Tag Archives: Veganism

How To Live A More Organic Lifestyle

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Hello Dear Readers,

Here’s a new wonderful piece written by Jess Walter. Enjoy! 

Gourds

Veganism becomes more popular every year, and now around 26% of Americans consider a vegan diet to be a very healthy lifestyle option – but more and more vegans are taking steps to live an organic lifestyle as well. From growing your own vegetables to shopping at the farmer’s market, there are lots of ways to go organic, and doing so will reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that you consume.

If you’re a vegan who is ready to take the next step, we can help. Here are three ways to embrace organic living. 

Buy Organic Self Care Products

Lots of cosmetic products contain harmful chemicals, including your shampoo and body wash, so it can be beneficial for your health to switch to organic cosmetic products. You can even replace your hair dye products with organic hair color treatments, as these products don’t contain ammonia or bleach. A good organic hair color treatment will even give your hair an extra nutrient boost, helping to make sure that your hair always looks shiny and healthy.

Read The Labels

Lots of prepackaged foods contain products that aren’t organic, so if you are doing your weekly grocery shop and you’re not sure what the food contains, take the time to read the label. Check out the nutrition panel and the ingredients, and if you see any products that you don’t recognize, then put the food back – or take a picture of the ingredients so that you can find out more about them online. This can vastly help to reduce your chemical intake.

Consider Getting Your Vegetables From A New Source

You can buy organic fruit and vegetables in most store, but local producers and farmers markets are more likely to stock a wide range of organic products at affordable prices. This means that it will be easier for you to buy more organic products, or you could even go a step further by growing your own fruit and vegetables at home. This means that you know everything that you are eating is organic, and this also helps to promote a more sustainable form of living.

These three simple tips are easy to include, and mean that you will be living a much more organic lifestyle! It doesn’t have to be a difficult task to be healthier; a few small changes is all it takes.

Thank you so much, Jess! I greatly appreciate you!!!

Feel free to leave us a like or a comment below if you have any other suggestions or ideas or simply found this helpful too! 

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!

Win Win

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!

mad-veggies

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!

Vegan Holiday Self-Defense

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HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas to you all!

It’s the holidays and there are parties that all of us veggie lovers attend! However, as you are about to read, knowing a bit of what I call “holiday self-defense” might not be such a bad idea!

 

Vegan fitUVC’s Holiday Self-defense 101

However, that said, some veg lovers avoid these events like the plague, others go to these parties, bringing delicious vegetarian or vegan dishes with them, while a few have experiences like the one I’m about to share. I am sharing this woman’s story because I don’t believe she is alone with her experience. Yesterday, I came across her comment and asked if she would allow me share it with you all. Thankfully, she said yes! Here is what she wrote:

 

Overheard in the bathroom at work while I was apparently stealth peeing (or maybe they didn’t care who was in there):

 

Two ladies discussing the Meat Festival that was our floor party lunch last Friday. Steak (yum!), stuffed chicken breast (sigh of pleasure), etc. Oh, and there was salad and roasted vegetables for the two “vegetarians.” Smirk, eye roll, exasperated sighs (there is a crack in the stall and I saw the whole thing).

 

gossip women

First of all, there were not two vegetarians at the party. There was a vegetarian and a vegan. And the poor vegan couldn’t even eat the roasted vegetables because she wasn’t sure if they were roasted in butter or oil.

 

It’s just been a bad week in general. The holidays seem to bring it on. I was questioned at another party as to why I wasn’t trying the lobster casserole. I said I didn’t even eat lobster before I went vegetarian (the whole boiling it alive thing kind of got to me even as a clueless, meat-eating child), and I now don’t eat any seafood as a vegetarian. Duh

 

Then I got the whole “food chain” lecture about the “natural order” and how we’re superior to animals and were put on this earth to eat them. So I said would you eat your cat. Oh, that’s different.

 

Going out tonight to my first ever vegan restaurant experience. No one will ask why I’m not ordering meat – yay!

 

Thanks for letting me vent. Happy holidays!

 

You know this happens, right!? Any of us can find ourselves in one or both of these scenarios! Going vegan or vegetarian, you often become the “odd man out”, so to speak, unless you’re amongst “your own”! So how do you guard against situations like these? Do you take lessons in self-defense and go for a total smack down? (FYI: It is healthy and normal to fantasize about what you would like to do in situations like these! It only becomes “unhealthy” when you act it out! So go for an all out “smack down fantasy” if that’s what it takes!)

 

Women wrestlersFantasy Smack down!

 

All right, if you’ve read my postings or know me in person, you already know that I am not into these kinds of sports or taking people down…unless it’s the meat & dairy industry or corrupt politicians! I wouldn’t mind seeing them leave town! Let’s get back to the topic! What can you do if faced with co-workers, family members or others who want to give you a lecture or be nasty behind your back?

Reminder

Well, I don’t think there’s much you can do other than be YOU! The fact is that we can’t change people’s behavior. If they choose to be rude, ignorant and/or disrespectful behind your back…or directly to your face, then that’s on them! Remember, that you are not responsible for their behavior only for your own! I remind my students at school that, “If someone is being mean to you, it’s about them, not about you! A person who feels good about themselves never treats others in such a distasteful manner!” 

vegetarian

Your most powerful “weapon” against people like these is to bring amazing vegalicious food for them to try! Don’t even mention that it is vegan or vegetarian! Just bring a delicious dish or two. Even better, bake something so mind blowing that it leaves their small brains spinning! Trust me, they will be asking you for the recipes! Other than that, shrug it off, smile, and have fun at the party! It took me a long time to come to the point and say, “These people’s opinions aren’t important! Life is too short! I’m not going to waste it on people who put me down, criticize me, talk about me behind my back – who simply are not kind people!” I’ve even let go of family members who exhibit this undesirable behavior!  So girl friend, kick up your heels and smile…if that doesn’t work, go out to your car and scream loudly! Then return to the party and grab a cocktail or two! YOU deserve it, dear!

 

Kick up your heels

Happy Joyous Holidays everyone! 

Heart Protection with Veggies

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Let’s talk about the hearts and heart disease today! After having lost both my father and my close college buddy, Paul in the last two years to heart attacks, I feel this is a relevant topic. Paul was only 42 when he passed away this summer! Hence, this issue is very close to my heart! I could have called this post, “Wrong Advice Could Kill You!”

 

 

heart

A few days ago, my guy received this holiday letter from a friend’s wife:

 

“HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas from the City of Destiny. 2013 has been a long, trying year for us. It seems to be closing out well, so we are hoping for a better 2014. 

John had a stroke in May and spent most of June in a rehab center. He’s fully recovered and become much healthier; losing a significant amount of weight now that he’s following a vegan diet. He’s also working again at two part-time jobs.”

 

Then yesterday I received a phone message from my friend Beth that went something like this,

 

“Hi Nina. Ron and I are at The Mayo Clinic, where Ron is awaiting his new heart, so I just wanted to let you know that you will not be getting a Christmas card from us this year! We hope you are doing well!” (For privacy, I have changed their names!)

 

I used to believe that heart attacks were inevitable for my family, especially my father’s side of it, since this is what most of them have died from. Now I know the difference! I have to ask, do we really have to lose a loved one or get a heart attack to come to a “change of heart”? Is this what it takes to go on a plant-based vegan diet? Apparently it is for many people! Look at Bill Clinton! He went on a plant-based vegan diet due to his heart surgery. Luckily, Clinton found, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and is now a convert! (Link included at the end!)

 

clinton vegHeart Healthy Mr. Clinton

 

Unfortunately, not everyone, including the American Heart Association or other associations will suggest a whole foods plant-based diet for heart disease and protection. It doesn’t exactly produce new customers! My friends husband is lucky that he got sound advice where he went – that can actually save his life! Others are not so lucky and will get “ducky”!

 

Braendende-kaerlighed-a-la-Hjerteforeningen-455x350Brændende Kærlighed – “Burning Love” in Danish…

…A Dish from the Danish Heart Association that does NOT love you back! Trust me!

 

Once I saw duck recommended as a dish for the Danish Heart Association on their Facebook page. What? Seriously? I thought, “Are you not aware of how fattening and unhealthy eating duck meat is?” I wrote and told them! I’m not sure they appreciated my comment, but seriously! If you’re trying to help people get better, then please do so! Those types of recommendations are just plain wrong! And not only wrong, they are life threatening!  

On the Danish Heart Association recipe page alone there’s six duck recipes! Wow! No one is going to get cured of or protected from heart disease by eating duck or other meat and cheese products! Duck in Danish is called “Andebryst”. On their website there’s even a fried pork dish down in the “S” category – look under, “Stegt Flæsk med græskarpure”. I have included a link to their website at the bottom, so you can see for yourself that I am not making this up! 

Hjerteforeningen

The Dish, “Brændende Kærlighed”, that I showed in the photo above, just to give you an example, not only has meat in it, but is filled with milk, creme and margarine. Okay, so not a lot of creme and margarine, but it is in the dish! I am being critical because if you are an organization set out to truly try to reverse this ugly trend then these should not be on the menu! By the way, I’d be delighted to come and speak at The Danish Heart Association – Den Danske Hjerteforeningen – if they should have interest in learning more about a plant-based diet! I’ll be in Denmark in the spring of 2014! Isn’t it time to change the menu, folks? 

 

preventandreverse

Heart disease is preventable through the right diet! It is not a destiny! So, Go Plant-strong! Here’s Dr. Esselstyn talking about heart disease:

 

From my heart to yours! Please protect your precious heart for yourself and those who love you!

 

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Bill Clinton Reveals How He Became a Vegan

 

Hjerteforeningen – Opskrifter fra a-å

Busy Mom Wants to Go Vegan

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Hi All,

I’ve been busier than ever this month, hence I haven’t had time to post! However, my Danish friend Helene wrote me this week and I asked her if I could share her letter with you, so that it would benefit not just her, but someone else out there who is a young busy mom who’s thinking about going plant-based vegan, but doesn’t have time to read a whole bunch. Here’s a section of what my friend wrote:

 

Helene & Vega IHelene & Vega

Hi Nina,

I’ve been wanting to write you for so long, but something always gets in the way. Time seems to fly with Vega running around and needing attention. She is amazing and at a wonderful age. She understands a lot and does fun things…Time’s flying – she will be two in February! I hope you are doing well – it looks that way. You look healthy and happy! Speaking of healthy, I wanted to hear if you would recommend some good books about “plant-based for beginners”? Something that is easily accessible, with ideas for all three meals. I am still very curious about it, but have not yet dared to take the plunge into it. Kevin is fully supportive of it. It is one thing that keeps “poking” at me in my thoughts. I have no doubt that it is healthier, but momentarily I just feel like it might be really difficult, and that is probably one of the biggest reasons why nothing has come of it yet. And I may be completely wrong? Perhaps it is really simple. I could easily live without meat. It is more cheese, eggs and milk, etc. Doesn’t it take time to get used to not eating these products. Well, I talk, you just got a few of my thoughts. I need a book with recipes, not a lot of theory, I don’t get anything read during this time, period. Now I can hear Vega crying in the background. Time to get her from her nap!

Best, Helene

 

VegaVega

Hi Helene,

A quick note for now, as I have to go to work. I will write more later! Yes, Helene, it is one of the Best decisions I’ve ever made for myself! Now I wish I’d started in my twenties or even earlier! Difficult? Were there difficult days in the beginning when I first started out? Yes, but most have been surprisingly easy! It has only been a difficult transition when I haven’t taken the time to plan or prep food, which I started doing on Sundays. Since you’re going to be in the United States for Christmas, I’d recommend that you start with a book like, “Everyday Happy Herbivore” by Lindsay Nixon. This one will provide you with all three meals. Another new cookbook is, “The China Study Cookbook” by Leanne Campbell. I just received this one not too long ago, but it also looks really good. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Reilly‘s book, “Cooking with Trader Joe’s – The Skinny Dish”. She’s the mother of two young boys (I believe) and was one of my trainers at PCRM. You do not need a Trader Joe’s to cook from this book. I hope this helps! Gotta run!

Talk later, Nina

 

Everyday Happy Herbivore

Hi Nina,

Thank you for your speedy response! I will definitely look for the books that you suggested when we come to the United States. I have a couple other questions for you:

What do you do when you’re somewhere where there’s simply only a nasty, unhealthy, non- plant-based option available. For example, at an airport “dead hungry” and/or running short on time. What do you do? Do you compromise, or starve yourself until a better option presents itself? And I can’t get away from the situation where you’re invited to dinner, and the person has done a decent job with a delicious dish, where you then have to say, “Sorry, I cannot eat it!” and what if you unknowingly have eaten an egg in a cake – or something else? Do you get sick or “sour” because you weren’t paying attention? These are in a nutshell issues and problems that I can foresee. 

 

Vega IIVega wants to know too!

Fine points and questions you bring up Helene! I would say, eat the cake or the dish in that situation as long as it is something you can live with. I mean, what are you going to do if you’ve already eaten the dish, not knowing what was in it? However, some dishes are so obvious! It is easy to say in a social situation, “My doctor has asked me to stay away from eating these products!” Who will argue with that? Not many! Yesterday, I went to a huge Christmas party, but had eaten before I went. (That’s always a good idea, then you don’t get tempted to “sway from the diet”!) There were huge tables set up with the usual big meat spreads, baked goods, candy dishes and only two trays with vegetables! I snacked on the vegetables along with a glass of wine and no one even noticed! I politely declined when other trays came around!

 

veg tray4A beautiful Veggie Tray

In regards to the airport, I haven’t been in the situation that you described. I would suggest packing snacks (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegan snack bars, etc.) to take along on any trip! I have always found something I could eat in any airport I’ve been in in the past two years! It has not been an issue! Most side dishes are vegan when you think about it. Plus, there’s usually a place to order up a veggie burrito – just ask them to hold the cheese! Or a large salad for that matter! There are vegan cheeses on the market! One of my students recently commented on really liking a certain soy cheese and something else. Some taste great, others don’t! You sort of have to test your way through to find the ones that you like! I used to miss cheese the most, but now, I don’t! As far as eggs are concerned, I have learned how to bake without them and so far I haven’t run into any issues! What deters me from eating them, besides knowing the cruel treatment they undergo, is that one egg equals two Burger King Whoppers in cholesterol and saturated fat! No Thanks!

By the way, when you book your overseas tickets, just ask for the “Strict Vegetarian Meal”! Your meal will arrive before anyone elses…A bonus if you’re hungry! And my experience has been that my seat companion has always either been jealous and/or regretful that they didn’t order what I was having!

 

Helene & VegaMy friend Helene & her daughter…I love this photo!

I know you didn’t ask me this, but as I mentioned earlier, I would schedule a “prep day” for your fruits and veggies! Mine is usually on Sunday, where I wash, chop and store for the week! This keeps me on track! I love making a big salad with kale, beans, cabbage, beets, and other veggies to take for lunch or simply to snack on! You make amazing salads, Helene! I know that you will make an easy transition into this wonderful world of whole foods plant-based nutrition! There are plenty of sites and free recipes out there for you to check out. Here are links to some of my favorites:

 

Healthy Girl’s Kitchen: Healthy Recipes

 

Happy Herbivore Recipes

 

The Engine 2 Diet – Favorite Recipes

 

FatFree Vegan Kitchen

 

Happy Healthy Long Life

 

Post Punk Kitchen

 

Carrie On Vegan – Recipes

 

This should at least help get you started and well on your way! I am so happy that your awesome hubby is on board as well! It is extremely helpful to have a partner who is supportive of going plant-based! I am really excited for you! This is such an exciting adventure – at least it has been for me! I miss you guys! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask…this goes for anyone reading this post as well! [Thank you for reading!]

Talk soon! xoxo Nina & Pippa…Woof!

Vegan Challenged?

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Feel a bit challenged and wanting to test the waters for going vegan? Asking yourself, where do I start? What do I eat now? Will I starve? Relax and take a deep breath! Get that frown off your face and relax the muscles in your forehead, please! My mother always tells me that this look causes too many wrinkles!

There are a lot of book choices out there, I have certainly been buying up a bunch, but they are not all equally helpful if you are just starting out. I would like to recommend  a few:

“The 30-Day Vegan Challenge” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is a great starter! This book has more than 100 recipes, plus she covers just about everything a newbie Vegan can think about and questions you will come up against.

“Cooking with Trader Joe’s – Skinny Dish” by Jennifer K. Reilly, RD. Jennifer cleverly didn’t promote her book as a vegan cookbook, but it is! She’s a nutritionist who sure knows her stuff! I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s so this book has been very helpful and each recipe that I have made has turned out deliciously and they are easy to make!

“The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Low-Fat Recipes You Can Prepare in 15 Minutes or Less” is another good one for fast food choices vegan style! The McDougall’s know what they are talking about that’s for sure!

Anyway, I can tell you that I haven’t once gone hungry. I’ve been happily cooking with these books!

A few blogs you might also find helpful, at least I have are:

http://healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com/

and a fun one called, “What the hell does a vegan eat anyway?” Found on:

http://veganmenu.blogspot.com/

I hope this has helped you a little. Don’t panick…or frown! You’re going to be all right!