Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thanks for an amazing year from The Gay Vegans!

I first came up with the idea of this blog as we were heading to Florida to visit Mike's mom and posted about it on my fundraising blog. Fundraising is my profession and I've been blogging about it for years. I then decided that I wanted to keep that blog specific to fundraising, and since I refer to Mike and I as The Gay Vegans a lot, decided to create The Gay Vegans blog.

I had no clue.

I had no clue that we would meet so many wonderful, compassionate, loving people because of this blog.

I had no clue that we would be able to promote Meatless Mondays and support over 1500 people in going meatless for one day, many of whom have continued going meatless one day or more a week. A couple have since gone vegan!

I had no clue that we would be able to build bridges between vegans unfriendly towards gay people and gay people unfriendly towards vegans.

I had no clue that there were so many other gay vegans!

Although I did know there were a ton of activists all over working to be a voice for the voiceless, I didn't realize how much love there is out there. We as activists have to support each other. Together we are a much stronger voice for the voiceless.

This list could go on and on. What I want to say is thank you to all of you. Thanks for reading our blog. Thanks for taking action. Thanks for spreading our Meatless Monday messages. Thanks for asking friends and relatives to donate to an animal group or HIV/AIDS group rather than buying you a gift. Thanks for the reposts and retweets. Thanks for speaking out against cruelty, torture, and intolerance. As I write many times, thanks for being a voice for the voiceless. All of the voiceless.

Your support means the world to us!

We are beyond grateful.

And we look forward to 2012 with all of you!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A step towards veganism in 2012

As all of our readers know, Mike and I are vegan. We are both vegan because of animal issues, in that we just do not want to be a part of how horribly animals are treated to become food. And since we abhor violence, we certainly don't want to pay someone else to inflict violence against animals so we can eat. The benefit of this for the animals is clear, and the benefit for us is that we get to go crazy with amazing food choices as well as just being healthier.

We get a lot of questions about being vegan, not so much as to why we're vegan but how one can start the process of being vegan. So here are some thoughts about steps one can take if considering veganism.

Try a Meatless Monday. This is pretty simple and has become a world-wide event. Just don't eat meat on a Monday. If you want to go a bit further, go meatless every Monday!

Go to your library and check out a vegan cookbook. There are literally hundreds to choose from. The second part of this action is to actually prepare a meal from the cookbook!

Look for a meetup in your area. There are hundreds of vegetarian and vegan meetups all over the place. Some are potlucks and some are at a restaurant. If you are really interested in trying vegan food and cannot find such a group, start one. We have done vegan brunches where most of the folks who attend are not vegan yet everyone brings a vegan brunch item (you can check out our blog post about this). The food is always delicious and people who are not vegan realize how wonderful vegan choices are.

Check out a local Asian Bistro or Chinese restaurant and ask them to make you their best tofu dish. You might get really surprised!

Switch our your mayonnaise for a vegan version. Our favorite is Veganaise. I can eat it by the spoonful!

Read some vegan blogs. We have several linked from our blog. They are great learning sources and definitely empower you.

These ideas are just a start. Veganism is an incredible way of life and if this is your first attempt to try veganism you'll be blown away by the amazing food choices you'll have as well as all of the incredible flavors and textures that await you.

Let us know if we can help!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Men we love!

We were thrilled to be able to share our list of women we love, and even more thrilled that so many people read the post and told us who the women are that they love!

So now I thought we should share a list of the men we love! Just like the list of women we love, some of these we know and some we don't. We love them for the amazingness that they bring to this world. Not listed are our male family members we love so much, and those in our close-knit family of choice. They get our love every day!

Bruce Friedrich. A true voice for the voiceless, all of the voiceless. I have been honored to know Bruce for about 15 years and I feel like I am a better person because of that. Bruce is filled with love for all living beings and spends pretty much every waking moment working to make the world a safer, more just place for all.

William Carupia Cuñapa. President of the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia, (Organización Indígena de Antioquia (OIA) an organization representing Indigenous communities in the north-western department of Antioquia, Colombia. No matter how many threats he receives in his work towards justice for Colombia's Indigenous communities, he simply keeps going.

Christopher Murphy. A day doesn't go by when Christopher is not posting a photo of a beautiful dog or two that he is transporting somewhere around central Florida. He is a man of action and a vegan hero to us!

Jon Camp. Jon Camp is another huge voice for the voiceless. As a part of the Vegan Outreach team, he goes to pretty much every corner of the country supporting local activists and passing out vegan literature. His tireless efforts mean that every day more and more people get the information they need to consider going vegan.

Matthew Paul Turner. One of my favorite authors. One of my most memorable reads was with one of his books, writing about chatting with a gay guy in his church and welcoming him (the guy had been kicked out of his church). I was in tears reading that. Both Mike and I have had tough times with people who use Jesus to demonize us as gay men and Matthew gives me hope for a future with less hate and less violence towards LGBT people.

Brad Palmertree. Imagine being openly gay in the south. Not in a major, gay-friendly city, but in a small city in Tennessee. Then imagine being a voice for gay youth. An out, open voice. Brad is hugely courageous and I am lucky to know him. He is a huge advocate for justice, a loud voice for safe schools for LGBTQ kids, and as young as he is I think he's just getting started.

Anonymous Syrian Activist. Another 200+ people were killed in Syria this week. I am connected to activists in and out of Syria who blog, tweet, and YouTube what is going on there. I have blogged about the massacre of activists and protesters, a massacre that seems to continue every day. One in particular I follow who does not use his real names. I am always thinking of him with love, this totally courageous person.

Believe it or not, having now written about women and men we love, I realize that there are just so many. We are so incredibly grateful to know people like this, or in some cases to simply know of them.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Women we love!

Yes, The Gay Vegans love women!

This is the time of lists: Top 10 of this or that, the best of this, etc. We wanted to be a part of that!

We are SO lucky to be loved, supported, and strengthened by the amazing women in our lives. These are some we know and some we don't. All are women we love, respect, and are so grateful for.

Before I begin it's important to say that we totally love our moms and the women in our lives who are party of our close-knit, local group of friends.

Here we go!

Tawakkul Karman. Haven't heard of her? Well, she is 32, a journalist, from Yemen, and just was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace! Her bravery compels me to be a better person. When she speaks out, she never knows what type of brutality will come her way.

Alka Chanda. Alka is a total love. Mike and I love her with all of our hearts! She is the person we strive to be. And she is a huge voice for the voiceless, especially animals in labs! She is a big part of what makes this world such an amazing place.

Julie Gonzalez is a rock-n-roll activist in Denver who works for Colorado Immigrant Rights. And that is an understatement. She rocks it and is a huge inspiration! Julie never seems to stop in her fight for justice for all.

Suburban Snow White. When we started The Gay Vegans blog, she was so supportive and continues to be a huge supporter. Plus we love her blog. Like ours, her blog is not just about food. Check it out!

Wanda James. Another amazing activist right in our backyard. Wanda and her husband own a fabulous restaurant in Denver as well as a medical marijuana clinic. She is a huge, thoughtful voice against the crazy policies around marijuana as well as many other topics. I totally admire her and her constant efforts towards justice.

Shaima Jastaina. Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Shaima didn't have a driver and needed to get her children to school. She is one of many Saudi women who defied the ban, and received a sentence of 10 lashes for doing so. She continues to speak out against this law.

Aung San Suu Kyi. Lifelong human rights activist in Burma (Myanmar) who is finally free and running for office. She has been in jail or house arrest more often than not, yet she continues to speak out for freedom and justice.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. One of the most amazing vegan/pro-animal speakers we have ever heard an an incredibly strong voice for the voiceless. Whether it is one of her pod casts or one of her mouth-watering recipes from a wide selection of vegan cookbooks, Colleen has changed our world and how many people look at animals.

Mary Cahalane. Mary is one of my fundraising heroines! Her support and kindness has been incredible, and so helpful. Non-profit fundraisers totally change our world and Mary is one of my favorites. Did I also mention that she's a mom? Love her!

We would love to hear about the women YOU love!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My favorite foods Part II

In trying to keep the last blog post from going out of control, I decided to break up our favorite foods into two posts. Remember, these are not in order, just foods that we love!

Daiya cheese. A staple in our fridge. I have heard some people don't like it at all but we love it. Great for a quick quesadilla, to add in a tofu scramble, and of course for Mike's famous vegan enchiladas.

Eat Pastry cookie dough. Vegan cookie dough in your fridge, to use whenever you wish. You can bake three cookies or up to 16 with one of the containers. Chocolate Chunk is our favorite. We love to bake by scratch yet we don't always have time. Plus, although we haven't met them yet, we love everything we have learned about the couple who started this company.

Brazil Nuts. New to us. We just started eating these this year. Delish and nutritious!

Brussels Sprouts. One of Mike's all-time favorite foods and I love them too! So many ways to cook them, I love them roasted.

Kale Chips. Expensive but an awesome snack. Mike loves the nacho Rhythm ones.

Apples. One of Mike's all-time favorite foods for sure. So many kinds to choose from, and here in Colorado we have so many kinds to choose from.

We hope all of you have the chance to try some of the foods and products we have listed in these two posts. We would also love to hear about your favorite vegan foods!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My favorite foods! Part I

After writing about animal torture, Syrian protesters being massacred, and bigotry towards Muslims, I needed a break from heartbreaking stories.

I'm sure all of you realized a long time ago that our blog is not a food blog. There are plenty of vegan food blogs out there, some of our favorites linked from our site.

We love food. Being vegan means having so many more food opportunities, choices, flavors, textures than I could ever have imagined.

I love to eat. And I have a sweet tooth. So keep all of this in mind before you read my list. Some of my favorite food items are good for you, most are just good for making me grin and feel good inside. My list includes actual food as well as food items that have a brand.

So here we go!

My favorite meal is blackened tofu with mashed potatoes. This comes from the days when I used to eat at WaterCourse Foods. Now I make it at home and love it. Add any steamed or sauteed veggie to make it a bit healthier.

My husbands vegan cinnamon rolls. I blogged the recipe a few months ago if you're interested.

Kale. I know, it's all the rage. But I really love it, especially fresh from our garden. Chop up some kale, throw it in a cast iron skillet, add olive oil, cayenne pepper, and YUM!

Wayfare Foods "We can't say it's cheese" Hickory Cheddar cheese spread. This is a common snack in the Hanley-Nelson kitchen. This on crackers and Mmmmmmm!

Patty's Pantry Mango Jalapeno Pepper Jelly. I found this at Mike's high school's annual holiday market a few years ago and buy a bunch of it every year. All I can say is "oh my!". She sells it online so you can buy it from anywhere! I love it with a little bit (OK, more than a little bit) of Earth Balance on toast. Add it to vegan cream cheese for an awesome dip. Oh yeah!

Blueberries. This is a healthy favorite. On cereal or in a smoothie. The taste is great and your body will really appreciate it.

Mighty-O donuts from Whole Foods, the Vegan Old Fashioned kind. We don't live in Seattle so the next best thing is going to WF and picking up one or four donuts. Addictive is probably an understatement.

Amy's vegan mac-n-cheese. Need i say anything else?

I think this is a good start, enough to get you salivating. More to come in the next post!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lowe's and Muslims

We don't have cable, so I haven't seen this new show on TLC that is about Muslim families living in America (in Dearborn, MI). I would have never heard of it had I not read about Lowe's pulling their advertising for the show, some say because a religious right group in Florida complained about the advertising. Lowe's says they make decisions on advertising based on many things, not just the opinion of one group.

You might be thinking, why the heck do a couple of gay, vegan guys care about Muslims and Lowe's?

The Florida Family Association is the group that complained to Lowe's about the advertising. Hugely anti-gay, they certainly have a problem with Mike and I being married, amongst other things. These folks are popular for fighting "Gay Days" at Disney World and speaking out against anything that might even be close to being friendly towards the LGBTQ community.

I realize that Mike and I would not be warmly welcomed in many Muslim nations, and that I have spent a lot of time working to put a spotlight on people in these nations being executed for even being perceived to be gay.

Nonetheless, I don't know that these families in Dearborn wouldn't invite us to dinner, and I do know that I have had it with the spiritual genocide against gay people from religious fanatics, wherever they may live and whatever religion they might practice.

This puts a bad taste in my mouth regarding Lowe's. Perhaps they didn't make the decision solely based on what the FFA said, but from what I have read they haven't denounced what the FFA said either. And what is FFA's real complaint? Well, that the show on TLC doesn't expose Muslim people as Sharia law lovers whose only goal in life is to spread Islam. And that the show is just propaganda. The families couldn't possibly just want to live in peace, practice their religion, help their kids get a good education, and catch a football game when they can.

I would love your thoughts and feedback on this!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Voices for the Voiceless

In the past week I have seen two videos posted that make me incredibly sad and incredibly angry at the same time.

I decided not to post them.

One is of a dog being skinned alive for her fur.

The other is of a sheep being beaten to death with a baseball bat by US service members in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Both are hugely disturbing and yet acceptable in our culture.

I know the gang mentality and still am heartbroken that not one of those service members either left or tried to get the others to stop. Gang violence pure and simple. It is thoroughly disgusting.

The dog and the sheep never had a chance. In fact, the dog is wagging her tail just before being tied to a pole to be skinned alive. The sheep has no clue as to what is happening and simply tries to get away. I can only imagine the fear and pain experienced by both of these beautiful creatures.

We must be voices for the voiceless.

Not only is this violence and torture abhorrent, just think of what type of human beings these people are.

The dog was skinned alive to provide fur trim. There is no information as to why she was skinned alive. Speaking out against fur trim is an easy action.

Being a voice for the sheep is a tougher action. One could complain to the White House and I believe with the You Tube video going viral there is a petition.

Being a voice for the voiceless is part of who Mike and I are. I believe it's part of who you are if you're a reader of our blog. It's something people like us just have to do. We have to speak out, on every level. This post is specifically about one dog and one sheep, but there are many things we can speak out against. We simply have to.

Thanks for reading. I know this was a tough one but I just had to write about it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Honoring World AIDS Day

As a gay and vegan blogger, I have noticed that whenever I blog about HIV or AIDS, fewer people read my blog. I think for many poeple, AIDS is just not on their radar screen. Nonetheless, it's World AIDS Day and I couldn't not write about this day and HIV/AIDS.

AIDS has had a huge affect on my life. It is all very personal to me. The loss from AIDS has been deep, extremely sad, and has completely altered my life.

HIV/AIDS organizations say that in the US a person becomes HIV positive every 9.5 minutes. In 2011. The numbers are crazy. Here in Colorado over 200 people became HIV positive last year, a number that has not changed much in the past several years. Even worse, the stigma against people living with HIV or AIDS is just as strong as ever.

Meanwhile, here we are at another World AIDS Day. I have the constant list of friends and dear friends in my head that bring me to tears on this day, and other days. This blog would not be complete without mentioning Felix Godinez, one of my dearest friends ever, who lost his battle with AIDS on July 6, 1992 at the age of 30. The world changed that day. I count myself tremendously lucky to have known Felix and to have loved him. I think of him almost every day. If you have ever received a hug from me, well, I learned how to really hug from Felix. To hug someone like you mean it. 42,000+ other people in the US lost their battle with AIDS that same year.

Throughout the world today there will be marches, protests, candlelight vigils, concerts, speeches, tears, memorials. In Boulder the Denver Gay Men's Chorus will sing for Boulder County AIDS Project's annual World AIDS Day Concert. The concert is one of the most emotional events I have experienced in many years. Personal stories around HIV/AIDS from chorus members mixed with incredibly beautiful music.

As a vegan, human rights activist and animal rights activist, I learned much from the AIDS movement I was part of in the late 80's through the late 90's. I learned a lot from those with Act Up and Queer Nation. Speak out. Work with fellow activists rather than against them. Stand up. Civil disobedience. Getting in front of politicians at their community meetings and confronting them on their inaction.

In memory of all of those we have lost, no matter how long ago it was that we lost them. You are missed and we will not forget you. We are better people for having shared our lives with you.

Thanks for reading.