Archive for The Naked Life
When I meet people for the first time it’s usually only a matter of time before my food choices are discussed. I get asked lots of questions like, where do I get my protein and calcium from and do I eat a lot of salad? I do my best to explain that a whole foods plant-based diet naturally provides me with ALL of my protein and calcium needs. And while I eat a lot of salad, my diet is rich in many other food choices.
During my conversations with people what I usually hear most often is “I could never give up _____ (insert food choice here)”. I usually respond with – “Have you tried?” My kids and I have one rule in our school and it’s that you don’t say you can’t do something until you’ve tried. I never thought I could go 5 days without food, but SURPRISE – I did it!
October is fast approaching and I’m challenging all our readers to ‘go veg’ for 1 week from October 1 – 7th. What does a pledge like this mean? A LOT! Eliminating all animal products from your diet will not only improve many aspects of your health but it will have enormous positive impacts on animals and the environment. Did you know…
- Farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we love and cherish. 10 BILLION animals are crammed into factory farms each year and they have no legal protection from the horrible cruelty that they will suffer.
- More than half the water used in the US goes to animal agriculture and since farmed animals produce 130 times MORE excrement (that’s poop people!) than the human population does, the run-off from their waste greatly pollutes our waterways.
- By switching to a plant-based diet you can save about 100 animals each year from being tortured and killed in factory farms!
- A completely plant-based diet requires about 300 gallons of water per day. A meat-eating diet requires 4,000 gallons a day. If you skip showers for 1 YEAR you will save 3,650 gallons of water which means that you can save more water by not eating a pound of meat in ONE DAY than by not showering for a year! A completely vegan diet saves 25,971 gallons of water each WEEK!
- Approximately 72% of the cereal grains grown in the US feed livestock, not people, and the world’s livestock eats 80% of the world’s soybean crop and more than half of the world’s corn crop. The world grows enough food to feed 10 BILLION people yet most of that goes to animals so that we can eat meat while 925 MILLION people go hungry each year.
- In a 2006 study published by an international team of 14 scientists, data indicates that the world’s supply of seafood will run out by 2048. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that “over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted.”
Are you up for the challenge? Will you pledge to go veg for 1 week? We want to help you succeed in this life altering endeavor. All next week we will be sharing our favorite plant-based recipes with you. We’ll also have meal plans available to help you plan your meals for the week. Want even more support? Go to www.VegSanDiego.com or call 858-202-0147 to sign up (you do NOT need to live in the San Diego area to sign up). You’ll receive emails that will contain health and nutritional tips, recipes, activity updates and more.
This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I have seen first hand, not only in myself but in ALL of my family, the impact that a plant-based diet can have on your health and your life. If you have questions or concerns about taking this pledge PLEASE send us an email or reach out to us on Facebook. We are here to help and support you any way we can!
To all our current plant-based eater we thank you for your continued support. While this pledge may not apply to you we’d love to hear your story about how a plant-based diet has changed your life – send us an email or share your story in the comments.
Are you ready to surprise yourself? Are you ready to improve your health? You’ll never know if you don’t TRY! :)
I love homeschooling my children. It’s amazing to watch them absorb information and to see their excitement for learning new things grow. It’s that excitement for learning that is so important to me. I love learning new things and it’s one of the reasons that I recently finished my certification in plant based nutrition and have gone back to school to get my degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management. There is always something new to learn and fun things to explore. Recently I started looking around in my area for cooking classes that features areas of technique that I’m not as familiar with.
While my diet is mostly raw I am hardly a raw foodie. I have a green juice for breakfast and lunch is almost always a fresh salad of some kind or another. The benefits of a raw diet are hard to ignore and it’s an area that I’m very interested in developing. After the amazing experience I had at The EcoLounge, I was thrilled to discover that Chef Matthew Purnell was holding raw cooking demonstrations at the same location. The series is called Journey Into The Raw and each class features a variety of raw dishes that are not only delicious but so healthy and nutritious.
It’s an intimate setting which I loved because it allowed those of us that are just learning about raw foods to ask a lot of questions – and ask questions we did! For instance – did you know that Thai coconuts are among the sweetest? When you are purchasing coconut water you want to look for water that comes from Thai coconuts as it has a more pleasant taste. I also learned how to properly remove the meat from inside the coconut which we then used to make a delicious orange smoothie! The other items on the menu that evening were a cucumber tomato stack, a hempy sea green salad, raw tacos and for dessert were coco-cacao goji bites.
All the food for the evening had been purchased earlier in the day at a local farmers market and everything was so fresh and crisp.
I’m not usually a fan of dishes that are tomato based but I think I could have eaten the entire bowl of the cucumber tomato stacks.
The flavors were amazing and I can’t wait to recreate this dish at home.
The dish that surprised me most that night was the Hempy Sea Greens. I have tried and tried and tried some more to like seaweed but it just isn’t working for me. I can handle them when they are mixed into dishes in limited quantities but I’ve never been able to work them into salads with any success – until now.
The very next day I headed to the store to pick up all the ingredients needed so that I could make this salad at home. I’ve been enjoying it for lunch every single day this week and I’ll probably be enjoying it all next week too – it’s that good!
The dish I was most excited about was the raw tacos. I had the tacos the previous weekend at The Ecolounge event so I knew that they were amazing and I was thrilled to finally have the recipe in my hands!
As a taco lover I have eaten TONS of tacos in my lifetime and these are easily one of the top 3 tacos I’ve ever had. I recreated this recipe last night for my family and it was winner. My husband ate 4 of them and my kids both cleaned their plates in record time.
The highlight of this dish was the macadamia nut ‘sour cream’. I have no words to adequately explain it’s pure awesomeness. I will most definitely be sharing the recipe with you soon.
We ended the night with one of my favorite desserts – truffle balls. You know I have a love of fruit and nut truffles – our dessert category is filled with them. These cacao – goji balls didn’t disappoint. Filled with 2 superfoods (goji berries and cacao), they tasted like little bites of brownies sprinkled with coconut. So yummy and delicious!
This class is apart of a 5 class series and Kristy and I had such a great time that we will be completing the last 2 classes this weekend. If you live in the San Diego area you should definitely come by and check it out. There will be additional series coming up each month that you can take part in. You can find the information on the classes here. If you’re not in the San Diego area I encourage you to check around in your local area for classes that are offered near you. You can also use meetup.com to find local groups that have events in a variety of categories that might be of interest to you.
For me, ‘raw food’ has always meant salads. I was so happy to experience Journey Into The Raw and delighted that it opened my mind to all the possibilities that are out there that I haven’t yet explored. I definitely gained a ton of inspiration and I’m excited to share with you some of the yummy raw creations that I’ve been working on.
Years ago, when Caleb was still just a young baby I joined Meetup.com. I was part of a mom’s group and it was lots of fun. When we moved to California I looked around for a few groups to join and one of them was a plant based foods group. About a month a go I received a notification that there was going to be a meetup dinner that would be serving organic plant based foods for the whole family. I was so super bummed as we had other plans that night but I made sure to keep a look out for any new dinners that were planned. Sure enough, last week I saw that another meetup was planned and this time I cleared our schedule. On Saturday night the family and I headed down to Solana Beach to the Center For A Healthy Lifesyle where Organic Blood was hosting their meetup.
The dinner took place at The Eco Lounge inside the center. It’s a beautiful place! When you first walk up there is a gorgeous staircase that awaits you. You’re greeted at the door by one of the members who fill you in on what’s going on for the evening.
You’re surrounded by the gardens that have been planted with everything from flowers, vegetables and fruit to chickens (yup, they have chickens!) and butterflies!
Caleb and Keegan had a blast wandering through the gardens and checking it all out.
After we had finished exploring it was time to head back inside for some yummy food.
There are both cooked and raw food choices available. The menu changes each time as foods are prepared with fresh local organic ingredients. Chef Matthew Purnell cooks up your food in a cute little open area kitchen. I loved seeing all the beautiful ingredients come together to make amazing meals.
I had a hard time choosing what to eat since everything smelled and sounded so yummy. I eventually decided to try the Fiesta Tacos which were a raw meal and the Green Potato Salad. Let’s talk about these tacos! First off, how AMAZING do they look???
The filling is a nut and mushroom mix and is topped with lettuce, a pepper salsa, guacamole and a to die for macadamia nut sour cream. It must have been the look of pure bliss on my face that inspired my veggie hating husband to give these a try. I almost didn’t want to share cause they were so delicious but I gave him a bite and he devoured the rest of them. Good thing I had this gorgeous green potato salad to fill me up!
Little red potatoes, broccoli, fresh herbs and some sprouts are the features in this salad. It was so yummy and perfect for our summer night dinner. My husband and kids shared some of the Italian Noodles. It was filled with fresh tomatoes and 2 slices of juicy portabella mushrooms.
There is a large patio area right off the kitchen that we ended up sitting at for dinner. It was a beautiful night and the kids enjoyed running around in the garden while Cliff and I relaxed. There is even a DJ so that you can listen to music while you’re eating and chatting with friends.
We had a wonderful night and can’t wait for the next one! If you’re in the area I highly recommend you come out and give this event a try. They host the meetup once a month and you can check out the specific details on the Meetup.com page here - www.meetup.com/organicblood. In the meantime I’ll be crossing my fingers that the Fiesta Tacos show up on the menu again!
First let me say that I am not a workout video aficionado. I am a runner. I have always found a good run to be all I wanted or needed. That idea has slowly changed for me as I’ve gotten older so I started looking around for some strength training options to supplement my running.
I looked into a gym, classes at the Y, yoga and a few other things. I know myself better than to think I would really stick to going to a gym or being tied down to a scheduled class so I tried a couple of workout videos and ended up laughing at myself more than anything else. While I am in good physical shape from years of running I found I’m not all that coordinated when it comes to workout moves. I came across Erin O’Brien’s Strong Body, Ageless Body and decided to give it one last try. I’m so glad I did because this video is perfect.
While this video might be geared more towards older women don’t count it out for a good workout at any age. In fact Erin points out some of the exercises being good for women who are pregnant as well as postpartum.
The video starts with a warm up then goes through a course of strength training circuits using hand weights (you can see that Erin uses 6 lbs weights. I started with 3 lbs and worked up to 5 lbs), floor work and then stretching. The 45 minute routine covers both upper body and lower body exercises for a complete workout. Enough to work up a good sweat and feel your muscles being worked but not abused. If you want more of a challenge there is a box in the top corner showing more difficult variations you can follow.
I was able to complete this workout from the first. There were no crazy dance moves to learn or quick changes from one position to the next. All throughout Erin educates on form and function explaining the specific impact of each exercise.
I highly recommend this workout video for anyone, regardless of age, as a good strength training supplement to your exercise routine.
Raise your hand if you swear last week it was only June 1st?! I can’t believe in a little more than 2 weeks school will be back in session! Where did the summer go?
This summer has been one of the busiest on record for me. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes. Just this last month I completed my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell – a fantastic program and one I wished everyone was able to take! Kristy and I have also been hard at work completing our first cookbook titled The Burger Book. It will feature over 20 different plant based burgers including sides, condiments and more.
When we first started this project our goal was simply to put together an ebook that we could share with our readers. As fate would have it we were lucky enough to be introduced to a literary agent that was interested in signing with us to help get our book published! We were both excited and shocked at the same time! While we may have spent the last 4-5 months working hard on getting the book completed, our work has just began! We now have the task of putting the finishing touches on the book and working on a book proposal as well.
In addition to all that, I’ve decided to go back to school. My long term goal has always been to bring delicious plant based food to the public. Whether that is through catering, opening a cafe or restaurant or even teaching cooking classes, I thought it would be good to get my degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management. As I already have my Bachelor’s Degree I can complete this new degree in one year by going full time through the fall and winter semesters. I apparently think I am Superwoman and can do all this while getting a cookbook published, running a blog, homeschooling my kids and managing a household. No sweat, right?!
I know the next few months are going to be crazy and it’s going to take awhile to get used to new schedules and a complete lack of personal time. But I’m up for the challenge and excited to see the results of all this hard work. In the meantime, please bare with us as we start this new adventure. While we’ll do our best to keep sharing delicious plant based recipes with you, it might not be as often as we’d like or are used to.
For now we’re gonna enjoy the last few weeks of summer and next week we’ll be back with some fun recipes for those that are gearing up for back to school! I still can’t believe it’s here!
My husband loves numbers – he should have been a mathematician. The past few weeks I’ve been working on completing my certification in Plant Based Nutrition through eCornell and the course has been a treasure chest of information. I’ve been sharing some of the information with him and it’s been interesting to say the least! For instance, did you know that the Standard American Diet is made up of 51% Oil and Refined Carbohydrates, 42% food from animals and 5% fruit and vegetables (2% of the 5% is compromised of potato chips and french fries). Amazing isn’t it? It’s no wonder that disease and cancer is on the rise!
One of my fellow students posted an article from The World Preservation Foundation and it contained some statistics that I thought were not only alarming but important for everyone to take note of. Please feel free to share and pass these along.
- Raising livestock and their by-products account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide green house gas (GHG) emissions.
- Thirty percent of the entire land surface of Earth is devoted to livestock production, including plants used to feed the livestock.
- Replacing meat with plant-derived sources of calories and protein could reduce the land area required to feed the human population by more than 80 percent and recover about 25 percent of the landf or restoration, solar energy capture, or other eco-friendly purposes.
- Between 23-30 percent of our global ecological footprint comes from agriculture, primarily livestock production.
- Beef takes 70 times more land to produce than vegetables.
- 80 percent of the world’s soy production is consumed by livestock.
- About 50 percent of the world’s grain supply is used to feed livestock. This is while almost 11 million children who live in the countries where these feed grains are grown, die ironically of hunger each year.
- In 2009, for the first time, the number of people suffering from hunger exceeded 1 billion. This doesn’t include people facing hunger shortages from natural disasters.
- If all 6.78 billion people on Earth began consuming as many animal products as residents of the United States, we would need over 3 planet Earths to meet the demand. If all people on Earth became vegetarians, less than one Earth would be needed to meet food demands.
Sea World. You should totally go! You should also take a spare camera battery with you. Wish I listened to my own advise!
By the way, you can actually TOUCH the sea rays. They are incredibly soft and slimy at the same time. The kids thought it was awesome touching them. They come right up to you and stick their heads out. Very cute!
If you do anything while at Sea World it should be riding the new ride, The Manta. Caleb and I (in the last row of people) could have spent the whole day riding this coaster. Keegan was just below the height requirement (48 inches) and Cliff is a roller coaster wussy so they didn’t ride at all.
There are a bunch of kiddie rides and tons of water attractions so bring your swimsuit if you come on a hot day.
Apparently I can win an impossible game and get a GINORMOUS stuffed unicorn but the lottery – not so much. Go figure!
If you have the energy (we didn’t) Sea World has some fantastic fireworks at night and even a Shamu show that we heard was wonderful. It’s great fun for the whole family. Just remember to pack your own food and plan on having a picnic in their outdoor area.
Last year was our first year going to the San Diego County Fair and I have to say, it was one of the highlights of our summer. We have all been waiting anxiously for it’s return all year and finally the wait is over. This is no ordinary county fair – oh no! It’s held at the Del Mar Racetrack and it’s ENORMOUS! There are carnival rides, food booths, exhibits, shows, concerts, demonstrations, arts and crafts and an entire kiddie land area. There is literally something for everyone.
There are all sorts of deals and coupons you can get for tickets and parking by checking out the fair’s website. I would definitely look into your options. This year we knew we’d be back more than once and opted to get a package deal that saved us a ton of money.
The nice thing about the fair is that you can bring your own food. While deep fried butter and chocolate covered bacon are tempting (NOT!) the fair allows you to bring your own food and beverages (in a sealed container). They have tons of nice spots for you to sit down and enjoy your lunch or dinner and never miss out on the action. There are performances going on all the time and tons of different things to choose from – singing, dancing, magic shows, etc.
Without a doubt our favorite part of the fair is the rides! This year our kids were able to enjoy both the regular rides as well as the kiddie land.
One of the most popular kid attractions is the climbing wall and trampolines. While there is an additional fee and sometimes a longer wait (last year we waited almost 25 minutes!) it’s well worth the price and time.
And what fair would be complete without face painting?!
This year the fair runs until July 4th, 2012. It’s open from mid June to July 4th annually and attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year. The Del Mar Racetrack is just a few short miles from the beach and there are miles of beautiful coastline for you to check out as well.
It’s only been a few days and already the kids are asking to go back and I can’t really blame them. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot of us at the fair this year…
One of the things I love best about homeschooling is what we call “Graduation Week”. We homeschool all year round but usually some time in June we finish the current grade level we’ve been working on and graduate to the next level. For graduation week we let the kids stay up a half hour later at night, we play games instead of doing our normal school work and we usually go on outdoor adventures and field trips for the week.
One of my kids favorite games is Math Bingo. You can’t beat a game that is free and super educational at the same time. Caleb just finished 2nd grade math and Keegan just finished 1st grade math. I put the same numbers on each of their boards but they both have different equations to answer to figure out what space to cover up. The first one to bingo gets to pick a sticker to put in their journals but this week we played for chocolate chips!
We are lucky to live close enough to the ocean that we usually have a gentle ocean breeze almost everyday. Early this week the breeze got upgraded to full on wind – perfect kite flying weather. Part of our neighborhood development is still being built and we headed up to the empty lots to fly our kites.
Someone almost blew away!
The high winds meant big waves so that evening we headed down to the Oceanside Pier to check out the surfers and watch the waves roll in. The Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the western United States coastline at 1,954 feet. At just about any time in the day you can find people walking the pier, fishing or surfing down below. It’s beautiful during the day…
And stunning at night…
We went about an hour before sunset and it was a little cool so we bundled up in our jackets and took a stroll.
We ended up going during lower tide so the waves weren’t very big but there wasn’t a shortage of surfers!
Nor is there ever a shortage of birds!
As much fun as this week has been it’s still hard to believe that my babies are moving up to 2nd and 3rd grade! I can’t believe that my six year old is doing multiplication tables – he’s my little math whiz. This year he also discovered that he could read words outside of books and now reads everything, everywhere we go! I’m so proud of my little guy’s accomplishes this year and I can’t wait to see how he conquers 3rd grade.
While Caleb has done excellent this year, Keegan has by far come the longest way. It’s hard to believe she’s only 5 years old! Not only has she excelled at reading and spelling this year but it’s her dedication to improving her handwriting that makes me the most proud. She worked so hard this year and it shows!
This last school year has been so fun and I’m excited to see what the new year brings. I love watching my kids learn and seeing the excitement on their faces as they explore and discover new things. Happy Graduation my babies!
It’s one thing to eat a plant based diet but it’s another to eat an organic plant based diet. While there are plenty of restaurants in the San Diego and LA areas that are plant based, there are only 2 (that my extensive google search has turned up) that are plant based AND organic. Two weeks ago my husband and I drove up to LA to try out the second restaurant on our list – Shojin. After checking out their menu online I was already in love with them. The first thing you see when you open up their menu is a cute little intro about their views and food style.
Our first trip to Shojin was for my birthday. My husband and I left the kids at home and enjoyed a much needed date ‘day’ with each other. We were starving by the time we arrived and ordered as many things as we could off the menu. My husband tried the Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms (which he proclaimed as the best appetizer he’s ever had), Gyoza (which we split and was fabulous) and Orange “Chicken” Seitan (apparently I need to make this at home). I ordered the Yuzu Ponzu Seitan, Pirates of the Crunchy (best tasting thing I have ever put in my mouth!) and the Yellow Magic Orchestra (unbelievable!). Our food arrived VERY quickly and in between bites you could hear us murmuring “OMG”, “So yummy”, “Best food ever”, “Can’t stop eating”. It’s been years since we’ve been able to order ANYTHING we want off a restaurant menu and know that it’s healthy and good for us. We were so impressed by our meal that we ordered a bunch of items for take away so we could enjoy them again later that night.
We were so blown away by our experience at Shojin that the very next week we headed back up to LA – this time with the kids. While at first glance their menu doesn’t scream “kid friendly” they are actually really accommodating and there are plenty of things to choose from that are great for kids – also, chopsticks and kids = fun times.
Both Keegan and Caleb tried the Gyoza and loved it. For lunch they had the brown rice noodle bowl with a sweet soy sauce dressing.
My husband had the Gyoza again – they really are so delicious. The flavors are amazing.
For his main course he tried the Grilled Portobello Steak. I’m not a fan of mushrooms but I had the asparagus that came with it and the seasoning from the portobello was fantastic. If we weren’t in public I’m pretty sure he would have licked the plate!
All week I had been looking forward to one thing – Pirates of the Crunchy. Weird name but the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life. I could happily eat it everyday for every meal.
It’s hard to even look at the picture and not get in my car for a late night drive to LA. I wish I knew how to cook with tempura cause I would be making this dish everyday at home!
I decided to try a new ‘sushi’ this time and had the Caterpillar Rolls. I loved how they made the avocado on top look like fish. It was so cute I almost couldn’t eat it – I did say almost!
Shojin does have an amazing dessert menu and if you can manage to save room I highly recommend you give it a try. I haven’t actually managed to do that myself but my husband and kids tell me the desserts are out of this world delicious.
If the amazing food, gorgeous ambiance and fun selection of organic wine, beer and sake isn’t enough to tempt you then the friendly and helpful staff will be. They are great at answering any questions you have about the menu and will work with any food allergy or restriction you have.
Needless to say this is my favorite restaurant and I can’t wait to go back as much as possible. Road trip to LA anyone???