Compassionate Action for Animals

Vegan Eats in Las Vegas, Nevada

My wife and I make it a point to travel as much as possible. The world is so big, we want to experience as much of it as possible. Whenever we travel, there’s always one goal in mind. EAT.

We have tried some of the best vegan food you can find. Sage Organic Cafe in Los Angeles, Spiral Diner in Texas, Chicago Diner in Chicago, and so many others. None of these places disappointed. Every time we start to look for a place to vacation, scoping out the vegan scene and seeing what they offer for vegan cuisine is always one of the first things we do. That brings us to our most recent vacation: our second-year anniversary trip to Las Vegas!

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Home for the Plant-Based Holidays!

Happy November! For many, it’s the month to kick off a season filled with friends, family, and the coziest dishes our Earth has ever produced. But for many veg folks, it can also be a time of unpredictable social situations, especially when attending a predominantly omnivore celebration. But fear not! All of the vegan holidays I’ve spent have been stuffed full with a classic green bean casserole, the creamiest dreamiest sweet potatoes, a pillowy pumpkin pie, and long post-nourished food-naps.

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Veganism at the Holiday Table: Four Tips for Talking with Family

Going home for the holidays often involves finding a balance between celebrating with family, answering questions from relatives about veganism, and finding a seasonal vegan-friendly dish to eat with everyone. Read on for some of Ava’s tips to effectively share a message of compassion for animals at any holiday celebration while keeping your own wellbeing in mind.
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Making Minneapolis the Next Fur-Free City: An Interview with Matt Johnson

I met with Matt Johnson, the campaign director for Fur Free Minneapolis, which is an initiative to ban the sale of new fur within city limits, to talk about the campaign.

Following in the footsteps of LA and San Francisco, Matt believes Minneapolis will be the next fur-free city. The campaign has gathered more than 2,000 letters to City Council Members and the Mayor and more than 13,000 signatures on their online petition. Read on to learn more about this groundbreaking campaign, Matt, and what you can do to help.

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Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019

We welcomed an estimated 10,000 people to Twin Cities Veg Fest in Harriet Island Park on September 15, 2019!

We ate, learned, and celebrated compassion under beautiful blue skies beside the Mississippi River.

Here are just a few of our favorite quotes from the 10K attendees, over 150 volunteers, and over 120 exhibitors who joined us:

  • Most valuable was being around like-minded people and people who are doing truly great things in animal rescue or welfare and learning more about plant-based/vegan eating. I’m moving to this diet.
  • I loved that there was an ask a dietitian booth—amazing.
  • I enjoyed: trying out new-to-me restaurants and learning about new-to-me vendors; learning about/connecting with different organizations working locally and beyond; and connecting with other people around food and compassion.
  • We really enjoyed the event and the crowd. Beautiful location! Great people to work with!
  • Thanks for all your great work preparing for, implementing, and now following up after such an outstanding event. This was my first Twin Cities Veg Fest and I was so impressed by the scale, the variety and diversity among presenters and vendors, and how kind people were in handling challenges that arose while I was volunteering.

We want to express extra appreciation to all who joined us later than planned due to the shuttle mishap, and apologize for the issues with transportation that arose at this year’s festival. Our statement on accessibility and transportation provides additional information and ways to contact us, and also outlines plans for improvement in these areas next year. 

What will next year bring? Be sure to subscribe to our email list to stay in the loop.

Many thanks to the donors, sponsors, volunteer committee members, day-of volunteers, exhibitors, presenters, musicians, and attendees who were part of Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019. Together we broke attendance records, helping a growing community to take action on their empathy for animals and to move towards a plant-based diet.

If you have any photos from the festival, be sure to @tcvegfest and #tcvegfest on social! We’d love to hear what you thought about this year’s festival (and take a peek at any of the foods you tried)!

Where to Eat When You Find Yourself in Iowa City, Iowa for 28 Hours

On a recent snowy (!) April Saturday my husband and I drove down for a brief weekend trip to Iowa City as he was doing a talk on Sunday morning. We only had 28 hours there but I was seriously worried about being able to find vegan options to even support me for that short time! I didn’t need to worry. On the way down, as we rushed to avoid the incoming winter storm, I did a quick search on Happy Cow on my cell phone and found lots of great sounding options. Since we were only there for three meals I had to make choices. What follows is an outline of the happy finds I made for each of my meals:

We were arriving around noon on Saturday so I hunted around to find the best option for lunch. Trumpet Blossom came up with the highest Happy Cow rating (4.5) so I checked out their web site. Lo, and behold I found out that they were having their 25th Anniversary celebration that weekend and that included live music during brunch on Saturday! Sweet! We drove directly there as it was too early to check into our hotel. It is in a rather nondescript building near downtown but the inside has the most spectacular old wood bar taking up one side of the venue. There were a good number of tables and while it was busy we didn’t have to wait. The food and drink selections at this all-vegan restaurant were extensive and there were even things for my flexitarian husband to love. The food was all tasty, well presented and unique. They even had falafel waffles! I had the vegan florentine and my husband had the soup and cornbread (which he let me save for breakfast the next day!). Both were great. They are known for their tempeh Reuben.

Our next choice was to go for dinner at the Big Grove Brewery since no trip is complete for my husband without a brewery tour. And this brewpub is highly rated and has a large vegan selection (pubs there can actually make and serve meals!). We walked into this gigantic space and were unable to find a seat as it is so popular. They have a large, lovely outdoor patio filled with many fire pits but the weather was not ideal for sitting outside (the snow hadn’t made it there but cold drizzle had!) We left and made this our Sunday lunch instead. At that time it was still busy but we got seats. The staff recommended the sesame ginger Cauliflower wings and I took their recommendation. I was not disappointed. The beers were also excellent making this place a hit for my husband and me! 

Saturday night dinner we went to Mellow Mushroom which is the closest outpost of this mostly southeastern pizza restaurant chain. They have a cute, whimsical hippy era decor—this one complete with an alien abduction of a cow mid-restaurant. The selections for the pizzas and calzones were pretty vegan-friendly with a wide assortment of veggies including tempeh and tofu toppings with Follow Your Heart Vegan cheese. There are several specialty combos they were glad to customize to be vegan but I went with a “design your own” pizza. There were also a few salad options.

Afterwards, I did a carousel ride on a carousel right outside the restaurant with very cute animals in addition to the traditional horses!

My last stop before heading out of town was downtown to see the historic area and the famous Prairie Lights Bookstore—right around the corner was  Molly’s Cupcakes which had several vegan options which I grabbed for the road. All and all a very satisfying trip with lovely vegan eating options.

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Have you gone on a trip recently? We want to hear about it! Guides like happycow.net are great to start planning a trip, and so are tips on how to make and keep your trip to somewhere vegan from folks who have visited prior.

Let us know if you’d be willing to share your trip and some of its highlights with us at info@exploreveg.org.

Wrapped Up in Wrapping Paper

The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes a flourish of shopping for our loved ones. With so many options available at our fingertips, many of us find ourselves faced with ethical and economic dilemmas in regards to how we are going to spend our consumer dollars. 

Living a sustainable lifestyle does not have to be drab, hurt your wallet, or harm our animal friends. In fact, many of the ways that we can live a plant-based lifestyle extend beyond what we put on our plates. One of the biggest ways that we can remain environmentally and animal-friendly during these winter months is by knowing that most store-bought wrapping papers, ribbons, and foils are not, and I emphasize, NOT recyclable.

Discarded wrapping paper leaves a sea of shiny paper in our oceans and tumbling tissue paper in our backyards. To help avoid adding our waste to growing landfills (waste that ends up invading the habitats of our furry, scaled, and feathered friends and negatively affecting their health), we put together a list of alternative ways to wrap your gifts that are cruelty-free and help us protect the animals and our earth.

DO TRY:

1. Use reusable bags!

Not only are usable bags a gift in themselves, but they’re also extremely practical because they can be repurposed for other uses. The recipient of your gift will be able to tote around theirs with pride knowing that they are living sustainably. Heck, treat yourself at the same time and get one with a cute animal on it!

2. Use leftover paper from the Sunday comics

Your friends and family will get to see just how serious you are about cruelty-free living when they see The Peanuts covering their gifts. You get to laugh because you get to keep the green paper in your pocket instead of on their presents. They get to laugh because you are literally giving them a humorous gift.

3. Use pillowcases and sheets

Is using a pillowcase as wrapping paper glamorous? No. But everyone will be so impressed by your ingenuity and creativity that they won’t think twice about how it looks.

4. Use those boxes you get from shipping

Cardboard boxes just get thrown in the recycling anyway, why not customize the box for the person you are giving the gift to? Paint, stamp, and draw to your heart’s delight! The possibilities are endless.

5. Use old fabric or clothes

Similar to using a sheet or pillowcase. However, if you are super crafty and know how to work some scissors, a needle, and thread you can stitch together some cute DIY coverings.

6. Brown bag it!

Julie Andrews was onto something when she sang about “brown paper packages tied up with string,” and so can you! There’s something nostalgic about simple wrapping paper––try cutting up a leftover paper bag or using a roll of plain craft paper to decorate your gift.

7. Plain wrapping paper

If it’s free of metallic designs and glitter, it’s likely recyclable! Make sure to double check the…erm, wrapping 🙂

AVOID: 

1. Animal-based products for your wrappings.

Animal-based wrappings including beeswax, fur, and leather aren’t cruelty-free.

2. Bows, glitter, and ribbon.

While many add a beautiful and sparkly flair to a gift, these are not recyclable! Many bows that are plastic-paper composite are not the right composition to make cardboard, which makes them a direct-to-trash item unless you decide to reuse the bow again and again. Tricky!

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Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

18th Annual Vegan Virtual ThanksLiving

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!