Monday, December 13, 2010

Nude & vegetarian!

My dad's reaction on my voicemail this morning was pretty funny:
 "Hello, daughter.  It's around 8 in the morning and I'm sitting reading the Gazette and low and behold, I turn the page and there's my naked daughter right in this big, big picture with an article written about her. My goodness, gracious!"
Yes, there is a nude photograph of me in today's largest English Montreal newspaper, The Gazette, but it isn't gratuitous.  Plus, it's for a good cause. The cause of vegetarianism & eco-nutrition! (View article)

I'm Ms September in the 2011 Raw Beauty calender featuring healthy, athletic and NAKED vegetarian, vegan & raw food models. The Gazette article is about the calender, environmental eating, and the "controversy" over the pairing of food with nudity. (Eye-roll. Let's not discuss those poopoo nakedness. That's just ridiculous.)

As you probably know, eating a plant based diet is very important to me. I stopped eating red meat at age 11 or 12, and haven't eaten chicken in over ten years. I have been vegan on and off. Currently, I avoid dairy, but occasionally, eat organic eggs from a small farm near Montreal and the odd piece of goat cheese. I also use ghee (clarified butter), as part of my ayurvedic treatments.

My reasons for not eating meat have shifted over the years. I honestly don't remember why I first became vegetarian. I think it's because of my mom, who doesn't eat read meat. Now, I avoid animal products mostly for ethical and environmental reasons. In her article, Michelle Lalonde mentioned I speak about environmental sustainability and food, and that I believe that eating meat at every meal is selfish. All true.

My lecture was co-written by Brendan Brazier, my vegan friend, who is the formulator of Vega and author of the Thrive Diet. (Btw, the Thrive Diet is an excellent resource for people considering a plant based diet.) Here are some stats regarding animal agriculture from our Eco-Nutrition talk:

Due to erosion, the overuse of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, and other farming practice, the Earth is currently, losing arable topsoil at a rate of 75 to 100 gigatonne per year. If soil loss continues at present rates, it is estimated that there is only another 48 years of topsoil left!

Given depleting rates of fertile land, one would expect that the world’s grain crops would go to feed people, but instead most of it goes to feed animals. In fact, 70% of the world’s arable land is used to grow food to feed animals for our consumption.

This is a huge waste of land, because it takes:
  •  7 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of beef
  •  4 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of pork
  •  2 kg + of grain to produce 1 kg of poultry
The irony is that livestock food isn't even nutritious to the animals. Cows for instance are supposed to eat grass, not grain, so they emit flatulence, releasing tons of highly toxic methane gas into the atmosphere. I'm not kidding! These farting cows produce a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more destructive than the CO2 emitted by gasoline engines!

It is estimated that the animal agriculture in North America produces 38% more green house gases than all of transportation combined! This includes all stretched Hummers and jet airplanes...

Now water: It takes a minimum of 47.6 bathtubs full of water (2000 gallons) to produce one pound of beef. 

Not a very sustainable and efficient industry, eh?

Stay tuned for better options and awesome veggie recipes to try this winter.

* PS the Raw Beauty calender makes a great Holiday gift and is for sale online or at my Pointe Claire studio, Om West.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today is December 1st, World AIDS Day. It's the official end of my Stephen Lewis Foundation fundraising campaign and I'm thrilled to announce that WE DID IT!!! Since the start of the Guinness World Record challenge in August, just over $10,800 was collected for SLF!

(I can now admit I was a bit worried that perhaps this fundraising goal was out of my league, because I've never raised that much money before.)

I'm so grateful to my generous supporters and sponsors. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is really special to me.

Radio Canada International had me on The Link today with Marc Montgomery to talk about my SLF campaign as well as the Guinness Record. It was fun. I brought Craig, who is a huge CBC fan and Jasmine, my new business associate in charge of press. Thank you to Seana Pasic, who was so nice to greet us and give us a tour of the studios. Also, thanks to friendly man at the reception who insisted on singing all of our favourite Christmas carols! Here's a photo Jasmine took of me talking to Marc, the host:

I've been trying to create a video of the interview, but my computer keeps getting choked up. So here's the link:

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In other great news, I spoke to my DVD distributor and it looks like we might release a series of videos for beginners! Very cool.