Tell Morningstar to make their Garden Veggie Burger vegan!

Tell Morningstar to make their veggie burger vegan

Take less than a minute to ask Morningstar Farms to make their Garden Patty vegan!

Morningstar Farms has been known for making delicious vegetarian alternatives to animal proteins. However, many people are disappointed that most of their products contain eggs and dairy—including the Garden Veggie Burger sold in stores and at Burger King.

Thousands of vegans around the US would love to purchase more Morningstar Farms products, including supporting the hearty veggie burger at Burger King that’s so widely available.

Please ask Morningstar Farms to ditch the egg and dairy to make their Garden Veggie Burger vegan!

Sign the Petition


Order This New Leaflet for Earth Day Outreach!

Fight Climate Change with Diet Change Booklet Cover

With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, and more attention being paid to climate change, Vegan Outreach teamed up with the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition to create a booklet about the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.

The new booklet, Fight Climate Change with Diet Change, answers questions about one person making a difference and addresses deforestation, water usage and pollution, and more.

If you have Earth Day events coming up in your area, you have a great opportunity to make animal agriculture part of the conversation.

Order these leaflets today to hand out in your area!

 


4 Reasons to Join VO’s Vegan Mentor Program

By John Deetjen, Outreach Coordinator

Have you been wanting to go vegan, but you’re not sure where to start? I was in the exact same boat back in 2009 when I saw undercover investigation videos about cruelty on factory farms. It was at that moment I knew I could no longer support this horror.

But I had absolutely no idea how to go vegan! I’d tried a few times before, but each time I’d end up right back where I was originally—eating animal products.

Luckily, I got help from my sister who’d been vegan for a few months. She gave me tips on how to make vegan meals and where to look for vegan products in the grocery store. Only then was I prepared to go fully vegan! And having a mentor made my transition not only easier, but fun.

Maybe you’re like me and need a little assistance? Or maybe you’re the only vegan or vegetarian you know and would like a friend to share recipes with? Guess what? We’ve got good news for you!

Vegan Outreach’s Vegan Mentor Program (VMP)—Programa Mentor Vegano en Espanol—was launched in September 2014 and has matched over 4,000 mentees with vegan mentors. We’ve got mentors in approximately 60 countries and 1,100 cities! The program is free—making it accessible to anyone who’s interested in animal-free eating.

Still not sure the program is for you? Well, here are four reasons why joining the VMP may be a good idea for your veg goals!

It’s Customized

When a mentee signs up, we’ll check to see if there’s a mentor in your area.

I try to match by location so our mentors and mentees can have real-life relationships! Most mentors and mentees want to meet in person after the initial email introduction and always seem thrilled and surprised when they find out they live close to one another, very often in the same city. -Jean Bettanny, Vegan Mentor Program Coordinator

The way mentors and mentees are matched is tailored to the participants’ wants and needs! For example, if a mentee really enjoys cooking, we’ll try to find a mentor that also likes to cook and may want to cook a meal together! Matching is also based on age and lifestyle.

We keep in touch! Every now and then our Vegan Mentor Program Coordinator will check in to make sure participants are getting what they want out of the program.

Meaningful Connections

Natalie and Kristine 1

Since we match mentors and mentees based on compatibility, you’ll likely build a great relationship with your mentor. Our mentors and mentees have connected on social media, gone grocery shopping together, met up at restaurants, and even traveled across several states to spend the holidays with each other!

Check out these recent quotes from mentees and prepare to be inspired!

[My mentor] has been really supportive in sending me encouragement and ideas. She has been supportive without me feeling like she’s judging me for not being all the way there yet. She’s connected with me on Instagram and sends me recipes and meal planning ideas. -E.B.

[My mentor] is AMAZING! She is always there when I need her. We text constantly, she’s so supportive and she puts veganism into a real life perspective. She never thinks my questions are too small. She does her very best to help me, and she’s an amazing friend. Thank you!!! -S.C.

Delicious Food Tips

Red Bean Veggie Burger
Photo Credit: Kate Lewis

Mentors are usually up to speed on vegan food! Whether it’s sharing recipes or suggesting the latest products, helping to navigate grocery store aisles, or recommending local vegan-friendly restaurants, mentors are ready to help.

We hear all of the time from our mentees about the wonderful food their mentors have helped them find!

I have been doing so well with my new eating habits, healthy lifestyle, and new outlook on life. There are endless possibilities for what I can eat, and even quite a few restaurants that have vegan options! Who knew?! It’s wonderful! -K.V.

Living in Line With Your Values

Cat and Chicken
Photo Credit: Archant CM Ltd.

Choosing to eat more vegan food is all about living your values! And joining the VMP means you’ll form a connection with someone who shares the same values—reducing animal suffering—along with getting one-on-one support to live a compassionate lifestyle.

Running the Vegan Mentor Program is such a fulfilling part of my life. It’s been so wonderful welcoming and introducing thousands of mentees to more humane and compassionate lifestyles, and seeing them flourish! -Jean Bettanny, Vegan Mentor Program Coordinator

Ready to sign up? Get started here!


Email CPK to Request Vegan Cheese Pizza

Ask CPK for vegan cheese pizza

Thousands of people have told California Pizza Kitchen they want a vegan cheese pizza.

We need your help to keep the momentum going!

We’ve pre-written an email to CPK’s Customer Feedback Department. All you need to do is sign the email and boom—CPK knows yet another person wants a vegan cheese option on their menu.

By catering to the millions of vegan, dairy-intolerant, and health-conscious consumers, CPK would become the largest pizza company in the US to offer a vegan version of one of America’s favorite foods.

Take less than a minute to help get California Pizza Kitchen to add vegan cheese!

Button - Email CPK Now


Maple and Mustard Glazed Tempeh

By Kim Sujovolsky, Guest Contributor

Kim Sujovolsky is the founder of Brownble.com, an online resource for aspiring or longtime vegans who are looking for guidance and inspiration in the kitchen.

Ready to try a new flavor combination? Give this hardy, flavorful Maple and Mustard Glazed Tempeh a try!

Maple and Mustard Glazed Tempeh

Yields 2-4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of tempeh
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Some shelled pistachios for topping
  • Some chopped scallions for topping
  • A drizzle of oil for the pan

Directions

  1. Cut the tempeh into triangles—or any shape you might like, this is just for presentation—and place it in a steamer basket over a pot with boiling water. Cover it with a lid. Let the tempeh steam for 12 minutes.
  2. Remove the tempeh and pat it dry with a paper towel if needed. Place it in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, grainy mustard, balsamic vinegar, water, minced shallots, and garlic. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and add a drizzle of oil.
  5. Place your tempeh pieces in the pan and heat until one side is golden brown. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  6. Once the tempeh is golden brown, pour the maple mustard sauce on top, and let it reduce slightly.
  7. Remove from the pan and serve the tempeh topped with some of the sauce that’s still in the pan, the chopped pistachios and scallions, and your favorite sides. Enjoy!

The Flores Family

Flores Family

We’re putting a spin on our Activist Profile series by introducing not just one Outreach Coordinator, but an entire family of passionate animal advocates. Greater New Mexico Community Events Coordinator, Victor Flores, his wife, Karla Reyes, and four children, Adrian, Jovana, Marina, and Adriana, have done amazing work for VO since first getting involved as volunteers in spring 2016. From community organizing to leafleting, the passion this family has for helping animals is beyond compare.

Combined, this family has leafleted at 21 campuses and distributed 21,856 leaflets. Let’s get to know them a little bit better!

Where does your family currently live, and what do you do as the Greater New Mexico Community Events Coordinator?

Victor Flores: We live in the mountain town of Tijeras, NM, about 20 minutes outside of Albuquerque, NM. As Greater New Mexico Community Events Coordinator, my job is to work with local communities to provide a variety of events that promote and educate on vegan living.

We host meals and food sampling events, show Animal Equality’s iAnimal Virtual Reality footage, and collaborate with other local organizations. We also leaflet universities and colleges in New Mexico and parts of Texas.

What got your family interested in animal rights and veganism?

Karla Reyes: A few years ago, I came across videos online that showed the treatment of animals in farms and slaughterhouses. From that moment on, I decided that my family couldn’t support the exploitation of animals for food or any other reason. I’d always taught my children to treat animals with kindness, so it was only natural that they didn’t want to continue eating animals after what we had learned.

I first volunteered to leaflet with Vegan Outreach in the Spring of 2016 at the University of Texas in El Paso, TX. Victor came on board and had the idea to start a local support group for vegans and vegetarians. Together, we started participating in various local events doing outreach, organizing potlucks, vegan food samplings, community meals, and viewings of vegan documentaries.

We continue to work together in our outreach efforts. I help Victor with the events he plans for Vegan Outreach and he helps me with my projects.

FloresFamily2

How has your family played a role in the work you do for VO?

Victor: From the beginning, our outreach has been a family effort. Karla actively participates in the planning and organizing of the events we host. And our children have always been an important part of everything we do. They contribute with ideas and help with different activities. My family’s support is extremely important. When we have doubts about a certain project or idea, we rely on each other to figure out the best way to go about it.

Do you have a favorite family outreach experience?

Karla: I have several favorite family outreach moments, especially when my kids have come out with me to leaflet at the University of Texas, El Paso and Central New Mexico Community College.

Victor: Working the Red and Green VegFest in Albuquerque, NM as a family was great, as well as several other events. The Mac Down in Santa Fe, NM was a super busy and fun event, with our son as DJ Seitan and our daughters as Flowers for Animals. The Conscious Eating and Hip Hop event was also one of my favorites!

The kids’ favorite event was the Mexican-American Community Event at El Palote Panaderia in Dallas, TX.

Flores Kids Putting Together Goodie Bags

What have you found to be the most difficult and rewarding parts of your outreach?

Karla: I realize that we’re bringing awareness to others with a message that is not always welcome. Countering others’ beliefs that we’re entitled to use animals is one of the most difficult topics I deal with. I think the key is to not lose sight of our goal and to do the best we can to get people to make compassionate choices. It feels very rewarding when I see someone willing to change.

Victor: The most difficult thing is getting our foot in the well-established groups in the local communities. Getting over the stereotypes is a hurdle sometimes. The most rewarding thing is seeing people enjoy vegan food and showing that we don’t need animals to enjoy what we eat.

Having my family around is always great, and sharing our story as a family has always been really impactful for a lot of other people who are considering going vegan.

 

A big thanks to Karla, Victor, and their kids for demonstrating the power of familial activism!

For readers in New Mexico and Texas, be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook Events page—this vegan family might be coming through your area to host an outreach event or leaflet a college campus!


The Rocky Road to Behavior Change: From Omnivore to Veg•n

In this article, Alison Lenton, PhD, discusses the process of making a significant behavior change. Although changing any habitual behavior is difficult, understanding the process better can enable us to put ‘setbacks’ and ‘stagnation’ into context and see them for what they are: not failures, but an integral part of making any significant change.

Faunalytics’ 2014 Study of Current and Former Vegetarians and Vegans asked a mostly-representative U.S. sample of people age 16+ to report on their current and former eating habits and their attitudes toward meat and dairy consumption. Of the nearly 11,400 people who participated, approximately 12% were either former or current vegetarians or vegans. For the purposes of this blog, some of the study’s key findings were:

  • The current failure rate of remaining a lifelong vegetarian/vegan (veg•n) in the United States is 84%. In other words, 84% of participants who had previously attempted a veg•n diet reported eventually giving it up.
  • By the time the survey took place, approximately one-third of those who attempted to become veg•n lapsed within 3 months, and over half (53%) gave up within 1 year. And there were some (12%) who gave up even after having been veg•n for 6 or more years!
  • Approximately 30% of “failed” veg•ns had also experienced previous failures. That is, nearly one-third had failed more than once to become veg•n. Nevertheless, 37% said that they want to try veg•ism again.

Given these results, it would appear that it is fairly difficult to transition from being omnivorous to veg•n, but any big change in habitual behavior can be difficult. Let’s look at why that is.

The behavior change process

Successful adoption of a new habit depends on the following (for a more complete summary, see this document from Faunalytics):

  • Motivation, intention, and planning—you have to want the new behavior, you have to intend to undertake it, and you have to make plans to achieve it as well as plans for surmounting the inevitable obstacles
  • Know-how—you have to understand how to enact the new behavior—and belief—you have to believe that you can do it
  • Resources—e.g., adequate emotional, physical, cognitive resources in both the immediate and longer-term choice environments
  • Positive reinforcement and absence of punishment—you have to perceive that the new behavior yields additional benefits and fewer costs
  • Social and environmental support—do your friends/family understand or do they sabotage and challenge? does the environment provide you adequate opportunity and resources to enact the new behavior?
  • Self-regulation abilities—are you any good at controlling your momentary desires/impulses? are you any good at directing yourself toward longer-term goals?
  • Practice—repetition makes challenging behaviors easier and is key to their becoming automatic, which is when the behavior no longer requires conscious intention/thought

Add to this that the new and old habits then compete with one another for dominance. That is, for an old behavior to be replaced by a new behavior, the right internal (intra-person) and external (environmental) circumstances have to be in place. To illustrate, consider the following recent model of behavior change (Kwasnicka, Dombrowski, White, & Sniehotta, 2016):

According to this model, even after an initial change in behavior, the old and new ‘habits’ remain in conflict with one another. This is because the probability of one or the other habit dominating at a given point in time and in a particular situation depends on competition between the two habits’ different motivations, the distinct emotional resources required to enact or suppress them, the particular levels of self-control they demand, and just how automatic the associated behavior is (or has become). As the model points out, the new behavior may ultimately win out if it is practiced again and again, across different situations and over time.

As a result, when one initiates a change in behavior, it is not uncommon to find that the old behavior continues to pop up now and again, at least until the new behavior becomes automatic; as illustrated by the figure below (also from Kwasnicka, Dombrowski, White, & Sniehotta, 2016).

And even then, it isn’t as if the old behavior and all of its triggers are completely erased. Think of it like how computers write files onto the hard drive: Writing a new file does not necessarily overwrite the old one. Remnants of the old file continue to persist and can be brought back into competition with the new file given the right (or, perhaps, wrong) circumstances. So even with everything in place, there will be setbacks: It takes time for a new habit to dominate the old one.

The fact that so many former veg•ns ‘failed’ but tried again—and want to try yet again—may actually be part of the process of becoming veg•n. Indeed, the 2014 Faunalytics Study found that the ‘failed’ veg•ns were more likely to indicate that they transitioned to their new diet over a matter of days/weeks, whereas for the ‘successful’ veg•ns, it was reported to be a lengthier process. In other words, it may be that the ‘failed’ veg•ns in Faunalytics’ study are simply at an earlier stage in their path to veg•nism, and many will still ‘get there’ in the end.

The findings also hint that any attempt at becoming veg•n may be successful to some extent: Those who ‘failed’ the strict test of maintaining veg•nism still reported eating less beef and pork thereafter than those who never tried to be veg•n (though we note that these data are correlational and, thus, causal conclusions are tenuous).

Overall, we suggest that taking a longer view of the process of becoming veg•n is both a theoretically and empirically valid one: For most people, becoming veg•n isn’t like a light switch that is flicked on at full brightness and never again flicked off. The process of becoming veg•n is more like a dimmer switch: Change is incremental and can sometimes move backward. Perhaps, however, once the dimmer is ‘on’ at all, there is at least a glimmer of light.

With that in mind, we recommend that animal rights and welfare organizations focus on informing people that becoming veg•n is a process made up of a series of smaller, achievable steps. This is because goals that are perceived to be feasible are more likely to be set in the first place than are goals deemed too daunting. These organizations should also give people explicit advice as to how to take those initial steps (e.g., simple rules-of-thumb such as “always choose the tofu option” and “when offered cheese, say ‘hold it please!’”), as research indicates that those with concrete if-then plans—especially plans that include strategies for managing potential obstacles—are more likely to achieve their goals.

At the same time, advocates should continue to advance the general message that these small steps lead somewhere: Veg•nism reduces animal suffering and death, not to mention that it improves human health and the welfare of our planet. To the extent that we can make the process of becoming veg•n seem more manageable to people, and get people to understand that it is indeed a process that includes stagnation and setbacks, then we expect that more people will set upon and, ultimately, stay on the path toward veg•nism.

This blog is a variation and extension of one Dr. Lenton wrote previously for Faunalytics.


Winter Activities With Kids

By Michelle Alvarado, Guest Contributor

Michelle

Michelle Alvarado is a contributor to Cria Vegano Magazine, and lives in Chicago with her family where the winters seem to never end!

The winter season can be tricky with little ones, especially if you live in places that snow. Personally, it can be painstaking to even get in the mood to leave the house when the weather is in the single digits. Once I do muster up the courage to leave the house, I never regret it. My 19-month-old, Joey, enjoys it, too—we’ve just learned to layer like pros.

We’re fortunate enough to have found a moms’ group where we not only get together with our little ones and chat, but we get a good indoor workout in as well. The best part is that Joey gets the opportunity to socialize and make friends with kids of all ages. If you’re able to join a local moms’ group, whether it’s a vegan, church, or Meetup group, I highly recommend it.

The library has become a favorite go-to during the winter. I must admit that before I had my son, I only went there to pick up books I’d called in ahead of time for my preschool class. When he turned one, a friend of mine suggested a play date at the library, and Joey ended up having a blast!

A lot of libraries have story times, a play area, and even allow you to sip on some coffee while you sit back and talk with other parents. And don’t forget to take advantage of that library card! You can pick up some books to read at bedtime. But don’t be like me, return those books on time!

We live in a city where there’s a nearby children’s museum. When my husband and I took Joey, it did not disappoint! Holy sensory stimulation—it was magical! We played in a huge water table, built structures with glow in the dark tiles, and played house. Our little musician thoroughly enjoyed the music exhibit. And the staff at the small café even worked with us to put together a vegan-friendly snack!

This activity wasn’t free and is usually best to pay for a year membership if you plan on going more than a couple of times per year.

Photo by Michal Janek on Unsplash

If you like brisk, chilly weather and you are an outdoorsy family, going for a nature hike at the nearest park is a perfect winter activity for you. You get to breathe in the fresh cold air, get a little exercise and can work together to spot different types of animals. Some parks even have nature centers where you can take a break and thaw out.

As Joey gets older and I learn from other mamas about how to stay busy during the cold winter months, I look forward to watching him participate and stay active. There’s so much to explore out there!

If you’re staying indoors today, don’t forget the latest issue of Raise Vegan is out now, and our mini magazine, Raised Vegan, is available to purchase!


Announcing a Big Change to the VO Blog! Now VO Action Alerts

You spoke, and we listened.

You want only the best and most relevant information in your inbox, so we’re transforming our Vegan Living and Advocacy Blog into our new Action Alerts email list!

Our Action Alerts will tell you quick, impactful ways to help animals, including requests to—

  • Sign a petition for more vegan menu options
  • Post on a company’s social media page for vegan versions of your favorite meals
  • Volunteer for leafleting, vegan food events, or campaigns
  • Much more!

If you’d like to stay up-to-date on new vegan products, advocacy tools, and to receive vegan recipes and updates on our work spreading veganism, sign up for our twice-monthly Vegan Outreach E-News.

Thank you for your support and for doing all you can to end speciesism!


Let’s Get Plant-Based Dog Food in LA Shelters

LA shelters

Take two minutes to help both dogs and farmed animals!

Los Angeles community members, along with ten veterinarians, started a petition to get all six city animal shelters to feed their dogs plant-based food. LA Animal Services Commissioners voted in December to do a 60-day feasibility study to analyze the benefits and risks of making the switch.

According to the veterinarians, a plant-based diet could eliminate harmful chemicals found in meat-based dog food—which may help prevent canine ailments like cancer and allergic dermatitis*—while also sparing the lives of thousands of farmed animals who are used in the food.

We need your help to make it happen!

sign the petition


*Heinze, C. R., VMD, MS, DACVN, Gomez, F. C., BS, & Freeman, L. M., DVM, PhD, DACVN. (2012). Assessment of commercial diets and recipes for home-prepared diets recommended for dogs with cancer. Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, 241(11), 1453-1460.