July 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
This resonates with me on so many levels 🙏 thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling and haven’t been able to articulate. ❤️
This is a touchy subject to write about, and I’m going to try to word this as carefully as possible so that my message is clear, and not clouded by the possibility of someone being offended, or quick to react with anger or judgment. I guess I cannot control how someone will react, but I can still choose my words carefully.
As a lot of you know, I have been reading about and practicing “Intuitive Eating.” On top of that I have been doing the LEAP program for food sensitivities to heal my gut. Both of these things combined have forced me out of a lot of the food rules that I had set up for myself. These food rules have existed through every diet I have ever eaten. Whether I was eating meat, cutting carbs, following Weight Watchers, eating vegan, eating high carb low fat vegan. It didn’t matter…
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March 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’m gonna lay it out for you- real smooth. This custard is by far the yummiest vegan treat I think I’ve ever made. Yes it does beat (or at least levels with) my homemade vegan peanut butter cups. Of which, that reminds me; I’ll have to make a post about those soon for you!
Whilst visiting friends last weekend we decided that instead of going out for brunch we would make our own pancake feast. My wonderful friend Jocelyn is GF, and as you all know I’m vegan. So this was bound to be a delicious and healthy (as healthy as pancakes can be of course) morning from the start. Of course I can’t make anything too simple without feeling like a newb, so I had to check Instagram for some fun pancake variations. One of the first few I came across had a custard topping instead of syrup. Immediately I began salivating. It was like there was a little angelic glow around that beautiful plate of custardy pancakes. That was all I needed to see before I started scouring the internet for vegan custard recipes.
I found a few that sounded pretty good based on my own preferences, and the ingredients I had available. Of course I was traveling with some uber-ripe bananas, so I knew they would be a main component. So I stopped at the little health food shop in town to grab the rest of what I needed, and was off to make some killer stacks.
This is what you’ll need:
- 1 very ripe banana
- 1 of the vanilla almond breeze 11oz boxes (or any other vanilla non-dairy milk)
- 1 gooey Medjool date
- 1 tsp ACV
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 2-3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch (or more depending on how thick you’d like it)
Combine almond milk and ACV. Let curdle for about 5 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients except cornstarch in a hand held blender and blend until date is incorporated. Remove from blender and add cornstarch; whisk to combine. Pour into a sauce pan over low-medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly. Reduce to low and let it thicken, still stirring periodically. Remove from heat after about 10-15 minutes and let cool. Serve with whatever ingredients you like! We had blueberries, bananas and a homemade cacao sauce and that was like heaven on my tastebuds.
January 1, 2015 § 2 Comments
Can’t believe today marks my two year veganniversary. Time flies when you’re feeling great.
Two years ago today, I decided to go vegan. Most of my friends and family probably know this was never meant to be a permanent thing. I started out in a completely warped mindset. I wanted to do it as a cleanse. *cue the booing* To rid myself of all the Christmas cookie remnants and move on. I only intended to keep it up for a month or two. But I never went back; and in only about three weeks I didn’t even consider reverting back to eating animal products an option.
I felt so good. I was slimming down. Feeling energetic. And really starting to listen to my body and how it responded to certain things. I was talking with a friend of mine who is also vegan, about a month into my journey. And he admitted that he never thought he could do it either, but how easy it all became after only about a month of eating this way. He was so right.
Anyways. Now I’m here. Two years later. With a whole lot to show for it. I’m very happy with my life, and have never felt more satisfied with my own body. My health has never been better. I’ve found a community who I feel very connected to despite being scattered all over the world. My cooking skills have improved tremendously, thanks to Instagram inspiration and the numerous cookbooks from friends and family. I feel excited to move my body, which is something I have NEVER ever felt before. I appreciate life so much more; not just my own but the lives of all living things. I have a much better handle on my own environmental impact. I am getting my health coaching degree at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. And I’ve inspired others to want to make positive changes in their lives. Even if it’s only a handful of people.
I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to say all that. And I look forward to many more years with the vegan community.
And with that, here are some of my resolutions for the new year:
1. Smile more often. I catch myself more times than I’d like to admit, taking things too seriously. Getting anxious when plans suddenly change. Being cranky because I couldn’t pick the spot for lunch. Moping about the weather. I let little things bother me way too much and I’m committed to changing that; going with the flow, if you will.
2. Continue my few grounding rituals. Stole this one from Raechel of Rebel Girl Living. But it’s something I really need to keep up. I have been planning to write a post about the importance of rituals for a while but haven’t sat down to conquer. My morning herbal tea. Knitting before bed, even just for a little. Yoga. Jogging a few times a week. Taco Tuesdays (sort of joking, but mostly not).
3. Do more yoga. I lost touch with my yoga practice the last few weeks of school, and haven’t brought myself to jump back on the wagon yet. But my spirit and my body are missing it lots.
4. Be more present. I’m in my own head quite a bit. And when I’m not, I’m often submerged in some sort of technology. I really want to be here. Listening, learning, laughing and loving with the people around me.
5. Become a person that people want to learn from, rather than trying to force knowledge down people’s throats. This is more of a life goal than a resolution. But I get frustrated with myself for how often what was meant to be inspiring and eye opening knowledge isn’t received well or at all. It comes down to communication and self presentation, which of course always have room for improvement.
6. Be kinder to myself. Pretty straightforward, but this is especially important when talking about ED thoughts and behavior. The holidays can be pretty triggering. And even admitting to suffering from and ED is still really new to me. So I’m trying to navigate my own way to recovery and happiness, and the holidays throw a pretty big wrench into the mix. But I need to give myself more credit, and be thankful for the health that i do have. Stop stressing about the three cookies that accompanied my oily dinner. Stop thinking in terms of “good and bad” food. Stop imagining the few extra inches around my tummy. Compared to last year, my mindset was a whole lot healthier this year, and I hope it continues in that direction.
7. Work on my friendships, which sort of goes hand in hand with being more present. I’ve drifted from a lot of people, but I want to make more of an effort to actually get out of my grandma-mode and see people, and rebuild what once was great.
8. Tell people I love them more. And show them. I tell my mom and my boyfriend pretty often, but I want to tell more people. I think it’s something that people are afraid to do, because we’ve been conditioned to fear vulnerability. I feel so refreshed and appreciated when someone out of the ordinary tells me, so if I can do that for the other people in my life, I’ll be a very happy woman.
I’m sure there are way more things I could commit to doing, but I think this is a solid start. With that, I’m going to celebrate with the loves in my life, and probably some tacos. Happy New Year!
December 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’m writing to you all now as an official college graduate. WEIRD.
My hopes were to graduate with a job lined up. But hey, life isn’t always rainbows and burritos. So currently I’m working part time and interviewing for bigger things. Fingers crossed something solid comes my way soon.
But I figured it was the perfect time to share my vegan grocery tips with you all. Being a broke college student for the last four years, and a current lady in job limbo, It’s pretty imperative that I stay within some sort of budget when it comes to groceries. Especially with Christmas just having passed. My bank account looks pretty pathetic at the moment.
But when it comes to groceries I can easily walk into Wegmans and drop $200 on organic everything and vegan novelties. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Wegmans, put that on your list of must-do’s; its the grocery Mecca.) But let’s be real, I’d feel super guilty and return it all… Can you return groceries like clothes?
I try to keep my bill to about $50 a week max. A lot of times I spend way less, and there are a few weeks I spend more. But it’s all about balance. And asking yourself, “do I really need this third bag of raw vegan coconut macaroons?” Unfortunately the answer is always no.
So without further adieu here’s what I try to do to save some dollars.
- Keep the staples stacked- Yes, I really mean stacked. Stack those cans of beans and corn and veggies, and pile up those bags of rice, and jars of tomato sauce. I try to buy all organic and low sodium of these things because canned stuff can be pretty raunch. But it’s so cheap. Seriously. like 15 cents more and I can be sure I’m getting some quality organic canned goods. This saves me from having to buy fresh organic corn and veggies all the time. And cuts down on cooking and prep time by a lot! So they’re perfect in a pinch. Buying your staples in bulk will also keep you from resorting to takeout. I’m pretty lazy after a full day of working and errands. So the last thing I want to do when I get home is spend over an hour in the kitchen. Which makes trying to behave and not order takeout painfully difficult. But when the staples are stacked, It takes 2 minutes for me to dump some rice and beans into my rice cooker and in twenty minutes I’ve got dinner.
- Weigh your options- Canned, fresh, dried, frozen. The options are endless. But that’s the beauty of it. Think about your use for that particular item, and the best route for buying. For example, peas. I never eat peas. I love them, I just don’t think about them. So if I bought them fresh they’s grow some toxic looking slime in my crisper drawer. So then I immediately know canned or frozen are my best options. But which is cheaper? And how important is sodium to you? For me I don’t freak about it. But for some it’s like the antichrist. So don’t feel like you have to buy fresh all the time if there’s a better option for your uses and wallet!
- Shop around- I briefly mentioned my admiration for Wegmans above. It’s safe to say I’m a bit attached. Like a baby bird; Wegmans chews all my food for me and shoots it into my mouth for easy digestion. Well, not quite that graphically. But seriously. Everything is so clean. And pretty. And organized. And I know where everything is. And everyone is so friendly. And I never have to wait in line very long. It’s great. And their prepared sushi bar kills it every time, along with their copious amount of ready to go, hot vegan options! BUT. In my heart I know places like Aldi would save me some money. So I get what I can at Aldi, and then buy my other oddball stuff at Wegmans. Mostly just so I can get my fix, and still call myself a Wegmans girl. Seriously though, it’s like a cult.
- Shop seasonally- I’m still not sure where I stand on the whole “buy local vs. support world trade” debate. And I buy stupid amounts of bananas all year long. But buying stuff in season is one of the easiest ways to keep shock value low at the register. Potatoes and starchy root veggies during the fall and winter, berries in the spring, and cucumbers, tomatoes and such in the summer. My mom buys strawberries all year round but I just can’t bring myself to spend $8 on a pint of smooshy lookin’ berries. Plus, it’s more exciting when stuff comes into season- like a delicacy of sorts.
- Keep it simple- Stuff like tofu, tempeh, prepared vegan sauces, “superfood” powders, vegan cheese, granola bars, and ice cream is expensive as fu*k. Every now and then like for the holidays, or a special dinner party, sure. Splurge. Buy that $15 package of locally made tree-nut cheese because it’s So. Damn. Good. But not every week. Keeping your meals simple with starches, greens, and some seasonal fruit is the cheapest way to go. It’s when you buy the vegan chicken nuggets at $5 a bag that you run into problems. This is also a great way to cleanse your body. Minimal ingredients means easier digestion, which means your body can spend more time focussing on healing and cleaning. So simple meals aren’t just great for your wallet, but for your mind and body as well!
- Designate a grocery day- This one is tough for me. I love the grocery store. It’s my happy place. But it’s when I run to the grocery store 3 or 4 times a week that I end up spending money on things I don’t need. Plan a few fun meals for the week, and grab your staples all at once. Then don’t let yourself return until the next week. It forces you to use up what’s about to go bad in the fridge, and keeps you from buying that coconut yogurt you’re never really going to have a use for (But hey it was on sale, am I right?).
- Starchify your meals- Like I said before, focussing on simple meals is the best way to keep your costs low. And the best way to do that, while also making sure you’re getting enough is to starchify your plate. Make at least half of it some sort of starch (rice, beans, potatoes, pasta, bread) and then the rest of it fruit and veg. The starch is the cheapest thing on the plate, so by eating more of it, you’re going to stretch that box of spinach even further.
- Bite the bullet- Buy the bigger size. I suck at this one also. I’ll buy the small bag of rice because I don’t want to spend the $12 or whatever it is on the huge bag. But that’s just silly. Most of the time when you buy in bulk it’s much cheaper. Just make sure you’re comparing the price per unit, and that the units are the same. Then look for the cheapest option. Be careful though, sometimes buying two of the small bags is cheaper for some reason. So just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Pun most certainly intended.
- To go organic or conventional?- It makes me real sad that I can’t afford to buy organic everything. I wish I could. And I am so tired of the people who insist there is no difference. (Seriously! They’re out there! and apparently a good portion of them live in central New York.) But realistically at this point in my life I’d be sacrificing a lot just to buy all organic every week. So I just get what I think is most important. The canned goods for sure. And leafy greens like spinach, kale, romaine. Potatoes when I can find them. Oats and rice, because they’re pretty cheap to buy organic. Any nuts. Dates. And bananas. That sounds like a lot, but most of that stuff is pretty close in price to conventional. Except nuts, which I rarely buy anyways. Just do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up about the rest until you can afford to buy whatever you feel like.
- Treat yoself- By buying that nut cheese, or ice cream, or Amy’s pizza once in a blue moon, you won’t feel so deprived of the good stuff. Whenever I buy that stuff I feel like it’s a treat, or a special occasion, which is way more fun than buying that stuff all the time and then fretting about it. And again, by allowing yourself this once in a while stuff, you’re less likely to cave and order $50 worth of Chinese food.
That’s it! I hope this list was helpful to the rest of you broke a** vegan babes out there. And if you have any more helpful suggestions I’d love for you to leave them in the comments below!
December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
So I have to tell you, I’m not a perfect vegan. Sometimes I forget when I go out and order a fancy cafe drink that not everyone automatically uses non-dairy milk. I forget that a lot of drinks at cafes aren’t necessarily as homemade as I would wish them to be. Honestly it’s because it’s very rare that I spend money on fancy cafe drinks, so I forget how to order. And even when I think I’ve covered all my bases, I still make rookie mistakes.
About a month ago I went out for fancy cafe drinks with two of my girlfriends, and I thought I would splurge and get a hot chai. Of course I ordered it with soy milk. I was so enchanted by the atmosphere, the amount of chai options to choose from, the friendliness of the barista/ owner, that it didn’t dawn on me until after I took my first sip, that the chai mix probably wasn’t vegan. But I sipped on, considering the precious $4.00 I spent on this delicious drink from another universe. It really was so good. But I couldn’t shake the worry of there being some sneaky form of dairy in my cup.
So when I got home, of course I googled the brand of chai she uses, and to my delight they do carry a vegan line! Unfortunately the one particular flavor of chai I chose was not completely vegan. But I didn’t beat myself up about it. I’m only human, and it wasn’t like I cheated on purpose. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t cheat on purpose after dealing with the consequences of that sneaky dairy.
Later on in the night and throughout the entire next day my digestion was brought to a screeching halt. It was like my intestines just went to sleep. I was so bloated, crampy, and my appetite was just not the same since I had this stagnant matter in my tummy.
So all of this got me to thinking, how easy it would probably be to make my own chai at home. I did think about ordering the vegan flavor I found online, but to be honest I’m a broke betch these days and I feel much better knowing exactly what I’m drinking.
So I got to work with a little research, and luckily the health store in town has an amazing bulk spice section. I really am pretty spoiled. After lots of testing this is what I came up with; and yes it was equally as yummy as the dairy version!
- 5 cardamom pods
- 4 whole black pepper corns
- 1/2 tsp fennel
- 1 small sliver of fresh ginger, or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1.5 tbsp Rooibos tea, or other non caffeinated full-bodied tea
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1c almond, or other non-dairy milk
- 1c water
- A hand held strainer
Bring the water and milk to a slow boil, and throw everything but the rooibos, vanilla and coconut sugar into the pot. Turn to low, and let simmer until it becomes fragrant (about 7 minutes).
Pour in the Rooibos and let steep for about 3 more minutes. Stir in vanilla and coconut sugar, and turn the mixture off.
Strain mixture into mug, and garnish with leftover cinnamon stick.
Feel free to alter it to your taste. If you like it spicier, add some more peppercorns and ginger. If you like sweeter, add a bit more coconut sugar and vanilla! I just found that this was the perfect combination for a balanced cup.
November 12, 2014 § 2 Comments
So I’m sitting here in my [overpriced] Uni cafe, and wasting time perusing the SBS Facebook group, instead of finishing up one of my many research papers. I just love all the positivity in the group, and the amount of newbies on this lifestyle that are so excited to join! But I have noticed some of the comments and questions posted are a bit triggering for me in regards to ED thoughts and behavior. There’s a lot of talk about weight loss and prescribed amounts of calories, and the one thing I have noticed that really doesn’t sit well with me at all is when people seem to just want others to tell them what to do. For instance I have seen some people asking questions like, “Should I be afraid of nutritional yeast?” Or, “Should I not eat garlic and onions, even though I really love them?” It all comes down to listening to your own body. As long as you’re not eating animals, keeping fat and salt low, just follow your hunger drive. Eat what feels good. And that’s that! I’ll stop ranting now, because I really do want to be a part of this group, and continue to help others, and embrace the supportiveness of this community. I think the positivity interweaved in the group far outshines the negative.
But anyways, onto the ‘Quickie.’ What is this anyways? Will I be discussing my own [quick] sexual transgressions? Absolutely not. But the ‘Quickie’ series is going to be a weekly post where I highlight some stuff I found cool/ interesting/ funny/ provoking/ inspiring/ helpful throughout the past week. As of right now it’s going to be pretty broad in regards to the actual subject matter within these posts, but I sort of like that; I see it as a chance for me to share all the things I find interesting with you, that might not necessarily be directly related to leading a vegan lifestyle. So on that note, I’ll get to the good stuff.
- One thing I found particularly applicable to my life right now was this little pizza meme. I’m taking a few different classes about gender and feminism, and I am so glad I decided to take these classes. They have nothing to do with my major, and everything to do with my life. Gender equality is so interconnected with this plant based cruelty-free lifestyle. My biggest piece of advice for anyone currently in school or anyone going to school in the next term, is to take a class related to race, class, and gender. It may sound like something you don’t need, but I promise these two courses have been the most rewarding classes I have taken in my time here at University. My whole mindset has changed, and certainly for the better. But not only did I find this to be relevant in regards to my schooling, but also in regards to this vegan lifestyle. We spend so much time worrying about how we look, and the ‘purity’ of our food, but sometimes it’s just freakin’ wonderful to stuff my belly full of [vegan] pizza. Am I right?
- While we’re on the subject of food, check out these incredible ‘loaded fries’ I whipped up the other night. One of my favorite treats before I went vegan were these incredible loaded fried topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon, scallions, jalapeños, and a side of ranch to dip. Of course they were laden with salt and fat though. So I made these completely cruelty-free, HCLF loaded fries, and oh my were they heavenly.
- I started Couch to 5k this week! Wooh. I have this pattern of jogging for a few months at a time, really loving it, then falling off the wagon. But I’ve been feeling pretty sedentary as of late, and I even feel like my metabolism is slowing down, despite the adequate amounts of food I’ve been eating. So I’m hoping this little app will help me turn myself around, mentally, physically, and spiritually!
- Starch Vs. Fruit Conflictions. As I briefly mentioned above, some of the posts in the SBS group have been triggering some not-so-positive thoughts lately. And some of them have been causing me to question my switch from fruit based to a more starch based approach. I’ve been seeing all these beautiful pictures of bananas, and it makes me a little bit sad. I miss my giant banana smoothies in the morning, but they never seemed to satisfy me for long. Not to mention the money I’ve been saving by eating more starch based is a big factor for me. Right now, without having a steady source of income, starch based seems like the best route. But my brain is making me question how good I am really feeling in comparison to when I was more fruit based. Hmmph. Something I am just trying to sort out and not stress about. But I would love any supportive suggestions!
- Rachel Maddow on the IUD. This video puts it into perspective about how vitally important it is for us to vote for our local representatives! Don’t let yourself be represented by someone who’s views are completely misaligned with your own. It blows my mind that people actually think an IUD is like an ongoing abortion in your body, but hey people believe what they want to believe! Just make sure you’re using your voice to represent your own view; don’t let others start controlling your body. It’s yours, and it’s so important to stand up for it! And if as a woman, you agree with this bazaar opinion on what the IUD really is, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog, ’cause there’ll be a lot more things I say that you probably won’t like! ->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTPeYz5UwFo
That’s my Quickie! I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did, and I wish you a beautiful rest of your week.