Top Sick Day Movie Marathons

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I dare you to guess my mood. It must be the fever.

I dare you to guess my mood. It must be the fever.

I haven’t been shy about expressing that if I’m going to do anything, I may as well do it big.  That dedication has taken on a new form of what I can only assume is the Hayley version of the flu. I say the Hayley version because I am pretty convinced I may be a real life version of the Bruce Willis in Unbreakable as I should have died, contracted sickness, broken multiple bones and/or some variation in-between many times in my life yet have managed to remain unscathed. I’ll just brag and say if completing doctor office paperwork were a race, I would be hands down in the top 3 finishers right behind a newborn baby (no name or social? not fair) and Chrissie Wellington whom I’m 90% sure is a at the very least a robot hybrid. 

Back to the going big part. Yesterday morning at work I was good, good, good, good, happy, laughing, good, good, bored, good, nautious, wind sprinting across office, projectile vomiting in what I can only hope was the ladies restroom, laying on floor of the ladies restroom for an unknown amount of time, good, back to meeting, hot sweats, sending a confusing email to my team with the word ‘moist’ in it, driving home swearing my windshield was covered in a wax paper film, laying in bed in a slightly hallucinogenic state where I thought I could hear small voices making fun of me from the closet. Now today I find myself keeping everything down but just wandering around the house looking for warmer socks. I’m assuming this bug would have killed a lesser person, but it is rather inconvenient for me, not to mention Evan is more then a little repulsed by what I’m assuming is my complete lack of hygiene and musky smell. His face does not whisper.

Now that warm socks have been found, it’s time for my favorite activity that I never get to do: MOVIE MARATHON!  In a tribute, below are my top 7 favorite movie marathons of all time.

HARRY POTTER YEARS 1-8

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Damn right I put a picture of Professor Snape – I love this quintessential underdog, not to mention the dude can breath lines through his teeth in a magically villainous way that has me doing the Arsenio Hall arm pump every time.

THE MATRIX TRILOGY

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When it comes to special effects and end-of-the-world story lines, the Matrix was years ahead of it’s time. Who can forget movie one, first fight scene when the camera pans around Trinity in mid-air right before doing an aerial face kick? And Keanu finally found the perfect role where his translucence and general apathy played like a badass.

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY

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I once had the cops called on me for watching Lord of the Rings too loud in my apartment. When I answered the door braless in dumpy sweatpants holding a giant bowl of popcorn there were four cops at the door who insisted they search the house. I don’t know what they were searching for, but a small part of me wished they would have found Viggo Mortensen passed out in a closet.

STAR WARS (all 6 movies…)

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I don’t care what you think, I like them all and I will watch them and they will bring me joy. Yoda kicking Saruman from LOTR ass at 900 years old? Yes please.

THE BOURNE MOVIES

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Except for the new one with Jeremy Renner. Just leave that to a time when the fever is really high – then maybe you won’t be disappointed.

QUENTIN TARANTINO MOVIES

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No exception – always begin with Pulp Fiction. Then Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Bastards warming up to the Kill Bill movies, mix in From Dusk till Dawn followed by Death Proof and come back down on Jackie Brown. Afterwards be sure not to go out into the general public – side affects of this mini-marathon include non-sequitur monologues, malaise, and a-mouth-on-you-that-your-motha-wouldn’t-even-kiss levels of swearing.

(and if you have no shame and/or are alone)

Twilight

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Don’t judge me.

I’m going to go eat some soup and watch Evil Dead. Peace.

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Web Feast Friday


I don’t mean to toot our own horn, but we are on 18 days and counting on our 2013 resolution to blog every day. We’ve even accomplished one of our 2013 resolutions by hitting the 100 post mark on the blog.  This may not seem like a great feat to those seasoned bloggers,  but coming from a couple folks who can justify doing/not doing many things, we continue to amaze ourselves!  We’ve found a routine that is keeping us on track, and we are definitely taking plenty of pictures and cooking delicious foods that will definitely make an appearance on the blog.  This weeks Feast includes links and lists that can help create routines, or provide ideas to incorporate into your current routine.

Kick your morning off with any and all of these AM activities.

Let’s all commit to this list for 2013!

Lot’s of Top 10 lists always get kicked around this time of year.  This top 15 list is 5 better.

So true.  So true.

For those of you joining us for “Raw February,” here’s some helpful tools.

For those of you still looking to detox from the holidays, or adopting a more detoxifying lifestyle, here’s some tips.

This recipe has Sunday dinner written all over it!

Actually, I’m making this on Sunday.  This too.

This song just popped up while we were watching Girls, and I totally forgot how great of a jam it is!

Our Top 100 favorite things about being vegan (celebrating our 100th post!)

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100_eurekamural

HAPPY 100th POST TO US! It’s been so much fun sharing our food, laughs, and life with you over the past year and we are excited for hundreds of more posts to come! As a tribute to what plant-based lifestyle has done for our lives, we are breaking the barrier of our normal hump-day laziness to share our top 100 reasons for being vegan (in no particular order).

100 Favorite Things About Being Vegan

  1. Having enough energy to workout, work long hours, cook delicious meals, write a blog, plan and partake in adventures, and live passionate life.
  2. Saving 50+ animals a year

    We found a magical snow elephant snowshoeing this weekend!

    We found a magical snow elephant snowshoeing this weekend!

  3.  All the amazing, compassionate, open people we have met because of our interest in plants
  4. Losing over 60 pounds between the two of us
  5. Creating and re-creating favorite meaty & cheesy meals
  6. Kayrn’s on Green (oh man – our fav)
  7. VooDoo Donut Apple Fritters
  8. Quick recovery time after hard workouts
  9. Discovering new substitutes (and proving that vegan cookies are breathtaking)
  10. MindBodyGreen
  11. Taking a more mindful interest the role each meal plays in the quality of my life
  12. Helping others to discover their healthiest, happiest selves (even a few more plants is great!)
  13. Yumm sauce
  14. Veg-fest’s galore: Portland, Chicago, San Fran

    Rockin' Out at Chicago Veg-Fest 2011

    Rockin’ Out at Chicago Veg-Fest 2011

  15. Eating Animals – good for thinkers of going veggie
  16. Papa G’s

    Deli of vegan deliciousness in Portland

    Deli of vegan deliciousness in Portland

  17. Portobello
  18. That sweet potato fries can be considered a meal
  19. Cruelty free products not tested, or made with, sweet fuzzy loving animals
  20. Daiya – we lika the cheeze!
  21. Post Punk Kitchen
  22. Coconut Bliss Ice Cream
  23. Veganomicon
  24. Predictable and extraordinary poops
  25. Millennium
  26. Vegetarian House

    All vegan chinese restaurant in downtown Portland - and right across the street from VooDoo Donuts!

    All vegan chinese restaurant in downtown Portland – and right across the street from VooDoo Donuts!

  27. Tofutti Cream Cheese
  28. Farm Sancutuary
  29. Food, Inc
  30. Vegan Essentials
  31. Clear skin (not for everyone, but most see an improvement)
  32. Lara & Halo bars
  33. Vegucated
  34. Sweet and Sarah marshmallows
  35. The Vegan Sourcebook
  36. Forks over Knives
  37. Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Milk
  38. Mastering the art of making our own meats
  39. Scott Jurek
  40. Sizzle Pie – Spiral Tap Pizza will bring you so much joy100_sizzle
  41. Finding veggie friends using Meetup.com
  42. Asian markets
  43. The Green Owl Cafe

    Where our love from BBQ Jackfruit was born

    Where our love from BBQ Jackfruit was born

  44. Vega products
  45. Soy milk commercials
  46. Food coop’s (and getting memberships to actually support them!)
  47. The China Study
  48. Happy Herbivore
  49. Planning vacations around restaurants, and maybe fitting in some other things
  50. Trumpet Blossom (get dessert peeps!)
  51. Vegan MoFo (vegan month of food)
  52. Chef Chole Coscarelli
  53. Babycakes
  54. Vegan Cuts – sign up for their monthly vegan snack box
  55. Diet for a Small Planet
  56. BBQ Jackfruit (and knowing what Jackfruit is – never would have ordered before going veggie)
  57. Tofu scramble Sunday brunch
  58. The Vegan Stoner
  59. Herbivore clothing
  60. The day that you can feel your body begin to crave vegetables more than junk food
  61. Vegan with a Vengence
  62. Isa Chandra Moskawitz
  63. The Joy of Vegan Baking (best.cookbook.ever)
  64. Taking our love for all beings to another level
  65. Warrior Force protein powder
  66. Sage’s Cafe – and Salt Lake City
  67. Mad City Vegan Fest
  68. No more cholesterol!
  69. Two Beans or Not Two Beans
  70. The Shop ‘N Kart (Our new favorite grocery store.)
  71. Getting creative at Thanksgiving and blowing your families mind
  72. Cinnaholic

    The best part of Berkley after the people watching

    The best part of Berkley after the people watching

  73. Meat is for Pussies  – veggies for bros!
  74. Vegan Brunch (another favorite – you can tell by the amount of pancake batter between the pages)
  75. Finding new and interesting ways to use tempeh
  76. Rich Roll
  77. Juicing – and having your body show you how happy it can really feel
  78. Prepping ourselves for our first visit this summer to NYC as vegans
  79. Dandies marshmallows
  80. Thunderbird Energetica Bars
  81. Chocolate-Covered Katie

    I love a girl that loves cupcakes:)

    I love a girl that loves cupcakes:)

  82. Upton’s Natural’s Seitan
  83. So Delicious coconut milk egg nog (that’s right, I said egg nog mofo!)
  84. Kickstarter funded veggie cookbooks like The Lotus and the Artichoke
  85. Earwax Cafe  – the place it all began for Evan, and we are still mourning it’s loss
  86. Cocomels – sea salt are the bomb
  87. VITAMIX!!!

    The day we finally got rid of our old blender and bought a Vitamix. We had feelings.

    The day we finally got rid of our old blender and bought a Vitamix. We had feelings.

  88. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
  89. Thai food – especially Tom Kha with Tofu NOMS!
  90. Veggie Superbowl menu planning!
  91. Bearded brother’s bars100_beard
  92. Moo Shoes
  93. Cornbread Cafe – I could curl up and live in their menu

    Cornbread Cafe in Eugene - sandwiches of the gods

    Cornbread Cafe in Eugene – sandwiches of the gods

  94. Sea vegetables on everything
  95. Babycakes cookbooks
  96. Slowly beginning to use coconut oil for literally everything
  97. Food Democracy Now
  98. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  99. Bare Escentuals  – cruelty free beauty
  100. Getting to do this amazing blog for you amazing people every day – we hope you enjoy reading it even half as much as we love sharing it with you. LOVE!

How to stop buying self-help books and start building your 2013 race schedule

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Ahhh....we love a fresh start!

Ahhh….we love a fresh start!

We are beginning the year with a guest, our friend Evonne from Iowa (more on her amazingness tomorrow), so we are doing what any self-respecting hosts do when guest visit – hide all the shit we are ashamed to show.

*Sidebar: I refuse to use the word hostess as I am avoiding all words that could provoke spontaneous binging on sweets/tearfully re-watching the slideshow on my computer entitled “Sugar on my teeth” scored with the jam This Used to Be My Playground by Madonna.

Back to our shame. Usually we have the most shameful items in the dark recesses of the odd-shaped bedroom that we don’t use except for a futon and “things to be filed”, but other items we enjoy on the reg but have to carefully balance our self-respect and the general fear and concern of others when deciding to keep them out or not. The Game of Thrones Land of Ice & Fire Map kit? Stay. Our collection of hand puppets? Hide. Our collection of hundreds of owls? Stay. Our collection of dozens of decorative potpourri  in various shaped bowls? Hide. Our stuffed animals which we have named and treat like real animals? Stay.

And their is one thing that we love dearly yet always hide: our throngs of self-help books. I’m not kidding. A mega-throng. We can’t seem to resist the promise from anyone in a blazer or with a beard of a better life – relationships, diet, exercise, traveling, making money, spending money, finding passions/strengths/careers/other books…oh man, we love experts. Actually, I think it’s less about the experts and more about the promise they all have in common – A HAPPY, BLESSED, ABUNDANT LIFE OF FREEDOM! With every new book came a new Monday morning promise – THIS week will be the start of something different. THIS time, everything is about to change.

Well maybe it was all those years of self-help kool-aid or the fresh Oregon air or the placid simplicity of the hill people we see wandering our streets smoking joints in their 1992 Air Jordan t-shirts that have inspired us to do things differently. THIS time, instead of planning on doing things – we are getting it done son! Nothing is quite so motivational as throwing down fat cash and signing your name on the liability release for races to make you say – oh damn, I better start doing some shit.

Below are a few websites that we used to find, pick, sign, pay for, seal, and deliver our future folks. Our future of buns you can bounce a quarter off, robust quad-meats, less truck-drivery arms, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from helping yourself YOUR way!

Helpful websites to help you build your own race schedule:

  • Running in the USA –  Search by race, state, date, mileage along with linked website and contact information. Perfect for finding one race month by month and/or plan an active vacation
  • Southern Oregon Runners – Local organization that promotes events all over Southern Oregon. Some of the most elite trail and road runners in the world live in Southern Oregon, come see why.
  • Fitness Sports  – Local Iowa race website run by a Des Moines shoe store by the same name, promotes events in iowa by race, date, mileage.
  • Half Marathons site –  Narrow down the field of races and experience the fastest growing event in running. Search by location and race.
  • Trail Runner – Just like Running in the USA, but only for trail runs. Is the best site with the most trail races, an event that is a blast yet difficult to find in the girth of road runs on other sites.

Oh, and we did take from those books the idea that in order to hold yourself and to be held accountable, it helps to share goals with anyone and everyone! So chicky-check it out (and please join us if you can – I’ll be the one sweating out my mouth at the back of the pack):

2013 RACE SCHEDULE 

January: Schmidtman 5k

Pic from the 1st annual Schmidtman 5k (the combo of Evan and I's last name) - a run we do together on the 1st of January each month

Pic from the 1st annual Schmidtman 5k (the combo of Evan and I’s last name) – a run we do together on the 1st of January. Our bib #’s are our goal weight

February: Couple Truffle Shuffle 10k (Medford, OR)

March: Shamrock Run 8k (Portland, OR)

April: Bridge to Brews 10k (Portland, OR)

May: Rock n Roll Half Marathon (Portland, OR)

June: Race for the Animals 10k trail run (Portland, OR) + Granite Man Trail 5 mile (Applegate Valley, OR)

July: Ashland July 4th 10k (Ashland, OR) + Deschutes Dash Duathlon (Bend, OR)

August: Hood to Coast relay (Mount Hood – 199 miles – Seaside, OR) + Mount Ashland Hill Climb Half Marathon

September: Wildwood Trail Trial 10k (Portland, OR)

October: Portland, OR Marathon!!!

November: Turkey Trot 10k (Medford, OR)

December:  Try not to get fat. This has yet to be accomplished and we don’t want to complicate things with running a race – although we probably should as a way to potentially guilt our way into not getting fat. Hey, nothing says the holidays at our house like a vat of guilt (and copious amounts of starchy foods).

Can you spot the most photogenic people in the race lineup? (hint: my mom and I are in there somewhere)

Can you spot the most photogenic people in the race lineup? (hint: my mom and I are in there somewhere)

Our Storm Kit

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We’ve been watching our fair share of the super storm coverage out east, and can’t help but think about what we would do if we knew a massive storm was barreling our way.  We were used to the occasional snow day back in Iowa, where we typically spent the day at home cooking, baking, and watching movie trilogies.  We would watch the weather the night before, track the storm path, and secretly hope we would get dumped on.

Apparently Southern Oregon doesn’t have to deal with any kind of weather phenomenon like that.  It still got us thinking:  What if we knew we would be “stormed” in and needed to stock up on necessary provisions to wait out the weather.  Here is our top 5 list of shitty weather must-haves.

1)  Some sort of non-dairy milk.  Assuming we have power, baking WILL happen and all our favorite recipes call for some sort of rice, almond, or hemp milk.

2)  Daiya cheese.  We consider ourselves chili connoisseurs and tend to fire up the slow cooker when the weather turns sour.  Daiya tends to be the go-to toppin’ for chili.

3)  Beans, beans, all types of beans.  Whether it be hummus, soup, chili, salads, or burgers, having a selection of beans makes all of these possible.

4)  Bananas.  We are big smoothie fans, and also like freezing bananas and blending them in the Vitamix to create a sorbet/ice cream concoction.

5)  Beer or wine.  No good reason other than Southern Oregon produces some of the best craft beer and wine in the country.  Nothing says snow/storm-day like doing some cooking, drinking, and movie watching.

After going back and reading this list, it’s fair to say that we might actually miss our Midwest snow days.

After going back and reading that last sentence, it’s fair to say that’s effin’ crazy!

Top 10 Reasons Living in Oregon is Awesome

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It’s been almost 9 months since our big move from Ames, IA to Medford, OR – and besides some fleeting moments of homesickness for our families’ cute faces, we have not looked back. After years of moving around, for once it’s become difficult to imagine ever living anywhere but in here. And here are the reasons why:

10. A few hours to everywhere

Giants game in the city or isolated in the forest is only a short drive

At first we thought we would be sad to walk away from a 3.5 drive to Minneapolis, four hour drive to Omaha, and five hour drive to Chicago. But then, as it always does, Google showed us the light:

  • Seven hours to Yosemite National Park or Seattle
  • Six hours to San Francisco, Mount Hood, or Lake Tahoe
  • Four hours to Portland
  • Three hours to Bend and Mount Bachelor
  • Two hours to Eugene
  • 90 minutes to the ocean and Redwood Forest
  • 30 minutes to the closest ski resort at Mount Ashland
  • Minutes from best snowshoeing, mountain biking, trail riding, hiking, and wine in the U.S.

9. The Pacific Ocean

Those Deadliest Catch dudes are nuts.

Commuting to visit the business owners I work with used to take me down Interstate 35 where I would then turn my wheel once onto Interstate 80 covering a territory within 5 hours. I cover the same distance now, but my commute takes me through the Redwood forest along the ocean on Highway 101. Corn vs Ocean – no contest.

8. The Redwood Forest

My brotha!

I’m fairly confident that in my other life I was a tree – something about being in the forest makes me feel at home and totally aligned in joy. If that is so, these bad boys are like my ancient ancestors. If you haven’t seen a redwood up close, prepare to add it to all of your top 10 lists of cool shit in your life.

7. The Race Scene

The hideous socks were the only way we could stand apart from the elite pack of racers. The only other way to tell is if you heard our start line conversation about strategizing the number of donuts and chips we would eat post race.

As kids grow into adults, often the superheros of our youth either disappear in cynicism and rage or evolve into either inspirational family members or our favorite public figures such as politicians, quarterbacks, or Will Ferrell in anything.  At our house, elite athletes from often obscure endurance sports like the Tour de France, cyclocross, the Ironman , and ultra-marathoning are the shiz. It wasn’t until we moved to Oregon that we realized a crazy high percentage of those peeps we admire actually live here, including Hal Kroener, twice winner of the Western States 100, who lives in the next town over and owns our community running shop. Not only are we amongst our heroes, but any day of the week if we want to run, ride, or tri with them in competition, it’s a cornucopia of options – we could do killer races every week if we wanted. Oh, and remember you are racing with a view of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

The venue for the 1st annual Enchanted Forest Wine Run. Luckily I was injured for this one and spent my time making friends over a few bottles of wine while basking in the sun on the front lawn. Bummer.

6. Beer

2012 Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival

While we are nestled in the middle one of the most popular and best wine regions in the world, there is also this supreme culture of home and microbreweries. Actually, I think it’s pretty close to being a state law that you cannot drink anything EXCEPT microbrews – oh, and no limit to the amount of alcohol content. Drinking beer here is like the drinking culture in Ireland …everyone’s doing it man.

5. The strange and unusual

And the best part? Someone sits in his head and talks to you through a microphone. I have so many questions…

I used to use Burger Kings and Shell stations as landmarks, now I use directions like “turn right at the Burl outlet and drive until you pass the second Sasquach carving. If you reach the Alpaca farm, you’ve gone too far.”

There are cars here that I didn’t even know are still street legal…and I’m rather confident we WILL own a Westfalia any day now. It is an Oregon right of passage.

Just when Evan and I thought we had seen it all, we pulled up to a stoplight last weekend and witnessed a BMX bike gang of dudes in their mid-forties, an obese woman riding a razor scooter, a teenager playing a guitar, and a guy dressed as Kiss properly and casually use the crosswalk all in the same field of vision. Most importantly (and I will speak to this later), everyone looked totally happy and self-assured. This. Place. Is. Awesome.

4. Playing Outdoors

Crater lake is GORGEOUS – and a few hours away.

The only way that makes sense to cross this meadow on top of Table Rock is Sound of Music, turning in slow motion with Baptist praise-jesus hands.

This one is no surprise  – I think everyone who thinks of Oregon thinks gorgeous scenery and endless things to do…but I never expected to be this overwhelmed with options for ways to play outside. We have been here almost a year and haven’t even left a six hour vicinity  – why would we need to? It’s not only the number of things to do but the people who live here, whether they are physically active or not, all seem to really enjoy and appreciate the outdoors…and that makes it feel like one, big, tree-hugging family.

Kayaking on the Rogue.

3. Friends

Housin’ vegan bar food at Standing stone

You may have seen pics of our peeps before, but our closest friends from Iowa, Sarah and Brian, were a big inspiration for us moving to Oregon. It works out great that they live in Portland and we are in Medford as the vibes are so different and each trip is a little escape. But as I’ve said, people are so chill here that everyone feels like friends, even the otherwise creepy people.

2. It’s a Vegan Mecca

Read our blog for a few days and you will see that we do NOT go hungry. Oregon, especially Portland, really is the mecca for vegan food and although we have been there dozens of times, there are always more places to try. Southern Oregon has some opportunity in this department, but at least when we tell someone we are vegan they recognize what that means and cater the best they can. In Iowa, we would either get a strange look or someone would bring us chicken with a side of mozzarella sticks with a proud look on their face.  They have a little catching up to do. (Be sure to check out our Restaurants tab as we will continue to update it as we try new places).

All vegan chinese. F yeah.

Stuffed pickled peppers at Portobello

1. Everyone is so nice. Like CRAZY nice. Crazy AWESOME nice.

There really isn’t a good way to truly articulate how serious I am when I say EVERYONE is nice. Yesterday, a homeless gentleman politely asked me if I had anything to offer so he could get a sandwich, and when I told him I only had change, he complemented me on my fashion choices and thanked me for my ‘unexpected kindness’. Whether the people drive fancy cars or are waiting at a bus stop, standing in long lines or in a hurry at the bank, look like they are from the runway or the side of the highway – EVERYONE has been kind, respectful, and giving of their time to engage in conversation. It’s not until you have experienced this kindness that you realize how it changes everything – you are happy so you treat others happy and the cycle continues.

Please come to live in Oregon. We have an extra bedroom and have become so extra nice that we probably won’t be creeped out if you want to stay. Believe me, you won’t want to leave.

P.S. Did I mention you aren’t legally allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon? Not only does it provide more jobs to keep down unemployment, it’s amazing to sit in your car on cold days and just relax. Come on – that’s REALLY awesome.

Me too babe.

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Top 5 Pro-Plant Books Everyone Should Read

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Just talking about a controversial topic triggers my symptoms for acute anxiety. Politics, abortion, the NBA, Lady Gaga, drugs, zoo animals – just thinking about talking about these things and I start to get weird. I’m talking perfusive sweats causing a jungle-like environment in all the pits of my body, awkward social behavior where I either break out in dance or change the subject to something I know much better (like tacos or Harry Potter), and, in the more unfortunate moments, the telling of a dick joke.

Heres the thing – it’s not that I don’t have an opinion or am a total weenie, I just have this thing where I suck at debate. That is probably because I would rather do things that are fun for me like watching Game of Thrones or learning to do aerial spin kicks then read up on the hard issues. Plus I know that I’m totally gullible and can easily be talked into shit I don’t even agree with (which is how I ended up almost finishing Atlas Shrugged and thinking it was good).

So, I may not be the most reliable source for recommending life changing books, but this is what I do know: each of these books have the quality of not preaching an agenda, but encouraging you to make up your own mind. They are easy to read, use science and personal stories to paint a picture, and are perfect for those of you that love choosing based on what FEELS good, not just the side that is popular or easy to debate. Ahhh, how I love the open and moderately passive.

TOP 5 PRO-PLANT BOOKS EVERYONE SHOULD READ

1. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Foer wants you to make up your own damn mind.

On the brink of fatherhood Jonathan, the author of the well known Everything is Illuminated, shares his personal journey with coming to terms with his choices about food on a quest to make an educated choice on how and what to eat. From reflections on his past relationships with food to visits to factory farms, this journey is familiar for many as it delves into bridging the gaps between who we were to who we are while seeking out the best ‘truth’ through experience. Fun to read, at times familiar and at others foreign, I LOVE this book and the perspective it brings to a plant-based dialogue.

2. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD

“SCIENCE!” – Bill Nye

For all those that dig facts, figures, and clarity in scientific research in decision-making, this book is a must read. Beginning with an understanding of how America came to this point of an obesity and subsequent lack of wellness epidemic, Dr. Campbell moves through a history and data for a number of current health issues and their relationship to our food choices. Clear in it’s message, you can read from start to finish or use as a table reference for how to prevent and overcome disease and dis-ease.

3. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Kicks the Scarlet Letter’s ass in the Sophomore Language Arts required reading category

It wasn’t until I read this book for the third time in 2004 that it’s harsh realities of early 1900’s meat-packing world hit home personally. Told from the perspective of a young, optimistic immigrant moving to America, we are taken into the history of the factory farm in such a vivid way that it’s difficult to read at times and even more difficult to realize that, in many ways, the meatpacking industry has’t evolved much. Powerful, profound, and motivating – I read this book every year as a reminder and affirmation of my decision.

4. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Few books tackle such a wide spectrum of impacts on the All-American diet as Fast Food Nation. Read the table of contents to see the breadth: Chapter 1. The Founding Fathers…Chapter 3. Behind the Counter…Chapter 5. Why the Fries Taste Good….Chapter 9. What’s in the meat. Easy to read, well researched, and effectively using American stories to paint the picture – this book will make you think twice before hitting the next drive thru. (And, yes, there is a movie – but, as usual, the book is so much better).

5.  The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliot

The #1 vegan right of passage? Tattoo sleeves.

This one isn’t just for the ladies and is one of the best ‘practical advice’ vegan books on the market (along with runner up, Becoming Vegan). Elliot has managed to give solid information on not just the food but the entire vegan lifestyle while helping it to feel both utilitarian and cool. Blending the perfect amount of clearly titled advice with interviews of vegan business owners and legit recipes, Girl’s Guide comes already wrapped up in a pretty, perfect, gift-for-an-aspiring-veggie package.

*Check out our post about the top 5 pro-plant documentaries…get yo movie on!