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Veganism or Orthorexia?

Today I am going to be talking about veganism and the confusion that people often mistake it with Orthorexia. In case you are unfamiliar with orthorexia, it is basically a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.

obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.

orthorexia

Although it’s not listed on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders, people still consider a very serious condition.

The reason I am writing this post is because of an article I just read online, and I want to address some things and clear some things up. Below I will post some excerpts from the following article: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/orthorexia-nervosa-when-righteous-eating-becomes-obsession

“American doctor Steven Bratman coined the term “orthorexia nervosa” in 1997 some time after his experience in a commune in upstate New York. It was there he developed an unhealthy obsession with eating “proper” food, “all I could think about was food. But even when I became aware that my scrabbling in the dirt after raw vegetables and wild plants had become an obsession, I found it terribly difficult to free myself. I had been seduced by righteous eating.”

“Raw food followers might meet regularly to “align their bodies, minds and souls” by feasting on “cleansing and immune-boosting” raw foods. Such foods are never heated above 44˚C, so “all the living enzymes in the food remain intact”. No gluten, dairy or “sugar” is allowed.

Clean eaters may follow similar regimes, removing gluten, dairy and even meat from their diets. You might overhear a discussion about “superfood green smoothie” recipes after a yoga class that also happened to “cleanse your gall bladder”.

There is a blurry line separating “normal” healthy eating and orthorexia nervosa, but one way to define the condition is when eating “healthily” causes significant distress or negative consequences in a person’s life.

They may be “plunged into gloom” by eating a piece of bread, become anxious about when their next kale, chia or quinoa hit is coming, or eat only at home where “superfood” intake can be tightly controlled.

Such behaviours can have a significant impact on relationships with family members and friends, let alone on their mental health.”

So now veganism and plant based diets come into play. How do you know if someone is just healthy, or is suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa? Well, the answer is, it is none of your busisness and it is up to that person to discover and help themselves. Of course with many exceptions such as noticing your friend of family suffering or falling into obsessive habits; but other than that, stay out of people’s lives with false accusations and opinions.

I find that most people don’t care about your health – they care about being right. That’s why most people will ask vegans how they get their protein and all their other vitamins and nutrients. Seriously…? You didn’t care about my health five minutes ago, but suddenly my bloodwork results are somehow your business. Why is this? Because people love to be right and to prove people wrong about their diets. This is a comment that is posted on the article:

[Typical vegan argument:
“Oh well…. you call it an obsession because you’re just a disgusting fat pig that eats nothing but junk food!”

Or maybe, we realize the human species was born omnivorous. There is an idea. We were never born to be rabbits.]

My point proven.

Some people like to eat healthy; what is the harm in that? I do not believe that going vegan is going to lead to Orthorexia in any way whatsoever. If you go vegan and develop Orthorexia (theblondevegan), then that is because of your behavior and your brain, not the fact that you switched to a vegan diet.

I hate calling it a vegan diet because it is so much more than that. (I actually have a blogpost on that here). It’s a lifestyle, and no matter what your reasons are for going vegan, think of it as a lifestyle rather than a diet. If you went vegan strictly for your health and do not care about any other factors such as the planet or the animals, than do not consider yourself vegan, but rather “plant based.” People who follow a plant based diet tend to usually wear leather, silk, use cosmetics tested on animals, and don’t usually mind if they have the occasional slip up. However I do not speak for all plant based eaters, but that is usually the case. But hey, whatever works for you – as long as you’re eating less animals.

ANYWAYS, back to Orthorexia.

Eating fully raw is not an obsession. Cutting out meat, dairy and eggs is not an obsession. It’s changing your lifestyle to be the best that you can be and to maximize your responsibility in saving the planet.

However sometimes people do take things too far. This is when you obsess over the foods that you eat and worry about eating “dirty” unhealthy foods. Even some healthy foods frighten you and it takes up most of your time thinking and stressing about it. This is when you need to realize that something is wrong and you need help.

But if you are fine eating the way you are, and do not find yourself ever in a panic or distress, than you are fine. I know I am fine because I can eat raw vegan one day, then have vegan cupcakes and cookies the next. I love to eat healthy because it makes my body feel the best, but I would never deprive myself of something that I want, and if that means cooked meals or vegan desserts, than by all means I’m going to indulge. (I do not believe that anything that comes from an animal is a ‘treat’, so that’s my opinion there when someone tells me to just “treat” myself to some cheese pizza)

 I never used to be like this though; I actually struggled with food and body image for many years, and though I was never officially diagnosed, doctors believe I had an eating disorder, and looking back now, I know it was either Anorexia or Orthorexia. I guess you could say that I was obsessed with working out and eating clean. I would feel bad if I messed up and ate something unhealthy and it was all sorts of crazy, right down to the obsession with specific plates/bowls/silverware. I kept a scale in my room at all times and would get so upset if my weight fluctuated. It was bad, but it wasn’t until I discovered veganism that all these negative thoughts and obsessions went away and my mind could finally be at peace. Now I never worry about what I am eating, and I indulge in whatever I want. Even ask any of my friends, I always say “calories are irrelevent if you’re eating the right foods,” and ” I don’t believe in depriving my body.” I also always say, “nana ice cream is good for my body, but this (vegan) cheese pizza is good for my soul”.

So yeah I like to have pizza and burritos and tacos and burgers. But I also like to eat smoothies, salads, nana ice creams and raw fruits and veggies. I’ve finally reached a place where I am happy and I hope you can all find that place to. I hope this article helped. <3

 

Advice Personal

How to Be Insta Famous

One question I certainly get quite often is, “how did you get so many followers?”, or I have people message me saying, “hi I’m new to Instagram and I wanted to know if you have any tips to getting followers and growing my account?”

This question makes me sad because I think about what our world has come to. Where people care more about Facebook friends and Instagram likes than they do their own reality. I’m making this post to address this issue because I feel social media shouldn’t be about fame and attention; it should be doing and posting what you love and are passionate about.

I-Just-Wanna-Be-Instafamous

I first heard of Instagram in 2011, so I created an account. Although I didn’t know it was a public sphere; instead, I thought it was just an app to edit photos. So I would post the same photo 5 times with a different filter and save it to my phone. It wasn’t until someone started following me that I realized people could see what I was doing.

I created my “food” Instagram in 2013. I originally created it for inspiration to get in shape for summer, and would just add fitspo photos off the internet. I’ve always been a photographer, so I began adding my own food and fitness photos. Of course I’d do the odd hashtag for fun, but soon I noticed my following had begin to grow. I never created my Instagram with the sole purpose of getting followers or becoming insta “famous.” I did it for me. And even when I had 500 followers, or 2000 followers, I still posted what I did because I was passionate about it and it’s what made me happy.

When I had less followers than I did now, I would do shoutout contests, SFS with other similar accounts, and continue using hashtags for people to be able to see my content. But after a while, I realized that Instagram wasn’t about the followers, and I no longer cared about the number on my profile. So once and for all, I stopped doing SFS and shoutout contests for good. Personally I find that people do them just to get followers and I don’t like that. Like I stated above, Instagram should not be about that. If you create an account for yourself and you happen to get followers, that’s great. But you can’t go out there with the sole purpose of getting famous and expect it to happen, cause chances are, with that mindset, it’s pretty slim.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the people who follow me, but I don’t like to consider them as ‘followers’, but rather friends in a community where we can all take and share things about our lives. I’ve met so many people through Instagram that I have become great friends with. I wouldn’t be where I am today with my blog and Instagram if it wasn’t for all the amazing people out there all over the world who follow and support me. So shoutout to all of you, thank you so much, it means the world and more to me <3

I don’t promote creating a social media just to get followers, however since SO many people ask me how to grow their blog or Instagram account, here are some tips:

1. Post stuff that you know targets a specific demographic. If you know that you like food, and other people like food, post about food. If you like fashion, and other people like fashion, post about fashion.

2. Post stuff that you’re passionate about. I could never run an account about something that I don’t care about. It has to be something I love and am serious about that I can commit to and enjoy.

3. Post for yourself – not other people. Or else you’ll find yourself 50k followers later and scared to post a selfie with the thought that people might unfollow you. So start posting whatever you want right from the beginning.

4. If you do post stuff such as food, ensure you have good photos, especially if you’re on Instagram. Good lighting, good colour, good content. People don’t want to see dark, blurry photos. Take your time and do things wisely. And if you’re not good at photography, perhaps reconsider to a Twitter account.

5. Use hashtags. This allows a bunch of people to see your content.

6. If you really want followers, do ‘shoutouts’ with other mutual accounts that have the same stuff as you. That way other people will be able to find you, and you can connect with some great, like-minded people. In the early stages of my Instagram account, I met some of my good friends through doing shout outs with them. However I don’t like “shoutout contests” because I feel as though it’s just a way for the person of superiority to use their followers to share their content to gain more followers, without a definite guarantee of something in return.

Best of luck, and always remember to stay true to yourself. xo

Advice Article Personal

One Person Can’t Change the World

In my time living as a vegan, I have far too often heard people say “well you’re just one person – you can’t change the world”, and it makes me so upset and angry because that is literally the opposite of true. When you are as passionate about something as I am with veganism, you believe fullheartedly that you can and will make a difference for the better.

(and remember, veganism isn’t just a diet, it’s a necessary change for our planet)

I know it may seem that way sometimes – that you are only one little drizzle of rain in a tsunami of water. But you are so much more than that, and every little thing you do does make a difference.

you-must-be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-the-world-8As a vegan and social activist looking to make a positive change in the world, I can’t help but keep my thoughts in. How can you stay quiet and passive about things when there is so much oppression in the world? You have to go out there and try, speak your mind, say how you feel, and that is how you’ll get things done. No one ever changed the world by staying quiet and being polite to everyone. You have to use that fuel and anger you have and turn it into a burning passion. Make people understand that you are serious about what you’re doing and allow them to open their minds to change as well.

My change slowly started branching out last year when I went vegan. I decided to help others and educate them for the better. I educate and spread knowledge through my Instagram and blog. Do you know how many people have told me they are going vegetarian or vegan because of me? A lot. And there are SO many beautiful and inspiring people I follow as well that spread the vegan message and help people open their minds to it. With all these people spreading love and compassionate across these social media platforms, the possibilities for change are endless.

Another branch began to grow for me when I showed my parents the documentary Forks over Knives. Their eyes were opened to the dangers of eating animal by-products and they were able to see things in a new light. They also watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which they loved Joe and Phil. I wrote a post last year about the weekend they decided to challenge themselves to go fully plant based. You can find the link here. 

Another branch stemmed out from me when my parents began to educate their friends. My dad would go up to his friends place and mention veganism and how dairy isn’t in fact as healthy as it’s made out to be. My mom told her friend about Forks over Knives and she even watched the documentary. You see, more and more people spreading the message.

The more I preached, the more I began to see a gradual change and reaction. The more I grew as a person and gained more knowledge, the more I could spread to others and help them spread it as well.

In September I moved into a house for University with five other girls. My one friend Carlee who is an environmentalist, watched Cowspiracy with me and decided if she was going to save this planet, she had to go vegan. You can read my interview with her here.

In December, my other roommate Shelby decided to go vegetarian because of her love for the animals. And in January, my other two roommates Brooke and Amy decided to do a 22 day vegan challenge. Brooke is currently doing what’s best for her body and also spreading the vegan message. Amy is loving being vegan, and even got her parents to watch Forks over Knives, and they decided that they want to try going vegan!! How amazing is that?  

aimsAnother girl from my school named Tara had been feeling sluggish and down with her diet lately, so last week she asked me to help her go vegan for a week. We went grocery shopping and picked up a bunch of good foods, and I gave her tips such as take it slow, buy all the foods you still enjoy, and eat in abundance. Veganism is only as hard or easy as you make it. Even if you’re only eating smoothies, oatmeal, pasta, rice and salads, you can still feel amazing. You can read Tara’s blog post on here experience here.

So to say the least, I think I have spread my message and effected the world quite a bit. My goal is not to transition the entire world to vegans over night, but rather to kindly educate and enlighten people about the benefits of a plant based vegan diet, and hope that some day, they too can see how amazing it is.

As for people who tell you one person can’t change the world, here are some words of advice:

“A snowflake never feels responsible for an avalanche, as does a raindrop feel responsible for a tsunami. But they were responsible; those tiny little things can make a difference – and so can you” – Katrina G (me, ayyy)

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.” – Edward Everett

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“The question is not “Can you make a difference?” You already do make a difference. It’s just a matter of what kind of a difference you want to make, during your life on this planet.” – Julia Butterfly Hill

“The greatest danger to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan

And even if you can’t make a huge difference, just going vegan yourself can make a world of difference for that animal whose life you’ve saved. Per day a vegan can save:

  • 1100 gallons of water
  • 45 lbs. of grain
  • 30 sq.ft of forest
  • 20 lbs of C02 from going into the atmoshphere
  • 1 animals life

Also, Martin Luther King was one person… and he kind of changed the world. Good luck everyone <3

 2014-11-02-003-2014-11-02-0042014-08-02-003-2014-08-02-001

photo 2015-01-20 001

For more information that will hopefully change YOUR world, check out these following links:

http://mindfullybliss.com/informational-articles/

The Best Speech you will Ever Hear – Gary Yourofsky

Forks over Knives

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

Cowspiracy

Earthlings

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/advice-from-a-vegan-cardiologist/

http://veganfoodies.org/2013/07/16/does-being-vegetarianvegan-make-any-difference/

http://agirlnamedally.tumblr.com/post/99806117115/i-dont-mean-to-be-rude-or-be-a-pessimist-but

 

Advice Personal

New Years Resolutions

Hello everybody and Happy New Year! It’s officially 2015 and… the world doesn’t feel any different. The sun is still shining, the birds are still chirping, and I’m still making nana ice cream for breakfast.

improvedJPGBasically I just wanted to write a post about New Years and the big hype about this one special day.

I change a lot in 2014. A year ago I set some goals/reminders for myself for the year of 2014, and looking back at it now, I seem to have successfully completed all of them. Here’s what they were:

  • What you say about others says more about you then it does them
  • Don’t let social media control your life
  • Sarcasm is not an attractive feature
  • Fuel your body with foods that will nourish it
  • Cherish moments before they’re gone
  • Don’t take anything for granted
  • Be kind
  • Keep a healthy mind and body
  • Think Positive
  • Don’t dwell on the bad
  • Don’t stress about the future
  • Be the person your dog thinks you are

I decided to look back on my year and see all that I did or accomplished. Here are some things that happened in 2014:

  • I decided to change myself for the better
  • Found lots of inspiration.
  • Read a poem for the first time at a coffee house thing
  • Learned how to bake.
  • Finished my first year of University
  • Went vegan
  • Evolved as a person
  • Discovered my passions
  • Moved into a house with my 5 girls in Peterborough.
  • Made three pen pals.
  • Traveled to Maui
  • Dislocated my arm….
  • Met my first vegan friend (while in Maui)
  • Turned 19
  • Met Katy Perry (and she sand Happy Birthday to me on stage)
  • Got a new laptop
  • Completed my summer to do list with mom.
  • Created and published my cook book Desserts from the Earth
  • Made so many great friends through blogging and Instagram.
  • Stopped eating animal by-products, stopped drinking, stopped straightening/dying my hair, stopped taking medication, and stopped wearing make-up.
  • I watched documentaries such as Forks over Knives, Earthlings, Vegucated, and Cowspiracy, and learned what kind of change I want to make in this world.
  • I learned a lot about myself as a person: what I like, dislike, where I belong, what I want to do with my life, and what kind of person I’m supposed to be.

2014-12-25 033For the past four days, all I’ve heard people talk about is how 2015 is “new year; new me” “2015 is a fresh star” “bring it on 2015, i’m ready for you” “2015 will be the best year of my life”

Am I the only one who had a super good 2014? Ya I’m looking forward to this year, but there will be plenty more of them.

Something I’ve lerned is that we should not change ourselves one day of the year. We should change/improve ourselves whenever we feel it is necessary. I set goals in January. I set goals in May. I set goals in September. And guess what?  I set goals for myself this year too because I can always improve myself.
But I don’t set goals such as “buy a new car” “lose 10 pounds” “get an 80% average” “go to new york”I just feel like you should set goals that are a) reasonable, and b) change yourself as a person. Not your appearance, not what you own, not where you want to go; but change your mind and your heart.My goals for this year are:

  • Be more giving
  • Stop saying too much
  • Let go of hatred and anger
  • Breathe and meditate
  • Appreciate every day

Short & Sweet. And I know, just like last year, that these things are achievable. I just have to work towards them and change my mindset.

But don’t let January first be some huge dramatic change for you and everyone else on the planet; a date can’t do that, only you can.

 

Also, I’ve had Tumblr for over three years but I’ve recently become obsessed with it, so you can find me on there if you want: http://kgorm.tumblr.com/

Also Also, I’ve been updating my Youtube Channel and I made my first vlog ever (What I Eat in a Day) So check that out too if you want: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiCpQb3VtpfYKKuaC5PDyRQ

Article Food Personal Vegan

How I Became a Vegan

Before

I was brought up in a healthy household.  I ate the foods that I was supposed to and never really thought anything of it.  As a child, I loved broccoli and sweet potatoes. But with that love for certain vegetables was also a love for steak, scrambled eggs, chocolate ice cream, mars bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, chicken wraps, etc.

In April 2013, I made a bet with my friend to see who could go without eating chocolate the longest. I ended up winning because she caved and had some after a couple of days. But even after I won, I tried to challenge myself to see how long I could go without having chocolate or junk food. I then extended that to include fast food like McDonald’s as well. I continued living this so called ‘healthy’ lifestyle for months and months. I was never over weight or severely unhealthy – I just wanted a change and I wanted to feel healthy. Little did I know that the foods I was still consuming (meat, dairy and eggs) were not in fact the healthiest of choices.

Fast forward 9 months to December 2013. I was away at University where I lived in residence. I had a meal plan there and our dining hall was ‘all you can eat’. I indulged in all the bad stuff, but still tried to even it out with the good stuff. I would often get stomach pains and feel very bloated and full. I would go to eat lunch and have chicken and veggies, then go to a lecture and be holding my stomach because I felt so bloated. I always just blamed myself for eating too much and told myself I’d just cut back and have less next time. Boy was I ever wrong. Little did I know that it wasn’t the quantity of the food that I had to change, but the quality. (meat, dairy and eggs)

I would also go to the gym 4-5 times a week and think I was helping my body. I remember one night for dinner I had taco wraps with meat, cheese, sour cream etc, then went to the gym later and felt sick. But I thought to myself as I ran on the treadmill “at least I’m working it off now”.

It is only now that I look back and reflect on those moments that I realize how ignorant and uneducated I was about health and wellness. I now know that you can’t go to the gym or workout and expect to see results when you are still putting junk into your body. Your outcome derives from 80% of the foods you’re putting into your body, and 20% exercise. I was working out a lot, but still eating bad foods, and I  wasn’t seeing big results in my abs like I wanted.

On December 16th, 2013, I was at home eating dinner with my parents,  and I somehow got the idea for another challenge: cutting out meat for one week. Seven days went by, and I saw how easy it was; so I continued. This all started as simply a challenge. It was not about my diet, it was not about the earth, and it was not about the animals. But now one year later as a full vegan, I could not imagine my life any other way. 

The new year came and in January 2014 I began reading about people who had similar problems as me (stomach pains and bloating). They said how they cut out all things that were bothering them and they flourished. I noticed a small difference when I cut out meat, but not a huge one. I would eat grilled cheese for dinner and think I was making a good choice because it was vegetarian. But then later that night I would have stomach pains.

I hopped on my computer and began researching about the vegan diet. I typed in “what do vegans eat?” and “how do vegans get protein?” I compiled a list of all these things, printed it out and brought it down to my parents. They said they didn’t think it was a smart idea because it could be harmful to my body. I sadly agreed, and said I would try eliminating things one at a time and see if that helped.

When I went back to University the following week, I tried cutting back on eggs and dairy. The week after that, I completely eliminated them for 5 days. After that, the only thing I was really having that contained dairy was Greek yogurt, quest bars, and the occasional dessert. I continued eating predominantly vegan for a month, but it wasn’t until February that I decided to cut out these foods completely.

After

Fast forward to exactly one year since I started that challenge. I currently live a happy and healthy vegan lifestyle full of abundant eating. I don’t say I follow a diet because to me, being a vegan is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle. It just happens to affect your diet. I eat healthy plant based foods that come from the ground, so my foods consist of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, lentils, legumes, seeds, etc.

At first I thought of veganism as something restrictive. I always thought about the foods I couldn’t have. But it’s not about what I can’t have, because this is a choice, and I would never choose animal by-products again. Now rather than looking at what I don’t eat, I look at all the things I do eat. 

  • Salads
  • Fries
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Tacos
  • Pasta
  • Sandwiches
  • Chilli
  • Cheesecake
  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Burritos
  • Pizza
  • Mac n Cheese
  • Stir-frys
  • I could go on forever…

If I know one thing for certain, it’s that I have never felt better in my life. Not only are my stomach pains 100% gone, but my skin cleared up, my nails are stronger, and I am so much happier. I never have to worry or stress about the foods that I eat or what I put into my body because I know it’s all healthy. (That’s not to say that I don’t indulge in vegan junk food often). I get to experiment in the kitchen and try so many new foods. I never used to be able to cook. I used to attempt to make cookies from the box and end up burning them. Now I bake all the time and I’m actually good at it. Vegan baking is amazing and not as weird and foreign as everybody thinks. It’s literally just food without eggs or dairy… w o a h.

I listen to my body and feed it the foods I know will nourish it. I’ve learned that I feel the best after eating lots of fruit and raw foods. I wake up in the mornings and am so excited to go downstairs and make a huge green smoothie or a big bowl of oatmeal. I eat in abundance and never get that full, bloated feeling that I did before. I eat tons of carbs and low amounts of fat. It’s funny because society makes you believe that carbs are the devil and will make you fat. Well, news flash, a casual dinner for me is 4 potatoes (cut into fries) and am I fat? Nope. Everyone is always so shocked by my portion sizes cause they’re always bigger than my head. I often get “you can eat all of that?” Yes. Why yes I can.

2014-08-27 004 2014-08-27 001Aside from food, I’ve also learned a lot about our world, society, and myself. I’ve learned that there are many things society tells us that are not true. Like that you need milk to be healthy and have strong bones… lol. So many fruits and vegetables contain calcium… and protein and iron. So if it’s nutrients you’re worried about- don’t be. Spinach has almost every single nutrient you need to survive. So does Broccoli and Blueberries.

Not only does this life style make me feel happy and give me such great benefits, but I think it has overall changed me as a person. I am more compassionate and caring about the planet and the earthlings who inhabit it way more than I ever was before. I see these creatures and I want to help them, not see them suffer. I could never imagine eating a chicken, pig or cow again. I have watched so many documentaries and read so many articles to know about the pain and suffering that they go through not only to get their meat, but to also get their milk and eggs. (Yes there’s a big difference in being a vegan and a vegetarian)

Our world is a dark room with a big window in the front, and right now the blinds are closed. But outside that window is what is going on in this world, and because people don’t want to see/hear about that, they keep those blinds shut. Or maybe they just don’t care. Either way, people stay in the dark about where their food comes from and choose not to know the pain and suffering that goes on.

Another thing this lifestyle has made me see is the truth about the government and all these big corporations who feed us lies to make money. Companies like McDonald’s and Burger King advertise that bringing your children there for lunch is the better choice. Companies also advertise that milk makes your bones strong and eggs are a great source of protein. Those are lies they promote to make money. The medical industry doesn’t truly care about you – they care about how many things they can prescribe to you and how much money they will make off your pain and suffering.

Not only do I see those things, but I now read the labels on literally everything. These companies add so many unnecessary additives to our food that are so bad for us. Ever read the food label on your peanut butter? On the Kraft one, it lists at least 6 different ingredients, half of them I can’t even pronounce. The ONLY thing that should be in peanut butter is peanuts. Trust me, I buy organic peanut butter and it is SO good. So I don’t understand why they add salt, sugar, hydrogenated oils, evaporated cane juice, and so many other things. Even our fruits and vegetables are being sprayed with pesticides and injected with GMO’s: growth hormones, taste, flavour, colour enhancers etc. Before I went vegan I never even noticed or cared about these things. Now they are a #1 priority that I believe is so important and that everyone should be aware of.  Our health is kind of a big deal, and we often forget that when we purchase our food.I also see the world differently. When I see the construction workers tearing down trees and putting up houses it breaks my heart. We are ruining this planet and treating it like we have 5 more lined up in case this one dies. This is the only earth we have and we have to start realizing that.

A vegan saves over 200 animals per year and 48,933 pounds of C02 from being released into the atmosphere. Switching to a vegan plant based diet not only helps your mind and your body, but it helps the animals and this earth. If there is any better way to save the world, please let me know. But until then, I will continue to live a vegan life style because I know it’s best for me, and planet earth.836go_green_go_vegan_bumpPeople won’t agree with this lifestyle. They will call it extreme. They will call it stupid. They will tell you to stop shoving your opinions in other peoples faces and stop thinking you are superior just because you don’t eat meat. They will tell you that you are missing out on calcium and protein. They will tell you to mind your own business.

And you want to know what you should do? Ignore them and just live your life. This is your life and it’s not up to other people to judge or decide what you can and cannot do. If you want to change your world for the better, than do so with pride and confidence. Don’t push things down other peoples throats or get angry at them for not thinking like you. Remember, there was once a time when I ate eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner. But once I opened my mind and educated myself, I was able to make that change. You have to be patient with people because you were once just like them. You cannot force a change on someone who does not want it. They have to be willing and open to new ideas and change. In the mean time, the best you can do is happily lead by example, and educate when needed.

My blog is here because one year ago when I Googled “what do vegans eat”, not many results popped up. So that is why I dedicate my time to blissfully educate others on the subject. Not to push my ‘beliefs’ down others throats, but when certain individuals come looking for the information, it will be here.

And that is why I am so thrilled to announce my new ebook guide: Vegan Beginners Guide! It is completely free and is open to anyone to download! I just want to help educate people and spread awareness about this positive and amazing change. So if you’re thinking about switching to a vegan lifestyle but feel pressured or confused, download this now! https://payhip.com/b/57Vi

Thank you so much xx

Interview Personal

Interview with Carlee Bayes on Being Vegan

Carlee was a vegetarian for 6 months prior to going vegan. She is also an environmentalist studying Environmental Science at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She’s super cool, has ginger hairs, and loves polar bears. She is also my rockin roommate where we reside in our current house in Peterborough.

Let’s begin.

Carlee and I

Carlee and I

Q: So November 1st was your one month of going vegan. How do you feel so far?

Um, I don’t really feel that different physically. I have lost a bit of weight; my pants feel a bit looser. I look at other people and I look at what they’re eating and I feel better about what I’m eating in the sense that I am no longer contributing to the murder of animals and no longer increasing my carbon footprint.

Q: What made you initially decide to go vegan?

For a few weeks I had been learning more and more about veganism. I was already a vegetarian for 6 months prior to this, but the final turning point for me is when I watch the documentary Cowspiracy (with Katrina) and learned all about the dangers of animal agriculture/factory farming, how many innocent animals die a year, and how bad it is for our environment.

Why Veganism is more than Just a Diet

Q: What did your family and friends think of your decision to switch?

My parents were really supportive of my decision and even make me my own little separate dinner from theirs. My dad was really concerned about the proper nutrients at first but he said as long as I was happy and healthy then that’s all that mattered. After a month he’s still not 100% beside me on it but in the end it’s my decision and they’re proud of me and support me either way. My mom also sends me little vegan recipes on Facebook; she loves it. Also, both of them are now starting to eat healthier than they did before.

As for friends, they were really surprised at first but very supportive. I still get comments such as “vegan?? Why!?” but although they don’t really understand, they’re still happy for me.

Q: What are some positive outcomes of going vegan?

I don’t have to worry about eating shitty foods and I’m not tempted by them at the grocery store. I know that they’re there and I know that I could eat them, but I also know I’m not going to because I don’t want to harm any living beings. I also feel healthier and more positive.

Q: Any negatives?

Having to answer the question “why are you a vegan” every single time I meet someone or talk to someone. Also, not being able to go get pizza with the girls (that we live with) or being able to eat food with the girls when they get food. And not being able to attend ice-cream sundae parties. But that’s not really a negative because, who even has ice cream sundae parties anymore.

Q: Before this, did you ever think that you would/could go vegan?

A while ago when I was eating turkey, fish and chicken, I thought it would be easy to go vegetarian. But when I thought about veganism.. I thought, no way. I love my eggs and milk and cheese too much. The thought never really even occurred to me when I was a vegetarian until I realized how important it was to cut out all of those things because it may not seem like the animals are being harmed for those things, but in reality, they are and I knew I couldn’t let that happen.

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Carlee’s vegan dinner of salad and faux soy chicken.

Q: What kinds of foods do you eat now and how do they differ from the foods you ate before?

I love cereal with almond milk (which is basically the same as before except with almond milk), fake chicken, Tofurky turkey slices, chocolate banana smoothies, fake cheese to make grilled cheese, pasta and tomato sauce, soba noodles, superfood salads, lots of berries, and for sweets I buy vegan chocolate bars and vegan chocolate chips that I eat straight from the bag. (They taste exactly like regular choco chips)

The foods I eat now are basically the same things I ate before except vegan-ified 🙂 Not that hard!

Q: Why do you think other people should give this lifestyle a try?

I think people don’t understand that animals are just like us and that they have feelings and emotions and like to play and do things and people become so disconnected from it. People should attempt to be vegan to save lives that are important. And also to clean out your insides and get rid of all the bad things in your body.

Q: As you know, I support going vegan for health, the animals, and the planet. What was the #1 reason for you going vegan?

I think the main reason behind me going vegan was that I knew I couldn’t be a true environmentalist and save the planet, which is my dream, and change the planet without being a vegan because factory farming is the #1 contributor to Global Warming, Climate Change, and so many other things. I don’t think I could be true to what I believe in without making that change to vegan.

IMG_8865Q: What do you think the biggest misconception about going vegan is?

Um, probably the whole not getting enough protein thing. People don’t understand that chicken is not the only source of protein in the world. And also, the animals you are eating are literally vegan themselves. Cows eat grass and corn, and then YOU eat THEM. So the only reason you’re getting protein from them is because they got protein from plants.

(The same thing works if you were to eat a meat eating human. – Katrina)

protein-intakeQ: Okay, and last question. Do you have anything to say or any advice to anyone out there who wants to go vegan but ‘loves their chicken’ etc?

Honestly, I realized it’s not that big of a change because I can still have ‘chicken’ but it’s not from an animal. And I can have ‘cheese’, but it didn’t come from an animal. And I understand it’s not exactly like the real thing, but it’s pretty darn close and I’m not that picky of a person so it’s good enough for me. If you have faith in yourself and truly want to make a change, then you will realize it’s actually easy and that you can actually do it; that’s what worked for me.

2014-10-31 001 2014-10-31 002

Carlee and I enjoying delicious ice-cream sandwiches made from coconut milk.

Personal Vegan

Toronto Veg Fest 2014

Earlier this week I attended the Toronto Vegetarian Festival. I have never been or even heard of it for that matter, until the other day when I was eating at The Food Forest Cafe, they had a sign on their door saying “we will be closed tomorrow as all of us are going to Veg Fest”. So I went home, Googled it, and immediately wanted to go. So the next day, I went.

veg fest2014-09-07 003 2014-09-07 001It was honestly such an amazing experience. It’s a huge festival filled with lots of food, samples, speakers, questions, performances, activities, etc. I loved being in the environment because everyone there is like me and has the same thoughts and beliefs about veganism and such. It was great to talk to different people and hear about how long they’d been vegan for, or why they decided to go vegetarian or vegan.

I think the best part was all the free samples of foods. I am glad I had a small breakfast because I ate SO MUCH. I got to try ice-cream sandwiches (made from coconut milk) lots of crackers and hummus, raw bites, chocolate bars, brownies, cookies, ice-cream, mac n cheese, alfredo sauce and pasta, breads, peanut butters, quinoa cereal, and so much more! Here are some photos.

2014-09-07 005 2014-09-07 001 2014-09-07 005 2014-09-07 005 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 010 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 012 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 025I also saw some other pretty neat things there like stickers, sweaters, t-shirts, necklaces, other jewelry, etc.

2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 015 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 017 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 027I also got the chance to meet Olympic Silver Medalist, Meagan Duhamel, who is a figure skater and proud vegan.

Meagan Duhamel returned from the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a silver medal that she and pairs partner Eric Radford helped Canada to win in the Team Figure Skating competition. Meagan and Eric are 3-time Canadian Champions and won the bronze medal in the pairs competition at the World Championships in 2013 and 2014. Meagan became a vegan in 2008 primarily for the health benefits she believed would help her achieve peak fitness. She soon became aware of the issues facing farmed animals and is now a proud supporter of Mercy for Animals Canada.

I got to listen to her speak about why she decided to go vegan, and then got to meet her and got a photo with her.

2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 036There was also a doughnut contest where 4 judges sampled 4 different vegan doughnuts and had to choose 1 winner between the four chefs. It was also interesting listen to their stories and why they went vegan/opened vegan doughnut and pastry shops. Plus the audience got to try the doughnuts too and they were delicious.

2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 0692014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 067It was super fun and an amazing experience, and I am so glad I decided to make the quick and last minute spontaneous decision and go down there for the day. I definitely recommend going if you live in the GTA or even anywhere outside of that. I will most likely go back next year, and ALSO the Toronto Vegetarian Association has tons of other fun events throughout the year. You can click the links below for more information 🙂

http://vegfoodfest.com/

http://veg.ca/

2014-09-07 005 2014-09-07 007 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 019 2014-09-07 006 2014-09-07 018 2014-09-07 002 2014-09-07 003

 

Food Personal

Living with Non-Vegans + School

Hey there everyone! Hope you’re all having a great September so far. Today I wanted to talk about my ‘new life’ so far. I’m living in a house for second year University with 5 other girls (who are non-vegan) and also trying to balance eating/making healthy food while attending classes, doing readings and assignments, possibly working, and still maintaining a social life and having ‘me time’.  So here’s what’s goin on in my world and how I make everything work 🙂

IMG_7956Non-Vegan Friends

Many people may find it hard or difficult being the only vegan around, but honestly, it’s not even bad. My friends are still adjusting to the idea, but it’s not like they are ever rude to me about it or anything. I know some people who constantly make rude remarks to vegans and criticize them. I’m glad I’ve never had to have that experience. People don’t really understand it, but at least they don’t criticize me for it, and I appreciate that. They just sort of think I eat leaves n stuff.

I always make food and offer friends and family some. I find the best way to get people to open their eyes to veganism is through food- especially desserts. Before moving in, I made chocolate chip cookies, and the girls loved them! (Hopefully they weren’t just saying that) (well, they wanted more, so…). I was also eating my chocolate cake tonight and my friend asked me for a bite… and then wanted another one. So she approved.

IMG_7933I don’t think they’ve gotten used to the fact that I’m a vegan yet and that everything that I eat is vegan. I guess people think vegans only eat salads and fruit (understandable) because every time I eat bread, or pizza, or crackers, or cookies, or cake, they ask “is that vegan!?” and tonight I said, “Yes, you don’t have to ask every time because everything I eat is vegan hahaha”

I get it though, because not everyone knows that anything you eat that is regular food can be made vegan. ie: pizza, lasagna, yogurt,  ice-cream, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, taco meat, nachos, burgers, scrambled eggs, pasta, sandwiches, cake, cookies, fudge, cheesecake etc. Yes, all of these foods can be made vegan.

Everyone thinks ‘vegan food’ is this huge weird ordeal. It’s literally only food without an egg or milk in it. And meat of course. and eggs and dairy are not hard to replicate in recipes. So, easy peasy 🙂

So I make my own food and share when I can, in hopes that everyone will realize that being a vegan isn’t that bad or hard. Do I stand out like a sore thumb? Yes. But is that okay? yes yes.

2014-09-03 001 2014-09-03 006

Living and Eating

I have a lot of food. I mean A LOT. But we worked everything out well, and I even brought my mini fridge (because not everything fit in our communal fridge that is quite small) and I have my own designated cupboards.

IMG_7996

I keep a few things in the main fridge, like my olives, avocado, cucumber, and pineapple, but most of my stuff is in my lil fridge. My cupboard is on the right side of the photo below and here’s what’s inside:

  • Spiralizer
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • You Fresh Naturals Coco-Nut Butter
  • Coconut shreds
  • Super powders
  • Oats
  • Dates
  • Lara Bars
  • Brown Sugar
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Crackers
  • Chickpeas
  • Vega Protein Powder
  • Figs

1Then I keep a little container on top of my mini fridge with my main things that I use daily.

In the fridge:

  • My chocolate cake in a small tupperware container
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Zuchinni
  • Spinach
  • Apples and Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Dates

On Top:

2Oh, and I have a shelf at the bottom of our cupboard with a few things as well.

  • Sourdough Bread
  • Cashews (the large container)
  • Rice Pasta
  • Kevala Cashew Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Spreads Nut Butters
  • Flaxseed Meal
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Tupperware containers

IMG_8004What I ate Today: first day in the new house

Breakfast: big green smoothie consisting of: 4 frozen bananas, handful of spinach, 1 tsp peanut butter, superpowders (noni, wheatgrass, baobab, vega protein powder)

2014-09-03 001 2014-09-03 003For lunch I had a sourdough bread sandwich with hummus, lettuce,mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, black olives, and mustard. A side of: 1 nectarine and a coconut cream lara bar.

IMG_7746Dinner: homemade cauliflower crust pizza with tomato sauce, mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes,  and black olives. Recipe can be found here.

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Tomorrow I have class at 10am, so tonight I’m going to make overnight oats because they are a simple breakfast and all I gotta do is take it out of the fridge and eat them! I highly recommend food prepping for when you have early classes or busy days. I know Wednesdays are my super busy day, so on Tuesday nights I will do meal prep and get everything ready in advanced. I have some posts from my Tip Tuesday page on Meal Prep and Quick and Easy Food Ideas that could be useful to you if you’re in school. I hope this helps!

IMG_6992IMG_7899wearing summer organics bamboo tank-top

 

 

 

Food Personal

Farewell Summer, Greetings.. September

It pains me to write this, but…. summer is over. Well, not officially, but for me, as soon as September comes: bye bye summer. I’m just really sad because summer is my time. I’m just a summer baby and I love the sun and the warmth. Things I dread? Waking up when it’s still dark. Wearing PANTS. Getting out of the shower and be freezing cold. Walking to class in the SNOW. Having to turn my heating blanket up because it’s so cold. Just wearing clothes in general..

You see, I don’t mind going back to University and starting classes (okay, maybe I’m a little upset), but if it were summer all year round, it would be easier to deal with. But instead I live in Ontario, Canada where the snow will reach my ankles and you can see your breath when you step outside. It’s really quite upsetting and I think I’m going to cry now. BUT FIRST, let’s look back at some summer moments:

A Farewell to Summer

1. That time I got the keys to my new house in Peterborough and discovered this vegan cafe right beside my house!

2014-05-24 005 2014-05-24 0472. Being indecisive with smoothie making.

2014-05-19 001 2014-05-19 0073. Rainbow salad bowls and a Canadian tee

2014-05-08 002 2014-05-08 0074. Fresh picked strawberries

2014-07-04 006 2014-07-04 0035. Making these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pancakes

IMG_00326. Making fruit platters

2014-06-01 005 2014-06-01 0087. Drinking green smoothies every morning.

2014-06-23 008 2014-06-23 0017. Meeting Ellen Fisher and her son Elvis (both raw vegans) when I visited Maui, Hawaii.

IMG_6615AND meeting my first vegan friend when I was in Hawaii. Meet Nicole from Seattle.

IMG_66678. Dislocating my arm, of course. [Which shall I mention I STILL can’t fully bend or straighten 🙁 ]2014-07-25 005 2014-07-25 0019. Having a lil vegan cupcake for my 19th birthday.

2014-07-23 007 2014-07-23 02310. Going for sushi multiple times and eating a TON. (42 rolls of sushi, 2 miso soups, and 1 bowl of edamame to be exact)2014-08-01 003 2014-08-01 0112014-08-29 003 2014-08-29 00311.  Driving past this farm and making my mom stop so I could go see them.

2014-08-12 004 2014-08-12 01612. Having a picnic at the Toronto Bluffs

IMG_7434 IMG_753713. Trying this Chickpea burger at the Live Organic Food Bar.

IMG_718914. Having a tea party at the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa

IMG_725715. Eating these raw vegan tacos (omg best tacos I’ve ever had) from the Food Forest Cafe.

2014-08-23 001 2014-08-23 00116. Exploring Edwards Gardens in Toronto and having a picnic.

IMG_7777 IMG_7811 2014-08-31 002 2014-08-31 003 IMG_781617. And finally, releasing my cook book, Desserts from the Earth

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Well, I’m sure going to miss you summer.

What are some of your favourite summer moments?

Advice Personal Vegan

In Moderation: pushy or passionate?

I walk into my kitchen and there’s a box of pizza sitting there. With great pain in my heart, I flip open the lid only to reveal a full, beautiful, mouth-watering cheese pizza. I make a slight whimper and close the box. My mom says “I almost brought you home a gluten free one, but then I remembered it has cheese and thought, what am I thinking?”. Then my dad says, “Just have a piece”.

I coincidentally had a vegan pizza for dinner, but nothing compares to that real cheese pizza. Since going vegan, cheese pizza is truly the only thing I really miss. But that’s okay, because in order to live this lifestyle, I realize I have to make sacrifices. And sure I’m going to want pizza sometimes, but I’m not going to give into that will power? Want to know why? Here’s why.

My dad calls himself a vegan. I think he does it to bug, because he is not a vegan. He TRIES to eat more plant based foods, but says he “cheats” and has some meat, cheese, and eggs sometimes. I told him there’s no such thing as a partial vegan; you either are or you aren’t.

So as I’m standing there in my kitchen, he has the audacity to try to tell me to just have a piece of pizza. Who do you think I am to just give up 7 months of veganism for a little piece of pizza? Hell no. He goes on to tell me that “his father lived to be 80 something and ate whatever he wanted blah blah blah, and that everything is okay in moderation.” Well that’s where I have to stop you, pops. Because ya sure, everything is okay in moderation for health wise, but I’m not only a vegan for health reasons. I do it for my health, for the planet, and for the animals. And sure I may have an extreme personality, and sure I may seem really opinionated. But you know what? No big change in the world ever happened from being passive. So if I truly want to make a difference in this world, and I hope that one day I can, I have to be strong and passionate.

5a0bb5c4bab9a4cbc4e23901d4ea18afNo one ever changed the world by doing things ‘in moderation’. You either go big or go home. If we ever want to save the planet and the animals, we can’t have the “it’s okay sometimes” attitude, or else we’ll never see a change. People will eat cheese pizza “sometimes” or have a chicken salad “sometimes” and think that it’s okay. No, it’s not okay to kill innocent animals and eat them. We are all earthlings and we are equal.

Researchers have found that raising animals for consumption contributes to erosion and nutritional depletion of soil, plus desertification and deforestation. As a result, the US alone has lost about a third of its topsoil from factors that include livestock agriculture. More than 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is used in agriculture of plants and animals: it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods. Plus, the United Nations has reported that the livestock sector is most likely the largest source of water pollution. A Cornell study found that producing animal-based protein requires eight times more fossil-fuel energy than creating plant-based protein. (http://vegnews.com/articles/)

2014-06-18 004 2014-06-18 001What does this all mean? That slaughtering the billions of animals that we do is killing our planet. So when will people learn to stop? When will people change their perspectives and attitudes. “The chicken was already on the table, so if I had a piece, it wouldn’t matter”. Um, wrong. That attitude right there is what’s killing our planet. How can you ever expect to make a difference in this world if you don’t change how you think and stand up for what you believe in? How do you expect humans to save this planet if they say things like “oh, well a burger is okay in moderation”

66236_448776571825295_917078001_nSo sue me, hate me, un-follow me, do whatever. I will be a voice, not an echo. I will make my voice heard. I will stand tall as a vegan and not let anyone bring me down. I will make a difference in this world, and I will not give up. That I can promise you.

Pushy or passionate: you decide.

necessary veganism