We are excited to present a cook book with savory Middle Eastern recipes that are vegan! Veganistan: A Vegan Tour of the Middle East & Beyond is by Sally Butcher. It is interesting that the author of a vegan cook book would have the last name “Butcher.” One could only imagine what childhood anecdotes she may have about her name growing up. Her photo with wild red hair and punk-rock fashion juxtapose a calm and reflective demeanor, gives a bit of insight into the character that developed Veganistan. An outward explorative nature, may explain the subtitle “the Middle East & Beyond.” While the choice to share vegan meals often is a result of an analytical thought process – of which her photograph hints at.
The tantalizing photographs of the vegan food Sally Butcher shares in her cook book, Veganistan, range from scrumptious rice dishes, delicious cabbage stew, yummy staples like falafel and mouth watering desserts such as Sweet potato cake. When you make a dish, let us know how you like it – send a photo! We would love to hear what you think!
(Happy International Womens Month / International Womens Day! Read to end for highlighted lady-owned business.)
There have been quite a few articles and commentary on the tension that has emerged between some vegans and indigenous people. There are those who identify as vegan, who have been attempting to shame indigenous communities for their use of animals. It would be important to first state that most vegans are not likely to agree with this approach. Even so, it has become a trending topic of dispute.
So let us weigh in on the conversation. Although we are obviously advocating a vegan lifestyle with this website, the first thought that came to mind was – “Why is anyone attempting to further dictate the actions of indigenous people in Abya Yala (aka: America) on their own land?”
We believe the focus of non-indigenous people who are vegan should remain firmly on the largest perpetrators of deaths of other beings. This would mean actively working on reducing the suffering of beings in slaughter houses, promoting vegan meals to the main stream, and advertising more eco-friendly and morally sound material use – like cactus leather instead of the skin of beings.
Marginalized communities should not be the target of vegan activism before large corporations are fully addressed and mainstream habits completely changed. This misplaced attention reminds me of some environmental activists who briefly attempted to shame impoverished people in African countries for burning tires for warmth instead of fully focusing on the far greater pollution of western countries.
Yes, at some point…far in the future…non-indigenous vegans may choose to respectfully offer vegan meal ideas and vegan material ideas to indigenous communities. However, it will probably be more effective when these ideas are introduced by the vegan indigenous people that already exist. Yes, there are indigenous vegans. There are also many indigenous communities that eat a primarily vegan diet already.
Due to this conversation, for International Womens Month, we would like to highlight the indigenous founder, Tina Archuleta, of the vegan restaurant – Itality – in New Mexico. She is using native vegetables, fruits and grains to make wonderful vegan indigenous food. She hopes to improve the health of the community and re-connect with de-colonized traditional meals.
There are currently states in Abya Yala (original name of USA/the Americas) attempting to remove history of people from Alkebulan (original name of Africa) from the school curriculum. Well, here are just a few of the many contributions – important and fun – from African-American scientists, engineers, and more!
Materials used in some of the products below may not be vegan.
Alfred L. Cralle
In 1897, Alfred L. Cralle patented the ice cream scoop.
While you’re at it, get some vegan ice cream here.
In 1923 Percy Julian completed his schooling at Harvard University with a master’s in chemistry. Many scientists were attempting to find a more efficient way to produce cortisone – as it had been found to be effective in soothing inflamed joints. At the time, they were killing 15,000 oxen to produce the bile used for the treatment of just one patient. It was Julian who discovered a way to synthesize cortisone from soybeans instead.
Frederick McKinley Jones
1930s Frederick McKinleyJonescreated refridgeration equipment and has more than 40 patents. He named one the Thermo King. He invented refridgeration units for homes, trucks, trains, and planes. “His work also contributed to the preservation of blood and medicine, proving to be particularly useful during WWII. In 1991, he became the first African American to receive the National Medal of Technology.”
Get one of the most eco-friendly refridgerators, like the Liebherr MRB 3000, here.
Gladys West was born in 1930. She is the mathematician and programmer who’s mathematically accurate model of Earth was used as “the foundation for the creation of the Global Positioning System (GPS).”
In 1980, Valerie Thomas invented 3D technology. She patented it under the name – illusion transmitter – while working for NASA. Here invention is still used by NASA today. It is also used to make 3D TVs and 3D movies. We may not be able to use her invention the way NASA does, but luckily we can set up a 3D entertainment system at home to enjoy some movies offered in 3D!
Jean-Philippe, M. and Burnett, J. 15 African-American Inventors to Remember This Black History Month and Beyond. Oprah Daily. (Jan 19, 2023). https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/work-money/g30877473/african-american-inventors/.
Miller, A. 28 DOBE- Day 17: Marie Van Brittan Brown, Keeping You Safe At Home. (February 17, 2018). https://www.blackexcellence.com/28-dobe-day-17-marie-van-brittan-brown/.
For First Nations of *Abya Yala Heritage Month (aka: Native American Heritage Month) and to celebrate First Nations Heritage Day on November 25th, we visited Native American World at Venice Beach!
*Abya Yala is the original name of the land called “America” by European invaders.
Native American World is a cozy charming shop with a mystical quality to it. Enchanting flute music sweeps you into its open doors. Once inside you are surrounded by interesting handmade items from First Nations in North Abya Yala (North America), Central Abya Yala (Central America), and South Abya Yala (South America).
We are happy to say the owner is from a First Nation. The staff are helpful and attentive. You are guaranteed to struggle not to purchase something from this unique store.
As we travel the coast of what is currently known as Southern California – Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and Orange County – It is important to recognize and acknowledge we are on the land of the First Nations of Abya Yala (called “America” by European invaders to their land). These First Nations are the Chumash Nation, the Tongva Nation (aka: Gabrieliño Nation), the Acjachemen Nation, and the Payómkawichum Nation (aka: Luiseño Nation). We at VEGANavigate make this video in honor of them. We believe it is important that our first video on their land and those that follow, never forget who’s land we are living on.
Happy Halloween! Here’s a list of some great vegan candy…
Save the planet, save the animals, save us all! Here are some vegan candies that usually have no plastic packaging:
SOURCE: Sweet Candy Cafe
The candy above usually has no plastic packaging and the following vegan candies have less plastic packaging than most: Charm’s Blow Pops Cry Baby (in a box) Dots Dum Dums Mamba Mary Jane Now & Later Pixie Sticks Smarties Super Bubble Bubble Gum
Other vegan candies: Airheads Brach’s Lemon Drops Brach’s Star Brites Peppermint Candy Chick-O-Sticks Fire Ball Go-Max-Go Candy Bars Laffy Taffy (mini version – NOT the regular size. The regular size has egg albumen) Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape Jolly Rancher No Whey Pez Red Vines Ring Pops Smarties Skittles Swedish Fish Sour Patch Kids Twizzlers YumEarth (Lolli Pops) Zotz
Cesar Chavez was a human rights activist with a primary focus on farm workers’ rights. However, he also was an animal rights activist and received the In Defense of Animals (IDA) Lifetime Achievement Award. Many do not know Cesar Chavez was a vegetarian and at times a vegan!
Here is a quote from Cesar Chavez’s acceptance speech for the In Defense of Animals (IDA) Lifetime Achievement Award:
“We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to make all people understand that animals
are fellow creatures. That we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves and that
the basis for peace is respecting all creatures. That’s the basis for peace. We cannot hope to
have peace until we respect everyone, respect ourselves, and respect animals and all living
things – and that’s the basis we see the beginning of peace. We know we cannot defend and
be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them – exploiting them in the name of science,
exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes,
exploiting animals in the name of food.”
Here is a video of Cesar Chavez’s acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award from In Defense of Animals (IDA) [starts at 43 seconds]:
Quote from the About page of The Gray Zebra website: “…come join ourherd and let’s get grazy!”
Outside of the Gray Zebra we noticed its cool exterior and funky design. It is also quite literally on the (northwest) corner of Sunset Boulevard and Normandie Avenue.
As we entered we were greeted warmly by the chef – Chef Ali! She was very inviting and asked us to make ourselves at home. I made a guess that her accent is from Australia. When she arrived to take our orders (very quickly after we sat) I asked and she’s actually from South Africa! Too cool!
There is limited seating, so I would suggest calling in advance – we did and it worked out perfectly. They were able to tell us a family was just leaving so they would have tables ready when we got there. (Inside there are three tables, plus a long high table with stools and a couple tables outside.)
There is a lot of yummy stuff on the menu:
I wanted nachos, but I’m usually not a fan of chorizo – they were topped with vegan chorizo. The chef offered to prepare them without the chorizo, but said she thought I may like the way they do it. I took the gamble and she was right! Oh my goodness the chorizo was perfectly seasoned – not too firm and not too soft. I was a happy “grayzer”!
Our table shared the Crispy “Chicken” sandwich (actually listed on the menu under “Burgers”) and I think it may be the best vegan crispy chicken sandwich I’ve ever had. I knew immediately that next time I want one all for myself *grin* – and I think I would ask for a little extra vegan cheese on it.
One of us got a mix-berry smoothie without the banana and the “Grazy Cobb” salad and oh my stripes! I gladly accepted the offer to try some and once again, things I normally avoid (in this case tempeh and ranch dressing) were “grazy” good! The dressing was lightly tossed throughout the salad, perfectly covering each leaf and wasn’t a heavy ranch flavor. I started with a little nibble off a piece of tempeh and it was so tender and yummy I popped the whole thing in my mouth, followed by a couple more I had commandeered out of my neighbor’s container and had to keep myself from trying to sneak a few more. It was another one I plan to order in the future!
My cousin (who is not vegan) got a BBQ Beyond Burger with a Green Smoothie and said they were both really good!
Chef Ali was so welcoming we could have just sat and talked with her. I’m so happy we tried The Gray Zebra because now we have a new vegan restaurant to add to our favorites!
If you’re dining-in, bring change for 2-hour metered parking
You can order food in advance for pick-up
The Gray Zebra also offers Catering!
The Gray Zebra, 5101 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027