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.

Surviving winter, some tips from a summer lover

Winter is such a controversial season over here. People are pretty much separated in three categories.

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Category A: Winter lovers. These guys will tell you that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. They enjoy the cold and take every occasion to tell you how amazing it was to go jump in snow in the middle of the night when it was minus a billion degrees outside. They will also tell you that the ice storm is soooo beautiful and that snow really is magical.

Category B: The survivors. These people don’t really like winter but have accepted that it’s part of their lives, and so they keep calm and carry on. When prompted about how cold it is or about how much snow there is, they’ll answer: “Well, it’s not that bad. It could be worse.”

Category C: Summer lovers. These people hate winter. In fact, as soon as fall kicks in, their insides start to churn with the irresistible desire to move to Hawaii or Australia. They pretty much suffer all the way to spring, where they come back to life.

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As you can probably guess by the title, this is my crew. This year, when the first snow hit the ground, I pretty much cried myself to the gym. I will often be moaning about how terrible snow shoveling is, or how unbearably cold the temperatures are. To be fair, living in Quebec has given me quite a lot of winter, tons of snow and incredible subzero temperatures. In an effort to embrace the present moment and to not feel miserable for most of the year, here are some strategies and tips I’ve been prescribing myself this winter. Mind you, I’m still looking forward to summer like a lunatic, but even I have to admit winter is not as bad this year.

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  1. Accept the fact that winter is here to stay: Because happiness is a state of mind, I find it easier to wrap my mind around the fact that when winter is here, it’s here. What I mean by this is that by relinquishing the daily hope that it will be summer for a day, it’s easier to accept that it’s winter and that snow and cold are part of it.
  2. Worship the sun: Because sun is such a rare commodity in the winter months, take every opportunity to soak in every tiny ray of it. Sunbathe behind a window, take that sunsoaked bench at the gym, stop what you are doing and go put your face in the light for a few minutes.  winter6
  3. Create a going outside routine: If it was up to me, I would stay in bed until spring, but that is not happening any time soon. So, I try to make going outside part of my routine. Lately, I’ve been enjoying listening to podcasts while I walk outside in the morning. Adding this to my morning routine means that I have to kick myself out of bed a tad earlier, but it also means that I’ve moved around a little bit before I start working. It also means that I’ve been outisde and survived the cold already.
  4. Explore the outside world: Go on small day trips on the week-ends and explore what different parts of your city or region have to offer in the winter months. This winter, we discovered that a neighbouring town had a really cute ice-skating rink overlooking a spectacular lake. It was cold, it was wet, but we had a lot of fun! winter5
  5. Embrace chilling sessions: Once you have been brave and got your butt outside, treat yourself to some nice chilling sessions. Grab your favourite sweather and book and enjoy being inside. Make it special, make it Danish, and go full hygge style!

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I really hope these tips will help you get through the last months of winter! Spring is almost there, and well, for once winter is not completely killing me. What are your tips?

Spice Girls and Feminism

Some time ago, I was listening to the radio when a journalist explained how growing up with the Spice Girls made her a feminist without knowing it. This resonated with me as I was obsessed with Ginger Spice and collected everything I could get from the band (I still have a pretty complete collection of mood-colour-changing Spice Girls rings!). It got me thinking about the girls band and what it taught me.

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1) You don’t have to dress in pink and be cute to be a girl… unless that’s your thing. What I loved most about these girls was that in my 8 years old mind, they were so authenticly and unapologetically themselves. They all had strong, independent and different personnas that you could relate or aspire to, and that was part of their feminimity. Being Scary Spice did not make her any less woman, just as being Sporty Spice didn’t make her a boy. The Spice Girls offered young me with different options as how to be a girl and a woman, something that was particularly rare yet so important.

2) Girls could do anything. Fast forward to the Spice Girl movie, Spice World: granted, this is probably one of the worst film ever made in all kinds of ways. Yet, it showed my favourite girls doing all sorts of things, crushing a bad guy, meeting aliens and rocking a super show. These girls were unstopable, extremely energetic and so alive. It taught young me that there were no limits.

3) Female friendship, when truly found, is a sacred thing. The Spice Girls were so incredible because they stuck together and seemed to really be BFFs. I was devastated when they separated because their friendship seemed so undestructible. Through their friendship they conquered the world and were even big in Japan. Growing up, I longed for this type of friendship. Honestly, I’m still longing for it and all the support it implies.

So, in a nutshell, yes, the Spice Girls and what they represented in my young mind totally had a feminist effect on my upbringing. Theirs was the first CD I ever had, and I felt so grown-up listening to it on my parents’ stereo. Their music is still helping me rock interval training sessions and dance in my pyjamas when I need a quick happiness boost. A big thank you to this legendary formation. BTW, I’m still waiting for a second last reunion tour.

 

My BuJo version, or how I stay organized

A few weeks ago, I launched my planner, the LEAFY planner. I love this planner because it’s beautiful and includes all the organization tools that I need as well as mindfulness and well-being practices. However, before I made this planner, I used notebooks as my daily organizers.

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I loved using notebooks because it is creative and customizable to whatever you might need. I was inspired by bullet journaling, but I tried to keep things simple and manageable. Here are the basic parts I always included.

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1. Trackers: After deciding on my goals and priorities at the beginning of the year, I made some tracking grids that I used all year long. Those grids helped me stay accountable and on track.

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2. Weekly spreads: I used this on a day-to-day basis to keep track of appointments and things to do. At first, I used an hourly to-do list to help me stay productive while working from home. When I got the beat of this, I then switched to a daily to-do list which was more flexible.

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3. Creative space: I always made sure to keep some space to take notes, doodle, draft out posts or work on my projects. I liked having that room to be creative because it meant that I always could write down ideas or draw, even on the go.

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4. Interior pockets: I love adding pockets onto the interior flaps of the notebook’s cover to put some business cards or important papers. This made the notebook a lot more practical.

5. Tabs: I used tabs to have the current week’s spread easily accessible. This also meant that I didn’t have to flip through the entire notebook when I needed to take an appointment or something. It also meant that other people didn’t have a look through my creative notes but only my weekly spread, which I liked.

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I really hope this was helpful to you. I really enjoyed using a notebook as I was able to create my own system and make it really practical and relevant to my own needs. I strongly encourage you to try it out and to create your own system!

Book Review: The Little Book of Hygge

I had my eyes on this book for a while, and, so, when I saw The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking at my local bookstore, I just had to bring it home. Hygge was all the rage last year with our European neighbors. I have to say, the hygge craze is yet to catch in Canada, or at least where I live. Most people I talk to have no idea what hygge is. This is really too bad as it is such an amazing concept: cosying up and enjoying time with people you love… hum, yes, please!

hygge

As I learned in the book, Hygge is a Danish word that can be roughly translated as comfort, warmth and togetherness. Hygge is also about contrast: a warm cup of tea and your favourite book vs. a raging snowstorm outside. Sounds familiar anyone? That’s because the Danish people have a rough climate just like we, Canadians, do! That’s why I think Hygge should be completely adopted by Canadians and other cold climate inhabitants.  I mean, I don’t need any excuses to stay in bed when the weather is miserable, but hygge brings this idea to a whole new level.

As you have gathered by now, I really enjoyed feeling backed up by an entire country in my cosying up. Seriously, a book that allows, supports and encourages staying warm and comfortable? Yasss, please! But, if you are not completely sold on the idea of a warm blanket with your favourite movie playing, well the book has a lot more to offer than cosy-up ideas.

The book itself is beautiful. The editing on this is great: beautiful paper, inspiring pictures and easy to read chapters. Plus, it’s the perfect size to read in bed: it’s not too big, not too small, just perfect! The author’s voice is also very friendly and relatable. While reading this book, I had the feeling of exchanging with a friend. I loved the personal anecdotes that make Hygge so much more understandable and the read enjoyable.

The content of the book is also very practical and really makes Hygge accessible now. With a clear emphasis on experiences and simple changes in your house, this book is perfect if you are into the minimalist wave and don’t feel like buying a whole lot of new things to get a Hygge vibe. It includes everything from activity ideas, to crafts and recipes. Yum!

I also really enjoyed being plunged into the Danish culture. Growing up I have always been fascinated by Scandinavia, and when I recently learned that I had Danish and Norwegian ancestry (DNA test, anyone?), it just felt natural to want to learn more about these cultures. The book is filled with anecdotes illustrating the Danish culture and way of living. It’s the perfect preamble to a trip to Copenhagen (totally on my bucket list, btw).

Finally, with world seeming to be completely out of control these days, this book was the perfect relaxing read before going to bed. I really enjoyed reading it every night, and really felt sad to finish it. Luckily, Sweden has Fika and Lagom, and Denmark also has Lykke, so there are other words to explore and adopt. Wishing you a very Hyggelig rest of the week!

 

Going sugar-free for 2 months

Last fall, I tried going sugar-free for 2 months. I had difficulties with my digestion, hormones and sleep. I decided to go on a sugar detox for 2 months to see if it could help me balance out whatever was going on on the inside. So for 2 months, I cut out refined sugars, dates, syrups and even fruits from my diet. This is what I learned from this experience.

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1. Withdrawal is a pain. I know some doctors say that sugar cannot be considered a drug, but the withdrawal was something: headaches, intense cravings and major crabbiness. This lasted for about 10 days for me. Seriously, all I could think of was chocolate for 10 straight days.

2. Vanilla powder and almond butter rock. Vanilla bean powder is your ally! Because we are so used to adding vanilla to sweet treats, adding vanilla to unsweetened beverages and yoghurt tricks your brain into thinking you are eating something sweet. This seriously helped me so much! Almond butter is also a great snack because it is slightly sweet. Best snack: rice cracker with some almond butter and a sprinkle of vanilla powder and cinnamon. Yum!

3. Veggies are the best! Removing fruits from my diet was super hard because they were a big part of it. I compensated by adding a lot more vegetables. I realized that I was actually not hitting my vegetable requirements because I was eating so much fruit.

4. Not all veggies are equal. Because I ate more veggies, I stumbled upon combinations that didn’t really work out. I realized that combining high in sugar vegetables like butternut squash and corn had the same effect as eating sugary desserts. Instead, I tried to focus on dark leafy greens and low in sugar vegetables like broccoli and cucumbers.

5. Craving veggies is a thing. After about 3 weeks on this detox, I started craving vegetables. Not chocolate, but broccoli. I know, right?

6. Fermented foods rock! In an effort to help my microbiome get healthier and to help my digestion, I started including a lot more fermented foods in my diet. I tried to have about 1 to 2 tablespoons of kimchi or sauerkraut to my meals. This added a lot of flavours and really helped me avoid the after lunch down I usually got after eating.

7. Legumes and beans are great! And so much easier to digest! No bloating or any other unpleasantness.

8. Sugar is everywhere! It was difficult to avoid sugar as it is included in store-bought sauces, bread, and even in some brands of plain yoghurt. This cure really made me realize that sugar really is everywhere.

9. Falling asleep is so much easier. No more long hours waiting to fall asleep, I actually really felt tired when it was time to sleep. It also became a bit easier to wake up in the morning.

10. It was possible for me not to crave chocolate every single moment of the day. Seriously.

I hope this will help any of you who are considering reducing sugar. Let me know how it goes!

Go check out Go Study Annie!

When you are working on a blog or on an Instagram account and trying to build an audience, each milestone is important. Every new subscriber or follower is a personal victory. Well, my cousin has recently reached 50 followers on her instagram Go Studie Annie. Congrats Annie! To celebrate, she suggested that we did a Q+A collab. So, we exchanged questions and here we go! You’ll be able to check out the interview she did for me on her blog.  Before you get to read her answers, I’d like to introduce her a little bit. Annie is probably the most resilient person I know. She lives with very serious health issues, but she always stays positive and curious about everything. I’m extra proud to see where she is now and can’t wait to see where she will be in the future. She is a true model of courage and perseverance to me, and my only regret is that we live so far apart. I really hope we’ll be closer in the future to make exciting blog posts, go journal shopping and practice yoga together. So, without further ado, let’s get on the fun stuff: her interview!

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1. How did you get into bullet journaling? What do you like about it?

 

Well you see, I have always watched a few YouTubers to gather some information of how the system evolved with time for them and read a few blog posts as well. I would watch Kara from Boho.Berry and read a few posts from Anne, my cousin on MyLightHeartedKitchen! I loved how she incorporated recipes of her’s into one page and then adding  a to-do list into her weekly spreads. Anne sparked my interest one day from her post and I just HAD to get my hands on one of my notebooks and try it for myself!

2. What pages always come back in your bullet journal?

 

I LOVE to listen to music. When I have a favorite song on the radio, I would ask Siri “What song is this?” and then take a screenshot of her answers. This took up so MUCH room on my phone, so I decided to a “Song Title” section not too long ago! Hmm, maybe I should turn this into a page, don’t you think?

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3. What pages were introduced, but ended up being unused?

 

Ahh, this is a good question!  To be honest, I am still in progress of evolving my bullet journal to fit my needs. I tried to work in blocks for my monthly and weekly, but that never worked for me. I’m actually keeping these pages as a simple list now! Another thing that I have tried with my bullet journal is the page tracker. Honestly, I only added in this page because of the designs that people made with their tracker.

4. What are your top 5 studying tips for other students?

 

I am NO professional advisor, but here’s what I would recommend for students:

  1. NEVER ever turn work in late.
  2. DO NOT be shy when it comes to asking questions.
  3. ALWAYS remember, if you can work on your favorite hobby for long hours, you CAN study for long hours. Never give up!
  4. Study in SMALL groups. No, not big groups. You’ll lose your focus on studying and venture into something else so easily.
  5. TRY YOUR BEST TO NOT PROCRASTINATE, trust me, it’ll save you time and energy!

5. What are your top 3 motivational tips for students?

 

 

Put your phone on silent,  don’t forget the “Do not disturb button” as well, or hide it if you have to! If you’re feeling lazy that day, put on some tunes that correspond with the subject you’re studying for! And my number one motivational tip for students would have to be, NEVER GIVE UP. Cliché, I know, but think back to why and who you’re doing this for.

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6. What do you like about yoga?

 

I actually have been enjoying yoga from the moment I was introduced to it! Yoga is a way for me to massage my back and neck while exercising. Yoga also helps me deal with the weight on my shoulders. Another great tool from yoga is that it creates a break time for me while studying! We all need a break once in awhile, right?

7. Do you see yourself practicing yoga for a long time? Why?

 

Yes! Yes I do :D. I love how yoga works with my back muscles. Yoga has been helping with my neck lately as well! You see, I had back problems a while back and am still affected by the weather. Yoga helps me to relax my neck and back muscles just a little more when I need it to.

8. What’s your favourite hobby?

 

Oooh, my favorite hobby. I love crocheting and knitting. I have become one with the needles actually :P.

9. What inspired you to pursue this hobby?

 

I love the reaction that I get in return when I send off my gift(s) to the person. I see pure joy in their smile and that always makes me happy. There’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing someone smile <3.

10. Who’s your favourite youtuber?

 

Hehe, I could go on AND on with this one! I have so many that I love watching right now, but I’ll cut the list down to three. For now, I am watching LustreLux, Chrillsims3, and Bubzvlogz. These three always entertain me with their work of art! I sometimes watch Lustrelux for her beauty tips (which I can never accomplish), Chrillsims3 for his interesting story lines in The Sims, and of course, Bubzvlogz for her adventurous life with her little family.  

So, I hope you enjoyed reading her interview. You can visit her blog to read mine. While you’re there, say hi to her! You can also find us on Instagram @gostudieannie and @mylightheartedkitchen if you’d like more daily musings. Finally, let me know if you’d like me to do a Q+A post with your questions!

 

The importance of giving yourself time

A few weeks ago, a mom asked me if I would give her 9 years old daughter French lessons. I accepted, however, we quickly realized that it was impossible for me and her to meet and be free at the same time. She had piano lessons, scouts meetings, math tutoring, Vietnamese lessons, and soccer practice to fit in her 9 years old schedule. This got me thinking about how I used to fill my time as a kid, and how I fill my time now. I realized that I am clearly an underachiever compared to this child. Yet, I am also rich with the most precious thing: boredom.

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As a kid, my parents were (and still are) ferocious believers in boredom. My dad always told me that boredom was the most precious thing to have because it meant that you had room for inspiration and creativity to settled in. That’s why I had the occasional ballet class, music recital, or swimming lesson, but mostly free time to fill as I liked. I spent countless afternoons at the library exploring old and obscure books, in the park inventing stories and playing with friends, at home drawing or DIYing something or another. Was that time lost? I don’t think so. In fact, I think this time was the most precious gift my parents could have given me because it made it possible for me to create and experiment at my own pace. It taught me to observe, listen and invent. It also helped me be comfortable with being alone with myself. As an adult, I think we often forget how important it is to give ourselves some time to be bored. Of course part of the reason is because we rush from one thing to the other because of work and our responsibilities, but the truth is, there is always time to be bored and listen to ideas as they start to occupy these empty bubbles of time. Here are some ways I like to fill mine up:

  • Move: When I’m in a rut and find myself whining about how bored I am, I like to roll out my yoga mat and start moving and stretching around. Every time I do so, I end my practice feeling refreshed, calmer, and more open to inspiration. I usually have one or two good ideas in my head ready to be used and put in motion as well.
  • Enjoy the outdoors: Even if it’s just sitting in my backyard or balcony and enjoying the sun or rain, connecting with nature always relieves boredom. Some people say that blue and green colors make your brain happy. I don’t know if that’s true, but being outside always seems to make me feel good. I usually also find something to do: take care of a plant, observe a bee at work, look at the clouds and invent stories, look for beautiful rocks. Of course, if I have more time hiking or doing sports outside is also a great option.
  • Create something beautiful: When I was a kid and I got bored, I would take some printer paper and my colored pencils and sit at the coffee table with the cartoons on low and draw away. I would create clothes and creatures and just enjoy this time to make something beautiful out of nothing. Of course, they were not museum worthy (not under the current standards anyways, haha), but they were pretty and fun to me. As a teenager, I discovered knitting and recently, calligraphy. Not only are all these occupations cheap, they are also quiet, calm and soothing to the mind.
  • Communicate: Some of my friends don’t understand how I have such a close relationship with my parents. We call each other every day, we send each other emails all the time, and we just love spending time together. As a kid, again, I would often seek out my dad or mom when I was bored. My dad would teach me how to draw, give me one of his books to read, go on a walk with me or simply talk to me. My mom would ask me to help her with cooking or shopping and would tell me stories of when she was a kid in Vietnam. Because I was not running from one activity to the next, I had time to get to know my parents and they had time to give me as well. Now, I like to continue to bug them when I’m bored, but I also seek out friends. Sorry about that!
  • Take care of my body: If everything else is going to make my brain explode, I like to pamper myself with a nice shower, using a fun body product or making myself a delicious meal or snack. Taking this time to take care of my body is so great because it gives it importance and recognition. It also gives me time to think and relax.

That was my too-bits on time and boredom. I hope they will help you next time you don’t know what to do with yourself!

 

Vegan Story Time: Elizabeth from Enough Elizabeth

Another Tuesday is here! I’m really enjoying receiving and sharing all of your amazing vegan stories, so keep them coming! If you want to be featured here in a future Tuesday, you can contact me and check the guidelines. I can’t wait to read your story!

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Today, I’m sharing Elizabeth’s story. If you haven’t been over to her amazing blog, Enough Elizabeth, head over there now if you enjoy yummy vegan recipes, beautiful photographs, and fun reads. Her blog is so positive and pretty, and her story is truly inspiring. Here it is!

It all began when I was sitting on my balcony one summer morning, and came across a vegan “what-I-eat-in-a-day” vlog. I was intrigued by the video because the vlogger was a girl about my age at the time (16), yet seemed so aware of her eating habits and the impact they have on the world.

            At the time, I was struggling with an eating disorder and was looking for any loophole that might lead to recovery. I was already following a bunch of vegans on social media and noticed that a lot of them had gone vegan either during, or right after recovery. I read recovery stories that told of people leaving calorie counting, restrictive diets, and unhappiness behind for unrestricted amounts of beautiful, nutritious foods on which they thrived. Right then and there, I decided to see where a vegan diet would take me.

            For a while after going vegan, my eating disorder persisted. This was truthfully because I was not ready to recover.  I did not yet understand that I had to heal my mind before I could transition to the diet I had been dreaming of. However, I continued to practice veganism because I immediately noticed amazing changes in my body that resulted from eliminating harmful animal by-products. My skin had a novel glow, my thoughts became far clearer, and everything seemed to taste a bit better. After becoming aware of the intense and vital ethical and environmental aspects of veganism, I began to wonder why I hadn’t made the decision earlier!

Then, after several significant life changes, I found myself prepared to embark on the journey that is recovery. That is when veganism came to play a larger role in my life than I ever could have imagined. When I began to recover, I started thinking about veganism instead of my eating disorder. I began to see that veganism isn’t just a diet; it’s a lifestyle that calls for loving both your own body and that of the earth. The most exciting part of recovery has been finally enjoying my own recipes and trying new vegan foods at restaurants. I can now focus on the aspects of veganism that matter, and freely embrace the health and joy that come with them. My world has evolved from a sphere of frustration to one filled with tahini, brightly colored breakfast bowls and an endless stream of recipe inspiration that  I get to share on my blog!

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Thanks for letting me share!

Wow! I can’t believe how healing it can be to transition to a vegan diet. I’ve stumbled upon stories where amazing recoveries, like Elizabeth’s, are empowered through a diet change, but also stories of mental healing and changed mindsets. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for sharing your story, being inspiring and bringing such beautiful recipes and posts to the world! Speaking of amazing recipes, you should clearly check out her recipe for her molasses muffins with cape gooseberries. Seriously beautiful!

Again, if you’d like to share you favourite vegan recipe or story, contact me! Until next time, take care!

Vegan Story Time, Kate from The Vegan Wayfarer

I have another wonderful vegan testimony for you! If you are not familiar with Vegan Story Time, it is a series that I started so that people could share how and why they became vegan. If you’d like to participate, check this out and don’t hesitate!

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Today, I’m sharing Kate’s story. Kate is a very passionate writer, and she has amazingly yummy recipes on her blog, The Vegan Wayfarer. I mean, seriously, double chocolate covered strawberry cake and apple and white bean cake? I wish she was my neighbour so that I could talk literature while eating her delicious cakes with her. Anyways, here is why and how she became vegan!

I became a vegan for both reasons of health and reasons of conscience. I was in my early
thirties and dealing with an arthritis problem that was becoming serious. I was experiencing pain in my joints and in the bones of my hands and feet that was getting so bad that, whenever the weather turned even mildly wet, I could barely walk across the floor. I had trouble using my hands and could not handle the weight of a blanket on my feet. I was worried I was going to end up in a wheelchair for the greater part of my life and was willing to do whatever it took to avoid that fate. I began to research which foods would not cause an inflammatory response in my body and came across veganism.

I’d always respected in those who’d committed to a vegetarian or vegan diet but believed- as do many, I think- I couldn’t get the nutrition I needed without eating meat and dairy products. It was also normal to eat meat, wasn’t it? How could I give up chicken or beef? And yet, my studying had raised questions I had trouble answering. Why did I choose to eat some animals while the thought of eating others horrified me? Was perceived intelligence of the animal the criteria I was basing my diet on? The more I learned, the more I realized I had to make a change.

Fortunately, nutritionists like Julieanna Hever and Ginny Messina were there to assure me I’d get everything I needed from a vegan diet and they were right. I’ve been vegan five years and have never had a problem with low protein or missing vitamins. The arthritis in my hands and feet has vanished and I’ve been able to turn my attention to other health problems previously treated with medication. This lifestyle also reconciles with my conscience and I know that, for me, there is no going back.

I have many things I consider ‘staples’ in my vegan lifestyle. A can of organic chili beans (I like Westbrae Organic Vegetarian Chili Beans) can be added to a bowl with couscous and steamed broccoli for a meal that’s faster (and healthier) than any so called ‘fast food’. Miso paste is so versatile and I use for many things besides miso soup. I’ve already posted my Spicy Mac recipe made with white miso paste.

One of my most useful items is not food, it’s a tofu press. I didn’t think I needed one when I first became vegan. I used two plates and heavy books to press tofu and then dealt with one side collapsing and the books crashing to the floor. Finally, I broke down and purchased a press. It isn’t fancy, it cost me less than $20.00, and is worth every penny. I highly recommend getting a press if tofu is a regular part of your diet. Slide the block in the middle, tighten the screws, and the tofu can be set aside with no danger to the floor. The press gets out more liquid than books and plates ever did; something you’ll prefer if you’re like me and like a chewy texture in salads and stir fries. Now that I have it, I don’t know what I ever did without it!

Tofu Press

Ouh! That tofu press sounds amazing! It might be in my next order! I hope you enjoyed Kate’s story, I find it very touching and encouragin. If you want to check out her writing and thoughts, you can check out the Renaissance Woman. If you are more interested in her recipe, check out The Vegan Wayfarer. Finally, you can also find her on Facebook.

If you feel like sharing your own vegan story, please contact me! I really love sharing these so keep them coming! Cheers!