Saturday, 29 November 2014 15:50

Viewer of the Month: Victor Rivera

Victor is one of those people who gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, which is remarkable given that he's a total tough guy on the outside. I'll never forget when we first communicated online - he won a giveaway I ran and his response started with "OMG YESSSSSSS!!!! I've never won anything EVER" and ended with "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I loved his enthusiasm and passion. About a year later he reached out to offer her personal training services and we've been in touch off and on ever since. Victor is a fantastic role model for vegan men. Ladies, try to contain yourself when you read what an amazing husband and doggy dad he is!

Hey Fellow EvGers! My name is Victor. I moved to Los Angeles (A.K.A. “Vegan Heaven”) about 12 years ago from the Boston area. I have a wonderful wife, son and two cute dogs, and all of us are vegan (yup, our dogs are, too!). I am also a certified personal trainer, wannabe blogger, as well as a student at UCLA, pursuing a degree in psychology.

victor rivera dogs victor rivera dog

I would say my vegan journey probably began in my early youthful days, as I have always had a passion for social justice and compassion. I’ve seen firsthand, as well as voraciously read about, the plight of the poor, minorities and women, so standing up for the voiceless and oppressed has always been important to me.

victor rivera family

I met my wife, a long-time vegetarian, about eight years ago, and whenever I ate a burger, she would say, “Moooooo.” While I know she was being funny, I also knew that it hurt her to see someone eating her favorite animal. So knowing that I might be with her forever, I decided to look into this vegetarian thing. I began reading “Fast Food Nation,” and was quickly appalled at the treatment of the animals, migrant workers, and the general behavior of the meat, dairy, and fast food corporations. My wife was also reading, “Skinny Bitch” at the same time, so about a day after I decided to go vegetarian, we began planning how to go vegan.

While I went vegan for the animals and the environment, I could’t believe how much my health had changed. As someone who suffered from IBS for 10 years at that point, my condition basically vanished upon going vegan. I also lost nearly 70 pounds simply by changing to a vegan diet, and a basic exercise routine! So these days, I enjoy sharing the benefits of a vegan diet to the world, as well as proving that you can be just as strong and healthy eating plants!

victor rivera before after

About two years ago, I went to Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s book signing in Santa Monica, and my wife said, “Hey, there’s Eco-Vegan Gal!” I said, “You’ve never told me about her!” Apparently my wife had been following her forever but held out on me. So that night, I went to ecovegangal.com and was blown away! I am totally one of those people with about a thousand different passions and always wondering which one I should “pick,” so I was astounded that someone could combine journalism, physical health, mental health, veganism, hygiene, the environment, how to be your best self, business skills, and about a million other topics under one umbrella.

Not only does Whitney cover all of these categories, she does so in multiple formats (i.e. the regular Eco-Vegan Gal channel, “Live Q and A,” “Uncensored,” and so on) across multiple platforms (her webpage, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). So I would say I follow Eco-Vegan Gal because she seems to have a video or article about all things vegan and general day-to-day life issues, and also because her various sites help me improve my ability to have an impact on the world, as well as as better my own personal and family life.

Victor's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My hands down, favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is, “Education and Power Can Change The World,” because it captures what Whitney is all about: The importance of “Inspiring, educating, and empowering” others, as well as ourselves. I get fired up every time I watch this, and I hope you do, too!" "

 

Follow Victor's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 15:20

Viewer of the Month: Stephanie Williams

Stephanie is a fellow YouTuber who I recently got to know well through her participation in my web course The 4 Week Vegan YouTube Plan. She has been a rockstar student and her videos are getting better by the day! I've been a fan of her work for a while now due to her autenthic and inspiring content - I especially love following her fitness and raw food journey. Her story about why she became a vegan and how it has impacted her life is heartwarming and it's amazing what she has accomplished in 3.5 years.

Hey Guys! My name is Stephanie and my YouTube channel is called Vegan, What?. I was born and raised in Cali, ventured out to the East Coast for a few years, and made my way back to the West Side (It was too cold over there lol). I love to make yummy vegan recipes, fitness videos, and share information on how to have fun being vegan. Through my channel I hope to entertain and inspire others to live a Fan-Vegan-Tastic life!

Stephanie VeganWhat wall

I began my vegan journey in April of 2011 and it's been an amazing transformation. I was tired of how my body felt and I knew I needed a change. I wanted to be more compassionate and kind to my body but I didn’t know how or where to start. But, I did remember hearing about Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. I went online and did a little research and decided that I needed to check this book out. When I received the book in the mail I was excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted to see what new and delicious food I would be trying but I didn’t want to hear about how terrible I was for eating meat. So, I proceeded with caution. “I’m just going to be a flirt,” I said, which in her book means to just try and incorporate some vegan changes into your life from time to time. No commitment. That’s exactly what I wanted: no commitment! As I continued reading the book I realized that by eating meat and dairy, I wasn’t just affecting my health, but I was also contributing to the pain and suffering of animals and their children. I continued to research by searching the web and watching documentaries and I was finally faced with the question “Am I going to make a change or not?”

Stephanie VeganWhat hat

So, I decided to take the plunge and go vegan. Wow, it’s been such an amazing experience and the benefits are endless! I lost weight and became about 99% asthma free (I only use my inhaler when I’m sick which is so rare these days). It was like my body had been waiting for me to make this change. I’ve met some wonderful people and animals, ate some delicious vegan food that I never would have had the chance to try, and feel completely as peace with at least one of my life choices.

Stephanie's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "hmm…there are so many, but I guess if I have to choose then it would be The Kind Diet – Artichoke Dip: cooking with Eco-Vegan Gal. I believe Alicia Silverstone posted this video on her website and that’s how I found Eco Vegan Gal. You really inspired me to start my own channel and start producing content. "

Follow Stephanie's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month

One of the most common themes in the questions I am asked is how to lose weight on the plant-based diet. I always try to address this topic carefully, as it's a sensitive subject. Having struggled with an eating disorder in my teens and twenties and body image issues most of my life, I understand how important one's mental state is to feeling good physically and emotionally. Changing my diet has had an ongoing impact on my life, including healthy weight loss and the ability to maintain it. Additionally, learning about how food impacts the body helped me feel more grounded and comfortable in my skin, and reduced unhealthy eating habits (like binging and purging).

I've also discovered that there is no such thing as a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all trick, and that keeping the body thriving inside and out is a perpetual process. That's why I love coming across weight loss advice that offers long-term, nutritious tips featuring food and healthy emotional guidance. Here are some of my latest favorites, starting with 10 delicious, body-friendly foods.

Published in Health Food
Saturday, 28 June 2014 14:06

Viewer of the Month: Jodi Hoberg

Jodi is a very sweet part of the Eco-Vegan Gal team - I love her kind, open spirit and it was so wonderful learning more about her journey in this feature. I think you'll be inspired by Jodi's story about how the vegan lifestyle helped her connect with her family and lose weight:

I’m 23, and currently reside in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I studied Technical Communication and recently graduated in May 2014—woohoo!

jodi horse riding

I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin with a couple horses, dogs, barn cats, and chickens. Horses are my greatest passion, and I’m fortunate to be able to work at a stable that caters to the dressage, eventing, and hunter/jumper crowds while I’m at school. I have two horses back home, Star, a ten-year-old Breeding Stock Paint, and Swayze, a four-year-old Paint/Arabian sporthorse. My family also has an eight-year-old European Crème Golden Retriever named Ryla who is very dear to me.

jodi horse riding 2

I, along with my mother, became vegan nearly four years ago due to the health benefits. My family has a history of health problems, and we wanted to prevent those same problems from happening to us. My mom discovered the vegan diet, and we began the process of eliminating animal products. At first, I began eating vegan because I agreed with my mom’s reasoning, but after doing some of the reading for myself, I started to eat vegan because I wanted to.

The book that fully converted me was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. (A dense, but informative book.) Since reading The China Study, I’ve read numerous books on veganism and nutrition, in addition to the dozens of cookbooks my mother and I now own. The transformation that has occurred since I went vegan has been unreal—I went from a size 8 to a size 4 in a summer, and the positive shifts in my demeanor have increased drastically. After being vegan for nearly four years, I could never imagine eating the way I used to. 

jodi dog

Health has always been a part of my life, but until I went vegan, it had been on the backburner. Now, cooking is one of my favorite pastimes and all my friends know me as the organic-eating, vegan girl. (Which I find rather endearing while they consider it humorous.) A couple other tidbits of information about me: soccer is my favorite sport—I’ve played for sixteen years and love every opportunity to kick a ball around; I love to work out and be active; fashion is more of an addiction than a passion; and books—I love to read and could spend all day in Barnes & Noble.

Jodi's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is: “How Recognizing Your Personal Value and Power Contributes to a Better World”. I’ve always been drawn to inspirational quotes, videos, and people. Whitney is one of those inspirational people. This video nearly put me in tears because everything Whitney says in the video is true. Oftentimes, we forget how much power we truly have over our lives and the influence we have over the lives of others, and this clip reminds us of our power and influence.."

Follow Jodi's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month

Want to incorporate more fruit and vegetable juice into your life but not sure about the ins and outs of the process? If you're looking for fresh juice recipes and more information on how these nutrient-dense beverages can make an impact on your health, here are some resources to guide you.

Published in Holistic Health Care
Saturday, 20 July 2013 22:28

The Scoop on The Low Carb Diet

The word "diet" has a bad connotation these days: it conjures up themes of deprivation, malnutrition and low success rates. Many diets are started because of social pressure from friends, family and the media, and when that's the driving force there's a higher chance of failing since there's less emphasis on a healthy structure. I experienced this first hand as a teenager - I thought I was chubby so I tried all sorts of fad diets and none of them worked long term. It wasn't until I educated myself on nutrition and payed attention to the signs my body was telling me about food sensitivities that I got to a healthy weight and stayed there.

Published in Health Food
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 08:15

Viewer of the Month: Lauren Stewart

Lauren has been doing a stand-up job in the EvG Apprentice Program and thus I was eager to learn more about who she is and how she became part of the community. She has a touching story that many can relate to, no matter where they are on their journey to healthy, compassionate living.

My name is Lauren. I am 23 years old and currently live in Austin, TX, with my adorable bulldog/corgi mix, Lilly. I became vegan about 2 1/2 years ago for a few different reasons. Let me tell you a little about my journey:

Lauren Stewart and Lilly dog ecovegangal
I have always been interested in health and nutrition and doing the best thing for my body, and therefore have always enjoyed reading up on the most recent nutrition information. However, I also struggled with body image and bouts of binge eating for many years, so I was never completely satisfied with my health. I had played around with vegetarianism/veganism in the past, but I used to think animal products were a necessary part of our diet and vegans were just "too extreme".

Then, one day, I started reading Skinny Bitch out of pure curiosity. All of the information was so eye-opening! I specifically remember one part of the book with quotes from factory farm workers in which they mentioned how some of the pigs would come up and nuzzle the workers like puppies right before they had to slaughter them. As someone who loves her own puppy like a child, that really upset me, and I didn't want to have any part in promoting any practice that was so cruel.

Lauren Stewart and Dorothy goat ecovegangal

After that, I went through a myriad of books on veganism and nutrition, from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Life to Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman and Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn (all of which I highly recommend to anyone), further realizing how important compassion and veganism is to our world. Plus, an added perk: I lost 20 pounds while fully enjoying my food and NOT dieting, and I was finally happy with my body, my health, and -- most importantly -- myself. And I have never looked back! I also spent last summer as a Communications Intern with Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

During my free time, you'll find me reading, writing/posting recipes on my blog Don't Forget the Sugar, walking my dog, going to the gym or doing yoga, and cooking and baking up a delicious storm of healthy vegan goodies. I love finding and coming up with healthy versions of normally un-healthy dishes and desserts, and my dream is to some day have my own food business.

Lauren's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I've been a fan of Eco-Vegan Gal since I first went vegan, and I think Whitney is fantastic! I know I have used several of her recipes and health tips along my health journey, and I love how positive and fun she makes being eco-vegan look. The information on having a vegan dog was also very helpful for me. My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is the one where she makes her Easy, Eco Organic Peppermint Holiday Hot Chocolate. What a healthy spin to such a decadent holiday treat!:

 

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
Friday, 31 August 2012 10:50

Viewer of the Month: Rachel Rinaldo

When Rachel popped up on my social media feed I immediately noticed her radiance - everything about her emits happiness and thus I always look forward to seeing her posts. Especially on Instagram - all of her photos are very inspiring and passionate. Rachel makes healthy living look easy, breezy and beautiful; call that cheesey, but it's true! I love the story of how she and her husband discovered holistic health, the plant-based diet and found a way to support themselves through teaching others about the power and benefits of non-toxic products.

Here's more about Rachel in her own words:

Rachel Rinaldo Joe ecovegangal

I'm a happily-married 25 year old with a mission to spread the word about holistic health to the world! I'm a professional massage therapist who has left my hands-on daily work to achieve dreams bigger than I could have ever imagined just a few years ago. My husband and best friend, Joe, was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2010. We had no health insurance and were a prime example of a couple who lived off of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.)! Our newleywed life had dramatically changed overnight and we were in desperate need of a solution and began doing our own research daily. We started learning just how toxic conventional food, health-care products, beatuty products, home-cleaning products, and the enviornment really are! We decided at that time to leave Las Vegas and move to beautiful Northern California. When we moved we got rid of most everything we owned to live a truly clean and minimalistic lifestyle and to start over with only safe, non-toxic products. Shortly after our move we were introduced to a plant-based diet and dōTERRA Essential Oils. The combination has completely changed our lives for the better! Joe has been symptom free for over 8 months now and has regained the weight that he had lost during the first year of struggling with Crohn's. I have thankfully lost the unwanted weight that I had carried my entire life and am now feeling better than ever both physically and emotionally. With this newfound health and purpose, Joe and I decided we want to reach out and help others around the world by inspiring them to learn more about holistic health and how powerful our bodies really are. We are grateful to have the opportunity to earn our income while traveling together by sharing the Certified Pure Therapuetic Grade essential oils that we love and use daily. We are excited to see where this beautiful path leads us and who's lives we will make an impact on!

Rachel Rinaldo doterra ecovegangal

I just happened to start following Eco-Vegan Gal right when I needed her inspiration and plant-based lifestyle information the most at the very beginning of 2012! My husband and I never planned on sticking to this way of eating we were just trying something new and absolutely fell in love with how our bodies felt eating this way. I continue to follow her daily because of how personable she is and because she always covers the topics that matter to me the most! My very favorite EvG video is: "How Life Meaning and Goals Relate to Living Healthy and Green". This video has inspired me and my dreams immensely! "Call it optimistic or naiive but I feel that life is just limitless"

Follow Rachel's journey on these sites:
Blog: http://HealthTruth.Biz/
Business Site/Online Store: http://mydoterra.com/healthtruth
Instagram: HealthTruth
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/healthtruthbiz

I'm really honored to hear that Rachel started following EvG at the very beginning of her journey - it's really wonderful to be along from the whole ride and I love seeing how she and Joe progress.

 

Click here to read about past Featured Viewers - a fantastic group of people, each with their own inspiring stories.

Published in Viewer of the Month
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:34

Why Do A Cleanse? What Are Your Goals? (Video)

 
Everyone has a personal reason for doing a cleanse. Perhaps it's to lose weight, to control cravings, to feel better, to get in shape, to transition into a new diet...the list goes on and on. In this video I ask you to share why you are starting a cleanse and what your goals are, then I tell my own story. Be sure to check out the Google Group and join me on Google Plus so you can literally hangout with me and other cleansers!

Published in Health Food
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