PlantBasedATL’s Meet Up At Elmyriachi

The promise of a deep-fried burrito was enough for me to drive from Gwinnett to Atlanta in rush-hour traffic yesterday. Of course, one could argue, that I was going against traffic by heading into town, but that person has never met Clairmont Road at 5:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. Thankfully, I was starving, and my hanger was enough to propel me to Elmyriachi by 6:15.

What struck me first about Elmyriachi (http://www.elmyriachi.com/), which shows my lameness oldness awesomeness, is that they have their own parking lot in Kirkwood. Color me happy, homies! You just know it’s going to a pleasant experience when you don’t have to worry about your car getting booted or snagging a parking ticket.

Second, Elmyriachi has an AMAZING patio. Like, truly epic. The PlantBasedATL crew was able to snag two HUGE tables on the patio and there was still plenty of room for the regular patrons. We actually started to run out of room because this crew grew into a giant crowd. What’s not to love about tons of like-minded vegan people? Exactly. We know how to roll.

El Myriachi! (photo courtesy of Holly @veganadian).

El Myriachi! (photo courtesy of Holly @veganadian).

When you go to Elmyriachi, you will be awed by their hand made margarita menu. Unfortunately, we were very sad to learn that the sour mix has milk in it, so we all opted to not have that.  But I can’t blame Elmyriachi, because they were very awesome to us veg-heads. The waiter very patiently went over the entire food and drink menu with us, explaining in great detail what is and what isn’t vegan. I ordered the jalapeno margarita, which was quite possibly the best decision I’ve made all week. It was spicy, lime infused, and perfectly balanced. I wanted approximately 18 more, but a D.U.I. was not on the menu last night, so I kept it cute.

Mmmmmm jalapeno.

Mmmmmm jalapeno.

As far as food is concerned, there was really only one entree that had to be eaten immediately: the chimichanga. This forbidden love is a burrito stuffed to the brim with tofu, roasted corn, and green chiles then DEEP FRIED into submission. It came with refried beans, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, and your choice of guajillo or verde sauce. Feast your eyes upon this tasty bastard:

All the fried things.

All the fried things.

I know. I get it. You want it. You don’t have to explain yourself. I must be honest and tell you: it was better than you can ever imagine. The golden crispy outer shell was a perfect counterpart to the hot and delicious ingredients inside. When I tell you that angels sang when I cut the chimi with my fork, please just believe me. For some unknown reason which still  befuddles me, I was able to save half of the chimi for my lunch today.

There are SO many other entrees that I want to try: the taco salad, the tres hermanas burrito, and the thai burrito, just to name a few. If you like them on Facebook, they regularly post fun events or daily specials. Today’s special is Seitanic Chicharones: seitan in red chile sauce, served with beans, mexi slaw, and pickled jalapenos for $8.00. Totes vegan, friends. Get thee to Elmyriachi. You won’t regret it. Unless you order only one chimichanga, in which case you might regret that. Wise up and order two. You’re welcome for the pro tip.

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10 Things I Love: Tuesday Edition

1. Sprouts. I had been waiting for this damn store to open near me, as my jealousy for those west-coast people grew by the day. Do those Californians really get to have sunshine and Sprouts, too? No longer, friends! Sprouts has been popping up everywhere in Georgia, allowing me ample time to finally realize the dreaded truth: Whole Foods is too damn far from me, and it is waaaay too expensive. So long, vegan cookies that I don’t need but always buy…goodbye, awesome fresh juice stand. There’s a new sheriff in town. If you’re lucky enough to live or work by a Sprouts, take your happy arse over there and take a big whiff of savings on healthy goodies.

2. Almond butter. This sleeper food has slowly risen to the top of my “Just one more bite…” list. Go for the organic raw variety, where the only ingredient is “almonds.” Damn. Isn’t simplicity awesome? There is an important warning to go along with this: Kroger called me (how in the hell did they get my number?) to tell me that there has been a mass recall of MaraNatha almond butter (my favorite kind!) due to a possible salmonella contamination. Get thee to Kroger (https://www.kroger.com/recall_alerts) to see if you have purchased any of these products. I had, and two jars had to be returned last night. It took the clerk five minutes to pry them from my hands. Now I must dip my apples in the subpar Sunbutter. Sigh.

Total recall.

Total recall.

3. The library. This should go without saying. It’s free and it’s not just for your grandma. Rent movies, music (cough cough…burn it to your computer…cough cough), and books. You know, those things with paper pages and words typed on them that smell like old people. Did I mention it’s free?

4. Sesame fries at Takorea. Though Takora is not exactly in my neighborhood, I will travel a great many miles to satiate my sesame fry needs. Read about Takora here and learn why it’s one of my new favorite Atlanta spots. Give me fries or give me death!

5. Revolution Doughnuts. It took me long enough to try this place, mainly due to Atlanta having so many awesome vegan places that I want to try immediately. I got a dozen doughnuts one Saturday and brought (almost) all of them home for the fam. My personal favorite is the coconut, which I long for day in and day out. Their catchphrase is “Put Something Good in Your Mouth.” Clearly, I am meant to live in the back and make doughnuts like an elf in the night. Peep them here: http://revolutiondoughnuts.com/#welcome.

6. Farm Sanctuary / Walk for Farm Animals. We all know about Farm Sanctuary (don’t we?) and how awesome they are. With two locations in California and one in New York, they are the first sanctuary of its kind to rescue farm animals from the factory farming industry. Farm animals have rapidly become a cause that is very dear to my heart (which you can read about here) and I secretly long to run away from the daily grind to join forces with those that care for these amazing animals. One day. Atlanta is hosting Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals on October 5 this year, and Gene Baur (Farm Santuary’s President and Co-Founder) will be speaking at the event. Seriously, I can hardly contain my excitement. I have read Gene Baur’s book and have cried over all that he has done to save lives. It will be amazing to walk with him for this cause. If you’re thinking about going, walk with me! Check the walk out here and also cruise around Farm Sanctuary’s website: http://events.walkforfarmanimals.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=646.

7. Asheville. Ahhhhhhh Asheville. Sweet, beloved, hippie paradise, mountain mama land, Asheville. I have been craving and yearning for the colored fall leaves, the crisp windy air, bright pumpkins, and scary Halloween. This year, I will celebrate nature and all that is awesome in Asheville this November. Hopefully Momma Veg-Head can come with me, as she desperately needs a vacation. If not, dare I take this vacation alone?

8. Loving Hut’s Monthly Buffet. Friends, the brilliant minds at the Loving Hut have stumped me once again. I thought I would never find better than their Pad Thai (read about that here), but I have. Once a month, the Loving Hut in Norcross offers an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet for $11.99. I had the chance to swing by on Saturday and I was not disappointed. Well, I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t unhinge my jaw to continue eating much like the anaconda. The monthly buffet changes each month, so if you missed it this past Saturday, fear not. The buffet will rise again!

The Loving Hut: a vegan haven.

The Loving Hut: a vegan haven.

photo 2

photo 3

photo 5

 

photo 1 (2)

9. Vegan MoFo. Eeeeeeeek I am SO very excited for this! Not only am I still planning my Vegan MoFo posts for September, but I have actually created a calendar for which posts should go on which day. But seriously, is anyone surprised by the nerdiness/organization? Sometimes I scare myself.

10. Card from Fritz. I’m going to visit my homie Fritz in NYC in September for her birthday. Though there’s never enough time in New York, the trip is going to be amazing. Want proof? This chica sent me this card, in the mail:

photo 5 (2)

photo

She actually found a card with a “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” pun. This woman is unstoppable. One of my other friends (holler, Adrienne!) has taught me how awesome snail mail is. Now, I believe. How great is it to get an actual card in the mail? It made my Monday so sassy.

PlantBasedATL’s Vegan Meet-up at Takorea

Last night was my first PlantBasedATL Vegan Meet-up, and let me tell you all, I’m hooked. Meeting new people can be hard sometimes…I’m a very outgoing person by nature and say whatever comes to mind (perhaps I need to work on that). But when it comes to meeting new people or walking into a place where you don’t really know anyone, I get pretty nervous and shy. I want to make a great first impression. I’m wondering such dorky things as “What should I wear?” and “Will people like me?” You get the idea. It’s like the first day at a new school. What the hell do you talk to complete strangers about?

If you’re a vegan in Atlanta, and you’re at Takorea on a rainy Wednesday night, you talk about: how to make seitan, gardening, loving or hating mushrooms, cats (and then you show pictures of your cats), other vegan restaurants, coconut bacon, and how non-vegans think us vegans only eat salad. We all had a good laugh at that one. Because if I’ve learned anything about being a vegan, it is that we LOVE TO EAT and we LOVE GREAT FOOD. Like, love. Almost obsessively.

Holly of veganadian.com and her sister started these meet-ups to hang with like-minded folk and, more importantly, to take a bite out of Atlanta’s vegan restaurant options. If you’re looking for the geeky, awesome, vegan type, then Holly is your girl. I texted her pictures of Chewbacca being crazy, and she gets it.

Takorea (http://www.mytakorea.com/) is this little hidden gem on Juniper Street. It’s a hybrid of Korean and Mexican flavors, where tacos and kimchi collide in a delicious and safe way.  Don’t worry, they do offer meat, but no one was eating that last night. Last night there were murmurs of the sesame fries before I had even made it through the door. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that every table ordered the fries. The smell of sugar and sesame lingered in the air. Finally, mine were delivered. Behold:

photo 2

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sesame is one of my all-time favorite smells and flavors. I would bathe in sesame oil if I could and if it was socially acceptable. These fries had a touch of sugar on them, to counteract the savory with the sweet. Chipotle ketchup was served with them, as if heaven had angels to spare. Somehow, I was able to not shove handfuls of them into my face (I was in public, afterall) while I also enjoyed a tofu taco (no picture because I ate it too quickly). One of my new pals ordered the burrito, and we laughed at how GIANT the burrito was, because Takorea’s burrito ate Moe’s burrito for lunch. The food at Takorea was amazing, fresh, and quick. The service was impeccable, fast, and friendly.  I will definitely be back to try some different entrees.

The bathroom at Takorea says "Howdy"!

The bathroom at Takorea says “Howdy”!

Last night marks the first of many future vegan meet-ups for me. It was so nice to be around “my people”, those that can talk about sprouting and cats and cauliflower alfredo and how to make your own soy milk. And now, I have to eat my leftover sesame fries before someone gets hurt.

Running on Empty, and Why I Started a Christmas List in August.

To let you in on a little secret (we’re friends, aren’t we?), I want to tell you the joy that it is to have my brain. If my brain had a spirit animal, I think it would be the shithouse rat. That crazy bastard has many a task: search for food, scratch an itch, ooohhhh what is that? It’s shiny! Run from danger…now I’m hungry again. Time to sleep!

You see my dilemma. My brain is constantly going in a million directions, getting interested in a billions things at once and wanting to know EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING. Google has become my dream and nightmare. I have to know, right now. I have hundreds of projects at any given time. I have a notebook as my constant companion so I can scribble down ideas. I get frantic when the pantry becomes unorganized and I have to stop what I’m doing to spend an hour organizing it and checking expiration dates.

I don’t think it’s an OCD thing. I’m just not one of those people that says, “Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to call that company” or “Ugh…I don’t know how to find out about that.” I must fit the puzzle pieces together, I must figure it out, there is no try (there is only do). May the universe help all involved if I ever decide to get married, have children, or buy a house. Those to-do lists will be of EPIC proportion and no book will remain unread and no phone call will go uncalled. I get shit done, is what I’m trying to tell you all.

I want to do everything all the time. I want to run all the races I’ve ever heard of in far away places and walk around new cities and try all of the new recipes I’ve earmarked and also learn more about sloths, because they just intrigue me. I mean, have you seen them? Wrap this around your brain:

sloth

Friends, when I tell you to google “______ photobomb” (insert animal first) your day will be MADE. Feast your eyes upon these animals as they act in a way that made tears stream down my face on a Tuesday.

bird

 

horse

 

squirrel

 

cat

 

 

seal

 

 

cat3

 

My all-time favorite.

My all-time favorite.

Whew! I think we can all agree that cats are the best photobombers of the animal kingdom. Hours of entertainment on the interwebs.

So why am I making a Christmas list in August? Because I CAN’T HELP IT. I’m surprised I didn’t start it in June. When the holidays start coming, life gets super hectic and I can get overwhelmed if I’m not careful. Last year, I went out on Thanksgiving afternoon to do some “crazy people” shopping, and while it was without incident, I really do not want that to happen this year. This holiday season, the interwebs will be my best friend and so will gift cards. That way I can avoid the malls and just talking to people in general.

Oh! In the midst of holiday and trip planning, Vegan MoFo research, and just generally trying to keep my shit together, I all together forgot that I signed myself up for a 10k on August 30th. Shitballs. How sweet of me, right? Sigh. Now that I’m in the full swing of my half marathon training, the 10k should be fine. Is now a good time to mention that I jogged on Sunday for the first time since the Peachtree on July 4th? Right. I may be fucked.

Vegan MoFo 2014

It’s happening! I am so very excited to be a part of Vegan MoFo 2014! Vegan MoFo (Month of Food) happens every September and unites us awesome crazy bloggers into one crazy world, or something. In September, peeps that are participating will be blogging on the reg about all things vegan and awesome, to include new recipes, fun websites to try, restaurant reviews, everything! Vegan MoFo was originally created by Post Punk Kitchen (http://www.theppk.com/), the brainchild of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Make sure you guys check her site and books out, she is crazy amazing. Basically, this will be a month filled to the brim (a post by me almost every day. Yikes!) with tons of information, recipes, and insight about what makes this veg-head tick (hint: it’s kale. And sometimes doughnuts). I have tons of ideas for what to write about, but first a question for you guys: does anyone have a topic or idea that they want me to explore? Don’t be shy!

Legit.

Legit.

I’m excited to a part of a larger community, and, as the MoFo herself has said, “As the world catches on that vegan food really is the best choice for animals (suck it, humane meat!), the planet (bite me, melting ice caps!) and people (piss off, heart disease!) let’s show them what vegan eating is all about.” Check out more here: http://www.veganmofo.com/.

In other news, has anyone tried the new Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl? I used to work at Doc Chey’s Emory (a million and a half years ago, mind you) and am slightly saddened by the fact that it has morphed into something new. But, let’s be real, I’m super excited to try it as well! Give me noodles or give me death, I always say. Peep it here: http://www.dragonbowlatl.com.

 

Consciously Cheating and Consciously Changing

We all know by now that I have been on a fun journey called the Conscious Cleanse. We also know that I’ve had a few “slips” (cough cough…eating all the fries) on the cleanse. We know that I have tried to move towards a more whole foods way of life, less popcorn (who thought THAT was a good idea?) and more carrots. And let me tell you all, this cleanse has certainly done the trick.

But first, let me back up to this weekend. After the “fry-gate” experience of last week, I was back on track. Fresh smoothies for breakfast, giant salads for lunch, and healthy meals for dinner. Snacks are fruit and veggies. The cleanse offers an optional “Purification” cleanse on days 6 & 7, and days 13 & 14. On these days, the goal is to only eat (or drink) fruits and veggies, to really kick the cleansing into high gear. You can participate in the purification for both days, one day, or no days at all. Remember: this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of a cleanse. It really is whatever you want it to be.

I mean, could you say no to that?

I mean, could you say no to that?

Adrienne's breakfast on a gluten-free english muffin.

Adrienne’s breakfast on a gluten-free english muffin.

So here’s what happened. First, I took my happy ass to Dulce on Saturday morning (http://dulcevegan.com/), this super rad vegan bakery and cafe, to meet and hang with my new friend Adrienne. She is of cracktheplates.com, and she just so happens to be super duper rad. I indulged in a homemade biscuit, with tempeh bacon, tofu egg, arugula, and chipotle aoili. I should pause to mention here that NONE of those foods are on the cleanse. NONE. I consciously cheated, and I loved every bite.  And it began as easily as that.

I didn’t feel guilty, or ashamed. I realized on Saturday that I was never 100% devoted to the Conscious Cleanse. If I had been, I would never have a single slip. My will power is like that of a crazy person when fully engaged, clutching tirelessly to strength long forgotten. My goal with the cleanse was not perfection, because that shit is boring as hell. This is my perfection: to do the best that I can, and to never shame myself for falling. I want to live a pleasurable life, one filled with delicious foods and awesome desserts and great friends. I also believe in that bastard cousin of perfection known as “moderation” and therefore aim for that. I basically decided, after that ridiculous biscuit at Dulce, to take it easy on myself and to let my body do the talking.

Vegan entree from Taverna Plaka.

Vegan entree from Taverna Plaka.

Horiatiki salad (no feta) from Taverna Plaka.

Horiatiki salad (no feta) from Taverna Plaka.

Hummus and dolmadakia from Taverna Plaka.

Hummus and dolmadakia from Taverna Plaka.

Saturday night I found myself at Taverna Plaka, a Greek restaurant on Cheshire Bridge (http://www.tavernaplakaatlanta.com/). Full disclosure: I used to serve and bartend at Plaka, and that place will forever hold a little chunk of my heart. I haven’t eaten there in a long time, mainly because I didn’t know what I could eat there since going vegan. I told the server I was vegan, and she helped me put together an AMAZING menu with which I proceeded to stuff into my face. The chef made a special dish: hollowed-out eggplant filled with chopped veggies, served over a bed of rice with steamed green beans. This was the real deal, y’all. I nearly cried from the ecstasy of it. I also ordered the Horiatiki salad (with no feta), the hummus (of course), and the dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves) – one of my favorite foods. To say that my cup runneth over with yummy foods is quite the understatement. The good news is that I proceeded to dance the calories off with the belly dancers. My body felt great: the food was light, nourishing, and wonderful.

On Sunday, I felt the effects of a late night out (I’m usually asleep by 10:30 pm. #old) and decided to try out the newest healthy grocery store in town, Sprouts. First, I found something highly disturbing on my tomato plants. Friends, my world has a new monster:

SHIIIIIT.

SHIIIIIT.

Life will never be the same.

Life will never be the same.

Up close and personal with your new best friend: the hornworm. (care of Google images)

Up close and personal with your new best friend: the hornworm. (care of Google images)

Thy name is hornworm. This prehistoric creepy sonofabitch has haunted my dreams, and now he munches on my plants. OH HELL NAW. Not on my plants. So I snipped off the leaves that he and his two buddies where attached to and I placed them in the yard to find another host. Then I burned the clothes I was wearing and took a brillow pad shower because GROSS.

Sprouts, however, is amazing! Like a mini Whole Foods, except closer and cheaper. I walked out of there with eight bags of groceries, most of them organic, and it came to a total that, at Whole Foods, would have been at least $100 more. Happiness is getting delicious food on the cheap! I decided that even though I was eating some things that weren’t on the cleanse, that I would keep going with certain meals: a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch. In this way, my body is feeling most happy and delightful and light. I’m aiming for the 80/20 lifestyle, and I’m slowing getting there.

Dry brushing to the rescue!

Dry brushing to the rescue!

Sprouts!

Sprouts!

Hippie alert: guess what has arrived? I got my dry brush and my sprouting kit! Ah, to be a dirty hippie in life is to know the utter love that comes with sprouts and brushing away your dry skin to improve your circulation. Read more about what Kris Carr thinks about dry brushing here: http://kriscarr.com/blog/dry-brushing/. And if you don’t know who Kris Carr is, spend some time on her site. She rocks. My sprouting love will finally come home when I begin growing these bad boys.

Hippy Homemaker!

Hippy Homemaker!

Um. Adorable.

Um. Adorable.

I also received my first order from the Hippy Homemaker (on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHippyHomemaker and her blog: http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/) this weekend. I love a sea salt spray for my crazy hair, one that allows me to comb hair after shower, spray, scrunch, and bounce. I don’t do the whole high-maintenance hair thing anymore. Christina makes all of her products to order and uses only natural goodness. Let me just say, my hair is ROCKING these days. Oh, and her son drew me a picture on my receipt. I died.

Curry is always appropriate.

Curry is always appropriate.

Toast!

Toast!

So how will I continue with this cleanse? I’m still doing an amazing smoothie every morning, which usually includes most of the following: unsweetened almond milk, banana, blueberries, kale, parsley, collard greens, arugula, sunflower sprouts, hemp seeds, and sometimes almond butter. I eat an awesome GIANT salad for lunch which includes: romaine, spinach, arugula, broccoli, sunflower seeds, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, and olive oil and lemon for the dressing. Then for dinner, I cook something nutritious and filling. Last night’s dinner was green curry with tempeh, broccoli, bok choy, jalapenos from my garden, basil, and kale over quinoa. I even sprung for some delicious butter and garlic toast. I feel healthy, I feel lighter, and I am confident and comfortable in my decisions. Usually when I “fall off the wagon”, I eat fries, popcorn, chips, anything salty and fried will do. I haven’t done that (and I didn’t buy any naughty things at Sprouts. A first!) This time, I feel like I’ve made healthy changes that make me feel awesome. Oh, and the best news yet: my pants are slightly looser. Smoothies and salads for the win!

 

The Conscious Cleanse Day 4: Attack of the Killer French Fries

I had a few slips before yesterday…mostly just forgetting that I shouldn’t be eating strawberries (it’s a possible allergen) or that I had a teensy bit of peanut butter (also a possible allergen). Other than that, I’ve been a good little girl. Tons of raw veggies, lemon and olive oil for dressing on my salads, brown rice and veggies for dinner. I’ve been having delicious bright green smoothies for breakfast and tons of water all day long. I’ve even been pooing a bit more than normal due to all of the glorious fiber I’ve been ingesting (trust me, this is a good thing). We’re friends, right? I can talk about poo with you.

I had all of the fixings for an amazing salad for lunch yesterday. Mixed greens, arugula, zucchini, broccoli, sunflower seeds, dressing. But I was hit by the infamous “UGH. Not another fucking salad today.” Does anyone else ever feel like this? Like eating another salad will just be the worst thing that has ever happened. I needed some salt, I needed some fat, some crunch. Something bad, maybe a little naughty. I mean, I deserved it, right? (no). I had been super good on the cleanse, right? (no). It’s been, like, WEEKS since I had some fatty foods, right? (no).  And then the craving for french fries hit me like a ton of bricks. Their salty goodness…their fried fantasticness…their potatoey starch (potatoes are also a no-no on the cleanse…a possible allergen). I was helpless against their powers. The power of the french fry is like few other powers I’ve been in contact with. I can smell them for miles, I can spot their grease coming through a paper bag, I can taste them before they’re mine.

And so I gave in. I had french fries for lunch yesterday, while my sad salad sat on the table, hoping to be eaten. Alas, poor salad, twas not your day. The french fry had me by the gonads (if I had them) and was not letting go. They were delicious, amazing, earth-shattering. Everything I’ve ever wanted out of life, and more. I regretted nothing. Until I started to regret.

So the cool thing about this cleanse is that there is no wagon to fall off of. This is not a one-size-fits-all cleanse. If I eat strawberries, am I going to die? No. But cleansing yourself from possible allergens is what I’m trying to do, so I’m avoiding strawberries from here on out. This is a learn-as-you-go and do-what-feels-right kind of cleanse, which is actually right up my alley. So, I ate some fries yesterday. I felt slightly bad about it, but not terrible. I chose my choice. I made the decision. Did I mention that they were delicious? Yum.

I realize now that I get my snacking habits from my dad. Poppa Veg-Head is a big “I’m not sure if I’m actually hungry right now, but these salty nuts look delicious” kind of eater. Sadly, I battle against that all the time. Seeing bags of popcorn (which are currently in the pantry right now), makes me want to rip the bags open, pour popcorn into my mouth, then laugh hysterically and manically, popcorn in my hair and on the floor, the bags clenched in my salted hands. But, I am happy to report that I have not eaten any popcorn since beginning the cleanse. AND THE POPCORN IS JUST SITTING IN THE PANTRY. That’s the thing about having slightly disordered eating habits…the food only has power when you give it to them. But, if you reach for the carrot sticks instead of the popcorn, you win every time.

So maybe this cleanse has not gotten off to the best start possible. Maybe I’ve had some slips. Maybe I ate ALL THE FRIES for lunch yesterday. Today, I made my smoothie for breakfast, snacked on carrot sticks, and am about to eat my salad for lunch. Later I will have an apple with almond butter, go for a quick jog, then make some delicious dinner. Wagon or no, I’ve got my head on straight now. This shit will not stand! Time to break these bad habits.

Run!

Run!

In other news, my crazy ass has decided to run a race each month (if not more than one) in 2015. To me, this is such a healthy goal to have, and it will keep me on my toes (literally and figuratively) in 2015. I guess I should start saving my pennies for all of these races! And yes, I want to run races in Asheville, San Diego, and Portland. What better reason to fly to the west coast than to race (and eat all of the vegan foods possible)? I’m brilliant, I tell you.

Fall Out Boy & The Conscious Cleanse

Well, it happened. I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but you can’t plan these kinds of milestones, can you? You will just look back one day and think to yourself, as you sit on your porch drinking mint juleps and staring out into the wilderness, “I remember when I first chaperoned kids at a concert…” For me, it was the Paramore and Fall Out Boy concert on Wednesday July 30, 2014. My aunt and 16-year-old cousin, as well as my cousin’s three 16-year-old friends, all drove in from glorious Mobile, Alabama to hang with us city folk for a spell. From Gwinnett we traveled to my second favorite Atlanta venue, Lakewood. Side note: this will ALWAYS be known as Lakewood, no matter how many different companies own it and name it after their stores. Get it straight.

I should also pause to note that my gas light came on right as we entered the traffic outside Lakewood, because I’m just that crazy of an asshole. I mean, YOLO, right? Oh wait…I meant #YOLO. I love my cuz and her adorbs friends, and it constantly cracks me up that they SPEAK in hashtags. Here is an example: “I was so tired from the trip that I was hashtag done.” They are fluent in sarcasm and teen-speak, saying things like “Hashtag Forever Alone” when they see a couple walking hand in hand. This, of course, cracked me up, because that shit is funny, no matter your age. I was very relieved and glad to know that I still *sort of* fit in with the girls, even though I am twice their age. They all thought I was 26 years old, which made me WAY TOO HAPPY.

Let’s get to the concert. First, what is up with fashion these days? Does everyone know that we have seen this fashion before and that it was done way better the first time? I firmly blame Miley Cyrus for bringing the 90s back with a bang, platform sandals and all. Peeps were walking around this concert with short shorts, halter tops with sunflowers on them, and Keds. I have no clue what the hell is happening, and frankly it angers me to some extent. GET OFF MY LAWN, and all that jazz.

Paramore opened and they were awesome. Very very live energy and very humble and gracious for all of the love. I had no clue that the lead singer had cut her hair and dyed it blue (I was later told by my 16-year-old posse that it had been that way for a while-get with it). I sat down for the entire Paramore show, but I made sure that I was not the only #old that also sat down (I wasn’t!).

One of us does not belong.

One of us does not belong.

The girls.

The girls.

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Lakewood sunset.

When Fall Out Boy came out, the entire place stood up (including myself, because my butt had started to hurt). They played some new songs and their old school radio hits. I was hit with a wave of nostalgia when they played “Sugar We’re Going Down” and I was taken back to 2006. Let’s back up, shall we? In June of 2005, I moved back to Georgia from Mexico, I broke up with my boyfriend, I moved in with my parents, I began working at a restaurant, and began making, shall we say, questionable decisions (my mom reads this blog; Hi Mom!). I was a total and complete hot mess, y’all. Like, stupidity was coursing through my veins all day and night. I had some wild oats to sew, and dammit, I sewed those bastards. I kicked those wild oats in the pantelones and told them to get lost. It turns out that Fall Out Boy was part of the soundtrack of my life back then. As I stood on the lawn at Lakewood, chaperoning four 16-year-olds, I realized how far I’d come. Even though I am #totes #old, I would NOT go back there if you paid me. What comes with age is the knowledge of yourself, of what you want, what you don’t want, and I am pleased as punch that I am very far from who I was in 2005. Because those questionable decisions need to stay in the past, so that I may make fun of myself whenever I like. That also comes with age, the ability to laugh at where you’ve been. I mean, I had some CRAZY hair choices back in the day.

What, praytell, is the Conscious Cleanse? Peep it here: http://consciouscleanse.com. This is a super cool 14-day cleanse that can help you get back to zero and also determine if you have food allergies. Basically, you are eating whole foods, not prepackaged or processed foods. Hallelujah! This is exactly what I need. Since becoming a veg-head about 4-5 months ago, I have been loving life as a vegan. I am constantly trying new recipes, discovering new foods, and eating like a queen. But there is a lesser known side to the vegan world: enter the vegan processed food. Oreos, popcorn, chips, Mexican food (you mean it’s not ok to eat Mexican food once a week?) and the like have wreaked havoc on my waistline. And because I recently lost weight with the wack-a-doo diet, I refuse to gain it back. I’m noticing that my face looks fuller and puffier, that my acne is out of control bad, and that my pants are snug with my belly poking out. OH HELL NAW. Not up in here! Time to get back to zero and get a fresh start.

My goal in this is to feel better. If I lose some of my muffin top, all the better. Also, I am secretly worried that I have an allergy to soy and its causing my acne, for which I will slowly die a painful death knowing that soy is gone forever. Kidding! If I can live happily without dairy, eggs, meat or seafood, than I can live happily without soy (or whatever is causing this craziness).  After the 14 days, I will reintroduce certain foods and see how my body reacts to it. I can do anything for 14 days, right? But first I had to go shopping.

Yay!

Yay!

If you’ve never been here, you must go to Return to Eden on Lavista and Cheshire Bridge in Atlanta. Yesterday was the first time I’ve been there, but I will absolutely be back. This is my kind of place. Important note: there is a Scoutmob out right now that lets you get $50 worth of groceries for $30. I bought two of them. You must use them in two separate visits, unless you’re me, in which case you beg the manager. ALL of their produce is organic. Score! No nasty chemicals in your facehole. I did find that some of their produce was lacking, but I think they were waiting on a shipment. Also, they have dried bulk goods like Whole Foods but cheaper. Then I found some new items that will (hopefully not) be in my rotation soon:

Um.

Um.

 

That’s right, friends. That would be vegan gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough. WHAT THE SHIT.  It doesn’t make any logical sense. Yes, I bought it. Yes, I baked cookies last night and ate the raw cookie dough and hundreds of the cookies. No, I don’t regret it. I mean, I was taste testing it for the blog, homies! This is a judge-free zone. I also snagged this:

Neat!

Neat!

the back.

the back.

This would be a new kind of dry burger mix. Just add water and eggs (or flax seed eggs?) and you have a burger. It’s made from pecans, garbanzo beans, gluten free whole grain oats, gluten free whole grain oatmeal, sea salt and spices. Yum! We’ll save that for another time. I also snagged this guy that I’ve been dying to try:

Shrimps.

Shrimps.

I had seen this brand in an article and have been curious. To be honest, I didn’t really like them. The consistency was TOO much like shrimp, and it kind of freaked me the hell out. I had to donate them to the stray cats outside.

Prep.

Prep.

After I got home from shopping, I began my food prep. I peeled and chopped 5 pounds of organic carrots, I chopped broccoli, I got my salad ready, I cooked a pot of brown rice for the week, I got my grains all set in their Tupperware. I’m excited to eat wholesome, delicious, good-for-my-body foods and to get back to feeling great. Remember: you are what you eat. And I really don’t want to be chips and salsa and popcorn. I really want to be carrots and smoothies and lemons.

Morning smoothie!

Morning smoothie!

Today is the first day of the Conscious Cleanse. I started it with warm lemon water followed by a smoothie of broccoli, sunflower sprouts, parsley, berries, banana, and unsweetened rice milk. I’ll be damned if it wasn’t bright green but tasted sweet as hell. Handful of walnuts was my snack. Lunch will be a giant salad with tons of veggies and olive oil and lemon for the dressing. Afternoon snack will be an apple with raw almond butter. Dinner will be brown rice with some veggies and a little sesame oil. Super simple, super awesome foods.

Too hot.

Too hot.

Oh, and in the midst of all of this, I have begun my half marathon training, ya know, cause I keeps it crazy around here. I cannot believe I haven’t jogged since the Peachtree on the 4th of July, but sometimes life gets in the way (or my excess eating has made me feel sluggish, you decide). This is what my cat had to say about me returning with my face BRIGHT RED and wondering how in the name of all that is holy was all of this going to work:

The LunaBearLove.

The LunaBearLove.

She’s a sweet one, and obviously concerned. Oh! And if you’re looking for a new favorite cookbook, please get this hot little number in your hands as soon as possible:

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Cara from Fork and Beans (http://www.forkandbeans.com/), who is clearly an evil genius, has finally written a cookbook that will blow the socks off of people that think you can’t bake delicious vegan and gluten free goodies. Silly people! Cara will show you all. I have preordered this bad boy and it shall be mine soon. No doubt I will be baking from it soon, after the Cleanse, of course 🙂