Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grow Your Own Veggies

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Grow Your Own Veggies

Thank you to my friend, Jess, for once again sharing a post to my blog! If you have one that you’d like to share with my audience, please just email me!

Everything You Need to Know about Growing Veggies

One of the best parts about being vegan is getting to try out a range of different fruits and veggies that you probably would not otherwise think of trying. Substituting your favorite orange chicken dish for orange cauliflower, or adding colorful dragonfruit to your morning smoothie can be fun ways to explore all the vegan options available, if we only give them a chance.

For anyone who lives in an urban area, it may be hard to feel connected to all the wonderful raw produce out there if you always have to buy the ingredients from a grocery store. So why not try growing your own vegetable garden instead? Certain veggies can be grown virtually anywhere, as long as they are potted correctly and have enough space. Even in your high-rise, your vegetable garden can thrive.

Where to Begin

While urban gardening may seem like a challenge at first, the best way to start is by deciding what type of urban garden your outdoor area can sustain. Some urban homes may offer a spacious rooftop or deck, but others may only have limited window ledges or balconies. Some options for an urban garden include:

  • Raised beds

  • Container gardening

  • Lasagna gardening

  • Vertical gardening

  • AeroGardening

Container gardening is probably the easiest option of these, as there are a variety of container styles available like clay, plastic, or terracotta. Simply find a container that is the appropriate size for your plants and their root systems, add dirt and compost, and that’s it. This is also a great way to easily manage the plant’s environment, as the containers can be easily moved and kept anywhere there is ample sunlight.

What Vegetables Make Great Companions

Many vegetables can make a great patio container garden. But which ones should you choose? Starting with a staple vegetable, like carrots, potatoes, onions, or beetroot as these are easy options to test out how your garden will grow. From there, you can enhance your garden by introducing companion plants to grow alongside these staples. Companion planting makes the most use of space and can also deter pests. Some companion planting options include:

  • Carrots with onions, peas, radishes, lettuce, cabbages, and leek

  • Tomatoes with cabbages, carrots, and onions

  • Peas with beans, carrots, cucumber, and radishes

  • Beetroot with brussels sprouts sprouts, broccoli, onions, and cabbages

While you may not be able to fit all of these vegetable combinations in your urban garden, knowing that certain plants like onions and leeks repel flies and caterpillars can help your garden avoid harmful pesks. Before long, you will be happily cooking all other favorite vegan dishes with your own homegrown vegetables, and what can be healthier or more satisfying than that?

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What The Health On Netflix

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Quick Heads Up!  What The Health is making its debut on Netflix on Friday, June 16th in the U.S.! If you don’t have Netflix you can watch the full film on YouTube. I had a sneak preview today. The documentary is only an hour and a half long, but I highly recommend it if you care about your health or those you love. Plus it gives a good insight into the major, supposedly supporters of health…AHEM!…and their agendas. To say the least, it will be eye opening to those of you who haven’t seen Food, Inc. or read WHOLE by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. This film is Excellent! Enjoy & Share!

WTHealth

Link to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1nEpMQyhLA

Dutch Vegan Artist Ronn Kools

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Happy June, Vegalicious Humans!

Docga-Bowie-II

Coming to you from Brazil. This is my interview with Vegan artist Ronn Kools.

N: Hi Ronn, tell my readers about yourself.

R: I am a Dutch artist-illustrator who currently works on a series of animal ballpoint pen portraits with human characteristics in Brazil.

Veganism wasn’t new to me when I decided to stop eating animal proteins. As an artist you need to be open to “new” ideas and information. Some of my friends had been vegetarian and others vegan for years, but it was the documentary Cowspiracy which convinced me that we – people – need to start thinking differently about food.

N: How long have you been vegan? Who inspired you to go vegan?

R: I went vegan (only) about a year ago. It started out as a two month challenge together with my partner, after watching Cowspiracy. I wanted to do it for a while, but it was definitely easier doing it together. In the beginning we thought it might be more expensive, but it wasn’t at all. You simply buy different things. Loving to cook, and experimenting new recipes definitely helped. So, yes Cowspiracy definitely was my inspiration.

N: That’s Awesome! It’s definitely a powerful film! How has veganism changed your life? Any health improvements?

R: Veganism made me look at animals as other beings. I have always loved animals, but the human mind is so programed to see certain animals just as product providers instead of seeing them as our fellow beings on this planet.
Going vegan definitely had a positive impact on my health. I lost weight to start with. I sleep much better. And I don’t feel so stuffed anymore after a meal. I feel much better.

Skateroo

N: Tell us about your art? Has it changed since you went vegan? Did you draw animals before?

R: In 2015, I had my first solo exhibition (“Till Death Do Us Part”) in Recife, Brazil. It was a collection of realistic oil paintings about the feeling of missing people in our lives. The show was successful and got a lot of attention, but right after the opening I knew I wanted something different for the next step in my artistic career. The theme of my show was heavy, and I decided I wanted something lighter; something with a message, but still something that would put a smile on peoples faces.

Punk-Panda

I experimented with some ideas, but when I started sketching animals with human characteristics it all came together for me. The idea was, and still is, to present animals as other beings, with the hope that people will start treating them better. Most people simply smile when they see my animal portraits, and won’t have this direct connection right away, but I believe that subconsciously it will have some influence.

I experimented with some ideas, but when I started sketching animals with human characteristics it all came together for me. The idea was, and still is, to present animals as other beings, with the hope that people will start treating them better. Most people simply smile when they see my animal portraits, and won’t have this direct connection right away, but I believe that subconsciously it will have some influence.

Suusi-Kahlo-II

It’s also for this reason that I stepped out of the world of art galleries, and started looking for bigger platform to reach more people with this concept. This resulted in my portraits being printed on t-shirts, posters, stickers, mugs, pillows, and other products, which are now being sold by online stores such as Society6, Curioos, Redbubble, and DesignByHumans.

Strangely enough I wouldn’t say me going vegan has changed my art. I would say my art has helped me find veganism. It was the process before starting this series, as finding something close to my heart, something true to myself, and an idea I wanted to share with the world. Before this series the models for my work were mainly people. I did draw animals before, but never with a concept like this one.

N: I love your work and the playfulness of adding human characteristics to these beautiful animals. It also serves as a wonderful way of seeing ourselves in our animal friends and perhaps will give someone pause to think, “Hey, he/she looks a lot like me! Maybe I ought to not eat someone I have so much in common with?!”

N: What has the response been from your friends and family?

R: The response to the animal portraits has been amazing. Many people who buy the t-shirts send me a photo of them wearing them, or tag me when they show them wearing them on social media. Even actor-singer Hugh Sheridan send me a photo of him wearing his Pantherasta t-shirt, and actor Rafael de la Fuente send me one of him wearing his Don’t Pussy Me t-shirt on a night out in Hollywood.

Dont-Pussy-Me

R: The response I have received for going vegan is very mixed. A lot of narrow-minded people walk around with the idea that it’s not healthy, or bluntly joke about eating meat because they simply don’t want to accept what is happening to the animals before they have that dead piece of them before them on their plate. Other people respect it but say it’s just too difficult. I always tell them it’s one of the easiest things I have ever done in my life. But of course the best response you get is the response from people who are genuinely interested and want to try it for themselves; even if just for one or two days a week. It’s a start after all.

N: I completely agree with you. Even if it is just one or two days a week. That is a great start! How is it being vegan in your part of the world?

R: Being vegan is Brazil is not as easy as in some other parts of the world. I used to live in London, and my friends there tell me there are lots of options for vegans now. There are many vegan products for sale in supermarkets, and vegan restaurants everywhere, such as the very popular pizzeria Picky Wops.

It’s different in Brazil. The meat industry has a lot of influence in every corner of this country. They have established a very strong meat eating culture. You will hardly find any vegan products, except from your regular fruits and vegetables, in supermarkets here. For these products you will have to go to specific vegan stores. They sell everything a vegan could wish for, but they aren’t cheap. Far from it, but it is definitely a growing market. The meat industry might be strong in Brazil, but the free mind of the people will always be stronger.

My favorite place to get some vegan deliciousness from in Recife has to be Pizzeria Vesuvio, which has a few amazing vegan pizzas on their menu.
In a few weeks I will travel The Netherlands. I always look forward to seeing what different kind of options my home country has to offer.

N: That’s a great point, Ronn, “…the free mind of the people will always be stronger!” I’m about to head to Denmark, I always look forward to seeing what changes have been made in my home country since I was there last in the vegan department.

If someone wants to purchase your art or see more of your work, how can they get a hold of you?

Here are some links:

instagram: ronn.kools.artist

Tumblr: http://ronnkools.tumblr.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ronnkoolsart
Curioos: https://www.curioos.com/ronnkools

Society6: https://society6.com/ronnkools

To those out there who have questions about my work, or being vegan, or to those who would like me to create a portrait of their favorite animal, please send me a message on Facebook, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Finally, to those out there who still believe it’s to difficult to go vegan, just give yourself the two month challenge. Everybody can do two months, right?!

Enjoy the experience.

Yours,

Ronn Kools

N: Ronn, Thank you so much for sharing your Amazing artwork and thoughts with me and my readers! I greatly appreciate it!  

If you’re interested in reading more stories like this one go to “search” and look up “Two Years of Plant-Based Interviews”

 

Healing My Thyroid With a Vegan Diet

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Yesterday, at Whole Foods, I ran into someone I know who works there. She wanted to know more about a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet. We chatted for a while about this and that. As we were talking another woman kept circling around us. I told ‘my friend’ what my NP had said to me several years ago, as my thyroid had started to go downhill, that she’d never seen anyone recover as fast as I had and that she believes it is due to my vegan diet. (My NP is not a vegan, btw.)

fruits-for-thyroid

This other woman abruptly butted in. She was VERY angry with me for telling my ‘friend’ this about my thyroid. Frankly, I thought she was going to punch me, she was so angry, as she came back a second time and yelled, “It’s an autoimmune disease that can’t be cured. It is science and you should not be going around and sharing this misinformation.” So I decided to ask my friend Dr. Ted Crawford for his expert opinion on the matter. Could my NP be wrong? I didn’t think so, but here’s what my friend, Dr. Ted, who is in the new documentary, Eating You Alive, responded back to me:

Well, I have personally had two patients I have with hypothyroidism on supplemental Levothyroxine adopt WFPD [Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet] and within a year HAD to go off their medication because their TSH and T4 levels normalized. If you ask Furhman, McDougall, or any other primary care physician who has been treating patients with WFPD diet, they will tell you the same thing. Most thyoid conditions are autoimmune diseases caused by dietary habits. And it can possibly be reversed in many cases. Now some cases may not be, but I believe the majority of them will normalize. You have a super Sunday as well, Nina!

So, to the Angry lady at Whole Foods,

Isn’t this great news? Now you can actually be proactive instead of reactive!

lemons : life

I shared this story with all my friends on FB, but decided to share it here as well, as it was…let’s say such an “unproductive” encounter! Just remember, when you get lemons thrown your way, why not make lemonade or use them with water in the morning! They are a great cleanser…possibly even of negative energy! Smile!

Wishing you all much health and happiness! Make it a GREAT week!

PS. Since posting this to FB, I’ve had three friends, including a NP (Nurse Practitioner friend) – they’ve all had Thyroid disease – respond to the post about my “encounter”! They ALL say the same thing. They CURED their thyroid with a Whole Foods Plant-Based Vegan Diet! Ginette, the nurse wrote, “I went off my Thyroid medicine last year with the OK of my Md…i was taking the lowest does! I’m fine! Another friend wrote, “I too, have reversed the effects of thyroid disease with a vegan lifestyle. When I wasn’t vegan, my dose of Levothyroxine was .175 I’m down to .100, and will be down again soon. It works, Nina. I’m living proof.” 

And another simply commented, “That buttinski had a lot of nerve barging into your conversation to begin with.” Well, my friend, I am SO glad she did…as unpleasant as it was! And yes, I do have nerve to put it out there! GO WFPB VEGAN!!!

Vegan Artist Chantal Poulin Durocher

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Dear Readers,

I have long been a huge fan of Chantal Poulin Durocher’s Amazing artwork of farm animals and since we know each other on social media, I decided to ask her to share her story with you. Some of you may know Chantal from her portrait of Esther the Wonder Pig. Seen here below!

Esther

Like my previous interviews you’re definitely in for a treat:

N: Chantal, I have long been an admirer of your amazing artwork. Please tell me about who or what inspired you to start doing artwork. Have you always drawn animals? What made you decide to go in that direction?

C: I am a professional artist for almost 40 years now. I did my first solo show in 1978. I painted mostly landscape at that time but few years later, I started painting children, mostly little girls with animals.

At that time, my artist name was Chantal Poulin.

When I look back at my career, I realized that I always painted the vulnerable ones, children and animals. It is only 5 years ago, when I became Vegan, that I really became an activist and decided to use my talent as a tribute for animals we exploit. I realized that I had a small mission on this earth, to paint the beauty, the sensibility, the intelligence, and the vulnerability of those animals we exploit for our pleasure…hoping that it might open the eyes of some people.

Pig in transport

N: Many vegans know of your amazing work, including your drawing of Esther the Wonder Pig. I would imagine that non-vegans buy your work as well. Do you have any stories related to your work of either someone deciding to go vegan or conversations you have had as a result of your artwork?

C: People who buy my original artworks are mostly vegan. My pieces are huge and a bit pricey. Some members of my family or old friends think I am crazy. They say things like, “ Who in the world would buy a huge painting of a pig or a calf to put in their living room?” I am glad to answer them, “ Well, the co-founder of Twitter for example, just bought one.” People who come in my studio that are not vegan, are surprisingly saying thing like, “OMG, this is so beautiful!” And I answer, “ Yes, this is why I’m vegan!” Usually they do not answer anything…But it’s like they have a flash…that there’s link! Hopefully, it makes people think. But honestly, I don’t think my paintings make people go vegan just like that. I have had many people go vegan from following my Facebook and my art on the long term though!

I want to be part of that historic movement of veganism, and my way to do it is to paint animals with all my talent, skill and love. I think my art plays a role in changing people’s perception of animals and their place in our society.

N: Well, Chantal you definitely are a part of this historic movement!

Kiss a Cow

N: How long have you been a vegan? Who or what inspired you to go vegan?

C: My husband and I are went vegetarian 25 years ago when I read Diet for a New America by John Robbins (btw, I prefer the French title they translated it into : Se Nourrir Sans Faire Souffrir / literally: to feed ourselves without creating suffering.)

N: That’s a great title!

C: We went vegan about 5 years ago. I read a Facebook post saying that there was more animal suffering in a glass of milk than in a steak. We did some research, watched the film Earthlings, and the day after, that was it! We are both happy vegans!

Talking to Dogs

Chantal says, “We live with 12 abandoned dogs that we rescued, that is why there are often a few dogs in the pictures!”

N: Do you have a favorite vegan dish? Product?

C: Where we live here, in Panama, there are not a lot of vegan products, like plant-based meat or faux cheese. Eating for me is not so much about taste at all costs anymore, my happiness of eating in a way that does not harm any animals is greater than the pleasure I could experience eating a delicious meal. Eating is now more like a spiritual experience. It brings me a profound happiness in my soul and heart more than in my palate. I love all vegetables and fruits and nuts and cereals! I prepare a lot of Indian, Middle Eastern and Thai food. It’s easy and very tasty…and, of course, we eat a lot of the Latin American classic …Rice & Beans!

Sweet Pig

N: Is it easy or difficult to be vegan in Panama? How has your family or friends reacted to you going vegan?

C: It is very easy to be vegan here because you can find rice and beans everywhere! At any little restaurant, and it is very cheap. However, there are no product like plant-based meats or non-dairy cheese or even vegan prepared food.

Some of my friends turned vegan as a result of spending a bit of time with me, or on social medias or in real life. But I also lost some friends and some member of my family because of my beliefs. They are very upset by the fact that we are vegan.

N: Yes, that unfortunately happens to many people, but some are also very fortunate to me met with understanding! I think the people who are supposed to stay stays…and those who are not, leave!

Sheep

N: Which person or non-human animal has inspired you the most on your vegan journey? Why?

C: I would say Pigs, fish and cows. 35 years ago, I had a friend who raised a pig with the intention to eat it when he would be adult. We all discover at that time, how smart and sensitive a pig was. I never ate pigs after that. Then, when we moved here, in Panama, every day I see fisherman with dead fishes in their nets…sometimes I see them suffering, asphyxiated…make me sad and realize how much fishes suffer before dying. Also, along the roads here, hundreds and thousands of baby calves every year in the fields. They come and go rapidly… no females, only little males that will be turned into meat very rapidly. It is very sad to see.

N: Yes, I completely agree.

Kiss a Pig

Chantal, Thank you so much for sharing your story and AMAZING artwork with me and my readers. If someone wants to go and look/buy your work online what is the address?

They can visit my little web-site www.chantalpoulindurocher.com and they can contact me directly, or they can go visit the art gallery I work with in Canada http://www.thompsonlandry.com/artists/a_durocher.html

They can go on my artist Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Chantal-Poulin-Durocher-artiste-103394076414851/

And if they want to buy prints etc, they can go here: https://society6.com/chantalpoulindurocherv

Homemade Vegan Honeycomb Recipe

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the last wonton

Image Credit: The Last Wonton

The following blog Post comes all the way from London, England. Courtesy of Joana:

Candy, believe it or not, contain animal ingredients. Contrary to popular belief, candy doesn’t only contain a mixture of syrup and sugar. Although those two are the basic ingredients of candy, a lot of sweets also use gelatin made from cow skin, as well as carmine, which is food colouring that comes from bugs.

Candy is a popular treat across the world because it appeals to a variation of demographics. You only have to look at other industries that incorporate the appeal of candy to successfully increase sales or gain brand recognition. The much talked about Candy Crush Saga is just one of the games that used sweets as a focal point to entice gamers to download its mobile game. There are also plenty of other candy-themed titles developed for adult consumption such as Fruit VS Candy and Candy Bars, both of which are being hosted on the pay-to-play recreational site Spin Genie. Which just goes to show that whatever pursuit someone is engaging in, it’s hard to get away from the mass-market appeal of candied sweets. However, many of these are commercially made sweets are made with animal products.

So what should we look out for when buying candy, so that we aren’t buying candy with animal products included? Urban Tastebud has a list of ingredients to look out for when buying candy that should be your go-to stop list.

If you like eating sweet treats but can’t find candy in the store that suits your taste as well as being vegan friendly, you can make your own! Candy no longer has to be a guilty pleasure. Here’s a basic candy recipe that you can easily cook in your kitchen.

Vegan Honeycombs

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of light corn syrup
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vegan butter
3 teaspoons of sifted baking soda
4 tablespoons of water

Procedure:

1.) Combine all the ingredients except for the baking soda in a pan. Set the fire to medium heat. Stir continuously so that the ingredients won’t burn. If you can, use a deep saucepan (you’ll learn later on why a deep saucepan is preferred when making candy).

2.) When the sugar melts, turn the heat to high until the mixture starts boiling. Stop stirring and allow to boil for around 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes golden brown.

3.) Stir in the baking soda and whisk until it’s completely dissolved. The mixture will begin to burst from time to time because of the baking soda, which is why using a deep sauce pan is preferred when making this candy.

4.) Line parchment paper in a 10×10 pan. Pour in your mixture onto the pan and allow to cool, undisturbed, for about 30 minutes.

6.) Break the mixture using a meat tenderizer or the hilt of a knife. Finish the candy with melted chocolate coating if you want.

To B or Not to B? How to Get Adequate Vitamin B12 as Part of a Vegan Lifestyle for the Over 60s

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Hello Vegalicious Ones,

This following post on seniors and the importance of B-12 Vitamins comes to us via Jessica Walter. She asked if I would share this post with you, my readers. Jessica initially sent me the following note:

“I am writing because my recently widowered paternal grandfather has taught himself to cook after 50 years of not having to (with our help of course). He has had to learn a lot and part of this is learning which food substitutes are healthy and which are not. Now he is cooking all the time, and quite often, inviting us over for his latest experimental meal – even if some are a bit more miss than hit.

As I am also a freelance health and food writer, I have teamed up with a small senior lifestyle advice site, and worked with them to develop a complete guide how to develop 7 eating and drinking habits that will improve the life of any senior citizen.”

I thought this was really wonderful and will share Jessica’s other link at the end. Enjoy!

 

farm fresh vegetables

 

To B or Not to B? How to Get Adequate Vitamin B12 as Part of a Vegan Lifestyle for the Over 60s

The popularity of veganism has risen considerably over the last few years, with research indicating that 36% of US consumers are opting for milk and meat alternatives. A vegan diet is appealing for a number of ethical reasons and is a very healthy option, with 35% of Americans regarding it so.  It’s also environmentally friendly, and aids weight loss. Yet vegans must be vigilant to make sure that they consume sufficient nutrients; this is particularly relevant to the elderly. Studies have revealed that vitamin B12 specifically is lacking in those that adopt a vegan diet in later life.

Here are some ways in which you can convert to this lifestyle without compromising your vitamin B12 intake.

The Risks

Dementia, deafness and blindness can be a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency, and the best method for preventing these is an uptake of fortified foods or supplements.  Symptoms of deficiency in B12 include poor memory, loss of energy, tingling, numbness and blurred vision.

Milk

Fortified milks such as almond and soya can provide adequate vitamin B12, and are now readily available in supermarkets and health food stores. Alpro almond milk generates less CO2 than dairy milk. 100% plant based, it also contains vitamin E. Alpro soya milk is available in light, organic, and whole bean versions. Containing 15% of the nutrient reference values, it’s rich in protein, lactose-free and non-GMO, making it the perfect choice for seniors who want to improve their eating habits.

Nutritional Yeasts

Brewer’s and nutritional yeasts are an excellent source of this B vitamin, yet are not to be relied on as your only source. If you do want to try supplementing your diet with yeast, there are various support formulas that you might wish to experiment with. As an alternative to cheese, they are very versatile –  can be used on veggies, as a gravy thickener, on pasta and as vegan meat substitutes.

Meat Substitutes

Meat substitutes are becoming more widely consumed, even by meat eaters seeking a healthy change in their diet. There are many imitation types of bacon, chicken, beef and turkey which can be found in health food stores and online. In some cases, you may also find them in your local grocery store.

Breakfast Cereals

Many cereals are fortified with several vitamins, and provide a good source of vitamin B12. From muesli packed full of dried fruit and antioxidants to the more traditional and famous brands, there’s bound to be a cereal to suit your needs. Another tasty breakfast option for vegans is toast with homemade vegan butter or margarine, which has up to 72% less saturated fat than butter and is rich in Omega 3.

Overall, vegans who supplement their diet with fortified B12 products are less likely to suffer from a deficiency than meat eaters.  The Institute of Medicine states that “Because 10 to 30 percent of older people may be unable to absorb naturally occurring vitamin B12, it is advisable for those older than 50 years to meet their RDA mainly by consuming foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a vitamin B12-containing supplement.”

 Thank you again for this excellent article, Jessica! I would like to add that everyone needs to take some form of a B12 supplement whether they’re vegan or not, but especially if they are vegan!