November 2008

You may ask yourself, with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, how does a vegan survive a holiday based around the devouring of an animal? Well ok I know the holidays are NOT based around that, but you get what I mean. After being vegan for almost a decade I have the keys to get through the holidays whether you are dealing with un-understanding family members who insist you eat meat or a table with no vegan options at all!

  • Healthy Responses to Unnerving Questions: Being vegan for several years you begin to be annoyed with questions like “What do you eat?” and “Why not just eat one piece?” or even statements like “But its historical to eat meat!” The best way to deal with questions like this is to gracefully respond. You may feel like saying “I eat whatever I want” or “I don’t believe in eating corpses.” However, you should really answer questions like this with remarks such as “Actually I eat anything I want and have a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and beans. You would be surprised how many vegan products exist now and how easy it really is!” Or you might say “Sorry I choose not to eat meat for political/environmental/religious/personal reasons” If they want more feel free to elaborate, as they have opened the door! Try your best to refrain from sounding too condescending or superior, as it will only irritate them and could lead to bad feelings.
  • Educate, Educate, Educate!: The truth is, many of the annoying questions people ask us, is because they are curious and not trying to offend us. Take these opportunities to really educate your family, because most of them probably don’t know much about veganism and animal rights. So when a question like “How do you get protein?” may irritate you, as you have heard it a thousand times, it’s best to explain how exactly we get protein. I have found that people are genuinely curious as to why we live a vegan lifestyle and if I am asked why I do not eat meat, I will fully explain. I will even offer facts about the meat and dairy industry as well as historical references. If you want to come prepared, bring a book on veganism or some info packets. Although, from my own experience, do not bring those Why Vegans? to the dinner table. These packets may be effective away from food, however, your family will not be sympathetic to pictures of dead animals as they are eating.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Ask: Don’t be afraid to ask your hosts to set aside some of the dishes before they add the meat or dairy products. For instance, I always ask my family to set aside some mashed potatoes before they add milk or butter and stuffing before they add gravy to it! Then I bring along soy milk and mushroom gravy and add it to the items they have set aside. Also, you may want to inquire ahead of time as to what dishes will be already vegan and if your hosts need suggestions on how to make certain items vegan. Sometimes it’s just a simple ingredient that can be substituted for the vegan version. So ask away, that way you are prepared!
  • Bring A Vegan Dish: If you are a dinner party guest, try bringing at least one traditional dish made vegan and surprise your family! This works particularly well if you wait until after they have eaten the dish to inform them it is vegan. I have made several dishes that have “fooled” my family, especially desserts. Now my mother asks me to make some of my classic thanksgiving dishes! For ideas on recipes check out our postings for Candied Yams, Green Bean Casserole, Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake, and Spinach Dip. I have always found that the best way to convince family members that you eat well is to show them how we vegans do it! Once they have tasted your delicious vegan dish, they will be more understanding of your lifestyle and choices. You might be surprised how many of the rude statements and questions disappear after someone has eaten some impressive vegan goods.
  • Plan an ALL Vegan Dinner: For years I have had two dinners, one with family and one HUGE vegan potluck with friends and family. My family members who come are always shocked by the display we have created and are willing and excited to try all the vegan versions of their favorite holiday meals, including the Tofurkey! Even if you can’t convince your family to see eye to eye with your eating and political views, inviting them to an entirely vegan meal will stop some of the questions we previously mentioned above. Also, this will benefit you, as you can relax and enjoy a meatless and dairy-less meal in peace! There are hundreds of great recipes (some are linked above) and a TON of options for the main meal that are meatless including Tofurkey and Field Roasts (great baked ham replacement). You can also make your own out of tofu or seitan! Trust us making an all vegan dinner for either holiday will benefit both you and your curious family members.

One last piece of advice is to try not to sound preachy, these being the holidays everyone wants to relax and enjoy themselves. They will likely shut you out if you do this! So indulge and appreciate your family, even if they drive you nuts! Happy Vegan Holidays from AP!

-Gina Williams

To continue our series of Vegan Thanksgiving Holiday Recipes this week we will feature another favorite: Green Bean Casserole! This classic dish can easily be made vegan with a few quick changes and we have fooled many unsuspecting holiday guests! This dish is great for weeknight dinners as well as the holidays, as it is simple and filling. So enjoy this dinner for Thanksgiving, December holidays, and any regular night of the week.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Bake Time: 30 Minutes

1 1/2 lbs Fresh Green Beans (2 Cans or 16 oz of Frozen)
11 oz Imagine Creamy Portbello Mushroom Soup (comes in 16 oz, so you’ll have to measure)
1 1/3 Cups French’s Fried Onions (yes they are vegan or you can use bread crumbs)
1/2 Cup Soymilk
1 tsp Soy Sauce (optional)
Black Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large casserole dish mix the soup, soymilk, green beans, soy sauce, pepper, and 3/4 cup of dried onions. If you are using fresh green beans be sure to wash and break off the ends. Bake for 25 minutes. Pull from onion and sprinkle the remaining onions on the top of the casserole and bake for another 5 minutes. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. For a change of pace substitute the beans for broccoli or asparagus or use fresh onions and bread crumbs!

a_bcorp_logo_posAutonomie is proud to announce that we have been officially certified as a B Corporation! I’m sure there are plenty of you out there wondering what that even means, and we are certainly happy to explain.

A B Corporation is a new type of corporation.  It is a for-profit entity just like a traditional C-Corp or S-Corp (all you accountants and lawyers out there should know what that means!).  However, a B-Corp is a purpose-driven organization, not a ‘bottom line’ driven one.  Social justice, environmentalism and all-around do-gooderism are at the heart and souls of B-Corps, so much so that they are inherently a part of their mission and written into the company’s bylaws.  All certified B Corps must amend their corporate governing documents to incorporate stakeholder interests, including suppliers, producers, their community, vendors, employees, etc., thus permanently baking the company’s values into its DNA without fear of the original mission and/or ethics of the founders changing over time with a change of management or ownership.  This is most certainly NOT business as usual!


For us at Autonomie, choosing to become a B Corp was a snap.  Of course we were thrilled to join a community of businesses spread over 31 industries all actively working towards making our planet a better place!  It finally feels like small ethically-minded organizations like ours that have chosen to venture from our non-profit allies into the the world of business have a place to call home.  In addition, the B Corporation team has been outstanding at keeping us on track, helping us fill in all those ‘business holes’ in an ethical way, and are truly becoming trailblazers for corporate social responsibility.

In their own words, the team bringing our country B Corporation status makes this Declaration of Interdependence:

We envision a new sector of the economy

which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit.

This sector is comprised of a new type of corporation the B Corporation

which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

As members of this emerging sector and as entrepreneurs and investors in B Corporations,

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

– That we must be the change we seek in the world.

– That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.

– That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.

– To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another
and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

We seriously couldn’t have said it any better ourselves!

Just as the temperatures begin to drop and our minds start to wander towards holiday gift-giving, our new organic cotton collections have arrived from Peru! Hand knit out of 100% Fair Trade-certified, organic cotton by our women’s coop in Piura, our new line of hats, scarves and fingerless gloves are soft, warm, stylish, and as always, ethical! Buy ‘em as a set, individually, or give them as the perfect gift this season.

Also make sure to stop by our Bags & Purses page to checkout 3 new styles of hand made from the same luxurious Fair Trade organic cotton. Chic, functional and beautifully-crafted, our new bags come in 3 naturally-dyed colors and include a new clutch style with a very cute wood button closure!

To officially kick off the season of giving, we’re pleased to offer you free shipping onall orders over $100! That’s right… any domestic order that subtotals over $100 gets free USPS Parcel, Priority or UPS Ground shipping completely on us. So visit us now, browse our new stuff, stock up on gifts, and save! We have many more exciting plans in the works, so happy shopping and we’ll see ya again soon!

As we mentioned last week we will be featuring traditional Thanksgiving vegan recipes up until the holiday! This week we are featuring a family favorite: candied yams! This fall favorite features vegan marshmallows and is a necessity at Thanksgiving as well as any family gathering during the fall and winter months! Its very simple and will be a crowd pleaser! Your family won’t even notice the difference!

Vegan Candied Yams

Prep Time: 15 Minutes  Cook/Bake Time: 50 minutes

6 Large Yams or Sweet Potatoes
1 1/2 Cups of Brown Sugar
1 Stick of Vegan Buttery Sticks by Earth Balance (or margarine of your choice)
1/2 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice (or other sweetener)
2 Cups of Sweet and Sara or Vegan Sweets Marshmallows or 1 1/2 Cups of Ricemellow Creme (similar to Fluff)
1 Tbls Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Nutmeg or Cinnamon (optional)

The yams should be washed and peeled (however some choose to leave the skin on) and cut into approximately 2-3 inch disks. Boil water on the stove top with salt and evaporated cane juice and add yams. The yams should be boiled for about 30 minutes or until they are soft to the touch.While the yams are cooking be sure to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next drain the yams and place in a casserole dish. Drop dabs of the buttery stick on the yams and pour brown sugar, vanilla  into the mix. Bake for about 20 minutes. Add in the marshmallows or creme and holiday spices if you choose. With a spoon spread out the marshmallows or creme and spices throughout the yams. The heat of the sugar and yams should melt the marshmallows! The dish is now ready to serve. It should be re-heated for a few minutes if not served immediately.

Hello all you Northern Californians!! Come to the San Francisco Green Festival this weekend! We are sharing a booth with our friends Fair Trade Sports and are located at table 420 in the Fair Trade section! We are really excited about this event and love visiting San Francisco. The festival is occurring Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So if you are planning on attending the National Day of Protest against Prop 8 on Saturday(which we recommend), there are still 2 more days to check out the awesome festival. Along with tables from Fair Trade and Green businesses, there will be delicious veggie food, speakers such as Chuck D, Winona LaDuke, and Greg Palast, and lot’s of interesting people to meet! Please stop by our table for a chat, just to say hi, play with Fair Trade Sports balls, or to check out our new super soft winter accessories!! We hope to see you there!

WHEN: November 14-16, 2008

WHERE: San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center
635 8th St (at Brannan St)
San Francisco, CA 94103

TIMES: Friday – 12pm – 7pm
Saturday – 10am – 7pm
Sunday – 11am – 6pm

With all the celebrations around the country, it was easy to forget that one group did not have victory this election. Gay marriage was banned in three states this election and California, known for its liberal stance on social issues, added an amendment to their state constitution which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. California courts overturned a ban on gay marriage that passed in 2000 just this June. Somehow Prop 8, come to be known as Prop H8te by opponents passed last Tuesday. This is a civil rights issue and essentially the passage of Prop 8 restricts constitutional rights for a minority of California citizens. The people of California are not giving up however and several protests in LA, San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego have been occurring since last Wednesday.

If you are in California, please stay up to date on ways you can get involved and if you live elsewhere in the country please think about donating to the cause as well as getting involved in this weekend’s NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST. In cities and towns all over the country supporters of civil rights are joining together in a protest against Prop 8. If you are free this Saturday November 15th, please join the movement and support California’s opposition to an amendment to their constitution! Log onto Join the Impact’s website and keep up to date on the movement as well as find out the times and locations of your local protests.

Let’s take a stand against hate and exclusion together. This is a time for unity and make sure that no one is considered a second class citizen. National and state constitutions should expand human rights not take them away. Even if you do not believe in gay marriage, it should be known that constitutions should not limit the rights of our citizens. Please come out and protest this Saturday November 15th!!! Make sure you know when and where to protest! We need all the support and unity we can get to protect our civil rights. And for those couples who still want to marry, come to the great state of Massachusetts! We have had legalized marriage for all our citizens for almost 5 years!!!

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