Monday, September 28, 2009

Veg-Head of the Week: B.J. Hernandez

Here at, we’ve got the scoop on all things vegan in DFW. Yeah, we get around. And we never shy away from an opportunity to meet other like-minded people.

On our scouting missions, we’ve met some of the area’s coolest veg-heads! Well, we want you to know them too, so we’re starting a new feature on the site that will showcase a different DFW veg-head each week. Shoot us an e-mail at for your 15 minutes of fame!

Veg-Head of the Week: B.J. Hernandez

B.J. is currently a senior at Flower Mound High School, where he serves as principal trombonist of the award winning Flower Mound High School Wind Symphony. In addition to playing trombone in his high school band, B.J. is member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, the Texas All-State Band, and he also doodles with the accordion.

But the coolest thing about B.J. is that he’s a kid with a conscience! B.J. recently participated in the Texas Freedom Parade with Mercy For Animals (MFA), and he’s known to distribute Vegan Outreach and MFA pamphlets to his peers in the burbs. Way to speak up for the animals, B.J.!

Years Veg: 4

Hobbies: Playing music, riding bikes, reading, gardening, camping, and cooking…mostly black bean burgers and flour tortillas.

Goals: Play trombone in a major orchestra and live healthy.

Favorite Recipe: Chocolate Walnut Fudge from The Good Heart Recipe Book by Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) and his partner Alex. Check it out!

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

3 cups walnuts
2 cups coconut
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/3 vanilla bean
3/4 cup agave nectar
pinch of salt

Blend the walnuts. Then blend the coconut. Then mix it together in a bowl with your hands…Add the other ingredients, then refrigerate for at least one hour…Last, cut into rectangles.

B.J.—keep being awesome!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Note of Thanks/A Call to Action

It’s difficult for me to write this post, as I get extremely emotional thinking about the incredible events that occurred over the past few days. I tear up just thinking about it.

I have been on a not-so-secret mission to make Dallas—a city I love more than any other—a green-urban-hip place to live. I can now, without any hesitation, say I see a light at the end of the tunnel!

On Sunday, September 20, a large group of local animal rights activists came together to represent Mercy For Animals, an organization that focuses on farmed animal issues, at the 2009 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Our mission: to let Dallas know that “no one is free when others are oppressed”!

The marching group was composed of people from all walks of life with one common belief—that all living beings have the basic right to live a life free of harm and suffering.

Nathan Runkle, my friend and founder of Mercy For Animals (MFA), flew in from Chicago to oversee our grassroots effort in Dallas, where more than 60 like-minded individuals marched in support of MFA’s work. Dallas’ MFA marching group outnumbered every other city’s this year!

How did this happen here in the land of beef, beef, and more beef? Because change is here! I wanted it. And you wanted it. Together, we're making it happen!

On Monday, Spiral Diner hosted a private dinner for Nathan Runkle, several high-profile animal rights activists, and a couple of media representatives. Restaurant owner Sara Tomerlin, and founders Amy McNutt and James Johnston prepared a Texas style vegan barbeque in honor of Nathan, and all proceeds went to Mercy For Animals.

Following dinner, Nathan spoke about MFA, and screened a documentary entitled Fowl Play, which illustrates the abuse and torture of farmed animals used for food. Arnold Jones of the Dallas Voice must have been so horrified by the film, he ran out of there before it was over. And who can blame him? Most of the scenes were too unbearable to watch!

Teresa Gubbins of PegasusNews was so moved by the event, she’s featuring it as the top story on PegasusNews tomorrow!

So I want to thank everyone involved in making these events so successful. I am so proud to know so many kind and compassionate people in Dallas! 

Thank you all so much for your supporting this cause that’s very close to my heart, and know that this is only the beginning of a movement that’s going to hit this city by storm!

We must stay active, though!!

Please start by supporting the amazing work Mercy For Animals does.

This is our chance to make Dallas truly shine!

And stay tuned to for more opportunities to be a part of this evolution.

Photos by Drew and Nathan

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vegan Drinks – Save the date – October 8th!


On Thursday, October 8th, Dallas Vegan will be organizing the very first Dallas Vegan Drinks at the Idle Rich Pub from 6-8 pm!

What’s Vegan Drinks? Well, to be brief – it’s vegans, in a bar, drinking.

Ok, well to be a little less brief, Vegan Drinks was started as a monthly social networking group in New York City that has spread to other parts of the country. Other cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia have organized Vegan Drinks, so we thought it was as good a time as any to get started here in Dallas.

More details to come later – but save the date and time to get ready to mingle with other vegans, vegetarians, or anyone interested in learning more about it!

Vegan Drinks @ Idle Rich Pub
Thursday October 8th, 6-8pm
2614 Mckinney Ave
Dallas, TX

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mercy For Animals March – This Sunday


This Sunday, September 20th, vegans, vegetarians, and others compassionate towards animal rights will march in the 2009 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade representing Mercy For Animals (MFA).

So why is this big news? To start, not only is this the first organized MFA event in Dallas, but it’s the first in the entire state of Texas. The fact that Dallas can represent this well respected organization in the animal rights community is HUGE – and goes a long way to show the progressive, open-minded culture that exists in the city.

What’s even more amazing is that Nathan Runkle, the founder of MFA, is taking time out of his busy schedule to personally join the march participants on Sunday.

Nathan Runkle

Nathan Runkle

In addition, on Monday evening following the parade, Mr. Runkle will present a private screening of MFA’s new film, Fowl Play, for select activists and local Dallas media. The film documents what goes on behind closed doors at Hy-Line, a major egg hatchery located in Iowa, in an effort to explain how eggs make their way on to the plate and the suffering involved in the process. Attendees will get a chance to speak with Mr. Runkle about the film and his organization.


An example of the cruelty caught on tape as male chicks are separated and ground-up alive

Nathan Runkle, who recently was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall Of Fame, founded Mercy For Animals in 1999 at the age of 15. The organization now boasts more than 25,000 members and is a leading activist for farmed animals. They employ a no-nonsense approach towards educating the public by providing information about the abuses occurring on factory farms – usually in the form of undercover investigations, as well as sharing helpful tips for making more cruelty-free choices. Their website,, is a wealth of information for those interested in learning more about their investigations.

With so many fantastic and award-winning restaurants, Dallas has come a long way in the vegan dining community. This event will help to solidify this city as a big supporter of animal rights as well.

Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade
September 20, 2009
Parade starts at 2:00 pm

*photos courtesy of

Friday, September 11, 2009

Z Pizza in Flower Mound

Those of you following the “Veggie Guy” column on Dallas Observer's City of Ate already know about Flower Mound’s Z Pizza. The small California-based chain makes a mean vegan pie loaded with Daiya cheese. Yeah, we’re totally stoked! We understand, though, that FloMo might be a bit of a haul for some of you DFW veg-heads. But we’ve got a little motivational nugget for ya’ll...

We’re giving away two coupons for a free pizza at Z Pizza. With a purchase of $20 or more, you’ll get to take home a free 10-inch Z Pizza for breakfast—erm—we mean lunch…yeah. Just make sure to order your pies with regular or whole wheat crust (gluten-free crust contains egg).

To win, all you have to do is watch THIS CLIP from Fowl Play and leave a comment here by 11:59 PM on Monday, September 14, 2009. Two winners will be chosen at random. 

We’ll announce the lucky veg-heads by 8:00 AM on Tuesday, September 15, 2009. 


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Product Review: Hemp I Scream (Double Dutch Chocolate)

I was in the mood for something sweet the other day at Whole Foods Lakewood as I was perusing through the frozen foods section. I took a gander though the ice cream selection when I noticed Hemp I Scream (which was rather miraculous, given it’s nondescript packaging). I’m not sure whether or not it’s a new item – it’s quite possible I’ve just never noticed it before.


“Hemp I Scream” is essentially an ice-cream cookie sandwich sold in individual packages. This flavor was “Double Dutch Chocolate” - hemp “I Scream” stuck between two hemp cookies (which had the approximate texture and slight taste of an oatmeal cookie).


The only thing that really needs to be said about these is –HOLY FREAKIN’ CRAP THIS THING WAS AMAZING!…but in the interest of blogging – I suppose I will continue (if only to relive the magic for but a brief moment).

The cookies were truthfully some of the best cookies I’ve had – you would never know they were frozen. Very moist and chewy, they held their shape well, but not at all hard like other frozen cookies I’ve had. The ice cream was rich and chocolaty with a great consistency, a perfect compliment to the cookies. Seriously – this is one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time.

Their website claims this to be a “Sweet and Healthy” treat. I don’t know about the healthy part, but even at 360 calories I could really care less. At least the hemp is organic, and it’s always a hoot to tell your non-vegan friends you’re eating it (don’t worry – their website also says it’s “Naturally drug free”).

Available at Whole Foods – Lakewood
2118 Abrams Road
Dallas, TX

Friday, September 4, 2009

Vegan Athletes?

I’m sure we’ve all had the questions from friends & family about our diets - “are you getting enough protein?” - “where do you get your calcium from if you don’t drink milk” – etc. I understand that many people don’t quite “get” our diets and how being vegan can actually be an extremely healthy way to go. So, I politely thank them for their concern and try to explain how almost all foods have some form of protein in them and that – contrary to popular belief – cow’s milk is not necessarily the best form of calcium. Some get it, some don’t – but that’s okay.

I can only imagine that when you’re a professional athlete, those kinds of questions increase. Luckily, there are many successful professionals that have proven what one can achieve on a vegan diet. For instance, there’s the Vegan Fitness Team: Robert Cheeke – a professional body builder, Brendan Brazier – a champion tri-athlete, and Tonya Kay – world class dancer. Each has been successful in their respective fields of competition. They’ve even starred in a great movie highlighting their performance within the vegan lifestyle.

There’s also one of my new favorite hockey players – Georges Laraques – NHL tough-guy who recently went vegan after watching a powerful movie. I’ve watched hockey for years hating him while playing for the Edmonton Oilers and beating up on my favorite Stars players, but now I have nothing but respect (although I’ll still root against him when he plays the Stars next year).

And lest we forget (lest he kick all of our butts) about Mac DanzigUltimate Fighter 6 champion.

tell this guy he’s not getting enough protein

That brings me to myself. I started running last year, and I guess you could say after running my first marathon in April that I’m officially a “runner”. I may not be breaking world records any time soon (or any time later for that matter), but I think this allows me to consider myself a vegan “athlete”.


Gans, Allison, Cervando, and myself triumphant at the OKC Marathon

After my first swimming lesson on Wednesday (well, first since Kindergarten) in anticipation of completing a triathlon in the near future, I began to wonder about what other vegan athletes in the area were up to.

One awesome Dallas athlete I’m aware of is Mia Bissette. I’ve been following her on Twitter for a while now, but have yet to have the privilege to meet. She’s currently training for a triathlon raising money for Peta, and rumor has it that Dallas Vegan is in line for one of her awesome recipes when she returns from her extensive travels (maybe her fabulous looking deviled tomatoes?).

So, the bottom line to this post is - who are the other vegan athletes in Dallas, and what kinds of inspiring things are they getting in to? I know that there are more of us out there, so let’s hear from you!