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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On the Move: Crunchik’n Style

Shout out to #travelwithchefcherryl and the brunch buddies as we take you behind the scenes to local eateries. Again as a lifestyle blogger you are going to want to know the places to either get out, have new places to grab food with bae, your girls or even the fam bam. I enjoy getting around Philadelphia and yesterday’s spot was brought to us to by Crunchik’n.

Tuna bowl served with rice, lettuce, salsa, Japchae noodles and a dumpling

Crunchik’n is a Korean flare restaurant. It’s amazing food at great prices that is made fresh to order and it tastes amazing. From their homemade dumplings to their marinated sauces each bite is special. We caught up with Jen who is part owner with her father, John Choi. She stressed that the goal was to make quality food that was made on the premises and that the sauces made was fermented and marinated to give the meat their fresh, unique taste. I think they hit a slam dunk. The selections are so good that even if you didn’t want to sit and eat you could order their half or whole chicken cut up and make dinner at home special too. Oh and if you’re wondering they are on Caviar for delivery as well.

Kimchi cheese fries

Since I’m vegan let me tell you that they had amazing vegetarian dishes that I was able to veganize. I didn’t leave hungry in the least bit. My suggestion is that this is a causal dining experience, good for all types since although they don’t have a specific kids menu, kids of all ages would love the chicken and other offerings. We even had some kids along and I heard a few to all ask for seconds. This is a great spot to gather friends as well or makes a causal date night or date day location.

Beef and vegetarian taco I personally had the vegetarian and it was amazing to keep it vegan I had mine without the sour cream and it was still full of flavor

Crunchik’n has been open for a little over a month. This means you need to get in and show them a little love. For new guests who go you will also receive a gift! Who doesn’t love gifts?

Beef dumplings on the right and the veggie dumplings on the left was made with kale and spinach. The veggie dumplings were super good!

So if you love Korean style food that is fresh, high quality, and served by awesome accommodating staff, make sure you add Crunchik’n to the top of your lists of go tos. You will not be disappointed!!!

Korean fried chicken can come in 8 house-made marinated sauces

They serve tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches, dumplings, Korean fried chicken and even small bites! What’s not to love?!

Spicy pork melt sandwich

The drinks are good too!! They have arrangements from Bubble Teas to fresh Sparkling Ade…

Strawberry lemonade and grapefruit

Mango and Matcha Green Bubble Tea

One last thing:

Crunch Balls which comes with either rice or potato and either beef or vegetarian

The hours are as follows:

Thank you to Termini Brothers Bakery

I’ve been on a tour of sorts of Philadelphia. As much as I absolutely love hoping on the road or taking a flight out of the city, sometimes you can find the best treasures in your own backyard. Termini Brothers Bakery is in its 98th year. Following the family traditions they still bake the old-fashioned way. I have never heard of them before. Before someone comes for me, I have only been in the city for 8 years this month!  So I am constantly learning daily. With that in mind I was happy to tour the facilities.  I also of course indulged and took some treats home for the kids.

To see the longevity that is the Termini Brothers Bakery that is being passed down the family line and even with technology advancing seeing how they keep the tradition of fresh baking going, you don’t see that too often these days.

Thank you to Mr. Termini himself for giving us an amazing tour into the decorating room that is usually off-limits and the picture as well. Every last member of the team was gracious and gave us that family feel.  You all are amazing. I will definitely will be back!

Their main location is at 1523 S. 8th Street but they have 3 other locations in Philadelphia: Packer Park Shopping Center, Reading Terminal, and Main Shops at the Comcast Center.

If you are looking for a mainstay bakery that is fresh and absolutely delicious try out Termini

Hours:

Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

(Holiday Hours Vary)

OPEN
Thanksgiving 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Easter Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Memorial Day 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Fourth of July 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Labor Day 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

CLOSED
Christmas Day
New Year’s Day

Also follow them on Instagram Facebook Twitter

 

I love being serenaded upon entry!!

Rim Cafe: Make it Happen

I love when you leave a place or in someone’s presence and you have the biggest smile because of how someone has treated you. I experienced an experience that is Rim Cafe.

From the time I walked into Rim Cafe I was taken away. It’s an eclectic atmosphere filled with nostalgia. So from first glance you should already know you’re in for a treat.

We were greeted with smiles and I knew it was going to be a in a welcome atmosphere. Rene the owner has so much light and love that it’s hard to not smile. I’m talking about that show all of your teeth smile. He knows how to “make it happen!” That’s his signature phrase. He sat down with us and talked about making coffee and drinks and about life. I wasn’t sure expecting to get life jewels but I did!

He talked about not limiting our power. He discussed about being the best in what you do and how creativity can’t be copied. I have often spoken about when you’re open to the right things wisdom will fine it’s way to deliver what you need when you need it.

If you follow Rim Cafe you already know that Rene is going to spin you into a heavenly rich concoction of love. Literally he made us 3 dishes. The first was a St. Patrick White hot chocolate that was amazing.

The next was a baked cannoli with melted chocolate in the middle. My goodness I was just floored by the flavor.

Next came the blow torch and I knew I was in trouble. He made banana flambé with caramel sauce and topped with peanut butter. Somebody call and check on me. I had to pretty much drink water for the rest of the day!

Oh by the way the peanut butter is homemade with his own signature way of making it. I’m not a peanut butter fan but this makes any of your name brand peanut butter blush!

I almost forgot about the salted caramel espresso shot! Heaven in a glass!!

Don’t wait, run to Rim Cafe. It’s located 1172 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia PA! You will never see a cafe like this in your life. Thank you Rene for making me smile. The memories will last! Make it Happen!!

Also they have all kinds of treats to take home too!!

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!

 

 

 

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

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!