Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Good Friday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Friday today, because I did. Today was full of awesome.

First things first. My “lifestyle change” goals are still on track! I’ve been swapping alcohol for water and eating healthier this week and it’s already made a tiny difference. I got into my skinniest skinny jeans today which of course made the rest of the day really that much better.

I also was at an elementary school today assisting teachers in 5th grade, 2nd grade and my absolute favorite…kindergarten. The kids have next week off so today they celebrated Thanksgiving. The little kids are sweet enough on any given day, but today was even more unbearably cute because they had a little Thanksgiving Feast, complete with paper construction bonnets and pilgrim hats. I had a permanent smile on my face all day. Then as I walked down the hallways and looked at the artwork on the walls, I laughed as I found “Don’t eat me” turkey’s some kids made.

I got out of the school early and went to eat a early dinner at Big Bowl and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have a new vegetarian and gluten free menu! This totally rocked my world! I already love Big Bowl, and had a few signature vegetarian meals that I always ordered but now there’s a whole menu! There’s new appetizers and entrees. Here are some of the new entrees:
Cilantro Salad – cilanto, pressed tofu, roasted peanuts and sesame dressing

Crispy Tofu – chiles, fresh ginger, soy-sesame dressing

Unfried Rice – jasmine rice, wok tossed with fresh ginger, spicy Fresno chilies, shiitake, bamboo, Sichuan vegetable, pressed tofu with sunny-side up egg.

Lucky 8 – eight types of vegetables such as green beans, spinach, napa cabbage and tofu with sesame soy sauce. The complete eight will depend on what’s local and seasonal at the time.

I tried the Unfried Fried Rice. Two thumbs up! And because I’m trying to cut my extra calories, I boxed half of the meal. I actually pushed half of it on one side of my plate and didn’t touch it. This is like a first. Second accomplishment? Passed on the alcohol again! Oh so good. Third accomplishment? Passed on dessert!

My aura is so positive right now, I just had to share because maybe I can pass it on to you! Here’s to accomplishing goals and little kids! Love!

Have an amazing weekend!
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”  -Winston Churchill


Becoming Joey

I was reading today and came across a poem that really caught my attention. I thought it was worth sharing since I’ve been on my writing so much about diversity this week…

Becoming Joey
By Paul. C Gorski

Jose’s ten.
Looks six by size,
twenty in the eyes.

the school-morning street
he ambles along
dotted lines of busses and cars
that spit exhaust like expletives,
disturbing his meditation
on a few final moments of peace.

He is frail but upright.
Hand-me-downs hang from his slenderness,
patched and stained.
Soles flop beneath battered shoes,
worn through but hanging on,
if only by lace.

He pauses in the schoolyard
where white kids laugh and scurry
unaware of this, his battle;
of this, his burden; of this, his borderlands.
Behind him; cracked sidewalks
and frosty nights
sweetened by the warmth of belonging.
Before him: manicured playgrounds,
heated classrooms,
and enthusiastic lessons about a world
that doesn’t see him.

Still he moves forward,
what feels in his stomach
A regressive sort of forward.
And he straightens his shirt,
tries dusting off the stains of ancestry.
And he clears his throat,
tries spitting out his Mexican voice.
And, becoming Joey, he crosses into school.


Teenage Gays Epidemic

Bullying is hardcore right now, as we have all heard about the recent increase in teenage suicide related to school bullying. What’s really sad is that a freaking lot of these teenage suicides are related to gays. (Five gay teenagers just committed suicide this past week.) Right now dealing with homosexual harassment and prejudice is the number one cause of teenage suicides. One national survey found that 90% of high school gay students were verbally attacked, and more than 40% of  homosexual students reported physical harassment. And a sad 60% said they don’t feel safe at school. It’s no surprise that lesbian, gay, bi and transgender students have higher rates of depression, drug abuse and (considerably higher-4x higher in) suicide. And this isn’t just about suicide…the hate, fear and intolerance in the country right now is almost, in a way equally as bad. There are people murdering other people for being gay, and families abandoning their own children because they don’t know what to do with a gay child. Seriously people. Life is too short and too precious to be hating and ruining the lives of others.

There definitely needs to be a change. It’s funny (not really haha funny, but coincidental) that I wrote my blog yesterday on prejudice and reteaching of acceptance and then today was bombarded with media on gay suicides/murders. This is exactly why we need to reconstruct our society on dealing with and accepting people’s differences. Poor kids.  It’s bad enough trying to figure out who you are, and then being treated badly because of your differences…sad, sad, sad.

I’d love to write more but no time! Too much homework…Please watch the media here, and anything else out there. There’s so much coverage on this topic right now.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Youth Support Line
Gay & Transgender Hate Crime Hotline
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender National Help Center
Article on recent 5 gay teen suicides
The Trevor Project
A suicide letter from a gay teen; Prevention, Awareness and Support


America’s Children Potential

My number one reason why I want to be a teacher is because I love kids. Absolutely, genuinely, whole heartedly love them. But there are other reasons of course. One major one is that I believe in order to produce education that is going to contribute to our society and democracy later, we must teach tolerance, love, and cultural acceptance at a young age. Intolerance and fear iswhat caused our country set backs in the past that are unfortunately still here today.

Instead of Anglo Saxon Americans just admitting that they had superior power in the past over the Black Americans for example, we had to make evidence up that we were a superior race. (Anglos’ skulls measured larger than blacks…must mean they are dumber? Come on. Race is completely man made.) All of a sudden the belief was that Blacks were an inferior race, therefore that was reason to enslave them. We couldn’t just admit that we had power, authority and the need for human labor…we had to make them lower than us. So what happened then after the slaves were free? Prejudice. Then it didn’t stop at Blacks; Americans wanted to assimilate and conform the Natives who were “savages,” then we put a ban on Asian immigrants because they were inferior. This prejudice applies to everything…or I should say, everyone. Some how we have become a country that believes one can be superior than another. Straights are better than gays. Men are better than women. The rich are better than the poor.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am so not bashing America. I love my country. We are a country that has good, very good, intentions. We promote freedom and have given everyone in the world the opportunity to pursue their dreams. We have so much to offer and we contribute to the rest of the world. I am a proud American, but that doesn’t change the past. The past is something to be shameful about, however we cannot undue the past…just move ahead and do better for the future.

Because of our past, our present is filled with prejudice, racism, intolerance, inequality, hate, and fear. This is no way for our children to grow up. It’s in our hands to fix the future. This doesn’t just apply to teachers, but to everyone…aunts, uncles, moms, dads, grandparents…we need to teach the kids of today to grow up open minded, tolerant, loving and compassionate.

Why? Why not? Children are constantly teased for being different, whether it is of their race, ethnicity, culture, weight, height, voice, opinions, dress, sexual orientation, social class…the list goes on and on. Why not stop the teasing in it’s tracks? Kids will be kids and teasing will never die, but could we at least try to teach our kids the concept of acceptance? Some people may say this is just a right of passage and that all children go through it however, there are teenagers committing suicide daily because of bullying, fear, depression from societal expectations, and rejection from peers.

I hope being an educator I can promote a classroom that is safe, loving, and open minded where I can have my students appreciate each other and welcome each other’s differences. I just wish these teachings and attitudes could go further than the classroom and reach the streets, homes, and lives of all children.


Veggies Can Feed the World

One of the most depressing things to me is waste. I’m a huge advocate of recycling, reusing, and leftovers. I don’t like seeing things wasted, ever. Although I am liberal in almost all parts of my life, I am very conservative with my money-which also aids me in my ability to never waste. I don’t like to see unused water go down the drain, food go uneaten, jars in the garbage, paper not being reused, etc. So of course it kills me that we are a country of completeexcess and waste. We have more than we could ever need or want, yet we want more, need more, and certainly waste a whole lot more. While we waste there are other places in our world that do not even have enough of what they need, and never see what they want. It depresses me all the time. Especially when I think of my parents who didn’t grow up in America, in particular my dad, who never owned a pair of shoes in his youth or tasted dessert. One of the reasons why I am a vegetarian is because I think its one step closer to solving world hunger. Yes, I am aware I myself am not changing the world, but I like to think that the more of us that become vegetarians, the more our country can start growing crops for the right reason, like feeding people. Jim Motavelli from The Environmental Magazine  has said, “The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to produce one pound of beef for human beings represents a colossal waste of resources in a world still teeming with people who suffer from profound hunger and malnutrition.” Now take a look at these horrific numbers that I found the other day from Diet for a New America, by John Robins.

• Human population of United States: 270,000,000 (and counting)

• Number of human beings who could be fed by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock: 1,300,000,000

• Percentage of corn grown in United States eaten by human beings: 20%

• Percentage of corn grown in United States eaten by livestock: 80%

• How frequently a child dies of starvation: Every 2.3 seconds

• Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on 1 acre of land: 20,000

• Pounds of beef that can be produced on 1 acre of land: 165

• Percentage of U.S. agricultural land used to produce beef: 56

• Number of children who starve to death every day: 38,000

• Number of people who could be adequately fed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100,000,000

• Amount of meat eaten by average person in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama: Less than the average American house cat

• Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons

• Water needed to produce 1 pound of meat: 2,500

Seriously. These numbers depress me! We are stuffing our faces, overeating meat that will give us cancer and other health issues while there are others who do not have enough to eat at all.

Another thing I want to touch on is that I know a lot of people will read these numbers and go “Okay, I kind of see the connection. But there’s no proof that meat is really a reason why people are starving.” Well, I would consider that, since I’m open minded, but the facts are hard to ignore. Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC, stated that during the Ethiopian famine in 1984, “While people starved, Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal for European livestock. Millions of acres of land in the developing world are used for this purpose. Tragically, 80 percent of the world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent.”

And to see that everyone could eat if we all gave up meat, or at least consumed less of it, is sad because not enough people will give up meat. Why have we become so meat obsessed? Like Steve Spielberg has said “Humans are the only race that hunts when not hungry.” So wasteful, it makes me want to cry. Especially since we are doing something so greedy, so wasteful, so unhealthy and hurting animals in the process. And I am no animal person, and many people aren’t…however I don’t know too many people who would turn their backs on a hungry child. So why don’t we all do our part and reduce our meat intake and help feed the rest of the world? I’ve already talked about it over and over…going veggie for your health, for the animals, the environment…but if you don’t care about any of those, can you at least do it for the people out there who are going to go to bed hungry tonight?



At the very least, please give up Tyson!

I know I preach a lot but I’ve been reading a lot lately about the conditions at Tyson and KFC and had to share the disgusting facts I’ve been finding out. I wish I had blogged about this earlier, and wish I had known years earlier about it. In all reality, I don’t care if you give up meat or not. There are organic meats out there, and farmers doing their part in making our world better but I do deeply, honestly care if you get chicken at KFC or buy Tyson brand. Please, for the love of everything humane do not contribute to the slaughter that goes into getting your bucket ‘o chicken at KFC. Being someone who used to eat there as well, I know that it tastes good. I know, but it’s not worth it. And not just for the animal’s sake, but yours as well. Tyson and KFC are nasty. Nasty to the chickens and nasty to you.

PETA conducted an undercover investigation in 2004-2007 at a Heflin, Alabama, Tyson slaughterhouse and on nine separate days (all in 2007), investigators saw workers urinating in the live-hang area, including on the conveyor belt that moves birds to slaughter. WTF. If this isn’t enough for you to stop eating at KFC then I am just shocked. Now onto what I think is even worse: The chickens abuse. Here are only some of the incidents happening to the meat you are serving to your kids at dinner time. 😥

At Tyson slaughterhouses in Georgia and Tennessee investigators found that “Birds died when their heads and legs became trapped under a door at the end of the conveyor belt that transported live birds to be hung. A supervisor was aware of this problem but did nothing to stop it.” Also “The killing-machine blade often cut birds’ bodies instead of their throats. Although aware of this problem, a supervisor offered no solution, instead blaming the problem on the “nature of the machine.”

“During an undercover investigation at a KFC “Supplier of the Year” slaughterhouse in Butterfield, Missouri—owned by George’s, Inc.—it was documented that live birds were being thrown by workers and crushed by metal dumping machines. Birds were often impaled by mangled transport cages, and workers were instructed to simply yank them out when this happened; PETA’s investigator saw workers doing this and found dismembered limbs left behind in cages after the birds had been removed.”

“A whistleblower at a Tyson slaughterhouse testified that birds intentionally were scalded to death, were blown apart by makeshift firecrackers, and had their legs broken by workers to fit them into slaughter-line shackles.”

Workers at a KFC-supplier slaughterhouse in Maryland were documented punching frenzied, terrified birds and spiking them like footballs, among other sadistic acts of cruelty.”

Ugh! I feel terrible! What makes anyone think that animals can be treated this way? It’s like Hitler. Ugh. Please go to one of the sites (if not all of them) below to see more videos, pictures, articles, and ways you can help stop this. There are petitions, letters and other things that you can send to KFC, Tyson, and George’s Inc., although who knows what will happen. After all these years all we get are empty promises that they will fix their animal welfare conditions, and then year after year we still find out that the workers are allowed to treat the animals like crap. The industry did publicly announce that they were educating their employees on more humane practices and that they were going to take this matter seriously, however by paying workers (and often many are immigrants) poorly, demanding the workers to produce at incredibly fast speeds, it’s hard for the promises to be kept. As long as there is a high demand for chicken, there will be high demands of the employees and slaughterhouses, meaning there won’t really be any success at properly producing the meat. The only thing we can do right now that sends a clear message is by not eating it. By not consuming it and purchasing it is the only way they will stop making money off such cruelty and get away with it. Less demand for the meat, and more demand for humanity, may be the only way to get this message across. It’s so sad! Please support your local farmers and buy organic chicken. Please stop giving Tyson and KFC your money to abuse animals!

Please go to any/all of these sites:,,, Also at almost all these sites you can sign up for a FREE vegetarian starter kit!

Look at this claim from KFC: “KFC suppliers, KFC and the National Chicken Council have standards for stocking density to ensure birds have sufficient space and are healthy. … The cleanliness of these facilities and the health of the birds are top priorities for the farmers.” Take note that ALL my pictures are from KFC suppliers! Top priority my ass!!


‘That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals!’

I was at the cabin a few weekends ago and the family made some ribs, steaks and hot dogs. Instead, I had my salad and beans. My darling 7 year old niece, E, asked me “What is steak?” As she chewed it up.
“It’s cow,” I replied.
“WHAT!?” She looked like I told her that she just ate a puppy. Which I don’t see the difference of anyways.
“Yeah, a cow. Like moo.” I then preceded to tell her the ribs on her plate were pig, much to her parents’ dismay. (Hey. She asked first.) She didn’t know that either. Then my 10 year old nephew M piped in “It’s okay E. They were made for us to eat. It’s normal.”
Hmm. “What makes you think that?” I challenged him. (Poor kids, having me for an aunt.)
“I don’t know. I just know we eat animals.” M replied.
“M, do you go to the zoo?” I asked him. He nodded. “Do you eat those animals? Do you eat zebras and giraffes?”
“No…” Something inside him clicked. “That’s weird! How come we eat farm animals but not zoo animals?” He was intrigued now.
“Good question. I guess we think it’s normal to eat farm animals. But it’s not really. Would you eat a dog?” I asked.
M and E both started freaking out. “No! Gross! Sick!”
“Well you know some places like China eat dogs.” I told them.
Again, “No! Gross! Sick!”
“Well…they think it’s normal. Just like how you think it’s normal to eat cows, chickens and pigs.”
“But it’s not normal!” M protested.
“Well, then I guess eating cows, chickens and pigs aren’t normal than either.” I simply replied. Both of them nodded. I don’t think I converted anyone into vegetarianism that night but at least the topic was discussed. That’s the thing, kids don’t know what they are eating. They have no idea! They consume meat from such a young age that they don’t realize the connection between the farm animals they  meet at the County Farm and the meat on their plate. And really, that’s not too fair. To the animals or to them. And the thing is, kid’s are intelligent and compassionate enough to be able to know and decide if they want to eat it or not. Of course there’s always a lot of turmoil with parents who eat meats who breed children who don’t want to…but there shouldn’t be. To each their own.

This topic struck me as important so I went searching to see if there were any sources for kids to look at if they are interested in knowing where their food comes from. There really isn’t too much. The one book that I did find though, is a great one. I love it. It’s called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals; A Book Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things written and illustrated by Ruby Roth. Roth is a young artist and art teacher living in Los Angeles. A vegan since 2003, Roth was teaching art in an after-school program when the children’s interest in healthy foods and veganism first inspired her to write That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. It’s a fantastic picture book totally appropriate (and designed) for kids, while still providing information adults don’t even know. Roth addresses the topic of animals in a light manner, with cute pictures and easy vocabulary. She briefly describes how animals have families just like us, feelings just like us, and deserve a life just like us. It’s cute, touching, provides good information and shows kids why meat isn’t necessary. Roth also does it in a kid friendly way, so don’t worry, its not like the book is describing slaughterhouses, or cows legs being hacked off (which is what truly is happening).  Jane Goodall, a PHD, DBE says it best, “This is a powerful and important book. Farm animals have emotions similar to our pets and this is conveyed in Roth’s enchanting illustrations. It will make children – and their parents – think. But it will not lead to nightmares, rather respect and compassion for the creatures whose wellbeing is in our hands.” I enjoyed the book a lot, and already know that this will be a book I read to my own child. After checking the book out I decided to look into Roth and her website,, and adored it. It, like the book, is packed with Roth’s cute illustrations, detailed information and advice on everything kids and their families need to know about animals and vegetarianism. It’s lovely. Please check it out, I highly recommend it!

Watch this video! It is so good…at least make sure you watch the end…the girl is so cute!

More Pics!