Blogs

Elephant Journal covers a variety of topics from real people who are really honest about what they are going through.


Food

Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op and an amazing place to get very reasonably priced produce. The produce is delivered to a variety of locations on Saturdays. The conventional basket is only $15 and the organic is a $10 upgrade. You get seasonal produce and can purchase when you want—there is no long term commitment. They have lots of cool extras that you can add each week—some that I have purchased have been unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”), cases of corn, peaches, tomatoes and apricots. Again, these are at amazingly reasonable prices—even cheaper than the farmer’s market.

Sprout People is the best resource for sprouting seeds and to learn about everything related to sprouting--they are truly the experts. In our household, we always have some sprouts ready to harvest and try to incorporate them in our daily diet. Sprouts are nutritional powerhouses in a small package. Best thing about sprouting? You don't need a lot of space and can grow them virtually anywhere!


Kitchen gadgets

The Norwalk 280 is the Bentley of juicers and the one that is recommended by the Gerson Institute. This juicer is great because it doesn’t heat up the fruits and vegetables like some centrifugal juicers. Heat causes a loss of nutrients. It is a two step process to grind the produce and then use the hydraulic press to squeeze out all of the liquid. In addition to making juice, you can make your own flour and nut butter.

The Cuisinart EasyPop Popcorn Maker is amazing. You use just a small amount of oil and corn kernels and get freshly popped popcorn without the chemicals that are included in microwave popcorn. Plus kids love to watch it pop!

When I stumbled upon the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, my life totally changed. Now when I make blended soups, there is no need to transfer the soup to a blender any longer! This is a must have for every kitchen.

I adore Le Creuset enameled iron pots. They retain heat and are easy to clean. It is quite an investment to make but one that is good for your health as other non-stick pans can leach chemicals into your food.

If you are serious about cooking, you need a Blendtec High Speed Blender. It is a little less expensive than Vitamix and to be honest, I like the look a little better. This blender will stand the test of time—I have never had a problem with mine and it is at least 7 years old. You can make smoothies, sauces, blended soups, ice cream and many other things!

I have fallen in love with Lodge cast iron pans. Not only are they economical, but they are also non-stick free of chemicals that can get into your food. Using cast iron is the fool-proof way to cook tofu and pretty much everything else.

Oh Instant Pot, oh Instant Pot, your quick cooking times delight us. This is an electric pressure cooker that makes baked potatoes in 10 minutes and steel cut oats in 3 minutes. It also quickly cooks beans and rice along with a whole bunch of other things. If you struggle with making healthy meals because you lack time, this is the appliance for you.

I recently purchased the Presto Pure Soy Milk maker because I go through an awful lot of soy milk. This machine is incredibly simple--you soak the beans overnight, then drain, add the beans to the machine with water, press a button and in thirty minutes "Presto", you have soy milk. You can pour the milk through a nut milk bag to remove some of the fiber for super smooth milk.


Face Care

I love Thesis beauty products. They are organic and vegan and made of essential oils. Their Floral Facial Cleanser is made from clay and if you happen to have a breakout, this will dry it up immediately. For every day, I use their foaming face wash, followed by face toner and face serum I will say that my skin is so very soft and hydrated with their products.


Restaurants

Native Foods has locations in CA, CO and DC, so if you are visiting and see one of these casual restaurants, you need to drop in! Their food is all vegan and is homemade--no frozen stuff here. It would take forever for me to list the great things that I have had--but by trying a "favorite" you can't go wrong.

The Loving Hut is an international vegan chain. Each location has a different menu. I visit the Addison, TX location at least once a week and they have an Asian flair. The restaurant is clean, the food is fresh and delicious and the service is amazing! My favorite dish is Golden Millennium--which is pan fried tofu with a brown sauce made with mushrooms, cilantro, water chestnuts and carrots.

Spiral Diner is the Dallas/Ft.Worth answer to vegan comfort food. Lots of mock meats can be found here and 3 different types of veggie burgers! I love the nachos supreme and the meatball sub. Take your meat eating friends here and they will be total vegan converts.

Veggie Grill has locations on the West Coast and is a totally vegan restaurant that uses organic tofu/soy products and super grains. Eat here and you certainly won't miss meat and dairy.


Books

Healing with Whole Foods is an invaluable resource that combines Asian medicine with Western research. If you want to learn how to treat something holistically, this is the first resource to go to. 

Chi Running will teach you the most important aspects of good form in running so that you remain injury free. It is a great resource to visit again and again.

Running Injuries Treatment and Prevention was a total surprise when I picket it up at Half Price Books. The book is written very simply, but it is quite concise. I have used it with the runners that I coach and have been able to offer them advice about how to treat their injuries. The information is spot on!

Marathon Woman is Kathrine Switzer's story and the story of women's long distance running. Fascinating history.

The Gerson Therapy is based on the research of Dr. Max Gerson, who found that he could treat cancer through diet and more specifically juicing. If you have ever seen an interview with Charlotte Gerson (Max's daughter), you will actually hear her voice as you read because it is written just as she speaks. I know that if I was ever diagnosed with cancer, the Gerson Institute is the first place that I would go. Their research has been compiled over decades and is proven to work.

The China Study is a book based on the groundbreaking research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Read this book and you won't dispute that cancer diagnoses are closely related to the food that we eat. The book is very scientific but can be easily understood. This book prompted me to sign up to study at eCornell in Dr. Campbell's Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition.

How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger, the founder of NutritionFacts.org links nutrition research to the effect on health. He takes the top leading causes of death in the US and show you how to avoid them through nutrition and lifestyle.


Cookbooks

Asian Tofu is not a vegan cookbook but it gives precise instructions on how to make your own tofu--which is very important to me so that I can control the ingredients: organic soybeans and nigari. Don't be intimidated by the verbosity of the instructions. If you read them and keep the cookbook closeby, it is a breeze. My favorite recipe is the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. I make a batch of that and then stir fry some cabbage and hearts of palm and then pour it over thinly sliced pan fried extra firm tofu. Yum!

The Oh She Glows Cookbook has some real gems in it. She also has a great website. Ever wanted to try overnight oats? Her recipe is the best that I have tried.

Vegetable Literacy is like an encyclopedia that you MUST have in your kitchen. If you get produce from a CSA and are confused by what is in your box, this book will help you figure it out AND you will find many recipes that are awesome. I used to get fennel all of the time and I would stare at it in wonder. It is beautiful but what the heck do you do with it? The answer is Braised Fennel Wedges with Saffron and Tomato. You may just buy this book and read it cover to cover and be amazed at all that you learn. Not vegan but a must for any kitchen. 

Salad Samurai is hands down my absolute favorite cookbook. Terry Hope Romero has written a bunch of cookbooks and was a leader in creating vegan recipes. The recipe I have made the most is the Broccoli Peanut Lemongrass Rice Salad. Kids love it too and ask for it over and over again. My husband asks for it a few times a month. It is a crowd pleaser. Every recipe I have tried has been a winner: Tempeh Bacon Bites, Asparagus Pad Thai Salad, Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad, Herbed Pea Ricotta Tomatoes and Basil, Smokehouse Chickpeas 'n Greens Salad and Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado. I promise you that you won't be disappointed. 

Isa Does It is filled with amazing recipes that are easy and delicious! Her website is theppk.com which has even more gems. The Sunflower Mac was a huge and pleasant surprise. The sunflower "cheese" makes a huge batch that you can freeze and use later. Great for people that are allergic to nuts. The Cast Iron Stir Fry is another easy and quick dish that you can make with just about anything you have in the fridge. Isa was the one who taught me how to cook tofu well. Her instructions are spot on!

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is another encyclopedia that you should keep on hand. I tells you the best flavor pairings. If you find yourself looking in the fridge and the pantry and don't have a clue what to make, pick one of those ingredients and the look it up in the book. Add some other things that you have laying around and viola! You have a meal. 


Movies

Overfed & Undernourished is a film featuring Joe Cross that follows a young boy in his quest for wellness. Joe talks about eating foods that are closer to the sun in order to nourish our bodies--which makes a LOT of sense, after all, the sun is what causes things to grow and thrive. Processed food is so readily available and we mindlessly eat without thinking how our bodies will process it. We are also much less active than we have ever been due to spending so much time with our electronics. The young boy, Liam, makes a big change by going to live with his Aunt and Uncle for three months, where they eat a plant based diet and keep fit. It isn't easy for Liam, but he makes an amazing transformation in the 90 days, which result in some great health benefits.

Lunch Hour is a documentary about the US school lunch program. During the Great Depression, FDR needed to figure out what to do with the farming surplus and one of the answers was to give it to the schools. Even today, the US produces 2 times the amount of food that we need to feed our people and some of that surplus still goes to the schools. The sad thing is that it is not quality food and certainly many times it is unhealthy. The adults working at the school don't want to eat the food, and neither do the children. How can kids learn if they don't have the right nutrition going to their brains? The movie showcases a few schools in CA and NY that have decided to do something different and provide their children with real food that is loaded with nutrients. They spend time educating the children about what good nutrition is. Bottom line....get involved at your child's school because you can make a change.

Earthlings is a movie that many vegans credit with their transition to veganism. I have to admit that I did not “watch” it but could only listen, as I am disturbed by graphic images. I was already vegan at the time and didn’t need convincing. It is a movie that touches on all aspects of industries profiting from animals in one way or another.

Fast Food Nation educates the watcher about the “health” of the food that is sold at fast food restaurants.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is an inspiring story about Joe Cross, who is overweight and suffering from some chronic conditions. He decides to go on a juice cleanse to heal his body and lose weight and he helps people along his journey. He proves that the body truly can heal itself if it is given the proper nutrition

Fed Up attacks the sugar industry and rightly so. Society is gaining weight—and gaining it fast and sugar may be the reason why. It is hiding in almost everything that we eat! There is a lot of science here and if you love the politics of food, you will get your dose of it. This movie will make you want to be an activist.

Food Inc. gives you a look at how your food is grown and processed. This will give you awareness that you need when shopping for your family. Learn about GMOs, pesticide/herbicide/fungicide use and factory farming. You won’t look at food the same again.

Food Matters examines how food can help or hurt our health. Lots of experts in this one and they resoundingly say eat lots of organic produce!

Hungry for Change is a movie about deceptive marketing practices and the fact that processed foods are formulated to make us continuously want more!

King Corn is a documentary that exposes the subsidies that are given by the federal government to corn growers. Corn is in 25% of the items that are sold in the grocery stores. The scary thing about that is that it is mostly GMO corn and we are taking in way too much of it.

Supersize Me follows a guy who decides to eat only McDonalds for a month to see how it affects his health and weight. You won’t be surprised at how this ends when Morgan gains over 20 pounds and his blood work goes from healthy to terribly unhealthy.

The Gerson Miracle is based on Dr. Max Gerson’s work—he has cured tens of thousands of people with chronic illness with his protocol.

Vegucated is a documentary that follows three people on their quest to try a vegan diet for a period of time. It is not always easy but they learn a lot along the way and become activists in their own right.


Websites

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is an organization that promotes a plant-based diet for overall wellness and the treatment of chronic diseases. They have a staff of 12,000 physicians who work with policymakers, industry, the medical community, the media and the public to create a better future for people and animals. It was founded by Dr. Neal Barnard--who is quite the celebrity in the wellness community.

Road Runners Club of America supports the running community in many ways, from running clubs to certification of running coaches. The website contains a lot of helpful information for runners.