It’s been quite some time since I’ve written here. And during that time, I have gone through quite a few changes. To boot, they include:
Graduating law school and taking the NY Bar Exam
Relaxing my food rules
Resurfacing vitiligo on my neck
Starting a new career path
My vitiligo began to return around this time last year. At that point in time, my diet was as “clean” as could be. Completely vegan, very little (if any) grains or nuts, and nothing that couldn’t be made in my own kitchen. Nevertheless, my skin was getting worse. As a result, I began to cut more and more out of my diet. Meanwhile, I hadn’t gotten a period for about 6 months, I was getting colds for the first time in years, and I generally felt very low in energy.
The solution to getting my period back was simple – I needed to eat what I felt like eating. This didn’t necessarily mean I had to stop being vegan, but it meant that I needed to get rid of rigid rules. I learned that eating cleanly was a way for me to feel in control of one aspect of my life. Even though I was unsure about my career and my personal life, I knew how to eat properly, and that gave me a sense of false security. As a result, the thought of eating something that wasn’t on my list of approved foods would cause mental havoc. Now, if there is nothing around for me to eat other than French fries and I’m starving, I will eat the French fries and I won’t kill myself over it. Instead, I will meditate afterwards, take a deep breath, and trust that my body will be able to balance itself out when I feed it nourishing greens the next day.
I’ve slowly learned that emotional well-being is as important, if not more important, than food. For me, this meant taking a step back from writing in legallyvegan (because writing about food only fueled my rigid food rules). It also meant I needed to stop trying to force myself to fit into the world of big law and pursue my real dream of working as a public interest lawyer (I will begin a new job as a public defender in the fall!) I began meditating daily. I traveled to Austria, Ireland, Morocco, and Costa Rica, and learned to let go of the various expectations I had set for myself in health, love, and my career.
If I’m being truly honest with my readers, I have not entirely stayed true to being vegan. I have eaten eggs three times within the past 5 months. I hate to admit this because I still advocate veganism. It is the moral choice. If we can avoid causing suffering to animals, we should. Even if we are “meant” to eat meat, we are also “meant” to live in caves, to walk around naked, etc., yet we don’t do any of these things. If we can practice compassion, we should. So in making this confession, I do not do so to say that you should stop being vegan. If you can be vegan, you should be. I admit weakness here, and I am still attempting to resolve the cognitive dissonance between my actions and beliefs.
For those of you who have emailed, I apologize for not being more responsive. The truth is I didn’t feel right giving advice about food when I was still figuring things out on my own. I debated canceling my blog altogether, and also debated turning it into a “mostly vegan” blog, and have decided against both. Ultimately, my blog has been about using food to enhance health. However, I’ve since learned that health is about so much more than food – it’s about being in touch with all our physical, mental, and- if you’re into it- spiritual selves. So I plan to write about health in all its aspects – not just food – and I invite my readers to focus on health in this holistic manner as well. I will be writing on meditation, food, sleep, and everything else that plays a role in health.
Thank you to those who have continued to follow and read, despite my inactivity I truly appreciate your comments!.<3
Greetings from Long Beach, CA!
Normally when I’m flying somewhere, I pre-prepare a whole bunch of meals and snacks for the plane, since I usually can’t eat a single thing there. But this time, I spent the whole morning and night before moving out of my apartment and into a new Brooklyn apartment that I didn’t have a second to spare. So I had to use my creative skills to work to find a way to fuel myself on this flight. Fortunately, JFK is a pretty resourceful airport, so here’s what I was able to find.
JAMU Pineapple Juice
While a green juice would have been preferred, this juice was a pretty good option under the circumstances. During flights a lot of us tend to have indigestion, so I wanted to make sure I had something that would be able to prevent it. Pineapple is perfect for this reason because it has a great deal of enzymes that help in breaking down foods and curbing bloating. The juice also had curcumin and ginger, which also help with indigestion. In addition, this juice was extremely hydrating, which is important since flights can also contribute to dehydration!
A Huge Bottle of Water—very important because we all know that those little cups are definitely NOT sufficient.
A Desperate Salad Turned Delicious
Desperate times called for desperate measures. Here’s how I can usually find a meal almost anywhere.
- Get a plain packaged salad. I was lucky to find kale, but any type of lettuce will do.
- Throw out the dressing (if there is any) I can guarantee you it’s soy, sugar-filled, garbage.
- Find an avocado. I looked around the food court to see which restaurants had avocado-containing dishes. Then I went to the manager, put on my sweetest smile, and asked for an avocado. And I got one. In addition to a few laughs. 😉
- Bring a plastic fork and knife onto the flight (they likely won’t give you one unless you purchase food) and mash the whole avocado into your salad to make a dressing. VOILA!
Brad’s Kale Chips
I was very luck to find these in the airport! These chips are dehydrated and sprinkled with raw nuts and spices to make a delicious and satisfying snack that beats the Lay’s and Planters snacks that are on the plane.
I hope this goes to show that eating a healthful, vegan diet can be done under ANY circumstance and even with little planning!
What a week. Yesterday was my 25th birthday (feeling the quarter-life crisis coming on…LOL) and I’ve been up and running since Friday seeing all of my wonderful friends and family who have been celebrating with me. I have tried so many new amazing vegan and gluten free dishes that I can’t wait to share with you!
But for now, I’ve been getting some questions about how to stay healthy while travelling, particularly while flying. While some of my blog posts address healthy travel, the airplane is a unique beast. You’re up in the sky, with no vegan restaurant in sight, and with airplane food that is quite less than desirable. Eeek! But never fear—you will be OK. Just follow my tips!
If you can help it, bring all your own food. Airplane food is way over processed and high in sodium and who knows what else. And to make matters worse, your immune system will already be compromised while you’re up in the air because your body becomes pressurized. Here are the essentials to bring on a flight.
When you’re in a rush
An Avocado (or two…)
Avocados can be found anywhere, and are calorically dense enough to fill you up with very little prep. On top of that they’ve got plenty of brain enhancing, skin plumping, delicious good fats. If you are really in a bind and the only thing you can bring is an avocado, you can always ask for 2-3 of the side salads and then top it off with avocado to make for a filling lunch.
Nature’s fast food! It’s sold everywhere and is portable. The only problem is sugar content–especially if you’re going to be seated for a long time and not expending a lot of energy. I like to bring a large bowl of cut up berries and pineapples, since they are a bit lower on sugar.
Super easy and sold pretty much everywhere—airports usually have large bags of nuts for sale. I would go for raw almonds or walnuts instead of nuts like peanuts or cashews. You definitely want to stay away from peanuts because most contain alfatoxins, which produce a significant amount of mold.
When you have time to prepare
Mary’s Gone Krackers
It’s pretty unlikely that airports will have these for sale, but if you have some time beforehand you can order them online or get them at your local health food store. These crackers are completely gluten-free, vegan, and minimally processed. But be careful—they are super addicting!
A large salad
For me, this is usually key. The people around you are going to be eating full airplane meals, so you will probably feel deprived if all you have are snacks. The last time I went on a plane to San Francisco, I brought a huge salad with raw sauerkraut, kale, avocado, dulse, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and nutritional yeast. The woman sitting next to me was so intrigued that I offered her a bite and she loved it! I will be posting a few salad recipes next week—like my summer seaweed salad—that are easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Quinoa Flakes or Gluten-Free Oats
This is a quick and easy meal that you only need hot water to make. I like to mix it up with some sweet leaf stevia, cinnamon, and a few almonds or walnuts.
Ginger and Mint
You’re going to be in a new place and your body is going to go through some major adjustments. I know whenever I go to a new place or am going through a life change, the first part of my body to notice is my digestive system. That’s why I like to keep ginger and mint close by so I can chew on it to help everything go down a little bit easier. You can either get them whole and put ginger shavings and the leaf in hot water, or buy some bagged teas.
Other Things to Do
Drink LOTS of water. Buy your own water bottle before getting on the plane because we all know how stingy flights can be with their water!
Get up and go for a walk around the plane. Sitting for that long is not good for you.
Hope this helps. For more tips, scroll down to the “travel” category on the right side of the page.
I know you’re all headed out to some barbecues this weekend. Enjoy them! There is no reason why you can’t have a good time, enjoy some good food, and stay slim. Here’s how to do it.
Bring a Dish
You never know what there’s going to be at the barbecue, so it can’t hurt to make sure you’re prepared. Try impressing your friends by bringing in a guiltless Caesar salad for everyone to share. It will serve as a great conversation piece and will keep you from wolfing down a greasy potato salad.
For every drink of alcohol that you have, make sure that you also have a glass of water. And make sure you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day—it will help you eliminate any pieces of junk you might be eating!
Start Off With a Salad
If you’re going to be eating a burger or hot dog, make sure you eat a green salad first. That way, your body will get some natural digestive enzymes and you will be better able to portion control how much meat you eat.
I know when I go to a barbecue my natural tendency is to start off with a small plate and slowly refill it. This is a way to sneakily pack on the pounds and the calories! Instead, fill up your plate at the beginning and eat slowly, taking breaks to catch up with friends, help at the grill, and enjoy good company.
Hope this helps you at your next barbecue. ENJOY!