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Show notes — September 2, 2015: Plant-Powered Families & Holistic Nutrition

Sometimes I finish the live show and feel that it would take only a slight breeze to get me airborne. It’s like that today, having just spent an hour with two remarkable women, cookbook author Dreena Burton, and Certified Nutrition Consultant Lauren Krohn. Dreena is the author of four bestselling cookbooks, the newest being Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes. Its companion website is plantpoweredkitchen.com, and there’s a Facebook page especially for vegan families and families transitioning to plant-based eating, also called PlantPoweredFamilies. Dreena’s general Facebook page is Dreena Bruton Plant Powered Kitchen; she’s on Twitter @dreenaburton and on Instagram the same way.

My second guest, Lauren Krohn, is one of the most inspirational people ever to grace the program. A doctor’s daughter who developed a little known neuropathic condition, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS), after an orthopedic procedure, was forced to give up her career as a red carpet photographer and learn to live as a person with a disability. Once over the shock — she speaks beautifully on the show about this process — she adopted a vegan diet which, although not a cure for the condition, helped some in dealing with the pain. (She explains in the interview how the anti-inflammatory nature of a diet high in fruits and vegetables can be helpful when dealing with pain.) She switched careers and became a Certified Nutrition Consultant though the 700-hour Certified Nutrition Consultant Training program of Bauman College; she specializes in plant-based nutrition. Lauren is also social media manager for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, whose November 1-4, 2015, conference in Nashville will feature such luminaries as Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, Michael Greger, MD, and Dean Ornish, MD.

You can find Lauren at laurenkrohnnutrition.com; on Instagram @lauren_a_krohn; Twitter @lkrohnnutrition; and Facebook: Lauren Krohn Nutrition.

Blast from the past: If you enjoyed Dreena’s wisdom on plant-powered families, check out the podcast with Chloe Jo Davis of GirlieGirlArmy.com. Widely known as a major arbiter of vegan chic, since becoming the mother of three adorable vegan boys (Dreena has three lovely vegan girls), Chloe Jo is also a spokesperson on the forefront of attachment parenting, breastfeeding, and all things motherly. Our show together from July 3, 2013, may be heard at http://www.unity.fm/episode/MainStreetVegan_070313.

The Desire Beneath the Desire, by Victoria Moran

I get a lot of stuff. People tell me that sometimes. “You’re a ‘manifester’.” Or “You have a prosperity consciousness.” When they’ve said that, I’ve said thanks, all the while wondering why I could have such a stack of the proverbial “cash and prizes” and still feel that something was missing.

I traced it back. What did I want the most for the longest time? That would be to get thin. To stop dieting. To stop hating myself and living part-time when I’d lost some weight and felt presentable, figuring I’d better do all the fun stuff as quickly as possible before I cycled into binge-eating and fatness again.

Then I got what I wanted. It took a major plunge into recovery principles and a total psychic overhaul, but the result was being able to go vegan after years of wishing I could. (It’s inconvenient to binge-eat when you’re off anything containing eggs and dairy products.) By then, I no longer craved thinness. I got thin anyway and it lasted. But it wasn’t enough.

Me in 1989, living in Camdenton, Missouri, and wishing for lots, lots more.

Me in 1989, living in Camdenton, Missouri, and wishing for lots, lots more.

I wanted to be married. I’d been married, but my first husband died young and suddenly and unfairly. Our daughter was four. After that, I needed so much to put our family back together, to restore the missing piece. Not surprisingly, nobody was volunteering for the missing-piece role! After nine years, I realized one sunny afternoon that I was okay as I was: I had my daughter and my work and the spiritual adventuring that was central to my being. Two days later,  I met my current husband in a coffee shop.

It was, and is, a good marriage. He loves me so much it’s embarrassing. But I still wanted more. I wanted to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That was certainly a legitimate goal at the time for an author of self-help books, which I am. I zeroed in on that aspiration with the single-mindedness that tends to result in earthly miracles, but can also mean missing out on life in the meantime. Finally it happened. And a few years later, it happened again. [Read more…]

Show Notes ~ Aug. 26, 2015: A Hot Spot in LA, a Hot Doc in DC!

This week’s Main Street Vegan podcast — click here to access — opens with Amy Rebecca of the new Venice, CA, hot spot Vegan Scene — www.veganscene.com, and @VeganScene on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s a retail, event, educational (cooking and fitness classes), and soon-to-be noshing space — “a vegan Studio 54 with more quinoa.”

Our MainStage guest is Milton Mills, MD, and I apologize for an extra-long break (it’s the only break so we don’t actually miss showtime), but Dr. Mills was working the overnight shift the night before and, simply, slept through his call time. (My dad was a doctor. They do stuff like that. It’s part of saving lives and delivering babies….) Anyway, once he’s on (at 22 past the hour, if you keep track of such things), it’s an amazing interview, about the real Paleo diet, the diet-and-health concerns of minority communities, and the epidemic of digestive disorders affecting even young and otherwise healthy people. Happy listening.

Blast from the past: If you enjoyed hearing Dr. Mills, check out the March 19, 2014, show with Joel Fuhrman, MD, New York Times Bestselling author of Eat to Live.

Vegan Stereotypes Are So Last Decade, Carlo Giardina, VLCE

veg·an

ˈvēɡən/

noun

1 a. skinny, oversensitive and emotional person who hates people but loves animals.

b. a member of PETA

c. an unhealthy tree-hugger who lacks protein and muscles

d. a person who only eats salad

Source: The Annotated Dictionary of Stereotype Nonsense

When I tell strangers that I’m vegan, the reactions I get are mixed. Some people don’t bat an eye; these are usually fellow vegans. Others may say “Really?” and unconsciously look me over. I’m a big guy with tattoos and a gut; clearly not a stereotype.

I’m the antithesis of how a vegan is “supposed” to look. I’m also one person, hardly a large enough sample size to draw a definitive scientific conclusion. Most of the components of the scientific method are unnecessary when classifying vegans, as anyone can gather empirical research by simply going to a vegan meetup or festival, where a wide swath of vegans will be fully on display.

Vegans are as indistinguishable from the next person outside of the vegan bubble, save for a cute bunny tote bag or Farm Sanctuary tee. We don’t fit into a mold. It’s imperative that we speak up. Share with people that you’re vegan. Tell them in a gentle, non-threatening way about your beliefs and let them know that we’re not all the same. A New York City construction worker’s veganism may be the only thing he has in common with a feminist professor at Duke University, or maybe not. We don’t know unless a dialogue is established. [Read more…]

Show Notes: Buddhism, Jainism, Veganism

I’m starting something new, an after-show posting of notes pertaining to the previous live episode of the Main Street Vegan Show. I know lots of listeners are running or driving or otherwise unable to make notes of websites, etc., and hope this supplement will be of some help.

Yesterday’s show featured Buddhist Bob Isaacson and Jain Saurabh Dalal, discussing the vegan ethic in light of the teachings of their faiths, both ahimsa-based religions with nonviolence at their core. Bob was representing Dharma Voices for Animals, an organization dedication to connecting all Buddhists with the eclectic compassion taught by the Buddha; here’s their Facebook page.

Saurabh recommended a couple of books: The Jaina Path of Purification, by Prof. Jaini; and  Life Force: The World of Jainism, by Michael Tobias. A listener also forwarded me a video lecture on Jainism from the late historian Rynn Berry, a great friend of both Saraubh’s and mine. Here’ the link for viewing that.

In addition, I harkened back in this show to the previous week’s episode and guests J. Morris Hicks and Kerry Graff, MD, whose little book, 4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health can be a real wakeup call for some of us vegans who think we’re eating whole plant foods but may be falling a bit short on the “whole” part. They’ve devised a really enlightening, short survey, which you can take here, to see how your eating habits, overall or on a daily basis, stack up against the gold standard of 80% of calories from whole plant foods. I’m a sucker for a good quiz . . . .

‘See you next week on the Main Street Vegan Show when our guests will be Amy Rebecca of SoCal’s super-cool new Vegan Space, and DC-based physician, Milton Mills, MD. Please let other people know about the program/podcast, and if you can give us a 5* rating on iTunes, and maybe leave a glowing review, I’d be most grateful. Thanks for listening and for all you do to make this a saner world. ~ Victoria

PS ~ I thought I’d add a Blast from the Past section to the Show Notes to connect you with earlier shows on a similar subject. If you were blown away by today’s show — several people have written to comment that they were indeed — you’ll probably also enjoy the November 5, 2014 show with hip-hop mogul and yogi Russell Simmons, and his yoga guru, Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga.

 

Starting Your Own Vegan Drinks, by Christine Day, VLCE

When I first became vegan and starting searching for other vegans in my area, I did a web search and discovered Vegan Drinks. Vegan Drinks started in New York City and is described on their website as “a monthly social networking event for people interested in promoting veganism and advocating for animal rights.”

Unfortunately, I learned the closest Vegan Drinks was an hour away so I decided to create my own. Voila! Binghamton Vegan Drinks was born and I was surprised at how easily it all came together.

Binghamton Vegan Drinks-Summer

The first thing I did was contact the co-owner of one of our favorite restaurants, Water Street Brewing Co. — in the heart of downtown Binghamton. Their large space, fantastic beers, and delicious food draw many patrons.

Every time we’ve eaten there, the staff has been very accommodating to us as vegans. It helps that many of their entrees are vegan or veganizable. My favorite is their tempeh spiedies. Spiedies are a local favorite usually made by grilling marinated cubes of meat and serving it on a slice of Italian bread. The vegan version is made with marinated and grilled tempeh which is served on pita bread with lettuce tomato and onion. They also make homemade vegan pretzels, a Sundays-only treat.

When I pitched the idea to Michele Bleichert, co-owner of the brewpub, she jumped at the chance to host Binghamton’s first Vegan Drinks. We decided to hold the event at 3 pm on Sundays since that’s usually a slower time for them — and we had the added bonus of the pretzels! The turnout: 22 hungry and thirsty people who never would have come to the brewpub that afternoon if it weren’t for the Vegan Drinks event. We even had people come from an hour away to attend.

v drinks

Here are some tips to help you get Vegan Drinks started in your area: [Read more…]

Simplifying Sports Nutrition, by Matthew Cunningham, VLCE

Athletes are always searching for an edge. Whether it’s a weekend warrior who climbs 14’ers and enters sprint triathlons or a full-time competitor using his or her body as a mechanism to make money, the slightest improvement can inspire tangible benefits related to performance and recovery.

From Fitbits and heart rate monitors to bike computers and elevation masks the marketplace is constantly evolving when it comes to sport performance products and resources. While the analysis of performance metrics and data tracking is no doubt useful, could one of the easiest methods of improving performance be as simple as getting more color on your plate and eliminating food products that are disguised as quality fuel?

What a revolutionary concept! While pre-vegans often comment how food substitutions are so confusing among concerns about lack of nutrients and protein deficiency, plant-based performance nutrition isn’t overly complex. Are the mental blocks related to the perceived difficulty most of the battle? A seasoned plant-powered veteran will attest to the multiple benefits that come will a little experience, an open mind and a step outside the comfort zone.

With creativity and some simple tweaks any athlete can benefit from eating more plants. One of the easiest steps is eliminating as much processed food or food products, as possible. A friend who works in the health and fitness industry has a mantra that I think of often; ‘if it wasn’t food 100 years ago, it isn’t food today.’ How simple yet brilliant! As much as power bars are a convenient and often necessary part of an athlete’s toolbox, many of them are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Why not make your own? Try making bars or bites with dates and raisins or dried apricots as the base. From there, the combinations are endless. From mangoes and blueberries to any of your favorite nuts, you are bound to create some filling yet easy-to-digest treats for any field of play. [Read more…]

Main Street Vegan Academy to Le Cordon Bleu – an interview with Carolina Quijada

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history.

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. My background is in business administration and since I met my husband, eleven years ago, we have been moving around the world.

My interest in a plant-based diet is recent, only 4 years ago, when I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia and my doctor told me that I was just one step away from developing diabetes. I still remember those words, like a life sentence, chained to medication.  I had no energy. I was depressed, overweight, and unhappy.  At that time my uncle told me that there was a new documentary that I should see called Forks Over Knifes, the same night I turned on my TV and watched it two times.

It was an eye-opening moment, all the scientific data, the testimonials, the results — real people taking control of their lives through food. I felt so enlightened.  I also watched Food Inc. and then everything made sense. The next morning I declared myself vegan.

Then I had to re-learn everything I knew about cooking, break my own paradigms and reinvent the way I used ingredients. I felt so alive. I recovered my health and a new passion was born: vegan cuisine.

It’s been a learning process, I am not perfect and I try my best every single day. With my company Lovingreens, I promote a plant-based diet. I experiment with ingredients and I focus my efforts on making plates that are not only good for your health, the planet, and the animals but that also taste delicious, and look appealing and beautiful. I received my Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator certification from Main Street Vegan Academy in May of 2014.

  1. A lot of vegans would be intimidated about applying at Le Cordon Bleu, one of the world’s most prestigious culinary institutes, but you seem to have just jumped in. What was your thought process?

I read an interview with Chef Chad Sarno and his advice was that if you really wanted to take vegan cuisine to the next level, you had to be trained in the classic techniques, learn knife skills, master the basics, and embrace your passion. That’s what I did. I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Miramar, Florida, and had an interview with the president of the school. He explained the program to and indicated that I would never be forced to taste or do anything that would be against my diet and beliefs.   I enrolled the same day!

msv6

  1. What is the culinary program there like?

They offer two options: Diploma (12 month) and Associate (24 months), which is the one I enrolled in.  The size of the class is usually between 15 and 20 students but this number decreases as you move on in the program since, unfortunately, some students quit. It is a very demanding and has nothing to do with the glamour we see on TV shows.  You have to be on your feet for 4 hours a day, wash greasy pots and pans, take smelly out trash, swipe and mop every single day, plus take written exams, do oral presentations, and complete projects, cost analyses, and more.

This industry itself is very demanding, mental and physically, but is also very rewarding.

  1. How was your progress evaluated since you made vegan versions of almost everything?

They evaluate according to flavor and technique. I loved to see their eyes opening wide when they tasted my creations.  I use tempeh; I make my own flavored seitan; and quinoa and mushrooms are my best friends. I use Earth Balance, soy milk, veggie stock, yellow peppers, and cashew cream. It’s been a fun and very challenging journey.

  1. What was Foundations III class about?

Foundations III is about animal protein cooking techniques, butchery, and plating composition.  It was a very hard time for me and I’m glad it is in the past. I think I cried every single day and questioned myself so many times. I was ready to quit, but the support of my classmates and my Chef instructor helped me get through.

I was excused from having to witness or practice any butchery, except for the chicken and fish, which I still prepare at home since I’m the only vegan in my family. It is a very complex dynamic but is the only way I am able to continue to do what I love and have the support of my beloved ones.

My friends at school would complete the butchery part and I was required to cook only. I did not taste ANY of my dishes. My friends would taste and help me with salt content only. Then I would present and get graded. I always got A’s and my Chef instructor was so impressed, that he asked me to try out for the School’s Competition Team.

  1. What’s that?

The American Culinary Federation hosts student team competitions nationwide, first locally (by state), then Regionals, and finally a National Competition.  Last year I was selected to be LCB Competition Team captain

msv2

and was in charge of creating a salad for a four-course meal,

msv3

I made it completely vegan: we won the State Championship

msv4

and got a silver medal in the Regionals. This year, I am again participating with the salad and the competition will be held August 8th in Orlando. [Read more…]

Hemp is Hip, by Bren Hamilton, VLCE

One of the things I like about being vegan is thinking much more about compassion and how this influences my choices. From my choice of words, written and spoken, to what I spend my money on and, of course, what I eat and wear. I realized that I often made purchases without thinking about what it took to produce it.

Take dog collars, leather ones in particular. It struck me that my assumption in the past was that these were made from cow’s hide and maybe that’s why some non-vegan dog owners were ok with purchasing them.

However, I recently learned much of the world’s ‘real’ leather comes from China. PETA reports that on a daily basis dogs are bludgeoned to death and their skins are used to make leather goods and accessories. It’s highly probable this includes dog collars and leashes.

Thinking about it more, it goes even deeper than this for me. What about the people producing the items? Are they paid a fair wage and working in safe and clean conditions. And the environment — is it considered at all? Probably not, since profit comes first in most cases.

Since I’m a vegan with two companion dogs, and I care about others and the environment, I wanted to provide compassionate alternatives. Having an existing pet accessories business made this decision easier. I decided to create a small line of vegan eco-friendly dog collars and leashes with organically grown, chemical-free and sweatshop-free materials made in the USA. Little did I know how difficult it would be to find materials whose end-to-end purity is guaranteed. Eventually I did find this in European-grown hemp webbing and a few organic cottons. [Read more…]

Where to Start When You’re Starting a Business, by Michaela Grob, VLCE

When I decided to start my own business – a vegan cheese shop in Brooklyn – I knew I needed a business plan to help me put a roadmap together and ensure that I was looking at all the right things.

cheese 1

But, where does one begin? Staring at a blank piece of paper is rather intimidating, even with very fully formed ideas in my head. Sure, there is a lot of information online, but I felt I needed a bit more hands-on assistance, someone to talk to and brainstorm with.

So I set out to look for resources that offer assistance to start-ups and entrepreneurs, and that didn’t cost and an arm and a leg. I was pleasantly surprised to find many at my disposal, free or low cost. My only investment was my time and effort.

The two resources I’ve turned to most often are SBS and SCORE. SBS is New York City’s department for small businesses and its purpose is to get businesses up and running faster. SCORE, on the other hand, is a nationwide nonprofit organization consisting of retired and semi- retired executives with a minimum of 10 years experience on an executive level.

At SBS I learned what to look for in a lease, bookkeeping, and which permits I’ll need to open my business . I also attended a 6-week course (called FastTrack) on how to write a business plan, how to do research at the Science, Industry and Business Library (an art on its own), and how to write my financial plan – including all the templates needed for that. And it was all free.

(I should mention that I went through several Account Managers at SBS, because not all of them are equally knowledgeable.)

And when it’s time for me to start hiring employees (soon), I will also turn to their service called “Workforce 1” which helps with job postings, candidate screenings, and interviews.

At SCORE, on the other hand, I found a mentor whom I meet with every other month to brainstorm or talk about things I’m struggling with. My mentor is named Mary, and she’s been in marketing and retail for 30 years. She’s very hands-on and likes to get involved in every detail of my business. It’s great to have someone neutral who asks unexpected questions and offers different views. She’d also never had vegan cheese and was very curious about the whole concept — another one on the hook! [Read more…]