Easy Transition With Go Vegan Philly

So last week on my Instagram I put out a call for any Philadelphia Vegan restaurants. I am happy to report that several did and today’s highlight goes to Go Vegan Philly

So I was able to have a successful full vegan weekend this past weekend.  In addition to that I was able to experience an amazing, flavorful experience with Go Vegan Philly. First of all let me share with you some of my personal reasons or my whys. I am transitioning to Vegan, one I believe with the assistance of my doctors this is the best meal plan for my life. If you ask the others in my house its a NO go. However that is not deterring me from choosing a Vegan lifestyle. My other issue is that I want to be able to eat clean. You know if you have been following me that over the past Summer I began substituting Vegan dishes and substitutes into my everyday eating. One of my issues that I experienced as I begin transitioning is the fear of having to only eat vegetables alone, meaning just salads. I love salads but let’s be real it’s not enough and I was finding even with several options for Vegans it was semi processed and definitely not whole foods that I need and believe will be better overall. I’ll admit a lot of it had a lot to do with ignorance of what it means to be vegan.

I feel I have had every salad combination there is. As I get more and more into it I am finding some amazing foods that can even surprise a non vegan. This is where Go Vegan Philly comes in. I had Jerk Chicken (Jack fruit) over rice with sautéed kale and cabbage and plantains.  Let me tell you I have personally been to Jamaica and had it from the natives and this dish is super bomb and close.  I kept telling myself to separate the platter. Have a little as a late lunch and then have the rest for dinner after a workout. NOPE! I ate the whole thing in a matter of minutes. Here’s my take. I no longer have to compromise flavor for a Vegan lifestyle.

I took the time to interview the owner of Go Vegan Philly and here’s what I learned:

Shaun Thomas has been Vegan for 4 years. He has had his home based restaurant for over a year and its taking off. I can definitely see why. His family is also vegan as well. He makes it all from mac and cheese to fried chicken and its ALL 100% Vegan.  From first to last bite I am super hooked.

Him and his cousin Charmain Quarles are the chefs. I watched them in action as they prepared these dishes. They serve each meal with love and smiles. They worked extremely well and I just blended in the background to see how their chemistry meshed and it was amazing. I love food and I love to eat. I don’t want to just eat salads and then feel like I lost something by switching. That is exactly what Shaun’s vision is. He wants people to feel like they are getting the foods that they grew up with that is flavorful but remains healthy and a great alternative to those who are transitioning. When he made the decision to go Vegan, he woke up and just did it and stuck to his commitment. That is truly admiral. I aspire to take that full-time leap.  So far I am doing well.

Jack fruit “Jerk” chicken, plantains, and sautéed cabbage and kale

The dish I had blew me AWAY.  From the reviews of even non Vegans, its spot on. The food was more than amazing.  I was full and not looking to snack on things or revert to a meat based meal later on that day.  If I am honest,  I ate around 4pm and didn’t feel the need to eat again until the next day at breakfast.  I asked Shaun what are his dishes and his response was simple, tell me your favorite meat based meal and I can make into a Vegan dish.  Take a look at some of their other dishes and you can be the judge:

 

If going Vegan looks like this and has my taste buds in full bliss, you can kiss meat based meals goodbye.  So as the journey begins send good vibes.  Also for those wanting to know, Go Vegan Philly does offer a meal plan service that I will be taking part in.  As I type this, I have already eaten the second platter.  Thank you Shaun, Charmain, and Go Vegan Philly you got a solid customer here!

Follow Go Vegan Philly on Facebook

Also follow them on Instagram

All orders can be placed by calling/text 610-616-3083

Hours are Tuesday-Friday; 5-9pm and Sat/Sun 1-6pm

Go Vegan Philly is located in Delaware County

As with any lifestyle change be sure to make the decision that best suits your end goal. Also be sure to research and have an open mind. Often times we are afraid to try new things because it challenges us to possibly end what we “always” known. Research! Research and then stick to your commitment!

Let’s flood Go Vegan Philly with orders and love! It’s well deserved!

 

 

 

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Women History Month: Deja E.

This year we are talking about failure.  Why? We all experience it but rarely talk about it. Yet failure is the one catalyst that often brings success. It doesn’t mean that you HAVE to fail to succeed but in life if you think you won’t ever fail towards success you have a lot of life to reach it. I remember being in freshman year and failing a math test and how devastated. I was used to getting all A’s. I needed that fall from grace to help me not take college life for granted and get focused. I ended have to really work my butt off but I still graduated and that failure wasn’t on my record because I had to retake the class and get it right.  Now fast forward to stubbornness.  That in itself can be a lesson. Women have all had at least one or more failures in life. If you’re like me you have way more than you can ever count.  However if we are to carve a slice of life in this world and continue to make history in this world, failure is a by-product.

Failure to listen to your body will either make you sicker or take time off of your life. Deja learned how not taking head to the doctors and your body will put a pause in your life that you can avoid.

What is one failure you are comfortable sharing that taught you the most lessons?

Procrastinating on my temporal lobectomy. In 2006, I began having uncontrollable seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. After seeing numerous specialists, it was recommended that I have my temporal lobe removed. I was scared and prayed for other solutions. As my quality of life deteriorated, I began to realize that pushing the surgery off was worse than undergoing surgery. In 2014, I did it! And my seizures ended.

I can’t imagine fully what it was like going through seizures. I also can’t imagine being told to have such an intensive surgery either. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the very thing that you need. If it hadn’t been for that surgery who knows what your quality of life would have been.  Yes procrastination is a failure because in that you fail to make a move it usually has a domino effect.

From that or any failure, what other lesson have you learned?

YOLO… you only live once
Dont risk losing time out of stubbornness

YOLO or you only live once means just like it sounds. Living requires stepping out of your comfort zone to carve the life you really want to live.  It doesn’t mean you can yell YOLO and life is perfect. Far from it.  However if you learn to apply that mentality you stop worrying about taking a chance on things especially yourself.

What are is the 3 things you would want to tell other younger woman in regards to lessons learned?

Trust your intuition… it doesn’t lie
Dont compare- this is your life, live it how u want to, not based on someone else’s
Take care of yourself- life can change in a blink of an eye, make sure you are on your A-Game

If you could sit down with any woman past or present who would it be and why?

Maya Angelou
Her wisdom and eloquence would have me mesmerized! She went through so many ups and downs in her lifetime, I would love to hear her story up close and personal. What an inspiration!

I would have to agree, Maya Angelou defied what life threw her way, made mistakes and then taught us all how to rise above anything. Deja you are a Maya Angelou in your own right!

IF you have any projects  that are coming up in the future what are they?

Everyday is a project
My 2019 ‘project’ is to lay a new brick everyday. Take that extra step, step outside comfort zones, and reach higher
That in itself is a project

She is being truly modest. Deja is a beast everyday eating better and working out being her best version.  She is definitely an inspiration.  When you get that second chance at life and I know all about that, take it. Live each day like you want that day to reflect your true essence.

What is the one thing as a woman that has helped or helps you make your mark in this world?

Strength!!! So often, women are perceived as weak or incompetent. Being able to prove the naysayers wrong is empowering

Thank you Deja. You are an inspiration. Don’t take your health for granted. Get your check ups.  Its important. Health is wealth.  Without being healthy you can’t do much else. Who would want to live like that? Certainly not me and you don’t want to either. I know sometimes we think that because we are afraid of what we will find that its better to not know. What you don’t know will kill you.  What you know and fail to take care of will kill you too. Take care of you. Women fail everyday but one thing is we don’t have the time to stay there. Get up, brush yourself up, and succeed.

Words Do Matter; You Matter More

So while at an event in my hometown I had someone say something to me about my weight. Now you all know I had documented my journey and that when I was over 200 pounds very little had comments about my weight and at that time I was way over where I needed to be. It was devastating. Now I am at weight goal and tightening up and I am still getting comments about my weight.  I was taken back if I am honest. I talked to my husband and he was like “keep it in perspective some folks aint seen you since you were a kid. You’re a grown ass woman with an amazing body and 3 kids, stay the course!”  Can we just clone him?  He made me feel like the beautiful woman who I am.

This is the conclusion I have come to. A lot of folks will only see you at what they last remember. I went to college a size 0 and came back a size 4 that was an issue. Had a baby and was a size 6 and now I am holding at a size 8 and sometimes 10 depending on how the pants are cut. Issue.

I am not here to worry about what other people’s eyes see me as. I am perfect at the size that I am. I am not in competition to be at high school weight. I was unhealthy to be honest. I ate what I wanted, rarely went to the doctors and the only saving grace was a high metabolism and sports. Skinny isn’t always healthy.  I know folks smaller than me with high blood pressure and a whole gambit of health complications.

What I know is from head to toe I am finally in the best shape of my life and I can run and do 6 or more races a year. I can keep and outrun my kids and run up and down a flight of steps without losing my breath. I eat as well as I can and work out 2-3 usually more a week. I am fine!  I am enough!

There is a woman who is struggling right now with a lot of whispers and you may not be as confident as I feel or feel like you’re not. You are just enough. You are enough even in the state that you are. Its one of the things I felt I needed to say. I need to release it. I had a family member say oh you sure are hippy meaning curvy. I am supposed to be. Newsflash, I have regular amazing sex and I have 3 kids. They didn’t know when I had the athletic build in high school I used to want to have a curve. Now I have them and they are here to stay. I looked like a boy body shape and folks would either like it or have an issue.  So to the curves and the butt that I now have, please stay. We are going to tone up these next couple of months but we ain’t dropping you!

Do not let anything stop you from being your best version of you.  Trust me you can change your body, but be the best version of yourself inner and outer and trust me you will always shine in darkness.

What if you aren’t at the place you need to be and someone does make a negative but true comment?  Remember when the lady asked me how far along I was and if I was having a boy? Devastating. I cried. I was hurt. I made up in my mind that I wouldn’t allow myself to get to that point.  To prevent that I only keep my size clothes in my drawers. I don’t wear baggy clothes. They actually let you look bigger FYI.  Wearing form figuring clothes helps hold you accountable. I didn’t say tight, I said form-fitting or figure flattering clothes. The other day I found a size 14 pant in my closet, tried it on and it was drowning on me. I gave them away.  I keep myself accountable by weighing myself weekly just like I did when I was going to Weight Watchers meeting. It’s important for me to stay the course. So when that comment was made through the help of my husband and getting on the scale to see what was going on, I was fine. I knew it was a comparison of what they remember me from my past. I am still at goal weight. I am in training season for these runs. I can’t let words distract me. If I do I might not be able to get through my vigorous races ahead.  I got to keep running forward.

One of my favorite songs by Kirk Franklin, Imagine Me:

Imagine Me

When Great Hospitality Meets Great Food: Bronze Table and Scoop Deville

I’m still full from the amazing food I had yesterday. I took a little food tour at the Bronze Table and Scoop Deville. There are a few factors when going out to eat that I look for and those are quality, quantity, customer service and practicality. Both restaurants exceeded both.

Bronze Table

Bronze Table is located inside the Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall here in Philly. They are a fresh pasta based restaurant that make their food from scratch. So this means they are like a fresher appeal to fast food. That’s a great plus as we all need to eat quickly but healthy. All of their sauces and pasta are made to order. There is nothing flash frozen for quick consumption. And taste? I love pasta but even with cutting down on it, I can’t deny it’s goodness. From first bite to my last, it was amazing.

The portion sizes are more than enough. Did I mention most pasta is around $10. For a mom of 3 who is trying to save her coins, you can’t beat that price and quality. You taste the difference from other pasta chains to Bronze Table. They have daily specials as well as standing staples. This is your must try stop. For those who don’t want pasta they also serve salads and sandwiches.

Pictured here: Sunday Rigatoni aka Sunday gravy, gnocchi vodka, cheese steak rigatoni, gemelli with pesto burrata, wild mushroom butter Parmesan ravioli and cheesy garlic bread

All of the food was good but my favorites were the cheese steak rigatoni and the gemelli with pesto burrata. Let’s talk about customer service: A1. They explained everything and everyone was gracious to us. Also if you like their pasta or sauces they are available to purchase so you can go home and make the options yourself.

As if the pasta wasn’t enough I headed over to Scoop Deville. Scoop Deville is located inside of the Bourse as well as they have a location in Midtown Village on Walnut Street. You can call ahead, order online and pick up or have it delivered via Caviar. So there’s never an excuse for not having ice-cream.

Scoop Deville definitely puts the fun into eating ice-cream. They have so many flavors to be honest. However a highlight is they allow you to make your own soft serve. As I was rambling on with our server about flavors everyone I said they had. From decadent not chocolates, to cakes, to frozen bananas and for my fellow vegan and gluten-free family-they got us too! If that ain’t a major win!! Oh and by the way the servers at Scoop Deville must have gone to ice-cream school to watch how they know every item on the menu and if you’re like me who loves to be different, they got me together. I started shouting out flavors and they had answers. You’re not going to be able to beat their selections of cereal or other unique toppings. The only hard choice is going to be which one to start with. I think that’s how they got me because now I’m challenged to come back and make up more weird delicious pairings. The big kid in me was able to unite with my adult self and enjoy. I honestly can’t wait to take the kids too! Soon as I got home I allowed them to finish the rest of what I had and they can’t wait to make their own!

This was my flavor choice that I not only ate while there, I took a pint home:

Vegan vanilla with strawberry, peaches and Golden Grahams

So these need to be on the top of your list. You can come into the city make it a day or if you want to drive in there is convenient parking deck that you pay as long as you stay that’s right next to the Bourse. I had no issues getting in and out.

So don’t delay get into the Bronze Table and Scoop Deville!

Thanks so both restaurants as well as my blogging friends for an amazing night out:

Philly Food Gal

Philly Dine Out

Little teacher big appetite

To see more amazing photos, follow me on Instagram

Ask Toi: Valentine’s Day Edition: My wife states she doesn’t want a Valentine’s Day gift should I not get one?

Getting a gift for Valentine’s Day just because you are married is not mundane. I dislike people making the excuse that if your husband loves you he doesn’t have to show you love on Valentine’s Day. If your spouse loves you and wants to shower you with a gift on that day he can.  If you as a couple have come to the conclusion that you don’t exchange gifts that is fine too. Just be sure that when you state you don’t want a gift you are mature to make that decision and not give your spouse Hell come that day because you made a decision to be something you aren’t.  It’s okay to be married and exchange or not to. I encouraged that man to honor his wife’s words, by getting something and not giving to her that day but finding another day to give her a gift. This way if she by chance is one of these women who say things but don’t mean it he will still be covered and if she is standing by not wanting to exchange, he has a gift to give her as a thinking of you gift.

man and woman surrounded by grass

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Ladies, I want to encourage you if you can’t stand by your decision to not give gifts, do NOT ever tell a man something you can’t stand by 100%.  This is the same thing when you get into an argument and you tell that man to leave the house and you don’t want him to leave. Or you get mad and use the big “D” word out of anger. This is a larger principle of not saying things to either look like the “cool” wife or to say things out of anger that you can’t back up.  Out of all of the times that I have argued with my husband I have learned not to say what I don’t mean. If you want a gift, it’s perfectly ok to say you want to exchange on Valentine’s Day.  What’s not okay to do is to play games or say things you think they want to hear. This will disappoint you in the long run.  This you should have known mess that people pull in relationships shows lack of maturity. Relationships are about communication and saying or acting in one manner that isn’t who you are makes it hard for either one of you to walk in love because you spend more time recovering from idle messages!

 

Sunday Message: Controlling Your Triggers

We all have triggers.  Triggers are the things that we see, experience, or are around us that pushes an emotional response.  We all have to find a way to control them, handle them and most importantly address them.

Some people deal with them in healthy ways such as counseling, talking to a trusted associate or friend or acknowledge them.  The unhealthy way of dealing with triggers is hoping they will simply go away, drugs, sex, relationships, etc. I am aware of my triggers because I have had more times of not handling them right that I had no choice but address them.  I was tired of arguing, yelling, ready to fight, and being about drama to deflect what I hadn’t acknowledged.  It was too much to keep things going!  My tipping point came when I got into it with family and it spilled over into social media. I knew at that moment that I had to disengage, take a break, and handle the root of the issue. So instead of worrying who was wrong, I just dug deep into getting my life aligned. Now the issues that came up didn’t  disappear but with the help of my counselor I worked through!  Funny part I was in counseling and she told me that the situation was going to happen.  It was almost verbatim how she described it.  It’s funny now but then I was one split second from bail.

I have since seen a few family members since the whole breakdown and nothing on he inside of me moves. I hold no malice.  However there are other triggers that I still work through quite often.  For me they come out when I handle my children. My kids are good overall but they will every now and again make me tap into something and I find I have to work through some things. Parenthood in my opinion is sharpening me to be a better version of myself.  I owe it to my children to be the parent that they need and not the parent that is in constant fight or flight so that is why I have been in and out of therapy since I had my oldest and she will be 10 this year. I  have no embarrassment at all with saying that in order to control how I walk in this world is to have help. I want to spend my days being whole and not a whole mess.

How do you know that you are being triggered? Listen to yourself.  The things you speak about portray where you are.  If all you speak about is certain people or things that aren’t about building you to be your best, that issue you speak on still has life and you need to really deal with.  When I as having marital issues and not speaking and listening to my husband all I spoke about was negativity of our marriage.  I also would speak negatively about the imagery of other positive marriages. This is where the term hating does apply. I wanted my marriage to be a safe space.  I wanted it to be strong from the inside out and would take issue with others who appeared that way.  I wasn’t strong enough to be real about my part in my marriage. I never acknowledged how my triggers were not my husband’s to deal with.  I wanted him to be understanding and fix me while I acted a fool and hide behind “for better or for worse.”

adult alone autumn brick

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are responsible for our own happiness. We want others to care about our triggers more than we are wiling to deal and handle them.  It’s not enough to be understanding as you watch a partner do nothing.  How about just regular folks watching you wallow in your triggers.  Are your friends supposed to carry your triggers and the bad behavior they often demonstrate?  They can love and be supportive but they are limited in making things okay. I blogged the other day about who my friends were present for my most colorful times with Marques in college. Looking back they should have raised the standard for our behavior in that if we wanted to hang the drama couldn’t come.  Triggers place distance between people.  Triggers is the cause of why hurt people hurt people.  It’s simply still not okay to contain hurting people and having expectations that your relationship, title, or age will grace you.

You need to speak for, handle, and show up for that inner pain and deal with it. You need to trust me it’s in your best interest.  Everyday I wake up even when the day before  might have allowed  a trigger to get the best of me and show up for myself.  It’s important for me to mirror wholeness to myself as well as my children. Also social media and triggers is real. I do not argue  with folks on social media. Debate is a thin line to fighting too.  I will debate you with maybe 2 exchanges and that’s it.  It also depends on the topic. The trolls will never engage me.  Also if its family or friends that I have personal numbers to, it’s a no automatically. First I don’t post too many subjective things and on top of that I think about whether or not its someone who has a front row or at least a few rows into my life for me to get hype and it has zero outcome.  Also don’t let what you think you see on Facebook. I knew of several males who made who dedications to their wives and was cheating the whole time using hashtags like couple goals.  Life is complicated and comparison will leave you  in self defeat! Don’t do it!

One last thing, in life we can’t always retreat but one of the things that can assist in healing is separation.  I was told when I stated I needed to separate from individuals that I was wrong.  I knew what I needed.  I knew I wasn’t going to be okay from years of mess by staying in the midst.  My counselor allowed me to see that the person needed me to stay and work things out because staying gave the other party to believe that things weren’t as bad as it was. I didn’t care if I was looked as wrong.  I no longer wanted to be right. I wanted to be free to live and love.  I needed healing from my triggers.  I needed to separate to walk in real wholeness and know right or wrong I was entitled to how I felt but not entitled to react negatively to it!  Working through triggers is a daily tussle.  However if you are overwhelmed or feel overtaken in your triggers, its time to acknowledge it and get help!

Sunday Message: Adjusting but not Breaking

Life throws curve balls. We all have had moments when something happens and it leaves you doubting yourself, hurt, or even confused. This week has been that week.  When life is constantly changing, being able to change will help.  However there are moments when things are so overwhelming that sometimes all you can do is just be still.

No response. No answer in sight. No beautiful encouraging words. Just silence. At first the silence is fine. You carry on with your day. You attempt to do what you can until something changes. Over time silence hurts. You wonder why.  You ask a thousand questions. No answers comes. You hear people say it will get better while you’re desperately searching for better and its so far off you FEEL defeated. However the pain, don’t break.

adult dark depressed face

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Don’t break because you’re supposed to be strong. You can still be strong at the midst of a breakage but don’t break.  You can be strong and cry. You can be strong and have fear just don’t let it over take you.  There are hard times going on all over the world. From furloughed employees struggling to live, to people dying, to people stress about their day-to-day decisions, know that you have to keep going because you depend on you.

Adjusting is hard. It could be in the form of adjusting your attitude. I had a situation that I had no idea what to do. Right at the point of being mad, I adjusted, a call came in. It didn’t take away the problem but it aligned the problem to better so I could handle it. There is no magic trick but our attitudes does determine our altitude.  Remember that. Believe that. Live it!

I can’t wave a magical wand in life.  If I could I surely would.  However I am not going to break even when breaking seems like the only viable option. Even when my chest feels up with pain from anxiety. Even when I feel like I am going to lose it, don’t break! Sending you love and encouragement your way on this Sunday!