recipes

How to celebrate a kinder Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a beautiful opportunity to celebrate peace, kindness—and turkeys. Each year, I try to find a way to celebrate compassion on this special day. Last year, I joined Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary at the Celebration for the Turkeys in downtown San Francisco. This year, I plan to share an array of delicious homemade vegan dishes with my family and friends.

Though some people may give you a strange look when you mention you plan to celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving, keep in mind you’re in good company: Beyoncé, Russell Brand, Ellen Degeneres, Liam Hemsworth, Jared Leto, Alicia Silverstone, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood and Kat Von D will be enjoying a cruelty-free Thanksgiving, too.

But that doesn’t make it any easier when it comes to planning a menu that will impress even the most ardent carnivore. Here’s what I’ve decided to prepare for tomorrow …

How to ensure an animal-friendly Thanksgiving

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) …

Easiest homemade dog treats

I was in the kitchen the other day whipping up a gluten- and dairy-free meal for my family when it occurred to me: Shouldn’t I also be cooking up some healthy treats for our dog, Mystic? After all, the dog snacks you buy in stores have the same problems as the prepackaged foods we humans often buy for ourselves: dyes, preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients.

Homemade dog treats, on the other hand, are healthier, made from wholesome ingredients, and …

What’s your favorite cookbook?

Historically speaking, I never really enjoyed cooking (unless it was homemade chocolate-chip cookies!). But recently—since changing my diet to include mostly vegan and gluten-free meals—I haven’t really had a choice. I’ve been cooking vegetarian for so many years, but I always paired the veggies with pasta, cheese and breads. After going vegan and gluten-free, I wondered, could I survive on lettuce alone? And secondly, what was I going to eat, anyway?

A total rethinking of my go-to cookbooks was in order. So after much Googling, talking to friends and testing in my own home kitchen, I’ve settled upon my top three veg cookbooks. Here they are, plus four more I can’t wait to try!

1. Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi: Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant in Notting Hill is my favorite place in London! That’s where I first discovered his mouthwatering vegetarian dishes …

Can a daily green smoothie transform your life?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes! While going through radiation treatments a year ago for my second bout of cancer, I decided to completely overhaul my diet. Part of that meant getting more greens than I ever had before. The easiest way to do that? Blend ’em up into a tasty green smoothie.

I’m feeling more energetic than ever and enjoying my new eating habits. But I’m not the only one realizing the raw power of a simple green smoothie. A 2014 documentary by author, entrepreneur and natural health aficionado Sergei Boutenko, called Powered by Green Smoothies, examined the effects of one quart of green smoothies per day on marathon runners and CrossFitters. The results? Nothing short of amazing: fewer aches and pains and speedier recovery times.

Some have taken this idea even further: Can changing your diet change the world—and extend your life? …

Holiday traditions (the vegetarian kind)

I became a vegetarian in 1987. That was … 28 years ago, woah! It was my freshman year at Berkeley, and I attended the Berkeley Animal Liberation Front’s “film night” and watched a movie about factory farming. Needless to say, I lost my taste for hamburgers on the spot!

Of course, going vegetarian presents some immediate problems–especially during the holidays. If you’re a vegetarian like me, you know what I mean. For instance, every year on Christmas Eve my family serves salami slices and cooks up traditional German sausage from a special meat market in Fresno, California. Then, the next morning, they fry up eggs in the sausage grease. And consider Thanksgiving: When I first became a vegetarian, while everyone else was gorging on turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and “in-the-bird” stuffing, I was left with plain potatoes and steamed veggies and maybe a soft bread roll. Not exactly my idea of a feast. …