Can I confess something to you? I am a foodie. No, really: I love great food. Not good food, superb food! As I have transitioned my diet into a “mostly” vegan one (and gluten-free), many of my friends have said to me, “Oh good for you, but I could never do it! I just love ____ too much!” (Fill in the blank with your favorite dairy, meat or wheat-inspired food.)
I want to share with you that, yes, it takes some exploring and learning new ways to cook. And yes, it’s not always easy to find things to eat out at restaurants. But I am so blessed to live near one of the world’s yummiest cities in the world: San Francisco. Just a short drive from where I live, I have found a blissful vegan’s paradise …
I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner! This day truly is one of my favorite holidays, even though I gave up eating meat decades ago. That’s because Thanksgiving really isn’t about a specific menu; the day represents enjoying the company of friends, family and loved ones. But how can we celebrate animals next week when we are surrounded by well-intentioned meat-eaters? Here are a few tips to help you not just survive the day, but even enjoy it (and make it as animal-friendly as possible):
1. Show off your bounty. If you are the one hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, lucky you! Move over, Tofurkey: There are so many wonderful options for a Thanksgiving feast, how does one choose? This article rounds up awesome recipes, such as Squash and Apple Puree (which looks delish!) and Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Chimichurri and Almonds. Oh She Glows, one of my favorite sites, shares a whole host of inspiring dishes, including Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Avocado Garlic Aioli and Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding Cake. And don’t miss One Green Planet’s “25 Soups, Salads and Starters for Your Vegan Thanksgiving.” (The Buffalo Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms look amazing!) Of course, if cooking’s not your thing, consider catering a few courses from Whole Foods or your local vegetarian restaurant. I promise you: No one is even going to miss the meat.
I don’t know about you, but when winter sets in, along with colder, darker days, I like to think about planning a fun future trip. (Even if I don’t book anything, it’s fun to research!) So when I started looking into vacations for the animal lover, wow, I uncovered some of the most absolutely amazing experiences in all corners in the world. I’m grateful in my life to have the opportunity and ability to travel if and when I need to. With that in mind, here are five things I’m feeling gratitude for today …
1. Amazing (animal-friendly) vacations for animal lovers: One of these I’ve done: Best Friends Animal Society. (Totally recommended!) But that’s just a start … how about visiting the rescued farm animals of Catskill Animal Sanctuary while exploring their amazing vegan cooking classes and even staying on site? How about riding horses in Iceland! Or touring the Kangaroo Sanctuary at sunset in Australia, going “wolf howling” in Minnesota, sleeping with sloths at Costa Rica’s Sloth Sanctuary B&B, attending the Golden Retriever festival in Scotland, dining with giraffes in Kenya, sharing the beach with wild horses in Maryland, or visiting Japan’s famous bunny-covered island? And more! Links here, here and here.
2. The special bonds between shelter pets and adopted kids: This heartful essay by adoptee Lisa Bernier shares the science (and emotions) behind the deep connections shared by adopted and foster children with their adopted shelter pets. It’s just one more reason to consider adopting from a shelter and not a breeder or pet store.
3. My Friend: Changing the Journey: I can’t wait to watch this ground-breaking documentary from the CLEAR Foundation, a nonprofit focused on canine lymphoma education, prevention and treatment. The film was recently awarded Best Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Movie Awards. Unfortunately, too many of us have been affected by our animal friends suffering from cancer.
4. This new PBS series looks interesting: Earth: A New Wild, premiering February 4. Hosted by a conservation scientist, each episode will look at how humankind and animals depend on one another and uncover ways in which we can all live in unity.
5. And for the sports fan: This Sunday is, of course, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI! Featuring goat cheerleaders, a pregame show and a Kitty Halftime Show, this yearly tradition is not to be missed.
What are you grateful for this weekend?
Why is it that all the beautiful handbags are made of leather? And often, if it’s not made of leather, it looks cheap or unfashionable. No longer: Meet chic new fashion label Freedom of Animals, which produces 100 percent green and cruelty-free luxury handbags. Their elegant white-and-black PETA X Freedom of Animals Ina Tote, in particular, donates 20 percent of proceeds of each sale to PETA. Elle.com recently interviewed the founders for their thoughts on their inspiration, why sustainable fashion still lags behind, and their hopes for fashion’s future.
Luckily, cruelty-free design, while still not ubiquitous, is gaining its cool factor and becoming easier to find than ever before. Here, Care2 offers a list of 12 animal-friendly clothing companies and retailers that have pledged not to sell fur. Those down feathers in your winter jacket? Another story altogether: Animals usually suffer as the down is harvested for fashion. But leader Patagonia has promised its down is “100 percent traceable,” a weighty goal North Face won’t achieve for two more years. Those looking for animal-friendly fashions can check out PETA’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing.