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The Conscious Crusader Issue #3 -- Your newsletter for healthy, cruelty-free, and sustainable living
June 13, 2011

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the Conscious Crusader!



The Conscious Crusader

It's June and summer is finally here! As nature has fully awakened it’s time for lighter, fresher meals and more eco-conscious living



This month we have these great tips, stories, and recipes for you:




Welcome to the Conscious Crusader's June Edition



Summer in Las Vegas can be unbearably hot as early as May, but so far we've been lucky with our brisk winds and surprising low temps in the 70s and 80s. That may be a welcome effect for now, but overall it's alarming, as we see odd and severe weather patterns everywhere around us.

Just recall the devastating floods in Louisiana that had such a high toll on life, while the state next door, Texas, was battling the fiercest wildfires they have seen in years. While tornados are not new to Alabama, they were excessively more violent this year. And Germany, my home country that hasn't seen a tornado in its history, is now threatened by this weather phenomenon too.

Yes the climate change is for real and measures to reverse the damage we do to our planet are not optional - they are a question of survival for every living being. If you have the resolve to make an impactful difference, you can do VERY much - by selecting the right from the wrong of the many choices that life offers you every day.

Someone recently asked me how it would help the environment if he eats less meat, since that meat is already dead and cooked in front of him anyway, whether he eats it or not? I told him that he can make an enormous difference, even if he starts to eat less meat at first, like skipping meat one day a week. To illustrate that I gave him some comparisons:
  • Did you know that we would take half a million cars off US roads in terms of greenhouse gas savings if every American would skip meat just one day per week?

  • Are you aware that not eating 1 pound of beef will save as much water as not taking a shower for an entire year?


There are many more surprising facts on how your food choices impact the environment: Going Green with Food


Vegans in Vegas here in May was a blast and I met many fascinating people during this 3-day conference, like the amazing Jim Morris, a vegan bodybuilding star who looks better at age 75 than most men I know in their twenties! Watch out for an interview that I am planning with Jim soon!

I also met Dr. Richard Oppenlander, who has researched the impact of our food choices on the environment since the 70s. He recently released a new environmental must-read: Comfortably Unaware - Global Depletion and Food Responsibility. Dr. Oppenlander is one of the most inspirational people I met, and his message is important and hugely compelling. Stay tuned for my interview with him that I will release in this newsletter.




Latest Green Living Trends - Indulge and Preserve all at once!


green beer

If you are a wine lover like me you will like this new green trend: wine corks can be reused too! A program called ReCork, sponsored by Portuguese corkmaker Amorim, collects old wine corks from all over the world and remakes them into flooring tiles, building insulation, and more.

While you can also create beautiful artwork with your gathered corks, these guys recycle and reuse them on a grand scale - they have already collected 16 million corks and put them back to useful work. So tell all your wine-drinking friends to start collecting! Here is more info.

Green beer? Yes and not only on St Patrick's day! A few US breweries make beer drinking easier on the planet with their admirable sustainability practices.

Here are our picks for "greener beer"

  • New Belgium Brewery in Colorado, which became the first brewery in the US to employ wind-powered energy in 1999, plus they use the methane created by beer making for their heat and power engine. In addition, they use old kegs as tabletops and sun tubes for lighting.
  • Odell Brewing Company in Colorado adjusts their production to save energy at peak times and uses six-pack holders made of recycled paper.
  • The large brewery Coors is also surprisingly green, and they have been for 50 years. They were among the first to offer a "1cent per can" recycling incentive to customers. They process and recycle their own wastewater and sell huge amounts of ethanol to refineries.
  • Brooklyn Brewery on the East Coast is run by 100% sustainable wind power and cares for the reuse of its organic waste.
  • Sierra Nevada Brewery in California uses four new fuel cells to lower their emissions, and they have one of the largest fuel cell installations in the US.


Organic beer means that the barley, hops, malted grains used for fermentation are grown organically without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which pollute our water, air, and soil. Organic beers are often also vegan, which means they don’t use animal byproducts for clarifying the beer.

Here are some great US breweries that create organic beers: Alameda Brewing Co, Ambacht Brewing, American Brewing Co, Beetje Brewery, Bison Organic Beers, Porches Brewing Co, Deschutes Brewery, Eel River Brewing Co, Dogfish, Fish Tale Organic Ales, Fort George Brewery, Mate Veza, New Belgium, Pike Brewing Co, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, and many more.


Choose a sustainable and cruelty-free sunscreen



Many chemicals are used in making commercial sunscreen, and while these are often bad for your own health, they don't help the planet either. You can opt for a sunscreen that is sustainable and cruelty-free, which means it has not been tested on animals because it does not use any chemicals that pose toxicity risks. Here are some great choices to explore:

  • Herbtrader has an excellent choice of multiple natural cruelty-free sunscreen products, and most of them are organic certified too. I believe in Herbtrader and their quality products, and that is why Herbtrader is one of my affiliates. I will be totally honest with you here: if you click on the link and buy a Herbtrader product I will earn a small commission. You can believe me that I will only recommend a company that I use and trust myself, and which has products of very high quality. Try them out if you like.
  • >

  • Purple Prairie Botanicals has mostly organic products and adheres to strong quality requirements. All their products are vegan, cruelty-free, GMO free, petroleum free, etc. They are also a zero waste company.

  • KINeSYS makes certified green and vegan sunscreens sold in 100% recyclable bottles and produced by wind power generated energy. This sunscreen is great for athletes and very active people.
  • >

  • Alba Organics Sunscreen uses 70% certified organic ingredients, is fully vegan, and does not test on animals.
  • >

  • Trader Joe's Face and Body Sunscreen is a very affordable green and cruelty-free sunscreen for the entire family.




Green Events & Vegan Events Calendar – June / July 2011

We compiled the most complete list of Green Events and Vegan Events in the US, so check here and find the best event in your city or near you in June and July 2011.




Featured recommended product of the month: Comfortably Unaware - the new environmental must-read


Comfortably Unaware Book Cover

I was lucky to meet Dr. Oppenlander during our Vegans in Vegas conference in May. His presentation was excellent, honest, and hard-hitting with facts that everyone should know: our food choices are responsible for the fast growing global depletion of all our natural resources like land, water, air/atmosphere, food supply, energy reserves, biodiversity, and our own health.

Simply said: what we choose to eat is killing our planet.

With his book Comfortably Unaware and his speaking engagements, Dr. Oppenlander uses a unique style to point out serious inefficiencies, common myths, and unsustainable practices in our current food production systems, and how these are applied by industry and government to keep the public in the dark and the profit interests of business soaring.

He challenges his audience to take look at all inter-related aspects of food, and to question and verify the often biased and censored information that reaches the public about the impact that food production has on everything on this planet: humans, animals, and the environment we live in.

Comfortably Unaware is a must-read for everyone who wants to do more for the planet than sit around and wait for affordable clean energy or hope for government initiatives.

It is entirely possible to stop and even reverse the disastrous impact that we have on our environment: just start by taking a look at your plate.




Health News of the Month: The skinny on latest GMO foods - now monster milk?


No GMO logo

After Franken-salmon we now have gene-manipulated alfalfa sprouts, and more monstrosities are already on the way. Since our so-called oversight agencies for food safety are fully in the hands of agricultural biotechnology monopolist Monsanto, it came as no surprise that the latest artificial mutation in food was imposed on a non-suspecting public in record time.

In 2010 we were introduced to genetically modified salmon when AquaBounty Technologies applied for fish spawned from genetically engineered salmon eggs to be allowed as food. These super salmons grow in half the time and all year round through combined growth genes from three fish breeds. It makes this salmon the first genetically modified organism (GMO) available for human consumption. While the creator company claims that most of these salmons will be infertile and chances for cross-breeding with wild fish are minimal, even the FDA itself has doubts.

Also, endangered Wild Atlantic Salmon is one of the fish used for the gene combo, and serious salmon breeding could further damage our freshwater, while yet again, creating a monopoly for just one company. While this new food mutation inches closer to approval, at least a few states enact bills to require labels - but not bans - for the product, which is the absolute minimum, because it will allow consumers to nip it in the butt - as they did successfully before with GMO potatoes in 2006-2008.

Now we have GMO alfalfa The latest Monsanto GMO attack is the alfalfa sprout, planted on 20 millions acres in the US to first and foremost feed dairy cattle. The White House announced in January 2011 that they authorize unrestricted commercial utilization of genetically modified alfalfa, after a fierce debate where Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack famously stood up for protecting organic farms, by mandating restricted growth of the franken-alfalfa to protect organic farmers from biotech contamination. He failed, as the government yet again bent over to let profit interests rule the day.

While Vilsack claims that he will continue his fight for a choice of farmers, I predict that his chances are slim, as Monsanto is determined to broaden their already overreaching monopoly into other areas, an easy chore with the US government being a willful puppet in their hands. This means we will likely see organic alfalfa farms disappear, as cross-contamination from nearby GMO farms is likely, which means the end to their organic claim.

And what's up with the news about monster milk? The latest news comes from cow's milk again, which has now been genetically "improved" with human genes to make cow's milk more digestible to lactose intolerant consumers, which are a whopping 75% of the worldwide population.

In China, where the GMO experiment took place to make cow's milk more like human mother's milk, the population is almost 90% lactose intolerant. So clearly, the dairy industry that has penetrated this former dairy-shunning country is eager to pull out all stops to sell their products in this huge new growth market.

It is only a question of time when the "humanized cow's milk" may hit other markets, and given their history of approval for ridiculously hazardous foods in the past, one can only assume that the USDA and FDA will not hesitate long to serve up human breast milk-like dairy products once they get a chance. Did you need another reason for avoiding dairy products? Here it is!

Read more on altered foods




Hot New Recipe on Belsandia.com

Raw Carrot Fennel Salad with Mint and Black Basil Seeds

raw carrot fennel salad

This salad is raw, flavorful, juicy, crunchy, tangy, and everything else it should be! It's an easy, fast summer salad that can be prepared in 15 minutes. The carrots have a lot of fiber, so this salad is also a great filler for a light lunch along with a yummy vegan sandwich wrap.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 12 medium carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
  • 6 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp flax oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp unprocessed sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • ˝ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 2 tsp black basil seeds

Directions:

Combine the carrots, mint, green onions, and fennel in a large bowl. In a jar, combine lemon juice, oil, salts, pepper, basil seeds; cover and shake. Pour over salad and toss gently.




Global Veg Food Specialty –
India: Maha Barath’s Delights!


Spicy Indian Lemon Rice

Indian Lemon Rice


This spicy lemon rice is a light dish that you can enjoy just by itself, or as side dish with curries and dals. Try it with fresh soy yogurt and a side or fresh raw veggies as a light and very tasty summer lunch!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 dried red chili peppers, broken into large pieces
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 fresh green chilies, chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


Directions:

1. Boil the rice on the stove or in a pressure cooker. 2. Once the rice is close to be done, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Close the lid, as the seeds will pop when they get hot, which could lead to burns. 3. Then add the dried peppers, urad dal, and fenugreek seeds. Let it fry for about 30 seconds. 4. Next, add the peanuts, curry leaves, green chili, turmeric powder and let it fry for another half minute. 5. Add the boiled rice once it’s done and turn off the heat. Add salt if needed to taste, and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve this wonderful savory lemon rice with a side of soy yogurt or fresh crisp vegetables, like cucumbers and tomatoes. These will make a welcome cooling addition to your hot and spicy Indian lemon rice.


Indian Chaat Bhel Puri - a great fresh snack for anytime of the day

Bhel Puri Chaat

Chaat is a collective term for a vast range of very yummy Indian snacks, usually made with some kind of crunchy puffed rice, pappadum, or cracker, and then mixed with fresh cut veggies and a variety of juicy chutneys, like tamarind and mint chutney. You can also add a spoon of soy yogurt on top to mellow down the spice level of this vegan delight.

In India you can see people munching a plate of crunchy juicy chaat at almost every street corner. It's easy to make at home and it could become your new favorite summer snack!

This dish serves 4

Ingredients for chaat:

  • 4 cups of puffed rice
  • 2 cups sev (readily available in Indian grocery stores)
  • 2 cups papadums broken (or other crispy breads or chips)
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups boiled chopped potatoes
  • 4 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for green chutney:
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 5-6 green chilies
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Grind the above items to a fine paste by adding required water



Directions:

Mix puffed rice, sev, and broken papadum in a large bowl. Add chopped onions, tomato, boiled potato, add required green and tamarind chutney.

Mix well and garnish with sev and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.




Amazing Animal Story of the Month


Second Beagle Rescue from LA Test Labs!

Beagle Frida


If you have read last month's Beagle Rescue story from an LA test lab you will be delighted to hear that the rescue group ARME has been able to rescue more beagles just a few days ago: nine in total!

The dogs were bred specifically for the research facility, a test lab in an LA university, where they have been put through invasive tests for years. They have never set foot outside their cages - ever. They never felt the grass under their paws or played with a ball. Dogs in research also get debarked to spare the lab staff the “nuisance” of barking.

Nine more of these beautiful dogs have just been handed over to Shannon Keith's rescue organization ARME, which stands for Animal Rescue, Media & Education. Shannon has rescued animals that were on LA shelter death rows with her non-profit for many years.

The nine rescued beagles are now learning to behave like dogs. It is heart-wrenching at first and then very heart-warming when you watch them hesitate to get out of their open cages, as they were never allowed outside before, and then finally take their first cautious steps onto the green grass.

Read the full story and share into the joy of watching these loving dogs be happy for the first time in their lives! Watch the new rescue video from June 2011, which was covered by the local Los Angeles media and enjoyed by animal lovers nationwide.




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Thanks so much for reading the Conscious Crusader and join me again next month for a new edition with green living tips, hot new recipes, global veg specialties, animal stories, health tip of the month, and more!

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