Going vegan was never something I wanted to check off my bucket list. I ate chicken once a day, if not twice, and cheddar cheese gave me all the feels. Well, after diving into a ton of research, listening to vegan podcasts and hearing from well-known doctors, I learned that a plant-based diet not only reverses heart disease (our country’s leading cause of death) but also improves overall health tremendously. Did you know that some of the world’s most successful athletes have gone “plant-based” and have seen a huge increase in their energy, stamina and performance? This shocked me. It was an intriguing concept because throughout my entire life I was taught (by my parents, the government and society) that meat was an essential source of protein and energy. Jokes on me because after going 30 days of eating vegan, my energy has been more stable and consistent than ever. This is just one of the many benefits I’ve noticed from our diet change.
I am happy to share that our 30-day “vegan challenge” turned into a lifestyle change, for the better. I truly believe that reducing my meat and dairy intake will continue improving all the factors I discuss below. It’s been over 35 days, and I’ve yet to enter meat or dairy back into my diet and I feel like a new person.
Now it’s time to share our journey with you by breaking down our TOP 10 takeaways from going vegan. My hope is not scare you into going vegan but to encourage you to introduce more plant-based foods into your diet while doing your own research about this type of lifestyle. How can you reduce the amount of meat and dairy while also diversifying your diet with plants and veggies? I also hope to create mindfulness around the types of meat you eat and the source of which you get it from. Go for it...
TOP 10 “VEGAN CHALLENGE” TAKEAWAYS
Food sensitivity and what works for me...
As many of you probably know, my stomach has major sensitivity issues. I've spent most of the last two years clueless as to why I was always bloated, uncomfortable and feeling exhausted. No matter what I ate, even the healthiest of meals. gave me stomach cramps. After turning to a clean diet and gluten-free diet, things improved a little but after every meal I was wondering why things weren't 100%.
After seeing multiple specialists regarding the issues and no answers, I decided to take things into my own hands. I looked into home food sensitivity kits to see if there were particular foods my body was reacting to. After looking more into EverlyWell, I decided to take the plunge and get tested.
The experience was quite pleasant, other than the finger prick (I have a phobia of needles). The kit was shipped directly to my front door, I followed the steps to extract blood from my finger then shipped the kit back to the lab. My results were posted within a week and I was SHOCKED. Not only was my top reactor a food that I eat on a consistent basis but other reactors showed up that I hadn't even thought of. My top reactant was tuna, which is something I eat weekly in sushi, lunch bowls and fish tacos. I was also having a reaction to sunflower seeds which I had implemented sunflower butter into my diet a few months prior and noticed I never felt good after breakfast.
Needless to say, I decided to eliminate these foods out of my diet and couldn't be more pleased with the results. I've noticed a huge change in my stomach and overall body. No more cramping and I have felt a lot of my energy return.
Everyone is different and their body may react to different things. EveryWell has been a crucial part of clearing up my stomach issues and I look forward to learning even more about my reactors as EveryWell has followed up with more information regarding my results. I hope this helps you in your decision to try a food sensitivity test and your overall stomach sensitivity. Cheers!
POSITIVE VIBES ONLY...My experience with letting go of stress, unhealthy habits, relationships & judgement.
I truly believe the process of cleansing your body of toxins begins with your mindset so I thought I’d share my experience with positivity and how far that can take you in life.
Let's talk juice. I am hesitant to drink most juices because the high amounts of sugars and calories. Actually, the only juice I use in my diet is organic carrot juice with no additives. Well, things recently changed when I stumbled upon the best juice company out there, Salad Power.
Look at the facts on their products:
•50-115 calories in total
•4890% of Vitamin C
•222% of Vitamin A
Honestly, I am a big fan of this juice not only because of all the nutrients but also because it's SO EASY to take on the go or add into a smoothie. There are days where I'm so busy that I forget to have my daily intake of greens or veggies so Salad Power makes it simple yet delicious. Check out the smoothie I made below with the "Veggies" juice.
Making “me time” a priority has been crucial in my self-confidence, relationship success and individuality. At this point in my life, with no kids or big responsibilities, you would think I have all the time in the world… well that’s just not the case. Our world today is fast-paced, hectic and continuously filled with a forward-thinking mentality. With my extremely active lifestyle and a career that is constantly on the go, I rarely have time to do something for just me. And let me be clear, this is not me complaining whatsoever. I choose to live a life of big ambitions and purpose which results in a crazy-ass schedule.
BUT I’ve always been a people pleaser. From as early as I can remember, I’ve been pulled in so many different directions because of my family dynamics, my passion for being around people and enjoyment of seeing others happy. I was saying yes to everything but never took a step back to see if those commitments were actually making me happy or fitting in my life plan. When does it become okay for you to be selfish and make decisions that grow your potential and take you in the direction of achieving your dreams?
We all know that life is short and it’s taken me 26 years to be selfish and not feel guilty about it. If you have a support system that truly wants you to be the best version of yourself, they will back your decision to JUST DO YOU for a while. This is not me telling you to let go of your responsibilities with your family, friends and coworkers but encouraging you to focus on yourself a little more. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to make big things happen.
Some of my favorite moments have been just me, being me, and enjoying a simple adventure. Or hitting my biggest goal at work and celebrating by taking an unplanned trip alone. Or going out to my favorite lunch spot by myself to reconnect with my goals. I make it a priority to spend at least one morning every weekend doing something I love by myself (and let’s be real, my dog too). This alone time gives me clarity around the next steps towards my overall goals, both personal and professional. It also allows space for both James and I to have our separate identities which makes for a better partnership and friendship. He respects and encourages me to have “me time” and my own hobbies while I do the same for him. After having some separate time, we come back together with a ton to catch-up on, an energized outlook, an appreciation for our relationship and a desire to help one another be better.
I share my experience with being selfish because if you are in your mid-twenties, like me, you will one day look back and remember this as THE simple time in your life. Pretty soon you’ll be getting married and having babies and your priorities will completely change, which is a good thing. But along with all those changes comes responsibility, less time and a desire to people please once again. Now is maybe the only time you will have to just worry about yourself and following your dreams. Even if those dreams are to become a better yogi or travel more… make it happen! The people around you can wait but the world doesn’t stop turning so you have to make the most of the time you have now.
Be selfish, in the best way possible.
Okay, so I was kind of over peanut butter phase when I found my long lost lover, almond butter. BUT little did I know, I was really missing out on the dreamy and creamy PB that is PB Crave. WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE? In a nutshell, PB Crave creates all-natural PB blends with all my favorite ingredients. These artisan-crafted jars of goodness are filled with all the goods and none of the bad.
PB Crave Benefits:
•No added sugar
•High in protein
•No artificial ingredients
•All natural ingredients
•No high-fructose corn syrup
•UD Kosher Certified
•No hydrogenated oil
#1 CHOCO CHOCO—So this jar is almost empty because I can’t stop eating this right out of the jar. It has swirls of rich dark chocolate along with honey in every bite. This one is EVERYTHING.
#2 COOKIE NOOKIE—This flavor could actually be tied for the #1 spot. With chocolate chips, cookie dough and swirls of honey… COOKIE NOOKIE makes you think you’re eating PB cookie dough.
#3 COCO BANANAS—I’m going bananas over this jar filled with cocoa, banana and honey swirls. This is perfect for spreading on fruit, banana bread and adding scoops (yes, scoops) into your smoothie.
#4 RAZZLE DAZZLE—James loves this one but I am not a huge raspberry chick so it didn’t hit the spot for me. He loves the rich dark and white chocolate swirls while a whispering fruity flavor keeps your taste buds happy.
The Hot Yoga Barre brings together two of my favorite workouts in a steamy studio lead by some of Richmond's top instructors. Not only does the team know their yoga & barre skills, but The Hot Yoga Barre was voted BEST OF RICHMOND 2016 for best yoga & best boutique fitness studio.
For RVA natives, The Hot Yoga Barre is the one-stop shop for all things barre & yoga.
I am extremely picky when it comes to the products I use on a daily basis. Chia seeds can be implemented into your diet in so many creative ways: overnight oats, protein balls, smoothie toppings, granola bowls & SO MUCH MORE. Salba Chia is my go-to for so many reasons...
Everyone around me seems to be on this bulletproof coffee kick. I was extremely curious when I saw a lot of bloggers posting about it but always do my due diligence before following the diet trends. Here are my thoughts…
Did you know cacao powder has 40x the antioxidants of blueberries? Using superfood powders are essential to my weekly routine. Once you have the basics, it's so simple to throw together different recipes. Maca & Cacao are my favorites because they are natural mood elevators, energy enhancers, help increase endurance & SO MUCH MORE!