Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Misrepresentations of Veganism on the Interwebs

Every once in a while, scanning the internet goings-on during my lunch break, I'll spy something that good time management skills should lead me to ignore. Shamelessly lacking in good time management skills, however, I'll all-too-often spare that something a bit of my attention and every once in a while, that something will leave me feeling as if I've just been injected with a double-shot of espresso, its ridiculousness so incredibly jarring. Reading "How Vegan Are You?" on the Novel Eats blog was one such moment. The "About" section should have given it away, when the blog's writer Samantha states (with my emphasis in bold type):

"I’ve been 98.9% vegan for about four years. I’m not a fanatic vegan so I will eat vegetarian from time to time, but I do prefer this diet over any other I’ve been on in my life because I feel great and the food is still fantastic."
The thing is that in what this self-described vegan presents as an instalment in her "Becoming Vegan" series, she promotes being everything but vegan. Furthermore, she repeatedly mocks and/or dismisses people who are actually vegan as being akin to religious fanatics. Some quotes that reflect her confusion about veganism in general:
Every vegan has a different goal or purpose for their diet and lifestyle. They don’t all put the same weight or importance on their diet or the products that they use, so it is sometimes challenging for two vegans to agree with what is really vegan. [...] For example, one vegan may continue to use honey, while the other vegan may only use agave nectar.
And then:
[O]ne may wear leather shoes, and the other may only choose to wear pleather or hemp.
And concerning her own "veganism", she writes:
I admit that I haven’t gone beyond food much yet. [...] One reason for this is that many natural and vegan products, including cosmetic and cleaning supplies, are extraordinarily expensive. I do purchase products like these from time to time, however until the monetary prices come down, it will be hard for me to be willing to fork over the money for them on a consistent basis.
She ends her post with by counseling new vegans on how to go about becoming vegan:
Ask yourself if you plan on only being a dietary vegan or if you are going to let this spread to your clothes and hygiene products, too.
Then for what she calls "long-time vegans", she asks:
[H]ow far does your vegan lifestyle go? Does it stop at food and not extend into your shampoo, makeup and shoes? Or are you striving to be 100% in every aspect of your life? Additionally, do you encounter this type of situation where another vegan doesn’t think you’re really vegan or vice versa?
When I read her post earlier yesterday before others chimed in to point out Samantha's moral inconsistencies and sloppy misrepresentations of veganism, most of the comments seemed to have been left by fairly sympathetic and like-minded readers. It was in her response to one of these comments that her disassociation and compartmentalizing became most apparent. She wrote the following in response to something or other: "It drives me nuts when even vegetarians say that they eat fish. Then you’re not a vegetarian! It’s not like they grow fish on trees." Uh, yeah.

So, what is veganism? Veganism isn't about sometimes choosing to exploit animals for your taste-buds, your vanity or to accommodate your budget. Veganism isn't just about "diet". If you consume animal products, you're not vegan. It's a simple definition and if you stick to it, it does not make you a "fanatic" or a nitpicker--it makes you consistent and unequivocal in your eschewing involvement in the exploitation of nonhuman animals.

Angel Flinn recently wrote an essay that beautifully and accurately describes the vegan ideal; if you're looking for inspiration, it's as good a place as any to start. If you take the interests of nonhuman animals seriously at all today, on World Vegetarian Day, please go vegan. (Just please don't follow Novel Eats blogger Samantha's lead on how to purportedly go about doing so.)


Cowards are cruel; but the brave
Love mercy, and delight to save.
--John Gay, Fables

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Fundraising Fail from the Humane Something or Other

It feels like it was just yesterday that HSUS was embarrassing itself by holding a fundraiser to raise money for its "Save the Seals" campaign by handing out animal-based appetizers to event attendees gathered to pressure the Canadian government to end its annual seal hunt. Oh, yeah... The event was held in a hip non-vegan restaurant in Washington, DC that featured--and still features--PEI mussels on its menu. It should not be much of a surprise that its "separate lobbying affiiliate", the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), should end up following suit with its own fundraising fail.

What's it all about? Apparently it's about having a
party. A whole bunch of them, really. The friendly folks behind HSLF (including its president Mike Markarian, who is also HSUS' Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer) are asking those who "care" about animals to register to host what they're calling a "Let's Pass a Law" party on October 25. Not only do party attendees get to help HSLF by raising funds, BUT they get to participate in a conference call in which the winner of the "There Oughta Be a Law" contest will be announced. The idea, I guess, is that you submit ideas for a new federal animal protection bill and a panel of judges will pick a winner. (Parties and contests, oh my! How much more feel-good could it get, really?)

I was curious about guidelines HSLF is offering for these parties, particularly in terms of what food / drinks should be served. In the
Party FAQ section concerning how to set one up, HSLF reminds hosts:

If you want to make sure your event stays under budget try to have a pot-luck or solicit food donations from local restaurants or stores. If you would like to make your event an upscale fundraiser, serve wine and delicious food to your guests. Remember, this is your party; you can design it to fit your needs and budget.
So, no mention is made of serving animal-product free (i.e. vegan) food, which HSUS staff and supporters often tout as being a supposed rule of thumb for ordinary fundraisers thrown by HSUS, itself.

I got a little (hopeful?) excited when I found a link they provided to "tips and advice" from someone they called a "seasoned host" for their Party Animals events, a woman called Debra Berger who is described as a Georgia animal advocate. Then I read this:
HSLF: What tips do you have for hosting a great party to help animals?
The best way for hosts to ensure happy guests is by serving lots of delicious vegetarian (my emphasis) and/or vegan food, and making sure you have enough.
Basically, HSLF is organizing a big fundraising campaign to get people on board to raise money for them and to participate in a fun contest to come up with suggestions for animal protection laws. And it couldn't even bring itself to take the opportunity for the slightest little bit of vegan education? Did it think that it would be too off-putting to suggest to people throwing these parties for them to purportedly "help" animals to actually not serve animal products as food?

Considering that
there is as much (and often more) suffering in the lives of egg-laying hens and dairy cows than in the lives of animals raised for their flesh, and given its affiliate HSUS' focus on the treatment versus the use of nonhuman animals, you'd think that someone--anyone--over there might have thought it a good idea to promote the serving of vegan food at these oh-so-fun parties. The fact that they're not merely drives home that these fundraising events are more about making humans feel good about themselves than they are about helping nonhuman animals (see Prof. Gary L. Francione's essay "A Revolution of the Heart" to learn more about welfarist organizations and their selling of indulgences). The truth is that these events really have little to do with taking the interests of animals seriously or with moving towards ending the exploitation of nonhuman animals. These events are about raising money. Period.

Do you really want to help nonhuman animals? Go vegan. If you already are vegan, then talk to others about veganism. Please don't throw your money at an organization that promotes the continued exploitation of nonhuman animals.

(If you're on Twitter, please sign this Twitition started by Prof. Francione, asking HSUS to have one--just a wee single one--"Go Vegan!" campaign.)

ETA: I fixed the first link in my post. It was meant to connect to this story on the Abolitionist Approach website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Educated Animal Consumption as an Ethical Dietary Choice"

On Sunday, I wrote about a new weekly foodie piece in Canada's National Post. In response to a couple of comments left on the original story, the description of the non-foodie sister in the introduction was quietly changed from "vegan" to "cheese-hating vegetarian". Then Rebecca Tucker, the writer of "A Meatless Proposal", responded to my post about it here at My Face Is on Fire by clarifying that the series'

purpose is — and will remain — a frank discussion of developing Emily's palate in terms of her extremely discretionary dietary restrictions, and developing mine in terms of my skepticism regarding "tasty" vegan food [...].
Fair enough. But then she wrote:
That said, as a former vegatarian [sic] myself [...], I am entirely sympathetic to misrepresentations of varied ethical approaches to food consumption, and maintain strict standards still regarding what I put in my fridge and my tummy.
I think that's shmancy talk for "since I have veg-cred, I can now justify my choosing to eat animals". Off on a tangent from this (since she is talking about having been a vegetarian, which is really no morally different from being an omnivore), her throwing it in there brought to mind vegan blogger Dan Dunbar's recent and fabulous post "I Used to Think the World Was Round", which discusses the intentions of (and reactions to) people who sometimes feel the need to preface conversations by saying that they used to be vegan.

Isn't it a little bizarre, though, to portray oneself as being sympathetic to "varied ethical approaches to food consumption" by virtue of having once
not eaten certain animal products and then having gone back to eating those animal products? I've read enough foodie articles over the past year by people who out themselves as former vegetarians or vegans to know that they almost invariably do so to try to add the weight of "experience" to their claims that there are ways in which eating nonhuman animals can be deemed ethical. Tucker confirmed my suspicions with regards to her own intentions in a subsequent response to my blog post stating the following:
There is in fact a culture of food-minded individuals who do as I have done: Promote the idea of educated animal consumption as an ethical dietary choice. I think there's something to be said here for the conflation of focusing one's food-minded energies on the suffering of animals and considering the farmers and dairies making a conscious effort to oppose the wrongdoing of large-scale factory farming. Vegans abstain from the whole industry — and that's commendable. I simply make sure my grocery dollar supports a more pastoral approach to farming. I'm comfortable with my decisions regarding the consumption of animal products, and have the right to defend them as much as any vegan has the right to defend his/her abstinence from them.
So she intends to promote the idea of "educated animal consumption as an ethical dietary choice" (i.e. happy meat). Basically, this means promoting the idea of using every excuse in the book to delude oneself into thinking that there are such things as "humane" animal products, as well as using every excuse in the book to stop short of facing the fact that simply not consuming or exploiting animals for their flesh and excretions is the most logical option when it comes to so-called "ethical dietary choices".

Tucker also left me further convinced of how she intends to use her weekly series to promote this mindset in its second installment, where she (wait for it!) outs herself as a former vegetarian and states her stance concerning the ethics of consuming nonhuman animals quite clearly:

[T]he more reading I did about the impact of my food choices, the more I realized cutting meat out entirely wasn’t going to be the most ethical dietary decision for me. I began voting with my dollar: by purchasing products from independent grocery stores [...] and limiting my consumption of meat (and other animal products) to products purchased from local farms, on which the animals are raised and treated humanely, ethically and healthily.
She then goes on to describe her awkward attempt to veganize poutine and tourtière and slides in that her sister Emily "admitted that while she’d never had tourtiere before, she could tell it would taste much better with meat".

Tucker uses her sister's convenient confessional moment to jump into her next characterization of veganism (and justification of her own eating of nonhuman animals):

Eliminating animal products from your diet is a tricky thing. There are only so many ways to replace meat without compromising taste and, in some cases, nutrition. Ultimately, I decided to resume meat-eating because I could no longer abstain from certain things.
So, although she may have asserted to me that the series' raison d'être is to be "a frank discussion of developing Emily's palate in terms of her extremely discretionary dietary restrictions, and developing mine in terms of my skepticism regarding "tasty" vegan food" ; I have a hunch based on what she's written so far, that it's really more of the same trendy foodie obsession with portraying veganism as difficult and promoting the consumption of happy meat. The bottom line is that if you remove the text of the recipes themselves from this second installment in her series, she devotes almost half of it to lauding the consumption of nonhuman animals.

I guess that time will tell. In the interim, watch this poutine-making video by The Sexy Vegan. For vegan tourtière, try this recipe from The Vegan Dad. No kidney beans or mushrooms were harmed in the making of either.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who's Confused?

It seems that Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University, has taken it upon himself to shed some light on the question of whether we are, in fact, generally morally confused about nonhuman animals and of whether speciesism is at the root of this confusion. Hell, he may even have put an end to the ongoing debate over whether we should view nonhuman animals in terms of their use or do so in terms of their treatment. According to Norwood's thinking, both would miss the point altogether. He claims there's no moral confusion as long as we understand that we should think of nonhuman animals in terms of their purpose:

I treat pigs one way because their "purpose" is to provide me with food and I treat my dog differently because her "purpose" is to provide me with companionship. One may say that I am immoral, but one cannot say that I am in anyway confused. I know exactly what I am doing. People largely base their decisions on how to treat animals not based on a moral philosophy or animals' IQs, but the purpose of the animal.
In all seriousness, though: Norwood wrote the above as part of a blog post reaction to Prof. Gary L. Francione's podcast commentary "An Up-Close and Personal Encounter with Moral Schizophrenia" of a few weeks ago, in which he'd described his encounter with some hunters who'd stopped to help a deer who had been struck by a car, and how this encounter illustrated the nonsensical manner in which we choose to assess one nonhuman animal species versus another. At least I can agree with one thing Norwood states and that is that I suppose one may indeed say that he's immoral. I mean, one can say or write anything on the internet, no? As for whether or not he's fit to assess whether or not he's confused, I think that I'll leave that up to readers to judge for themselves.



I've recently added links off to the right of the blog to some podcasts to which you should be listening. They include the RSS feeds for:

If you host / produce an abolitionist vegan podcast and would like to have a link to its RSS feed added to the list, please leave a comment below or drop me a line at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Because Vegans Love to Eat, Too

A popular misconception about veganism is that food options become limited. If anything, becoming vegan taught me that I'd had no idea of the actual variety of foods available to me and of the multitude of ways in which they can be seasoned and prepared. I taught myself most of what I know about cooking while reading vegan cookbooks cover to cover and while lurking in recipe forums in online communities; these days I'm still studying cookbooks, but tend to pick up so many new ideas and tips on many of the wonderfully well-written vegan food blogs out there. I'm trying to get into the habit of providing a regular update of the dishes and cooking tips that catch my eye on those vegan food blogs I follow. I think that learning how to prepare food you love is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a vegan. Plus, becoming a good cook provides you with a valuable tool for vegan outreach, where you can teach others around you that absolutely delicious meals need not involve animal exploitation.


Anna, over at Carrot and Potato Time, posted a recipe for a Basic Vegan Chili for crock pots a few weeks ago that included a tip on using kombu seaweed to bring about "a general reduction in, ehm, digestive distress (gas!) associated with beans". Her recipe was of interest to me since I was recently given a crock pot and have just started experimenting with it. I picked up a copy of Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker while in Philly and look forward to sharing the outcome of recipes I try from it.

A recipe that could easily be adapted for slow cookers is the one for Smokey Corn Chowder posted by Claire at Chez Cayenne just a few days ago. It's adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison. I love corn chowder more than just about anything in the world--honestly! I hope to try this recipe out soon if I can find some smoked Spanish paprika in one of my local stores.

Last week, Ms. Veganorama at Yummy Vegan Dinners posted a recipe for Vegan Burger Patties, with credit for the recipe given to Bryanna Clark Grogan. I'm a sucker for a good veggie burger recipe and this recipe is neat because it's not your typical crumbly bean / grain burger, but is more of a burger-burger substitute, using gluten flour, chickpea flour and oats for texture and to bind the patties.

And by the way, if you haven't done so already, bookmark and read this blog: Vegan Mafia. From product and restaurant reviews to food photos and recipe ideas, Ms. Rock covers it all delightedly and delightfully!

Speaking of cookbooks: Along with the aforementioned Robin Robertson book, I also picked up Nava Atlas' Vegan Express and Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen in Philly recently. I look forward to trying out some recipes from each of those and sharing the results here in future posts. (Note: You can find some sample recipes from Bryant's book by clicking on the links in this April 8 blog post.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Misrepresentations of Veganism in the Media

Canada's The National Post has recently started running a weekly piece in its food section called "A Meatless Proposal". It's about two sisters who move in together, one a "meat-loving gastronome" and the other a supposed "vegan who's just 'not into food'". The piece is written by the omnivorous sister who decides to "show her [vegan sister] how to like food, even if it means cooking vegan". So what about this token vegan sister?

For Emily, a vegetarian diet wasn’t a choice made for ethics or taste; she is simply uncomfortable with the thought of eating meat. “I consciously deny myself something I enjoy,” she said, by way of explanation. “It’s sort of masochistic.” She also, however, doesn’t eat cheese — with the bizarre exception of Parmesan — because she simply doesn’t like it. I know. Mind-boggling.
Although she's described as a "vegetarian" in this particular quote from the piece, it's made clear in the article's introduction that Emily is a "vegan". Yet, her veganism is presented as having nothing to do with ethics but everything to do with self-deprivation. Her veganism also has a Parmesan cheese exception (and apparently egg and anchovy exceptions, given the bacon-free Caesar salad she is mentioned as having recently eaten). My guess is that there's some bandwagon-hopping going on. At the very least, it's obvious that neither the article's writer nor her supposed sister has any idea of what veganism entails. It's a shame that this confusion and misrepresentation will be presented weekly in a major Canadian newspaper.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh, HSUS! Why Do They Malign You So?

I'm not generally one who feels strongly compelled to come to the defence of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). With an annual revenue of over $100 million, I'm sure that they already earmark a bit of pocket change for public relations. However, I simply could not resist the urge to clarify a few misrepresentations about them that I noticed being smeared across the internet this week. They seemed so unfair.

Take this rant in the Zanesville Time Recorder by Troy Balderson, for instance. The State Representative for Ohio's 94th district had a few nasty words to share about HSUS. A few of his wildest accusations include that HSUS is a "vegan organization" and that it "aims to promote vegan lifestyles". It troubles me to see HSUS misrepresented so, when it's worked so hard to establish that it honestly and earnestly does not seek the elimination of animal agriculture and does not concern itself with whether animals should be eaten--that's a non-issue for them. Just this past July, Wayne Pacelle, HSUS' dapper President and CEO, spent a fair amount of time spelling this out to AgriTalk radio host Mike Adams. When describing HSUS' initiatives, Pacelle insisted

[t]hey relate not whether animals should be used for food, but how they are treated during production, transport and slaughter. [...] We’ll have some disagreements depending on what your orientation is, but I don’t think anyone can reasonably claim that our work is moving in the direction of eliminating animal agriculture as some of the folks in the industry keep repeating.
In the rest of the interview, Pacelle insists that most HSUS staff and volunteers aren't even vegetarian, never mind being (gasp!) vegan. You can read my previous blog post about the Pacelle interview here or you can read the actual transcript here to hear Pacelle tell it like it is. Pacelle, although a supposed vegan himself, has even been known to publicly mock vegan education.

Heck, HSUS even condones the consumption of animal products at its own fundraising events. How is this promoting "vegan lifestyles"? How does this make HSUS a "vegan organization"? HSUS may recommend reducing your consumption of animals or comforting yourself that you're making a significant ethical improvement in your diet by choosing one animal product over another, but flat-out promoting veganism as the only truly humane option? Troy Balderson, how dare you accuse them of such a thing? Shame on you!

And then there's an unforgivably badly-written piece on The Examiner website by Lennis Waggoner, a supposed journalism program graduate, writer and conservative policy advisor, who decided to believe everything he reads (in this case, the propaganda on, which is run by the big industry funded Center for Consumer Freedom) and to spread even more nonsensical lies about HSUS. Waggoner writes that
HSUS and Farm Sanctuary masquerade as animal “welfare organizations”, which work for the humane treatment of animals, when they are really animal “rights” organizations, instead. There is a major difference between the philosophy of “humane treatment” and giving animals “equal rights” with people.
The thing is that on one point, Waggoner is correct: There is a major difference between animal "welfare" and animal "rights". Unfortunately, he proceeds to conflate the two in a very clumsy manner, providing no actual evidence of HSUS' actual promotion of animal rights, but plenty of their promotion of welfarism. And HSUS is indeed all about welfarism, generally spending the millions it receives from well-intentioned donors to wage one ineffective campaign after another to "pressure" companies into making ethically insignificant changes to where they source their exploited nonhuman animals. Take this recent campaign, for example, in which HSUS seeks to pressure IHOP to "begin moving away from" using eggs produced by hens in battery cages. The rest of the time, they heap praise upon one business after another that continues to exploit nonhuman animals. Where do rights figure in all of this?

So Waggoner is correct that a welfarist approach to the use of animals differs significantly from an animal rights approach; it's just unfortunate that he obviously has no understanding of what those differences--and their significance--actually are. He obviously hasn't read this latest essay by
We Other Animals blogger Vincent Guihan, which explores the reasoning behind focusing on the use versus the treatment of nonhuman animals. Maybe then Waggoner wouldn't be wasting his time disparaging HSUS by accusing them of being an animal rights organization, and maybe then I wouldn't have had to use up an entire lunch break to defend HSUS against all of these unfair and wrongful allegations.

(Oh, and Mr. Pacelle, in lieu of payment for my work, could you purchase a dozen or so copies of Rain Without Thunder and ship them to me so that I can hand them out as educational material to some of these awful people who are mischaracterizing your organization as being vegan or animal rights oriented? I'm sure that you could write it off as a business expense. Thanks kindly!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Other Abolitionists Have Been Saying

I've failed to keep up over this past week with many of the online goings of my fellow abolitionists, aside from just trying to keep track of who's been writing or engaging in some sort of advocacy work. I think that this next week will be one delayed reaction after another for me as I catch up on the great work and musings that have been shared online.

For instance, this morning I read Ken Hopes' latest post on his brockway hall blog about definitions or representations of the word "vegan" on things like t-shirts. It's an interesting post that says a lot about how one identifies with veganism and it conveys how the words describing it may indeed very easily become catch phrases that feel a bit lacking to actual vegans. Abolitionist Nathan Schneider also recently examined words and language, albeit in his case, it concerned how we (un)knowingly use speciesist language in everyday life to classify animals as things.

Over at We Other Animals, Vincent J. Guihan has been keeping busy writing about "Vegan" Outreach's Matt Ball, and how he's been parroting the welfarist mantra by referring to most vegans as fanatical and purist. Guihan uses this as a starting point to talk about propaganda within the animal movement and to reflect upon how

[c]onfrontational comments on blog posts, tweets and other media from regulationist advocates, name calling, mud slinging, and other forms of personalizing disagreements are intended to intimidate other advocates. Innocuous seeming enough out of context. But when it reflects a pattern of repetitive behaviour, it equally often reflects a subtle and not so subtle harassment of other advocates.
Guihan goes on to discuss recent attacks on the abolitionist community and how, at the very least, all they've managed to do is sway animal movement' attention from the really important work of promoting veganism and of advocating for nonhuman animals. Guihan engages in this thing called "advocacy", himself, in his most recent blog post in which he lays out how taking down the industry that profits off the cycle of animal exploitation cannot be attempted in any other manner than with an understanding that consumer demand is what drives suppliers to continue providing the general public with animal products. As long as consumers want, suppliers will provide and attacking suppliers for doing so is wrongheaded and ineffective at best.

(A few other recent pieces that I want to highlight are Vegan Examiner Adam Kochanowicz's "How to Reduce Suffering and Other Wrong Questions to Ask" which addresses how the very use of animals--and not how they are used--should be the focus in fighting the exploitation of animals and Gentle World volunteer Angel Flinn's recent essay "All Heaven in a Rage" in which she discusses how speciesism leads us to condemn the killing of some nonhuman animal while shrugging off the killing of others.)

I hope to post (and ramble) about more things that have been written (or said via podcast) by fellow abolitionists over the next several days. Although I feel that I've been missing out by falling out of the loop while on vacation, it's heartening to me that there continues to be so much activity and education on behalf of nonhuman animals.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Exploring Veganism Away from Home (Part I)

Things have been quiet on this here wee blog over the past week and a half. I'd been busy preparing for a bit of a trip and today find myself on day 9 of my trip to Pennsylvania / New Jersey. Staying with my spectacular vegan-friendly omni host (aka "the boy") has been a treat. Numerous trips to a grocery store chain called "Acme" which invariably elicited memories of many a childhood Saturday morning watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, as well as visiting my first Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market left us with so many wonderful things to eat--many of them new to my host.

His favourites, revealing his ol' sweet tooth, were the vanilla ice cream Tofutti Cuties we picked up at Trader Joe's and the vegan cornbread and chocolate-topped peanut butter fudge we picked up at Whole Foods (as well as the vanilla Silk soy milk we found there). Aside from stocking my vegetable-aversive sweetie's fridge and fruit bowl with raw produce (romaine, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, radishes, corn on the cob, cucumbers, apples, bananas, avocados, pineapple, grapes, red onion, fresh ginger and more), we also picked up whole grain pita and bread, nuts and an assortment of fun things ranging from both Trader Joe's horseradish and kalamata olive hummus (each one incredible, in my opinion--one of the things I will miss most about Pennsylvania is the omnipresence of horseradish) to habanero pepper sauce, Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese, Yves Veggie PizzaPepperoni Slices, Gimme Lean sausage and "everything bagel" chips. Oh, and Yellow Tail shiraz, which to my consternation is less than half the price here (even with the exchange rate) that it is back home in Canada.

So the very basic foundation for my trip involving feeding myself and the spreading of vegan goodliness in the form of delicious grub definitely started on the home-front. Aside from munching on various things (nuts, pretzels, fruit, soy yogurt, et al.), we ended up eating pita pizzas with anything from "pepperoni" and "sausage" to olives, sweet or hot pickled peppers, red onion, spinach, et al. topped with "mozzarella", Schezuan tofu vegetable stir-fry, salads, sandwiches, pita wedges w/ hummus, veggie burgers and we went out twice (and I hope to bump this up to three times today with a return jaunt into Philly today to try a sandwich at Govinda's--the boy wants to try a vegan Philly cheesesteak sandwich). I'll be blogging some more about other vegan-related things concerning my trip--eating out, non-food purchases, my vegan "firsts"--once I'm back at yonder place I should call "home". Call me easy, but my handful of days here have left me itching to transplant myself. I'll have much to ponder on the long bus ride home.