Feast On This!

Wow…Friday already?! That was fast. . .

Staying Vegan (.com)

I’ve recently discovered this Staying Vegan, a blog dedicated to giving you tips and tricks to staying on the vegan path. You can meet (and see) Jason Doucette, owner of Staying Vegan everyday on videos he posts–giving advice and tips on living as a vegan, in a non-vegan world!

He gives practical, thoughtful, and oftentimes, clever answers and advice to everyday vegan dilemmas such as, finding vegan products in a small town, what to say to meat eaters who say they “love animals”, and vegan kitchen essentials, which leads to. . .great recipes and other advice for the vegan chef in you.

Check out Staying Vegan and once you do, I’m sure you won’t hesitate to sign up for his newsletter!

Do you find that it’s had to stay vegan? What are some frustrating  issues that you encounter often from being a vegan?

How to Raise a Vegan Mini-Me

Well, I don’t know if I really have the answers to this, but I think I’ve learned a few things along my vegan journey. My son went vegan shortly after turning 11, so weaning a kid off animal products at that age, could be like starting World War III, but lucky for me, my kid takes after his mother.  :) I was never a big meat eater as a child, and neither is The Sixth Grader. That helps. So here are a few things I’ve learned as a vegan parent:

1. Cook Good Vegan Food. Easy, right? It really is, actually. Today, meat and dairy alternatives are so much better than they ever used to be and make cooking veg a lot easier than you think. However, I would introduce these “alien” foods little by little—don’t want to induce shock. When making things with ground beef, try subbing half the meat with Boca Crumbles, then every time you make junior’s favorite tacos, add more of the plant-based crumbles. Do the same with dairy: Make a mixture of almond milk and cow’s milk in a container for their morning cereal, and slowly convert it completely to almond milk. This may take a couple of weeks. Wean. . .think wean. My suggestion, is not to make it a big deal. Don’t go saying, “Guess what? Mommy’s going to make Tofu Steaks for dinner! Yea!” Won’t work; they’ll hate it before they even try it. Also, don’t try to focus on veganizing their favorite meals because it could backfire. Perfect it first, before surprising them with it.

2. Let the Kiddo be the Cook. Or at least be the sou chef (if knives aren’t involved). Whether it’s once a week, every two weeks, or once a month, let the kid pick out ingredients to make a meal for the fam. The main rule: ingredients have to be plant-based. Take them to the farmers’ market or Whole Foods and let them have a gander—rule number one won’t be a problem. There will be plenty to choose from. I think that when kids know they can be part of something and to also know a little of what to expect, they’re putty in your hands. Being able to create a meal for the family (with your help, of course) give them so much confidence and pride, they’ll probably forget that it’s vegan. Not only that, what a cool activity to do together that gives you chance to instill healthy eating habits!

3. Watch Food, Inc. This one is great for kids 5th grade and up. They “get it.” Watch it with them, then talk about it. Even though it’s not about veganism, it raises poignant questions regarding animal consumption and where it comes from. The Sixth Grader said that this movie really pushed him to go veg. For the reader, try The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Young Reader Edition. I have not read this version, have you? What did you think?

4. Try a Heaping Scoop of Guilt. That’s right. Mom’s are awesome at this. Or maybe what it is, is just tugging at your kids’ heartstrings. Take them to an animal sanctuary/rescue. Yea! Field trip! Kids love this stuff, especially when animals are involved. This is a perfect opportunity to explain why and how these animals came to be at the sanctuary. I’m sure those in charge of the sanctuary are great when talking to kids about their fabulous organization and would gladly help you out.

5. Be the Coolest Lunch Lady Ever. Pack your kid’s lunch and be the envy of all grade-schoolers everywhere and let your kid help! Ask for their suggestions, then of course, compromise (because you’ll have to), but also let them pick something out. Again, like dinner, it has to be plant-based and preferably healthy, but it gives them a little bit of power. And change it up every so often; the same-o, same-o gets boring and thrown in the trash. The Sixth Grader gets a sandwich with Smart Deli meat, a Tofutti cheese slice, tomato and spinach. He picks out his favorite soy yogurt and other snacks, such as peanut butter pretzels and trail mix. Make it a team effort and they’ll look forward to their vegan lunch everyday. Maybe you can make their favorite chili Sunday night and send it with them all week, or vegan mac n’ cheese.

6. Don’t Give Up, But Don’t Be a Nag. They’ll come around. Kids learn from their parents’ actions and will see from  you, that being a vegan works. Cut them slack though, because otherwise, they’ll fight you the whole way. If you include them in the process, they’re more apt to be open to it—they may even teach you a thing or two!

“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.  I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

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Vegan MoFo, Day 19

Friday sneaked up on me. Normally, I’m waiting for it, but I woke up and suddenly realized what day it was. I usually write my Feast On This post Thursday nights, so you’ll have to bear with me this a.m.; I haven’t had my cup-of-joe to get my Vegan MoJo on for Vegan MoFo yet. . . so here goes.

Gee . . .Another Recall

2,600 pounds of full-cooked, ready-to-barf-eat turkey breast was recalled in Texas because it may have been contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly bacteria. Lovely. The four different products by the New Braunfels Smokehouse, were distributed nationwide and each has a UDSA Inspected mark on them. Way to go.

The FDA just made their third cheese recall of the month. In Washington state, several varieties of Del Bueno Mexican-Style cheese was found to also contain listeria.

Earlier this month, Gorgonzola cheese was recalled from Cosco stores because of E. coli.

It is absolutely staggering the amount of food recalls in the United States just this year—we only hear about some of them. People have gotten sick. People have died. Some people could still have these products at home, unaware of the recall. Check out an earlier post regarding recalls. Visit the Recall page of the FDA’s website for a comprehensive list of recalled products. With the amount of meat and dairy recalls that continue to pile up, why do Americans take the risk?


(I try not to post dead animals on my blog, so here’s a fake dead animal)

What food do you consider to have more taste? Meat? Veggies? Dairy? Since going vegan, I have found for myself that food has so much more flavor and taste. I never was a huge meat-eater before and never understood that thrill people claim they get when eating a steak. Peter Springberg, MD, a fellow NCW member, wrote an interesting post the other day regarding fat, taste, and beef burgers, entitled Even More Fat for our Taste Buds. The post is based on a Wall Street Journal article about celebrity chefs’ quest to make the most expensive, fattiest, and tastiest burger. Two burgers were featured in the article, one costing $39, and another a whopping $60! I guess compared to the cost of a triple bypass, it’s nothing.

“If you knew how meat was made, you’d probably lose your lunch.”

-K.D. Lang

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A Veggie A Day Keeps The Colds (and Cancer) Away

It’s that time of year. Cold season. Although we can’t always avoid getting the traveling crud, there are ways to boost your immune and shorten the length of the cold or flu. And guess what? They’re all plant-based. No surprise there. Experts tend to agree that it’s best to avoid supplements and go straight for the real thing. For example, eat an orange rather than popping a supplement since you’ll also get magnesium, potassium, folate, B6 and antioxidants.  Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that are also key in fighting many cancers.


  • Leafy Greens–Spinach, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens & Kale: are loaded with antioxidants. Steam some kale and spinach and add a little Earth Balance, which has lots of Omega-3.
  • Broccoli, Green Peppers & Cauliflower: High in Vitamin C.
  • Orange Veggies–Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Squash and Pumpkins: are loaded with Beta carotene which turns to Vitamin A, that is rich in antioxidants (which is also cancer-fighting).


  • Apples: contain antioxidants and insoluble and soluble fiber to help the bowels run smooth (always a good thing)
  • Kiwi, Oranges, Grapefruits & Cantelopes: High in Vitamin C and A and oranges and grapefruits are actually cheaper in the winter.
  • Blueberries and Raspberries: Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B.
  • Strawberries: 8 berries supply 160% of your daily value of Vitamin C, as well as 170 mg of potassium.

Other Good Stuff:

  • Onions, Garlic, Leeks, & Chives: loaded with Vitamin C, potassium, chromium and selenium.
  • Ginger: Strong in antioxidants and helps with digestion and circulation.
  • Whole Grains, Quinoa, Barley & Amaranth: packed with fiber, zinc, and B vitamins.
  • Seeds: Lots of Vitamin E

Tips to Staying Healthy

  • Stick to organic: free of chemicals and contain more nutrients.
  • Avoid processed, canned or frozen food (With the exception of vegetables—steam or microwave them) but even avoid canned soups–they’re not fresh and are full of sodium.
  • Keep away from excess sugar. If you need a sugar fix, eat some strawberries.
  • Make some soup with vegetable broth, ginger, spinach, and green onions.
  • Eat some hot salsa or sprinkle some cayenne on steamed veggies to clear the sinuses.
  • Chew (and swallow) a garlic clove to cure a cough—some people swear by it. Just don’t breath on anyone.

Bottom line, stick with fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and avoid hard-to-digest and processed foods. Don’t forget to drink tons of water and only 100% juice with a low sugar content. Then boil some fresh ginger, pour it through a strainer into your favorite mug, add a bit of fresh lemon juice and settle in with a good book!

Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use… It’s time we looked into holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally accountable.
-Neal Barnard

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Vegan MoFo, Day 5

A Vegan Thanksgiving

I’m coming up on a year of being vegan. I actually went veg after Thanksgiving last year. Not because I wanted to gorge myself one last time on some poor dead bird,  but because I didn’t discover Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, until after T-Day. I felt her book did a fantastic job of explaining the concepts of veganism in all aspects: health of your body, the health of the environment, and the health of animals. I read the book in a day and as they say, the rest is history.

I’ve learned over the course of a year, that converting recipes to a healthier, yummier (vegan) version has been quite easy, so I have no fear when it comes to making a vegan Thanksgiving. In fact, besides the dead bird, most of the traditional dinner is comprised mostly of veggies. Yams, mashed potatoes, stuffing, that green bean casserole, cranberries . . . c’mon, all that can easily be made vegan.

Cloe Coscarelli has a few ideas on how to have a thankful holiday vegan-style with Harvest-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Toasted Hazelnuts, and Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

I’m not sure what I’ll be bringing to the table yet, but those recipes look outstanding.

What’s your vegan Thanksgiving look like?


The UNhappy Meal

For many, many reasons, please, please do not feed your kids McDonald’s (or any fast food for that matter). San Francisco (who leads the nation with the Meat Free Mondays campaign) agrees with me and has banned the fat farm fast food joint from putting toys into their Happy Meals. In an effort to combat childhood diabetes and obesity, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors made the bold move on Tuesday and “i’m lovin’ it.”

“This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment.”

Eric Mar, SF Supervisor

By December 1st, Micky D’s has to either make their Happy Meals contain 600 calories or less, include fruits and vegetables, and the beverage without excess fat and sugar, or the toys are history. McDonald’s was pissed.

“We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement. “Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s.”

Oh, boo-hoo. Get over it and start thinking about the kids that eat this crap. They need to take this as an opportunity to help feed kids a healthier meal. This reminds me of the segment in Food, Inc., where a family of 4 could only afford to eat off the McDonald’s Value Menu and were slowly becoming diabetic, obese and just plain unhealthy.

I’m anxious to see how this plays out if other cities will follow suit.


“Dear Lord, I’ve been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us… a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird… a social being… capable of actual affection… nuzzling its young with almost human-like compassion.  Anyway, it’s dead and we’re gonna eat it.  Please give our respects to its family.”

-Berke Breathed, Bloom County Babylon

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The United Nations Environmental Program’s Report

You’ve probably heard about their report, or at least got wind of it on blogger sites. It has created quite a debate among vegans, carnivores, environmentalists, and everyone in between. The report, issued this summer, suggested people move to a plant-based diet to save the world from hunger, poverty, and global warming and other environmental issues. This isn’t something we haven’t heard before—there are have been numerous studies showing the same results. The University of Chicago’s findings in 2006 also showed that a vegan diet is healthier for people and for the planet.

Professor Edgar Hertwich, one of the lead authors of the UN report said:

“Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.”

According to the report, the production of dairy products, consumes 70% of global fresh water, 38% of land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report sparked some debate all over the internet world, particularly on the Guardian and it was mixed, but what I found so disheartening, were the amount of people making idiotic jokes about the situation: “Never mind i will just move onto Kangaroo meat…” So many people just don’t care. Telling people that something they love (something we have been eating for generations) is not good for you or for the environment, brings out the worst in people.

What I hope people see is that we’ve been brainwashed into eating animal products and it’s a matter of becoming aware. I strongly urge to read the report HERE.

So I began this post Thursday afternoon and then . . . we decided to go see a movie. Waiting for “Superman. It has absolutely nothing to do with food, let alone vegan food, but it has to do with something that is also very important to me: public education. I had to share this with all of you.



Davis Guggenheim, director of An Inconvenient Truth, brings us this documentary about the US’s failing pubic schools and the possible reasons why. It’s a very powerful film that left The Husband and I dumbfounded, furious, and feeling very lucky that our son is able to attend an amazing public school. Millions of kids and families aren’t so lucky. Check out the trailer and please go see it. We even took The Sixth Grader—a great age for kids to see this movie. I think it opened his eyes to the realities that so many other kids face.


Person of the Year

As if just for me, VegNews features Bob Harper on the cover of their latest issue and . . . name him Person of the Year! Woo hoo! As you may recall, I had blogged about my favorite trainer not too long ago and here he is. Also, on VegNews.com, it appears that his cohort, Jillian Michaels, who is not a vegan, is now endorsing So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage. She says avoids eating beef and chicken because of slaughterhouse practices, which I commend, but how is pork, dairy and other animal products different? And why do they promote Jennie-O products on the show? I’m guessing it’s a contractual thing, but it’s too bad. In this case, I say preach what you practice.


“Truely man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs.  We live by the death of others:  we are burial places!  I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”

-Leonardo da Vinci

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Lady Gag-Gag

I’ve tried to avoid anything regarding this because I’m sure it was all about publicity,but when the Sixth Grader heard Lady Gaga’s comments on Ellen about the “dress”, I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

“Well, it’s certainly no disrespect to anyone that’s vegan or vegetarian….I, as you know, am the most judgment-free human being on Earth,” said La Gaga. “However, it has many interpretations — but for me this evening it’s that if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”

First of all, if you can decipher what the hell she is saying, then you’re one-up on me. Whose rights is she referring to? Certainly not the animal’s. Of course she has the right to wear what she wants, but what was the point of this? Could she not have expressed “her right” in another, less offensive and disgusting way? Or am I taking away her right by saying that? And then did she really need to wear it again and parade in front of a vegan (Ellen)?

Apparently, however, she has a “beef” with fur and while wearing a Kermit outfit, said:

“…. I really loved this one in particular because I thought it was commentary on not wearing fur, ’cause I hate fur and I don’t wear fur. We were all laughing in the house about how it looks like a pile of dead Kermits.”

She makes about as much sense as a back pocket on a shirt. Actually I don’t think sense has anything to do with it–it’s called hypocrisy.


VeganMoFo Time!

That is, Vegan Month of Food! Vegan bloggers are encouraged to blog everyday in the month of November about everything vegan. I think I’m up for the challenge! Post Punk Kitchen came up with the idea based on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month–also in November). Since I already have my hands full with a nonfiction writing project, I’ll have to skip NaNoWriMo this year, but I think I can handle VeganMoFo.

And don’t forget, November 1 marks the beginning of Vegan World Month, so host a fabulous vegan feast for your friends and loved ones!

“I eat everything that nature voluntarily gives:  fruits, vegetables, and the products of plants.  But I ask you to spare me what animals are forced to surrender:  meat, milk, and cheese.”

-Author Unknown

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Well, I’m off to a much-needed (and anticipated) writer’s retreat for 3 days at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. Three days of quiet writing time, beautiful scenery, and talking shop with my fellow Northern Colorado Writers! I’ll be sure to let you know how a vegan can survive on a dude ranch, so in the meantime, feast on this:

Go Vegan Or Go Home!

I think at some point in every reality show I’ve ever watched, someone has said, “Go big or go home.” That…and “I’m not here to make friends…” (which, I can’t stand, but I won’t get into that). Anyway, Go Vegan or Go Home is my latest chant while I watch The Biggest Loser.

Look at those vegan muscles!

I was so THRILLED to see fellow vegan, Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper share some vegan love on this week’s episode (week 4). In fact, I cheered out loud. He brought a few contestants to his home for a vegan meal, which looked mighty tasty. You can even get the recipes from his site, My Trainer Bob.

I have always wondered if Bob pimps the vegan diet to the contestants or not. If he has, I’m guessing it’s on the sly, because he sure likes to talk up the Jennie-O crap on the show. However, I understand that making the contestants go veg wouldn’t exactly go to go over well with people who are addicted to meat and dairy. There would be Biggest Loser pandemonium: dumbbells would be flying and sports bras and jock straps would burn. I doubt even bad-ass Jillian wouldn’t make it out with all her hair.

But I thought about it. As far as I know, there’s never been a contestant going onto the show as a vegan. (What does that tell you)? But has any emerged as one? I would think that if the players really want to win, they’d go vegan. The pounds will melt off. Then again, maybe they’re not allowed to cut out all animal products. . .I’d really like to know what the vegan scoop is behind Bob and the contestants—I think it’d be a great experiment: to see if the vegan contestant loses the most fat and gains the most muscle.

People rely on Bob and his advise on fitness and nutrition. Look at what he’s done throughout 10 seasons of the show—doesn’t that speak volumes? I propose that next season the producers get a brave soul to be the test veg . . .what do you think?

Check out the 75-year-old Vegan!

That’s right. 75 and a vegan. (I’m seeing a trend in my post today. . .) Jim Morris here is a former Mr. America and has been pretty much lifting weights for the last 50 years. I don’t know if he’s been a vegan this whole time, but now,  he eats no meat, no fish and says that cheese is the worst. His diet is made up mostly of nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables. Who said meat and muscles go hand-in-hand? Read more about Jim and his amazing physique HERE.

I might as well continue with Muscle Mania here. . .

. . . I seem to be on a roll. Check out this great article by jason Ferruggia, the chief training adviser for Men’s Fitness magazine, regarding muscle building on a plant-based diet. It’s a huge misconception that you need animal-based protein to build muscle (as we’ve seen above).

“Lentils, beans and peas are loaded with protein. Almonds and pistachios have 7 grams of protein per serving and both pumpkin and hemp seeds have 11 grams per serving. People usually only count protein grams from animal sources but this is a huge mistake.  Vegetables have protein, brown rice has protein and even your morning bowl of oatmeal has 10 grams per cup.”

Professional Vegan Bodybuilder, Kenneth Williams

I’m optimistic that one of these days people will see that you don’t have to be a meat head to have a healthy, muscular physique. And hopefully, I’ll stop getting asked, “You’re a vegan? Where do you get your protein?” and I won’t have to say, “From eating the people who ask me that. . .” (thanks Vegan Family Adventures for that great response)

“A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.”

-George Bernard Shaw

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High Fashion Meets Veganism

It’s fall and I’m in the market for some boots. Vegan boots. Unfortunately, all I’ve found is . . .”genuine leather.” Yuck. Anything non-leather is cheap and it shows. Not an easy search. However, I did find several choices at Lulus.com and it’s matter of making up my mind. I’m leaning toward these cute numbers for $39.00:

How cute are those?!?

In my search, I came across this article from . . .you guessed it . . .VegNews, regarding the collision of the fashion world and the vegan world. Karolina Babczynska and Adam Wallace are probably the most gorgeous couple ever and are also both represented by Ford Models.

(photo: Gregory Vaughan)

Now, I’m not one to feel sorry to models, but these two, despite their unbelievable looks, are typically not eligible for 95% of modeling gigs. They’re vegans. They refuse to wear leather, wool, fur, or down. So yeah, they can model jersey like it’s nobody’s biz. Lucky for them (in more ways than one) more and more designers are waking up and using animal-free materials. John Bartlett, a renowned, award-winning designer, transitioned to an animal-free lifestyle and his 2012 collection will reflect that. For a list of more animal-friendly designers, check out this list from PETA.

If you’re in the market for some vegan-wear, check out these sites:

Vegan Store

Herbivore Clothing

Vegan Chic


Dan Piraro and His Bizarro World

Dan Piraro is an illustrator, painter and surrealist who is best known for his Bizarro cartoons. In 2002, he became a vegan and his work reflects that philosophy and lifestyle. The award-winning cartoonist is funny and poignant and you can check him out in action in this video of him presenting at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo.

He has a great site where you can learn more about him and view his hilarious work.

“Recognize meat for what it really is:  the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal.”

Ingrid Newkirk

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It’s October. . .Get Your Halloween On!

I absolutely LOVE Halloween and dressing up. C’mon! You only have a month left! We typically have a little shin-dig at the house with neighbors where we eat, hang out and hand out yummy vegan treats to the kids. I’m still not sure what my costume this year will be, but I always figure it out in time.

<——-Got my dress for about $12 at Goodwill–one of the best places for costumes–all  recycled/ reused. Gotta love that.

This was the first and LAST time The Husband allowed me to talk him into dressing as a woman–but doesn’t be make a gorgeous Marilyn? ——->

So, if you have any ideas for us for this year–please let me know!

You might be surprised at how many candies are vegan. Here’s a handy dandy list from VegNews of vegan-friendly candy to give out by the handful: Airheads Taffy, Azure Chocolat Beauty Bark, BoomChocoBoom! Ricemilk Bar,Brachs Fruit Slices,Charms Blow Pops,Charms Pumpkin Pops,Chick-o-Sticks,Chuao Chocolatier Spicy Maya, Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit, Crows, Cracker Jack, Cry Baby Candy, Dots Endangered Species dark chocolate, Endangered Species Bug Bites Halloween Treats, Go Max Go candy bars, Hubba Bubba bubblegum, Lets Do This Organic Gummy Bears,Mary Janes, regular and peanut butter kisses, Jolly Ranchers hard candy, Now and Later, NuGo Organic Chocolate Bar,Peanut Chews, Original Dark,Pez, Pure Fun Organic Halloween Pops, Saf-T-Pops, Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst Original Jelly Beans, Super Bubble, Swedish Fish, Tree Huggin’ Treats Crispy Cat candy bars, Tropical Source chocolate bars, Twizzlers, VerMints and YummyEarth lollipops.

I will keep you posted on my quest for that perfect costume and what I finally talk The Husband into dressing up as. . . he was one of those kids who hated Halloween; the one  in the photographs as a kid with the scowl on his face, just waiting until he could get the damn costume off. I have made it my mission to change that. (But deep down, I think he really does like Halloween).

Is That A Carrot in Your Pocket, Or. . .

. . .are you just happy to see me? After all, I am talking about former President, Bill Clinton 😉 Joking aside, I’ve always liked Mr. Clinton and now I have another reason: He’s gone vegan. He wanted to lose weight for his daughter’s wedding, but also improve his health. After having a stint placed in an artery, he knew something had to change. So far he’s lost 24 pounds and is feeling better than ever. Check out this brief interview with him and Wolf Blitzer.

So does this mean that Mrs. Rodham Clinton will be following suit? Especially since their daughter, Chelsea, is a vegan, too? What about former Vice President, Al Gore? He acknowledged that going vegan is great for the environment, yet this “environmentalist” admits he still eats meat and dairy. I suppose I’ve always had a “beef” with this issue . . .

I think it’s great when celebs and other public figures share their vegan/vegetarian lifestyle with the rest of the world. They are in a position to bring much needed awareness to this oft-misunderstood way of life. Here’s a list of only a few vegan celebs: Casey Affleck, Drew Barrmore, Emily Deschanel, Tobey Maquire, Olivia Wilde, Chrissie Hynde, Jason Mraz, Mike Tyson, Ellen Degeneres, Carl Lewis, Natalie Portman, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Bob Harper (Biggest Loser trainer). Even Hugh Jackman went veg with the help from Triathlete Brendan Brazie. Have you seen those muscles on Jackman? *swoon*

“Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.”

-Robert Louis Stevenson

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How to NEVER Get Cancer

I know I’m not alone when I say that I have seen way too many friends and loved-ones die of cancer. It needs to stop. Can it? The origin of many cancers are unknown. So how do you avoid getting it, or seeing another family member be taken away because of it? According to Prevention and Dr. Thomas Sellers, PhD, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, “As many as 70% of known causes of cancers are avoidable.” Here’s a list of ways to never get cancer–in addition to exercising and avoidance of tobacco products, of course (from the President’s Cancer Panel):

1. Filter Your Tap Water: It’s considered safer than even bottled water. Be sure to store the filtered water in stainless steel or glass containers since BPA can leach from plastic bottles.

2. Stop Topping Your Tank Off: One last squirt from the pump after the nozzle clicks off can spill fuel and foil the pump’s vapor recovery system, designed to keep toxic, cancer-causing chemicals out of the air and your lungs.

3. Marinate Meat Before Grilling: Well, first off, this reiterates why we shouldn’t eat meat. I include this one because not only is it on the list, but to hopefully let my wonderful non-vegan friends and family see my point (because I love them)! Processed, charred, well-done meats can contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which form when meat is seared at a high temperature, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which get into the food when it’s charcoal broiled. “The recommendation to cut down on grilled meat has really solid scientific evidence behind it,” says Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD. If you do grill (boo! hiss!) add rosemary and thyme to the poor dead animal’s marinade for an hour before cooking. Rich in antioxidants, the spices cut the HCAs by as much as 87%. Just remember, that’s not a 100%, nor just red meat. It goes for poultry, pork and other meats.

4. Caffeinate Every Day: Now this one I can really get used to! I do love me an almond milk latte often. People who drank 5+ cups of coffee a day had a 40% decreased risk of brain cancer, compared to people who drank less in a 2010 British study. (Better trade that tea for coffee, Brits)!  It was also found that it reduced risks of cancers of the pharynx and mouth by nearly 50%. Start brewing!

5. Water Down Your Risks: Drink at least 8 cups of water or other liquids to reduce the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer causing agents in urine.

6. Load up on REALLY Green Greens: I really love this one, too! The greener the veggie, the more magnesium you’ll absorb. It has been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer in women. Munch on 1/2 C of cooked spinach and get 75 mg of magnesium–20% of your daily allowance.

7. Snack on Brazil Nuts: A great source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women.

8. Burn Off This Breast Cancer Risk Factor: Moderate exercise such as brisk walking 2 hours a week cuts risk of breast cancer 18%. Fat produces its own estrogen (a known contributor to cancer), so fat-burning exercise is vital!

9. Ask Your Doc About Breast Density: Women whose mammograms have revealed breast density reading of 75% or more have a cancer risk 4-5 times higher than women with low density scores. Researchers think that the denser the breast, higher levels of estrogen are present. This also goes back to #8–exercise.

10. Skip the Dry Cleaner: So that favorite silk blouse of yours? Yea, learn to either hand wash it or spot clean it with white vinegar. A solvent known as perchlorpethylene that dry cleaners often use, may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukemia.

11. Head Off Cell Phone Risks: Another good reasons to use your hands-free device. It keeps the radio frequency energy away from your noggin, however, evidence as to whether or not cell phones cause an increase in brain cancer risk is inconclusive. Despite this, a number of review studies suggest there’s a link.

12. Block The Sun With Color: When it comes to avoiding skin cancer, it was found that blue and red fabrics offered significantly better sun protection against the sun’s UV rays than white or yellow ones did. And wear a hat! It has been found that those with melanoma on the scalp or neck die at almost twice the rate of people with the cancer on other areas of the body.

13. Eat Clean Foods: How often have you heard this one? Well, it’s a biggie. Hormones and antibiotics in meat are suspected of causing endocrine problems, including cancer. Make sure you buy organic fruits and veggies as much as possible, too. “At least 40 known carcinogens are found in pesticides and we should absolutely try to reduce exposure,” says Sellers.

Wise Words from a Fellow Vegan

I came across this lovely blog by Dr. Stanley Sapon who has been a vegan since 1976. He put together A Philosophy of Vegan Values that I thought I’d share with all of you.

  • Vegans see life as a phenomenon to be treasured, revered and respected. We do not see animals as either “The Enemy” to be subdued, or the Materials for Food, Fabric or Fun that were put on Earth for human use.
  • Vegans see themselves as a part of the natural world, rather than its owners or its masters.
  • Veganism recognizes no expendable or superfluous species that humans are free to hurt or destroy. Species of life-forms need not justify their existence, nor plead for protection from extinction on the grounds of their potential usefulness as food or medicine for humans. We continue to be burdened and misguided by adages such as “A weed is a plant we have not yet found a use for.”
  • Veganism acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life. It rejects any hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures. It is no more acceptable to torment or kill creatures with “primitive nervous systems” than those with “highly developed nervous systems.” The value of life to its possessor is the same, whether it be the life of a clam, a crayfish, a carp, a cow, a chicken, or a child.

  • Veganism understands that gentleness cannot be a product of violence, harmony cannot be a product of strife, and peace cannot be a product of contention and conflict.
  • Vegan ideals encompass much more than advocacy of a diet free of animal products, or a fervent defense of animal rights. Veganism excludes no sentient being–animal or human– from its commitment to compassionate, gentle benevolence. To show tender regard for the suffering of animals, yet treat humans with callous contempt, is a disheartening contradiction of Vegan principles.
  • John Muir, talking about the natural environment, once observed “Every time I bend down to pick something up, I find it is connected to something else.” There is an equivalent “ecology” to our behavior. Everything we do connects to something else; every action touches on the world around us, either close at hand and noticeable, or far away and unperceived, immediate in its effect or distant in time.
  • If Veganism has a prime value, it is simply that life-respecting compassion overrides individual issues of custom, convenience, comfort or cuisine.
  • If there is a single article of faith, it is that commitment to Vegan values will bring us closer to a world in which the fate and fortune of a planet and all its life forms do not hang on the judgment or the generosity of one species.
  • If there is one single concept that both generates and sustains the meaning and the power of the Vegan world-view, it is found in the word mindfulness. As Vegans, we strive to be thoughtful, aware and concerned about the impact of our choices, our actions and our decisions. The fruit of this awareness is inner peace, the quiet strength of ethical confidence, and an uplifting sense of fulfillment.

“The human body has no more need for cows’ milk than it does for dogs’ milk, horses’ milk, or giraffes’ milk.”

-Michael Klaper