Most of us know the meaning behind Easter, that it is a commemoration of 2,000 years ago, when God sent his one and only son Jesus to dwell on Earth in human form and die for our sins, but we don’t always meditate on just how important that event was and is for all of our lives and our eternal souls.
We get caught up with brunches, Easter egg hunts, family picnics, and even performances at church services, yet we rarely stop and take the time to quietly and earnestly meditate on what the Gospel means for us.
When you open your eyes to see the the corruption and evil that exists today, and which has existed since the beginning of time, it is clear that there is something terribly wrong with us, that evil truly exists and dwells within us as humans. We as a species have committed unthinkable atrocities against each other such as the Holocaust, slavery, the Spanish Inquisition, 9/11, the Rwandan Genocide and a vast number of other disturbing events that have occurred throughout history.
All of this evidence that we live in a fallen world should cause one to see why clinging to the Gospel is truly our only hope. We all share the same destiny, and that is we will all die one day, but our souls will live on for eternally. The sin that separates us from God is so serious that our sentence is eternal damnation.
However, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus lived as one of us, experienced all of the temptations we experience, yet He committed no sin. He lived a perfect sinless life, all the while knowing that at age 33 He was going to endure a long and dreadful death being tortured and crucified on a cross. He knew that this was the only way to save us. Can you imagine living a perfect and sinless life, all the while knowing this was going to happen to you?
The night Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, he was found praying in the garden, sweating drops of blood. This is a phenomenon known as Hermitidrosis, wherein a person’s blood capillaries in the sweat glands rupture, causing blood to ooze through the skin.
“And being in agony, He was praying very fervently; His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44)
He was taken to the Sanhedrin where he was blindfolded and struck in the face several times by an officer. This way he was unable to anticipate the next blow, making each of them destructive to the point that his face was disfigured.
“And some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face” (Mark 14:65)
He was charged with blasphemy for claiming to be the Messiah. He was sent to trial under the rule of Pontius Pilate, who initially said, “I find no guilt in him,” but due to the crowds yelling and insisting that Jesus was guilty, he gave in and chose to protect his popularity as a political figure rather than listen to his own conscience, and he sent Jesus to be crucified.
Prior to being crucified, Jesus was brutally whipped and scourged, receiving 39 lashes from a cat o’ nine tails whip, which has 9 knotted lashes and was used back then in place of the three-stranded Roman scourge in order to heighten the pain. This particular cat o’ nine tails had leather straps embellished with metal and glass fragments with small metal balls sewn into the end of each thong. Some people would die before they ever made it to the Crucifixion due to the pain being so intense during the flogging. 40 was the legal limit to the number of times a person could be whipped, and if they go over that number, the executioner is whipped themselves. The only reason they whipped Him 39 times was to leave room for error in case of a miscount.
Imagine Jesus going through this torture for all for us, then seeing that the very people He was doing this for were doing this to Him. At any point while He was enduring this pain, He could have sent the 10,000 angels to rescue Him. Think about that deeply. He didn’t give up, even in the midst of unthinkable pain.
He was given a crown of thorns and was forced to carry His cross up the hill where He would be crucified. The crowds watched as he was nailed to the cross by His hands and feet, then appraised to a vertical position. The nails in his hands went through the ulna and the radial, not through the palms, making it more painful than it looks. This is because the nail would rip through the palm because the palm could not withstand the full weight of the body.
His feet were nailed high up enough for His knees to be bent which causes the force of gravity to bring the weight of the body down. This causes the shoulders and elbows to dislocate by popping out of joint, ripping ligaments.
The outstretched position keeps the chest cavity in an expanding state, making it especially hard to breathe, which is heightened due to severe blood loss and dehydration. This causes His heart to beat faster as it attempted to compensate for the lack of oxygen, which greatly increased His need for oxygen. In order to breathe, Jesus had to gather the energy to push up from His feet in order to give His chest the flexibility to inhale. Each time He pushed up, his raw and beaten back would scrape against the wood. The intensity of pushing up from His feet in order to breath increases more and more as time passes.
In a Crucifixion, the body reaches a point where either the heart ruptures or the person dies from asphyxiation. But before that happens, the blood loss results in extreme thirst as the body craves water to restore lost blood.
Adding on to all of this physical agony, Jesus endured spiritual agony in the form of bearing judgement in the form of God’s abandonment for our sins. All of the wrath what we would receive for our sins was inflicted upon Him by God. As a result of taking on our sins, Jesus endured the separation from God that you and I deserve. This is because sin can not exist in the presence of God. So not only had Jesus just been betrayed by his disciple Judas who was responsible for turning him in, and betrayed by all of the people He had been healing and helping His entire life on earth, but more importantly, He experienced being forsaken by His Father, who He had spent eternity with.
“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mathew 26:47)
Jesus died at noon on what is now Good Friday, and the skies went dark for three hours (noon to 3 pm). Even nature gave testimony to who Christ was and the darkness that occurs without belief in Christ.
At the very moment that Jesus took His last breath, the Temple veil at the Holy of Holies, the actual dwelling place of God among the people, was torn into two, from top to bottom. The veil was about 60 feet tall and four inches in thickness, which no human would have the ability to tear physically. This was a miracle performed by God, signifying that the door was now open for us to have a direct relationship with Him. The Bible says that at the exact time of Jesus’ death, the whole world trembled.
“The earth shook and the rocks split” (Matt 27:51)
If we stay silent, “even the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40)
Jesus was wrapped in about 75 pounds of cloth and spices and placed in a sealed tomb for three days. The historical records say that the guarded and sealed tomb was found three days later, open with the physical body permanently vacated (Matt 28:6).
Secondly, Jesus appeared in his physical form, Crucifixion scars and all, to more than 500 people in 12 different locations over the next 40 days! During this time, Jesus gave His disciples the great commission.
Judas has hung him self out of guilt once he saw the result of his betrayal of Jesus. Ten of the 11 remaining disciples were among the ranks of Christians who were subsequently martyred in unusual and torturous ways for their faith. This is because they were carrying out the Great Commission that Jesus had instructed them to carry out during His return from the dead.
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him they worshipped Him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:16-20)

In this blog, I will tell you how you can make, store and use compost to benefit from it. Let me tell you what compost is if you don’t already know about it. Most people who do not have an interest in gardening, might not know what compost is. Compost is a natural fertilizer which is made by decomposition of organic substances. Now, as a novice gardener, I know the importance and benefits of compost for us and if you are reading this, you probably know them too. But in case you do not know the benefits of making and using compost, I’ll tell you all about it in this blog.

How to make compost

            If you are looking to find the procedure of making compost, you have come to the right place. I am going to tell how I make compost and how you can make it too. The process of making compost is not a complex one instead it is a simple procedure. The steps I follow to make compost are mentioned below:

  • Combining green and brown materials – The first step to make compost is to find a place which is at least 3 feet wide and 3 feet long. I have a fine place where I make my compost. The place you chose can also be deep if you like it that way. Firstly, I combine wet, green items with the brown items which are the main ingredients of making compost. Green items can be any green vegetables whereas brown items include brown leaves. This combination should be well balanced. I literally have a trash bag underneath my sink that I throw all of my fruit and vegetable scrapes in. Every day I take it to my compost heap. It does not smell up my kitchen. In fact it doesn’t really smell at all. I was really surprised!
  • Watering the compost – After combining the green and brown items, I sprinkle water over the materials regularly to ensure the compost is humid. You should avoid sprinkling too much water as it can cause your compost to rot, due to drowning of the microorganisms.
  • Stirring up the compost – Stirring up the materials is the third step for making compost. During the growing season, I stir them up which allows the flow of oxygen through the compost. Remember to stir it up when the material feels warm. You can also use a thermometer to check the temperature if you like.
  • Feeding your garden – When the compost is dry and brown in color and does not emit heat anymore, that’s the time when I feed it to my garden as it is fully cooked.

How to store compost

            One of the easiest methods to store compost and the method which I follow is to place the compost on the ground and cover it to keep animals out of it. Really there are a lot of amazing ways to store your compost.

How to use compost

            Compost is a natural fertilizer for the soil of your garden and it dramatically increases the fertility of the soil. Compost can be used in different ways. I use it as a mulch and sometimes as soil amendment in my garden. When using the compost as a mulch, I spread it around the plants and shrubs of the garden whereas if I am using it as soil amendment, I dig down 2 to 4 inches of ground and throw the compost in there and also mix it with soil at planting time. Both of these methods have an amazing effect on my garden and the fertility of my garden has definitely improved. You can use compost in the same ways or you can also use it as a compost tea which many gardeners do. Another method to use compost is to do the top dressing of your lawn with compost. Of course, it depends on how you like to use compost and the purpose for which you prepared it.

My compost pile

I started my compost pile in the December of 2017. Compost piles are also a method to make compost which requires a little more effort. I started by spreading a layer of brown stuff on the ground which was a several inches thick. Then, I added a layer of green material on top of it. After that, I topped it with a thin layer of soil and kept adding layers until the pile was 3 feet high. Then the process for moistening the layers was started. Remember to use materials in the ratio of three parts brown to one part green to make your compost pile balanced and do not forget to add layers of soil.

After the layers were added and the pile was moist, I used a garden fork to turn the pile every couple to weeks to ensure the flow of oxygen. I moved the material from the center of the pile to the outside and worked from the outside of the pile towards to center. Heat was starting to rise from the pile which is a sign of decomposition happening inside the pile.

Since the day I have started making compost, I throw food away and do not feel guilty as the food goes into making the compost which in turn, is used to grow more food. The use of compost is the most natural way to grow vegetables, fruits and other plants which I realize now. Before I had started my compost pile, I would throw away food which made me feel guilty as I was wasting the food. But, now I waste food in order to grow more food from the ground. It’s a perfect balance!

All of my life I have heard about carrot hot dogs, a famous staple in the vegan community with varied levels of popularity. Some say they taste good enough, considering you’re replacing a hot dog link with a carrot, while others claim they taste better than other hot dog link substitutes such as veggie dogs.

My goal here at ValMar Health is to show my followers that going vegan is not difficult – that you will neither miss out on the great tastes of food nor go to great lengths that you didn’t have to before to make food that qualifies as being vegan. With that being said, I’ll always give you the truth when it comes to reviewing vegan recipes.

My honest review of the vegan carrot dog is that it is not bad, considering the fact that it’s a carrot. I would not recommend a carrot dog to a skeptic as an example of a vegan substitute they should try, however, these carrot dogs do prove that the right combination of seasoning or sauces will give even the furthest thing from an old fashioned hot dog link all the robust flavor you enjoy in your favorite barbecue items.

There are several ways to make the carrot taste like a hot dog, and if you do an internet search for “carrot hot dog,” you’ll come across various different spins on this plant-based vegan classic. The three main ingredients you’ll find that give the carrot it’s smoky barbecue flavor however are soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke (found in the spices section at your local grocery store).

After marinating the carrots in the sauce over night, you can cook them different ways. Some vegans like the fact that they can bring their marinated full sized carrots to a barbecue, put them on the grill and then place them on a bun topped with mustered, onions, sauerkraut, etcetera and blend in with the crowd. In my case, I knew that I would be baking them, so I wrapped miniature carrots in croissant dough and made the vegan version of pigs in a blanket.

I tasted a few of the marinated carrots prior to cooking them and found that they are even enjoyable cold, but after I put them in the oven… I mean, how can anything wrapped in dough taste bad, right? So overall, I give the recipe a fair rating, but I’m not going to insist that you try it if you’re a skeptic, or newly vegan.In conclusion, I wouldn’t say you should run out and go bake these vegan pigs in a blanket. However, if you have ever had vegan veggie dogs from the store and found them to be salty, carrots not only make a sweeter, less salty alternative, but they are also a lot cheaper! The following are recipes for a classic vegan carrot dog and a vegan version of Pigs in a Blanket. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS – Vegan Carrot Dog

  • 4 large carrots, peeled

  • ¼ cup water

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos

  • 2 tbsp agave

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS – Vegan Carrot Dog

  • Peel carrots and cut off ends.

  • Boil them until fork goes through them. Be sure not to over boil so they fall apart.

  • Once done, run under cold water.

  • Create the marinade by mixing all the ingredients together.

  • Soak the carrots for at least 4 hours in the marinade, more if you would like.

  • Rotate them after a couple hours.

  • When ready, fry them in a frying pan with a small amount of oil until browned on all sides.

Ingredients – Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

  • 2 cans crescent rolls

  • 1 16 oz bag baby carrots you may want to pick up an additional bag just in case

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce optional

  • dash of liquid smoke

Directions – Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

  1. First, pick through the baby carrots and sort out the weirdly-shaped or super skinny ones.

  2. Boil the baby carrots you’re going to use until they are just barely tender. You don’t want them so soft that they’re going to fall apart but you won’t want them to be super crunchy either. Check them frequently. They usually get to the perfect texture between 10-14 minutes of boiling.

  3. Drain.

  4. Add the boiled carrots to a shallow dish or a quart-sized, sealable bag.

  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the carrots. Cover the dish or seal the bag and give them a good shake.

  6. Marinate for at least 10 hours in the fridge – 18+ hours is ideal. Give them a shake every few hours or when you think about it.

  7. Cut the crescent roll triangles into halves or thirds. If cutting into thirds, roll the dough out a bit before cutting to maximize surface space.

  8. Drain and rinse the marinated carrots off.

  9. Roll the carrots up into the dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. (You’ll probably need two baking sheets to fit them all.)

  10. Bake @ 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 11-14 minutes or until golden brown.

Food is one of our basic necessities which we need to survive and perform daily functions. Then main source of food are plants and meat. While many people among us are strictly vegan, a lot of people also like to eat meat as well as plants. As we are progressing with passing time, research has told us that vegan diet is the one we should follow. A strict vegan diet possesses many benefits which are being disclosed as we are conducting more research about it. There are many documentaries explaining why we should be vegan instead of eating meat. I am giving you a list of 10 documentaries which we should watch in order to understand why veganism is beneficial for us.

  1. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

This documentary is about a person named Joe Cross who is 100 pounds overweight. He decides to take things into his hands and decrease his weight to lead a normal life. We can see he inspires many individuals to change their lifestyles as he travels through the United States informing us about the importance of fruits and vegetables in our lives.

  1. Cowspiracy

Cowspiracy is a great documentary which tells us about the harsh reality of animal agriculture. We get to know that animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change and it is responsible for a lot more greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, we get to know that the gas emissions from animal agriculture is more than that of whole transportation industry combined.

Aside from ethical reasons, this documentary shows us even more reasons to avoid animal products. We could impact our climate positively if we switch to purely vegan eating.

  1. Earthlings

We can consider earthlings to be one of the most influential and eye opening documentaries about why we should consume a vegan diet. It shows us the ethical aspects and ethical issues regarding eating meat and animal agriculture. This movie has used hidden cameras to unveil the harsh reality of exploitation and killings of animals. The film is very graphic and may not be suitable for some viewers.

  1. What the Health

What the Health is another eye opening documentary made by the same guys who documented cowspiracy. When we watch what the health, we come to know about the facts which researchers have discovered including the dangers which animal products possess for human beings. They explain a meat based diet is the leading cause of deaths in the world.

  1. Forks Over Knifes

Forks Over Knives is made by two individuals who switched to plant-based diet after discovering the hazards which animal food has for humans. We get to know that animal based food alongside highly processed food have devastating effects on our health. They tell us that plant-based food is the answer to the obesity crisis  and other general health related issues.

  1. Food Inc.

Food Inc. is another amazing documentary which exposed how large multinational companies are abusing animals as they control most of the food supply. We are informed about the harsh reality of the animal farming and some of us might switch to total plant-based diet after watching the cruelty these are animals are facing.

  1. Speciesism

Speciesism is an amazing documentary which questions the ethical issues related to animal farming. As the maker questions this strongly held belief that humans are superior to all other animals and justify the torture and killings of animals based on this belief. Many people consider this movie to be the cause of amazing change brought to their life.

  1. Vegucated

Vegucated is focused on three omnivores and their transition to plant-based food. We see that they start their plant-based life as a way to lose weight but when they come to know about the harsh reality of firms and cruelty, their view of plant-based food is turned upside down. We get to know how fast the transition to plant-based food can happened if people are educated and told about the condition in which animals are kept in farms.

  1. Unity

Unity can be considered a sequel to the documentary Earthlings. It gives us the message of love and peace and questions the fact that we have not been able to live in peace with other human beings and animals even after thousands and thousands of years. The movies is narrated by 100 famous actors, musicians, athletes and entertainers. It is a beautiful documentary to watch and we should watch it to experience the feeling of peace it brings.

  1. Peacable Kingdom

Peacabke kingdom is an award winning film which conveys the message that we would not want to hurt any animal if we really got to know them. This movies shows us about the emotional bond which farmers have formed with their animals over time. This should be watched by all of us especially those who favor plant-based eating.

It is a good sign of progress and improvement to learn something new regularly. The new things we learn get to stay with us always and would add more value to our personality. I am not the same person I use to be in the past, my friends and family get to relate with a more interesting version of me, because of the extra knowledge I garner from time to time. This could be your statement also if you make that determination to add to your knowledge as often as possible.

Why is it Important to Keep Learning

The popular scientist Albert Einstein said something so important about learning continuously – “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” This statement makes us see how vital constant learning is to our existence. The fact that you are not adding to your knowledge bank actually brings to bare signs of retardation. Here are some specific advantages of continuously adding to our knowledge:

  • Learning Keeps One Update – the act of learning something new continuously updates you and keeps you refreshed as well. If you are a career person, the act of constant learning will make you know all the current events and trends in your chosen field that will maximize your impact level.
  • Constant Learning Adds More Value to You – if you continue to learn new things, you are adding more value to your life and career. The more you learn the more valuable and indispensable you become.
  • Learning New Things Makes You Earn More – when you are more valuable, you will become more resourceful as a result of the knowledge you have acquired. The new things you learn can even create new sources of income for you in the process.

I Learned How To Plant Fruit Trees

It is not hard to learn something new; on the contrary you can get to learn new things interestingly without any stress involved. I just recently learned how to plant fruit trees and it was not hard at all. Here’s how I began and you can follow my example too.

  • Decide on What to Learn

Getting to know what I wanted to learn was not difficult for me at all. I have always desired to learn more about gardening, especially how to plant fruit trees. You can also be like that, there must have been something you have planned for so long to learn and have not taken it seriously yet. Out of the list of things I wanted to learn about, planting fruit trees was paramount, so I decided to get this done at once without delay. This is the first step you will have to take in order to learn something new.

  • Get the Right Source of Information

Once I decided on what to do, my next step was to get the right information source that would be a guide to my quest. There are many ways to learn, it could be through reading a book offline or online, getting video or audio tutorials, or getting a teacher to teach you physically. I went for the first option, my doing a research via the internet, where I found a lot of training resources to help me. I read through several eBooks online to get the required knowledge and guide through the process. You can also get a personal coach to teach you that thing you will want to learn.  I had a garden expert come to my home to teach me how to properly plant fruit trees! His help was invaluable.

  • Practice What You Have Learnt

Whatever you do not practice does not remain with you. So, after gathering all the knowledge, I then practiced by planting fruit trees. All the steps contained in the tutorial materials I used were implemented one after another. That way I was able to internalize all the processes taught in a fun-filled way. Like the popular saying goes – practice makes perfect. This is the best way to perfect the skills you are learning so that it can be reproduced effectively next time.

How I Planted 20 Fruit Trees

So, I was done with the learning process, I needed to practice what I learnt with in a live garden. This made me very excited and nervous too, since this was going to be my very first garden. I needed everything to be perfect, no mistakes at all. However, the whole process was a lot easier than I thought, since I had the learning materials and an expert to fall back on where necessary. So I planted 20 fruit trees with the following actions:

  • I got the right spot for my garden and prepared the ground for planting.
  • Holes for each fruit tree were dug to ensure that its roots will enter properly into the soil. I needed to dig the feet deep and three feet wide.
  • I purchased some little plants of fruit trees from a nursery nearby. The types purchased were based on what I wanted to plant.
  • The little plants were inserted into the soil appropriately to ensure their roots were well positioned. There is an exact science behind that process.
  • I covered the hole with the soil and made sure all plants were firm in position.
  • Some soil nutrients were added to the soil to nourish it and cause the trees to grow properly.
  • All fruits tree grew well and blossomed – they were all 20 beautifully growing fruit trees.

You can also do the same – get to learn something new today!

As a vegan, I’m asked a lot of questions about what the lifestyle entails, as well as whether I feel like I’m missing out on some of the foods non-vegans enjoy, but some questions I am asked more often than others, so here I answer six of the most common questions I get asked.

Q: How do you get your protein?
A: One of the most common misconceptions about veganism is that abstaining from meat and dairy leads to a protein deficiency. Due to mass marketing of animal products aimed at persuading Americans to consume them, we have been conditioned to view animal products as our primary sources of protein. As a result, the average American consumer is unaware of the large amounts of protein found in foods such as unrefined grains, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and vegetables. Not only is it easy to meet your body’s protein requirements without consuming animal products, but it’s enjoyable and sustainable. The vast amount of vegan foods high in protein assures going vegan does not mean you have to eat the same foods over and over.

Take a look at the protein content found within these common foods:

Breakfast:
Protein (grams)
1 Cup Oatmeal 6
1 Cup Soy Milk 7
1 Medium Bagel 10
2 Slices Whole Wheat Toast 7
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter 8
6 oz Soy Yogurt 6
2 Tbsp Almonds 4
2 Tbsp Almond Butter 7

Lunch:

1 Cup Baked Black Beans 12
1 Cup Kidney Beans 15
1 Cup Chickpeas 15
1 Cup Lima Beans 15
1 Cup Black-eyed Peas 13
1 Veggie Burger Patty 13
4 Ounces Firm Tofu 11
1 Veggie Dog Link 8
1 Cup Quinoa, Cooked 8
1/2 Cup Textured Vegetable Protein
(TVP) 8
1/4 Cup Cashews 5
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds 6

Dinner:

1 Cup Soybeans, Cooked 29
1 Cup Lentils, Cooked 18
1 Cup Cooked Broccoli 4
1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice 5
1 Cup Cooked Bulgur 6
1 Cup Tempeh 31
3 Ounces Seitan 21
1 Cup Pinto Beans 15
1 Cup Veggie Baked Beans 12
1 Cup Cooked Peas 8
1 Cup Cooked Spinach 5

Q: Can you eat fish?
A: After, “how do you get your protein,” one of the questions vegetarians and vegans are most frequently asked is whether or not they eat fish. This is because fish is widely regarded and marketed as a health food, and the fishing industry, unlike the meat and poultry industries, is not portrayed as one that practices animal cruelty. However, whether you are a vegan for animal cruelty reasons or a vegan for health, like I am, eating fish does not align with the vegan lifestyle, despite what some tout to be it’s health benefits.

The National Fisheries Institute conducted a study in 1997 which surveyed 10,000 fish-eating households. Half of the households cited health benefits as one of their primary reasons for eating fish.

Fish flesh is marketed for its high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids which support heart health. However, not only can you find the same benefits with plant-based sources such as flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin, tofu, canola, soy beans and wheat germ, but these alternatives contain additional benefits including fiber and antioxidants that you will not find in fish.

The truth about eating fish is that however much omega-3 fatty acids promote health, the toxins found in fish more than cancel them out. This is due to the chronic pollution of our aquatic ecosystems, leading to the large amounts of toxic heavy metals and carcinogens found in fish.

All of the pollutants in our oceans are being absorbed by the fish swimming in them. This includes municipal and industrial waste, agricultural chemicals, plastics, metals and all sorts of unimaginable pollutants that would gross anyone out once aware.

The pollutants found in fish include pesticides, polychlorinated binphenyls (PCB’s), toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium and arsenic, dioxins and radioactive substances such as strontium 90.

Q: So, you have never had meat?
A: No, to my knowledge, I have never had meat!

Q: Do you miss cheese?
A: One of the questions I’m often asked is, do I miss cheese? Giving up cheese is often cited as the drawback for would-be vegans who struggle with the thought of removing dairy from their diet due to their enjoyment of non-vegan cheese. However, as I explain in my blog, “Vegan Cheese is Better Than Ever: My Review of Four Vegan Cheeses,” giving up cheese does not mean sacrificing all of the great things you love about cheese, thanks to the array of tasty vegan cheese options available on the market today.

Q: Is your husband vegan?
A: Yes, in our household, we are second and third generation vegans for health. Making a commitment to be vegan as a family is not easy, but as you’ll find in my upcoming cookbook, “Believe It Or Not!” which is being released soon, I’ve been able to make hearty and satisfying dishes like spaghetti, enchiladas, Mac ‘N Cheese, tacos and more that are husband approved!

Q: What do your kids eat?
A: My kids are not only vegan but they also do not eat sugar, which means they cannot eat a vast majority of the junk food that is often marketed to children. As a result, neither one of my children ever asks for things like candy. A treat for my kids could be dates, tomatoes or oranges. Adoniah loves going down to the garden to pick tomatoes and eat them! Both of my kids enjoy fruit, but on a regular basis, I make a variety of different vegan salads and soups for them, as well as casseroles, and on rare occasions, they can eat dessert if it is vegan and sugar free.

Every passing day leaves lessons behind for us to learn, some of them are good, while the others are bad. However we are to focus on the good lessons learnt from life so that better versions of us will be produced. I usually take note of the most important lessons learned from my interactions with others every day. I learn from my children, husband, other extended family members and my friends.

Live a mindful life that keeps you conscious of the daily activities within your sphere of influence. Instead of wandering away with your mind into a distant fantasy world most of the time. That way you will be able to grasp every single positive lesson as they occur, such that are very impactful.

Friends will determine who you become in life

One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is the fact that the friends I keep determines who I’ll become in life. This is a lesson that one would have learnt a long while ago; maybe I should have known this while I was still a teenager. The friends you keep determine to a large extent what you become in life. If you have positive minded people around you as your friend, you will discover that your daily activities will be done with much optimism. The case is the reverse when you have negatively minded people as your friends. Here are some reasons why your friends determine who you become in life:

You end up thinking the same way as your friends that you usually relate with. Like the popular saying goes – ‘birds of a feather flock together’. Whenever there is interaction and relationship created between different people, the possibility of them becoming alike is very high. Biologically people become like those they constantly talk with more, whether they know it or are unaware of it. When you begin to communicate and have special time outs with your friends, you will discover that you all begin to think alike – your mindset now become interwoven as one. So if your friends are pessimists, you will end up a pessimist. If your friends are optimist, you will begin to think optimistically. So, be careful to choose the friends you keep. They will largely determine your thought pattern and processes.

You Act in the same way as the friends you keep. This is very true as I experienced this myself. I have a very close friend, we are still friends till date, and would still be until forever. After about three months of hanging out with her, my husband observed that I was now acting exactly like her. That got me thinking then, so, I decided to observe it. To my greatest surprise, it was very true, even truer than I could ever imagine. My speech, gestures and actions had all changed, and I was just like her. This was because I really admired her personality, and those admirations lead to the quick transition that took place. But, the fact remains that whether you admire the actions of your friends or not, you slowly and steadily begin to act like them – scary isn’t it?

Your Friends Can Change Your Status – Yes they can indeed. If you really have very influential friends that has good connection to those that matter. Then you will also be connected to the top as well. If you have friends that are not influential but have nothing at all to offer, then the little you have would be lost in the process of your relationship with them. This is not harsh talk, but real talk. This is necessary for you to understand the need to pick the company you flock with. From my experience, one of the best jobs I have ever had was recommended by close friend. She was the sister of my new boss at my new job. The story began when; my close friend discovered my skill and immediately recommended me to her sister this was my greatest career break. This was a typical example of a lifting, and a positive change in status through friendship.

Hanging out with good people will make you a better person. You will get to experience better way of thinking, act better than you use to and experience a great elevation in your status. Hanging out with friends that are bad influences can bring you down. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends. Everyone in my life is there for a reason. All of my friends are positive influences.

It is good to be a working Mom with a 8 to 5pm job and all. But, I love being a stay at home Mom. I have experienced the two professions and find staying at home with my kids to be a more rewarding profession. Yes, it is indeed a professional, the career path that I and other Moms like me have chosen. We spend our time from dawn till dusk working round-the-clock to care for our little adorables. This is by far the most rewarding career.

Benefits of Being a Stay at Home Mom

There are many benefits of being a stay at home Mom, even if there are some negative remarks that proceeds from some folks when they get to hear you say so. Well, from my personal experience I will never trade the time I spend taking care of my children for anything else in the whole wide world. Here are just a few of the many things I benefit from being with my charming princes and gorgeous princesses.

  1. Get to Save Money

I used to be a working woman with a job that took all my time, every day. But, when I got married and became a mom, I accept the most royal job in the world. I became the best stay at home Mom ever. And guess what? All the money I would be spending on day care and Babysitter services were all saved now. And I was doing a better job of taking care of my kids than any babysitter or daycare could.

  1. Get to Bond with the Kids

Whenever I cast my mind back to those times when I was a working woman, it feels like I was so distracted. I remember coming back home from work exhausted. I can’t imagine having littles at home who were waiting to play, eat and play some more. I am just so blessed that I can stay home with my kids.  I mean the whole world to them, and I just can’t do without them too. You will know exactly what I mean if you are a stay at home Mom too.

  1. I Get Experience Their ‘First Moments’

The first moments of a child’s development process is something every Mom or Dad desires to experience. I was there to hear their laugh; I heard their first ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ too. I saw them the very first time they sat, began to crawl, stood and it was so amazing to see their first step – all of these were breathtaking! This is an awesome benefit of being a stay at home Mom. You are there to see and experience it all; you are there when they need you most.

Hardships – Challenges of Stay at Home Moms

Although being a stay at home Mom is very rewarding, there are some challenges that comes with it. Just like every career path one chooses in life, you will get to experience its ups and downs. The noble career of being a stay at home Mom is not an exception. I have had my very good days and also a little bit of the challenges that come with it. All the same, I am a very proud and happy staying at home Mom. Here are some hardships experienced by stay at home Moms like me:

  • You are so wrapped up with the constant activity of caring for the kids that you forget about yourself. You find it hard to have an ‘alone time’ to gather your thoughts or to even take care of yourself. The kids are everywhere, you just can’t hide!
  • You are no longer financially independent, since you work all day taking care of the children. No more financial freedom, because the pay check does not come in for this career – it is a sacrifice for love!

Hang in There Mommies You Are Doing the Right Thing!

I know the job of staying at home all day to care for the children is very challenging. But the benefits are far more rewarding than the hardships experienced. This is a noble task, and it takes only a strong woman like yourself to pull this through. We will give all of ourselves over and over again for the little ones we love, they are our lives, our essence as women – we just cannot do without them. I remember one day I had to travel for an occasion without my kids, it felt horrible. I was with so many friends and family but was not relaxed. I kept calling home for umpteen times, just to check on the kids. Continue to give your best to the ones you love the most – hang in there, you are doing just fine!

In 2014, the Huffington Post published an Op-Ed entitled, “Taste Test: Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Vegan Cheese.” In it, the author reviews, in descending order from worst tasting to least worst tasting, 7 vegan cheese alternatives, warning anyone considering veganism or new to being vegan against trying them.

The entire article was a tirade claiming, “vegan cheese is a crime no one should commit.” The author reviewed a handful of cheeses from brands such as Follow Your Heart, Tofutti, Dr. Cow, Go Veggie and Daiya with some of the older renditions of aged cheese, pepper jack, American slices and cream cheese as examples.

In 2016, the Huffington Post Australia published an article that took a much more positive approach to reviewing vegan cheeses entitled, “We Taste Tested 8 Vegan Cheeses. Here’s What We Think of Them,” which noted the evolution in vegan cheese options since top manufacturers have committed to creating higher quality alternatives to the food most attributed to for the hesitation most non vegans have toward adopting a vegan lifestyle.

We all know someone who would go vegan, as they say, but they just love cheese too much. The good news is, vegan cheese continues to improve, not only in terms of taste but also texture, pliability and presentation.

The following are four different vegan cheeses, and my honest review of each one. With the exception of one of them, I’m a pretty big fan. Not only will I use them when cooking for my own family, but I’ve used them for parties where I’ve been able to use them on numerous occasions without anyone being able to detect that they are in fact vegan.

1. Daiya Classics Shreds Blend – I have been off of cheese for 5 years, and I can’t say that a cheese eater is going to eat Daiya cheese and love it. However, I use their shreds often. They have an assortment of flavors of cheese shreds, including a spicy jack that truly tastes like real cheese. I’m a big fan of the spicy jack flavor, specifically, but all of their shred flavors have come a long way, promising all of the great taste, consistency and functionality of regular cheese spreads. Not only are Daiya cheese spreads dairy free, but they are also free of allergens including gluten, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

2. Miyokos Cheese – Myikos Schinner published what is often credited for launching what is largely regarded as the vegan cheese revolution that has taken place over the last several years, her groundbreaking cookbook entitled “Artisan Vegan Cheese.” Miyoko is a celebrity in the vegan and health and wellness communities, known for creating crowd pleasing vegan renditions of the gourmet style cheeses that put to rest the notion that vegan cheese is boring or un-flavorful. Miyoko specializes in creating artisan type specialty cheeses that function perfectly as an d’ oeuvre at a nice event. One of them is called black ash where she charcoals vegetables and takes the ashes of the vegetable and rolls the cheese in it. Each year, I put on really high end Christmas parties. This past year, I used the black ash cheese and not one person knew that it was vegan cheese.

3. Follow Your Heart Parmesan – Here is another brand that has come along way over the years, becoming a vegan staple with foods such as Veganaise, vegan cheese, dips and spreads, dressings and sauces. When it comes to vegan cheese, Follow Your Heart has an array of flavors, however the Parmesan flavor is the best!

4. Vegan Chao Cheese Slices By Field Roast – You can find this cheese secluded online as well as in stores, often in the cheese section at grocery stores. They come in three flavors – original, coconut herb and tomato cayenne. The original flavor tastes okay, whereas the coconut herb, I would not recommend. It tastes like coconut. The tomato cayenne flavor, however, is great. I recommend it for vegans and non vegans alike.

Pictured is a homemade vegan cheese that I tried out, which I’d give a 5 score out of 10. It came out sweet, which I think is from the coconut milk.

Homemade vegan cheese

Ingredients:

2 cups raw peeled cashews
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup organic refined coconut oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 cup cashew milk
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
Crackers, for serving

Directions:

Special equipment: a high-powered blender; cheesecloth

1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with 4 cups water. Cover with plastic and soak 8 hours or up to overnight.
2. Drain the cashews and place in a high-powered blender with the lemon juice, coconut oil, salt, white pepper, nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup cashew milk. Blend the mixture, stirring as necessary. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cashew milk and blend until smooth. Stir in the parsley.
3. Fold the cheesecloth in half and line 2 small bowls with a piece of doubled cheesecloth, leaving enough overhang to cover the cashew mixture.
4. Divide the cashew mixture between the two bowls and cover completely with the cheesecloth. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 8 hours or up to overnight. Serve cold.

Lastly, I want to announce that my cookbook, “Believe It Or Not,” featuring all of my favorite vegan entrees, desserts, smoothies, sides and more is in the final stages of editing and will be coming soon! Stay tuned!

I am a tech free parent! My husband and I have chosen to raise our kids without technology. To learn more about our journey you can read my blog, Technology Is a Useful Servant, But a Dangerous Master. As a parent, it is difficult to adjust raising a child without leaning on technology to entertain them. While utilizing technology as a diversion is some of the time most straightforward, it’s not the best decision for a kid’s behavior or growth all the time. With regards to non-technology approaches to enable our children to cheer themselves, it is best advised to go with the basics. Here are a couple of basic, moderate exercises to keep our kids occupied without utilizing technology that I have found work for me and my family.

Playing Outside

I know this sounds basic, but parents don’t let their kids play outside anymore. I’m talking about really playing outside, for hours and letting them get dirty! Assuming that we are endeavoring to raise our children in a way that they can come to self-sufficient and secure into adulthood, then the outside activity will help with this. There have been contemplating that show access to frolic, examine and spending time outdoors will boost my kid’s confidence, boldness and self-confident. There are three characteristics which can help my children through their adulthood. Ideally, I’m persuaded that spending time outdoors is necessary for my children, however, now what would they be able to do once they are outside. Give me a chance to help you with these thoughts. These following things are what my children cherished doing out.

Kids can simply do the typical things like ride bicycles, play games, get in a sandbox or give them a play area or even a cool plane teeter-totter. My kids appreciated these things, despite the fact that they delighted so significantly more outside; so get creative and attempt any of these.

Coloring

Coloring is another simple, reasonable approach to keep your kids occupied. In my case I know I would be busy for a couple of days, I stop by the dollar store and buy some excellent coloring activity books. Some coloring book is a fantastic treat for our children, and an incredible method to keep them motivated and intrigued by their specialty. When I don’t have time to prepare or plan, I search on the web and print off some free coloring pages. It gives me a chance to pick what I need and keep new things each time when I require a spare time to finish a task. When necessary, I likewise request a piece of art from my ambitious artist. I tell them that I need another painting from them for my work desk, dressing table, or the refrigerator or grandpa and granny. I feel that coloring activity has taken a somewhat back seat in children’s learning. Coloring and drawing may appear like a basic, yet there are such a significant number of learning benefits for kids to participate in the act of craftsmanship.

Science Experiment

These experiments have a dazzling ability to make kids having low interest in science likewise to ponder in a significant way. Thus, the information that gained through the books will be of no use. In this way, these experiments that should be possible in a simple way will act as a catalyst to make your child show a high level of interest in different subjects of science. Also, there is numerous way of cool science experiments for kids that are accessible over the internet.

Freezing water instantly

The majority of the children will know that the point of freezing water is 0 degree Celsius and boiling of water is 100 degrees Celsius. When I’m keen on giving my kids a practical example that will make it work for them to learn about various aspects in depth. There is some cool experiment which can be performed to fulfill this purpose.

Take a breaker loaded with ice and another container that will contain water. With the help of the agent which will be of good use in conducting the freezing point of water little lesser, water will be changed over into ice in a quick way. This experiment will add an extraordinary level of delight to kids. Kids will be puzzled to think about its aspect. There will likewise be a free manual that will give enough points of interest to understand this idea in a more prominent way.

Learning about the magnetic effect

To make my children learn about the natural poles which are available in the earth’s magnetic field. There will be some straightforward experiment that can carry merely.

Planting and Rocks

My kids were fascinated with gardening. As babies they loved digging and plant the seed and would get extremely energetic to pick the fruits and vegetable, sometimes pulling excessively or yanking the plant out now and then. Then when they get older they got more seasoned they were entranced with how the seed turned into a plant just by the sun, water, and dirt. Rocks, is other thing that my child would regularly say. He adored rocks so much it was bewildering. So we got a plastic tote around six inches high and filled it with variety of smooth rocks with different sizes.

There are so many fun activities to do with your kids! It just takes motivation from the parents to dedicate your lives to being more active and less sedentary. You can do it parents, your kids depend on you!

 

Tech-free Parenting: It’s Not For the Faint of Heart, But Worth Every Sacrifice

Last year, former Google Executive Tristan Harris came out and did a Ted Talk called “How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day,” further propelling a movement, wherein parents and citizens concerned about the measures by which tech companies utilize technology to compete for consumers’ attention have begun spreading awareness about the harmful effects of technology on the human brain. For three years, Tristan was a Design Ethicist at Google, and his job was to figure out how to design technology platforms in a way that “ethically” steers the thoughts and actions of billions of people through screens. He was responsible for developing the framework that would make technology compelling, addictive and disruptive enough to compete for market share of the attention of the masses.

We are seeing the negative results of this underlying most of the issues we face today as a society, notwithstanding the mental health state of those being affected, which is at the root of issues surrounding violence, intolerance, crime and in severe cases, suicide, among other societal ills.

Learning disabilities and disorders such as autism are on the rise. What’s more, two diagnosable disorders debuted in this year’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM, often referred to as “the psychiatrist’s Bible”) – video gaming addiction and Selfitis, which is the addiction to taking and posting selfies.

Tech companies have made their way into living rooms, bedrooms, classrooms, and nearly every aspect of our lives, and these companies spend billions of dollars to hook our children in while they’re young in order to psychologically program their minds into becoming customers for life. This phenomenon has spurred a growing number of Silicon Valley tech executives to limit, and sometimes outright ban, screen time for their children. This has been going on for years. Even the late Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2012, limited his daughter’s technology use after he realized she was developing an unhealthy addiction to a game.

There are a growing number of low-tech schools, which focus on utilizing experience-based and analog learning techniques in place of technology-based programs. These schools focus on teaching kids things like empathy, collaboration, creativity and imagination, and the results with these children achieving greater success, getting along with one another and being happier overall, are contributing to growing evidence of the benefits of limiting the use of technology among children.

Even though awareness about the dangers of technology, especially to children, continues to spread, there isn’t really a role model to show us how to actually go about raising children without it, which makes acting on what we know extremely challenging for parents. That’s why I’ve decided to navigate the challenges and the moving parts that all need to work together in order to successfully raise technology-free children, first hand.

While the average American home has a television set in every room, my children have never seen a movie. At the ages of 4 and 18 months respectively, Adoniah and Kosta have never heard of Netflix, Snapchat or Candy Crush. I don’t rely on screens, or media of any kind, to entertain, pacify or influence my children. Because my husband and I have made the conscious decision to raise our children technology free, our lifestyle requires a high degree of intentionality that I hope to inspire in other parents through setting an example.

We live on acres in Bakersfield, CA with our dogs, cows and chickens. We have 2 gardens, where I’m planting vegetables, nuts, fruit and grains with the intent to become self-sufficient once we have all of our crops producing. My husband DT and I wanted to raise our children in the most optimal environment possible, so we moved from our home on a private golf course community and committed to this lifestyle out on the foothills, about an hour East of town. In my home, we have no television sets or tablets lying around.

Not only do today’s children have unprecedented access to negative influences via media, they’re being inundated with addictive stimuli at a rate so detrimental their development, there isn’t an aspect of their physical, emotional, mental or spiritual well being that goes unaffected by it.

Furthermore, technology fosters a debilitating form of entitlement, wherein they are taught to expect instant gratification, which ultimately leads to a decrease in their chances of success in life.

Because we know this, we work day in and day out to make sure that our kids enjoy the full benefits of their technology-free lifestyle.

Both Adoniah and Kosta absolutely love reading and playing outside. I read to them daily for a hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, and throughout the day, as they play “doctor,” “Sabbath School,” “campfire,” “tea party,” and other activities that use their imagination and creativity, Adoniah will pick up a book and start reading to Kosta, or Kosta will sit down and look at the pictures in the books on the bookshelf.

They can’t get enough outside playtime either! One of their favorite activities is going outside and just running! They love to play “horse race,” play on their swing set and jump in their bounce house. Because they aren’t being distracted with screens in front of them, they interact with each other so much throughout the day, and they’re learning the lost art of cooperation that will make them great leaders and team players in their life endeavors

Both of my kids are taking piano lessons and Adoniah is taking dance class. I also want each of them to learn Spanish.

I’m homeschooling Adoniah, and as part of her education, she is learning how to use Microsoft Word, Excel and how to google to find information. I’m teaching her how to use technology without allowing her to become dependent upon technology to think for her or entertain her, and I’ll do the same with Kosta.

This challenge of raising children without technology requires constant vigilance, and you as a parent have to significantly reduce your own use of technology in order for it to work.

I feel too many parents are putting themselves before their children and they don’t even realize it. I’m sure every parent experiences relief while their child is settled down, quietly watching a movie or playing a game, but as for my husband and I, we refuse to allow media to babysit our children. We know and believe that exposing children to all of the media we have available to us today has adverse effects on nearly every area of their lives.