Vamos a la playa!

Oh, friends. You know when you’re ready for a vacation? It’s exactly one week before your vacation, I’ve decided. This is when you hate everyone, burst into tears for a variety of reasons, and generally have a feeling of your life sucking. Vacation time! Lucky me, I will be heading to the beach tomorrow for a week-long adventure with my entire family. Have I started packing? Hell no. But I do get to go to Whole Foods after work, so you know I’m excited about that. And after getting a pedicure last night, I feel like I’m ready for this.

Beach feet!

Beach feet!

But let’s break this down, shall we? Family vacations are amazing and all, but let’s be real. They are their own special level of torture, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. Momma Veg-Head and Poppa Veg-Head are my homies, my nephews J & B are rock stars, and everyone else is super awesome. But being around your family for 7-8 days? You must be out of your mind coo coo bananas type of crazy. The last time we were all together on a vacation, we sort of stopped talking on the last day. We just couldn’t. After it was over, I needed a vacation from my family. I plan to make this vacation different, and here’s how:

1. Get plenty of “me” time. Let’s cut the BS. This means getting the hell away from my family on a slightly regular basis. I plan on doing some rocking beach yoga, going for jogs, meditating, journaling, reading, and just generally taking some time for myself. At least once a day, I will do what I want to do. This is a time for me to gather my thoughts and recharge.

2. Cooking my own food. This seems silly to even write, but this is my first vacation as a veg-head. Go vegans! I am bringing my food with me, and may pick up an item or two once we get there. Since going vegan, I have been a cooking ninja. I would say I cook most nights nowadays. And while I may stray into the junk-food vegan category on this vacation (vegan ice cream, anyone?) I am staying vegan. This means that when the rest of the family is cooking their spaghetti or their steaks, I will be cooking my own food and feeling amazing about it all. This will be a great opportunity for my family to see how I’m rolling these days, but honestly, it’s also time for myself.

This will be consumed in great quantities.

This will be consumed in great quantities.

3. Saying “No” at times. I’m learning to say “no” these days. I generally have been a people-pleaser for most of my life, with a side order of guilt when I say “no.” Thanks to a friend pointing it out (shout out to Ni!), I have been working on it. It’s starting to feel good living your life the way you want to and only being able to do so much. I can’t do it all, as much as I would like to. Eventually you have to say no, or else you will go crazy. On this vacation, I will say no to things I don’t want to do. This could potentially mean that I don’t go to the antique market with the girls, or that I don’t go to the restaurant. This is what makes you a grown person: that you choose your choice and stand by it. Boom.

4. Not getting hungover. Seriously. I am such a lightweight with booze these days that drinking two beers gets me buzzed. What’s worse than being around your family when you’re annoyed with them? Being hungover and annoyed. Enough said. Keep it cute.

Am I missing anything? No doubt, this vacation will be super duper fun and I am probably over thinking this just a tad. I am very very lucky to get to have a week-long vacation with my entire family in the first place. This vacation is well-deserved on many levels, for everyone. Maybe I should add “Be grateful” to my list.

Or maybe we should take bets on how long until I hear “But where do you get your protein?” Sigh. Baby steps.

 

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10 Things I Love: Wednesday Edition

I woke up in a much better mood today, mainly because I slept with my window open and could hear the birds chirping. I love this time of year…the weather can’t decide what the hell it wants to do with itself (is the weather a woman?) and I get to reap the benefits by not sweating everywhere. I ate my strawberry/banana/blueberry raw vegan overnight oats for breakfast and I feel like I can take over the world. I mean, I can take over the world for two more days. I leave for the beach on Saturday. Instead of taking over the world while on my vacation, I will be wondering if waking up at 9 and taking a nap at noon is acceptable. Let’s get to it.

1. Growing my bangs out. For a while, I rocked a full bang like there was no tomorrow. I rocked those bangs hard. Then I realized that I didn’t want them anymore, that I hated them, and that I needed them to leave immediately. Alas, my friends, I have entered this special level of hell known as “growing my bangs out”. Bobby pins? Check. Bang braids? I gots them. Apparently, when you decide to grow your bangs out, your bang hairs actually stop growing immediately and begin to get shorter. It’s rather annoying. I’ve become envious of people that don’t have bangs, and I give a kind smile to those that push theirs back with bobby pins, too. It’s a sister hood of bang growing, and I’m getting hazed big time. So why is this number 1 on my Things I Love list? Maybe if I make it number 1, I will NEVER FORGET how horrible it was to grow them out, and I will never cut my bangs again. Not even when it’s been a year and I look back at old pictures and start asking people, “Did I look good with bangs? I feel like I’m getting bored.” NEVER AGAIN, bangs. Grow already.

Sad face.

Sad face.

2. The EWG’s Dirty Dozen List. I have become obsessed with the EWG and how awesome they are. They let us silly consumers learn how to better protect ourselves from the crazy chemicals and unpronounceable evils that lurk within arms reach. They put out the Dirty Dozen list every year, and I sadly get excited when it’s released. I try to buy organic 100% of the time, but seriously, I’m not made of money. Sometimes you just have to get the non-organic ones to save a penny. With this list, however, I know that I MUST buy organic with all of these bad boys, or the alternative is to eat a faceful of chemicals fortnightly. Keep on rocking in the free world, EWG.

So dirty.

So dirty.

3. Vegan Cuts beauty box. For $19.95 a month, you can have a box magically appear on your doorstep with fun vegan and non cruel beauty items. I have had 3 boxes delivered and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I will say, not all of the beauty products appeal to me, but I do understand that they are trying to cater to a wide variety of veg-heads. But how cool is that? How far has the veg-head movement come? I used Sevi’s eco vegan Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Texture spray on my wet hair this morning, and I’ll be damned if my hair doesn’t look like the ocean air has flown through it all day. I also sprayed myself in the face with it, which wasn’t cool, but that is neither Sevi nor Vegan Cuts’ fault. As of today, I have canceled my subscription to the beauty box. But don’t cry for me, Argentina, because I’m going to give number 4 a try. http://vegancuts.com/

la foto 4

4. Petit Vour box. I recently found this site and I’m super stoked. They also do a beauty box each month, except theirs is $15 (score for less money!) and it seems that the box may be more what I am looking for. I will report back once I receive my first box. http://petitvour.com/

5. Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop. UGGGHHH. I didn’t need any other reasons to eat so much popcorn, but I cannot resist. I’ve been a fan of Angie’s regular popcorn for a while (it has three ingredients: kernels, oil, salt. No weird chemicals) and I have banned myself from buying it anymore. The Gluten Free & Alergen Expo made me the proud owner of several snack size bags of Angie’s other flavors. I gave the non-vegan ones to my parents, and I have gone to town on the “sweet & salty kettle corn” flavor. Let me be clear: I am a popcorn purist. I like (vegan) butter, salt, oil, and that’s it. I even like straight up cooked popcorn with NADA added. I love it. I pretty much think that if the popcorn is flavored in some way (I’m looking at you, cheddar) then it’s bad news. However. I have been mistaken. Angie’s kettle corn flavor is nothing short of miraculous. I must get those bags out of my house immediately. https://angiespopcorn.com/

6. Yoga on the beach. Do I even need to talk about why this is on my list? Exactly. I’ve found a place to do yoga while on vacation, and come Tuesday at 6:30 in the post meridian, I will find myself on the beach getting my yoga on. I might pee my pants, I’m so excited.

7. Races. I have recently gotten into jogging (soft j?) and I love it. I get cranky when I don’t jog now. I actually love the races more than anything, mainly because of the free t-shirt you get. There is such a fun community of awesome people that race and I love it so. I’m not to the point of caring about my time just yet, I think that will come next year. The next race I’m doing is on my birthday so it will be a special one. I hope for no heat stroke and simply crossing the finish line.

8. Dough Bakery. This place was created by magical fairies riding on glittery unicorns traveling upon rainbows. They are an entirely vegan joint in Atlanta that serves bakery goods, sandwiches, milkshakes, even vegan lunch meat. I KNOW. I am planning on getting my birthday cake from Dough, and I will not judge myself if I also get a cinnamon roll while I’m there. And a cookie. http://www.doughbakery.com/

9. Ni’s dog, Bea. A very special shout out to Ni’s dog, Bea. She is a beagle with a little sass and a cute butt. I call her Bea-nut, because of course. I wish she was mine, except for when she wakes Ni up early to go pee, because that’s not cool.

10. The cows I pass on the way to work every morning. They bring me joy. The baby cows hang with the momma cows, and the donkies all have cool mowhawk hairstyles, and the geese hang by the pond, and I just want to live there.

Until next time, friends…

A case of the Mondays…

Are you suffering from any of the following?

  • guilt from eating fries for lunch
  • tight pants
  • frequently saying aloud, “I just really hate everyone right now”
  • welling up with tears while reading Jenny Brown’s “The Lucky Ones” while eating fries at lunch
  • constant thoughts of skipping yoga in order to lay on your sofa and eat Earth Balance’s P.B. Popps while watching Kitchen Nightmares

If you said yes to any of the above, you could be suffering from a case of the Mondays. Or PMS. If you said yes to all of the above, then you are me and I you, and the ish just got weird.

Yes, it’s one of those days for yours truly. Seriously wondering why I got out of bed when it was oh so warm and there was a kitten asleep and snoring on my chest. But really, my life is awesome, so I shouldn’t complain. I am healthy, happy, and heading to the beach on Saturday for a week-long adventure in the sun. I’ve even already found a yoga place that does yoga on the beach, cause that’s how I roll. It’s just one of those days…don’t take it personal (Aaliyah, anyone??).

Let’s talk about this past weekend, because it was one of those weekends that involved some new experiences that I am excited to share about. Part 1 of this weekend involved heading to Loganville to pick strawberries at Washington Farms. Let me tell you, this was a deal and a half. If you purchase their bucket (which I recommend), then it costs a whopping $13 to hand pick an ENTIRE GALLON of strawberries. I know, I know. It’s unreal. It was packed with people and rightfully so. This is a fun activity for kids and families, or for single veg-head ladies that love a strawberry.

Berry love.

Berry love.

 

strawberry 4

 

Strawberry fields forever...

Strawberry fields forever…

Seriously, I will be back. Count on that, Washington Farms. I was super stoked to find out that they also grow blueberries and pumpkins, so you can actually pick your own pumpkin for Halloween. And that’s when my brain exploded from the excitement of it all. Please go visit them: http://www.washingtonfarms.net/

For my Sunday excitement and Part 2 of this weekend’s fun, I found myself driving 45 minutes in the rain to the elusive Cobb Galleria to partake in the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. I was dumb enough (lucky enough?) to arrive approximately 1 hour before the expo shut down. I wandered around, dumbstruck by all of the lovely people and amazing products that cater to veg-heads near and far. With the exception of a few vendors, most free samples were vegan and soon in my belly.

Kale Kale Kale!

Kale Kale Kale!

One of the first products I tried was from the New York Naturals Kale Factory (http://nynaturals.myshopify.com/). They offer the most delicious kale chip varieties around. I almost didn’t leave the booth, and I thought about pulling up a chair. But there was so much more to see.

I will!

I will!

Everyone, by now, knows and loves the brand Enjoy Life. I had no idea they offer so many different type of products, all dairy and egg free. Some products have honey, so if you are a veg-head that says “no gracias” to the honey (like myself), read the labels carefully. Their chips, called Plentils, come in a variety of flavors and are made from lentils. They had me at YUM with their garlic and parmesean flavor. By the end of the Expo, they were practically throwing samples at people. I left with a smile when I was handed this little gem:

YUM

YUM

Have you guys seen the brand Qrunch in your grocer’s freezer? I will be hunting this bad boy down. These are quinoa-based patties that taste like heaven. The man was cooking them up on a griddle and I got to taste one straight from the heat: AMAZING.

Qrunch 2

Qrunch

And we all know about Earth Balance, but have you heard about P.B. Popps? It actually doesn’t make logical sense how amazing these are. I’ve been trying to make sense of it all day long, and I’m still befuddled. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t even buy them. You will soon feel shame when you realize you’ve eaten the whole bag.

Amazaballs. Get it?

Amazeballs. Get it?

These Way Better Snacks were to die for. I was sad that they were out of the sriracha samples (once again: don’t go to an expo an hour before it closes), but I was so happy to try their other flavors. I can see these becoming a part of my repertoire. http://gowaybetter.com/

Way better Snacks

I had never heard of Freedom Foods, but their cereal was amazing in every way. The people were so kind with their samples and information, really taking the time to talk to people about their ingredients. I know their cereal will be coming with me to the beach and will be bought again in the future. http://www.freedomfoods.com.au/

freedom foods

Hail Merry, you are so delicious. I almost can’t put into words how awesome their products are. I basically scarfed down the free samples and snagged a temporary tattoo (how cool is that?) and immediately wanted more. This is one company I will be buying from in the future (ahem, I may purchase from them today. MONDAYS). http://www.hailmerry.com/

hail merry

Little Me Tea was one of the last booths I went to, and I was so happy that I did. Melinda Hicks, President of Little Me Tea, used to own Big Organic Garden, the one I have raved about before. She and her husband have now given this new company a go and it is truly amazing. I brought a juice box home to my nephew, and he gulped it up quickly. With low sugar and no caffeine, this is something you can feel good about giving to your little veg-heads.  Be sure to check them out: http://littlemetea.com/

little me tea

Healthy Tea!

What an amazing experience it was to go to the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. I feel better knowing that there are actual people behind these brands, and it warms my heart to know that they truly care about our health. Now, if you need me, I will be eating a gallon of strawberries and hoping for Tuesday to come early.

 

 

On Going Makeup Free

I have not been blessed with the best skin. For almost my entire life, I’ve had what I like to call “troubled skin.” This skin could possibly run away from home, start stealing, and is definitely drinking from the vodka bottle and filling it back up with water. Sketchy. I’m super duper pale (or porcelain, to make myself feel better) and have freckles. I have blemishes pretty much on the reg. I realized lately that I’m about to be 32 years old, which for all intents and purposes, means I’m an adult. Why am I still getting blemishes? Is it the food I eating? Is it what I’m drinking? Is it the makeup I’m using? I decided to find out. Or, at least, do some damn good research.

We all know that I’m trying to eat less processed foods, sugar, oil, salt, and soda. You will all jump for joy when I tell you that I haven’t had soda since last weekend and I have no plans of drinking any. My brain has flipped the switch into thinking “soda = don’t need” so it’s getting easier and easier. I have my green tea in the morning and I’m good to go. On the food side, well, I’ve been doing better. I will say it’s harder to eat really well all the time when you don’t have fresh yummies lying around, so a trip to the Whole Foods is on the agenda. I generally feel like crap if I eat crap, so the transition is not terribly difficult. But a failure to plan is a plan to fail, and all that jazz. Whole Foods, I still wish I could quit you.

In addition to changing my diet some, I decided that my face needed a break. A face break. Like a time out for my face, but with less tears and no one facing the corner. Starting on Monday, I have gone makeup free all week long, and man oh man was it eye opening. I realized that I looked in the mirror less and messed with my face less without makeup. You know when you put on eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner in the morning, then 2 hours later you check the mirror and wonder why no one told you that you looked like a crazy person? I didn’t have to deal with any adjustments as the day wore on. It was what it was. I also think I touched my face less without makeup. At first, I thought I looked sickly without makeup on my eyes in particular, like uber pale and not in a good way. But I soon realized that this is what I look like naturally, and I’m probably not used to seeing myself like this very often. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t rock a heavy style of makeup ala the rock band KISS, but I think I used a very normal amount.

I felt very self conscious on Monday about not wearing makeup and showing all of my blemishes. This is against everything I have ever done in my life, which is to hide all blemishes and to never speak of them, because that only gives them power. On Monday, I even felt the need to explain to people, “Just as an FYI, I’m not wearing makeup on purpose so that I can give my face a timeout. No spankings, though.” As the week wore on, I felt less and less self conscious. I think my face started to get a little attitude, like “Yeah, this is me. What are you gonna do about it? WHAT?” in a way that was shocking. It started to feel freeing and natural. It felt really really nice to wash my face in the morning and then continue feeling that fresh faced feeling all day long, as opposed to putting on loads of chemically makeup.

BTW, let’s take a School House Rock break to talk about that: your skin is your largest organ, so whatever you put on it goes into your body. What the hell is your makeup made from? Chemicals you can’t pronounce? Did they test your mascara on bunnies that, because they are blessed with the inability to tear up, spend their lives trapped in a box with just their heads sticking out? These bunnies have your mascara rubbed into their eyes, with all of its chemically glow, just to see how it will affect a human (ya know, cause bunnies and humans are the exact same). Check out the EWG’s Skin Deep app, which will tell you how your makeup and hygiene products rate on their toxicity level. Yay for being proactive in your life!

Will I continue going makeup free? I think that for the most part, yes I will. My skin has not magically healed itself, though putting toothpaste on my nose last night helped it a bit (Google that, homie). I still have blemishes. I still have slight under eye circles. But I’m hoping that as my diet continues to improve, I will see positive changes in my skin. I think the 3-day juice fast I have planned before my beach trip next week will help get me back on track. Maybe by starting my kickboxing classes next week, I can kick my face into high gear. More to come…until then, my face will be in time out until it can explain to me why I was mad at it to begin with.

The Loving Hut: A Review

Let’s be honest, people. Us veg-heads love nothing more than going to an all vegan restaurant. Ok, maybe we love new purses more. But only a little. Going to an all vegan restaurant means that I can eat whatever I want on the menu, as opposed to having to piecemeal a dinner together with a baked potato and steamed asparagus. It also means that I can eat off of my friend’s plate, which is what happened last night. I somehow convinced my great friend Ni to head to the Loving Hut to eat and gab. A true friend, she was up for the vegan challenge. I was all set to try some new dishes, as I perused the menu in advance. Side note: does anyone else do this? I love to look at menus online before I go somewhere. Maybe it helps to take the anxiety out of “What the hell am I going to eat at this steak house?” When I got to the Loving Hut, however, I got the EXACT same meal as I always get. Sigh. Next time I’ll try something new. Maybe.

Wonton Soup. YUM.

Wonton Soup. YUM.

It started with the wonton soup. When I ate meat, I loved a wonton soup. You know the kind you get from a Chinese restaurant? The kind with delicious hand rolled little dumplings swimming in a yummy broth with fresh veggies? The wonton soup at the Loving Hut will kick that other soup’s stupid arse all day long. It is so fresh, with a slight sesame oil flavor. The freshest veggies meet the delicious dumplings in a soup made by angels. Try and not tip the bowl to your lips and drink all of the broth. I would have, had Ni not been with me.

Cha Cha Cha!

Cha Cha Cha!

I ordered the Cha Cha Cha appetizer for Ni and I. Again, this is something I always order. The menu describes these little gems as “seasoned vegan crescents with lettuce in sweet and sour sauce.” All I know is, this is the vegan equivalent of fried shrimp. This southern girl gets oh so very excited at the opportunity to relive my naughty fried food days. Fried shrimp? That was a food group at one point. These Cha Cha Cha nuggets of deliciousness taste like crunchy bits of heaven. When (not if) you go to the Loving Hut, please get these. I will also be there, eating this exact same meal.

Pad Thai up in here.

Pad Thai up in here.

For my entree, I got the Pad Thai. I love Thai food, and to be honest I miss eating Pad Thai sometimes. A girl can only eat so much curry before she needs a noodle. The Pad Thai here is delicious, with loads of veggies and tofu in a HUGE helping. I mean huge. I ate a really large portion of it then took the rest home for lunch today.

Roll it up!

Roll it up!

My friend Ni got the Loving Hut Roll, which is “zucchini and carrots rolled in crispy bean curd wrap in brown sauce with side salad.” I was really proud of Ni for trying something so adventurous. I mean, for a carnivore, crispy bean curd is right up there with tempeh tacos or cauliflower pizza. She’s a trooper, though, and she loved the Loving Hut Roll.

There's an "L", for Loving Hut! Adorable.

There’s an “L”, for Loving Hut!

The Loving Hut is a full service restaurant, offering vegan cakes, cookies, teas, and even vegan foods to bring home. Vegan shrimp, anyone? Ni and I decided to split a slice of the chocolate cake which was DELICIOUS. We each got a slice of different cake to take home. I let my mom have approximately 3 bites of my coconut cake before I snapped the lid closed, and I ate the leftover cake after my Pad Thai today. IT WAS MINE, after all.

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

Yes, I’m reading Jenny Brown’s book “Lucky Ones.” I almost cried over my coconut cake today. Please visit the Loving Hut for delicious vegan yumminess. They have them all over! Check their website to see if there’s a Loving Hut near you. And good news for yours truly: they also have one in Madrid, where I will be in October with Miss J$. Now if I could only convince Miss J$ to try vegan food in Spain…

Mother’s Day 2014

And a very happy (cough cough…late) Mother’s Day to all of the mommas out there! I love Mother’s Day. I honestly feel like it should be celebrated more than once a year. Like, Mother’s Day Round 1 and Mother’s Day Round 2. They deserve it. My mom is my hero, and while we are VERY different (she’s a carnivore with no tattoos and got married at 20 years of age), there is love in that. Momma Veg-Head had a very nice day yesterday. Breakfast was made for her by Poppa Veg-Head, to include bacon, biscuits, and cheese danish (this is how my parents roll, btw). While they ate, I boogied to Stone Mountain for my weekly hike up. I was able to shave 10 minutes off of my time from last week (progress, not perfections!) and enjoyed sitting at the top in a cloud.

Cloud time!

Cloud time!

For brunch, we all met at “the club”, which is Poppa Veg-Head’s golf club. It was buffet style, and it was deadly. I was lucky to actually find some goodies I could eat: salad with balsamic, fruit, grilled asparagus, brown rice, squash and tomatoes, and breakfast potatoes. Because what’s a brunch without potatoes? Exactly. Not one I’d like to go to.  The nephews and my sister-in-law were all there, so it was a very nice time. We took some awesome “my family rocks” kind of pictures.

 

Mom and Daughter Veg-Heads

Mom and Daughter Veg-Heads

When did my nephews become so awesome? On the way to The Club, the nephews and I were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. My youngest nephew B, who just turned 5, said he wanted to be a train conductor. No surprise there, as this kid lives and breathes trains. It’s a sickness. My oldest nephew J, who is recently 7 years old, said he wanted to be a professional baseball player, a professional golfer, and run a Lego store. Who are these kids? I love ’em. I told J that in order for him to achieve all of these goals he had to practice really hard, and he would also have to study really hard in school. When did I become Old? Oh, here’s when: B said “I know what you’re going to be when you grow up…” to which J butted in, “She’s already grown up.” Cue the tears and violins. Heart broken. If anyone is interested, B said I was going to be a farmer. Happy again.

Momma love.

Momma love. (farm sanctuary)

Yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about animals all day. This is not different than any other day, to be sure. But I thought about the mommas. We passed a farm on our way to The Club, and I wished the momma cows a very Happy Mother’s Day. It made me sad to think about all of the animal moms around the world that have their babies ripped away from them, and how utterly broken they must feel. To think about losing my fur baby, the LunaBearLove, brings a tear to my eye. I strongly applaud anyone who is against cruelty to dogs and cats, and people try their hardest to stop animal cruelty to those “pets.” But one of the main differences between a pig and a dog is their species. That’s it. In fact, a pig is smarter than your dog. Boom. Sorry, Spot. The truth hurts. If people could start seeing farm animals as “someone” instead of “something”, what a world of difference it would make. And what a difference to animal moms everywhere.

What have we learned? Moms rock. Nephews are the best. Grilled asparagus is AMAZING. Sitting in a cloud is not just for the birds. Until next time…have you kissed a cow today?

Besos! (farm sanctuary)

Besos! (farm sanctuary)

 

“Fed Up”!

I had been waiting for about two weeks to see “Fed Up” since I heard about it. Good thing for me, I was able to find a theater in Atlanta that was showing it last night. I went with a good friend, Miss J$, and once we had our popcorn (and a beer while waiting…it was Friday, after all), we were ready for the show.

Some back story first. Story time! Gather round. I have a long standing sordid history with food. I grew up with the now gloriously titled Standard American Diet (or S.A.D. for short…ha!) like most other adorable freckled southern girls. Chicken fingers, french fries, soda, lasagna, spaghetti…yummy! I became a vegetarian 11.5 years ago in college. I was studying Buddhism at the time and read that animals want to live just like you and I want to live. It struck me deeply. Luckily I was working in at a restaurant that had tofu and vegetarian food as well as seasoned veg-heads that could answer my questions. Later, I began my first pescetarian phase, then went back to vegetarian, then back to pescetarian. It was a food roller coaster! Throughout it all, I gained weight, I lost weight, and I later realized that I was the “potato chip vegetarian”, the one that can eat all the bread and pasta in the house, cause ya know, it’s vegetarian. Not healthy! But I honestly didn’t know any better. Last year, I realized that I had reached max capacity physically and needed to change. I embarked on what I call the “wack-a-doo” diet, which involved going to a weight loss center and paying out the ass to drink stupid protein shakes and barely eat. It did work, and 80 pounds were lost. Score! This wack-a-doo diet made me seriously look at my own eating issues, and it also made me wonder how I want to live my life. I decided to start researching a bit, which lead me to “The China Study.” Run, don’t walk, to read that book. It was honestly a turning point. A seriously brief synopsis of this book is that animal proteins feed cancer and disease. I then went down the rabbit hole of veg-head bloggers and cookbooks to discover that being a vegan in 2014 is not only easy, but super duper awesome and kick ass. Along the way, I have tried to help my parents to get their diets in order so that they live longer. Eating bacon every Saturday and Sunday morning, while delicious (even this veg-head can agree to that), is not the healthiest way to live. Add in some McDonald’s take-out, some fried pork chops, scalloped potatoes, and canned peas, and you have entered my parents’ dietary lifestyle. What’s not to love? It would be fine and dandy if my mom had not had cancer earlier this year and if my dad was not seriously overweight. It is time for a change.

Let us return to the movie. With all of my recent research into the food industry, factory farming, and processed food, I found this movie to be eye-opening and a sharp nail to the coffin. It made me realize that even if I was now officially a Vegan, I had started to slip back into some old habits with food. I want to be a good example to my nephews, who are on their own journey being addicted to the S.A.D. and craving soda. Is it just me or is 7 years old too young to drink soda? This movie dealt heavily with the epidemic of childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes (which we are now seeing in children), the government’s deep pockets and love affair with the food industry, and how the food we eat makes us sick. Every day. Even our children. Especially our children. A poignant quote from the movie is when someone said that if a foreign nation was making our children overweight, sick and dying, that we would go to war with them. Instead, we allow the food industry to make our choices for us. Sugar (hidden in processed foods) is the devil, and it lurks everywhere. Another fun fact I learned: the sugar industry has made it so its percent daily value NEVER shows up on ANY nutrition label. Check it out for yourself, because I was shocked. Sugar will never have a percent next to it, ya know, cause it’s special like that.

While exercise is very important to leading a healthy lifestyle, you have to eat healthfully at the same time. I don’t know about you guys, but I am fed up with abiding by what the food industry is telling me to eat. Even if I am a veg-head now, eating processed foods still means eating tons of salt and sugar. No me gusta! The more one moves towards a Whole Foods Plant Based diet, eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, the more one will live a truly amazing life. Who doesn’t want to glow from the inside? I know I do.

After seeing this movie, I’ve decided to move away from processed foods and start eating like the universe intended. WFPB is the way I want to go, and while it may be difficult, that is how I want to live. Now, what the hell do I do with my processed foods? Give it away? Donate it? That’s a difficult decision, because why would you want anyone to eat that crap? At any rate, I’m going to start on Monday. Mainly because Mondays usually suck and that’s when I begin anything new. Also because I’m going to see “Neighbors” tonight with Miss J$, and I want to have my last crappy foods. Seth Rogen would want me to eat popcorn while watching him be hilarious.

Has anyone made the switch to WFPB? What did you do with your processed foods?

 

http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home

10 Things I Love: Friday Edition

Today, I love:

1. South Pacific Plantains from Naturebox. Can we talk about Naturebox for a minute? They rock my hippie socks. They accidentally charged me for two boxes instead of one, so they sent an extra box to me. I will forever love them. Plus, you can customize each order according to what you want that month (Salty? Savory? Sweet? The snack world is your proverbial vegan oyster). Rock on, Naturebox.

2. Dry shampoo. I’m trying to stop washing my hair everyday, now that I have blonde highlights and whatnot. So for two days this week, I rocked a no-poo shampoo. This lead me down a serious rabbit hole of googling to discover how to DIY dry shampoo, which made me sooooo happy. Why spray all of those crazy unpronounceable chemicals into your hair when arrowroot powder will do the trick? Slowly, I’m moving away from the convenience of buying stuff and into the DIY world of making stuff. One should note that I have yet to DIY anything, but I have plans. BIG plans.

3. Popcorn. Ok, I love popcorn every day. Why? Because popcorn is appropriate every day of the week. Need a snack? Pop it. Want some dessert? Keep it popping. Lazy and can’t possibly make anything the resembles dinner? Pop that shiz. I have also been known to make popcorn for breakfast. DON’T JUDGE ME, people. If you make it yourself, ya know that old school way with actual kernels, you can pop it in a small amount of oil and add a tiny amount of salt. Or, go crazy and melt that vegan butter to pour on top or add some soy sauce. Microwave popcorn has never tasted this good, plus you don’t get all of those crazy chemicals. Viva la popcorn!

4. Stone Mountain. For something ridiculously small, like $30, you can have an annual parking pass to this great mountain. What does this mean? It means you can go and get your walk on in a safe place with a ton of other like-minded peeps. The big loop around is a rocking 5-mile track, with some nice hills thrown in. I’ve even seen a deer once while walking! Yay for wildlife. If you’re really adventurous, hike up the mountain itself for insane views and a prideful feeling. It’s a pretty decent 1-mile hike up, and the hike down will test the depths of your thigh muscles. Crazy folks jog up and jog down, but us quasi active people will just marvel at them as they fly by. One day, maybe.

5. Big Organic Garden. If you live in Georgia, this organic garden service is amazing. You can choose a box size, and if you want a fruit box/veggie box/mixed box, and then pick that delicious veg-head heaven up and consume said goodies. Such a cheaper deal than going to the store, and you’re an awesome person because you are supporting local farmers. Go, you! A new service that I will be checking out is Fresh Harvest. Same idea, but they deliver to my place of employment (bonus!) and you get to sub out veggies/fruit that you don’t want for something else (double bonus!). Check them out here: http://freshharvestga.com/home.php & http://bigorganicgarden.com/

6. Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. Do I even need to say how excited I am to be going to this on the 18th? I have no one to go with, yet I will haul my arse to the Cobb Galleria to wander through booth after booth of delightful yummies. And let’s be honest, I will be mainly excited for any FREE vegan  goodies. I will report back.

7. Wellness Mama. I am apparently SUPER late to this party, but at least I showed up. Wellness Mama is a wealth of knowledge of awesomeness. Today, I learned that I can use coconut oil in my hair to lower frizz and as a body lotion. WHAT? Amazing. I may even start talking Astaxanthin. You’re going to have to go to the site to learn why: http://wellnessmama.com/15283/benefits-astaxanthin/

8. Vegan Overnight Oats. Angela from Oh She Glows is one of my all-time favorite veg-heads for a plethora of reasons. Mainly, I just want to be her friend IRL (that means “in real life”! I’m hip now). I have tried so many of her recipes and they have found their way into my vegan routine. If you are looking for an easy (read: mix ingredients together, put in fridge, eat for breakfast in the morning; that kind of easy) new breakfast idea, please try this: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/06/04/blueberry-banana-pie-vegan-overnight-oats/

9. Whole Foods. My love for Whole Foods runs concurrent to my hatred for Whole Foods. Why is it so damn expensive? Because it can be. Why are they so far away from me? Because it can be. I love it, I hate it, I can’t live without it. Where else can I go to get my seitan bacon and my wheatgrass shot and my vegan Earth Balance popcorn? Sigh. I wish I could quit you, Whole Foods. Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t even if I could.

10. Spotify. For a measly $10/month, you can jam out to an endless amount of music. No one can judge you for your crazily titled playlists, such as “Fun” or “Mellow”. Not that those are the titles to my playlists or anything. Because they’re not. I would come up with something much classier and awesome. You can also find new music, which is super fun. Right now, I’m listening to Beyonce’s “XO” which followed Better Than Ezra’s “Cry in the Sun”. Side note: I hate that I sometimes like Beyonce. I also like to pronounce her name like “Bee-yawn-say”, as if I was born in Eufala, Alabama in 1919.

Mayim Bialik’s “Vegan Table”

This is the newest book that I’m currently obsessed with. Am I the only one that, when you decided to go all veg-head and crazy, you bought approximately 80 thousand vegan books? I can’t be the only one, right? I am still sifting through cook books, printing off recipes daily (free printing at work FTW), and trying new ones out. It would seem like an overwhelming task, but those that know me know I’m up for a challenge. They also know that I don’t have much else going on. I digress.

Mayim’s book is cowritten with Dr. Jay Gordon, a pediatrician. While the book is aimed mostly at veg-heads that have children, veg-heads without munchkins can also love this tome. Her french toast will be made and eaten by yours truly this Saturday, and I’ve been looking forward to it all week long. The book offers some great advice for new veg-heads about stocking your pantry, information about substitutions for meats/dairy, and essential vitamins and the like. I find the “voice” of the book to be warm, as if Mayim herself were telling you “We don’t eat much processed foods in our home, but I love a white pasta Mac ‘n Cheeze just like the rest of ’em!” Apparently the Mayim in my head has a southern accent and uses chewing tobacco. A disgusting habit, Mayim.

I do wish there were more pictures. (Yes, I’m a small child and like books with pictures. Sue me.) There’s a section in the middle that has certain recipes and their delightful pictures, but sometimes I like to make sure that my recipe looks like it does in the book; which it never does, but still. Safety blanket, and whatnot.

Many many recipes will be made from this book, as opposed to other veg-head cookbooks that give recipes for 5-star dishes that no one in their right mind would make at home. I have a feeling that this book will doggy-eared and spattered with love in no time at all.

I’m here!

Here I go, writing into the endless void of the interwebs. The reasons I wanted to start a blog are many. I love a blog; I love getting those emails everyday that promise something snarky or fun or delicious to read about. Reading what others write always made me think: could I do that? Would anyone read? Who am I talking to?

I’m venturing out into the lovely and green land of the Vegan, and it’s been a fun and exciting ride thus far. I want to share with other veg-heads and abide by all things veg. This is a big ol’ world out there…surely there must be other vegans that enjoy to eat only popcorn for dinner sometimes (fine, fine…once a week).

You probably won’t find new recipes here, unless the ones I try you also have never tried before, then…bonus! It’s new to you. Score one for you.

You may read about how much reality TV I watch, and how I get so angry when seeing those “Happy Cows” antiquated farm commercials. I mean, who the hell are they kidding? I actually yell “UGGGHHHHH” out loud when I see those. Shit, where did that soapbox come from?

At the very least, I’d love to connect with some other veg-heads and discuss life as a Vegan. It’s a strange and magical place. I am having a blast wading through this world!