Category: For Us, By Us

Parent Category for – Recipes, Reviews, Thoughts and Opinions, Tips and Advice, Top Lists

Tofu Scramble Recipe

tofu scramble with corn tortillas, hash browns, and avocado

This has become my go-to breakfast when I’m craving something savory. It’s super simple to make and takes less than 10 minutes! Feel free to experiment/tweak this recipe to your liking, you can add in different veggies or whatever you want really!

Ingredients:

  • ½ block tofu
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegan bacon (optional)
  • Kale
  • Salsa

Other optional toppings: avocado, sriracha

  1. Begin by cutting your block of tofu in half; use paper towels to press out as much of the moisture as you can.
  2. Crumble the tofu up, using your hands, into a non-stick pan.
  3. Turn the burner on medium heat, and add in all your seasonings/spices, stirring them around until thoroughly mixed. The turmeric will give it a yellow color, resembling scrambled eggs.
  4. If you’re using vegan bacon, tear it up into small pieces, and add it in. This is optional, but I find that it gives the scramble great flavor!
  5. Fold your kale (if desired, you can also add spinach) into the tofu.
  6. Cover the pan with a lid, and allow the kale to cook down, about 5 minutes (if you use spinach it will take less time). Stir it a few times in between to make sure the tofu doesn’t burn!
  7. Once the kale has cooked down, you’re done! I like to top with a ton of salsa, sriracha, and half an avocado if I have a ripe one.

Perfectionism in the Vegan Movement

police car with flashing lights

In the vegan movement, there has been a rising pressure to be the “perfect vegan”. Many
vegans will attack other vegans for not being 100 percent cruelty-free; for example, wearing a
pair of leather shoes that they bought before they went vegan, eating honey, or buying makeup
from a brand owned by a company that tests on animals. Often called the ‘vegan police’, these
people often criticize their fellow animal activists and tell them that they cannot call themselves
a vegan if they aren’t a perfect. Although their intent is to help animals as much as they can, this
vegan policing is actually detrimental to the movement and results in veganism feeling, to many,
like an exclusive club that one may only join if they follow a complex set of rules and guidelines.
As a result, many feel like the goal of being vegan is unattainable, and people who would have
otherwise taken steps to help animals feel discouraged and give up.

This problem of the pressure to be perfect in the vegan movement is also based on
privilege and discredits many who do not have as many resources. For example, many people in
poverty live in food deserts or low-income areas where there are few supermarkets and fresh
fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious food is difficult to access. Although there are some vegan
options, for people living in these areas, it is nearly impossible to live a completely vegan
lifestyle. More often than not the vegan police are comprised of upper-middle class, white
vegans, living in urban areas with access to countless vegan restaurants and ten different Whole
Foods within a five-mile radius. Telling low-income people with far fewer resources that they
can’t call themselves a vegan unless they are perfect is classist and perpetuates the idea of
veganism as an elite club that only the privileged may join.

Veganism should not be an all-or nothing-thing. For some people, going completely
vegan overnight may work for them, but for most it is something that happens in steps. Animal
products are often a huge part of culture and tradition for people, so finding alternatives is a
process. Everyone is at a different place in their vegan journey, and those who may be farther
along should not shame and discredit those who maybe haven’t completely cut out dairy yet or
are still figuring out what brands are cruelty-free and which aren’t. Veganism is about doing the
best you can, in your current situation, to reduce animal suffering. Being perfect is not the goal;
helping animals to the best of your ability is. To truly help animals, we must welcome and
encourage people taking even the smallest steps, like participating in Meatless Mondays, getting
soy milk in their Starbucks latte, or choosing to buy a shampoo from a company that doesn’t test
on animals instead of one that does.

Vegan Chocolate Cookies

chocolate cookies

Ready in 25 minutes
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour

⅔ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 to 3 tbsp. plant-based milk

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add white sugar, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla to a mixing bowl and cream together with an electric mixer
    Melt butter to make mixing easier.
  3. Sift flour and cocoa into your bowl and mix
  4. Add salt, baking soda, and milk to bowl and mix
    Do not worry if your mixture seems somewhat dry; that is how it is supposed to be.
  5. Shape dough into balls, and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper
    If your dough is too dry to form balls when you squish it together, then add a bit more milk.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes
    About halfway through, flatten cookies with a spoon
  7. Remove from oven, let cool, and then dust with powdered sugar
  8. Serve & enjoy!

My Top Five High End Makeup Brands

blue glitter with top makeup brand text

Let me preface this list by saying that my definition of being a cruelty-free makeup brand includes being plant-based. I find it hard to consider a product that includes carmine, an ingredient used for pigment that is derived from pureed beetles, cruelty-free…but, that’s just me.

5) Sugarpill-
Status: They do not test on animals. Not completely vegan but very vegan-friendly.

Boy, do I love Sugarpill. It is such a great company for any level of makeup user. I highly recommend checking out their YouTube channel, where they swatch all their new makeup. I think Sugarpill is especially amazing because in their swatching videos they always make sure to have a model with a lighter skin tone and a darker skin tone. The quality of their makeup is also just incredible. The only downside of Sugarpill is they aren’t completely plant-based. However, under their “shop” tab, they make it very easy to find their vegan products. Also, at the bottom of every page, they tell you if the product is vegan or not with this cute, little sign:sugarpill-vegan
Overall, Sugarpill just slays me, not only with their products, but also with their freaky, feminine vibes.
Recommendations: Pretty Poison Bundle (lipstick collection). Most of their pressed eyeshadows are also vegan and to die for. I especially love: Home Sweet Home, The Inventor, Wink, and Acidberry.

4) Kat Von D –
Status: They do not test on animals. Not completely vegan (yet), but very vegan-friendly.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Kat Von D. I’ll be the first to admit that Kat Von D has been my idol since L.A Ink. Then she started a makeup brand which was very animal-focused, and she became my idol all over again. Aside from the fact that money spent on her products goes to someone who deeply cares about animals, the makeup is killer. Surprised? I’m not. Just as Kat is a tattoo artist, she is a true artist with makeup. Although the brand is probably best known for the pure black Tattoo Liner in Trooper and the revolutionary Shade + Light Contour Palette, there is so much more. For all the vegan options they offer, check out the #veganalert tab. I really can’t say enough good things about Kat Von D and the brand that she represents.
Recommendations: The Fawn Set or Alchemist Holographic Palette, if you’re a little more adventurous with your makeup.

3) Black Moon –
Status: They do not test on animals. Completely vegan.

This new, exciting brand is known for killer liquid lipsticks, but because they only launched in 2015, their line is not fully developed. That said, Black Moon undoubtedly represents the saying “quality over quantity”. Everything they’ve released is made with love and a passion for great makeup. The aesthetic of Black Moon is too much to handle. Everything comes with a cute space-related name, and they have fake eyelashes for every zodiac sign. How cute? Although I am not a fake lashes girl, I am seriously considering buying the Sagittarius lashes just to see.
Recommendations: Cosmic Eyedust in Cosmos and Asteroid. Liquid to Matte Lipsticks in Deranged and Dusk.

2) Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics –
Status: They do not test on animals. Completely vegan.

Undoubtedly, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics deserves the spot of number two. I have scoured the internet for bad reviews on Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, but there just aren’t that many and for good reason. Personally, I have loved every product I’ve tried, from their loose pigments to their lip tars. As much as I love O.C.C., however, I must warn you these are not for the faint of heart. I find that if you are a beginner to makeup, maybe this isn’t the brand that you should start with right away. All of that said, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics is 100% plant-based and cruelty-free with an amazing range of options.
Recommendations: Lip Tars in Hush, Vintage, and Synth. Pair with Glitter & Loose Colour Trios in Deep Space and Bronze Age.  

1)Lime crime –
Status: They do not test on animals. Completely vegan.

Last but certainly not least, my number one pick: Lime Crime. For an all vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand, they have a crazy amount of selection, from their gorgeous eyeshadow palettes, such as the Venus original and the Venus 2, to their rich and vibrant hair dyes in any hair color you could imagine. Lime Crime is really a jack of all trades, and their whole brand is to die for. With their techno alien unicorn vibes, their products really inspire the colorful, holographic freak inside me.
Recommendations: Any of the Unicorn hair dyes, but currently I’m obsessed with Anime and Pony. The new Diamond Dews, which I just recently got my hands on, are breathtaking. Vision, Rose Goals, and Starlight are especially tear-worthy.

Honorable mentions:

  • Hourglass
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills – None of their products are tested on animals, but not all are vegan. Overall, ABH is great; they have very high-quality items. The highlighters and brow products are what dreams are made of. So, if you need a glow to make you look like an angel, you can’t go wrong with Anastasia Beverly Hills. On their website, check beneath “add to cart” where it will tell you if the product is vegan, using this sign:anastasia-beverly-hills-vegan
  • Milk – None of their products are tested on animals, but not all are vegan. Highly recommend their holographic sticks. Check beneath the “add to cart” where it will tell you if the product is vegan or not.
  • Ciaté – None of their products are tested on animals, but not all are vegan. Ciaté is queen when it comes to nails, but their makeup is also on the rise. Definitely a brand to watch out for. Check beneath the “add to cart” where it will tell you if the product is vegan or not.

Love these brands, or have other cruelty-free recommendations? Leave us a comment!

List of Things Vegans Love to Hear, and What I Want to Say in Response

sheep in grassy feild
  1. Do you get enough protein?
    Surprise! Plants are packed full of protein. too.
  2. What about vitamins? Where do you get all your vitamins?
    Most vitamins stem from a healthy amount of vegetables and fruit.
  3. Humans aren’t meant to be vegan.
    When have humans ever done what they were told. For example, we walked on the moon.
  4. Our ancestors ate meat.
    Our ancestors also didn’t have electricity or flushing toilets.
  5. You’re ruining Thanksgiving/Christmas/Passover/any holiday that involves eating food.
    That’s just hurtful. My intention is obviously not to ruin holidays, but I also don’t want explosive diarrhea from milk.
  6. Is that vegan? *Asking while pointing at food, drink, shoes, clothes, makeup, etc.*
    If I am drinking/wearing/eating it, then chances are it is.
  7. Are you like one of those crazy vegans?
    Um, I don’t really know how to answer this one. Am I crazy? Little bit, yeah. Is it a result of me being vegan? Nah, I did that all on my own.
  8. Plants have feelings.
    Just no.
  9. So, do you eat like dirt and stuff?
    Obviously, that’s a yes. Who doesn’t love a good, tasty clump of dirt?
  10. Are you doing it to lose weight?
    Nope, and even if I was, this is not a question you should ask someone.
  11. Do you think you are better than me?
    Truly, I don’t. If you are a friend of mine, you know that I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. Of course it would be nice if everyone was vegan, but that is not realistic for a lot of situations. I think one of the biggest stigmas associated with veganism is that we think we’re somehow superior, but this really shouldn’t be the case. If you’re vegan for the animals or environmental reasons, you should treat everyone with compassion, not just farm animals.

A Simple How to: Eating Vegan in Restaurants

knife and fork wrapped in a yellow bow

Quick Tips

  1. Check if any dishes have a vegetarian or vegan symbol.
  2. Look for dishes that have vegetables, tofu, and/or fake meat.
  3. Remove meat, eggs, or dairy from a dish, if necessary.
  4. Look at the sides.
  5. If all else fails, ask the server.

Types of Restaurants

Thai

  • Noodle dishes without eggs and meat (usually you can get tofu instead)
  • Vegetable curry dishes

Watch out for fish paste and oyster sauce

Greek

  • Hummus, Baba Ghanoush
  • Falafel (most of the time it is vegan)
  • Sharing plates and salads without cheese

Chinese

  • Vegetable dumplings (make sure there are no eggs in the dumpling wrap)
  • Vegetable or tofu dishes
  • Vegetable or tofu soup noodle dishes (make sure there is not meat in the broth)

Japanese

  • Veggie sushi (ex. Avocado roll, cucumber roll, etc.)

Indian

  • Vegetable curries

Watch out for Cheese(paneer), Yogurt, Butter(ghee)

Italian

  • Noodles with tomato sauce (make sure they were not cooked in butter)

Mexican

  • Beans and rice (make sure they were not cooked in lard)
  • Chips and guacamole or salsa
  • Vegetable tacos and burritos (ask for no cheese)

Happy Vegan Dining!

An Activist’s Guide to The Psychology of Eating Meat

emotions and feelings

As an activist, I often consider the most effective way to get humans to acknowledge and accept all animals as sentient beings. In our society today, people have no problem identifying cats and dogs’ sentience, but when it comes to farm animals and especially fish, people have trouble recognizing their similarities to humans. Two psychological phenomena, cognitive dissonance and denial, are to blame. The theory of cognitive dissonance is often defined as an unpleasant feeling that arises when there is a conflict in someone’s established beliefs or ideas. When our established beliefs – like killing is wrong, and pets are family – conflict with our eating habits, cognitive dissonance comes into play.

Steve Loughnan, a psychologist at the University of Melbourne, is known for his research on meat-eating and cognitive dissonance, something he nicknamed “the meat paradox.” He looked at things that vegetarians and vegans value, as opposed to meat eaters’ values. Interestingly, he found some significant differences. Meat eaters have a more authoritarian tendency, and they were found to be more complacent with inequality. Loughnan also found that eating meat is more valued in men than in women, an unsurprising fact when observing society’s pressure on the masculine identity.

Another unsurprising truth came out of Loughnan’s research: when meat eaters think that an animal is less sentient, they are more willing to eat them. The job of activists is to then educate people that all animals feel pain and show significant levels of intelligence. This might help people avoid the stage of denial.

Denial, a form of repression, is an act of declaring something to be untrue, even though deep down, you know that it is true. After learning facts that conflict with your morals but are inconvenient to change, denial often occurs. Unfortunately, most people continue to deny facts about animal sentience. This common coping mechanism helps people feel better about something that conflicts with their beliefs.

To move out of the denial stage is challenging. Two primary factors are needed to accept what was previously denied: a receptive listener and a method of education that works for the listener. Willingness to act is essential for someone to actually go vegetarian or vegan.

While these psychological phenomena can make us activists upset and burnt out, it is important to remember that these common coping mechanisms also bring hope. The more we understand about the human mind, the easier it is to persuade people to consider vegetarianism or veganism, and as more and more research is done each day on coping mechanisms, we must keep in mind that we are another step closer to a vegan world.

Awareness Eases Suffering

girl posing outside

I stopped eating meat when I became aware of the vast environmental harm that was a direct result of animal agriculture. Through educating myself about climate change, I was offered many solutions, but none were satisfactory. I would see alarming statistics about climate change and the terrible consequences of it, but the solutions presented were seemingly negligent things like, “Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth” and “Take shorter showers”. They did not seem to match the magnitude of this threat to our very existence.

As I dug deeper, I wondered why no one was talking about how animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change. Some things are taught to us from an early age, like that eating meat is good. The more I learned, the weaker those justifications became. I decided that a personal commitment I could make to combat climate change was to stop eating meat. Originally, I thought of it as a sacrifice, but it hasn’t been. I don’t miss meat.

The health of the environment was the main reason I became vegetarian, but it was not the only one. Factory farms keep animals in cruel conditions. It is a life of suffering for these animals, until they are killed for profit. I did not want to play a part in that, and it shocks me when people learn about these things and still consume meat without a care.

I think one of the ways people justify eating the flesh of animals stems from an anthropocentric idea that animals are there to benefit us. That way of thinking strips animals of their personalities and the complex relationships they can form. The sooner we shift away from the belief that nothing has value outside of its relationship to us as humans, the sooner we will collectively stop eating dead animals.

Eating Vegan in Vegas

Eating vegan while on vacation can be difficult because of the unfamiliarity with veg-friendly options in the area. Recently, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada, and I thought I’d chronicle everything I ate as a vegan and what I thought.

I ended up eating all my meals on the property of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. But, because of the denseness of the Vegas strip, there are many businesses and hotels within walking distance of the building. Attractions that take five minutes or less to walk to include the Miracle Mile Mall, Bellagio Fountains, Eiffel Tower Experience, and the AXIS at Planet Hollywood. You can also walk a slightly longer distance and get to Caesar’s Palace, the Flamingo, the High Roller, and The Shops at Crystals.

Day 1
Dinner: The Juice Standard – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Berry Antioxidizing Smoothie and Chipotle Avocado Toast
Thoughts:I thought The Juice Standard was quirky, offering 100% organic and healthy food, in addition to a lot of alcoholic beverages. There were lots of vegan options here – I ended up going three times. The first time, I got the Berry Antioxidizing Smoothie and Chipotle Avocado Toast. The food was really tasty; although, the wait was unbelievably long, even with no one ahead of us in line. There isn’t any seating, so it’s best to go when you’re looking for something to eat/drink on the move.
Rating: (4 / 5)

Day 2
Brunch: Holsteins – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Vegan Coconut Raspberry Milkshake (shared), Urth Burger (add wild mushrooms)
Thoughts: The milkshake was extremely delectable and a very generous serving (good for sharing). It was also topped with coconut whipped cream. I thought they did a great job with the milkshake because I sometimes feel that coconut-based dairy alternatives have an overpowering coconut flavor, but this milkshake was very fruity. The burger was good, but the patty was more like a traditional veggie burger (mushy) and less of a meat imitation. This is a fantastic place to eat with non-vegan friends/family, and the service was excellent in our case.
Notes: The onion rings have a buttermilk batter, so stick with fries, sweet potato fries, or salad as your side.
Rating: (4 / 5)

Dinner: Beauty and Essex – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Avocado, Lemon & Espelette Toast
Thoughts: The restaurant is a very pricey, but the atmosphere is super cool. I recommend this place if you’re looking for a fancy dinner. The toast was excellent but a medium/small portion. I recommend the Tandoori Spiced Tofu as a more substantial, filling meal which my dad got, and I was able to try.
Notes: Only open for dinner, get reservations
Rating: (5 / 5)

Late night snack: The Juice Standard – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Acai Crunch
Thoughts: Out of all the menu items I tried at The Juice Standard, the Acai Crunch was my least favorite. The granola was not my favorite, and all the ingredients were stacked vertically in a thin cup which made it hard to reach your spoon in and get multiple flavors at once.
Rating: (2 / 5)

Day 3
Breakfast: The Juice Standard (again) – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Field Greens Salad Wrap with lemon-dill vinaigrette
Thoughts: The Field Greens Wrap is good option for breakfast – it’s filling but very light. It wasn’t my favorite thing I had at The Juice Standard, but I would still recommend it if you’re looking for something leafy.
Rating: (3 / 5)

Lunch: China Poblano – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Guacamole, Dong Bei Mushrooms, Happy Buddha Vegetable Spring Rolls and Wok-roasted Chinese Long Beans (shared everything)
Thoughts: China Poblano combines Chinese and Mexican cuisine. Although barely any main menu items are vegan-friendly, you can create a substantial meal of sides. The guacamole is made tableside, which allows you to ask for modifications on spice level or ingredients (make sure to specify no cheese on top). The mushrooms were my favorite, in addition to the guacamole, but everything I had was tasty.
Rating: (4 / 5)

Pink Dal

bowl of spices

Serves 4-6
Approx. Time: 45 mins
Spice Level: Medium

Dal is an Indian stew made with lentils and can be served in a bowl or on top of rice or bread. This specific kind of dal uses red/pink lentils called Masoor lentils. The recipe is completely vegan and is great for anyone who likes or wants to try Indian food.

Part A
2/3 cup pink Masoor lentils
2 2/3 cups water
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 teaspoons salt

Cook above items in pressure cooker for two steams (if you have a pressure cooker that steams, rests, and steams again) or for 15 minutes with a consistent steam. Allow to cool. When ready, loosen top.

Meanwhile…

Part B
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 inch ginger (chopped)
1 whole dry chili
1 stem curry leaf (Can find at small Indian grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon grey cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon oil
Cilantro leaves (for garnish)

Place a small “fry” bowl over a low flame.
Place oil and mustard seeds in the bowl. 
When seeds start popping… add chili, garlic, ginger & cumin seeds.
When the garlic begins to brown, add curry leaf, then turmeric.
Remove fry bowl from flame, and immerse bowl and contents into cooked lentil mix. Hold pressure cooker lid over the pot to catch the steam and flavors. You should notice a smoky, rich flavor in the steam that escapes.
Dal is ready to serve and is nice with cilantro as a garnish.