Guest Blogger: New Vegan Age – Why aren’t more Christians vegan? A question for Lent

6 Apr

Please welcome back the ever wonderful Tom from New Vegan Age. Tom has been a guest blogger on VBU! a few times: Vegan CreedHarvey Diamond InterviewVegans are good for your restaurant’s business (Kim Stahler)World Vegan DayA Perfect Time to Stop eating AnimalsSupport vegan business and organizations.

This time Tom is back with an interesting question for vegans of faith.

Please follow on New Vegan Age on FacebookTwitter and of course the blog. Welcome back Tom!

 

If you’re like many Christians around the world, you’re not consuming meat on certain days of Lent this year.

 
But have you ever wondered about Christians who have renounced meat permanently? And not just meat, but confections and other foods made with eggs, milk, cheese, and butter?
 
That’s us: Vegan Christians. We’re a tiny minority, and we don’t mean to make your life difficult. We didn’t want to complicate the Lenten feast you lovingly prepared for a dozen people at your home, or to seem ungrateful when we asked questions about its preparation or ingredients.
 
Just the opposite, in fact. For me, fear of making life difficult for my friends and loved ones made me delay becoming vegan—declining to use or consume anything derived from animals for the sake of beauty, flavor, nourishment, clothing, entertainment, or convenience—until, after many years of relatively easy vegetarianism, I finally followed my conscience and made that leap.
 
Now, four years later and during this Lenten season of reflection, I want more people to understand my decision—and to consider what has brought many other modern Christians to veganism.
 
For most vegans, compassion is central to our relationships with other living beings, and our veganism allows us to best live that fundamental truth. In the Biblical stories that many vegans most closely relate to and are most inspired by, Jesus demonstrates compassion, humility, and kindness.
 
For these reasons, I think vegans are actually more like our non-vegan Christian brothers and sisters than we are different. We also share a deep affiliation with people who’ve made Jesus’ life a model for our own, and we have, in turn, educated our children, grandchildren, and neighbors in the practice of compassion.
 
Unfortunately, however, vegan Christians live outside of the Christian mainstream for a key reason. It’s one that can make us appear to be separatist. Sanctimonious. Even self-righteous.
 
Put most simply, it is often difficult for us to comfortably join gatherings where all life, including that of animals, is not celebrated as a creation of God that must be protected. Since Christian vegans often interpret Biblical “dominion” over animals as stewardship and not as domination—that is, not as ownership or use—the prospect of attending family gatherings, parish suppers, and coffee hours that feature animal-based casseroles and confections made using dairy products can fill us with dread.
 
How can vegans see something as innocuous as a donut as cruel? Well, the products sold in supermarkets—even those labeled “organic” and “free-range”—force animals to live unnecessarily uncomfortable and unnaturally shortened lives. Those smiling cartoon cows and pigs that advertisers employ do the actual cramped, dirty animals found in most factory farms a great disservice; it’s not difficult to find evidence of this on the Internet or in your local bookstore.
 
What’s interesting is that modern vegan Christians may not even be that different than our religious ancestors. Eloquent arguments of the potential vegetarianism (or even veganism) of Jews and Christians in antiquity—including Saint Basil, Saint Jerome, and even Matthew and the other Apostles—include the non-availability of animal-based diets to common folk in the Mediterranean basin and the lack of evidence that Jesus consumed animal flesh, as well as differences in how early Christian writings were translated.
 
Rynn Berry, an author and translator of ancient Greek who died in January, found no mention of fish in the earliest accounts of the multiplication miracle—it was strictly bread—and when he personally translated the passages in the Gospel of John describing the multiplication of loaves and fishes, he found that the original meaning of the word used was “relish.”
 
As for the symbols of fish associated with Jesus’ ministry, said Berry, astrological events at his birth might account for why the persecuted Christian minority in ancient Rome used fish symbols as a code to signal other Christians, and why we still see it in churches and on car bumpers yet today. Could it be that we are called to be fishers of men, and not fishers of fish?
 
Despite these assertions or alternate possibilities, however, for many vegan Christians today, the primary evidence linking our Christianity with the practice of veganism actually resides not in Biblical evidence but in our hearts, and is illuminated after we prayerfully ask ourselves two questions.
 

Could I, alone and by myself, harm, torture, or kill another living being?

Once examined, will my conscience allow me to have other people harm, torture, or kill another living being in my name and for my use?

 
For some people, the answers to the prayerful consideration of these two questions will be yes. For vegan Christians, the answer is no, but that answer doesn’t result in one iota of smugness or superiority. We just happen to see God in the faces of pigs, sheep, geese, turkeys, goats, chickens, and cows as easily as most people do in the faces of their beloved pet cats and companion dogs.
 
Vegan Christians believe that all animals—wild, farmed, and domesticated—feel pain, make decisions, and are inclined to protect themselves and their families from harm. We believe that all human and animal life is a sacred gift from God. We actually think a lot of people—particularly those who are troubled by the sight of factory farm and slaughterhouse footage—agree with us. And so we wonder: Why aren’t more Christians vegan?
 
All we ask is that you think more about it. Read things both critical and in favor of veganism. Quiz people who embrace and denounce it. Most importantly, start trying it out yourself, at any pace and in any way that is comfortable. While doing so, ask yourself and God the two questions above. And listen carefully for the answers.

Guest Blogger: The Veggie Nook – raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake

28 Mar

Always happy to host a returning guest blogger. Today we welcome back Gabby from The Veggie Nook.  Gabby makes incredible raw desserts on her blog. Check her out on  Facebook, and Twitter as well.

Gabby’s previous posts have been awesome. Do check them out Peanut Butter & Caramel-Filled Chocolate Eggs, Dry Skin Brushing, Raw Cinnamon Rolls with Hazelnut Pulp and Homemade Raw Vegan Chocolate and Raw Almond Butter Cups. Without further adieu, please enjoy Gabby’s recipe. Welcome back Gabby!

raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake

so here we are! the final post that will bring it all together. i thought about spitting it up a little more but that just seemed mean ;). if you missed the first two components, check them out here and here.

before i get into that though i just have a couple things to say. recently davida wrote a post about the things a year of blogging has taught her and it got me thinking about the last two years. i started this blog because i needed an outlet. and what was the biggest thing i gained?

Continue reading

Guest Blogger: The Passion for Compassion – Dark Side of the Vegan Moon

24 Mar

Let’s welcome our newest blogger Fern Demeo, author of The Passion for Compassion, to the VBU! fold.

Here she is in her own words, “I’ve always found it difficult to write about or describe myself to others, after all we are such complex creatures with a vast range of strengths and insecurities! I am (obviously) an animal lover and have been my entire life. I grew up as a single child and my animals were like my siblings, except far more accepting and unconditional! I remember scolding other kids in the play ground for frying ants with magnifying glasses; catching injured birds who had flown into the classroom and trying to rehabilitate (unsuccessfully!) baby mice whose mother had been killed by the neighbour’s cat. The truth is, I found a considerable amount of solace, peace and acceptance with the animal kingdom. I was raised by my Mum taught me strength and gentleness, respect and concern for all life. Always concerned for the underdog, mum taught me to advocate for those who were voiceless and vulnerable.

When I lost my mum in 2007, life as I knew it changed forever. The grief and despair is beyond what words can describe. Part of my ongoing journey towards wholeness after losing mum has been re-aligning with my passion- to be of service to the animal kingdom in whatever way I can. This fills me with a love so deep that it begins to shine some light into the gaping hole that grief left behind.”

Please join Fern on her blog and new Facebook page. Welcome Fern!

 

The other night whilst taking a few moments to enjoy the silence, I looked up and saw a gigantic Godzilla spider (ok it wasn’t that big- maybe a 50 cent piece in diameter- but for a long term arachnophobic, that IS equivalent to Godzilla). Fear filled me, adrenalin pumped through my veins and my fight or flight mechanism went into overdrive. Fleeing was seriously contemplated, though the thought of not knowing where Godzilla was lurking, forced me to confront the fear.

But then another fear came online- If I am wanting to live a truly compassionate life and extend that to all beings… what was I going to do with this fricking spider? I was terrified to get too close to it, unlike the countless creepy crawlies I capture and release outside. And in my own darkness- I ashamedly admit that I was seriously considering spraying it, despite having always hated the thought of spraying another living being (such a prolonged and agonising death). But then a sobering (and slightly unwanted in that moment) epiphany – Why does humanity seek to destroy what it is fearful of or misunderstands?

All of a sudden I was flooded with images from World War Two where nearly six million Jewish people were murdered under the Nazi dictatorship, in Hitler’s racially motivated ideology for a superior “Aryan race”. I was then transported to Cambodia where a close friend and I had walked in absolute horror through the killing fields and Tuol Sleng, a former high school which was used as a place of torture at the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Memories and images which still haunt and sicken me today.

Many other heinous historical moments –towards both mankind and the continual assault on our sentient animal relatives- rushed through me as I stood and stared at this helpless ‘Godzilla’ spider. I was deeply ashamed at my initial instinct to kill what I was afraid of, to eradicate a life which I did not fully understand. As Friedrich Nietzsche so aptly said “Man is the cruelest animal” to walk this earth.

What made me superior to this being, to sentence it to death because I was too fearful to confront my own fears and insecurities? There was only one alternative- capture it so I could set it free and in doing so, acknowledge the dark side of my own humanity.

My methodology for doing this was long, terrifying and quite honestly, ridiculously comical. Thank goodness for empty plastic containers (with opaque walls so I couldn’t see inside), thick cardboard and a dose of courage to make me look at the deeper message of this unwanted visitor. And so as I write this, I am both comforted and unsettled by the Buddha’s wise words: “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways”. Perhaps the world would be a safer place we could all acknowledge our own darkness?

 

 

 

Sorry about all the weird text formatting- am trying to do too many things at once here with my zoo of crazy animals!

Thanks so much for all that you do :)

x

Guest Blogger: ZenFans – Delicious and Nutritious Green Bowl

3 Mar

Ted from ZenFans is back! You may remember Ted from his first post called Kale Almighty. Check out his newest obsession – Green Bowls! Follow ZenFans on social media channels: TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram. Welcome back Ted!

greenbowl

Green bowls are my latest obsession, I’ve been making them almost daily now for the past few months. It’s super healthy and super delicious, I know this because even my 3 year old loves it. We’ll often have it for breakfast and even as an after dinner dessert. Salad for breakfast and dessert, who’d a thunk it?

green bowl for the family

I’m not sure where I originally saw this done (sorry for not giving credit where credit is truly due…found it, see below). No, I wasn’t creative enough to come up with this on my own, but I am happy I stumbled upon it and happy to share it with you now.

EDITED: I have seen many green bowl recipes, but I was originally inspired by Mckel Hill at NutritionStripped.com. Her recipe can be found here. I love her blog with so many great, healthy recipes and beautiful photographs to entice you!

So grab these items, (organic of course), start blending and be prepared to be swept off your feet:)

Big handful of kale
Big handful of romaine
Big handful of spinach
2 or 3 stalks of celery
1 big apple
1/2 cucumber
Juice of one lemon
A splash or two of coconut water
Blend on high for a minute or so, then…
Add several ice cubes and one or two frozen bananas
Blend on high until mixture has an ice cream consistency (if too soft, add more ice cubes and/or frozen bananas)

Pour into your bowls
Top with your favorite superfoods, I use:
Nature’s Path Coconut Chia Granola
Goji Berries
Cacao Nibs
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Chia Seeds

What will you add?

Let me know how you and your family like it. Wishing you well on your journey to awesome health and vitality!

Peace,

Ted

Guest Blogger: It’s Got Vegan In It – A Round-Up of Vegan Cooking Shows! (Updated)

20 Feb

Our newest vegan guest blogger is Melissa from It’s Got Vegan In It. Her post below is an fantastic round up of vegan cooking shows. I wholeheartedly agree with her and I’m glad someone had the smarts to make such a list. Vegan shows are growing in popularity and yay for that. Go vegans!

Melissa went vegan in August of 2011. Through her blog, she hopes to inspire others around her to do the same, as well as educate people on the plight of animals. A long time lover of all things chocolate, Melissa believes delicious vegan chocolate and accessible knowledge about how easy vegan living is is the key to changing the people around her.

Check out Melissa on Twitter and Facebook. Welcome Melissa!

I’m hoping I live to see the day when a vegan cooking show becomes the norm. I know there are vegan cooking shows on tv such as Jason Wrobel’s “How to Live to 100″ on The Cooking Channel, Vegan Mash-up, and The Jazzy Vegetarian. However, these shows are usually on special cable networks or on stations that don’t reach the masses. My hope is that one day you can turn on basic tv channels and tune in to your favorite vegan cooking show. In the meantime, we can enjoy the plethora of vegan cooking shows on YouTube!

I’ve tried to gather up some of the most fun and favorite YouTube vegan cooking show in the vegan world. If I missed one you think deserves a nod, be sure to mention it in the comments below!

(Note, for all of you who chimed in with your suggestions – thank you! I added some of the shows you’ve suggested. Whatever gets veganism front and center is better for the cause!)

Jaime K of “Save the Kales” was one of the first vegan cooking shows I ever discovered. Her meals are made with simple ingredients and directions, they look delicious, and both Jaime and the show are so charming!

Lindsay Nixon of The Happy Herbivore has had a successful plant-based and healthy living blog for some time now and has several plant-based cookbooks out on the market. She recently launched a series of cooking shows for us to enjoy!

If you don’t know The Vegan Zombie, now’s the time to catch up before the zombie apocalypse.

Christy Morgan of The Blissful Chef not only shares her cooking tips and recipes, but her YouTube channel is chock-full of healthy living advice and lots of “ask a vegan chef” FAQ videos.

JL Fields of “JL Goes Vegan” was a huge influence during my early vegan years. I had communicated with her via email, then met her in person at The Seed in NYC, and have followed her vegan food/vegan lifestyle blog for some time now. I am delighted to share that she, too, has several cooking demos on her YouTube page. JL is also queen of the pressure cooker, so check out her Pressure Cooking Community on Google Plus!

Oh, Brian L. Patton…he’ll make you giggle and salivate with his comic flair and easy recipes.

For those of you that are looking to find raw vegan recipes, look no further than FullyRawKristina! She’s so bubbly and sweet; it must be all the fruit she eats ;-)

If you’re like me and you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Tasha Edwards of The Sweetest Vegan!

Don’t be scared of the Vegan Black Metal Chef! He’s actually pretty cool!

The Vegan Cooking With Love videos are so professionally-done, they’re only eclipsed by how yummy the recipes are!

Thanks to you guys, the readers, I was sure to add this one to the list. See, I’m learning about vegan cooking shows, too! (Thank you!)

I follow The Edgy Veg on Facebook. I love her style – her edge! How appropriate ;-) But don’t fear the cooking; there’s nothing complicated about the recipes. You’ll absolutely love ‘em.

Who doesn’t love Isa Chandra Moskowitz or her cookbooks?! Back in the day, The Post Punk Kitchen creator used to do a regular video series. Recently, Breville has teamed up with the famous vegan cook to create a series of videos, which we will happily watch instead. Long Live Isa!

There are several vegan cooking shows that have picked up syndication in a few areas. You’ll have to check your local tv provider, of course, but if you’re one of the lucky ones that has access to these channels, don’t miss Laura Theodore of The Jazzy Vegetarian (who also has a wonderfully jazzy podcast!), Christina Pirello’s new show “Christina“, and the vegan star-studded Vegan Mashup on Delicious TV!

Hilarious, a tad naughty, and rockin’ the kitchen glam-style, vegan drag queen Honey LaBronx will entertain you and your taste buds!

I’m not sure how anyone can top a vegan drag queen cooking show, so I’m going to leave it at that. Remember, if I missed any shows, share them below so we can all tune in and continue spreading the word that vegan cooking is easy, accessible, and everywhere! :-)

Honorary Vegan Blogger – Vedge Magazine

14 Feb

Vegan Bloggers Unite! is a place where vegan bloggers can go to see what other vegan bloggers are up to. One such vegan is Maggie Ortlieb. She is starting a magazine for vegans and I thought this would be a great way to help her out and expose her idea to people who would care.

Here she is describing herself and her project:

“Maggie Ortlieb has been vegan for one and a half years and vegetarian for nine years prior. She enjoys cooking delicious vegan food, traveling, art, design, reading, sunshine and looking at beautiful things. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Advertising. Currently she is working for AmeriCorps, serving to fight poverty in the United States. Now she is starting Vedge Magazine, an online publication geared toward women.

The magazine covers food, travel, beauty and fashion, health and fitness and includes feature articles. The content is 100% vegan and a collaboration effort. The magazine is similar to a cooperative and aims to promote vegan bloggers, artists and photographers from around the globe.

Please “like” Vedge Magazine on Facebook at facebook.com/vedgemagazine

Let’s welcome Maggie and help her out!

Guest blogger: Veganizzm – Deconstructed Falafel Pizza

13 Feb

Please welcome a brand new guest blogger to VBU! Her name is Izzy and she’s been kind enough to share a delicious recipe with us.

Here’s a little more about her: Izzy Darby is the vegan wizard behind Veganizzm, cooking up vegan noms since 2010. Her motto is “laugh with your mouth full.” Follow Izzy on: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Welcome Izzy!

Falafel1

When I was in high school, four of my friends and I started Sweadnesday. The premise was simple: every week wear a sweater on Wednesday (sweater vests okay too). When a founding Sweadnesday member, Reed, was elected freshman class president and I was elected class treasurer we made Sweadnesday such a big thing that all the cool cats were doing it by mid-2006. Argyle, cable knit, Bill Cosby, you name it; when Wednesday rolled around you were wearing a goddamn sweater or you were just embarrassing yourself.

When I came to college in Wisconsin I was determined to make Sweadnesday a thing. In my high school of 500 in Massachusetts I was pretty well-established as a funny person (Izzy Darby Class Clown class of 2009, [taking that one to my grave whatup]), or at least *I* thought I was hilarious. But at the University of Wisconsin Izzy Darby was an unknown, uncool, friendless freshman in a school of almost 30,000. Negative people were impressed with my sweater-wearing sensibilities and nobody was donning anything warm or cuddly on my behalf. Basically no one was into it except Haya Bashir. Haya enthusiastically wore sweaters with me and called me out when I wasn’t wearing one every hump day.

Last week (five years later) she called me out for forgetting. Twin fans of the under-appreciated funny things in the world, Haya and I can still sit around for hours giggling together about stuff like poopwine (which, in case you were wondering, is a thing). This weekend Haya moved to Murderapolis, Money$ota, a city so lucky to have her they don’t even know. As a last cooking hurrah for a little while Haya and I made this deconstructed falafel pizza, inspired by one of my favorite Cambridge, MA spots, Veggie Planet. Crispy falafely goodness, tangy hummus, salty olives, and creamy tahini all on a soft pizza crust. Each bit feels like you’re wrapping your taste buds up in a huge hug (while wearing a big, fuzzy sweater).

FALAFEL 2 Falafel Pizza

  • 1 12-ounce pizza dough, ready to use dough (buy pre-made or use THIS recipe)
  • 4-5 falafel balls (see below)
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1/4 to 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh or canned tomatoes
  • handful of olives, sliced in half
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • olive oil

Falafel

  • about 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • vegetable or other oil (for frying)

This recipe will make several extra falafel, so halve the recipe if you don’t want leftovers 1. Start by making the falafel. Combine all the falafel ingredients in a food processor and pulse together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides down and incorporate into the frequently. Process until you have a loose meal but before it is paste-like. You want the mixture to hold together, but you don’t want it to turn into hummus. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. 2. Heat a skillet with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Form falafel mixture into balls or patties and fry until golden on both sides. Fry in batches of 4-5 until the batter is gone. 3. Preheat the oven to 375*. Roll out the pizza dough and brush lightly with olive oil. Pop the crust in the oven for 4-5 minutes, or just long enough for it to start to get slightly golden. Remove and let it cool for a moment. Begin by spreading a layer of hummus over the whole pizza. Next, crumble falafel over the hummus with as much or as little as you’d like. Spread the tomatoes, red onions, spinach, olives and parsley liberally over the crust. Finish with a drizzle of tahini and pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the veggies are cooked through. Serve warm! FALAFEL 3

Drizzle on some extra tahini et voilà!

Guest Blogger: Rubber Cowgirl (Saving the world one bite at a time) – Crocodile Guac

31 Jan

Welcome back Rachael – the Rubber Cowgirl! In her previous posts for VBU! she shared a recipe for Enchillasagna with Cauliricotta and trip to Traverse City, Michigan, and Bon Bon Brownies!

Here’s Rachael with her recipe for Crocodile Guac.

Please join Rachel on Twitter, and of course her blog. Please, welcome back Rachel!

Looking for a snack for your Super Bowl Party?
Everybody loves guacamole!
I resized one of my old single-serving recipes and revamped it with a video.
This is the greenest, healthiest, yummiest guacamole around, and based on my taste testers’ reactions, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
CROCODILE GUAC
4 ripe avocados
4 scallions
3 nice fat cloves of garlic
2 handfuls of baby kale
2 juicy mangoes
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
 
In a big bowl, mash up the avocados with a fork.
Roughly chop the onion, garlic, kale and mango, then puree in a food processor with the lime juice.
Add the blended mixture to the mashed avocado and flavor with cumin, salt & peppa.
Stir.
Dip.
Yum.
 
Crocodile Guac is raw, vegan, paleo & gluten-free!
Serve with chips at a party!
It’s also good in burritos…

Guest Blogger: AverageVeganDude – Living in Denial-The New American Pastime : A Vegan Makes His Case To Get Off The Standard American Diet

30 Jan

Meet our newest guest blogger, Christian, author of AverageVeganDude. Christian has a lot to say with his bio, so I’ll let him take it away!

“My blog is titled AverageVeganDude not because my health, intelligence or fitness levels are average, but in light of the fact that we are all just everyday people living average lives. Some aspects of each of our lives are better than others and some worse. My point is that the sun doesn’t revolve around any of us myself included.

Born in Italy and living most of my life in Queens, New York and Philadelphia areas, I have come in contact with the very best and worst that cuisines have to offer. Unfortunately, I have spent most of my life consuming the latter. Well, probably not the worst but close to it. Having learned much over the last few years about the human diet, I accept the label of former bad eater now. Throughout my life I slowly started to gain weight, as many of us do in our 30′s and 40′s. I began feeling pretty old at 41. I knew I wasn’t living an optimal healthy life. I could be found at the gym weekly and did all the normal things people do but to no avail. I decided this had to change. I began to read about nutrition, foods and their effects on us. The transformation that occurred in me when I started to move away from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to a predominantly raw vegan diet was nothing short of amazing. I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan to raw vegan and never looked back. At 45 I am stronger, fitter and faster than I have ever been. I owe this to the raw vegan lifestyle and a good fitness routine.

This blog is meant to help those trying to find a better life for themselves and their families. I now realize that everyone is capable of attaining this amazing state of health without pills, medications or procedures. Maybe this craziness has become the American way as of late, but it is not the sensible way. True health and a better well-being can be attained by each and everyone of us on some level. It’s time to drop the SAD and get busy living a healthy, vibrant life with the remaining time we have on this planet.”

Follow AverageVeganDude on Facebook and Twitter! Welcome Christian!

 

2005 Toronto Film Festival - "Elizabethtown" Premiere

“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates

News flash – Our healthcare system is not broken. There I said it. It’s actually doing a good job. Our system in overdrive doing everything it can for us by placing a huge band-aid over our nation’s populace to stop the bleeding temporarily until such a time arrives when we regain our sanity as a people. Yes, we know we eat poorly and thus place our destiny in the hands of our nation’s physicians. We use pills and medications as our real life “get out of jail free” cards. Many of us poison ourselves with the food stuffs we consume and then blame the medical community for not healing us. Yes my friends our nation is living in denial when it comes to personal responsibility for our own health and well-being.

For clarity let’s omit the word “health” and substitute “disease” in the word healthcare. I think disease-care is more appropriate since no one is obtaining real health from taking the scores of pills and medications being prescribed. We are undergoing many procedures annually to correct the results of bad eating. Sure some conditions and diseases need medical intervention we can all agree on that. Every illness will not be cured by eating a greener, healthier diet, but the majority of illness in America occur through poor diet. We should have hit rock bottom already in this crazy frenzy over the last 50 years to correct ourselves with drugs, but it seems the use of medications by Americans is a still on the rise. It is a black hole with no way out.

Today there is no shortage of television and internet health experts who have the magic pill or device to make you healthy and feel young again. This madness is just part of the norm of everyday life now. Instead of looking towards our farmers for our health we have our “responsible” doctors who can at the drop of a hat write us a prescription for Viagra, Zoloft, Zocor, Lipitor, Celebrex, and Prozac.

” The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas A Edison

1st big stomachThe causes of our nations many illnesses are a mystery to our medical community. They do not pinpoint the origins but they sure do have the answers, medication. Illnesses like autoimmune diseases, cancers, irritable bowel syndrome as well as growths, tumors and the like are unexplainable by our healthcare establishment most of the time. Maybe this is the cause, maybe that, but no one ever says they know. We sure do need a huge band-aid to control all of these unknowns. Seldom is diet discussed when we visit our family doctor for illness. Simply because we exist we acquire cancer and kidney stones. We just happen to stumble upon these various autoimmune diseases, diabetes or heart disease. Maybe the air quality is bad where you live or possibly a chemical came in contact with you when you were a baby. It’s a big smoke screen that makes the average Joe feel helpless in securing his own fate when it comes to health. I believe the answer is simpler than our doctors lead us to believe and it’s right under our nose. It’s our mouth and what we choose to put in it.

In 2013 our physicians have become our pushers. Seldom will you leave a doctor’s office without some form of medication. We pride ourselves on the medical advances made here in America. Our medical establishment has become as American as apple pie to us. But why are we the sickest nation on earth? Why don’t we demand better from our food system and our medical community? Is apple pie really American anyhow?

When we look at our foods and their influences, the health picture gets even grimmer. We are advised by likes of Paula Deen and Guy Fieri to slather everything in oil, butter and cream. Seldom does a dish leave the kitchen that is under 1000 calories per serving. There is little or no effort to present dishes that are actually good for the human body. Even while suffering from diabetes, Deen continued to put out book after book of her unhealthy concoctions. These chefs pray to our weaknesses for a profit. Who wouldn’t love a triple layered cake loaded with chocolate and whipped cream? It’s an easy sell to us and a good many celebrity chefs are willing to give you your drug of choice. Do you enjoy ground beef? Through the miracle of food television you can visualize 100 ways to cook it and top it with everything under the sun. Sure cardiovascular disease will soon follow but hey, that is not their responsibility. They are just giving you what you want, feel good food. What network wants a chef that makes a great zucchini pasta with sun-dried tomato sauce? I mean they wouldn’t last an episode on the major networks. Healthy food is what we eat when we are on a diet for one month out of the year. It seems as if though most of us are in the process of or have already given our personal health away to doctors that we meet for 30 minutes a year who barely remember our full names. It’s crazy to think that this is the norm in our society.

I sat aghast the other night watching an episode of a show I stumbled upon called Man vs. Food where the star shoved into his mouth a plethora of fried fatty foods saturated with all kinds of grease, oils and all around badness that was enough to make Dan McDonald faint. Restaurant patrons on the show would cheer the man to consume foods that we all know are bad for his health. What will the next television craze be? Cheering on a drug addict with a needle filled with heroine to give himself the ultimate high for our amusement? Are we all living in denial here in America? Are we truly all this stupid when it comes to food and health? Sure, occasionally I will meet someone who is 5 cans short of a six-pack, but I don’t believe we can all be this moronic.


istock_000001376368xsmallSo what’s going on here?
Why are the statistics so poor here in America when it comes to our health and wellness? If we are to believe the medical and pharmaceutical industries, we have the most advanced healthcare system in the world. I am not sure if it’s the most advanced but I know we dump a lot of money into it yearly. Surely we should be the healthiest nation. Eat to your stomach’s content because we have medications for everything and anything. Does our medical community promote health or just delay the inevitable for most Americans? Is our food system toxic and creating a huge medical burden on our nation? I would say so. There is only so much blue number 2, yellow number 5 and 6, red 40, msg, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrate and hydrogenated fats that we can consume before we all have serious health issues. Since all of our foods are laced with this substances, we are getting a healthy dose of these toxic as well as obesity causing additives daily. These are not natural foods and thus not what humans should consume.

So what is our government’s role in solving this exponentially growing problem? We did pick them to help us out here, didn’t we? Well unfortunately this is America and everyman is out for himself. It’s up to you to figure out the total amounts of these toxic food additives you’re consuming daily, weekly and yearly. Try to figure those numbers out while taking care of your 2.3 children, working 50 hours a week and managing your home. Impossible. So what can we do? We can either do something crazy like becoming a raw vegan and just simply scrap our food system all together or keep the status quo. OK, how about a diet predominantly high in organic fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Is that more doable? In my opinion it is not only a more sane decision and is better than slowly watching you and your family descend into a life of illness over time.

Why should we make the change now? Well the food system isn’t going to get better anytime soon, that I can promise you. These additives and chemicals are a large part of why we are ill and why we are seeing doctors at an alarming rate. Change might come, but it will be extremely slow and might take our lifetime and before real progress happens. The big corporations still push for more advancements in all the wrong directions. With DuPont and Monsanto pushing for GMO’s and more altered crops, we will have a long fight ahead. Corporate farms and Round-Up use isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

What other alternatives do we have as a person to get out of this downward spiral? Personal responsibility is the answer. Time to take the blinders off. We need to take our own health and the well-being of our families seriously. Why would anyone think that food manufactured and put in a box for an eternity is something you want to put in your body? The majority of Americans don’t actually believe these foods are good for them. We are leading fast paced lives that make it difficult to prioritize the foods we consume daily. We are a grab and go society and obviously we are paying the price with our health. Ribs smothered in BBQ sauce and ice cream slathered in fudge are readily available at the drop of a hat at our local franchise style eatery. We call this treating ourselves after a long hard week. Treating ourselves to cardiovascular disease and cancer?

We have to stop living in denial today. Not a year from now or 5 years from now but today. We know proper human foods are not produced in a factory by the many fast food companies. Our star-studded chefs have let us all down with recipes that deserve two thumbs down when it comes to health. I am pretty sure Ronald McDonald came along a lot later than man’s first steps on this earth. Our species survived relatively well prior to the invention of the Big Mac, so I have to figure that fast foods are not necessary for our survival. So let’s get them off our plates permanently. Over 99% of nutritionists state that we should NEVER consume fast food types of products. Not once a week or twice a week but NEVER. That speaks volumes.
3rdWe all know the correct answers. We aren’t stupid. We just don’t want to display our weaknesses to these foods to others. There is shame we feel when we consume these harmful foods. We all know a bagel and cream cheese is not a meal of health, but we justify it because we cannot get off the addictive additives that are in these foods. Companies knowingly addict us. They understand what they are doing. These multibillion dollar food manufacturers have labs not kitchens that test different levels of substances meant to addict us. They have chemists who put just the right amount of msg, salts, artificial sweeteners and other additives in our foods to give us just the right high. I think we all saw these type of tactics played out in the cigarette industry years ago with nicotine. After much denial there was no doubt the companies were using this substance to hook us on their particular brand. Although I have to say Joe Camel alone could convince many to try a pack. He seemed pretty cool in his day.

We are not as dumb here in America as we might seem to the rest of the world. We are pretty bright people. Our problem is that we are hooked, period. Because of this we love hearing “research” telling us coffee is OK for us, eat your cereals soaked in cow’s milk. There are plenty of “studies” that promote consuming artery clogging beef products as well as cancer and osteoporosis causing milk products. Some of the most disease forming foods are still being heavily promoted by even our government. These are big money industries with big money lobbyists. Business in Washington comes way before the health of the Average Joe here in America. Until we get real with ourselves and say enough is enough, we will continue down this road of medications and procedures to ease the damage from the sickening foods we are eating.

Sometimes I think being a raw vegan isn’t such a hard choice when we remove our blinders and realize the cards are stacked against us if we continue down the path of a SAD diet. Think about it America, it really isn’t such a hard decision. Start with yourself, then your family and friends. Maybe get on your computer and start a blog about your new-found health and try to help your fellow Americans get off the SAD.

Now that is as American as apple pie!

Guest Blogger: GMO-Free Girl – Coconut Quinoa Cookies!

29 Jan

Who doesn’t love cookies? Especially cookies made with quinoa, that totally justifies eating them, it’s protein! Tammi, from GMO-Free Girl has graciously shared her recipe below. Do check out her previous post Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash. Follow Tammi on her blogFacebook,TwitterPinterest, and Instagram account. Welcome back Tammi!

I recently stumbled upon a fabulous vegan cookbook just for baking called The Vegan Baker. There are so many drool worthy recipes that I can’t wait to try and these cookies were inspired by the Coconut Cookies. I highly recommend getting this book. Even if you’re not vegan, it’s a great way to add some healthy desserts into your life.

The original recipe used spelt or unbleached flour, but I decided that I would try a gluten-free version to satisfy all of you who are sensitive to gluten and I was happily surprised at how delicious they turned out! Last year my homeopathic doctor told me that I was sensitive to wheat and that I should cut it out of my diet. Well, who shouldn’t – most of the wheat products in America have added gluten them and now Monsanto has their hand in genetically modifying wheat, so I do my best to stay away from it as much as possible. And as always, buy organic! Just a little tip if you are going the regular route – spelt flour does contain gluten, but it is far less gluten than regular unbleached flour, so I recommend using spelt if you have it on hand.

The coconut really stands out in these cookies. And surprisingly, 1 cup of shredded coconut contains 2.68 grams of protein, 1.8 milligrams of iron, and 1.7 milligrams of zinc! I guess I should have titled them Protein Cookies – ha! These cookies are not only delicious, they are the healthy too! I’m not saying eat them all by yourself though – it’s always nice to share healthy things with those you love. Enjoy!

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Quinoa Coconut Cookies

Inspired by the recipe from The Vegan Baker

Makes approximately 18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 cup Mascobado sugar (Alter Eco brand)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the the dry ingredients – flour, flaxseed, baking soda, maca powder, shredded coconut and salt.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients – milk, sugar, coconut oil, and flaxseed. Whisk thoroughly for about a minute until everything is well combined. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until you get a dough like consistency.
  4. You will need to wet your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick while you’re working with the dough. Grab a tablespoon of the mixture and squeeze it into a ball shape. FYI – rolling didn’t work to well for me – the cookies crumbled. I had to squeeze the dough first.
  5. Place the balls onto a greased cookie sheet (parchment paper works great) and gently flatten them with your hand.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms start to brown.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. (about 10-15 minutes)
  8. If you have a double broiler – you’re lucky. If you don’t, you can melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl over boiling water in a saucepan. This method always works great for me, just make sure the boiling water does not touch the glass or it could crack.
  9. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. You can alternatively dip one end of the cookie into the chocolate mixture as well. Either way it’s going to be yummy!
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