Sometimes you are able to stick to what you believe in and sometimes you don’t. These last few weeks have not allowed me to stick to my vegan commitment or my workout commitment. I blame summer… ok maybe I should blame myself but really summer has not allowed me to stay committed.
When did it start? Vacation… where it starts for most people in the summer. I had a fantastic week off with my family and my husbands entire immediately family. Tons of little kids and great beach weather. You could argue I got excersize carrying children over hot sand dunes but the reality is I did not get the right amount of physical activity that I should have. I layer around as much as I humanly could which is more than I have since my daughter was born over 6 years ago.
The food is where I really could not keep it together. There was meat and eggs everywhere. Almost every breakfast had a breakfast meat. Even I made a non vegan breakfast… buttermilk pancakes from scratch. I rationalized that in my head because my kids love my pancakes and I figured that would make everyone else happy too. Then lunchtime came and it was sandwiches everyday. I used to be deli meat fanatic, it was the thing I missed the most when I was pregnant with my oldest and by the time my second was born I did not miss it at all. Now it kinda grosses me out. I had one sandwich and remembered it really was not worth it. Dinner…. meat, seafood, repeat. Burgers, ribs (another famous recipe of mine), swordfish, salmon, crab cakes (which I ate instead of swordfish). This was everyone vacation and everyone was loving everything about it even me. I would have liked to have eaten better but I was also not motivated.
No one to blame but myself about falling of the vegan wagon. I was staying in a house I could have loaded up on vegan food and feed myself differently. I could have made food that everyone would have liked that did not happen to have cheese, meat…etc. Not every meal was non-vegan either but I ate a lot more of the not so good stuff.
So you would think “hey she got back from vacation and got back on track” NOPE! Not even close, I have had two BLT’s for lunch in the last three weeks! I mean a BLT really?! It did have avocado on it though.
But I am not quitting. I did this for the planet, my health and for the animals who suffer giving us meat, eggs and dairy. So I just have to get myself back together, dig up some new recipes and get back in the saddle.
Renewing my commitment of:
- Going to the gym 3 times a week
- Eating vegan for breakfast and lunch every day
- Eating vegan for dinner as much as possible and vegetarian if my options are limited.
I guess if I tell you you can keep my honest.
What did you say you were going to do this summer but fell a little short on?
Check out my social media tonight because I have a huge announcement I am getting something I have wanted for years… green bucket list!!
The post Summer and Being Green appeared first on Green4u.
I got an email from my mom after I posted that I was going vegan as close to 100% as I could feasibly do living with a family that probably will not do this with me. Her concern was a typical American concern… we seem to think protein is an issue for vegans. Some how the food pyramid has made us all think that meat is the best/main/key/only resource for us to get protein. It is not, and it is not hard to get enough protein.
She also worried that I would be tired or pale. I have to be honest with you I am a full-time working mom with two kids who LOVES writing in the evening so I am tired because of that not because I stopped eating animals (or was eating animals). But I will say I understand her general concern, diet changes can affect your energy level. I am happy to report that even with the baseline contrasts on my level of tiredness I do feel more energized eating vegan.
Am I pale? Yes, I am still kinda pale. I do not get enough sunlight at this point and I rarely wear makeup (I think most us are more pale than we admit). But putting my skin tone aside my skin is softer and younger looking. I have not made any changes in my skin care regimen since I started this eating change because I wanted to see the results. My skin is softer, my hands do not look as old as I felt like they were looking and most importantly I do not have chicken skin anymore.
What the heck is chicken skin? You may have them too… the little bumps on the back of your arm and your thighs. Gross! Actually a lot of people have it its technical name is keratosis pilaris. I did not realize that this might go away with eating a vegan diet till my FB feed showed me a post about it. Chicken skin is caused by a vitaim A deficiency (this is simplest explanation, it goes deeper into genes and how you digest what you eat). Eating meat with gluten can block your absorption of vitamin A. For me that seemed to be some sort of issue because as soon as I stopped eating meat (particular with gluten like a bun or pasta) it went away. I also give a lot of credit to my consumption of more leafy greens than before and other foods rich in vitamin A. So I tested it, I had meat and gluten together and the bumps came back for three days. I could not guarantee the same would happen for you but it did for me and I am so happy about it.
My hair looks even better than it was before so I am very happy with the results of that. My nails are pretty awesome too but they were not bad before so I am not sure I can credit veganism for that.
I am learning to give up sugar too. This is a tough one for me but most of my sugar consumption was/is tied to eggs and dairy (i.e. cookies, cakes, and ice cream) making the effort to avoid those because of my vegan commitment has helped reduce my total consumption of sugar. I have a long way to go on this one both from a sugar reduction standpoint and that these are my weakness to staying true to my vegan commitment. And lets face it there is no mandate for me to eat cookies and ice cream at home or out socially like some other “cheats” might be.
Overall I am happy with my decision and I am working to incorporate more recipes into my life and reaching out to other vegans for tips. I recently went to a meet-up of local vegans to see what tips they may have for local places to eat and some tips on good recipes and foods to try.
Oh yeah back to protein… here are a few foods that are higher in protein than meat that I eat:
- Spinach, chard, watercress,
- Almonds, peanut and flaxseed
- Kidney beans (as well as MANY other beans like black and pinto)
Do you have any tips? Did you try going vegan or vegetarian before? Did you need to give up because you did not feel good?
The post Vegan Update… I Am Still Alive appeared first on Green4u.
Have you ever wanted to go meet other people who share you passion for the environment but did not really know where to start? I have been writing about the environment, healthy living and other general interest pieces for over 8 years but I have never found an event of conference that really spoke to what I wanted to write about. I have attended many festivals that were focused on selling me green products but I have not found a great place to go to meet like minded people and get more tips and resources on healthy green living.
That all changed last year when I went to the first ever ShiftCon. It is always risky to go an event or conference the first year…who will be there, will be good, is the information valuable, will like minded people be there. I honestly went with some trepidation. I knew many of my virtual friend that I talk to more often than some of my close local friends were attending so I went in with the feeling if I got to spend a few days with them and got nothing else out of it that would be great.
I was more than pleasantly surprised when I attended ShiftCon that not only did I get to see my friends but I got so much more out of it.
I learned new things. There were many session that focused on issues and topics that mattered to me. I listened to a small organic farmer talk about what is really like to be a farmer. What the issues are for small farmers and large “conventional” farmers. It really opened my eyes on the issue in many ways.
I tried new things. Raw milk was illegal in my state (until the week I was at the conference!) so I got to try raw milk and discuss the issues with a farmer and raw milk advocate. I also got a to try kombuchu something that simply did not appeal to me in looking at people making it on line but I got to try 5 different kinds and I realized it was not all bad.
I met new people. Seems cliche to say I met new people at conference… who doesn’t right. I met tons of people that I still stay in touch with and learned a lot from. I am not just talking about writers, I met farmers, activists, scientists, mothers, and business leaders.
I got free stuff I would use. Sounds awful, I am not that into “stuff” but I have attended tons of conference green and otherwise and all the crap you get there is just that crap. I left this conference with the real natural (I know that does not mean anything but I think you get my meaning here) items that I would use. It was nice to see a bag filled with things that I would actually use.
So come and join me this year and meet some of the really great people who are working to make this world a better place and give you the tools to help. Get your tickets here.
The post Want To Meet Other Environmentalists? #ShiftCon appeared first on Green4u.
I thought it was time to let you know how my vegan adventure was going. As you may remember I am working to eat vegan 100 percent of the time for breakfast and lunch and as many dinners as I can with the goal of choosing vegetarian when not presented with an easy vegan option (i.e. eating out of the house).
I have found this to be easier in some situations and much harder than I thought in others. When I was in Iowa I early May for Climate Reality training my off site meals were virtually impossible to have vegan and very hard to be vegetarian. Being from NY I was surprised I thought they’d have one or two token veggie dishes at restaurants. Airports are also harder than I thought they would be especially the big ones like O’Hare!
I really want to tell you some of my tips on how to be successful in your transition…
Don’t take one non-vegan meal as a failure. For whatever reason you made this choice keeping with it is better than beating yourself up over the one or more meals that it just did not work out. Even if you ultimately can’t do it 100 percent doing it even 50 percent is better than most people and making an impact that matters to you.
Don’t replace with meat substitutes. You have probably heard this before but Tofrukey and other vegan “made to be like meat” options are usually not that healthy because they are probably using some chemical flavoring to give you the old flavor. Embrace veganism for what it is… Real whole food. *unless it is ice cream than find a soy or coconut substitute life isn’t worth living without ice-cream (only kinda kidding).
Get some good cookbooks. There are tons of things we already eat that are vegan but finding three cookbooks with some real go to meals for every meal of the day will make the transition not seem so hard. My favorite vegan cookbook is Bowls by my good friend Becky Striepe.
Find resources that speak to you. Are you vegan because you care about animals? The environment? Your health? Look for websites that speak to you and how you feel about it. Find websites to have recipes you like. Feeling connected to people who are similar to you is key to success in making a choice that is not totally mainstream yet.
Find people local to you that are vegan. Vegans want to have more vegan friends look on Facebook or meet up for local vegan groups. Often there are potluck meals where you can try new things, swap recipes and learn about great local restaurants that cater to your food choices. I do not have any local vegan friends so I found this to be so important for me to find.
Find a few local restaurants. Whether they are dedicated vegan restaurants or just ones that have vegan options search them out. We all want to go out to eat sometimes and options for vegans can be hard so not just for your own convenience but to support the businesses the support your choice.
Figure out what you like and don’t like. I am still on the fence about soy and how much I like it. I know I prefer almond or coconut milk as my milk but I don’t like tofu based meals and have found a few deserts with silken tofu I like. Many vegan meals call on things like tofu, non-dairy milks and other items figure out what you like early on it will save you from long-term frustration.
Don’t give up. I say that not because I think the world is going to end if you do but rather there is a reason you made the choice and even a reason you are reading this post. Don’t forget those reasons. Even if you go on vacation and eat tons of stuff or your family does not understand and feeds you meat at family meal move on from that and remember why you made the choice.
What are some of your tips for vegans or just sticking with decision you made the society does not make easy for you to keep?
The post Tips For Successfully Eating Vegan appeared first on Green4u.
Many people have asked me why I was in Iowa earlier this month. I had an amazing opportunity to train with Al Gore and see his presentation up close and personal presented by him at Climate Reality training. Having Al Gore train you on his Inconvenient Truth slideshow is an amazing experience. He is, as you know from seeing the movie, an amazing presenter and speaker. He is engaging with the audience and keeps your attention the entire time even when he is presenting heavy science and bar graphs. I told my husband when I called him from the training that I am happy Al Gore is using these skills to talk about climate change because he could probably sell anything to anyone. I mean that in the most positive way, he makes a connection with his audience in a masterful way and makes detailed information easy to understand.
Who else was there with me? The training was amazing that the connections were also just as amazing.
I was there with millennial’s in high school and college. I was there with the original environmentalists who remember the first Earth Day.
I was there with TV stars (Calum Worthy from Austin and Ally), YouTube sensations (Finn Harries from Jacks Gap), explorers (David Thoreson), business men and women, scientists, elected officials and every day citizens from around the world.
They were over 350 people from 19 countries and Iowa will with me. I’m already Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections with so many of them.
Every single one of us agreed climate change is the single biggest threat in our lifetime. It’s nice to be in company with so many like-minded individuals… which is not something all of us have an opportunity to do in our everyday life.
So what was Al Gore like?
He was engaging, interesting and knowledgable as you would expect. He was present for the entire training and seemed genuinely connected with the participants.
If you want to read more about my thoughts about Al Gore and how he surprised me check out my post on Climate Reality’s blog.
How can you attend a Climate Reality Training?
The application process to attend a Climate Reality training is actually quite easy. You need to tell a little bit about yourself and commit to 10 actions you will would take after training. Actions can be anything that you feel comfortable with, if you like to write then write a letter to your congressman or your governor. If you preferred to talk to kids go to a school and make presentations to teach kids about extreme weather and how that relates to climate change. However you feel you can make a difference is what they want to hear in your application.
What I love the most about the training was how it prepared you to use the information that you received. Many of us there knew some of the science, seen the movie, or read about climate change in publications but many of us are stepping out of your comfort zone to bring this to the forefront of our communities and our network. The final day of Climate Reality training is dedicated to preparing you to create your story and how you’re going to feel comfortable talking about climate change to the people you want to speak to. This valuable training is worthwhile for everyone, even people who have been speaking and writing for years.
If you want to apply for climate reality training click here. There’s training this summer in Canada and in Miami in September. Ironically the Miami training is during the highest tide of the year so pack your rain boots for when the sewers overflow… imagine what sea level rise will do!
If you think you want to learn more about climate change and take an active role educating others I encourage you to apply. There is no fee to attend when you are accepted but your do need to pay for your hotel room and transportation to the location of the training. In my opinion it is a valuable way to spend your money if you are looking to make a change.
The post Why Was I In Iowa #climatereality appeared first on Green4u.