THIS IS BEING ALIVE: A Very Rough Draft

So earlier I had one of the un-ignorable fits of inspiration that took me flying down Hastings on the way to do my radio show. Written/Chorded/Recorded in about 90 mins total. Here’s to a very rough draft! Cheers.

THIS IS BEING ALIVE

It’s like running to catch a train

That you know you’ll never make

And then somehow

You just sail through the door

Or someone holds it open

Cause we can’t move mountains on our own

And that’s when

That’s when you know

This is being alive

When all the odds defied

When you jump and then you fly

You succeed after you try

You know you know

This is what is right

Your mission matches your life

(Your mission is your life)

And somehow

Simultaneously

I want to throw up

And swim the sea

Cause I could win at anything right now

This is more than being lucky

This is just believing something

And maybe

Maybe This time I’m just right

That man doesn’t believe in love

And that man can’t feel god In His blood

But I can and it always brings me home

And I think of

That feeling when you know

You’re doing something right

Maybe I’m just crazy

Maybe this is what it means

To be manic an uncontrolled

Living in dreams

But I don’t care that I can’t explain

And I don’t care what’s wrong with my brain

I’ve got a feeling

Oh oh oh

Had some well spent time

There’s peace under my eyes

And it shows

I feel like I have a glow

And I want the whole world to know

That were doing better everyday

Yes we are better every day

I’m on the wrong side of the street

And there’s needles on the ground around me

But I don’t care an I just wanna scream

How much I love everything

And I wanna cry

Cause I am more than happy inside

How to Be a Gluten-Free Vegan

According to Jenni Rempel

So, you want to be a vegan… (Start here)

Though I am not strictly gluten-free myself, my Mom is gluten-intolerant so I am well aware of the challenges with avoiding gluten. After my mom was diagnosed I went gluten free (in addition to being vegan) for several months. For myself, I found the best way to do this was to eat mostly raw food and look at raw food recipes. Especially in the gluten-free dessert category, I think this is the tastiest and healthiest way to go (cashew cheesecake anyone?). Beyond that there are also many recipes for dishes that never contained gluten to begin with. Quinoa, rice, and lentils can be the base of many tasty meals.

Popular gluten-free alternatives to animal flesh include: tofu, tempeh (fermented soy bean… there are some great tempeh bacons out there), and veg based products (such as vegetable burgers). Avoid seitan (which is made from wheat gluten).

Like many dairy and egg products, most vegan alternatives are gluten free. Daiya Cheese (who now makes vegan-gluten-free frozen pizzas), all non-dairy milks, and the almond and soy based vegan yogurts on the market are all gluten free. Egg replacers like flax meal, apple sauce, banana and some packaged egg replacers are also gluten free!

Christine Norris, a gluten-free and vegan living specialist says…

When doing both [gluten-free and vegan], stick with fresh, whole foods and you won’t have any problem. When buying packaged foods, get used to reading the label. Major allergens are usually listed at the bottom in bold (i.e. milk and gluten, wheat), but not always.

Going to vegetarian restaurants helps eliminate half the trouble, and most will mark if something’s gluten freeon their menu. It gets easier as you do it more… also try sticking to non-American restaurants for a while, since most other cultures don’t use the same types of flours or have plenty of alternatives; i.e. Mexican food (vegan enchiladas, fajitas and tacos on corn), Indian food (most things are made with chickpea flour), Ethiopian (injera), Thai (vegan curry dishes), and Chinese (Mongolian stir fries). It’s best to make your own food when you can – it will save you money and frustration.

It should be relatively easy to be both vegan, and gluten-free, as both lifestyles involve reading ingredients thoroughly and being very conscious about what one puts into their body.

Here are some great blogs with recipes and info:

Eating out:

  • Raw food restaurant are usually 100% vegan and gluten free (check for and avoid honey and Nama Shoyu [raw soy sauce]). In Vancouver I love Organic Lives and Gorilla Food.
  • Sushi is also a great option (skip the soy sauce or bring tamari). Try standard veggie rolls, kappa rolls, avocado rolls and other veg-based options. Other Asian traditions also featured products made with rice flour and rice wraps that can usually be made gluten-free and vegan.
  • Indian food also tends to have a number of rice-based and curry dishes which are gluten-free and vegan.
  • Mexican food often has options for gluten-free corn based tortillas and tacos which can be filled with veggies, beans, rice, potatoes, salsa and guacamole. Mmm!

Cookbooks: (thanks to Genny B.  and Christine Norris for the recommendations)

  • Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book, by Jennifer Katzinger
  • Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays, also by Jennifer Katzinger
  • The Gluten-Free Vegan, Susan O’Brien.
  • Genny says… I use the first cookbook about 90% of the time and I consult the other two books the odd time. Katzinger’s cookbooks are amazing because not only is it vegan but it’s also whole foods (healthy sugars and flours) and next to no binders. My fav is…
  • Babycakes NYC! http://www.babycakesnyc.com/books.html Yummy desserts! Learning how to bake is a great thing when you are a gluten-free vegan! It can be fun too!
  • Alison Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Eats
  • Christy Morgan’s Blissful Bites (gluten-free options clearly marked)

A friend recently asked, why be vegan and gluten free?

While choosing to avoid gluten has no moral basis and is purely a health or dietary choice, being vegan is a social justice issue, an ethical stand point, and a firm decision to stand up to oppression. It is a moral position. Why be vegan AND gluten free? For health, and for the animals, and for the planet.

Overall vegan nutrition info can be found at http://vegankit.com/eat#nutrition, chooseveg.com and also nutritionfacts.org : )

So, You Want to Be a Vegan

Dedicated to B, who asked.

I would love to help you in any way that I can! You rock!

First place to start: http://vegankit.com/ – Great overview of everything!

The resource I am most excited about at the moment is Mercy For Animals Vegetarian Starter Guide (http://www.mercyforanimals.org/VSG.pdf). It’s free online but is also mostly the same as their website: http://www.chooseveg.ca/ (I totally worked on this haha). It has some info about the animals (nothing gory), environmental impacts and positive health benefits. It also has some basic nutrition info (http://www.chooseveg.ca/foodplate).

For nutrition info I also recommend the book “Becoming Vegan” by Brenda Davis. Many people consider it a stable book for this info. Also, I recently got to meet the doctor from http://nutritionfacts.org/, this website posts new content every day and any questions you have they will likely have an article on. Nutrition as a vegan is actually quite easy because a plant-based diet is the optimal diet for disease prevention. The films Forks Over Knives (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ijukNzlUg) and Food Matters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4DOQ6Xhqss) talk about how a vegan diet has been proven to REVERSE major killers like heart disease, and cancer, and many other illnesses (though it has been a long time since I have watched them and only recommend them as a starting point for further research)

The meat and dairy lobbies pay actors and people to advertise and promote their products (got milk?) because they are industries seeking to make more profits. I was really shocked when I learned that many of the supposed benefits of animals products are just marketing lies. For example, milk can actually CAUSE osteoporosis by leeching Calcium from the bones (http://www.news-medical.net/news/2005/09/12/13120.aspx) and even Harvard no longer promote consumption of milk and dairy products (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/). Another big one is the “protein myth”. Meat companies promote their products as having “enough” protein, but no one even mentions how much protein people really need. Many people eat too much protein which can cause problems. All fruits, vegetables, and plants have protein. Even if you wish to eat large amounts of protein (which is generally unnecessary) there are many plant based sources you can use such as Kale, Lentils, Beans, Hemp Seed etc.

Personally, I do 2 things the ensure I am adequately nourished:

  1. I try to have a “Green Smoothie” every day. A green smoothie (greens: I use spinach; + ANY YUMMY FRUITS YOU WANT) is the fastest way to get the most nutrients into your body. Greens are nutrient dense and fruits is tasty and full of vitamins and minerals. I take a big handful of spinach and blend it with lots of fruit, so I don’t taste the spinach, I taste the fruit, and get all the health benefits of the spinach. Yay! Here’s a tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXr8-jru1KE&feature=c4-overview&playnext=1&list=TLqTDsKXLPYiM
  2. I either eat nutritional yeast or take a Vitamin B12 supplement once a week. (http://nutritionfacts.org/questions/what-is-the-best-way-to-get-b12/)

There’s tons of resources online. When I want to make a certain dish I usually google “the best vegan” + the recipe I am looking for. This usually brings up the best results. Here are some of my favorite recipe blogs:

http://www.theppk.com/

http://www.choosingraw.com/ (lots of nutrition info, written by a nutritionist)

http://www.chooseveg.ca/breakfast

http://vegweb.com/ (huge database)

There are also lots of all vegan restaurants in the lower mainland: Karmavore in New West, Graze on Fraser, 3G Downtown, Dharma Kitchen near UBC and Vegan Pizza House near Joyce Station are some of my favorites. Lots of common restaurants also have vegan options. I like getting veggie sushi rolls, veggie sandwiches from Subway, and veggie or tofu stir fries when I am in a rush (but I always ask to make sure the sauces and ingredients are vegan).

In terms of becoming vegan, everyone has their own path. I know people that switch overnight cold turkey and others that transition slowly. I myself went vegetarian over night and then slowly eliminated things from my fridge until I was vegan 4 months later. Melanie Joy, a psychologist who did her Ph.D on why we eat animals has a really great site and 2-minute video about why we eat animals which has really helped me to understand the importance of animals rights and ethics (http://www.carnism.org/).

Beyond the nutritional info I think the most important part of being an animal advocate is being well informed. This short video of undercover factory farm investigations helped me to learn about how animals are treated and WHY it is so important to be vegan: http://meatvideo.com/ I found the video very disturbing, but I think it is important to witness the suffering that goes on and be informed about what really happens in the factory farm industry. If you have more time Earthlings is a very comprehensive look at how animals are treated in our society. It is available for free online: http://earthlings.com/?page_id=32. Again, this movie can be quite disturbing, but it is likely that people are going to ask you why you don’t eat animals, and I think it is important to know the facts.

Every time you choose not to eat an animal you are making a huge difference, both for the dead animal on your plate, and for the environment, and the exploited slaughterhouse workers, and to me personally, so for this I thank you. And don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions etc! I want to create a world where no one has to suffer and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make that a reality! Seriously, i’ll bring you cookies haha : P

In gratitude,

Jenni

Note: As with anything, I highly recommend doing your own research, being critical of all sources and coming to your own conclusions after you have done adequate research and learning, especially when it comes to nutrition.