Back to Back Issues Page
The Conscious Crusader Issue #8 -- Your newsletter for healthy, cruelty-free, and sustainable living
November 16, 2011

Welcome to the 8th edition of the
Conscious Crusader!



The Conscious Crusader



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







Welcome to the Conscious Crusader's November Edition!



Ina's Healthy Eating Tips



Ina cooks


This month I want to share some of my better kept secrets for a healthy life and a slim body that you can sustain for the long term. No, it's not another diet advice! (I have actually never done a diet in my life).

Winter is approaching and with it the colder weather and the craving for hot meals. These warm delicious dinners can even provide you with amazing health benefits if you simply know how to use your spices and herbs: Check out my Medicinal Herbs page and find out how Indian Curry can do wonders for your health.

The flip side of the cold season is that we may attract a flu or cold that is going round, but worry not: prevention and healing is super easy without drugs that make you drowsy and leave chemical residues in your body: there are some great foods that heal and repower your immune system fast. You may know some of these and others may surprise you: Foods that heal the flu and cold.

And now for the "slimming part" of my tips: there is no way around it - regular exercise is a must if you want to maintain a slim figure and keep fit into high age. And even more important: moving means you are exercising your muscles and organs, increase your blood circulation, and allow oxygen to reach every part of your body - and all of that is a prerequisite for long-term good health.

Don't worry if you don't like to go to the gym: I have listed a few healthy daily exercises that you can do anytime at home, even in front of your TV: Easy yoga and strength exercises that allow you to become firm and fit without much effort. No props are needed for these either!




Latest Green Living Trends - An Update on Clean Energy


solar power



Climate Change is an unfortunate reality and the largely man-made havoc that we are wreaking on our planet is showing its impact wherever we turn.

Currently the United States generates 45% of its electricity from coal-fired plants, 23% from natural gas, 20% from nuclear, 7% from hydropower, 2% from wind and 1% from oil, based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics, 2009. It is important to note that the US has significant resources in wind, solar and geothermal to meet all of its electrical needs several times over!

Our increasing demand for energy by a rapidly growing world population is leading to an incessant appetite for destruction, and our continued reliance on fossil fuels along with the reluctance to heavily push for cleaner technologies means that we may lose the run against time for survival on this planet. Joblessness, economic concerns, and the quicker turn-key solutions provided by established "dirty energy" are often cited as excuse to hang on to a short-sighted energy status-quo.

But there is hope if there is a will, and while I clearly believe that the best energy and planet saving method lies in the adaptation of a plant-based diet, those of us who want to green their lives with cleaner energy options can take a closer look at where the following non-carbon based renewable energy sources are today:

Wind Power: The conversion of wind energy into a useful energy form by means of wind turbines, wind mills, or wind pumps. In operation, the cost for producing a unit of energy is similar to that of new coal or natural gas installs. Wind power now has the capacity to generate 430 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, which is about 2.5% of worldwide electricity usage. Denmark is already producing 21% of its energy with wind power and Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Germany produce between 9-18%.


Solar Power: The conversion of sunlight into electricity either directly by using photovoltaics or indirectly by using concentrated solar power using lenses or mirrors. The installation cost is still very high, which currently prevents solar power from broader use, especially in the developing world. Of the available solar energy resources, less than 0.02% are sufficient to entirely replace fossil fuels and nuclear power as an energy source. Germany and Japan are the world’s largest consumers of photovoltaic energy.


Hydroelectric Power: Electricity generated by hydropower through the use of the gravitational force of flowing or falling water. It is currently the most widely used form of renewable energy. Hydroelectricity accounted for ca 16% of the world’s energy use and 76% of renewable energy use in 2010. The installation cost of hydroelectric plants are comparatively economical, however large reservoirs used for energy production can damage the surrounding ecosystem and lead to a loss of land. China is the largest hydropower producer in the world, followed by Canada in the West.


Geothermal Power: Generated by geothermal energy by use of dry steam power plants, flash steam power plants, and binary cycle power plants. Geothermal electricity generation is currently used in 24 countries, while geothermal heating is used in 70 countries. The US leads the world in geothermal energy production, followed by the Philippines and Indonesia.


Biomass or Biofuel: Fuel energy derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include those derived from biomass conversion, solid biomass, biogases, and liquid fuels. Bioethanol is alcohol made by fermentation of starchy crops like corn and sugarcane. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils and animal fats. In 2010 biofuels provided 2.7% of the world’s fuels for road transportation. Top global ethanol producers are the US and Brazil. The largest biodiesel producer is the EU, with over 50% produced in Germany. According to the International Energy Agency, biofuels have the potential to meet more than a quarter of world demand for transportation fuels by 2050.





Green Events & Vegan Events Calendar – November and December 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 November and December 2011.



Featured recommended product of the month: "Tower Garden" - the amazing new vertical home garden system



Tower Garden


I have just learned about this amazing new product that could become one answer to our increasing resource shortage and depletion problems: the vertical raising of your own organic plant foods in your home, no matter how big or small your space is. It is called Tower Garden!

This is a plug and play vertical garden fully equipped with a professional system to use soil nutrients and water efficiently for optimal plant growth. Not only can you save money by growing your own food, but you will have instant access to the healthiest, truly organic foods that you could possibly get. No chemical fertilizers, animal manure, or pesticides are used in this system, which also comes with a submersible heater for colder climates.

Many magazines and TV stations have already reported on this radical new home food growing system. Find out more about the amazing Tower Garden!




Health News of the Month: How your Relationships impact your Health


Relationships


It is a known fact that stress in the workplace has a negative health impact, but what about bad relationships or the lack of good social interactions? As Thalia Fuhrman puts it: "What would we have to live for if not for the other people in our lives and the meaning and joy we get from those relationships?"

Relationships are an essential part of health, and our body does not function as well if we are not connected to other people. Isolation and loneliness can create similar responses in the body to those of stress.

Often dismissed as hard to prove scientifically, the great relationships we have with people in our lives contribute considerably to our well-being and disease-free existence. There is in fact research that shows how loving relationships can impact the healing from injuries and inflammation, and can even add years to your lifespan.

Bad relationships are bad for health

A study of a healthy group of nurses under age 65 was tested for their blood’s immune function in correlation to their relationships. It was found that women with less stable and insecure attachments had lower immune activity and increased stress syndromes.

Researchers have measured the impact of bad relationships on health with a study of 9000 British men and women, who completed surveys about their relationships and the negative aspects of these. The study group was then closely monitored for health problems. Those with more negative aspects in their close relationships had a 34% increased risk of heart problems, all other factors being equal.

Surround yourself with people who bring you joy

Take this study from Dr.Joel Fuhrman's blog "Disease-Proof" in August this year:

Researchers in the field of positive psychology have managed to make some impressive headway in analyzing how relationships relate to your overall health. In a study of almost ten thousand healthy married men at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland the researchers found that the men with high risk factors for heart disease, like elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., were more than twenty times as likely to develop chest pain indicating heart disease during the next five years. But when all the men were asked if their wife shows her love, those men who answered yes had less heart disease even when they had high levels of risk factors.

Coincidence?

Not really, time and again it has been shown that good relationships and a great network of intimacy with a partner, family, or close friends can help mitigate stress-inducing conditions in your life. Your interaction with these people literally acts as buffer against disease and gives you an immune system boost to fend off health attacks.

So, do avoid the people who bring negativity to your life, or try to manage these relationships with techniques that help you deal with them without the bad impact they can have on you.

Are lonely people more likely to die younger?

Yes and no. Loneliness and the risk for Alzheimer's disease was studied on a group of 823 senior citizens in Chicago, where each participant rated their loneliness level each year over 5 years. It turned out that the loneliest 10% of the study group had a twice as high risk to develop cognitive difficulties and Alzheimer's disease.

The surprising part of this study was that the amount of actual social contact did not always indicate the level of loneliness that the person perceived to have. It depends if a person feels lonely or not, regardless of the kind of relationships he or she has with others.

It may be in the mind that influences the body - as with so many things - but positive thoughts and feelings are an extremely powerful tool to prevent and heal diseases, literally from the inside out.




Hot New Recipe on Belsandia.com - Vegetarian (Vegan) Meatloaf

Vegetarian Meatloaf


Vegetarina Meatloaf


Right in time for the dreadful turkey-eating glut that will soon be upon us again at Thanksgiving in the US, many of you may be looking for a tasty cruelty-free alternative: enter the super delicious and totally animal-free vegetarian meatloaf!

Try it out and surprise your friends and family with this life-supporting version of a great holiday recipe: I will bet with you that they will go for second helpings!

See the full recipe here.




Global Veg Food Specialty: Germany - the country of sausages also offers some tasty plant delights

I could not resist to choose Germany for this month's food special, since I will be in my native country for Christmas again this year. Therefore I am already looking for the best veg-friendly dishes that have a tradition in German cooking - or can easily be upgraded to a healthy plant-based variety.

The following two dishes hold fond memories of my youth and they both make great meals for the colder season.



German Lentil Soup


German Lentil Soup


This is a one-pot dish that has a long tradition in Germany, and pretty much every family has their own specific recipe for lentil soup. We liked to eat it as a full entree with lots of vegetables and sausage back home. Of course nowadays as a vegan I skip the sausage and replace it with other goodies – and the soup is still as rich and delicious as ever. Try it out for yourself:

Serves 4 / Ready in 1 hour

Ingredients

2 cups green or brown dried lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium organic potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 organic carrots, cut into small slices
2 slices celery root, cut into small cubes
1 cup green celery stalk, cut into small cubes
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard
2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or more to taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Soup greens: 1/2 leek cut into thin slices; 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley roughly chopped; 1/2 cup carrot leaves roughly chopped; 3 bay leaves


Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot and add the onions. Saute them until they are fragrant. Then add the carrots, celery root, celery stalk, leek, and saute for another minute.

Add the lentils, potatoes, soup greens, caraway seeds, and nutmeg. Add vegetable stock and water. Make sure the soup ingredients are covered with the liquid, otherwise add more water.

Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

When the soup is about ready, add the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a nice thick slice of German bread. Enjoy!





German Potato Pancakes - "Kartoffel Puffer"

German Potato Pancake


We cannot imagine a German Christmas Market without the many "puffer" stands, where delicious fried potato pancakes sizzling in vegetable oil release their fragrance and steam into the sky. This is not a low-fat dish, but it's a great vegetable entry or side dish of the German cuisine, which you will find in most German restaurants as well.

Traditionally, German potato pancakes are eaten wit apple sauce, but you can serve them with any dip or sauce that you like.

Serves 4 / Ready in 45 minutes

Ingredients

6 medium potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, peeled
2 eggs, lightly beaten (vegan version: 3 teaspoons EnerG Egg Replacer + 4 tablespoons water)
1/3 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Vegetable oil


Directions:

Grate the potatoes and onion and mix in a boil. Stir in the eggs (or egg replacer), flour, salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Use a large spoon and scoop up a spoonful of the potato dough. Spear it as a circle in the frying pan and flatten it out.

Fry about 2 minutes or until golden brown at the edges, and then turn around and fry the other side. Serve hot and crisp with apple sauce, tomato puree, mint sauce, or any other combination you like!






Amazing Animal Story of the Month: Skin Trade - The movie that takes aim at the fur industry


Skin Trade Movie Banner


Despite of a decline in fur products for many years, the unfortunate reality is that animal fur has lately made a come-back for fashion and accessories, largely based on pressure of countries whose economic vows depend on the sale or fur, and by fashion designers who have run out of ideas and choose to recycle the presumed chic of bygone times.

This is saddening news for animal lovers who believe that no creature should ever be harmed for such a vain and useless industry as fur fashion. The general public outcry against the cruelty of the fur industry has also led to another deceptive and malicious tactic of this industry: the use of real animal fur - mostly cats and dogs - in garments that are claimed to be "faux fur".

For the longest time, garments sold in the US that had fur content of less than $150 worth, did not require labeling the origin of the fur. These garments and accessories often come from China and other Asian countries, where the presumed faux fur trims are actually made of real animal hair. Luckily, the Truth in Fur Labeling Act was recently passed into law in the US, but other countries still do import "faux fur" clothing without labeling requirements, that are bought by unassuming customers who want to avoid the cruelty of real fur.

The movie Skin Trade is the latest documentary about the atrocities of the fur industry by animal rights attorney and film maker Shannon Keith, who also runs her own non-profit organizations Animal Rescue, Media, and Education (ARME) and The Beagle Freedom Project.

Skin Trade skillfully depicts the vast abyss between the truth in fur trading and the perceptions that the fur industry feeds to the public through false propaganda. Take a closer look at Skin Trade here.




Get involved and share the Conscious Crusader!

If you liked this edition of our newsletter, please share it with your friends and spread the word!



Become a facebook friend of Belsandia and catch the great stories that I share on facebook.

Follow Belsandia on Twitter

Follow Belsandia on Twitter and get the daily scoop on conscious living.

Do you have a vegetarian question that hasn't been answered yet?

Submit your veg question here and we will answer promptly. Don't be shy - ask away what you really want to know about vegetarian diets. Your question will be answered in detail, and other readers will surely be grateful for your contribution!

Any other comments, cheers or jeers? Tell us know what you think about Belsandia and if/how we can offer you better content, more great stories, or valuable information. We want to make sure that you have the best experience possible when visiting Belsandia.com, so don't hold back and let me know your feedback! Contact us here.

Check out the latest Belsandia Blog posts from this week.


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!

Back to Back Issues Page