Vegan for Lent Update ~ The 40 Day Vegan

Vegan

Today makes 42 days since I went vegan for Lent (the longest Lent ever). Overall it’s been a good change. The last few weeks I’ve been about 90-95% vegan and the biggest change that I love, is simply that I feel good. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s not. Here are a few thoughts/challenges/reflections:

  1. Physically I feel lighter and not weighed down after a meal and I know that my body has an easier time processing veggies and grains over heavy meats.
  2. I’ve added a ton of great foods like dates and pumpkin seeds to my diet. I’ve been stocking up on lentils, beans and quinoa (did you know quinoa can be made in a rice maker?).
  3. Eating out can be tough. For example, before visiting a new restaurant I looked at the menu online and found a vegan dish, but once I got there the menu changed and the dish was not on the menu. My friend offered for us to leave and find a new restaurant but I ended up choosing something with dairy for that meal. Eating out is totally hit and miss.
  4. Dairy and egg are in nearly EVERYTHING. Seriously, it’s shocking how reliant my diet is on foods with dairy and egg. I spent a few years pescotarian and thought it was difficult to eat then but clearly I had way more options.
  5. Soy, almond and coconut milk lattes are not the same but you can get use to them.
  6. If you don’t plan ahead, it can suck. Not all the time, but like any diet change, when you’re hungry and need food, like now, it it can be hard, but I guess this is like any diet.
  7. I was surprised at how many people were supportive. Going vegan is definitely becoming more mainstream and I found most friends and family to be really supportive.
  8. I’ve learned what true friendship is. When I needed a cupcake, a friend made sure to rip off the ingredient list to “make” them vegan. Hey I’m not perfect, but that cupcake was. 

The biggest thing that I love about eating vegan is that I feel good about eating this way. I realize that there are so many health benefits to eating this way, but mostly it just sits right with my heart. I won’t go into details about the terrible way animals are treated before they hit our plates because most have heard but I feel at peace when I avoid meat.

I’ve been asked at least a dozen times, when Lent is over will I stay vegan? To which I say, I will continue to eat about 80% vegan. When I was pecsotarian, the biggest problem I had was eating out in social settings. I started to dread eating out. The vegetarian options were usually heavy pasta dishes with zero nutritional value and made you feel like crap after eating it. So I wouldn’t eat and then after I’d be mad and hungry. When I’d complain my husband would say, why didn’t you eat at the restaurant? The truth was I’d feel guilty if I strayed from my declared diet of pescotarianism. But guilt shouldn’t have a place in your diet when you are doing you’re best. Now, I realize that like yoga, being vegan, vegetarian or pescotarian is not a religion it’s a lifestyle practice. Everyone can practice in a different way and shouldn’t feel guilty because it’s their practice. I don’t feel guilty because I can’t stand in Warrior III in hot yoga for an hour. I’m just not there yet. And that’s why I say about 80% vegan/mostly vegetarian because I think that is doable for my life right now. And because that means I can still have a cupcake.

And a few of my new faves…

Figs or dates, or whatever

Dates

 Vegetable fajitas

Veggie Vegan

Vegan Kale Chips (OMG amazing)

Kale Chips

And one more picture because he’s cute…

Bathtime

IF Ladies Spa Day

Yoga ~ Massage ~ Paraffin Hand Wax ~ Facials ~ Foot Soaks

A few weeks ago, I shared an idea with my friend Heather about having a ladies spa day for my mom’s group and with her awesome help we got to planning.  This past Saturday, I hosted about twelve women over to enjoy yoga, mini massages and some relaxing spa stations. We tried to keep it simple and relaxing. Calm soundscapes music played and lavender scented candles made the room truly feel like a spa.

We started off with a bit of yoga (thanks to On Demand). The mom of one of our gals is a masseuse and she came to give massages as the other events were going on. After yoga, we broke up into different stations. There were foot soaks, paraffin hand waxing and facials complete with cucumbers. A light lunch was served (a sandwich platter, salad and trays of fruit and veggie) and we watched a short clip from the IF Gathering, a conference we attended in February that encourages the next generation of women to live out their purpose. We asked everyone to answer this: IF you believe you have a calling, what is it and what are you doing about it? It was great to hear such a vast list of gifts and dreams on everyone’s hearts. We laughed with some and cried with others. It was truly beautiful! 

So I must confess that after the party, Heather and I were cleaning up and she noticed that the cucumbers looked more like zucchini. “What? Impossible.” I said. I juice cucumbers every morning and just knew that I sliced cucumbers. As I examined the unused cucumbers I realized that they were, if fact, zucchini. So for all the ladies who used cucumbers with the facials ~ oops.

It was so wonderful to have everyone get together for a few hours to relax and hang out. I can’t wait to do this again!! Thank you so much for all the ladies who contributed to making this day so awesome!! Below are a few photos but since we told everyone to come makeup free and in yoga clothes, I will not be posting any pictures of the gals for fear of losing friends :-P

Yoga

I selected a ‘beginner yoga‘ practice. Apparently this is what ‘beginner‘ means to some people…Yoga on demand

The only man allowed in on our spa day was this little guy ~ who clearly has the cobra pose down. Baby yoga

The facial stations with the, ahem, cucumbers for puffy eyes. We put wash clothes in the crock pot to keep them warm. Facial Station

We served two mini desserts ~ chocolate mousse with brownies and lemon trifles. They turned out not too bad…photo 2 (5)

Mini Lemon TriflesDessert

This was the easiest recipe in the whole wide world (thanks Em for this).

Ingredients

  • Fresh whip cream (I used heavy whipping cream and sugar)
  • Pepperidge Farm Lemon cookies broken in to small pieces
  • Lemon Curd
  • Raspberries

Instructions

  • Layer
  • Eat

photo 1 (5) Lemon1

I wish I could do this every Saturday morning! Thanks for letting me share!!

IF Ladies Spa Day

 

Skin Detox ~ Dry Brushing 101

Dry Brushing

Have you heard of Dry Brushing? I heard about it a few years ago when reading The Truth About Beauty by Kat James and was recently reminded when reading Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet. Basically it’s a way to detox the skin with a shower brush. It makes such a difference ~ I’m totally hooked!!

The amazing benefits of dry brushing:

Exfoliating and renewing cells
Reduces cellulite (can I get an amen??)
Boosts blood circulation & the lymphatic system flow
Detoxing of the skin
Stimulates digestion & kidney function
Decreases bloating by massaging the lymphatic system

Skin is our largest organ and dry brushing, if done right, acts like a massage by stimulating the lymphatic system. You might be thinking, “doesn’t my body do this naturally?” Yes, but dry brushing speeds up the process and aids with detoxing. Think of it like a green drink for your skin.

How often should you dry brush? It’s recommended to start with a few times a week to see how your body response and then work up to dry brushing daily. Some people dry brush twice a day. I average once a day. Dry brushing is best in the morning before you shower, but anytime of day is still great.

You can pick up a brush at your local health food store, Whole Foods or Central Market, or even Target or Walmart. Just make sure the brush is natural (e.g. vegetable derived) and firm. Avoid synthetic.

Use the brush on 100% dry skin. You should ideally have two brushes, a firm brush for your body and a slightly softer brush or mitt for your face. For my face I use a small natural bristle nail brush (see photo above). Are you ready?

Skin will be aflying so it’s best to stand in the shower to avoid dead skin all over the place. Remember, all brush strokes should be in light sweeps in a circular motion towards your heart ~ the same way your lymphatic system flows. Be gentle and avoid brushing any cuts or sensitive areas. Your skin should be a little pink but not red or irritated when you’re done. Start at your feet near your ankles and work up towards your legs. Next, in circular motions dry brush your armpits. Next is shoulders. Then arms starting at your wrists and working towards your chest. Next, in a longer semi-circle motion, brush over and under your breast. Finish with your stomach starting in a large circle and working in towards the belly button – like a target. And you’re done!

Remember that after dry brushing, all your skin pores will be open. So depending on your water supply it might be wise to get a shower water filter. After I shower I typically use a vitamin E oil to moisturize. Some people use coconut oil. Your choice.

And Voilà ~ your skin will feel healthy, smooth and beautiful!

Here’s a helpful visual…

How to Dry Brush 101