• 25Oct


    Milk, cheese, and butter are some of the top three foods many people have a hard time giving up when transitioning to a healthy, plant-based diet. Even though the plant-based milk industry is now booming, thanks to all the varieties of options that we have, many people still do use dairy milk, cheese, and butter without abandon. But is this a coincidence? Is cheese pizza really something magical or is it addictive for so many people because of something else?

    Considering cheese actually has a horrible smell and is rather gross when you consider how it’s made, there aren’t any magical properties behind cheese (or other dairy products) that make them anything special. The reason why they’re so addicting is largely due to a certain type of protein dairy products contain.

    Meet Milk Protein: Whey and Casein

    There are two types of protein found in dairy products: casein and whey protein. 38 percent of the solid matter in milk is made of protein. Of that total protein, 80 percent is casein and 20 percent is whey. Cheese is mostly made of casein, where most of the liquid whey has been filtered or strained out, but all dairy products contain casein, not just cheese. The difference between whey and casein is how they’re digested and how they react in the body. Whey protein is digested quickly and absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, which causes an increase in insulin quickly. This process stimulates IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) which has been found to create new cancer cells and proliferate cancer cell growth. Yikes!

    Casein: Your Brain and Body’s Worst Nightmare

    Casein is very different from whey, though just as detrimental to your health. Casein breaks down more slowly and in the process, also wreaks havoc on your health.

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, says through his studies he has found casein to be the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered.  Because casein digests so slowly, natural morphine-like substances in casein known as casomorphins, act like opiates in the body as they enter the bloodstream. Just minutes after you eat a dairy-based food, the casein protein begins to break down.  This releases the drug-like casomorphins, which attach to opiate receptors in the brain, and cause severe addictions to dairy products (hence the reason they keep people coming back for more.) Casomorphins trigger such an addictive response that they’ve been compared to heroine in terms of their strength to cause food addictions and mood disorders.

    Casein’s slow digestion rate also puts great strain on the digestive system. Dr. Frank Lipman (an Integrative and Functional Medical expert), explains that the body has an extremely difficult time breaking down the proteins in casein. Dr. Lipman says that common symptoms of dairy sensitivity due to casein are: excess mucus production, respiratory problems and digestive problems like constipation, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea. It’s also known to cause skin issues like acne, rashes, and redness or irritation. Skip the casein and try eating more of these Inexpensive Vegan Foods That Brighten Your Skin instead!

    Morphine in Milk- What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Advertise on Their Products

    If you still think a harmless glass of milk, a cup of yogurt, or a small serving of cheese isn’t potentially dangerous, think again. Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. (founder of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, a.k.a PCRM) found that in various studies, when dairy products were removed from the diet, cheese was the hardest food for people to give up. Dr. Barnard credits this finding to cheese being the most concentrated source of all dairy products. PCRM has also discovered that milk actually contains morphine, which can clearly be seen when milk is inspected under a microscope. Morphine is not added to cow’s milk; cows actually produce these opiate-like chemicals on their own.

    Beware of the Sneaky Place Casein Lurks (Hint, It’s Not Just Dairy!)

    The Trouble With Casein  is that it’s not just found in dairy products. In fact, this dangerous ingredient is often used in other foods, even those that are marketed as a vegan food. Casein is used in food for it’s scientific properties to thicken and congeal foods and likely for it’s addictive properties to sell more products.  Some brands of veggie cheeses, non-dairy yogurts, non-dairy, and non-dairy creamers contain casein for these very reasons. Casein is also found in some other non-food items such as: paint, adhesives, glues, fabrics, textiles, and plastics. Can you believe that? Items in your home and your clothes could even contain this toxic protein naturally found in dairy!

    How to Spot Casein on a Label:

    You’ll find casein listed as either of the following: casein, caseinates, calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate and sodium caseinate. Read labels thoroughly and buy products that are 100 percent vegan to be sure you’re not consuming this ingredient. If you have a question about the ingredients in your food or household product, you may also want to contact the manufacturer to inquire about it more thoroughly.

    Other Problems With Dairy and Your Health

    As you can see, it’s no wonder that gooey cheese pizza or bowl of dairy milk ice cream is so hard for many people to give up, but addiction isn’t the only problem dairy causes. Dairy has also been linked to brain fog and depression, which creates even more havoc to the brain and body. Lactose, a milk sugar found in dairy, is also one of the number one allergies people have in the United States.

    You Don’t Need Casein or Dairy to be Healthy or Happy

    Believe it or not, life does go on without dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, and butter. In fact, it gets better! Plant-based foods come with just as many satisfying properties as dairy foods do, yet they contain no morphine or other nasty chemicals found in dairy foods. Check out these 10 Reasons to Ditch Dairy if you’re still on the fence.

    Here are some healthy options to buy instead of dairy products:

    As you can see, there are plenty of dairy replacements to choose from, but again, when choosing processed foods, make sure they are 100 percent vegan. You can use these delicious plant-based options to recreate fabulous dishes in your recipes and change your health in the process.

    Need recipes? We’ve got plenty of dairy-free options to choose from!

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  • 25Oct
    My worker, Jose, just finished my horno! An outside (solar, if you like) oven!

    I didn’t think I needed an oven when I was completely raw, but now that I’m back
    to some raw-and-living-and some cooked foods, its time for an oven. Plus, this
    one does my dehydrating and fermenting!

    You build your fire in it, then, when it reaches 160 degrees, you can roast your meats,

    if that’s what you do. Then, you take out the wood fire, and spray the inside with water and
    stuff the chimney with a wet rag, to bake your breads! It steams them in 35-45 minutes! I don’t do
    yeast breads, but will make a sprouted grain bread of oats, plantains, sprouted barley, corn, etc…
    with Stevia and coconut oil, maybe carob, sweet potatoes and beets. I do dessert breads and brownies this way, too, by adding cacao, which is superb and dark and rich here.

    And then the oven is cooler, and you do your beans and grains for overnight granola, crackers, dried fruits, because its basically the dehydrator by now. You put in kindling to dry it out, and then

    (coconut) yogurt and vege slaw for fermenting!

    Isn’t that the coolest thing! And for me, I’ll be done for the week. So the fire is a once-a-week thing.

    And I have so much wood around here it’s ridiculous.

    I’m so excited! It has to set, so I can use it in 5 days.

    Next, Jose is making me a stairway up to my meditation area,

    soon to be yoga/taichi class area, where you can all come and retreat!horno1 horno Josefinishing

    and then he’ll start the living fence. (metal/steel frame with plants and ivy growing up over the years.)

  • 24Oct


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  • 24Oct


    A plant-based diet is highly recommended by many medical professionals today and even celebrities like Kathy Freston, Alicia Silverstone, and more. And while you can go plant-based to follow your favorite celebrity if you want, you’ll benefit much more by learning about what the power of a plant-based diet can do for your health….

  • 24Oct

    “Today You….Tomorrow Me.”


    “Today You….Tomorrow Me.”

    by Rhoner

    hitch-hikerHave you ever picked up a hitch-hiker?

    Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn’t too stoked on the practice. Then some stuff happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it’s a long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

    This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

    Anyway, each of these times this happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really poor 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say things  like “this country is going to hell in a hand-basket.”

    But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

    He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks English. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn’t careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Damn!

    No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand but he wouldn’t take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best tamale I have ever had.

    So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow…

    But we aren’t done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won’t take it. All I can think to say is “Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor” with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

    “Today you…. tomorrow me.”

    Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broken my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t deal.

    In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

    “Today you…. tomorrow me.”

  • 24Oct

    Every single day of the school year, motorcycle gang members in New Zealand deliver hundreds of handmade sandwiches to schools in Waikato, making sure no children go hungry like they did when they were young.

    Meet the Motorcycle Sandwich Gang

    In a Waikato Times video you can see Tribal Huk members huddled in their hair nets, carefully spreading mustard and assembling the tomatoes and ham that will feed 450 to 500 children in 25 schools.

    Letters from children that begin “Dear sandwich makers” line the wall, attesting to the gang’s two-and-a-half years of service.

    When the video and story were published in the local paper and in a popular website, Stuff.co.nz, a flood of public support and offers have followed. People have volunteered to help grow the project, grow veggie gardens, send honey, avocados, margarine, eggs, books, money.

    The members have been left speechless, including Jamie Pink, the group’s leader, the self-proclaimed “angry man with a soft heart.”

    “I wanna say thank you so much for the support. I’m not sayin’ we’re angels and that, but we’re not bad people. We didn’t expect this.”

    Interviewed by the newspaper, Jamie Pink said he was fed by motorcycle gang members when he was young and remembers them as generous people who looked after him and his mom when they had nothing.

    Yes, he says, it should be the parents responsibility, but some kids just have “crappy parents.”

    Fan mail for the sandwich makers

    Tribal Huk has a large following of young men wanting to become members. Many have grown up as hungry kids and turned into angry men.

    Poverty ruins them, he says. ”They never forget it.”

    The kids who eat his sandwiches still have a chance and he has hopes that aren’t gang hopes for them.

    ”Hopefully they’re gonna grow up to be decent citizens. But they’re not gonna grow up properly if they don’t get a feed.”

    This is not recruitment, he says. ”If we thought like that, we’re not worth existing, to be honest with you.”

    “It gives us reason for being. It’s as simple as that.”

  • 24Oct


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  • 23Oct

    http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/curries-and-stir-fries-featuring-almond-butter/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=cfc2503b50-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-cfc2503b50-106006397In curries, I lean towards the smooth and creamy almond butters. However, a chunky one will add crunch and adding almond or peanut pieces alongside the butter can even capture the true feel of a peanut curry. For more, check out these Facts About Almond Butter and try making your own.

    Four tablespoons will usually suffice for a two-person sized curry with relatively large portion sizes, but try working with more or less to-taste. Fresh ground nut butters with no additives are a specialty of many health food stores and even local groceries and will definitely taste the best. If using store-bought almond butter, check the label to make sure no sugar is sneaking into your food without you knowing it, and make sure to use less salt if the butter is already salted.

    1. Thai

    Heat coconut milk, and then add almond butter and stir until dissolved.  Thai curries shine with bamboo shoots, thinly sliced carrot sticks, fried or steamed tofu, and mushrooms. After the veggies have begun to soften, add lime juice, paprika, basil and shallots. For more inspiration, also try Purple Cauliflower Thai Green Coconut Curry With Carrot Noodles and learn How to Cook Veggies Thai Style.

    Next, Add Lemongrass

    A more time-consuming but worthwhile endeavor is to steep lemongrass in light, unsweetened coconut milk and strain well before adding almond butter. This aids in cooking the vegetables to pure satisfaction. I typically go for either lime juice or lemon grass, although some recipes do call for both.

    2. Chocolate and Almonds

    Unsweetened cocoa powder or better yet raw cacao powder, mixes well with traditional curry spices and nut butter. Try cumin, garam masala, curry powder or whole curry leaves, turmeric, garlic and chili in place of a curry mix.

    This works especially well with lentils, rice and vegetables, but also pairs well with broccoli and tofu. Cocoa can also work with other spicing options, like the Ethiopian berbere.

    3. Cayenne and Cinnamon

    Sweet and spicy, this works for most vegetables, tofu, tempeh or beans. Sautee ingredients first if desired and add water or broth and stir in almond butter until well-blended. Cayenne and cinnamon will be the highlights, but this can also be excellent with nutmeg, ground black pepper and paprika.

    4. Ethiopian Spices with a Twist

    This is also a sweet and spicy option, but with more flavor notes. Berbere is a popular Ethiopian chili spice blend generally made with fenugreek, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, paprika and ginger. If not using a blend, I recommend subbing fresh onion, garlic and chilies for the powdered options. Tofu or lentils with your favorite vegetables in this combination of flavors makes for a special treat. Mix almond butter, spices, onions, garlic and chilies into hot water or broth before adding the vegetables, but cook the beans first before adding almond butter, spices and veggies if you choose to use beans. Also try these other fun Ethiopian spices.

    5. Bay and Hing with Chickpeas

    Often also referred to as asafetida, one of my favorite spices tastes a bit like garlic. If searching for a comparison, it is usually sold cut with flour. The best taste is released by toasting lightly with oil or water, along with red pepper flakes or sliced chili peppers and ginger, turmeric and cumin, before adding the other ingredients. Be careful, because too much hing becomes bitter quickly.

    Cook chickpeas with peas, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, or any other desired vegetables and add a bay leaf or three and a splash of lemon juice to the pot. Bay works best when it soaks in liquid, but make sure to remove before serving, because while edible, the leaves themselves aren’t exactly delicious. This is an alternative to more typical curry mixes, although these are still relatively common Indian spices.

    As you can see, with almond butter this definitely isn’t traditional anymore and should provide a pleasant change of pace.

  • 23Oct

    Hemp protein is amazing for many reasons and despite that it comes from the cannabis plant, it does not contain any traceable amounts of THC, like the drug marijuana does. Hemp has been found to be one of the most sustainable plants that exists and one of the diverse foods for a variety of reasons and uses. There are many awesome reasons to consider using hemp protein if you’re into fitness, looking to lose weight, or looking to build or maintain lean muscle mass as you age (which is awesome to prevent bone loss whether you’re vegan or not.)

    Check out the benefits hemp protein has to offer:

    1. Complete Amino Acid Profile

    Unlike many seeds, hemp protein made from raw hemp seeds contain all 20 essential amino acids, both essential and non-essential. For this reason, hemp is one of the best plant-based protein sources of all kinds. Complete amino acids are necessary for forming protein in the body, which fuels and repairs muscle cells, regulates neurotransmitter function in the brain, and regulates the nervous system function.

    2. Lean Source of Protein

    Hemp seeds have a fair amount of fat, but hemp protein is actually a very lean source of protein. Hemp protein is made by cold-milling hemp seeds. During the process, some of the fat is removed and the final product is mostly the natural protein found in hemp seeds. Lean sources of protein are beneficial for digestion, metabolism, and for promoting a healthy, lean body mass. Three tablespoons of hemp protein powder contains roughly 90 calories with only 3 grams of fat but 15 grams of protein! Hemp protein is also cholesterol-free and saturated fat-free.

    3. Boosts Metabolism

    Since hemp protein contains all essential amino acids and is a lean source of protein, it’s a very effective natural metabolism booster. Protein requires more energy to digest than fats or carbohydrates, which means your body burns more calories just by consuming it. Since hemp protein is from a raw source of protein, it’s even better for your body and metabolism.

    4. Energizing

    Hemp is also full of iron,  magnesium and zinc. Per three tablespoons, hemp protein has 40% of your daily iron requirements, 60 percent of your daily magnesium requirements, and 25 percent of your daily zinc requirements. These nutrients are critical for optimizing energy on a plant-based diet. It’s much better to get your nutrients from raw foods that your body can absorb than from highly processed protein powders or supplements.

    5.  High in Fiber

    Most plant-based proteins contain a little bit of fiber, but most none of them besides chia seeds compare to the fiber found in hemp protein. Per three tablespoons, hemp protein provides 8-15 grams of fiber depending on the type of hemp protein you choose. That’s more than a bowl of oatmeal or two- three whole bananas! Fiber is important for regulating your blood sugar, protecting your heart, aiding in digestion, and maintaining a healthy weight.

    6. Inexpensive

    For such a healthy protein source, hemp is very inexpensive. Because it’s only mildly processed and such a sustainable food, it can be purchased at a fair price, even in organic form. You can usually buy a pound of raw, organic hemp protein for around $15.00, which is around the same cost as those highly refined, cheap tubs of hormone-filled whey protein powders sold at chain superstores. Most organic hemp proteins are also non-GMO, cold-milled, and processed without any chemicals whatsoever. This low-cost feature is great if you’re on a budget but looking to eat healthy without sacrificing quality.

    7. Tasty

    Hemp protein is also very tasty, especially in a smoothie! It has a deliciously rich, nutty taste when blended with other ingredients. Some great pairings to use with hemp are: blueberries, acai, raspberries, blackberries, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut milk, almond milk, spinach, chia, banana, and almond butter. You can also use it to bake with in replacement to flour or use it in a homemade dessert or protein bar recipe.

    8. Low-Carb

    Watching your carbs? You’ll be happy to know that hemp protein is very low in net carbs. Net carbs are the amount of carbs left after you subtract fiber from the total carb count. Since fiber does not impact blood sugar levels or cause weight gain, it’s not considered a net carb like sugar and starch are. A low-carb, plant-based diet may be beneficial for your blood sugar and weight, though healthy complex carbs most certainly have their place in one’s diet too.

    9. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

    Hemp also contains EFA’s, which are essential fatty acids. EFA’s are important for lean body mass, brain function, and protecting the heart. Hemp seeds contains roughly 1245 grams of omega 3 fatty acids in just 1.5 tablespoons!

    10. Anti-inflammatory

    Hemp protein’s greenish brown color denotes the natural chlorophyll found in hemp seeds. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants that provides your body with alkaline protection against inflammation. Hemp protein is also rich in potassium, which can help balance your electrolytes and aid in water balance. This can also help prevent joint pain and muscle cramps, which all fitness buffs know is no fun to deal with. Hemp contains roughly 370 milligrams of potassium in just three tablespoons, which is more than twice as much as orange and more than twice as much as a cup of spinach!


    Hemp protein is also one of the easiest proteins to digest. It’s grain-free, nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, and very easy for the body to process. This makes it a perfect option for anyone on a 100 percent plant-based diet or someone just looking to add a cleaner protein to their fitness routine. You can also choose between regular hemp protein, higher fiber hemp protein, or fiber-free hemp protein depending on your health goals.

    What are you waiting for? Trade in the whey today and give hemp protein a try!

    Here are some recipes to get you started: 

    Do you use hemp protein powder?

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