Friday, February 16, 2018

Planet Fitness: Not The Bully-Free Zone They Claim To Be

I love Planet Fitness, but I do not love that on their numerous TV's located throughout the gym I see so much violence towards women and animals. For example, and this isn't a cultural slam as domestic violence is in all cultures, the Latin soap operas show men raping, beating up and abusing women, and I see this every other day that I'm there, seriously...see this all the time. Those shows display women as powerless objects being batted around and violated on the daily and I’m sick of it!Again, not a cultural slam, but it is on the TV labeled as "Spanish Channel" at Planet Fitness where I see this all the time. Obviously, gender violence goes on in the world far more than anyone wants to think or talk about, but I have a huge problem with how it is propagated, glamorized and normalized through "entertainment."  Not only that, the TV cooking shows glamorize creatures being boiled alive, other "informative" shows I've seen there normalize the harsh treatment by human agricultural workers toward animals in factory farming. The thing is people watch this stuff and it sinks in on a subliminal level as well as other levels, it becomes normative, and can even be teaching people how to behave and this needs to stop. I'm contacting Planet Fitness and asking them to set their environment up to be congruent with the "bully-free zone" they advertise themselves to be. Please join me.

If anyone needs a 450-character blurb that will fit into their contact message box you can use this: 

"The violence towards women and animals displayed on your TV's is incongruent with your bully-free zone message. This isn't a cultural slam, but the Latin soap operas show men raping, beating up and abusing women, and I see this all the time. Those shows present women as powerless objects being batted around and violated on the daily and I’m sick of it. The thing is, these actions become normative when glamorized through "entertainment." Stop now!"

Sadly, there isn't enough room in the message box to include criticism of the violence towards animals, but that can be addressed through other avenues such as the phone, letters, and I voiced my concerns in person to the folks at work and they said they would tell their boss.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

To Be Feminist Is To Be Vegan

Do you consider yourself a feminist? Then the well fare of human women and women of other species should matter to you.

The reproductive systems, as well as the rest of their bodies, of female cows are enslaved for a life time. Once they are old enough, they are raped with rods to artificially inseminate them year after year. I'm guessing this process is very painful. I'm also guessing that the workers don't care that it is painful, as the harsh treatment of these animals in slaughterhouses is well documented. You can look for yourself.

Then once the babies are born, they are taken from their mothers within days, which causes severe distress for both the mother and baby. Mama's milk is then exploited so we can have cheese, butter, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing, ice cream sundaes with whip cream, and this cycle continues until Mama collapses and dies. She is kept pregnant most of her life, so we can steal her milk. Then once she dies, she gets to be our glue, cheese burger, steak, bouillon, bone char to make white sugar, or whatever. If her baby is a female then this form of slavery will be her plight, and if the baby is male, he gets less time on Earth. He will likely be kept in shackles in a dark container, sometimes with no light at all (unable to stand for worry that his muscles will get too tough if he moves them and they gain strength) for a few more months to fatten up just right for our precious tender veal, or put to pasture to get big then killed later for our Philly cheese steaks, BBQ brisket sandwiches and more.

Mama is a slave and her family are taken from her over and over. She lives a life of we can have pizza, lattes, cheese fries, nachos, cake-pops, yogurt, etc. She is regarded as a commodity, as a thing, not as a someone, a woman or a mother.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Getting protein on a plant-based/vegan diet is easy, eat your GREENZZZZZZ! In fact, protein deficiencies are almost unheard of in developed countries. The only time such a deficiency occurs is when someone simply isn't getting enough calories on a regular basis. This happens, sadly, in areas where there is food scarcity, and in our world, that should never happen if priorities were right. Anyway, remember Popeye downing his spinach and his muscles grew? That is accurate information!!! Plants have all the protein, nutrients, minerals, fats, and vitamins we need.

Green smoothies are a great way to get those greens in. A helpful trick, if the taste is out of your comfort zone, load it up with subacid/acid fruits. The fruit will completely mask the flavors of all the greens. Some food combining charts mention not to mix subacid/acid fruits with sweet fruits like bananas, but I haven't run into any issues doing it. Do what you need to do.

This smoothie is packed with a whole bunch of spinach, collard greens, spirulina and barley grass juice powder, along with frozen strawberries, seedless grapes, kiwi and bananas.  It tastes awesome too!

Sunday, February 4, 2018


Avocado Spirulina Zoodles with Cruci-Fest Salad and Coconut Amino Shiitake Mushrooms
(see below for Crucifest Salad ingredients)

Zen meal reflections

We reflect on the effort and sacrifice that went into this food.
We reflect on virtue and our own worthiness to receive this food.
We reflect that attachment to food is a hindrance to freedom of the mind.
We reflect that this food is among the most important medicines we will take on this day.
As fuel on the path to Truth, and for the good of all beings, we accept this food.

The first morsel is to cut all delusions.
The second morsel is to maintain our clear mind.
The third morsel is to save all sentient beings.
May we awaken together with all beings.

From a Buddhist perspective, eating is more than just taking in nourishment. It is an interaction with the entire phenomenal universe. It is a gift given us through the work of all beings. We vow to be worthy of the gift and work to benefit others. Food is received and eaten with gratitude and reverence.

The Pali word translated as "gratitude," katannuta, literally means "knowing what has been done." In particular, it is recognizing what has been done for one's benefit.
The food, of course, didn't grow and cook itself. There are cooks; there are farmers; there are groceries; there is transportation.

If you think about every hand and transaction between a spinach seed and the pasta primavera on your plate, you realize that this food is the culmination of countless labors. If you add to that everyone who has touched the lives of the cooks and farmers and grocers and truck drivers who made this pasta primavera possible, suddenly your meal becomes an act of communion with vast numbers of people in the past, present and future. Give them your gratitude. 

-all Buddhist info cited at Thanks For Our Food

Oh, this Cruci-Fest Salad turned out so awesome! BIG flavors!!!

Broccoli, kale,homemade sauerkraut and pepper salad with homemade creamy hemp and chia seed dressing!

Prepared with lemon, balsamic vinegar, garlic and onion, smoked paprika, caraway, thyme, turmeric, spicy ground mustard powder and sea salt.

There are many steps to this, and one day I'll get around to documenting the recipes. :) I need more thyme!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Yumzzzzville, USA!

Gimme greens!

Raw wrap: wrap is dehydrated zucchini, papaya, nutritional yeast, spirulina, and balsamic vinegar; stuffed with collard greens, butter lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, pea shoots, avocado, and a hearty corn salad (olives, sun dried tomatoes, cilantro, Mexican oregano, poblano peppers, red bell peppers, marinated/dried mushrooms, lemon juice, smoked paprika, onion and chili powder)

Main course? Let's just eat tapas for our meal!

Raw Tostada with Tapenade: tostada is made of 3-4 day germinated and sprouted wheat, kamut and spelt berries, mushrooms, tomatoes and thyme; tapenade is a mix of olives (no oil) sundried tomatoes, garlic, fennel, caraway, basil, oregano, smoked paprika and psyllium husk; garnished with capers, dehydrated bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts and pea shoots.

Deaf Chef

Well, it turns out my hearing in my left ear is even worse than last year. Degeneration. Not a positive sign and very undesired. But, bodies break down, get old, sometimes get sick, and eventually die. In all honesty, I'm okay with these truths about the human condition. I'm okay with it AND I still have feelings, responses to the changes, and concerns.

It's hard to express the feelings of inadequacy as I sat in the sound test booth knowing that I should be pressing the button that says I can hear the tone tests, but I don't press the button because I can't hear the tones. The silent pauses between tones I can hear feel very long. All I can hear is my own breathing and heart pounding. And then the part of the test comes which tests my cognitive abilities to register certain sounds in speech and my ability to understand the computerized voice telling me to, "say the word (blank), say the word....say the word....say the word..." and I can't understand what he's saying and telling me to repeat back. And he speaks to0 quickly and like, well, like a fucking robot! Such a test feels unfair.

I'll get over it, but in the moment I feel a little sad and afraid. In general, I don't worry too much about things or the future, but sometimes I wonder what will happen to me if I become hearing impaired and disabled to the point where I can't work and no one wants me on their team because I can't hear them. And then I feel extra sad because I have so many other interpersonal skills and talents to offer, and ways of understanding, intuition, and connecting at the heart that are better than hearing, but maybe I won't get the chance I deserve because of this hearing problem. What if I end up poor and alone? Such outcomes seem extreme for a shining star like me, but these things happen to people every day. I'm not better than anyone else who faces these hardships. Why not me. Struggling as an elderly person, alone, is real. I know these struggles are concerns for many, including my loved ones and family members.

On another note, one research study I recently read states that a large percentage of deaf people live in poverty and on government assistance. There just aren't enough jobs that utilize the numerous and valuable skills that deaf people possess. Deaf people go through so many hardships with learning in public schools and for different reasons, not because they aren't smart enough, fall through the cracks and don't receive the educations they need to be successful in a world built on hearing privilege. I can't say that has been my experience per se but as person moving into deafness, it's alarming and I really feel compassion for those who have struggled their whole lives with this different ability. Thankfully, I've also read that deaf communities are extremely supportive and tight-knit, and because of disability studies within Academia and social justice activism, deaf cultures and individuals are thriving better than before. Very heartening, and not necessarily for me, as I don't know how I'll identify in the future, but in general this is awesome news.

And speaking of hearing privileges, some people are so entrenched in their privilege that they get annoyed and even rude when I say I did not hear them. At times, some even interact with me as if there is something wrong with me, or behave in a condescending manner as if I lack intelligence or whatever. It's a pretty gross scene watching people and their true colors. Nonetheless, I feel a little embarrassed and even ashamed when people talk to me and I'm like a deer in headlights and have to ask them to repeat themselves one or more times, especially since I actually feel that I have the ability to be an excellent communicator. Paradoxically, despite what I feel I am capable of, sometimes I pretend to hear what someone says, just to avoid having to ask them to repeat themselves and the possible discomfort around that event, and I act accordingly to get bye. Sometimes that bites me in the butt. The whole thing is very humbling and I just have to remember who I am, hold my head high and live courageously. I didn't cause this (I don't think), I can't cure it, and I can't control it. I have to surrender.

Anyway, I just hope that I'll be able to continue to follow my dream to be a vegan chef in Florida and personal and private chef/health consultant/coach once I'm able to get my own business off the ground. I hope to be able to keep working, serving others, and making money for many decades to come. And to add to the pressure, I hope to be able to support my aging mom and dad as much as I can. It's scary and stressful as these realities pile up, but I have to trust that we will have what we need.  Hopefully my hearing will improve at lower altitude in a more humid climate. Interestingly, hearing impaired people do have more difficulty in higher elevations and I'm above 7,000 feet right now, so there's a ray of hope and possibility.

On the bright side: I developed a delicious raw cake and/or muffin top! Oh, it is sooooooo good! For three days I germinated and sprouted wheat, spelt and kamut berries; mixed them with shredded carrots, zucchini, fresh apple sauce, dates, apricots, fresh oranges and juice, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice; dehydrated the muffins for 14 hours and am serving them with a raw mixed nut and seeds 'cream chez' (hemp and chia seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts) icing drizzle, sweetened with molasses, maple syrup and vanilla.  I'm also developing some other raw and low fat meat substitutes, bread, and other savory snacks.  I like that I can do this work and be in my own quiet space, or blast music and jam out and not have to worry about people needing to talk to me.

Circling back to my audiologist appointment today: as I checked out with the receptionist, she asked for my date of birth and when I tell her, responds saying, "You're so young!" And I'm like, yeah, I'm young with my life ahead of me and I can't hear. It kind of sucks, but I'll manage. Thanks. And then I actually say, sometimes I like not hearing a lot better than having to hear everyone and everything.

It's true that without hearing aids, I often walk through and live in a much quieter world and it's peaceful. There's always a silver lining and something to be grateful for in every existential dilemma.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Raw, Hearty Vegan Hollywood, FL!

I feel so inspired today, especially because I'll be moving to Hollywood, Florida soon! As I, and Hearty Vegan by Laura develops, I am more and more clear about the types of cuisine I wish to share with clients, friends and family. And I'm REALLY excited about fresh, exotic tropical fruit and sugar cane juice available in South Florida! 

One of the aspects I love about being a chef, is that I am also a nutritionist and a peacemaker, in a sense, and I take that responsibility very seriously. My aim is to create delicious food from plants that helps people heal, which bi-directionally helps animals and the Earth heal. We don't live in a vacuum. If we want to heal, we must support the healing of other beings on Earth, and to help the Earth and animals live the peaceful, healthful lives they deserve, we humans must heal ourselves and change our habits. This is a We Project all the way; 100%.  We all must heal together, or no one heals.

That said, I'm always researching ingredients and while all the food I make is nutritious, there are different levels of what is deemed healthy, clearly.  I will continue to develop an inclusive vegan menu that works for people with different tastes and at different points in their journeys, but my goal is to use no processed foods, no salt, no oil, and no sugar, EVER, and to be as raw as possible, because these are the foods that help people heal, for real. Sure, these foods require a change in the palate of the consumer, so the goal of making them taste amazing is even more of a challenge, but it's a challenge I aim to meet. I will not remove any of the food I have already posted here, because they are great dishes, but much of what I've posted isn't really the food I aim to make for clients, so I will veer away from some of these styles.

I just wanted to state my intentions because it's a new year and I'm on an adventure! Thanks for traveling with me, Friends! Let's be the best we can be! <3 Healing ourselves and healing the world!