Friday, November 27, 2009

Dairy = Alzheimer's, Asthma, and Male impotence

Along with heart disease, cancer, and strokes, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.

Leading health experts agree that going vegetarian is the single-best thing we can do for ourselves and our families. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including our country’s three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer, and strokes. The American Dietetic Association states that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; … lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer” and that vegetarians are less likely than meat-eaters to be obese.1 Well-planned vegetarian diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products.


Save the Planet - Become A Veggie

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seitan - The Vegan Wheat Meat

Wheat gluten, also called seitan (pronounced (say-tahn), wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.

Wheat gluten, although not as well known, is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy and/or stringy texture more like that of meat than most other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in Asian, vegetarian, Buddhist, and macrobiotic cuisines. Simulated duck is a common use for wheat gluten.

Drooling yet ...

I don't expect you are, but I have to say, some of the recipes that I have been coming across with this ingredient have been more than mouth watering.

Instead of searching for this elusive product all through the isles of Whole Foods, like my co-worker Janelle did this past weekend, I think I am going to attempt to make my own. The recipe for pan seared seitan with mushroom gravy I found looks dead easy and if its even 1/2 as tasty as the author makes it out to be, I'm bound to enjoy.

Plus I like the idea that you can flavor the gluten during the kneading process by adding herbs and spices of your choosing, like blending in paprika, cayenne, fennel, garlic, and Italian seasoning for a "sausage" flavor.

Mmmm, there goes the good old imagination ...

Homemade Faux Meat

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3 1/2 cups cold water
7 cups vegetable stock

•Place the whole wheat and unbleached flour in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine both types of flour.

•While stirring, gradually pour enough water into the flour to form a sticky dough that can be kneaded. Knead for 15 minutes.

•Cover the dough with cold water, place in the refrigerator, and keep submerged for at least 30 minutes.

•Transfer the dough from the bowl to a colander and place it in the sink.

• Under cold running water, carefully knead the dough, rinsing out the starch and bran.

• After several minutes of cold water rinsing and kneading, the gluten will start to stick together. Alternate between room temperature water and cold water rinses while continuing to knead the dough until it has a firm, rubbery texture.

•In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil.

•Pull pieces of gluten into small billiard-size balls. Drop the gluten into the liquid, one piece at a time, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

•Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces.

•Store in the refrigerator or freezer, submerged in the broth.

Makes 1 1/4 pounds

Here goes nothing :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Bee Debate

So, I have been struggling with the Bee Debate with myself for a little while.

As it is an animal product, and I have made the choice to abstain from using or eating any animal products, I believe that that also extents to honey.

But now I am starting to wonder about beeswax.

This all came up when I went to grab my Burt's Bees Lip Balm and was stopped in my tracks when I (for the first time) took a long hard look at the name ... Burt's Bees ....

My mind started going a million miles a minute.

Where am I going to draw the line?
Why have I made this choice?

I decided to hit up good old Google. (For reals, does anyone remember what life was like before Google?)

A ton of hits came up. All stating the same things.


After some more surfing I came across this statement:

If you are thinking to yourself, "But I'm a vegan for health reasons" or "I'm a vegan for environmental reasons," read on. Unlike the word vegetarian, the word vegan specifically implies moral concern for animals, and this concern extends to all areas of life, not just diet. If you do not believe in animal equality, please consider referring to yourself as someone who doesn't eat animal products, as one who follows a plant-based diet, or as one who follows a vegan diet. Or, continue to educate yourself about veganism, and perhaps you will choose to practice veganism. Additionally, anyone who eats honey, yet refers to herself as a vegan, makes life difficult for other vegans--it's like having someone who eats fish and calls herself a vegetarian. When a vegetarian comes along, it is much harder for her to explain that fish is not acceptable for vegetarians.

Clearly I have some big questions to ask myself and have some even bigger answers to come up with.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


It's truly amazing how a few simple ingredients can make a scrumptious lunch.

2 slices Silverhills Bakers Squirrelly Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
1/2 organic avocado, mashed
Organic alfalfa sprouts
6 slices organic vine ripe tomato

Good whole food really does taste better than anything else

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What the ... HUH?

That was my reaction to the scale this morning ...

What the .... how is this possible?

Is this thing right?

I am gonna go out and say yes, its right because it weighed Mr P correctly the other day so if that's the case ...

then WHOLLY CRAP I'VE LOST 10 LBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I knew my pants were getting baggy and the belt notches were getting smaller but really, 10 whole lbs ....


I guess all the working out and wholesome eating is really paying off.

And I even got a compliment on my skin today - Umm, that NEVER happens. But I have to admit, since losing the dairy the skin is really cleared up and even, dare I say ... glowing.

I had heard of these side effects of changing my diet but never honestly expected to see them.

What a pleasant surprise.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Meat Kills

And I quote:

Men who eat a lot of red meat and processed meats may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those who limit such foods, a large study of U.S. men suggests.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that among more than 175,000 men they followed for nine years, those who ate the most red and processed meats had heightened risks of developing any stage of prostate cancer, or advanced cancer in particular.

Overall, the researchers found, the 20 percent of men with the highest intakes of red meat, which in this study included beef and pork, were 12 percent more likely than those who consumed the least to develop prostate cancer. That's after a range of other factors, like smoking, exercise habits and education, were taken into account.

There was a stronger connection to advanced prostate cancer -- with that risk being almost one-third higher among those who ate the most red meat versus those who ate the least.

When it came to cooking methods, the only one that was linked to prostate cancer was grilling/barbecuing, Sinha's team found.

The finding is in line with the theory that meats cooked at high temperatures may be particularly linked to cancer because the cooking process produces certain chemicals -- including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines -- that are known to cause cancer in animals.

Blog Roll

Here are a few of my new fave site - Cant get enough of these babies:

Immunity & the Digestive System

Read a great article today in the Common Ground, a Western Canada monthly magazine dedicated to health, wellness, ecology and personal growth, about how to boost your immune system up and kick the flu to the curb:

The strength and effectiveness of your immune system are directly controlled by 80 percent of your digestive system’s ability. In other words, if you eat well-balanced nutritional foods and you do not have any digestive issues affecting your body’s capacity to properly digest those nutrients, proteins and enzymes, you should have a very strong and impenetrable immune system with which to fight off pending viruses, bacteria and pathogens.

On the other hand, if you tend to binge on low-nutrient fast foods, junk food and food items with high sugar content – candy, bread, pop, alcohol and juice – on a regular basis, your digestive system has nothing to offer your immune system for support. Consuming even less than 10 grams of sugar shuts down your immune system for four hours.

Not only was the above interesting, I found this little tidbit also intriguing:

Dairy: Less than six percent of the population has the digestive enzymes to digest dairy. In most cases, dairy causes stress in the digestive system; it creates mucus, clogs sinuses and for many people, shuts down their immune system as their digestive system figures out how to use it.

One more kick in the ass for the Milk Man ...

You can read the whole article here:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MMMM Lentils

Until today I have vever really dabbled in the lentil world.

In reality, I was actually kinda scared of them. I had no idea how to cook them or what to use them in.

Until now. I have to say, that what follows could very well be the yummiest thing I have ever made. I am about to email this recipet to my MIL so that she can make it for me for Christmas dinner (she is freaking out over what to make me - Freaking out!)

I took the basic recipe from here and tweeked it to my tastes.


1 1/2 cups ggreen lentils
3 1/2 cups water
2 small or 1 large Onion, chopped
2 cups brown basmati rice, cooked
1/2 tsp. minced Garlic (optional)
1/3 cup + 1/3 cup Hot or Mild Salsa, divided
3 tsp of chili powder
3 tsp of cumin
3 tsp of crushed red peppers

Preheat ovento 350

Rinse and sort lentils.

In medium saucepan, bring lentils and water to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed.

Sauté onions and garlic in oil (I use refined coconut oil) until clear and soft.

In a blender or food processor puree lentils

Combine lentils with onion, garlic, rice, 1/3 cup salsa, chilli powder, cumin and red pepper flakes

Firmly press mixture into a well oiled loaf pan and cover the top with remaining salsa.

Bake for 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for at least 2 hrs! Otherwise it will crumble.


Or you can call me a Strict Vegetarian, whatever you like, the decision has been made.

For the last 12 days I have not consumed flesh, dairy or eggs, nor will I in the future.

I feel liberated, empowered and proactive.

I feel light, energetic and aware of my body.

I know and I feel that this is the right decision for me.

Alicia tells us what made her switch to a kind diet.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Naturopath Visit #1

Tonight was my first visit with my new Naturopath, Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram. Actually, this is my first ever visit to a Naturopath.

I decided that I wanted to make the appointment after talking to a few vegan friends who advised me that it would be best to start off this new life of mine on the right foot.

So off I went. I had noticed that there was a Naturopathic Clinic in the same complex as the walk-in clinic that I have visited and so I booked myself an appointment.

I was nervous; I’ve never been to anything other than my lifelong GP and walk-in clinics.

Was this gonna be a flakey herb touting Dr, the likes of a Seinfeld episode? I had no idea what to expect.

But I was very pleasantly surprised. My Dr is super nice and very strong on the eye contact.

After asking me about a zillion questions, from when I went to bed to what kinds of poop I had (for real, he asked me if it sank or floated), we got down to it.

Why was I there, he asked.

I told him that I had recently switched over to a strict vegetarian diet and that I wanted to make sure that I was doing it safely and that I was going to be healthy and strong.

He told me that from all I had advised him on that it would appear to him that I was one of the lucky-duckies that benefits from a meat-free diet and that I should be happy about this and not concerned about removing these items from my diet … so long as I got the nutrients and vitamins that I was going to be missing from meat and dairy elsewhere.

He loaded me up on a variety of stuff: multi-vitamin, folic acid, B12, B6 and probiotics.

He gave me a kick-ass recipe for a morning protein smoothie and insisted that I start my day with this to ensure my energy and protein levels were adequate for not only my everyday needs, but for the long haul and to ensure that I would continue to lose weight.

And that’s when he gave me the only bad news of the night …

He advised me I have to shed 30 lbs to be in a healthy, active weight zone.


And sadly, he’s not on drugs. Shedding 30 lbs would put me at the low end of my BMI range. (I’m a shorty – 5 foot nothing so lets not all freak out quite yet ok?) BUT he did also say that for someone of my height to be 105 lbs would mean that I would need to be “ripped” (not that being ripped is a bad thing, just not sure how possible it is for me … )

Looks like Momma’s got some work to do.

POP QUIZ: Did you know that if one does not get enough protein in their diet they can actually gain weight? That was news to me.

So overall it was a great visit. He noted that he wished all his patients were like me “proactive and easygoing” – That was a nice little ego bost.

I may have left there $260 lighter but I left with enough pills to sink a ship, a monthly iron and vitamin shot schedule AND my mind fully set at ease.

And never fear, my health plan will FULLY reimburse me - SCORE

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is what my BF said to me when I annouced that I was becoming vegan.

No comments about the meat, milk or eggs. Nope, his first concern was that I was going to ban his sacred cheese from the house.

I had to laugh. It was so very him. If ever there was a cheese addict, its him. The man can pack away a brick of the orange stuff in a week. I'm fearful for his insides but I promised not to preach ...

But he was interested as to WHY I was banning the dairy from my bod. So I sent him here:

1. Osteoporosis

Milk is touted for preventing osteoporosis, yet clinical research shows otherwise. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study,1 which followed more than 75,000 women for 12 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. In fact, increased intake of calcium from dairy products was associated with a higher fracture risk. An Australian study2 showed the same results. Additionally, other studies3,4 have also found no protective effect of dairy calcium on bone. You can decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium and animal protein intake in the diet,5-7 increasing intake of fruits and vegetables,8 exercising,9 and ensuring adequate calcium intake from plant foods such as leafy green vegetables and beans, as well as calcium-fortified products such as breakfast cereals and juices.

2. Cardiovascular Disease

Dairy products—including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt—contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and fat to the diet.10 Diets high in fat and saturated fat can increase the risk of several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease. A low-fat vegetarian diet that eliminates dairy products, in combination with exercise, smoking cessation, and stress management, can not only prevent heart disease, but may also reverse it.11 Non-fat dairy products are available, however, they pose other health risks as noted below.

3. Cancer

Several cancers, such as ovarian cancer, have been linked to the consumption of dairy products. The milk sugar lactose is broken down in the body into another sugar, galactose. In turn, galactose is broken down further by enzymes. According to a study by Daniel Cramer, M.D., and his colleagues at Harvard,12 when dairy product consumption exceeds the enzymes’ capacity to break down galactose, it can build up in the blood and may affect a woman’s ovaries. Some women have particularly low levels of these enzymes, and when they consume dairy products on a regular basis, their risk of ovarian cancer can be triple that of other women.

Breast and prostate cancers have also been linked to consumption of dairy products, presumably related, at least in part, to increases in a compound called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I).13-15 IGF-I is found in cow’s milk and has been shown to occur in increased levels in the blood by individuals consuming dairy products on a regular basis.16 Other nutrients that increase IGF-I are also found in cow’s milk. A recent study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer compared with those who had the lowest levels.14

4. Diabetes

Insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I or childhood-onset) is linked to consumption of dairy products. Epidemiological studies of various countries show a strong correlation between the use of dairy products and the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes.17,18 Researchers in 199218 found that a specific dairy protein sparks an auto-immune reaction, which is believed to be what destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

5. Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is common among many populations, affecting approximately 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians.19 Symptoms, which include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and flatulence, occur because these individuals do not have the enzymes that digest the milk sugar lactose. Additionally, along with unwanted symptoms, milk-drinkers are also putting themselves at risk for development of other chronic diseases and ailments.

6. Vitamin D Toxicity

Consumption of milk may not provide a consistent and reliable source of vitamin D in the diet. Samplings of milk have found significant variation in vitamin D content, with some samplings having had as much as 500 times the indicated level, while others had little or none at all.20,21 Too much vitamin D can be toxic and may result in excess calcium levels in the blood and urine, increased aluminum absorption in the body, and calcium deposits in soft tissue.

7. Contaminants

Synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk.13 Because the cows are producing quantities of milk nature never intended, the end result is mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary glands. The treatment requires the use of antibiotics, and traces of these and hormones have been found in samples of milk and other dairy products. Pesticides and other drugs are also frequent contaminants of dairy products.

8. Health Concerns of Infants and Children

Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products may pose health risks for children and lead to the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and formation of athersclerotic plaques that can lead to heart disease.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants below one year of age not be given whole cow’s milk, as iron deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich diet. Cow’s milk products are very low in iron. If they become a major part of one’s diet, iron deficiency is more likely.10 Colic is an additional concern with milk consumption. One out of every five babies suffers from colic. Pediatricians learned long ago that cows’ milk was often the reason. We now know that breastfeeding mothers can have colicky babies if the mothers are consuming cow’s milk. The cows’ antibodies can pass through the mother’s bloodstream into her breast milk and to the baby.22 Additionally, food allergies appear to be common results of milk consumption, particularly in children. A recent study23 also linked cow’s milk consumption to chronic constipation in children. Researchers suggest that milk consumption resulted in perianal sores and severe pain on defecation, leading to constipation.

Milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to your health. Consume a healthful diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods including cereals and juices. These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with ease—and without the health risks.

World Vegan Day

How very appropriate that I find this today. Sure a few days late but its still November right?

World Vegan Day is 1 November.

This marks the start of World Vegan Month

Here is a great video my GF sent me in honor of World Vegan Day and it really taps into all the reasons that I have comitted to making my life a low-impact vegan life.

Find 12 minutes and watch it:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pledge to Be Veg


I wanted to let you know about the Pledge to Be Veg at

I'm excited to try healthy, delicious foods and help save animals from the horrible cruelty of the meat industry.

Would you join me in pledging to try a vegetarian diet for 30 days? You will be sent links to delicious recipes, restaurant reviews, and product recommendations as well as the 'Top Six Tips for Making the Switch'.

To take action on this issue, click on the link below: