What is Ahimsa and what does it have to do with being Vegan?

As I read more about being vegan, the term ‘ahimsa’ kept popping up and I wanted to know more. What I found had a very profound effect on me. It helped me to see that eliminating things from my life is just a part of the whole concept of being vegan.

There are many definitions, but basically Ahimsa translates into ‘non-injury to living beings or dynamic harmlessness.’ When I first read this, I thought, “Yeah, that’s cool. I figured it was something like that.” But as I looked more closely at the definition, I was struck by the direct call to action.

‘Dynamic harmlessness’ meant I was to do something; not just sit around and eat my veggies! What a revolutionary concept. As vegans, we actually have to get out there and do things; voice our opinion, challenge ideas and make a positive difference.

But as with any philosophy, there is a natural progression. At first you research and make sure you hold the idea to be true. Once you are convinced that it resonates with you, you may do things publicly that acknowledge your acceptance and say that you are a ‘believer’ in the idea. Normally at that point, you become ‘dynamic’ and try to convince others that the idea is worth checking out.

Well, ahimsa definitely resonates with me. I hold it to be true and it has inspired me to take action in any way I can to help others at least be introduced to the idea of being vegan and plant a seed of curiosity.

So, in my next post, I will share some ideas on how, as a wannabe vegan, you can by dynamically harmless!

Do you believe in ahimsa? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Advertisements

3 Vegan Organizations That Make a Difference

As a follow-up to my last post, I thought I would give you more information on organizations that are vegan-specific. The following vegan organization are making a huge difference in everyone’s awareness of the issues and what they can do to make a positive difference:

Vegan Action
They are dedicated to helping animals, the environment, and human health by educating the public about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and encouraging the spread of vegan food options through their public outreach campaigns.

Over the past 10 years they have introduced a logo to certify vegan products with the Vegan Certification Campaign, began a campaign to introduce humane organizations to veganism with the Humane Outreach Campaign, brought vegan food into schools nationwide with the Dorm Food Campaign, and shared the compelling ideas behind veganism with thousands of people through the McVegan Campaign.

Vegan Outreach
They are working to expose and end cruelty to animals through the widespread distribution of their illustrated booklets Why Vegan?, Even If You Like Meat, and Compassionate Choices, along with their follow-up Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating.

As a Vegan Outreach activist, anyone, anywhere, in any situation can be the best possible spokesperson for the animals. Their booklets have been distributed by many individuals and organizations, from middle school students to animal advocacy organizations.

The Vegan Society
They are an educational charity that provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism, including to new and potential vegans, caterers, health care professionals, educators and the media.

They aim to make veganism an easily adopted and widely recognized approach to reducing animal and human suffering and environmental damage by means of meaningful, peaceful and factual dialogue with individuals and organizations.

Are you an proactive vegan? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Signing the Vegan Petition: 3 Sites that make it easier.

I recently posted a link to the Environmental Working Group’s petition to investigate a $180K grant to The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) on Twitter and received a big response from my followers. I love that vegans are ready to step-up and be heard!

The big response made me think about how I could make things a bit easier for you, so I decided to post some links to three sites that make signing petitions and participating in the support of vegan-related organizations super-duper easy.

So, if you are interested in having your voice heard when topics you consider important are being challenged, check out the following sites:

Care2.com
Care2 provides powerful tools to make a difference in your life, your community, and the world. Their website is driven by passionate people (like you) who want to restore the world’s balance. Their causes include: Real Food, Animal Welfare, Global Warming, Environment & Wildlife, and Health Policy.

Causes.com
Causes was founded on the belief that in a healthy society, anyone can participate in change by informing and inspiring others. They strive to build tools for people to mobilize their friends for collective action, spread the word to friends of friends and acquaintances, and eventually launch movements that span local communities or even the globe. Their causes include: Animals, Environment, and Health.

Change.org
Change.org is the world’s fastest growing social action platform, empowering people to make a difference across a variety of important causes. Their team of writers and editors provides daily coverage of breaking social action campaigns, connecting people to opportunities to get involved. Their causes include: Animals, Environment, Health, and Sustainable Food.

What do you think about petitions? Do you think they are effective? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.

Where can I get the good stuff? Maca that is.

Now that we know the basics and benefits of Maca, I’m sure you’re wondering where you can get the good stuff – right?!

Searching the web, I found a lot of products that contained Maca in a combination product (fertility enhancer) and as a food ingredient (energy bar). I think that staying closer to the source is best when you are choosing products to put into your body, especially if you are trying something new and want to eliminate variables when evaluating your reaction.

So, I recommend buying Maca in these forms: (in order of preference):

  • whole and chunks (if you are in South America)
  • powder
  • capsules
  • extract

It is best to buy Maca that is from the Junin Plateau (best altitude, soil type and micro-climate), raw, organic, non-irradiated and non-GMO. If you don’t happen to be hanging out in South America at the moment, powder is my top choice since it usually goes through the least amount of processing (of course, that depends on who you buy it from). But if you don’t like the taste – which is a bit malty – or want a specific dose, the capsules and extracts may be a better option for you.

Here are my top picks:

Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder
(certified organic, kosher, vegan, and raw)

Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder Capsules
(certified organic, kosher, vegan, gluten-free, and raw)

Herb Pharm Maca (Pharma Maca®)
(certified organic, non-fumigated, non-irradiated)
Contains certified organic grain alcohol and distilled water.

Start with a small daily dose and work your way up after you see how your body reacts. Be sure to take at least one day off each week to let your body adjust.

Which Maca products do you prefer? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.

Can Maca Really Do All That!?!

As I learned more about my rascally root friend; Maca, I was astounded by the many benefits it offers.

Regulates and Balances the Systems of the Body

Maca is an adaptogen. This means that it helps the body adapt to stress and changing situations. It works with the your natural rhythms to help rebuild  immune systems, re-mineralize bodies and increase energy and endurance.

It also helps balance your hormones. It can decrease the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Depression and PMS can also be alleviated along with thyroid and fibromyalgia issues.

Improved Sexual Response and Fertility

Maca has been used as an aphrodisiac for many years because of its ability to increase sex drive, sexual arousal and physical performance during sex. It can also relieve other low libido effects in women like decreased vaginal lubrication and ability to have an orgasm.

It helps with fertility as well since it increases sperm count, motility and volume in men and positively affects ovarian function in women. It also decreases anxiety and stress which can sometimes be a factor with infertility.

Increases Energy Levels and Mental Clarity

Maca can increase energy and improve both stamina and endurance. Unlike caffeine, Maca is a healthy choice for increasing energy because it is not a stimulant. It obtains its benefits from vitamins and minerals, which is especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Many people who use Maca also report increased mental clarity.

In my next post, I will give you some recommendations on Maca products.

Resources:
What is an adaptogen? on WiseGEEK
Maca on Rain Tree
Maca Uses on Ph Pure

What do you think about Maca? Have you tried it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.

Is that a turnip!? Nope. It’s Maca!

I absolutely LOVE root vegetables and was thrilled to learn that there is a root vegetable that is considered by others to be a superfood! So, I did a bit of digging (pun intended!) to find out more about this super root rascal called Maca.

According to people who track this stuff, Maca was cultivated throughout the Andean highlands by the Pumpush, Yaro and Incas since 1200 B.C. because of its ability to increase fertility, fortitude and energy. Even the Spaniards, who normally didn’t partake in native foods, used Maca in order for themselves and their livestock to remain fertile and productive in the harsh conditions of the Andes.

It is grown in the pristine but harsh areas of Peru and Bolivia; 13,000+ feet above sea level. It is a strong, resilient plant that works hard to survive and acquire the nutrients it needs to thrive. Maybe that’s why I love the roots – they’re hard workers!

The growth, size and proportions are similar to turnips, as shown in the picture. The green, fragrant tops are short. The seeds have no dormancy since their native habitat is harsh year-round. They can be gold/cream, red, purple, blue, black or green in color. Cream colored are the most widely grown because of their sweetness and size.

Maca is packed full of goodness:

  • 19 essential amino acids
  • 20 free fatty acids
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and D
  • 8 minerals
  • sterols

If you’re impressed so far, just wait! In my next post, I will discuss the amazing health benefits of Maca Root.

Resources
History of Maca on MedicinePlants.com
Benefits of the Maca Root on Natural News
Maca Root on Wikipedia
Maca Root on MacaRoot.com

What do you know about Maca? Do you dis/like it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.