The Mighty Mangosteen Bowl

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There are so many trends going on in the health world right now, and Acai bowls are becoming more popular than ever before. Basically every smoothie/juice joint has at least a few acai bowls on the menu, and rightfully so. The acai berries’ flavor is one of a dark-berry-chocolaty-goodness that packs an array of health benefits. But today, I want to share with you my favorite super food that has yet reached “Acai Bowl” status- the Mangosteen.

Mangosteen is often referred to as the “Queen” of tropical fruits, particularly in the South-East Asian regions. And if you’ve ever had a fresh mangosteen, you’ll know just why it’s called the QUEEN.

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The Perseid Meteor Shower

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Comet Swift Tuttle

During these cool summer nights, in the dark corners of a crisp midnight sky- you’ll find a billion of reasons why August is a perfect month to be stargazing. The month of August is a host to a multitude of celestial events. We just had the glorious Blue Moon a few days ago, and now have a chance to observe the finest light show of the year- the Perseid Meteor shower. Visible Worldwide, the 2015 Perseid Meteor shower can be viewed on the mornings of August 11-14th. Under the dark, cool summer nights- one might be able to see 50 or more meteors per hour (depending on light pollution).The Perseid Meteor shower is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. As it orbits the Sun, this big “dirty snowball” sheds tiny grains of rock and dust. Over time, the particles spread out along the comet’s orbital path. Earth flies through this path every August, sweeping up some of the dust grains. They plunge into our atmosphere at more than 100,000 miles per hour, vaporizing as the streaks of light known as meteors.

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Meatless Mondays- Changing America’s Diet

Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. More than 3,000 animals die every second in slaughterhouses around the world.

                                 Click Here to see the animal kill counter

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Good news is that 400 Million fewer animals were killed for food last year vs. 2007 because people are eating less meat. In fact, meat consumption has been steadily declining in the U.S- by 10% per capita since 2007. Paul Shapiro, Vice President of the Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States explains that

 “Compared to 2007, last year almost half a billion fewer animals were subjected to the torment of factory farming and industrial slaughter plants–and that’s despite the increase in the U.S. population.”

Rising awareness of vegetarianism & veganism , veg-friendly marketing campaigns, delicious meat and dairy replacements and the acclivitous rise in awareness that cutting back on animal products can directly improve health, have all contributed to the decline of meat consumption.

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Tonight’s Blue Moon- Not what you’re expecting

For centuries, many cultures and religions have looked upon the moon as circuit to another worldly dimension. In her awe-inspiring phases, an eternal cycle of waxing and waning, she has ignited man’s imagination – and continues to do so. In its full state (full moon), the moon is still and powerful- an empyreal arena of reflected sunlight. Ages ago, cultures and civilizations kept track of the seasons by naming each of these recurring full moons. As we compare cultures and regions of the world, the name sets differ according to the differences in weather, seasonal changes and regions.

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Social Conditioning: Fact VS Fiction

From birth, most of us humans are promoted into a lifestyle- pruned and nurtured – molded and formed, in a modus vivendi that we ultimately (and unknowingly) carry into our adult lives. It might seem self-evident and rather egregious, that we are socially conditioned. Yes, you and me, we are individuals- but we are social beings- conditioned ones!

We are conditioned by our teachers, relatives, peers, religion, and of course, by technology and media. We grow up first loving all animals, a requited agape love. But slowly, the curtains close- and new doctrine takes center stage. The precept now dictates that animals are in fact divided, that most (predestined) animals are simply a “food” source, without intelligence, feelings, emotions, and certainly without a soul.

Social conditioning – as it applies to an individual is a concept that goes beyond just our biological characteristics- it is our social nature. It’s our participation with the world and other humans. And how we participate and function, well, that all stems from how we are socially conditioned.
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Tuscan Kale & Red Cabbage Salad- with Avocado Lemon Tahini Dressing

Kale salads are great—but maybe your finding yourself falling out of love with the luscious leaf. Anyone who doubts this stalky, bitter brassica’s ability to take root within our collective consciousness, consider this: last year, 262 babies in the United States were named Kale. And that’s why kale is #1 in my book- I mean, I don’t see any babies answering to “Kimchi” or “Dandelion”. Point blank.  I’m here to remind you WHY you love kale- so let’s start laying down the basics .  To begin, let’s talk about Kale, Tuscan kale, like all kale’s, is extraordinarily nutritious: a cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins K and A, and 88 percent of the DV for vitamin C. You might think the “fad” with kale is all hipster fluff, but did you know that kale was a popular vegetable in ancient Greek and Roman times? HA! Take that! You feel that warm fuzziness starting to grow? THAT’S true KALE LOVE!

Kale provides rich nutrition ingredients that offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers. Not that you need convincing, because atop of all the health benefits, kale (and specifically, Tuscan Kale) is a hearty, tasty & extremely versatile brassica (genus of plants in the mustard family). I made this recipe today (that was pretty much an experiment) combining flavors and textures that are known to intermingle in the tastiest of ways. Not to mention tahini dressings are always phenomenal- you could slather that heavenly goodness on a piece of cardboard and I’d eat it. My version of your classic lemon tahini dressing has a bit of a avo-twist. The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need to measure anything- just taste as you go! Just like falling in love- no rules, no problem. So I’ll just give you the ingredients, some ball park measuring, and let you get comfy cozy with kale.

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Vegan Shiitake Mushroom Burgers

This past 4th of July- my fiance’ and I decided to host an all Vegan BBQ (YEY!) An arduous/exciting task to say the least, as many of our friends are non-vegan and I really wanted to make an positive impression. To me, enjoying time with good friends, in a completely cruelty free environment, is how I wanted to spend my 4th (Freedom for ALL!) But with the king staple at any BBQ being the all mighty burger-I knew I had to bring out the big guns. I decided to retire the notion of having “store bought” main dishes & sides, and went all out preparing almost everything from scratch (except the veggie dogs). When I think about any store bought veggie burgers I’ve had in the past, the main issue I have is in the texture- or lack there of. Many veggie burgers end up a mushy, pasty mess- that has to be (over)cooked to the point of no return. I ended up rummaging through dozens of online recipes, mixing and matching, until I discovered a recipe that not only delivers in the texture department, but packs a flavor punch that anyone- I mean ANYONE with operating taste buds can appreciate. Doing my own version of a vegetarian recipe, I was able to substitute the eggs with vegan mayo- and the cheese with Chao slices- making this a vegan burger PACKED with flavor and void of any animal products.

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