Movies and Vegans: “What is Wrong With You?”

I watched Everything is Illuminated last night and absolutely loved it!

Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, it stars Elijah Wood and a cast of characters that are bizarre, yet completely familiar.

I’m not sure what that says about who I am hanging out with these days!

In addition to being a well-made, unpredictable and touching movie, it contains one of the funniest, yet thought-provoking, veggie scenes I have seen lately:

As irreverent as this movie can be, the message is quite clear; there are a lot of people on this planet who don’t have a clue what being a vegetarian or vegan means, let alone why someone would choose the lifestyle.

My blog, along with all of the other vegetarian and vegan-related blogs out there right now, will hopefully change that.

But I also call upon each of you reading this right now to increase the awareness in any way you can so that the initial response of someone isn’t “What is wrong with you?”

Instead, wouldn’t it be great if they asked, “Ya know, I’ve heard a lot of great things about eating a plant-based diet. Please tell me more!”

It would also be great to see a more positive representation of wannabe vegans in the movies too.

I have found it very interesting (meaning good and bad) how people who choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle are represented and will definitely be writing more about this topic in future posts.

By the way, Jonathon Safran Foer is also the author of Eating Animals.

What do you do to increase awareness about vegetarianism and veganism?

Have you seen any interesting scenes in movies that make reference to a plant-based diet?

I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Is olive oil safe to use outside of the kitchen?

The other day my skin was desperately dry and I hadn’t made it to the store to replenish my supply of moisturizer. I knew I had to take some serious action, quickly. Otherwise, I might go completely insane from the tickling, itching and sharp pings of pain from my dehydrated skin.

So I put my thinking cap on and thought to myself, ‘Self. What do I have in the house that would be a great moisturizer?’ Being the clever cookie that I am, I immediately thought of olive oil. If olive oil is good to eat, it must be good to put on your skin. Right? Right. So I gave it a try.

I was amazed with the results. Not only did my skin stop screaming, the application of the oil was a nice reprieve from my day – almost like going to a spa. It felt so luxurious – all at the bargain basement price of ~$.10 for the amount I used. Total win-win for a frugal Francis like me.

Afterward I did a bit of digging on the internet to see if what I was doing was completely insane or ridiculously brilliant. Fortunately, my research ended on the brilliant end of the spectrum!

EVOO (as Rachael Ray would say):

  1. Contains squalene which helps to regulate sebum. Sebum forms a coating on the skin that acts as a barrier, inhibits the growth of micro-organisms and lubricates skin and hair.
  2. Is rich in antioxidants including vitamins A & E, polyphenols, phytosterols & avenasterol. They work to neutralize free radicals and repair cell membranes.
  3. Contains chlorophyll which is an anti-aging substance that promotes the healing of skin conditions and wounds.

Have you used olive oil as a moisturizer? I would love to hear your suggestions on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness Book Review – Part I

Robert Cheeke recently sent me a copy of his book Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness and requested that I review it. Even though I am not a professional bodybuilder, I was thrilled to learn more so that I could create a more muscular and healthier body of my own – all on a plant-based diet.

Since the book is 317 pages, I decided that I would do the review in sections. This post is my impression of the beginning sections of the book and Chapter 1.

Robert’s book and cover includes pictures of himself from age 10 to age 29 intermingled with pictures of animals, which are referenced throughout the text. He humbly begins the book with a dedication and acknowledgments, which I thought was a very positive beginning.

In his About the Author section he gives an overview of his life up to this point and what drives him every day to do what he is doing. I especially like his attitude as reflected in this quote:

“My vision is to be right more than wrong, happy more than sad, nice more than mean, caring more than apathetic, and to live without limits.”

The Introduction explains his professional background and how the book came into being. It is encouraging to see that although the book was delayed, Robert was not put off and followed through with his commitment to the original goal of sharing his knowledge in book form.

The first Chapter, Why Vegan?, in addition to a general overview of veganism, describes in more detail Robert’s childhood, his progression into veganism and eventually into bodybuilding. It is all very personal, heartfelt and sincere.

He is definitely a man on a mission and I am confident he will reach his many goals.

I look forward to reading Chapter 2 and reviewing it in a future post.

What are Steel-cut Oats?

I recently recommended steel-cut oats and was asked some questions. I thought I would share the information in case you were curious too!

Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. They are golden in color and resemble small rice pieces.

They are also known as coarse-cut oats, pinhead oats, or Irish oats.

Steel cut oats take longer to prepare due to its minimal processing, typically 15–30 minutes to simmer (much less if pre-soaked). They will also expand more when cooked, since they will absorb more water than instant or rolled oats.

The flavor is nuttier and chewier than other types of oats.

Steel-cut oats are full of nutritional value. They are high in B-vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber while low in salt and unsaturated fat. One cup of steel-cut oatmeal contains 8 grams of insoluble fiber.

In addition to the nutrients and unique taste, steel cut oats have the advantage of having a lower glycemic index than instant or rolled oats. Steel-cut rate 42 on the glycemic index, while old fashioned rolled oats rate 50.

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their effect on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly will have a higher GI, causing blood sugar to spike. Carbohydrates that break down slowly will have a lower GI, gradually entering the blood stream and avoiding a blood sugar spike.

Whole grains, like steel-cut oats, reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. They help prevent heart disease and diabetes. They also help flush fat and cholesterol out of your system and provide powerful antioxidants.

Have you tried steel-cut oats? I would love to hear your suggestions / comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

What is ‘The Meatrix’?

I discovered a great initiative today that I wanted to share with you – it is called The Meatrix.

It was originally launched in November 2003, with this video:

The Meatrix movies, now a series, have been translated into more than 30 languages and are one of the most successful online advocacy campaigns ever with well over 15 million viewers worldwide.

The films are humorous and creative satires that use pop culture and entertainment to educate viewers about the food they eat and where it comes from. All the films feature three superhero farm animals including Leo, the young pig who wonders if he is “the one”, Chickity, the feathered family farm defender, and Moopheus, the trench-coat-clad cow with a passion for green pastures.

The Meatrix website also features The Meatrix Interactive 360°, a tool to help people learn about factory farming, and The Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable food from farms, stores and restaurants in North America.

I absolutely love what they are doing and how they are using creativity, truth and humor to relay a message that can sometimes be difficult to hear about because it is so tragic.

There are lots of way you can help support their efforts to help promote sustainable food, save family farms, and let others know about the problems with our food supply.

  • Download presentation kits to educate others through speaking events and tabling.
  • Print handouts to explain the problems with our current food system.
  • Put banners, links and graphics on your blog, website or social networking site so you can share it with your friends and family.

What do you think of The Meatrix videos? Do you think what they are doing is good / bad? I would love to hear your suggestions /comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.