Chocolate Chip Flax Seed Cookies

IMG_6656.jpgWell, I’m not a baker.  At all.  I see a lot of my friends so effortlessly create countless recipes in the kitchen involving almond flour, flax seeds, and vegan chocolate chips. Me? Well, I’d rather stick to savory dishes.  I’m a master at concocting recipes involving my spiralizer and vitamix, but when it comes to baking sheets I freak out.

It’s National Nutrition Month and Carrington Farms and T-fal  were there to help.

T-fal has these airbake sheets that help prevent burning, yet brown your cookies to perfection, plus a decreased bake time. And, I need all the help I can get.  I was pleasantly surprised with these sheets. They are easy to store, sleek, and my cookies turned out lovely. (I was expecting a disaster.)  IMG_6919.jpeg

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I used Carrington Farms Flax & Chia Blend to add an extra dose of nutrition to my cookies.  Since I don’t bake, this flax and chia blend is PERFECT for my morning smoothies  and it made me feel a lot better when I found myself eating these cookies for breakfast.  I also used their coconut oil instead of the traditional butter in chocolate chip cookies, and they also make a coconut oil spray.

I was having dinner with Shari Leidich, author of the Two Moms in the Raw cookbook, and she made these awesome Chocolate Chip Hemp Seed Cookies.  I thought it would be the perfect recipe to write about on my blog to help celebrate National Nutrition Month.  I decided to use “flax eggs” instead of real eggs, and I added extra flax seeds and coconut since I did not have hemp in my pantry at the moment.

What you will need:

2 1/2 cups of almond flour

1/4 Cup of Carrington Farms flax and chia seeds plus an extra 2tbs for the flax eggs

1/2 cup brown rice flour (original recipe uses coconut flour)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup Carrington Farms coconut oil

1 bag of dairy free semisweet chocolate chips

How to:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.) In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, flax & chia seeds, brown rice flour, shredded coconut, salt, and baking soda.

3.) Now prepare your “flax eggs”.  The recipe calls for 2 large eggs, so you are going to make 2 flax eggs.  In a separate bowl, place two tablespoons of ground flax/chia seeds, and 6 tablespoons of water.  Stir and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

4.) In another bowl place the flax eggs, coconut palm sugar, and vanilla extract and stir.  Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until well-combined.

5.) Fold in the dairy-free chocolate chips.

6.) Scoop walnut-sized balls of dough onto your T-fal baking sheets, leaving two inches between them.  Bake for about 9-11 minutes total, until slightly golden.

 

So I baked.  Will I bake again? Maybe.  Thanks to Carrington Farms and T-fal bakeware for the help! (And if they help me again, this might happen again.) Enjoy your cookies!

 

xx

 

 

“Nothing Tastes As Good As Walking Feels”

This post is dedicated to my mother.

“Nothing tastes as good as walking feels” …the quote that resonated so deeply that it hasn’t left my mind all week.  I used to be a fan of the Kate Moss quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” I even had it printed on a $200 dollar pillow from Johnathan Adler. The Kate Moss quote couldn’t be more of a fallacy.  Most things taste better than skinny and I left that stupid pillow in Philadelphia.

I had a call with NY Times Best Selling Author, Ann Boroch, this week.  I was extremely grateful to be able to speak with her on the phone and organize an event with her. (Stay Tuned) We talked mostly about specifics for the event and of course, the MS Healing Diet.  She was interested with my vegan take, and doesn’t follow a vegan healing regimen at all.  Although her diet was mostly plant based she still included eggs and an occasional piece of lamb or goat. Even after talking with such an inspirational woman, I still am a strong believer in my healing journey and take on veganism.  Mostly ALL healing diets are primarily plant-based, so I don’t see a problem with being fully plant-based.  Also, we must do what is best for you and find that balance.  I don’t disagree with any specific healing regimen, I think our mind and our dedication to healing is the key component in this equation.  And also lots of plant food.


 

“NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS WALKING FEELS”

She told me that one of her clients said this to her after regaining his/her health on her healing regimen.  We often take our ability to do simple tasks for granted.  I don’t know about you but I enjoy walking to pour myself coffee in the morning. Taking my pup for a walk.  Walking to my car everyday.

Every time we open our mouths to either speak or eat, we are either feeding disease or fighting it.

What we think, we become.

We are what we eat. 

In conversation people are always quick to say, “I don’t know how you do it, I love _____ so much!”

Do you love it as much as your ability to walk? I don’t think so.  When you are fighting for a greater cause, you find such joy and effortlessness in eating right.  Whether you do it for the animals, the environment, or to heal your chronic pain…it’s effortless.

My mother limps everyday to work and yesterday she fell and the brace on her leg broke.  Eventually she got up and walked to her car without her brace. My eyes fill with tears thinking of this scenario, and my thoughts go back to that quote. Nothing tastes as good as walking feels.  I do it for my ability to walk in a couple years.  I do it for my mother who has lost her ability.

Quit trying to do it for “skinny”.

Because food tastes way better than skinny feels, sorry Kate Moss.

But nothing. Absolutely nothing will taste as good as walking feels. 

Lots of love sent to Ann, and make sure you check out her amazing book, here. 

 

 

 

 

Alcoholics Anonymous

I gave up booze. 

Early 20s Monica would not be able to believe her ears.  My habits before my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis would consist of tequila shots well into 4am, binge drinking, and wine was a nightly occurrence. East 90th street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan has seen me stumble out of cab, stumble down the block shoeless, and pass out in my bed with no recollection of the night before.  I’ve been there, done that.  I was a party girl.  I liked my alcohol, socialization, partying, and picking off the cheese on a Papa John’s pizza that I would devour to help quell the hangover.

After my diagnosis of MS in 2013, my alcohol consumption improved but still didn’t completely die off.  I liked to get drunk off red wine because it was “healthier” and I would try to drink more water in-between drinks.  I would often question why I still drank, but would wake up the next morning and down a green juice.

This past year, older and more knowledgeable, I really started questioning why I would still put alcohol in my system.  I would dabble on and off not drinking, exploring the cons of having a few drinks with Multiple Sclerosis, and told Peter a million times, “I’m done drinking.”

I’m a social person.  I like to attend dinner parties just like any girl in her mid-20s and I found that drinking alcohol was just something you had to do to, “fit in”.  I already eliminated pretty much everything that could cause inflammation in my diet and I didn’t want to be that bratty girl at every party that explains, “I don’t drink alcohol.”

No, I don’t think I’m better than you. Yes, I wish I could have that glass of wine.  But, I gave up alcohol.  I’m not saying I’ll NEVER have a glass of wine again, because I’m sure I will.  What I am saying is that I decided to eliminate alcohol from my diet and see what happens, how I feel.  Alcohol is poison, and I’m such an advocate for health and healing my chronic condition, I don’t understand why I would put alcohol into my system on a weekly occurrence.  Moderation is cool.  But in order to find that moderation, I’m willing to withdraw my body from alcohol for a few months and then reintroduce.

Three weeks ago, I went out with a few friends and had a some drinks.  And by some, I mean things got out of hand, and I had more than some.  I woke up the next day with the normal pounding in my head and nausea.  These were all things I was used to, a hangover. Later in the day I developed problems I wasn’t used to.  My face was numb, I was overly sensitive to heat and my legs were weak and tingly.  Right then and there I asked myself what the FUCK I was doing.  I wasn’t angry at myself for having a good time the night before and drinking more than I should, but I knew I needed to do something about this.  I never have MS symptoms, and the fact that one night of drinking brought out such issues was a huge wake up call.

I read this about MS and drinking, and it all made perfect sense.  Alcohol causes changes in the Central Nervous System, and those with MS can experience worsened neurological symptoms when drinking.  Do I think there is a problem with having an occasional drink? No.  Do I think there is a problem with having more than the occasional drink? Yes.

My life is more important than those few drinks on Friday night.  If cutting out alcohol will prevent a potential relapse, I’ll do it. Last weekend I was completely sober, and the Broncos won the SUPER BOWL, and I had a blast. I thoroughly enjoyed going out and then waking up the next morning for a walk and a cup of (organic) coffee.

Cutting out alcohol tips:

I’m still new to this, so I’m not an expert.  But these are some things that have helped me stay sober.

1.) When you know everyone is drinking, splurge and buy yourself a special drink.  I made beet juice and put it in my wine glass.  I bought a kombucha, and sipped on that.  Healthy alternatives, I’m definitely going to be working on some “mocktails”!

2.) Have fun.  Don’t sit in the corner and be all pissy that you can’t drink. Get into the conversation, join the drinking game,  you can still have fun without alcohol. (I had no idea.)

3.) Be the designated driver.  Who doesn’t love the DD?! It’s kinda fun being able to hit a ton of bars without having to pay for an uber, be the DD and everyone will arrive safe.

4.) I remember drunken conversations.  People were talking to me drunk, and I learned so much more about them.  Before,  I would have never remembered the conversation.

I will definitely add to this list, when I’ve been sober longer than 3 weeks!

I know this will bring about a LOT of questions, anger, and confusion (Haha) but just because I’m not drinking doesn’t mean I still can’t be your drinking buddy.

Comment your thoughts/experiences/etc…I would love to hear from you!

 

xx have a fantastic (sober) weekend.

M

 

My Top 5

What an exciting week! Peter was robbed, I got offered a full time marketing job with Two Moms in the Raw, we attempted homemade pizza and it came out as a deep dish disaster, a blizzard hit Denver and we worked from home mostly everyday, and Bodhi (our puppy) just threw up over the floor. (Too many apples and bananas for the little babe)  Some serious highs and lows…such is life.  But…Happy Friday.

Being jobless for the past couple of months and still trying to maintain my healthy lifestyle was quite the battle.  I’m used to spending an hour or two a week in Whole Foods picking out what fancy superfood I’m going to decorate my bowls with and snacking on dried mango at 7.95 a pound.  Like I said in my previous post, a seriously grounding experience.  My credit cards are maxed and I have $25.00 dollars in my bank account. How do I continue to eat so healthy on budget? What are some of my top must have’s in my kitchen?  Talkin’ about it right here, right now.

EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET

I hear this statement all too often.  “I don’t have enough money to eat healthy.”

Well, what an excuse that is.

1.) PRODUCE, PRODUCE, PRODUCE.  

Buying chia seeds at $18.00 a pound might be fun, but it’s very unnecessary. The foundation to a healthy diet is eating fruits and vegetables.  You really do not need these overpriced superfoods to clean up your diet.  Look up some plant based things you can blend up. (i.e.: see my raw vegan marinara sauce recipe) When I was on my 21 day cleanse last year, I would spend 30 dollars A WEEK on food. I remember my roommate at the time asked me what my Whole Foods bill was and she was in shock with how low it was. Eating produce is dirt cheap.  And good for you.  Stop complaining that eating healthy is “expensive” when you’re buying expensive animal flesh loaded with pus and hormones.  VEGAN RANT, done.

2.) SEASONAL 

It’s better to eat seasonal and local and also cheaper.  If you have a local farmers market in the summer, buy most of your produce there.  Seasonal food is way cheaper because it is at the peak of its supply and farmers and distributors can get it into the grocery store a lot easier.  It seems like common sense, but most of us ignore this.  Think about THIS.  Food that isn’t in season is flown halfway around the world, usually picked before the peak of their flavor and that means you pay more for a lesser product.  

3.) SALES

This seems like a no-brainer but I didn’t always pay attention to grocery store sales before I was jobless.  I always check out what produce is on sale, and I rotate it.  I only buy berries if they are on sale, if they aren’t in season.  I like this technique because it forces me to try a variety of different fruits and vegetables and find new recipes using these ingredients.

4.) THE DIRTY DOZEN

Of course I am big on always buying organic. What does organic mean? Organic is when the farmers grow the fruits and veg free or pesticides or harmful chemicals.  Make sure when you’re buying organic it’s USDA certified.

BUT Organic produce can be significantly more expensive (in most cases, unless you’re buying seasonally …see #2) When you’re on a budget you need to be smart about this…have this be your bible. Pick and choose what you eat organic.

THE DIRTY DOZEN (most contaminated fruits and vegetables)

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Spinach
  5. Potatoes
  6. Nectarines
  7. Peppers
  8. Peaches
  9. Celery
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Tomatoes
  12. Snap Peas

I just read an article recently that claims “not all pesticides” are created equal and buying organic for the “dirty dozen” and non-organic for the “clean fifteen” could be invalid.  But listen, we’re broke as hell right now and we are making this work.  There are a lot of loop holes when eating organic because of contaminated soil, labeling mishaps, etc.  Just do the best you can, eating produce is still going to be significantly better for you than drinking pesticide laden milk.

PS. Always buy organic coffee! It doesn’t always differ in price that much, except if you are in Whole Foods. Coffee is one of the most contaminated crops. If you’re a coffee drinker, splurge on some organic beans.

 

5.) GRAINS

Grains are relatively cheap. I’m not talking fake, GMO’d bread here. Brown rice, quinoa, millet, brown rice pasta, udon. Buy in bulk, organic if you can.  Quinoa seems a little pricier than the others but for the $6.00 bag of quinoa you get about 5-6 servings. (In my house, the back of the bag might say differently.) So think about this. You lightly steam your broccoli that you bought for $2.00 a pound, throw it with some quinoa, pour some shoyu over it (fancy word for soy sauce) and you have a meal that is nutritionally dense and is the same price as something off the dollar menu.

It’s really not that hard.  Eating healthy seems like such a hassle and all those recipes you see on pinterest are just so complicated and have words like “nutritional yeast” and you have no idea what the means…HELP.  Think simplicity. The most important thing to remember is unprocessed, organic when possible, simple ingredients, and words you can understand.   PEACE.

 

Okay, here’s the second part of this blog post.  MY TOP 5 THINGS TO HAVE IN YOUR KITCHEN. There is nothing that can ruin your healthy diet quicker than hunger and lack of preparation.  Keep these things on hand in your kitchen, so you won’t derail your healthy diet quicker than quick.

 

1.) Almonds

My most versatile nut.  I make milk, I throw them on smoothie bowls, I toast them and put them on savory dishes.  I dice them and put them on salads.  Just buy almonds, and use them for snacking/breakfast/lunch/dinner.

2.) Bananas

The best fast food.  Running late? Banana. Starving? Banana. Smoothie? Banana. Breakfast? Banana. Lunch? Almond butter and banana. Dessert? Banana ice cream.

3.) Dates

Not the cheapest food out there. And sometimes you buy them and they are dried up and gross.  BUT, these little sweet guys are great at everything.  I use them in my almond milk, I snack on them, I put them with almonds (see #1) and make my own trail mix.  Craving something sweet? Dates.  Dates are a fruit, high in calories, but 300 times better for you than grabbing that bag of M&M’s and crashing later.  GO ON DATES EAT DATES BE HAPPY.  Dates don’t last long in my house, I see Peter snacking on them constantly and well, this makes me happy.

4.) Quinoa 

Quinoa can be used at every meal.  Breakfast quinoa is a big hit and high in protein to start the day.  For lunch, quinoa is close to always on my salad. Dinner? Quinoa and vegetables. Hungry? Quinoa fills you up because it is a complete protein.  Buy quinoa.

NUMBER 5!

Avocados. Duh.  Easily the star of every meal, and I find myself putting hot sauce on them for snacks. High in healthy fat and way higher in nutrients than any other fatty snack you are gonna put in your mouth.  Choose avo.

 

To wrap up this blog post, I want to say that I’m working on a new project and I can’t wait to share results/testimonies/etc.  It’s not my easiest quest, but I’m doing it for my love of health, nutrition, and my body.

 

have a fantastic weekend, all.

 

Normally, when I sit down to write my fingers just, go.  I have no problem with creating a story behind my many blog posts and I normally just write about what is on my mind.  Today, I had something on my mind but I decided to take a different route.  I wanted to write a post on my thoughts on the question “should I eat this?”  I hate that question.  But anyways, I sat down to write and I was basically brain dead.  The sentences didn’t flow, I kept deleting, re-writing, grabbing another coffee, taking weird snap chats, etc.

I didn’t want to write about this.  I wanted to erase it from my memory forever and I never wanted to address it again.  My memory isn’t the best so I thought that as long as I didn’t write about it, didn’t discuss it, I would slowly just…forget.

But I felt compelled to write about it after going completely brain dead on my last post, and I think I will somehow tie it all together. Bear with me.

We all know and preach the phrases, “never take life for granted” or “you only live once”.  Do they ever really resonate with you? Or are they just mindless statements that we preach when we have too much to drink?

The car was so silent on our way home from Breckenridge that night, there was a certain thickness in the air.  I couldn’t be upset, I didn’t know this girl.  But I was unsure what to do with these feelings I had inside of me.

I remember taking videos of Bodhi, my puppy, and her face was in the background. I remember the way she looked at her son as he ran around the patio. She sat across from me at the table.  I didn’t know her, we just were introduced a few hours ago.

She shook my hand when she came to the bar after a long day of snowboarding.  We exchanged the basic “It is nice to meet you” phrase and we all sat around a table outside, on this beautiful Colorado day.

That night, after we all said our goodbyes and parted ways, she got into a car accident, and passed away.  The happy-go-lucky group of people that surrounded me the majority of my day were in absolute hysterics.  How could this happen?  She was 26.  6 months older than I am.

I don’t have the right to be upset, and I don’t think upset is the right term for my state of mind this past week.

We try so hard to be fit for bikini season, to eat healthy, to exercise everyday.  We beat ourselves up over every.little.thing.  Why didn’t I do this? Why did I eat that? It finally resonated with me this week; life is so very fragile. We don’t have time to over analyze every situation.  We don’t have time to get upset that something didn’t go our way.  We don’t have time.

What happens if you are disabled later in life, Monica?

Before, that was a question I asked myself occasionally.  I’ll be honest.  What happens if I can’t get out of bed one morning and I lose my mobility. What would I do then?

That question doesn’t even make sense to me anymore.

Of course we need to take care of ourselves. Eat right. Be healthy. But how very insignificant are worries and anxieties that plague us.  This is cliche, but life is truly short.  Too short for some.

Of course I can tell you in this blog post to never take a single day for granted.  Of course I can tell you to treasure everyday and every person that you have had the honor to know in this very short life.  But we are human, and anxieties will always get the best of us.

This situation was very overwhelming, and ridiculously upsetting.  My heart goes out to those who lost a family member, friend, or mother.

My heart felt heavy and I woke up on Sunday morning feeling like I experienced a dream. I barely knew her, and I never will know her again.  Her presence in my life was short-lived, yet this story has more of an impact on me than she will ever know.

Last week I got an email from this lovely girl who was diagnosed with MS last year.  She explained her diagnosis story and it sounded very similar to my own in the way we reacted to such an unfortunate diagnosis.  Luckily, we both live in Denver, so we decided to grab dinner last night.  She explained to me that people would often ask her the question what she would do if she couldn’t walk one day.  And she would ask herself that same question.

Then it came to her.  How is that question relevant?  How very ridiculous is it to worry over something that could potentially happen in 30 years, when our life could end tomorrow from something so very different than Multiple Sclerosis.

My mind immediately went back to that night in Breckenridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what are we focusing on here?

At work this week, I was doing research on many bloggers that focus on curative diets for various autoimmune diseases.  I dug very deep into cyber space to find others, like myself, that were focusing on living the healthiest life possible to prevent symptoms or eventual disability with an autoimmune disease.  To my surprise, I found about three wellness blogs focusing specifically on Multiple Sclerosis.  THREE?   I found a lot of blogs that would discuss medication, chronic pain, sleeplessness, fear of the unknown, poems, “fuck MS”, the list goes on and on….

I’m sure everyone knows where I’m going with this one…(maybe.)

I’m not saying this a bad thing.  It’s nice sometimes to read relatable material, if you are going through a hard time with your Multiple Sclerosis.  It’s also so easy to fall into a pity party and think that it’s inevitable that you eventually will be disabled.

I’m ALSO not saying that everyone with Multiple Sclerosis needs to turn around and drink green juice all day long. (even though they should)

But, what are we giving power to? 

If you haven’t already figured this out, the mind is an extremely powerful mechanism.  I am a firm believer in what we think, we become.  

Health is more than drinking green juice all day long or eating a mostly raw vegan diet.  (Even though I am a firm believer this helps.)

Health is positive thinking.  Health is surrounding yourself with people that don’t treat you like “that sick girl”.  Health is not allowing the disease to take away from who YOU are.

I truly believe that sitting around all day and reading a forum on how to prevent chronic pain, is going to give you chronic pain.

I’m not a doctor, but what we think, we become.  

Sometimes when I’m having a bad day and I’m throwing myself a pity party I’m so quick to be like, “MY MS IS ACTING UP.” Then I realize I’m acting like an asshole, and it’s all in my head.  What we think, we become. 

To sum this big long, kinda rant up, all I’m trying to say is….DON’T YOU WANT TO GET BETTER?  Stop focusing on all the negative parts of this disease, and bring out the positive ones.  Start truly believing that you will be the exception to this disease.  Start reading women with positive stories that have turned around their MS.  It’s almost a little too ironic that some of these women with positive stories decided on healing themselves, and they did.  And none of them follow the same diet.  Just some food for thought.

I know personally, I won’t let myself get sick.  I have a blog to keep up with and a success story to tell.

 

Check out these blogs:

http://www.msdietforwomen.com

http://www.elanaspantry.com

http://www.youcanbeatMS.com

 

Plus,  this woman is always an inspiration, and I highly recommend her book.

 

http://www.annboroch.com

 

 

 

failure, failure, failure.

At 22 it’s okay to be unsure what you want to do with your life, but by 25, if you do not know, you need help. Not sure when I became an adult but Sallie Mae calls me every morning telling me to pay my loans and that couldn’t be more of a wake up call.

I never had a problem getting a job in my life.  I moved to Denver, Colorado 100% confident by November 15th I would have a new career.  It’s January 13th and I sit here absolutely dumbfounded that this process has taken as long as it did.  I am almost ashamed of myself while people whisper under their breath “is she picky?”  Maybe.

I grew up the star in every play  – for the majority of my life I was given an odd amount of attention for my victories and being an only child for 8 years of my life only fed into this. Failure was never really a word in my vocabulary, I rarely got rejected.  I landed every job I interviewed for, most people knew me because of my angelic soprano voice, and my parents consistently made me feel like I was the best.  

Bare with me here, I’m not as conceited as that previous paragraph sounds.  Actually quite the opposite.

I moved to Denver in this “only child” mindset that I was going to kill it out here.  “I lived in New York City, Philadelphia….Denver will be a piece of cake!” This couldn’t be further from the truth.  I’ve applied for over 150 jobs, landed about 15 interviews, where I got offered 0 jobs.  Fuck. How did this happen?

As you know from my previous blog posts, I normally turn my negative experiences into positive ones and that is exactly what I am going to do here.

In all this chaos of not having a job lined up, my bills piling up, and being bored to death most of the weekdays, I found this sense of calm.  I’m not crazy, I promise.  I actually feel as if I have never been happier.  WHY?  Because in some weird, dusty corner of my brain I feel as if everything is going to fall into place.  I’ve been rejected over and over and over and yet I still maintain this quiet, humbled happiness that everything is going to turn out okay.

I’m not saying I haven’t burst out in tears every time I was let down, but a sense of calmness came quickly after every burst of tears.

What a grounding experience.  Rejection is a normal part of life, something I never really experienced, and it’s about damn time I experienced this and was brought back down to earth.

Maybe this rejection period of my life is finally transitioning me into adulthood.  Maybe it’s not the countless calls I get from Sallie Mae everyday to pay my, excuse my language, fucking expensive college tuition.  Maybe rejection is just what I needed on my journey.

WOW. I sound super Denver right now.

After all that being said, I did get a phone call that was a hopeful one.  I’m going to be working for a company that I have been following closely for years as their Wellness Blogger discussing curative diets for MS, Diabetes, and Arthritis.  So there is silver lining.  I stayed on top of my shit, cried when I needed to, and dealt with a mass amount of rejection and now I actually have a pretty cool gig – that will potentially turn into full time work.

So after feeling like a failure for the past 3 months and being rejected every time I applied for something, something good did come out of that.  A period in my life I will never forget and will always keep in the back of my mind.  Stay humble.  Stay grounded.  Go on.

 

fun facts: is my boyfriend vegan?

MONICA IS YOUR BOYFRIEND VEGAN?!

I get this question, a lot.  Since we live together, and I’m always posting my food everybody seems to want to know the answer…is Peter vegan? How does he respond to this lifestyle? How do we go out to eat?  What do I cook to sustain him? So I’m gonna go over all of these questions – but just because Peter is very receptive to the vegan lifestyle, does not mean you can’t practice a vegan life with a meat-eating boyfriend.  (BUT it does make it easier when you have someone curious about why you do not eat meat.)

To answer the question, and hopefully not letting you down, Peter is NOT a vegan.  As a former college basketball standout, Peter was always in touch with nutrition – and when I came into his life, it really only heightened his awareness.  His diet is mostly plant-based since we eat at home a lot and we only cook vegan food.  A lot of people are probably thinking, “That poor guy.”  But I can honestly say it has never been an issue in our relationship and cooking and finding new vegan recipes is something we have in common.  Even though he knows eating a plant-based diet makes me happy, I can not say he does it strictly for me.  He used to have a lot of stomach issues, and he told me that eating mostly a plant-based diet has quelled a lot of his digestive issues.  

**BUT, I do have to say this one thing.  We make a lot of recipes that state, “serves 8” or “serves 6” and we normally do not have any leftovers.  So this can be expensive.  Eating a plant-based diet (when consuming produce) is significantly cheaper, but a lot of ingredients you need for vegan recipes can be price-y.  (i.e.: nutritional yeast, raw/organic nuts and seeds, avocados, quinoa, etc.)

So that answers the how do I make enough plant-based food to sustain my 6’9 boyfriend.  I make a LOT of food, and expect no leftovers.  For breakfast, if I am home, i’ll make a LARGE green smoothie, and i’ll make sure it has enough calories for him.

Pete’s High Calorie Smoothie (PHCS)

1 Cup Raw Almond Milk (See Recipe below!)

2 Tbs Peanut Butter (I use the Whole Foods, not sugar/salt added, freshly ground)

1 handful of spinach

2 Frozen Bananas

1 Scoop PLANT FUSION chocolate protein powder (http://www.plantfusion.net)

1 Scoop Amazing Grass Wheatgrass Powder (http://www.amazinggrass.com)

Blend + Serve immediately!

 

One of our favorite activities is eating, therefore, we enjoy finding new restaurants to enjoy – especially living in a new city.  Yes, we do eat at vegan restaurants a decent amount because I have no issues with the menu, BUT we do not limit ourselves to vegan places.  Lately, veganism has really “taken off” so a lot of restaurants expanded their menu and have either a couple vegan dishes or a full vegan menu.  This is especially true for Denver.  I found that Denver, not as vegan friendly as Philadelphia, is more into locally sourcing their food and they tend to always offer a “v/o” vegan option.  

our favorite philly places:

Royal Tavern *vegan friendly*: this place is great late night, not late night, lunch, anytime.  Best vegan cheesesteak – hands down.  The atmosphere is cool, beware of hipsters.

Red Hook Cafe *vegan friendly*: best BLTA (tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, veganaise)

V Street *vegan*: Hopefully i’m going here tonight.  I couldn’t come back to Philadelphia without a stop.  Don’t fuck around with Charlie was a Sinner, Bar Bonbom, …just get right to the good stuff.  V Street is the sister restaurant of Vedge, which is also in Philadelphia and voted best vegan restaurant in the country.  Vedge is fantastic, but I prefer V Street. Less expensive, and maybe i’m just a fan of street food.  Don’t leave without getting the Tempeh Tacos. You’re welcome.

Zahav *not vegan  – but vegan friendly by default*: who doesn’t love hummus?  Zahav is modern Israeli cuisine, and absolutely delicious.  It looks like you’re walking into a doctors office, but the inside is dimly lit and trendy and if you are like me you could create an entire meal out of their many different dips.  Save your money and go binge on their hummus, just politely let them know you are a vegan.

 

our favorite denver spots, three months in:

Sushi Den *not vegan – but vegan friendly by default*: okay so we live in a landlocked state, but this place is not fucking around with their fish.  Every morning at 4am, the fish is flown to Denver from Japan.  What?! Anyways, I wasn’t eating the fish regardless but, I was worried Peter would leave with some fish-y disease.  See what I did there? Anyways, great vegetable rolls and delicious eggplant apps.  Plus, Peter says the fish is fantastic.  Save your money and go.

Root Down *locally sourced food – mostly anything on the menu can be made vegan*: pleasantly surprised with this place.  We went there as a last minute meal before we flew out to Philadelphia and it was fantastic.  Everything is locally sourced and the menu is constantly changing.  The Tofu Korma was the newest on the menu and absolutely amazing.  PLUS they have a raw vegan pre-fixed meal once a month, so we will be back.

 

I hope this answers all your questions, and hopefully you can hit one of our favorite spots. I would love to hear what you think – so email me, message me, whatever! And for all those concerned that I wasn’t feeding my boyfriend enough, I think this post speaks for itself.  We like to eat.

 

Everyone have a healthy and happy holiday!

 

xx

 

 

 

french fries are vegan: driving 1754 miles with dietary restrictions

McDonald’s. Roy Rodgers. Cinnabon.

Drive another 200 miles.

Wendy’s. Applebees. Auntie Annes.

I just drove 1,754 miles to Denver, Colorado as a vegan and I formulated a little list on things to remember when you are
traveling across the country with dietary restricitons. Inbetween major cities, the word ‘vegan’ does not seem to resonate with anybody, so you have to be prepared. ALSO this post can help even if you aren’t traveling and you want to stick to a vegan diet while eating out.

My trip started in New Jersey when I went to stay with my parents house for a couple days. My parents have a go-to place they go Friday and Saturday nights for dinner. The Village Pub in Logan Township, NJ is far from the ideal ‘vegan’ joint so here’s what I did.

1.) Scan the menu for any vegetarian dishes. What meatless choices does the place have to offer?

2.) Narrow it down to a few vegetarian dishes – now ask yourself, what can I eliminate to make it vegan?

Example: I noticed the village pub had a black bean veggie burger served on a brioche bun. I asked for my ‘burger’ patty
to be served on a bed of greens instead of a brioche bun, to be served without any cheese and to add avocado on top. I also asked for sweet potato fries. Because who doesn’t like fries.

3.) I know you’re thinking that’s annoying AF but what I try to do is make it a little bit of a joke. I always start the conversation with, “well i’m annoying BUT” even though I know i’m not annoying and it’s just how I eat. Some restaurants respond really well to a vegan diet, you would be surprised. Some will even make you a completely vegan “off-the-menu” dish, you
just have to speak up and be confident in what you do.
4.) If you’re dining with people you haven’t dined with before, I find it to be a great conversation starter. Most people I have
dined with have been very receptive to my diet and always want to hear more and love asking a lot of questions. Note: I never push my lifestyle on anybody. I try to lead by example and by being knowledgeable about the vegan lifestyle. I will never put down anybody for eating meat or having cheese, I practice compassion even when people might not agree with why I do what I do.

Okay, so I need to eat on the open road and i’m not sure that McDonald’s is gonna cut it.
1.) BE PREPARED. Pack high calorie snacks that are gonna sustain you throughout your trip. I’m not talking oreos and chips – pack something that is unprocessed… or you are going to have a major drop in your mood/energy level… and you’re going to stop at McDonald’s to refuel and fix your headache that you think is because you’re hungry…. but it’s actually because you’ve been eating shit the whole road trip. Bananas, coconut, seeds, nuts.

2.) What did I pack to sustain me through 8 hours of driving? Trail mix. Pecans, almonds, walnuts, dried rasins and
coconut. I never got hungry until dinner – and that was the goal. I also found a market with local apples at a rest stop
in Pennsylvania. So I loaded up on those. The main thing to remember is be prepared. Make sure you are getting in enough
calories and staying away from foods that are going to make you crash.

3.) Dinner. Not a lot of dinner spots unless you want Auntie Anne’s off I-70, so I always tried to stay in a town a little off
the highway – with some different dinner options. In Ohio, we had Chinese food which of course had a vegetarian section, and for my road trip companion, a full gluten free menu. In Missouri we ate at this adorable cafe – not a ton of vegan options, but I did what I did back in Jersey – add in things and eliminate things.

4.) The main thing i’m going to say — eating ‘clean’ or as clean as possible is JUST as important on the road as it is in your
daily life. Driving 8/9 hours a day is extremely taxing and if you have foods in your system that aren’t fueling you properly,
you are going to feel awful. I can honestly say I drove without any problems and made it to Denver in 3 full days of driving.
Happy to say I am now a resident of Denver, colorado. These past two days I have eaten at some very vegan-friendly places that offer me a full menu and I don’t have to worry about eliminating, adding, etc. I just eat. Sometimes that’s nice too.

xx