Friday, November 13, 2009

vegan coat patrol

The vegan winter coat is one of the most elusive things in the world. Oh, you can find coats that are vegan, sure. But ones that will actually keep you warm while being at last somewhat fashionable? Oy, not so much. It's that time of year again. It seems like every vegan I know, regardless of how long they've been vegan, goes into "Shit I need a good coat!" mode as soon as the first leaf falls. There's very little effort to make or market coats specifically to vegans, and looking through tag after tag for the absence of wool and down can be a neverending chore. Why can we buy vegan haggis (and Tofurky soda), but no decent coats? Having just moved to a much colder, wetter climate, I needed a new coat in so many ways. When I first went vegan I got this one from the Vegan Store. A vegan peacoat you say? Peacoats are warm and cute, yes? Um, no. I would recommend this one if you are a man living in a relatively warm climate. It says they have unisex sizing, but by that they mean "Hi females. Here is a fleece rectangle." It's cut like a refrigerator box, not flattering at all for us ladyfolk. And as for warmth: it's not bad, but not terribly good. Meh. If it ever dances towards freezing where you live, look elsewhere. And the Polartec fleece would not hack it at all if you live, like me, somewhere with a wet winter. When it gets wet, it gets wet and kind of...filmy. If you're a man who doesn't see much snow, you'd probably be very happy with this, if not, not.

This year, however, I have this one from Columbia and I love it!

Don't I look happy and warm? (That's not me.) It does keep me happy and warm though. It has a nice thick Polartec layer on the inside that can zip in and out, making it work as both a winter coat and something of a heavy-duty windbreaker. It hasn't gotten too cold here yet, but so far I've been nothing but toasty. I have it in a light/dark blue & white combo that isn't on the website, and it's cute. The outer layer is waterproof and it has a detachable hood, musts for the Pacific NW. There are also stealth pockets on the inside for being sneaky. I am really happy with this coat and think that I'm finally out of the endless vegan coat search. It is a little pricey, but I think it's worth it to have a high quality coat, and I'm sure it will last me several years at least. Columbia also has a lot of outlet stores, so if you can find one near you, do it, I got this for about half the price.

As for other vegan coats, sportswear brands like Columbia, North Face, etc. are, though pricey, promising. While a lot of their coats do have wool and down, they are designed for being X-TREEM in the winter and thus aren't 100% wool like peacoats, because that doesn't protect you from the spray you get as you schoop down a black diamond ski slope. Or so I would imagine. My home state of Kansas is not notorious for its skiing. Anyway, they like to use manmade materials with names like Opti-Warm and Microtemp to show they are approved by Science.
Here are a few other vegan ones I've found:
the Zurich Parka from Columbia

the High Jump Parka from Columbia

the Bugaboo from Columbia

Boulevard Jacket from North Face

Ava Insulated from Merrell

Amber Road Coat from ModCloth - a friend just got this one and describes it as "not that warm, lighter than I expected", but it's so cute!

The interwebs are your friends. All of them. Stay warm, vegans!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

4 years vegan!

On November 12, 2005, I went vegan. Best decision ever! My tastebuds, critical thinking skills, complexion, social life, and wallet are happy. That sounds ambitious, but it's true. I can't imagine not enjoying the foods I was introduced to only after going vegan, not being able to understand oppression, having to worry about much acne, not having the vegan friends I do...a good, good thing, one I smile to think of. That's all I've got tonight, but here are some of my favorite quotes:

“How good it is to be well-fed, healthy, and kind all at the same time.”
Henry J. Heimlich

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."- Arthur Schopenhauer

“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.” – James A. Froud

“If one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.” – Ruth Harrison

“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

“Veganism is an ethic that is committed to reverence and respect for all life and the planet that sustains it. Veganism brings with it the joy of living with peace of spirit, and the comfort of knowing that one’s thoughts, feelings, words, and actions have a strongly benevolent effect on the world.” – Stanley Sapon

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tofurky soda

If you've ever had Jones soda, you know they like quirky flavors and gimmicky packaging, e.g. Blue Bubblegum flavor and a Cthulu-themed series. I like quirky flavors and fun things. To a degree, that is. Just in time for the holiday season, Jones is rolling out a completely vegan Tofurky and Gravy flavor.
Of soda.
Part of me is really glad that they're marketing to vegans. Last I heard there are more Americans who think they have been abducted by aliens than who are vegan. So it's exciting to see such a random, nothing-to-do-with-veganism/health/the environment company loudly proclaiming from the main page of their website that a new product is '100% Vegan' 'Turkey approved' (har) etc., etc. Would they be selling it/making it/advertising it if it weren't at least okay?
But on the other hand....really? I'm trying to imagine what on earth this would taste like. Soda is supposed to be sweet. Tofurky and gravy are not. So either it's a cold fizzy turkey soup with no sweetness or....gravy and HFCS. Yum.
However, we must remember the union of sweet and savory that can be good, like vegan bacon and syrup. But that in a drink? Curiouser and curiouser. And if they had to pick a fake meat to make anything out of, Tofurky is not the one to have chosen. Tofurky is turkey-flavored tofu. Meh. What about field roast? It has been my and many of my vegan friends' experience that Tofurky is what you have for your first vegetarian/vegan holiday because you've heard of it. Never again do you have it, because the next year you have discovered Field Roast, which is something you actually want a second bite of and don't feel embarrassed offering to omnis.

I'm not sure where or how you can find this Tofurky soda. The Jones Soda website will sell you a six-pack: three Tofurky & Gravy sodas, three other diet sodas they're trying to promote, all in a commemorative lunchbox for the low low price of $11.99. In all honesty I am eager to at least try this soda. But not twelve dollars and three bottles worth.