Rainbow week is continuing and today’s theme is all about making your food look black & white. Hot chocolate seemed like an easy thing to make today! But it also carries an important message. Chocolate is big business for many companies and several countries. The majority of cacao beans are grown in Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with more than 70% being grown in the Western African countries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
It’s that time of the year when every commercial is lined with glitter, snow, mittens, and warmth. All of which are wrapped up in the latest fancy tech product, a shiny piece of jewelry, or the hottest toy to hit the market. Sale! Sale! Sale! The holiday frenzy has begun!
It is so hard not to get wrapped up in the twinkle of giving holiday gifts to our family, friends, coworkers, bosses, neighbors, book club members…and the list goes on. But when you step back, are those gifts needed, making a difference, or enhancing their lives? Are they appreciated or would that person prefer to have a handmade gift or even to spend quality time with you instead?
As with many people, this is my favorite time of the year. Decorating, cooking & baking, and family gatherings have provided many wonderful memories over the years. I have a large family, so every gathering seemed like a family reunion. This time of the year can bring a lot of stress – planning, preparing, and creating the perfect day can bring about many anxieties in even the most Zen-like person.
I just returned from a week-long residency program in Surry, Maine. Call it a residency, call it adult summer camp, or call it a retreat…it was 20+ humane educators (most of us in training) from around the world coming together for one week for an intensive learning experience. Residency is part of the master’s degree I am earning through the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). "The Institute for Humane Education believes that education is the key to creating a just, humane, and sustainable world for all people, animals, and the environment,” as stated on their website. We learn about very tough and emotional subjects that revolve around animal protection, human rights, environmental ethics, and how all of it (and us) are connected. The classes I have taken opened my eyes to new issues, defective systems, and new ways of thinking, acting, and educating. It has deepened and fueled my passion for leaving this world a better place. Something my grandmother started teaching me when I was very young.
I’m vegan. I love kale, quinoa, and legumes. I drink green smoothies and make my own peanut butter. My clothes are free from animals, with the exception of cute images of pigs and cows. My makeup and household products were not created with the use of animals or tested on animals. I embrace and embody the vegan lifestyle. Did I mention I am also overweight and sometimes shunned by fellow vegans?