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.

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Positivism: How Love, Happiness and Compassion Change the World

This past weekend I hosted a workshop at the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership in Calgary, Alberta. The workshop was called “Positivism: How Love, Happiness and Compassion Change the World” and the description in the program was as follows:

How did one girl go from being suicidal and depressed to traveling the world for free, meeting celebrities and living a life of unconditional love? From Vancouver to Hawaii to California, presenter Jenni Rempel has been connected with big names like Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz. By making choices about how we act and think, we have the power to change the world we live in. This workshop will looking at empowering videos, personal stories and other examples of a loving world. We will also try out techniques for communicating with, loving, and inspiring others (and ourselves).

“What is going to save the human race? Please. Thank you. Why? Because if we all started treating the people and things that we interact with every day with respect and compassion, the effects would ripple through every aspect of our lives, transforming society.” – SuperForest.org

Click here to view the Positivitism Slides! Below are the videos we watched during the workshop…

We ended by reenacting a quick version of this meditation:

If I would have had time I would have played this as well because it is beautiful:

Links!

A few things I could have done better: prefacing the Laughter Yoga exercises with the “fake it till you make it” explanation for health benefits; stating WHY I have certain opinions, being extra careful to state that everything is only MY opinion, define terms (ie: acknowledgement, unconditional love) in slides, acknowledge doubt.

The reviews were very positive… all parts of the workshop came up in feedback as valuable so I’m not sure if i’ll change the program of the workshop at all.

I feel inspired to make changes in the way I live my life.

I appreciate those around me.

Everything in life is an opportunity!

I want to call/e-mail my family and friends and change the way I think of my “enemies”

Awespirational!

It made me feel great!

I feel the need to find unconditional love for people i’ve shunned in my life.

There is always something positive in every situation.

I feel inspired, which is impressive.

This was the best session at the conference!

Positivistsm is awesome and can change the world.

I feel grateful and reaffirmed in my own positivity.

I feel great and worthy.

So much positive energy was going around the room, you were a great speaker!

I feel happy i’m happy!

I feel like smiling a big, huge smile!

I feel like a million bucks.

We have the ability to instantaneously love a stranger next to us. We all just want to be loved.

Reaffirmed my faith in humanity.

Giving space is powerful.

I feel touched.

I spend more time with the glass half empty, I need to change it to half full.

I feel happier, like I could change my life through love.

I want to spread kindness to people.

The lessons you taught and your attitude make me want to do what you do!

I learned how to appreciate the moments of life more.

You have an incredible perspective on life that is contagious, thank you.

I feel really inspired to live my life to the fullest and change my outlook.

I can affect change.

This session reminded me what it means to be human and the essence of humankind… How far off track we have gone and how important it is to get back on track.

I feel that there is hope for everyone and the potential for them to be good.

I feel inspired to banish negativity from my life and make it more positive. I feel uplifted to make change and share what i’ve learned with others.

I kind of realized that I am not always as kind as I could be and I don’t always appreciate what I have and i’d like to change that.

I feel really calm and beloved and excited that there are people like you in our generation.

The average score was 9.3 out of 10. (I think in the future I will add a “what would make you rate this session 10/10” part to my evaluation).

Cool Random Object of the Day: Physiostix!

So guess what I bought on my recent return to LA!

This is the alchemy of movement. Golden Spiral Wellness is the concept of embracing and activating your own power. The Physiostix Sphere Knot is a divine spiral movement guide. You will use nature’s curves, centrifugal force and free will to align and unify your whole being.http://goldenspiralwellness.com/

I have a small purple one. I got it at the Leaders Causing Leaders conference for $20. I’d like to take it to some hip-hoppers : )

Jenni goes RAW!

My relationship with food has shifted recently. Since being back from California I have been super committed to eating RAW organic vegan food. I was vegan before my trip but being around the community in San Francisco and LA really presenced me to the power of raw food.

SOOOO What is raw food?

There are many books and websites about it but basically, in my understanding, a raw vegan diet is based on the science that all living foods (vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit) are full of digestive enzymes (so when fruit rots, it is basically eating itself). When food is cooked these enzymes die. Therefore, raw food is more nutritious.

I eat lots of abundant salads, smoothies, and other amazing dishes. Almost anything can be replicated in raw form with some adjustments.

I did a raw cleans last summer and at that time I decided it was too challenging to continue to eat that way, due to my student schedule and frequent dinner outings with friends.

Yesterday, I noticed something I have been making up that has been stopping me from embracing this lifestyle. I think I heard it on TV or in a movie but I was being stopped by this thought that “real girls don’t eat salads”. The idea that a “burger and fries” are what fun, friendly people eat. I think I was also making up that ordering a salad makes me undesirable or that other people might think I have an eating disorder (she must be hungry with only that salad!)

I now see that eating salad is empowering. When I feel great and love what I put in my body I am fulfilled and happy. I get to choose! Other people probably don’t judge me as much as I make up that they do… but even if they do, it doesn’t matter! I cam free to choose what I eat and when and how much! I get to choose. And right now, I choose raw : )

 

PS: At my 8:30 class on Monday I was so AWAKE and ALERT! No zombie-like morning state for me! Raw food is energizing! And I read online about one guy who only sleeps four hours a day. Think of what I could do with that extra time! I am grateful I nourish myself. It allows me to love, nourish and serve others : )

FREE Wheatgrass!

image via “A Bitt of Raw“.

One of the raw vegan themed blogs I read, “A Bitt of Raw” is having a wheatgrass givaway! The deadline is Friday. From the limited reading i’ve done on it, wheatgrass is a superfood with tons of health benefits. You should check out the contest and enter, or just explore what wheatgrass could potentially do for you!