George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the tag “alicia silverstone”

Vegan Dog

Even before I became a complicated vegan, I feared dog food.  When Bodie moved in, my fear heightened as a concerned parent and as a vegan.  Before I could say sweet potato biscuit pet owners scolded me.  “Dogs are meant to eat meat”, it’s in their DNA”, “dogs come from wolves,” “not feeding them meat is abuse”…blah, blah, blah.  Of course, the meat of their wolf ancestry was not chock full of toxins and antibiotics.  Plus, I really couldn’t see Bodie or one of his relatives as a predator.
So the Status quo says keep the dogs full of “meat”.  Of course it’s not really what we would consider meat, is it?   Most dog food “meats” are heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn babies.  “Chicken” consists mainly of backs and frames.  “4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) are banned for human consumption, but can still be used in dog food.  The same law applies for the “premium” and “natural” varieties .  So I ask, is this “essential” animal protein helping or killing our canines.? I’m no vet, doctor, or dog nutritionist but it seems that all those nasty ingredients would be hard on the kidneys, heart, liver, and arteries (but great for cancer).
Here’s some conspiracy stuff.  There is a giant dog food industry (like the tobacco and soda industries) that pushes products they know is not healthy for their consumers.  I have many “dogs need meat” articles sent to me and I always look at the author.  One guy (Dr. TJ Dunn) writes for PetMD and runs a website funded by various dog food companies.   He is also employed by  Biased indeed.
Then there are the recalls.  At least once a month a main brand dog food is recalled for killing or making a dogs ill and this isn’t just the stuff from China.  The last big one came out of a manufacturer in Colorado.  See if your dog food has been recalled.  I bet it has.  The real tragedy is that in most cases, the dog food manufacturer doesn’t even take their deadly fare off the shelves.  It’s voluntary.  Dogs die and they don’t care as long as their money keeps rolling in.  Who wants to play Russian Roulette every time you feed your dog?  Instead of criticizing our depriving our dog of meat, consider it a possible safeguard.  If you want to put your dogs health in the hands of a greedy corporation, that’s your choice.
Bodie and celebrity vegan dog "Piggy"

Bodie and celebrity vegan dog “Piggy”

All that said, I don’t claim to know everything.  Julia and I attended a conference on the advantages of making your dog a vegan.  The veterinarian had statistics, a PowerPoint and answered all our questions confidently and to our satisfaction.  While watching the presentation, Bodie was running around.  A three-legged dog kept trying to get me to play.  How can you resist a three-legged dog?  Wait it was the star of the PowerPoint I just watched.  It was “Piggy!” As the story goes “they first found him on the streets of the Dominican Republic, Piggy was just a pup – he had no hair, he was skin hanging over a skeleton, and he could barely walk a couple of blocks,” owner Tod recalls. “After a few months recovering on his vegan diet, he literally tripled in size to 45 pounds, gained a foot in height, exploded with healthy, soft fur … and he runs for miles on his three legs.”  Piggy was one happy dog, that’s for sure, a real lust for lifer.  I talked to Tod afterwards and he told me that he had gotten some angry responses from his online story of Piggy.  Some bordered on death threats.
The favorite story is that of Bramble.  Whenever someone criticizes a vegan diet for dogs, we always say, what about Bramble?  Bramble, a 27-year-old vegan Border Collie, was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog.  That’s 189 in human years.  Makes you think.  Maybe Bodie could be like Bramble.
Bodie has been on a vegan diet for about 6 months now.  Here’s what we’ve noticed.  His pancreatitis has disappeared.  He’s was very overweight and as a vegan, he has slimmed down and even appears to have gained some muscle.  He used to itch all the time and that has disappeared.  He also had some bumps on his skin that seem to have gone away.  Although Bodie still loves to sleep he’s seems more alert, energetic and well…lovable.  We’ll never know if Bodie likes his vegan diet because he can’t talk.  We don’t have time to make Bodie his meals so we use a food he really likes called V-dog which has all the necessary nutrients and none of the heads, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, fat trimmings etc..

Vegans That Rock!

Punk rock bands don’t protest anymore. When I was a kid, the Dead Kennedys called Reagan a Nazi and Crass accused Thatcher of murder for the whole Falkland Islands fiasco. Punk was direct and menacing. If you didn’t piss off an authority figure, you weren’t doing it right. Today punk’s message is about love, suburban boredom, or on rare occasion, a veiled disapproval of the current government.

I guess the memo never made it to Russia because Pussy Riot is punk rockin’ like it’s 1985. If you thought power washing Occupy Wall Street was police statey, Russia is still kickin’ it iron curtain. Jello Biafra can sleep at night knowing government hating is still alive, kicking, screaming and messaging in music once again. You know who isn’t sleeping well? Alicia Silverstone. I’ll get to that.


I’m not sure how many members there are in Pussy Riot but only three got sentenced. Now unmasked, one of the unlucky 3 is a charming vegan who cracked a grin even while being displayed in a plexi-glass cage (how bizarre was that?). These grrrrrls were not apologizing. 

Vegan Maria Alekhina who lead an anti-Vladimir Putin song and “punk prayer” in the main Russian favorite place of worship, the Orthodox cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour.

As it turns out, a Russian prison is not a good place to be a vegan. Maria wouldn’t eat, her blood sugar dropped and the paramedics had to be called in.

Now I don’t care if reporters think it’s a joke when Alicia Silverstone wrote a letter to President Putin:

“I respectfully request you to ensure that vegan meals are available to Ms. Alekhina and all prisoners. Regardless of the trial and its outcome, I’m sure you can agree that everyone has the right to show compassion and refrain from harming animals by being vegan. “

You go Alicia. You rock too. Somebody get Maria a vegan cake. Poison-free, eh Putin. It took a lot of huevos to take on Vladimir. There may be hope for release. Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev (Russian President 2008 until May) spoke out to release Pussy Riot.  Great idea Dmitri but for now give em’ hell Maria Alekhina.  Separate that church and state.  You’re bad ass and without-a-doubt a Vegan That Rocks!


My Month as a Vegan Superstar

Let me explain my euphoric 31 days.  I ate food that was so extraordinary, I felt like Alicia Silverstone.  My vegan life has never been tastier.  I officially embraced veganism with no regrets just pure religious choice.  You doubt mi fiesta de Augusto en mi boca?   I experienced a moment when all points connected.  I achieved perfect balance, timing was perfect, making every train, every light.  Every decision was so natural it as if my beating heart was identical to the world’s pulse.   That’s my August 2012.  Don’t believe me?  Well wrap your brain around some of my chow heaven greatest hits.

Perfecting the Pizza

Pre-vegan, I was a pizza crazy. Everyone knew it but never talked about it.  When I moved to New York that passion for Italian pie became an addiction and the reason I got up in the morning.  It was my only staple for which I had not found great vegan substitute.  I tried the vegan Daiya cheese, soysage but these faux-topped pizzas never measured up. Then I remembered vegan author Victoria Moran’s advice, “if you drop something, add two.”  I added broccoli, onions, black olives, jalapenos, mushrooms and any other veggie I could think of. My “kitchen sink” pizza didn’t need tapioca cheese or seitan meat.   With all the gorgeous colors and fresh taste of my vegetable ridiculousness, its lack of animal products was undetectable. I had perfected the dough/sauce/vegetable combination and made it so huge, so grand. It is, the greatest pizza, ever!

“Animals are friends, not food.”


Oh, there’s more, much more superstar month. Stay tuned…

The Seed: The Verdict on my Vegan Experience

To me, critiquing the Seed is like critiquing a religious outing.  If I had come into the whole thing, “deciding on whether to become” vegan then I might have an objective view to share.  So keep in mind that I am speaking from within the cult, not as an outside observer of said-cult (I mean lifestyle).  There was so much to take in so I will continue to discuss over the next few days.  Here’s a quick conclusion on this monumental (told you it wouldn’t be objective) event.

The Organization

While several angry vegans were irritated at the fact that they got in 20 minutes late (because of the long line) I think it was very well put together.  I was a bit annoyed at the fact that I, an early bird paid 30 dollars for a two day pass, while most used a groupon and were admitted for 10 bucks a day.  The speakers were introduced clearly, there was signage, and it was everything an event should be.  I also think there was a balanced representation of the various vegan camps including, athletes, anti-animal cruelty, alternative energy, restaurants/food, medical experts, and cruelty-free fashion. If it were my event, I may not have put the Vitamix guy next to the main stage.  Those things are noisy (the Vitamix machine was also noisy).

The Food

I saw a friend from a vegan meetup group I belong to who agreed with me that there was a surprisingly small amount of food for purchase.  I came hungry and walked right past the Cinnamon Snail (which was parked in front of the venue).  For the amount of people there, to buy a taco or sandwich you had like four options (including The Regal Vegan, Food Swings and the Love Bug).  Those few venders must have made mucho bucks.  There were plenty of restaurants represented but they where only giving out samples.  The V-spot and Wild ginger had great samples but they were not meals.

The collection of restaurant and vegan products was impressive.  I was especially fond with the Vegan Bodega’s olive dips, Lucky Duck’s raw macaroons, and Blossom’s Cordon Bleu.  It was a great opportunity to see these folks shine.  I think everyone would agree that there was too much chocolate at this event.

There were also a lot of nutritional supplements and bars.  Protein was a controversial topic at The Seed.  Some of the offered protein solutions were called unnecessary and even dangerous by some of the medical professionals at the event.  Conflict!

Many products were being sold by speakers from the event.  For example Dr. Fuhrman has a line of nutrient-rich soups and Professional Athlete Brendan Brazier owns of the Plant Power/Vega protein powders and smoothies.

Vitamix Me Impressed

The Activists

You have your morality vegan and your dietary vegan.  I was concerned that these groups might not mix and even fight. Well, I was wrong.  Everyone played nicely together.  There were various animal sanctuaries, shelters, charities and groups like PETA (although I don’t think I saw PETA).  There is a lot of cross over within the vegan world.  Some buy food based on production methods and if they happen to give to animal groups.  Obviously being vegan alone is an animal-kind gesture.  Other activists included alternative energy sources and tables on politics.

The Merchandise

Because Bust Magazine sponsored the event, there was a “Craftacular” portion of the event.  Craft not Craptacular.  There was a great offering of cruelty-free purses, jewelry and clothing.  It was not my thing, but it seems a lot of folks liked it.

The Classes

Yoga Local was giving classes.  I only mention it because I am really into yoga right now.  I did not partake because of my tight jeans.  I tried to grab a cashew milk they were handing out but it was only for yoga participants.  I was not happy with that, Yoga Local.  I missed the Yoga and the milk.

There were plenty of cooking demos representing books that were on sale.  In addition there were several panels on anything from travel to blogging.  Good stuff, all of it.  The Vitamix guy had a demo going every 15 minutes.  I didn’t buy one but like I said, that cashew ice cream was unbelievable and he appeared to make it in less than 5 minutes.

The Crowd

Attendance was great.  It was a packed house. There were good vibrations all around.  I had several very nice conversations with people about various vegan issues.  I think there was enough room for everything.   Even at its most crowded, I still managed.  The crowd was about 80% women.  I’m not sure why.  I met someone who said it was because generally, men don’t take care of themselves.  They provide.  They hunt.  It really wasn’t meant to be a slam on men.

The Flicks

Several vegan classics were shown including everyone’s favorites “Forks Over Knives” and “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”  Most people I had talked to had already seen both of them.  Perhaps some smaller vegan movies could have been shown.  I was happy to see “Vegucated” playing with a Q&A from director Marisa Miller Wolfson.  Vegucated is a great mixture of all the parts of being vegan.  It was a perfect place to show it even though it was a little preaching to the choir.  I wanted to interview Marisa for the blog but she was so busy talking to people.  Good for her.

The Talent

I’ll talk about most of the speakers individually in later posts.  To me, the speakers are the meat or should I say vegetable of the conference.  I pessimistically thought they would choose all doctors or all animal rights.   The truth is everyone was represented and I learned a lot.  I was most interested in the nutritional talks and thought it was interesting that the speakers did not often agree with one another.  Conflict!  There was a great mix of perspectives.  I kind of wish they had gotten a movie, television or rock celebrity.  Doesn’t Alec Baldwin live down the street?  What about Ted Leo?  Alicia Silverstone?

The Verdict

A success! Next year Julia must come.  I missed her and each night, we talked about my experiences for hours on the telephone. There was too much vegan junk food but hey, what’s a carnival without fried foods and sugar.  I went to be motivated to stay vegan.  I wanted to see that I was not alone, that I had mass amount of people, medical professional, athletes, restaurants and retailers that supported and lived the vegan life. I came out of it exhausted from information overload.  I also walked out, pleased with my vegan decision.

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