Monday, January 15, 2018

Art in the Time of Trump: The Silencing Effect of Tyranny (and What to do About it)

Hi, all!

I have a new piece up this week on Medium, which I am using more to get better visibility for my work and because it's not such a glitchy platform. Please check it out when you get the chance!

XO -

Marla

Friday, December 29, 2017

Vegan Predictions for 2018

At Vegan Street, we spend a fair amount of time every week reading vegan news stories and researching trends. So much is happening as veganism enters the mainstream and ripples out! With that in mind, I’m pretty thrilled to share with you some exciting predictions for 2018.

Vegan Predictions for 2018

California breaks off from the continental US and becomes the largest free-floating, self-supporting vegan island, protected by impenetrable dolphin bubbles and a ferocious guard of mermaids. (Once non-vegans have vacated or been forced off the island, of course.) Those on the mainland US can gain entry to vegan island via airlifting if they can prove at least five years of unwavering vegan compliance.

Polar bears make the long trek from Alaska to Washington, DC, where they riot in the Rose Garden before breaking into the Oval Office and forcing all occupants into the icy Potomac, which will embolden a citizen-led revolt that dismantles the entire US government. In the months that follow, the White House lawn becomes an edible garden that is free to the public and the White House is turned into the People’s History Museum of the United States, based on Howard Zinn’s book.

A bad season of medjool dates sends shockwaves through the raw foods world, meaning raw foods chefs and restaurants must develop new recipes for every dessert from “caramel” to “brownies.”

David “Avocado” Wolfe develops a rare but acute repetitive strain injury when posting his 43rd chakra meme of the day, which results in him having a mental breakdown, renouncing his former name and re-emerging in 2019 as David “Churros” Wolfe.

Expect fermented skincare lines to trend.

A portal to another dimension on the space-time continuum is discovered in the Encino, CA Veggie Grill freezer.

After an outbreak of Yellow Sinus Disease is discovered among far-flung nutritional yeast users, the CDC releases an emergency public education campaign about the dangers of sniffing “nooch,” starring Joaquin Phoenix. This doubles as court-mandated community service for Mr. Phoenix.

The biggest basic cable breakthrough hit of 2018 will be a semi-scripted Bravo reality series following the chaotic lives and messy love triangles of the young and usually intoxicated waitstaff at Champs Diner in Brooklyn.

A shuttered vegan restaurant in Queensland, Australia is discovered to be a site of paranormal activity, where spectral forms can be observed wailing about burnt coconut bacon in the kitchen and slump-shouldered, orange-handed ghosts are seen peeling endless buckets of carrots.

In 2018, you will learn that “aquafaba” never really happened, it was just a very vivid collective dream.

Tofu becomes the trendy substitute for tofu.

PETA abandons its original mission and enters the direct-to-video adult film industry. 

Vegan wedding trends of 2018: Ice cube food; artisan, cold-pressed kale juice bonbons in mushroom “leather” boxes; designated “sober rooms,” where teetotalers have a safe haven for openly mocking inebriated, meat-eating guests; virtual reality headsets for all guests, giving them disturbingly realistic tours of slaughterhouses before the wedding meal.

Hottest home kitchen gadget: Bloody Well Done. With consumer demand stoked by the new “bleeding” vegan burgers (like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger), this new gadget will make it possible for any home cook to create a bleeding veggie patty or even nugget through the latest in injectable nano-technologies.

Hottest app: The new +25, a filter technology that makes all your food photos appear at least 25% healthier than they were.

Hottest consumer gadget: The Flavor Extractor. Like to eat out but want to avoid anything that could add flavor - and calories - to your meal? Flavor extractors will allow diners to discreetly remove salt, oil and sweeteners from food and leave them with the most utterly plain food possible.

Biggest flop: A billion-dollar Silicon Valley-based vegan food tech startup goes bankrupt when its product reaches stores and investors learn the hard way that no one really missed cottage cheese all that much.

What do you predict for the year ahead? 
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Ninth Annual Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet



A 
is for Arguments in vegan Facebook groups - Is sugar vegan? Of course it’s not! Neither is oil. Neither is cooked food. What about GMOs? - on vegan Facebook pages that continue for weeks and have 8,019 comments and 14,067 GIF reactions last you checked.

B 
is for the Bones collected on someone’s plate at a business lunch that make you want to cry, puke and flee the premises all at the same time. 

C 
is for the Co-worker who uses the microwave to cook fish. Who does this??? Word to the wise: even flesh-eaters think you’re gross and inconsiderate.   

D 
is for the Distance that is between you and the nearest all-vegan Indian buffet is always too far. 

E 
is for “Extremists.” Really, you want to call vegans extremists when you are literally feasting on the bodies of feeling animals who were brought into existence for the sole purpose of being eaten while young? When you are consuming the reproductive byproducts of forcibly orphaned babies? Vegans are extremists? Mmmkay...  

F 
is for Fake foods. Okay, you call vegan proteins “fake” when you’re eating dead animals that have had their heads, organs, feathers and skin removed, blood drained, have been dipped in acid baths to kill bacteria and are wrapped in plastic? Sure, tofu and seasoned wheat gluten is all kinds of fake. 

G 
is for Golly, you want me to apologize because you feel Guilty? How long are you willing to wait? 

H 
is for Hitler was not a vegetarian, actually, and if playing that card is a way for you to justify your meat-eating - and imply that vegans are a bunch of mass-murdering dictators at heart apparently - I raise you Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Josef Stalin and on and on through the ages, all meat-eaters. (Like Hitler). 

I 
is for the Inkling that your server wasn’t listening when you ordered is proven correct when your meal arrives with chicken pieces on it. 

J is for the Jokers who bring a bag of tortilla chips to the vegan potluck and fill their plates with ALLLLLLL the food like they just ended a two-week fast. 

K 
is for the Keyboard warriors in their parents’ basements who have devolved to only speaking in GIF form now with their anti-vegan arguments. And I thought you were lazy when you just randomly shouted “MMM...BACON” all the time. 

L 
is for the Last item on the ingredient panel being whey or milk powder.

M 
is for the Morgue you have to see and/or smell in the grocery store when the meat counter is close to anything you need.  

N 
is for the New vegan burger everyone is so excited to try being served at a national chain on non-vegan buns with dairy cheese because someone hates us. Who advised you???

is for Om, yeah, but I’m giving your spiritual practice the side-eye if you eat other animals because Deepak Chopra or some other “guru” says it’s okay. You can’t meditate that senseless violence away. Namaste. 

is for “Plants feel pain.” Really? After almost 23 years of hearing this, I would pay for someone to give me a thoughtful and coherent - or at least original - argument against veganism at this point.

is for the Quest for a vegan partner on a dating site has netted one pescatarian, two reducetarians and one former-vegan-turned-Paleo.  

R 
is for Raw foodists on Youtube who make all the other vegans look like obsessive flakes. Please, I beg of you, stop talking about how menstruation is a sign of a toxic body. Stop talking about your armpit hair, too. I shouldn’t have to say this. Yet...

S 
is for Sardonic detachment is my resting state now.   

T 
is for Trendy, annoying people with huge social media platforms who try veganism on one day and discard it the next like last year’s fashions. Not today, Seitan.

is for the Uncle who sits next to you at Thanksgiving and talks about the article he read that said bacon lowers your cholesterol. By the way, can you water his plants when he’s getting the new stent put in? 

is for the Verbose individual sitting next to you on the three-hour flight who sees your vegan button and decides to tell you all about how bone broth has changed her life. 

W 
is for Wandering the whole food court for 30 minutes and ending up with a plain baked potato and some looks of bewilderment and pity. 

X 
is for the xylitol-sweetened, rice flour muffin that could double as a hockey puck being the only vegan option your local bakery offers AND the message they’re sending into the world about what vegan food tastes like. 

Y 
is for Yodeling shepherds and shepherdesses are not responsible for your pricey sheep’s milk cheese, I don’t care how much you buy into the humane myth. 

Z 
is for Zeal because, honestly, vegans are a passionate bunch. Should we be boring instead? 

Friday, December 15, 2017

10 Questions: Vegan Rockstars with the Vegan Voyagers




Hayden and Aaron Hall, the Vegan Voyagers, are a recently married couple of vegan advocates who are on an exciting new adventure: traveling the US in an RV with their five cats, dog, and silkie chicken (Brienne of Tarth inspired by Game of Thrones). The Hall’s goal is to visit every state, every National Park, and eat at as many vegan restaurants as possible. Hey, that’s my goal, too!

With backgrounds working in a variety of roles at large animal rights and protection organizations, Hayden now works as the Grassroots Campaign Manager at FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) and Aaron, previously with Sea Shepard, now does contract work for animal rescue organizations in addition to working as a smarty developer guy. Taking their show on the road, the Halls are able to work remotely while enjoying the burgeoning vegan scene across the country. I am happy to feature
the Vegan Voyagers as this week’s Vegan Rock Stars.

1. First of all, we’d love to hear your “vegan evolution” story. How did you start out? Did you have any early influences or experiences as a young person that in retrospect helped to pave your path?

In college, one of Hayden’s professors was a vegan and taught a class called “Religion and Animals” which discussed the way different religions treat animals. We read a book called Next of Kin by Roger Fouts about a chimpanzee named Washoe who spoke ASL. Hayden made the connection that you can’t love one animal and eat the other, so she started cutting out specific meat products; pork, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and finally cheese. Giving up cheese was the most difficult part of her journey, but she landed a job as a Campaigner at PETA in October of 2010 and never looked back.

Aaron grew up in the Midwest and was raised in a “meat and potatoes” environment, however, that all changed when he turned 30.  One day, while watching TV he had his “A-HA” moment where everything clicked and he realized that it was hypocritical to fight for one animal, but eat another. Over the next six months, he started transitioning to vegetarianism with the intent of going vegan. He finally committed to veganism on January 17, 2014 while on campaign in Taiji, Japan after witnessing the dolphin slaughter first-hand. Right then and there, he vowed to never consume any animal products from that day forward.

2. Imagine that you are pre-vegan again: how could someone have talked to you and what could they have said or shown you that could have been the most effective way to have a positive influence on you moving toward veganism?

Finding a way to make the conversation relatable to a person’s life seems to be the most impactful way to get someone thinking. Would someone be more impacted by the cruelty, the health benefits/ effects, or the environment argument for being vegan?  It’s very easy to get in the mindset of “that doesn’t affect me, I’m not physically killing them for food, clothes, etc.” Showing people the pathway to connect the dots is a far better way to reach someone than just showing them photos of slaughterhouses and memes.  But if you can’t reach them that way, then we recommend they watch Earthlings, also known as, the vegan maker.

3. What have you found to be the most effective way to communicate your message as a vegan? For example, humor, passion, images, etc.?

Food plays a huge role in our lives and we think showing people that you can travel anywhere and still find delicious vegan food is our most effective way to communicate our message.  Taking photos of all of the food we come across seems to inspire and resonate with people.  We’ve also tried putting out photos of our own food so that we can show you can make healthy and delicious vegan meals at home.

4. What do you think are the biggest strengths of the vegan movement?

Right now, the momentum is definitely on our side.  With the younger millennial generation and generation Z, we are seeing an incredible growth within the vegan movement.  These kids are the future and so it’s inspiring to see so many of them picking up the torch. There have also been huge strides in plant-based products, including the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger. We were lucky enough to catch the Beyond Burger at TGI Friday’s in Massachusetts during its short run there. It’s important for us to patronize these restaurants to show that there is a demand for vegan food at major chain restaurants.

5. What do you think are our biggest hindrances to getting the word out effectively?

Unfortunately, some people completely shut down when they hear the word “vegan.”  You can almost see their eyes glaze over at the mere mention of the word.  People are so stuck in their beliefs, so you really have to get creative to get your ideas across to them.  There’s also a LOT of in fighting amongst animal rights and vegan activists.  We have to remember that we’re doing this for the animals and it doesn’t matter if you wear a specific logo or volunteer for a specific organization, we’re all in this together and fighting for the same cause.

6. All of us need a “why vegan” elevator pitch. We’d love to hear yours.

With all of the new products available on the market, it’s easier than ever to be vegan!  There is no reason not to give it a try when there is a vegan version of pretty much everything that you would want to eat.  Even if you only do things like Meatless Mondays or one vegan meal a week, you’re making a huge difference. Every little bit helps!

7. Who are the people and what are the books, films, websites and organizations that have had the greatest influence on your veganism and your continuing evolution?

Hayden has worked for PETA, Sea Shepherd, and currently at FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) and Aaron also worked at Sea Shepherd. We’ve has seen nearly every documentary and YouTube video about the horrors of factory farms, some of the most impactful include Earthlings, The Cove, & Meet Your Meat. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to see where their food comes from, so it’s important to have many avenues that get the message out there. One of Hayden’s favorite books is Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin. There’s also a version geared towards men, called Skinny Bastard.

8. Burn-out is so common among vegans: what do you do to unwind, recharge and inspire yourself?

Because we travel full-time in an RV, we have lots of opportunity to “get away from it all” and explore nature. We love photography and just got a new drone to bring more depth to our YouTube videos. We also enjoy spending time with rescued animals at sanctuaries, especially goats! They’ve found a special spot in our hearts! Plus, our 5 cats, dog, and silkie chicken help to reaffirm why we are vegan.

9. What is the issue nearest and dearest to your heart that you would like others to know more about?

The issues nearest and dearest to our hearts would be anything that has to do with marine mammals, specifically whales and dolphins.  They are some of the smartest beings on the planet and the abuse that they receive at the hands of humans is absolutely awful.  Watching an entire pod of dolphins go from swimming free in the ocean to being forcefully herded into a cove, having a few selected for a lifetime of captivity and the rest slaughtered for meat consumption is something that will never leave Aaron, it was a truly life changing experience.

10. Please finish this sentence: “To me, being vegan is...”

… AHIMSA: to do no harm.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

First I ruined Thanksgiving...



Welcome!

First, an introduction. I am the one who created the infamous Brussels Sprouts Sliders. Did you think I would stop at ruining Thanksgiving with my green buns of tiny cabbages forged on corner of I-HATE-AMERICA and Bitter Feminist Witchery? Please. I believe in being straightforward so I will tell you that it's not over, not by a long shot. I am now coming for your:


Whiteness

Pottery Barns
Classic rock
Hackneyed GIFs
Heteronormativity
Patriarchy
Football
Pumpkin spice
Targets
Neutral tones
Passive-Aggression
Will Farrell movies
Bacon - well, all meat but especially bacon
iPhone filters
Capitalism
Inspo Pinterest boards
Racist assholes
Coffee foam
RomComs
Cheese
Sports bars
Personalized Starbucks drinks
Cheesecake Factories
Non-vegan brunches
Gender reveal parties
American Apparel
Bath bombs
Foam fingers
Froyo
Paneras
Victoria’s Secret two-for-one coupons
Favorite episodes of "Seinfeld," "Friends" and "Entourage"
George Clooney movies
"Legally Blonde," "Mean Girls," "Office Space" and "Anchorman" quotes – memes, too.
Man buns
The word “bro”
Bro culture – oh, dudes, I'm going hard against that
Fitness trackers
Matt Lauers

Abercrombie and Fitch
Your stupid Chipotle “secret” menu

You can see the coverage at Eater, People Magazine, Buzzfeed, Refinery 29, Food52 (award for most pretentious article), Country Living, PopSugar, Bravo TV (et tu, Bravo?), LA Times, Daily Mail, The Kitchn, Grub Street, Daily Break, AMNY, Fox News, Today.

The Brussels Sprouts Sliders were just my opening salvo. Feeling anxious yet? You should be.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Here Are Literally 50 Main Dishes You Can Eat Instead of Turkey This Thanksgiving


For the Thanksgiving holiday alone in the US, more than 45 million sensitive, smart turkeys that have been intentionally and sadistically bred for disabled, painful and short lifespans will be killed for meals in households across the country. Because somehow eating a turkey carcass reminds us to be grateful? Well, this year, I am grateful that there are more options than ever that are delicious and do not require anyone’s suffering and death. Is cooking not for you? Check out the last ten. 

1. Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf 

2. Sauteed Seitan-Stuffed Filo Purse


3. Tofu Turkey


4. Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad


5. Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew


6. One-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie 

7. Apple, Feel and Sage Lentil Loaf


8. Sumac Ginger Tofu, Quinoa, Broccoli and Mushrooms


9. Seitan Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Mushrooms


10. Pumpkin-Pecan Crusted Tempeh 





11. Seitan Roast with Shiitakes and Leeks


12. Citrus and Garlic Basted Holiday Roast


13. Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf


14. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie


15. Thanksgiving Nut Loaf


16. Creamy Pumpkin Penne


17. Mushroom Onion Tart with Goat Cheeze


18. Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberry


19. Mushroom and Stout Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust


20. Roasted Squash with Shallots, Grapes and Sage




21. Herbed Nut Roast with Mushroom Gravy


22. Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice Salad


23. Maple Glazed Tempeh, Squash and Brussels Sprouts


24. Potato and Portobello Mushroom Gratin


25. Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie


26. Pueblo Corn Pie


27. “Three Sisters” Stew


28. Pumpkin and Sage Risotto


29. Smoky Mac-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


30. Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew






31. Seitan Roast En Croute


32. Festive Chickpea Tart


33. Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Makhani Sauce


34. No-Fu Lentil Loaf


35. The Whole Shebang Vegan Thanksgiving Roast


36. Savory Holiday Pie


37. Lentil Loaf


38. Vegan Turkey with Crispy Skin


39. Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash






Don’t like to cook? Check these out…


40. Tofurky Holiday Roast


41. Gardein Holiday Roast


42. Native Foods Native Wellington


43. Field Roast Celebration Roast


44. Vegetarian Plus Vegan Whole Turkey

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Final Word on Health



With the rise of smartphones and the newly formed habit of humanity documenting our lives via pictures posted on social media platforms, our species had figured out yet another novel way to aggravate and torment one another: judging and shaming strangers from a distance. No subject is off limits but very often it’s about the health, body size, food choices and morality we can assume about one another based on those posted pictures.

Let’s look at just food photos and assume that we’re talking about ones that document vegan food. Here’s no need to argue about the ethics of eating animals because I am just talking about vegan food here. As much as some vegans say that omnivores are always attacking them, my observations lead me to believe that vegans attack from within just as often if not more. There are various ways that vegans make assumptions about and attack one another in the public square of social media using just food photos as the springboard.

One way we do that is to assume that a picture of one meal is indicative of that person’s entire diet. (Not that it is anyone else’s business if it is.) Another way is to issue random opinions on the healthfulness or lack thereof on social media shares where that opinion wasn’t solicited. Yet another way that we issue create a hostile environment around food is asking a fusillade of questions – some clearly “gotcha” style – or by blurting out shaming opinions about innocuous food posts: “Is it gluten-free?” “Is it GMO?” “Yikes, look at the sodium content!” “I don’t eat processed foods.” (Um, did anyone ask? And yes you do eat processed food.) I see this happening on vegan Facebook pages all the time. And there is yet another way that we feed into an environment of hostility and competition about food, one that I have seen creeping up a lot these days. It is acting as the arbiter of what is and is not the healthiest way to live as a vegan. No wonder people just exploring veganism are intimidated: they will post a picture of an ingredient’s panel, asking if it’s vegan, and an hour later, they’ll have 2,013 opinions – often very combative ones – on the ingredients that have nothing to go with veganism.

Let’s see the people they may encounter. We have:

* Vegan A, who claims that eating mono-meals of fruit is the ideal diet. Consuming massive amounts of bananas, mangoes, watermelons, dates and papayas is advised. If you’re not eating only fruit, you’re killing yourself! Or we have…
* Vegan B, who claims that Vegan A is wrong. Don’t just eat fruit: as long as you are a raw foodist, that is enough and that is the ideal diet. If you don’t cook anything over 104 degrees, you will be the eating the healthiest diet. If you’re not a raw foodist, you’re killing yourself! And we have…
* Vegan C, who claims that Vegans A and B has it all wrong. Vegan A isn’t eating enough variety and Vegan B’s diet is too high-fat with all the nuts, seeds and avocados. The true ideal vegan diet is high-carb, with lots of potatoes, beans and rice but very limited fat. If you’re not a high-carb vegan, you’re killing yourself! But don’t forget about…
* Vegan D, who claims that Vegans A, B, and C are all wrong because what you really need to do is limit carbs – simple and complex – to be the healthiest vegan. If you’re not a low-carb vegan, you’re killing yourself! Vegans A, B, and C are totally wrong. And, of course, we will return to...
* Vegan A, who claims that D is very wrong, as well and B and C, of course. Also: you’re killing yourself!

Be forewarned: vegans A - D will have ample proof and “proof” to back up their claims and they will post – again without solicitation – copious links to random websites, two-hour long videos you’re expected to watch, articles, memes, personal testimonials and on and on and on to make their case. If you don’t read their lengthy articles or watch their long, poorly produced videos, they will say, “Did you even look at the link???” They will often say that you can do what you like, but they are interested in being “healthy” vegans.

This is why I am wary of people who claim to be “healthy” vegans: while one person thrives as a raw foodist, another does not, whereas someone else can load up on grains and potatoes and feel great while another feels awful with an emphasis on carbs. The fact is, no one has the final word on what constitutes “healthy;” it really does come down to how individuals do best. Some of us do just fine as regular ol’ vegans and haven’t asked for opinions.

The conceit that there is one way to be a healthy vegan is just that: a conceit. Implying that you have the insider knowledge on being bulletproof is solipsistic, dishonest and presented on the wobbly platform of confirmation bias. None of us knows the ideal vegan diet for someone else and we need to stop acting like we do. Vegans creating a hostile and obnoxious environment around animal-free food is probably the worst thing we can do to the beings who so desperately need positive and effective advocacy on their behalf.

PS - Could we mind our own business unless asked for our opinions? That would be fab!