Monday, January 14, 2013

New Years Resolutions: Exercising, Dieting, & What you should avoid

We're about two weeks into the NEW YEAR, and I'm sure there are plenty of people committing to their New Year's Resolutions. I have written about exercise programs (P90X, INSANITY, Julian Michaels, and Zumba) in the past, as well as weight loss products; but I wanted to write about this topic once again because it is the perfect time of year to do so...

P90X, INSANITY, JULIAN MICHAELS, ZUMBA, and other exercise programs have three aspects in common: (1) they're pointless, (2) they are marketing off of your unhappiness/vulnerability; and (3) they're stressing your body quickly in a shorter amount of time in order for you to achieve faster results. These "quick" miracles, with the promise you will be gorgeous in 90 days, defeats the body faster -- then you inherently give up exercising because your body aches, and as you become lazier you find solace in unhealthy foods.

These programs can afford to run their commercials every single day, which makes it easier for them to convince the most vulnerable people. Whether or not people are actually benefiting from the programs is not the point I am trying to make. Instead, I am suggesting that YOU can exercise and eat healthy to lose weight, without relying on a "fitness guru" robbing you of $200-300. You can get the body you want, without the cost of a commercial product. And, don't you feel like a ROBOT when you're exercising to these work-out programs...following along to their every move...?

Real exercise is minimal and long, like biking, hiking, running, dancing and yoga. Kenpo is also very fun, and one of my favorite exercises (I show off some of my Kenpo moves in this post "Exercises for Vegans".)
Now, I'm not undermining these work-out programs, because they have definitely helped many people, but for the majority of consumers who have bought into these products, may feel resentment towards the same programs. But lets at least exercise programs some credit; because weight loss food and supplement products are WAY worse. I'm talking about SENSA, Hydroxycut, Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers, alli, QuikTrim that tell you to ingest unhealthy drugs to lose weight. 

All of the weight control programs/products I have mentioned, are deliberately promoting an anorexic diet. Sensa encourages people to suppress their hunger, by sprinkling a concoction onto your food, so you will eat smaller portions.

Don't you feel like a science experiment when dousing Sensa on your food, or taking pills to get rid of fat??

Weight Watchers is similar in that it uses a number system so you can control the amount of food you are eating. The Atkins diet aims for you to eat all of the low carb foods like meat, without fruit, rice, and potatoes.

Every weight loss product and program is going to tell you to eat smaller portions, because they know you're going to keep eating animal products, which have the highest fat and lowest nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, have zero fat and have the highest source of vitamins.

Furthermore, you don't need to pay someone to tell you how you should eat. You already know how you should eat. You know you should be eating 2500-3000 calories from grains (gluten-free pasta, rice), fruit, vegetables, and greens; while limiting or eliminating animal products (milk, eggs, dark & white meat, and processed foods.) 

If you eliminate animal foods, and FILL yourself up on fruits and vegetables, you'll be losing weight so fast you will rarely need to exercise. Not to mention, animal products and pre-packaged foods are more expensive than fruits and vegetables. I have a post here "Veganism is the CHEAPEST DIET??" that talks about Veganism being inexpensive compared to eating a animal-based diet

Weight Watchers, Atkins diet, and other weight loss programs have the money to advertise their product DAILY. These products are marketing off of your unhappiness and vulnerability. It's easier to brainwash people into thinking they need that product when they see the commercial everyday, while they sit bloated and lazy on their couch. 

I cannot stress this point enough: stop relying on products and "gurus" that are selling products, because these are the type of people that are JUST trying to make a living (they are not selling health information.)

It's not just meat eaters that are fooled into buying products. Vegans often buy superfoods and supplements that are being marketed by "health gurus", when they are totally being fooled into buying them. As long as you stuff yourself with fruits, vegetables, and greens -- you don't need powdered superfoods or supplements. I have post on this subject here "Don't Be Fooled By the Supplements & Superfoods!". NO MORE POWDERED PROTEIN, PEOPLE!!! You don't see a VEGAN elephant or cow buying protein powders, and look how gigantic they are!

My advice to you is: eat fruit and vegetables till you are stuffed; and exercise for one hour, three times a week:

1. Low fat vegan (high CARB) diet: eat lots of potatoes, bananas, juicy fruit, greens, rice, and soy milk/cereal. Limit salt and oil, especially fat. Add avocadoes and nuts in your diet in the winter, but be careful on your fat intake as avocados and nuts can "weigh" you down. Fruits and vegetables supply you with more vitamins and zero fat. Plus, fruits and vegetables are inexpensive.

Meat is murder; milk is torture; and cheese is an addiction.

2. Light Exercise: Yoga is great because it feels less like a chore, and more relaxing. Look on the internet (youtube) for yoga positions for beginners. Check out my Yoga Tips and where you can go to find good Youtube Yoga vids, in this blog post "TOP 5 YOGA TIPS FOR BEGINNERS"
hiking or biking, and even dancing are more practical and natural ways of working the body. These exercises are minimal and long, which train the body for survival situations. I have post that talks about the exercises that work best for me here "Exercises for Vegans (keeping it minimal"

The key is to put less stress on your body after so many years of doing so!!!
Another useful tool I like to use to make sure I'm getting adequate nutrition and keeping my fat intake low, is CRONOMETER.COM
Go to to log your training and what you're eating!

Veganism does NOT promote an Anorexic diet. Please check out my post "The Feminist's Diet & the Media still promotes unhealthy eating standards"

"Obesity: Is Smaller Portions REALLY the answer? (No!)"

"Losing weight fast vs keeping the weight off"

And for VEGAN recipes, please check out my recipes on the left hand side of the blog.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MY VEGAN GARDEN CALENDAR for 2013 (& Planting Dates for YOU)

Refer to the map below to see what Gardening Zone you are in. This is important because you need to know when your areas average last Spring frost and first Fall frost will be. 

Once you have found your zone, look online when to plant each vegetable. If you're ZONE 6, like me, search for Zone 6 vegetable planting. Below I have created a modified chart from the book "Easy Gardening 101" by Pat Stone, derived from "Basic Country Skills" on page 176, by Martha and John Storey. These are average dates when you need to grow each vegetable. For instance, Broccoli must be started indoors 10 weeks before your last frost, then transplanted into your garden three weeks before the last Spring Frost. Most vegetables need a month to mature before transplanting. Another example, Celery needs to be started 8 weeks INDOORS before last frost, then transplanted two weeks AFTER your last Spring Frost.
Vegetable Start Indoors (Weeks before last frost date) Transplant Date (weeks before (-) or after (+) last frost date)
Broccoli 10 -3
Cabbage 10 -3
Cauliflower 10 -3
Collards or Kale 10 -3
Leeks 10 -2
Onions 10 -2
Parsley 10 -3
Celery 8 +2
Lettuce 8 -4
Chives 6-10 3
Basil 6-8 +2
Marjoram 6-8 3
Dill 6 +2
Eggplant 6 -2
Peppers 6 +2
Tomato 6 +2
Swiss Chard or Spinach, Arugula, Endive 4-5 -2
Summer squash 3-4 +2
*Most herbs, corn, melons, and squash like to grown outside after last Spring Frost. Plat 1-2 weeks after last Spring frost.


February 1st: Start Cabbage indoors (use potting soil or COMPOST if possible.) When starting seeds indoors, use a creative growing media like recycled plastic jugs, plastic water bottles, Tupperware containers, yogurt cups, plastic salad containers, etc. You do not have to buy seed starting kits!


March 1st: Start Onions, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, and Broccoli indoors (all take 5-10 days to germinate.) Preferably, you want a large deep and wide tray to scatter seeds. This helps speed up the germination process; but you can also use individual containers for each seed.
Considering this is around the time of year, all fruits, veggies, and herbs need to be started indoors or transplanted outdoors, check out this link "Vegetable Growing Guides" to see specifications of each vegetable you want to grow.

March 10th: Start Celery and lettuce indoors. Celery takes 14-21 days to germinate, so be patient, and be sure to start celery in a deep container.

March 15th: Directly sow Spinach, Arugula, Peas, and potatoes. You may be able to plant beans during this time. Most peas like to grow up a trellis or pole, so construct a means for your peas to climb! For potatoes, dig a 12-inch wide and 6-inches deep TRENCH with a hoe. As the plants emerge, hoe the soil up to them to create a hill 8 inches high. Spinach and Arugula can be sown every 10 to 14 days to ensure continual supply.

March 30th: Start tomato, peppers, eggplant, okra, and Chives/garlic indoors. You can also get your herbs started during this time (dill, basil, or cilantro), but it is not necessary as it is best to directly sow after chance of frost. Peppers, and eggplant take 10-15 days to germinate while tomatoes take 7-10 days.


April 10th: Start summer squash indoors.
April 11th: Directly sow Spinach, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, lettuce, as well as other greens.You can also grow beans during this time. Carrots do best in sandy soil, especially in raised beds. All root vegetables do best in raised beds, and it is actually easier for the beginner gardener to try this method.

April 15th: Transplant cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, and Cauliflower.
April 16th: Transplant Kale, collards, and parsley. Remember, Kale doesn't like the heat, you may want to plant Kale in a location that gets afternoon shade as well as morning sun. You can also directly sow more greens to ensure continual supply, like arugula, frisee/endive, Swiss Chard, and lettuce.
April 23rd: Transplant ONIONS. You may be able to directly sow Asparagus.
April 30th: Start melons indoors (cantaloupe, watermelon.)Some people may start them earlier in a greenhouse to grow maximum size.

I'm growing two...

Golden Jubilee Peach (Prunus persica)

May 2nd: Start Brussels Sprouts indoors for fall Harvest. Brussels Sprouts do best in fall.

May 13th: Transplant summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, okra and peppers. Directly sow or transplant dill, basil, cilantro, and other herbs. All veggies like to be sown 12-24 inches apart. Plant squash, tomatoes, and peppers in large mounds to ensure strong stalks (this will be helpful in heavy rains and winds.)
This is also a good time to plant FRUIT OR NUT trees. I bought Peach trees, plum tree, and Pear trees last year; and I will be digging up my Grandfather's FOREST OF PAW-PAW TREES. I would love to invest in Cherry trees, apple, blueberry and strawberries.

May 15th: Transplant celery; and directly sow Sweet Potatoes. 
May 30th: Directly sow cucumbers, corn, and beans. Corn of all crops can tolerate clay soil, so you grow your corn in a location that has not been properly tilled or been given nutrients. Cucumbers like to be grown in large mounds like squash and tomatoes. And, always stake your beans with several posts in every row, because beans love to climb. Transplant Melons. Make sure to water melons everyday; and grow melons in large mounds that are 8-10 inches high.


June 3rd: Start Cabbage indoors for fall harvest.

June 15th: Start Cauliflower indoors. At this point, you can also transplant your Brussels Sprouts. 
Transplant Brussels Sprouts 12-24 inches apart. Brussels Sprouts (and other Cabbage family veggies) make good companions with onions, beets, beans, celery, and tomatoes. Brussels Sprouts as well as other veggies from the Cabbage family, do not make good companions with Strawberries. To encourage early sprouts to gain size, break off all branches as soon as you see tiny sprouts at the bottom of the stalk (starting from the lowest and continuing up to 6-8 inches.)

Kieffer Pear—Pyrus communis x P. pyrifolia
I'm also growing two...

Kieffer Pear (Pyrus communis x P. pyrifolia)



July 15th: Transplant Cauliflower.
July 19th: Directly sow Lettuce. Lettuce can be sown as close as 3-4 inches apart.


August 1st: Transplant Cabbage.
August 2nd: Directly sow Kale, Swiss Chard, Frisee/Endive, and other greens (lettuce, arugula, etc.)
August 15th: Directly sow Carrots, Broccoli, Beets, Radishes, and Turnips.
August 24th: Directly sow Spinach and Arugula.

Harvest food during September, October, and November. You can continue to plant greens throughout the cool season. If necessary, find a room in your home that gets sun, and stays warm, to keep potted herbs.

See what to do during the "off months" in this blog post "Garden Prep (What I'm doing to prepare for spring gardening in DECEMBER)" on what gardening preparations you need to be doing for Spring Planting. There are many ways to make a garden look beautiful, and you can certainly make your yard look beautiful for free or low cost, as I talk about in my post "Free ways to decorate your yard"
I also talk about using free materials in this post "What's the best, free material to use for raised beds?" and in this post "Raised Bed Garden Ideas & Using Free material" to make your garden free, functional, and flourishing. For an idea of what to grow during the Spring, Summer, and Fall, check out my pictures of vegetables that I grew here "What to Grow During the Summer" and here "How to Plan your Summer Garden". All the pictures are of my produce during the early stages. I had plenty of later stage pictures, and lots of fruiting plant pictures, but I didn't save any of them. I will have lots of pictures this year of my garden, so don't worry! My garden will at least three times better than my garden last year.

Remember when choosing planting locations: all plants like sun, water, space, and nutrients. If you don't give them that, they will not be the best vegetables they COULD have been. But don't forget that all vegetables and fruits are unique, so pay extra attention to what each plant needs. For every food you are growing, research what their specific requirements are, to ensure optimal growth in your garden!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Women and men are equally pressured into gender expectations; but We should try to be more critical of the products and companies that are targeting us, in the media. We do NOT want to be fooled by companies that are marketing off of our vulnerability. 
Not only that, corporations should not EXPLOIT ANIMALS WHILE EXPLOITING US. Women should be especially critical of beauty companies that test their products animals, as well as those containing animal by-product. It's very easy to search if a company is cruelty-free, but I have taken some of the hard work out of that process, by providing you with a list of companies I found that TEST ON ANIMALS.

Advertisements are deceitful, as they tactfully prey on our unhappiness and insecurities. All along, these same subliminal messages make us feel unfulfilled, in the first place. From the time you wake, you're bombarded with fast food commercials telling you their meals will help you lose weight (or at least satisfy your hunger until 10am.) Then by noon, you have already seen 10 different TV commercials, magazine ads, website ads, or news articles begging you to buy weight loss pills, exercise DVDs, and a month supply of pre-packaged meals to lose weight. Then, when you come home from your stressful job, and bills piling up on your kitchen table, you skirmish through TV channels, just to come across advertisements for depression pills, boner pills, and anti-aging creams. On top of that, women are targeted in TV commercials for cleaning products (which are toxic, unsafe to ingest, and MUST be avoided by kids.)

Here is a somewhat comprehensive list of the companies that test on animals, below:

Companies That Do Test on Animals (& Their SUBSIDIARIES)
Johnson & Johnson (Acuvue, Ambi, Aveeno, Band-Aid, Carefree, Clean & Clear, K.Y., Listerine, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, Purell, ROC, Rogaine, Skin ID, )
Reckitt Benckiser (Air Wick, Clearasil, Resolve, Rid-X, Spray 'n Wash, Veet, Woolite)
Revlon (Almay)
Procter & Gamble (Always, Aussie, Christina Aguilera Perfumes, Clairol, Crest, DOLCE & GABBANA, Downy, Febreze, Gillette Co., Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essences, GUCCI fragrances, Iams, Lacoste Fragrances, OLAY, Nice 'n Easy, Pampers, PANTENE, Puffs, SCOPE, SECRET, SK-II, Tide, Vicks, Vidal Sasson, ZEST)
GlaxoSmithKline (Aquafresh, Sensodyne)
Church&Dwight (Arm & Hammer, Close-up, Kaboom, Nair, OxiClean)
Clorox (Armor All, Ever Clean, Formula 409, Fresh Step, Glad, Green Works, Pine-Sol, Scoop Away, S.O.S.)
Avon Products, Inc.
Unilever (Axe, Dove, Lux, Ponds, Signal, Suave, Sunsilk, Vaseline)
Bic Corporation
Estée Lauder (American Beauty, Aramis, Bobbi Brown, Bumble and Bumble, Clinique, Coach, Donna Karan, M.A.C., Tommy Hilfiger)
L'Oreal (Biothern, Cacharel, Garnier, Giorgio Armani, Lancôme, Maybelline, Raulph Lauren fragrances, Redken, SoftSheen)
Pfizer (Chapstick)
Schering-Plough (Coppertone)
Dial Corporation (Dial soap, Purex, Renzuit, Right Guard, Soft & Dri, Soft Scrub
S.C. Johnson (Drano, Fantastik, Glade, Nature's Source, Off, Pledge, Oust, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Windex)
Elizabeth Arden
You can go to Peta's Beauty Without Bunnies section to find companies that do not test or use animal products. You can also contact the company by email if they use animal derived ingredients in their products or if they test on animals. Remember to read labels, ingredients, and be critical of the companies you are supporting. If a company is testing on animals or using animal derived ingredients, then they are supporting an industry of animal abuse. Not only are animals exploited in testing the products and the ingredients, but the workers who make the products, and those who buy the products.

Monday, January 7, 2013

What you need for homesteading (Full list of materials and supplies)

There are many questions to homesteading, especially since independence is somewhat a frightening concept. Homesteading takes much time to learn the skills and techniques that surrounding gardening, building, and crafting. Perhaps it will take you five to 10 years to become a proficient gardener. Likewise, homesteading is the "old" and "new way" of living; because we can learn from our relatives how to build a home and grow food; but we can also learn from young folks how to coincide sustainably with nature, humans, and technology.

At length, homesteading requires much dedication, investment, creativity, frugality, and resources. But, where do you start? Do I start looking for land for sale? How much time can I invest in building my home? How much time can I invest in growing a garden?

All of those questions will be answered or have been answered throughout my blog; but I want to use this blog post to point out a FULL LIST OF MATERIALS you will need for homesteading. This list will assist you in estimating your budget/investment. By providing you a list of supplies you will need, this will give you the opportunity to think creatively: what materials can I make? What materials can I borrow? And, what materials do I have to buy? For example, a ladder does not have to be purchased; instead, you can build your own ladder out of free recycled wood (found at pallet shops, sawmills, or pallets behind grocery stores.)

If you see something I missed, please comment below, and I will add it!
Ash (compost)
Bamboo (posts, stakes)
Barrels (Rain)
Battery Charger
Beams (wood posts)
Books (philosophy, instructional, garden, fiction)
Bottles (starting seeds indoors)
Bricks (rock, stone)
Brushes (painting, plastering)
Buckets (5 gallon)
Canner (pressure cooker)
Carpenter's Level
Cart (wheelbarrow)
Cellar (cold storage)
Chairs (home)
Chalk line
Chicken wire
Clamshell digger (post hole)
Compost (organic)
CONTAINERS (unique gardening)
Cooler (food storing)
Crates (storage)
Cultivator (rototiller)
DC>AC inverter (solar panels)
Decor (outdoor/garden)
Door (home)
Drill (speed)
Drill bits
Drums (55-gallon)
Duct tape

Fencing (wire)
Fertilizer (organic)
Forks (garden)
Freezer (cooler, food storage)
Galvanized screening (sifting)
Garden hose
Goggles (safety)
Handkerchief (cleaning tools)
Hand saw
 Hose (garden)
Jars (Mason)
Knife (utility)
Level (carpenters)
Mallet (wooden)
Marker pencil
Measuring tape
Organic SOIL 
Outdoor Decor 

Oven (made from sand, clay, & straw)
Pallets (recycled wood for trellis)
Pencils (marker)
Pinch bar
Plants (vegetable plugs, flowers)
Plastic sheeting (black & Clear)
Pocket knife
Poles (posts, beams)
Post hole digger
POSTS (beams)
Pots (Flower, vegetable, herbs)
Pressure Cooker (canner)
Pruning shears 
Rain barrels
Rock minerals (improving soil)
ROCKS (decor, building structures)
Roof structure (metal, shingles, lumber)
Root Cellar (cold storage)
Ruler (yardstick)
Safety goggles
Sand (for garden & home material)
Saw (hand or chain)
Saw horses
Screens (galvanized)
SEEDS (flower, herb, veggie, fruit)
Shears (pruning)
Sheets (plastic, tarp)
SOIL (organic gardening)
Solar panels
 SPACE (for gardening)
Spades (digging)
Sponge (finishing interior of home)
Stakes (posts or poles)
Step ladder
String (hemp, rope)
Swanson square
Table (home)
TARP (plastic sheeting)
Tape measure
Tiller (rototiller)
Tool box
Trays (starting seeds)
Trellises (Arbors)
Utility knife
Watering system
Wheel barrel
Windows (home)
Wood mallet
Wood posts (beams for home)
Wood stove
Worms (compost)
Yardstick (ruler)

Keep in mind, you may not need most of these items. In fact, you may not need windows, doors, or tables because you do not plan on making a home or shed. 
Then again, if you are planning to build your own home, you may need MORE than what's listed above. A new home-owner needs silverware, kitchen appliances,  bed sheets, pillows, etc. If you want to build your own home -- keep in mind that I have not listed exact building materials. Here is an idea of basic materials you may need for your home:

For the foundation of the house you may need rocks, bricks, concrete, or gravel. For structure of home (cob walls), you will need clay soil, sandy soil or sand, water, and straw. For roofing, you'll need lumber, poles, boards, and windows. Of course, you'll need glass or windows, doors, hinges, knobs, etc.

Again, if I missed an important tool or material, please comment below and I will add it to the list.

How much money have you invested in homesteading, so far? I have the luxury of borrowing most of my Grandfather's tools and supplies, as well as the space to grow food and build a home. I'm very fortunate for this!