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  • Two Must Watch Films on Netflix: Okja & What the Health

    As soon as I finished watching Okja and What the Health, I knew I wanted to share them with you here on the blog. Both of these Netflix films are incredibly thought-provoking and eye-opening. I’ve been thinking about them over and over again ever since I first saw them.

    Both films cover controversial topics like the food industry, government, big business, factory farming, science and ethics. And both films are so powerful in their own rights that I really believe they have the ability to evoke so much positive change.

    Okja is a fictional story about the relationship between corporate greed and the food industry. It takes place in the future and follows the life of Okja, a genetically modified super pig created to revolutionize how we eat. What the Health is a current documentary that examines big business, its role in our healthcare system and what things really make us sick.

    While Okja will move you with its ethical examination of the food industry, What the Health will shock you with its scientific examination of the very same thing. And to me, as someone already in the plant-based world and fully embracing it, part of what makes these films so compelling is that while being such drastically different films, they both end up leaving us with the same message. Whether it’s for the sake of the planet, the sake of our health, or the sake of all living beings, both films encourage us to question the status quo when it comes to what we put on our plates.

    You can check out the trailers for Okja and What the Health below, and watch them in their entirety on Netflix. Hope you guys find them as inspiring as I do!

    xo,

    Tedi

    P.S. As I’m sitting here outside finishing this post, two men just sat down at the table right next to me and started talking about What the Health, Okja and how inspiring they both were! So don’t just take my word for it, take these guys’ word for it too! 😉

    xo,

    Tedi

     

  • inspiration
  • Hello, Again!

    Hi guys! It’s been a hot minute. I ended up taking a totally unplanned hiatus from the blog because I had a whirlwind month of traveling, work at my hospital job (which I love, but at times it can be really intense!), and biggest of all…turning 30! Somehow with all that happening all my time to work on my blog just slipped away. But now I’m back and I’ve got so many great things planned for the blog this summer.

    I had some mixed feelings about turning 30, but now that all the hoopla and anticipation is over, and my 30s are actually here, I’ve settled into this new decade of my life with so much happiness and gratitude. And as you can tell above I was extra happy with my delicious birthday cake from Vegan Divas, which is located here in NYC and delivers to all 50 states. I also had a fabulous birthday dinner at one of my favorite little spots, Ladybird, in the West Village.

    As my birthday was approaching I really took time to reflect on what I’ve learned these past 30 years. I certainly don’t have all the answers in life, but at the same time, I’ve learned so much. There’s so much knowledge that I bring with me as I step into my 30s that my 15, 20 or 25 year old self didn’t know – or at least didn’t believe with as much conviction as I do now. So today I wanted to share with you 17 of those tidbits of wisdom – both big and small – that I’m bringing with me into this new chapter of my life.

    Some of it is lighthearted and some of it is serious. Some of it is based in science and some of it is based in a more spiritual realm. Some of it I learned formally in graduate school for counseling psychology, or in my professional work, and some of it I learned in my own real life. Some of it I learned from happy experiences and some of it I learned from very sad experiences. But at the end of the day, as I step into this new chapter of my life, these are the things I’ve learned that hold true and resonate with me, and just maybe, they’ll resonate with some of you. 🙂 Here we go…

    1. We can get every single nutrient we need from plant foods.
    2. Spend 90% of your time at the grocery store in the produce section to ensure you’re filling your grocery cart and body with the healthiest foods, grown directly from the Earth.
    3. Erase everything you think you know about health and nutrition and start over with a life changing book like Whole.
    4. Disease like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc. need not exist to the degree they do and can be largely cured and controlled by diet. (Read Whole from #3 above to learn more).
    5. Feeding our pets real food is a great way to ensure they live long, healthy lives.
    6. Loving a dog and being loved by a dog is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.
    7. The Secret is real. As is The Power and The Magic.
    8. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a f&*%ing duck.
    9. There are zero reasons to make animals suffer for the sake of fashion.
    10. Even the most crushing emotional pain eases with time.
    11. This one I’ve learned firsthand from my work at a children’s hospital: With the right therapeutic support, kids facing unimaginable challenges can be so incredibly resilient.
    12. Forgiveness is so important. So is setting boundaries and taking care of yourself.
    13. The cure for the pain is in the pain.
    14. If you’ve been through a trauma, therapy and EMDR can be so incredibly helpful.
    15. The most important message to tell someone when they are hurting is, “I See You“.
    16. When it comes to love, never, ever settle.
    17. Good things come to those who wait. 🙂

    xo,

    Tedi

  • inspiration
  • The Amazing Day-Day

    Day DayDay DayDay DayDay DayDay DayIMG_0962Day Day

    Meet my most recent foster, Day-Day. He is truly a dream dog in every way. I cannot say enough good things about him. However, I never would have known the amazingness of Day-Day had I only judged him from our first meeting at the shelter. This little guy reminded me of such an important life lesson about judgment, stress, and the power of love…


    “Oh no. I can’t do this. I made a mistake.” was the first thing to cross my mind when I picked up Day-Day at the shelter. He was barking the loudest, most piercing bark I’d ever heard. It was incessant and made me want to plug my ears. He was so dirty, his fur was full of mats and he was covered in his own urine and feces. As we left the shelter he barked aggressively at a woman we passed on the street, and again I thought, “Oh no. What have I done? I can’t foster this dog.”

    I told myself…

    His bark is so loud, he will disrupt me and my neighbors. 

    He’s covered in his own feces and urine, he’s going to have so many accidents. 

    He barked at that woman on the street, he’s going to be aggressive. 

    He is too difficult, I cannot do this.

    And even though, as a shelter volunteer and foster mom, I should have known better, I judged him. I made a snap judgment about how he would be in a happy, safe environment, by how he was acting in a stressful, scary environment. And in doing so, I made a terrible mistake, because I almost gave up on one of the sweetest, most amazing dogs I’ve ever known.

    In reality, in a safe, comfortable, loving environment, Day-Day was a totally different dog.

    He was housetrained from day one and never had a single accident. 

    He never, ever barked. Not one single time after we left the shelter. 

    He was kind and gentle to humans and animals alike. 

    He let children pet him and bunnies sniff him, all with a sweet demeanor and happy tail.

    He was happy to go for walks or happy to just relax and cuddle.

    He was always well-behaved. He never did anything naughty or mischievous.

    He was happy to wake up early or sleep in – whatever I preferred, he was happy with.

    He was, simply put, just the best boy.

    And the fact that once we got home he proved to not only be a pretty good dog, but one of the sweetest, easiest, most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever known, reminded me of how stressful the shelter environment can be.

    At the shelter Day-Day went to the bathroom on himself not because he doesn’t know not to, but because he had no choice. No one had had time to let him out since the day before.

    At the shelter Day-Day was barking so loud because he was stressed and scared. He had a bad case of kennel cough so he felt like crap. There was no air conditioning and it was 90 degrees outside, so that made him feel even more like crap. He was uncomfortable in so many different ways. He was barking not to be annoying, but because he needed help.

    At the shelter he barked aggressively at that woman because he didn’t know he was safe yet. He had been through so much, more than we will ever know, and he was terrified. He didn’t know yet who to trust versus who he needed to protect himself from. And with just a little bit of love, that initial sign of aggressive behavior disappeared forever.

    The difference between Day-Day at the shelter, and Day-Day once he was home, reminded me how important it is not to judge a book by its cover.

    To have empathy and try to stand in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s a person or an animal, before ever judging them.

    To remember that any dog at a shelter has been through tremendous stress, and just as we would not be our best selves in the conditions listed above, neither are they.

    And to remember that behind every shelter dog, lies so, so much potential to be the companion of a lifetime.


    Day-Day has been adopted, but there are millions of other dogs just like him sitting in shelters looking for their forever home everyday. To find dogs in your area look up your nearest shelters or visit petfinder.com.

    xo,

    Tedi

  • inspiration
  • Meet Oliver

    Oliver
    Meet my new foster, Oliver. If you follow Animal Haven on Instagram then you’ve probably already seen the very graphic and disturbing image of the injuries he sustained before being rescued. He was found bloody, with his left eyeball almost completely out of his head. We can’t know for sure what happened to him, since he came in as a stray, but whatever it was, it wasn’t good. There were two surgical attempts made to save his eye, but in the end it couldn’t be saved and had to be removed. He has endured so much, but thanks to Animal Haven he’s going to be ok. He is now recuperating here in my home until he’s ready to be adopted.

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    So, now that you know Oliver’s story, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what it’s like to foster, since I get a lot of questions about it. For me, fostering can be both deeply saddening and greatly rewarding. By opening your home to animals in need you’re opening yourself up to the reality of the cruelty and injustices animals face every day. And that can be painful. To look next to me at this sweet little boy and know that just days ago he was in so much pain that, as his medical chart stated, he was gasping for air…that is heartbreaking. However, there is a very rewarding flipside to this. By fostering you get to witness the amazing transformation that animals are capable of making. Despite everything they have been through, a beaten down, sad, scared animal, when treated with love and kindness, can blossom back into a sweet, happy, trusting being. As their wounds start to heal and their pain starts to dissipate, you as their foster (or adopter) get to witness this miraculous change.

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    Fostering can expose you to heartbreak, to pee on your floors and to some sleepless nights….BUT today, after spending the whole night watching this dog writhe in pain, I forced my exhausted self out of bed to take a shower. And when I came out of my bathroom I found that the little dog who had been awake all night, was finally comfortable and peaceful in the safety and warmth of my bed. And that…well that makes this whole process priceless. 💙

    Oliver

    If you have any questions about fostering, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I will try to answer them all in an upcoming post.

    xo,

    Tedi