Raw? Vegan? Vegetarian? Lacto-Ovo? Pescatarian? Mediterranean? There have been so many diets promoted in natural health circles in America over the last decades. It seems they all have various benefits. And the one thing most have in common is the avoidance of consuming of cows and pigs.
Red meat and pork have no known health benefits. The animals are treated brutally and killed in a gruesome bloodbath that is easy to ignore because so few have witnessed our fellow mammals’ slaughter. Those who are employed to do the dirty work get very low wages and often incur injuries because of the size and weight of the animals and the speed of the work. It is very difficult to watch. Even when Cargill, one of the largest meat processing companies in the nation, allowed Oprah Winfrey into a couple of sanitized areas of a processing plant, they did not allow her cameras to film a cow being killed. Out of sight means out of mind.
We are very fortunate that there are so many other things to eat! This meat can feel energizing because of all the adrenaline in the animal when it is killed, and there is iron in blood and flesh, but there is also iron in spinach, dried fruit, and lentils. There is a tradition of the hunt and the roast, and this holds a special allure and place in our hearts. However, when you realize that is far from how the animals get to our plates nowadays, the romanticized vision vanishes.
One hamburger can contain up to 100 different cows. The US kills 35 million cows a year, and 13,200 pigs an hour. That is a lot of bloodshed, death, and killing. What would our country be like if that stopped? Our cardiovascular health would improve, as would our regularity. Less suffering for the animals coincides with less suffering for humanity.
If you would like to see what really goes on behind the closed doors of the slaughterhouse, it is a great motivator for change, although very sad to watch:
These videos have a louder volume, so you may wish to mute (this also makes them more bearable to watch):
This was filmed at Agriprocessors which was the largest (Glatt) Kosher meat producer in the United States, and the only one authorized by Israel’s Orthodox Rabbinate to export beef to Israel, before it was shut down in 2008 by inspectors (best to mute):
Thank you for being willing to read this, and watching some of the videos. I know it is very difficult to consider this topic because for so long we have been removed from the reality of it and since we were children we were taught to eat a certain way. Make sure to be gentle with yourself and go slowly when making changes in eating habits. Perhaps begin with a “meatless Monday.”
This film describes the positive environmental impacts that forgoing meat just one day a week can make:
For a well done documentary about one man’s journey with this issue, watch this clip:
Another inspiring story with regards to getting back to a plant-based diet is that of Dave the trucker. He was dying when he decided he had to tackle this problem head on:
Even the Mayo Clinic recommends “meatless meals”:
Recent articles in the LA Times and the Huffington Post lend weight to this conclusion:
Because of all the droughts we have been having in the US, the cattle are starving, and the herds are shrinking:
Cows are very gentle creatures. There is no skill or chase in hunting them. They are docile pacifists who give their milk and eat grass. They hurt no one, and do not deserve this torture. Pigs frolic and forage, are as sociable and intelligent as dogs, and genetically are surprisingly similar to humans (more so than any other domesticated animal):
The slaughter house is like hell on earth. It is time for the madness to end. It does not have to be this way. Humans have freedom of choice, and when we know better, we do better. And when we learn, we care.
These items can function in place of meats in traditional American recipes when needed, they’re pretty tasty, and the most popular ones are available at supermarkets:
I had a great experience when I asked my supermarket to carry a natural product they did not already have, and they now stock it in the store – thank you Vons!
If you are taking medications or have had surgery, please consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet and only undertake such changes under her/his supervision and monitoring. This is because dietary changes can lessen the need for certain medications. Also, listen to your body – if you need red meat, eat it. If you can avoid it when possible, and still feel good, please do. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not to be construed as medical advice.
if you are at Trader Joes….
1) 100% blueberry juice- (not mixed with any other juices) great for eyes and memory
2) Larabars- made only of nuts, fruits, and spices like ginger and cinnamon- incredibly delicious treat
3) bag of ‘Southern Greens’- prewashed, prechopped collard, turnip, and mustard greens- easy to make and packed with nourishment
if you are at Costco….
4) large ‘Pomwonderful’ pomegranate juice- an almost 4 pound jug for 10 bucks! may be good for the heart, brain, prostate, and immune system- plus studies in Israel show that pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone
5) dried sour montmorency cherries- a study was conducted at Michigan State University to find out whether traditional claims about these cherries relieving chronic aches and pains, arthritis and gout were true, and researchers discovered that indeed the anthocyanins, natural anti-inflammatory compounds in the pigment of the montmorency cherry, are 10 times more potent than aspirin
6) quinoa- (which is also in the bulk bin at the health food store with red and darker colored varieties) high in protein and minerals- serve with beans, avocado, cheese, veggies, or chicken- don’t overcook as it cooks really quickly (very convenient) and is best still a bit firm
if one is at the health food store….
7) chia seeds- chia is the Mayan word for ‘strength’- better known for their appearance as chia pets! tiny seeds which are powerhouses of energy and endurance
‘barleans’ flax oil- flax is purported to be good for hormonal balance, hair, skin, and nails- just a squirt a day chased with water!
9) dulse- contains high levels of natural iodine which can nourish the thyroid gland- chewy, salty snack
if one is online….
10) www.wholesalepinenuts.com American grown pinenuts in the shell! excellent source of fiber and nutrition
Last night, I finally got around to trying a recipe that I’ve been excited about—The Blissful Chef’s (a.k.a. Christy Morgan) Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse recipe. I happened to have all the right ingredients from the Farmer’s Market anyway. I made it, and it wasn’t chocolaty enough for me, so made some tweaks. This recipe is quick and easy, and the only equipment necessary is a food processor.
12-15 large, sweet dates – pitted and soaked (preferably Medjool, or Halawy)
1 tbsp. raw almond butter
1/3 – 1 tbsp. raw agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla flavor
A pinch of sea salt
- Soak the dates for at least 2 hours.
- Blend dates into a paste in food processor. You might need to pour in a little of the soaking water if they aren’t blending properly.
- Cut open avocados, remove pits, and spoon the meat into the processor.
- Add in remaining ingredients.
- Blend until smooth, stopping and scraping the sides with a spoon to include all ingredients.
- Enjoy in moderation as is, or with berries on top.
From ruby red raspberries to earthy dumplings with a difference, raw vegan chef Ani Phyo shows small treats can have a big impact. Ani shares two of her favourite recipes with Diary of a Vegan from her new bestseller: Anis Raw Food Essentials (see book for full recipe details).
We discovered vegan chef Christy Morgan on Twitter and instantly fell in love with her philosophy and her food. The Green Dove asked the LA-based veganista, who has whipped up dishes for the likes of Alicia Silverstone, to share her journey, insights and one of her fave recipes…
How did you become the Blissful Chef?
I’ve been studying plant-based nutrition for about eight years and teaching for four. I came up with the name “The Blissful Chef” as a way to brand myself and create an image that people will remember. The name fits me well, because to feel bliss is to experience true happiness and spiritual joy. My life, business, teachings, blog, and whole existence is all about spreading happiness and joy to others through food, and helping them access their bliss.
What inspires you?
In live, I’m inspired by all of my amazing friends that do what they are passionate about everyday and those who have dedicated their lives to saving animals. With cooking, I’m inspired by the changing seasons and the different produce that is available throughout the year. I love gardening, and find growing my own food to be a fascinating process. I’m also inspired by different cultures. Often times I just open the fridge, see what’s in there and whip something up.
Your fave raw vegan treats?
I love raw vegan desserts because they are made with wholesome ingredients and they are so rich that I only need a little to be satisfied. If I eat baked desserts, like Uncle Eddies cookies for instance, I can literally eat the whole bag in one sitting. I love raw chocolate, Earth Cafe pies, and my Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse.
If you could recommend one thing about veganism to someone who’s not, what would it be?
Eating a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet I feel is the best thing for our minds, bodies, spirits and for the planet. But if you can’t go whole hog overnight, then start by having two plant-based meals a day (or as much as you can). Slowly start transitioning the “good” things into your diet, like whole grains and dark leafy greens, then start taking away the not-so-good things (meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, processed foods). I have some great tips on my blog for making the transition that are extremely helpful and realistic.
The 80/20 Rule
This is the only thing that keeps me sane and not OCD about my diet. If you can eat super healthy 80% of the time, you can let yourself be a little naughty 20% of the time. Hold on now, Im not talking about having hamburger and fries for that 20%, but if you are at a party or want to go out to dinner with your friends you can have something fried or a piece of cake with frosting. I dont compromise as far as eating only vegan foods, but sometimes I do eat sugar or have more oil than Id like to when I eat out. Im human too! I just have a rule that at home Im making the healthiest food possible, with wholesome organic ingredients, no oil and no sugar. That way I can relax when I go out with friends.
It doesn’t serve you or your health to be fanatical about your diet. But it is the most important tool that you have for creating optimal health free of physical pain and mental suffering. Your food choices will affect everything in your life, so choose them well.
Check out The Blissful Chef blog for more ramblings from Christy Morgan, natural food chef and educator, who continues to study plant-based nutrition with the best in the field, has cooked for Alicia Silverstone, and continues to be sought out for her accessible approach to nutrition and holistic living.
Follow Christy on Twitter @TheBlissfulChef.
Avocado, Strawberry, & Grape Tomato Salad
Strawberries are the most popular berry in the world. They go great in salads and as a compliment to a savory dressing like Balsamic Vinaigrette like in this recipe.
1 head butter lettuce, leaves torn or chiffonade
1 medium carrot, thin julienne
10 grape tomatoes, quartered
6 strawberries, ends cut off and sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, thinly sliced
Pinch of pepper and sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
I heart the holidays and I love to travel. But there’s no doubting the menu options for vegetarians and vegans can be a little limited.
I don’t wear sunscreen and never will.
I stopped using sunblock the moment I stopped being a beauty editor a few years ago. A combination of gut feeling and research told me what I was being told to “protect” my skin with was little more than a poison (and poisonous it is).
It’s time to start wading through that wardrobe, gathering up your once-loved fashion items, donating them to an organization who gives to those who need it. 2010 is the year of compassionate fashion.
If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, be sure to check out (or into) the Orchard Garden Hotel, one of California’s greenest.
As Christmas day nears, I’ve been thinking about jolly ol’ Santa and his love for milk and cookies … how his turning vegan could be the biggest gift to vegan activists everywhere.