How Going Vegan Has Improved My Health

Hello everyone,
Happy Wellness Wednesday!
I just realized today that it has been almost two years since I went vegan. Honestly, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Here are some of the health transformations that I have had since making the switch:
 
I healed from Lyme disease.
 
I no longer need to take thyroid medication (which I had been on for almost 17 years!).
 
My skin has improved greatly.
 
My bloating has decreased and my digestion has improved.
 
My asthma is gone.
 
I have a ton of energy!
 
My joints no longer hurt.
 
My periods are no longer debilitating.
 
I look forward to cooking (before I went vegan I couldn’t even boil water!) and love that I have found passion in my life!
 
There is absolutely no turning back!!! I cannot wait to see what my vegan future holds…
Have you had any health transformations since going vegan?  
I would love to hear them!
Or are you ready to make the vegan transition for your health?  I am here to help you anytime you are ready!

Let’s Talk About Dairy

Hello everyone,

I hope that you had a wonderful ThanksLIVING!  We had a wonderful holiday and I am trying to get myself back in gear 🙂

Today I wanted to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart, and it’s also something that most people do not know about.  This subject is dairy!

I was vegetarian for years and often ate cheese, whey, ice cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese, all while thinking that I wasn’t contributing to any animals being harmed or killed.  Unfortunately, I was completely wrong.

The dairy industry does a fantastic job at hiding the truth and telling us that it is perfectly okay to be consuming milk from another species.  In fact, we need it for “strong bones” and “it does a body good”.

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*Look at these happy cows, surrounded by family, living in green pastures.

Let me give you a quick summary of what actually happens in order for humans to drink cow (or goat) milk.  First, how do you think a cow produces milk?  Just like other animals, she needs to be pregnant!  The farmer will artificially inseminate a female cow on a device that is often referred to as a “rape rack”.  She will be pregnant for 9 months, just like a human, and will give birth to her baby.  As soon as the baby is born, he or she will be ripped away from their mom (they don’t want the babies drinking OUR milk) and the mom will cry in agony for days.  If the baby is a boy, he will be killed for veal.  If the baby is a girl, she will be raised as a dairy cow.  All dairy cows will be considered “spent” at about 4-5 years old and will be killed for beef.

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In addition to the animal cruelty, the dairy industry has done an incredible job of hiding the harmful effects of dairy on our health.  Dairy has been linked to certain cancers (including breast and prostate), is full of saturated fat, cholesterol and contains PUS.  It has also been linked to asthma, acne, type 2 diabetes, bloating, constipation, and osteoporosis (you read that right!  Because milk is so acidic, it actually depletes calcium from our bones!!!).  Dairy definitely does NOT do a body good!

So next time you are at the grocery store, instead of reaching for dairy milk, just walk over 5 steps and try some plant based options instead.  No animals had to be killed for them, they are better for your health and they are delicious!

For even more information on dairy, please watch Dairy is Scary or What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Also, please know that I am always here for you if you have questions about making the transition ❤

“Cheesy” Kale Casserole (Great for Thanksgiving!)

Hello all,

Yesterday we discussed why I think it is important to leave turkeys off of our tables (on Thanksgiving and always).  You may be wondering what to make for your holiday meal instead.

This was one of the many recipes that we made during our cooking class last week and it is incredibly delicious.  Plus, it is comforting, warm and perfect for this time of year with its’ main ingredient being pumpkin.

I hope that you will give it a try and let me know what you think.

*This recipe has been modified from Fresh Creations.  For more information, check out @freshcreationssd on Instagram.

“Cheesy” Kale Casserole

(4 servings)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs Pureed Pumpkin (*we used organic, pureed pumpkin from cans instead of whole pumpkins. The directions below are for the canned option)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (small dice)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 can Organic Coconut Milk (15 oz can)
  • 2 cups Kale Leaves (removed from stem and leaves cut thin)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Sage (minced)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/3 tbsp Bread Crumbs (*we used gluten free)
  • 1 Bag of Macaroni (*again we used gluten free)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In an extra large sauce pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and sage and continue cooking until onions are carmelized.
  2. While onions are carmelizing, cook pasta of choice using directions on package. Strain and set aside.
  3. Add pureed pumpkin, coconut milk and nutritional yeast to carmelized onion sage and garlic mixture. Stir/mix together. Cook 4 minutes.
  4. Add shredded kale leaves, stir everything together and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine pasta with pumpkin and kale mixture.
  6. Scoop into individual ramekins or a 9×9 baking dish. Top with bread crumbs of choice. Bake for 10 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.
  7. Garnish with green onion or chili pepper flakes (you can also add some tempeh bacon).

 

I truly hope that you enjoy this recipe!  Please remember that it is absolutely possible to have an amazing, and satisfying, holiday meal without consuming animal products ❤

 

 

 

Can ONE person make a difference?

Hello everyone, I hope that you had a wonderful weekend.

I spent my Saturday night volunteering with Anonymous for the Voiceless, showing the truth behind factory farming and having peaceful conversations with onlookers (for more information on this, please read my blog post on volunteering).

This was an interesting evening, because we encountered a group of around 300 high school students who were in the area for a convention.  For the most part, the boys turned away or had some nasty comments to make, while the girls completely absorbed themselves in the footage and felt the animals’ suffering (this is not a judgment statement against boys and girls, but I do think that at this age, they are completely different with their emotions.  That is a subject for another time…).

During the night, there was one, young girl who totally touched my heart.  She was mainly watching the footage of how dairy cows are treated, how baby cows are taken away from their moms and are killed (footage that I cannot seem to get out of head even today!).  She couldn’t stop crying and you could see the pain in her eyes.  She completely got it and was asking questions about how to become vegan.  And then she said something that really startled me, “If I become vegan, what does it matter?  I am only one person!  What difference will it make?”

I think this may be the reason why many people don’t change what they are doing, whether it is recycling, going vegan, not using straws, composting, etc.  Can one person really make a difference?!

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First of all, imagine if everyone thought like this!  Imagine the people who have made a huge impact (like Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Oprah!) thinking that there was no point to trying because they were only ONE person.

Second of all, even ONE person who goes vegan can make an impact on this world.  In just one year of being vegan a person can save 365 animals, 10,957 square feet of forest, 16,436 pounds of grain, and 401,766 gallons of water!!!  That is huge!  In addition, if that one vegan encourages 100 other people to go vegan, think of the impact that will have on the planet, their health and the animals who get to live.

ONE person can and WILL absolutely make a difference.  Do not ever sell yourself short because you don’t think that what you do matters.  Every action we take has an effect on this planet (good or bad) and we have to choose wisely.

I actually think it’s pretty cool that what we choose to feed our bodies can affect so much of this world.  I find it empowering ❤

 

Do you want to see how much of an impact you have made on this planet by being vegan?  Head over to vegan calculator to check your statistics!

Quinoa Power Bowl with Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing

Hello everyone,

A few months ago I took a wonderful class in San Diego with a business called Veg-Appeal.  It was incredibly informative and we ate ahhhh-mazing food!  This was one of my favorite recipes from Veg-Appeal and I wanted to share it with you (with their permission, of course!).  It may look like a lot of work, but it really isn’t, and it is SOOOO worth it!

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Quinoa Power Bowl with Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Mixed baby greens, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Red cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup Cooked great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp Smoky Maple “Baco Bits” or your favorite nut or seeds, toasted or raw
  • 2 cups Anti-inflammatory Quinoa, cooled
  • 1/2 Avocado, cubed or sliced
  • 2 tbsp Pomegranate seeds (if in season) or chopped apple or soaked/drained dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing (see below)

Smoky-Maple “Baco Bits”

  • 1 cup Raw Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
  • 1/2 tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tbsp Tamari, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or soy sauce
  • 1-1-1/2 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Anti-Inflammatory Quinoa

  • 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed, drained well
  • 2 cups Low-sodium vegetable broth, or water
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • Black pepper, to taste

Tangy Lemon -Herb Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Dates, pitted and soaked (about 3 large or 6 small)
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 small Zucchini, chopped (this thickens and extends the dressing without adding additional fats and calories)
  • 2-4 medium cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 cup Lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or 1 tbsp light miso
  • 1/4-1/2 cup loosely packed Fresh herb, or a mix of herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, scallions, oregano, for example, going lighter on stronger flavors like oregano and basil)

 

Directions:

Prepare the Smoky-Maple “Baco Bits”

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  Marinate the nuts/seeds for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place them on a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir and place back in the oven to bake for 3 more minutes, or until getting a little browned and crispy-they will crisp up further as they cool.

Prepare the Anti-Inflammatory Quinoa

  1. Bring all of the ingredients to boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir well. Reduce the heat to a low-simmer. Cover and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, replace the cover and let cool.

Prepare the Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing

  1. Soak the dates in the water for about 1/2 hour, using warm water if you are in a hurry.  Do not drain.
  2. Add the water and dates to a blender along the rest of the ingredients, and blend.
  3. Add more liquid (water or lemon juice) to achieve the desired consistency.

Serve, or refrigerate for up to one week, adding more lemon/water as it thickens over time.

Assemble the Power Bowl

  1. Toss the salad ingredients well in a large salad bowl.  Drizzle on the dressing and toss to mix.
  2. Divide into two large salad bowl.  Serve immediately, or chill for about an hour.
  3. Enjoy!!!!

 

Click here for more information on Veg-Appeal.

 

What do vegans eat?!

You have decided that you are ready to go vegan, you’ve found your “why”, you have studied all of the benefits, but now you are wondering…..what do vegans eat????

The short answer is that vegans eat everything that non vegans eat!  They just happen to do so without including animal products of any kind 🙂

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Let me explain with a little bit longer of an answer…..

A vegan diet is one that doesn’t consist of any animal products: meat, dairy, eggs, fish or honey.  And depending on your “why”, you may eat differently than other vegans.  If your reason for going vegan is strictly for the animals, then you may go the vegan junk food route in which there is literally a vegan version of everything: vegan sausage, vegan ice cream, vegan burgers, vegan pizza, vegan fish, vegan chicken nuggets, so and on and so on.  However, if are transitioning to a vegan diet for health reasons, then you may stick with a whole food plant based version: vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains.

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For fun, imagine going grocery shopping.  All you have to do is avoid animal products.  What’s left?  Everything else! And the options are endless: fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, potatoes, herbs, tofu, seitan, tempeh, rice, plant based milks, plant based ice creams, vegan meats, vegan cheese, nuts and seeds……

To show you how easy it can be, let me take you through a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit, hemp seeds and a green tea

Lunch:  a giant salad with lettuce, red cabbage, peas, sauerkraut, cucumber, tofu, pumpkin seeds, bell pepper, avocado, and miso/lemon dressing

(you absolutely don’t have to eat salads, but I enjoy them!)

Snack: a giant smoothie (which will sometimes include a plant based protein powder)

Dinner: pasta, vegan sausage, veggies and marinara sauce, chickpea salad sandwich, potato soup, Mac and cheese or a baked sweet potato

Dessert: if I have dessert it’ll often be fruit or “nice cream”

The trick to switching to a vegan diet is to not complicate things and to try to make it fun!  This should be something that you are excited and are empowered to try.  And if you get stuck, there are tons of resources on the Internet.  Go to Pinterest and type in “vegan” __________________ (pizza, Mac and cheese, sausage, burger, etc).  You will find a recipe for anything that your heart desires.

Best of luck and please remember that I am always here for you if you have any questions or if you need support ❤