Why I Went Vegan and My Tribute to Jake

Hello everyone,

I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!

I have been in kind of a funk lately, and I realized it was because I was coming up on an anniversary of one of the worst days of my life.  Two years ago yesterday, I lost my best friend and fur baby, Jake.  Jake was the most incredible dog I have ever known and was part of our family for 11 years.  Not only was he part of our family, but was basically a child to us (since we don’t have human babies).  He was there when I woke up, went on every trip with us, spent the entire day by my side and snuggled against my stomach all night long.  Jake was never grumpy and was always filled with unconditional love, compassion and the energy of a puppy (until his last week on this planet).

Jake became ill in September 2016.  We had noticed a small lump on his paw, which we were praying was just an infection.  Unfortunately, after many round of antibiotics, it didn’t go away and testing came back positive for cancer.  We ended up amputating his toe to try to stop the spread and were initially successful.  All of the margins were clean, and his blood work and X-rays were impeccable.  We had many long months of bandage changes and keeping him calm, but were optimistic about the future.

Right after Thanksgiving, Jake developed a cough that wouldn’t go away.  We finally took him into the vet one late Monday night and were praying that maybe it was a cold or even whooping cough.  When the vet came back in with the X-ray results, she just said, “You guys, I am so sorry.” Jake’s lungs were completely filled with cancer and there was truly nothing we could do.  She said it could be weeks, months or even years but she really didn’t know how long he would make it.  Jake was gone by the following Sunday.

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What I didn’t realize at the time, was that losing Jake would transform the rest of my life. Not only because this was my first real experience with death, but also because he helped me discover my true passion: saving animals and helping people.  You see, when I watched Jake suffer and take his last breath, I realized that I never, ever wanted to contribute to another animal’s suffering for as long as I live.  I also realized at that moment that ALL animals want to be loved, feel fear and want life.  There is no difference between a dog, chicken, cow, pig, sheep, fish, cat, horse, donkey, etc.  So why would I fight so badly for one while paying someone to torture and kill another?!  At that moment I became VEGAN and later discovered animal activism.

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I will miss Jake every day for the rest of my life, but I am so grateful for the lessons that he taught me.  It’s amazing how one, little, 30 pound dog can change your life forever <3. Thank you buddy!

 

Let’s Talk About Dairy

Hello everyone,

I hope that you had a wonderful ThanksLIVING!  We had a wonderful holiday and I am trying to get myself back in gear 🙂

Today I wanted to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart, and it’s also something that most people do not know about.  This subject is dairy!

I was vegetarian for years and often ate cheese, whey, ice cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese, all while thinking that I wasn’t contributing to any animals being harmed or killed.  Unfortunately, I was completely wrong.

The dairy industry does a fantastic job at hiding the truth and telling us that it is perfectly okay to be consuming milk from another species.  In fact, we need it for “strong bones” and “it does a body good”.

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*Look at these happy cows, surrounded by family, living in green pastures.

Let me give you a quick summary of what actually happens in order for humans to drink cow (or goat) milk.  First, how do you think a cow produces milk?  Just like other animals, she needs to be pregnant!  The farmer will artificially inseminate a female cow on a device that is often referred to as a “rape rack”.  She will be pregnant for 9 months, just like a human, and will give birth to her baby.  As soon as the baby is born, he or she will be ripped away from their mom (they don’t want the babies drinking OUR milk) and the mom will cry in agony for days.  If the baby is a boy, he will be killed for veal.  If the baby is a girl, she will be raised as a dairy cow.  All dairy cows will be considered “spent” at about 4-5 years old and will be killed for beef.

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In addition to the animal cruelty, the dairy industry has done an incredible job of hiding the harmful effects of dairy on our health.  Dairy has been linked to certain cancers (including breast and prostate), is full of saturated fat, cholesterol and contains PUS.  It has also been linked to asthma, acne, type 2 diabetes, bloating, constipation, and osteoporosis (you read that right!  Because milk is so acidic, it actually depletes calcium from our bones!!!).  Dairy definitely does NOT do a body good!

So next time you are at the grocery store, instead of reaching for dairy milk, just walk over 5 steps and try some plant based options instead.  No animals had to be killed for them, they are better for your health and they are delicious!

For even more information on dairy, please watch Dairy is Scary or What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Also, please know that I am always here for you if you have questions about making the transition ❤

The Easiest Vegan and Gluten Free Dessert Recipe

Hello everyone,

We are just days away from Thanksgiving and you may still be wondering what amazing, vegan dessert you can bring to your holiday meal.  Well, look no further!  This recipe is incredibly easy to make, involves no baking, and is gluten free.

*This recipe has been modified a bit.  The original is from Fresh Creations.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes (12 servings)

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Raw Pecans
  • 1 cup Medjool Dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

 

  • 1 cup Cashews (soaked in hot water for 1 hour)
  • 1/2 cup Light Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin Puree (BPA free can preferred)
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. Soak the cashews for one hour and soak the dates for 10 minutes.
  2. Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap or liners.
  3. Make the crust in a food processor: blend the pecans until ground, then add the soft dates (without the pits), and sea salt.  Pulse well until combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture into the muffin tin and press down until crust is formed.  The crust is really sticky and it helps if you use your fingers to press it down.
  5. Place tin in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the filling.  In a high speed blender, blend all of the ingredients for the filling until smooth and creamy.
  7. Remove tin from the freezer and pour the filling over the pecan crust.
  8. Freeze the cheesecakes for about 3-4 hours, or until firm.
  9. Let them thaw for a few minutes before eating.
  10. Enjoy!

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How I Feel About Prop 12 and Why I Didn’t Vote on It

Hello everyone, happy post Election Day!  I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that it is over!!  The decisions, the signs and the anxiety are enough to drive anyone crazy!  I found this ballot to be pretty easy to make my mind up about, except for one proposition that we had here in California, proposition 12.

Proposition 12 “establishes minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals. Prohibits sales of meat and egg products from animals confined in noncomplying manner. Fiscal Impact: Potential decrease in state income tax revenues from farm businesses, likely not more than several million dollars annually. State costs up to $10 million annually to enforce the measure.”

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Having read the information you would probably wonder why, as an animal rights activist, I didn’t immediately jump on board with this proposition.  Here are my reasons why even today I am quite unsure….

My first thought when the prop came out was who is going to regulate this?  Many propositions have passed before and have not been regulated.  For example, cage free hens are absolutely not cage free and rarely see the light of day.  My worry is that people will think that these animals have a better life and better standards, when nothing has changed.  This will only encourage them to eat more meat without feeling guilty over their decisions (I used to do the same thing; I would buy the most expensive, organic, and humane meat thinking that it made a difference.  In reality, there is no difference other than the term that the industry uses to make us feel better about our choices).

Here was a CON on the proposition 12 page: “This outrageous sell-out to the egg industry betrays animals and voters. Californians already voted to ban cages by 2015. This cruel measure legalizes cages until at least 2022! And hens get just ONE SQUARE FOOT of space. Vote NO on farm animal cruelty by voting NO on Proposition 12.”

The other reason why I was confused by this proposition, was because so many people from the animal agriculture industry supported it while strong animal rights groups like PETA were against it.

While I completely understand that not everyone is going to stop eating meat and that animals should have a better life while they are here, I am not quite sure that this is the step in the right direction.  Are we just misinforming and lying to the public?

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Regardless, proposition 12 passed by a landslide!!!  And here is the positive side of this entire campaign trail.  The commercials opened people’s eyes about how animals are suffering and are being confined.  In addition, the “yes” vote shows how compassionate people truly are about animals (I am hoping someday that people realize that if they are so compassionate about animals, then they should stop eating them….). In addition, I have had some amazing conversations with people who are ready to be educated about where their “food” actually comes from and it’s opened their eyes.

Having said all of this, I completely admire and respect everyone who worked so hard to get this proposition passed and to fight for the animals!  You are all amazing and we have to do what we can to take steps in the right direction.

Baked Potato Nacho Recipe

Hello everyone,

Happy Food Friday!  Today I wanted to share one of my new, favorite recipes.  This recipe has been modified from Medical Medium’s Thyroid Healing book. I tried to make this for the first time this week and may now be making it every day!  It was absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious!

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Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced (optional)……I used the whole thing by accident.
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup cashew cream (see recipe below)
  • a drop of olive oil/coconut oil to dust potatoes with

Cashew Cream (modified from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook)

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons dill (we like a lot so I tend to just pour in a ton!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Slice the potatoes into “chips” that are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.  Lightly dust them with your choice of oil and add the sea salt.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, flip, and then bake for 10 more minutes (or until crispy to your liking).
  2. While the potatoes bake, combine the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and the juice of both of the limes in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Make the cashew cream sauce by simply blending all of the ingredients together. Add more water to create your desired consistency.
  4. When the potatoes have finished cooking, arrange them on a plate/serving tray.  Top them with the salsa and add some cashew cream sauce.
  5. Enjoy!

 

My Lyme Disease Treatment (part 2)

Treating Lyme Disease can often be a complicated and discouraging process.  As you may have read in My Lyme Disease Treatment (part 1), I tried many different methods, all while depleting my savings account and finding little relief.  However, when I discovered Medical Medium’s protocols, things finally began to shift.

I started drinking celery juice every morning, removed gluten from my diet, and added in many of his “Life Changing Foods”.  I ultimately found that switching to a completely vegan diet eliminated most of my nagging symptoms.  My digestion and energy improved and my muscle pain was almost nonexistent.

I continued to experiment and to listen to my body.  In addition, I found some holistic remedies that really helped.  I do not know the science behind all of these but I am guessing that they all decreased the inflammation in my body and allowed it to start healing.  These are all things that I still do now, three years after my diagnosis.

Meditation:  meditation every night as well as throughout the day when I am feeling anxious.

Daily Movement:  most days I try to get in a vigorous workout, but some days my body only wants to walk or to do Yoga.

Turning the Wireless Router and All Devices off Before Bed: the lack of electronic waves going through our house at night has improved my sleep.

Eliminating Toxins: we have tried to eliminate as many toxins as possible throughout our house.  This includes buying organic fruit and vegetables, using non toxic and non fragrant cosmetics/beauty products, not using scented dryer sheets or laundry detergent and only using essential oils to make our house smell good (artificial fragrances and perfumes can wreak havoc on our bodies, even without Lyme Disease.  I will cover this in a future blog).

Sticking to a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet: okay, this one isn’t always!  But I really try my best to stick with whole plant based foods including legumes, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  I stay away from gluten and processed foods, as much as possible.  It is when I do this that I feel my best.

I realize that not everything works for every person.  With Lyme, the symptoms and best treatment will vary from person to person.  However, these holistic remedies worked best for healing my illness.  And I truly believe that even if a person isn’t sick, that he or she can benefit from implementing the above tools.  Give them a try and let me know how they work for you ❤

 

For more information on how I healed naturally from Lyme, check out my video.