Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Getting Involved - Local Food Happenings in Tempe and Arizona

Getting Involved - Local Food Happenings in Tempe and Arizona

There is a groundswell happening in the world of food and nutrition. People are becoming aware that something is amiss with what is happening to our food supply and our environment.  As people begin to realize that truly natural nutrient dense food and vibrant good health go hand in hand they are looking for ways to change the way food is being grown and produced. Instead of sitting back and feeling helpless, it is time for all of us to get out there and make a difference.

So often, people think that they have to search far and wide to make a difference in the world. When we become aware and look around, there are plenty of activities and opportunities in our own backyard to impart real and significant changes in our food supply. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are one of the hottest nutritional topics out there right now. There are some exciting opportunities coming up in Tempe (and Phoenix) over the next couple of months that offer educational and volunteer opportunities regarding GMOs and other pivotal nutritional topics.

13th Annual Local to Global Food Justice Forum (March 1-2, 2014)

Next weekend ASU will be hosting the 13th Annual Local to Global Food Justice Forum and Festival. Local to Global Justice is a student-founded group at ASU dedicated to educating people about topics concerning local and global justice. This year’s event theme is Food Justice. The event is free. The event will feature workshops throughout the day, panel discussions, keynote speakers, kids’ activities, entertainment and free vegan lunch. 

There are sure to be great discussions about the global and local food systems, social injustice in the food and agriculture industry and connections between food and health. It would be fair to assume that if you are searching for more ways to get involved in making a difference locally and globally, resources will abound at this event.

Right to Know Arizona (Ongoing)

Right to Know Arizona has introduced a ballot initiative they are hoping to get included on the November 2014 ballot. The initiative has been drafted to require the labeling of GMO’s in Arizona. In 2012 California had a similar initiative (Prop 37) on the ballot. Monsanto, Dow and the Grocery Manufacturers association spent millions of dollars to successfully defeat the bill in California.
In 2013 a sadly similar scenario played out in Washington State. According to an article in Bloomburg Businessweek, The Grocery Manufacturing Association doled out over 11 million dollars to defeat Initiative 522. In both campaigns the argument used by the food manufacturers was that having to rework their labels would be costly and those costs would be passed on to consumers. This argument is absurd and weak. Labels are changed at the drop of a hat when a company wants to promote things such as the latest popular movie or holidays to increase sales. These companies and organizations have a lot of power and money. For this reason it is even more important for people to get involved…and lots of them. 

Right to Know needs enthusiastic and passionate volunteers to help get the word out about the initiative. They will need ideas and help for fund raising efforts. Unfortunately, a lot of money is needed to fight these giant biotech companies and lobbyist organizations.  They have a lot of money and political clout. Approximately 180,000 signatures must be collected by June in order for the initiative to make the ballot. That’s a lot of signatures to collect in a short amount of time. If you don’t have a lot of time to commit, that’s OK. Get out there for a few hours one day to help collect signatures. Post about the initiative on Twitter, Facebook and Pintrest. Every effort, no matter how big or small, matters.

To get involved:

Visit the Right to Know Arizona website @
Join the Right to Know AZ Meetup Group @
 March Against Monsanto – Phoenix/Tempe (May 24, 2014)

The May 24th march will be the 3rd event held in Tempe. The march is a peaceful demonstration aimed at educating people about the harmful effects of GMO’s on our bodies and our environment. It is a worldwide event that has been gaining momentum with marches being held all over the world.  This event has been helping raise awareness about what GMOs are and how they are having a drastic effect on the world. 

The March Against Monsanto was founded by Tami Canal, a mother of two daughters. She felt compelled to do something to protect the health of her two growing girls. The marches are held in over 52 countries on six continents. The media coverage has been sporadic at best. Networks could be in fear of losing big sponsorships from companies that sell products containing GMOs. Not one local media outlet covered the first Tempe march, not one. It is the individuals who have made this movement grow and expand. This is another way to act locally while thinking globally

To find out more about the March Against Monsanto:

Go to their website:
March Against Monsanto - Phoenix Facebook Page:

GMO Free Arizona (Ongoing)

GMO Free Arizona is a non-profit founded by Rachel Linden and Ariane Glazer. Their mission is simple. They want to provide information and education to folks in Arizona about the detrimental effects of GMOs on our environment, and our health. The work with a national group called GMO Action Alliance to continue the important mission of education people and supporting efforts to require labeling of GMO’s in our food.

They have an excellent website full of valuable information on GMOs. The resource section of the site is a goldmine of information on studies, articles, books, documentaries and websites all related to GMO education. The section called “About GMOs” features a very poignant video that provides a great deal of valuable information about some of the hot topics related to GMOs. 

GMO Free Arizona Website: 

Each and every one of us can do our part. We need to embrace our power to do good in our communities. We can and will make a difference to improve the quality of the food we eat and the environment. Together, we can support local farmers, businesses, environmental initiatives and so much more. Get out there: fire up your social media, hit the farmers markets, plant something, and talk to your friends, family and neighbors. You can make a difference.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Paths - New Beginnings - New Friends

Tonight I finished my very first of what I am sure will be many classes at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA). You know when you have one of those "Ah-ha" moments? That's what I have been having for the last 4 weeks. It's hard to say what is most inspiring: exciting ideas, new friends, the hope of a healthier future for everyone, spiritual awakenings. All of these ideas are going through my mind and spirit.

Sometimes we just need a reminder of what has been inside of us all along. For me it is the desire to make deeper connections with people, nature, community, mind, body, spirit and of course FOOD!

One of the concepts that I loved in this class was "SOUL" food: Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed and Local. This is my preferred method of eating and cooking honestly. Not that I don't occasionally love me some Vegannaise, Soy Curls, Daiya or Tofurkey, because you know I do! But like all processed foods, they really should be used minimally. So that, my dear readers, is one of the things I am going to try to improve upon for future cooking adventures. I look forward to sharing some SOUL food recipes and ideas with you as I venture down yet another path in this ever-changing life we live.

Tonight we had the amazing opportunity to share our nutritional models (basically our philosophy about holistic heath and nutrition) and a SOUL food potluck. I was psyched about the fact that everything at the potluck was pretty darn healthy. I ate a lot and still felt energized and not bogged down.

I didn't get a picture of my dish for the potluck. But I want to share the recipe. It is full of healthy, high fiber, nutrient dense goodness. It is stick to your ribs hearty and satisfying. For those of you in the cold weather, this is a perfect dish for those cold nights. For you busy folks, this one is a snap to toss in the crock pot and have it ready when you get home for dinner.

South of the Border Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Stew

Slow Cooker/One Dish
Gluten Free/Soy Free**/Corn Free/Vegan

Serves 8

1 large yellow onion, medium dice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1-teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (leaf)
¾ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
2 large garnet yams, peeled and diced to ½ inch (approx 4 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into bite sized pieces
1-28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices
4 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2/3 cup pearled barley
1 cup lentils (brown or green)
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
Juice from ½ fresh lemon (approx 1 tablespoon)

In medium sauté pan or non-stick iron skillet over medium high heat, heat oil and add diced onion. Sauté until onions soften and become slightly translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add chipotle powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Sauté until spices become fragrant, about one minute.

Place onion mixture, yams, carrots, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, barley and split peas in crock pot/slow cooker. Turn to low setting and cook for 8 hours until barley, split peas and vegetables are tender. The stew is meant to be a little soupy. If it is very thick, add a bit more broth.

Stir in cilantro and lemon juice just before serving.

**Can be soy free if soy free broth/broth powder is used.

Here some really local food right from our back yard. Sleep well!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Last Minute Ideas for the Big Game

Last Minute Superbowl Food Ideas

Today is the big day. Football fans everywhere will be partying and very hungry. So, maybe you haven't come up with your menu or dish yet. Hey, life gets busy, I get it. Most parties will be laden with animal product laden craziness. What's a plant based football fanatic to do? Here are some last minute ideas from posts past with links to the recipes!

I recently heard that Wing Sauce is the flavor of football. I couldn't be happier about that one! This recipes for Wingz and Wasabi Mayo is a perfect fit for the spread.

How about some Tempeh Reuben Sliders? These little morsels will be a touch down with your gridiron warriors.

Oh, how about Loaded Tots? Yeah, bake off some tots until crispy. Top off with Daiya cheddar, sliced grilled jalapenos and some chopped seitan bakon. Put back in a 424 oven for just a minute to two to make your cheeze melt. Sprinkle with sliced green onions. If you are feeling very indulgent, serve with vegan ranch.

I'm making my famous Sloppy Chipotle Jose's, but in slider form. I am making the 50/50 buns from American Vegan Kitchen in mini form and bringing lots of napkins! These travel well via crock pot if you are going to a party today.

I don't want to neglect the cold appetizers. This Special Spinach Artichoke Dip is always a huge hit. I like to serve it in a bread bowl to make it look extra fancy.

No matter which team your routing for, make sure you have delicious vittles to make the party a complete WIN!