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!