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Category : Veganism

Why we feast on meat and hate on vegans – National Post

By all accounts flawlessly balanced and perfectly constructed, the Popeyes chicken sandwich was billed a gift from the heavens. Selling for a paltry $3.99, it sparked a feeding frenzy in the U.S. this summer. As popular as it was, and still is, it also serves as a batter-crusted reminder of how deeply confused we are about meat-eating.

Roughly 50 billion chickens are slaughtered each year to satisfy our massive global appetite for wings, nuggets, strips and the slabs of breast at the heart of the chicken sandwich wars. The majority of these birds are raised in factory farms the crowded and cramped conditions they live in is, at this point, no secret. Yet an awareness of their discomfort has no impact on our desire for a viral fast-food sandwich.

While most would agree that causing animal suffering is immoral, we balk at recent recommendations to eat less meat and belittle those who choose to cut it out of their diets entirely. Merely mentioning veganism is enough to elicit eyerolls, and reactions to what is a purely personal choice have escalated far beyond the non-verbal.

The seemingly harmless launch of a plant-based sausage roll at U.K. bakery chain Greggs last year was enough to prompt a range of aggressive responses, including one from TV presenter Piers Morgan. Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns, he tweeted. The meatless rolls popularity ultimately led to a 13.5 per cent increase in year-over-year sales for Greggs, the BBC reports, and Morgans fraught relationship with it inspired YouTube comedian Alizee Yeezy to write Piers Morgans Vegan Lover an X-rated novella centred around an intimate pastry-related act.

In response to a freelance writer pitching a plant-based recipe column a perfectly normal occurrence an editor once saw fit to explicitly express bloodlust. How about a series on killing vegans one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine? wrote William Sitwell, former editor of Waitrose Food, a supermarket magazine in the U.K.

The anger isnt surprising

This degree of anger, over what amounts to a new menu item and a handful of recipes, seems extreme, but its far from surprising. There are countless examples just like them spanning this past decade alone. The frequency and hostility of such outbursts, though, only serves to detract from the real question, which is: Why do we care if someone eats meat or not? Why is meat-eating so contentious, and antagonizing vegans such a popular pastime?

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, vegans in Western society experience discrimination to the same extent as other minorities. Second only to drug addicts in terms of the stigma they face, the BBC reports, vegans are increasingly under fire. And most-loathed of all: those who abstain from meat for reasons of animal cruelty.

As researchers Kelly Markowski and Susan Roxburgh of Kent State University highlight in a study published in the journal Appetite, vegans are viewed as oversensitive as well as physically and mentally weak by the omnivorous masses. The reasons for these negative associations run deep, affecting not just how we feel about meat-eating but our very sense of self.

If all of us are doing something bad, it cant really be that bad, right?

In choosing not to eat meat, the authors write, vegans are rejecting a core tenet of American culture. Meat is central to celebrations if you dont partake in the Thanksgiving turkey, Super Bowl chicken wings or Easter ham, youre not just declining an offer of food, but fracturing an unspoken pact and turning your back on tradition. This prevents one of the central functions of sharing food bonding the prevention of which fosters negative emotions among omnivores, like anger and discomfort, write Markowski and Roxburgh.

At the root of this conflict is a phenomenon Australian psychologists Brock Bastian and Steve Loughnan dubbed the meat paradox our hunger for meat clashes with the knowledge that animals must suffer in order for it to be satisfied. As Julia Shaw writes in Evil: The Science Behind Humanitys Dark Side, Hypocrisy feels less bad, less threatening, when in a group. If all of us are doing something bad, it cant really be that bad, right?

In the name of enjoyment, we might put any concerns related to health, environment or animal welfare aside. We eat that fast-food sandwich knowing full well it was made with a battery chicken. This disconnect between our actions and beliefs leads to another key concept in understanding the emotions tied to eating meat: cognitive dissonance. We have affection for animals and dont want them to suffer, yet we also want to eat them. When we act on the latter belief, the very fact that there are vegans in the world is unsettling, as Hank Rothgerber, a social psychologist at Bellarmine University, Kentucky, told the BBC. Were forced to view our meat-eating as what it is: a choice.

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Why we feast on meat and hate on vegans - National Post

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Burger King says it never promised Impossible Whoppers were vegan – Yahoo Finance

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Burger King, saying it never billed its "Impossible Whoppers" as vegan or promised to cook them a particular way, said a proposed class action by a vegan customer over the plant-based patties being cooked on the same grills as meat burgers should be thrown out.

In a court filing on Thursday, Burger King said plaintiff Phillip Williams should have asked how Impossible Whoppers were cooked before ordering one that he said was "coated in meat by-products" at an Atlanta drive-through.

Burger King said reasonable customers would ask about its cooking methods, and Williams would have known he could request an alternative method had he done even "the smallest amount of investigation" on its website or by reading media reports.

Williams "assumed that an Impossible Whopper would satisfy his own particularly strict form of veganism ... solely because he asked a Burger King restaurant employee to 'hold the mayo,'" Burger King said. "This claim has no basis."

Lawyers for Williams did not respond on Friday to requests for comment.

Williams claimed in his Nov. 18 lawsuit in Miami federal court that Burger King "duped" him into buying the Impossible Whopper at a premium price and is seeking damages on behalf of all U.S. consumers who bought it.

Burger King is a unit of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International Inc , which also owns the Canadian coffee and restaurant chain Tim Hortons and is overseen by Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital.

Impossible Foods Inc, which helped create the Impossible Whopper, has said it was designed for meat eaters who want to consume less animal protein, not for vegans or vegetarians.

Burger King advertises the Impossible Whopper on its website at $4, down from its original suggested price of $5.59, and in mid-January added it to its two-for-$6 menu. In a statement, a spokesman said the product "continues to exceed expectations."

The case is Williams v Burger King Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 19-24755.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Matthew Lewis)

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Burger King says it never promised Impossible Whoppers were vegan - Yahoo Finance

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

After 10 years, going vegan continues to be a fun adventure – OregonLive

It all started out as a journalistic stunt.

Ten years ago, I received a dare from a co-worker: Could I go vegan for a month? I accepted the challenge, ditching meat, cheese and dairy on Feb. 1, 2010. It was supposed to last a brisk 28 days or so I thought.

Cynically, I chose the shortest month of the year, because I wasnt sure that eating vegan would agree with me. I grew up in Kansas City, where steakhouses and barbecue joints are as common as coffee shops and Thai restaurants are in Portland. Burgers and smoky ribs felt like part of my DNA.

Around this time, I had been thinking seriously about ways to reduce my carbon footprint, and I got a chance to interview James McWilliams, the author of the controversial book "Just Food."

McWilliams had some ideas that were sure to rub the farmers market crowd the wrong way, such as his contention that a tomato grown by a local farmer doesn't necessarily have a lower carbon footprint than one grown in Southern California that's trucked to your neighborhood grocery store.

One of his ideas really resonated with me. In our quest to eat more sustainably, McWilliams believed our efforts were irrelevant if we didnt drastically reduce the amount of meat we eat, given the amount of natural resources the livestock industry consumes, and how it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

McWilliams challenged me that if I was serious in my concern about the environment, I needed to look seriously at the amount of meat I was eating. That forced me to confront the way I shopped and ate. I was one of those zealots about using reusable grocery bags years before Oregon forced everyone to get in on the act. Yet I wasn't paying any attention to what was going into those green bags. All the beef and chicken I was buying had a huge carbon footprint.

After 10 years, food writer Grant Butler is continuing his exploration of plant-based cooking and eating. (Beth Nakamura | The Oregonian/OregonLive)LC-

Then came the dare. I went to my editor with the idea of eating vegan for a month and writing about the experience. Unlike other food writers who had dabbled with short-term veganism, I didnt want to focus on what I couldnt eat. I wanted it to be a month of adventurous eating, a chance to try new foods, and to learn the upsides of vegan eating.

To my surprise, my editor said yes.

And that first month was crazy fun. I'd known about foods like quinoa, tofu and tempeh, but I'd never really given them a fair shake as a home cook. I wasnt just eating good food at home. I was blown away by Portlands vegan dining scene, which I had never explored.

When my month of vegan eating ended, I felt like Id had a physical and mental cleanse. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels had dropped significantly, and I felt more rested because I was sleeping better. So I decided to keep it going. To celebrate, I threw a dinner party for friends who had been rooting for me.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cupcakes With Creamy Chocolate Frosting, a recipe from Everything Chocolate by the editors of Americas Test Kitchen, 2020.Keller + Keller

Recipes included with this story: Vegan Dark Chocolate Cupcakes; Creamy Vegan Chocolate Frosting.

Ten years later, its easier to eat a plant-based diet than ever before. A decade ago, you had to go to food co-ops and specialty markets to find many vegan products and ingredients. Now theyre in every grocery store. At mainstream restaurants, vegan options used to be bowls of blah pasta primavera. Now, serious chefs show vegetables plenty of respect, and you can score vegan options at Burger King.

Burger Kings menu changes are keeping up with public demand. During the last 10 years, more people have embraced the idea of eating less meat, even if they arent ditching it altogether. Every meatless meal presents an opportunity to take a step toward a better environment, better health, and compassion for all living beings. Even if you switch to vegan meals only a few days a week, you're making a powerful choice and helping change the world.

For me, going completely vegan has been a gift beyond imagination. Now its time to celebrate with chocolate cupcakes.

-- Grant Butler

gbutler@oregonian.com

503-221-8566; @grantbutler

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After 10 years, going vegan continues to be a fun adventure - OregonLive

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

I dithered over veganism for years until a friends simple message convinced me – The Guardian

If you had asked me three years ago if I would ever go vegan, the answer would have been a polite but firm no. I would have told you how I could never give up cheese and how I worried about a vegan diet being healthy. I knew that they werent the strongest nor the most informed of reasons, so I would have added that I only bought meat when I could afford to buy organic and British, and always bought free-range eggs. I would have wanted you to know I was informed about what was good or bad farming practice, and I shopped accordingly.

I had been a vegetarian on and off since I was a teenager, and cared deeply about the planet. I recycled diligently, carried a reusable water bottle, signed petitions to address the climate disaster and joined protests. I bought cruelty-free makeup, was fervently against animal testing. I was a conscious and conscientious shopper and consumer: I considered the planet when I made choices.

For almost my whole life I had been concerned about the planet. As a child, Id lecture my hairspray-wielding nan about CFCs; in primary school I held a bake sale to raise money for the RSPB, the British bird-protection charity, after the Shetland oil disaster in 1993. I was mindful of the environment, and proud of it.

Just not mindful enough to make a huge lifestyle change that would be disruptive. Even these days, veganism is frequently inconvenient in that you are always having to check packaging (items you think are safe may have changed their ingredients), trust other people when they are preparing food for you and check everywhere you go in advance for vegan options.

So how did I end up a vegan? It all started when I met my friend Sophies partner, Rey. We were having a barbecue in Burgess park in south London, and Sophie and I had to wait to eat because Rey and his friends wanted to cook first as they were vegan. They werent righteous or aggressive about our food choices, and we didnt roll our eyes or make jokes about theirs. We had a nice day out.

When Sophie and Rey announced they were expecting a baby, she told me she was going vegan, and would raise their child as a vegan. Im embarrassed about it now, but I was concerned all my knowledge of veganism came from random snippets of internet lore. What about calcium? What about protein? What about vitamins? Wasnt it dangerous? Sophie very patiently told me what she knew, and directed me to look things up for myself.

So, I did; visiting websites, reading leaflets, watching documentaries and filling in the gaps of my knowledge. What I learned started to stick: I became vegetarian again, lapsed and then went back to it. I couldnt reconcile what I had learned about the realities of the meat and dairy industries with the person I believed myself to be. I asked Sophie for the first time why she decided to become a vegan. She wasnt like me, a so-called advocate for the planet and animal rights. In fact, she was probably the last person Id expect to become a vegan. Because I dont need to eat meat, eggs or dairy, she told me. Things dont have to suffer or die for me to live well.

I love experimenting and finding ways of 'veganising' food I used to eat.

That was the moment it clicked. Consuming meat and dairy was admitting I was OK with animals suffering and dying for my pleasure/convenience/survival. But I could choose something different. So I did.

I became vegan two years ago. Of course, I am in a position where being a vegan is easy: no food allergies or relevant health issues, enough money to buy speciality vegan ingredients to liven things up, no dependents, time to cook. The impact that it has had on me has been huge. I have seen an improvement in my overall health an unexpected benefit; tighter friendships with vegan friends (its the new smoking in terms of social connection). Before I became vegan, I was never much of a cook, but now it has become a hobby. I love experimenting and finding ways of veganising food I used to eat.

More than that, it has begun to change every aspect of how I live as I try to always minimise suffering, and do my best for the planet. I am lucky to live in a town with eco-friendly refill shops. I have started making my own body moisturiser, cleaning spray, laundry detergent and toilet fizzers to cut down on disposable plastics and chemicals. I question where things I buy come from: who made them? How did they get here? How long will they last? I am trying to be a better consumer, even if it is inconvenient sometimes.

In the end, what it came down to was having the courage of my convictions to embrace veganism. Now I am proud to be walking the walk.

Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury is published by Scholastic in March (7.99). To buy a copy for 7.03 with free UK p&p for orders over 20, visit guardianbookshop.com or call 0203 176 3837

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I dithered over veganism for years until a friends simple message convinced me - The Guardian

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Should Veganism Feature on the UK Pensions Menu? – The National Law Review

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The recent Employment Tribunal case of Mr Jordi Casamitjana, which caused quite a stir in the media, focused on the Tribunals decision that ethical veganism was eligible to qualify as a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010. In that case, Mr Casamitjana was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct by his employer, the League Against Cruel Sports, where he was a policy adviser. More details on the case can be found in my colleague David Whincupsblog.

A little reported feature of the case was that the straw that broke the camels back (as it were) for the employee was that when he rejoined his companys employment, after a break of several years working on other causes, he was automatically enrolled in a defined contribution pension arrangement where the default fund, among other things, invested in companies which engaged in animal testing, contrary to his philosophical beliefs. Mr Casamitjana chose to invest his contributions in an alternative ethical fund but believed that his colleagues were unaware of the default funds investments. He decided to take matters into his own hands and publicised his views tohis fellow workers to encourage them to switch to one of the ethical funds offered. The employer concluded that he had failed to follow an instruction not to provide what could be construed as financial advice to his colleagues and he was dismissed. He subsequently challenged the grounds for his dismissal and the outcome of that part of the Employment Tribunals deliberations is still awaited.

The principle that workers should not be discriminated against for protected characteristics is familiar in other areas of pensions law, although most of the equality legislation focus in pensions concerns gender or sexuality issues. There has been relatively little case law in relation to religious or philosophical beliefs in the pensions context. However, a recentdeterminationby The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) addressed this point. The complaint was from a member of the West Yorkshire Pension Fund who argued that she would never have joined the Local Government Pension Scheme (into which she had been automatically enrolled) had she known that West Yorkshire invested its fund in part in equities, which the member argued was contrary to her religious beliefs (i.e. contrary to the principles of Sharia law). That member lost her case before TPO, who held that if a scheme member holdsstrong beliefs, it is up to the individual to make the necessary enquiries about a schemes investments (which is of course exactly what Mr Casamitjana did).

What do automatic enrolment regulations say about workers rights not to be discriminated against? Does it matter that the scheme is defined benefit or defined contribution, where there is a much clearer link between the member and the arrangements investments? The short and strict answer is, whether an employee is an ethical vegan or can demonstrate some other protected characteristic in relation to his/her beliefs, that the regulations are silent. Instead, the automatic enrolment regime focuses to a large extent on the requirements of the charge cap applying to the default fund of defined contribution qualifying schemes. In relation to defined benefit pensions, such as the Local Government Pension Scheme, the qualifying scheme test issue is remote from any considerations relating to equality legislation (and of course the charge cap is not relevant) as the test is driven by the accrual rate.

That is not to say that the law regards environmental, social and corporate governance issues as irrelevant. The chairs statement for automatic enrolment schemes requiresdisclosureof trustees policies on these matters, but it is not the case that members have the right not to be discriminated against in the event that an investment fund which is provided for them, whether the default fund or otherwise, is contrary to their religious or philosophical beliefs. The UK is not alone in grappling with such pensions issues the position under US automatic enrolment rules has recently been clarified (see ourblog).

It is tempting to think that Mr Casamitjanas complaint was merely an isolated incident. However, Extinction Rebellion appearances and other, more orderly activist groups, have gained access to Local Government Pension Scheme pensions meetings frequently in recent months. Furthermore, a TPOcasewhich was reported in August 2019 concerned a deferred pensioner of the Shell Contributory Pension Fund who complained about that schemes policy in relation to fossil fuels. The member in question was the beneficiary of financial support from ClientEarth. In that case, the claim concerned disclosure obligations, but TPO found that there were no grounds on which the member could complain that he had been given misleading or inadequate information about the schemes investments. Indeed, TPO found that the trustees and employer had gone above and beyond their strict legal duties. Of course, as a deferred member, the complainant could not opt out of the Shell scheme (although he could presumably have taken a transfer if he was so concerned about the issue).

These cases illustrate that, notwithstanding the inertia on which automatic enrolment rests, many members do care how their pension fund is invested. Whether members actually understand that, in either a trust based or a contract based arrangement, decisions have to be made collectively remains to be seen. However, the argument that the money in such a collective arrangement is not technically the members money but belongs to the trustees/the insurer is of little relevance to complainants. Trustees should note the potential strength of feelings behind member questions and complaints on scheme investments and should seek advice if they are unsure about disclosure obligations.

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Should Veganism Feature on the UK Pensions Menu? - The National Law Review

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Veganism in America is becoming increasingly Black — and hip-hop is listening – TheGrio

Rappers are often criticized over their lyrics and extravagant lifestyles, but a trend toward less consumption of meat among African Americans is apparently being reflected in the choice to go vegan among some hip-hop performers.

In a Gallup poll that focuses on American consumers meat consumption habits, whites report eating 10 percent less meat, while people of color say they are eating 31 percent less.

READ MORE: Jermaine Dupri explains why hes been a vegan for the past 12 years

Popular and influential figures in hip-hop music including KRS-One, Stic.man and M-1 from Dead Prez, Russell Simmons, Erykah Badu, and later Jay-Z and Beyonc, Waka Flocka Flame, A$AP Rocky, and Jermaine Dupri, have made personal choices and business investments toward veganism, according to The Washington Post.

Jay and Bey famously gave out show tickets to fans who went vegan. Cardi B launched a vegan fashion line. Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, started a vegan food truck for the homeless. Eight of the Wu-Tang clan members also say they are vegan. And A$AP Rocky rapped about being vegan on his single Babushka Boi. As an ambassador, Snoop Dog helps promote Beyond Meat.

Jay-Zs venture capital firm Marcy Venture Partners last year invested $1 million in the Black-owned Partake Foods, which makes vegan cookies. He also has put investment support in Impossible Foods, which is behind Burger Kings Impossible Whopper.

KRS-One put out a song as far back as 1990 called Beef in which he cautioned listeners to think about the meat they are putting into their bodies. He rapped that it was a public service announcement.

READ MORE: Several months after his death, Nipsey Hussles legacy inspires The Marathon Book Club

KRS-One was an inspiration for me, Keith Tucker, a health activist in Seattle, told The Post. His song Beef in 1990 influenced a lot people in hip-hop to think about veganism, to think about the meat in the slave diet, about the chemicals that were starting to be put in the food and the rise of highly processed foods.

It appears that many Black people are heeding the message. In addition to the Gallup poll, a 2016 Pew Research Center survey found that while only 3 percent of American adults said they were vegan and 1 percent of Hispanic Americans, 8 percent of African American adults identified as vegan.

READ MORE:Gross inequality in access to healthy food

Hip-hop is the biggest influence on planet Earth when it comes to young people, Tucker adds. Its the CNN for the black community. If we can move it in a green direction, the world will move in a green direction. Its going viral right now.

But more attention and concern for health could also be a driving force. AshEL Eldridge, an Oakland, Calf.-based rapper and activist says the plant-based food movement is catching on as a way of taking back control among Blacks.

How do we take care of ourselves? How do we govern ourselves? How do we regain the wisdom of our ancestry? And how do we reclaim our health, he asked. The answer is to take the reins of ones own body. Theres a huge movement around decolonizing the diet. There is disease related to diets heavily reliant on meat and genetically modified crops and monocropping. How do we extricate ourselves from that? Its revolutionary.

That message is being heeded in hip-hop today, says Stic.man.

When I was a young teen getting into hip-hop, LL Cool J and them [sic] were swole superheroes. Now I see a lot of cool b-boy yogis. Thats a whole movement. There were break-dance battles back in the day; now theres a movement of calisthenics, bar athletics and Nike-sponsored events, he says. The New G Code takes empowerment in a healthy way: I dont care how many weights you can lift, how many people have you lifted up?

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Veganism in America is becoming increasingly Black -- and hip-hop is listening - TheGrio

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

A vegan in the running – The Ecologist

My running is accidental activism in its rawest form. Almost two decades ago before Twitter and Facebook the only way to get a message to the masses was via the mainstream media.

Marathon running was creating waves:Paula Radcliffe was making the headlines. I have been vegan since the age of six, moved by my abhorrence of violence against other living things.

This article was first published in Resurgence & Ecologistmagazine.

Marathon running was a platform for me to promote veganism; I just had to invent a way to access it. Could I compete in a marathon? Could I even complete a marathon? Double uncertainties for me, having one kneecap missing and, after multiple surgeries, being told I would never walk properly, let alone run.

Veganism

The only way to find out was to try. I just wanted to be the best I could to represent veganism in its full and pure glory. When success arrived, so did my desire to achieve more.

Now seemed like the obvious time to find a coach, trainer or anyone who could help me get to the next level of competition, but that proved impossible, as the school of thought at the time was and still is in many cases that you cannot achieve sporting excellence and be vegan.

Overwhelming opinion was that the two things do not work together that they just arent compatible. I was told in no uncertain terms that any effort to improve my performance would be negated by what was considered to be inadequate nutritional fuelling. But this was precisely the negativity and misconception I was trying to address, and promoting veganism was the only reason I was out there punishing myself it was a stance that was absolutely not up for negotiation.

After multiple rejections and even hostile reactions, my only option was to go it alone and learn by trial and error the craft of an elite endurance athlete.

In 2004 I started the running club Vegan Runners so that I could promote the word proudly and positively across my torso as I lined up with the very best at the worlds major marathons.

Now, with four world records, selection to run for my country, 2.38 marathon personal best, multiple course records, wins in places varying from the freezing tundra of the North Pole and Antarctica to the high altitude of the Atacama Desert and the scorching heat of the Sahara, my veganism has not inhibited me. It has enhanced my performance both physically and mentally.

Regeneration

Undeniably we can survive as vegans, but we can also thrive, do incredible things, have superhuman achievements, all fuelled by plants.

Mentally, I see clearly, I know no suffering has gone into my performance, and illustrating this to others gives me the strength, passion and desire to encourage them to follow my lead, and to challenge the myths, break down the stereotypes and set the bar higher and higher at each event in which I compete.

Nutritionally veganism presents no challenge in achieving sporting excellence. The only barrier I have found is toxic human negativity creating contrary and conflicting opinions about its viability and sustainability.

As more and more high-profile elite athletes turn to veganism, this barrier will diminish, until eventually it will vanish. Its not too late regeneration, reforestation, regulation, restraint, recycling, rebuilding and realigning our thought processes to fit a new, positive, ethical and sustainable global model is what will drive me and many others like me to great achievements on and off the athletic field.

This Author

Fiona Oakes is the founder of Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary and honorary patron of The Vegan Society. She is also the subject of the filmRunning for Good.This article was first published in Resurgence & Ecologistmagazine.

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A vegan in the running - The Ecologist

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20 pledges for 2020: One month into my new vegan diet, I’m feeling positive about what lies ahead – The Independent

Its 9am on New Years Day. Im lying in bed feeling refreshed after opting not to enjoy the festivities too much on the most overrated evening of the year, when suddenly it hits me: Im vegan now.

The realisation struck as soon as the 10-second countdown to midnightfinished:from this moment on there will be no more dairy or meat in my life.

Rewind 24 hours and I was, for lack of a better word, shoving anything meat-related down my throat. My mum made me her incredible lamb curry for lunch (I had two servings obviously) and dinner was KFC. Not the talked about and quite frankly disappointing new vegan range, but fully fried chicken goodness. I wanted to savour the last moments.

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Luckily, I had prepared. The intimidating feeling of cooking a type of food youve never made before wasnt there. For breakfast? Beans on toast with vegan cheese from Violife. Nice and easy.

For lunch was Oumphsmeatless kebabs with sweet potato fries and vegetables. You can taste the difference but thats not a bad thing. Theyre packed full of flavour.

My big concern, silly enough, was what would I snack on throughout the day? Fruit is good but I want chocolate, I want savoury, I want sweet. Galaxy do a really nice range of vegan chocolates, which still tastereally nice. You couldnt tell the difference.

Veganuary becomes bigger every year, but it needn't be just for Janaury as these cookbooks make it easy and accessible. Words by Stacey Smith

iStock/The Independent

Since launching her vegan YouTube channel in 2017, Rachel has gained a heap of hungry followers who lap up her simple, delicious recipes (and the dance moves that go along with them). Dishes are often one-pot, can be prepped ahead, and most include a song recommendation so you can dance along as you cook. Within these pages, youll find plenty of meals inspired by Amas Caribbean and West African roots from crispy jerk barbecue tacos or ackee saltfish with dumplings to peanut stew. Although this is really a celebration of all cultures and with vegan takes on everything from Thai green curry to creamy cashew and vegetable no-pasta lasagne, were pretty confident youll find your favourite comfort dish has been given a plant-based makeover. With most ingredients easy to obtain and meals quick to put together, this is modern cooking, for the meat-shunning millennial.

Working with a registered dietician to ensure recipes follow trusted NHS guidelines, the BOSH! boys (aka, Henry and Ian) have bought us their healthiest cookbook to date. Recognising that just because a plate of food is vegan, that doesnt necessarily mean its healthy (vegan junk food certainly exists!), this is a collection of 80 new recipes showcasing their flavoursome vegan food with a healthier focus. Along with advice on sleep, movement and relaxing, theres guidance on ensuring you get all the nutrients you need. And although the boys insist this isnt a diet book, youll find recipes to help you reduce fat, build muscle and generally be a bit healthier. So whether youre looking to up your protein intake (try the ultimate veg tacos), reduce your sugar intake with a summer-berry granola bowl or keep your calorie intake to under 500 per portion with puttanesca potato stew, you should be left feeling suitably inspired to kick start the new year.

Despite Fearne Cotton not being a fully-fledged vegan herself (or perhaps because), this book got rave reviews from our panel, with both flexitarians, meat-eaters and vegans alike. Recipes are approachable, inexpensive and perfect for the whole family, so we can see ourselves working through them all in time. The broccoli katsu curry was a particular favourite and surprisingly easy to make and for tea time well be trying our hand at her date and almond cake with caramel sauce which uses white miso paste and coconut cream to great effect.

If ever theres a time we feel the pinch, its January, with the festivities of Christmas long behind us but the credit card still to pay. Thankfully eating a plant-based diet could be the answer and in this book, youll find over 85 recipes all coming in at a frankly unbelievable 1 a portion. Our concerns that wed be living off of beans on toast were quickly alleviated as we tucked into black bean meatballs and sticky aubergine bao. Full-flavoured, quick and easy, we couldnt really ask for more.

Calling all sweet-tooths! This collection of recipes from Australian blogger Anthea Cheng is celebratory food for the keen baker. You certainly couldnt call dried rainbow pear slices convenient, quick or easy to make, however the impact they have when used to decorate her chai cake is truly show-stopping. If that all sounds a little intimidating, we found the Snack Time chapter much more manageable, with the likes of bliss balls, chocolate cups and cookies vying for attention, as well as Instagrammable breakfast bowls, beautifully presented with nut butters, granola and oats.

After 10 years of hard partying finally caught up with him, Matt decided to switch from the crazy pranks of MTVs Dirty Sanchez to fitness and is now a completely vegan endurance athlete. Believing a natural diet is key, Matts second cookbook is brimming with recipes full of veggies and largely focuses on un-processed ingredients (keeping the vegan cheese or meat-substitutes to a minimum). Some of Pritchards favourites include roasting tin laksa, sticky tofu bao buns and rhubarb and custard doughnuts. If youre yet to convince your pal's that veganism is the way forward, we reckon the Dinner with Mates chapter will convert a few of them, with all the recipes you need to create a Mexican feast, a perfect picnic, a banging BBQ or a cracking Christmas spread. All in all we found recipes really varied, with us ear-marking nearly all of them to try at once.

Lets face it, at the end of a long day the last thing any of us want to be doing whether were following a plant-based diet or not is trying to track down long lists of hard to find ingredients. This is the fourth book from the award-winning cook, writer and cookery tutor Katy Beskow and follows a similar simplified format, with each recipe requiring just five ingredients. Chapters include soups, lunches suppers, sweets and basics, with recipes beautifully laid out and gorgeous photography accompanying each one. Far from being basic, we were amazed to see we could create a beautiful Mediterranean briam (a layered courgette, potato and red onion bake from Greece) which was as delicious hot with crusty bread as it was cold for lunch the next day.

Growing up in a small town in West Bengal, India, very few people, including Romy Gills own family, ate meat regularly. Its this home-cooked vegan food of her childhood that the chef and food writer wanted to share with us through her debut cookbook Zaika meaning taste, or flavour. Theres an entire section dedicated to bread, including gram flour turmeric pancakes which are perfect with chutneys, a variety of rotis and parathas and light naan bread with nigella seeds. The Light & Breezy chapter is all about showcasing the freshest ingredients think watermelon and mint salad; while the Warming the Heart chapter is where youll find hearty comfort food such as spicy red lentil dahl. The section we most fell for though was Labours of Love for when youve got time to really get lost in the kitchen rich, creamy and so warming, we recommend the Baingan masala with baby aubergines, dill and coconut.

The debut book from award-winning blogger and food consultant Nikki Webster shares the same ethos as her blog Rebel Recipes that healthy food neednt be boring or lacking in flavour. Taking inspiration from around the globe, you could never accuse these recipes of being dull. If only we could start every day with creamy spiced coconut porridge and sticky sesame banana! Instead of relying on stale vegan ingredients and recipes this is new-school vegan cuisine for those seeking full flavours. Although despite this, recipes were easy to follow and largely uncomplicated with lots of spicy curries, pulses, flatbreads, salads, dips and pickles making an appearance. With mouth-watering photography throughout, the Cant Believe Its Vegan Desserts chapter is a particular highlight, with the likes of chocolate ganache tart, easy espresso martini pots and lemon curd and thyme tart.

While this title isnt 100 per cent vegan, half of the book is made up of plant-based recipes so we felt it was still well worth including. Acknowledging that most of us have more time to experiment in the kitchen at the weekend yet need dinner on the table pronto mid-week, Elly Pears book separates dishes accordingly. Were very keen to incorporate more Sunday night batch-cooking into our weekly routine, in order to eat better later in the week and with tray bakes, one-pot wonders and freeze-able options, this will keep us suitably inspired.

Dont be fooled by the title, every one of the 100 recipes within this book is completely vegan. The ish comes from Jack Monroes belief that if we were all to incorporate a few more plant-based meals into our diet each week, wed be better off both environmentally and financially. So you neednt be a full-time vegan to appreciate the practical, inexpensive solutions within this book. Although perhaps not the sexiest food chapter to ever be written the whole section on sandwiches was inherently helpful for midweek meal inspiration (especially when you consider the standard fillings of cheese, ham, tuna, etc obviously arent vegan). In true Jack Monroe style, we loved the no-nonsense, easy to follow recipes and believe well turn to this cookbook on a regular basis.

If youre tempted to give this vegan thing a whirl but you really dont know where to start, the 7 Day Vegan Challenge is here to help. There are three menu plans to choose from complete with shopping lists: The Easy Peasy Way (quick meals for those that dont mind repeating some dishes), For the Planners (which requires a Sunday night batch-cooking session) and Fast & Fresh (quick and simple recipes). So a typical weekday might look like, banoffee oats for breakfast, a convincing vegan take on the classic BLT sandwich for lunch and creamy satay noodles with salt and pepper fried tofu for tea.There is also a helpful Q&A intro, which aims to answer the most commonly asked questions for those just starting out including pros, cons, where you get protein from, is vegan food expensive and whether it's healthy. Many meals are freezable or can last three days or longer in the fridge, so whether you give it a go for seven days or longer is up to you.

Veganuary becomes bigger every year, but it needn't be just for Janaury as these cookbooks make it easy and accessible. Words by Stacey Smith

iStock/The Independent

Since launching her vegan YouTube channel in 2017, Rachel has gained a heap of hungry followers who lap up her simple, delicious recipes (and the dance moves that go along with them). Dishes are often one-pot, can be prepped ahead, and most include a song recommendation so you can dance along as you cook. Within these pages, youll find plenty of meals inspired by Amas Caribbean and West African roots from crispy jerk barbecue tacos or ackee saltfish with dumplings to peanut stew. Although this is really a celebration of all cultures and with vegan takes on everything from Thai green curry to creamy cashew and vegetable no-pasta lasagne, were pretty confident youll find your favourite comfort dish has been given a plant-based makeover. With most ingredients easy to obtain and meals quick to put together, this is modern cooking, for the meat-shunning millennial.

Working with a registered dietician to ensure recipes follow trusted NHS guidelines, the BOSH! boys (aka, Henry and Ian) have bought us their healthiest cookbook to date. Recognising that just because a plate of food is vegan, that doesnt necessarily mean its healthy (vegan junk food certainly exists!), this is a collection of 80 new recipes showcasing their flavoursome vegan food with a healthier focus. Along with advice on sleep, movement and relaxing, theres guidance on ensuring you get all the nutrients you need. And although the boys insist this isnt a diet book, youll find recipes to help you reduce fat, build muscle and generally be a bit healthier. So whether youre looking to up your protein intake (try the ultimate veg tacos), reduce your sugar intake with a summer-berry granola bowl or keep your calorie intake to under 500 per portion with puttanesca potato stew, you should be left feeling suitably inspired to kick start the new year.

Despite Fearne Cotton not being a fully-fledged vegan herself (or perhaps because), this book got rave reviews from our panel, with both flexitarians, meat-eaters and vegans alike. Recipes are approachable, inexpensive and perfect for the whole family, so we can see ourselves working through them all in time. The broccoli katsu curry was a particular favourite and surprisingly easy to make and for tea time well be trying our hand at her date and almond cake with caramel sauce which uses white miso paste and coconut cream to great effect.

If ever theres a time we feel the pinch, its January, with the festivities of Christmas long behind us but the credit card still to pay. Thankfully eating a plant-based diet could be the answer and in this book, youll find over 85 recipes all coming in at a frankly unbelievable 1 a portion. Our concerns that wed be living off of beans on toast were quickly alleviated as we tucked into black bean meatballs and sticky aubergine bao. Full-flavoured, quick and easy, we couldnt really ask for more.

Calling all sweet-tooths! This collection of recipes from Australian blogger Anthea Cheng is celebratory food for the keen baker. You certainly couldnt call dried rainbow pear slices convenient, quick or easy to make, however the impact they have when used to decorate her chai cake is truly show-stopping. If that all sounds a little intimidating, we found the Snack Time chapter much more manageable, with the likes of bliss balls, chocolate cups and cookies vying for attention, as well as Instagrammable breakfast bowls, beautifully presented with nut butters, granola and oats.

After 10 years of hard partying finally caught up with him, Matt decided to switch from the crazy pranks of MTVs Dirty Sanchez to fitness and is now a completely vegan endurance athlete. Believing a natural diet is key, Matts second cookbook is brimming with recipes full of veggies and largely focuses on un-processed ingredients (keeping the vegan cheese or meat-substitutes to a minimum). Some of Pritchards favourites include roasting tin laksa, sticky tofu bao buns and rhubarb and custard doughnuts. If youre yet to convince your pal's that veganism is the way forward, we reckon the Dinner with Mates chapter will convert a few of them, with all the recipes you need to create a Mexican feast, a perfect picnic, a banging BBQ or a cracking Christmas spread. All in all we found recipes really varied, with us ear-marking nearly all of them to try at once.

Lets face it, at the end of a long day the last thing any of us want to be doing whether were following a plant-based diet or not is trying to track down long lists of hard to find ingredients. This is the fourth book from the award-winning cook, writer and cookery tutor Katy Beskow and follows a similar simplified format, with each recipe requiring just five ingredients. Chapters include soups, lunches suppers, sweets and basics, with recipes beautifully laid out and gorgeous photography accompanying each one. Far from being basic, we were amazed to see we could create a beautiful Mediterranean briam (a layered courgette, potato and red onion bake from Greece) which was as delicious hot with crusty bread as it was cold for lunch the next day.

Growing up in a small town in West Bengal, India, very few people, including Romy Gills own family, ate meat regularly. Its this home-cooked vegan food of her childhood that the chef and food writer wanted to share with us through her debut cookbook Zaika meaning taste, or flavour. Theres an entire section dedicated to bread, including gram flour turmeric pancakes which are perfect with chutneys, a variety of rotis and parathas and light naan bread with nigella seeds. The Light & Breezy chapter is all about showcasing the freshest ingredients think watermelon and mint salad; while the Warming the Heart chapter is where youll find hearty comfort food such as spicy red lentil dahl. The section we most fell for though was Labours of Love for when youve got time to really get lost in the kitchen rich, creamy and so warming, we recommend the Baingan masala with baby aubergines, dill and coconut.

The debut book from award-winning blogger and food consultant Nikki Webster shares the same ethos as her blog Rebel Recipes that healthy food neednt be boring or lacking in flavour. Taking inspiration from around the globe, you could never accuse these recipes of being dull. If only we could start every day with creamy spiced coconut porridge and sticky sesame banana! Instead of relying on stale vegan ingredients and recipes this is new-school vegan cuisine for those seeking full flavours. Although despite this, recipes were easy to follow and largely uncomplicated with lots of spicy curries, pulses, flatbreads, salads, dips and pickles making an appearance. With mouth-watering photography throughout, the Cant Believe Its Vegan Desserts chapter is a particular highlight, with the likes of chocolate ganache tart, easy espresso martini pots and lemon curd and thyme tart.

While this title isnt 100 per cent vegan, half of the book is made up of plant-based recipes so we felt it was still well worth including. Acknowledging that most of us have more time to experiment in the kitchen at the weekend yet need dinner on the table pronto mid-week, Elly Pears book separates dishes accordingly. Were very keen to incorporate more Sunday night batch-cooking into our weekly routine, in order to eat better later in the week and with tray bakes, one-pot wonders and freeze-able options, this will keep us suitably inspired.

Dont be fooled by the title, every one of the 100 recipes within this book is completely vegan. The ish comes from Jack Monroes belief that if we were all to incorporate a few more plant-based meals into our diet each week, wed be better off both environmentally and financially. So you neednt be a full-time vegan to appreciate the practical, inexpensive solutions within this book. Although perhaps not the sexiest food chapter to ever be written the whole section on sandwiches was inherently helpful for midweek meal inspiration (especially when you consider the standard fillings of cheese, ham, tuna, etc obviously arent vegan). In true Jack Monroe style, we loved the no-nonsense, easy to follow recipes and believe well turn to this cookbook on a regular basis.

If youre tempted to give this vegan thing a whirl but you really dont know where to start, the 7 Day Vegan Challenge is here to help. There are three menu plans to choose from complete with shopping lists: The Easy Peasy Way (quick meals for those that dont mind repeating some dishes), For the Planners (which requires a Sunday night batch-cooking session) and Fast & Fresh (quick and simple recipes). So a typical weekday might look like, banoffee oats for breakfast, a convincing vegan take on the classic BLT sandwich for lunch and creamy satay noodles with salt and pepper fried tofu for tea.There is also a helpful Q&A intro, which aims to answer the most commonly asked questions for those just starting out including pros, cons, where you get protein from, is vegan food expensive and whether it's healthy. Many meals are freezable or can last three days or longer in the fridge, so whether you give it a go for seven days or longer is up to you.

Then it was on to dinner;I was looking forward to this. I had a range of ready-made food available to me from Allplants, a subscription service thatsends you ready-made meals with lots of vegan versions of popular cuisines.

Theres Mexican, Chinese, some classic British food and a whole host of options to take your pick from. Luckily too, theyreboth healthy and affordable boxes start from 4.99 and theres always a sale or deal on to get yourself a bargain. If they dont take your fancy then plenty of other places do similar subscription-style packages too, Abel & Cole and Greedy Lama are both recommended by us.

Its not just the food that Im looking to change, either. I want to incorporate other things into my daily life:cruelty-free beauty products included (I have a vigorous skincare routine)which my fellow pledger Jessica Jones is committing her 2020 to and even dishwasher and washing machine tablets. Im hoping to find some good ones over time so I can completely erase my use of the typical shelf items you see.

One month down the line, I feel good. Ive kept up my running every week, Im losing weight at a healthy rate and barone weekend when my housemates ordered a Dominos and I was sat there eating an aubergine tagine I havent missed any foods or come close to a slip-up. Yet.

Read more from the original source:
20 pledges for 2020: One month into my new vegan diet, I'm feeling positive about what lies ahead - The Independent

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Henry Firth, Ian Theasby want to save the world by promoting vegan lifestyle with BOSH! series – Houston Chronicle

Wildly popular across the pond, Henry Firth and Ian Theasby are steadily becoming the most recognizable faces of vegan cooking.

The British duo has published four books in less than two years on the importance of a plant-based diet. Five years ago, they adopted a vegan lifestyle and started experimenting with recipes on social media and YouTube.

In addition to being healthy and feeling better, Firth and Theasby believe that promoting a vegan lifestyle can help save the planet because the production of meat requires processes that release large amount of greenhouse gases.

In BOSH! How to Live Vegan, they write, We can literally save the world by eating more plants.

Their latest book, BOSH! Healthy Vegan, was released at the end of 2019. The cookbook incorporates recipes with less all-white, processed carbohydrates, a pitfall to many vegan dishes, they said in an interview with ReNew Houston.

Q: Why should people adopt a vegan lifestyle?

A: Plants are really good for you. Since adopting a plant-based diet, were both fitter, happier and healthier than weve ever been. Theres a reason so many of the worlds top athletes are doing the same. So whether you cut out meat three times a week or are entirely plant-based, were there for you if you need some good grub.

Q: Your vegan cooking empire started on social media. How did you make the transition to the publishing world?

A: We went vegan about five years ago, when lots of vegan recipes were pretty uninspiring. We relearned how to cook and started sharing our recipes on social media. After a month of uploading them, we had 100,000 followers and now have over 2 billion views.

During that first year of posting our recipes, the same comment kept cropping up over and over again: When are you bringing out a book? So we reached out to publishing houses in the U.K. and, fortunately, pretty much all of them were interested. After a six-way bidding war, we found a home with HQ, HarperCollins and here we are, four books later!

On HoustonChronicle.com: Kevin Curry fills void for young men cooking healthy recipes

Q: We get hundreds of cookbooks in our newsroom every year, many of them on the latest fad diets. What makes veganism and your products more than a fad diet?

A: The thing about a lot of diets is that the results can be short-lived. People end up crashing in and out of very different ways of eating potentially affecting your bodys metabolism.

We like to have a more flexible approach to nutrition, healthy eating and fitness. We always use the 80/20 rule: 80 percent healthy and 20 percent naughty. It means you can find a way of eating, rather than a fad diet, that really suits your lifestyle.

Q: The name of your latest book, BOSH! Healthy Vegan, is interesting. Is there an unhealthy way to be vegan?

A: Its really easy to think that being vegan means youre automatically healthy and getting your five-a-day. We fell into that trap a few years ago.

We were trying out several new recipes a day, eating loads of white, processed carbs plus there are so many vegan junk-food places available now. We were beginning to feel the effects of it all. So we started making a few changes to the way we eat. Thats what weve shared in BOSH! Healthy Vegan, which has over 80 healthy recipes, meal plans and guidance.

Q: What started you both on this lifestyle?

A: We became vegan around five years ago after watching Kip Andersens documentary, Cowspiracy. It showed us that eating a plant-based diet can change the planet and theres nothing more important than saving the world we live in.

Q: What is different in the new cookbook from your previous cookbook, BISH BASH BOSH!, which was released last year?

A: We want to show that healthy vegan food can definitely still be hearty and even decadent. Weve made our favorite recipes, but just with lower fat and sugar. Think hearty stews, pastas, warm pies, curries and theres definitely still desserts.

Q: Are there plans for a Netflix, Hulu, Apple+ series?

A: Were currently the faces of Living on the Veg, which is on ITV in the U.K. Its the first-ever mainstream plant-based cooking series in the U.K., so its been an honor to be part of it, as its a real marker for the vegan movement. Ultimately, wed love to reach as many people as possible to show them how tasty and accessible vegan food can be.

Q: Houston is considered a foodie city by most. But we still eat a lot of meat, especially beef. What would be the easiest way for native Texans to shuck those meat-eating instincts?

A: Explore the fruit and vegetable aisle and find out just how versatile they can be. Lots of people are surprised by how easy it is to re-create the texture and flavor of meat with vegetables alone. A great example is mushrooms, which can used to replace minced beef, or ground beef in the U.S. The mushrooms take on so much flavor and replicate the meaty consistency in dishes like spaghetti bolognese, lasagna and pies.

Jackfruit is also incredible for replicating chicken, lamb and fish. There are so many ways to be creative with food that we discovered after becoming vegan. Its easier than ever to be vegan, so try something new.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Cook outdoors creatively with "Wild: Adventure Cookbook"

Q: What are your favorite dishes to make?

A: We love the challenge of creating a dish thats usually centered around meat or dairy and remixing it with plants alone. Recipes like our Healthy Saag Paneer, Meaty Mushroom Pie and Salmon Tofu Steaks from BOSH! Healthy Vegan are great examples of how you can still get those amazing flavors and theyre healthy, too.

BOSH! Healthy Vegan , BISH BASH BOSH! , BOSH ! and

BOSH! How to Live Vegan are available wherever you buy books.

julie.garcia@chron.com

twitter.com/reporterjulie

Renew Houston: Get the latest wellness news delivered to your inbox

Excerpt from:
Henry Firth, Ian Theasby want to save the world by promoting vegan lifestyle with BOSH! series - Houston Chronicle

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Former rapper’s latest hit is serving vegan BBQ with a side of dance videos – SF Gate

By Madeline Wells, SFGATE

Toriano Gordon is the owner of Vegan Mob, a Vegan BBQ and soul food take out restaurant in Oakland.

Toriano Gordon is the owner of Vegan Mob, a Vegan BBQ and soul food take out restaurant in Oakland.

Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGate

Toriano Gordon is the owner of Vegan Mob, a Vegan BBQ and soul food take out restaurant in Oakland.

Toriano Gordon is the owner of Vegan Mob, a Vegan BBQ and soul food take out restaurant in Oakland.

Former rapper's latest hit is serving vegan BBQ with a side of dance videos

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Oaklands Lake Park Avenue vibrates with activity.

A neon green structure that used to house the neighborhoods iconic Kwik Way Drive-In beckons Oaklanders to line up down the block for heaping plates of barbecue brisket, ribs and shrimp. A DJ pumps hip hop music out of loudspeakers onto the street, which waiting customers nod their heads to.

People order at the window, then eat gumbo on barstools or hunch over po boys at a handful of tables and chairs outside. Set up on the sidewalk is local artist Tony B. Conscious, freestyling and selling his graffiti-style artwork, which includes aprons baring the new hot spots name.

The scene is quintessentially Oakland. Theres just one element thats a little different every single morsel of barbecued goodness here is vegan.

Vegan Mob, which opened in October, is San Francisco-raised Toriano Gordons first restaurant, which he opened with the help of Seor Sisigs Evan Kidera. Gordon specializes in taking familiar barbecue and soul food recipes and swapping their meaty, heavy ingredients for plant-based, healthy ones.

I dont even see it as vegan food, because for me to think like that, it causes the consumer to think like that, too. I just want them to feel like theyre eating good food, said Gordon. I flavor it as if it were the same food my grandmother used to cook, just using plant-based ingredients.

If the word vegan conjures images of sad salads and depressingly bland grain bowls, thats not what youll find here. On the contrary: Vegan Mobs menu is pretty much the definition of fun. And thats why Gordon hasnt had any trouble attracting non-vegans as well as hardcore vegans to his new spot.

RELATED:How a shrimp falafel food truck became the hottest club in Oakland

I think that the funness of the food helps spread the culture of veganismbecause people like to have fun. They want to know they can have fun and be safe at the same time, said Gordon.

On the playful menu is a shrimp po boy with vegan BBQ fried shrimp, a Barbequito (a burrito stuffed with smoked plant-based brisket and BBQ baked beans), Impossible Mob tacos (made with Impossible Foods meat), nachos and gumbo. Ordering a Mob Plate gets you a vegan protein plus a choice of sides including smackaroni and cheese, creamy Cajun potato salad and collard greens.

Gordon is definitely having fun with his flourishing new spot not just with the menu, but also his social media presence. Alongside drool-worthy Instagram shots of the food, hes constantly promoting his business with videos featuring goofy dance moves and his catchphrase delivered in a half-sung, comical voice: Pull up on us baby! Its da Mob. In one video, he urges his whole staff to dance around the kitchen and chant ay! with him. His nearly 23,000 Instagram followers eat it up.

Gordon says his savvy social media presence comes from his background as a rapper in the Bay Area.

I kind of treat my page as if it were a page where I promoted music, but instead, its food, explained Gordon. With music you have to constantly be seen and put out new stuff and be in peoples faces, and I feel like I took that culture over to the restaurant business.

Gordons infusion of hip hop culture into Vegan Mob extends even further next month, the restaurant is shooting a music video for a Vegan Mob-themed song featuring local rappers King Cydal and B-Legit.

With lines that only grow as the months go on, Vegan Mob has definitely succeeded in making vegan food cool in Oakland. But its important to note that Gordon wasnt the first to introduce vegan gumbo and po boys to the area.

Souley Vegan, another black-owned vegan restaurant specializing in Louisiana cuisine, opened in Oaklands Jack London Square in 2009. Back then, the climate wasnt so hospitable to vegans.

RELATED:A vegetarian restaurant for carnivores? This Michelin star couple is opening one in the Haight

People did not understand the word vegan, said owner Tamearra Dyson. Nor did they think my Louisiana Creole vegan food was even possible because they thought it was an oxymoron. We got some laughs.

But despite the fact that veganism wasnt trendy yet, Dyson persevered with her restaurant and the community eventually caught on.

With a lot of Southern hospitality, we made it friendly, unlike the market prior to us opening people thought that vegans were uppity, she explained. But we trailblazed the industry and made vegan approachable and kind of cool. Now its cool to be vegan.

Thanks to Souley Vegan and other pioneering vegan restaurants in the East Bay, 2019 was the year Oakland was ready for a hip hop-themed vegan barbecue joint.

As San Francisco Chronicle reporter Justin Phillips put it in his Vegan Mob review, Vegan Mob shows how vegan food is modern and can be served steeped in hip-hop and black culture [...] So, are black people making vegan food in Oakland cool? The answer is yes. But, honestly, black people have always made vegan food cool. Most of us just needed a reminder.

Madeline Wells is an SFGATE associate digital reporter. Email: madeline.wells@sfgate.com | Twitter: @madwells22

Read more:
Former rapper's latest hit is serving vegan BBQ with a side of dance videos - SF Gate

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson


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