Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ready for a Change

Hey guys! I hope you are well. I just wanted to come back for a super quick post as a follow up to my self care post on Friday. I did have a self care night on Friday where I made a totally ridiculous and unhealthy comfort meal and I enjoyed every bit of it.

I had some of the Field Roast mini corn dogs and some chips with the last of my Wayfare Onion Dip. It was damn good and totally the comfort meal I wanted on my night in. I just made it a fun movie night where I stayed off my phone and watched a few movies on Netflix. It was exactly what I needed to recharge myself after an incredibly busy week. And trust me, it's not lost on me how hilarious this meal is when you read the rest of this post.

So I just wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind lately and that I've been considering for a while. I've mentioned many times that I'm struggling with symptoms of both physical illness and I'm struggling a lot with my mental illness. A lot of my physical issues have to do with digestion and reflux and gastritis and things like that which in all honesty I brought upon myself. I've never discussed it here but I'm currently recovering from an eating disorder that I dealt with on and off for over a decade. It has left me with quite a bit of damage and I'm trying to heal both emotionally and physically. 

As a result, I do take a lot more medication than I would like. And to be honest, I really hate it and don't want to be on it. I've also spent a lot of money on medical bills and I hate that this is where my money is going. So I'm going to really start to try to heal myself through diet. I want to be off the pills and out of the Dr's office. I'm going to do that by starting off with a 30 day mostly raw detox. I'll be eating as much raw as possible (probably raw up until dinner) and I'll be eating whole foods only. 

I thought about it a lot and I chose this way of eating for a lot of reasons. First, it is summer and eating mostly raw in the summer is actually pretty easy. I love eating fresh summer produce and who wants to cook in the summer anyway? I decided to go mostly raw instead of fully raw because I just know that fully raw won't work for me. I can't do all raw all day. I enjoy cooked foods and I don't think that they are bad for me. And isn't eating cooked spinach better than eating no spinach (I really hate raw spinach)?

I also decided to do mostly raw because I'm hoping it will improve my digestion. As I stand now, I feel sick by lunch typically. I'm hoping that the fact that raw food digests so quickly will help me be able to eat all of my meals and feel ok after rather than feeling sick. I'm going to make sure that I get probiotics in and that I'm eating a variety of colorful foods so I'll be flooding my body with as many nutrients as possible.

I wanted to let you guys know for two reasons. First, I wanted accountability. I will be continuing to blog here about what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, etc. I figured letting you guys know ahead of time will help keep me on track and motivated to stick with this for 30 days. Secondly, the way I eat and the meals I show will be changing quite a bit and this is why. I'm planning on doing this for the month of June so during that month my meals will look different.

So, I need your help. Flood me with your favorite raw food and whole food recipes. I'll be using minimal oil but I'm ok with some salt and minimal added sweeteners. I will obviously be eating fruit meals and salads and things like that but I would love other ideas as well. I think the way I'm going to be successful at this is to make sure to have a variety of options and make sure it isn't boring. Oh and also, I stay away from meals that have tons of ingredients and also meals that include exotic ingredients that you have to find online. I'm a simple girl that enjoys easy to make meals. I'm looking forward to seeing what you share!

Anyway, thanks for reading if you got through the whole thing. I feel like maybe it is a bit of a downer and I can assure you revealing my struggle was not easy. But, I wanted to share it because I like to be honest with you guys and what I'm dealing with is entirely my fault because I made a choice a long time ago. Anyway, thank you in advance for your suggestions and I'm excited to bring you along for the ride! Maybe I'll post a little more often in June, who knows?!

I hope you all have a great week and I'll see you on Friday!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fun Friday: Self Care

Hey everyone! I hope that you are all doing well! Today's post will be a little different because it's not vegan centered per se but it is a topic that I do think is really important. As I've mentioned before, I deal with mental illness and have discovered how truly important self care is. I'm very guilty of not engaging in self care very often and as my plate becomes even more full I realize how important it is to take the time to relax and recharge and to do something for myself. I thought it would be good to discuss the idea of self care, some of my favorite forms of self care and I would love to hear what you do for self care!

As I've mentioned above, my plate has become pretty full. I have a full time job, run two blogs, and I'm currently in the process of starting a business (have I mentioned that here?). When I come home from work I go back to work. There are rare moments where I take time for myself but I don't do it nearly enough. It is currently something I'm working on and I'm trying to fit in more time to rest, relax and just take a moment away from the grind.

So, here are some of my favorite forms of self care!

Quite possibly my single favorite form of self care is to completely unplug for a little bit. Even if it is just an hour I enjoy every second of that quiet time. This means no phone, no texts, no social media, no e-mail, NOTHING. It is my favorite form of quiet to be honest. As much as I love being connected to everyone I think we all need a break every now and then. In addition, I tend to pull random inspiration from random things so being connected means I'm constantly brainstorming and working. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but these sources of inspiration will still be there an hour or two later. So, if I can recommend one thing to you it would be to unplug for a little bit, enjoy the quiet and engage in your passions completely uninterrupted.

Another one of my favorite things to do to take some time to myself is to just go for a drive. I definitely have to be in the mood for this since driving can cause a lot of anxiety for me but it is one of my favorite things to do when I just need to get out and away for a minute. I'm incredibly lucky to live so close to the North Shore of Long Island which boasts some of the most incredible scenery, history and property that I have ever seen. There is one spot that I have been going to since I was a teenager and it remains my number one place to go when I need some time to myself. It will turn my mood around without fail and driving also goes hand in hand with unplugging. I do not believe in talking on my phone (hands free or not) or texting (duh) while driving so being unplugged is a given. I highly recommend taking a ride when you feel like you need some time to yourself and to clear your head.

I mean we can't go through a self care post without mentioning that you should treat yo self to a great meal and/or dessert. It's not a matter of health or having a "cheat meal," it's a matter of sitting down to a favorite meal or treat and enjoying it. Healthy food is delicious and unhealthy food is delicious and your favorite meal or sweet can be healthy or unhealthy. The important thing is that it is your favorite thing and you should be able to enjoy your absolute favorite dish every once in a while. Some examples that I have shared above are a Rocky Road bar from the Sweet To Lick Bakery and the bottom is a mixed veggie Thai dish that I enjoyed with my friends around the holidays. Sometimes you just need to shed the "rules" and enjoy something because you want to enjoy it. I try to do this once a week. I also include my bubble tea in this section. I try to go every week in the summer and when I feel like it otherwise.

Have a movie night! I specifically chose a movie night because it is the best way to truly lose yourself for a few hours and allow yourself to be part of another world. This is something that I'm actually planning to start and I'm hoping to do it once a week. I'm a Netflix kind of girl so I'll be staying home in my movie night and I think that the comfort of being home in PJs watching a movie is the perfect way to take a moment to yourself and a break from everything going on.

When I was younger I was an avid reader. I would stay awake all night to finish a book and I would read book after book. I fell out of the habit as I got older but I've recently been putting my library card to work and I've gotten back into the hair of reading. The idea is similar to the movie night idea and you are able to escape and go to a different place for a while. It can also challenge you, provide comfort and take you on adventures you never could have imagined. I would highly recommend taking the unplugging advice as well and allowing yourself some uninterrupted reading time so you can really get into the story.

Another form of self care that I love is to take a relaxing bath. Candles are great for enhancing the experience as well as scented bath products. Aromatherapy can be so helpful and so relaxing so to include that in your bath experience is really amazing. I think you definitely have to be a "bath person" to enjoy this but it can be one of the most relaxing experiences. I don't get to indulge in baths as often as I would like but I always love them when I do.

The final form of self care the I practice all the time is journaling. I can say that journaling has been so helpful to me particularly in my mental health journey but also just in general. I feel better all around when I am consistent with my journaling and if I fall off course there is a major difference in how I feel. It is a really great way to get everything out and to let it go and move on and you are also taking the time to explore your thoughts and feelings in a way that you won't be able to when you are distracted. 

I hope that you enjoyed this post about self care. It was relevant because I am planning a self care night tonight because I really just need a few hours to recharge. I am planning on sharing what I did in my post on Tuesday!

Until then, please comment below what you love to do for self care! I would love to get a ton of ideas for people to be able to reference for their own self care.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 💜

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Meal Prep and Stuff I Ate

Hey everyone! I hope that all is well and Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the Mamas out there! I hope you all enjoyed your day 😀 My weekend was pretty mellow which is always a good thing. Today's post is very random with some minimal meal prep a few meals.

First up for meal prep I made more of my favorite zucchini noodle pasta with sauce, beefless crumbles and broccoli. I'll be bringing these to work on today and tomorrow for lunch.

I pre-baked a giant baked potato which will last for 2 meals for me. I like to pre-bake my potatoes because they take so long and I don't get home from work until after 6 so to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a potato to bake is not ideal, especially because I like to stop eating by 8 because of my acid reflux. Anyway, I definitely recommend pre-baking your potatoes if you are short on time or if you want to bring it to work for lunch!

This was a ridiculous meal of the Amy's pizza swirls (so good you guys!!) and some of the field roast corn dogs. I felt like having an appetizer-y dinner and this was what I had. It was quick and junky and I was ok with that. I love the pizza swirls but would recommend heating up a little extra sauce on the side for dipping (no I didn't dip mine in ketchup, that was obviously for the corn dogs 😉).

This gorgeousness was one of my favorite meals of the week. I mixed up some of the Turkish Market hummus with the vegan feta (you have to try this!) and ate it with some stuffed grape leaves, tomato, carrot and a piece of bread. So freaking good.

I'm sorry for the shitty picture but this was my Mother's Day dinner. We went to my brother's house for dinner and he was so accommodating to me. He decided to do a Mediterranean meal and had a bunch of vegan dips and veggies for an appetizer (I forgot to take a pic now that I'm thinking about it) and then for dinner he got me falafel which the rest of them had non-vegan stuff. I was very appreciative and made this amazing pita wrap with falafel, tomato, cucumber and some tahini sauce. It was delicious and I was so stuffed.

So it's not much but that's what I have for you today! What yummy things have you been eating? I can definitely use some inspiration. Also, I think I'm going to start trying to do some smaller meals a little more often to see if that helps me with my digestion and feeling sick when I eat. I mean if you eat less hopefully I won't feel sick, right? Do any of you eat this way? If so, do you have ideas for the small meals? I'm definitely looking for inspiration!

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and I'll see you on Friday!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fun Friday: Funny Vegan Memes

Hey everyone! I hope you are all well and that you had a great week! For those of you that don't know, I am a sucker for a good meme or gif. I think they are the perfect way to punctuate a joke or moment. I saw an awesome thread of vegan memes in a group I'm in on Facebook and thought it would be a really fun idea for a post! There are so many of them but I'll narrow down to some of my favorites 😃

I tried to pick the light-hearted/fun ones. Which ones are your favs?!

That face though 😂

I thought my fellow vegan bloggers could relate to this 😉

This is one of my favorites. Just a simple chart.

I freaking love this one. I think it's hilarious.

Another one of my favs and one of my contributions to that thread 😂 The struggle is real though.

Preach, Elle!

I think this one may annoy people but it made me laugh so hard because this has happened to me before. I have received fruit bowls for birthdays and a can of mixed nuts for an "Easter Basket." 😂

I know you can all relate! I know we have a lot of pro level ingredient checkers here.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of memes! I know it's a bit different from what I normally post but I thought it would be fun 😃 I'll be back next week with some food. Now that the weather is getting better I'm 100% in summer mode and ready for summer produce and grilled food! Bring on the BBQs (and that corn on the cob!)!

Have a great weekend! Let me know of any fun plans you have!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Stuff I Ate

Hey guys! I hope all is well, that you had a good weekend and that all of my fellow allergy sufferers are doing ok! The warm weather and sunshine are amazing but of course along with that comes a blanket of pollen, stuffy noses and itchy, swollen throats. I'm currently working my way through finding some natural remedies and would love some recommendations! I have read that boosting your immunity is a great place to start so I'm working on getting in my probiotics and some colorful foods. Although I don't think you'll see a ton of colorful food in this post… 😬😳😂

Before I get into some yummy food I thought I would take a second to say that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As many of you know, mental health awareness and stopping the stigma are very near and dear to me and I always like to take a moment to spread the word when I can. I won't spend a lot of time talking about it on this blog but I encourage anyone that is hurting or feels like they need to seek help to please do so. There is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We all need to take care of ourselves and there is nothing wrong with getting the help that you need. Also, I encourage you to look out for your loved ones. If you see someone that may be struggling, let them know that you care, that you support them and that they aren't alone. You have no idea how much of a difference that can make. 💚

OK, now on to the food (and drink!). I decided that since spring has finally sprung it was time to treat myself to a Starbucks iced beverage. I chose a decaf soy hazelnut latte and it was delicious.

You guys. This. I don't know where the hell I came up with this but I'm so glad I did. I had gone to the Turkish market to grab their amazing fresh bread and homemade hummus and decided to make a sandwich out of it. I used hummus, thick slices of tomato and I finally tried the Violife Feta that I purchased from the vegan market! You guys. It's fucking amazing. Total game changer. It tastes so authentic and it added so much to this sandwich. A little goes a long way too so it'll last a while. I'm so freaking excited!!

You know I'm obsessed with my zucchini noodles lately. I made a big batch to bring for lunches this week. I included some broccoli this time, the beefless crumbles and I mixed some vegan mozzarella in as I was giving it a final stir. This worked out well and made the sauce like a creamy pink sauce! I am so excited to have this for lunch today!

Weekends call for bagels and this plain Jane bagel was so much better than it probably looks. This was a toasted plain bagel with half Earth Balance and half Tofutti. It was so good.

So that's what I have for you today! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and have a great week ahead of you! I'll see you on Friday!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fun Friday: Spring/Summer Bucket List

It's that time of year again where the temperatures climb (finally), the farmers markets open and summer plans start to take shape. Every year I make a summer bucket list which is basically just a list of things that I want to accomplish that summer. This year's list and particularly the meaning behind it is a little bit different. I've mentioned here before that I deal with some mental health issues and to be perfectly honest it has been a struggle lately. I struggle with being social and even just getting out of the house and while I'm better than I was before it is still a work in progress. So, this year's bucket list will have the underlining goals of self care and trying to start getting myself out a little bit more. It's hard because summer is our busy season but I will do the best I can.

You'll notice some repeats on the list from years prior. There are things that I love to do every summer and will continue to show up on these lists :) Here's what I have this year!

Farmers Markets

Of course the first item on my list would be to get to the Farmers Market more. I go a few times over the summer and only to the smaller market near me. There are only a few vendors and while it's great I get through it in 10 minutes. I want to go to bigger markets, especially the one that takes about 30 minutes for me to get to. That ride is one of my favorites, it is so beautiful and the destination is great as well. So my goal is to get to the market not only to actually go and support local vendors but to get out and around people and to try to enjoy the local communities.

Reading (Outside)

I've been trying to read more lately and I've been doing a pretty good job of it. My goal for the summer is to get outdoors and read. I want to soak up the Vitamin D, enjoy the beautiful environment around me, and be around people and start to become comfortable with it. I think that this will be a perfect form of self care, especially if accompanied by a refreshing beverage (bubble tea perhaps? 😉). I'm working on a summer reading list and would love some recommendations!

Visit The Beach!

I'm done posts in the past where I mention how I'm happiest when I'm by the water but again, I rarely ever go. My favorite time to go is early in the morning before the crowds and it is my intention to try to do that at least a few times this summer. It would be especially nice to get there early and take a walk along the shore with my feet in the water and then to sit on the boardwalk and read for a bit. 

Explore Long Island!

My blog name is Long Island Vegan so I guess it's pretty evident that I'm proud of where I live. When I first moved here about 20 years ago I wasn't thrilled but I've grown to love and appreciate it so much. It is beautiful and has a ton of history. I still want to visit all of the Mansions and Parks and it is still my goal to find the damn Greenhouses at the Welwyn Preserve (pictured above)! There are tons of amazing Estates that I would love to check out and photograph to share with you.

Try Vegan Restaurants!

There are obviously tons of vegan restaurants in the city but there are also tons of vegan restaurants and vegan friendly restaurants here on Long Island too! I have quite a few on my list to try and I just haven't yet but I'm determined to change that. Who knows, maybe I'll make it into the city at some point to give some of those restaurants a try as well. P.S. I don't know what restaurant that is above… I think it is in LA but I thought it would get the point across the best 😂

Get Back To The Gym

I used to be in pretty good shape. I worked out 6 days a week, trained with a trainer and felt amazing. I accomplished things I had no idea I was capable of. And then I stopped. And the longer I was out of the gym the more intimidated I became to go back. Now it's time to go back. I need to get back into a routine and feeling stronger and healthier. I'm absolutely intimidated by it but I'm also excited by it. I know that it will take time but I know I can back to being the fit girl I once was.

Get Work Done Outside of My House

I have a million projects going on at all times it seems. I run two blogs and have a ton of ideas that I'm constantly trying to work out. A friend suggested that I take my laptop and get out of the house and head over to a Starbucks or cafe or coffee house or whatever and get some work done there. It gets me out and around people and in a new environment. I thought it was a really great idea and I definitely plan on getting out and being productive outside of my house.

So that is my Spring/Summer Bucket List! Let me know if you have any suggestions of books to read or places to go! I would also love to hear what is on your summer bucket list!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! See you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Fun Hauls and a Yummy Meal

Hey everyone! I hope all is well! Another Tuesday and another week begins. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Spring is quickly jumping into summer it seems as we are going to hit mid to high 80s a few days this week. I'm loving the warmth and the sunshine and I just hope the sunshine sticks around for a bit. Anyway, I have some hauls to share with you today. The first is a few items I picked up from the Sweet To Lick Market and I also have my Trader Joe's haul. I will also share a meal I've been enjoying a lot lately!

I found a few items I've never found anywhere else at the market and I decided to pick them up. The Vegan Margherita Pizza swirls were such a surprise to find and I heard they sell out quickly so I grabbed some! I also saw some Oatly Chocolate Milk, the Violife Feta cheese and some Organic Fruit Chews. I am probably most excited about the feta, especially because I've heard that it tastes so authentic! I can't wait to show you what I make with it!

I got some produce at Trader Joe's. I grabbed some carrots, parsley, zucchini noodles, chives, avocado, tomato, sweet potato and white potato and some persian cucumbers.

I also grabbed some of the seasonal marshmallows, coconut sugar and some animal crackers because why not.

I have really been loving zucchini noodles with veggie crumbles and sauce lately. It's such a delicious meal that comes together quickly and it does keep me satisfied for a long time. I have the leftovers with me for lunch today. I have a feeling this will likely be a summer staple!

So that's all I have for you today! Stay tuned for a special post on Friday!

Hope you all have a great week!