All posts by adturco

End of Semester Post

My books returned, my notebooks stashed away and my papers burned in the end of the semester fire signifies the end of my Online Journalism 1 class. Although I do not yet know whether this blog will continue, I am writing this post to reflect on my experiences during this class.

The most difficult part was consistently creating and finding content that portrayed the “macho vegan” aesthetic. Some of my favorite posts were ones that went with my goal in making this blog, which was to show a different, more unique way to live the lifestyle.

Favorite posts that captured the goal of the blog:

A vegan athlete was one of the first ideas when starting the blog.

This one gave me the chance to talk with a fellow vegan blogger.

One of the most eye opening, insightful conversation I’ve had about life, consciousness and health.

I was able to talk with a lifestyle doctor who treated her patients using a vegan diet.

My latest post, a video of the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.


People’s Climate March in Washington D.C

The “People’s Climate March” was held all over the world. Living a vegan lifestyle helps the environment in many ways. I wanted to attend the Washington, D.C. march so that I could join together with other people who care about the future of our environment.

Dr. Chandler Treats Patience Using Plant-Based, Lifestyle Medicine

A Starbucks on the corner, a natural, organic and whole food juice and burrito bar along a street full of elegant boutiques in the progressive New Jersey town of Haddonfield is perhaps the perfect place for a plant-based, lifestyle medicine family doctor’s office.

Dr. Chandler, co-owner of Chandler Wellness Care, provides patience with lifestyle medicine, by  understanding the patient, with a focus on plant-based medicine and diet. She and her husband Brandon, also co-owner, believe that many of the conditions that people face can be treated with plant-based diets, exercise and mindfulness using direct primary care.

Check out a look inside the Wellness Care office and an interview with Dr. Chandler in this video!



Four Videos Of Animal Cruelty That Changed My Lifestyle

Both a pig and two dogs enjoy the sun and some sleep at “Rooterville, A Sanctuary” in Melrose, FL. Photo taken by me

When I was making the change in my life to become a vegan, I only had a few simple reasons why. None of those reasons involved animal cruelty. I’ve never been around animals while growing up. My parents were allergic to mostly everything, even a pet ginny pig, which was taken back after three days. So, my connection with animals throughout my life was almost completely empty. I remember a family dinner at a steak house one evening, when my vegan uncle would tell me stories about animals being taken away from their children, slaughtered, and even skinned alive, but I could never feel any empathy. The stories would quickly go in one ear and out the other while I grubbed on a medium rare steak.

So now that I am vegan, I find myself naturally growing a connection with animals. I’ve come across these videos while doing more research into this new feeling of empathy. The things that are in these videos can affect even the most “macho” person. For those who are already cruelty free, I know that these videos will be tough to watch, but remember, even though it does not justify the actions, that using these videos may be the reason people finally change their lifestyle.

Warning: These videos are extremely graphic

A Look Inside Chinese Fur Farms show animals being skinned alive for fashion fur trade. When undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection/EAST International toured fur farms in China’s Hebei Province, they found the horrifying truth of animal abuse and cruelty.

For those who believe that the “cruelty free” or “organic” label on their package of slaughtered meat is not a lie, and hypocritical, here is a video that may change their minds.

Many dog, cat or any other pet lovers eat meat too. Although this doesn’t make sense to me now, I used to understand their reasoning, which was “pigs, cows and those animals are here to eat,” and “we’re supposed to eat those animals.” Share this to a meat eating pet lover to spread awareness. 


Listen to Yoga Teacher, Ronnie Christy, On How A Vegan Diet Can Help With Meditation

Ronnie Christy (right) with Gina Giovannetti Redrow, yoga teacher, (left) at the “Ananda Yoga” studio in Wenonah, NJ.

Ever needed a better reason to go or stay vegan? According to Ronnie Christy, yoga teacher with a BS in Biology, a vegan diet helps to achieve a more conscious life.

Ronnie is dedicated to spreading conscious awareness all over the east coast. From his hometown of West Deptford, NJ, he has moved to Palatka, FL to attain more knowledge on his beliefs and to work on his practice. Now, Ronnie plans on leaving Florida to move to North Carolina, with an ambition to build a yoga temple.

Ronnie, age 33, considers himself to be the most healthiest as well as the happiest he has ever been, due to his vegan diet and yogic lifestyle.

Ronnie has a bachelors degree in Biology. His science background gives him an interesting perspective on describing how the physical and spiritual can combine as one.

While you listen to the podcast, you will hear Ronnies peaceful wind chimes and his many pugs in the background of his interview.

Finally, listen to the podcast below and find out why Ronnie believes that a vegan diet is necessary to achieve “nirvana.”

Philly Vegan Blogger, Eric Belfi, Discusses Animal Agriculture, Veganism and Life as a Blogger

Photo from the PhillyVeganGuy Instagram page

Eric Belfi has been a vegan of four years, is a long distance runner and author of Philly Vegan Guy.

Eric and his wife Karen, a vegetarian for over 20 years, have been involved in dog rescue since 1999. From there, he started to become more conscious about the life of animals.

Although he was an “unapologetic carnivore” before going vegan, his love for dogs started when he was young while growing up in South Philadelphia, PA.

“It struck a cord with me. I spent so much money saving for dogs, it did not make sense to me to dictate a difference between all animals,” Eric said.

It’s been five years since Eric got introduced to the health kick. After watching Vegucated and reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, he started questioning where his food came from. He soon became more conscious about the effects that meat consumption has on animal agriculture.

Just over a year ago, Eric started his blog to share what he goes through as a vegan, specifically as a vegan athlete. He explained that the blog was created as an outlet for his experiences, whether it be the trails and tribulations, road blocks and any other difficulties in his path towards a healthier and more conscious lifestyle.

Eric hopes to share his message and the message of many who believe that a vegan lifestyle is not only healthier, but is benificial to every aspect of life.

“Blogging has a large part to play in the future of journalism,” he said.

Dedicating the time between work and training for marathons is what Eric explains as the hardest part about maintaining his blog. He is currently training for the Broad Street Marathon, ODDyssey Half Marathon and a Fall marathon in Chicago, IL. Eric also has a section on his blog about his running career.

Eric suggests that anyone who wants to start a blog should pick a topic that is close to your heart, and which you will set aside time to write about it. 

“Communicating with people who find the lifestyle inspirational is the most rewarding,” he said. 

A Visit to a Philly Vegan Pizza Shop, “Blackbird Pizzeria”

This past weekend I went to Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia, PA. Everything they make is vegan, including their homemade cheese. Blackbird is famous for their cheesesteaks, wings and delicious pizza. See the pictures below to find what goes on in this amazing vegan pizza shop.

Outside the Blackbird Pizzeria, located at 507 S 6th St, a block away from South Street.
Brittany Metz waiting for her food inside of Blackbird Pizzeria.
Blackbird Pizzeria’s menu on a chalk board. Kelly Pray talks with her coworker, waiting for customers.
Blackbird Pizzeria’s t-shirts for sale.
A drawing of the pentagram and horned goats head pasted on the shops tip jar.
A skull on top of the shops register, staring at costumers while they order.
Vegan cupcakes and sweets on the shops counter.
A row of pizza’s, including the “Beetza” which includes roasted beets, green kale, roasted garlic, tofu ricotta and daiya cheese.
TJ Allen making one of Philly’s best vegan cheesesteaks.
“Well these are Philly’s best,” TJ Allen said.
Blackbird Pizzeria’s homemade cheese poured by TJ Allen on top of a vegan cheesesteak.
Jake Kotarra mixing the pizzeria’s wings into the root beer barbecue sauce.
The pizzeria’s homemade cheese on top of fries is “delicious,” Jake Kotarra said.
One of my favorites, the Haymaker pizza.
“It’s really the best,” said Brittany Metz, a loyal costumer at the pizzeria.
Root beer barbecue wings with garlic aioli dipping sauce made for customer.
Brittany Metz dipping fries into the homemade cheese.


The Best Post-Workout Vegan Meals on a Budget

If you’re looking for a quick, cheap and hearty post workout meal, I have some tips for YOU!

If you’re on the run, Chipotle Mexican Grill is a great option! You can get a burrito or bowl for under $10!

Vegan Options at Chipotle:

  • Brown or white rice
  • Black or Pinto beans
  • Sofritas (vegan meat substitute)
  • Fajita Veggies
  • Mild, Medium or hot salsa
  • Corn salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Lettuce
  • (Chips are vegan too!)

Tip: If you get the fajita veggies without sofrita’s, you don’t have to pay an extra $1.95 for guacamole.


All natural vegan supplement post workout smoothie:

Ingredients: (measurements fit to preference and portion)

  • Kale or Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Berries (Acai, blackberries and strawberries are my favorite)
  • Pineapple (the secret to an all natural delicious smoothie is pineapple)
  • Coconut water (Use this to liquify to preferred thickness)
  • Spirulina powder
    (Spirulina is the secret supplement for your post workout. All natural and loaded with vitamins, including lots of protein)

These are a few ways to incorporate a hearty meal into your vegan diet.

Organic super foods are the best way to enhance your post workout meal. Spirulina is one of the most powerful organic foods to have. I use it the same way people use protein shakes after a workout. It helps with muscle recovery and it also boosts energy. This miracle food also does wonders for disease prevention.



Q&A with Vegan Rugby Player, Dan DeFontes

During the past year and a half Dan DeFontes has lived a vegan lifestyle that shreds the vegan stereotype. Dan has spent the last two semesters playing one of the most contact sports, Rugby.  He is a student player in the Rowan University Men’s Intramural Rugby League.

Dan shares his exercise routine and rugby experience while waiting for his practice outside of the fields.


What made you go vegan?

“Once I started learning about it, I just decided that it was worth a shot at least, and once I gave it a try and stuck with it I started to really like it. Now I’ve been a vegan for a long time.”

What were the few things that really made a big impact on going vegan?

“At first it was the environment and my health, I could care less about the life of an animal. I made all of the same excuses that everybody else says, ‘they’re bred to be our food, their lives don’t matter,’ but once I started embracing the lifestyle, you start realizing that they’re not our property. Now for me today, the most important aspect of ‘veganism’ is animal liberation and the life of that animal, as compared to my health or the impact on the environment.”


What is the hardest part about being vegan?

“It’s not finding what foods to eat or what clothes to wear or any of that stuff. Sometimes I feel that it’s really dealing with other people that can be the hardest. Some people just have such a negative attitude towards vegans. Dealing with the constant jokes, remarks ignorance.”

Do any of the vegan stereotypes affect you as a rugby player?

“Absolutely not, I find that the exact opposite is true. I’ve never felt healthier or made more gains faster in the gym. People have this idea that vegans are weak, but their are many top athletes all over the world, olympic weight lifters to Ultramarathon runners who are all vegan. They only eat vegetables, it’s the best diet in the world and it baffles my mind that people have such a little understanding of the nutrition.”

How do you get your protein?

“Protein is the easy one. Mostly from beans, but other things like tofu, peanut butter, even whole grain rice and bread. I eat roughly 180 grams of protein a day, which is a very healthy amount. Perfect for building muscle, playing a sport, recovery and all that stuff. I have no problem getting plenty of protein.”

After practice, Dan makes what he calls “power plates” in the campus’s cafeteria.


Top left plate: White Rice with Quinoa, oranges, pineapple and carrot strips.
Top right bowl: Lentil and black bean soup
Middle plate or “Power Plate”: Chickpeas, red kidney beans, black beans, green beans, carrot strips, coos coos, tomatoes all topped on a bed of dark leafy greens.

How do you feel about people who think that they can only get protein from meat?

“First things first, a lot of people I think eat way to much protein. I think you don’t need as much protein as people think you need. If you eat sufficient calories, there has never been a recorded case of protein deficiency on the entire planet. Nobody has ever died of protein deficiency, as long as you get sufficient calories, whether it’s from plants or from animals, you’re going to get sufficient protein.”

What would you tell someone who is thinking about going vegan, but skeptical? 

“I would tell them to just try it. The way I would recommend doing it is, say you’re going to have one vegan day of eating, even if it’s only one out of the seven days of the week. But than maybe next week you bump it up to two days. Even if you decide to have a vegan breakfast, everyday this week you’re going to have a vegan breakfast. Slowly but surely you’re going to have more and more vegan meals into your diet and next thing you know, you’re going to be a vegan.”


How to win the vegan argument

So your friends laugh and point at you for being vegan. They shun you and never talk to you again because of your rabbit-like diet. You lock yourself in your room with the lights off and never peak your head out of your covers. It’s happened to every vegan, or has it????, and now it’s time to combat their jokes with actual facts.

In all seriousness, I had and still do plenty of friends who act like my vegan lifestyle is nothing more than a character booster or just another phase. Over the time I’ve been vegan, I’ve had to debate my lifestyle to many respectable arguments, and also arguments with those who seem to be allergic to facts and/or someone else’s opinion. It’s inevitable, so I suggest to learn the facts, do your research, and become confident with your lifestyle.

Here are some starting points…

First of all, watch Cowspiracy. This will teach you basic information that most people don’t know.

Second, do your own research! It’s not enough to just quote a documentary, what’s important is that you know credible information to source for your ignorant friends.

Other credible sources of information for debate that will leave your friends

begging for mercy,

in fetal position,

calling for their mother

and finally, converting them to a vegan lifestyle.