Sunday, January 28, 2007

I feel the need to post this information because the subject comes up everyday in the life of a vegan. I know its annoying, but "Where do you get your protein?"
The recommendation for protein for adult male vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day.
Here are stats of some vegan protein sources: (food item, serving size, protein count)
Tempeh, 1 cup, 41 grams.
Seitan, 3 oz, 31 grams.
Soybeans, 1 cup, 20 grams.
Lentils, 1 cup, 18 grams.
Black Beans, 1 cup, 15 grams.
Kidney Beans, 1 cup, 13 grams.
Chickpeas, 1 cup, 12 grams.
Tofu, 4 oz, 11 grams.
Quinoa, 1 cup cooked, 9 grams.
Bagel, 1 medium, 9 grams.
Peas, 1 cup, 9 grams.
Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp, 8 grams.
Almonds, 1/4 cup, 8 grams.
Broccoli, 1 cup, 4 grams.
Spinach, 1 cup, 5 grams.
Brown rice, 1 cup cooked, 5 grams.
Whole wheat bread, 2 slices, 5 grams.
Soy milk, plain, 1 cup, 7 grams.
Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked, 6 grams.
White Meat Chicken, 4 oz, 35 grams.
White Meat Turkey, 4 oz, 33 grams.
Lean Pork Loin, 4 oz, 31 grams.
Egg, one, 6 grams.

Basically, its easy to eat sans cruelty and still (GASP) get your protein. This subject gets even more fun when you are pregnant as you are accused on abusing your child in utero because you don't eat your meats. Lets all get educated and realize that a lot of what we hear is seriously a product of Nutritionism. (more on this subject tomorrow as Michael Pollan wrote an amazing article for the times this Sunday!)

Whole Foods MEALS for FOUR under $15 "veganized"

After many discussions about eating well ending in my feeling like a spoiled brat who can "afford to eat fresh produce and healthy foods," I am on a mission to prove that healthy habits by way of shopping at the supermarket is not solely for middle or upper class consumers.
I wish I got paid for the amount of times I promote Whole Foods but honestly, I am just thrilled that a place exists that actually puts each of their products through a careful evaluation. I reported awhile back that POM juice producers were guilty of some nasty animal testing and I noticed that Whole Foods promptly pulled POM off their shelves. Whole Foods features foods that are free from artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Knowing that you don't have to check every damn label for junk added to your cookies, crackers, etc, can make grocery shopping fun again!
365 Everyday Value is a self-branded collection of staples featured at the store. Each item is priced low, most are staples that you need on hand like cereal, canned goods, frozen foods, spices, even coffee. Another featured brand is 365 Organic Everyday Value which is a line giving you all of the benefits of organic food at unexpectedly low prices. Usually these items are available in larger quantities to pass the savings on to the consumer.
Available at every store, is a pamphlet that features MEALS for FOUR under $15. This appears to be updated as the seasons change. Buying foods that are in season can save you a lot of money. Trying to buy organic berries right now is a joke. I think they will run you about $6 a package!
The meals featured in this pamphlet are NOT vegan, and only one option is vegetarian. I vote that you opt for the faux meat versions of these tasty recipes. You will notice the price will probably be LOWER and the taste will be BETTER, flesh and blood free!
Recipe #1 is Butternut Squash Ravioli - this recipe can easily be vegan by choosing a veggie ravioli instead of cheese, using soy butter, and omitting the cheese, perhaps sprinkling some nutritional yeast on top for added protein and B12.
Recipe #2 is Shrimp & Feta Pizzas - Easy to make this vegan and even tastier! Substitute shredded mozzarella with vegan mozzarella from Vegan Gourmet, omit the shrimp and feta and add vegan pepperoni (cholesterol free and low fat vs. cholesterol laden shrimp) and some sliced leeks and potatoes. (in season) YUMMY!
Recipe #3 is Coconut Red Pork Curry - okay, lets just leave the cute pig out of this. If you want to replace this "ingredient"
READ: Pork Tenderloin =

then you can go this route: Substitute pork with veggie ham (bacon flavor) OR you can use tofu or seitan as each are delicious meat substitutes that are delicious in curry sauce.
Recipe #4 is Slow Cooker Hoisin Beef Stew - No need to sacrifice a sweet cow for this recipe.

READ: Beef =
I have a secret for you. Vegecyber features AWESOME beef chunks for your frozen food collection. Try not to eat them before you even cook this recipe because they are fantastic! Unfortunately they feature dairy, whey protein. So, if you are VEGAN, pat yourself on the back and use the "lamb" chunks. These don't contain any animal products at all. The rest of the recipe is vegan friendly except the call for beef broth, just use veggie bullion cubes which are tasty and much more affordable than buying broth in a can or box. You never need the whole can or box which is wasteful. The cube is WISE as it lasts and is easier to measure out!

Recipe #5 is Peruvian Sopa La Minuta - "minute soup"
Again, get out your veggie bullion cubes and your ground beef substitute which is easy to find in most grocery stores these days. Otherwise, I recommend shrimp balls which are a delicious addition to soup. Tofu is also great in soups.

I often opt for a mix of seasonal veggies, for example, right now here are some in-season fruits and veggies to choose from: BRUSSELS SPROUTS, GRAPEFRUIT, LEEKS, ORANGES, PARSNIPS, PEARS, SHALLOTS, POTATOES, TANGELOS, TANGERINES, WINTER SQUASH, GARLIC AND ONIONS. I get out the wok, melt soy margarine or warm some olive oil, toss in crumbled tempeh, sliced tofu, or sliced seitan. Next, I add my seasonal veggies like thinly sliced leeks, halved brussels sprouts, and kale. Steam up some parsnips, whip them up with some soy milk and shallots to serve the stir fry on top of. Sprinkle the finished product with a flavored salt like rosemary or truffle. YUMMY! Flavored salts last forever and add gourmet flavor for just pennies a meal. Make your own by adding fresh herbs to coarse sea salt. Try adding lemon rind or even dried chili's to add some heat.
Highly recommended, and on "special" is a mushroom herb salt on Saltistry's website. Its a mix of herbs and four different mushrooms. 5 oz for $10 will last you many delicious meals and beware, it can be addictive! As they say on their page, "don't worry about getting too much sodium because its beneficial to consume sea salts daily as they naturally contain many trace minerals."

All vegan/vegetarian meats can be ordered online (note the shipping cost) at These alternatives are great to impress your meat eating friends or to spoil your vegan friends when they come over for dinner. I don't recommend eating much of this stuff because its not exactly healthy to eat faux meats every night for dinner. Make sure you check the ingredients of everything first, as some items do contain whey protein, which is a milk product. I recommend trying the crab and prawns (awesome in stir fries with yummy sauces) which are both vegan.

You can also order online faux meat treats at May Wah.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Starbucks: Lowfat, hormone, half decaf, dry, grande mocha


Starbucks makes a move toward artificial-hormone free dairy after last month's "Hold the Hormones" campaign, but consumers want more.

New York—January 17, 2007—Immediately after Food & Water Watch's nation-wide "Hold the Hormones" campaign culminated in a National Call-In last month, Starbucks announced an increase in rBGH-free dairy in several states, amounting to 37 percent of their total supply. Several news organizations recently reported that the coffee giant now has plans to go 100 percent hormone-free, an announcement that Food & Water Watch's Wenonah Hauter described as "encouraging" but said "we would like to see Starbucks commit to a timeline for completely switching over to hormone-free milk."

New York-based nonprofit Sustainable Table, which has been promoting the campaign by urging consumers to write, call, and leave letters at Starbucks, is now circulating an updated letter encouraging Starbucks to convert fully. The site also hosts an interactive map where consumers can find a state-by-state listing of rBGH-free dairy suppliers, as well as the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of small farms and other sustainable food outlets. The Meatrix II: Revolting, the second in the Meatrix series, centers on dairy production and hosts an action alert advising viewers to take part in the campaign.
RBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is a genetically engineered artificial growth hormone created to increase milk production in dairy cows. It causes health complications in cows and there is concern about a possible link to cancer in humans.

About: Sustainable Table celebrates the sustainable food movement, educates consumers on industrial farming and food-related issues, and helps build community through sustainable food. The program includes the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainbly-raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs in the United States and Canada, and the Meatrix film series. The Meatrix II: Revolting was produced by Sustainable Table and Free Range Studios. The original Meatrix has been viewed by over 15 million people around the world and translated into 30 languages.
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights organization, based in Washington, D.C., that challenges the corporate control and abuse of our food supply and water resources. Visit or for more on why Starbucks should go hormone-free.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Top Notch Pet Foods

My dogs are not full-time herbivores. They usually get a mix of foods and I often change their kibble each time I run out because their tummies can handle the switch easily. I don't recommend this for most dog moms and dads because it can cause an annoying and inconvenient bout with diarrhea or gas. There is absolutely no excuse for feeding your pet junk food. Brands often found in grocery stores like Safeway are made with byproducts like chicken feathers and poop, downer animals, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, pesticide residues, antibiotics, and molds contained in pet food ingredients. Meat from sick animals may be loaded with drugs, some of which are known to pass unchanged through all the processing done to create a finished pet food (such as penicillin and phenobarbital). Between 1995 and 1999, there were two major recalls of dry dog food by different manufacturers due to mold contamination of grain ingredients. Some fungal toxins are very dangerous. The second recalled food killed more than 20 dogs. Never buy a food containing “by-product meal” or “meat and bone meal.” These rendered products are the most inexpensive sources of animal protein. The contents and quality of these meals can vary tremendously from batch to batch, and are not a reliable source of nutrition for your animal. Healthy and environmentally responsible foods are available at large chain stores like Petco & at small mom and pop stores in your neighborhood. Here are some great choices in different price ranges to keep your pup in tip top health.

CASEY & WILEY (my moms doggies) and SAMMY & HB (my vizslas) go NUTS over:
Merrick's Grammy's Pot Pie Canned & Dry bags I saw announce "ORGANIC at no extra cost to you!" Merrick has an interesting business model. They help us choose food for our pets by naming them after popular human meals or creative mixes with interesting ingredients. They are very meat-minded, but they also offer organic so I feel okay recommending it over other brands.


CASTOR & POLLUX Natural Ultramix features natural chicken as the #1 ingredient! Fortified with Vitamins & Minerals. Wholesome fruits & vegetables that you can really see! There are banana chips, carrots, bananas, papaya, apples and blueberries in this food! Yummy.
C&P also features an organic food called ORGANIX.


KARMA dog food is 100% organic (ALL ingredients in the food, not just the meat is organic), the box is made of recyclable materials, and they manage the food from the way their ingredients are farmed to where the dog food is sold.

Other honorable mentions are:
EAGLE PACK Holistic Formulas
Jeffrey's Pet Food Store (soon online!) in the San Francisco bay area.
Its quite easy to make your pets food if they have allergies and such. A book I used to utilize daily when I made my dogs meals by hand was Dr. Pitcairn's Natural Health for Cats and Dogs book. Its available on

Monday, January 22, 2007

Vegan Travel #1 PALM SPRINGS

I am seriously disappointed when it comes to searching for vegan travel sights either online or even books. I tried to find a source of inspiration online as I hoped to take a nice trip with my husband before our baby is born, but the lack of thrilling travel tips for vegans became frustrating. Just because I am vegan doesn't mean I want to go on a trip to detox or do 50 yoga classes in a weekend. This is my attempt at collecting information on easy trips to take that are remotely affordable and fun too! Geesh, is that too much to ask!?
I decided to write about PALM SPRINGS as a destination today. The main reason for this is a great article in Sunset Magazine with cool hotels and interesting hiking trails & a certain restaurant that ROCKS!
I can probably speak for most vegans that eating is a huge consideration when traveling. In L.A. about six months ago, I ate at a wonderful restaurant called Native Foods. I couldn't get enough of the gyro dish I had. I also took with me a slice of banana chocolate chip cake for later and OH MY LORD! So delicious. I bought the cookbook too. I made the monkey bars at home and many other savory goodies that come highly recommended! Palm Springs hosts Native Foods restaurant which has been in business for over 10 years. The chef to thank when you eat there is Tanya Petrovna. She is the CEO of the Native Foods collective and her cookbook gives a brief history as to how she came to be head honcho and a proud vegan.

Another sweet deal is the Veggie and Tea House. If you are in the mood for some veggie asian food that is filling and delicious, check out their amazing website with pictures AND nutritional information! This restaurant is an hour out of Palm Springs so maybe on the day you feel like taking a road trip. Oh, and I KNOW that us dedicated vegans will travel to EAT!
There are a number of kitchy hotels in Palm Springs. The following locations have ALL of the character you need at a decent price. I don't see that any of these have a restaurant on the premises, so no need to get upset about the hotel sizzling up bacon in the morning or slicing rump roast in front of you at dinnertime.

The Chase Hotel is a beauty, very clean and basic modern decor. Rates for this time of year range from $119 for a standard room, add about $20 for your own kitchen. Totally worth it for us vegans!

The Desert Hills Hotel is another modern gem featuring kitchens in most of their rooms. Hotel rooms are around $100 and studio suites will run you around $120. What a deal! They also offer complimentary cruiser bikes for your riding pleasure. This hotel is a short three blocks from downtown shops and restaurants.

If you have more money to spend on a fancier joint, try the Movie Colony Hotel. This place features a sunset wine hour around the firepit, featuring fancy California wines, private patios, top notch linens and decor, spa services, cruiser bikes and concierge. The rates are around $200 and up. Seriously swanky! Oh, and walking distance from downtown.
Palm Springs is chock full of vintage and recycled shopping destinations.
Check out furniture at Modern Way
and vintage clothing at Celebrity Seconds where you can literally buy clothing worn by Hollywood's biggest stars!
For outdoor activities, you can visit Palm Canyon where you will witness critters abound and some interesting vegetation. Depending on the time of year, you might see streams flowing and remember if its HOT, bring lots of water!
Don't forget to visit the Joshua Tree, not to be missed! Just be aware of most guides are in Hummers which is obviously not ideal. Bicycling is permitted on public roads, both paved and dirt. There are no bicycle paths along roads. Bikes are prohibited on back country and nature trails.
Beware, there is a place called The Living Desert which hosts some native plants which is intriguing but they also have a zoo which is super depressing for us vegan types!
Getting there is simple, look up any info on transportation at or call 1.800.347.7746.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Water Signs

I am a Pisces, a fish, I suppose I see myself fit to give my opinion on the latest involving my surrounding element: Water!
Apparently there has been some controversy surrounding this liquid our bodies are partly composed of. (In men about 72% of the body mass is water. This value is about 68% in women due to a higher proportion of body fat. This is the total body water.) First, there was the radio contest held in California proving deadly as a contestant ingested too much water to win some video game console.
"Jennifer Strange, 28, died last Friday after taking part in a competition to win a Nintendo Wii console on Sacramento's KDND-FM.
In the contest, "Hold your wee for a Wii", about 18 contestants tried to drink as much water as they could without going to the toilet.
After several hours, Strange finished second in the contest, winning tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert. But by then she was already feeling ill from the effects of drinking too much water. Her stomach had swollen and she was complaining of headaches."
I am sure I don't have to go into detail about this. Its just plain sad and irresponsible of the radio station to not have demanded paramedics be on the scene just in case something were to happen.
The next round of water bashing is the result of hotels and sassy restaurants always asking if you want "bottled water, still or sparkling, or JUST TAP water?" to accompany your meal. I must admit that I sometimes feel awkward saying that I want tap water. They make you feel like this should be some special occasion and that the water should be special too. Hotels like the Ritz in New York are top notch on service but also on the scale of ridiculousness:
"In New York the Ritz-Carlton Hotel recently appointed a water sommelier to advise customers on which types of water would go best with which foods. "It's been extremely well received," says Filip Wretman, who usually stocks three sparkling and three still waters but can obtain as many as 80 with 48 hours' notice. "People are interested in the taste but also the history: our Fiji water is so pure because it fell as rain 450 years ago, before the industrial revolution."
Uh huh, that is what all of us wanted out of our dining experience, the history of the water we are drinking.
On TreeHugger I found this piece by Times of London food commentator Giles Coren: "Mineral water is a preposterous vanity. It is flown and shipped around the world, from France and Norway at best, from Japan and Fiji at worst. It is bottled in glass that is mostly thrown away and is stupidly heavy to freight, or in plastic which never, ever, decomposes and just goes to landfill or ends up in one of the “plastic patches” the size of Texas currently gyring in our oceans.
Food snobs and restaurant critics make a big song and dance about mineral waters they like and don’t like. New York’s Ritz-Carlton even caters to the whim of abstemious punters with a dedicated water list and sommelier.
The vanity of it! While half the world dies of thirst or puts up with water you wouldn’t piss in, or already have, we have invested years and years, and vast amounts of money, into an ingenious system which cleanses water of all the nasties that most other humans and animals have always had to put up with, and delivers it, dirt-cheap, to our homes and workplaces in pipes, which we can access at a tap.
And yet last year we bought three billion litres of bottled water. 3,000,000,000 litres! I have no idea how much that is. But it seems a lot. Especially when we were fooled into buying it because of labels that said “pure as an alpine stream”, “bottled at the foot of a Mexican volcano” or “cleansed for three million years beneath a Siberian glacier”. What morons we are."
Way to stand up for the drowning of our perspective on a basic necessity of life.
Let us start a new trend. Turning down the bottled stuff and demanding the tap water is environmentally sound. (Unless you are traveling to a location with fecal flavored water) Feel good when you leave the restaurant for choosing the clearly wiser option. TAP ain't CRAP!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I miss my bananas

I used to buy banana's every time I made a trip to the store. They are so tasty and convenient. Most bananas travel from Central and South America and doused in pesticides, so I thought I should cut down and only buy bananas that come from a closer location with less chemicals. Many other items fall into this category. Tomatoes and avocados are good examples. Plenty Magazine features alternate choices for those with a hankering for foods that are not locally available or in season.

Above is a picture of Pawpaws (already love them because of the name)which are grown in America in the Spring. Most purveyors sell puree of pawpaw year round at farmers markets for use in smoothies (this is what I used all of those bananas for!) or to enjoy as dessert or with breakfast. What do they taste like? As a member of the cherimoya family, Paw squared tastes like a tropical mix of mango, pineapple and banana. If you have never tried a cherimoya, you HAVE to try one. Its like banana custard in a fruit! Don't eat the seeds though, they are toxic.
There is a new eco-friendly fair-trade banana company called Oke which is coming to a natural food store in your area.

For our veggie eatin' friends outside of California and Arizona, mixed greens and lettuce in general is scarce during off-season months. Other tasty options to replace your need for a good salad are locally grown turnips, cabbage, carrots, and parsnips...these provide the same vitamins and minerals as dark leafy greens.

Tomatoes appear all year round for us lucky Californians....but other than Floridians, most other states don't see these red gems unless its summer. Off-season tomatoes never taste AS delicious as a summer sun drenched one, but if you MUST, buy the hothouse version. Tip: use summer tomatoes for canning or make sauce to freeze for use during the winter months.

If you haven't noticed already, its citrus season in California! I have enjoyed a variety of fruits lately that are super tasty and delicious from tangerines to basic navel oranges. When these tasty treats are not available locally, an alternative to try are kumquats which can survive in lower temperatures than other citrus fruits. If local lemons are not available, substitute white wine or vinegar in equal parts for juice in recipes. Lemons are limes are fairly easy to grow yourself...I even have meyer lemon tree that is still alive under my care! Its a miracle.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Generation Gap

Naturally I gravitate to those that are closer in age and maybe look like the creative type. At first glance, humans seem to connect to those like themselves. Too bad, more often than not, we judge people by their appearance and first words out of their mouths instead of getting to know them. I accept that most business trips I attend with my husband result in my attending spouse dinners and activities. Sometimes I enjoy chatting with elders and I tend not to judge from the get go because women my moms age have different priorities and may not dress like me or care about the latest music on college radio. Tuesday night I took in an earful from 2 of the women, one being very high powered, working with celebs and government types, maximizing their visibility. The other is a mom with kids in college in different states with no job. Between the two, I was informed of the importance of woman power in addition to the demands of having not ONE but multiple children.
I walked away from dinner feeling worked, so out of it. I see that there is a HUGE difference in the way the late 40's crowd and the 30-ish crowd prioritizes their goals. For example, many women upward a generation from mine seem to be very focused on equality and building strength of women everywhere. The generation before that seems to believe in the homemaker/at home mommy as being just fine and acceptable as a respectable job. MY generation seems to focus on a mix of professions, but many are concerned with the future of this planet. We have been inundated with racial and gender equality since the first day at school. There is no question that everyone should be treated equally, its just so automatic to my generation. We may not be perfect in treating every single person with respect, but that is a different subject.
What I am trying to get at is, our environment is at the forefront of our lives today. We are emotionally involved in our work. My discussion with the ladies seemed dismissed when we veered off into the department of food politics. Habits die hard. One of my dinner friends did not like animals at all. She eats a lot of meat she said. Totally foreign to me....apparently areas in northern Maine do not have access to fresh produce? What? I dunno if that is true but the main point made was regarding healthy eating being more expensive than your fast food. I had to make my point about Americans spending the least percentage of their income of any country on food, but health care spending is highest.
I cannot accept that in this day and age of various methods of transportation, that states in America do not have access to fresh produce. If you are poor, can you not grow some food for very little, using very little space? I realize fast food is cheap, but there ARE ways to eat on the cheap and still eat healthy.
I pledge to find out if and how eating healthy can be as affordable as junk food. If anyone knows of current data that supports this idea, please let me know! AND, if you live in northern Maine, please tell me whether or not you can access produce.
I suppose I will just keep truckin' and reporting on my new favorite read, "The Bloodless Revolutions" which discusses the history of vegetarianism. Its so interesting! More later.....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Vegan Perspective

Expectations as a vegan can become (I don't want to say LOW) but simplified over time. Yesterday my husband and I were at the Oakland airport and I knew I better eat something before our flight because of the unpredictable pregnant appetite I have. I think I am not hungry, then 10 minutes later I am dizzy with hunger. We decided on Mexican food from 360. I saw the word VEGAN next to a mixed veggie burrito on the menu. I immediately just decided that is what I should get because the actual word VEGAN was up on the board! Then I started looking around and noticed that there were smoked tofu salads, quesadillas (not vegan obviously), and more. I reminded myself that mixed veggie burritos usually SUCK because I just don't like squash, zucchini and bell peppers. What a mushy mix of bitter junk. So I decided on the rice and bean burrito with tofu and guacamole. I was shocked at how yummy the 'rita tasted. The tofu was well seasoned, the guac had bite, and there wasn't too much onion in the salsa. I hate tasting my burrito for the rest of the day because of those damn onions! Its sad because I LOVE salsa.

We are staying at the Four Seasons for a couple of days in Scottsdale on business. I am sitting in my hotel room satiated after enjoying the following: old-fashioned oatmeal with dried berries, fresh strawberries and blueberries, and a huge soy latte. I was worried when I woke up about getting a proper coffee. I didn't see soy milk on the menu so I thought I would ask and heck yes they had it. You know when you get room service, you dread getting the meal because you just KNOW its gonna be mushy and cold. Well, not at the Four Seasons! Its super cold here right now so I thought for sure I would be eating lukewarm oatmeal. It was piping hot, and my latte was even hotter! Simple pleasures, I tell ya! I will have to see what choices I have when it comes to food at dinner tonight with some of the lovely spouses I met last night.

One more thing, if you are looking for a spectacular chocolate chip cookie recipe, look no further. New Classics by Moosewood Restaurant
Replace the eggs with egg replacer
& use dark/vegan chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli or Scharffen berger) and use soy margarine or soy butter.
Oh my, I cannot tell you how tasty these are right out of the oven AND the next couple of days (if they last that long!)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Disorders & Solutions

My good friend Michelle told me a story about an older couple perusing the aisles at Whole Foods, looking to buy some tasty vegan food. The amount of confusion bouncing back and forth between the two was enough to power the store for a couple of days. Michelle stepped in and offered her assistance in the ice cream department, as some frozen soy desserts are sub-par while others will blow you away. The amount of frustration this couple seemed to have generated could have easily been tamed by setting up a shopping trip with the store. Whole Foods offers tours that cover your entire list. Whether you are allergic to gluten, dairy, nuts, or you have specific dietary needs like vegans and maybe pregnant moms or diabetics, they will take you through the store and show you what items you can choose from. I highly doubt Costco or Albertson's will hook you up with service like THAT! Check out your local store at: and search for store tours.

Health & Fitness Journal reports via Science Daily that Supermarket tours are growing in popularity as people diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease and other fairly common diseases need to make changes in their nutritional choices. They decided to examine the effectiveness of educating patients with heart disease in the store, so they can see exactly what things they should be buying to stay healthy.

"The study -- Prevent it: using grocery store tours as an educational tool to promote heart health -- looked at whether grocery store tours are a popular and successful method of informing people about healthy-eating.
A “grocery store tour” is a group educational session held at the participant’s normal supermarket rather than in a clinical or work site setting. A nutritionist or dietician guides the session, providing information on healthy food choices and demonstrating how to read a food label. Members of the group share with each other healthy shopping tips and recipes for nutritious and enjoyable meals.
The researchers ran and evaluated eight of their own “heart-healthy” tours. The tours were free and covered all the practical evidence-based dietary advice believed to influence risk for CHD.
The study found the tours are an effective way in increasing nutritional knowledge with 75 per cent of the group saying they felt they had learned a lot of new information. Longer-term effectiveness of the tour was assessed using a postal questionnaire in which group members reported a range of healthy dietary changes."

Knowing first hand how helpful meditation and mindfulness is when suffering from anxiety, I believe this method applied to treating young women with eating disorders is a swell idea. Most therapies for ED's are so focused on food and controlling eating, that less time is spent on defining triggers of binges or emotions that might create these behaviors. "Mindfulness" involves meditation like exercises that help people live in the moment, developing a healthy acceptance of self and becoming aware of potentially destructive habitual responses. This program taught in Queensland resulted in the following:
"Women who have been through the program report less dissatisfaction with their bodies, increased self-esteem and improved personal relationships," Ms Morgan said.
"They learn that thoughts and emotions don't have any power over us as they are just passing phenomena and aren't permanent."

That last lesson is so powerful when you are suffering with all-consuming anxiety or illness like bulimia/anorexia. Humans LOVE to be distracted by television, radio, computer (yeah you reading this!!!), shopping, drinking, drugs, exercise, whatever....but when we have to wait patiently for something in silence with no book or newspaper to read, something comes over us. Its a bit scary, those moments of nothing. Anyone who has learned to meditate will probably tell you that the first couple of times are really uncomfortable mentally and physically. 10 minutes can seem like an eternity! Its an adventure, learning about yourself. Honestly its crazy to see the same themes pass through your head over and over. Of the thousands of thoughts that we have in a day, we probably are aware of about 10% of those!

That is one reason why I think pregnant women feel so blissful most of of their pregnancy. Its the time when you are present, feeling this life growing in your belly, getting kicked here and there, experiencing your physical changes really keeps you in the moment. Not a coincidence! When you pay attention, you better watch out, you might learn something about yourself and others! It can be a pretty amazing experience.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Uncruel Beauty - Vegan Fashion in NY Times!!

I cannot tell you how many times I have read the Sunday Styles portion of the NY Times, hoping and praying one day there will be something about cruelty-free fashions! Finally, there is an awesome article today in the Thursday Styles (I think they just started this Thursday Styles section recently) about vegan fashions beyond the usual Stella McCartney goodies.
Read about some seriously fashionable vegan items and get happy!
Uncruel Beauty

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dell wants to plant trees

I think the stoner dude that used to be in the Dell ads must be consulting them towards "greener" practices.
Michael S. Dell, gave a speech yesterday urging the electronic industry to foster the planting of trees to offset the effect on the environment of the energy consumed by the devices they make.
"Plant a Tree for Me" is a new program started by Dell. Customers are asked to donate $2 for every notebook computer they buy and $6 for every PC, which will be given to the Conservation Fund and the Carbonfund, two non-profit groups that promote ways to reduce or offset carbon emissions, to buy and plant trees.
Dell promises to cover the administrative costs involved in the program. Dell also offers free recycling of their old computers. They are on track to complete their goal of recycling 275 million pounds of old computers from customers by 2009.
Hey, more power to them. Stating a specific goal AND making an effort to physically do something about tech pollution. This is timely news since I just posted about recycling technological items a few days ago.


The New York Times yesterday featured an article titled: Bias Is Found In Food Studies With Financing From Industry. The report they refer to is that of PLoS Medicine Journal which is the first systematic study of bias in nutrition research.
There were 24 studies of soft drinks, milk and juices paid for by the industry. 21 had either favorable or neutral results while 3 were unfavorable. The 52 studies that were NOT industry funded, 32 were favorable or neutral and 20 were unfavorable.
Apparently, these results mirror the pharmaceutical industry. Food involves everyone whereas drug studies affect a smaller population. Food studies influence governmental recommendations or guidelines which are supposed to be science based. Its an issue of protecting public health.
One example of a study is one of carbonated beverages conducted in 2003, funded by the American Beverage Association. The results found that boys with higher body weights did not consume more regular soft drinks than boys who were not overweight but did consume more diet soft drinks. Basically, don't worry Mom and Dad, obesity has NOTHING to do with soft drink consumption! Not so fast, the bevie industry was BUSTED in 2003 in a study of soft drinks in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found a direct relationship between the number of soft drinks consumed and obesity. Foundations sponsored that study.
Professor Marion Nestle, my idol, says, "For people who think science is completely objective, these results might come as a big shock."

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Out of work??

Here is an awesome opportunity to get close to animals and probably get some free turkey during the holidays!


Monday, January 8, 2007

Dear Mrs. Jones, your kid is FAT

I sure am glad I grew up in a time when chubby was hot. The 80's were hilarious that way. Having a lil' padding was healthy and normal. Not only were people not into stick skinny heroin sheik, most children were apt to play outside on their bikes or in my case a red wagon, steering from inside of it, down dirt paths and peoples driveways. We would play hide and seek almost every weekend on summer nights and I honestly don't remember much of video games or television for extended periods of time. Sure, I did wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the lineup of Saturday cartoons/programming (Smurfs, Looney Tunes, Kids incorporated, etc.) By the time those were over and I ate my breakfast, I was outside to find my neighborhood gang to put on GREASE 2 plays and make up dances to Prince with a baton. Its no secret that todays kids know more about computers than their parents and have friends all over the world thanks to My Space and others. Sounds great but this homebody computer attitude is taking a toll on American kids physically.
Teachers are sending home notes to parents saying that their child has an abnormal BMI "score." School nurses and physical ed folk admit that BMI is not a perfect test but it IS an effective and low cost way of measuring whats normal and healthy. Parents are outraged that the school is butting in and trying to tell them how to raise their kids! My kids is going to be anorexic/bulemic if you keep sending these notes home!!?? My child counts every piece of popcorn she eats because of the note!!!
Okay, I am not a parent YET, but I do have a baby coming in about 4 months. I am already affecting my fetus but my current dietary habits. I am vegan, I eat a great mix of organic veggies and carbs and proteins and I take my prenatal vitamins. I AM responsible for my childs health. Just because the kid is going to be outside of my body doesn't mean I am no longer responsible for what I stock in our cabinets and fridge to eat.
Most parents are likely furious with the news that their kid is overweight for the following reasons:
1. This means fat mom and dad have to change what they eat for dinner and/or what goes into the kids lunch box.
2. This change may mean more time involved in preparing healthy meals for the child and the entire family.
3. Healthy food CAN be more expensive, although you need less of it because its usually more satiating and higher quality.
4. Some responsibility will have to be admitted as the parent is ultimately in charge of what the kids eats.
Now, I would be extremely pissed if I were a parent of a child who packs a healthy, nutritious and pricey lunch everyday while the school serves up Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, chips, candy, donuts, sodas, and more junk....but they send home a note saying how my kid has an eating problem and is above average on the fat meter.
Schools absolutely need to provide cutting edge nutrition courses and physical education to do their part. Even counseling kids who need the help like they do for those who have mental problems or learning disabilities. Unhealthy food and overweight is essentially hindering kids from excelling in other aspects of their lives. Parents DO expect the school to notify them if their child is showing signs of mental or physical illness...shouldn't this include notification if the child is overweight? Its something that can be taken care of, reversed, managed.
Some schools have taken responsibility and provided only healthy alternatives to junk food in their cafeterias. No soda, just water. No high fat foods, low fat options. More salads, less pizza. I would like to hear a parent try to convince me that its harder to change yours and your kids diet than permeate the bureaucracy of a school to provide more nutritious food. GOOD LUCK!
More than three times a day parents have the opportunity to be a good influence via their food choices. Involve your child in the process. They can help you cook, study up on seasonal produce, make it a fun game when you go to the store. Reward kids for their healthy choices. Take them out for sorbet instead of pus cream. (a.k.a ice cream)
Oh, and this is quite interesting:
"A study published in the British Medical Journal has found a connection between kids with high IQs and their decision to go vegetarian later in life. A study from the University of Southhampton and Southhampton General Hospital compared data from a 20 year period for children whose IQs were tested at age ten. Of the 8,179 women and men in the study, 366 were vegetarian by the age of 30, nine were vegan, and 123 reported being vegetarian but eating chicken or fish. The connection between high IQ and vegetarianism continued to be statistically significant after controlling for social class and better education. The researchers also suggest that this higher chance of vegetarianism may help explain why people with higher IQs tend to have better cardiac health."
If the number of vegans were higher in that study, the results would have been even MORE amazing! hee hee

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Doing Coke at the Movies

I have some serious pet peeves about going to the movie theater these days. First of all, I always pay the extra buck twenty five to buy my ticket on Fandango so I don't have to wait in line and stress out about getting a seat inside the theater. Today I walked up to the ticket stand and some old man is behind me, basically riding me piggy back because he has his ticket out and he is READY to go in. I had the nads to tell the ticket taker that "someone is in a reeeeeal hurry" loud enough so the rush hour grey could hear. Once I found an appropriate seat, I sit with no choice but to be tortured by 10 minutes of horrible previews. There is a new ad from your "oh so caring" friends at Coke, a scary animated piece about some scary dude who is actually a nice dude who goes around "spreading the love." I wanted to spread my lunch all over the seats in front of me, because I seriously think people fall for this shit. Next, a woman sat next to me and I could hear her wheezing stuffy nose breathing throughout the entire movie. I felt bad for getting annoyed, I wanted to be compassionate. I must say, The Painted Veil was a good movie, at least, but the last complaint I have is that of the lack of vegan popcorn and snacks in general at the movies. Oh, that is another thing, the munching of darn loud and repetitive.
Here is a list of some popular candies that just happen to be vegan, if you are at the theater and insist on animal-free snacks.
Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy), Jujubees, Jujyfruits, Lemonheads, Mambas, Smarties (U.S. Brand), Sour Patch Kids, Starburst (jelly beans and hard candy), Sweet Tarts & Twizzlers, Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes, Blow Pops, Laffy Taffy, Now and Laters, Cracker Jacks.
Bring your own:
Microwave popcorn (hold the butter, please), Foney Baloney, Tofurky Jerky, Veggie Bootie
Fruit leather, Pretzels, Clif Bars, Hydrox cookies or Newman-O’s.

Natural Wound Care & Vegan Vitamins

My best friend Michelle (soon to be a black belt) with aches, pains and bodily injuries sent me this info about using tree sap instead of crazy glue to close up any cuts you might have, naturally! Crazy glue is always a scary ingredient to deal with. You can only imagine the laundry list of things that can go wrong while using it! It does contain some nasty chemicals, so check out this info below as an alternative!

Homemade Tear Repair
Get some sap from any tree. The tree sap in this formula is what seals the wound. The tree sap is part of the tree's immune system. When the tree is cut, the tree uses the sap to seal the wound and kill bacteria. It is supposed to work the same when WE use it to fill cuts. If you don't have a tree around that has been injured and has sap flowing out, make a cut on a healthy tree yourself and collect the sap. Keep some around for the winter time when the sap is not flowing and you cannot
collect it fresh.
Now, you can choose to mix with the sap equal parts of whatever antiseptic herbs you have lying around: goldenseal, echinacea, tea trea oil, garlic. If you can't get fresh tree sap, try to purchase some myrrh gum. Whether you mix the herbs with the sap or not, you need to dowse the cut with an antibiotic tincture made with equal parts of these herbs before you put on the sap.
Now if the sap is hard, you must mix it with Bacardi's 151 Rum. You will need alcohol this strong to dissolve the tree sap. It will not dissolve unless you have 75% alcohol.
A nurse in England who worked with Dr. Schulze, an MD and master herbalist, said this formula works better for wounds than anything she had seen in 30 years of being an emergency room nurse in Northern Ireland. If you tape shut the wound for 12 hours, it totally seals the wound better than stitches and you won't need anything for infection.
Also, slippery elm bark is spoken of as a "glue." You can make a poultice out of it by mixing slippery elm and whatever other antibiotic herbs you want to add. Slippery elm should be at least 1/3 of your poultice mixture. Add enough hot water to make a gummy, gluey consistency. Besides being a glue, slippery elm draws out poisons, soothes the skin, and reduces inflammation. Once it dries, it takes a lot of effort to remove it. My source says that if you add a layer or two of cotton gauze over the poultice and press it in, it will make a cast even an orthopedic surgeon will admire.
Now, I supposed you could just make some of this sticky mixture, glop some on the tear with the edges as close together as possible, and let it dry.
Of course, if you don't have the other herbs, just the slippery elm and water can be used also.
I would love to know if anyone has tried this method, and if you have, give us your results! OR, even better, give us some dirt on mishaps with crazy glue!

VEGAN VITAMINS (not all vitamins are VEGAN??)
The following nutrients often found in your bottle of vitamins originate from an animal source:
Vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol): derived from animal sources such as lanolin, a waxy fat extracted from living sheep's wool; many companies claim that their products are vegetarian even though they contain D-3, because after laboratory conversion to an isolated nutrient, there is virtually no molecular animal residue remaining.
Vitamin D-2* (ergocalciferol): derived from fish liver or fish skin oils, and is also processed to the point of being considered synthetic.
Glucosamine*: derived from (dead) crustacean shells, and bioidentically synthetic
Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite (MCHC): derived from bovine bone matrix
Calcium*: most often derived from bone meal, oyster shell, egg shell and coral
Glandulars: derived from animal glands
Pancreatic Enzymes: derived from porcine, bovine sources
Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Propolis: nutrients harvested from worker bees
Gelatin: derived from porcine, bovine or fish
The following nutrients are stabilized with animal derived gelatin:
In order to stabilize many fat-soluble nutrients for tableting or encapsulation the oil forms are converted to powder form. Each powder particle is coated with a thin, protective gelatin beadlet to stabilize potency, freshness and integrity. The gelatin is derived from fish, porcine or BSE-free certified bovine sources, and usually less than 1% weight.
Vitamin A* (palmitate, acetate)
Beta-carotene (synthetic, Dunaliella)
Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)
The following nutrients are also available in vegetarian forms:
D-2 (ergocalciferol): microbiologically derived from saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is commonly known as baker's or budding yeast.
Vitamin A (palmitate): stabilized with BHT
Beta-Carotene (Blakeslea trispora): uses soy alginate derivatives as a stabilizer
Glucosamine: produced through a proprietary fermentation process using corn dextrose, citric acid and aspergillus niger fungal starting material.
Calcium: derived from mined limestone

As a mom to be, I knew I had to suck it up and take a prenatal vitamin. I have used the same vitamins for about 2 years and I have to recommend it highly for a few reasons.
You only have to take ONE tablet, ONCE a day! YESSSSSSSSSSS!
These vitamins never make me feel sick to my stomach, good formula for moms-to-be with morning sickness and just plain nausea over just about anything.
This particular brand is stamped with a label that says VEGAN GUARD. It means that this specific formula DOES NOT CONTAIN animal products.
The winner is: RAINBOW LIGHT Vegan Guard Vitamins has Rainbow Light Vegan Vitamins on sale for around $1 a vitamin (so $1 a day) plus shipping which becomes free if you spend another $5 or so!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Little bites o' good news & one sucky one

Starbucks says "screw YOU trans fats!"
Stand-alone Starbucks stores in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington will have no trans fats in their food as of Wednesday. Not all of the shops will follow suit just yet, but its a good start!

Solar power is also emerging as a kind of status symbol, a glamorous mark of personal responsibility. Celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Alicia Silverstone, Carlos Santana and Tom Seaver, have installed solar systems. (Edward Norton runs a campaign in Los Angeles, encouraging his fellow celebrities to install solar panels on their homes and to make donations for systems in low-income housing.)
The vogue began in earnest a year ago, when the state legislature approved the California Solar Initiative, one of the most ambitious solar programs in the world. The legislation took effect at the start of this month but was preceded by a stopgap measure with similar terms that ran throughout 2006, offering homeowners a rebate on top of the federal tax credit of up to $2,000 that has been available nationwide since 2006.

I am off to Portland in March, and I CANNOT wait to visit the FOOD FIGHT grocery, which is completely vegan!! YAY! I just read this on their website today. I cannot fathom this, its just another unbelievable/unnecessary activity practiced by a fruit juice company of all find a new way to lure in customers. Say goodbye to this one! (I don't think I have ever had this juice in my life anyway)
Juice companies, such as Naked Juice, Frutzzo, Old Orchard, and Lakewood, make delicious and healthy 100 percent pomegranate juice without harming a single animal—yet POM has paid experimenters to do the following:
  1. Lock week-old mouse pups—whose mothers were fed pomegranate juice—in a chamber with almost no oxygen for 45 minutes in order to induce severe brain damage. The babies were decapitated, and their brains were removed for study.
  2. Critically damage the arteries of rabbits in order to simulate erectile dysfunction—a bizarre attempt to suggest that drinking pomegranate juice might alleviate this ailment.
  3. Induce heart disease (atherosclerosis) in mice who were fed POM—the mice were then killed and cut open to examine their hearts.
To end on a happier note, this darn bag is super cute and available on the Food Fight website.

The Dump

One of my favorite activities is taking a bunch of junk to the local dump and tossing large items into the pit. I am NOT a pack rat and parting with stuff I haven't used in months is easy for me to do. We plan to move sometime in the next year, so I have some exciting trips to the dump planned. The one question I have is what to do with old technology that sits around. I dream of throwing an old monitor into the pit, watching it break and the sound alone is worth the 10 bucks the dump men charge you to empty a car full of junk. I know computers and such should be recycled because the stats are staggering when it comes to how much tech waste we produce! Here are the facts:

More than 315 million computers are expected became obsolete by the year 2004, containing an estimated 1.2 billion pounds of lead, 2 million pounds of cadmium, 400,000 pounds of mercury and 1.2 million pounds of hexavalent chromium. This makes small business computer recycling a paramount necessity.

Household Hazardous Waste, is the EPA's term for that old monitor or computer that you have sitting in your closet or garage.

More than 20 million PCs became obsolete in 1998 -- but just 14% of those were recycled or donated. Through the end of 2002 that number estimate to be over 80 million.

In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency banned cathode ray tubes from landfills because of their high amounts of lead. An average computer monitor contains about 8 pounds of lead. Lead can also be found on computer circuit boards. The mercury, lithium, and cadmium found in many PC batteries are toxic at high levels. Other toxins, such as PCBs, are used in computer capacitors and are also hazardous.

In just one year, over 112 million pounds of valuable materials were recovered from disposed electronics for recycling and reuse. Materials includes steel, glass, plastic and precious metals

Few corporate executives know that they can be fined or jailed for improper disposal of computers, according to a recent survey by Hewlett-Packard Financial Services. More than 75% of respondents underestimate the cost of computer disposal. More than 65% of executives with purchasing authority are unaware of the fines they can face for ignoring environmental regulations.

Here are a few companies that will deal with your no longer wanted tech items:

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

My favorite vegan items!

I think after that last post, a list of vegan goodies is totally in order.

Food Items:
FABE's vegan mini cookies, chocolate chip and peanut butter are both delicious.

Hip Whip - Now and Zen's non dairy whipped cream in the freezer section

Kettle Chips - Sea Salt and Vinegar or Organic Salted
Tofutti Ice Creams - Wildberry and Chocolate Almond Bark and the Cookie flavored one
GREEN bars - nutrition bars that are so tasty and good for you!
Whole Foods Bulk Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins
Wildwood Tofu Veggie Patties - in the refrigerated aisle
Tofutti Cream Cheese substitute
Amy's Frozen Vegan Pizza - it has such a unique flavor! no cheese!
Hint Pomogranite/Tangerine water
Whole Foods Vegan Chocolate mousse!
La Brea Rosemary Fresh Baked Bread

Pink Spike t-shirts and more! All Animal prints, so soft, great fit and donations are made regularly to animal charities/causes. Run by VEGANS!

Little Otsu tee's -

Belts, Wallets, purses: Alternative outfitters

SHOES! (vintage and vegan!)