Vegan Golden Milk

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Many of you have probably heard about this spicy & delicious tonic that has been touted for healing everything from MS to cancer.
While I cannot tell you that it definitely does that, I will say that Golden Milk’s special ingredient is ‘turmeric’, which many natural health professionals say is a ‘super herb’.  Turmeric is believed to be very safe and has been a popular medicinal herb for centuries. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and many people are using it for an array of health benefits.

Dr. James A. Duke, PHD. has discovered that Alzheimer’s Disease, Arthritis & Cancer  can all be prevented or alleviated by turning to turmeric instead of pharmaceutical drugs. Without side effects! Dr. Duke reviewed 700 studies on this amazing herb!

I have added a warm, relaxing mug of Golden Milk to my nightly routine and my daughter enjoys it with me. :)

Here is a simple and delicious Vegan recipe for Golden Milk.

1 1/2 cups coconut or almond milk

1 teaspoon organic ground turmeric

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon organic ground ginger

About a teaspoon of maple syrup (add a touch more if too spicy)

A dash of black pepper

A dash of cayenne pepper (if you can handle it)

Whisk it all up warm & frothy in a sauce pan and ENJOY!

Ava Anderson-Non Toxic

ava anderson Most of my readers are well aware that I am a huge supporter of a whole foods plant based diet, for the animals, the earth and of course, our health. You may not realize that I am also an advocate for safe & non-toxic cleaning and beauty products. I rid my home of all mainstream products about 8 years ago. Before that I had no idea the dangers I was posing upon my family in our own home. On a normal day I would be burning a Yankee Candle, spraying my windows with Windex, pouring carpet deodorizer before vacuuming and slathering toxic soap & lotions on my children. My head spins when I relive these actions in my mind. How could I possibly be so naive?  All the signs of toxic overload in our bodies were showing up. Chronic eczema, asthma, allergies, hives.. yep we were a mess. Of course back then I was also feeding my family 3 meals a day filled with animal products. So needless to say, ‘You live and you learn’.

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Over the years I have used dozens of ‘natural’ products. From all purpose cleaners to shampoo & sunscreen. I’ve purchased them all… The two problems I continued to encounter were, #1~many of these products simply did not work. My husband will vouch for the fact that almost every natural deodorant on the market is a waste of money. Seriously. I have smelled not too pretty. I’m not proud to say it, but hey, breast cancer is not a price I will ever be willing to pay. And YES, I do believe that most deodorant/antiperspirants (the yummy smelling ones, that make you smell amazing for 24 hours) do cause cases of breast cancer. Let’s face it, drenching  our under arms, near our precious lymph nodes, with aluminum, parabens and chemical fragrance, is never a good idea. The #2 issue with most ‘natural’ products is that many of them are simply ‘greenwashing’. In other words, they are not actually ‘green’ or ‘natural’. But these savvy companies know that when you put those 2 magic words on a product, we will fall for. I hate that they are right! I can’t tell you how many mom’s (and dad’s) buy these products and have no idea that they are filled with chemicals that are banned in other countries! Ugh!! Get mad! And more importantly stop buying these products!

These days I am exclusively using Ava Anderson Non-Toxic home & beauty products on myself and my family.avaSUN for office

Ava’s line is completely natural and non-toxic. Don’t believe me? Every ingredient is listed on each of her products. Nothing is hidden and there is absolutely NO GREENWASHING!! Her entire line is never tested on animals and ‘Ava Home’ & ‘Ava Body’ is Vegan. Score!!! Her products are even adored by the amazing ‘Kris Carr’! Need I say more??

In case you are wondering… Yes, I have joined the Ava team. Can you blame me? I would LOVE for you to support ‘The Vegan Mom’ by  stopping by my ‘Ava Anderson Non-Toxicpage and trying out some products! I would Love it even more if you decided to join my team. How much fun would that be?!avaConsultantGreen

The best thing is, the deodorant works!! All day!! deodorant single silo

Please ‘Like’ my Ava Anderson-Non Toxic Facebook page. I will be doing a giveaway at the end of February. By liking my Ava Facebook page, you will automatically be entered to win. You will be entered twice if you ‘Share’ my page on Facebook. Easy enough! More details will be coming on Facebook in February!

Read on and get educated about what is in most ‘other’ cleaning and personal care products. It’s scary, but we all need to know the truth!

avaBODY 10 piece set image Did You Know: that Europe bans 1,371 toxic chemicals from their personal care products and the US bans only 11? the FDA does not regulate the personal care products industry and hopes that cosmetic companies will do their due diligence and issue safe products? “safe”, “organic” and “natural” does not mean your products do not contain any toxic chemicals as well? 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime, 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys are identified with autism spectrum disorder in the US, and that Alzheimers is up 500% in the past 20 years? according to the President’s Cancer Panel only 10% of cancer is genetic and 90% is caused by environmental factors? that your personal and home care products (from shampoo to antibacterial wipes to makeup) contain carcinogenic ingredients, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and allergens that could be downright hazardous to your health?

Know Your Backside! Read your labels and avoid the following chemicals: FRAGRANCE can be legally hidden in hundreds of ingredients in “fragrance” or “parfum”: a “trade secret” in the industry. More than 75% of the time if you have fragrance, you have legally hidden phthalates (THAL ates), known endocrine disruptors, that are linked with birth defects, breast cancer, infertility, liver, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and now with autism and ADHD in pregnancy by Dr. Philip Landrigan, Mt Sinai, Children’s Environmental Health Center. PARABENS: Preservatives linked to breast cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, and developmental defects.

California Study (10/11) of BPA and methylparaben combination turned healthy cells into cancer cells, and rendered tamoxifin ineffective. TRICLOSAN: is the active ingredient in “anti-bacterial” products, is registered with the government as a pesticide, and is a known endocrine disruptor. Triclosan is believed to disrupt thyroid function and contribute to liver and inhalation toxicity. OXYBENZONE and OCTINOXATE: (and other chemical sunscreen “active ingredients”) are UV ray filters that are also known endocrine disruptors. PETROLATUM & TETROLEUM INGREDIENTS: endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL SIX OF THE ABOVE ARE “ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS” and are in many products that you use daily – and some will have multiples! They are important to avoid, because the endocrine system regulates ALL biological processes in the body: development of the brain and nervous system, growth and function of the reproduction system, metabolism and blood sugar levels, ovaries, testes, pituitary, thyroid and the adrenal glands. (Natural News) The World Health Organization and the UN recently released a report that called endocrine disruptors a “Global Threat.” Small amounts matter, especially to the developing fetus. PEG’s (polyethylene glycol) are petroleum byproducts. During manufacturing process carcinogenic contamination is created: 1,4 dioxane, which is a known human carcinogen, with liver and kidney effects. SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are considered carcinogens. SLES is something contaminated with 1,4 dioxane. You will never see 1,4 dioxane on a label, as companies are not required to list carcinogenic contaminants. INGREDIENT THAT ENDS IN “-eth”: like ceteareth, triceteareth, etc. Also carry the contamination concern for 1,4 dioxane. IMPORTANT NOTE: all THREE of the above ingredients carry carcinogenic contaminant concerns created during manufacturing of 1,4 dioxane.

The government allows 10 ppm (parts per million) in any one products, but no one is testing. 1,4 dioxane can be stripped for pennies, and must be done for any product exported to EU. RETINYL PALMITATE: in the presence of sunlight enhances skin cancer lesions by 21% (FDA, 2011 Report). It is in many sunscreens and moisturizers. NANOPARTICLES: can cross the cell barrier and drive into organs, including the brain in humans. There is no way of knowing particle size, unless stated on the label. EU manufacturers must list any nanoparticles. ALUMINUM and metals: these are bio-accumulative, meaning they store in your fat cells and accumulate, and are very hard to get rid of, in many deodorants. DIETHANOLOMINE (DEA) and COCAMIDE DEA, LAURAMIDE DEA: DEA reacts with other ingredients to become the extremely carcinogenic nitrosodiethanolamine. Beware of other ethanolamines like triethanolamine (TEA) and monoethanolamine (MEA). FORMALDEHYDE RELEASERS – DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, DMDM HYDANTOIN, QUATERNIUM: found in most personal care products. Formalydehyde can cause allergic reaction, dermatitis, join pains and headaches, cancer and immune dysfunction. SYNTHETIC COLOR/DYES: made from coal tar, which is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum.

These colors may be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and some are combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain. ie. FD&C Blue 1, Green 3, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 33. GLYCOL (propylene, butylenes, etc): synthetic petrochemical mix known to cause allergic and toxic reactions. Has been linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive issues, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. MINERAL OIL: a petroleum ingredient that coats the skin like plastic wrap, disrupting the natural immune barrier, inhibitin its ability to breathe and absorb natural moisture and nutrition, and its ability to release toxins, which can promote acne and other disorders. The process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing premature aging. TALC: in the same family as asbestos, talc is dangerous to inhale and has been linked to ovarian cancer. SILOXANES: cyclomethicone and ingredients ending in “siloxane” (e.g., cyclopentasiloxane) are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bioaccumulate. The EU classifies some as endocrine disruptors and possible reproductive toxicant that may impair fertility. Research shows some to cause uterine tumors and harm to the reproductive and immune systems. Some siloxanes can also influence neurotransmitters in the nervous system. Cyclomethicone is a mixture of three siloxanes. A big thank you to Ava Anderson Non-Toxic for this information.

5 “Spooktacular” Trick or Treating Ideas For Vegan Families

Originally posted on The Vegan Mom:

The spooky, creepy, sugar induced evening is almost upon us, and children everywhere are planning for the family favorite holiday…. HALLOWEEN!The costumes have been purchased (or sewn by “supermoms”), the flashlights have been loaded with batteries, and the trick or treating routes have been planned. Families all over the country are ready…. but what about Vegan families?

I have gathered up 5 great ideas to share, and hopefully at least 1 of them will work for your little witches & vampires!

Idea # 5- Only except Vegan treats or non-food items.This was my original idea, seemed easy enough. I looked into Vegan candy options which included many hard candies, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, Blow Pops & more. The downside is this can be time consuming at each home & stressful for the kids. So make sure you think this one out, before you make your kids promise to…

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Celebrating Easter ‘Vegan Style’

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Stressing about ‘Veganizing’ Easter this year? No need! There are lots of Vegan treats available & they taste even better than the non-Vegan ones!

Easter is a time of pure childhood bliss. Devouring chocolate bunnies & running around the yard searching for hidden eggs… What child doesn’t look forward to this all year long?

Obviously, The Easter Bunny brings most of the goodies. Not mom & dad. BUT many Vegan parents like to help the bunny out, and add a few goodies to the basket. I also like to paint eggs with my children. Wooden ones of course. I find them at Michaels, along with paint and other decorations like sticky gems and ribbon. The great thing about decorating wooden eggs, is they last forever and make wonderful gifts for the grandparents.IMG_2121

Easter egg hunts may be an issue. Many hunts are put on through schools, churches & towns. This makes if tough for a Vegan parent to ensure their child ends up with Vegan treats. I recommend allowing your child to participate. Holding your child back from this event may make him feel alienated and uninvolved with friends. What I do is have my kids hand me all the non vegan candies and give them to their friends, or donate them. Then we go buy a something special. This usually works just fine for most Vegan families. The thrill is in the ‘hunt’ for the eggs anyway!IMG_6682

Filling a Vegan Easter basket is ridiculously fun. Seriously, I LOVE shopping for Easter basket treats. My children’s baskets are filled with 4 types of items. Healthy Snacks, ‘Special Treats’, Fun Stuff (ex. toys & games) & Useful Things (ex. clothes, shoes, accessories).

Lets start with Healthy Snacks.
I often add foods such as dried fruits. ‘Peeled Snacks’ are a family favorite. Protein bars are always a hit with the teens. I recommend ‘Pure Bars’. I usually add a few packets of ‘RAW Protein Powder’ to my 14 year old son’s basket. A new favorite snack that will be added to our baskets this year are ‘Chockalet Kale Chips’. They are out of this world and your kids will not realize they are the least bit healthy!

Next up are the ‘Special Treats’

If you are only going to order one amazing type of vegan goodie online, you need to buy ‘Inglorius Monk Whoopie Pies!’ We enjoyed these delicious treats last month, and my kids went absolutely crazy for them. It’s hard to find a good Vegan Whoopie Pie in our area. Actually impossible. They offer pumpkin, chocolate chip, lemon (my favorite), peppermint and more. This company only uses sustainable, organic, non-GMO ingredients in their products and they partner with local family farms. I have been told that they have a special egg pie. I am excited & I will update this post when ours arrive. Order now for Easter delivery!Unknown-1

*UPDATE* The whoopie pie eggs have arrived and they are as adorable as they are delicious! What a great addition they will make to your child’s Easter basket! The eggs come in chocolate raspberry and vanilla raspberry. They also offer a super cute heart shaped chocolate dip vanilla pie. Did I mention how much I adore these whoopie pies?!?!
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What Easter basket would be complete without a chocolate bunny? Unfortunately almost every bunny out there contains milk. I do find however, that many health food stores sell Vegan bunnies this time of year. If you can’t get your hands on one locally, I have found a non-dairy bunny and lots of other vegan candies, including a very pretty peanut butter chocolate egg at ‘VeganStore.com’.
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As for ‘Fun Stuff’, my daughter loves the princess legos that are all the rage right now. My son is a teenager so a gift card will be perfect.

‘Useful Stuff’ is my favorite part of the Easter Basket buying process!! I purchase many of the items that my children need. So in other words, I have to buy these things anyway, so adding them to Easter Baskets is win, win for everyone! This years ‘needed items’ will include, toothbrushes, belts, hair bands, bathing suits, flip flops, sunglasses, laptop case, lunch bag, gymnastics leotard & soccer socks & cleats. Yep, I am putting a toothbrush and socks in my son’s basket. ;)

Hopefully this has given you some ideas about how to enjoy Easter with your children. Many newly Vegan parents fear holidays because they assume Vegan kids can’t celebrate like all of the other kids. But I can assure you that this is one worry you can throw out the window!!

Lastly I would like to recommend that you adopt a farm animal as a gift for your child. Farm Sanctuary has a wonderful ‘Adopt A Farm Animal Program’. This is a gift that keeps on giving and it will remind your children one of the reasons that your family has most likely chosen to be Vegan.Susie Moo_228x200

“Straight From The Earth” Cookbook Review.

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I have recently been introduced to a cookbook written by a health minded mother & daughter duo named Myra & Marea Goodman. Their book “Straight From The Earth” offers dozens of plant based recipes that utilize whole foods to create meals that are nothing short of amazing. You will find recipes for ‘Hearty Beet Soup’, ‘Cabbage & Carrot Crunch Salad’, ‘Grilled Fig Sandwiches’ & ‘Plantain Tacos’, just to name a few. The recipes were created & tested by these two talented ladies, and their passion for food is apparent on every page.

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Here are two recipes that I have recently made for my family. Enjoy!

Barley, Quinoa, and Cannellini Bean Loaf (or Burgers)

I prepared this delicious loaf while my kids were at school. I had a nice, quiet kitchen and I enjoyed the entire process of creating an amazing meal for my family.
The ingredients for this recipe are packed with nutrients & protein, and the flavor of the mustard & spices is simply phenomenal.
It takes a bit of prep time to make this loaf, but I assure you that it is well worth every minute. This would be a wonderful meal to make for an everyday family dinner or a celebration with friends.

Serves 6

3 cups/720 ml low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup/100 g hulled or pearled barley, rinsed
Salt
½ cup/85 g quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
2 medium carrots, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups/255 g cooked cannellini beans (rinsed and drained if canned)
⅔ cup/80 g dried whole-wheat bread crumbs
¼ cup/30 g pine nuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 ½ cups/600 ml of the stock to a boil. Add the barley and ½ tsp salt. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes (or for just 15 minutes if using pearled barley). Add the quinoa, return to a simmer, and cook covered, for 15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, but leave the grains in the pan.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Generously grease a 9-by-5-in/23-by-12-cm loaf pan and set aside.

Mix the chia seeds with the remaining ½ cup/120 ml of the stock and let them sit. The seeds will become thick and gelatinous (this is our egg substitute, which also adds great nutritional benefits).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan with the grain mixture. Mash the mixture with a potato masher until the beans are partially broken up. Add the sautéed vegetables, bread crumbs, pine nuts, chia seed mixture, parsley, and mustard and stir until well combined. The mixture will be thick like cookie dough and a bit of a challenge to stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, press down and smooth out the mixture, and bake until the top is firm and golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Allow the loaf to rest for 15 minutes before cutting it into slices and serving.

1 Serving: Calories: 320 | Fat: 11g | Carbs: 46g | Protein: 10g | Sodium: 480mg | Dietary Fiber: 44% |
Potassium: 13% | Vitamin A: 70% | Vitamin C: 10% | Thiamin: 50% | Riboflavin: 15% | Niacin: 10% |
Vitamin B6: 10% | Folate: 15% | Calcium: 10% | Iron: 20% | Copper: 15% | Phosphorus: 25% |
Magnesium: 25% | Zinc: 15%


Sesame, Orange, and Hazelnut Cookies

These cookies are like nothing else I have made before. I can’t believe that I never thought of adding sesame seeds to cookies! Now I’m going to be throwing them into everything I bake! The flavor of the orange zest is a wonderful addition. Once you make these cookies & realize how simple and tasty they are, you will make them every time you have company over. I know I will!
I actually doubled the recipe and put the extra dough in the freezer. ;)

“I’ve always loved sesame candy, so I wanted to create a cookie that featured sesame seeds as a predominant ingredient. These crunchy cookies are packed with sesame seeds, enhanced by the flavors of orange, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and ginger, and adorned by a hazelnut in their center. These cookies aren’t too sweet, and sesame seeds are a good source of many minerals and fiber, so they are a relatively healthy choice. If you’re serving a Mediterranean meal, like Three-Color Hummus and Baked Falafel Pitas, this would be a perfect dessert.” —Myra

Makes 30 cookies

2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup/60 ml very hot water (about 180°F/82°C)
1 cup/200 g packed light brown sugar
½ cup/120 ml melted coconut oil
¼ cup/60 ml pure maple syrup
1 orange, zested
1 ½ cups/210 g whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup/140 g sesame seeds
¾ cup/105 g hazelnuts, skins removed, 30 whole reserved, the rest chopped medium fine
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground ginger

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed with the hot water. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens (this is our egg substitute). Whisk briefly, then whisk in the sugar, oil, syrup, and zest.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sesame seeds, chopped hazelnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out 30 heaping tablespoons of cookie dough. Roll the dough into balls, then arrange fifteen on each baking sheet, spacing them about 1 in/2.5 cm apart. You should have three rows of five cookies on both sheets. Press down on each ball until the cookie is about 1/3 in/8 mm thick. Place a whole hazelnut in the middle and press down so it’s snug.

Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring directly to the rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

1 cookie: Calories: 140 | Fat: 8g | Carbs: 15g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 25mg

Pipernilli Vegan Cookies!

Pipernilli Vegan Cookies!

 

I have recently been introduced to a cookie that hands down takes 1st place in cookie deliciousness.

In fact they are so delicious, you will truly want to savor every bite.

Pipernilli cookies are baked fresh daily in Brooklyn NY. using fruits & veggies such as sweet potatoes, bananas & carrots. They are soft and moist with incredible flavor. 

My favorites are Banana Chiffon & 14 Karat Cake. 

If you are looking for a special Vegan treat for your Valentine, you may want to buy some Pipernilli Cookies!

How To Cope With An Anti-Vegan Spouse

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So often I am asked by readers, “I want to raise our kids Vegan but my husband won’t allow it”. Obviously this issue could also concern men who want to go Vegan as a family. But so far, I have only been contacted by women with this problem.

First I want to make clear that I do not judge a parent for being weary of feeding their children a plant based diet. We are a meat & dairy obsessed society. Most of us grew up on milk, cheese, hamburgers & chicken tenders. Our mothers & grandmothers made delicious home cooked meals like meatloaf and mac & cheese that will always be close to our hearts. Our fathers cooked ribs & hot dogs on the grill every summer. Food means more to most people than just nourishment. Food represents our childhoods, our family, our heritage, our most cherished memories. How can you blame people people for not wanting to give all of this up?

The good thing is, veganism does not require that we erase our childhood memories of special meals. Even I smile when I think of my mom’s tuna casserole. And I’m not ashamed to say it. What your spouse needs to understand is, plant based foods are not only extremely healthy, but they can be delicious & satisfying as well.

Spaghetti dinners & pizza night are here to stay, and veggie burgers are amazing cooked on the grill. Childhood is still fun & memorable without animal products in our children’s diets. The food we feed them may be different than the food our parent’s fed us, but their childhood memories will be just as special. I imagine my children will think back fondly on my tempeh piccata with mashed potatoes and my fettucini with kale walnut pesto.

Dad may also worry that having a Vegan child will ensure that his son will be the scrawny kid, chosen last for dodgeball. Of course this is ridiculous, but many people still associate protein with meat. The great thing is, that plant based diets offer us loads of protein. Truthfully, many people are getting too much protein from their Standard American Diet (SAD diet) and this can lead to major health consequences.

I recommend compiling as much current information about the benefits of vegan diets and sharing this information with your spouse. Encourage him to read books by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Watch Forks Over Knives or Vegucated together. Attend a veg conference, lecture or workshop. Explain about the cruelty of animal farming. If you are lucky maybe there is a vegan friendly nutritionist or dietitian in your area. The Vegan RD has loads of great information on her website.

Even if your spouse does not approve of a completely vegan diet for your children, I’m assuming that he does allow them to eat vegetables. So feed them as many plant based foods as possible!! Enjoy “Meatless Mondays” and try excluding meat, dairy and eggs from your child’s bagged lunch. Your children will benefit from this.

There is no magic answer to the question “how do I deal with my anti Vegan spouse”? Every relationship is different. If the kids are old enough, ask them what they want to do. Of course, you should never put them in the middle of the argument. At the very least, your Vegan lifestyle will be a great influence on your children, and they may follow in your footsteps when they are old enough to make their own decisions. ;)

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