Pescatarian Gone Vegan in College: My Journey Thus Far

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Pescatarian Gone Vegan in College: My Journey Thus Far

Hello Everyone! My name is Carolyn and I am a 19 year-old rising sophomore at Temple University studying Public Health with a minor in Spanish. My interest in health, nutrition, and overall well-being began around the end of my junior year of high school and into my senior year. At this point in my life, I had been a pescatarian for roughly 2 and a half years and had really started researching the nutritional aspects of the lifestyle. I became a pescatarian my sophomore year of high school due to my passion for animal welfare and as a stand against the cruelty of factory farming. I had always been an animal lover and found that as I grew older, I simply could not eat any more meat after reading and watching how animals are really treated in order to provide the human race with meat. Being a pescatarian was easy for me; now granted, my mom had been a pescatarian for 8+ years when I changed my diet so having another like-minded person in my family made it all the more easy when it came to dinner time and family parties. Sure I was the butt of several jokes from my friends and was faced with questions like “How can you not eat BACON?” or “Why do you care about animals so much? They’re meant for our consumption”. However, knowing how my actions were changing the lives of innocent animals while getting the word out to others was worth it all to me.
At the end of my senior year of high school, I watched the documentary Cowspiracy. Boy, how that documentary affected me. I’m sure you have heard of this eye-opening documentary but if you haven’t watched it yet I highly encourage you to do so. I, up until watching the documentary, would have liked to call myself an environmentalist. Like Kip Anderson, the maker of the documentary, I tried to take shorter showers and recycled everything and anything. I became known for recycling so much in my friend group at school that they would all hand me their water bottles throughout the day to recycle (why they could not do this themselves is beyond me, but that is besides the point). After watching the documentary, I felt like all of those years of doing my best to save water and reduce my carbon footprint were worth nothing. Sure it is a step in the right direction, but learning that animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental degradation was shocking. Why had I not known this before? And why was this only now being talked about after we have caused so much destruction to our Earth already? Many of the facts in the documentary speak of the difference that you can make by taking meat out of your diet. For example, in order to make one hamburger, you need 600 gallons of water. Pretty crazy right? So I being a pescatarian knew that I already was one step ahead of the average American. But I wanted to do more; for myself, for the animals, and, most importantly, for Mother Earth. The ultimate lesson learned from Cowspiracy is that the most sustainable way to live on this Earth is to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. By going vegan, you can save 1,100 gallons of water, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, and ONE ANIMAL’S LIFE per day (cowspiracy.com).
Cowspiracy was the first of many other documentaries that I watched that I would like to say have changed my life. In February of this year, my freshman year of college at Temple, I decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. I had wanted to do so for a while, but was nervous for a couple of reasons. None of these reasons involved my health because I had done enough research on a plant-based life style and felt fully prepared to sustain a healthy diet. The first thing I was nervous about was telling my parents. I had talked to them about it before and though my mom is equally as passionate about animals and the environment as I am, she was never fully gung-ho of a vegan lifestyle. Her reasoning was another worry of mine: the social aspect of a vegan lifestyle. When I told her that I was beginning to adopt a vegan lifestyle, she said the same thing she had said before, “It is really hard to be a vegan and go out with friends who aren’t vegan”. She told me what I didn’t want to hear but knew was true. It can be a little isolating. Whether you want to be that burden on someone or not as a vegan, it does happen sometimes. When you go out with friends, they might worry that the restaurant they picked won’t have vegan options for you, or that you won’t be able to find more than one option, etc. Friends might stop inviting you over for dinners because they don’t want to have to cook a whole separate meal or take the butter out of the recipe to accommodate “the vegan”. All of the things she said were all of my own concerns as well, and made my decision of adopting this lifestyle a little nerve-racking.
But then I took a step back. I said to myself, if this is the lifestyle I want, then I am going to live it. Sure, there will be times that are harder than others, and restaurants that won’t always have enough options, and friends that may find your choice of the spinach salad over the bacon cheeseburger weird, but in the end it is all worth it. I know that I am living a life that I believe in and that I am proud of. And frankly, true friends and family will accept your lifestyle. They may not want to do the same with their own, but that’s okay. Something that I have always said when people ask me about veganism is that it is my own choice and I am not here to force someone else to adopt the same lifestyle as my own. I will gladly educate my friends, family, and strangers on why I have chosen the lifestyle that I live and why it is ultimately the most sustainable way to live, but I will never make someone feel bad about their choices because they are not the same as my own. I do this because I don’t like when others make fun of or impose their lifestyle on mine, so why would I do the same?
So now onto the fun stuff: being a vegan in college. More specifically, being a vegan in the amazing vegan-friendly city of Philadelphia! Philly is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the country with popular places all over like Vedge, The Vegan Tree, Blackbird Pizzeria, and my personal favorite, HipCityVeg. There are so many fun and delicious vegan options when I head into the city for the day or just ride the subway in from campus for dinner. With that being said, I do have to eat on campus sometimes as well. The last three months of my freshman year I was a vegan and found that eating on meal plan was relatively easy. There were enough options that I could use up my meal swipes on things like big salads at the dining hall, vegetable sushi, vegetable wraps, and tofu burrito bowls. Any meals I didn’t eat on meal plan were either eaten in my room, like my personal favorite of avocado toast, or eaten in the city, like a Ziggy Burger and a Groothie from HipCityVeg.

All in all, my vegan journey so far has been pretty great, and I would definitely say that if you are a college student interested in a vegan lifestyle and whether it is possible whether it is possible or not I have one thing to say: it is! I have never felt healthier, not only in my body, but in my mind and soul as well. My family members and friends have been incredibly supportive and accepting and I have found a new passion for spreading the word on the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. I can’t wait to continue this journey and hopefully incorporate it into my career in Public Health. I’m so incredibly lucky to be a part of such an amazing organization and can’t wait to see the success that the Groothie will bring to the health of the public. I’ll be writing more blogs in the future as well so I hope you all enjoyed this first piece!

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Acne No More

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Acne No More

My name is Renee. I wanted to share with you the impact that green smoothies and the live food lifestyle has had on me. Let me just give you some insight into the kind of girl I was this past year. Last year I was a freshman in high school. I truly was your typical teenager. I was in a constant battle with my parents about every little thing that I could possibly think of. I lied to them to be able to attend high school “parties.” I experimented with drinking and smoking. I was always trying to be in the “cool” clique. I cared extensively about my physical appearance and was never satisfied. I was annoyed easily by my friends and talked about one to another thinking that would solve the problem of the other being annoying in the first place. It did not. I was convinced that I was invincible and could never get hurt. Hurt in the sense that I would never get kidnapped, robbed, or assaulted like my parents always said to be careful about. I went through a cycle of depression and hated everyone. I was involved in sports but only for social status reasons. I was smart but had no care for school. I received straight B’s and B-’s my freshman year and I don’t remember ever studying for one test. I talked in class continuously and always was given negative comments on my report card about being a distraction. My teacher for English was so upset with me that she insisted that I go to get tested for ADD. The test came back negative. I would read an entire book and could not tell you one thing about it except for a vague plot analysis (I also hated reading to begin with). My relationship with my family and also extended family was very weak. I never took interest in any of my other family member’s lives and had at least one fight a day with my sisters. In the summer of 2009 though, all of this was about to change. 

I found a website that promoted raw live foods to help clear acne which was starting to slowly plague me. I could never thank that acne enough for appearing when it did, for if it hadn’t, my life would be totally different. So, after this discovery I slowly started to transfer onto the raw diet. By October 19, 2009, I was eating a 100% raw diet. At first, I dropped weight rapidly. I think that every ounce of fat on my body was eliminated within the first month or two. I am 5’6” and was 120 lbs but now am about 112 lbs and my weight never fluctuates. My skin is flawless and so soft that if someone touches my arm or face, they always are in awe and then touch me again. I am happy with my body and wouldn’t change anything about it. I have shunned drinking and smoking, not because of the ads you see on TV, but because of that fact that I truly do not want to harm my body. I never talk about other people now because no one annoys me to give me a reason to. I attend parties but never without talking to my parents before and after about it. I am not worried or feel any need to try to be part of a clique. I dress and act like myself. I am more aware about my surroundings and know how avoid and handle bad situations. I have more focus than I have ever had and am driven to do well in school. I have received grades ranging from 87 to 100 percent. I started taking notes in class, which I had never done before. I am in love with reading and read whenever I don’t have homework. I am currently reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I look forward to getting assigned a paper to write and have become a fantastic writer. My thoughts are much clearer and easier to express through words. I am never tired. I go to sleep at 11 and my body wakes up at 6:00 or 6:30. I love my parents and talk to them everyday. I don’t ever fight with them. My sister and I talk about her 7th grade drama. I don’t stick my nose up at her and call her lame for liking Zac Efron anymore. She shares with me everything. I felt so warm and thankful when being with my whole extended family over winter break. I have higher sports stamina and can easily sprint for a long distance after not running for a month. I am not depressed anymore and sometimes even have outbursts of joy and bliss. I drink a green smoothie everyday and am totally obsessed with them. I drink 40 oz+ every day. I am suddenly interested in history and art, two topics I would have vomited at the thought of taking last year. I am interested in astronomy, ancient cultures, Greek mythology, biology, physics, art history, evolution, and creation. Last year the only interest I had was about whose house I was going to go to that weekend and what boys would be there. I enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the snow. Last year I was ecstatic about the idea of only having to take 4 majors for senior year. Now I am trying to convince my school to let me take 6. Last year I declared myself atheist for the simple reason of rebelling against my parents. Now I am open to all religions and searching for the one best for me. I am constantly enthralled by the skill of language, the comprehension, and the roots being so deeply linked to the culture. I want to travel the world and be involved with helping others experience the mental enlightenment that I have. The world has opened up to me and I am ready to embrace it. I must sound insane for a sixteen-year-old girl, but this is now my mentality about life. 

Green smoothies complimented by a raw food life style, has turned my world upside down. When I come home I plan to get my friends involved so they can understand what it truly feels like to be a 100% healthy and happy human being. I like to imagine what it would be like if everyone in the world was in this mental state. There wouldn’t be any murders or rapes, drunk driving crashes, drug smuggling, kidnapping, stealing, deceiving, or lying. Everyone would be at peace because there wouldn’t be any jealously or cruelty. The human race would work harder toward preserving their environment because they would realize that this is their only home. I know that this is a far-fetched idea to happen in my lifetime, but I believe that one day, the posters will changed from “got milk?” to “got green?” I am a whole new person from the girl I was back in June and I hope to change the world with my discovery. I thank you so very much for taking the time to read my experience with raw food and green smoothies and hope that it opened your mind to the possibilities and wonders of just changing your ways of eating.

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Reversing Diabetes

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Reversing Diabetes

A little less than a year ago I was a 52 year old, hypertensive, type II diabetic. Although my high blood pressure was well controlled with two antihypertensive medications, my blood sugar had been creeping higher and higher. Despite taking another two medications for my diabetes, my fasting blood sugars were averaging in the 130′s and 140′s. I thought the dreaded insulin syringe, my father’s scourge, was in my future. 

I’m a Nurse Practitioner. I knew my life expectancy was seven years less because of my diabetes than it would otherwise be. Just because of diabetes I had the same risk of having a heart attack as someone who had already had one heart attack. As a male, 5’8″ and 170 lbs I didn’t really look fat. My BMI just made it into the overweight range. I almost never ate concentrated sweets. I jogged about five miles, three times a week. It seemed kind of unfair.

On the other hand, I pigged out on pizza, steaks and pasta. More and more I would find myself eating until I was so full I was uncomfortable. I was starting to realize I was not in control of my diet and, in a sense, my life. 

I never even tried to go on a diet because I simply could not tolerate being hungry. If losing weight meant being hungry, it just would never happen. I was stuck. But there was a bright spot. My daughter Samantha is vegan. She introduced me to excellent vegan food, allowing me to experience the complexity and variety of plant based foods, which just blows away anything that comes from an animal. Hmm… Then she introduced me to my first green smoothie. That did it! I knew right away that I could enjoy that taste every day. And since that day that’s exactly what I’ve done, every day. 

Interestingly, the green smoothies made it possible for me to become vegan. I simply didn’t need the starches and the fat to feel satisfied! I found GetRealGetRaw and other web sites and books. I started doing the research and learning the things that we medical professionals don’t learn in school. I came to realize that carbohydrates in the form of bread and pasta are addictive-the more you eat, the more you want. They are so nutrient poor that you have to get stuffed to feel satisfied. 

The fruits, and especially the leafy greens in my smoothie satisfied my body’s nutrient needs, eliminating my carb craving. Also, my tastes changed. Instead of craving animal fat and pasta, now it’s freshness that turns me on. It’s hard to describe the sensation of freshness. You know it when you experience it.

At first I was skeptical when I began to hear claims that diabetes could be reversed by a raw diet, although I saw the logic of a raw diet for diabetes. One of the most important keys to reversing diabetes is to eliminate anything made from flour from your diet. My research showed that a raw diet is probably the best one for diabetes. 

But I also adopted this diet because it tasted good and made me feel good. And I started to lose weight without trying. As a vegan, approximately 50% raw, I lost about 1-2 pounds per week. I never experienced any of the detox symptoms that some people have described.

I decided to set a weight goal of 145 lbs. I reached that goal after about five months. But well before that I was able to get off all four of my medications for the first time in the six years since my diagnosis. Losing 25 pounds was great, but reversing diabetes and hypertension, that’s priceless.

With fasting blood sugars in the 90′s and a systolic blood pressure around 110 I’m doing far better than I ever did on medications. I haven’t been at this weight since my early twenties. 

I’m amazed when I think how I created my own illness over a period of thirty years, over the course of my whole life, really. Despite my training, or perhaps because of it, I blamed my illness on my genes. I wasn’t that fat, I didn’t eat sweets and I exercised vigorously. What else could it be? Yeah, right.

Now I like to think I’m earning back at least a few years of healthy life expectancy. It feels good, really good! 

Keep it up Lisa. Spread the word. You and Samantha helped me change my life, and I thank you both with all my heart.

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You're Never Too Old

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You're Never Too Old

My goodness, what a difference a year can make. Oh, I am the same Bob Miller, still Daddy of the same daughters etc., but I have now gained (or loss) a year. At age 90, I have now lost an additional 26 pounds-that’s right, a total of 35 overweight pounds. But there is lots more to tell, besides the significant, and very welcome, downsizing. I am getting used to the “You look Wonderful” remarks. Fact is-they are right. What can I say? But that is not what I want to Crow about.

In the Spring, my doctor took me off (after countless years) my Metamucil. Said I didn’t need it. A few months later, he stopped my Purple Pill, after taking many years following Tums by the box full (Alleluia, never another heartburn). He cut one of my blood pressure pills in half, and then shortly thereafter, cut that half in half again. Bottom-line, I am down to my Celebrex for arthritis and the remaining blood pressure medicine. Almost forgot one baby aspirin.

You’ll note that my letter a year ago, understandably talked about me being somewhat cynical. Not anymore. My cholesterol is 116, my blood pressure, heart beat, lungs, thyroid, liver,: and the rest of those goodies, every one of them, within their target limits. Dr. says I am the healthiest ninety-year-old patient he has. I was so elated, I forgot to ask him if I was the only one he had. I told him I had a smoothie for breakfast, one for lunch with part of a sandwich, and my regular meal with a glass of wine in the evening. I asked him if that was the formula that was making me so healthy. He said he did not know, and frankly did not too much care, but for me to keep on doing exactly the same thing. And I am, and intend to continue. I have no reason to change. I finally got used to Green (that wasn’t easy),now like them very much and miss them when I travel.

All reasonable people could easily agree that the foregoing recited benefits should be much more than enough to induce the most cynical to Jump on Board. But in my case, in addition to getting up and moving around a lot more sprightly (to see where I really spend my time, check web site www.Millersvets.com) I have one other item, which to me is HUGE. I have been getting up in the night for bathroom visits at least one time, frequently two times and occasionally three times each night. This pattern persisted for probably 60 years or more. For most of those years I have routinely taken one over the counter sleeping pill when I go to bed, and lay out a second one to help me go back to sleep after a bathroom visit. You will never guess, but for the last three or four months, I have never taken the second pill-I sleep all night long. What has caused that fantastic phenomenon? Who cares? It is simply a fact.

If I did not mention it in my first letter, I ride the bike with the moving handle bars every morning for 12 minutes, been doing that for more than 40 years. I have added 4 to 5 minutes additional on the Rebounder(mini trampoline with a bar). On balance, it makes me watch the news every morning. The only way I know to keep healthy with all the bad news being reported 24/7.

Suppose it won’t hurt me to say thanks to my daughter’s for shaming me into the Smoothly Program. Better say thanks to my nurse Eva for keeping me in. She can mix a Smoothie blindfolded. Piece of advise; don’t bet against me writing another letter a year from now.

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Founder's Story

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Founder's Story

I wanted to share with you a little of my story.  Nearly 5 years ago, my daughter decided, that after searching the internet for a “natural acne solution” , that she was going to go on this 6 week program of a mostly raw food diet.  I thought it was a bit extreme, but I decided to do it with her to be supportive.  We knew nothing of a raw food diet, had no previous knowledge of it and no expectations, except that it should help my daughter’s acne. 

At the time, I was nearly crippled with arthritis.  I had had my right knee replaced a few years earlier and my left was in need of replacement at that time.  We had just installed an elevator in our home because I could barely climb stairs.  After just 4 weeks into the raw food diet, we flew out to CO to visit my sister and I forgot my arthritis medicine, which I could not get out of bed without.  I thought I probably had a day or two before the meds were out of my system and I wouldn’t be able to walk.  But it never happened.  From that day forward I have never taken another arthritis pill, Alieve, or Tylenol,  nothing. 

This was my wake up call.  It was such an “in my face” message that it is ALL about food.  It is as much about what you do eat as what you don’t eat. 

It was at about week 6 that I knew that I could not be happy with my new found health, unless I shared what I had learned and experienced with everyone I could reach.  That was when I decided to create Get Real Get Raw.

I had NEVER heard that arthritis was reversible, but I want you add two words to your vocabulary today.  Raw Foods.  Foods that are eaten in their whole, natural, uncooked and unprocessed state.  They contain all the minerals and vitamins that ours bodies need to thrieve and function.  I encourage everyone of you to google search “Raw Foods…. “ cancer, diabetis, athletes, IBS, autism.  There is a World of information out there on the healing powers of raw foods.  Every single person who has gone on a raw food diet has an incredible story of healing to share.  Most people discover raw foods when they are very ill or a family member is very ill.  I don’t want people to wait until then.

Although I believe in the power of a raw food diet when you are very ill, our goal is not to recruit raw foodist but do want to educate people on the healing power of raw foods.  Every single raw food that you add to your daily diet is powerful and important and adding GREENS is the real magic.  Just adding one organic green smoothie like the Groothie, to your day is a huge big deal and a giant step forward.

The Standard American Diet today consists of mostly processed junk, not real food that truly feeds our bodies.  When I started GRGR, I worked on creating an easy, delicious way to provide the body with a powerful dose of real honest nutrients and that was the beginning of the Groothie.  Greens are the perfect food and when they are blended, they are medicinal and healing.  I wanted to find a way to get people to consume more greens and that is by adding them to a fruit smoothie. 

Since I created the Groothie, I have heard countless stories of improved health from diabeties, arthritis, ADD …by simply making a healthy green smoothie a part of their everyday life.

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