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Craving the Facts: Q&A with 5 Animal Rights Advocates Who’ll be Joining Us in 2018!

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Holistic Holiday at Sea is an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle—for yourself and for every living creature on earth. For this reason (and many others), we are so excited to announce one of our panels for the 2018 Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruise, which runs February 15–25, 2018.

Join five knowledgeable presenters for Q&A Panel: Animal Rights Leadership to learn about the plight of animals used in the entertainment, experimentation, clothing, meat and dairy industries and how society is responding to the increasingly large and powerful message of the animal rights movement. Participants include Ingrid Newkirk (president and founder of PETA); Dr. Neal Barnard (founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine); Dr. Jonathan Balcombe (Director of Animal Sentience at the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy); and Gene Baur (co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary). The panel is moderated by Melissa Karpel, Philanthropic Specialist with the PETA Foundation.

We got the chance to speak to each of these amazing and compassionate presenters and ask them some important questions about their life-changing work.

How old were you when you adopted a plant-based diet?

Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid Newkirk: I think I was 20 (I’m 68 now) when I first became vegetarian, eating the McDonald’s McMuffin without the bacon!  But I’m ashamed to say I waffled later, not having any support system probably was my undoing, and then became vegetarian when I was in my late 20s, and vegan shortly afterwards after someone made fun of me for putting milk in my tea and explained that’s why we have a veal calf system—to take the milk!

Dr. Neal Barnard

Dr. Neal Barnard: The year before I went to medical school, I worked as an autopsy assistant in a Minneapolis hospital. One day, a patient in the hospital died of a massive heart attack, and the pathologist conducted an autopsy, with my help. He cut away a section of ribs to expose the heart, and he showed me how the coronary arteries were narrowed with atherosclerotic plaque, as were the arteries to the brain, the kidneys, and the other parts of the body. And he explained how this was linked to bacon, eggs, and all the foods I had grown up on.

After he finished the examination, I cleaned up, putting the ribs back into the chest and cleaning away the blood. When I was done, I went up to the hospital cafeteria. As it turned out, they were serving ribs for lunch. They looked and smelled just like a dead body. And of course, they are a dead body. I didn’t become a vegetarian on the spot, but I just couldn’t eat them.

After that, I became more aware of the health risks of meat and also about the mistreatment of animals in the meat industry. And eventually, I realized that the dairy and egg industries are as bad as the meat industry when it comes to health, the environment, and animals, and I stopped eating animal products altogether.

Jonathan Balcombe

Dr. Jonathan Balcombe: I went vegetarian at age 25, and vegan at 30. I took a year off my university studies in 1984 (at age 25) to work and then to travel. I chose three months in India, which was a life-changing experience.

I was a vegan waiting to happen and going to a nation of half a billion Hindu vegetarians was a tipping point for me.

Gene Baur (Photo by Lee Iovino)

Gene Baur: I went vegan in 1985, when I was 23 years old. This decision was the culmination of incremental steps and awareness about the issues. I first learned of the cruelty of animal agriculture in high school when my grandmother told me about how veal calves are raised. Then, I learned about the environmental harm and inefficiency of raising animals for food, and that we could feed more people with fewer resources by producing plant foods. Finally, when I realized it was possible to live well without eating animal products, I decided to go vegan.

Melissa Karpel

Melissa Karpel: I adopted a vegan lifestyle 11 years ago, when I was in my 20s. Prior to that, I had always loved animals and had them as part of my family, but I hadn’t made the connection that what I was eating, wearing, and purchasing in my daily life was actually harming them. Eleven years ago, I was volunteering with chimpanzees who were rescued from laboratories, and they knew sign language. I was amazed by their emotional intelligence as I got to know these smart, playful, sensitive, and funny beings. My connection with them forced me to look head-on at my relationship with animals. At the same time, I found PETA’s “Meet Your Meat” video online, and it took one viewing to get me and my entire family (parents and two sisters) to go vegan overnight. None of us have turned back since.

This panel is committed to helping people understand the facts. What is one fact that most people are very often surprised by?

Ingrid Newkirk: That we wouldn’t have a veal calf industry—with the babies taken from their mothers shortly after birth—if we avoided dairy, which is a weird thing to eat anyway given that we are adults and it’s baby food, and that it’s baby food for a different species.

Dr. Neal Barnard: What happens to dairy cattle is particularly troubling. They are artificially inseminated every year, and their calves are invariably taken away. Then, by about age four when they are somewhat less productive, the cows are slaughtered for meat and leather, and are replaced in the dairy barns by their daughters who are artificially inseminated annually, and their calves are taken away.

Dr. Jonathan Balcombe: It continues to be a widespread misconception (especially among omnivores) that it takes more plants to feed vegans than to feed meat-eaters. In fact, not only are plant-based diets the most animal-friendly way to eat, they are also the most plant-friendly way to eat. It is a basic principle of ecology that energy is lost as one moves up a food chain. Lots of energy! Eating animals directly doesn’t take pressure off of plants. On the contrary, when we eat cows and pigs and chickens we are consuming all the plants that these animals were fed to grow their bodies. And that’s many times more plants than if we eat plants directly. This vitally important principle explains the link between animal agriculture and habitat loss, biodiversity loss, food inequities, and climate change.

Gene Baur: Many people are surprised to learn that humans can thrive on a plant-based diet, and that elite athletes have found that eating plants instead of animals improves their performance.

Melissa Karpel: I think people are surprised to hear how cruel the egg and dairy industries are. There’s a misconception that because animals aren’t killed for milk or eggs that they aren’t harmed. When I learned that cows are repeatedly impregnated and that their calves are taken away from them and put into crates so that their milk can be sold to humans instead of given to their babies, I was shocked. I was also unaware that most egg-laying hens spend their lives in cramped, dirty cages that are about the size of a piece of paper. I wish more people knew about how cows and chickens suffer for dairy and egg production.

Welcome aboard Holistic Holiday at Sea for the first time! What are you most excited about and/or what do you hope to get out of the experience?

Ingrid Newkirk: I have not been on the cruise before so I’m looking madly forward to meeting kind people I’ve never met before, and running into old friends, too. I hope to pick brains and learn new ideas for activism, and hear what people are up to out there, changing the world for animals.

As a seasoned Holistic Holiday at Sea guest, can you describe how meeting other likeminded animal activists on Holistic Holiday at Sea has affected you?

Dr. Neal Barnard: It is great to see so much enthusiasm and so many lives being changed.

Dr. Jonathan Balcombe: I’m always lifted when I am among like-minded people. One of my favorite aspects of the cruise is the seating arrangement at mealtimes, which ensures that people meet and eat with different guests each time. It is a great way to spread knowledge and good cheer.

Gene Baur: Human beings are social animals, and it’s important to be among others who share similar beliefs and values, while also being exposed to new perspectives and ideas. Being on the cruise helped validate my core feelings and principles, while also encouraging my thinking to evolve.

Melissa Karpel: I’ve been on the cruise before and found it to be such a wonderful meeting of like-minded individuals. I learned so much from others, too, who brought their own perspectives. I’ve been calling it the “Vegan Love Boat,” because my sister met her husband on the cruise nine years ago, and then two years later, I met my fiancé during one of the vegan ice cream socials on the main deck! I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the cruise has grown in the years since I attended, to seeing old friends in the activist community, and to meeting new people as well.

Bon Voyage!

Have more questions? We hope you will join us at the Q&A Panel: Animal Rights Leadership to hear inspiring stories, get more curious, and ask those burning questions you’ve always wanted to know!

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!

Recovery Panelists Tell Their Stories: You Won’t Believe Their Results Part I

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Are you fairly new to plant-based eating? Or have you been vegan for years? Are you able to maintain optimal health? Or are you feeling frustrated and searching for answers? No matter where you find yourself on your journey to wellness, the Holistic Holiday at Sea experience is designed to meet you exactly where you are. Our next vegan cruise is a 10-day voyage in the southeastern Caribbean, February 15–25, 2018.

Among all of the activities we have planned, one of our most popular sessions is the Recovery Panel. Many people around the world have adopted a whole foods plant-based diet when faced with a life-threatening diagnosis. Each year on the panel, a dozen people share their personal stories of how they triumphed over a serious illness using holistic and alternative therapies.

In part one of this series, we wanted to share with you some insight from three of the participants: Judy MacKenney, Jarod Jacobs, and Jodi Seitlin. Stay tuned for part two in August when we chat with Jane Quincannon Stanchich, Tricia Slimbarski, and Kim Hoffman. We hope you find their journeys to health as inspiring as we have!

Our Bodies Want to Heal

Judy MacKenney is a macrobiotic counselor who has attended the cruise for the past 12 years—and has participated on the Recovery Panel for all of those years. In our previous Recovery Panel blog post, we spotlighted Judy, who has been free of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for 25 years.Judy MacKenney, Holistic Holiday at Sea Recovery Panel

After she was diagnosed in 1990, she was advised to do chemotherapy. After seven months of radiation, the oncologist showed her the X-rays. Her tumors had shrunk considerably, but he said, “I must tell you, please don’t be excited. It’s not natural for you to heal like this. It will come back with a vengeance. You must be prepared for this.” Disheartened, Judy knew there had to be another way to heal. She read about Michio Kushi and the Kushi Institute. A macrobiotic counselor told her she could be healed and that food was going to heal her. Today, Judy has been cancer free for 25 years.

“It’s such an amazing thing. Our bodies have that opportunity to heal—of any condition you have,” says Judy. “It’s just a matter of being able to change your lifestyle and really put your mind to it. Our bodies do want to do that.” One takeaway Judy shares from the 2017 Recovery panel is a common thread she noticed. “The different types and magnitude of health challenges this panel faced was extraordinary and how nutrition, love, support, persistence, and positive reinforcement played such a huge part in each person’s recovery!”

Judy adds, “There’s a special joy I get from being among like-minded people who are eager to learn more about the benefits of good health and how to obtain it. This year’s schedule of classes and fun events was outstanding and I so appreciate the efforts of Sandy Pukel, David Magaziner, and their excellent staff for the extensive preparation they put into this cruise. It truly is a life-changing event for so many people!”

Every Day is a Gift

Jarod-Jacobs-Holistic-Holiday-at-SeaIn 1986, Jarod Jacobs was just 29 years old when a doctor told him he had multiple sclerosis and that he’d be in a wheelchair by age 40, and possibly dead by 50. Jarod says he was in denial until 2006 because he was asymptomatic. His neurologist prescribed him drugs that he started taking in 2006. At the end of 2007 he was told that the drugs weren’t working and he shouldn’t take them anymore. For the next two years, Jarod was detoxing and bedridden. He says he had an aha moment one day while lying in bed: If I always do what I’ve always done, I’m going to keep getting what I’ve always got. So if I do nothing and keep having a bad time, then I’m probably going to die. Or, if I do something different—change my lifestyle, change my diet—I might get better. “Sure enough, that’s what I did.” By the beginning of 2010, he’d adopted a vegetarian lifestyle.

In 2010, he began physical therapy and chiropractic care. He went to Palm Beach’s Hippocrates Health Institute in 2012 and became vegan. In 2013, he went raw and walked unaided for the first time since 2007. “Not eating hot food made all the difference,” says Jarod. “Digesting hot food is tiring. Heated food kills digestive enzymes the body needs.”

Celebrating his 60th birthday this year, Jarod says that men his age with MS 30 years are not usually alive, let alone cured as he is. This was Jarod’s first year on the panel and the cruise. He told the audience, “I’m so vegan, I don’t even go to Kevin Bacon movies.”

When asked what’s on his bucket list, Jarod answers simply, “Tomorrow.” His advice to people who have been given a diagnosis and are having to figure out the next step is “Be scared, not dumb. Taking a drug and thinking it can do anything is stinkin’ thinkin’. Change your diet and lifestyle. Go raw vegan. Get physical therapy and chiropractic.”

When Life Gives you a Second Chance

Jodi-Seitlin-Holistic-Holiday-at-SeaAfter law school, Jodi Seitlin embarked on a career path dedicated to helping others. She became licensed to practice in 1990, starting out as a criminal prosecutor before moving into civil prosecution for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. She went into private practice in 2007, representing children directly. She describes her style as “the Wonder Woman technique,” that is, “not slowing down long enough to feel.”

She blamed a pain under her left thigh on a yoga injury and hoped it would resolve itself. It didn’t. After an X-ray, MRI, and other tests it was discovered she had spondylolisthesis, a condition of the spine. The pain got worse each day and after a year and a half, it felt like the whole left side of her body had become immobile. In May 2008, she underwent surgery. She described recovery from the surgery as a “walk in the park” when compared with the nerve pain that had “poisoned everything.”

Soon after, Jodi returned to work and continued her non-stop lifestyle until a traumatic event. She received a call in October that a client and the client’s father were murdered. While making phone calls to ensure that her client’s children were safe, Jodi was trying to catch a flight to visit her mother who wasn’t doing well.

“I’m beside myself,” she recalls. “I’m dragging my luggage behind me. I’m going through scanners in the airport.” She says she would’ve kept going like the Energizer Bunny except that the lower half of her body from the waist down went numb. All of her muscles were working, but she felt like her skin had fallen asleep. This was the beginning of a series of emergency room stays, neurologist visits, and many tests. On Halloween evening, Jodi was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 51.

Today, Jodi says she has a sense of humor about the whole thing, but her journey to find the right care was anything but easy. She has nailed down a regimen that works, found a neurologist who respects her preferences, and has chosen to live a simpler life with no more high-stress cases. She has incorporated holistic therapies, including a regular yoga practice, and through them seeks unity of mind, body, and spirit

In the middle of 2014, she began her recovery from alcohol and found a 12-step program. Now, her first preference is to treat things as naturally as she can. She told the Recovery Panel audience, “I can’t tell you what a joy living life without chemicals, without alcohol, the clarity, the purpose that has come back.”

Like Jarod, this was Jodi’s first year on the cruise. She loved all of the learning opportunities and the inspiring people she met. “I wasn’t a vegan before,” she says. “I had no knowledge base on the distinction between vegetarian and vegan… In two days on that ship, I was convinced my body was telling me so clearly that this was so right and everything was just working better. It was remarkable how much better I felt and how much easier things seemed to be in terms of how my body functioned. In tune with all that—much more so because of recovering from the worst of MS—I’ve done a lot of work on making sure that mind-body connection is really drawn. It never occurred to me that I’d jump in with both feet and that it would be so easy. It feels right.”

Recovery is Possible

As all of the Recovery Panelists participants finished their stories, a palpable sense of inspiration and hope filled the room. When it comes to wellness, there is always something new for us to learn. We invite you to join us on the 2018 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise and experience a voyage with such optimistic and inspiring people. Book your spot today!

Compassion is at the Heart of Farm Sanctuary: Q&A with HHAS Presenter Gene Baur

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Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary

Gene Baur (Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary)

The nation’s leading nonprofit farm animal protection organization, Farm Sanctuary, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. It was launched in spring 1986 by activists who investigated the treatment of animals at farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses and found conditions to be horrific and inhumane. One of these activists was Gene Baur.

Gene, who is the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, will make his Holistic Holiday at Sea debut with us this spring, and we couldn’t be more excited! He has spent decades speaking to people about where they are on their journeys, debunking myths about veganism, and encouraging everyone to take steps in the right direction.

In addition to saving animals from the cruelty of factory farming, Farm Sanctuary encourages all of us to think about the way we live and to make mindful choices. Small decisions can make a big difference. By shifting to a plant-based diet, each of us can have an enormous impact on animals, the planet, and our own health.

As author of Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (March 2008) and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day (April 2015), Gene will deliver three lectures during the cruise, which runs March 11–18, 2017. Read more about his lectures titled Living the Farm Sanctuary Life; Kindness on Your Plate; and Veganism 101.

Farm Sanctuary currently operates in three locations in Watkins Glen, NY; Orland, CA; and Acton, CA, near Los Angeles. Jon Stewart, formerly of The Daily Show, and wife Tracey are partnering with the organization to open a sanctuary in New Jersey. We recently caught up with Gene and asked him some questions about himself, the vegan movement, and what he’ll bring to the cruise:

How have you seen the vegan movement change and shift since 1985 when you first began adopting a vegan lifestyle?

The vegan movement has expanded significantly since 1985 when I went vegan. The idea of living without exploiting other animals has become more widely understood and respected in our society, and the movement is expanding with businesses recognizing and creating opportunities for vegan products in the marketplace. We are also seeing growing awareness and concern about a convergence of issues, including environmental, health, social justice, and animal rights, which are spurring more people to consider vegan lifestyles. I am excited and optimistic about the future.

You say that kindness and compassion to animals, ourselves, and to the planet are what the vegan movement is all about. Many people choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle out of health concerns (the cruise, for example, was launched with a strong nutritional focus). Why do you think it’s important for the vegan movement not to lose its roots in compassion for animals? How do you see those three areas of compassion that you mentioned above intersect? Do you believe it’s important to not just focus on one of these three areas?

To me, being vegan is an aspiration to live as kindly as possible, and to create mutually beneficial relationships. These principles apply to how we relate to other animals and the earth, and how we relate to our own bodies. Eating healthy food is a way of being kind to ourselves and creating a mutually beneficial relationship between our food and our bodies. Different people are motivated in different ways, so I am in favor of speaking about all issues related to food, animals (including humans), and the earth. I came to veganism because I didn’t want to support the abuses of factory farming and slaughter, but other people stop eating animal products for health or other reasons. I don’t think the animals care why we stop killing and eating them—they just don’t want to be abused, killed and eaten.

In recent years, I’ve become more aware of the health benefits of eating plants and have started eating more whole, fresh foods. I also know people who stopped eating animal products to improve their health, and over time, they have grown increasingly aware and concerned about the abuses animals experience to produce meat, milk, and eggs. I believe many issues are relevant and interconnected, and should be part of the conversation and process.

Many of the attendees in the group have been practicing a vegan lifestyle for many years now and enjoy attending the cruise because they don’t have to worry about food choices and can hear from many speakers whom they admire. Some guests, on the other hand, have only just recently adopted a vegan diet and the cruise is helping them reinforce their decision. They’re newer to the movement. In terms of the lectures you’ll be giving at Holistic Holiday at Sea, what do you most look forward to sharing with both of these groups about the impact of food choices?

I am excited to meet both long time vegans and those who are just starting to learn about this lifestyle, and I look forward to learning about their experiences and motivations. I believe that eating mindfully, and eating plants instead of animals is empowering and improves our lives, both physically and emotionally. It is liberating to eat food that improves our health instead of making us sick. It also feels good to consciously lessen the amount of suffering and violence in the world, and to eschew some of our planet’s most significant ecological threats. Being vegan is good for animals, the earth, and us. It’s a win, win, win.

Join Gene at HHAS

Inspired by Gene’s words and actions? Book your spot aboard Holistic Holiday at Sea today! Click here to view a full program schedule and explore our wonderful line-up of influencers and experts on plant-based living.

Vegan Cuisine at Its Finest

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Vegan Pad Thai on Holistic Holiday at Sea cruiseNow in its 14th year, Holistic Holiday at Sea’s seven-day cruise experience, March 11–18, 2017, includes presentations by leading authorities in holistic and alternative health, offboard excursions at four exotic ports of call, workshops, and restorative activities such as yoga, Pilates, and meditation. From cooking classes to poolside socials, vegan cuisine is at the heart of the cruise, bringing people together to share delicious, healthy food with loved ones and new friends made aboard.

Guests enjoy meals in a continental atmosphere. Elegant dining rooms are staffed with attentive servers and food is expertly prepared under the supervision of Mark Hanna, an internationally known natural food chef who has cooked at yoga retreats, meditation centers, and macrobiotic and vegan conferences around the world. Head chef since Holistic Holiday at Sea’s debut in 2004, Hanna has designed the menu to feature dishes that are nutritious, delicious, and 100% vegan.

Options for Everyone

Chef Mark Hanna

Chef Mark Hanna

Cruise goers love that there are so many option to fit their dietary needs. “Over the years we’ve found that to happily include everybody, there needs to be options,” says Hanna. “We offer gluten-free and oil-free options in every case when the dish includes oil or gluten.” Please inform us of your dietary needs and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. The ship’s menu is also available on request.

For lunch and dinner, four-course meals (plus dessert) await you. Menus are often themed and work with innovative twists on traditional styles of cooking, such as Italian and Caribbean. Hanna shares, “My favorite menu over the last few years is the Thai-themed meal including Pad Thai—a tempeh dish, peanut sauce, etc. It’s a little bit spicy.” If you’re looking for a more informal, faster meal, buffet options are available for breakfast and lunch.

Desserts are sugar and dairy free and prepared by pastry chefs. The key lime pie and chocolate cake are among guests’ favorites. The menu changes each year, says Hanna, as people’s tastes change and there are always new trends to keep up with. Themes may be mixed and matched so that whole grains, vegan proteins, cooked and raw greens, and vegetables can be evenly incorporated over the course of the week.

Macrobiotic foods (such as seaweed, umeboshi, tamari, and miso) are also used in several dishes, and many macrobiotic principles are applied in the preparation, says Hanna.

Collaborations in the Kitchen

Chef Mark Reinfeld (Photo by Megan Sorel)

Chef Mark Reinfeld (Photo by Megan Sorel)

This year, Mark Reinfeld joins the team as a menu and recipe consultant. “I am excited to be sharing some of my Vegan Fusion recipes with the guests of the Holistic Holiday at Sea,” he says. Reinfeld is an award-winning chef and the author of seven books, including the best-selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest, Healing the Vegan Way. He has more than 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw food cuisine.

One of the hopes of Holistic Holiday at Sea is that guests can learn new techniques to promote a healthier lifestyle. Reinfeld will be teaching a discussion and Q&A session titled “Food Activism: Bridging the Gap Between Nutritional Knowledge and Life-Changing Action.”

In his session, Reinfeld says he will “discuss the importance of creating plant-based food that tastes amazing, with tips and tricks on how to create world-class cuisine to share with others.”  

He will also present a template-recipe format that “allows you to break out of the recipe trap to create hundreds of variations of recipes.”

Why Wait? Our Recipe for Kale Salad

Vegan Kale Salad on Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise

Want to try one one of Mark Hanna’s dishes for yourself at home? Check out these steps to prepare a crowd pleasing Kale Salad as featured in Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea Cookbook by Sandy Pukel and Mark Hanna.

The cabbage in this light, bright-colored, fiber-rich salad is pressed in the traditional Japanese manner. It is a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Yields 6 to 8 servings

2 cups shredded red cabbage

2 teaspoons umeboshi paste

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 ½ cups corn kernels

Pinch sea salt

5 cups finely chopped kale

1 cup julienne-cut carrots

1 cup red radishes, cut into thin half moons

1 cup julienne-cut daikon

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Vegetable salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare:

  1. Press the cabbage with the umeboshi paste and vinegar for 1 hour.
  2. While the cabbage is pressing, fill a 4-quart pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the corn and quickly blanch for a minute or two. Remove the corn with a slotted spoon and place in a large salad bowl.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the same water, then add the kale and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread on a tray to cool.
  4. Add the cooked kale to the corn, along with the carrots, radishes, daikon, pressed cabbage, olive oil, and lemon juice. Toss the ingredients, add salt and pepper, and toss again before serving.

Variations:

-Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

-Add ¼ cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

-Add sauerkraut or slivers of dill pickle.

12 Vegan Snack Ideas for Kids

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If there’s any time you’re likely to trip up on dietary decisions, it’s snack time. And the same is true – if not more so – for kids. Conventional snacks can be tricky: they often pack in loads of calories and fat and other nasty things to provide a quick fix and satisfy hunger. Why not make your own and keep your kitchen (and car and purse, etc) stocked with these healthy snacks. When snack time calls, you’ll be ready with a healthy answer. Some recipes involve a little prep work, but others require very little at all. Assembled from some of our favorite places online, here are our top picks. (more…)

Meet the Bad Ass Vegan: John Lewis

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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.

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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.

Creating Beauty from the Inside Out

The Quest for a Glowing Complexion

From using toothpaste to kill pimples to using baking soda to even out your self tanner gone awry or applying pepto bismol as a refreshing facial mask women have  tried a myriad of approaches to obtain a glowing, radiant and supple complexion. However, one of the best ways to a great complexion, as many vegans will tell you, is a good old fashioned plant based diet.

For example, Vitamin C is needed for collagen metabolism , which increases the elasticity of the skin, providing a smoother and less wrinkled complexion. Some vegan favorites high in C are kale, strawberries, garlic and radishes. Radishes are the only mainstream food high in both of the beauty minerals sulfur and silica, and one of the best vegetable sources of Vitamin C. The three work synergistically to make your skin glow and help with healthy connective tissue formation.

beautiful skin image

A Handful of Vegan Delights for Glorious Skin

Flax & Hemp Seeds: Both are complete proteins and sources of essential fatty acids like Omega 3s that help maintain cell membranes, allowing water and nutrients in, while simultaneously keeping toxins out. They also protect skin against sun damage and help prevent wrinkles.

Sea Vegetables: With a capacity to provide concentrated minerals in easily assimilated form like no other food out there, seaweeds will improve the texture and appearance of skin and hair. They also include alginic acid, a substance known to absorb and remove toxins from the body, making them a stellar detox food during cleansing.

Vegetables: Organic green-leafy and other vegetables are essential for maintaining great health overall, and that includes what radiates externally. A rotating veritable potpourri of local, colorful and organic vegetables will keep you radiant for a lifetime.

Cacao Beans (Raw Chocolate): All chocolate is made out of the cacao bean, or chocolate nut. It contains flavanols, a group of flavonoids, that have been shown to improve the skin’s appearance by decreasing sensitivity to light. Flavanols also increase blood flow to the skin, improving skin structure and texture. Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids, but not quite as much as pure cacao.

Spirulina: Rich in amino acids and beta carotene, this blue-green algae contains many of the B vitamins and trace minerals that may be depleted through illness or stress. Spirulina can be taken in capsules or as a powdered supplement mixed with water, juice or smoothies.

Papaya:  Containing a breadth of vitamins, antioxidants, trace minerals, folates, fiber and more, all the goodness in papayas combines synergistically for overall health.

Avocado: Rich in minerals and high in vitamin A, E and the Bs, avocado is an antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-wrinkle powerhouse that keeps skin nourished and young.

On the Holistic Holiday at Sea Vegan Cruise there will be many things to enhance your beauty, make your soul smile and enrich your lifestyle regimen. Our cruise is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to better your health while enjoying an incredible vacation!

Join us in 2014 for our 11th tasty all-veggie voyage!

http://shine.yahoo.com/beauty/vegan-diet-skin-saver-complexion-killer-130000083.html

http://www.organicauthority.com/delicious-beauty/10-best-foods-to-eat-for-skin-that-glows.html

Tasty Vegan BBQ – Culinary Fireworks for Vegan Fare!

Summer Grillin’ Extravaganza

We vegans and macros love our veggies something fierce, and there’s no better time to show off our creative cuisine than the Fourth of July!  One of the best aspects of plant-based barbeque is firing up original recipes that are sure to please every palate.  This year, the nighttime fireworks won’t be the only thing attracting “Ooo’s” and “Ahh’s.”  We’d like to help make your grillin’ gathering a dazzling success, so, just to tempt your palate and get your creative juices flowing, here are four outstanding recipes featuring favorite summer fare.

Corn is a strong source of fiber, this wonder-veggie also helps to prevent digestive ailments. The antioxidants in corn also act as anti-cancer agents and prevent Alzheimer’s and heart disease! This yummy recipe for Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salsa is excellent as an appetizer on crostini or with chips and can be used as a topping on meat for non-vegans. It’s also very low in fat!

  • 2 large ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 cup(s) chopped seedless cucumber
  • 3/4 cup(s) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Place the corn on the grill and char lightly on all sides. Cool slightly, cut the kernels from the cob, and place in a medium bowl. Toss in the remaining ingredients, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Serve over slices of toasted bread.

 

Pineapple is a good source of vitamins that can help in losing weight and boosting energy levels. The top health benefits pineapples offer are Vitamin C which is important for the body’s immune system and may help to prevent infection, manganese to regulate blood sugar and is needed for brain and nerve function, vitamin B which aids in metabolizing fats and protein as well as fiber which helps with the digestion of food and reduces the feeling of hunger by making you feel full. Studies indicate that fiber may play a big role in preventing diabetes and heart disease.

We found a scrumptious recipe for a simple dessert that will please all who simply love flavor and great taste combinations.

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 or 5 slices fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Preparation:

Whisk together the agave nectar, rum and lemon juice in a wide dish. Add the pineapple and coat well. Allow the pineapple to marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Lightly grease your grill and fire up to a medium heat. Coat the pineapple with coconut on both sides, pressing the coconut into the pineapple to get it to stick.

Grill on both sides for about 8 to 10 minutes. Yummy to the tummy! Feeling good and satisified!

So Much Good Stuff

We found so many recipes to choose from we figured we would entice you with a couple of pics and share the links to find those recipes and more.

Cilantro Lime Marinated Veggie Kabobs w/ Barley Kale Salad

http://naturallyella.com/2012/08/03/cilantro-lime-marinated-veggie-kabobs-with-barley-kale-salad/

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Chargrilled Eggplant

http://galaxy59.hubpages.com/hub/Vegetarian-and-vegan-barbecue-food#

 

grilled eggplant

 

Fire it Up!

The summer season offers yet another fantastic opportunity to whip-up some mind-blowing vegan munchies that’ll give meat-eaters a taste of what they’ve been missing out on. Let your friends and family feel like Lucky Lincoln’s and Joyful Jefferson’s with the best vegan barbeque this side of the Revolution! As ol’ Uncle Sam would say, “It’s your patriotic duty as citizens of this great nation… to totally veg-out!”

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!

 

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!

Sources –

www.macrobiotics.co.uk

http://digitaljournal.com/article/347704#ixzz2XEwbqxuo

www.medigenicslongevitycenter.com/2012/09/macrobiotics-as-alternative-medicine

www.emmamedu.hubpages.com/hub/17-Super-Health-Benefits-of-a-Macrobiotic-Diet-Foods

http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/

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