Monday, May 30, 2011

☺ Inspirational: Tutorial: How to Have a Kick-Ass Day!☺

Once, again something a little different for today's Motivational Monday post. A fun tutorial on How to Have a Kick-Ass Day...

1. Wake up with a smile and a great big Strrrrretch! Throw a few fist-pumps in the air and announce to yourself that you are going to have an Awesome Kick-Ass Day! 

2. Exercise! Whether it's a hardcore workout at the gym, dancing in your underwear at home, or a speed-walk to work because you're running late for work (again!). 

3. Keep a ridiculous Smile on your face allllll day long!

4. Say Hello to Everyone!

5. Eat awesome Healthy Food!... cuz if you eat crappy food you will feel like crap too. 

6. When people or things piss you off, brush them off, and continue on with your day. Continue being Awesome!

7. Surround yourself with awesome People!

8. Take  a Dance Break!

9. Go Outside! Enjoy some fresh air and pretty nature!

10. Stay Positive and optimistic, and keep that PMA allllll day long!

11. Fake it til you make it! If you're not quite there yet just keep at it ;). 

12. Take over the world with all that Awesomeness!

13. Above all else, stay strong and stay positive no matter what!

Now go and have an Awesome Kick-Ass Day! :) 
Peace and Love!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

✌ Vegan Kitchen: Tofu Quesadillas! ✌

Some times you just have to have a nice lazy day, especially when it's all rainy out and you feel nice and cozy inside... and I muchly needed one with the amount of work going on lately. 
On these lazy days I find myself cooking and eating whatever I want. Within reason of course. It's no fun feeling like crap while you're enjoying a cozy day inside. But comfort food is awesome, especially when it tastes this good and is still healthy! Win win! 

I've always loved quesadillas and, really, when they taste this awesome how can you possibly not be vegan? 

Vegan Quesadillas:

1/4 block of Medium Tofu
2 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Ketchup

2 Brown Rice Tortilla Shells (defrosted)
1/2 a Red Pepper, chopped
1/2 a Zucchini, grated
1/4 cup Spinach
1/4 cup Daiya Cheese

You can throw whatever you like in them really, but this was my mix-up and I was super excited to have daiya cheese in it! Yum! 

A good tip for this recipe (and with most recipes that call for Tofu, unless you like the natural flavor of tofu like I do ~_^) is to sauté the tofu for 10-15 minutes so it soaks up the flavor of the spices. So, that being said... 

In a medium pot or frying pan, sauté the Tofu in the spices and a little bit of water (to avoid sticking) for 10-15 minutes. Add the ketchup after about 5 minutes. 
Add the Red Peppers, Zucchini, and Spinach (and whatever else you might want to add) and continue to sauté on medium heat for another couple minutes. 

In a large frying pan, lay down the Tortilla shell, add a little cheese, toss in the Tofu mixture, layer up the rest of the cheese and fold in half. Toast for a couple minutes on each side until the cheese melts and the wrap is browned on both sides. 

This makes 1 large (sandwiching the mixture between two shells) or two halved (like I like to do, folding the shell in half), enough for two people--or one if you are feeling extra hungry. ;)

Easy lazy super yummy dinner time! And still managed to keep it healthy! ;) 

Hope you're all having a wonderful day, rain or shine!  

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

☯ What's in My Closet; Eco Vegan Sandal-Boots! ☯

Horray! It's festival season!!! Although the Cottonwood Market here in Nelson is a couple weeks in, for the long weekend I got to enjoy the bigger May Days Festival an hour out in beautiful Kaslo B.C.. 
I love the general earthy hippie love and atmosphere of these markets, all the smiling and laughter, venturing through the lovely hand-crafted items at intricately set-up booths, and the music of local artists humming in the background. Sometimes I find things to buy, sometimes it's just a fun place to hang out for the day. This time, I was lucky to find something I've been trying to find for a while now; Sandal Boots!!

The vegan aspect has made it so that I haven't been able to find any, even looking online wasn't leading me to any good finds. So, I was overly ecstatic about find the pair that I did! 
They are vegan, with rubber soles, and 100% Organic Cotton canvas! Double score!!! 
The brand is Rabbit and Empee, an amazing little company based out of Canada that uses durable and environmentally conscious materials, such as 100% certified organic cotton canvas, cotton lycra and recycled inner tubes. Their Sandal Boots come in a few different colors and come in either the tall or short look. I bought the taller ones, because I love taller boots and I love that you can make them shorter by folding the tops and revealing the funky pattern on the inside lining! I am absolutely in love! I can see myself living in these all summer long! :)

Check out their shop and be sure to get yourself a pair of these funky and comfy Sandal Boots! :) 

Peace & Love

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Monday, May 23, 2011

☺ Inspirational: Be a Yes Person!☺

This week's "Motivational Monday" post is something a little different, but it is the best piece of motivation. 
So many opportunities and experiences pass us by because we say "No". Saying "No" is a means of sheltering ourselves from the world. But this kind of living is not really living at all. We get trapped by habits, the comforts of the walls of our home, the "security" of a dead-end job. We stop venturing, exploring, and experiencing life altogether. Stop saying No! Stop hiding from the world. Stop sleeping through life.
Start Living! Start saying "Yes!"
"Yes" can lead to so many wondrous undiscovered joys in life. "Yes" connects you to the world, allowing you to meet new people and have new experiences. There are limitless experiences right under our noses that we let lie undiscovered by our sleeping lives. By saying "Yes" doors open, life opens up and leads you on a deeper journey. Most importantly, "Yes" brings fun, joy, and happiness. "Yes" is waking up and finally living. "Yes" is being the fullest extent of your Self. It is discovering the world. It is stepping out of your comfort zone, stepping out of habits, out of the "norm," to discover something new, fun, wondrous, crazy, and fantastic.
Stop making excuses for yourself. Whether it's laziness, shyness, being too reserved, over-thinking, over-analyzing, questioning, talking yourself out of things; Stop! 
We tend to be very reserved from stepping out of our Comfort Zones, leading us to say "no" to invitations and new experiences. Who wants to feel uncomfortable? Or disappointed? Or any emotion provoked by fear? Let fear, expectations, and the unknown go. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Remember, it's all about your attitude! Get excited, thrilled, and jump at new opportunities and invitations. 

Don't be satisfied with just being content or okay. Don't be satisfied with just going through the motions of the every day week. Don't settle for anything less than amazing. Get a little crazy, get adventurous and spontaneous. Life is waiting right here for you to fully experience, explore, and enjoy it. 
I invite you to say "Yes;" to living, to life, to awakening. Take this week to say Yes to absolutely everything. You want to actually enjoy your life? Stop taking it so seriously, stop over-analyzing every little situation, stop talking yourself down. Make "Yes" your automatic and immediate response. Go on, step out of your Comfort Zone! No more making sad excuses for yourself! And then kicking yourself for missing out on something, or feeling sorry for yourself because your life isn't exciting. You have to make it exciting! You have to be willing to get out there. You're missing out on life while you sit there refusing to climb out of that boring little bubble. 
Say Yes! Say it right now. Say it all week. Say it for life. 
Throw "no" and "maybe" our of your vocabulary. When asked or invited to something let the word "Yes" flash automatically into your head. And allow "Yes" to be met with confidence and enthusiasm. Get pumped! Get stoked! Get excited! 
Life is waiting for you to live it. No more being alive without living. Go for it! Say Yes! Become a Yes Person! The only thing you've got to lose is that mundane way of living that should be left behind. Be open, be welcoming, and seek out new adventures and experiences! 
It's not just about saying "Yes" to everything, it's about experiencing life to the fullest, and about getting pumped and excited about the day! It's about Living! 
Lastly I will say, watch the movie "Yes Man" for an extra motivational kick. It rocks and it is exactly what I am talking about right here. ;) 

Peace & Love,

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

☆ What's Going On: Why Go Organic? ☆

At the most simply-put basis, Organic is everything you could dream of for a healthy body, wildlife, and planet. 

Natural is NOT Organic
Please remember that "Natural" does Not mean "Organic" in any way shape or form. "Natural" only means that a food product does not have any preservatives, synthetic additives, colors, or flavorings Added. But you are still biting into a mouthful of pesticides and still facing all the horrors of non-organic crops. 

There are over a thousand chemical pesticides available for use in Canada alone. Depending what country you live in will make a difference on the standards in place. Many pesticides are banned in one country, due to their links to cancer, reproductive disorders, and acute toxicity, yet are still used in other countries. And with so much of our food being imported, things get pretty mucky no matter where you live. 

Pesticides have hormone-mimicking, neurotoxic, reproductive-impairing properties, with about 60% of them being hormone disruptors. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 200, 000 people die every year from pesticide poisoning.  

These nasty pesticides don't just stay on their designated crops either, less than 5% end up where they are supposed to as the winds will carry them hald way across the world. Chems banned 20 years ago, such as DDT, are blowing over from countries where they are still in use! 

Check out for the foods with the highest and lowest pestice residue. 

Laziness has made it so that crops are no longer rotated to let the land's soil rebuild itself. Now the soil is pumped full of potent petrochemical fertilizers instead. 31% of all fossil fuels used by North American farms goes into fertilizes, much of which ends up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. This is bad because overdoses of nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizer runoff can create massive algae blooms that suffocate aquatic life and create large dead zones. 

Global agriculture suck up about 70% of all the water we use on this planet. 
What's extra silly is that Canada has some of the most water-intensive crops (grains and cattle) and 60% of that agriculture happens in the Prairies--which just so happens to be the driest part of the country! 

Is the zapping of our food with gamma rays, x-rays or electron beams to get rid of germs, slows the sprouting, ripening, and moulding processes so that products can sit on shelves longer. This may sound like a good idea, but the process drains some of the vitamins out of food and it also creates radioactive waste. 
Irradiated foods are supposed to be clearly marked with an international symbol, and if more than 10% of the ingredients in packaged products have been irradiated the label has to list which ones.

Here is a prime example of our attempts at playing God without considering the consequences. Genetically modified organisms are developed in labs when genes from different organisms are spliced into another to create so-called "super-foods," but really there is nothing "super" about it. They are meant to improve hardiness, pesticide resistance, and draught resistance, or any other number of things. But GMOs have not been around long enough to know the long-term health effects and they are hardly tested enough to be put out on the market. We really don't understand their effects in nature and have already disrupted natural species, helped continuously create "super weeds" that evolve and grow more resilient to GMO crops, and create super insects with similar aspects. Plus, once they're exposed to wildlife you can't exactly completely remove those pesky GMOs from the environment, as they are carried by animals, insects, winds, and waterways all over the world. 
There is no labeling for which foods or packaged foods are GMO either--that is unless you're buying Organic.

Pesticide Regulation:
We'd like to think that Pesticides are "safe" for human health but the testing process is a joke, with minimal testing done all-together. Steps are skipped due to pressure, and older pesticides have by-passed the new safety standards, which never put into account the effect of pesticides on children's health. Not to mention that these nasty chemicals are tested on animals which react entirely differently in their bodies than ours (what might be poisonous to us might not be to them and vise versa). 
Pesticide regulations in the U.S. are far behind much of the rest of the industrialized world, largely in part due to corporations like Monsanto having such an influence in Government affairs, and because the U.S. does not adequately account for things like additive and synergetic effects*. The European Union regulates much of their pesticide use with the "precautionary principle," which prioritizes protecting human health when there is significant doubt about the safety of a product. In the U.S. such products are "innocent until proven guilty," which often takes decades to prove whether or not a chemical is guilty or not, and in the meantime can wreck all sorts of environmental damage and health hazards. 

*Synergetic Effects: when one type of pesticide plus another type of pesticide equals a more lethal effect due to their combination. A scary thought when conventional crops use more than one type of pesticide so this dangerous cocktail is very likely. 
Environment, Wildlife, and Human Health:
Organic does not pollute groundwater, rivers, lakes, and oceans with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic reduces soil erosion, improves soil quality, increases biodiversity and wildlife on and near farms. Organic does not expose workers to the health hazards of synthetic pesticides. 

Countless animals die due to the spread of pesticides; 30 registered pesticides are known to kill wild birds, fish, and important beneficial insects. They also weaken animals and create birth-defects. 

Furthermore, the growing consensus among the scientific community is that the consumption of pesticides and other chemicals can possibly cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists are warning of the long-term consequences of ingesting these chemicals and are advising that we minimize our consumption of pesticides. The truth is that we still don't know just how badly these pesticides effect human health.

The impacts of pesticides on human health have been linked to causing ADHD in children, birth defects and childhood cancer in the very young, Parkinsons’ Disease in the elderly, asthma, cause neurotoxicity, hormone disruptors, developmental or reproductive toxins, and are known or probable carcinogens. Not to mention they are toxic to Honeybees and are a probable cause of the growing CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) problem. These chemicals also linger in our systems for years, and there is always pesticide residue left behind on non-organic foods even once they reach the grocery store.

Buying Organic is a Responsibility to the World:

Organic doesn't just mean that the food is pesticide-free, it also means it's grown in soil that has been untouched by chemical fertilizers or pesticides for at least three years. The soil is properly taken care of and is rotated, fostering the soil's nutrients instead of kiling it and rendering it useless like conventional crops. Organic food can not be irradiated or fumigated with synthetic agents. It is free of genetically modified organisms (GMO), hormones, and fake processing aids (such as coloring, preservatives and flavorings). Organic is real, true, un-altered food, packed full of nutrients and vitamins. You don't have to worry about getting sick from chemical pesticides. You don't have to worry about your child developing health problems. Organic harmonizes with Earth instead of poisoning wildlife, workers, waterways, the air, and the ground.

Peace & Love,

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Vegan Pesto! Ⓥ

Mmmmm, Pesto! So delicious as a pasta sauce or a spread in a grilled cheese sandwich. I used to love the stuff but haven't had it since going Vegan. Finally, I decided to make some for myself since I didn't really have a good excuse not to and it was simply calling for me to make some. 
This recipe is super quick and easy, although pine nuts are pretty expensive so it's a bit of a treat and I advice only to buy how much you need ;). But this recipe goes a long way so half it if you don't need very much.   

Without further ado... 

Vegan Pesto:

2 ½ cups fresh Basil
½ cup fresh Parsley
½ cup Pine Nuts
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Vegan Cheese (I use Daiya Mozarella)
2 tablespoons Miso

Process all the ingredients in a food processor, adding water slowly to desired paste-like consistency. Makes approx. 1 cup... ish, I didn't measure so I'm kind of guessing ;)

And there you have delicious Pesto! As already said, makes a great base for a pasta sauce and sandwich spread! 
I made a delicious grilled "sandwich" the other day with; toasted gluten-free bread, pesto spread, tofu balls sliced/flattened, and Daiya mozzarella cheese melted over top. Yum!!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Vegan Black Bean Brownies!!! Ⓥ

I was intrigued when I first heard about these and decided that I simply must try them! 
They are gluten-free (as long as you use gluten-free oats), sugar-free, Vegan (of course), low-fat, and packed full of protein, and simply delicious! I don't think you could find a healthier brownie around! See? Dessert Can be good for you ;)   

They taste delicious, and not at all like black beans! They are pretty dense because they have no flour, almost fudge-like, super moist and packed full of flavor. A very fun alternative to the unhealthy kinds ;). So without further ado...

Black Bean Brownies:

1 can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
2 whole Bananas
1/3 cup Agave Nectar (more if you want them a bit sweeter)
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1-2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup instant Oats

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8x8" pan and set aside. 
Combine all the ingredients, expect the oats, in a food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in the oats. Pour batter into the greased pan. 
Bake for 30-40 minutes--until you can stick a toothpick in the centre and it comes out clean. Allow to cool for approximately one hour before slicing. 

Voila! Yummy healthy brownies!  Enjoy!

For extra entertainment, watch my video blog making these delicious treats! ;)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

☺ Inspirational: Motivational Mondays!☺

I feel soooo fantastic today! It's been super sunny out lately so I've had lots of time to play in the sun with some awesome people, lots of spontaneity and fun adventuring :). I am also soooo grateful and thankful for everything in my life soo.... Here's to a fantastic Monday and week to come :)  

☺ Be Appreciative...  of your job! Whether you enjoy it or not, it gives you money, so focus on the positivity that comes from that. And if you don't enjoy it, start! It's all in your attitude! Learn to have fun with it! I live in a small town where work is hard to come by. So appreciate any job and make the most of it!     
 Be Spontaneous! And be open to the spontaneity that comes your way! A friend dropped in on me this weekend, I had no idea she was coming, just knocked on the door and stole me away for the day. Be open and welcoming to such adventuring. Go with it ;)  
☺ Have fun outside! I know, I mention this one a lot, but it is lovely being outside. Make the effort to go outside every day and enjoy it for at least a little while. It's been sunny all week for me, however today rainy and I still plan on enjoying it.  
☺ Make a list of your Positive Affirmations... Now that I finally wrote up the article on "Positive Affirmations," write up your list and repeat them daily! Seriously, you'll be amazed by how quickly things can start happening! I've been focussing every day on my Positive Affirmations and have already been seeing them come to reality :)  
☺ Smile!! Another one I mention a lot, you can see I'm trying to get some Positive Affirmations already going in your lives ;). The power of a smile is contagious and beautiful and it makes you feel good! Having a smile on your face while repeating affirmations is also very powerful in bringing that positivity and determination to your desires. 
☺ Don't let fear control you... I'm going to expand on this topic soon because it is one that governs much of our limitations. They are silly but most of us have them. "Courage (is) not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them."  
☺ Eat Real Food! I keep reading about the things added to food these days. I also finally watched "Supersize Me." It just amazes me how many people eat garbage all day, how people eat food that isn't food at all. Start eating REAL food!! You want to be happy and healthy, then that's where you need to start!     

Now go on and have a fabulous lovely day and week!! :)  

Peace & Love,

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Friday, May 13, 2011

☺ Inspirational; Positive Affirmations☺

You can achieve anything that you desire in life. That is, if you believe you can and if you consciously work towards it. But, really, anything is possible if you try. 
I speak a lot about having a Positive Mental Attitude, because it is so greatly helpful in achieving and maintaining Happiness in life. So how does one gain a Positive Attitude? Or anything for that matter? Make no mistake, anyone can achieve PMA, or anything you want in life. Give your brain some credit and never underestimate it. People have cured themselves of cancer through having the right attitude (and healthy lifestyle and diet changes) but the power of the mind is astounding. So, how does one accomplish their desires? The method is through Positive Affirmations.

Say very clearly to yourself What You Want

This can be anything from being happy and positive, to achieving some great future goal--or even getting a parking spot. 
Regularly repeating these desires as precise, condensed statements will make you believe them and therefor manifest them into reality. These Affirmations act like Self-Motivators, prompting and compelling you towards the object of your desire. Through this repetition you create and build thought habits that are favorable to your desire. Now, because what you are doing is reprogramming your brain and thought patterns, the regular repetition is important and vital for success. Announce your Affirmations daily. Make it a habit, some part of your daily routine. And do so with emotion and strong feeling and concentration on your Affirmations. You must Believe and see yourself already in possession of it. Doing all of this embeds this desire into your subconscious mind, which will compel every day actions and choices towards your intended goal. It will become effortless over time. 

Now, one very important thing to remember is that these Affirmations must be Positive. Absolutely 100% positive. 
Keep your mind On the things that you Do want, and Off the things that you Don't want. For instance, repeating to yourself "I don't want to be depressed" is basically embedding the word "depressed" into your brain. Keep your mind on what you do want, say the affirmation "I want to be Happy" instead. 

The point of Positive Affirmations is to battle away Negativity with new thought patterns. If you Believe it, you can achieve it. 

Saying aloud these Affirmations is one of the most effective methods, but there are lots of other ways you can add that extra "push" to your day; write them down a few times in your Happy Diary, post sticky-notes all over your fridge, write them on your mirror, meditate on them, make them a part of your workout by repeating them as a personal mantra. I love adding Affirmations to my workout, somehow the combination of raising those endorphins while repeating your goals is a powerful motivator. 

The last thing to remember is that you are reprogramming old thought-habits into new, better, more positive ones and so this can take time. Nothing happens overnight, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the process and journey. Keep at it, but be patient and respectful with yourself. Even so, you'll be surprised how powerful some simple positive sentences can change your life. 

Create your own reality. Reaffirm your goals and desires through daily repetition. Become your own best self-motivator. And watch your daily Positive Affirmations transform your life. 
Just don't forget to announce them daily!  ;)

Peace & Love

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