2019, Community and Values

Happy New Year!

I know, I know: it’s January 23, so I’m a wee bit late. I don’t know about you but January has just passed by without me noticing. What have I been up to?

New year, new possibilities; New day, new opportunities!

Well, I’ve started my second term as a kinesiology student, enjoyed (?) many snowstorms (it’s currently snowing like crazy as I type this), felt cold temperatures that shouldn’t be legal, and tried to breathe and stay relaxed through it all.

Spoiling my plants to Beardbangs planters!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/Beardbangs?ref=l2-shopheader-name

I’ve also rekindled with my love of plants and have a few new plants to call my own. I’m trying out the once-famous Pilea and loving my Pothos and Prayer plants way too much. It’s been so relaxing taking care of our plants, re-potting them, dusting them, fussing over how slow or how quickly they are growing… I’ve even started a plant journal to keep track of all their progress and see what works best. It really has been my relaxation practice of the month. Maybe it’s because of all the cold and snow, but connecting with greenery has been so therapeutic!

One of my baby Pilea!

What about food? Well, I’ve been trying to keep up with eating all the greens and making sure to drink all the water. I’ve also started to take a vitamin D supplement, and I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference. However, I know I’m not getting any sunlight as I’m waking up before the sun and coming out of uni after sunset. As my uni doesn’t have any windows in the classrooms, I’m starting to believe that the sun is as mystical as unicorns. So, a vitamin D supplement makes sense for me at the moment.

A few weeks ago, Bonny Rebecca, one of my favourite vegan Youtubers, made a video about not being vegan anymore for health reasons. I felt for her and admired her courage for “coming out”. For her to be honest about this when she has built her entire brand around veganism must have taken so much bravery and guts. Yet, soon enough, the online vegan community came up with many response videos bashing her and calling out on her integrity, questioning her “level of veganism”, some even saying that she was never really vegan. Others even said that they would never give up on veganism, no matter how terrible the health consequences might be.

Really?

After seeing all of this, I felt so ashamed. Ashamed because I spent years calling myself a vegan, supporting the diet and lifestyle, believing that it was the one and only answer to all of mankind’s problems. Mostly, I felt ashamed of the community. How can I call myself a vegan, when other vegans are so plain mean and disrespectful? For me, compassion is the driving force behind my diet change. What would it say about me if I couldn’t spread this compassion to a young woman going through health problems? I’m in no position to judge, criticize or assume anything on her life. It is not my place, and it is nobody’s place. So what’s up vegan community? Are our egos so big that we have forgotten that we are dealing with actual humans? Is the chase for recognition, views and clicks overshadowing basic respect? That’s not the community I want to be a part of.

It would be hypocritical to say that I’ve never had slip ups or that I never crave butter or eggs. I find myself asking: what is really important? To be perfect or to do my best? I choose to do my best. Nobody can live up to the pressure of trying to be perfect 100% of the time. You just try your best and maybe even enjoy the process. It goes for veganism, and all aspects of life!

Beautiful scones of my heart…

As I came back to uni, in a completely new field, I’ve felt a lot of pressure and stress: Am I good enough? Am I fit enough? Am I young enough? Is my brain still capable of studying? Are they going to judge my body? Will I make friends? Will any of my former students be in my classes?

These questions and many more started to take all the space in my mind, and I was struggling with levels of anxiety that I had never experienced before. At my lowest, I realized that I was putting all this pressure on my own shoulders. Nobody but me cared! For all I know, all the other students in my program ask themselves the same questions… and all I can do is offer my best effort. That is more than enough.

This change of perspective came like a sweet wave of relief. All of a sudden, it was okay for me to relax and not work all the time; it was okay for me to eat chocolate and not feel guilty; it was okay for me to skip a workout when I was feeling exhausted; it was okay for me to go out with my boyfriend and have a cookie even if it wasn’t a vegan. It was okay for me to simply experience and live.

So, this is what I want to bring to the blog. Tips and tricks to help you cope with anxiety, plant love, plant-based recipes, vegetarian recipes, exercises, books, teas and cats! I want my blog to be a warm and safe space where I can share posts that will make you feel warm and safe. I’m not striving for perfection anymore: I’m striving for a full life that I can sustainably live. And that is more than enough.

Hoping that you will all join me,

Anne 

Oh, and I’ve also started taking horseback riding lessons! It brings me so much peace, and it’s such a blast working with these wonderful animals.

Vegan Story Time, Amanda from The Shared Skillet

I feel so lucky to be contacted by such inspiring and positive vegans from all over! It’s really motivating to hear different stories and how this lifestyle choice has played an incredible part in so many people’s lives and growth. Incredible! If you want to participate in this series, contact me!

This week, I’m sharing with you Amanda’s story. If you haven’t stumbled upon her blog, The Shared Skillet, you just have to go there now! She has delicious recipes for soups, desserts, meat substitutions and more! It’s seriously yummy and making me hungry every time!

amanda

Without further ado, here is her story!

I became vegan because of food intolerances/allergies, and also other digestive issues in general. No matter what I tried I still had troubles. After doing research, I decided to change. What was a 2-week trial is now 3 ½ years… mostly vegan. I sleep better, and I have more energy. I have fewer digestion issues and if I do, I know what caused it. What was difficult was cooking food for my husband when I was first starting to change. One thing in particular I remember was I told him that if he wanted macaroni and cheese, he’d have to cook it because I couldn’t smell it. Now it doesn’t affect me. He was really supportive and still is. I still crave some things, but most times I have been able to find plant-based versions that satisfy what I want from a certain recipe.

One thing I had to learn was that I didn’t have to eat meals. Especially on busy days, just grabbing fruits, energy bars, nuts, and just snacking whenever I was hungry made busy days really easy to stick to a plant-based diet.

The fun part for me was using and “manipulating” food in a way I never knew I could. It’s been so much fun to experiment and to find new flavors and new combinations. Because of that, one thing I always have in my kitchen that I never had before and I now love is nutritional yeast. I’ve slowly grown to love it, and now it’s something that has become a pantry staple.

Another staple is that I always try to have ingredients ready to make a “Chickpea Salad/Sandwich”. It’s quick, it’s delicious, and one of my favorite lunches. Here’s one of the recipes I had found early on that I started with from The Simple Veganista . I’ll be posting on my blog a few versions that are my recipes, but since I don’t ever measure anything with this, I have to make sure it’s correct!

Thanks for letting me share!

My pleasure! Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your story! I have to agree with you on nutritional yeast: it’s the best.

If you want to catch the other stories or participate, jump in!

Vegan Story Time, Traci Lyn Hobson

It’s time for another vegan story! Thank you again if you have contacted me to be featured here. I really love reading your stories and recipes and sharing them. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to share your unique vegan story!

Today, I’m sharing a recipe from the amazing Traci Lyn Hobson. Traci is a freelance writer and vegan lifestyle coach based in Wilmington, NC. Traci’s passion is to educate other women about natural health and wellness, including the health, environmental, and karmic benefits of vegan living, and the importance of living a balanced, compassionate, connected life. When she’s not writing, teaching, or coaching, Traci can be found creating new and delish vegan dishes in her tiny kitchen, hanging out with her amazing fur babies, friends, and family, or communing with nature in the Port City.

She sent  me a deliciously gorgeous recipe for a cashew sour cream! Yum!

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Here is her recipe:

I confess: I’m one of those vegans who used to say things like “I love cheese,” and “I don’t know how to live without dairy.” (Mexican food and baked potatoes without sour cream? No thanks.) Now? I am coming up on my five-year veganversary and can’t imagine ever contributing to the ugliness and exploitation of the dairy industry again – and I don’t have to! Sour cream is and always has been one of my favorite condiments. This vegan version made from cashews is absolutely divine. I always have some of it on hand – for nachos, tacos, and enchiladas, or to top chili, baked potatoes, or lentils…the possibilities are endless! Add this gem to your recipe arsenal and never yearn for dairy again.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C soaked cashews

  • 1/2 C organic rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)

  • 2 T fresh organic lemon juice

  • 1/2 t raw apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 t garlic powder

  • 1/2 t onion powder

  • 1/4 t salt

  • 1/4 t ground white pepper

Preparation:

  1. Put all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy.

  2. Enjoy!


Here’s a bonus tip: lessen the amount of liquid for a thicker version to use as cream cheese – just add fresh herbs (I like chives and cilantro) once it is blended, and voila! Vegan cashew cream cheese. Or, add more liquid and omit the spices and lemon juice and add a touch of vanilla to make cashew creamer or milk. The possibilities are endless!

If you want more delicious recipes, tips, and tricks, follow her! She can be reached through her website, tracilynhobson.com, or found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tlhobson), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracihobson), and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/tracihobson).
Come back next week for another vegan story! And if you missed last week’s, here it is! Until then, keep being so inspiring!

Vegan Story Time, Layla from Clean Cheaters

A few days ago, I opened an invitation to fellow vegans to share their story on how they became vegan or to share their favourite vegan recipes. I really like hearing these stories when I meet vegans in real life, and so I thought it would be nice to hear more of them. It’s always encouraging to see that others are making the switch, and I love learning from others’ experiences: everyone has a different favourite recipe, one ingredient they can’t live without or a special trick that will make all our lives easier. It’s so great to feed on these stories because it really creates a sense of community and sharing.

vegan-story-time

In the next few weeks, I will be sharing some amazing stories that I have received. I extend the invitation to every vegan out there! If you want to see your story featured here, contact me!

Today, I’ll be sharing Layla’s story. She has a great blog where she shares recipes and musings from her life. Go take a look!

layla-clean-cheaters

So, this is my ‘vegan’-story. I never really cared for meat. I’ve been vegetarian off and on for about 6 years, only eating meat when I was still lifting weights, and I didn’t know I could get all the protein I needed from plants. I still had to learn a lot you see 😉

In January 2015, I started eating vegetarian again, already looking towards the vegan diet. I did feel weird in my stomach every now and then, especially after my oatmeal with milk. Just for fun and giggles, I tried soy and oh my, did that work! My stomach felt better and my skin looked so much better. Cutting out milk and eggs in my own cooking was easy, cutting out these ‘hidden’ ingredients was harder since they seem to be hidden in everything.

For me, the hardest part about going vegan is going out for food. It’s getting easier, since it’s getting more mainstream, but I always look for places to eat before going somewhere, and I always bring a snack.

My tip for new vegans: try to find websites with easy recipes (like mine :P) that don’t require a lot of ingredients. That made the switch easier for me.

My go-to recipe is definitely my ‘paprika’-pasta. I used to make it a lot when I was in school because it’s super cheap to make. I replaced the real bacon with tempeh-bacon to make it vegan. And it’s delicious! Apart from that recipe, I think everyone should try my recipe for vegan chili. Yes, even now that it’s summer. It’s easy to make, and it doesn’t need a lot of stuff or a lot of skills to prepare.

 This takes me to the ingredient I can’t live without. Actually, I can’t pick ONE ingredient, I need 3:

  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Chili sauce

 Thank you for reading my story and I hope to see you soon on Clean Cheaters!

I hope this was as interesting to you as it was to me! Watch out for the next Vegan Story Time, as this one came to me in the form of an amazing recipe. Don’t forget that if you want to participate, you can!