  We don’t know about you but we see this as yet another reason to GO VEGAN and shut down these disgusting pig farms.

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Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2017

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Top Ten Vegan Boots of 2016

Here are our picks for "Top 10 Vegan Boots of 2016!"  Every one of them a work of cruelty free art from top to bottom.  Ok, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but only a little one.  I mean, take a look at those thigh-high heels!  Be honest. Did you ever think you'd see something so stylish in a VEGAN BOOT?

==>> See the Women's TOP 10 VEGAN BOOTS OF 2016 on this page!

~~~

= =>> See the Men's TOP 10 VEGAN BOOTS OF 2016 on this page!

Women's Saddle Vegan Faux Leather Ankle Boots

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

When I first saw these I was automatically taken with them.  They are rather simple and elegant slip on vegan leather boots.  The buckle is actually adjustable so you can loosen or tighten them as needed!  Fashionable and functional.  Go figure.

JBU by Jambu Women's Merlot Boot

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

If you're anything like me, you enjoy a nice wedge heel.  I just think they look really nice.  This pair of wedge heeled boots from Jambu is no exception.  Vegan, animal friendly boots make the world go 'round, man.

Womens Vegan Leather Chelsea Boot – Lightweight Pull on Casual Ankle Bootie

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

I love the grungy vibes I get from these boots, a little chunky and a little rough around the edges.  They would look awesome with a pair of slacks or jeans.

Jambu Women's Denver Vegan Riding Boot

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

With colder weather on it's way, or perhaps even here to stay already for some people, a pair of solid boots is a must.  These are fashionable and useful.  Just about all the reviews I saw on amazon has me confident in their ability to keep you dry and warm even when that snow turns to slush.

DREAM PAIRS Women's Stylish Cowboy Chunky Block Heel Zipper Closure Ankle Booties

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

These are a pair of vegan ankle booties with a decent chunky heel on them.  Though, they aren't to tall and are comfortable enough for all day wear and walking around.  

ROF Women Fashion Comfy Vegan Suede Side Zipper Over the Knee Boots

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

If you're looking for a lovely over the knee vegan boot without the heel, these are a good pick for you.  Comfy, true to size with a decent price tag!

Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 Boot

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

This boot lives up to the Dr. Martens name.  These Dr. Martens Vegan boots are sturdy and reliable, have the same feel and wear as their real leather counterparts and have proven to be waterproof!  Or so I'm seeing from the gobs of reviews over at Amazon.  I'll definitely be giving these a try next time I'm in need of a good pair of work boots.

Spring Step Women's Anatol Boot

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

I thought these vegan boots were a nice break from the usual.  They've got an interesting and lovely design that's sure to go with a great many things in your wardrobe.

ROF Women's Thigh High Over The Knee Block Chunky Heel Pointy Round Toe Boots

Top 10 Vegan Boots Of 2016

The overwhelming consensus on these vegan boots seems to be that they are both comfy and sexy, two things that don't always go together!  

ROF Petty-02 Women's Fashion Western Inspired Almond Pointy Toe Vegan Stacked Heel Ankle Booties

Top Ten Vegan Boots of 2016

These boots were made for walking and that's just what you'll do!  These vegan boots are comfy with a nice low heel, meant to be worn through the day.  They also don't have an 'overtly western' feel for those out there who really aren't wanting to be a cowgirl today.

See vegan boots for your whole family right over here ==>>

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Viraltag… A Blogging Tool For Successful Online Vegan Activism

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Viraltag... A Blogging Tool For Successful Online Vegan Activism

What’s Viraltag, a social sharing tool, got to do with blogging much less vegan activism? So glad you asked.

Successful blogging or activism of any kind relies on getting your message in front of as many people as possible. Which means reaching out to them where they spend their time AND when they tend to be there.

Now you can do that by staying up and chatting all night, every night on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Or you can use a social sharing tool like Viraltag to do the heavy lifting of dripping your message out there 24/7 which frees you up to do the fun part… Actually TALKING to people.

Viraltag meets our needs for sharing visuals across our social networks better than any other tool we’ve tried to date. To be clear, we have worked with Buffer, Tailwind and Viraltag for this purpose.

As we’ve already mentioned we’ve auditioned several platforms to help us do this and they all do what they say they will do and for the most part to it well and without too many glitches. For us it comes down to features and price.

Here’s Why We Like Viraltag Best…

It’s BIG & POWERFUL! By that we mean you get lots of profiles and tools for the money. They all work well. They all save you time and make it easier to get your message out there. For example, the “Individual” plan gives you TEN profiles and you can put an UNLIMITED number of posts into your queue.

 

Viraltag... A Blogging Tool For Successful Online Vegan Activism

 

To put that into perspective, Buffer’s “Go Big” plan also gives you 10 profiles but limits your queue to 100 posts. Each Tailwind account is for ONE and only one Pinterest account. No other social profiles are supported with Tailwind. And you have to pay a year in advance to get unlimited posts. Monthly plans on Tailwind are limited to 400 posts in the queue.

VERSATILE SCHEDULING! We can’t say enough nice things about the scheduling options available to you with Viraltag!

First, The Queue… You get to set up a queue for each account you use with Viraltag with its own posting schedule. There are no limits on the number of times you can automatically send out posts to your social accounts each day. (other than the posting limits set by the social platforms themselves, of course).

Specific Scheduling… In addition to having a bottomless queue you can tell Viraltag to send out a post “right now” or at a specific scheduled time. This is great for when you just publish a new post or if you NEED to get the word out about something that is happening in real time. Something like a Vegan Meetup or a protest.

Interval Scheduling… This is a feature of the bulk scheduler that we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! This will save you so much time it just will make your head spin. Basically, it lets you capture all the images on your post and drip them out to social media one by one with a time delay of your choosing.

Pinterest Board Lists… You’ll be hearing me talk about the power of Pinterest to your activism efforts more and more in the near future but for now just know that you can get your message in front of a HUGE number of people using Pinterest. Board lists let you drip your message (think meme or infographic here) out to a predefined number of Pinterest boards one at a time with a time delay of your choosing between the posts. POWERFUL!

 

Viraltag Board Lists... A Blogging Tool For Successful Online Vegan Activism

 

There are other powerful things that Viraltag has, like a built in photo editor with the optimal dimensions for photos for each social sharing site built in as presets. Canva integration and unlimited feeds so you can pull content from sights you follow, like PETA or Mercy For Animals, right into Viraltag for easy sharing. (see the image below). And we’ll be talking about how all these play an important role in successful online vegan activism or at least vegan blogging very soon.

 

Viraltag Feeds... A Blogging Tool For Successful Online Vegan Activism

 

There are only 2 drawbacks to Viraltag that we see at this time. One is its lack of a shuffle feature for your queues. Both Tailwind and Buffer let you do this and it IS very helpful. The other is that each pin made using a board list is a new and unique pin instead of a repin. (If you don’t know why that matters don’t worry, we’ll be covering that in detail soon. Watch this space for more info. )

You should know that we have spoken to Viraltag’s customer service (which is EXCELLENT by the way) about both these issues and they assure us that both these items are things they are working on and plan to roll out. Sadly, they do not have a timeframe for adding these features that they are willing to commit to at this time.

Ok, so now you know that by using a social sharing tool for your vegan blogging or online vegan activism efforts you’ll reach more people AND free up your time to actually connect with those people. And you know that we use Viraltag for all Vegan Banana social sharing and why. As always, we wish you the very best with all your advocacy efforts. If you have any questions or want to share your experiences with these social tools please do so in the comments below!

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Another Reason To Ditch Dairy… 4 Million Pounds of Poisoned Milk Powder Seized!

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Not Your Mom. Not Your Milk! Ditch Dairy... Why should she suffer for your pleasure?

My vegan friends it’s not as if we need more reasons to ditch dairy but the government and businesses intent on putting profits above everything else just gave us another one.  On November 30th the US Food & Drug Administration tells us that…

The U.S. Marshals Service seized more than 4 million pounds of product produced by Valley Milk Products LLC (Valley Milk) of Strasburg, Virginia. The company is owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc. in Reston, Virginia. The seized products include dry nonfat milk powder and buttermilk powder packaged in 40- and 50-pound bags for further manufacturing and are worth nearly $4 million.

 

During an FDA inspection of Valley Milk from July – September 2016, FDA investigators observed poor sanitary practices and reviewed the company’s records, which showed positive results for Salmonella in the plant’s internal environmental and finished product samples. FDA investigators observed residues on internal parts of the processing equipment after it had been cleaned by the company and water dripping from the ceiling onto food manufacturing equipment. In addition, environmental swabs collected during the inspection confirmed the presence of Salmonella meleagridis on surfaces food came into contact with after being pasteurized. Throughout the investigation, the FDA worked closely with the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 

“The FDA urged Valley Milk to conduct a voluntary recall of the implicated products,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The firm refused to recall and, as a result, we have had to intervene and seize this adulterated food to prevent it from reaching consumers who could be exposed to Salmonella from these products.”

 

The FDA used a bacterial typing tool called whole genome sequencing (WGS) to link the samples collected in the facility over time. WGS technology can show the relationship among isolates of bacterial pathogens found in the environment, a food source or a person who became ill from consuming contaminated food. The sampling results indicate that the Salmonella strains from 2016 are nearly identical to Salmonella strains found at the company in 2010, 2011 and 2013. These findings of Salmonella meleagridis at the company dating back several years demonstrate the existence of a persistent strain of Salmonella at this facility. Via foodpoisonjournal.com

Folks, milk finds its way into all kinds of things it has no business being in, from hot cocoa to french fries to condoms. (No we are not making that up. And yes, we know it’s gross).

Now, even if you don’t care that the cows the milk is taken from are…

  • tortured
  • forced to live in abhorrent conditions
  • have their babies ripped from them as soon as they are born and finally
  • killed when they are the human equivalent of 20-something because their bodies give out from the constant pregnancy and lactation it was not designed to support.

You should care that milk is just plain bad for you (it causes cancer for goodness sake) and now it can kill you long before cancer has the chance to get you because it’s being processed in facilities KNOWN to harbor deadly pathogens by people who KNOW the pathogens are there and just don’t care if you get sick or die.

Come on people WAKE UP!  It’s long past time to do a cow (and yourself) a favor.  Go Vegan and DITCH DAIRY!

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5 Vegan Indian Recipes For Your Enjoyment!

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Vegan Indian Recipes

You’ve been asking… so here they are! Vegan Indian recipes! Curry and rice, cardamon, turmeric and cinnamon! Sign me up! Wrap all this up with watermelon dosa? Yes please. Scroll on down to see what we have in the works here!

Vegan Indian Recipes - Dabbakaya Pulihora Recipe, Andhra Rice Dish

To start us off we have this really yummy indian rice recipe! It revolves around using a “rough lemon” for the rice flavor.  Sail Us Food has come through with this, though I will admit I (being a bit of an indian food newb) definitely ended up googling quite a few of the ingredients in this.

Dhal with Caraway Aubergine

Vegan Indian Recipes - Dhal with Caraway Aubergine

Is it just me or does this look delicious? Between the spices (like cinnamon, turmeric and cumin) and aubergine this just screams yum!  Veganuary is a great recipe resource for vegans and this recipe really is no exception.

Slow Cooker Carrot Cardamom Oatmeal

Vegan Indian Recipes - Slow Cooker Carrot Cardamom Oatmeal

This particular oatmeal recipe was inspired by Carrot Halwa and honestly sounds and looks like a little bowl of heaven. It’s quite simple too, most people are going to have the ingredients for this on hand which makes this a nice go to for when you’re in the mood for an indian inspired yum yum! Keep on bein’ awesome, Healthy Slow Cooking!

Vegan Indian Recipes

What list of vegan indian recipes would be complete without curry? I mean, really! So, here we have it! Straight from the Low Fat Vegan Chef is an eggplant and chickpea curry that’ll set your taste buds alight with delight!

Vegan Indian Recipes - Watermelon Rind Dosa

What summer would be complete without watermelon? So, here you have it from Holy Cow Vegan… Watermelon Dosa. This recipe is particularly great because it uses a part of the melon that usually goes to waste. The white rind! So, for all of you out there who hate putting all that into the trash. This is for you.

MORE Vegan Indian Recipes For You To Enjoy...

UPDATE: Since we published this post we've fallen in love with the flavors of India.  What was once so exotic to us is fast becoming a staple in our kitchen.  The delightfully pungent scent of Garam Masala makes it's way into everything from our oatmeal to the morning coffee.

Though there are a great many lovely vegan Indian recipes available online (and we'll keep sharing them) we have also indulged in a cookbook or two and thought we'd share the ones we are enjoying with you.  If you're favorite isn't listed here please let us know in the comments below and we'll add it lickety-split!

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Vegan Mexican Recipes To Get You Through Summer!

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Vegan Mexican Recipes

Because lets face it, what is summer without at least one taco night? We all need good vegan mexican recipes in our lives. All of us. From a simple quinoa salad ready for any family potluck to taquito’s that are simply perfect for movie munching! Go on and scroll down, have a look!

Vegan Mexican Recipes - Mexican Mac Burrito with Red Sauce

Okay, so perhaps this recipe from the folks over at Vegan Yack Attack is a bit more ‘tex-mex’ than authentic Mexican cuisine… But damn does it look good! A spiced up Mexican inspired vegan mac-n-cheese wet burrito thing? Yes please. Sign me right up.

NOTE: This recipe calls for a Tube Nacho Teese Sauce which, as best we can tell is only available here.  We assume you can substitute any Mexican style vegan cheese you prefer.  If you prefer to experiment and make your own we offer up the following vegan cheese cookbooks.

Crispy Baked Avocado Tacos

Vegan Mexican Recipes - Crispy Baked Avocado Tacos

Pumpkin And Peanut Butter really has a flair for dramatic and strange tacos.  And when I say dramatic and strange, what I mean is delicious.  I don't know about you guys, but I just LOVE avocados, so the idea of baked avocado fries as the main highlight of this dish just makes me grin.

Vegan Mexican Recipes - Tacos With Walnut “Meat”

Numma? Numma! For all you taco lovers out there, this is for you! Using walnuts to simulate the ‘meaty’ texture we all become so used to in our tacos. Throw in some black beans, avocado and cashew cheese? Yes please! The Peaceful Dumpling really did a number on this vegan Mexican recipe!

Vegan Mexican Recipes - Vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, sriracha, avocado, cilantro and kale! Mm-mm-mm! The awesome lady behind the Crazy Vegan Kitchen sure knows how to make a yummy quinoa salad. I know around here we love this kind of dish. The right amount of crunchy and spicy-sweet makes for the perfect grab it and go food for us.

Baked Buffalo Chickpea And Artichoke Vegan Taquitos

Vegan Mexican Recipes - Baked Buffalo Chickpea And Artichoke Vegan Taquitos

Mashed chickpeas and chopped artichokes make up the yummy, creamy center of these taquitos, aided by Butternut Mac cheesy sauce that Jenn from Veggie Inspired makes.  I'm a huge taquito can myself, so I just can't wait to try these out!

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Check Out The United Nations Food Gardens!

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We are beyond pleased to learn about the United Nations Food Gardens!  Yes I know we are behind the power curve here because we only just found out they existed.  Even though they’ve been a reality for just a little over a year now and have had at least one good harvest.  The food they grow, on their 17 acres in downtown Manhattan, is being served up in the on-site cafeteria.  We love how they are leading by example with this.  Talk about locally sourcing your food!

United Nations Food Gardens“The UN Food Gardens is a voluntary UN staff initiative that is establishing food gardens on the premises of the UN Headquarters. Our aim is to help the UN translate global priorities related to sustainable food systems and greener cities into action and lead by example.

The first garden was officially opened by the UN Secretary-General in July 2015. A wide variety of edible plants from around the world have since been grown in the garden.

UNICEF’s and the UN Secretariat’s caterers have turned some of the garden produce into super-local, healthy food for UN staff. Native pollinators have returned to the area. Garden and food waste is being turned into healthy soil for the garden.” Via unfoodgardens.org

 

 

unfoodgardens.org

“The opening of our food garden today is an amazing accomplishment. We feel passionate about connecting policy makers and international representatives through the simple act of growing food.

For 10,000 years, people grew most of their own food. In the past 50 years or so, we have lost that connection to the very thing that supports us,” said Arif Khan, founder of the UN Food Gardens.

“The UN is a unique place and we hope that the gardens serve to connect a wide variety of people through the most basic of activities. No politics here.”

Staff at the UN hope that the garden will not only provide food, but also opportunities for intercultural exchange and learning, setting an example of good urban land stewardship right at the heart of Manhattan.” read more at cityfarmer.info

We love the idea of this green oasis quietly tucked away between the steel, glass and concrete of down town New York.  If food can be grown here there is no reason it can’t be grown almost anywhere.  We just need city planners, architects and property developers to see the value of replicating the United Nations Food Gardens in cities around the globe.

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My Vegan Story: CB

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My Vegan Story: CB

I thought my vegan story might be interesting for you because it isn't typical. It isn't often a fat guy in his mid 40s (I'm 50 now) just makes the overnight switch to veganism.  But that is exactly what happened to me.

All my life, I've called myself an 'animal lover' and have always enjoyed being around all kinds of animals, farm animals, friendly wild animals, and domestic pets. But I've also always been a big meat eater. Probably 80% of my diet pre-vegan was meat or animal based. In the effort to lose weight I actually ate nothing at all but meat and cheese for 11 months!

I am not a professional chef, but before making the switch, I was a BBQ pit boss from Spring through Fall.  It wasn't unusual for me to be cooking a half a side of beef, or a couple of whole hogs in the ground, or 20 chickens all at once.  People begged me to come down and make a cauldron of Brunswick stew and roast some pigs for a birthday or a wedding and I was glad to oblige.  Giant turkeys for Thanksgiving, enormous cured hams at Christmas.. that was my time of the year to shine.  

Obviously there was a big disconnect there. I never was really too good at having to slaughter an animal myself, but I certainly did do it in my life prior to being vegan.  I used to go fishing every day from age 14 to 20 or so. I look back and realize I was the only one who would eat whatever I caught, even if it was too small, because I couldn't bear to think of them swimming around with a ripped mouth.  Inside me was the knowledge, but it just wasn't expressing itself.

Vegan Story: We Wanted To Live Too"

​In the early morning hours of May 12, 2012 I awoke from the most powerful dream I have ever had.  To recount all the details would make this whole story far too long, so I'll stick to the highlights.

I was lost in a maze in a warehouse that was made up of grocery store style conveyor belts.  On all the belts and around them sat various farm animals, mostly chickens and other poultry but also some cattle, goats, sheep.  

They weren't threatening me in any way, simply silently looking at me as I became more and more agitated trying to find my way out of the warehouse.  I kept turning and looping back, coming to dead ends and the creatures were all just looking at me.  

And as I became more afraid, I could feel what I can only to this day describe as their spirits calmly chanting at me "We wanted to live too".  It felt like a pressure wave in my mind I couldn't escape.  

​Crazy stuff, I know!

I finally made it out to the other side of the warehouse, only to enter another room with a train station in it.  People were getting onto the train, and there were sides of beef and lamb that were being loaded into the train right beside them and they didn't seem to notice.  I was trying to yell to them that they were in trouble, that they were going to die, but they didn't hear me.  

I awoke in a sweat trying to yell and my wife sat up and listened carefully while I told her the whole dream.  She just sat there quietly for a minute, and said well I guess you know what we need to do.  I nodded, and we jumped out of bed, and began to make a pile of stuff in the middle of the kitchen floor.  100s of pounds of meat from the deep freezers, cans and bottles of sauces and prepared foods.  Bricks of cheese.  We loaded it all into lawn bags and into the back of my truck to be dumped the next day.  

I spent the rest of the night Googling like a mad man. I was searching to see if it was even possible to go without eating any meat for a long time, and what kinds of vitamins and supplements we would need "to survive".  I look back laughing now, but I honestly didn't know a healthy life as a vegan was so easy.

​When we first made the choice, we said we would be vegetarians, but even though I restocked the milk and cheese that we dumped on that fateful evening, it was obvious neither of us was going to be the first one to make that choice, so we just threw it away again and that was that.  

Vegan Story: My Chickens Have Become Pets

The transition was easy. It turned out I can cook just as well without the meat... even better if anything.  And we have never looked back.  It has opened up a whole new world of spirituality to us and it has been a blessing in everything.

​So life as a vegan, as I said, has been pretty easy.  Groceries are cheaper.  Aside from a very few restaurants, eating out can be managed.  We have both lost weight, although I was surprised that I'm still pretty tubby.  My wife lost the few pounds she needed to and has maintained a slim figure.  

Being a vegan, even if you aren't eating a lot of meat substitutes, is not an automatic key to skinny city.  A little disappointed by that, but it is ok.  I find my bond with my pets is stronger, and my chickens have now become pets which is a great delight.

​As far as 'cheats' or whatnot, there really haven't been any.  If I were to confess my vegan sins I would say that the twice I've gotten a cold since being vegan, I have used a bit of honey medicinally.  In principle I would have to say I would do it again most likely.  When we are on vacation I will use the soap at the hotel, not checking to see if it is vegan or not, but never at home.  

I tried vegan leather workboots and they were a disaster.  I still have the boots that I had when I became vegan but they have taken a beating, as they were not new even then.  I would say probably I would invest in a new pair of leather workboots when these fall apart for good.  I don't consider those at all vegan habits.  They are weaknesses, selfishness perhaps, except for the boots.  But I don't allow vegan 'police' to have at me for those things.  

I've been told that because I express those things I am not vegan, that I'm only a plant based eater as if that is a nasty thing.  I do my best.  I encourage others to do their best also.  But I won't lie and claim that I am perfect.

​That's my vegan story...
I'll answer your questions as I can as well.

​What does "vegan" mean to you?

​To not use the flesh, body parts, reproductive substances or other excretions of animals for one's nutrition, pleasure, or convenience and not to rely on the death or suffering of any other animal as a way of benefiting oneself.

​How long have you been vegan?

​4 years and 3 months

​What first inspired you to go vegan?

​A powerful dream

​What resources (people, books, blogs, films, etc.) helped you with your transition to veganism?

​Google. Honestly that was it. But Chef Roberto Martin's vegan cookbook was a godsend in teaching me how to cook vegan foods.

​Were your friends & family supportive of your choice to go vegan?

​They didn't care. Most didn't believe I would stick with it.

​Are they supportive now?

​They think I had a psychological breakdown of some sort but accept that I'm not changing my stance.

​What do you love about being vegan?

​To be able to taste food all through the cooking process with no fear.

​What inspires you to stay vegan?

​My spirituality.

​What challenges you as a vegan?

​Leather really. That is the only thing I struggle with at all.

Are you a vegan activist? If yes, what form does that take?

Not really. I speak my mind but don't do outreach.

​What is your favorite vegan food or recipe?

​I veganized my mom's famous lasagna recipe and it is awesome.

​What advice would you give to new or wanna'be vegans?

​Just do it and don't overthink it. B12 is your only 'must do'.

​What gives you hope for the future?

​All the vegan products coming out nearly every month and the awesome vegan restaurants and chefs. People are starting to get it.

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