Saturday, July 3, 2010

Trip to Farm Sanctuary and a few random things ♥

First of all - we have officially been vegan for 6 months!! It feels like much longer, and we've learned so much already. Also a quick note from Brian: he has begun a venture with veganism and body building and will be blogging about his experience here, so stay tuned for that. He has been reading the book "Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness" by Robert Cheeke - check that out for more information on bulking up on a plant-based diet ☺
Now - we just recently returned from an incredibly inspiring trip to the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. Farm Sanctuary rescues abused and neglected farm animals and gives them a second shot at life by bringing them to this farm, allowing them to live a safe, happy life free of cruelty and with no human gain, until they die of natural causes. It was an inexplicably beautiful place. We met some amazing animals with incredible stories and fun-loving personalities. On the right is one of 6 baby calves that were recently rescued veal calves and came to the Farm Sanctuary very ill and malnourished. They had been tied to a tractor and left in a barn. They are now all on their way to recovery with the diligence of the Farm Sanctuary staff and the appropriate medical care.
We met some sweet pigs, one of whom was Truffles - pictured left with Brian. Doesn't she look like she's smiling? So cute!
We even adopted (through sponsorship) a baby goat named Lily who was very playful and spunky. Here she is below head-butting both of us.

In addition to the wonderful animals we were able to meet, we got to witness and participate in the incredibly important message that Farm Sanctuary is sending. Animals are sentient beings. They feel joy, and love, but also pain, and suffering. Factory farming is mass murder; and routine practices such as chicken de-beaking and the removal of pigs tails are done without regard for the pain they cause. Separation of mothers from their young immediately after birth is also regular practice, and causes significant distress in both mother and baby. Animals are viewed as property - a means to an end. Humans take advantage of these docile, peaceful, trusting animals who are defenseless against us for monetary gain, human convenience and pleasure. It is wrong, and people who care about animals must stand up and advocate for their rights and their welfare.

If you wish to learn more about this amazing place (they also have an Orland, CA location) visit

~Kristen & Brian~

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vegan in NYC!

So Brian and I went to New York for a couple of days recently and boy what an amazing selection of vegan dining! We live in little Rhode Island and dining out here typically involves scanning menus for potentially vegan options followed by lot of questions for the waitstaff (although we really have gotten quite good at this, and in fairness there are some delicious vegan dishes in restaurants by us as well). But New York City - that was an entirely different experience. All of the restaurants we ate in were advertised vegan restaurants. We could order anything on the menu! And for small burst of time we were no longer outliers, weirdos, freaks - everyone was eating vegan. It was incredible! And the food... the food was absolutely amazing. So in case you ever find yourself in NYC and are looking for some good vegan restaurants, here's a little outline of our dining experiences.

Our favorite place by far was Wild Ginger Pan-Asian Vegan Cafe. Brian got vegan general tso's soy protein (picture), we also had miso soup, crispy soy protein, and I had a mango seitan dish, with brown rice and a spring roll... from beginning to end this place was SO GOOD! :) We highly recommend.

If you're looking for vegan sushi (and we were!) try Franchia. There is a focus on tea here - so if you enjoy tea, all the more reason to check it out. They had 10 different types of vegan sushi, with soy and seaweed based substitutes for crab, shrimp, tuna, and chicken. We really enjoyed it. Here is a pic of a spicy chicken roll, spicy tuna roll, and crabmeat avocaado hand roll...mmmm.

And last, but certainly not least... vegan chocolate anyone?? Cocoa V. Vegan chocolate truffles, bon bons, baked goods, shakes, and more. This place was like heaven. The chocolates were beautiful too! They told us they used transfer sheets to create patterns on some, others were hand painted. It was crazy - and incredibly delicious. Pictured from left to right is a vanilla caramel truffle, agave nectar bon bon, chocolate truffle and mint bon bon.

All in all it was a very palate-pleasing trip! :)


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vegans eat more than twigs and berries

Today was a day full of vegan cooking for me - I made avocado sushi rolls, chocolate cake, roasted chickpeas, and a pasta and broccoli dish (picture below). Busy busy! All that cooking got me thinking about food, and about how non-vegans and new vegans can sometimes misperceive vegan food options. One question that I get asked almost without exception when I tell someone I'm vegan is "soooo... what do you eat?" As if there were no food I could possibly consume that is void of animal products. While, sadly, animal products are inexpensive and as such added in the oddest of places to all kinds of products, there is a flavorful abundance of food out there for vegans!

Most foods, in their original (and healthiest) forms - before they are processed in any way - are vegan. There are so many options: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans/legumes, nuts, and more! And for those of you looking for things that feel "familiar," there are plenty of vegan meat and dairy substitutes (mmm almond milk).

If you're looking for some good vegan recipes yourself, here is the recipe for my pasta dish. It has red pepper flakes for a little extra kick, and it is really delicious!

Wheat and Spinach Pasta with Broccoli:
1 cup spinach pasta
1 cup wheat pasta (I used rotini)
olive oil
2 cups cooked broccoli (can be frozen or fresh, whatever you prefer)
red pepper flakes
minced garlic

1. Boil water and cook both types of pasta (together is fine) for about 8 minutes
2. Coat bottom of frying pan with thin layer of olive oil
3. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and add minced garlic, heat on low
4. Add cooked broccoli, turn heat up and stir to coat the broccoli with olive oil mixture
5. When pasta is done, drain and add to frying pan, mix to coat
6. Add olive oil and red pepper flakes to taste
7. Can include salt and pepper to taste if desired

A great vegan cookbook is Veganomicon, by Isa Moskowitz & Terry Romero. There are also tons of amazing vegan recipes online. Some of the sites I use are:

Hope this was helpful... I'm going to go snack on those roasted chickpeas now, all this food talk is making me hungry!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

My first steps in activism

Sorry it took so long for me post. If you have not heard, RI had a major flood (google flood at Warwick Mall... craziness), and as a result the aforementioned RIVA meeting was postponed. The meeting was held this past Thursday instead, at Whole Foods market in Cranston - and I loved it. The group was wonderful and welcoming, and it was so refreshing to meet other vegans. As a minority in this area, it can feel isolating at times - of course it also helps in my case that Brian is vegan too. Anyway, I was so excited to meet this group of people. We talked about info stands, tabling, and other ideas for spreading awareness. We stuck RIVA labels on some Veg for Life magazines and RIVA brochures as we chatted. The atmosphere was laid back, but it was clear everyone present had a strong commitment to the cause of animal rights. It was exciting to be a part of. One of the things we talked about was an upcoming event called Greenfest where we were going to set up a table for education/awareness/outreach. I volunteered to help out at the table and bring vegan brownie samples to add to the spread of vegan food samples we'd be putting out.

Greenfest was today, and I must say it was pretty cool. Our table had vegan t-shirts, books (including children's books - how cool is that!), literature on the issues of factory farming, environmental consciousness, and health. The food samples were delicious too! The event itself kinda stunk - not too much traffic, but the opportunity to talk to a few people about veganism was really cool and made me realize I would love to do this kind of thing more often. Of course I'll keep you updated on that :)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cleansing and (separately) activism excitement!

Cleansing = chucking all my non-vegan crap. Seriously, the dietary change is probably the easiest change to make. Then you look around your house and realize all the non-vegan things you have accumulated, and its appalling. For me, my single largest offense was shoes. Unfortunately, when you are financially challenged you cannot toss ALL (and I did have to lose them all) your shoes until you can afford new ones! So - 4 months in I finally have 4 pairs of vegan shoes and can get rid of all my non-vegan shoes. It feels great!!

Some other things for me to consider have been things like shampoo, body wash, lotion, etc. - but luckily I was already buying those things cruelty-free, so no major changes there. Just being extra careful to check because some products advertise "no testing on animals" and then have honey or other animal products IN them. My advice: read the labels and do your research to make sure you are fully informed.

Found great vegan shoe choices at:

Also, a brand called Earth Therapeutics has some great cruelty-free products (body wash, etc.).

If you have any questions about finding vegan-friendly products, feel free to shoot us an email at

In addition to my cleansing, Brian and I have been researching animal activism, wanting to do our part. At someone's suggestion I researched potential vegan activist groups in our area (Rhode Island) - and to my great surprise I actually found one! It's called Rhode Island Vegan Awareness and from the website ( it really looks great. They take an abolitionist approach and seem to recognize that "humane killing" is still killing, and therefore NOT humane, which is important to me. There are too many animal rights groups out there that support "humane killing." They are having a meeting this Thursday to brainstorm new ideas for activism in our community. Brian is working, but I'm definitely going and SO excited... I'll keep you posted on how it goes...


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting Started

Hello! Our names are Brian and Kristen, and in January of this year we realized the importance of making the choice to become vegan. Brian was the one to originally bring the notion of vegetarianism to the marriage, and the choice to take a stand against innocent animal suffering was something we could both get behind. However, as we continued to educate ourselves on the issues, we realized that being a vegetarian was not enough. The amount of suffering that factory farm animals are subjected to in the name of dairy and egg products is unimaginable. In fact, the meat and dairy industries survive through the ignorance of the masses. We certainly would never have known the details of what goes on had we not made a distinct effort to learn.

So this blog is about our journey as new vegans. Making dietary changes, looking at the products we use, the clothing we wear and the choices we make. Perhaps most importantly, we will discuss our recent enlightenment on the need for advocacy and activism for animal rights. We are still making our way and trying to figure out how to stand up for something that we believe so strongly.

We will each be posting to this blog intermittently as we experience different things, and occasionally we will post together, like now. We hope that you enjoy reading our story and are excited to have you join us on our journey!

If you are interested in learning more about being vegan, or the injustices done to animals, here are a few resources we have used/liked:

Book: Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, R.D. & Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.
Book & Podcast: Vegan Freak, Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob & Jenna Torres (we downloaded the podcast on iTunes, you can also find them on facebook)
Book: Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog by Gary Francione

~ Brian & Kristen