DIY Vegan Dog Food Part Two

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Hi Again,

This is the second part of my friend Lotte’s letter to me on making my own vegan dog food for my sweet little pup, Pippa. Here’s Pippa with gravel on the nose from our trip to the beach. Pippa is a huge veggie lover!

A funny side note: Pippa will bark at me for snap peas and beg for carrots. She loves red cabbage and English cucumbers. What’s funny is that a friend had bought her a raw bone when he was watching her and she would have nothing to do with it. That’s my girl! 

Pippa with gravel nose

I plan to start making food for Pippa. Dogs, like humans, can also get Cancer and tumor growth and I’d like for Pippa to live the best life possible and hopefully avoid that!

Hi Nina,

This is going to be a long recipe, and I will have to finish it tomorrow. I want you to understand the background because it will save you some of the trials and errors we went through.

We have been making dog food for Ruby now for the last 8 out of her 10 years. We started her on kibble, and we decided early on that she needed to eat three smaller meals instead of one or two bigger ones. RR have a tendency to get a turned stomach, so you don’t want to overfeed dry food which expand in the stomach – a very painful way to die that killed our family German Shepard dog Jaco.

Still both of us thought it was weird to feed your dog the same food 3 times a day- cereal for breakfast, cereal for lunch and cereal for dinner, and the same cereal. It was convenient – no question about it – but 100% processed and devoid of natural enzymes and vitamins.

The first step in introducing live and raw foods was when Brian bought raw meat patties at the local dog food store. For some reason we thought you have to buy her food at a pet store. It was really expensive too. She absolutely hated it. It smelled weird and chemical. Who knows what was in it. She would leave it sitting on the plate for hours and really struggled to eat it. After a few weeks we gave up on that.

Then my friend Garth came by one day and gave me some dog food he had made for his dog to keep the dog from having seizures. It had raw turkey meat, oatmeal, canned tuna, ground flax seed, veggies. Ruby really loved the sample, so then we started making her food with a combination of raw beef and raw turkey, boiled eggs, potatoes, green peas, green beans, zucchini, olive oil, sweet potatoes and rice –and gradually weaned her off the kibble. We did this for quite a while but as we went vegetarian we had a bit of an issue with the meat in the recipe although she kept eating meat a while after we stopped.

The first thing we cut out was the beef. We substituted with grain and more beans. We did this for some months. Then we cut the turkey and we substituted the rice for quinoa which has more protein and seemed to work better for Ruby. Then we cut the tuna and finally we cut the eggs, and Nothing Bad Happened!

I admit I was worried as we have been told that it is tantamount to dog abuse not to feed your dog meat – and mostly meat- and raw at that. When you think about it, it is really quite nuts. Dogs have adapted to human diets and meat was a real luxury in most cultures and still is. I think it is unlikely you would feed your dog meat when you could eat it yourself on those rare occasions if at all. People used to feed their dogs table scraps and dogs used to live to 16 -19 years of age. My guess is that dogs mostly ate vegan food scraps and maybe some raw bones.

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It has been 7-8 years of continually altering and modifying her foods as we learn how to feed her by observation. At some point we added turmeric to control the fatty tumors which are prevalent in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. We also cut the processed junk food treats to limit her exposure to additives which we believe causes fatty tumors as the body tries to encapsulate the chemicals it cant expel in fat.   When she started to get too skinny, we cut the rice and added quinoa, and that seem to make the difference so that she is now a healthy weight, but this was just one of several adjustments. I think the key is to observe and find out how much you need to feed your dog based on maintaining a healthy weight, sparkle in eyes, clean ears, clean teeth, lots of energy, joy. We take Ruby to the vet and they think they are looking at a dog half her age and she is almost 10 years old.   Ruby has had one teeth cleaning at 8 years old, when she had to have a tooth extracted because she probably broke it on a bone. Her gums are pink and healthy and her teeth are white. Her breath is great and she smells very clean despite the fact that she hates to be washed so we only wash her once every couple of years.

Where we are today is this:

We take out two frozen foods of prepared food every day, of the size I gave you. We feed her one of them for breakfast. Then we make a bowl of oatmeal for ourselves with some left over and we feed her half oatmeal and half of the second bowl for lunch and dinner with the second bowl of food.

In addition we now give her vegan kibble as snack during the day . We also give her a peanut bone or a meat bone every day. I use the marrow bones that do not splinter. I boil the meat bones after she finish them, fill them with peanut butter and freeze them. I give her frozen meat or peanut bones and she loves it. (She prefers the meat bones J.)

We add rice milk, soy milk or potato/veggie cooking water to her drinking water and she will not drink any water unless I add that.

Your dog is half Ruby’s size, so you could probably get away with one to one and a half container of the size I gave you. (I gave you this container so it would be easier to explain the amount J).

So I felt I had to explain this to you so you know how we got to where we are today. I think that the key to good vegan nutrition is:

Organic vegetables and grains

Some raw and some cooked

Some mashed and some chunky

Great variety – hit all the bases

Add supplements like flax, turmeric etc.

Observe and adjust

Mix it up. No one want to eat the same thing 3 times a day.

Feed 3 smaller meals instead of 1 big meal. (dogs love to eat-spread out the love)

Feed healthy food scraps as a snack or part of the meal–it adds variety to the diet

Forget about the “people foods for people only”. People food is dog food.

Tomorrow, the most recent recipe.

Lotte

Again, a HUGE Thank You to Lotte for sharing!

DIY Vegan Dog Food

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Hi There Dog Lovers, 

My awesome vegan Danish friend Lotte has so graciously shared her vegan dog food recipe with me and all of you! Plus extra tips and a bit of story that, if you’re a dog lover will most certainly appreciate! Here’s a photo of Lotte and her sweet dog/child, Ruby from this winter!

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Here’s what Lotte wrote and shared with me:

Hi Nina,

OK so a little time again to finish the recipe saga for you.

We typically shop at Trader Joe’s for best deals on organic produce for Ruby and we make food for an entire months- so approximately 60-65 of the glass sizes I gave you, plus we got a small freezer just for her food.  I expect that number one, you would need to only make 30 –40 for a month supply for Pippa because she is quite a bit smaller. Ruby is 70 pounds.  I also expect you don’t have as much room to store her food or all the containers you would need, so I will give you the recipe for what I would think is the smallest amount you would want to make at a time.

We don’t add salt to Ruby’s food. We buy all organic and get everything at Trader Joe except the oatmeal, dried beans and lentils, the flax and the turmeric which we buy at PCC.

The starches:

One  5 pound bag of TJ organic potatoes – cooked and diced (we don’t peel) – save cooking  water (See tip #1)

One 5 pound bag or TJ sweet potatoes – Cooked and diced (We don’t peel) – save cooking water

One bag of TJ Quinoa – use potato/sweet potato cooking water to cook

1 – 2 cups brown rice – optional but economical– use potato/sweet potato cooking water to cook

4 cups of dry oatmeal – use potato/sweet potato cooking water to cook (See tip #2)

5-6 cans of beans or similar amount soaked and boiled beans. – mashed (See tip #3) (we use combination of kidney and black beans)

1 cup Red lentils –optional –  cooked and blended/or mashed

The veggies:

One bag of green peas – defrosted and mashed

One bag of frozen green beans- lightly cooked and cut into smaller pieces

3-4 zucchini- raw and grated in food processor

1 bag of broccoli florets (the tips) – lightly steamed and chopped.

Juicing pulp- if you juice. – optional (see tip #4)

The supplements:

3/4 cup of flax seed – freshly ground up – for omega 3 (we use Vitamix for grinding)

1/4 cup turmeric (we use because it should help against fatty tumors and potential inflammation conditions.

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#1 We found that Ruby loves to drink the cooking water from potatoes and sweet potatoes, so we either mix it into her drinking water or we use it when we cook the rice, oatmeal or quinoa. This way we don’t lose the vitamins etc. that boiled out into the water.

#2 We found oatmeal really easily digestible for Ruby and it sits well with her.  It has a lot of protein. To save space in the freezer, we make the base food without the oatmeal, and then we cook up about a 1/2 cup dried oatmeal a day and mix it into the de-frosted food. (we cook oatmeal for ourselves so we just make extra) . Oatmeal is also a very economical ingredient and I think a really good way to introduce whole foods to a dogs diet when you first start out. You could simply start by giving Pippa a bowl of oatmeal each day- possibly adding flax to it.

#3 Ruby can not break down the skin of the beans and lentils so they come out whole unless we pre-mash the. You could blend them too.

#4 I try to juice carrots right before we make Ruby’s food so I can save the pulp by mixing it into her food. Dogs can not break down these harder veggies – but they can digest pulp and will benefit from the fiber and vitamins left in that.  If you juice regularly, leave the pulp out of her frozen food and add some of it to her food whenever you juice so it is ultimately fresh and nutritious.

OK this is it finally. Let me know how it goes. Remember to transition her unto this food over a period of at least a couple of weeks so her body develops the necessary enzymes to digest it.

Take care,

Lotte

***Also See Part Two of Lotte’s Letter!

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Here’s a link of the containers that Lotte freezes Ruby’s food in:

http://www.prunedanish.com/arc-h6809-3fba/

Thank you so very much, Kære Lotte! You Rock! 

Vegalicious Vegetable Soup

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Hello Veggie Lovers,

It has been a while, but I’m back again with new inspiration, stories and recipes!

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Yesterday, I taught a fun class on Plant-based cooking for an audience of 12 at my favorite health food store. I’d been asked to make “comfort food”, so I made “Pete’s Shepherd Pie” (link to recipe is at the bottom of this) and also Lani Muelrath’s “Simple Vegetable Soup” – the template for this is in Lani’s awesome new book, The Plant-Based Journey on page 114 along with so many other delicious recipes. Plus I also made a vegan chocolate mousse. I asked Lani’s permission to share my version of this recipe with you all and she said yes! Thank you, Lani!

The group I taught was 11 non-vegans to one vegan and I wish I’d had extra copies of Lani’s book with me because it is full of excellent advice & tips for how to transition to a plant-based diet! The Plant-based Journey has been recommended by many top-notch doctors and once you read it you’ll understand why!

One participant commented, “The soup was “Da Bomb!” They all loved it! Enjoy, it’s still a bit chilly out!

Here’s the recipe:

Lani’s Simple Vegetable Soup Template

Adopted from Lani Muelrath’s book, The Plant-Based Journey

 

Ingredients:

3 – 5 large root vegetables (ex. carrots, potatoes)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped (red gives more flavor)
1 large bunch dark leafy greens (ex. kale, chard, spinach)
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms (dried shiitakes for stronger flavor)
1 cup lentils, soaked overnight or precooked to minimum time
2 containers of Organic Vegetable Broth (32 oz. each)
Vegetable bouillon, miso paste, salt, or other soup seasoning and spices to taste.
Adding fresh and finely cut Rosemary gives it extra flavor.

 

Directions:

  1. Precook lentils.
  2. Coarsely chop the root vegetables.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot and heat. Then add the root vegetables and cook for about 10-12 minutes. Check the potatoes with a fork. You do not want them mushy.
  4. Add the seasoning spices, pre-cooked lentils, shiitake mushrooms and the dark leafy greens. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve.
Yield: 4 – 6 Servings.

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Enjoy Pete’s Shepherd Pie too:

https://urbanveganchic.com/?s=Pete%27s+shepherd+pie

Recommendation: The Plant-Based Journey

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My friend, author and speaker, Lani Muelrath has a new book out called, “The Plant-Based Journey”…and I’d highly recommend it. This is a really comprehensive book for anyone, no matter where you are on your plant-based journey, whether you are a “newbie” to a whole foods plant-based diet or someone who has been on the path for many years. The advice in this book is sound, practical and thorough, going from “Making the Plant-Based Connection” in the “Awakening” stage all the way to the “Rock Star” and “Champion” stages, where you are already well on the path. Lani guides you through each stage in a practical step by step way that makes making the transition from a “Scout” to a “Champion” easy and accessible. In the book, Lani has included “Reader Tips” from people who have been on this journey for a while…I am one of those people! (You can find me on page 88 in the book!) The book also includes the importance of being fit and exercising, as well as how changing ones mind and thoughts can help one succeed and thrive for a life-time of health and happiness. Lani also gives tips for how to deal with traveling and going to family gatherings – especially dealing with the “food pushers” that we all encounter from time to time.

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Lani was also on CBS TV recently, giving advice on “Five Ways to Plantify Your Plate”. You can watch the segment right here:

http://lanimuelrath.com/lani-muelrath-on-cbs-tv-five-fast-ways-to-plantify-your-plate-video/

I love how Lani makes eating a whole foods plant-based diet so easy, accessible and fun! Seriously, going plant-based vegan will not only save you money and time, but also you’ll be healthier and happier, so order your copy today and I would suggest ordering an extra copy or two to give away as gifts for a birthday or for the upcoming holidays! I cannot think of a better gift to give someone you love and care about! This is a GREAT book…I LOVE it! Enjoy!!!

Potato, Onion, Leek Soup

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Happy September Friends,

It’s been a while! I hope you and everyone around you are doing well! I’ve been working my tail off at work with all 720 0r 730 students…I’m still trying to comprehend the numbers and the students are still coming and going! I have also started my fall Food for Life Cooking classes for Cancer Prevention and Survival. Today, I was supposed to go on a walk for Farm animals in Seattle with my vegan friends, but I’ve caught “a bug” at the school where I teach and felt it best if I stayed home. I’d be lying if I told you I never caught a cold on a whole foods plant-based vegan diet. After all, I am human and happen to work in a “petri dish of germs” – with younger students ranging from five years old to 11. However, my immune system is functioning way better and I’m able to fight off these minor colds in a shorter period of time than in the past, when I wasn’t on this diet! So instead, I stayed home and made this soup that is not only very simple and easy to make, but delicious!

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Easy Cold Buster Soup by Nina

Ingredients:

12 red potatoes cut into chunks

2 Leeks

1 medium size sweet onion diced

6 or more garlic cloves chopped finely

1 32 oz. carton of Vegetable Broth (or make your own)

2 TBSP 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s

Salt and Pepper to taste

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Directions:

  1. Wash potatoes and leeks. Cut the potatoes into chunks and add to Instant Pot (if you have one or else use a medium pot to boil them in). If you do own an Instant pot, then chop up the garlic and onion and add as well. Add some of the washed leeks as well, chop into smaller pieces, and then finally add the 21 Seasoning Salute. Add half a cup of the Vegetable broth.

  2. Cook on Manual for four minutes in Instant Pot or else cook the potatoes first, then mash in after cooking in a regular pot, adding the garlic, onion and spices. Potato Leek Soup

  3. Steam the leaks. Do not overcook these!                                               Leeks

  4. Heat up the rest of the broth and add about half of the water that you used to steam the leaks with. Add leaks, mashed potatoes, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil and you are done. This simple, yet delicious “cold buster soup” is ready! Salt and Pepper to taste.

This whole meal took about 20 minutes at the most to make. It’s very easy, especially if you’re feeling “off”. I have already had two servings of it, but there is plenty more. This would also be a nice soup to have before any other meal and it serves at least four people!

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

If you make it, please let me know what you think of it!

Myths and Misconceptions about Plant-Based Diets

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Good morning and Happy Saturday, Vegalicious Ones!

The following article is written by Shauna Schultz, RD. I’ve gotten her permission to share it with you all. Next week, I’m working as a substitute for Shauna as she is moving to California – so I will be speaking and doing a cooking demo promoting a plant-based diet!

Enjoy!

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Plant-based diets are gaining momentum and for good reason: they’re easy on the environment, kind to animals and help prevent and manage chronic disease. According to the most recent Harris Interactive survey through the Vegetarian Resource Group, 5% (16 million) Americans are vegetarian, with half identifying as vegan. This number has nearly doubled since their last poll in 2009, and 33% state they are eating vegetarian and vegan meals more often. However, even with the increase in plant-based diets and meals, myths still persist over nutritional adequacy (or inadequacy). Below are five common concerns and how you can meet your needs through whole, plant-based foods.

How do you get enough protein?

Gone are the days of protein combining to make “complete” proteins. Eating adequately with a variety of protein-rich plant foods throughout the day will ensure you meet your needs. Protein is abundant in plant foods and most people are surprised to learn they are getting much more protein than required (a 150 pound person needs 61 grams/day). This is equivalent to one cup cooked oatmeal, one cup soymilk, one cup lentils, three ounces tempeh and two tablespoons peanut butter. Include at least three servings of legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy, peanuts) as part of your daily protein intake to ensure adequate lysine.

Surely you aren’t getting enough calcium!

Dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. In fact, plants provide plenty of calcium and promote good bone health overall. Plant-based milks provide a convenient 300 mg or more per cup and plenty of whole foods provide calcium as well. You’ll find 179 mg in one cup cooked kale, 111 mg in two tablespoons almond butter, 88 mg in one tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, 126 mg in one cup navy beans and 200-400 mg in four ounces of calcium-set tofu.

Don’t you worry about iron?

Iron deficiency isn’t more common among vegans and vegetarians than non-vegetarians. However, the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended intake almost two times higher for vegetarians and vegans because the iron in plant foods isn’t as readily absorbed. Don’t let this deter you though–iron is easily found in plants and consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time can enhance absorption by up to four times! Sprouting and fermenting also increase bioavailability. Excellent sources of iron include: pumpkin seeds (5.2 mg per ¼ cup); chickpeas (4.7 mg per one cup); blackstrap molasses (3.6 mg per one tablespoon); and iron-fortified cereal can have up to 18 mg per serving.

What about heart healthy Omega-3s?

Adequate intake is easy with concentrated sources of Omega- 3s like chia seeds (four grams per two tablespoons), ground flaxseeds (3.2 grams per two tablespoons), hempseeds (1.7g per two tablespoons) and walnuts (2.6 grams per ¼ cup). Add them to smoothies, cereals, muffins or salads. Vegan supplements with DHA and EPA are also available.

Plant-based eating is too expensive!

Any type of eating plan can be expensive! Pound for pound, plant proteins are far less expensive than animal protein and provide more nutrient-density. Beyond protein, there are many ways to save money, such as buying foods that are local and in-season, meal planning and cooking at home, buying in bulk (dry beans, grains, oats), reducing the use of convenience and processed foods and growing your own food.

Shauna Schultz is a registered dietitian and owner of Catch Your Veggies, where she currently offers nutrition counseling, consulting and plant-based cooking classes. She can be reached at rdshauna@gmail.com.

Thank you, Shauna and Happy Moving! 

Different Approach – Same Results!

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Dear Vegans,

This post is solely intended for those of you who are already vegan. I need to get something off my chest today. Everyone comes to veganism in different ways and that should be more than okay. Not one shoe fits all! Some people become plant-based vegan or vegan for health reasons, others because of animal cruelty and the horrific abuse in factory farms, others because of the destruction animal consumption does to the environment. However, one approach is not less than any other – the results are still the same! First of all, we end up with a healthier group of humans, millions of animals are spared, and a healthier planet! So in the end, Why get all goofed up about how it came about when it is a win-win situation no matter which way we look at it? Well, apparently some people do!

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A lot of people have attacked Beyonce for going on a plant-based vegan diet…even vegans themselves. I don’t think this aids our common cause! These kinds of attacks on individuals or groups, just because they don’t use the right “lingo” or because someone doesn’t call themselves “vegan”, hurts our entire vegan movement. A month ago, I “spoke out” (in writing), because someone was trashing Mercy For Animals (MFA). This person thought that MFA used the words “Plant-based” or “vegetarian” too often in their campaigns and was also saying that they didn’t use the word “vegan” enough! Whaaatt? Mercy For Animals, as far as I’ve seen, uses the word “vegan” over and over again in their campaigns and I know for a fact that they do tremendous work on behalf of non-human animals!

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Here’s what I responded back:

“…I think it hurts our entire vegan movement when we bash any groups or persons on public forum. If you want them to change their behavior, it would be best to write directly to them and this may help them see another view. I know of many people who went vegan after watching MFA undercover videos. Thank you for considering the private approach instead of the public bashing.”

Yesterday, I posted the following two links on a well-known/liked FaceBook page for Vegans that were authored by two well known vegans (see below). However, when I looked today both been removed. Why? I wrote to the woman in charge of the site and asked, but have yet to get a response from her. I thought, Okay, perhaps this is just a “fluke” – so I posted them again…and got the same result. Both were instantly removed from the site! It is really GOOFY in my opinion! Why would these two not be allowed on a vegan site that supports Veganism? Personally, I don’t want to be a member of such a group that goes about censoring and erases information that is not only helpful, but supports vegans in doing a better job! Hence, I have removed myself from this group. I’m curious to hear what you think about this after you have read the following article and watched Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Both of which I had shared and that were the ones removed. Enjoy!

Click on the article below to read this excellent piece:

Let Beyonce be. About the biggest oversight in our movement.

Colleen suggests that you grab a cup of tea before settling down to watch this one!

Enjoy! It’s about 20 minutes long.

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Watch PlantPure Nation!

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Hello Vegalicious Ones,

This week, I went to see PlantPure Nation in Seattle with two vegan gal pals that I got to go along with me!  After the film I got to meet my #1 hero, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, as well as his son, Nelson Campbell who produced the film, plus Dr. Campbell’s wife and Nelson’s wife, Kim. It was extremely exciting to get to meet this “true living legend”, as one of my friends wrote. I was truly honored to meet this man who has had such a huge influence and impact on my life! As some of you know, I’ve read his book “The China Study” twice, taken his eCornell plant-based course, as well as read his other book, “Whole”. I have no real celebrity crushes…you may call me weird, but Brad Pitt or George Clooney could have walked right by and my focus would have been right there on this incredible human! Why do I admire this man so much? Because not only is he absolutely brilliant, but he’s someone who truly cares about other people! He’s a “mover and shaker” in his field when it comes to diet and health! He speaks the truth about meat and dairy – and has worked tirelessly to improve the health care crisis in this country despite great opposition. And he continues to travel around the country, delivering his empowering message of why a plant-based diet!

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He was so incredibly kind and listened!

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I even got a hug from him…

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My friends and I greatly enjoyed watching PlantPure Nation! The film supported what we all believe in about diet and health, as well as the survival of our species. We really must start a grassroots movement! The government isn’t going to support this! So we were all saying, “Bring on the pods!” after seeing film…

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There was a Q&A after the film. Here’s Dr. T. Colin Campbell answering questions from the audience! The film is coming out this summer, I believe in July, so look for it or find out about when they might be screening the film in your State by clicking on the link below:

 http://plantpurenation.com

What an amazing evening it was! My friends and I were all smiles when we left the theater…

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…and that’s The China Study, that I’m holding out in front, which he signed for me!

Have you read it yet? Again, it’s my #1 favorite book out there!

A Must Read for any intelligent human who cares about their health! As I often ask people, “Why would you or anyone else go into old age feeling crappy?”

Let me know what you think about the film after you see it or after you have read the book!

I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s a Big Cheers to One Big Happy Plantpure Nation! 

PlantPure Nation

Banana & Fig “Ice Cream”

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In Sacramento, my friend Bethany made this amazingly delicious vegan ice cream of organic figs and bananas for us, so I had to recreate it when I got back. Believe me, my Vitamix has not been sitting idle! I’ve had a few friends over for dinner and have been serving it up. The response has been the same each time, “Ooohh this is Yummmyyy!”

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Vegan Banana Fig Ice Cream

Yields 3 Servings              Prep Time 10 Minutes

Ingredients:

3 frozen organic bananas  

1 frozen organic fig

1/4 cup of organic soy milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice

Small handful (6-7) walnuts finely chopped (optional)

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Directions:

Add the frozen fig, bananas and soy milk to your Vitamix or other similar blender. Use tamper to get things blended well. Blend between 3-5 minutes. And finally, although not necessary, mix in the finely chopped walnuts…and voilà you are done! 

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Bananas are naturally free of fat and sodium. They provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C and can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. They are also associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Further, the fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health.

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Figs are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and iron and contain Vitamins A, B6, E and K, all of which contribute to optimal health and wellness. Figs also protect against cancer and help with kidney function among many other health benefits. 

Enjoy this amazingly healthy and delicious treat!

Vegalicious Sacramento

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Last weekend I headed to Sacramento, California, to visit with my vegalicious friend Bethany and her husband Scott. Bethany and I met over two years ago in Washington, D.C. when we were going through our Food for Life training thru PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). So, when I knew I was going to Sacramento we arranged to get together with two other vegalicious gal pals (for dinner), whom I’ve only spoken to by phone or online, but who are friends of Bethany’s as well. As I’m sure many of you already know, when you go vegan, you get this whole new tribe of friends and “family” members and it’s just WONDERFUL! Four or five years ago, I could never have imagined just how blessed I’d become just by simply switching my diet and lifestyle to a healthier and more compassionate way of living! 
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Sacramento Sign

After Bethany picked me up from the airport we headed to one of her favorite vegan restaurants in Sacramento for lunch called Baagan. Bethany ordered up some yummy dishes from her friend, the owner. Check out this sweet little place and the lunch dishes we ordered!
Baagan Baagan Inside 2 Here’s what we had for lunch. We split the Veggie Quesadilla and…

Vege Quesadilla

…Curry Panini. YUM!!!
  Curry Panini  You would think we’d be full after all of that, but we decided to split one of their amazing raw desserts.

Baagan Dessert

Raw carrot cake dessert with a coconut topping and a sauce that was simply out of this world! 
This was a quick trip, so later that evening we drove to meet up with our two amazing friends Linda and Kayle. Linda is also a PCRM Certified Food for Life Instructor…she’s 71 and looks to be in her fifties. Unbelievable! This IS what a vegan diet can do! Our gorgeous friend, Kayle, whom I’ve interviewed about being a two-time cancer survivor (found under Cow Girl Kicks Cancer Twice) is getting rollin’ with giving paid talks and she also has her own awesome vegan t-shirt and accessory line (link is at the end). For dinner we all met up at Nectar Cafe in Auburn, California.

Nectar Cafe INectar Cafe

Here’s Linda & Bethany…Can you believe she’s 71? 

Linda & Bethany

Kayle & Me

Kayle & me

And the four of us…

Four of us

We had a blast laughing and talking…and listening to some great music, but you really want to see what we ate, don’t you? I had the Thai Green Curry and it was so delicious!

Thai Green Curry

Kayle had the Tacos

Tacos

Linda and Bethany split the Jamaican Burger and Pad Thai dish.

Nectar Burger

Pad Thai Dr. Neal Barnard’s phrase runs through my head when I get served vegan food like this. He’ll say, “This sure isn’t suffering!” Isn’t that the truth? With so much amazing vegan food out there, why would anyone not consider this more compassionate, healthier diet? Well, the best part of it all wasn’t the food, but connecting with these amazing women that I’ve known now for over two years.  (No, that is not a man growing out of Linda’s neck…LOL!)

Linda & me

The next morning, we all got up early. Ate a delicious oatmeal breakfast with blueberries and other goodies. Then Bethany and I drove downtown Sacramento to join about two hundred other people for free yoga in the park. It was awesome!
Yoga in Park Yoga In Park I     Yoga & Me More vegalicious weekends like this, please! 
Afterwards, we checked out the art market that was going on in the park. I bought a few things and then we ran a few other errands and later met up with Bethany’s son for lunch. We were going to go to…
Classy Hippie Cafe  …but unfortunately Bethany hadn’t gotten his message earlier. You have to call ahead to order if you’re going to go there for lunch. Call at least the day before! I thought this was a great name for a cafe! Well, instead we headed over to Shine. Their menu and food did definitely not disappoint! YUM! 

Shine IShine       Thai Salad

Thai Salad with Grilled Tofu
Veg Samosa Veggie Samosa
This was such a great weekend! The weather was perfect and I got to visit with some of the sweetest people I know, plus check out the cool t-shirt that Kayle gave me. I wore it on Vegan T-shirt day! Yes, there is such a day!
What did you wear?
Giddy UP  And then…SIGH…it was time to say goodbye to all of these lovely, lovely humans and head back home. I hope you enjoyed taking this little trip with me!
What about you? Have you taken any vegalicious trips lately or are you planning to?
Please feel free to share or recommend your favorite place to travel to! Who knows, we may just run into each other one day!

Palms

 **Link to Kayle’s “Cowgirls and Collard Greens” shop**:
http://www.cowgirlsandcollardgreens.com/shop/
 Check out this Vegan pin! I bought one from Kayle. I love a bit of vegan bling! 

pin

Enjoy and Eat More Veggies!
Much Health & Happiness,
Nina