Being Blind to the Obvious

The last few weeks have been hectic for me and the holiday weekend put an interesting twist on my already wacky schedule. So, I admittedly wasn’t 100% present for a lot of that time.

Case in point, I have been looking for my nail file for 2 days (stay with me here, there is a relevant point to this!). I normally keep it in one place as acknowledgement and acceptance of my diminishing memory capacity, but when I looked it was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t a big deal and life went on but there was still this nagging thought in the back of my head.

So, I’m sitting at my desk today, looking at the same things I always look at (except for the Santa Claus decoration that was added over the weekend) and realized I had been staring at my nail file the entire (f-ing) time! It was right in front of my keyboard quietly waiting for me to notice it. At first, I was relieved but then I kind of freaked out. How the heck could I have NOT seen it before?

Aside from the possibility that my office fairies were pulling a fast one on me – it wouldn’t be the first time! – I obviously wasn’t paying attention to what was right in front of my face.

Then I wondered – is that what is happening with the people who don’t see the problems with factory farms, our non-sustainable food supply, GMOs, and mainstream medicine? Are they, on some level aware, but oblivious to their inability to see? Maybe.

Maybe being blind to the obvious is preferable to acknowledging reality when it is so dependent on our ability to be truly present.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Why is Tal Ronnen, The Conscious Cook, Vegan?

I picked up a copy of The Conscious Cook because I was getting in a culinary rut and wanted some inspiration. I had heard of Tal on various websites and because of his connection with Oprah, so I knew his cookbook would be a great resource.

In the book, I found a nice infographic about why Tal is vegan. He put it so succinctly that I felt compelled to share it.

Health
Cutting out animal products means virtually eliminating the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Your energy shoots up and your weight is likely to drop.

Ethics
Most of us question the morality of eating animals, and many people who feel it’s absolutely wrong do it anyway out of habit. Eating with a clear conscience – feeling good about everything you put in your mouth – lightens up your life.

Planet
Factory farming of animals consumes and pollutes insane quantities of water and demands so much feed that it threatens forests. And because greenhouse gases from animal emissions are destroying the atmosphere.

Helping Others
The grain fed to livestock could feed at least twice as many hungry people in third-world countries. Weakening the livestock industry by buying less or no meat is a step toward rejiggering resources to save lives.

And he tosses in a couple extra noteworthy quotations…

Because Albert Einstein said so: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Because Paul McCartney says so: “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you can do.”

Have you read Tal’s cookbook? Please share your thoughts below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Forks Over Knives | A Must See!

Thanks to Netflix, I finally saw Forks Over Knives! It has been on my list for a while and I am so happy I watched it. It is chock full of great information in an easy-to-understand presentation. This movie will appeal to newbies and veteran plant-based eaters alike.

If you want to see the trailer and learn more, the website is a great source of info. Check it out!

Is a Composting Condo In Your Future?

A few days ago I attended a vermicomposting class. There were about 20 of us who gathered to learn more about worms, how they compost our discarded food scraps and magically create fertile soil for us to grow even more plants! I was a newbie to vermicomposting, but not to the idea.

I have known about composting since I was kid – we used to have a huge pile of leaves, kitchen scraps, weeds, etc. on the side of the house that was surrounded by chicken wire. My stepdad would go out, toss it around a bit every once in a while and that was that. It seemed like an easy thing to do, assuming you had the outdoor space, a pitchfork and some muscle.

As the years went by, I didn’t think about composting for quite some time because I didn’t have an outdoor space. But when I became vegan it became a huge issue for me. It killed my soul to be throwing away all of those kitchen goodies – because there was so much more of it. I knew they could be recycled into even more veggie goodness. Instead they were going in the landfill. Lame.

So I tried a number of different indoor composting tactics. Invariably, the scraps became super gross and stinky so I would end up tossing them in the trash anyway. Obviously, composting wasn’t as easy as I originally thought!

That’s where vermicomposting can help!

These crazy worms are quite the amazing creatures and need little supervision. Plus, you can keep them under the kitchen sink!

If you set them up nicely in their own little composting condo, they will serve you well . . .

. . . but that’s for another post my dear readers.

Have you tried composting? Share your thoughts on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Is The Yes Men’s reBurger Idea More Ironic Than They Thought?

I recently watched The Yes Men movie (the one released in 2003 NOT The Yes Men Fix the World)  and was struck by an ironic bit of activism that was included near the end.

If you don’t know who The Yes Men are, they are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. They aim to raise awareness about problematic social issues in unique and very public ways.

The movie follows them as they impersonate World Trade Organization spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world.

Their final act of activism (in the movie) was a lecture to a group of students from The State University of New York at Plattsburgh. The students were told that they were going to hear a lecture about ways to reduce starvation in third world countries by representatives of The World Trade Organization (WTO). What they got was something entirely unexpected:

What struck me is that their idea isn’t really far from the truth.

The beef that is used to make hamburgers is ‘produced’ by feeding cows waste products like chicken excrement, toxic heavy metals, antibiotics, the flesh and bones of dead cattle and even nails and small shards of glass (source: Grist.org). As the cows excrete massive amounts of their own waste (because their food has so little nutritional value) they are forced to stand in it along with thousands of pounds of waste from other cows. That waste eventually runs off into surrounding water supplies that can eventually be used to irrigate farms that grow food for human and animal consumption. I don’t really see a difference. Do you?

If you would like to learn more about The Yes Men, please visit their website.

Have you seen The Yes Men movie? Share your thoughts on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Words of Wisdom from The Vegan Table

I picked up a copy of The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau at my local library the other day. Mainly because it had some wonderful pictures of vegan recipes for entertaining and they looked easy enough that I could hope that my final product might actually resemble the picture!

When I got home, sat down and had a closer look, it only took a couple of flips of the pages to be totally impressed and inspired. Not bad considering I hadn’t even made it to the Table of Contents!

Here’s the dedication that she included in her book that made me smile, think and tear up just a bit.

My hope is that we can all navigate through this world with the grace and integrity of those who most need our protection.

May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats, the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens, and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, the wisdom, serenity, and humility of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family of the geese and the adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.

May we learn from the animals what we need to become better people.

Awesome. Simple. Profound. I hope it inspires you too.

If you want to learn more about this book, her other books, and ways to help animals please visit The Vegan Table website.

Have you read The Vegan Table? Share your experiences on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Growing My Own Food – Not Such a Bad Idea So Far!

The more I learn about issues surrounding the food at a grocery store, the more I am glad that I am growing my own food and buying from my local co-op and farmers market.

The gardening idea was a bit intimidating since my last attempt at creating food wasn’t necessarily a good one – growing 20+ tomato plants from seed can be a lot of work – especially in the arid and crappy soil conditions of Colorado!

But this time, things have been much easier from the get-go.

The first batch of plants was bought from a couple of large stores that have gardening sections in the summer (their guarantee that you can return them if they die was the driving factor – very low confidence level at that point!). The second batch was from FreeCycle – a woman was generous enough to offer plants that she had grown from seed but didn’t need.

I am happy to report that are all thriving and enjoying the beautiful summer weather so far. Here are some pictures to prove it (mostly to myself)!


If you haven’t grown your own food, I highly recommend it. It is really a treat to wake up every morning, look out at the plants and see that they are expanding, growing and becoming even more gorgeous than before. The fact that they are going to produce amazing veggies is almost a side point now.

Before I go, I had to throw in a picture of my lovely cat “Baby” enjoying the morning with me. She is 15 years old and quite the crankster most of the time, but today she was posing for the camera – not something she does often! – and here’s the shot I captured:


Are you growing your own food? Share your experiences on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.