Vegans Fuel McDonald's Identity Crisis

February 23, 2015

McDonalds Vegan

First of all, I acknowledge that I've sucked at keeping up my newsletter lately—but for good reason! I've been busting booty on a new project I'm hoping to announce very soon, so don't go away—stay tuned!

Speaking of delays, my topic today started with something I spotted last November 2014. I had come across a heartwarming article in Fortune magazine, "Can McDonald's Get Its Mojo Back?", about the once-dominant fast food chain's decline—today, McD's is losing its market share, losing sales, and suffering a corporate identity crisis. Warm and fuzzies! 

Don't get it twisted, they're still serving the dregs of animal flesh to millions a a day. But the news represents a hairline fracture that could potentially crumble the empire. Anyway, that's the scene I imagine in my head. 

The factor for McDonald's decline that I'm most interested in is the shift in market interests. The old "fast and convenient" selling point is losing appeal to a growing market (us, and the public we influence!) who are looking for "fresh and healthy." That's a major effing fundamental problem for them that I'm very excited about. 

None of their campaign overhauls are working because no matter what McDonald's says in an ad, they can't overcome the fact that they sell garbage. McDonald's has become synonymous with "junk food," and associated with obesity, "pink slime," lawsuits, expired meat, and animal abuse, all while the mainstream food market is moving toward unprocessed "slow food," healthy kids, and Meatless Mondays.

What's a company to do? 

When a public relations department can't distract the masses by throwing sand in their eyes, they often engage another tactic—embracing the negative and spinning it as a positive.  

Last night, my confidence in: a) McDonald's decline and b) our vegan influence on the public, was confirmed when I saw this McDonald's commercial on TV:

WOW, a little butt-hurt, are we??? I think we've insulted them.

It reeks of the insecurity unique to a bully that doesn't get his way and suddenly senses a loss of power (or an angry world-destroying monster robot right before it dies). You can almost feel the McDonald's executives raging like mad kings behind the scenes, "Take that, you vegetarian f*cks!"

Except it feels really, really out of date, and even for McDonald's own sake, it's a bad ad. Who even says "deconstructed?!" Did they mean "unprocessed?" Of course, they couldn't say that. I think the ad is so icky that it will only further isolate people—moms, especially—who are trying to be healthier, trying to do better for their kids. 

In any case, the ad sounds like a death knell more than a war chant. The people it will fire up are the dumbest of the dumb, who weren't going to stop eating fast food anyway, and vegans. And at this moment, it's our "campaign" that's winning. 

Now, we just have to get people off Greek Yogurt and onto the coconut milk kind. 

Keep on fighting. It's working. 

5 Foods to Put on Your Face

August 21, 2014

papaya skin mask vegan


Aloha! I'm writing to you from Kauai, Hawaii, where I was partly raised on an organic tree farm (mac nuts, cocos, citrus, and Surinam cherries galore—to see photos, join my Instagram: @ruby_roth). 

Besides some dabs of essential oils and rose water, I've worn nothing on my face for a week—not even a lick of mascara. But I have put some food on my face.

Never do I use any big name-brand skincare products, especially being that to purchase said items, one must often enter a drugstore, which is one of the places that makes me feel like the world has already ended.

The second I set foot under the fluorescent lights, my eye-brain is flooded with the idea that every shelf, every lighter, every package and stick of gum—basically every tangible surface inside the store will eventually end up in a landfill, or worse.

My avoidance of the drugstore is why, at our house, we are constantly running out of toilet paper.

Anyway, I'm off the plastic-upon-chemical face washes, eye creams, moisturizers, and especially commercially-produced exfoliating scrubs, whose perfectly-round polyethylene microbeads make up a portion of the masses of tiny plastic fragments (called "nurdles") in our ocean—and are perfectly bite-sized for all kinds of sea creatures, who gobble them up by the belly-full. (#ThatsWhyWeDontEatAnimals) 

So besides essential oil blends by boutique labels like Living Libations and Persephenie, my skincare repertoire sometime includes bits and pieces of food I use in the kitchen. Step one—eat the food. Step two, put the food on your face. 

Pretty much any raw plant food has benefits when placed directly on our skin—but here are just five I routinely dab on myself when I'min the kitchen (and btw, kids LOVE this food-on-the-face game).

5 Foods to Put on Your Face

1. Papaya: When I'm done eating one, I rip up the peel and lay them all over my face, gently rubbing them in. Rinse after you've "soaked." Papaya is known for its antioxidants, vitamin A, and especially its powerful enzyme papain, which "digests" and breaks down build up and toxins, leaving your face aglow. 

2. Avocado: The bright yellow-green insides of a freshly ripe avo really do glisten and always make me think, "you are what you eat—and what you put on your skin."  I take a pinkie-fingernail scrape of avocado and rub it onto the tops of my hands, the apples of my cheeks, or whatever else I want glistening.

3. Citrus peel: Before I toss the peel of an orange or grapefruit, I rub the insides of the peel on my face and neck. They have a cooling and cleansing effect (citrus is antibacterial), and in my mind, must be as good a practice as the vitamin C serum aestheticians are always praising. Go to the source! Rinse when you feel like it. 

4. Aloe: Aloe is so easy to grow (the leaves regenerate when you cut their ends), I highly suggest having a few plants. Even a very small, thin slice gives you enough goo to spread a layer across your whole face. Seriously, try the gel on your forehead before you go to a party. You can leave it on all night. As it dries, it pulls the skin amazingly taut! It's temporary, but highly satisfying. And of course, aloe gel is known to be nutrient dense and soothing to all kinds of skin issues. 

5. Coconut Oil: There are about 1 bajillion home uses for coco oil, but its healthy fat and vitamin E content is simply good all around for dryness, peeling, cracking, and all kinds of skin disorders. When I add coco oil to any of my recipes, I rub any excess into my cuticles, nails, and elbows.

Now gather your little ones, cover your face in food, take a pic, and tag me on Instagram: @ruby_roth

What food do you put on your face? Leave a comment below!


I Only Eat Grass-Fed Bison (Part II)

April 29, 2014

bison slaughter

Three years ago, I wrote about the unseen world one participates in when one switches from eating cows to bison, since their meat was then a new trend amongst people "going green." Like I always say, whenever and wherever animals are exchanged for money, you can bet you'll find dirty business.

Though it has happened for many years, it is hardly known that significant numbers of the remaining wild bison in Yellowstone National Park are hazed, penned, and slaughtered every year due to commercial interests, especially those of adjacent cattle ranchers who fear potential brucellosis infection of their herds. In 2004, 264 wild bison were rounded up and slaughtered in order to protect 180 cows grazing on land nearby. Another 198 were corralled until the following season, but for lack of space in the pen, 57 were killed without even testing for brucellosis. In 2008, 1,616 bison were driven from park borders and slaughtered.

Last month, a man named Comfrey Jacobs (I have a feeling he's one of us) stalled Yellowstone's Interagency Bison Management Plan by chaining himself to a blockade against the entrance to the bison trap. I was excited to hear that he drew enough public attention for Yellowstone to announce the end the cull for the season—but upon further research, I realize it was hardly a win, after hunting allowances had been given as the primary method for removing bison; after 258 bison were consigned to tribal partners for "nutritional and cultural purposes," and after 60 bison were transfered to the UDSA "for an ongoing research project."

Nevertheless, I love James for his efforts and for brining attention to these practices (hear his message and witness his ridiculous arrest here). Jacobs was arraigned earlier this month and did not accept the plea bargain. He's now awaiting further legal council. 

As hunting surely brings in money, and pressure from cattle ranchers will certainly not relent, Yellowstone's policies will likely proceed next season. North America used to be home to 50 million bison. Now, the last free-roaming, genetically pure herd—allegedly descendents of 23 wild bison that survived mass slaughter—exists only in Yellowstone National Park, and now number just a few thousand, though Yellowstone has the capacity for more. 

Whose side of history are we taking when we eat meat? What long chain of deplorable practices do we link ourselves to when we purchase grass-fed animals? The depths of the decision can never be known standing in front of a romantically bucolic farmer's market booth. The damage is done by then, completely invisible and forgotten, while the buyer's conscience is at ease. 

For those of you who come up against grass-fed-meat-eaters, remember this, too. Greenhouse gas intensities can be 50% higher with grass-fed cattle than with those finished on grain. It is understood that grass-fed animals use up more resources—land, water, and crops—than factory-farmed animals do, as they are fattened more slowly and kept alive longer. For cattle, that's around a year-and-a-half's worth of extra life support, to end up in the same place that factory-farmed animals do.

Never an isolated matter, there can be no such thing as "humane" slaughter, and especially at this time in history, there can be no environmental gains won by going "grass-fed."

The illusion is a grand one, though.

Too keep up with Comfrey Jacobs' story and to help stop the Yellowstone slaughter, please visit Buffalo Field Campaign, their site is incredibly rich with information. 

Sources: 1, 2