For the past week I’ve gotten amazing sleep every night. This is nothing short of a miracle for me. I’ve suffered from chronic insomnia since I was a kid. I’ve tried RX drugs Ambien and Ativan and natural supplements kali phos, melatonin and valerian root.
Benefits of essential oils: lifts the mood, calms the senses, elicits powerful emotional responses, acts as a natural medicine without the side effects.
I recently went to a workshop on essential oils. We each took turns sharing our symptoms and were provided with a list of essential oils that would help that symptom. My symptom was insomnia and the corresponding oil for insomnia is lavender. I was given a sample to try out. I was skeptical and it took me a week to give the oil a try.
My lavender oil routine:
- Spray lavender oil on my pillow. I made this mixture myself by adding 10 drops of lavender and distilled water to a small spray bottle.
- 1 drop of lavender oil behind my ears.
- 2 drops of lavender oil on the soles of both feet. I’ve read that the pores on the feet are large and allow for the quickest adsorption of the oils.
- 6 drops of lavender oil in my diffuser next to my bed.
- 1 drop of lavender oil on the tongue. I only recommend this is you’re using doTERRA brand oils.
This probably sounds like a lot of oil and a lot of time. It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to go through my lavender routine and it’s totally worth it to me because within minutes of using the oils I feel my body relaxing and I get sleepy. Within 10 minutes, I’m out. I not only have trouble falling asleep but also staying sleep. When I use lavender oil, I fall asleep quickly and do not wake up during the night.
Essential oils are the natural aromatic compounds found in seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. -DoTerra
Do you want to give essential oils a try? Below is a list of of my favorite ways to use essential oils daily.
1. Add drops of eucalyptus to your morning shower.
A great way to wake up naturally and also to open the sinuses is to add a couple of drops of eucalyptus to your morning shower. The steam and eucalyptus combo will stimulate your senses as soon as you step foot in the shower.
2. Create a car air freshener by soaking a cotton ball with your favorite oil.
Soak a cotton ball with your favorite essential oils and tape the ball to one of the vents in your car. If you suffer from road rage, try essential oils such as lavender and clary sage which are known to calm the mind. You can also keep a bottle of oil in your car and rub the oil on your skin before your commute. This will help you relax and put you in a better mindset for your daily commute.
3. Diffuse essential oils in your home.
Scented candles and commercial room sprays are full of dangerous chemicals. A much safer and non-toxic alternative to make your home smell great is to diffuse essential oils. During the day I diffuse an uplifting and invigorating oil such as wintergreen,eucalyptus, lemon,orange or peppermint. Before bed I diffuse lavender in my bedroom to create a calm, relaxed spa-like environment.
4. Inhale essential oils at work to energize your mind.
If you feel yourself nodding off at work, place a couple of drops of an uplifting essential oil such as lemon, sandalwood, rosemary, lime, basil, or grapefruit into the palm of your hand and inhale the scent. You’ll get an instant boost of energy.
5. Rub essential oils directly on to your skin.
There is a corresponding essential for each symptom of the body. Here are some common match ups of symptoms and oils:
- Cramps, PMS symptoms: Clary Sage, Basil
- Constipation: Rosemary, Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger, Fennel, Orange
- Detoxification (clearing of toxins from drugs, alcohol, etc.): Helichrysum, Rosemary, Juniper Berry, Coriander
- Jet Lag: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Grapefruit, Lemongrass
- Grief/Sorrow: Lemon, Lavender, Bergamot,Clary Sage, Juniper Berry, Eucalyptus
- Hangovers: Lemon, Grapefruit, Lavender, Rosemary, Sandalwood
- Allergies: Melaleuca, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Melissa,Patchouli, Eucalyptus
- Stress: Lavender, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Roman Chamomile, Geranium, Frankincense
6. Use essential oils to enhance your yoga practice.
There are many ways you can use oils during your yoga practice. Sandalwood and cedarwood are the best oils to diffuse during yoga. These oils will ground and center you so that you get the most out of your practice. Peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, rosemary, myrrh, frankincense, cardamom promote breathe awareness and clear breathing. Rub these oils onto your hands and inhale the before you begin. Lavender, geranium, chamomile, are great for promoting relaxation, try these oils prior to slipping into savasana.
Have you ever tried essential oils? If you want to learn more about oils send me an email at Brooks@theveganglow.com or check out my essential oils page here.
Essential oils are just another example of the power of plants. If you want to try out a plant-based diet for 3 months email at Brooks@theveganglow.com to set up a free consultation.
I recently returned from a solo trip to Costa Rica.I had the most amazing time. I was able to reflect on 2015 and set time aside to envision what I want to accomplish in 2016. The most memorable experiences of my trip were seeing two volcanoes, monkeys and crocodiles in their natural habitat, swimming in the ocean and the hotel pool, soaking in a natural hot springs, hiking in a rain forest and driving a Toyota Yaris 20 miles on an unpaved road.
The food in Costa Rica was delicious. I started each morning with an assortment of fresh, local fruits such a plantains, pineapple, coconut juice, and papaya. I’ve never eaten so much fruit in my life. I was expecting to feel bloated and sluggish but the opposite happened, I felt light and energetic my entire trip.
It can be a struggle to find vegan foods while traveling. Below are some tips for eating vegan while traveling:
Most airlines allow you to select a vegan meal option 24 hours before your departure.
Don’t have high hopes for the vegan food on airplanes. On my flight to Europe the vegan option was bread, salad and a piece of fruit. On my flight home the airline forgot my vegan meal all together and had to scramble to find me something to eat. I ended up with a plate of 5 different fruits!
It’s always a great idea to plan ahead and be prepared. Before I go to the airport, I make a pit stop at Whole Foods and pack myself a bag of food in case of emergency. For my flight to Costa Rica I bought bananas, a salad, trail mix, coconut chips, a Field Roast vegan sandwich, baked tofu and 5 Lara Bars.
Download the “Happy Cow” free app on your phone.
Choose the vegetarian option and veganize it.
Most restaurants will not have a vegan option. In this case, the best thing to do is choose the vegetarian option and request “no cheese.” When I’m really desperate and there are no other options, I’ll order a salad with dressing on the side. In Costa Rica, I ate a lot of pinto gallo (rice and beans) and tortillas. I was also thrilled that my favorite meal in the world, guac and tortilla chips were on most Costa Rican menus.
Check out produce stands.
Depending on where you are produce stands are another great option. The food is fresh, local and usually cheap. I don’t speak Spanish, however, I was able to get a fresh pineapple cut up at this roadside produce stand. I also bought a bunch of plantains that lasted me a couple of days.
Costa Rica was one of my favorite places to visit not only because of the beauty of the country but also for the abundance of locally grown produce. In Costa Rica, there are produce stands on the side of every road. It was so nice to buy pineapple, plaintains and drink coconut water straight out of the coconut. Many of these stands also sold fresh fruit smoothies. At the end of my Costa Rica trip, I felt healthier and lighter from eating so much fruit.
Costa Rica holds a special place in my heart and I know I’ll return there one day. Is there a place in the world that holds a special place in your heart? I’d love to hear about your favorite travel destinations in the comments below.
Are you ready to switch to a plant-based diet in 2016? I’d love to help you reach your goals and transform your health. Email me at Brooks@theveganglow.com to set up a free The Vegan Glow Strategy Session.
Last weekend was the first time in my life that I can honestly say I’m living my life in line with my values. I’ve dabbled in veganism for 4 years. I’ve struggled to become a full fledged vegan for various reasons. But I can finally call myself 100% vegan.
My interest in veganism began when my health was declining and I was desperate.I originally went vegan for myself.
Now, I call myself an “ethical vegan”, meaning I’m vegan for the animals and the health benefits are a bonus.
When you go vegan for the animals, it’s a lot harder to cheat and eat a piece of cheese or have fish for dinner because you are aware of the immense suffering that goes into creating these products.
Thank you to all of the people that posted graphic images of animal abuse on social media.
Although it would have been much easier to ignore it, I looked at the horrific images and decided I didn’t want to contribute to it any longer.
So why was last weekend so eye-opening for me? Well, I spent a Saturday afternoon at Pasados Safe Haven, an animal sanctuary in Sultan, Washington. Pasados is not usually open to the public other than special occasions such as the farm tour I attended. Pasados frequently rescues animals from abuse situations. They need to be rehabilitated and are often scared of humans because of the abuse they experienced.
The first stop on the tour of the farm was to feed Gary and Chloe, two lovable goats. As a kid growing up in Southern California, we had two goats “Betty” and “Billy”. Neither of them were very friendly and would try to ram us in the butts when got near them. Gary and Chloe were very sociable and sweet as you can see in the picture below.
I don’t think I’ve ever spent time with pigs. The only pigs I have seen in person were at county fairs in Pennsylvania. Again, these pigs were very social and have personalities much like dogs. These guys were rescued from a backyard butcher. Their mother was unable to produce milk to feed them. The butcher decided he would just allow them to starve to death. Pasados stepped in and saved them. They were extremely underweight and malnourished but with some love and proper nutrition, they’re now 7 months old and thriving. Pigs are typically slaughtered at 6 months old, although their lifespan is 15 years.
My childhood home was near a slaughterhouse. Anyone that has ever driven in the vicinity of Chino, California can tell you how horrible it smells.
The cow on the right started life in a veal crate. Cows raised for veal are kept in tiny enclosures so that they are unable to move or gain muscle. This cruelty is for human pleasure and produces a very soft meat. This cow weights 2500 lbs. which is unusually large. Usually baby calf are taken from their mothers immediately after birth so that the milk can be given to humans. The baby cows are allowed to reach a certain weight and then are slaughtered for meat.
This cow is so large because he was allowed to drink the milk of his mother which was filled with hormones and antibiotics. I’m guessing veal cows are allowed to drink their mother’s milk in order to gain weight rapidly in the veal crate.
The final stop of the tour were the rescue dogs waiting for forever homes. Most of the dogs were pit bulls. Pit bulls are the most euthanized breed of dogs. I have had a couple of scary run ins with pit bulls but I’m trying to get over my fear of them.
The most profound realization that spending a day at an animal sanctuary had on me is that all of these animals have a deep desire to live. They’re all intelligent, they have unique personalities and they don’t want to die. The problem is that they’re defenseless and voiceless.
People tell me all the time “I’m a huge animal lover” and the next thing you know they’re eating a steak for dinner.
I’ve come to realize that the animals we consider household pets are no different than farm animals that we treat as commodities.
Below are a couple of pictures I recently posted to my social media accounts to illustrate this point:
I’m not trying to preach. I’ll be the first to admit, it took me 35 years to come to this realization. I wish someone would have pointed this out to me sooner.
In many countries, dogs are considered food and cows are worshiped. If you are not aware of this, please Google “Yulin Dog Meat Festival.” Our beliefs about how we see pets and how we see farm animals are shaped by our culture.
All it takes is a simple mind shift to see a pig, cow, chicken as equivalent to a dog.
Once you make this switch, you will have no choice but to become vegan because you’ll no longer be able to eat a “friend”.
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For the animals.
As much as I love living in Seattle, I also love getting out of the city and into nature. Washington State is well known for it’s abundance of nature. I usually decide the night before where I am going to go by searching Instagram. Does anyone else do this?
This time around Diablo Lake in the North Cascades National Park was the winner. Here is one of my favorite pictures below. The photograph does not to the lake justice.
Toby is my favorite road trip companion. He recently went vegan. Here he is munching on his V-Dog food, oatmeal and carrots. Now that we are both vegan, we can share snacks!
So why do I love spending time in nature so much? I have a million reasons, but here are my top three:
- Nature clears my mind- As I stated before, I believe on of the most profound benefits of being vegan is that my mind is crystal clear. In the past, I was medicated with just about every psychological drug on the market. Now I maintain my clear mind with fruits and veggies. I do notice that when I am in nature my mind has even more clarity and I am better able to stay in the present moment and not worry about the future or the past.
- Nature allows me to be an introvert-I’m a very introverted person. I’ve finally come to accept my introverted personality. There is no better place than nature to be an introvert. I love the peace and tranquility.
- Nature reminds me why I left California and moved to Washington- People ask me all the time, “why would did you leave California to move to Washington”. I try to explain to them that California is overpopulated and it’s nearly impossible to escape to nature without first sitting in 3 hours of bumper to bumper traffic.
As a vegan, I know I have to be prepared while traveling. Unfortunately, there are not many vegan options on road trips. Most of the places I came across were BBQ and I even saw a food truck specializing in wild game. I saw a lot of cows grazing in beautiful fields of green grass. This is much better than the conditions at factory farm. Unfortunately, these cows are probably going to be slaughtered and sold as “grass fed” beef.
I did come across the most adorable produce stand ever. I could totally see myself owning a place like this one day.
The day was amazing. I ended up driving for 7 hours straight. Most of that time I was listening to the “Wilder Mind” album by Mumford & Sons with a little bit of Muse thrown in. Yes, I am completely addicted to this album at the moment.
When I got home to Seattle, I was surprised by how much energy I had after all that driving. I’ve never had so much energy my entire life and I have to give all the credit to my vegan lifestyle.
Where do you spend time in nature? Do you have a favorite place or do you like to try out new locations? Tell me in the comments below.
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If you’re ready to go vegan and change your life and health, email me at email@example.com for details on how I can help you.
Are you completely overwhelmed when you walk into a health food store? Don’t panic, this is totally normal.
When I first started eating a plant based diet I was completely confused and frustrated when it came time to shop. I remember stepping into a Whole Foods for the first time and feeling like I didn’t belong. I was actually nervous and had no idea what I was supposed to buy. Everyone else there seemed to know what they were doing, but not me.
Back when I ate a S.A.D. (standard American diet) of processed foods, frozen foods, canned foods, bagged foods and dead meat, shopping seemed so much easier.
Now that I’ve got plant based grocery shopping down to a science, I want to help others feel more comfortable shopping for vegan foods. Unfortunately,you can’t assume that all products in a health food store are healthy. In fact, I see a lot of overweight vegetarians and vegans. Instead of eating whole foods from nature, they are eating processed vegan foods. Not good.
It’s a great idea to really become an expert shopper because when you are on a plant based diet, you will be at the grocery store often.
During a typical week, I am at the store at least 2 times. When you eat a diet of fresh foods, you have to shop often. Unlike processed foods filled with chemicals and preservatives, whole foods go bad quickly and need to be constantly replenished.
I created a new program to help you become a food detective and save time and money while shopping. This workshop will help you determine the most healthy foods for your body while avoiding becoming a junk food vegan.
The workshop is 2 hours. We will meet at a local Whole Foods and make our way through all the departments of the store. Together we will read labels and determine if a product is safe or not.
As we make our way through the store, I will point out vegan products that I use and offer recommendations. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
The investment is $400 for 2 hours and includes the following:
What this service includes:
- We will meet at Whole Foods, Seattle (South Lake Union or Interbay). or Central Co-op (Capitol Hill).
- Explanation of GMO, Organic, Gluten free, and more.
- Learn to read labels and be a food detective.
- We will tour each department of the store and I will provide you with product recommendations.
- Lots of handouts.
- Q&A, you can ask me any of your health and wellness questions.
- Opportunity to sign up for my 6 month health coaching program and/or kitchen detox service for a discounted price.
Who this service is for:
- Anyone intimidated by shopping in a health food store (I know I was when I first started eating healthy).
- Anyone confused about ingredients and labels.
- Anyone wanting to know more about what they are eating and how to avoid toxic chemicals.
Benefits of this service:
- Eliminate grocery store overwhelm.
- Learn how to quick read a label and decide if a product is safe or not.
- Save time by learning to quickly read labels.
- Save money by learning about the clean 15 and dirty dozen.
- Discover new plant based products and how to add them to your diet.
- Avoid becoming a junk-food vegan by learning to read labels.
If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in this service, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a tour. Spaces are very limited. If you know someone that suffers from health food store overwhelm, share this post with them.
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Vegan Health Coachby
This is by far the most common question I get when I initially tell someone I am a vegan. I have to admit, I wasn’t always sure how to answer this question. I assumed that I probably wasn’t getting enough protein. However, I’ve come to find that my body thrives on a plant based diet with absolutely no protein from animal sources.
I’ve mentioned in other posts all of the health ailments I’ve been able to overcome with a vegan diet.
I can still remember the last time I ate an animal.
I was at a 30 Seconds to Mars concert in Mountain View, California. It’s kind of ironic, because Jared Leto, the lead singer, is a vegan. I was hangry (hungry + angry= hangry, for those of you not familiar with this word) and desperate for food. The hot dog line was the shortest, so that’s where I ended up.
The week following that hot dog was HELL.
I have always suffered from digestive issues but this was the worst pain I’ve experienced. After a couple of days of misery, I went to to the doctor. I was prescribed an antacid, which made the problem even worse.
Looking back, I am thankful I ate that hot dog because it caused me to re-examine my diet and recommit to a plant based diet. Now that I refuse to eat animal products, where do I get my protein? Here is a list of some of the protein packed plant-based foods I eat regularly:
- Almond butter
- Raw, sprouted almonds
- Tahini (made from sesame seeds)
- Bean Sprouts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Avocados (I eat at least 5/week)
- Chia Seeds
- Tempeh (fermented soy product)
- Almond Milk
- Hemp Seeds
- Brown Rice
- Veggie Burgers
- Tofu (in limited quantities, I’m not completed sure soy is safe)
- Kale (especially in smoothies)
- Chickpeas (homemade hummus is the best and so easy)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Collard Greens
- Coconut Meat
- Coconut Milk
- Swiss Chard
It’s pretty obvious that there are plenty of options for vegans to incorporate protein into their diets.
When I was an animal eater, I rarely ate any of the foods in this list. People often believe a vegan diet is restrictive, however, since becoming a vegan I actually eat a wider variety of foods.
Transitioning to a plant based diet can be tricky. I should know, it took me years to get it right.
These days I am thriving on a vegan diet and want to help others do the same. I have a few spots left for my 6 month plant based coaching program. This program is for anyone that wants to transition to a plant based diet. Even if you just want to reduce the amount of animal products you’re consuming and increase the plants in your diet, I can help you.
I will be your guide and will help you meet your goals and overcome frustration and confusion. Take some time to look at my website, there is a lot of information about what my program includes. If you still have questions, you can always email me at email@example.com.
If you’re ready to explore how a plant-based diet can transform your entire life, email me to set up a FREE 45 minute consultation.
During this consultation we will chat about the current state of your health as well as your health goals. We will get a good sense of how it would feel to work together.
Hope to hear from you soon!
This week marks the 6 month and half way point of my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I’m very excited because this means I can finally start to see clients. I am so ready to help women create a body and life they love. I am extremely passionate about animal rights and decided to specialize in helping women transition to a plant based or vegan diet. I believe that if I can help others become vegans, I can save thousands of animals from slaughter.
I am putting the finishing touches on my 6 month health coaching program but as you can see the program goes far beyond the food you eat. Here are the highlights of my program:
Month 1: Vegan Boot Camp
- Avoiding the common pitfalls of transitioning to a vegan diet.
- Avoiding the temptation to become a junk food vegan.
- Benefits of a vegan diet.
- What to do when your friends and family don’t support your new lifestyle.
- My favorite books and blogs for amazing and quick vegan meals.
- Exploring the concept of mindful eating and slowing down to enjoy your food.
- Cooking tips and tricks for vegans.
- Incorporating raw fermented foods into your diet.
- Much more!
Month 2: Spirituality and Manifesting an Inspired Life
- Creating a high vibe life.
- Bringing more magic into your life with tarot cards, crystals, chakras, prayer and more.
- Manifesting a body and life you love using a vision board.
- Gratitude is the attitude.
- A list of my go to spiritual teachers.
- Meditation changes everything.
- Creating a zen den and an altar in your home.
- Much more!
Month 3: Relationships and Cultivating Love
- Cleaning up your side of the street and creating healthy relationships with friends and family.
- Using affirmations to create a healthy relationship with yourself and putting an end to negative self talk.
- Making time for self-care.
- A list of my favorite self-care practices that are cheap and fast.
- Much more!
Month 4: Finding Career Bliss
- Learning to love the job you have right now.
- Finding your calling and purpose.
- Balancing home and work life.
- How hating your job cause health problems and bad food choices.
- Being the light at work.
- A list of my favorite career books that helped me find my passion.
- Much more!
Month 5: Creating a Home that Delights and Inspires
- De-cluttering and minimalism.
- Organizing your kitchen.
- Going green.
- Paying off debt.
- The basics of Feng Shui.
- Minimizing TV time.
- Much more!
Month 6: Moving Your Body
- Exploring the different types of yoga.
- Exercising in nature.
- Why vegans don’t need to do hardcore work outs to look great.
- How different forms of exercise will give you different types of energy.
- My secrets to staying in shape with minimal effort.
- Moving your body by doing something that you enjoy and don’t dread.
- Much more!
What’s included in the 6 month program?
- Two 45 minute 1 on 1 coaching sessions per month, for 6 months.
- Email support between sessions.
- Handouts relating to the topics discussed in each session.
- A gift basket of holistic vegan goodies that complement the 6 month program.
- An opportunity to sign up for an additional 6 months at a reduced rate.
- Sessions are held over the phone, so you don’t need to live in Seattle to join the program.
- I understand most people have a 9-5 job. I offer convenient time slots for working women. Sessions are held M-F after 5:00 PM Pacific time and during flexible times on the weekends.
If you are interested in becoming a vegan and also creating a body and life you love, take the first step by email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free consultations. The consultation will give both of us an opportunity to experience what it would be like to work together. It will also provide you with an opportunity to discuss your main health concerts and begin thinking about goals you want to achieve.
There are only a limited of time slots available for the 6 month program. If you are ready to transform your life, don’t wait any longer.
Remember to sign up for my free newsletter. In my newsletter I offer free coaching and discuss topics not covered on my blog. If you have any questions you would like me to answer, email me at email@example.com
Lately my seasonal allergies have been making me miserable. I’ve plagued with allergies for most of my life. Allergies are the only symptom that I have not been able to cure with a vegan diet. I’ve decided to kick things up a notch a bit and incorporate more raw vegan foods into my diet. I’ll let you know how that works out once I’ve been eating raw for a couple of weeks.
Before I went holistic, I use to beg and plead doctors to prescribe me RX allergy pills and especially loved Nasonex (the chemical spray you shoot up your nostrils). Of course the RX drugs would cause side affects even worse than the allergy symptoms and I ended up feeling worse, not better.
These days I take the holistic route whenever possible and I can’t remember the last time I took an aspirin. It’s not that I suffer through my symptoms, it’s that I seek out alternatives. Unfortunately, when it comes allergies my go to holistic tricks have not been giving me adequate relief.
I did some searching on Google and discovered salt therapy. Salt rooms are very popular in Europe and are a clinically proven drug free treatment for asthma, allergy, bronchitis, sinusitis, skin irritations, congestion, cough, ear infection, wheezing and seasonal affective disorder.
I’m lucky that there is a salt room in Bellevue, WA which is a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle.
So what’s salt therapy like? My salt therapy appointment was 45 minutes long and was very relaxing. The salt room serves not only to help your physical symptoms but also to clear your mind and is an excellent place to meditate. As I reclined in a zero gravity chair, the lights in the room periodically changed color. Smoothing music played and a comforting salt waterfall added to my relaxation. The owner of the salt room also let me know that they offer yoga classes and crystal bowl sound healing. I plan on checking these options out in the future .
Salt therapy is not only for soothing allergies. Below is an extensive list of benefits salt therapy offers.
Benefits of salt therapy:
- reduces inflammation of the airways
- improves lung function
- strengthens immune systems
- improves sleep
- improves skin conditions
- clears excess mucous, pollutants and toxins
- cleanses airways, nasal cavities and sinuses
- relieves stress and naturally calms
- reduces symptoms of allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues
- decreases the likelihood of catching a cold, flu and other illnesses
**Source: Salt Mine Arium, Bellevue, WA: www.saltminearium.com
Finally, salt therapy is a good deal and not expensive. I printed a coupon online and my session was only $25. I plan to go back again soon. Of course the more you go, the better you feel.
Are there any “alternative” therapies you have used to treat your symptoms? Let me know about them in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed this content, please make sure to sign up for my weekly wellness newsletter.
Everyone has a cause that affects them more than anything else. For me that cause is animal cruelity and factory farming. This is an extremely difficult topic for me to discuss but one that needs to be exposed to the public. There is a famous quote by Paul McCartney, a long time vegetarian ““If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”
Like most Americans I grew up eating chicken, beef and pork. Every meal had at least one serving of meat or poultry. Back then, I believed I needed animal protein to be healthy. After picking up Kimberly Snyder’s book, “The Beauty Detox”, I was inspired to limit the amount of animal products in my diet. Since reading that book I have not eaten beef, chicken, pork or turkey. However, I do eat seafood occasionally. Not only has my health improved drastically since switching to a 98% vegan diet, but I also feel like I am doing my part to end factory farming.
Not a day goes by that I do not see heart breaking images of animals that are the victims of cruelty in the hands of humans. Although the meat and dairy industry portray idyllic images with rolling hills, healthy, happy cows and red barns, factory farming dominates food production in the US. Factory farm animals are exploited for profit with no compassion for their well being.
Here is a list of just some of the cruel treatment factory farm animals endure:
Egg Laying Chickens:
- 260 million male chicks are killed each year.
- Female chickens are de-beaked so that they are unable to peck at their bodies because of the stress of their environment.
- Female chickens are starved up to 2 weeks to shock their bodies into an egg-laying cycle.
- After 1-2 years of laying eggs, female chickens are gassed to death.
Meat Producing Chickens:
- 9 billion chickens are killed in the US each year.
- Chickens are confined to warehouses with up to 20,000 other chickens, with no access to fresh air or light.
- Chickens are electrified in a water bath 42 days after they are born.
- Female pigs are contained in gestation crates and are unable to move or turn around.
- Babies are taken away from their mothers at 17 days old, they scream so much that their throats turn raw. The babies are raised until they are market weight and then slaughtered.
- Dairy cows endure constant artificial impregnation to induce milk production.
- Hours after dairy cows give birth, their calfs are taken away. The calfs cry, are so stressed out that they are unable to eat and lose weight.
- The male calfs are sometimes taken and put into tiny crates, unable to move and are used for veal.
- Factory farm dairy cows are commonly treated with bovine growth hormone, which is a GMO (genetically modified organism).
Cows Used for Meat:
- The cows are de-horned and castrated. Castration results in a more tender meat that humans prefer.
- The cows are fed at a feed lot until they weight about 1,200 lbs. This weight is usually reached at 6 months old by feeding the cows an unnatural diet of corn to fatten them up. Upon reaching market weight they are trucked off to the slaughter house where they are shackled and their throats are cut off.
Sadly, this is just a short list of the cruelty farm animals experience at the hands of humans. If you are interested in learning more about factory farming I recommend the following documentaries available on NetFlix:
- Food, Inc.
- Forks Over Knives
- Super Size Me
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
- Hungry for Change
- Food Matters
Quotes from famous vegetarians:
“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”- Albert Einstein
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”- Thomas A. Edison
“Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man’s supremacy over lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man. They had also brought out the truth that man eats not for enjoyment but to live.”-Mahatma Ghandi
“By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”- Leonardo da Vinci
Lately, I have been incorporating a lot of fermented foods in my diet. I not only enjoy the health benefits of consuming fermented foods but I also love the taste of fermented foods. On average, I go through a jar of fermented veggies a week. Each jar is approximately $10 at Whole Foods. This can quickly add up and become very costly.
I tried to make my own fermented veggies several times and failed. I was about to give up on making my own when I discovered “Britt’s Pickles” at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. I had a very long conversation with the representative and told her about my numerous failed attempts at making fermented veggies at home. She told me about an upcoming two part class at Pike Place Market about how to ferment at home. Of course I immediately signed up, eager to master the art of fermentation.
During the workshop we learned about using lactic acid bacteria fermentation (LAB) to create delicious pickles, vegetables, kimchi and sauerkraut. LAB fermentation does not require vinegar, cooking, freezing, or canning. LAB fermentation uses vegetables soaked in a variety of spices and sea salt in an oxygen-free environment. A Mason jar works great for this purpose. The salt and oxygen-free environment prevents nasty microorganisms from growing but allows for salt tolerant lactic acid to thrive.
What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are foods that have been through the process of lactofermentation. During the process of lactofermentation naturally occuring bacteria feed of the sugar and starch to create lactic acid. This process preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes as well as a plethora of probiotics.
Benefits of fermented foods:
- Fermented foods provide the body with probiotics. Fermented foods are loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacterial that improve the digestive system, reverse certain diseases, improve bowel function and boost immunity.
- Fermented foods assist the body in absorption of nutrients. Probiotics assist in proper gut function. When the gut is functioning properly digestive enzymes are able to absorb more efficiently.
- Fermented foods are cheap. Probiotic capsules and digestive enzymes at health food stores can be pricey, however, fermented foods are cheap to make. Also, fermented foods contain up to 100 times more probiotics than a probiotic supplement and also include a wider range of microflora.
- Fermented foods are easy to make and preserve. Fermented foods can be stored in the refrigerater for up to a year because of the process of lacto-fermentaion. Unlike canning, nutriets are not lost with fermentation.
- Fermented foods help detox the body. Fermented foods are highly potent detoxifiers and act chelators to remove a wide range of toxins and heavy metals from the body.
Fermentation is a tradition in many cultures and dates back thousands of years. Nearly all cultures include fermentation in their traditional food preparation and preservation. Here is a short list of fermented foods and their country our origin:
Japan: Miso, Tempeh
South Pacific: Poi
China and the Middle East: Kombucha
Sadly, the Western diet, especially SAD (Standard American Diet) has virtually eliminated the presence of cultured food in the US. Instead of eating food that is alive, Americans are eating processed and dead foods.
Do fermented foods play a roll in your diet or do you take a probiotic supplement?
If you are interested in my health coaching program, email me at Brooks.Dawn@gmail.com to set up your free health history consultation. The health history consultation usually takes 45 minutes and we will discuss the current state of your health and your health goals.
Also, if you are interested in enrolling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, let me know and I will send you information and can answer any questions you may have about the program.by