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Archive for December, 2013

Introducing our New Special Guest Program

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Holistic Holiday at Sea is truly excited to welcome the Founder, Director & Chief Editor of The Vegan Woman, Sivan Pardo Renwick as our first special guest joining us on our 2014 voyage to the Caribbean. The special guest program will include members of the vegan community who are showing up in the world to bring the message of vegan and compassionate living in a unique way.

Sivan Pardo Renwick

Our interview with Sivan proved to be enlightening, informative and inspiring!

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to become a vegan? What was it?

For me, going vegan was a process of increasing awareness, rather than one specific moment. Unlike my earlier transition to vegetarianism, which happened instantly once I understood where meat comes from and what it actually is, the misinformation and marketing propaganda regarding the ethical and health aspects of the egg and dairy industry were much harder to see through.

The three elements that helped me make the final shift to veganism, were first, the exposure to the truth behind the egg and dairy industries, which my husband Scott gradually exposed me to via the internet. Second, Dr. Neal Barnard’s lecture regarding dairy which for the first time shattered the calcium myth for me and brought about a more profound understanding regarding the way I see food. Finally, Gary Yourofsky’s lecture which managed to tie it all in for me and made me realize that by consuming these products I am in fact going against my beliefs and my morals. Upon viewing the lecture, I decided to give veganism a trial, and never looked back.

When did you know that your career would be in the vegan health field?

I actually consider my career to be in the ethical vegan movement rather than the health industry. Many of the recipes and posts we share on The Vegan Woman are not exactly health related. Although there are also balancing posts that accommodate a healthy vegan lifestyle choice, our priority is not personal health, but leading a compassionate life that does not exploit animals, to the best of our ability.

The decision to start The Vegan Woman took place about a month after I turned vegan, and around the same time I quit my job and was looking for something meaningful to do. I wanted my new career path to be something that was bigger than my personal gain or needs, and something that would make a difference in this world. Working around animal rights issues was always a passion and the natural way to go, but I was scared of dealing with painful issues, being faced with horrific pictures coming from the meat and dairy industry, and that I would not be able to cope. The Vegan Woman was my way of dealing with these issues in an appealing way, that isn’t too difficult or painful to digest.

Are there changes you have noticed since you made the switch? Can you elaborate?

The most immediate physical change I’ve noticed when going from vegetarian to vegan was the blessed weight loss I’ve experienced (and which I quickly gained back upon discovering the world of vegan baking and sensational vegan food). With that said, a more meaningful physical change was my significantly improved health as reflected both in my blood tests and my sense of wellness.

Mentally speaking there are many interesting things that have happened, from a sense of relief – knowing that I’m not actively and knowingly participating in someone else’s suffering, to a an increasing awareness in many other areas as well; veganism has taught me to look into things more deeply, to try and understand how I might be influenced by the media and by elements of financial interest, and it has encouraged me to be more in line with my truth by actions and not just in theory.

How do you envision the world being if 50% of the population was to decide to go vegan?

Great question! I really love this saying by my friend, Asaf: “veganism didn’t make me a better person than other people, but a better person than what I used to be”.

Following on that, I envision a world in which more people are more aware, and in which personal accountability would be much more present. I would imagine that people will work less on auto-pilot, give more thought to the consequences of their actions, and many of us will become an upgraded version of our compassionate and thoughtful selves.

Thank you for the great interview Sivan and we look forward to having you on the cruise this year!


Welcome to 2014!!! We are so very excited to be in our 11th year of bringing you great lectures, amazing activities, community building and a celebration of living a compassionate vegan lifestyle! 2014 promises to be an incredible year with new presenters, new and cutting edge fitness opportunities, new entertainers and amazing cooking classes with celebrity vegan chefs! Bring a friend or your entire family. The gift of health is the one that keeps on giving. We look forward to seeing you in March!




Spotlight on 2014 Presenter Bryant Terry

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Interview  by Bianca Philips  ‘aka’  Crunk Master B of Vegan Crunk

I’ve only been on one cruise in my life with my parents and I took a cruise ship to Mexico a few years back. However, I’m sure I would just die of happiness if I could go on the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise in March. It’s an ALL-VEGAN cruise with cooking demos by vegan celebrity chefs and lectures by the health guru greats.

This year’s cruise features Bryant Terry (the original crunk vegan!), T. Colin Campbell, Neal Bernard, Robert Cheeke, Chef AJ, Rich Roll, and so many more. From March 1st-8th, cruisers can listen to health talks, do yoga, and most importantly stuff themselves with delicious, healthy vegan food. And there are stops in San Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. This is my dream vacation, y’all!

Out of all the presenters, I’d definitely be the most excited to see Bryant Terry.

Photo credit: Paige Greene

He’s a fellow Memphian (though he doesn’t live here anymore), and he’s been cooking up soul dishes for years. On the cruise, he’ll be cooking up some dishes from his new book, Afro-Vegan: Farm Fresh, African, Caribbean, & Southern Flavors Remixed.

I have an advance copy of his book (it hits shelves April 8th), and I’ll do a full review soon. But lemme tell ya: Like all of Bryant’s books, this one is jam-packed with awesome — Lemongrass Boiled Peanuts, Pumpkin-Peanut Fritters, Curried Corn and Coconut Rice, Fresh Corn Grits with Swiss Chard and Cherry Tomatoes. Yum!

Anyway, Bryant took a few minutes to dish about his new book and what he’ll be doing on the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise.

Me: You have a new book, Afro-Vegan, coming out soon. Tell me a little about it.

Bryant: I’m really excited about Afro-Vegan. I feel like all my previous books were preparing me to write this one. I have a new publisher (Ten Speed Press), and this will be my first full-color, hardback book with lots of photos. A large part of my mission in writing Afro-Vegan is to put the ingredients, flavor profiles, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora into wider circulation. I know that folks are yearning for a vegan cookbook that is different than anything else out there, and this is it. Of course there is the political aspect of this book, similar to my others. Cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz said, “If A People’s History of the United States andJoy of Cooking had a baby, Afro-Vegan would be it!” That’s about right. Most important, though, the food is yummy.

And that’s your fourth book, right?

Yep. My third book of which I am the lone author. My first book was co-authored with my friend Anna Lappe.

How has your Southern upbringing affected your style of cooking? 

My family owned farms in rural Mississippi and kept gardens in Memphis where I’m from, so I always had the tastiest local food that was grown, raised, and cooked by people I love. That’s what my cooking is all about, feeding my diverse group of family, friends, and fans vibrant and yummy plant-centered food that reflects my values around health, sustainability, compassion, and community building.

You seem to have a focus on using simple, fresh ingredients to create gourmet dishes, but soul food doesn’t always often tend to be very gourmet. What inspired you to take soul food and step it up a notch?

I don’t know if my cooking is gourmet; compared to many of my chef friends, I think that I cook like someone’s grandmother. But my grandmother used garden-fresh ingredients to make simple dishes, and they were always delicious and satisfying. That is what I strive to do with my recipes. When people talk about “soul food,” they are most often describing the comfort foods of African-American cuisine. My mission is to move people beyond soul food and help them discover the diversity and complexity of my ancestors’ food.

How did you get involved with Holistic Holiday at Sea? Is this your first time presenting on that cruise?

This is my second time teaching classes on the cruise. The first time I presented was in 2010. The organizers knew about my work and wanted me to bring my voice to the program. I had a ball. The food is AMAZING, the people are great, and it is a very rejuvenating working vacation for me.

Any idea what you’ll be making yet?

Tofu Curry with Mustard Greens; Sweet Potato and Lima Bean Tagine; Slow-Braised Greens; and Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad – all recipes from Afro-Vegan. 

What are you most looking forward to with the cruise?
Spending time on the ocean with my wife, exercising everyday, and eating.

Any other presenters that you’re dying to see?

I am excited to take a Qi Gong class with Marcus Gary!

What do you hope cruise-goers take away from your presentation?

I really hope that my presentations further extends farm-fresh, compassionate food to include foods of the African diaspora.

We are excited to have Bryant returning to the cruise this year and look forward to the amazing food he will be preparing and finding out more about “Afro Vegan”. Join us in March 2014 for our 11th voyage of this vegan extravaganza in the Caribbean! Bring someone who is interested in a great time, an opportunity to grow and a unique vegan travel experience where you can be around like minded compassionate folks! This is a traveling experience like no other.

Start Your New Year’s Resolution Right Now

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Are you considering a change you want to implement come January 1? Maybe there’s a food you want to add to your diet, or a supplement you know you should take. Here’s a proposal: don’t wait ‘til the first. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, what about a new moment resolution?

 Why To Begin Your Resolution Today

One reason to start immediately is you’re likely tuned in to the feeling of wanting that change. The desire might not yet have become a big to-do full of thoughts and projections and fears. On his podcast about resolutions last year, upcoming cruise presenter and already ultra-endurance athlete extraordinaire Rich Roll discussed how the process of change is vitally served by living in the present moment. More than the past judgments about flaws, more than the hope for future success, the most potent force for change is tuning in to what you feel in the current moment. As Roll concludes, “You have to go inside, you have to connect with your heart, you have to set aside the idle chatter in your mind.”

Rich Vegan Triathlet

Another advantage of starting today is you can focus on just one resolution instead of the ten other goals you may have in mind when all the transformation talk starts flying come 2014. Focusing on forming one new habit isn’t small; it’s smart. Social psychologist Roy Baumeister’s book Willpower covers his research into self-control that indicates the way our brains manage willpower means making one desired change at a time is the most effective way to rewire habits. The great part is if you commit to working on one thing, you increase your capacity for willpower and will be better able to achieve your next goal when the time comes.

Keys to Achieving Your Resolution Anytime

New Year's Resolutions

Though working with one habit isn’t small, the initial goal for successful change should be. In one of his articles on keys to a successful resolution, our trusted Dr. Barnard suggests maintaining a short-term focus, writing, “follow the ‘one day at a time’ rule until a healthier path becomes established.” Studies by Baumeister and others support Barnard. If the resolution in your head is “include more plants in my diet”, pick one and eat it each day at, say, breakfast.

The specificity of a particular task and time also increases your chances of success. On her blog “The Happiness Project”, Gretchen Rubin opens her list of ways to stick to resolutions by advising readers to “look for a specific, measurable action.” Specificity also makes accountability easier, since you’ll know what evidence you’d need to indicate success.

buddy system

For accountability, try making the resolution a social affair. Since you’re starting now, people won’t object to hearing about yet another resolution! A food-based resolution can be easy to make social, with fun meals shared among friends. But what if you’re ashamed of the resolution, because it’s something you feel you should have already been doing or something you’re worried people will judge you for? We invite you to come ask for an accountability buddy or even someone to make the resolution with you in the Holistic Holiday At Sea Facebook group. We’re eternally impressed with this community’s resolve to eat and live in healthy, mindful ways. Plus they’ve experienced the challenges of that endeavor, so they’re a welcoming crowd. We hope you’ll come share your story.

Join us in March 2014 for our 11th voyage of this vegan extravaganza in the Caribbean! Bring someone who is interested in a great time, an opportunity to grow and a unique vegan travel experience where you can be around like minded compassionate folks! This is a traveling experience like no other.


Socialize, Rejuvenate, Grow

There’s something about shared travel that can connect people to a degree that few other experiences can. Perhaps the cause is the removal from regular life that lets us play in a way not possible during our day-to-day routine.  Conversations go further than they would with people seen every day.  Drinks and dances can last longer when there’s no work the next morning, but how to approach that initial moment of meeting? Holistic Holiday at Sea provides many opportunities to connect with other guests so you can delight in new encounters come March.Cruise Photos 3MP-96


Evening Events

The main social events happen each night, with possibilities ranging from a Welcome Cocktail Party to “Ice cream” or “Milk” and Cookies Socials.  Share a dance to the song stylings of Bridgette Kossor or share a cooking tip at the Daiya Vegan Pizza Party.

In coming weeks, we’ll tell the stories of couples that connected through the cruise.  If you want someone with whom to share the experiences, the Singles Social gives you the chance to write the next love story. After you hit it off with a lovely gentleman or lady, continue the conversation with a debate over the best Coconut Bliss flavor at the Bliss Vegan Ice Cream Social.

If an intriguing stranger catches your eye during the week, or an inspiring speaker raises a pressing question, you have one more chance to say hello at the Friday night Farewell Dance Party.

Cruise Photos 3MP-104


Physical and Mental Fitness Classes

Our lineup of fitness and spiritual practice sessions present another great way to meet folks.  Get out of your room and into rhythm at yoga with instructor Koya Webb.  Meet other morning people and start your day with peaceful smiles at Marcus Gary’s 5-Organ Qi Gong.  When you want a bit more motion, find your up-tempo comrades in “Exercise Your Core” with Rich Roll. Even if you prefer to keep to yourself during the class, the exercise endorphins may propel you to new social boldness upon completion!

Cruise Photos 3MP-165


Cooking Classes

If you’d rather let someone else do the sweating while you socialize, daily cooking demonstrations feature three new chefs bringing contagious energy along with their expertise. Join food justice activists wanting to taste the farm-fresh fixings of chef Bryant Terry; get healthy and happy through “Plant-based Comfort Foods” with Jessica Porter; or focus on sweets that serve the body while sharing treats at Chef AJ’s “Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth without Sugar, Oil or Gluten.”  Since the chefs do the cooking, there’s no risk of harming your new friendship with recipes gone awry.


Enduring Relationships

Merging travel and food offers the best of two wonderful worlds. The two come together throughout Holistic Holiday at Sea, whether at the dinner table or in a workshop.  It’s brought us great joy to witness how relationships formed on this common ground of health and healing often stay the course, despite the later challenges of time or distance. No matter where you return to after the cruise, you’ll have memories to treasure and new friends to share them with.


Join us in March 2014 for our 11th voyage of this vegan extravaganza in the Caribbean! Bring someone who is interested in a great time, an opportunity to grow and a unique vegan travel experience where you can be around like minded compassionate folks! This is a traveling experience like no other.



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