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How Vegan? Ingredients vs. Results

by Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach

When I first got involved in animal rights around 1990, "How vegan?" had a simple answer – either something is vegan or it isn't. The way to tell was to compare all of the ingredients on every product against lists of all animal products. This list eventually became a book, Animal Ingredients A to Z, which for years was the best-selling book at

This simple means of defining "good" and "bad" attracted many of us because it was so straightforward. But even before the list began to grow into an encyclopedia, it was inconsistent. The production of honey kills some insects, but so does driving (and sometimes even walking). Many soaps contain stearates, but the tires on cars and bicycles contain similar animal products. Some sugar is processed with bone char, but so is much municipal water. And adding "not tested on animals" to the definition of vegan added a whole new level of complexity.

Continue reading the essay…

Easy Beginner Vegan Cooking Class Recipes on Our Website

On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Angela Gilchrist taught a free cooking class and shared with us simple and tasty vegan recipes. Angela has been developing her vegan cooking skills for seventeen years, and has been experimenting with gluten free recipes for two and a half years.

The cooking class was a great hit. Here are the delicious recipes Angela shared with the class.

Try them out at home and let us know what you think!

Announcing Veg Week 2012!

Mark your Calendars for Veg Week 2012! Our ninth annual Veg Week pulls together a host of fun and educational events to encourage people to move towards a plant-based diet.

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) started our celebration of all things veg back in 2004. Over the course of one week we celebrate vegetarian diets, educate the public about compassionate food choices, and inspire respect for farm animals. Events include a feed-in and film screening, a dine-out, a cooking class, and more. Check out our calendar below for a full list of events and times.

Pledge to be Veg!


Participate in Veg Week by taking our Pledge to be Veg and choosing to eat vegetarian for the week! Already a vegetarian? We are encouraging vegetarians to try eating vegan.

Don't worry, we make it easy! When you Pledge, you receive a Pledge Card that gives discounts at local veg-friendly restaurants and businesses. We also help by sending email updates with recipes and nutrition advice and providing a supportive community of animal lovers who will be attending our events during the first week of October!

Encourage your friends to take the pledge too!

Calendar of Events

See the events below, and click on each link for more details!

  • Tuesday, September 11th, 10 am to 2 pm: Vegan Food Showcase, West Bank bridgehead, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Saturday, September 29th, 7 to 10 pm: Veg Week Kick-off Concert with Roe Family Singers and Sleepyhead in The Whole in Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Monday, October 1st, 6 pm to 10 pm: Spaghetti Feed-In and Vegucated movie showing in the Mississippi Room in Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Tuesday, October 2nd, 10 am to 2 pm: Bake Sale, in the basement of Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Tuesday, October 2nd, time TBA: Shop with a Vegan at the Seward Co-op
  • Wednesday, October 3rd, time TBA: Cooking Class, location TBA
  • Thursday, October 4th, 7 pm to 10 pm: Dine-Out at Krungthep Thai
  • Friday, October 5th, 8 pm – 11 pm: Vegan After Dark at Moto-I
  • Sunday, October 7th, 1 pm to 3 pm: Chicken Sanctuary Tour at a local sanctuary

Check back at our website at for details and updates. We hope to see you there!

Plant-Based Nutrition Resource scours the world of nutrition research to give you information that is easy to understand.

The brainchild of vegan physician Michael Greger, M.D., is the first non-commercial, science-based website to provide free daily updates on the latest in nutrition research via short, easy to understand video segments. It has hundreds of videos on more than a thousand topics, and Dr. Greger uploads a new video every day.

Dr. Greger has spoken for Compassionate Action for Animals before, and we know him to be a knowledgeable source about nutrition.

You can also follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Support the Veg Fest

Our first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest, held on July 14, was a tremendous success! Please support the future of this festival.

Thanks to the hard work of the exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers, the committee, we made the first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest a huge success! Can you make a contribution so we can plan an even better festival next year?

With your support, we can:

  • Host the Veg Fest again in 2013!
  • Advertise the festival more widely to get more folks who are not aware of the cruelties of modern animal agriculture.
  • Add more programming, perhaps including music or exploding tofu.
  • Get more food samples and more food vendors!

Please make a generous donation of $50, $25, or $10 to support the Twin Cities Veg Fest!

Belief on the Right Side of History

Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach shares his story on how he became an animal advocate.

Wondering about his commitment to justice in his youth, Matt says:

…if all these millions could fully believe things that, today, are so obviously absurd and repulsive, well, how could I assume everything I currently believed was absolutely right? If so many would willingly support gruesome atrocities, how can I possibly think everything today is morally pure? Even if I'm not chaining up a slave, or leading my fellow citizens to the gas chambers, isn't it possible – even probable – that I am at least tacitly supporting another horror – one that future generations will also look upon with bewilderment?

Later in the essay, he reflects:

We each have to ask the question: what kind of person are we? Will we accept what our society dictates today, or will we write our own story? Will we rationalize the status quo or thoughtfully make our own decisions? Will we oppose cruelty or support slaughter?

Read the whole essay.

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2012 Report

With our first-ever Twin Cities Veg Fest, we wanted to share with people where their food comes from, how to be a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and why being compassionate benefits everyone. We’re happy to report that it was an overwhelming success!

Note: If you attended Twin Cities Veg Fest, we want to hear your feedback! Please take a moment to complete our online survey.

About 1200 people attended Twin Cities Veg Fest throughout the day. Before the doors opened, there was lots of energy in the air as a huge line formed. The first two hundred guests were rewarded with treats from Alternative Baking Company, Bumblebar, and Mary’s Gone Crackers. In all, 1000 people got a swag bag filled with veg-friendly information and coupons.

Inside the exhibitor hall, guests had tons of tasty vegan food to sample; including Field Roast Frankfurters, Upton’s Naturals‘ sandwiches and wraps, Vegan Pockets‘ various products, Tofurky chorizo, and Primal Strips vegan jerky. Those with a sweet tooth found samples of

Thanks For Making The Veg Fest A Success

The first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest could only happen with the generous help of volunteers, exhibitors, and speakers!

We held our first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest on Saturday, July 14. It was a smashing success!

Thanks to the exhibitors for providing great vegan food and resources:

Thanks to the 50 volunteers that helped out on the day of, put up posters, stuffed bags, and told their friends about the festival!

We couldn't have done it without the generous support of our sponsors.

Thanks to Lisa Mabley, Heidi Prenevost, and Nicole Riner for designing our print and online materials.

Finally, thanks to the committee who planned this event:

  • Brita Bengtson – Advertising Guru
  • Amber Buening – Whip Cracker (Volunteers)
  • Jeff Johnson – The Rain Maker (Sponsorship)
  • Shannon Kimball – Exhibitor Logistician
  • Unny Nambudiripad – CAA Executive Director
  • EG Nelson – Jill of All Trades
  • David Rolsky – Extreme Delegator (Committee Chair)
  • Suzy Sorensen – Raffle Wrangler and Speaker to Speakers
  • Pat Tullo – Legal Eagle and Speaker to Speakers

Photo by A Frame Forward

Thanks to our Twin Cities Veg Fest Sponsors

We'd like to thank our Twin Cities Veg Fest sponsors once again for their support of the festival. This event wouldn't have been possible without their generous support.

Official Media Sponsor

City Pages is the largest, most-read weekly in the Twin Cities. It is available free to readers in over 1,700 locations throughout the metro area. 80,000 copies of the paper are distributed in stores, office buildings, clubs, restaurants, outdoor boxes, campuses and other high traffic locations.

Gold Sponsor


VegFund empowers vegan activists worldwide by funding outreach activities that inspire people to choose and maintain a vegan lifestyle. Since its inception in 2009, VegFund has supported more than 1,700 vegan outreach projects. Filling a much-needed niche in the vegan movement, VegFund embraces new ideas and continues to evolve in an effort to support effective outreach. Please be sure to visit to learn more about how you can get involved.

Silver Sponsors


AM950 is a locally-owned radio station airing progressive talk including national talkers Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann. Local programming includes The Morning Grind with Matt McNeil; the Nancy Nelson Show and the Jack Rice Show. Weekend programming includes Food Freedom Radio; Wake Up Call; Make a Difference; Reflections of New Minnesotans and the Twin Cities Real Estate Show.

Compassion Over Killing

Working to end animal abuse since 1995, Compassion Over Killing (COK) exposes cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for us all.

A Frame Forward Photography

Jackson Tyler Eddy, owner of A Frame Forward Photography is a Photographic Artist based here in the Twin Cities. Jackson is the highest rated "green" photographer in Minnesota, creating and delivering ultra-premium, eco-friendly, pieces of art. Jackson and A Frame Forward specialize in Wedding & Lifestyle Portrait work, and love to travel. Jackson blends fine art & photojournalism, with a little bit of fun. Like a hand-picked organic apple, his images are crisp, clean, and fresh. Jackson gravitates towards bold colors, unique style, creativity, and offers a fresh perspective. On a personal level, Jackson is also a long time vegetarian and is honored to be a part of the first annual TC Veg Fest.

Mercy for Animals

Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals, and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.

Bronze Sponsors

Action for Animals

Action for Animals is an educational organization that works to promote positive change in the ways people view and treat animals. Because every animal has the right to live his or her life free from oppression and exploitation, AFA promotes a vegan diet and lifestyle – not using animals for food, clothing, entertainment, research, trade, or any other objectifying purpose – and vegan activism as the best way to take action for animals.

Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange is the 100% employee owned company that pioneered working with small farmer coffee co-ops way back in 1986. We partner with farmer co-ops as we believe that growers who own their own land and work together can gain real leverage in the marketplace and have the best chance at creating sustainable communities. We model our own business as a co-op as well. Every worker-owner has 1 vote in electing our Board, we have a 4 to 1 pay ratio and if there are profits at the end of the year, we share them equally. We started with coffee and we continue to find new powerful ways to partner with small farmers in chocolate, tea, bananas and more.

Mary's Gone Crackers

Mary's Cookies are straight from the heart of a mother to a son who could not eat gluten. All Mary's Gone Crackers products – Cookies, Pretzels and Crackers began as healthy opportunities for gluten free food to be full of nutrition and flavor. All ingredients are Organic and Mary's products have always been Vegan. Feel good serving them to your entire family, with love from Mary. Conscious Eating: Mary's Gone Crackers.


Move2Veg provides nutrition counseling with a focus on plant-based eating and can help you to get started or fine tune your eating habits to optimize nutritional health!

Vegan Pockets

A new 100% Vegan Product line has been created to tantalize your taste buds. As Vegans, Vegetarians and health conscience consumers, you have a choice of four unique flavors; Back to Our Roots, Chipotle Fiesta, Orient Express and Taste of Italy. Each 100% recyclable package contains two 5-ounce pockets that are stuffed with flavorful vegetables and robust spices; providing a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, protein, iron and other key nutrients. We pre-baked and flash froze them to lock in each individual and distinctive flavor; which makes them a healthy, portable meal or snack for you and your family's busy lives.

Friends of Veg Fest

  • Susan Gretz and Michael Chutich
  • Pat Tullo

Twin Cities Veg Fest Is This Saturday!

Come to our first ever celebration of compassionate living.

The Twin Cities Veg Fest will include speakers, resources, a kids area, and of course, excellent vegan food! The first 200 to come to the festival will get extra goodies in their swag bags.

What will you see at the Twin Cities Veg Fest? Check out our preview to get a taste!

Please come with a friend, join the Facebook event, and Tweet about it.

When posting on Flickr or Twitter, please use the #TCVF12 tag.

For a better sense of what the Veg Fest is about, listen to radio shows featuring CAA Executive Director Unny Nambudiripad on AM950's Food Freedom Radio or on Animal Wise Radio.

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