A Whole Food Challenge Update: Guest Post from Julie Beyer

What would you do if you were challenged to eat a diet free from any processed foods for the next 7 days? Would you know what to shop for and how to prepare meals that are healthy, delicious, affordable, and convenient? In January 2011, the FARM blog introduced a Whole Food Challenge created by Julie Beyer of For the Love of Food. The post included information from Julie about the micronutrients our bodies need which are not available in processed foods. Seven enthusiastic Vancouverites participated in Julie’s Challenge, including the women of The Vegan Project, a creative and resource-filled blog from Canada.

Julie Beyer started her business out of a desire to educate and inspire others to enjoy the benefits of eating a whole, plant-based foods diet. After learning how processed foods contribute to global problems, Julie embarked on a 4-year journey to holistically address her own health issues. The result was a dietary transformation to eating 100% organic whole, plant-based foods. Her passion for health, the planet, and animals inspires her to share her knowledge with others. Julie is currently studying in Canada to be a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

Find out what happened when 7 Vancouverites embarked on Julie’s 7-day whole foods challenge. Read Julie’s guest post which includes contributions from two of the Challenge participants. Thank you, Julie for sharing your “love of food” with all of us! ~ Cindi Saadi for the  FARM Blog

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the founder of For the Love of Food, a business dedicated to helping people integrate whole, plant-based foods into their everyday lives, I (Julie Beyer) created the 2011 Whole Foods Challenge as a test run for my upcoming e-book, Healthy Italian with the Everyday Pantry Shopping List. The E-Book is like a mini-crash course to becoming your own “Everyday Whole Plant-Based Foods Chef”.

I launched the Whole Foods Challenge in January 2011 in collaboration with The Vegan Project.  The Vegan Project is a blog started in September 2009, by a passionate trio of women to document their learning about veganism and their experiences exploring vegan cuisine, vegan fashion, and vegan restaurants in Vancouver, BC. (more…)

Read More

Vegan Blogs Help Take Veganism Mainstream

Everywhere you look there’s an article about veganism moving into the mainstream. It’s the “hot trend” for 2011. It’s been featured by Oprah and will be featured by Martha Stewart on March 30th. It’s also been mentioned on prime-time TV shows like The Defenders, NCIS, and Parenthood.  Restaurants, companies, colleges and universities are veganizing their menus. Vegan athletes, celebrities, medical experts, and public figures are speaking out about their vegan lifestyle. Vegan bakers are competing more often (and winning!) on Cupcake Wars.

The ‘V-word’ is popping up everywhere. It almost makes one question the often-cited low percentage of Americans who are vegetarian or vegan. Maybe it’s time for a new survey? Getting veganism more mainstream attention is a collective effort shared by many tireless individuals and organizations. I (Cindi Saadi) believe VEGAN BLOGGERS are one such group of individuals making a huge contribution to the increased awareness of ALL THINGS VEGAN!

Vegan bloggers take vital information and make it available for the world to see in a free, friendly, enjoyable format. They create communities of readers and build relationships. They raise awareness by sharing animal rights videos and information and by making vegan eating & living easier and more affordable for individuals and families. As people try more vegan recipes at home or see the truth about animal agribusiness, they demand healthy and compassionate options in restaurants and stores. Vegan bloggers increase the “buzz,” thus, making mainstream media articles and other attention more likely.

As we prepared for the recent Meatout bloggers’ event, it became clear that there is a passionate & growing army of vegan bloggers sending their cruelty-free & healthy vibes out into the blogosphere. For an “event” that was somewhat of a last minute idea, bloggers eagerly signed up to participate. From recipes to reflection, humor to inspiration, plus tons of resources and support, vegan bloggers generously offer a rich variety of gifts for their readers.

(more…)

Read More

A Dance About “Dinner” & A Celebration of Meatout in Photos!

In honor of Meatout, I (Cindi Saadi) would like to tell you about a unique “Dinner” I recently experienced.

It wasn’t a fancy vegan meal at a restaurant or a delicious recipe discovered on an awesome vegan blog.

“Dinner” was a powerful & haunting dance performance in the Cynthia King Dance Studio show, “Dinner” and other Performances in Brooklyn, NY. If you’re not familiar with Cynthia King, I encourage you to read a recent FARM Blog post about Cynthia’s inspirational passion for the arts and for animals. ACTIVISM through ART is POWERFUL and ARTISTS are INCREDIBLE ACTIVISTS!

“Dinner” ~ The Set: Picture a man sitting down to eat a meal at a table near the side of the stage.

Next: Your eyes are drawn center-stage. On the floor you see a huge (taller than a person) FORK & KNIFE.

Lying between the huge fork and knife: Dancers…..just a few adult and child dancers, wearing simple pale, fleshy-colored unitards with deep red, blood-like stains, play the role of the animals who were killed for the meal. They use their bodies as their art. It doesn’t get much more powerful and intimate than that.

Eventually, each dancer rises and beautifully dances what feels like
a bittersweet memory
of the life
the animal would never get to live.

"Dinner" Cynthia King Dance Studio Photo by Roan Pastor

The most moving part of the piece (for me) was when the adult dancers picked up the younger dancers,
cradled them lovingly
, and danced with them.
It made me think of the momma cow, pig, chicken, etc. who never have the chance to love her babies or be with them as they grow.

I’m no dance critic or reviewer, but the words I would use to describe the piece would be beautiful, haunting, intense, solemn, sweet, moving, respectful, and powerful in its raw and emotional simplicity. I know what it meant for me, but I wonder what it may have meant for others in the audience who were not vegan or vegetarian. As they had also been treated to a photo slideshow of beautiful, rescued farm animals while waiting for the show to start, I suspect the “Dinner” performance grabbed their attention and was very thought-provoking. In fact, I imagine the next time they sat down to dinner and looked at their plate – the images of those dancers and the sweet animals they represented may have come to mind.

Yes, activism through art is very powerful.

Now let’s take a look at a few photos of some of our favorite reasons to LIVE VEGAN and
to celebrate Meatout every day

Momma & her babe, snoozin'. Photo credit - unknown.
A good friend can make a great pillow! Photo by Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary's very charming goat, Rocky! Photo by Cindi Saadi
Mother cow and calf, together, as they should be. Photo by Animal Rights on the Farm
Jo-Anne McArthur celebrates life with a newly rescued chicken! Photo by Karol Orzechowski
Toulouse the lamb gets some much needed love from a feathered friend at The Gentle Barn. Photo by The Gentle Barn

If you are new to Meatout, please check out the Meatout Event Directory with events taking place all over the world. I also hope you will check out the Meatout Bloggers’ Event, (today – 3/20), as over 60 bloggers will honor Meatout with their own special blog post. While some bloggers will share a delicious vegan recipe, others will share their thoughts, photos, videos, book reviews, personal stories, tips, and even special giveaways.

For more on making the transition to living vegan, visit Live Vegan or sign up for Meatout Mondays, a weekly e-letter featuring a healthy vegan recipe, product suggestions, health information, and an inspirational story. There’s more support than ever for living a compassionate vegan life. Do it for your health, for the animals, and for the planet!

HAPPY MEATOUT DAY!

~ Cindi Saadi for the FARM Blog

Read More

Meatout 2011: Vows of silence, open mic, tattoos, & VEGAN FOOD!

Feeling discouraged about the plight of animals raised for food around the world? Need a lift? Visit the Meatout 2011 Event Directory and delight in the wide variety of interesting events taking place this month to promote veganism. With pledges to serve vegan foods to nearly 20,000 people, Meatout events range from public feed-ins and presentations, to events in schools and retirement communities, plus demonstrations, open mic nights, and more.

In Pembroke, Massachusetts, students at Brockton High School will take a vow of silence to honor animals raised for food and will wear badges to identify their involvement in Meatout. They will put up posters and operate information tables sharing the positive message about the benefits of a vegetarian/vegan diet. The cafeteria will also offer vegetarian options for students from March 21-25.

Although vegan outreach frequently targets younger people, one event in Fargo, North Dakota will share the benefits of a vegan diet with approximately 200 residents of a retirement community. Rachel, the compassionate coordinator of this event, works for the retirement community and saw a perfect opportunity for residents, many of whom are 80 or over and have diabetes and other chronic conditions, to make choices to improve their health and quality of life.

Rachel is frequently consulted by people in the community for nutritional tips and healthy recipes and is looking forward to providing lots of helpful information to residents on March 21st. She is also looking forward to giving residents a chance to try a variety of vegan food products, teaching them different ways to prepare vegan foods, and showing them how delicious vegan foods are.

At Colorado State University, Colorado Coalition for Animals Charlotte Cressey will give a powerful presentation about the dismemberment of nonhuman animals, the dismemberment of the human spirit, and how to return to wholeness. In Alexandria you can attend an poetry open mic night and vegan potluck where the focus is on compassion for all beings. And in California, kids from the Mars Academy (a nonprofit private academy for k to 12th graders) will share a vegan feast, serve vegan lunches to the homeless, and distribute information and vegan food samples to the public.

And how about events outside of the U.S.? In India’s city of Madurai, Grace Trust, one of FARM’s Sabina Fund recipients, will mobilize its coalition members, volunteers, and youth to promote Meatout’s educational initiatives, potentially benefiting 25,000 people.  In Mexico, people will celebrate the Dia Sin Carne (Day Without Meat) with a fiesta including music, vegetarian food, movies, and more.  In Spain, a month-long online vegan bloggers’ event will promote the month without meat.  And depending upon where you are in Germany, you could feed apples to 32 cows rescued from slaughter, get an animal welfare-related tattoo, or enjoy free vegan chocolates!

Finally, if you are feeling alone or discouraged on your own vegetarian or vegan path, perhaps we can all find inspiration in the words of Carolina who is hosting a private feed-in Odendaalsrus, South Africa. As she shared with FARM for the event directory, Carolina believes she is the only vegetarian in her city of 200,000 people. She says meat-eating is a “big thing” there and people don’t relate well to vegetarians, much less vegans.

But Carolina persists and says, “I walk every single day and always think what an amazing opportunity it is to do leafleting.” If she can do it, alone in a city of 200,000, so can we!

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone hosting or participating in a Meatout 2011 event. And there’s still time! Register now and you can take advantage of food offers from our generous food sponsors. Plus get our handouts and our colorful new vegan brochure to give to all of your attendees.

~ Cindi Saadi for the FARM Blog

Read More