Friday, December 23, 2016

Where to Eat Vegan in Eugene / Springfield

A small gift from me to you...

I recently helped the Eugene Veg Education Network (EVEN) put together a portable PDF guide to vegan restaurants and vegan carts in the Eugene/Springfield area.

It lists 47 locations, separated into 3 categories: 100% Vegan, Vegetarian With Vegan Options, and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants (i.e., those that serve all sorts of food but have vegan options listed on their menus). 


Print yours out here

Enjoy!  :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

5 Tips for Finding Vegan Options at Restaurants

'Tis the season, and you know what that means...

It's time for celebration and gatherings of all sorts, which should be loads of fun, right? Except there's always that group that isn't quite in tune with our dietary needs, and they've opted to meet at a nice restaurant this year… perhaps even one with the words “Steak House” in the name (the horror!). 

Or, you're traveling to be with family and while en route find yourself ravenous in some unfamiliar place, only to find that the usual search on HappyCow returns zero promising results. 

So what's a vegan who desires more than a dry baked potato or crappy house salad with oil and vinegar to do? Here are some tips: 

1.   Make a call: Phone ahead and find out what your options at the restaurant may be. Speak to a manager when possible, as a manager is usually very knowledgeable about what goes into every dish (your server might not be).

Bonus tip: Try not to call during popular meal time hours when management and staff have their hands full. In general, they’ll be much more helpful when they’re not stressed for time.

2.   See if there’s a secret menu: Ask whether the restaurant has a special menu for vegan diets. More and more restaurants are starting to do this! And even if they don’t have one yet, they might in the future if enough people ask.

3.   Ask about substitutions: Ask if vegan substitutions for non-veg ingredients in menu items can be made – like a little avocado in place of the cheese. Some restaurants even keep things like tofu, Veganaise and Daiya on hand just for customers like you and me! Do note, however, that you may be charged extra for this, but it’s a small price to pay for more substance than bread rolls.

4.   Go ethnic: Look for Asian- or African- inspired options that include plenty of veggies. These types of dishes can often be easily vegan-ized without greatly altering the taste when they’re made to order without animal protein or other animal products. 

5.   Get confirmation: Verify that menu items that appear to be plant-based are indeed vegan. Hidden ingredients such as butter, milk, cream, eggs or honey may not be listed on the menu, especially for items that include bread, pasta or salad dressing, etc.

Last but not least, be polite and graciously thank your server for working with you to find plant-based options. Someone who feels appreciated is generally more willing to assist and will be more inspired to find solutions to your needs. Plus, a little kindness goes a long way for all of us, and our cause.


Got any other tips for finding vegan options at restaurants? Share them below.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

8 Kind & Compassionate Thanksgiving Recipes [Vegan]

I’ve been rather quiet since the election, busy reflecting and trying to understand all sides. A few of my most trusted confidants have been invaluable during this time—namely, love, compassion and gratitude… gratitude for our right to choose and speak up for what we believe, even when we don’t all quite agree… for family and friends, whose beliefs may differ from mine but who will always hold a special place in my heart… for the like-minded folks who keep me inspired and sane… for my four furballs who bring me so much joy, and all the other precious beings that share this Earth with us… for Mother Earth herself, and the lovely space on her crust that I call home… for clean air to breathe and healthy food on the table…  

It seems timely that our annual celebration of thanks is about to arrive (was that the plan all along when they designated November as election month?), and of course, we’re keeping it vegan in my house (because, among other reasons, this is even harder to swallow than our current events). I thought I’d share a few of my top contenders for this year's menu, in case you’d like to join us (…in spirit).


vegan caramelized onion and barley soup

This is one of my all-time faves, and it’s just as excellent with thyme in place of rosemary.


vegan autumn harvest salad

Not everyone’s a fan of Brussels sprouts—but I am!—and the rest of the fall flavors combined with the creaminess of the avocado really bring this dish together.


vegan pumpkin challah rolls

I haven’t tried these yet, but they look amazing (and anything pumpkin is a winner in my book). I'm not known for my baking skills, so wish me luck!


vegan shepherd's pie

This is a regular feature in our house, and we never get tired of it. For deep, rich flavor, I suggest using Oakshire Brewing’s Overcast Espresso Stout (yes, it’s vegan) and adding more simmer time both after adding the beer and again after adding the Worcestershire sauce.


vegan pumpkin risotto

I’m a sucker for risotto, and thank goodness it tastes just as good without the cheese. Plus, I already mentioned how I feel about anything pumpkin.


vegan quinoa stuffing

Not all of Marla’s recipes are vegan, but this one is, and I especially love the addition of Oregon hazelnuts.


vegan sweet potato casserole

This has just the right amount of sweetness and turns out great every time. It’s perfect for potlucks and pleases even the non-root-vegetable-lovers in the house.


Vegan Pumpkin Pie

And, of course, dessert! This is so easy to make, and the crust is absolutely divine.

So what’s on your menu for this Thanksgiving?


Monday, November 7, 2016

Cast Your Vote Today (& Everyday) For Rainforests, Orangutans & Personal Health


Rainforests and their inhabitants are under serious threat because of palm oil, a widely-used substance that also presents a danger to our own health. Learn all about it and what we can do.

Orangutan threatened with extinction due to palm oil industry
Orangutans are threatened with extinction due to palm oil
Voting is a hot topic these days, but it’s important to keep in mind that each and every one of us casts powerful votes on a daily basis. Every single day, regardless of the month or year, we decide what to buy, what to eat, what to wear, what to take from the environment and what to introduce back in, and no matter how deep our pockets, those decisions bear influence through the laws of supply and demand. Moreover, when we are united and cast our votes collectively, we become a commanding force capable of transforming the world into the kinder, healthier place we all seek.

That’s why it’s so important that we come together now in a collective stand against unsustainable palm oil—for the sake of orangutans (some of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom), for Sumatran rhinos and tigers and pygmy elephants who are on the cusp of extinction, for native villagers whose voices are silenced as their homes and livelihoods are mercilessly seized, and for future generations, both here and abroad, whose rights to clean air and a habitable earth are deteriorating by the minute.

You see, the problem with palm oil lies in how it is being produced—a process that is carelessly ravaging the world’s rainforests, decimating habitat for critically endangered species, and contributing greatly to global warming—and those issues, along with the damage palm oil can cause to our own health, are why we all need to care.

Let’s take a closer look at palm oil and how it relates to these issues. 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Thursday, August 18, 2016

5 Spots for Cool Vegan Treats on the North Oregon Coast

Hug Point State Park on the Oregon Coast
Hug Point State Park on the Oregon Coast
With lots of sunshine forecast for the Oregon coast this week and next, what better way to celebrate than with a lazy day on the beach… feet in the sand, dogs by my side, a good book and cool vegan treat in hand… oh, I can hardly wait. If you’re headed that way, too, or more specifically to the northern stretch of coastline between Astoria and Nehalem, then let me save you some trouble by telling you exactly where to go to find those treats:

Frite & Scoop [Astoria] 

175 14th Street #150, Astoria in the 14th Street Pilot Station

Conveniently located on the Astoria Riverwalk, and just steps away from where the sea lions congregate under the trestles, sits a small-batch ice cream shop called Frite & Scoop. Flavors change regularly, and generally include one or two vegan options. The day’s selection is posted everyday at noon on the store’s Facebook page; however, you’ll need to inquire within to confirm which of those flavors are vegan.

Open Thursday through Saturday from noon ‘til 8pm and Sunday and Monday from noon ‘til 7pm.


Bridgewater Bistro [Astoria]

20 Basin Street in Astoria

Planted at the foot of the Astoria-Megler Bridge with a wonderful view of the Columbia River, you’ll find Bridgewater Bistro, which offers vegan lunch and dinner options, vegan sorbet for dessert (try the Mango Coconut Lime), and a lovely, relaxing atmosphere, to boot.

Open ‘til 9pm Sunday through Thursday and on Saturday and Sunday until 9:30pm.


Sea Star Gelato [Seaside]

8 N. Columbia Street in Seaside

vegan sorbet from Sea Star Gelato in Seaside Oregon
Berry Lemon Sorbetto from Sea Star Gelato
If you’re looking for a wider selection to choose from and/or closer proximity to the beach, head to Sea Star Gelato in Seaside, where six to seven clearly marked “dairy free” sorbettos are made fresh each day. Some of the frequently offered favorites include Berry Lemon, Blood Orange Lemon, Fresh Pear, Watermelon Mint, and Chocolate Cashew. Or, if you have a special flavor in mind (like hazelnut, pistachio, peanut butter, or perhaps a favorite fruit combo), simply leave a message via the shop’s Facebook page the evening before, or really early on the morning of, and the owner says he will do his best to make it happen.

Open weekdays from noon ‘til 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm.


Cannon Beach Café [Cannon Beach]

1116 South Hemlock Street in Cannon Beach

Is any trip to these parts complete without a visit to Cannon Beach? Whether you’re bound for Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park, or Hug Point (my personal favorite), plan a stop at the Cannon Beach Café, which in addition to vegan fruit sorbet offers one heck of a sweet potato burger.

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 3pm for lunch and 5pm to 9pm for dinner.


Buttercup [Nehalem]

35915 Highway 101 North in Nehalem

Nestled among the antique shops lining Highway 101 in the quaint village of Nehalem sits a sweet little gem called Buttercup, where the list of revolving flavors has included such vegan treats as Cherry-Chocolate Sorbet, Strawberry-Basil Sorbet, Summer Sangria Sorbet, Rhubarb Ginger Sorbet, Passion Fruit Lime Sorbet, Lemon Violet Sorbet, Coconut Pistachio, and Almond Milk Mint Chocolate Shard, all of which can be paired with a specialty vegan cone. For today’s list, check the shop's website or Facebook page.

Open Wednesday through Monday from 11:30am until 6pm.


Know of any other great spots that offer cool vegan treats on the Oregon Coast? Post ‘em in the comments!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Vegan Beers: Oregon Edition

What??! Beer isn’t vegan?! 

It’s true, many beers aren’t considered animal-product-free—even those that don’t contain any honey, lactose or other animal-sourced ingredients—because of the products brew masters often use to process, filter and clarify the beer. These can include things like gelatin, egg whites, or isinglass, which comes from fish bladders.

Fortunately, not all brewers engage in such practices, and the good news is that many of those who do not are based right here in Oregon (see, I told you Oregon is cool!). So, vegan peeps, the next time you’re in the mood for a cold one, do yourself a favor and stick to one of these brands (listed alphabetically):


Please note (#1): Some of these brands may also create varietals containing honey (which is sometimes featured in the varietal’s name, but not always), lactose (which is milk sugar), or lactobacillus (which is a brewers bacteria used to make sour ales and is sometimes used in yogurt form**) to achieve certain flavors or textures, so it’s still a good idea to check, especially if it’s “creamy” or "sour."

When in doubt and the bartender isn’t quite sure, you can always do a quick search on Barnivore.com or try one of these apps to be in the know on the go.

PLEASE NOTE (#2): Honey malt is vegan**, so no need to worry if that shows up in the list of ingredients.

PLEASE NOTE (#3): Even those verified as vegan may still include refined sugar.

* Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene, and Bridgeport Brewing in Portland were also recently recognized by Vinepair for their environmentally-friendly operations… double bonus!

** Special thanks to McMenamins for these tips!

Know of any other vegan-friendly Oregon brews? Post ‘em in the comments!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Oregon: Home of Awesome Vegan Brands


I remember a time when I didn't really pay attention to where things were made…nor felt a need to... 

...when I trusted that the products on a store's shelf were safe, I thought, or else wouldn't be there... 

…and when shopping was a whole lot easier, despite the many added conveniences we enjoy today.

That was before I was vegan, which bears its own shopping challenges, but even more crucially, it was before I was alerted to some of the environmental and health hazards and rights-betraying atrocities imposed by the under-regulated, if not exploitative, activities of negligent (and sometimes corrupt) corporations that don't just exist in lands afar. 

These days, I'm one of those label watchers who studies not only what's in it but also who made it and where before adding anything to my cart, physically or digitally. And the product and packaging marks that give me the most comfort anymore bear words and phrases like organic, veganiccruelty-free, non-GMOfair trade, RSPO and Green Palm

Made in Oregon sign
I'm far from alone, as is evident from the skyrocketing demand for organics and mounting pressures for labeling laws, among other trends. But there's another marking I like to see that doesn't attract quite the same following, at least not on a global or national scale, and that's Made in Oregon

Turns out, I'm not alone there, either. As an Etsy seller, I frequently see traffic coming to my store via “Made in Oregon” searches, and I don’t think that's simply because many Oregonians regard buying local as the right thing to do. I like to believe it has at least something to do with knowing that the wonderful, like-minded peeps who live here and who care as much as we do about our environment and collective well-being are creating products and processes that frequently do more than self-serve.

The fact that several of those brands are also vegan is the animal-free icing on the cake, and I want to acknowledge these companies for doing what they're doing, which includes taking extra measures to support the health and safety of not just consumers but also the planet and her many inhabitants. So, I've listed them here with a few clips from their websites that explain some of the ways they're going above and beyond providing plant-based and cruelty-free products (which, in and of itself, is fabulous). Take a look:  


      So Delicious 

So Delicious Dairy FreeOur philosophy is simple: conserve what you can, and work to restore what you can’t. We’re taking steps to reduce our water consumption wherever we can, from little things like using water-saving hose attachments in our frozen dessert factory to tackling bigger projects that have the potential to save much, much more.

Thanks to an innovative product offered by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), businesses like ours can now restore a portion of the water we draw from municipal water sources to critically dewatered rivers and streams. Since 2010, the Water Restoration CertificatesTM (WRCs) we’ve purchased from BEF have kept 10 million gallons of water annually in stream in Oregon’s critically dewatered Middle Deschutes River. All BEF restoration projects are certified by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to ensure that water is returned at a time and place that will produce real environmental benefits.

We’ve adopted an environmentally friendly purchasing program for all of our facilities, so we now use 100% recycled paper products, biodegradable cleaners and soaps, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water fixtures, and we do our best to recycle wherever possible.  

We’re proud to be recognized for our efforts, as we were recently certified as a RE:think Business! The RE:think certification is awarded to businesses in Lane County, Oregon that are committed to reducing waste, conserving resources, and improving their environmental performance.

We recognize the responsibility of being a good corporate citizen in the local communities where we live, work, and play, so we’ve initiated a program where all team members can take one day of paid time off each year for volunteering at a charitable organization of their choice.

We live, work, and play in the bike-friendly communities of Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, so we thought, why not make it easier for people to leave their cars at home? Our solution was to create the Alternative Commuting Program, which rewards our employees for taking alternative forms of transportation by collecting and redeeming points for each mile traveled, whether it’s by bike, bus, or carpool. Points can then be redeemed for gift certificates at locally based, sustainable businesses in our community.

We even have a “grant” program where employees can receive a $500 discount off bike gear to help get them started!

Sources: http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/sustainability & http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/water-conservation


Tofurky (Turtle Island Foods) 

In addition to donating our foods to homeless shelters, food banks and festivals, we give a portion of profits to support organizations out there working on behalf of the furry/feathery/scaly guys.

The sanctuaries we support rescue, rehabilitate and re-home farm animals. And they welcome visitors! Meet some four-leggers and two-wingers face-to-face. Plan a field trip to your local sanctuary and tag us in a social post; we have gifts for kind-hearted-types.

Animal advocacy groups work to make the world a safer, friendlier place for all animals, including the ones who live on farms. They fight for legislation, file litigation and launch campaigns to protect animals.

Meat reduction initiatives work with big institutions like schools and hospitals to help them serve less meat and create more animal-friendly menus. We support these groups who get the word out here at home and around the globe.

We love our little town. In addition to supporting local animal rescues, we fund community scholarships and bolster groups who protect our forests and watersheds. We also have a special devotion to those who provide nutritious food for folks in need.

At Tofurky, we’re striving to leave a better planet for future generations. Our packaging is made from mostly FSC-certified paperboard (that’s the Forest Stewardship Council, who ensures that the paper comes from responsibly-managed lumber sources). Whenever possible, we partner with sustainable, organic and Fair Trade vendors to do business.

Our 400 solar panels generate enough electricity to power 12 Oregon homes for a whole year. Electric car drivers can tank up at the charging station in our parking lot.

A rainwater harvesting system and a rooftop garden give us a hydroefficiency score that’s 40% above the Oregon building code’s minimum requirements.

Our "Green Team" is enthusiastically working toward a zero-waste goal – thanks guys! Thanks to them, we now compost all of our food scraps – that’s 2,750 pounds a week kept out of the trash can.

We only use non-GMO ingredients, period. It’s an issue close to our hearts, and we donate and campaign in favor of GMO labeling.

What is B Corp? It’s like Fair Trade, but for our entire business, not just the foods we make. Certified B Corporations have met or exceeded a set of standards for the treatment of their workers, the sourcing of their supplies, their engagement with local communities and their impact on the environment. Tofurky is proud to be in the B Corp club!

Source: http://www.tofurky.com/our-story/a-better-world/


Coconut Bliss 

Our company culture values a lifestyle of sustainability, and we work to bring sustainable practices to all levels of our operation.

Three days a week we offer vegan, organic lunches to our staff, which saves time, water and electricity. The meals are prepared using produce from a local farm CSA when seasonally available. Our compost is taken to the Food for Lane County Gardens, and we recycle everything that qualifies. Our office is powered by EWEB’s Green Power program, and we are members of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, through which we purchase Water Restoration Credits.

For the majority of our printing needs, we’ve partnered with Green Solutions in our hometown of Eugene, Oregon.

Source: http://coconutbliss.com/about/sustainability


Vtopian Artisan Cheeses http://vtopiancheeses.com

Big on organics, all major and readily obtainable ingredients are organic. The business also uses eco-products such as recycled wrappings, recycled eco-labels, and plant-based containers whenever possible.

Source: http://vtopiancheeses.com/aboutus.sc


Surata Soyfoods


Early on, Surata made and has maintained a commitment to using only organic, non-GMO soybeans and other ingredients in all its products.  All our beans are purchased from certified organic growers inside the U.S. or Canada, and Surata itself is certified organic by the USDA through CCOF (www.ccof.org).

Source: http://www.suratasoy.com/suratasoyfoods.html





Masala Pop
http://eatmasalapop.com

Masala PopAt Masala Pop, we're committed to making not only people-pleasing popcorn, but also a difference in the community and for our planet. We support local community efforts through in-kind donations, fundraising campaigns and volunteerism; in our operations, we follow sustainable practices wherever we can. One of our highest goals is to grow the good we do and inspire other business to do the same.


Source:https://eatmasalapop.com/pages/about-us


Genesis Organic Juice 

We’re small so we can be picky about our 100% organic ingredients because we don’t need a lot. We use the fewest possible ingredients (just check the label!), of the highest quality, sourced locally from farms we trust, and processed minimally.

Source: http://www.genesisorganicjuice.com/our-story/ingredients/


Brew Dr. Kombucha
http://www.brewdrkombucha.com 


We believe in having as little impact on our natural environment _as possible. Here are our current sustainability practices:
             Supporting ECO: We support Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors (ECO), an Oregon non-profit organization that provides hands-on science enrichment programs to elementary schools. Learn more at ecologyoutdoors.org.
              Fueled by Biofuel: We power our delivery fleet with fuel made locally and sustainably by SeQuential Biofuels. Learn more at SQbiofuels.com.
              Renewable energy: We use renewable power from PGE and Pacific Power at our teahouses and kombucha brewery.  
              Responsible waste disposal: We compost all compostable byproducts including tea leaves, SCOBYs and paper towels in our teahouses and Brew Dr. Kombucha brewery. We're diligent about recycling everything that can be recycled.
              Toxic Prevention: We utilize non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products.




Pacifica 

At Pacifica, our goal is to have zero product-manufacturing waste in our factory. We recycle and use post-consumer materials. Our boxes are all 100% recyclable. We work to use components that are recyclable and with suppliers who share in our vision. We offset our company travel by purchasing carbon credits.

WHILE OUR FRAGRANCE MATERIALS AND INSPIRATION COMES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, WE TRY TO KEEP MUCH OF WHAT WE DO RIGHT HERE AT HOME.

Most of what we do is made in the U.S.A. This gives us greater control over ingredients, the manufacturing process, product quality and the working conditions of our employees. When we do not manufacture in our own facility in Portland, Oregon, we make sure that all of our products and ingredients meet our high standards. Nothing we do is tested on animals. And we never use animal ingredients.

Pacifica supports our local economy, working with local box manufacturers and other suppliers. This requires less shipping of goods into our facility, which in turn means less energy use, less green house gas emissions and reduced carbon footprint.

Another reason we believe that supporting local businesses is healthy for our community is the fact that many studies have shown that locally owned businesses are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's future. This means more jobs, better tax revenues and a healthier, more vibrant community for our employees and their children.

Pacifica supports local charities and donates products to local women's shelters. Studies show that working with local charities can have an immediate positive effect on a local community.

Source: http://www.pacificabeauty.com/recycling-program


Heidi Ho 

We embrace economic freedom, voluntary exchange, combined with social and environmental consciousness. This is our commitment, giving all of us the ability to engage in positive activity based upon creativity, optimism, and personal initiative. Our steadfast convictions are at the forefront of action in honor of the health of our stakeholders and the health of this planet.

Source: http://www.heidiho.com/aboutus/


Merry Hempsters 

We strive to be responsible for the entire life span of all of our products from start to finish. Environmental sustainability, from the creation of the lip balm tubing we use (including all who take part in its creation) to the disposal of that tubing, is of utmost concern. We use only tree-free paper produced from hemp stock, soy based inks, and post-consumer recycled content in our correspondence and packaging. Our ultimate goal is to one day use only tree-free hemp stock for all our paper and packaging needs.


Herbivore Clothing

The Herbivore Clothing Co. Store
We do our very best to make sure nothing we sell was made under exploitive labor conditions like those in a sweatshop.

Source: http://www.herbivoreclothing.com/pages/FAQ.html


Blue Lotus Chai Company
http://bluelotuschai.com
Blue Lotus Chai Mandala

At Blue Lotus Chai Company, our commitment to serving the greater good has inspired us to donate 10% of our net profits to charitable organizations that are important to us.

Source: http://bluelotuschai.com/community/  



Jem

Jem Nut ButtersWe source fair trade ingredients of the highest quality,    including Spanish Almonds, which we hand-select for their exceptional flavor profile and raw integrity. Our ingredients are all 100% OTC-USDA Certified Organic, truly raw, and free from pesticides, gluten, dairy, soy and processed sugar, so you can indulge in Jem guilt-free.




Rox Chox

Rox Chox: Delicious Organic Chocolates made with raw Cacao and Sweetened only with Birch.Our ingredients are organic, fair-trade sourced, and mostly raw (unroasted), preserving the beneficial minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants found in unprocessed cacao and coconut.

Rox Chox are individually packaged in compostable cellulose bags.  Our shipping materials are gleaned from local co-ops.




Other awesome Oregon-based vegan brands include:


Parma! 


vegan cheese, vegan parmesan, non-dairy cheese, gluten-free, cheese alternative



Missionary Chocolates 
Home

Logo



Organicos


Organicos Bakery and Donuts



Julie’s Original






So what did I miss? Know of any other great Oregon-based vegan brands? Post ‘em in the comments so that I can add them to the list.

Photo credit for "Made in Oregon" sign: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_Oregon_(company)