Tag: veganplanbased

Shaquille O’Neal and 13 Athletes Invest in Vegan Meat

Shaquille O’Neal and 13 Athletes Invest in Vegan Meat

Livekindly find out that NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal joins 13 other top athletes in investing in vegan meat brand Beyond Meat. The retired basketball player joins previously announced Beyond Meat investor, ambassador, and vegan athlete, Kyrie Irving. The Celtics point guard is considered one of the […]

13 Amazing Health Benefits of Red Grapes

13 Amazing Health Benefits of Red Grapes

Credit to Natural Food Series 1. Healthy Heart A healthy heart is essential for a happy life, and red grapes can help achieve that. Red grapes get their red color from flavonoids that help protect from heart diseases by preventing blood clots and oxidation. The […]

What is Agar-Agar?

What is Agar-Agar?

The Spruce Eats presents Agar-agar, sometimes referred to as China grass, kanten, or just agar, is a gelatinous polysaccharide derived from red algae. Agar is used to gel many food products, such as puddings, desserts, jelly candy, soups, sauces, and more. It is a popular vegetarian alternative to gelatin. Vegetarians and vegans do not use gelatin because it is made from animal bones, skin, and connective tissue.

Characteristics of Agar

Agar is a prized ingredient for more reasons than just being vegetarian. Unlike gelatin, which melts at around body temperature, agar will stay solid at warmer temperatures. In fact, agar solidifies at temperatures below 122 F (50 C), which means that refrigeration is not required to set an agar gel.

Agar is also a much more powerful gelling agent than gelatin. One teaspoon of agar will give as much thickening power as 8 teaspoons of gelatin. It is important to note that although both agar and gelatin will solidify liquids, the resulting textures are slightly different.

Agar will not impart any color, flavor, or odor to the food to which it is added.

Nutritional Value of Agar

Agar is 80 percent fiber, contains no fat, no protein, and only a small amount of carbohydrates. Ten grams (2 tablespoons) of agar contains only 3 calories, derived from its small amount of carbohydrates. Due to agar’s high levels of fiber, agar is sometimes used as a dietary aid to promote fullness or as a laxative. Agar also contains a small amount of iodine and other trace minerals.

How to Use Agar

Because of agar’s high melting point, it must be dissolved in hot water before using. Typically, agar is added to a liquid and brought to a boil to ensure it is completely dissolved. Other ingredients can be added at that time, but the temperature of the mixture must remain above 122 F (50 C), or the mixture will instantly solidify.

Once all of the ingredients are added, the mixture can be poured into a mold and allowed to cool and solidify. No refrigeration is needed to solidify the mixture, but you may want to refrigerate for food safety reasons, depending on the ingredients used.

The amount of agar needed will depend on the variety used. Agar flakes are not as dense as agar powder, and more will be needed to gel the same amount of fluid. One teaspoon of agar powder will thicken approximately 1 cup of liquid, whereas 1 tablespoon of agar flakes will be needed to thicken 1 cup of liquid. Always refer to the package directions to get the exact ratio needed.

Where to Purchase Agar

Because agar is a popular vegetarian alternative to gelatin, it is commonly sold at health food stores. Larger grocery stores that have an adequate natural or health foods selection may also carry agar. Agar is also a common ingredient in many Asian desserts, so it can easily be found in Asian and other ethnic markets. You can also buy agar from online vendors if that is more convenient.

Spicy Sweet Potato and Green Rice Burrito Bowls

Spicy Sweet Potato and Green Rice Burrito Bowls

Credit to COOKIE + KATE Healthy burrito bowls made with roasted sweet potato, green rice and black beans! This delicious, vegan dinner reheats well for lunch. Recipe yields 4 servings. Ingredients Green rice 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 ½ cups long grain brown rice […]

Kyrie Irving to Star in Commercial for Vegan Burgers

Kyrie Irving to Star in Commercial for Vegan Burgers

According to Livekindly NBA point guard for the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving, will soon appear in a commercial for vegan brand Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles Times reports. The food company is set to announce partnerships with NBA players that regularly enjoy the brand’s Beyond Burger […]

Steve-O’s Vegan Rant Will Make You a Better Advocate for Animals

Steve-O’s Vegan Rant Will Make You a Better Advocate for Animals

According to Lifekindly In an uncensored Instagram post, reality star Steve-O called vegans “annoying.” But there were caveats. Lots.

“To all the combative, annoying vegans who are choosing to attack me for not forcing veganism on my cats, and for not being a strict, militant vegan myself (even though I haven’t eaten any meat other than fish for well over ten years), please consider that you’re doing more harm than good,” he wrote. “Maybe stop working so hard to pit people who are on your team against you.”

The former “Jackass” star is not shy — two posts prior to his vegan rant shows him and his fiance naked and locked in a sex position in front of an open hotel window overlooking Vancouver. And he’s not shy about his commitment to animals, either. The star made headlines last year after he rescued a street dog from Peru. He used his bare hands to detain African poachers. He’s actively surveying locations for an animal sanctuary. He frequently promotes and endorses vegan brands and platforms.

On the surface of the post, it seems a bit like Steve-O is being combative, defensive even against his critics. But “militant” vegans are a thing and extremism can make progress incredibly difficult — especially when it comes off like shaming or bullying.

People have their aversions, of course, and we all have the right to think what we want. But progress does happen like this, a little bit at a time. The C.S. Lewis quote I love to misquote says it best: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” 

That’s the essence of progress. These little changes — good or bad — don’t seem massive until you look back and it’s a totally different world. The Internet is like that. The auto was (and still is if you’re Elon Musk). And, the way we eat is like that, too. Twenty-five years ago when I went vegan there were only three dairy-free milk brands. Now there are quite possibly more than 103. Progress.

Vegan Pets

Let’s unpack Steve-O’s cats. They appear to not be vegan per his post. (I could only find pics of him with his rescue dog who may or may not be vegan.)

As I sit here typing this, I’ve got a cat curled up at my feet. She’s asleep — mostly. But as the refrigerator creaks or my typing ticks up a notch, her ears twitch. If a mouse were to suddenly dart across the living room ever so silently, she’d be alerted to its presence in seconds (before my inevitable, audible screams). Her ears would prick up, her eyes would lock. Within seconds, she’d pounce. And, as much as I love broccoli or — what’s the vegan mouse equivalent, a donut, maybe? — my ears stay tucked under my hair. I can’t even twitch them if I try to force it. My eyes don’t dart (ok, maybe a little, delicious donut bae). There are a lot of debates about what companion animals should eat, but most experts will agree with Steve-O that a strictly vegan diet is problematic at best and disrespectful and even deadly at its worst for cats. They are carnivores.

It’s a fair criticism to take issue with the pet food industry at large. It’s fraught with problems that can create numerous health issues for our beloved animals. It’s environmentally intensive. It’s exploitive. But it’s also an issue we created in large part by our love of meat, eggs, and dairy. That addiction — yes, addiction — created a complicated industry built on animal byproducts. Of course, there are cleaner pet food brands out there. But with more than 3 million homeless cats surrendered to U.S. shelters each year adopting these pets is critical, no matter what we feed them.

Eating Animals

Eating is complicated. Just ask author and professor Michael Pollan. He’s dissected this subject more than anyone. And while he is now eating mostly plant-based himself, he’ll be the first to tell you that might not work for everyone. Whether for health or religious reasons, access, culture, or just a really profound love for meat, most of the world eats animals. That doesn’t mean it’s right or better or healthier. But it is the reality.

Like Pollan discusses in his 2013 book, “Cooked,” we’ve been doing a few very profound things to our food for millennia (namely heating in various methods to most easily extract the nutrients and in some cases, like fermenting, create entirely new ones). Humans have also been eating animals for a long time, too. And as much as science is now making it easier than ever not to, changing our diets isn’t just a new piece of software to download and install. There is some hardware we have to adjust. Even replace. And if you’ve ever dropped your MacBook off at the Genius bar because your daughter got peanut butter in the keyboard console (just me?), you know this can take some time.

We’re getting there. And as science steps up to the challenge, we can literally have our meat and eat it too, thanks to cell-based meat grown without the need for slaughter.

But the bigger discussion here comes down to whether or not Steve-O is wrong in being who he is — and if that means eating fish when or where or why-ever — that’s what he chooses. After all, does the perfect vegan even exist (besides Miley Cyrus)? And it doesn’t seem like Steve-O makes many choices lightly.

Being Human

Being alive is really hard. It’s confusing and beautiful and scary. And if that’s not enough — we must make choices. Every single day. It’s kind of incredible we’ve gotten this far as a species with consciousness being such a burden. Some of us make choices we think are better for ourselves and some of us make choices we think are better for others. Most of us usually do a good bit of both. And the way we make those deductions is progress — those little evolutions we have daily. Those moments where maybe all we do is think a bit differently about something even if we end up making the same choice as we did the day before and the day before that — that’s still progress. There’s that saying about Rome not being built in a day, after all. We’re all works in progress.

Will the world ever go fully vegan? Maybe. Maybe not. But does that really matter today? Right now? Does perfection? If we want to reduce suffering, then all we have is right now to focus on. Will a vegan eat meat tomorrow? Who knows. Life is unpredictable. That’s what makes it worth living. Coming to grips with the impact of torturing, killing, and then eating other animals is a big deal. It’s maybe the biggest shift in consciousness a human can have after facing their own mortality. But it is, most often, a road. A long one. Steve-O seems to clearly have both feet in front of him on that path. He’s not unaware. And awareness is the first step in making any change.

“Maybe stop working so hard to pit people who are on your team against you,” he writes. But I’ll take it a step further and say if you want to be a better advocate for the animals, maybe there is only really one team — vegans, meat-eaters, flexitarians, pescatarians, and even those people who find insects to be a legit source of protein. We’re all in this together. Bullying never makes things better. Finding common ground does. It moves the ball forward for everyone. It’s the only way to win.

Australia Officially Ends Cosmetic Animal Testing

Australia Officially Ends Cosmetic Animal Testing

According to VegNews This week, Australia’s Senate passed the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017, effectively banning cosmetic animal testing nationwide. The bill was first introduced by the House of Representatives in June 2017 and supported by animal-rights group Humane Society International (HSI). “We are pleased to […]