Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kanaloa's "Kai" Salad

A scrumptious and healthy salad, replete with flavor and packed with: calcium, vitamin K, iron, folic acid, vitamin C, carotenoids, and essential amino acids. An easy and tasty way to fill your body with healthy nutrients after a weekend of partying.


  • 1 1/2 cup spinach leaves, ripped into pieces (* I prefer to buy the "spinach for cooking" as opposed to salad spinach for its thicker, crunchier texture, which offsets the seaweed taste)
  • 1/2 cup Shirakiku Cut Dried Wakame Seaweed (or any other wet seaweed you have)
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Pour Shirakiku Wakame Seaweed into a bowl and cover with water, about an inch higher than the seaweed. Wait five minutes for the seaweed to expand and absorb the water. Pour out excess water. Squeeze seaweed to eliminate more water and pour out.
  • Combine spinach, garlic, and celery in a large bowl. Add seaweed.
  • In a separate, smaller bowl, mix lemon juice, water, soy sauce, cumin, pepper, nutritional yeast, chili powder, and onion powder. Adjust to taste.
  • Add dressing to salad. Mix. 
Makes one serving. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday Playlist

An ode to Public Enemy, Radio Raheem, Spike Lee, and simply making it through another week...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prana Mana Morning Juice

The ultimate, taste-bud pleasing, mind-electrifying juice:

  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 pear
  • 1 large red pepper
  • handful of spinach
  • lemon 

All-Natural Alternative to Adderall

In the last week I've written 3 six-to-eight page papers and one 25 page research paper. Granted, during this time I had no social life and resigned myself to day after boring day of sitting at the kitchen table working on these essays, but it was due to my herbal cocktail that I was really able to get through this awful period.

I've never been able to use Aderrall or Riddlin as "study drugs" despite their popularity with the majority of the college population. Let's just say that the few times I have tried these drugs, I experienced the total opposite effect-- becoming paranoid and scatterbrained, fearful that world was going to end, literally. Not a very fun time for me. Weird side effects aside, if you don't have a prescription for these drugs, they can be difficult and costly to acquire. It's also illegal, but considering as how often college students engage in illegal activities-- underage drinking, drug usage, etc-- I doubt this is a top concern. Regardless, I'm a far bigger proponent of natural, herbal supplements, and it is for this reason that I decided to add some new pills to my regimen this past week.
In addition to the tons of other pills and powders that I drink on a daily basis, I began taking three Siberian Eleuthero Root pills and two Ginkgo Biloba pills each morning with my cup of iced coffee. Aside from the purported benefits of these herbs and the fact that I was able to get a lot of work done, I know that these supplements work because on the two days in which I did not take them, I got no work done. I had difficulty both focusing and motivating myself to work. However, on the days in which I did take this pill combo, I could easily work at a steady pace for at least five hours. Given my college track record, I have been amazingly productive this past week. Motivation and 'giving a shit' problems plague me on a daily basis, leading me to become the all-nighter/last-minute student that I so loathed in high school. This is not say that my new herbal regimen of Eleuthero and Ginkgo have suddenly made me care about my schoolwork (far from it!), but it has miraculously enabled me to focus long enough to hunker down and do the work.

There are many benefits to both pills, ranging from anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing qualities, however, focusing, mental stamina, and the like are the most common known benefits. Below is a list of the main benefits of each herb.

Siberian Eleuthero (Note: For many years, this herb was marketed as "ginseng" in the US because of its similar properties. It is, however, of a different family and has slightly different properties)

  • promotes mental vigor and alertness
  • protect against stress-related illnesses
  • increases mental and physical stamina and endurance
  • improve concentration and memory
  • promotes blood flow to the brain and extremities
  • reduces anxiety and stress

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Win Free Eco-Friendly Stuff!

Spring is the time for growth, renewal, and tons of environmentally-friendly giveaways? Check out these fun and quirky contests to see if you'd be interested in entering for a chance to win any of the offered items.

Death Wish for A Glutton

If you're too much of a coward to kill yourself, go here and they'll do it for you:

Rather than writing a summary about this restaurant, just watch this video. The Heart Attack Grill is simply too disgusting and repulsive for me to write about, and it's not just because I don't eat meat. Not only does the establishment denigrate healthy eating and applaud obesity, but it smacks of misogynistic, degrading female stereotypes, capitalizing on the sex appeal of their waitresses to make a profit. 

This is a pitiful establishment and I can only imagine what I would do it (one late, balmy night) if I lived in Arizona.

Double Double This This, Double Double That That...

What do you do when supersizing, doubling, and tripling becomes old news? If you're McDonald's, you create the Big Mac, offering your customers the chance to bite into two patties and three buns at the same time, or, if you're In-N-Out, you take your customer's boredom (or gluttony, you choose) one step further and create such monstrosities as the X by Y, offering X amount of patties with Y amount of buns (however, the company recently imposed a limit of 4 patties and 4 buns per burger).
And if tripling, doubling, multiplying, and adulterating your burger from the inside doesn't interest you, burger joints still have you covered. Lettuce buns, or "protein burgers" are sprouting up on menus nationwide from Jack In The Box to In-N-Out, and some chains even offer strictly Atkins Diet burgers that include only the patty and cheese.

But what do you do if you're not a fan of red meat, and although you love chicken tenders and chicken patty sandwiches, are sick of them as well? Why, head to Kentucky Fried Chicken to try their newest entree: The Double Down.

I'm not sure what I love more about the sandwich: the fact that it's a 'wich of two pieces of meat encasing more meat? Or that the first sentence on its KFC webpage declares, "The new KFC Double Down sandwich is real!" I am so glad that KFC wrote that because I was worried that it wasn't real-- that I was either so dehydrated and hallucinating, or that the company had developed a new policy making every day April Fool's Day. Feuf. It's a good thing the website told me otherwise. 
Dubbed "heart stopping" and "artery clogging" by critics, the sandwich consists of two boneless white meat chicken filets, two slices of bacon, two slices of melted Monterey jack and pepper jack cheese, and the Colonel's sauce.
Interestingly, the sandwich has only been available for sale at a limited number of KFC chains for the last two years as the company was testing its popularity with consumers. The good news is that, as of April 12, 2010, this sandwich is sold at every KFC nationwide! Also, according to their press release, KFC will donate the "unheeded" sandwich buns to food banks across the country, starting with the Dare to Care Food Bank in KFC's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

What will they think of next? A sandwich that consists entirely of patties, a.k.a. a slab of meat? Oh, wait, that already exists...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Avoid Eating Pesticides-- Go Organic!

We all know that eating organic, although better for you health, is tough on your wallet. If you're like me and can't afford to buy all organic produce, check out the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides  to determine which fruits and veggies are at the highest risk of contamination.
The Guide rates 47 different types of produce, but to make things easy, here's a list of the 15 most contaminated foods (a.k.a. those which you should DEFINITELY buy organic) and the 15 'safest' foods (a.k.a. those which won't kill you if you buy them non-organic).

15 Most Contaminated Fruits and Veggies:

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Sweet Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes-Imported
  11. Carrots
  12. Pear
  13. Collard Greens
  14. Spinach
  15. Potato
15 Least Contaminated Fruits and Veggies:

  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn- frozen
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas-frozen
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Brocoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato
Wait, Why Should I Even Be Concerned About Pesticide Contamination?

Every year, new research is published that demonstrates the toxicity of pesticides to human health and the environment. Despite the fact that the government stipulates "safe" levels for pesticide use in farming, there is no precise way of detecting or regulating these levels.

Some of the proven side effects of pesticide toxicity in human beings include:

  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Carcinogenic effects
  • Hormone system effects
  • Skin, eye, and lung irritation

For more information, visit EWG Food News

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Watch For Free!

Get ready for Earth Day, April 22nd, and reconvene with nature by watching the first episode of BBC Earth's show Planet Earth, "Pole to Pole," for free on i-Tunes!
Go to the Planet Earth page on i-Tunes to watch the show anytime between April 12-26. If you're hooked, you can always download the rest of series (but unfortunately you're gonna have to pay for those!)

Seaweed Rocks My Taste Buds

I think I deserve a party or some type of fete, because I've discovered something that takes a lifetime to achieve: the ultimate, make-at-home seaweed.

I know what you're thinking - 'She's crazy!'- but I thought we had already established that. Seaweed, for those of us who love it and can't get enough of it, is a tricky food to buy and prepare yourself. Sure, you can go into any Japanese restaurant or market and order a seaweed salad, but a. that's annoying b. it's expensive and c. they always taste the same. About 90% of the seaweed salads that you can buy are only made with wakame seaweed, and, on top of that, they tend to be drenched in sesame oil and sometimes even contain jellyfish pieces called kurage.
That said, being able to make your own seaweed at home is the ultimate accomplishment. For a long time I was making my seaweed salads and soups with Eden Foods Wakame Seaweed. It did the trick, as I bought it time and again, but it was better suited for soups than salads because of its uber slimy texture. Plus, if you don't like the spines on the seaweed leaf, or if you don't like chewing through foot long, lasagna noodle-sized pieces of sea vegetable, then it's a bit of a nuisance to cut and slice up.
Given the annoying, slimy, and short shelf-life of this seaweed, you can understand why I am so incredibly elated to have found its exact opposite. I discovered my dream seaweed when I was in New York City a few weeks ago. My friend Katlin had just moved to the city from Oahu and so I simply had to take her to Pearl River Mart on Broadway, one of my favorite quirky stores. Of course, before we shopped, we stopped at Dean and Deluca for some coconut water and fresh tangerine juice.
Shopping details aside, when we were perusing the snack and tea section of the store, walking down memory lane remembering all of the Asian foods and candies we used to eat in Hawaii, she pointed out a package of Shirakiku Cut Dried Wakame Seaweed, exclaiming that it was the exact seaweed her mom buys and cooks at home. Because she was so enthusiastic about it, I got a bit curious, hoping that maybe I had found 'the one.' So I quizzed her. How do you prepare it? You just soak it in water for five minutes. How salty is it? Not the least. Can you eat it plain, like a salad? Yes, most definitely. I was a bit skeptical, but I bought two bags.

A few days later when I returned to Connecticut, I decided to try it out. Here's what I encountered...

1. First I poured half of the bag's contents into a small bowl.

2. Then I poured in enough cold water to cover the top of the seaweed.


I left the bowl sitting on the counter and although I only needed to wait five minutes for the seaweed to be ready, I went upstairs and watched a full episode of Weeds.

3. 30 minutes later I returned to the kitchen and lo and behold.....! The seaweed had grown at least 2 1/2 times its original size! It was like the Incredible Hulk of seaweed right there on my kitchen counter!

And then it was time for the taste test..... Believe it or not, (as I didn't at first! I kept waiting for a bad bite), it did not taste salty or sea-ish in the least! Incredible! For those who are as obsessed with seaweed as I am, you will understand what a feat this is. Not only is seaweed a naturally salty food, but generally when it is dried, it is preserved with salt. 
I ended up eating the entire bowl, even though I planned to only eat half at first, it was that good. Because it was not slimy or salty, it was easy to season and only required minimal sprucing up. I added some shoyu and two cloves of minced garlic. For added crunch, I chopped up celery and mixed it in as well. 

For anyone who is eager to try to seaweed, I highly recommend this brand of seaweed and am even considering ordering packages of it over the Internet, I'm that committed!

Bon appetite!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Be Animal Friendly: Use Vegan Condoms

One of my favorite vegan websites is The Secret Society of Vegans, an innovative British company that decided to market 'veganism' as a covert, members-only club. Shrouded in secrecy, their Facebook fan page claims, "You don't know us but we know you. We exist in secret and work anonymously."

However, in reality, The Society is just a group of passionate vegans with an odd sense of humor who run a clothing and merchandise line, blog, website, and online forum replete with recipes, videos, and free downloads. It's definitely worth a look, if only to pass the time.

One of my favorite products that they have for sale are the Extra Ribbed Vegan Condoms. Granted, I have yet to purchase and try them out, but come on, for comic effect they're hilarious! And they do have a point: latex condoms have traditionally (and occasionally still are) made out of either sheep intestines or casein, a protein found in cow's milk.

So, if you want to keep it natural, cruelty-free, and safe in the sheets, opt for these babies...


How Not To Kill Your Cat (at least unintentionally)

You don't have to own a cat to be concerned about what household plants might be toxic for animals. And, while I myself don't own a cat, I do have numerous potted plants in my house and numerous cat-owning friends. 

Cat or no cat, it's always good to be in the know as to what plants may be harmful or detrimental to the health of a cat, or any pet, for that matter.

Below is a list of 17 common household plants that you should donate to your non-cat owning neighbor asap (if, of course, you have a cat). These plants have been reported as having serious systemic effects and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tracts of animals.

The ASPCA's list of 17 top toxic plants to steer your kitty away from.

Lilies. Members of the Lilium family are considered to be highly toxic to cats. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.
Marijuana. Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma–even if they don’t inhale. But cats can get all the same fun without the buzz-killing side effects from marijuana’s cuz, catnip!
Sago Palm. All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or "nuts" contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Tulip/Narcissus Bulbs. The bulb portions of Tulips and Narcissus contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.
Azalea/Rhododendron. Members of the Rhododenron family contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.
Oleander. All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects–including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Castor Bean. The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.
Cyclamen. Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.
9 more toxic plants to keep away from your cat, including chrysanthemums and ivy.
Kalanchoe. This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.
Yew. Contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.
Amaryllis. Common garden plants popular around the holidays, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.
Autumn Crocus. Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.
Chrysanthemum. These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.
English Ivy. Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.
Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily). Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.
Pothos. Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Schefflera. Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

Keep your household cat-safe and do away with any of these plants if you happen to have any of them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Your Daily Mantra

Chant with me: Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum....

Om Mani Padme Hum is a Tibetan Buddhist mantra (prayer)and is often called the prayer of compassion. Believed to embody all of the teachings of Buddha, it is for this reason that it is so hard to translate. I met a Tibetan Buddhist once who told me that it was after hearing this mantra that Buddha vowed that no being on Earth should ever suffer. While I can't verify if this story is true or not, the Om Mani Padme Hum is very much linked to the concept of Dharma and it is said that the entire truth about the nature of suffering and the many ways of removing it's causes is contained in these six syllables. The six syllables represent the six realms of existence in suffering, and it through this mantra that they can be eliminated. 

Even though the mantra looks easy to read, the literal transcription does not correspond to its pronunciation. The syllable 'Pad' is pronounced 'Pe' (peh) by Tibetans, and the final consonant in 'Hum' is pronounced  with an 'ng', thus 'Hung.' The correct pronunciation of the mantra is 'Om Mani Peme Hung.' The reason for the change in pronunciation is because the mantra originated in India, and as it moved from India to Tibet, some of the syllables were changed because the Tibetans had difficulty pronouncing some of the sounds in the Indian Sanskrit language. 

The mantra can be read out loud, sung silently to one's self, or merely appreciated in written form. Tibetan Buddhists repeat this mantra many times in a single day and have it displayed in many visible places, often in the form of stone carvings or murals. More likely than not, whenever you are witnessing a piece of Tibetan art, jewelry, or clothing that has writing on it, it is the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra. 

Why you should chant this mantra:
According to Buddhist belief, repeating this mantra will help to elevate one's mind, end wrong mindedness, and help one to reach Nirvana ( a universal consciousness). 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GREEN TIP # 1- Reuse Your Baggies


     This might be an eye-openning, earth shattering revelation for you, or it might be something you already do, but: reuse your Ziploc and sandwich baggies. Just because the plastic bag has served its purpose does not mean that you should then chuck it in the trash. Yes, you might have finished off that bag of chips that you were keeping fresh by storing it in a Ziploc bag; and yes, you might have eaten those cookies you brought to work with you or used the remainder of that onion in last night's stir-fry, but that does not mean that the plastic bag has somehow become broken or marred by its one-time use. All you have to do is was the bag in your sink and then flip it inside-out to try on your dish rack or kitchen counter. It may look weird, but it saves you money and helps the environment out a lot.
     In fact, I've been using the same box of large Ziploc bags for three months now and I just counted how many bags I have left. Of the 18 original bags still in the box, I have nine. Three bags are currently in use preserving the freshness of my food, and three have already been used, cleaned, and are waiting for use, along with the remaining still-in-the-box Ziploc bags. 15 out of 18 bags left in three months' use. Pretty good, I'd say. And what happened to the missing three? To be honest, I have no idea. They might have been damaged or, for all I know, are being used to hold other non-edible items somewhere else in my house.

So do your part: reuse your baggies.

'A' is for 'Addiction'

It seems like I've been talking about addiction quite a lot lately. I don't really consider myself as one who has an addictive personality, but I suppose I am prone to extreme enthusiasm and intense short-term interests.

Mulling over the fact that I've been drinking at least two raw juices a day for the last week or so, I realized that my fridge had become frighteningly full and quite green in content. I suppose I am a bit proud about this fact as my fridge, although normally quite green in selection, is even more green than usual. In fact it's almost as if spring has arrived inside my fridge as well.

I took a photograph of the interior of my fridge this morning because super healthy food content caught my eye as I reached for my SIGG water bottle.

Not only is my fridge overflowing with fruits and vegetables for juicing-- zucchini, cilantro,broccoli, cucumber, apple, carrot, kale, pepper, celery, and ginger-- but it's full of other health-packed foods. Some foods to highlight (and recommend to others) are: coconut water, soy milk, goji berry juice, a pitcher of iced oolong tea, and Vegenaise.

I love psycho-analyzing the interiors of fridges (as if they were cognitive beings!) to see what they reveal about the food preferences and even personalities of their owners.
I'd love to see what YOU have in your fridge as well, so please email me or comment on and post pictures and descriptions of the interiors of your fridges and what your favorite foods are!

I'm excited to see what (or if) you send in!


'I Could Never Be Vegan. I Love Cheese Too Much!'

You would be surprised how many times I get the response, "But I'm addicted to cheese!", when I tell people that I'm vegan and that it's not hard to do.
The thing is, what these people don't realize is that yes, they are actually addicted to cheese. Present in cheese, as well as in all dairy products, is something called casein, one of the most well-defined classes of protein found in milk that constitutes 80% of cow's milk protein. Protein benefits aside, casein's main function results from the fact that it is an evolutionary survival mechanism for young calves. When secreted in milk and resultantly consumed by young calves, the casein protein gets converted into a substance called casomorphin. We all know what morphine is (according to Wikipedia, it is an extremely potent opiate psychoactive drug), and yes, casomorphin works on your body in much the same way. Nature (and evolutionary succession) has thus worked to put this calming, feel-good "drug" into milk so that calves (and organisms of all species, which means YOU) will be addicted to it and want to go back to the source of this wonderful opiatic experience. Thus, baby calves do not starve when young as they associate this feel-good sensation with their mother's milk, ensuring that they get enough to eat and grow up strong and healthy.

Now, where does that leave you? First of all, before listing all the bad stuff that casein can do to the body (besides make you addicted to something that is high in fat content and can put you on the fast track to obesity), a few facts about casein:

-According to (a horribly titled but AMAZING book) Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, cheese has the highest content of casein out of any dairy product, and, frighteningly enough, contains more casein than cow's milk itself!

-One of the reasons why manufacturers put casein in cheese, and yes, even in soy and vegan cheeses, is because casein is what makes cheese melt. So, all you vegans out there, make sure you read your labels! (I've even found casein listed in the ingredients of non-dairy powder creamers)

-One of the greatest benefits of casein for calves is not just that it ensures that they get enough to eat, but that it helps calves grow at an extremely fast rate. Yes, the rate at which calves mature when they drink milk is far faster than the rate at which human babies mature. So, just think about that. Why do doctors advise mothers not to feed their babies cow's, goat's, or any other type of milk besides human milk, and yet, once they are at a mature age it is deemed okay for them to drink it? Milk from cows and humans have different nutrient concentrations each suitable to the growth and development of their respective young.

-Humans are the only organism that drinks another species' milk. I've commented on this to many a non-vegan and the typical response I get is, "Well, we are the only species smart enough to do so." (Which then leads me to counter, "Yeah, well what about monkeys?"). But "smart enough" they say? Really? How is it smart to drink cow's milk which contains an inordinately high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol for the human body and which studies have shown protect bones no more than other forms of calcium do?

-Just as calves move on from eating baby food (a.k.a. drinking their mother's milk) to eating adult food (a.k.a. grass), so too should humans. You might think that you did/have, as you no longer eat jars of mashed vegetables and fruits (not to mention suck on your mother' you know what) but you haven't. Yes, you eat hamburgers, salads, pasta, pizza, and other so-called solid, hard to digest 'adult' foods, but hello?! You are still, on a constant and daily basis, consuming cow's milk, a.k.a. baby food (albeit for calves). Does that not sound perverse and backwards to you?


Monday, April 5, 2010

'B' is for 'Buffoonery Baking'

I really am horrible at baking. In fact, to be frank, I suck at baking. Why is this?, I constantly ask myself, especially considering as how I am such a stellar chef with savory foods. The answer, I have come to believe, is two-fold: I myself do not eat sweets, thus I do not understand how to cook, season, spice, etc them properly.

I am a strong proponent of 'more is better.' In fact, I pretty much live my life by it. But, when it comes to baking, it doesn't help very much. Take, for instance, cookie dough sizing. Most recipes recommend placing a tablespoon sized amount of dough on the cookie sheet. Easy, got it. But of course, in my mind, a 'tablespoon sized amount' means enough dough to cover the entire spoon, and extend about an inch above its edges. Which explains why all my cookies are square shaped (because I have to cut them apart from one another), burnt on the edges, and mooshy in the middle. Yum... Not.

And why is baking so different from cooking other meals?
When I cook rice, saute vegetables, make soup, etc, the food doesn't change, it doesn't go all schitzo on me like baking cookies does. You put in one item that tastes a certain way (my dough is usually stellar because I of course over sweeten it), and out comes a drastically morphed (or rather, deformed), less tasteless version.

Cookies are duplicitous. That's what I've come to learn.

Today, bored (and avoiding doing my homework), I attempted to bake my Aunt Lynn's Renaissance Faire famous cookies. Even though they turned out burned and deformed, I still plan on sharing them with my gamelan ensemble tonight, as well as this English teacher who I'm hoping will give me tips on my next essay.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that I 'vegan-ized' her recipe. That effort at least worked, and the cookies still tasted great (they just looked ugly).

(VEGAN-IZED)Auntie Lynn's Renaissance Faire Cookies
(a.k.a. Vanilla Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies)


-2.5 sticks Earth Balance 'butter' (1 1/4 cups)
-3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 'egg'-- Use Ener G Egg Replacer
-2 tsp. vanilla
-I.5 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-3 cups Quaker oats
-2 cups dried cranberries

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Juicin' Like A Fiend

Apparently, I just can't get enough juice these days as I've been drinking at least two juices a day! As my friend Katlin so wisely commented, my Breville centrifugal juicer has indeed become my new favorite toy!

Because it's so fun (and yummy), I thought I'd do a post about some of the juices I've drank in the last two days. They might look a bit nasty, but they taste great. In a few days I'll do a post on the benefits of juicing and why it is better than blending your fruits and veggies. But for now, humor me and enjoy the pictures cataloguing my newest obsession.

Power Juice:

-3 stalks celery
-1 carrot
-1 green apple
-1 broccoli stalk
-1 zucchini
-lemon juice

What a powerfully rich and healthy juice! Zucchini, a sadly unappreciated, oft ignored vegetable, is super high in potassium, Vitamin B and C, and calcium. It's also a great thirst quencher and its juice has been drunk for this purpose in tons of cultures worldwide for centuries. Carrots are high in antioxidants and Vitamin A as is celery (which is also high in Vitamin B). Apples are great sources of antioxidants and flavenoids which are important for a healthy heart and heart disease prevention. And lastly, broccoli. Broccoli, which is sometimes called a 'miracle food', is high in Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and is known to prevent a number of diseases such as lung cancer, diabetes, tumors, Alzheimer's, stomach and colon cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Walk This Way...

Global warming. Pollution. Climate Change. Overgrazing. Soil erosion. Ozone depletion. Habitat destruction. Thermal pollution. Urban runoff. Depletion of natural resource. And the list goes on...

It seems like these days, the Mayans' apocalyptic prediction for 2012 is closer than we think. So, what can you do, besides taking a reusable shopping bag to the market and shortening your shower time by 1 minute? You can walk (or bike), and say 'Sayonara' to your four-wheeler a brief interval.

Walkscore is an in depth, easy to use website that enables to you "find a walkable place to live." Whether you're considering moving to a new city or would just like to get some better mileage out of your Nikes, Walkscore can help you figure out what amenities are in your neighborhood and how convenient it will be to walk there. Simply by typing in your address, the site will calculate, on a scale of 1-100 just how 'walkable' your neighborhood. The criteria they use to judge the walkability factor of your hood is based on the proximity of markets, pharmacies, schools, movie theaters, bookstores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, parks, etc to your home. It's a fun site to play with because hey, you might find out about tons of businesses in your area that you had not known about before.

There are, however, some set backs to the site as I noticed when I calculated my old address in Hawaii: hills and sidewalk availability. The site mentions that there are some reasons "why it doesn't work" for some areas, such as topography, bodies of water, crime indexes, and street or sidewalk narrowness/availability.

But overall, it's an interesting site that I know I will at least consult next time I'm considering moving.

'S' is for 'Saturday' and 'Sinister Juice Bar'

I've been on a juicing binge lately, and, for the past three or so weeks it has been my habit to drink a tall glass of cold, live juice after my bikram class. Today, however, I thought I'd change things up a bit and alter routine...quite a lot.

Instead of heading to Bikram Yoga in Glastonbury for the noon class today, I decided to try out a new yoga studio, West Hartford Yoga, and to take a hot vinyasa class-- my first vinyasa (non-Birkam) yoga class in almost three months!!!

Stepping into the soothing, female empowering confines of the studio, I remembered why I used to love going to vinyasa yoga so much, but during class and after class, I remembered why I switched over to Bikram: I simply get a better workout that stretches, works, challenges, and detoxes my body far better than any other form of yoga. I also have to admit that it's hard to love something that you aren't good at. Although I have been practicing yoga for years, taking a three month hiatus on ashtanga/vinyasa style yoga has really taken its toll on my practice. It's quite bizarre when your body is so fit and competent at one form of excercise and yet completely inept at another.

After class, I decided to drive to a nearby raw food cafe and juice bar that I had read about on the internet rather than drive the 25 minutes home to juice, shower, and do homework. Let's just say, it was a bad decision.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Lady of Fabulous


One the one hand, this bag is amazingly hilarious, but then on the's horribly frightening, and a bit mortifying to say the least.
I sincerely hope that one day I'm marketing and I see a woman with this bag slung over her shoulder, advertising to the world that she is both a fan and admirer of Mrs. Obama, as well as an environmentally-consciousce shopper.
Oh, what will they think of next?

If you are for some sadistic reason interested in buying this bag, I spotted it at Pearl River Mart in NYC for $13.50.

Got Milk?

Recently, I found out about the website, 'Where Is My Milk From?', which helps you identify what town, city, or state the dairy items you have purchased come from. It's pretty interesting and to be honest, if I wasn't vegan (with the occasional discrepancy of eating a lemon yogurt to spike up my protein levels), I'd be playing around on this website all day.

I searched around on the website, trying to find out if there was a vegan, or at least organic, motive to the site. Maybe, I thought, the "independent third party" that "owns and operates" the website is trying to subtly communicate to readers that their dairy products can come from anywhere in the world (thus defeating the intention of 'eating locally' and contributing to global warming) and could contain all sorts of additives, hormones, bacteria, antibiotics, etc as consumers really have no idea what farm and what kind of cows their dairy is coming from. But alas, there was none of this.

The information provided on the website is sparse and simply stated, which is similar to what I have now come to believe is the intention behind the site: to satisfy consumers' curiosity, as well as to provide them with a fun, health-related Internet diversion. The website briefly mentions that some consumers like to know where their milk comes from so as to be able to make sure that they are buying locally, but they then tie this to the fact that the same cows and same dairy farm often produce a multitude of different dairy products. This comment, (not to mention the exclamation mark that follows it) only helps to trivialize the purpose of the site, and even the intention of eating locally.

But, food and environment politics aside, this is an interesting site with fairly accurate information as far as I can tell, derived from the IMS List (Interstate Milk Shipper's List) published by the FDA.

And I have to admit that, yes, I did find an old Yoplait blackberry-flavored yogurt nestled in the back of my fridge and I did type in its state and plant code to find out where its from: Methuen, Massachusetts. I've never heard of the town, but, it's apparently 130 miles away from my market in Connecticut-- not close enough to be considered 'eating locally', but then again, not too shabby for this globalized world.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Saw The Sign...

Okay, I know I shouldn't discuss my political leanings on a public site, lest I offend or upset someone, but I just have to.

I saw this sign while riding the J subway from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side this weekend. Public advertising for a highly politicized AND personal issue is of course entirely legal, but what about ethics?

If you can't read it, this is what the sign says:

"I thought
life would be the way it was before,
abortion changes you."

On the one hand, I suppose I should thank the sign for telling me that having an abortion is a potentially life-changing experience. Of course no one in their right mind would EVER assume that such a procedure could be painful, frightening, or (possibly) life-threatening. So, thank you, sign for notifying the population of New York City, as well as myself, that putting oneself under the knife is a serious matter. And here I thought I was living in Grey's Anatomy.

What really irks me about this sign, aside from the fact that it blatantly tells anyone who reads it that abortions are not the way to go and in fact you'd be better off if you had the child (despite the fact that you might be horribly in debt, already a mother of five, underage, unmarried, homeless, still in school, etc), is its placement. Without intending to sound like a bigot, I have to point out that riding the subway is one of the cheapest forms of transportation that a city can offer. And what does cheap transportation hint at? A poor, less financially-stable clientele. (Albeit many people who ride the subway, myself included, do not fit this demographic so I apologize for the gross generalization, but hopefully you catch my drift.) An abortion is a costly procedure and unwanted pregnancies are high in poorer demographics. Thus, a confused, frightened woman who is debating whether or not to keep her baby might ride the J train, read this sign, and be swayed by its message.

Food for thought:
While riding the same J train the next day to Grand Central station I started talking with a pregnant nineteen year-old who was sitting next to me. Turns out that she's unmarried (but has a boyfriend) and both she and the father have dropped out of high school. She's eight months pregnant. Which makes me wonder, whether or not she had seen the sign. If you have to ride the J train to get into the city every day, how many lives has this sign affected?

Today's Bikram Yoga Class...

...smelled like pesto.

I guess that just goes to show you what kind of smell cramming thirty people in a 105 degree heated room will produce. Yum yum.

Not sure which I like more: the smell of sweaty 'pesto' pits or the pungent, extremely toxic carpet cleaner that they use to clean the floors with post-class.