The Super Bowl is just around the corner and in case you need some quick and easy menu ideas for the special occasion, we’ve got you covered. These tasty vegan recipes will have everyone at your party on their feet…even your carnivorous guests will be asking for seconds, and thirds!

For entrees and snacks try:

7-Layer Party Dip
Sloppy Joe Lentil Sliders
Veggie Pizza
Tasty Tacos
Black Bean Burritos

And for dessert try:

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Best Brownies

And if you don’t have time to prepare a dish, there are lots of on-the-go meal ideas to choose from. Try Gardein’s delicious buffalo wings, BBQ riblets, or crispy chick’n tenders . Or pick up some veggie burgers and dogs and spice them up with all your favorite fixin’s.

So whether you’re expecting a crowd or just hanging out at home with a few close friends, these vegan recipes will make this year’s big game day one to remember (even if your team doesn’t win). For more recipes, visit LiveVegan.org or MeatoutMondays.org.

On Monday, all eyes on were on Washington as our 44th president was sworn into office. Barak Obama’s inauguration speech sounded about the same as his last victory speech and the same as the nation has heard from previous presidents…lots of promises of hope and working together for the common good…to tackle healthcare, climate change, ending a decade of war, and peace and freedom for all.

Well if the president really wanted to start tackling some of these tough issues facing our nation (and the world), he might consider ceasing to endorse big agribusiness (and big oil but that’s another topic for discussion) and ending the war on animals. Reducing America’s demand for animal protein will not only solve violent animal cruelty issues but it would greatly reduce healthcare costs (improving the overall health of the country) and address one of the leading causes of climate change. That would truly be “freedom for ALL.”

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The latest news buzz surrounds the flu epidemic that is sweeping the U.S. Currently, 47 states have wide-spread flu activity, with increasing cases and death tolls climbing. The most affected population is infants, the elderly, and those with already compromised immune systems. However, we ALL (as in the the entire world) should be concerned with this recent outbreak because according to the World Health Organization, “We know another [influenza] pandemic is inevitable…It is coming. And when this happens, we also know that we are unlikely to have enough drugs, vaccines, health-care workers and hospital capacity to cope in an ideal way.”

The tv show, The Doctors, did a special episode yesterday regarding the outbreak, reporting that hospitals are over-flowing with patients, people are becoming “sicker” than usual and more deaths are occurring. The show’s host Dr. Travis Stork and his guest doctors all pushed prevention by way of getting the flu vaccine, with only one doctor recommending healthy habits all year by advising individuals to eat right, exercise, properly manage stress and to get plenty of sleep.

As I watched the show, I just kept thinking about that lone doctor that mentioned healthy habits year-round to combat illness and I recalled a chapter from Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, “Eating Animals,” in where he discusses influenza and worldwide pandemics. Health authorities have come to a consensus that an influenza pandemic is inevitable and that it will stem from new viruses that move between farmed animals and humans, zoonotic diseases.

And when you stop and think about it, the notion of an influenza pandemic being borne from the world’s farmed animals is not hard to imagine. The world’s birds (domestic and wild) harbor the full spectrum of flu strains and when you look at the current ways of raising these animals for food – genetically manipulated, deformed, drugged, over crowded, and stressed living in waste-coated cages/rooms with no access to fresh air, sunlight, or natural food sources – these practices are anything BUT healthy.

Studies show that chickens and turkeys consumers are purchasing at grocery stores are contaminated with E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter (a deadly pathogen), among other nasty things like feces, chlorine and antibiotics. Overwhelmingly, food borne illnesses come from animal products, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reporting poultry as the largest culprit. Studies show that even organic and antibiotic-free chicken have pathogens present at the time of consumer purchase. The CDC reports, 76 million cases of food borne illnesses in the U.S. every year.

On the other side of the coin, we are feeding livestock 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics every year for nontherapeutic reasons, and most of those are illegal in the European Union. America’s food system is the perfect breeding ground for creating drug resistant pathogens or “superbugs.” Not to mention, we are a sicker nation more prone to illness with heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity at all time highs (all of which have been linked to diets consisting heavily of animal products). The country’s increase in demand for animal protein has come at the ultimate price – our health. Jonathan Safran Foer sums it up best, “When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own.”

Fortunately, the good news is there’s a cure! Adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet improves human health, eliminates animal suffering and improves the health of the planet. Reducing your intake of saturated fat, animal hormones (and antibiotics), and cholesterol found in animal products and increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals found in plant foods, you fuel your body for optimal health so it can effectively fight off disease. Coupling a vegan diet with regular exercise, proper stress management and plenty of sleep is what the doctor ordered in preventing the flu and other illnesses. Live well this cold and flu season and all year. For more information on adopting a vegan diet and taking back your health, please visit LiveVegan.org.

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Safran Foer, Jonathan. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 2009. Print.

So if you haven’t heard, the Cooking Channel has gone vegan! Chef Jason Wrobel is cooking up plenty of delicious and easy vegan recipes on his new show “How to Live to 100.” Known as the “King of Superfoods,” which are powerful ingredients proven to increase your longevity, Jason dishes up plenty of food and humor that will have you tuning in for every episode.

Jason is a world-renowned leader in organic raw vegan cuisine and culinary education. He focuses on radical simplicity and artful presentation using fresh, local, organic produce and the healing properties of raw superfoods. Jason’s dishes have received rave reviews from a long list of celebrity clients including Woody Harrelson, Jeremy Piven, Sigourney Weaver, and Russell Simmons.

Wrobel says, “My goal as a culinary artist is to use organic raw and living foods as a catalyst to heal our bodies and increase our longevity. Through food, music and entertainment, I inspire people’s creativity, tantalize their imaginations and turn them on to how fun, easy and incredibly tasty healthy organic cuisine can be.”

So the next time one of your friends of family members asks you what you eat, tell them to tune into Jason’s new cooking show to find out! The next episode airs this Saturday; check your local listing for times. Bon Appetit!

It’s that time of year again, when most of us are thinking about the New Year ahead and reflecting on the decisions we made in the year passed. It’s the perfect time for resolutions and establishing goals to create a brighter future. The most common New Year’s resolution is to get healthier by losing a few pounds, exercising more, and eating better. And with the country’s obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic and heart disease and cancer on the rise, making health a top priority in the coming year is the perfect resolution and anyone can do it!

But before you get started, there’s one thing to keep in mind…traditional ways of losing weight have consisted of fad diets that require starving your body and your taste buds. Yes, you might lose a few pounds in the beginning, but it usually comes back, leaving you frustrated and setting you up for failure. Instead, try something new this year; start by really looking at the food fuel you are feeding your body. This is the easiest and most important step towards success…and one that is guaranteed to keep you committed to living healthy.

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