Last Week’s Vegan Dinners

With lack of time and money, sometimes comes a lack of creativity. Vegan meals don’t have to be extravagant to be delicious, especially if you really aren’t in the mood to think outside the box. Well that was my mood all last week, but I have to say, I still made some pretty satisfying meals AND used a lot of the same ingredients, thus saving money. (For my tips on how to grocery shop on a budget, check out this post!)

Monday

If you follow me on Instagram or Tumblr, you know that I have been on a bit of a tofu kick lately. There are a lot of warnings surrounding tofu, however, I believe that eating soy in moderation, like anything, is okay. It is a lot healthier than meat, anyway. For this dish, I started off by cooking a cup of white rice. In another pan, I caramelized some onions in avocado oil, adding a giant handful of spinach when the onions where almost done. I set that aside and prepared my tofu. My favorite way to eat tofu is to slice it into small chunks and saute it in a little soy sauce. This gives it some flavor and the pan frying gives it the little bit of crisp I like.

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Tuesday

Still feeling like some tofu tonight so I prepared it the same way as I did the night before. This time I topped it on top of a big plate of fresh lettuce, sliced avocado and marinated artichoke hearts. I’m obsessed with these artichokes from Trader Joe’s (I have definitely mentioned them before) and I like to use the marinated oil as my dressing. Super easy, crazy delicious.

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Wednesday

I was craving sweet potatoes but I was also wanted some greens. This dish is so easy, it is kind of ridiculous I’m telling you how to make it. However, I will.

I started by chopping sweet potatoes into thin slices and placing them on a cook sheet with a little olive oil. I sprinkled salt, pepper and garlic powder over them before placing the potatoes into a 400 degree oven. They only need to cook for about 15 minutes on each side, or until they are your desired crispiness. I cooked some more rice and sauteed spinach and kale with sliced garlic. Boom. Rice bowl.

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Thursday

I didn’t realize how much rice I ate last week until I made this post. But it so easy and cheap and GOOD. Today, I topped the rice with BBQ seitan, broccoli and more sweet potatoes! I cooked the potatoes the same way as I did on Tuesday, I just cut them into smaller chunks. The seitan wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. It could have used some more BBQ sauce, which I didn’t have. Still, very satisfying and FILLING.

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Friday

It’s Friday, and I really don’t want rice again. In fact, I don’t feel like cooking at all. When that is the case…BANANA ICE CREAM. For this bowl, I sliced  strawberries and spooned some almond butter on top. I also made my favorite granola which is simply oats, 1/2 of a ripe banana, 3 or 4 dates and shredded coconut.

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I hope you enjoyed this short and sweet post!

Have a happy and healthy day 🙂

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Beauty Update: My Vegan Hair, Skin and Makeup Routine

A few months ago, I wrote a post about my basic skincare routine. This routine was working well for me then, however, my skin is quite sensitive and I started breaking out again.

My skin has been my biggest insecurity. I honestly can’t remember a time I wasn’t researching or testing out new products or changing something in my diet to prevent breakouts. I wrote a lengthy post about my skin story and how veganism completely changed this problem for me in an older post, which I will link here.

Even though I still get breakouts , I still maintain that cutting out dairy and becoming vegan severely aided in my skin healing. The breakouts I get now are hormonal, which has lead me to believe I have an in balance in this area. I am still in the process of researching and finding out what will work for me, but the products I am going to talk about today have been working pretty well for me.

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Since going vegan, I am more aware of what is in the products I use. All the skin care I am about to talk about are vegan, cruelty and chemical free. These items are not hard to find, either. Target has a selection of cruelty free/vegan products and so does any health or whole food grocery store. I don’t have a lot of extra money to be spending on expensive products so these are all cost effective as well.

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I found this Pacifica Sea Foam Face Wash at Target for about $9.00. I love the way it smells, kind of like coconuts, and how it foams when washing my face. My skin is left soft, moisturized and clean after using.

I use this at night after taking my makeup off with coconut oil.

 

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I don’t think I can say enough how much I love this Thayers With Hazel with Rose Petal. I found this at Sprout’s for $10. A few days after using, all the little bumps on the sides of my cheeks and jaw line were completely healed. After washing my face, I apply this with a cotton ball to my entire face and neck. The great thing about this product is it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry or moister deprived. Sometimes I feel that I don’t even need to apply coconut oil on my face after using. It kind of acts as both a toner and a moisturizer for me. Rose Petal has a ton of beauty benefits. The natural oils in rose petals trap moisture into skin cells, hydrating and moisturizing them which is why this has been working so well for me.

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I exfoliate my face about 2-3 times a week. When I do, I use Acure’s Brightening Facial Scrub. This scrub has organic sea kelp and lemon peel mixed in with a green clay. This is the first exfoliate that I have been completely satisfied with. The beads are not too rough or too soft for my skin so I don’t feel I am damaging it or that I’m not exfoliating it enough. This product also doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry. I highly recommend. I purchased this at Target for about $8-$9.

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During my research for healing acne and breakouts holistically, I came across a Youtube video that really blew my mind. Organic Olivia created a video where she discussed how she cured her cystic and hormonal acne. There is so much information that I don’t want to rely here, but I will link the video below.

Although there is little information directly linking L-Lysine to acne healing, the supplement does promote collagen and tissue renewal. Olivia discusses this more at length in the video as well as how digestion and gut health has a lot to do with your skin’s condition. I started taking L-Lysine and a pro-biotic after watching the video. It has only been a few weeks, so I can’t be sure if the supplements or the skin care has made me skin softer, but I definitely see a difference.  As I do more research on how to heal hormonal in balances with holistic remedies, I’m sure there will be a few more supplements I could be taking. But for now, I feel really good about L-Lysine.

Hair Care

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I ditched the Seaweed Co shampoo I was using in this last post, because after a few weeks my hair became very dry and brittle. I switched to Nature’s Gate with Jojoba and Sacred Lotus and my hair became to regain it’s moisture. I bought the duo at Whole Foods for $6 each, which is actually really cheap for hair care. It smells like baby shampoo, which I kind of like. But it’s not too strong or overpowering, it just leaves your hair smelling clean. Again, this product is vegan, of course, and also GMO, Paraben and Soy free.

Makeup

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There was a few month during the summer where I did a complete makeup detox (you can read about this here). Since my breakouts have been coming back a little bit and I have been getting less sun of my face from working so much, I have decided to re-incorporate some products into my life. Some are old products from before I became aware of vegan beauty and cruelty free items. But moving forward, I will only be buying these type of products. I haven’t reintroduced mascara or any kind of eye makeup into my daily makeup routine. This is mainly due to laziness and not feeling the need. In the past, I used 100% Pure’s mascara which was made of berries, and I loved it. Once I am able to afford more beauty products, I will be buying more from that line.

Physican’s Formula is on PETA’s list of cruelty free makeup products, as is Wet n Wild. I will be phasing out my Maybelline blush soon , as they are not vegan and do test on animals.

Until then, this is my daily look.

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Why I Hate Being Called a Millennial

In wake of the election results, there has been a lot of blaming and finger pointing. Millennials have been getting the brunt of it as some of us didn’t vote. Which has spurred on many more insults about the generation, in general.

Millennial is just a word describing the group of people who were born between 1982 and 1994, much like Generation X labeled people who grew up in the 1990’s. However, I can’t help but notice that the word millennial is more often than not used with a negative connotation. Folks from the older generations LOVE to criticize everything we 20-30 year olds are not doing and how we are a bunch of big babies glued to our phones.

A simple google search will show that general consensus of millennials, is that we don’t want to work, we are lazy, selfish, without work ethic, social media obsessed and weary of vaccinations (Yes, this was one of the first items that came up for me. And yes, I am extremely weary of vaccinations and the health industry as a whole).

I can’t deny that some of the labels are true. I have to be fair. I harbor a lot of frustration with many in my generation. (the social media obsession is a real criticism) However, I personally hate when the term is aimed at me.

The other day, during a conversation with an older man, I was confused by something he was referring to. In his frustration he simply said, “Oh you millennials,” and brushed me off.

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Image from Tumblr.com

Sometimes I feel that the older generation is looking down on me for not thinking like they do, thus their way of justifying that, is by insulting my entire generation. But I think the way I do because I have made a conscious decision to live a different way from the people before me.

I grew up watching my parents stress over money, and my father work almost everyday, without passion for much else. A job took the place of his identity, and his value as a person depended on the money he produced. That attitude is prevalent today. What you do for a living is often the first question asked at parties. Your answer will define you for the rest of the night. I understand money is important and you can’t survive without it. But, there is so much more to me as a person than how I make money. My distaste for having a job comes from this need to move away from being a slave to corporations and losing myself in race for profit.

AND it’s really hard to find a good paying job now a days! It was so much easier when my parents were younger and I think that’s what some people forget.

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Image from Tumblr.com

That is not to say I despise working. I am a hard worker and haven’t been without a job since I was 16. There are lots of jobs out there that revolve around people’s passions. I just haven’t found that for me yet. I am hopeful and know that I need to start somewhere. I am grateful I have a job and will continue to do my best at it. But I do entertain the idea of working from home or being my own boss. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Being a vegan has taught me to open my eyes and go against the popular opinion in order to get what I want. I want to be healthy and happy. Once I realized my health and thus my happiness was being effected by the food I was putting into my body, I made a change. And this change was contrary to how most live there lives.  My skin doesn’t respond well when I wear a lot of makeup, so I stopped. I don’t own a lot of clothing because I was becoming too self absorbed. I spend my money on other things now. Food and what I looked like use to be at the center of my mind all the time. Since changing these things about myself, I have learned to embrace my true beauty and over come food cravings and addictions.

I am saying this because I don’t think it is a bad thing that we millennials are trying to live a completely different life than our parents or our grandparents. Times have changed. We have adapted. I was born into a time of social media and computers and the internet as a main source of information. Don’t criticize me for taking full advantage of these things. I am not lazy because I don’t want a job. I am dreaming of a day where I actually run every aspect of my life.

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Image from Tumblr.com

I hope this doesn’t come off as a pity party, because that is not my intention. I want people to know that being different and doing what is right for your mind, body and soul is the most important thing you can do for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish. It’s an act of discovering who you are in a world where everyone elses opinions are in your face.

Be you.

And don’t call me a millennial.

🙂

 

 

Honoring the Super Moon

I am a firm believer in the connectivity of nature within myself. Mother earth affects us, jut as much as we affect our planet.

With that being said, Sunday’s super moon, the first super moon since 1948, is a time for a surge of positive energy and new beginnings. The term super moon refers to when a new or full moon  occurs at roughly the same time the moon is nearest to Earth in its monthly orbit.

According to healthaim.com, “Some people follow the super moon calendar as it could represent a time of change, adjustment, flux, or increase in consciousness.”

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Therefore, I want to spread a little encouragement today. Treat this magnificent moon, this spectacle of nature with observance and honor by taking care of yourself. By riding yourself of the toxic in your life and by settling goals to become the best version of yourself.

I have always been impressed by the night sky, so often distracted by its vastness, that I have been known to stop what I am doing just to stare. Maybe because it seems so far away from me, so untouchable. I like how I feel when I look up. Is it because the sky is a part of the earth I can never come close to, therefore its cloaked in an air of mystery? I’m not really sure. But I feel that it is important to take a look every so often and remember that you aren’t alone, that their is greatness beyond you.

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While taking in this weekend’s super moon, I encourage you visit the emotions you have been feeling this month and take a moment to feel them. Ask yourself some questions.  Why have I been feeling this way? Can I detect the root of these emotions? Write down your answers. Too often our inclination is to deflect our emotions and move on. However, they will just keep coming back to haunt us if we don’t face them head on. And when I say face them, I mean with care and compassion. This is a time to promote healing, not anymore negativity or self hate.
Nature’s wonders show us that anything is possible.

Start by decluttering your life. Maybe that means organizing your room or maybe it means letting go of toxic people or habits or thoughts. Forgive yourself. And let go of anything that isn’t serving you.

blue-forest-indie-moon-favim-com-2680082Remember that your life is an ever evolving adventure of self discovery. You are learning about yourself every day, no matter how old you are. Taking times like this, in wake of a new moon, to start over, set goals or remember to love yourself, is all part of your journey. And it is also a way to keep yourself connected to mother earth.

 

Happy observing 🙂

 

 

 

(Images all from tumblr.com)

Hiking and the Complexity of My True Nature

I have decided to share more of myself on this blog. I haven’t been writing as openly and as raw as I have wanted. I suppose this has been due to fear, but I don’t have that anymore. My desire to write as much as I can has been re-awoken, and there is more to me to share than vegan recipes and what I eat daily. Veganism as impacted my life and has forever changed me, so my passion for this lifestyle and spreading health and love has not changed, and will always be mentioned in my future posts.

What has changed is my desire to be authentically me.

With that being said, I learned something about myself today. There is an extreme duality to my womanly being, to the very core of what I want to be and who I am. I have been bothered all week with questions of if I want to stay in Long Beach after our lease is up. I don’t love it here. I am happy and grateful for all that I have, but there is something missing I can’t quite translate.

I thought I knew what I wanted when I moved here and what I wanted was the perfectly penciled fantasy I had etched in my mind. I wanted sunshine, glittering beaches, my feet always bare. I imagined myself bikini clad, tanned skin, a mango in hand with the juice dripped down my chin as I smiled, the warm sand beneath me. This image propelled me from my stagnant hometown and thrusted me right into the thick of the California rays. Yes, there are beaches and yes, there is lots and lots of sunshine, but there is also crowds and traffic and bright lights and a constant hum that eradicates any and all silence.

I didn’t realize how long I had gone without silence until my boyfriend and I took a trip to the mountains to visit our friend. On the climb up, my ears were popping and I opened the window for some air. It was night time and I could see the stars, clear and yellow against the black sky. The wind was cool and fresh, the most crisp air I had ever breathed. My eyes filled with tears because I thought of home. And then I thought of the air I had been breathing for the past 3 months. City air. Populated air.

Later that night, when we went to bed, my ears rang from the stillness of the room, the complete lack of sound. I welcomed the high pitched hum as I laid my head against my pillow and drifted into thought. Nothing in my way. It was comforting.

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The next day we went for a hike. A real hike as we called it, with steep inclines, sharp rocks and altitude change weighing heavy on our chests. I heard birds sing, felt tree bark beneath my finger tips and the crunch of the earth under my feet. I felt calm for the first time in weeks. I guess I had been longing for this solidarity, a place to call home with only the trees and the mountains as neighbors.

At one point, we came across a fell tree, bigger than any I had ever seen. It stretched across the trail and beyond. I felt sad that the tree had died, but amazed at its power, even in death. I have always been taken by trees. To me the are the most confident beings of nature. As we continued on, I placed my hand on its massive trunk, hoping to feel something within it, like it could speak to me somehow. I wanted it to tell me something.

I am convinced that nature will save me somehow, that my very soul’s only desire is to go back to where it once was formed. Why is it that I feel the most at peace with myself, the most quiet and calm when I am within it? I’ve never been awed by anything like I am with the vastness of a mountain range, the tallness of the trees, the force yet calmness of the ocean.

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I have realized that I am a complex creature. I want things that don’t blend together. I came to California for lots of reasons, but a huge one was the access to fresh fruits, vegetables and vegan food that I didn’t have year round in Massachusetts. But the dirtiness and crowds that come with popularized places, is something I didn’t account for. I love my family and the concept of home, but I want to see everything this beautiful world has to offer. Sometimes I long for seclusion and other times I feel I am suppose to inspire and connect with any many people as I can.

I’m confused. Maybe even crazy. Who knows.

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining about my life, because I have everything I need and more than I could want. I am happy. I am proud I was brave enough to make a much needed change in my life. I am grateful to have created a platform to discuss the importance of veganism and that my new life in California has allowed this lifestyle to be easier for me.

But getting away and feeling the gentle sting of silence and the sharp bite of clean air reminded me of where I am happiest and where I need to be again, and again and again.

What I Eat In a Day: At Work

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my job requires me to work from an office. And, I am determined to make the best of it. That includes taking care of my health. Here is what I prepare and eat during my 8-5 work day!

7:00 am

Wake up. Shower (sometimes). Stretch. Drink a big glass of water.

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Staying hydrated is the best thing you can do for yourself. I try to finish this liter of water before I have anything to eat. I have recently started taking some supplements, so I wash these down in the morning as well. I have been taking L-Lysine, B12, Turmeric, Zinc and a Probiotic, daily. I plan to go into my supplement usage in another post, as I am still experimenting with what I need.

Next, I prepare my smoothie. I am not usually really hungry right when I wake and I find that I am less hungry throughout the day if I only drink water or tea for the first few hours upon waking. I make my smoothie in the morning, and pack it for later.

Lately, my morning smoothies include:

2-3 frozen bananas

About a handful of frozen blueberries

Two dates

1/2 cup fresh spinach

1 scoop of wheat barley grass powder

A few splashes of almond milk and water

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After riding my bike to work and settling in, I make a cup of tea. I have been drinking  Trader Joe’s Ginger Turmeric every morning and I find the flavor both soothing and refreshing.  I don’t feel the need to drink coffee anymore, as I feel energized enough in the morning and I don’t feel that I needed an added stimulate to my system. (I also plan to go further into this in another post.)

9:30 am

I usually get hungry for my smoothie at this point. I have been drinking this same blend for about two weeks now and I am always delighted with how refreshing and sweet it is.

11:00 am

Now it’s time for second breakfast. I am obsessed with overnight oatmeal right now and have been preparing some nightly to enjoy in the middle of my morning. For these oats, I used vanilla oat milk, a little coconut cream, lots of cinnamon, golden raisins from the farmers market and a few swirls of almond butter.

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12:30 pm/1:00pm

I usually take my lunch around this time and I have a whole hour. I have the luxury of living about 5 minutes via bike from my job so I ride home for lunch. I especially like this because it gets me moving and out into the fresh air in the middle of the day. Because I want to embrace my full hour, I usually make something quick and easy for lunch. I also prefer to have something raw because I need the energy to get through the rest of the day.

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Today, I prepared a plate of zucchini noodles with slices of avocado and green onion. I topped this off with a little vegan ranch dressing. I am not a huge fan of salads so this works perfectly for me. I usually spend my break watching Youtube videos.

For a little something sweet before heading back to the office, I made a date and banana taco with almond butter. img_3417

Both of these lunch items could easily be made in the morning and packed in a lunch box if you aren’t able to come home for lunch!

3:30pm

Sometimes I will make more tea if I am starting to get hungry or fidgety. I also like to snack on some walnuts or grapes. I also should mention that I bring a canteen of filtered water with me every day, that I finish before my work day is over.

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Here is my simple work day menu! I hope you enjoyed this or found it helpful. Remember, don’t let anything stand in the way of keeping yourself healthy. You are worth it 🙂

My First Vegan Festival

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending the SoCal Veg Fest. I had been counting down the days for a few months, excited to be in the presences of like minded people and eat tons of vegan food.

I wanted to post a little recap of what Marty and I ate (because it was a lot) and how the experience was for me as a whole.

Day 1

Upon walking into the festival, we immediately felt overwhelmed with all the food choices. I’ll be honest and say that we just wanted to just eat the whole weekend, so we headed for our first stop. “Scandylous Delights” caught our attention with their menu of fresh baked pretzels with mustard and vegan queso.

We immediately ordered.

This was the best pretzels I have ever had. Not just the best “vegan” pretzel…no…THE BEST PRETZEL.

Scandylous Delights Vegan Pretzels

After walking around and checking out the rest of the festival (actually we had just heard that there were donuts somewhere) we stopped at Cena Vegan, as they claimed to have to World’s Best Vegan Tacos. I am not sure if this is the case as I have not tasted every vegan taco the world has to offer, however! They had to be in the top 5, because, holy crap, these were amazing. Full of a smoky rich flavor and homemade sauces, we were in taco heaven.

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Because my diet consists of mainly fruits, vegetables and beans, I wanted to take this opportunity to eat as many vegan treats as I could.

This brought me to “The Dirty Cookie,” where I purchased a peanut butter cookie shot glass filled with homemade almond milk. Marty got the peppermint chocolate shot, filled with coconut cold brew coffee. They were both unreal.

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The rest of the day consisted of a hot dogs. Marty got hot dog gumbo from Best Gumbo In The Hood. And I got a corn dog for nostalgia sake.

 

Day 2

Since we had already scoped out the place, we knew exactly what we wanted to eat today. Which was everything we didn’t have room for yesterday. But first, more pretzels…

This time we mingled and ended up meeting some really cool people. It was so refreshing for me to able to be in a place where I wasn’t the odd man out. Everyone there was either vegan or open to the possibility of being vegan. It was especially encouraging to see so many kids. It gave me hope that there may be a generation of people who aren’t as affected by the diseases and hormone imbalances that so many people face today.

After that, we ate more.

“Clean South” gave us a plate full of homemade seitan buffalo “chicken,” mac and cheese, cornbread and veggie slaw. It even came with vegan blue cheese dressing. 10/10 on the buffalo pieces.

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To continue on this eating journey, we got a “steak and cheese” sub with a side of mac and cheese. This actually looks better than it was. I liked the sandwich as a whole, but it was a little too rich for my taste. I mean, it’s not like I was eating all day or anything.

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Finally, we shared two scoops of coconut milk ice cream in flavors strawberry and coconut chocolate chip. Best vegan ice cream I have had. Hands down. Which is probably why I couldn’t even take a decent picture of it.

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So if by now, you are thinking “Wow, Kailey, you are kind of disgusting,” just remember that two people were eating all this food. And yes it was kind of disgusting…

But at least no animal flesh was consumed, no unnecessary hormones were eaten and no one threw up.

Thank you SoCal Veg Fest for an amazing time! Can’t wait to go back next year 🙂