Thursday, December 30, 2010


Motivational experts know that for anything to change, you must take action.  Just knowing something, or just believing in it, doesn’t make anything happen.  If you really want to go vegan, you actually have to take action and make it happen.

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is find something that has extreme leverage over your current habits.  What does this mean?  Well, here’s my personal example:  Before I went vegan, I was an absolute cheese addict.  I always say in my lectures that the day before I went vegan, my four food groups were Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar and Chocolate!  If you had told me that I would be going vegan, I never, ever, would have believed I could do it.  However, after reading Diet for a New America, in just 24 hours things changed overnight.  What I learned in that book about how food affects our health, how the animals are treated in the factory farms, and how food production methods are affecting the environment, literally shocked me into giving up meat and dairy products instantaneously.  The knowledge was so compelling that it had leverage (or priority) over my current habits. 

This is not uncommon when people tell you how they went vegan.  It is very much like when my neighbor, who smoked for 54 years, was told he had a mass on his lungs.  Until that day, he always laughed and said he didn’t mind dying of lung cancer because he was 72 and was going to die soon anyway.  When that mass showed itself on his lungs, boy, did he change his mind quickly!  Just like I quit eating all animal products overnight, he also quit smoking overnight.  This is the power of leverage. 

So if you notice that I often encourage people to read books like Diet for a New America, The Food Revolution, The China Study, and watch videos like Earthlings, this is why: these resources have been known to provide people with so much leverage over their current habits that they don’t need motivation or willpower anymore!  If you’re still struggling to commit fully to the vegan diet, go pick up one (or all!) of the resources I just mentioned.  My book, Vegan in 30 Days, also helps to break the diet down into manageable chunks.  Good luck!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How the Planet Can Survive

According to the United Nations, agriculture (particularly meat and dairy products) accounts for:

·     70% of global freshwater consumption
·     38% of the total land use, and
·     19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions

Many people have been converted to a vegan diet after seeing how horrifically cruel the meat and dairy industry is to the animals we eat.  More recently, thousands of people have been converting to veganism as reams of data are coming in showing how healthful it is as well.  But few people really understand just how large of an impact the meat and dairy industry has on our environment.

Did you know that it takes about 17 gallons of water to produce one pound of lettuce, but it takes somewhere between 2,500 – 6,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef? 
Did you know that the pork farms in North Carolina have polluted some of the rivers so badly that all fish have died in those parts of the rivers? 
Did you know that the methane and other gasses given off by the cows and pigs that you eat has more of an impact on global warming than the difference from switching out your car from a Hummer to a Prius?

The UN says that we’ll need to increase our food production by 70% to meet population demands by 2050.  But we simply can’t – not using current farming methods, and not eating a diet high in meat and dairy.  A vegan diet can stop much of this calamity from ever progressing.  Learn more about this, and spread the word.  E-mail me at and I will send you a copy of the UN report.  

Monday, December 20, 2010


I just finished watching the movie Earthlings.  It got me thinking.  A lot.  For years, I wanted to be the cool vegan – the neighbor next door who looked great while eating like a horse, thus enticing people to ask about my secret.  I certainly never wanted to be portrayed as the angry, militant vegan, pushing her views on others.  So when others did ask about my “secret,” I just mentioned how much better I felt, talked about all the nutritional benefits of being vegan, and would eventually throw in the line, “… and it’s also so much nicer for the animals and better for the environment.”  I didn’t want to rock the boat by getting into the atrocities of factory farming or the environment.

However, after watching Earthlings, I realize that I simply cannot be quiet about what’s happening in the factory farms anymore.  This doesn’t mean that I have to be angry, militant or otherwise horrible to be around.  Here is my plan:  First, instead of focusing almost solely on nutrition – which is indeed a great benefit but not the real reason I went vegan – I can also tell them that when I read about what is happening in the factory farms, I simply couldn’t eat another bite of animal products.  It’s that simple.  And it also happens to be my truth.  If people want to know, I can tell them more, but since most don’t usually ask more about the “unpleasantries” of the factory farms, I will encourage them to watch Earthlings or read The Food Revolution by John Robbins.  For people who show a true interest (and quite a few do), I may even offer to buy them a copy.  I plan to contact the producer or a wholesaler of Earthlings, and see if I can buy them on the cheap, and keep a box of them at home for exactly this reason.  No need for me to be the militant vegan and start an argument – just give them the DVD and tell them to have a box of Kleenex nearby.  I also plan to send copies to all of my legislatures:  They are the ones who have huge power to elicit change.  

So I ask you – how do you tell people why you are vegan?  Are you speaking your truth in a respectful way – or are you avoiding conflict or causing conflict with your answer?  It may be time to revamp your “Why I am a Vegan” speech, and perhaps lead people to DVDs, books or websites that can help you make your case.  When you learn to speak your truth in a kind and compassionate way, people will follow.  Not everyone, but some.  And others will follow them, and so on and so on.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eating Healthfully Over the Holidays

Many people I meet assume that I must have the healthiest diet since I only eat vegan foods.  It’s true that I eat, on average, much healthier than the average American, simply because I am eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, and no meat or dairy.  However!  There are many vegan treats that are packed with sugar, salt margarine, oil and other unhealthy but vegan ingredients, and just like the average person has to make an effort to go easy on chips and ice cream, so do many of us vegans. 

The holidays are a special challenge because – for non-vegans and vegans alike – there is a universally accepted excuse that “Oh, it’s the holidays … this is when I get to splurge and not feel guilty!”  So, just like everyone else, I find myself having to be aware when I am using that excuse to make unhealthy choices that will make me feel sick, sluggish and fat in the morning. 

But what do you do if you know you are making that excuse, yet can’t seem to stop yourself anyway?  I have found that, if I do one little thing, it keeps me from eating thousands of calories over the season that would otherwise cause me grief in the New Year.  In fact, this one little thing that I do is something that you can do all year long to help yourself from making food decisions you’ll later regret.  Here it is:

When you are craving something and are about to reach for it or buy it, simply:  Stop, breathe and be mindful. 

Here is what it looks like in action:  Last night, my husband and I went out for our Friday night Date Night.  We ate Thai food, which is saltier and oilier than I regularly eat, but oh so yummy!  When we were done, I was quite full, yet found myself asking my husband to stop at the store so I could get some Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream.  (Notice how when you eat something very salty, you immediately crave something sugary, and vice versa.  This is why we like to drink sugary Coke with our salty Doritos.)  As we were driving to the store, I mentally stopped and I breathed, two or three deep breaths.  These deep breaths helped me to calm down, and focus on my breath, rather than on racing to the store to get food.  Then, when I was calmer, I asked myself (mindfully), “Sarah, are you hungry?”  The answer was an obvious “no.”  But that didn’t stop me from wanting my Coconut Bliss!  So I then asked, “What do you really want?  What is it about Coconut Bliss that you feel you must have?”  I had to think about that.  My answer was, “Well, I really want something sweet!  And I don’t mean an apple!”  So I realized that, if I just wanted something sweet, many other things would do.  Some days an apple might work, but not last night.  I ended up drinking two sips of a Stevia soda, and felt absolutely fine!  No need for Coconut Bliss, and approximately 1,800 calories saved.  (Yes, I would have eaten the whole pint!) 

I know this won’t always work in every situation; sometimes you may decide to splurge anyway.  But by stopping, breathing and being mindful, you’re far more likely to back away from eating food you’ll wish you’d never eaten, and if you do eat it, you’ll be eating it more mindfully, and therefore much more likely to eat less of it.

So, go!  Enjoy the holidays!  But be mindful of what you’re eating along the way, and you’ll start the New Year in a much happier – and healthier – state of mind.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Secret to Succeeding as a Vegan

As a vegan motivational speaker, the number one question I get is, “How do you stick with the vegan diet?  I inevitably reach for something vegetarian – usually cheese or chocolate - whenever I get weak!”  The answer, surprisingly, does not lie in your weakness for cheese or chocolate!  The answer lies in your ability to be prepared. 

Over the years, I have found with my clients that when I dig into the circumstances surrounding their foray away from their vegan commitment, it always had to do with not being prepared.  Here are examples of what I mean:

You are really hungry on Friday afternoon, looking forward to going home and making something yummy and vegan.  Your friend calls to ask about getting a ride to the Mexican Bar for Lisa’s birthday that night.  AGH!  You forgot about Lisa’s birthday!  You race to store to get a card and a gift, and show up late to the bar.  Everyone’s gathered around the table, they have a margarita waiting for you, and two huge appetizers with cheese nachos and jalepeno poppers.  Knowing that it won’t be easy to get vegan food, and you’re starving hungry, you capitulate and dig in.

Your family members or roommates regularly bring non-vegan food into the house.  You didn’t plan for dinner, and hungrily open the refrigerator door, only to find birthday cake left over from last night.  You tell yourself, “Ooooooo!!  Left over birthday cake!  I love birthday cake!  Just this once!” and dig into their non-vegan food.

You’re going to Cancun for vacation.  The flight is late, you’re getting hungry, and you can’t find anything but a salad with creamy dressing at the airport.  You finally just order it, and throw in some bread that you know probably has egg and/or butter in it, because you figure you can’t really let yourself starve.

Each of these examples has the same common denominator:  You simply weren’t prepared.  You might think that it’s your weakness for birthday cake or cheese nachos, but in fact, there are amazing vegan cakes and (finally) amazing vegan cheese on the market as well.  If it was really just a question of you getting over your craving, you could go to the store or a vegan restaurant and get whatever it is that you’re craving.

So what is the answer?  Be prepared.  Every night you should look at your calendar and know what the following day holds for you, and prepare yourself for it.  Do you need to bring your own snack for the plane?  Call ahead to the restaurant to tell them a vegan is coming in tonight?  Ask your friends to switch restaurants so you’ll have options?  Stock your kitchen regularly with your favorite foods so you don’t run out of them and get tempted by roommates’ or family members’ non-vegan food? 

The answer – being prepared – is actually very simple … it just requires a tiny bit of planning on your part each day.  Commit to being prepared, and you’ll likely find it easy to be vegan!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I love discovering a great new vegan restaurant, but I love it even more when I can share it with someone fun!  This past Friday I was taken to Herbivore in San Francisco’s eclectic Mission District by the publisher of VegNews Magazine, Joe Connelly.  VegNews is the leading vegetarian/vegan magazine in the country, and is packed full of useful information about the vegetarian and vegan diets.  I know it’s odd to say this, but I actually really enjoy the advertisements!  As a vegan, it can be hard to find things like vegan cheese, vegan shoes or vegan clothes.  I find great ads for companies I wouldn’t have otherwise known about amongst the pages of VegNews.  I have even found things I didn’t know I was looking for – like ads for vegan Bed & Breakfasts!

Anyway, I digress.  Joe took me to a great lunch, where we shared the raw beet and spinach salad, and the quinoa salad, in an effort to make Joel Fuhrman proud.  (We are not telling Joel what we ordered for dessert, but it was my birthday week!)  If you live in or find yourself visiting the San Francisco Bay area, I highly recommend checking out Herbivore.  In addition to amazing salads, they had a 100% vegan menu, full of delicious items that you may not find vegan in many other places, like shwarma and phad kee mao.  And of course, german chocolate cake and carrot cake.  Not that I would know anything about those…

Sarah Taylor and Joe Connelly at the trendy new office of VegNews Magazine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

60,000 A Day

I was recently at a fundraiser for Animal Acres, and the producer/director/someone-important from the movie Earthlings was there.  I had not seen the movie, and made the public faux pas of admitting that I had not seen it at one of the biggest vegan gatherings in California of the year!  So, I rented it.  I have not got past the first section (of five) due to not being able to see through my tears, but I will force myself to watch them all, just to remind me of why I do what I do.  But this movie goes far beyond how food gets to our table. 

The first section – what I’ll focus on for this blog posting – focuses on pets.  I know this is graphic and sad, but I think it’s important to know:  60,000 (generally) perfectly healthy pets are put down every single day in this country, for the simple lack of a home.  To see footage of a happy dog, wagging its tail as it’s getting cuddled - only to be dead seconds later by lethal injection - is horrifying.  To see a group of excited dogs, tails a-wagging, go racing into a gas chamber to scope it out, only to come out dead 20 minutes later and thrown in the back of a truck … it’s put me on a mission. 

When we got beautiful Maggie Moon, I was unaware of how big this problem is.  We bought her from a lovely breeder who we adore, so I recognize that breeders are not always horrible puppy-mill types.  Many of them are lovely people who want to bring sweet dogs into the world to add happiness to our homes.  However, it must also be realized (and I get this now) that the bumper sticker “Breeders kill shelter dogs chances” is true:  For every dog or cat you choose to buy from a breeder instead of rescue from a shelter, one of the shelter animals will be seeing its very last day here on earth.  It’s simple math.

So, for my birthday (which is today) my husband finally capitulated into getting another cat.  I picked him out at the local shelter, and he purrs like a freight train when you pick him up.  He’s absolutely adorable!  We named him Shanti Moon (Shanti being Sanskrit for “peace,” and Moon in honor of Maggie Moon) and when we look in his eyes, we see that we have saved a life; if not his, then some other cat’s, who go to stay alive one more day because we opened a spot by taking Shanti.  That extra day could be the difference between having a loving new home and being dead.

So, I ask you:  Have you spayed/neutered all of your animals?  Do you have room for one or two more, to save an extra life or two that may be gone tomorrow without your help?  Can you commit to getting the rest of your animals from a shelter instead of a breeder?  The reward for these small decisions is … life!

Sarah & Shanti Moon

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vegan Pets

When Maggie Moon was still alive, people often asked, “Is your dog vegan too?”  I have heard of people putting their dogs and cats on a vegan diet, but I can’t help think that just because it may be healthier for humans to eat a plant-based diet, dogs and cats are carnivores!  If you’re not too sure that you’re meant to eat (mostly or all) plants, and dogs and cats are meant to eat meat, just open your mouth and look at your teeth in the mirror and then look at your dog or cat’s teeth.  Compare both to a lion’s teeth. As they say on Sesame Street … one of these things is not like the other! 

Here are some more differences between carnivores and herbivores:

·     A carnivore’s teeth show evidence of their need to tear and rip apart their dinner
·     Their night vision (the time of day they generally hunt) is superb
·     Their intestines are very short, allowing their bowel to take out the needed protein and quickly rid the acidic meat from their body in hours.  (This explains why humans who eat meat are many times more likely to get colon cancer than vegetarians – the acidic meat sits in their intestines and basically ferments before it’s eliminated three days later. Colon cancer among vegetarians is almost nonexistent.)
·     They have long, sharp and strong claws which help them to capture and kill their dinner
·     Their hearing is acute – a cat accustomed to hunting can hear a mouse across a field.
·     They can run like the wind, allowing them to chase down their dinner. 

Compare all this to a cow, an elephant, or a buffalo.  All are big strong creatures … but they aren’t made to eat meat.  Which are you most similar to – a carnivore or an herbivore?  Which is Fluffy or Fido most like?

"People eat meat and think they will become strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass."  - Pino Caruso, Italian Actor

I know many vegans may shun me for saying this, but if you have a dog or cat, remember that they are carnivores.  They are not meant to eat an all-plant diet, just like humans, cows or elephants are not meant to eat an all-meat diet.  You may choose to find a cruelty-free (as much as it can be cruelty-free) pet food provider, but for the health of your pet, do not force them to be vegan.  It’s simply not their nature.

If you have ideas for cruelty-free pet food, please post below!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Seeking Vegan Women for Interview in Prevention Magazine!

I need your help!  Prevention Magazine, one of the best selling health magazines for women in the country, will be interviewing me for an upcoming article on the vegan diet, set to print March - May 2011.  They have asked me for women to showcase, and here is what they need:

Women aged 30-65 who have been vegan (ideally for about a year or slightly less, but all will be considered) who are interested in telling Prevention magazine how the vegan diet has helped you feel better, look better, prevent or cure disease, etc.  Prevention will interview a small handful of vegan women, and pick four to showcase (with a photo) in an upcoming article on the vegan diet.  If you or anyone you know might be interested, please get back to me (or have them get back to me) at with the following information.  Thanks!

Years/Months as a Vegan
One-two sentences about how the vegan diet has helped you.
Contact Phone
Contact e-mail

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vegan Made Easy!

Out of all the questions I could get about my veganism, the most common is not “WHY are you vegan?” it’s “HOW do you eat that way???”  For most people, the idea of giving up their favorite foods, having to start with all new recipes, trying to eat out at restaurants, etc, seems overwhelming.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big fan of easy.  I generally don’t like things that take a long time to culminate – a complicated recipe rarely gets a glance from me, and growing my own vegetables?  Forget about it! 

Since I know there are many others who feel the same way, I am going to tell you about some of my favorite items that help me keep life simple.  If you have any to add, put them in the comments section!

Is Your Wine Vegan?
iPhone App 
If you haven’t heard yet, many wines are not vegan because they use animal bone and other products in the manufacturing process.  While it’s not a complete list, “Is Your Wine Vegan?” allows you to quickly pull out your phone and decide on a wine with little intrusion to your dinner.

Vegan Passport
iPhone App and printed booklet 
If you like to travel to foreign countries, Vegan Passport will translate different phrases to explain your eating habits in 33 languages!  No more settling for salad for days on end.

Website and iPhone App
This website and iPhone application has over 13,000 recipes, all rated and commented on by a vast number of participants, that quickly allow you to find 5-star recipes certain to satisfy the most carnivorous friends and family members!

Veggie Chopper
Kitchen Gadget
I don’t know the real name for this item, but they are for sale all over the internet, including Dr. Fuhrman’s website.  You just place pieces of onion, peppers, or whatever needs chopping on top of a grate, and close the lid over the grate.  The item gets cut in the grate and lands in a graduated container, letting you know how much you have chopped so far!

I know they are expensive (several hundred dollars) but a Vitamix is like a blender on steroids.  It will blend anything effortlessly, including ice.  To clean, just rinse, put about two cups of hot water with a splash of dish washing soap back in the blender, and turn it on!  Thanks for that tip, Mom.  J

What about you?  Do you have any tips you can share?  If so, put it in a comment below!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Can a Vegan Diet Save the Planet?

My book is known as Vegan in 30 Days but its official title is, Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy.  Save the World.  In a recent interview, I was asked, “How can the vegan diet save the world?”  This is my favorite question I’ve ever been asked!  It made me think of a recent conversation that I had with my husband, Mark, and our friend Mike while we were hiking.  The question was posed, “If you were president of the US and could make one unilateral law that the whole country would immediately have to abide by, what would it be?  Here was my answer…

 “I know it sounds like I’m on my vegan bandwagon, but I would make the whole country go vegan, and here’s why:  Our country is facing a major health epidemic, almost all of it due to obesity and bad food choices.  The obvious things like heart disease and diabetes are astronomically expensive because so many people have them, and they can lead to complicated and expensive surgeries, blindness and amputation.  Many cancers are also heavily linked to diet, and although most people don’t realize it, doctors like Joel Fuhrman are finding that a huge number of auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis can be treated extremely effectively with diet.  So, it has been estimated that 80% of our nation’s health problems could be fixed through diet – specifically a healthy plant-based diet.  Therefore a healthy vegan diet would take care of our nation’s health care crisis, and probably eradicate a lot of depression at the same time, as people with serious health problems also get depressed.

Secondly, global warming is a massive problem, and the US is at the heart of it.  Although we only represent 5% of the world’s population, we contribute about 25% of the pollution.  Because factory farming causes more problems to the air quality than automobiles do, switching to a vegan diet will help tremendously with our environmental problems.  According to the 2006 UN report, a person who switches from the standard American diet to a vegan/vegetarian diet will help the planet more than a person who switches from driving a Hummer to driving a Prius.  Also, many places (like Australia) are having a huge water shortage and have to ration it very carefully.  It takes somewhere between 2,500 – 6,500 gallons of water to get a pound of steak to your table, as compared with 60 gallons for a pound of potatoes, or 108 gallons for a pound of wheat.  So, moving to a vegan diet would save a lot of our precious water resources.

And that’s not all!  It’s so much more efficient to produce crops than animals, and many have estimated that if the world went vegan, we could wipe out world hunger with all the extra grains, beans and produce we could produce.

The cruelty that occurs in factory farming operations is horrific. It is terribly, terribly sad to see footage of the animals being dragged, beaten, and stuffed into cages where they spend their entire lives.  Imagine being stuffed into an elevator for your entire life, sitting in your own excrement, not ever seeing sunlight, and crying out in pain from standing all day, or sitting on a wire floor.  But even if you don’t care about the animals, these practices affect our nation – studies have shown that when boys in a juvenile detention center are unknowingly switched to a vegetarian diet, fighting within the center decreases by almost 40%.  It is hypothesized that the adrenaline and other chemicals that course through the body when it is in “fight or flight” mode (as happens to animals when they are about to be slaughtered) ends up in high levels in the flesh of the animals when they are killed.  When we subsequently eat that flesh, it makes us more aggressive.  In fact, many, many vegans report feeling surprisingly more peaceful after adopting a vegan diet.”

So, I truly do believe the vegan diet could save the world.  Imagine if everyone went vegan!  We could conceivably come very close to eradicating most health problems, our nation’s health care crisis would go away, the environment would have a chance to restore itself, we would have fewer issues with water shortage, there would likely be less crime, and no animals or fish would be harmed along the way.  Switching to a vegan diet seems so obvious that I stand in awe that the whole world doesn’t know about this information, or think it’s crazy.   But I suppose that at one time, people thought Galileo was crazy for announcing that the world is round.  I like to hope it’s just a matter of time until eating meat seems just as ridiculous as a flat earth.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vegan Sangria!

Well, my mom and dad came over for dinner tonight, and, as usual, I fretted about what to make for dinner.  Dad is an established carnivore, and my recipes that other carnivorous friends usually rave about, my dad always seems to find barely tolerable.  He's always polite about whatever I serve, but I can tell he's wishing he was back at his house in front of Jeopardy! eating a steak or a grilled cheese sandwich.

So, Mark suggested the Paella recipe from the Yoga Journal (June 2010) and we decided to make it "Spanish Night."  I can't post the paella recipe without violating copyrights (but definitely look it up - it's amazing!) but we came up with our own sangria recipe that is probably the best sangria I have ever had, thanks to a tip from a Trader Joe's employee!  Best of all, Dad loved the whole meal.  Here is our sangria recipe:

Vegan Sangria
1 bottle vegan red wine*
1 bottle Italian Blood Orange Soda (we found it at Trader Joe's)
1 apple
1 orange
1 pear
1 lemon
1 lime

Cut the apple and pear into bite sized chunks, slice orange, lemon and lime.  Put into large container, add wine and soda.  Chill for 2 hours in fridge.  Add ice when serving.

* Not sure if your favorite wine is vegan?  Get the iPhone application, "Is Your Wine Vegan?" and the puzzle is solved!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Famous Vegans & Normal Freaks

Bill Clinton announced this week that he has gone vegan for his heart health … and dropped 24 pounds on the way! Ellen DeGeneres has made the switch to a vegan diet too, as has Actress Alicia Silverstone, Olympian Carl Lewis and World Champion Ultra-marathoner, Scott Jurek, among many others. Even Oprah has done a 21 day vegan diet.

I get so excited when I hear that “normal” people have decided to vegan. For so many years, when I would tell people that I was vegan, they would look me up and down and say, rather skeptically, “But you don’t look vegan!” I think there is (or hopefully, was) a belief that to be vegan you must have dreadlocks, wear Birkenstocks, and grow your armpit hair out. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things…

But I always felt that I was fighting an uphill battle. I felt that, as a vegan, people assumed I was a bit of a freak. (In fact, I may be, but that happened long before I ever went vegan! LOL!) I always wanted to let everyone know that all kinds of people eat a vegan diet – mothers, fathers, children, accountants, actors, politicians, athletes … and even the girl next door, which is exactly why my company is named “The Vegan Next Door.” My goal is to reach out to all of the "normal" people and let them know that other normal people have gone vegan too - and it's not so freaky after all.

So, today I devote my blog to all those people who are open-minded enough to actually read the arguments for veganism objectively ... how healthy it is, how compassionate it is for the animals, and how thoughtful for the environment. Cheers to you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Make a Difference - Eat Chocolate!

I didn't really imagine that I would use my blog to tout other people's sites and products, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me - I LOVE to pass on information to people and see their face light up when they hear about something I recently discovered that they are equally excited about.

So what am I so excited about today?  I received an e-mail from my friend Danielle this morning, touting chocolate with a cause!!  Entrepreneur and dancer Sarah Gross started a vegan chocolate company, and 100% of the proceeds go to animal organizations!!  Her company is named "Rescue Chocolate" ( and their tag line is "The Sweetest Way to Save a Life."  My husband adores spicy chocolate bars, so he will be getting several bars of "Pick Me! Pepper" in his Christmas stocking this year - and 100% of the profits will go to helping dogs in shelters, desperately hoping that someone will pick them for a new home.  He will also get some of the chocolate hearts with raspberry ganache filling (vegan ganache - who knew!?) and the proceeds will go to circus animals, lab animals, abandoned exotic pets and other critters who are meant to be in the wild.  Other products, like "Peanut Butter Pitbull," go to help specific animal rescue agencies, in this case pitbull rescue organizations.  You get the idea.

I have never met Sarah Gross, nor do I have any connection with her company.  I just thought that as a chocolate-loving vegan with a big heart for animals, I couldn't let the opportunity pass to tell everyone I can about how they, too, can make a difference by eating chocolate!  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Blog Begins! Why are YOU vegetarian/vegan?

Thanks for showing an interest in my new blog! I plan to post once a week or so, and will discuss all types of topics related to the vegan diet, nutrition, health, the environment, and spirituality as it relates to food.

So, what to discuss on the first blog entry? What else? What made YOU decide to go vegetarian/vegan? If you are not currently eating a veggie diet, read on, and see if you are inspired...

I remember how I went vegan like it was yesterday. No one could have been more surprised than me - the girl whose four food groups were Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar and Chocolate. It was about a year after Mark and I got married. We had both gained weight due to "Our Oreo Habit" (about 3 bags a week!!) and our propensity to eat out. At the time, I called myself a vegetarian, but I wasn't - I still ate fish, so I was really a pescetarian - a fish and dairy eating machine with hardly a vegetable in sight! Not anything close to a vegetarian! Not surprisingly, I was becoming a pudgy pescetarian...

On our way to Whistler for a long weekend, I realized I had forgotten my library books at home. Because I have a reputation for staying in bookstores for hours at a time, I had to beg Mark to stop at Barnes & Noble on the way. He did, on the caveat that I went straight in, bought my book, and came straight out. I ran in as fast as I could, ran to the diet book section, and grabbed a book by John Robbins titled Diet for a New America. It sounded like it might help me drop those extra pounds that were starting to pile on, and I prayed that this book would be the one that would finally help me lose the weight. Ironically, while I don't believe weight loss is ever mentioned in the book, after reading about the health effects of eating meat and dairy, how the animals are treated in factory farms, and the implications of a meat and dairy diet on our environment, I not only went vegan overnight, but I also lost the 10 pounds in about 6 weeks!

I find it fascinating that, in a vain effort to lose weight and look better, Diet for a New America helped me to find my spirituality instead - compassion and kindness to others. It's almost hard for me to recognize the person that I used to be - caught up in so many things that seem so unimportant now.

So, that's my story. What about you? How did you go vegetarian or vegan? If you're not eating a veggie diet yet, what's holding you back?