Are Humans Herbivores or Omnivores?

As much as I could get behind having the speed and strength of a lion, comparing humans to carnivorous or even omnivorous animals is like comparing apples to oranges! There are a vast amount of biological differences that keep both species thriving on completely opposing diets. Humans, for example, have hands that work well for picking fruit off trees or plucking ripe vegetables from the ground. Those same hands would probably come in short when it comes to catching prey or tearing animal flesh because we didn’t get a set of claws. Even if we did manage catch prey, not only are human teeth underwhelmingly flat like an herbivore’s, but our jaws also set us apart from any meat-thriving animal. Our jaws move from side to side to grind up fruits and veggies, unlike an omnivore’s jaws which move only up and down to tear chunks out of their prey and swallow it whole. When it comes to digesting food, our livers and stomachs create even more omnivorous road-blocks! Omnivorous and carnivorous animals have shorts colons and intestines as well as highly acidic stomachs that allow meat to digest and pass through quickly so the animals won’t get sick. Our long livers reflecting of an herbivore’s and comparatively weak stomach acidity keep our bodies from fully breaking down meat, or benefitting from it as an omnivore would. And when it comes to animal products such as milk, there could definitely be a reason that no other species on the planet besides humans consumes the milk of another species. If we no longer need the  milk of our own mothers, maybe it’s time for humans to get off the cow breast milk, too!

But humans have been eating meat for hundreds of thousands of years, so can it really be that bad? Dr. Neal Bernard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, concluded that humans have never adapted to the animal-product focused diet we all have learned to crave. “To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems,” Dr. Bernard states. There might be a reason we never got the urge to bite a chunk out of our neighbor’s dog, after all!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Can Animal Agriculture be Humane?

Are “happy,” “ethical,” and “grass-fed” the trendy animal agriculture buzz words vegans have been waiting for?

Unfortunately, even if cows are fed grass of the lushest jade pastures and slept on their own personal clouds, the animal agriculture industry will infinitely be the farthest thing from happy or ethical. Humans have terrorized and abused animals so horribly and consistently that now it’s a hipster farming miracle just if the cows eat food that’s actually supposed to be in their diets. Is choosing not to feed cows to other cows really the best we can do when it comes to our treatment of our furry friends? Grass-fed and cage-free has never meant violence-free (as the rise of internet videos of these farms has led us to understand), but what are we saying about our own ethical conduct if not torturing animals before we kill and eat them is our end-all be-all? Of course not torturing animals before they’re killed is obviously better than a combination of the two, but letting animals live without being the receiving end of human violence should just be common, standard ethics rather than the phenomenon it is made out to be.

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The violence used in industrialized farming is only a part of the problem. It goes without saying that the animals raised in ethically marketed farms probably will be happier and healthier in comparison to animals encaged and being fed food that’s not meant for their bodies. However, happier and healthier doesn’t mean the animals will actually be happy or healthy. Regardless of the environment or conditions of these farms, the animals are still being used as machines to pleasure a human’s taste buds. Animals in dairy and egg farming will still get diseases from being used for their bodies beyond their natural capacity, as well as have their reproductive systems damaged, immune systems deteriorating, and their children torn away from them almost immediately after they first lay eyes on them. In farms that supply meat, animals are literally bred to be killed as babies so we can eat their flesh. There is no ethical hierarchy when it comes to the treatment of animals, but we as humans can choose to do better. Not to mention, grass-fed cow farms are still not slacking on the environmental destruction, and the glass of pus-filled, cow-blood-infused milk and plates of chicken periods (eggs) is definitely not our best look!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

White Castle Says “No Meat, No Problem!”

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Food chains around America are not hitting the brakes anytime soon on making plant-based gains! National fast-food Chain White Castle has teamed up with Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods once again for a second veggie burger as cheap as a can of soda! The previous zucchini, carrot and pea burger will be served up alongside the new tempting sliders made up of hearty, protein-loaded black beans, corn and red peppers. You can even top it with a sweet and spicy Thai sauce spread over a classic dairy-free White Castle bun. It’s rumored that the new sliders are just on a trial run until June 1st, so head over to White Castle and find out what all the hype is about!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Burgers Go Beyond Meat

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Months back, the new greasy, indulgent Beyond Meat burgers hit the shelves of health food stores around the nation, and omnivores and vegans are giving it a thumbs up! Not only does this futuristic burger replicate the taste of meat like it’s seitan competitors, but it also replicates the look and smell of real beef burgers! They’re packaged showcasing their bright, raw pink color made from the eye-tricking use of “beet blood.” The burgers even smell so appalling that you know the only reason they could smell so bad would be to imitate the aroma of all the mysteries of a meat patty. Also like a beef burger, as soon as these duplicates hit a hot pan or grill, these plant-based burgers brown on the outside to leave a juicy pink center to fool the most carnivorous omnivores.  At first the smell and taste were too realistic for me to enjoy, but by the third try I was jumping on the Beyond Meat bandwagon!

Beyond taste, this new product saves our loving, cuddly cow friends being completely cruelty-free, and it’s a better burger for our bodies and the planet. It’s no secret that red meat has had a not-so-helping hand in countless lethal diseases. The base of this protein-loaded (20 grams per patty) meat replacement is made up of peas, a far healthier and more sustainable product than cow meat. Just one cow burger requires 660 gallons of water, yikes! This burger has been worked on and perfected seven years in the making, and trust us, it was worth the wait!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Heine Brothers’ Veganized

Heine Brothers’ coffee shop has been a local Louisville favorite for years, roasting 100% organic and fair trade coffee since 1994. After breathing in the tempting aroma of espresso shots and macchiatos, plant-eaters will be happy to find a plethora of vegan options on the menu! We’re spilling the beans on delicious, animal product-free Heine Bros finds!

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Vegan Heine Brothers’ Finds:

  • Almost any drink on the menu besides the Chaiberg and Beekeeper with the replacement of soy milk or almond milk without White Chocolate, Caramel
  • Cherry Almond Scone
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin
  • Najla’s Trail Cookies
  • Najla’s Philly Wraps with vegan cheese, peppers and tofu
  • Najla’s Soy-rizo wraps with vegan chorizo, black beans, potatoes and salsa
  • Najla’s Quinoa Bowl
  • Frozen Lemonade
  • Smoothies
  • Tea Selection
  • Coffee of the day
  • Italian Sodas
  • Salty Caramel Syrup/Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
  • Dark Chocolate Syrup
  • Apple Crumble
  • Everything, Sesame and Whole Wheat Bagels
  • The Weekly Juicery menu items at the Brownsboro location

Veganizing Adjustments:

  • Ask for Soy or Almond Milk base
  • Ask for no whipped cream
  • Be aware that the Chaiberg, Mocha Iceberg, Caramel Vanilla Iceberg, etc. use milk powder and the Beekeeper uses honey, and therefore cannot be made vegan
  • Stray away from the regular Caramel and White Chocolate syrups which contain dairy

Now that you’ve got the 411, get your coffee fiending on at your local Heine Brothers’!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

 

Natural Bug Repellents

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It’s the season to soak up some sun! Accompanying the beautiful sunshine, sneaky, crawling critters might be coming out of hiding and on the lookout for a new home! If you’re looking for a safter, environmentally conscious, ethical way of keeping bugs out of your household, essential oils are your new best friend! Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil and Clove Oil repel homebound bugs such as ants and fruit flies. Sprinkle drops of the oils around your home or grab a cotton ball and swab around doors, cracks, corners and windows for the oils to work their bug-barrier magic. Essential oils are not just for household pests, though! They can also come in handy if you’re out and about. If you’re on the go, blend a few drops of Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lemongrass, and/or Clove oils into a carrier oil (should be around a 6% essential oil to carrier oil ratio) such as coconut or almond oil and rub all over to make the mosquitos stray away from taking a bite! Not only do these oils repel bugs, but they give you a lovely clean, earthy scent that won’t make humans stray away too!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Breakfast Tacos

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This is an easy introduction into meal prep!

Make this epic tofu scramble on your off day and enjoy the Breakfast Tacos. Use the extra tofu scramble for a quick breakfast or lunch all week. It’s delicious by itself, in a tortilla, or with toast. Mix it up by adding sliced avocado one day and vegan cheese the next.

It heats up great in the microwave!

Let’s get to the ingredients… 

Tortillas

  • I like organic whole wheat

V-Grits Pimento Cheese

Fresh Greens

  • whatever is already in your fridge

1 Scoop Scramble

  • make this over the weekend and incorporate it into your breakfast or lunch during the week!

Spicy Mayo (I mixed Just Mayo with Franks Hot Sauce)

Fresh Basil

Scramble

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
    • crumbled with 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • a handful baby kale
    • spinach, arugula, or watercress would be tasty too
  • roasted veggies
    • Here’s what I used, but you can use anything you have on hand. Some great options that I didn’t use would be squash, zucchini, asparagus, sweet potato, and jalapeño.
    • 1 medium potato
    • 1/2 yellow onion
    • 1 bell pepper
    • 1/2 lb brussels sprouts
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

Cube/dice your potato. Small dice onion and pepper. Slice brussels in half. Leave cherry tomatoes whole. Preheat oven to 425. Toss veggies with oil, salt, and pepper. Cook potato for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cook brussels, tomatoes, onions, and peppers together for 15 minutes. Your tomatoes will “pop” open, bursting with a sweet, juicy new flavor.

Cook your seasoned tofu in a skillet. Stir together scramble, baby kale, and roasted veggies. Eat it up!

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Second City in America Initiates Fur Ban

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In 2013, West Hollywood became the first city to put a ban in place against the sales of fur, and last week the city of Berkeley became the next! The Berkeley Coalition of Animals has worked and rallied for this new legislation that serves up a hefty fine for those who attempt to not oblige. Minks, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, beavers, chinchillas, bears and even dogs and cats are victim to the fur trade. Several countries in Europe have already picked up on the cruel and violent practices of the fur industry, and have chosen to remove themselves from participation in it as well.

Fur has been a constant hot topic in the media, seemingly being one of the most commonly concerning animal rights issues among omnivores and vegans alike. Celebrities and Fashion Week are continuously responding to the unceasing criticism of sporting and supporting such industries. Given the current astronomic downfall of fur sales even where it is legal, it sounds like it’s only a matter of time before fur suppliers go faux!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Spring into Spring – Vegan Style

Nothing says spring like family, friends, oddly shaped chocolates and pastel rainbows of bouquets! Here are some spring must-haves for the season!

  • Chocolate: NoWhey Chocolates have everything from vegan chocolate eggs, to colored vegan eggs, to chocolate bunnies and even vegan egg-shaped truffle boxes! Between the little ones and Grandma Rose,  your chocolate-lover loved ones are bound to be happy campers after digging into a box of these delicious chocolate delicacies!

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  • Flowers & Plants: What better way to add a pop of spring into your home or on your dinner table than a bouquet of all the pinks, lavenders and yellows of spring? At Whole Foods, many of the bouquets of flowers sold are through a Whole Trade program that supplies money to go back into community building of the cities of bouquet producers. Some of these community building efforts include funding health care, hospital equipment and education. If you’re looking for a little extra greenery to spruce up your house with, look no further than Forage! Forage is a local, female store off Frankfort filled with gorgeous succulents and bright luscious plants, and 10% of the sales each month go towards a local charity!

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  • Spring Shoes: Say goodbye to those winter boots, a new season is the perfect excuse for new shoes! Matt and Nat makes vegan shoes look like the trendiest new fad, despite that ethical and environmental sustainability are always in season! Check them out for some new footwear for the sunniest of days ahead!

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A box of chocolates, lively plants and ethical shoes for the season are bound to put a little spring in your step!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Holistic Ways to Deal With Sickness

It’s hot then it’s cold, it’s yes then it’s no – Louisville weather is sending us all kinds of mixed signals! And it seems like Lousiville’s immune systems are starting to get the memo, mine included! Last week was nothing but a fever and a seemingly endless stream of tissues, but luckily holistic alternatives were there to save the day! Disclaimer though, I’m no doctor! These methods worked for my body and my own sickness, and no two bodies or sicknesses are 100% alike!

  • Eat a rawsome diet!: I switched out two of my cooked meals loaded with overprocessed foods for two raw meals and was instantly reminded how great it feels to eat predominantly raw foods! Blood-flow increasing beets, nutrient-dense kale, and hydrating cucumber are bound to make you feel at least a little better in no time. If you want raw foods that still aren’t slacking on the flavor, hit up your local The Weekly Juicery location and try out our raw Elevate line!
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  • Spice it up!: Cayenne, Black Pepper, Ginger and Turmeric can be your new best friends when you’re immune system is slowing its roll. Cayenne is great for detoxifying and getting rid of headaches, Black Pepper relieves nasal congestion and will help release harmful sickness contributors from your body, Ginger has a history of use in alternatives medicines and eliminating nausea and Turmeric even contains compounds with medicinal properties! All of these spices are additionally great for your metabolism, digestive system, irritation and pain relief… Spices are the best kind of painkillers! 😉 Blend them into a tropical-inspired smoothie for a more mellow flavor profile.

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  • Get out the Tea Tree Oil!: Tea Tree Oil is my go to for more occasions than one. It kills strains of harmful bacteria, treats infections, and it’s antiseptic. Mix a a few drops into coconut oil and apply on your throat, the back of your neck and on your face. If the cleansing properties weren’t enough, it’s also a natural insect repellent and facial toner!

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  • Don’t put down that water bottle!: Water is a key daily contributor to anyone’s health, but especially when recovering from sickness! Water is vital to cleanse your body and flush out anything that no longer serves you! Hot lemon ginger water is an extra immunity booster to start your morning off on the right foot.

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Again, I’m no doctor, but these simple, natural takes on medicine had me feeling good as new in a matter of days! So next time you’re feeling the season-changing blues, give these holistic approaches a try!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi