Healthy Lifestyle Blog

September 18, 2012

Your Right to Know: An Update on GMO Labeling

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were introduced into the food supply in 1992. At that time the FDA declared that genetically engineered foods are not substantially different from conventionally grown foods and do not require special regulation or safety studies.

This opened the doors to continued infiltration of GMOs into the food supply with no requirement to label such foods. Today, almost 90% of all processed foods in the supermarket contain at least one genetically engineered ingredient.

The safety of GMOs is questionable. This is a huge human experiment that could have disastrous consequences on health and the environment.

Several states have introduced GMO labeling laws, but backed down after Monsanto, a major producer of GMOs, threatened legal action. Fiscally strapped state governments had to back down.

In a grass roots effort, Californians have met the requirements to have a GMO labeling proposition placed on November’s ballot. The biotech and food industries are gearing up to defeat this effort. Hopefully Californians will continue to organize for their right to know and pass the initiative, which would likely result in other states following suit.

If you wish to learn more about the health and environmental effects of GMOs, and which foods are free of GMOs you may email me or visit http://www.responsibletechnology.org/ or http://www.nongmoproject.org/.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marilyn @ 2:30 am

June 6, 2012

Fresh and Local

Summertime is the best time of the year for enjoying healthy locally grown produce. Here on Long Island there are increasing numbers of farmers markets, where you can find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other locally produced goods.

I love the Brattleboro Farmers Market where I can chat with local farmers, purchase freshly harvested veggies and fruits or plants to add to my garden, enjoy a delicious homemade lunch, browse the handcrafted items and maybe even buy a gift or two, enjoy some live music and watch the children in the sandbox. Whenever I am in Vermont, I make a point of spending some time at the Farmers Market. New farmers markets are cropping up all over the country. To find one near you just visit http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/.

Another option for enjoying the local harvest is to become a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA members support local farms by prepaying for a share of the harvest, and in return they receive a weekly share of the harvest – vegetables, fruits, herbs, and/or flowers. It’s a great way to try new foods while supporting local farms, your health and the environment.

If you are transitioning to a mostly raw plant-based lifestyle, summer is a great time to do so. Enjoy your bigger meals early in the day, and save dinner for something light. I typically start my day with a bowl of fresh fruit or a delicious smoothie. For lunch I enjoy a huge salad dressed with freshly squeezed lemon. I often add some hemp or sunflower seeds, or some diced avocado, for a healthy fat. If I am hungry for dinner, it is usually something light.

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Environment,Garden,Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Vegan — Marilyn @ 6:57 pm

January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Non-Violence

As a child, I was deeply influenced by the power of the civil rights movement and the eloquence of Martin Luther King, Jr. His message and example of non-violence was so moving and influential. I watched in awe as TV reports showed demonstrators maintaining their non-violent stance even while they were assaulted by police and others.

I am still affected by the words and passion of Martin Luther King, Jr., and I still support non-violence, whether it is toward our so-called enemies, toward protesters, or toward other sentient beings, human or not.

Sadly most of us play a part in large scale violence daily without even giving it a second thought. The victims of this violence are voiceless, and are enslaved, tortured and killed for human pleasure and profit. In the time it takes to read this post, more than 100,000 sentient beings will have been slaughtered by the meat, dairy and egg industries (far more if you included fish and other aquatic animals).

The violence toward other species doesn’t end there. The humans who work in slaughterhouses are exploited and subjected to horrendous working conditions. Their frustrations are often taken out on the animals or on their families when they go home, continuing the cycle of violence.

So in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and in support of of non-violence, I propose adopting a more compassionate, non-violent diet. It would not only benefit the many beings whose lives would be spared, but doing so would also provide health benefits and reduce the negative impact on the environment.

“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Compassion,Peace — Marilyn @ 6:56 pm

December 14, 2011

Don’t Just Survive the Holidays, THRIVE!

I often hear from friends about how they can’t believe how much they ate at a holiday event. They complain about feeling sluggish, gaining weight and wonder how I survive the holidays.

Rather than survive, I would rather thrive! So  I have a few strategies that help me feel great throughout the season.

  • Bring a delicious healthy dish to share. This way you know there will be at least one thing that you will eat and you can show others how delicious your healthy lifestyle is!
  • Eat something whole and nutritious so that you won’t be hungry at the party.
  • Focus on socializing and connecting with friends and family rather than eating.
  • Decide ahead of time which foods you choose NOT to eat. As a vegan, it’s easy, since much of what you find on the buffet table typically contains some animal products. I don’t feel deprived, though, because I have already eaten something before leaving home, and I brought a dish that I love!
  • Commit to only one dessert. Or, if you must, a small taste of two. Choose wisely!

When it comes to gift-giving, try to be mindful in your choices. Check out my previous post on Mindful Gift-Giving for ideas.

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


November 23, 2011

Mindful Gift Giving

The holiday season of 2011 is a good time to start a new gift-giving tradition, and it would be so amazing if we extended mindful consuming to all our purchases in the future.

It is time to shed excessive consumerism and vote for a better world with your dollars. What better way to start than to support our local producers of goods and services?

Rather than support foreign sweat shops where cheaply produced products that use precious resources to ship across oceans, only to end up in a landfill, it is time to be more creative with gift choices begin to support more meaningful, sustainable options.

Consider, for example, the wide range of local services that people consume regularly. You might want to consider gift certificates. Here are just some of the many local businesses where you can purchase gift certificates: hair salon or barber, restaurant, theatre, housekeeper, computer repair, gym, gardener, auto mechanic… the list goes on. This isn’t about national chains, let’s support the local home town shops.

If you would like something more personal, consider locally produced crafts, like pottery, jewelry, knitted or woven scarves, wooden boxes, baskets, or the gift of local talent in the form of tickets to a performance of a CD.

Or if you have a particular talent, you might want to go with a gift of your time or something you make. “Love” coupons for your services are welcome, as they can be personalized and redeemed when the recipient wishes. For example, I have given a collection of coupons for raw vegan dishes, and the recipient can make custom requests for his or her favorite dish(es). Other possibilities for love coupons include babysitting, pet sitting, raking leaves, planting a garden, providing a ride to or from the airport – use your creativity here.

Love coupons, gift certificates, or any gift, for that matter, can be wrapped mindfully in a beautiful reusable box, in a dish towel or fabric, or food storage container. Other alternative gift wrapping ideas include:

  • Reusable gift bags – I always save gift bags to reuse. If you don’t have any handy, a reusable shopping bag is a great way to wrap a gift and something that helps reduce waste all year long.
  • Newspaper or magazines
  • Fabric – you can either wrap a gift in fabric or make a reusable gift bag.
  • Use ribbon made from natural materials like waxed hemp twine or raffia.
  • Natural decorations like pine cones and sprigs of holly.
  • Mason jars for food items or anything small. Throw in a 6-inch square of screening material (available from a hardware store) and the jar can be used to make sprouts.

For more gift wrapping ideas visit http://eartheasy.com/gift_wrapping.htm or http://life.gaiam.com/article/top-10-green-gift-wrap-ideas

Do you have any gift suggestions for a more mindful compassionate holiday?

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Compassion,Environment — Tags: , , , , , , — Marilyn @ 6:32 pm

July 3, 2011

A Green Smoothie for Interdependence Day

In honor of Interdependence Day, I prepared a green smoothie to represent the wonderful abundance our earth provides for us.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


July 3, 2011

Happy Interdependence Day!

This is Interdependence Day weekend, and I am enjoying my stay in Vermont where I have a garden that I planted on Memorial Day.

I like to call this Interdependence Day – last year at this time I was attending a class called “Grow Food Everywhere” and one of the instructors, Deb Habib, coined the phrase. It feels so much better to me than Independence Day.

Having just read “The Wholarian Vision,” by Katrina Meyer, PhD, I am very aware of the interconnectedness of everything on this planet. Recognizing that we are all part of the whole provides a new awareness of how our actions, our energy, our essence affects everything around us, and that has a ripple effect that is very far reaching.

So rather than celebrate independence, let’s celebrate our interdependence and envision a world where collaboration and cooperation replace competition and greed, a world where peace, love and compassion prevail.

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Compassion,Peace — Marilyn @ 3:37 am

July 2, 2011

Got Weeds? Make Dessert!

You may recall my Garden of Weedin’ from last summer. This year, I heavily mulched the garden, and I planted it on Memorial Day. When when I returned after a month (I live in NY and my garden is in VT) there were weeds, but it was certainly manageable.

One of the most abundant weeds that I found is commonly known as lemon clover. I remember a housemate who would pick it and eat it right from the garden, so rather than discard the mounds of lemon clover, I decided to make something with it. At first I thought I’d make a pesto, but as I worked in the hot sun, a frozen dessert seemed more appropriate. Here’s a video showing you what I did.

 

Lemon Clover Granita

lemon clover – remove roots – all other parts are edible
water – enough to blend
honey or other sweetener to taste

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed. Adjust for sweetness.
  2. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer or nut milk bag.
  3. Pour the strained liquid into a glass pan and place in the freezer.
  4. After about an hour, run a fork through the mixture, loosening it from the edges. Repeat every hour until all the liquid is frozen.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.

 

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


May 15, 2011

Zucchini Rollatini

This is a favorite among raw newbies and raw foodies alike. I had the pleasure of serving samples of this recently and received rave reviews. It consists of thinly sliced zucchini filled with cashew cheese and topped with Marilyn’s Marinara Sauce and Basil Pesto.

Cashew “Ricotta” Cheese
(recipe adapted from Raw Food Real World. by Matthew Kenny & Sarma Melngailis)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2 hours or more
1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped
zest of one lemon
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/2 to 1 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (depending on desired consistency)
2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley

Procedure:

  1. Place all the ingredients EXCEPT the water and parsley in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until as smooth as possible.
  2. Add water, small amounts at a time to achieve the desired consistency. If making lasagna, you will want a softer consistency so it is easier to spread.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice if desired.
  4. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the minced parsley.

Stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator, cashew ricotta will keep for 3-5 days. Tastes best served at room temperature.

Zucchini Rollatini

Ingredients:

1/2 zucchini per serving
batch of cashew ricotta

Procedure:

  1. Cut off both ends and peel the zucchini if desired (or if not organic).
  2. Using a mandonile or a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise very thinly.
  3. Lay three slices side by side, overlapping a little. Cut the overlapped strips in half. This will make two rollatini.
  4. Place a spoonful of cashew ricotta across the sliced zucchini at the end closest to you. Roll the zucchini around the cheese. Repeat until you have three to five rollatini per serving.

Top with Marilyn’s Marinara Sauce and Basil Pesto.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


May 6, 2011

In Honor of ALL Mothers

Every May we devote a day to honor our mothers, for their love, nurturing, and care, and for all that they have sacrificed in raising us. But what about the non-human mothers who are forced to sacrifice their lives not for their young, but for our plates?

Most of the eggs and dairy we eat come from mothers who live in conditions that are far removed from the bucolic image of farm life we’ve come to believe. Unless you know the farmer, these sentient beings are likely treated inhumanely throughout their lives, and their products are contaminated with salmonella, or antibiotics, pus and hormones. Labels like cage free or free range are essentially meaningless, designed more for the buyer’s sense of well-being than for the animals.

Hens are natural nurturers – the “mother hen” protects her chicks and teaches them to scratch and find food. Yet in most egg producing operations, hens never get to enjoy the behaviors so natural to them, like nesting, perching, scratching, dust bathing and raising their young.

Cows also nurture their young and develop strong bonds. Yet in order to keep their milk flowing, they are subjected to continuous cycles of pregnancy and lactation, only to have their babies stolen from them at birth. Imagine the suffering both mother and child endure.

There ARE alternatives. Instead of dairy, there are many healthier non-dairy milks and cheeses made from nuts, rice or soy. Contrary to popular belief, cow’s milk does NOT build strong bones. Although it has calcium, it is not absorbed because it lacks the necessary magnesium. A far better source of calcium is dark leafy greens (that’s where cows get it from). Further, the casein in milk had been shown to contribute to tumor growth.

Instead of factory farmed eggs, find a local source where you can be sure that the chickens are raised humanely. There are many on Long Island.

This month, in honor of the mother hens and cows, consider refraining from eggs and dairy for a day, for a week, for a month… maybe even forever.

For more information and resources about eggs and dairy, contact Marilyn Chiarello: Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Compassion,Health,Vegan — Marilyn @ 3:33 am

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