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On Empathy and Community

Posted by on 9:17 am in Recipes and Reviews | 2 comments

On Empathy and Community

I’ve had a lot of feelings recently about the world. I know that sounds pretty big and pretty generic, but that’s the level I’ve been thinking about it on. I don’t have the answers to many of the tragic things happening in our world these days, but I do have some thoughts on what I think could help put the pieces back together. I was traveling last week and these thoughts on empathy and community popped into my head. This recording is unedited, so sometimes the words escape me and sometimes I use the words incorrectly, but I think it gets across the basics of what I was thinking at the time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic and/or thoughts and constructive criticism about my monologue here. Sometimes I am too much with the world, and it weighs heavily on me. Writing is usually my preferred mode of conveying those emotions and thoughts, but in this case, a recording had to do. As vegans, it’s important that we think about how to create a more compassionate and empathetic world, where we do as little harm possible to the beings around us. “The grave’s a fine and private place/But none, I think, do there embrace.” – Andrew Marvell   Community and Empathy...

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Camping Season + Tin Lid Hat Co

Posted by on 8:00 am in Recipes and Reviews | 0 comments

Camping Season + Tin Lid Hat Co

Today I want to talk about two things I’m incredibly excited about: camping and the Tin Lid Hat Co. I can’t believe I’m already seeing back to school ads everywhere! It seems like just yesterday my little one was getting out of school and we had the entire summer ahead of us. While I’m a bit sad that the summer is starting to give way to talk of cooler temperatures and earlier bed times, I am excited for what the rest of the summer has in store. I have to admit that camping with a baby has been a bit of an adventure. When my eldest was little, we didn’t too much tent camping, but we’ve since made it a tradition, so we are kind of newbies when it comes to camping with an infant. The first time we went out we had to leave a night early – the little one likes to scream when we try to put her to bed, which doesn’t make for a great camping neighbor. However, our yearly, week-long trip is just around the corner, and even if we can’t control what the baby does, we can make sure that we are well-fed. Here are a few of my all-time favorite campfire meals: Pizza Pockets French Toast Grilled Tempeh with Mushrooms And, if you need a little refresher on how to cook over the campfire, be sure to check out my primer. Aside from having great food, the husband will also be sporting a new cap courtesy of the Tin Lid Hat Co. Even though I gave this one to the husband, I am definitely going to pick one up for myself, too. These hats are awesome. And honestly, I generally don’t think of hats as something that can really have any outstanding or unique features. The Hemp hat from the Tin Lid Hat Co., however, is one of the softest and nicest hats I’ve ever seen. The color is perfect for outdoor activities – it won’t show dirt – and it even has a loop on one side to stash a pen or pencil when you want to jot down notes in your journal or when you are working on an outdoor project. Not only is the hat amazingly comfortable and made out of 100% hemp (and it’s adjustable), but it’s also made by a company with a conscience. For each hat you purchase, Tin Lid Hat Co. will plant a tree. This type of business model has become more popular over the years, but it’s one case where I think imitation is welcome. I’ll keep you posted on how our trip goes – fingers crossed that our little one acclimates quickly! What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Disclaimer: I received the hemp hat for free from the Tin Lid Hat Co. as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review...

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Finding the Right Substitutes with the Right Apps

Posted by on 9:56 am in Recipes and Reviews | 0 comments

Finding the Right Substitutes with the Right Apps

Most people who contemplate going vegan and aren’t forced to go on the diet because of medical conditions are often hesitant to do so because of the idea of going vegan seems restrictive. After all, there are so many surprising things that vegans can’t eat – as if the thought of giving up SAD (standard American diet) wasn’t enough. Luckily, there are many solutions available that can help you find substitutions for your favorite products that can help immensely as you transition to a vegan lifestyle. From the delicious dairy-free substitutes for cheese, to the wonders of natural sweeteners, it’s actually not that hard to continue eating the same meals you once were – all it takes it a bit of research and an open mind. The process has been made even easier now by the growth of mobile, which the makers of Iceland Bingo say is one of the most powerful trends in the internet landscape today. As more and more people rely on their phones for information, developers create apps that suit their needs. If you’re ever in a bind and don’t know how to find vegan substitutes for an ingredient, consider using one of the following apps that I’ve found to be exceptionally useful: 1. Substitutions Gormaya’s Substitutions is probably one of the most prominent substitutions apps on the market. With over a thousand different products that allow you to search for items based on alcohol content, allergens, gluten content and of course, vegan-friendliness, many have found that Gormaya provides a simple and elegant solution to a long-enduring problem. 2. Food Substitutes Food Substitutes doesn’t just provide you with substitutes for some of your favorite food, it also gives you a bit of an explanation and background information on the food so that you can figure out why the substitute is better. This allows you to make more informed choices in the future, as well as learn how to best prepare your new ingredient. 3. SubUlator SubUlator is more of a baking app than anything else, but what makes it unique is how it gives users precise measurements of substitutes so that there is virtually no need to estimate. There are also intensive instructions on how to use the substitutes, eliminating guesswork entirely. There are also apps out there that can help you determine if the products you’re about to buy fit into your new specialized diet. By exploring these resources, you’re sure to find that there’s no need to say goodbye to your favorite food if you want to go...

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Exploring Natural Remedies

Posted by on 8:00 am in All Posts | 0 comments

Exploring Natural Remedies

Even though I eat a fairly clean, plant-based diet, I have to admit that I don’t always feel like a million bucks. Feeling  like you aren’t 100% is a huge drain on the mind and body, and it can often seem like there’s no quick solution. Since I’m well into training for my 50k in October, I want to make sure that I’m recovering quickly and feeling my best. From heartburn to general feelings of discomfort, I’ve been running into a few issues that I am trying to resolve quickly. However, rather than head straight to the doctor, I wanted to explore some natural remedies first. As many commercials and even doctors would have us believe, when we aren’t feeling quite right, medication may be the answer. Whether it’s over-the-counter or prescribed, medications can have many side effects and pitfalls that we may not initially think about. While I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t take medications if needed, I do think that some natural remedies could be substituted when the issue is mild or you’ve tried medications with no success. I’ve done a bit of initial research, which is below, but I’m open to your thoughts on what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what I should try. I haven’t really landed on anything in particular to help with my overall wellness, but I wanted to start the conversation. Natural remedies versus medication Natural remedies such as essential oils, herbs, homemade lotions, and supplements, which have been around for hundreds of years, can be just as effective as pharmacy-bought medicines when it comes to feeling better. Items that you may find in your kitchen or garden, such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon, horseradish, cayenne pepper, lemon, aloe vera, black cohosh, chamomile, echinacea, and lavender, as well as natural medicines found in health stores, can all be sourced relatively easily, and can help with a variety of discomforts. Should you put your faith in natural remedies? The truth is that there is no easy answer, but given that some of these remedies have existed for hundreds of years, you have to wonder if there must be some truth behind the supposed health benefits of herbs, spices, and oils. What we do know about natural remedies is that they often have far fewer side effects than manufactured medications, and they can be much cheaper and easier to source or purchase. Natural remedies also offer a way to ease symptoms without a costly visit to a doctor or hospital, and can set you down the path of improving your habits in all areas of your life (cleaner eating, mindfulness, etc.). Treating more serious ailments in the natural way Aside from relatively everyday issues, natural remedies can be used in the fight against more complicated conditions, including coping with autism and ADHD. While there is still some debate as to what causes these disorders in children, the intervention of natural medicine, rather than those mass-produced by pharmaceutical companies, is being used more and more throughout treatment programs. While a healthy diet, limiting sugar and artificial ingredients, and structured programs are all recommended to assist with the treatment of the condition, the truth is that coping with autism on your own can often be very difficult, regardless of whether it is you or a loved one facing...

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Let’s Talk About Supplements

Posted by on 11:12 am in Nutrition and Wellness, Product Reviews | 1 comment

I’ve been deep in the weeds with more things that I can count lately, but I wanted to pop in and share a few things with all of you before I disappear into the wild again. Since I gave birth to my youngest last summer, I’ve been back in the gym hitting it hard. With all of the talk about supplements and if they are truly worth it, I wanted to weigh in with my own opinions and experience with vegan supplements. As always, I value your opinion and would love to hear about your own experience or recommendations in the comments. I’ve going to dive head first into the nitty gritty here – enjoy! Vegan Supplements for Athletes EnergyBits – Quite a while back (like, embarrassingly long ago), I received a sample of EnergyBits to try out. EnergyBits are a very simple item – algae in pill form.  From their site, EnergyBits are, “Made from 100% organically grown, non-GMO spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients.” The best part is that EnergyBits algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab. In addition to being a great source of accessible protein, the tabs also provide energy that is long-lasting, so you eliminate the need for caffeine or high-sugar post/pre-workout drinks. Taking them is a bit weird – you essentially swallow 30 tabs as a serving. I definitely recommend breaking that down into about 10 tabs at a time, but by consuming them this way they have no taste, which is nice if you are leery of how algae tastes. When I used them pre-workout, there was a recognizable boost in energy and I felt as though recovery was much faster. I have been using these on and off throughout my training recently, but that’s mostly due to cost than anything else – a bag of about 33 servings is $115. Verdict: If you have the means, I definitely recommend using this supplement to boost your pre-workout energy without all of the sugar and other additives. Yuve – When I was approached about trying out this new protein/nutritional powder, I wasn’t optimistic. My go-to protein powder is Sun Warrior, and I have never found another that I like quite as much. However, I have to say that Yuve is a worthy rival. They only have one flavor – Raw Chia with Cocoa – and it blended very well into my usual green smoothie (spinach, pumpkin puree, protein powder, and almond milk). I really enjoyed the flavor, and felt the chia seeds gave it a nice texture. The flavor almost had a bit of a raspberry undertone, which was a nice change from my normal vanilla flavor. Their powders have a ton of nutrients, and they are packaged in a mostly clean powder that mixes well with just about anything. A serving has 16g of protein and 2g of sugar, which is a fantastic ratio – especially for a plant-based powder. Verdict: The cost is comparable to other vegan protein powders, and the protein-to-sugar ratio makes this a must-try for any vegan athlete. Vega Bars and Pre-Workout drinks – One of my staples is the Vega Pre-Workout Energizer. This mix is something I have before and during workouts to help boost my energy and...

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Lemon-Herb Farro Salad

Posted by on 8:30 am in Recipes and Reviews | 3 comments

Lemon-Herb Farro Salad

I recently took an extended break from grains. When I say extended, I’m talking 6-8 months or so of essentially grain-free living. I don’t have a sensitivity, nor do I eschew grains in my diet for any reason, but I’m a believer in changing things up every once in a while, and I’m sort of (really) obsessed with doing self-experimentation. For several months, I diligently took detailed notes about what I ate, how I felt, and what my athletic performance was like. I’ve been searching for various ways to enhance my performance, au naturale, of course, and ditching the grains was just the latest test that I ran on myself. After a long period of testing and tweaking, I realized that my grain intake had very little to do with my performance, in fact, in some cases, the lack of grains seemed to inhibit my performance*. In the bitterly cold cooler months, I normally gravitate toward warm, hearty grains to fill me up and keep me feeling toasty, so I was really missing that this year. Even though the weather is warming up, I’m still excited to be back to my grains on a regular basis. One such grain that I’ve grown to love is farro. I’m probably late to the party here, but once I started adding grains back in my diet, I found an unopened package of farro in my cupboard and I haven’t looked back since. I first started using it as a replacement for my evening cereal fix (Lent), but grew to love it in just about any application you can think of (edible application, that is). You can pick up farro at just about any store these days, normally in the health section of your local supermarket. I like the par-cooked version from Trader Joe’s, but honestly, the uncooked version doesn’t take all that much longer to get tender, so any type you can find can be whipped up quickly.   This recipe lets the farro be the star of the show while still bringing the other bright flavors out to play. The nutty flavor of the farro is perfectly complemented by the zestiness of the lemon, and the creamy texture makes it a delightful side dish for any meal. Again, farro cooks quickly, so you can have this dish ready in less than an hour (even quicker if you pre-cook the farro over the weekend or on a free evening). I hope you love this super-grain as much as I do – it’s definitely a nice change from my normal brown rice side! PrintLemon-Herb Farro Salad Ingredients2 cups Cooked Farro 2 tbsp Lemon Juice (half a lemon) 2 tbsp Chopped Chives 1 tbsp Dried Dill 1/4 tsp Salt 2 tsp Olive Oil (optional) DirectionsIf you've never cooked farro before, or need to prep it for this recipe, simply add 1 cup of farro to a pot of boiling water. Turn it down and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. You can check back often to ensure it's the right texture. It should have a slightly creamy feel, with a bit of bite still left. Drain the farro and let cool. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Top with a bit of lemon zest and extra dill. Chill for at least...

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Diving into Vegan Pressure Cooking by JL Fields

Posted by on 10:10 am in Recipes and Reviews | 0 comments

Diving into Vegan Pressure Cooking by JL Fields

  I know I’m late to the party (the cookbook came out in January), but Vegan Pressure Cooking by JL Fields is just too good not to share with you all! Not only is JL one of my dear friends, but she also wrote one hell of a cookbook. I had the privilege of recipe testing for this book, and I have to say that it was a truly enjoyable experience. The recipes are so tasty, that you will hardly believe they are so simple to prepare. And that, my dear readers, is the main point of JL’s cookbook; Delicious, compassionate food doesn’t have to take forever to prepare. JL uses a myriad of grains, beans, and veggies to bring to you tasty recipes that you can pull together in mere minutes – literally. If you have ever watched Food Network, you’ve probably seen someone struggling with a pressure cooker. But the reality is that pressure cookers are easy-to-use and in my opinion, an essential kitchen tool. A pressure cooker can take a grain, bean, or veggie that would normally take hours to cook and get a meal on your table within a half hour or less. JL takes the pressure cooker and makes it an approachable tool, and I promise that realizing you can use a pressure cooker in your everyday life will truly change the way you think about preparing healthy, tasty meals. From soups and stews to seitan and porridges, JL offers tons of recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All of the recipes are made with both compassion and health in mind, and each recipe is flexible enough to allow you some creativity in the kitchen. Today I get to share with you one of my personal favorites from the cookbook, JL’s Oat, Carrot, and Amaranth Porridge. I personally eat this for breakfast several times a week, but it makes a hearty side for dinners as well (and it reheats wonderfully for lunches or if you like to prep once a week). One of the best parts about this porridge (as is the case with many other recipes in this book) is that the base recipe is versatile. JL says to consider replacing the carrots with 1 cup (150 g) of vegetables that cook up in about four minutes: cubed butternut squash, cauliflower florets, or cubed fingerling potatoes. This approach gives you endless options for a quick and easy porridge that is quick enough for breakfast, yet hearty enough for dinner!  Oat, Amaranth, and Carrot Porridge 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan butter 1⁄4 cup (40 g) diced yellow onion 2 carrots, diced 1 cup (80 g) rolled oats 1 cup (130 g) amaranth 2 1⁄2 cups (588 ml) water 1 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon In an uncovered pressure cooker, heat the vegan butter on medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oats, amaranth, water, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cover and bring to pressure. Cook at high-pressure for4 minutes. Allow for a natural release. Yield: 4 servings Recipe reprinted with permission of the publisher. For more from JL, you can visit her blog where she posts regularly, or you can purchase her cookbook, Vegan Pressure Cooking, from any number of online retailers. *Links are not affiliate...

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Health Minute: 7 Vegetables that Burn Fat

Posted by on 4:30 am in Nutrition and Wellness | 0 comments

Health Minute: 7 Vegetables that Burn Fat

Look at your amazing faces! I can’t believe I’ve been away from them for so long! Well, I’m back, at least intermittently for a while, and I wanted to dive right into some great info that can help you on your journey to wellness, no matter where you are starting from. Whether you want to build muscle or lose weight (or even just maintain you current body), making sure that fat is used for energy rather than being stored is an important part of the equation. For the last few years, I’ve become more engrossed in studying my body and how it reacts to certain foods. I am a competitive athlete, so my main focus is building muscle. However, whether you want to build muscle or lose weight (or even just maintain you current body), making sure that fat is used for energy rather than being stored is an important part of the equation. In my experiments and research, I’ve tracked down seven vegetables that I consider key to burning fat. Again, burning fat as energy is important because it prevents you from storing it (which can cause weight gain), and it also prevents you from having to burn muscle for energy (which can cause muscle loss). These are foods that can boost your metabolism so that you are burning more fat throughout the day. In addition to increasing your metabolism, these vegetables also work to do things like eliminate toxins and regulate the hormones that are making it harder for your body to get rid of unwanted fat (if your goal is to lose weight). 7 Vegetables that Burn Fat Kale Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that you can find, making it one of the healthiest foods that you can eat. It also promotes the elimination of toxins and suppresses your appetite. When your body is clean and your appetite is under control, it is a lot easier for your metabolism to run at an optimal level. Broccoli Rabe This super vegetable stimulates the enzyme that tells the fat cells in the body that they need to start burning fat. This action is thanks to this vegetable being rich in sulforaphane, a type of phytonutrient. It essentially negotiates with fat cells so that they burn and disappear. Avocado Avocados are very high in monounsaturated fat and this allows cells and fat-burning hormones to better communicate with each other. It is also high in antioxidants so that it is able to protect cells from free radical damage so that the cell’s energy-producing component functions at its highest level. This causes a steady boost in your metabolism. Celery Celery is a simply vegetable that does not get nearly enough credit for the health benefits that it provides. Your body needs water for your metabolism to function at the highest level, and celery is primarily water. This helps to ensure that you have the fluids that your cells and body need to constantly burn fat. Carrots Carrots are best known for their high level of antioxidants, allowing them to fight off free radicals. This works to detoxify your body and this plays a major role in stimulating your metabolism. However, carrots are also rich in vitamin C and this vitamin is critical in reducing stress hormones. When your...

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Guest Post: Energizing Drink with Spirulina

Posted by on 10:28 am in All Posts, Recipes and Reviews | 1 comment

Guest Post: Energizing Drink with Spirulina

Today I have a guest post for you from Jarin Mariea, a physical therapist and student at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. This post contains some great information on the health benefits of spirulina as well as a recipe for a delicious drink that will provide you with all-natural energy for the day. I’ll leave the rest to Jarin! — There’s quite nothing like an energizing green juice to kickstart your day. Supermodels, athletes and health freaks alike wax eloquent on the benefits of a good green juice in the morning. Mornings are a great time to get a green juice in your system as the body needs energy to start the day and also as much help in flushing out as many toxins as possible. In this juice, I bring you the freshness of lemons, the detoxifying power of apples and the alkalizing rehydrating qualities of cucumber.  Our surprise ingredient in this super green juice is spirulina. Why spirulina? Read on to find out! Why is Spirulina energizing? Often touted as this magical ingredient, spirulina is recommended by health freaks everywhere, and with good reason. Essentially, spirulina is an algae that has all the eight essential amino acids that the body needs, along with another ten non-essential amino acids. The presence of all the essential amino acids in any food is what makes it a powerhouse; by that condition, spirulina is, in every way, a super powerhouse. Additionally, spirulina also contains a truckload of minerals like potassium, zinc, iodine, phosphorous, iron and selenium. It also has carotenoids which turn to vitamin A and are absorbed by the blood stream. All these enriching properties make spirulina an instant energizer for your body. Spirulina also fights aging, helps the body detox and is a proven weight loss ingredient. What about the other ingredients in the juice? Apples and cucumber in the green juice add fiber and freshness, a squirt of lemon juice helps your metabolism get the shoot it deserves and a pinch of salt helps the juice taste delicious. Recipe Ingredients: To make this energizing juice you’ll need: Apples – 3 medium sized ones Cucumbers – 2 medium sized ones Lemon juice – About 2 tsp Spirulina powder – A teaspoon for each serving Salt – A pinch, to taste. Method: Use a juicer (you can find my recommendations for the best juicer here) and juice the apples and cucumbers till all the juice is extracted. Add the lemon juice to the extracted juice and pour into serving glasses. Add the spirulina powder to each glass, mix it and then serve. Garnish with a cucumber wheel! Say hello to good health! __ Thanks so much for sharing, Jarin! If you have any comments or questions we’d love to hear from you in the comments!...

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A Very Vegan Cuts Holiday

Posted by on 5:30 am in All Posts | 2 comments

A Very Vegan Cuts Holiday

Since it’s internet debut, I’ve had a love affair with Vegan Cuts. For those of you who don’t know, Vegan Cuts is an online vegan marketplace that offers tons of vegan goodies at low prices. And we aren’t just talking about food (though, if we are being honest, that’s the only thing we are concerned with anyway) – they have tons of great deals on compassionate accessories, environmentally-conscious gifts, and more. I didn’t have time to put together my usual gift guide (you can view my previous guides here), but I still wanted to offer up some fun suggestions for gift-giving this holiday season. Vegan Cuts to the rescue! They are seriously a one-stop shop for the holidays, and I’ve curated a few of my favorite items for you. Vegan Gifts for Friends and Family Travel Love Bird Wallet These adorable faux leather wallets are perfect for carrying all of your necessities around town and make the perfect gift for the fashion-forward person in your life. These come in various colors and are seriously a steal at just $15. Also, for a limited time you get a free pair of earrings with purchase!   DIY Sprouting Kit for Kids One of my biggest struggles around the holidays is finding educational gifts for the kids that are also fun. I love giving gifts to the kids that are more than just stuff, and this sprouting kit is just what I’ve been looking for. It’s easy to get started growing their own sprouts, and it’s also a great way to teach them about making healthy eating choices and about knowing where our food comes from. They’ll love watching them grow and when it comes time to eat they’ll be over-the-moon! Holiday Chocolate Gift Pack Chocolate. That’s all I really need to say here. I’m definitely getting one of these for all of the littles in my life (and for myself, too). Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you should be denied shiny-wrapped chocolates shaped like Santa. Emmy’s Organics Chocolate Lovers Pack Ok, more chocolate, I know. But it’s just so darn delicious I can’t help myself! I have a pack of the dark cocoa macaroons sitting in my desk right now, and I have to say there’s no better treat on a cold afternoon than a hot cup of tea or coffee and an Emmy’s macaroon. These are wholesome snacks that satisfy even the strongest sweet tooth – anyone who loves chocolate will surely love this as a gift! Gift Boxes and Subscriptions Vegan Athlete Kit  My own vegan athlete kit arrived last week, and I’m already swooning over it! From hemp seeds and protein powders to coconut oil and natural energy drinks, this kit has it all. For less than $25 you can give your favorite vegan athlete an awesome tool kit to keep them energized through workouts and to help them recharge afterward. It’s filled with so many goodies that it will be the gift that gives well beyond the holidays. Vegan Snack Box Delicious vegan snacks delivered to your door each month? Who wouldn’t love that?! I can’t say enough about the quality and value that you get with the Vegan Cuts Snack Box each month. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving. The lucky recipient...

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