Amanda plays a very active role on Eco-Vegan Gal, most notably via her wonderful product reviews. She and I have a lot of things in common, from living in Boston, MA to having a passion for the enviornment, animals, holistic living and organic, gluten-free food! Here's more about Amanda and her mission to take care of all species and the planet:
I went vegan in July 2012 after watching Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and doing my own research about the meat industry. I was a vegetarian for a couple of months and thought I would never go vegan. I was that person who said, “I could never give up cheese”, but learning about the dairy industry and chick culling broke my heart. Choosing a compassionate, cruelty free lifestyle is by far the best choice I have made in my life. The added environmental and health benefits are amazing! I was diagnosed with anemia during my adolescence and since going vegan it has been reversed. Removing gluten from my diet and losing twenty-five pounds has helped curve my PCOS symptoms. Overall, I feel healthier, lighter, and happier since going vegan.
I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in women’s studies and psychology. Since college I have been involved with social justice campaigns from women’s rights to LGBTQ rights. Going vegan encompasses my commitment towards ending oppression for all living beings. Being part of the EVG team has inspired me to co-launch The Envi Girls, a site dedicated to eco-vegan living. When I am not interning and working on The Envi Girls, I work for Vegan Cuts and an app. In my free time I enjoy trying out vegan & gluten-free recipes, writing, reading, practicing yoga, and volunteering.
Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "Eco-Vegan Gal plays a role in my life as a vegan committed to eco-friendly living. I find Eco-Vegan Gal to be the most informative, well-rounded site out there for eco-veganism. Whitney’s passion and dedication captures my attention, and I know other viewers feel the same. My favorite EVG video is Feel: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health. I love this video because it speaks to how much our emotions affect our overall well being. I know since going vegan my emotional health has improved and I have become a more positive person. Positivity is an amazing emotion that greatly affects our health versus negativity, which brings our health and others around us down. Optimism and positivity keeps me healthy, happy and productive."
Follow Amanda's journey:
Product review by EvG team member Amanda Shea:
I am always on the look out for new healthy, great tasting bars, though as a gluten-free vegan, it can be difficult finding some that taste great. More often than not bars are full of preservatives and high in sugar. Thus, I was excited to hear learn about Taste of Nature, because all of their bars are vegan, gluten-free, and organic! Could I ask for more? Oh yeah, they're also made without additives, artificial flavors, or preservatives! Here's what I thought of them:
Product review by EvG team member Rachel Curit:
There are some things we miss when going vegan, and then there are some things that we don’t realize we miss. At first I didn’t realize I missed Doritos, and then suddenly my appetite for cheese-flavored chips came rushing back. Fortunately in 2014 there truly is a plant-based option for virtually everything. And bonus: the product line I'm about to tell you about is also gluten-free, corn-free and non-GMO.
Every once in a while I'm hit with a wave of sneezing, nose blowing and sinus inflammation, and it is extremely frustrating, especially when the neti pot doesn't help. When I last found myself in this miserable state I whipped up a beverage with some anti-inflammatory ingredients in hopes it would soothe my sinuses; and low and behold it did!
This sweet and spicy beverage can help reduce inflammation in many parts of the body, and can be enjoyed warm or cold.
Ingredients (use organic whenever possible):
- Turmeric - powder (1/2 Tbsp) or root (1 inch piece)
- Ginger root - 1 inch piece (or to taste)
- Cinnamon powder - 1/2 Tbsp (or to taste)
- Stevia - powder or drops, to taste*
- Water - 1 cup
* I used 4 drops of Omica vanilla stevia drops. If you don't like the taste of stevia, feel free to use a low glycemic sweetener, like coconut sugar, or none at all.
- Blend together.
- A high speed blender is not necessary but if you do not use one you will have to grate the turmeric and ginger roots before blending.
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.
Product review by EvG team member Amanda Shea:
I am somewhat of a chocolate aficionado. I love chocolate, so of course I was excited to review PASCHA. The entire line is free of the eight major food allergens: nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, fish, wheat, and gluten. All the chocolate this company produces is vegan, and bonus it's organic and fair trade. The prices of the bars are reasonable: for a full size 3.5 oz. chocolate bar it costs $5.00. Some people may think this is expensive compared to other brands but when it comes to chocolate you truly get what you pay for - the cheaper the chocolate, the more likely its been overly processed leaving out the richness of cacao.
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!
This smoothie is one of the best I've ever had, let alone made at home! Matcha green tea powder is one of my all time favorite culinary flavors, and if you haven't tried it yet it's 'bout time! Or perhaps you've tried it in something like mochi and you just didn't realize what was behind the delicious flavor of that scrumptious dessert. For those unfamiliar, matcha is bright, vibrant green, fine powdered green tea with a rich, sweet flavor. It is high in antioxidants and gives the body a smooth, steady stream of energy for hours. It's traditionally used by whipping the powder and hot water together in a bowl to make a tea drink, which is how the Zen Buddhists prepared it back in the day. Now matcha is common in fancy tea shops and natural cafes, where I get very excited to see it on menus.
Lily has been a dedicated member of the EvG Apprentice Program since spring 2013. I've had the lovely opportunity to spend time with her in Los Angeles and she is such a joy - I am blown away by her knowledge and dedication to the vegan movement. Reading her story was so enlightening - I loved hearing about her journey and her childhood and I hope you find it equally as inspirational:
My name is Lily, I'm 26 years old and I live in Los Angeles, CA with my two cats Daisy & Juniper. I'm the founder & author of www.greenlilies.com, a vegan/green lifestyle blog dedicated to inspiring everyday people to adapt a more natural way of living. I'm also graphic artist (www.lilytrahandesign.com) and I work full-time for peta2, the youth division of People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals as a social media strategist.
I was raised in a household where my mother cooked everything from scratch, grew 90% of the produce we ate in our backyard & always relied on holistic alternatives for our health instead of conventional drugs. She also trained me to minimize waste, the use of electricity, etc. so many of my desires to reduce my carbon footprint stem from my upbringing. In high school I flirted with the idea of becoming a vegetarian (but was really a pescetarian) as I knew meat was not very healthy. Although when I first learned about the term "vegan" meant at the age of 15 I thought the concept was downright crazy and impossible.
It wasn't until about 4.5 years ago that I met a vegan for the first time in real life (I grew up in Colorado where I hardly knew any veggies at all.) We had a nice dialogue about her journey and all of the benefits so I decided to give it a go strictly for health reasons. I had nothing against animal rights activists but just never really felt or understood the empathy they had for other beings. "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone became my guide, but for some reason I still missed the memo on the way animals were raised. I did see many improvements in my health though! Suddenly so many things I just accepted over the years as "normal" such as skin problems, digestion issues, gas, insomnia, congestion, excess fatigue, headaches, etc. all diminished over time.
From that point on I ate a mostly-plant based diet, until 2012 when I finally saw the truth about how animals are treated and finally understood that there's really no "humane" way of killing someone. It doesn't matter if they're a human or a cat, cow, rabbit, etc. we are all sentient beings, we all have same capacity to feel love & pain and we all have the desire to live in peace. I also had this sudden realization that if I'm in the position where I'm able choose what food I want to eat everyday, then I should choose the option that not only benefits myself but other living creatures as well. That was when I declared myself as an actual vegan and knew that I was no longer doing this for myself, but for the planet and for the billions of voiceless animals who have the right to be happy too.
Blogging and activism have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I encourage everyone to join in on the fun. On another note- I hope to write my own Korean vegan cookbook very soon!
Lily's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "Eco-Vegan Gal has been such an amazing resource for me and my lifestyle - I really recommend the website & Youtube channel to anyone who's seeking to adapt healthier habits the right way. I especially like Whitney's video "Learning How To Lose Weight & Love the Body In a Healthy Way" because it addresses how diets are very skewed in our society, particularly for women."
Follow Lily's journey:
When I'm craving a chocolately treat this is my go-to recipe. It was inspired by an expensive raw dessert I was buying until I realized how simple it was to make at home. Once I started playing with the ingredients the addition of matcha green tea, one of my favorite flavors, took these bites over the top! The truffles take 5 minutes to prep and after a little time in the freezer they're ready to pop into your mouth! They're great to share with kids, romantic partners, friends and colleagues; be sure to let me know what everyone thinks! Oh, and the video demo of this recipe is coming soon.