Monday, 30 July 2012

Vegan Potluck

We hosted a lovely vegan potluck at our main local park yesterday. The food rocked, the company was even better. You can see more here:

Peace & Love Advocate

Here's a few pics of our wonderful day..

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Joy of Fruit (And The Cost)

So I am declaring 2012 the year of the fruit.

Before 2012, I did not like a lot of fresh foods. I'll be honest, I'm still more of a salad person. But this year is the first time I have tried several things..

Persimmons. The hardest part was finding out how to say it! Very similar to a tomato, but different. Hm.

Cherries. I had never eaten fresh cherries before 2012. I had eaten one or two from a jar, and hated them.

Peaches. The skin always put me off. You really expect me to eat something fuzzy? Dream on! But actually, they're good. I bet I could eat six of them for breakfast.

Plums. Same texture as a grape, but on a much greater scale. They taste good, but I can't quite get past that texture. It's not like I can just pop it in my mouth, I have to actually bite into it. A little too jelly for me.

Blueberries. Still not a fan, too dry and seedy.

Kiwi. Again, they are hairy, and strange looking. I expected them to be more vegetable like. Actually they are very similar to a tomato as well. The seeds are super crunchy, which adds an interesting contrast to almost anything.

Nori. I know, it's not a fruit. But I'd never had it before my friend made sushi. Now I make sushi on a regular basis.

Oranges. Okay, I've tried oranges before 2012 but didn't really like them. Now I can't get enough of them, but the pith sets my skin on fire. So I can't peel them. Meaning, I need somebody to do it for me. But when they do (thanks, honey) - Hubby makes one hell of a super OJ.

Mango. I'm still coming around to the mango. It's soo, slimy. To quote The Lion King "Slimy, yet - satisfying."

Tomatoes. Again, I've had tomatoes in all kinds of things. But to just sit down with a fresh tomato and eat it, haha noooo way. But I've really begun to enjoy the supple red tomato. Roma is my favorite.

I plan to add to this list, as 2012 is only half over. I mean really, there is still a lot of year left! Today I'm going to branch out and try fresh currants. I love them dried in almost any dish, so fresh will be new. So new topic: Tomorrow I'm hosting a vegan potluck in our small city! I'm beyond excited. I will blog about it tomorrow night, complete with pictures if I remember to take some! One of the best parts of a potluck, is you get try a smorguss board of new dishes without have to pay to make them! And of course being around wonderful vegan people.

But seriously, have you seen the cost of food?? I haven't gotten my money on time this month, and we are way behind. We have bills stacking up. So this week, we need to catch up on about three weeks worth of groceries but only have $80 for our family of five. And our baby has started eating big boy food. Not that it costs any extra, but we want to make sure he is only eating the best organic fruits. Not a single item of food that we bought today has been sprayed. This includes a quart of strawberries, a quart of currants, a half quart of raspberries, watermelon, canteloupe, one onion, a head of cauliflower, a monsterous zuccini, six bell peppers, basket of peaches and a quart of potatoes. We got these items for $40 total. With them I plan to make soup, stir-fry and curry. We will ration out the fruit, starting with what will spoil soonest. Our baby ate three raspberries on the way home, and the older two ate  half of the strawberries. I have to put the fruit into individual sized containers, and that is what they can have that day. I do not like this. Our children should have unlimited fruit available to them, with rice and beans being an after thought. It bums me out. Our remaining $40 will go to raw nut cheese, tofu, and more fruit or vegetables. The laundry will have to wait.

But that is okay with us because food will nourish our family. Clothes are not as important. Game systems are not important. Movies are not important. Shelving is not important. There are so many people in the world who struggle much more than we do. We are lucky. We are lucky that we have eachother, that we have the knowledge to keep ourselves healthy, that we have wonderful friends that love us, an apartment to sleep in, and possessions to sell when we need to. Of course we make a lot of sacrifices. Yes, it's very stressful. But if we remain greatful for what we do have, for eachother, for love.. the rest will come. And I will remind myself of this daily.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Rant Incoming!!

**WARNING** Mildly Graphic Images! Honesty! Viewer Discretion Advised!

I am so darn tired of hearing people say "oh, who could do that to a poor, innocent animal?"

On facebook, or the news, or in the paper. Often there are images of abandoned starving cats, a duck that some fool decided to beat and torture for the fun of it, a puppy mill where dogs are crammed into cages so tight they can't move. The general public sees these photo's as horrific! And they are. But they will look at these images, with their side shocked eyes, and say "I can't believe some awful human would do such a thing! How terrible!" A tear starts to slide down their cheek, or their eyes water - as they take a bite of their

Double Bacon..



Are you kidding me?! Look at yourself! Look at your plate! Put down those knives, open your heart and your mind. Stop living in a world of rainbows and take some damn responsibility for your actions, people!

Lets take a minute and do a comparison..

That beaten and tortured duck..?
Somebody came to save...

But this other one. This one was tortured too. But there's nobody to save him. Because he is "food" (fois gras).

The puppy mills that the media goes crazy over. How is this..

 different from this?
(battery hens - the egg industry)

How is this..

So much worse, than this?
(veal calf)

The next time you say that you LOVE animals, and that you are against animal cruelty, MEAN IT. And don't just sit idly by, "liking" images or posts on facebook, reading blogs, etc. EDUCATE. Give yourself the knowledge you need to change your lifestyle. Give others the knowledge they need to come to a larger understanding. As a whole, united, we can affect the circumstances. We can create change, a movement. But I can't do it alone. Neither can my family, or the vegan community that I already belong to. We need more people. We need you to wake up and open your eyes and really KNOW WHAT IT MEANS to cherrish all life.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lazy Day Simple Craft

Today we made Pipe Cleaner People!!

It's super simple, keeps the children amused for a long time while they make them, and even longer while they pose their people and play with them afterwards.

Here's what you need...

Pipe Cleaners & Beads

Then you need to have some fun....

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Food Fears

I need to say this first and foremost. I retract what I said about Soy. Well, not really what I said, but the impression that I gave. Yes, soy milk is less hormone laden than cows milk. It's not even the soy itself that I'm worried about. It's the tampering.

I'm reading further, and have realized that nothing is safe. Monsanto is destroying all of our food and I am afraid to feed my family anything. At least, not unless it comes with an organic label.

So here's the thing. I've learned that corn is almost all GMO. They've put insecticides and pesticides IN the corns every single cell. So as the seeds grow, these pesticides are released to kill off worms that attack corn specifically. You can bet that every kernel of corn you chomp into is releasing a squirt of corny pesticide juices. YUCK and RUN AWAAAAY!

It's not just corn, it's soy, potatoes, dairy, tomatoes.. the list goes on. So now I sit here, looking at my corn based chips and corn infused salsa, thinking where do I go from here? The first step is informing the public (thats you!). The next step is cleaning house. But you have to be so careful, because they hide corn in everything. They hide soy in everything. This post has to be short, because I only a few scant minutes of peace before all hell breaks loose and children come bursting through the door with their Daddy. But please, do some research on your own terms. Monsanto is a terrifying company, who is in cahoots with the governments, and it all comes to money. I do not earn anything from writing this blog, I have nothing to gain. Here I am, just a humble Mamma of three beautiful children, telling you that you need to be afraid. Then, you need to empower yourself.

Quick Facts:
Monsanto started out by making Round Up
They can shut down a farmers field for their seeds blowing onto his yard and growing.
You only use seeds from Monsanto for one year, or they can sue you.
The seeds have to be bought new each year for use.

The chemicals that they put in food, including baby and toddler formulas, have never been tested. We, the people, are a living experiment. Sound extreme? It is. But it is also the truth. Honestly, I'm a little afraid to post the information here on my blog. Especially now that so much of what we put on the good old internet is being monitored so closely. Read the book "The Unhealthy Truth" by Robyn O'Brien. I am filled with remorse at what my children have been eating. Can I change it for them? I will do everything I can. It's time for all of us to pull up our big girl pants and stop fearing everything. We fear society, media, our friends, our neighbours, our parents, the authorities. STOP IT. Even while you are shaking in your boots, you need to stand up and shout. Be heard. End the madness, be willing to stand alone to protect yourself and your family.

I don't even want to consider what will happen to this world if we don't.

Monsanto in Canada  <----- They have everything to gain...

Our children, have everything to lose.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Look out Gluten! Here comes Mamma bear, and boy is she mad!

That's right, gluten down right pisses me off. I am fed up. Gluten, you are grounded! I don't ever want to see your ugly face again.

Harsh? Good. Our son does not function well with gluten. I've heard people tell me he will grow out of it, that a little bit is okay, that it is nonesense, or that maybe its something else. But here is what we just experienced..

We were consuming little to zero gluten for about a week. As a family, we've been working with our son on listening, behavior, and being gentle with our words and our actions. It was all going splendidly. We were getting some relief as parents from the daily struggles, and our children were getting relief from disgruntled parents. Then.. dun dun dun...we ordered pizza.

When we order pizza, we order a good size pizza each so that it can last a few days of left overs. There's absolutely no sense paying the price of pizza unless its going to last. This morning I've observed Kairan having many issues;

He can't sit still.
We can tell him something six times in four minutes and he still does not do as we ask.
He's very emotional.
He won't eat "real" food.
Textures are bothering him.
He is needy.
He does not want to be touched when upset.
He can't focus.
He has a dry, perisistant cough.

Here are some signs of gluten issues in children:
  • Abdominal pain and distension
  • Acid Reflux
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas and flatulence
  • Greasy, foul smelling, floating stools
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss or weight gain
Other, non-gastrointestinal symptoms include:
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • ADD/ADHD or autistic-behaviors
  • Failure to thrive (in infants and toddlers)
  • Short stature or delayed growth
  • Delayed onset of puberty
  • Weak bones bone pain
  • Nosebleeds
Based on this list, observation, elimination, what I have read online and in books such as 80/10/10 by Dr. Douglas Graham, Kairan has at least a sensitivity to gluten. Here's some other interesting facts...

  1. Steatorrhea (increased fat in the stool). There also may be floating oil (due to undigested fat) on top of water in the toilet bowl.
  2. Abdominal bloating.
  3. Foul-smelling gas (flatulence).
  4. Flatulence, distention, and abdominal pain.
  5. Diarrhea!

Gluten allergy symptoms in adults due to malnutrition and (mineral or vitamin deficiencies)!

Celiac disease can lead to the lack of ‘vitamin or mineral’ and malnutrition, which then can cause:
  1. Weakness in muscles, and ‘tingling or numbness’ in the legs & arms
  2. Nerve damage, which may include poor balance, numbness in the legs & arms, or muscle weakness
  3. Bone fractures (osteoporosis)
  4. Fluid retention & weight loss 
  5. Excessive bleeding
  6. Anemia.
I have also read that hair loss and dark circles under the eyes can be caused by gluten intolerances or allergies.

We spent an entire twenty minutes today with one situation after another for Kairan, because we wanted him to eat his dinner (a delicious sweet potato soup!). First it was yucky, so he cried. Then he wanted some spices in it, so we did that. It wasn't enough. He whined and cried for us to feed him, and we did not give in. Then he explained he did not want his hands to touch anything, so we offered him a straw. Still a no-go. Then he wanted a baby spoon! Finally, we got him to eat a couple of bites which is all we asked for. Then he was feeling left out while he ate, because hubby was playing with the baby. He told us that "Daddy never plays with me, he only plays with the baby! Daddy doesn't even like me!" So of course we went to him and tried to hug him, but he wouldn't be touched and ran away crying. It's been like this since this morning, if he is not bouncing off the walls he is crying. And our heart goes out to our sensitive son, who has so much on his shoulders at the tender age of five.

Looking around at my precious family, I see that gluten is affecting every one of us, just some in smaller ways than others. It's causing us physical pain and emotional turmoil. Even if the cause is coming to us in a more indirect manner, it is affecting everybody. So thats it, I declare WAR!!!

This has become a 100% gluten free household. Starting IMMEDIATELY. And if that gluten thinks for a second it sneak through that front door, it has another thing coming. Because on this side of that door is Mamma Bear, and her bite is worse than her growl.

Gluten Information For Adults

Friday, 6 July 2012

Don't cry, my heart.

Yesterday I said to my hubby "It's not fair! I want to help everybody, all of them. All they need is a family, my heart is breaking!" as my eyes began to moisten and I thought I might break down and cry right there on the bus.

The elderly are struggling. They don't have any help, any family, are not shown any compassion or consideration. I was raised to respect the elderly and show them kindness, but others these days are raised to completely ignore them and have no remorse for their actions as they shove past a lady with a walker to get to the line up in a store. We must not let the elderly become invisible!

While my family and I were walking to the busses, an old man was trying to cross the street. It's a very long street to cross, roughly half a block. He was visibly struggling, with his crutches and mishaped legs. It looked as though he was having a difficult time just holding himself upright, as he slowly inched along bit by little bit. So my husband, tactful guy that he is, asked the man how he's doing today. "Oh, I'm in a lot of pain," he grumbled. "Would you like some help across the street?" hubby called back over his shoulder as we approached the busses, only to get a sharp and loud "No." And who can blame him? Once independant and capable, now seen as somebody to take pity on. I wouldn't have wanted help, either.

So we get to the busses meeting grounds and pull up a bench to await the arrival of our golden carriage (lol), and there sat another elderly man, drinking whisky from a brown paper LCBO bag. He looked even more frail than the other man, only much more capable of body. I quietly mentioned him to my husband only to be informed that he is seen everyday, he gets off the bus and walks to the LCBO, then comes back to the bus and gets off again at home. I don't imagine he can carry much more than that one bag everyday. He looks so lonely, he has so much sadness in his eyes. And I wonder, where is his wife? Does he have children? And I keep in mind that most of these people have lost their wives and husbands already, if they have children they probably are too busy with starting their own families, and all of their friends have likely passed on.

I wonder if he lives in an apartment by himself, or an old age home where the nurses fuss over his care physically but not so much the care of his heart. I imagine that most of them are on Ontario Works (the equivilent to welfare) but a lot of them no longer really qualify. I look at the 16 year olds hanging around the busses with their children smoking, drinking their Tim Hortons coffees. They've been there since 10:00 that morning and already it is after 4:00 pm and they are still there. One girls baby has no clothes on, only a diaper. Which is exactly how we saw them three days ago. These people are also on Ontario Works. They take advantage of it though, and in the worst ways. I know some of them personally, and they use that money for drugs and alcohol while they bunk in at other peoples houses and use the addresses of their friends. I know that all they need is family, too. Parents and Aunts and Uncles, somebody to look out for them and show them what love really means.

It's difficult to not get angry at these people, even though I know better. It's difficult because all around me I see people who are struggling for their lives. They need better medical care, but the medical professionals are just waiting for these people to die. Their age makes them "not worth the money/time" because they don't have long to be with us anyway. This outrages me! How is any one soul worth less than another? If these elderly beings were given proper care both medically and emotionally, I bet they would thrive. I wish I could take away their loneliness for them, put light back into their hearts and help them heal their wounds. I wish that I could be the close family that these young teenagers need, to show them that there is more in life that they can still acheive. And I want to save all those in between. The ones that you don't really see their pain, struggling through divorce, disease, loss, fear. I want to help those who are unhealthy. I want to help the children of the teenagers, show them that there are wonderful people in this world who truly give a damn.

There just isn't enough time. With so many causes, how do you choose? This is why I chose animal rights. My choices have an impact on the health of our entire population, the health of our environment, it shows compassion and love and understanding, being vegan can do a whole lot for the world. Can it save the world? No, only as a society fighting for our own causes can we do that. So I urge to please don't sit idle waiting for somebody or something better to come along. Don't waste your potential. Find a cause, put on your big girl/boy shoes, and yell. Yell for those you are helping, don't let them be ignored. There are terrible things all around you, now what are you going to do about it?

Wear your heart on your sleeve. Teach people a kinder way. Show people that breastfeeding is beautiful because babies have a right to their nourishment. Physical abuse in unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Bullying is deplorable behavior. Addiction is only a kind heart away from being conquered. Harrassment is NOT okay. Show them who are and what you want from the world. Expect it, go out and GET IT. Carry the groceries inside for your elderly neighbour, cut their lawn, make them a meal, then do the dishes for them. Show respect. Don't make excuses. Volunteer. Choose a cause, and fight. Fight until there is nothing left to fight for. People will listen, I know for a fact. Yes, I have created change in the world. You can, too. No matter how big or small, old or young, rich or poor, everybody can create positive change for somebody.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Sticky Business

This past two weeks I have been striving to become a gluten free, dye free, animal by-product free (done), sugar free, preservative free, not made from scratch free family.

I bought all of the ingredients needed to make my own salsa, tomato sauce, soups, bean dips, and so on. Seriously stocked up our fridge. I have also been trying to go fat free/oil free.

If it sounds hard, it is. If it sounds limiting, sometimes I feel like it is! The hardest part is converting our children away from the foods that they are so used to getting. The very foods that are making them sick.

When I look at them and I see gold in their eyes, I know that this is the right decision.
When I look at them and see dark circles under their eyes, I know that this is the right decision.
When they complain of a head ache, or a tummy ache, or sore legs, or a rash, or stuffy noses - I KNOW that this is the right decision.

"The first day after taking Tory to the doctor, all I kept thinking was "What has changed in our food that has made it so dangerous?" This question has led me to some unsettling answers and disturbing new questions, which I'll take up in the rest of this book. I have to admit, they were things that I didn't really want to know. But when I looked at my four little kids that day, I realized that the risk of not knowing far outweighed any fear of what I might find out."  - Robyn O'Brien "The Unhealthy Truth"

Exactly! This book of Robyn O'Briens that I am reading is phenomenal. While I have a hard time with the "tone of voice" that she uses (I find it a bit choppy) it is a wealth of knowledge of real life experiences and three years of vigerous research from one woman to a another. She is a Mom of four, not a scientist. And I quite like that.

But, have you seen our weather report?! All this time, preparing to do better, and I can't seem to manage it. The heat is making me dizzy! Nevermind washing a bunch of dirty dishes and cooking a meal from scratch. If that sounds lazy, I don't give a rat patootie! With the humidity here, our temperature is 46 degrees celcius (aka 115 degrees farenheit.. aka, sweltering!). So shoot me. The longer I put it off, the worse the foods we are eating will be affecting our children and ourselves. You are 100% absolutely right. Maybe you have central air or air conditioning. We have one fan, smaller around than a frisbee, that stands on top of our television. We are on the third floor of an apartment building. We are HOT. And sticky. I would rather feed my children foods that are quick and easy right now, than be in the hospital with them from heat stroke because we've had the oven/stove on all day.

So we will get there, one baby step after another. In the meantime, I will continue to learn, to research, and to read this book by Robyn O'Brien. Thanks for looking out, one Mamma to another.

Monday, 2 July 2012

I am Mommy, hear me RAW!

Yep, not RAWR, raw. My body feels abused. It's time to do better.

I would love to do a juice fast to get my body clean and functioning as it should. Right now I'm not there. So here is my plan:

As much fresh juice as I can manage will be my main source of nourishment, with a few salads and some fruit. Oh yeah, and plenty of water!!

This morning for breakfast I am drinking blueberry/mango/watermelon juice. It's not bad. I plan to eat the rest of the watermelon, and a salad this afternoon with lettuce from our own garden and sprouts from the "Sprout Lady" at the market (who happens to be super nice, and she makes her own tofu).

Speaking of, our garden is flourishing! Here is some lettuce we thinned out a few days ago...

Also, yesterday was Canada Day. We didn't plan on going to any of the celebrations, until we happened upon them accidentally. It was good, though. For our family day yesterday we had a picnic near the waterfall then walked along the river until the parade came through. The walk home was the best part though. You see, we don't really let our children have sugar. Yes, we are terrible parents!

So what happens at a parade? Well, handful after handful of candy is thrown at children's eager faces, as parents watch them transform from well fed children in to starving, raving hyena's chasing this candy. Our son usually says "No, thank you." Which normally works very well, but he was too busy plugging his ears from all the loud sounds to bother this time. Our daughter is still learning, so she would just politely take the candy and gather up what was around us and hand it to their Daddy. All the way home, these two offered candy suckers and bubble gum to every passerby we saw. And they LOVED IT. While we were walking I could just imagine other parents taking pity on our children because they are holding all of this sweet sugary stuff that they are not even allowed to eat (how unfair, right?). But the truth is, we take pity on the children who are allowed to eat it. They do not get the enriching experience of sharing something with others, they spend two whole minutes devouring as much sugar as they can, then they get hyper and start to act out because they can no longer control themselves, then the parents ask the children to calm down, at which point said children have a temper tantrum, which lands them in some serious trouble. Suddenly, not only are they out of candy, in trouble, and climbing the walls, they do not have those wonderful memories and social experiences of making somebody's day.

So please, do NOT feel bad for our children. By allowing them to give away their candy, they had the best Canada Day of their lives (so far!). I just asked our son what his favorite part of Canada Day was, "Giving away the candy! And when I left some in that bike helmet, I hope they found it and ate it!"