Thanksgiving has always been a special day in our house. Once we became vegan, our menu was mostly the same, simply veganized and minus the turkey. Over the years we've tried a wide variety of turkey substitutes, but our absolute favorite is the Gardein Holiday Roast.

gardein holiday roast

It is supposed to serve 8, but even though we cut it into 8 slices, we wind up eating two of them at one serving, so for us, it serves 4. The package even comes with two pouches of some pretty good gravy, eliminating the need to make your own.

Last year we found it at our local grocery store, where we can also find a wide variety of other Gardein products. This year, they didn't carry it, even though they've expanded their Gardein variety, but the store manager did offer to special order it for us. We were able to buy it at Sprouts, and it appears to be carried at many Target's here in southern California. Unfortunately it has also gone up in price (along with almost everything we are buying this year) from $11.99 to $13.99. We thinks it's a tad pricey, but we love it regardless. It is our Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

98 Year Old Vegan Doctor

This video is an interview with Dr. Ellsworth Wareham. Dr. Wareham is retired cardiothoracic surgeon. He retired when he was 95 years old. He is currently 98 years old. He is also a vegan.  He has been a vegan since his 50's.

He believes his healthful lifestyle contributes to his longevity, and he points to Loma Linda's Adventist Health Studies as evidence.

Dr. Ellsworth managed his weight by eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and then there's his philosophy of life.

Where to vegans get their protein from?

"Where do you get your protein from" This is the first question most vegans are asked. Our friend at presents a video which seeks to answer this question. She presents numerous protein sources for vegan.

"Despite the advertising hype from the meat and dairy industries, humans require an extraordinarily low amount of protein in their diets." - Dr. Douglas Graham

1200 calorie meal from a vegan weightlifter

A 1200 calorie meal with only 3 grams of fat and 50 grams of protein. He is a professional athlete. He suggests that most people only need 100 grams of protein per day. Check out this video.

How to become a vegan

If you are looking to become a vegan, here's a video from that offers you some nice tips and options which will help you to transition from being an omnivore to becoming a vegan.

21 cases of salmonella result in chia seed powder recall

chia-seeds Many of you are aware that we have discussed the issues regarding Vega's products. Below is an article from the Chicago Tribune about salmonella found in various powders, including chia seed powder. This has resulting in many recalls. Some of the products being recalled are from Navitas Naturals, Brands Williams-Sonoma Inc, Green Smoothie Girl and Health Matters. These recalls are voluntary.  According to the FDA, at least 21 people in different 12 states have been infected with salmonella this month. They are indicating that  the most likely reason for this is because of chia powder that they consumed. Here's the entire article: Salmonella has been found in a health food powder, spurring product recalls in the United States and the launch of a multistate health investigation, federal officials said on Friday. Chia seed powder, commonly used in smoothies and snacks for its nutritional value, has sickened at least 21 people across the United States "It is the first time that chia powder has been identified as a food that transmits salmonella," said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigator Dr. Laura Gieraltowski. Salmonella, the most common foodborne illness usually found in meat and egg products, sickens about 1.2 million people in the United States and results in 450 deaths each year, according to the CDC. The number of chia-linked salmonella outbreaks is extremely low compared with illnesses caused by other foods. However, the powder's long shelf life and small serving size could mean that more people are getting ill but do not realize it, Gieraltowski said. "People are just getting sick at a slower rate," Gieraltowski said. Last month, state and federal officials began investigating 11 reports of salmonella outbreaks across the United States that were eventually traced back to chia powder. Investigators identified two new strains of salmonella in the powder, named Hartford and Newport. Many of those sickened reported having vegan, vegetarian or largely organic diets, Gieraltowski said. They had a median age of 49. Chia powder, made from finely ground, sprouted chia seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has been made popular, in part, by a demand for gluten-free and health food products. While it is unknown how salmonella is transmitted trough chia seeds, sprouted seeds have been known to conduct salmonella and E. coli, she said. Some 34 additional infections tied to chia powder foods were recently reported in Canada, the CDC said in a statement. This month, Navitas Naturals brand expanded a voluntary recall, started in late May, of multiple nutritional powder products containing chia powder, the CDC said. Brands Williams-Sonoma Inc, Green Smoothie Girl and Health Matters America also launched recalls this month of chia products over salmonella concerns. source:

Meow Meow Tweet Relief Balm

meow meow tweetWhen I was a child, whenever I had a bad cold, mom would get out the Vicks VapoRub and rub it all over my chest and throat at bedtime so that I, and the rest of the family, would be able to get some sleep. As an adult, I hadn't used the stuff in many years, so I couldn't honestly say if it works or not. But mom used to swear by the stuff!

In the meantime, we'd been asked to review a vegan product called "Relief Balm" by Meow Meow Tweet. It came at the perfect time as I'd just come down with a cold. The Relief Balm had the eucalyptus/mint aroma redolent of the VapoRub of my childhood, but it was far less goopy (a big plus). Also, the ingredients do not contain petroleum jelly, but rather a mix of natural eco-friendly ingredients I feel more comfortable using.

I rubbed it under my nose and on my chest. My initial reaction was that it reminded me of the VapoRub, but it was much less pungent. That also means it didn't open up my nasal passages as much as I remember the VapoRub used to. But as I mentioned earlier, I hadn't used the original stuff in a long long time!

Meow Meow Tweet compares their relief balm to a Tiger Balm, but it had none of the warming effects I've felt using tiger balm. This product did nothing to ease any sore muscles in our household, but we'd never use VapoRub for muscle ache relief either.  I will try this out for a headache though as I find the mint aroma to be helpful when I've got a headache.

I would certainly recommend trying this for headache or cold relief, but at $18 (plus shipping) for a 1.5 ounce container, or $7 for the .25 oz mini size, we found it a bit pricy.

Meow Meow Tweet relief balm is available here:

Meow Meow Tweet has a line of vegan handcrafted personal products and candles:

Go Veggie and Spork Foods Tour Whole Foods

VEGA Doing a Promo at Whole Foods

Is there STILL a problem with the VEGA line of protein powder? Many of you have written in our prior article about VEGA to us expressing your concerns about the issues that you were continuing to have with their products.

While many of you have mentioned unpleasant experiences, Jane and I never had a physical reaction to the product; we just didn't care for it.

Today we stopped by the Whole Foods on Arroyo Pkwy in Pasadena to buy a case of Field Roast sausages. The folks at VEGA were doing a promotion for their products right in the middle of the checkout area. They were giving away free samples. For the reasons mentioned above, we didn't partake.


Have any of you been using their products? Have you had any issues?


12 Things You Need To Know Before Going Vegan

Below is an article from the Huffington Post that points out many of the issues that vegans encounter.
Veganism has come a long way: Once reserved for peace-loving hippies, interest in a totally animal-free diet is at an all-time high, with celebrities like Bill Clinton, Alicia Silverstone, Jay Z and Beyoncé leading the charge. But before you jump on the no-meat-eggs-or-dairy bandwagon, you should know what you're getting into. Here are 12 things to expect when you're going vegan.
Your friends and family will ask a lot of questions.
"People are very sensitive about their diets, especially when you challenge what they have always believed," says plant-based dietitian Julieanna Hever, RD, host of Veria Living's "What Would Julieanna Do?" "The best way to minimize conflict is to emphasize that you are going vegan for your own reasons and that it seems to work for you. In other words, make it about you, so nobody feels they need to defend their choices."
  • You'll likely need a B12 supplement.
    Vitamin B12 occurs naturally only in animal foods, so you'll want to stock up on a variety of B12-fortified foods as well as a B12 supplement. B12 keeps the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, so deficiencies can lead to tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss (the bad kind), nerve problems, and depression. To find out if you need to up your intake, ask your doctor for a simple blood draw.
  • ...And maybe an iron supplement, too.
    Iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme, which makes up about 40 percent of the iron in animal foods, is easily absorbed by the body. Vegan diets contain only non-heme, which is less readily absorbed, so you may need to ingest more iron if you want to get the same benefit, says New York City nutritionist Christian Henderson, RD. Good vegan iron sources include legumes, sunflower seeds, dried raisins and dark, leafy greens. Vitamin C-rich foods (think: red peppers, citrus and broccoli) aid iron absorption.
  • You'll have to find new protein sources.
    Every meal should contain protein, says vegan dietitian Valerie Rosser, RD. Proteins are the building blocks of life: they break down into amino acids that promote cell growth and repair. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get at least 0.8 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of body mass -- that's about 54 grams for a 150-pound woman. The best sources of vegan protein include natural soy, lentils, beans, quinoa and seitan, Rosser says.
  • You shouldn't replace animal products with junk.
    Swapping out meat for white bread, pasta and other packaged foods sets you up for failure on the vegan diet, says Rosser. "It's not a good idea to trade in animal products, which contain protein, vitamins and minerals, for processed foods that provide little nutritional value other than calories." The result: hunger, weight gain and a grumpier mood.
  • Take it easy on soy-based products.
    In general, critics overstate the dangers of soy and the promoters exaggerate its benefits. Though scientists are still arguing over the effects of soy on cancer and heart health, one thing is for certain: "Consuming too much soy-based vegan 'meat' is arguably worse than consuming high-quality animal products," says Henderson. Meat substitutes are often highly processed and loaded with sodium and preservatives, so read labels carefully. The healthiest sources of soy are miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk and edamame.
  • You don't have to make the switch at once.
    You won't just wake up one morning magically vegan. It takes work, so it should also take time, Henderson says. "Start by adding more plant-based foods to your diet, while at the same time cutting back on animal products, especially those that are non-organic, and more importantly processed, refined foods. Making gradual changes and assessing how you are feeling along the way is key," she says.
  • Be prepared to read food labels.
    If you're serious about being vegan, checking food labels and verifying ingredients is a must. "Just because a food product is not glaringly non-vegan doesn't mean that it's suitable for a vegan diet," Rosser says. Casein and whey, which come from milk, are present in many cereal bars, breads and granolas, while gelatin and tallow (also known as suet) are derived from meat. Then there's Natural Red 4 (also known as carmine, cochineal or cochineal extract), which is a food coloring derived from the dried bodies of female beetles. Head spinning yet? The Vegetarian Resource Group's list of common food ingredients can help.
  • You may feel happier.
    Animals won't be the only ones happy with your vegan move. So will you. One reason why: Compared to vegetarian diets, omnivorous ones contain more arachidonic acid, which can spur neurological changes that drag down mood, according to a 2012 Nutrition Journal study.
  • You won't have to ditch your favorite restaurants.
    Just as veganism is becoming more popular, so are vegan options on just about every restaurant's menu. Word to the wise: Even if your item of choice looks vegan, tell your waiter about your dietary restriction to ensure that no animal products are used to make your meal (think hidden butter or chicken stock), Henderson advises. And if you are up for trying an all-vegan restaurant, check out
  • It doesn't have to cost more.
    At $3 or more per pound, meat is one of the most expensive items in the grocery store, so saving big can be easy -- even if you are buying more produce than ever. Save even more by swapping some of your fresh produce for frozen.
  • Plants might cover your calcium needs.
    The NIH recommends that adults between the ages of 19 and 50 get a minimum of 1,000 mg of calcium a day, but preliminary research shows vegans may be able to get away with less than that. A European Journal study found that when vegans consumed at least 525 mg per day of calcium, their risk of bone fracture was no different than that of non-vegetarians with similar calcium intakes. The key is eating a variety of naturally calcium-rich foods such as kale, bok choy, almonds, soy beans, figs and navel oranges as well as calcium-fortified foods such as cereals, plant-based milks and tofu made with calcium sulfate, Henderson says. Bonus: soy, leafy greens and most fortified foods are also high in vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium.