Still Vegan: An Update

So I am a little over a month as 100% vegan. I am still here. I am still kicking. I went and took dairy out of my diet for more than a year learning how to substitute products and finding some amazing finds. So when I decided to go 100% vegan it wasn’t a full shocked. I told my husband as soon as I could find some alternatives that didn’t allow me to be hungry and I felt like I could dedicate myself to it I would and I did. I went cold turkey.  So how as the adjustment been? Let me tell you:

Push Back

In my immediate family I get zero push back. For 2 years I have always altered my food so it wasn’t anything noticeable until I took the meat out. My son was happy that meant he felt the need to eat my portion until I stopped that. They have been supportive. They love to tell their friends that I don’t eat meat like I am some type of alien. I had a playdate for my youngest and the child was vegan. They was able to see someone their age doing it and not feeling as if she has lost anything. She talked to them about cakes and cookies and how her dad alters it so she can still enjoy those things. I showed them vegan approved candy and how at the end of the day being vegan isn’t a life sentence. From outsiders I always get the stare like why?  My why is simple people don’t realize that I have had my gall bladder removed and was supposed to watch what I eat. I didn’t.  This was over 10 years ago and not once did I change my diet. I ate fatty foods and didn’t care. When I first lost weight all I did was watch the portions which helped I am sure but my liver wasn’t able to process the fat  in most of the foods I still ate. I was in constant pain but I looked great. I wanted my insides to match my outsides so after talking to my doctor I went vegan.  Since then my body functions like it has never done in all aspects. My belly feels amazing.

I still cook regular food for my family. I try to make it healthier but they are not vegan and have no desire to do so. My family still like what they like. I don’t try to stop them. I may portion control them but not eliminate too many options. I do slip in vegan snacks for my kids outside of the normal french fry. They have no clue but they enjoy it.

Choices

Non shameful plug here, but So Delicious is my go to.  I have a dance that I do when I see it in the store. Imagine Beyoncé popping every time I am in the refrigerator or freezer aisle. My kids just say oh lord mommy and her products. I have been happily using them for quite some time.  From their non dairy ice-cream and yogurt to their non dairy milks and non dairy cheese, I do not miss out on having these items and my stomach doesn’t have to do the most to break it down. I love them. I have to do a lot of work to get them. Sometimes I can go to my local Shoprite but often times Whole Foods will have a better selection.  Surprisingly Target can be a great place to go. I am sure Wal-Mart has them I just don’t go there much these days anymore. Also I take weekly trips to Produce Junction where I can get fresh produce.  I do my veggie and fruit hauls and from that as I learn new recipes Produce Junction always has what I need. I also make sure I grab my fresh weekly flower bouquets.

Snacks

I love snacks like the next person. I love humus, pretzels, fruit, non dairy yogurt, acai bowls, and granola and dried fruit. I love that I keep a lot of these options on demand.  This way when its time to snack I can. Portion control is still a major have to. You can still overeat with anything. Being vegans doesn’t take out portion control in the least bit.

Meal Prep

I still meal prep for my family on their items and I do the same for me. I prepare roasted veggies to always have them ready to add to my meal. This week I had some fun learning how to prepare eggplant. Made some amazing eggplant parmesan with non dairy cheese. It was so delicious. I also belong to some amazing vegan groups as they share their recipes I love doing them and having such colorful plates and choices. I never like quinoa but that is something that I love to eat with roasted veggies and some avocado as a great meal on its own.

Beyoncé and Veganism

When Beyoncé put out the call for people for folks to go vegan in hopes for folks to win lifetime concerts folks was lining up. I said to myself if I would go vegan for tickets I could go vegan for myself and be healthier. I am not doing more for someone else that i am not willing to do for my own health and sanity. Beyonce went vegan as many learned and even took sugar and alcohol to prepare for her Beychella event last year. Kudos to her. I am enjoying going vegan but I need a dip of sugar as well as my occasional alcohol.

Vegan and Socializing

I do a lot of restaurant reviews. I have yet to have an issue. Just like when I go out with my family or friends I always check out the menu before I go so I can be prepared. I make sure that I am educated on what they offer and try to know what I want before I go. When I visit my parents I cook my food and take it with me. It hasn’t been an issue. Preparation helps to succumb any potential issues. None of my friends has had an issue with me altering things. I may go out-of-town, I know what I need to do to ensure my dietary needs are met. I am going to a wedding next month, the bride has made sure there are options for me. I am good.

Bacon

Bacon has been the only thing I missed. I made some bacon the other day for the family and the smell alone made me want to backslide but I didn’t.  I am aware that there are some brands that sell non bacon bacon but I have yet to have it.  I may consider giving it a try. However even as strong as bacon is to my heart, I will not consider it.

Vegan and the Holidays

Unless I put in an order from Go Vegan, I plan to go to a restaurant for Easter that I have already scouted out its selections. I can go to other people’s houses and just make my own food to be honest. There are so many recipes for vegan soul food that are delicious. So the holidays do not pose a threat to my eating habits at all.

If there is something you want to do that you feel is going to improve your health and you speak to your doctor to be sure its safe, I say walk in it. Do it! I surround myself with what I need to eat successfully. I make sure that I do what I feel I need to eat what I need. I think my body is finally in a peaceful and healthy eating relationship with food. I am not on a vegan diet. I am living a vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Fests

I look forward to going to at least 3 vegan festivals this Summer. I didn’t even know they existed. I can’t wait to align with more in the community or vegans in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. If you know of any more send them my way!

 

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Easter Traditions

So I’m one of those moms who loves holidays.  I know every national holiday and day. For instance today is cuddly kitten day.  Yeah you might as well judge me now. Anyway because of that my children get a kick of all the things I do to celebrate it. Now with Easter pretty much around the corner, my 4-year-old has already begun to ask me if we will be doing all of the Mommy festivities as he calls it.  I reminded him of course.

I showed you what I did for St. Patrick’s Day where I made green pancakes, made a cake and decorated the house and my kids.  For Easter I do some great things too. Now before I go any further let me say that I grew up in a church that always had an issue with the kids and the Easter bunny.  If you are one of those parents I’m not knocking it but you may want to stop reading.  My kids are fully aware of the reason for Easter.  My kids probably know it better than some adults.  However with that being said, Easter is for Jesus and the babies in my house.

I make several baskets.  I do not like the store-bought one.  I’m not against them in any way but i think you get less for your money.  I would rather a child get a store one than none at all but my preference is always a home-made one.  I recycle the Easter baskets since my kids are fortunate enough to have grandparents that means a lot of baskets come their way.  I reuse them because why keep buying them if they are in good shape.  So I try to do a theme for each one of my kids.  I also make one now for my 2 nieces, and my mother in law from the kids.  They are fun.  I get all of my supplies at various stores and I sit with my coupons to get the best deal.  So when the kids go to sleep after they have decorated eggs of course, I assembly line these baskets.  I cover them with the clear plastic and then I set them up for presentation.  I also wait until the wee hours of the morning since little people may get up to go to the bathroom and set rabbit prints from each room to the baskets.  I put bunny ears on their head while they are sleep.  They usually get bunny pancakes and then we proceed with their day. They also do crafts and I decorate the house as well.  Doesn’t this seem like a lot?  It is but you only get to have children as children for a short time.

Do we go to church?  For the most part but since my kids go all year-long and churches are over crowded if I choose not to go I then do an Easter lesson.  I do not feel the need to over dress my kids and do the whole fashion show that often times takes away from the day.  I would rather my kids understand the day then have to squeeze into a parking lot full of folks that no one will see until the next year.  These are my thoughts you can do what you will.  I use to go to church every year and every Sunday for that matter out of religious obligation.  My whole thoughts now have shifted to yes that’s the place to come and worship together but if I miss a service I’m not doomed to hell. My kids won’t go there either as long as a parent I’m keeping them focused on what’s important.  It’s more important that I shift my kids from scripture reciting and more towards knowing how to use the scripture for their everyday lives.  Everyone who knows a scripture don’t always apply it.

We also spend the day with one set of grandparents since one set lives in a different city than we do.  I enjoy the family times, dinners, seeing the kids have fun and we also do an Easter egg hunt for the kids too.  So again its about faith, fun, and family.  I will share some of my pics with you on Monday but until then know that it’s an honor to be my kids mom and to awaken their creativity while remembering kids are kids and allowing them to do just that.  I hope if you celebrate Easter that you keep in mind what it really is about. Also have fun.  Let the kids be kids.  Trust me in a blink they become teenagers who won’t want to do that baby stuff.  You blink again they are adults with families of their own.  I enjoy seeing my children’s faces light up with excitement.  Even though the day isn’t about us its a great feeling to know that we can reference what Jesus did on the cross and also have fun and celebrate the day as well. Happy Easter from ToiTime.