“All Aboard! A Vegan Family On A Carnival Cruise”

For spring break this year our family decided to take a cruise. Normally we sail away on the Disney Cruise, but we booked our vacation last minute & Disney did not have availability. The 5 night cruise aboard the “Carnival Inspiration” was one of the few ships that we were able to find an available cabin, so we booked it!

Minutes later I was surfing the web, trying to find any information about Vegan dining on this ship, or any Carnival ship. But information was hard to find. I came across a few comments here & there, but nothing too helpful. I did read that is important to let your server know of any dietary restrictions during the first evening on board.

My husband and I explained our Vegan diet to the server as soon as she greeted us. She explained that we would be working with a “special diet hostess’ during the week, and we should find plenty to eat. This was music to our ears. Our dinner that first night was a simple gluten free penne with marinara sauce, and I must say, it was excellent. I don’t usually enjoy gluten free pasta, but this was a good one. During our meal the “special diet hostess” came by and pre-ordered our dinner for the next evening. This is what we would do each night. For dessert our only option was a fruit platter, but we were assured that we would have better desserts throughout the week. Cookies & cakes were mentioned….

The next evening we were told that our dinner “pre-order” had been accidentally deleted and all they were able to make for us were grilled vegetables & rice or the same pasta as the night before. My husband and I chose the vegetables & the kids ordered the pasta. We all enjoyed our food. Unfortunately, the fruit platter was still the only “dessert” we were offered again. The kids were not happy. We were told that homemade cookies would be made for us tomorrow…..

For breakfast each morning we stuck to toast with jam, cereal and fruit. Soymilk was always available. Lunch each afternoon was a treat! There is a noodle station where rice noodles & vegetables are made to order. The chef uses chicken stock to stir fry, so he had us bring him a cup of water to cook with each time. The kids LOVED this, and so did my husband and I! Best Vegan food on the ship, no joke! Aside from the noodle station, there is a large salad bar & a grilled panini station. It would have been nice if they offered a vegan entree’ along the buffet line, but we still found plenty to eat.

Our third dinner on the ship was a delicious vegetable fried rice! How were the cookies you ask? Non existent. We had fruit again. This time it was cooked berries in a sugared sauce. Good, but still fruit. Thank goodness I brought my own cookies for the kids. Poor things were on vacation and they couldn’t get one decent dessert! I was seriously going to offer my Vegan baking expertise to the kitchen staff and teach them how to whip something up, but my husband thought that was tacky.

The 4th evening we did not make it on the ship in time for dinner in the dining room (too busy discovering ancient Mayan ruins), so we grabbed some veggie sushi & a grilled veggie panini at the buffet. Quite good actually.

Our last dinner on the ship were vegan stuffed peppers, and we all enjoyed them. Bananas were our dessert. Surprise, surprise.

Overall we had a great time. I feel that Carnival has the right idea, offering a “special diet hostess” to work with guests, but I do think they are dropping the ball when it comes to dessert. Vegan cakes & cookies are not difficult to make, and if Carnival Cruise Line put a little more effort into catering to vegan guests, they would get 2 thumbs up by “The Vegan Mom” instead of one.

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Curried Pear & Parsnip Soup

Curried Pear & Parsnip Soup

Serves 4-6

Nothing warms your family on a cold day better than homemade soup! Here is a yummy soup recipe with a little kick!

1 onion chopped

1 tablespoon safflower oil

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon corriander

1 lb parsnips chopped

1 pear peeled & sliced

1 lemon squeezed

1 cup coconut milk

4 cups vegetable stock

cilantro for garnish

Cook onion in oil for about 4 minutes. Stir in parsnips, curry & corriander. Cook for 2-3 more minutes & add pear, vegetable stock & coconut milk. Bring to boil & simmer for 30 minutes. Cool & puree’ in Vitamix or food processor. Return soup to a clean pan, reheat and add lemon juice & cilantro garnish.

“Organic Tempeh & Garden Veggie Pasta”

I am especially proud to share this recipe with you, because it is my own. I am also excited to say that most of the ingredients, came from my very own garden. This might not seem like a big deal to some…. but to me, it is HUGE! This is the first year that I have ever had a vegetable garden, and I jump up and down for joy each time I find a new ripened veggie.

Please give this delicious, super easy and very healthy recipe a try!

Ingredients:

1 bag organic fusilli pasta

1 package organic Tempeh crumbled

1 med. green pepper chopped

1 med. red pepper chopped

1. large white onion chopped

1 bulb garlic, each clove thinly sliced

2 med. tomatoes chopped

1 cup fresh green beans trimmed

handful of both, fresh basil & fresh cilantro chopped

About 6 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil.

Boil water for pasta & cook aldente. While pasta is being prepared, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil to large saute’ pan over med. heat. When oil is warm add  crumbled Tempeh to pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and onion, cook for another minute. Add peppers, green beans & herbs. Cook for another few minutes, stirring everything often.

Drain water from pasta and return pasta to the pot. Add the Tempeh, veggie/herb mixture & the rest of the oil. Mix well. Stir in some extra olive oil if needed.

Sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan if desired.

Enjoy!

Prescription Drug Use On the Rise in Children

Prescription Drug Use On the Rise in Children.

It is such a shame that such a large number of CHILDREN are taking prescription medication for Type 2 Diabetes. Most of you know that Type 2 Diabetes is brought on by lifestyle. So poor diet and lack of exercise is leading to this completely PREVENTABLE disease. 😦

I wish that more parents understood the benefits of a well planned, plant based diet for their children. A Vegan diet  can save lives, yet so few doctors will recommend it to their patients. Drugs, drugs, drugs….. is this really the answer?

And by the way, well balanced plant based diets have not only been proven to PREVENT Type 2 Diabetes, but also to REVERSE Type 2 Diabetes!

For more information on this topic, please read “The China Study” by Dr. T Colin Campbell.

Healthy School Lunches / Healthy School Lunch Revolution

Healthy School Lunches / Healthy School Lunch Revolution.

I love preparing a healthy Vegan lunch for my son each day, but sometimes If I’m in a hurry, or low on groceries, I need him to buy lunch at school. Unfortunately the only Vegan option they offer is PB&J. I guess I should be happy that they at least have something for him, but c’mon, food is life, and a kid can’t live on just PB&J!! Even the salad option is “Chef Salad”!!!

I honestly have trouble understanding, how any good parent allows their child to eat “brunch for lunch” (greasy sausage & french toast sticks), mystery meat, low grade beef tacos and the other garbage served in cafeterias across the country!!

It’s not much of a surprise that 1/3 of the kids in America are considered overweight, and setting themselves up for a life with chronic disease!

Please check out this informative site and sign the petition for healthy school lunches! Our kids deserve better!!

A Review of “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals” by Ruby Roth

Ruby Roth, the amazingly talented author & illustrator of the children’s book “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals”, has asked me if I would review her book on my blog. I must say that I am truly honored and flattered, that she finds my blog worthy. 🙂 Thank you Ruby!

I bought this beautifully written & illustrated book for my daughter Ava’s fourth birthday. Since then, it has become a mommy & daughter bedtime favorite!

My little girl has a deep compassion for animals, and although I would never want to scare her with graphic details of today’s factory farming, I do want her to have an understanding of “why” we live compassionately, and choose not to eat animals.

Ruby’s book “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals” enlightens the young reader and explains that farm animals are truly no different from our beloved pets. She offers us a touching look into the bonds these creatures form with their children, similar to the bonds we have with our own sons and daughters.

We learn about the “moods” of cows, the”loving nature” of pigs, and the “sensitivity” of turkeys.

The book illustrates the sad, short lives, factory farmed animals live, and tugs on your heartstrings from start to finish. Ruby’s beautiful illustrations are colorful and whimsical, and they have a way of keeping my daughter’s eyes glued to the page! Ruby also takes us on a journey to visit our oceans & the fish and other marine life that live there. We learn how commercial fishing hurts these creatures, and why they are best allowed to live freely.

Ruby describes the toll we are taking on our planet, simply by not caring for, and protecting the animals who roam along side us.

As Ruby brings her book to a close, she tells us about endangered species and the importance of our rainforests. Along with ideas for children to help animals and our environment.

This is by far the most gentle, yet eye opening, animal rights book available for our youngest generation!

The last words Ruby writes in her book, are so beautiful, I will use them to end my review;

“While the power of nature can move mountains and make rainbows, the power we have as humans is boundless too. Every day, we have the freedom to change our lives. In fact, when we treat animals respectfully, we practice world peace. That’s why we don’t eat animals”.

"But Where Do You Get Your Protein"????

As a Vegan, you get pretty used to people constantly asking you, “where do you get your protein”? And most meat eaters assume that their main source of protein, is more complete and simply… BETTER than yours! I also think, that although most Vegans know that plant based protein is just as adequate as animal protein, I wonder how many Vegans realize how the two protein sources really stack up! I also wonder how many meat eaters & Vegans realize how much protein we actually need, compared to how much protein the average American gets. Most Americans get around twice as much protein as they need.  And keep in mind…. you CAN get too much protein! And too much protein has been linked to certain cancers, including liver cancer. So pay attention……

Recommended Protein Intake for the “average adult” is 0.9 g protein per kg body weight

To figure out your weight in kg, take your weight and divide it by 2.2

Ex. A 135 lb person would be 61.2 kg

To figure out your daily need of protein, take you weight in kg and multiple it by 0.9

So a person weighing 61.2 kg would require about 55 g of protein per day.

Take note, that special populations such as children, athletes and certain other people, do require higher protein intake.

Plants Protein Sources:                                                                                                                                        Animal Protein Sources:

1 cup of raw bean sprouts- 3.2 grams of protein                                                                                         1/2 cup of cows milk- 4 grams of protein

1 cup of chickpeas- 14.5 grams of protein                                                                                                      1 medium egg- 5.5 grams of  protein

1 cup of lentils- 17.9 grams of protein                                                                                                          2 oz of roasted chicken- 15.3 grams of protein

1 cup of soybeans- 28.6 grams of protein                                                                                                          2 oz of ground beef- 10.6 grams of protein

1/2 cup of tofu-19.9 grams of protein                                                                                                              3/4 oz of cheddar cheese- 5.3 grams of protein

1/4 cup of almonds-7.4 grams of protein                                                                                                           2 oz broiled or baked cod- 12.9 grams of protein

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds- 8 grams of protein                                                                                                2 oz baked or broiled salmon- 15.5 grams of protein

1/2 cup of brown rice- 4.5 grams of protein

Anyone find it amazing that beef contains less than half the protein of soybeans?!?!

And the BEST part….. there is NO cholesterol is plant food…. NONE!! Dietary cholesterol ONLY comes from animal products!

So next time you are asked the question… “where do you get your protein”?  Answer…. where DON’T I get it!!! Other than animals that is….. 🙂

Also take note, that a “well planned” plant based diet, does offer us all 9 of the essential amino acids that must be supplied by our diet.

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