Day 1-2

Yesterday, it all began.

My first day going liquid-only.

 

Will-power wise, I think it did pretty dang good! I was hungry between breakfast (juice) and lunch (smoothie), but other than that, I didn’t really feel any physical hunger, which I found to be pretty amazing. However, I did notice that my cravings were all over the place. And I wasn’t really craving anything unhealthy, just my normal “rabbit food”. But I think we all just have this mindset that we need to eat solid food, and we crave that sensation. Joe has noticed that as well, although he’s convinced it means he needs to eat what he’s craving, which is basically fast food. I don’t think he’s really grasping the point of the cleanse.

Physically, I didn’t feel great. After a sauna sesh the night before, I woke up with a headache (my own fault…who doesn’t hydrate after the sauna?) that lasted the entire length of the day. Worked 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a splitting headache, which made me want to curl up in bed and not move for the rest of the day. And really, I didn’t move until it was time to make “dinner”, which turned out to be an absolutely delicious smoothie (recipe below). After that, I felt a little better, so Joe and I decided to go to the humane society to look at kittens, since he wants to buy one. Being around the animals was like serious therapy. I forgot all about the pain in my head when all I could think about was how badly I wanted all these animals to get adopted. I think I’m going to submit my application to volunteer for them when I have time off.

Headache got a lot worse after I got home, so I decided to go to bed early. I didn’t want to take ibuprofen and disrupt my detox process, but when I was still awake at midnight, I couldn’t do anything but bite the bullet. I couldn’t justify losing sleep the night before a work day.

Today was a lot easier. Still no cravings, and no killer hunger so far. I’m definitely less energetic than normal, but I don’t have the intense need for a nap like I did yesterday. I’m planning on taking a walk, since I’ve been skimping on my exercise, then maybe a little yoga! Tonight I’m seeing Zac Brown Band, which is going to be amazing!

One thing I do love about this cleanse is skin brushing. When you release toxins, some escape to the surface of the skin, so it is important for you to get rid of those by dry brushing your skin with a natural bristle brush or loofa before you shower. I’ve been doing that, in addition to hot/cold plunges (in the shower, 1 minute of hot water, 1 minute of cold), and it makes my skin feel AMAZING. I feel so invigorated and my skin gets really soft. I’ve also been moisturizing with coconut oil instead of lotion, which not only feels heavenly, but makes me smell like the beach. I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t cleansing! I’m definitely going to add it to my normal routine.

 

As promised, I’m going to include recipes, so here is the delicious smoothie we made last night…it’s perfect for people who like spice!

 

Peach Almond Cardamom Smoothie

 

(Serves 2)

 

1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla hemp milk

1 c. O.N.E. coconut water

1/4 c. raw almond butter

1 1/2 c. frozen peach slices

1 c. frozen blackberries

1 tsp. ground cardamom

 

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

 

Scrub-a-dub-dub!

After a summer of indulgence and incessant stomach issues, I’ve decided to give my body a rest. Time for a cleanse!

I’ve done cleanses/detoxes before, but this one is going to be quite a bit different. It’s longer for one, and it will be all liquid (smoothies and juices). It is supposed to somewhat mirror Alejandro Junger’s “Clean” 21-day cleanse, minus the solid food part. My natropath doesn’t think lots of raw veggies are good for my stomach right now, at least until it heals.

Unlike past cleanses, this one doesn’t seem nearly as daunting to me…I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe because I already juice on a regular basis, so it isn’t as much of a shock to my system. Or maybe because I know I really need it.

After a round of antibiotics for H. Pylori (the bacteria that causes ulcers), and some natropathic remedies, my stomach is finally starting to improve. I’m in no way healed, but I finally have a natropath that I feel confident in and with his help and the help of this cleanse, I think the vitality I’m craving is within my reach. The best news is, if I get my GI system healed, some of my food senstivities may go away, if not all (except wheat of course). How amazing would that be?? Not like I eat a lot of that stuff on a regular basis, but it would take away so much stress not to have to worry about it!

For the last few days, I’ve followed the “Clean” cleanse with my boyfriend, Joe, which means I’ve still been eating solid, elimination diet meals at lunch, but having juice in the morning and a smoothie in the evening. Joe is struggling so far, and he’s way cranky. I, on the other hand, am ready for something a bit more challenging. I think my body is begging me for this well-deserved rest.

So, starting tomorrow, I go liquid-only. I’ll be having juice in the morning and as an afternoon snack, and smoothies or blended soups for lunch and dinner. I’ll be sharing my recipes here, they aren’t just for cleanses! Use them for meals, snacks, whatever you want them to be but I promise they’ll be delicious! I’ll also be taking this time to do a spiritual/emotional cleanse as well by incorporating meditation, journaling, ranting on the blog, etc. And more than anything, I’m just going to give myself some love! I’m so hard on myself about EVERYTHING and it’s just not necessary or right! I have so much to be grateful for, and I hope to make those things the focal point of this journey to wellness.

Stay tuned! I may even begin posting videos 🙂

Let me be me!

I promise I didn’t create this blog to rant away from my other blog, but I really need to today.

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been super on the defense about what I eat. I feel like I’m constantly explaining myself to people and correcting them about aspects of my diet they don’t understand. I knew getting into this that there would be skeptics, and I’ve made it my mission to share my views with the world, but sometimes I wish everyone would just leave me the eff alone about it.

Today, for example. I was bad enough that I had to eat lunch on the floor without a break and have customers interrupt with their purchases, but then they feel the need to ask me a million questions about it. “What is that?” “It looks really…interesting.” I’ve also had people make negative comments about veganism after I mention my diet. One lady told me her nine year old son decided to stop eating meat because he thought it was wrong and she told me she’s trying to make him eat meat, and that it’s just a “phase”. I couldn’t help myself, I had to be like “good for your son!”

If I had a dollar for everytime someone has said “I don’t know how you do it, I could never eat the way you eat” or “I feel so bad for you” I’d be a damn billionaire. How to I convey to ignorant people that I’m doing what is best for my body, the planet, and other living beings, without really feeling like I’m sacrificing anything at all? No one believes me unless I get into a detailed discussion with them about it (I actually helped one of my close friends decide to go vegan with one of those conversations), but I don’t always have the time or energy for something like that. And most times, people aren’t receptive to it. They didn’t come to me for advice, I’m just offering it randomly, and people get very defensive if you call them out on a bad habit.

What irks me the most though is the people I’m close to doing this to me. My boyfriend takes some sadistic pleasure in disagreeing with everything I say relating to my diet, just to get a rise out of me, and it ALWAYS works. I know thats not very yogini of me but I’m just so passionate that sometimes rational conversation just flies right out of the window. And my parents seem to think this is some type of phase (since I’ve tried and failed before), and are just holding out until I change my mind. Even my best friend in the entire world who is always supportive when no one else is made a comment that she thinks I’ll eat meat again. Why is it so hard to grasp that I’m making the committment to do this for life and that my body and spirit, not to mention the world, are better for it?

I wish I had something more productive or cosntructive to write about today, especially after such a long hiatus, but I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got today. Fortunately, ranting about it restored my inner calm, so I definitely feel better. I’d love to hear your feedback on the subject though! What frustrations have you come to face in your struggle for a healthier life?

Yoga, Kelp Noodles, and Searching for Purpose

So much to talk about today!

To start off, I wanna share with you my new favorite salad enhancer….Kelp Noodles! Made by Sea Tangle Noodle Company, these little guys are full of alkalizing vitamins and minerals! Sea vegetables are touted for having iron, iodine (so you can skip the corn-infested iodized salt! yes, iodized salt really does contain corn, dextrose any0ne?), and Vitamin C! I’ve always been a big nori fan, but thanks to these little guys I’m now wayy into kelp as well! They are great on salads and can also be used in stir frys and other asian-infused dishes. My personal favorite way to eat them is in this recipe: http://butwhatshouldieat.blogspot.com/2011/05/kelp-noodles.html

A few weeks ago, I discovered from my natropath that I have a parasite, an over abundance of H. Pylori (ulcer causing) bacteria in my gut, and that my recent weight gain is most likely due to cortisol from stress. What’s funny is that all my stress comes from trying so hard to eat well and still feeling crappy all the time (thank you, mr. parasite). And even though I’m on meds and an even more restrictive diet for that now, I haven’t felt much better yet. Which of course, stresses me out. It’s really hard to be optimistic and happy when your stomach feels like its full of knives!

This morning I had every intention of going to Bikram Yoga at 6 am, but of course, my stomachache kept me up all night and I just couldn’t swallow getting up so dang early. But upon waking, I was automatically stressed that I a) missed out on a workout and b) that my stomach STILL hurt. I didn’t want to feel that way all day so I decided to try something new: yoga on my own. Sure, I’ve done a few sun salutations here and there at home, but I’ve never had a full out yoga sesh anywhere outside a classroom. Inspired by a photo of my health and wellness idol, holistic nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, practicing yoga on her balcony, I lugged an old beach towel  and some other yoga props out to my own balcony (which I haven’t even used since I moved in) for a little morning de-stressing.

I usually get really restless when doing yoga, wondering when it’s going to be over, so today I made it a point to focus on each pose and nothing else, and just allow myself to be in the moment and be still. And guess what? I ended up doing yoga for an hour! On my own! Sure, I had a few moments of speedy restlessness, but overall, I think I did pretty well! And the relaxation I felt after was unlike anything I’d experienced before. Just complete calm. It was crazy. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make this a more regular occurance. Ideally, I’d love to enroll in a yoga class, but impromptu balcony yoga is free!

The calm I felt this morning brings me to my next train of thought. I recently finished reading Russell Simmons’ book “Super Rich” and I totally loved it. One of the ideas he stressed in the book was getting fulfillment from working. Basically, if you aren’t doing something that goes with your values and beliefs, you aren’t going to find much fulfillment or purpose in that. I’ve been really feeling that lately with my job. So i’ve been trying to figure out why, since I get to help people find products that they can eat with certain allergies, which totally parellels everything I’m passionate about. However, I think my problem here is I really don’t believe in most of the stuff I’m selling. It’s all still processed junk , albiet wheat and usually dairy-free processed junk. But there is hardly anything in the store that I’d be willing to put in my body. And I’m passionate about helping other people get healthy, so how am I helping anyone by suggesting that they buy cupcakes and cereal? I’m only contributing to the Standard American Diet, when what I really want to do is see it out the door.

I’ve really noticed it lately, today especially after my morning of yoga. I felt so calm, energized and happy this morning, but a few hours into my shift and I’m bored, cranky and easily annoyed. I’m trying so hard to keep my thoughts positive, but I think what it comes down to is cognitive dissonance. I’m not acting in accordance with my beliefs and it throws me off.

I don’t know what my next move will be, all I can do is hope and pray that it comes soon! Because this lack of fulfillment seems to be slowing my overall healing process. Wish me luck! Thanks for reading 🙂

New Insights

I’m coming up on 2 months of being on a mostly vegan diet, and I definitely couldn’t be happier about my decision to do so. While all the aspects of veganism appealed to me, I admittedly initially chose this path for health reasons. After seeing the film “Forks Over Knives” (which is an absolute must-see by the way), it was clear to me that the only way to avoid disease, obesity and lack of well being is to adopt a whole foods, plant based diet.

I’d heard stories of animal cruelty in factory farms, which was actually the reason I went vegan for the first time last year. The book “Skinny Bitch” actually brought me to tears at one point. But I wholeheartedly believed that grass-fed, free range, organically raised meat was okay. I thought that picturesque farm with the red barn and the green pastures still existed in those contexts. This mental comfort was enough to get me back on animal products after my doctor told me (mistakenly) I was deficient in protein and my body couldn’t sustain a vegan lifestyle with all my other dietary restrictions. Funny story, after all the research I’ve done, its pretty damn hard to become protein deficient on a diet rich in fruits, veggies and legumes. Wish I would have known that then.

Ultimately though, I was returned to the practice of veganism. And although I’ve had a few slip ups (drunkenly ordering crab at that restaurant in Lincoln City), I believe completely in veganism.

But if I thought I was sold before, I am more now than ever. I’m a reader. I love books, especially books dealing with wellness and food. Becoming vegan made me want to get my hands on every book ever written on the subject. I’m so consumed by finding out more information, gaining more knowledge. The book “Veganist” caught my eye when it came out recently, and I immediately got on the waiting list at the library to read it. Well, I’m almost done with it now, and my whole perpective had changed.

Like I mentioned before, I had an inkling of knowledge about slaughterhouse practices and such, but that inkling didn’t sustain my choice the first go-around. After reading first hand accounts from the author’s interviewees I probably still don’t know the half of it, but I will never be the same. As I was reading, at work mind you, about a mother cow being separated from her newborn calf, I literally burst into tears. With customers in the store. I had to go compose myself in the bathroom before returning to work, but that was no easy feat.

So here’s my rant. I can’t begin to comprehend what would make someone want to hurt an innocent animal. Monetary gain or not, how could anyone be morally capable of killing an animal, who has feelings and clearly knows love just as much, if not more, than human beings. And the killers aren’t the only ones to blame. We are basically accomplices to murder by being willing to purchase that meat and feed it to our families and ourselves. I think that if most normal, innately compassionate people let themselves understand where their meat really comes from, they would be outraged. And yet, almost everyone I know purposely turns a blind eye to it. I, too, was content doing that for so long, and unfortunately, there was no one that could change my mind. This is where I get stuck. People get defensive when you suggest they change something monumental about themselves. We don’t want negative things about ourselves pointed out, I know because I’m extremely defensive about a lot of my character flaws. But all I desparately want to do is tell every single person I know about the knowledge I’ve acquired. I want everyone to listen to me, to believe me and to make the change. At some moments, I’m so worked up I could bomb a slaughterhouse myself. I know that veganism is tied to my purpose in this life, but how do I present it to people in a way that won’t make them defensive, in a way that might actually make them listen? I wasn’t open to hearing about this stuff even a few years ago so why should I expect anyone else to be?

Another point made in the book that I never thought about before but now makes perfect sense is the tie to spirituality. For a regular churchgoer, I actually had no idea that veganism was the inital diet intended for humans…it’s right there in Genesis, before even the Ten Commandments. God didn’t put animals on the Earth to be tortured and killed, especially the way it’s done today. Christianity, as well as most other religions, teaches compassion towards God’s creation, and that includes animals. If we would treat an animal with disrespect, who’s to say we wouldn’t do the same to another person?

I really can’t explain how much this has changed me. For so long I’ve strived for well-being, physical, mental and spiritual. I’ve been to countless yoga classes, meditated, read scripture, and yet somehow was missing out on what it all really meant. But now that I see how directly my choices can affect other living beings, and suddenly all those things I’d been doing seem much more appealing. Not to say that I’ll all of the sudden master meditation and yoga, but it now has a purpose that I can understand. I’m sorry, reading this over I think I’m probably the only one who can connect the dots between the points I’m making, but bear with me, I needed to get that out.

I believe I’ve been called to action. I’m still not sure what that action is, but I know it’s tied to writing and to this newfound almost childlike compassion. I mean, when I was a kid I think I loved animals more than people, before I’d ever really even come in contact with an animal. So I guess we’ll see where this all takes me. Life’s a crazy ride isn’t it?

Vege Thai

Before I get in to my restaurant review, I wanted to share a little story. Yesterday, Joe and I were biking on Marine Drive and we noticed this woman standing in the middle of the busy road. As we got closer I realized she had stopped four lanes of traffic to let a duck and her ducklings cross the street. I was tearing up I was so touched. It’s little acts of kindness like that that really make life worth living. But beyond that, it really made me think about my veganism as being about more than just my health, but compassion towards others as well, animals, humans, and the environment alike. A little compassion can go such a long way, and that’s what we as vegans should focus on in our day-to-day lives. Being vegan is about so much more than simply not indulging in animal products. It’s a whole lifestyle that thrives on compassion and love for all of God’s creation. If more people were like the lady helping those little ducks across the street, I’m convinced the world would be a much better place.

Thanks for listening to me rant…now for the title feature.

I LOVE Thai food. Love it. It seems like lately I just can’t seem to get enough! I could eat curry every day. Unfortunately, most mainstream Thai restaurants prepare their curries, in addition to many of their other dishes, using fish and/or oyster sauce. Um ew? I can’t even imagine a carnivore wanting to eat anything called “fish sauce”. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I, however, am so fortunate to live in Portland, where there is no end to the options for vegans. Of course Portland has an all vegetarian Thai restaurant! It’s called Vege Thai and it’s located on Hawthorne (is anyone surprised?), and reminds me a lot of the hole in the wall that is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Queen of Sheba. Doesn’t look like anything special from the street, or inside for that matter, until you look at a menu. And talk to their friendly and helpful staff. Suddenly ordinary becomes extraordinary.

I’ve been to this place twice, and I ordered, you guessed it!, CURRY! I’ve had both the green (in a lunch portion that was the perfect size to be edible without leaving me stuffed), and the jungle curries. I prefer the red curry sauce on the latter because it was a little more flavorful, but both were awesome. If you like pad thai noodles AND curry, the jungle curry gives you the best of both worlds, replacing boring old rice with rice noodles. The green is good for curry virgins, because its a mild, light flavor that isn’t too overwhelming for first timers. For those of you who love everything spicy, hear this…when they say hot, they mean effing ridiculously hot. I got medium my first time and I could swear there was steam coming out of my ears. I learned for the next time that ordering it mild and adding your own chili paste is the way to go.

I’ve also fallen in love with Siam Society, as well as Thai and True curry pastes for making my own curry at home. My extended reviews can be found here.

Ups and Downs

Ugh.

I’ve been feeling like absolute shit for a good week or so now, and it seems like it keeps getting worse and worse. Last Thursday I got all dressed up to go out, then before I had a chance to actually go anywhere, I got hit with a horrible stomachache that landed me in a ball on Joe’s couch. To make matters worse, the stomachache lasted about 3 days without letting up, which as you can imagine cramps my style big time. Ever since, I’ve been feeling and looking like I ate a bag of rocks. And I haven’t felt up to working out much which seems to only make matters worse.

I’m starting up with a new naturopath doctor who just ordered me an all inclusive test that will hopefully tell me what the hell is wrong. Unfortunately, the results take 3 weeks to come back, so until then I’ll be in the dark.

In the meantime, I read Dr. Joel Furhman’s “Eat To Live”, which outlines the benefits of a plant-based, whole foods diet, and have adopted his meal plan. It’s only been three days so I guess I can expect to be moving mountains yet, its just frustrating to feel like I’m eating sooo healthy and still feeling like crap.

It’s definitely hard to try to maintain a positive attitude with something like this going on, but I’m determined to do it anyways. After all, the sun is shining, I have absolutely amazing family and friends in my life including a boyfriend that I completely adore, and I was lucky enough to be put on this earth to enjoy it! It’s easy to forget how fortunate we truly are and I’m hoping to keep sight of that always.

Vancouver hasn’t seen much sun for what seems like decades, but the weather has finally taken a turn for the best and I plan on taking full advantage of it! I started this morning with a run, which I haven’t done much lately (excuses have included rain, lack of quality shoes to run in, more rain, etc etc.), and I’m so happy I did. Somehow, I managed to run 4.6 miles at a pace of 8:44 minutes per mile, which blew my previous 4.2 miles at 9:30 minutes per mile out of the water. I have no idea how I did it but it felt amazing to see those numbers. It definitely gave me the confidence I needed to continue my running regime. Which is awesome timing cause I’m off to Vegas in 3 weeks with my super skinny best friend…

Anyways, hope all you portlanders are enjoying your sunshine! I’m off to cheer on my Blazers 🙂

The Vivacious Vegan takes Lincoln City

I love where I live because Portland is basically a mecca for vegans and special dieters alike. There is no lack or awesome restaurants, grocery stores, and even food carts that cater to all sorts of dietary restrictions. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the state of Oregon. Nevertheless, I spent some time in Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast this weekend and I was determined to find SOMETHING to eat.

The Yelp app on my iPhone is my best friend whether I’m in town or not, but especially when I’m not. When I searched “gluten-free, vegan” and “Lincoln City”, only one restaurant came up, so naturally I had to check it out.

The restaurant is called Andaman Thai and its located in a little strip mall off the 101. The first thing I noticed when checking out the menu was the note at the bottom saying any dish could be made to order and special diets including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free could be accommodated. That statement was music to my ears!

The service was a bit slow, but that was definitely due to the fact that the only people working were the woman who I’m assuming is the owner and her husband. He served everyone out front and she did all the cooking from scratch in the back. Anytime you are getting something made to order, it’s going to take a bit longer. I have absolutely no problem with that, especially on vacation when I have nowhere else to be.

I’m an absolute curry fiend, so I decided to try both the red and green curries (we ate there twice…). They were able to make everything vegan (no fish sauce, which is usually hard for me to find), without soy sauce and they replaced all the sugar (of COURSE there’s hidden sugar, it’s a restaurant) with palm sugar. And the food was AMAZING…my favorite Thai food to date. It’s crazy how much tastier fresh, healthy food with no nasty additives is. My boyfriend, also a big Thai connisseur, was equally impressed with the food; he looooved the pad thai.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with the rest of my eating experiences in Lincoln City. The first night we went to McMenamins and I couldn’t have a single thing on the menu so I skipped dinner, watching longingly as the rest of the group chowed down their pizza and burgers. Luckily, I’d made a tofu burger wrapped in collard greens before I left home, so I ate that at 1 a.m when we came home drunk from the casino. I felt like the healthiest wasted person ever sitting there eating my collards while everyone else ate DiGiorno pizza and breadsticks…

We also went to Kyllo’s, one of Lincoln City’s most popular, well known seafood restaurants. I knew going into it that I was going to have a hard time finding something I could eat, but I had no idea just how bad it would be.

Looking at the menu, I found a Greek salad that without the feta and tomato would have been perfect. However, when I asked the server if I could get the salad without the two taboo items, she gave me this bullshit story about how the salad is pre-made and can’t be changed. Especially after being at the thai place earlier in the day, I got so angry at the fact that they wouldn’t make it to order. Why they hell would I spend money at a restaurant to get some pre-packaged garbage that took no time or effort (and therefore, no nutrition) to prepare. It disgusts and outrages me that Americans are okay with paying up the butt for food that they could probably make better and healthier themselves. Ugghhhh, so yeah I was definitely in a wine-drunken rage at that point.

They ended up bringing me a spinach salad with garbanzo beans and cucumbers on it (apparently that wasnt premade?), but I was so hungry still afterwords that I had a bit of a slip up…I ordered a dungeonous crab cocktail. The worst part was, although I used to absolutely love fresh crab from the coast, it wasn’t anything like I remembered and I’ve felt like I weigh freaking 500 pounds ever since. To make matters worse, I had nothing to eat upon our return from the casino that night so I had a giant piece my friend’s not gluten-free and definitely not vegan birthday cake. It was delicious, but I know the consequences won’t be worth it.

If there was any question that I may decide to become an occassional seafood-eating vegan, it’s not a question anymore. I don’t want to eat meat ever again and I couldn’t be happier about it. So in a way it was a good mistake to make, now I just need to recover and get back on track!

Brussel Sprouts taste good again

Sorry its been a while since I posted! Life has been crazy! You would not believe how much time a new relationship requires! Not that I’m complaining 🙂

There have definitely been some new developments around here, the biggest being that I got extensions last week! So now my formally chin-length hair falls below my bra line…crazy or what? I love it but let me tell you, I’ve never been so high maintenance in my life! My short, fine hair took seconds to dry and style, now I have to get up at least a half hour earlier just to fit it into my morning routine. But honestly it’s worth finally having hair!

Also, the vegan diet study I was participating in has ended. Friday, I decided to try a little raw fish in my sushi, just to see what would happen. I didn’t have much, so it didn’t really affect me physically, but it was just generally unappealing. It tasted fine, but not nearly as good as I remembered. I definitely don’t feel the need to add seafood back into my diet. Plus, I see no point in being a vegan who occaisionally eats fish. I feel like I better commit 100% or not at all.

Even with all the craziness, I was able to try out a new recipe, so I have something to share with you! Ok so when I was a kid, I HATED brussel sprouts. My mom would have to force them down my throat, they were the worst. It wasn’t till I got older that I realized brussel sprouts prepared well can actually be pretty damn good. And they are so healthy for you, definitely an added benefit. This recipe can me made as a side by omitting the tofu.

Brussel Sprouts with Apple and Tofu

1 lb brussel sprouts, shredded

1 medium apple, diced

1/3 c. chopped pecans

1/2 c. cubed tofu

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. water

juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Put the brussel sprouts, water, and some salt in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook 7-10 minutes. Add apple, maple syrup, tofu and garlic and cook 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat, toss with lemon juice, pecans, salt and pepper. Serves 2-3

Blossoming Lotus makes everything better…

Ahh life is good.

I had a not necessarily relaxing but definitely refreshing weekend…instead of my usual ‘go out friday and saturday night and spend the rest of the time recovering’ routine, I served as a staff member for a high school youth conference through my church. I used to LOVE going to these conferences in high school (which had a lot to do with the boys, but still…), so it was fun to relive it as a staff member. Although it was exhausting, it was definitely fulfilling on a level that partying just isn’t (not that I don’t love that too). So I started today with a much better outlook 🙂

My new outlook helped me FINALLY get out of my excercize (or lack thereof) rut. This morning I was super ambitious in that I promised my friend Jamie I’d run with her…and that girl is a runner. When I went over there at 6:30 this morning she informed me that she ran 7 miles yesterday….so I knew I was in for a tough workout. I ended up running 4 miles, but at a much faster pace than I run alone, so that was good. I did think I was gonna die a couple times there, but the important thing is that I didn’t. I totally made it to the end and felt great afterwords! And then I can home and rewarded myself with some ridiculously healthy Thrive diet buckwheat pancakes.

The main thing I’d like to share with you about my weekend though was my brunch date at Blossoming Lotus yesterday. Blossoming Lotus is a vegan restaurant in Portland that also does raw and gluten-free options and is currently my absolute favorite restaurant. I’ve been beyond satisfied with every meal I’ve eaten there. Yesterday, my best friend Kim and I decided to check out their brunch fare, since we’d only ever been for dinner and, of course, dessert (there is truly nothing better than vegan lemon cheesecake).

After my brunch experience, I am still blown away by this place, if not even more so. They had all sorts of options; I chose the Florentine Scramble, which was tofu, basil, vegan pesto and cashew ricotta “cheese”, with a side of steamed kale. It was to DIE for. It tasted and looked just like scrambled eggs and the flavor was out of this world. And of course, you are already aware of how much I’m loving the whole “greens for breakfast” thing. Kim got a breakfast burrito that had all sorts of goodness in it, but unfortunately was not gluten free. Portlanders – vegan or not, if you haven’t checked this place out you HAVE to go. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on. Kim and I are looking forward to experimenting with their cocktail menu next time we visit. 🙂

So check out Blossoming Lotus, and other than that, have a beautiful week!