Hope for the future

Earlier this week I came home from work, and my 11 year old daughter was in tears. “Mom, is is true they cut off the chicken’s beaks?” She had seen one of my Veg subscriptions. She was truly distraught, and then so angry. “We’ve got to stop them from hurting the animals!”

With childhood innocence, her belief is that justice can prevail and bad guys will be stopped. When the truth is, WE are the bad guys. The factory farms exist because of our huge population’s insatiable need for cheap meat, and demanding it several times a day. We don’t want to know how the sausage is made, we just want our $1.50 jumbo hot dog from Costco, and to be able to go to 24 hour fast food and get a tub of fried chicken parts for under $5.

I don’t have the heart to tell her that although the animals live, shortened painful, miserable lives, there truly exists karma. In the form of resistance to antibiotics, heart disease, cancer, environmental waste, climate change. Eventually we will wish we hadn’t used quite so much of the water in the Aquifers for cattle, and corn to feed cattle. The suffering for us will happen later, probably in her lifetime. And that makes me feel hopeless sometimes. The song “How can we sleep when our beds are burning?” running through my head.

I can’t get too hopeless however, since that renders me useless. We all need to do what we can. If everyone could cut back on meat, it would make more of a difference than a small percentage going completely vegetarian. Even one meal a day, or one day a week.

In the end, we’re like the titanic heading for the iceberg on a course that we can’t really change at this point. But, instead of accelerating and going full speed ahead, let’s apply the brakes and coast as slowly as we can. If by not eating meat at every meal, or every day, can give our children a better future, let’s do it. Read that link on the aquifers and think about the difference that makes to your children if it dries up in 2050 or 2070. Change is coming, pay attention.

Now, I am going to go out and enjoy this unnaturally dry and sunny winter weather with my family. I hope that the rains will return, and the storms that ravage other parts of the country will mellow out, but know that this is just a glimpse of our future. And while, my daughter may be sad for the animals, we are all linked together on this earth.



What’s a veggie kid to do?

Today I went into the school to add money to my son’s lunch debit card. Yes, things have changed since my day when you brought a nickel or whatever. I actually think the milk cost a nickel back in my day. A school lunch today now costs $2.60 at our school.

Anyway, my son really wanted the brunch for lunch option they are serving today, even though we usually pack his lunch. We pack his lunch because I think it is healthier food, but also because most days the entrée is meat except for meatless Monday schedule.

I asked the woman in charge of the cafeteria about the lack of veggie options as today’s lunch is pancake with sausage. Her advice? “well, he can just not eat the sausage”. That just doesn’t seem like the fair way to accommodate, you know? Just eat half your lunch.

I know she doesn’t create the meal plan, but I do think it is an issue to address. Everyone wants more veggies for children. Instead of making a pre-packaged white bread pb and j sandwich the fall back choice for kids who don’t eat meat, why not make an equally good vegetarian option? There are other ways to include protein in the meals. In fact, we are now eating twice as much meat as we did 40 years ago, so cutting back consumption should not be difficult.

I’m probably not going to make the school lunches my biggest issue, although I can see that reducing meat in schools could have a large impact. Our family is fortunate that we can send our son to school with a lunch we made at home, although those needing to use the free lunch option, do not have that luxury.

These posts are not a “my way or the highway” type of attitude. It is more about making adjustments that will benefit everyone’s lives for the future. We are talking about sending chicken to China and back for processing. Time to make adjustments. Eat meat if you want, but leave options for those of us who are trying to lessen the impact on the environment and the animals. Or, give a choice for those who might otherwise try a veggie option if it was more appealing.


Veg Fest tomorrow…

Looking forward to checking it out this year. I hope I can catch a speaker. I really wanted to be a sponsor, or exhibitor this year, but realistically that would have been very, very difficult. I need to keep learning, because my go-to meal lately has been steamed vegetables. And Jonathan’s is rice and beans. We need to step it up…

Boycott Chicken- I’m serious.

I’ve done a lot of research about factory farming, but this article really shocked me, and saddened me.

I saw this, not through PETA or Mercy for Animals. This is for the general public, consumers. When is enough, enough? When do we say- this is not tolerable? No one seems to give the meat industry grief when they serve up 87% of their chicken as contaminated with e-coli. No one cares that the chicken are living in cruel, deplorable settings. We’re fine with the preventative antibiotics in their feed that are creating immunity to antibiotics for us. It’s okay for them to pump them full of solution to add weight (fecal broth), and then to pay for that additional weight.

Now, they are sending these miserable slaughtered, diseased carcasses to CHINA to be processed, and then shipped back to us. I guess since we have created such a very high demand for meat (mind you, far exceeding just population rise), that we no longer can manage it over here. The devastating impact to the environment caused by the slaughterhouses are now compounded by shipping meat overseas- round trip!
What could go wrong? Stop eating chicken. Just for awhile- let’s say one month. Send the message to the USDA that consumers do not approve. And we will not condone this. Chicken is actually rated the very worst as far as risky meats already.

Once the chicken industry sees that it is not in charge, the other producers can take notice as well.  If not- well, what else can they do that would make you take action? Seriously?

More Portland vegan favorites…

Continuing from yesterday’s reviews…

I just had an amazing Ethiopian vegan meal at one of the many trendy food carts. Dalo’s Ethiopian Kitchen  (they have a brick and mortar one) is not completely vegan, but Ethiopian food does have excellent naturally vegan food. Their #7 vegan platter is amazing and comes with spicy lentils, some cabbage/potato dish, a LOT of spinach, and something else delicious served on injera bread (which happens to be gluten free by the way), with a second injera rolled up on top. You get this very filling, large, healthy (not oily) meal for $5! Both times I ordered it, I told myself I would not eat the whole thing. Guess what happened each time? Check them out on SE MLK and Stark!

Another place that deserves a mention for being mostly vegan, is Vita Cafe on Alberta and 30th. I got such a great salad there, and you can bring your omnivorous friends to have the “fake meat” like tofu fish sandwich or chicken fried “steak”. Really inexpensive, especially if you go between 5-7pm, kids eat off the kid’s menu for only $1!

For desserts or cafe/bakery fare I go to Sweetpea Bakery on Stark and 12th, the vegan strip. Pop into Herbivore for some new clothes and cookbooks, Food Fight has everything vegan, but much more expensive than Fred Meyer for same items, so I don’t shop there. I’ve bought 3 birthday cakes from Sweetpea. The first one was my favorite- peanut butter. The cakes weight about 20 pounds and cost $40, but it was so good, you could have those “I can’t believe it’s vegan” moments- except maybe that it was so dense. I did not care for the banana cake one. They also sell sandwiches and baked treats/ I had a very good quiche that was made out of tofu there.

A good breakfast spot (although I have only been once and need to go back) is A.N.D. cafe on Burnside and maybe NE 54th or so. Sadly, they picked a name that is almost impossible to google unless you use the periods. I had a great breakfast that served tofu “eggs” in a hashbrown nest. They had some delicious whole food items on their menu. I need to go back!

I think I may have a few more places tomorrow…


Posted today! Portland vegan favorites.

Just in the nick of time, I posted. Does anyone else’s kids stay up till 11pm on a school night? I have been spending way too much time thinking and planning our November trip to Japan, and not enough time on vegan projects. Luckily I have a great designer on staff who is helping move the eat-less-meat website along. It is exciting to see it take shape.

Okay, so for vegan content, here is my list of my favorite Portland Vegan restaurants:

Blossoming Lotus– This tiny little restaurant off Broadway on 15th in Irvington has fresh, delicious food, and beautiful presentation. Lunch is the best. Always a crowd, put your name on the list and get there early. I really like their nachos and pizza, and beet salad. If you want an introduction to “raw” food, this will make you love it.

Canteen– LOVE! This little boxy place on 28th and Stark has amazing juices and bowls. I think my favorite is the Portland Bowl. Their quinoa confetti salad is amazing too. If I could just figure out their sauces, I might start cooking again. My mom likes me to take her here and she gets the Southern Bowl which I believe could fool most meat-eaters, and she marvels at the plethora of tattoos of all the clientele and staff.

Portabello– Only have been here once, but it was pretty divine. A little spot on Division near 11th that you really should make reservations for. Otherwise, get there early to get a table or it will be an hour wait. There is a beer place next door, so you could hang out. We went there for date night and I can’t remember specifically what we ordered, but it was amazing. Seeing how busy these places are, I am surprised there aren’t more of them!

Sweet Hereafter – This funky bar on Belmont is worth going to strictly for their signature cocktail served in a mason jar. They have some yummy bistro food like a tofu bahn mi, and really good buffalo “chicken” sandwich made of soy curls. If you want to go the healthy route, there are bowls too. It is a mix of hipsters and not-so-hipsters (like myself). It’s not a romantic, talking type of bar- the music is really loud and you’ve got table mates, but I do like their drinks!

I have more recommendations coming, these are just my very top picks!



Bejitarian desu.

Apparently this is how you say, “I’m a vegetarian” in Japanese. As you may be able to tell, vegetarian is a foreign word to them and doesn’t seem to have a Japanese equivalent. I tried to translate “I’m a vegan” and there was no option for that.

From what I understand, vegetarianism is very uncommon. Many times when you utter that phrase, you will still get a meal containing seafood, or bits of meat. Many don’t think that seafood counts, or small pieces of meat.

The reason I am researching this is because we are planning a trip to Japan in a few months. I think I might lose weight. One type of cuisine that is truly vegetarian is the Buddhist monk’s meals. So, risking looking like a pretentious American- I will try to order the monk meal when I can.

I am very, very excited about the trip. Even if it means eating rice and seaweed for a couple of weeks. Should make for some interesting food posts.

For the children

I’ll be honest, I’ve read so many articles on the environment that I really don’t see much hope for the future sometimes. I know so many kind, loving parents who don’t seem to realize that we’re setting our children up for a very harsh future. I was one of them.

My children make me want to keep trying to make a difference. They are inheriting a mess. To those who think everything is just fine… pay attention. There are X number of people and X number of resources. That’s it. Climate change is real, it’s happening, and once it reaches a certain point- it will accelerate exponentially. Eating less meat is the single biggest thing each of us can do as individuals. Factory farming is contributing more to greenhouse gases than all our transportation.

Maybe it comes down to your beliefs that it is better to indulge your right to eat as much sushi as you can at this point while it is available, rather that cut back now so that there will be fish at all in 20 years.

What makes a difference to you?

Last day of summer

School starts tomorrow and I am as bummed out as my soon to be 4th grade boy, but I don’t want to set a bad example. I tell him to focus on the Power of NOW (Eckhart Tolle book), and don’t think about the past or future and just live in the moment. I remember that I need to follow my own advice.

I’ll have some regrets that somehow we never did swimming lessons or went camping. I won’t miss spending $1,800/month or so for childcare! Thank you parents for doing 2 weeks each of “nana and p-paw” camp for free! I will not think about homework, making lunches and driving all over Portland to different schools.

The kids are vegetarian for now. They don’t really eat enough variety to only eat vegan. However, I think they will change at some point to eat less dairy and possibly eggs. If they ever find out how the dairy industry works, I think they will stop. Someone (not me) told them what was in gelatin, and they refuse to eat gummy bears even.

I know for me, every time I think about having milk or cheese, I think about the calf that was taken away from it’s mother immediately so that we could have it’s milk instead. The boy calves that are destined for beef or veal.

If I can ensure that they eat a more well-rounded diet, I would feel better about cutting the dairy out completely for their meals. It’s a slippery slope, once you start looking into things, you become committed. You are now accountable. I am sure that is why many people choose ignorance on the topic. It’s time for us all to wake up.

Hopefully inspiring posts to start tomorrow!

We’re home from our trip, and while it was very fun to share a big house with my old college friends, I came home feeling a bit demoralized with how I eat/socialize with the group and how I represent the vegan lifestyle. The challenges the world faces seem very serious and real to me, yet I don’t know how to communicate that to those around me easily. It is hard when you really want to make a difference in the world, but you can’t even do it with those close to you.

I’m in a rough food spot where I don’t really know what to eat, and am losing interest in making special meals. Seriously, I could just eat a plain cucumber and be somewhat happy. It is not the best advertisement for this lifestyle. Nor is the fact that despite cutting a lot of food out, and eating less in general, I don’t think there is noticeable weight loss.

Lastly, our stove just died, and we were planning to remodel, so the stove may be a few months away since we’re not just replacing it. This makes my go-to roasted vegetables, enchiladas and veggie pizzas, etc a thing of the past.

I have no intention of giving up. I need to get it together and find recipes that work for all of us. If I can make it more desirable, I think that can help.