Tag Archives: vegan

Save the Earth! It’s the only planet with chipmunks.

Last fall I lost my mind and decided to go back to school. I’m now halfway through my Masters degree in Humane Education a.k.a. Learnin’ How to Save the Planet.

Of course, we all know I really just want some more of those fancy letters to add to my work signature.

Go-Jules-Go-signature

Over the past year, I’ve struggled to find humor while bearing witness to the countless atrocities detailed in the coursework. I even considered throwing in the towel on higher learnin’ altogether. But speaking of towels (wait for it) – there’s still hope! On top of the recent move to tiny living, here are some of my favorite ways of ensuring the world’s chipmunks will have many, many years left to thrive:

1. (S)wipe Left on Paper Products

No, no, no. I’m not asking you to trade your TP for twigs. But getting into the habit of using dishtowels as napkins is the gift that keeps on giving! Who wants to dry their hands with 18 pieces of tissue paper anyway?

napkins

WHAT ARE YOU MADE OUT OF?? Necco wafers and sadness???

I love using soft, fluffy hand towels as much as…

2. Bag Lady

I’m obsessed with my reusable bags. Remember this?

home-alone-shopping-bag-fail-o

No more once you switch to sturdy, waterproof bags!

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This is 1/4 of my collection. I may have a problem.

3. From K-Cups to More-than-OK-Cups

Not only do they make gobs of compostable products for any coffee machine, they also sell reusable Keurig K-Cup pods that you can fill with your own coffee, then compost the grinds, for a totally waste-free caffienating experience.

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This is New Jersey. We drink cawfee.

4. Got milk? Yeah, and it’s nuts!

Swapping out any one dairy (or meat) item at any one meal for a plant-based option instead is a HUGE win for woodland critters and humans alike. I know, I know. “BUT CHEESE,” you’re thinking. Thankfully, the plant-based options for milk and cheese are becoming more convincing than ever – check out Chao cheese if you don’t believe me. (For more on the implications of eating dairy, which I know can be confusing – shoot me a note. And here’s a great article with lots of cool charts emphasizing the impact of small dietary changes.)

nut-milk-bag

Then you too can search “nut milk bag” without hesitation at work.

5. Compostest with the Mostest

By far my proudest accomplishment in 2016 was making this composting bin with Babs:

Babs-composting

Booya.

Since then, I’ve upgraded to an item that’s marketed as “the most beautiful composter in the world.” By tossing all of my raw produce, coffee grinds and compostable packaging in there, these bad boys have cut down my garbage by a whopping 75%!

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So beautiful, no?

6. It’s the Little Things that Count

Plastic straws, paper receipts, those little stickers on your fruits and vegetables – they really add up! Say “no thanks” when you can and hopefully these items, much like Scott Baio, will soon become a thing of the past.

scott-baio-trump-socks

“Global warming” – chyeah right! He doesn’t even need pants! Photo credit

7. This is Us. Not Buying New Sh*t.

Learning about the materials and energy required to produce every single new consumer good was enough for me to reconsider buying that battery operated armpit hair braider. Even recycling itself -turning those plastic Sprite bottles into a rug, for example- can demand intensive resources. Choosing refurbished or borrowed items will make you the Kevin to Mother Nature’s Kate.

This Is Us - Season 1

I hope you’re not using those wafer napkins to dry your tears. Photo credit

8. Do you have your permission slip?

Because it’s field trip time! Visit your local farm sanctuary and be amazed by the animals’ stories. Did you know chickens experience REM sleep and teach calls to their babies before they’re born? They even purr! So cool!

Dolly-the-Llama

Just imagine what I could tell you about Dolly the Llama!

9. Cabbage Patch Pets

Remember how Cabbage Patch dolls came with those nifty adoption papers? There’s a lot to be said for adoption – skip the breeders and pet stores and scoop up a rescue.

Jules-Cabbage-Patch-costume

I don’t know why you assumed I DIDN’T have this photo.

10. Fork You

Switching to reusable utensils (and dishware) was a “sacrifice” that played in my favor! I dine like a queen at work:

work-lunch

What’s with the bubbly, you ask? It’s Tuesday!

11. Warm Fuzzies

The best thing you can do for chipmunks? Love. Love them, love yourself, and love the land we share.

Chipmunk Smiling

She said “nut milk bag.”

P.S. – Yes I did.

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I Have Tasted the Impossible!

I grab my shirt and pull it away from me. The Manhattan skyscrapers have formed a barrier, trapping the early August humidity and dashing any hope that a breeze might dry the sweat running down my back.

“Do you think we’ll get a table?” my sister asks.

It’s 11:45am on Saturday and we’re part of a line snaking down 8th Avenue and 22nd Street. In 15 minutes, they’ll open the doors to Chelsea district’s Momofuku Nishi.

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We can already taste the succulent red meat and pan-fried char, our mouths watering at thoughts of the secret-sauce-and-blood-soaked bun.

Today, we would taste the impossible.

That’s right. Today we would sample the acclaimed brainchild of Patrick Brown, founder and CEO of California-based start-up Impossible Foods. According to all accounts, Brown had managed to create a plant-based burger that sizzled, bled and -hopefully- satisfied just like its meat-based counterpart.

Despite enjoying many bacon and cheese-smothered burgers in my day, I’ve always been a fan of veggie burgers. The ones that tasted like vegetables, that is. The more a veggie patty tried to disguise itself as meat, the more it seemed to fail.

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Until (spoiler alert) now.

Using a combination of science and more science, Impossible Foods attempted a feat no man nor chipmunk had yet mastered: Making vegetables actually mimic meat. How did they do it? Through reverse-engineering taste and including loads of something called heme. Heme is what peanut butter is to Reese’s cups, what cherry Chapstick is to a Katy Perry song, what Miss Piggy is to Kermit.

It’s the stuff that makes something what it is.

heme

Or, you know, if you want to be all LITERAL about it, it’s an “iron-containing compound of the porphyrin class that forms the nonprotein part of hemoglobin and some other biological molecules.” (Credit: Wikipedia)

Brown combined heme -the thing that gives beef its meaty, bloody flavor- and a number of plant products (namely potatoes, soybeans, and coconut) to achieve the Impossible Burger. A longtime vegan and accomplished biochemist, he wanted to make a veggie burger for people who loved meat. After all, who would forego succulent, savory bovine for lentils and chalky carrots?

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Us, apparently.

And we’re not alone:

Impossible Foods surveyed 600 “hard core middle America burger lovers” about their eating habits and asked them whether they’d choose a plant-based burger if it was identical—in taste and cost—to the beef version. Nearly 70% said they would. –Wall Street Journal

But with production costs still too high to actually offer the Impossible Burger to the masses, you have to wonder: is it worth all of the trouble? I mean, cholesterol aside, is there really anything that bad about sticking to the traditional?

cost-of-beef

According to NPR, this is what goes into producing a single beef patty. Photo Credit

With plans for a slow but powerful movement, Impossible Foods is piloting their burger in limited quantities in places like New York City, and soon, San Francisco. Within five years, we can expect to see some pretty happy cows, but for now, some pretty happy humans:


Do you think the Impossible Burger can do the impossible? Would you try it?

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My Most Shameful Guilty Pleasure OF ALL TIME a.k.a. Little Slice of Man Meat (no, this isn’t the one where I talk about Daniel Radcliffe in Equus. Nice try, though)

    You might be thinking this is the post where I finally talk about the fact that I own Season One of “Laguna Beach” on DVD and have watched it, in its entirety, on two separate occasions. Or maybe this is the one where I put up a picture of when I dressed as Doogie Howser for Halloween. There’s a good chance, you think, that I’m about to tell you how much I love guillotines.
    You’re wrong.
    While all of those things are indeed shameful guilty pleasures of mine, I have one that goes FAR BEYOND any I’ve just mentioned. In fact, I can’t believe I’m going to talk about it now, but, as promised… Let me start by telling you about something that happened last weekend.
    Last Saturday night, my husband and I were, true to form, hanging out watching T.V. Somehow, the topic of Jonathan Taylor Thomas came up. 

    “Is he younger than you?” my husband asked, trying to imply that this was another one of my creepy obsessions with the Teen Beat contingent.

    “No,” I promptly replied, adding, “He was born on September 8th, 1981!” I then quickly pulled up his profile on imdb.com, confirming my credibility.

    I realized it had been a long time since I had thought about Mr. Taylor Thomas, or trolled (and possibly contributed to…) fan fiction sites about said star of yesteryear. Rest assured, this is not the mystery guilty pleasure of which I speak. The confession, while absolutely J.T.T.-related, is far more disturbing.

    You see, when I was 13, like most 13-year-olds, I was a tad…boy crazy. Emphasis on the crazy. Because real-life boys never paid me any mind, I had to turn my focus toward the more famous variety. Any normal Jonathan Taylor Thomas fan might have been satisfied with plastering their bedroom walls with posters (oh, I did that, too), but not me. Even meeting him at a taping of “The View” wasn’t enough.

    I decided to become a vegetarian.

    Why, you rightly ask? For one reason, and one reason only. You guessed it. J.T.T. wouldn’t be caught dead gnawing on a turducken or snarfing down a White Castle sack of 10.

    Do you understand what I’m saying here? I gave up McDonald’s french fries for this kid, because they were made with beef flavoring. And guess how long this nonsense lasted? 5 and a half years! My entire teenage life! That’s just…just… there are no words.

    Now, please, I beg of you, post a comment sharing at least one of your most shameful guilty pleasures. I’ll be here in my closet, amongst the skeletons, not enjoying a Boca burger.