• Aug
  • 20

The Green Road Around India: Your Guide to Vegan Food Across the Country

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Indian street foodIf you travel to India, you’ll want to be up to date on the varieties of food that are available! Especially for vegetarians and vegans, there are many options that you can choose from. The cuisine of each region is an artistic representation of its culture and values. Examples range from the dhokhlas of Gujarat to the idlis of Tamil Nadu to the pohas of Maharashtra. The first step is choosing your preferences for texture, flavor, and quantity.

“Pulao” is the local term for a staple rice dish that is cooked in a vegetable broth. It is readily available, and the ingredients can be altered according to personal preference. It typically consists of peas, carrots, and onions with mild spices. Originally, it was a North Indian dish from Delhi. Now, pulao, a simple meal, is prepared throughout the country. Biryani is a slightly richer version of pulao. It’s made with a different type of rice and is usually cooked with meat, but you can always ask for it to be made vegan!

If you’re making your way across the northern part of India, you’ll typically visit cities such as Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kanpur, Lucknow, and New Delhi. A specialty of this region is naan, a leavened oven-baked flatbread. It’s available as a street food and in restaurants as a main course, served with curries or vegetable dishes. Naan is usually slathered with melted butter, but you can always order it without butter. It can also have different toppings or fillings, such as garlic, onions, and black pepper.

Yoghurt and paneer are commonly found in a lot of North Indian delicacies. Paneer is fresh curd cheese. You can substitute tofu—which is becoming more and more popular—in its place. A lot of dishes, such as paneer tikka and paneer butter masala, which consist of paneer cooked in spices, can be made with tofu instead. Some restaurants won’t have tofu available, so be sure to check with the staff before you place your order. You can also easily opt to order your dish without yoghurt since it’s mainly served as a side dish. Make sure to specify that you would like your food to be cooked using oil rather than butter since most Indian food is cooked with ghee (melted clarified butter).

When you travel across the western part of India, you’ll be in the states of Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), the capital of Maharashtra, is popularly referred to as “the life of India.” It’s a city that grows on you and comes alive with its rich culture, spirit, and food. I would recommend eating the street food here, which is absolutely mouthwatering! “Chaat” is a term that describes savory snacks, typically served by roadside stalls or food carts. The original chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, crisp fried bread gram or chickpeas, and tangy, salty spices, with sour homemade Indian chili. It is garnished with chopped onion, coriander leaves, and hot spices. Note that some types of chaat include curd. The varieties of vegan chaat include bhel puridahi puripani puripapri chaat, and sev puri. Samosas, kachoris, and papads are other street-food options that you can sample. They’re all different forms of potatoes cooked with vegetables and spices. Vada pav is another popular local street food, which consists of a vegetable fritter placed between two buns. It’s almost like an Indian version of a tiny burger and can be sweet, tangy, or both, depending on your preference.

In addition to restaurants and street stalls, a large number of convenience foods are sold in most supermarkets across India. These include tasty biscuit brands such as Hide n Seek, Monaco, Marie Biscuits (which are best dipped in hot chai tea), Parle Hide & Seek Bourbon Biscuits, Britannia, and Khari Biscuits. These are all local brands that manufacture vegan snacks. Nonetheless, just to be cautious, always have a look at the ingredients before purchasing an item. Imported vegan snacks are also readily available, such as Oreos, Hershey’s dark chocolate syrup, Skittles, etc. If you’re on a budget, try Maggi’s instant noodles or Top Ramen Super Noodles (masala flavored). Several international outlets offer vegan items, too, such as Subway and even McDonald’s. In case you’re staying in India for a longer duration and would like to try your hand at cooking vegan food, there are several dishes that can easily be prepared.

Another extremely well-known food item that originated in Gujarat is dhokla, a tasty snack made up of fermented batter derived from rice and chickpea splits. In fact, most Gujrati dishes are typically vegetarian because of the religious beliefs of the people there. Examples of the region’s other vegan food include khaakras (wheat crackers with spices), fafdas (a traditional crunchy snack), and aamras (sweet syrup derived from the pulp of mangoes). All these dishes are easily available and reasonably well priced.

South Indian cuisine also consists mainly of vegan food. Note that in the state of Kerala, fish is extremely popular and that a majority of vegetarian dishes are cooked or fried in fish oil. So always check that your dish is completely vegan. In Chennai, one of the largest cities in Tamil Nadu, you must try the dosas and idlis, which are the most traditional foods of South India. Dosas are fermented crêpes or pancakes made from rice batter and black lentils. They are served with a variety of spicy chutneys and sambhar, a lentil-based vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind. Idlis, known as “the flavor of South India,” are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. They are also accompanied with chutneys and sambhar.

If you don’t prefer spicy items, there are a large number of sweet dishes as well, which are readily available, including pongal, upma, gajar ka halwa, and jalebis. Although they can be slightly oily and greasy, they taste fabulous.

The following is my list of the top 10 Indian dishes with regard to taste, price, and availability. Try to sample all these items. It will definitely be worth it!

  1. Dosas (fermented crêpes or pancakes made of rice batter and black lentils)
  2. Chaat items (pani puri, bhel puri, vada pav, etc.)
  3. Chili parotta (classic street food made with layered flat bread, capsicum, and sauces)
  4. Peas and onion pulao (rice cooked with vegetables and seasoned with spices)
  5. Gajar ka halwa (a sweet carrot pudding dessert with nuts)
  6. Idlis (rice cakes with lentils)
  7. Kachoris and khaakras (a flour ball baked with a mixture of vegetables and wheat crackers with spices)
  8. Khaati rolls (a version of spring rolls stuffed with vegetables and chili)
  9. Channa masala (ground chickpeas with tangy seasoning)
  10. Tofu curry masala (a North Indian curry made with rich gravy and chunks of tofu)

In a nutshell, vegan food can be found easily all across the country. India is known for the richness and diversity of its food, so you will have access to unlimited options to choose from! Depending on the amount of time and money that you are willing to spend, you can eat the same dish either at a local roadside stall or a fancy restaurant. That is the beauty of this country!

Posted by former PETA intern Rachna Ramanathan

 

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  • Aug
  • 18

The Pinoy Barbecue: Vegan Style

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tofu skewer bbqBarbecues are a favorite summer pastime, not just in the Philippines but also around the world. The only problem is that many staple dishes of barbecues contain meat and dairy products from suffering animals raised on factory farms. Fear not, my friends! This post will show you how to transform some traditional Filipino barbecue dishes into much healthier vegan delights.

Appetizers

*Lumpia: I don’t think it’s possible to have a Filipino meal without lumpia. Even as a U.S. native, I love lumpia. The awesome thing about it is that it’s so versatile. All it takes to have vegan lumpia is to make sure that there’s no meat, such as pork or chicken, in the filling. Traditionally, this variety is known as lumpiang sariwa. Keep it simple with fresh vegetables and seasoning, or step it up a notch by adding fried or grilled tofu.

*Chicharon: Another favorite among Filipinos is chicharon, a dish made by frying the skin of a pig. I know what you are thinking: There is NO way to make this one vegan. Well, thanks to some clever minds here in the Philippines, vegan chicharon is available! And it’s as easy as a quick trip to your nearest convenience or sari-sari store! There are two brands that make this healthy alternative: Oishi Marty’s Chicharon and Jack n Jill’s Mang Juan Chicharron. Both come highly recommended by the PETA staff!

Soup and Salads

*Kare-kare: A hearty peanut stew that is often filled with various meats, kare-kare can be easily veganized with just a couple of tweaks. Substitute the traditional oxtail, beef tripe, and other meats with big chunks of tofu, or skip them altogether. Instead of beef broth, just use water to mix the sauce. Skip the bagoong (also known as shrimp paste), or buy jars of a vegan version from restaurants such as Pipino or Greens Vegetarian Restaurant and Café. It’s just as yummy as traditional kare-kare.

*Macaroni salad: Filipino macaroni salad is like a party in your mouth. With a sweet and tangy flavor, traditional macaroni salad can be vegan if you leave out a few ingredients. Omit chicken breast, ham, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs. Get creative, and replace those ingredients with foods such as diced pineapple or apple, raisins, chickpeas, or mock meats (try items from Country Vegefoods, which are now available at Cherry Foodarama). For the dressing, vegan mayonnaise is available at your local supermarket—try Praise’s 99 percent fat-free variety or American Garden Eggless Mayonnaise.

Main Courses

*Fried chicken: That crunchy drumstick used to be attached to a lively chicken. But, feel guilty no more! There are some great vegan alternatives to fried chicken.

o   Try frying frozen tofu—it produces a very similar texture to meat. Just slice tofu and freeze it for 72 hours. When you’re ready to cook it, place the tofu in boiling water for 10 minutes to thaw. Once it’s thawed, prepare it with whatever vegan breading you like (many fried chicken breading mixes are vegan if you prepare them without eggs), and fry away!

o   Another option is to purchase mock chicken in the frozen foods section (try Country Vegefoods). Some vegetarian restaurants, including Happy Veggie Health Food and Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian in Binondo, also sell faux meat, and if you can’t find it anywhere else, pay a visit to Country Vegefoods’ branch in Mandaluyong, where you can buy mock meat by the can or the case. These fake-chicken options taste just like the real deal but don’t cause all the animal suffering.

*Skewered barbecued pork: Skewered barbecued pork is often the typical centerpiece of any Pinoy barbecue. Why not surprise your guests with a healthy vegan version of this Filipino favorite? You could make it simple and replace pork with tofu. Just make sure that the tofu is drained and that the extra moisture is removed before placing it on the skewer. But why stop there? Add some raw vegetables, such as onions, mushrooms, and peppers, to add intense flavor that will have your guests begging for more.

Side Dishes

*Filipino spaghetti: This dish is really popular, especially with the little kiddos. Making it vegan will actually save you time and money. Leave out the red hot dogs, ground pork, and minced ham—these products are filled with drugs and other toxins that the pigs are fed while on factory farms. If you know that party guests are looking forward to meaty spaghetti, just use faux hot dogs or sausages. (Country Vegefoods sells them canned or frozen.) Instead of beef broth, use water to give the tomato sauce a more authentic flavor, without all the extra sodium and preservatives, or buy a vegan packaged option. Finally, to reduce the calories, forget the melted cheese on top.

*Pancit bihon: Another staple in Filipino cuisine, pancit bihon is always a crowd-pleaser. The great thing about this dish is that it can be customized very easily. In this case, we’re going to veganize it. Don’t use any meat product—no chicken stock, pork flavoring, etc. Use oil, soy sauce, and water to cook any vegetables that you may need, along with mock meat or tofu. Be sure to add plenty of vegetables for all the nutritional benefits!

Desserts

*Halo-halo: On a hot summer day, there is nothing quite as satisfying as halo-halo. This unique dish of the Philippines is a mixture of everything that’s sweet and delicious, and is very easy to veganize. In fact, most of the dish is already vegan. The fruit and shaved ice are vegan, so there’s no need to change that. On top of the shaved ice, add purple yam instead of leche flan. For the ice cream layer, either choose a soy-based ice cream or try a sherbet or sorbet for added variety. Instead of evaporated milk on top, use chilled coconut milk for an added twist.

*Leche flan: You simply cannot have a gathering without leche flan. The basics for this dessert are eggs and milk—impossible to veganize, right? Wrong. Here’s a vegan recipe for leche flan, created by Filipino chef Marie Gonzalez.

I hope you will seriously consider vegan food for your next gathering. This blog shows just how easy it is to create a healthy vegan barbecue without missing out on the Filipino classics.

Post written by former PETA intern Victoria Wall

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  • Aug
  • 14

Eating Vegan 101 in the Philippines

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FruitAlthough the Philippines’ traditional cuisine is largely characterized by meat and fish dishes accompanied by rice, there are many ways to experience authentic Filipino food while still eating vegan. Jason Raval, a prolific vegan and the official photographer of the Central Bank of the Philippines says, “Being a tropical country, we have access to so many fruits and vegetables which are better than those we can find in the US or elsewhere.” Whether you’re a local or a foreigner, it would be a waste not to partake of the delicious produce available in the country. The following are a few of my personal favorite vegan food haunts and resources in the Philippines. So stop on by—maybe we’ll see each other!

For cheap Filipino cuisine, try the famous vegetarian café Likha Diwa at the University of the Philippines–Diliman. My personal favorite is its vegetarian kare-kare with red rice. Masarap yun! Another affordable option away from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila is Baguio’s Azotea Greens. In addition to its delicious food, this cute café offers vegan alternatives to dairy products as well as cruelty-free cosmetics for sale.

Feeling a bit fancy? Then Spices restaurant in The Peninsula Manila hotel has an excellent vegan menu that is sure to satisfy. The lush tropical scenery of this high-end restaurant and its delicious food make it the perfect getaway for any special occasion. Be forewarned, though, that the usual price for two is PHP4,000. It’s not cheap, but the food is worth every centavo!

If you’re craving something other than Pinoy, then New Bombay, with several branches in Makati, is a great option, serving affordable, mouthwatering authentic Indian cuisine at fair prices. I’d recommend the vegetable samosas.

Besides restaurants, many street-food vendors sell delicious vegan treats for extremely low prices, such as turón (banana and jackfruit wrapped in rice paper and fried to perfection with brown sugar). Other to-die-for street goodies include taho (soy custard silken tofu pudding with sweet syrup made of caramelized brown sugar and tapioca pearls, just like the ones often found in milk tea), manggang hilaw (fried green mangoes that are often served with shrimp paste, which, of course, you don’t want!), buko (the Tagalog word for coconut), and binatog (steamed corn kernels mixed with shredded coconut and topped with sugar).

In a worst-case scenario, such as if you’re stuck with friends at a restaurant without a vegan menu, I have a tip for you: Most restaurants are usually very happy to prepare something vegan at your request. Just ask, and you will receive!

For a more comprehensive overview of vegan eateries that the country has to offer, please visit PETA’s list of vegetarian restaurants in the Philippines. Enjoy!

Post written by former PETA intern John Romero

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  • Aug
  • 11

Considering a Companion Animal? Reflect on These Questions Before You Commit

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cute dogLocation
The first thing that you should keep in mind before deciding to open your home to a companion animal is location. Consider the following:

*Think about the environment of where you live: Are the summers extremely hot? Does it snow a lot in the winter? Is there a crazy rainy season that could lead to flooding?

*What is the atmosphere like where you reside: Are there lots of “pet”-friendly places (e.g., parks, restaurants, stores, etc.)? Is there a lot of traffic in the area? What are the local laws regarding leashes, fences, etc.?

*Do you live in a house with a yard? Or in an apartment? Is your landlord OK with tenants having animals? If so, are there certain breeds the landlord allows or prohibits?

These are just some of the questions that you should answer about location before you commit to a companion animal. Obviously, adopting a dog who has a heavy coat would not be ideal for a place with hot summers. A cat may be a better choice for a companion if you live in an apartment since cats don’t typically need as much space as dogs do. Just make sure that the location is suitable for whatever type of animal you decide would be happiest in your home.

Lifestyle
Your lifestyle is something else to evaluate before you choose a companion animal.

*Consider your current and future relationships and family status. Are you married or planning on getting married? Is your significant other open to having animals? Do you have kids or plan on having them?

*What are your career commitments? Do you have to travel often because of your job? Is your job schedule flexible, or do you work a solid 9 to 5? Are you always on call?

*What about the rest of your time? Do you have time to add another responsibility to your schedule? Do you have an active life, or do you prefer to lounge around?

Adopting a companion animal will likely lead to a lifestyle change that you need to be prepared for. Depending on what kind of animal you get, you should expect to care for him or her for at least 10 years. In addition, animals need love, care, and time. If you’ll constantly be gone on business trips, now may not be the best time to bring an animal into your life.

Liability
The last thing that you should remember before bringing a companion animal home is the liability that you are about to take on.

*What do your finances look like? Do you have a stable income? Are you willing to pay to give your new friend the best possible life?

*Are you ready to take ownership? Are you willing to handle complaints that may come from neighbors, friends, or family members? Are you willing to put your companion animal’s needs above your own?

Adding a cat or dog to your life is one of the best liabilities that you can take on, but you still need to be ready for the responsibility. Just like humans, animals require food and water, and you also need to consider the cost of veterinary care. As a guardian, you also need to make decisions based on the animal’s needs, not necessarily on what may be most expedient for you.

If you have taken the time to think about the answers to the questions above and know that you can give an animal a loving home with a fantastic life, go for it! Sharing your life with an animal is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can ever have, and you’ll be astonished to see how much animals can teach you about life itself.

Two last pieces of advice: Always adopt—never shop. Adopt an animal from a local shelter instead of buying one from a pet store. You’ll be saving money and a life. And be sure to have your new companion spayed or neutered.

Post written by former PETA intern Victoria Wall

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  • Aug
  • 08

Astonishing Animal Facts

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Read this post, and you’ll be even more in love with animals than you already are!

  1. Clams are complicated. They can change gender once during their lifetime, right after their juvenile stage, but only from male to female. Many other mollusks are either hermaphroditic or have the ability to change sex.
  2. Jewel wasps should consider starring in a horror movie. Jewel wasps (or emerald cockroach wasps) employ a creepy procedure to lay their eggs. They first inject a venomous cocktail into the brains of cockroaches, manipulating their decisionmaking process and rendering them zombies. The cockroaches become unable to move on their own and will follow the wasps’ “orders.” The wasps then lay an egg on the cockroaches’ legs, and after the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the roaches’ internal organs for several days.

Humpback whales Breaching Humpack Whale | Gregory Smith CC BY 2.0

  1. Whales trap prey by blowing bubbles. Humpback whales engage in “bubble net feeding” by forming a circle and blowing bubbles beneath a school of prey fish. They gradually make the circle tighter, while a second group goes below the prey to push them to the surface and a third group makes a sound that is intended to concentrate the fish. Now that’s what I call teamwork!
  2. Ants are skilled farmers. Evidence suggests that ants developed agriculture as early as 70 million years ago in the early Tertiary Period. They grow mushrooms to feed their colonies, which require a sophisticated system of 2,000 chambers, vents, and tunnels to control humidity and temperature, and they secrete chemicals with antibiotic properties in order to inhibit mold growth.
  3. Little brown bats know how to “chill.” While hibernating, they can reduce their heart rate from 200 to 20 beats per minute and can even stop breathing for approximately 45 minutes. This state of torpor, or regulated hypothermia, can last from a few hours to a few months and allows these bats to survive through periods of food scarcity.
  4. Squirrels are deceptive. When squirrels know that they are being watched by potential thieves, they will pretend to bury an acorn while, in fact, concealing it in their mouth. Squirrel expert Dr. Michael A. Steele explains, “Deceptive caching involves some pretty serious decision making. It meets the criteria of tactical deception, which previously was thought to only occur in primates.”

Squirrel Squirrel | Pete Birkinshaw | CC BY 2.0

  1. Crocodiles can potentially live forever. “Senescence” is a term used to describe the gradual deterioration of the body because of aging. It occurs in humans but not in crocodiles. Crocs die only from disease, accidents, starvation, or predation. Sea urchins, lobsters, clams, tortoises, turtles, and alligators also do not age biologically. As crocodiles age, they continue to become bigger and require more food. When that amount of food is unavailable, they will often die from starvation.

CrocodilesCrocodylus mindorensis | Gregg Yan | CC BY-SA 3.0

  1. Manta rays can weigh more than 1,000 kilos. That’s more than a Prius!

Manta RayManta Ray | Jon Hanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

  1. The migration of monarch butterflies takes longer than their life spans. These astonishing creatures migrate up to hundreds or even thousands of miles every year from Canada to Mexico, but individual butterflies do not make the entire round trip because of their short life spans. Even so, the swarms of butterflies always reach their destination! Scientists think they use the sun’s pathway to navigate.

Posted by Edwina Baier

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  • Aug
  • 06

25 Reasons You Should Never Fly Air France

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Air France is the only major airline in the world that still ships monkeys to their deaths in laboratories. Here’s how it happens:

1. Every year, thousands of monkeys are shipped to laboratories in the United States and elsewhere.

AirFrance-1

2. Some are traumatically captured in the jungle …

AirFrance-2Kina 2009 0539 | Einar Fredriksen | CC BY-SA 2.0

3. … and some are the babies of wild-caught monkeys who are bred on decrepit factory farms in Asia and Africa.

AirFrance-3© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

4. On these farms, monkeys starve …

AirFrance-4© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

5. … are injured …

AirFrance-5

© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

6. … and die.

AirFrance-6© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

7. Here, a breeder shows off his “product”—a new mother—while her baby still clings to her.

AirFrance-7© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

8. When they are ready to be shipped, monkeys are locked in small shipping crates.

AirFrance-8© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

9. Here, terrified monkeys wait on the tarmac to be loaded onto a plane.
AirFrance-9

They are often loaded right under the feet of unsuspecting passengers.

10. Sometimes, the monkeys are not given food, water, or veterinary care and die excruciating and terrifying deaths during multistop journeys that can last more than 30 hours.

AirFrance-10

11. Those who survive the grueling flights are loaded onto trucks and sent on days-long cross-country trips to laboratories.

AirFrance-11

12. They are dark, terrifying places.

four cages of monkeys

13. Monkeys are subjected to painful, invasive, and irrelevant experiments.

AirFrance-13

14. They are starved and restrained in order to force them to participate in experiments …

AirFrance-14

15. … are infected with diseases …

(video still) monkey lying on a table, lab tech holding a syringe

16. … and are roughly force-fed chemicals and drugs.

AirFrance-16

17. Their heads are drilled into, and objects are screwed into them.

primate, Frik, with a device on his head in a cage

18. Ultimately, they are killed.

(video still) monkey with injuries being restrained by a person

19. These horrors continue, even though more than 90 percent of drugs that pass animal testing fail in human trials.

AirFrance-19

20. But there is good news!

AirFrance-20

21. Thanks to pressure from PETA and our international affiliates, there has been a 40 percent drop in the number of monkeys being shipped to laboratories in the U.S.

AirFrance-21

That’s nearly 10,000 monkeys!

22. Airlines such as China Southern Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Philippine Airlines, and United Airlines are listening to consumers by refusing to ship monkeys to laboratories.

22

23. And Air France is now the only major airline in the world (!) that still flies monkeys to their deaths.

24. Once Air France stops, we’ll be seeing way less of this …

25. … and way more of this.

AirFrance-25

Tell Air France to join every other major airline in the world by not shipping monkeys to their deaths in laboratories!

Take action now!

Posted by Edwina Baier

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  • Aug
  • 04

Get Your Six-Pack Back in 5 Easy Steps

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Face it: After the winter, your abs may look less like a six-pack and more like a beer keg. But whether you want to get chiseled like vegan ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll or just fit into your slim jeans again, the following tips will help you de-flab your abs:

1. Cut out empty calories.

fruits and vegetables

No matter how ripped your abs are, no one’s going to see them if they’re buried under a layer of fat. If you’re serious about getting shredded, you’ve got to stop eating junk. Filling up on empty calories (don’t tell me you grabbed a Pop-Tart on your way out the door this morning!) makes you pack on paunch and deprives your body of the nutrients that it needs to get into shape. You can make every bite count by choosing foods that have low to no fat, are high in fiber, and are rich in nutrients. Load a whole-wheat tortilla up with black beans, seasoned brown rice, fresh veggies, and salsa, or throw a whole-grain pizza crust on the grill and top it with sauce and grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms, and even broccoli. Power-packed plant-based foods are always a solid bet, and they’ll help keep you fit for life: Adult vegans are, on average, 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters!

2. Get below 150 without the meds.

tofu omelette

Cardio workouts torch fat and keep your ticker strong. You can run, swim, or take a long brisk walk—the key is simply to elevate your heart rate for more than 30 minutes. Choosing plant-based foods (like this tofu omelette!) is the other key component of a healthy heart: The average vegan has a cholesterol level of 133—that’s 77 points lower than the average meat-eater’s—and there haven’t been any reported heart attacks in people with cholesterol levels below 150. There’s not much point in carving killer abs if you won’t be around to enjoy them, so try this site for more tips on how to preserve one of your vital organs.

3. Put your core to work.

muscles

Exercise machines may look hardcore, but they don’t help build a hard core. Machines act as a stabilizer, which gives your midsection a free pass. For a total-body challenge that strengthens abs and improves posture, you can’t beat good old-fashioned pushups. You can build up quickly if you do them when you get out of bed and before you get back into it. And doing dumbbell rows from a plank position is an excellent way to work your back and core at the same time.

4. Drink up.

glass of water

It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to avoid water retention that makes you feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is to drink water throughout the day. Keeping your sodium intake low, eating whole foods with lots of fiber, and exercising also help.

5. Fight inflammation.

fruit basket

Chronic inflammation—which can be caused by eating processed foods, refined sugar, and saturated and trans fats—is not your best bud when you’re trying to flatten your midsection. In addition to causing illness and premature aging, it can cause swelling and weight gain. Eating fiber-rich, nutrient-dense vegan whole foods and getting regular exercise will help keep inflammation at bay. Try noshing on a bowl of oatmeal and an apple (with the peel on) for breakfast, lentil soup and a spinach salad for lunch, and a big helping of brown rice and veggie stir-fry for dinner to fight inflammation and feel full all day long.

Posted by Edwina Baier

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  • Aug
  • 01

14 Shocking Seal Slaughter Photos

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Can Seal Photo 1

Can Seal Photo 2

Can Seal Photo 3

Can Seal Photo 4

Can Seal Photo 5

Can Seal Photo 6

Can Seal Photo 7

Can Seal Photo 8

Can Seal Photo 9

Can Seal Photo 10

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Can Seal Photo 12

Can Seal Photo 13

Can Seal Photo 14

Are you ready to help stop the seal slaughter? Please write to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the ambassador of the Canadian Embassy nearest to you in order to demand that they end the massacre now!

Posted by Edwina Baier

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  • Aug
  • 01

Writing for Animals: Tips You Need to Know

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penOften the pen—or computer—really is mightier than the sword. And you don’t have to be Shakespeare! Writing letters to newspapers, businesses, and legislators is an easy, effective way to help animals. Here’s how!

Letters to the Editor

You can get great exposure for animal rights issues by writing letters to the editors of newspapers or magazines. Not only will you be reaching thousands of readers, you will also be bringing your concerns to the attention of policymakers, who often refer to the opinion pages in order to learn what issues really matter to the public. It’s easier than you might think.

  • Read local papers and magazines to get ideas for letters. Watch for articles, ads, or letters that mention animals.
  • Letters don’t have to be rebuttals. Circus in town? Noticing a lot of strays? Let people know how you feel. You can also use the calendar for inspiration: At Easter, tell readers why they shouldn’t buy bunnies. On Mother’s Day, remind your community of the animals whose babies are taken from them on factory farms.
  • Write on good news as well as bad. Thank the paper for its coverage of an anti-fur protest or for running profiles of animals available for adoption at shelters.
  • Be brief! Sometimes one pithy paragraph is enough. Three hundred words is the maximum length that most papers or magazines will allow without cutting, and it’s better for you to do the cutting than for the editor to do it. The ideal length is 100 to 150 words (10 to 15 typed lines).
  • Type if possible. Otherwise, print legibly. Be sure to use correct grammar and spelling, and remember to have your letter proofread by someone with good language skills.
  • Make the first sentence catchy to get the readers’ attention, and stick to one issue.
  • The letter should be timely. If you’re responding to an article, send it no more than three days after the article was published.
  • Use information from PETA literature and our website to help you write your letters. Feel free to use and adapt any text in our materials.
  • Make sure you include your name, address, and telephone number in your letter. Some newspapers verify authorship before printing letters.
  • Don’t just send letters to the biggest paper in town. The smaller the paper, the better the chances of getting your letter printed. Small weekly papers can help you reach hundreds or even thousands of people.
  • You can also write (or call) television and radio stations to protest the glorification of cruelty to animals or to compliment them on programs that promote animal rights. For example, after an American morning show aired a segment about how to kill lobsters, it reported that it had received more angry mail about that segment than it had for any other.

Some Tips on Style

  • Increase your credibility by mentioning anything that makes you especially qualified to write on a topic. For instance, you might write, “As a nutritionist, I know that a vegetarian diet is healthy,” “As a mother …,” “As a former fur-wearer …,” “As a cancer survivor …,” etc.
  • Try to tell readers something that they’re not likely to know (such as how chickens are raised to produce eggs), and suggest ways to take action (such as to stop buying eggs).
  • Whenever appropriate, include something for readers to do.
  • Keep personal grudges and name-calling out of letters—they’ll hurt your credibility.
  • Don’t give lip service to anti-animal arguments. Speak affirmatively.

Letters to Businesses

Use your clout as a consumer to protest companies that exploit animals. Tell cosmetics manufacturers that you will purchase other brands until they stop testing on animals, or tell a store that you won’t shop there until it stops carrying live animals—and explain why. If a business offers a fur as a prize, explain why you object to wearing fur and ask the sponsor to offer a prize that does not cause animal suffering, such as a trip or jewelry.

Letters to Legislators

  • Although everyone is good at complaining about politics to their friends, too few citizens express their opinions to those who can do something about it: legislators. The input of everyday people really does make a difference.
  • If you don’t communicate with the officials representing you, who will? While you’re complaining to your friends about gruesome animal experiments, someone who disagrees with you is communicating with your representatives.
  • You’re probably not going to convince your legislators to outlaw the fur trade on your own. But many legislators share your values and just need to be convinced that there is sufficient public support before putting their necks on the line. The Advocacy Institute explains, “When votes are secured or changed, it’s most likely the aroused constituent-activists—the grassroots—who can claim the credit.”

Here’s How to Make Your Voice Count

  • Find out who your local government representatives are. Use the Internet, your local library, or city hall to gather information.
  • Identify yourself as a concerned citizen, not as a member of an organization. Legislators want to get feedback from their constituents, not lobbyists.
  • Keep letters brief—no more than one page. If you’re writing about a specific law or potential law, mention the law’s name (and number if you know it) in the first paragraph and whether you support or oppose it. Include reasons and supporting data in the next paragraph or two. Conclude by asking for a response.
  • Focus on a specific topic. Don’t ask the legislator just to “support animal rights bills.” Very few legislators vote in favor of all animal-protection bills, because different issues are at stake with each one.
  • Be polite and concise. Keep everything relevant to the bill or issue in question. Never be threatening or insulting.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed by the project. Just get those letters written and in the mail! As few as 10 letters on any one topic can sway a legislator’s vote. Several hours of letter writing every month can make a big impact. And don’t be discouraged if you receive unfavorable responses. The more we communicate with public officials, the sooner they’ll change their positions. Remember: Right now, raccoons are chewing off their paws to escape from steel-jaw traps. Right now, baby chicks’ beaks are being burned off. Right now, animals who are forced to perform are being beaten backstage. Right now, millions of dogs, cats, cows, sheep, pigs, chimpanzees, rabbits, mice, and other animals are being abused in laboratories and on factory farms. Write now!

Posted by Edwina Baier

 

Continue Reading "Writing for Animals: Tips You Need to Know"


  • Jun
  • 18

Found Nemo. Finding Dory. Saving Tilikum.

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Killer Whale

To avoid supporting the cruelty of zoos and aquariums and the conditions that animals confined to those facilities are forced to endure, compassionate parents and children can seek other venues in order to gain insight into the animal kingdom. One of the best ways that this can be done is by going to the movies, as many excellent movies are being made to educate and entertain the masses about the natural habitats and behavior of different species. One film that captivated audiences around the world was Finding Nemo, a tale of a missing fish who is trapped by humans and a father who swims the ocean in an effort to get his son back.

The sequel to this award-winning film is set to be released in 2016. Finding Dory will reportedly follow the story of Dory, everyone’s favorite swimming buddy, as she attempts to reconnect with her family. Although Pixar is remaining silent about the script and details of the film, one important fact has been brought to light: Pixar is redoing the ending of the film as a response to another phenomenal film, Blackfish.

Blackfish is a documentary that exposes the deplorable conditions that captive orcas endure at SeaWorld and similar facilities around the world. After seeing the responses to the documentary, Pixar officials decided not to risk having Finding Dory get caught up in the controversy surrounding marine parks. The ending of Finding Dory was apparently set to take place in a marine park. Initially, the animals would have been forced to stay. However, the new ending will apparently have the animals in an aquatic center that they will be allowed to leave whenever they please.

Although we won’t know the precise details until the film is released, it is always encouraging to see companies taking the initiative to put animals first.

Post written by PETA Asia intern Victoria Wall

Continue Reading "Found Nemo. Finding Dory. Saving Tilikum."


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