Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cheesecake Factory Vegan Options

If you're in SoCal, then you've been to or have heard of The Cheesecake Factory. We received some C.F. gift cards (Thanks Van!), and wondered what our vegan options were. A bit of googleing turned up a letter sent from C.F. to a veggie that had the same question.

From: Jessica ( -
Subject: Re: Is anything vegan at the Cheesecake Factory? NT
Date: September 8, 2005 at 12:54 pm PST

In Reply to: Is anything vegan at the Cheesecake Factory? NT posted by Meg on August 26, 2005 at 8:54 am:


I recently visited a Cheesecake Factory for a friend's birthday and wrote to Customer Service to inquire what dishes were vegan. The reply came after my visit (I did accidentally eat a bun with eggs in it), but I thought it could be useful for others.

As of today, Sept. 8, 2005:

- Some salads (see more below)
- Vegetable sides

- The Veggie Burger and Portabella Burger without the bun are vegan.
- The Thai Lettuce Wraps can be ordered without chicken to be vegan.
- The Grilled Vegetable Pizza without cheese is vegan (no eggs in the crust).
- All salads can be ordered without meat. The following dressings do not contain eggs (ask about dairy): Chinese, Cilantro, Citrus Vinaigrette, Japanese, Vinaigrette, Lime Vinaigrette, Peanut Vinaigrette, Shallot Vinaigrette, Asian Vinaigrette, Sheila's Vinaigrette.

- The Veggie Pot Pie has a vegan filling but the crust has eggs in it.
- The Avocado Eggrolls are sealed with an egg wash.
- Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes are made with Heavy Cream and they're served with a Tomotillo Cream Sauce that contains chicken broth.
I am also told that the Veggie Stirfry contains fish sauce, so stay clear if you're not sure.

Happy eating.

Edit: We visited the Cheesecake Factory today. The one closest to us (Fashion Island) does not have a vegetable pizza, however, they were very gracious in creating one for us. Also, the all pasta contains egg.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Why I Hate Vegetarians

Julie Bindel
Monday June 13, 2005
The Guardian

People should not be bullied into giving up meat by humourless, judgmental souls using spurious arguments

Well allow me to retort (best Samuel L. Jackson voice)

Eating in a meat-free restaurant the other day made me realise why I hate vegetarians. The food, unlike the tasteless, bland rubbish often served up in such places, was delicious. Unusually for meatless cuisine, it had flavour and texture, and had even been seasoned.
What was unpalatable were the customers and waiting staff, all of whom seemed to believe that what they were eating made them superior. They all looked smug and self-satisfied. It brought it home to me that most vegetarians - and I am largely excluding those who eschew meat for religious and cultural reasons - give themselves a bad name. They are better than you, don't you know? The atmosphere in the restaurant was one of pompous aloofness. I left with indigestion.

You seem to have the opinion that vegetarian cooking in general is something less than meat centric cooking. This is a common misconception.

I can't speak to your experiences, but I have never had a bland or tasteless meal at a vegetarian restaurant in my area. Ever. I'll take you at your word though, and I'd recommend seeking out better restaurants. Have you tried vegetarian Indian? Bland? I think not.

People often assume I don't eat meat, because I am a feminist and vaguely of the left. I have turned up at dinner parties to find the host has assumed that at least one guest would be vegetarian, and served undercooked baked potatoes. What an atrocity! Why can they not put a chicken in the oven at the same time? Or is the sight of meat so offensive to veggies that they would pass out at the table?

To recap, you're saying that at an omni dinner event, the omni host did a poor job of cooking a vegetarian dinner, AND didn't provide a meat option, presumably because it would insult the sensibilities of the vegetarians?

Isn't that a little like going to a Chinese restaurant for German food?

I think you're trying to assign blame here. I frequently enjoy meals with omni friends., and have yet to pass out at the sight of meat.

I know you're exaggerating to make a point, but neither point is valid.

Recent converts can be the worst. I have lost friends to the cult who, once they get fed the mantra from the militants, become something akin to ex-smokers. I am tired of feeling self-conscious in restaurants when ordering meat in front of them. No one should deny that factory-farmed animals are kept in the most appalling conditions, and that eating too much meat is bad for you. But look at their claims. Crusaders promote vegetarianism not only as healthy but as a solution to world hunger and a safeguard of the planet.

You touch on a lot of things here. Let's dissect.

Agreed on the enthusiasm of some vegetarians. Doesn't the same hold true, though, for any group of people? Some people are going to be more vocal than others. Take some Christians or Apple computer users, as an example. I'd caution on the use of such sweeping generalities.

Perhaps you feel self conscious because, as you yourself agree, factory farming is unethical?

Regarding promoting vegetarianism as healthy and as more ecologically sound than raising meat. These are facts, not wishful thinking. Compare cost of land usage, water, fertilizer, waste contamination, and energy of producing one pound of soy, corn, or grain to one pound of meat. Many times less resources could go into feeding many times more people. Repeat after me, meat is not a necessity.

Do not assume living without animal products is always a positive, healthy choice. A vegan couple in American have recently been charged with child abuse for malnourishing their three small children. They had been brought up on a vegan diet from birth. There have been similar cases where children, who cannot choose what they eat, have had their health severely damaged because of their parents' principles. They are putting the welfare of animals before that of their children. Giving up meat and dairy has been linked to anorexia and other eating disorders in teenage girls. Lack of vitamin B12, found mainly in meats, eggs, dairy and fish, can cause brain damage. Most vegans, and some non-meat-eaters, have to supplement their diet with pills. In the developed world, vegetarianism is a privileged choice. How many working-class vegetarians do you know? It is not an option for most poor people in this country.

Do all vegetarians (and I include vegans) eat a healthy diet? No, of course not. Do all omni's eat a healthy diet? Look around, you tell me. Vegetarianism does not automatically translate into a healthy diet. As far as child abuse, I'd react with the same concern for a vegetarian child suffering from malnutrition as I would to an omni child. Have you been to your local Mc Donald's lately? How many of the morbidly obese children have been put into foster care?

The cost issue you bring up is completely absurd. It's no more expensive to live as a vegetarian than an omni, unless your diet consists of primarily pre-processed meals or restaurant food.

A veggie colleague once said of a woman with her three young children in a supermarket, "Have you seen those cheap beefburgers and pies she's feeding them? Why does she not go to the market, buy some fresh vegetables and make them all some nice, healthy soup?" Again that assumption that vegetarian and vegan foods are cheaper, which they are not, and that the mother had all the time in the world to prepare food from scratch.

Does anyone actually have sympathy for that argument? First, again, you are incorrect in your assumption that a veggie diet is more costly. Second, are you actually advocating cheap cheeseburgers and pies as being superior food to a vegetable soup? Third, it certainly does not take any more time to prepare a vegetarian meal. You're speaking out of ignorance.

Let's get our priorities right. People who put foxes and lambs before people do not have my vote. Animal liberationists blowing up scientists for conducting experiments that might lead to a cure for cancer are odious. There are more refuge spaces for cats than there are for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. While rape crisis centres are closing due to lack of funds, animal charities are raking it in.

These things are not mutually exclusive, as you'd like your reader to believe. Can one not care for people as well as animals? Your assertion is ridiculous.

Although vegetarianism is often seen as a "women's issue", there is a nasty, misogynistic wing that relies on sexist images and messages to convince people that meat is murder. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) are the worst offenders. One of their early adverts features a woman dragging a fur coat behind her. She is captioned as a "dumb animal". Another has a woman having her fur coat ripped off in the street and clubbed to death by a man, to make the point that it is not nice to be killed for your coat. The actor who played Lolita in the 1997 remake became "the youngest star to pose naked for Peta's anti-fur campaign". The message is: treat women, not animals, like meat.

That's an interesting interpretation. I have a different take, see if you agree. To me the first image says wake up and realize that you're causing pain and suffering to animals for vanity's sake. You totally misconstrued the point of the second ad as well. The person being killed for their fur coat is a symbol of the animal being killed for its coat. You may become more sympathetic to the animals plight if you put yourself in its, er, coat. See how that works? I miss the point of your Lolita actress ad comment altogether. You do know that both men and women have posed nude for PETA ads?

Stop trying to interpret everything as having sexist roots, you undermine your credibility.

Those who think we should not eat meat because all life is sacred are naive. Would they be happy allowing mosquitoes to spread malaria, or having rats run loose in their home? Not all creatures are equal. There are natural hierarchies in the food chain.

Food chains and hierarchies. The 19th century called, they want their labels back. Your point, I think, is that we have some ueber-position in this food chain, and that it's 'natural' for us to eat meat? I say evolve. You have the ability to choose how much harm you do.

People should be allowed to make their own choices and not be bullied or frightened into giving up meat. In the US recently, children in a secondary school were taken by their teachers to a slaughterhouse to show them how animals are killed for food. This tactic is a form of mind control, as unethical as discouraging young girls from having sex by making them watch a difficult childbirth.

Of course people should make their own decisions. Why does the natural and beautiful process of animal rearing and slaughter bother anyone? Oh, that's right, because it's brutal and barbaric.

It's not mind control. You're thinking of the dairy, egg, and meat lobbies on TV. It's reality.

I may hate vegetarians because they make me feel guilty, or because, meat being so delicious, they must have lots of willpower. But as an animal lover who agrees in principle with most reasons for giving up meat, I would rather not join that band of humourless, judgmental souls. It would seem that you are indeed what you eat.

Gotta be honest Julie, you come across as an angry and bitter person. Hate is a strong word, but you seem to see the glass as half-empty. If you are ever in the SoCal area, I'd like to invite you out to a meal. This is a sincere invitation.

· Julie Bindel is the founder of Justice for Women

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Vegan Pizza Video

The Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 tsp active dry yeast

1 bulb of garlic, crushed and covered with olive oil
1/2 pound of soy-cheese
Pesto concentrate
Black pepper
Crushed red pepper
2 1/2 large tomatoes, sliced
Sundried tomatoes
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 mushrooms, sliced
Jalapeno slices

Preheat oven to 425f, pre-bake crust for 12 minutes.
Apply pesto concentrate, spread evenly.
Apply handful of oregano.
Sprinkle of marjoram, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and thyme.
Apply sliced tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, mushrooms, jalapenos, and soy-cheese.
Bake an additional 19 minutes.

Good stuff!

10 Environmental Reasons To Go Vegan

Animal agriculture takes a heavy toll on the evironment. Here are some of the consequences.

1. Since 1967, forests have been destroyed at a rate of 1 acre every 5 seconds to create grazing land for beef cattle to ensure a continuous supply of inexpensive meat for our fast-food restaurants.
2. Economists estimate that for every person who switches to a vegan diet, 1 acre of trees is spared each year.
3. Runoff from animal waste is linked to a 7,000-square-mile "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico that no longer supports aquatic life.
4. At the present rate, many rain forests -- a natural resource on which we rely for everything from lifesaving medicines to the very air we breathe -- will be gone in 30 years.
5. Livestock produces 7 trillion tons of manure every year, and it all finds its way into our water system.
6. Sixty percent of all water used in America is used for meat production.
7. It takes 16 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat. Yet 16 people can be fed on the grain it takes to produce that pound of meat. Growing that amount of grain requires only 250 gallons of water.
8. Countries such as Ethiopia and some Central American countries use their farmland to supply the United States with cheap burgers instead of growing healthful grain foods for their own starving people. Every 2 seconds, a child starves to death somewhere in the world.
9. The livestock population of the United States consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed more than 5 times its human population. Ninety percent of all corn grown in the United States goes to livestock. Eighty percent of all grain and beans go to feed these animals.
10. Food grown directly for human consumption occupies 60 million acres. Food grown to feed livestock occupies 1.2 billion acres.

Source: Vegan Planet, Robin Robertson

Friday, February 9, 2007

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

This is an adapted recipe for vegan peanut butter cookies. I'd credit the original recipe writer if I could remember where I got the base recipe (sorry!)

Vegan, makes about 8-10 largish cookies

1/2 cup of margarine
3/4 cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg replacer (I use 1/2 banana or 2 tbsp corn starch)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup white flour

Mix it up, add water if it's too dry. Pre-heat oven to 375f. Place on cookie sheet, and bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Great with vanilla soy-milk.

12 Really Great Health Reasons To Go Vegan

As most vegans will tell you, a diet without animal products can be good for your health. Of the more than 12 million vegetarians in the United States, it is estimated that nearly 50% made the choice for health reasons. Consider these facts:

1. A vegan diet has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, adult-onset diabetes, and osteoporosis.
2. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that a vegetarian diet can prevent 97% of coronary obstructions.
3. Osteoporosis is a disease of protein excess. The protein in milk actually inhibits the body's ability to absorb the calcium from milk. Many plant-based sources of calcium are easily assimilated into the body.
4. Dairy consumption has been linked to heart disease, cancer (especially breast cancer), allergies, sinus trouble, migraines, and psoriasis.
5. Dairy food can create excess mucus in the body, which can host cold and virus germs in the respiratory tract.
6. Vegans and vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters.
7. Studies show that a plant based diet can increase your life expectancy by 7 to 15 years.
8. The feed given to livestock is sprayed with pesticides. More than 90% of the toxic chemical residues found in foods consumed by Americans come from animal products.
9. More than 60 million pounds of antibiotics per year are fed to livestock. These are passed on to people in meat and dairy products. This result in a diminished effectiveness of antibiotics used to treat human illness.
10. Meat also contains bovine growth hormone, which can cause early sexual maturity in children. Statistics show that 100 years ago, American girls reached puberty at the average age of 17; today girls as young as 8 are beginning puberty.
11. A vegan diet can reduce the risk of food poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control, campylobacter infects up to 90% of all chicken. In addition, each year up to 20,000 Americans become ill from the E.coli found in meat.
12. Cornell University's long-term study of diet and health, called the China Project, showed that 80-90% of all cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented by adopting a plant-based diet.

Source: Vegan Planet, Robin Robertson