Vegan Germany

I just came back from a great trip to Germany. Visiting family was part of the reason for my visit, but going to Berlin and checking out Vegan Street was a big reason too. I visited a few cities and was impressed with all of them.

Stuttgart

Before I arrived in Stuttgart my mom and some of our family got to check out a vegan restaurant on my list: Körle und Adam. They loved the food, and the cosy atmosphere of the restaurant. Their website is in German, but even if you can’t read the words, you’ll drool over the food and cheer on the rescued animals in the photos from Hof Butenland and Erdlingshof—local animal sanctuaries.

korle u adam

I had a family dinner at another vegan restaurant, Coox & Candy. Their vegan version of the traditional spätzle dish was phenomenal. All my relatives were happy with how delicious and filling their vegan meals were, and a few even took animal rights pamphlets that were available on the way out.

coox u candy

München

I was excited to visit München (also known as Munich). First stop Max Pett, an organic vegan restaurant that my aunt discovered while searching online for vegan restaurants. We ate outside on the patio and enjoyed delicious fare, including veganized versions of typical Bavarian desserts.

max pett

The next day we visited Veganista, a vegan boutique. Owner Rahel welcomed us to her adorable little shop and I ended up buying an armful of clothing, including vegan suede booties by Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather and tops and a dress by German vegan eco brand Armed Angels.

veganizta

After shopping, my mom, aunt and cousin ate at Café Katzentempel, a vegan cat café! In the café, we met the six resident rescued cats, and filled our bellies with cruelty-free food.

katzentempel

Berlin

Berlin is a vegan mecca. There are countless vegan restaurants and over 300 omni places have clearly marked vegan items on their menus. Organic markets are everywhere and they all have amazing vegan items—from salad dressing to plant-based liverwurst.

vegan food

We arrived just in time for a monthly vegan social, Berlin Vegan Drinks. We were welcomed to the event and got to chat with the organizers as well as several attendees. The vegan BBQ hit the spot.

meal at vegan drinks

Fast Rabbit was a few blocks away from our AirBnb, guaranteeing that I could start each morning with a soy latté and vegan baked goodie.

fast rabbit

My mom and I splurged on a fancy Saturday evening dinner at Lucky Leek. We had a three-course prix fix meal and reveled in the ambience. We compensated the next night by walking to the simple, yet delicious Vego Foodworld, where we had an inexpensive dinner or salad and vegan schnitzel.

lucky leek

Vego

Vegan Street, or Schivelbeinerstrasse on the map, is a vegan’s delight. With Veganz grocery on the corner, complete with a Goodies bakery inside, and DearGoods vegan clothing and Avesu vegan shoes all side-by-side, we were in vegan heaven. We bought vegan hazelnut spread at Veganz (eat your heart out, Nutella), and ate bagels with faux egg salad out on the picnic tables in front of the store. I found a cute pair of vegan shoes next door, and bought a couple of fair-trade, organic tops from Armed Angels and Wunderkwerk.

bagel

On our way to another vegan eco boutique, Loveco, an animal rights parade marched down the street! I took a flier advertising the documentary Earthlings, and learned about the upcoming Vegan Fest (which sadly I had to miss).

parade

We did make it to Kontor Eis before it was time to head home. Kontor is an all-vegan ice cream shop with a terrific assortment of vegan ice cream and sorbets—and a great vegan message!

kontor

If you plan a trip to Germany, you shouldn’t have trouble finding vegan food. People know the word “vegan,” and in Berlin, almost everyone speaks English. Happy Cow will help you find vegan food, and Bio Markets (bio meaning organic) have a ton of vegan options.

In Drogeries (drugstores) like DM, cosmetics and beauty products are clearly labeled and often have a V or the logo of The Vegan Society on them. Plus, in 2009, EU nations banned testing cosmetic on animals. In 2013 they stopped importing products developed with the use of testing on animals. Still, the vegan symbol will ensure the products you buy don’t have animal ingredients.

go vegan

This was a whirlwind overview of my trip so I’ll be diving in deeper to share with you all the details of food, cats and vegan shoes in upcoming posts.

Vida Vegan Con 2015

Two years ago, I wrote about Vida Vegan Con II, the vegan blogger conference I attended in Portland.

This past weekend was VVCIII, the third–and final–conference. Last time I learned so much and met so many great people, and I couldn’t wait to pick up where I left off.

I flew into Austin, Texas on Thursday and met up with friends at Counter Culture, a vegan diner. I loved walking onto a restaurant in a new city and seeing familiar faces. During our meal a few others from the last VVC said hello. The city was buzzing with vegans already!

counter culture meal

A burrito and potato salad to kick off the weekend

Friday, vegans from around the country–and world–convened on the Vegan Bazaar. We nibbled on vegan cheese from Miyoko’s Creamery (and got to meet the wonderful Miyoko herself). We heard Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, speak at a breakout session. And we got to shop!

I finally met Nikki, the owner of CykoChik Custom Handbags (and yes I bought a tote I’d been eyeing for a while).

cykochik

I also met Kat, creator of Kick Butt Boots–custom, handmade vegan cowboy boots. Everyone had their eye on a striking red pair. How cute would they be with jeans or a fun, flowy dress?

kick butt boots

We sampled food (The Vegan Nom and Cool Beans food trucks stole the show), bought clothing, jewelry and beauty products and then headed our separate ways. I ended up having drinks at a T.O.F.U Magazine-hosted album release party and then dancing the night away with friends at a bar playing 80s dance music.

Saturday was the first official day of the conference. We picked up our swag bags and we were all treated to a delicious breakfast buffet and coffee bar with so many creamer options: coconut, almond, hemp, soy–awesome!

I attended sessions on science, feminism, health, entrepreneurship, and activism. Lunch was also fantastic. We filled up on the most delicious foods. The day was so inspiring. I learned so much, met new people, and was motivated to do more with blogging and veganism in general.

That evening, we attended Capital City Bakery’s third-year anniversary. I’ve never seem so many people in line to buy cupcakes, and I’d never seen people so happy to be in a line!

capital city bakeryUpton’s Naturals was also on hand, serving up BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. I’ve never had pulled pork, and you’ll never need to, with this cruelty-free version.

Upton's BBQ Jackfruit sandwich

After eating sweet and savory goodness, a few of us bar-hopped until, one by one, we faded. Our crew got smaller as the night got later and eventually I also retreated to my apartment.

Sunday was another packed day of conference sessions, buffets, and socializing. The conference ended in an emotional goodbye and heartfelt thanks to the three founders who turned a dream into a reality and changed the lives of so many others. It was bittersweet to say the least. I’m sad to see VVC come to an end, but I’m excited for what’s next. There’s a new vegan economy springing up and I can sense a change for how people eat, how people think about animals, and the types of businesses that will grown out of this conference.

I loved seeing how bloggers had evolved and progressed. Several attendees had written cookbooks or started vegan businesses since I’d seen them last. VVC played a big part in that, I’m sure. It helped so many of us grow.

After a teary farewell, we ended on a high note. Burgers at Arlo’s! Austin, with its warm nights, knows how to do patios. Days were indoors at the conference but nights were for being out. Sunday evening was no different. We socialized, drank margaritas, and ate burgers and ice cream (from Sweet Ritual) on the patio of Cheer Up Charlie’s.

kale margarita

Monday, I squeezed in one last breakfast with a group from the conference and then hopped over (see what I did there?) to Rabbit Food Grocery to check out the vegan nibbles and wares (rumor has it I bought another bag, but you’ll have to check my fashion blog to see if that’s true).

vvc goodbye breakfast

The weekend was as fun as this post is long. But unlike a too-long post, I didn’t want the weekend to end. It might seem like us bloggers were food obsessed. Perhaps. But it’s because we are enjoying and promoting a world that could be. A world without animal exploitation. It’s a marvelous goal and it makes us passionate and keeps us motivated.

Special thanks to Janessa, Jess and Michelle, without whom none of this would be possible.

No New Animal Lab

This past Saturday, I joined several hundred demonstrators at the University of Washington for the March on UW. We were protesting a proposed animal testing facility that, if built, would see a 30% increase in the number of animals tortured and killed at the university.

marching with banner

No New Animal Lab is a slogan, a campaign, and a movement to prevent thousands of animals from suffering. Their current target is Skanska, the construction company who has been awarded the project.

A recent exposé on a local news channel has sickening information about some of what goes on at the university. It’s inhumane, and it needs to stop. I’ve written before about how animal testing is never justified, and the examples at UW are exactly why.

There are psychopaths in our midst. They are researchers at the UW and they live off federal grant money, despite a history of abuse and fines by the USDA.

At a time when other schools are moving to more modern, accurate testing methods, the UW chooses to invest more money in animal testing and refuses to recognize that animal testing models are outdated.

We marched through campus, to the site of the proposed lab, and up University Avenue. After the march, a smaller–but substantial–group protested outside of the home of one of the UW Regents, a man who is pushing the lab plans through despite public opposition.

Police presence was heavy, but both events were peaceful.

The events generated a lot of media coverage, including TV, newspaper and radio. Momentum is gaining and more and more people are becoming aware.

Please visit the No New Animal Lab FB page to see how you can help.

march

hundreds of people march – image c/o Wendy

It’s Veganuary!

Go to the gym. Eat healthy. Quit smoking. A new year means a new outlook.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Going vegan is an excellent resolution and January is the perfect time to take the plunge.

Veganuary aims to reduce the suffering of animals by inspiring people to go vegan for the month of January. The folks at Veganuary will help you stick with your goals with vegan products, recipes, and info about eating out. And after a month, you’ll have created a new habit that you likely won’t want to break.

Veganuary is in its third year, and offers info on health and nutrition, the environmental impacts of going vegan and of course, the benefit to the animals.

On the website, you’ll also find profiles of vegans, including yours truly.

Sign up and register on the website today–it’s never too late to be vegan!

veganuary

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed.

Every 9 to 11 hours, a rhino is killed.

These beautiful creatures are often poached for their ivory and horns. Whether for trinkets or so-called medicine, there is no justification for their deaths.

That’s why, this Saturday, thousands of people from over 125 cities around the world are participating in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. The event will bring awareness to the plight of elephants and rhinos–two species whose very existence is in peril (poaching kills 35,000 elephants and over 1,000 rhinos every year).

The march will put pressure on  governments around the globe to publicly destroy their stockpiles of wildlife parts and show zero tolerance for this illegal trading. The main reason these species are in decline is because of the growing trade in tusks and horns. Here are the details for the Seattle event:

What:  Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
When:  Saturday, Oct. 4th at noon – 2 pm
Where: International Children’s Park, 700 S Lane St, Seattle, WA 98104.

Global march for elephants and rhinos

The march will be about half a mile long. Signs will be provided, but you can bring your own. For more info or to RSVP to the event, check out the event’s Facebook page.

Before the march, a lineup of speakers will inform, inspire, and entertain. Cathy Sorbo, comedian and former Seattle PI columnist, will emcee the event. Speakers include:

  • Tom Skerritt, acclaimed actor and passionate animal conservationist.
  • Wendie Wendt, Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, one of the leading organizations in the fight to stop poaching.
  • Kathleen Gobush PhD, A research scientist who worked with Save the Elephants, a key player in saving elephants in Kenya. Currently she is a Senior Project Developer with Vulcan.
  • Lisa Kane JD, a retired lawyer and author who has advocated for the welfare of captive and wild elephants locally, nationally and internationally.

My friend Scott Nelson is working with the organizers of the Seattle march to make the event a success. Scott recently founded the Endangered Species Protection Fund, a 501c3 non-profit with a focus on protecting endangered species like elephants, rhinos and tigers. The ESP Fund website had a handy march map you can use to get to the event and follow the route.

Please help bring awareness to this crisis and help stop the demand for elephant tusks and rhino horns.

Another Successful Walk for Farm Animals

This past Saturday was the 2014 Seattle Walk for Farm Animals, a fundraiser for the rescued animals at Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters. Walkers raised close to $12,000 and donations are being accepted until September 27th, so pitch in if you’d like!

Like last year, we met at Green Lake to walk the 2.9 mile path around the lake. Before the walk, participants stretched at a yoga class, ate Mighty-O vegan donuts, and bid on items in the silent auction.

auction collage

After the walk, Br-er Rabbit, a Bellingham-based band played for the crowd while we ate delicious vegan food by Field Roast, Chaco Canyon Café, Pizza Pi, Seattle Cookie Counter, and No Bones About It.

Br-er Rabbit

Auction winners took home prizes like gift cards to Café Flora, cooking classes by Fire and Earth Kitchen, and a pet portrait session by Vegan Me.

The best thing you can do to help animals is to not eat them. Being vegan makes a huge difference to the lives of so many animals–and you’ll feel better too! If you’ve never been to a farm animal sanctuary, I encourage you to visit one and make the connection between the “food animals” in the food system and the animals at these wonderful shelters.

NARN table

Anika will help you go vegan

Billions of animals are killed for food every year–a number too big to fathom. But seeing the individuals at Farm Sanctuary and other safe havens makes the issue personal.

My evening with John Salley

I spent last night with John Salley.

No, wait. That doesn’t sound right! Last night, I attended “An Evening with John Salley,” a special event at Plum Bistro. The event was a fundraiser for Pasado’s Safe Haven and was also an opportunity for John Salley to share wines from The Vegan Vine with the crowd.

Salley collage

John Salley, as any self-respecting sports fan will know, is an NBA superstar. With four Championships under his belt, he’s played with the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and LA Lakers–that’s quite a resumé!

What you might not know, though, is that Salley is a long-time vegan, wellness expert, and animal advocate. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his story, learning about how he connected with Makini Howell, owner of Plum Bistro, and also how became the owner of a winery. And not just any wine: Vegan wine.

vegan vine wine

Many people don’t think about animal products when they drink wine, but many wines are fined (or finished) with clarifying product that include gelatin (from cows or pigs), casein (a milk protein), albumin (from egg whites), or isinglass (from fish bladders). Now I’m a fan of voting with my dollar. So why support a company that uses animal products (even if they’re not in the final product)? There’s no need.

John Salley is such a genuine guy. You can feel his love for animals and people and being vegan when you’re in the room with him. He also happens to be really funny! I felt like I’d known him for a long time and even though I was a bit star struck, talking with him was fun and comfortable.

jean, john, steph and amy

Plum didn’t disappoint either! We nibbled on decadent vegan hor d’oeuvres and drank plenty of The Vegan Vine wine. All proceeds went to Pasado’s, a farmed animal refuge right here in Washington. Pasado’s fights against animal cruelty, helps pass animal laws (and enforce them) and is a sanctuary for abused and neglected who would have ended up on the dinner table.

I knew a number of people at the event and it was a great way to catch up with friends. Best of all, I didn’t know a lot of people. I love meeting vegans and that’s what I did. It was a great night all around–right to the very end when I won an auction item: an autographed (by Mr. Salley) bottle for Vegan Vine wine.

The event sold out in days, but you can ask for The Vegan Vine wine at your local Whole Foods. And if you ever have a chance to meet John Salley or hear him speak, don’t miss it! You won’t be disappointed.