Be Weird, Start a Movement!

“Nobody is so weird others can’t identify with them.” – Rebecca Miller

In this video, Derek Sivers breaks down how to start a movement. Powerful, funny and persuasive, and only three minutes long:

This Ted Talk really got my wheels turning about veganism. The movement as a whole, and the leadership needed to grow the movement. As my friends know, I want to be a vegan leader, I want to make change in the world, and I’ve been looking around everywhere for direction and inspiration.

I love this video because it highlights two things:

  1. The courage needed for someone to stand up and be weird all by themselves
  2. The critical importance of the first person to join them in doing that weird thing

Of course the first thing is obvious, all people who were brave enough to be different get the accolades afterwards when the weird thing becomes a mainstream thing. But I never really thought about that first follower: how their courage and their significance in the movement is always overlooked. It takes guts to be the one to stand up first and say, “I agree with that guy!” And, Derek Sivers is right: without that first follower, a leader is not a leader, they’re just a weirdo.

I really took to heart the concept of treating your first follower(s) as equal(s). Again, I never consciously thought about it but Derek’s point hits home: this makes it about the movement, not about the leader. The leader should simply be a catalyst for change, a guiding light or a navigator, nothing more.

I think we should all keep this in mind when viewing our leaders; be they vegan, raw, political, religious, educational, or what-have-you. If it is more about the leader than the movement, that person is probably not a good leader and it may be time to look elsewhere for inspiration.

And I think we should glorify followers more. We may not all be leaders. But we can all be brave, discerning followers and that is even more powerful, because followers are the ones who actually cause change.

As a vegan, it’s easy to feel like the first guy in the video: you are doing something you love, something that makes you feel free and right, but everyone else refuses to join in and treats you like an outsider. It’s easy to lose heart when you look around and see a bunch of indifferent faces staring at your passionate flailings (and veganism, especially in the beginning, can feel a lot like a passionate flailing, sincere but terribly clumsy).

But keep dancing and little by little, you’ll get your first few followers. Maybe your neighbor has bad cholesterol and asks you about plant-based cooking. Maybe your coworker watches Cowspiracy and is enraged but unsure about their next steps. Maybe your mom suggests doing all vegan sides for the next holiday/family meal. Remember to treat these people as equals, be compassionate and inclusive, be honest but also kind, and one day their arms and legs may flail as mightily as yours!

With that, I leave you with this:

We are all a little weird. And we like to think that there is always someone weirder. I mean, I am sure some of you are looking at me and thinking, “Well, at least I am not as weird as you,” and I am thinking, “Well, at least I am not as weird as the people in the loony bin,” and the people in the loony bin are thinking, “Well, at least I am an orange”. – Jim Gaffigan

Go out, my little oranges, and dance your asses off!

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Healthy Vegan Gluten Free Party Food!

Wanted to share with you guys the spread my friend and I created for her housewarming party because I want to showcase that party food can be easy AND healthy AND delicious AND exciting.

Vegan Party Food Spread

We made a standard guacamole with avocados, pico de gallo (save on time chopping!), lime juice, salt, pepper.

We also made a mango guacamole with diced mango, avocado, salt, pepper, lime juice.

Organic blue corn tortilla chips, natch’, to eat said guacs.

Fresh fruit platter: we cut up melon, pineapple and added green grapes and clementines.

Veggie tray with hummus: we got this amazing hummus from the farmer’s market that’s our favorite, but you could make from scratch easily. We cut up carrots, celery, orange bell pepper and then had a bag of chopped broccoli and cauliflower.

The food was a huge hit, there was hardly anything leftover at the end of the night!

Watch Cowspiracy Online – Now Streaming!

“They are one of the largest industries on the planet, with the biggest environmental impact. And they are trying to keep us in the dark about how they are operating…” – Will Potter, Independent Journalist

Watch Cowspiracy Online at Cowspiracy.com

Watch Cowspiracy Online at Cowspiracy.com

As those of you who read my Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret review know, I think this is one of the most important films ever made. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s good news! You can now watch it streaming online on Cowspiracy.com.You can order the DVD through the website as well.

So, host a screening at your house and invite all of your friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, enemies and frenemies!

Recipe: Italian Tofu Scramble

Today I’m sharing with you my take on Huevos Rancheros. I call this creation Ouva di Fattoria (Vegana) – Italian for “farm eggs”…or at least that’s what Google Translator is telling me, haha.

Italian Tofu Scramble with Arrabiata and Pesto

LOL, j/k, ain’t nobody got time for that! (…plus my accent is atrocious, ain’t nobody want to be hearin’ that!)

I call this Italian Tofu Scramble and it’s got all of Italy’s greatest hits: delectable red sauce, basil blast from fresh pesto, onions and mushrooms and eggplant galore and tons of glorious, smelly garlic.

For this, I used a spicy arrabiata sauce (calm down, thee of sensitive palates, you can totes sub a non-spicy sauce *if you want to be a wimp* :P ), and a homemade pesto. I used some leftover potatoes and eggplant to bulk it up, but this would be good with whatever veggies you have on hand or enjoy the most.

Italian Tofu Scramble Recipe

Ingredients
Eggplant
Potatoes (Russet, Yukon or red, don’t mattah)
Arrabiata (or preferred red) sauce
Pesto (store bought or homemade)
Soft/Medium tofu (firm is ok if that’s all you can find)
Mushrooms (white button, cremini, or Portobello)
Onion (white or yellow)
Spinach (optional)
Garlic

Directions
Roast cubed potatoes in oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, remove from oven and add cubed eggplant, roast for another 20 minutes, or until everything is done-zo

While potatoes are roasting, cut the tofu into 3/4 inch-ish slices, wrap in a towel or some paper towels and put some books or pans or something heavy and flat on top to press out all the water. Let it sit for about 30 minutes

Prep your mushrooms (slices) and onion (also slices) and tons of chopped garlic

About 10 minutes before your roasted veggies are done, heat up a pan with a little oil or water and start sauteeing your onions and mushrooms (I do them at the same time because I’m #lazy).

At this time you should heat up the red sauce of choice in a pan over low heat.

Once the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are cooked, add the garlic and saute gently for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently

Add the tofu (just crumble it into bite sized pieces right into the pan, no need to cut) and “scramble” until warmed through. Spinach would be amazing in this dish, if you want to add it, this would be the time!

Turn off the heat, mix in the pesto (don’t be shy! use at least two tablespoons!). Add the eggplant and potatoes, mix, taste. If you need, add more pesto until it is :x Muah! Perfecto!

Plate the scramble, then top lovingly with red sauce (and by top, I mean drown. #saucemonstersunite). Serve hot.

Mangia!