The Chicago Vegan
May 15, 2018 § Leave a comment
A Quick Guide To All Things Vegetarian In The City
Explore the vegan life in the windy city. They grow, they eat, they drink, they shop, they read, they wear… Vegetables, fruits, plants, algae and cereals, these products given to us by Mother Earth that many have chosen over meat, fish or poultry. Are there many vegetarians and vegans in Chicago? More than you think: vegetarians and vegans are here and live the good life in our fair city.
We usually focus on Thai massage, meditation and herbal remedies, but nutrition is responsible for 80% of our health. It would therefore be silly for us to ignore this hugely important element of our life.
The Vegan Jargon
Vegetarian, vegan, fruitarian… What’s all this? There’s more to not eating meat than one would expect. One might eat eggs, drink milk, only eat fruit or consume all fruit and vegetables in their raw form.
Vegetarianism means not eating meat products, this fact is well known. But besides consuming vegetables and fruit, a vegetarian might also eat some animal products, such as eggs, milk and honey. The vegetarian does not eat meat or fish, or any of their by-products such as gelatin or beef and chicken stock.
A vegetarian and a rabbit: a vegetarian eats plants, certainly, but these plants are not only composed of the obvious green leafy vegetables and bright fruit. Vegetarians also eat algae, mushrooms, seeds, yeasts, roots…
On top of fruit, roots, nuts, seeds and vegetables, the lacto-ovo vegetarian eats eggs and drinks milk. People with a sweet tooth will delighted as cakes are allowed. Furthermore, there can be 2 Lacto-ovo vegetarian sub categories… You’ll encounter the lacto-vegetarian (who consumes plants and milk) and the ovo-vegetarian (who consumes plants and eggs). Not too lost I hope?
The vegan never eats any animal products and only consumes plant based products. Say goodbye to eggs, milk, honey, cheese, seafood, which are enjoyed by vegetarians. You might think that it doesn’t leave much, but think again, the choice can actually be quiet surprising! On top only consuming fruits, roots, seeds, nuts and vegetables, the vegan is usually very aware of any kind of cruelty performed towards animals. He or she will often stay away from places that might exploit certain animals such as sea parks, where orcas and dolphins are trained to perform tricks, and elephants camps, where tourists enjoy rides on poorly treated elephants.
Raw veganism is the strictest lifestyle in all of the vegetarian categories. It’s essentially the same as veganism with the exception that all foods are consumed raw.
Where to shop for food and eat vegan in Chicago
Probably one of oldest grocery store in Logan Square, Food Smart has a great selection of vegan, organic, local, gluten-free products.
Good Foods Vegan / Vegetarian Deli
Everything is in the name; this deli (which also has a restaurant), offers vegan and vegetarian dishes, desserts and drinks, to enjoy on the spot or to take away.
Green Grocer Chicago
A small neighborhood store that has everything to make your average vegan happy; great, local and organic products, all presented by an adorable staff.
Whole Foods Market
Located all over the US, as well as in Canada and the UK, Whole Foods is now infamous for high quality produce and its wide selection of vegan and vegetarian products. Organic honey, raw apple cider vinegar, gluten-free breads, goat’s milk, Whole Foods has it all. There are currently 15 Whole Food Markets in the Chicago area.
Another American favorite with more than 450 stores in the US, 17 of which are in Chicago, Trader Joe’s offers vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or fat-free products. “Fake” chicken beef without beef, vegan mozzarella, free range chicken eggs, Trader Joe’s is essentially in the same league as Whole Foods..
For who prefer to do their shopping from the comfort of their home. Vegan Essentials is now the most important online vegan store in the US and offers everything from food, to books and DVDs and to supplements.
Some of Chicago’s favorite vegetarian restaurants
Native Foods Café
Launched in California in 1994, Native Foods Café is America’s very first fast-vegan restaurant, serving fine and fresh cuisine. You can enjoy dishes from around the world, burgers, chili, wraps, Moroccan salads… Four locations in the Chicago area, Native Foods also offers a catering service as well as delivery.
Founded in 1983 by health expert Karyn Calabrese, Karyn’s mission is to transform the vegan lifestyle into sexy, while glorifying the power of nature and its wonders. She now has 4 restaurants and 1 spa in the Chicago area.
Located just a stone’s throw from Belmont Harbor, Kitchen 17 serves all sorts of delicious foods you would of never thought possible for a vegan cafe: pizzas and burgers, that have nothing to envy to the “real ones”.
Urban Vegan offers vegan Thai dishes with delicious Asian flavors. You don’t live in the neighborhood? No problem… For a small fee, Urban Vegan will deliver your favorite dishes to your door.
Lush is now relatively famous for its natural and vegan beauty products and treatments. For 30 years, this British brand has branded itself around the fight against cosmetics being tested on animals and is boycotting all the companies that practice this.
In spite of the name, no leather is used in the manufacturing of these shoes. In fact, MooShoes is more than just shoes… The store also offers bags, wallets, belts, t-shirts and sweatshirts, jackets and accessories all made of synthetic microfiber polyurethane. And, as a bonus, veggie lovers can find books and DVDs to help them become a bit more vegan. MooShoes doesn’t yet have a Chicago location but its online store is pretty awesome.
Vaute Couture Fashion
This independent fashion house created by a former fashion model and Chicago native Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart offers stylish designer creations, crafted of recycled and recyclable fibers.
The vegan state of mind: online ressources
Being vegan is much more than just a diet; it’s a whole state of mind, by which adepts clearly and simply indicate their refusal to use any product derived from animals.
American Vegan Society
The American Vegan Society posts interesting facts about the vegan lifestyle.
There is also the VegSource, a true media outlet that covers a large variety of topics touching veganism, such as health, fashion, conferences and events. Want some crispy info on vegan celebrities? It’s also on VegSource.
Vegan Beauty Review
Learn everything about the ways to be beautiful naturally. The Vegan Beauty Review blog offers great tips about make-up, fashion, hair care as well as as host of information to live a cruelty-free life.
The ultimate guide for anything and everything that’s vegan in the Chicago area. This great online database lists vegan businesses according their activity, ‘veganity’ and their location in the city. You can also suggests new businesses for them to list..
Many of us obtain information via social media and for this Facebook group pages are extremely useful. Chicago Vegans is such a group and anyone can join this group in order to inquire about all things vegetarian in the area.
PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR CHICAGO BASED BUSINESS FEATURED ON THIS PAGE
How Thai Massage Helps Your Nervous System
March 20, 2018 § 1 Comment
The nervous system regulates all other systems of the body. Using Thai Massage to calm the nerves indirectly improves the functioning of all your organs.
Our autonomic nervous system, which controls the automatic functions of our body such as our heartbeat and digestion, consists of two types of fibers:
- The sympathetic nervous system
- The parasympathetic nervous system
The brain controls these two systems.
The sympathetic nervous system is activated when we face an emergency, shock or trauma. Our body automatically gets into the “fight or flight” mode:
- Your breathing accelerates to provide more oxygen to the blood
- Your heart rate and blood pressure increase to carry more blood to the muscles
- Muscles contract to be able to cope with the action
- The adrenal glands secrete adrenaline into the bloodstream to strengthen and maintain the activity of the sympathetic nervous system
- The digestive system slows down, to save energy
Meanwhile the brain also triggers a chemical reaction: stress hormones are secreted, the main one being cortisol, which gives the body more energy.
When stress is eliminated, the brain switches to the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system involved in the normal functioning of our body systems. When the parasympathetic nervous system is triggered, the sympathetic nervous system begins to rest.
During periods of low stress, you experience the following:
- Your heart rate and blood pressure go down
- Your blood pressure stabilizes
- Your muscles relax
- You digestion goes back to normal
Your body’s response to stress is originally designed for a short time, or to deal with an external (physical) situation. However, chronic stress (psychological or emotional) is more and more frequent nowadays. Financial problems, long-term illness in the family, or unsatisfactory work can all be causes of chronic stress.
During chronic stress, the brain can no longer trigger the activities of the parasympatic nervous system, and the body’s capacity to return to the state of rest and repair is greatly impaired or stops altogether:
- Cortisol decreases the functions of the immune system
- The sympathetic nervous system maintains high heart rate
- Your blood pressure rises
- Your muscles remain tense and painful as they are loaded with lactic acid and because of limited fluid circulation
- Your digestive system is stops working
- Your immune system can no longer fight infections or illness
- Your adrenal glands are exhausted
- Your body becomes more sensitive to cardiovascular disease
- Your muscles and hormonal glands get tired because of constant stimulation, which can lead to stomach ulcers
So how to relax the nervous system? Can massage help?
When you receive a massage, “touch” messages are sent to your brain. Your brain then decides if the contact is positive. It does so by comparing it to similar experiences from your past.
If the touch is perceived as a positive experience, the parasympatic nervous system is activated and cortisol levels are reduced. The body returns to its state of rest and restoration.
As you receive massage therapy, the following occurs:
- Breathing and blood circulation slow down
- Anxiety decreases
- Your stomach may even gurgle as a sign that your digestive system is functioning normally again
In addition to having an indirect effect on the autonomic nervous and hormonal systems, a Thai Massage also has a direct effect on the body’s systems that have suffered from chronic stress:
- Blood circulation is stimulated, improving nutrient transport and waste drainage
- The touch received through massage stimulates and stretches muscle fibers to relax them and relieve aches and pains. A Thai Massage also removes lactic acid and other wastes to leave room for oxygen and nutrients required by the muscles.
After a treatment, you will feel more relaxed, with less tension, and your sleep will be improved. Your body as well as your mind will begin recovering from the effects of the prolonged stress response.
Regular massage treatments can help prevent chronic stress and promote long-term balance.
Lemon Detox Part 1: Introduction
March 13, 2018 § Leave a comment
The Master Cleanse Diet, also called ‘Lemon Detox’, has been around for decades. It was originally made popular by nutritionist Stanley Burroughs, a strong advocate of a natural approach to health and one of the first to promote the idea that the body has the natural ability to heal itself.
In this first part of a 3-part series about the lemon detoxification program, we will introduce you to a method that will result in great health benefits.
The results encountered with the Lemon Detox were simply extraordinary. There have been instances of problems associated with chronic disease, some of which have been suffering for years, disappeared in just 10 days.
The Lemon Detox involves drinking a lemon juice mixture that will help your body eliminate waste that has accumulated over time. There is more to it, and we will explain it in detail later on in this article, but you should know that it is a safe and effective way to achieve a balanced health. It’s also a great way to lose weight fast and a great start off point to a much healthier diet and lifestyle.
Doing the Lemon Detox can help you lose weight by eliminating internal waste. The number of pounds lost varies a lot from one person to another, but for some, the number can be huge. But the real benefits in terms of weight loss appear once you have completed the detox program. After finishing the Lemon Detox, most people find that they don’t have to force themselves to eat better; refusing unhealthy food becomes natural. In fact, processed foods high in calories will make you sick. You will suddenly crave for foods rich in nutrients, such as raw vegetables. Your appetite will also adapt, requiring less foods to feel satiated.
Why you need to detox your body?
We poison ourselves slowly. The food we eat is covered with pesticides and there are chemicals in the water we drink. In some cities, the air is so saturated with pollutants during certain days that authorities recommend staying home. Not eliminating the environmental poisons that accumulate in your body could even rob you of a couple years. It could also mean a lifetime of chronic pain, fatigue, obesity, and a plethora of other health issues. A Lemon Detox can help eliminate waste accumulated in your body. To better understand the Lemon Detox, you must first understand that it is based on detoxification.
Put simply, your body is filled with a lot of garbage that is very difficult for your system to eliminate normally. At this very moment, many people are walking with kilos of dense fecal matter piled up in their bowels. These are perfect breathing grounds for bacteria to proliferate, and if you do not eliminate this, you can slowly poison yourself. You will begin to have symptoms such as skin issues, extreme fatigue and loss of libido.
Here’s the source of this slow poisoning:
- Processed foods
- Saturated fats and trans fats
- Artificial sweeteners
- No or very few raw vegetables
- Toxins associated with alcohol, coffee and smoking
- Not enough water
Through heavy branding and marketing, modern eating habits have evolved to become a bad combination of overly sugary, fatty and salty foods that overwhelm the body. Add too little water and the horrible life style habits that we’ve come accustomed to around the world, such nights out drinking, coffee and too little sleep, the results are disastrous. This is where the Lemon Detox comes into play. Although this may be reminiscent of something that a heavy drinker would use to unwind, it is really only about helping your body to free itself from this waste.
Following the Detox Lemon could result in the following:
- Increase your energy levels
- Help you to break your bad habits
- Flush your body of harmful toxins
- Promote weight loss through increased energy levels and a faster metabolic rate
- Strengthen your immune system and protect you against diseases. Detoxification will reset your body.
In part 2 of this 3-part series, we will explore how to go about the Lemon Detox programme.