The lungs of our planet are burning.
Right now, the horrific fires tearing through the Amazon are so fierce they can be observed from space. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported a record 72,843 fires this year. That’s an 83% increase from last year.
This isn’t mother natures fury. Humans are responsible. Humans who demand to eat animal products.
We’re starting heavy however I have a diverse range of subjects in today’s Month in Review show. I’ll chat a little food, a little exercise and I’ll share what’s been rockin this past month and what’s been a tad more struggle street. Above all, my intention is to make this content applicable to YOU and creating and keeping a fit, healthy plant strong body.
The Amazon burning is my struggle-street this month.
No surprise there. Although the situation is worse than it’s been it’s not new. As with so many things, media and social media coverage is pushing an extreme and dire situation to the forefront of our minds, though really it’s been an issue for decades.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon deforestation.
- An acre of rainforest is cleared every single second.
- Huge areas of the Amazon are cleared, set alight and destroyed by farmers to make way for cattle grazing. Or to grow soy crops which are then fed to animals raised to be slaughtered for meat. 80% of soy grown is fed to livestock animals.
- A total of 136 million rainforest acres have been cleared for animal agriculture.
- Around 100 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction.
My social media feeds are full of people outraged by this utter devastation. And yet, for the individual still intent on consuming the flesh and excretions of animals those very purchasing decisions are fuelling our broken food system and fuelling the thousands of fires in the Amazon.
Our selfish, short sighted obsession with immediate gratification and apathetic attitude towards the environment has to stop.
Of the many memes online that caught my eye this week was one posted by the team at What The Health film (curtesy of @neha.doodles) It reads:
You have two homes:
EARTH + YOUR BODY
Take Care Of Them.
I often wonder why we humans find that so incredibly challenging?
Do we really believe that our individual actions are so insignificant they do not matter? Whether it’s the individual action with negative repercussions such as consuming animal products or the action with positive consequences such as eating plant based.
Could we be so self centred to believe that everyone else ought to sacrifice and take the right actions and allow us to cruise on along the path of least resistance?
Are we really so adept at keeping our heads in the sand we can claim ignorance?
Might we be so caught up in ego that to change a previously held belief equates to admitting you were wrong and there’s no way you’re admitting you were wrong!
Are we just deeply averse to discomfort? And so unfamiliar with discomfort that we blow it out of all proportions – and exaggerate in our mind: the pain, the sacrifice and the struggle to the point that we give up with out even trying?
Talking of discomfort, I do feel some at world leaders demanding action to protect to the Amazon while still pushing and perpetuating animal product consumption in their own countries. Whether your beef came from the Amazon or from Australia an individual still died unnecessarily and at some point natural biodiversity was still sacrificed for grazing land or land cultivated to grow food for stock. It’s inefficient and it’s hypocritical.
I don’t know what else I can say about the Amazon. I’m not an expert and I’d love to get someone better qualified for an in depth discussion on the podcast. However I’ve got a whole lot to say about getting better at dealing with discomfort.
In fact in today’s EXERCISE segment I want to share: 5 Ways Discomfort Serves You.
One: Discomfort of dragging yourself out of bed on a cold winter morning to get to your exercise session gets you the results.
Two: Discomfort within your weights session (that extra rep, that heavier weight, less rest) gets you the results.
Three: Discomfort of trying a new form of exercise, or new move or walking into an environment that does not yet feel natural gets you the results.
Four: Discomfort of choosing your planned training session rather than that enticing yet impromptu “drinks after work!” offer, gets you results.
Five: On a grander scale there’s a lot to be said for choosing a little discomfort every day to condition yourself to be able to deal with it. For some that’s the cold water shower. For some it’s hill sprints. For others it might be walking onto the weights floor even though it feels daunting.
The reality is, discomfort for humans is a given. Or it’s meant to be. Our lives are full of struggles unless we’re so wrapped in cotton wool that we’re barely existing. The struggle and the discomfort helps us appreciate the good times and it helps us grow.
Now of course we don’t want to be inflicting unnecessary discomfort on ourselves or others. So how to judge what’s beneficial and what’s ill-advised? I guess it comes back to the results and how you feel after. Which brings me to FOOD and my first ever installation of “Annie’s Cooking Corner”!
My mum, Annie got such lovely feedback for show: 624: My Mums Plant Based Journey: How To Transition To Plant Based Without Restriction Or Conflict we thought it might be fun to have mum on the show regularly.
When I asked mum what she’d like to share this week she mentioned a certain video I sent her when she was just a few days into her #plantstrong journey. A video that caused her unnecessary and unwelcome discomfort. I’ll had over to mum to explain…
[listen to our chat in iTunes]
…since that conversation with mum I’ve been thinking about what I could have done instead? I guess lead with deliciousness and support rather than horror and guilt.
With that in mind, back in show 389 I shared 5 Ways To Eat Less Dairy Without Sacrificing Protein.
I’m going to build on the deliciousness I shared then by also adding a few awesome plant based sources of calcium to 4 of my suggestions.
There’s so much plant based calcium to choose from. Fortified almond, coconut, hemp and rice milks. Almonds, figs, sunflower and sesame seeds. Broccoli, kale and beans (including tofu and tempeh) to name a few.
Onwards with 4 Ways To Eat Less Dairy with Abundant Vegan Protein and Vegan Calcium.
I generally actually just add water as the liquid in my green smoothies however unsweetened coconut water, almond milk, cashew milk and any number of other options and even combinations like coconut-almond milk are fab.
A couple of considerations: Check for unnecessary sweeteners as some still have cane sugar added. I also prioritise getting plant milk with a decent amount of calcium per serve (generally 300 mg per 250ml).
Here’s a recipe for a High Protein, High Calcium Dairy Free Smoothie I call: The Green Supreme.
- handful of kale
- a large’ish broccoli stem
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 green apple
- 200-300 mils calcium fortified plant milk
- 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
Optional extra good fats and calcium: 1 tablespoon chia seeds or 1 tablespoon almond butter.
Two: Snacks and Dips.
Nuts, seeds and nutritional yeast are great substitutes in many dips that might have used dairy. However store bought versions can contain cheap oils and unnecessary sugar. I recommend scrutinising the labels or just making your own.
I link to my Go2 protein pimped hummus and dairy free pesto in my free 3 Day Easy Vegan plan.
However I’ve since made adjustments to both which conveniently makes them even more calcium rich. I’ve added broccoli to my pesto and 4 bean mix to my hummus (which previously was heavily zucchini based). For the hummus check out the easy vegan plan and just use 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 your fav mix of beans. Here’s the pesto recipe:
- generous handful of kale (wash, drain, then wilt it in a saucepan)
- 1/2 a large’ish bunch of basil
- broccoli stem and head to taste / aligned with how much basil and kale you have!
- 50 grams nuts (I love pecans)
- 1 tablespoon avocado or macadamia oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Almost any variety of cheese can be substituted with nut based cheese. They are super easy to make, delicious and limitless in potential for flavours and textures. The Raw Chef Russell James makes some particularly stunning looking nut cheeses.
For the less chef’y such as this little NON-cook (!) here is a Basic Cashew Cheese recipe that’s great to sprinkle over zucchini pasta or vego nachos:
- 1 cup raw cashews (soak for 2 hours and drain)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 sachet of Natvia (natural low carb sweetener)
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4-1/3 tablespoon water
To make it’s as simple as blitzing everything together in a blender. It’ll more resemble a crumbly parmesan texture however I’m sure you could experiment with more liquid to get it smoother.
I’m late to the plate (so to speak!) on this one however: How good are chia seeds?
I use them in a little mini dessert after a meal that might have been a little low on protein. Here’s my Chia Protein Punch:
- 1 scoop of your fav vegan protein powder (I use Prana)
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 100 mils almond or coconut milk
Optional 4-6 cubes of ice.
Let the chia seeds sit in the almond milk for at least 10 minutes before adding the protein powder. I blend it in my nutribullet and that’s it… an additional 20 grams of dairy and carb free PLUS protein and calcium rich deliciousness.
If you’re not worried about low carb then banana nice-cream is an awesomely easy option which while carbie can be made from only high quality ingredients. It can be as simple as a couple of frozen bananas blended with a scoop of your fav (whey free) protein powder or raw cacao. Your additions are limitless.
Some of my favs include: frozen mango / raspberries, nut / seed butter (choose almond or tahini for the calcium) and to top roasted pecans / pistachios.
Let’s move on to who’s inspiring me this month.
It’s the relentless dedication of vegan athlete Fiona Oakes and her partner Martin who run Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary. I interviewed Fiona back in show E568: Vegan Athlete Fiona Oakes Is Running For Good.
Fiona is the fastest woman in the world to run a marathon on all 7 continents and the north pole. The documentary Running For Good follows her attempts to set a new world record in endurance racing and also compete in the “toughest footrace on earth” the Marathon Des Sables, a 250km race through the Sahara Desert.
She does this all to raise awareness for the plight of animals and to help fund her sanctuary where she cares for 450+ animals.
There’s so much more though. At 14 years old Fiona was told she’d never walk properly again. Let alone run.
The reason this powerhouse vegan legend and her amazing partner Martin are on my mind is they need our help to keep their sanctuary a float. One of the little known realities I’m becoming aware of through the conversations I’m privileged to engage in, is it’s absolutely not the hardest working, the most talented or the most driven that get the accolades, the fame AND THE FUNDING. Fiona would dispute she’s talented – though I disagree. She’s certainly not seeking fame however she does what she does to fund the sanctuary and bring awareness to veganism and I find it so frustrating that it’s the more flashy, show’y – dare I say – show-off-y athletes that get noticed.
Fiona is a quiet yet formidable worker. She’s such an asset to the vegan community and yet she flies under the radar.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration – perhaps to help you get your workout on regardless of the day, the weather, the whatever (!) then please check out Fiona, Running for Good and Tower Hill Stables across the socials. I have everything – including how to support their work linked up.
Finally, my recommendation this month is also a previous podcast guest. In E592 I chatted with, James Clear about his latest book: Atomic Habits and Why True Behaviour Change Is Really Identity Change. Of course I recommend our highly actionable chat (!) however James also provides a super high value weekly email. It’s one of the only email lists I’m on and his goal is to share share “the most wisdom per word” of any newsletter on the web. He’s doing a pretty fab job. You can subscribe via JamesClear.com. This week James shared:
A strategy for thinking clearly: Rather than trying to be right, assume you are wrong and try to be less wrong.
Trying to be right has a tendency to devolve into protecting your beliefs.
Trying to be less wrong has a tendency to prompt more questions and intellectual humility.
WOW, that’s applicable to so much however especially to activism.
Talking of more effective communication coming up in E630 I’m excited to share with you my chat with: Psychologist Clare Mann and The Myths of Choice: Why People Won’t Change and What You Can Do About It.
Clare was to be my first repeat guest however do you know my mum just pipped her at the post by popping onto todays show! Go Annie!
Anyway, I always learn so much from my chats with Clare. She truly is an exquisite communicator and such a beautiful, compassionate soul.
That’s it for today in Healthification. Huge thanks to YOU for sharing this week with me. You rock and I appreciate your support!
The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan. It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, non genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated vegan chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
If you liked “The Amazon Is Burning PLUS Vegan Calcium revisited and Annie’s Cooking Corner” you’ll also like Easy Vegan Calcium Sources: Leave Cows Milk For The Calves!
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.
Footnotes: Sources for “The Amazon is Burning” facts: