Tag Archives: vegan

Put Your Ethics Where Your Mouth Is

Shop in Bulk and Source Locally

Packaging takes up a huge portion of the landfills on our planet and by buying in bulk, you can cut down on unnecessary waste.
Rainbow Market in the Mission has a great selection of bulk products and even gives you ten cents off your total for every bag you reuse or container you bring in to use. Whole Foods also has a great bulk section that offers a variety of organic (and sometimes even local) products.
As far as your produce goes, shopping at local Farmer’s Markets helps to cut down on carbon emissions because your fruit and vegetables don’t have to be shipped from halfway across the world.
Often times, the farms are between 20 and 100 miles away and offer organic and sustainable produce. They offer seasonal produce, and the vendors at the markets are happy to tell you where the produce comes from, how it was grown and whether or not pesticides were used in the farming process.

One Word: Vegan

I’m not telling you to give up your meat and dairy completely, but at least cut back on the amount of animal products and byproducts that you consume. One healthy, adult cow produces, on average, one hundred pounds of waste a day. This is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emission and by cutting back on meat and dairy, you can help to eliminate some of these effects.
If you must eat meat or dairy, make sure that it is organic, free range, and hormone free. Straus Creamery is an excellent local dairy farm and all of their products are sustainable and good for the environment. Also, make sure to get cage-free, hormone free eggs. The couple more dollars you spend on these items will be worth it in the long run.

Help Out in the Community Garden

Did you know that USF has a community garden right next to the ED building? If you come and help out on a Friday workday between 12P- 4P, you can not only walk away with some fresh greens, but you can also learn how to plant, grow, and harvest your own produce based on what is in season.
You can also use these skills to plant a window box with fresh herbs or take it to the next step and start planting your own fresh veggies!

Interested in Learning to Live Off the Land? Take A USF Summer Course

Green Media will be taught this summer by David Silver as a media production course. This year, it is being taught from July 24th- August 7th at Buck Mountain Experimental Station, owned and operated by Professor Melinda Stone.
If you need a cell phone and computer to get through your day, this course isn’t for you. Nestled in Northern California, the station is removed from the hustle of everyday life and perfect for those wanting to have a hands on experience.
In this intensive class, you will walk away knowing how to live off the land and how to produce your own food. While it is a media studies course, it is hosted by USF’s environmental studies department. There are very limited spots so make sure to sign up!

Eat At Restaurants That Use Sustainable, Local, and Organic Ingredients

I love eating out, but sometimes it can be discouraging to think about where your food comes from. Many restaurants in the city are now priding themselves on offering sustainable, local, and seasonal ingredients. Try out these sustainable restaurants:

Tataki Sushi
(California between Divisadero and Broderick)
Sorry to break it to my raw fish lovers, but a lot of sushi is extremely unsustainable and is harming the environment. Tataki Sushi is a sustainable sushi restaurant that was introduced to me by a colleague. It is not only delicious, but it makes sure that the dish offered is viable for the planet.
Favorites on the menu: extinguisher roll ($13), sashimi taster- 6 pieces of the chef’s selection ($12), tuna poke ($11)

Plant Cafe Organic
(Various Locations)
The Plant Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. I find myself here a couple times a month. Not only is their food fresh, but their name says it all. The Plant Cafe prides themselves on using organic and sustainable ingredients and is a great restaurant for vegans. Their poultry and seafood is free of hormones, antibiotics and is oftentimes sources locally.
Favorites on the menu: quinoa bowl ($10.25), fish tacos($12.5), tuscan chicken panini ($10.50), skin refresher juice with cucumber, apple, strawberry and watermelon ($5.75 for 12oz.)

Where Are the Vegans?

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I’d like to think that we’re on the right track when it comes to sustainability. San Francisco offers its residents boundless opportunities to think green and act responsibly — I won’t deny that. But lately I’ve noticed a pretty disturbing anti-environment mindset when it comes to one issue in particular. The dismissal of vegan ethics has got me a little irritated, truly bewildered, and totally sad for the future of the Earth. It’s really not possible to talk about sustainability without considering the amount of damage the meat and dairy industries do to our precious planet. When factory farming accounts for 65% of nitrous oxide emissions (which is the greenhouse gas with the most global warming potential by far, according to the Humane Society) among many other environmental atrocities, it just doesn’t make sense to eat a cheeseburger and call yourself eco-friendly.
I’ve heard all the justifications for animal byproducts in the book. People usually tell me they could never give up insert-animal-product-here, that they don’t like vegan food, or that being vegan is just another hipster pretension. But rest assured, there’s a solution for all of these suspicions. Going vegan is not only entirely possible but endlessly beneficial – for the environment and yourself, too!

We all have our vices. Before veganism I was a self-proclaimed Nutella fiend, and I’ve known people to have pretty serious relationships with cheese. But I firmly believe that for every meat-filled or dairy-laden addiction there’s a veganized version to take its place.

I’m not kidding, have you tasted pizza made with Daiya cheese? Or SF-based Wholesome Bakery’s freshly baked cookies? You’d be amazed at how innovative vegan companies are getting – they’re churning out delicious substitutions for non-vegan favorites left and right. So you might as well opt for the less destructive version, right?

There’s a significant amount of eateries in the city that cater to vegan and environmental ethics – try Gracias Madre on Mission and 18th for the best vegan Mexican food ever, Source in SOMA for amazing vegan macaroni and cheese, and head to the Ferry Building for Pepples’ vegan donuts. You’d never be able to tell the difference, and contributing to vegan-owned establishments helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserves water and land in astounding numbers.

Because our society projects meat, egg, and dairy consumption as a norm, it’s rare that we reevaluate our intake at all. But the facts are there (check out www.veganoutreach.com/whyvegan for more information). What we really need is a change in perspective.

It may seem trendy to adopt a vegan diet, but when there’s so much at stake and there’s concrete evidence for the meat and dairy industries’ environmental destruction, it’s far more than a hipster fad or fashionable diet. The vegan ethic promotes compassion over egotism, awareness over blindness. Going vegan is an act of (dare I say?) social justice, environmental consciousness, and protest against destructive and normative ideals.

What to Make if…

The only part of cooking that I really dislike is figuring out what to make when I’m hosting other people. Between picky eaters and food allergies, it seems like I can never please everyone’s palates or stomachs. After a lot of experimenting with different recipes and combinations of food, I have finally come up with a few dishes that have proven to be crowd pleasers. Try out some of the recipes below that are not only quick to whip up but are also simple to make!

Date Night: Salmon with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach
So your significant other is coming over and you want to make something that is different than your typical weekday meal. Instead of giving up and succumbing to Thai takeout (again), try this easy salmon recipe.

• Preheat the oven to 350° and coat two salmon fillets with a olive oil and a mixture of 1/3 parts honey and 2/3 parts soy sauce (quantities can be changed based on preference) plus 2 tablespoons of crushed ginger. Bake for 15 minutes on a oil coated, foil covered tray or until fish starts to flake.
• Boil 2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into small chucks) until fork tender. Add 4-5 tablespoons of butter and mash until creamy.
• In a pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat and add 5 cups of fresh spinach to the pan. Stir until wilted.

Girls Night: Fusilli Pasta with Shrimp, Zucchini and Broccoli (serves 4)
I love getting together with a bunch of friends and catching up while eating something delicious. This pasta dish is easy to make (and eat!) so you and your friends can have plenty of time to talk!

• Boil half a bag of whole wheat fusilli and set aside.
• In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add chopped white onions until brown, then add cubed zucchini and chopped broccoli and cook until tender.
• Add one pound of defrosted and rinsed jumbo shrimp to the vegetable mixture and cook until heated through. Add about a quarter- half cup of balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced. Combine pasta and veggie/shrimp mixture and drizzle olive oil on top.

Keeping it Vegan: Tofu with Brown Rice, Sautéed Tomatoes and Kale
Cooking for vegans is difficult for me. I don’t want to lose flavor just because I have limited ingredients to choose from, but also don’t want to create a mess of flavors that don’t pair well together. This simple tofu recipe is sure to please any vegan and who knows, your non- vegan friends might enjoy it too!

• Prepare 2 cups of brown rice and add sesame seeds and sautéed red onions to the rice.
• In a pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add kale and halved grape tomatoes until the kale has wilted and becomes a vibrant green color. Mix kale and tomato mixture with soy sauce and ginger.
• Cube a block of extra firm tofu (after removing some of the moisture with paper towels) and place in a steamer for about five minutes. If you don’t have a stovetop steamer, place the cubed tofu on a microwave safe plate and put a damp paper towel over it. Microwave for about 2 minutes. Combine a mixture of chopped basil and red onion and place over the tofu. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top and lightly drizzle with olive oil.

These meals are super easy to make and can be altered to cater to different preferences, so even if you’re cooking for someone who isn’t mentioned, you still have some great jumping off points. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ingredients and create each dish as your own- you never know, you may even find that you have a secret love of tofu!

Chik’n Soup For the Herbivore’s Soul: Top Five SF Restaurants For Fake Meat

The General Meatless Chicken Lunch Special at Big Lantern fills up any vegetarian and comes with a side salad in addition to rice and soup.  Photo by Harmony Corelitz/Foghorn

The General Meatless Chicken Lunch Special at Big Lantern fills up any vegetarian and comes with a side salad in addition to rice and soup. Photo by Harmony Corelitz/Foghorn

College is a time of awakening, and for many college students that means coming to terms with the environmental effects and health risks of meat consumption.  Whether you’ve been scared out of eating meat after calculating your geographic footprint in your Understanding the Environment lab, or are simply following the example of the punk bands you listened to in high school, we’ve got the best insider tips on where to get your hands on some amazing meatless grub.  If you thought that Outtahere chickenless salad sandwich you just ate for lunch was good, wait until you try out these guilt-free meat imitations.

Jay’s Cheesesteak (3285 21st St AND 553 Divisadero)

There is something inappropriately satisfying about biting into a thick, seitan cheeseless steak when you adhere to a mostly vegan diet. I am yet to figure out how Jay’s manages to give their seitan (wheat gluten) such a full and meaty flavor. On my most recent visit to Jay’s, I ordered the Mushroom Seitan Steak with no cheese and slathered on some tangy barbecue sauce and extra jalapeños. The shredded lettuce lent texture and freshness to the hot mess of seitan and grilled mushrooms, while the pickles and jalapeños livened the sammy’s flavor with a briny zing. Though initially not very hungry, I couldn’t help but shove down the whole thing, savoring each juicy little bite. Dressed with a Wyder’s Pear Cider, the September sun and the chaos of Dolores Park, this sandwich transformed my Friday afternoon into something worth writing about. With two locations in the city, Jay’s is a sure stop to get your fake meat on.

Weird Fish  (2193 Mission St)

If you are reading this and haven’t tried Weird Fish’s Buffalo Girls yet, please set down the paper and hop on the 33 bus.  Weird Fish proves that vegetarianism isn’t always healthy, with their overwhelming menu of grilled, fried, and tossed seitan.  The aforementioned Buffalo Girls (salty strips of seitan soy-battered and served with a side of veganaise or vegan ranch) are their most popular appetizer, but don’t stop in without trying the Hell Taco (seitan, avocado, and mango salsa) or Seitan “Fish” and Chips.  The comfy interior, cute waitresses and impeccable soundtrack at this hip Mission District hotspot make it a great destination for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Ike’s Place (3506 16th St)

When I finally went vegan this summer after years of being a vegetarian, my mother, the herbivore, only had one question: “What are you going to put on your sandwiches?”  The woman had a good point.  What good is a vegetarian sandwich without the cheese?  Thankfully, Castro sandwich shop Ike’s Place answered that question for me.  Frequently coveted for their distinctive take on their vegetarian and meat-filled delights, the sandwiches at Ike’s Place are the best thing between two slices of bread.  Choose from a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, from the Vegan Combo (Vegan Sliced ‘Meats’, Vegan Dirty Sauce, Soy Cheese) for us Vegans, to the Bowser (Vegan Meatballs, Mozzarella Sticks, Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers, Marinara). The best thing about Ike’s is that they bake all bread fresh to order, which might make the hungry man cranky due to the painful wait during their daily lunchtime rush, but is certainly worth sticking around for. Come with some friends and a deck of cards during Happy Hour (Mon-Thurs 4 – 7 p.m.) and add a bag of chips and a soda to your order, free of charge.

Big Lantern (3170 16th St)

Big Lantern is not your traditional cheap Chinese food joint.  Their menu is filled with great options to satisfy both the vegetarian and her meat-chowing friend. After indulging in one of their many meatless dim sum options, I usually go straight for the General Meatless Chicken.  Their suspiciously accurate take on crispy-fried chicken is deep fried, then wok tossed to perfection in a sweet garlic sauce and garnished with red pepper.  Lunch specials are served with an appetizer of hot-and-sour soup and a side of rice, so come in for an afternoon delight and leave stuffed to sedation, with some money still left over in your pocket to grab a tasty bite of dessert.

Lucky Creation (854 Washington)

A quick peek at Lucky Creation’s extensive menu is enough to get the salivary glands going in any vegetarian struck with meat nostalgia.  Lucky Creation offers a barnyard of imitations including vegetarian sliced pork, fake chicken and imitation goose, in addition to their peculiar sizzling spicy “shrimp” balls.  If you want the greasy charm of a Chinatown joint without the risk of accidental meat consumption, I’d recommend bee-lining for Lucky Creation next time you are in the neighborhood.