Review: The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

When we learned about Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s re-release of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, we were so excited to support this project! The book has now been released and is available as a beautiful hard cover (signed by the author) for $29.95 plus shipping at We love Colleen’s positivism and enthusiasm for the vegan diet and lifestyleCPG5 and her joyful nature definitely shines through in this book. The 30-Day Vegan Challenge would be an awesome gift for your newly vegan or vegan-leaning friend or family member or for someone who you wish to ‘challenge’ to try out a vegan lifestyle for 30 days! However, the recipes and insight will also be appreciated by those of us well versed in the vegan lifestyle.

We love that Colleen has an approachable and positive way of presenting veganism to the newbie but at the same time she does not shy away from discussing animal rights and her values of compassion and love for all sentient beings which is permeated throughout this book. She gives great advice to the new comer such as encouraging them to set their intentions and goals and to find a buddy for support in their new journey to health and wellness. She encourages the new comer not to view veganism as a ‘separate food group’ or to shy away from trying new foods. She advises new comers to learn to make vegan versions of old, familiar comfort foods but also to pick a few new recipes to add to their repertoire. Colleen even gives tips for how to be vocal and confident about dietary needs while dining out.

CPG2The recipes contained in this book are phenomenal and we can’t wait to try them all! From the Strawberry Bruschetta to the Smokey White Bean Chowder, her recipes range from something to satisfy the palate for home-cooked comfort food to the taste buds of the adventurous foodie. She breaks down topics such as plant-based milks and even has a chapter on ‘Demystifying Tofu’. We feel the new vegan or person in the contemplation stage of changing their diet will really appreciate her thoughtful descriptions contained within these chapters and the rest of the book. Colleen reminds readers to be gentle with themselves in the chapter, “Keeping it in Perspective: Intention, Not Perfection”.

We really appreciate Colleen’s insight throughout this book. She gives practical advice for how to incorporate veganism into everyday living. She also covers topics that are of importance to new vegans and helps readers not to feel overwhelmed by their changing lifestyle and often changing values that accompany it. Colleen explains to readers how they can become a joyful CPG4vegan in a non-vegan world!

Colleen has also authored the award winning cook book, The Joy of Vegan Baking. She has written additional cook books such as Color Me Vegan and The Vegan Table. Our personal favorite is her book, Vegan’s Daily Companion, which is a mix of recipes, facts and everyday tips for living as a vegan in this animal-eating world. For more information on Colleen Patrick-Goudreau or any of her books, please visit her website at Colleen also releases regular podcasts and maintains a blog that can also be found through her website or Facebook page.

Photos courtesy of Compassionate Cooks, LLC.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Forum at Grand Valley State University

  • What: Forum with Dr. John Vucetich and Michael Markarian GVSU (Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Event)
  • When: Saturday, October 25, 2014 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Where: Grand Valley State University, Cook-Dewitt Center, 1110 Kirkhof Center Allendale, MI 49401
  • Cost: FREE
  • RSVP: Here!

Join Keep Michigan Wolves Protected for a forum about wolves in Michigan. We will discuss the science and the politics behind the wolf hunt.

Dr. Vucetich is an associate professor at Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, and serves as co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project, the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world. Dr. Vucetich is also co-director of the Conservation Ethics Group and author of more than 75 scholarly publications on a range of environmental topics, including wolves living in Isle Royale, Yellowstone National Park, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the desert southwest, Canada and Scandinavia.

Michael Markarian is Chief Program and Policy Officer of The HSUS. He also serves as president of The Fund for Animals, an affiliate of The HSUS providing direct care, food, and medical treatment to thousands of animals each year at its wildlife rehabilitation centers and animal sanctuaries.

Additionally, as president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, he oversees the lobbying and political activity of that affiliate. Markarian’s work on animal issues has been featured in newspapers and magazines across the country, and he has appeared on major television networks such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, and on NBC’s “Today Show.”

NO to the wolf hunt, NO to the power grab: Vote NO on Proposals 1 and 2!

By Jill Fritz, Director, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

When Michigan citizens go to vote on November 4, they will find two referendums on the ballot: Proposal 1, to designate wolves as a game species and allow a trophy hunting and trapping season on them, and Proposal 2, to allow an unelected commission to designate wolves as game species—a law passed in 2013 for the sole purpose of circumventing a voter referendum on Proposal 1. Please vote NO on both Proposals 1 and 2 to overturn those laws, restore protections to Michigan’s wolves, and maintain our right as citizens to have a say on important wildlife issues.

Wolves had been shot, trapped and poisoned nearly to the brink of extinction, but had been protected in Michigan for almost 50 years while their population continued to ARJNKA Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), pup looking out from denrecover. But in early 2012, the wolves of the Great Lakes states—Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan—were removed from the federal Endangered Species List and placed under state management. Since then, more than 1,000 wolves have already been killed in aggressive hunting and trapping seasons. Proposal 1 would allow that to continue in Michigan, so we must vote NO on Proposal 1 to overturn it.

In order to frighten legislators and the public into thinking that a wolf hunt was “needed” to protect livestock and human safety, politicians and state officials exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf encounters in Michigan. And it was revealed that nearly two-thirds of all wolf/livestock incidents in the U.P. occurred on a single farm, whose owner baited wolves with cattle and deer carcasses. Let’s be clear on this: genuine threats to human safety by wolves are extremely rare—wolves are naturally fearful of humans and avoid them at all costs—and in fact, no physical attack by a wolf on a human has ever occurred in Michigan.

The bottom line is that wolves are being effectively managed in our state. It’s already legal to kill wolves when they attack livestock or dogs. Non-lethal measures, including guard donkeys, dogs and fencing, have also been effective. All told, even before Michigan’s first wolf hunt began last fall (which happened because of the passage of Proposal 2), wolf/livestock conflicts in the U.P. had already reduced by more than 80 percent. Simply put, there is no scientific justification to hunt wolves to address conflicts. A hunt would be driven by a desire for a trophy, or out of fear or hatred, and there is nothing scientific about that.Keywords: stock, Grey Wolf, wild, wildlife

Proposal 2 is a law passed in early 2013, soon after Keep Michigan Wolves Protected turned in its petition signatures to place the first law allowing a wolf hunt on hold, granting the Natural Resources Commission the power to designate wolves as game species to be hunted and trapped for sport. The members of the Natural Resources Commission are not scientists or experts – they are political appointees who are unaccountable to the public and who make decisions largely at the behest of trophy hunting and trapping lobby groups. If Proposal 2 is approved, voters would be left out in the cold because there is no referendum process when it comes to the NRC’s decisions.

A group calling itself “Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management,” backed by trophy hunting, hounding and trapping lobby groups and businesses, submitted an initiative that was rubber-stampeded by the Legislature in August 2014 to secure the authority of the Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as game and allow future wolf hunts. However, this law is unconstitutional and Keep Michigan Wolves Protected plans to pursue legal action to strike it down. In the meantime, it is essential that Michigan voters exercise their right to protect wildlife by rejecting the two referendums on the November ballot with a NO vote.

The wildlife of Michigan belongs to all of its citizens, not just the big game lobby groups and bureaucrats. When you go to the polls on November 4, you can say NO to the wolf hunt and NO to the power grab by voting NO on Proposals 1 and 2! Please visit for more information.


Christian Perspectives in Science Seminar in Grand Rapids, MI

Christian Perspectives in Science Seminar

Free and Open to the Public

Friday, October 3, 3:30 PM in Science Building room 110

Title:  Food x Faith: Consumptive Choices Could Solve TWO Big Global Problems AND Save Money

Speaker:  David Dornbos, Biology Department, Calvin College


While “Creation Care” is trendy in some elements of “the church,” it certainly does not seem to be mainstream nor is it driving sweeping changes in behaviors of Christian lifestyle. And whether we sense it or not, admit it or not from where we sit, global food security has already been undermined by environmental degradation.  So as global human population swells toward 9 billion, it seems as though we may need to choose between food security and environmental health, intensifying industrial agriculture or developing a new food system model.  Do these need to be choices?  Could consumptive choices, changes in our dietary aesthetic, save us money through lower healthcare costs and protect environmental integrity at local and global scales?

Calvin College Offers Plant-based Diet Course for Adults 50+

Vegan Michigan was excited to learn about this plant-based diet course being offered at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI targeting adults in the 50+ age group. This is the second section of this course to run after the first section was completely filled and numerous participants were interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet after taking the six week course. Below you will find the course information for the fall section and links to register for the course at the bottom. This is an excellent opportunity for those who want to learn more about the benefits and reasons for adopting a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

The Wondrous Benefits of Plant-Based Food Choices

CALL (Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning) Class

Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. until 2:45 p.m.

September 9 through October 14, 2014

Calvin College – Science Building – Room 010


Nothing (not drugs, not exercise, not money) has as much impact on our health as what we eat.  Nothing has as much impact on God’s creation as what we eat.  Many knowledgeable people from Hippocrates (father of medicine) to the Surgeon General and the United Nations have documented these truths.  Yet, these facts remain some of the best-buried secrets.  This course is for those who have the courage to know the facts and for those who would like to use that knowledge to be kinder to their bodies, kinder to the planet, kinder to society and kinder to God’s other creatures.

The course leaders will overview some of the overwhelming scientific data to support eating exclusively plant-based foods.  The impact of food choices on health, environment, sustainability and compassion for God’s other creatures will be covered.  The health myths that have made us the sickest country in the world (even though we spend the most on health care) will also be confronted.  The course will include healthful cooking illustrations and implementation support.

All the course leaders walk the talk.  They do not encourage others to do anything that they do not do themselves.  The information they will share is the basis for some of the ethics that they live by.

STYLE:  presentation and discussion

Aubrey Sykes, Ken Piers, David Koetje, Matt Halteman, Nyna Sykes, leaders

Aubrey Sykes is Professor of Engineering at Calvin College

Ken Piers is Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at Calvin College

David Koetje is Professor of Biology at Calvin College

Matt Halteman is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College

Nyna Sykes is Associate Director of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College

Apply for CALL membership at

You must be over 50 years old and the fee is $35.

Then register for the class at – clicking on the red box that says “Register>>”, then selecting Class Number 8.  The fee is $20.

Activist Interview: Claire Tamburello

In Michigan, we are lucky to have so many dedicated animal advocates who work every day to bring greater awareness to animal cruelty issues in our state and in the world. We find it especially exciting to see young leaders emerging within our movement such as Claire Tamburello from Caledonia, MI. On August 20, 2014 Claire organized a circus protest in her hometown which had an impressive turn out and engagement from activists all over West Michigan. We were able to interview Claire about her experience advocating for animals in her school and community.

Vegan Michigan: What started you on your vegan ‘journey’ and how has it impacted where you are today?

Claire: I’ve always loved animals- from toads to dogs to elephants, but until the age of eleven, I hadn’t really thought about how my food was made. That changed for the better when I came across PETA’s well known video, “Meet Your Meat”. The video takes an in-depth look at the claireanimal agriculture industry. I found the footage shocking- surely this kind of thing was illegal! I did a bit of research and found the appalling cruelty to animals shown in the film was, in fact, not only legal, but considered the norm. I decided that day to go vegetarian. Over the course of the next year, I came up with numerous reasons as to why I could just never go vegan. It wasn’t as if anyone was pressuring me to go vegan. In fact, I hadn’t met a vegan or even another vegetarian at that point. The excuses were for me. I simply didn’t want to give up the animal products I still ate. One year from the day I went vegetarian, I decided to transition into veganism and haven’t eaten an animal product since. It was way easier than expected, and the transition was made even smoother by plant-based products like Daiya cheese and Boca burgers. It was, by far, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Vegan Michigan: How did you come to be involved with local activism such as planning and organizing the Kelly Miller Circus protest on August 20th in Caledonia?

Claire:  I first became involved with local activism during the 2013 Grand Rapids Walk for Farm Animals. There, I met many animal rights activists and other vegans. We kept in touch through Facebook and have been participating in animal rights events together ever since. Not only have they been notifying me of important protests and rallies, but they’ve also been an amazing support system. It’s like having constant affirmation that what you’re standing up for is a good cause in a world that is set against you. As for the Kelly Miller Circus protest in particular, I was ready to protest- with or without other people- as soon as I learned of the circus and did a bit of research on this circus’s animal cruelty reports.

Vegan Michigan: As a young activist, how do you inspire others to adopt a cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle and have you had any successes doing this?

Claire: I’ve encouraged several of my classmates to go vegan by bringing in animal rights pamphlets with a cruelty-free snack or two attached. I’ve found people respond very positively to vegan outreach material when paired with food. Many other students have expressed their interest in why I’m vegan and even decided to try it out themselves as a result.

Vegan Michigan: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to people considering a vegan diet and lifestyle?

Claire: There will be many people who treat you differently after finding out you are vegan and some who will even view it as a personal attack on their beliefs. These people will try to bring you down, or even mock you for your choices. You can’t let them affect who you are or what you claire2do.

Vegan Michigan: What steps would you recommend to people wanting to get more involved in local animal activism?

Claire: I would check online for local activism groups- Craigslist and Facebook are great ways to find animal rights activists in your area. If there doesn’t happen to be any established group, start your own! You may be surprised by how many people are interested in your cause. Get the word out about your group by tabling, hanging flyers, and posting ads on the internet.

Vegan Michigan: What advice would you give to other young people hoping to be social change agents in their community? What lessons have you learned from your own activism or from watching other activists?

Claire: One of the main lessons I’ve learned is that your fellow activists will not always use tactics you agree with to spread your message. Just remember that you are supporting cause and find a workable compromise. You will also find allies in unexpected places. I’ve had friends who come from families of avid hunters that are interested in going vegan and want to be active in the animal rights community. They may even have an effect on their family members’ beliefs! I would also strongly advise every young person who feels strongly about any particular issue to attend a summer program called Youth Empowered Action (or Y.E.A.) Camp. There, you will learn the skills and attitude essential to becoming an effective activist. To learn more about this camp, you can visit their website at .