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!

 

Women’s Month Preview

I enjoy women’s month! It’s one of the biggest traffic months. A lot of people have asked me why do I do the posts for the full month?! Simple, why not give a regular women a month to shine? March is women’s history month and women are changing history on all fronts all the time. These are women who might not have shared their story openly before and are ready to let you know that they survived the very things that was designed to take them out!

Think about it in this light, women need to know that as much division that is created among us, we are all connected. Think about a topic that women alone goes through. Bring that topic up and women who don’t know each other can relate and will openly share. This is why we need to tell our stories more often. We need to talk about the times we succeeded and the times we failed. We need to highlight our strengths as well as our weaknesses. There is a woman somewhere struggling alone when she doesn’t have to. She is somewhere feeling defeated because she doesn’t think what she has done, gotten herself into, or is nervous about, some other woman has been in those trenches, but we have been there and made it out in one way or another.

Ladies it’s our day everyday. It’s our month every month. It’s our year every year but when we get to shine a little brighter, then shine! As a woman I am proud of those who have come before me. I am proud that we as women have failed along the way but still keep on going regardless of what has been thrown our way. I’m proud that women are learning how to embrace what they have and not make excuses or try to water it down. We are owning our place in this world, choosing the life we want, being sexually aware and unashamed and most importantly stepping away from the status quo to achieve any goal we want!

We are scooping up the younger generation and showing by example how it’s done. We are not restricting ourselves to make men feel comfortable. We are walking in lanes that were not always paved for us. We are learning to practice self-care and saying no when we need to. We don’t have to carry it all! We can take breaks! We can travel this world alone! We can work across the aisles! We can make our dreams come true!

I salute all women from every walk in life. From the women who feels as if her past has knocked her out of the running to the women who made every right decision and are benefiting from it! To the college graduate who is the first in her family to the drug addicted mother who cleaned her life up! I salute you all!!

Get ready for some amazing women with some amazing stories to share. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable. It takes a lot to put yourself out there! It takes a lot to know that when you put your story out there knowing there will be some folks who think you aren’t worthy! This blog was made from those whispers and guess what just like you I haven’t stopped! Let’s have some fun, learn some lessons and get inspired to live our best life NOW!

We’re going to hear from business women, community leaders, wives whose husband have left them and they picked up and kept on building, single moms, college graduates, those working with offenders, all kinds of women.  So be on the lookout the month-long celebration will kick off tomorrow and end March 31, 2018!

Let’s Get Physical, Physical

Got the song in your head now?  You should.  It’s time to move.  We discussed the reasons why physical movement can help to cut down the physical stress.  So let’s figure out some fun ways to make it happen.

Image result for let's get physical gif

Let’s keep it real I am a full-time mom, wife, I have a full time job and in between life and balance it isn’t easy.  My work outs do not ever look the same day-to-day or even week to week.  So what are the ways you can increase your physical activity?

Image result for let's get physical gif

  1. Move-yes if you work you can go to the bathroom on different floors, take the stairs, do some chair exercises.  Whatever you choose to do, move.  Sitting is the new smoking so you can’t afford to just sit all day.  Even if you are one who isn’t all into the gym, you can’t deny how much better your mood and your joints feel after some movement.
  2. Take a lesson-this is the best time now that the weather is breaking to take a class.  If you don’t know how to swim take a lesson.  Want to take a class you were too scared to take before or used the cold of the winter as your excuse, dump the excuse and take a class.  Taking a class aids in your healthy well-being as well as it can be a great way to network.
  3. Get involved-there are a lot of ways you can get things done in your community.  If you feel the opportunity isn’t there what better way than to create it?  Get out and motivate others.  While doing this you can help your physical and mental being as well as get involved and meet some dynamic people.
  4. Form groups-it doesn’t even need to be something super elaborate.  It could be a walking club.  Get a few or more of you together that can share in a common goal and walk.  It’s that simple.  No money involved and super easy that will only require some time and some dedication.
  5. Love -did you know that the more and your new boo or your old boo work out together and get involved in an activity that it helps in your relationship and takes stress away to the max.  No one pushes buttons together like a couple.  So if you find something you can do together its an automatic win.  Don’t want to go out?  How about fixing things in your home together?  You get to move about, get things done, and the both of you can connect, argue, and love your way to the completion of your task.
  6. Dance-you can burn a lot of calories dancing the night away.  You don’t have to be the best dancer either.  If you live alone, turn the music up and get in the zone.  You can pretend to be any dancer or entertainer you want to be and have a great time doing it.

It’s time to get out and enjoy your life.  A few things I do to get moving:

  1. Soul Cycle-you can read both of my blogs on my experience.  I am not a pro but I definitely can say I am so much better than before.
  2. Free-yes I use YouTube to my advantage when I can’t get out of my house.  I do not allow too much time to elapse where no physical activity is going down but nothing makes me smile more than a free YouTube video work out.
  3. Gym-I do still try to do at least bare minimal 2 days at the gym.  I typically get my 3 days in since I do my workouts during my lunch time at work, shower, and then continue with my day.
  4. Use my kids-do you know how solid my kids are?  Them little nuggets is like big mac babies when it comes to using them for weights.  I usually aim for my son but I have them doing all kinds of stuff with me.  They think its mommy and me time and I’m like come beat that donut off of me time.  I get a kick and they do too.  They line up waiting their turn and its always makes the time go fast and a good laugh is always a good thing in my book.
  5. All of the things above that I mention I incorporate into my life.  I am on the road to being well-rounded and as much as I feel like an island I am embracing the idea of including and allowing others in my life appropriately.  You know I ain’t letting just any old body around me.  However I am finding some great friendships along the way and embracing them.

Image result for let's get physical gif

Rewind

Yes its a late night.  I finally got the toddler in her own bed.  I have been doing bedtime boot camp so we can get some sleep around here. So I had a few seconds to go through my old journals.  Let me say to anyone who writes in multiple journals as I do, be prepared for a flow of emotion.  You should also have anything around you that evokes happiness because often times takin that walk back can cause such an array of emotions.  For me I immediately go to music.  For me music is all over the place.  So I made a quick playlist to get through.

So while looking back I found a few things that are recurring themes.  I am a very episodic person so when things hit the fan it reminds me of another similar situation. That can be dangerous if you’re not a solid person.  I through counseling etc. have found the ability to go back without staying there.  For some others the mind will allow you to stay stuck.  Now back to the rewind, so I am in my journal and I come across a few entries that made me laugh.  I thought to myself I am glad that whatever day that came into question I am super glad that all I had was paper and pen.  Life is like that sometimes.  It’s not perfect and wrapped up for show.  Life sucks.  Life is hard, but there’s always at least one thing to make you see the good in the world.

So if you’re struggling to see the good in life, it’s time to take a time out.  It’s okay I promise to think of what YOU need.  A big picture in that is to know who you are.  As humans we change.  We can be who we want.  So if you don’t like something its okay to figure that out.  So back to my journal, I curse in it, I can tell and feel the pain of my words.  There are good days in there too.  I love it all.  I love seeing sides of myself that are real, raw and unedited.  They are some of the best parts of me.  It’s the struggle of my life that has produced some of the very best of me.  The new feat for me is allowing others to see the happier side of me.  That’s the craziest and most vulnerable part.  Some people are super happy and cheerful naturally.  I am more reserved and calculating.  So unless I am in a truly comfortable place you see the closed off version of me.

This is the message of today.  Maybe its just for me but I highly doubt it because when I get tried the most I know it’s for someone else.  I know that telling on me and being open to whispers and talks that its super important not to erase the blog.  That would be super easy.  So as you start your week and you are looking for this great motivation from someone who appears to have it altogether please take the time to look in that mirror.  The person in the mirror knows you more than anyone.  The person in the mirror has a story that hasn’t been written yet.  The person in the mirror has ALL that they need on the inside to make the life they want.  No one on the outside of that mirror can stop the potential inside.  So take a deep breath, wipe your tears, and stop letting fear stop you.  The key is taking one step and not letting your emotions and head play with you.  Your head plays with you way past when you allowed others to pull on you.  So what is it that you want to see inside of you change?  We all have desires on the outside that we want but there are a few things on the inside that have to take place to make room for the good.  Take note of those inward changes first.  If you are a miserable person, deal with that first.  There is a source that although may look like is someone else’s fault shows where YOU have to do better.

Take  that junk you are carrying and give it a name.  Know what you have inside of you trust me others know that’s why they feel the need to call you out on it.  Some people mean well but it’s always super easy to call someone to the rug but turn it around and call your own junk to the table and sort it.  As you challenge yourself to deal with it, be sure to replace it with better.  Replace it with the things that you need like joy, patience.  This is not a cookie cutter plan.  You will feel pain.  You will feel like you are walking alone.  You are.  How many are assigned to the same pain?  Not many.  So if you’re waiting for your misery train to pull up they will but they usually come with some other bags that you and I know you can’t afford to travel with.

Wrap yourself with a better security blanket than the bad habits that no longer serve you.  Love on yourself. That starts by speaking well of yourself. Not the whole I look a hot mess and then put pressure on a mate or a friend to hold you in higher regards that you won’t hold for yourself.  Begin to watch what you say.  Begin to care about what you put on, eat, drink, etc.  Take some mental timeouts.  There are times when I know I am being ambushed and I need a moment to gather my thoughts but because we live in a fast pace society I just keep on pushing.  Pushes are good until you are being pushed into something you haven’t cleared in your heart.

Dreams can be messages!!

So how often do you dream?  Not just the type of dreams where you write down your heart’s desire.  I am talking about the type of dreams where you lay down and visions come to you.  Often times if I am dreaming it’s about little quirky stuff and most of them I do not remember.  However this past weekend that wasn’t the case.

I had something on my heart and mind and it had been bothering me all day.  So when I went to sleep I expected the same as I’ve always had and that was just to go to sleep and nothing more and nothing less.  This weekend I had a dream where I was visited by influential people in my life who all had a message about self-preservation.  I mean it was vivid and I can still remember all of the details and specifically the conversation.

The dream wasn’t about how I can get another person back but how to get me back on track.  I don’t feel as if I have fallen off the wagon but I do know that I have had severe moments of allowing my environment to dictate my attitude.  The whole house can then be subjected to how I feel.  So in the dream the message was simple, find out what is making me unhappy and deal with it.  Don’t deal with it to evoke change in the other person but deal with things that will evoke peace in my personal life.  We all have moments where we allow the lack of change we see in others to deter our spirits when in reality we need to be the change we want to see.

This message can be applied all over in so many different ways.  Stop allowing others to move you to the point where you give them the very ammunition to be able to say the negative things that you actually do.  For instance stop allowing others to pull on you to the point where you have an adult tantrum.  Then get mad and say well they are judging you.  No.  They aren’t judging you.  You are showing them your behind because you couldn’t get your way.  You have an ugly disposition about you.  You are all ruffled up over things you can’t even change, just stop.  It’s time to keep your sense of wit.  It’s not easy to allow things around you to happen and feel like you have no control.  I know I am a control freak but that makes others around you feel a certain way.  Do not keep allowing people to change your atmosphere.  You really can’t control everything but there is one person that you can and that person is in the mirror.  You can control your responses.  You can control your attitude.  You can control how you interact with others.  You got you.  Oh by the way I definitely felt a thousand times better when I woke up.  I had fallen asleep on the couch which is not what I would have generally been happy about except I felt so super rested that it didn’t matter.  I wanted to do the running man after gettting the very answers and how to proceed in my life.

I swear to you when I woke up from that dream I thought I was in a total different location. It was so super real to me.  However it was all a dream in my Biggie voice.  That dream was one of the most defining moments in my life this week. It is the drive that will get me to complete a few goals.  What do you have answers for?  Where do your answers come from? If you are open often times, the answer are right inside of you.  You know the answers it’s just a matter of making it happen.  What are you going to do?

I hate to bust that bubble!!

Well it’s June.  Yay!  Summer will officially be here before you know it, but before we cue in the ice cream truck and summons the bathing suit gods, let’s talk a little reality.

Let’s start with going back to January 1st.  You remember that day?  Yup it was about six months ago when you made all of these promises to yourself.  Did you break them? Maybe? Yes? Well good thing you follow the blog so we can give you a gentle nudge and get you on track.

Speaking of tracks if you promised you were going to eat better but you haven’t that needs to end now.  Think about it.  I know summer comes with fairs and good food but there’s no better time than now to eat better.  Eating better isn’t a bunch of bad foods and a diet soda.  Its not eating one piece of fruit with fried foods. It’s learning to eat the right foods and replace the foods you love with healthy alternatives.  Some of this is going to require some renewing of your mind and a little push back from the table.  Yes there are no food minions it’s called will power.  We got to get you some.

image

If you said you we’re going to reach out to friends and family but the most you have done was liked a photo on Facebook then we got work to do.  I have made it my business to actually do something some would call ancient.  What was that?  I picked up my phone and actually made a phone call or two.  Gasp.  Who woulda thunk it? Phones actually call people.  Yes use your voice not just your texting fingers to communicate.  Love on a few folks.

If you said this is my year to find a job but all you have done is complained about your petty boss, then you got work to do.  I’ve had raggedy bosses before.  I’ve had great ones too, but the world doesn’t serve those who don’t put in work.  Take the time to put in applications, send in resumes, and network.  This is why not burning all bridges is necessary.  Finding a job is like a full time job within itself.  How much time you put in yet?  That dream job still hasn’t fallen from the sky, has it?  Let me know when it does.

image

The bottom line is whether or not you like it we are half way through with 2016.  I would hate for your shoulda woulda to come into play and another year to pass.  The guilt of not having made progress doesn’t have to fully stall you.  You have a choice.  Complain, make excuses but see how far that has gotten you? No really, how far?

What about your vision board.  You should be doing one thing on that board daily to make progress.  Goals are to be always on your mind.  I know we can lose focus in life so here is a small reminder.  Get up and get it done and don’t just start today.  Start now!!  Get it done!!

image

Conservation Of Energy

Albert Einstein once said, energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” So of course given that I spent a lot of my energy this weekend getting fueled for the week I have to ask, what are you giving your energy to?  We spend so much time denying the lack of energy of others in hopes it will mean something different than what is directly in front of us.

If you are in a relationship of some sort, whether romantic or not than you know about energy.  We sometimes dismiss others’ energy output and justify it. For instance if you are dating or even married when the person is not doing what they once did, instead of accepting that it is what it is we will make an excuse. I know in a magical princess castle we would love to misplace it but reality of it is it is what it is.  You can’t get the person to do what you asked.  You asked a simple request such as do not be late.  However time after time they are.  Let me guess they are just a late person right?  Maybe but the fact that they can repeatedly do it to you over and over again is simple, you allow it.  What can you do to change it?  Simple you either give the late person a wrong time or you leave them and attend whatever the event without them.  What?  I can’t do that?! No you just don’t want to.  Why put yourself in a situation where you are dependent on someone who shows you that being on time at your simple request doesn’t matter?  Why keep arguing and going around on the merry-go-round when you know where it will lead?  Stop them by being accountable for you.  I personally have been in this place.  I took accountability.  The other person eventually stepped up.  They understood if it was only affecting them then be late but when its others depending on you than step up.  That was the ideal response but what if it didn’t work out that way?  I would have to step it up and do what I had to do.

Just like the person you are madly in love with puts more energy into other things like hanging with his/her friends, personal endeavors and gives you the leftovers and you ask and ask and ask but it falls on death ears. So what do you do?  We say things like he/she loves me they just are tired.  He/she loves me I just make them mad.  He/she loves me I…. Just stop. Speak up to the one you love.  Call to their attention.  Then when they don’t mark them mentally as they don’t plain old want to.  Then make an action plan on what you want to do from there.  When you do this you make it about you and less about them. We focus on the other person instead of being confident to say that you need what you need and you aren’t getting it.  In love relationships when you are with the wrong one, they will put you down and say that you being too moody, too needy, too everything and make you feel less than just to not give you what you need.  Explore if what you think or thought you wanted is what you needed.  Sometimes we want what we want and its has nothing to do with what we need.  Sometimes we want something so bad for the sake of wanting it and it wasn’t meant for you.  That was a lot.  Go back and re-read that last line again.  Your desire for what you want sometimes fuels you to get it but then when you get it you realize it wasn’t what you want.  I know, I know that stepped on a few toes but be careful.  I used to want this guy back obviosly before I was married.  He was everything I thought I wanted.  He was funny, well built body, caring, giving, nice, we seemed to just click.  But….I got with him and he wasn’t what I needed.  He was the polar opposite of what I had envisoned a relationship would be like.  Make sure what you want in your head and your heart line up.

Your energy is important. Let me give you another example. I had this boss I will keep nameless. Everyday they were just a bad manager.  Nothing like accountability, manageability, coachability was in them.  What you don’t have you can get out.  They would make sure their friend (s) were taken care.  They wouldn’t have to do much work. They could talk to others anyway they wanted and yet the same opportunities wasn’t given to all.  I would get more and more mad and then I sat to myself and said what can I do.  I have sat down and gone over everything.  I have documented everything via email.  I am spending more energy into making my manager become better when one they hadn’t been trained to manage and my power to make someone change stopped at the end of my nose. So I changed me.  I used my energy to look for other opportunities.  When they came and my time was up, it was time to go.  It was the best thing I had ever done.  Transferred my energy into making me better instead of focusing my energy into other unwilling vessels.

Let’s give you one more example.  You ever have that one family member that is always so down on everyone.  They uplift the ones they love but they look down on others if you don’t fit the mold they envisioned for you.  Remember everyone can see what you can’t or won’t see, but then there are times when people’s vision just need to be checked.  So when you find yourself in a place where you have to contend for approval, you need to transfer the energy.  Stop focusing on they always, they never, they have to, why can’t they, I wish they….

Transfer that energy into what can I do to make my dreams come true.  What can I do to make me better?  Does that mean you don’t help others? No. You do but that doesn’t mean you have to help everybody.  Don’t give your energy to allow others to misuse you or mistreat you.  You don’t have to be a door mat or a stepping stone for others to emotionally or mentally abuse you.  So today take charge.  Watch how much time you spend on things that aren’t getting you towards a goal.  Watch how much time you spend with things that are depleting you.  Watch how much time you spend on negativity. Everything don’t need to be tea worthy especially when you can’t maintain your mental space.  Sometimes the very thing you entertain is causing you issues or unnecessary stress.  Transfer your energy into the right people and that way you will be in the right places.  Some relationships are meant to be temporary but you keep giving them permanent space.  Then you wonder why your world is always turned upside down.  Find your happiness and command within yourself to keep it.  Often times we are our worst enemy but we have the power to change that.