Sister Vegetarian Speaking Appearances!!!

Purchase Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days Book at these locations:
Ask your local book store to order it for you or carry the book!

National Magazines, Radio Shows and Speaking Engagements:

My book Sister Vegetarian’s 31 Days of Drama-Free Living: Exercises and Recipes for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit (Lantern Books) made Veg News Annual top 12 book list for 2012.

Thank you everyone for your support of making my book within Veg News top 12 book list for 2012. Thank you also for helping to keep the healthy revolution alive, moving, and touching many lives going forward :) Link here at Veg News for reviews of the top 12 books :) Thank you :)

I am in Veg News Magazine's March/April 2012 Issue on Page 90!!!! A wonderful review is given of my book Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Living! To find out where and when you can purchase your Veg News March/April issue, Link here to the international and award winning vegan magazine which is available in 38 countries!

May 27, 2012 - Speaker at the New York City Veggie Pride Parade. Link below for my Victory Speech to inspire and empower you on your plant-based journey.
Link here or link below for my speech at the May 27, 2012 Veggie Pride Parade where I speak on healthy eating and its affect on ourselves,world hunger, and the environment.

Link here for my 2/29/12 Progressive Radio Interview
on the station's show "It's All About Food" with the show's host Caryn Hartglass.

I spoke at the 10/9/11 Baltimore, MD/DC Area 1st Annual VegFest sponsored by Open The Cage Alliance (click here for official VegFest Website of speakers and entertainment). My "Victory" speech can be viewed on You Tube (click here for speech video)

Other speaking engagements included the Oct 27-29 DC event for Farm Sanctuary's National Conference to End Factory Farming where I will spoke on Day 3 (Oct 29) at on the Plant Based Living Panel:Diet As A Tool For Change. I was joined on the panel by NY Times best- selling author and nutritional researcher Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Here is the video link :

Sister's Vegetarian's Book Information

* More Sister Vegetarian Book News!

September 24, 2011 Article for Black Girls Run on Being Black and Vegan: Link here to be inspired


Lantern Books has come up with a new e-book entitled "Recipes for the Vegan Table: A Lantern Sampler." One of the recipes from my book Sister Vegetarian is listed along with a recipe from vegetarian Sir Paul know him as a Beatles member :-)

Here's the information about the book and the link to download the book and recipes:

" Recipes for the Vegan Table: A Lantern Sampler by Carol J.... Adams, Donna Beaudoin, Patti Breitman, Kate Jacoby, Brian McCarthy, Paul McCartney, Kumuda Reddy .....

With so many cookbooks out there, what's a vegan—or aspiring vegan—to do? Lantern Books has the ideal menu: Start with a flavorful appetizer from famously longtime vegetarian Sir Paul McCartney, continue with a mouthwatering entrĂ©e from The Sexual Politics of Meat author Carol J. Adams or "Sister Vegetarian" Donna Beaudoin, add a scrumptious side from Chef Brian P. McCarthy or Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Kumuda Reddy, and finish up with a delectab...le dessert from Kate Jacoby, co-owner and pastry chef of the cutting-edge Philadelphia restaurant Vedge. All of the recipes in this sampler are healthy, tasty, and easy to make, ensuring that your meal will be both cruelty-free and delicious. So draw a chair up to the table and find out what the joy of vegan cooking is really about!(less)"

Purchase at Amazon:

Black Expressions Book Club
made Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Living their alternate book selection in March 2012!

What a joy to know that I have become a part of your family through this book which acts as your daily guide, daily inspirational and motivational tool. To conquer challenges in all aspects of your life. To encourage you to be encouraged that the sun shines even when the clouds are gray, and that joy always comes in the morning if you should falter and trip along your vegetarian or vegan journey! It's okay to be you. Be yourself, and you shall not fail in this beautiful life-long vegetarian or vegan journey. Remember, it's a lifestyle, not a temporary diet or a temporary solution. It is a part of you as you heal yourself, heal the environment, and save animals. Do you ask yourself, what have you done for me lately when you are always helping others and forget about your well-being? Then, pick up a copy of Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Vegetarian and Vegan Living today, and let your mind be blown to the endless possibilities of what a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle can do for you! ~ Donna M Beaudoin "Sister Vegetarian"

Disclaimer: Sister Vegetarian is a blog based on my vegetarian and vegan experiences and journey as well as others' experiences. I am not a medical, nutritionist, or exercise specialist; so, please consult your physician before starting any vegetarian and vegan lifestyle and exercise program.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year: Visit a local farmers market as your New Years Resolution

Make one of your New Year's Resolutions to purchase local fresh produce by visiting your local farmer's markets more this year. If you live in the Raleigh, NC Triangle area, Bickett Market is serving the community with not only their large warehouse carrying local farmers' produce and products; but, they also deliver to your front door. During the winter season, Bickett Market is also offering Vegetarian Cooking Classes. Visit Bickett Market's website for more details and say Sister Vegetarian sent you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays Wish

Happy Holidays!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with a Vegan Diet

You Tube News Report on Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with a Vegan diet. One elderly gentleman was on 16 different medications for illnesses ranging from diabetes to heart disease. He reduced his medication to 4. Great informational video with a Houston Cardiologist interviewed who had placed his patients on a vegan diet, and who supports a vegan lifestyle.

You Tube Video: Click Here

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are you drinking 1 liter of water daily upon rising out of bed?

If you have watched the documentary Food Matters, you have heard David Wolfe (Health Expert) talk about drinking 1 liter of water daily the first think upon rising out of bed. The purpose is to cleanse your colon and detox your body from impurities that have remained stagnant through the night and have accumulated during the day before. I decided to give this a try. After a little over a month I have seen results of not only clearer skin, but no constipation problems, a bowel movement 2 times a day where once it was once a day, and more energy. Others have found these positive results as well as other positives of drinking a liter of water upon rising daily, as well as losing body fat and maintaining one's weight.

This water method is actually called Water Therapy and has been practiced for years by Japan and India. The Japanese Medical Society has even sighted 100% cures of ailments resulting from water therapy. Here's more information on the subject to get you started on your way: Water Therapy.
~ Sister Vegetarian

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Update

Book Update: It's coming soon ! Watch out for mid 2011 for my book dedicated to newbie and veteran vegetarians and vegans...a guide to starting a healthy and active life as a vegetarian and's full of inspiration and motivation to keep one focused on the journey:)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Children and Vegetarianism

Children who grow up getting nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer ~ Dr. Benjamin Spock

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another lost to heart disease and diabetes: Let's educate

I lost my Aunt last night to heart disease and diabetes.
This is the 5th of my relatives that I lost to heart disease and diabetes. They all have had a positive influence on my life.
Grandma Susie Mae
Uncle Joe
Uncle Raymond
Aunt Otis Pearl
Aunt Nadra (last night)
Current sufferers of heart disease: Cousin Thomas (only age 44), Aunt Katherine, and many other very young cousins

Their names are like a roll call of a disease that is prevalent in the black community: heart disease and diabetes. Let's educate the black community and all communities on the importance of a vegetarian and active lifestyle to prolong our life. To make our life a beautiful, long journey without illness and pain. Education not medication and sickness is what we need in all communities. Heart disease and diabetes is still taking over the black community in 2010 when awareness of proper healthy lifestyle changes is too abundant, and easy to come become educated on through many resources. Teach your family. Teach yourself. Teach your community healthy ways of living. Death from heart disease and diabetes should be dwindling and not rising. The increase and existence of heart disease and diabetes should have been a period long ago, and not a continuous comma. Studies have shown that a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle can reverse the damages of heart disease and diabetes; and, have cured heart disease and diabetes in many cases since the 1940s. These cases are documented in the U.S. Library of Congress, but the U.S. will not let the studies become public. Educate yourself through movies such as Food Matters and The Gerson Miracle which illustrates a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle cures many, if not all illnesses. Let's start educating now to prevent continuous medication and eventual death from heart disease and diabetes.
~ Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tuesday's Inspirational Thought of The Day & Documentary Suggestion: Food Matters

Food Matters is an eye opening documentary that I suggest to all vegetarians and non vegetarians. Today's inspiration as taken from Food Matters documentary website below: "Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food" - Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.

note: Netflix Watch It Now has this movie available for direct stream to your computer, TV, or via DVD.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bonus Inspirational Thought of The Day

Bonus Inspirational Thought of the Day that fueled my 20 mile run today to prep for a 26.2 marathon:
Act as if you already are. This is one of the many mantras that we employ when it comes time to go after a goal that is beyond what has already been accomplished. Breaking new ground physically requires you to first break that mental barrier so that it can come into being. ~Terrence Mahon, Team Running USA's head coach

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I salute the Veterans and their Family today! Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made!

The Return of "The Daily Inspirational Thoughts of The Day"

Sister listened, and your favorite daily motivations have returned. The Daily Inspirational Thoughts of the Day have returned for inspiration and motivation Monday through Friday. I posted today's inspiration here, but each day they can be found at Sister's Mind, Body, and Spirit Link; or, at Sister's Facebook or Twitter Page.

Thursday's Inspirational Thought of The Day:
“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.”
~ Maya Angelou

~Peace & Love, Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sister's Book Update

Sister's Book Update:

Working faithfully this week on completing Sister's book which will be a guide to getting started on healthier living. I plan to have it published by mid 2011.

~ Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finished Strong Today at Marathon Race Thanks to a Vegetarian Lifestyle

Go Vegetarian Runners!!! I owe my strong finish to a vegetarian lifestyle! Not even huffing and puffing. Ran non-stop. Finished my half marathon in 2:21. It was fun from the Catholic priest at mile 2 downtown with coffee in one hand and blessing runners with the other hand in front of the Catholic Church. The downtown gym class brought 10 spinner stationary bikes out and cheered us on. People sitting on their porches cheering us. A marine ran in full combat uniform with his combat bag on his bag stuffed. The college students with the noise makers called vuvuzela..used at soccer games...most of downtown and midtown was closed. Woke up 4:45 AM. Race started 7 AM. 30 degrees this AM. Started to finally feel my feet at mile 2 as I warmed up. I love you hubby!! I'll be at Boston's Half next Oct :) I'm ready for 26.2 miles in March. I felt great and finished super strong at a fast pace. Not even breathing hard :) A picnic in the park. It was fun :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Recipe in Sister's Recipe Section: Saute Chayote

Quick. Delicious. Nutritious. The buttery beets plays against the beautiful buttery flavor of the Chayote. The garlic adds a little spice and blends with the natural buttery taste of the vegetables.

View the Recipe Here: Saute Chayote, Beets, and Turnip Greens served on top of Wheat Sphaghetti.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Soar in All Things

Ran 17 miles today and ready for my half marathon next Sunday. At 17 miles, tears flooded in my eyes because I finally realized that it is not the race but the journey as many have said. What I thought my body could not do. What you may think your body cannot do. It can do.You can soar with endurance, perseverance, faith, and belief in yourself that just like the story of The Little Engine Who Could..."I think I can...I think I can..I think I can...You Can." Conceive It. Perceive It. Believe It. Do It. I thought I can, and I did. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I ran in the rain today 6.5 miles. The rain was drizzles, then heavy at times with gusty winds, then sprinkles, and again with the same rain cycle. I loved every minute. It was awesome. Hardcore. I loved the adventure! . I was born and raised in Newark, NJ in the late 60s and 70s :) Newark, makes you proud, tough, and builds endurance :) You remember, respect, and honor where you came from - that foundation of endurance. I am still riding on a high from today's run...the rain refreshes. Running today in the ran reminds me of playing in the rain as a worries...we just existed. That's good to be that way as an adult at times...carefree and free-spirited. Life is good. Life rocks :)
~ Sister Vegetarian

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Results of my 10 mile race today-a designated RRCA 10 Mile Championship Race

My 10 miler race today was fun. Thank you to my hubby who woke up with me at 5:45 AM today, and stood in 40 + deg temps as I ran 10 miles. I placed 25th in my age group of 40-44 at age 44. The race was designated as the RRCA 10-Mile State Championship. About 500 + participants. I loved every minute, and just enjoyed myself. It was so ZEN:) And, I was in zen. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line with a cheering crowd, and my hubby standing there as I hugged him and would not let go.

I ran non-stop for 1 hr 42 mins at a 10:14 min per mile pace. It was awesome and fun!!!! The music pre-race was fun - 80s flashback with a little contemporary funk. I danced in cold temps and did a little fun dance as I ran and boogied after the race :) In 2 weeks is my first half marathon, a Boston Half Qualifier. In 4 1/2 months is my full marathon (a full Boston Qualifier), and the best finish prize is the beer at the finish line at 10 AM. Yahoo!!
Just because we are vegetarians, that does not mean we cannot have fun!
Power and strength to vegetarians to be all we can be with a smile!

~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Information

Martha Theus of 21st Century Vegetarian has been busy with another book, and two eBooks. Link here to read more on this phenomenal woman who has been a vegetarian for over 20 years, including how she raised her two children (now in their 20s) since birth as vegetarians. Martha's husband has also been a vegetarian for almost 30 years, even as a former policeman who practiced vegetarianism.

Sister Vegetarian is also working on a book for release by mid 2011. Stay tuned for periodic updates as I complete the manuscript. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Bare Neccessities

Just returned from 2 night camping trip and hiking with hubby and dog :) Tents, sleeping bag, bare necessities is all we needed to appreciate the simplicities of life :) Going down to bare necessities for 2 nights and in 40 degree night and AM weather was still awesomely relaxing, and needed. A fun time :) I'm ready now for my 10 miler race this coming Saturday. I love the simple things in life and nature :) Appreciating being a vegetarian daily :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

14.5 miles today and other famous athletes who are vegetarians

Beautiful Sunday :) Ran Non-Stop 14.5 miles this AM. That is over 2 hours of running non-stop without pain nor running out of breath-only 3 months after starting to run again after a long hiatus.

I should have ran 13, but felt great and ran another mile, then another 1/2 mile for 14.5 miles. Still felt awesome, and proceeded to walk the dog after :) Being vegetarian is fueling my body. Loving it. Love to see what my body can do as a vegetarian runner, and it's awesome what we are capable of. A quote says "a strong runner requires a strong person." I see what it means now. Still feeling great without being out of breath or pain :) Check out this link of famous vegetarian athletes...We are not alone :)
~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bring It On!

Bring it On! I recited this to the weather and the long pavement ahead of me. ‎53 degrees at 7AM as I ventured out for my 12 mi run. Great run :) Bring on more :) 3 more weeks for a 10 miler; 6 more weeks for my half marathon; and, 5 more months for my full marathon. I'm in zen running mode right now :) Feeling great after an inspiring and exhilarating run :) My fuel last night was a vegetarian tortilla roll up made with pinto beans, avocado, and tomatoes as well as other nutritious additions. The pinto beans provided protein for rebuilding my muscles; the tortilla provided energy via carbs; the avocado provided a natural source of good fat; and, the tomato provided an antioxidant. I will post the recipe within the upcoming week on Sister's Recipe Page.

~ Sister Vegetarian

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Energy from living vegetarian never stops

Enjoyed a beautiful hike with hubby and doggy this AM :) Time to get ready for hiking and backpacking season in addition to the 3 more upcoming races...included with that are 2 marathons...whew :) Hike on Saturdays, run on running event is in 4 weeks...10 mile race to benefit trails...I'm hoping to maintain or better my pr (personal record).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

4th place in 5K today...It's great being a vegetarian

I placed 4th in my 5K race today!! Thank you to my loving husband who cheered me on today for my first 5K which benefited a non-profit group for women and children who are victims of Domestic Violence. I placed 4th in my age 40-44 age group at a pace of 8:54 and 26.34 mins :) A 5 K is 3.1 miles. I would have normally run 12 miles today to train for my upcoming marathons, but an awesome cause today! I love you hubby for being being there and photographing :)

~ Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I run for women and men battling heart disease and bring awareness in the community of a healthy lifestyle ...

I run because it feels good. It feels good to release the stress of a work day. It feels good to clarify my mind with a run where it's you and the outdoors to clear your senses as you breathe in air...oxygen to fuel the mind, body, and spirit. Some women run to have time away from being a mom, and enable themselves to be known by their first name rather than "___'s mom," or "___'s wife. I do not have children, but I run to also have that alone time from being the ever busy career wife, wife, or just busy woman. I run because it gives me a good feeling...runner's call it a runner's high where at some point in your run, you just forget where you are and feel as though you are just riding high on clouds without a care in the world. It's a good feeling. Running gives you a natural high feeling without drugs or alcohol. A running high replenishes your body, mind, and spirit with energy to carry you daily through good and rough times.

I also run for people like my maternal grandmother, aunts, and uncles who battled heart disease and diabetes. They died too young in their 50s and 60s from these diseases which can be controlled and sometimes stopped through a healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercise. I run for women that I do not know who also battle these diseases. I run for African-American women who are more prevalent to heart disease and diabetes. I also run for women who are victims of domestic violence as I will this weekend coming up in a 5K to benefit women and their children of domestic violence. I run for these women to feel and be free in their lives, as I feel and I am free during and after my runs.

I run to challenge myself. I want to see what my body can do at age 44 and beyond as a vegetarian and a strong, powerful woman.

In the next couple of weeks after my 5K race to benefit domestic violence, I have a 10 mile race and a half marathon (13.1 miles). I have also registered for my first marathon (26.2 miles) which is held in March 2011.

In addition, I still challenge myself by hiking or backpacking on weekends in addition to running long distances every weekend, and running 3x during a regular work week. I run to challenge my body and mind. I run to challenge myself. I run for awareness in the community that a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle combined with regular exercise is vital for a strong and healthy mind, body, and spirit.

I run because of all of these things; but, most of all, I run because I Am.

Informational Note: Here's a great website formed by two women to promote running in the black community: Black Girls Run

~ Sister Vegetarian

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never let the body tell the mind what to do

‎"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

10 mile run this AM. 24.9 miles for week. Feeling energized. I realized what a difference a vegetarian lifestyle makes when running. In the past, I felt drained and always injured. At 10 miles today of straight non-stop running, I was invigorated and ready for more. No heavy breathing. No muscle pain. Life is good as a vegetarian :)

I had two Sister Vegetarian readers on Sister's Face Book Fan Page ask me how to run without breathing heavily, injury free, or even run more than 1 to 3 miles. My response my help you also to lead an injury free run as a beginner runner, or just starting to run again. While I am not an expert in running, I would like to share what has worked for me:

I have been a runner off and on for 14 years, but I am just starting to really enjoy the running for the beauty it is to calm the senses...provide peace of mind. I realized that when I learned to enjoy the run, the miles mean nothing and you fight mind over body. I can't wait to wake up on Saturday mornings for my long run, and hate it when it ends. Running brings me back to childhood- carefree days that as adults, we still need those days to replenish our tired work-week bodies and minds. I am also just getting into the race part of running. I see it as a challenge to myself. Running is always a personal challenge which is where the "pr (aka personal record)" terminology comes from in races. To stop the heavy breathing, try training first or all the way through with Jeff Galloway's walk-run method. He's an Olympic marathoner who developed this method. He'll help you to eventually run the full miles, or still just run using the run/walk method to be injury free. Here's the link: Jeff Galloway

If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, try this lifestyle. When I switched to being a vegetarian, my heavy breathing stopped as well as the injuries. I use to feel as though I was having a heart attack during and after running when my meals consisted of meat, although my medical examinations always came back perfect. As a vegetarian, I am no longer huffing and puffing on runs, especially a long run as my 10 mile run today. I was actually dancing to Jill Scott's "The Real Thing" song on my MP3 as I walked to relax my legs after the 10 mile run. I truly believe that my energy and injury free muscles are the result of the vitamins and nutrients from vegetarian/vegan meals that heal the body. What runner's magazines suggest runners eat to replenish their muscles, we as vegetarians/vegans are already a step or two ahead. Good Luck!!! :) Let me know your progress readers :)

~ Sister Vegetarian

Monday, September 6, 2010

Share your time Saving Tips!

Do you have any time saving tips to share to maintain a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, or just maintain your weight goal? Share here in the comment section, or on Sister Vegetarian's Facebook Discussion Tab.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Preparation is The Key to Morning Work Day Blues on Maintaining Your Weight Goal and Eating Right!

picture: "Blue Monday" by Annie Lee
A good way to work toward a weight goal, and maintain your goal weight is to bring your lunch to work. I prepare my lunch when I arrive home from work for the next day. My lunch is ready to pack in my lunch bag with water and freezer pack. If I know that working out the next morning will put me behind in my schedule to get ready for work, I also prepare my oatmeal (Irish oats, raisins, nuts, flax seed) in a bowl the night before and refrigerate. All I need to do is boil my water after I work out in a pot, and drop the dry ingredients into a pot for a 6-7 minute prep time on the stove. I also prepare the coffee the night before in my coffee maker, so all I need to do is press the start button on the coffee maker. Time saving tips that help us eat right and maintain our weight, or reach our weight goal.

~ Peace, Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I am finally content...I Will..I Am ...I Am at peace

Let's take back our health by not only eating vegetarian or vegan, but being active. Overall health is vital. Taking back our health encompasses everything from eating right to exercise. Today I ran 8 was very spiritual for me. 19 miles for the week. I am training for a 10 miler in October; half marathons in November 2010 and March 2011; and, full marathon in 2011. My brother at age 50 has been running the Boston and NY marathon for 10 years. My goal is to join him :) I run 4 days a week, stationary bike 1x a week, yoga 4 x a week before running, and hike on Saturday or Sunday in addition to running Saturday or Sunday. If hiking Saturday, I run Sunday. If running Saturday, I hike Sunday.

As a vegetarian, I have more energy and see myself at 44 as athletic. I am an athlete, and challenge myself to its fullest. I Will..I AM... I AM strong, healthy, and at Peace, finally... Finally, I know who and whom I am. I know longer try to please others as I did in my twenties and thirties, but live this beautiful life on my own path. Enjoying my own journey, and not trying to hitch a ride on some one else's star. I am content with who and whom I am; and, I am loving it!
~ Sister Vegetarian

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why do I love being a vegetarian?

Why do I love being a vegetarian? 6 mile run today and feeling great!!!! 16.8 mile total for the week! 4 weeks to 5K to benefit a women's shelter for abused women and their children, and 9 weeks to 1/2 marathon to benefit families going through cancer. Maintaining my weight at108 lbs. Over a year ago I weighed my most at 148 lbs and 5'2". I am back to my weight of 4 yrs ago at 108 and more physically fit. Challenge yourself and reap the rewards. Vegetarianism/veganism go hand in hand with exercise for overall mind, body,and spirit health. I am a living testament to that at age 44 :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What's on your plate? Being a Role Model

I heard something disturbing yesterday at a friend's home who had a backyard BBQ. Two people said that they never met a vegetarian who looked as healthy as myself. The vegetarians they know eat fast foods, or load themselves up on unhealthy choices. I attended this BBQ knowing that I would be the only vegetarian in attendance, so I came prepared with my own meal grill. I bought portobello mushroom caps to place on my friend's grill for a veggie burger. In addition, I bought vegetarian spinach-pasta salad, my own bread, and "un-processed cheese." My friend steamed me some broccoli, and I was content.

Looking around, people gorged on overly large chicken breasts that looked as though the chicken was injected with enough steroids to stem a baseball federal investigation on steroids. I just never saw chicken breasts that huge, and that was scary enough until the comment was made by two people in attendance that they never saw a healthy looking vegetarian.

We come in all size and shapes as vegetarians, but to say that the vegetarians they know are unhealthy and they assumed that vegetarians just did not have wide choices for meals, I was flabbergasted. It just brought to mind that as vegetarians, whether we like it or not, we are always watched. As vegetarians, people are curious of our lifestyle choice. Our actions of how and what we eat makes us role models to lead others to vegetarians, or to answer their mythical questions about a vegetarian lifestyle. In my own circle of friends and associates aside from this BBQ, I have not encountered an "unhealthy" vegetarian; but, I do know they are out there. Let's make wise choices as vegetarians not only for our prolonged health, but also because we are role models whether we know it or not...or, like it or not. People watch us, and form their own conclusions sometimes without asking the source. Eat healthy. Make healthy choices. What you place on your plate as a vegetarian may save someone's life without you even knowing it. That person may decide at that instance that they want to be and look as healthy as you. They may want to take back their health as you are doing as a vegetarian. We can save many lives. What's on your plate today?

Friday, August 13, 2010

You Can. You Will.

Being healthy and active is paramount in leading a life that is illness free as we age. My family had a health scare with my husband's father this past week. At age 69, he already has a pace maker and a couple of strokes. Our medical emergency with my husband's father reminds me how paramount it is for us to start now in taking care of ourselves. Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70, or 80 +.

The time is now. Any positive change makes a difference.

I look at my own father who at age 73 tomorrow goes to the gym daily at 6 AM to bike and lift weights for an hour+ 6 days a week. He's in awesome shape and does not take any medications. His high blood pressure is in check without the need for past medications. My mother is the same at age 70. No medications and in great shape. I also think of the 83 year old patient at my ENT office that runs the Chicago Marathon yearly as well as other marathons in the area. She has been running marathons for 10 years, and started 10 years ago to get in shape. She has more energy than a 20 year old, and is full of bubbly laughter. I love speaking with her about the races. When I grow up, I want to be just liker her!

I also think of my 50 year old brother who runs the Boston, and NY marathons yearly for the past 10 years, as well as other marathons and races. My dream is to run right beside him at the Boston Marathon one year. I keep repeating to myself that "I can..I will...qualify for the Boston Marathon."

Be active. Eat healthy. Just be willing to Be Alive and Well! You Can. You Will.

~ Sister Vegetarian

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sister's "I have a dream"

I had a great run this morning with the women's running group that I joined this week. After the run, we cheered, shouted, and gave ourselves and the run leaders a big "Hell YEAH! Bring on more!"

Women of all different nationalities, shapes, and sizes who came together for one goal: to illustrate to ourselves that we can and we will! Women had stories of just giving birth 2 months before, and training for their first triathlon or half marathon in the upcoming months. Women who are trying to lose weight, or have lost weight and still trying to reach their goal weight. Women who are tired of making their children and husband their life without taking time out for themselves, and proving that their name is other than"__'s Mom" or "___'s wife."

Only one thing I wish I saw more of was women of color. Out of 80 women which we broke ourselves into groups of those who were very athletic and ran as Group A to those who never ran in their life for Group D. Of of 80 women, only 8-10 women (and, that included myself) were black. I noticed this trend when hiking and backpacking. I am the only black person on the trail, and sometimes I get amazing stares because...well, seeing a black person hike or backpack is not common. Even running today, other runners not part of my group were rarely women or men of color. I could properly count 5 runners who were running alone or with friends who were women or men of color.

My dream is to see more women of color become involved in more athletic pursuits for a healthy body, and mind. We may eat healthy as vegetarians and vegans, but the buck does not stop there. I have a dream of seeing more women of color become athletic no matter the age, and especially get outdoors. Enjoy nature. See how nature can revitalize through running, biking, hiking, walking, or other sports. Being athletic whether in your 20s or 80s is vital to being strong mentally and physically. One of my role models is a patient at work who at 83 years old, still runs the Chicago Marathon every year! When I grow up, I want to be just like her!

When we are active, age has no barriers and athletic pursuits do not know the word "I Can't" I have a dream to see more women of color active and healthy. Please let me see that dream come true. I do not want to be the only women of color on the trail, or one of 9 in a running group of 80. Let's get out, and do something for our body, mind, and soul: Be active, show endurance, and let me hear you scream after a run, hike, bike, or walk.."YEAH! I did it" Bring it on!"

~Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebrating 44 years: Healthy, Fit, and Fabulous!

Yesterday I celebrated my 44th year on this beautiful planet.

I reflected and thanked God for my health, and the opportunity to share the importance of taking back our health through a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle accompanied with exercise.

At 44, I also decided to resume my love of running and join a local women's running club. I trained myself last summer 2009 for a half marathon, but due to a knee injury sustained from over training, I had to sit it out. I was overzealous and riding my brother's marathon rainbow as I tried to jump from one 5 K to a half-marathon in 4 months. I was also 30 pounds more last summer which also attributed to a knee injury. Currently, I am now back to my goal weight of 4 years ago of 108 lbs at 5'2" where I have lost a total of 41 pounds since February 2009. I am feeling healthy and strong, and I am healthy and STRONG at 44!

However, as I reflect, this knee injury did not stop me from my love of hiking and backpacking to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Point being, when we fall another door of opportunity opens. I sustained that knee injury because I was being to hard on myself to accomplish this half marathon goal too quick, and to hopefully run within a year with my 50 year old brother who has competed in the Boston and New York Marathons for the past 10 years. I craved the idea for us to run together and cross the finish line togther, that I overtrained.
From my knee injury, I learned to take this in my own time and live my life rather than to run on someone else's rainbow. I carved my own rainbow; and, I am gliding, running, hiking, and walking this journey with a smile and a joy at 44 years old.

My advice to you is to carve your own rainbow and have fun gliding.
Don't be hard on yourself. Do not focus on what you can't do. Focus on what you can do and thank God for the ability to do these things.

At 44, I thank God for my weight loss, the ability to run, ability to hike, ability to backpack, and the ability to wake up and enjoy these things with a healthy body. At 44, I feel and I am fit, fabulous, healthy, and more athletic than I have ever been in my life. I say I'm 44, but I do not feel my age.

My restrictions are not based on my age, but the restrictions that I put on myself. I hope to keep those restrictions away and accomplish what I wnat to accomplish.

I hope to post within the next couple of months myself crossing the finish line on many upcoming races with a smile; a spring in my step; and, a thank you to God for the ability to do these things.
~ Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tracye McQuirter's book "By Any Greens Necessary" is a a generational treasure!

I have finished Tracye McQuirter's book By Any Greens Necessary, and it's awesome! The book is inspiring, and will serve as a guidance to all for generations to take back your health through a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. The author has also listed Sister Vegetarian's Blog link in her appendix for Black Vegetarian Groups.../Blogs. Please make yourself and someone a gift of love, and purchase By Any Greens Necessary. This is a book that will change your life positively.
In addition, connect with Trayce McQuirter through her website By Any Greens Necessary
~Peace & Love, Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Becoming a Vegetarian Series Continued: Creativeness in Vegetarianism as a Knitter and All Aspects of Life

Knitting mends the soul. Knit your stress away.
~ Sister Vegetarian

I taught myself to knit almost 4 years ago at age 40 through the search of the web for knitting videos, and purchasing (or, loaning from the local library) knitting books which two have become my Bible of knitting terms, new stitches, and ideas. Within months and within 2 years, I knitted my first sweater, socks, meditative prayer shawl, sweater vest, scarves, and coffee mug cozy. Knitting was not hard as I thought it would be as I finished my first sweater in less than a year.
I then went on to teach other older women at work how to knit in their 30s and 40s who never picked up a knitting or crochet needle, or used a sewing machine.
Why I waited so long to learn to knit is beyond me. I crochet a little as a very young 6 year old, learning from my teenage sister who was the crochet queen and taught herself. Knitting crocheting is an age old craft that is so relaxing and conducive to thought. If I have a problem I need to ponder, or a question as to a direction I need to take, I pick up my knitting needles and continue a knitting project or start a new one. I always have yarn on hand to just pick up and be at peace. Learning an age-old craft is not my first time crafting. I first learned how to sew from my mother with my first sewing machine at age 7 (a singer model geared toward pre-teens). I then learned more techniques when sewing, cooking, and woodshop home-economics classes were a mandatory part of the educational curriculum in the 1970s for all. I could cook, sew, and make shelves from scrap woods. We were taught self-sufficiency at home with additional enforcement in school. These lessons at home and school taught us to rely on ourselves; that we can do anything and be anything as long as we put our minds to it; and, before the information and computer age of today, it taught us that reliance on natural talents will pull us through when all else fails in technology. I believe this is true today. When the computers at work or home go down for an hour, hours, or day, you can tell who was taught self-sufficiency and who rely only on technology. Those taught self sufficiency can still maintain productiveness without missing a beat, and tend to be very creative.
Synonymous, I see knitting comparable to the lessons learned as a vegetarian. Self sufficiency on natural products, home grown produce, tools, talents, and nature is what makes us strong, productive, creative thinkers, and one who doesn't miss a beat. Vegetarianism creates and forms a peaceful state of being that constantly follows us through our daily rituals of work, home, errands, tending to family needs, cooking, driving on crazy fast paced highways with road rage drivers, or just for us a play or meditative peaceful time at home.Vegetarianism also creates a creative focus of mind that plays out in all aspects of our lives from work to play. Synonymous, Knitting (or even those who crochet), has this same innate peace and creativeness that plays itself out in our daily lives .

Vegetarianism and knitting, such a comparison brings to light equality in so many positives that both evoke. If you do not knit or crochet as a vegetarian, you just may end up taking up the knitting or crochet needles soon because the creativeness that vegetarianism evokes can also be brought out in knitting and crocheting. Although I learned to knit at 40, at 42 when I became a vegetarian is when my creative knitting techniques really evolved. I found myself, changing knitting patterns to create garments with texture and color play. I never changed a pattern in my life, but a creative spirit of ideas began surging from me as a vegetarian that elicited dreams and ideas of knitted garments that I never thought of in changing a pattern. I love being a vegetarian because that same creative spark found its way in bringing back alive my love of cooking. To experiment with vegetarian dishes from the around the world, and share them with you and others in person, is a joy that you give me!

My new definition of Vegetarianism and knitting: Creativeness at work. Peacefulness of mind and spirit. Solving problems with a meditative state and clear mind. Keeping Stress away.
Did you know fact: High blood pressure (also called hypertension) tends to be more common in African Americans who are at a higher risk for this serious disease than any other race or ethnic group. The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled, and prevented through a vegetarian diet and knitting! Knitting is often prescribed by physicians to people within high stress jobs such as police officers. Knitting melts away the stress, lowers blood pressure, and can control high blood pressure with additional natural methods under a physician care. When my dad was a police officer, he took up crocheting (another stress free alternative to those who prefer crochet over knitting) by advise of a physician and controlled his stress level and high blood pressure with the addition of healthy meals and medication as needed. Melt away your stress, and lower your blood pressure. Knit away...
Ways to helping you become a vegetarian, or become a creative vegetarian crafter:
1. Do you have a craft you enjoy, or what to learn a craft? Learn that craft or go become in your skills. Become creative and you will see that creativeness give you peace of mind and a spark of ideas in being and becoming a vegetarian.
2. Join a knitting group, vegetarian group, or a knitting/vegetarian group. Or, stop your own group. For local groups in your area, is a great way to meet other women who have your same interests.
3. Try these Black Knitting websites for confidence to learn to knit, or increase your knitting skills or ideas:
Stitches of Heritage (this is Deb's website who wrote the first vegetarian reader story on why she became a vegetarian. Deb knits, crochets, and cross stitch) (Ralvery is a knitting and crocheting website that also has several black knitting and crochet groups. Just do a search of the groups once signed up)
~ Sister Vegetarian

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to those in the military, retired military, and family with military relatives. Thank you for your personal sacrifices. May you have a beautiful day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sister starts an urban container garden...

Visit Sister Green's link as I talk about starting an urban vegetable container garden, and ideas that can help you start your own vegetable garden.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reader's Speak Out: If You Don't Stop Type 2 diabetes Now, You will Hate Yourself Later

If You Don't Stop Type 2 diabetes Now, You will Hate Yourself Later
by Patricia Harris
* Note: Remember to always visit your physician for proper medical assistance as a diabetic, and before starting any exercise program.

About Sister's Reader: Patricia Harris created a blog called called Diabetics Menus Blog is her personal hobby web log devoted to tips to eat healthy to avoid and manage diabetes. Get to know Patricia a little more at her About Me Section of her blog.

Diabetes type 2 is the most common kind of diabetes. An incredible number of Americans are identified as having type 2 diabetes, and much more are unsuspecting they may be at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians along with Pacific Islanders, as well as the older population.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is critical for your body to use glucose for energy. Once you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, that's the basic fuel for your cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from blood into your cells. When glucose generates inside the blood rather than going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.

You may have the power to increase and protect your health. With proper nutrition and exercise and by making good lifestyle choices (like not smoking), you possibly can feel better, stronger, and healthier, and can reduce your risk of diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and heart stroke.

What is a Healthy Weight?

There's a great way to find out in case your current weight puts you at risk for developing serious diseases. Go to and take the Body Mass Index (BMI) test. The final results can help you decide if you need to stress about your weight.

Better You Eat, Better You experience

Here are some basic guidelines to help you and your family make healthier food decisions.

* Eat many vegetables and fruits.

* Choose wholegrain foods over processed grain products. Try brown rice instead of white. Substitute wheat grains bread for white.

* Eat fish 2 to 3 times per week.

* Select leaner cuts of meat like those that end in "loin."

* Remove the skin from poultry and turkey.

* Eat non-fat dairy

* Drink water and low calories non-carbonated liquids.

* Use liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats.

* Cut back on high calorie snacks like chips, cookies, cakes, and regular ice cream. Find baked chips and reduced calorie snacks. Or have some fruit instead.

* Be careful about your serving sizes. Even an excessive amount of "healthy" food could potentially cause weight gain.


* Compare labels of similar foods, then pick the one with smaller amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

* Adults should eat under 2400 mg. of sodium everyday. If you have high blood pressure, you might want to aim for even less.

* Try adding seasonings in your cooking to replace salt for enhancing flavor.

A Little Physical activity goes far

Anything that gets you up and moving is designed for you. Here's what it might do:
* Reduce your risk of developing diabetes type 2

* Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke Lower hypertension and cholesterol

* Reduce blood glucose (sugar) levels if you have diabetes, which could lower your risk of developing diabetes-related complications

* Reduce tension * Help you slim down

* Provide you with more energy

* Help you sleep better

* Build stronger bones and muscle mass

You do not need to visit a gym, play sports or use fancy equipment.

Certainly, you need to talk to your physician before beginning any exercise program.

If you have Diabetes:

Maintaining a healthy diet and staying active are a lot more important when you've got diabetes.

Well-balanced meals might help keep your glucose (sugar) level as nearly normal as it can be.

Being active also helps you decrease your blood glucose. If you increase your physical activity levels, you may be able to

take less insulin or diabetes pills. In case you are very inactive, have heart disease or simply a history of foot ulcers, talk to your doctor about safe exercise available for you.

Check your blood glucose before exercising. If it's under 100 mg/dl, eat some fruit, crackers or have a glass of milk or juice.

Check it again after exercising to know how your blood glucose responds to workout. Bring a snack if you'll be active for a few hour.

~ Patricia Harris

Note from Sister Vegetarian: Although Sister Vegetarian's blog focuses on a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, Sister's main concern is that whether or not you are a vegetarian an incorporation of fresh vegetables and fruits into your diet is paramount to a healthy body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle. Thank you Patricia for a great article on diabetes. Your article will change positively many diabetics, those who know diabetics, and those who may have been on the verge of developing diabetes due to eating habits.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A simple life on my backpacking trip

Pictures of my backpacking trip (above):
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

I have been in the Southern Appalachian Range of the NC Mountains for 6 days where I backpacked with my husband, and dog to enjoy Mother Earth's beautiful bounty. We lived from a tent and our backpacks in the wilderness. No one around but the wildlife, and Mother Earth's beauty. I slept on top of the mountain and felt peace. I woke up to a beautiful sunrise and watched beautiful sunsets on top of the mountain.This trip renewed me and enabled me to appreciate being a vegetarian even more by appreciating Mother Nature. Instead of sticking with vegan foods which are far and few between for backpackers, I had to rely on vegetarian backpacking freeze dried foods which kept my strength up. Thanks to Backpackers Pantry food for backpackers, I ate vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian Pad Thai, vegetarian scrambled eggs, and other great gourmet vegetarian freeze dried meals for backpackers (also called MRE for those in or was in the military).
In getting closer to nature on this trip, I rethought how I loved the simple life and always tried to lead a simple life away from the hustle and bustle. In lieu of this, I planned in my mind as I sat on the mountain top the vegetable garden I always wanted to start when I return home. Today, I made a trip to my local Lowe's Home and Garden Store for tomato seeds, potting soils, and rubber made containers to start a container vegetable garden and start my own compost. I plan to start this compost maybe within a month with the red worms that makes the home-made compost great fertilizer and "black gold" for awesome vegetables. When August hits, I'll start my beets as it becomes colder for this cold weather produce.
In a nutshell, getting back to nature renewed my love of the simple life and a simple life is beautiful for me.
~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How Jackie Robinson Day Taught me to Relax as a Vegan

As I enjoyed watching this past Thursday (April 15th) the American League and National League baseball players wear #42 on their jerseys to commemorate the 63rd anniversary (April 15, 1947) of Jackie Robinson (#42 of the Brooklyn Dodgers) breaking baseball's color barrier, I reflected on how baseball have taught me as a vegan to relax and enjoy life.

I have always been an avid baseball fan of the NY Yankees even before being a vegetarian and vegan, but never realized the lesson baseball would teach me until I became a vegetarian. I am the fan who has an authentic Yankees jersey and baseball cap that's worn with pride on weekends. This past week, I also celebrated my maternal grandmother's life on April 17 where she ended her journey upon Mother Earth 32 years ago and whereas her love of baseball has made a lasting impression upon me.

My mother said growing up in California, my grandmother enjoyed going out to the ballpark to watch the San Francisco Giants Baseball Team play in the late 1950s and 1960s. My grandmother also enjoyed watching the Negro Baseball League play as someone who grew up in Alabama and witnessed how blacks were not allowed to play baseball, and thus created a successful league of their own. I did not have the opportunity to attend baseball games with my grandmother for I lived on the East Coast as a child and when I was sent to the West Coast during two month summer breaks from school, winter breaks for two weeks, and always extended Spring Breaks to be with my maternal strength of females on the West Coast (grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunts) she tended to keep the focus on things of a small child that she thought I would enjoy. Grandma did not try to force baseball on me, but baseball was in my blood. From listening to the Yankees on the radio on family beach trips as my older brother Ron held the transistor radio up to his ear yet loud enough so we all could hear the game in the car, and watching them with my brothers on TV. I grew up on baseball and football...and the games are in me.

This is the first year as a vegan during baseball season. I am use to hot dogs before the game or at the game, and a nice cold beer. Hot dogs and beer always went together at baseball games. But, baseball has taught me that as a vegan, I can still enjoy life and enjoy the pleasures of the game as a vegan. Besides meat hot dogs before I go watch a baseball game of my adopted city's Double AA Major League Team, I eat vegetarian hot dogs and fries. At the game,I still have that nice cold beer as I yell playfully at the umpire, the team, opposing team, or a player wearing either the local Double AA MLB Team's jersey and cap (yes...I even have the local Double AA Team attire besides my Yankees...what a baseball fanatic I am!)

Baseball has taught me to relax as a vegan. I realized that I was falling into the trap of being too strict and stern on myself, and not enjoying this vegan journey. Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, and even soccer...I love these sports...but, my favorite sport is Baseball.

I did not realize that Baseball would teach me a lesson on being a vegan. Just relax. Stop being hard on yourself. Think about it ... the games can be long...especially if the NY Yankees are playing as we all know...and that long game playing time teaches you to take it easy...kick back...and enjoy the game. Synonymous....kick back, relax, and enjoy this vegetarian and vegan journey. Stop being hard on yourself.

I went to a sports bar on Friday with my husband after work as we enjoyed watching the Yankees on the sports bar screens as we ate a great meal for a game and had some drinks. I had a good time. Sports bars do not give you much options of vegan food, but I love sports bars and most of all watching a game there with friends and husband. I said to myself..."Donna one is asking you to eat meat....there are many vegetarian options on the menu ...Just chill, relax, and enjoy the game. Stop being so hard on yourself." I was being hard on myself, and denying myself the things that make me happy. As the Dalai Lama said, "Our purpose in life is to be happy. " So, I ordered a vegetarian pizza with cheese, and had a glass of wine. I enjoyed the meal, the sports bar surroundings of the many fans, and had a great time. This may not sit well with other vegans, but each journey is different. I think about vegans who I met who also let themselves enjoy life by having a piece of non-vegan cake for birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries. There are also vegans who must cook for elderly parents who are carnivores. Taking care of family is first priority but we can also still maintain our vegan views. In lieu of this, I started a month ago letting my husband cook his own meals; but, he works hard outside as a carpenter in the heat and comes home exhausted from lifting plywood and work tools all day. He did not complain about making his own food and he was the one that volunteered to start. I love and respect him; so, I thought, what am I trying to prove by not cooking his carnivore meals? I know who I am as a vegan, and not cooking his meat meals proves nothing but being focused on myself. That's not what I want. So, I happily started cooking his meat meals again. Yeah..Yeah..I know that does not sit well with some vegans and vegetarians who are strict in this area of not touching meat to cook for family, but I take my marriage vows serious that through sickness and health...we will uplift each other. I'm not here to tear a man down when he had a hard day, and my hands are able to cook a good meal for a man that works 110% daily to provide for his family. Being 100% vegan in this world does not exist, so stop being hard on yourself. If I am no longer considered a vegan for eating that vegetarian-cheese pizza and now I am considered a vegetarian although my meals at home are 100% vegan, then that's okay with me. I have peace of mind and I am happy. I may have compromised my vegan lifestyle by eating a vegetarian heese pizza, but I did not compromise who I am. In the words of Janis Joplin "Don't compromise yourself, you're all you got." Let's stop trying to be vegans or vegetarians to please others, or because it is the in thing. Just be yourself as a vegetarian or vegan. If that means every once in a while you have a vegetarian cheese pizza, then so be it. This is your individual journey and you are not out to make others happy. Make yourself happy, and do not compromise yourself.

This is very important for new vegetarians and vegans. I believe newbie vegetarians and vegans fail, and do not stick with this lifestyle because of being too hard on yourself. Stop being hard on yourself, and just relax.

Being a vegetarian or vegan is not suppose to make you tense. Lighten up, and enjoy this vegetarian or vegan journey. If that means someone decides to label you as not total vegan, then that's okay. You know who you are and whom who are. Do they know who you are and whom you are to cast judgement? I think not. Just be yourself, and you'll make it through this journey sliding, laughing, and enjoying yourself; or, you can be the prune who sticks their nose up at others. I know that's not the type of vegetarian or vegan I want to be. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Friday, April 9, 2010

No More Drama: How to maintain a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle without wavering back to meat

No More Drama!

One of the best things I love about being a vegetarian and then a vegan is, to use Mary J. Blige's words, “No More Drama!” Drama in the form of stomach pains and stomach illnesses associated with meat and dairy. In addition, I am rarely sick to the point where I have not had a cold, flu, or any type of seasonal viruses for over a year. I have received questions or statements from newbie vegetarians or vegans that sometimes they find it hard to maintain a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, and tend to waver back and forth from vegetarian/vegan to carnivore life. I was also in those shoes of wavering between a vegetarian/vegan and carnivore lifestyle until I learned and realized to count the positives of living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. No more Drama of wavering between vegetarian/vegan and carnivore lifestyles, and the pains and upset stomachs that accompanied going back to eating meat. I came up with a pros and cons column: a No More Drama List. I wrote down the pros and cons of leading a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, and a separate list of the pros and cons of leading a carnivore lifestyle. My pros for vegetarian/vegan outweighed the cons of which there was just none. The carnivore list had more cons than pros, and the pros were more of what I thought I missed such as cheese as a vegan. These lists became my motivation to stick to my vegetarian and subsequent vegan lifestyle. I will not lie…ever so often I might crave cheese but then my list of positives that I carry with me in my head or revert to on paper, reminds me of the positives of this lifestyle choice without stomach issues. I am reminded through my list of positives of how healthy and energetic I am without the Drama. For the newbies and veterans of vegetarianism or veganism (because there are vegetarianisms and vegans that revert back to meat after years of leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle), try a list of pros and cons for motivation. You will also find that your list of pros for leading this vegetarian or vegan lifestyle outweighs the cons. For motivation, keep the list on your refrigerator, in your purse, in your car, at work, or ingrained in your memory. A list of accentuating the positives will keep you focused, on tract, motivated, and exhilarated to lead this wonderful vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Helpful ideas to keep you motivated and focused:

- Make your own list of pros and cons.

- Locate a sole item on your list of positives that is that #1 item of why you became a vegetarian or vegan. Make that sole item your daily mantra to stay focused, but continue to revert back to the entire list when needed.

- How can you celebrate the positives in your life since you became a vegetarian or vegan (i.e. treat yourself to a massage, a new outfit, new book, yarn, etc) ?

- Join a vegetarian or vegan support group to surround yourself with positive influences.

~ Sister Vegetarian

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nutritional Slavery or It Aint Meant for Us! by Battzi "Sister Okra"

Nutritional Slavery or It Ain't Meant For Us!
by Battzi "Sista Okra"
* you can also find Sister Okra at her blog Going Green and Lean*

Spring is a time when people want to go outside and enjoy nature. I love the Spring because people begin to plant gardens. I remember the gardens of my Grandmother and the other elders as I was growing up. The nutrition from those gardens delighted us when it was supper time. But what has happened in the Black communities of America? Something nefarious. Something debilitating. Something intentional. Lets define some words that shall be used in this article.

Nutrition: The act or process of nourishing or being nourished specifically the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances.

Intentional: Done by design or intention. a determination to act in a certain way.

Slavery: A submission to a dominating influence. the state of a person who is a chattel of another.

The first statement that I want to impart to you is this: the SAD or the Standard American Diet was not meant for Black people to follow. It relied heavily on meat, sugar, salt, heavy foods. This type of diet was perfect for the Europeans that came here to America. This food allowed them to settle this country. But something was amiss. Something I believe was a result of their diet. The stamina was not up to par. Hence, the need for others to come and do the work of building, clearing the land, planting the fields, etc. I am not going to discuss the slave trade because we have studied that in our schools and universities. We have books and papers to plumb the depths of this subject. My concern is with Nutrition. There are many forms of slavery, sisters. Financial, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and...Nutritional. Our ancestors knew that all foods from the earth sustained life. The power of these foods gave us the energy, the stamina to walk, laugh, play, fight, love back in the Motherland. The Europeans ate meat and wore the skins of animals. Well, you do that where it is ice and snow. What I am trying to say is that our ancestors gave the world the Natural Movement. Out of Africa.... To see the Natural Movement today, you'd never know that many Blacks are a part of it or even know about it. Sisters, it came from us and it is time to reclaim it. The SAD or the Standard American Diet was not meant for us. I shall state this again: THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET WAS NOT MEANT FOR BLACK FOLKS! The eating of meat, heavy starches without moderation, salt, sugar, artery-blocking fats was a part of the European lifestyle.They needed this food to help them in their conquest of this land. This land that they call theirs really belonged to others but we won't go into that.

How do you keep a group of people on the lowest rung of life? What is the most important substance? Food! Do you want to keep a group of people physically stunted, mentally below par, financially in poverty, spiritually dumb, do not give them the proper nutrition that they will need to advance to the next level. This is what was done and is being done to Black people and especially the Black woman. Why do I state this? Ladies, we are the ones who bring about the next generation. We are the "blankets" that the little ones need. They are nourished by what we put in our mouths. But if the food at your shopping place is of the lowest quality, what do you think that the quality of your child's mind/thoughts will be? Inferior food is done for a reason. It is done to keep you in a state of submission. Processed foods are loaded with fats, sugar, salt. Obesity, Diabetes, Edema, Heart and Kidney problems etc. are the plagues of our communities. Our children are the ones being labeled as ADD and ADHD. Our children are being thrown into Special Education classes regardless if it is warranted or not. Have you ever stopped to wonder why?Keep the children hyped up on sugar. Keep the vegetables loaded down with Salt Pork, Bacon, Lowry's Seasoning Salt, etc. Have your desserts loaded down with butter and white sugar. That is another fact, ladies. Anything white is NOT good for you. This is NOT a racial statement. It is a nutritional fact.

Inferior food is done by design or intention. This is my humble opinion and no person has to take my word for anything. In fact, I suggest that you don't. Read, study for yourself. Take a trip to the Library, use the free Internet in the Library and look up the subject of Nutrition. Read, study about animal and plant food substances.

Ladies, I am advocating a plant-based diet for you, your children, your health! Yes, I am advocating this. What have you got to lose? Well, weight, diabetes, swollen ankles, thunder thighs, bubble butts, love handles and a host of other physical characteristics. Your child or children could have the energy needed to study, to learn, to grow up without the weight problems that seem to haunt our communities. They could concentrate and have the mental clarity needed to master their worlds. I know that you love your babies. You want the best for them. I want the best for them. Start to feed them what their little bodies need and what your body needs. Increase your vegetables and lessen the meat. Are the vegetables in your community inferior? DEMAND BETTER!!! If they are in your communities to make money, make them serve you and your welfare. Do not give your money until you are satisfied!!! You have a church on every corner in the Black community. Pastors, come on now. Get together and rent farm land or go to a farmer and ask him if he could/would set aside a portion of land so that your congregations could plant fresh vegetables for their health and communities. Building Funds are important in their respective places. But if your congregations are dying out before their time, what good is a Building Fund? It is great that your choir is the bomb but if your singers are sick with diabetes, loaded down with weight, etc. what good is that to you?

Put aside the stupidity and be concerned with your people. Plant those gardens and let the people harvest the fresh veggies that their bodies so badly need. Whatever is left over, please set up a place in your churches that the community outside of your churches could benefits as well. Getting back to the earth is beneficial to your body and mind. Open up an Exercise Class in your church in a room that is not used a lot. Have one in the Morning so that those who can come only in the morning can take advantage of it. Have one for the Afternoon or the Evening. Keep it to a time that people could walk safely to and from the exercise class. Get the children involved in exercise. Kids love to run and jump. Exercise based on the needs of children abound. Make the effort to find these resources.

Get people who know about nutrition to come in and teach your people about proper eating. Stop all the Fried Chicken dinners, Ham dinners, Pork Chop dinners, Greens loaded with sodium. Learn and teach your people how to cook with their health in mind. Have Vegetarians or Vegans come in and show your congregations how to prepare dishes that will foster health and not death.

Are you on EBT? You can really make your benefits work for you. Learn how to steam your veggies, make smoothies etc. Load your baskets with greens, fruit, soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, almonds and other nuts if you can eat them, fruits, brown rice, wheat, pumpernickel breads, whole grains. I know you could keep more of your Food Stamp $$$ if you do this. You'll feel better. You'll look better. Your mind/thoughts will become clearer, old habits, problems, situations that you may have worried over will suddenly have the solution. Good foods do this for the mind. The nutrients from vegetables are enough to sustain us. You do not need meat to live. You need REAL FOOD to live. Aggression goes into getting that meat to your table. Aggression is what you intake when you eat meat. I really do believe this. You sit and eat steak, beef and wonder why you are yelling,killing and walking in a offensive/defensive stance all the time. Always ready to kill and destroy. Your diet does influence you and your surroundings.

Do not think that those who want your impoverishment have not thought of this. These people are NOT stupid. They study and think when you sleep. Don't hand your life or the lives of your children to them on a silver platter. Listen to what is inside of you. Within you is the truth. Need a Biblical reason? Genesis 1:29 can be a starting point for you. It was for me. It has more meaning than being used to justify "weed" or marijuana. This is/was G-D's Diet Plan for us. Because of forced captivity or slavery, the Edenic knowledge was stripped from us and replaced with a knowledge that does not mean us any good.

The SAD diet is death to and for us. I cannot stress this enough. It impairs our eggs needed to bring in new life. It weakens the strength of the sperm in our men. We become weak people who give birth to weak children. STOP IT!!! Get off this bandwagon of death. Speak Life! Think Life! Teach Life! Eat Life! Those who did not, and, in many cases, still do not care for us want us in bad health and with unhealthy actions. Just because something was done in the long ago does not always make it right. You have to put an end to the curses of bad health. It has to stop with YOU! Only you can change your lives. If you want to get something, attract something, YOU have to BECOME what YOU desire. When eating, according to our definitions, we take in and utilize food substances. Lets make the food be the best that we can get. Our destruction via our health was done by design or intention. Our ignorance has kept it going and growing. It is time to throw off the shackles of nutritional ignorance and step into the light. The nutritional slavery that we were under and are still under in many cases keeps us submitted to the/a dominating influence that would have us nutritionally killed off as soon as possible. Our nutritional sins have kept us as a chattel of the pill bottle.

Easter is coming. Make a resolution to resurrect your life as well as your soul. Make a pledge to try to eat better for 3 to 5 days. If you can make it that far, you are on your way to a 10-day clean-up. Then a 20-day, 25-day. Make a 30-day clean-up your goal to reach. Write down how you feel each day. Notice the physical changes, mental changes, emotional changes, spiritual changes. Yes, you'll change in more ways than one. I believe in you. I really do. Show the world and each other that we care about ourselves, that we want the best and are willing to fight for it!
~ Battzi "Sister Okra"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Downtime to Heal: Honor African American's that fought for the right to use state parks as little as 43 years ago

Webster's dictionary describes "downtime" as a period of inactivity, or when production stops. I see "downtime" not as a period of non-production, but as a period of production to recoup your energy; get your system in balance and check; and, make your self more productive. I needed a downtime after working for 5 months since my last vacation. Us sisters push ourselves because we have no choice as we take care of our children, husbands, family, elderly parents and grand-parents, and, work 2 jobs or one job with long hours to make ends meet. They say that 70 % of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck; and, we tend to spend less time on recuperating our mental health through breaks, vacations, or small retreats. Even if it is just a few hours, a day, or a weekend, we need time to recuperate and regain our strength. We need time to refuel our mind, body, and spirit because although we are eating healthy as vegetarians and vegans, we need a well rounded health approach as I pointed out in Friday's Inspirational Thought of The Day. We can't forget that with a healthy internal body goes a healthy mind. We need "downtime" to evaluate our path, regain our energy, rethink, refuel, and rejoice!
Last weekend, my husband, dog, and myself did some urban camping. What's urban camping? It's camping near your home, within an hour or less away. We choose our local state park to camp overnight in out tent. We took a small hike with our dog after setting up the campsite, and then returned to our tent by 3 PM for relaxation and meals (by the way, I had a great organic backpacking vegan meal that I wanted to try out for backpacking pt Mary Janes's Farms). We talked and even took a nap under the trees in our campsite without the obtrusion of TV, XBox, computers, or any type of electronic devices. We reconnected as a couple through talking for hours without any phones interruptions. As we slept in our sleeping bags in out tents, it was beautiful to get lured to sleep by the night owls and wake up to the beautiful serenading of the birds in the trees that provided a canopy to our tent. There were many families and couples camping out that night, and taking advantage of the inexpensiveness of our state parks that we pay our tax dollars for through our paychecks, and state yearly income taxes. The campsites are sufficiently apart from others campsites to provide seclusion.
As African Americans, we should all take part in the beauty of the state parks since so many of African-Americans not long ago (even as short as 43 years ago) were forced to be segregated in these same parks. In the area I live in, there was a documentary on our state park on PBS, and it explained how African Americans were kept to one end of the park which was suppose to be the not so popular section and how non-African Africans were allowed to enjoy the beauty of the rest of the park with the lakes, beautiful trails, and quaint camps not so long ago. Signs of "White Only" and "Colored Section" were posted until 1966 (the year I was born) in my nearby state park that I love to enjoy. I honor the African Americans that fought for non-segregation in State Parks by enjoying the land; so, please enjoy them through "downtime." Teach your children not only to appreciate the beautiful bounty of the land through a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, but teach them the beauty of the land through hikes and camping. Traditionally, African-Americans have a spiritual connection to Mother Nature. We had a connection to the land in Africa as we gained strength from Mother Nature's beautiful vegetarian bounty, and treks upon the land. Our ancestors in Africa honored the land and respected it through rituals that gave thanks and praise to the land.
I wear my hair natural in a close cut and hear many Black women say it's easy for you to enjoy the outdoors because you do not need to worry about your hair. Do not believe the myth that just because your hair is worn in a non-natural hairstyle you cannot enjoy the outdoors. Let's not feel that because your hair may be relaxed or you wear a weave that you cannot experience the beautiful of the outdoors. Do not short change yourself. Venture out for some downtime, and let nature revive your mind, body, and spirit. A well rounded vegetarian and vegan lifestyle includes downtime to refuel. Refuel yourself. Release your stress through Mother Nature's bounty. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving to the next level

"If you want to take your mission in life to the next level, if you're stuck and you don't know how to rise, don't look outside yourself. Look inside."

~ Bruce Jenner, 1976 Olympics, Gold Medal Winner; Motivational Speaker

Since I became a vegetarian, and then vegan, I have been in constant motion to see how I can improve upon myself and make a difference in the world. As a vegetarian and then vegan, the innateness of compassion for all living beings (human and non-human) has begun to manifest itself strongly within my journey. As I read Sistah Vegan's new book Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak and read other black woman's stories of their compassion for non-human beings in order to look at the whole picture and become the catalyst of change, I too felt the urgency to pick up my walking stick to help me climb higher heights and make a difference.

Compassion of a vegan and vegetarian is not just about non-human animals. There are many people affected adversely in this and other countries by choosing a carnivore lifestyle. I just don't mean health wise. There are poor workers who are being exploitered as slaves in other countries for the sake of placing meat on carnivores' tables, or animal clothing in stores. I realized as I read Sistah Vegan's book and began reading more books and watching documentaries on GMOs, and the meat industry and its affect on world's human and non-human beings, I felt an urgency to stop being passive and do something. I am trying to be a proponent in the community by showing how living a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle will improve and maintain our health, but we must go further. Vegetarianism or Veganism without compassion for other living beings (human or non-human) is defeating the journey's purpose. We cannot have love without compassion, or compassion without love. That being said, I took the quote "Knowledge is power" by Philosopher Francis Bacon to heart, and started my read list of knowledge. One cannot fight the system of oppression upon human beings and non-human beings without knowledge. I purchased the respected books of the "modern animal rights movement," and started my journey to another level of gaining knowledge to fight the wrongs of human slavery in other countries to fuel meat industries money pockets, and to fight the slaughter and oppression of non-human beings for the sake of the next Happy Meal or Double Cheeseburger.

I added to my library the following books which already included books and videos on GMO through my local library, bookstore, or Netflix (movies), as well as purchasing Sistah Vegan's new book which also challenges the mind to move to the next level and make a difference.

Recent additions to my home library:

The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery ~ by Marjorie Spiegel and forward by Alice Walker

I already began the Animal Liberation book. It's deep! It speaks about the 1973 project of the US government in using 200 beagles and then 400 beagles to test gasses and pesticides. I understood farm animals were being mistreated; but, this blew my mind away with the factual documents of this heinous atrocity, and crime against life! It makes me wish I started becoming a vegan earlier in my life, and even standing up for all life earlier by living my life ethically. But, we are never too old to start now. The time is now.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

~ Les Brown, Motivational Speaker

I also began to take a look at my home life, and change it. I replaced my soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and lotion with non-animal tested soap. I am now back to using Dr. Bronners for my soap, and Kiss My Face deodorant. I replaced my laundry detergent with non-animal tested and eco-friendly detergent. I will replace more things in the home gradually, as Sister's money is able; but, its' a start. I say gradually as money is able because we can start making a change little by little even if funds are not able to do it all at once. This is what I have been saying about being a vegetarian and vegan. Many people in low income areas feel that they cannot make a health change by going vegetarian or vegan, or make an ethical change in saving non-human beings.

We can make a change even by the smallest action we can make a difference. The smallest action becomes a big catalyst.

Sister is not full of money, but Sister is full of heart. We can make a difference even with little funds. Just take a step at a time. Join a local vegan activist group as I recently did. You will meet and share stories with other vegans and vegetarians, and make a difference. Little steps without even putting out money does make a difference. Take it a step at a time, and carry your walking stick to help you climb to the next level.

I even made a change at home with my husband's meals. I no longer cook his meals since he prefers meat. At first I felt bad because he works hard, but so do I.

Here's a reply I did on a forum to a vegan who had a similar problem. It shows how even with little money, we can go to the next level by just making a start at home.

Reply on a local forum to a vegan question on how to handle carnivore eaters at home:

I have a similar situation whereas I am the vegan in my household, and my husband is the carnivore. I started out still trying to cook for him as a vegetarian, feeling bad since he worked long hours with physical demands in construction. When I became vegan, I just could not justify cooking his meals when thinking of the inhumane treatment of animals and people to place carnivorous meals on carnivore’s plates. He understands, and cooks his own meals. I still feel bad at times for not cooking his meat meals only because of his long, hard days; but, heah, I work long, hard days too You can do so much in preaching to the choir, but the best type of positive influence is by our actions. Through the joy, passion, and love that we live our vegan lifestyle, these actions and behavior does have a positive influence upon family, friends, colleagues, and others in our life journey. The best type of way to help others understand the health, environmental, and humane benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle is by actions. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. When others see how much we, the environment, animals and people (because living a vegan lifestyle also affects people who are forced into hardship and slavery in other countries when working for companies that support detrimental effects to the environment) have benefited from a vegan lifestyle, others may follow suit in either instituting more vegetables in their diet, becoming vegetarian, or ultimately becoming vegan. My husband has seen the health changes in my body (not sick for over a year and that's without ever taking a flu shot in my life) and a resurgence of my energy level (at 43, I bike 3 x a week for an hr, yoga 2 x a week for an hr, and hike/backpack on weekends) since becoming a vegan. I started out trying to preach to him the health and environmental benefits on becoming a vegan, but switched my efforts to living by example. When I stopped my preaching, and lived by example, he became more interested in the documentaries about humane treatment to animals, the food industry’s GMO foods, and cancer/health cures from eating vegan. Although my husband maintains a carnivore diet and swears he will never become vegetarian or vegan, he has added more vegetables to his meals. I guess it’s a start in the right direction; and, as we grow in knowledge, our views do sometimes begin to gravitate toward living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
I hope this encourages you to move to the next level. Don't forget your walking stick to help you climb to the next level. That walking stick can be the books above that I recently purchased, or other books of power. Knowledge is power, and a small change can become a catalyst for reform.

~ Peace & Love, Donna "Sister Vegetarian"