Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Daria Ibn-Tamas

Vegan Lifestyle

Veganism, as a health choice, is one that many people meet with skepticism. Much of people’s opinions about being vegan comes from the perceived ideology that drives it. And while it is true that many people turn to a vegan lifestyle out of a concern for animal welfare, it is also true that many people report very real health benefits. In a recent article in Shape, a writer details the positive effects of her own vegan experience.

The writer admits to having had a vegan phase in her 20s that was comprised mostly of bread, fried potatoes, and soy ice cream. But 12 years after that ended she decided to revisit the idea but with a more mature, healthy mindset. What she found was a series of changes in the way her body looked and felt, all of them positive. Below is just a sampling of her experience.

Skinny Jeans? No Problem!

All of us tend to gain weight during particular times of the year. We all dread putting on the skinny jeans during those periods for fear of how many inches we put on. However, the writer found that when she put on her skinny jeans in September – when she normally packs on a few pounds – she found that slipped on without so much as a wiggle.

Smell The Roses…And Everything Else

Not many people realize this, but dairy can contribute to sinus congestion. The author had been suffering for years with chronic sinus pain that had resulted in two CT scans, a regimen of daily nasal sprays and antihistamine use, and a recommendation for sinus surgery. But after two months of being dairy free, she found that she could breath easier and smell without pain.

Clearest Skin Ever
Her waistline, her nasal passages, and even her skin benefited from the jump to veganism. She found that the pimples she had been dealing with were replaced with smooth, soft skin that was more supple and what she calls a “natural glow.” All this after a month of getting off dairy.

Read more at Shape.

Beyonce Does it Again!

Daria Ibn-TamasBeyonce Knowles has become something of a household name these days.  The singer has built somewhat of an empire for herself over the years and while she is a revered and respected artist, no one saw her latest stunt coming.  A recent article covers the details of Beyonce’s album that no one knew was coming out- a video album of 17 music videos.

At 12:00am on December 13, Beyonce dropped the surprise of the year, a visual album.  This is Beyonce’s fifth record and is titled, “Beyoncé.”  What a visual album means is that for each track on this 14-track album, there is a music video to accompany it.  This a massive undertaking for any singer, but if anyone could do it, we shouldn’t have expected anyone other than Queen Bey herself.  This surprise album coming out, however, now clarifies why we haven’t heard a new single from Beyonce in quite some time- something that was puzzling her masses of fans.

Beyonce’s new visual album is more than just a surprise for the people.  It lends credibility to Beyonce’s creative genius as an artist and the undeniable fact that she is growing to new heights- far beyond her musical talent, Beyonce is on her way to icon status.

The recording of this album and creating the visuals of this album supposedly began in the summer of 2012 and continued to be developed and produced over the span of about a year and a half.  This visual album is innovative on the level of Michael Jackson’s Thriller when it first came out.  Nothing like it has ever been done before, and we can only imagine what Beyonce will blow the world away with next.  It will be exciting to see what the future holds for Mrs. Carter!

Have No Fear, Batkid is Here!

Batkid blogpost by Daria Ibn-Tamas5-year-old Miles Scott recently took on some serious responsibility- saving the city of San Francisco from the diabolical plots of the villainous Penguin.  A recent article by USA Today details the day’s events.  Miles, known as Batkid, rescued a damsel in distress, arriving on the scene of the crime in the batmobile, (a lamborghini decorated to look like the original batmobile), put a stop to a bank robbery that was underway on Montgomery Street and, ultimately, faced off with the Penguin to end his crimes for good.  The little hero then was awarded the key to the city from the Mayor of San Francisco.

The city of San Francisco, along with many other people who made the journey to San Francisco for this memorable event, transformed the streets into Gotham City to make this little hero’s dream come true.  Miles, who is from Tulelake, California, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just a year and a half old.  He has been enduring treatments ever since being diagnosed.  That is, until this past June, when they were able to end treatments because Miles is now in remission.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation was behind this plan to help Miles become the superhero he has always idolized, and about 7,000 people pitched in to make this a reality for Miles.

Donning an impressive bat-suit, complete with a cape, Miles was escorted around town by a full-sized batman and of course, his trusty sidekick, Robin, played by Miles’ younger brother.  Everywhere they went, the streets were lined with spectators, cheering them on, videotaping and snapping photos of Batkid.

Batkid | Daria Ibn-Tamas postThe incredible amount of community support for Miles’ big event was nothing the Make-A-Wish Foundation had anticipated.  It started with a call from a San Francisco social marketing organization, contacting the foundation to see how they were going to raise awareness about the event.  Admittedly, the Foundation did not have arrangements in place and was grateful for the assistance of the Clever Girls Collective company in generating interest and support for the event.

The event quickly caught-on, and grew to proportions no one had imagined.  Batkid’s day of adventures was a truly inspiring sight, not only to see a deserving little boy become the hero of a city as he had always wanted, but to see how many people came together to support him.  We can only hope our society can continue to join together for events like this in the future and support those who need it the most.

A New Way to Quit Your Job

As of late, viral videos have been all the rage.  Whether they are comical, musical, or just plain odd, people have been getting significant recognition- and in some cases, even fame- from a video they post on youtube.  A recent video has generated not just attention, but a great deal of conversation and debate surrounding today’s, “entitled millennial generation.”  Maria Shifrin, age 25, posted a video on youtube of herself dancing in various locations around her office to Kanye West’s, “Gone,” at the end of which she announced that she was quitting her job at the Taiwanese video animation company.

While one’s immediate reaction may be that this is career- suicide for Shifrin, in today’s day and age, this could be the type of gutsy action needed to get this young video editor noticed and hired by a more prestigious, creative, cutting-edge company.  Experts in the field of communication have commented on Maria’s unique method of quitting, saying they can see the video being both hindering and conducive to her future career.   On one hand, companies may see her as volatile or a potential threat to their image, while on the other hand, certain companies may see her posting this video as a bold expression of self and welcome such a daring, creative and strong-minded employee.

Others have seen this video as just another self-centered act of a young-adult growing up in the millennial generation, which is generally characterized by the notion that they expect good jobs handed to them and that they should not have to work terribly hard to get these good jobs.  Shifrin’s responded that she had thought at length about the potential consequences and positives of posting this video before ultimately making it public; that it was not just an angry backlash and cry for attention.  Shifrin says the millennial generation gets, “such a bad rap,” and that, “expecting to be praised at work and expecting to be respected,” is not to much to ask for, and is not the same as being entitled.

It will be interesting to see where Shifrin goes from here and how this video may change her career path.  Similarly, it will interesting to see what types of actions from young people follow Shifrin’s bold declaration.  Will YouTube videos become the new way to tell your boss you won’t be showing up for work on Monday, or ever again?  I’m sure we will have the answer to that in the near future.

6 Things To Do in Shanghai

Shanghai has a long, prosperous history. For centuries, it was a major administrative and trading town. It literally translates to “On the sea” and in the nineteenth century, it grew in importance because of its favorable port location and its economic potential regarding trade to the west. In the 1990s, economic reforms led to major re-development of the city, and today, it’s considered a “showpiece” for China’s phenomenal growth over the last few decades. If you want to visit Shanghai, here are a few places you can check out.

1. Shanghai Maglev Train

The magnetically levitated train that goes from the international airport to the city runs at 267 miles per hour. The trip takes less than 8 minutes, and it will be indicative of the fast-paced city that lies ahead.

2. 7 Xiangshan Road

This is the former house of modern China’s founder Sun Yatsen. The house contains furniture and books from Shanghai’s early days. Near this, you’ll also find elegant mansions that have been sub-divided into family homes.

3. Shanghai Museum

For a country with such a long history, China doesn’t have the best museums. This is partly because of the effects of the cultural revolution and also because nationalists who left mainland China for Taiwan in 1949 carried off a lot of the finest art. But if China does have any good museums, the Shanghai Museum would be one of them.  It will be difficult to digest all the artifacts in one go.

4. Dongtai Road

This road is full of antique and currio shops, some of which have historical significance. If you’re lucky you can take home a souvenir from here. Some items are for sale; but if you ask for other things, you may be laughed at. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, it’s a great place to go stare at stuff.

5. 50 Moganshan Road

Monganshan is the center of Shanghai’s buzzing art scene. Many of the best artists have their studios there, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to see their creative processes unfold. 50 Monganshan Road is the oldest and most respected art gallery and has art as good as the best you may ever see.

6. Jishi

If you want to taste some of Shanghai’s best food, check out the often crowded Jishi. Order food like Jiang LuoBo (radish pickled in soy sauce), or the HongShao Rou He Zhu Sun (red-braised pork with bamboo shoots), or the XieFen FenPi (crab with vermicelli sheets). The english translated menu is a bit hard to read, so be sure to look up the menu online before going there.


A lot of these places listed can make a tourist feel welcomed. But remember that the life of a tourist is not the same as that of the locals. Try to talk to some people and learn about their culture; it will enlighten your travel experience.