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Help Raw Foodist Parents Take Case to Supreme Court

09 September
Lamoy's Living Foods in Glaser Market

Lamoy's Living Foods in Glaser Market

I received this email from a friend of mine about another friend who needs help. I thought the best I could do is share Lamoy’s story with all my friends.

If this story speaks to you, please share with others. Or use the information below to help Lamoy and her family.

_________________________________________________________________

“Got Kids? Feeding them Veggie? In Florida that makes you a Criminal.

Find out why and what you can do about it.”

An innocent Florida family has been convicted of child neglect and sentenced to 15 years probation for feeding their kids a raw, vegan diet. Their case is on appeal to the US Supreme Court and we can help them set the record strait and set a new standard for the health of our children in the future.

The courts themselves are on record as being in conflict with each other in this case. The criminal court ruled for 15 years probation for feeding the children a raw vegan diet while at the same time the family court ordered the children be placed on a raw food diet with soy.  In the family court all the radiological reports and blood tests performed by the State of Florida on behalf of the prosecutor came back normal. The judge even said, “The state didn’t prove their case against the Anderson’s” and that’s why he placed the children on a raw food diet with soy.

We have a chance to support the Andressohn’s as they take this case to the Supreme Court and set a precedent for parent’s rights to choose their child’s diet.

If you can help fund their defense (and yours) mail a check to:

Marcia J. Silvers P.A.

2937 S.W. 27th Ave Suite 101

Miami, Florida, 33133

On behalf of the Andressohn family and all parents who wish to feed their children a healthy diet, Thank you very much for your support.

Call Lamoy and she will thank you personally at 786-447-1875.

_________________________________________________________________

Lamoy's Pie

Lamoy's Pie

You can meet Lamoy and her family at Glaser Market in Coconut Grove on Saturdays where she sells her amazing raw food.

To read more about Andressohn‘s case:

Joseph & Lamoy Andressohn Story

What Really Happened to The Andressohns Raw Vegan Baby?

Vegan couple cleared of starving baby, guilty of child neglect

Raw food philosophy killed their baby?

Raw food adherents acquitted in baby’s death

The City of Smokers and the Best Food Ever!

07 September

My best friend lives in Washington DC, the city of smokers. Well, at least in my opinion DC is the city of smokers. Every where we went, there were people smoking outside! Anyways, it took 5 years, the Russian Embassy, and the Raw Spirit Fest for me to finally go visit her in DC.

The White House Organic Garden

The White House Organic Garden

We were excited and looking forward to the festival and visiting all the historical places in DC. We first went to the Russian Embassy, which was the main purpose of the trip, to run some errands there. After a few hours there, we went to the White House of course and took pictures like every other tourist there. I even got a picture of the organic garden! We then went to the Sewall-Belmont House and the Library of Congress. We had a lot of fun at both places. We stopped at Java Green for lunch and had some raw goodies! The raw shakes were unbelievably delicious!

The next day we headed to the Raw Spirit Fest for two days and started the morning with Kirtan by Kamaniya & Keshavacharya Das. We then saw many speakers including Dr. Brian Clement, Philip McCluskey, Viktoras Kulvinskas as well as many food demos including Lynda Carter, Rawdawg Rory, Raw Spirit Divas Christina and Kashi, and my favorite Khepra Anu of Senbeb Café in D.C. Music included Here II Here, Singing Bear, Raw Spirit RawK Stars, Brother Northstar and more.

Kirtan

Kirtan

We were glad this year they had green smoothies, salads, and less free chocolate. Last year in Sedona we overdose in all the free samples of chocolate! The vendors had great prices and a wide variety of products. As far as the food at the event, my favorite, and probably the best raw food I’ve had so far, was by Khepra Anu of Senbeb Café. For $12 we got a big plate of kale salad, a sandwich, and a seaweed side dish. Khepra made a spicy sauce for the sandwich that was to die for! I would move to DC just to eat at his café everyday! The food was so good I didn’t even take a picture because by the time I realized, we had inhaled every crumb in the plate! The next day after the festival we went to his café to get some more food and this time we had his lasagna with two salad dishes and it was heaven!

The last day in DC we pretty much avoided the smokers in every building and headed to Capitol Hill for a tour of the Senate and House chambers. We also visited Union Station and did a little shopping there.

Overall we enjoyed DC, the Festival, and visiting my friend. It was a nice busy quick trip. We were able to exercise, learn history, and eat healthy food all in the city of smokers.

At the White House

At the White House

How the Breakfast Smoothie became the Morning Soup

23 August
Morning Raw Green Soup

Morning Raw Green Soup

Once upon a time there was the green raw breakfast smoothie. Two handfuls of any greens found in my refrigerator (kale, dandelions, chard, collards, lettuce, and spinach) with two fruits (usually banana or mango) and half avocado. We loved our green smoothie for the morning and enjoyed its creamy refreshing nature that woke us up and gave us energy to start a hard day at the office.

But one day, the mango season ended! And the hand-picked bananas we used to get from our friend Tim Tye stop coming. We were left without fresh local fruit! And breakfast was never the same!

One day, I woke and looked at the refrigerator… so full of greens and no fruit. All of the sudden, I saw hidden behind some raw food leftovers, a beautiful heirloom tomato and fresh cucumbers I had bought at Josh’s Organic Garden. And that’s when it hit me!

“Who said breakfast had to be sweet!” I said aloud and reached for the tomato and cucumbers.

I put my two handfuls of greens in my Vitamix, heirloom tomato, cut cucumbers, half avocado, olive oil, and a dash of salt.

My husband woke up to the noise of the Vitamix and ran to the kitchen. “What are you making?” he said.

I opened the Vitamix and pour it in a bowl and said “Who said breakfast had to be sweet?”

He put on his glasses and tasted the green liquid I had pour in his bowl and said “hmmm nice!”

And that’s how the green morning soup was born!

5 Tips to Become a Vegetarian

22 August
Tuna Fish Salad w/ Organic Dressing and Vegetarian Taquitos

Tuna Fish Salad w/ Organic Dressing and Vegetarian Taquitos

When we began our transition to health, we started taking small steps. I strongly believe in transitioning slowly is the best way to achieve being a vegetarian because it eases the body into your new lifestyle. I’m not a believer in changes overnight… or cold turkey! At least, it didn’t work for us! So here are five easy ways to begin the transition to a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.

Start fading red meat and pork from your diet

One easy way to accomplish this is to find how many times do you eat red meat and pork and fade both gradually. For example, if you eat red meats 2 times a day 5 days a week, start by eating it once a day for three weeks. After three weeks, eat red meat 3 times a week only and so forth. Calculate how many times a week you eat pork and apply the same principle. In addition, after the first two months, stop buying pork and red meat at restaurants. Only eat it if you buy it to prepare at home. If you go out very often, order poultry only, chicken and turkey. After six months, eat meat and pork only once a week, and after that every other week. Very soon your body won’t even remember what flesh tastes like! After a year, say goodbye to flesh!

Increase amount of vegetables and whole grains

As you eliminate the amount of red meat and pork you eat, begin to increase the amount of vegetables and whole grains in your meals. For example, if you eat two hamburgers a day, eat one and replace the rest with your favorite vegetable or whole grains such beans, chick peas, lentils, quinoa, or buckwheat to name a few. I suggest experimenting with frozen vegetables because they are less expensive and that way you can begin to identify what you like. Vegetable and wjole grains have lots of protein and vitamins that your body will need to begin the transition. Once you know what your favorite vegetable and grains are, buy them fresh and experiment with different seasoning, etc.

Decrease the amount of dairy and eggs you consume

I became allergic to dairy at 21, so it was very easy for me to give up dairy. You may find that you may be allergic to dairy too. The problem became learning to read labels. A lot of “vegan” and “vegetarian” products such mock cheeses and even crackers have dairy in them, so I had to learn to read labels when shopping.  I was also allergic to eggs since I was 14, every time I ate more than one egg a week, I would get chest pains.

Apply the same rule as in eliminating meats, find how many times you consume dairy and eggs, and begin decreasing the amount slowly. Eggs have high amount of cholesterol. One easy way to start is by buying a carton of 6 eggs as supposed to 12 and make them last for two weeks. After a few months, make them last for three weeks until you reach a point in which you can eat one egg a week. In addition, start buying less milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products. If you are able, replace milk with soy or almond milk. Start with small amounts, for example instead of buying a gallon of milk, buy a small jug, a smaller pack of cheese, and replace your butter with a vegetarian option that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oil.

Fish, your new best transitional choice!

I loved fish! This was the hardest thing to give up when I became a vegan especially because I loved sushi (don’t worry; we won’t go there in this list). But we didn’t always like fish until we started giving up meat, pork, and chicken. I come from a country where is very hard to buy fresh fish and what you get smells very bad… which as we all know, if the fish smells, it’s not good to eat anymore! So as we began eliminating meat, we began ordering fish at restaurants and buying to make at home. We started with salmon which was our favorite and later incorporated trout as well which is a great source of omega 3. I don’t recommend canned fish, but if that’s what it takes to begin eating fish, I’d say do it for the first two or three months until your body learns to like fish. Anything canned has tons of sodium and preservatives that the body doesn’t need.

Go to a vegetarian restaurant

This is a very easy step towards health. Going to vegetarian restaurants or even preparing vegetarian dishes is the best way to begin. Apply the same rule as eliminating meat, calculate how many times a week you eat out and begin replacing one restaurant with a vegetarian choice. For example, if you eat out 5 times a week, 1 time a week choose a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Lots of restaurants have vegetarian meals nowadays, if you think you can resist from choosing the steak over the vegetarian meal of the day, then go ahead. But it may be hard to watch everyone else eat the steak while you eat a plate of grains and vegetables. In addition, vegetarian restaurants are more creative with their meals and they tend to taste much better than the “veggie” plate at the local steak house that usually serves canned veggies with only salt and pepper.

To find a vegetarian restaurant near you, visit Happy Cow, a directory of vegetarian restaurants in the country and even outside the U.S.

Fish Paella w/ Brown Rice and Romaine Lettuce and Tomatoes

Fish Paella w/ Brown Rice and Romaine Lettuce and Tomatoes

Any transition takes time and consistency. After the first year we stop eating meat and pork completely, we lost between 20 to 25 lbs each without doing anything else. That was the most “visible” change we had in our lifestyle, but there were other changes as well. I also recommend visiting a doctor and get your blood tested before making any changes to your lifestyle. Some people may want to add vitamins and even a B-complex vitamin as they eliminate red meat and dairy. After you fade out red meat and pork, get your blood tested again and compare it with the previous test. Most likely, your health will have improved!

Recommended reading

  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the Editors of Vegetarians Times
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman
  • Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
  • The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman
  • The Great American Detox Diet: Feel Better, Look Better, and Lose Weight by Cleaning Up Your Diet by Alex Jamieson
  • The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil (Andrew T. Weil, Rosie Daley)
  • The Chopra Center Cookbook: A Nutritional Guide to Renewal / Nourishing Body and Soul by Deepak Chopra M.D. (Deepak Chopra, David Simon, Leanne Backer)
  • If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit by Hale Sofia Schatz (Halé Sofia Schatz, Shira Shaiman)

10 Tips to Begin Transitioning to a Healthier Lifestyle

16 August
Fruits

Fruits

I believe health has many meanings and we all have a different definition of what being healthy is. At every stage of my journey I felt I was healthier than before. I believe that being healthy is a cycle of different parts of one’s lifestyle. I believe it’s not just about food and exercise, but also about state of mind and the environment we live in. However, food and exercise have a huge impact on the other elements of one’s lifestyle.

Therefore, I will start with answering one of the most common questions I get asked, what are some of the things a person can begin to do to change their lifestyle to a healthier one? I’ve summarized what I believe are the top 10 first steps to start transitioning.

Eliminate

I read and did tons of research when I started my journey. I began by eliminating the following from my diet and lifestyle.

High Fructose corn Syrup

It’s almost in everything! Reading labels is very important and you will find that high fructose corn syrup is in everything you are used to eating and drinking. Why is it bad for you? Well I will need almost another page to write about that, but instead, I would suggest to read Dr. Andrew Weil’s explanation

Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils

Once again, reading labels is very important. Even though some packaged foods may say “No Trans Fats,” they may have hydrogenated oils. They are not the same, and I will let Dr. Weil explain that in his article.

Coffee

I loved coffee! It took me two weeks to quit. I replaced it with black tea, green tea, and white tea. These teas have caffeine but lack the toxins that coffee has and will help you begin the transition from coffee. How is that something so tasty can be bad for you? Well the studies conducted recently contradict each other leaving us with only the side effects to judge. Side effects according to Dr. Weil may include “anxiety, insomnia, tremor, irregular heartbeat, irritate the digestive system, bladder and prostate.”

Junk and Fast Food

Have you ever wondered why fast food is so inexpensive? Why junk food is so addicting? Well if you read the labels you can see the answers to those questions. Most contain trans fats, hydrogenated oil, and high fructose corn syrup. If you eat it everyday, start small by cutting any fast and junk food two days a week the first week, three days the next week and so forth.

TV

Why is TV bad for you? Well not all shows are bad, but the more time we spend on the couch watching TV, the more time we loose on other activities that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. I would suggest cutting down the amount of time spent on the couch watching TV and playing games to 30 to 45 minutes a day and begin replacing that with other activities. This is one addiction I’m still battling.

Add to your Lifestyle

So we remove bad things and replace them with good things. Here is a list of things one can begin to add to help the transition.

Whole Grains and Foods

Replace white rice, white bread, white pasta, with whole grains and foods such as brown rice, whole wheat breads and pasta. I developed a love for Soba noodles, rice noodles and past as well as long brown rice and whole grains.  Most grocery stores carry these nowadays and have reasonable prices.

Vegetables and Fruits

Organic Vegetables

Organic Vegetables

Probably one of the most important things to add to one’s new healthier lifestyle. At the beginning I would recommend to start with frozen vegetables that way you can experiment and find what you like and then replace them with fresh vegetables. Many times, if one is not used to eating certain veggies, buying fresh and not using them in time can be discouraging. Replace the afternoon snack-machine-candy-bar for a fruit or the morning on-the-go frozen-breakfast for a fresh fruit smoothie. You will be adding tons of vitamins to your diet without having to spend money on additional vitamins.

Water

Drinking Delicious Ionized Water from Reusable Bottle

Drinking Delicious Ionized Water from Reusable Bottle

Drinking water is very important to help the body eliminate toxins. Start small if you are not used to drinking water. Replace two of your preferred drinks with a bottle of water everyday until you are able to drink water without thinking. I prefer Essentia water because it has the highest pH available in bottled water, but I also rather carry my reusable bottle and fill it up with water from my own filtered kitchen sink. I later bought a water Ionizer which I prefer.

Spending Time with Nature and Doing Outdoor Activities

So even though I’m a TV addict and can spend up to 6 hours straight in front of the TV without even blinking, I feel much better when I go outside and spend time with nature. I don’t pay for being outdoors; I find activities or recreational sites that are free. For example, going to the beach, taking a walk in a park, hiking in local parks, going for a car ride, riding a bicycle around the block, or simply sitting in my backyard reading. Even if you live in a city, there are parks and sites. If not, use your balcony or roof to spend time outside your living area away from the TV.

Exercise for 30 minutes three times a week

I know… I know… this is the hardest thing to do! I love and hate exercise. I love it when I’m doing it, and I hate it before I begin. I can come up with all sorts of excuses to getting out of exercising. So I’ve decided now that as creative as I get with the excuses, I can be creative on how I get my 30 minutes of exercise a week. I recently started going to the beach and swimming in the ocean three times a week after work and swimming for 30 to 45 minutes a day. I also have a rebounder that I moved near my computer and started to jump for 15 minutes before I begin to check my email or go on Facebook, etc. While Denis works on the computer I may do some yoga poses while I wait for the computer or lift some weights. I belonged to a gym and loved it, but we had to cut out our budget for the gym to save money. Now, I look for ways to exercise for free.

Walk on the Beach

Walk on the Beach

Every person is different and I suggest beginning very small. Pick one thing from each list to begin with and see how it works for you. It also helps to have the support of others or people who can do it with you. I’ve read many books and done research before I started. I also do a general check up every year and get my blood work done too.

It’s important to have the help of a doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.

Here are some of the books I would recommend reading before getting started:

8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body’s Natural Healing Power by Dr. Andrew Weil

Eating Well For Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating By Dr. Andrew Weil

The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins
Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman

For more books on health, food, and exercise, visit the Books Tab.

Our First Raw Party

09 August
Raw Party

Raw Party 7/31/09

Last Friday we hosted our first Raw Party! Not a potluck or meetup… a party!

After the Raw Spirit Fest 2008 in Sedona, I realized that what we were missing in our lifestyle was entertaining our friends.

When Denis and I fist moved in together, we used to have parties every weekend. I would cook all sorts of dishes (beef kabobs Russian style was a favorite), and friends would bring beer and such. It was lots of fun to entertain our friends and enjoy their company. As we got older, the parties stopped. Not because we didn’t want to or because our eating habits changed. Life just got busier with all of us graduating, moving away, working full time, getting married, and having kids.

Last year, Anthony Anderson of Rawmodel.com wrote a touching blog post that has stayed with me everyday. It was about friendships and judging others that are different from us. People believe we judge them by what they eat because we eat raw vegan food. We didn’t have any friends that were raw vegans when we started and all of my friends were not even vegetarian. I feel that most friends thought that any socializing that revolved around food was out of the question. Even now most of my friends think that we can only eat in “special” restaurants.

In fact, a few weeks ago one of my coworkers confessed that for months she thought that she could not go out to eat with one of her friends who has been a raw foodist for over 15 years. I was astounded! And I don’t know why because after years of being vegetarian/vegan/raw foodist I still get emails from friends and family members asking me what we can do that doesn’t involve food. Or if there is a party (and recently a wedding), they always call and ask what can they make us so that we can eat. We love all our friends and food is not going to change that.

I also noticed that people feel like they cannot eat their regular food in front of us. I have a “don’t ask don’t tell policy.” I don’t ask or tell anyone anything about their food or my food because everyone is different and only one knows what is good for oneself. We are all different and being a raw vegan is good for me but I won’t tell anyone is good for them because I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to live their life the way they want to. I won’t judge anyone for what they eat. My brother sits in front on me and eats a steak and I don’t judge him.

So I wanted to have a party to entertain all my friends… beef eaters and fruit eaters, babies and adults, single and married, black, brown, white, yellow, small and big, they all were welcomed! It was not about the food and it was not about converting anyone, simply to have a good time with great people. And that’s what we did! The energy was amazing and the live music was awesome! Kids were running around and adults were enjoying a night of much needed fun. Drinks and food were provided and many friends brought other delicious dishes to share. There was no plan agenda but to have fun all night and get to know each other and enjoy the company of everyone.

Thanks to all my friends that came out to our first raw party!

For the recipes see the party menu.

Raw Party Menu

09 August

Appetizers

Zucchini Rolls

10 Zucchinis sliced in a mandolin slicer (for two people use 2 or 3 zucchinis and reduce the marinade)

1 cup of your favorite marinade (see recipe below)

2 cups of your favorite pate (see recipe below)

Slice zucchini using a Mandolin slicer and marinate the night before (I place them into a lasagna pan as if they were lasagna noodles and pour the marinade over each layer). When ready, prepare the pate to fill the rolls. Line up the zucchini slices and put a spoon of pate at on the slice and roll the zucchini and put in the dehydrator sheet. Repeat process to use all slices and pate. Dehydrate for 2-3 hours.

Marinade I recommend

Namashoyu

Braggs

Olive Oil

Italian Herbs

Pate I used for party

1 cup of hemp seeds

¼ cup of pine nuts

½ sun flower seeds

Olive oil

Salt to taste

2 Tbs. water

Italian herbs to taste

Crackers and Pate

White Crackers

1 cup sunflower seeds soaked for 1 hour

½ cup hemp seeds soaked for 1 hour

¼ sesame seeds soaked for 1 hour

¼ pumpkin seeds soaked for 1 hour

1 cup ground yellow flax seeds (I used yellow to make them light)

½ shredded zucchini

Any seasoning to taste (I often alternate between Italian herbs or Mexican Seasoning)

About 1 cup water

1 Tbs. salt

I soak all the seeds in the same container and after 1 or 2 hours I drain them and rinse them again with ionized water. I them put them in the food processor and grind. Put the grind mixed seeds in a bowl and add the flax powder and seasonings as well as salt. Mix well and then add the shredded zucchini. I add as much water as I want and continue to mix until I have the desired consistency and that way the crackers won’t have to dehydrate for a very long time. After mixing and making a “dough”, press them flat onto a teflex sheet and dehydrate for approximately 4 to 8 hours. Serve with any pate, salsa, or guacamole.

The original recipes is from LifeFood Recipe Book by Anni Padden Jubb and David Jubb

Main Dishes

Indian food

Indian Dish

3 zucchinis diced small

1 small eggplant diced small

1 broccoli cut in mini florets same size as the other vegetables

1 cup of diced tomatoes

1 yellow zucchini diced small

1 cup peas

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. olive oil

Curry powder to taste (I use about 2 Tbs. of curry)

A pinch of garam masala

A pinch of cumin

Salt to taste

Curry Sauce (see recipe below)

Mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and let the marinade mix well. Transfer to a teflex sheet and dehydrate for 1 to 2 hours.

Curry Sauce

1 red pepper

1 cup of sundried tomatoes soaked for about 2 hours

Garlic to taste (I use about 2 cloves or more)

1 Tbs. lemon juice

Ginger to taste (I use about an inch cube)

½ cup of cilantro

Curry powder to taste

1 Tbs. Coconut oil

Salt to taste

*To make it spicy I add about 1 red or green jalapeño

Blend all the ingredients in the blender until smooth (you may want to add a little bit of water or oil to make it more liquid). Bring the vegetables out from the dehydrator and put in a glass container and add the curry sauce. Mix well and return to dehydrator for another hour or so.

The original recipe is from Get Fresh Magazine by Russell James

Salad & Raw Nut Tofu

 

Salad and Tofu

 

I made a big salad and one of our friends brought another salad which everyone loved! I often use lettuce to replace rice and serve with any dish.

Raw Nut Tofu

1 cup Irish moss paste

¼ cup water

½ lemon juice

2 cups of Cashews soaked for 2 hours

1 Tbs. of unpasteurized light miso

Salt to taste

Blend in high power blender until smooth. Use a plastic wrapped container to pour the mix. Refrigerate for a few hours and serve. Another variation on this is to actually marinade the tofu in the kind of sauce you want until it soaks the sauce. I put the marinade in the blender from the beginning and refrigerate longer.

The original recipe is from Get Fresh Magazine by Russell James

Drinks

Ice Tea & Watermelon Juice

Ionized Water

Desserts

Chocolate Pudding

1 Avocado

¼ cup raw cacao

2 Tbs. maca powder

¼ cup raw agave

1 Tsp. of Mesquite powder

Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Vegetarian vs. Vegan

26 July
Vegan Sandwich

Vegan Sandwich

Many of my friends and family members often ask us what is vegetarianism and veganism, difference between them, and the benefits of changing to these lifestyles. So I’ve decided to write about these three commonly asked questions and explain what I have learned in the subject of vegetarianism and veganism.

Definitions and Difference

Vegetarianism means to me to exclude all animals (meats and fish) from one’s diet. There are three subcategories within the definition of being a vegetarian. Lacto-Vegetarian includes dairy, Ovo-Vegetarian includes eggs, and Lacto-Ovo vegetarian includes both eggs and dairy. Veganism excludes all animals and animal byproducts not only from one’s diet but also one’s lifestyle. For example, vegan will not buy leather goods, or soaps that contain animals, etc. Therefore, the difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan is that vegetarians still consume some animal products (eggs, cheese, butter, honey, etc) even though they don’t eat the flesh. Vegans don’t eat, wear, or buy any animal products.

Benefits

Some of the benefits I found by transitioning to a vegetarian and later vegan diet included improvement in my health, increase in money savings, and decrease in environmental impact.

When I first started in the whole-foods/health journey, I was obese. Once I started fading out the amount of flesh I consumed, I started to loose weight. In addition, I saw changes improving my skin, energy level, mood swings, and productivity. I made sure to transition carefully and visit my doctor regularly to run blood tests to ensure that the process was not damaging to my body.

As we stopped buying animal products, I noticed that we were spending less money on food bills and eating out. We were also spending less money on energy drinks, extra vitamins, and restaurants as we found that vegetarian dishes are usually the least expensive in restaurant menus.

When we became vegetarians and later vegans, we were not aware of the impact that consuming animal flesh has in the environment. Always being an environmental conscious person, I was blinded about the effects that animal consumption has on our earth. I was glad to find months after the complete transition to veganism that we were helping save the planet by not consuming and not buying any animal byproducts.  I strongly believe that one cannot be an environmentalist and still eat animal flesh.

I don’t judge people for what they choose to eat. I have many friends and family members who will eat a steak in front of me while I’m eating a raw vegan meal. I believe every person has the right to make their own decisions when it comes to their lifestyle, and therefore, only one knows what is good for one’s self. I do not recommend anyone to change their lifestyle without doing the appropriate research and getting the advice of experts. I strongly believe that every person is different and what is good for me may not be good for another person. So here are some resources that can direct you to find answers.

Books

  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the Editors of Vegetarians Times
  • The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
  • The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins
  • Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
  • The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman
  • The Great American Detox Diet: Feel Better, Look Better, and Lose Weight by Cleaning Up Your Diet by Alex Jamieson
  • If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit by Hale Sofia Schatz (Halé Sofia Schatz, Shira Shaiman)

Movies

  • Super Size Me (2004)
  • Crazy Sexy Cancer (2007)

Where to Buy Local Organic Vegetables and Fruits

05 July
Farmer's Market San Francisco

Farmer's Market San Francisco

For most people that live in the East or West coast it not that hard to find a farmer’s market as most cities nowadays hold a weekly farmer’s market. However, it may be difficult to find farms and fresh produce as you get closer to the center of the country. Therefore, I’ve gather three websites that can guide you thru finding places to shop locally and organic.

Happy Cow

Not only can you find vegetarian and vegan restaurants but also any markets or shopping sites for organic foods. I often use this site whenever I’m planning a trip out of town so that I can find places to eat and find organic foods. View their site

The Local Harvest

I recently discover this site and it’s been great help finding local farmers. It’s very user friendly and can locate from farmer’s markets to restaurants by just entering a zip code. View their site

Organic Consumer Association

This site is not only helps you find organic food but also green business in your area.  They are one of my favorite sites because it promotes healthy-green-living. Whether you need green camping equipment or pet supplies, this site can help you find organic and sustainable businesses in your area. View their site

In addition to these three sites, many farmers’ markets are listed in social media sites. Just ask in twitter or facebook and someone will tell you where to find local organic foods.

If you live in South Florida, there are two well known organic farmers’ markets, Josh’s Organic Garden in Hollywood and Glaser Farms in Coconut Grove. In addition, many farmers from Homestead Florida come to Glaser to sell their produce. One of them includes Tim Tye, who is well known for his local fruits and for using ocean water in his crops.

If you cannot find a local farmer, you can also try starting your own garden or a co-op.  Even though the produce from co-ops travel many miles to get to you, is another way to support the organic farming community.

Either way you go with, is a great step to support green and organic farmer. Remember vote with your money!

Tim Tye at Glaser Market in Coconut Grove, FL

Tim Tye at Glaser Market in Coconut Grove, FL

What is the Difference between Conventional and Local Organic Vegetables?

04 July

Organic Fruits

Even though it is still surprising to me and most of my friends why people still need an explanation of why local organic food is better and a healthier choice, I wanted to explain my thoughts on this subject… why I choose to go with local organic foods.

As an environmentalist vegan raw foodist, it is pretty obvious to most of why I choose organic vegetables. However, I always think that even if I didn’t classify myself in those categories, vegan, raw foodist, environmentalist, I would choose organic vegetables for the following reasons. Organic grown vegetables don’t contain chemicals, have higher amount of nutrients as supposed to conventional, and are great for the environment.

Not Food, Chemicals!

Conventional farming uses soil that has been extracted of natural minerals and fertilized with chemicals. They are also sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides are chemical compounds used to control insects and other organisms that may reduce agricultural productivity; most are toxic and are sprayed on our food! Herbicides are chemicals that kill weeds and plants. Conventional vegetables have to be washed with soaps and special cleaning liquids to remove residues of the pesticides sprayed on them. What is the point of eating anything if you are not getting anything good out of it? Have you ever wondered why all the tomatoes in the conventional isle of your local supermarket look the same? Like clones of each other? Well most crops are genetically engineered to grow faster, cheaper, and last longer. They have spent at least 2 weeks in the back of a truck from the moment they were picked from the farm and arrived to a distribution center where they will be dispatched to a supermarket. Most conventional vegetables are tasteless, not ripe, and go bad very quickly. Yes they are cheaper… in the short term, in the long run, you wind up paying more because they go bad sooner and they wind up in your garbage as if you were throwing money away.  Local organic vegetables last longer because they are fresh and given to you right from the farmer’s hand.

Nutrient Deficient

It is also known that most nutrients are missing in conventional vegetables, therefore causing one to get hungry faster and not prevent sickness because of missing antioxidants. When unripe vegetables are picked and packed to be transported, their growth stops. They can no longer absorb nutrients from soil even though the soil is filled with chemicals as I mentioned earlier. Nutrients are important because frankly if I would waste time and money eating something that is not giving me my ROI, I rather not eat and live on supplements! Yes taste is important too and therefore if you have ever compared organic strawberries and conventional ones, you know that organic strawberries are super tasty! Nothing compares to a wonderful organic cucumber from the farmer’s hand.

Save the Planet One Carrot at the Time!

So why do organic vegetables help the environment and conventional vegetables do not? By reducing the consumption of conventional vegetable and food, the pesticide and herbicide production decreases as well. In addition, most conventional food travels about 1,500 miles to get to a distribution center; this means a truck in using that much gas to get pesticide unripe food to your refrigerator. It also requires packing which most times is not recyclable or compostable and therefore adding to more garbage in landfills that will take more than a lifetime to decompose. Local farmers do not use packaging and most times don’t transport the vegetables to sell them. Organic farming does not use pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified seeds. The fertilizer used in organic farming is most times produced by the farmer from compost or bought from other organic farmers.

I have more reasons why local organic food is the best. It supports local farmers, and therefore supports local economies, not to mention that you know where you food came from and didn’t spend weeks in the back of a refrigerated truck. Of course, if you don’t have a local farmer’s market, the organic food at your local supermarket is probably as good as conventional minus the pesticides.

I have chosen these three reasons because they are the most common for everyone to make the choice to turn to local organic food, no pesticides and chemicals, more nutrients, and environmentally friendly production. In general I can understand why people still buy conventional food. Organic vegetables are more expensive and one has to find the right place to buy them. I consider it an investment in my health, less time at doctors and less money on pills and medicines. However, each person has to decide what is better for them. I do hope that with these words, people reading my site can get a general idea of why I chose organic over conventional.

Vote with your money!

Additional Reading and References

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins

The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman

Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day by Grist Magazine

Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability by Greg Horn

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman