Vegan Household

Eco Lunch Boxes. Tri-Bento Giveaway with Dipper Snack Container! Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas

DSC_0011The Tri-Bento Lunch box. Yes you can have vegan mac & cheese (coming on the blog in 2014), a lovely little salad, some honeycrisp apples and homemade cashew yogurt (also coming on the blog in 2014) on the go.

I first found Eco Lunch Boxes while I was searching for unique and beautiful cloth napkins to feature in my food photography (If you follow this blog, you know that’s about as detailed as it gets when I come to props). And boy do they ever have gorgeous ones! Their hand printed textiles are made by artisans and come in so many designs and colors.

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I also happened to be looking for a lunchbox, that was, ahem, dog proof. My dog is a sweetheart, but my kids aren’t good about putting backpacks or lunchboxes away when they come home from school and I can’t count the number of lunchboxes our pup has chewed through when we weren’t looking. Too bad the lunchboxes don’t come with a tracking device. This model is currently somewhere at my kids school.

DSC_0002The  Eco Lunch Tray

There are so many options for lunchboxes on their site with various shapes and sizes to suite your individual needs. As the company name suggests, the lunchboxes are super environmentally friendly! The stainless steel bentos, lunch boxes & artisan lunchbags are plastic-free, waste-free, BPA-free, PVC-free, petroleum-free and vinyl-free. They also offer stainless steel utensils, stainless steel straws and pretty artisan knapsacks on the site here.

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The Tri-Bento Three Tiered Lunch Container, all wrapped up in its lovely Persimmon Cloth Cover

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This is the Giveaway Package a lucky winner will receive from Eco-Lunch Boxes. The Tri-Bento Three Tiered lunch container with a beautiful Cloth Cover, plus the Eco Dipper Snack Container.

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Lunch all ready to go! For those of you who take lunch to work or have children that take lunch to school, you need these awesome lunchboxes! Head on over to Eco Lunch Boxes to get something for yourself or for your child!

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Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Sunday December 22nd!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 23rd of December. GO!!

Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle MagazineDay 2: Free Case of Butler Soy CurlsDay 3: Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card and Free Messenger BagDay 4: Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder or Product of Choice GiveawayDay 5: Tropical Traditions 1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway. Day 6: Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, Allergy Free & Vegan Recipes. Cookbook Giveaway. Day 7: Extraordinary Vegan Cookbook Giveaway. Day 8: Emaline Delapaix, Music Download GiveawayDay 9: Jazzy Vegetarian Classics Cookbook Giveaway. Day 10: Bring Joy Totes & Field Roast Celebration RoastDay 11: Elianni Huge Gluten-Free Vegan Gift Box.

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats. Allergy-Free and Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery. Plus, Sunflower Buttercup Brownies. Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas

DSC_0004Sunflower Buttercup Brownies, pg. 49

I love reviewing cookbooks and this book is incredible for those who are gluten-free or have food allergies. Debbie Adler, the author of this cookbook was all ready running a successful California bakery, Sweet Debbie’s when she discovered that her young son had many life-threatening food allergies. She revamped her menu to make her bakery a safe haven for anyone with food allergies. It made her business boom! Who wouldn’t want these treats? These recipes contain no soy, gluten, eggs, dairy, refined sugars, soy or nuts. Yet they still taste incredibly delicious!

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I have multiple friends who suffer from serious food allergies or who have children who do. While my family isn’t affected by these issues (so far, knock on wood) My own children, just being vegan, all ready have issues regarding food when they attend parties, sporting events, school functions and more. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be to eat ANYWHERE when major food allergies are involved.

DSC_0006Gourmet Dark Chocolate Mesquite Brownies, pg. 39

I’ve become resourceful. We bring our own food to most events and some to share so others can taste how good vegan food is. This book is excellent for those who need to provide their own treats for themselves and their children, or for anyone who wants to have allergy free food for their guests.

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Sunflower Buttercup Brownies

“Reprinted from SWEET DEBBIE’S ORGANIC TREATS by Debbie Adler. Published by Harlequin. Copyright Debbie Adler 2013.”

Must Have:

  • 24 mini paper baking cups
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (Debbie’s special blend is on page 13)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon stevia powder
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (Debbie’s sunflower butter recipe is on page 11)
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (Debbie’s allergy free chocolate chip recipe on page 12)

Must do: 

1- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin with mini paper baking cups.

2- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.

3- Add the grapeseed oil, applesauce, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia and stir to combine. Next add the sunflower seed butter and stir to combine. Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chips.

4- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups to the top and each with the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

5- Bake the buttercups for 18-20 minutes or until they are a light golden brown and bounce back slightly to the touch.

6- Transfer the muffin tin form the oven to a wire rack and let sit for about 15 minutes before removing the buttercups to cool completely.

Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

sweet-debbies-organic-treats-cookbookBuy the paperback copy of the book on Amazon here or get the Kindle edition for just $9.99 here!

Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday December 20th!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 23rd of December. GO!!

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Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle MagazineDay 2: Free Case of Butler Soy CurlsDay 3: Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card and Free Messenger Bag. Day 4: Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder or Product of Choice Giveaway. Day 5: Tropical Traditions 1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway.

Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card + Free Messenger Bag! Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas

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I’m so excited about this day three Giveaway! Alternative Outfitters is offering one of my lucky readers a $25 gift card and a Free Messenger Bag! If you haven’t all ready heard of Alternative Outfitters, you’re going to love their store! Everything is 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free, but with awesome pricing that you may not find at some of the other online vegan boutiques! Vegan, Hip and Affordable, what’s not to love!?! Plus right now there are new specials going on every week!

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Here’s that cute canvas messenger bag!

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Alternative Outfitters has shoes, clothing, handbags, vegan beauty products and so much more for men and women.

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Enter the giveaway! And in the meantime, hop on over there to get something special for yourself or for your favorite vegan here!

For a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday December 16th!  I will notify the winner by email on Tuesday the 17th of December. GO!!

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Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle Magazine. Day 2: Free Case of Butler Soy Curls.

13 steps for the Prevention and Natural Treatment of Female Urinary Tract Infections

natural medicineLet me start out this post with a disclaimer: I am not professionally or medically trained in any way, shape or form. The prevention and treatment plan here is derived from my own personal experiences with Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s).

This treatment plan works best if followed at the very first sign of a UTI. If after following the treatments here for 24 hours, your symptoms have not drastically improved, please immediately schedule an appointment with your health practitioner.

Prevention:

1- Always drink plenty of water (8 glasses daily)

2- When going to the bathroom, always wipe front to back (logically, this keeps bacteria out of the urethra)

3- When traveling, and sitting for long periods of time, take as many bathroom, standing and walk breaks as you can.

4- Wear breathable undergarments. Tight and synthetic materials are more likely to help harbor bacteria.

5- Eat a High Alkaline Diet, people with acidic systems are more prone to UTI’s.

6- Use the bathroom straightaway after intimacy with your partner, not fun, but neither are infections.

7- If possible, shower rather than bathe, sitting in water with microscopic bacteria/using bubble baths/oils can all increase the incidence of UTI’s.

Treatment:

Use the following treatment method until your symptoms completely resolve.

8- Drink plenty of CLEAR unsweetened fluids, meaning you can see through the liquid, and I don’t mean Diet Coke or Sprite. Water is your best friend here.

9- Up your dosage of Vitamin C, I use 3-6 Emergen-C packets (for instant absorption into the body) daily during an infection, the Super Orange is vegan. One medical Doctor I saw said that vitamin C helps to prohibit bacteria from sticking to the lining of the bladder and urethra. I find it’s super effective.

10- There’s evidence that cranberries and blueberries also work in the same way as the vitamin C does for UTI’s, however, many juices are highly sweetened AND or mixed with other fruit juices and will likely do more harm then good, find unsweetened cranberry juice, cranberry powder or cranberry tablets and eat whole blueberries.

11- Make this Urinary Alkalizer and keep it in your medicine cabinet for when you need it. It IMMEDIATELY reduces symptoms and starts to provide relief:

  • 1/4 C. Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid (find it your health food store or buy it online) leave it out if you can’t find it.
  • 1 drop each of lemon, lime and orange essential oil (I use Doterra essential oils since they are medicinal grade)
  • Stevia to sweeten (alkaline sweetener derived from natural sources) I use Truvia brand and would use 4 packets for this recipe.

In a small bowl, stir the formula together with a wire whisk. Store in a lidded glass jar. This mixture will fizz when you add it to water. Use 1/2 teaspoon in 2-4 ounces of water every couple of hours until you start to feel relief. This formula is based on a Urinary Alkalizer I used to buy when I lived in Australia, sadly, nothing like it is available in the U.S.

12- Avoid the following foods during treatment: caffeine in any form, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods, onion, bell pepper or hot pepper of any color or variety, tomatoes. My urologist mentioned these foods can aggravate and prolong the infection. Obviously whole foods instead of processed foods are best for your body as well.

13- I highly recommend essential oils for additional treatment (extra protection and less likeliness for the need of antibiotics). During a recent camping trip I contracted a UTI and fought it off with oils alone (something I’d never attempted before). If you use essential oils, you can use the following blend several times a day in veggie caps (internal) and on your abdomen and bottoms of your feet (external) for treatment for a UTI.  Mix 10 drops frankincense, 10 drops on guard and 6 drops oregano in a glass dropper oil vial. Again, I use Doterra essential oils since they are medicinal grade. Mix more essential oil UTI formula as needed for treatment.

Now, you might want to know why I consider myself a near expert on this subject: I’ve always had issues with urinary tract infections (UTI’s) starting when I was a teenager. I’ve probably had upwards of 40 infections in my life. Many years ago, I discovered I only have one kidney, a condition aptly called “solitary kidney” it’s a genetic abnormality, I was born that way. I found out about my solitary kidney through an ultrasound during a time when doctors were doing testing because I had suffered from 8 urinary tract infections within 3 months time. I was put on massive doses of antibiotics and was told I would need to take antibiotics for a full year in order to resolve my recurrent issue (That’s also the point in time in my life that triggered me to start using alternative medicine) I was also poked and prodded with multiple tests (including that ultrasound, and other more uncomfortable tests). Anyway, since I’ve only got the one kidney and urinary tract infections lead to bladder infections – which lead to kidney infections, I had to figure out how to protect my precious kidney, since I don’t have a backup.

I’ve learned through extensive study, naturopaths and plenty of MD visits how to prevent and treat urinary tract infections for myself. Since following these steps, UTI’s have become a very rare occurrence for me and when I do start to feel one coming on, I’m able to fight it head on and quickly every time without the use of antibiotics.

I hope this information will be helpful to you, since nearly every woman I know has had a urinary tract infection at one point or another. If you are unsure about whether or not you have an infection, you can read a list of symptoms here. It’s more rare for men to contract this type of  infection than women, but it does occur. In men, the condition is called bacterial prostatitis. I’m not aware of whether or not these prevention and treatment methods work as well for males as they do for females, but following the prevention and treatment steps can’t hurt.

Celebrating 100 Posts!

It’s a good day all around, this post marks my 100th post since I started this blog in September 2012. I’m feeling all kinds of love and support! Thanks to all of you. Today I got twitter follows from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall and a Hospital!?! I also got featured on the brand new site, Choose Veg. Feeling happy and blessed. Here’s a look back at 99 posts, in no particular order.

Chow Down

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A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Film Director Julia Grayer asking me to review her movie, “Chow Down” on my blog. It’s not often I get an email from a film director (okay, so this was the first time). I was flattered and more than happy to take the time to share this review with you.

The Usual Suspects:

Usual SuspectsProminent Authorities from the plant-based community star in this film

Dr. Caldwell EsselstynAuthor of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Also known as the Physician that turned former President, Bill Clinton, into a vegan. 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The Nutritarian Doctor. His book,Eat to Livemay be the greatest weight loss book ever written.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Author ofThe China Study“, the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted in relation to diet, cancer and disease.

Dr. Neal Barnard, President and founder of the PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) and author of many health books.

The Story Line:

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Three very sick patients adopt a plant-based diet in order to overcome their serious health issues. I want you to watch the film, so I won’t give you the outcomes (you can guess it’s gonna be good, eh?) Let’s just say the evidence that diet can reverse disease is overwhelming to the affirmative.

The Discussion:

Here’s some obstacles to eating plant-based that are brought up by characters in the film. I don’t feel like these obstacles were adequately addressed or solved when the film finished, to the point that those who watch the film may not be willing to give a plant-based diet a try. I thought you might like to chime in with me regarding these ideas:

Chow DownDoesn’t taste good? Wrong!

1- Eating a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet is hard/doesn’t taste good/and is limiting.

I eat a greater variety of foods and prepare more flavorful meals then I have ever done in my life since adopting a plant-based diet. If it doesn’t taste good, you’re doing it wrong.

2- It costs too much.

Maybe. I admit I spend more on groceries now than I used to. However, the additional amount I’m spending costs me far less than the monthly medications I used to have to take. It also costs less than health care for cancer, heart disease or diabetes. 

3- I can’t do it because I don’t have a support system.

Bull. Even if you don’t personally know anyone else following a plant-based diet, you can get online and find support groups. Hey, I even belong to two on facebook. Dr. McDougall and Dr. Barnard also have fantastic plans for starting out.

4- My family won’t eat a plant-based diet with me.

Um, my family does. Yours can too. Start with plant-based reproductions of the meals you’re used to eating. Help to educate your family about the benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet.  My family begs me for green smoothies and even my youngest will eat most anything I prepare. We’re in it together and we love it. It may take some time, but your family can love it too.

Watch the Movie and Join the Conversation:

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It’s available to watch free here on Hulu. Or you can watch it on Amazon Prime here without commercials for $2.99. It’s also available for purchase on Amazon here.

V-Dog Review and Sample Giveaway

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Lucky has a Giveaway for your dog!

It’s been a week since our first shipment of V-dog arrived! From day one, it was clear that Lucky preferred V-dog to his other up-market brand dog food. Hardly a surprise since most commercial dog food is greasy and smelly. V-dog smells fresh, because it is! He loves the breath bones too (we love them even more, his breath is totally fresh after eating them)!  More importantly though, adjustment has been easy and Lucky hasn’t experienced any gastrointestinal upset or problems with the switch!

Since V-dog was kind enough to send us 2 five-pound bags of dog food to review, we want to share with you. I was gonna give the second bag to one lucky winner, but what’s the fun in that? I know lots of you want to try it. So, we are breaking up the second bag to send out samples to the first 10 20 comments here that request a sample! If I get more requests than that, we’ll see what we can work out ;) Requests only for followers of this blog within the U.S. please.

Update: I’ve received far more than 20 requests and cannot accept any more. Sorry!

IntroDid I mention the bag is compostable?

Why switch to V-dog?

Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward gave me permission to share part of this article of his:

As a long-time vegetarian vet, I’m often asked whether I feed my pets meat. I’m never certain whether it’s an honest question or an attempt to trip me up. It’s similar to being asked, “If you don’t eat meat, where do you get your protein?”

My protein comes from the same place the animals people eat happen to get theirs — plants.

Can Your Cat or Dog Be Vegetarian or Vegan?

The simple answer is that dogs can do just fine on a carefully balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, while cats cannot. Sure, you can try to work around the whole cats-are-obligate-carnivores thing by supplementing certain synthetic amino acids, but it gets tricky — not to mention dangerous to the cat’s health.

So the answer is yes for dogs, but no for cats.

The comment that I most often hear after I state that dogs can be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet is that canines do better on a meat-based diet. Again, I’m not going to argue. There aren’t any studies that I’m aware of that have compared longevity and disease occurrence in dogs who’ve been fed meat versus canines on vegetarian diets.

Interestingly, one of the world’s oldest dogs, Bramble, who lived to a reported 27 years old in the U.K., was never fed an ounce of meat by her strictly vegan owner.

Ingredients

Still not convinced? Check out the ingredient list above. It’s human grade people!

After lots more research, this particular article really pushed me over the edge: Article used with permission from V-dog:

Vegetarian Diets Can Be Healthy for Dogs

by Dr. Armaiti May, D.V.M., C.V.A.
For both ethical and health reasons, many vegetarians and vegans choose to feed their companion dogs vegetarian or vegan diets. Up to 50 % of commercial pet food brands are comprised of “meat meal” and “byproducts,” which include various body parts (such as beaks, brain, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, intestinal tracts) slaughterhouse wastes, 4-D meat (from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals), supermarket rejects, as well as rendered dogs and cats from animal shelters. Other contaminants which have been found in commercial pet foods include old restaurant grease containing high concentrations of dangerous free radicals and trans fatty acids; PCBs, heavy metals and other toxins, particularly from fish; bacterial, protozoal, fungal, viral, and prion contaminants, along with their associated endotoxins and mycotoxins; hormone and antibiotic residues; and dangerous preservatives.
Many speculate that the increase in incidences of cancers, kidney failure, and other degenerative diseases in our companion animals recently may be due to the harmful ingredients in many commercial meat-based pet foods. This has led people to feed alternative diets. Dogs can be healthy and in fact, thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as all necessary nutrient requirements are met. Dogs are biologically omnivorous, but can adapt well to a plant-based diet which meets all their nutritional needs.

SmileLucky loves V-dog!

The final convincing: one of my Facebook friends, Veterinarian Dr. Michael Roth (Veggivet) mentioned to me that he feeds his own dogs V-dog.

There are other vegan dog foods on the market, but V-dog is the only fully vegan dog food company. To learn more about their company, please visit their site here.

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….and I’ve got no doubts your dog will eat it, love it and thrive on it!

Update: I’ve received far more than 20 requests and cannot accept any more. Sorry!