My Top 8 Vegan Restaurant Options

It is a constant struggle to get good, healthy, vegan food whilst eating out. It is especially difficult when you have a family that is not also vegan. I don’t like succumbing to only fries and a side salad.  For one, french fries aren’t healthy and at many restaurants they aren’t vegan. After transitioning to a plant based diet after New Year here are some of my more satisfying meals. Most are from national chains, but there are a few local and/or regional favorites here.

vegan eating out

1. Chipotle

I love Chipotle. I think almost everybody does. I actually have never actually had a burrito. Before it was because I was trying to do a low carb/paleo diet, now it is due to my wheat allergy. Also, the food is so filling I can’t imagine adding a huge tortilla into the mix. I typically get either the salad or a burrito bowl with brown rice. I get the sofritas with black beans, lettuce, onions & peppers, every salsa the offer, and guacamole. Before became vegan I had a love-hate relationship with beans, but I of course have had to let that go. I don’t like relying on a lot soy products for my protein so I switched to getting the veggie bowl instead of sofritas. I get both black beans and pinto beans and the biggest plus is that guacamole is FREE!

2. Taco Bell

I know fast food is not healthy period, but sometimes you can’t get around it. Taco bell is like the generic Chiptole for me. I either get black bean tacos, fresco style, with guacamole. Or the power bowl without sour cream, cheese, or avocado cream, and extra guacamole. With both meals I get a side of pintos without cheese. I would like it if they did like chipotle and gave guacamole for free if your getting no meat or dairy. I mean, they could at least give me that.

3. Chic-fil-a

I feel better about getting Chic-fil-a for myself and my family because they have been rated as one of the best fast food restaurants as far as hormones, pesticides, and GMOs, etc, are concerned. I usually get a large super-food salad that has kale, broccolini, nuts, and dried cherries. Or I will get their southwestern salad without chicken or cheese. I don’t get the salad a lot, because they will charge less without meat (some restaurants don’t), I still think its over priced.

4. Kimono Japanese (local)

This is a restaurant local to where I live, but I’m sure any hibachi place offers similar options. I get the spicy teriyaki dinner with tofu, mixed vegetables, and steamed rice. I made the mistake once of getting fried rice, I even remembered to ask for no egg, but I didn’t think about butter/margarine. I decided to go with steamed rice to be safe regardless.  They offer many vegan sushi rolls including: avocado, cucumber, sweet potato, mushroom, and veggie. I get the veggie which included avocado,cucumber, and asparagus. Asian is always a good choice because their food is usually naturally dairy free and the vegan choices don’t leave me staring at my families food like a sad puppy dog. The same goes for Mexican or Hispanic food;as long as a have plenty of GOOD avocado or guacamole.

5. Carrabbas

The other weekend, my husband wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to get his favorite lobster ravioli from Carrabbas for take out. We had been avoiding it since I found out about my dairy allergy, but I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice. But I had to figure out something I could get that would be satisfying. They now have a gluten free pasta. So I got it, along with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, in olive oil and garlic. I added some nutritional yeast when I got home and it was delicious. This same could probably be done at any Italian Restaurant. Pasta with marinara sauce is usually safe, but I typically like something a little more adventurous.

6. Chili’s

I thought I was safe getting guacamole and chips, which also come with salsa. I got that when eating their with some coworkers. My dairy allergy let me know that it was not a safe vegan option as that evening I was camped out on the toilet (sorry TMI). After researching I found out their tortilla chips have dairy. This makes as much sense as french fries and hash browns with dairy, but somehow they find a way to mess it up. When I checked their website they say to get guacamole with flour tortillas. For one, who the heck even wants that, and for two I can’t due to my wheat allergy. So my go to meal from Chili’s is black beans and rice or the quinoa blend if I’m feeling super healthy. I may also get a side salad or guacamole and/or salsa. I know it seems a little lack luster compared to the other options I’ve listed, but I really, really enjoy their black beans, so it works for me.

7. Mozzarella Fellas (local)

This list is not in ranking order, but I did save the best for last. This the latest jewel that I’ve discovered in my city. My husband was missing the New York pizza place from our home town, and someone suggest them.  I usually get a small veggie pizza without cheese from pizza places. If they have gluten free I get it, if not, I ignore my mild wheat allergy. When I checked then menu I was pleasantly surprised that they had several, not only vegetarian, but VEGAN options. They use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. Unlike the chain Mellow Mushroom, which I have not added to this list, because they use disgusting Daiya cheese.  They also have a vegan ranch and cashew flakes they use in place of Parmesan cheese. The dishes I’ve tried thus far are the crab cakes made with artichokes and heart of palm, Fit for  Queen margarita pizza, Bbq pizza made with jack fruit. What I like it that they realize that vegan cheese, even a superior brand, will never replace real cheese. So there pizzas are elevated with lots of other flavors. The vegan margarita pizza includes pickled red onions and a balsamic glaze. They Bbq pizza has bbq sauce, of course, jalapeños, and a ranch drizzle. This place is beyond awesome. My husband actually prefers another Italian Restaurant’s pizza over this place, but we compromise, because of their wonderful vegan options for me.

8. Smoothie King

Saturday mornings are traditional for fast food in my family. My husband loves McDonald’s breakfast but sometimes gets Bojangles or Taco Bell. We have a plethora of restaurants down the main road near our apartment. On the way to get his favorite fast food breakfast, I swing by smoothie king and get the Dark Chocolate Banana smoothie, with Kale. They always have a $1 off coupon on each receipt and I use the rewards to eventually get a free smoothie. Sometimes I treat my son to a Little Angel, their strawberry banana smoothie, or get a medium and share mine. I

I know there are many other options that are great for vegans, but this is what I’ve experienced thus far. I hope to find more places that will make eating out not such a pain. Or maybe I shouldn’t. The more tasty vegan options I find, the emptier my bank account is. What are some other good places you’ve found to be convenient and delicious options for vegans?

 

Vegan Breakfast Bites

Avoiding dairy, wheat, and meat sometimes makes for a depressing breakfast. As I am moving towards a more plant based diet, this is a major struggle. Popular breakfast choices like pancakes, bacon, sausage, toast, eggs, and yogurt are off limits. I know there are a lot of recipes outs there, but have trouble finding replacements for some of my favorites that I truly enjoy. Workdays are especially difficult as I don’t have time to prepare a kale and sweet potato hash. This is when I was happy to find Protein Energy balls. This is something I make a batch of and eat 4-6 for each morning. They stop me from dipping to the guidance office for candy, give me energy, and keep me full well into my planning/lunch break. These are two recipes I use:

  1. “Chocolatey” Version

Ingredients: chia seeds, flaxseeds, oats, cashews, almond butter, honey/agave nectar/maple syrup, coco powder, orange zest.

2. “Vanilla-y” verson

Ingredients: same as above except no coco power, and add banana, and vanilla extract.

Directions: Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse until crumbly yet mushy consistency is reached. Scoop spoonfuls out and roll into balls. Refrigerant until time of desired consumption.

energy-bites

Notes/Variations:

  • I will sometimes add dried fruit like cranberries, but have lately refrained because they typically have added sugar.
  • I know that honey is not vegan. You can choose whichever natural syrupy sweetener suites you best.
  • For the “vanilla-y” version I sometimes used lemon zest instead of orange zest.
  • Adding cinnamon and/chili powder to the “Chocolatey” ones adds a nice kick.
  • I usually use 2 of either chia seeds, flaxseeds, or oats. I rarely have all 3 stocked at the same time.  Omitting the oats will make these paleo friendly.
  • You could absolutely substitute other nuts such as walnuts or almonds instead of the cashews.
  • I’ve recipes that roll with in coconut.  I wish I liked coconut like that, it seems like such as great idea. Fell free to do this if you enjoy the taste of coconut flakes.
  • The banana in the vanilla-y ones can make the ball very mushy as it warms up. I would freeze these for a little bit and eat quicker so it doesn’t get too messy.

I hope you find this useful and enjoy!

Vegan Mac & Cheese

I am not a vegan, but I do try to eat a plant based diet most of the time. I highlighted some of my diet ideals in 7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan. mncAs I am allergic to dairy, eggs, and wheat/gluten, Macaroni and cheese is pretty much off limits for me. I’ve had to become very creative with my cooking. I have not become creative enough to make or invest in gluten free pasta.  I often ignore my mild allergies if becomes very inconvenient to adhere to them. I have made this same cheese sauce with spaghetti squash or zoodles making it gluten free. This particular recipe I made for my Vegan bestie as a Christmas gift. She said it was really good and it didn’t taste vegan. I ate some and it was good; although not as good as good ol’ fashioned macaroni and cheese. I think it was a little heavy on the garlic and cayenne pepper. You may notice from some of my other recipes that I don’t include measurements, and specifics about cooking time. That’s because unless I’m baking something I’ve never tried I don’t use them. Some of the things I cook I’ve just made up based on other recipes I’ve seen and what I think will work. My friend enjoyed the recipe though, or she just lied because she is too nice to tell me that my gift for her was nasty. Here is my simple recipe I used for vegan mac & cheese .

Ingredients: cashew milk, vegan butter, sweet potato, garlic power, onion power, salt, pepper, turmeric, mustard power, cayenne pepper, elbow macaroni noodles, bread crumbs, dried parsley.

Directions:

  1. Boil pasta until it is tender with a slight bite ( about 10 minutes)
  2. Once done, drain and set to the side.
  3. Cook sweet potato in microwave for about 5 minutes.
  4. Put sweet potato in a high powered blinder (i used a ninja) or food processor.
  5. Add cashew milk, vegan butter, and spices except parsley (use sparingly so you can add more if needed for desired smoothness and flavor)
  6. Blend ingredients until desired taste and texture is achieved
  7. Rub a baking dish with oil of your choice (I used olive)
  8. Add cooked pasta and prepared sauce
  9. In a small bowl melt some vegan butter and mix with bread crumbs
  10. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of pasta and cheese sauce.
  11. Sprinkle with parsley.
  12. Bake in oven on 400 until bubbly and golden brown.

I hope you enjoy!

Healthy Nappy Nerdy Mommy: Year 2016 in Review

All over social media there have been post and memes about how horrible 2016 has been. As I prepare for a new year of bettering myself, I thought it would be beneficial to focus on the positivity of 2016. New Year’s Eve is the perfect opportunity to fill in gaps and review some of the HEALTHY.NERDY.NAPPY.MOMMY awesomeness.

January

Being that this is pretty much National Diet Month,  I was busy trying different products and recipes to accumulate myself to my new lifestyle. I did a clean eating and yoga challenge, and we started officially trying to potty train my 18 month old son. Now I know it was too early, and we didn’t stick to it well. But it gave me a good chance to get some bare bottom photos as blackmail when he gets older.

yoga
Yoga Challenge

February

For Valentine’s Day my husband and I enjoyed a movie date to see “Deadpool”. It was a breath of fresh air to see this rated “R”, as a true “Deadpool” movie would have to be. We also enjoyed playing some “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4”. My son transitioned from stay at home dad care, to daycare. It was hard on us all, some of this I later shared in “Peez, Ana” . But it was also for the best.

March

March opened with Spirit Week at my school, and as the Student Council adviser I had to go all out with a X-men’s Storm costume. It wasn’t the best (couldn’t find the right wig), but good enough for the crowd I was serving. My students were calling me “Thunder Girl”, they didn’t even know my character’s name. It was my son’s 2nd birthday on the 14th so we planned a “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” party, complete with meatball sub buffet. As he was a big boy now he also got a small “Jake the Pirate” party with cupcakes and juice at daycare. For the 3rd birthday we just might leave it at treats at daycare and family dinner.

storm
“Thundergirl” aka “Storm”

April

This month was the grand debut of HEALTHY.NAPPY.NERDY.MOMMY! During Spring Break we did indoor camping in our little apartment living room. Complete with a fort, s’mores, kababs, and baked beans.It was also my husband’s birthday which and our dating anniversary that marked 9 wonderful years being together. We celebrated with a family party at his cousin’s, complete with Baskin Robin ice cream cake, a game stop gift card, his favorite Snickers &  Bacon- Cheddar gourmet popcorn, and a gamer screen t-shirt. His celebrations tend to be more family inclusive while mine are typically dates with just the 2 of us giving me a mommy break.

May

We celebrated Mother’s Day with yet another movie date highlighted in (Marvel)ous Mother’s Day. I cannot express how much I enjoyed “Captain America: Civil War”. This month I officially became a “Flexi-Vegan” and I was experimenting with vegan and allergen free recipes.

June

This is one of my favorite months because it marks the end of the school year and time for a short break. I always teach summer school, but in June I get a couple weeks off before I have to crack back at it. We enjoyed a small beach trip with my parents. It was also the month a tried my first Cross Fit class, and started watching the original “Dragon Ball” series for the first time.

cross-fit

July

The biggest thing that happened in July was the introduction of Pokemon Go. I was so excited about this game, but that excitement quickly fizzled and I don’t even have the app downloaded on my phone anymore, but they were good times while they lasted. I’m interested to see what the craze will be this year. July was capped by seeing Kakashi’s face in the latest episode of “Naturo: Shippuden”

flareon
My first Eevee evolution

August

I don’t know which is a bigger deal my wedding anniversary or Otakon. I don’t think my husband would even be mad at it. I talked about our excitement for Otakon in 6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom and fully anticipated doing a full post on it, but that never happened. So this is your mini overview of it. It was bitter sweet, as this was the last year it would be in Baltimore, MD. But I am excited for the new location. Otakon 2017 WILL have a post, maybe even an entire page dedicated to its greatness. In preparation for this trip and the start of a new school year, I got crochets for the first time. Its a great protective style, and I’ll never set for 10 hours getting individual sengalese twist or box braids on this thick head of hair again. Oh, yeah my son came back from staying with my parents while we were at Otakon potty trained! He still needed the pull up for night and doesn’t poop until then.

otakon
My seneglese twist crochets and excited for Otakon grin!

September

I entertained the ideas of starting a garden. I starting some romaine, but I didn’t follow through. For this spring though, I plan on starting both an indoor and patio garden for herbs, fruits, and veggies. Look forward to pictures, how to’s, and testimonials in the near future. I also developed an addiction to the online make up line Colourpop. I’d never been a make up girl before, but I found myself needing something to step it up a notch. Lipstick for me is the easy answer (I love Matte). Just the lipstick, some eyeliner, mascara, and maybe BB cream and I’m good to go. From my first purchase in August to now, all of my profile pictures feature me in one of their shades.

romaine
Some romaine lettuce sprouting up.

October

In the last week of October I went on my first cruise! I had so much fun and relaxed with friends and family. I became known as “the girl that ate all the weird food” because at dinner I always tried the most exotic thing on the menu. Why would I pay all that money for something I can eat any day? We enjoyed the dinners and events on the ship as well as the beach and sights of Nassau, Bahamas. I might save big for a Disney cruise in the future, I’ve heard, while expensive, they are the best. Disney should do a line dedicated to Marvel or Star Wars since they are taking over everything. Universal Studios could take on a Harry Potter cruise as well.

duck
Smoked duck with oranges and Thai rice noodle salad

November

In November my son woke up early in the morning vomiting several times within two weeks of each other. I took him to the doctor the second time, and they said it was probably to different viruses. After leaving the doctor I started thinking he might have food allergies like me. Both times he never had a fever or acted sick, it was just vomit or diarrhea. It could be allergies or an intolerance at the least. I took him off dairy for a week, but didn’t really notice a change. After he returned to his normal diet he didn’t have anymore stomach issues, so maybe it was just the stomach bug like the doctor said. We of course enjoyed Thanksgiving with family. I took an allergy pill, ate what I wanted, and hoped I wouldn’t end up in the ER with anaphylaxis.

December

The holidays are busy for everyone. We began this month by putting up our Marvel Christmas tree. I’d seen some superhero, Harry Potter, and Star War variations. Ours was simple we just added some superhero masks we had from our wedding photo booth along with our normal red and gold decorations. My birthday was the 17th. We had a quiet, childless, evening at home watching some Luke Cage on Netflix, with carry out sushi, and wine. I found out two days after my birthday that I won “Teacher of the Year” at my school. I had a great Christmas as it was the first our son was really excited and understood what was going on.  We later celebrated my birthday  and the life of Carrie Fisher by finally watching “Star Wars: Rogue One” and I realized first hand that The Force is with Me. My husband and I’s catch phrase has become “the rebellion was built on Hope.”

christmas-tree
Our (Marvel)ous Christmas Tree

I hope you’ve enjoyed my year in a glimpse. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2017, Happy New Year’s to you and yours.

Return of the Healthy, Nappy, Nerdy, Mommy!

Its been a while since my last post, a month to be exact. It all snowballed from one busy, lousy, tiresome, week. But I am back now to give the people what they want, or maybe what they don’t want. This is an overall update about what’s been happening and what is to come for this healthy, nappy, nerdy, mommy.

Healthy

I pretty much been doing the same song and dance. I’m still trying to get back into the groove of healthy eating and consistent exercise. My biggest weight loss since having my son had been 51 pounds, and I’m still 15 pounds from that not to mention my goals of losing another 20 after that, so I’m at 40 pounds I want to lose. I already mentioned in my previous post 7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan that I am exploring veganism as a healthier option. I’m not hard core with it. I typically eat meat with dinner and try to be vegan for the rest of the day. I am also incorporating some “paleoism”. There is just so much information out their about what is the healthiest diet to have. And when I say diet I am referring to an overall lifestyle not how you eat for a couple weeks to lose some weight then gain it right back. I researched some about eating for your blood type, which interestingly enough is pretty much paleo for me being that wheat, dairy, and beans would be no, no’s for my type O blood. But there were some other things like mushrooms for example that I’m just not giving up. But it was also a little scary because it went along with my food allergies. As far as exercise, I’ve tried a free week of Cross Fit and I’m hooked. During the summer I’ll go to the free community day on Saturday until the school year starts and I have the funds to become a member. Bottom line, the workout at home thing does not work for me. I need a gym or facility to attend in order to hold myself accountable. For the rest of the summer, though, I am not stepping on a scale or entering my calories into anybody’s calorie counting app. I am just going to eat clean and get some kind of physical activity everyday and see where that gets me.

Nappy

The summer time is always good for my hair. I have more time and therefore keep up with my regimen better. I’ve pretty much been able to keep up with my washes every week, to 2 weeks depending on if I have a protective style or not. I love the summer because I can do wash and go’s. I don’t have to wake up early for work (until summer school) and the weather is nice and warm so it fine if its still wet. This past week I went to the beach with my parents and have my mom put some corn rows (NOT BOXER BRAIDS, but that’s a whole post of its own) with added hair. I have taken them out to wear a couple days wavy until I wash this weekend.  It is my hope to get some crochets at some point. I’m not sure if a want twist, braids, or curls, but I know a want to lob (long bob). Until then I will continue with my own regimen.

Nerdy

We finished “Hunter x Hunter” which I really enjoyed. The anime was completely different in the end than it was in the beginning. Each season was like a different anime with the same characters. I do feel like it was ended very quickly and I hope that the last episode I saw wasn’t the last episode they will ever make, but I will give my complete review in another post.

Now in anime we have began the one that seemingly started it all “Dragon Ball”. I cannot watch an episode of an anime without my husband saying “they got that from Dragon Ball Z” or “that was so Goku”. I am starting from the beginning of “Dragon Ball” to get all the back story before watching (according to my husband) that greatest “Dragon Ball Z”. And I must say that I do see parallels between Goku and many anime heroes of today.

In a 6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom I included some things that I was looking forward to, a lot of them occurring this summer. One event was seeing “X-Men: Apocalypse”. I’m just going to ask that we all take a moment of silence for this movie…….(and begin rant) I had such high hopes, I could have been so great. I saw it a few weeks ago and since it was such a disappointment for me and its been a while I’m just going to say what I have to say now and leave it at that. This was supposed to be the best X-men movie to date. Apocalypse is their main big villain. First, the actors in the film were horrible and the characters were weak. Everybody in that last fight was just getting their ass beat until out of nowhere Jean Gray said “oh yeah I can use the phoenix force” and obliterated him. They did not build on any of the characters they added, except for Magneto, who’s character has been giving plenty of background. We get it, he gets angry, and want to destroy humans for how they mistreat mutants. Storm was the biggest disappointment for me, because she’s my favorite and she didn’t do anything. If they do another movie like this they may as well give the X-men the Disney so they can work with Marvel and the Avengers, but no way Alexandra Shipp’s Storm would be able to stand with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. Maybe I just set my hopes too high, but though it was just not the greatest. (rant ended)

The most anticipated event of our nerdy lives is fast approaching, Otakon! And we have to make big plans because after this year it will be moving from Baltimore to DC due to increased attendance. This year I have been battling whether or not I want to dabble in some cosplay. It wouldn’t be anything elaborate, but just a little to get into the spirit. Although some of my party has threatened to leave me if I hold them back with photos. Last year I truly experienced it because the first year I was 8 weeks pregnant and just slept in every panel and searched for food every chance I got. One day we will attend comic-con in San Diego, but for us this is as big as it gets right now. All year I’ve been loading up on my anime, outside of Naruto so I can be prepared. I need to practice an anime theme song to sing in the karaoke lounge. Look forward to pictures and an entire page dedicated to highlighting Otakon 2016.

Mommy

The terrible two’s are in full affect. And potty training is driving me crazy. But I am determined to make sure I set the foundation for a well behaved child and get him out of these damn diapers before the summer is over. We are taking the pull ups away. Right now he still wears them at daycare, but I’m only letting him do that for two weeks. After this next 3 day weekend (no summer school on Friday) I am letting his daycare teacher know he is wearing underwear and sending him with plenty of clothes and underwear to change into. I have created some charts. One is the reward positive behavior. There are categories of potty training, eating, and following directions. He earned stickers and different levels of prizes. I also have a behavior correction chart. This is more or less for my husband and I. He thinks I am to tough and I think he is too lenient. The chart takes the question out of it. When he misbehaves he moves to another color, the lower colors have punishments. I will provide a full detailed post outlining this plan.

That in a nutshell is what been happening in my life. The remainder of the summer holds many experiences; still juggling working summer school and trying to enjoy myself before the start of another school year and accomplish all the goals I set for myself and my family. Is anybody else having some similar experiences, or I am just alone in my crazy world?

7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan

 

Many people are familiar with the term “Flexitarian”, a Flexitarian diet or a semi-It's a Wrap!vegetarian diet is mostly plant based with the occasional inclusion of meat. I have decided to be a “Part Time Vegan”, which I guess you could say is a Flexitarian as well being that I occasionally include meat, but I still don’t consume other animal products such as eggs and dairy. These are the 7 reasons you should be a Vegan Flexitarian.
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  1. Recipe Creativity

Since I won’t be able to “cheat” with foods like bacon and cheese to create delicious recipes I have to get creative with my meals. Some of my favorite ingredients to include in my vegan meals are avocados, quinoa, black beans, kale, mushrooms, tofu, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. I used these foods in my cooking before but even more so that I am focusing on vegan cooking. Mushrooms are a great meat substitute being that they give a dish a heartiness like meat does. Avocado often takes the place of creamy dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Black beans, tofu, chickpeas, and quinoa are very good sources of protein in a meatless diet. Almost nothing beats oven baked crispy chickpeas or tofu in a dish, well almost nothing except bacon, but I’m not going there. I’m constantly searching Pinterest for interesting ingredients that get me excited about preparing and enjoying meals even without meat.

2. Limiting Hormones and Other Chemicals

If you enjoy eating meat, fast food, and processed food I am warning you, DO NOT watch “Food Inc.” I saw it on Netflix and as a health and fitness professional I felt obligated to see what information the popular documentary had to offer. I’m not sure if I am happy that I know or that I am mad that it ruined food for me. Conventional foods are pumped with all kinds of chemicals to keep up with the consumer’s demands. First its the growth hormones, that give us chicken breast the size of footballs. Then the antibiotics, that may be causing bacteria to become resilient and end modern medicine as we know it. Then its the overall harmful and unsanitary treatment of the animals. I saw cows that had feces matted in its fur, from being packed in factories rather than rooming in a field. This also reminded by of slaves packed on ships during the middle passage.  I used to believe that it didn’t matter since they were going to the slaughter house, but it does matter. The harmful treatment passes down to us at our dinner tables. Not to mention the abuse that is done to the humans that must work in these environments. I hate to be that person preaching about bad meat is. I’m not going off it totally hence the “flex” part, but a drastic decrease was necessary for me.

3. Weight Loss

Eating vegan does not necessarily mean you will lose weight. I mean french fries and oreos are vegan. But a clean vegan diet, will definitely help. Animal based proteins typically come with higher saturated fat and calories, so if I’m swapping out things like fried chicken, hamburgers, and steak, for quinoa, tofu, and beans typically that will cause a calorie deficit and therefore weight loss. I do have to be careful, because with the saturated fats I lose with animal proteins, comes the “healthy” fats with plant based proteins. Nuts, seeds, and avocados while full of healthy unsaturated fats still pack a lot of calories. I find myself leaning on avocado because I love it so much and it satisfies a lot of calories, so I have to still use portion control. Even fruits can be a gamble because while its natural sugar, certain fruits like bananas, grapes, watermelon, and pineapple have a lot of fruit. So while a vegan plant based diet will hopefully help me reach me weight loss goals. I still have to make sure I am eating clean and using portion control.

4. More Nutrients

Eating a diet that focuses on real plant based products, rather than a lot of processed junk will ensure that I am consuming an abundance of nutrients. Because I am eating fruit and vegetables with every meal, because they are the focus of most of my meals I am guaranteed to reach my vitamin and mineral needs. A clean vegan diet includes pretty much all nutrient dense foods.

5. Cheaper

Meat is expensive. It is the largest part of my grocery bill, and while I am not dragging my husband and son into this, just the reduction of meat on my part will help us reduce our grocery bill. I would probably spend $50 a month on chicken breast alone. I used them so much; in salads or wraps for lunch as well as main courses for dinner. Now I only need to purchase meat for my husbands lunch and dinner. Although my son rarely eats meat anyways, he’s pretty much a vegetarian himself just my being a picky toddler. I live off of chickpeas and black beans when it comes to lunch and whether in the can or dried variety they are a fraction of the cost of meat.

6. Allergies

Many people have allergies to dairy products. I have done some research that suggest that humans should not even being consuming cow’s milk. We are the only species that consumes milk from other animals. This milk, like a human mother’s breast milk ,

 

was meant for their young. I wish I could say the decision I made was based solely on this, be I’m not that righteous.  A few months ago I discovered I was allergic to a few foods including milk and eggs. So minus the meat I was vegan already. When I first learned of this I thought I’d rather be allergic to meat that milk, but I’ve decided to turn this into an opportunity for self improvement.

7. I still like meat

This reason is geared towards the “part time” , “flexi”, and “semi” part. If animal protein are so bad, why not cut them out completely. Because I’m a foodie and I love all food, including and especially meat. I have always been a meat eater, but the grown up wiser me is making better decisions for my well being. I thought maybe I’ll stick with just seafood from time to time. But that just isn’t realistic for me. I enjoy eating a good medium rare steak, and will eat a pack of pepperoni myself, and bacon, don’t get me started on bacon. But I know these things aren’t good for me to be eating in excess, so I’ve decided to drastically reduce, not eliminate my consumption of meat.

This is why I’ve chosen the semi, part time, or flexivegan (whatever you want to call it) diet. I will always stand firm that moderation is key. I never, say never, when it comes to food. But I am making better decisions that will hopefully be worth the sacrifice in the long run.

Chocolate Protein Shake

11282689_1656925587859863_1578550085_nThis is one of my go to’s. I’ll drink it as a snack, breakfast, or post workout small meal. This chocolate shake is great because it has protein and curbs my sweet tooth cravings. I have a vegan alternative recipe I use now because of my milk allergy and a regular that I’ll make for my husband. This was another one of the things I make for him a night when he has a “hankerlin” for something sweet. I add greens to it like spinach or kale. I told my husband and he said he could tell, but it still tasted good.

Vegan

  • frozen banana
  • almond milk
  • chia seeds
  • almond butter
  • quinoa
  • ground flax seeds
  • vanilla extract
  • cocoa powder]
  • leafty green like kale or spinach

Non-Vegan

  • frozen banana
  • vanilla protein powder
  • peanut butter
  • cocoa powder
  • skim milk
  • leafy green like kale or spinach

For the vegan version, before hand I put the chia seeds, quinoa, and flax seeds in a coffee grinder and make into a finer, powdery like substance. Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more milk if smoothie is too thick. I hope this brings you as much join as it brings me.