The Vegan Movement is Hot, Hot, Hot..Jump on board!

It seems everywhere I turn these days that Veganism is being touted by celebs, firefighters, triathletes, scientists and more. There are books flying off the shelves about how to eat more of a plant-based diet and how to live longer, lower you cholesterol, get off drugs and be the healthiest you can be by doing so. You know what I say??? Halleluah! It’s about time…And this is not only because I am a Vegan chef and believe in eating clean, but because of the amazing opportunity for America and many other countries to live longer, healthier and happier lives, not to mention saving our dear animal friends.

This is truly a very important time in history where we can turn our obese, fat-ridden, cholesterol ridden, heart-disease ridden society around and really make a difference with our health and the planet. And, I’m sure it’s no secret anymore that the animal/meat/dairy industry is responsible for the most pollution on the earth right now, not to mention the unethical treatment that happens to our fellow animal friends. If you haven’t read the chapter on meat in Rory Freedman’s, “Skinny Bitch” book, I highly recommend it. I don’t have to give you all the statistics. You can pretty much look anywhere on the internet and find that grim and sobering information.

So on a lighter note, I want to share a glimpse of my day today and how this all ties in together.
I had such a synergistic and life-changing experience. I went to meet a dear friend and fellow vegan (BTW, we were friends before I knew she was a vegan) at a tea house today in Hollywood, calledT Salon. I rolled up upon this amazing new tea house when I was on my way to an event and trepsing through Hollywood looking for a parking spot, which all of us So-Cal residents know is not easy to do. I was so ecstatic when I saw that this beautifully painted tea house with it’s smart and simple stainless sign, had opened up right next to one of my favorite Veg restaurants, M Cafe. I had visited this same tea house in NYC many years back and LOVED IT! And now, here it is right in my very own town!

Anyway, to get back to the synergistic part of the story, I recommended to my friend that we meet at this funky, cool, new spot because they have vegan food, desserts and amazing tea. 250 different types of tea to be exact. I arrived a bit early and ordered my tea while I talked to the lovely woman at the register who took my order. This woman is so friendly and lively and shows interest in other people’s lives, and I mean GENUINE interest. Not the usual half-assed, laxadasical customer service you get here in LA, but true and heartfelt. The reason I know this is because I told with her that I was a Vegan chef, after she asked and then she proceeded to ask me many more questions about my business and what I do. I talked to her about the many vegan desserts they offer there at the tea house, that all look amazing, but in my book, are not the healthiest because even though they are vegan, they are still made with white flour and white sugar. Yes, you can be vegan and still be somewhat unhealthy, but I’ll save that for another blog post. After our conversation, she prompted that I should meet the owner of the tea house and drop off some of my very own gluten free, refined sugar free goodies for the Salon to try and possibly sell. I told her I would be honored and I went about my business of catching up with my friend and sipping some delicious Dark Roast Yerba Mate tea with almond milk and a bit of Agave nectar.

Ten minutes later, the friendly T salon lady introduced me to another fellow vegan customer in the Salon who happened to be a writer for the Huffington Post. We shared our stories about becoming Vegans and how it has changed our lives and how amazing we feel. Ms. Huffington post told me she has only been Vegan for 5 months after partaking in a cleanse and decided she felt better off the meat, than on it. She also expressed that she hasn’t told her father and that in her culture, it’s taboo NOT to eat meat and she was fearful of her father’s reaction, even though she is doing something good for herself and the planet. Kind of ironic isn’t it??

Shortly after that, Ms T Salon came back to our table and handed me the phone saying she was talking to the owner of the Tea house and she wanted to talk to me about making Vegan desserts and soups for their lovely tea house. I was ecstatic. I set up a time to bring in some samples of my healthy fare and felt blessed for being in the “right” place at the “right” time.

Afterward, again, my dear friend and I went about our business talking about how ecstatic we are to live in LA, own our own businesses and are able to spend a Friday morning sipping tea and meeting fellow vegans, randomly.

Another 10 minutes passes and Ms T Salon brings a gentleman over to meet us, who is, guess what? a fellow vegan. I know at this point you might think I was getting annoyed, but to me it was a sign that we all attract who we are, what we do and how we act, so I went with the flow and knew that these people were in front of me out of divine guidance. We chatted up with the gentleman and I asked him if he knew some of the other vegans in our circle and he did. He looked familiar to me and I realized that I had seen his photo on Facebook, as he is a friend of one of my friends, who is an amazing Macrobiotic Chef here in LA as well, Christy Morgan, The Blissful Chef. 

The point of this story is that, not only is Veganism becoming more recognized in the public eye, I mean even Oprah recently had book author, Michael Pollan on her show (Ominvore’s Dilemma & In Defense of Food) along with Vegan Celeb, Alicia Silverstone, whose new book “the Kind Diet” is all the rage these days, but there is a whole community available to us in this day and age to change the way we eat, get healthier and change the state of the planet.

Will Tuttle, former monk and long-time Vegan’s book, The World Peace Diet touts that we have been disconnected from our food since we were children and we never really understood how the meat we eat got from farm to our plate and what happens in between. As children, we weren’t really given the choice, we just had hot dogs cut up and thrown on our high-chair trays without even KNOWING what we were eating. Again, I don’t need to share all the gory details, and unless you have your head buried in the sand, I’m sure you have heard faint whisperings of the unethical treatment of animals and how the meat industry pollutes our earth and the consumption of meat and dairy can cause all kinds of dis-ease in the body.

Yes, I know, you think I am preaching…well, maybe I am. But the bottom line is that now is the time for us to wake up! Now is the time to take charge of our health. Things are changing, but WE – YOU need to be a part of that change. It’s not enough to sit back anymore and pretend we don’t know what’s happening to these animals and the damage that is being done to the earth, on top of what damage we do to ourselves and our health.

If we continue to go the way we are going, our life span is going to get shorter, not longer. Studies are now showing that with the obesity epidemic rising the way it is, that we are going to die much sooner than we think, not to mention what is happening to the planet with all the pollution from the meat industry.

Who really thinks that all this natural disaster is just Mother Nature doing her thing? Or does anyone think that the HUMAN RACE has anything to do with it??? Hmm…I wonder.

So, what will you do to make a difference? Give up meat 1 day a week..or maybe two? Check out Meatless Mondays. Fill your plate with 80% veggies instead of 80% meat ad 20% veggies?? What will you do? Or will you just sit back and hope it gets better??? And if you are one of those people who think you need Animal protein to build muscle, get energy and stay alive, I highly suggest you read T. Colin Campbell’s latest book, The China Study or Vegan Triathlete,Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive. You might just change the way you think..and that’s a start!

Melissa Costello

Author, Speaker, Culinary Plant-Based Nutrition & Health Empowerment Coach | Cleanse Expert

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