Join me in taking on the Welfare Food Challenge next week!

Raise the Rates has launched a new challenge, the Welfare Food Challenge. The challenge is to live for a week on the food that a single, able-bodied person on welfare would have – spending only $26. Sign up to take the Challenge below!

Of the $610 a month the BC government provides for a person on welfare, after paying for accommodation, bus tickets and cellphone (necessary to look for work), and basic hygiene only $109 remains for food – less than $26 for a week. There is nothing for clothes, haircuts, or any social life.

The challenge will start on October 16, World Food Day, and will finish on October 23. The week includes World Poverty Day on October 17th.

via Welfare Food Challenge

I am going to document what I eat each day, how much I end up spending, how I feel and anything else that comes up! I am staring mine a but late, likely on the 19th or 20th because I am volunteering at Vancouver We Day and will be up from 6AM to midnight for three or four days in a row so I won’t have time to plan my challenge until after the event.

I am going to try and do it low fat raw vegan style (fruit based) but am looking into the cost of organics vs conventional etc.

 

Food Stamps

Interested?

Check out their website:

http://welfarefoodchallenge.org/

Facebook Event:

http://www.facebook.com/events/394656377273971

Dreamtime!

For a long time I gave up on the things I really wanted and settled for mediocre dreams. Forget that (Cee Lo Green style). People told me I wasn’t good enough, and that I’d never make it, and that can’t do it. Too short, too fat, not a US citizen, pitchy, talk too fast, not connected enough… But I am done with that.

Truthfully I have been on this kick since I saw the “Katy Perry: Part of Me” movie with my Mom this summer. I only get one life, why am I wasting it chasing my boring “attainable” dreams? It’s time to go big or go home, and if home is where the heart is then big I must go. During my later years of high school and the start of my university career I really settled into a frame of mind which let go of all my big aspirations, the dreams that are so exciting and so improbable that I’m scared… But that is the place where living truly happens for me.

But what will I do? What are my dreams? They have been quietly growing inside me for the past few years… Slipping out in the odd twitter post, inspiration, impulse to take an acting class at SFU, trips, meeting new people, the desire to audition… Professional role model, public speaker, leader… All guises for what I have really wanted since I was little…

I want to be a star. but not just any star, I want to be an entertainer, a famous entertainer. And I want to use my powers for good. I way to show the world my compassionate vegan self am bring more love into this Earth ball.
I think “entertainer” is a good word to describe what I want to do. I really have so many interests in so many things that it’s hard to choose… Comedy, music, acting, speaking… But there are people who get to do it all, and I want in!

Things I want to do:
Be on SNL (hosting or as a cast member)
Perform for a stadium arena
Write a book
Release an album (music or comedy or both)
Be in a movie
Host an awards show

I just have this feeling inside that this is what I was born to do. I am scared it will be hard, but self: you are special, you are unique, you are worthy… And you can do anything with enough perseverance and faith. If its not here yet, It’s just around the corner.

From Palm Oil to Dairy

Cow head

CONTEXT: I am boycotting Palm Oil, and getting responses!

Today I e-mailed:

  • Dr.Bronner’s
  • Gultino
  • and sent a follow up message to Tofutti (info@toftti.com) who I have not recieved a reply from (I e-mailed them two weeks ago about their use of palm oil in their vegan ice cream sandwiches).
  • and stepped into new territory when I e-mailed Mediterranean Snacks (at info@mediterraneansnackfoods.com), initially to thank them for making palm oil and vegan Baked Lentil Chips, but ended up asking them to remove dairy from their lentil crackers!

Today I sent Mediterranean Snacks the following Message:

Dear Mediterranean Snacks,

My name is Jenni and I have been an avid consumer of your products since recently discovered that your Baked Lentil Chips are free from meat, dairy, egg and gluten products! It really means a lot to me that you produce products which support a plant-based lifestyle.

I previously had avoided purchasing or consuming Mediterranean Snack brand products because your Lentil Crackers contain Milk Protein and Milk Cream.

In addition to being a common allergen, dairy products promote the torture and suffering of hundreds of cows per minute. PETA’s page on the dairy industry says…

“Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their young. In order to force the animals to continue giving milk, factory farm operators typically impregnate them using artificial insemination every year. Calves are generally taken from their mothers within a day of being born—males are destined for veal crates or barren lots where they will be fattened for beef, and females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.
After their calves are taken away from them, mother cows are hooked up, several times a day, to milking machines. These cows are genetically manipulated, artificially inseminated, and often drugged to force them to produce about four and a half times as much milk as they naturally would to feed their calves.
Animals are often dosed with bovine growth hormone (BGH), which contributes to a painful inflammation of the udder known as “mastitis.” (BGH is used widely in the U.S. but has been banned in Europe and Canada because of concerns over human health and animal welfare.) According to the industry’s own figures, between 30 and 50 percent of dairy cows suffer from mastitis, an extremely painful condition.
A cow’s natural lifespan is about 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the intensive confinement, the filth, and the strain of being almost constantly pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows’ bodies are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat because their bodies are too “spent” to be used for anything else.
Male calves—”byproducts” of the dairy industry—are generally taken from their mothers when they are less than 1 day old. Many are shipped off to barren, filthy feedlots to await slaughter. Others are kept in dark, tiny crates where they are kept almost completely immobilized so that their flesh stays tender. In order to make their flesh white, the calves are fed a liquid diet that is low in iron and has little nutritive value. This heinous treatment makes the calves ill, and they frequently suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Frightened, sick, and alone, these calves are killed after only a few months of life so that their flesh can be sold as veal. All adult and baby cows, whether raised for their flesh or their milk, are eventually shipped to a slaughterhouse and killed. ” (via http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/dairy-industry.aspx)I would like to respectfully request that you eliminate the use of dairy in your products. I would happily pay more for an alternative that does less damage to animals and the environment. Can you tell me about how Mediterranean Snacks is improving the lives of dairy cows?

I appreciate your attention to this matter and I look forward to enjoying dairy-free products from you in the future.

This was my first time e-mail a company to ask them to stop using dairy products but I am excited to continue writing letters!

Are You Eating Human Hair or Duck Feathers?

Processed Foods

Max made us vegan pizza today! We used palm-free daiya cheese. The crust came from Max’s freezer and after eating I realized I didn’t recognize some of the ingredients. Today I called Molinaro’s Fine Italian Foods to ask them about some of their ingredients. One of their pizza crusts which contained:

SUGAR: I want to know if it was processed through Bone Char.

L-CYSTINE: I had never heard of this before but according to Wikipedia it is a semi-essential amino acid. Wikipedia also said IT USED TO BE MADE FROM HUMAN HAIR! And now it is mostly made from Duck Feather! I really do not want to eat that. I think it can also come from peppers and other plants but I am really not sure. Help! This website also had some info.

CALCIUM PROPIONATE: Looks to be a preservative that can sometimes be cultured in whey. Again, it was challenging for me to find clear information.

They had already left for the day so I left them a message. I will report back with more info soon!

Do you know anything about these ingredients? Leave a message in comments if you have vital information!

Palm Oil Update – Vegan Win?

Yesterday I wrote several companies asking them to stop using Palm Oil in their products and I have already received replies!

Daiya Foods published this page on their current stand point. I am excited to continue to enjoy Daiya Shreds on occasion.

Earth Balance has this page. And a white paper.

And So Delicious e-mailed me saying their (vegan) chocolate ice creme bar has phased out Palm Oil. Their (vegan) ice creme sandwich wafers still contain palm oil, however it is not sourced from Indonesia, and the suppliers are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)…

According to their website…

In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably produced palm oil, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders.

The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite offi¬ce in Jakarta.

RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry – oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs – to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.

Based on the replies I have received I feel comfortable consuming products that contain palm oil from these companies. I don’t eat these things very often and I was very touched that they all replied to me so personally and so quickly. I plan to keep writing to companies when I see Palm Oil listed on their ingredients list in the future. Goooo vegan!

I am Protesting Palm Oil

This week I committed to boycotting Palm Oil.

The following websites have great information about why and how we can and must reduce palm oil consumption: Life Without Palm Oil, Liberation BC, Orangutan Protection, Say No To Palm Oil.

In short…

Up to a hundred species are now becoming extinct every day (Rainforest Rescue)
Did you know that  the production of palm oil is one of the main drivers of deforestation,  as vast tracts of rainforest are daily cleared to make way for palm plantations?
 Far from being old hat, protection of the rainforest is now critical.
In Indonesia, it is estimated that 98% of the forest there will be gone in nine years and that orang utans will have become extinct in the wild. Now, fewer than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild
Deforestation also destroys the lives of tribal peoples and worsens climate change dramatically, whereas when left, undisturbed tropical forests are absorbing nearly a third of all CO2 emissions.
 Palm oil is extracted from the fruit of the palm plants (not to be confused with coconut palms) and it is now in half of supermarket products.It is even used in vegan products. including cakes, chocolate, soaps, make-up etc.The Vegetarian Society has this month agreed to bring up the palm issue with its manufacturers. – Via

Today I wrote to the following companies respectfully requesting that they eliminate the use of Palm Oil (often labelled as Palm Fruit Oil) in their products:

Here is an example of a letter I sent:

Dear BLANK,

My name is Jenni and I have been an avid consumer of your products since I became vegan three years ago. It really means a lot to me that you produce products which support a plant-based lifestyle. I ahve especially enjoyed your delicious BLANK product.

I recently learned that the production of palm oil causes much damage to the environment and the habitats of many animals in Indonesia. Habitat destruction is a major threat to the Orangutan population. I was deeply moved by this news. I was very disappointed to see palm oil listed on the ingredients of PRODUCT NAME. I have resolved to boycott palm oil and sadly, for the time being, I am not able to allow myself to purchase or consume your products.
I would like to respectfully request that you eliminate the use of palm oil in your products. I would happily pay more for an alternative that does less damage to the Earth.  I appreciate your attention to this matter and I look forward to enjoying palm oil free products from you in the future.

Mahalo!
Jenni Rempel

If I get any responces I will report about them here, and I will also e-mail them to sw@naturealert.org

Yay animals!

The Fault in our Cancer

Untitled

The Fault in our Stars.

Gosh, even the name of this book is beautiful. I typed it several times to quote my favourite passages into Tumblr and never got tired of entering those five gorgeous words into my laptop. I was both moved and bothered by this book.

Moved because of the witty banter, the eloquent wordplay and the finely crafted innocent romance that drew far too many parallels to my own life like all John Green novels I have read. I related to TFioS so much. In some ways it was like my life story. In others it was dramatically different.

Bothered because much like 50/50 (the movie where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character has cancer), it completely disregarded any alternative cancer treatments or therapies. Though Hazel, the protagonist in TFioS, was a vegetarian, throughout most of the novel she ate SAD (Standard American Diet) meals of pizza, mac & cheese and other dishes slathered in animal fat.

Movies like forks over knives and my own research into alternative therapy have convinced me that there are other ways to deal with disease. I wish

Though I think movies like 50/50 and books like TFioS likely paint a very accurate picture of life as a conventional cancer patient, I can’t help but want the best for the characters, to see Hazel heal and grow old. I want her to eat plants, stop taking medication and having tubes put in and out of her… I think it is all very unnatural (Google G-Tube to see what I mean) and I wish that no one had to subject themselves to that.

I am a bit scared to post this and write about my thoughts on the cancer topic… I may not be the best person to write about how we should treat cancer, after-all I have never had cancer and am not a nutritionalist or a doctor, however I have seen the differences in my own health. When I was in grade 11 I had chronic bronchitis and was constantly sick. I lived on antibiotics and I was SO TRIED ALL THE TIME. I was depressed and had no energy. And congested, couldn’t sleep. Awful. But since then I have switched to a compassion-based lifestyle and a plant-based (vegan, now mostly raw vegan) diet and I cannot express how much of a differences these changes have made and continue to make for my quality of life. I have also noticed that some people get very defensive and very upset when I mention alternative treatment and therapies. My intention in sharing these thoughts is not to upset anyone, but rather to communicate my wish for the world to be healthy and nourished. And I think we can do it… an apple a day (but not in a twilight way.. literary joke haha).

Vegan Adventure: Tori’s Bakeshop, Toronto

I am writing this from the lovely Tori’s Bakeshop in Toronto. It is adorable, fully vegan and I am in love (not just because soft French music plays in the background on this Sunday morning)

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I had a delightful cinnamon bun and an Australian drink called a flat white. And a lovely overheard conversation about living in the coolest cities in the world. Smiles.

Woofs of Wisdom

I went to a storytelling event. It was really amazing to hear all of the stories… There was sadness, happiness, and mystery in all of them.

The biggest thing I took away was not from a story though – it was from the dog. When I was younger I was afraid of dogs. It took me a long time to get comfortable with dogs but now I am often the person a dog will spend most of the night getting rubs from. I like to think it’s because I am vegan.

Usually when I am with an animal ( dog, cat… any animal) I try to lure it closer to me, to sit on my lap or next to where I am sitting. I realized that instead of trying to force the dog to sit by me, I could move to accommodate the dog. And I did. I got to sit in a new place and discover something new. By listening I find that I can discover so much : )