Client Spotlight – The Vegan Activist – With Leila H.

Drumroll please!

Introducing Leila Sleiman-Head. Friend, client, Vegan and Activist. Leila and I met through my participation in her event VegFest here in Pittsburgh. I signed up to be a presenter at the event and we hit it off. Leila, along with Natalie Fristick, put on VegFest annually in Pittsburgh as well as the fall fave VegFeast. These two also run Justice for Animals, a not for profit here in PGH. To add, Leila has been part of Scrap The Trap and helped to get the first ever Vegan night at PNC Park off the ground! Veganism and the MLB at Pirates stadium??? Yes, yes she did. Pfew – I’m probably missing a TONNE.

She’s a devoted dog mom to Cash, and hamster mom to Little Tom Cruise and is married to the talented musician Chris Head, guitarist for Anti-Flag a local Pittsburgh Punk act that is adored globally. Chris is a maker of some VERY cool hand crafted planters via their collaborative effort as Rustbelt Workshop. I don’t know where she finds the time, but she does and the world is a better place for it.

Thanks Leila for this candid interview and for all you do for the animals.

Love ya!

When did you first participate in a demonstration or activism and why?

I interned for Peta in 2005 as a way to “get out of the classroom” in college when I was attending ASU- I was MORE than happy to GTFO of college, fly to Norfolk VA, live in “the intern house” and ready for an adventure. I went into it not knowing what to expect, not knowing I would need to be vegan in the house (I was already vegetarian so figured it shouldn’t be too hard, plus I had other interns show me the way….). I was immersed in this HUGE organization, with hundreds to people dedicated to helping animals, delivering straw and houses for dogs in the winter, under covering horrible abuse situations, sending packets to companies who test on animals to suggest kinder and more modern ways to research….  it was all so foreign to me. I was asked to go on a tour 2 weeks, 25 cities- we started in Miami and looped back up and around to Norfolk. It changed my life.

How did you choose animal rights as your passion as opposed to other arenas like women’s rights, environmentalism etc…?

I started with human rights activism- I would protest the Israeli occupation in Palestine and any other worthy cause, women’s rights supporting planned parenthood etc. When I spent my internship at Peta I was horrified to find out the grand scale of oppression and suffering we are causing on animals- and it was SO easy to change that behavior, support other companies, etc. It just naturally became another worthy cause…and now I have gotten to travel all over the country with it. I’m a very lucky person to be able to live my passions and ideals.

What is the most challenging thing you have experienced as an activist?

You really put yourself out there as an activist- and it isn’t for everyone. I have had people try and prove you wrong at every turn- justification of the bible or another imaginary justification, etc. I welcome a good discussion. I’ve also had chicken nuggets, eggs, soda, etc thrown in my direction and been threatened with violence. It is very impactful when you think about how much you must threaten peoples “way of life” (consuming and causing suffering) some people just cant take it.

How do carry yourself during a demonstration? Have you ever been arrested or come up against physical violence?

Yes! In North Dakota at a circus protest a middle aged man raised his hand at me- I thought he was going to hit me, I quickly said “IF YOU TOUCH ME ITS ASSAULT!” Lol. I’ve had everything under the sun thrown at my group, things yelled out, etc. But you also have people giving you the thumbs up- honking, supporting you. And those who will stop and chat or take information that REALLY ARE OPEN and effected.

What are your personal reasons for transitioning from Vegetarian to Vegan?

My time at Peta opened my eyes- to the GRAND SCALE OF OPPRESSION AND SUFFERING. I thought I would go back to vegetarian after I left the intern house in 2005- I never did. Once you see the animals suffering, open your heart to empathy and compassion and see how easy a few changes in your lifestyle really are- there is no way I am supporting that. We can vote with our dollars- we can choose to support cruelty- or not. We can choose to be kind. I just absolutely under no circumstances wanted to support the industries that harm animals. Giving up dairy was a small price to pay. So what? Watch the footage of veal calves getting ripped from their mothers, from pokey things put through their noses so when they try to nurse it hurts and pokes the mother causing them to run away…. watch the screams of the babies getting torn away to suffer the mothers fate if a female or a cramped cage for veal if a boy. No thank you.

Can you tell us a bit about your time with PETA?

See above lol

How can the average human get involved and become an activist? How do you think they should choose which organization or cause to support?

There are so many great organizations doing great things, some right in your city, I urge everyone to do some research and volunteer their time- donate- collect items for animals in need, etc. Spend the day at a VegFest, commit to going vegan for 30 days, do not buy products or cosmetics tested on animals, to stop buying leather, etc.

If you had advice for any new Vegans, what would it be? 

Don’t be overwhelmed. Do your research, ask for help from others who are already vegan (stay off FB lol), and PREP. When I was vegan we had cereal with soy milk and PB&J, and until I found other things to eat that is all I ate. Now with the internet and online recipes its easier than EVER to eat healthier and find good vegan food for your family, purchase cruelty free products, etc.

What are your top 3, all time favourite Vegan spots to eat? 

Hard one! I am lucky enough to have eaten great vegan food all around the world.

Champs in Brooklyn, Mohawk Bend in Los Angeles, Chicago Diner in Chicago make the list. In Pittsburgh we have Onion Maiden and B52 Café which are some of my favorite food.

Any pet peeves you’d like to share with us about Veganism or Activism?

I don’t want to criticize so I will start by saying we need ALL forms of activism and all kinds of personalities in this fight. I do find that newer vegans are a little angry (as they should be), I don’t necessary feel that walking into a whole foods just to get kicked out is beneficial for the animals, I don’t like buying into the stereotypes that non vegans put on us. I prefer to surprise people with education and discussion. Some acts people do are more self masturbatory than helping in my opinion.

If you could solve ONE issue on the planet today, what would it be?

Factory farming. Its destroying the planet, its causing needless suffering and animal products are making Americans some of the most unhealthy in the world. If I could close my eyes and undo factory farming, I wouldn’t need 2 other wishes…

 

Day 15 – LISTENING TO YOUR BODY {our final day}


Well, here we are at the end of our 15-day journey. What have you been able to apply to your daily routines so far? In this last instalment we will look at how to listen to your body and understand what it can tell you.

Doctors talk about the “symptoms of disease” and prescribe chemicals to suppress those symptoms. If you have pain, they prescribe painkillers. If you have high blood pressure, they prescribe chemicals to artificially lower blood pressure. This practice of detecting and then suppressing symptoms is called mainstream medicine.

Have you ever thought that maybe our bodies are telling us things long before we actually become ill? What if the messages they were sending actually contained important information about your health?

Medications and their impact on you

Conventional medical doctors have been trained that symptoms are things to be suppressed, negated or destroyed.

If you sprain your ankle playing frisbee, for example, your body sends you a pain message. This message contains important information: “This tissue is injured. Do not use it until it is repaired.” If you heed the message, you will allow your ankle time to heal. Once it’s healed and safe to use again, the pain will disappear. It is now safe to put weight on your ankle again.

Pain is an intelligent regulator of your activities. It can direct you to avoid further injury. Pain killers dull the pain and artificially block pain messages. They allow you to keep playing on an injured ankle to the point where you are likely to cause further injury, resulting in even more suffering and perhaps permanent damage.

What your skin and nails are telling you

Your skin is also a messenger. What’s happening with your skin is a reflection of what’s happening with your internal organs. If you have acne on your face, for example, you have much the same thing happening in your digestive tract. Facial acne is a sign to clean up your diet, eliminate all animal products for a while (dairy, meat, etc.) and detox with a plant-based diet.

If your skin is dry, itchy or flaky, it’s a sure sign that you’re deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and possibly some other key vitamins or nutrients. Increase your intake of omega-3s through fish oils, marine oils or plant-based sources like chia seeds, and add superfoods to your diet to cover any vitamin deficiencies you may have.

Your fingernails can tell a lot about your health, too: Misshapen or discolored fingernails point to chronic nutritional deficiencies in minerals and certain vitamins. If your fingernails have ridges, cracking, discoloration or any other symptoms, get yourself to a naturopathic physician right away. Fingernails, you see, indicate what’s going on with the rest of your body because your nails are, of course, grown out of your body. If you have nutritional deficiencies or chronic organ problems, they will be revealed in your nails.

What goes in must come out

To pay even closer attention to your body’s symptoms, observe what’s coming out of your body:

• Do you have body odor? If so, your diet is unclean. Too much milk, butter and meat.

• Does your breath smell bad? Same problem: Unclean diet or poor digestive health possibly an infection in your dental work or gums as well.

• Are your stools too hard, too soft or not healthy looking? Check with a naturopath — the health of your stools indicates the health of your digestion.

• Does your urine smell strange? It will after eating asparagus, of course, but normally your urine should not have an offensive odor. If it does, go visit a naturopathic physician for some advice.

• Are you hyperventilating at times? It may be a sign of consuming a diet that’s too acidic. Or could also mean pre-diabetes. Check with a naturopath.

What comes out of your body is a very accurate indication of what’s going on inside your body.

Listen to your cravings

Your body will also tell you what it wants through cravings. These are little subconscious messengers that direct you to eat something your body needs. Most people, however, misinterpret those cravings and end up eating something bad for their health instead of what the body actually craves.

If your body craves salt — real salt, not the processed sodium found in junk foods — you may feel an urge to eat a salty snack food. But that urge is often just a craving for full-spectrum salt. Try eating some fresh nuts dusted with full-spectrum sea salt and see if that takes care of your craving.

Cravings for chocolate may often be just your body crying out for magnesium. Your body sends you the message, “Eat more magnesium!” but your conscious mind mistakenly thinks you just need more chocolate. The processed, store-bought chocolate on the market today has little or no magnesium left in it. Buy real chocolate if you want it to contain the minerals it’s supposed to. I make chocolates at home that are AMAZING. With real Cacao.

Is your body crying out for water?

Dehydration can cause all sorts of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed as other diseases. Chronic dehydration can appear as all the following symptoms or diseases: Asthma, high blood pressure, hunger, kidney disorders, heart problems and constipation.

Drinking more water on a regular basis (and avoiding dehydrating beverages such as sodas) can solve these underlying problems, and you may actually see many of those symptoms vanish within a few days, weeks or months.

What’s beneath the symptom?

If you receive a diagnosis from a western doctor, you can often take that diagnosis home and do something useful with it. For example, if your doctor says you have high blood pressure and recommends you start taking toxic blood pressure drugs, the best thing you can do for your health is to always get a second opinion. You can use nutrition and natropathic medicine as well.

Use the symptom as information

Never be tricked into taking a medication that masks the symptom. Use the symptom as a clue to look for root causes that can be corrected through more natural means. This is how you can listen to your body and interpret its messages in useful ways that lead you in the direction of health.

Your body is yours to take care of for the rest of your time here on earth. Which method of care will you choose, and when will you start listening to those all too important signals?

Source: Natural News

Client Spotlight for Keto Vegan – Marisa

 

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – KETO VEGAN – MARISA FRANCESCA

Before ketogenic “dieting” what other forms of meal planning had you tried?

I have always been really bad at meal prep/planning and I had never really done so. I have realized that it is essential in order to be successful, especially if you’re busy.

What were your first impressions of ketogenic nutrition?

I was skeptical of a keto “diet.” I’ve always heard and have been told, from vegans as well, that “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.” When I was actually taking the time to learn about keto, everything made sense, and with that I was able to be successful with it! It took some time for me to get used to, since I never did anything like it before. When you do it correctly, it absolutely works.

What did you find to be the biggest challenge with switching to a “high fat” diet?

At first, it was definitely hard to go through the day without planning what I was going to eat, because at times I’d find that I had reached my net carb limit, but had plenty of fat left, and vice versa. It’s really all about the planning.

What were your best resources for recipes, tips & tricks?

Meatfreeketo website, as well as the Vegan Keto Made Simple / Vegan Keto Facebook groups. I found ways to make vegan, keto friendly pancakes, crackers and others’ favorite keto foods!

Plan plan plan! I can’t say that enough- I try now to input my days worth of macros into MFP the night before, with a few extra grams of each macro for some wiggle room, so I know that I will do my best to meet my macros.

LC Foods has low carb vegan breads and bagels- they are so good! Not everything is vegan though.

Do you think if you weren’t vegan you would have a harder or easier time “going keto”?

I think that I would have a harder time. I think that even people who aren’t vegan understand that the nutrition and fats/cholesterol from dairy and meat products are NOT good, so eating them in excess would be really scary health wise.

Did you find a favourite keto recipe that you can share with us?

Vegan Keto Bagels (gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free)

http://easylocarb.azurewebsites.net/recipe/flaxseed-crackers/

What did you miss the most from your diet (favourite foods etc…) when eating keto?

I was loving having a smoothie with frozen cherries, chocolate flavored vega clean protein powder and some peanut butter powder in the mornings. It became a habit, so I’d say I missed that the most. There are low carb options for everything else, really! Fettuccini made of tofu is one of my favorites.

Do you think you could “do keto” for most of your meals, for life?

Yes, I definitely could. I was addicted to junk food, so the higher fat meals helped me kick those habits. I’ve now realized I could definitely do this for a long time.

What would be your biggest piece of advice to anyone who might be interested in trying keto?

My biggest piece of advice I would say is to do your research- this is a must (for me, any way!) I also tend to do things better when I know why and how it works, so this also helped me succeed. Find groups where other people are doing the same or similar things, like a vegan keto facebook group- they are very helpful.

What were the biggest changes you noticed with the plan ie: skin, hair, sleep, hydration, energy etc…?

I’ve had so much energy that sometimes I don’t sleep that much! I have also noticed that my skin is so much clearer than it was before, and my hair feels so much softer!