Woo-Hoo! Announcing The Bonzai Aphrodite Amazon Store!

September 6th, 2010 - posted under: Uncategorized

Yay, I’m so excited! I’ve been working on this (ever so slowly but surely) for quite some time, but the conversation we started last week (still going! join in!) was just the kick in the butt I needed to finish things up. And why am I so happy? Well . . .

There are two main questions I get asked above all others:

  1. Where can I find product X? (coconut oil, castile soap, agar agar, etc)
  2. What can I use to accomplish task Y? (veganic gardening, spice grinding, etc)

So now there’s an awesome one-stop-shop, to answer all these questions! My Amazon store is specially stocked with products that I selected. I enjoy and endorse every single item, as either something I own . . . or something I wish I owned! You can shop assured that everything there has been vetted by yours truly. And of course, I’ll get a commission for every purchase. A win-win! But to be clear -

You know that I always advocate buying secondhand!!! So maybe you simply use the store as a shopping guide. Check out the items I recommend, then go find them used on Craigslist – I fully support it!

But, sometimes you want or need to buy new. So for those times . . .



"Get Out The Bonzai!" Month – Mini Mission #2

September 6th, 2010 - posted under: Uncategorized

This month we’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled MMM, and instead I’m asking all of you a favor. I know that you support BA and believe in what we’re doing here, so I’m asking you to help promote the site. I don’t ever advertise which means I rely on word-of-mouth. I need your help!

Last week’s mini mission was to follow Bonzai Aphrodite on Twitter. If you’re not following yet, please add me! And please give a little tweet about BA – maybe link your favorite recipe or DIY tip, or mention me in #followfriday. Thanks guys!

This week we’re continuing with social media and moving from Twitter to Facebook (what a strange world we live in, right?!) Bonzai Aphrodite has a Facebook page, and I’d love if you joined (ie, ‘like’) us there! Then, at some point this week, please post about BA on your own Facebook page. Perhaps you could ‘share’ an article, or even just hype the site in your status update. Whatever works for you, but that’s it! It’s just a quick little mission but it really really helps!


The Friday Feedback Forum

September 3rd, 2010 - posted under: Uncategorized


IMG_1499A bit of mama-baby morning yoga on our vacation last weekend.

Oi there! Hello and hooray for the weekend! First and foremost I want to extend a huge-mongous THANK YOU to Kathryn S. for hitting up my tip jar this week. Thank you so, so much! All donations go right back into this site, helping to grow Bonzai bit by bit. Thank you for contributing to the cause!

Yay weekend!!! It’s time to slow down, and as always, here on Bonzai it’s time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

This week we’ve got an *awesome* discussion going on over in the Shareholder’s Meeting. So if you haven’t yet, please do pop in and check it out! In the meantime let’s keep the FFF nice and light this week. I adored reading all your love lists last weekend, so let’s do it again. Tell me three random things that make you happy today (mine = long long walks lost in thought, dreaming big dreams for Bonzai Aphrodite and getting right to work on them, making lists and lists within lists and meta lists to list the lists) Hooray for gratitude!

As a fun aside, I had an article posted on G Living this week! It’s a silly little light-hearted intro to kombucha, one of my favorite topics!

And as usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

I hope your weekend is utterly inspired!

Our First Annual "Shareholders Meeting"

September 2nd, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Feedback

It could be the turning of yet another season, or maybe it’s because my entire world has changed this year. Maybe it’s just this summer bug I’m fighting, but lately I’ve found myself especially reflective. And since it’s officially Get Out The Bonzai month, I figured it was the perfect time to share some of my thoughts. Afterall, I’ve always said that my role here is just to facilitate discussion. My goal is to create community and a safe space for growth. And the way to accomplish that is to be as honest and forthright as possible, yes?

It’s sometimes difficult to balance this blog, which is my passion, with other aspects of my life – namely earning income. It goes without saying that my family comes first, and mothering/partnering will be my number one priority. If only this blog could always be number two!

In the past I’ve been open about my ambition to monetize BA. It’s not my driving purpose here (of course), but I sure wouldn’t shy away from it. Every dollar required to live my life is time taken away from this space. If BA could do a bit to earn its keep, that would change a lot. And becoming a mommy has made my time more precious than ever. Sometimes I find myself asking a very difficult question: is blogging like this really sustainable for me?

I firmly believe in NPR (National Public Radio), PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service), and CSAs (community supported agrigulture), which is why I’ve been operating under a model I call USB – User Supported Blogging. That means that I’ve eschewed advertising dollars and instead relied on contributions from my readers (via my wishlist and the tip jar → ). I am so incredibly grateful for every gift I’ve received, but the undeniable truth is that donations won’t really bridge that financial gap.

Right now I work for my $crilla and I blog for love, and those two investments become competing factions in the ”War On Sayward’s Time”. And since family always come first, and since the sad truth is I do *need* to make money, in the end it’s the blog that suffers.

My ultimate dream is to someday marry my income obligations to that which brings me true joy. In other words, I’d love Bonzai Aphrodite to become lucrative, so that I could channel all of my extra energy right here. I have such Big Dreams and Grand Plans (yes capitals!) for this project, if only I could devote the time!

I’m not trying to get rich. I don’t make much money right now and I don’t need that much to maintain my lifestyle. But, well, a girl’s gotta eat. (And this girl’s gotta eat organic!) Life costs money, and I do need some.

So here’s where I would love some input. I’m decidedly disinterested in hosting advertisements, but I have been considering ‘sponsorship’. Essentially, featuring a company whose product and ethics I can completely get behind.

Do you see a distinction between advertisers and sponsors? Do you think allowing sponsorship would compromise the integrity of the site? (Or conversely, would you appreciate being exposed to responsible, green businesses?)

I’ve also considered other avenues of income via BA, such as selling quality merchandise like tees and totes. (Which, personally, I think could be so fun!) How would you feel if I offered BA-inspired garments and goodies? Would you be interested in buying them, or do you feel like our relationship would change if I were “selling something”?

My integrity is more important to me than anything. I always want you to trust that I’m operating above board and in honor of the principles I advocate. So I put it to you, my readers, my community, my ‘shareholders’ – what do you think?

This meeting is now called to order . . .

Children's Book Review: Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice

September 1st, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Reviews


Whew, try saying that name three times fast! It may be a tongue twister of a title, but this sweet story is nothing but a pleasure to read. My copy was sent to me direct from the author, Nathalie VanBalen (thanks Nathalie!), who produced and published it all on her own. Mad respect!

The book itself is totally unique, a dynamic artistic mix of photography, collage, and sketch. Our narrator is a finger (yes, a finger), our protagonists are plush dolls, and there’s some really cute illustrated snails. And on top of amazing art it packs a powerful pro-veg message.

From a press package:

This new, innovative children’s book . . . raises questions about who we eat and how it feels to be food. When two enthusiastic Vikings decide to use snail shells as a nutritious supplement in juice, their mindful friend Thora challenges the Vikings to think about the effects of their actions.


This book is recommended for children ages 6 and up, and was probably a bit advanced for wee Waits Rebhal. Still, he sure did love chewing on it! I’ve read it to him a number of times, and unlike lots of other kids books, I appreciate this one because it keeps me interested as well. The multi-media design is clever and creative and keeps my grown-up mind engaged, which is so nice.

Waits even took a turn trying to read it!


Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is a thoughtful book with an important message, but it certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously. Super sweet, often silly, and with a simple lesson in compassion that subtly encapsulates the veg*n ethos.

Seriously, I’m kind of in love with this book. I highly, *highly* recommend it -no matter your dietary preference! It would really make a great gift for any little ones in your life. So support an independent artist and check out Thora Thinks. If you don’t, Waits will give you frowny face:



Do Nuts Have Nipples? How To Make Homemade Alt Milk

August 11th, 2010 - posted under: The Food » Recipes


Making your own nut and seed milks is so damn simple, I just wish I’d figured it out sooner. It’s super economical, easily customizable, and you get to avoid all those additives and fillers. But best of all, it TASTES AMAZING. Seriously, a totally different experience. You gotta try it!

I was just looking through these pictures in preparation for this post and realized I probably don’t even need to write anything. It’s pretty self-explanatory, because it really is that easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup RAW nuts or seeds (almond, hazelnut, sunflower, hemp, etc)
food processor or blender
sprouting bag/cheesecloth/mesh strainer (I use a sprouting bag, you can get one here)
various containers, and a funnel helps

Step 1: Soak 1 cup nuts/seeds in plenty of water. Place in the fridge, covered, for 8-24 hours.

Step 2: Drain and rinse nuts/seeds. Place in food processor or blender with 4 cups of water. Here’s where you can get real creative. Add a vanilla bean or vanilla extract for vanilla flavored milk. Add maple syrup or other sugars if you like it sweeter (though it really doesn’t need it.) Add almond extract or peppermint extract or cocoa. Add cinnamon and other spices for a twist on horchata! The possibilities are endless. Now, Blend blend blend!


Step 3: Line a large bowl with sprouting bag or cheesecloth. Pour entire contents of blender into bowl. If using a mesh strainer, pour blender contents through strainer.






Now you have a bowl of milk!


Step 5: Pour it into a big jar for storage. Here’s where a funnel helps, though obviously not enough. Try not to spill it all over – like I always inevitably do!


Step 6: Save the pulp. It freezes well. This is a nutritious almond meal that can be used in tons of ways, like thrown into smoothies, blended into dips, dehydrated into raw crackers, and much more. Mine most often becomes the crusts in my raw tarts!


And that’s it! Enjoy your alt milk over cereal, in smoothies, in baking, with fresh berries – anywhere you’d use milk. But the flavor is so divine, I do suggest you go for a glass straight up!


Playing Dress-Up: My Veganniversary Picnic

August 10th, 2010 - posted under: Playing Dress-Up


August 1st marked my 2-year Veganniversary, and we celebrated with a lovely picnic brunch. It was pretty much the perfect summer day, warm but breezy, clear and bright and the air in the park was oh-so-fresh. Just the kind of day that makes me love Oregon!

My style is in transition right now, changing to suit this post-pregnancy body. I am awed and amazed at how the female frame adapts and alters in order to bear a child. How our skin stretches and then shrinks back, that our entire internal anatomy rearranges itself, how our very bones are spread apart. It’s all so impressive, so beautiful.

I’ve lost the majority of my baby weight, but my body’s been left a completely different shape. Which means I’m re-learning how to dress myself. I curve in ways I never curved before, and it’s an exciting challenge figuring out how to flatter this whole new form!


I wore :

  • ”40 Watt Club” T-Shirt: DIY, and if anyone catches the reference you are the shiznit
  • Floral Skirt: secondhand, by f21
  • Black Cropped Leggings: secondhand, by AA
  • Black Vegan Ballet Flats: secondhand
  • Yellow Canvas and Wood Purse: secondhand
  • Charm Bracelet and Faux Pearls (worn around my ankle): both gifts


Waits wore :

  • ”I’m Vegan and I <3 You" T-Shirt: by Herbivore
  • Cargo Shorts (which crack me up – because infants NEED pockets, right?): secondhand
  • Explorer Hat: secondhand


Checking In With MMM #13 – It Just Keeps Getting Bigger And Better!

August 9th, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

butterfly2Butterfly on the bus!

When I first announced our 13th monthly mission, I didn’t imagine it would be met with such enthusiasm – but I should have known better. You guys never cease to amaze me! It was pounced upon by all you awesome readers, and you being the industrious ingenious people that you are, have taken this little idea and RUN with it. From the stories shared in the first wrap-up, to the unanimous call to keep it going another month, to the partnership with illuminationPositive, it’s all of YOU who have really driven this project forward.

And now it continues to grow! All the way from down in the Yucatán (one of my very favorite places on Earth), Bonzai reader Ero San has been spreading all sorts of love. This is so delightfully creative, when he shared it with me I just couldn’t wait to get it out to all of you. I know you’ll be as inspired as I am!



Origami butterflies. But not just any origami butterflies! These guys are made out of Post-It Notes, so they’re stickable! Quick to assemble and simple to spread, Ero San’s been sprinkling them all over Merida. Each one has a little love message written inside, too, for whoever is lucky enough to find and unfold it. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

I just love this idea and I can’t wait to start making butterflies of my own. If you want to join in the fun, Ero San made an instructional video to teach us all the technique :

Thank you SO MUCH to Ero San for sharing your endeavors with us. It’s truly inspiring! And to all of you out there, please share your stories too! We want to hear about all the ways you’ve been spreading the love. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate at all, so no need to be shy.

Can’t wait to hear from you all!

*** all images by Ero San

The Friday Feedback Forum

August 6th, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Feedback

“The Big Latch On”


IMG_1274This morning Waits and I joined a huge group of women in The Big Latch On, an attempt to break the world record for simultaneous nursing. It was so friggin wonderful! Yay for positive and empowered public breastfeeding!

So hello there! Welcome to the weekend! Firstly and with much gratitude I want to say THANK YOU to Kristen, who was so sweet to drop a little something in my tip jar this week. Thanks lady – the support really means so much to me. =)

And now, it’s time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions. So what’s up guys? What’s on your minds? Tell me tell me everything!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

As an aside: Over the past few months I’ve recieved a number of Facebook friends requests to my personal page. But my deal with Facebook is ‘real life only’. I figure I’m public in enough places all over the whole damn internets (like hello? that’s my ta ta hanging out up there ^^), so Facebook is my one place to stay in touch with face-to-face friends. And yes, I do see the ultimate irony in making Facebook my one private place, haha. Anyway, if I didn’t accept your friends request PLEASE DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY! I love you guys! Come join the Bonzai Facebook page! Okay, hope y’all understand.

Now have a fantabulous weekend!

The Importance Of Soaking Nuts, Grains, And Legumes

August 5th, 2010 - posted under: Food and Health

I recently wrote an introduction to fermented foods, in which I mentioned the practice of soaking grains. Many readers responded with interest, curious to learn more about this traditional technique. Yay! You guys make me so happy! And that brings us here: the ins and outs, the whys and the hows, an all-around intro to soaking your nuts, grains, and legumes.

Why Would You Want To Soak?

Nuts, grains, and legumes are each different kinds of seeds. As such, they have evolved protection mechanisms to keep them safe until conditions are desirable for germination. For example, seeds are difficult to digest in order to facilitate seed dispersal – the animal that eats them carries them away, and then ‘drops’ them right into a pile of ‘fertilizer’. How marvelous! But in order to pass through the gut intact, they must be indigestible.

Further, all seeds need to remain secure until they are able to sprout. This stability is maintained via elements that suppress the enzymatic activity involved in germination. These elements – the ones that render seeds difficult to digest and allow them to lay dormant – are termed antinutrients.

Antinutrients are so named because they may ‘take’ more nutrition than they provide. During healthy digestion our own enzymes work to disassemble food into usable molecules. This begins in the mouth with the enzymes present in saliva, and continues in various forms throughout the entire digestive tract. But antinutrients work by inhibiting our digestive enzymes and preventing them from breaking down food, interfering with healthy digestion.

As well, antinutrients bind to precious minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Essentially, they steal these minerals from our bodies. A diet rich in antinutrient-containing foods can lead to mineral deficiency and may contribute to poor bone density.

One of the most prevalent antinutrients is phytic acid. Grains are relatively high in phytic acid, though it exists in seeds and legumes as well. In situ it’s found bonded to phosphorous, residing in the bran of the seed. The bran is the hard outer layer rich in fiber, protein, and omegas. Phytic acid in the bran prevents premature sprouting. It has a strong affinity for minerals, and any mineral it binds to will become insoluble. This is how phytic acid leaches nutrients from the body.

Other antinutrients include flavanoids, like tannins, starches, and some proteins, such as lectins. All of these may irritate the stomach and interfere with digestion. However some, like flavanoids, are cancer-fighting and have other nutritive qualities. Clearly, nutrition science is complicated and convoluted – more on this at a later date.

SO, soaking seeds initiates germination. That’s the whole point. By ‘kicking off’ the sprouting process, antinutrients are disabled and enzymatic activity increases. Phytic acid is deconstructed and inhibitors are neutralized. The acid used in the soaking medium breaks the bonds that bind important minerals, and they become bioavailable. Thus, the seeds become digestible – and nutritious.

Soaking also begins to ‘pre-digest’ the seeds. For example, soaking and sprouting can break down certain proteins, such as gluten. This can facilitate digestion as well – some people with gluten sensitivity can eat soaked and sprouted glutinous grains. Phytase is the enzyme that is responsible for cleaving phytic acid from phosphorous and other minerals. Probiotics are a critical source of phytase, so eat your beasties!

Well, How Do You Soak?

There are four simple components that go into soaking seeds: liquid, acid, temperature, and time. That’s it!

To soak the whole seed, like almonds or rice or oatmeal or lentils . . .

  1. Cover with water, enough to allow the seed to swell.
  2. Add an acid, either lemon juice or vinegar, about a tablespoon per cup of water (rough estimates are okay).
  3. Allow to sit at room temp for at least 7, but ideally 12-24, hours.
  4. If possible, drain and then proceed as normal.


  1. Cover with an acidic cultured liquid, like kombucha or water kefir (for nuts, whole grains, legumes) or yogurt or ‘milk’ kefir for (for oatmeal, porridge).
  2. Allow to sit at room temp for at least 7, but ideally 12-24, hours.
  3. If necessary, drain and then proceed as normal.

To soak flour for use in a recipe . . .

  1. Mix the flour with whatever liquid is called for in that recipe, plus the sweetener (if called for) and the fat (if called for)
  2. Add 1tablespoon of acid, either lemon juice or vinegar, per cup of liquid.
  3. Allow to sit at room temp for at least 7, but ideally 12-24 hours.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and proceed as normal.

So that’s it – the why and the how of soaking seeds (nuts, grains, and legumes). I hope it helps to clarify things, and maybe even inspires you to tackle this traditional, nutritive technique.