Saturday, December 26, 2015

With love, from Dan

The past several weeks have gone by incredibly fast. After five months of living in Los Angeles both of us agree that we are feeling pretty settled in. Great jobs, great home, getting to know our way around and eating so much amazing vegan food.

While all of this has been going on I have neglected to write about so much. You can fill in the blank for what "so much" I mean, as there sure is a lot going on in the world, in our country, and in our communities.

As 2015 comes to an end I just had to write to all of you who have been so supportive of me and us and this blog and send a simple message of love.

Big love. With a huge dash of gratitude.

To each and every one of you.

There is an intense amount of hate and injustice going on in this world.

And if any of that ever gets you down, please remember that The Gay Vegans have your back. We are all in this together.

And just to be clear, that is BIG LOVE I am sending you.

Thank you, from deep in my soul, for all of your love and support. It means so much. And together we can do so much more.

Thank you for reading!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Amazing app - Animal Help Now



I have meant to write about this app for over a year now, and finally, after once again using it to try to help an injured bird, it is time to promote an app that will change your life.

Get this app. Download it now.

Animal Help Now. 

Created several years ago by some incredible people in Colorado, this app is now pretty much nationwide. We just used it in southern California.

It's simple. You download the app, put in your location, and all of a sudden you have access to folks who help injured wildlife.

We've used it three times: two birds and a baby squirrel. All three ended up with wildlife folks within an hour of two of finding them.

This is an app that will change the life of any animal you might find that needs help. We love Animal Help Now. It's simple to use, even for an old guy like me.

Here is their website, and of course their app is in the app store: Animal Help Now

You won't regret having this app. And those who run and maintain the app could use a donation if you're in the position to do so! Their work is definitely worth your financial support. We are proud to be financial supporters of theirs.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Our favorite Thanksgiving recipe!

This is a repeat of a past post! We are Periscoping this recipe today!

As you all know, I am not a food blogger. This is only my second blog post with a recipe. There are a ton of vegan food bloggers out there, so don't fret. I even have some of them linked here on my blog for your eating pleasure.

This recipe is from my husband, who grew up with this dish. I love it. In fact I am salivating for it as Thanksgiving Day dinner approaches.

I hope you love it!


Broccoli and Vegan Cheese Casserole

Mike: I got this recipe from Idea from my sister Tammy

Ingredients
  • 5 Boxes Frozen Broccoli Thawed (I usually use enough fresh Broccoli to fill a 9"x13" baking pan)
  • 2 Sleeves Ritz Crackers (or another vegan version)
  • 1 Cup Earth Balance margarine (the best tasting margarine in the world and no trans - fat)
  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine (the best tasting margarine in the world and no trans - fat)
  • 6 Tbsp Flour
  • 3 Cups Unsweetened Vegan Milk of Choice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Cups Shredded Daiya Cheese Cheddar Style (or vegan cheddar cheese of choice. Follow Your Hart works well too)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard

Directions
  1. For the Cheese Sauce: In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the 6 Tbsp of Earth Balance. Once the Earth Balance is liquefied, remove from the heat (don't turn off the burner) and add the flour, salt, and pepper; whisk until smooth. Place the saucepan back onto the burner and slowly add 1 cup of vegan milk, whisking constantly until thickening occurs, then add remaining vegan milk 1/2 cup at a time. Cook sauce over medium heat, Whisking constantly until thickened and smooth. Add the vegan cheese and Dijon mustard and cook for an additional 5 minutes, whisking until smooth and well blended (this may take longer than 5 min be patient it will come together).
  2. For the topping: Process Ritz Crackers in a food processor until a fine meal. Melt the remaining Earth Balance (1Cup) in a sauce pan. Combine the Ritz Crackers and Melted Earth Balance and stir till combined.
  3. Putting it Together: Place the Broccoli in a greased 9"x13" Casserole Dish. Pour the Vegan Cheese Sauce over the top distributing evenly (no need to stir). Cover the top of the Broccoli and Cheese mixture evenly with the Cracker mixture and pat down.
  4. Baking: Place in the oven at 350 Degrees for approximately 30-40min until bubbly and golden brown on top.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

I lost a follower today

I lost a follower today. On Twitter.

It was because of a post I wrote in support of Syrian refugees.

When they said they were unfollowing me, and why, I simply responded that if they were connected with me here and had read my blog, that the comment I made would be no surprise.

I have been surprised about the huge amount of anti-refugee speak from people in this country. Even on my Facebook page. So I decided to post this:


I must say that I am surprised by how many people I am connected with here are part of the frenzy against Syrian refugees coming to the States. I get the fear part. If you know me, you won't be surprised that I would do anything I can for these people, my fellow human beings who have suffered so much. So much, in fact, that they have left their home and everything they own just to survive and hopefully create a safe place for them and their children. And for those of you who have made comments about supporting veterans before refugees, that is super pathetic. I can, and do, support both. And the homeless, and abused kids, and people living in poverty, animals being tortured and anyone who is treated like shit just because of who they are.

This world is a living hell for many people. Most reading this live in a privilege that those seeking basic humanity can't even dream of.


I know there are many who disagree, yet my blog has always been an honest reflection of who I am and my thoughts about pretty much everything. I have always welcomed debate and I have always listened to viewpoints contrary to mine. Dialogue. And, I have always been outspoken against the constant demonizing of many just because there is disagreement.

Thank you for reading this.


Monday, November 9, 2015

I don't want free things for Veteran's Day

Or fake discounts.

Or a sale.

(I'll admit that I liked the free Starbucks last year.)

So many retail shops all of a sudden give a hoot about veterans in November.

What I really want is us, as a country, to embrace all veterans and to support them after they have served if they need the support.

Tens of thousands served in Iraq and Afghanistan. And so many came back not being the same person, either mentally or physically, as they were when they left. Many came back to endless red tape and a society that is so much talk than action.

Politicians LOVE talking about veterans. Many of them had no problem sending them to war when they were active duty.

Most folks speak highly of veterans, yet they don't support them politically.

It's time to hold politicians accountable.

And it's time to hold our society in general accountable.

And retailers? I think you need to do a better job as well. Support veterans all year.

Thanks so much for reading.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

A citizen revolution

There are always two sides to a story, and when politics is involved there could be dozens of sides. Please keep this in mind while reading this post.

Two years ago, in Jefferson County, Colorado (west suburbs of Denver) three "reformists" were elected to the school board. With five on the board they became the majority and immediately showed it. They did not want to negotiate with teachers, they wanted to invest more into charter schools, they liked the idea of pay for performance (of students) and they didn't have any use for rules of how the board should work. They hired an expensive lawyer just for the three of them, a lawyer who specializes in representing school board members just like them.

My personal problems with them were that one of the seemed to be the epitome of a misogynist in action and another, because of her religious beliefs, was not fond of gay people. These things are not good when serving 85,000+ students. I also saw constant disrespect for anyone who might disagree with the "reformists" as they moved full speed ahead on an agenda that seemed to be a checklist of education "reform".

Fast forward to this year and parents, students and others got enough signatures to bring a recall to vote. This vote happened this past week and all three "reformists" were voted out, in a landslide.

I called it a citizen revolution. I was ecstatic. Not only because of the results, but because of the huge outpouring of support in the community to work towards a recall.

Those supporting the "reformists" called it union thuggery taking hold. No matter where you looked, the word union was used everywhere when speaking against the recall.

114,000 citizens voted for the recall. Yet these folks were called union pawns, stupid, mindless and many other words that dehumanize them and simplify a vote that was so much more than union versus non union.


Takeaways for me are:

When people don't vote, bad things happen. No matter your view on anything, this is true.

If you have interest in any type of activism, pay attention to politics and vote. This has been almost a life-long mantra for me.

Just because something "is" right now doesn't mean it has to be. I saw people who had not been politically active take their frustration with the school board and use it to make change.

Don't be a jerk. I ran into this a lot and called many names and judged by all sorts. Treating other people like this does nothing for your cause. If you can't present your side and stick to the facts without demonizing someone else, be quiet. Especially online, where the whole world can see how terrible you look.

Political change is possible. Again, no matter what you believe or what you see that you don't like in any forum where the participants are elected. The citizen revolution that happened in Jefferson County can happen anywhere.

No election is local anymore. Money, and lots of it, comes from everywhere. It's just how things are now.

Finally, one person can make huge change. Add them to another person who wants to make change, and so on, and you have a citizen revolution.

 A citizen revolution is possible anywhere. If it can happen in Jefferson County, Colorado, it can happen anywhere.

Thanks very much for reading.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Today is World Vegan Day

Lucy, who lives at Rooterville animal sanctuary.


We have our own day.

Having a blog that includes veganism, I get to interact with folks about veganism every day. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative.

I still get surprised when someone attacks my veganism, which is ultimately a very personal decision for me, one made because I did not want to be part of cruelty and torture that happens so to appease taste buds.

In January I will celebrate 20 years of being 100% vegan which means for 20 years I have consumed no meat, dairy, eggs, honey or any other by-product from animals. Yes, this also means that my belts and dress shoes are not leather and my ties to not contain silk.

As every human my age and up knows, life goes by very fast. It's difficult to grasp that I have been vegan that long. Although I became vegan for animal cruelty issues, the benefits of being vegan as I get older include being healthier. At 47 I ran my first half marathon. Looking forward to my third next May at age 50.

I know many who read my blog are not vegan. I hope I am able to provide here information (see all of the links) and life experience (read the posts) that show how easy being vegan is and how it is available to anyone. Myths around veganism and protein and cost are just those, myths. The benefits around being vegan, to you, the environment and to the animals, are endless.

So happy World Vegan Day.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Politics at the local level

As you know, we moved to Los Angeles in July. Back home in Colorado there is a local school board election happening that we are missing.

While working from LA to get as many of our friends and colleagues in Jefferson County to vote, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone how important local elections are.

With 40% of registered voters voting, a school board majority that I oppose was brought into power in Jefferson County. Voters simply didn't vote. Now those same who were elected are facing a recall and after two years in office it seems voters are paying a little more attention.

None of this is news. Too many people don't vote.

I urge you to take some time and see what might be on your local ballot this coming week. Many people simply don't follow local politics like the school board, county board and city council. Yet these folks have so much power, and a lot of money to spend.

If you are an activist of any sort, if you want to make the world a safer place for all living beings, or even if you just want to make your community a better place, vote.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Thanks for reading.




Saturday, October 17, 2015

Please vote

No surprise with this title or post. One of the reasons I created this blog was to engage with other in making this world a better place for all living beings and voting in every election at every level is one way to do this.

Yes, you most likely have not heard about any election coming up on the national news. Most issues in November will be local issues. Let your voice be heard.

There are propositions on the ballot all over the place. And school board elections. And your city council race.

Please don't let some crazy ballot initiative pass or some right-wing, anti-gay candidate win by letting a small minority control the vote.

Vote.

If you vote by mail most ballots have already been sent out. You still have a few weeks to mail but why not go ahead and just fill it out and mail it today?

We can be a voice for those with no voice.

Thanks for reading!



Monday, October 12, 2015

Our neighborhood bees are in trouble

 
We moved from Colorado to the Los Angeles area back in July and are still settling in. We love all that LA has to offer and rarely have we missed at least one beach day per week.

Back in Colorado we owned a quarter of an acre and had a huge garden and little planted areas throughout the yard. Our yard was super bee friendly and throughout the spring through the fall we had hundreds of bees. We loved them and felt that we were doing something positive to support the dwindling bee population.

Something troubling we have noticed here is a constant flow of dead or dying bees. Not healthy, walking slowly, unable to fly and within a day we find dead. The first time I noticed this I thought it was a fluke but now I have realized that in our yard we have yet to see a healthy bee.

I wonder why.

This blog post I invite you to let us know what you think. We live in the north east area of Los Angeles. We live in an area that has plenty of trees and floral, and is only one block to where the San Gabriel mountains begin.

Do any of you know about bee populations in the LA area? Do you know what we can do to help bees here?

I would be grateful for any information.

Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I will #FastAgainstSlaughter this Friday

After much prayer and meditation I have decided to do the #FastAgainstSlaughter which is this Friday. Friday is World Day for Farmed Animals, the day after World Vegetarian Day and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. This fast will be part of a world-wide fast on the same day.

If you know me, you know I am vegan and that I am vegan so that I cause as little harm as possible to animals during my time on earth. I abhor violence and almost 20 years ago committed to being vegan so my dinner plate reflected more of who I am as a human being and did not include any animal products.

So Friday I will fast for 24 hours, for the animals.

From Farm Animal Rights Movement:

"Each day, 160 million farmed animals are transported to meet their gruesome end at slaughterhouses throughout the world. These caring, sensitive individuals are denied food, water, and rest on their journeys for several hours, up to days. They are scared. They are starving. And their suffering is silenced by an industry that doesn’t want us to know the truth."

In their name I will not eat for 24 hours. I will only drink liquids. I share this with you because I am fearful of this. I eat at least seven times a day. I love food. I love eating. I will do it for the beautiful animals who are beaten, tortured, and killed just for someone's taste buds.

I could really use your support. Please send love. And if you pray, meditate or just are in silence on Friday, please think of me and those I am fasting for.

Thank you!



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Being a voice for the voiceless

Many times while expressing my viewpoint or speaking up for something or against something, I look inside myself to see if the action I am taking is truly honoring the voiceless, whichever voiceless I am trying to be a voice for at the moment.

How is my action or behavior actually helping the voiceless? Is it viewed positively or negatively. Would folks not necessarily in agreement with me at least ponder what I am talking about or will they just blow me off as crazy, rude, etc?

This topic is huge for me. I seldom lose sight of why I am an activist, why I think it is so important to be  a voice for the voiceless. To continually speak out against animal cruelty, bigotry, violence and recently just basic unkindness. To be a voice for liberation.

I became vegan for one reason: animal cruelty. I didn't become vegan because someone yelled at me or threatened me. It was a very personal decision based on the person I wanted to be. I loved animals. Why in the world would I want to do anything that would harm them? Although I would have picked up a stray dog or stopped someone from abusing an animal in front of me, what was on my dinner plate did not reflect my values when it came to animals.

I know that some will disagree with me, that we must do everything in our power to stop the violence and to fight for total liberation.

I would rather invite those opposed to my ideas or my way of thinking for a coffee and actually talk. This of course is not always possible. I would rather disrupt in a calm, kind voice. I have seen this in action and smiled.

I remember one day standing outside a Baptist church during a silent protest against the church taking out a full-page ad in the local paper to denounce homosexuality and make clear their stance against it. Chatting with a family on their way out I said that we all have more in common than not. We had a wonderful conversation. I am not sure if they would stand on the side of liberation and equality, yet I am pretty sure they would not demonize gay people. Perhaps that's a start.

Thanks for reading.





Sunday, September 20, 2015

One in five children

This is one of those posts that will typically not get a lot of reads. When I write about topics like poverty, hunger or HIV/AIDS, many tend to skip the post.

I will keep this post short.

The federal government released poverty numbers this past week.

One in five children in California live in poverty.

One is six children in the US live in poverty.

No matter why you read my blog or why you connect with me personally or with The Gay Vegans, I ask you to please consider these numbers.

So much wealth. So much privilege. Yet so many live in poverty.

As activists, we can take action. We can also build bridges with activist communities whose main mission is not ours, and become stronger. We can find connections with our work to poverty, to hunger and to class. In the Los Angeles area, where we live, it is not difficult to see hard-core class distinction.

If you would like more information on poverty in the US, please click here.

Thank you for reading.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

From Kentucky to Syria

What a week.

There is so much being said and written about what happened this week in a small town in Kentucky. And then there is the refugee crisis in Europe as thousands continue to flee the violence and persecution in Syria.

It is a wonderful chance to be a voice for the voiceless.

As anti-gay bigots gathered in Kentucky to celebrate the release of Kim Davis, the county clerk found in contempt of court and jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, I kept thinking of gay couples around the country who still do not feel safe in their communities. Watching a man scream "sodomites" at gay people gathered at the court house I shook my head and wanted to do something for people who have to live in a place where such bigotry is rampant.

Across the Atlantic, tens of thousands of refugees face similar bigoted situations. Let's start by calling them migrants. That sounds better when refusing to care for them in any way. In fact, they are people like you and me, whose very lives are at risk because of who they are, where they live or what they believe. They want to live. They want their children to be safe.

In both cases bigotry is at high levels. Whether it is in the name of Jesus or in the name of nationalism, the way people are being treated disgusts me.

We can speak out. On social media, with our friends and neighbors, and with our check books. We must speak out against bigotry and for compassion.

Love one another.

Kentucky and Syria might seem like far away places, yet what is happening in these places can happen anywhere. We can be silent or we can be their voice.

Thanks for reading.



Saturday, August 29, 2015

An act of hate

As I was thinking of this post, and of acts of hate, I realized that based on the title I could have an entire list of acts of hate just from the past week.

It seems that hate is embedded in our culture.

It's so easy to be kind to others. Yet some find that difficult, foreign and even unnecessary.

One night this week a friend was on her way home after a celebration. She stopped to get some groceries and was attacked, assaulted and spit on by a man who did not like trans women. I found out soon after the attack and have not been able to stop thinking of her since.

This happened in Glendale, CA, about 20 minutes from where we live.

I have been where she is. I can hide. I can make the decision, for safety reasons, to stop holding Mike's hand.

Imagine having to be afraid to go the store. Imagine having to live in a world where at any second some hate-filled creature could come  out of nowhere and attack you.

In this country, nineteen trans women of color have been murdered this year. I am grateful my friend wasn't number 20.

For those of us who are filled with love and kindness, for those of us who work for liberation for all people and for animals, for those of us who work tirelessly to make this world a better and safer place for all living beings, we must speak out against hate and violence.

We must make acts of hate so unacceptable that the cowards who perpetuate violence are stopped.

We have the power.

Thanks for reading.




Saturday, August 22, 2015

Living in Los Angeles

Seven weeks.

It's hard to believe that we are already living here, already settled in, and already working our new jobs.

We had the dream, we took the risk, and we are loving it.

I remember telling people we were moving from Colorado to Los Angeles and getting the look. The look like "are you crazy?". Then all of the negative comments about how terrible traffic is in LA, how crowded it it, etc.

The traffic is definitely terrible and it sure is crowded. It doesn't take long to learn to deal with that, and even embrace it at least in regards to it being crowded. 

There is so much that we already love: the diversity, the people, the closeness to the beach, the urban and mountain beauty, the food, the markets, etc. Almost every day there is something else to add to the list.

If you are vegan and a foodie, LA is one of the most incredible cities ever. Wherever I am for a work appointment, I can plug the word "vegan" into Yelp and find so many options for a meal it's crazy. And I mean good vegan options. The other day I wanted to take one of my team out for lunch and found a place called Un Solo Sol, a local Mexican place. Oh my. Delicious food and gracious hospitality. Review to come for sure. This is just one example.

As I was sitting in traffic last night on the way home from work, I looked up at the palm trees and smiled.

We live here.

Thanks for reading.




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let's just attack each other.

A lion was stalked and killed.

A trans woman was beaten to death.

A four year old boy was killed by a stray bullet.

Supporters of #BlackLivesMatter met in Cleveland to discuss strategy.

These are the news items I paid particular attention to in the last week or so. Not in any particular order.

The story that hit me the hardest was a couple of weeks ago, and that is the story of Sandra Bland being pulled over in Texas for not using a turn signal. She was jailed and died in her cell three days later. She had been unable to pay the $5,000 bond to get out of jail. For not using a turn signal (and for what I think, knowing her rights).

Each of these news items touched off debate, conversation, and unfortunately, judgment.

Before I could get to my second coffee, people in different groups were attacking others for not seeing things as they see things, not taking the correct kind of action, or condemning people who could not possibly help or relate.

Oh my.

My activism is not neatly boxed into one issue. I give a shit about many issues and I try to use my voice to make the world a better place for all living beings. I have been a fighter of injustice since I was a kid.

Yes, a white gay guy living in privilege who gives a shit about others, and I'm not alone. I'm not into fighting and being told I don't belong. There are definitely discussions I stay out of when I think it's not my place, but there are so many issues where my voice can be powerful. I don't write that just because I think my voice is stronger than yours. I write it because I believe everyone's voice can be powerful.

When we use it.

I Periscoped earlier this week with the title "Talking about Sandra Bland" and most folks were not interested, a couple had no idea who she is is, and one said it was funny seeing someone living in white privilege talking about Sandra Bland. Yep.

It is so easy for activists, or humans, to attack other activists rather than asking questions, having a conversation or opening one's mind to learn something about an issue that is equally as powerful as yours, but one you might not know much about.

But it's not impossible.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Crappy vegan food is bad for veganism

I have always loved this line. I heard it when in a session at Vida Vegan Con II in Portland, Oregon two years ago. I was in a session to learn about writing restaurant reviews given by Grant Butler, a columnist with The Oregonian.

It has stayed with me ever since and I consider it every time I write a restaurant review.

I have thought of it a lot since moving to the Los Angeles area while we experience so many new vegan opportunities. Having been to LA many times, we've known that this is a vegan food mecca. Living here is different, as new experiences pop up almost every day.

There have been some eating experiences that have blown us away, where we find us like at each other going "oh my goodness!".

And then there have been experiences that were not so mind blowing. 

On the top of my list was a dessert Mike and I saw. We both instantly drooled. Anticipation was very high as the server brought it to our table. Then utter disappointment. It was dry and not very tasty.

We have had several moments like this. We read reviews, we get excited, we drive way out of our way to try a restaurant and then we are presented with food that is average, and in some cases not good on any level.

How can this change? I'm starting with this post. At the restaurant where the dessert was a huge disappointment, I took the server aside and gave very honest feedback. I wouldn't do a restaurant review based on just one experience.

I think it is vastly important that we let restaurants know when their food is sub-par. Of course food is very personal, but if you get something that is totally off base, let the folks know.

I think about someone who wants to try a vegan meal and gets crappy food, and how that affects not only veganism but the animals as well.

Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

LA traffic: picking us off one at a time



We have been living in Los Angeles for three weeks now and are loving it. Many told us about the traffic and how awful it is when we talked about moving here. They of course are correct. Yet for the most part the traffic flows, perhaps not as fast as we wish, but it flows. One plans around it and I have found it important to not be in a hurry.

All of this being said, there are always plenty of news stories about people killed in auto accidents.

The other night is was a young woman killed by a hit and run driver. The next day it was an accident in central LA.

A few minutes of driving in LA and one can see how accidents happen. My focus has gone way up since moving here. Folks change four lanes in two seconds, many times with no signal. In a city notorious for traffic, many are still in a hurry to get somewhere.

The bummer is that although deaths are newsworthy for a day, it seems like they are an accepted fact of living here.

Perhaps most feel they will always be OK, that crazy driving won't affect them. The father of the young woman killed by a hit and run driver said this, that "you never think this will happen to you".

Yet it does.

One by one we are being picked off because of carelessness, ignorance, arrogance and basically folks just being in a rush. The news stories don't even affect us anymore.  Perhaps people are to the point where this is just how it is.

I don't believe that is how it has to be.

Perhaps it is stricter laws. Perhaps it's calling out the reckless drivers. Perhaps it's simply just asking people to give a shit.

Today another family will get a call or a visit. They will be crushed with the news.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

First restaurant review in LA! - Noor's Indian Bistro


When in Los Angeles, one is in vegan paradise when it comes to food options. After several days of going to our favorite places for delish vegan food, Mike and I walked right by Noor's Indian Bistro, just blocks from our home in Monrovia.

Yes, Noor's is in Monrovia. Not central LA but not far. We are about 22 miles from downtown LA. Noor's is located in a small strip of four shops at the southeast corner of Foothills and Myrtle.

After just a few times dining there we already know Noor's is our favorite local spot. Raya, Nick and their team know about hospitality and although they are not exclusively vegan they know how to create incredible vegan dishes. As they have told us, because each dish is made from scratch, anything can be done vegan.

This includes Mike's favorite dish, Chana Saag, which they prepare with coconut milk instead of cream.

And one of my favorite things about Inian cuisine, the mango lassi, made with soy milk instead. Their version is so tasty.

Veggie Pakora


We have tried several dishes and one thing that is clear is that from their open kitchen anything that is created for you will drive your taste buds crazy. We have loved their veggie pakora (see above) and their samosas. Their roti bread is great. Being a big okra fan I love the Bhindi Masala and their Aloo Gobi is from Nick's grandmother's recipe! So delicious.

Chana Saag


We have also tried dishes that we have never had in our many times of being in Indian restaurants. The Mushroom Matar is a great example. So flavorful and we could both taste the freshness in every ingredient. Plus, we have been assured that there are so many other dishes to try and we are so looking forward to that!

If you are new to reading my restaurant reviews, please know that half of the review is about food and half about service. I firmly believe that hospitality is a huge part of the experience and Noor's does not disappoint. Our water glasses have never been empty and staff definitely check in to make sure everything is being enjoyed.

I hugely recommend Noor's Indian Bistro and hope you have an opportunity to dine there one day. They are open every day and will be one of those dining experiences you want to repeat. They are just north about a mile from the Myrtle exit off of the 210.

Here is their website: http://www.noorsindian.com/

Thank you for reading and please let me know if you have a meal at Noor's Indian Bistro!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Living in Los Angeles

Well, not exactly.

One week ago we made the move from Colorado to the Los Angeles area. Home is now the small town of Monrovia, about 20 miles northeast from downtown LA.

We have wanted to make the move to southern California for years. We are pretty ecstatic.

A few experiences so far:

I paid $4.59 a gallon for gas yesterday.

We have been blown away by the kindness of strangers.

Our new next door neighbors had us over for dinner last night for a vegan feast. It was amazing.

We love Donut Friend.

We have been to beaches at Newport Beach and Malibu and loved them both.

We had dinner at Gracias Madre which we fell in love with last summer. It is still amazing in so many ways.

We had deer in our neighborhood. Apparently there are also plenty of skunks, bears and raccoons too.

Our grocery bill is definitely higher.

I have taken the train into downtown LA three times now. Love it. As I interview I am trying to figure out the best way to get to potential jobs.

Downtown LA is incredible. And I haven't even begun to explore it.

More to come.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Marriage equality happens. Now what?

Ecstatic is an understatement.

Add emotional and a few other feelings and you have what I feel now and really felt last Friday upon getting the news about the US Supreme Court ruling in regards to marriage equality.

Mike and I were married ten years ago in a ceremony we called " a loving act of civil disobedience" as we married in our home state of Colorado where marriage was not legal. Last year we went to our favorite beach (Torrey Pines in San Diego) and were legally wed.

Watching couples in Michigan, Ohio, North Dakota and Georgia brought on a flood of tears.

Of course not everyone is happy with the decision. The unhappiness began on the Court itself with those who dissented.

From Republican Presidential candidates to pastors to folks who just don't like gay people (including the previously mentioned), I have heard it all.

Here's what I have to say to those who are demonizing gay people and continuing the spiritual genocide against us:

No gay couple would want to be married by an anti-gay religious person in an anti-gay place of worship. So please stop with the fearmongoring about being forced to wed gay couples. No thank you.

We will continue to fight against hate and bigotry. Some of us are seasoned after living through the HIV/AIDS epidemic and dealing with so much bigotry against those with HIV/AIDS and then the ridiculous fight to be equal under the law in regards to marriage. And now we have some free time.

Traditional marriage. From the Old Testament? Multiple wives? Marrying teenagers? What exactly is traditional marriage? Marriage these days determines benefits and rights amongst couples. It shows the highest form of a couple's commitment. That's why I chose to marry my husband. And although we had a religious ceremony, I would be fine with a civil marriage.

Some Christians have said some terrible things about marriage and about gay people. There are more divorced heterosexuals in the U.S. than there are gay people but the hate does not extend to them.

There is something powerful in kindness. There is something powerful in love. I will continue to fight for equality and against bigotry, prejudice and hate. I won't demonize those against me, but I will not remain silent either.

More to come on this topic.

I'd like to close by saying thank you to all of those who have expressed kindness to us. I am truly grateful. The U.S. Supreme Court decision was intense for us for many reasons. We are still smiling.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In mourning

NOTE: I am just expressing feelings here. This is not a though-out blog post.

I have been watching the news coverage from Charleston, South Carolina and my heart is heavy.

Then the news goes to the Aurora shooting trial here in Colorado.

Nine people murdered while in a bible study.

Twelve people murdered while going to see a Batman movie.

It's heartbreaking.

From here in Colorado all I can do is mourn, and write.

My head is full of thoughts about racism and violence. They are not clear enough for me to write about them yet. I'm sure I will.

Sending big love to all of you. I know that is not enough. Believe me, I am angry. I want to fight back against racism and violence.

I have been on Periscope a lot lately. I end each live video with "please be kind to one another".

And I think of many family members of those murdered in Charleston, who spoke words of forgiveness to the racist terrorist who murdered their loved ones.

What a world.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Time to ditch dairy

Watching another video come out showing clear violence and abuse towards cows on a dairy farm in Fort Morgan, Colorado, is sickening.

The video shows dairy employees, who to me are cowards and monsters, doing what has become common in animal production: simple animal cruelty. If you care about any animal, this video will sicken you.

I am very grateful to Mercy For Animals for their undercover work.

The owners of the cows are horrified. The folks from the dairy cooperative that the dairy farm belongs to put the blame on Mercy For Animals. Both groups are pathetic.

Cruelty is inherent in these places.

It's time to ditch dairy.

There are so many other products out there that don't include inherent cruelty. And that don't financially support individuals who look at the animals suffering in the video simply as product, not as living, breathing beings.

In Colorado, all of the cowards shown in the video can be charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

I hope the Fort Morgan Sheriff does this.

And I hope dairy milk sales continue to go down.

If you would like to watch the Mercy For Animals click here.

If you would like to read the Denver Post article click here.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Matt Ruscigno's session at Vida Vegan Con


I was thrilled to be able to attend my second Vida Vegan Con,  one of the best planned conferences I have ever been to and one filled with vegan bloggers from all over the world. This was the third (and the final) Vida Vegan Con and was held in Austin, Texas.

I will undoubtedly write more about Vida Vegan Con and wanted to start with one of the sessions I attended. Matt Ruscigno has a Master's in Public Health and is a Registered Dietitian. He is a rock star in my book. We need to know how to get and stay healthy while loving veganism, and people like Matt make that possible.

His session was about looking at the science of being vegan. It was fascinating and I could have listened for hours. I took notes, and would like to share a few nuggets of wisdom that I learned. What I am sharing here is what I got out of his talk. I want to make that clear as just because this is what I got from the talk doesn't mean I got it right!

Matt let us know that there is very little research that compares vegan and omnivore athletes. I have learned while trying to get healthier that research in vegan nutrition is key.

One of the several things he mentioned that really struck me, and mentioned a couple of times, is the phrase "what we do most often matters most". Love this. For me it means it I eat healthy most of the time, forages into vegan junk food and desserts aren't that bad. Yes, at times my life has been the opposite when eating healthy was not common! I have thought about this a lot and really want to focus on doing more around fitness and nutrition so that when I decide not to work out or decide to grab two cartons of ice cream, it's not such a bad thing.

Remember that I am not a dietitian. I do try to pay attention to what people like Matt have to say.

Matt also talked about that there is no one right way to discuss nutrition and science. That sure was  a relief!

He also mentioned that adding one food to your diet is not going to drastically change your health. I sure needed to hear that. What I am trying to do is to make eating lots of fruits and vegetables part of my norm.

One of the most important things he said was to not exaggerate in regards to veganism and nutrition. Be realistic and be careful with using nutrition as the gateway to veganism.

What Matt gets when at the market?  Leafy greens. Whole grains. Berries. Red cabbage. Quinoa. Lentils. Kale.

Check out more about Matt here.








Sunday, May 31, 2015

Butterfinger milkshake


Courtesy of Carmella from The Food Duo.
 
You read the title correct. This is a quick note to you about the Butterfinger milkshake I had last night at Sweet Ritual in Austin.

I'm in Austin for Vida Vegan Con and will definitely write about my adventures here at a later time. But I just had to let you know that last night I had one of the most delicious desserts ever, Sweet Ritual's  Butterfinger milkshake.

Oh my.

If you ever have the chance, go to Sweet Ritual and order this shake.

They have a lot of other options and their staff is incredibly friendly.

For more information about Sweet Ritual, click here.

Did I say their entire line of ice cream is vegan?!?!

Thanks for reading!





Thursday, May 28, 2015

Random acts of kindness

I know that I don't need to tell anyone who reads this blog about suffering. Whether human suffering or animal suffering, most folks who connect with us actively work to end suffering in the world.

As you know, I am in Austin, Texas for the third Vida Vegan Con and I am super stoked.

Yet if one watches any news here, there is a huge reminder that due to floods and storms, hundreds are suffering. Over a dozen have been killed in Texas and the flood devastation is mind blowing.

As I get ready to go for a run I am thinking of what kind act or acts I can do today.

And I wanted to see if we could make this a group effort.

Together we are so much stronger.

How about it? Will you join me and practice a random act (or acts!) of kindness today? 

I will let you know what I decide to do. Please let me know what you decide.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for doing what you do to make the world a better place for all living beings.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time in Austin. Texas.

I am in Austin, Texas for the third Vida Vegan Con vegan bloggers conference! Yes, a gay vegan in Texas! And by Friday there will be many of us! A whole group of gay vegans. I must come up with a term for that!

The road trip here was filled with excitement: speeding ticket in New Mexico, tornado warnings around Abilene and the loudest, longest thunder storm I have experienced about two hours north of Austin.

I am super excited to be at another Vida Vegan Con. Last time, two years ago, I learned so much about blogging and becoming a better blogger, plus I met so many people who are making the world  a better place for all living beings.

I will be taking photos and sharing experiences throughout the next five days mainly on Instagram and Twitter where I am @thegayvgeans on both.

So far the humidity is already hitting me hard!

If you have a favorite in Austin please let me know.

More to come.

Thanks for reading!





Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kindness, decency, family. Ireland said yes!



The referendum on civil marriage in Ireland is done.

Votes are being counted. The numbers coming out remind me of the percentage numbers while watching states in the U.S. vote against marriage equality, yet reversed.

In some areas over 70% voted yes to support equality.

I have followed this story for some time. I've watched both campaigns closely and yesterday morning I could barely contain myself as people went to vote.

They went to vote with their families, with their parents, their grandparents, their neighbors, their rugby clubs. They traveled from all over the world to, as one man put it, "mark a box". One photo I saw was of three generations of a family after they had all gone to the poll to vote yes.

One thing that I noticed while watching all of this was the huge amount of conversation around kindness. And decency. And family.

Meaning, a yes vote was the kind thing to do. The decent thing to do. After all, we are talking about rights for our family.

Young people rocked it. They campaigned and they voted. Imagine what our equality laws would look like if young people in the U.S. did the same.


As Ireland's Minister of Health, Leo Varadkar said, "I wanted to be an equal citizen in my own country and today I am".

I am ecstatic.

I guess I should also add here, in case this is the first of my blog posts you have read, that I am Irish. In the 1920's my grandfather left County Mayo for the U.S. He settled in Detroit, married my grandmother, became a U.S. citizen and was a dad to my dad and his six siblings.

Thanks for reading.  Éirinn go Brách!



Friday, May 22, 2015

A huge day in Ireland!

I made a quick video to share my thoughts on today's vote in Ireland that could bring marriage equality to the land of my ancestors.

Huge day for Ireland!

I have been emotional all week. I have many times thought that the Irish blood that runs through my veins is part of why I am an activist and one who fights to make the world a better and safer place for all living beings.

The Vote Yes campaign has been incredible. Lots of families talking about supporting a son or dad or nephew or neighbor. Lots of people talking about kindness. And love. And liberty.

And today is the day!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Living your dream

Our move to the Los Angeles area is realizing a dream we have had for years to live in southern California. I want to live there to be closer to the beach, where I can surf, kayak and just relax while reading a good book. The weather, food, diversity and awesome farmers markets are a bonus.

I look forward to so much. Yes, there are down sides. For instance, I constantly hear horror stories about the traffic and just getting from A to B. We will definitely have to get used to all that. But for us our dream will be coming true.

Life is short. I say many times that I was 28 and then one day I woke up and I was 49. Just like that.

Life is such a gift. Every day is precious, and not guaranteed.

Live your dream.

Take that cooking class.

Ask that man or woman on a date.

Organize that protest.

Take that trip.

Don't wait for tomorrow.

You are totally worth it!

Thanks for reading!



Friday, May 15, 2015

Making a big move

If you have been connected with us for even a little while, you might know that for a long time we have been spending a lot of time in southern California. For me, my sweet spaces are the beaches in and north of San Diego. I have wanted to move there for several years.

Mike, not so much. Yet over the past couple of years he has gotten closer to wanting to move and last summer when we were there he said that he was ready.

Since last summer we have thought about a move a lot. I have applied for a couple of jobs but nothing in the San Diego area looked promising. I expanded my search to the Los Angeles area and had better luck getting calls for interviews from non-profits there. Mike joined me in the search and last week got the call.

We are moving.

To Los Angeles. The east side, like between downtown LA and the Inland Empire.

It looks like we'll move in July.

We still have to sell the house, find at least temporary housing there, and I need to find a job.

But we are doing it. My dream of living in southern California. And although we won't be as far south as we would like, we're still only 1 1/2 hours from one of our favorite beaches, Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, and Torrey Pines in San Diego.

It's been very emotional since starting to tell our co-workers, neighbors and friends. Seeing the For Sale sign in front of our house almost crushed me. We certainly have a lot to be grateful here and will totally miss our family of friends.

Life is truly so short. It's time to go for our dreams.

If you live in the southern California area please connect with us!

Thanks for reading.



Sunday, May 10, 2015

The darkness subsides

I have many times told a story about when I was in the Navy. I spent many hours on ships standing on an outside part looking out to the vast ocean. I remember looking at the beauty and feeling peaceful.

Then I would start to think. And within several minutes my peace had been turned upside down. By me.

These days I tell another story, which has a lot to do with that. The story is that I can be doing awesome, feeling really good, loving life. Then let me sit and start thinking and boy does that change.

I am amazed sometimes at how quickly I can get absorbed by darkness. Sometimes it takes me by surprise. Most times the reality of my life is that all is really well. I actually have to think of negative things or think of fears or mistakes or people I am having issues with to feel in that dark place.

I know what to do and what not to do to stay out of the darkness.

Tell my husband. Call a friend. Pray and/or meditate. Stop my mental masturbation. Help someone. Get out of myself. Write a gratitude list.

And sometimes I just allow myself to be in that dark place. I try to be the most positive person I can. I try to let go, to live and let live, and to love. Doing this 100% of the time is just not possible for me.

The days of shaming myself for getting into a dark place are over. I actually honor the darkness, or I guess a better way to say what I am feeling about that is to say that I acknowledge it but do not live in it. Like a heard in a meeting once "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I don't have to set up camp there"!

For me the darkness does indeed subside. My dark moments are much less than they were growing up and into my twenties. My family and inner circle have a lot to do with that. Being loved and being able to love certainly helps.

I wanted to share this blog post because I know others get into darkness at times. Social media is filled with happy people. People who are always fine. I wanted to remind folks that even though life is really awesome, sometimes the darkness comes.

And it's OK.

Thanks for reading.




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Go for it!

Right now.

Don't wait.

Life is way too short.

Write that editorial. Call a friend you haven't checked in with for months. Make an amends. Say you're sorry. Forgive. Go on that blind date or make a date night with your love.

Plan a vegan potluck. Plan a protest.

Take a trip. Vietnam? Ireland? Colombia? The mountains. A beach. A back country trip.

We all work so hard. We all are so busy. We can't forget to live.

And live well.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Your favorite vegan meal

Many times I have thought about asking the readers of The Gay Vegans to let us know what their favorite vegan meal is. Specifically, the best meal they have had in a restaurant.

The Gay Vegans is not a food blog but every once in a while I do a restaurant review. I also like promoting restaurants in the Denver area where one can get a delicious vegan meal. Most of the restaurants I write about are not exclusively vegan, yet have incredible vegan food to offer.

So this is the time. I would love to know what is your favorite meal that you have had at a restaurant.

It can be an appetizer, a main dish or a dessert.

I know vegan food is exploding around the country, and the world, and I look forward to hearing from you. Undoubtedly Mike and I will need to plan some food trips.

My favorite meal these days is the Mac n Shews at Modern Love in Omaha, Nebraska.



Thanks for reading! I look forward to hearing from you!



Sunday, April 26, 2015

I made a cake!

This past week Mike celebrated his birthday and I decided to bake him a birthday cake.

I'm not a baker, but I must say that I have been enjoying baking more and more.

I grabbed our go-to baking cookbook, "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and I got to work.

Mike's favorite recipe out of that book is the Chocolate Cake recipe. I also used the chocolate frosting recipe!

The cake came out perfect and delicious. Mike loved it.


Now don't laugh at the photo! I said it was deliciousness, not that it came out photo worthy!

The reason I wanted to write a post about this is because making the cake was so simple! I communicate with blog readers all of the time and many of them  don't bake because they believe they couldn't do it, that it takes too long and is too complicated. The chocolate cake took less than 15 minutes to make!

Grab a recipe you think looks interesting and go for it! Make something delicious for someone you love or a neighbor or a co-worker. You will have a blast and you'll be able to spread vegan deliciousness which always is a win!

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Flipping out over a birth certificate

This week in Colorado politics saw a bill in front of a state senate committee that would allow transgender Coloradans to change the gender on their birth certificate.

To me, this is a common sense matter. It's a matter that doesn't affect anyone other than the person wanting to make the change official. Right now the process is pretty close to a nightmare. including needing to get a court order.

I quickly learned that the parts of this bill that freak people out are in the details. After I sent a tweet about being disappointed that this bill did not make it out of a Republican-majority committee, I quickly received this from someone who doesn't live in Colorado:

"people w/ penises dont get to change their B.C. to female. Wanna change it? remove the boy bits, morons"

I asked her a question about the bill and about who she was referring to as a moron. Her response didn't include who the moron was but did inform me that this bill allows folks in transition to make the change.

That freaks some people out. After reading about this, I totally get why someone in transition would want to already have their birth certificate changed.  Documentation is very important when transitioning and the birth certificate is a huge part of that.

The clear issue for me is that this bill would make life easier for the one person who is transitioning. It has no affect on anyone else.

What is also clear to me after reading testimony against this bill is that some people just don't like trans people. As an article from the Colorado Independent about the bill not passing through committee exclaimed, "Transgender birth certificate bill crashes against anti-gay lobby." One of those testifying against the bill was from the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-gay, "religious freedom" group based in Arizona.

I hope this bill comes back next year.

Thanks for reading.







Wednesday, April 8, 2015

UPDATE: Surviving Castle Rock prairie dogs safe!

What a whirlwind.

About 100 prairie dogs who survived the mass positioning that killed over 1500 prairie dogs were placed at a local activist's home while awaiting relocation. Yesterday Colorado Parks and Wildlife seized them and it looked like the prairie dogs didn't have much of a chance.

A couple of weeks ago, to make space for a new mall, the town council of Castle Rock approved the slaughter of 1500+ prairie dogs.

A few days later local activists were allowed to trap the survivors for relocation. I had heard they would be relocated to somewhere in New Mexico.

That never happened.

Then yesterday I read about the Colorado Parks and Wildlife getting involved and taking the prairie dogs.

I just learned from Denver's CBS 4 that a land owner in Sedalia agreed to have the surviving prairie dogs relocated to his property! In fact, the prairie dogs are already there!

I am ecstatic. I don't know who was involved in this life-saving action, but I thank all of them.

I also have to thank the Denver Post and Denver CBS 4 for covering this story.





Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Whole Foods sells rabbit meat



If you like eating rabbits, this post might be informative to you.

If you do not eat rabbits, and you like living rabbits, I hope you take action after reading this post.

Meet Clover. She is a family member of one of our best friends. Family. Our friend has been educating us about Whole Foods selling rabbit meat in some stores, I think they are testing the market for rabbit meat. She has stopped shopping at Whole Foods because of this and is working to get Whole Foods to stop selling rabbit meat.

I understand where she is coming from. Whenever I see or read about chinchilla fur coats, I think of the chins who are part of our family. It hits hard. The same is for our friend seeing rabbit meat sold.

I didn't think the whole rabbit meat at Whole Foods, a place where many vegans and vegetarians and animal lovers shop, would last. It didn't make sense for them to create controversy amongst loyal customers. It's been several months now and I don't think they are considering stopping the sale of rabbit meat. In fact, they are even trying to be "cute" with the sale of rabbit meat. The picture here is of a sign in a Whole Foods above a picture of rabbits who will become rabbit meat.

This photo is a combination of two photos: top is from a Whole Foods store selling rabbit meat. Bottom is from a rabbit slaughterhouse in Iowa.
 
"Come hop down the bunny trail"? Seriously?

I have to say that I like Whole Foods a little less now because of this sign. I also will clarify that a rabbit is a cow is a chicken is a fish is a rat to me. I believe in being a voice for all animals. At first I thought Whole Foods was just selling another animal. But for me, rabbits are different as they are family just like chins are my family. Folks who have rabbits as part of their family don't want to see body parts of an animal that is part of their family while they grocery shop just as I don't want to see chinchilla throws while shopping.

I know Whole Foods is getting taken to the carpet by activists around the country for many reasons. Their "humane meat" promotion is ridiculous. And hurtful. Even with all of that plus the selling of rabbit meat, we still shop there. Their selection of vegan items makes shopping easier for us.

But we shop there less. And have talked about not shopping there at all.

I have read all sorts of comments around this national campaign to get Whole Foods to stop selling rabbit meat.  There are definitely a lot of opinions. Now you know mine.

If you think Whole Foods should stop selling rabbit meat, please leave a comment at your local Whole Foods. I have always believed that we have the power to make change, and I certainly believe that Whole Foods can be convinced to stop selling rabbit meat. It takes a community of people, but it can be done.

Protests will be nationwide this coming week. Here is the Facebook event page for the Boulder Whole Foods protest against the selling of rabbit meat:

We love rabbits!


Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Letting the ugliness go



A few weeks ago some of my friends went to hear Janet Mock speak in southern California. I had never heard of her but instantly became interested as my friends wrote about being changed by meeting her. Janet is a trans woman and I am reading her book "Redefining Realness".

A quote on the cover says "You will be changed by the book".

Indeed.

I am only in the first few pages. As she discusses seeing trans women out and about (before she came out as trans) she writes "They were dismissed and dehumanized, which made an overwhelming majority of them vulnerable to the harshest treatment, exclusion, discrimination, and violence."

She is writing about trans women but those lines hit me hard.

The man I am today is not the man I have always been. While reading this I was jolted back to the days when my life was what Janet was writing about. Not as a trans woman but as a closeted gay man struggling to come out.

Experiencing unkindness and serious hatred from those in my inner circle and even family members. Not knowing how someone would react, especially when thinking that all would be OK because this person or that person loves me so much.

At 21 being in the middle of the ocean on a US Navy ship and being called faggot, with nowhere to go. The idea that people would be violent towards me was one that took me a long time to get used to. I just could not understand it. At first.

Of course the self-imposed hate and shame are the worst. Yet as I struggled through coming out, I kept being in awe about how hateful human beings could be. And at this point of my story it wasn't the hate and unkindness from strangers, but from people who knew me.

As I kept reading the words that Janet so perfectly wrote, my eyes filled with tears remembering the unkindness. Wanting so badly for my family members to just love me, regardless of what they felt about gayness. Wanting friends in the Navy who knew me so well, knew me as a good person and a good sailor, to take back the hateful words.

It took a long time to let the ugliness go.

As a gay, vegan blogger I get to experience the ugliness of hate and unkindness a lot. These days it doesn't bother me. Those who perpetuate hate and violence and unkindness towards anyone are small people, cowards actually. They are most likely dealing with their own demons. And their pathetic use of anti-gay slurs or threatened violence are sad attempts to break out of whatever crap is going on in their own lives. Don't get me wrong, I call anyone on their bullshit bigotry, but them being a bigot has much less affect on me than it did those many years ago as I was struggling.

(Except when they try to legalize their bigotry. That's a different story!)

Still reading "Redefining Realness". And today I say thank you, with a heart filled with love, gratitude, compassion and passion, to all of those who stood by me in those darkest of days and to all of those who have stood by me and loved me and been a part of my incredible journey ever since.

Thank you for reading.


Friday, March 20, 2015

News from the prairie dog slaughter in Castle Rock, CO

I just read this and wanted to share with you. I copied this from Save the Castle Rock Mall Prairie Dogs Facebook page.

More than 1,500 prairie dogs were poisoned, a death that is ugly, painful and can take up to three days.

Yet those fighting for the voiceless prairie dogs did not give up!

Here is what is happening right now:

A court settlement was reached between Wildlands Defense and Alberta Development that paved the way for the remaining prairie dogs at the site to be safely rescued and relocated. The settlement further dictated that Alberta provide mitigation for the burrowing owl through the creation of 21 artificial burrows to provide nesting habitat that was currently destroyed with the prairie dog homes from the use of fumitoxin and the destruction of current burrows.

The relocation is currently underway and 79 prairie dogs have been rescued as of yesterday. The efforts will continue throughout today at the prospective Promenade site. Tomorrow they will be transported to New Mexico. I will keep you informed as to how many we were able to move in tomorrow's email. Translocations are very stressful for these prairie dogs. They are very scared now and are being taken from their decades long home and traumatized from the interaction with people and the destruction of all they have ever known and loved. This is a very hard time for the survivors, but they will be able to have the opportunity to live, and even though the situation is not ideal, some very precious lives have been saved.

We must not forget that last week thousands of these beautiful animals were murdered in the most destructive way known by administering poison all over the land.


Thanks for reading. 


A day without meat

Today is Meatout 2015.

Sponsored by Farm Animal Rights Movement, Meatout is a day for those who consume animal products to give them up for a day.

One day.

No meat, no dairy, no eggs.

Why Meatout? From their website, which I will link at the bottom of this post, "Every year, Meatout raises awareness of the benefits of eating vegan: helping animals, achieving great health, and saving the planet."

That sums it up for me.

As you know, every day is Meatout for us. 19 years for me and 11 years for Mike. What I love about Meatout is that it gives folks who are not vegan a chance to learn about veganism and the many benefits for so many around being vegan.

I know many of our readers are not vegan or are newly vegan. Check out the Meatout website. Consider eating plant-based today. For help, recipes, and tips you can also checkout the links on our blog.

Here is the link: Meatout 

Thanks for reading!



Monday, March 16, 2015

Who represents you on city council?

I write a lot about getting active politically and getting to know those who represent us throughout political levels.

Watching so many people protest in cities around the country for or against issues that are local, I decided to write about being active with one's city council.

Who is the city council member that represents you?

In Lakewood, Colorado, where we live, we have two folks on city council who represent our part of the city. Some cities have one for their area and then some who can be elected city-wide.

The city council has more power than you might think. A lot of politics is local.

I have met with our city council members about issues as diverse as chain laws for dogs kept outside, marijuana stores in town and seeing what can be done to make sure our police officers are trained in a way that they never feel they need to shoot and kill a dog.

Some cities have hundreds of employees. Do they honor same-sex couples? Smaller cities may not even have considered how animals labeled as "pets" are treated. A locally-supported Meatless Monday?

Recently a city council of another suburb of Denver, Castle Rock, were inundated with citizens who wanted them to hold off on slaughtering a colony of prairie dogs so a mall could be built. Those pleading with the council were only asking for time to move the colony. The way some council members treated those speaking for the prairie dogs made me sick.

Find out who represents you on city council. Let them know what issues are important to you. You never know what amazing difference that can make or what voiceless being you could support.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Grocery shopping at Safeway

I have been reading news and posts about where people shop (and where they don't want to shop!) and have always wanted to write about where we shop.

Why?

Every week I get emails from folks who are newly vegan. Believe it or not the grocery store is a whole new world when newly vegan, and I often get asked where we shop.

We live in the west suburbs of Denver and have many choices. For the last nine years my main place to shop has been Safeway.

It's a chain, pretty big in Colorado. For those of who shop only at all-vegan markets, you'll want to skip this one.

There are many reasons why I love my local Safeway. There are always items on sale (I love their 10 for $10 specials) and even when items aren't on sale most of what I buy fits into our food budget. They have a great organics section and over the years have progressed into selling more and more vegan items.

They carry national vegan products like Gardein and Daiya and Immaculate Baking. And in some Safeways (not ours yet) the in-store bakeries are making vegan cake. Mmmm.They also have an amazing assortment of breads that don't cost $6.00 a loaf!

I also am often surprised by finding vegan products there that I haven't heard of before.

When I look at all of the places we shop (Safeway, Whole Foods, King Soopers and Vitamin Cottage) I always end up back at Safeway and happy. And so is our budget.

If you have a Safeway in your area check it out. If you live in the Denver area ours is the one at 38th and Wadsworth.

Happy grocery shopping.

Thanks for reading.




Saturday, March 7, 2015

I ran a 5K!

Last weekend I ran into a couple of friends of mine who told me about a 5K race they were running the following day.

I got super excited. I am training for my next half marathon and thought this would be perfect. So I decided to join them.

Fantastic decision!

I arrived to the race and it was 17 degrees out! It was 19 degrees when the race began.

I finished with a time of 34:30. I felt amazing.

At 49 I feel like I am healthier than I have ever been.

I decided to write about this race to hopefully inspire those who want to get healthier. It's possible. At any age. Being vegan and living a live that includes exercise, whichever form, is awesome.

And remember, two years ago I wasn't even a runner. Since then I have run two half marathons.

I try to get to our gym twice a week. I also try to go heavy on fruits and veggies and focus on whole foods. Don't get me wrong, we eat our fair share of processed foods. Have you tried the new Gardein meatloaf! But I must say that over the past several years Mike and I have definitely been eating more fruits and veggies.

I physically feel incredible and I think being vegan and exercising have a lot to do with that!

Thanks for reading!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

A is for Alien

I wish I was writing about ET but I'm not.

I recently attended the Creating Change conference and sat in several sessions about federal detention centers that are packed with people who are undocumented. I was learning about the how transgender folks are treated, but learned so much.

I left each session horrified. And angry.

Regardless of how you feel about immigration, how we treat human beings in the federal detention centers is abhorrent.

First, when one is brought in they are given a nine-digit number. The number begins with an A, which is for Alien.

Seriously.

Alien 987654321 has a visitor.

Alien 123456789 is not breathing.

I also learned that on any given day there are 75 transgender folks in a federal detention center. Their gender identity is not honored and they are put with what to them are members of the opposite sex. Imagine a trans woman being put with men.

Yes, violence happens. And so does death.

I guess now is a good time to remind you that we are talking about human beings here. Just a few weeks before this conference I was telling readers about a Saudi blogger in jail and being beaten. Now I am asking you to consider what is happening right here.

I still have so much to learn.

I'll share what I learn with you. I hope you find this as interesting as I do and I hope it makes you as angry as it has made me. Then we can make change and be a voice for these voiceless brothers and sisters.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Speaking out

I have used my blog many times to urge people to vote and to become politically active.

So much is going on in our world, in our communities. So many battles going on to support causes we believe in or to fight against issues we believe are wrong.

I believe we have a better chance of being listened to when we get to know those who represent us. Whether it's our local city council member or school board member or those who represent us at our state capitol, we should get to know them.

It starts with a simple email.

"I live in your district and would like you to know that I think ______ ."

Or "I live in your district and would like you to vote yes on this bill."

You get the idea. I send notes to our state rep and state senator when our annual session begins in January. And I keep in touch with them throughout the session.

We can be a much stronger voice for the voiceless when those in political power know who we are.

Now it doesn't always help. Some of you live in areas where your representation is totally against most of what you believe in. I still say to connect with them and let them know how you feel.

Speak out to those in power.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 16, 2015

The killing of trans women of color

Note: I woke up this morning to the news that yet another trans woman has been murdered, this time in Ohio.

Last week I was one of about 4,000 LGBTQ activists gathered in Denver for the annual Creating Change conference.

I love this conference. This year I presented a session on fundraising and went hoping to meet activists outside of my circle who I could learn from.

Boy did I. I spent most of time in sessions learning about trans women of color in federal detention centers because they are undocumented as well as learning about the epidemic of violence against trans women in this country, focusing on violence against trans women of color.

I met many trans women and I listened to their stories. I spent a lot of time chatting with a group of trans Latina women and by the end of the conference had made a promise that I would help them and support them in any way I could. I promised to do all I could to make the world safer for them.

First things first. Taking a look at my own communities and making sure trans women are safe in the gay, vegan, animal rights, human rights, fitness and homeless communities.

Part of that is educating folks. I found this article and want to share it with all of you. It is a great account of what is happening in  our country and how dangerous it can be for trans women of color. Please read it. I would be grateful if you shared it:

Five transgender women murdered in past five weeks

One of the groups I have committed to supporting, and have already donated to is the Trans Latina Coalition. Here is a link to their website if you would like to learn more and/or donate:

Trans Latina Coalition

Thank you for reading and for the taking the time to learn about this tragic issue.



Sunday, February 15, 2015

What's in our fridge!

One of the many things I love about this blog is that every week I get to meet people who have decided to go vegan. It's wonderful being in touch with them and being able to support them and be a resource for them.

One of things that I have realized that seems to be common with people going vegan is that they are not used to buying a lot of vegetables. When I tell them what we typically buy they tend to be a little surprised.

So I decided to write this post and let you know what we typically have in our fridge. You will notice some items that tend to be considered healthy. I definitely do not consider myself an expert in nutrition but I do have links to nutrition experts on the main page.

Here we go:

Rice milk
Orange juice
Dates
Brocolli
Cauliflower
Kale
Swiss Chard
Spinach
Pears
Apples
Red peppers
Celery
Blackberries
Blueberries
Tofurky slices
Daiya shredded cheese
Vtopian cheese
Some vegan empanadas from Maria Empanada
Earth balance spread and sticks
Tofu
Treeline cheese
Tortillas
Veganaise
Braggs

We also have a lot of the compliments, too many to list.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are new to being vegan, or even those who are looking for new food ideas. We really try to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods. We don't always succeed, but I definitely think we are on the right track.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Make someone's day today!

I am celebrating my 49th birthday today!

I am honestly filled with an intense amount of love and gratitude.

I am thinking of so many who played a huge part in helping me become the man I am who are no longer here physically.

I am thinking of all of those who rock my life who are here. Those who love me, teach me, hold me dear, and support me.

I am thinking of the world I live in and the commitment I make daily to make it a safer, more loving place for all living beings.

Will you help me celebrate my 49th birthday today by making someone's day?

It doesn't matter how. And I don't need to leave a list of suggestions. You know what you can do. And I'm sure by the time you read this post you will have thought of several people whose day you could make.

Thank you!

And thanks for reading.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Start with one action.

I am currently attending Creating Change, an annual conference held by the National LGBT Task Force. Creating Change is the largest LGBTQ conference in the country, with 3,000+ activists coming from all over to collaborate, meet each other, learn from each other, love on each other and become stronger together.

It has been great seeing old friends and making new ones. The sessions here are incredible, and my head is filled with ideas of how to be a better activist. My head is also filled with blog post ideas.

Before I start writing about all of those ideas, I wanted to share something that I think is critical in creating change and being an activist.

Do something today.

Just one thing.

Take one action.

Don't get overwhelmed with everything that is going on in the world.

Take a deep breathe and act!

It could be as simple as posting an idea on Facebook.

As simple as donating to an organization that is rocking it for a cause you support.

Or making a call to a political person who represents you.

It could be volunteering, reaching out or reading up on an issue that concerns you.

Just one action.

I'd love to know what you did!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Vegan guide for Creating Change activists coming to Denver!

Creating Change is an annual conference of LGBTQ activists sponsored by The National Gay and lesbian Task Force. This year it is in Denver and brings 3,000+ activists from all over.

I am super excited to be going, and to be presenting a session on fundraising.

I wanted to offer a list of places to eat vegan near the host hotel for activists attending.

The host hotel is at the Sheraton, on the east side of downtown Denver.

Right in the hotel is the Yard House, which uses Gardein chicken for any of their dishes. Just make sure the rest of the dish is vegan!

Two blocks up 16th Street Mall, in the Denver Pavilions, is Native Foods. All vegan and one of our favorites. They serve lunch and dinner. By the way, I have a stack of $5.00 coupons if you'd like one. That takes care of half of most entrees and I'd be thrilled to give you one.

Right across from the Pavilions at 16th and Welton is Appaloosa Grill. They have an awesome tofu Philly with a bunch of other vegan options. Also a bar.

Within walking distance (a longer walk) are City, O' City (vegetarian) and WaterCourse Foods (all vegan). Part of the Denver food scene for over 15 year WaterCourse recently went all vegan. They also have a delivery service and you can get their food, and vegan milkshakes, brought right to your room (for a cost of course!).

Wanna try some creative and delicious vegan sushi, check out Blue Sushi Sake Grill. Love their sushi. Just hop on the 16th Street Mall shuttle and get off at Wazee. Blue is between Wazee and Wynkoop on the south side of 16th Street.

If you want an incredible dining experience and would like to check out our favorite restaurant in town, go to Linger. Probably an $8.00 cab ride but you can also take the 16th Street Mall Shuttle all the way west and then walk. It would be a great adventure through downtown Denver. Make sure you make a reservation. Not a vegan place, but amazing vegan food!

About 1 1/2 miles south on Broadway is Sweet Action ice cream. They always have two vegan flavors. And then around the corner from them is Nooch Vegan Market!

Links:

Native Foods

City O' City

WaterCourse Foods

Blue Sushi Sake Grill

Linger

Sweet Action Ice Cream

Nooch Vegan Market


Sunday, February 1, 2015

One step against animal cruelty

I recently had a conversation with someone who found our blog while looking for information on becoming vegan.

I was super stoked to welcome them. As I typically do, I mentioned that I try to keep a good list of links of informative websites that might be of help.

It can be overwhelming when coming to the conclusion that one no longer wants to support animal cruelty that is inherent in a meat/ animal by-product meal.

Rather than being overwhelmed, I like to let folks know that they can take it easy, give themselves a break in that they will not know all about veganism overnight, and just give up one item.

For instance, dairy. No milk or cheese. That automatically is a step against animal cruelty.

People tend to freak out over not eating cheese so if that is the case, then how about eggs as the first step. Or cow, or pig. Seriously, the non-plant based food plate is so chuck full of animal cruelty that taking just one item off the list will be a good step.

Of course some will jump in and go 100% plant-based right away. That's perfectly fine. I am writing this post to simply say that any step against animal cruelty in what you eat is a step in the right direction and that becoming vegan does not have to be crazy stressful.

This is a perfect place to remind you that I became vegan for the animals. I did not want to be part of the cruelty, and decided I would do all I can to do the least harm as possible to all living beings while I am on this earth.

When one puts that ahead of taste buds or convenience, the whole process becomes so much easier.

If considering veganism or are newly vegan, I invite you to check out some of the websites we have links to on the main blog page. We keep the list updated.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A blogger in jail - Raif Badawi

 
I spend  a lot of time writing about and for journalists and bloggers who are persecuted for simply writing. Hundreds are in jail. Many have been killed.

As a blogger I get occasional hate mail from folks who do not like gay people, do night like vegans or do not like the idea of animals not being anything other than a product, but I have never felt that I could not write or that I would be imprisoned or killed for writing.

Today I ask you to take a moment to spread the word about Raif Badawi. A Saudi blogger, father of three, husband. He was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashings for his blog writings. 

At this time the next series of lashings have been postponed due to his physical health being so poor from the previous lashings.

I have tried to get as much information about his sentencing and "crime". Rather than write paragraphs and paragraphs I am adding two paragraphs from a Washington Post editorial that for me sums it up nicely:

"Mr. Badawi acted in the spirit of freedom of the modern age. A blogger, he called for open debate about interpretations of Islam. His blog posts were sometimes satirical and sometimes irreverent. They also infuriated the kingdom’s hidebound religious clerics. On Friday in Jiddah, he was given a punishment from a bygone century: 50 lashes, the first of 20 floggings, once a week, to a total of 1,000 lashes for his outspokenness. The word barbaric hardly captures the depth of this depravity.

As we described it last year, Mr. Badawi was arrested in 2008 and questioned about his Web site but released. Then he was charged with setting up a Web site that insults Islam, and he left the country. He returned when prosecutors apparently decided to drop the charges, but in 2009 he was barred from leaving. In 2011 prosecutors alleged that his Web site “infringes on religious values,” and he was arrested in 2012, when a well-known cleric issued a religious ruling that Mr. Badawi was an apostate who must be tried. His Web site was shut down, and his family left Saudi Arabia. A judge threw out the charge of apostasy, which carries the death penalty, after Mr. Badawi assured the court that he is a Muslim. In a subsequent trial he was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a fine equivalent to $266,000."

Ever since reading of this and learning more and more about Raif, I think of him all of the time. 

Would you please help me spread the word? We have the power to shine a light on Raif and to support him.

Amnesty International is working hard to get Raif released. Here is a link to their site: help Raif
On their site you can send a note to the Saudi's and then promote that on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you. And thanks for reading.