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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Increased Self Care

Who doesn’t love getting a mani/pedi? How about a salon trip? It feels amazing to pamper yourself or just continue your up keep. As much as these activities are awesome and can be forms of self-care, do not limit that to your only self-care. Increase self-care to those things that bring joy into your heart and life.  What about that hobby that brings the type of smile that can’t be wiped away?  What about making time with friends a priority? What about going back to school to accomplish a goal you left sitting? What about making time for rest and unplugging? We all need to dip deeper into self care now more than ever.

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When I hear older folks make complaints such as “what is this self-care business, we didn’t have that growing up,” it irks me. Those be the same women that have the most insecurities, the most hard battles in their spirit that have gone unchecked. When you know better you do better. Why aren’t you practicing it yourself or encouraging the younger generation to focus on their mental health just because no one encouraged you? You remember them lonely battles you fought? Remember that feeling of being overwhelmed? Why would you want another woman or man to go through that?  Even it made someone 5 seconds better, it’s worth it. Encourage and then practice it yourself. 2019 is about accountability and that is even in how we treat ourselves. We can’t expect anyone to treat us well when we treat ourselves badly. Think about it from head to toe. What are you doing to make you whole? If you are still eating, drinking, not working out, have a thousand bad habits that contribute to your body and mind’s demise, these things need to be worked out.

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Self care is about self-preservation.  It pulls you out of darkness and makes you alert. When you don’t practice self-care often times you are numb to things and people around you. It doesn’t stop bad things from coming but it can help you deal with it that much more. Think about the times you let yourself go mentally. You weren’t even ready for hits that life was about to throw. Self care is super important. I don’t care what you call it.  You can call it self-care, self-love, me time, whatever it is find it, be consistent, and then add some more. There is no such thing as too much self-care. That is impossible. Having joy in this world is what keeps people from feeling hopeless. That hopeless feeling leads people into paths that don’t bring about positive results. People need hope. Joy isn’t about walking around with a smile 24/7.  It means that you have things in your life that bring you real happiness no matter what. Self care is about preserving peace in a world full of chaos. Self care is about loving yourself even when the world wants to make you feel unlovable. Self care doesn’t care what your status is in life. Self care is important. Please invest in yourself. Practice some more self-care!

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Ask Toi: When should you disclose your sexual status to someone?

I think the earliest that you can before any sexual lines are crossed. I know people have casual sex but if you do it’s still important to have that conversation with someone early. Never wait.

For anyone who takes on the responsibility of sex, condoms are number one. You must protect your own life at all times. Condoms are not 100% either. They break or can slip out-of-place, be vigilant. No one ever looks “dirty” as people used to call it. You must remember this is the age of information. It’s not dirty it’s about knowing your status and the status of your partner. If you are having casual sex you take on an incredible risk to yourself and someone’s life. Sex can kill you. You don’t have to be afraid but you do have to be vigilant. This is why I never tell married woman not to continue getting tested. I told my readers how a doctor told me that because I am married I carry a smaller risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. In theory he was right in real life I will never take that chance. Love and responsibility are two different things. My quality of life can easily be interrupted by one slip of myself or my mate. Protect yourself at all times.

Do not let the heated moment of sex ever put your life at risk. Not everything can be cured with a pill or a shot. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your life. Know your status, speak up early, and wrap it up and married or not always know your status and constantly get checked!

Let People Figure it Out

We are all flowing into the New Year on a high note. You are working out, eating right and attempting to surround yourself with the right people or at least you should. What happens if by now you are around a few folks that have already ended their resolutions, are negative, and aren’t flowing in an upward mobility? You let them figure it out while being the change you want to see.

The power you have stops at the end of your nose. You have no power to enforce change on those around you outside of influence. So this means that you will be around a few folks who will not catch the self-improvement train as fast as you do. It’s okay.  As long as the folks that haven’t hopped on board, aren’t stopping you carry on. You can’t save everyone.  Everyone doesn’t have the same vision as you do.  Everyone wasn’t meant to ride the same ride and board and exit at the same time.

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Does that mean while you are advancing that you have to take on negative traits of those on different paths? Nope not at all. I am a firm believer that while you evolve natural your paths will separate you. It doesn’t mean that you love less but your tolerance for foolishness has changed. Be the change you want to see.  Be that change while not supporting the negativity to others but separate when yourself when you need to.  Also let people be them.  I dislike when people make change in their life they then look down on others.  Let your change speak for themselves.  Also be aware that sometimes not all times with change comes jealousy. We all have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone but not all of us walk in the same gifting. This is why the conception of “he/she is haters” has to stop. To hate on someone who means when you walk in your gifting, or speaking about your gifting, a person or group of folks immediately come in for the “he/she ain’t” talk.  It happens but happens a lot less than some want to project the story to be. If someone isn’t impressed or desires what you have its unlikely they are hating on you.  It could be they just don’t like you. Example: if you just had a baby and announce it, a person who hates would say something about you being a mom but they may not want to be a mom they just simply do not like you.

This is why not everyone is a hater. Some speak from a place of dislike or even hatred of you.  Either way none of that can stop your agenda because if you were surrounded by the right crowd by the time the message got to you, you would be on another goal making moves. You don’t crush one goal and then stand in place waiting for your props. You are too busy accomplishing goals to sit stagnant after climbing one tier. If you were mountain climbing and your goal was to get to the top would you climb one tier waiting for someone to pat you on the back or waiting for someone who doesn’t like you or hate on you to finish? No you would block them and maintain form to get to the top and not fall. Apply the same process to your everyday life.

Win at life by staying focus, slaying your goals, separating from negativity, and being the change around your inner circle and beyond that the world definitely could benefit from!

Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

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I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!

Monday Motivation: Take one Step

This morning I had to remind myself to get up before my family. Not just because of my work schedule but to set the tone. I got up and prepared the house and got everything aligned. That initial thought when you wake up is ugh, do I really want to get out of my warm bed?  The answer is no you never WANT to get out of a warm bed, but life says otherwise. I said my prayers and got my mind together and knew if I took one step, all of the other necessary steps would follow.

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That is how life works. Sometimes we are so afraid to take that initial step but we fail to remember that one step is all that we need to start any process. Think about the New Year and how excited everyone was to reset. You only needed to refresh your mindset to know that one step towards your future would be enough. If you are struggling from one point to the other, do all that you can on your end and know that all other steps will follow. Want a new job, update your resume, get emails out to your contacts, that’s one step that if you continue to be vigilant interviews and eventually offer (s) will come. Looking for love? Getting your spirit and mind together is one step that will lead you towards a path of self discovery that will lead you to your forever love.

Take one step. Sometimes getting out of the bed may be the hardest especially if you feel like your life has dropped. It hurts. It sucks if all of the moving parts of what you feel your life has become has fallen. I have been there many days. But you have to learn to take that first step out and soon you will you have more strength that you thought. As I whipped around my house this morning with a great burst of energy, I didn’t realize that before 7am I had most of the house dress, medicine given. coffee made, pets secured, and I was on my way! Take your first step today! You are going to surprise yourself!

2019 Let’s Get It

So we all have goals. I believe in doing daily, weekly, monthly and of course yearly goals. I told you I am the type that carries around 2 planners. One for my life and family life and the other just for the blog. It’s important for me to write down my intentions and see my goals in front of me so that I can accomplish anything. So when the New Year comes along to me regardless if you believe in resolutions, goal setting is very much important.

So with that in mind as always I will do my yearly Vision Board. I love sitting down with my husband and kids and helping each other come up with their goals, supporting their goals, and really setting the ground work for our kids to understand that having a vision in life is important even at an early age. We sit down and have the Storr Family Vision Board party. I make it into an event. We have fun, we talk about what we think we want to do, and it’s another opportunity for my husband and I as a couple to set goals for the family, and as individuals. I would highly encourage you to do the same. I also take and set my vision board in my room so I can openly view it. It’s important to have it in my eye sight so I can work through the goals often. I also take a picture of it and set it as backdrop on my cell. This way since I am on it enough, I can continue to affirm my goals daily. I believe that there is at least one thing I can do everyday towards my goals and that is my mindset.

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Personal Goals

I used to think that having personal goals should be at the bottom of the list. To me that is not the way to go. Before I can help anyone else in their goals I need to be actively fulfilling my own. So here are my personal goals:

  • Take another solo trip
  • Connect with a Spiritual Mentor
  • Take at least 2 weekends even if it’s an overnight trip to self renew
  • Complete 5 races
  • Arrange a birthday brunch with my friends
  • Take at least 2 girls trips
  • Do at least 4 facials at a salon
  • Keep my self-care balanced
  • Continue my weight management balance
  • Celebrate each month with something I love to do for myself
  • Stack my savings
  • Stack my emergency fund
  • Attend more events
  • Tweak my friendships to be better, eliminate the relationships that no longer serve

Blog Goals

Here are my blogging goals for this year

  • Get a new Camera for blogging
  • Collaborations with brands (new ones already secured; details coming)
  • Come from behind the blog to be more interactive on my social media platforms
  • Use my own pictures and editorials for my blogs
  • Continue my branding expansion
  • Attend one blog retreat in another state or city
  • Increase my social media numbers on all platforms
  • Keep the consistency in blogs per week
  • Collaborate with 2 new bloggers

Mommy Goals

This I needed to make slighty different from my family goals. As a mom I noticed that any triggers I may have had and didn’t know through counseling has come up in how I parent. Thankfully I am doing the work to make sure that my kids are well-rounded and balanced. Growing up we spent more time worrying about being settled in church that all other areas were neglected. It’s the truth that you can’t just be spiritually minded and no earthly good.

  • Balance the time I spend with my kids
  • Take them on more mommy and me time
  • Continue to work hard at my self-care as it reflects to my mothering
  • Develop each child with what they need over what I think they should have ie. love them with their love language
  • More patience-always need more of that
  • Be mindful of my words and how I relate to them
  • Give them the best parts of me
  • Cultivate each child’s dreams as a unit and separately

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Family Goals

  • Take more trips to the lake
  • Take at least one beach trip
  • Set up 2 family vacations
  • Continue to celebrate life freely
  • Continue to celebrate the little things
  • Continue our prayer sessions daily
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments
  • Continue keeping peach in our home
  • Eliminating wasteful spending as a unit

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Bae Goals

  • One getaway
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments
  • Find ways to love each other according to our love language
  • Monthly date nights
  • More check-ins and being intentional in listening to one another
  • Communicate effectively
  • Keep the focus on what’s important
  • Be a better partner not just a wife. My husband and I moved towards partnership and I found it’s been better for us. As a wife or husband you tend to work towards duties. Partnership moves past duties and making sure we give each partner what they need to be successful

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So as you can see because I am always writing my goals, it wasn’t hard for me to fine tune what I know I’m setting out to do. It’s important to me to be sure that I am always finding ways to be a better version of myself. As life happens, this list, will change. In order to live a life of purpose, I don’t have to stick to this list and bring in the guilt of changing my goals. I can use this as a guide and have fun doing them. I hope you change your perception of what goal setting is about. It’s all about fine tuning yourself and having something to work towards.

 

May your 2019 be all that you put the work into becoming!!