Unny Nambudiripad

Unny is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Compassionate Action for Animals. Please see his biography.

Chipotle’s Vegetarian Options

When people think of fast food chain restaurants, the phrases "sustainability," "fresh food" and "veg-friendly" often don't come to mind. Images of highly processed food and few vegan or vegetarian options are common. Vegetarians and vegans looking for ingredient information often find it quite difficult to determine what they are able to order. Chipotle is somewhat of an exception to these common conceptions of fast food restaurants.

What items at Chipotle should be avoided by vegetarians? Vegetarians need to avoid the pinto beans, which are made with small amounts of bacon. And, of course, they should avoid the meat. They say their cheese is not made with animal rennet, and the sour cream is okay for vegetarians too.

What items at Chipotle should be avoided by vegans? Besides the meat and pinto beans, the only other non-vegan items are the cheese, sour cream and the vinaigrette (which contains honey, according to The Vegetarian Resource Group). The tortillas are all vegan, as are the guacamole and salsas. The fajitas are fried in soybean oil.

As an added bonus, guacamole is free on vegetarian burritos and burrito bowls. A typical vegan burrito/bowl could include rice, fajitas, black beans, any combination of the four salsas, guacamole and lettuce. This combination translates to around 800 calories and runs just under $7. For those among us who are not proficient cooks or are looking for a meal on the run from a business we can feel moderately good supporting, Chipotle is a great option.

On their website one will find an easy to find and easy to read charts of common unwanted ingredients and nutritional information, in addition to special mention of what ingredients vegetarians and vegans should avoid. Chipotle has also taken small but concrete steps to support organic and local farming, such as buying 40% of their beans from organic farmers with plans to raise this number to 100% over time, according to their website.

Chipotle locations, along with thousands of other veg-friendly restaurants and places, can be found on VegGuide.org.

CAA would like to thank Chipotle for their generous donation of 8 free vegan burritos for our weekly campus meeting on March 26th!

Annual Banquet a Success

On April 5, Compassionate Action for Animals celebrated another year of advocating for animals at our 8th Annual Banquet. The fundraiser raised support for our outreach, education, and community building on behalf of farmed animals.

Over eighty guests attended this year's event, which included a silent auction and reception, a four-course vegan meal, and a presentation about CAA's work.

Following the meal, CAA co-founder Dave Rolsky recapped last year's accomplishments and gave a preview of what's to come. Sarah Brammer-Shlay spoke about her volunteer experience and how working with CAA has been fulfilling for her and has helped animals.

We'd like to thank those businesses and individuals who donated to the event:

And last, but certainly not least, dozens of dedicated volunteers helped the event to progress smoothly by preparing food, setting up, serving guests, taking pictures, and cleaning. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this year's banquet a huge success!

If you weren't able to attend but would still like to support CAA, you can donate online.

Join us for US VegWeek

If you missed CAA's annual Veg Week last fall, you have another chance to pledge to be vegetarian for a week during US VegWeek.

Taking place April 23-29, US VegWeek is a great opportunity to join with folks across the country to eschew meat for a week. Pledge today and explore the benefits of plant-based eating. You can sign up for daily emails to receive free recipes, tips, meal ideas and more, and you can also sign up for our free VegWeek Starter Pack, loaded with everything you need to get started plus lots of product coupons! We're partnering with Compassion Over Killing to bring you this great opportunity!

Becoming vegetarian reduces animal suffering. If you're shy to commit to a lifetime of being meat free but curious about incorporating more vegetarian options into your diet, pledging for US VegWeek is a great way to start out!

Stay tuned for Compassionate Action for Animals' Veg Week coming this fall.

Twin Cities Veg Fest

I hope you can join us for our first-ever Twin Cities Veg Fest on July 14.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is a one day celebration of compassionate living. We'll have delicious plant-based food, information about everything you want to know about vegan eating, and thought-provoking speakers. I hope you can join us on July 14, 2012, from 10am to 5pm at Coffman Memorial Union, Minneapolis, MN.

Please get ready by:

  • Marking your calendar. Once again, it's on July 14!
  • Liking us on Facebook and following our Twitter feed
  • Referring us to sponsors or exhibitors. It's a great way to get a brand in front of an interested audience of over 1,000 attendees.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Farm Sanctuary to Partner with VegGuide.org

Farm Sanctuary will be joining forces with us to promote and expand VegGuide.org, our worldwide guide to restaurants and shopping.

Farm Sanctuary is a national organization that protects farm animals from cruelty and promotes veganism. They provide shelter for abused animals, work to reform factory farming, and empower people to embrace a vegan lifestyle. We have hosted their founder, Gene Baur, at Veg Week and at our Their Lives, Our Voices conference and we're pleased to partner with them on VegGuide.org! They are joining our other two partners, Mercy for Animals and Vegan Outreach.

We are looking forward to the continued growth of VegGuide.org. With more than 14,000 entries, VegGuide.org is a popular and growing place to find veg-friendly restaurants. VegGuide.org lets users create entries, write reviews, and rate restaurants and businesses. Additionally, it's free of advertising, focuses on helping people find useful resources to move towards veganism, and all of its content is available free of charge under a Creative Commons license.

We're excited to have Farm Sanctuary's help in making VegGuide.org a success!

Factory Farming Can End With Your Support

When we contemplate the future, we see a world where factory farms no longer exist; animals are treated with kindness, compassion, and respect, rather than as tools or machines.

But we can't reach this future without your help.

At Compassionate Action for Animals, your donations support our efforts to reach out to the public and educate them about the horrors of modern factory farming. Your support lets us continue our leaflet distribution, video showings, and food giveaways, as well as our many other outreach, education, and community-building activities.

Please consider signing up for a recurring donation. If just a small fraction of the people on this list signed up to give a mere $10 per month, we could give out free vegan samples to tens of thousands of people! If you can't give on a recurring basis, please consider a one time gift of $50 or $25 today.

Iowa Passes Ag-Gag Bill

Last week, the state of Iowa passed a bill aimed at restricting undercover investigations that bring to light the realities of factory farming

Iowa is the first in the country to pass an 'ag-gag' bill. This bill penalizes workers who work on farms under false pretenses. This bill will make it more difficult for animal protection organizations to let the public know about how animals are raised for food.

Undercover investigations have been crucial in bringing to light the horrific conditions that pigs, cows, chickens, and other farm animals are subjected to. For more details about why the legislation is a bad idea, please read the Star Tribune opinions piece by Compassionate Action for Animals volunteer Jeff Johnson.

Please watch Mercy for Animals' new video that shows what the industry is attempting to hide. Please also consider choosing plant-based foods.

Book Review: Eating Animals

Reviewed by Shannon Kimball

After hearing the buzz about Jonathan Foer's new book Eating Animals, I knew I had to check it out. It was a great read and I can see why so many people are talking about it. The stories about his own personal struggles with vegetarianism help us to get to know the author right away. We find that he's just a regular guy who saw something wrong in the world.

Foer doesn't take an absolutist stance. He leaves you guessing which side of the fence he's on, even while Eating Animals masterfully dismantles many common arguments against vegetarianism.

I was also struck by the comparison between his perspective and Michael Pollan's perspective in Omnivore's Dilemma. As a humane educator I am often confronted during presentations by teachers and students who have read Pollan's book. They hope I will ultimately endorse his message of "humanely" killing and eating animals. It is nice to have a book I can recommend to them that offers a different opinion.

The subjects Foer touches on are weighty but he balances the weight with humor. He examines with admirable clarity the true value of PeTA, the bird flu scare, and the disagreement between the welfarist and abolitionist to animal advocacy.

Eating Animals is well-written, surprisingly entertaining, and altogether well thought out treatment of our modern relationship with animals. Foer provides a thoughtful voice on the side of animal protection, and I hope that many people outside the animal protection movement will read his work.

3rd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off This Saturday

Please join us on Saturday, February 25 from 7:30 to 10 pm!

Join special host Robin Garwood at the Seward Cafe for an event that is guaranteed to spice up a chilly Minnesota night. Attendees will sample a variety of delicious vegan chili recipes prepared by local cooks at this FREE event. Beverages will be provided for washing down some spicy chili. Over 125 people attended last year's cook-off, and we expect a similar crowd again this year!

Map of Event Location

Get Involved

Subscribe to our weekly update:



Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

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

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom