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Meatout Mondays is our colorful weekly e-newsletter. Each issue features an easy and delicious recipe, great product ideas, health information or breaking news, and inspiration to brighten your week.

Here on the Meatout Mondays Blog we archive articles from our weekly newsletter and post helpful tips, encourage comments from readers like you, and build community.

 

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Barnivore - Vegan Beverage Guide

on Thursday, 13 March 2014. Posted in Products, Tips & Ideas

Barnivore - Vegan Beverage Guide

Are you excited to enjoy a St. Patty's party, but nervous knowing some vegans avoid beers, wines, and liquors if animal ingredients were used during production? Don't worry -- our friends at Barnivore have you covered!

For example, some companies add dairy and honey for flavor, or have been known to use animal products such as fish bladder, gelatin, egg whites, or sea shells during the filtering process. Frustratingly, these ingredients aren't required to show up on the label. 

But there are many animal-free alternatives! Barnivore has contacted nearly every alcohol producer and created a handy website and associated smartphone app to help out those who wish to avoid these ingredients. 

To learn more about what brands are animal-free, visit Barnivore.com.

"Is It Vegan?" iPhone App

on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Posted in Products, Tips & Ideas

There's a great application out for iPhone owners that enables users to quickly and easily find out if any product (with a UPC barcode) is vegan or not. 

All you have to do is download and open the app, scan the UPC barcode on the product label, and within a few seconds"Is It Vegan?" will give you a thumbs up or thumbs down for the product's vegan-ness. 

It also provides a detailed report of the product's ingredients. You can even search for  a specific ingredient, and share your findings on social media too. Neat stuff!

For product and download information visit IsItVegan.net.

How Do You Get Your Protein?

on Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Posted in Inspiration

How Do You Get Your Protein?

Do you like tasty foods that help you feel full and strong and build nice muscles worthy of an Instagram selfie? Oh good! Me too.

To continue dispelling the myths surrounding veganism, I want to focus this post on the question that I’m sure everyone has asked, been asked, or thought about at some time in their life: “if you’re vegan, how do you get protein?” Well, my friends, let’s explore that.

Getting a little scientific, protein is essential for the body’s cell growth and repair. The foods we eat give us the amino acids necessary for these functions. It is true that animal products are high in protein, but there are so many plant-based options out there that there is no need to worry about not getting your full daily intake.

Being vegan does mean that you have to do your research, but this applies to any diet. In truth, it was found in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that Americans consume roughly twice the recommended amount of protein. Extra protein intake means extra calories, and the “traditional” American meat-based diet is a big contributor to our current obesity epidemic.

I consider myself to be someone who is extremely active, as I exercise at least six days a week, often for several hours a day. As a dancer and self-proclaimed workout junkie, I’m that crazy person that spends my free time doing ballet, yoga, spinning, boot camp, or some other intense fitness class. I love almond milk, don’t take supplements, and I have never had an issue with protein deficiency.

Foods such as tofu, tempeh, and quinoa are great sources of protein, but even if you don’t want to try anything “weird” in your vegan endeavors, things like peanut butter, beans, and spinach are packed with protein and are widely available. Popeye the Sailorman, anyone?

What I’m getting at here is that it’s possible to be vegan and still live a healthy, active lifestyle. Sure, there are still plenty of skeptics out there who will try to sway you. When speaking at pageant-related events I often find some blank stares looking back in my direction when I say protein isn’t an issue. And yes, my college friends will tease me for eating tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I enjoy my mealtimes.

In addition to saving animal lives and decreasing our environmental footprint by swapping out the animal protein for plant-based options, we’re also getting tremendous health benefits. What’s important to remember is that we only have one body, and what we put in it is our choice.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Acacia Courtney is a junior at Fordham University, majoring in Communications and Media Studies, with a concentration in Journalism and plans to pursue sports broadcast, particularly within the scope of horse racing.  She is currently Miss Hamden 2013, an official preliminary of the Miss America Organization, and in that position has spoken to students throughout the community about the importance of Move It Monday and Meatless Monday. Embracing these movements is beneficial for the animals, the environment, and our own health. A vegan and a dancer, "pageant girl," and college student, Acacia is determined to work on addressing the disconnect between the farm and the plate, and create a more compassionate world. 

 
A huge animal lover, in 2011 Acacia founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization "Racing for Home, Inc.", which is dedicated to rescuing and retraining Thoroughbred ex-racehorses after they are finished racing. She has been privileged to speak and represent the New York Racing Association, the Humane Society of the United States, and Farm Sanctuary as an animal advocate. She grew up in Connecticut, and her family currently has four horses, four cats, and a dog.

Kale & Artichoke Party Dip

on Monday, 10 March 2014. Posted in Recipes

Kale & Artichoke Party Dip

Planning a St. Patrick's Day shindig? We've got just the thing! This gluten- and nut-free kale and artichoke dip is a perfect party dish. Not only is it naturally green but it tastes delicious too. Brought to you by Noelle from Peaceful Plate

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (Not canned. Try SoDelicious) 
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. vegan butter, melted
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 tsp. agave syrup, light
1 tsp. tahini paste
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. olive oil
6 cups kale, leaves removed from stems (discard stems)
1 - 10oz jar of artichokes in water (about 9) drained
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (Daiya shreds work great)
Water for boiling

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a large deep dish skillet, bring a couple inches of salted water to a boil. 
3. Chop kale leaves into 1/2" strips. Once the water is boiling, drop the kale in and cover. Boil for 5 minutes. Then empty into a colander to drain. 
4. Combine all ingredients (from milk to black pepper) into a food processor. Process for about one minute to combine. With the processor still running, slowly drizzle olive oil in. Then let run for another 10 seconds.
5. Chop the artichokes in half, and then each half into thirds. Squeeze out as much water as possible, by hand. Place into large bowl.
6. Squeeze the blanched kale in your hands to get the water out. Then place in bowl with artichokes.
7. Add the minced garlic and mozzarella shreds, stir gently to mix. 
8. Pour the sauce over everything and mix thoroughly to combine. 
9. Pour everything into a small casserole dish (4"w x 8"d x 2"h works well). Put aluminium foil underneath the dish to catch any drippings. 
10. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top starts to brown and the middle and edges bubble a little. 
11. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving with toasted bread, pita, or tortilla chips!

Find more great gluten-free and vegan recipes at PeacefulPlate.com.

Multiplication: Making Changes Toward Veganism - One Step at a Time

on Tuesday, 04 March 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Multiplication: Making Changes Toward Veganism - One Step at a Time

Now that we’re solidly hurtling away from all the hoopla of a holiday season and our resolutions are firmly implanted in our daily habits, (or put on a growing pile of broken promises), perhaps we can take a look at those resolutions through the Vegan filter.

Did you resolve to:

… Go vegan? Fantastic. Welcome.

… Eat a 100% plant based diet? Great. That’s the biggest change in your life you can make to benefit animals. The other small changes are icing on the cake.

… Start a vegan transition by eating a vegan breakfast for a week or two, then adding a vegan lunch for a week or two and finally going 100% plant based? That is a good first step. You’ll see how easy it is and never look back.

… Not buy any clothes, shoes, furniture or other things we take for granted made from the hides of dead animals? After the big steps, these are the little things that your purchasing decisions effect.

… Drill a little further down the ingredient list of products you commonly buy at the supermarket? There might not be milk, gelatin, or other obvious non-vegan ingredients you can identify off the bat but what about Alpha Tocopherol, or L-cysteine? (The first is Vitamin E and is vegan. The second is in a lot of commercial bread and is usually made from Duck feathers or human hair. There are many other non-vegan ingredients that food companies use … and many apps you can download to easily look them up).

It’s all good but all of these things are limited by one thing. They’re things limited by the fact that you are one person. Here’s the biggest thing you can do in the coming year:

… make another vegan. If each year each of us strives to make one more vegan we’ll double our ranks in the next 12 months. And again, and again. If we’re 1% of the population, (and this number is a moving target at best), next year we’ll be 2%. In 2 years we’ll be 4% and in 3 years 8%. Now it gets to be fun because in year 4 and 5 we go to 16 and then 32%. That’s how to create a force to be reckoned with.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(Photo by Drew B. Photography)
Marty Krutolow is an ethical vegan and is a retired airline and commercial pilot whose blog, www.martysflyingveganreview.com chronicles his meals and experiences on the road.  Now he is pursuing the opening of a national vegan fast food chain, a NYC based vegan commercial and incubator kitchen space, and www.veganmentors.org, a site dedicated to helping people go vegan.  Marty is 57 and lives in NYC.

Another Vegan Olympian Wins a Medal

on Saturday, 01 March 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Another Vegan Olympian Wins a Medal

Russian bobsledder (and world-champion arm wrestler), Alexey Voyevoda won gold at this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi. In an interview with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals he discusses the health benefits of being a vegan athlete.

Since choosing to live vegan three years ago, Voyevoda said, "My body has become lighter, so to say 'clearer,' [and] in my profession, flexibility and elasticity are incredibly important, and I increased both of these. And...now I almost never suffer from a cold or flu." He added, "I love happy, living animals."
 

Read more from Alexey Voyevoda's interview, on VegNews.com.

30th Annual March Meatout Pledge

on Friday, 28 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

30th Annual March Meatout Pledge

It's that time of year again where we encourage you to join thousands of people from around the world in pledging to go animal-free! 


In honor of Meatout's 30th anniversary we're aiming to reach 30,000 people who will pledge to eat vegan for at least one day.

Choosing vegan foods for just one day means sparing the lives of thousands of animals! If you prefer, you can also pledge to eat vegan for a week or even the full month of March!

Learn more and take the pledge at Meatout.org.

Diagnosed with Breast Cancer - Kayle's Story, Pt. 1

on Thursday, 27 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Diagnosed with Breast Cancer - Kayle's Story, Pt. 1

Perhaps it was the My Little Ponies and Cabbage Patch dolls that I played with as a child that set the backdrop for my life. The cartoon make-believe flying ponies, and sparkly rainbows, not to mention those round-faced children born from the heads of cabbages, were my childhood realities during my formative years.

I grew up on a five acre farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California, and was raised by a single mother who must have encouraged creativity, imagination, and play because I was doing a lot of it during my childhood. Tromping through the fields in my dusty cowgirl boots collecting chicken eggs, feeding and caring for our onslaught of animals, and going for horseback rides were the parts of my daily life. I think more often than not, I'd pretend that my horse would grow wings so that together we could fly off into some troubled situation and save the day. Though many of us aren't really aware of our growing-up years, we often recall them so vividly later in life. The memories of my happy-go-lucky childhood never truly faded because unbeknownst to me, they came back at a time when I needed them most.

 
Hanging out in my chicken coop as a little buckaroo circa 1980's

Life can deal each and every one of us life changing, unforeseen, surprises ranging from terrific to terrible. Not too many years back at the ripe young age of thirty, something happened that influenced my life forever. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. No matter how many sparkly pink-haired pony toys you grew up playing with or how many Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episodes you watched as a child, you're never prepared for the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. Never.

The tumor was the size of a large grape, and thankfully the cancer cells hadn't spread to any other parts of my body. Shock, overwhelm, anger and sadness are what I felt in those first few weeks after the big news. I screamed. I slammed doors. I cussed. And I asked continuously, "why me?".

My life changed the day that I watched Kris Carr's documentary film, Crazy Sexy Cancer. I found Kris, a young woman like me with cancer, to be the beaming, sparkly light in my world allowing me to feel a sense of hope during a challenging time. I jumped on the bandwagon of optimism. Within a few weeks following the diagnosis, I let go of the darkness I originally felt and put bright light, more like a shiny disco ball, in its place. The light, and sparkles I might add, came from that stowed away imaginative childlike place inside of me. I moved into a place of wonder and make-believe where doubt couldn't exist. I am forever grateful to Kris for allowing me to ditch the "I feel sorry for myself" attitude. She encouraged me to start taking positive, strong actions. It was then that I decided to take full control my health, attitude, and lifestyle. Ultimately I invoked the words so well spoken by Martin Luther King; "darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."

What was it that Kris Carr was doing that kept her so vibrant, despite having a very rare, incurable and inoperable cancer? She took time for herself. She made thoughtful decisions, and she changed both her thoughts and her diet. I followed in her footsteps and l turned inward. I was guided to take a more wholesome approach to my diagnosis. I cut out all animal products from my already vegetarian diet (hello veggies and goodbye all things cheesy), and I simply got happy. These changes helped me not only combat cancer directly, but also kept me strong and vital during the chemotherapy and radiation treatments that would come later.

Although the months ahead were filled with uncertainty with both trials and tribulations, I moved forward with a comprehensive plan of for treatment with as much dignity and grace as possible. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my diagnosis was to slow down. When you become still and listen from within you're guided to make clearer decisions. While following Kris Carr’s lead in taking time to heal myself, along the way I revisited my childhood. Not by playing with a favorite toy, but rather by picking up a trusty pair of magical cowgirl boots. They were a symbol of my youth, of imagination, and a metaphor for me pulling myself up by the bootstraps. Little did I know that my boots would serve as my warrior shield and good luck charm for many years to come.

My vegan cowgirl boots = magic shield of armor  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kayle Martin is a two-time breast cancer survivor, a graduate of the Living Foods Institute and the Founder and Chief Cowgirl of Cowgirls & Collard Greens, a cowgirl themed vegan lifestyle website and blog.Kayle actively shares her cancer story at conferences, on national radio programs and has been featured in the Keep A Breast magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine, and most recently was a guest on The Vegan Zombie's cooking show. In her free time Kayle juices greens, counsels newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at her local hospital, seeks out new vegan restaurants, and lives a life full of fun! You can find out more information about Kayle by visiting her website:
www.cowgirlsandcollardgreens.com.

Nutiva Chia Seeds

on Wednesday, 26 February 2014. Posted in Products

Nutiva Chia Seeds

Once known for putting the "chia" in Chia Pet, chia seeds are now quickly becoming known for their vast health benefits. 

In addition to aiding in digestion, stabilizing blood sugar, boosting energy, and lowering cholesterol, chia is found to contain omega-3 fats, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. Plus, just one ounce of chia has 11 grams of fiber (that's about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults). It's also now being studied as a treatment for type-2 diabetes. So many good things!

Fun fact: "Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that's native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs," said Terri Coles

If pudding isn't your thing chia is also great in smoothies, granola, oatmeal, and non-dairy yogurt. It also works great as flour and egg substitutes and is perfect for thickening sauces!

Find product and nutritional information at Nutiva.com.

Being Vegan in the Military

on Tuesday, 25 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Being Vegan in the Military

A lot of people have asked me “Is it difficult being vegan in the military?” To put it simply, I would say “sometimes”. It’s not really all that simple, though.

Since there aren’t many vegan soldiers in the U.S. Army I’ve had difficult times finding other people who have a common understanding of the type of diet I choose to have. Many higher-ranking officials say that “the Army doesn’t recognize veganism.” This is usually the response I get when I inquire about separate rations, which just means they cancel the charges for the meals at the chow hall, and the money would remain a part of my paycheck. As a soldier in the U.S. Army, if you are single and regardless if you eat at the chow hall or not, money is taken out of your monthly paycheck in order to pay for your meals. I’m still trying to find ways to make the military recognize vegans.

Sure, people could argue that I should just eat the iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes at the chow hall, but that is obviously not a suitable or sustainable meal plan for anybody. Since I am in the Infantry, the job is physically demanding more often than not. One thing I can appreciate is that I make a substantial amount of income to sustain my vegan diet. With that being mentioned, I can’t say that I’ve had a more difficult time with veganism than in U.S. Army Basic Training.

When I entered Army Basic Training, I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t know that I would hate the very lifestyle that I enjoyed so much before I joined the military. I could say that I was starving throughout my entire Basic Training experience. I look back and wonder how I even made it through the rigorous training.

To Army standards, Basic Training doesn’t seem so strenuous, or difficult. I’m sure any average citizen would disagree though. There were times when I just wanted to give in and eat what the rest of the guys were eating. One time, I even picked up a slice of Canadian ham pizza and motioned it towards my mouth. I felt so hungry. Not to mention we were only given 3-5 minutes to eat. I don’t remember exactly, but it was too quick for me to even think. I had to sit properly, keep my eyes on my tray and remember that I was a vegan. I never forgot I was vegan, but the whole culture shock gave me a big sense of fear. That’s the whole purpose of Basic Training in its initial stages, anyway. I was scared the Drill Sergeants would ask me why I wasn’t eating, or assume I was a privileged teen acting picky. I didn’t want to be noticed. Then, something struck me! It was as if that little light bulb turned on. I said to myself “Whatever struggle you face here, no matter how difficult it is, remember that the animals on industrial farms have it worse. Remember that labor camps in North Korea are worse. Remember who you are and what you vowed you would never do is still a part of you today.” It was difficult, but I never let a piece of meat touch my paper tray ever again.

After I graduated Basic Training and Infantry OSUT in 2012, I was assigned my first duty station. There were many things I had to overcome while adjusting to my new duty station in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. One of the main concerns was “lack of protein."

We vegans tend to get this “lack of protein” as an insult from others in the civilian world, but in the U.S. Army, it’s almost seen as a matter of fact. I decided it was time to prove my duty station and the others around me that vegans are highly capable of accomplishing any Army standard, and in some cases, perform better than others. As I’ve trained my body; my ability to push myself, my stamina, my strength and energy have all increased sufficiently. One thing I made sure to do while accomplishing all of this was to not brag or boast about any of my achievements. I always strive to maintain humility because I try to live by: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” This is one of the main reasons why I’m vegan. That saying solves any confusion.

I have proven myself to my peers and leadership, but can I prove to the U.S. Army that vegans are capable and that our lifestyle should be recognized by the military? To this day, I continue to have a few soldiers ask me where I get my protein from. I wouldn’t recommend answering sarcastically. I’ve had the feeling of wanting to reply in a rude way, but I just go with the assumption that they are actually curious as opposed to thinking they are ready to go in with the insults and doubt. I’d say about 85% of the time, people completely ignore what your answer and assume that you do not get enough nutrients and protein. I overcame that though when I started feeling better and when my body began to get into shape. I see great results, and I’m the one walking in my shoes, not them.

My vegan story goes something like this: In August 2010 I came across a video titled “Glass Walls”. I don’t think the footage would have made an impact on me if I hadn’t already liked animals so much. I remember when I was about 12; I saw the movie Finding Nemo and could not stop thinking about the classic line “Fish are friends, not food.” I think that saying stuck with me up until watching “Glass Walls” at the age of 17 when I became an ovo-vegetarian.

Then milk began to gross me out even though that was my favorite thing to drink before bed. A month later, the more I did research on vegetarianism, I would find horrible truths behind the egg industry. I didn’t stop eating eggs until I coincidentally searched Joaquin Phoenix on YouTube. I only searched him because I liked his performance in Signs. That search changed my life completely. I found one of the ultimate documentaries that truly unlock the meaning of awareness for the earth, Earthlings. I immediately became a vegan after watching it.

I don’t regret going vegan because my body is thanking me. My mind is clearer than ever, my body feels stronger, and I don’t get sick. I find that strange considering that people around me get sick quite often. The reason I decided to remain vegan in the military is because it keeps me disciplined, maintains my humanity, and strengthens my body for difficult tasks. I’m not big on forcing these vegan ideals onto other people, but if anyone is ever curious, I try not to go into a defensive mode. I try to explain to them what, how and why I live a vegan lifestyle. I think that’s the best way to go about things. Occasionally, I slip up and fall for an argument.

Even though my body reacted horribly during my plant-based diet in Basic Training, I have to
remember that it was not the diet; it was the deprivation of food. I believe if I ate the right amount of vegetables and fruits, I could have excelled exponentially during that 4-month training. I still get the occasional field problem where I don’t bring enough food and go a little bit hungry, but I have great leadership within my platoon that assists me with food when I need it.

My Platoon Sergeant, Platoon Leader and Team Leaders from the two other teams help me. My stance on this is that I want the U.S. military, in general, to consider veganism a special way of living until they have vegan options available throughout the entire organization. Religious specialties such as Muslim and Judaism are considered “special cases” and get separate rations, but vegans are not considered in the same light. I feel like I’m the only one in the military that actually wants vegan food to be an option. More variety at the salad bar would be a big step. If there is anyone else out there with a similar dilemma, please join in on this fight for vegan-lifestyle awareness in the military. It’s for you, me, the animals and the planet that we live on.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is (Specialist) Alexander Contreras, but Alex is preferred. I'm currently 20 years old, and I'm an 11B Team Leader in a Scout platoon under the branch of the U.S. Army. I joined the United States Army in 2012. I currently live in one of the coldest states in America, beautiful Alaska. I'm from the good old south, which some might disagree, Houston (Channelview), Texas. I became vegan in August of 2010 after one month of being an ovo-vegetatrian. Animals are my reason for living vegan, health comes second to that. My aspirations are to become an actor and an influential person that helps to spread the message of animal welfare. I am currently studying Japanese(Lvl2. Beginner), Korean(Lvl1. Beginner) and Spanish(Lvl5 Intermediate-low).

Strawberry Chia Pudding

on Monday, 24 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Strawberry Chia Pudding

Looking for a quick, simple, and healthy new dessert (or breakfast) treat? Packed with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are considered one of nature's super foods. They've been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and, according to Fettle Vegan (the makers of this recipe), help fight snack attacks! Don't let the look deter you, this sweet treat is light and surprisingly delicious. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
3 Tbs. maple syrup (or agave nectar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries (fresh, frozen or thawed)
sprinkle of chopped almonds (optional topping)

Directions:

1. In a quart-sized jar combine chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. 
2. Put the lid on the jar and vigorously shake until everything is well mixed. Use a spoon to scrape any chia seeds that might initially be stuck to the bottom and then give another shake.
3. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let sit for 2 hours. This allows the mixture to gelatinize.
4. After the 2 hours give the jar one more shake, pour into serving dishes and top with strawberries and almond sprinkles. 

NOTE: The mixture will last for about one week, refrigerated.

 

Find more delicious vegan recipes at FettleVegan.com.

 

Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver

on Saturday, 22 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver

Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver

Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won a silver medal in pairs figure skating at this year's Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

Duhamel proudly took to Twitter announcing that she is an "Olympian, vegan, yogi and nutritionist."  Wonderful! 
Congratulations to Meagan for being an outspoken and shining example of what healthy vegan eating looks like. 

Meagan joins the ranks of a swiftly growing population of vegan athletes around the world who continue to demonstrate how healthful and nourishing veganism truly is.  

Read the original article here on Ecorazzi.com.

9 Million Pounds of Meat Recalled

on Thursday, 20 February 2014. Posted in News

9 Million Pounds of Meat Recalled

Last week the US Department of Agriculture's Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall of almost 9 million pounds of meat because it came from "diseased and unsound" animals, and was not properly inspected. 

This incident comes just days after Tyson Foods announced a recall of 34,000 chicken products containing salmonella that has sickened seven people and hospitalized two. 

Avoid risking your health and the health of those you care about by choosing to thrive on plant-based foods. It's quite simply better for you, for the environment, and for the animals.

Read the original article on FarmUSA.org.

What to Expect When You're Expecting a Vegan Baby

on Thursday, 20 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

What to Expect When You're Expecting a Vegan Baby

It Begins
Congratulations! You’re going to be a vegan parent and it’s going to be amazing. The next several months are sure to be some of the most eye-opening, inspiring, and research heavy times in your adult life. There is something about being vegan that just begs you to question every single thing surrounding birth. From a homebirth to a natural birth to hypnobabies to cloth diapers to vaccinations to circumcisions to extended breastfeeding to babywearing and everywhere in between, chances are you’ll fall somewhere along this spectrum. Ultimately though, if you’re a first time vegan parent, you’ll encounter some things that are outside of your control like your friends and family members asking questions that could send you over the edge. The key is to take it all in stride and arm yourself with as much knowledge about the 10 month process and beyond to keep yourself cool, calm, and collected along the way. Your little one depends on it.

Going Vegan
I started my vegan journey at a marine park, one year before becoming pregnant. Innocently enough, I swam with dolphins. A week later, someone on Facebook mentioned that dolphins were captive and led horrible lives in places like these. I did not want to believe it. I searched the internet high and low for anything that could prove him wrong. What I saw that day changed my entire life. Images of dolphins being killed in Taiji, accounts of orcas committing suicide while in captivity, and stories of dolphin trainers being killed flooded my computer screen. Through tears and audible cries, I made the decision that no animal would suffer for my enjoyment ever again. When I became pregnant in 2013, there was no question that I would have a vegan pregnancy and a vegan baby.

A New Vegan Life
Now I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you. The pregnancy and the birth was the easy part… and my son was born vaginal breech! If you’re new to this pregnancy thing, here’s my best advice:

  • Stay active! Studies show that babies born to active mothers are brought into this world with less interventions than their non-active counterparts. This means less c-sections, less drugs, and more natural birthing, if you so choose. This is not specific to vegan mothers, but it is crucial for a beautiful birth.*
  • Take those pre-natal vitamins. Rainbow Light and Deva sell vegan vitamins.
  • Eat healthy vegan foods. Try to avoid processed and junk foods as much as possible during this time. My midwife told me that if I gained more weight than was normal (normal is 25-35 lbs**) I'd have to push out a bigger baby. That stuck with me for the duration of my pregnancy. I ate as healthfully as I could knowing full well that it was integral to the success of my birth.
  • Take a birthing class of some kind. I strongly recommend Hypnobabies to all new mothers. When I went in to the birth center for my son’s birth, I had already done the majority of my birthing time (laboring) at home. I was complete at 10 centimeters the second I got there and my son was born two hours later. I firmly believe that Hypnobabies had everything to do with that and I am forever grateful.
  • Have a good support team. Nothing can make the difference between a confident birth and a questionable birth like those around you. Interview doulas, find the best midwife or obstetrician for your family who understands your vegan lifestyle, and let everyone know ahead of time that you plan a fully vegan pregnancy.
  • Stay confident. No matter what anyone tells you, stand firm in your convictions about this journey. You are doing EVERYTHING right.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the easy part.

The Hard Part
Remember when you first went vegan? Everyone all of a sudden had a degree in nutrition. Who is giving out these nutrition degrees so easily? I can honestly say that nothing was more disheartening than the questions I received after becoming pregnant. Thankfully, my support team consisted of my vegan husband, my midwife, and my vegetarian in laws. Talk about being in a bubble of peace. That surely did not stop the questions from people who clearly had my best interest at heart, but did not have the proper faculties to ask in a tactful and supportive manner. I picked some battles and let many more go, as the stress of having to confront such people was simply too stressful for my growing fetus. That little one trumped everything for me, and the conversations I was willing to take on pre-pregnancy seemed all too trivial while pregnant. If you find yourself in such situations and feel the need to respond, I recommend doing so calmly and lovingly, for both your sake and your baby’s sake.

Here are a few questions and some answers I used that might help you build your arsenal of responses for the best possible outcomes:

Question 1: How will your baby get enough protein? (My favorite!)
Answer 1: During pregnancy, we need an average of 70 grams of protein in second and third trimesters or 6 to 6 ½ oz a day. You can get 1 ounce of protein from many sources including fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains. Did you know that 1-tablespoon of peanut butter, ¼ c of beans, or 12 almonds all equal 1 ounce, respectively?*** Pretty cool, huh?

Question 2: What will you do if you crave something like meat? I heard that happens.
Answer 2: I’ll cross that bridge when, and if, I get there. (I knew I wouldn’t and surely didn’t.)

Question 3: Is it safe?
Answer 3: It is absolutely safe. (You really don’t need to answer anymore than
this. Unless you want to explain that there are women out there who grow perfectly healthy babies by eating the typical SAD or standard American diet with reckless abandon, this confident response should hopefully thwart off any further questioning.)

Question 4: What if your child wants some chicken nuggets at a friend’s house? (Yes, someone asked me this while 4 months pregnant.)
Answer 4: We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. (Can you tell this was a battle I chose not to pick?)

Question 5: What if he asks me for a piece of steak?
Answer 5: We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Do you see the theme here? The point of me posting these questions is to give you a sense of what types of questions people will ask you. You probably have so much more knowledge under your belt about the vegan lifestyle and can answer all of them gracefully and with ease, which I encourage if you feel so inclined. For me, it just was not worth getting into debates about my child’s current or future life. In many cases, I used the genuine line of questioning to help educate my loved ones on how I was going about having a healthy vegan pregnancy. In some instances, it didn’t matter. Many people had made up their minds about how they felt about my growing baby and my lifestyle choice. Ultimately, you should know that no matter how you go about your daily lifestyle as a vegan pregnant person or partner of a vegan pregnant person, you are doing everything you can to give your child a perfect start to their perfect life. Congratulations to you and that beautiful growing baby with amazing vegan parents.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jessica Schoech (pronounced Shay) lives in Los Angeles by way of the Bronx, New York. She is the founder of The Vedge App, mother to young son Kenny aka Goose, and a personal trainer. She has been leading a vegan lifestyle since 2011 with her husband Ken and has made it a central part of her everyday life. She is an avid juicer, foodie, and traveler who lives by one rule: eat all the vegan things.

SOURCES
*http://www.patient.co.uk/health/pregnancy-and-physical-activity
**http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/healthy-weight-gain
***http://americanpregnancy.org/what-to-eat-during-pregnancy/

Hampton Creek Foodss Just Mayo

on Wednesday, 19 February 2014. Posted in Products

Hampton Creek Foodss Just Mayo

No time to whip up your own mayo for the mushroom and onion sliders? Try the latest innovation that's sweeping the vegan movement: Just Mayo by Hampton Creek Foods.

Using the company's highly anticipated Beyond Eggs product to replace the egg yolk that's typically found in traditional mayonnaise, Just Mayo is completely free of cholesterol, dairy, eggs, gluten, and soy. It is also certified Kosher and contains no artificial flavors or colors.

With more products on the horizon and backed by game changing investors, including Bill Gates, Hampton Creek Foods is set to take the egg industry by storm.

Find Just Mayo on the shelves of Whole Foods Stores around the country. Or purchase online from Vegan Essentials

Find product and nutritional information at HamptonCreekFoods.com.

One Meal at a Time: Nanci's Road to Veganism

on Tuesday, 18 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

One Meal at a Time: Nanci's Road to Veganism

Ve-gan (vee-guh n). a person who does not eat or use animal products.

My journey of discovery began almost six years ago and I've never looked back. The change started with dropping red meat from my diet. At the time, it was a rebellious endeavor during my early 20's. I was empowered with the phrase, “I don't eat red meat”.

In my late 20's, I became a Mother. Oh the joy and work that brings! In addition to raising a bouncing baby girl I adjusted my eating habits slightly and the new catch phrase in my life was, “I only eat white meat in the home.” (What?) My logic continued, “If I cook it I know what goes into it”.

Looking back on my attempts to a unique identity, I'd say I may have been sleep-deprived. As a new Mom that notion made sense. I even tried to impress my way of thinking onto that of my daughter. “No sweets for this kid”. That didn't work for too long. The Forces of Grandparents were against me.

Resistance was futile.

I remained alone in my efforts. My husband was cool with my quest. As long as the food was good, he'd eat it. I was so thankful I didn't marry a man who expected meat and potatoes for dinner. He's creative in the kitchen, and just enjoys good food.

Before my daughter hit 'The terrible two's', we had increased to a family of four. Two happy girls for us, less sleep for me and my label remained, 'I don't eat meat outside the home'. As the girls grew up, feeding the four of us was easy. Eating out was fine, the three of them had their food and I enjoy exploring the vegetarian dining options.

There came a time when my conscience and taste buds started to change. I became more enamored with the vegetarian options and less excited about the meat I was eating while hiding in my home. I started exploring the idea of changing my label to 'Vegetarian'. It was easier to say and required less of an explanation. I had an unhealthy love affair with milk and cheese so my planets seemed to be in line. I felt as though my journey for self-discovery had ended. I would become, wife, mom and vegetarian.

Of course, this new way of eating came with loads of questions from family and friends. “But where will you get your protein?” I received more doubtful questions about my decision to become vegetarian than support. Except from my husband and kids.

While my kids were young and easily influenced by their parents, cooking for all of us was fine. I might make a vegetarian lasagna, big salad, and chicken nuggets or fish sticks, taco night, spaghetti night with the meatballs on the side- something to please everyone. Darling husband remained easy to feed - after he adds his hot sauce topping, he's happy.

My belly made the next move. We (my belly and I) had to get rid of cow's milk. The pain and bloating was too much. I was no longer in love, it was an easy break up. Around the same time, Santa blessed me with an iPod Touch and my husband blessed me with an introduction to the world of podcasts.

My world changed in January 2008 after I discovered Food for Thought podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. The first podcast podcast addressed the question I had heard over and over. “The Protein Myth and Vegetarianism”

I was home. I learned so much in the 8 minutes 53 seconds, I couldn't stop. It was like I was talking to a good friend. She had so much helpful information! I became the student, information she shared was just the teaching I needed. What else could I do to improve my diet and my health? I think I listened to the first 10 podcasts. I was shocked to learn of the abuse that animals endured all for the benefit of ending on a dinner plate. How could humans be so cruel and how could I not make any other choice but to become vegan.

My life was changed, in an instant. I didn't need to ween myself from cheese, it was easy and logical. I continued to be educated and informed that I could get all the nutrients I need from plants. Some of the strong creatures in the animal kingdom were plant eaters. If gorillas, hippos, rhinos and cows could do it and thrive, so could I.

Food for Thought is a podcast you can listen to on iTunes or from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's website, http://www.compassionatecook.com. You won't be sorry. The website is a gateway to the world of better health and education to live a more compassionate life.

I'm not a perfect vegan. But I'm a happy vegan. I hope you find your truth, one meal at a time.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Married to the man of my dreams (who is NOT a meat & potatoes man), raising two amazing young ladies (one in college and one still living at home) and the proud vegan in the room for six years. I respect everyone else's choices as long as they continue to respect mine.  Whether it has to be washed, chopped, or eaten just as is, there's always something wonderful to eat in my kitchen.

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Sliders

on Monday, 17 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Sliders

A perfect mini handhold for a party, for the kids, a snack, or an appetizer, Fo Reals Life's easy Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Sliders are super versatile! Top with some homemade vegan mayo (recipe HERE), arugula, and a side of chips or fries for a flavorful, party favorite! 

Ingredients:

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 large onion, cut into quarters and sliced thin
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or liquid smoke)
6 rolls or buns (collard greens or lettuce leaves work well too)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat, add the onions and mushrooms and stir frequently until onions are lightly browned. 
3. In a medium bowl smash the beans with a fork until all are roughly mashed. 
4. In a separate bowl use your hands to mix all remaining ingredients together (if it gets too dry add a touch of water but be careful not to over-moisten). 
5. Separate the mixture into six balls and then flatten each into patties. 
6. Place burger patties on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, place in oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Then flip the patties and bake for another 10 minutes. 
7. Serve on your choice of bread or greens!


Find this and other great vegan recipes at FoRealsLife.com.

10 Power Couples Behind Some of Today’s Most Successful Vegan Establishments

on Friday, 14 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

10 Power Couples Behind Some of Today’s Most Successful Vegan Establishments

Have you ever wondered who is behind some of your favorite vegan businesses and organizations? 

It turns out that some of the most successful vegan establishments are run by what you might call a "Vegan Power Couple," or couple who are together--romantically speaking. 

Check out this article that spotlights 10 Vegan Power Couples, what they do for work, how they got started, and when they fell in love. It just goes to show that when driven by compassion and a specific cause, perhaps love (for all sentient beings) truly does conquer all. 

Read the article HERE on VeganWeddingsHQ.com.

Vegan Weddings HQ

on Wednesday, 12 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration, News, Books & Media

Vegan Weddings HQ

Borrowed, blue, and vegan too--newly relaunched website, Vegan Weddings HQ provides vegan-friendly resources to couples looking to celebrate their big day in cruelty-free form.

In addition to its Vendor Marketplace the website shares real proposal, wedding, and honeymoon stories, provides resources, and guidance and tips via its comprehensive blog and forum page. It even provides a list of charities should couples forgo gifts in exchange for donations made to their favorite organizations.

Though a version of the website has been around for about three years, the website has been newly named and designed. It's celebrating the relaunch throughout the entire month of February, with Valentine's Day marketing its three year anniversary.  

Browse real vegan wedding stories and learn more at VeganWeddingsHQ.com.

Double Chocolate Truffles

on Monday, 10 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Double Chocolate Truffles

Whether you're planning something special for your sweetie, for your friends, or for yourself this Valentine's Day we've got just the thing! Keepin' it Kind's Kristy has perfected the simplistic nature of these gorgeous truffles. With just six ingredients it's sure to become one of your favorite sweet treat recipes. Note: This recipe requires overnight refrigeration so be sure to plan ahead.  

Ingredients:

1 cup dark vegan chocolate chips (try SunSpire)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp. melted vegan butter (we like Earth Balance)
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (check out this vegan chocolate guide)
1 tsp. coconut oil
Cacao nibs or vegan mini chocolate chips (for sprinkling) 

Directions for ganache filling:

1. Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.
2. Pour coconut milk into a small pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. 
3. Let sit for about 1-2 minutes and then stir until completely combined and smooth. Add the melted butter, stir, and let cool at room temperature. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Directions for chocolate dipping sauce:

1. Use a double broiler (or a glass dish on top of a pot of boiling water) and melt the chocolate with the coconut oil. Stir until it's completely smooth. Remove from heat.
2. One by one, use a spoon to dip each ball of ganache into the chocolate and then carefully place it back on the lined baking sheet.
3. Top each truffle with cacao or mini chocolate chips or nuts. If you want to get fancy, cool completely and then drizzle some more melted chocolate over them. 
4. Keep chilled until ready to serve. 
 

For great step-by-step photos of this recipe and others visit KeepinItKind.com.

 

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