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Friday, December 31, 2010

For a VEGAN 2011: Vegan Inspirations from Seven Vegan Cookbooks


For more recipe-related articles featured in this blog, you can click this link.

The proverb, “you are what you eat”, has perhaps never been more relevant than it is in present times. The awful patterns of food consumption driven by powerful corporates that are responsible for a large number of people finding themselves in revolting hospital rooms and spending their life savings paying hospital bills, is not hidden from us any longer. What is the way out?

Simply put, the way out of this sorry state of affairs is awareness at an individual level, the ability to make the connection between the degradation of personal health and the health of the Planet to what we eat, and to act on this realization. Veganism, marked by a whole food, no animal ingredient diet is a plausible way out. Are you ready for it?

Courtesy: PETA
In our previous story we had presented a compilation of vegan food blogs/websites together containing thousands of vegan recipes from the exotic to the simple. Today, we present a compilation of seven vegan cookbooks. There are, in reality, scores of vegan cookbooks available in hard cover. It has been a very tough task selecting seven from among them. The list that we have here is purely a representation. You can search the internet for many, many more. We have tried to ensure that all suggested books are readily available. All the books, save one, are available at Flipkart. We hope there is a bit for everybody here: for the new vegans, for the long-term vegans, for the aspirants of raw vegan food, for vegans who want to eat healthy and whole as opposed to vegan “junk”… Wherever available, we have also included links to the reviews of each cookbook. You can click each link to learn more.

1.    ‘1,000 Vegan Recipes’ by Robin Robertson
As the name suggests, this book contains 1,000 Vegan recipes from different world cultures. You can also click the name of the author above to be led into her food blog titled, Global Vegan Kitchen. 



2.    ‘A Vegan Taste Of India’ by Linda Majzlik
This book contains 120 Indian-inspired recipes that are completely free of animal ingredients. The same author has published 16 distinct vegan recipe books inspired by different world cuisines that you could check out by clicking this link.


3.    ‘Spicy Vegan’ by Sudha Raina
This book contains recipes inspired from North Indian cuisine.


4.    ‘The RAVE Diet & Lifestyle Book – 3rd Edition’ by Mike Anderson
This path breaking, powerful book containing more than 220 recipes based on the RAVE principle, underlines the healing power of plant-based whole foods through an engaging narrative and supported by hard data.
Book summary is available at The RAVE Diet & Lifestyle website.
For a peek into the first few pages, you can click this link.


5.    ‘The Sunfood Diet Success System’ by David Wolfe
This is an exhaustive book on the raw food lifestyle containing recipes and meal plans for a raw vegan diet.
Book summary is available at EveryDiet.
Price and Purchase


6.    ‘The Vegan Girl's Guide To Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets And More’ by Melisser Elliott
This book is a compilation of all things vegan that a girl needs to know right from vegan recipes to tattoos, lingerie, pottery, bakeries, blogs, and so on from all over the world! Champion Vegan Baker from Mumbai, Rithika Ramesh of The Green Stove bakery, is also featured in this book!
Book summary is available at The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life website.
Price and Purchase


7.    ‘Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
This book according to the authors is a “big, bold vegan cookbook that doesn’t hold back any punches”! It indeed is, with 250 recipes written in an utterly fun style! For more books by the same author/s, you can click this link. At Post Punk Kitchen, you can find Isa Chandra's recipes online as well.
Book summary is available at Vegan India!
Veganomicon is also available at Google Books! You can click this link to get it.
Is this the year for you? If yes, then please take the Vegan Pledge by clicking this link. Dear readers, best wishes to you for an uplifting New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

For a VEGAN 2011: Vegan Inspirations from Seven Food Blogs & Websites


For more recipe-related articles featured in this blog, you can click this link.

It is beautiful to see the internet space flourishing with hundreds of vegan recipe blogs/websites and thousands of people beginning to subscribe to a cruelty-free lifestyle. Is this New Year the year for you? Yes, it is that time of the year again – time to make New Year resolutions!

Courtesy: PETA
Today we have put together a compilation of seven wonderful recipe blogs/websites written and managed by seven wonderful vegan women and their respective teams. Of course, there are many, many more vegan food blogs/websites as we have stated at the outset, but for the sake of brevity, we have selected some from among them. We have aimed to include food blogs/websites containing recipes that suit the Indian taste buds and whose ingredients are readily available in the Indian kitchen. We have also tried to include a bit for everybody: for those of us who want to go the vegan way this New Year, for the long-term vegans looking for variety, for the aspirants of raw vegan food, for those interested in oil-free vegan food… ah well, suit yourself, we hope there is something for everybody!       

The blogs/websites are arranged in alphabetical order. You can click the name of each blog/website to be led into their respective spaces.


RawChocolateCake
1.    ‘Choosing Raw’ by Gena Hamshaw: This website, replete with semi-raw vegan recipes is one among the best internet references to consult if you are already a vegan who likes to eats a lot of raw food combinations. Or, if you are planning to take the ‘Raw Vegan’ pledge in the New Year. Or, if you occasionally and consciously like to binge on raw vegan food. Something about the website that greatly helps in imagining how raw vegan food looks like are the exceptional photographs. ‘Choosing Raw’ links up to other raw vegan foods blogs/websites as well.


Bhindi&LimaBeanMasala
2.    ‘FatFree Vegan Kitchen’ by Susan Voisin: This blog contains an incredible compilation of over 1400 low-fat delicious vegan recipes from across the world. These low-fat recipes, by and large, do not use oil, margarine, and shortening; instead, use water or broth for sautéing and apple sauce, flax seeds, and so on for baking. For the most part, the recipes use avocados, nuts, and seeds to lend the healthy and essential fatty acids into the food. Do check out the Indian cuisine section at ‘FatFree Vegan Kitchen’ by clicking this link. The blog is a super guide if you plan on getting rid of the unwanted fats in the body and still enjoy tasty food.


EgglessFrenchToast
3.    ‘Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes’ by Vaishali Honawar: This recipe blog contains more than 300 vegan recipes from across the world. The recipes suit a wide variety of Indian tastes as many dishes represent cuisines from the different Indian states. One highlight of the blog is that you will find the healthy and delicious vegan versions of many traditional non-vegan dishes. A great place to start for the non-vegans amongst us! You can also read our recent review of ‘Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes’ by clicking this link.


CashewVegetableKorma
4.    ‘Post Punk Kitchen’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: This website with dashes of humor and peppy stories interlacing the recipes is quite entertaining. The author makes vegan food sound like a lot of fun that it actually is! Suit yourself; there are some Indian-inspired recipes and many others from around the globe. There is quite a bit to explore at ‘Post Punk Kitchen’ as well. We found this very cool note entitled vegan Culinary Activism in 10 Yummy Steps and just loved reading it!


http://tongueticklers.com/2009/01/gaajar-ka-halwa/
Gaajar-ka-halwa
5.    ‘Tongue Ticklers’ by Harini Prakash: This blog containing recipes of hundreds of mouth-watering dishes accompanied by enchanting photographs and interesting stories of the trials and triumphs in a vegan kitchen, is both a culinary and visual delight! The recipes are largely Indian and here too, you will find the vegan versions of many traditional favorites. Most recipes in the blog use organically grown ingredients and whole grains to ensure that the dishes are nutritious alongwith being tasty. ‘Tongue Ticklers’ well establishes that you need to give up nothing but unhealthy eating habits to become a healthy, responsible vegan.


TandooriVegetables
6.     ‘Vegan on the Prowl’ by Rithika Ramesh: This blog chronicles the culinary feats of a Mumbai-based Vegan Baker. The recipes are quite insightful – some simple, some requiring skill, but all the same, all recipes make use of ingredients commonly available in the Indian kitchen. After going through ‘Vegan on the Prowl’ and trying out the recipes in there, you might never want to ask – “What does a vegan eat, anyway!?!” The health bytes on the blog is another thing to look forward to.


TomatoMintSoup
7.    Vegan Recipes from ‘SHARAN’ by Dr. Nandita Shah: This website is an all-time favorite reference, especially if you are learning to integrate vegan cooking in your daily life for the first time. You will find a good number of recipes well indexed in every imaginable category and very much cut out to delight the Indian taste buds. Do check out the index for soups, you might go off the processed soup packets in the market after this! The desserts index contains recipes of a remarkable range of vegan sweetmeats that you can joyfully look up to, make, and share!  


Vegan cooking, as most vegans who love to cook would testify, is a form of meditation. Meditation moves you to center within and make modifications in the internal programming. When you emerge from the state of rumination, you are an individual with greater control over your actions. Simply put, your actions become more mindful than ever before and are guided by love and caring. Vegan cooking is all about love and caring – towards yourself and towards all other sentient beings that inhabit the Planet.

Won’t you give veganism a chance this New Year… hope you Can! Do take the Vegan Pledge for 2011 that PETA has so thoughtfully put together by clicking this link.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

‘Sporkonline.com’, Online Vegan Cooking Classes


For more recipe-related articles featured in this blog, you can click this link.

“I propose to do nothing less than redefine what we think of as good nutrition. You need to know the truth about food, and why eating the right way can save your life.”

This is a quote from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the author of the path-breaking research, The China Study. Following closely on the heels of Dr. Campbell who they regard as their hero, sisters Heather and Jenny Goldberg have set out to become vegan angels for many – healing people through their cooking and providing them support to understand what “good nutrition” is all about.

Jenny & Heather
Awareness calls for change
Heather and Jenny, both students of Environmental Studies in college inspired by their course material, decided to embrace vegan 11 years ago. As they learned more about how the meat and dairy industry linked to the degradation of the Planet, the sisters grew firm in their resolve to stay vegan. Their decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle was initially founded on political and environmental principles; soon, animal rights and health concerns became more and strong reasons to go cruelty-free. For more about Heather and Jenny, you can click this link.

Founding Spork Foods
After Jenny had attended culinary school in New York City, the sisters took up private work as vegan chefs. In January 2008, they laid the foundation for Spork Foods. Spork Foods is a Los Angeles-based organic-vegan cooking company through which Heather and Jenny offer in-person cooking classes, consultations on healthy eating, and recipe development.

Launching Sporkonline.com
However, the sisters realized that inspiring one or two families to eat healthy was not their ultimate goal. They envisioned educating more people in large numbers. Therefore, they decided to collaborate with Open Road Films, a professional film making company, to launch Sporkonline.com. Through Sporkonline, the sisters teach anybody who is willing to learn about how to create delicious vegan food. Anyone, anywhere in the world can take up the online vegan cooking classes offered by Sporkonline! Below are photographs of some recipes created by Heather and Jenny.

Cupcake
Apple Tarte Tatin
Fettucini Alfredo with Vegan Parmesan Crisps

Through Sporkonline, the sisters conduct online cooking classes for both vegetarians and meat-eaters who approach them with the simple quest of how to integrate healthy eating habits into their diets. According to the sisters, some of their favorite students who started out eating meat have gradually made the shift to a meatless diet after realizing just how delicious vegan cuisine can be!

How does Sporkonline operate?
Sporkonline is a membership-based website for anyone who wants to learn how to prepare fun, easy, and delicious vegan recipes to serve anytime! The cooking classes are shot and edited in HD (High Definition) to create a precise, entertaining, and engaging experience.    

What does membership with Sporkonline offer to you?
•    The online classes are filmed with an eclectic group of students (including celebrities, authors, activists, farmers, parents, and entrepreneurs) that spark interesting conversations around the dinner table. As a member, you get to watch these conversations unfold!

•    A cooking class featuring a four-course meal built around a specific theme (for example, Italian, Southern Comfort, Fresh, Fast and Healthy, and Sushi Party) is posted online and is available to all members once a month.

•    Each month, Sporkonline offers exclusive bonus classes and recipes focusing on specific holiday and seasonal culinary traditions. As a member, you have access to the archived classes such as the Brunch Class, Chinese Food Class, and an Aphrodisiac Class.

•    Along with the cooking classes, members have the opportunity to travel with the sisters to see how vegan food and products are manufactured, meet the faces behind the products, shop for organic goodies, and while at it, meet with celebs and non-celebs alike!

•    As a member of Sporkonline, you can also ask questions to Heather and Jenny. The sisters will get back to you in writing or via a video shot for the other members to view as well.

To learn more about the benefits to members and get answers to your FAQs, you can click this link.

How to become a Sporkonline member
To become a Sporkonline member, you need to go to sporkonline.com, click "Become a Member", and fill in the blanks! If you face any issues signing in, you can contact Heather and Jenny at info@sporkonline.com.

In Conclusion
Sporkonline is a great medium for you to use to give vegan cooking a chance! Heather and Jenny meticulously guide you towards unlocking the doors to a lifetime of good health (sans medicines, diseases, and trips to hospitals) as they demonstrate how uplifting vegan cooking can get!

“A Compassionate World Begins With You,” ~Farm Sanctuary~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

‘Holy Cow!’, A Compelling Online Vegan Recipe Blog


For more recipe-related articles featured in this blog, you can click this link.

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”

~Khalil Gibran, the great mystic poet and artist~ 

Her blog is a compelling read that combines aesthetics, beauty, exotics, compassion, food cravings, varieties, color, love… !

She unlearns, she re-learns, she experiments, she creates, she inspires, she challenges, she teaches, she entices, she leads you to the “threshold of your mind”, she has turned the world upside-down for many!

You may either sit back relaxed and let yourselves be lead by her or may argue and debate with her; but what you will not be able to do is avoid her! She speaks the truth and what is: she speaks candidly about the politics of food. She follows her talks with action.

She is Vaishali Honawar, a former journalist with the Times of India Group, The Telegraph – Calcutta (Mumbai Bureau), and The Washington Times; and who, as many in the vegan world know is the creator and writer of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes. You can click this link to get into this amazing space. Born in a non-veg eating family and an all-time animal lover, Vaishali explains:

I gave up meat and fish and all other animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey, because I finally made the connection between animal cruelty and the food we so thoughtlessly put on our plates. As someone who loves to cook, I have gained a lot by becoming a vegan. I've become more experimental in the kitchen, and I discover and eat new foods every day. I decided to write Holy Cow! because I wanted to record all the new recipes I was trying, and a blog seemed like a great place where I could not just go back to them myself but also share them with anyone out there who is interested in leading a compassionate lifestyle.

Thus Holy Cow! was launched in November 2007. Holy Cow! now contains more than 300 recipes from all over the world. One highlight of the blog is that Vaishali has veganized many common recipes rendering them healthy and delicious than what they were. Examples are the egg-less French Toast, “not mutton” Mushroom Curry, ghee-less Carrot Halwa, dairy crème-less Navratan Kurma, dairy butter-less Bombay Pav Bhaji, dairy cheese-less Pizza, egg-less Quiche, and many more! For the recipe index on Holy Cow!, you click this link.

What you are likely to find at Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes

•    How to make your vegan dish look alluringly beautiful, delicious, and healthy. All these gorgeous pictures you see here have been borrowed from Holy Cow! and they link to their respective articles when you click them! The person behind the lens is Desi, Vaishali’s husband, who as Vaishali describes, “patiently takes all the pictures before I will let him eat”. Desi definitely has a way with the camera which suitably captures the love and thoughtfulness that has gone into preparing each dish.

•   The vegan substitutes you can use for eggs and honey, and animal-derived milk, yoghurt, cheese, buttermilk, and butter.

•   How to cook some not-so-commonly cooked vegetables and grains, such as plantain, wheat berry, avocado, edamame, bitter gourd, and squash to name a few.

•  Where and how to use herbs such as rosemary, sage, marjoram, basil, mint, and so on. (did you know you can grow the herbs in your gardens or balcony pots to lend that super taste to your cooking?)

•    How to make unforgettable, luscious vegan desserts, especially on festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so on.

•    How to effectively use nuts and seeds such as almond and cashew in your cooking for that extra ‘richness’ most associated with non-vegan food.

•    How to cook meat substitutes such as temph, seitan, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), and miso.

With each of her recipes, Vaishali dispels the various myths about vegan food and lifestyle. Get into the world of Holy Cow! and you will find that vegan food offers unlimited varieties, is sublimely delicious, and brimming with life-giving nutrition. The vegan diet does not cause chronic diseases rampant in today’s society because it helps feed our immune system rather than our disease-causing cells. A strong immune system protects us at all times from diseases. What’s more, vegan food keeps your mind stress-free because it is available minus the needless cruelty, chemicals, and hormones.

We wish more power to Vaishali!

“By replacing mindless eating with mindful compassionate eating, each of us can really make a positive difference that will benefit ourselves and future generations, our children and theirs, who depend on our goodwill, as they will inherit what we leave in our wake.” ~Dr. Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado and Author of, 'The Emotional Lives of Animals'~

Friday, November 19, 2010

‘Namdhari’s Fresh’ Vegan-friendly Store, Bangalore


For more vegan-friendly stores in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

The “All Veg. Always” Namdhari’s Fresh is a chain of very successful all-vegetarian stores in Bangalore set up under the aegis of Shri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji, the spiritual Guru of the Namdharis, a sect of Sikhism. Translated, “Namdhari” means “one who beholds God's name”. Vegetarianism, righteousness in character, and a quest to free society from social evils are some among the prominent teachings of the Namdhari Gurus. You can read in detail about their vegetarian position by clicking this link on the Namdhari Sikh Foundation website.

Namdhari’s Fresh stores are the public face of its parent company, Namdhari Seeds Pvt. Ltd.


Products available at Namdhari’s Fresh

You can find many organic and vegan products at Namdhari’s Fresh. These are the following.

Organically grown: Grains, pulses, jaggery, pickles, spices, snacks, dry fruits, sweets, and other edibles from organic food producers such as 24 Letter Mantra, Navadarshanam, ProNature, The Organic Lifestyle, and some from Namdhari Seeds themselves.

Fruits and vegetables: Desi and western fruits and vegetables from the Namdhari farms at Bidadi near Bangalore. Besides the commonly found Indian fruits and vegetables, the exclusive greens include the following: baby cucumber, lettuce, asparagus, kiwi, baby corn, parsley, zucchini, broccoli, cherry tomato, red cabbage, leek, colored capsicum, parsley, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, lemon grass, basil, dill, physalis, passion fruit, brussels sprout, and so on. All of these are grown in the farmlands of our own country and therefore they return more value for your money when you compare them with the imported ones. Please note that while some of these fruits and vegetables are organically grown, all are not. You may want to consult the support staff for more information.

Processed vegan edibles: Vegan chocolates from Choco Bon Bon, Bournville, and Cacao; delicious plant-based frozen foods from Fry’s Vegetarian; vegan breakfast cereals from Good Earth, Pristine Organics, and Bagrry’s; vegan muffins, cakes, and breads from Bagels and Bakes, fruit bars from Naturo; vegan biscuits from Parle (Hide & Seek and Bourbon); soy milk from Staeta; coconut milk from Dabur; Crumpy Belgian Hazelnut Cocoa Spread; green teas; and so on.

Namdhari’s Fresh outlets in Bangalore

1. Banashankari – Address: Banagiri Nagar, Kathriguppe Main Road, Banashankari 3rd Stage, Bangalore – 560070; Landmark: Near Devegowda Petrol Pump; Telephone: 080-26794033

2. Brigade Metropolis – Address: The Arcade, No. 113/G01 & G02, Mahadevapura Village, Krishnarajapura (Hobli), Bangalore South Taluk, Banglaore – 110036; Telephone: 080-22650444

3. Brigade Millenium – Address: Brigade Millenium Campus, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore – 560078; Telephone: 080-41650428

4. BTM Layout – Address: 774, 7th Cross, 16th Main Road, BTM 2nd Stage, Bangalore – 560070; Landmark: Opposite Swadisth Hotel; Telephone: 080-41572605

5. Frazer Town – Address: 133, MM Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore – 560005; Landmark: Near Richie Rich Restaurant; Telephone: 080-41487135

6. Indiranagar (1) – Address: 134, 60ft Domlur Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore – 100038; Landmark: Near Nandini Hotel: Telephone: 080-41152909

7. Indiranagar (2) – Address: 789, 12th A Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Bangalore – 560038; Landmark: Near Sony Service Centre; Telephone: 080-43442105

8. Jayanagar – Address: 529, 36th Cross, 10th Main, Jayanagar 5th Block, Bangalore – 560011; Landmark: Opposite Shanthi Nursing Home; Telephone: 080-41502443

9. Koramangala – Address: 611, 8th Block, 80ft Road, Koramangala, Bangalore; Telephone: 080-41103778

10. Langford Town Road – Address: 14/1, Langford Road, Bangalore – 560025; Landmark: Beside State Bank of Mysore; Telephone: 080-40953424

11. Mantri Elegance – Address: Basement Mantri Elegance Apartments, Next to Shopper’s Stop, Banneraghatta Road, Bangalore; Telephone: 080-41105139

12. RR Nagar – Address: No. 110, 12th Cross, Ideal Homes Township, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bangalore – 560098; Telephone: 080-28608125

13. RT Nagar – Address: 573, 2nd Main, 2nd Block, RT Nagar, Bangalore – 560032; Landmark: Near FM Silks; Telephone: 080-41524782

14. Sadashiv Nagar – Address: 13/1, Shree Complex, 2nd Main, Vyalikaval, Bangalore – 560003; Landmark: Near Canara Bank; Telephone: 080-41236134/35

15. Sahakar Nagar – Address: 849/7, A-Block, Sahakara Nagar, Bangalore – 560092; Landmark: Near Canara Bank; Telephone: 080-41735363

16. Sarjapur – Address: 17/2, Sarjapur Ring Road, Bangalore – 560034; Landmark: Near ICICI Bank; Telephone: 080-41688568

17. Whitefield (Kundanahalli) – Address: 1, Arvind Avenue, Whitefield Main Road, Bangalore – 560050; Landmark: Near Silver Line Bakery; Telephone: 080-41641285

18. Whitefield (Main Road) – Address: Anmol Carlson Court, New No. 613 (Old No. 1), Whitefield Main Road, Whitefield, Bangalore – 560065; Telephone: 080-41260519

“Vegetarianism now has a future ahead. On [a] vegetarian diet, five to six times the number of people living on [the] Earth can be fed. A time might come when all human beings will have to depend, by compulsion, upon vegetarianism to subsist… God has created the man as pioneer of all living beings. It is immoral, unethical and sinful on his part to kill and eat them. It pollutes the body, mind and soul.” ~Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji at the 33rd World Vegetarian Congress~

Saturday, November 13, 2010

‘Sagar Ratna’ Vegetarian Restaurant, NCR


For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Delhi reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Idlis
Dosa
Uttappam
The Sagar Ratna chain of vegetarian restaurants is the preferred choice of many Delhites when it comes to having authentic South Indian vegetarian and vegan food. The food is always fresh and the service is excellent. The Defense Colony branch of Sagar Ratna in Delhi especially, is a favorite haunt for people of all ages and from all sections of the society. At any time of the day you can find people sitting in the restaurant relishing the soft idlis, flavorful dosas, juicy uttappams, special South Indian rice items, and thalis (meal platters) to name a few. Sagar Ratna’s coconut milk dip served with some dishes is awesome. Food is primarily cooked in oil, unless specifically mentioned in the menu card that ghee (clarified butter) will been used. You can also put in a word to the staff while placing your order to ensure that your food is free of cow’s milk and its derivatives.

North Indian vegetarian and vegan food is also available at Sagar Ratna restaurant.

Sagar Ratna menu:
You can click this link for a glimpse into the Sagar Ratna menu.

Branches and address: Sagar Ratna has many branches spread out in the National Capital Region. You can get the address of each branch by clicking this link in the Delhi Helpline website.

Cost factor: Very reasonable

“So, what is my prescription for good health? In short, it is about the multiple health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, and the largely unappreciated health dangers of consuming animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs.” ~Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University & Author of 'The China Study'~

Sunday, November 7, 2010

‘Sattvik’ Vegetarian Restaurant, Delhi


For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Delhi reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

‘Sattvik’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘pure’. In the context of food, ‘sattvik’ refers to a vegetarian diet.

The stylish ‘Sattvik’ restaurant located on the second floor at Select City Walk mall in Delhi lives up to its name. Not only does it offer a pure vegetarian North Indian fare, it is vegan-friendly as well. The staff understands what ‘vegan’ implies; the menu even has one dish that calls out it is vegan: the Vegan Dragon Roll. This dish consists of succulent steamed rolls stuffed with exotic vegetables. The staff helps you veganize your dishes with appreciable patience.

However, be cautious if you are ordering any of the fruit drinks. Most of them are made from preserved fruits. The only juice that is made from fresh ingredients is Om Fizz, a refreshing concoction of crushed cucumber and lime. Another aspect on the flip side is that there are no vegan desserts on the menu. However, if you yearn for a vegan dessert after a meal at Sattvik, you can stroll across to the Gelato Italiano stall round the corner on the same floor for vegan sorbets. These sorbets are available in two flavors: mango and lime. 

Sattvik menu: You can click this link for the online link to the menu.

Address: Select City Walk Mall, S-5 2nd Floor, A-3 District Centre, Saket, New Delhi – 110017

Telephone: 011-40599911-13

Timings: Between 12:00noon to 4:15pm for lunch and 7:00pm to 11:15pm for dinner

Cost factor: A meal for two costs anywhere from Rs.600/- upwards.

“I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.” ~Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D., Author of ‘Eat More, Weigh Less’~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Organic-Vegan Fruit Jams from ‘24 Letter Mantra’


For more vegan jams reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

All jams in the market carry the ‘green’ vegetarian symbol; however, the question we may ask is, are these jams healthy? If you check the ingredients list, you will find they contain a host of food additives such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Many contain processed white sugar as well. These jams do not claim to use organically grown fruits either. Under such circumstances, the question really is (repeat), are these jams healthy?

In an earlier post, we had reported about the organic-vegan fruit jams from Plantrich; the good news is that here’s another range of fruit jams to add to the list of healthy organic-vegan jams. These are the jams from the well-known organic food brand, 24 Letter Mantra.

Flavors and ingredients

The organic-vegan jams from 24 Letter Mantra are available in three flavors: mango, mixed fruit, and strawberry. The primary ingredient in the jams—the fruits—are 100% organically grown, that is, cultivated without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and chemicals. Additionally, the jams come with the assurance of not containing artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives either.

Availability of 24 Letter Mantra jams

Here is a brief on where you can purchase jams from 24 Letter Mantra in the following cities.

Bangalore: @ Spencer’s and Mother Earth stores.
Chennai: @ Heritage, Nilgiris, Spencer’s, Brown Tree, and TESCO stores.
Delhi: @ Anand Stores, Khan Market; Star Bazzar, Kailash Colony; and Malik Brothers, Defense Colony.
Gurgaon: @ Spencer’s; Easy Day (Walmart); Garg Dastak, Sector 31; DT Mall near Sikandarpur Metro Station; and Kitu Health.
Hyderabad: @ the 24 Letter Mantra flagship store where you can call at 040-23300404 and get the address.
Kolkata: @ all big Spencer’s stores.
Mumbai: @ Big Bazzar, Hyper City, More, and Nature Basket stores.

For more information, you can contact the brand’s headquarters at 040-27893028/729.

Note: 24 Letter Mantra offers a host of other organic-vegan products as well. To learn more about the different products, you can click this link.

“Many organic practices simply make sense, regardless of what overall agricultural system is used. Far from being a quaint throwback to an earlier time, organic agriculture is proving to be a serious contender in modern farming and a more environmentally sustainable system over the long term.” ~David Suzuki, Environmentalist~

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vegan Cakes from ‘Navadarshanam’ and a Farm Visit, Bangalore


For more vegan bakery products available in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Sometime back we had published a story on the organic-vegan peanut butter available at Navadarshanam. We recently learnt that Navadarshanam makes Vegan cakes as well. We also visited their farm. This calls for a second story!

Navadarshanam’s Vegan cakes are available in two varieties: The Carrot Cake and the Dates Cake. The ingredients are healthier than any cake you will find (unless you bake in your own kitchen) and consists of whole wheat, jaggery, and cold-pressed sunflower oil besides the baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, carrot, and dates. The end product is a yummy, healthy treat.



As they are made of whole wheat, the cakes lend a grainy feeling in the mouth and the pleasure of snacking healthy. These cakes definitely provide some nutrition to the body instead of empty calories and are great as teatime or in-between meal-time snacks. Navadarshanam’s Vegan cakes also dispel a very big myth: that it is not possible to make cakes without eggs! According to the SHARAN website, eggs are used in recipes as “binders, holding the other ingredients together, or as leavening agents, providing lift and affecting texture”. Look closely at the photograph above and see how much the cake has risen! The cold-pressed organic sunflower oil in the Navdarshanam cake acts as the egg replacer. You can also check out suggestions in the SHARAN website for other egg replacers by clicking here.

How to order the Vegan cakes from Navdarshanam

Navdarshanam bakes Vegan cakes on order and the cakes are available in Bangalore only. You need to call up Swamy at 09243091417 to place your order at least 24 hours in advance.

The cakes are available at selected locations on selected days only. Please write at navadarshanam@gmail.com to include yourself in the Navdarshanam mailing list and stay informed about the venue and date of sale. In addition to the cakes, you can also shop for Navdarshanam’s range of organic-vegan products and farm-fresh organic vegetables.

Each cake weighs 450 grams and costs Rs.80/-.

A visit to the Navadarshanam Farm 

You can visit and stay over at the 110-acre Navadarshanam farm and see for yourself all the activities that take place there. However, before going you need to inform in advance so that Navadarshanam can prepare your food and living quarters. The food is organic-vegetarian; you will be served Vegan food if you inform at the time of arranging the visit. Alcohol, drugs, and non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited inside the Navdarshanam premises. There is no predetermined tariff for the visit; you can donate at will – the amount goes towards the upkeep of the place. Please visit this page on the Navdarshanam website to get the details about how to organize your visit.

The visit was worth it! The trek in the hilly Navdarshanam farm, the scrumptious organic-vegan meals served in the common dining area, the eco-friendly living, and the opportunity to shop at the in-house store were some of the things we enjoyed. Do not forget to carry a pair of good walking shoes, a torch, and warm clothes if you decide to go. And yes, you can even purchase the cakes from the store at the farm by placing your order in advance!

Would you be interested to bake Vegan cakes and prepare Vegan desserts? You can try out these delicious Vegan cake recipes from The Vegan Society and these equally delicious Vegan desserts from SHARAN.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vegan Cosmetics from ‘Ruby’s Herbal’, Bangalore and Pondicherry


For more vegan/cruelty-free cosmetics reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Look closely at Mother Nature and you will find plenty of resources that you can use as food, medicines, cosmetics, clothing, and so on. Humans need not abuse Mother Nature to procure these resources as she has made provisions to make them available in plentiful. Plants produce thousands of seeds round the year to make sure every human is well look after. In earlier times when our ancestors lived in harmony with Nature, cosmetic industries using chemicals, other harmful substances, and slaughterhouse byproducts were unheard of. Even from our grandmother’s generation we can easily dig out amazing recipes made from natural plant-based ingredients to tend to our hairs and skins.

Ruby-Mathieu of 'Ruby’s Herbal', our story for today, explain further:
“Our ancestors also knew the medicinal values of all plants: trees, flowers, seeds, roots, fruit, etc. They knew where they were best available and when they could be plucked or harvested... what season and what part of the day… Furthermore, our ancestors prepared their oil, paste, or syrup with consciousness. Their heart communicated with the ingredients while they were preparing and mixing them.”
Drawing from the wisdom of her ancestors, Ruby, in 2006, decided to dedicate her time to preparing handmade herbal cosmetics from the herbs, plants, and flowers grown in her own ancestral farm in South Karnataka. In due course, she developed recipes for several herbal cosmetics and made them available in the market.

Ruby’s Herbal products are not too difficult to spot. Sitting pretty in their lovely handmade paper wrappers, they adorn the shelves of stores. They stand out for another reason as well: Ruby’s Herbal products are 100% cruelty-free. Although the packaging does not carry claims of being ‘cruelty-free’, here is what Ruby-Mathieu had to say about their products:
“Ruby's Herbal products are made with fifteen herbs grown in our little farm. We handpick the herbs in the morning, and process them and bottle them by evening. Our oil, soap, and shampoo do not contain animal ingredients and neither is our products tested on animals.”
Ruby’s Herbal cosmetics line has five products in all: the flagship Herbal Hair Oil, a Natural Shampoo, Neem Soap, Alo Vera Soap, and Papaya Soap.

All of the ingredients in Ruby’s Herbal products are organically grown without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The herbs are hand-plucked early morning and combined with pure natural oils over the process of preparation. For example, the soap and shampoo contain vegetable oils at the base added to the goodness of the herb extracts. A wooden fireplace, copper vessels, hand held pressure tools, and the feeling of love are the tools used by Ruby-Mathieu to facilitate the process. By the end of the day, the herbal formula is bottled.

Where to find Ruby’s Herbal products

Ruby’s Herbal products are retailed through Era Organic, Mother Earth, and Thoms Bakery and Stores in Bangalore; and Casablanca, Kasha Ki Aasha, Uptown Fitness Studio, Pour Tous (Aurovile), and Dune Resort in Pondicherry. In case you wish to get in touch with Ruby-Mathieu to learn more, you can write to them at rubysherbal@hotmail.com.

Animal testing is so terribly unnecessary. Would you be interested to know why? Please read this excellent report titled “Death: The Price of Beauty: Animal Testing and the Cosmetic Industry”, by Kelly Renz McNeal.

Please support chemical-free, cruelty-free cosmetics! Our choices can make the difference!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Animal-bone Free Crockery


Many of us have been using ‘bone china’ crockery for as long as we can remember. However, most of us may not have given a passing thought to the word “bone”. It is disturbing to know that bone china crockery is not as harmless as it appears to be. Rather, it is a deadly cocktail of slaughterhouse byproducts made available through a cruel industrial process. Yes, bone “china” crockery indeed contains the bones of animals. Thomas Frye, who is known to have begun the industrial production of bone china crockery, set up his factory near the slaughterhouses and cattle markets in Essex, England. You can click this wiki link to read more about the history of bone china.  


How is bone china crockery produced?

Bone china crockery is made from clay containing varying degrees of bone ash (25% to 50%). Wondering how the bone ash is produced? Animal bones obtained from slaughterhouses are first processed to remove the flesh and glue from them. The bones are then heated at very high temperatures (1100c to 1250c) until they burn to ash or to a fine powder. This ash or powder is then combined with water and clay to produce a slurry. Finally, the slurry is fashioned into cups, saucers, plates, teapots, bowls of various shapes and sizes… familiar objects in your kitchen and dining table, aren’t they?! (source: Vegplanet)

As compared to pure porcelain, crockery made from ‘bone china’ is easily identifiable from their greater translucence and lightness. And, finer the bone china, higher is the content of dead animal bones.


What are the alternatives?

Here are some cruelty-free ideas for the times you go crockery shopping. Hopefully the suggestions will help you be mindful of the purchase decisions you take.

1) Glass/crystal/opal glass crockery from any crockery store across the country. The glass and crystal range from the LaOpala brand is a popular choice. LaOpala crockery has the ‘green’ vegetarian symbol stamped on its boxes and the declaration that the product is “100% bone ash free”. Some years ago, LaOpala had launched an ad. campaign with the slogan, “Vegetarians love their meal more on LaOpala. 100% bone ash free.” You can view one of the LaOpala campaign ads by clicking this link.

2) Ceramic/porcelain/clay/earthernware crockery with aesthetic looks and designs from standard crockery stores, craft bazzars, tribal art shops, Fabindia, Mother Earth, and Lifestyle stores across the country. However, according to Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) – India, ceramic crockery may be glazed with shellac. Shellac is obtained from kerria lacca or lac insects. It is a resin consisting of the lac insect's larvae, parts, and wings. One lakh insects are killed for 333 grams of shellac. Besides crockery, shellac (E number E904) is an ingredient of an unimaginable number of products used in daily life – gems, nutties, confectionery, dried fruits, crockery, electrical insulation, adhesives, pastes, printing inks, paints, textiles dyes, varnishes, polishes, crayons, optical frames, dental plates, grease-proof paper, jewellery settings, fizzy drinks, and the list goes on! This report by BWC contains all details about cruelty lac production and the alternatives.

BWC recommends querying the manufacturer to ensure shellac-free crockery. 
  
3) Stainless steel utensils available in any stainless steel outlet across the country.

“If a man aspires toward a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” ~Leo Tolstoy, Writer and Philosopher~

For information about Beauty Without Cruelty – India, the organization that introduced the 'green' vegetarian symbol, you can click this link.

Friday, October 8, 2010

‘Millie’s’ Vegan Cheese, Bangalore


These days when we speak of the rise of India as a global superpower, we take the early 90s as a reference point and the discussion hovers around industrialization, off-shoring, our burgeoning middle class, and the nouveau riche. One essential byproduct of globalization that we often fail to acknowledge is the rapid change in the pattern of food consumption over the past two decades – with all that is considered junk in the West being methodically passed over to India, year after year. Our recent love for cheese being just a point in case.

Cheese consumption in India, sadly, is growing at 15-20% every year with the European, Australian, and American companies aiming to grab bigger market shares and alter the eating habits of the Indian middle class with their tricky marketing (source). The educated urban population, unfortunately, falls for the bait. According to the same source, the metropolitan cities consume over 60% of the total cheese sold in India. No wonder that health concerns are rampant in the metros with people as young as 30 years falling sick with heart disorders and diabetes, thanks to their acquired eating habits.

Traditionally, cheese has been understood to be made from animal milk. In scientific studies done over the past few decades, animal milk has proven to be detrimental to good health besides being a cruelty product (PETA report: Inside the Indian Dairy Industry). So, why consume milk or cheese made from animal milk? Is it to gratify the acquired taste? If it is about taste, then how about giving Vegan cheese a chance?

Yes, Vegan cheese! Vegan cheese is made from ingredients such as nuts and wheat! This cheese is a great way of enjoying the taste of ‘cheese’ without stealing the milk from the mother animal – her milk which is meant for her young ones only. Nut-and-wheat-based cheese also proves one point: that there is no extraordinary substance present in animal milk that lends the ‘cheesy’ flavor to the cheese; it is rather the process that does the trick. Animal milk can well be substituted with nuts and ingredients obtained from other plant sources to make cheese.

Millie's cheese
Millie in Bangalore has charmed many people with her splendid varieties of vegan cheese. She prepares Vegan cheese from 100% organically-grown cashew nuts and wheat in three flavors: herb, paprika, and garlic. Millie’s Vegan cheese tastes great in a regular burger, as a salad dressing, on pastas, on pizzas, and not to mention on the toasted bread. It is the most awesome Vegan equivalent after Vegan yoghurt and payasam that we have discovered! You need to taste Millie's cheese to believe the claim! To place your order, you can contact Millie at telephone numbers 080-41236539 and 09880288634.

You may want to try making vegan cheese in your kitchens by following the method recommended in the SHARAN website.

“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth—beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals—would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?” ~George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize Laureate~

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayurvedic Vegan ‘Medimix’ Soap


For more vegan/cruelty-free soaps reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.


There is not much to say about Medimix soaps because the BWC-certification says it all. Medimix ayurvedic soap does not contain ingredients derived from animals, does not use animal-derived substances in its manufacture, and is not tested on animals either. Please check the certification in the image below.

Medimix soaps are available in three varieties: for dry skin containing vegetable glycerin and Lakshadi oil, for infection-and-odor-prone skin containing 18 herbs, and for blemish-prone skin containing Sandal oil and the Eladi oil. You can click the bolded links above to learn more about the composition of each variety.

Availability of Medimix Ayurvedic Vegan Soap: Medimix soaps are available in most stores all over the country.

“Ultimately, compassion to animals is really compassion to oneself.” ~Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu, Jain Guru~

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Organic-Vegan Soap from ‘Khandige Organic’


For more vegan/cruelty-free soaps reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

This soap does not contain harmful preservatives, coloring and dyes, synthetic perfumes and fillers, foaming agents, petrochemicals, whiteners, animal parts, and is not tested on animals either. This is the SOMA organic soap manufactured by Khandige Organic.

 
So, what does SOMA soap contain?

SOMA soap is made from cold pressed organic coconut oil, extra virgin coconut oil, organic certified NaOH, and natural essential oils and fragrances only. The soap is ideal for sensitive skins. According to Khandige Organic sources, SOMA soap prevents skin rashes, and works well on allergy-prone skins and baby skins.

Khandige Organic has a collection of other cruelty-free products as well that includes hair oils, body oils, massage oils, spices, coconut oil, jaggery, and sesame oil. To find out about them, you can click this link.


Availability of SOMA soap

SOMA soap is currently available in three flavors: Kewara, Lavender, and Peppermint in seven cities in the country. To find outlets in Bangalore, you can click this link and to find outlets in Chennai, Karunagapally, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Pune, and Secundarabad, you can click this link.


Vegan notes

Have you ever wondered about the fate of the animals selected as targets to "test" our cosmetics on? In a civilized society, can we ignore such crimes? We must know what goes on in the background to produce the cosmetics we use. Here’s one article from PETA entitled Animals Used for Experimentation that explains what "animal testing" is all about and what each one of us can do to prevent it.

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.” ~Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father of the Non-violent Political Struggle in India~

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vegan Plant-based Butter from ‘Dakini Foods’


For different varieties of plant-based/vegan butter reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Here comes a truckful of butter from Dakini Foods made from some of the yummiest seeds and nuts! All without artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives!

The variety available in this plant-based butter series is quite striking – almond, cashew, peanut, sunflower, and tahini (white, brown, and black).


About Dakini Foods and how it manufactures plant-based butter

Dakini Foods has been around in India for a while. In February 2010, the Company was bought over by Indian entrepreneurs following the transfer of sophisticated technology that allows healthy plant-based butter to be manufactured in commercial quantities with the use of ZERO food additives. Using a very special procedure, the nuts and seeds are first roasted to appropriate degrees after which the machine splits them from the middle and grinds them till the oil separates. The oil is then removed and the nuts and seeds are ground further till they acquire a creamy-smooth texture. The butter is packed in glass bottles. Glass, in contrast to plastic, increases the shelf life of any product, in this case the butter, allowing it to stay unspoilt upto three years without preservatives or refrigeration.

Availability of Dakini plant-based butter

Before February 2010, butter from Dakini Foods was available only in the tourist cities of India; however post February 2010, the Company is on a war footing to align with distributors all over the country. The products have hit the market; if you want to find out the stores in your city at which they are available, you can call Company Representative, Mr. Vinod Kumar Gaba at telephone numbers 09950825275 and 09828401777. Where distributors are not yet available, the Company has evolved a system to reach your order through courier. You can place your order with Mr. Gaba in that case as well. You can also contact the Company through this link on their website.

We purchased our stock of Darkini butter from Dorabjee’s in Pune, the organic/natural store In the Pink in Bangalore, and some by courier.

Price

Below is the price of the various butter available with Dakini Foods. Note that the jars in the photographs are of 400 grams and so we mention below the price of each butter type per 400 grams only. Smaller and larger quantities are also available.

Price per 400 grams

Almond butter – Not known 
Cashew butter – Rs.350/-
Peanut butter – Rs.110/-
Sunflower butter – Rs.240/-
Tahini Black – Rs.220/-
Tahini Brown – Rs.140/-
Tahini White – Rs.150/-

Endnote

Nature has gifted human beings with great powers of creation. However, the twist in the tale is that Nature has also provided us the element of ‘Choice’. It is upon us to choose to channelize our ingenuity in positive ways bringing peace and well-being to all inhabitants of Planet Earth. Conversely, humans can also choose to use their ingenuity for ‘negative pursuits’ simply qualified as those that bring terror, fear, and dread in the lives of millions of non-human sentient beings. Often such pursuits are driven by the greed for money or simply because of uncompassionate conditioning.

Businesses such as Dakini Foods choose to utilize technology in a manner that does not cause any creature of air, land, or sea harm, whatsoever. Such businesses also give us an opportunity to see the merit in plant-based food habits. By supporting such companies, we get an opportunity to resister our allegiance with compassionate businesses in the society.
  
“In the final analysis, of course, all of us are destined to die. The mortality rate is still 100%, one per person. So the most important question, to me, is not just how long we live but also how well we live. When we look back on our lives, how much distress did we cause? How much suffering did we help alleviate? How much love did we give, and how much did we receive? How many people did we help? These are profoundly spiritual questions; as such, they are often the most meaningful. To the degree we can change our diets, we may be able to enhance our health, enjoy our lives more fully, and reduce the suffering in our wake. We face a spectrum of choices every day; it's not all or nothing. You may not want to give up eating animal protein or fatty foods completely, but you may be able to consume them less frequently if you understand the benefits of cutting back, how quickly they may occur, and how far-reaching they may be.” ~Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D., Author of ‘Eat More, Weigh Less~

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vegan Muesli from ‘Good Earth’


For more vegan breakfast cereals reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

These days you will find a number of breakfast cereals and muesli lining the shelves of most supermarkets and stores. We have already reported on two that were found to be vegan-friendly. Here's another one: The ‘diet’ muesli from Good Earth. Good Earth just like Bagrry’s, also manufactures more than one variety of muesli; but only the 'diet' variety is vegan-friendly because this variety does not contain honey or sugar.

You can enjoy the ‘diet’ muesli from Good Earth with fresh fruit juice, especially orange juice or freshly cut fruits. Every bite is enriched with almonds and raisins that add value to your breakfast.

Availability: The Good Earth ‘diet’ variety of vegan-friendly muesli is available in all modern trade centers across the country. Just in case you have difficulty finding the product in your city, you can contact the Company at feedback@avestagef.com.

Vegan notes: Why do vegans shun honey? Find out why from vegetus.org by clicking this link. If this is not enough, find out how honey is bad for your health from this news report.

Why do vegans shun refined sugar? Find out why from this article in the Vegetarian Journal. The article also informs you how organic sugar is vegan-friendly.

“For anyone to consider his or her diet healthy, it must be predominantly composed of high-fiber, natural foods. It is not the fiber extracted from the plant package that has miraculous health properties. It is the entire plant package considered as a whole, containing nature's anti-cancer nutrients as well as being rich in fiber.” ~Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Author Eat to Live~

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