Sunday, June 9, 2019

In case anyone needs an e-scooter survey or email response...


Thought I would share this one I put together and used.  Feel free to copy it and use it:   


E-scooters only have a positive impact on my life, because they decrease the number of cars and especially SUVs which have a very negative impact on my pedestrian life.  You know what the number one thing I see on the sidewalk that obstructs it and doesn't belong here?  SUVs.   Why don't we do a study on SUVs blocking sidewalks and if they even belong in xxx County to begin with (they don't).   I'd face a whole army of  e-scooters, if it got rid of one SUV.  In fact, e-bikes and e-scooters are actually quite beneficial to our community and only make it better, so actually let's have whole armies of them.    And if you look at statistics you will quickly realize they don't kill people either-unlike cars and SUVs.   

Additionally, some places have made it illegal for those under 18 years old to ride e-scooters, so it is worth adding in the line and asking the question "Why can a 16 year old drive a giant deadly SUV, but not an e-scooter?"








Rachelle Kaufman is the author of the Kaufman Green Guides Series, plus several other books including Now I Know My European Language Colors and An American Jew in Budapest.  

                           


  
                                     

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

We are looking for guest bloggers!

So here is a great opportunity for those of you who are looking to spread the name of your business, your name or your message.   

Guest blogging! 

And if we use your post, we will also allow a write up with a link about your business, blog, social media account/group, etc.   Free advertising! 

Here are some suggested topics:

  • Anything related to veganism
  • Anything related to car-free spaces and creating car-free cities
  • Cycling (practical, not competitive)
  • Why we should more strongly regulate or ban suvs
  • Travel experiences that do not mention non-vegan food or driving (They don't have to be focused on veganism or car-free spaces though)
  • Public Transportation
  • Walking
  • Jewish culture (That doesn't have anti-vegan content or isn't focused on driving)
  • Geography Trivia (again no anti-vegan content or car-centered content)
  • Book Reviews (same agains)
We are also open to other ideas!   Feel free to run them by us.   We are also considering doing interviews.   If you would like to be interviewed please let us know and we can send you some questions if we are interested. 

Please make sure blog post is mainly topical and not just a giant advertisement for your business (a quick mention of your business is fine if relevant). 

If interested please reply in the blog comments with a way to reach you, send either a DM on Facebook or respond in comments on Facebook, or respond in comments on Twitter

Court House Protected Bike Lane


I recently had my first experience trying the protected bike lanes in Court House in Arlington VA.
I found it much easier and safer to bike with the protected bike lanes than other sections of Arlington.  I was able to very easily bike through the Courthouse area.  I even was able to cycle during rush hour having no issues.  Frankly, I am not the fastest cyclist, so any help is much appreciated. 

Arlington has made this helpful change within the past year: https://www.arlnow.com/2018/08/01/new-protected-bike-lane-coming-to-courthouse-this-month/. 

Protected bike lanes provide a helpful solution that helps cyclists greatly. 

Arlington also offers nice “Bike to Work” day events.  Arlington has many “pit stops”, where vendor and organizations offered giveaways and food, including t-shirts, snacks, and beverages.  



Noah Kaufman is the author of  Business Ethics of Our Fathers, Running Through Arlington History, and Lessons from the Wrestling Mat.   Noah has been to 45 out of the 50 states.   





                                       

Sunday, May 5, 2019

We tried most of the menu at Earth Burger!

We visited Mall of America again this year and got to have the excitement of Earth Burger now being open.   As we had previously, tried much of the other vegan food at the non vegan restaurants we decided this time to stick with Earth Burger and go through the menu trying almost everything! 

Here is how we ranked it from our favorite to least favorite!

Fishless Sandwich-I was very pleasantly surprised with this one.   I generally am not a big fan of vegan fish.   My omni-husband also loved it and even said it tasted like the real thing.   The sauce is amazing.   It is coated in breading and sauce so probably not the healthiest option, but what a tasty treat! 

Coconut Soft Serve- This was also delicious and amazing.   It actually tasted better than I remember non-vegan ice cream ever tasting.    Omni husband was also a huge fan! 

Earth Shake-Another amazing treat.   Very very tasty.   Probably not healthy though. 

Fries- Tasty fries with a classic feel. 

Southwest Veggie Bowl-Unlike the options above which are probably not that healthy, this option is actually quite healthy.   I don't know how healthy the dressing is but it was very tasty.   The salad itself had a lot of tasty mostly healthy items that complimented the more healthy items. 

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit- I have heard a lot about jackfruit recently, but had yet to try it.  As prepared by earth burger it was actually quite good and the sauce was good. 

Roasted Quinoa Burger-I also liked this burger.   It wasn't really an imitation meat burger it is more of a classic veggie burger featuring healthier items. 

Spicy "Chicken" Sandwich (vegan imitation chicken)- I also though the spicy "chicken" sandwich was good. 


Earth Burger- Although the signature burger, I actually thought it was just okay.   This is more of a imitation meat burger versus the quinoa burger which is more of a classic veggie burger. 

Plant Protein Bowl-This was also just okay.   On a positive note however it does seem healthy.  That being said I'm not really into the whole promoting protein thing. 

Grilled Chik-n Protein Wrap-This was also okay.   But I feel like I probably could have easily made something like this at home and it would be about the same.   Did also seem somewhat healthy, although I feel like the salads are probably healthier. 

For the Kids from a kids perspective/Kids Menu

First I will actually say, I found it exciting that they did have a kids menu.  How exciting for kids, when so many restaurants don't have any vegan options on the kids menu to have a completely vegan kids menu.   So here it is from a kids perspective (with my assistance with writing it up): 

Earth Burger-This was actually the kid favorite and was actually more popular from a kid perspective than an adult perspective and got well eaten.

Chick-N-Tenders-These were decent/okay.   Reminded me of the freezer ones kids like. 

Grilled "Cheese"-Honestly, this was the one thing that nobody liked.   We just weren't a fan of the cheese. 

Will also mention these can come with fries or apple slices, along with a drink.   The fries were a real hit and very kid popular.   Although the apple slices were also popular too. 

Will also note that Earth Burger has kosher certification. 




Rachelle Kaufman is the author of the Kaufman Green Guides Series, plus several other books including Now I Know My European Language Colors and An American Jew in Budapest.  

                                       

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A great trip with easy public transit access to the capital building in St. Paul




The Capitol is a gorgeous building in downtown St. Paul.  As with other sites in Minneapolis, it is extremely easy to find, just off the Green line Capitol light rail stop.  The Capitol has several statues right outside, including of famous Minnesota residents, as well as the Norse explorer, Leif Erikson.










 The Capitol is free to enter, and any visitor can simply walk into the building, without a need for a ticket.  The building is very large, and has a dome that is common with other USA capitols.  The dome has a blue beautiful color from the inside. 



The building includes many large paintings, many of the Civil War. The detail in the paintings is impressive. 

 The building also includes an ornate gold-plated painting in the legislative session room.  The room is often open to the general public when the legislature is not in session. 

The Capitol includes famous flags that Minnesotans carried in various wars. The Capitol has some tours, with a suggested donation of $5.  People can also hear the lecture at any point.
Overall, the Capitol is an excellent place to visit, providing tourists the chance to learn more about, architecture and history.   




 The Capitol is free to enter, and any visitor can simply walk into the building, without a need for a ticket.  The building is very large, and has a dome that is common with other USA capitols.  The dome has a blue beautiful color from the inside. 


The building includes many large paintings, many of the Civil War. The detail in the paintings is impressive. 

 The building also includes an ornate gold-plated painting in the legislative session room.  The room is often open to the general public when the legislature is not in session. 




The Capitol includes famous flags that Minnesotans carried in various wars. The Capitol has some tours, with a suggested donation of $5.  People can also hear the lecture at any point.
Overall, the Capitol is an excellent place to visit, providing tourists the chance to learn more about, architecture and history.   





Noah Kaufman is the author of  Business Ethics of Our Fathers, Running Through Arlington History, and Lessons from the Wrestling Mat.   Noah has been to 45 out of the 50 states.   





                                       

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Are there any vegan formulas? What do I do if I can't breastfeed?

Today I am tackling a question that I see very frequently.  The basis of this question is asking about "vegan" formula, usually as some sort of back-up plan.    And it's usually looking for a recommendation for a brand of soy formula....

So let me tackle this question.   And I'm not going to start the answer by talking about soy formula.    Because honestly this question is fundamentally problematic and more complicated than most people realize.   Many people are also not aware that donor breast milk is an option. 

My first recommendation if you are reading this and currently pregnant, is to get as much education about breastfeeding as you can before the baby is born, rather than focusing on researching formula as a back-up plan.    Join pro-breastfeeding groups.  Read good quality books and articles about breastfeeding (but be careful of the source and that these are not coming from formula companies which also produce materials on breastfeeding).   Research local lactation consultants.   Purchase a pump, items to sterilize the pump, and breastfeeding friendly clothing. 

Also, realize that babies have very tiny stomachs when born.   If the baby is not having enough wet diapers this is a concern.   However many things are often mistaken for the baby not getting enough.   Frequent feedings are not a sign of the baby not getting enough, rather it is the baby building supply.  Neither is how much milk you pump using a pump-some people just don't respond well to pumps. 

Some people start leaking milk while still pregnant and you can take advantage of this by catching the milk if you purchase a milk saver/haakaa* and syringes to store the milk in.    Also, if you are nervous about feeding in public, try to find a local friend who is more experienced who will feed with you in public. 

I have also seen articles while doing research for this that say breastfeeding is "hard", etc. The reality is having a newborn is hard and you are going to have to feed them and get up at night either way.   Set up a situation in advance that will be breastfeeding friendly.   Keep the baby as close as possible, and try to keep the babies in arms reach.  Research safe co-sleeping and/or get a attachable co-sleeper or bassinet that can be right next to your bed. 

As a long time breast feeder I will also tell you something else.   In the long run breast feeding is easier.  Trying to pack a bag with everything your child needs is hard and having a ready supply of milk that doesn't need to be packed for kept from spoiling makes life so much easier.  If your child is upset you have a tool to comfort them.   It can help your child drift off into a nap so you can have a much needed break.   It is also easier if you ever are in an natural disaster situation where resources are limited such as the hurricane in Houston and surrounding areas (parents who formula fed were struggling to find formula). 

Also, if you have questions about breastfeeding I'd recommend asking them in a vegan breastfeeding group such as Vegan Breastfeeding Support rather than a general vegan parenting group**. 

The next best option to feeding at the breast is pumping.   An alternative to feeding at the breast is pumping breastmilk.  This is often used when there is difficulty with latching issues, when the breastfeeding parent has to be away, or sometimes for other reasons.  There are both electric and manual pumps.   If you are in the United States your insurance may cover the cost of an electric pump.   An alternative to using a traditional pump is hand expressing.   Hand expressing can be efficient when you need to be mobile or if you only need small amounts of stored breastmilk.   

If neither pumping nor breastfeeding at the breast are working for you, the next option to consider is donor milk.   To find donor breastmilk I recommend humanmilk4humanbabies which is largely run through facebook. The pages are localized so you should find the local page or pages for your area.  There you can post looking for a donor and view donors with extra milk.  Donor milk is very safe.   You do not need to find a vegan donor-all breastmilk is vegan because it is given with consent and diet does not have much impact on breastmilk. 

If you have exhausted all of these options than the only vegan options I could find are premiriz which is from France.   If you live in France, the UK, or a nearby country you probably will be able to order it, but I have heard it can be more challenging to get it if you live in the United States, but you could try looking to see if it is available.  I have also heard Nestle is coming out with or perhaps by now has come out with a completely vegan formula.   There are also many brands of soy formula, but almost all of them contain non-vegan vitamin D.   This is obviously more vegan than using a dairy based formula. 

*It was brought to my attention that the brand name Haakaa is made out of food-grade material and other brands may not be. 

**I am only recommending this group I am not affiliated with them.  However I do also run a general vegan parenting group that I keep breastfeeding friendly at I love being a vegan parent


Rachelle Kaufman is the author of the Kaufman Green Guides Series, plus several other books including Now I Know My European Language Colors and An American Jew in Budapest.  

                           


  
                                     

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Smithsonian Alternatives near the Metro (subway)

With the Smithsonian set to close until the government reopens what is a tourist in DC (or perhaps a bored furloughed local to do).   Here are a few public transit friendly alternatives. 

If you are looking for an art museum, try the National Museum of Woman in the Arts

Located near so many metro lines, it's a breeze to get here. https://nmwa.org/visit/visitor-information

If you are looking for a kid friendly museum try the National Building Museum.   

Located across the street from the Judiciary Square Metro stop they have large blocks, small blocks, and a playroom.   Do be aware the playroom is limited to a 45 minute time block and sometimes the passes to it sell out (more likely with Smithsonian not open).   The other area with blocks does not have a limit (at least as far as I'm aware).   They also have some exhibits for adults.   https://www.nbm.org/  Another good option that is free is the play area in Tyson's Corner Mall.  It is a good ways out of the center of the city in Virginia, but has completely car free access.   I would mainly recommend it Monday-Friday, due to the potential for track work and crowding.   http://www.tysonscornercenter.com/

If you are looking for history try the Spy Museum.   

I was actually going to recommend, National Geographic, but unfortunately upon researching found out National Geographic will be closed to set up for its next exhibit until well into February.     So I'm going to go with the Spy Museum.  You can use either Gallery Place or Archives metro stops.   These stops are close together and it's in between the two of them.   While there you may also want to check out the US Navy Memorial near the Archives Station.   https://www.spymuseum.org/

If you are looking for something on the military or Judaism try the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.    

Located near Dupont Circle, this is a unique and interesting museum.   They also sometimes have special events.    https://nmajmh.org/

If you are looking to ice skate, try Kettler Iceplex.    

Personally, I like this much better than the Smithsonian Ice Rink anyways and it's about the same price.   It's located in Virginia, but the Ballston Metro stop it's located at isn't very far outside of DC, only about 10 minutes.    Kettler has two rinks.   Definitely check in advance for public skates times before coming as the rink is only sometimes open for public use (but usually at least once daily and usually more than that)   In addition to the standard circle skate there are also options for pick-up games for other ice sports.   The also have a kids skate called "Recess at the Rink" which doesn't require kids to skate in circles and with toys on the rink.    The rinks are big, well maintained and indoors.     Do bring two quarters for the lockers if you need one-that is one of two flaws with this rink.   The second which isn't the rinks fault is that Arlington country with it's useless project of the month (in this case changing a mall into a yuppie mall) has made the rink harder to find and has temporarily destroyed the car-free access that used to be enjoyed from the metro station.   There should be a new pedestrian bridge though soon to replace the perfectly good one that was there before (after finally listening to residents and realizing without the bridge the mall was going to be a total fail).    https://www.medstarcapitalsiceplex.com/

Rachelle Kaufman is the author of the Kaufman Green Guides Series, plus several other books including Now I Know My European Language Colors and An American Jew in Budapest.