A few months ago VegNews magazine approached me about writing an article about spring greening cleaning the home with tips on how to avoid and kick out nasty toxins. I was thrilled to contribute to their environemtal issue (entitled "Are We Screwed?") and learned a ton from researching the piece (I can reassure you, we are not screwed). This 'zine hit mailboxes a few days ago and should be in newstands now or quite soon so be sure to grab a copy! Here are a few of the simple ways to detox your home for better health (read the full lowdown in the article!):
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.
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.
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.
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:
This list of Valentine’s tips appeared in my inbox from a site called Queendom.com - these ideas are so sweet and simple I had to share.
· Forget the dozen roses. Buy one, wrapped with a ribbon. (I add: **make sure it is organic, locally grown and fair-trade!**)
· Show up at your partner's workplace and whisk him or her away for (a healthy) lunch.
· Place a love note in your partner’s lunch bag or on the bathroom mirror.
· Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, and drive out to a place where you can see the stars. (better yet, bike, walk or take public transportation!)
· Slow dance in your living room. (or get silly and dance to a fun, old school song!)
· Meet at a local hang-out and pretend you’re two strangers flirting with each other.
· Build a little bonfire in your backyard and make chocolate (vegan) Smores.
· Get tango or salsa lessons together.
And remember, V-Day doesn't have to be about being in a relationship - celebrate it with your friends, family, animal companions and/or yourself! I explored the importance of this (and following your heart) in this video with Charles from RawYouth.org:
What a great way to use up all those lingering candy canes - would be a lovely treat for New Years Eve! I found an organic, corn syrup-free variety at Whole Foods and they were perfect for this! The recipe results in a sweet, decadent, salty and crunchy dessert that will delight children and adults alike.
It's free of gluten and soy, and it can be relatively low in sugar if you use a ultra dark chocolate, a raw chocolate and/or one sweetened with stevia or xylitol. It can also be low in salt if you use salt-free tortilla chips and even low in oil and nut-free if you leave out the coconut oil.
Happy Non-GMO Month everyone! Yep, this is such an important issue that it needs a whole month to raise awareness, thus it was created with a mission of empowering shoppers and retailers to make the right decision about food. Now that you know about it you'll see Non-GMO Project seals on many products, especially since over a thousand stores across the US and Canada are celebrating this month.
This month is especially important due to Prop 37 - you've likely spotted lots of "Yes on 37" and "Right to Know" campaign advertisements popping up lately. This ballot measure was created to offer consumers the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered or not via product labels. Written with broad input from food groups, industry, science, legal and health experts it will not affect food prices, requires no new bureaucracy, and will help address health concerns with GMOs - seems like a good idea, and yet many companies are against it and putting loads of money into opposing it (especially Monsanto and DuPont) There are some great videos going around about this that explain it in comprehensive, fun ways, like this celebrity filled ad and this music video.
I'll begin with Corinne's advice - she sent me a very detailed email. Here's what she had to say:
I'm always on the hunt for non-toxic, eco-friendly products that aren't packaged in plastic, so I was thrilled to discover Eco Nuts. These dried berries are a very natural (and fun) way to wash laundry. They are organic, fragrence-free, hypo allergenic, biodegradable and reusable (use them up to 10 times!), plus they come in entirely plastic-free packaging! I've used them several times in my apartment building's standard washing machine (they work in HE/front loading machines too) and the results continue to amaze me. "You'd be nuts to use any other soap!"
I am so excited to share this video with you because it features some products I'm really excited about and I got to incorporate my new eco-vegan legend system! When my new website launches you'll be able to find and sort products and information by 17 categories - check out the examples below and let me know what you think.
I have a soft spot for The Four Seasons - about 5 years ago my family started a tradition to go to their Boston location for dinner every Christmas Eve. Since we've become regulars, the staff quickly learned about my vegan diet and now has an option for me each time I'm there - what started as a plate full of vegetables has turned into delicious dishes like creamy risotto, which you can see in this video. Thus, I was thrilled when a friend of mine told me that The Four Seasons Los Angeles was adding vegan items to their restaurants' menus - I knew I was in for a special experience but boy were my expectations exceeded.
While Googling "vegan jack russell" I came across an exciting site. Not only do they make Organic Vegan Dog Treats, but they're from my old stomping ground, aka Boston!