Category Archives: Vegetarian Living

Plant-based man vs Tesla!

Can a marathoner outlast a Tesla electric car?  Vegan ultra-endurance runner Robbie Balenger has set his sights on running as far as a Tesla Model 3 on a single charge, estimated to be around 267 miles.  He gave himself 72 hours to do this (plus minimal sleeping time). They both started the journey 250 miles away from the newest Austin, Texas, Tesla factory on Monday April 11th.  Balenger has to also contend with 90 degree heat, some elevation gain, minimal sleep and even a few snakes.

In a recent press release, Balenger shared, “As a plant-based athlete, I have two key considerations when it comes to my diet: environmentalism and performance – and Tesla excels at both. Outlasting a Tesla will be the longest single effort I have undertaken. This excites me and terrifies me all at the same time, meaning I must be onto something good.” 

They started out at 5am, and ran the first mile together. By the end of the first day, the Tesla had driven 242 miles and was out of charge.  Balenger was at the 65 mile point when he heard that he had 57 hours left to close the gap. Last we heard, he was still going strong. We’re eagerly awaiting news of whether he was able to complete this challenge.

Balenger is not new to running, having completed 3,175 miles in 2019, running across the states in just 75 days to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet.  “My goal is to inspire people all across this country to start paying more attention to what they put inside of their bodies, and to be an example of someone who has made a radical change and feels better for it,” the athlete said.  He has also broken the record for the most laps run around New York’s Central Park in one day, when he ran 16 full loops in 18 hours and 7 minutes, breaking the previous record of 11 loops.

Chickpeas go into space

Project Space Hummus

NASA has determined if we’re ever going to get to Mars, astronauts need to be able to grow their food. Animal foods are not a viable option. This limits them to vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes, the very foundation of a plant-based diet. This is the diet that vegans follow for a variety of reasons: environmental, health, their love of animals, or all of the above. The first colonists on Mars will be veganauts out of necessity, but will hopefully discover the other reasons along the way.

They will have to grow their own food, so the scientists are checking out whether this will work. The first-ever crop of chickpea plants has just made it into space. A mini greenhouse was sent to the International Space Station, where astronauts will grow chickpeas in zero-gravity in what’s been dubbed, Project “Space Hummus.” The question they are seeking to answer is, can you grow chickpeas, and other essential plant-based foods and proteins, without Mother Nature’s own sunshine, earth, and atmosphere? The answer had better be yes if we’re ever going to get to Mars. These chickpeas are being grown in a nutrition gel specifically designed for chickpeas. There is confidence among the scientific community that the plants will grow, based on light and soil, moisture, and oxygen in their controlled environment. But gravity also plays a role in the growth of vegetables, so in a zero-gravity environment, will the plants grow up to the light?

The only chance humans have of sustainable living is to figure out how to grow generations of food, long after what they bring in their spaceships run out. So far, scientists have grown nine vegetables in “simulated” Martian soil: tomatoes, radishes, peas, garden cress, rocket (greens), radishes, rye, quinoa, chives, and leeks. Chickpeas will be the newest frontier, as they hope to eat hummus on Mars!

Raising vegan kids – what you need to know

There are many benefits to raising your kids on wholesome plant-based foods.  It sets up a child for a lifetime of healthy habits. Many people are surprised to learn that the disease process that causes so many chronic diseases in adults start in childhood. You can help your child prevent many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and several forms of cancer. At the same time, you are teaching your child to care for the animals and the earth through their food choices.

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IKEA prints vegan meatballs

IKEA 3D printed vegan meatballs

Technology continues to make its presence known in the world of plant-based foods. All kinds of technology has been employed to make meat substitutes.

The latest innovation comes from IKEA. They’ve started serving 3D-printed vegan meatballs in job interviews. IKEA thinks that 3D printed vegan meatballs will help attract top talent while pursuing its sustainability goals of becoming climate positive by 2030. As part of its ambitious sustainability drive, IKEA has pledged to make its in-store menu 50% plant-based by the year 2025 and 80% of its packaged food vegan by 2030.

Candidates will be invited to share their ideas for innovation as they discuss their ideas over a plate of 3D-printed vegan versions of the chain’s iconic meatballs. Using the latest innovation in 3D food printing technology, IKEA has been able to “recreate the texture, flavor and appearance of the IKEA meatball without the meat.”

You can find IKEA’s vegan meatballs on the menu at its in-store restaurants. The Plant Balls are also available in the store’s Swedish Food Markets in the frozen section where you can grab a bag to enjoy at home.

Ukrainian trend toward vegan

A Ukrainian vegan dinner

Our hearts go out to all those suffering and for all the destruction in the Ukraine. While, understandably, most news is concentrating on the war, we thought this might be a good time to highlight the growing veg trend in the Ukraine.

There are 2 million vegetarians and vegans in the Ukraine and there are an increasing number of vegetarian restaurants to go to and plant-based products to buy. The magazine Vogue Ukraine proclaimed 2020 “the year of the vegan.” Indeed, it has never been easier to be vegan in Ukraine, and it will be a promising country for creating both a powerful veg movement and a competitive marketplace for plant-based foods, once this war is over.

Go Green plant-based steak

Recently, the Ukrainian company Go Green entered a crowded vegan food market, introducing the first plant-based steak produced in Ukraine. According to the company’s website, the steak looks and tastes like real marbled beef meat. The company also sells other popular plant-based products like vegan ground meat and patties that taste and smell like real beef or fish.  In the future, Go Green plans to introduce soy-based cheese and vegan meatballs.

You can find quite a number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Kyiv, the capitol, and in other major cities throughout the country such as Odessa on the Black Sea, Kharkiv, the second largest city, Dnipro in the middle of the country and Lviv in the western part. In fact we were surprised at the number of veg and veg friendly restaurants in the Ukraine.  In the restaurants, typical Ukrainian made plant-based foods are offered, but you’ll foods from other parts of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine finally declared veganism as a healthy and appropriate diet for all stages of life. There’s also active animal rights groups in the Ukraine. We hope the country is able to hold onto these vegan and vegetarian trends sufficiently to reinvigorate them in the future.

Menus matter

There’s a perception among some that meat eaters will always pick a meat-centered meal, when at a restaurant or other eatery, but that’s not always the case. Two studies suggest that adding some messaging and increasing the number of veg options, can make a big change when it comes to encouraging a meat eater to order a vegetarian meal. Simple changes to messages on restaurants’ menus can double the frequency of customers choosing plant-based options instead of meat, research on the impact of food on the climate crisis has found.

Meat consumption remains stubbornly high in the US—the average American gobbled down 264 pounds of meat in 2020—and is rising quickly in countries such as China. However, many people are receptive to the idea of switching to vegetarian options in order to help the environment, the research found, with messaging on restaurant menus a potentially significant way of shifting behavior.

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Vegan Fridays for NY City schools

Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York

All New York City schools are debuting Vegan Fridays. Following the adoption of Meatless Mondays by all 1,700 public schools in NYC in 2019, they are now adding an additional day each week when all meals offered will be vegan, with such options as bagels and jelly, veggie tacos, Mediterranean pasta, black bean and plantain rice bowls and more.  The meals will phased in, with non-vegan options available for children upon request, and will be available free to the 930,000 children who attend NYC public schools.  Due to federal guidelines, dairy milk will also continue to be available.

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Vegan friendly Disney

Visiting the Disney World Resorts just got a lot more vegan friendly. Following the launch of their plant-based dining guide back in 2019, which helped those seeking healthier, animal- and eco-friendly plant-based options find them at Disney’s themeparks, they’ve now added hundreds more plant-based options. They highlight these items on menus with a specialty plant-based icon: a green leaf. This same icon is also on food carts and kiosks to help guests find plant-based snacks and treats, such as fan-favorite, the vegan version of a Mickey-shaped pretzel.

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Your dog can be vegan!

Yes, your dog can be a vegan! When it comes to diet there are three kinds of animals: carnivores that subsist on meat, such as cats, herbivores that subsist on plant foods such as horses, and omnivores that can subsist just fine on either on meat or plant foods such as dogs. Therefore, dogs can do just fine on a vegan diet and they can be even healthier than on a meat diet.

The domestication of dogs resulted in increased levels of enzymes especially designed to digest plant food and this has led to the classification of dogs as omnivores. Reinforcing this, a study looked at the effect of a vegan diet on 12 Siberian huskies involved in sprint-racing.  For 16 weeks, they fed six of them a meat-based commercial diet recommended for active dogs, and the other six a meat-free diet formulated to the same nutrient specifications.  Health checks were conducted by a veterinarian who didn’t know which diet each dog was fed. All dogs were assessed as being in excellent physical condition and none developed anemia or other detectable health problems.

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Blacks go vegan!

According to the latest research Black Americans are more likely to become vegan or vegetarian than their white counterparts. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 8% of African Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian compared to just 3% of the general population.

Many people of color say they have switched to a plant-based diet for the environment, for animal rights and for their health.  Increasingly, they realize that what they eat is important, and that they can do a lot to help avoid hospitals and keep themselves healthy by changing their diet.

Black cardiologist Kim Williams says, “I recommend a plant-based diet because I know…that plant-based diets are associated with lower rates of obesity and diabetes, high quality of life and longer life-expectancy, as well as less hypertension, dyslipidemia, peripheral artery disease, coronary disease, myocardial infarction, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, stroke and death.”

Of course there have been Black vegetarians for generations.  While Rev. Martin Luther King was not a vegetarian himself, he showed a growing concern with the plight of animals, as well as people, when he said “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.” That concern blossomed into the vegan way with his wife Coretta Scott King, and also his son Dexter Scott King who said “Veganism has given me a higher level of awareness and spirituality”

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks maintained a vegetarian lifestyle until she passed away in 2005. “I have been a vegetarian for a few years. It was not hard at all to not eat meat. [Becoming a vegetarian] was something I wanted to do,” she said. Among her favorite vegetables were broccoli, greens, sweet potatoes and string beans.

Today, many famous Black Americans are good role models as vegetarians, including tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, footballer David Carter, music promoter Russell Simmons, musicians Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder, actress Kimberly Elise, and many more.

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