Friday, April 4, 2014

Vegan Mainstream Professional Bootcamps! For the V-Entrepreneur in You! (& 2014 Bootcamp Schedule)

In October of last year, I had the privilege of attending Vegan Mainstream's Professional Marketing Bootcamp. I was every excited for the opportunity, as I had followed Stephanie Redcross, the founder of Vegan Mainstream, for a while. Stephanie actually featured Lindsay & KMIV on VM back in 2011, which was a wonderful chance to build an even greater audience. Vegan Mainstream has been helping vegan entrepreneurs develop their brand, marketing strategies, design, PR, SEO, and more since 2009, launching compassionate businesses more into the mainstream. Last year, VM kicked off its inaugural bootcamp schedule, visiting Berkeley, CA, Washington D.C., Chicago, IL, New York City, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and Austin, TX, taking the United States by storm and inspiring many V-Entrepreneurs - whether health coaches, restauranteurs, food product creators, teachers, etc. - to move forward with creating or building their businesses in a super saavy, connective way.

To the event! October 12th, 2013, I made my way to Occidental College for the Los Angeles bootcamp. I was the first guest there, and the last one to leave. The bootcamp was a sell out, bringing people from all over to soak in the wonderful information, advice, and resources shared by Stephanie and her VM Bootcamp expert team. The day took us from the creative aspect of building a business to social media strategies to business tax laws, & exemptions, funding, press kits, patents, and so much more. The speaker slate was powerful, featuring:
  • lawyer Sandy Thompson, PhD, Esq.
  • marketing and business development specialist Paul Paez
  • PR powerhouse Annabel Adams (www.maddcappr.com)
  • VM founder, Stephanie Redcross
  • Happy Herbivore founder, Lindsay Nixon




In addition to the wonderful talks and Q&As, we dove into a delicious lunch, a mix & mingle & network session, and a fun Vegan Shark Tank! Some of my favorite takeaways:
  • "Our role is not to convert, rather to spread the word"
  • Key items for consideration in attracting the "Vegan Curious": demographics, competition -> Who/What else can solve that problem and/or provide service?, unique distinction -> Why does your product/service do it better? How?
  • "Understand your value, understand the person with whom you're connecting, add value to those relationships"
  • In crafting your pitch for public relations, figure out "Who Do You Want to Emulate?" Use someone/something that's been successful and develop it into your own
  • Look at your community. Who are your followers? Who are your advocates? Who are your Tribe Members? Where are they?
  • HELP your audience. Don't SELL to your audience.
  • Share your story & reference it often. People come to you (to buy, to join) because of YOU. 



Stephanie knows business; she knows people; she knows marketing, social media, effective & genuine interactions and networking; she knows how important building vegan into the mainstream is for our ultimate well-being in this world. With these Professional Marketing Bootcamps, she's providing an invaluable forum to learn, receiving inspiration, motivation, momentum, and connections that will help you and your growing business thrive in a world where "vegan" is still in the minority. It's a changing world though. And all of our vegan businesses and ideas have a place to settle in and revolutionize the world. Sure, this is very *big* talk, but, if there's so much potential out there in this awakening market, it's up to us to take the initiative to make sure we're not diving in without awareness and knowledge. Vegan Mainstream's Professional Marketing Bootcamps become the perfect vehicle to help you step and leap forward to the greater good of yourself and everyone else.


This year's bootcamps are kicking off Sunday, April 6th! Check out the schedule below and sign up if VM will be in a city near you:


I highly recommend getting yourself to one of 2014's VM Professional Marketing Bootcamps. You can jump on the website to vote for which cities they come to in 2015, in addition to reading up more about it.

Thank you Vegan Mainstream for bringing this amazingly wonderful compassionate awakened conscious lifestyle to the mainstream!

Do you have a vegan business? Are you a compassionate entrepreneur? Go to www.veganmainstream.com for more info and schedule your 30 minute introductory call.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Review of T. Colin Campbell's WHOLE & A Giveaway for YOU!

I had the privilege of reading an excellent book by one of my teachers and an icon in the world of plant-based nutrition. I am excited to share this post with you along with a giveaway for this book and more! Take a read, and then enter in your information at the bottom for your chance to win. Enjoy!

An a cappella singing group comprises of several/many people, several/many different voices, performing different parts of a song. Together, they create a complete soundscape, a recreation of a musical entity: one person presenting the percussion, others the melody, others harmonies, vocals, etc. Now imagine focusing on just one of the members and extracting her from the group because her harmonizing is so angelic, so beautiful. We take her harmony out of the group and just have her perform that harmony on its own as a song, expecting the benefits of what's provided from the complete song. Well, we're not going to get it. It's only one part of many that creates the masterpiece; by itself, it's out of context and, while complete in its own individual sense, incomplete in scope of creating a full song.

Now let's bring this to the context of food & medicine: maybe extracting a specific vitamin from a whole fruit and marketing the benefits the vitamin in supplemental form; or maybe chemically creating a pill to assist in the bolstering or reduction of a certain chemical process in the body. In both cases, just like removing the vocalist from the a cappella group, we fail to receive the full benefits of the complete entity, the full picture. In fact, when it comes to messing with the natural completeness of whole plant foods, we often unconsciously (or even worse, and all too often, consciously) introduce a host of detrimental side effects into the picture, sending the exploration for health down a rabbit hole that's guided by greed and power instead of positive intentions.

In WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, Dr. T. Colin Campbell expands beyond his work in The China Study, which brought to light the immense benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet, and presents a reality where profit trumps true health and real solutions are hidden away. Dr. Campbell makes a convincing case that we ("the system") have got it all wrong. We've bypassed the clarity of what the whole picture presents by breaking everything down into tiny little pieces and allowing each and every one to define the entire picture, out of context and with selfish intention. He explains what's going on in the world of nutritional sciences, food marketing, medicine, and government, spotlighting the reductionist paradigm that unnecessarily detours the full landscape described above, and provides us with the actual truth, the WHOLE truth, about how to think critically, understand the system, and achieve true health by living WHOLE lives.


I remember reading Dr. Campbell's The China Study a few years ago - a great but dense read, packed with tons of information, charts, etc. Definitely a valuable read, but potentially not suited for readers who prefer to avoid more of a complex immersion into detailed science. I think WHOLE does a good job of bridging that gap, making for a read that can connect with even more audiences, especially because it describes the pitfalls of the current world we live in and lays out approachable solutions (we want to be in the know, right?!).

The power of this book comes from the presentation of where a non-WHOLE, or anti-WHOLE, world has left us: sicker than before, paying more for health care (which is more accurately described as "disease care"), and more confused than ever before. Yet nothing is being done by those in control to truly solve this crisis. Eating unhealthfully makes us sick. Being sick forces us toward interventions - pills, procedures, etc. Interventions cost money. Eating unhealthfully makes lots of money for the food, pharmaceutical, supplemental, and medical industries. Is this the type of world we want to live in? I can say, with 100% confidence, it is not! The solutions come from changing the policy and sources of information from the top down (which is possible but very difficult) or, more accessibly, accepting responsibility as individuals/consumers, questioning the status quo (that does not serve us), and taking action toward our own health - getting us closer and closer to a tipping point in favor of true health.

Many statistics in the book blow my mind (like "The annual revenue for Big Pharma, $289 billion in 2010, exceeds the total national budgets of at least 80 percent of the countries in the world). Learning about the reductionist paradigm's stranglehold on government and within the scientific community angered me, as it seems all too obvious that the current system is not working and has not been working for a long time now. And the information presented almost became a storyline, a journey from clarity into darkness - ending with a call to action to come back into the light.

I highly recommend WHOLE: for a fulfilling read; as an advisory to you, the consumer; as a vote for truth and for health; and so much more.

"The current system is unsustainable. The only question is, will we free ourselves before it takes us down with it? Or will we continue to pollute our bodies, our minds, and our planet with the slag of that system until it collapses under its own economic weight and biological logic? ... What we eat, individually and collectively, has repercussions far beyond our waistlines and blood pressure readings. No less than our future as a species hangs in the balance...

It's time for us to begin a real revolution - one that begins by challenging our individual beliefs and changing our diets, and ends with a transformation of our society as a whole." 
~ T. Colin Campbell




You can find out more about the book, Dr. Campbell, and plant-based nutrition research, studies, and courses at www.nutritionstudies.org.

To enter the giveaway for WHOLE and The China Study Cookbook, just dive into the Rafflecopter widget below. Have fun and good luck!


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reasons to Smile: The Year 2013

A round-up of KMIV's 2013 Top 25 Reasons to Smile (although there were sooooo many more), by your favorite vegan hubby, Steven Todd Smith.

jason wrobel
JWro dives into one of his delicious recipes.
1. An amazing holistic raw vegan Reiki certification retreat at the Atlantis Rejuvenation Center in Bimini, Bahamas to launch Steve into the new year with the creation of his Reiki business, Reiki for Creative Minds.

2. The birth of the pilot episode of "How to Live to 100" with Jason Wrobel on Cooking Channel AND news of the official debut of this world's 1st vegan cooking show on January 3rd, 2014.

vegan bodybuilding and fitness
Vegan runner. Vegan warrior.
3. My plant-based/vegan fitness apparel from Plant-Based Junkies and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness - worn for a Gladiator Rock N' Run, a Spartan Sprint, and my first half marathon (video - watch!).

4. Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres. Winnie, Thatcher, Li Mu Bai, Turkey Lurkey, Prince, Paolo, Bruno, Safran, Macy, Jumper, and so many more amazing geese, chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, sheep, cows, horses, and pigs. Also, the human animals there: Cameron, Kelly, Robyn, Alex, Dani, and many other super people who care for these animals every day.

5. Stories like these that illustrate the intelligence of animals and the compassion that we, humans, can and should live out fully with all living beings.

6. Veggie Grill is going to become the country's first vegan restaurant chain at some point. I can feel it. I hope soon. 

7. "Bring It Down to Veganville" on SNL brings vegan to the mainstream with a dose of tasteful comedy. 

vegan recipes
Drool. Drool. Eat. Eat. Yum. Yum.
8. New recipes! Our favorites? Wolfsmith Stuffed Peppers and Sweet Potato Stacks.

9. One of the best written articles regarding veganism that I've ever read. By Dr. Will Tuttle.

10. The opening of the Animal Advocacy Museum in Pasadena by the wonderful Patty Shenker and Prabhat Gautam. The creation and organization of my very first large fundraising event with the help of the passionate and talented Ciddy Fonteboa: A Night of Creative Compassion. We raised $2500 for the animals of Farm Sanctuary.

11. Family visiting us in LA! Dad & Stepmom Wolf, Brother Wolf, Sister Wolf, Mom & Dad Smith. All received tasty trips to Cafe Gratitude.

Crossroads Kitchen Los Angeles
Vegan Goes Chic.
12. Crossroads Kitchen opens in West Hollywood! Fancy vegan comes to LA - and we indulge.

13. California Ag-Gag bill ruled dead! A huge win for transparency, justice, and compassion for the animals.

14. Our most precious Rini cat survived from heart failure. The emergency clinic vet gave her a 50/50 shot to make it through the night. She did. Lindsay and I were eternally grateful for the love, support, and help she received.

15. Vegan Beer Fest with The Vedge App's Jessica and Christina (thanks for the Ronald's Donuts!), Vegans in Vegas Radio's Rigel, Veggie Fixation's Christine, and so many more compassionate drinkers. Tried a most delicious coffee beer, one of my favorites ever. Oh, also Vegan Pizza Day. I learned what a Pizza Coma was.

16. Being the Community Manager for Forks Over Knives (for over a year!). Connecting with, assisting, congratulating people all over the world as they go through their plant-based journey. This documentary has created an enormous positive revolution for health and, in doing so, for compassion too.

17. Vegan babies and watching them grow up. Thanks Brian L. & Joanna W. and Jessica & Kenny S. for giving birth to such adorable kiddies and being excellent parents.

gardein powerv
The birth of the Power V(egans).
18. Jumper the cat's nighttime ritual and high-flying theatrics (videos: you want to watch these).

19. The first (of many!) PowerV lunches at the new Gardein Tasting Kitchen in Marina Del Rey. Jason Stefanko is not only a Gardein executive chef; he's the man!

20. Films that have made and will continue to make an impact on the hearts and minds of humans - Blackfish, The Ghosts In Our Machine, Speciesism: The Movie. And looking forward to the upcoming Unity (from Shaun Monson and Nation Earth, who brought us Earthlings).

animal acres
Mary helps us with our vow renewal.
21. Celebrations galore! Our friends' Molly & Dan's (vegan) wedding and our 4-year wedding anniversary (and 10-year "we've been together" anniversary). During our vow renewal at Animal Acres, Mary the sheep popped in to be our officiant.

22. The holidays this past month. So much food, so much family, so much laughter and joy and fun and presents. So much love.



23. Bill de Blasio wins us all over, vowing to ban horse carriages in NYC. Thank you.

bill de blasio
Thank you, Mayor-elect de Blasio.
24. Lindsay's booked commercial representation. Lindsay's role in the thriller, Gone in the Dark. Lindsay's first successful Kickstarter for Lady and the Bum, a short she wrote and will be starring in (coming next year). Lindsay's co-star on Criminal Minds. Lindsay's foray into a fun, potential sitcom pilot. Lindsay's immense achievements this year in acting - so keep an eye out for your KMIV creator in 2014... she's gonna be on screens all over, both TV and film :-)

25. You. Our kissable KMIV family. Thank you for your continuing readership and support. We know we've been more infrequent with posts, but we're still here! We look forward to a 2014 with some fun happenings and always love your participation. Happy New Year!!!



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Family, Food, and Fun!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy Holidays!

This is definitely our favorite time of the year. For so many reasons. Some of them include:

  1. It's Lindsay's birthday! This one is extra special, as she's celebrating 30 glorious years. 
  2. Holiday time brings out such wonderful joy, happiness, and togetherness from everyone! This year, Lindsay and I started with a belated Hanukkah and Mom Smith birthday celebration in Pennsylvania with Dad Smith and Sister Smith too, moved to a New Jersey weekend with Dad & Stepmom Wolf, and are currently in a cabin in the Catskills celebrating Christmas with Mom Wolf, Sister Wolf, Brother Wolf, and Grandma! Presents, fires in the fireplace, snow, X-Mas PJs, and more. We'll be finishing off with NYC for New Year's.
  3. FOOD! Lots and lots of it. From a Tofurkey feast to breakfast scrambles to some tasty treats - we make sure to get the whole family involved, in the cooking and with their appetites.
  4. A time to reflect. There's only one more week left in 2013! What an amazing year it's been. Keep an eye out for a special 2013 Reasons to Smile Wrap-Up. We'll be getting nostalgic, talking about special moments and accomplishments, in addition to thinking big for the new year 2014.
  5. Pictures! Enjoy some of what we already have for you below.

What are YOU doing for your 2013 Holiday Celebration? Comment below!

kiss me i'm vegan christmas
Catskills cabin decorations

kiss me i'm vegan games
Playing one of our new favorite games,
Escape: The Curse of the Temple

kiss me i'm vegan kiffles
Kiffles! A Christmas staple and a delicious treat from Mom Wolf.
They're Hungarian!

kiss me i'm vegan tempeh scramble
A "Welcome Home!" tempeh scramble from Mom Smith. I followed up with a Daiya Cheese-y breakfast scramble 5 days later!

vegan chopped liver
Trying out Mock Chopped Liver for the first time. Mom Smith used a recipe from No Cholesterol Passover Recipes by Debra Wasserman and Charles Stahler

vegan chinese food
A Chinese food feast from New Harmony in Philadelphia

vegan meatballs
Vegan Meatballs a-cookin!

vegan christmas
Nothing like a warm fire on a chilly day. Stockings accompany.

vegan christmas
Presents from Santa! It's Christmas!

lindsay wolf steven smith
Your most kissable bloggers enjoying the holidays and expressing
our never-ending gratitude for your love and support


Have a happy compassionate holiday season and enjoy this final week of the year!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The 4th annual terrific thanksgiving turkey pledge!

At Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, 2013.
Hello friends!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with that, the hustle and bustle of finding just the right food to display on the table for everyone to munch on. Stuffing! Mashed Potatoes! Cranberry sauce out of a can! Hey, you can take the girl out of New Jersey, but you can't take the New Jersey out of the girl...



This Thanksgiving, Steve and I will be eating plenty of yummy homemade food with tons of veggie friends at a very fun vegan pot luck here in LA, and I couldn't be happier. 

This year, I am challenging you - YES YOU! - to 

Kiss Me, I'm Vegan's



4th ANNUAL TERRIFIC THANKSGIVING 

TURKEY PLEDGE!!!

We've done this fun tradition since 2010 with fabulous success - reaching between 60-95 pledges on the blog each year. However, 2013 is special. This is the year that you - YES YOU! - help us get OVER 100 PLEDGES of compassion for a cruelty-free Thanksgiving.

Here's how it goes:

In the comment section below, 


please make a firm commitment NOT 



to eat turkeys this Thanksgiving.  

You can say something as simple as "No turkey for me!" or as long as "I would never dream of consuming turkeys because they're too cute to eat, pass the tofurky please!" 

I know we can get an all-time high for the turkeys this year! And don't worry - you can be a vegan, vegetarian, or meat-eater-slowly-transitioning-to-kissworthy-vegan and still post a comment below. 

AND PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH JUST ABOUT ANY FRIEND YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON!

Here’s to a delicious, compassionate 
holiday season.

For vegan Thanksgiving recipe ideas, check out 2010's holiday post, Forks Over Knives' holiday menus #1 & #2, and if you haven't yet, give a Tofurky roast a whirl. I was skeptical at first, but oh my goodness are they amazing!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Ghosts In Our Machine: Through the Lens & Straight to Our Hearts

The Ghosts in Our Machine
Image from www.theghostsinourmachine.com
We live in a world where YouTube dog videos can peak above one million views, becoming a must-watch and share for those who consider themselves animal lovers. The same extends to sharing funny cat pictures. Even a Norwegian comedy duo can create a music video inquiring "What Does The Fox Say?" and get viral appeal from the masses. We gravitate toward the fun, funny, light, and positive - which is completely legitimate. However, in doing so, we often directly ignore another world of animals - a world that's very present, a world that's very real, a world that's unfortunate and sad and needs our attention just as much as the lovable world of "I Can Haz Cheezburger?" photos. This world, the expansive, global world involving animal captivity & cruelty, is potently shared with us in the powerful, beautiful, haunting documentary, The Ghosts in Our Machine.

Following on the heels of the widely-released Blackfish and the limited-released Speciesism: The Movie, Ghosts is entering our theaters and our hearts and minds at exactly the right moment - at a time where human awareness, global responsibility, and our connection to compassion are coming into focus. With masterful & sharp cinematic precision, director Liz Marshall continues the necessary march into greater consciousness by documenting and educating us about what is and what can be.

We're immediately immersed into our own journey with video and photos of the eyes of animals. From the start, we're invited to delve into the eyes of animals through our own eyes and begin an adventure of bearing witness. We see beings that are inherently different from us in some ways - with fur, scales, hooves, snouts - yet connect to us in the most important way regarding our existence on Earth: we see, we breathe, we live. And, with the support of groundbreaking research (plus knowing our own personal relationships with companion animals), we feel.

We Animals
Image from Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals
The film is guided by our protagonist, acclaimed photographer Jo-Anne McArthur (We Animals), creating a seamless blend of narrative and documentary as she travels from location to location, capturing the realities of animals living "in the machine" of today's world (fur farms, factory farms, breeding farms, laboratories, entertainment corporations, etc.). She reveals the stark truth about our falsely mainstream lovable relationship with animals through her photos of individual animals that represent the billions who are held in captivity and commodified for their fur/skin (for clothing), their flesh/secretions (for food), and their physical presence/bodies/abilities (for entertainment & experimentation).

Through the mixed medium of photography and film, we walk alongside Jo-Anne on the adventure, directly confronting the emotion that can be captured in a still image. We, whether we ever have truly made the connection, see loneliness, despair, fear, terror, depression in the eyes and bodies of these animals trapped in cages & crates, strapped to carts - reminiscent of photos from WWII concentration camps.

captivity mink farming
Image from Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals
To balance out the sad truth we witness, we're also taken to a wonderful place of joy, of hope, of play and freedom and love, continuing to bear witness - only, this time, through the eyes of liberated animals living out their lives at an animal sanctuary. This juxtaposition - from confinement to open pastures, from injured & malnourished to clean, well-fed, and frolicking - provides a cogent testimony of why this world is a better place when we act from unconditional love and care, regardless of species.

We are forced to reexamine the words "compassion" and "sentience," defining whether they apply only to human animals or non-human animals too. Our reexamination also involves the word "dominion," and we must determine if we have strayed from "hold dominion over (as a shepherd, a guide, a watcher)" and moved into "to dominate." Ultimately, I don't think the question starts with "if," rather "how much" - and the still & moving portraits of the monkeys, beagles, pigs, foxes, cows, dolphins in the film show just how much we've let our fellow earthlings down.

Underscored perfectly by music (including one of the most beautiful Radiohead songs to close out the film) and valuable voiceover to match the visual environment, Ghosts is a complete film that brings us an incomplete answer, left up to us to further explore and act upon. Through the questions that arise during the film, though, we can only discover that our answer - to "What will we do with this information/presentation moving forward?" - will spring from our own embodiment of compassion and how strong it is (or if it even exists at all).

animals cages factory farming
Image from www.theghostsinourmachine.com
I'm left with chills, which I already experienced throughout watching, as I wipe the tears from my eyes. We are at a precipice in human existence, a crossroads where we must realize that human rights and animals rights are in partnership with one another - and to ignore or abolish one is to negatively impact the other. As we are exposed to the work and education of heroic journeymen & journeywomen like Jo-Anne McArthur and Liz Marshall, we must know that we have the choice: to contribute to and support the problem or be part of the solution. Like an actively moving museum and story all bundled into one, The Ghosts in Our Machine is an essential experience for everyone, an opportunity to connect or reconnect with our inherent compassion and help save the world.

This film is not just for us. This is for those who cannot speak on their own behalf (beyond the squeals and screams, the howls and bellows). This is for those who are trapped within a tragic, unnatural system (beyond the liberations and occasional escapes and runs to freedom). This is for those whose lives are taken without a second thought, for selfish gain (beyond the few who have a safe, warm home and sit by our side).
for the ghosts
This is For The Ghosts.
__________

"I truly believe that it's innate that we're all compassionate and that if we're given the opportunity to care, we will." ~ Jo-Anne McArthur
__________


The Ghosts in Our Machine is currently running its U.S. Oscar Qualifying Campaign after releasing in Canada. You can see the film this month and in December in New York City (through Nov. 21st), Los Angeles (Nov. 15th-21st), 
San Francisco, Chicago, and Columbus (further cities TBD). For screening dates/times, ticket information, and more about the film, please visit


NOTE: There is nothing graphic about this film, specifically in what is deemed graphic (blood, death, etc.). What could be considered graphic in another way is the sheer neglect, disconnection, and abuse that's present within all animal industries, obviously expressed through the featured animals.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

KMIV's Children's Review of Ruby Roth's "V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind"

We had the lovely opportunity of interviewing Ruby Roth back in August 2010 for our KMIV Interview Series (after you're done reading this, you can go back and read the interview here) about her & her first book That's Why We Don't Eat Animals, which had been out for a little over a year. Since then, Ruby has penned/inked/drawn two more! Vegan is Love and this post's feature: V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind.  This latest children's book dives into the basics of veganism, food, compassion, & environmental responsibility with the alphabet.

"A is for animals - friends, not food. We don't eat our friends, they'd find it quite rude."

Moving through the alphabet - "D is for dairy. Moo! Milk is for cows," "R is for rescue / from shelters, not stores," "Y is for you because your choices matter," and, my favorite, "E is for eggs -- from a chicken's butt?! Wow." -  Ruby picks out the best words to educate, entertain, express positivity and joy, and provide a truthful connection for our youthful readers. Alongside her beautiful, vivid, and engaging illustrations, Ruby introduces us to the plant-based food groups, presents animals in different environments and situations, and sheds light on positive & responsible steps we all can take to spread compassion around.

As an adult who's worked with children for over a decade, I found this book mixed humor, creativity, and critical thinking perfectly in its alphabetical education package.  While intended for three to seven olds, the book is definitely still fun & informative for you too. (Definitely me too!) With so much talent and sensitivity for presenting "adult" topics to children in an easy-to-understand manner, Ruby brings the heart of what it means to live healthfully and with unconditional love to families in the most colorful way. 

Don't take my word for it! Here's a review from two young readers!





And here's the book trailer video for further fun watching:





For more information about Ruby, her books & art, and activism for a new generation,




Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy 5th Veganniversary to Lindsay! A Love Letter to the Creator of Kiss Me, I'm Vegan!

KMIV family,

Today, we celebrate a joyous day. A pivotal day. A revolutionary day. Five years ago, Lindsay adopted a vegan lifestyle. After several months of experimentation and wavering, from vegetarian to pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan and all through the cycle again, Lindsay committed to a cruelty-free life, a life of compassion to all living beings, a long life of health & happiness, a life in alignment with her beliefs and principles. October 11th, 2008, Lindsay went/became/awakened vegan.


This action started an incredible positive ripple effect. The first of many beneficial happenings? The creation of Kiss Me, I'm Vegan! Yes, this here blog that you've been following for years, months, weeks, or maybe just discovered today - all because Lindsay made a life-changing choice and decided to document her amazing journey.



What else has happened because Lindsay has gone vegan? Well, I went vegan in September 2009 (over 4 years vegan!), my mom went vegan in 2010, my dad eats significantly better (because my mom is an amazing plant-based cook!), Lindsay's brother and sister are vegan, Lindsay's brother's fiancee is vegan, Lindsay's mom eats mostly plant-based and has strengthened her already deep bond with animals, Lindsay's step-mom is vegetarian, Lindsay's dad eats fewer animal foods, one of my best friends - a former "grillmaster" of various animal foods - is vegan, two of our closest LA friends are vegan - as is their beautiful daughter, and several other friends have gone vegetarian or vegan. We've made a plethora of new & close friendships in NYC, LA, and elsewhere; we've established a home away from home at Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres in Acton, CA; I got my plant-based nutrition & holistic health coaching certification and now have a Life Nutrition & Reiki business (Ahimsa Life Coaching & Reiki For Creative Minds); we've organized and hosted three fantastic fundraising events for Farm Sanctuary; Lindsay won the Friend of Farm Animals Award; we've connected with the MOST amazing, supportive, engaged crowd - all of you special followers! Boy, oh, boy (or girl, oh, girl), I could go on and on and on.


Oh wait! One of the most important things to come from all of

this? I'll put it like this, there are estimates from 95-195 animals saved for every year you eat/live vegan (numerous variables - for land animals, sea animals, clothing in addition to food, etc.).  So, Lindsay, for all estimates-sake, has individually/ directly saved 475-975 animals. With the compassionate chain reaction she put into motion, just think about all of the animals saved. Wow wow wow, what a beautiful thought.


I want to personally celebrate my beautiful wife, and your most kissable blogger, Lindsay. Her dedication, drive, resolve, love, heart, compassion, passion, focus, and awareness for/of veganism is outstanding. Whether she knows it or not, she's made an indelible mark on this world, though she may not be able to measure it tangibly. She can measure it in my complete and utter love, appreciation, and respect - and hopefully all of yours too! Beyond marrying Lindsay, going vegan was one of the best choices I've ever made in my life; and, like marrying Lindsay, it's a choice that I've committed to for my entire life (which will be a lot longer because of it!). Thank you, my love.


To fully celebrate this five year benchmark, the first five years of a lifetime of health & compassion, I encourage YOU
 to please share a bit about your vegan story. How long have you been vegan? What do you love about being vegan? How has KMIV played a positive part in your life?



While both Lindsay and I may be more MIA recently with the blog, we're still here, we're still living, loving, and spreading the good word of how to be incredibly kissable as a vegan.  Thank you all for your support, and for joining us on this special day.


Happy 5th Veganniversary, Lindsay!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kiss Me, I'm Vegan!: Interview Series #23: Mark Devries, director of Speciesism: The Movie

Speciesism The MovieWhether it's food-related (Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, Got the Facts on Milk?) or compassion/ethics-related (Earthlings, Fowl Play, Blackfish), documentaries are incredibly powerful tools to explain what vegan means, create new conscious connections to animals & all living beings, present the healthiest way to eat & live.  Beyond words on a page, this visual medium of film, chock full of information, allows us to go on a deeper journey into a world presented with purpose and meaning.  The aforementioned documentaries, and so many more, have been influential in spreading the word of compassion, of bringing veganism to the mainstream in a creative and responsible way. Another documentary is coming that will continue the line of progress, of growth, of communication, of awareness - Speciesism: The Movie.

We had the wonderful pleasure to chat with the film's director, Mark Devries.  Featuring interviews with such prominent figures as Peter Singer, Bruce Friedrich, Temple Grandin, and Richard Dawkins, along with a suspenseful journey into the world of factory farming - one of the many institutions that furthers "speciesism" (according to Mirriam-Webster: "prejudice or discrimination based on species..." "the assumption of human superiority..." "especially against animals"), we explore what this concept really means and how it has affected our lives, affects our lives now, and will affect our lives to come if we don't make a change.

The doc recently premiered in NYC and is heading around the country to locations near you (hopefully!).  Let's dive into the word & the world of Speciesism with Mark:

Kiss Me, I'm Vegan!: What was the turning point in your life that led you to veganism? Was it one huge moment, or a collective group of small moments that changed you? When did you first understand what "speciesism" was?

Mark: I became vegan while filming this documentary. Things began innocently enough: I came across a few PETA demonstrations, and wanted to learn more about what was behind it all. Eventually, this led me across the country, sneaking onto factory farm property, flying in propeller planes overhead to record the environmental devastation they cause, and - though I can't yet reveal how - even convincing some factory farm owners to let me inside.

Mark Devries
Surprisingly, though, this wasn't enough to make me go vegan. What really changed me was learning about speciesism, which is why I gave the movie that name. A growing number of scientists, lawyers, and academics have been arguing that our most basic ethical principles - such as that causing suffering is a bad thing - extend to nonhuman animals, precisely because they are capable of suffering. The widespread assumption that nonhuman animals suffering matters less, they conclude, is a form of prejudice no more justifiable than racism.  If this is correct, it would mean that what happens to animals on factory farms is a phenomena of unfathomable significance.  

I spoke with many of the scholars on the cutting edge of this philosophical discussion, to see if I could put forward an argument to justify this sharp distinction that we draw between humans and nonhuman animals.  The more I spoke with them, the more clear it seemed that they really are onto something.  That was the realization that made me vegan.

KMIV: What have been the greatest rewards of your vegan lifestyle? What have been the greatest challenges?

M: At first, it seemed like it would be a difficult change.  In actuality, making new food choices is not a difficult task, when you know how to do it.  I go to places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and can find vegan versions of pretty much everything I ate before.  The unexpected rewards, though, were all of the new foods and dishes that I discovered.  I never ate this much delicious food before I became vegan. (How could I have never even tasted quinoa?  How is that even possible?)

KMIV: Tell us about the birth & journey of Speciesism: The Movie. Trials and tribulations, joys and rewards, and upcoming plans.

M: The most difficult parts of the whole experience took place during the filming itself.  It was sometimes just very painful to speak with the neighbors of pig factory farms, who are having their water polluted so that they can't use their wells, their air polluted so that they sometimes collapse in their back yards, and their lives downright ruined. It was also sometimes more than a little intimidating to walk up to factory farms and confront their owners on camera.  

It has been a joy to see the audience reactions.  Just last week, at the sold-out world premiere in New York City, the audience reactions were outstanding.  When people contact me to tell me that the film changed their lives, I couldn't imagine a bigger reward.  

Speciesism premiereThe movie's West Coast premiere will be in Los Angeles on September 26, the Northern California premiere will be in San Francisco on September 30, the Midwest premiere will be in Chicago on October 2, and the Washington, DC premiere will be October 10. The tickets are selling quickly, though, so if you would like to attend any of these events, you should reserve your seats soon at http://SpeciesismTheMovie.com/screenings.
 
KMIV: How do you think filmmaking and more visual artistic vehicles, beyond what's on the written page, can benefit the mainstream/world in spreading the message of veganism & concepts like speciesism?

M: Documentary film, and investigative journalism involving video recording, can make a tremendous difference. There does not appear to be a medium that can bring specific places and events to people with as much clarity as these.  I hope to continue using these mediums to help bring attention and discussion to a number of topics, and I hope and believe that many other people will do the same.

KMIVKiss Me, I'm Vegan!, while informing and educating, definitely focuses on the positive, the "moving forward" side of veganism, compassion, etc. What are the most positive aspects of the animal advocacy movement for you, and what do you feel are the biggest reason to smile when doing this work?

M: We have every reason to be excited and optimistic. There are more vegans today than there have ever been. As the demand for vegan foods increases, the number of vegan options at supermarkets and restaurants will continue to go up, making it easier and easier for more and more people to make the change.  

KMIV: Many people "lean into" a vegan lifestyle, often with food & for health purposes initially, before connecting with the ethical, compassion-based founding elements of veganism. What advice would you give to someone who's just discovered compassionate living to help him/her understand what it's all about? Recommended resources?

Speciesism Mark DevriesM: In preview screenings, there were certain topics people were particularly interested in learning more about, and certain resources people were seeking, so I created an "after you've seen the movie" page at the film's website: 
http://SpeciesismTheMovie.com/next.  On that page, the first resource that I recommend for people who wish to change their eating habits is the new Mercy for Animals introduction to vegan eating, http://ChooseVeg.com/buildameal.

KMIV: We've been talking awhile and I know you must be getting hungry. Here's our KMIV classic: You're stuck on a deserted island with three vegan food items - what are they?

M: Kale, quinoa, and a Sticky Fingers breakfast sandwich.  Kale and quinoa are boring answers, I know, but I really do like them a lot, so at least I'm being honest.  As for the third item:  I live in Washington, DC not far from a place that every DC vegan knows, Sticky Fingers Bakery. Among their many items (all of which are vegan), is a breakfast sandwich made of vegan eggs and vegan sausage on an english muffin - seriously delicious (and don't forget to warm it up in the microwave).


Get on over to http://SpeciesismTheMovie.com/screenings to reserve your tickets for an upcoming screening. We hope all of our Los Angeles KMIV family/friends enjoy the screening on the 26th, as well as our KMIV family/friends around the country when the movie reaches you!