J-Lo says the 22 day vegan diet helped her lose 10 lbs. I can’t tell if she’s just shilling for the diet plan or if that really did help her lose weight. J-Lo’s trainer Tracy Anderson says J-Lo does rigorous high intensity dance workouts along with light weight training exercises. Samuel L. Jackson says a vegan diet is responsible for a whopping 40lb weight loss. He says he feels better than ever. The thing is, you can be a FAT vegetarian. All you have to do is eat too many sugars, like sweets or pasta. It still comes down to calories. You need to take in less than you burn to lose weight. If you are already overweight, eat high calorie sweets, don’t workout regularly, and then keep doing that during a 22 day vegan challenge, you could end up not losing weight at all.
Popularized by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, the 22 day vegan challenge is the latest fad / trend to hit the celebrity circuit. I am already a vegetarian so I accepted the 22 day challenge without hesitation back in January. However, I cant’ help but wonder if this latest bandwagon will convert any real meat eaters to that diet. Firstly, a drastic dietary change can be very hard to maintain once the novelty wears off. Secondly, we are in Summer, which is barbecue season. I don’t think this is a good time for people to test their will-power to become plant only eaters. In any case, the 22 day vegan challenge encourages healthier eating and starts people off with a reasonable, but challenging goal. Need some help before going all the way? Try eating only vegan breakfasts for a week. After that, add vegan lunches for another week. Finally, skip the meat aisle and pickup veggies. fruits, and grains at the market and make vegan dinners. Then take the challenge.
Summer in Southern California means a lot of hot days with the daytime temps in the 80′s to 100′s. Shopping for clothes means finding clothes that don’t stick to your skin or have fabrics made with pesticides or harsh chemical processes. I was browsing on the web for some organic clothes and found a great list of companies that specialize in organic clothing items. I picked up a handmade t-shirt dress made from organic cotton and bit of spandex from Yana Dee that feels wonderful on the skin. Another company that makes beautiful organic cotton summer dresses is pRana which I discovered in Santa Monica at the REI store.
Becky Striepe from Eat Drink Better has created a new custom google search engine for vegans. She curates the top vegan sites with with some help from friends. Vegan searches on google often return vegetarian results. For example, when searching for vegan recipes, it is not uncommon to find recipes with ingredients that include dairy, eggs, or honey. Becky’s search engine avoids those false results, returning true animal free vegan results. Try it here:
At the bottom of the pyramid are veggies and fruits. In the middle of the chart are whole grains. Further up are dairy, beans, and seeds. At the top of the pyramid are liquid fats and sweets. I printed out a copy of this picture and posted it on my refrigerator to remind me what to shop for at the grocery store. It has really helped since it shows such a wide variety of foods to choose from.
I whipped up a vegan chocolate cake for a potluck at Warner Park. Some of my girlfriends and even a few guy friends are vegetarian / vegan. We at least TRY to eat plant based foods as often as possible and having vegan potlucks has really been fun. Several people make excellent fruit salads, veggie burgers and dogs, casseroles, vegetable “meat” loafs, soups and much, much more. I am not much of a chef, or a cook for that matter, but I do have a sweet tooth. I grabbed a recipe online for vegetarian cake and whas quite delighted at my results.
The recipe is fairly straight forward:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
Basically I just had to add all the ingredients into a baking pan and then bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. It came out moist and tasty.
If I learned anything from my mom about taking care of my skin, its that sun exposure and tanning are not beauty treatments. She grew up in the 1980′s when a beautiful tan was every girl’s goal. She and her high school friends would workout and then go to the tanning salons during the week so they could get that golden brown look with sun bleached hair for the weekend. They would then go to the beach or lay out by the pool for several more hours over the weekend. I look back at some of her photos of that time and she looked radiant and beautiful, a true California Girl. But she, and her generation are now dealing with the wrinkles, spots, and overall damage done to their skin by those “beauty treatments.” Because of her experience, I now wear sun block anytime I am going to be out in the sun. My favorite vegan sunscreen is Face Factor by Kiss my Face. It’s vegan friendly, gluten free and not tested on animals. I tend to use the SPF 50 on my face and chest. I like to use that or SPF 30 for my arms and legs ( I don’t mind a tiny bit of color from the sun).
My mom got me started eating healthy snacks as a kid with this simple vegan snack. Thankfully, no one in our family has any peanut allergies. This is the classic “Ants on a log” snack made with celery, peanut butter, and raisins. Yum. When I go to potluck meals and I don’t really have time to make anything extravagant, I buy those three ingredients and make them on the fly at the party. So simple.