Bunnies, BOGOS, and all the Peeps…..

Lots of people will be celebrating Easter, tomorrow, and lots of parents will be out, today, trying to grant their children’s wishes for their very own cuddly bunnies.  Personally, I am all about pets, and bunnies are absolutely adorable.  Just make sure that if you are bringing one into your home (or even more so, the home of another) that you have done your homework.

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Bunny rabbits will live over 10 years.  They need the proper amount of space to get in ample exercise and play.  If they are not given this, they will get bored and boredom ALWAYS leads to trouble.   They need a lot of fiber– probably access to grass and/or hay, all day.  They need to be litter trained.   No two bunnies are the same.  They may be affectionate, but also can be aloof and have a need for alone time.

Rabbits are absolutely adorable.  They are not, however, stuffed animals.  If you do all your homework and still decide this is a great animal for your home, please find one you can rescue.  Every Easter there are a lot of bunnies sold to people who find, soon after, they really can’t care for them and give them to a shelter.  Rescuing one, which will probably already be litter trained, is a fabulous option and a win/win situation.

On a totally different note (but then again, not really)….Gardein products are BOGO at Publix this week, starting Monday.  This is a big celebration in my home where I stock my freezer with breakfast patties, crabless cakes, fishless fillets and chicken(less) tenders.  There is such a big selection and Publix has been doing a great job of making them available to us.   It makes me very happy to hear how many NON-vegans have added Gardein products to their shopping lists.  I stay away from the ones that come with sauces, because of calories, but I bet those are REALLY good.   Additionally, Earth Balance products are also BOGO @ Publix this week.  It’s a good week for stocking up on some animal free products!

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And while I am on the topic of awesome plant-based foods, I tip my hat, once again, to the good people at the Falafel Bistro in Coral Springs/Parkland.  This place consistently makes me happy.  Yes, the prices can be a bit high, but seriously the food makes it all worth it.  I had there food 2 days in a row this week.  Not too many places in town make a vegan tofu scramble with tons of veggies, served piping hot in a cast iron skillet with all kinds of side dishes (hummus, pita, salad)…and the mushroom kabobs (which are really patties) are so good, also served with amazingly delicious sides (many to chose from)…I am pretty excited about the leftovers in the fridge!  Most of their soups are vegan and enjoying a cup helps us to understand how UN-necessary creams are, when making creamy soup!  Last night Mitch and I shared some creamy garlic cauliflower soup that was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

Happy shared birthday to two women that are both so special to me, Joy and Lesley.  You both add such a bright light to our world and I am so thankful to have you both in my circle.  Hope you each have a wonderful day celebrating with your families…and have many, many more!

Wherever you are enjoy your Saturday and your Easter weekend.  I am keeping good thoughts for my family in NY this weekend, as I know it will be a tough “first.”  I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all of my friends and family for all the kind words, cards, thoughts, hugs, love and contributions made to the fund set up for my 13 year old great niece and nephew.  It will certainly help their dad, who is a police officer, provide for them these next few years and is appreciated so greatly.

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And one last thing…beware the sneaky peeps…they start in your mouth but definitely end up on your hips.  They have SOOO much sugar in them, one or two should really satisfy your craving without doing any damage!  Remember–it’s all about balance.

 

“The Bears”

This year, along with my Dolphins, I will be keeping tabs on “The Bears.”  Just drafted to this team, the 300 pound vegan, David Carter.

Apparently, after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, with his wife (an animal activist) he realized that the nutritional information he had been given by every sports nutritionist, coach, trainer and doctor, was actually killing him.

Carter has played for several other NFL teams, mostly on a traditional athlete’s diet, he did, obviously, have some concerns about ditching ALL animal products and by-products.   Instead,   he found that he “experienced numerous performance benefits, including increased strength, energy, speed, and recovery turn-over. ” 

If you are plant-diet curious, but afraid of how it might impact your athletic of fitness goals, this guy is living proof.  So don’t take my word for it.  We can argue the merits of protein and the mythical need for animal products till “the cows come home.” (Pun intended!) Instead, visit his website at the300poundvegan.com

Thanks to he and his wife Paige for all they do to help protect our animals and for helping to re-educate (vegucate).

While I will be cheering on my home team this fall, I will be watching Carter.   Show em what plant-strong can do!

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I will be taking the rest of the week off from blogging and most forms of technology while I enjoy some quality time with my family.

If you are looking for a dose of weight loss motivation, check out Chris and Heidi Powell, tonight, on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss on ABC at 9pm eastern time.

 

Eat What an Elephant Eats!

This article was pulled right off of the Forks Over Knives Newsletter.  They put out the best newsletter that comes in my mail, for sure.  Chock full of great information, photos, success stories, recipes and more, all designed around life on a plant-based diet.

I love everything about this article, and because I am always in conflict about working out and my the whole protein consumption thing, I love his attitude about nutrition, his amazing physique and how he teaches his son to honor the bounty of food available to us…But most of all I love (and want) his t-shirt that says “Eat What Elephants Eat.” 

How I Fuel Myself With a Plant-Based Diet as a Competitive Bodybuilder

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I did not grow up eating meat because my mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and health and vegetarianism are part of the religion. We moved to Jamaica for a few years to live with my grandparents, and it was during that time that we did eat some meat. After a while, I did become vegetarian again, but this time it was due to the Rastafari belief in an “ital” vegetarian diet.

I went full-force vegan in 1998. When I first decided to stop eating all animal products, I didn’t even use the term ‘vegan.’ Veganism is huge now, but I didn’t know the name for it then. It’s been my lifestyle for so long that I don’t know any different, and I don’t want to. People within the bodybuilding industry encourage me to eat meat or drink whey protein shakes to get even bigger. But I’m happy with where I am. I’m winning competitions and my lifestyle does no harm to others.

My Journey to Becoming a Professional Bodybuilder

When my brother and I first moved to Jamaica from Alabama, we had thick Southern accents. Other kids picked on us, so I needed to have an outlet and to get strong. I started to do push-ups and work out with free weights. After we moved back to the States,Torre Washington I continued to work out. I’ve always loved comic books, Wolverine, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that super-fit physique.

I played football and ran track during high school, but never competed as a bodybuilder. It wasn’t until after college that I thought about getting on a stage. I watched a friend of mine compete as a bodybuilder and I was inspired. I decided that I didn’t want to lie on my deathbed and regret never having tried, so I told my friend that I wanted to compete the next year. This was in 2008.

My friend couldn’t help with my diet since I didn’t want to start eating meat, but he did encourage me with training. In 2009, I competed in my first show and got third place. I was so excited and signed up for another one. I won that second show and I’ve never stopped. Now, four pro cards later and an incredible win at Musclemania, I’ve decided to do this full-time. I left my day job as an engineer for Honda earlier this year.

Plant-Based Performance

I’m an all-natural bodybuilder, which means I don’t take performance-enhancing drugs. I recently competed in the Arnold classic, which is not a natural show (meaning that they don’t test you). I was thrilled to be accepted to compete in it as an all-natural athlete. For many years, I just enjoyed competing but was very private about it. I never had any intention of becoming known as a “vegan athlete.”
But as time went on, people within the community began to ask me for tips and for training help. As the conversation went on, I’d find myself talking about my vegan lifestyle and dispelling myths about building muscle mass on a plant-based diet. It’s been an amazing experience now, seeing that something I love to do is an inspiration to others.

Food and Fuel

People ask me about protein, nutrients, and how many carbohydrates I get everyday because they want specifics. But I never track any of these things. Some days I eat three times a day, and other times I eat five times. Overall, I just continue to work out and eat a variety of healthy vegan foods. I believe in keeping it simple and not complicating things. Eat to live, and don’t live to eat. Eat nutrient-dense foods, sleep a lot, and drink water. Don’t eat empty calories.Torre tank

My diet doesn’t change much during competition or the off-season. If I’m competing, I increase my water intake and activity and might lower my overall calories a bit. But I also know my own body. I look at my physique and adjust from there. For my clients, I preach simplicity. Learn what works for your own body. I want to create leaders, not followers. So I want to teach people to eat effectively for their own bodies.

I’m not a picky eater, so if it’s healthy and vegan, then I’ll probably eat it. I could eat beans all day, and there’s not a green leaf that I don’t like. I love fruit, oatmeal, pancakes, wraps, sandwiches, and grilled tempeh with veggies. I tell my son all the time that there is someone in this country who is eating out of the trash right now. I want to teach him to be grateful for the bounty that we have; I don’t believe in wasting food.

Although I might grab a power bar or a shake if I’m at the airport or on-the-go, I don’t take any bodybuilding supplements. And I’m not going to promote anything that I don’t take. That’s not me.

Feature Photo [Left] by m.a.farrington
Inset Photo (above): VisUalize Photography by Kelvin Johnson

Stay in touch with Torre through his channelhis page, or his website.

 

Russell and Al Dine at Red Bamboo!

Thank you, thank you to the Today Show for a great little segment on this morning’s show called Vegan 101.  It was educational, informative and very positive!  The best part was when Russell Simmons took Al Roker to his favorite NYC restaurant Red Bamboo to sample a table full of amazing looking food.  Since I have eaten there twice (thank you, Derek for introducing me to that place and returning with me again on our last family trip to NY) I can definitely attest to how insanely amazing the food is at this all vegan joint in the village and highly recommend it!

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Just a couple of images taken off the page after doing a Google search for images of Red Bamboo.

The pros and cons were shared.  On the pro list were many health benefits such as lower cholesterol, higher fiber intake, healthier for the cardio-vascular system and often a lower weight/BMI than animal eaters.

The list of cons, weren’t really cons, at all.  They included needing to supplement our vitamin B-12 (as that is only found in animal products).  Many animal eaters need to take B vitamins anyway, and it’s easy enough to get amble B-12 by sprinkling cheesy flavored nutritional yeast (not to be confused with brewers yeast which is bitter) on…almost anything/everything–or taking a supplement if necessary.  Of course, making sure ample protein is consumed was on the list, but that’s an easy one –if you are eating healthfully, including nuts and beans in your daily diet, there shouldn’t be a problem–even for an athlete!

It was also good to hear them include how good a vegan lifestyle is for the environment.  Even taking just one day a week, like Meatless Monday, makes a huge POSITIVE impact on our planet, and of course the animals.

Russell Simmons has a book out called the happy vegan.  If you are not familiar with who he is, Simmons is a business magnate who, amongst other things, co-founded the hip-hop music label Def Jam and started a few clothing lines, including Phat Farm.  He balances his very busy ying business life with yoga and daily meditation.  He also authored a book on meditation called Success Through Sitting.

Thank you to Deepak Chopra for another great meditation this morning.  Earlier in the week he suggested saying “thank you,” in place of “yes.”  This immediately brings more gratitude to you.   Today’s centering thought was:

Every thankful moment makes me healthier.” 

I am grateful to you for coming in and taking a peak at peaceandfitness, this morning.  Thank you!

What’s Eating You?

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Several students have recently asked me what else they can do to combat their type 2 diabetes.  They are exercising regularly.  They are watching their sugar intake and following the diets that their physicians have put them on, but still their blood work reveals elevated numbers.  They feel their is nothing else they can do and worry that they will need to increase their meds, or move from pills to daily injections.

While I offer what information I can, I am not licensed in nutrition, so I tend to shy away from offering too much advice, but share what seems to work for others I know…and myself, of course.   Often, this is information that has never been mentioned by their doctors, and sometimes actually contradicts the diets that they have been put on.

Yesterday, while skimming through my DVR, I was so encouraged to find a health segment explaining how red meat is contributing to the high rate of diabetes in America.  Many may cock their heads here, thinking “huhhh?”  How can a protein like meat contribute to a rise in sugar??

Perhaps the way we break down our food groups has caused more confusion, than good, because most foods are not that “black and white.”  For example, especially when initially leaning into a plant-based diet, people are surprised by how much protein they can get from their vegetables.  So while we know that red meat is a high source of protein, we also have to remember that it’s a source of bad fats.  Without going into all the confusing scientific details, where there is animal fat, there is dietary cholesterol and the relationship between elevated cholesterol and type 2 diabetes is very high!

Countless studies support that eliminating red meat from our diets can help control our blood sugar.  This is also a case of more (or less) is better.  Eliminating animal products, will eliminate the ingestion of bad fats, which directly lowers our risk factors for many of the big dreaded diseases.

While I was encouraged to watch this segment of national TV, I was also annoyed that this information is NEWS at all.  The China Study, written by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, was published almost 10 years ago and these doctors don’t treat symptoms, they work, instead, towards cures and prevention, while I feel most conventional doctors, following guidelines, are afraid to ask their patients to vie so far from a “traditional” American diet.

Is veganism extreme?  Perhaps to some.  I find it a much better extreme than insulin injections, cardiac by-pass surgery, daily medications and cancer treatments.

If you love yourself enough to really try to fix what’s broken, move away from meds and hopefully even avoid some of the big diseases of affluence, consider doing some of your own homework.  Pick up a copy of The China Study.  It’s a great place to start.  If you are a student of mine and would like to borrow my copy, I lend it HAPPILY!

On this Vegan (Feast) Thursday (geeesh I miss those dinners!) consider making some plant-based options.  I promise your meals can be just as satisfying once you change your brain!  And when you get you next get your blood work done, you may just like your new way of eating, a whole lot more.

Since it’s been a while since I was blogging much, please search back to Vegan Feast Thursday entries for more health info and plant-based recipes and feel free to ask me ANY questions………..thanks for taking the time to stop in for a dose of peaceandfitness and remember what’s good for the animals and our planet just so happens to be what’s good for us, too! 

 

All Fridays are Lucky!

Good morning and welcome to your Friday the 13th!  I think black cats are beautiful and I have never yet found them to be bad luck…just another case of animals getting a bad rap!!

Even though I haven’t been blogging often, I have been trying to get on here on Thursdays to honor Vegan (Feast) Thursday, but yesterday was a busy day and so here it is Friday.  I have to say that I am so happy about the amount of people that have been telling me they are trying to eat plant-based diets as well as asking questions about recipes, different foods, etc.  This makes me happy because it’s always a win-win-win situation for the people, the animals and the environment!

While there are TONS of great vegan cookbooks (and I do think I have them ALL!) and lots of great info online, I have to say that I have really been enjoying, and highly recommend, the book Jolene sent me during the holidays.  It is called VEGAN’S DAILY COMPANION by Collen Patrick-Goudreau and I recommend this highly.  If a plant-based diet and lifestyle is new to you, or if you have been living the compassionate life forever, this book will still be of great interest.  It is chock full of great stories about people and animals, recipes, perspectives and so much more.

I haven’t made Shepherd’s pie since the feast days, but with St. Patty’s day approaching, it’s a perfect one, so I am reposting:  It looks like a lot of work, but it’s not at all difficult–just need a little time, but can prepare in advance……….

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VEGAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

For the beef mixture:

1/2 cup of chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 pound vegan beef crumbles (I use more!)

1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

1 cup vegan vegetable broth

1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme

1 teaspoon pepper

1-2 teaspoons salt (check sodium in the crumbles)

Saute the onions and carrots in oil for 5-7 minutes, or until onions soften.  Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer 10 minutes adding more broth as needed to allow cooking time.

For the Potatoes:

1 and 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (I use more!) peeled and roughly diced

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup vegan butter

3 tablespoons soy milk, or as needed (I use MUCH more)

salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes with the salt and cook about 20 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain well, mash and fold in butter.  Add soy milk as needed to create a firm, yet creamy texture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Pie:

The beef and potatoes from above

2-3 tablespoons vegan butter

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chopped chives or parsley (I just used a little more thyme)

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Place all the beef mixture in a 1 and 1/2 quart casserole dish (I use a large meatloaf/bread pan).  Top with all the potatoes.  Place small dollops of butter evenly across the top of the casserole.  Sprinkle paprika over top and bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly browned on top and well heated through.   I put the oven on broil for the last 5 minutes and it really made for a beautiful presentation.   Sprinkle with herbs to garnish and serve immediately.  This recipe makes about 5 servings.

Have a great Friday and remember, if you are lucky enough to see a black cat today, it’s all good!!!

Get Your Gardein….

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/01/80/8f/01808f0acc0a809155b44ec8637c8aed.jpgGardein products are buy one get one free this week at Publix.  Their sales are always Thursday to the following Wednesday.  Time to fill the freezer with breakfast patties and chicken tenders…if only Publix carried the fishless fishlets it would be perfect.  But that’s too easy……….

Since some have asked how to pronounce this brand–Gar-DEEN.  Like a garden that marries protein.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Time to Celebrate Chanukah….

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From our home, to yours, we wish you a very happy Chanukah.  May your candles burn brightly and may you holiday be filled with peace, love and abundant miracles.

An FYI for those of you who want to veganize your latkes, just omit the eggs!  Simple as that….

**Regular schedule today at TFC.  11:30am Senior Strength, 6pm Cardio Mix and 7 pm class, which will be an even more zen Yoga/Pilates aka stretchhhh reduction class than usual with ample time for contemplation and meditation.  This will be the last Tuesday night of classes until the new year and I hope to see you there for one or both!  

 

The Great Wheel of Color…..

No coincidence that our chakras are these colors and that eating foods associated with the color of each chakra can help balance them.  This chart will be super helpful when putting together your own chakra salad!  Using these colors/foods as a guide will not only be great for your body, heart and soul, but also will end up making a really pretty presentation!

 

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