Monday, April 27, 2009

Liz: A Tribute

Hey friends! Sometimes it can be difficult to coexist with omnivores. But do not be discouraged, even in the Midwest there are many vegan sympathizers.

This is my roommate Liz:

She is not vegan. She just LOVES vegetables!! She love them! This is what she was cooking:

This is a mix of kidney beans, northern beans, spinach, broccoli, corn, peas, garlic, olive oil and a lil' pinch of salt. It's delicious. For sure.

One time Liz and her boyfriend (whose family raises beef cattle for a living, mind you) made these delicious cupcakes:

Vegan "Oreo" Cupcakes. Holy cow! (I frosted these bad boys). The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes For Cupcakes That Rule.

"That bitch needed a cupcake!" - Liz E.

All you Vegecagoans looking for a compassionate roommate: you can't have her, she's taken.

Homework for today: vegans, invite an omnivore to try a totally vegan meal. Omnivores, take a cue from Liz and throw all your favorite vegetables into a pot and see what happens! You can eat meat tomorrow.

Product of the Day: Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Grated Topping: Parmesan Topping.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day, Vegecagoans!

If you are like my dear Vegecagoans and you live in a city, then you've seen Greenpeace activists (or employees, depending on how you want to look at it) on street corners asking for contributions. Because they induce at least a little feeling of guilt, you try to walk by as quickly as possible. You pretend to check your phone for text messages or you pretend the music you're listening to on your iPod is so awesome that you don't even notice that little Greenpeacer right in front of you, asking you to please just pledge a small percentage of your meager income to save the planet. For goodness' sake, it's the planet we're talking about!

I used to dread these encounters. And while I still would like to avoid having the Greenpeacers stop me at the corner just as the walk signal to cross turns on, I have a solid response to the inevitable "What are you doing for the environment?"

I'm vegan!

Even if I forget to recycle the plastic container from my soy yogurt, or someday when I'm a zillionaire I fly a gas-guzzling jet with a carbon footprint the size of a Brontosaurus, I can rest easy knowing that I am reducing my impact on our natural resources and minimizing my contribution to a giant cause of global warming: raising livestock. To simplify the message: if you eat beef, that cow had to eat a lot of plants (if you're lucky and he wasn't fed his brothers and sisters) and drink a lot of water before he made it to your plate. Why not take out the middle man (or middle cow, in this case) and eat the plants?

Please consider giving up meat or animal by-products at ONE meal today. And since I'm posting this after lunch, I guess that means dinner or 4th meal.

Just for fun...

Product of the Day: Liz Lovely Chocolate Moose Dragons. I know I should have started with a Chicago-area product, but this is probably the best cookie in the world. Behold:

Monday, April 20, 2009

My beef with beer

I love beer. Oh boy do I love beer.

I mean I'll go for a vodka tonic once in a while, and I'm pretty friendly with Pinot Noir, but beer is my BFF. We'll get into other beverages later but for now let's focus on beer.

Beer and veganism do not always get along. This is a big shock to a lot of people. A combination of water, barley, hops and yeast...sounds like it was MADE for vegans! Au contraire, my friends. Even some of you omnivores may be disturbed to learn that in order to clarify some beers (and wines too) manufacturers may use isinglass or gelatin.

Isinglass comes from the swimbladders of fish, and gelatin...well, gelatin comes from the really gross parts of slaughtered livestock.

Does this sound medieval to you? IT IS! Why would we use fish bellies and animal collagen in our beer, when brewers could use seaweed or artificial clarifying agents? Both of these vegan alternatives to isinglass and gelatin are actively used by many beverage companies in their manufacturing process.

Yesterday I received an email from Vegan Chicago (a ridiculously fabulous MeetUp group) with a link to On this site you can look up your favorite poison and see if it is vegan or not. So naturally I looked up a few of my faves. Corona, praise the Lord, is vegan. I was extremely sad to learn that Rock Bottom Brewery, a fantastic chain with a rooftop at it's Chicago location, uses either isinglass, gelatin or both in its brew process. I immediately wrote to Rock Bottom, told them I loved them, and asked them to please get critters out of my beer!

Ok now it is time for homework.

1. Go to and look up your favorite beers, wines or other poisons of choice. What does it say? Make a mental list of your favorite beverages that are vegan so you'll be ready next time you're at a bar, grocery store, family gathering, or frat party.

2. If you love a beer, wine or alcohol that is not vegan, write to the manufacturer! If every one of their customers writes to them asking to veganize their products, they'll listen. It just makes good business sense. That's capitalism, baby! (For bonus points please contact Rock Bottom for me. We need to form a little vegan (or vegan sympathizer) army. I already miss the Walleye Wheat. They have a rooftop, people!!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Vegecagoan?

I am surrounded by omnivores, all lovely people who truly enjoy eating meat, eggs and dairy products. This blog is about making vegan choices in a society built for omnivores, so we can all coexist and live happily ever after.

I need to tell you upfront that I make mistakes far more often than I would like. Generally I do eat honey, and sometimes I eat food that I am pretty sure is vegan, if not 100% sure. If I find out later that something is not vegan, I will not eat it in the future. As this blog develops I will show you why I do not beat myself up about these things, and that being vegan (or vegetarian) does not have to be black and white if you do not want it to be.

However if you do have the mental energy to go totally amazingly vegan every hour of the day, I commend you. Personally I try to do my best and show others, even omnivores, that you can make vegan choices easily, helping yourself, our animal friends, and the environment. Everybody wins.

(A big shout out to Kate Johnston, the godmother of Vegecagoan, for coming up with the title of this blog!)