Monday, December 31, 2012

♥ Happy New Year from Verdelicious! ♥

Wishing you all a prosperous and fabulously GREEN New Year!  May you realize all of your dreams and reach your highest goals!  

Fresh New Year...Fresh New Start.
Cleanse, renew, refresh, recharge.  
Contact us for a consultation to kick off the New Year with a healthy vegan cleanse, raw food coaching, or personalized programs.

Cheers to 2013!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The True Cause of Rising Healthcare Costs

There is a lot of blaming going on lately over the rising costs of healthcare.  There have even been companies warning that a re-election of the President of the United States would make them lay off workers, cut employee hours, and raise their prices.  It's time to take a much closer look at the root cause of this situation.

The state of our health is severely declining in the United States.  More Americans now turn to fast food restaurants, super-sized portions, high sugar and high fat foods, and give in to clever but misleading marketing.  Paired with a low-level of activity, this type of lifestyle is a true recipe for a health disaster.  This has led to a rise in healthcare costs directly caused by a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from heart disease and failure, diabetes, complications from obesity, and high choleserol levels.

According to the CDC, the number of people on medications to treat diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure has risen dramatically in all states over the course of the last ten years. 
US Obesity Rates in 1994
US Obesity Rates in 2010

Take a look at these CDC images showing Obesity rates in 1994 on the left, and in 2010 on the right:

It's no surprise that the companies doing so well, making billions of dollars over the last ten years, whose eye-catching commercials and ads you see everywhere you go, are those SAME companies which cause obesity [and many other conditions] when you consume their products on a regular basis!

A lack of education on these issues from a young age as well as irresponsible greedy marketing on the part of manufacturers and restaurants --NOT the current executive administration-- have led us to the point in which we now find ourselves: with rising healthcare costs and the need for affordable care.  On the contrary, if Americans chose to live healthier lives and made better choices with their health, our President's administration perhaps would not have had to fight so hard for the issues concerning the Affordable Care act.  If we did not need the services, medications, and treatments so many Americans now receive, then why would they even have to be covered by insurance in the first place?  What came first, the Big Mac or Obese America? 

Now, the very companies which have CAUSED these health issues in Americans, are punishing those loyal customers and employees.  In the last week, Papa John's Pizza CEO John Schnatter announced that "Obamacare," properly identified as The Affordable Care Act will cause him to raise prices on his greasy, unhealthy foods as well as cut his employees hours.  Making no apologies for the irresponsible marketing, heart disease-causing foods, or the millions of dollars he has earned at your expense over the years.  He calls this a "lose-lose" situation. I call his food an absolute lose-lose poison.  << Don't pout over having to take care of your employees, this is what you've helped cause. >>

How many slices of pizza does the average person in the US eat?  One, Two? Four?  My friends, if you eat 3 little slices of Papa Johns Meats pizza, you are consuming 1,200 calories, 510 calories from fat, 120 mg of Cholesterol, and 3,300 mg of sodium (well over double the recommended daily value of sodium).  And that's not counting the wings, breadsticks, cheese or garlic sauce you may have on the side. (source:

If it weren't for consumers pushing for proper labeling of food and nutrition facts, we wouldn't even have that information available to us.  Now, thankfully, some restaurants have been forced to provide caloric and nutrient information, however, don't think Mr. Papa John's was willing to do it at first.  Most of these restaurants spent millions on attorneys to fight having to reveal just how much fat and calories their foods contain.

Education is everything.  Educate yourself on what you are putting into your bodies because this wave of capitalistic greed in the Food and Restaurant industry has a VERY HIGH COST:  YOUR HEALTH.  The expense of healthcare is the last thing we should be focusing on right now.  Focus on your health and what you need to do to PREVENT ever needing the horrific emergency treatments caused by heart disease and diabetes.  This is not even touching the surface of the CANCER concerns caused by the preservatives in foods found at McDonalds and many other fast food restaurants--that's another issue altogether!

Some uninformed people have been posting their opinions online:  "I cannot boycott these companies, they are my favorite!"--"I love McDonalds fast food."--"But Petyton Manning likes Papa Johns, so I should too." Why does it take a heart attack to snap people into reality?  Maybe the Affordable Care act and rising healthcare costs for millionaires is the slap-in-the-face wake-up call we all needed.

I recommend a plant-based diet, incorporating more wholesome nutrients from organically, responsibly grown produce and grains, and a moderate-to-high level of exercise daily.  I want you to be healthy, happy, and balanced, not taken advantage of by greedy companies.  

Thank you for reading and considering your health!

Additional Sources:  United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Most Delicious Bistro Steak Sandwich @NativeFoodsCafe

Bistro Steak Sandwich from Native Foods Cafe, Costa Mesa, CA
I've recently discovered the most delicious steak sandwich ever created for us health-conscious, green garden-lovers.
You can order this online via the Native Foods website, or you can try this amazing steak sandwich at one of Native Foods  locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, or Chicago. My favorite is the Costa Mesa location at The Camp on the corner of Bristol and Baker.  It is just down the street from the glamorous South Coast Plaza shopping center; centrally located near the 405, 55, and 73 highways; this is Orange County's finest shopping destination!

This steak sandwich, which is made with homemade thinly sliced peppered seitan, fragrant baby arugula, fresh herbs like thyme, and delicious baby tomatoes and a faux bleu cheese sauce, will run you only about $12.00 with your choice of side.  My choice is usually the dill potato salad, or the  white bean soup.  That's less than the price of parking at any restaurant closer to the coast!
You can be assured all the ingredients in your meal will be real, non-GMO, and 100% plant-based; this includes all of the dressings, sauces, and desserts as well!

Everything is 100% plant-based and super tasty!  Enjoy!


Monday, October 1, 2012

ABC's The Chew Meatless Monday Recipe Veganized!

Meatless Monday is a new movement to avoid Meat and enjoy vegetarian dishes at least once a week and ABC's The Chew went Meatless today!

I am 100% Vegan everyday, but this is a great start for those looking to increase their health, vitality, and longevity the natural way!

Here is the Verdelicious quick and easy Vegan version of Michael Symon's Mushroom Stew and Dumplings (original recipe here)
Fall Root Vegetables and Dumplings Stew
Photo courtesy of
Follow Me on PinterestIngredients:

2 quarts Mushroom or Vegetable Broth
1 Red or Yellow Onion, sliced
2 cloves of Garlic, sliced
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups fresh Vitamin D enriched Mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Butternut Squash, diced
1 cup Parsnips, diced
1 cup Celery Root, diced
1 bunch fresh organic Thyme (bundled)
1/8 tsp grated Nutmeg

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 cups Soymilk or Almond Milk
2 tbsp Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds
Salt and Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste


In a large pot, heat the Olive oil over medium high heat, add the onions and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.  Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and saute until soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the remaining vegetables and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme (bundled and tied for removal), then add the broth. Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the stew to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes.

Make the dumplings:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, seeds, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Then slowly whisk in the Soy or Almond Milk. The mixture should be slightly sticky and wet.

After the stew has simmered for 45 minutes, uncover and add the dumplings by the spoonful. Cover the stew and allow to steam for 4 minutes. Remove and discard the bundled thyme and tie before serving.

This dairy-free version has no cholesterol and lower fat!  Powered only by plants, you'll have increased vitality, improved health, and lower risk of developing a preventable disease.   Enjoy Health!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Garden Fresh Parsley & Quinoa Salad Recipe

Photo by Karinna Zarate

Garden Fresh Parsley & Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes (Quinoa prep: +15 minutes)
Difficulty:  Easy
Serves: 4

2 bunches Parsley
1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 medium sized Tomato (or 1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes)
1/2 small Onion (Yellow or Red Onion)
1/4 cup Ponzu Sauce 
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, to taste
Fresh squeezed Lemon, to taste
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Wash your vegetables well with a fruit & vegetable wash product like Environné to ensure the removal of dirt or bacteria.  Chop the parsley, removing the stems,chop onions and tomato and place in a medium-sized salad bowl. Add the cooked Quinoa (you can prepare your Quinoa in advance or make extra for dinner the night before and place in the refrigerator overnight) and mix.  Add the Tomato and Onion, Ponzu Sauce, Lemon Juice, and Olive Oil.  Season with Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper to taste.

This salad keeps well for about one to two days when refrigerated but tastes best fresh.

Ponzu sauce is a Soy-Citrus sauce used in Japanese Cooking.  I use Marukan which is a 100% Vegan version of Ponzu (some brands have fish ingredients).  You can find Ponzu Sauce at your local grocery store in the Asian section, or at your local Asian Market like 99 Ranch or my personal favorite: Mitsuwa.  Ponzu is not gluten-free.

This can easily be converted into a Quinoa-Tabbouleh if you prefer Mediterranean flavors by omitting the Ponzu Sauce and increasing the Olive Oil by two more tablespoons.

* Choose Organic produce when available and always wash vegetables well.

Quinoa High Protein Facts
Parsley Nutrition Facts


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Get Ready for Food Day 2012! is joining forces with the Center for Science in the Public Interest!  We will be hosting a Food Day event in Southern California on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Press/Media Contact Here   

To help fund our event and make it a success, we are counting on local businesses, farmers markets, restaurants, health care groups, and private investors.  If you would like to be a part of this healthy food revolution, email us or donate now!  

Our goals are to promote safer and healthier diets, support sustainable organic farms, reduce hunger, reform factory farms to protect the environment, and support fair working conditions for food and farm workers.

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Food Day, created by CSPI, is powered by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders, organizations, and people from all walks of life. Food Day takes place annually on October 24 to address issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice. The ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What is Lurking in your Pollo Asado?

As a Vegan Latina, the only organisms I really have to worry about are "Genetically Modified" Organisms, or GMO's.  But for some of my friends, the threat of micro-organisms in their food is all too real.  If you eat eggs or chicken, you run the risk of contracting Salmonella, a bacteria which attacks the digestive system.
 According to the CDC, over 40,000 cases of Salmonellosis are reported each year!  If untreated, Salmonellosis can lead to hospitalization and death.  Salmonellosis is more common during the Summer.  This is partially due to the warmer weather making it easier for undercooked meats to make their way to our plates; and this is also because of the amount of outdoor grilling and large parties we tend to have in the Summertime.

My advice to my Pollo Asado-loving friends:  make sure your meat is cooked well.  If you have any doubts, simply ask the cook to grill it a little longer.  Chicken is done when it is white and flaky in the thickest part.  Your fork should slide easily in and out of a fully cooked piece of Pollo Asado.  It you are cooking with eggs, be sure to clean all surface areas, and do not mix utensils you would use to make raw dishes or sides like Salsa and Guacamole with those you used to prepare the raw chicken or eggs.

Remember that every bite you put into your body should serve a purpose; the only need your food should serve is to avoid hunger and nourish your body.  Any emotional cravings must be satisfied in healthier ways.  Think of that Pollo Asado as a small portion of protein on your plate, in comparison to all the frijoles and brown rice you will be piling onto that tortilla de maiz!  If you do happen to get a Salmonella infection, at least you won't have enough microbes to debilitate you--you will most likely just get a minor digestive irritation which will go away on its own.

Recovering from a Salmonella infection is not easy, you must get plenty of fluids with electrolytes to replenish your system.  Start by eating crackers and coconut water which is full of electrolytes (like VitaCoco.  If you can keep that down, continue with bland fruits like Banana and Apples. 

Once your digestive system has returned to normal, it is time to make some healthier choices in the long run.  Faux (or fake) Chicken 'meats' are more popular now, and there are a few brands competing to be the best in taste and texture!  

Try Vegetarian Quorn chik'n patties, Gardein chik'n breasts (frozen or fresh), or Tofurky meatless roast and many others on the market today!

Let me know what you think!  Send me a Comment below.


Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Enjoy a 100% Vegan Life...

Do you see the horrific images of animal cruelty, the gory images that tell the grim tale of life for a farm animal in a Factory Farm and do you want to make a meaningful change in your everyday choices so you can stop the cruelty for good?

I felt the same way 5 years ago!  Although I made the decision to value the life of creatures enough to eliminate meat consumption altogether, you can make small changes in your lifestyle to begin to make an impact! 

Here is a list of just a few of the things I truly enjoy...many things are meaty, many things are buttery, many things are cheesy, and many things are absolutely delicious!

  • Gardein Meatless Ground "Beef" - My Favorite addition to Spaghetti, Albondigas, you name it!
  • Chorizo (SoyRizo, that is) - Possibilities are endless, and Trader Joes Soy Chorizo is incredible!
  • Butter, mmm! (Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, of course!)
  • Daiya Cheese - try their brand new Cheese Wedges I just tasted at Natural Products Expo West!
  • Mouth-watering deli meats, from Roast 'Beef,' to 'Bacon'... Tofurky!
  • Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, and Soy Milk -- delicious!
Not-So Obvious Alternatives/Tips:
  • Sorbet! Hungry for Ice Cream? Try a creamy delicious Sorbet instead!
  • Baking: use applesauce or Ener-G egg replacer for a great cholesterol-free substitute!
  • Grilling:  make Portobello burgers, make your own brown rice and chickpea burger patties, grill Veggie Kabobs, or Boca Burgers!
  • Faux everything! You can find meatless alternatives in most major grocery stores.
  • Think Meat-Free! You can add garbanzo beans or edamame to a salad for extra protein!
  • Whole grains like Quinoa and Brown Rice are great protein sources!
 Where to Shop:
  • Most Vegan-friendly foods are available in your favorite grocery store's produce section!
  • Find hidden Vegan treats you'd never believe are cruelty-free! PeTA's excellent list here.
  • Whole Foods
  • Sprout's
  • Henry's 
  • Gelson's
  • Safeway
  • Your local Farmer's Market
Restaurants I love:
  • Native Foods Cafe
  • M Cafe 
  • Veggie Grill
Dining Out:
  • Fine-Dining: Call and plan ahead. All great chefs will accomodate your diet.
  • First, request a Vegan menu.
  • Ask for No Butter, Cheese, or Sour Cream
  • Ask chef to substitute any butter in a dish for Olive Oil
  • Ask which soups are vegan-friendly (not made with chicken broth)
  • Substitute! Get creative and ask your server to make clever substitutions for you, believe me if you set the example, and you look great and healthy, EVERYONE will want to know your secret!
Don't be afraid to be strict with this new lifestyle you've chosen!  Make a plan and stick to it!  When you have a strong conviction behind your choices, it is much easier to instill true ground-breaking change.  Warning: Not only will you feel healthier, you will look amazing as well!  I wish you the best of luck on your new journey into a healthful, kind and compassionate, globally-conscious way of life.  If you have any questions, please post below!

Once you make the transition, you will eventually stop craving and needing the flavors of meat and milk. Your senses of smell and taste will be enhanced as the heavy layers of animal grease stop coating and dulling your tastebuds (and clogging your arteries). As a Vegan, you will begin to automatically refuse the products that harm our fellow creatures so ruthlessly.  You will develop a compassionate outlook on life and realize that every decision you make, affects the world around you. 

Coming up on Verdelicious... How to make Eco-Conscious choices everyday!

Don't forget to look around the site and visit some of "Karinna's Favorite Blogs."  Recently, I added my friend's deliciously spicy new blog:  Vegan A la Mexicana. (I wish she could cook for me everyday--take a look!) 

Why I'm Vegan...

Many people ask me why I chose to live a CRUELTY-FREE life.  Five years ago, I decided 'cold turkey' to stop eating meat, gelatin, milk, eggs, fish, and any other food that comes from an animal.  I made the shift OVERNIGHT.  Here is a little glimpse into WHY I took on such a brave, purposeful, challenging, and rewarding endeavor.  Now, 5 years later, consistently at my ideal weight and body structure, I feel amazing, I am happier, transformed, vibrant, enlightened, fit, and healthful!  As I tell my friends, I don't eat or consume the products of anything which once had a heartbeat or a mother.

Watch this video clip from Mercy for Animals. Images like this may change your life in a dramatic way!

ABC News Recognized with Genesis Award for Egg Farm Investigation

This weekend, ABC news producer,  Cindy Galli, accepted a Genesis award which recognized one of ABC News' most revealing and shocking documentary investigations on the horrific conditions at an American Egg Farm. This investigation led to millions of Americans choosing Free Range and Cage Free Eggs and even McDonald's boycotted the egg farm at the center of this investigation: Sparboe Farms.

If you have not seen it, click here ABC News wins Genesis award for Egg Farm Investigation.

Sadly, IOWA and OHIO legislature have since signed Ag-Gag bills into law which make reports like this unlawful.  Thanks to ABC News and Mercy For Animals' investigations, we now the truth and we, as consumers, can begin demanding the HUMANE treatment of animals used for consumption. 

Although I am Vegan, it still saddens me to know that my meat-eating friends could unknowingly continue to support factory farms whose workers torture animals and allow horrific conditions to exist within the United States.

As consumers, YOU can help decrease the demand for inhumanely produced eggs!  I hope you will inform yourself.  Arm yourself with knowledge on everything you consume.  Ignorance, in this case, can be fatal.  Research indicates that factory farms that neglect animals and maintain hazardous conditions breed disease; they use chemical hormones and potent antibiotics and carcinogenic pesticides; and diseases such as Salmonella and MRSA are bred in the filth.  Thousands of cases of Salmonella poisoning are reported each year.  Recently, a woman nearly lost her life due to Salmonella and must undergo daily treatments just to reverse the horrible effects of the food poisoning. 

In Ottowa, Canada today, there are reports of a massive Salmonella Outbreak caused by a negligent food caterer which has led to the infection of dozens of children and several adults.  Thousands of cases like this occur every year.  Please be informed consumers and support legislators who DO NOT support the Ag-Gag Bills!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Simply Sensational Vegan Lasagna!

Try my super easy Vegan Lasagna recipe anytime you are in the mood for some comfort food that won't weigh you down with fat, preservatives, and chemicals.  Traditional lasagna recipes call for tons of cheese and loads of fat-rich ground meats. Cut the calories and avoid the growth hormones, antibiotics, chemical preservatives, and risk of pathogens in animal meats, eggs, and dairy!  It's quick, easy, and delicious. 

You will need:

3/4 lb. Lasagna sheets
2.5 cups Daiya Vegan Cheese
1 lb. Gardein Meatless Ground
4 cups Pasta Sauce
1/4 cup minced white Onion
2 small organic Zucchini
3/4 cup diced Mushrooms
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Parsley and Basil Flakes

Preheat your oven to 350°. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the lasagna sheets with a dash of salt and olive oil.  Cook pasta for 8 minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.  
Brown the Gardein with salt and olive oil for 4-5 minutes, add the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Add the pasta sauce to the meat mixture. 

In a 13 x 9 baking sheet, pour a layer of the pasta sauce mixture onto the bottom and cover with a layer of lasagna sheets.  Sprinkle a layer of Daiya Cheese onto the pasta, cover with more pasta sauce then cover with another layer of lasagna sheets.  Cover with remaining meat mixture then sprinkle with cheese and top with Parsley and Basil flakes.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!




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