Monday, April 21, 2014

10 of Your Favorite Splurge Foods Are Totally Vegan

Check it out, folks! Ten of our favorites are already vegan! 

Can you believe it? 

1. Spaghetti.  This beloved household staple is typically vegan. Box of pasta, jar of sauce.

Box of pasta, jar of sauce.

- say it with me -

Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pas -

taaaaa...aaand just like that, you have dinner. Boil water, add pasta, drain, add sauce, heat more...DONE.

Ninety-five percent of the time, the pasta you have to boil in water contains no eggs (unlike the already-cooked stuff you buy in the refrigerator section), and the vast majority of jarred red sauces contain no milk or cheese ingredients (unless, of course, you buy the one that says "cheese" in the title!).

2. French bread. Buy a whole baton of it. Yep, totally vegan. Want something familiar and delicious in which to dip said bread? Try the totally-incidentally-vegan combo of olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Potato chips.

4. Frozen French fries. They're are almost always vegan (potatoes, oil, and salt tend to be the main ingredients). Many times (really, most of the time), too, you can get French fries at a restaurant that just happen to be vegan. What would make them not vegan? If they're fried in animal lard, which is the case at SOME but definitely NOT ALL restaurants. Ask next time if you're curious!

5. Tortilla chips and salsa. There are some exceptions, such as, if you're eating at a very authentic Mexican restaurant, sometimes the tortilla chips are cooked in lard. Kind of same things as the French fries. You buy the bagged kind from the grocery store - almost always vegan (ingredients: corn, oil, salt). You get 'em out at a restaurant? Depends, so ask questions. Politely. Please.

6. Soft pretzels. The plain kind. Once in a while, they randomly throw milk in there, which is odd to me. I'm a native Philadelphian, and the REAL soft pretzels are akin to fresh French baguette (see above - ingredients: wheat, salt, maybe oil - simple). You buy them at a little street cart, which only enhances their effect. They're chewy, moist, decadent, and perfect for dipping into mustard, which leads me to...

7. Mustard. Okay, okay, I know it's not a super fancy or splurgy treat, but it goes with a lot of things that are treats, and...if we're talkin' your standard American yellow mustard, or your standard spicy Mustard (German or otherwise), it's almost always just a combo of mustard seed, vinegar, and salt. Now, honey mustard is a different story, as honey comes from bees, and technically what comes from an animal = not vegan. A lot of people just learning about veganism forget about the bees, but it's true, veganism accounts for the bees, too.

8. Water ice, aka Italian ice. Another Philadelphia favorite. Note: I'm only talking about the water/Italian ice, and not the water/Italian ice mixed with frozen custard. The latter = not vegan.

9. Chocolate nonpareils. I know. I was once just as amazed when I first found this out. And apparently "nonpareil," as I just learned, means "having no equal." Imagine that. Makes total sense, right?

10. Pickled pretty much anything. Pickled cucumbers (aka anything referred to as "pickles" in America, including Kosher Dill, Butter Pickles, Sandwich Pickles, etc. - although careful with the fried pickles, which although I agree are LOVE in a cripsy shell, you really do have to check on those to see if they're vegan), pickled carrots, Sour Kraut, Kombucha (just seein' if you were paying attention, lolz), peppers, relish (you still with me??), olives, tapenade, radishes, plums... the list goes on. And on. Especially if you live in a pickle-friendly country, such as Japan, where a major component of every traditional meal involves something pickled.

What about you? Discover some of your favorites that just happen to already be vegan? Share your example(s) in the comments!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On Dogs, Psychology, & Dog Psychology: foodchain on the Radio!

Adelaide sits on the therapy couch, recalling the events of her puppyhood.
"And how does that make you feel, Adelaide?"

What does love mean in canine?

Last Wednesday, I was the special guest on Tanya Yarbrough's radio show, That Dog Training Show.

Don't worry if you missed it live! It's archived, so it's available for download any time! 

If you'd like to listen to this 30 minute show in which I discuss with Tanya my experience with human psychology; my experience with being a human companion to a dog (i.e., a "dog owner"); and my discovery of the similarities and differences between human psychology and dog psychology, then you should definitely check it out. If that link doesn't work, then go to the list of episodes and clink on the link for "Episode 06: 03/12/2014."

I speak from my personal experience, as well as my experience as a clinical psychologist (that's not licensed yet, but that's besides the point). 

Tanya is a Los Angeles-based, "mixed methods" dog trainer who's not only very well-informed (she's got a background in animal science plus tons of experience) but also SUPER hilarious. I highly recommend you listen to some of her other episodes while you're at it! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What To Do If You Missed the Vegan MoFo 2013 Deadline

If you're like me and you're kicking yourself right now for having missed the August 28th deadline for Vegan MoFo 2013, you don't have to cry in your vegan soup! But I'm here to tell you THERE IS HOPE.

I know it's a huge bummer to have missed the deadline, because your blog doesn't get nearly the same amount of hits and exposure that it would by being listed in the official MoFo RSS Feed and on the official MoFo Blogroll.

Still want to be a part of the Vegan MoFo 2013 fun? 

Here's what we all can do. In true MoFo spirit, I'm reaching out to all of you late-comers, procrastinators, and out-of-the-loopers, because I'm going to compile a second MoFo blogroll for all of you (er, all of us)! Mind you, I'm not creating my own version of Vegan MoFo or anything - I just want to give everyone an opportunity to be on a public blogroll / list of some kind. Once I have everybody's blog name, blog link, and blog category, I will organize the list by category and publish it on my blog in one handy blogpost. You can then link to that blogpost, post it on your facebook, tweet it, put it on your blog, spread the word, etc., and...viola!

...Even the people who missed the deadline will have a greater chance to be discovered!

If you want to be included, provide the following information in the comments section of this post: 

1. The name of your blog. 
2. A link to your blog (make sure it works!).
3. Which Vegan MoFo 2013 Category you would like to be classified under (CHOOSE ONLY ONE). To review the categories, click on the link right above.
4. Complete steps 1 through 3 by no later than Saturday, September 7th, 11:59 PST.
We won't have an RSS feed, because frankly, I have no idea how to do that - hey, if anybody knows how and wants to take on that project, please do it! :) 

Happy MoFo-ing! 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Some info about the "treats" we give our dogs

Good information about the source of products contained in dog bones/treats/food...  Dog lovers, you'll want to know this before feeding your precious pup!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Support Vegan Fashion - Jewelry by foodchain!

Hello, chooseyourownfoodchain Readers.

Check out my latest jewelry designs:

If you see something you like but you want it personalized to your own style, know that I am always happy to custom-design a piece of jewelry for you that suits your specific aesthetic preferences! Just shoot me an email and we'll work together! 

email me-->



Sunday, January 20, 2013


Good day, readers! It's been ever so long since I've posted and I'm glad to be back!

In the time between then and now, I've adopted a beautiful mixed-breed puppy, who I named Adelaide. She is my heart. She's also called to mind some interesting vegan-related issues, which I will share with you in the coming posts, in no particular order.

Me & Adelaide, on our way to hike at Griffith Park

Issue #1: Can dogs thrive - not just survive - but thrive on a vegan diet? 

In short, here is my opinion on vegan diets for dogs: I think there is a good chance, based on the reading I've done, that a dog can survive and thrive on a vegan diet, BUT I don't feel that deep-level certainty I feel about vegan diets for humans. I am absolutely without-a-doubt sure that humans can thrive like hell on a vegan diet, but I need more evidence (or maybe just a sign?) to feel that sure about veganism for dogs. Also, I really want to feel that sure about it for dogs, but I am trying to hold my bias. I want to know what other vegans with dogs (or anyone who's seriously considered feeding their dog a vegan diet) think about this, so please share in the comments!!! 

I've experimented with feeding Adelaide different sorts of vegan meals. I've never been able to find V-Dog in stores, but I've heard good things about that brand of vegan dog food. We've tried Natural Balance's vegan dry and wet foods, but it seems like it's not very nutritional - it's not "bad" per se, but doesn't have a lot of nutritionally rich ingredients, in my opinion.

This is v-dog, a vegan dog food that people tell me is awesome. I want to try it for Adelaide.

Recently, I saw something that gave a recommended ratio for a vegan meal for dogs: 2 parts high protein ingredients: 1 part green and/or orange vegetable: 1 part whole grain/oat. I can't remember the source, but that sounds reasonable to me.

Often, especially when I run low on store-bought doggie food, I will make up my own blend of store-bought food and one or more of the following "human" ingredients: brown rice, mashed up chickpeas, raw broccoli (she goes nuts for raw broccoli, it's funny), boiled carrots, baked apple pieces, parsley flakes, pumpkin puree or sweet potato puree from a can, quinoa, raw lettuce. I typically use store-bought food that contains meat, although once in a while I will leave meat out of the picture completely. For meat-containing commercial foods, lately I've been experimenting with Merrick's Puppy Formula, Pure Vita Chicken & Brown Rice, The Honest Kitchen's "Natural Dehydrated" food (just add water), and Stella & Chewy's freeze-dried raw meat patties. I don't feel super good about this, nor do I feel "more okay" with using meat that's said to be free range, raw, organic, or any of that other bullshit (also, not all of these brands make those claims, though some do). The reason I went for these specific brands was because they seem to contain less crap and more actual nutrient-containing ingredients.

A concoction of peas, brown rice, carrot, apple, and store-bought dog food that I recently made Adelaide. Doesn't look that appetizing, but she LOVED it.

Adelaide also loves peanut butter, bananas, and berries. I use these more as snack items because I read that it's best not to mix fruits in meals (something about digestion I think?). And peanut butter is just too much like crack for my dog, so I give it to her as a "high value" treat. For real, she gets like a power trip from certain types of treats. I've had to ban Kongs in my house for this reason. :)

Soooo sleepy... :)

Again, I want to know, what are your thoughts? Ideas? Stuff you've tried and seen good results or bad results? I'm interested in knowing as much as I can! Please share freely in the comments section below. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"But I Could Never Give Up Cheese"

If only I had a dollar for every time someone told me that.

Fellow humans, you absolutely can give up cheese. Like with anything else, you must first want to give it up.

"Give up?" I actually dislike that phrase intensely when it comes to transitioning to a vegan diet. Once you read books like Eat To Live and The China Study, you'll be running from cheese, trust me. Once you read about factory farming, you'll want absolutely nothing to do with the production, sales, and consumption of cheese (or milk, eggs, and meat, for that matter). Once you learn that so-called "organic" and "free range" farms do not actually translate to "cruelty free" farms, you'll know better than to put cheese anywhere near your mouth. You'll also know better than to trust the dairy industry, which thrives on America's cheese addiction.

Once you've stopped eating cheese for a while, and you feel more energetic, awake, and alive - not to mention, less bloated and less gassy - you'll become intoxicated with the way you feel when you don't eat this crap. You'll feel better about living in accordance with your beliefs, and that will be utterly empowering.

photo cred

Once you educate yourself about the truth, you'll realize there is nothing to "give up," but only more knowledge, wisdom, and empowerment to gain.

But don't take my word for it. Go, educate yourself. Learn. See. Experiment.