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I didn’t always practice conscious eating. Fifteen years ago, my baby daughter and I were living on fast food drive-through. I had just become a single mom and relocated from New York to Los Angeles with my eight month old. I was building a clothing company at the time, and I was busy, uninformed, and doing the best I could.

A few years later, An Inconvenient Truth came out and it rocked my world. It woke me up to the state of our planet and how critical it was for us to pay attention to our actions in order to be a beneficial presence on this planet, as opposed to part of the problem. I became an environmentalist and activist overnight.

I was the mother of a young girl that was going to inherit this planet and, dammit, I was on a mission to do the best by her that I could. I wanted her to grow up in a healthy environment, and have  a planet to leave to her kids , and their kids, and their kids, etc..

I changed my light bulbs, began using reusable bags and bottles, and riding my bike more. I even turned my clothing company green, using organic textiles and non-toxic dyes and prints. It didn’t take long for me to become aware that my clothing business was not the most sustainable livelihood I could have.

That’s when I got inspired by a bunch of eco companies at The Green Festival and opened Visionary Lifestyle “an eco-chic boutique”. This was an effort to raise awareness about the global issues we’re all facing, as well as provide people with sustainable alternatives to mainstream products.

I chose the name “Visionary” for my brand because it was about creating the positive future that we couldn’t yet see. The tagline for the store was “What’s your wish for the world?” The boutique, which was located in West Hollywood, quickly became a place where important conversations were had about what could be done to sustain the planet and all of humanity along with it.Soon enough, I came to realize that my calling was really education. I cared much more about people leaving my store with the knowledge that product X was toxic, while product Y was sustainable for their health and the planet, than about making money.

 A Vehicle For Change

We had great success with the boutique, getting a lot of press and celebrity clients, but after a couple years, I was itching to get the message out to a wider audience than just the people who were coming into my store.

I bought a vintage airstream and rebuilt it using all sustainable products like bamboo shelving and FSC certified wood floors, and created a mobile version of my store and took it on the road. This was the move that changed my life. That airstream was literally a vehicle for change!

Taking Visionary Mobile to festivals and conferences led me to some of the most beautiful inspiring people I could ever hope to meet. I witnessed raw foodies, bursting with radiant health and they made a big impression on me.

As someone who has suffered from psoriasis for nearly 30 years, I was intrigued and eager to learn what made these people so healthy and radiant. In time, I came to learn that the secret was: they were eating plants and only plants.  I listened to Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society speak at Worldfest about the waste and inefficiency of the animal agriculture industry. I was meeting fellow activists who also care about our collective future, and I learned about multiple organizations and philosophies that are making a positive contribution to the planet. Acquiring all this knowledge inspired me to drop all animal products from my diet and go vegan-for the planet, for my own health, and for my daughter’s future.

I gave myself plenty of time to make the transition as I picked up tips and wisdom here and there about how to do this lifestyle the right way. It took me about two years to eliminate animal products from my diet.  The welcome surprise was that everything got better. I lost weight, my sleep improved, I had more energy than ever, and even my psoriasis cleared up. More than anything, I felt a sense of accomplishment, knowing that my daily choices were contributing to a better and more sustainable world. I was no longer contributing to the problems caused by animal agriculture.

Soon after that I took a yoga teacher training and learned even more about health and sustainable food choices. I also learned about the principle called Ahimsa, a sanskrit word for “do no harm” or “non-violence”.  I vowed to practice ahimsa as much as I could in my own life. It was a sad realization that consuming meat and other animal products was contributing to suffering on the planet and thereby doing harm. Animal agriculture is, after all, the leading cause of climate change and loss of biodiversity , plus it makes  a massive negative impact on world hunger, pollution, ocean acidification, rain forest destruction, and the list goes on.

I hadn’t thought about it that way before. Looking at the world through that lens empowered me to make better choices.

When the Occupy movement started in Los Angeles on October 1st, 2011,  I jumped right in, happy to be surrounded with people who cared about our collective future. I could be seen running around Los Angeles City Hall offering activists green smoothies and  marching for justice, bringing in planter boxes to grow our own food. It was on the steps of LA City Hall that I  started my yoga teaching career, teaching to a mix of seasoned activists, celebrities, and homeless people.

As upsetting as it was to become so deeply aware of the injustices in our world, the community that we built, and the awareness that was raised was worth every second. I became passionate about food as a vehicle for positive change. More than ever, I was connecting the dots between our food choices and their effects on the planet.

Sadly, the Occupy movement was soon crushed by the state, and I had to find new ways to channel my activist energy. So I attended every conference, workshop, and seminar having to do with alternative healing and healthy food. I absorbed an astonishing amount of knowledge in those years. I moved into teaching yoga full time, recognizing it as a powerful tool for awakening.

At this point I evolved Visionary Boutique into Visionary Lifestyle and began offering services such as yoga, conscious eating guidance, healthy kitchen make-overs, and sustainable living tips.  My business became about helping people activate their highest potential through food choices and yoga.

Today I am on a mission to help people activate their highest potential so we can all live a more healthy, vibrant and sustainable life.

Cowspiracy And Conscious Eating 101

In 2014, a film named Cowspiracy was released. It felt like the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. Suddenly, I had all the statistics at my fingertips, available to share with others and advocate how a plant-based diet can be the solution to so many of the world’s biggest problems. This is when Conscious Eating 101 was born. I made it a full time project to build an eCourse to help people make that transition from eating animals to plants.

Cowspiracy does  a great job exposing the horrific environmental impacts of the animal agriculture industry and how our choices to consume those products are devastating the planet. We’ve all been so heavily conditioned to think we need meat and dairy to be healthy. The truth is that we don’t, and a lot of people are ready to transition away, but need support and guidance.

Conscious Eating 101 is  a comprehensive six-week course that spells out everything you need to know in order to transition and thrive on a plant-based diet. It can be digested at your own own pace in the comfort of your own home. It includes lessons on protein, plant-based nutrition, sourcing the healthiest ingredients and so much more. The course contains 15 lessons, covering every topic you need to know to make the shift, as well as 20 easy recipes to start you on your way.

Consider that today’s leading diseases, such as heart disease , diabetes, and cancer,  can be prevented via diet. Want to avoid cancer? Consider switching out that steak for some lentils. In the course, I explain why and how, and provide  you with recipes.

When you consider that our population is due to explode to around 11 billion by 2015, and the massive resources required to produce animal products, the math is simple. We simply don’t have enough planet to sustain the current global demand for meat and dairy.

To learn how to transition to a plant-based diet for yourself and the planet, sign up for Conscious Eating 101 today !


Magda Freedom Rod is a yogini and health & lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles. She writes about health & wellness and offers guidance for a sustainable lifestyle.Learn more on her website Visionary-Lifestyle.
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