Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegan Fest

I am so excited, I just found out there is going to be a vegan fest right here in Madison, WI!  It's the Mad City Vegan Fest 2011.  From what I am reading it is the first one for our area and hope it isn't the last.  Since becoming vegan, I have heard of these gathering, but many have been at larger cities, so it is great to see one right in my backyard.  The only downside is that it takes place on Father's Day (June 19, 2011), but thank goodness my husband is excited to go with me!

There seems to be a great line-up so far for speakers and demos.  One of my favorite cookbook co-authors is going to be doing a food demo.  It is Terry Hope Romero who is a co-author of bestselling books Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  Yeah, as I love my Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar cookbook.   Also, co-founder of Our Hen House, Jasmin Singer and Mercy For Animals' Chicago Campaign Coordinator, Kenny Torella will both be speaking.

Have any of you gone to a vegan type fest?  Not sure what to expect, but can't wait to learn some new vegan things and blog about it sometime in June!  Check out all the details on their website, Mad City Vegan Fest, as more is added frequently as the event comes closer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Organic Fruits & Veggies

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have had the job to figure out how to to save our family money since we were going to be living on one income.  Through the first few months when our first son was born, I surfed the internet on how to make ends meet.  Food was a huge issue especially since we were adding a new little one to the family.  I was lucky enough to find a local food buying club where I could buy food at a discount each month.  The best part was you order online and then just pick-up what you ordered the following month, which was usually at a local church.  No need to step into a store, especially with little ones.  Also, many of these clubs are free, but a few require you to volunteer your time each month.  Our club is called SHARE Wisconsin and just has us pay a few dollars a month to cover gas and handling. 

As we were transitioning into this vegan life, we are fortunate enough to have our local buying club offer organic produce each month at an amazing rate.  We get 10+ pounds of organic produce for only $15.  Since going vegan, we now get 3 boxes a month and may even get 4 once summer months come.  This has provided my family fantastic organic produce which has saved us lots of money and time.

There are many food buying clubs out there that you might be able to take advantage of in your area.  I know not all have organic produce to offer, but groceries in general are cheaper when bought in huge quantities and divided among those that are ordering.  Here is a list of other food buying clubs that may help you out if you live in any of these states:

Angel Food Ministries
Serving many states within the United States

SHARE Food Program of Pennsylvania
Serving Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Metro New York, Maryland East Shore

SHARE Food Network
Serving Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia

SHARE Hampton Roads 
Fare For All 
Serving Minnesota 
Serving Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota 

SHARE Wisconsin 
Serving Wisconsin, northern Illinois and the UP of Michigan 

The Community Food Co-op of Utah  
Serving Utah 

Golden SHARE Foods 
Serving Southern California 

There are probably many more out there, just do a search  for food buying club in your state and see what comes up.  Hopefully this will help some of you save money for yourself and others. 

Here are some pictures of 2 boxes of produce we got a few months back to give you an idea of what comes in our boxes.  The only thing that stinks about the boxes is you never know what you will get, so it is a surprise each time.  But we have never been disappointed over the past 5 years of buying.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Exercise Shoes

Yep, I am going to talk about shoes here this week.  I have had the worst time finding a comfortable shoe to workout in that doesn't rub my toes together, cause friction, sweat that results in blisters, bleeding and sore feet.  This past summer, I found the perfect pair of shoes and fell in love with them since.  They are the Vibram FiverFingers KSO shoes.  The best part is they are made with vegan friendly material, so it is a win-win situation for us vegans!

Now, I am going to be honest, they are not cheap.  I believe I paid about $85 for my Vibrams, which is why I had to wait quite awhile to get them as I needed to save up.  But so glad I took the time to research and find that they were worth the wait.  Yes, my feet still sweat, but I now can come out of kickboxing class or a run without bleeding and blistered feet.  One thing I wish they would include is some sort of odor eaters for the shoes as they do stink after a few sweaty uses, but I just throw them in the wash and am good to go on my next workout.

These shoes certainly do get looks when I wear them.  They are the perfect conversation starters if you need help in that area!  But, I can't begin to tell you how comfortable they are.  They even make socks you can wear with them on colder days to keep your feet warmer.  Every time I put them on, I am still in shock on how comfortable they are!  

If you do decide to get a pair, make sure to get fitted at a local reputable retailer or buy directly from Vibram online.  As there are many fakes out there and the poor quality just makes the real ones look bad.  Plus, I found out each style sizes differently from the guys that sold me my shoes from Berkeley Running Company.
I must say it is nice going into a store and finding knowledgeable people that know their shoes and what will work for each person that walks in.  You don't find that, that often now-a-days anymore.

The weather is just starting to warm up again here in Wisconsin and I can't wait to get outside running in them as it has been a super snow and long winter here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Raw Vegan til Dinner

I have been so inspired lately by everything I have been reading on the raw food blogs and watching YouTube videos on going raw that I have decided to try going raw.  I started just a few days ago where I am eating fresh produce until 5pm and than going back to being vegan for dinner.  If I really like the whole raw experience, this will help me easily transition to completely raw in the months to come.  

Plus, what I seem to be finding is that many vegan athletes are actually raw vegans when they are training and go back to being vegan off season.  I must say the past few days my energy has been through the roof which I didn't expect.  My house looks cleaner than it ever has and I am getting so much done.  I am contributing this energy towards the great fresh produce I am eating.  Also, I found that you need to watch how much nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, and other fatty foods as they can zap your energy.  So, I am filling up on plenty of fruit and veggies and only having a little of the those fatty foods.

There is an amazing website called We Like It Raw that has amazing before and after going raw pictures that will blow your mind.  The changes are amazing and so inspiring.  Also if you enjoy watching videos, there are two YouTube pages that are a must.  First check out Dan the Man from Life Regenerator and the three crazy brothers of Raw Brah's.

Has anyone else done this or am I just crazy to go this route?  Time will tell and I will keep you all posted on this little experiment!

Here is a great video I found on YouTube that I had to share.  It makes me appreciate the choice I have made going vegan.  Seeing this man who is a raw vegan try a two week experiment of the standard American diet scared me and makes my decision to go vegan even more powerful!