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Friday, March 26, 2010

‘Baggit’ Non Leather Bags and Accessories Brand

For non leather/cruelty-free leather/synthetic leather/alternative leather/faux leather/non-animal leather/vegetarian/vegan shoes and accessories reviewed in this blog, you can click the story, Who Pays For Your Leather Shoes?.

“We don’t believe in killing animals for fashion”, is the simply stated philosophy of Baggit.

The collection at Baggit showrooms is simply dazzling. As you touch the beautifully crafted bags and look at the shoes in wonderment, someone at the store gently informs you that Baggit is the recipient of the PETA Proggy Award for the year 2007. All Baggit products are made from faux leather or synthetic leather.

Baggit showrooms and products

Baggit was founded in 1990 and since then has created a brand name in the market for cruelty-free formal/informal ladies’ bags, shoes, and accessories. Accessories include an impressive collection of purses, pouches, mobile phone holders, and belts. For men, Baggit offers a stylish selection of wallets.

Where to find Baggit showrooms and retail outlets

Please click here for the complete list of showrooms where Baggit products are available in Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Aurangabad,  Bangalore, Baroda, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kanpur, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Lukhnow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, Noida, Pune, Raipur, Surat, and Vishakapatnam with their addresses and telephone numbers.

Cost factor 

Very reasonable.

Vegan notes

Did you think that the “real” and “authentic” leather accessories you possess or carry on your person are made from animals that have died of natural causes? Most often, not. The leather industry is responsible for the systematic killing and torturing of millions of animals, every year, for the sake of fashion. Please read this BWC India report to learn how commercially available leather is always from animals that are killed.

The dairy industry is also no less responsible. Male calves, barely a few days old, and female cows are systematically killed to obtain leather. Male calves are of no “use” to the dairy industry! Female cows become weak by the age of six due to continuous pregnancies and therefore they are “unprofitable” to keep. (The normal life cycle of a cow is 20 years). Please click this link to read a PETA brief about the gentle animals that are abused to "fulfill" the demand for leather and drive a deadly and cruel industry.

Apart from Baggit whose range of products is completely cruelty-free, there are many other brands and local manufacturers that offer a selection in faux leather products. Please make your own survey, ask of your favorite brands – ask for the cruelty-free, synthetic leather selections. Consider changing your brand if they do not have cruelty-free options. Let our asking create an informed demand for cruelty-free, vegan accessories! For information on some select brands that have a non leather selection, please read our story, Who Pays For Your Leather Shoes?

Designer duo Hemant-Nandita focus on finding alternatives to leather. You can read the fully story by clicking this link.

Be the change you want to see in the world. ~Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father of the Non-violent Political Struggle in India~

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vegan Burfis from ‘Kanti Sweets’, Bangalore

For more vegan sweets available in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Two remarkable burfi preparations at Kanti Sweets, a sweet house in Bangalore, defy all traditional conceptions of Indian sweets! It is difficult for most people to imagine an Indian sweet that is not made of milk, ghee (clarified butter), khoya (dried milk), and sugar. The Khajoor Burfi and the Anjeer Burfi of Kanti Sweets are however a pleasant and delicious surprise! Khajoor Burfis are made from dates while the Anjeer Burfis are made from figs. Both burfis contain generous quantities of whole dry nuts as well. Since dates and figs are naturally sweet, sugar or any other sweetener is not added to either of the two preparations.

Originally conceptualized for people with diabetes, both sweets have become a Vegan delight. Besides being nutritious, the burfis are very tasty and go exceedingly well with a steaming cup of herbal tea! And what’s more, you can store them without refrigeration for days together as they do not spoil easily. They do not spoil because they contain zero animal-derived ingredients.

Cost factor

Khajoor Burfi: Rs.300/- per kilogram
Anjeer Burfi: Rs.550/- per kilogram

Location of Kanti Sweets outlets in Bangalore

Kanti Sweets has more than 25 outlets spread across Bangalore. Khajoor Burfis and Anjeer Burfis are available at all outlets. You can click here to view the list containing the outlet locations.

Vegan notes

For all of you who have been seriously considering omitting cow’s milk and dairy from your food intake, please check the links below to learn more and to know that your decision is a step in the right direction:

What is not right about cow’s milk? Find out in Dr. Robert M Kradjian, MD’s open letter titled “A Milk Letter: Message to my Patients” by clicking here.

The Dark Side of Dairy. Find out in PETA’s report about the horrors of the dairy industry by clicking here.

If not from cow’s milk, where do I get my calcium from? Find out the answer from Dr. Nandita Shah by clicking here.

If not with cow’s milk, how shall I prepare my favorite homemade desserts? Find out the recipes of some kind and compassionate desserts courtesy SHARAN that provides alternative to cow’s milk by clicking here.

Cow’s milk has become a point of controversy among doctors and nutritionists. There was a time when it was considered very desirable, but research has forced us to rethink this recommendation... dairy products contribute to a surprising number of health problems... ~Dr. Benjamin Spock, M.D., Author of ‘Baby and Child Care’, 7th Edition~

Thursday, March 18, 2010

‘Luo Han’ Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant, Bangalore

For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Have you heard of a Chinese restaurant that is vegetarian? Most of us haven’t. So, it is a pleasant surprise to come across Luo Han, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in the city of Bangalore. And, with Luo Han we lay the foundation for the series of stories for Vegan India!
“A food revolution is sweeping over Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong,” says Mr. William Chang, the proprietor of Luo Han, as he sits down to chat with us in the simple yet tastefully done interiors of his restaurant. “More and more people in these countries are turning vegetarian for ethical, environmental, spiritual, and health reasons,” continues Mr. Chang.

Luo Han interiors

Is he also part of this change, we want to know. Mr. William Chang is a fourth generation Chinese born and settled in India. Several years ago, the search for spirituality led him to join the Hong Ci Ashram in Austin Town, Bangalore. The Hong Ci Ashram inspires people to respect all life forms by infusing their lives with the teachings of 'Dharma' and 'cause and effect'.
"How else can we explain human miseries on Earth? Or, expect anything good to happen to the human race when we don’t show mercy to animal life?” asks Mr. Chang. 
Mr. Chang who turned vegetarian soon after joining the Ashram did not stop there. He took his new ideals further by opening Luo Han in 2006. Luo Han translated 'a disciple of The Buddha' or 'a seeker of enlightenment', is his salvation from his “karmic debts”, says Mr. Chang. Many of his friends and acquaintances, similarly inspired by the Hong Ci Ashram, have returned to China and started Chinese vegetarian restaurants there, he adds.
The Menu

The menu at Lou Han has an amazing mix of not only Chinese but Thai dishes as well. From the soups to the nibbles, from the main course consisting of a variety of rice, noodles, and macaroni, to the side dishesLuo Han seems to have a wide variety. There are more than 350 recipes to select from! The recipes are flavored with ingredients such as basil, lemon grass, coconut, tamarind, sesame, and peanuts to name a few. We decide to try some interesting combinations. The Tofu Wrapped in Bird Nest sounded interesting and turned out even better and so did the Spinach Soup! We tried some Chinese Mei Fun for the main course. While the Mei Fun noodles were nice and fresh with the subtle aroma of rice, the Mei Fun vegetables in Sweet and Sour Dragon Sauce were flavorsome! We rounded off our meal with steaming fragrant Chinese tea.

Vegan notes  

The noodles used at Lou Han are eggless. Also, many dishes at Lou Han are Vegan. The dishes that are not vegan are those made with paneer (cottage cheese) and honey. If you are a vegan with reservations about refined sugar, let the staff know that you do not wish for it in your dish and your request will be complied with. As with all Chinese cooking, ghee (clarified butter) or milk is not used.

Luo Han USP  

A vast variety of delectable vegetable preparations, succulent tofu preparations, and a consistency in taste each time you go there!

Luo Han contact and food order details

Telephone: 080-64505304

Address: No. 666, 27th Main Road, 13th Cross, HSR Layout Sector 1, Bangalore – 560034

Timings: 11am-3pm and 7pm-11pm 

Additional information: You can also purchase fresh home-made soy paneer (tofu) from Lou Han by placing an order a day before. You will need to buy a kilogram at a time costing Rs.90/-. 

Cost factor 

A hearty meal for two costs between Rs.250/- to Rs.300/-.

Concluding notes

Does Mr. Chang have expansion plans, is something we want to know. 
“My worst critics who doubted that my idea of serving ‘vegetarian Chinese’ food will ever work have been proved wrong. Today, many people are coming and appreciating the food we serve. There is a demand for our newly designed table mat, even!” quips Mr. Chang as he hands us a copy of a table mat. 
What is special about the Luo Han table mats is the message on vegetarianism and veganism each carries! You can read the text on the table mat by clicking the thumbnail image below.  
“Luo Han does not have any other branch and does not wish for it yet,” continues Mr. Chang and adds, "However, I would be glad to offer consultancy to anyone who wishes to start a Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant. There has been a lot of learning in the last three years.”
Mission accomplished, we take leave. As we turn towards the exit, we can feel the statue of The Buddha placed on the reception table of Luo Han, smiling warmly behind us.
Click the thumbnail image for an enlarged view of the Lou Han table mat.

“If you become 100 per cent harmless you’ll benefit by 100 per cent—spiritually, emotionally, and financially.” ~Akbarally Jetha, Businessman & Philosopher~