MACROVegan Wellness Revolution
MACROVegan Wellness Revolution
For Humans & Non-Humans Alike
As a life long vegan and advocate of health and wellness; (working as a 12 year old after school) merchandising the grains, beans and pulses in our local food store, (I think counts!!!!) my work has spanned four decades. I came across a photograph of me the other day taken in the 80’s when I was teaching Aerobics and it made me laugh out loud. I was the Jane Fonda of Scotland. With matching headband, leg warmers and lycra to die for!!! I thought I was the cat’s pyjamas!! Was that the start of my ‘wellness revolution’ phase I wonder? Getting people interested in health and not sickness? along with my vegan advocacy work is my passion.
When I commenced my studies in Traditional Chinese medicine it opened up another world to me in terms of what I had been teaching in natural healthcare. There is one other difference between the Wellness Revolution and conventional health care. Much of what inspires the work done in wellness is a respect for ancient systems of understanding the body. It is interesting that centuries ago there was an understanding of how we work that can give us valuable insight into today’s problems.
Moving my body every day is something I have never perceived as a chore. I am very fortunate to have taught many different aspects of physical fitness from a young age which eventually led me to teaching ChiBall which I absolutely love. My new dvd ‘Stretchcraft’ with ChiBall will be available later this year.
In India, China, Japan and other Asian countries, there was a very sophisticated appreciation of how the body worked. This system was based on recorded observations of sickness and health over centuries. What these ancients saw was that all the physical parts of the body – the bones, the organs, the tissue – comprised energy. Pretty neat. They knew what we now know – the body is a swirling sea of bioelectric energy.
They called this energy by different names – Chi, Ki, Prana – but they were describing the same thing. They knew that we are part of nature and that health is achieved when that natural exchange with our environment is balanced. The study of this exchange relative to health is called Energy Medicine.
When the flow of energy is blocked, we get sick. I always tell my students to keep their “valves wide open”, to be open to life. They sometimes laugh but they know it’s true. I used to sign off on my answering machine by saying, “Keep your valves wide open”. No matter what life throws at us, it is important to try and remember that ‘keeping our energy flowing’ is of paramount importance. If we remain static, we stay stuck.
To remain in balance we need to look at different areas in our life and what we eat on a day to day basis contributes greatly to that. Eating in the zone as I like to call it by adopting a wholefoods plant based vegan diet is the way forward for health. We are killing the soil with chemicals and pesticides, please support those who work so hard in the organic food industry. We are killing our animal kingdom which causes devastation to billions of non-human souls. I feel the shift in consciousness from the many workshops and courses we run. However, we need an army around the world so please encourage everyone you can to #GOVEGAN.
In my book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ you will find over 200 vegan recipes, home remedies and medicinal teas to keep you in the zone.
I look forward to seeing you all at the ‘revolution’, for sure one is coming.
In good health
Macrobiotic Foods List A-Z
Food is our Future
Making change quick and easy is explained in depth in both of my books Macrobiotics for all Seasons and Go Vegan. Many of the ingredients listed below have been used in various cultures for many, many years. Some of these ingredients may be new to you so this list will give you a general guideline on their usage. When you follow a diet that does not create nutritional stress you energy and vibrancy will soar. Our clients cannot believe the increase in energy that they experience in such a short time switching from a meat and dairy based diet to a wholefood plant based vegan diet.
Is a fermented sweet rice drink with the texture of milk! It is a creamy base for custards, puddings and frostings, not to mention a wonderfully satisfying drink and good source of complex carbohydrates on its own.
A large leafy sea vegetable, arame is finely shredded and boiled before drying and packed for selling. Since it is precooked, it requires far less cooking time than other sea vegetables and can be marinated for salads with no cooking at all. One of the milder tasting sea plants, it is a great source of protein and minerals, calcium and potassium.
Azduki beans are small and very compact, with a deep reddish-brown colour. These tiny beans are a staple in the Far East. They are revered in Japan for their healing properties, and are low in fat and reputed to be more digestible than most other beans as well as rich sources of potassium and iron and B Vitamins (not B12)
A Japanese tea made from the stems and twigs of the tea bush has no caffeine or chemical dyes and is packed with antioxidants. Is high in calcium and aids in digestion.
Barley is the oldest cultivated grain. Barley serves to make everything from malted whisky to tea to miso. Barley is a great low-fat grain full of nutrients and helps the body in breaking down fat. Delicious when cooked with other whole grains and in soups and salads.
A sweetener or grain honey made from sprouted barley that is cooked into sweet syrup. The syrup contains dextrin, maltose, various minerals and protein.
Black Soybeans are renowned in Asia for their restorative effects on the reproductive organs. Incredibly sweet and rich, but requiring roasting and long cooking time.
A fibre rich layer just beneath the hull of whole grains that protects the endosperm or germ. Bran is a good source of calcium, carbohydrates and phosphorous and is the main reason for eating grains in their whole form.
A cereal plant native to Siberia, buckwheat has been a staple food in many European countries for several centuries. It is frequently eaten in the form of kasha, whole groats, or soba noodles.
(Cracked Wheat) Made from whole wheat berries that are cracked into pieces enabling it to cook quite quickly. Nice change from porridge occasionally.. Bulgur is most commonly associated with tabbouleh, a marinated grain salad combining tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and olive oil dressing.
A wild, hearty plant from the thistle family. This long dark brown root is renowned as one of nature’s finest blood purifiers and skin clarifiers. A strong dense root vegetable, burdock has a very centering, grounding energy, and is most commonly used in stews and long simmered sautés.
Creamy white oval beans most commonly used in the Italian dish pasta e fagiol. Their creamy texture makes them ideal for purees, dips and creamy soups.
Their rich texture and taste belie the fact that chestnuts are low in fat, making them an ideal ingredient in many recipes. At their peak in the autumn, fresh chestnuts are a wonderful addition to soups, stews and vegetable dishes and their natural sweet taste makes them a great desert ingredient. As a complex carbohydrate they release energy slowly into the bloodstream.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
Their rich texture and creamy taste when cooked or for making hummus, a creamy spread, combining chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and a bit of garlic tastes wonderful. Also fantastic for using in bean dishes combined with sweet vegetables or corn as well as in soups and stews
A long, white radish root with a peppery taste. Used in soups salads and stews as well as medicinal drinks. It is reputed to aid in the digestion of fat and protein as well as to help the body assimilate oil and cleanse organ tissue. Also available in dried, shredded form.
Dried dulse is another great sea vegetable and has a rich red colour and is high in potassium. It adds depth of flavour to soups, stews, salads and bean stews.
EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids)
Fats that we must obtain from our diet and include omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Omega-6 and 9 are found in most foods, but omega-3 is is found in certain nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Richer than soybeans in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in Vitamin E, they have a sweet, nutty flavour. On their own, flaxseeds can have a laxative effect on the body. Many vegans enjoy them daily for the omega-3 benefits.
A meat substitute developed by vegetarian Buddhist monks, fu is made of dried wheat gluten. A good low fat source of protein, fu can be used in various soups and stews by simply reconstituting it in water.
A golden coloured, spicy root vegetable with a variety of uses in cooking. It imparts a mild, peppery taste to cooking and is commonly used in stir-fries, sautés, sauces and dressings. Shaped like fingers of a hand, ginger has the reputation of stimulating circulation with its hot taste. A very popular remedy in Oriental medicine for helping with everything from joint pain to stomachaches and acid indigestion.
The protein found in wheat, although it is also found in smaller amounts in other grains like oats, rye and barley. When kneaded in dough, gluten becomes elastic and holds air pockets released by the leavening, helping bread to rise.
Gluten is also used to prepare Seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat gluten.
Also known as sesame salt. Gomashio is a table condiment made from roasted, ground sesame seeds and sea salt. It is good sprinkled on brown rice and other whole grains
A non-stimulating, caffeine-free coffee substitute made from roasted grains, beans and roots. Ingredients are combined in different ways to create a variety of different flavors. Used like instant coffee.
Green Nori Flakes:
A sea vegetable condiment made from a certain type of nori, different from the packaged variety. The flakes are rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin A. They can be sprinkled on whole grains, vegetables, salads, and other dishes.
Sold in its dry form, hijiki resembles black angel hair pasta. It is one of the strongest tasting of all sea plants, soaking it for several minutes before cooking can gentle its briny flavour. It is one of the richest sources of useable calcium in the plant kingdom with a huge amount of calcium per half cup. It has no saturated fat and is great for weight loss programmes.
There are two varieties of Hokkaido pumpkin. One has a deep orange color and the other has a light green skin similar to Hubbard squash. Both varieties are very sweet and have a tough outer skin.
A sea vegetable packaged in wide dark, dehydrated strips that will double in size when soaked and cooked. Kombu is a great source of glutamic acid, a natural flavour enhancer so adding a small piece to soups and stews deepens flavours. It is also generally believed that kombu improves the digestibility of grains and beans when added to these foods in small amounts.
Is a high quality starch made from the root of the kuzu plant. A root native to the mountains of Japan. Kuzu grows like a vine with tough roots. Used primarily as a thickener, this strong root is reputed to strengthen the digestive tract due to its alkaline nature.
Sautéed root vegetables cut into matchsticks, usually burdock or burdock and carrots seasoned with soy sauce. This hearty dish is warming and vitalizing, making it ideal for autumn and winter use.
A grain, usually semi-polished or polished rice, inoculated with bacteria and used to begin the fermentation process in a variety of foods, including miso, amasake, tamari, natto and sake.
A large plant family including beans, lentils, peanuts and peas.
An ancient legume that comes in many varieties, from common brown-green to red to yellow to lentils le puys (a tiny sweet French variety, which is also great in salads. Very high in protein and minerals and with a full-bodied peppery taste, lentils are good in everything from stews and soups to salads and side dishes.
Medical researchers have been studying the anti-tumour activity of mushrooms. Simply put, they can turn on the immune systems T-cells, which travel the bloodstream seeking and destroying cancer cells. Maitakes are considered the king of mushrooms, because they are so delicious and have a reputation as a very powerful healing food. Enjoy them in soups, stews, and teas.
Millet is a tiny grain native to Asia. An effective alkalizing agent, it is the only whole grain that does not produce stomach acids, so it aids spleen and pancreas function as well as stomach upset. Its very versatile, making delicious grain dishes, creamy soups, stews, and porridges. With its sweet nutty taste and beautiful yellow colour it complements most foods but goes best with sweet vegetables like squash and corn.
A Japanese rice wine with a sweet taste and very low alcohol content. Made by fermenting sweet brown rice with water and koji a cultured rice), mirin adds depth and dimension to sauces, glazes and various other dishes and can be used as a substitute for sherry in cooking.
A fermented soybean paste used traditionally to flavour soups but prized throughout Asia for its ability to strengthen the digestive system. Traditionally aged miso is a great source of high quality protein. Available in a wide variety of flavours and strengths, the most nutritious miso is made from barley and soy-beans and is aged for at least two years. Miso is rich in digestive enzymes which are delicate and should not be boiled. Just light simmering miso activates and releases the enzymes, strengthening qualities into food.
Mochi is made by cooking sweet brown rice and then pounding or extruding it to break the grains, a process that results in a very sticky substance. Mochi can be used to make creamy sauces, to give the effect of melted cheese or simply cut into small squares and pan-fried, creating tiny turnover like puffs, a rich source of complex carbohydrates. Delicious when dipped into malt barley syrup or rice syrup.
Tiny pea-shaped deep green beans, these are most popular in their sprouted forms, although they cook up quickly, making delightful soups and purees. Mung bean sprouts are a delicious addition to any salad or stir-fried dish.
Tea made from a blend of traditional, on-stimulating herbs. A warming and strengthening beverage, mu tea is especially beneficial for the female reproductive organs.
Soybeans that have been cooked, mixed with beneficial enzymes and allowed to ferment for twenty-four hours. Natto is high in easy-to-digest protein and vitamin B12.
A condiment made from soybeans, barley, kombu, and ginger; not actually a miso.
Nori (Sea laver)
Usually sold in paper-thin sheets, nori is a great source of protein and minerals like calcium and iron. Most well-known as a principal ingredient in sushi, nori has a mild sweet flavour, just slightly reminiscent of the ocean. Great for strengthening grain and noodle dishes or floating in soup or adding to stir-fries.
Thick pastes made from grinding nuts. While rich in fiber and protein nut butters are also excellent sources of good quality fat. Nut butters have intense, rich flavours and are great in sauces, dressings and baked goods.
Nuts are true powerhouses of energy. Bear in mind, that in most cases, nuts have the strength to grow entire trees, so imagine what impact they have on us, giving us great strength and vitality. They are wonderful in small amounts for taste and richness (they are calorically dense) and for a lift of energy.
Very thinly sliced or shredded fresh vegetables, combined with pickling agent such as sea salt, umeboshi, brown rice vinegar, or tamari soy sauce, and placed in a pickle press. In the pickling process, many of the enzymes and vitamins are retained while the vegetables become easier to digest.
A tiny seed like grain native to the Andes Mountains, pronounced (keen-wah) this small grain packs a powerhouse of protein and numerous amino acids not normally found in large amounts in most whole grains, particularly lysine, which aids digestion. Quiona grains are quite delicate, so nature has coated them with an oily substance called saponin. If the grain isn’t rinsed well, it can have a bitter taste. Quinoa has a lovely nutty taste and cooks quickly, qualities that make it a great whole grain addition to your menus.
The staple grain of many cultures, rice is low in fat and rich in vitamins, amino acids and minerals, like calcium, protein and iron and B vitamins. Rice as we know it was reportedly cultivated in India, spreading from there to Asia and the Middle East.
In its whole form, rice is a near-perfect food. High in moisture, rice acts like a gentle diuretic, balancing the moisture content of the body and encouraging the elimination of any excess. Brown rice should be used as the staple grain.
There are limitless uses for rice in daily cooking. It can be pressure-cooked, steamed, boiled, fried, baked, roasted, sautéed and used in breads, sushi, casseroles, sautés, pilafs or stuffing’s.
A creamy liquid made by cooking ten parts to one part rice for one hour, the resulting rice is pressed through a cheese-cloth, creating ‘milk’ It is also packaged commercially.
(Brown rice syrup, rice malt, yinnie)
The Japanese call this ‘liquid sweetness’ Rice syrup is a thick, amber syrup made by combining sprouted barley with cooked brown rice and storing it in a warm place. Fermentation begins and the starches in the rice covert to maltose and some other complex sugars, making this syrup a wonderfully healthy sweetener. Complex sugars release slowly into the blood stream, providing fuel for the body rather than wreaking havoc on the blood sugar. Rice syrup’s wonderful, delicate sweetness makes it ideal for baked goods and other deserts.
The quality of salt we use is important, the best to use is white unrefined sea salt with no additives. Unrefined salts are rich in the trace minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium that are destroyed in processed salt.
The exotic vegetables that are harvested from the sea coast and nearby rocks are high in protein and rich in minerals. Readily available in dehydrated from in natural foods stores, sea vegetables are not yet widely used but are growing in popularity for their nutritional benefits and interesting taste.
In a word, seeds are powerhouses. Remember that they are the source of entire plants, even trees in some cases. That’s a lot of energy in a little seed. They are good sources of protein and calcium but because of their high oil content, seeds spoil relatively quickly and keep best refrigerated. The most popular seeds in natural foods cooking include pumpkin, poppy, sunflower and sesame.
Seitan (Wheat gluten)
Most commonly called ‘wheat meat’ Seitan is made from wheat gluten. Made by kneading the bran and starch out of flour, raw Seitan is rather bland, so most commercial brands are simmered in savoury broth before sale. A wonderful source of protein, it is low in calories and fat and is very popular in Asian ‘mock’meat’ dishes as well as in hearty stews and casseroles.
A thick, creamy paste made from ground hulled sesame seeds, it is used for flavouring everything from sauces to salad dressings to dips, spreads and baked goods.
Are loaded with nutrition and very powerful to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to cleanse blood. Scientists have recently isolated substances from shitake that may play a role in the cure and prevention of heart disease, cancer and AIDS. Shitake mushrooms can be found in natural food stores. They have an intensely earthy taste so a few go a long way. It is necessary to soak the dried ones until tender, about 20 minutes before cooking. Use the soaking water. Trim off the stems as they can be bitter tasting. They are wonderful in soups, stews, gravies sauces and medicinal teas.
A lovely herb with large reddish leaves. A popular staple in Japan, shiso is often used in pickling, most commonly in Umeboshi plum pickling. Shiso is rich in calcium and iron.
Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
A confusing term because it is the generic term of Japanese soy sauce as well as the term for a specific type of traditionally made soy sauce, the distinguishing characteristic of which is the use of cracked wheat as the fermenting starter, along with soybeans. The best shoyu is aged for at least two years. This is a lighter seasoning than tamari. Shoyu is high in glutamic acid, a natural form of monosodium gultamate (MSG), which makes it an excellent flavour enhancer, great for marinating, pickling and sautéing.
A noodle made from buckwheat flour. Some varieties contain other ingredients like wheat flour or yam flour but the best quality soba are those made primarily of buckwheat flour.
The base for many natural foods products, from miso to soy sauce to tofu and tempeh to soymilk to soy flour. On their own, soybeans are rather bland and hard to digest, so are more commonly used in other products. However, when cooked on their own, long and slow cooking is the only way, soybeans are most delicious.
A catchall term for the wide range of foods that have soybeans as their base, including soymilk, tofu, tempeh, soy sauce, tamari, Shoyu, miso, soy cheese, soy oil etc.,
Traditional soy sauce (the same as Shoyu) is the product of fermenting soybeans, water, salt and wheat. Containing salt and glutamic acid, soy sauce is a natural flavour enhancer. The finest soy sauces are aged from one to two years, like Tamari and Shoyu, while commercial soy sauce is synthetically aged in a matter of days, producing a salty artificial flavoured condiment
A fermented soy sauce product that is actually the liquid that rises to the top of the keg when making miso. This thick, rich flavour enhancer is nowadays produced with a fermentation process similar to that of Shoyu, but the starter is wheat free. Tamari is richer, with a full-bodied taste, and contains more amino acids than regular soy sauce.
A traditional Indonesian soy product created by fermenting split cooked soybeans with a starter. As the tempeh ferments, a white mycelium of enzymes develops on the surface, making the soybeans more digestible, as well as providing a healthy range of B Vitamins. Can be used for everything from sandwiches to salads to stews to casseroles.
Toasted (dark) sesame oil
An oil extracted from toasted sesame seeds that imparts a wonderful nutty flavour to quick sautés, stir-fries and sauces, but should not be cooked over high heat for a long period
Tofu (Soybean curd)
Tofu is a wonderful source of protein and phytoestrogens, and is very versatile. Rich in calcium and cholesterol-free, tofu is made by extracting curd from coagulated soymilk and then pressing it into bricks. For use in everything from soups and stews to salads, casseroles and quiches or as the creamy base to sauces and dressings.
Flat noodles, much life fettuccine. Udon comes in a variety of blends of flours, from all whole wheat to brown rice to lotus root to unbleached white flour. I use the whole wheat variety.
Japanese pickles (actually green apricots) with a fruity salty taste. Pickled in a salt brine and shiso leaves for at least one year (the longer the better) ume plums are traditionally served as a condiment with various dishes, including grains. Ume plums are reputed to aid in the healing of a wide array of ailments from stomach aches to migraines, because they alkalize the blood. These little red plums (made red from the shushi leaves) which adds vitamin C and iron make good preservatives.
A puree made from Umeboshi plums to create a concentrated condiment. Use sparingly as it is quite salty but it is a great ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, or spread on corn on the cob.
Umeboshi Vinegar (Ume Su)
A salty liquid left over from pickling Umeboshi plums. Used as a vinegar, it is great for salad dressings and pickle making.
Vinegar (Brown rice)
A fermented condiment. While lots of vinegars exist, they can be very acidic, I use brown rice vinegar made from fermented brown rice and sweet brown rice, Umeboshi vinegar (above) balsamic vinegar. Great for reducing lactic acid in the body.
A very delicate member of the kelp family, wakame is most traditionally used in miso soups and salads. It requires only a brief soaking and short cooking time and has a gentle flavour and is a great way to introduce sea vegetables to your diet.
Called the ‘staff of life’ has been the mainstay of foods in temperate climates since the dawn of time. There are many strains of wheat, classified according to hardness or softness, which reflects the percentage of protein. Hard winter wheat is high in gluten and is best for breads, while softer wheat’s work best in pastries.
Whole wheat flour
A flour ground from whole wheat berries that is high in gluten. Good stone-ground flour retains much of its germ and bran and thus much more of its nutrients than its unbleached white counterpart making it a healthier choice.
In macrobiotics, energy or movement that has a centripetal or inward direction.
In macrobiotics, energy of movement that has a centrifugal or outward direction and results in expansion.
Also called the peel, the zest is the thin, coloured layer of skin on citrus fruit which imparts a fragrant essence of the fruit into cooking.
In good health
Stress – What Would We Do Without It?
Stress – What Would We Do Without It?
It seems that everyone is stressed out. Even children talk about being stressed. The incidence of stress in America and Western Europe is more pervasive than most common maladies. I am surprised that governments have not issued Stress Alerts. A generation that invented Multi-Tasking as an act of cultural pride is now swamped by an epidemic of anxiety, irritability, and debilitating hyperactivity that wears us out from the inside. We solder on, accepting our lot as the price we pay for progress and the good life – not human beings but human doings.
Here are a few things that I know about stress from both personal experience and extensive scientific professional observation:
Stress is a real phenomena it is not imagined.
Stress is not a mystery. Everyone knows why they are stressed and what to do about it.
Stress will do you in even if you exercise regularly and eat a really, really good diet.
Stress is an essential part of our economic system. If you are not stressed out you are probably a communist.
The reality of stress lies in the definition. Stress is what happens when you expose a structure or organism to pressures it is not made to withstand. Simple isn’t it.
When we attempt to make our body, mind or spirit do things that we are not designed to do we experience a traumatic result. Our system rebels and we feel as if we might either implode or explode. It is interesting that so many of us feel that it is our system that is at fault, we should be able to handle everything that life throws at us. (This is where the heroism comes in) we become addicted to the drama of the trauma.
Stress has become the acceptable price of success; if you’re not stressed out of your brain you are not pulling your weight. In order to live with ourselves we have to accept that there is nothing we can do and just hope that the we don’t break into tears in the supermarket again, or that the economy picks up, or that the acid reflux stays under control and that we don’t flip out and kill our neighbors the next time they play loud music. We also hope that our insurance will cover the expense of the heart attack we are sure to have if our immune system doesn’t pack in first and leave us exposed to the next animal sourced epidemic. (After mad-cow, bird flu and swine flu we have to wonder which other animal will toss a virus over the fence – but I digress.)
I often ask clients to tell me ten things they know they could do to improve their health, they can always do it. They give great answers regarding how to improve their physical health and mental/emotional wellbeing. What clever folks! It is then that my evil twin emerges and I ask “The Question”, “Why don’t you just do that?” This is where the terrain becomes rocky. The answer to the “The Question” is – “I don’t have the time”. This is often followed by the long list of obligations, commitments, burdens and blunders that occupy the clients day. It is often an awesome list. It’s all real, it all hurts but it’s all based on some fairly absurd assumptions about life.
I am avoiding writing these next paragraphs. I really am. Because every time I bring certain things up I know that many folks roll their eyes thinking the ideas are so idealistic or fantastic (in a Obi-wan Kenobi sort of way) or naive and they turn off – but I am beyond embarrassment. Why the hell are we doing this to ourselves? What do we hope to gain? Why have we fallen for such shallow promises that offer such scant rewards? I must admit that “The Promise” is a dandy one. It includes (but is not limited to) possession of a big house, lots of cool up-to-the-minute technology, endless sexual vitality, exotic vacations, a new car, fashionable clothes and the physical appearance of a movie star.
All of these things are seen to be available if you have the money to buy them. Unless you are one of the lucky few that were born to wealth, you will trade your life for these things but they are worth it. When you have reached the apex of purchasing power you will be happy (did I mention the sex?).
A Compromise Promise is on offer for those with limited financial clout. You can get quite a few of the toys, some imitations of the fashions, nose and boob jobs. Cars and lots of Promise thingies are available on payment plans, that means you will be a wage slave till you retire and you children may hate you because you didn’t get it right.
We all face a very peculiar set of decisions at this time. We want to enjoy our life but know that many of the things we enjoy produce ill effects on ourselves, the lives of others, the environment and generations yet unborn. It is a problem that needs resolution if we are to fulfill our human potential and create a healthy society and a healthy planet. We need to learn to simplify. NO! Don’t you dare go away! This is the hard part.
Separating our needs from our desires or our “need from our greed”, as Gandhi put it, may be the most important factor that decides the future of humankind. Technological Development and increases in population have conspired to accelerate and compress cultural development in unpredictable ways. Many of the new technologies have produced problems that off-set any perceived benefits. I see this process daily with my clients. They struggle to find ways to incorporate healthy habits into a life that has been shaped and often dominated by unhealthy ones. It seems that we are programming ourselves to accept the unacceptable in exchange for things we don’t really need, but feel we should have. This is, by the way, exactly what we are expected to feel.
One of the main driving forces of the consumer culture is that we need to feel unfulfilled. It is our sense of being incomplete that keeps the wheels moving. “Labor saving devices” and “scientific breakthroughs" promised more leisure, reduced work hours and a more just society. But the facts don’t add up.
The green revolution promised food to feed the poor, what it produced was genetic manipulation of crops, decreased diversity, the destruction of small farms and increased profit by big agribusiness. The revolution in mobile phones promised increased communication but also comes with 24/7 availability from the boss. Together with email that means that many people are always at work, their time is not their own. One of my sons and I once stood in amazement watching a man fly fishing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains and doing business on his phone while standing in the river. It is the virtual world that becomes more important than the world within the range of our senses.
According to a study by Ball State University’s School for Media Design, adult Americans (no one under 18 was included) now spend more than eight hours a day staring at a screen. It breaks down to an interesting picture of life as we know it. Television requires five hours or more. For those 45 – 54 it was 9.5 hours. Over two and a half hours engrossed in the computer and at least 20 minutes looking at the screen on a mobile device (no talking just looking). The more time we spend looking at screens the more screens we need, not just more screens but better ones, bigger ones, screens with more detail, screens that do more. It is our addiction to using products that are designed to be redundant that drives the machine.
If we do not accept the wisdom of unplugging as much as possible, scaling down on our addiction to the new, and learning to live more simply the problem of stress will not only continue to rise but the pharmaceutical solution will win the day. Already America ranks as one of the unhappiness nations in the world. This unhappiness is buttressed with defiance that our way of life is the best and certainly all the ingredients are there.
Millions of people in the Western world are learning to gain more from less. According to research in the UK, 25% of 29 – 59 year olds have downsized their income by up to 40% to improve the quality of their life. They are cutting back on the shopping, buying ethically, eating well and enjoying it. We have the resources and the freedoms it only remains to be seen if we have the willingness and courage to shift direction, learn to say no thanks and smell the roses.
In good health
During the summer months our skin requires extra hydration. One of my many favourite ways to deliver that hydration is accessible to you all. I have been bathing in seaweed for more than four decades. I buy seaweed in many forms for gifts for family and friends. It is my number one go to that delivers hydrated soft skin. It's a family favourite as you will see from one of my lovely sisters enjoying a seaweed bath from our wonderful seaweeds in Scotland.
From the many different courses I have designed and teach, my favourite of all time is entitled ‘Ladies Start your Engines’. And here is why!
If you to think for a minute about the engines in our cars and ask yourself what would happen to them if we didn’t check them in for an annual overhaul? They would dry up, rust, even breakdown. When I started to study TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) many moons ago I took to it like a duck to water. What made such sense to me in TCM was the analogy of taking care of our bodies in much the same way we take care of our cars. As each season changes the organs pertaining to that particular season present themselves for an annual service. How clever is that? Hence the title of my workshop was born!
I look at the body as either being in a ‘plum’ state or a ‘prune’ state. And that is how I always start my lectures. Would you like to be a plum or a prune? We are like a juicy wee plum when we are born and start to dry out with age. We age even faster if we don’t take care of our bodies. Seaweed can help us get back in tune with our ‘plum’ state. Sea vegetables increase the yin fluids in the body hydrating our cells from the inside out and bathing in seaweed hydrates us from the outside in. What a plan!.
As a long time promoter of seaweed I am sure I must have been a mermaid in my last life. At the tender age of 15 I discovered the benefits of ‘kelp’ and much to the amusement of my friends I incorporated seaweed into my life in so many ways. Cooking with it, bathing in it and grinding it to a powder to make facials. In my native Scotland seaweed was also an ingredient used in bread-making. An array of seaweeds can be used for making teas, soups, side dishes, stews and so much more. I thought it would be interesting to share with you the many benefits of seaweed and encourage you to start using it on a regular basis if you don’t already do so.
In my native Scotland we have been enjoying the benefits of seaweed from the Scottish islands for hundreds of years. Naturally healing, moisturizing and anti-ageing, it is rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-cellulite properties. Unwinding in a hot bath infused with mineral sea salts containing over 85 natural trace minerals is sheer bliss. I purchase the dried seaweed for Bill and I and we indulge ourselves in a wonderful restorative seaweed bath once or twice a month. The gel that is released is just gorgeous and feels amazing on the skin. I have listed below some of the great benefits to your overall health by simply incorporating this into your life. Wherever you are in the world, check out some local suppliers and incorporate this seaweed bathing into your routine.
Seaweed Bath and Its Benefits
We all know the seaweeds purify and maintain the ecological balance of the ocean. They can perform the same purification process on your body too. The rejuvenating effects of eliminating toxins from the body can refresh us physically and mentally. A seaweed bath can create an invigorating effect by balancing the vital ingredients that constitute the body’s chemical structure. They are highly recommended for treatment of psoriasis and eczema.
Seaweed is said to possess an electrolytic magnetic action and so releases excess body fluids from the congested cells, dissipating fatty wastes through the skin pores. In addition, they also replace depleted minerals such as potassium and iodine, boosting thyroid activity and help to maintain adrenal regulation and hormone balance.
When clients enroll in my ‘Natural Woman’ retreats, they enjoy two seaweed baths along with steam and sauna sessions throughout the 6 day programme. They eat an amazing wholefoods plant based vegan diet, have tasty ‘medicinal’ teas prepared for them daily and of course I put them through their paces each morning with my choice of workout from chiball, tai chi or yoga.
My cooking classes have a different theme each day with fun titles. I teach the clients specific dishes to restore the functioning of various organs as they learn the huge benefits of eating a hormone balanced diet. Incorporating sea vegetables into their life will assist in removing the nutritional stress from their over-tired bodies. They are always delighted and grateful to have been exposed to the versatility of seaweed.
By the time they leave, they say to me…. Marlene, my engine is on fire….. I am raring to go….. now that makes me smile. One of the most satisfying aspects of my work is giving the gift of health to others, it’s the most amazing thing you can do, so please share this information with family and friends.
What is Seaweed therapy?
Seaweed therapy is recommended by its proponents for those affected by insomnia or sleep apnea. By improving the quality of sleep, it automatically enhances your immunity levels and helps you feel relaxed and fresh. A regular seaweed bath can minimise cellulite development on the skin by purifying it and giving your body a healthy toned look. Seaweed body wraps help in toning up body muscle and speeding up the metabolism. They improve circulation, whilst ejecting the toxins out of the body. Seaweed therapy also aids in providing relief from joint and muscle aches and is of immense help in treating conditions such as arthritis, eczema and psoriasis.
Countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Greece have facilities known as thalassotherapy spas (loosely translated from the original Greek word as ‘sea therapy’).
They provide relief to thousands of tourists who visit these countries every year specifically to get benefit from these natural spas. The presence of seaweed, such as bladder wrack and kelp, help in conditions such as psoriasis and the detoxification of the body by opening up the pores, ejecting toxins, accumulated grime and dirt from the skins layers.
Seaweed therapy is gaining rapid popularity because of the wide range of health benefits that it offers without any having any adverse effects on the body.
How It Works
A nicotine patch allows the body to absorb nicotine through the skin. The minerals and trace elements released by seaweed in hot water are absorbed through the skin in the same way, through a process called osmosis.
Minerals are very important to vitalize body cells. However minerals cannot be produced or restored inside of the body. Thalassotherapy enables the body to replenish essential revitalizing natural elements and mineral salts. Seaweed contains mineral salts that can help the skin to hold its moisture better, which helps to smooth fine lines.
How To Take A Seaweed Bath
Place half a bag of bladder wrack kelp or knotted wrack kelp seaweed in a bath of hot water. The seaweed will turn a beautiful spring green and the water will turn a rich brown as the seaweed release their minerals. You can add a herbal bath oil, if desired, to help hold the heat in and pleasantly scent the water. Let the bath cool enough to get in. As you soak, the gel from the seaweed will transfer onto your skin.
This coating increases perspiration to release toxins from your system and replaces them by osmosis with minerals. It also helps to rejuvenate your skin, de-stress, stimulate the thyroid, help weight loss, eases eczema, reduce the appearance of cellulite and relax the whole body and mind.
Seaweed Body Wrap
You can also make a seaweed wrap by adding bladder wrack to a bowl of hot water leaving to soak then placing a bandage in the gel ,wrap the bandage around an area to be firmed up (buttocks or belly or arms) leave for 30 mins and then remove. Why not try a detoxing seaweed foot spa? Simply fill a basin with hot water. Soak some dried seaweed for 20 minutes and let the water come to a comfortable temperature. Pop your feet in, sit back and relax and enjoy the soothing benefits of this treatment. The feet are the framework of our body and so many of us neglect them, so give your feet a wee bit of T.L.C. now and again, they will thank you for it.
Rejuvenate Your Skin with a Simple Seaweed Facial Mask
This simple facial mask will leave your face feeling incredibly soft, smooth and looking absolutely radiant. This mask contains kelp, rice syrup, and aloe vera that helps the skin to hold its moisture better, which helps to smooth fine lines. Rice syrup is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and sugar. The sugar and enzymes in the syrup act as a gentle exfoliate for the skin. Aloe Vera has been known for its amazing healing properties for centuries. It hasbeen used to help heal burns, eczema, sores, acne, insect bites, and more. It’s an antiseptic, highly lubricant, and penetrates deep into the skin.
To benefit from these ingredients, create this simple mask:
1 tbsp. Kelp powder
½ tbsp. rice syrup
½ tbsp. Aloe vera gel (99.9% pure)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and apply to a clean face. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. To enjoy glowing, healthy looking skin, use this mask twice a week. I promise you will enjoy this mask and make it a regular part of your beauty programme.
One last note; Simply change one word…….Ladies to ‘Gents start your engines’ and be like my husband Bill Tara, 78 years old, and he can still out cycle me!!! damn! I reckon it’s because I keep sharing my ‘trade secrets’ with him!!
Enjoy the wonderful benefits of seaweed. Until next time, have a fun month.
In good health
Meat, Nutrition And Tradition
MEAT, NUTRITION AND TRADITION
By Bill Tara
One of the most controversial and curious subjects in modern nutrition is the place of animal protein in a healthy diet. The evidence has been building over the past twenty years that our reliance of meat and dairy foods are a mistake. Most epidemiological studies indicate that excessive consumption of meat and dairy is a primary factor in most degenerative disease. These studies, coupled with the fact that the economic and environmental damage of the modern meat and dairy industry far outweighs its social and nutritional value, do not seem to shake the public belief that animal fats and protein are essential for a healthy diet. That more and more people reject these foods on ethical grounds related to the animal abuse sets the stage for a food fight of epic proportions.
There is certainly adequate information regarding the horrific and unhealthy conditions that factory-farming methods impose on cows, pigs, chicken and fish as well as the many other animals that are slaughtered for food daily. Most people would not eat the meat they consume daily if they had to witness the events that brought it to market. The fact that we need around 150 billion animals killed every year to survive seems strange when we look at the physical, anthropological and nutritional facts. We can only come to one conclusion – the argument has nothing to do with nutrition, science, compassion or common sense. No – the subject of animal food consumption is ruled largely by emotion and cultural mythologies.
Against the backdrop of the linkage between animal products and the increases in heart disease, stroke, cancers and even diabetes we have to ask ourselves what kind of visions or urges could bolster the desire to continue using meat as even a small part of a healthy diet, several spring to mind:
- The brave hunter returns to the cave with an antelope strapped on his back, which he offers his family as they cower in the shadows of their cave.
- The independent cowboy hunkers down beside the campfire for a big plate of fried meat and cornbread.
- The wealthy landowner sits down to the groaning table filled with roasted birds, fishes and legs of lamb.
- Dad fires up the grill and throws on the burgers and hotdogs, the flags are flying.
Powerful images that operate below the surface of consciousness often define who we think we are. Man the hunter, rugged individualism, dominion over the earth, wealth and shared experience all factor in our attitudes regarding what we eat and how we use all of the resources essential to our existence. What arguments could the proponents of a meat rich diet possibly use to justify this habit that is creating illness, brutality and ecological ruin? Well the answers to that question are simple, a heady mix of bad science and a fear of change.
Is Meat Part Of Our Destiny?
One of the most interesting arguments supporting the eating of meat is that we are omnivorous; we can eat it all. I would never argue with that. Early humans ate a varied diet that probably included insects, small game, fruits and plants. I am not aware of any logical contradiction to this idea.
The issue here is that we were not “natural carnivores” in the accepted definition of the word. A carnivore is an animal that has a diet mainly or exclusively of animal meat. This meat can be obtained through either hunting and killing or scavenging the left overs from what other animals kill. The academic arguments continue regarding the dietary details of our evolution but certain compelling facts emerge that challenge many cultural mythologies.
The most accurate indications of early diet are to be found in the mouth and intestinal tract. This is where the history of any animal’s dietary past is reflected most dramatically. Indications of the earliest human remains show that man was never a true carnivore. In fact, meat (other than insects) was probably a rather small part of dietary consumption. The proofs of this lie in both human structure and function.
Starting from the most mentioned and most obvious, our so-called canine teeth don’t qualify us as carnivores, they are placed back toward the outer corners of the mouth and they are not long enough, large enough or strong enough to grip, hold and tear flesh. There is no evidence in the fossil record that we have ever had the sharp developed teeth to tear meat or the jaw joints to hold or grind bones with any effectiveness let alone the claws that are essential tools for the capture and kill.
The issue of cheeks is one that often brings a laugh when I bring it up in lectures. Carnivores don’t have cheeks; they don’t need them. You don’t keep meat in your mouth; you only have cheeks when you keep food in your mouth to aid digestion and to masticate. Humans have digestive enzymes to digest complex carbohydrates (not needed for carnivores); we do not develop these capacities unless they are essential for our existence.
The same indications are there in the human intestinal tract. Carnivores have very short intestines with fairly smooth walls. Meat fiber is not beneficial to intestinal health in any animal, when the surface nutrients are released from meat the intestines need to be flushed. Herbivores and humans have a longer (two to three times as long) more complex digestive tract that holds vegetable fiber longer to achieve maximum efficiency and support the growth of beneficial microorganisms. All of these features take us back over a hundred thousand years, far before the development of tools or practical use of fire. One of the problems that emerge in interpreting all these indications of our original diet is the fact that one of our most precious gifts is our adaptability.
The first humans left their African home 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago, depending on which of the current migratory theories you apply. As we travelled and as other waves of migration worked their way North we were forced to adapt to new environments. As tribes moved into the colder and less fertile lands it was important to follow herds of animals and to rely more on animal sources of food for survival. Those tribes who remained in the cooler climates retained their relationship to animals as a food source either in the wild or eventually domesticated and used for milk products.
Over thousands of years this adaptation included the sophistication of tool making, the control and use of fire for cooking and warmth and eventually agriculture. From 20,000 to 10,000 years ago agriculture slowly developed and with it cooking. Anthropologists tell us that during this period the primary development in human biology was an enlargement in brain size. This growth in the brain is attributed to the fact that cooking made digestion more efficient and allowed more caloric energy for development of the brain. If this is true it would indicate a movement away from our original diet to meet the challenges of migration and environment and then an adaptation to a more plant based diet to meet the social and physical needs of an increased population and a more settled cultural life. All of these changes were in service of staying alive.
Tradition and Evolution
When I ask clients to describe their diet the two most common answers are “I eat a really good diet” (everything is relative) and “I was raised on a traditional diet, I like my meat and potatoes’”. The former is usually the female answer and the latter comes mostly from men. Tradition gets used as a reason for a multitude of sins. If it was good enough for grandpa it is good enough for me. Two questions spring to mind – the first question is if our nostalgia for tradition is a reflection of fact and the second is the value of tradition on its own.
When I started to eat a macrobiotic diet in the mid 1960’s my grandfather told me that I was eating more like he did as a child. His family lived on porridge, bread, vegetables, beans and small game with very little red meat. He thought it was funny and he loved the food. The amount of meat in the diets of most people 100 years ago was very small; it was chemical free and free range or grazed. I have found this to be true in every country I have visited; if you ask the elders, their diet included less meat unless they were quite wealthy.
There has been a long association between wealth and meat eating, the wealthiest get the best cuts, and the poor get what’s left. This is still true today; meat eating and the abundance of food are often associated with success. It has always been the rich who were overweight with the shift in the modern diet the tables are turned. Food abundance and plentiful meat and dairy are now the staples of the fast food diet.
Obesity is now available for everyone – how democratic. The only problem is that the meat being consumed is still the scrap. The popular fast food hamburger can contain as little as 15% meat and includes bones, connective tissue, blood vessels, fat, water, nerves, cartilage and plant based fillers. No one wants to know what’s in a hot dog. So-called traditions of meat eating serve those who sell meat but are not a reflection of reality. The question still hangs in the air; even if our ancestors ate meat as their primary food why should that affect our diet today?
Human evolution is dominated by two influences, physical adaptation and cultural adaptation. Physical adaptation is a reflection of our ability to meet the challenges and changes in the environment as reflected in physical form and function. These changes represent the raw desire for survival.
Cultural evolution represents a different and unique aspect of human life. We develop ideas drive and inform our attitudes and actions which are reflected in social institutions and the ways we alter our environment. The environment we are now adapting to is one of our own making.
Over the past 10,000 years human societies have reversed the swing of evolution. We have changed the environment we adapt to, we are in the process of altering the source of our life and we are doing it without any conscious vision of the result. Human culture has made forests disappear, changed the course of rivers, altered the atmosphere and changed the composition of the seas. The crucible out of which life emerged has been bent to the will of humanity, mostly for the worse. Our attitudes regarding food are an important part of this process.
The gift of consciousness, our capacity to be aware of our actions and the implications of them, is a great gift if we use it. Tradition can be described as social habit. As with any habit, tradition should be assessed as either improving or diminishing the quality of individual and social life. With consciousness we may feel that some traditions fill an important need are worth retaining, others may have outlived their use or based on ignorance and need to be replaced. To retain any tradition out of misplaced nostalgia is ill advised. I loved my grandparents very much but am quite happy to leave some of their prejudices and beliefs in the past since they do not serve in the present.
The development of technologies and the speed of social change make many people anxious about the course of society. This anxiety often produces irrational fears as we move into uncharted territory. The course of history makes demands on us all to reassess what is of true value, not only in the moment but also for the future. When we approach the issue of nutrition the demand is that we move beyond the restraints of imagined tradition and ask ourselves how we create a healthy and environmentally sound diet that is flexible enough to adapt to personal needs, diverse enough to satisfy the senses and capable of feeding a hungry world with the least environmental impact. This is not only possible but urgently needed.
The FIRST thing we will have to leave behind is our dependence on animals as a food source. It is completely unnecessary, cruel and devastating for our animals, wasteful, unhealthy and produces environmental chaos. The way forward is to continue to advocate eating a healthy and diverse vegan diet, to promote education of the young on the benefits of healthy eating, to support organic agriculture and demand politicians to have the courage to confront the massive agriculture and food monopolies and make them accountable for the quality of their food. There is no benefit in respecting tradition if it poisons the future.
When students and clients complete their studies with us, they receive a copy of Eat Like You Care, an incredible book that answers every question that 'new' vegans come up against.
Please leave any comments for Bill below.
In good health
Summer Vegan Healthy Recipes
Summer Vegan Healthy Recipes
I hope that you are all enjoying the longer days and warmer weather of summer. Such a joy to be out on our bikes and taking some fabulous hikes in nature.
The foods that are most needed when the weather is warm are salads, fruits, green vegetables and lighter cooking. A quick vegetable stir fry is one of our favourites with a huge fresh salad and one of my delicious dressings.
In Macrobiotics and Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is the time of year that our Heart & Small Intestine present themselves for their ‘annual service’ so to speak. The changing of the seasons is more than simply re-organising your wardrobe. The body craves the change of food and cooking styles of each season.
Diseases of the heart are provoked by eating too much meat and dairy food , causing the blood to thicken and the arteries to become clogged with excess fats. Reducing oil content – fat content – sugar content… is something I always teach in my summer workshops. The light and simple foods for summer are helpful for anyone having these problems at any time of the year. Raw vegetables and lightly cooked dishes help restore the balance and calm the system.
The roots of the body are deep inside the Small Intestine where nutrients are absorbed. It is here that they enter the bloodstream and are distributed to the body’s cells. It’s the primary site for absorption of nutrients. It is the home of the major microorganism colonies in the body where food is digested along with pancreatic enzymes. Nutrients are absorbed through the villi, small root like structures on the intestinal lining.
90% of digestion and absorption takes place in your small intestine so be kind to your small intestine by chewing well before you swallow, particularly complex carbohydrates as they are digested in the mouth by an enzyme called ‘amylase’. The food then passes into your stomach, proteins are worked on by protease. From there, the bolus of food passes into your small intestine, where lipase begins to break down fats, and amylase finishes off the carbohydrates.
Here are a few of my favourite summer dishes. There are so many ways to be creative and add different tastes to your salad dishes. One of my favourites is to combine a selection of sea vegetables.
Mixed Greens & Cucumber Wakame Salad Dark green leaves of the sea are loaded with such a broad spectrum of nutrients that are not readily available from land vegetables. One of the most delicious ways to introduce sea vegetables into your diet is to create tasty dressings. The variety of vegetables and the light citrus dressing make this wakame salad flavourful and easy for people to enjoy, particularly if they are new to using sea vegetables.
¼ cup Clearspring wakame seaweed flakes soaked in warm water until soft (15 minutes)
2 baby cucumbers thinly sliced
5 red radishes thinly sliced
½ roasted red bell pepper, thin julienne strips
3 spring onions, minced
2 tsps. Clearspring red wine vinegar
2 tsps. Clearspring brown rice vinegar
Juice of each: 1 orange, lime, lemon
1 tsps. Clearspring tamari soya sauce
1 tsps. Clearspring mirin
4 cups mixed salad greens
Drain and squeeze water from the wakame. Combine the wakame, cucumber, radishes, roasted red pepper, and spring onions in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the vinegars, citrus juices tamari and mirin in a small bowl adjust the seasonings to your taste. Stir dressing into vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate for at least one hour before serving to allow flavours to develop. Arrange the mixed salad greens on a plate and spoon the marinade vegetable mixture over the top.
There are many so called ‘healthy’ desserts that I see clients eating daily that create nutritional stress and contribute to their health problems. These desserts are high in fats and sugar and many of the combinations used in them are not easily digested. Keep your desserts simple by using delicious sweet fruits and berries. This is a delicious dessert using pears which happen to be Mr. Tara’s favourite.
Remember that each sugar category has its refined and unrefined products. For a more stabilizing effect on blood sugar, reach for fruit first.
Star Anise Poached Pears
1 cup apple juice
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups water
3 whole star anise
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod
4 medium-size firm but ripe pears, peeled
Combine apple juice, brown rice syrup, 2 tablespoons water, star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod in heavy large saucepan. Stir over low heat until simmering. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. After 10 minutes remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir to mix. Pop in the pears, cover and simmer until tender, turning pears once, about 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to bowl. Continue to cook the liquid in saucepan until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes, add a little more brown rice syrup for desired consistency. Pour syrup over pears and chill until cold,
In good health
Go Vegan - It's Easy
Our Vegan Advocacy Work
Last week, Bill and myself attended the LAUDATO SI conference at the University of East Anglia where our friend and amazing pioneer, Gary. L. Francione, the father of the Abolitionist Approach to Veganism was hosting and presenting at this fabulous event. It was an incredible eye-opener in so many ways. As long time animal advocates we felt compelled to use our voice and share with the panel and the audience our thoughts on why humans complicate such simple matters as GOING VEGAN.
This was an event hosted by Catholic Concern for Animals in direct response to Pope Francis's recent encyclical letter on the religious implications of animals and the environment. Not all of the participants and speakers were catholics, including ourselves, but used the Pope's letter as a foundation and a starting point for further conversation. It was a wonderful opportunity for Bill and myself to have our thoughts and opinions heard.
We have high hopes that among 1.5 billion catholics there could be a huge increase in veganism which is desperately needed. Back in the time of Copernicus, most would have thought it impossible if you said that you were going to convince everyone that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rather than the other way around, but it did eventually happen! So, the past teaches us to have hope for the future.
In our 90 years combined teaching Bill and I have high hope we can all come together and make a better world, a VEGAN WORLD where humans and non-humans alike live in harmony. Success can only be achieved through education, understanding and ultimately action.
It’s Not Difficult To Be Vegan
Going vegan is simply a choice you make. Many people live in their head and over think the concept of where to begin. It’s easy, you remove all the animal food and replace with delicious plant-based foods, the choice is yours. You can do it right now.
We Are All One
When we reflect deeply on our relationship with the outer world, our environment, we realise that we are never independent of its influences. Food is the link between the inside and the outside world. Our Human Ecology Diet is abundant in every vitamin and mineral required for good health, vitality and longevity. Our vision with MACROVegan is to continue to share our passion for a vegan world.
How to Rethink Protein Once and For All
Protein is a subject that always comes up when discussing veganism. When you think of the biggest animals on the planet, elephants, giraffes, buffalo, these are huge mammals, they don’t eat meat, so where do they get their protein? They eat what grows out of the ground and that is where they get their protein; it’s as simple as that. There are many foods in the plant kingdom that are especially rich in protein. All the legume family, anything that is grown in a pod, lentils, beans, chickpeas, wholegrains are full of protein, and many vegetables are rich in protein too.
Protein Is In Everything: Vegan Athletes Are Renowned For Their Athletic Excellence.
If you are getting enough calories from wholefoods, such as grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, you will obtain your requirement of protein easily and in a healthful way because the protein is in the bean, in the lentil, in the wholegrain. A healthy diet rejects the animal products as well as the highly processed and sugary foods that flood the marketplace.
Protein deficiency is not an issue on a vegan diet. That’s not the problem, there are plenty of amino acids, plenty of protein on a plant-based diet. In fact, the health crisis exists because people are eating way too much protein, which in fact injure your arteries and your kidneys as it leaches calcium out of your bones. The solution is eating a diverse diet and not just focusing on two or three foods.
Eating a plant-based vegan diet does not mean living on processed foods, sweets or sugary drinks. You must eat FOOD AS GROWN to receive the adequate protein you need daily. Corn on the cob is one thing, corn chips are different, potatoes are a wholefood, and potato crisps are not. In our decades of health counselling, Bill and I have yet to meet someone with a protein deficiency. Only those starving to death are deficient in protein. If you are going to be adopting a wholefood plant-based diet, there are some things you must do properly. It’s not just a matter of eating snack foods or processed fake ‘meats’ and burgers, and think you are going to be healthy.
Plants are high energy foods, it’s good to note that an increasing number of athletes are switching to a vegan diet. Recent winners of long distance events like triathlons, marathons, and bicycle events are eating a vegan diet. Even professional footballers like Lionel Messi have made the switch. They know that they suffer fewer injuries and recover their energy better by eating plants.
Exciting Facts About Making Vegan Choices
- Vegetables are easy to grow, any gardener can grow potatoes, carrots, greens etc., and they are inexpensive, rice and beans are also not expensive, (especially when you buy in bulk).
- Animal meat is not required to build muscle or bone. These are mythologies that are based on limited science and the livestock and dairy industry.
- Plants are lower on the food chain, the environmental pollutants that are so prevalent in our food are in low concentrations in your plant-based foods. Animals that are eaten are fed food grown with pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and drink water exposed to industrial pollution. These contaminants are stored in the fatty tissue of the animal. They can concentrate 1000 fold as they go up the food chain. This concentration of toxic products affects all animals on land or at sea.
- Plants are environmentally friendly. You can grow 17 times more nutritional energy on a piece of land with vegetables than you can with animal food. The difference between growing potatoes and raising beef is 100-fold.
- We are all living on a planet that is food stressed. There is a real risk of food shortages.We need to grow more food and healthy food. There are near to one billion people (our brothers and sisters) starving to death, while nearly one billion people are eating themselves to death. 85% of non-communicable diseases are dietary related.
- Vegetables don’t grow microbes, they don’t grow e-coli, they don’t grow mad cow’s disease, they don’t grow listeria. If a vegetable or grain does have a contaminant on it, then it originated from an animal. Animal faeces are a major agricultural pollutant.
- Vegetables taste amazing. Sweet potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, rice, etc., because they are full of natural sugars and you have taste buds on the tip of your tongue that taste sugar.
- Vegetables store well, you can dry and store potatoes for 10 years. Rice, beans, grains store in a cool place for years.
- Plant based foods are easy to travel with.
- Wholefoods (not processed junk food) are great foods for weight loss. Remember, they have no fat.
- Everything that breathes wants to live, Please GOVEGAN and love all of life
Follow our MACROVegan dietary guidelines here For A List Of Nutrient Sources
Whole Grains, Beans, Vegetables, Fruits
Beans, Seeds, Nuts, Whole Grains, Seaweeds
Seeds, Nuts, Oils, Beans, Tofu, Tempeh,
Dark Greens (Kale, Collards, etc.), Soybeans, Seaweeds, Seeds
Dark Greens, Seaweeds, Millet, Lentils, Garbanzo Beans, Seeds
Dark Leafy Greens, Carrots, Squashes, Seaweeds
Whole Grains, Sea Vegetables, Lentils, Fermented Foods
Fortified Foods, Nutritional Yeast etc., B12 supplementation
Dark Greens (Kale, Parsley, Broccoli, etc.), Local Fruits
Whole Grains, Unrefined Oils, Seeds, Leafy Greens
Sea Salt, Seaweeds, Organic Produce
Ingredients List for A Healthy Transition to A MACROVegan Diet
Instead of: Use:
Baked goods Sugar and dairy-free cookies, muffins,
White bread Wholegrain, sourdough bread or sprouted bread
Cheese Nutritional yeast, roasted tofu products,
Meat Beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh
Meat stock Miso, miso bouillon, dulse or vegetable stock
Milk Rice, oat or almond milk
Pasta dishes Wholewheat, rice or spelt pasta, udon or soba noodles
Iodised Salt Natural sea salt
White rice Short grain brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, buckwheat
Sugar Brown rice syrup, barley malt or maple syrup
Scrambled eggs Tofu, (scrambles well)
Setting Up Your Kitchen!
There are some essentials you need in the kitchen in order to make vegan cooking easy and delicious.
- A sharp knife
- A stainless-steel wok, saucepans and soup pot
- Cutting board
- Steamer basket or bamboo steamer
- Hand Blender
- Wooden spoons
- Mixing bowls
Stock Your Cupboard With:
- A variety of grains
- A variety of beans, dried
- Canned organic beans
- Dried sea vegetables
- A variety of noodles
- Sweeteners: rice syrup, barley malt, maple syrup
- Whole wheat, corn or spelt tortillas
- Dried fruit
- Seeds and nuts
- All-fruit jams
For Your Refrigerator
A colourful array of vegetables for daily use is key to a healthy vegan diet.
You Will Save Money Being A Vegan
There is a huge misconception that it is expensive to eat this way. On the contrary, we hear from so many of our students and clients that they have saved up to 40% on their groceries since becoming vegan.
Making Vegan – The New Normal Is Our Mission
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world
Recipes To Get You Started
Roasted Squash & Sweet Potato Soup
4 cups filtered water
1 organic stock cube
1 large sweet potato
1 butternut squash
4-5 cloves garlic
1 large onion, finely diced
Toasted flaked almonds for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375°. Mix the stock with 4 cups of boiling water and set aside. Cut the sweet potato and squash in half lengthways. Sprinkle the cut sides with a little sea salt and spritz with a little water. Place the vegetables cut side-down in a parchment lined shallow roasting tin. Add the garlic cloves (in their paper). Place in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
When the vegetables are cool, scoop out the flesh from the potato and squash, peel the garlic and add the cloves to a saucepan with the stock along with the vegetables and the diced onion. Bring to a boil covered, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a high-speed blender or hand blender, puree until smooth. Ladle into warm bowls and serve garnished with some flaked almonds.
Hearty Brown Lentil Soup
2 cups peeled butternut squash cut into bite size cubes
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 cups cooked brown lentils
1 tbsp. organic tomato paste
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 tsp. dried rosemary, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh ginger juice
Natural soy sauce to taste
Preheat the oven to 200/400deg. Put the squash into a large bowl and add a few drops of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and some dried rosemary or thyme. Place the squash on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges are crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Sauté the shallots and garlic in a little stock or water then add the lentils and 1 tbsp. organic tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, fresh thyme and the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Stir in the fresh parsley, lemon juice and ginger juice. Add natural soy sauce to taste, approximately one tablespoon is adequate. Serve in warmed bowls topped with some of the caramelized squash.
MACROVegan Nutritional Tip
Lentils are one of the oldest known sources of food dating back more than 9,000 years.
Lentils contain the highest amount of protein originating from any plant. The amount of protein found in lentils is up to 35%, which is comparable to red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Lentils contain carbohydrates. They are a good source of dietary fibre and have a low number of calories. Another excellent way to have lentils is after they have sprouted because sprouted lentils contain methionine and cysteine. These two amino acids are very significant in muscle-building and strengthening of our body.
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