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Provoking Debate & Protecting Animals: Q&As with Dan Mathews of PETA

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Dan Mathews (Photo by Kamil Szkopik)

Dan Mathews (Photo by Kamil Szkopik)

Senior Vice President of Campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Dan Mathews, is known around the world for launching PETA’s most provocative and attention-getting campaigns in the fight against animal cruelty. Many of his campaigns have been targeted at designers in the fashion industry who use fur. From occupying the lobby of Calvin Klein in New York in 1994 to heading a “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign, Dan has proven that edgy displays of activism can help propel change.

We are so excited that Dan will be joining us on the 2019 Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise! In addition to a book signing for Committed: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir, Dan will present a lecture titled “Committed to Activism for Animals.” In it, he’ll discuss how he spent the last 30 years crashing fashion runways in Milan, strategizing with Paul McCartney in London, lobbying Russian diplomats with Pamela Anderson, and being arrested during so many protests that he wrote a “Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Jails.”

Dan joined the PETA team as a receptionist in 1985 and was quickly promoted within the company. He shares, “As the resident punk rocker from the MTV generation, I always had ideas on how to reach young people, so I moved from the reception desk into campaigns within a year.” Dan’s ability to sway opinion has made him a hugely influential figure in the plant-based movement. Read more below about his recent achievements and advice for catalyzing change.


Q: Any advice for HHAS guests who have already made the switch to plant-based about how to make a difference when they return home (besides choosing what’s on their plates)?

A: I always urge people to reach beyond their circle to influence those who are not like-minded. My husband Jack and I host vegan dinner parties a lot at home for our non-veggie friends in order to show them how tasty and easy it is.”


Q: Any recent landmark victories for PETA that you’d like to highlight?

A: Last year saw the last show ever of Ringling Bros, a circus that has been abusing elephants, tigers, and other animals since it started in 1871. They went out of business after three decades of being targeted by PETA and other groups, when a generation that came of age with animal rights as a hot topic would have no part of it. I think all animal rights issues are generational, which is reflected in how young people spend their money. That’s why we were finally able to pressure Michael Kors, Gucci, Armani, and Donna Karan to drop fur in the past year. They realized they risk losing up-and-coming customers. Animal rights is a consumer issue more than a political one.

Also, I love bringing the veg issue into unlikely places. I have recently helped cook and serve a vegan lunch to thousands of inmates at an Arizona jail and worked with the City of New Orleans to have a vegan gumbo cook-off at their annual Gumbo Fest in Louis Armstrong Park, and it drew twice the crowd it usually does.


Q. What do you hope folks who are only vegan for health reasons can take away from your presentation?

A. It’s great to think about your health, but it’s also important to consider the health and welfare of the animals churned up by these industries. It’s just a basic respect for animals, whether or not you consider yourself an animal lover. Though I never quibble with anyone who is veg for health reasons. I’m just glad they do it!


Q. I’ve heard you say that all press is good press. In your decades of activism, what are some of the ways you’ve managed to stay in the forefront of the animal cruelty issue?

A. When you are an activist and rely on buzz in the press to keep issues on the public’s mind, it’s important to keep an eye on the sorts of things people pay attention to. I don’t like reality TV, but the public follows these people, so we involve them in our campaigns. Same with sports figures, and with social media. Part of getting the message to the masses is being aware of trends to be in front of.


Q. You became involved with animals as a child when you saved cats in your neighborhood. Did you become vegan right away or was that later in college when you joined forces with PETA in 1985?

A. I became vegetarian on a fishing trip with my dad when I was 14 in 1979. I became vegan when I started at PETA in 1985 as the receptionist when I was 20.

Q. Who are some vegan celebrities that the majority of folks may not realize are vegan?

A. Miley Cyrus, Carrie Underwood, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Tom Brady, for starters.


Q. Any specific example of when your patience with people who have differences of opinion led to great results?

A. I wrote Martha Stewart when she was in jail about fur, which she wore a lot. We had met before and it was frosty. I wrote, ‘Now that you have some time to reflect, please read these materials. You are such a civilized person and fur is so barbaric.’ She wrote back that she’d not only shun fur in the future, but that she would host a PETA testimonial video exposé of fur farms when she got sprung from the joint. [Watch that video here!]


Q. What does your ideal world look like?

A. One in which people and animals only die of old age rather than by guns or disease, many of which we bring on ourselves through eating meat.

Q. Any huge achievements in 2018 you’re excited to share?

A. Designer John Galliano, who was PETA’s #1 enemy for his use of fur and every other kind of animal skin, finally gave it up! It happened after we randomly met swimming in the ocean and became friendly. It’s easy to be infuriated with people who have cruel habits, but a little patience can pay off. [Read more about it here.]


Q. Have you been to any of our 2019 ports of call before? What are you most looking forward to about this cruise?

A. Aside from Miami, no, I haven’t, so I am very excited about this trip. I have never been on a cruise of any kind, so I’m very much looking forward to this first-time experience.

Feel Inspired by the Cruise? Join a Pod in PlantPure Communities!

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In March 2015, guests on the 12th annual Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise got a sneak peek of the documentary film PlantPure Nation, which highlights the importance of following a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet to promote wellbeing. Since then, the film has been featured in more than a hundred cities across the nation and is available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. The most popular response among viewers? Why didn’t we know this before?

Showing the dramatic and positive effects that a WFPB diet had on residents in film director Nelson Campbell’s hometown of Mebane, North Carolina, the film features the research and expertise of renowned doctors, authors, and long-time Holistic Holiday at Sea speakers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. Michael Greger, among other nutritional scientists. In addition to Nelson, the production team included Fork Over Knives’ (2011) producer John Corry and writer Lee Fulkerson.

The film had a powerful effect on those who watched it. Many people changed their diets immediately, but for some, this was not enough. To answer the desire of audience members to affect change and share what they had learned, the Pod Network formed, and viewers were encouraged to join, connect, and work together to spread the message of plant-based nutrition. The Pod platform provides education, resources, and space for collaboration.

Pods are independently run—the organizers can decide how often their group meets and what goals they want to achieve within their communities. Pods don’t compete with nonprofits and existing organizations, but they provide an umbrella for people of various entities to come and work together in outreach.

Darlene Porter Sandy Lake, Mannitoba, Canada

Darlene Porter, a group leader for Plant-Based Manna-Tobans in Sandy Lake, Manitoba, Canada.

A Grassroots Movement Grows

In November 2016, the Pods were transferred to the nonprofit PlantPure Communities (a brainchild of Nelson). Different from PlantPure Inc., which created the film and offers WFPB meals and other support, PlantPure Communities is all about the Pods. The board of advisors includes Nelson, Dr. Campbell, and Dr. Esselstyn‚ among other WFPB advocates.

After reading Dr. Campbell’s The China Study, a woman named Jody Kass attended the 2015 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise where she saw PlantPure Nation. At the time, Jody was semi-retired after spending three decades working in the nonprofit sector. Little did she know that she’d be so moved by the film and cruise experience that she would become involved in Nelson’s endeavors and take on the position of executive director of PlantPure Communities just a couple years later. Jody is a member of the Pod where she lives in Great Neck, New York.

PlantPure Communities Staff:Board:Advisors

PlantPure Communities staff/board/advisors photo. Pictured (L to R): Alex Brown, Laurie Courage, Caroline Dyar, Jim Courage (back row), Paula Branson, Nelson Campbell, Kim Campbell, Jody Finkel, Katya Trent, Karen Campbell, and Dr. T. Colin Campbell.

“When I read The China Study, I was absolutely infuriated that I didn’t understand what was so plain in terms of what the science showed,” she says. “People around me were sick and dying from food borne illness (heart disease and type 2 diabetes) and just didn’t know that they could take control of their health by changing what they ate.”

There are currently more than 460 Pods and over 40,000 members. “Since November, we’ve been working to strengthen the Pods,” says Jody. After the film premiered, tens of thousands of people signed up to join Pods. “The next level is what the Pods are going to do. How do we keep people engaged? How do we give them the tools they need to have an impact in their community and on the world?”

One answer? Toolkits.

Making an Impact

Toolkits are a series of roadmaps. Each topic-specific guide is developed to support the PlantPure Communities Pod Network. So far, they include Leadership, VegFests, Dining Out, and School Lunch.

By November, Pods across the globe will be using the Restaurant Campaign Toolkit to encourage local restaurants to add healthier options to their menus.

Providence Oasis Pilot Program

Participants and organizers of the Providence Oasis Pilot Program led by Powered by Plants, a Pod in Providence, RI.

Some Pods have decided to launch VegFests, while others brought smoothie bars and plant-based nutrition education to students and their parents at local schools. New toolkits continue to be released to answer the greatest needs identified by the Pods, and will soon include gardening, transitioning to plant-based eating, advocacy, and more.

In addition to providing support to Pods, PlantPure Communities has launched a program it calls “PlantPure Oasis,” to bring education and affordable, nutritious food into underserved communities. There are currently five Oasis Pilot programs. “People’s lives have been changed,” says Jody. “In a recent pilot in Rhode Island, they wanted to make some change happen and ‘democratize’ the nutrition information. More than 25 Pod members spent several hundreds of man-hours shopping and cooking to make this happen and, as a result, over 100 lives have been forever changed.”


Keep the Momentum Going

Jody says that Pods are also a great solution for folks inspired by Holistic Holiday at Sea who want to help others when they return home.

“I think that a lot of people who come on the cruise feel like the lights have been turned on, and they desperately want to share that information,” says Jody. “The Pods are a great place for them to go. They’re set up specifically for that purpose—to find other people who also feel that way. Folks can work together, reinforce each other and, using the Toolkits, choose how to channel their passion to get the word out.”

People get frustrated when they see people in so much pain around them. Pods are a great way to meet other people and help those who don’t know about this diet. We hope you’ll join us on our next “Voyage to Well-being” to find inspiration for wherever you are on your journey to health, meet like-minded individuals, and take home knowledge to share with your friends and family.

We are so excited that Kim Campbell—author of The PlantPure Nation Cookbook and The PlantPure Kitchen—and Dr. T. Colin Campbell are among our dozens of presenters on the 2018 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise, February 15–25, 2018!

Want to Win a Vegan Cruise? Here’s How!

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What’s the only thing better than spending ten days sailing to exotic ports in the southeastern Caribbean on Holistic Holiday at Sea’s vegan cruise? Doing it absolutely free. This summer, we are going to make that happen for two lucky people!

Introducing our Summer Sweepstakes, open to all first-time Holistic Holiday at Sea guests! At the close of the sweepstakes—which runs July 10 through August 11—one winner will receive two complimentary cruise tickets for our special 15th anniversary Holistic at Sea Voyage to Wellness, February 15–25, 2018. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just becoming curious about plant-based nutrition, this experience is perfect for you.

Yoga for all levels.

It’s a life-changing conference, celebration, and vacation—all rolled into one! More than 150 lectures and workshops will be offered by leading authorities in plant-based living and animal advocacy. Featured presenters include Rip Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Ingrid Newkirk, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Greger, and Gene Baur, among many others. When you’re not attending lectures and participating in fitness activities, make your way to one of the dining rooms where talented chefs prepare gourmet plant-based meals three times a day—or stop by the vegan buffet for a more casual meal.

Exciting ports of call include Martinique; St. Kitts and Nevis; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Freeport, Bahamas. Choose an excursion in advance, or enjoy exploring the islands on your own.

Gene Baur

Aboard the luxurious MSC Divina, you’ll have no trouble finding something that sparks your interest, whether it’s a dip in the hot tub, game in the casino, or a breath of fresh air from the deck to greet the sunrise. Meet like-minded individuals and create memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy nightly entertainment, socials, and lots of chances to hit the dance floor.

Your first Holistic Holiday at Sea will coincide with our 15th anniversary celebration, which will be full of reasons to celebrate. We recently put out a history of our vegan cruise on our blog that shares some of our fondest memories and facts that show just how far the plant-based movement has come since 2003.

In addition to two tickets, the winner will also receive tickets to free Cooking Boot Camps, yearly membership to Plant Meal Planner by Hannah Janish (“High Carb Hannah”), signed copies of the “No Meat Athlete” Matt Frazier’s books, signed copy of Robert Cheeke’s Shred It!!! and more!

Find out more information and enter the sweepstakes here. We’ll see you soon!

Olympian Kendrick Farris & His Vegan Lifestyle

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Kendrick Farris at Olympics

(Photo courtesy of Kendrick Farris)

UPDATE 12/2/16: Due to his competition schedule, Kendrick will be unable to attend the 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise. 

Adopting a vegan diet can have a profound impact on your mind and body. And if you’re active in sports or physical activities, that change can make a huge difference to your level of performance. Athletes who exclusively eat plant-based meals report that they think more clearly and truly see an improvement in their abilities. Over the years, Holistic Holiday at Sea has welcomed many athletes and bodybuilders to our special lineup of panelists and presenters. For the 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea, March 11–18, we are excited to announce that three-time Olympian Kendrick Farris will be joining us.

Weightlifting Since Age 11

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Kendrick (now 30) began weightlifting at age 11 and competing at age 12. He says he got serious about it during his senior year of high school.

After earning national titles in 2006 and 2007, Kendrick went on to take home first place titles in 2010 and 2016 Pan-American Championships. He also won first in the 2015 Pan-American Games. He placed 8th in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and 10th in the 2008 Summer Olympics in London. Most recently, Kendrick competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics as the only male weightlifter on the US team.

While vegan weightlifters often make headlines for this seemingly surprising combination, the two lifestyles are actually very complementary. For Kendrick, going vegan wasn’t a tough decision to make.

Veganism Helps Promote a Healthier, Longer Life

In 2014, shortly after his second son Kingsley was born, Kendrick decided to go vegan. He shares, “My son’s birth gave me a new perspective on life. I wanted to make sure I was around to see him grow up, get married, have kids, etc. and the vegan lifestyle was the healthiest thing I could do for my body.”

Since then, Kendrick says, “I just feel better overall—spiritually, physically, and mentally.” Kendrick doesn’t adhere to a super strict diet or overthink it. “I just eat what I want. I am not one that counts calories and I am not extremely strict. I eat when I’m hungry, because meals are used for fuel for the body. I just make sure I know all the ingredients in the food I buy or ask questions if I am out to eat.”

Homemade Goodness

His wife Katrina cooks vegan meals at home every day. She says, “I don’t use vegan cookbooks necessarily. I mostly find vegetarian recipes from some of my favorite blogs and/or use family recipes and tweak them so they are vegan. For example, I would substitute bananas for butter called for in a baking recipe or plant-based cheese when cheese is called for.” Katrina’s favorite recipe of avocado quesadillas is coincidentally Kendrick’s favorite dish as well.

With food as his fuel, Kendrick spends 3–5 hours on his workout routine daily. On a typical day, Kendrick says his schedule is to wake up, pray, eat breakfast, take his son to school, go outside, read and meditate, workout, pick up his son, share dinner with his family, spend time with them after dinner, pray, and then go to bed.

When asked about what’s next, Kendrick says he wants to take care of his family. “I’m not sure where my journey will take me next, maybe to my 4th Olympic team and maybe another route. I’m not sure. Right now I’m just enjoying and making up for lost time with my friends and family. I will begin competing again in 2017 as this is the off-season for us right now, and I do not have any competitions scheduled.”

UPDATE 12/2/16: Due to his competition schedule, Kendrick will be unable to attend the 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise. 

Meet the Bad Ass Vegan: John Lewis


Yaaay! We are so pumped for you to learn more about our second Special Guest for the cruise. We have the pleasure of welcoming a member of the vegan body building community.  John “Bad Ass Vegan” Lewis comes to us from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but is originally from Missouri, the “show me state.”  As a nationally certified fitness trainer, John Lewis has spent more than 8 years in the health and fitness industry and played Division I College basketball. John is decidedly passionate not only about his own health and fitness, but that of others as well.

In addition to his extensive knowledge in body sculpting and contouring, what makes John one of the top national fitness trainers is his creative ability to understand and live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle while maintaining a highly commendable physique.  In essence, he is able to cater to a diverse group of individuals, masterfully creating and developing personalized, unique and healthy nutrition plans. Thus, his services are highly sought after.

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

I would have to say my most pivotal moment was when my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer.  I remember asking the doctors how do you get cancer or how did she get it? The doctor said too much animal protein contributed to this disease. So once I saw that it …I decided to choose the plant-based/vegan route.

What changes have you noticed in your body since you made the switch?

I have noticed that I have been able to train much harder in the gym and not have the fatigue and lack of energy that I had when I was consuming animal-based products. I can honestly train for hours and hours. The next day I have little to no fatigue or little to no pain and I am able to train just as hard as the day before. I have also noticed a rise in my mental clarity that may have not been there before.  I would have to say I am the king of multitasking and actually getting everything done without losing track. I have also noticed that my digestive system is working much better.


What made you decide to go into bodybuilding?

My college career in basketball presented a need to stay in excellent shape because I always wanted to perform at my best on the court. Bodybuilding really came about because I just wanted to take it to the next level and challenge my body even more. I feel as if we should always challenge ourselves and never get too comfortable.  It’s okay to enjoy the moment but always look at how you can improve your life.

Do you have any specific goals for your future as a vegan athlete?

Right now I would have to say that my main goal as a vegan athlete is to show the world that you can be vegan and be powerful and strong, and push your body to the limits without any hesitation. There are so many people that are curious about the vegan lifestyle and culture; I want to make sure that they can see that they can accomplish great things with a vegan diet, no matter what your dietary background has been.  At one time in my life, I used to weigh 315 pounds, and, yes, that’s when I was eating poorly.  I want people to know about my past weight because I want them to know that they can take hold of their lives. People should understand that what we decide to eat is a choice.  We choose what to ingest.  Anyone can take control of their life, and anyone can take control of their health.  The choice is up to us to decide to live better or decide to live worse.

What is your favorite vegan desert?

I know this may sound biased but I can honestly say that the badass Power cookie is my favorite dessert/go to item. I am sort of a cookie monster so if I can have a good cookie then I am going to be happy! My Badass Power Cookie is not necessarily a desert, but it does have a lot of vital nutrients that can sustain a bodybuilder or somebody that’s just looking to stay in shape. The main ingredient in the cookie is Spirulina, but it also has the amino acids and proteins that help the body recover and also build muscle density.

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.

Food For Thought: Advantages of Macro and Vegan Diets

Ponder This

It certainly goes without saying that the typical Western diet could use an upgrade. A diet heavy in meat, dairy products, eggs, and various highly fatty, preserved and processed foods can be linked to high cholesterol and a host of health problems and concerns. But what are the alternatives?

The famous author and activist Michael Pollan put it simply:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

That’s good, sound advice, but what do plant-based diets offer in terms of health and wellness? As it turns out, a lot! Let’s take a look at two popular plant-based diets you may be interested in trying, or exploring further, with a roundup of some of the amazing health benefits for each.

Maximizing Your Health with Macrobiotics

macro diet

The word “macrobiotic” is derived from the Greek “macro” meaning “long,” and “bio” meaning life. The macrobiotic diet has shown itself to be a possible treatment, and even a cure, for a host of medical illnesses, possibly even cancer. It’s worth noting that this dietary lifestyle, which is by and large high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and low in fat, is similar to the diet recommended by the American Cancer Society. The macrobiotic approach and philosophy seeks to balance your perspective on food, nutrition and healing.

The Basics

• Organic food is vital in macrobiotics, and organically grown food decreases pesticide exposure, which is associated with cancer and infertility. Also, low fat, high fiber food helps lower the risk diabetes, as well as colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer.

• Wholegrain cereals and flour are rich with vitamin B. A diet rich in whole grains decreases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. A wholegrain diet also helps maintain healthy bowel functions and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.

• Consuming algae regularly improves overall health. Algae is nutrient-rich and dense in minerals, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, chlorophyll, and fiber. The iron, calcium, and magnesium in algae helps maintain strong bones and a healthy blood system. It also helps reduce anxiety and sleep disorders.

• Nuts help lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts are rich with fiber, omega 3, vitamin E, and selenium, and also contain many antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help boost the immune system. Omega 3 essential fatty acids,also known as “good fats,” helps lower LDL—low density lipoproteins—or “bad” cholesterol.

Vegging-Out with Veganism

avocado vegan plate

Partaking in a vegan diet lowers the risks of high cholesterol and blood pressure and has been shown to prevent a variety of diseases, some of which include colon, breast and prostate cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. It’s also been noted that a vegan diet can assist in weight loss, heighten energy levels, promote healthier skin, hair and nails, and offer relief from migraines and allergies— even reduce body odor and bad breath!

Take a peek at just a few of the benefits from an all-vegan diet:

• Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. There are a lots of yummy fruits and vegetables high in potassium such as dried apricots, figs and coconut, avocados, spinach, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.

• Many researchers believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer. When we are eating kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts and onions we are increasing the anti- oxidants in our bloodstream.

• A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E. New research shows Vitamin E can fight Alzheimer’s disease, and that Vitamin E levels can diagnose Alzheimer’s. You must get enough of this important vitamin to prevent the illness. New exciting research shows that it’s possible to prevent Alzheimer’s with Vitamin E. The more Vitamin E you have in your blood, the better. Your Vitamin E levels will predict if you will get Alzheimer’s.

• Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.

Choices, Choices, Choices…

Both of these dietary lifestyles offer their own intrinsically unique advantages and guidelines. Identifying your body’s specific needs first should act as a compass in guiding your dietary decisions. As always, it’s best to gather the opinions of trusted health professionals before embarking on your veggie voyage to improved health.

Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to stay healthy while enjoying an incredible vacation! Join us in 2014 for our 11th tasty voyage!

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Indulge in Your Taste for Travel – Vegan Style!

Good Looking Vegetables

In spite of the progress being made these days, there are still quite a few challenges that vegans face while traveling. While trekking from town to town and dining out along the way, sometimes you’ll find that you’re the only vegan in the group. Often times the only available vegan options are sadly underwhelming, and eventually you begin to wonder if people even know what a healthy head of lettuce looks like!

While not every city on this big, beautiful globe of ours can brag a culture that’s up-to-snuff on the riches of a plant-based diet, there is a way for vegans and non-vegans alike to peruse the world together and enjoy dazzling entertainment, savor world-class vegan fare and receive the remarkable opportunity to learn about the rewards of going all-veggie from the world’s leading health authorities. Allow us to give you a little nudge in the right direction: We’ve created an all-vegan floating city of our very own!

Ahh…Plant-Based Paradise

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A truly one of a kind avenue for vegan travel, Holistic Holiday at Sea is an island of friends that fosters a supportive community of open-minded and welcoming individuals who are zealous for healthy, happy living. Voyage across the shimmering Caribbean Sea to exotic destinations, and sink into luxury. With full relaxation and pampering of your mind, body and soul, you’ll soak up the sun, the sights, and plenty of inspiration to help you live your best life through natural health. Choose from a host of educational lectures, workshops, and private consultations by leading natural health authorities on board, to inspire your journey—at sea, and at home.

At Holistic Holiday at Sea, you can revel in all of this and more while:

  • Dining on personally prepared all-natural, energizing vegan and macrobiotic food


  • Lounging in saunas and sunbathing poolside


  • Awakening your mind and body through daily guided yoga, meditation and integrative relaxation classes


  • Strengthening your physique through a variety of thoughtfully instructed fitness classes at the beautiful on board fitness center


  • Expanding your palate and culinary repertoire thanks to inspirational, instructional and interactive cooking classes


  • Opening your eyes to the bountiful benefits of plant-based living through mind-blowing lectures, seminars, and panels hosted by world-renowned doctors, authors, scientists, athletes, and chefs


  • Enjoying nightly concerts, parties, and vegan social events where you’ll make new friendships for life


  • Exploring exciting ports of call in beautiful Philipsburg, St. Maarten, historic San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the private island paradise of Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.


Take the Plunge with Us in 2014!

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Holistic Holiday at Sea offers a truly unique opportunity to experience a plant-based paradise on the trip of a lifetime. Not a vegan or a macrobiotic life-styler, or worried that your meat-loving partner will be looking for a lifeboat? Well fear not, carnivorous comrades! Non-vegans will enjoy the exquisitely prepared food just as much as their vegan counterparts, and will delight in the rich and varied flavors of the fresh, plant-based bounty. Having witnessed a fun, wide-open, and enticing new approach to food and healthy living, we’ve received numerous testimonies about family members adopting a healthier diet back home, and, in many cases, investing themselves fully in a plant-based lifestyle. “A tree is known by its fruit,” a cause is known by the effect.  While attending our annual sea-faring festival of vegan travel, non-vegans can witness the brilliant benefits of a plant-based diet while better understanding the scientific repercussions of eating animal products. Come reap the rewards of plant-based nutrition with us in 2014 as we continue to help change lives and hearts for the better!


Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to stay healthy while enjoying an incredible vacation! Join us in 2014 for our 11th tasty all-veggie voyage!


Does a Plant-Based Diet Leave Your Body Deserted of Nutrients?

Myths, Misunderstandings & Miscommunications

The words “vegan,” “macrobiotic” and even “vegetarian” can sometimes carry a negative connotation such as diets lacking in real sustenance, deprived of nutrition and dispossessed of any real value. However, these fears are generated more from the concerns of a misled public and not from the decisions of well-educated individuals serious about health.

Continuously faced with questions like “But where do you get your protein from,” vegetarians and vegans alike can experience frustration.  The dominating confusion surrounding protein and its function in our diet is extremely common, despite the fact that these amino acids can be found and eaten almost ubiquitously (most amply in lentils, beans and quinoa.)  In fact, many researchers posit that too much protein is actually harmful for your body, a rarely discussed perspective in Western culture.

American society is slowly making strides toward understanding, accepting and accommodating plant-based diets, but there’s still a lot of hubbub around the vegan/macro grub. While many of us are informed and passionate about dietary nutrition, it never hurts to regroup and ground ourselves with up to date research.   Simply following a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean that you are eating healthy. The challenges of finding nutrient-rich food options may lead us to rely more heavily on carbs or processed foods to sustain and fill us.  Other times we may unknowingly eat foods which are normally healthy, yet were unfortunately grown, harvested or produced in an unwholesome manner. As Lily McCann pens in KwikMed.org’s article ‘Avoiding Common Vegetarian and Vegan Dietary Deficiencies’:

“In essence, all vitamins and minerals necessary for the human body to be healthy and vibrant can be found from natural, non-animal sources; however certain nutrients are more difficult to source due to the production methods of modern food.

The best way to avoid encountering dietary deficiencies when eating a vegetarian or vegan diet is to consume an abundant amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. Eating a balanced and varied diet consisting of foods which are naturally abundant in vitamins and minerals will give your body a high level of nutrition.”


The Dirt on Dietary Deficiencies

Are you absolutely positive you’re not nutritionally deficient? Thanks to KwikMed.org, here’s a brief rundown on commonly lacking, yet highly necessary nutrients in plant-based diets and all food regimens –

  • Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most common deficiencies that can occur from eating a vegan or vegetarian diet. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in rich, non-depleted soil, and consequently it is absorbed into the food chain when animals eat the grass etc.

The best way to avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency is by taking whole food supplements that have been tested for safety and efficacy.

  • Zinc

Zinc is a vital mineral for the immune system, neurological system, and skin. A Zinc deficiency is linked to numerous health conditions as the immune system is not able to function correctly and consequently cannot fight off infection as it should.

Zinc can be found in a whole host of natural plant based foods, and adapting your diet to include many more of these foods will certainly assist in raising zinc levels. Nuts, whole grains, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, swiss chard, beans, tahini and tofu all contain high amounts of zinc.

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids

There is often a large amount of confusion surrounding omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, a considerable number of people, vegetarian or not, are deficient in these vital nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids play a key role in the nervous system, fighting infection and inflammation. They also help to lower blood pressure, treat depression, and prevent heart disease.

Flax seeds are considered to be one of the best sources of omega 3 in a vegetarian diet, containing many other fantastic health benefits as well. Walnuts are another great source of omega 3 fatty acids that can be added into your diet to keep omega 3’s at a healthy level.

  • Iron

Iron is essential for a healthy body as it is an integral part of hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen around the body. Vegetarians and vegans need to be especially careful to ensure that they are consuming an iron rich diet. As well as monitoring iron intake, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin C in the diet, as this aids the body to absorb and use iron effectively.

There are an abundance of plant-based sources of iron, including lentils, tofu, potatoes, beans, spinach, kale, quinoa, green beans, oats and many other plant-based sources.

  • Calcium

There are an abundance of excellent plant-based sources of calcium available, though many people are simply not eating enough of them on a regular basis to ensure an adequate calcium intake.

Some of the calcium rich plant-based food sources include soybeans, broccoli, bok choy, grains, rice milk, tahini, beans, almonds, okra, mustard greens, and tempeh to name just a few.

Taste of Health Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to travel and stay healthy while pampering AND educating yourself with current events and trends in the vegan world. On our holistic cruise you will have the opportunity to eat divine meals, make new friends and engage with some of the most celebrated personalities of the Vegan Industry.  2013 will mark the 10 year Anniversary of the Holistic Holiday @ Sea and there will be lots of socials, great classes, amazing Caribbean ports and even a few surprises. Learning a new way of living has never been so much fun, so easy and so tasty!

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We’re Thankful That It’s Finally Thanksgiving!

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 ‘Tis the Season for All Things Tasty – So, Toss that Turkey!

While the Thanksgiving holiday can prove a bit tricky for those of us adhering to a vegan or macrobiotic lifestyle, especially for newcomers, there’s a cornucopia of ways to squash your worries and have your taste buds sing with gratitude! Don’t get vexed over pleasing your carnivorous family members and friends, and never give up hope on discovering and creating deliciously inventive dishes! There are numerous recipes that bring out the full flavors of the seasonal harvest without resorting to eating a plain bowl of kale and an ear of corn (although that does sound pretty delicious!). After a little hunting of our own (for recipes, that is), we’d like to offer some tasty tips to help turn your holiday gathering from ‘turkey-terror’ into a festive ‘fresh-veggie feast’!

Don’t Let the Fowl Fluster You

Take a gander through the follow scrumptious seasonal vegan recipes, courtesy of Integrative Nutrition and Veg Kitchen, that’ll even have your non-vegan friends and family gobbling it up!

Taste of Health Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to travel and stay healthy while pampering AND educating yourself with current events and trends in the vegan world. On our holistic cruise you will have the opportunity to eat divine meals, make new friends engage with some of the most celebrated personalities of the Vegan Industry.  2013 will mark the 10 year Anniversary of the Holistic Holiday @ Sea and there will be lots of socials, great classes, amazing Caribbean ports and even a few surprises. Learning a new way of living has never been so much fun, so easy and so tasty!

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