Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Summer: Three Things To Share

There are things three I want to share this lovely summer evening:

1. I admit it. July has been a slow blogging month for me. Why? Not because I want to dismiss the blog. Trust me, I think about My Vegan Corporate Life daily!

Honestly, It’s because it’s JULY. The summer sunshine-grab-a-cup-of-vegan sorbet-and-ride-your-bike-month. The month of sundresses, flip-flops, baby showers and veggie BBQs. Summertime in Maine is brief and therefore I intend to enjoy every last second.

So, I apologize for my lack of blogging concentration. I’m not one to point fingers, but please if you’re going to blame anyone…. blame summer.

2. In regards to my previous post called something like, "One Vegan Dish Makes the Difference…Dining in Portland, Maine" I have to admit that this week I had a business dinner and recommended Emilitsa. They DO have ONE vegetarian dish that can be made vegan. And since I love green beans and potatoes and fabulous red sauce. I really enjoyed my meal. I just wanted to say Thank You Emilitsa for making my night enjoyable.

3. Lastly, since Borders is closing up shop (which actually really makes me sad, even though I understand that it's a product of the digital revolution and one word: Amazon) I went and browsed through what was left of their vegan cooking section. I ended up purchasing Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa & Terry. I can’t wait to make the Cookies n’ Crème cupcake. It looks delicious.

On a side note: Doesn't it sound like the book title "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" should have a mini evil cupcake in the bottom right of the book cover rubbing it's hands together with a bubble of evil laughter? It doesn't, but I agree completely, it most definitely should!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sponsor in the Spotlight: Atlantic Chiropractic

I believe strongly that advertising at it's purest form is to help the end consumer become more informed about the products and services they purchase. I am happy to post the third VCL Sponsor in the Spotlight post by Atlantic Chiropractic.


* * * 

Insight provided by Dr. Kathleen A. Norris, DC, CCH

1.Why and when did you become a chiropractor?
 My first visit to a chiropractor was in my mid 20s. I hurt my back chopping wood- what else do you do in rural Maine??? He examined me and said the sprain/strain of my back was the least of my problems. Over the next four years I worked with chiropractic and by the age of thirty was healthier than I had ever been!

I always thought I would go to medical school but had hesitated because of large philosophical differences between myself and medical school. In chiropractic, I found a system of medicine that made sense to me. A system that recognized the body’s innate ability to heal itself. A system that understood that the body and mind could not be separated from each other.

2. How did you become interested in homeopathy? 
After being in practice for 10 years I began looking around for additional tools to help my patients. It was while studying herbal medicine that I became fascinated with homeopathy. It was it’s ability to reach deep inside a person and heal that awed me.

Many people use the term “homeopathy” to refer to any system of medicine that uses herbal treatments or is holistic. While homeopathy is holistic and recognizes the connection between body and mind, it is actually a specific system of medicine that started in Europe over 200 years ago. Homeopathy utilizes minute amounts of natural substances to help correct underlying imbalances at the energetic level and bring a person and their condition into better health.

3. What are the benefits of homeopathy and how would a person incorporate it into their lives?
When used properly, homeopathy is safe for people of all ages to use. It can treat a wide variety of conditions from acute to chronic. Many simple, everyday conditions such as insect bites, stomach flu and colds can be treated at home with a little instruction and a “home kit” of homeopathic remedies. Serious, stubborn, deep and persistent problems need the training of a skilled homeopath to treat.

4. Is homeopathy vegetarian and vegan friendly?
60% of homeopathic remedies are made from plants. The rest are made from minerals, animals, fungi, bacteria and various other natural substances. The remedies made from animals are often made from a substance from that animal. For example, remedies from mammals are made from the milk of a lactating female. Remedies made from birds are made from a feather or blood sample. Snake remedies are made from venom. Reptile remedies are made from venom or blood samples. I’m afraid the poor insect kingdom doesn’t fair as well. Their remedies are most frequently made from the whole body of one dead animal. While that is tragic, enough remedy can be made from that one insect to supply the world’s homeopaths for decades. This is because such a small amount of the original substance is needed to make any remedy.  

Most remedies are made in a base of milk solids. If a person has dairy allergies or is Vegan there are other options. They just have to ask.

5. How long were you a vegetarian? Do you have any advice for vegans or vegetarians?
I was a vegetarian for 21 years. While I still eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains, I have had to incorporate meat and seafood into my diet. I became allergic to many of my food sources- soy, eggs, dairy, peanuts and almonds. This was due in large part from eating the same small group of foods over and over with little variation.

My advice to vegetarians and vegans is to rotate your foods. Eat a wide variety. Don’t be afraid to supplement what you’re not getting enough of in your diet. Examples would be adding a supplemental source of calcium or B12 if your intake is low.

6. What is an initial appointment like for chiropractic and/or homeopathy?
The initial chiropractic visit is an hour long appointment. We go over your chief concerns and medical history and do a chiropractic exam. The chiropractic exam consists of postural analysis, various orthopedic tests, muscle testing and neurological examination.

The initial homeopathic visit is 1 ½ hours. During this visit we discuss your chief concerns and how they are affecting you.

7. How can you be reached to set up an appointment?
You can reach me at my office by phone: (207) 772-6411 or by e-mail: I offer a free 15 minute appointment to discuss whether these modalities could help you. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Where Have All the Strong Women Role Models Gone?

Athletically strong that is.

The women that can work together.

Oh wait… I see them… sort of.

Now that it’s one day before the Women’s World Cup final game.

I guess they get a rotating screen on ESPN.

Did I mention that it’s the FINAL GAME.

* * * 

The Wall Street Journal is delivered to my desk daily and as I grazed through the front page material last Thursday expecting to see information on our wonderful US Women’s Soccer team, the day after they beat France 3-1 to advance to the final game of the World Cup, I found nothing.

Sorry, that’s wrong. I found one sentence that was overshadowed by LA’s  ‘Carmageddon’. By a sentence I mean 22 words noted at the bottom of the “World-Wide”
column, below the center crease. There was also a buried article in the middle of the paper that started with “Let’s hear it for the women with the magic forehead.”

Thank you WSJ, for citing our star Abby Wambach as though she’s part of an odd magic show. “Oh look, her forehead appeared and magically put that ball in the back of the net! What a trick!” 

At least it was touting her physical abilities. In an article that I looked to on ESPN, since WSJ wasn’t giving me the match details for the final, another headline states, “The Super Sub: In the past 24 hours, Alex Morgan has scored her first WC goal and received marriage proposals. All in a day's work for the U.S.'s rising star.”

I’m sorry, marriage proposals?

It’s “all fun and games” she says, and I’m sure she’s lovely, but why would they write that? To show strong women can be adored on Twitter too? That they can be attractive and can be feminine while wearing a jersey? It just makes me wonder if the next headline will state  “The Super Goalie: Hope Solo saves 32 shots and shares her oatmeal cookie recipe, famous in three countries!

Can we just focus on the fact that they’re professional women athletes with genuine physical ability and could run circles around every person I know.

These women are tried and true role models for US girls. That while, as a culture, we can appreciate smart like Sheryl Sandberg, and sexy like Angelina Jolie, and creatively talented like Annie Leibovitz, should we not also appreciate strong?

It makes me, and I'm assuming any woman who played sports growing up, feel like - “So this is how we treat our women professional athletes, we put them on posters and have them play hundred of thousands of games, we have them compete at US Colleges and Universities to get overshadowed by tan celebrities that attended the ESPY’s!”

( let’s have a heart to heart, sit down. I like Entourage just as much as the next person, and I know I’m not your target market, but really? You’re going to put Emmanuelle Chriqui, a fine actress, as the only photo of a woman on the home page of a sports site instead of any of the members of the US Women’s team with a roster of 21 people that just trained, sweated, scored to beat Brazil and France in the last week to show that the ESPY’s are Hollywood certified? Are you compensating for something?)

And think of this. Even if a handful of the women on the US roster are smart and sexy and creative, it will only be for a brief time that they remain strong enough to compete on a world stage. They will play to a certain age and they will be deemed too slow or have incurred too many injuries to play at a certain level. Beyonce, on the other hand will probably be wearing sequence and singing sweet tunes into her old age.

So, let’s appreciate the strength in the present.

Let’s give the women pro athletes the limelight they deserve. Let’s buoy them up as role models to show our girls that they too can be strong. To show our younger generations, that have been flooded with reality TV drama, that drama doesn’t have to be over menial things like clothes or make up or tanning or money. What does that amount to? Not to a World Cup final game, and most certainly not the ability to be part of a dedicated and strong team.

Let’s give the women our attention on Sunday, and even after they return home from Germany, because we have strong female athletic role models, we just need to stop and pay attention. And maybe bring the kids to a pro-game now and then. 

The US Women's Team will play regardless if you or I watch, but watching and sharing could certainly make a difference.

More Info
Since they will be broadcasting the final game, ESPN created a page that you can find with some searching behind all of the European soccer news. I also found articles on NPR’s page. Of course you could go straight to the source and visit the Official Women’s World Cup site, but my point is that we get more people interested in these events via mass media, not by googling what we already like. 

Also some of the players, like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, are on twitter. Abby Wambach does not appear to be on twitter. Apparently, magic foreheads don't work on digital feeds as well as on the soccer field. I updated my account today. I'm sure they'd appreciate a shout out.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Vegan Dish Makes the Difference… Dining in Portland, Maine

One vegan dish and a waiter to tell me that it exists is, really, all I need.

Living in a food Mecca does present an odd balance of challenges when selecting a restaurant for dinner. Your business partners want seafood or beef, you want veggies, and it would be in your best interest to find a place that specializes in both.

Yes, I have my personal favorites with vegan fare in Portland, Maine - Silly’s, Portland Pie, Green Elephant. Restaurants I go into with casual dress with my boyfriend or best friends, which require a certain type of personality.

They have food that I love, however, they’re not exactly work appropriate for a large portion of my business partners? Why?

Because people who visit Portland, Maine want lobster and beef and chicken and fish AND they want it all cooked with butter! And as a host, I want them to enjoy their meal because making people that you work with happy is always a good thing. Plus, I’m the minority, usually the only vegan at the table. And surprisingly, usually the one that has to make the call on where to suggest a restaurant.

So while I choose a restaurant that can supply vegan fare and call ahead to make the chef aware of my dietary needs, my options are truly limited with ordering solely off the menu. Every now and then I “take one for the team” and select a restaurant that presents a challenge for vegan diners because of the inflexibility of their menu, their lack of customization, and their specialty in seafood that will please my business partners. I’ve learned that some restaurants are better then others for custom orders depending on the chef.

Grace, for instance, has a few vegan dishes available and labels them distinctively on their menu (Thank you!). Walter’s changes depending on the night, I’ve had custom dishes that were delicious and other nights where ordering off the menu was required. Emilista had one dish that was great and made vegan very easily, although the name escapes me now and I would assume the menu has changed since I last dined there.

The Room’s are usually OK. The Front Room doesn’t have anything on the menu for a Main Plate, but the last time I asked for a bunch of different veggies they presented everything on one dish for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the food and the experience. The Corner Room has very few vegan options and the Grill Room really just says it all in the name. It’s not vegan friendly. Our Corporate Marketing department had our holiday outing there and I had the salad.

Fore Street has a few salads and a couple sides that can be made vegan friendly quite easily, but no main dishes. Actually, the last time I dined there the sides of asparagus and cauliflower I ordered were delicious. However, the dishes they were presented in took up half of the table in front of my VP and it took me 15 minutes of chatting with the waiter to understand what items on the menu were actually vegan, even though I had called ahead.

Here’s my point. I live in a food mecca, and as the vegan of the department I am going to bring my business partners to places where food is crafted and supplied at the highest of standards. And I know that I don’t have to choose your restaurant, that I could walk back to my apartment and bake kale chips to clinch my hunger. However, if Portland restaurants could offer a vegan item, or a vegetarian item that could easily be made vegan (hold the cheese), my life would be infinitely easier. 

I wouldn’t get a blank stare from the wait staff or a sigh from my VP. You don’t even have to put it on your menu, just have your wait staff and hostess be aware that the option exists.

I’m not picky in these situations, if it’s vegan I’ll eat it. AND honestly, the quality of the other dishes on the menu are a testament to the quality of the veggies provided. Usually they’re wonderful.

I’m not going to miss a business dinner, they’re important to my career from a networking standpoint. I will go even if I have eat a piece of lettuce. But if I don’t have to eat a piece of lettuce, If I know that your restaurant supplies even ONE vegan dish that I like, I will be happy. And I will bring my business partners there, and I will recommend it to my friends visiting from out of town, and I will even recommend the place as a spot to take my boyfriend’s parents when we go out.

Your one vegan dish would, really, make the difference.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Very Vegan Birthday Weekend (In Pictures)

Between the Vegan LizLovely Cookies, biking to the beach, Vegan Veggie BBQ, Butterfly balloons, double "You're wonderful" cards and finally trying Ariel's Chipotle Cilantro, I would say my birthday weekend was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who helped make it enjoyable.


Friday, July 8, 2011

26 Things To Do in Year 26

Particular holidays make you contemplate just how old you actually are. A day just like any other day - except one that seems to generate a more intense series of personal measurements including achievements, accomplishments, failures and mishaps.   

Two days out of the year, however, seem to have a reputation worse than the others.

The first you could probably guess is quite obvious, the presumable New Years Day. The day in which your family and friends get together for grandiose resolutions, party dresses, TV, a 12am ball drop, glitter 201(whatever) glasses with hope that every picture your best friend is taking doesn’t end up tagged on Facebook by morning.

I like New Years because it’s a universal holiday. I enjoy myself. I never really make resolutions, knowing that if I want something to change it needs to be habitual. Plus changing anything in the middle of a Maine winter can be a bit tough and all of my external goals are shot down by internal banter.

Mostly something like this…
Me 1: I will run in the morning before work!
Me 2: Really? Because it’s freezing and you’re going to need a flashing vest in order to dodge the pick-up trucks. Don’t be ridiculous, you get cold in July with a jacket on and hand warmers.

The second day is more personal. A birthday. Your birthday. Another year, another smile wrinkle, another way to refer to yourself. “I’m a teenager” “in my mid-twenties” “Under thirty” “In a quarter life crisis” “In a mid-life crisis” “Young at heart”.

And throughout the short time I've been here, I have gotten into the habit of taking a minor inventory of my life each year. Mostly focusing on what I can be thankful for, but also focusing on what I want to experience. So as I recap life as a 25 year-old and gear up for my second birthday as a vegan, here are my general ponderings of the year.

Year 25 was great. I have a family that loves me. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I got a promotion. I got a terrific new manager. I was able to enjoy Denver, Colorado, San Francisco and Disney World. I put on a small, but successful Bowl-A-Thon for Literacy Volunteers. I was able to write freely and compile my random thoughts into these things I call “blog posts”. I found out vegan pizza is right around the corner from my apartment and my 8th Grade Bicycle still works. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup. My basil plant is still growing strong in my window and my appreciation for rap music is still growing strong in my heart.

Year 25 was a great year and I am truly thankful for the people in my life. And since age 26 starts tomorrow, I have decided that I want to continue the positive stream of energy. So I’m just going to jump in!

When I was little I had virtually no fear.
I would run to the water without arm floaties on and try bicycles without breaks. 
I have decided to make a list of the 26 Things To Do in Year 26. Honestly, some of the items are random, a great portion of them are silly, and others have no purpose other than simply because I want to do them. Mostly, it's a list of little things that have been sitting on an invisible to do list. And now they're sitting on a digital to do list waiting to get done.

I’m going to post the list to my page and cross off items accordingly. As I find my way to these 26 things throughout the year, I’ll be sure to share them with you!

I’m going to enjoy the weekend,  I hope you do the same (birthday or not).


Friday, July 1, 2011

Questions to Ask at the Farmer's Market

The Farmer's Market in the summertime is fabulous. I’m honestly a kid in a candy shoppe. I love it. There are so many vegetables to look at and recipes to ponder. Although, every time I go, I will admit, there is an underlying sense of anxiety that passes through my thoughts as I’m wandering past farm stand after farm stand. And it normally goes something like this… 

“Who has the best produce? What farm should I buy kale from, nine of them have kale? Do I buy organic tomatoes, or do I buy tomatoes that are just tomatoes? If a tomato is not organic is it still a tomato? If I buy the mini tomato, instead of the large tomato, what would the difference taste like if I make a salad? Bah! Just go for the lettuce, that’s marked and has one pronunciation, it’s easy you just have to grab the bag and stand in line….”

Really though, how do I know what to look for at a farmer’s market? I know organic is better, but what other things should I be looking for?

So with the help of my organic farmer friend James, as noted in the guest blog Choices, we devised a list that will help you be an informed farmer’s market consumer. I will admit here that when I say “we”, I mean I created the design and used spell check, James did most of the content work. Thanks, James.

You’ll see questions for Vegetables, Dairy and Meat. Why? Because I know that VCL readers aren’t all vegan, and I would rather spread the word of healthy organic food practices and what to look for in food, regardless of your omnivore/herbivore preference. 

FYI - The meat section is a just tad graphic.

If you want the sheet below, but can't click on the image file and print accordingly, e-mail me and I will send you the PDF to print!

Good Luck.