Book of the Year: Committed
On a good day, youll find PETAs vice president and media mastermind, Dan Mathews, in a carrot costume; on a bad-but-good day youll find him donning only his birthday suit behind bars. Hes courageous and committed no doubt, and for good reason: the animals. In Committed: A Rabble-Rousers Memoir, Mathews uses humor to recall the times when he housed almost all of Orange Countrys stray cats, posed as an intern to end Calvin Kleins fur use, worked with high-profile veg celebrities, and spent countless hours in jail cells throughout the world for indecent exposure in Committed: A Rabble-Rousers Memoir. Engaging and illuminating, the tireless, irreverent force behind PETAs success remarks, Where is it written that just because you have devoted your life to fighting for a serious cause, you cant have a good time? Let the fun begin.
Soy Alternative of the Year: Hemp
Next time you hear the inevitable, Youre vegan? You must love tofu, tell your omnivorous acquaintance that soy is great, but not necessarily the foundation of every vegans diet. Take hemp, for example. One of hemps million-and-one uses is that of a tasty soy substitute, from the hemp milk in your cereal to the hemp seeds in your energy bars. Hemp seed is loaded with amino acids and Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids, and the body absorbs hemp protein easier than soy. For centuries, people have been growing hemp for a variety of purposes; an 8,000-year-old piece of hemp cloth is one of the oldest artifacts ever discovered. And contrary to the seemingly senseless aversion to medicinal hemp in the US today, the benign weed was government-subsidized during World War II. As a substitute for timber-based paper, it produces more pulp per acre and is easily grown without pesticides or harming our forests. In addition to its uses as paper, medicine, and Woody Harrelsons pants, its also extremely healthy and tasty to boot. So if youre vegan, you must love hemp!
Veg-Friendly Mainstream Mag of the Year: Jane
Fashion: turn to the left. Fashion: turn to the right. Despite all that turning throughout the years at David Bowies behest, fashion with compassion has rarely taken a turn toward mainstream magazinesuntil now. Jane, the glossy publication targeting a smart, sassy, and progressive female demographic, embraced the vegan ethos with an unrivaled vigor. In the February 2007 edition, Jane featured SHAC7 member Lauren Gazzola recounting her life of vegan outreach behind bars in the mags It Happened to Me feature. Editors later showcased pages of organic, flesh-free swag, and bravely sprinkled the generally hush-hush v-word throughout the magazine. Just recently, it put fresh-faced vegan actress Bryce Dallas Howard on the cover. So imagine our disappointment when, just when it was starting to get really good, the 10-year-old magazine folded. It was good while it lasted. Well miss you, Jane!
Personality of the Year: Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Shes conquered the worlds hearts and ovens with vegan cupcakes, and, frankly, she never wants to talk about them again. Im just happy you didnt ask me about cupcakes, the vegan-cooking icon tells VN. Since The New York Times published a story this past January about the wonders of her animal-free frosting, 2007 has truly been her year. I always wanted to be famous, but I wasnt actually planning for it, Isa says. Planned or not, her newfound success and widespread influence is hitting close to home: her mom is transitioning to veganism. She just loves tempeh more than any person should. Her next cookbook, the monolithic Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, is slated for a November release, and after that, I want to have my own restaurant. I really like feeding people. Another great excuse to start planning that Brooklyn holiday.
Coolest Excuse for Logging On After Midnight: The G Living Network
Imagine having a cadre of esteemed herbivores and environmental experts on call, 24 hours a day, to answer all your questions. Now, imagine all their smart, accessible friends standing by just waiting to offer you late-breaking, veg-related and environmentally-conscious news from around the world. Enter The G Living Network, an online hub proffering tips, advice and feature stories relating to style, health and fitness, technology, entertainment, travel, and architecture with a cruelty-free twist. With the likes of raw foodist and Ironman tri-athlete Brendan Brazier and SmartMonkey Foods Ani Phyo as your hosts, youll waste no time building an expansive stockpile of mouth-watering veg recipes and health tips, while best-selling Skinny Bitch author Rory Freedman ups the networks credo with interviews with the movers and shakers of the veg arena. Connect with like-minded individuals via its forums, blogs, or live chat. Or scour the streamlining videos, podcasts, and photo essays for a dose of cruelty-free eye-candy after each mouse click.
Blog of the Year: Ecorazzi
Environmentalists, animal-rights activists, and humanitarians indulging in celebrity gossip? Couldnt be. Theyre above that stuff, right? Not exactly. At Ecorazzi.com, a blog dedicated to environmentally conscious celebs who use their fame as a vehicle for social change, web surfers of every persuasion can now digest juicy Tinseltown tidbits served up with a hearty helping of eco-oriented fare, minus the guilt factor associated with mainstream pop-culture blogs. In early 2006, Razzi co-founders and eco-warriors Michael dEstries and Rebecca Carter started dishing up celebrity fare with a green twist. Rising fast, the year-old virtual hotspot landed in Alexas Top 100,000 shortly after its launch, proving theres a growing interest in Hollywoods moral minority. We thought that if we could combine our passion with such a popular guilty pleasure, we could have a fun site that is also a resource, says Carter. Its like candy with the medicine.
Media Blunder of the Year: The New York Times
Lets talk about the news. These days, most of the news seems to be little more than a register of how many celebs were caught driving drunk or who-wore-what-when-making-out-with-whom. In a word, our news is sensational. Naturally, then, a headline about how wacko, vegetable-worshipping parents murdered their child by withholding meat is sure to draw some attention. The problem? This story didnt run in a tabloid, poised alongside the latest accounts of Bat-Boys adventures, it ran in The New York Times op-ed section. In the turning-lemons-into-lemonade spirit, The Times could have recouped some credit by running a counterpoint op-ed. It didnt, even after doctors and other health experts around the globe weighed in to discount the blatant inaccuracies. So, here are a couple of sensationally true headlines which might have saved some face: Vegan Children Healthier, Smarter and Better Looking Than Meat-Eating Peers, or Preventable Heart Disease Stemmed by Vegan Diet. Our strong, healthy vegan babies continue to thrive as strong, healthy adults.
Best Reason to Pack a Snack from the Outback: Vege Chips
MSG and high-fructose corn syrup: move on over. Its time to wipe down that greasy snack bowl for the last time and pour in a hip new chip that wont leave your pores oozing the unspeakable. Australian company Ajitas has succeeded in capturing seven salivating vegan flavors in their Vege Chips snack line, which boasts 40 percent less fat than your average bag of fried potatoes. The calcium and vitamin C packed in these snacks dont hinder the tasty flavors such as French Onion, Barbeque, and Sweet & Sour. Who says indulging in a mainstream-tasting treat means compromising health? These full-flavor, not-so-bad-for-you crisps are finally making their US debut, but if they havent made it to your local natural foods superstore yet, you can always book a holiday down-under to get your fix.
Restaurant of the Year:
Spiral Diner & Bakery (Fort Worth, Texas)
what gives a restaurant star quality? Delish vegan food, for starters. Think homey mashed potatoes and gravy, savory meatball sandwiches, Sunday morning pancakes and fresh-baked pies. Mmmm. Add to that tall order a kitchen stocked with environmentally friendly cleaning products and post-consumer recycled paper goods, and were getting somewhere. Can we get a glass of organic wine to go with that BBQ Tempeh Brisket? Now were really talkin. At Spiral Diner & Bakery in Fort Worth, Texasthats right, Cowtown, USA hungry vegans get the whole shebang. Amy McNutt, the restaurants owner and operator, is committed to keeping her customers well fed with organic produce whenever possible, to keeping prices low and wages high, and to only using biodegradable take-away containers. Avid admirerswhove gone on the VN record referring to their favorite haunt as the sh*t and the bomb diggity will, like the rest of us, be thrilled to learn that a second SD location, in Dallas, is in the works. This means two places in Texas to get vegan milkshakes. Yeehaw!
Best Reason for Leonardo DiCaprio to Go Vegan: The Environment
When it comes to celebrity environmentalism, Leonardo DiCaprio is usually at the head of the pack. Since arriving at the 2001 Oscars in his Prius, Leo has been an outspoken advocate for going green. Why, then, doesnt he go vegan? The production of animals for food does more damage to the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions than all the worlds cars and trucks. Each person who goes vegetarian also saves one acre of forestland every year from being razed to graze livestock. Over-grazing causes the extinction of native plant species and contributes to erosion, eventually resulting in desertification. If this is truly humanitys 11th Hour, the time has come for Leo, and all environmentalists, to go vegan.
Best Excuse to Visit the Valley: Chef Dave Anderson of Madeleine Bistro
Tarzana, Calif., home to comedian Carlos Mencia and tabloid hero Kevin Federline, is not quite Beverly Hills. Still, just as you cant judge a magazine by its cover, if you find yourself in LA and have but one meal to enjoy, head to Tarzana, aka, the Valley. Chef Dave Anderson leads Madeleine Bistro, an upscale, organic restaurant that is, quite simply, reinventing vegan cuisine. The classically trained Anderson is nothing short of a culinary genius. His creations include an egg substitute that allows his chocolate soufflé to rise to the occasion, a vegan Big Mac (complete with special sauce), and a forthcoming meltable, dairy-free cheese that promises to make pizza even more enjoyable. And Anderson is looking to expand, with a west-side restaurant on the horizon. Dave is trying to elevate the level of the cuisine to parallel any great chef, not just veg chefs, says Molly Anderson, Daves life and business partner. The new eatery will include a full bar with all-organic spirits including fresh, made-in-house juices. The Andersons plan to give LA a vegan restaurant that is a hip place on par with what LA has to offer that everyone can enjoynot just vegans. Now, about that vegan cannoli
Best Reason to Have your Organization Absorbed by Another: The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is on fire, and all animals are benefiting. Though technically not a veg organization, since 2004, HSUS has focused a great deal of effort on farmed-animal issues, recognizing that 95 percent of mistreated beings are those raised for human consumption. The increased focus on farm-animal advocacy is producing tangible progress few of us thought possible just five years ago, notes Paul Shapiro, HSUS senior director of factory farming campaigns. Through the efforts of its 570-strong staff, HSUS has the US horsemeat trade on its last legs; has convinced more than 150 colleges and universities to stop selling eggs from caged hens; was a key force in getting Arizona voters to ban veal and gestation crates, and the largest pork and veal producers in North America to stop using crates; and through its lobbying and political arm, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, helped defeat some of the worst anti-animal members of Congress. In 2008, the organization will help lead the (vegan) crème de la ballot initiatives, asking California voters to ban gestation and veal crates along with battery cages. These rapid changes and tangible results have come under the leadership of vegan president/CEO Wayne Pacelle. Says Senior VP Heidi Prescott, Since Pacelle became CEO, HSUS has become one of the most feared organizations by animal abusers in the country. He is leading HSUS into a dynamic new century of change.
VegNews Visionary Award: Gretchen Wyler
From child dance prodigy to Broadway leading lady, to early animal advocate and finally, as head of The Ark Trust, Gretchen Wyler lived a life on hyperdrive for 75 years. Among her many commendable gifts to animalkind, the enormously talented Wyler founded The Genesis Awards, a star-studded annual Hollywood celebration that recognizes the importance of the medias role and influence toward the raising of human consciousness toward animals. This year VegNews Magazine is proud to bestow the annual Vegan Visionary Awards honor to Gretchen Wyler, who passed away from complications of breast cancer on May 27, 2007. For more on her life and accomplishments, see the special tribute on p. 48 of the Nov+Dec 2007 issue.
Best New Years Eve Tipple for Moderates: Mateveza Pale Ale
Commercial real estate analyst Jim Woods was drinking a frosty glass of pale ale one Friday afternoon in 2004 when he decided to chase his tipple with a few sips of freshly brewed yerba mate, a stimulating drink made from a South American herb. This mélange of opposing flavorsone slightly bitter, the other subtly sweetturned out to be a match made in beer heaven. Jim spent a year developing and perfecting his unique recipe for a yerba mate-infused adult beverage, and the end resulta relaxing and invigorating blend he dubbed Matevezaboasts an assertive, lip-smacking taste and offers a one-of-a-kind, clear-headed buzz. With the companys one-year anniversary approaching, this naturally caffeinated pale ale is poised to become the next big thing, especially among ethical epicureans who like their brew both vegan and organic. Currently distributed in California, Oregon and Washington, curious 21-and-overs everywhere else can purchase Mateveza online until the beer fairies deliver this liquid refreshment to a town near you.
Product of the Year: Nasoya Tangy Blue Vegan Dressing
There are some things that we accept to be universal truths upon taking the vegan oath. For starters, we know were never going to eat steak, oysters or blue cheese ever again. Right? Not so fast! By some extraordinary culinary miracle, the folks at Nasoya have created a blue cheese dressing that tastes exactly like blue cheeseyes, that same moldy stuff you either loved or loathed back in your omnivorous days. If this product werent clearly labeled vegan, wed wonder if someone werent pulling a fast one on us, but not only is it 100-percent plant-based, its organic, too. The ingredients, which are surprisingly simple, dont allude to the mysterious origins of the blue-cheese taste, but really, who cares so long as no animals were exploited in the process? Slather this heavenly concoction on salads, dunk your onion rings into it, or add a dollop to your baked potato and wallow in the amazing feats of 21st century kitchen chemistry.
Company of the Year: Tree Huggin Treats
This past July, it was a rare moment at our San Francisco headquarters. Seven editors sat around a conference table to nominate their choice for Company of the Year. It was a meeting we all feared, knowing that friendly exchanges often turn to fiery debates as we lobby for the companies we feel are most deserving. This year was different. Instead of disagreeing en masse, we voted unanimously for one companyTree Huggin Treats. Let us share. In short, 2007 is the year of the Crispy Cat, THTs sinfully decadent vegan candy bar. Draped in dark chocolate and filled with a gooey, crispy center, we cant get enough of the Mint Coconut, Roasted Peanut, and Toasted Almond (à la Peppermint Patty, Snickers, and Almond Joy). With longtime veggie Joel Schantz at the helm, this little company has gone national and is passionate about creating organic, delicious sweets that make veganism a no-brainer. We like that.
Animal-Free Adult Superstore: The Sensual Vegan
Vegan condoms? Check. Blueberry-cheesecake-flavored lube? Got it. Handmade, hypoallergenic dildos? Oh yeah. Formally known as The Veg Sex Shop, this vegan-owned adult superstore recently underwent a facelift and has relaunched with more inventory plus in-depth product information (did you know regular condoms are made with milk protein?) amidst a sassy, ultra-femme design. The site is worth a gander just for educational purposes (uh huh). All products are 100 percent vegan, never tested on animals, and the company only ships orders in recycled boxes and prints receipts on wheatstraw paper. Still shy of the sex-toy world? Stamped on every box is Enclosed are the XXX-rated sex toys you ordered. As if! Have no fear. All orders are shipped in discreet plain boxes without any identification. Oh, and thankfully, returns arent accepted.
Cookbook of the Year: The Joy of Vegan Baking
In 1931, Irma Rombauer self-published The Joy of Cooking, a collection of no-nonsense recipes that became an instant classic, selling 15 million copies to date. More than 75 years later, we predict that Colleen Patrick-Goudreaus new cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking, will make history of its own. Rising to the top of veggie superstardom, Colleen is a one-woman powerhouse. Her entrepreneurial repertoire includes a wildly popular cooking DVD, sold-out cooking classes, natural-food-market tours, a weekly podcast, and a magazine column. Oh, and the new cookbook. The VN staff was stunned by the array of recipes (150 in all), amount of insight and tips, and mouthwatering photography. From Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Cherry Pie, and Mexican Wedding Cookies to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Raspberry Oatmeal Bars, and even Caramel Popcorn, The Joy of Vegan Baking has you covered for every occasion, including a care package for your favorite veggie magazine, should you be so kind.
Vegan Patisserie Artiste of the Year: Hannah Tai
Back when she worked for famed chef Jeremiah Towers trendy Santa Fe Bar & Grill in Berkeley, Calif., Hannah Tai had a thing for an artistically rendered dish. She embellished each plate with creatively applied zips of sauce and sprinkles of herbs as was so popular during the 80s, and knew that, ultimately, shed make art her livelihood. Six years ago, Tai transformed a dream into reality with Hannahs Edible Art, a gourmet patisserie specializing in custom wedding cakes. Though shed originally created her gorgeous confections using the standard ingredients found in traditional versions, after volunteering for the animals in post-Katrina New Orleans and eating vegan meals offered by HSUSs rescue operation program, Hannah renounced animal products and began offering vegan cakes to her clients. Must-be-tasted-to-be-believed flavors like Almond Cake with Chai Buttercream and Green Tea Cake with Mango-Ginger Buttercream are two of her most popular, and her lotus-flower design continues to win raves. Despite her popularity (she was recently featured on The Food Network), shes scaling back her operation to focus on personal endeavors that include animal activism, but lucky vegan soon-to-be-marrieds can still up the wow factor at their weddings with her made-to-order masterpieces.
Veg Milestone of the Year: Oregon's Gestation Crate Ban
In June, Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski made history when he signed a bill passed by the state legislature that makes gestation crates for pigs illegal by 2013. Whereas Florida and Arizona passed similar bans by voter ballot initiatives in 2002 and 2006, respectively, the new Oregon law is unique in that it is the first law prohibiting these cruel devices by action of elected officials rather than by the voters. Gestation crates are metal cages roughly two feet wide and seven feet long, used to confine pregnant sows on factory farms. Highly social creatures that grow to several hundred pounds, pregnant pigs are unable to move, lie down comfortably, or even turn around for months at a time in these contraptions, and are denied direct contact with other pigs. While the law will only directly affect the approximately 4,000 breeding hogs raised for slaughter annually in the statea relatively small number compared to the approximately 4 million breeding sows confined to gestation crates during pregnancy on US factory farms every yearthis sets a precedent for progressive lawmakers in other states and offers a humane model for raising animal-welfare standards nationwide.
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