Finding accurate vegan recipes and information can be overwhelming when you have the entire Internet to explore. Becky Striepe, author of “40 Days of Green Smoothies,” owner of Glue and Glitter, blogger at Eat, Drink, Better, and friend of MNN, has come up with a solution – The Great Vegan Search Engine.
The search engine looks only at 100 percent vegan sites delivering solid vegan recipes, nutrition, and lifestyle goodness, making the chances of getting bad recipes or misinformation less likely.
I asked Becky to answer a few questions about her new project, and she was happy to share some information about The Great Vegan Search Engine with us all.
MNN: Explain the concept behind The Great Vegan Search Engine.
Becky Striepe: The Great Vegan Search Engine Project was basically a time-saver for me that I realized might be handy for a lot of other people. I created it to make my own research easier. I was tired of finding bad recipes, incorrect nutritional advice, and other less-than-ideal search results.
Including "vegan" in a Google search just wasn't refining the results the way I wanted. The Engine accomplishes that by only including super awesome vegan sites. No more guesswork!
Who created the search engine?
The Engine began as a personal project for my own research needs, but since then I've enlisted some folks to help suggest sites and evaluate new submissions.
Since launching, I've gotten tons of emails from the vegan community with suggestions for sites that should be included. It started with just me, but now it's this wonderful crowd-sourced community effort! Honestly, I'm floored. It's been amazing to see folks excited about this tool!
Does the search engine cover only recipe sites, or does it also cover other sites that are of interest to vegans?
It started with a focus on recipes and nutritional information, but since I decided to share this tool I wanted it to be more inclusive. It now includes nutrition, lifestyle, and crafting sites, and folks can use the tabs at the top of search results to filter by the sort of information that you want to see.
If you're searching for vegan nutritional information, for example, the engine includes sites like The Vegan R.D. and Jack Norris R.D. I trust that these are folks who know their stuff when it comes to vegan nutritional issues and base their recommendations on science.
Why is your specialized search engine more useful than using Google in general?
I created the Great Vegan Search Engine Project because I was so tired of sifting through questionable search results from sites that didn't really know what veganism is about.
Google also sometimes confuses vegetarian and vegan, which can be disappointing when you think you've found an awesome recipe, but it turns out to rely on egg whites or something like that.
When I was doing research for my own writing, I found myself skipping Google and just searching individual sites that I trusted. And it took forever. The Engine lets you search just high-quality, 100 percent vegan sites without having to suss out the junk.
Would someone who isn’t vegan, or even vegetarian, find useful recipes on your search engine?
Absolutely! One of my main criteria when including recipe sites is whether their recipes are consistently delicious. So if you like delicious food, this is totally a useful tool for finding reliable recipes. You don't have to go vegan to eat some yummy vegan food!
What type of feedback from users have you been getting on the search engine so far?
I've gotten an overwhelming number of thank you emails from folks, and those are such a joy to read. There have also been lots of suggestions for sites to add, and I'm looking at those one by one and talking to the folks who've offered to help out to decide which sites should get added.
If someone has a website to list on your search engine, what steps should he take?
There are so many great vegan sites out there, and I'm definitely open to suggestions! The Engine is going to always be a work in progress, because the vegan community is constantly growing and changing. I love being able to collaborate with folks and make this an inclusive, useful tool.
There's a contact form on my website where you can submit a suggestion. Don't be shy! It might take me a little while to reply, because I'm balancing this project with editing my next cookbook, meeting my freelance deadlines, and caring for my toddler. But I am reading every one, I promise!
When I use the search engine, I get security warnings. Why do I get that and is that something people should be concerned about?
That is something that happens with all of the custom Google searches I've used, and I don't think it's something you need to be worried about. From what I understand, the warning is basically saying that someone might see that you're searching the engine for pie recipes.
If anyone knows how to edit a custom Google search so that it's encrypted, please let me know! I would love to make that change, because I'm sure that it freaks some people out.
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