Monday, December 30, 2013

Forgiveness

I have been thinking of this as a topic for a post for a while now.

In my personal life I have had to ask for forgiveness many times.

I have also had to forgive.

In a world that sometimes feels completely filled with hatred and unkindness, with violence, judgement and just plain meanness, being able to forgive or ask for forgiveness can be huge.

I often write about one of my main purposes with this blog: to make this world a better, safer pace for all living beings. That is more difficult to do if I am filled with negativity towards someone, or is I have treated someone in a manner that was unkind in any way.

In a past blog post, one about being kind, I wrote "We do not need to meet hate with hate or unkindness with unkindness." I truly believe this. Just because someone is unkind to me doesn't mean I need to be unkind to them.

Easy? Not really.

Worth it? Totally.

Several years ago I planned a veg fest here in Denver called the Denver Veg Fest. My first event of this type and I had a blast. The great thing was to see a diverse crowd of people, a couple of thousand plus, all there to learn a little about veganism and animal rights (and to try some great vegan food!). Successful in many ways, mainly in that I felt we had created something that was a loud voice for the animals.

In the end, it also became an amazing fundraiser, with me being able to donate thousands of dollars to local and national animal groups.

When I decided to not plan another veg fest, I began to hear that some people were saying, behind my back, that I had "stolen" money from the fest. The fest was my deal, and there were a handful of folks who helped with it who also had a say in the money we raised and where it should be donated.  The people saying negative things about me personally had nothing to do with the all of the hard work it took to put on the fest. I was completely caught off guard by this. The whole idea of what was being said was incredibly hurtful to me. Words definitely hurt.

It took me awhile, but I had to forgive. It was not going to do me or the voiceless I try to be a voice for every day any good if I allowed myself to hold onto anything negative about these folks. All I could do is simply put out there what I did and why, which I did, and then let it go.

And of course there have been many times when I have had to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I try my best to make those times as few as possible.

With so much suffering in the world, with so much hatred, there is just no reason to use our energy in holding onto grudges or being mean to others.

Forgive. Let go. Move on. Build a bridge and get over it.

Then get busy. The animals need you. The poor need you. The activists in prison need. The voiceless need you.

Thanks for reading!



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wishing you an amazing New Year


What a year!

I'm sitting here at home thinking about how amazing this year has been for us, for equality, and for veganism.

Some of my personal highlights were vacationing at the beach in Encinitas with my beloved and joining a bunch of vegan bloggers at Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Oregon.

Encinitas is a little slice of heaven just north of San Diego. We rented a little studio on the beach and spent most of our time right there on the beach. Perfect. Add in wonderful friends, delish vegan food and a side trip to Los Angeles and it made for the perfect summer vacation.

At Vida Vegan Con I had the honor of meeting so many people who are changing the world. I left the conference feeling inspired and hopeful for a future that includes more people being a voice for the voiceless and amazing vegan food choices along the way.

Marriage equality spread throughout this wonderful country of ours.

Bigotry persisted.

Ag-gag bills, ones in which it would make it illegal to do undercover animal cruelty investigations, didn't make it to law.

Vegan cuisine became more and more talked about. In Denver, we even got our first vegan market, Nooch, as well as our first vegan restaurant, Native Foods.

This blog, The Gay Vegans, hosted our first non-profit fundraiser and we raised just over 3,600 pounds of dog and cat food for Animal Haus, a local non-profit that gives the food to people who are hurting financially and need a little help in supporting their companion animals. What a wonderful time that was, and it became so successful with the participation of so many of you!

I could go on, and I might in another post, but I don't like my posts to get too long.

Mike and I wish you the most amazing 2014, a year filled with love, joy, activism, compassion and passion. Let's all work together to be a voice for the voiceless and to make this world a better, safer place for all living beings!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kindness rocks

If you are connected to anyone via social media who is even just slightly out about their opinions, your feeds might look like mine in that they contain a lot of back and forth with harsh judgements, criticisms and just plain unkindness.

As I wrote in my last post, there is a lot going on in our country. While a 17 year old high school student, Claire Davis, lost her battle against a bullet shot into her head by a fellow student over  a week ago, tens of thousands of Americans are calling each other names and expressing viewpoints that might be hurtful to others. Forget the love of Christmas or the joy of Winter Solstice, many people are just consumed with opinion, judgement and unkindness.

It is not difficult to be kind to another human being.

As much as I speak up for animals, equality, those living in poverty and those suffering from human rights abuses, I end up running into a lot of disagreement. I get called names and get told to go to certain places.

And I try to be kind back to the person. Most times I succeed. I succeed because its not difficult.

I also know that during the holidays we tend to spend more time with family, or others that might push our buttons. I've read that more people come out of the closet to their family during this time than at any other time of the year. Talk about stress!

I choose to act with kindness. This week that looks like this:

Hanging out in an animal shelter cleaning cages and walking dogs.

Giving a gift to someone who doesn't expect a gift.

Saying hello with a smile to someone I don't know. (If you know me, you know I do this all of the time. Thanks Mom!)

Reminding friends and family how much I love them!

We do not have to meet hate with hate or unkindness with unkindness.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Utah, ducks, free speech oh my!

What a week! I was completely taken by surprise when I saw a news flash yesterday that was about a federal judge ruling that the ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. What? And then before I knew it I was looking at a photo of a couple getting married in Salt Lake City. The mayor was marrying them!

The day before, the New Mexico Supreme Court had unanimously ruled that same sex marriage was legal in New Mexico.

If you know your geography, New Mexico is directly south of us and Utah is directly west of us. Salt Lake City is only an eight our drive; Santa Fe five.

Meanwhile, it seems many people are talking about a dude who shoots ducks for a TV show. Apparently he doesn't dig gay people. And he thinks God doesn't dig gay people.

What a conversation this has started. Folks outraged about free speech, many of whom I guess don't even know what free speech is. My understanding, which could be wrong, is that if you say something and the government is crashing down your door that night, dragging you out on the street and then puts a bullet in your head, well that is an infraction against free speech.

Dude lost his job, at least for now. Many Christians are in an uproar. Through all their anger, I haven't heard Jesus brought up at all.

Those gays, they have more rights than us!

People are seriously saying this.

Meanwhile, I am trying to remain peaceful and loving towards all. It goes back to believing that we all have more in common than not.

I don't have to like what you say or like what you do towards others. But I don't have to hate you for it. I can let you know how I feel, hopefully in a loving way, but I'm not going to embrace your hatred.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

No gifts; please donate

It's that time of year again.

Don't get me wrong, I love to shop. I love seeing something I know Mike will just love and purchasing it. I do the same for friends.

Then we get to Christmas and the whole world is buying gifts, in some cases just because. Not because the person is going to absolutely love the gift, but just because.

Please don't do that for me. No gifts please. I have everything I could possibly want. The newest vegan cookbook? If I want it I have it. That really cool animal rights shirt? Same thing.

When someone who loves me and cares about me wants to give me a gift, I ask them to make a donation instead.

My typical request is to ask friends and family to donate to their local HIV/AIDS group or their local animal shelter. My parents have been doing this for years. It works well on so many levels. For me it's much better than receiving a gift. The donation changes the world for a living being.

Many of our readers have donated to the groups we have listed on the main page of the blog. I love that, mainly because these are groups that Mike and I donate to and we firmly believe in the work they are doing.

I recently made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in honor of a relative. This group rocks it in caring for wounded veterans, something important to my relative. Would they have preferred cash? Perhaps. But like any other donation I have made in honor of someone, the donation changes not only the group I donated to but it also changes the person I made the donation for.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Restaurant review - The Ethiopian Restaurant

Mike and I had a dinner date last night. Friday night is usually our weekly dinner at Tarasco's, but last night we decided to go to The Ethiopian Restaurant. We have always loved this place but since it is on the east side and we live on the west side, it's not always convenient, especially if you are already hungry when you decide to go.

We both were reminded that a meal at The Ethiopian Restaurant is one of the best vegan meals in town.

We always get number III, the vegan combination platter. And I mean platter. Packed with lentils, greens, potatoes and cabbage. The flavors are crazy, and oh so satisfying. Every platter is served with Injera, a flat bread that just ads to the overall meal. You scoop up food using the Injera to eat all of the deliciousness.



Owned by a sweet Ethiopian couple, we have always loved coming here and always loved the meal. It does take time, as everything is made to order. Totally worth it, just don't arrive so hungry that you're grumpy.

They recently have re-done the floors and have gorgeous wood floors. The space is one simple room, with twelve tables or so and Ethiopian art on the walls.

Beer and wine served.

Bring cash, as they do not take credit cards.

The vegan combination platter we get is $12.95 per person.

Check it out!

The Ethiopian Restaurant
2816 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO  80206
303.322.5939

Hours are daily 11am - 11pm. They have been known to change so keep that in mind!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We all have more in common than not

One of the things I try to promote with The Gay Vegans blog is that in my opinion, we all have mroe in common than not.

What I really mean with this statement is that I might disagree with you on one point, and another, and another. Yet it in the big picture of life, what we do not agree on or what we do not have in common is pretty small compared to everything that we agree on or have in common.

Why does this matter?

I usually start with 9 billion.

That is the number I use that represents the amount of animals being killed for food in the US alone in one year. It does not include animals in labs, in circuses, in "fashion". I also don't think it includes living beings killed in our oceans or jailed in places like Sea World.

It's a big number. Each living being being forced to live in fear, live with torture and pain and cruelty.

I am vegan because I want to do the least amount of harm as possible during my time on earth.

So with the statement about what we have in common, I also mean that in order to be a voice and to make change, we need to set differences aside and focus on the 9 billion.

Or on HIV/AIDS.

Or on poverty, marriage equality, homelessness, fill in the blank.

Why spend one ounce of energy focusing on a difference, on a disagreement, when we know that energy takes away from us being a voice for the voiceless or making the world a better place for all living beings.

It's not easy. In fact, it can be outright difficult. But it can be done. It has to be done.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another World AIDS Day - In Loving Memory

December 1st is World AIDS Day. I write about this every year. Typically one of the least read posts I write.

I'm not sure why.

AIDS changed my life. Forever.

I remember the dark days. One death, then another, then dozens more.

The year my dear friend Felix died, 1992, over 40,000 other people, mostly gay men, also died.

In memory of all of those beautiful people who lost their lives. I will never forget the horrible loss, the bigotry, the hate, the disgusting words from politicians. I will also never forget the incredible community that came together to fight AIDS and to fight the bigotry, or the huge amounts of love.

This post is in loving memory of everyone who lost the battle. It was indeed a battle.

And it is not over.

In 2010, 15,529 people in the U.S. lost their battle.

In 2011, just over 49,000 people in the U.S. became HIV-positive.

For me, World AIDS Day is always about remembering. I will always remember. I will remember their impact on my life, their love, their friendship, their hugs, their smiles, the impact they had on me and the world they lived in.

I will always remember.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Doing my small part

Talking to someone while protesting the dog vivisection labs at CU. They were shut down in 2003.

I was once at a fur protest and a passerby asked me why we (the protesters) didn't help children or the poor. I simply told him that he didn't know us at all and he had no idea who we were or what we did when we were not protesting fur. He agreed.

I had quite a busy week. At my day job I am a fundraiser for an agency that serves homeless youth. On Wednesday we served 120+ youth a Thanksgiving dinner. I walked around chatting with many youth that I know, and the room was quiet. I thought of the phrase "Peace on Earth. Good will to everyone" as a large group of people seemed so quiet, so peaceful.

Thanksgiving morning I was at the same place, our drop-in center, and was able to be a loving presence as youth who live on the streets came in for a hot breakfast.

Sometimes I feel I have had a victory at work when I leave a meeting with a donor carrying a nice sized check. Other times it's the smile I see in a youth who has lived a life filled with trauma. Then I get an email from a blog reader who is in their third week of being vegan, reading the wonderful news while one of our rescue dogs is laying stretched out on my lap.

Thanksgiving day we had a house full of friends who we love so much and who are such important parts of our lives. Every one of them makes the world a better place for all living beings, in their own way. Mike and I have a life filled with people who take action against animal torture, human rights abuses and hate.

Some days I feel like I do not do enough. No matter how much each of us does, there is something right behind it. It can and does get overwhelming at times.

This blog has made a huge difference in how I feel I can be effective in making the world a better place. Today is the last day of our dog and cat food drive for Animal Haus and I have been blown away by the amount of food we have had donated. I'll have official numbers later. Over a hundred blog readers and supporters donated food or made an online donation. Incredible.

We all have the power to make the world a better place for all living beings. In our own way. No action is too small. Our compassion and passion can rock it.

To all of our amazing readers, thank you. Thank you for what you do every day to make this world a better place!

And thanks for reading!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Our newest family member!


This past Monday we adopted our newest family member, Rose! We are so excited!

Rose was rescued during a raid on a puppy mill. For seven years all she has been used for is to produce puppies. We know her life was terrible because her skin is in bad shape, she is very skiddish (definitely has been hit) and had to have all of her teeth pulled.

Rose is a total love. She is slowly getting used to us and is seeming less fearful every day. Since arriving, she has slept next to my head every night.

We got to meet her last Friday night. It was a surprise for Mike as I told him I wanted to take him somewhere. He had no idea it was to meet a sweet Yorkie at the Denver Dumb Friends League. Within ten minutes of arriving she was on Mike's lap and a few minutes later on mine. We loved her already. Since she hadn't been spayed yet and needed the dental surgery, we had to wait. Perhaps a week.

Monday morning we chatted and were wondering about her. I told Mike I'd call at 11:00am when they opened. They called me at 9:00am and told me to come get her.

Mike was there when they opened.

We were reminded of all of the challenges that puppy mill rescues go through. We already knew all that because of past fosters. No challenge was going to keep Rose from us.

I'm sure you'll hear all about Rose as she settles in. More to come for sure.

Thanks for reading. And if you don't know about puppy mills, please Google them and find out about these horrible places that only exist because people buy puppies at pet stores.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hate comes to The Gay Vegans

When you have a blog called The Gay Vegans you have to expect that not everyone is going to dig you. I get it all of the time. The gay part, the vegan part, the not vegan enough part, the smack from folks in different communities who just don't agree with something I have written about.

I'm used to all of that. And in many cases have had great conversations with people who I disagree with.

This morning I woke up to a nice serving of hate on our Facebook page. This is the stuff I don't like. As you know, we're in the middle of a two week dog and cat food drive for Animal Haus so we (us and our readers) can support those who are having tough financial times and need a little help with food for their companion animal.

I decided to use Facebook ads for the first time and had great success. The Gay Vegans blog was introduced to many people and we got donations from people we had never met.

Apparently our ad ended up on someones page who does not like gay people. He decided to post on our blog's Facebook page: "Keep your fag SHIT to yourself". He wrote more, in  acouple of places on our page, but no need to go into that. I was stunned. I mean we all have to look at Facebook ads that we wish we didn't have to. This dude took it to another level.

I was suddenly facing a reality that I had honestly forgotten about. We have a ton of readers and we get so much love, respect and kindness form them. We also get disagreement. But we don't get a lot of hate. Every once in a while we do, and it takes me aback.

I went to this gentleman's Facebook page and his first post was a photo that said something about hoping to be able to bless someone today.

I hope he's able to do that too.

Hate is a terrible thing. I write about it often. Only we have the power to stop it.

Thank you to all of you who have supported this blog. And more thanks to all of our readers who have donated to the dog and cat food drive!

And remember that you do not need to live in Denver to support the drive. You can make an online donation to Animal Haus at animalhaus.org . No donation is too small!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our dog and cat food drive


We are almost finished with our first week of our two week dog and cat food drive in support of Animal Haus, a Denver charity that gives away food to folks who are having financial difficulties so that they have a better chance of keeping their companion animal.

I have been blown away by y'alls response! I am super grateful to all of you who have dropped of food at one of our location or who have made a donation to Animal Haus on their website.

You can still support us as we move into week two.

If you live in Denver, you can drop off dog and cat food at:

Urban Peak, 730 21st Street, Denver Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm.

Planet Pet, 4338 Tennyson Street, Denver Monday - Friday from 10am - 7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 4pm.

You can purchase vegan dog and cat food at Nooch Vegan Market, 3360 Larimer Street, any day from 11am - 6pm.

Our Facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/534208730001834/

You can make an online donation here: http://animalhaus.org/

Remember, any amount of a donation will make a difference in an animals life!

Thank you! Please help us to continue to rock it for those experiencing tougher times and for the companion animals they adore.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Colorado calves Part II: Animal cruelty charges!


My how things change after an undercover investigation video from a calf facility in Colorado goes viral.

This post is a follow up to my last post about the Compassion Over Killing investigation in Kersey, Colorado. There was a press conference by Compassion Over Killing on Wednesday and then yesterday in Weld County another press conference, but not held by the fine folks at COK. Indeed, this one was held by the Weld County Sheriff announcing that three men were facing misdemeanor animal cruelty charges stemming from what was seen on the video.

The facility is owned by Quanah Cattle Company, a California based operation.

The three men have been fired.

I have tried to verify this and haven't yet, but I am pretty sure this is the first time any type of animal cruelty charges have been filed against employees in Colorado of the animal agriculture business.

I asked Compassion Over Killing about calf operations in Colorado and learned something. Here is what they had to say: "We are also not aware of how many calf-production facilities there are in Colorado. We do know that dairy is the 2nd largest agricultural industry in the state, and all dairy cows need to be continually re-impregnated to produce milk, and half of all calves produced will be male – so it's not a stretch to say there's a huge demand for places to take and raise all these "unwanted" calves."

The sweet, gentle calves in the video are a result of the demand for dairy.

Mike and I have been watching all of the news around this and realized that those in charge at Quanah seem to be reacting with shock, when what we saw in the video happens all of the time in the production of livestock. As I have written before, men like those in the video are cowards. They treat animals like that because they can.

The best way to stop animal cruelty like is seen in the video is to not consume dairy. Super easy in this world of soy, hemp, rice, cashew, and coconut milks. Another way to not only work to stop animal cruelty but to shine a bright light on it is to financially support organizations like Compassion Over Killing. Click here if you'd like to make a donation: http://www.cok.net/  

We would like to thank everyone at Compassion Over Killing for the work they do every day that brings a voice to the voiceless.

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Compassion Over Killing's Colorado calves investigation


As I write this I remember that there is cruelty to animals happening probably right down the street from us, right now. I know that animals of all kinds are being tortured and are living in fear right at this moment.

And when I read the details of the most recent Compassion Over Killing undercover investigation, I became sickened, saddened and close to enraged. You see, this investigation was done in Weld County, Colorado, an hour from where Mike and I live. The people torturing animals in the video are Coloradans. I suppose deep down I hold our neighbors to a higher standard, as ridiculous as that is.

It involves calves, some just born. Who couldn't be moved by watching calves being tortured.

I met Mario the calf many years ago at Farm Sanctuary in California. My friends John and Randy had surprised me with a visit there. For me, it was love at first sight. Mario was an adorable calf, saved from a dead pile at a local dairy farm. Broken legs, well, you know the deal.

Watching him run and kick up in the air delighted me.

Something every single one of those calves in the current Compassion Over Killing video never had a chance to do.

I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't put videos that record animal cruelty, abuse, torture or killing on this blog. If you would like to see what human beings do to calves as part of the dairy/veal industry, you can click here for the Compassion Over Killing video: http://www.cok.net/inv/quanah/

From the COK press release:

Animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University decried the cruelty seen in the video, calling it “severe abuse,” and noting that “If this facility had been a slaughter plant, the USDA would have shut them down.”

The cruelty to calves uncovered in this investigation is so shocking and violent that COK turned our evidence over to local authorities and we are now working with them on this case. We are calling upon law enforcement agents to file criminal charges of cruelty to animals, sending a message that such egregious animal abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Colorado. We’re heartened to report that the Weld County Sheriff’s Office is taking this matter seriously and has already initiated its own independent investigation.

I asked the awesome folks at Compassion Over Killing what we can do. And I mean all of you when I say we.

They said to help spread the word. From their website you can easily connect with all of your social media outlets.

I write a lot about being a voice for the voiceless. We must be the voice for these calves, and the billions of other animals treated in similar fashion just so folks can have veal, bacon or chicken fingers. Please spread the word. If you have the means, support COK financially which you can also do from their website. Investigations like these are vital to be a voice for these beautiful animals.

If you live in Colorado, send the video or the information about the investigation to your state representative and state senator. Let them know that this is unacceptable and ask them to speak out against this abuse/torture.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our first ever dog and cat food drive!

 
I am ecstatic to let you all know that The Gay Vegans are having our first ever dog and cat food drive! After a  lot of consideration around who we would support with a blog-wide effort and how, we have decided to collect dog and cat food as well as cash for Animal Haus, a local Denver non-profit that gives away dog and cat food to those who would otherwise not be able to fee their companion animals.

The great thing about this effort is that you do not need to live in Denver to support us. We will have collection spots for you and your friends to drop off the food, and those who want to support us who do not live n the Denver area can simply go to this website animalhaus.org and make a donation. A little goes a long way.

I know that through the support of our blog readers and supporters that we can make a HUGE difference for those struggling with finances to care for their companions. Imagine what a difference a donation of food makes to a guardian who is experiencing really tough financial times, and in some cases might even be considering bringing their beloved into a shelter!

WE can make the difference.

Please spread the word. I will post all of the current details here. This will be a two-week effort. We can change the lives of families who truly want to keep and care for their companions, they are just having really difficult times.

The Gay Vegans dog and cat food drive
November 16 - 30, 2013

Donations can be dropped off at Urban Peak Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm.

Donations of vegan dog and cat food can be purchased at Nooch Vegan Market at 34th and Larimer and placed in the Animal Haus bin.

In the west metro area? You can drop off at our home in northeast Lakewood. Just email for directions.

More information to come and hopefully more drop off locations. If you know of a Denver area pet food store that would let us hang out one day and ask customers to donate food, please let me know.

Thank you all so much. Stay tuned for updates!

Dan
vegandude@msn.com

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Another Meatless Monday post

Recently I read about another restaurant in Denver that has started offering something special for Meatless Monday. I loved reading about it, a three course meal offered at Ace. Ace is not a vegan or veg restaurant, but they do have one of the areas top vegan chefs, Jesse Moore. I'm just excited that the whole Meatless Monday idea is going strong.

I think Meatless Monday is an amazing way to build relationships and to spread the value of offering vegan dishes. I dream of a day when our city of Lakewood embraces the idea and restaurants throughout the city offer vegan and vegetarian specials every Monday. It would be a win for everyone as Monday is typically not a busy night at restaurants and people interested in healthier food choices would have plenty of places to choose from.

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant and asking them to do something for Meatless Monday. You and your friends would promote it and before you know it Monday night could become one of their busier nights.

There are other ways to support Meatless Monday and to engage people into thinking about not consuming meat for a day: 

Bring a breakfast treat into the office.

Invite a group of co-workers out to lunch or plan a vegan potluck for lunch.

Plan a group dinner in your home. We've heard from our blog readers around the world who have hosted Meatless Monday dinners, one even having 25 friends over!

Create a community Meetup for the first Monday of every month. Choose a different restaurant each month and create an online community of people who are interested in joining you. You might be surprised to see a gathering go from five people the first time to 15 a couple of months later.

Meatless Mondays are awesome opportunities to not only show off how delicious and healthy vegan food can be but also a great way to be a voice for the animals.

Thanks for reading and please keep your Meatless Monday stories coming!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gay, vegan and voting

Election night was quite the night in our household. I am a geek when it comes to politics so election night is typically a flurry of going from website to website watching results as I watch local results on the television.

Last night was no different. Although there were no huge headline elections, I was very much interested in the Virginia governor's race, a congressional race in Alabama (go figure), school board elections in the county we live in here in Colorado as well as a tax hike initiative to support public schools in Colorado and a GMO labeling bill in Washington state. Whew.

The celebratory part of last night was that a bigot lost the governor's race in Virgina. Although I was accused last night of being "super nasty" when calling Ken Cuccinelli a bigot, the fact is he is a bigot. Although in the end the voters of Virginia didn't have a fantastic choice, I am relieved that there will be one less anti-gay, religious extremist in power. Wow, maybe I could just call him and people like him that rather than a bigot?

The celebration kind of ended there. As huge supporters of public schools and the funding of public schools, we were both devastated that our local school board now has three "reformist" members. All three candidates we supported lost. There is a lot of talk around what is actually best for students, and I will be the first to admit that I don't know all of the facts, yet in Colorado we have seen "reformist" school board members in Douglas County and from my point of view it isn't good. With a bunch of out-of-state money the "reformists" held on to power in Douglas County and now will be joined by similar thinking school board members in Jefferson County, where we live.

I haven't seen official results from Washington state. The notes I have read show that the GMO bill failed, yet that is not official as of the time I am writing this.

And in Alabama ( I know you are just waiting to read this part!) the less anti-gay guy won. The guy he beat told gay rights supporters in Alabama that they should move to California or Vermont and take their deviant lifestyles with them. OK, he only said the California and Vermont part but he has referred to us in the past as deviants.

All types of activists read this blog. Some because we are vegan, some because we are gay, some because we are also activists and fight for the voiceless. I absolutely believe that each one of us who is fighting for the voiceless and fighting to make this world a better place for all living beings have to get politically active and have to vote. We have to pay attention to what is going on in our own backyards.

Thank you for reading.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The "healtheir" gay vegans

REMINDER: I am not a registered dietitian. When I write about health I am writing about my own personal experiences which include success and non-successes.  For great vegan nutrition information please check out some of the blogs linked on our blog.

Mike and I went for a run yesterday. We are both in training. This year we did our first half marathon, as part of the Colfax Marathon here in Denver. Now we are training again, Mike for his first marathon and me for my second half marathon. My goal is to finish in 2:30, which would be 25 minutes faster than this year. We have until May of next year and are super excited.

Yesterday's run was wonderful for me. I train at Sloan's Lake which is a Denver city park about 1 1/2 miles from our house. It's beautiful. The path around the lake is just over 2.5 miles. Yesterday's run was the fastest pace I have done since I was a teen, at just under a 10 minute mile. Whew, what  a blast!

At 47, I am more and more grateful for the health benefits of being vegan. I became vegan as a way to do the least harm as I could while on this earth, which for me means not partaking in the cruelty that is inherent in eating meat, dairy, eggs, etc. This has been a 17-year journey for me.

Knowing that Pepsi and potato chips are vegan, it is not automatic that being vegan means being healthy. I know all about that. In my recent past I have really tried to pay more attention to what goes in my body and how I take care of myself.

I drink lots of water throughout the day. Most days I start with a smoothie filled with kale, Swiss chard, berries of some sort, coconut water and usually some vegan protein mix. Currently using a hemp protein, and also use the Vega proteins which are delish. I definitely make an effort to get as many serving of fruits and veggies throughout the day as possible.

I smile when I see our shopping cart these days. We still have some processed foods, but the majority of our cart is filled with organic veggies and fruit, both fresh and frozen.

My body definitely feels the difference when I focus on eating as healthy as possible.

With the healthier food choices, I also exercise a lot. The running is wonderful. Not only does it help me health wise and feeling better physically, it also helps with my self-esteem. I also try to get to the gym twice a week for swimming and lifting.

I feel better physically than I ever have. It's wonderful. Many, many thanks to so many of you who inspire me daily.

And thank you for reading!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

(Our) Legal marriage closer to reality

As I write this the state legislature in Hawaii is debating the legalization of gay marriage. Yesterday, the state senate voted yes (there were only 4 no votes).

Meanwhile I have been enjoying posts about Day of the Dead and World Vegan Day.

There is so much to celebrate in our lives.

I remember the days when marriage wasn't even a thought in the future. When there were no vegan blogs, no vegan restaurants. Actually, I remember when there were hardly any vegans in my life!

Today I look at my husband and know that one day we will be legally married. On April 30, 2005 we were married in our church in front of 160 friends and family. It wasn't legal. We called it a loving act of civil disobedience.

Civil disobedience indeed.

A few months ago the US Supreme Court ruled that parts of the Defense of Marriage Act were not constitutional. For us this meant that we can get married in a state where gay marriage is legal and have our marriage federally recognized even though we live in a state where gay marriage is banned in our state constitution.

Since then, New Jersey has become another state where gay marriage is legal.

More states will come. Even though bigotry and hate is alive and well, marriage equality is happening and will one day in the not so distant future be legal in every state.

I have to say that I am ecstatic that one day soon I will be legally married to Mike. He is the love of my life, my best friend.

When we have a date and have a plan as to where we will have our legal ceremony, I will definitely let you know. I realize that I have said this many times, but I have to say once again how grateful we are for all of the love, support and inspiration that we get from our readers.

Thank you!

More to come.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Drive women drive!

 
Today is the day.

With a lot of nervousness mixed in with fear and even joy, women across Saudi Arabia are going to do something that has always been illegal. Something that they have the dishonor of being the only country in the world where they are not allowed to do. Something that after years of trying to change, might just be closer than ever.

They are going to drive!

I have been thrilled listening to all of the reports about today and hearing the excitement in women's voices as they talk about driving today. I'm even more excited as I hear the voices of their husbands and fathers who are enthusiastically supporting them.

Women in Saudi Arabia have tried this before. It has never felt as possible as it feels right now. Perhaps soon, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to ditch their drivers and drive legally.

Makes me want to honk my horn. Several times.

Women rights around the world are hugely important to me. Each battle that is won brings us closer to a better life for women everywhere. It's difficult sometimes to realize how terrible of lives many women have throughout the world, and even more difficult to grasp what one can do to support them.

A couple of simple things we can do to support the women of Saudi Arabia:

Post this quote on Facebook:

“It is astonishing that in the 21st century the Saudi Arabian authorities continue to deny women the right to legally drive a car,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

On Twitter, use the hash tag #October26driving

I write often about being a voice for the voiceless. Let's do it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 21, 2013

VOTE!

Although you television or radio is not filled political commercials, for many of our readers it is time to vote. Elections, especially local elections, are happening throughout the country. Even though issues may seem small, in most cases they aren't. A perfect opportunity for all of us to express our voice, or let a small group of people decide important issues.

In Virginia there is an intense governor's race. There seems to be a lot of distaste for both candidates. For us there is a clear choice as Cuccinelli is a proud bigot and would only bring more harm to equality and to women in a state I love so much.

There are wonderful people running for city council offices throughout the country. Check them out and let them know what you think.

Most importantly, and with very little fanfare, are the very important school board races. In Colorado this is a huge deal, since we have the infamous Douglas County School Board which has done a good job at wrecking public schools, creating an environment where too many good teachers and administrators are leaving and have placed personal politics over student education. This is a huge lesson in how important it is for us to pay attention to school board races.

We live in Jefferson County and there are three seats open. We'll be voting for Tonya Aultman-Bettridge, Jeff Lamontagne and Gordon "Spud" Van de Water.


We will also vote yes on Amendment 66 which is a tax increase bringing very much needed revenue to Colorado schools, especially those not usually looked at because the school districts are not wealthy. We don't have children but we totally get the deal that our public schools have got to rock and roll. We also do not buy the idea that teacher's unions are the problem. Our schools are hugely underfunded, and Amendment 66 would help with this.


I write a lot about being a voice, not only for the voiceless but for ourselves and our community. Please use your voice wherever you live and vote.


Thanks for reading!



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Marriage equality in New Jersey!

Two states were in the news this week with marriage equality.

As I wrote in a post last week, a federal judge in Michigan was going to consider Michigan's ban on gay marriage. As is common in many cases around equality, he punted, saying he would hear arguments in February. Seriously. February.

Yet on Friday of this week the New Jersey State Supreme Court did not punt and let a lower court judge's ruling that marriages could begin while the issue of marriage equality was in the courts. Marriages can begin this Monday!

Here at home in Colorado marriage for Mike and I is still not a reality, and most likely won't be for some time. Many people say to us, "I just don't get why it is not legal". We definitely feel the same way. Yet when we look around and still see those who support equality not expressing themselves at the voting booth while the religious extremists and bigots do, then it makes sense.

We have to be a voice for equality. We cannot let the religious extremists in this country have say over which Americans should have rights and which shouldn't. It's bad enough that they have so much power in Congress. We need to take their power away.

Whew, from Michigan to New Jersey to Congress all in a few paragraphs.

We are sending loads of love to our brothers and sisters in Jersey who very soon will have legal marriage!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The ugliness of hate

It was October of 1998 when I saw hate close to my community. It wasn't the first or last time, but was intense and horrifying. A couple of months after moving from Norfolk, VA to Denver, a young, gay college student named Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in Laramie, WY, a 2 1/2 hour drive from my cozy, safe apartment within a gay-friendly neighborhood in Denver.

I was shocked as the details of the beating of Matthew became public. Then a couple of days later he died in a hospital in Fort Collins.

To be fair, there is a new book about Matthew's murder that has just been published. I haven't read it. Apparently it's about Matthew's beating and murder not being about his sexuality.

From everything I had heard and read before I will find that difficult to believe. I'll let you know if I end up reading the book.

A year before I moved to Denver an African immigrant named Oumar Dia from Senegal had left the Hyatt (which is where I worked when arriving in Denver) and was waiting for a bus home. This was right across the street from the hotel. He was shot to death by a white supremacist who said to him "Are you ready to die for being a nigger?".

I had personally experienced hate and hate-inspired violence before. Oh, and hate speech. Fag, faggot, fucking faggot, fairy were words that had been yelled at to me in my past. Once I was out of the closet I was out. No more going back in regardless of how uncomfortable that made people feel.

One is not born with hate. One is taught hate. Whether it's hatred towards gay folk, women, people of color, immigrants... the list could go on and on.

I believe that hatred and hate-filled acts happen because someone did not say something. No one spoke up to say hey, your way of thinking is messed up. Someone laughed at a joke that wasn't funny. Someone used a disparaging word just to feel comfortable with others or to look "cool".

Hate is present in every community. You don't have to accept it or allow it.

Each of us has the power to stop it.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Restaurant review - JIll's at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa

Ever since enjoying my entire time at Jill's I have been so excited to share my experience there with you.

Please note that I dined at Jill's for their Friday vegan lunch buffet. I have not dined there for other meals or on other days, so I'm not sure what the vegan options are outside of the Friday lunch buffet. Having met the general manager and the executive chef I can only imagine that they would make sure you were well fed!

Walking into Jill's on a Friday for lunch is like being catapulted to a vegan paradise. Every food item I saw within the multiple buffet areas was vegan. Everything looked so delicious. I honestly couldn't believe it as I looked at the scrumptious desserts all lined up in a gorgeous display.

I started with the salads. Apparently items are different every Friday so please keep that in mind. The kale salad was delish, and I love kale. If you don't love kale like I do there were half a dozen other options for salad. There were also two soups, including the butternut squash soup which I devoured. It was more like dessert for me, incredible flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Although there was pizza on the buffet and stuffed shells, I decided to go for the "make your own pasta dish" bar. When the chef told me that Alfredo sauce was one of my options for the pasta, I knew I had made the right decision. Over a dozen choices of veggies for the pasta, you fill your bowl and then hand it to the chef. He then adds pasta (my choices were penne and linguine) and the sauce (aside from Alfredo there was also marinara) and into the skillet all of that goes. A minute later I was handed a steaming dish of vegan deliciousness.

And dessert! This photo says it all. Three different dessert choices. I tried two of them and was ecstatic. I also ordered a cup of coffee which passed my coffee snob test.

The service was perfect. Friendly, hospitable, helpful, kind.

My reviews are always 50/50 based on delish vegan food and friendly service. Jill's rocks it. I highly recommend you check this out if you are in Colorado. And when visiting Denver, Jill's is only 45 minutes away in Boulder.

I'd also like you to know that there was wait when I left. Although disappointing for some, I love when there is a wait at a non-vegan restaurant knowing that it is for vegan food. This being said, you might want to call ahead and make a reservation if you cannot arrive right at 11:30am.

Jill's is an amazing treat. Go! I'll see you there!

Jil's is inside the St. Julien Hotel & Spa at 900 Walnut Street in downtown Boulder. Their phone number is 720.406.7399.

Thanks for reading!
vegandude@msn.com



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Legal marriage in Michigan this week?



I grew up in Michigan.

I don't talk a lot about that. Since I left Michigan six days after graduating from high school I don't even mention it when I talk about where I am from. I usually mention Norfolk.

Most of my memories around growing up in Michigan are about my high school years, years which the word difficult would be an understatement in describing. High school for me felt more like a prison sentence, a long, tortuous prison sentence. Much of this was because I knew I was gay and also knew that I couldn't tell anyone. Holding secrets is no fun.

I can even remember back to junior high school and my first crushes. No, I had no interest in going to the dance with her. I wanted to go with him.

All of my family still lives in Michigan. My parents, brothers (including my brother who hasn't spoken to me since I came out in 1990) as well as a bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins. Thanks to Facebook, I am also in touch with the very few people I felt safe with during high school, and I actually love that.

So when I start hearing about this big marriage case being heard in Detroit on October 16th, I must admit that I get excited.

I honestly don't know much about the case. But when I read this, from the county where I lived and spent my high school years, I was ecstatic and almost had tears in my eyes:

"Midland County will be issuing marriage licenses as soon as the ruling comes down."

Holy cow.

Of course bigotry is everywhere and I have read about all of the groups writing notes against any type of ruling that would support marriage equality.

All of that aside, I feel like mariage equality could actually become a reality in Michigan.

And I am grinning from ear to ear.

Thanks for reading.
"Midland County will be issuing marriage license to same sex couples as soon as the ruling comes down. In addition the Michigan Department of Public Health is working on a marriage application and license that is to be ready by October 16th." - See more at: http://www.equalitymi.org/marriage/county/Midland#sthash.8yBETsqf.dpuf

"Midland County will be issuing marriage license to same sex couples as soon as the ruling comes down. In addition the Michigan Department of Public Health is working on a marriage application and license that is to be ready by October 16th." - See more at: http://www.equalitymi.org/marriage/county/Midland#sthash.8yBETsqf.dpuf


"Midland County will be issuing marriage license to same sex couples as soon as the ruling comes down. In addition the Michigan Department of Public Health is working on a marriage application and license that is to be ready by October 16th." - See more at: http://www.equalitymi.org/marriage/county/Midland#sthash.8yBETsqf.dpuf

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Soul mates - my sweet Moses


I don't think one has to have any type of belief to think of very special people or animals as a soul mate. I could be wrong, but even if you do not believe in a soul, I think you can still wrap your mind around what a soul mate is.

Most of the time when I hear the words soul mate it is in reference to a human, usually coming from a heterosexual woman in reference to her male partner. I seldom hear men talk about such things.

This post is about one of my soul mates, Moses, who happened to be a dog.

Moses passed away in July of 2007 at the age of 14. He had been part of my family since November of 1998 when I found him trudging along I-5 in San Clemente, California.

For me it was love at first sight.

Moses changed me. He was a dog that had been severely abused and neglected, yet the first night with me, with no shelter or vet open until the next day, he slept comfortably in my tent. When I would wake up to check on him I would hear this swooshing sound. Not sure of what it was, I soon realized that whenever I would speak to him he would wag his tail.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this whole intense tail wagging thing would be come part of what people would think of when thinking of Moses. No matter who you were, no matter what Moses had been through and no matter what humans before us had done to him, he would wag his tail with huge effort upon seeing anyone.

Moses was part Coon hound, so combined with his amazing bark and his wagging tail, he was quite the sight.

Moses was pure love. He loved every being he came in contact with. He especially loved humans. He taught me so much about love, and forgiveness.

Sweet Moses! I still think of him all of the time, and every once in a while I look at the spot where his bed used to be, where I last saw him.

A true soul mate. A true love, filled with so many wonderful things.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A shut down government

After a month of writing for Vegan Mofo, I am super excited to be writing about other things now, like the government shutdown.

What does the government shutdown have to do with The Gay Vegans?

Everything!

One of the issues I write about is asking people to get involved more politically. Get to know who represents you at your state capitol and find out who represents you in Washington, D.C. For those of us always trying to be a voice for the voiceless, I believe it's important to show up in politics.

Some disagree and that's cool.

So now we have another mess in DC. A lot of name calling and pointing fingers, it's like a drag show gone bad.

I believe that there are many in Congress who just don't give a shit about anyone. They want what they want and that is all they are interested in. And they have the power to shut down the government.

My entire life I have always been totally open to sitting down with people that I disagree with. It's not difficult. I can shut up long enough to listen to another's point of view and they can do the same. We will probably continue to disagree, yet have a good chance of agreeing to some things. In the end, I believe that we all have much more in common than not.

Those in Congress need to hear from us. Not just now; all of the time.

If you are an activist, a voice for the voiceless, an advocate for making the world a better place for all living beings I urge you to consider letting those who represent you at all levels know who you are and what you support and don't support.

We all deserve better than what we are getting. We can complain about what folks are not doing or we can take action.

If you need help finding out who represents you, check out this website: www.votesmart.org

Meanwhile, there are people who are suffering because of this shutdown. It's a good time for us to reach out to friends and family who might be bale to use some help, including a hug.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 30, 2013

VeganMofo Day 30!: My body is a temple.


This is Day 30 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is about my body and how I treat it. It is also my final Vegan Mofo post as this is the last day of September! Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

Before I begin, I'd like to celebrate the fact that I wrote 24 posts during Vegan Mofo. They ask that you write at least twenty to participate. I didn't officially sign up as I wasn't sure if I could do twenty. I am so excited to have been a part of Vegan Mofo!

I think about food a lot more than I did when I started writing for Vegan Mofo. Not being a food blogger, my thoughts are usually around activism, changing the world, working towards equality and being a voice for the voiceless.

I can't do any of that if I'm not healthy. Being vegan is not enough. As I often say, Pepsi and potato chips are vegan.

My body is indeed a temple and I have to treat it as such. I love sweets but I can't survive on them. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is so important.  Every day. And so is drinking water. A lot of it. Veggies I love and try to eat as much as possible are kale, spinach, Swiss chard and broccoli. Blueberries and mangoes are my favorite fruits, and they are part of me being healthy. Less sugar, definitely.

I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. I do drink coffee. A lot of it. I can drink less.

Paying attention to the food I eat and what that food does to my body is key.

For me, exercise is also a huge part of taking care of myself and being good to my temple. I trained for and completed a half-marathon back in may and I try to work out at least twice a week. My new goal is to work at being in the gym at least four times a week, even if it's just a half hour.

My mental health comes into this too. Going to meetings, spending time with my husband and friends, walks with dogs and working on this blog all help with that.

Thank you for supporting me through Vegan Mofo. I hope my food posts were helpful and that you had had as much fun reading my posts as I did writing them!

And thanks for reading!

Dan
vegandude@msn.com

Sunday, September 29, 2013

VeganMofo Day 29: Sunday brunch potluck


This is Day 29 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is about my favorite meal: brunch. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

I titled this "Sunday brunch" as for us Sunday is the easiest day to have a brunch with friends. I have written blog posts in the past about brunch potlucks we have had, always fun and always filled with delicious food.

I can't write or think about brunch without mentioning Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Vegan Brunch", one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

This cookbook is a must in any vegan kitchen. The Brazilian French Toast is so incredibly good, and so easy. For a brunch potluck it's perfect.

The great thing about brunch is that you can prepare breakfast-type items or dinner type items. It's the perfect meal. And the best thing about a brunch potluck is that you get to enjoy delicious vegan food with friends and family, and also get to try dishes that you might never have tried to make.

A vegan brunch potluck is also an incredible way to show friends and family who are not vegan how delicious vegan food is.

All you really need is a living room or backyard to fit a dozen or so I just love coffee so coffee is a big part of our Sunday brunch.

If you'd like to offer guests a base dish, try scrambled tofu in a crock pot. The flavors just continue to make the tofu that much more delish and it ensures that there is plenty of a filling dish. And it will stay hot throughout the brunch.

Good food. Good friends. A Sunday brunch potluck is awesome!

Thanks for reading!
vegandude@msn.com

Friday, September 27, 2013

VeganMofo Day 27: Vegan oasis at Fluid


This is Day 27 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is an introduction to Fluid Coffee Bar in Denver. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

When I started working at Urban Peak my first question was where to find a good cup of coffee. Fluid was the immediate response. I will be forever grateful to whoever told me that. Fluid has become the place I most frequent and I love them!

Located at Pennsylvania and 19th in Denver, Fluid is just east of downtown. The coffee is delicious, and after a couple of trips for more, I realized that they also carry Beet Box vegan pastries. This was before Beet Box opened a store front so this was huge. It is still pretty good as Fluid is closer for me than the Beet Box store front (which I also frequent!).

Great coffee and Beet Box pastries. The good news is that it doesn't end there.

Sweet Action ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. Yes! These are new at Fluid and I am so excited. Great afternoon snack.

Hungry for lunch or just something more substantial! Done!  They carry delish tofu scramble burritos as well as hummus wraps. They're heat up the burrito for you and offer it with salsa. Mmmmm.

Mango smoothie? No problem!

As any place I review, customer service and friendliness of staff are equal to vegan food offerings. Fluid rocks with friendliness. The owner Jeff and his wonderful staff are always super friendly and helpful. I honestly look forward to going in there not just for delish food options but to see these very kind people.

Also, they have meeting space. I've used it and it's perfect for a meeting for up to 30 or so.

Fluid Coffee Bar is truly vegan oasis! Check them out!

501 East 19th Avenue, Denver, 80203
720.519.4681

Thanks for reading!
vegandude@msn.com

Monday, September 23, 2013

VeganMofo Day 23: Tofu 101


This is Day 22 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is an introduction to tofu. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

Tofu. Just mentioning tofu can get a negative reaction. I've heard just about all of the bad things that could be possibly brought up about tofu: terrible texture, no flavor, it's just gross, soy is bad for you, etc.

I love tofu.

Blackened is my favorite. Blackened tofu sandwiches are just about my favorite food.

In trying to eat as diverse a diet as possible, I don't eat tofu or soy everyday. That is more about diversity with my food choices than anything else.

Tofu is a great source of protein and can be a main dish or part of a delicious side dish. It can even be used for scrumptious desserts.

One thing to remember about tofu is that it doesn't really have a flavor; it takes on the flavor of whatever you put on it or marinate with it. When I blacken tofu for my sandwiches, plain, flavorless tofu all of sudden becomes filled with flavor because of the blackening spices I use to cook it. The same thing with barbecue tofu; it's all in the sauce. When I make tofu scramble, it's always more flavorful the next day because the tofu has had more time to absorb all of the spices used in the scramble.

Texture is easy. I mainly use extra firm tofu. If I want it more dense I freeze it.

If you want to try tofu without preparing it at home, check out food reviews of a local Thai or Chinese for tofu dishes and go try one. In Denver, Little Ollies serves a mean tofu, especially with their General Tao's tofu. This dish is not on the menu but they will make it for you.

Tofu can be as good and as delicious as you want it to be. Grab a recipe that uses tofu form one of the food blogs on our blog page. Try it. There is an amazing tofu dish for everyone!

Thanks for reading!
vegandude@msn.com

Sunday, September 22, 2013

VeganMofo Day 22: Vegan nutrition experts


This is Day 22 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is an introduction to vegan health and nutrition blogs. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

My number one go-to resource for vegan nutrition is Jack Norris' blog, Jack Norris RD: http://jacknorrisrd.com/ I have loved this blog for a while now, and also love his book "Vegan for Life" that he co-wrote with the woman whose blog is next in this list. One of the many things that I like about Jack is that he sticks to facts and sticks to proven studies. There is no bs and no vegan feel-good crap. His blog is an incredible resource for me as a vegan who wants to be as healthy as possible, and I trust it implicitly.

The Vegan RD is Ginny Messina: http://www.theveganrd.com/ I met Ginny at Vida Vegan Con this past May and also attended her session about vegan nutrition. I was blown away as I sat there and learned about studies and her twenty plus years in nutrition. She co-wrote "Vegan for Life"  with Jack Norris and I trust everything that I read on her blog. Like Jack, Ginny looks at studies and evidence and isn't into fluff.

By the way, I also think that every vegan and anyone who wants to be healthier own a copy of "Vegan for Life".

Meet Matt Frazier, the No Meat Athlete: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/ Matt is another go to guy for me, especially as I trained for a half marathon and as I overall try to get healthier. His site has all sorts of information about fitness, nutrition and even has recipes. If you are considering running a marathon or a half marathon, check out his road maps for these two runs. Very helpful.

I became vegan because I didn't want anything to do with cruelty to animals and wanted to do the least harm possible while on this earth. As approach I 50, it is really important to me to be as healthy as I can, and the three websites above are a big help with that. I hope they are beneficial to you on your journey.

Thanks for reading!
vegandude@msn.com

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Loving on Cassidy Campbell, first transgender homecoming queen!


I am thrilled to take a break from VeganMofo and write a brief post about what just happened last night at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California!

Sixteen year old Cassidy Campbell had the guts to enter the contest for homecoming queen.

That courage blows me away. When nationwide, hate and violence are shown towards many in the transgender community, a young transgender woman enters a school-wide contest.

And she won.

As one who was miserable in high school I don't get the whole homecoming thing. I do get courage. And honesty. And honor. And I definitely get the feeling of who you are on the inside does not jive with who you present yourself to be on the outside.

"If I win, it would mean that the school recognizes me as the gender I always felt I was," Cassidy said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "But with all the attention, I realized it's bigger than me," she said. "I'm doing this for the kids who can't be themselves."

With all of the hate in the world, with all of the hate just in our own country and our own communities, I just had to share this.

Thanks for reading!

VeganMofo Day 21: Vegan Denver


This is Day 21 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is all about Vegan Denver. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

Mike and I live in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver just west and south of downtown Denver. We live in the northeast part of Lakewood, about 15 minutes due west of downtown Denver.

We like our readers to know that we live in Lakewood because we think it's a pretty awesome place to live. But since Denver is more recognized and has more of our favorite places to eat, I'm calling this post Vegan Denver.

If you're a regular visitor to The Gay Vegans you most likely know of some of these places. This is a list of our favorite places to eat, grab a snack or shop. We highly recommend all of them and so far have gotten great feedback from readers who have gone to these places. This list is also a tab on our main page under "Favorite places to eat in Denver".

Linger

Linger is by far our favorite place to eat. Linger is not exclusively vegan but has some of the best vegan food around. They serve tapa style, with dishes from around the world. Mike likes their bar selection. Their vegan dessert is out of this world. The service is beyond incredible and friendly. Reservations are highly recommended.

http://lingerdenver.com/


Tarascos

The best vegan Mexican food in the state! Tarascos already had a full page of veg options and we simply asked if they could do vegan. Amazing. Since everything is done to order practically the entire veg menu can be done vegan. My favorite are the enchiladas espinicas (spinach) but everyhting I have had is delish. Try the grilled cactus if you never have. And be sure to order a jugo natural, a fresh juice!

No web site.

470 South Federal Blvd. in Denver
303.922.2387
Hours (as of this writing) are everyday from 10am - 10pm

Root Down

Owned and created by the same team that is at Linger, we like to go to Root Down for more special occasions (Linger is more like our hang out). The food is delish. Great service. Definitely go all out, including dessert and drinks. Reservations are highly recommended.

http://www.rootdowndenver.com/

Hops & Pie

Vegan pizza! This is our favorite in Denver at the moment. In the Highlands neighborhood so not far for us. The pizza is delish and they offer Daiya and well as vegan meats and tofu. They also have an incredibly flavorful vegan mac n cheese. YES! For you beer lovers, they have something for everyone.

3920 Tennyson St  Denver, CO 80212

303.477.7000

Beet Box

All-vegan cafe in Denver, just east of downtown. New, and we have already been there many times. Great place for a treat, or if you want to turn your office mates onto vegan delicacies you can bring a variety of what they offer into the office!

1030 E. 22nd Avenue in Denver
303.861.0017

http://www.beetboxdenver.com/

Nooch Market

We can't talk about food in the Denver area without mentioning our new vegan oasis, Nooch Market. Not a restaurant but for sure a place to stock up on vegan goodies. We totally adore the owners and see great things for them and our community. 

http://noochveganmarket.tumblr.com/

Pho Duy

Delsih vegan pho, just down the street from Tarascos. Yes, we have tested it and asked all of the questions. It's #21 on the menu (double check). Small, medium and large and for me the medium has been more than enough.

No website.

945 South Federal Blvd, Denver
303.937.1609

Sweet Action Ice Cream

One of our favorite places and one of our favorite couples! They always have two vegan flavors of ice cream plus at least two vegan sorbets. Check out the freezer for vegan ice cream sandwiches.

http://sweetactionicecream.com/



Vegan Van

We have had a bunch of meals prepared by Amie in her Vegan Van. We adore Amy, and are thrilled that the Denver area has a Vegan Van. From stew to vegan chicken and waffles, Amie does not disappoint. Check out her website to see where she will be next!

http://veganvan.com/

Enjoy Vegan Denver and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

VeganMofo Day 18: Larkburger restaurant review


This is Day 18 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is a restaurant review. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

I need to start off by letting you know that Larkburger is only in Colorado. They have twelve locations, all in the Denver area except for ones in Colorado Springs, Edwards, Boulder and Fort Collins.

We came upon Larkburger by accident a few weeks ago when we down south on a shopping adventure. Hungry, we found a strip mall in Littleton and were headed for Noodles. I thought I would walk in and check out Larkburger.

So glad I did.

The Amy Burger is a portobello mushroom burger that has been marinated and some spices tossed on. Now when I became vegan every restaurant's vegetarian choice was a portobello mushroom burger so I became sick of them pretty quickly.

The Larkburger burger blew my mind. So delicious. Add some truffle fries (without parmesan cheese) and/or edamame and you are set. The Amy Burger is vegan if you get it without the house sauce.

I have eaten there twice now and each time the burger was perfect and delicious. The staff is incredibly friendly (based on eating at two different locations) and they totally get what vegan is without any snarkiness.

If you have never been, check it out. I can't wait to go back to the downtown Denver location again, which is only a few blocks from my office. 

For more information or for locations, check out their website: larkburger.com

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

VeganMofo Day 17 is a product review: Newtons Fruit Thins


This is Day 17 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is a product review. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

It happened by mistake. We were shopping at our local Safeway grocery store and came upon these cookies. The blueberry flavor attracted me so I looked at the ingredients and they were completely vegan!

I love having cookies as a snack during the day, right when I come home from work and later at night when watching a movie.

I realize that being vegan isn't enough for those really watching their calories and health and will post the nutrition facts at the end of this post.

If you're not a blueberry fan, they also have cherry vanilla, cranberry citrus oat, lemon crisp and chocolate raspberry. We have only tried the blueberry and cherry, which are both vegan. I haven't tried the other flavors so please check the ingredients if you decide to try them.

These fruit thins are delicious! It's difficult to eat just one. I wanted to write this post about them because if you're like me you might just pass them by thinking they wouldn't be vegan. The blueberry ones even have flax seeds in them!

If you like a little fruity and sweet snack, try Newtons Fruit Thins.

Thanks for reading!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 31 g
Serving per container about 10

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 140
  • Calories from Fat 50
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat 5g 8%
  • Saturated Fat 1g 5%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 90mg 4%
  • Potassium 60mg 2%
  • Total Carbohydrate 22g 7%
  • Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
  • Sugars 7g  
  • Protein 2g  
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Calcium 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Iron 6% 

Monday, September 16, 2013

VeganMofo Day 16: Vegan fast food


This is Day 16 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is about vegan fast food. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

Unless you live in a vegan Mecca like Los Angeles, New York City or Portland, having access to vegan fast food might only be a dream. Of course these days, with the popularity of vegan food and people overall wanting to be healthier, you never know where a vegan fast food joint may pop up. I recently heard that there is a Veggie Grill coming to Boulder, CO, about 45 minutes from us, and that would be awesome.

The type of vegan fast food that I am writing about, however, is vegan fast food in your own kitchen. For people who have just become vegan, and for some of us who have been vegan for years, veganism is such much easier if we become comfortable in our own kitchen. The more comfortable we are in the kitchen the better we are going to eat and probably the healthier too!

My standard go to for quick vegan food is beans and rice. In a skillet I take a can of black beans, add cooked brown rice (you can even use the instant brown rice, and some salt and pepper. I like cayenne pepper so I add a pinch of that. When the beans and rice are hot, I add fresh kale, spinach or Swiss chard. Done.

With leftovers, grab some tortillas and make burritos for later in the week.

Mike's version of fast food is his Chik'n and Dumplings. These are delicious and one day soon I will have recipe. I love coming home on a chilly day to the smell of his Chick'n and Dumplings. He basically throws into a pot mixed veggies, water and bouillon and tops it off with Bisquick dumplings. You can add Beyond Meat strips or not, depending on your taste. I remember bringing these to a non-vegan potluck with over a hundred people and a woman from Texas came over to Mike to tell him that his dumplings were perfect!

 This as leftovers makes a great lunch.

I have gotten to the point where I can whip out a great Tofu Scramble in under ten minutes. I've posted my recipe here and it works great for a quick, healthy breakfast and also for breakfast burritos for later in the week.

On the not so healthy side, grilled cheese sandwiches are awesome. Bread and Daiya cheese and you are good to go. I use soy butter to make them but you could use oil or nothing at all with the right skillet. Add some delish soup and boom, another quick meal.

We try (or I should say that Mike tries!) to make a great, delicious sit-down dinner every night, it just doesn't work out all of the time. Having quick options and a few things in the fridge for a last minute dinner will make life so much easier for you!

Salud!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

VeganMofo Day 15: I love Mexican food!


 My love for Mexican food is today's subject for my post for Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

If you are a regular reader of The Gay Vegans blog, then you already know that I love Mexican food and that my favorite place for amazing vegan Mexican food in Denver is Tarascos.

Mmmmm. I am salivating just thinking about it. When I first became vegan there were very few Mexican restaurants that made any of their re-fried beans without lard. It's a lot easier these days. My experience is also that if a place has lard in their re-fried beans, they might offer whole beans as an option.

The wonderful thing about living in Denver, and probably many other places, is that as vegans we really don't have to settle for just a plain bean or bean and rice burrito. Thank goodness.

My favorite meal at Tarascos is the enchiladas espinacas, spinach enchiladas. So delicious. Add in fresh-made guacamole and an agua fresca made with fresh fruits (and maybe fresh veggies) and you are good to go.

Sopa Tarasca is also one of my favorites, just a simple bean soup with flavors that will drive your taste buds crazy!

It's easy to not remember that Mexico is as diverse as the US, probably more so. This means the food options just go on and on. What I have listed are just some of my favorites, dishes I eat all of the time. I would love to hear about your favorite vegan Mexican dishes!

Thanks for reading!