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So much for getting over here and posting each day during the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart…oops! Thankfully I’ve not had that problem staying vegan over the past 5 days. As I’ve said before, my diet was pretty much 95% vegan already, with the only non-vegan items in my diet being the dairy-related items in some items I loved, such as Morningstar veggie bacon and sausage (egg whites in them, although they DO have great vegan options). And I’d have to say that my core, my beliefs, what guides me, has been vegan for far more years than I’ve even been vegetarian (almost 17 years veggie) in regard to sharing my life and our world with our fellow sentient beings. I think most people who aren’t vegan, or veggie for that matter, don’t realize that being vegan isn’t JUST about a diet change, it’s about the choices we make with respect to our environment and those we share it with.

Easy Bean Dip and Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips, from 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, as well as a spinach salad with Trader Joe's Goddess dressing

While I haven’t followed the daily menu from PCRM for the Kickstart, I have been eating foods I either got from their menu last time (when I did the Kickstart in January), most of which are on this Kickstart, too, as well as eating whole wheat pastas, grains, and veggies that I learned to keep stocked in the pantry/fridge via January’s Kickstart. And each workday starts with steel-cut oatmeal with a banana, some almonds, and pure maple syrup or blue agave…YUM!

Here’s today’s message, and oddly enough today’s menu  is pretty much what I’d already been planning on having–especially the Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes, which were an INSTANT classic/fave for me when I first tried them in January. Love, love, LOVE them!

You’re almost a week into the Kickstart! You must be feeling the results of a cholesterol-free low-fat diet. See what today’s message has in store for you.

Ironman Triathlete Brendan Brazier shares his knowledge about diet and endurance.
What’s the deal with vitamin D?
Watch the Cancer Project’s “Veggie Hunter” public service announcement.
Learn about protein for athletes.
Today’s Menu:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes and Facon Bacon
  • Lunch: Easy-Bean Dip with Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips and a side salad
  • Dinner: Easy Stir-Fry with Always Great Brown Rice
  • Dessert: Chocolate raspberry mousse

I’m trying to stick with my goal of posting each day of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, but I’m sooooo pooped out tonight and just don’t have it in me to spend time and non-existent energy on a lengthy post.  I do have it in me to share with you a really yummy item I ran across while going through vegan cookbooks recently with my 7 year-old nephew. I’m pretty sure it was from Vegan Family Favorites: Tasty And Satisfying Recipes Even Your Kids Will Love, but not absolutely certain since we were looking through many cookbooks. It was for a vegan “honey” mustard and couldn’t have been simpler or tasted better. (Btw, if you’re new to veganism you might not realize that honey is NOT vegan. Read more here.)

I put all the ingredients in a Good Seasons cruet I have, shook it up good, then popped it in the fridge along with other condiments.  It’s great on my Tofurky sandwiches, tossed some on quinoa, and used it on my Boca burger tonight.  Gotta love a good quickie that packs such a punch. (Yes, you can read into that WHATEVER you’d like! ;))

PS So much for a quick blog…took about 30 minutes since I included a bunch of links.

It’s right around the corner, kiddos. Tomorrow begins twenty-one days of better health, tastier food, and surprising yourself with what you can create–I promise! The picture above is actually on your menu for tomorrow: Hoppin’ John Salad. Yup, I made it, uh-huh, you know it, and DARN if it wasn’t delicious! More on that after today’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart email (you can still sign up): Read the rest of this entry »

To start off, check out today’s video message to help you “get started” for your new adventure!

When I did the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart in January, I had wished for a more comprehensive list of food items to have in order to be prepared for the program.  They provide a list of ‘staples’ to stock up on, but quite honestly I didn’t find it very helpful or directly related to the first week of meals. They also don’t give you the next week’s menu until a couple days prior which is sort of short notice for those of us who need to plan our grocery shopping trips further ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s baaaaaaaack! Yes indeed, folks, the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart is making its third foray into the refrigerators and lifestyles of anyone interested in improving their health, helping our environment AND fellow sentient beings. As some of you may know, on April 11th I will have been a vegetarian for 17 years! For me it’s ALWAYS been an animal rights issue, and once I finally made the decision to become vegetarian I have not looked back or even ONCE missed being a meat-eater.  There are SO MANY delicious and healthy alternatives, never mind the fact I could never, ever, EVER again bite into something that had once been living. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m feeling a strong need to seek out some uplifting and positive news stories. Maybe it’s just my personal frustration with several things in my own little universe or the bigger frustrations I feel with everything from this inexcusable, disgusting, and sad war to the ridiculous amount of time a not-to-be-named hotel heiress is garnering for being a spoiled brat. Who knows what exactly it is that’s sticking in my craw, but it’s got me having a mad desire to do something proactive to change my mood and hopefully change the mood of some of you as well. So in my sudden quest to seek out something (anything!) that is making this world a better place I decided to add a “Doing Good” regular feature to this blog. Okay, first step taken (truth be told, the first step was popping iTunes on party shuffle since music is usually my panacea for a cruddy mood), next step was to set about the internet seeking out positive sites. Easier said than done, sadly. Ultimately I found myself smack-dab on my MySpace friends list, which is mostly full of causes and bands I support, so it makes sense I’d find my first “Doing Good” subject there: The New Orleans Kid Camera Project(their MySpace page).

I’ll introduce this great organization by posting their mission statement:

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project was created to address the psychological and emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans. Through the use of photography, creative writing and mixed media, children from flooded neighborhoods explore their environment and express themselves, their stories and feelings with their friends. This project provides a venue for growth and recovery. By teaching the children tangible skills and exposing them to new means of expression, we hope to empower them to impact their lives and environment.

Those of you who have been frequent visitors to this blog are well aware that I’m working toward getting my teaching credential, and with my minor being in Visual and Performing Arts, it goes without saying that ANYTHING which involves children in such a productive and creative manner, such as The New Orleans Kid Camera Project, is going to be something I wholeheartedly support. My disgust with the lack of support by George Bush’s administration for those affected by Hurricane Katrina is something that still gets my blood boiling. Just thinking back on those first few days of the catastrophe, with our own citizens being disregarded in the degrading manner they were, the people and animals scavenging for safety and food, the buses and trailers sitting empty, all has me going between sadness and fury in a matter of minutes. And to think apathy on the part of our government still continues–appalling. So to see a group of people in New Orleans addressing the various needs the children in the area are facing, and will continue to face for some time to come, is something which definitely brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.

I hope many of you will visit their site, read their fantastic Philosophy/Visions/Goals page, share in the fine photos and videos created by the children, and especially donate any time/money/equipment that you can. I also hope that everyone’s mood is a bit better now–mine is! 🙂


(***Added 6/15/07:UNSEENAMERICA “New Orleans Kid Camera Project”
Gallery 1199
310 West 43rd St New York
Admission: FREE. Exhibition from Wednesday, June 6 through Friday, June 29, 2007.
Reception- Thursday June 21, 2007 from 5:00 to 7:30pm
http://www.bread-and-roses.com/whatsnew.html***)

 

So much for taking today off from posting and enjoying Earth Day instead. Was checking email and found news from the FDA titled “Update on Tainted Pet Food“, which included a link to the press release from the California Department of Agriculture, so I just had to come post about it. To read the articles in their entirety click on the links I’ve provide, and I would also highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you read a VERY informative article by Karen Roebuck at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She discusses the melamine situation with the hogs in California, and sheds light on laboratories finding three additional contaminants in pets who were sickened or died after eating tainted pet food:

Researchers also have identified three other contaminants in the urine and kidneys of animals sickened or killed after eating the recalled foods, including cyanuric acid, a chemical commonly used in pool chlorination, three researchers told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Cyanuric acid is what most likely sickened pets, one researcher said..Researchers in at least three labs found cyanuric acid, amilorine and amiloride — all by-products of melamine — in the crystals of animals’ urine, tissues and kidneys…

Another interesting, yet not surprising, nugget in her article was:

The Chinese government told the Trib and the FDA yesterday that the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., which the FDA said supplied the tainted wheat gluten, did not export any wheat gluten intended to be used in food.

Anyone else getting some increasingly worrisome vibes about our continuously deteriorating relationship with China. Bad vibes I tell ya, bad vibes.

Okay, I really AM going to “try” and get away from the computer today, this beautiful Earth Day 2007, but knowing me I’ll keep checking for updates. 😉 In the meantime here is today’s (4/22/07) update from the FDA, and last Thursday’s (4/19/07) release from the California Department of Agriculture regarding the melamine and hogs. Usually, as a 14 year vegetarian, reading something like the news about the hogs would have me gently chiding non-vegetarians for eating meat, but considering many items vegetarians eat may be affected by the tainted glutens and proteins, there is really no one who can be happy about the state of our food supply. Until later, my friends.

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POSTS for 3/17-8/22:

  • 3/18/07: Science Diet has added some of their foods to the voluntary recall list. Pets HAVE died and others are suffering severe health problems, so PLEASE check this new list AND the ones I listed above. Thank you! Science Diet Recall (On 3/30/07 Science Diet recalled feline m/d)
  • 3/18/07 10:15PM PST: The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is even posting information which shows just how far-reaching this has become. They even have a web page with information on how to register adverse reactions/consumer complaints. I appreciate that so many of you are reading as much as you can about this and staying on top of the situation. What wonderful owners your pets have! 🙂 And PLEASE continue to spread the information to AS MANY folks as you can, and have THEM stay on top of it as well. I’ll definitely continue to add information as I find out about it.
  • 3/19/07 11:10 AM PST: Looks like Menu Foods has another press release, which interestingly enough says it’s not for US newswire services, whatever THAT really means. It’s in PDF format and can be accessed from their main recall page.
  • 3/20/07 11:20 AM PST: It is disconcerting to hear that in February, Menu Foods apparently was notified of the problems with pets eating certain Menu Foods produced food, did their own testing in which approximately 17% of the tested pets died, yet it wasn’t until March 16th that the recall was announced?!?! I am obviously no expert on how these things work, but it sure seems to me that the motto of “better safe than sorry” should have been in place LONG BEFORE March 16th! Menu Foods recall notice states:

“We take these complaints very seriously and, while we are still looking for a specific cause, we are acting to err on the side of caution” said Paul K. Henderson, President and CEO, Menu Foods. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our products maintain the very highest quality standards.”

Seems to me that “acting to err on the side of caution” would have meant alerting consumers about the problems MUCH sooner than they did. According to news reports, Menu Foods was alerted by pet owners about deaths and renal failure on February 20th, Menu Foods began their own tests February 27th where between 15%-20% of the pets they tested died, yet the recall was not announced until March 16th, THREE WEEKS AFTER they were first alerted of the deaths and health issues?!?!

I certainly hope to hear SOME type of logical explanation SOON from Menu Foods, but until then all I can assume is that $$$$ (especially since in their initial press release on 3/16/07 they repeatedly mention how much the recall could cost their company) and probable financial loss is what had Menu Foods dragging their feet, while their consumers were unknowingly feeding their beloved pets food which could possibly kill them, if not leave them with painful health issues and enormous veterinary bills which many owners cannot truly afford. I worked in the veterinary field for nearly 7 years and know the high cost of health care for pets, along with having had expensive medical situations with my own pets. But that is what pet owners do, they care for their pets as if they were members of their family, which they are (just four-legged instead of two-legged), and will put themselves into debt just to make sure their pets get the best care possible. Unfortunately there will be pets whose health care costs related to the issues from the tainted food will be too high for some owners to absorb, and they will then have to make the heartbreaking choice to have their beloved pet euthanized.

Come on Menu Foods, let’s get cracking on finding some solutions here. I think everyone understands that “accidents” and “mistakes” do happen in life, which might possibly explain how the food became tainted in the first place, but the part I’m having the hardest time understanding right now is why the recall took so long to be announced to consumers. What do you have to say Menu Foods? You have countless pet owners looking to you for answers.

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New Year, new plans, right? My main one is starting tomorrow (famous last words, right?)–living a healthier, more active life! Will post more about that later.

For today, though, I’d like to give you all some information from GoVeg.com about why it’s not only healthier for YOU, but for our our planet and ALL of its inhabitants, to go vegetarian (14 years for me this April!). Click the link at the end of their list and they’ll even help you with take their “30-Day Veg Pledge“. Come on, you can give it a thirty day shot, can’t you?

Btw, I checked with them about reposting this Top Ten list from their site and this is part of their quick response, Our materials are not copyrighted and may be redistributed freely. The only exceptions are materials that were excerpted from other sources, such as passages from books not originally published by PETA. For information on reprinting those materials, please contact the original publisher…Thank you for helping us spread the word about animal rights, and for everything you do for animals—your actions save lives!So if you’d like to repost the following list elsewhere, go for it! 🙂

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Top 10 Reasons to Go Vegetarian in 2007


“I am a very strict vegetarian … I just really, really love animals, and I act on my values.”
– Natalie Portman

Many people’s New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, eating better, getting healthier, and doing more to make the world a better place. You can accomplish all these goals by switching to a vegetarian diet, and you’ll enjoy delicious, satisfying meals as well. Here are our top 10 reasons to go vegetarian in 2007:

1. Slim Down While Feeling Good

Is shedding some extra pounds first on your list of goals for the new year? Vegetarians are, on average, up to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. And unlike unhealthy fad diets, which leave you feeling tired (and gaining all the weight back eventually), going vegetarian is the healthy way to keep the excess fat off for good while feeling full of energy.

2. It’s the Best Way to Help Animals

Every vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year from horrible abuse. There is simply no other way that you can easily help so many animals and prevent so much suffering than by choosing vegetarian foods over meat, eggs, and dairy products.

3. A Healthier, Happier You

A vegetarian diet is great for your health! According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters. Vegetarians get all the nutrients they need to be healthy (e.g., plant protein, fiber, minerals, etc.) without all the nasty stuff in meat that slows you down and makes you sick, like cholesterol and saturated animal fat.

4. Vegetarian Food Is Delicious

So you’re worried that if you go vegetarian, you’ll have to give up hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and ice cream? You won’t. As the demand for vegetarian food skyrockets, companies are coming out with more and more delicious meat and dairy product alternatives that taste like the real thing but are much healthier and don’t hurt any animals. Plus, we have thousands of tasty kitchen-tested recipes to help you get started!

5. Meat Is Gross

It’s disgusting but true: Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids, all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the United States. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 percent of Tyson chicken was contaminated with campylobacter, a dangerous bacteria that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year, resulting in diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Learn more.

6. Help Feed the World

Eating meat doesn’t just hurt animals; it hurts people too. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals-in fact, it takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it was fed to people directly. The more people who go vegetarian, the more we can feed the hungry.

7. Save the Planet

Eating meat is one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth; it’s wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the meat industry is one of the biggest causes of global warming. Adopting a vegetarian diet is more important than switching to a “greener” car in the fight against global warming.

8. All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

The list of stars who shun animal flesh is basically a “who’s who” of today’s hottest celebs. Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Tobey McGuire, Shania Twain, Alicia Silverstone, Anthony Kiedis, Casey Affleck, Kristen Bell, INXS lead singer J.D. Fortune, Benji Madden, Alyssa Milano, Common, Joss Stone, and Carrie Underwood are just a handful of the super-sexy vegetarians who regularly appear in People magazine. Check out our recent “World’s Sexiest Vegetarians” poll for more hot, compassionate celebs.

9. Look Sexy and Be Sexy

Vegetarians tend to be thinner than meat-eaters and have more energy, which is perfect for late-night romps with your special someone. (Guys: The cholesterol and saturated animal fat in meat, eggs, and dairy products don’t just clog the arteries to your heart; over time, they impede blood flow to other vital organs as well.) Plus, what’s sexier than someone who is not only mega-hot, but also compassionate?

10. Pigs Are Smarter Than Your Dog

While most people are less familiar with pigs, chickens, fish, and cows than they are with dogs and cats, animals used for food are every bit as intelligent and able to suffer as the animals who share our homes are. Pigs can learn to play video games, and chickens are so smart that their intelligence has been compared by scientists to that of monkeys. Read more about these amazing animals.

Ready to get started? Take the 30-Day Veg Pledge and we’ll help you every step of the way. Have a happy, healthy, and humane new year!

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