5 year Vegan anniversary

Five years ago I became vegan based on the book I read called “Skinny Bitch”.   www.skinnybitch.net and thank my lucky stars I saw the book, read it and followed the new eating lifestyle.  The results to my amazement was a 45 pound weight loss which I’ve kept off.  I became thoughtful of animals and no longer wanted to eat slaughtered animals.

The first six months was an amazing journey of new food discoveries.  Like quinoa, lentils, beets and fresh fruits and veggies no longer cooked to the point of no flavor or no nutrients like the veggies you get at some restuarants. The discovery of raw vegetables was a delight and my taste buds changed drastically to enjoy raw broccoli.

Once the initial 20 pounds came off, it was very easy and fun to exercise!

Over the past 5 years went from eating soy meats to eliminating them, only eating veggies (including green leafy & sweet potatoes), fruits, nuts, seeds. And gluten-free pasta to a minimum.

The challenge now in the fifth year is running out of ideas of food to cook.  I got sick of the same recipes I cooked and ate for 5 years.  I still love lentils. But I did get sick of them a few months ago for a month or two. Right now I want to keep to the basics and only things that grow from the ground.  It’s a bit challenging and need to cook all meals.  It is worth it though and worth all the dishes I have to do.

  • I keep the weight off
  • I am proud of myself
  • Thankful for the discovery and interest to change
  • Thankful my daughter eats and loves veggies and health food

I’m a Happy Vegan!



Above is a pic of one of my dinners I cooked.  Lentils, sauted califlower, fresh broccoli with yellow mustard.

No thank you Easter Candy and Simple Vegan Cauliflower Soup

My co-worker asked me today, do I want any candy from her Easter basket?  Saying no thanks, she insisted.  “I don’t mean to sound like a candy snob, I said but I don’t eat any of that”.  I used to devour peeps but after I became vegan and lost weight, I look at candy and white sugar like it’s the plague.  Not interested anymore.  She asked me “did I used to be heavy”.  I told her how after having a child, too busy with baby, stopped cooking, stopped exercising, ate out at fast food, gained weight. After I changed all of my foods to whole food and vegan I no longer crave or have any desire for candy.  I chew double bubble gum for any sweet tooth cravings.  Then Brush-Floss-Brush* at night. I have my daughter do the same whenever she chews gum.  There’s never candy or sweets in our house by choice. When my daughter wants sweet she adds some Blue Agave into her oatmeal. That’s night and day compared to 5 years ago and beyond when I lived pretty much on pepperoni pizza, ice cream, white coconut cake and sweetened rasberry iced tea with some broccoli and lots of cheese everyday. Now, I’m glad to say traditional pizza and junk food have no appeal to me.  Also, the thought of the animals’ pain and suffering they endured to be put into a food form is sad and gross at the same time.  I read the book “Skinny Bitch” which changed my life forever. After that, I watched the docu movie Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix on YouTube and saw how cows and pigs are slaughtered.  It’s horrific.  Easter is in two days and I see people buying hams at the grocery store. All I see are images of the pigs.  That’s those people’s choice and I was once, one of them. I don’t judge them personally.  People are becoming more aware from other documentaries such as Forks over Knives, www.forksoverknives.com.  And everyday I hear people talking about healthier vegetarian choices.  There’s a new trend with the traditional grocery stores which promote healthier choices.  I’m so thankful I have discovered a Vegan lifestyle.  It has opened my eyes and it’s keeping me and my daughter very healthy.  I wish for the animals sake, consumers choose vegan foods at a faster pace.  The health and weight loss benefits alone are remarkable.

*Toddler song I heard when my I used to take my daughter to Mommy and Me type of play group.

Brushing Teeth Song: “When you wake up in the morning and you want a little fun, you brush your teeth.  ch ch ch ch, ch ch ch ch ch”.

Well, Switching gears, here’s an easy, fast Cauliflower Soup recipe I adapted from watching a Good Morning America cooking segment last month.  Cutting out the oil and butter – saute shallots with water only.

Cauliflower Soup

Get: Cauliflower, Shallots, Leeks

Cook: (1) Saute chopped Shallots and chopped Leeks in water on high heat 4 minutes filled with shallow level of water. Stir frequently.

(2) Pour Shallots, Leeks with any water left over into large cooking pot filled with chopped Cauliflower, fill with water to top of cauliflower.  (3) Cover half way – cook on medium heat 15 minutes max and enjoy.  Dash of Sea Salt optional.

Cauliflower Soup

Tidbit:  During a recent visit, my doctor enthusiastically said to me, “You have lower cholesterol than I do!” and he’s a decade younger than me.

I’ve had converations with people especially men whose cholesterol numbers lowered significantly when they completely cut out dairy from their diet.  At a conference, I met a man in his 40’s who once had stage 4 Prostate Cancer, after adopting a vegan diet his prostate cancer quickly dissolved.  He’s now healthy.

Volunteering WaterKeeper Alliance Splash Event with RFK, Jr.


Volunteered WaterKeeper Alliance SPLASH event 1st annual SUP Race!  with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


1st Place Winner! Fernando


RFK Jr. and Cheryl Hines getting gear for fun race


Mayor of Santa Monica


First three Winners 5 mile SUP race, Fernando, Jim and John


April 21, 2012 – My daughter and I had a lot of fun volunteering all day at the beach! and meeting so many people!

See pic below and click to See us at Stand Up for Clean Water’s website, http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=340886499307746&set=a.340886082641121.78426.290355427694187&type=1&theater


Vegan Gluten-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Vegan Gluten-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

sweetened with agave, no oils, no table sugar. I like to make simple, tasty recipes for my family that’s quick to make and easy to get vegan ingredients.  Eat them right away and have leftovers for later. Adapt what’s  in packaged products at the grocery store.  Try this quick and simple cookie recipe.  Feel free to add more raisins or adding vanilla to what you like in your cookies. warning: I cook these without measuring so these are estimates.  The’re fail free cookies.  They won’t taste like store-bought cookies but they are good and extremely healthy compared to conventional cookies with white sugar, butter, fat, oils.

My kid Approved

  1. Gluten-free Old fashioned Oats, http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-rolled-oats.html, 2 cups
  2. Organic Raisins, 1/2 cup
  3. Organic Apple Juice or Apple Grape Juice, 2 cups
  4. aluminum-free baking powder, dash (optional-not required)
  5. Organic Blue Agave, 1/4 cup to taste
  6. Organic Cinnamon, dash 1/2 tsp

In a bowl pour oats and apple juice.  Soak 2 minutes. if too watery, drain juice keep the oats.  Stir, dash of cinnamon. pour in raisins, dash of baking powder (optional). Mix it up. pour in Agave, stir.

Place on parchment paper on 10 x 13 cookie sheets (2).  Place on sheets as flat cookies, can be one big sheet of cookie – flatten it so it cooks through.  Cook at 375 degrees, 12 minutes, check after 10 min.

Eat and enjoy!

Pack up for a snack

What’s a Vegan

What’s a Vegan?

written by Andrea Rader

Becoming vegan usually starts with a newly discovered knowledge of how animals are mistreated, raised in unsanitary conditions, slaughtered and how the big food industry’s bottom line appears to be more about money and profit rather than the consumer’s true health and well being.  Once that knowledge is acquired a person looks at their food in a different way. Looking at food in their fridge they see the need to change what they buy at the grocery store. Cooking will now involve a completely different list of ingredients.  A vegan will no longer eat obvious foods from an animal like hamburger, hot dog, ice cream and cheese.  As more knowledge is acquired about how many conventional food items have animal by-products, the new vegan will replace foods with whole grains, non-dairy and sugarless food.  Clothing and body products also come into play.  Vegans do not want to buy something made from an animal.  The purchase of shoes, purses and wallets, hair shampoo, etc are now to be changed to animal free products which are sold in some health food stores and online.

Difference between vegetarian and vegan

Vegetarians do not eat red meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish.  Vegetarians do eat eggs, cheese and ice cream from dairy.

Vegans do not eat any food from an animal. Do not buy items made from animal parts.

Older people eating vegan

Seniors can safely eat vegan. Eliminating meat, bacon, dairy and sugar will increase their health substantially. Eating vegan is known to reverse heart disease. Eating a variety of green leafy veggies, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts and fruit will provide the body with necessary vitamins and nutrients. A discussion with their physician will be needed to fit each person’s medical needs.

How to eat Vegan when not at home

Visiting a restaurant as a vegan is becoming slowly but surely easier to place an order. Veggie burgers are available at pretty much all restaurants. Ask the place for a vegan menu. If not available, place your order asking without chicken for example or salad dressing on the side, you don’t eat it when it comes. Salad dressing tends to have milk and table sugar. Olive oil should be limited due to fat content. Soy burgers are processed and no longer in their original form.  Limit your processed foods.  For buns, ask for gluten-free or wheat. Consider only taking one bite of the bun putting it aside. Restaurant wheat buns tend to not be whole grain bread, they also have sugar. Beverage can be lemon squeezed water, Oolong tea no sugar.

Vegan frozen dinners can be brought home from a store to heat in a microwave.

Amy’s has a good selection of gluten-free and vegan frozen food items for sale including gluten free, dairy free burritos. Microwave eating should be limited. Microwaving food is not a natural way of heating food.  Healthy heart eating is best achieved with cooking for yourself, controlling what is in your food and heating them properly and naturally or not at all. Raw foods, another healthy way of eating includes food like red, green and orange bell peppers, seeds and nuts.

Now that we live longer

People are living longer. Eating a plant based vegan diet will improve health and vitality. Can increase flexible movements, lighter weight and smaller body fat measurements. Pain free mobility. More energy.

You can eat cookies and ice cream

Vegan, Gluten free and fruit sweetened desserts are available in health foods stores.  Conventional grocery stores have a small section of “health food” now available.

Coconut  ice cream (agave sweetened) satisfies the texture and sweetness similar to regular ice cream.

Vegan cookies are becoming more available.  Fruit sweetened, gluten free and fruit sweetened can be difficult to find even in health food stores. Most health food manufacturers still use cane sugar (white sugar).

Go Macro brand makes good tasting cookies that are vegan, gluten free, sweetened only with agave and brown rice syrup.  visit www.gomacro.com

Agave is the agua miel or “honey water” from the agave plant then processed into syrup form.

Sugar addict

White table sugar has the consumer addicted without them realizing. A short time of deliberately eating food that comes from whole food, whole grains, vegetables will change your taste buds. The difference in flavor becomes apparent. The preference for real fresh food has now become stronger.

watch video on CBS News.com. Dr. Gupta interviews Dr. Robert Lustig, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57407128/is-sugar-toxic/

Who for

Eating Vegan or becoming vegan is for anyone. Any age can adopt a vegan lifestyle.  Infants, young children, elderly, athletes can all benefit from eating vegan. Consult your doctor with questions on your specific needs.


Children eat what’s put on the dinner table regularly and what their parents buy from the grocery store.  They share lunches with each other at school.

If introduced pressure free from parents they will eat healthier food. They will become open to it.  Kids eventually try new food even if initially not interested. Presenting a 10 year old and younger with food that’s vegan is easier to introduce as a way of eating. Older children may take some time to warm up to the changes and my have peer pressure.  Food and snacks regularly eaten by family members will influence them. Being a good food role model is crucial for a young person’s health, eating habits and growing stages.


Research for yourself and make informed food choices. Soy meats are processed to the point of no longer being the original healthy soy bean it once was. Eating at a vegan fast food should be limited.  The tendency to go from meat eater to vegan is to eat “veg” burgers, soy dogs but the products can have higher sugar and salt content. Keep looking for healthier options. Ask your conventional store to stock specific healthy items you’ve found.

Gluten free products can be fattening, most are made with white rice, flours and sugar.  Read the ingredients of everything you buy.

How it changes people’s lives

Vegan (whole food, plant based) eating will lower cholesterol, shred extra pounds. Known to reverse heart disease and diabetes.

Being vegan will make you feel and look the best you’ve ever experienced.

4 ways to get your kids to eat Vegan and their Veggies

4 ways to get your kids to eat Vegan and their Veggies by Andrea Rader

1. Keep putting it on the table

Continue to put the new Vegan foods or a Vegetable on the table regularly, don’t stop and put just a little so you don’t feel it’s being wasted.  Kids will eventually try something new and end up liking it or hating it but they will taste it if it keeps showing up on the dinner table.  If they like it they will continue to eat it.  Whether it’s brussel sprouts or mung beans with the only exception of mushrooms.  That doesn’t come for decades.  But that’s ok.

2.Don’t push it Ever

Act ever so nonchalant about it and discover new foods in the house for yourself.  Look at this like a fun exploration of foods.  Never push it or get upset if they don’t eat something at that moment.  There are times when kids will hate something and then like it down the line.  My daughter loved avocado as a baby, at 5 years old she thought it was disgusting – I never pushed it. I just kept eating them myself ’cause I love avocados.  At 10 years old she was open to eating it again with some sea salt monitored by Mom.

3. Have them prepare it

If it’s their first time eating home baked vegan deserts that do not come from a box.  Have them pick out and buy the items with you at the store, pour and mix them at home, prepare it by hand and you put it in the oven.  When it comes out they will have pride and excitement about the new food.   Agave and apple juice goes a long way for adding a healthy and natural alternative to white table sugar.

Just learning how to cook vegan and want to watch your budget?  Go to your library and get several vegan books most have recipes, try recipes that look good.  Don’t worry if you don’t have every single ingredient.  When buying new vegan ingredients keep the receipt and go back and exchange anything you don’t like.  Ask the store what their return policy is.  When I first started out in 2008, I started eating soy cheese and ate a lot of soy meat.  I have since stopped eating soy products and use tapioca cheese moderately like Daiya because it’s better for you tastes great.  http://www.daiyafoods.com/

4. Pack it with you

Prepare carrot sticks, celery with almond butter, raisins and any leftovers in the car with you, on the bus and where every you go. When you or your child gets hungry you just pull the snack out of your bag.  Keep it on a freezer pouch even in the car when you go to services like church or temple.

I use bigger ice packs but these Rubbermaid are fun if you have little ones. If you can find soft pack Rubbermaid brand at Target or online, they keep cold all day, http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP091800

Check out these sites too for vegan recipes and info: