Review written by EvG team member Rachel Curit:

Anyone who has ever thought that vegan food is flavorless and boring needs a copy of Food Fusion in the Vegan Kitchen stat. Joni Marie Newman shows her readers how to make decadent and satisfying food with everyday ingredients that could be found at the local grocery store. She takes well known dishes like Vietnamese bahn mi or Italian fettuccine Alfredo and adds an ethnic twist to make it even more exciting and unique.

Published in Book Reviews: Food

The Kind Mama is described as a simple guide to supercharged fertility, a radiant pregnancy, a sweeter birth, and a healthier, more beautiful beginning. Written by New York Times Bestseller of The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone has created a really inspiring and practical book that helps women take charge of their motherhood. I find this guide so empowering, especially because Alicia strongly believes that pregnancy doesn't have to be uncomfortable, that instead it should be 9 months of bliss before a lifetime of happiness. 

Alicia draws on her own experience and research (there are so many citations!), as well as the expertise of obstetricians, midwives, nutritionists and health counselors. She aimed to make this an all-in-one resource, taking readers though every stage of pregnancy with solutions, advice, and over 30 plant-based recipes. It's really exciting from a vegan standpoint how she positions the plant-based diet as an extraordinary way for women to feel their best during and after pregnancy. And, I love how she ties in many natural approaches to baby-making, from trusting instincts to meditation to non-toxic products. 

If you're part of the Eco-Vegan Gal community and a fan of The Kind Diet, I'm confident that you'll love The Kind Mama as much as I do. I was thrilled to receive a copy for review from Rodale, and got extra excited when they offered 5 copies to giveaway! Want to add this book to your collection? Here's how to enter.

The main requirement for entering this contest is to watch this video. Within it I will mention a secret passcode! Beyond that, you can earn points to increase your chance of winning, which are outlined in the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to U.S. residents only

5 winners will be announced here and in the EvG newsletter on Monday May 19th - best of luck to you!

Published in Children & Pregnancy

Review by EvG team member Candance Ryan: 

As a yoga instructor, I’m always on the lookout for books that promote a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. It’s a rare gem if you can find a book that offers fitness as well as healthy recipes all in one. It's often the case that I fan out three or four books on the living room floor and try to extract information from each one to create a well rounded approach to a healthy lifestyle. That's why I eagerly awaited the arrival of Power Vegan - Plant-Fueled Nutrition for Maximum Health and Fitness by Rea Frey. This book promised to help the reader see the word “diet” and health in different light…it seemed that my dream may come true…

Published in Fitness

The Blender Girl cover

Do you find yourself spending WAY too much moolah at the local smoothie bar and organic cafe? Are you having a love affair with your high speed blender, yet find yourself making the same recipes over and over again? If you found yourself hollering, "yes, Yes, YES!" then you much check out this new book. The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks--100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes! by Tess Masters will be on shelves tomorrow (April 8th) and it is going to rock your blender-lovin' world. Below I'll share one of my favorite smoothie recipes from the publication, but first let me give you a little breakdown of this stunning work of art.

Published in Book Reviews: Food

Guest post by Emily Heikes:

Even if you don't plan to switch to a raw vegan diet anytime soon, Raw Food Power is a great resource on incorporating more healing foods into your diet. Former stuntwoman turned naturopath, Annelie Whitfield has created flavorful recipes and remedies based on her experience healing herself.

Published in Book Reviews: Food

Guest post by Kylie Bennett

Lifelong vegan Makini Howell left the bustling streets of New York City in 2005 to open up Plum Bistro in Seattle, WA. Her vision for Plum was to have a place where vegans and omnivores could come together in one community and leave feeling completely satisfied. Out of this restaurant came the cookbook Plum, full of inventive vegan dishes that are bursting flavor and fun to make.

Published in Book Reviews: Food
Sunday, 31 March 2013 12:23

Viewer of the Month: Amanda Middleton

One of the best parts of running Eco-Vegan Gal is meeting people virtually. I receive some really sweet digital correspondence from amazing people around the world, and it's always touching to hear their stories. On my birthday this year Amanda sent me a sweet note on Facebook to let me know that I inspired her to go vegan 2 years ago - her words brought me so much joy and I was really interested to hear more about her story. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Hi! My name is Amanda. I am a 30 year old vegan, and I live in Connecticut. I have always loved animals and have been lucky to have them around me my entire life. A few years ago, I started to become more interested in cooking and nutrition. And was learning more and more about what is in our food and where it comes from. I had been curious about vegetarianism for a while and in September 2010 I decided to try giving up meat (except for fish) for a month, or maybe until that Thanksgiving, and then see how I felt. I only knew a handful of vegetarians then (and I definitely didn't know any vegans). That night, I turned to Google. I think I googled "vegetarian" and I came across the Peta video "If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, Everyone Would Be Vegetarian"... Well that shocked me to my core.. I hadn't cried that hard in a long time. I already knew that it wasn't right to be eating animals, but I didn't know how horribly they are treated. I also didn't know all the other issues that come from the meat/dairy/egg industries (environment, world hunger, etc) It and a few more videos I watched, left me disturbed and appalled. And I knew after that I could never eat meat again. A friend of mine recommened that I read Skinny Bitch. I went to the bookstore across the street the next day and read that book in about a day and a half. I continued to eat fish once in a while and was probably 99% vegan at home. Going out, I was still consuming some dairy and eggs.. Pretty much out of laziness or "convenience". I guess I was leaning into it.

I didn't officially go 100% vegan until December 2011. Another friend of mine was curious about my veggie lifestyle, so I lent her Skinny Bitch, and told her about some videos to watch. The next day, she told me that she threw out all of the animal products in her house and wanted to go vegan right away! Well, I jumped right on board with her (it's a lot easier with a buddy) and never looked back! And brought a few more friends with me since then :)


Since I've been eating more healthy plant-based whole foods, I've felt great! I used to get sick all the time. Now I hardly ever do! My nails started growing so much stronger, so I stopped biting them. <--Yay! I have more overall energy. It has been better for my skin (dairy is horrible for skin). This year I started working out and building muscle. Which is awesome. And it has actually really helped with my depression, which I have had since a teen. No drugs for me! While I do believe it has to do with what we put into our bodies, I also think living a more compassionate life helps your overall well-being. I could go on and on and on...

I love food! I consider myself to be a "foodie", and I love to cook. Despite what many people may think, there is soooo much variety in a plant-based diet. I have so many vegan cookbooks, that I need to get a bigger bookcase before I get anymore. As much as I enjoy trying other people's recipes, I love to experiment in the kitchen and just throw things together. Some of the best things I have eaten came from doing just that. I love to share what I make/eat on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of my friends (mostly non-veg) tell me I should start a blog.. so I have been thinking of doing that. I would also like to get more involved in animal activism. I know that by not purchasing products that come from animals, or are tested on animals, and by boycotting anything that exploits/hurts them (circus, zoos, puppy mills, etc) are all great ways to help animals.. But I would like to be more physically involved.

Going vegan was the best decision I have ever made and I wish I did it sooner! :)

A couple quotes I'd like to share:
"If we can live happy and healthy lives, without causing harm to others, why wouldn't we?"
-Jenny Brown, co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

"Don't do nothing, because you can't do everything. Do something. Anything."


The internet (especially Google and YouTube) is so great for the veg-curious! Or anyone who wants to know where our food comes from and what goes into it. There is a quote I've seen a few times (don't know who said it) "In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." And I believe that is true. The information is out there, people! I was shocked and elated to see how many YouTube videos there were on veganism! All you have to do is type "vegan" into the search bar and at least one of EcoVeganGal's videos show up. (she has almost 500.. and that's just on her main channel.. she has at least 3 others-- WhatAVeganEats is also a great one!) I don't remember the very first EcoVeganGal video I saw, but I do know that I came across one, and just kept watching more of them, and subscribed to her channel. Whitney has a video for pretty much anything eco or vegan you can think of, as well as ones about just living a happier life. I truely believe that she genuinely cares about your well-being and wants to share with you all of the wonderful products, companies, books, and people that she discovers. Thanks to Whitney, I found out about Kris Carr, Happy Herbivore, vgirls|vguys, and other YouTube favorites: The Vegan Zombie and the lovely Shelley Williams, just to name a few. And those people brought me to others and so on.. I had no idea how many of us there are. It is so nice to know that there are all of these other inspirational, compassionate people out there and that we are not alone in this.

Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I had a hard time choosing a favorite EcoVeganGal video. I enjoy her product reviews, because she is so honest and does them with integrity, but one video that is speaking to me right now is a bit different from that. The Importance of Living from the Heart:

 

Amanda online:

Published in Viewer of the Month
Monday, 31 December 2012 08:00

Viewer of the Month: Carlye Katz

I met Carlye through the Eco-Vegan Gal community years ago, and I've always felt an extremely positive energy from her, a light you could say. So it was no surprise to me when I heard that she wrote a book entitled Glow to share her beautiful story of weight loss via the plant-based diet. I didn't have to read a page to know that I wanted this publication to be read for the January EvG Book Club, which proved to be a great decision as soon as I began the first chapter. Carlye has a talent for making everyone she talks with feel like they've known her for years and this openess makes her an incredible advocate for the vegan lifestyle and all the joy it can bring.

What a perfect person to have as my first Viewer of the Month in 2013! I'll let Carlye tell you more about herself in her own words:

I was born, just like everyone else, with a clean slate and potential. But, by the age of five I was already addicted to McDonald’s and stuffing down cinnamon rolls that were bigger than my head. My true self became lost and was stifled by all of the sugar, cheese, meat, and dairy products. My mind was swimming, literally, in filth and poison, but how was I to know? I ate like most kids in the U.S. 

At nine years old I was put on my first diet and my seemingly never ending foray in the diet world had begun. Being decades younger than everyone in my Weight Watchers meetings was not nearly as horrifying as being teased and ridiculed on a daily basis by the obnoxious boys at my school. Fast forward fifteen years and meet “big me.” Correction, I don’t mean big, I mean huge. Morbidly obese. I had gained 150 pounds as well as a hefty dose of Type II diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, plantar fasciitis, plantar neuroma, severe allergies, and daily headaches. 

Carlye katz Before 3

One day, while waddling down the book aisle at Target, I stumbled upon Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. It seemed innocuous enough so I tossed it in my cart amongst the ice cream, frozen chicken, and steaks. Little did I know, that was the last time I would ever buy dairy and meat again.

As I sat my wide load on the couch and started reading Skinny Bitch I found myself laughing out loud. My husband was going about his business but as he passed through the living room and heard me giggling he stopped and asked me to share the source of my newly-acquired happiness. After several recitations he finally sat down beside me and said, “Okay, you’re going to have to start over.” Together we took turns and proceeded to read the entire book aloud until we forced ourselves to go to sleep that night. We woke up the next morning, quickly finished reading the book, and immediately cleared our kitchen of all animal products. Overnight vegans, we have never looked back. 

Immediately I dove in, head first, into studying every piece of research I could find. I knew what was ruining our health, but I wanted to know even more about the process and tools for healing. I discovered superfoods that aid weight loss but, most importantly, aid the body’s detoxification process. Many people who lose significant amounts of weight require surgery to remove excess skin that hangs from the body. I experimented and found a host of other nutritional tools that make the skin more youthful and able to snap back after being distended for so many years. 

Carlye katz melissa

How can anyone ever fully express the magnificent amount of gratitude they have for a person, entity, or piece of information that literally saved their life? Learning about the truth behind our food and what really happens before the steak hits the plate turned my world upside down and yet I finally feel like I am right-side up. I lost 150 pounds and reversed all of the diseases and disorders from which I suffered without medication. I haven’t even had a cold in over four years. My husband lost almost as much weight as I did and reversed Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I celebrate these victories every day, but what I celebrate even more is the peace and happiness I feel knowing that I am finally making a difference, every day, one bite at a time. I had to change my diet to save my life, but knowing that as I save myself I’m also saving the lives of innocent, sentient animals along with the planet itself compelled me to share my story. 

Carlye Katz glow FrontCover-Final

I wrote the book, Glow: a story of love, cake and what life’s like 150 pounds later, in an effort to make a difference in the lives of all living things. Glow is a guide for losing weight and reversing disease, but it is also a love story filled with inspiration and humor that covers many topics, such as how to use superfoods to boost the body’s healing power, the importance of choosing organic food, avoiding GMOs, and visualization. 

I am so grateful for the enthusiastic reception that Glow has received in just a few weeks since its release. People with chronic pain and conditions have been writing reviews and sending me heartwarming, astounding messages telling me that they have not only lost weight, but also found themselves free of the pain that had plagued them on a daily basis for years past. Food is infinitely powerful. The food that we choose to eat is either energizing us and building us to become the people that we were meant to be, or it is killing us. To discount the impact of nutrition on our lives is a grave error and one that many people make. The time has come for healing. As we heal ourselves we will save the animals and the planet that we all share. To me, this is the ultimate trifecta.

My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is "Journal/Inspiration: The Importance Of Following Your Bliss". Learning to trust myself and my instincts while following my bliss has been challenging at times. Taking the unknown road can be scary at first. How wonderful that we can find someone like Whitney who takes the time to cheer us on in our endeavors. Through Eco-Vegan Gal, Whitney puts out so much incredible content. She goes above and beyond by telling viewers about everything from eco-friendly battery usage to contact lenses. What makes Whitney stand out even more is her honesty and relevance. I love knowing that if I need great advice or info, all I have to do is check with Eco-Vegan Gal!

 

Carlye and Glow online:

Published in Viewer of the Month

Most people live a "lifestyle of consumption, enabled by convenience", perhaps because "we don’t have to think about the costs, beyond what is printed on the package or on our receipts. We don’t have to think about the consequences." One of the biggest problems we face is plastic, which is turned into inexpensive products that are not designed to last and "are packaged so that they can wait indefinitely on store shelves for our sudden desires". While some call plastic addiction the “crisis of our civilization”, it's really just a reflection of the real issue - "the biggest challenge is paying attention".

These are quotes from Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, a book by Beth Terry, who educated herself about environmental, health and political issues surrounding plastic and found ways to get it almost entirely out of her life. Her passion lead her to pen a now very successful blog called My Plastic-Free Life that inspired the book, both in which she shares her personal journey and offers accessible solutions without imposing guilt. But her driving forces goes beyond plastic - there's a bigger message within her words that encourages people to start thinking and living differently to achieve longer, happier lives.

The following video is a review of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can TooMy feelings are best captured on camera than in writing, but I wanted to share some more details, facts, quotes and links to more information here because it's more easily accessible.

Published in Book Reviews

* Update - Beth Terry, author of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too will be joining the club discussion, which will take place on August 22nd between 6-7pm PST (9-10pm EST) via Google+ Hangout - stay tuned for more details!

Ever since I decided to cut back on work and focus on this website and myself, I have been doing a lot of reading. And it feels unbelieveably good. A few weeks ago I accompanied my dad to the library and came home with an armful of non-fiction books on marketing, nutrition, consumerism and veganism. Each time I sit or lay down with a book outside in the summer air or inside on a rainy day I feel simultaneously relaxed and inspired. When's the last time you gave yourself this gift?

Some people read every night after work/before bed, but way too often I hear, "I wish I had time to read." Well, now I'd like to encourage you to make time for it, which is why I'm launching the Eco-Vegan Book Club! Join me and others passionate about health and sustainability as we pick a book every month and then discuss it online via Google+ Hangout. It's a great opportunity to re-commit to reading, learn more about important issues and meet new like-minded people. 

Published in Learn (Resources)
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