"Alcohol – The Vegan Way"
By Chuck Dishmon
No matter if you’re swirling fine wine at an exhibition or drinking beer on a sketch crawl, alcohol and art make a great pairing. However, wineries and breweries have traditionally used animal products in formulating and clarifying their beverages. Fortunately, this has attracted increased attention within the vegan community, and businesses have responded with compassionate choices.What is Vegan Wine and Beer?
Many contend that vintners and brewers are artists in their own right, and their craft is akin to picking colors from a palette. In creating their masterpieces, quality fruits and grains are selected and used in the fermentation process. The technique is used to convert sugar into ethanol alcohol, but in doing so, compounds are created which negatively affect taste and appearance. Consequently, crafters remove these unwanted compounds by adding a fining agent to the wine or beer. This agent bonds to the undesirable particles, and the resulting composite sinks to the bottom of the tank for easy removal.
Sadly, gelatin is the most widely used fining agent in the industry, and this product is derived from the skin and bones of animals. Additional fining agents include milk protein and powder, egg whites and protein, and other agents derived from animal organs and blood. On the bright side, vegan wine and beer is readily available, and many major manufacturers are taking the initiative to create compassionate beverages.How is Vegan Wine and Beer Made?
Vegan beer and wine is crafted by artists who go the extra distance to ensure their product is compassionate and cruelty free. This means no animal products, such as honey or dairy derivatives, are used as additives in the ingredients. Additionally, the clarification process utilizes compassionate methods, devoid of any animal byproducts. To achieve this end, the vintners and brewers utilize fining agents derived from volcanic ash, cellulose, diatomaceous earth, or polymers.Supporting Compassionate Artists
If the sweet symphony of art and alcohol sounds like a great time, be sure to support artisans who use compassionate ingredients and methods in their production process. Here are a couple quality companies offering cruelty free vegan beverages:
Northwest Totem Cellars is a family-owned winery which is very active in the animal rights community. They feature organic vegan wine options. (www.nwtotemcellars.com) Side Car Café is a complete vegan store, featuring a delicious Sauvignon Blanc by Snoqualmie (www.sidecarforpigspeace.com)
Another helpful resource is Barnivore (www.barnivore.com), which is a vegan beer, wine, and liquor guide. They list wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and rate them as vegan friendly, having vegan options, or not vegan friendly.
In closing, the next time you pair art and alcohol, consider a vegan wine or beer. Doing so will support an industry that embraces compassionate production methods. Accordingly, there are many amazing artists who would love to share their vision in complementing your vegan lifestyle. So get out there and add some kindness to the melding of great art and alcohol.
By Chuck Dishmon
Chuck Dishmon is a writer, activist, and graduate student studying philosophy. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
A Presidential endorsement for a
by David Walega
President Clinton embraces a vegan inspired diet
Former president Bill Clinton has shocked many with the adoption of a plant-based diet. This from the politician who would drop by Burger King on his morning jogs while governor of Arkansas? Driven by a family history of heart disease and two surgeries for ongoing heart problems, Clinton has decided to give up most meat, dairy and eggs in an effort to improve his health. In an interview with CNN, Clinton stated that he has dropped more than twenty pounds and has never felt better.
Our 42nd President joins a growing group of public officials who have adopted the vegan lifestyle. In a video taped announcement at the annual FARM Animal Rights Conference this July in Los Angeles, Rep. Dennis Kucinich spoke of the positive effects that embracing a vegan diet has done for his family. Inspired by a compassion for all living things, he and his wife Elizabeth have stated they have more energy for their demanding political schedule as well as their growing number of adoptive dogs.
The change to a vegan diet for most is a gradual process. Whether driven by health or ethical concerns or an interest in ecological sustainability, plant-based diets are gaining greater momentum.
In the case of the Clintons, they began this process while in the White House. The First Lady steared the menu away from the existing rich high-fat gourmet foods that had been the core of the President's diet, and focused on a more healthful diet including vegatable and fruits. When at age 58 the President required a quadruple bypass, it was clear that more drastic changes needed to take place. With the expert advice of his physician Dr. Dean Ornish, and a second visit to the operating room in 2010 to place two stents into his damaged heart, even more dietary changes were neccessary..
Increasingly, research shows that with strict adherence to healthy eating habits, one can stop the progression of heart disease and in some cases actually reverse it. The image of Bill Clinton as a burger-eating fast food fanatic is becoming a distant memory, replaced by a rejuvenated yet reluctant advocate for healthy living.
The vegan diet does not contain meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, or honey. Variations of this diet include fruitarianism and raw veganism.
A vegan diet can be a healthful alternative to an animal-based diet for many people. Becoming vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up the tastes you love. There are now delicious vegan versions of almost every meat, dairy, and egg product which retain the great taste, while eliminating the animal suffering and reducing environmental degradation.
Vegetarians follow a plant-based diet which may include dairy products (lacto) and/or eggs (ovo), while excluding meat.
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."
"Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 7 ( 2009) 1266-1282.