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Archive for August, 2012

Pardon Me, Yogi – Did You Order the Bacon & Wine Combo?

Some Argue the Road of Good Intentions is Paved with Chocolate

The ‘New York Times’ article When Chocolate and Chakras Collide scrawls a thinly positioned, but investigative line around the narrative of modernized, some would argue highly Westernized, yoga. Specifically eyeballing the American yoga-hub of Los Angeles, California, a clear claim to a theoretically ethical, as well as practical, crisis has evolved concerning the value and yogic benefit of food. But not just any food… Well, actually yes, ANY food! Some yoga practitioners are offering yoga classes which, after flowing through a thorough an intensive, yet welcoming workout, immediately offer luxurious cuisine to class members right on their sweaty yoga mats.

“All had signed up for a strange new hybrid of physical activity: first an hour of vigorous, sweaty yoga, then a multi-course dinner of pasta, red wine and chocolate. As soon as the lights went up, dinner was served on the floor: an (almost) seamless transition designed to allow the yogis to taste, smell and digest in a heightened state of awareness.

‘It’s a little weird to sit on a sweaty yoga mat and eat soup,’ said one woman, not pausing as she spooned up a smooth, cinnamon-spiked butternut squash purée from a bamboo bowl. ‘But people are used to doing some weird things in yoga class.’”

A Stick in the Mud, or a Piggy’s Paradise?

A particularly controversial aspect surrounding the food served during these classes is the departure from traditional fare one would expect to be ubiquitously endorsed at yoga studios. Many would, and have, sounded out against the thematically layering statements made by New York based yoga teacher, Sadie Nardini, who claims “The culture of judgment in the yoga community — I call it “yogier than thou” — is rampant, and nowhere more than around food… Nowhere is it written that only vegetarians can do yoga… We do not live in the time of the founding fathers of yoga, and we don’t know what they wanted us to eat.”

The undeniable pretension purveying from various collectives of outspoken members within the yoga-lifestyle has certainly negatively affected both internal and external views of yoga. However, one cannot argue with the virtues of sincerely adhering to the basic facets of the practice.

“’The very first teaching of yoga forbids us to eat meat,’ said Eva Grubler, director of training at Dharma Yoga in New York, one of the most venerated yoga centers in the country. In the Yoga Sutras, a primary text of yogic philosophy, ethics are broken down into five yamas (things to not do) and five niyamas (things to do). Ahimsa, the first yama, is a prescription not to harm others. But the definition of ‘others’ — whether it includes all animals, or only people, or should perhaps extend to the plant kingdom — is in debate.”

“’Ten years ago we would not even be having this conversation,’ said Ms. Grubler, who added that a vegan diet was a given for her. ‘Yoga used to be much quieter, but now there are more people, they are more activated, and they are questioning everything.’ She says that the true yogic path gradually and organically frees people of desire for meat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol.”

“‘A pure yogic diet is one that is only calming: no garlic, onions or chili peppers, nothing heavy or oily,’ said Ms. Grubler. ‘Steamed vegetables, salads and fresh juices are really the ideal.’ Yogic food choices can also influenced by ayurveda, a traditional Indian way of eating to keep the body healthy and in balance. Some yogis determine their dosha, or dominant humor, vata (wind/air), pitta (bile) or kapha (phlegm), and eat accordingly. Foods are invested with properties like warming or cooling, heavy or light, moist or dry.”

David Romanelli, a yoga instructor based in Phoenix, Arizona who claims to teach “Yoga for the Everyman,” serves bacon and wine during his classes. He’s well aware of the implications of his practice regarding food. The promoted “anything goes, as long as it tastes good” motto has caused many a third-eye to blink twice. More and more yoga teacher are admitting to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” stance towards consuming meat, many agreeing that they’ll happily enjoy the flesh so long as they are aware of its source. For most, however, wine and meat is off the table.

“Bacon, he (Romanelli) said, is a yogic teaching tool, providing an opportunity to contemplate principles of attraction and revulsion, desire and self-denial, and why we are so attracted to things we know to be unhealthy. (It also, of course, provides priceless shock value.)… ‘It’s a way of getting people in the door,’ he said in an interview. ‘The world is a better place if people do yoga. And if they come because chocolate or wine is involved, I’m fine with it.’”

There’s No Justice in Judgment

For many, it may be hard not to become the pawn of pessimism when reflecting on this current trend, Astavakrasana-ing their minds around how such an ancient practice went so ‘wayward.’ While these free-wheeling ‘foodie’ yoga studios may be churning out more indulgence-laden members than Willy Wanka has Oompa Loompa’s, it’s important to stay grounded and to effect change through the sincere practice of yoga. Boulder, Colorado-based yoga instructor, Mary Taylor, having studied with Julia Child at Les Trois Gourmandes, offers this discourse, having established a “middle path” of maintaining her own vegan lifestyle while abstaining from becoming priggish towards those who are not:

“‘If we become aggressive and intolerant towards those who do eat meat, is that an act of kindness?’ she said. ‘If your grandmother is making a wonderful meat dish that you have loved since you were a child, is it yoga to push it away?’”

We’d like to think that since Grandma loves us so much, she’d understand. Grandmas are yoga like that.



Okay, so this article isn’t very vegan, but our Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruise definitely is. However, you will be able to find some wine, chocolate and yoga! Join us in March for an unforgettable and unique vegan travel experience you will thoroughly enjoy. You will add to your existing knowledge of a plant based lifestyle, learn recipes to enhance your vegan meal repertoire, enjoy lectures to expand your mind, make lots of new friends and of course, have lots of fun! We look forward to seeing you on our 10th Anniversary voyage!

‘Vegtoons’ –Outreach to Help Animate the World’s Diet!

A Colorful ‘Kickstart’

Holistic Holiday at Sea is proud to support the ‘Vegtoons’ Kickstarter campaign by offering two cruise tickets as perks for donors who contribute $1,500 or more to the campaign. ‘Vegtoons’ is a charmingly delightful animated series whose aim is not only to entertain viewers, but to act as an educational platform. The goal is to spring-board the promotion of a vegetarian lifestyle to the generalized public which happens to be, by and large, primarily comprised of omnivores. With this ubiquitous standard of living in mind, ‘Vegtoons’ offers a gentle and amicable approach in realizing the various misleading presumptions, apprehensions and disputes pertaining to living a vegetarian lifestyle. “‘Vegtoons’ introduces the main reasons for a vegetarian lifestyle, including: improved health; environmental stewardship; sustainable food practices; & animal welfare.”

Topics include the varieties of foods available within the diet, appreciating and maintaining ethical standards, and how to empathetically and compassionately relate and encourage vegetarianism to those around us, especially our family members and friends who may be at first opposed to the very idea of a plant-based diet.

By opening a colorful window into an open-minded dialog about healthy eating, ‘Vegtoons’ will engage the viewer through the varying thematic episodes, designed to appeal to a much specified audience. “Animation appeals to people across a spectrum of age, culture and literacy. While animation is often associated with children’s programming, the ‘Vegtoons’ animated series is geared primarily for an older audience from the ages of 15 through 55.”


Fund the Fun! – Your Donations Matter

The development and production of ‘Vegtoons’ is dependent upon the donations it receives from its supporters. “Our initial funding goal is to raise $16,000 to complete the first episode of ‘Vegtoons’ and the opening intro for the show. For every additional $20,000 we raise, we can complete another episode, with the ultimate goal to raise $200,000 to finish the whole series, all ten episodes.”

The concept and pilot scene for the animated series has already generated favorable clout from powerhouse crusaders within the plant-based dieting community.  With encouraging words like “I hope the ‘Vegtoons’ project is a huge success” from Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and statements from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Researcher and author of ‘The China Study,’ commenting “I personally and enthusiastically support this project. We must continue this common effort in the hope that someday the world will awaken to its possibilities,” the full-development of the series seems promising. But this is still fully reliant on your support. The livelihood of the project is reliant on a minimum of $16,000 which needs to be raised by Saturday Sept. 1, 2:00 am EDT. And even with the praise received from the health-community high-rollers, your donations and inspiring words matter most. The Kickstarter ‘Vegtooms’ page is excited by the potential impact of the new programming reaching new audiences, stating: “The ultimate compliments have come from folks who are not vegetarian, but who may be interested to eat more healthfully. They are inspired to eat more veggies and less meat. This is the very purpose and spirit of the show.”




Give Your Health the ‘Kickstart’ It Has Been Waiting For!

You’re invited to take part in an event that will not only change your entire perspective on what and how you eat, but will genuinely refurbish your entire life. With distinguished doctors, scientists, authors and specialists guiding you along various exciting avenues of health reformation and revitalization, you’ll not only be mentally engaged with well-founded knowledge, but also emotionally stimulated with inspiration and palpably awakened with delicious vegan food!

PCRM’s Kickstart Intensive, October 4th to the 6th, has been carefully designed to fully optimize your ability to learn about, progressively enhance, and embrace your health. With special attention paid towards the most current ubiquitous health issues, President of PCRM, Dr. Neal Barnard will present consolidated courses formulated to focus on how to break food addictions, maintain weight control, confront diabetes and cholesterol, why food is vital for cancer prevention and survival, as well as how foods affect brain health. Michael Greger, M.D., physician, author and Public Health Advocate, will present up-to-the-minute information circulating in nutritional science, and Founder of the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, Chef Christine Waltermyer, will provide demonstrations on easy-to-use techniques for your future cooking accomplishments. Representative Dennis Kucinich and Elizabeth Kucinich will be presenting effective how-to guidelines for following a healthy, plant-based diet while living your active life, both on the road and in public. And if you’re unsure about certain topics concerning your personalized plan for a healthier life, PCRM’s Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education, M.S., R.D., and Joseph Gonzales, R.D., look forward to warmly aiding you through your individualized apprehensions with constructive, scientifically-asserted advice.

PCRM’s preliminary Kickstart Intensive program is taking place in Washington, D.C. where participants will be able to sample the finest foods from various restaurants within our Nation’s Capital. Sessions will run from Thursday to Saturday, with welcomed participants receiving everything needed to initiate their revitalized, plant-based life!

Learn more and register now – www.pcrm.org/KickstartIntensive or call 202-527-7337

And, to take advantage of this special 10% discount, click here: http://support.pcrm.org/holistic_holiday.



Macrobiotics: Hundreds of Years of Wisdom

After digesting Ronald L. Peters MD, MPH’s article ‘Macrobiotics: The Ultimate Diet and Medical lessons from my Mother-in-Law‘, the doctor makes a clear statement explaining the naturally nutritional benefits of a macrobiotic diet. Dr. Peters not only offers a sense of necessity to the dietary lifestyle, but also a feeling of biological familiarity. The modification of the human diet throughout history has left us with a long banquet-table of food options, and some, needless to say, afford more valuable sustenance than others.

“Arising from the wisdom of many diverse cultures over hundreds of years, the macrobiotic principles are now merging with modern medical research to create convincing evidence for the best diet for mankind.”

Through studying the scientific basis for the progression of past to current-day dietary necessities for the human body, Peters has reasoned that modern, popular diet trends lack the longevity and insight accumulated within the macrobiotic lifestyle which has become increasingly bolstered by prominent figures in the medical field.

“But none of them stands on anything near the comprehensive epidemiologic research supporting The China Study, and none of them, except perhaps for the Paleolithic diet, is founded upon hundreds of years of ethnic and cultural wisdom as the macrobiotic diet.”

Specifically noted in Peters’ article are four of our valued presenters and progressive health-focused innovators – Dr Neal Barnard, Michio Kushi, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, as well as Dr. Dean Ornish. Facilitating the chronological advancement of macrobiotic studies, Peters describes how this purifying nutritional alignment, along with his specialized guidance, positively contributed to health improvement of his mother-in-law.

“She was a warm and delightful woman but she struggled to walk with her 230lb on a 5’ 3” frame. She had high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic fatigue, popping seven medications every day. Fast forward six months and she weighed 170 lbs, having lost 60 lbs and her blood pressure was 125/70 and her fasting blood sugar was 75. She had stopped all her medications under my supervision as her diabetes and high blood pressure were gone. She was walking two to three miles daily without pain and sun tanning by the pool. She had been medically transformed by a low fat macrobiotic diet of whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables and more, lovingly prepared by my wife, Vesna, a macrobiotic counselor of 16 years.”

Alongside the substantial physical enhancements resulting from her devotion to the macrobiotic diet, Peters’ mother-in-law also experienced gradual emotional and mental equilibrium as well.

“Not only do most diseases gradually fade away as diabetes and high blood pressure did for my Mother-in-Law, but people experience greater mental clarity and emotional stability. Also, as people progress on the path of macrobiotics, they invariably notice that their body communicates to them and “tells” them what foods are best to eat.”

Outlining the 12 reasons to embrace a macrobiotic lifestyle, as observed in Simon G. Brown’s publication ‘Modern Day Macrobiotics,’ Peters calls for faithfulness to the scientifically proven, wholly beneficial qualities of macrobiotics, maintaining dietary simplicity, while still enjoying the fullness of flavor, as present in this culinary criterion.

“The macrobiotic diet is based on the foods eaten by the healthiest societies on earth and it has been used to reverse all types of disease. George Oshawa used macrobiotic principles to cure himself of tuberculosis in 1911 and then spread the word to Europe and America. Mishio Kushi popularized the healing power of whole foods in America. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other diseases have resolved using the macrobiotic philosophy, providing strong support for the ancient wisdom of Hippocrates who said, ‘Let food be by thy medicine.’”/

On the Holistic Holiday at Sea, macrobiotic meals will be available as well as gluten free and oil free menu options. This vegan travel experience promises to be like nothing else you will encounter in 2013.  This is a unique vacation where there is a community of like minded health conscious individuals, a plethora of menu options to dazzle your taste buds, activities to enliven your body and lectures, seminars and classes to ignite your mind. We look forward to seeing you!

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