Celebrate Earth Day, Go Vegan!

 

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I’ve been hearing lots of people talking about Earth Day, and the truth is, I honestly feel as though my diet and lifestyle celebrate the Earth and all of her beauty every day. Since I have a plant-based diet, I know I am making healthier choices for myself and leaving kinder footsteps on the Earth. Plus, I’m pretty sure that animals are very happy that I love to play with them and not eat them :).

I believe that one of the best ways that we can take care of ourselves and our planet is to cut down on our meat consumption. In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund states that, “if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads” – wow! Imagine what participating in Meatless Monday might do. Or, better yet, going meat-free for an entire week. Or forever! There is no denying that a vegetarian diet would save countless lives and help save the environment.

If you are interested in knowing how a vegan diet may benefit your health, read about Loma Linda University’s Adventist Health Study-2. The study started in 2002 and followed 69,120 Seventh-day Adventists; what’s special about this study is that people were divided into several categories (non-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan) based on their responses to a questionnaire that asked them how often they eat over 200 different kinds of food, so researchers were really able to determine how certain foods affect our health. In the end, researchers concluded that vegans have an overall reduced cancer risk – yay! Vegetarians had less gastrointestinal cancer, especially among lacto-ovo-vegetarians (those who do not consume any meat products, but eat dairy and eggs); and there were less cases of female specific cancers in the vegan group. I would also encourage everyone to read T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health. I could go on and on about the health benefits of veganism, but I want to share more on how eating meat is hurting us and our planet.

We are currently using too many of our resources to feed livestock that are being bred for the sole purpose of consumption. These animals are confined to tiny cages and are forced to “live” in miserable, filthy, inhumane conditions. The majority of meat sold in stores comes from factory farms, so if you eat chicken, eggs, beef, turkey, and/or pork, you are contributing to the suffering of animals and to the increase in greenhouse-gas emissions that we have been experiencing for years. In fact, PETA reports that, “a German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse-gas emissions as a vegan’s diet is” – that’s crazy!

If you’ve been thinking about reducing your meat and dairy consumption, consider making a delicious, vegan smoothie for breakfast. Enjoy a yummy veggie burger or scrumptious tempeh bowl or even a chickpea salad for lunch, and a vegan quiche, shepherd’s pie, sushi, sautéed Brussels sprouts, green beans, tortilla soup, or roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. If you think you’ll miss all of your favorite foods, enjoy these vegan nachos with friends and/or family members for a delicious appetizer. Last night I made vegan chocolate covered strawberries and they were amazing! I meant to make them for Easter, but I felt that we had so much food already, so I waited to have more treats later and they were worth it! I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and the organic strawberries that I bought from the farmers’ market on Sunday. I wish that I would have taken a picture, but they were gone so quickly after my boyfriend and I made them! I used to have such a sweet tooth, but after switching to a cleaner, plant-based diet that’s filled with fresh, healthy foods, I indulge in sweets on special occasions, instead of constantly reaching for chocolate like I used to.

I have lots of people in my life who love ice cream, so I set out on a hunt to find a vegan ice treat that’s not filled with GMOs, artificial colors/flavors, and other junk. I discovered Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss and it’s amazing! I know that some people think that vegan foods are bland, but that’s just not true. I want people to explore more plant-based options, and it’s important to me that people enjoy what they’re eating.

Since I am a Health Coach and I believe in the healing power of food, remember to fill your plate with lots of greens, such as organic kale, organic spinach, broccoli, collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and more. Explore new whole grains such as organic quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, organic brown Jasmine rice, and much more. Make smoothies, eat lots of fruit when it’s in season, and indulge in your favorite veganized treats every once in a while. You will feel so much lighter, healthier, refreshed, and at peace knowing that you are doing what’s best for yourself and the environment. Start slowly. Skip the eggs and bacon for breakfast and have a smoothie, oatmeal, beans and rice, miso soup, or something else that you would enjoy. Instead of getting a beef burrito from Chipotle, try a vegan bowl filled with brown rice, beans, vegetables, guacamole, and salsa. Have a bbq with tons of veggies and skip the meat. It’s easier than you think. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Happy Earth Day!

Meditate with Oprah and Deepak Chopra!

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Oprah and Deepak Chopra are offering another FREE 21-day meditation! I have absolutely loved all of their 21-day meditations so far, and I am so excited that I can participate in another one. The theme for this meditation is, “Finding Your Flow.” We are on day 4, and so far, the meditation topics have been:

Day 1: Finding Security

Day 2: Finding Happiness

Day 3: Finding Power

Day 4: Finding Love

Oprah starts each meditation with some words of wisdom, and then Deepak Chopra leads us into the meditation. I wish I could meditate with these two amazing people every day! I cannot emphasize enough how much this experience is truly healing. Whether you want to calm your mind, learn how to meditate, unwind, relax, restore your faith in yourself, the world, your body’s natural healing process, this is the way to do it.

Join me on this incredible journey and share your experience with me in the comments below.

P.S.

I met Deepak Chopra at Lyfe Kitchen in Culver City and can’t wait to share that experience with you all soon. Xo

P.P.S.

The gorgeous lily pictured above is from the Motor Avenue Farmers’ Market that I go to on Sundays. I have a table there that is packed with helpful handouts, recipes, and special offers for my Health Coaching services. I picked up the lilies on Sunday and they are so beautiful! Stop by and talk to me, get some flowers, enjoy a relaxing, healthy, peaceful Sunday, and share your meditation stories with me!

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program

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I am excited to share that for the past several months I have been working with the Culver-Palms Family YMCA! After giving a few health and wellness workshops, I was asked to become a  member of the Healthy Lifestyles Committee and to help bring the amazing Diabetes Prevention Program to the Culver-Palms Family YMCA. In the time that I have been here, I have given more workshops, spoken to members about how they can make healthier food choices, encouraged people to try new fitness classes, and much more. Additionally, I am so happy to share that our Diabetes Prevention Program will start in September!

In case you haven’t heard, The American Diabetes Association reports that in the United States, in 2012, 29.1 million people had diabetes; 21.0 million people were diagnosed, while 8.1 million people had diabetes, but didn’t know it. Additionally, 86 millions Americans have prediabetes. Wow! These statistics are alarming, especially because complications that arise from having diabetes include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and nervous system disease.

Thankfully, there are many ways to help prevent and in some cases even reverse type 2 diabetes. I am proud to say that the YMCA has been doing an excellent job of providing people with lots of information on how to stay healthy and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is supported by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance on a nation-wide level and is also part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.

The YMCA’s year-long Diabetes Prevention Program starts with 16 weekly sessions and is then followed by 8 monthly maintenance sessions. At the Culver-Palms YMCA, participants will meet with me. This is a weight-loss program and we do want our participants to lose 7 percent of their body weight. If you join the program, you will have tons of information, support, and guidance. Since this will take place in a group setting, members will be able to reach out to people who completely understand what it’s like to need to lose weight, eat healthier foods, and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As this is a prevention program, people who already have diabetes do not qualify to join. However, I feel strongly that everyone should receive assistance, so if you already have diabetes, please contact me for more information on other programs that are right for you.

During the course of the Diabetes Prevention Program, members will learn how to stay motivated, be active, manage stress, eat less, make better food choices, and much more. If you are interested in joining this program, you must be 18 years of age or older and have a BMI of 25 or more (unless you are Asian or Pacific Islander, in which case your BMI must be 22 or greater); some participants will need lab values from their doctors (such as their A1c levels, fasting plasma glucose, 2-hour plasma glucose, and/or confirmation of having had Gestational Diabetes (GDM) during previous pregnancy).

I am so excited to be a part of such a wonderful, generous, positive, inspiring community. I truly feel right at home, here at the Culver-Palms Family YMCA. If you’d like to sign up for our Diabetes Prevention Program, be sure to take this risk assessment quiz, and contact me for more information at christinatanios@ymcala.org. I am looking forward to working with you!

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