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Greater Awareness in 2012

1 Jan

At the present time, when most of us sit down to eat, we aren’t very aware of how our food choices affect the world. We don’t realize that in every Big Mac there is a piece of the tropical rainforests, and with every billion burgers sold another hundred species become extinct. We don’t realize that in the sizzle of our steaks there is the suffering of animals, the mining of our topsoil, the slashing of our forests, the harming of our economy, and the eroding of our health. We don’t hear in the sizzle the cry of the hungry millions who might otherwise be fed.

We don’t see the toxic poisons accumulating in the food chains, poisoning our children and our earth for generations to come. But once we become aware of the impact of our food choices, we can never really forget. Of course we can push it all to the back of our minds, and we may need to do this, at times, to endure the enormity of what is involved. But the earth itself will remind us, as will our children, and the animals and the forests and the sky and the rivers, that we are part of this earth, and it is part of us. All things are deeply connected, and so the choices we make in our daily lives have enormous influence, not only on our own health and vitality, but also on the lives of other beings, and indeed on the destiny of life on earth.

Thankfully, we have cause to be grateful-what’s best for us personally is also best for other forms of life, and for the life support systems on which we all depend.” ~Diet For A New America

Happy Compassionate New Year!

1 Jan

Sending blessings and peace to all free-living birds, fish, and animals being harmed, terrorized, and killed by toxic poisons spewed into their home lands, waters, and skies by both secret and blatant human activity.

May we humans think always of the harm we are causing our non-human animal relations, and may we recognize and respect their interests to live their lives freely and in autonomy and health on this beautiful Earth.

2011 has been a very good year for the welfare of animals, 2011 has influenced a lot of people to make better choices around food, product, health and overall acknowledment in the treatment of animals for food.

I look forward to what 2012 brings, I welcome 2012 with open arms in the hopes we will all continue on the same path to work together to bring a compassionate peacful earth where we all can respect all things living.

Here’s to a beautiful, evolved and compassionate 2012!

Please watch this amazing video “Victories for animals in 2011″

Spork and Gene Baur On Values, Health, and Global Responsibility

12 May

Two of my favorite groups got together to talk about animals, core values and food choices. Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary  and Jenny and Heather who I have got to know through Spork Foods online,  are on opposite ends of the plant-based community but both share the same purpose, educating the public, living compassionately and living plant-based. I loved this insightful video, with the importance of the talk ranging from health, animal welfare, core values and environmental responsibility all the while eating some vegan strawberry-rhubarb pie! I found this talk  inspiring, It is a great reminder of why I live the way I do. As you know my husband and I are all about inspiration, education, living compassionately and core values, our core values are leading us in everything we do, especially in regards to our food choices,  living healthy and our personal responsibility on reducing our global impact.  I  really appreciated this discussion. I hope you do too, Enjoy.

Take Charge of Your Health: 5 Habits of Healthy People

10 May

Written by Doris Romano

Doris Romano is a registered nurse and nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition and weight management. Doris teaches Sports Nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and is a writer for

1. Build more movement into your day. Rather than exercising for the sake of exercising, make your lifestyle active. Build activity into your routine without having to think about it.

Your new habit for the next 2 weeks: build in some form of extra physical activity each day. Tips: get up to change the channel; take the stairs; take a walk break instead of a coffee break; plant a garden; enroll in a yoga class; bike to work; get rid of the snow blower; combine walking and socializing.

2. Eat mostly plants. A low-calorie, plant-based, whole-foods diet is the foundation of every high-quality and health-promoting diet. It reduces the risk of dying from all the Western diseases, promotes a leaner body, and is alkaline-producing which helps to preserve bone mass and muscle. A serving = 1 cup of leafy vegetables or ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetables.

Your new habit for the next 2 weeks: Eat at least 6 servings of vegetables each day. Tips: add baby spinach to your protein shake; eat raw veggie sticks as a side to your meal; make a large, colourful salad; grill veggies for dinner; jazz up your meals by adding pesto, salsa or baba ganoush.

3. Hara Hachi Bu: Eat until you are 80% full. Eating to the point where there is no longer hunger (vs. until “full” or “stuffed”) plays a major role in improving your health and losing fat.

Your new habit for the next 2 weeks: Whenever it’s time to eat, follow the 80% rule. Tips: serve yourself at the counter before taking your plate to the table; buy smaller plates and tall, narrow glasses; put tempting foods out of sight; buy smaller packages; eat more slowly and without distractions; eat only sitting down; eat early.

4. Make time for sleep. Getting less than 7.5 hours of sleep each night means more body fat and greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Further, people who sleep less seem to crave more food. And not the nutritious stuff. Lack of sleep usually reflects our priorities rather than real-time constraints. If you aren’t getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, figure out why.

Your new habit for the next 2 weeks: Sleep at least 8 hours each day. Tips: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time; keep the bedroom quiet, extremely dark, and slightly cool; eliminate caffeine later in the day; exercise to improve sleep; develop a pre-bed routine that is relaxing.

5. Slow down. Stress less. The negative effects of stress can create conditions in the body that promote age-related diseases. We rush, worry, and give urgency to so many things in our lives that really aren’t that important. With that realization, adopting strategies for slowing down seem much easier.

YOUR NEW HABIT FOR THE NEXT 2 WEEKS: Create space to slow down for 10 minutes every day. Tips: minimize time spent with TV, radio, Internet, and handheld devices; plan to arrive 15 minutes early to every appointment; practice yoga; cultivate a regular meditation practice upon rising every day.

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5 Habits Of Healthy People

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Interview with Mike Desjardins: How I Became A Vegetarian

7 May

Mike Desjardins (also know as my husband) tells us about his transition from meat-eating to becoming a pescetarian. I asked him to explain his experience about his transition with a series of questions. In his own words he describes what he has learned and how being married to me has influenced his food choices.

Mike describes what that process was like for him and why it made sense to switch. Mike talks about how he felt after learning about the cruel conditions of factory farming and how our nations demand for overconsumption drives this industry. We have to be the change, our food choices are not only effecting the animals but also our health and our planet. Factory farming is destroying our soil and reducing our ability to be sustainable in growing our own food. We need to reduce consumption to increase our chance of correcting these issues.

In over 2 years Mike has reduced his meat intake to none with the exception of fish (I am educating him on the impacts of overfishing as well and what the depletion of fish has on our ecosystem, as well as the long-term effects).

At home because I have the lead in what we eat, we eat vegan, local and organic. This is our personal choice. I think every little bit helps. We are working on other thing too, there is so much to think about.

You don’t have to give up everything to reduce your impact, you just need to reduce your intake, you don’t have to become a full-fledged vegetarian or vegan overnight, learn about what you can do and learn about factory farming. Try being a weekday vegetarian. We all need to do our part.

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment” ~Oprah Winfrey

Food Is Power With Lauren Ornelas (Vancouver Events)

26 Apr

lauren Ornelas, Founder and Director of the Food Empowerment Project, will be discussing how we can use our food choices to create a more just world.

Your food choices can have impacts beyond your own kitchen. Food deserts, exploitation of workers and animals, environmental racism – learn about how what you eat and drink might not necessarily be connected to animal exploitation but might indeed have direct connections to human exploitation! And learn what you can do to help create a more just and equitable food system.

lauren Ornelas is the Food Empowerment Project’s founder and serves as the group’s volunteer executive director. She is also the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for over 20 years. After spending four years as National Campaign Coordinator for In Defense of Animals, lauren was asked by Viva!UK to start and run Viva!USA in 1999. In cooperation with activists across the country, she worked and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Pier 1 Imports, among others. She currently serves as Campaign Director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

This event is free & open to the public. No pre-registration is required.

Saturday, May 21, 2011
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Vancouver Public Library, Main Branch
350 West Georgia Street Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Room, Lower Level
Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

Liberation BC

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become the voice

Bystander Intervention: Not Just for Humans Anymore (via )

19 Mar

Bystander Intervention: Not Just for Humans Anymore I recently spent a week training on bystander intervention.  This is a strategy for the prevention of violence against humans (gendered violence, in this case, and most often) that focuses on creating a culture in which bystanders speak out against and prevent acts of violence.  The thinking is that a com … Read More


5 Ways to Reduce, Give Back, Live Longer

17 Mar

Live a Cruelty-free Lifestyle
It is obvious that in order to eat meat, an animal had to be slaughtered, but the issues of cruelty go far beyond just the death of an animal. The lives of animals raised to be slaughtered are miserable. Often packed into close quarters, many animals are unable to lie down or turn around, and the hygiene is terrible. Many slaughter methods are imperfect and cause great suffering before death.

Even animals that are not raised for food are poorly treated. Chickens that provide eggs for consumption often spend their entire lives in a cage no bigger than a piece of notebook paper, and dairy cows face abuse and mistreatment in addition to being injected with hormones to facilitate milk production. A person who wishes to live a cruelty-free life chooses to remove him or herself from any participation in this process.

Reduce Your Environmental Impact
Farms used for meat and dairy production are incredible sources of waste and air pollution. One large farm can create more waste than the entire city of Vancouver! The Environmental Protection Agency considers manure one of the top 10 pollutants, and Canadian farms alone create 1 billion tons of it each year.

Reduce World Famine
More than 70% of grain produced is fed to animals raised for slaughter. In order to get just one pound of meat, it takes a full 15 pounds of grain. If this grain were given directly to people, there would be enough food to feed everyone. Also, the land that the animals are raised on can be used to grow significantly more food than the land currently provides.

Save Water
With drought-like conditions all across the country, water is getting more and more valuable. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat, as opposed to just 25 gallons for one pound of grain.

It’s Never Been Easier!
Major supermarkets are carrying more plant based options than ever before, and thanks to the Internet, you can have food sent directly to your own home. It has never been easier to make the transition to begin adopting a plant based lifestyle, so why not now?


“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer

10 Feb


This is a guest post by, Kristine Kakuno

“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer is an author in his early 30’s with two fiction novels already published to critical acclaim. With “Eating Animals” he forays into non-fiction with a well-researched discussion on animal consumption and it’s philosophical, economic, and environmental impacts.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in food, regardless of their personal choice when it comes to animal consumption. The author interviews a variety of stakeholders including factory farm workers, sustainable farmers, vegetarians & animal activists and allows each an opportunity to express their views.  For this reason, I would recommend this book if only to expose the reader to all the facts and considerations, allowing them to make an informed decision without pressure from one singular point of view.

Foer makes a point of not stating his own opinion until at least halfway through the book and even then, empathizes with some of his interviewees.  His introductory words hint at the complexities of the topic, “I, too, assumed that my book about eating animals would be a straight forward case for vegetarianism. It didn’t. A straightforward case for vegetarianism is worth writing, but it’s not what I have written here.” Foer provides over 60 pages of detailed references for the data and statistics he presents. He notes that his statistics are “the most conservative” available and adds that he hired outside fact-checkers to authenticate them.

Foer himself gravitated back and forth many times from carnivore to vegetarian, always feeling it was the right thing to do but finding it difficult to maintain. Once he had a child of his own, he wanted to gain a better understanding of the food he ate. I found this a compelling reason as my own frustrations have been several of my acquaintance’s ability to ignore plentiful facts on the negative effects of meat consumption.  The idea of considering meat consumption more comprehensively when responsible for the food that goes into a child’s body peaked my interest.  After all, how many of us have looked back on the decisions that our parents made for us and wished for something different?  Had our parents known that smoking indoors was bad for us as we do now, we assume they would have stopped.  So if we know meat chocked full of antibiotics is bad for us, why do so many people continue to serve it to their more vulnerable children?

Another highlight is Foer’s argument, “We need a better way to talk about eating animals”.  He contends that despite the negative effects of factory farming on human health and the environment, “we seem able to think only about the edges of the arguments – the logical extremes rather than the practical realities.”  Foer toys with these arguments in one example where he discusses American’s love for their pets and the $34 billion dollar a year industry that exists as a result.  After describing his own love for his dog, Foer flips the topic to the North American taboo around eating dogs.  Giving examples of dog meat consumption in many Asian countries and citing statistics on the number of euthanized dogs in America, Foer concludes, “If we let dogs be dogs, and breed without interference, we would create a sustainable, local meat supply with low energy inputs that would put even the most efficient grass-based farming to shame.”

Foer breaks down each kind of factory farming touching on chickens and turkeys, pig farming, industrial fishing practices and finally cows. With each example, Foer provides brutal accounts of cruelty as well as concerns of cleanliness and negative impacts to the factory workers as well as the end consumer.  Anyone who has watched Food Inc. or the numerous documentaries on factory farms will have already seen these nightmarish practices in action.  What was new for me were the interviews with sustainable farmers, a PETA representative and most peculiar, a vegan slaughterhouse builder.  Hearing these different points of view made me take a step back and appreciate how much still needs to happen politically and culturally in order to bring factory farming to an end.

After thorough research and one covert rescue mission to a factory chicken farm, Foer chooses a vegan diet for himself.  He punctuates his decision at the end of “Eating Animals” by describing his first turkey-less Thanksgiving and argues the need to create new traditions in order to cause change. No matter what Foer’s personal decision is, ultimately it is his choice to allow all sides to speak that makes this book important.  We all have opinions and there are dozens of books that write about one ideology, but not many that combine multiple points of view and openly allow the reader to make their own choice.

SAINTS Sanctuary!

8 Jan

My visit with SAINTS for my birthday in December was more than I ever expected! It was wonderful and exciting and reminded me why I do what I do, it’s hard to fester up the energy some days to be a voice for the voiceless. Visiting sanctuary’s like SAINTS reinforces the desire to make positive changes in the world. I highly recommend it.

As much of an inspiration it is to see the caring that goes on for these animals it also reminds you how neglected and forgotten some animals end up. As Carol walked us through the property telling us the stories of how each animal arrived here, you can’t help but to feel emotional or angry.

It is so foreign to me that after 10, 12, 14 years a person can decide that they can no longer care for their beloved pet! I just can’t imagine dropping of my Chico at the SPCA because of sickness or that somehow his life will disrupt mine to the point that I would dump him off.

Some of these dogs hardly seem senior or sick and most show no signs of neglect, then you see the ones that are just completely defeated and you are reminded how cruel this world can be and how far we still need to go in educating and building compassion in people.

Carol the woman who founded SAINTS is very humble, she runs SAINTS purely from her heart. She doesn’t respond to compliments no matter how many you throw at her and she lights up a room with her compassion. She knows all the animals by name and all of their stories.

When you visit SAINTS you will find, volunteers, dogs , cats, horses, cows, ducks a donkey and even a goat and some pigs! All of these animals rescued. Some find homes but most stay to live out their final days. I highly recommend a visit, bring lots of treats and if you are able a donation. SAINTS is 100% run by donations from the public. Most of the animals at SAINTS require expensive treatments and vet visits.

I hope you will find the time to go. I promise you will be glad you did. The animals will be happy to greet you. It is a beautiful experience and it feels good to give back. Visiting sanctuary’s like SAINTS reinforces the desire to make positive changes in the world. I highly recommend it.




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