I am in Jamaica studying abroad for 5 weeks, and as any vegetarian will tell you, traveling can be rough.
Not so in Jamaica!
Even the Jamaican fast food place, Juici Patties, have soy protein and veggie options. The fruit is fresh and I have not suffered from a lack of fake meats in my diet. The local soy milk is not all that and a bag of chips, but, fried plantains and Bulla (ginger bread with no dairy) more than make up for it. I will try and post some more later about my food adventures here, so stay tuned...


I am in LOVE. I heard "Amy's Non-Dairy Baked Ziti" a few months ago, and I have waited for it to appear in my local Whole Foods freezer case. It never happened. What I didn't notice was that they were stocking a baked ziti meal for kids!. It is so terrific (although not filling at all). This adorable mini-meal comes with a tiny piece of focaccia bread, baked ziti and cheese, broccoli and sauce, and a side dish of apple crisp, and best of all it's Gluten and Dairy free!

I am definitely writing a letter to Amy's letting them know how much I enjoy this product (while also begging them to make an adult size) and I am going to suggest that my Whole Foods carry the baked ziti bowl. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm.


So as you may have noticed, I have arthritis. My particular type of arthritis is called Psoriatic Arthritis and is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some of you may have heard the buzz around a Swedish study that discovered a vegan diet may help Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, which is amazing! Apparently RA patients are at high risk for heart attacks and strokes, and a vegan diet combined with a gluten free diet has been shown to decrease these risks significantly. While I do not have RA, I am so glad to know that researchers are starting to look at the vegan diet as something GOOD for your health, which may help dispel some of the ridiculous myths out there (like soy milk causing infertility, or the great B12 scare ::sigh::)


Just to let you veggies know, I have created another blog about my struggle with Psoriatic Arthritis, for those who are interested the link is: www.pushingthroughthepain.blogspot.com


According to www.SuperVegan.com, Casa Diablo (Portland's vegan strip club) is currently up for sale after only opening its doors a few months ago. I suppose all you Portland veggies will have to find a new way to spend all of your hard earned cash, perhaps investing in http://www.vegporn.com/ will do the trick.


I apologize for the lapse in vegginess, it has been a crazy month
in school compounded with a Spring Break and some majorly busy weekends. Excuses aside; I do have a bunch to talk about. Mainly my veggie-tastic week-
long trip to Boston.
Now, I do not have the disdain for New England that my
boyfriend has, having grown up in Connecticut, however, I have experienced the
wrath of a Providence and Boston winter before, and let's just say...they are NOT
fun. This particular week, though, the weather was wonderful (despite
one half day of rain). Along with the cooperation of the weather, I
enjoyed the company of my best friend and some of her favorite Vegan
places in Boston.
...and now it's time for the break-down....

TJ Scallywaggles: 487 Cambridge St., Allston- I had
visited TJ's on a previous trip, and they have yet to disappoint. The pizza is
great, and much more eatable than our Gianna's. They also have some amazing
dessert options, and every once in a while an all you can eat vegan pizza
buffet. AMAZING! I was slightly saddened because they ran out of vegan Baklava,
which is probably my favorite dessert in the world, but the awesome veg dude
behind the counter said he would try and make a tray up before I had to leave
Boston if I wanted to stop by in a couple of days. Sadly we were not able to,
but thank you guy for being so nice! I really do like this spot, and if you are
in Boston for even just a few hours one day, check it out.

Grasshopper: 1 North Beacon St., Allston-I am a huge fan
of the PA based bakery "Vegan Treats", and I will never stop drooling over their
selection displayed at Gourmet to Go, HOWEVER, this place has THE best vegan
cake to ever touch my palette. Try the turtle and tell me it isn't something god
herself made, I dare you. The rest of their menu is great too. I enjoy Thai, and
being able to order something off of a Thai menu without having to worry about
fish sauce is a great experience. I would recommend the Mango Thai "chicken"

Passage to India: This place is actually located at 157
Washington St. Salem Mass., and is probably my most favorite thing in Salem (in
close second was an amazing thrift store called "Witch City"). So Salem was a
bit disappointing, and granted we were there in the off season, but this
restaurant was great, They had absolutely no problem confirming that they did
not cook with Ghee, and they also cooked their Garlic Naan without the butter.
The vegetable Pakora was great with the spicy onion chutney. I had the Kabuli
Channa, which is Chickpeas and potatoes cooked with ginger and garlic. It was
great, especially off the lunch specials menu.

Veggie-planet: 47 Palmer St., Cambridge- I loved this
place. It was apparently a well known folk venue back in the day when folk music
ruled the world. Now it is this awesome hole-in-the-wall with amazingly healthy
and large portioned vegan offerings. I had a Thai peanut pizza, and my friend
had the pizza with the kalamata olives, both were great paired with their fresh
squeezed lemonade.

Herrell's: 155 Brighton Ave.,
Allston-It is an ice cream spot,but also a great little coffee joint. They have
good vegan cookies and adorably delicious little vegan tarts, plus free wifi for
those who need the hookup but try to avoid Starbucks.

All in all it was a great trip, and with the help of these lovely
eateries, along with Whole Foods, and a good rubbing of John Harvard's toe,I
managed to gain a few pounds and leave Boston with a better opinion of it than
when I first arrived.


I found this handy little food pyramid when talking with a friend about how vegans get just as much, if not more nutrients than meat eaters.


Why I am Vegan...

I have been a vegetarian for a decade now and a vegan for almost two years.While some people assume I am a huge animal rights person, I do get the occasional inquiry into why I am a vegan. While I enjoy the additional benefits of not eating animals like health and ethics it often surprises people when I explain I am vegan for environmental/economical reasons. "What does eating meat have to do with the environment?" someone might say, to which I would respond "It is pretty simple".... and it is, though it takes a bit of time to explain.

http://www.enviroveggie.com/ puts it this way

Land + Water = Crops
Land + Water + Crops = Livestock

There is not an unlimited amount of land- Fact.
There is not an unlimited amount of water-Fact.
There is not an unlimited amount of crops- Fact.
There is not an unlimited amount of livestock- Fact

By eating meat, humans are using limited resources to create crops. Then additional limited resources plus those crops are used to create livestock. Wouldn’t it make sense to just eat the crops?

The answer is yes.
In the U.S alone, more than 260 million acres of forest has been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals; farmed animals are fed more than 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains grown in the U.S.; and almost half of the water and 80 percent of the agricultural land in the U.S. are used to raise animals for food.
All of this goes on while the World Health Organization calls malnutrition "the silent emergency", and says it is a factor in at least half of the 10.4 million child deaths which occur every year. Cornell scientists have advised that the U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat.
We are not only overusing our own land, but large beef companies are expanding into other countries, ravishing anything that gets in the way.
The Society for the Social Advancement of Education published an article in 2004 that stated "In Central America, 40% of all the rain forests have been cleared or burned down in the last 40 years, mostly for cattle pasture. In the process, natural ecosystems, where a variety of plant and animal species thrive, are destroyed and replaced with monoculture grass."

With a vegetarian or vegan diet we can greatly reduce world poverty and also stop destroying land that is so important to our economy.

This is just a very quick summary of the basic reasons I believe being vegan contributes to creating a better world to live in. If you think about it further, a lot of aspects in the meat industry can harm our environment...

What about animal waste?
Its disgusting to think about, but you should the next time you are drinking a tall glass of water. Where does waste run off to? Into our fresh water supply. Waste spills happen all of the time, and fresh water is a resource that takes 10,000 years to rejuvenate.
What about methane?
Yes, cows give off methane. It may seem humorous talking about cows flatulence, however, when a company decides to cut down a rain forest to put in a grazing area for thousands of cows, natural bodily functions become a problem.
Here are the facts according to http://fatknowledge.blogspot.com/

Average car drives 15,000 miles a year and gets 30 mpg (my estimates, might be a little high on the mpg estimate)15,000 miles /30mpg = 500 gallons of gasoline a year * 20 pounds = 10,000 lbs of CO2 a year

Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (source)90 kg * 2.2 lb/kg = 200 lbs of methane * 20 = 4,000 lbs of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases
It's a scary thought but everyone going out there buying a hybrid would do a lot more good just giving up meat.

Then we come to disease.
Mad cow, avian flu, beef recalls... it all relates to bad business practices and the over consumption of meat. Even the recent recall of vegetables relates to improper drainage of meat factories and cattle farms in which the water systems became contaminated.

So I say it is pretty simple...

All this ,and more, is enough for me to ask "is that burger worth it?"
for me;
no it is not.


Vegan on the Go

My newest veggie addiction....

As a student at Temple University I have a few vegan options available to me on campus. There is the Hummus Abe sandwhich at The Noshery sandwhich shop on Broad St., a few falafel carts, and a couple of Korean/Japanese carts that I often frequent. It can, however, be time consuming to wait in line for these veggie friendly places, and therefore I often resort to Odwalla bars and pita chips from the bookstore. At the beginning of last spring semester I wandered into our 7-eleven (probably for a vitamin water and a pretzel, how healthy) and noticed the back shelf filled with vegan friendly options. I pinched myself...I was not dreaming. I then proceeded to grab a "chicken" salad sandwich for $3.25. It was good! I proceeded to try the rest of Moshe's brand sandwiches, and quickly found my favorite to be the seitan steak. I had not been able to stop eating these suckers ever since. I am so happy that a place like 7-eleven is stocking veggie friendly food, but apparently it is only happening in Philadelphia (or so I hear), and it is unsure how permanent the situation could be. So this is a call for all you Philly veggies to try out these sandwiches at the following locations and let 7-eleven know that you want them to permanently carry them.

Moshe's brand can be found at...

16th Street and JFK Boulevard, 34th Street and Lancaster Avenue, Ridge Avenue and Walnut Lane, and Temple University.

UPDATE: Moshe's will be adding their sandwiches to more 7-elevens! The owner of Moshe's (which I learned started with a falafel cart that still exists at 46th and 6th) was quoted as saying, "In May, we'll be expanding the number of locations where you can get Moshe's sandwiches. [The product line] will eventually be in all of them around here. "
Hooray! Now we have to see what we can do about getting similar products in ALL 7-evelens.

Vegan Shoe Guide: Philadelphia

Okay, so I have to admit I am addicted to online shopping, so I often make shoe purchases through the web. I do, however, make it to an occasional shoe or department store where I am always looking for those perfect pair of vegan boots or heels among the sea of leather and suede products ...needless to say it tends to overwhelm a veggie girl. So here are some ideas for those of you in the Philly area, and also those of you just getting into cruelty-free shoes...

First I would like to give some tips on buying vegan shoes :

1) Do not be afraid to ASK: I have found that, in sneaker stores especially, there is an online catalog of the types of sneakers a store carries that the clerk can tap into. These catalogs almost always give the materials used to make the shoes, and I have not run across a clerk yet who simply refused to check in on a pair for me.

2) Know where to look: There are 3 common places where materials can be listed on a shoe. The first is on the tongue area, the second by the heel, and for dress shoes they are often printed on the outside bottom of the shoe, so keep your eyes peeled.

3)Know what to look for: Many companies have common symbols such as:

For leather

For sooth leather

For textile (veggie friendly)

For "other materials" (this can get a bit sticky for us veggies. While this often means rubber or something along those lines, it is almost impossible to get this confirmed, so be weary)

I have been somewhat successful in buying shoes in Philadelphia, and here are some of my experiences;

DSW: 101 Rte 73 S Marlton, NJ
It is always a hit or miss at DSW, but I always find at least a few non-canvass/converse-style sneaker options here. A few brands I have run across that DSW keeps in constant supply include M.u.d.d and the occasional pair vegan Pumas. As far as dress shoes go, there are usually ballet flats or something of the sort, as long as you look at the tags you can usually find something. Of course a big issue with DSW is it also requires transportation, and seeing as I do not own a car, I do not frequent there very often.

Nine West: 1455 Franklin Mills Cir Philadelphia, PA 19154
Because this is an outlet store, it is not a guarantee that a certain type of shoe, or your size, will be in stock. In fact, your size probably won't be in stock, but when it is you will be so excited about how easy it was to get non-leather shoes at a discount. This is because they clearly write "Leather" or "Synthetic" on the outside of their boxes. The store is definitely worth checking out if you planned on outlet shopping for a day.

There has been a recent rumor that Target has been skimping on the veggie selection as of late. I have not experienced this, probably because I buy from Target online as there is a better selection. If you would like to venture out to the closest Target to center city Philadelphia head on down to 179 Mifflin St., which is in the same area of a Payless and a Marshalls if you are budget shopping.

Not a lot of options here, but if you search hard enough it IS possible to indulge in Macy's footwear. While, in my opinion, Jessica Simpson has not done anything consisting of great talent musically, she DOES however have a shoe line that has a few veggie options. Props to Jess. here are two of my favorite pairs that I saw on a recent trip to the Macy's on 1300 Market St.

"Midnight Stretch" for $110

"Women's Felysee" for $69.99

Payless: I am constantly buying shoes at payless, and I actually have a full review on them here.

As far as supporting small vegan businesses in Philadelphia, I sadly do not know of anyone who carries a shoe line. If you want to buy from some of my favorite online veggie friendly shops, I have listed a few below:

http://www.mooshoes.com/ My boyfriend uses this site to get his dress shoes, they are very stylish although a bit pricey. They also have a great selection of women's footwear, and are 100% vegan.

I have not actually bought shoes from http://www.veganessentials.com/ , but I have bought makeup and various other items. They have an okay selection, and they are a little better in price than mooshoes.

http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/ is my favorite place to buy vegan shoes and bags. They are always having sales so you can get some really great deals here.

UPDATE: Thanks to an anonymous poster, and my double checking, I have confirmed that Essene Food market DOES have a variety of nice vegan shoes (as well as a really great hot food bar that I highly suggest). Here is their link to the department... http://www.essenemarket.com/index.php?page=72


Portland or Bust

So, as you may or may not know, a few months back Portland Oregon opened up a strip mall made up of all vegan businesses. It already had a plethora of vegan food and clothing stores and the mall sealed the deal, making it king of vegan living. A while ago I also heard a rumor about Portland; along with being in the most beautiful part of the U.S., it holds the record for the greatest number of strip clubs per capita. So it should not be a surprise when someone had the bright idea of combining veganism and a strip club in this grande 'ol city ... and gosh darn it if this dude didn't set it up...


Anyone for a road trip?



Good Times at the Punk Rock Flea Market

Over winter break a friend of mine asked if I would keep him company at his table for the Punk Rock Flea Market that is held twice a year in Philadelphia. I agreed, although I was clueless to just how much fun it would be.

The market itself was setup in the Starlight Ballroom , which was quite small for the insane amount of people who show up to this event. My lucky vegan self just so happened to be situated in between two of her favorite things; Vegan baked goods and a flamboyant pseudo celebrity.

The "Food Not Bombs" people kept me in constant supply of earl grey tea cookies, and the winner of Project Runways season 1, Jay Mccarroll, kept me in stitches all day. Jay is a vegetarian and we were able to talk about his line and how he chooses to be cruelty free as a designer. While we had a little too much to drink (Matt and I with our bootlegged screwdrivers, Jay with the flat Lagers he was downing), it was a great experience to see and meet some new people and talk about our similar ideas of veggie ethics.

By the end of the day I had; met a celebrity, eaten a ton of vegan goodies, made about $120, and bought some really great unique crafts, photos and a painting. I will certainly attempt to go to the next flea market, and I will keep all you veggies posted when I hear about it.


Philadelphia Eating Guide: Part II

For Part 1 Click here

Kindom of Vegetarians (Chinese) Location: 129 N 11th St
Price: Typical Chinese food pricing, $10 all-you-can-eat Dim Sum

Pros: Very delicious, very affordable Chinese food. They have lunch specials, and the dim sum is fantastic. Their mock meats are amazing, and I can not get enough of their dumplings. You can bring your own wine and have a nice meal for two, or you can bring your whole family.
Cons: It is not a particularly fancy joint

Doobies (American bar) Location: The corner of 22nd and Lombard
Price $5-6 for food, $9 pitchers of Lager
Pros: Great neighborhood bar! The owner always has something going on, whether its fundraising or gifts baskets for animals rights causes. They do not purchase Canadian products because of seal clubbing, and they ALWAYS have something for us vegans to eat on the menu. The veggie burger and pita pizza are always available, but check out the board for their daily specials. Veg items are marked in red and can range from Thai pasta salad to vegan chili. Also check out their jukebox, it is definitely a favorite.
Cons: Not many, sometimes I manage to get there when they just range out of vegan soup or hummus sandwiches, but as I said, there are always options available.

Monk's Cafe (Belgian) Location: 16th and Spruce
Price: Veggie Burger w. vegan Aoli $8.25
Pros: GREAT selection of beers, usually has a few more vegan entree options, good atmosphere
Cons: Way to busy. If you are going for dinner expect to wait since they do not take reservations. It is a bit pricey, but they have interesting beers you can not easily find in most bars.

Nodding Head (American brew pub) Location: 1516 Sansom St.
Price: $7.50-$10 for food Beer averages $5 a pint
Pros: Quite a few delicious vegan options including seitan stew, white beans and sage with pita, and of course a veggie burger. This place is owned by the same people as Monk's, but has a neighborhood feel to it. There is a dart board and a decent jukebox, and there is never a wait.
Cons: Beer is a bit pricey and rumored to not be vegan

Grace Tavern (neighborhood bar) Location: 2229 Gray's Ferry Ave
Price: $7.50 or so

Pros: Again owned by the same people that brought us Nodding Head and Monk's, this place is a tiny version of the two smashed together. It is small and smokey, but the veggie burger is good and you never have to wait (unless it's because the waitress is in the back and didn't realize someone actually came in).

Cons: The only time it gets busy is sporting events, and there is only one T.V.- doesn't make much sense to me, but whatever.

Gianna's & Gianna Jrs (American Italian) Locations: 507 South 6th Street & 106 South 20th Street

Price: $5-$15
Pros: They make a decent tomato pie as long as the person you are ordering from knows that a tomato pie is not just a pizza without cheese (which happened once to us), they also have vegan cheese pizzas and a various assortment of toppings. They have an entire veggie menu.
Cons: While the veggie menu is large, not a lot of it is all that good. Maybe it is because I never liked greasy cheesteaks before, but I would stay away from their sandwich list if I were you. Also, while their desserts are good they had some shady business with blatantly stealing the recipes from my favorite vegan bakery Vegan Treats. For shame.

Mad Mex (Mexican American) Location: 3401 Walnut Street

Price: $8-$10
Pros: Many options for us veggies, and they have a delicious tofu sour cream.
Cons: It can get busy and because it is not totally vegan you have to double check your order and your food once you get it. I had a friend order a tofu burrito and get chicken, so watch out.

Gourmet to Go (Mostly American) Location: At the corner of Broad and South St.
Price: $5-$9 per sand which
Great place to get that Vegan cake or cheesteak you've been craving. Previously Reviewed under "Veg. Spotlight"

Govinda's (Upscale: Indian, American, Italian) Location: At the corner of Broad and South St.
Price $15-$20 per entree
Great place to bring a bottle of wine and have a romantic dinner.Previously Reviewed under "Veg. Spotlight"

Horizons (Tropical/Mediterranean) Location: 611 S. 7th St
Price: $17-$20 per entree
Expensive, but the best upscale vegan restaurant in town. Previously reviewed under "Veg. Review"


Sorry for the lapse...

but I am back!


Philadelphia Vegan Eating Guide
Part I

For part 2 Click Here

-Mama's Vegetarian (Middle Eastern)Location: 18 S 20th StPhiladelphia, PA 19103
Price: $$4-$8Atmosphere: Small but has a few tables
Pros:Amazing falafel sandwiches great service! (I actually dropped $60 in cash there, and came back 20 minutes later to find they had kept it for me)
Cons: The Bourekas aren't very crunchy, but other than that I have enjoyed all of my experiences at Mama's. It can get busy at lunch time, but they are pretty good at getting orders out quickly. UPDATE: A new Mama's has opened on South St., but is NOT entirely vegetarian.

-Vesuvio (Italian/American)Location: 736 S. 8th (8th and Fitzwater)
Price: $14-$18Atmosphere: Bar/pool table downstairs, fancier dining upstairs
Pros:Separate Veg menu
Cons: We really tried to give Vesuvio a chance. At first we were very excited about being able to enjoy some Italian favorites with out meat-eating friends. It seems as though as soon as Vesuvio became a bit popular their service and veg. menu started to suffer. After two times visiting with no issue, we went back to a 40 minute wait for our food (and the appetizer arrived the same time as out entrees!) and the waitress wasn't sure how vegan the cheese was. I complained to the management and they gave us a gift certificate to try them again,next time we went we found that the veg menu had shrunk in size and we had another 40 minute wait in store for us!.I have since gone back, but only when I am with really picky meat eating friends who won't try Govinda's. Needless to say, it is an option, just not my favorite one.

-Dahlak (Etrian/Ethiopian)Location: 4708 Baltimore Ave Philadelphia, PA 19143
Price: $12-$24 Atmosphere: Very earthy, not fancy
Pros: Eating with your hands is always fun, and Dahlak has made it even better. Although news has come that Dahlak has been sold to new owners who will be adding Indian food to the menu, I am told that the current menu will remain the same.
Cons: Some that are used to really spicy Ethiopian food might find Dahlak's to be a bit mild, but they will always accommodate requests for extra spicy.

-Mad Mex (American/Mex)Location: 3401 Walnut Street (the Shoppes at Penn in University City)
Price: $7-$12Atmosphere: Young, hip. Very popular hangout in University City
Pros: Has a decent bar menu, and a good amount of veg options. Food is all-around good.
Cons: My friend ordered a burrito with tofu instead of chicken (as it says you can do on the menu) and soon enough had a mouth full of chicken. It was a busy night, and while my friend was very forgiving, we are very very careful, and a bit stern when ordering now.

-Cedar's (Lebanese)Location: Cedars Restaurant 616 South Second Street Philadelphia, PA 19147
Price: $5-$12
Atmosphere: Quaint
Pros:Amazing Foul Moudamas! Absolutely loved it! The falafel was rated well by my boyfriend, and the Baklava was the BEST! (though it does contain honey, which I do not eat any longer)
Cons: None!


Veg Review


Horizons Valentine 9 Course Menu Tasting

This Valentine's day Horizons decided to offer a $65 per person 9 course menu tasting event. Because it boasts a completely vegan food and wine/beer menu, I took this as an opportunity to give the cozy looking restaurant a try. The menu was set up by main ingredient(as listed below), and small portions of each dish were sent out. I had an excellent time, and although the bill was rather large after drinks, I definitely recommend Horizons for those special vegan occasions.

Amuse bouche

Smoked Eggplant Crostini; This little delight, while not incredibly appealing to the eye, was an absolutely cravable spread, my other half said it was the best smoked food he has had since he had stopped eating smoked cheddar (which was quite a while ago). I happen to like smoked foods, and this little bite was no let down.


Saffron puree & crushed with fennel confit; Being that this was my firs experience with saffron, I was absolutely impressed with this first dish. The puree had an almost soup-like texture that was reminiscent of butternut squash. Very delicious.


Creamed basil baked tomato, grilled zucchini and sweet pea broth; The highlight of this dish was the creamed basil, almost having a pesto-like taste.


Crispy with seaweed caviar and chive cream, baked wedge and salad; I am a potato lover, and for this dish a baked wedge sat next to a small serving of potato salad with a crisp on top, and a dollop of chive cream and caviar. The most impressive part of this dish was the chive a caviar flavors, absolutely delicious, and the caviar was very much like the real thing. Although the potato salad did not impress me, I enjoyed the dish very much.


Arugula Caesar and roasted romaine with a caper stuffed piquillo; Very delicious dressing on the lettuce, and the roasted romaine hid what it was very well, although we did not taste the capers.


Maitake risotto hearts of palm stuffed with a truffle portabella broth; My favorite dish (aside from dessert) all night. The truffle broth was mouth watering, along with the delectable maitake risotto. I would eat this dish every day if I could.


Macademia nut encrusted, smoked lomi salad, lemongrass corn sauce; While this was my partners favorite dish, it was one of my least. As any tofu can be, I found this to be a bit bland, and I did not like the warm tofu and corn sauce mixed with the cold lomi salad. I ended up giving him my portion, so I suppose to each their own!


French dip over sweet onion red wine sauce, roasted shallot and baby carrots; This was another dish I would love to have on a regular basis. The small sandwich partially drenched in the onion sauce was a complete comfort food, and the finale in the procession of great entree bites.


Raspberry sorbet, fresh strawberries, cherry coulis; A yummy treat, especially for those of us missing the taste of cream atop a nice sorbet. Very nice vegan option indeed.


Bittersweet mousse, shaved white chocolate, and amocha sugar cookie; What better way to end an evening than with a good glass of vegan red wine and some amazingly decadent bittersweet chocolate. The mouse was very firm, and rolled into a white chocolate covered ball atop the chewy sugar cookie which was atop some more mouse and some melted chocolate. The chewiness of the cookie made it difficult to eat with a spoon, but the hard work was definately worth it.

All in all...

this was the best Vegan outing I have had to date in the city of Philadelphia. The service was very good, and friendly,we were hardly ever without a plate of food. The portions were perfect,I left feeling content and not overstuffed. The atmosphere is fun and romantic without feeling too fancy. Overall Horizons seems to be a great place for a nice romantic dinner for two and could be a great place to go out and celebrate a special occasion with friends.


Vegan Toothpaste

As a vegan, you sometimes do not know what goes into those daily products that you rely on. It is common for me to wonder "It this soap...is this candle...is this toothpaste...vegan???"

One of my questions was answered today at http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/Vegetarian-Newsletter/Toothpaste-Vegetarian-Ingredients.htm

"Toothpaste Ingredients
A major point to understand in reference to toothpastes is that glycerin can come from pig or cow in addition to plants.
Crest says they will be going to use glycerin from a vegetarian source in the future, which means that it is made from animal ingredient right now.
Sensodyne uses animal (beef).
Colgate has a list of the toothpastes that they make which are vegetarian. Click Here to view the letter from Colgate listing the toothpaste product they produce made with vegetarian ingredients.All Colgate Toothbrushes are free of any animal-derived ingredient.
If you know of information that is not listed here, or if you would like to help update our listings, please e-mail us at: vrupdates@yahoo.com
Contact Me "


Reading labels...

... you DON'T need a PHD to figure out if what you are eating is vegan, you just need this link!

Animal derived ingrediants to look out for: http://www.happycow.net/health-animal-ingredients.html


Celebrity Vegans

....some of my favorite amazingly talented and animal friendly entertainers. Moby : When Moby isn't busy making amazing music, stunning interviewers with his expansive vocabulary, running a New York vegan cafe called Teany, or writing in his online journal, he is eating Tofurkey and eloquently putting the message of veganism out into the world. In short, I love this man.
Fiona Apple:

Don't let her small frame fool you, this sultry songstress will make you listen and make you think hard about anything she has to say. I am sure our animal friends are extremely excited to have her on their side.

Darryl Hannah : Not only is she ridiculously gorgeous and plays the best villain ever in Kill Bill, she is not afraid to speak out against animal cruelty, which makes her even sexier.

Kevin Nealon : He was hilarious on SNL, and honestly makes my sides hurt from laughing on his show "Weeds", but Kevin takes one thing very seriously, and that is a meatless, dairy-free life.

Joaquin Phoenix: He is sexy, he can sing, and he loves animals, no wonder women throw themselves at this amazing actor. Check out his documentary on various inhumane treatments of animals "Earthlings" (music provided by Moby) and you will see just how serious he about this cause.



I have stumbled upon the American Anti-Vivisection Society, who claims to list all of the companies that do not tets on animals. Check to see if your favorite cosmetics company is listed! http://www.aavs.org/compassionateshop02.html


The Great Unknown

...The Myth and Legend of Soy.

As vegans, most of us consume a lot of soy in our diets. Because of this we are often told many myths, and falsities as to what eating soy can do to our health. There are some pretty serious allegations about soy being thrown around the medical and science fields, perhaps the most rampant of these myths is that of infertility.
As we know most scientific studies start out with little mice and rats who hardly have a comparable DNA makeup to humans. In the studies featuring soy, rodents who were fed soy isolates during pregnancy and lactation, as well as some being fed during infancy, had "...negative reproductive outcomes"(Being Vegan and Eating Soy... p1).The problem with these studies is the amount of estrogen a rat will be exposed to during pregnancy and infancy as compared to humans. As written in the same article as above, it is key to know that "Rats are typically exposed to very little estrogen in comparison, which might make them more sensitive to soy isoflavones." It is also important to note that "Soy consumed as a whole food, including soy milk, tofu and fermented soy products, must be metabolized in order to extract the isoflavones.Feeding or injecting an animal with purified isoflavones skips over this metabolic process and is basically the same as giving the animal high doses of a drug." In other words, rats who are injected with soy isoflavones do not process them the same way we do when we eat soy. Not only is it going directly into their systems, but it is at a very high dose.There have been no studies to show negative effects to HUMAN infertility to date.

Also in the area of animal studies to test soy and soy isoflavones is the relationship of soy to cancer.Christa Novelli of Vegfamily.com reports the debate of soy causing cancer as being ultimately untrue. Although some studies of animals that were implanted with cancer cells and then fed soy showed increase to certain cancer cells, the majority of the cases actually showed that soy helped reduce the risks of some cancers like breast, colon and prostate. It is clear that there needs to be more definitive studies in order to conclude the possible negative effects of soy.
On the other side of the coin, in HUMAN studies, soy has had positive effects to lower cholesterol and other diseases. Although you do not have to eat a ton of soy products to benefit from it, it does not hurt to increase the soy in your diet. Soy nutrition.com states in their "Myths about Soy" article that "Asian epidemiologic studies still show that individuals eating above average amounts of soy have lower disease rates than those consuming the average or less."
The reality is that the public can often misinterpret health benefits from some soy products, just as often as they can misinterpret the negative effects. ALL soy products are NOT healthy. Of course we know that soy protein can be a healthy alternative to animal protein, but just as any other food, the way Soy is prepared can make all of the difference in its nutrition. If your tofu is deep-fried, your favorite dessert is soy ice "cream", or you snack on soy chips, you could be consuming just as much fat as the food you are attempting to replace. In these cases soy should be considered a treat. It is also key to remember that soy isoflavones can react differently depending on the form they take. When eating soy it is always best to eat it at it's purest (tofu, soy milk, and other unprocessed forms) as to avoid any fear you may have of it.


My Top 5 (almost) Instant Vegan Meals

Veg and on the run... the story of my life. If you are like me and enjoy eating a nice hot meal, but can hardly find the time to cook, these options are some of the best that I have come across...

Amy's Roasted vegetable pizza- Perfect dinner for two, or as an appetizer for a larger group.
This pizza's sweet basalmic roasted pepper taste will leave you craving this no-cholestoral treat.
Average price: $5.99 per pie

Amy's tofu scramble- Although as vegans, we should all know how to cook up a mean (and cheap) tofu scramble, Amy's has made a delicious, and quick version to fill us with some early morning nutrition in a hurry.
Average price: $3.69

Progresso Soup- Lentil- I LOVE this soup, it is comforting and just plain delicious. Sometimes i stick a piece of toasted whole gran bread on the bottom of the bowl and pour the hot soup over it, or i cook it with some potatos and spinach, any way you serve it it is delicious!
Average Price: $2.49

V8 Vegan Entrees- Tamale pie- Delicious and HUGE! If you can find these entrees (mine were discovered in a pepperidge farm outlet store) you will be able to enjoy a delicious vegan meal (or 4) that is at least 5 times bigger
than any of Amy's meals. Although they take a little over an hour to cook, you are almost gaurenteed to have leftovers for tomorrows lunch! This Tamale pie could use a little hot sauce, but is very delicious.
Average price: UNDER $4.00!

V8 Vegan Entress- Vegetable pot pie- Even my non-veg family enjoys this selection, and the tray is even bigger than the tamale pie.
You can not beat it for the price!
Average Price: UNDER $4.00!


Getting Clean, Cruelty-free

... why a label of "no-animal testing" may not mean what it says...

Of all the areas of animal testing the tests used for cosmetics are the most controversial. So much so that it is banned in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK. By the end of 2009 the European Union will have almost completely banned any sale of cosmetic product that is related to animal testing. France has protested the ban, largely in part to the cosmetics company L'Oreal, along with The European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients also opposes the ban (which is made up of 70 countries within Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy). (wikipedia.com article on animal testing)

Most of the animals used in product testing are rodents, but some companies also use dogs, cats, sheep, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys etc. Because of the amount of controversy on the ethics of animal testing there are a lot of companies that say they are cruelty-free, when they are still testing on animals. This is mainly because certain governments are still requiring them to do so because of trading standards and consumer protection laws. While it is possible to meet these requirements without animal testing in some countries, the United States and Japan will often require testing in order to trade (although most recently the U.S. has been developing cell culture alternatives, to be used in replace of animals for cosmetic and other testings)

According to a current article in Wikipedia, "Cosmetics manufacturers who genuinely do not test on animals generally use the following for safety testing of their products:
-Reliance on existing natural or synthetic ingredients, compounds and substances, which have already been extensively tested on animals;
-Avoiding novel ingredients or combinations of ingredients that have not been fully tested and may not be safe;
-Testing on human volunteers/clinical trials. "

There are alternatives to testing on animals, and as vegans we believe that obstaining from purchasing certain products that DO these tests in order to let the companies and governments know that we do not condone this unethical, inhumane practice. We believe that if enough people do not buy these products, more money will go into alternatives, and less animals will die in order to make sure our shampoo and body wash is safe.

If you want to learn more about why Vegans believe animal testing to be inhumane visit the following link for Cosmetic Testing.

Some of the leading companies that have been confirmed to not test on animals include:

If you are wondering whether your favorite beauty product is cruelty free, look for the following logos on the bottle (The blue and black "hopping bunny" is the logo of U.S. and Canadian Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) , and the bunny on the right is put onto European products who do not test on animals)

Even if you are not a vegan, but understand that our animals are precious to us and do not deserve to be tortured, please look into some of these products.


No Whey!

(Why we can't eat Whey or Casein)

As a Vegan or Vegetarian, it is very important to read labels, as many processed foods that do not contain milk or obvious animal-based ingrediants might include Whey or Casein. While casein is not part of the protein makeup of milk, it is a byproduct that is created after milk has been curdled and strained. The reason the milk is commonly curdled in this way is to make certain cheeses (like Ricotta) and casein, which is used as an additive in many processed foods (including some breads and crackers).

Rennet is the most common milk curdling agent, which is taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf used in the cheese making process. This means that whey and casein are ingediants that should be avoided by vegetarians and vegans alike. There are a few vegetable-source rennet (lemon juice, citric acid and sulfuric acid) used to separate milk, but because processed foods do not often state the agent used to make the whey or casein, these ingredients should be avoided by vegetarians unless otherwise noted on the product label.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey

For more information about cheese and rennet please visit here: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/cheese.htm


Veg. Spotlight: Vegan Cheesteak in Philadelphia: Govinda's/Gourmet to Go Vegetarian

Chicken Cheese Steak Heaven

So you are hanging out in the City of Brotherly Love, and your meat eating friends want to head over to Pat's or Gino's to get some cheese steaks with whiz, don't feel left out, Philly has an even better tasting "steak" for us Vegans!

Gourmet to Go Vegetarian(previously called Govinda's) located on the corner of South and Broad streets, is a MUST for any vegetarian or vegan visiting the city. I visit almost weekly, and I am never disappointed! One of there most popular grilled pleasures is of course their cheese steak, they have beef or chicken (best fake chicken I have ever tasted) and you can request soy or real cheese. Everything is 100% vegetarian and can be made vegan. The average sandwich costs about $6.50, and is worth every penny.
Whether you are craving a chicken salad wrap, or you want something different like some Mongolian Tofu, Gourmet to Go has something for you.

While you are there you may also notice their dessert case with about a dozen different cakes being displayed at any given time. Their desserts are prepared by the oh-so
amazing company Vegan Treats, and commonly include a Peanut Butter Mouse Bomb, Strawberry Shortcake, Carrot cake, Cheese cake, Brownies, which are all sinfully delicious and 100% VEGAN!

And if you do not want to sit at their diner style counter and grab a chicken quesadilla they offer a fine dining portion of their restaurant after 5pm. At Govinda's Fine Dining, located right above Gourmet to Go, you can experience some of the best vegan dishes that the city has to offer, with an A La Carte menu that offers dishes such as: Bok Choy Wrapped Scallops with Horseradish Tomato Emulsion, and an Entree menu that includes Lemon Basil Shrimp with Fresh Papradelle Pasta and Grilled Spanish Mackerel with Chickpea MĂ©lange and Walnut Orange Sauce. You will not regret spending a few extra dollars for a romantic dinner with your other half (the average entree costing around $18). Of course the desserts are not only available upstairs, but HIGHLY recommended. They do not serve alcohol at either establishment, but do advertise on their site as BYOB, you can call or make reservations online, but it usually isn't neccesary.
Take my word, visit Gourmet to Go/Govinda's and you WILL NOT regret it.

Who would have thought?

(Vegan foods you can find anywhere)

(The following foods can also be found listed at PETAkids. For more snacks, baked goods, and drinks that are common, and vegan click on the above link)

It happens all the time, whether we are invited to a bar-b-que by someone at work, we go to our sister-in-laws holiday party, or even just trying to catch a game with some friends. We vegans are constantly carrying an odwalla bar, and gobbling down some trail mix before the party because we KNOW there will be nothing for us to eat! Then we invite some of our meat-eating friends over, and they frown at the fridge and cabinets filled with "hippie food". We know that we can't convince EVERYONE to go Veg, so why not be prepared with some common food that everyone loves, that still allows us adhere to our vegan diet?
Here are some ideas for some food to have handy around the house, that are delicious, and best of all VEGAN!...

Rice Chex, Trix, Wheat Chex mixed with some peanuts and raisin's: A delicious party mix to put out for friends

Alpine Spiced Cider,Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Hazelnut),Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Mocha): To warm up with a loved one after a cold winter's day

Hershey Syrup (Chocolate),NestlĂ© Nesquik Syrup (Chocolate),Entenmann’s Fudge Delights Fudge & Mint Cookies, Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate), Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Oatmeal Macaroon), Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter): With some yummy soy milk for an after school snack, or as a treat for Santa.

Airheads Taffy, Blow Pops, Cry Babies, Dots, DumDums,Cracker Jacks, Fireballs, Jolly Ranchers, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Sweet Tarts, Twizzlers: For your kid's birthday party, or for Halloween goodies

Fritos (Barbecue),Fritos (Original),Kettle White Popcorn,Lay’s Potato Chips (Thick Cut Sea Salt),Lay’s Stax,Munchos,Snyder’s Pretzel Sticks (Onion and Oat Bran),Snyder’s Pretzel Sticks (Pumpernickel),Utz Puffed Caramel Corn: To bring to the superbowl party, or for movie night at your house


B all that you can B(12)

(The importance of B12 in your diet)

Possibly the best site I have come across pertaining to Vegan Health issues is VeganHealth.org, among their plethora of articles is a very extensive one on the Vitamin B12. Because they have done such a terrific job, and the information is so extensive, I am going to try my best to summarize their information on the great importance of this vitamin for those who may be in danger of B12 deficiency (meaning us Vegans and vegetarians).

Most vegans and vegetarians are not aware of how essential the vitamin B12 is to their diet. It is common knowledge that B12 is a vitamin that can only be found in meat and dairy products, or by supplementing your diet by vitamins or fortified food. As a vegan, you may have also heard that B12 can store up in your liver for many years, and therefore it does not need to be a daily concern. This is untrue.

It takes years to build up a sufficient amount of B12 to be able to go without out it for even a short period of time (VeganHealth.org). If you were a meat eater for a number of years, and you recently became vegan or vegetarian you may have enough b12 stored up to last a few years, If you have not eaten meat for a number of years and not been eating fortified products or taking a vitamin that contains b12, you might experience a B12 deficiency that can range from overt to mild.

B12 protects the nervous system, and therefore an extreme deficiency can result in blindness, deafness, and dementia. Early signs of a deficiency are tingling sensations in the hands or feet, and fatigue. Because of the seriousness of this deficiency, vegans should have their doctor check their homo cysteine levels every few years, and if your levels are elevated, you should find a way to integrate B12 into your diet right away.

Fortunately B12 is made by a bacterial fermentation and therefore can be made into various forms of vegan products. Some of the most popular include a vitamin in pill form, a spray version, fortified food (such as my favorite, Kashi's Heart to Heart Blueberry Clusters, which has 100% of your daily allowance) and most recently a B12 patch.

If you have been or are thinking about sticking to a long-term vegan or strict vegetarian diet, it is a good idea to look into which of these products would be best for you.


Doesn't it feel good?

(Vegan shoes on a budget)

UPDATE: For a more comprhensive guide to buying Vegan Shoes go to my Vegan Shoe Guide:Philadelphia

...yes it does! Not only can you walk into any given Payless shoe store and grab a pair of stylish shoes for under $30, you can also get all kinds of VEGAN FRIENDLY shoes there as well. For the vegan on a budget, Payless is an excellent option for nice looking footwear that is put together using manmade materials. Sure they might not last you 10 years, or even 10 months, but what do you expect when you pay $14.99 for a pair of wedges?

Here are some of my personal favorites from the women's section..... (and for those of you who are internet shoppers like me, you can buy all of these shoes at www.payless.com, type in "manmade" into the search box, and you will be surprised at how many options show up!)

$16.99 by American Eagle

$14.99 by Airwalk

“Rhiannon” Platform Boot $36.99