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.

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"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Compassion: There Is Something Bigger Going On

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. ~Mohammed Ali

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Ghandi

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead

As Vegetarians and Vegans, we think compassion when purchasing food and products, and preparing our meals. We try to ensure that most or all of the time the food we eat comes from a company, farm, or farming practices that respect the environment and laborers; the products we purchase are not tested on animals; and, we are leaving a small or no footprint upon the earth when making eco-conscious decisions and purchases. We join protests in support of humane treatment of animals; and, preach to the carnivore choir against the diseases associated with eating meal and the inhumane treatment of animals for the soul purpose of a carnivore eating that next burger, fried chicken, 16oz t-bone steak, or any food made of animal meat and parts. We are so compassionate in our call for humane treatment of farm animals; and, maintaining an environmentally conscious lifestyle locally and world-wide that we forget one thing: We forget to be compassionate, and environmentally conscious to our neighbors. I am not only speaking of the neighbors who live next to us, but I am speaking of our immediate community.

There is something bigger than you know going on here.
- Iyanla Vanzant

As I view the news which is so full of sadness, I hear so many times neighbors having died in their homes undiscovered for a week or more. The neighbors on the news tend to say the same thing on the lines of, "I thought I did not see her/him venture out for a week. I normally do see them outside daily and they speak to me." Does a light bulb come on if you do not see your neighbor whom you speak to often for days, and you know they are not on vacation or away on business? Call your neighbor. Ring the doorbell. Are we that far removed from compassion from each other that we cannot check on our neighbors when we know something is out of the ordinary? If my husband and I do not see our neighbors that we normally engage in frequent conversation with or wave to frequently, my husband and I call or walk over to make sure that everything is okay.

One of our neighbors down the street mows the law for one neighbor whose 85 years old. When it's summer grass cutting time, if either neighbors to us are busy or we are busy for weeks and the grass is getting overgrown, we try to trim each other's lawn as a courtesy. Compassion for the community. This is what being a vegetarian and vegan is about. It is not just centered on eating humanely or compassionately. This lifestyle is so far above us focusing on the "me," that we must remember that being a vegetarian and vegan is about the compassion for all life in all aspects.

One neighbor is in the hospital after surgery two days ago. We called our neighbor's family to check on his status when we did not see his family around to ask in person.Then there is another neighbor that fosters stray dogs. He has a total of 6 dogs that he fosters, and is trying to find homes for through his affiliation with the local Second Chance Society. One of his dogs got loose and decided to roam the adjacent neighborhood a mile away. 12 of us neighbors were up 8 AM driving around and walking the adjacent neighborhood after the neighbor that fosters dogs called us and a few neighbors for help. The other neighbors joined in because of word of mouth, calls, outside commotion, or door knocking from other neighbors. Compassion. Vegetarian and Veganism is bigger than we are.

I see drivers cut others off frequently on the highway, and local road. Where is the compassion, and thoughtfulness of thinking about how that affects someone else? Compassion. This is bigger than we are.

What about the homeless. Don't just walk by someone homeless if you see that this is more than a person on the street begging. My husband and I came out of our local grocery store, and a pregnant woman was on the side of the store crying with her husband comforting her. We stopped our journey to our car with groceries in tow, and asked if there was something wrong. From their dirty clothes and suitcase in tow with their only belongings so no one takes it from the shelter, you immediately could see that they were homeless. The wife looked 7 - 8 months or more pregnant. He explained that he recently loss his job, and they were living in a one room shelter type apartment where they could at least cook if they had money. I am one to be cautious of scams; but, wisdom and knowledge from growing up in a family of a dad and two brothers in law enforcement, I knew this story was true. Although they did have a shelter to go to, his pregnant wife was hungry. They only had enough money which they begged for to take the bus to try to acquire extra food. Instead of giving them money, we purchased a Food Lion grocery card that they could redeem anytime they wanted for food. Food Lion was in all neighborhoods, so wherever they resided at a nearby shelter for the night, they could always be near a Food Lion. My husband and I are not rich nor good spare that extra $25 on the Food Lion Gift Card; but, we knew there was something bigger than ourselves going on here. Thoughtfulness and compassion for our fellow man and woman whom are also our neighbors in this community called a city, state, nation. Compassion. This is bigger than we are.

What about compassion for those who tirelessly rescue animals? Sure they need the monetary donations, but every so often we will walk into the pet store and purchase dog food, treats, and other items that foster parents need. Having a dog, we frequent the pet store often; and, the rescue dogs and cats are outside the store every Saturday via the local areas Second Chance Pet Adoption Agencies. Thoughtfulness and compassion for those working tirelessly for our fellow dogs and cats who need homes. There is something bigger going that is above us.

Today, I found a lost dog. I gave her water, dog treats, and dog food from my home; and, sat outside and played with her (to my own dog's dismay who wondered if this was a new sister for her). It was not my neighbors' dog, but somehow she ended up in my driveway. She ended up being from the community in back of us. Compassion. There is something bigger going on.

I leave you with some inspirational thoughts to ponder as love, peace, and compassion become a part of our daily existence as Vegetarians and Vegans. If we cannot take action to also change the world by starting in our community, then who? We do make a difference. That is what I love about being in this community of Vegetarians and Vegans: we think beyond ourselves and know it is not about "me," but about you. This is bigger than us.

In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action. ~ Aristotle

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain. ~Helen Keller

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. ~Helen Keller

~ Peace & Love, Donna "Sister Vegetarian"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sister Okra's 100 Day Veggie Challenge Weight Loss Update

Sister Okra has been doing great with her 100 Day Veggie Challenge. If you have not read her story, please do ! It is inspiring and motivating to vegetarians and vegans, or those starting their vegetarian or vegan journey.

Here's an update that Sister Okra shared with me on her weight loss in eating 50% vegetarian and 50% vegan:

Second Weigh-In on 8 March: 227lbs. Loss of 7lbs. Total Weight Lost: 22lbs! The loss of inches is the most important for me as I can feel it in my clothes and body. So thankful that I started this journey. I have 127 more pounds to lose and I shall take my time in doing so.

I hope Sister Okra's journey inspires you :)
~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Do you know whom and who you are?

" Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me."
Maya Angelou's Poem Phenomenal Woman (poem in entirety)

I noticed in speaking with other vegetarians and vegans, or reading comments on vegetarian forums, vegetarians and vegans tend to have a strong sense of whom we are and who we are. There is something about being a vegetarian and vegan that not only strengthens your health and body; but, your mind also becomes strong whereas how you perceive yourself is also made stronger and you become in love with yourself. When I say you become "in love with yourself," this means that you love whom and who you are as a unique and individual person. You do not try to imitate anyone else because you realize that there is no need to copy what has made you beautifully, uniquely you. Everyone is beautiful and unique, but they must realize this and stop trying to copy or imitate what someone else possesses. To realize that you are unique and beautiful as you are does not mean you are conceited. It means you have a positive view of whom and who you whereas you do not put yourself down, but LIFT yourself up!

I listened to a conversation by two women who listed the many things they wished that they could change on their body. They were not happy with their nose, breast size, buttocks size , thighs, chin, arms, and more. They discussed their thoughts of breasts and buttocks reduction or enlargement, nose reconstruction, botox for fuller lips, and more. I thought to myself as they discussed these things how sad it is to not love yourself. They stopped for a second and asked me, Donna, what would you like to change on yourself? I said there is nothing I want to change. I proceeded in telling them that I love and accept my body as is and I am just happy to be alive with a healthy mind and body. A few years ago, I could have answered, well, I want to change my nose, or my thighs, or my buttocks; but, as a vegetarian and subsequently a vegan, you begin to know whom you are and who you are. Actually this actualization started 9 years ago when I started to wear my hair natural. There is just something about deciding to live a natural life; however, my acceptance of myself became even stronger as a vegetarian then vegan. You learn to love yourself through its flaws, and realize they are not flaws but what makes you unique and beautiful. You accept the beauty and uniqueness in you because...well, you are just at peace with the world, at peace with yourself, and just feel peaceful. There are more things to be concerned about such as world hunger, homeless children and adults, and animal abuse than how I can get a nose job, botox, reduction in breasts or thighs.

I hope I made a statement and made them think to love themselves as they are because once I made that response of "I am pleased with whom and who I am", the conversation dwindled to another topic and no more talk of trying to change whom and who they were.

My word to you this week as vegetarians and vegans is to spread the joy of learning to accept whom and who you are. There are many of our teenagers and preteens out there whether our own children, nieces, neighbors, cousins, friends' children...that have a poor self image of themselves because they see the thin models who are starving to death and the media says that they are beautiful. They see their favorite role models on TV or the movies getting nose jobs, breast enlargements, buttock enlargements, or botox for fuller lips. They see their role models on TV and movies getting their stomach stapled or opting for surgeries to pump out the excess fat storage rather than promote healthy diets and exercise. Even adult women fall into this trap of our teenagers and pre-teens.

Vegetarians and Vegans are blessed to experience this enlightenment of acceptance of whom and who we are by deciding to lead this healthy lifestyle that changes our body, mind, and spirit positively.
Besides sharing the health benefits of being a vegetarian and vegan, let's also share the mind changing experience of being a vegetarian and vegan because when we know whom we are, we know who we are, and what we are.

~ Peace and Love my sisters,
Sister Vegetarian
P.S. If you want a beautiful and gentle soup to celebrate your gorgeous spirit of whom and who you are, try this week's Lebanese Vegetable Soup. A beautiful and gentle soup reminiscent of the beauty in you.