Defy Convention – Let the 101 Days of Blogging Begin

July 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’m in need of a challenge. I miss the the adrenaline I had when I undertook my 30 day vegan challenge. The need to commit and keep my determination fueled me those 30 days and beyond. But now after almost a year of eating a vegan diet, not to mention everything else that’s happened, I am lacking in inspiration. Hence – a new challenge.

I found Sarah’s 101 Day Blogging Challenge on Twitter today. A lofty goal. I dug in a little deeper: the subject is 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy. Now that got me excited. I’m not sure I can stick to 101 days, but I’m up for the challenge. Truth is, eventhough I eat a mostly vegan diet, I could use some inspiration to get healthier. There’s a misconception that being vegan = healthy. It doesn’t. Sure vegans tend to make healthier choices but I can be a vegan that eats potato chips all day and never works out. So – let the motivation begin. If writing for 101 days and rethinking health gets me on the right track, so be it.

Now about defying convention. I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty safe bet. I’m not much of a risk taker. I’d never skydive for instance (maybe never say never). I just tend to go by the rules. But you know, the rules can really be quite boring. And when I think about it, this former art student turned MBA has actually made some pretty interesting moves.

What you see is not all you get. I’m diverse and I like it that way. So maybe I’m not as safe as I think I am? Afterall, what could be more defying than trying to become a vegan!  It’s not the easiest thing in the world and it certainly isn’t the norm. Today’s act of defying convention says “Do the healthy thing, even when it’s challenging, inconvenient or considered weird. Take pride in that.”

Challenging – check!

Inconvenient – check!

Weird – mmm hmmm, check!

While I’ve stumbled over the past year and am still trying to find my way, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it. Eating a vegan diet has been one of the most challenging yet liberating things I’ve ever done. And I know my journey has just begun.

The next 101 days should be fun. If you’d like to join in, head on over to Sarah’s blog and check it out. Together we can make a difference and empower others to think differently about their health!


Finding Inspiration and Admitting I’m a Cheater!

June 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’m glad it is Monday, June 18. It means Sunday, June 17 has come and gone. So, I think it is time we focus on something positive!

I’ve recieved some really touching, lovely notes, emails, calls, and visits the past 45 days. While all the love and support has meant more than anyone can imagine, the ones that have really made me smile are those that told me I’ve inspired them…

My dad lived an amazing life. He had this ability to walk into a room and convince anyone to believe in his dreams. He was the epitome of a charismatic salesman. He knew what he believed in and he sold it well. I on the other hand have never really felt like I’ve had this quality. I used to be an artist. Weeks were spent creating fine pieces of art that were meant to move people. Make them feel something. But I often felt as thought I fell short. I went into business, and while I can sell my case, it isn’t like my dad. He was a natural.

So you can understand why I got so excited when a few people wrote to me that they are thinking of trying veganism in part due to me and this blog! My mission in life is not to convert everyone (OK, I may be fibbing here as with every day that passes, that is really what I want to do) – but I do want to show people that it isn’t necessarily that hard to be vegan. Vegans are often viewed as hippies that seem to do the impossible and have to eat food without flavor. I don’t care if I convince you to be vegan. But I do care that I do my part for the community in showing that this is not the case. Let’s debunk some myths:

  • Vegan food has NO flavor. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When I first became vegan, I’ll admit I worried about this very thing. But really, if you think about it, non-vegan food doesn’t always get its flavor from the meat or cheese it uses to create it. I was predominantly a chicken eater before going vegan. Come to think about it, chicken really doesn’t have good flavor on its own. You’ve got to give it a lot of seasoning, add some delicious sauce, and then its got good flavor. So then, why can’t you give this same flavor to veggies, beans, and grains? Just because you’re entering a world without bacon or beef doesn’t mean it has to be devoid of flavor. I can promise you this vegan chili, raw zucchini pasta (don’t let the raw part fool you), curry spiced sweet potato soup, and spaghetti squash pasta are all absolutely bursting with flavor – this is the type of vegan diet I enjoy 🙂
tomatoes and chickpeas with zucchini noodles
Get this zucchini noodle recipe here.
  • I just CAN’T give up meat or cheese.  OK let’s just get one thing out of the way. Yes, bacon is absolutely amazing. It is crispy, smokey, and straight up delicious. I’m not going to argue with you on that one. Now that we’ve settled that, I don’t eat bacon because a) I know animal foods lead to a higher chance of disease, and b) pigs are highly emotional beings – they feel the need to be loved and seek community. So, now that we agree on the fact that bacon is delicious, but I chose not to eat it, I want you to know that you can choose the same thing if you want. Most people are worried about variety. It’s not that they are that worried about never having one thing again. I was really nervous about going vegan – how would I find variety in my diet? Well, I did my 30 day vegan challenge, and I can honestly say after 30 days, it didn’t bother me anymore to not eat meat, eggs, or dairy. Don’t get me wrong, the first few weeks are brutal. There’s no denying that. But after 30 days it really is no biggie. You Catholics out there will recognize this. I used to give up chocolate for Lent. At the beginning it seemed impossible. By day 30, I wasn’t even craving the chocolate. Your body is pretty unbelievable. It can retrain itself in no time. You just need to give yourself a little nudge.
vegan, vegetarian, dairy free
Get this hearty vegan chili recipe here.
  • I just CAN’T live the rest of my life without ever having (insert item here) again. When I first went vegan, I was really nervous about my favorite food – cheese pizza. How on earth was I going to give it up?? Well, luckily for me, cheese pizza didn’t turn out to be a problem. Believe it or not, I haven’t missed it yet after almost a year. What’s turned out to be harder for me is fish. If I’m out at a super nice restaurant and there’s some fresh caught fish that sends my mind into foodie dreamland and I can’t possibly come back to planet earth without eating it – I order the fish. Yes people, I’m a cheater (GASP!!!). It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this as the vegan community can be seen as an all or nothing one. For me, it is about moderation. I cheat usually once a month or so and that’s how I keep my sanity. The way I look at it, if I eat 89 vegan meals out of 90 for the month and cheat at one meal, that ain’t so bad. So, I’m here to tell you, it is ok to cheat. This is about making positive changes for you, animals, and the environment. If never having a slice of cheese pizza or the aforementioned crispy bacon is enough to send you over the edge, then go ahead, allow yourself to cheat once in a while. You just need to watch your stomach and make sure you don’t overdue it.

So, I hope this has inspired you to realize that you CAN find flavorful vegan food, CAN live without the things you think you can’t, and CAN cheat occasionally if that convinces you to give this a try (don’t worry I won’t judge or tell!).

I hope this has made the thought of trying veganism more attainable and easy. Stay tuned for a post on tricks for newbie vegans!

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