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The Sexy Elder Vegan Chronicles: Post #1

I felt sexy once. I was thirty-eight and had a full-length fake fur coat. I was already vegan and stuck a big “IT’S FAKE!” button on the coat, but the attention I got while wrapped in something that imitated animal fur was extraordinary. Men looked at me lustfully, and women looked at me jealously. Everyone seemed to be giving me credit for having more money, more style, more sophistication, and tons more sexiness than I did. For awhile, I liked the attention. Then it started to get uncomfortable. Until people got up close and could either feel the fabric or see the button, I was getting perks for looking as if I’d bought into unspeakable cruelty and exploitation. I wore that coat for one winter, and it went in the box for Goodwill the next.

So “sexy” has never been high on my “how you feel about yourself” list. That’s why I went through several days of mental angst before the entering the “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50” competition this fall. I’d have far more readily entered a contest called “Most Attractive” or “Most Vibrant” — those seem far more health and attitude. I wouldn’t have felt qualified to enter for “Fittest Vegan Over 50,” although I might have promised to go nuts at the gym and enter next year. But “Sexiest”? Ooo, that’s tough. Maybe because I went to Catholic school….

The writer with Peta's Sexiest Vegan Over 50 male winner, Joel Kahn, MD, Detroit cardiologist and restaurateur

The writer with Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 male winner, Joel Kahn, MD, Detroit cardiologist and restaurateur

But it’s Peta, and of all the animal rights groups out there, this one has used human sexuality to benefit nonhuman animals effectively from the first “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign decades ago. Peta actually runs three “sexiest” contests every year: your basic “Sexiest Vegan” (I see that one as ravishing twenty-somethings), “Sexiest Vegan Next Door” (I think of those winners as in their 30s, possibly 40s, really good-looking but accessible), and “SVO50” — the mature but hot category. I admire the way Peta operates these contests, choosing both male and female winners — one past winner is transgendered — and I’m especially pleased that they have the over-50 category. We can be sexy (we can even have sex, as creepy as that might strike those younger), and we can be effective for animal rights in some very important ways.

For starters, a high percentage of vegans in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s are as healthy and vibrant as others half their age. Now, I realize that a lot of older people are eating well, living well, and doing well. How much of the vegans-stay-healthier-longer thing has to do with diet, how much with engagement in a dynamic liberation movement and the sense of community that provides, and how much is simply luck and heredity, has yet to be determined, but I want to make vegans. If the fact that I’ve reached sixty-six with all normal lab numbers, no meds, energy to spare, and a pleasant enough appearance is sufficient aspiration to encourage others to stop eating animals, then I’m willing to strut my stuff — the wrath of Sister Mary Benedict notwithstanding.

The competition process was nerve-wracking. I don’t like competition. Any one of the finalists could have been deemed “sexiest” by many measures. Reading what people wrote who voted, though, was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had. People wrote about being influenced by my books and lectures, about attending Main Street Vegan Academy and how it changed their lives. Some people wrote that simply observing my life as a vegan inspired them, proving what I’ve believed all along, that veganism is, in itself, activism, because people are watching and taking note. Of the people who voted publicly, the youngest one I know of is eleven, and the eldest 93. They inspire me right back.

I plan to post “Sexy Elder Vegan Chronicles” as the year of my “reign” alongside male winner Joel Kahn, MD, progresses. My intention is to look at animal rights from the perspective of someone who was around before the term was coined, and to observe vegans proceeding through life and note how we do. I want to study speciesism and ageism and see where these dual wrongs intersect; and go out into the world with the knowledge that women who are no longer having babies are in a unique position to make this world safe for everybody else’s babies — human and otherwise. I want to work hard on my own health and fitness and report not only the results but the process. The fact is, self-care does get harder over time — whether you’re vegan or not. With history, one collects injuries, physical and emotional. Despite the optimistic Chinese restaurant dish, “Long Life and Happiness,” anybody who lives long in a youth-obsessed culture has to deal with being disregarded and diminished by much of society as whole, and fight for personal happiness while at the same time fighting for one’s cherished cause. If there’s something about growing older as a vegan that you want to read about, let me know. I’m prepared to delve deep, find answers, and share those with you.
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Victoria Moran is the author of Main Street Vegan and eleven other books, and she is currently serving as “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50,” with male winner Joel Kahn, MD, of Detroit. Listen to Victoria’s Main Street Vegan podcast at www.unity.fm/program/mainstreetvegan, and check out the documentary in pre-production for which she’s producer, The Compassion Project. No offense intended with the Peta2 tee-shirt. Read it: “Vegan After Fifty.”

Four Tips to Make Meal Prepping Easy, by Darlene Adamusik, VLCE

If you want to see changes, you need to take the time and MEAL PREP! If you meal prep for the week, you are less likely to spend money at fast food joints or at restaurants. So why not spend $30 for a weeks worth of groceries vs spending $30 for dinner of two.

So here are my 4 tips on how to make meal prepping easy.

1. Shop Before The Week Starts
Before heading out, set a game plan of what your meals will be for the week. Make a grocery list of everything you need for the week’s recipes. If you need help on meal plans, check out my customized meal plan package.

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2. Sunday Set-up
Make time on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. One to two hours on a Sunday afternoon or morning works great! I’ll be honest, prepping can suck, but at the end it’s all worth it! Preparing multiple meals at a time will save you a ton of time during the week—you can just grab and go!

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3. Batch Cooking
Cook everything at once…you might as well double up! You will notice Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday are the same. The best things to batch cook are tofu, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, and even cutting up the veggies.

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4. Get Handy with Containers
Portion out your meals with containers. Separate all your lunches and dinners so it’s ready for the week. This habit will save you from eating things that aren’t on the meal plan throughout the week!

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Remember, first focus on what takes the longest. [Read more…]

Can You Be a Vegan at Christmastime? … Sure! (in English and Spanish, from Enrique Velez Velez)

The Christmas season in Puerto Rico is coming and it seems that most of the population is ready to celebrate. Although an economic downturn is plaguing the island, we always have time to celebrate the birth of one of the greatest spiritual masters of the world, Jesus; listen to good Christmas music; share with our loved ones; and also taste our tastiest traditional dishes. But what do we do as vegans or people in the process of becoming so? Veganism is not intended to isolate the one who practices it from the rest of the world. We’re simply making dietary modifications to achieve incredible results in our own quality of life, and also to show compassion for animals and conserve the planet’s resources.

As a Vegan Coach I talk to many people every day about their eating habits and how veganism could save them countless bad times in the future. However, although many people show great interest in veganism, they tell me that the festivities of the season will prevent from doing this now. Well, as the saying goes: “Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today.” Your health, not to mention millions of animals and our planet, do not have time to wait. In addition to the increase in disease caused by the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy foods, among others, we have the problem of global warming caused by the processing and distribution of these products. This environmental issue does not discriminate between vegans, vegetarians or carnivores, adults, children or the elderly; and we can take the first step this Christmas. It’s still quite possible to eat what we like by simply varying some of the ingredients. So here I write some recommendations for you to spend Christmas with family, happily living a vegan lifestyle for the benefit of all living beings and the planet’s resources.

General recommendations.

  • Traditional potato salad is vegan when you use an egg-free mayonnaise. “Just Mayo” and “Veganaise” are commercially available, and if you Google “vegan mayonnaise recipes” you’ll find hundreds.
  • Rice with pigeon peas and ham can be made simply by replacing the pork with tofu or seitan. Seitan is a delicious vegetable meat is made with wheat gluten. And for health’s sake, forego white rice in favor of brown (or black or red!) rice — whole foods with their nutrients intact.
  • Guineítos famous pickles (cooked green bananas in salt water!) have always been vegan — enjoy as is!
  • Any kind of meat can be replaced with tofu, seitan,  beans, or lentil dumplings, seasoned with traditional spices of Puerto Rico, among others.

Last but not least, there are traditional desserts that are the most sought-after foods at Christmastime. Especially these two you eat from Thanksgiving until late January when the last Christmas holidays end. I hope you enjoy it and wish you a Merry Christmas vegan style.

ARROZ CON DULCE

1 ½ cups of rice, soaked in water
 
For the cooking liquid:
1 ½ cups water
20 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
A piece of fresh ginger
3 cans of coconut milk
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tbs raisins
2 tbs butter
Ground cinnamon to garnisharroz-con-dulce-ilustracion-1-edit
  1. Add the cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger to the water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5-8 minutes. Then, strain and discard the spices. Return the tea to the same saucepan.
  2. Drain the rice that has been soaking in water; add it to the strained tea and coconut milk. Cook over medium heat until the liquids boil. Cover and lower the heat until the liquids reduce and the rice is cooked.
  3. Add the brown sugar, shredded coconut, raisins, butter and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the cooked rice into a serving platter and garnish with sprinkled ground cinnamon.

 

TEMBLIQUE, My Way

2 cans coconut milk (one large 25oz can)
1 cup water
6tbs cornstarch
2/3 cups brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 or 2 sticks of cinnamon
Ground Cinnamon to taste
  1. In a large saucepan or small pot at medium high heat, add the coconut milk. Feel free to use a larger pot than you think you might need so you’ll have enough space to stir the mix.
  2. Add the sugar, salt,  cinnamon sticks and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the cans to “wash them” from any leftover coconut milk. Add the cornstarch to this water to create a slurry. Mix well with a small whisk and add to the pot on the stove.
  4. Stir the mixture kinda constantly to avoid the cornstarch to fall to the bottom of the pot and create lumps. When the mixture feels it’s starting to thicken, lower the heat so the bottom doesn’t scorch. Continue stirring making a figure 8 until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and when you run your finger thru the coating the side do not come together again.
  5. Transfer to a heat resistant mold or transfer to individual plastic cups for individual servings. I like 3oz cups. They’re a nice little serving and if you want some more, just have 2.
  6. Allow to slightly cool for about 20 minutes on top of the kitchen counter. After that, transfer to the fridge to cool and set for about 2 hours. The final product will set but still be “jiggly” when you shake the mold or cup.

Recipes courtesy of Karma Free Cooking: https://karma-free-cooking.com

enrique-edit-1Enrique Vélez es Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator certficado por la Main Street Vegan Academy, julio 2016. Ha sido vegetariano por más de 25 años y en los últimos 10 meses vegano. Ofrece conferencias, clases grupales teóricas y prácticas de veganismo, servicio de coaching en Puerto Rico y el caribe. En especial para personas interesadas en bajar de peso y otras que sufren de Diabetes, entre otras enfermedades. Para seguir a Enrique en Facebook y Twitter.

This post in Spanish:

¿Puedo ser vegano en la época Navideña? Seguro…

Se acerca la época navideña en Puerto Rico y parece que la mayoría de la población está lista para celebrarla. Aunque una recesión económica azota la isla siempre tendremos tiempo para celebrar el nacimiento de uno de los más grandes maestros espirituales del mundo, Jesús;  escuchar buena música navideña, compartir con nuestros seres queridos y también degustar nuestros platos tradicionales más sabrosos. Pero que podríamos hacer los veganos y los que están en el proceso de serlo. El veganismo no pretende aislar al que lo practica del mundo. Solo sugiere modificaciones en la alimentación para lograr resultados increíbles en su calidad de vida. Recuerde que no es solo su salud sino también la compasión por los animales y la conservación de los recursos del planeta.

Como Vegan Coach hablo con muchas personas día a día acerca de sus hábitos de alimentación y como el veganismo podría evitarle un sinnúmero de malos ratos en el futuro.  Sin embargo, aunque mucha gente demuestra un gran interés por el veganismo  me comentan que solo comenzarían el  programa  pasadas las festividades.  Como dice el refrán: “No dejes para mañana lo que puedes hacer hoy”. Porque la salud, al igual que millones de animales en el planeta, no tienen ese tiempo para esperar. Además del incremento de enfermedades ocasionadas por el consumo de carne, huevos, leche, entre otros. Por si fuera poco, tenemos el problema del calentamiento global ocasionado por el procesamiento y distribución de estos productos.   Este asunto ambiental no  discrimina entre veganos, vegetarianos o carnívoros, niños adultos o ancianos. Simplemente está devorando o reclamando su espacio.  Pero no todo está perdido porque podemos dar el primer paso estas navidades. Celebrándolas mientras comemos lo que nos gusta aunque realizando algunas variantes en los ingredientes.  Así que aquí te escribo algunas recomendaciones para que pases la navidad en familia, feliz y viviendo en un estilo de vida vegano para beneficio de todos los seres vivos y los recursos del planeta.

Recomendaciones generales:

  • La tradicional ensalada de papa solo lleva un ingrediente que no es saludable, la mayonesa tradicional porque contiene huevo, leche de vaca, entre otros. Pero para beneficio de los veganos  existen versiones del producto que no contienen ningún producto animal. Entre ellas Just Mayo y Vegenaise.
  • El arroz con gandules lleva  jamón que  puede ser sustituido por diferentes versiones de tofu o  seitán. El seitán que es una deliciosa carne vegetal que se elabora con gluten de trigo.
  • El arroz en vez de prepararlo blanco debe ser integral con todos sus nutrientes de primera mano.
  • Los famosos guineítos en escabeche siempre han sido veganos por lo que quedaría intacta tu receta.
  • Cualquier tipo de carne podría sustituirse por tofu, seitán, alguna hamburguesa con base de granos o soya, albóndigas de lentejas, sazonadas con las especias tradicionales de Puerto Rico, entre otros.

Por último, y no menos importante, están los postres tradicionales que  son los alimentos más solicitados en la época navideña. En especial estos dos que se ingieren desde acción de gracias hasta finales de enero cuando terminan las últimas fiestas navideñas. Espero que lo disfruten y les deseo una feliz navidad al estilo vegano.

Arroz con dulce

  • 1 ½  taza arroz integral grano corto remojado en agua
  • 1 ½  taza agua
  • 20 clavitos de especias
  • 2 palitos de canela
  • 1 pedazo de jengibre fresco
  • 3 latas leche de coco
  • 1 ½  taza azúcar negra
  • 1 taza coco rallado
  • 6 Cdasde pasas
  • 2 Cdasmantequilla vegana
  • Canela en polvo para decorar
  1. En una cacerolita echa el agua con los clavitos de especias, palitos de canela, jengibre y cocina por 5 a 8 minutos. Luego cuela y elimina las especias.
  2. Escurre el arroz, échalo en una cacerola con la leche de coco y cocina hasta que se reduzca el líquido y el arroz esté cocido.
  3. Añade el azúcar, coco rallado, pasas, mantequilla vegana y cocina por 15 minutos.
  4. Echa en un plato de servir o en envases individuales y decora con: canela en polvo y pasas.

TEMBLEQUE

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  • 2 latas de leche de coco (o una lata grande de 25oz)
  • 1 taza de agua
  • 6 Cdasde maicena o fécula de maíz
  • 2/3 tazas de azúcar negra
  • ¼ Cdade sal
  • 1 rajita de canela
  • Canela en Polvo a gusto, para adornar al final
  1. En una cacerola grande u olla pequeña a fuego mediano alto, vierte las latas de leche de coco en una cacerola grande. Usa una ollita más grande de lo que piensas que vas a necesitar para que tengas espacio para moverlo.
  2. Añade: azúcar, sal y disuélvelo bien con una batidora de mano.
  3. Agrega el agua a las latas de leche de coco para “lavarlas” y disuelve la maicena bien en esa agua. Esto ayudará a que no se empelote en la cacerola.
  4. Tan pronto agregues la mezcla de maicena/agua a la olla, comienza a mover constantemente para que no se formen grumos y que espese el tembleque.
  5. Cuando comience a hervir, baja el fuego a lento y continua meneando hasta que espese. Vierte la mezcla en un recipiente de cristal o en vasitos plásticos para servicios individuales.
  6. Espera a que se enfríe por aproximadamente 20 mins antes de colocarlo en la nevera a que se cuaje completamente por un mínimo de 2 horas.

Recetas cortesía de Karma Free Cooking

https://karma-free-cooking.com

 

 

Social Eating: How to be a Vegan at a Non-Vegan Event, by Susan M. Landaira, VLCE

It’s no surprise….the holidays are upon us.  With the cheer, joy and laughter, inevitably comes food.  Whether you are at a restaurant or visiting friends/family, you may end up being the only vegan in the group.  My first piece of advice is: embrace your veganism!  You are to be celebrated, not embarrassed or ridiculed.  We all know people who like to joke about our lifestyle and we may be okay with it; remember, however, that at the end of the day, you are on a compassionate mission to change the world.  Let your voice be heard. Okay, now that you’re pumped up, when you are the only vegan, there are a few tips/things you can do to make things go smoothly.   [Read more…]

Vegan resources for cancer patients and cancer survivors, by Naomi Green, VLCE

I was shocked when my doctor told me, “You have breast cancer.”

What was even worse was feeling powerless over cancer. That it can come back at any time and that it can kill you eventually. If you believe the cancer community, there’s just nothing you can do about it.

While I was still undergoing cancer treatment and feeling sick, I watched a lot of cancer documentaries to try and make some sense of what to do once treatment ended.

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Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Cancer” was the first time I’d heard that food, specifically a whole food vegan diet could help my body starve and kill cancer cells. Next, I watched “Food Matters” which taught me this diet can play a key role in treating and reversing many diseases, including cancer.

I thought it was odd my oncologist had never brought up nutrition so I asked during my next appointment, “What should I be eating? What shouldn’t I be eating?”

I was shocked when she simply replied, “Eat whatever you want to eat. Eat whatever you can eat to keep your strength up, especially during cancer treatment.”

They actually serve cupcakes and cheesy cracker snacks in the chemo room.

I didn’t believe there was nothing I could do nutritionally to help my body fight cancer, so I went on a quest searching for more nutritional guidance, as it relates to cancer patients and cancer survivors.

That’s when I found the documentary, “Forks Over Knives.” I listened to T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and author of “The China Study,” explain how eating animal protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and all dairy products) was shown in many different types of reliable, significant scientific studies to “turn-on” or activate cancer cells and a lightbulb went off in my head. I decided right then and there to stop eating all animal protein because I was terrified by the idea of activating any cancer cells that could still be lurking in my lymph nodes or chest wall after all the surgeries, chemo and radiation.

The next day I ordered the “Forks Over Knives Cookbook” to help me learn how to cook whole food, vegan meals.

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Next, I read, “Radical Remission” by Kelly A. Turner, Ph.D., which further solidified my decision to adopt a whole-food vegan diet to keep cancer away. Radically changing your diet in this exact way was one of the nine common factors found to make a difference in cancer remission (out of 75 factors tested in her research on over 1,000 cases of medically documented remission of a terminal cancer diagnosis). She provided even more evidence, beyond just her own findings, for whole-food vegan diets and cancer reversal in her book.

Once my cancer treatment ended, I found an integrative oncologist to help me overcome my fears of cancer coming back by implementing some of those factors Kelly Turner talked about in her book. On my first visit, Heather Barrett, M.D., asked me about my diet and when I told her I was a whole-food vegan she said, “That’s the first thing I usually have to discuss with all my breast cancer patients because that’s the number one, evidence-based thing you can do to help your body prevent cancer recurrence and you’re already doing it.”

Now, the average cancer survivor has not heard this information. There’s a big, wide web of deceit between the financial muscle of the meat and dairy industry (our disease-causing lifestyle) and the pharmaceutical industry (cancer treatment). Whole food vegan diets are not an approved protocol for fighting cancer according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, which sets the guidelines for cancer treatment in this country. That’s why most traditional oncologists will not advise you on the benefits of a vegan diet for preventing cancer and fighting cancer recurrence, even though the scientific evidence exists. [Read more…]

A Brief History of Veganism, by Victoria Moran

When I ask new students at Main Street Vegan Academy about vegan food, they’re geniuses. Nutrition? Well informed. Animal rights? Check. But when the questions are about the history of our movement, even the best and the brightest can fall short. I believe it’s important that we know where we came from, and there’s plenty of grist for that mill, because eating plants goes back, well, about as far as we do.

Genesis — Whether someone looks at the Bible as history or metaphor, there’s no doubt that Eden was vegan. Even those animals we know as carnivorous ate plants in the Genesis story, and in chapter 1, verse 29, we read what’s been called “the original diet for humankind.” The King James translation reads, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”  Another version (New Living Translation) states simply: “Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.” 

In the Garden of Paradise, fruits and nuts would seem to suffice. After the Fall, the green plants were added — fascinating, given their health benefits, that when sickness and death come on the scene, the antidote to many ills the flesh is heir to — green leaves and other vegetables — come, as well.

After the Flood, humans are allowed to eat meat, but believers who choose vegetarianism are of the mind that this was a temporary dispensation. Among these are members of today’s Seventh Day Adventist Church. The denomination recommends meatless diets, so about half of Adventists are lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and about a third of those are vegan, providing fascinating clinical trial groups for a great deal of research into the health effects of consuming different kinds of diet. The Adventist Health Study 2 is one of the largest and most recent, and in it, vegans come out ahead on virtually every level.

Pythagoras — This ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician (you know the theorem), and athletic coach was what we would today call a raw-food vegan. He required all his students to fast for 40 days prior to entering unknownhis school, and adhere to an “unfired,” plants-only diet after that. Until the word “vegetarian” was coined in 1815, people who avoided meat were called Pythagoreans. 

India and ahimsa — Vegetarianism weaves its way through the religions born on the Indian subcontinent, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism — that last one being the only world religion that requires all adherents to follow a diet without meat, fish, or eggs. These three are called the ahimsa-based religions. Ahimsa, literally “non-killing” or “nonviolence,” but expanded to encompass “dynamic harmlessness,” what American Vegan Society cofounder H. Jay Dinshah defined as “doing the most good and the least harm every day.” Ahimsa is the heart of veganism, and it was the impetus for the nonviolent revolutions of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. When the British went to India in the mid-1600s, first as traders, later as colonizers, Indian philosophy started to make its way back to the English and to everyone who could read English. It was in this way that our movement gained some powerful proponents: Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Percy and Mary Shelley, Voltaire, Johnny Appleseed, Sylvester Graham, Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, John Harvey Kellogg, and Franz Kafka.

Sylvester Graham, early advocate of vegetarianism, whole foods, and temperance

Sylvester Graham, early advocate of vegetarianism, whole foods, and temperance

Mid-to-late 20th Century — Mahatma Gandhi exemplified nonviolence and a vegetarian ethic throughout his life and struggle for Indian independence. In 1944, a group of committed vegetarians were sufficiently troubled by the connection between the dairy and veal industries that Donald and Dorothy Watson and a small band of followers started The Vegan Society (UK) and coined the term “vegan,” defined today by the Society as “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” In 1960, Jay and Freya Dinshah founded the American Vegan Society. I see 1944-1960 as veganism’s generation 1.

Generation 2, 1960s/70s saw the influence of comedian, civil rights activist, and juicing/fasting advocate Dick Gregory — still performing at age 84. In 1968, a Minnesota chiropractor, Dr. Frank Hurd, and his wife, Rosalie, wrote the classic vegan recipe book, Ten Talents. The Farm, a once huge Tennessee vegan compound founded in 1971 by hippie prophet Stephen Gaskin, was the  site of the country’s first soy dairy; The Farm continues today with a smaller population and a very successful vegan publishing house, The Book Publishing Company. The publication of Frances Moore Lappe’s groundbreaking book, the first to draw attention to the animal agriculture/world hunger connection, Diet for a Small Planet, preceded the founding of FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) in 1974 by Holocaust survivor Alex Hershaft, and The North American Vegetarian Society, host of the 1975 World Vegetarian Congress in Oreno, Maine. That event brought over 2000 vegetarians and vegans to the States for the largest such gathering in history. That same year, philosopher Peter Singer wrote Animal Liberation and coined the term, “animal rights.”

Generation 3, 1980s/90s brought the founding of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA);

Me in 1989, with my 1985 book, Compassion the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism.

Me in 1989, with my 1985 book, Compassion the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism.

the 50-million-selling mega-book, Fit for Life, a celebration of nearly vegan eating and lots of fruits, vegetables, and raw foods; Dr. Dean Ornish’s revolutionary work showing that coronary disease, one believed unchangeable, could indeed be reversed; and the book that brought veganism to thousands, John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. The 80s showed a strong vegan presence in the punk rock culture, continuing to this day, and Farm Sanctuary was founded, the first ever sanctuary for farmed animals. It was in the 1990s that cattle-rancher-turned-vegan Howard Lyman appeared on the Oprah show, eliciting her comment, “I’ll never eat another burger,” and the famous lawsuit against Winfrey and Lyman by Texas cattlemen. It was a long battle, but the queen of talk and the “mad cowboy” ultimately prevailed. In the final decade of the 20th Century, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, did the pioneering work showing that heart disease could be reversed not only by “diet and lifestyle,” as Ornish had presented, but by diet alone. And in 1999, fifteen-year-old Nathan Runkle founded Mercy for Animals.

We’re now in Generation 4, and this is a boom time for veganism. Skinny Bitch converted millions to ethical veganism after its publication in 2005, and The China Study brought on hundreds of thousands more from the health side. Influential cookbooks such as Veganomicon, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, Forks Over Knives, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World played their important role, joined by influential documentaries such as Earthlings, Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and Cowspiracy. The Internet fueled the growth exponentially, with blogs, podcasts, and social media disseminating information furiously around the planet. Something that was once seen as a “pocket movement” in the UK, India, and the U.S. and Canada has become decidedly international, with a strong vegan presence in much of the world. Israel, Germany, and Italy are major players on the vegan scene, and Eastern Europe is adding much to the knowledge and popularity of raw veganism. The 2000s have also been a decade-and-a-half of undercover videos, shown both online and on television, so that abuse of farmed animals is something large numbers of people are aware of, and animal rights is widely viewed as a viable social justice movement.

Scores of plant-based athletes have come forward, offering evidence that for distance running, sprinting, triathlon, body building, weight lifting, wrestling, hockey, football, baseball, tennis, and virtually every other athletic endeavor, plants not only “have enough protein,” but enhance athletic performance with their anti-inflammatory and pro-recovery properties. Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine has been behind numerous studies showing the efficacy of a plant-exclusive diet in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and other ills, as well as working to end the use of animals as experimental subjects, culminating in this year’s enormous victory that no more medical schools in the U.S. or Canada are using animals to train physicians.

Dr. Michael Greger’s 2015 NY Times Bestseller, How Not to Die, catalogs the research to date on the public health potential of this way of eating, work Dr. Greger continues daily on his website, www.nutritionfacts.org. This is also the era of advancement in vegan food products, such as meats,

Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute

Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute

cheeses, milks, and specialty foods from marshmallows to whipped cream. Venture capital from investors no less impressive than Bill Gates is funding companies seeking to make meatier meats and a truly egg-like egg. As Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute and New Crop Capital explains it, New York City’s carriage horse population went from hundreds of thousands to a few thousand between 1901 and 1905. Was it because everyone wanted to be stop cruelty to horses? No. It was because of Henry Ford, a horseless carriage, a better alternative. This is the role these vegan versions of familiar foods will play in the future — a future that I believe will be so close to vegan, it just might prompt Pythagoras to want to reincarnate.

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Victoria Moran is Peta’s new “Sexiest Vegan Over 50,” and the author of Main Street Vegan, The Love-Powered Diet, The Good Karma Diet, and Compassion the Ultimate Ethic.  Mentored by the late historian of the vegetarian/vegan movement, Professor Rynn Berry, Victoria teaches “History of the Vegetarian/Vegan Movement” at Main Street Vegan Academy and at Vegetarian Summerfest. She is the featured historian for the National Vegetarian Museum, about to open in Chicago. Here is a link to the video she made for the Museum’s traveling exhibition: https://vimeo.com/184872242. At 5 minutes, it is indeed a brief history of this movement.

Leading by Example, by Cindy Lou Negrón, VLCE

One of the most powerful things that happens when we live a vegan lifestyle is experiencing how we influence others. Think about it. If you are a vegan newbie, sit around and wait, and I promise you’ll see change, even if it’s minimal. If you’re no longer a newbie, think about how you’ve influenced the people around you. It could be anyone: your mom, your partner, even a coworker — chances are you’ve influenced at least one other person.

When you start your path towards a full vegan lifestyle, your choices will surprise some and maybe shock others. The amazing part is that when you start feeling better and showing your inner kindness towards every little thing on this planet, people notice. Instead of hearing only “Where do you get your protein?” you start hearing things like, “I saw this kale in the supermarket and bought it, but now I don’t know how I should eat it. Can you give me a recipe?” or “That sandwich you had the other day looked great. What was in that?”

You will notice the same for every other thing. “I bought the natural toothpaste that you had in your bathroom and I love the flavor.” You start influencing others in a positive way, not necessarily by changing their diets but by changing how they see the world.

veganlasagna [Read more…]

On Halloween night, ask not for whom the doorbell rings. It rings for thee. by Vicki F. Stevens, VLCE

I hope you’re not one of those people who pull the shades, turn off all the lights and hide from trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. In addition to being super-Scroogey (if you don’t mind me mixing my holiday metaphors), you’re missing out on a perfect opportunity to spread a message of kindness to animals along with a sweet, tasty, vegan treat. Think about it—unlike at a tabling event where you sit and hope people approach you so that you can engage them, on Halloween the kids come straight to your door!

Every All Hallow’s Eve for the past two decades, my husband Richard and I have prepared and distributed vegan Halloween treat bags to the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. We fill each bag with an assortment of vegan goodies, including the all-important message item. For example, this year each treat bag will contain a dark chocolate peanut butter cup, a packet of “bunnies & bats” fruit snacks, a mini-chocolate bar and a jumbo magnet that reads, “Be kind to the animals. Especially the small ones. They’re very delicate.”

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Note: I purchased the magnets from AnimalRightsStuff.com. Upon request, they gave me a generous discount on a bulk order.

Since I’ve become a nutritionist I don’t like giving out candy that contains high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors. In past years we’ve included non-candy items in the treat bags as well, such as Halloween-themed pencils, mini-comic books and monster-shaped rubber finger puppets. Message items we’ve distributed have included homemade stickers—some featuring our cat Serena—temporary tattoos and “be kind” buttons.

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vegan halloween 3

vegan halloween 4 [Read more…]

La relacion entre la ingesta de alimentos fritos en el caribe y su influencia en las enfermedades, por Enrique Vélez, VLCE

Cuando viajas a Puerto Rico y aterrizas en el aeropuerto internacional Luis Muñoz Marín te encuentras a pocos minutos de uno de los parajes tropicales más hermosos de la isla, Piñones. Piñones es parte de la costa norte de la isla y es abrazada constantemente por un encantador ir y venir de las olas. Pero entre brisas, sal y agua de mar se encuentran también los famosos quioscos de piñones con su extenso menú de carne frita. Como un ritual a la falta de compasión por lo animales cada olla prepara alimentos con escasos nutrientes. Es un espectáculo que ningún vegano quisiera ver. En un mundo en el que luchamos para lograr la proliferación del veganismo por el bien de todos los seres vivos y del planeta este lugar parece extraído de un mal recuerdo y puesto en el medio de altas palmeras llenas de agua de coco.

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Con mucha razón en Puerto Rico y en algunas islas del caribe las estadísticas nos muestran un rápido ascenso en los casos de cáncer, diabetes, alta presión, arterioesclerosis, colesterol alto, entre otros. Aun así estos lugares continúan operando y llevando un mensaje erróneo de que la alimentación es solo un placer inmediato que se repite hasta la enfermedad. [Read more…]

Tips for a Successful Fast, by Victoria Moran

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On Sunday, October 2, birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and World Day for Farmed Animals, thousands of people around the world will be fasting. This Fast Against Slaughter 2016, and those of us participating will do it to stand in solidarity with the animals headed to slaughter — all the millions, and each individual being — who get no food or water during their final journey on earth, a process that takes, on average, twelve hours.

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I hope that you will choose to do this or, if you’re hearing about it after the fact, that you’ll mark your calendar for October 2 next year when Farm Animal Rights Movement will once again sponsor this global event. It’s fitting for us as vegetarians and vegans to engage in this way, because the history of our movement is filled with people who used the powerful tool of fasting for political and social causes. Gandhi is well known for both his vegetarianism and his many lengthy fasts, in and out of prison; and comedian, activist, and vegan, Dick Gregory, did marathon fasts during the civil rights and VietNam War periods. I actually spent a week fasting with Mr. Gregory, the late Alevenia Fulton, ND, Gregory’s health mentor, and 120 other people back in the 1970s. The cause to which we hoped to draw attention was world hunger. We camped in the gymnasium of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and were kept motivated by nightly amplified phone calls with people we admired, including Muhammad Ali and Coretta Scott King.

[Getty Images]

[Getty Images]

I did other fasts, as well, many in an attempt to lose weight back in my binge-eating days. While I don’t recommend fasting for this purpose, I did learn at that time its long history as a healing modality. I also learned that after fasting — whether a true fast, water only, or a “juice fast” — for three days or so, the body enters fasting mode and shuts off the appetite. It can be rather pleasant to fast after this point, even for a long period. The roughest part is the beginning, and if you’re fasting for a cause, as many of us are doing October 2nd, you might appreciate some tips for making your fast more tolerable, especially if spending a day without eating is something you’ve never done before, at least not on purpose. Here’s what I’ve learned about the art of not eating:

  • If you’re going to fast for an extended period and you don’t plan to go to a fasting institute with supervision, consider juice fasting. You’ll still cleanse without the likelihood of a serious “healing crisis” that may well occur on a water fast of more than a few days. For a one-day fast, you’re probably fine with water only unless you’re diabetic (type 1 or 1), hypoglycemic, anorexic (or otherwise seriously underweight), pregnant, nursing, on prescription medication (in this case, check with your doctor), or if the thought of going without food puts you in a state of panic. In these cases, “fast in spirit” and do some physical act that reminds you of your commitment to this day — not eating between planned meals, for example, or not having second helpings, or eating only simple foods. This is also a perfect day to make a donation to FARM or some other organization that stands up for farmed animals.
  • Again, to get ready for a long fast, it’s suggested that you do a time of preparation, lightening the diet to lead up to the fast — for example, omnivore to vegetarian to vegan to raw to fruit to juice, over a period of two weeks or longer. For a one-day fast, no such preparation is necessary, although it may be wise to avoid stimulating foods — hot spices, rich desserts, cheeses (vegan included) — for dinner the night before. And it’s probably best not to have tantalizing leftovers in the fridge.
  • In the case of this one-day fast, decide for yourself what constitutes “one day.” While most people regard a one-day fast as a full day, i.e., three meals bypassed, it can be either 24 hours (dinner Saturday evening to dinner Sunday evening), or the standard 36 hours (dinner Saturday evening to breakfast Monday morning). If you’ve never done this before and you don’t have support (i.e., real-people friends who are doing this, too, that you can call on), opt for 24 hours. If you find yourself at dinnertime on Sunday with the willingness to go on through the night, you’re free to do that.
  • Drink plenty of water. If it’s hard for you to drink plain water, using a squeeze of lemon won’t make you a “bad faster.” (On that Dick Gregory fast so long ago, I remember that Dr. Fulton added a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to every gallon of water. It provided the merest hint of flavor, encouraging us to drink, something especially important on a longer fast.) For only one day without food, the “quality” of the water doesn’t need to be an issue — spring water, distilled water, alkaline water, or tap water put through a filter are all fine. (I realize that the animals are deprived of both food and water, but getting dehydrated doesn’t make us heroes.)
  • Take your time when you get up from a seated or lying position. Lack of food, even for a short period, can lower your blood pressure and cause dizziness upon standing.
  • Breathe deeply several times a day. Air is “food” in a very basic sense. It’s also very calming if you’re someone who gets edgy without regular meals. And get some sunlight if you can.
  • If you’re someone who measures your day by mealtimes and who looks forward to them with great relish, plan your day to be full so that a different rhythm, but a very workable one, is established. If there is a World Day for Farmed Animals event in your area, this is ideal since you’ll be with other fasters and other people who believe in the value of what you’re doing. Support and check-ins with others are available on the Fast for the Slaughter 2016 Facebook page, too. All in all, know yourself. You may be someone who would like to stay home all day, read, meditate, take walks and an afternoon nap, and maybe watch an inspiring movie during what would have otherwise been dinnertime. Or you may prefer to pack your day with activity. Your way is the right way.
  • Accept and appreciate the gift of extra time. When you’re not thinking about what you’ll have for meals, preparing them, eating them, and cleaning up after them, your day has more time in it, time to journal, ponder, act, create, plan, contemplate, pray, or any number of other wonderful pursuits  that fit your temperament and your life. Luxuriate in this time to become a more committed activist or a more peaceful person.
  • When your stomach grumbles, think of the animals. You are doing something by choice, and you’ll eat again tomorrow. They are bound for execution, without so much as a last meal.

img_4271Victoria Moran, shown here with FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) founder Alex Hershaft, is the author of Main Street Vegan, The Love-Powered Diet, and The Good Karma Diet, and is the newly selected “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50,” with male counterpart Joel Kahn, MD. Victoria directs Main Street Vegan Academy, an exciting 6-day intensive in NYC to train and certify Vegan Lifestyle Coaches & Educators. She hosts the Main Street Vegan Podcast; is producer of the upcoming documentary film, The Compassion Project, to introduce veganism to people of faith; and co-writer of Miss Liberty, a feature film in pre-production about a cow who escapes a slaughterhouse. Victoria is the mother of a vegan daughter, stunt performer and aerialist Adair Moran. Follow Victoria on Twitter at @Victoria_Moran; on Facebook at Main Street Vegan; and on YouTube at Victoria Moran NYC. Join the Fast Against Slaughter 2016 event here on Facebook.