I want the intention I have behind my social media to be known. In the circle of all negative things associated with social media, there is also a lot of amazing things that have and can come from it. People have been more exposed to the truth, more people have been able to come together to help a cause, I have made great friends, I have been inspired, I have found support, I have learned, I have related and about every other positive verb you can think of. Instead of viewing social media as something that isolates people when they look down at their phones, I view social media as a potential community. A tool that we can use to learn from each other, inspire each other, and support each other. I really want to express what my motivation is when sharing photos on Instagram or sharing statuses on Facebook. My intention is never trying to show off, trying to look cool, or trying to make anyone feel less worthy, or like they’re not doing enough. I enjoy social media as a wonderful way to express who I am and what I am passionate about. If I can inspire one or two people in the process that makes my heart so warm inside. The friends I have connected with on social media inspire me EVERYDAY. I want to go on Instagram and feel motivated, inspired, and good about myself. I don’t want to go onto social media and feel envy, or less worthy. There are accounts out there to do that though, and I want to reiterate that I never want mine to be that way. I feel like we all experience a lot more than we talk about. For example, most women have experienced body image issues at one point in their lives. The media has made us feel as though cover models are the way you’re supposed to look. I know that a lot of women have suffered because of this. No one wants to feel anything but completely comfortable and happy in their own skin. I have struggled with body issues. I used to be 115lbs and thought I was fat and needed to lose weight. The MEDIA has been an unhealthy, myth provoking, brainwashing negativity in my life that I started to part ways with when I turned vegan. Since seeing media for what it really is: fake, untrue, unhealthy, and manipulative; I have become a much happier and healthy version of my already happy self! This is where social media comes in. A way for regular people; not looking for profit; to share information with each other. A way for me to tell woman that putting healthy, nourishing foods in your body is something that may not give you a “perfect” body compared to a magazine, but it does in fact give you a perfect body. As woman, our bodies are created through evolution to bare children. We have hips for a reason. Curves should be embraced, and if you know you’re replacing each and every one of your cells with nourishing food straight from the ground you can feel mighty good about the curves your body has put on you for a reason! Add in movement that you’re passionate about (yoga/pole dancing/hiking for me) and you’ll be happy for LIFE! Processed and refined foods screw with your hormones, your blood sugar and confuse the shit out of your body. Although I will happily indulge in processed foods from time to time, filling my body with whole, nutritious foods a majority of the time has brought my body to its ideal weight and has given my body AND MIND every tool it needs to be its healthiest self. For me, overcoming my long engrained body image issues was a HUGE thing! I have loved having the opportunity to share discoveries, like this one, that took me years to find. Other discoveries like delicioussss tasting whole food recipes that I only discovered after being vegan for three years. A way of eating that makes me feel confident in my body! A way of living that has changed the way I see materialistic things and money. I used to be completely opposite of who I am today. My compassion and kindness have always remained but my actual actions have changed extremely, allowing me to really match up with my hearts desires. I have actually done a complete 180 and I could not be happier. I used to eat roast chicken subs with extra mayo and extra cheese from subway, feeling low energy and napping all the time. Now I drink smoothies with extra kale and want to run around all day long. I used to buy a new piece of clothing every week and get sick of it after the first time I wore it, contributing to child labour and the need to always have new things. Now I buy second hand clothing and wear the same few things almost every day. I used to drink all the time, and now I save it for special occasions; saving myself a lot of hangover days and discovering a happiness sober that I used to only feel with a few drinks in me! I used to consume, consume, consume and not even realize how cluttered I subconsciously felt. Now I try to the best of my ability to live a zero waste lifestyle, which means attempting to create no trash. I do this through making my own cleaners, buying in bulk (packaging free) with mason jars, eating from the ground (nothing processed), buying second hand, etc. Obviously sometimes I stray from this, but this way of living has lifted a weight off of my shoulders that I didn’t even know was there. I feel FREE. I don’t have to be overwhelmed with STUFF anymore, STUFF that just sat there and collected dust. I can go shopping and not feel tempted to buy every nice thing I see. I can find unique, amazing, vintage items at second hand stores and think about the person who used to own it; feeling grateful to them for giving me this treasure. My conscience feels good because I am not contributing to the industries that are destroying this beautiful planet. That is why I use social media. For the people who might find happiness in the “outside of the box” things I do, and would not otherwise be exposed to them. Discovering ways to live the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilling life ever is something I want to share with my friends. And it’s my friends who have shown me so many of these ways to live! Without social media I would not be who I am today, and I hope that I can continue to be a source of inspiration to pursue your passions, and pursue what makes you feel good now and in the future. To give a light at the end of a tunnel that you can be happy straying away from the norms of our current culture. I also use social media because no one should have to feel shitty about themselves, no one should have to feel alone and everyone deserves to be happy. If I can be a friend for someone, give advice, or just put a smile on someone’s face then my post was worth something. A supportive, inspiring, and kind community is what I want from my friends and family on social media. Every follower I receive shows me that someone has taken an interest in my life and they will receive a follow back because I am equally as interested in their lives. My motivation behind social media is not to look cool and it is most definitely not to try and look better than anyone else. I do not think I am better than anyone, I believe we are all of equal worth and value and everyone has a unique thing to offer the world. I don’t believe I am better than any animal either, and that’s a huge reason why I am vegan. Putting myself out there has always been a nerve wrecking thing due to fear of judgement. But then I realized that there’s always going to be someone who thinks something negative about you when you put yourself out there. However, it’s the people you will touch that matter. Others negative opinions on you is truly… meaningless. What matters is happiness within yourself and being true to yourself. All the words spoken in this blog are from my heart. Something I will work on everyday: Not fearing judgement. Namaste
How did I get so lucky? I feel so honoured to be graced with a few beautiful and remarkable friends. Coming from a high school full of pretentious, extremely wealthy and spoiled humans, I managed to take away a few incredible, caring, selfless, genuine, beautiful, and compassionate friends. I can’t word it any other way…. How did I get so lucky? I can know in my heart that these friends will always be there for me. My best friends are my best friends for life and no distance or differing life paths will ever change that. Since leaving high school I’ve rarely seen some of them, but when I do it’s like no time has passed. It’s a cliché saying for a reason! My amazing friends are doing incredible things with their lives and so we’ve spent a lot of time in different cities… And I miss them, everyday! But I also don’t, because I know that they are just a text message away; and they are truly with me in my heart. I’m able to focus on myself, work and school and know that when I’m done, they’ll be there. I can travel alone and not feel lonely, ever, because I know I have you guys in my life. These friendships make me the happy person I am today… without you guys life wouldn’t be this great.
Today I am thinking all of these things because one my best friends is celebrating her birthday. She is so mature, genuine, intelligent, and radiant and happens to have the most beautiful smile. Allyson’s beauty is a true reflection of the beauty she has inside. Allyson has conquered so much and I can’t even express in words how proud I am of her. I don’t think I could have ever made it through what she has. I am grateful to have been by her side for so many years now and I can’t wait to have dinner parties with our babies and families one day in the futurre.
You’re hilarious, motivated, kind, compassionate and fun! My best memories have you in them. You’ve been in my life since my first sip of alcohol and I hope you’re in my life until my last sip of kale juice. Sneaking in pools, yoga, getting arrested, wrestling, walking in the woods with smirnoff, the beach, florida, vans, boys, halloween… are just a few memories I have with you. I have so, so, sooo much love for you Allyson. I really hope this day is special for you. I brought out my old brick of a laptop and dug out some oldies of us. It turned off about 20 times and it really struggled to get me these photos. I hope you enjoy them… you seriously look the same throughout them all! And somehow I go from long hair, short hair, braces, brown, blonde, younger looking… Whereas you just stay the same beautiful blonde bombshell.
Love you to pieces!
1 tablespoon oil (I used some veg broth)
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced (I used 7)
three 14 ½ – ounce cans low sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup uncooked brown rice
3 cups thick and chunky salsa (I used organic and spiiicyyy)
Three 16-ounce cans of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled and diced (I used 3 zucchini)
2/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, sweet potato, and garlic until tender. Add veg broth, thyme, rosemary, cumin, and rice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Add salsa, beans and zucchini. Cook an additional 10 minutes, until Zucchini is tender. Add peanut butter, and stir until melted.
Note: My rice didn’t turn out as cooked as I would like so next time I may cook it in a rice cooker and add it in with the peanut butter 🙂
Feel free to use the original recipes from which I sourced mine! Make your own substitutions to match your taste buds! This is a compilation of the yummiest whole-food recipes I have found over the past two and a half years as a vegan. Although there has been plenty more these are my top ones that I recommend everyone try and make at least once 🙂
I. No-Bake Creamy Whole Food Cheesecake
II. Whole Food Blueberry Muffins
III. Zucchini Bread
IV. Whole Food Pancakes
V. Raw Vegan Gluten Free Brownies
VI. Ceaser-y Salad Dressing
VII. Macaroni Salad
VIII. Creamy Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles
IX. Fresh, Homemade Pizza Crust
X. Easy Pizza Sauce
XI. Lentil & Rice Loaf….. to die for…..
XII. Greens & Beans Enchiladas
I. No-Bake Creamy Whole Food Cheesecake
This cheesecake will not disappoint even the biggest lovers of cheese! Many friends and family tried this cheesecake over the holidays and everyone died! It is truly a delicacy and its super healthy! Especially compared to regular cheesecake:/ Cashews are amazing for you. They are a healthy fat that will do no harm to your body. Nuts also speed up your metabolism and provide your body with pure health.
This recipe comes from Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook by Miyoko Schinner
I have substituted the call for sugar and more maple syrup in her recipe with dates. I substituted the exact ratio of grams of sugar for grams of sugar in the dates so it should be just as sweet and even though it seems like a lot of dates, you’re not getting any more sugar than if you used white sugar but you’re getting the fructose with the fiber, vitamins antioxidants and minerals.. Fruit will help you age better, it doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike, it combats disease and it provides sustained energy. Eating (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/if-fructose-is-bad-what-about-fruit/)
This cheesecake definitely requires a bit of preparation and work but it is sooo worth it and its massive!
Cashew Cream Cheese
Ingredients: (makes 2 cups)
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 8 hours and drained
½ cup water
2tablespoons plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
- Put the cashews, water, non-dairy yogurt, and salt in a blender. Process until smooth and creamy, occassionaly stopping to scrape down the blender jar and move the mixture towards the blades.
- Culture the cheese
Transfer to a clean glass bowl or container, cover, and let rest at room temperature for 24-48 hours, depending on how sharp of a flavour you want. (I preferred the 24 hours… 36 hours made the cheesecake tangy which I really liked but some may like a more subtle flavour!)
5 Cups Cashew Cream Cheese (triple the above recipe)
13 dates soaked in ½ cup water
¼ cup maple syrup (or 3 more dates and 1/8 cup water)
Juice of two lemons
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons agar powder, or 6 tablespoons agar flakes
- Process the filling ingredients:
Combine cream cheese, maple syrup, dates with soak water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a 12-14 cup food processor (or vitamix). Process until smooth and creamy. Leave the mixture in the food processor.
- Dissolve the agar:
Put the 1 ½ cups water and agar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the agar is completely dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. It should not be cloudy or grainy.
- Mix the filling:
Pour the agar into the food processor and process until thoroughly combined with the cream cheese mixture.
- Assemble and chill the cheesecake:
Pour the filling into the crust, spread it in an even layer, and smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm enough to slice.
Almond-Date Crust (I recommend doubling this for a thicker crust)
1 cup almonds
10-12 pitted dates
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until crumbly, sticky and thoroughly combined.
Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan layered with parchment paper (so the crust doesn’t stick) and press mixture in an even layer over the bottom.
II. Whole Food Berrylicious Muffins
1-½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup millet
12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup unsweetened vanilla non-dairy milk
2 bananas mashed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or any berry you wish) (if frozen, do not thaw first)
- Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, cover the chopped dates with the non-dairy milk and set aside (so the dates may soften).
- Grind oats and millet into a flour in your blender (a high-speed blender will do a finer job) and place into a mixing bowl. Add the baking powder and cinnamon to this and stir with a fork.
- Place the dates and non-dairy milk into a blender and blend until smooth. Add this date mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients along with the mashed banana, and mix with a spoon until all the dry ingredients have disappeared.
- Gently fold in the blueberries (or berries of choice). Spoon the batter into a silicone muffin pan or parchment muffin papers in a metal pan, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full. (Since the batter has no oil, I have found that regular cupcake papers tend to stick to the muffins).
- Bake for 30 minutes. The muffins will be done when the tops have begun to brown and cracks appear, and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing.
III. The Tastiest Zucchini Bread everrrrr!! And whole foods!!
The only thing I leave out is the walnuts but I’m sure they are a great addition!
IV. Whole Food Pancakes!!!!
I substitute the cornmeal for blended quinoa!! They become way heartier and they are delicious! I sub the lemon juice for water and replace the lemon zest with cinnamon
V. Raw Vegan Gluten Free Brownies
THESE BROWNIES ARE SO YUMMY! I make a frosting to go on top that is Avocado, dates and cacao and some water! Just blend those ingredients in a food processor and add dates as needed. These brownies are guilt free and make you feel so full because of the high content of phytonutrients. If you’re worried about the high fat from nuts, high sugar from the dates, don’t be! watch these videos to eat them feeling guilt free;
VI. Ceaser-y Salad Dressing…… mmmmmmmmmm (wooden bowl)
VII. Macaroni Salad (silver bowl)
VIII. Creamy Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles
2 Medium sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized
2 cups bite sized broccoli florests
½ cup mushrooms
¼ cup parlsey for garnish
½ cup water
1 garlic clove
½ cup red bell pepper
1 cup cashews
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp braggs soy seasoning (soybeans and water) http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-gmos-safe-the-case-of-roundup-ready-soy/)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt (I’ve left out and its still amazing)
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp paprika
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/8 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
In a blender, blend water with garlic and bell pepper. Add remaining ingredients and bend until creamy. Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables, and toss to combine well.
IX. Fresh, Homemade Pizza Crust
I grind my own wheat flour from wheat berries so they have all the fiber, protein AND starch… not just the starch. Having a vitamix also makes me able to use quinoa instead or any other grain!
The tastiest gluten free crust I have tried so far is this one:
and I used chickpea flour!
X. Easy Pizza Sauce
¾ cup water
2 (or more) medjool dates pitted and chopped
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Place the water and dates into a blender and soak for at least 20 minutes (to soften). Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
XI. Lentil & Rice Loaf….. to die for…..
XII. Greens & Beans Enchiladas
What an incredible evening spent with beautiful friends! It felt so good to take my hands off my textbooks and into the kitchen this week! The day classes ended I was in my kitchen preparing cheese! The first step was making rejuvelac which you do by sprouting grains and then soaking them in water for 3 days. It makes this tangy liquid that tastes similar to lemon juice. Then I had to mix soaked cashews with probiotics and let it ferment for a variety of time (24-72 hr) depending on what the cheese was. For the cheddar cheese I blended the cashew mixture with nutritional yeast, and miso and then heated it on the stove top and added agar. Then I refrigerated it. I won’t bore you with the process of the mozzarella, cheesecake or the cannolis! It was quite the process but I just so happen to LOVE cooking and LOVE being in my kitchen so it was great 🙂 And well worth it because these cheeses and desserts turned out AMAZING! I couldn’t believe it! The cheddar….. tastes like cheddar…… the consistency, the mouthfeel- it was a miracle. The cheesecake was nothing like the frozen ones I’ve been making that can’t be too frozen or too melted and the perfect in between is still more like icecream than cheesecake. This recipe used agar and the consistency was identical to cheesecake. I wish I could have everyone try it, or everyone slap me in the face to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Oh, and I don’t think I am being biased because every one of my girlfriends stuffed themselves full! They raved about how tasty it all was and I believe them! I mean, it could have been the wine…. but then my mom came home (who doesn’t drink wine, and is always honest with her opinion of my food) and she LOVED it all! I also had on the platters Zengarry Garlic and Herb nut cheese (omg so yummy), Simply Raw Express veg pate (tastes like stuffing), two homemade fruit compotes (strawberry & blueberry), and homemade Chocolate & Chestnut Cannoli’s. To go along with the cheeses I had a fresh loaf of rye bread baked that day by Bread By Us, gluten free crackers, dates, figs and dark chocolate.
It was an aesthetically appealing night with flowers decorating the table from Flowers & Vintage on Somerset St, but it was also a beautiful night because of the compassion surrounding it. No animals were harmed and no animals suffered in the making of this feast and my girlfriend’s couldn’t tell the difference. Compassion is so so so beautiful. When I see it in someone I am always taken back by the beauty that radiates from them. Thank you ladies for allowing this evening to be a symbol of compassionate, and how wonderful, beautiful and inspiring it can be.
It wasn’t until recently that I made the connection. Finally the imaginary rationalizations I had invented growing up disintegrated. These walls I had built in my head demolished so quickly I was overwhelmed with emotion. I scurried to try to build them back up; but it was too late. After a few documentaries, a few photos and an article that I will put at the end of my post; I finally made the connection that pigs, cows and other farm animals are no different than my puppy Brooke. Humans don’t instinctively want animals to suffer. We naturally feel compassion, love and empathy towards them. Because of this growing up our minds had to create false rationalizations, they HAD to separate certain animals in order to comfortably dine on their dead bodies for dinner. I’m overwhelmed because the way I see eating meat now is NOTHING like how I saw it growing up; and not how I saw it the past two years as a vegan. I had done such a good job separating farm animals from pets; I had done such a good job convincing myself they were different; that their lives were not special and that they didn’t have intrinsic value…..that I could look around and feel sad because I’ve always cared for animals; but I didn’t see it the hypocritical and sadistic way I see it now…. I don’t judge ANYONE for eating meat, because I can recognize it’s no one’s fault for creating these false ideals in order to COPE with eating animal’s dead bodies. We have taken their lives so that we can have the pleasure of eating them; when we can get all we need from non-feeling plants… Now when I see people petting their dogs while eating a pig it seems so FUCKED UP to me!? How can you sit there and LOVE your dog but eat his friend. How can someone ask me to donate money to save dogs but say they could never stop eating pigs? Why should I give my money to you to save animals when you’re going to go home and eat murdered ones!? When I saw photos of skinned dogs hanging in Asian supermarkets and of live dogs in crates waiting to be slaughtered; that’s when my walls really came crashing down. That’s when I realized our ability to eat pigs, cows and chickens is 100% socially constructed and internally constructed. And maybe the people who love to tell me how much they loooooove eating animals are the ones that would struggle the most if they made the connection. They have to overly convince themselves that eating meat is RIGHT and that animals are nothing but food because if not they couldn’t cope with the dead body parts in their fridge.
Well, I can’t cope. I am reminded every time I give love to my dog that I used to eat animals just like her. I now see meat for what it really is and considering its everywhere; it’s brutal. I almost have to try to build those walls back up. I almost need to convince myself farm, entertainment, and product testing animals ARE different than my pup because I can’t cope with the cruelty that happens to them otherwise. The thought of someone taking a gun to Brooke’s head; unbearable. The thought of Brooke spending her entire life in a crate just the size of her body; unbearable. The thought of Brooke going into a grinder alive; unbearable. The thought of Brooke having her eyes burnt from cosmetic testing, or a machine being drilled through her body/brain; unbearable. The thought of killing her right now and eating her ribs for dinner; sadistic and unbearable.
It sucks because I can’t point the anger, which is sparked in me when I see animals suffering to become meat, at anyone. Because just like them; at one time I had no idea of the deceptive ideals I had created in my mind. They haven’t made the connection. Maybe for the sake of their sanity they never will; and I can’t blame them for that.
Although I am glad my walls are gone and that I’ve made the connection. Even though it’s so hard, I can recognize that the measures my mind went to to avoid the trauma of eating animals had nothing more than surface value. Deep down my mind knew what I was doing and it became buried emotional trauma. I have started to deal with that trauma and I have never felt freer in my life. My heart and my mind match up. And any tear shed for animals is a meaningful one that one day may change the way things are for them. A world where our ethics match up, where the love we have for most animals is extended to all animals, where the underlying values of humans are compassion, love and empathy, that’s a world that will not just survive but will THRIVE.
To this beautiful soul who deserves the same life my dog does,
It was wonderful to meet you and I promise I will spend my life trying to save your sons and daughters, grandchildren and great grand babies. I love you!