A few months ago, we asked VegKitchen readers to cast their vote for author, animal advocate, educator, and all-around amazing woman Victoria Moran in PETA’s annual Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest. And what do you know (but no surprise to us), she won! To find out more about her latest venture and adventures since, we sat down for this virtual interview with Victoria.
VegKitchen: You’ve accomplished so much within and outside of the vegan realm, with your many published books, the Vegan Academy, and your latest feat of having been named PETA’s Sexiest Vegan over 50 in the female category. How has having this title benefited your other endeavors, and what do you hope to accomplish with this platform? more→
A Southerner’s perception of ‘being Southern’ varies drastically from person to person, region to region, state to state, and SEC team to SEC team. To me, being southern means growing up next to one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world and near pasture fields far from busy towns or cities. To some of my friends, being southern means a cold beer and shotguns trump fancy venues in fancy cities. Everyone has a different opinion. However, few people pass through Dixie without sampling some of the available culinary art, and it is art. Needless to say, being vegan in a southern city isn’t the norm. With a bag of flour and a few sticks of butter, my great grandmother could whip up a meal fit for the Queen of England. She passed this magical talent on to my grandmother and her sisters, but now my own cooking preferences, as well those of a growing number around me, center more on vegetables. more→
Stop it, stop it right now. Stop whatever you’re doing and listen. It’s time to go on a road trip — that vegan foodie-friendly road trip you’ve been dreaming about for months.
You’ll see some sights, jam to your favorite songs, go on a hike, discover a new city on your bike and, most importantly, try the local grub. If you’re serious about planning a vacation around your vegan values, send this tips to your friends and start packing. more→
It’s safe to say that most fibromyalgia sufferers would love to discover a miracle cure for the illness—or at least something that would provide significant symptom relief. While the medical and scientific communities still look for a surefire cure, following a vegan diet appears to offer substantial relief of fibromyalgia symptoms.
What is a Vegan Diet and What Can You Eat?
Many people define a vegan diet by what you’re not allowed to eat: namely, any products of animal origin. That includes meat, eggs and dairy products, but also less obvious sources like gelatin and honey. Some vegans also avoid white sugar because it is bleached in animal bones.
But a vegan diet is really just one that relies primarily on plant-based matter like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Although it can be challenging to follow such a diet, particularly if you frequently have to travel or eat in restaurants, the popularity and accessibility of products like soy milk and restaurants (such as Chipotle or Subway) where you can customize your own meal make it easier than ever to make a vegan diet very doable.
Health Benefits of Vegan Diets
Plant-based vegan diets have known benefits for many health conditions. Former President Bill Clinton famously adopted a mostly-vegan diet after undergoing emergency heart surgery. Researchers have already seen that vegan diets have positive benefits in managing heart conditions, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome that is a precursor to diabetes.
Vegan diets may be beneficial in treating fibromyalgia because plant-based foods are unlikely to cause inflammation, which can lead to pain and all-over soreness. Vegan, plant-based foods are also more likely to give you energy, which can help to counteract the fatigue that is common in fibromyalgia.
Drs. John McDougall and Dean Ornish have both created comprehensive diet programs that are low in fat and high in plant-based foods. As part of their research and the outcomes of those who follow their diets, they have discovered that a long list of health conditions are substantially improved by avoiding high-fat, animal-based foods.
The Right Kind of Vegan Diet
Following a vegan diet is not just about avoiding animal foods like meat and dairy. Many of us have known “junk food vegans” who still manage to avoid animal foods but don’t include many fruits and vegetables. The wide variety of processed foods means that it is now possible to follow a completely vegan diet that would still be considered unhealthy. If you don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables, a vegan diet can actually be worse for your health than one that includes meat and dairy. While it is entirely possible and realistic to follow a vegan diet and to be much healthier than someone who eats meat and dairy products, the nutrient content in vegan junk foods is usually just as poor as it is in traditional junk foods.
The desired outcome of following a vegan diet is that it can provide the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Proper nutrition can actually heal your body from many health conditions, including fibromyalgia. Look to the purest foods that nature has to offer and you will almost certainly feel better, even if it’s not a complete cure.
Residents of the Hudson Valley are already lucky to have Lagusta’s Luscious, a vegan confectionary, located in the heart of New Paltz. Creative and delectable, this radical take-out confection shop at 25 North Front Street also features Sweet Maresa’s melt-in-your mouth vegan macarons. What I’m excited to tell you about is the opening of Commissary! — the exclamation point is part of the name, as it should be — at 11 Church Street in downtown New Paltz. more→
Summer is the perfect time to hit the road and get away from it all, while visiting new places and having new experiences. However, a traditional road trip isn’t always easy when you are vegan.
Finding food you can eat while traveling the country can be difficult, as is finding fun vegan and animal-friendly destinations along the way. The secret to any successful road trip is planning, so before you hit the road, consider these great vegan-friendly vacation destinations that have a lot to offer. more→
You are serious about doing everything you can to prevent cruelty to animals. In addition to eating a plant-based diet, you are devoted to furnishing your home and taking care of your body with animal-free products.
But you know how hard shopping for personal care items can be. You know how it feels to stand in the beauty aisle with all of the shampoo, lotion, makeup and cleaning products and not knowing how to choose. To help you maintain the cruelty-free life, check out the following resources: more→
If you want to be alert in the morning, step away from the caffeine. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports caffeine can cause negative effects such as increased heart rate and breathing rate, nausea, sweating and diarrhea–not great conditions to have during that early morning meeting. It can also delay the timing of your body sleep clock, disrupting your sleep and making you feel groggy the next day. As your body develops a tolerance for caffeine, higher amounts are needed to feel any energy benefits, which wear off more quickly. Addiction to caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, bad moods and low energy when it’s not constantly being consumed.
If you add any sugars or calorie-laden mixers to your caffeine-filled drinks like coffee, and caffeine taken in the morning becomes more unhealthy. Use these four tips to energize your morning naturally, with no negative side effects.
Eat A Well-Balanced Breakfast
Even if you don’t typically find yourself hungry when you wake up, prioritize a nutritious early-morning meal. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports breakfast provides energy for morning activities, contributes to increased concentration and prevents low energy in the afternoon.
Protein from sources such as tofu, such as in tofu scrambled “eggs,” helps sustain energy over long periods of time and is essential for any work involving physical activity. Complex carbohydrates in whole grains fuel stamina, while fruits and vegetables deliver essential daily vitamins to ensure your body works at peak performance.
Stimulate Your Mind
Get your mind working before heading to work with fun mental activities. Create some ready-made free word puzzles to work on while you eat breakfast. Read a daily newspaper. Notch in a chapter of a book or take in a magazine article.
You could also use morning time to get in an ideal state of mind by writing down essential tasks to be completed for the day to stay focused. List out three goals you have for the day, such as spending one hour outside with your kids, solidifying a meeting with your boss or dedicating time to working on a painting. Writing down a few things you’re grateful for helps positively boost your mood and makes you feel invigorated about being alive.
Drink Lots Of Water
The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking at least nine to 13 cups of water per day, depending on gender. Get a headstart on drinking your daily amount by consuming a couple glasses in the morning.
Staying hydrated flushes out toxins and keeps your body working optimally to perform daily functions. The Mayo Clinic reports even mild dehydration can cause tiredness, which is why stocking up in the morning is beneficial in case your day gets busy.
Exercising in the morning may seem counterintuitive, but instead of making you tired early on, it provides bursts of energy throughout your day and boosts your metabolism. From getting limber through yoga stretching to going for a swim or a jog, exercising immediately delivers feel-good endorphins and boosts serotonin, elevating mood.
Regular exercise throughout the week also increases endurance and builds muscle strength, benefiting overall energy and giving you the power to work optimally long after you’ve exercised. Pair exercise with a daily duty such as walking the dog, and you’ll be able to check something off your to-do list and alleviate extra stress throughout the day.
Pair these practices with waking up at the same time every day to get your body used to a regular sleep and wake schedule. Exposing yourself to natural sunlight is also a stimulant for your brain’s internal clock that stops the production of sleepiness-inducing melatonin. Draw back the curtains, and say hello to your day.