Friday, July 23, 2010

Chaaaaaarge! Meet the first members of the Hot Vegan Army

I thought it only fitting that the first 2 members of the Hot Vegan Army here on Worldly Vegetarian should be the winners of PETA's yearly "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" contest. And this year's winners would certainly make anyone want to swear off hamburgers for life :-)

Congratulations to House's Olivia Wilde and The Biggest Loser's Bob Harper!

Olivia Wilde: You may know this sweeping beauty from tv's House, in which she plays an opinionated (and of course gorgeous) doctor with Huntington's disease. And God bless her, this knockout is a no-joke vegan, and really vocal about it. Just check out her personal website, Wilde Things. Here, she shares vegan recipes and anecdotes, as well as book recommendations and reviews. To boot, Ms. Wilde is also an activist for humans. She belongs to the ACLU, she's a board member in Artists for Peace and Justice, and she promotes several smaller human rights efforts on other pages of her website. I also remember seeing an interview with her online once, in which she said that she wished she could go back and tell her childhood self to be more confident. It was not that there were lots of things she wasn't good at, but just things she hadn't learned yet. I think we could all stand to have that attitude, and not treat ourselves so harshly sometimes. So don't hate her because she's beautiful. Love her because she is caring and makes some darn good points.

Bob Harper: You know, I've been watching the Biggest Loser for years, and not until this whole Sexiest Vegetarian alive thing did I even know Bob was a vegan. And, judging by what I have seen on Biggest Loser, and by what you can see above, vegans sure are healthy, haha. No flies on this guy for sure. He's got energy to spare. I even have some of the Biggest Loser workout videos, and this guy puts you through your paces. Additionally, as far as reality tv goes, I'd much rather see people making positive decisions that take them to a happier, healthier place in their lives, than to watch a whole bunch of immature "pretty people" backstab and gossip about each other all day.

In addition to his work with homo sapiens, Bob is of course an animal lover. He is an advocate against puppy mills, and owns an adopted dog named Karl. Bob is also the national spokesperson for this year's fundraising walk for Farm Sanctuary, a wonderful organization that I am just starting to learn about. According to

Farm Sanctuary is an American animal protection organization, founded in 1986 as an advocate for farm animals. It promotes laws and policies that support animal welfare, animal protection, and vegetarianism/veganism by rescue, education and advocacy. Farm Sanctuary houses over 800 cows, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pigs, sheep, rabbits, and goats at a 175-acre (0.71 km2) animal sanctuary in Watkins Glenn, New York. They house over 400 farm animals at a 300-acre (1.2 km2) sanctuary in Orland, California which, unlike the New York shelter, also houses burros.

So Bob, I salute you for the inspiration you give to people, and the example you provide for the ethical treatment of animals. Cheers Mr. Harper.

And cheers to the first members of our Hot Vegan Army! And there will be many more to come :-)

The Hot Vegan Army: suit up.

Whenever I find out that a celebrity or other interesting public figure is a vegetarian or vegan, I get a total thrill out of it. I don't know why, but it sort of makes me feel more justified in my life choices. I start to sense a kind of kinship with this person who has made the same decision that I made about 13 years ago, to start considering just where my food comes from, and to be conscientious with the products I buy. I have actually started to add these people to a mental list I like to refer to as the "Hot Vegan Army." And the more of us there are in the ranks, the stronger impact we have on the variety of vegetarian and vegan foods on the market.

I know that globally, we of the plant-based diets may still be in the minority. However, I also know that there are much tastier and more user-friendly animal-free foods on my supermarket shelves than there used to be when I first started cutting animal products out of my diet. So really guys, we're putting our money where our mouth is, and it's having an impact.

So to help keep us motivated on the days when we feel our commitment faltering, I present to you the Hot Vegan Army. I will periodically post about a notable vegan or vegetarian figure, and add them to the special Hot Vegan Army page tabbed at the top of the blog homepage. All suggestions are welcome if you see that I have left someone out. Everyone can use someone to look up to right?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's not ugly, it's my breakfast!

Have any of you ever tried an ugly fruit?

You may ask, "what on earth is an ugly fruit?" - but such is my point. As sad as it is to admit, PR matters a lot in the food world. I mean, if someone offers you a bite of food and says, "Here, try this. It's disgusting!" you're not exactly encouraged. Kombucha beverages seem to be selling pretty well these days, but I'm pretty sure it's because people are not saying "Try this fermented drink made from slimy mold!" but rather emphasizing the health benefits.

And yes, while the above misshapen blob does kind of look like a lumpy, semi-discolored orange, it is surprisingly refreshing. The Uglyfruit just needs a new publicist, that's all.

According to wikipedia, this homely but healthy fruit is a hybrid of grapefruit, tangerine, and orange, and it hails primarily from Jamaica. It tends to be sweeter than a grapefruit, and with fewer seeds. I myself found it to be very tasty. It was chock full of vitamin C-soaked sweetness. I think it would make a energizing change from a dull breakfast routine, especially as the weather heats up.

So God bless the company calling this fragrant side-show act of the citrus world "Unique" rather than "ugly" (Uniq fruit is one of the 2 big trade names for this hybrid). Maybe it will remind people in a subtle way that, just because you're not used to it, it doesn't mean that wonderful things don't come in imperfect-looking packages.

Any other ugli/uglyfruit fans out there? Please share your experience here.

Cheers all!