Politicians and environmentalists around the globe are picking up on the harmful effects animal agriculture has on our one and only planet earth. Seeing as meat has proven to be the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction, it was only a matter of time before scientists and world leaders took note. Former President Obama, while not vegetarian, acknowledged that animal agriculture is the second leading cause of green house gas emissions at the Seeds and Chips conference this past May. “What it does mean is that we’re also going to have to find ways to produce protein in a more efficient way,” Obama shared to a room bubbling full of policy makers, scientists and investors. It sounds like Obama may need some kidney beans and tofu in his life!
Barrack Obama is just one of many politicians beginning to implement dietary changes and speak out on the environmental deterioration caused by the consumption of animal products. Barbara Hendricks, German’s Federal Administer for the Environment, recently sought out to put a ban on meat and dairy in official meetings. While Hendricks understands telling citizens what they are and are not allowed to eat is out of the questions, she believes that political leaders need to set the example.
Although Western and European countries have grown to be more meat-centric over time, countries such as India, Israel and China intake less meat on average. This has been the result of environmental, religious and health concerns. As health and environmental studies grow in number, the growth of vegetarianism and veganism is showing to be quick to follow.
Cincinnati is the place I call home, and each year it seems as if the city gets even more vegan friendly! Since leaving, my visits have led me to indulge in everything from cheesy croissant sandwiches, to “Crack ‘n’ Cheese,” to a mouth-watering raw vegan chocolate bar! My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it! Here are some of my favorite spots to help me go up a notch on my belt buckle whenever I’m in town!
Rooted: The last time I visited Cincinnati and didn’t go to Rooted was probably before I knew Rooted existed! Beyond the allure of beautiful, sleek, minimalist decor are some delicious plant-based noms that will have you craving more and feeling energized afterwards! They have a plethora of cold-pressed juices and cold case items they make in-house when you’re on the go, and a full menu of raw and hot meals when you’re dining in.Everything is vegan besides the occasional use of honey in a few juices. Some of the meals include Quesadillas with their house-made cashew cheese, raw vegan Taco Wraps, and a raw Caesar Salad. Don’t forget to finish your meal off with some raw vegan chocolates from the chocolate bar, the Twix will not disappoint!
Happy Chicks: Happy Chicks fits right into Northside, a part of Cincinnati full of record stores, antique shops and yummy food! Happy Chicks is a bakery specializing in celebration cakes, cookies and cupcakes galore, with all sorts of unique flavors. On Saturdays, the bakery sells croissant doughnuts with flavors like Strawberry Margarita and Lemongrass Matcha. They don’t only serve up delicious sweet treats, but their croissants are the best I’ve had, vegan or not. The croissants have a crunch on the outside that is the perfect start to the warm, soft, flaky pastry. Happy Chicks even makes croissant sandwiches that are out of this world (or city, at least)! Melty vegan cheese and fresh veggies sandwiched between two hot, mouth-watering croissants? I’m in!
The Kitchen Factory: The Kitchen Factory is another Northside favorite, and the perfect late night bite! The Kitchen Factory isn’t entirely vegan. but their vegan menu items could confuse a carnivore! Their vegan Meatball Marinara Sub was able to confuse me at least, who thought the sandwich was so realistic looking and tasting that I was worried I forgot to specify to make it vegan! Not to mention, I could eat a bucket of their “Crack (Mac) ‘n’ Cheese!” Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s gluten-free, with a house-made cheese sauce that could make anything taste good and penne pasta, it is every bit as glutinous and cheesy as you could dream of! They also have a vegan ricotta they make in-house for their veggie pizza, served by the slice as late as 3 am on the weekends!
Jungle Jim’s: Jungle Jim’s may not be a restaurant, but it is easily the IKEA of grocery shopping. Jungle Jim’s is filled with every food item under the sun, especially when it comes to international specialities and a vegan section you could get lost in! You can even find a little bit of Louisville with V-Grits cheeses in the vegan cheese section! Stop here to get that weird, exotic looking vegetable you’ve heard all about, four types of vegan mozzarella, or your favorite international condiments!
As much as I could get behind having the speed and strength of a lion, comparing humans to carnivorous or even omnivorous animals is like comparing apples to oranges! There are a vast amount of biological differences that keep both species thriving on completely opposing diets. Humans, for example, have hands that work well for picking fruit off trees or plucking ripe vegetables from the ground. Those same hands would probably come in short when it comes to catching prey or tearing animal flesh because we didn’t get a set of claws. Even if we did manage catch prey, not only are human teeth underwhelmingly flat like an herbivore’s, but our jaws also set us apart from any meat-thriving animal. Our jaws move from side to side to grind up fruits and veggies, unlike an omnivore’s jaws which move only up and down to tear chunks out of their prey and swallow it whole. When it comes to digesting food, our livers and stomachs create even more omnivorous road-blocks! Omnivorous and carnivorous animals have shorts colons and intestines as well as highly acidic stomachs that allow meat to digest and pass through quickly so the animals won’t get sick. Our long livers reflecting of an herbivore’s and comparatively weak stomach acidity keep our bodies from fully breaking down meat, or benefitting from it as an omnivore would. And when it comes to animal products such as milk, there could definitely be a reason that no other species on the planet besides humans consumes the milk of another species. If we no longer need the milk of our own mothers, maybe it’s time for humans to get off the cow breast milk, too!
But humans have been eating meat for hundreds of thousands of years, so can it really be that bad? Dr. Neal Bernard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, concluded that humans have never adapted to the animal-product focused diet we all have learned to crave. “To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems,” Dr. Bernard states. There might be a reason we never got the urge to bite a chunk out of our neighbor’s dog, after all!
Are “happy,” “ethical,” and “grass-fed” the trendy animal agriculture buzz words vegans have been waiting for?
Unfortunately, even if cows are fed grass of the lushest jade pastures and slept on their own personal clouds, the animal agriculture industry will infinitely be the farthest thing from happy or ethical. Humans have terrorized and abused animals so horribly and consistently that now it’s a hipster farming miracle just if the cows eat food that’s actually supposed to be in their diets. Is choosing not to feed cows to other cows really the best we can do when it comes to our treatment of our furry friends? Grass-fed and cage-free has never meant violence-free (as the rise of internet videos of these farms has led us to understand), but what are we saying about our own ethical conduct if not torturing animals before we kill and eat them is our end-all be-all? Of course not torturing animals before they’re killed is obviously better than a combination of the two, but letting animals live without being the receiving end of human violence should just be common, standard ethics rather than the phenomenon it is made out to be.
The violence used in industrialized farming is only a part of the problem. It goes without saying that the animals raised in ethically marketed farms probably will be happier and healthier in comparison to animals encaged and being fed food that’s not meant for their bodies. However, happier and healthier doesn’t mean the animals will actually be happy or healthy. Regardless of the environment or conditions of these farms, the animals are still being used as machines to pleasure a human’s taste buds. Animals in dairy and egg farming will still get diseases from being used for their bodies beyond their natural capacity, as well as have their reproductive systems damaged, immune systems deteriorating, and their children torn away from them almost immediately after they first lay eyes on them. In farms that supply meat, animals are literally bred to be killed as babies so we can eat their flesh. There is no ethical hierarchy when it comes to the treatment of animals, but we as humans can choose to do better. Not to mention, grass-fed cow farms are still not slacking on the environmental destruction, and the glass of pus-filled, cow-blood-infused milk and plates of chicken periods (eggs) is definitely not our best look!
Food chains around America are not hitting the brakes anytime soon on making plant-based gains! National fast-food Chain White Castle has teamed up with Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods once again for a second veggie burger as cheap as a can of soda! The previous zucchini, carrot and pea burger will be served up alongside the new tempting sliders made up of hearty, protein-loaded black beans, corn and red peppers. You can even top it with a sweet and spicy Thai sauce spread over a classic dairy-free White Castle bun. It’s rumored that the new sliders are just on a trial run until June 1st, so head over to White Castle and find out what all the hype is about!
Months back, the new greasy, indulgent Beyond Meat burgers hit the shelves of health food stores around the nation, and omnivores and vegans are giving it a thumbs up! Not only does this futuristic burger replicate the taste of meat like it’s seitan competitors, but it also replicates the look and smell of real beef burgers! They’re packaged showcasing their bright, raw pink color made from the eye-tricking use of “beet blood.” The burgers even smell so appalling that you know the only reason they could smell so bad would be to imitate the aroma of all the mysteries of a meat patty. Also like a beef burger, as soon as these duplicates hit a hot pan or grill, these plant-based burgers brown on the outside to leave a juicy pink center to fool the most carnivorous omnivores. At first the smell and taste were too realistic for me to enjoy, but by the third try I was jumping on the Beyond Meat bandwagon!
Beyond taste, this new product saves our loving, cuddly cow friends being completely cruelty-free, and it’s a better burger for our bodies and the planet. It’s no secret that red meat has had a not-so-helping hand in countless lethal diseases. The base of this protein-loaded (20 grams per patty) meat replacement is made up of peas, a far healthier and more sustainable product than cow meat. Just one cow burger requires 660 gallons of water, yikes! This burger has been worked on and perfected seven years in the making, and trust us, it was worth the wait!
Heine Brothers’ coffee shop has been a local Louisville favorite for years, roasting 100% organic and fair trade coffee since 1994. After breathing in the tempting aroma of espresso shots and macchiatos, plant-eaters will be happy to find a plethora of vegan options on the menu! We’re spilling the beans on delicious, animal product-free Heine Bros finds!
Vegan Heine Brothers’ Finds:
Almost any drink on the menu besides the Chaiberg and Beekeeper with the replacement of soy milk or almond milk without White Chocolate, Caramel
Cherry Almond Scone
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin
Najla’s Trail Cookies
Najla’s Philly Wraps with vegan cheese, peppers and tofu
Najla’s Soy-rizo wraps with vegan chorizo, black beans, potatoes and salsa
Najla’s Quinoa Bowl
Coffee of the day
Salty Caramel Syrup/Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
Dark Chocolate Syrup
Everything, Sesame and Whole Wheat Bagels
The Weekly Juicery menu items at the Brownsboro location
Ask for Soy or Almond Milk base
Ask for no whipped cream
Be aware that the Chaiberg, Mocha Iceberg, Caramel Vanilla Iceberg, etc. use milk powder and the Beekeeper uses honey, and therefore cannot be made vegan
Stray away from the regular Caramel and White Chocolate syrups which contain dairy
Now that you’ve got the 411, get your coffee fiending on at your local Heine Brothers’!
It’s the season to soak up some sun! Accompanying the beautiful sunshine, sneaky, crawling critters might be coming out of hiding and on the lookout for a new home! If you’re looking for a safter, environmentally conscious, ethical way of keeping bugs out of your household, essential oils are your new best friend! Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil and Clove Oil repel homebound bugs such as ants and fruit flies. Sprinkle drops of the oils around your home or grab a cotton ball and swab around doors, cracks, corners and windows for the oils to work their bug-barrier magic. Essential oils are not just for household pests, though! They can also come in handy if you’re out and about. If you’re on the go, blend a few drops of Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lemongrass, and/or Clove oils into a carrier oil (should be around a 6% essential oil to carrier oil ratio) such as coconut or almond oil and rub all over to make the mosquitos stray away from taking a bite! Not only do these oils repel bugs, but they give you a lovely clean, earthy scent that won’t make humans stray away too!
In 2013, West Hollywood became the first city to put a ban in place against the sales of fur, and last week the city of Berkeley became the next! The Berkeley Coalition of Animals has worked and rallied for this new legislation that serves up a hefty fine for those who attempt to not oblige. Minks, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, beavers, chinchillas, bears and even dogs and cats are victim to the fur trade. Several countries in Europe have already picked up on the cruel and violent practices of the fur industry, and have chosen to remove themselves from participation in it as well.
Fur has been a constant hot topic in the media, seemingly being one of the most commonly concerning animal rights issues among omnivores and vegans alike. Celebrities and Fashion Week are continuously responding to the unceasing criticism of sporting and supporting such industries. Given the current astronomic downfall of fur sales even where it is legal, it sounds like it’s only a matter of time before fur suppliers go faux!
Nothing says spring like family, friends, oddly shaped chocolates and pastel rainbows of bouquets! Here are some spring must-haves for the season!
Chocolate: NoWhey Chocolates have everything from vegan chocolate eggs, to colored vegan eggs, to chocolate bunnies and even vegan egg-shaped truffle boxes! Between the little ones and Grandma Rose, your chocolate-lover loved ones are bound to be happy campers after digging into a box of these delicious chocolate delicacies!
Flowers & Plants: What better way to add a pop of spring into your home or on your dinner table than a bouquet of all the pinks, lavenders and yellows of spring? At Whole Foods, many of the bouquets of flowers sold are through a Whole Trade program that supplies money to go back into community building of the cities of bouquet producers. Some of these community building efforts include funding health care, hospital equipment and education. If you’re looking for a little extra greenery to spruce up your house with, look no further than Forage! Forage is a local, female store off Frankfort filled with gorgeous succulents and bright luscious plants, and 10% of the sales each month go towards a local charity!
Spring Shoes: Say goodbye to those winter boots, a new season is the perfect excuse for new shoes! Matt and Nat makes vegan shoes look like the trendiest new fad, despite that ethical and environmental sustainability are always in season! Check them out for some new footwear for the sunniest of days ahead!
A box of chocolates, lively plants and ethical shoes for the season are bound to put a little spring in your step!