Happy Memorial Day!

"We are not above the world at all, in a position of domination and control, but are embedded within it, interdependent with other people, animals, and the natural world itself." -Reginald Ray, PhD


Free Veg Starter Kit Info

I picked up a postcard...it reads:

Gandhi: "The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated...."

Choose Peace-Choose Veg

Gandhi also said: "Be the change that you want to see in the world." The best way to see the change to nonviolence in the world is to become nonviolent towards our loved ones, toward the underprivileged, toward the animals, and toward our planet Earth.

*Going veg means becoming less violent toward our loved ones through reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic killer diseases that kill 1.4 million Americans each year.

*Going veg means becoming less violent towards 1 billion of our fellow humans who starve each year for lack of a small portion of the massive amounts of grains and legumes wasted as animal feed.

*Going veg means becoming less violent towards the 10 billion cows, pigs, and other innocent land animals and uncounted marine creatures who are abused and killed each year in U.S factory farms and slaughterhouses for our dinner table.

*Going veg means becoming less violent towards our planet Earth through reduced pollution of our waterways, devastation of our forests and other wildlife habitats, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.

For a free Veg Starter Kit: www.vegkit.org 800-632-8688


The Wealth of Health

As expected, I'm completely enthralled by "The China Study."  This book has so much useful and compelling information that I can't help the urge to share my new knowledge with others. Once I'm done with the book I want to look more into this subject of nutrition, and especially recent studies since most people I talk to all to often quote outdated and possibly dangerous information. No, cow's milk (as its produced today) is NOT a good source of calcium!

Anyway, I'll stop my ranting so that I can share a couple of paragraphs from the book. As always, I highly encourage you all to pick it up and give it a good read!

"Part II
Diseases of Affluence
"Here in America, we are affluent, and we die certain deaths because of it. We eat like feasting kings and queens every day of the week, and it kills us. You probably know people who suffer from heart disease, cancer. stroke, Alzheimer's, obesity or diabetes. There's a good chance that you yourself suffer from one of these problems, or that one of these diseases runs in your family. As we have seen, these diseases are relatively unknown in traditional cultures that subsist mostly on whole plant foods, as in rural China. But these ailments arrive when a traditional culture starts accumulating wealth and starts eating more and more meat, dairy and refined plant products (like crackers, cookies and soda).
...You might be surprised to know that the disease that interests you has much in common with other diseases of affluence, especially when it comes to nutrition. There is no such thing as a special diet for cancer and a different, equally special diet for heart disease. The evidence now amassed from researchers around the world shows that the same diet that is good for the prevention of cancer is also good for the prevention of heart disease, as well as obesity, diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, cognitive dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and other diseases. Furthermore, this diet can only benefit everyone, regardless of his or her genes or personal dispositions.
All of these diseases, and others, spring forth from the same influence: an unhealthy, largely toxic diet and lifestyle that has an excess of sickness-promoting factors and a deficiency of health-promoting factors. In other words, the Western diet.  Conversely, there is one diet to counteract all of these diseases: a whole foods, plant-based diet."

Continue making good choices for yourself, your surroundings and the planet!


Vegan in a tropical location?

So this past weekend I was visiting Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico with some girlfriends. It is about 40 minutes or so North of Puerto Vallarta. It is a quiet little town with some beachfront resorts that have started to pop up. My friends and I came here and stayed at the Villa La Estancia last year, and loved it so much that we came back this year. We stay in these large villas that have full kitchens, dining rooms, etc, so we are able to cook mostly for ourselves. We visited the grocery store and picked up everything necessary for 5 days in Mexico......including plentiful booze. What struck me was the availability of local (I am assuming), fresh produce. And I am pretty sure that this produce is available year round. Bananas, guavas, papayas, mango, pineapples, etc. Also, we had INCREDIBLE tomatoes and avocados. Round it out with fresh peppers, garlic, onions, cilantro, etc and that's all you need. So I've decided that it would be relatively easy to be vegan in a tropical location because of the produce at your fingertips. Everything is so fresh and so succulent, that it makes your mouth water.

I will say that on my vacation I did partake in eggs, ceviche, cheese, and shrimp. I did have a choice to not eat those things, but I guess I became a flexitarian in this situation. I am presuming (though I have no idea if it's true) that most of the food I ate came relatively local and was not a part of the factory farm system. So for my reasoning, that I was able to reconcile and be ok with. My only question was about tortillas. Are tortillas vegan? I am assuming they use some sort of lard or butter in them. I'll need to check that out.

Hope everyone has fun summer vacations coming up! -Foodie Vegan


Quote from Brigid Brophy

Whenever people say “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.
—Brigid Brophy (1929–1995)


Meatess Monday: Avocado Dip/Salsa-Original Recipe by Crafty Vegan's BF

This dip is done in 2 parts.....

Part 1
1 white onion
1/2 head of garlic
2 tablespoons tumeric
1 tablespoon cumin
salt to taste
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green)
4-5 roma tomatoes
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup chick peas, soaked overnight

Chop veggies and cook all ingredient lightly. Blend them together and set aside.

Part 2
2 ripe avocados
1/2 head of kale
juice from 1 lemon
3 celery stalks
1 box silken tofu

Chop celery and combine everything in a blender. Blend well. Add "part 1" dip and continue to blend.

Get some non-GMO corn chips and bom appetite!

We also used part 1 of the dip and mixed it with some cous cous....delicious!


Green Long Beach!

Tomorrow Crafty Vegan and I will be presenting our various vegan, eco-friendly handmade goods at the Green Long Beach festival! I participated in last year's event and it's such a pleasure to be included this second time around. I hope we continue this tradition for many years to come!
 me and my aunt marisa at Green LB 2009, my debut booth

If you live in the area, please come join us! There are tons of educational workshops, live performances and eco products to take advantage of and admission is free. 
We'll be near downtown Long Beach--in the block between 3rd and 4th street, Long Beach Blvd and Elm Street (Right next to the Metro Blue Line)

Hope to see you there!!!


Michael Pollan interview-Huffington Post

Michael Pollan is someone that comes to mind these days when speaking of food and what's going on with food in America. He is the author of The Omnivores Dilemna, Botany of Desire, and In Defense of Food. He also was interviewed in the movie Food, Inc. His "motto" can even be summed up into a few words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Foodie Vegan TOTALLY agrees with that. Pollan is also a critic of the modern factory farm system, of which I am also in agreement with Pollan. However, surprisingly, Pollan is not a vegan or even a vegetarian. In this Huffington Post interview, he brings up some interesting points:

*He hasn't eaten feedlot meat since 2002
*He does not agree with Jonathan Safren Foer that eating meat is morally reprehensible
*He disagrees with the modern agricultural system, but instead of focusing on abolishing it, he believes in fixing/bettering it
*He struggles with the idea of how to democratize healthy eating (local, fresh, organic) which can sometimes be more expensive. How to not make this movement elitist? How to make it more accessible?
*He does think the people are so far removed from what they are actually eating, especially meat. Meat and other food "products" are shrink wrapped, processed, made into powder form, etc and you really would have no idea what it is if you didn't have previous experience with eating it in that form.
*He advocates talking about food more and less about nutrients (salt, sugar, fat, high fructose corn syrup)
*He disagrees with the marketing messages of the large food companies (i.e. Kelloggs commercial and the claim that their Frosted Mini Wheats will help your child focus in school more)

So I am very happy that people like Michael Pollan exist. He is bringing up a dialogue of a lot of things that are in DESPERATE need of attention in this country. While I do not agree with him and HIS decision to eat meat, I recognize that it is just that, HIS decision. I am not 100% vegan, so I totally understand and come from the place of flexitarianism and doing what is best for you, your beliefs, and your lifestyle.

So hey, lets try it out today and eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Not a bad piece of advice.

The interview can be found at the link below:

The Promise of the Future

I started reading "The China Study" this week and I couldn't be happier. This book has me hooked! It's full of amazing, thorough, extensive research and it's great for anyone wanting to know more about nutrition and health--that includes those that already have a disease mentioned below, those studying nutrition and health, or those simply wanting to know how to prevent disease. Seriously I can't think of ONE PERSON who SHOULDN'T read this book!

So, to start what I'm sure will be a series of posts related to The China Study and T. Colin Campbell's research I'm sharing pg 23-24, from part 1, Chapter 1:

The Promise of the Future:
"Through all of this, I have come to see that the benefits produced by eating a plant-based diet are far more diverse and impressive than any drug or surgery used in medical practice. Heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, arthritis, cataracts, Alzheimer's disease, impotence and all sorts of other chronic diseases can be largely prevented. These diseases, which generally occur with aging and tissue degeneration, kill the majority of us before our time. 
Additionally, impressive evidence now exists to show that advanced heart disease, relatively advanced cancers of certain types, diabetes and a few other degenerative diseases can be reversed by diet. [...] The evidence can no longer be ignored. Those in science or medicine who shut their minds to such an idea are being more than stubborn, they are being irresponsible.
One of the more exciting benefits of good nutrition is the prevention of diseases that are thought to be due to genetic predisposition. We now know that we can largely avoid these "genetic" diseases even though we may harbor the gene (or genes) that is (are) responsible for the disease. [...] Solutions currently exist based in nutrition
In my own laboratory we have shown in experimental animals that cancer growth can be turned on and off by nutrition, despite very strong genetic predisposition. We have studied these effects in great detail and ahve published our findings in the very best scientific journals.  As you will see later, these findings are nothing short of spetacular and the same effects have been indicated over and over again in humans.
Eating the right way not only prevents disease but also generates health and a sense of well-being, both physically and mentally.[...]
Then there is the question of our excessive dependence on drugs and surgery to control our health. In its simplest form, eating the right way would largely obviate the enormous costs of using drugs, as well as their side effects. fewer people would need to wage lengthy, expensive battles with chronic disease in hospitals over their last years of life. Health care costs would drop and medical mistakes would wane as premature death plummeted. In essence, our health care system would finally protect and promote our health as it is meant to do. "

Next time I'll share more specifics as to which diets cause and promote disease and why...


Review of Green Leaves in West Hollywood

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking my hungover self to dinner at Green Leaves in West Hollyoowd. It was a business meeting though, so I had to behave myself!

This is a great little find. It is a small, clean, and airy place in a strip mall in West Hollywood. When I was given the menu, I couldn't believe how many things were on the menu......and they were ALL vegan. The menu is the type where every item is numbered, and just to give you an idea of the extensiveness (is that a word?) of the menu, there are 102 items to choose from!

I opted for the Rock and Roll noodles: Pan fried wide rice noodles, tofu, chili sauce, basil leave, tomato bell peppers, bean sprouts & special house jalapeno sauce. This is their signature dish and was a wallet-friendly $7.95. This would have EASILY been 2 full servings, however, in my hungover state, I was able to polish it off in one sitting. The flavors were incredible and it felt like such fresh and flavorful food.......what food should really taste like. Also of note, is that they have a billion choices for those of you that want to eat some processed vegan food.......they have soy everything (cheese, beef, chicken, fish, etc) and their menu pretty much can replicate any non-vegan item you could possibly want.

Their website is www.glvegan.com......please check them out!

Green Leaves
8351 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069


Loving Hut Vegan Restaurant in SF

This past weekend, my bf and I were in SF visiting family and friends...One of the fun things we got to experience was Bay to Breakers, which is a gathering/walk that takes place one a year around the month of May...not sure what it celebrates, but it's a huge carnival type event. Anything from Mario Brothers to naked folk to dance parties on the street, craziness!!

We also got to experience a new vegan restaurant which we ran into by mistake while driving down the street starving! The Loving Hut is located right by China Town...their moto is go veg, go green, save the planet. A moto that has been in line with my feelings for a little over a year now....Their lunch buffet is only $5.99, includes soup and 2 entrees!! Delicious food, nice atmosphere, great service.........below is their address, website and a little "About us" taken from their website:

"Loving Hut is created with a vision that all beings could live in peace, love and harmony with each other and the planet. Loving Hut chain restaurants are newly opening around the world. It is an invitation to gourmet cuisine made with wholesome vegan ingredients, offering an accessible starting point for those making the noble transition to a plant-based diet.

Your local Loving Hut is one of the many individually family owned restaurants. Loving Hut Restaurants are the fastest growing International vegan fast food chain in the world with branches from the West Coast in California to the East Coast of New York City. Internationally, branches are currently open in Formosa (Taiwan), Au Lac (Vietnam), Singapore, Indonesia, Tokyo and Hong Kong. More branches will be opening in various locations all around the world in the coming months.

As more and more people around the world adopt a plant based diet, Loving Hut is a beacon of light for an alternative way of living. It’s healthier, it’s compassionate, it’s peaceful and it’s the only way to a sustainable planet.

Be Veg. Go Green. Save the Planet!"

1365 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-2199



Flex it

Ladies and Gentlemen, Can I just express how thrilled I was to learn that Mario Batali (yep, Mr. Iron Chef himself) has joined the Meatless Monday bandwagon? I mean, the man has 14 restaurants (14!) and is going to be offering special vegetarian dishes at all of them for this awesome cause. Isn't that wonderful? 

And you know what else is great? Opening your mind, allowing your ideas to be challenged and your knowledge to grow even if it's done in baby steps. So today I want to give it up for all the flexitarians out there! Because the effort does count and it's a step in the right direction.

One of my coworkers gleefully recalls the last holiday party I attended (2008) when I proclaimed my flexitarianism while loading my plate with some very non-veg items. Looking back I can be embarrassed by my unabashed "flexing" but the truth is I didn't know any better, I knew very little about the important reasons people have to living a veg lifestyle and I can't reproach myself for that. Once I learned, I adapted, and now I couldn't be happier and at peace with my daily decisions.

Finally, for all you flexitarians or wannabe's, here's a video I found that gives a good insight into the many reasons to change: http://www.veganvideo.org/

Happy week!


So much wine... but is it vegan?

Here's one of those cases where people just cannot believe a product isn't vegan, or better said, that something was produced with animal byproducts.  Wine is usually not vegan! As mad as that may seem, it's true. Although the final product does not contain animal byproducts many wine producers use them in the clarification of their wines (after fermentation, a protein is used to clear any impurities in the product). Some examples include gelatin (made from bones and connective tissues of pigs and cows, mainly), milk proteins (such as casein), isinglass (fish bladders) and in rare cases blood or egg whites. Ew? I definitely rather decanter my wine than have it filtered through any of these options!

Luckily we live in the age of the interwebs and there are people that have dedicated their time to making a list of vegan wines and other spirits: yay!

So, next time you're in the market for wine try to find a great vegan variety and pass along the information to others! Vegan choices are just that, choices we make that become votes in the marketplace. If we buy vegan we are telling producers of these products that we prefer our wine not to be filtered through fish bladders.

Cheers to that !

For more information, go to: http://www.jivdaya.org/is_wine_vegetarian.htm or http://www.barnivore.com/

**Title refers to this song 


Quote of the Day

"Whenever people say 'we musn't be sentimental' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add 'we must be realistic' they mean they are going to make money out of it."

-Brigid Brophy (as quoted in "Diet for a New America" by John Robbins)


Almond Milk Recipe

(Homemade almond milk, 1000ml)

For the past few weeks, my boyfriend and I have been making almond milk from scratch and it's been delicious! We use it for breakfast and cooking. I am not sure if we have shared this recipe yet on the blog, so here it goes.....along with some math. You may also use other nuts for this recipe, such as walnuts and cashews.

(Almond meal left over after making milk)

Almond Milk Recipe
1 cup of almonds (soaked overnight, optional: peel skin after soaking)

Place almonds in blender and fill the rest up with water, all the way to the top (my blender holds about 1400ml). Blend, blend, blend. Drain milk into a container using a tight weaved strainer or cheesecloth. Use the left over almond meal (left inside the strainer) when baking, in sauces, sandwiches, in your breakfast or with any other food that comes to mind. My sister uses it when she bakes bread!!

We buy almonds in bulk, about $4.99 a pound. The recipe calls for 1 cup of almonds, which weighs about 6-7 oz = $1.87-$2.18. A carton of almond milk contains 946ml and costs from $1.69-2.59 depending on where you shop. The recipe below makes about 1000ml and costs, as mentioned above $1.87-$2.18.

(magazine holder made from used milk cartons)

Personal Opinion
In regards to the cost, there is not much difference in making the milk yourself or buying it already made. What makes the difference for us is that we are not consuming the packaging, therefore not having to recycle it or throw it away (depending on the recycling policies in your city). The less things to dispose of the better! We do however keep some back up almond milk in cartons just in case we do not have time to make it ourselves or forgot to soak the almonds the night before. Convenience sometimes does take over!! I then wash and save those cartons and make crafts such as magazine holders and bags at art events with kids or with myself! If you are interested in seeing more pictures or discussing more art ideas please do so. The more we share, the more we learn! My personal email micaelaas@gmail.com or you may visit my facebook page, search AldanaMica


Eggplant Parmesan

One of my favorite Italian dishes......and here is my very own veganized recipe!

1 medium size eggplant
1 cup of whole wheat flour (with some dried italian seasonings mixed in-basil, parsley,oregano)
Fresh basil. chopped
Nutritional yeast

1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 can (approx 1 tbsp) tomato paste
water as needed

Take the eggplant and slice it about 1/3-1/2 an inch thick into rounds. Mix the whole wheat flour with the Italian seasonings. Coat both sides of the eggplant rounds in that mixture. Heat skillet with EVOO and cook eggplant rounds about 2 minutes on each side until browned. Continue until all rounds are cooked. For the sauce, brown green pepper, onion, carrot, and garlic in a saucepan with EVOO. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and the tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes until all is incorporated. Add about 1 can or so of water and stir and simmer. The longer the better. The sauce can cook for 15 minutes or 2 hours.....it will still be good, the flavors will just be more rich the longer it cooks. In a glass baking dish, put one big scoop of sauce on the bottom. Add one layer of eggplant. Then another layer of sauce. Then a bit of fresh basil and nutritional yeast. Continue layering until all the eggplant is in the dish and the top is sauce, basil, and nutritional yeast. Bake on 350 for about 20 minutes or so, or until eggplant is very tender with a fork. Enjoy!


Quote from Charles Darwin

"The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man."
-- Charles Darwin.


It's Easy Being Vegan

Lately I've been pondering moving very far away to a place that unfortunately boasts a diet about as opposite from vegan as one can get. Even though my reasons for choosing this place have nothing to do with food, I slowly realized that this is something I'm going to have to seriously take into consideration. It's my life, my passion, and at this point, my identity. I know you can be vegan anywhere, but I started to look around my kitchen and came to notice all the vegan conveniences I take for granted, that are readily available at my co-op, Trader Joe's, etc, but that will be completely impossible to 'pick-up' outside of the country. 

What now? Can I live without the security of Earth Balance in the fridge, Non-Dairy amazing Ice Cream (TEMPT, Coffee Biscotti, go pick it up, it's fantastic) in the freezer, coconut milk and chia seeds in the pantry?

It would be a challenge, maybe even a fun one, but as of now I am feeling very very fortunate to have such great vegan products stocked plenty on the shelves of my neighborhood grocer for someday I'll have to make do without them...

What specialty product are you grateful for?


Vegan at the gym

So I'm starting to learn to love hotel gyms. Lately, I have been traveling A LOT and have been spending a lot more time in hotels than I'd like to. And with losing 15 lbs in the last couple months, I am really needing to keep up the workout regimen on the road. I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill and have actually loved it lately. I am loving a good burn and love the feeling of finishing a workout and being coated in sweat.......a definite good feeling.

One thing I really miss is dancing. I used to bellydance and tango and absolutely loved it. So I'd love to get back into something like that. My boyfriend is really interested in swing dancing, so I think we might get into that soon. I really want to learn to do the cute do's that the swing girls have.....they look so chic! And let me tell you, that you burn a lot of calories swing dancing.

You all might be wondering what all this has to do about veganism. And my answer is passions. Veganism is important to me because of my health, animal rights, and the environment. Therefore I am passionate about the issues surrounding it. That's one of the reasons we started this blog! I love working out, trying new things, and breaking a sweat. So my motto of the day is to do things you're passionate about, have a good time, and LIVE LIFE OUT LOUD. Create the possibility that every moment of your life is perfect and is exactly way it's supposed to be. That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'll leave you with that thought. Have a great Wednesday and Feliz Cinco de Mayo!


Part 1: Nature Walk in San Pedro

Yesterday, my family and I spent the day at Deane Dana Friendship Community Regional Park in San Pedro. We went on a nature walk with a Master Herbalist and learned about different weeds and plants around the park. This will be part 1 of a 3 part series in which I will share pictures and describe each plant and what it can be used for....some can even be eaten, as long as you are aware of their surroundings (location is next to dirty polluted water) and make sure they were not sprayed with pesticide/herbicide, etc!!

Plant 1 (above): Fennel

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution to whatever dish you are preparing. Be sure to add this to your selection of fresh vegetables from the autumn through early spring when it is readily available and at its best. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.

Plant 2 (left): California Lilac

The flower of this plant is very soapy. The instructor took some of the flowers in started rubbing them in her hands and voila, there formed a soapy foam. Another name for them is Ceanothus. They are some of our most fragrant and colorful shrubs here in California. They are also evergreen and very drought tolerant.


Meatless Monday: Savory Quinoa Hash

This versatile, easy-to-make dish is a great way to use up left-overs. Vary the flavor by using different herbs and vegetables. Mix in a tablespoon or two of hummus or roasted potatoes. Recipe is from the magazine Better Nutrition Feb 2010, reprinted from Going Against the Grain Group, 2010 by Melissa Diane Smith.

2 Tbs. organic extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup cooked organic quinoa
3 Tbs. finely chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/8 tsp. unrefined sea salt or more to taste
1-2 tsp. chopped fresh herbs.

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and saute 30 seconds.
2. Add quinoa, pecans, and thyme; spread mixture across pan, and cook 45 seconds without stirring. Then stir mixture, and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.
3. Remove from heat, add salt and herbs, and serve.

Per serving; 315 calories; 5 g protein; 23 g total fat (3 g sat fat); 23 g carbohydrates; 0 MG chol; 106 MG sodium; 4 g fiber; 1 g sugars