Collard Roll Ups

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Who wants a salad when you can have some of these little collard roll ups?

Instead of using taco shells or quesadillas – I just use some collard greens!  Inside is some guacamole, beans, rice, and corn.

What do you think?  Delicious 😀

 

I have been doing this vegan diet thing for a year and 9 months.  Before that, I was a vegetarian for about a year.  Now, I know I have posted something similar in the past, but I’d like to reflect on how difficult the vegan diet is.

When I say that, I know there are tons of people who will go on about how cheap it is, and how easy it is if you are just prepared etc. and more often than not I would agree.    Basically, I think the vegan diet is completely accomplish-able if you set your mind to it.  Just be ready to eat more, more frequently.  I do think, however, that depending on who you are, where you live, and the circle you have around (for example do your friends always want to go to a steak house?) that there could be more challenges.  It’s obvious, by my 21 months of being a vegan, that it is not impossible even without endless smoothie shops and dedicated vegan restaurants in your area.  I just do my vegan thing using a regular grocery store and some interesting attempts at cooking where I basically alter every recipe I find because I don’t like to have too many steps, and I prefer to use what I have.

I would also like to make a note that in the 21 months I have been a vegan, not a single friend who lives close by to me is also a vegan.  The BF who I live with is also an omnivore, but he is trying to eat more plant based, although he hasn’t made a complete switch.  I have been unable to tap into a local vegan community with real people here where I live to go to places with and try and make recipes.  I have met plenty of people online, and have been completely inspired by the enthusiasm there, but in terms of a real human being in my area – it has yet to happen.  Part of it might be a reluctance to share my information over the internet, and my hope that I will just run into people.  I even went to a local vegan restaurant to read by myself (a book called How Not To Die).  I ate vegan appetizers and expressed to the wait staff that I was hoping to meet some vegans! Guess what? The one I spoke to was a vegetarian.  At least the food was vegan.  I guess it time, maybe it will just happen.

What I am trying to say is, even though I will never eat meat again, it is just exhausting when you go out to restaurants and you have to ask a million questions.  What is this made with? Can I see the ingredient list for your home made “power bars”? Does that have egg in it? Do potato pancakes have egg in them? Can they be cooked with olive oil and not butter?  What about Chinese noodles? Some are rice noodles, some are egg noodles – how do you know?  And Chinese brown sauce? It’s all over the broccoli but is it made with beef broth or oyster sauce and am I allowed to eat that?  Is it thickened with a gelatin? Or agar? Or is it just corn starch to thicken it?  I just can’t tell.  So sometimes, you think you are getting just a veggie dish, and it turns out the sauce might be made from something else – how do you send it back?

That being said, I am still trucking along.  Also, I am trying, to be perfect.  We can’t always be perfect all the time.  Sometimes you mess up.  Sometimes, especially if there is a language barrier, you might now know exactly what is in what you are getting.  The best bet here is to eat out less often, and make more at home.  But guess what? Sometimes you are on the road a lot and it just can’t be helped.  We all do our best.  I do my best, and I will continue to do so, but I recognize that this path is more of a journey, where I find things that work for me, and some that don’t.  And with each little bit of discovery, I try and make it work towards my vegan goals the best I can.  I hope that people can at least recognize my efforts and know that they are based in a strong belief that we are meant to get our nutrients from a plant based diet.

Cruise Adventures and Being Vegan

IMG_20150327_085715So I went on a cruise… And the Vegan part, lets just say it was way easier than I expected.

I used to flip through magazines and say “oh hey look there is a vegan cruise! But it’s 9x the cost of a regular cruise” and then not go on a cruise.  This time, I said, “The heck with it” and took my chances with the run of the mill budget cruise.

So it was a Carnival cruise… and first of all, the fruit selection was AMAZING.  The fact that there are options at any hour of the day/night for the duration of the cruise is also AMAZING.  Additionally, on Carnival, the room service was free, so even when the only thing that was open was the pizza place and the ice cream parlor at 1 am, I could order free fresh fruit and oatmeal delivered right to my room!  I mean, I didn’t even have to walk to get my vegan fix, how great is that?

Also on cruises, the BF and I try and jump start our healthy lifestyle choices.  I would say this is my favorite part.  So healthy fruits, fresh raw options, and some jogging with a side of salsa dancing?  I’ll take it.  We went jogging on the track, swimming in the pools, dancing in the clubs, and even visited the gym to check it out.  Overall, cruises make me happy 😀

Oh, and if you go to the service desk when you first get on the boat, and tell them you have special dietary requirements – they tell the kitchen! And at your dinner time, since you have the same wait staff every night, they come up to you and alert you that they were told about your food preferences.  I was offered to select an entirely vegan cooked meal not on the menu for every single night.  The only caveat was that I had to let them know the night before, but they usually gave me two or three choices to pick from.

Needless to say, I will be cruisin’ more often for vacations!  Less work for food prep, and fresh fruit around the clock! Sign me up!

 

Chickpea Salad

 

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This Chickpea salad was modified from Oh She Glows.  The origional has additional ingredients like onion, pepper, cilantro, and peanuts.  My sister and I chose to make this salad with other ingredients because we like the flavors of carrots and tomatoes better.  Either way, I am sure the original is great too! It was simple to make, and easy to modify, which makes it a perfect salad to me!

Day 10

Vegan life day 10! Here’s the status:

  • I know I want to be healthy. IMG_20150109_174203
  • I know I want to be happy.

I have found an inspiring community of instagrammers and bloggers to reach out to for ideas and motivation.  As you saw in my Instagram post, I have been posting pictures of my own food.  Taking photos of the food forces me to put more love and energy into preparing my vegan meals.

Look at this long list of things I have eaten in the past 10 days! It’s AMAZING how being vegan has forced me to add all this goodness to my life.  I can’t believe all that I have eaten!!

  • TangerinesIMG_20150110_203024
  • Dried Chickpeas
  • Veggie Burritos
  • Hummus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Pears
  • Raisins
  • Mixed fruit smoothies
  • Blueberries
  • Cabbage
  • Lentils
  • Onions and PeppersIMG_20150110_160954
  • Potato Chips (I’m not sure about this one – only eating them when I have a craving)
  • Sweet potato chips (same as above)
  • Mangos
  • Naval Oranges
  • Kiwis
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Potato Leek Soup
  • Olives
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Kale
  • Stuffed Peppers (with tofu, onions, mixed veggies, brown rice & tomato sauce)
  • Guacamole
  • Indian food (white rice and chickpeas with a vegan sauce)
  • Lots of smoothies of mixed fruits!

I lisIMG_20150111_180731ted everything out to show what a variety of fruits, vegetables, and vegan options there are.  This is not a starvation lifestyle by any means.  I have been completely satiated every day, except for day 6, when I stayed up later than usual watching movies and ate Cheese-Its (NOT VEGAN!!).  But you know what?  I am not going to let that get me down.  One day out of 10 I had one mistake, and a minor one at that.  I am proud of my accomplishments and I feel great!