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Vegetarian Essentials, Part II

Raw Cake

Dear Reader,
Following is the second part of the Vegetarian Essentials that gives you ample reasons to make your first steps towards a plant-based Diet. Enjoy reading!

Why Switch to a Plant-Based Diet? Seven Life-Changing Benefits of Becoming a Vegetarian


1. Better health

The most common reason for people to move to a vegetarian life-style is for better health. Here is a selection of health benefits that a well-balanced vegetarian cuisine can offer:

  • You’ll live a lot longer

Vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans (who eat no animal products) about 15 years longer, than meat eaters, according to a study from Loma Linda University.

  • You’ll save your heart

Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and the standard American diet (SAD), laden as it is with saturated fat and cholesterol from meat and dairy, is largely to blame. Cholesterol levels are 14% lower for vegetarians than for meat eaters.

  • You’ll reach your ideal weight and stay there

The battle of the bulge has become a serious health problem around the world. Being overweight or obese also causes many people a great deal of emotional, mental, and physical discomfort. Vegetarian foods balance your body so that you’re more in touch with what actually tastes good and makes you feel good at the same time.

Raw Cake

  • You’ll reduce your risk of cancer

Some studies have found that a plant-based diet helps protect specifically against prostate, colon and skin cancers. Studies done at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg suggest that this is because vegetarians’ immune systems are more effective than the immune systems of meat eaters in killing off tumors.

  • You’ll protect yourself from food-borne illnesses

According to the U.S. Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has stringent standards of food safety, 25% of all chicken sold in the United States carries salmonella bacteria. In addition, the CDC estimates that 70-90% of chickens contain the campylobacter bacteria (some strains of which are antibiotic-resistant); approximately 5% of cows carry the lethal strain of E. coli O157:H7 (which causes virulent diseases and death!); and 30% of pigs slaughtered for food each year are infected with toxoplasmosis (caused by parasites).

  • You may get rid of your back problems

Back pain appears to begin, not in the back, but in the arteries. The degeneration of discs, for instance, which leads to pinched nerves, starts with the arteries leading to the back. Eating a plant-based diet keeps these arteries clear of cholesterol-causing blockages, thus helping to maintain a healthy back.

  • You’ll enjoy radiant skin and hair

Every year people spend literally billions of dollars on cosmetics and personal care products in their quest for youth and beauty. Yet just by choosing vegetarian foods, you’ll enjoy more beautiful skin and hair than you ever could by purchasing expensive beauty products. Vegetarian foods nourish your body from the inside out, providing a wide variety of invigorating antioxidants and nutrients.

2. You will enjoy a better conscience

• Becoming a vegetarian is in harmony with the yoga principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence. Raising animals for food causes untold suffering for no real purpose other than to satisfy people’s desire for meat. While some people make the argument that you have to kill living things even to survive as a vegetarian—and there is truth in this statement—the fact is that animals have a much higher consciousness than plants and experience far greater suffering when killed. Eating a plant-based diet is by far the more compassionate choice. Becoming a vegetarian helps us to cultivate qualities conducive to spiritual realization, such as compassion, self-control, and peacefulness. The toxins and stress hormones found in meat cause us to be more tired, stressed, and irritable. Vegetarian food choices have just the opposite effect. They uplift your mood, enhance your feelings of peace and optimism, and give you lots of exuberant energy.

3. Better for the environment


  • Vegetarian food choices make the best use of our world’s precious resources. They use just a small fraction of the amount of water, land, and fuel that it takes to raise animals for meat. Factory farms, where animals are raised for meat, are also one of the biggest polluters of our waterways.

Simply becoming a vegetarian is the biggest single step you can make to help protect the environment.

  • You’ll help reduce famine.

It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if the grain were given directly to people, there’d be enough food to feed the entire planet. In addition, using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef!

4. More taste – more color – more joy!


  • Your meals will taste delicious

When transitioning from a meat-based diet, often rich in processed foods, to a vegetarian diet, your taste buds will regain a much more refined taste sensorium. This will greatly enhance the taste of your foods and increase your joy in eating. Vegetarian cuisine offers endless varieties and possibilities. It offers an ever-changing rainbow of flavors, textures and tastes.

  • You’ll add color to your plate

Meat, chicken and fish tend to come in boring shades of brown and beige, but fruits and vegetables come in all the colors of the rainbow. Disease-fighting phytochemicals are responsible for giving produce their rich, varied hues. So cooking by color can be a good way to ensure that you are eating a variety of naturally occurring substances that boost immunity and prevent a range of illnesses.

5. You will be a great role model for your kids.

If you set a good example and feed your children good food, chances are they’ll live a longer and healthier life. You’re also creating a market for vegetarian products and making it more likely that they’ll be available for your children in the future.

6. You will help to bring down the national debt

Most Western nations spend large amounts annually to treat the heart disease, cancer, obesity, and food poisoning that are byproducts of a diet heavy on animal products.
7. Going vegetarian is easy!

Vegetarian cooking has never been so simple. We live at a time that offers us all the possibilities, resources and ingredients.

Please see the previous Blogpost for numerous online resources.

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Vegetarian Essentials, Part 1



Over the next few weeks I will give a short introduction into different aspects of the Vegetarian World and how you can become more at home in it and enjoy your own journey and discoveries.

Today it is my personal account of what cooking and a vegetarian lifestyle mean to me. Enjoy reading!

I love cooking. For me cooking is something wonderful. Cooking helps me to find myself, to rebalance and re-center myself. I try to become receptive to inspirations, to combinations, colors and tastes and let the cooking become a truly creative act. At its perfection, cooking is something magic, it is an art. But it is even more than that. It is also a way of expressing myself, a way of offering something of myself that is absolutely personal, almost intimate. It is a way of offering good feelings, love, concern, affection and peace while cooking, so that these qualities can enter the food and be felt by the person that eats the food.

In these ways cooking can become a true service towards a better world. A famous chef in Switzerland once told me: “With every plate that goes out of the kitchen, a part of my soul goes with it.” This is much the way the restaurants of the Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world prepare food for their guests. “Love and Serve” has always been one of the central mottos and guiding principles of our chefs.

I also really love eating and I am always happy to try out new places and tastes. But with all the excitement and new trends that are coming and going, for me there is one constant standard bearer that I use. I try to feel the food as much as I taste it. Is it “full” (in other words, satisfying to the eye, the palate and the heart) or is it just an assortment of disconnected tastes and sense sensations? After eating a perfect meal you may leave the restaurant completely elevated, similar, for those who meditate, to the way you feel after a good meditation.

Of course with all this “high” talk about food, let us not forget that a meal, in the first place, serves the purpose of renewing our life-energy so that we may continue our life-journey with strength and enthusiasm.


Why do I mention these different aspects of cooking as we are looking at a vegetarian life-style? I do this because I believe it shows that food can be much more than just helping you to survive, that cooking and eating can happen on a deeper level and that both of them should be filled with joy, happiness and a rainbow of tastes and colors. This is exactly what a vegetarian lifestyle offers.

I have given dozens and dozens of cooking classes about vegetarian cooking, including the uses in it of tofu and other soy products. I have always emphasized that cooking has to be a joy and should not be based on an attitude of “oh now I have to cook vegetarian.” Instead of being something dull, something that “should” be done for ethical, health, ecological or other reasons, a vegetarian cuisine is, in the first place, a feast of colors and tastes with infinite possibilities of fusion and combination. I hope this short introduction will help you to discover and grow into the magic and joy of vegetarian cooking!

it is important to understand that each new activity that you integrate into your life needs some special attention in the beginning, until it has become a routine and is well-anchored in your daily life. Today, with all the cookbooks, cooking classes, cooking videos, blogs and websites, it has become much easier to become familiar with the vegetarian world. I have added some resources at the end to get you started.

Of course a great way to jump-start your vegetarian journey is to visit a vegetarian restaurant. Every city nowadays has one or several fully vegetarian restaurants; additionally there are vegan restaurants or fully raw food restaurants  .

I hope you will enjoy your journey and I wish you a flavorful and happy life!


Useful links

Links to vegetarian cookbook pages on the internet:

Good Websites


Vegetarian Resource group: The Veggie Table:

Vegan: Raw:

Recipe sites:




Vegetarian cooking “how to” videos:

Food Magazines

Vegetarian: – with a huge recipe collection


h – popular Vegan lifestyle magazine


Food Blogs




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Silence and Sound – a fascinating music journey!



A life on tour
Since the year 2000 Rageshri (Keyboards) and Kushali (Violin), the two musicians that form Silence and Sound, have offered almost 1000 concerts all over the world. For many years they gave more than 100 concerts a year and were practically non-stop on tour. The concert at Panorama this Friday will be their 977th concert. They have produced 5CD’s so far and are dreaming of their next one.

Ahead of their Live Concert at Panorama this coming Friday, April 24th, I had the chance to ask them a few questions about music, meditation, life and food. Here are excerpts from their answers:

About Music
Kushali: “Music is my life. Music is a way to find truth. Many life questions can be solved by playing music…”
Rageshri: “Through music I can get in touch with my soul. My spiritual name that I received from my teacher Sri Chinmoy is also linked to music, The Beauty and the Fragrance of the Soul-Melody in the Aspiration-Heart in boundless measure…, Music helps me to feel the beauty of life, it can be like a bouquet of beautiful flowers or a sweet piece of cake.”

About Meditation
Kushali:“Meditation is spreading like music. Music brings to the fore deeper experiences from meditation.”
Rageshri:“Meditation for me is the inner dimension of life, it is the nutrition that feeds the deeper part of my self.”

About Cooking
Rageshri is a passionate and excellent cook…
“Music and Cooking have many similarities. When I cook I try to offer something of myself, of my soul, offer my good feelings into the food. This helps to make the dish more beautiful, nutritious and delicious and the food is transformed. In a sense cooking is like composing, both are deeply creative.”

About running in the 6 day race
Both Rageshri and Kushali have participated for many, many years in the annual 6 or 10 day Multiday races in Flushing Meadow. Participants run as many miles as possible within 6 or 10 days. These are feats of extreme endurance and transcendence.
Rageshri: “While touring permanently you pick up a lot of energies and vibrations from your surroundings. These long races are like a cleaning session for the whole being from inside out. You also develop many qualities that are helpful in everyday life and therefore help for the life on tour.
Kushali: “Through the running we also get inspirations for arrangements that we use then on tour.”

About Panorama:
Rageshri:“For me, Panorama is like an ocean, deep, full of fulfilling inner peace, but at the same time also outer intensity. I feel a flow of life, colorful and much kindness and harmony.”
Kushali: “For me, Panorama is a place where the Supreme and the Supreme in man is served.”

About their dreams:
Rageshri:”My first dream is that there will be peace in my country(Ukraine). I also dream that one day we have an enterprise like Panorama in our country.”
Kushali:” My dream is to spread our teacher’s message and vision through music. I hope that in this way the essence of his message can be felt.”

Music samples of Silence & Sound
Music sample 1
Music sample 2

This concert is one of very few on the American continent and is a rare opportunity to dive into the sound universe of Silence & Sound.

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Kristin Hoffmann live at Panorama

Kristin.Favorite Meal

Kristin & Premik

There was not one free seat left when Kristin Hoffmann started her concert at Panorama last Friday. Then Kristin (accompanied masterfully by the great Premik Russel Tubbs) started her journey and took the listener to cosmic heights and at the same time into the intimacy of the heart. Her performance was quite simply overwhelming and I asked her partner Troy in the break if the experience is always like that. He replied that the environment of Panorama helped additionally but that she loves to play live and share her voice and feelings with the spectators.


This may also explain why some of the listeners at Panorama travelled for hours all the way from Baltimore to see her  on stage. Kristin Hoffman’s voice is extremely haunting and can put a spell on you!

You can find all the latest details on her records and live performances here.

We served one of Kristin Hoffmann’s favorite dishes before the concert: a vegetable-cashew-coconut curry with quinoa! Delish!

Kristin.Favorite Meal

Here are the ingredients (in the tradition of the Zen cuisine I do not indicate precise amounts for the ingredients and rather let you use your intuition and take into consideration the ingredients you have available):

Carrots, diced
Zucchini, diced
Red peppers, diced
Broccoli CrownsTofu, in cubes or fine slices
Cashed, roasted and salted
Coconut Milk
Thai Curry Paste, or Curry powder


Heat the Coconut Milk. Add the carrots. Cook for a few minutes, then add the red peppers, zucchini. Towards the end add the broccoli crown. Add salt and curry paste or powder to taste.In a separate pan saute the Tofu for a few minutes with little oil, then add a good amount of soy sauce and a little curry powder. Stir well and let stand for a moment. Add to the vegetable-curry.
In a separate pan cook the quinoa (ratio Quinoa-water is 1:2).
Bon appetit!

This week a student of St. Johns University in Queens wrote a Blog Post about Panorama Cafe.
Here is the link to it. Enjoy reading!

Kristin Hoffmann
Premik Russel Tubbs
The Tassajara Cookbook

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“President Thomas Jefferson” at the Oneness-Fountain-Heart

Thomas Jefferson

A fascinating presentation with Nripal Eric Petersen who came as “President Thomas Jefferson”, took place at the Oneness-Fountain-Heart last Sunday. Please read everything about the inspirational event here.

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Lotus-Seat and Garden-Sprouts

Salad details

To enjoy the new Blog post “Lotus-seat and Garden-sprouts” click here.

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From Moscow with Love

Avocado Salad

Discover the latest edition of our food blog here.

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New Blog: The Food-Perfection-Journey


Discover our new food blog here.


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