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An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind

After much reflection over the past few days on the current Cafe Gratitude and Be Love Farm situation, this will be my final public commentary.

First, I want to say that my viewpoints in this post and on my blog are mine exclusively. I do not speak for anyone else. My blog post last week reflected my own opinion, written from a place of honesty, raw emotion, accountability and personal truth. The intention was to spark a dialogue on life, death, change, and the complex situation at hand. Since then, I’ve received a plethora of messages, texts and emails with many different viewpoints.

I’ve also had an in-depth, open-minded discussion with one of the members of the Cafe Gratitude family. Even though their personal preferences and practices on their farm have changed, they will continue to serve plant-based food at their restaurants as they have done for the past 12 years. To their credit, they have served more vegan meals than any other restaurant chain in existence.

It’s also come to my knowledge that the Engelhart family has been receiving death threats, violent messages and have been subject to a variety of intimidation tactics. I’ve know the Engelhart family for years and they’ve extended a lot of love, support and kindness to me, both personally and professionally. As with many people in my life that I have actively chosen to love, I may disagree with their personal choices, practices and viewpoints, but still choose to extend loving kindness in light of those differences. I’ve chosen to love cigarette smokers, drug abusers, carnivores, gun enthusiasts and people with pro-war viewpoints. I’ve chosen to actively love those people (and consider them family) – even though I disagree with their personal beliefs and practices.

As I write this, my heart is deeply hurting and I’m disappointed for so many reasons. It hurts my heart to know that animal lives have been taken. It hurts my heart that a group of friends that once shared the same ethical viewpoints and practices are now choosing to live from a different set of values and beliefs. It hurts my heart that the Engelhart family has been receiving death threats.

Violence – and threats thereof – do not and cannot create lasting peace, equanimity, understanding or conscious change. Threats, intimidation and blind hatred do not create amicable solutions nor allow anyone to change their current practices or shift their mindset. For the vegan community, there’s a great opportunity to “walk the talk”. To show up to the discussion well-informed and coming from a place of acceptance and to represent the values of compassion, peace, equanimity and love for animals and humans alike.

As an ethical vegan for nearly two decades, I am fully committed to reducing violence, oppression and unnecessary suffering, thereby fostering and creating more compassion, love and understanding on this planet in my relations with ALL beings. This commitment is not just in my career as a vegan chef/educator/author – but through every personal interaction. This is an deep, heart-centered ethos – an ethical commitment – that I have chosen in every facet of my life.

I do not feel in my heart that animals exist for the purposes of mass human consumption, entertainment, clothing, slavery or industrial commerce. In a few rare exceptions where no other alternatives exist (Inuit Eskimos, native/indigenous tribes, etc.) it is, in my opinion, wholly unnecessary for humans to rely on animals for sustenance when science, technology, veganic farming methods and the culinary arts have given us so many alternative options. In modern society, we have a massive wealth of options that are more compassionate, mindful, loving and sustainable than using animals as commodities.

In closing, I want to reiterate my request: stop the death threats, violence and intimidation. The only way to create solutions is to open a space of mutual understanding and respect so that an honest, compassionate and truthful dialogue can take place between Cafe Gratitude/Be Love Farm and the vegan community. That’s why I wrote the open letter on my blog last week and it’s the reason for this new, more introspective and heart-centered request.

The only way to create substantive change is to create an open dialogue; to have an open-minded conversation, to exchange truthful viewpoints and thereby attempt to create mutual understanding with all parties involved.

I believe that humanity is evolving into a more aware, awakened, compassionate, kind-hearted society where ALL beings can be embraced as equals and included in our circles of compassion and reverence. But I feel it’s imperative to set the example for others with our collective thoughts, words, deeds and actions.

With love and light always,

J-Wro

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My Top 10 Healthy Holiday Survival Tips!

Ram Dass Family Enlightened Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ram Dass really hits the nail on the head with this quote. The Holidays can be one of the most stressful, depressing and challenging times of the year for a lot of people (myself included). It’s easy to feel the massive cultural conditioning at play: spend more money on gifts, take time to visit with family you may or may not want to see and indulge in all kinds of unhealthy, traditional Holiday foods. Without the right tools in place to keep yourself balanced, you can lose your cool pretty quickly. Next thing you know, you’re starting the New Year feeling like a giant pile of crap. Call me crazy, but I don’t think you have to be doomed to the post-Holidays blues!

I’ve survived countless Holidays and successfully managed my stress, sanity, emotional balance and overall well-being throughout the Winter. And I’m going to share with you how I’ve done it, year after year.

Behold! My super-easy-doable Top 10 Healthy Holiday Survival Tips:

Think about gifts in a different way

It’s easy to feel massively pressured to spend a lot of money on presents for family and friends. There are gifts that don’t require a fat bankroll… but come from the heart instead. Writing someone a beautiful, framed poem, painting them a picture, offering to cook them a delicious meal, or supporting them with a new project – these are all money-free gifts that show someone you deeply care for and appreciate them.

Be prepared with portable foods

Schedules can get even more hectic during the Holidays. Shopping with huge crowds, crazy traffic, wacky weather and intense work projects to close out the year are all major time killers. Instead of getting stuck being “hangry” while you’re in the midst of the chaos – pack some portable foods in your car like fresh fruit, granola bars or a protein shake.

Choose healthy comfort food recipes for gatherings

Nobody wants seaweed salads, wheatgrass shots and noni fruit coladas in December. Nobody. So, instead of alienating your friends and family with weird “hippie foods” they’ve never seen before, stick with things like roasted brussels sprouts, gluten-free mac n’ cheese, chestnut squash dip or a dairy-free eggless nog. You know, things they’ll recognize right away and actually want to try.

Remember to move your body

Wintertime, in general, creates a hibernation mode in a lot of people. All you want to do is curl up on the coach under 5 blankets with a warm chowder in hand. But trust me, if you don’t exercise on the daily, it’s going to be that much harder to start the New Year with a bang. Make time for 45 minutes of exercise each day – whether it’s body weight resistance training, yoga, stretching, jump rope, TRX, snowshoeing – whatever your pleasure, stick with it daily and you’ll be ahead of the inevitable January fitness craze.

Get started on the New Year early

Every December, I reflect on my accomplishments, challenges and lessons from the year. And I use them as a guide – as fuel – for charting the course for the New Year. Spend time contemplating your aims and goals, then use them to create an action plan for the coming year. Think big, dream big and keep your eye of the prize here. It’s your time to envision the life you want to create and how you’re going to manifest it.

Stay mentally balanced

Anxiety can creep in before you know it. With temperatures dropping and more people staying inside, the Holidays can create feelings of isolation and separation. Mentally, it’s important to stay positive and alert. Using natural supplements such as gingko biloba, mucuna pruriens (an Ayurvedic herb), algae-based omega 3-fatty acids and B-vitamin complex can help boost your mood and keep your brain happy. Remember that your brain is comprised of over 80% fat, so eating healthy, plant-based fats will not only provide extra energy, but also feed your glorious gray matter.

Get your daily dose of Vitamin D

Overcast skies. Gray days. Forecast calls for 9 inches of the white, powdery stuff. Not exactly the environment to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. If you live in a frozen, snowy locale, it’s even more critical that you get healthy doses of D during the Holidays. The lack of sunshine on your skin makes this challenging, but not impossible. I’m a big fan of Living Libations transdermal Vitamin D cream, which is a fantastic, all-natural topical cream that you can use daily. Check out their products here (they’re a lifesaver for my Midwestern and Canadian friends in the Winter): Living Libations Natural Body Care

Start a daily gratitude journal

While I was battling clinical depression, I started a daily gratitude journal that I would write in every night before bed. The Holidays can be full of expectations and hurt feelings (especially when people feel entitled to certain gifts or attention). Buy a blank writing journal and, every night, pick one person/thing/situation that you’re grateful for and write 10 specific reasons WHY you’re grateful for that thing. It’s amazing how powerful and heart-centering this practice can be.

Forgive someone in your life

This one may not be so easy – I’m just letting you know in advance. Especially when it comes to family or friends who have hurt us, let us down or who haven’t apologized for something hurtful they’ve done. But the greatest gift you can give yourself is to learn to let go of the hatred, anger, pain and feelings of retribution you feel towards someone in your life. These toxic emotions can create massive stress in your body and lower your immune system. Find a way to meditate on compassion, forgiveness and letting go of your grievances with loved ones this Holiday season.

Get clear on your needs vs. wants

It’s really easy to get caught up in the “what’s in it for me” trip during the Holidays. Understandably so, given the constant push in the media to “buy, buy, buy” new things. I like to be a bit contrarian during this season of shopping and ask “what do I really need?” Often, what I need to do is donate clothing, sell things I don’t use or give my time to friends in need. And the strange thing is… I actually get more joy from giving than I do receiving these days. Focus on how you can get out of a materialistic mindset and shift into a generosity consciousness.

Now, if you are already reeling from feeling stressed out, anxious or depressed this season, I have something that may help you. I just made my livestream workshop recording for “Out of the Darkness: How to Conquer Depression and Reclaim Your Spark” available in both video and audio formats. This 2 1/2 hour workshop addresses many life strategies and tips on how to navigate feelings of depression, anger, judgement, pain and overwhelm. You can also pre-order my new ebook which covers the same subject matter in more detail: http://www.jasonwrobel.com/shop/courses/

I believe in you. You can do this. When you commit to a solid game plan to make it through the Holidays with clarity, energy, health, joy and compassion toward yourself and your loved ones – the love and positive energy you create will be nothing short of amazing!

 

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How I spent 1/3 of my income on FOOD!?

I just finished my taxes and… are you ready for this? It looks like I spent about 1/3 of my income on food! More than one human should ever spend on food costs. Even if that human IS a professional vegan chef. A massive amount of my food expenses went toward eating meals out at restaurants. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll chock it up to sheer boredom with my recipes, being too busy and having consistently poor meal planning. And, boy, did I pay for it!

So, with the goal of saving more money this year and minimizing my overall food expenses, I’m committing to making more meals at home. And… I want YOU to do it with me. Can we agree that making more meals at home is not only more rewarding and confidence-inspiring, but way healthier and more affordable? Gimme a “well, yeah!” In fact, a recent research study from Johns Hopkins University showed that people who make home-cooked meals more often are healthier and weight less than people who don’t. To help you with your goal of saving money and making healthy food this year, I want to share the most uber-fantastic sale from my favorite online culinary school.

Right now, you can save $400 on the Rouxbe Professional Plant-Based Certification Course. Take advantage of early registration for the new May semester and you’ll enjoy their 6-month online course for only $183 a month. This is the absolute lowest price they have EVER offered!

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Learn healthy cooking techniques, vegan recipe creation and plantbased nutrition from the experts – all online from anywhere in the world. You’ll save time and money by making meals at home and wow your friends and family with your badass pro culinary skills.

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Whatever you do, don’t sleep on this awesome discount. If you’ve been on the fence about the course, take a leap of faith and step up your cooking game in 2015.

This dynamite deal for the May semester expires February 24th, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PST. You’ll see the discounted price of $1,099 on the final checkout page. Get on the good foot and click on the link below to sign up right now with Rouxbe:

YES – I’m ready like Scooby – Sign me up for Rouxbe right now!!!