The Answer is YES–They ALL Can

After a great visit with Derek and Jolene and their animals, we are back.   Great adventures, great food and great fun with the animals.  For those that wondered, the racoon is not very interested in the puppies and they are figuring out how to co-exist, quite nicely!  I tried to post a pic of the 3 of them roaming around the yard together (supervised) but I am technology challenged today.

After seeing Kyle and Nicole and Chase just a couple of weeks ago, and then the Vegas family, we come home feeling very happy, very proud and very grateful.

I absolutely love having Lulz, Chase, Nibbler, Pheebs and Lil Dude in the family.  Animals bring so much into our lives.

If they had cows, pigs, ducks, turkeys–I would feel no differently.  They are all so special and all deserve equal treatment.

As we travel through this Vegan (Feast) Thursday, let’s try to keep in mind the following:

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I am back on schedule today, and plan to be at all scheduled classes and sessions for months to come…

See you there, or here.

Because all MEALS Matter……

People would be surprised to see how much VEGAN food they really eat–but somehow when you attach the word VEGAN to food, most people just imagine tofu and lettuce.   So I am positive the word VEGAN denotes negative thoughts to many non-vegans.  This really needs to change.

If you like peanut butter, bagels, salads, pasta, hummus, fruits, potato chips, popcorn, oreos, rice and beans, french fries, hash browns, chick peas, vodka, coffee, pretzels, nuts, raisins, ghiradelli chocolate chips, english muffins…I can go on, but I think the picture is clear, then you already are eating many naturally VEGAN foods.  I just had a peanut butter and banana sandwich on nice grainy bread–absolutely NO sacrifice there!

My intention is not to try to convert people.  It’s simply to bridge the gap between the animal eaters and the non-animal eaters.  So many people ask me what I eat…my simplest answer is I eat most everything you do, except the foods that came from animals.

We all have so much more in common, that what divides us.  Peace out and if you can look at the above list and put together an animal free meal today, that would be an amazing way to help so much more than the animals.  The earth and YOUR BODY will both benefit….from even just one meal.  Because ALL MEALS MATTER (and so do ALL animals)

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Does this look like sacrifice?

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ALL Lives Matter

It was so beautiful to look at all the pictures of dogs on the internet this week…people celebrating National Dog/Puppy Day.  We humans sure do love our dogs, our cats, our birds, our pet fish and turtles, etc.  Basically, we are a society of self-proclaiming animal lovers.  http://www.mysantosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/animals.jpg

OR ARE WE?

Because ALL lives matter, please consider a meatless meal or two today.  Remember what’s good for the animals is also good for the earth and definitely so good for you!  Happy Vegan (Feast) Thursday.

Green, Lost (but not to be found) Plants and Peace….

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Happy St. Patty’s Day to one and all and may the luck of the Irish be with you as you journey through your day.

Also a HUGE congrats to Carol R. on hitting the 20 pound weight loss mark this morning.   This has happened in 10 weeks, proving if you can get your brain in the right place and then make good choices one day at a time goals become accomplishments.  Can’t wait to celebrate together!!!

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Also great article, Carole W. about the vegan course at UCSB.   Knowing that someone out there is teaching our youth about veganism and how it intersects with politics, lifestyles, etc. is very encouraging!  I know from my own personal experience that eating a plant-based diet has changed my thinking about almost everything!  There is every reason to believe our planet would be more peaceful and compassionate if we all chose to eat living plants and not dead animals.  Hence, I don’t really buy into the notion that vegans are violent.  Some of the nonsense is the news is just that! 

 

 

Thursday Will Always and Forever Remain VFT

Thinking about these one month challenges and imagining a challenge that involves just giving thought to what animals and animal by-products are involved in the ingredients in each of our meals.  They say that awareness is everything and awareness is definitely always the first step before change occurs.

Most all of us can agree that hurting animals pains us–most of us would say it pains us deeply.   With that said, I am not suggesting this challenge is going to  make us feel super comfortable, but it is, after all, a challenge!

If we do nothing else but just give awareness at each meal, maybe the next step would naturally be to start tweaking some choices.  An example of a very simple swap would be using mustard, ketchup, a non-dairy/non-egg mayo (like Just Mayo) or even avocado, instead of  traditional mayo, as a condiment.

Some really simple swaps, require nothing but reading ingredients.  Plenty of breads have eggs, cheese and other animal by-products in them, plenty are void of all of those.  Bagels are a great example (unless they are egg bagels).   Choosing a breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter, bananas, strawberries, raisins, and cinnamon (zero animals hurt in that breakfast) over eggs, bacon, buttered toast and coffee with milk (all containing animals) is a choice that would not only better the lives of animals and the condition of our planet, but bonus round—you will be all that much healthier (and lighter in body and soul) too.

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But really, for today, this Vegan (Feast) Thursday, I am just imagining us all simply being aware.  If you really love animals, remember that love always requires sacrifice!

If you have any great food swaps, let us know!  Peace…..

 

 

ALL Lives Matter. It’s bigger than US, people!

Black lives matter, cops lives matter, your life matters…

ALL LIVES MATTER

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All lives matter.  Your life matters.  What you eat matters.  Animal lives matter.

It seems the surest way to take care of your own life, the lives of the animals and the life of our planet, as well, is to eat more cancer preventing, heart healthy, life supporting foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds (and so much more).

My hope today, on this Vegan (Feast) Thursday, is that you will at least consider a plant-based meal or two.  Hey, it doesn’t have to be tofu with a side of lettuce…  I don’t know a one of us who has been tortured by eating a good PB&J sandwich!  Think outside the box, because there are way more non-animal foods outside of that box, than in it……………..

I will be subbing at 10 this morning and tomorrow morning.  Regular 11:30 tomorrow as well.  Gym is closed on Monday.

 

Cherry Cherry Boom Boom!

Thanks to the good folks who put out the Forks Over Knives newsletter, for this recipe.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I am absolutely going to as soon as I get the cherries.  I am going to get the already pitted frozen cherries.  Low in calories and free of animal products.  Sounds like a total win-win.  We are big on the Dole Banana Dippers because the banana really does mimic ice cream very well, so I would have to imagine this recipe will be yummy!

Try it and let me know what you think!  I will do the same….

This is a vegan version of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. It’s a delicious, refreshing, and guilt-free soft-serve dessert.

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, combine the frozen banana pieces, cherries, and vanilla extract.

2. Process until creamy, adding almond milk one tablespoon at a time as necessary.

3. Pulse in the chocolate chips. Serve immediately.

Photo by Ann Oliviero
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Lions and Tigers and Cows, Oh My!

This being Vegan (Feast) Thursday, it seemed appropriate to address the issue of Cecil the lion.  NEVER wanting to be one to offend, I tend to stay pretty quiet about my choice to thrive on a plant-based diet and refrain from purchasing animal products.  After all, the more time spent in meditation, the more clear I feel about NOT being a judge and jury of anyone else.

It would be a lie to say, though, that it is not frustrating to read and hear and see all the outrage over the killing of this most magnificent king of the jungle.  For most of us, it is beyond our comprehension to kill a lion.  Same goes for a cat, or a dog.  All day long we post pictures of animals and converse about how much we love them.

No.  I am not the judge, but who of any of us is?  Who decides which animals are pets, which are for farms, which are for zoos, which are for hunting, which are for hanging on a wall, which are for food, which are for shoes and purses and furniture?

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Many will point out to me that is all about culture.  In some cultures it’s ok to eat cows, while in others, it’s about the worst thing you can do!  Certainly as Americans we frown upon anyone that would eat dog meat, or horse meat, but when you step aside from “culture” what really IS the difference????

No.  I never set out to offend.  This morning’s meditation was about how when we are our TRUE selves, we are our WHOLE selves.   Then, while taking a very quick scroll through Facebook, I saw this:

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So my deepest apologies you find anything offensive about this post.  So many things that end up on the internet are offensive and often hurtful, when that is probably never the intention of the person posting.

Many discussion have been had about all the emotions involved with this thing we call Facebook.  Many studies have been done by researchers (some by Facebook manipulating our feed!) and one thing that has been found is that the emotion most associated with reading Facebook is ENVY.  (The more vacation pics and pics of things people have acquired,  the less worthy others feel. These photos, however, are just a snapshot in time.  We often have NO idea what else is going on in these people’s lives.  No one ever posts when they are getting calls from collection agencies or their kids just got in trouble, etc.) Another study revealed that the more positive posts we see, the more we are likely to post positive things as well.  The opposite also held true.

Being human, I admit to have had my fair share of  walking away from Facebook, frustrated, annoyed or hurt.  Recently, I have made the connection and have decided less time on Facebook is a good thing for me.  That’s just me.

My blog will continue to get posted to Facebook and I strongly encourage you to hide my posts or scroll past them quickly if you find them offensive.  My aim is ALWAYS more peaceandfitness!

Please consider your food choices, today and every day.  What is good for the animals, is also what is best for our health and the planet.

Please also feel free to leave any comments on either of these 2 topics.  Let’s get people talking and hopefully moving towards a more peaceful planet.

Life According to the Lorax

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Yesterday, while running at a track I frequent, I finally had the perfect opportunity to say “thank you,” to the man who is always there walking but also feeding the beautiful stray cats who live there.  He comes on his bicycle, parks it and starts walking the trail, filling bowls he has placed in designated spots at the back of the park.  On many occasions I have witness how happy the cats are as they come running out to eat and drink fresh water.  It always impresses me how well they share with one another, a lesson we humans can stand to learn.  He has been doing this for 7 years and recently found one baby kitten there, which he decided to take in as his own.   Sounds like it was a win-win for the man and the kitty!

One thing I have observed through my 35 years in the fitness industry is that people that take care of their own health by working out, also tend to care more about the well-being of others.  My students are the most giving, kind, unselfish people and it is a gift to watch them interact with one another.

My mind goes back to a something my sister and brother-in-law gave Kyle when he born.  A beautiful prayer, by Hillel which opened with these words:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?

As you make your way through this (Vegan Feast) Thursday, please consider a plant-based meal (or 3) and remember that the animals have all the same needs as the humans.  Maybe more.  They, after-all, cannot speak for themselves.

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