Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekly WOW: Words of Wisdom 12.21.09

Happy Life, Meaningful Life.

A truly peaceful compassionate lifestyle is key to ultimate happiness. Watch the Dalai Lama describe finding purpose in life.
In the last days of my life, I want to feel happy that I was kind, caring, friendly, and compassionate to all sentient beings on Earth.
May the Holiday Season fill you with joy for the true purpose of all the cheer, joy, giving, and kindness.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Do You Speak Earth?

Cate Blanchett narrates this call to action for i. speak. earth. I Speak Earth is a movement dedicated to taking action against climate change. World Leaders meet in Copenhagen for COP15 next month. Each one of us can take a stand: spread the word!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eco-Conscious Fashion: What about Leather?

Truth be told, since becoming Vegan, I have not been able to find a great pair of shoes or boots that are hot, stylish, cruelty-free and under $500.00.

Bags...Same Dilemma!
So this raises the question: if you're Vegan and against animal cruelty is recycled leather an option for you?
Ashley Watson is a designer who had an innovative idea: to create stylish handbags and wallets out of gently worn leather coats from charity thrift stores. I'm still undecided as to whether I would wear leather at all but I admire Ashley for her green ingenuity.

Charmoné is a green shoe company specializing in high-style eco-fashionable footwear which uses no animal products at all.

I'm still on a quest to see more quality cruelty-free fashion that doesn't break the bank. Any suggestions!? Email me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Season for Giving

These have been difficult times for so many families in Southern California and around the country. Especially during the holidays, people who have been struggling throughout the year, are now faced with the most difficult fact to face: their children may not get to experience the joys of the Holidays! Every year, I donate (toys, food, or $ if I can) and volunteer my time to a local foodbank or shelter. Charities that help the needy are facing shortages this year more than ever.

I have put together a list of websites with information on how you can help! What could be a more beautiful gift than to put a smile on a child's face and help wipe away the tears from a struggling mother's eyes? Remember, even a $20.00 donation could feed a family or two.

*Shelters are also a great place to donate or volunteer. Most of us think of homeless people as drug addicts living on the sidewalks; but there are many children living in shelters as well! Please do it for the Children!!!

Volunteer Los Angeles -- General information with phone numbers for various charities

LA Fights Hunger Food Bank

California Food Banks -- Food bank information for ALL of California

Project Angel Food

San Diego Food Bank

CA Association of Food Banks

Orange County Rescue Mission

Salvation Army

Season of Sharing

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Thank you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Earth Pathophysiology: A New Perspective

Physiology is defined as the study of the functions and processes of a living organism and all the physical and chemical phenomena involved. Pathophysiology is the physiology of "abnormal states; specifically: the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease."*

Now, think of the Earth as the living organism displaying the abnormal symptoms of disease and you will see the need for this new perspective. If you look deep into living tissue, for example, you will see membranes, cells, intercellular structures, all of which can be compared to some components of our planet. Examine a Cell; Examine the Earth from space.

Monster storms, superbugs, global warming, changes to the Thermohaline Circulation--these are ways the living earth is fighting back. Like a human body sending out an immune response, Earth is fighting us off.

In my vision of the future, I see scientists becoming increasingly aware of this and hopefully learning more about what I call "Earth's Immune Response" which has been triggering these calamities in recent years. I see society beginning to regard the Earth as a massive living organism, not just a rock. I see new studies into the "pathophysiology" of our planet.

Throughout history, there have been trailblazers calling for change, breaking paradigms, and opening our eyes to new visions and possibilities. I am happy there is a "green" awareness but I warn against being blinded and distracted by Green Greed. Some companies capitalize on the fact that Fad Terms like "Organic" and "Natural" and "light" are moneymakers. A more ethical purpose would be to ultimately improve the quality of life on Earth. It is apparent that our status quo is deteriorating our resources and our planet.

We need to change in order to improve our world for our children and grandchildren to cherish and enjoy. We must not leach all its resources and we cannot continue to parasitically drain the world of its Life.

I propose that a lifestyle change is necessary. Not merely a quick fix. Longstanding traditions must change forever. This is not easy, but if a few altruistic individuals can do it...everyone can do it.

Thank You! Gracias! Dōmo Arigatō!ありがとう Grazie Mille! Khayli mamnoon! Merci Beaucoup! 谢谢 谢谢你 Xie Xie! Do Xie! Shukran! Spasiba! σας ευχαριστώ


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Karinna's Seitan Stuffed Mushrooms

Here is a super fun, and versatile recipe that will impress all your meat eating dinner party guests this Holiday Season. The Stuffing for the Mushrooms can be served as a salad without baking and is also great as a dip, in a sandwich, and in "mi Casa" we layer this salad on Tostadas as well.

I have had guests ask me whether it is Chicken or Fish; it has a meaty texture and lots of flavor! This is a multitasker recipe so work at your own pace and add your own flair!!

You will need:

1/2 Package "Chicken Style" Seitan (WestSoy is great and the broth can be used for stocks or a delicious roux) **If your supermarket doesn't carry Seitan, please smile & ask your store manager to order it!
4 Asparagus Spears
3/4 cup Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise (or regular Vegenaise, just please don't use Mayo)
1/2 c. Flat Leaf Parsley
1/4 c. Green Onions
1 clove Garlic
1/4 c. White Onion
1/2 Ripe Hass Avocado
1/4 c. Sun Dried Tomatoes, reconstituted and Julienned
1/4 c. Vegan Bread Crumbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Earth Balance Vegan Butter
12 Large White Button Mushrooms

1. Clean mushrooms, remove stems and set aside, layer cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place mushrooms face up on the cookie sheet, and preheat oven to 375. **Mushrooms are anti-carcinogenic and full of nutrients!

2. While you're prepping the veggies, boil the asparagus spears in seasalted water for 6 mins, drain, then chop into bite size pieces; this can also be done earlier in the day. **Asparagus are great for promoting Prostate Health!

3. Mince Garlic, chop Onions, Parsley, Green Onions, and Mushroom stems. **Garlic is a natural antibiotic!

4. Using the Boiling water from the Asparagus, pour boiling water over the Sun-Dried Tomatoes to reconstitute and set aside. **Sun Dried Tomatoes are full of Vitamins and Lycopene!

5. Carefully open Seitan package, saving the broth for future use, and slice the Seitan into strips (like Chicken strips!) **Seitan is also known as "Wheat Meat" and is made from wheat gluten: a high source of protein!

Cooking the Seitan:
1. Heat pan, add 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil and saute the Garlic, white Onions, and Mushroom Stems. Add 1 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter.

2. Add the Seitan and Sun Dried Tomatoes until slightly browned; s & p to taste.

3. Turn off heat and let cool.

Making the Seitan Salad:

1. In a medium bowl, add the fresh flat leaf Parsley, fresh Green Onions, and cooked Seitan mixture. **You don't have to cool it too much because Vegenaise is made without Eggs, so it won't curdle.

2. At this point, slice the Avocado and while the half is in your hand, small dice it right in the shell and empty into the salad mixture.

3. Add the Vegenaise, and Bread Crumbs and mix it up.

4. This is a fragrant, tasty salad that can be substituted for Tuna or Chicken Salad. I add fresh Tomatoes and fresh Romaine to this salad when I serve it alone. Or continue on to make Stuffed Mushrooms...

Stuffing the Shrooms:
1. Spoon the Seitan Salad into the Mushrooms. I like to pile them high!
2. Sprinkle with a bit of Bread Crumbs.
3. Transfer to Oven and bake for 20 minutes.
The Mushrooms will be juicy! Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009


The seeds planted in my garden are sprouting
Reaching up through the soil
To touch the sky and feel the sun
Ready to smile in the breeze
and taste the raindrops from heaven

The caterpillars resting on leaves are ready to begin
...To change and fly Free!

In my life's garden it is always Spring
Blooming and Fragrant
My spirit lives in the Butterflies in flight,
the joyful dance of petals,
the music of life.

Death and change must not frighten me
But transition me to a better place.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kids LOVE Fruits ... and Veggies too!

They really do! With their young untainted taste buds, they quickly develop a fascination with the textures, sensations, and flavors in a variety of veggies. The key is to introduce them early! Veggies and Fruits can be crunchy, squishy, slimy, wiggly, sweet, sour, and always nutritious!

*Start early! It might sound funny, but I add "sprinkles of joy" (soy lecithin granules, flax meal, or wheat germ) to some of the kids meals. And my toddler twins call colorful bell peppers "God's Candy" because they are so sweet. When they ask for "candy," they are asking for Red Bell Pepper slices!

*It's easy to get creative when you add a healthy dip! Try celery sticks in homemade walnut or cashew butter or sliced raw zucchini in marinara. Finger Foods are always a big hit with little ones.

*Toddler moms: make a blindfold game of "guess the veggie stick" and ask them to describe the textures and tastes!

*Pack healthy snacks in your school aged kids' eco-lunch tote!

*Picky eaters? Parents have to get creative sometimes! Add spinach to any baked breads, muffins, or cookies. Add soy lecithin, soy protein powder, or wheat germ to pancakes, cereals, milkshakes, or rice!

In this society, too many children are exposed early to sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and fast food! It's no wonder many children develop a dislike of vegetables! It is never too late to start, so please give your kids a chance at a well-balanced, healthy life and eliminate the dislike and fear of vegetables. Remember, most importantly, never force a child to eat something they don't like. Give them time, and be persistent, not forceful. Lead by example, savor a carrot or other veggie in front of a child and watch their fascination and curiosity. They will be thinking "hmmm, i wonder what that tastes like!!"

Have fun with your kids and make veggies FUN!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Give yourself an Immune Boost!

It is officially Flu season, and although most of us will be unaffected by the H1N1 virus, some of us may still catch Seasonal Influenza. Now is the time to support our fighting immune cells working over time during the colder months. There are natural ways to help shorten the course of a viral infection or bacterial infection in our bodies. *NOTE: No advice herein should replace the advice of a physician; every body is different and any symptoms should be assessed by a medical doctor.

"There is no substitute for Clinical Judgement." -Dr Anne Schuchat CDC Director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Think of your immune system as an extremely intricate, intelligent, and efficient defense system. Let's helps strengthen it and give our bodies a fighting chance!

  • Moderate Exercise: Besides boosting the production of macrophages, exercise also helps release hormones and endorphins which increase circulation and reduce cortisol and other free radicals caused by stress. Regular, consistent exercise contributes to proper immune function. But be careful, over-working your body can have the opposite effect and slightly lower our immunity.
  • Fluids: The immune response involves millions of cells, tissues, and organs communicating and working together to fight off invading Antigens. Drinking plenty of water and fluids guarantees that these cells can function properly--We need hydration at the cellular level! Dehydration is also a very serious complication that can cause rapid decline especially in children and the elderly already suffering from the flu or bacterial infection. Stay Hydrated!
  • Nutrition: Eating well and getting our nutrients from our food is key! Nutrients from food are easily assimilated by our bodies; but taking a vitamin supplement if you have a busy lifestyle is also recommended. Here is a list of foods/nutrients that help boost immunity:

-Vitamin C: Think outside the Orange this season, and also
reach for the tropical fruits like guava, mango and papaya, berries, as well as
leafy greens. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and immune-boosting vitamin,
but we have to ingest a continuous supply throughout the day as it is water
soluble and excretes through the urine.

-Carotenoids: Another group of
infection-fighting antioxidants is alpha, beta, and gamma carotene which our
bodies convert into Vitamin A/retinol. These are fat soluble provitamins and care must
be taken to avoid an overdose. Carrots, spinach, bell peppers, apricots, sweet
potatoes and other yummy veggies contain carotenoids.

-Vitamin E: A fat-soluble antioxidant in the "Top-Three,"
Vitamin E, or tocopherol, also helps boost our immune cells
and is just as important as Vitamin C! Vitamin E is stored in our bodies, so if
you eat enough Vitamin E through your diet, a supplement may not be necessary.
Find Vitamin E in spinach, leafy greens, asparagus, olives, seeds, nuts, and

-Garlic: My favorite way to add flavor and fighting power to
a dish! Think of it as muscles for your immune cells. Garlic is a heart-friendly
natural antibiotic and antioxidant. Whether you roast it, sauté it, or eat it raw,
Garlic is a must during cold season!

-Bioflavonoids: Phytonutrients help protect
our immune cells from environmental agents, pollutants, and debris like a
protective shield. Phytonutrients can be found in a wide variety
of fruits and vegetables. Make sure to eat a wide range of colors for the most
nutrients throughout the day.

-Selenium: Selenium is essential to good health and proper
immune function! Selenium binds to proteins to make selenoproteins, powerful antioxidant enzymes.
Plant foods are the number once source of selenium: Brazil nuts, mushrooms,
asparagus, spinach and many other fruits and veggies contain selenium.

-Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A daily dose of flax oil could help
boost your phagocytes (white blood cells that eat up invaders). Adding flax meal
to baked goods or morning oatmeal can help supply the Omega 3's our bodies need.

-Zinc: Getting plenty of Zinc also helps production of
helper T cells! Beans are rich in Zinc, as well as many Fall veggies like
gourds, pumpkin/pumpkin seeds, and squash.

Many wholesome foods are naturally rich in all of these nutrients! Although
there are dangers associated with overdosing on some minerals and fat-soluble
vitamins, remember that it is VERY difficult if not impossible to overdose on
vitamins you eat in your food! If you're otherwise healthy and eat well, you may
not need a multi-vitamin at all!

  • Preventative Measures: Routine hand-washing is especially important in children, who may come in direct contact with harmful bacteria or viruses. Thorough washing with warm soapy water will help reduce risk of transferring those microbes to their mouths, eyes, or noses. Covering a cough or sneeze is also very important to stop the spreading of germs to those we love.
  • Alternative "Cures": Now is not the time to fall for Internet Scams regarding our health. Please be careful what you read and go directly to authoritative sources on these serious issues. The FDA has been investigating serious fraudulent sites claiming to have "natural" or "alternative" cures. I would personally never trust fly-by-night websites selling some new product!

Although it is not scientifically proven that lifestyle changes can significantly improve your very complex immune system, I believe the mind and body are extremely powerful! The whole body organism requires balance and harmony along with nutrients and exercise to function optimally. Decreasing stress, eating well, exercising and practicing preventative measures will definitely improve your odds of fighting off an infection this season.

Stay Healthy! Stay informed! And Eat a Rainbow of Colors Each Day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Traditional Recipes Easily Vegan-ized!

Think you can't live without your traditional homestyle meals? As the weather begins to cool down and we layer on the clothes, let's not layer on the FAT with all the Holiday foods! I've put a healthy spin on dishes we all love!
Here is a list of recipes I will vegan-ize in my Vegan Cooking Classes this Fall! **I know I missed a lot of great ones, so leave me a comment with your favorite dish!**

-Eggs Benedict
-Eggs Florentine
-Egg Scramble
-Cafe Latte
-Pumpkin Muffins

-Cream Soups (Broccoli/Squash)
-Salad Dressings
-Mac 'n Cheez
-Stuffed Mushrooms

-Ice Cream

-Spaghetti & 'Meat'balls
-'Beef' Stew

-Lumpia/Egg Rolls
-'Chicken' Curry
-'Pollo' con Mole
-Arroz con 'Pollo'
-Frijoles Refritos
-Stir fry

...And so many more!

Fill out my contact form to register for classes! Be a semi-homemade vegan vixen! Ladies, we can make our meat loving men switch to healthier eating at least a few times a week! Lower your cholesterol, stabilize blood pressure, naturally achieve a healthy weight, radiate with a healthy glow, and WOW all your dinner party guests this season!

Leave a comment here if you have a recipe suggestion and I will do my best to "vegan-ize" it! My first class will be the Asian-inspired class! Look for my November Newsletter/Calendar in the next few weeks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


This month, we find Pink Ribbons everywhere--from the grocery store to the football field. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to promoting awareness and dialogue on the disease that is becoming easier to detect and treat.

With all this talk about our Healthcare System, I propose we all do our part to educate ourselves on the BEST form of Healthcare. It is called PREVENTION. We must all take responsibility for our bodies, and educate our children on eating well, exercising, and how to practice healthy living! In addition to the preventable communicable diseases, such as Hepatitis and Polio, this is a list of major diseases which are also preventable in most cases:

  • Cancer

  • Atherosclerosis (thinning of arterial walls due to buildup of plaque resulting in High Blood Pressure)

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Diseases associated with Nutritional Deficiencies or overload (Scurvy, Rickets, Osteoporosis)

  • Mental Disorders

  • Osteoporosis

  • Macular Degeneration

  • Coronary Heart Disease

There are simple ways to Prevent health problems and diseases. Here are some of my Prevention Tips:

  1. Take control of your lives. Welcome "change" into your life--try not to place a political partisan label on your Health! Quitting Smoking, Controlling your food-portions, Eating more fruits and vegetables, Drinking more filtered water, and Exercising regularly are just a few places to start.

  2. Read labels and question everything. Don't trust Buzz Words like "Natural," "Healthy," "Wholesome," unless you actually read the label. For example, Cocaine is "Natural" and is not exactly good for you! And what is "healthy" for some, may not be "healthy" to a Diabetic or someone with Celiac disease. Decide for yourself whether a package of food is "Wholesome" or not by reading the ingredients. My rule is: the less handling or processing a food item has seen before reaching my plate, the better!

  3. Stop in to see your doctor once a year! There are millions of cancer patients who are now healthy, thanks to a regular screening.

  4. Identify unhealthy habits in your life and quit cold turkey. Overeating, drinking too much, lack of sleep, smoking, or even negative thoughts can decrease our immunity to certain ailments!

  5. If a former meat lover like me can go Vegan overnight and never look back: anyone can go Vegan once or twice a week! Meat and Seafood just isn't the same as it used to be, so go Green in the kitchen--try it out! Benefits I have seen since becoming Vegan: glowing skin, improved digestive system, stable blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved body image, mental clarity, and more positive view on life.

  6. Analyze everything in your home for carcinogens! Do you cook on nonstick cookware, do you spray pesticides around your children or garden, do you microwave plastics, do you eat non-organic soft fruits and vegetables? (See and my Eco Savvy post for more info!)

Prevention is key! It is never too late to start turning back the clock and reversing damage we've already done.

Sign up for my newsletter to receive some of my favorite Anti-Cancer Recipes this month!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Living Consciously

Each day is an opportunity for renewal and the beginning of a fresh start. As we move through our busy daily schedules, let's turn off the auto-pilot switch and start living consciously. Many of us look for ways to cleanse our bodies, yet what we also need is a cleanse for our minds and old habits. Taking charge of our thoughts, priorities, and intentions each day is a great way to start to cleanse out that which has been holding us back.

Simple Ways to Clear your Mind and Improve your Day:

*Breathing--practice deep mindful breathing each morning while you stretch and think of your successful day ahead. Inhale happy thoughts, Exhale and let go of any disturbing thoughts. See yourself smiling and inspired all day!

*Radiate Positive Energy--make a conscious effort to radiate only positivity throughout the day. It will be reflected on you exponentially! Smile!

*Eating--make each meal an experience! Question where your food came from, and make sure you are comfortable with the answer. Know that the nutrients you consume will become you!

*Environment--whether it is your workspace or your home, when you de-clutter you remove stagnant energy which can cloud your mind.

*Exercise--no matter how busy we are, we all have time for our bodies. It can be as simple as taking the stairs rather than the elevator (this saves energy as well!). It can be as simple as parking at the end of the lot and walking a few steps further, breathing rythmically, dancing!

*Change begins within us--if you want to see improvements to your health, your business, your social contacts, your interactions, or your family the change must begin with you.

*When you start to Live Consciously, things fall into place for you. You live with Purpose and the Universe brings you everything you need.

I'm pleased to see a new type of renaissance emerging in our society. The rebirth of a caring, compassionate energy among people.
As our bodies continue to evolve, will you be among the Fittest to Survive?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Green Your Shopping Routine

Mission Possible: you can find just about anything you need to make a healthy transition in your life right in your local grocery store! To make this point, I headed down to my local Superstore today and found just about everything I usually get at specialty stores like Trader Joe's, Henry's, Whole Foods. Not everyone lives in a metro hub with specialty stores on every corner, nor does every hard-working family have an unlimited budget to spend on organic foods and snacks in tiny hand-wrapped, hand-stamped containers. Thankfully, the green awareness is spreading and some high-quality products are now available in almost every store.

A Quick Disclaimer is appropriate so as not to mislead anyone with the surprising fact that the specialty items we Vegans shop for are pricier than their Genetically-modified, processed cousins. For example, Vegenaise may cost 3 to 4 dollars more than regular Mayo; Earth Balance Vegan Butter may cost a dollar or two more than regular butter; and Soymilk (especially my favorite Silk) comes in smaller packages and costs more than cow's milk. But stop to think of this: not only are we saving money on the cost of meats and animal products --we are also potentially eliminating the cost of all the future healthcare needed for the Heart Disease, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, Atherosclerosis, Parasites, Breast/Colon/Prostate Cancer, Premature Aging, Arthritis, Osteoporosis and numerous other ailments directly caused by eating High Cholesterol animal products.

Today, my goal was to show my friends that there are no excuses to not shop green! Moms, College students, frugal shoppers, this guide is for you.

I found almost all of these items at my brand new giant supercenter. With the exception of the Vegenaise and So Delicious which I purchase at Henry's or Whole Foods, all other items were found at Wal Mart. I gave myself 20 minutes to shop.

Brand Name Items:

  • EnviroKidz Cereals (made with minimal ingredients, no BHA or BHT preservatives, dedicated to preserving wildlife around the world)
  • Amy's Frozen Dinners and Organic Soups (Vegan, non-GMO, delicious)
  • Amy's Organic Pasta Sauces
  • Morningstar Farms Meal Starters (my favorite vegan "ground beef" alternatives)
  • Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips
  • Boca Burgers
  • Bob's Red Mill grains (including Quinoa, Brown Rice, Wheat Flour)
  • Knudsen Organic Juices
  • Greenworks enviro-friendly cleaners
  • Scotch Brite Bamboo cleaning cloths
  • Scotch Brite Green Sponges
  • White Cloud Recycled Bathroom Tissue

Other Verde-friendly items I found walking through the aisles:

  • Produce (veggies and fruits)
  • Whole grain organic breads
  • Whole grain organic pastas
  • Whole grain crackers, rice cakes
  • Dried fruits
  • Canned and packaged Beans, Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Canned Greens and Veggies
  • Organic Juices
  • Almond Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • SoyMilk in Kids Boxes
  • Eco-friendly cleaning agents
  • BPA-free Water bottles and kids cups
  • Reusable Canvas shopping totes
  • Organic cotton clothing for kids and adults
  • Organic Pet Food
  • Energy-efficient lightbulbs
  • Herbs in the Garden Center
  • Recycling Bins at the entrance

And I even found this beauty to decorate my window sill.

There are dozens of ways to make little changes in our daily routines and make a huge impact on the world around us. Make a statement, take a stand each time you shop!

Go Green...and you'll Save Green!

More Verde Tips to come!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflecting on a Glam Vegan World...

That's right...Glam. I've successfully bridged the hippie-slash-post-punk vegan world with the chic-refined-glamorous veg vixens on the other side of the social tracks. This is a trend in my life: bridging different people from different walks of life. I remember my senior year in high school--making the Varsity Cheer Squad while all my super smart academic classmates said "no, Karinna, don't do it! Cheer will change you!" Well, it didn't. I'm unchangeable yet evolving. Undeniably, so is our world and the essence of being human.

We inherently know we must remain paradoxically stable yet dynamic all at once. Certain rules bend, other rules disintegrate like Ptolemaic geocentrism. It's all about Perception!

My wildly diverse academic background fortunately equips me with some depth of substance when it comes to answering anti-vegan concerns. "Oh you're on a DIET?...But the bible says we can eat meat..." No, i don't need to "diet"--and I don't believe the horrific factory farms existed in biblical times. I pick my battles and often play the shallow card so as not to waste energy on a useless cause. The bittersweet duplicity to all of this, dare I say, is that 99% of the population has become so superficial that CC's trump IQ's!

Yes, I said it: silicone is more attractive than a baccalaureate. Until intelligence and inner beauty become popular again, I will use this knowledge to reach my audience effectively. So which direction do I go: The Road Not Taken or the road trodden black? Neither. There are more than 2 roads in my yellow wood, and I decided long ago to blaze my own trail.

Fortunate to have had an action-packed week! I've gone from donating goodies to a family in despair--hair up and tousled in a bun on Monday, to planning and coordinating a major event on Tuesday, to attending a classy book launch party representing a fine California Sparkling Wine on Wednesday, to tasting a heavenly Zin on Thursday, meeting a great Chef in Hermosa and Redondo Beach Saturday, to family fun in La Jolla and Carlsbad on Sunday...all the while touching people's lives with my message of Wellness and Compassionate Living.

I believe in health, compassion, and taking responsibility for our actions. I took a wrong turn Thursday in LA...saw a trash dump site with huge VOLVO cranes smashing down on GARBAGE which millions of people had blindly thrown into trash cans. Mountains of trash--synthetic and organic/biodegradable all mixed up together. The least each of us can do is Compost, Ban any single-use containers from our homes, Reuse, and Reduce when we can. And of course, take action in the recycling process. Shop local organic produce when possible; LEAD by example! (I wear my stainless steel water bottle on harbinger clip on my jeans as a statement; I demand the finest in organic produce; I send my son to Kindergarten with eco-friendly supplies and raw fruits and veggies because practicing what you preach is a great way to spread your message.)

I am confident that more of my friends will see that Going Veg once or twice a week [at least] is fun, exciting, healthy, and a worthy challenge with many global benefits. I personally don't let anything into my body unless it serves a purpose (nutrients) or pleasure (cocktails, wine, or dark chocolate to name a few)!

This week's reading list for my friends:

Skinny Bitch
Quantum Wellness
and for FUN:
The Bubbly Bar (a Cocktail Recipes book!)

Cheers to a Great Week!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Culinary Cocktails at West Hollywood Pavilions

Saturday, August 15th, The Chef Knows team hosted another Culinary Cocktails event at Pavilions in West Hollywood. This glamorous supermarket is located on the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica in the heart of West Hollywood. The Grand Re-Opening took place on July 24th, during which reusable shopping bags were given away to all in attendance. Safeway continues their efforts to reduce plastic bag consumption by encouraging consumers to reuse the sturdy and attractive Pavilions bags. Safeway uses energy saving technologies, wind power, and renewable resources. This warm summer Saturday, the setting was perfect for a day of Gourmet Food Tasting and Pairing with Bacardi Mojitos.

Our Guest Celebrity Chef this week was Chef Vernon Cardenas of BOA Steakhouse, Innovative Dining Group's latest award winning restaurant! Using mostly ingredients purchased at Pavilions, Chef Vernon created Crostini with Burrata Cheese, topped with Mixed Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, 50-year-old Aged Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Burrata Cheese is a special type of fresh Mozzarella with a creamy, buttery texture. The Aged Balsamic reduction infused the Baby Heirlooms with a rich, delicious flavor enhanced by the crunchy Crostini. Two bartenders from BOA mixed up some virgin Mojitos for all customers in attendance! Everyone was pleased to see the talented Chef and Peter Dills filming his show, The Chef Knows.

I take pleasure in meeting Chefs that use quality organic ingredients and buy from sustainable farmers and growers. The always-smiling Chef Vernon said he welcomed the challenge of preparing vegetarian dishes and takes care to pick the freshest organic in-season produce available. BOA uses only the highest quality beef and takes pride in the fine selection of meats they serve their guests. BOA has won Wine Spectator's "Grand Award" for Best Restaurants in the World for Wine Lovers. On Sunday nights, Wine Lovers can indulge in BOA's impressive wine list. All bottles are half price! Visit for more information. You just might find me with my friends at BOA on Sunday nights, and every other day of the week!

We will be visiting Vons and Pavilions locations throughout California for Peter Dills' Culinary Sampling and Tasting events. Special Thanks to Bacardi and Innovative Dining Group!

L.A.'s Green Pulse

Seeds of Green have sprouted in L.A. and the next generation of health conscious consumers now have diverse options on every corner--literally!

Restaurants, grocery stores, cleaners, gyms, coffee shops and businesses are all showing a strong dedication to raising health and environmental awareness.

Hungry for Health? Topping my list of Best Green-inspired Restaurants are: M Cafe, Cafe Flourish, Real Food Daily, Tender Greens, Green Leaves Thai, and Hugo's! I love clean and impeccable restaurants so M Cafe de Chaya takes #1 in cleanliness and taste; however, I would like to see more full-service Vegan restaurants in the near future! Veggie Vixens like to enjoy good service and fine dining just as much as everyone else.

Still far from the eco-conscious V-Topia I see in the future, the city continues to grow greener by the day. I've personally helped a few friends plant rooftop gardens in the city--a trend which I discovered in Manhattan is pleasantly sprouting in West Coast Urban hubs as well. Butterfly gardens, while not productive for culinary purposes, attract one of the planet's most beautiful pollinators and generate healthy oxygen for our concrete jungle. Some of our everyday veggie diet staples are the easiest to grow, so google urban gardening or hire a hottie with a green thumb and get a little dirty.

So for now, I take a deep breath outside of the city, but feel the beat calling me back to the city in SoCal with the hottest Green Pulse!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Karinna's Rockstar Zucchini Bread

Thanks for all the Recipe Requests my friends! Here is my version of an old-fashioned homemade favorite!
I call it Rockstar Zucchini Bread because it provides long lasting energy--in fact, if you tweak the moisture level ratio to baking time (for Pro Pastry Aficionados!), then you can create an energy bar with this!

Once you get comfortable with this recipe, you can whip it up at a moment's notice. Last minute dinner party? No Problem. You can prepare this in 10 minutes, then bake it in the oven for an hour while you clean and prepare the other courses. I LOVE to entertain and host parties, so I have mastered the art of multi-tasking! Throw on a cute apron to keep the flour off your hottest holiday outfit and have some fun in the kitchen! (Not a low calorie food -- this is a nutrient dense loaf. To slightly reduce sugar/gylcemic index: substitute the granulated sugar for 5 Tbsp. Organic Blue Agave Nectar added to the wet ingredients.)

Karinna's Rockstar Zucchini Bread

(Yield: 1 loaf)

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (I like Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 c. packed light or dark brown sugar

6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats

3 large eggs (I recommend replacing the eggs with Ener G Egg Replacer, or applesauce and flaxmeal)

3/4 c. Canola oil

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 c. grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and Flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

DRY - Stir flour, sugars, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, and salt together in large mixing bowl. When combined, add the oats. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. WET - In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs (or egg replacement mixture), oil, and vanilla together then pour into the well. Combine lightly and then throw in the grated zucchini! Careful not to overmix.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan; with a silicon spatula, build a mound in the center.

Sprinkle the top with organic turbinado sugar or dark brown sugar crystals if desired, then bake for about an hour until golden-brown and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.Cool for at least 10 minutes then invert onto towel over a rack and let it cool a bit more. Serve with Soy "Nog" or some warm Organic Apple Cider...Delish!


Get creative! During the Holidays, I add nutmeg or grated ginger. Add Flax Meal (I recommend Barleans NutriFlax), add Quinoa, substitute carrots or apple for zucchini! You may need to alter the oats and wet ingredients a bit based on the starchiness of the carrots or moisture of the apples.

Send me an email or post a comment. I appreciate all the responses I've been getting by email. Thank you.

Happy Baking, Happy Entertaining!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Three Steps to Fit into your Bikini next week!

It's never too late! Look in the mirror and say: Yes you can wow your friends at the beach or pool party next week!

*Step 1: Control your Eating Habits! It's so simple and so easy! If you find yourself reaching for a muffin or spooning sugar into your Latte, STOP and think of how FIT you will look if you just say NO! If you're trying to look curvier in your bikini (like me), then choose larger portions of lean protein, and whole grain breads rather than Dimple-Producing white breads and refined sugars! And, if you're trying to lose a couple of inches, then cut portion sizes and stick with the foods that leave you feeling light. Avoid foods that leave you feeling a serving of Lasagna would. Veggies, Fruits, Greens, Lean Protein! Consult with your doctor before changing your diet in any way.

*Step 2: Pilates! 2 hours a day will get you sweating, and working those long lean muscles into shape. Pilates lessons can be found online on Youtube or On Demand through your cable provider! Your gym will also definitely have a Pilates Class--Pilates is one of my favorite workouts for building long lean muscle tissue and lengthening the legs and arms. Target Abs, Legs, Hips, Glutes, and your Core. Don't forget your eco-friendly water bottle to keep you hydrated throughout your workouts.

*Step 3: Dance! Cardio can be boring, especially jogging, running, or even cycling. Even the most dedicated spinner may find cycling monotonous. When you're starting something new, you have to make it EXCITING! So find the nearest stereo and turn on some dance music, hit your favorite nightclub dancefloor, or take a dance class at the gym! Salsa, Merengue, Hip Hop, Swing, or even Belly Dancing will get your heart pumping and you'll have fun at the same time.

Being Fit and Healthy is a lifestyle for me and means more to me than simply fitting into a bikini--it means being Strong Inside and Out! I have a stronger immune system now, I have increased my endurance, and improved my self-confidence and performance overall. This is a Whole Body process connecting Mind-Body-Spirit. When you begin to feel confident as you are, you will begin to see the results you want in life!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Be Eco-Savvy this Summer! It's Simple, It's Hot, and It's Guaranteed to Boost your Good Karma Vibes! Got kids? Teach them to be little Green Monsters and reward them for each good Green deed done around the house!

Save H2O!!

  • Cutting back 10% of your water usage will not only help conserve your city's water supply, but will save you some green each month on your water bill. Some cities in SoCal are even monitoring water usage and citing residents caught watering their lawns during peak hours!

  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes! Get out that tool belt and Let out your inner handy man or hire a professional! This is the time to stop throwing $$ down the drain literally.

  • Conserve and Reuse water around the house: need examples? Water your plants with water used to cook pasta, turn on the dishwasher when it is really full, don't use running water to thaw foods, collect cold water while you're waiting for it to heat up, shorten your shower, and shut off the water while you shave or brush teeth! A little bit of consideration goes a long way!

Save Energy!!

  • Set your thermostat to the highest temp possible.

  • Turn on your ceiling fans to circulate the cool air. This is a great way to save on your energy bill!

  • Unplug appliances that are not in use! Small electrical currents continue to run through appliances that are plugged in even when they are off!

  • Turn off the Computer or TV when you leave the room.

  • Run your dishwasher and do your laundry in the evening! This may not save you tons of money on your bill if you're on a flat-rate system, but it will reduce the strain on the power grid during peak hours when everyone is running their A/C systems!

More Eco-Savvy Tips:

  • Skip the plastic water bottles! Buy an aluminum bottle that you can reuse over and over!

  • Already Eco-Savvy? Buy someone you know an aluminum water bottle or a few canvas shopping bags! It feels good to give.

  • Getting your children involved in being Eco-Savvy is not only important for our environment, but also for teaching kids responsibility and confidence! When kids contribute to the household and help out--they feel important! This is the beginning of the development of their own self-esteem and self confidence.

  • Don't let those eco-canvas-totes sit in your pantry or in the back of your car! Use them each time you go shopping. Some grocery stores provide a discount if you don't use their plastic bags--hey, every quarter counts! Plus, you're setting a cool green example!

  • Buy reusable every chance you get!

  • Go Paperless! Get all your bank and credit card statements, utility bills, and even Magazine subscriptions Online!

Got More Eco-Savvy Ideas? Spread the Green Love and Post them here!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Skinny on Dairy

Feeling Itchy lately? Bloated? Congested? You may want to take a closer look at Milk!

A common misconception is that a Dairy Allergy and Lactose Intolerance are the same condition. In fact, they are two separate reactions to different components of Cow's Milk.

An Intolerance signals the lack of the enzyme Lactase which helps the body digest the complex sugar molecule, Lactose, in the small intestine. Without being broken down, the Lactose molecules then make their way to the large intestine where they cause a myriad of digestive problems which, let's just say, can effectively ruin any social occasion! This is not an immune response.

Dairy Allergies on the other hand are an immune response to the Casein or Whey Proteins in Milk that can result in asthma, nasal congestion, anaphylactic shock, eczema, and a severely itchy skin rash! *Have you ever been told to avoid milk when you have a cold/sinus infection? That's because the release of histamine in reaction to milk will exacerbate the stuffiness and congestion of your nasal tissues! A person can have allergies to different parts of milk, but most often, the protein is the culprit. Millions of people live with dairy allergies and dismiss the symptoms as seasonal allergies. There could be a delayed response (e.g. a rash appearing 24-48 hours after ingestion) or an immediate response (e.g. anaphylactic shock or nasal congestion).

If you've ever developed an unexplained itchy bumpy rash on your skin, you may have a milk allergy triggered by toxic levels of casein or whey in your body!

"Why am I allergic now, if I've been drinking Milk all my life?" The truth is: Today's Milk is NOT the same as the Milk we used to drink 20, 30, 40 years ago!

Stuff you can now find in Milk:

  • Growth Hormones
  • Antibiotics to treat cow infections
  • Pus
  • Blood
  • Steroids

Another reason to try Soy, Rice, or Almond Milk: There is a sad byproduct of the Milk Industry: VEAL. Cows are impregnated to keep up milk production, so what happens to the millions of baby cows? Most become VEAL.

As optimistic as I am that more and more people will begin to avoid cow's milk altogether, I know that it will take time. Milk is found in MANY processed food products like Cereals, Bread, Chips, Protein Bars, even canned Tuna and Deli Meats. Eating healthy, nutrient rich foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes fuels your body, your brain, and keeps you feeling strong and rejuvenated. Think twice next time you go for that Latte or reach for the butter. There are some excellent alternatives! Check out for resources and links.

These videos are worth watching.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shopping Green!

Where To Shop!?

So you've decided to take the first steps in Going Green! Congratulations and Thank You. So, what's next, you ask? This week, i'm bringing you the facts about Where To Shop.

Shopping locally is usually my rule of thumb when it comes to purchasing produce and even dairy and eggs-- if you can purchase goods from local sustainable growers and farmers, then you should! The obvious first reason is: you are, in essence, decreasing the demand for long distance transport for items you can purchase locally. The freeways are packed with large transport vehicles used to transport endless goods and if we can do our little part in reducing the transport of goods you can purchase from local farms, then we are doing a huge part in helping the environment in the long run (think: Cleaner Air). Another reason is you are helping the local economy! We don't want to lose our local farmers and growers--they are an integral part of the economic stability of our community.

I'm not discouraging purchasing Avocados from Chile or Mangoes from Mexico, but I am encouraging a more conscious shopping experience! Remember, if fruits or vegetables look perfect (i.e. waxy and shiny, unblemished) then they were probably sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. Don't be afraid to buy organic fruits even though they may have a bruise or two!

Certain Fruits and Vegetables are safe to buy non-organic, especially when family budgets are tight (Also known as: OK to buy imported!!):

  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Other Citrus (the pesticides do not get through)
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Avocadoes
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Asparagus

Certain Fruits and Veggies, you should always prefer organic, or peel outer layer if you buy non-organic (Also Known As: Try to Buy Local!!):

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini/other Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Other Berries
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears

**I personally do not spend extra money on organic bananas when the budget does not allow, however, When we Shop for Organic Produce, we are increasing the demand for products from responsible, sustainable growers. So, if you can afford to do so, i strongly recommend always purchasing organic!

Last month, June 2009, Greenpeace USA, the nonprofit, independent organization which "acts to expose global environmental problems and achieve solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future," published the Carting Away the Oceans Retailer Scorecard report. Their findings will hopefully help consumers make informed decisions regarding where they spend their money when shopping for Seafood!

The purpose of this research was originally to inform the retailers the effect their seafood sales were having on marine life. Another purpose was to reward the sustainable and responsible retailers through public awareness of their practices. Since the original report was released one year ago, June 2008, some of the retailers have improved their practices and business operations while several others have not. I was happy to find that my favorite neighborhood store, Vons (Safeway) is among the Top 5 on the list and the company has continued to make "strides toward a more sustainable seafood regime since the original release of Carting Away the Oceans." The report is impressive and informative, please click the link below to the full pdf version of the publication.

Happy Green Shopping!

Next Week: Stocking your Green Kitchen!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Karinna's Red, White, and Blue-berry Pancakes

I love getting patriotic in the kitchen! A true American tradition gone green: Here's my "Verde" twist on a good old American treat.
Wake up your family with my yummy pancakes this weekend and let the aroma of warming berries and buttery pastries fill your home with happiness.
I make my pancakes from scratch, but if you'll be short on time, make sure and whip together the dry ingredients the night before so all you have to do is add the soymilk, egg, and oil. I created this recipe a few months ago when my son and twin daughters were craving pancakes and I was out of the store-bought mix. Most of these ingredients are already in your pantry!!
Red, White, and Blue-berry Pancakes
**Vegetarian Recipe (See Vegan Recipe Alternative Below)
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 large brown Egg
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Canola Oil
1 c Silk Soymilk
1/4 c Flax Meal (I recommend Barleans)
Handful Fresh Raspberries
Handful Fresh Blueberries
Earth Balance Vegan Butter Spread for pan
Preheat your griddle or pan. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, sugar, egg, and oil. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined, then add the berries. Cook on heated griddle for about 2.5 minutes per side. Makes about 6 medium sized pancakes!
VEGAN alternative (the way I cook mine): For each egg, mix together equal parts soymilk and flax meal.
Get Creative: Throw in some cooked Quinoa, more Flax, or Rolled Oats!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Welcome Summer!

Thanks to the refreshing cool weather we've had the last few weeks here in Southern California, some of us may be caught by surprise that suddenly Summer has arrived! This Sunday not only marks the day we celebrate all those special Dads, but around 6pm on June 21st, we also celebrate the Summer Solstice! This will be the longest day of the year--Make it memorable!

Summer--It's the time of the year to share special moments with friends and family; and time to let the sun invigorate you and help renew goals set months ago! Get ready for BBQ season, backyard parties and picnics, warm nights at the Beach, gorgeous sunsets, and lots of Bare Skin! I have a few green tips to keep in mind while planning your fun Summer Activities!

  • BBQ: Your skin and your physique will thank you if you consider throwing a few more veggies on the BBQ this year! Try Veggie Kabobs (some stores even carry them pre-packaged & ready for you), try grilling eggplant, portobellos, squash, Veggie burger patties, and even pineapple for a luau theme!

  • Party drinks: Think Fresh & Cool & of course, Green! Melon, Mint, Lime, Avocado--all of these make yummy smoothies or cocktails! Try a Hibiscus Mojito, Rum Punch, or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Moscato d'Asti. I try to choose wines from growers that practice sustainable growing and for cocktails, I add natural, organic ingredients like Agave Nectar, Ginger, and Wild Flowers. (Did you know that Vanilla Beans actually come from a wild Orchid?)
  • Planning Parties & Picnics: Lots of garbage is left behind at parks and finds it's way into streams and eventually into the ocean where animals live! Our landfills are overflowing with plastic water bottles, stryofoam cups/plates, plastic utensils, and plastic bags used only once. You'll actually save money by using eco-friendly products that are reusable and use less petroleum to produce. Key Word to look for when shopping: Biodegradeable! Buy products that will easily degrade unlike Styrofoam. Why buy disposable if we can save money by buying washable & reusable products? I love the new lines of ecofriendly, BPA free water bottles, and I love taking my picnic basket full of bamboo utensils, plates, and cloth napkins!

  • Don't forget your Skin: 15 minutes in the sun can provide you with your day's supply of Vitamin D, but without UV ray protection, it also oxidizes the layers of your skin causing free radicals to form. This means wrinkles, fine lines, and premature signs of aging. Choose moisturizers with SPF 30 or higher and stay hydrated! Quick tip: make a homemade face mask rich in Retinol (Vit A) found in many PRICEY creams on the market. Steam some carrots, mash with Agave nectar and apply to face for 10 mins. Retinol stimulates the production of Collagen and Elastin in our deepest skin layers! Result: more youthful smoother skin!

This year is all about Saving Green and Going Green! The BEST part about throwing your own Green Get-together is you can save money by going to your local store and picking up crowd-pleasing ingredients without going broke! There's no corkage fee at a dinner party in the comfort of your own home! Enjoy your first Weekend of Summer! Here's a recipe for a tasty new twist on the Delicious Mojito:

Karinna's Hibiscus Mojito - It's Wild and Exotic!

2 oz Light Rum (Like Bacardi)

1 oz Hibiscus Syrup

1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

4 Mint Leaves

2 Hibiscus Flowers

2 Lime Wedges

Soda Water

Muddle Mint, Hibiscus Flowers, and Lime Wedges. Add Ice, Fill with Rum, Syrup and Lime Juice. Splash with Soda Water.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Power-Packed Gourmet in less than 15 mins...

This is for all my friends who have asked for

So, You Have Last Minute Guests....Need To Make A Healthy Gourmet Meal In...15 minutes?

Get Caffeinated, then try this no-nonsense recipe:

4 Cups Quinoa -- Prepared in Rice cooker (Takes 10-12 minutes. Rinse first)

1 bunch Asparagus spears (sauté separately in Earth Balance vegan butter and salt & pepper, covered for 8 minutes.)

1 Package Bean Sprouts (toss in a strainer, rinse, set aside)

8-10 Mushrooms (med-sized Button or Crimini) diced

1/2 Med. Onion diced

2 sm. Zucchini julienned

1 Baby Bok Choy (rinsed, cored, diced like celery)

Garlic (fresh or powdered) to taste

Tamari or Soy Sauce (low sodium preferred), to taste

Dash Salt and Pepper, to taste

2 tbsp Canola or Sesame oil

2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter-spread

First of all, rinse and cook Quinoa in your rice cooker and begin preparing Veggies.
Preheat pan.
Add oil & vegan butter and sauté veggies in order until caramelized about 5 minutes--except for the Asparagus (sauté separately) and the Sprouts (add at the very end for crispness).
Season with salt and pepper, soy sauce, and garlic powder.
By now, Quinoa should be cooked; add to stir fry pan and sauté 2 more minutes.
Finally throw in Sprouts, reduce heat and cover for 2 minutes.

Dinner is ready! Plate the Quinoa & Veggie Stir Fry then garnish with Asparagus Spears. If you have toasted Sesame Seeds, sprinkle the top after plating...yum!


Go Green One Bite At A Time

Do you want a slimmer waistline, radiant skin, mental clarity, and 20 healthy years added to your life? Of course! What if you could get all of these benefits and Stop Global Warming at the same time?

We have been warned about the urgent need to change our habits in order to stop global warming, ocean deterioration, species extinction, and the connection to economic fallout. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been tracking these changes and many scientists have documented the fact that the greenhouse gas emissions created since the beginning of Industrialization are harming the delicate balance of our environment. Massive storms, super viruses, dead zones in the oceans, and a deep economic recession are all signs that Climate Change has begun.

These issues may seem so far beyond our control that one person reading this article or watching the ominous news reports might think they are not capable of making an impact. The wonderful news is: each of us can start today by making simple and easy changes in our lives. Start by adopting a "Flexitarian" diet; a flexible vegetarian incorporates more legumes, nuts, whole grains, and greens into their meals while still indulging in the occasional serving of meat. Consumption of meat and dairy has increased significantly more in the last 40 years than ever before in history, and this spike in demand has created an industry that, unfortunately, has a very negative impact on our environment. With the rate of population growth, if we don't decrease our demand of animal products in the slightest, we may very well double or triple our consumption in the next few decades. The effect on our environment could be disastrous.

How does the meat and dairy industry contribute to global warming? The production, maintenance, transportation, and storage of meat release more greenhouse gases than all of the commuter vehicles on our highways. So, if we all chose to eat a vegan meal at least a few days a week, we would be making more of an impact than if we all purchased a hybrid vehicle or parked our cars for a year!

The American Cancer Society recommends a plant-based diet, and this is not news! Studies dated back a few decades describe the benefits of plant-based diets on prevention of cancer, especially cancer of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Antioxidants from plant sources are necessary to reduce the effects of free-radicals on our bodies. The Society goes as far as to say that meat consumption should be limited, and is linked to cancers of the colon and prostate. For all the health and environmental benefits, incorporating a few vegan recipes into your week would be a very intelligent choice to make. Not only does a plant-based diet help your waist line, your pocket book, and the Earth, it will also add years to your life and keep you looking and feeling good longer!

*Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration American Cancer Society United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
*the News...hello!?

:-) Keep smiling, keep reading, and keep loving.
-XOXO Kari

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Flex Your Diet

There's a hot new craze that's spreading like wildfire: It's for all of you who can't imagine living the rest of your lives without meat. Especially during BBQ season and Tailgate Season coming up--you can't stand around with a fork and an empty plate?! There's a new way to look at your diet and it's called "Flexitarianism."

FLEXI-ble vege-TARIAN. This means incorporating more legumes, nuts, whole grains, and greens into your meals while still indulging in the occasional serving of meat. Not everyone can handle a Cold-Turkey Meatless-Overnight lifestyle! And most people wouldn't want to. But for all the health benefits, incorporating a few vegetarian recipes into your week would be a very intelligent choice to make.

Not only does a plant-based diet help your waist line, it will also add years to your life and keep you looking and feeling good longer!

The American Cancer Society recommends a plant-based diet, and this is not news! An article dated back to 1997 describes the benefits of plant-based diets on prevention of cancer, especially cancer of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Antioxidants are necessary to reduce the effects of free-radicals on our bodies. The Society goes as far as to say that meat consumption should be limited, and is linked to cancers of the colon and prostate.

Coming up this week: FLAXSEED: My sexiest food of the week and i'll tell you why!!!

For more information on the American Cancer Society, visit
And Search: Plant-Based Diets

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Veggies in your Bread?

Just out of the oven, i'm putting together shots for my cookbook, here's a peak at one recipe:
My Flax Zucchini Bread which i'll be delivering to my Family in Need tonight.

And my friend DENA who just had a baby will be getting a loaf tomorrow night as well!!!

It is made with Whole Wheat Flour, Zucchini, Flax, Oats and lots of LOVE!

A Friend in Need

Somehow in my spare time, I have decided to start a charity helping out SoCal Families in Need during this difficult time. In the past, I would volunteer at food drives, soup kitchens in downtown LA, I've visited senior citizens, and during the terrifying Fire Storm of 2007, I volunteered at 2 Red Cross Shelters for 8 hours for which all volunteers were honored at Pechanga Resort & Casino.

This vision was fueled by my own Children's generosity. Every morning, my son Sergio (4) shows me which toys he'd like to donate to "little kids who don't have any." My twin daughters (2) say they want to "give away" the clothes that no longer fits them.

So, this will be a small effort at first and hopefully gain momentum. The family I've chosen this month (for June) is a family of 4 in Murrieta. Both parents work very hard to support their 2 children (7 and 12mos). I was approached by a friend who knew I had twin girls to see if i could donate any gently used clothes. I can't wait to help them out.

If you have anything cluttering your closets, let me know and i'll find a family that can benefit.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mighty Mushrooms!

Are you aware of the numerous health benefits of mushrooms? Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes are one of my favorite foods!

Here are Karinna's Top Ten Reasons to Fall in Love with Mushrooms (ok, Not all Types--i'm 100% drug free!)

# 10 Super High in Potassium (more than bananas!)

# 9 Great source of Copper (good for your Corazon)

# 8 High in Selenium (Anti-Prostate Cancer!)

#7 High in Riboflavin and Niacin and Zinc!

#6 Boost your Immune System! (Especially Shiitakes)

#5 They make a great vitamin-packed stock and they can be stuffed! (Non-veg: Crab Veg: Tempeh)

#4 They help fight Aging! (Antioxidants fight off the free radicals in our bodies caused by stress and environmental agents)

#3 Most are inexpensive but you can really impress your friends with more fancy Chantrelles, Shiitakes, Oyster, and the UltraSexy and $$ Truffles which sell by the GRAM.

#2 They pair deliciously with all types of Wine depending on which type: buttery, light colored mushrooms like Chantrelles go great with a Pinot Grigio and a Portabello or Crimini pairs phenomenally with a Merlot. Pair a Shiitake dish with a Sake/Champagne cocktail!!

#1 Ultimate #1 Reason to Love Mushrooms: They contain properties that supress enzymes that stimulate cancer cells in breast or prostate! YES: Mushrooms (especially plain old White Button ones) have Anti-Carcinogenic and Tumor fighting properties!

At the Cellular Level, Mighty Mushrooms FIGHT CANCER!

For Memorial Day weekend, while everyone may be grilling up ground beef, i'll be marinating and grilling big scrumptious Portabellos! Enter tomatoes, avocadoes, juicy onions, and a teriyaki glaze and we've got a tastebud adventure! I'm making Sweet Potato fries to go along with.

*Tip: To remove the stem of a portabello (be careful not to split the cap); hold face down with one hand and slightly jiggle the stem with the other hand clockwise until it loosens.

Vegan Cheers to You!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Small Changes

I'm all about being "Verde" and still living a normal life. I don't think you have to be an outcast just because you care about the world around you. Most people don't know I am Vegan until they get to know me. If you incorporate some of these things into your daily life, even just gradually, our quality of life would improve greatly!

*Eat less meat and dairy at least one or two days a week! Animal flesh is very hard for our bodies to process and i've read that red meat will remain in your GI tract for days! And we aren't supposed to leave food out for more than 4 hours!! EEK. Dairy was made for baby cattle, the casein protein agitates our system and causes numerous autoimmune conditions. There are complete proteins available in plant sources...i could write volumes. Be a conscious eater: where did this come from...and are you comfortable with the suffering involved in getting it to your plate?

*Conserve water and electricity! Yes, turn off the water while your brushing teeth, but it goes beyond that! Cutting down on watering lawns, reusing water in the kitchen, little changes like this add up exponentially if everyone cooperates! E.G: when boiling pasta: boil the entire package and refrigerate the cooked unused pasta for tomorrow! Then reuse that water for your plants and garden!!! Turn off the computer when not using it, turn off lights and unplug everything from the wall when you're not in the room. Tiny amounts of electricity are used by everything plugged in!

*Be considerate of our LANDFILLS! Produce and compost rots and creates valuable microbes for soil. Mixed with some earthworms, you've got the beginnings of a prize-winning garden! Separate your trash into bins and put them into appropriate trash cans. Back in the day, the waste collectors only made one trip around with a garbage truck. I'm thankful the garbage companies got smart. Recycle things at home before dumping them--e.g. wash and reuse old jars, and plastic containers, use newspaper as weed barriers in the garden, better yet, use old newspaper to clean your windows, they work better than paper towels! There are too many things to list but these are all ways to reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by A. the transportation of excess waste in garbage trucks, B. the recycling plants, and C. the production factories working to make new products that we could have found at home. (Why buy mulch or fertilizer when you can make it at home!)

*Avoid unnatural products: With all this talk about supplement recalls like Hydroxycut, i scratch my head wondering WHY anyone would ever take that in the first place! I remember after having my twins, I thought I'd NEVER lose weight. I never once considered taking ANY weight loss pills/supplements. Ok, i drank gallons of caffeine but that is it! I would dance while playing with them, I would keep active and on the go, I would fit in late night workouts and most of all, I cut my portion sizes to control the amount of calories I consumed. Hard work will get you the results you want when it comes to being healthy/fit. Good old sweat, eating well, and gaining control of your eating habits. Also: stick with products you know support the environment and don't test on animals.

There are many ways we can improve our overall wellness and help the Earth at the same time!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mi Primavera...

At long last, I have succumbed to the trend of the decade. Today, May 10th, marks my launch into the blog-i-verse.

My friends know I am a very busy girl with a strong message of compassion, health, longevity, and Verde-ism.

My goal here is to chronicle my efforts to improve our quality of life, from our eating habits, our social habits, our beauty rituals, fashion trends, and our impact on the universe.

Whole body-mind-soul-spirit-community-earth health and wellness is my ultimate mission.

Vegan Cheers to you!



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