Showing posts with label The Gay Vegans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Gay Vegans. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Gay Vegans: 'NYC Vegan'

By Dan Hanley

Before I begin I’d like to give those of you new to The Gay Vegans blog a friendly reminder that I am not a professional book reviewer. I hardly ever will review a cookbook, in fact this is only the second one in six years of having my blog. I write this not to lower your expectations for what you are about to read but to put a spotlight on this specific cookbook, one I am ecstatic to still be exploring.
“NYC Vegan” is full of recipes that make me salivate while turning the pages. Before agreeing to support the book’s blog tour, Mike and I had already pre-ordered copies and were super excited when our copy came. We wanted the cookbook because we have been following Michael and Ethan on social media for years, paying special attention to all of the amazing food they would share. Another reason we wanted the cookbook was because Michael and Ethan are two of the most compassionate people we know, and we have been fortunate to have spent a little time with them. We knew their new cookbook would be a great addition to anyone who includes compassion while cooking.
“NYC Vegan” brings me to New York City. It also brings me into the lives of Michael and Ethan, which is awesome. I love the personal notes from them that are scattered throughout the book. With these and the little bit I know about them, I all of a sudden had a list of the recipes I wanted to try.
It won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me that of all of the recipes in the book I chose the Diner-Style pancakes to try first. I am a pancake guy. Recipes on my list to try next are the Lasagna, the Shepherdless Pie and the Colcannon. I loved reading the Colcannon recipe! I’m Irish and have never heard about it. Reading through the cookbook I learned so many other things, always a treat.

Important factors about a cookbook that I would promote to friends and family include the ingredients (would I already have them in the house and/or are they easy to find) as well the ease of the recipe. Most times I just want to make a meal so it has to be easy, and easy for me means really easy.

The Diner-Style Pancakes in “NYC Vegan” meet both of these factors. We had all of the ingredients and I think most of you will have them. The recipe was easy to follow and I never felt that I was lost or couldn’t understand something. The last thing you want to feel when trying a new recipe is stupid.

Before I knew it, I was handing Mike a plate of pancakes. I added blueberries, which is usual for me and pancakes. They were delicious and I will try their suggested additions of chocolate chips, strawberries or bananas in the weekends to come.

Aside from the recipes, the layout of the book, the photography and the information on culinary New York City all added to why I love this book. “NYC Vegan” provides an escape to the flavors and cuisines of New York City.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Vegan for the Animals - Some Thoughts

By Dan Hanley

As I ecstatically watch the number of vegans grow substantially, I see all kinds of people deciding to go vegan for a variety of reasons. I love that, and thought it was a good time to put out there again why I am vegan.

Simply put, I want to have as little to do with animal cruelty as possible. Being vegan doesn’t mean I am not 100% complicit in cruelty, it just means to me that I do everything I can do to be as least complicit in cruelty as possible.

After 21 years of being vegan, I’ve learned a lot. A few simple thoughts I have held onto are:

Pepsi and potato chips are vegan.

I can spend $50 for dinner at a vegan restaurant or $10 (or less) at home.

I’m not going to agree with or get along with every vegan. There has to be more than veganism for that to happen.

I don’t settle for fitting in. I want to belong.

I have so much more to learn about veganism and nutrition. (I have a couple of links on the Helpful Websites page to people I learn from regarding nutrition)

The world wide web is chock full of recipes, action alerts, restaurant reviews, vegfests, animal sanctuaries, activism sites,potlucks, meetups, speakers and vegan products.

Veganism is not easy for everyone.

And, as the day I went vegan, billions of living beings suffer every year just for someone’s taste buds.

By the way, the photo above is from Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Easy Home Cooking, Vegan Style

By Dan Hanley

The idea of cooking meals at home rather than going out to eat could be met with a simple “of course” from some while being completely foreign to others. And to clarify, cooking in this post means actually cooking, not putting something frozen into a microwave.

I have a long history with fast food and processed food. When I started dating Mike my typical meal consisted of frozen Amy’s burritos or veggie burgers with tater tots. Whenever we do a meal similar to that these days we call it a “Dan’s meal”. For us, some days it’s perfect for us to just cook up some veggie burgers and add a salad with dark greens to it. Or even tater tots! But there are also several quick meals that we can prepare.

One I talk about all of the time is super simple, super affordable and super good for you. Note: I am not a dietician or nutritionist. There are three components: beans, rice, dark leafy greens. In a skillet I start with garlic and onions in olive oil, then add a can of beans. For me it’s usually black beans but pick a bean. I add cooked rice to this, again your choice. You can also add quinoa. Then it gets even more fun! Your choice of greens! My go-to greens are spinach, Swiss chard or kale. Once the greens are added you can go for it and personalize it even more with more veggies and spices. I add a little cayenne pepper and if I have peppers or broccoli that needs to be used I toss those in.

The diversity of this dish means you can switch around all of the time. Once the rice is cooked it takes about five minutes in a skillet. Cost wise, it’s tough to beat. I get three bunches of greens for $5.00 at our market and am always looking for beans on sale. You can also buy whole beans in bulk and soak them.

Try this and let me know what you think! Remember, you can take this idea and make it your own with your own favorite beans and veggies.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Adopt Don't Shop

By Dan Hanley

“Adopt don’t shop” is a common phrase in my communities. It basically asks people to adopt a shelter animal when considering the next addition to their family and to not purchase from a pet store. The underlying idea here is that when one purchases from a pet store they are directly supporting puppy mills, and animal cruelty.

It’s difficult to imagine that in 2017 puppy mills still exist. Laws have changed and some big-time animal exploiters have lost their license to breed animals because of activists shining the light on their horrid practices, yet puppy mills are still alive and well.

This topic is not only important to me as a vegan and animal rights blogger, but because one of our family members came from a puppy mill. We adopted Rose almost four years ago after she was rescued from a puppy mill that had been raided. Her first seven years were in a cage, having litter after litter so someone could profit off of her small body. By the time she was placed into my husband’s arms when we first met her, she was a dog living in fear of everything, had lost most of her hair, and had a mouthful of teeth that all had to be pulled due to no dental care her entire life.

Every single tooth.

As is the case with many animals who have been abused, huge doses of love helped Rose go from a life of cruelty to one where she was adored on a daily basis. Those first few months were not easy, yet day by day Rose learned to trust that this was her life now, and that she was safe with her two dads who were always going to protect her and love on her. Our family of friends also helped with this process, always spending time loving on Rose when visiting.

We were so lucky to have found Rose and my wish is that every animal in a puppy mill can know the love Rose knew. I say “knew” because last week we had to have Rose put to sleep after a sudden illness took over her body. Our hearts are crushed and we are devastated, and with all of that intense pain we still are so grateful that she found us and that we got to spend at least a few years with her. Our lives have been forever changed by knowing Rose and having her as part of our family.

As we have mourned Rose, it became clear to both us that we have to do more as part of our animal rights activism to shine a light on the ugliness of puppy mills. Hence this blog post.

If you would like to read more about puppy mills, here is a good article from Rolling Stone: puppy mills.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Anti-Racism

By Dan Hanley

So much going on. A few things happening in my head:

It’s not enough for me to not be racist; I must be anti-racist.

I can do more and I need to do more.

I am courageous, yet I want to have the courage of these college students protesting the Friday night of the Charlottesville violence.

If I don’t know everything there is to know about white supremacy, I can learn.

I am sending love to all of those hurting right now. I’m in. I’m on your side.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Charities We Support

By Dan Hanley

We believe that our money can help many passionate groups work at their mission even better! So we donate when we can. These are groups we have financially supported in the last year:

Espanola Humane Society
Farm Sanctuary
Max Fund
Mercy For Animals
Rooterville, a sanctuary
Southern Plains Land Trust

Urban Peak

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Gay Vegans: A Quick Thought on Detroit

By Dan Hanley

This photo is from a sign in suburban Detroit in 1942. I found it while searching for a photo of the Detroit riots, or unrest, or actions because of police violence, or however you the reader chooses to refer to the events in July of 1967.

I’d like to ask you to learn a little bit (or a little bit more) about the Detroit unrest in July of 1967. If you are interested in racism, poverty and/or activism you will be especially keen on this. I learned a lot last weekend by following the Detroit Free Press’ twitter @Detroit_1967 which was real-time tweets based on the timing of the unrest, 50 years ago this month. I have also learned more from Detroit writers who have been publishing columns on the new movie “Detroit”.

I was one year old during the unrest. I was in Royal Oak, in the safety of the white suburbs. My dad was at work next to Tiger Stadium and stayed there for a couple of days. Detroit was the city my family immigrated to in the 1920’s, first to a tenement building on John R. not too far from the Catholic Cathedral and then to Hawthorne just south of 8 mile.

I grew up loving Detroit, as I still do. The unrest in the summer of 1967 is still heartbreaking, and not surprising. I continue to learn as much as I can.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Vegan Delights in San Diego

By Dan Hanley

We just recently returned from another vacation in San Diego and I have decided that it’s time to share my love for this city with all of you.
I love San Diego mainly for the variety of beaches. Note that if you are not a beach person and you do not like to swim, paddle board, surf, kayak or just be on the beach, you might not love it as we do. Yet before you close out this post, San Diego is also a wonderful place for vegan cuisine, romantic places for date night and perfect weather.

This post is all food. We both absolutely love all three restaurants here. Remember that when I write a restaurant review I base it on not only amazing vegan food, but all wonderful service. All three restaurants here excel in both while being part of the intense vegan food scene that is catapulting all over the country.

Donna Jean is a new edition to the vegan food scene. Right next to Evolution and super close to Balboa Park, we went to dinner one evening during the week. We made a reservation. Upon arriving we decided to sit outside, and we began our feast. As we do when going out in southern California, we brought light jackets just in case it got chilly.

All I am thinking while I write this is “go to Donna Jean”. Go now. Impeccable service and dishes that excited us about food and about vegan food. Everything we ordered was a great experience with taste and flavor. If you haven’t been in a little while, they have a new menu that includes pizza. For more information click here.

Next is Civico 1845 in Little Italy. Not a vegan restaurant but has a vast vegan menu with dishes prepared by their vegan chef who is also co-owner. This place was a pleasant surprise. I mean vegan Italian food? So hard to find! We met friends on a Friday night and were greeted by the sweetest staff. We soon were listening about the menu from our Italian waiter.

We started with the calamari which was made with mushrooms. My entree was the lasagna, although our waiter really wanted me to order the ravioli. The lasagna was definitely the right choice for me. Everything was delicious. To top it off, we finished with tiramisu. Oh my. For more information click here.

Bar Kindred in North Park has been a favorite of ours since they opened. It’s a bar, but so much more. We have had dinner and brunch there and if you have just one spot of time to go, I would say go for brunch. Check their site for times as brunch is only served on weekends.

Our two go-to items at Kindred are the pancakes, which are made with butterscotch and bourbon, and the tofu Benedict. The pancakes will blow your mind. I enjoy every single bite. If you drink they have brunch drink specials and their house coffee is a great cup of coffee. We have always had incredible service at Kindred. For more information click here.

San Diego is an amazing place and we try to go as often as possible. These three spots make it an even sweeter destination.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Living In Gratitude

By Dan Hanley

Although I try to live in gratitude every day, being on vacation and on the beach with my husband, a place I love to be, gives me yet another opportunity to embrace gratitude. By the way, the photo is of one of our favorite beaches, Torrey Pines State Beach, in San Diego.

In the past several months there has been a lot on my plate, a lot on my emotional plate. We moved into our new home which is definitely something to be grateful for, and it came with its own challenges. And although this isn’t a surprise to us, with four senior companion animals, each of them has had their own health issues which have effected us both emotionally and financially.

With so much going on in the world Mike and I try to remember how good we have it. We don’t even worry about the basics, as far as food, water, and a roof over our heads. Regarding the food part, being vegan and being in the vegan capital of the world is something that not only adds to the wonderfulness of our lives but additionally is something we are grateful for.

Living in gratitude for me means to always, or as often as I can, remember all I have in my life. In my recovery program I learned to create gratitude lists, first when life felt tough but later as part of my daily actions. Items that typically make the list are my relationship with my Higher Power, my sobriety, my husband, my activist community/family, etc. I’m not writing about the gratitude list as a suggestion to you, just to say how I incorporate gratitude into my life.

As you read this post, I also want you to know that I am grateful for all of the support and kindness we get from people who read this blog. It means the world to me when a reader says they voted for the first time, tried being vegan for a day, or called one of their elected officials. I have always wanted this blog to be about building bridges and promoting animal rights and human rights, and the feedback I get from you the reader tells me that this is happening.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Going Vegan (Part II)

By Dan Hanley

I learned right away that Pepsi and potato chips are vegan. Soon afterwards I learned that Oreos and Nutter Butters could be added to the list.

As I got used to not consuming any animal products, I began to learn more about food than ever. I think for the first time in my life I began to realize that what I put in my body makes a difference. As I learned more about the nutrition side of being vegan, I learned that I had to pay attention to what I was eating and that I was eating things that gave my body all of the vitamins and nutrients it needed.


Yes, this was an epiphany. Before going vegan I never really thought about food and the positive or negative effect it could have on my body. Even in my early days of being vegan I didn’t think much about it as I was “vegan for the animals”. Fortunately for me I began to do a couple of things that introduced me to people who knew all about nutrition.

This started by going to my first vegan potluck. I don’t even know what I brought (it wasn’t potato chips) yet I do totally remember being blown away by all of the gorgeous and delicious food I was eating. Oh my. And I met all sorts of people who were vegan for different reasons, many who had been vegan for years. I could go on an don about this first vegan potluck, and the hundred plus I have been to since, but what I really want to let you know is that I highly recommend going to one as a new vegan. Oh, there isn’t one in central South Dakota? Start one.

I became vegan in Norfolk, Virginia and in 1996 there was pretty cool food co-op on 21st street. Yes, a food co-op. They seem to be rare these days and for me at that time going there was magical. I learned all about foods, all types of foods that I had never considered before going vegan. Can you believe this is where I first tried hummus? I learned about kale and nuts and tried a new version of oat milk. I tried my first dairy-free ice cream (nothing compared to what we have now!) and met wonderful people who were so knowledgeable about food and nutrition. Meeting people like this and learning from them was incredibly helpful to me on my new vegan journey. If you are new to veganism, I highly encourage you to find a place like this to learn and experiment!

Within the first few months I was already starting to “cook”. It took me a while to get to the point where I could cook without using parenthesis. My very first vegan recipe was a tofu loaf! I’ll never forget it. It was delicious! Cooking at home makes becoming a vegan so much easier as you learn how many awesome options there are for vegan dishes and you get to learn recipes that will change your life.

Restaurants were hardly friendly to vegans back then. My adversity to portobello mushrooms began here. A portobello mushroom “burger” was typically the vegan option at most places, if they had a vegan option. Ours is grilled, it’s delicious. Ours is marinated, you’ll love it. Ours has grilled and marinated mushrooms on it! Oh my. I’ll just take the fries. In my first several years of being vegan I never made it to an all vegan restaurant. I think it was year five that I was in San Francisco for work and went to Millenium. My goodness!

Suggestions for those just starting to become vegan:
Find a vegan potluck or meetup. If there isn’t one in your area, create one.
Find a food co-op or somewhere you can learn about food and nutrition.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Gay Vegans: June is Gay Pride Month

By Dan Hanley

There are celebrations all over the world this month. In Los Angeles, the typical gay pride parade will this year be a protest march.

Each June I spend a little more time thinking about being gay. I hope to share some of those thoughts.

To all of you who have supported my blog who do not identify as LGBTQ, thank you for your support. Please keep speaking out against anti-gay violence and anti-trans violence. In today’s world we need our allies, friends and family more than ever.

Happy Pride!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Going Vegan (Part 1)

By Dan Hanley

Note: This is Part I of a three part post.

Twenty one years ago I decided to go vegan. I had been vegetarian for about a month, with my last hold out being Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. After a few months of thinking about it, knowing it was what I really wanted to do, I had one day of being vegan. Soon, six days later, I had a full week! (This was kind of a joke.)

As I have written many times, I decided to go vegan, and stay vegan, because of the animals. I wanted to live my truth and honor the person I knew I was, one who abhors violence and doesn’t want to have any part of it. For me, I wanted to do the least harm possible while on this earth. And so it began.

Pepsi and potato chips are vegan. So are Oreos. I learned right away that the way I looked at food had to change, that I had to make sure that whatever I ate had to be good for me, or at least that I ate more of the stuff that was good for me and less of the stuff that wasn’t good for me.

The idea of fruits and vegetables and whole foods was never at the top of my thinking. B-12? No clue. Kale? Never. I was so completely ignorant about food and how what I ate affected me, that now being vegan not only made me feel better about not being part of cruelty towards animals but also introduced me to an entire new world of food.

The biggest thing that I like to share about those first few days and weeks is that it was easy. Super easy. Even in the south in 1996. It was also cheap. The huge amount of vegan processed foods that we see today was not the case then. There also were few choices with vegan desserts. So meals with vegetables and organic fresh fruit for dessert was the deal. Oh, and portobello mushroom burgers. Those were so popular as the only vegetarian choice that I soon got over them. Even these days I shudder when offered one.

I am writing this series of posts because I get a lot of notes from readers who have decided it is time for them to go vegan. All they have heard is that it is difficult and expensive. Although it can be both, it certainly doesn’t have to be. In the next two posts of this series I will share some ideas.

To those just beginning the vegan journey, welcome, and congratulations! Your life (as well as those of the animals) is about to change immensely and you are going to love it!

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Resist

By Dan Hanley

Long week for me. Each day was exhausting as I gave it my all at my day job. Mike and I also thought a lot about our sweet Suga who we lost one year ago this week.

Some weeks I barely have enough energy to do everything I need to do.

And yet I still need to take actions to resist. This week the US House passed a bill that will eviscerate our current health care law that many call Obamacare. So many things wrong with their bill and I have just begun investigating it.

We have to be a voice for those most effected by this bill. We have to ensure every US House representative who voted for this bill hears from those of us opposed to it. Join the nearest Indivisible group. On social media follow people like Deray McKesson and any groups forming to support the Resistance.

Nancy Pelosi said after the House vote on healthcare that those Republicans who voted for it are doomed in ’18. I disagree with her. They are only doomed if we continue to act and resist.

Thanks for reading. And to all of you in the Resistance, all of you who rock it every day for your family, loved ones and community, and then do even more to resist, thank you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Create Your Community

By Dan Hanley

Mike and I have been in the LA area for almost two years now. Recently we bought our new home, and we are beyond stoked.

We landed in the amazing town of Monrovia, about thirty minutes northeast of downtown LA. We knew nothing of Monrovia before moving here, and we fell in love.

It’s not always easy making a big move and settling in. We have been super lucky.

Regardless of where you are and what community looks like to you, creating a community of people to experience life with can be pretty amazing. For me, I reach out to other bloggers, other activists, neighbors and people wanting to change the world. Not everyone I try to build relationship with is 100% in agreement with every one of my thoughts, opinions and values, which is important to me so I can learn other points of view. For example, not everyone in my circles is vegan. Most are not gay.

I decided to write this post because I hear from blog readers all of the time who are “the only one”. The only vegan. The only person of color. The only non-heterosexual. Many tell me they feel alone. I always write them back about creating community. Reaching out to others and finding a common bond.

Ideas? Here you go: join a running group or other type of exercise group; go to a vegan potluck; create a vegan potluck; create a meetup; bring a speaker to your local library; if you go to a place of worship, reach out there; check out local bloggers; find Facebook groups for local activists (we have a Facebook group called Resist Monrovia!); Google your favorite cause and find a local connection or non-profit that supports the cause and get involved. I could go on and on.

It really does make a difference to create community.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Don't Give Up On Exercise!

By Dan HanleyAt 47 I ran my first half-marathon. I remember feeling like I was in the best health ever while training and then successfully completing the run. I loved the whole process so much that I did a second half-marathon the following year. For those of you who were reading my blog back then, you’ll remember that I did these runs as part of a fundraiser for a homeless youth agency in Denver I support. Running for a cause definitely helped!

These days, just a couple years later and now 51, I’m not as physically fit as I was back then and sometimes I feel like giving up. Not giving up on a muscle-chiseled body (I’ve never exercised for that purpose) but in the sense of the commitment and effort to work out so I stay as healthy as possible.

I’m not giving up, and neither should you.

One can be the best vegan ever and if there is no exercise going on then the health effects of being vegan will only go so far. The real reason for me not wanting to give up is because I feel so much better, both physically and mentally, when I exercise that no matter how “tough” it might be for me it is all totally worth it.

I know that life is crazy. Days fly by and before you know it a month has passed. Then a year. With work, family, traffic, activism and so on, it’s easy (at least for me) to think that there is no time to work out, or that it’s a hassle. It’s all worth it for me. Sometimes it’s a quick walk around the block from our home. Maybe it’s going up and down the stairs at work. Running is fun and for me when I run consistently I feel incredible. The gym is great. No matter what weight you can lift, it’s exhilarating! There is also yoga, swimming, racquetball and so much more! In regards to exercise, there is something for everyone.

Don’t give up. And definitely don’t shame yourself for not exercising this way or that amount of time. Exercise at a level that works for you. If I can keep it up so can you!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Making My Days Matter

By Dan Hanley

This isn’t a post about life, or living life to the fullest. It’s a simple post about remembering (or being reminded) that life is short. It goes by super fast. Some days I can’t believe I am 51. And while so much is going on in the world and every day I still want to take action to make the world better and safer for all living beings, there are times when I have to stop and take a deep breath.

Recently I did that at Cardiff By The Sea State Beach near San Diego. Even with a wet suit the water was cold, yet I felt invigorated with time in the water and time just sitting on the beach looking out to the vast Pacific ocean.

And although this post isn’t about living life to the fullest, it is about asking you to consider to make each day matter. That’s what I have been thinking of lately, and something I try to do daily. Some days it’s just being vegan or just posting a news item on Twitter that I think will benefit others. Other days it’s taking action, writing blog posts, holding those in power accountable.

And sometimes it’s simply laying on the beach while embracing gratitude.

We all have so much going on. Take a moment for yourself, whatever that looks like. We can’t be of service to others if we are not taking care of ourselves.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Gay Vegans: 21st Century Vegan!

By Dan Hanley

I was just at Expo West for the past three days and just had to write a quick post about my immediate thoughts.

The world has obviously changed since I became vegan 21 years ago, and after walking the aisles of Expo West I am ecstatic to say that veganism today has an all-time high of options. No matter your favorite vegan food, flavor, texture or item, there is something new and amazing coming, and coming soon.

A quick tease:

Gluten-free and soy free pre-made pancake mix from Follow Your Heart. And it’s delicious!

Intensely flavored vegan cheese by Leaf.

Field Roast’s new Mac ‘n Chao.

Northern Lights gummy vitamins that taste fantastic.

Cave Shake! Delicious coconut milk shake.

And so much more. Organic seeds so we can grow our own food to organic nuts and better ways to grow food. My list goes on and on. The world is getting better and better for vegans.

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Gay Vegans: No Human Being Is Illegal

By Dan Hanley

“I knew it! The Gay Vegans support illegals!”

“I hope you know you support people taking our jobs.”

“They are welcome but need to come in how my family did.”

 “F**k them.”

The photo here is of a group of immigrants from Ireland in 1909. A few years after this photo was taken my grandfather made the journey to America from County Mayo, Ireland, joining his sister who had come over first. It wasn’t easy. Much of the vile expressed towards immigrants these days was expressed towards them and other Irish when they arrived. And just like today, many immigrants coming into this country in the early 1900s did not have legal documents.

I recently saw a tee shirt being sold by one of my favorite bands, Rise Against, as a fundraiser for one of my favorite non-profits, the ACLU. The front of the tee is the Rise Against logo and on the back a simple statement: No Human is Illegal.

The news is horrifying, especially if you are living in the US without legal documents. This could mean you were brought here as a child by parents or grandparents and only know the US as your home, or you came here twenty years ago on a visa with limited time and decided to stay. Meanwhile, you worked, paid taxes, became part of the economy and community here. Then, preparing for your appointment with immigration, you find out that the appointment is to detain you and begin the process of deporting you. Not your four children who were born here, just you.

Because you are an illegal alien. You are not just illegal, you’re an illegal alien. Except that you’re not from Mars, you’re from Gambia. Or El Salvador.

Some Americans veins pop when discussing people here without legal documents. This is one reason so many voted for the current President. They are vile. They are heathens. They are godless. They do not hold “my” Christian values. They are taking jobs that my son or granddaughter should have. Some do not think of them as neighbors or human beings, nor do they think real numbers like the estimated $12 billion a year they add to Social Security, knowing they will not reap a penny of that. By the way, that number came from the Social Security Administration in 2014.

I would love it if the entire conversation about immigrants here without legal documents was toned down a bit. It’s horrifying watching people, especially people of faith demonize human beings who are living, working, loving and adding to our communities in so many positive ways.As one who believes we all have more in common than not, there has to be common space for all of us.

What I can do today is to let my representatives in the state house and the US Capitol know that I support all immigrants. That deporting someone who has lived here for years makes no sense, and is in fact not how our country treats people. For the few immigrants who have committed crimes, sure, some of them should be deported. Yet time after time others get caught in the web of “criminals”. And for goodness sake, do not demonize human beings in my name.

I know this is a tough topic for many. It’s one that will be around for a long time. Let’s talk about it without demonizing immigrants or each other.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Expo West

By Dan Hanley

On March 9th I’ll be heading south to Anaheim to Expo West for a couple of days.

If you’ve never heard of this five day annual conference focused on anything that has to do with natural foods and natural products, click here for the conference website.

I will be attending for the third time. As a blogger, I attend for a couple of reasons. First, to explore everything new around vegan foods and products. If something is out there, it will be at Expo West. Second, I go to interview companies whose products I purchase about transgender policies, LGBTQ issues, human rights issues and how their employment policies treat those who identify as LGBTQ.

If you’re going to Expo West, please let me know. I love meeting people from all over, especially other bloggers and activists.

If you know of a new product/company that I should check out at Expo West, let me know!

If you want to follow my escapades and eating adventures during Expo West, follow me on Twitter @thegayvegans.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Pick An Action, Any Action

By Dan Hanley

Pick an action, any action Now is not a time to sit on the sidelines. With so much going on in the world, it’s time to act. Many who read this blog are already engaged in some type of activism and action, and I am grateful to be immersed in community with you. For those in our communities who have thought about doing something but aren’t quite there, now is the time to pick an action, any action.

The Dakota Pipeline.

A crazy election.


Local injustice.

The list is endless. I believe we all have the power to make our world a safer, better place for all. We all have passions and many of us are in a position to make change. Action can be attending a local protest or even creating one of your own. It can be a letter to the editor. It can be an article that explains an issue that is important to you shared on your Facebook page. Things we have done recently include a vegan potluck to introduce delicious vegan food to friends and neighbors who are not vegan as well as using our social media to put a spotlight on what is happening in North Dakota. We also made a donation to a group we love that is doing incredible work in Los Angeles. None of these are big actions, and we think each has made a difference.

One person can make a huge difference.