Aloha from Hawaii!

I’ve just returned from a heaven of pineapples and papaya, teaching on Maui and Oahu. Thank you so much to my friends there, the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, and Down to Earth Markets, for hosting my lectures. Many thanks to GSG reader and my friend Debbie Tuttle (shown below with her husband Tom, and my friend Ben and me) who organized the whole Hawaii trip.

In the photo below of the “Dine Out” event they hosted after the Honolulu event, you can see event organizers Anjie Pham, Jim Thompson, Ori Ann Li, and Lorraine Sakaguchi, who are delightful and committed to helping the world eat more plants—and encouraging others to not eat our friends, the animals. I have never met more detail oriented, kind, committed people. And Sylvia Thompson has a fabulous takeout / delivery raw-food service called Licious Dishes—absolutely fabulous food we ate all week. Thank you to Dr. Karl Seff who graciously opened his home to us, and Dr. Steve Blake in Maui for running our event there.

It turns out that wherever I go, about 50 cities a year, I find a big group of people who

–need help and inspiration returning to whole foods, to restore their health

–don’t know how to eat any more because they’ve been bullied and brainwashed by food cults

–want someone to help and inspire their family, friends, children they bring with them

I don’t like trying to get people to adopt labels or join food cults or extremism. (Of course I’m friendly to some movements in the nutrition space—vegetarian, vegan, raw food, alkaline food.) What I do like, staying out of pointless debates and marginalizing, is helping people learn how to eat more plants. That much is certain: eating more plants in their raw state means less disease, more energy, more abundance, more positive mood, pretty hair and skin, strong bones. It also means fewer animals live in misery and die to end up on a plate.

Just for fun after the lectures, Ben and I spent some time at the Pearl Harbor memorials, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the North Shore, hiking, paddle boarding, and lying around on Waikiki Beach. We came home tan and relaxed, and I can’t wait to visit Hawaii again.

 

Libby Goes Vegan

You know I don’t   promote any “isms”–vegetarianism, veganism, raw foodism.  I’m secretly a fan of all those movements. But I don’t adopt them as extremist positions because I think they send most people running for the hills. And I believe that sticking to the idea of eating MORE PLANT FOODS wins more converts.

But I don’t cook/serve animal flesh in my home. My older daughter, though, is a militant vegetarian.

The younger one, Libby, 14, struggles. She admires her sister’s “cause” orientation, and has “gone veg” several times but it doesn’t stick. She goes to her dad’s where meat is a staple, and she caves in, falls off the wagon. She has been looking at vegetarian vids on youtube and studying the issue.

Today she brought me this typed statement:

“I, Libby Pay, am going vegan. I will not eat anything with eggs or milk. Or meat. So I want to make  special veggie foods for myself since the rest of you drink kefir in the mornings. If I have to drink kefir I will be deeply hurt. Anyways, to make my special food I would like these ingredients. Some of them I have already, but just want to make sure I am allowed to use them. I want to be hardcore vegan. You don’t have to be. But I really want to.”

“Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, sweet potatoes, fresh kale (to try this one recipe I found), black beans, that seaweed stuff you buy, big carrots, garlic and onion, green and black olives (not needed, just somewhat wanted!), green beans, cucumbers.”

“I feel very strongly about this. If it gets too hard, I’ll just be vegetarian, but I really want to do this.”

A few hours later, she came in with a binder she’d made, with lots of printed material about cruelty to animals and nutritional support for a plant-based diet, in plastic sleeves. The cover page has this printed, in large text:

“WHY I DO NOT EAT MEAT:

“Yes, God may have put them on the earth for us to eat. But in the scriptures it says to eat meat sparingly in times of winter and famine. I don’t think our Heavenly Father intended for the animals we eat to be tortured, stuffed into tight cages for their whole lives, beaten, and to rarely see sunlight. Chickens, pigs, and cows have been chemically altered to grow way bigger than they are supposed to. They put steroids in the animals to make more meat. These animals can’t walk, and are tortured daily.”

I’m so proud of my kids when they stand for something. When it’s something that will benefit them and the world, even better!

Now if I could just get them to take a vigilante stand against SUGAR.

Young Vegetarians, share this with your kids, part 2 of 2

I like this YouTube video about another vegetarian athlete, Jake Shields, whose parents never served animals but didn’t talk about why. Now Jake converts other athletes, who are amazed at how endurance increases when they eat only plants:

Have your children look at all these world-class, famous athletes, including rocked-up bodybuilders, who don’t eat other creatures.

In addition to so many athletes, how about these brilliant vegetarians? Socrates, Plato, Pythagorus, Da Vinci, Newton, and Einstein! You know that song Adam Sandler did about all the famous people who are Jewish? Who wants to do one about people who don’t eat our friends?

Looking at that list of genius vegetarians, I hypothesize that freeing energy from digestion allows the mind and spirit to soar and creativity to be untrammelled. Either that, or people who think outside the box are willing to buck social norms to do what’s right and what logic dictates. Probably both.

Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt, Carrie Underwood, Mark Twain, Ann Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Pink, all of the Beatles, Billy Idol, Rosa Parks—all vegetarians.

Dr. Thomas Lodi has been vegan for 46 years. He can’t even eat in the presence of those consuming, as he puts it, “carcasses and animal excretions.” He points out that the human digestive tract is 30 feet long, like all vegetarians, whereas the carnivore GI tract is very short. (I became convinced by the “we aren’t built to be carnivores” logic 20 years ago by John McDougall.)

Therefore meat takes sometimes days to digest, and in your gut it does the same thing it would do on your counter: it putrefies. (Many of the healers I am studying point to the strong evidence that undigested proteins in the blood and gut lead to all the modern diseases.)

This is my paraphrase, with some stuff from me added, of what Dr. Lodi teaches people in their first group session with him at Oasis of Healing:

If we were carnivores, and a chicken walked in the room, we’d salivate. We’d pounce on it and tear it apart, eat its heart and liver out of its warm abdomen. We’d maybe swallow the sinewy eyeballs whole, and crunch on some bones. Everything but the feathers we’d tear apart with our long incisor teeth.

But we’re not carnivores. We don’t have long teeth. Because of our biology, we can’t stand to eat raw flesh. And after an hour, dead flesh goes into rigor mortis, and then we REALLY can’t stand to eat it. So we hang it for several days to “age” it (translation: allow it to rot), we cut the maggots and really disgusting parts out. And we STILL can’t stand to eat it. So we cook it. We might put some tasty cancer-causing nitrates in it, if it’s bologna, bacon, sausage, etc.

f you signed on for this gross-out lesson towards a plant-based diet and you are still reading….you might be more ready to give up eating our animal friends than you think you are!

If you need a final pinkie push, order Mike Anderson’s film called Eating. I’ll be amazed if you can watch the avalanche of data, and images of how animals are raised for eating in America, and not vow to stop contributing to it. Every plant eater should own a copy of it.

My favorite things in Africa, part 3

My friend Shari and I have traveled in 12 countries, in 3 continents, the past 4 years, together, plus many other countries separately. We seem to be amazingly lucky. We’ve been in, or missed by a day, five devastating natural disasters: a huge fire (South Africa), a landslide (Hong Kong), a 6.5 earthquake (Costa Rica), a volcano eruption (Iceland), and a flood (Peru).

These are things I love in Africa:

1.           Wonderful fruits I don’t even know the name of. I got out of the car to ask villagers what this amazing little red fruit is. We bought a bag of them from people standing on the side of the road on the way to BlydeRivierSpoort. What they said sounded something like “Dilahdwa.” Anybody got a better name than that? WHY ISN’T ANYONE IMPORTING THIS STUFF?

2.           There are 73 dialects in Zambia and amazingly, people seem to know what language others speak just by looking at them.

3.           Mango farms. They’re everywhere. I ate dried mango till my jaw hurt. We cut up fresh ones in our hotel room daily–the best fruit on the planet. I think avocadoes and mangoes are my two favorite foods in the universe. Right after chocolate.

4.           African babies. The people and the animals. Check out this baby elephant that crossed our path.

5.           Rocket and Peppadew Salad. They don’t use dressings in Africa, just a little olive oil. Rocket is a green, and peppadew is a sweet-sour pepper I am in love with.

6.           The South African practice of saying “Pleasure!” instead of “You’re welcome!” I can’t get enough of that. It makes it sound as if you’re completely thrilled to be doing an act of service. One of my 2011 goals is to say, “My pleasure!” when someone thanks me.

7.           That I was briefly a millionaire in Zambian ketchwa. Actually it’s horrible that the exchange rate is 5,000 to 1, allowing me to achieve that status for $300. And I didn’t even need it because everyone wants your dollars in Zambia.

8.           Nelson Mandela. Racism is alive and well in post-Mandela South Africa, unfortunately. My perception is that his tenets of tolerance and forgiveness for the oppressors who incarcerated him at Robben Island for many years are far from fully realized in the government and people of South Africa. I watched Invictus on the plane home: a good movie about Mandela inspiring and leveraging the national rugby team to unite South Africa and ease racial tensions.

9.           Lions walking in front of your car. A pack of wild dogs, or a family of 60 baboons, lounging or clowning in the road. Kid you not.

Tomorrow, things I don’t love so much in Africa.

Need motivation? . . . LAST ONE! part 13

You know that my primary motive on GSG.com is to improve the health of human beings through a plant-based diet.   But today we look at figures regarding the treatment of animals raised for food in America before I officially retire this series:

 

Number of pigs in U.S. raised in total confinement factories where they never see light of day until trucked to slaughter: 65 million   (in England, zero!)  

U.S. pigs that have pneumonia at the time of slaughter: 70 percent

 

Broiler chickens so overfed and obese at 6 weeks that they can’t walk: 90 percent

 

Mass of breast tissue of 8-wk. old chicken compared to 25 years ago: 7 times greater

 

Do you think the treatment of animals is acceptable if the package reads “cage free,” “free range,” and “natural?”   Those terms mean virtually nothing in the U.S.–they’re just a marketing gimmick with no law or regulation defining them (by USDA standards, a Burger King Whopper is “natural”).   Egglands Best and Vegetarian Harvest both use caged hens.

 

Length of time birds subjected to forced molting (75 percent of U.S. hens) are given no food:   10-14 days (and 3 days with no water)

 

Chickens housed in U.S. egg farms in an 18″ by 20″ cage: 7 or 8 (where they peck each other to death, so farmer “de-beak” them, and excrement falls constantly on them from chickens above)

 

U.S. dairy calves taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth: 90 percent (compared to 8 months of nursing from their mothers in a natural environment)

 

Veal calves in the U.S. are: denied mother’s milk, trucked to auctions 1-2 days old, commingled with sick and dying animals, chained for life in crates 22″ wide, denied solid food, made anemic, kept in the dark, plagued by respiratory and intestinal disease, not allowed lie down normally, deprived of bedding, never able to walk

 

Tell me:   Do you love your dog?   Would you be okay with your dog being treated this way?   How did we get to the point that we condone this treatment of other animals like cows, birds, and pigs?

One good thing

Hey Robyn,

I just want to thank you for not focusing on what OTHER raw foods blogs tend to focus on.   They tend to bring me down with all this  talk about being kind to animals.   Of COURSE we should be kind to animals…however…there’s this dark heavy vibe that a lot of people on a vegan/vegetarian diet tend to exude.   Which I think is totally COUNTER to the LIGHTNESS we are after, on a raw foods diet.   I haven’t been on it long, and yet I can sense this already. Yes, we should be kind to animals, however we should also be kind to  PEOPLE..especially ourselves, which is the aim of a raw foods diet.  Hope I’m not being ‘politically incorrect’ in mentioning this; it’s just something that came to my attention today.  

Bright Blessings, Shelly