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.
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!
Do you find yourself dining out too often because you don't know how to make exciting food at home? I can relate. Almost every day I question whether to go to a restaurant or a grocery store for pre-made food, or wrangle up ingredients in my kitchen and make a meal from scratch. I know the latter is most cost effective, likely healthier, and more sustainable than eating out, but sometimes I'm just lazy! Time gets in the way, and on busy days I dread how long a good meal takes to make (and clean up). Plus, I often crave specific flavors from a chef-made meal that I'm not sure how to reproduce at home. It's for all these reasons that I decided to take an online cooking class, and since I suspect you're in the same boat.
Few things are as exciting as getting a preview of something before it comes out, am I wrong? Assuming I'm not, you'll be excited today because I'm giving you a sneak peak at Vegan Cuts' April Snack Box! Why? Because I co-curated it!! Since you're part of the EvG community you are the first to find out what's inside...well, I can't tell you everything or else I'd ruin the full surprise! But here's what I can tell you:
With all my dietary preferences, it can be challenging to find crunchy snacks that really satisfy. Potato chips are tasty yet have no nutritonal value and are full of oil. I'm sensitive to gluten and corn, so chips made from those ingredients are out of the question. Bean chips are a great alternative, but they often upset my stomach. Kale chips have been the answer for years, however I crave variety. That's why I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered Wonderfully Raw's Snip Chips and Brussel Bytes - in addition to being raw, they're:
Rachel is another stellar member of the EvG Apprentice Program. Many can relate to her story of trying out the plant-based diet at a young age and returning to it after time and education - here's her story of how she went vegan and why:
My name is Rachel and I’m a 21 year old college student from Maine. I’m about to finish up my last semester at the University of Maine with a degree in English and Spanish. I went vegan in March of 2012 and I haven’t looked back since.
I originally went vegan in high school, but didn’t stick with it. However, I always knew somewhere in the back of my head that I’d eventually eliminate animal products completely. In my sophomore year of college, I began reading vegan blogs, like Bonzai Aphrodite, and listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreaus’s podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought. I specifically remember one day sitting in my dorm room listening to Colleen talk about the horrors chickens experience in factory farms and slaughter houses. I knew I had to be vegan.
Since then I’ve devoured books, visited vegan websites so often that I type them into the URL bar without thinking, and improved my culinary skills dramatically. I love finding more delicious, healthy vegan recipes. My favorites include lentil soup, chana masala, vegetable spring rolls, pumpkin curry, and black beans and rice topped with kale and sweet potato…just to name a few. My approach to health is pretty basic: a scrumptious whole foods, plant-based diet and enjoyable exercise, like Zumba. Health is definitely a process and I’m constantly learning.
When I’m not giving tours on campus or pumping out eight page essays, I love cooking and baking, writing posts for my blog, The Vegan Mishmash, catching up with the blogs I follow, spending time with my friends, traveling, and watching shows like How I Met Your Mother and Friends reruns.
Rachel's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: If I had to pick just one, I’d say Eco-friendly Underwire-free Bras from Faeries Dance. This video was the first I ever came across and was my introduction to Eco-Vegan Gal. Since then, I’ve been hooked on Whitney’s videos and other content. Health, both mine and the planet's, has always interested me. Her videos and articles inspire me to be a healthier, more eco-conscious vegan.:
Follow Rachel's journey:
Guest post from EvG team member Kylie:
It’s no secret that I have a major sweet tooth. When I decided to become vegan I really missed a lot of those classic candy bars I would indulge in occasionally, especially Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. There was something about those overly sugary little cups of joy that had me craving them every few months or so. It’s probably a good thing they aren’t vegan because let’s be honest here, they really aren’t good for (or your waistline). Enter Buddha Cups - Raw Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. Lovingly made in Brooklyn, NY these chocolates are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, vegan, fair trade and free of refined sugar. Sounds pretty awesome right?!
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:
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.
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!:
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.
I met Kylie when she applied to the EvG Apprenticeship Program - I was instantly impressed with her online presence and can-do attitude, but her sweet personality really touched my heart. She is incredibly passionate about veganism and I love her story about making the transition, as well as her husband's journey to plant-based living. Bonus: the photo of her with Buttercup from Gentle Barn is just so darn cute!
My name is Kylie. I am 34 years old living in Los Angeles with my husband and two rescue dogs, Henry & Willow. I started my vegan transformation just over two years ago. I had a couple of extremely inspiring friends who were vegan and I admired them immensely for a couple years before I realized it was silly to just look up to them when I could join them! I gave myself a challenge: go completely vegan for one week and see how it went. By day 3 I felt noticeably better, lighter in body and mind. At this point the term vegan to me was strictly dietary. I didn't think about all the animal by-products that were in the beauty products I was using and the clothing I was wearing. In that first week I also started reading and researching. I read The Kind Diet and that was a great starting point to open my eyes into what it truly means to be vegan. As I sat there with tears pouring down my face, soaking the pages of the book I knew that I could never go back to the way I was living. I could no longer ignore what was really going on in the world.
Being vegan is a constantly evolving journey. Everyday I learn something new and try my best to make ethical and eco conscious decisions. Luckily, there is a huge vegan community in Los Angeles and online. I have met so many amazing people who share my way of thinking and I get excited when my omnivorous friends tell me they are going vegan. It took my husband a full year of me being vegan before he made the switch (and I didn't even have to beg him, he did it all on his own!). Now the two of us love discovering new vegan places to eat around L.A. and it's great to have a partner in crime ;-)
In my spare time I like to blog about my experiences as a vegan and make things for my online shop Fabulously Fierce. I love unique home decor,
so my main focus is on that, but I do make some embroidered clothing as well. Having a creative outlet keeps me sane (most days)!
Kelly's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: Eco-Vegan Gal has been such a great source of information for me as well. Her positivity and knowledge are so inspiring. Whenever I have a question about certain products or what I can do to make smart choices for the environment or just need a little mental boost, I know I can find it in one of her videos! Since I'm not the best at taking care of myself and tend to lose motivation to exercise, I especially love her video "How to Reach Exercise Goals and Make Them a Priority Every Day":
"If conscientious consumption means we avoid contributiong to suffering, palm is clearly problematic." ~ Mark Hawthorne
My vegan lifestyle is a continuous evolution - I'm constantly learning something new about food, nutrition, the environment, ethics, politics, etc. No wonder many people find veganism intimidating - there's a lot to consider! When I first went vegan I looked at it very simply - I didn't eat any products that came from animals and I could verify this by looking at labels, seeking out vegan certifications and avoiding the obvious (meat, dairy, leather, silk, etc). But as I became more passionate about the lifestyle and made it my career to inspire and educate others on the topic, I realized that there's a lot more than meets the eye. Some may find this overwhelming, but I believe that if we take things step by step and strive to be informed, we can each develop a well-rounded perspective on our personal choices. A perfect example is palm oil - in this article I explore this confusing and touchy subject, and offer some suggestions on how you can keep your purchases as ethical as possible