Eating Compassionately

Compassion Begins On Your Plate!

➡️What losing over a hundred pounds looks like on Instagram vs. ➡️what losing over a hundred pounds looks like in reality.

This is a major vulnerability post for me, friends. In honor of Earth day, I am posting to remind you that going vegan is not only the best thing you can do to save the planet, but also yourself. I rarely took pictures of me at my heaviest. It was one of the hardest times of my life. The picture of me sitting is when I already started losing a little weight a year into me working at Whole Foods Market when I was on a trip to Chicago opening a store. At my absolute heaviest, I was in an abusive marriage and so lost. It took me going vegan to get my groove back after it all. Seriously. I started feeling happier and more positive. I felt like I wanted to move my body more and my back pain was feeling relief. There were days at my heaviest I didn’t even want to move because my feet killed me and my back made me feel immobile. The lethargy went away going vegan. I started going to the gym, and eating a lot of chia for energy, and never felt better in my life.

After I lost weight, I wanted to show it off and look my best. What I didn’t post was the stretch marks, and the stomach pouch I still had, and the ups and downs along the way. You always see me post myself wearing high waisted leggings or jeans holding in my stomach, or a tank top that is loose in the tummy and flatters me just right. Reality is that I often take a million photos and try multiple poses before I post one. Never get caught up in appearances. The main thing to take away from me going vegan is that it literally improved my quality of life from a drastic standpoint.

My point is, veganism saved my life and my health. It doesn’t matter what you look like. It’s a better quality of life for everyone, from a personal level, to how animals are treated, to how many Earthly resources are saved for everyone by eating plant based. Compassion truly begins on your plate: for the animals, for the planet, and for your health. 💚🌱✨💗

Vegan Chicken and Waffles

Compassion begins on your plate! 💚🌱And, wow, what a whole lot of good food on my plate!

Use your leftover Beer-Battered Chick’n Fried Tofu from dinner for breakfast by topping it on a golden, vegan waffle and drizzling it with vegan ranch. Just reheat in your oven for about 10 mins at 350 degrees.

My dad used to make us heart shaped, Bisquick waffles every weekend. When I realized Bisquick waffle mix was vegan, I quickly ordered a heart shaped waffle maker just like we had growing up.

You can veganize almost any of your favorite pancake and waffle mixes by subbing almond milk when it calls for milk and the Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg when it asks for eggs. Just double check the ingredients to make sure it’s free of dairy.

I used :

2 cups Bisquick mix

1 1/2 cup unsweetened organic almond milk

2 tbsp Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg whisked with 1/2 cup ice cold water

2 tbsp organic canola oil

I cooked 3 golden waffles and topped with the reheated beer-battered tofu chicken. I buttered the waffles with Earth Balance and drizzled it all with Organicville Vegan Ranch.

This was the most epic vegan southern-style breakfast a girl could ask for. Holy comfort food.

Enjoy!

Beer-Battered Chick’n Fried Tofu

Compassion begins on your plate! 💚🌱 I am sharing this delicious, indulgent chicken fried tofu recipe just in time for Super Bowl Sunday! This tofu has the texture of chicken and is full of flavor. Enjoy the flavors of a juicy chicken, beer battered and seasoned to perfection, while refraining from harming any living being. ✌🏼

Ingredients

Beer Batter:

2 cups flour

12 oz of lager beer (I used Stella Artois)

1 vegan egg (2 tbsp Follow Your Heart egg powder and 1/2 cup iced cold water, whisked)

2/3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp basil

1/3 tsp oregano

1 tsp celery salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp mustard seed

4 tsp paprika

3 tsp garlic salt

3 tsp white pepper

Seasoned Flour:

1 cup flour

1 cup traditional bread crumbs

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp white pepper

The “Chicken”:

Organic canola oil (enough for 4 inches of oil in large pan)

24oz traditional or medium tofu

1 cup vegan chicken broth

1 cup flour

Preparation

You will need to freeze your tofu twice to attain a chicken-like texture.

Place tofu package in freezer for 6 hrs (or overnight) and thaw for 4 hrs. Repeat.

Once your tofu is thawed, you will need to drain it of moisture using either a tofu press or two cutting boards. I personally do not own a press, so I press my tofu on a cutting board with paper towels and a big glass pan.

Once the tofu is drained, it should be easily broken apart to reveal chicken-like tofu pieces. Did your tofu fall into bits? No worries! We will prepare this like popcorn chicken.

Place drained tofu pieces into bowl.

Pour chicken-style vegan broth as a tofu marinade. Let soak for 5 mins.

Drain tofu of excess broth.

Dip each piece in plain flour and set aside.

Mix seasoned flour ingredients and set aside.

Mix beer batter ingredients and set aside.

Fill 4 inches of oil into the bottom of a wok or large pan.

Heat frying oil to 350 degrees.

Now, this next part gets a little messy. Commit to the fact they will turn out perfect and charge on through any flour messes along the way.

You are going to take your pieces of marinaded tofu and dip them in the beer batter, coating it completely.

Roll the outside of the tofu in the seasoned flour mixture making sure the outside is coated with breadcrumbs.

Once you’ve done all the bigger pieces of tofu, make sure to dip all the smaller ones as well. They will turn out like popcorn chicken.

Drop tofu into the oil in small batches, turning each side until darkened like fried chicken.

Once cooked evenly, set aside on paper towel or a rack, draining any excess oil from the finished pieces.

Let cool for at least 5 mins before eating.

Serve like a finger food with your favorite dipping sauces, like Organicville Vegan Ranch, or serve it atop some vegan waffles for a southern feel.

Enjoy!

Vegan No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Compassion begins on your plate! These rich, no-bake peanut butter chocolate bars will satisfy even the most mouth watering sweet tooth while being vegan and gluten-free diet friendly.

You only need Four Ingredients:

Filling

  • 2 cups peanut butter (I prefer 365 brand, organic & unsweetened)
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Topping

  • 2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I prefer the Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Combine filling ingredients in large bowl, until it becomes difficult to stir.

Line a large pan with parchment paper.

Press peanut butter “dough” into large pan, ensuring it is evenly spread, and set aside.

Melt vegan chocolate chips in pan using the double boiler method. I personally boil water in a medium pan, and place a smaller pan over it to melt the ingredients. Stir in cup of peanut butter as chips begin to melt.

Pour melted chocolate mixture over peanut butter dough spread in pan. Make sure melted chocolate is spread evenly.

Cover and place in the freezer for 45 minutes.

Remove pan, and cut chocolate and peanut butter layers into bars. (Store in the refrigerator.) And enjoy! 💚🌱✨

Vegan Confessions: I Dated a Hunter.

When I found myself out of married life and suddenly single, it literally took me years to get back out there. I rebuilt my life from rock bottom to this beautiful, passion-driven career focus. I’d be damned if I was going to let a guy into my life to destroy what I built again. It took a job promotion and moving to a whole new town with literally no friends to finally have the desire to make an online dating account.

It took me awhile to find anyone I was even remotely interested in. I grew tired of swiping left on all the Michigan boys holding bloody deer heads and dead fish proudly for the camera in their profile pictures, so I put right in my bio: no hunters, please ✌🏼 . The intention was set for a relationship based in common interests.

One of the first guys I met was super nervous after reading up on me. For privacy’s sake, let’s call him Ben. Ben saw I was super passionate about veganism in my bio and thought if he shared he enjoyed deer hunting, I would unmatch him for sure. He decided to take the second route: hide it until he saw me in person. And it paid off.

We met shortly after I moved to this area, and hit it off right away. He laughed nervously as he told me he was a hunter, and begged me to give him a chance. I right away wrote it off as something that wouldn’t last, but he seemed sincere, so I listened. I soon realized Ben loved animals. He loved being outside and surrounded by nature, and that’s why he loved to hunt and fish. He had certain qualities he would look for to try to pick a deer that has already lived, and didn’t have babies. He trained dogs by day, and was knowledgeable at animal psychology and genuinely cared. I could see his heart. His genuine intention for animals is to love them and be close to them.

Ben quickly became my best friend in this area and casually dated me a few times a week. We never really ate together, and he tolerated my vegan burritos, but was turned off instantly at the word “vegan” in front of anything. Despite this, we tried to find desserts we both liked and restaurants we both liked (which is a challenge in mid-Michigan). It all seemed like it was going well. He knew my coworkers and friends, he came with me to a wedding, and we were growing closer and closer, until….. November: hunting season.

It didn’t become known to me he had an issue with me being vegan until things got real. What set me on this nutrition focused path was looking for answers after my dad died of cancer back in 2008, never smoked, never drank, but ate a high meat, Atkins diet. The ten year anniversary was in November this year. Ben spent that day with me making sure I was okay. I found myself on my vegan soap box spewing all of my knowledge about preventing disease and longevity with a plant based, Whole Foods Diet. This was the first time I really let my vegan freak flag fly with him.

And then, I said it: “I want to raise my kids vegan so they have the best shot at life.”

This statement, unknown to me at the time I made it, lead to a 4 day blackout period where I didn’t hear from Ben. The man who stayed with me on the anniversary of my dad’s death, told me he was in love with me, and drove me to a wedding hours away, wouldn’t even text me back, until he finally explained.

Ben texted: “If 4 days is a problem, how are you going to feel when I’m on a two week hunting excursion in my near future? You talk about veganism 25% of the time, and I will not raise my kids vegan. It’s something I never wanted to learn about. And I don’t want to hunt and think about how my lady doesn’t approve. It’s not that you’re vegan, it’s that I can’t escape it. And I can’t change you so I’m letting go. ”

After 6 months of friendship and companionship, we are now strangers who don’t speak. 👌🏼

If I learned anything valuable from Ben, it would be how to look at someone who hunts compassionately. Many hunters’ main motivation for hunting is a misguided love for animals and nature. Knowing this is honestly such a gift and has helped me cope with living in an area surrounded by them. It also taught me another very valuable lesson: the red flags you ignore in the beginning will be the very reason your relationship ends. Never let anyone make you feel bad for setting standards out of self love. If they don’t meet them, not a match. 💚🌱✨

Online Dating for the Sensitive Soul

Online dating can bring about high expectations for romance while usually delivering something more between a booty call and a wedding date. It’s really like a box of chocolates, and no matter how direct your profile is, or how clear your conversation is, you never really know what kind of date you are going to get. With that said, I do believe online dating has potential for something amazing. The biggest piece to grasp of online dating is maintaining inner peace amidst uncertainty. I wanted to share some tools I’ve learned as a sensitive person myself to bring peace throughout the process.

  1. Don’t hook up with your date right away. No matter how cute they are, how spiritual they claim to be, or how vegan they are, it doesn’t mean they are going to love you unconditionally, forever. As a sensitive person who understands everything is connected and everything is energy, you mustn’t exchange sexual energy with them without a commitment. As sensitive people, we will start feeling that unconditional bond that comes with closeness and not everyone feels that way with sex in this desensitized society. It’s sad, but we are surrounded by people who truly are incapable of feeling because of diet, or media exposure, or lifestyle. You can hook up if you must, but just be prepared to visit #5.
  2. Texting with someone over a period of time does not necessarily mean you are bonding at all. Seems weird, right? You’ve been getting good morning and goodnight texts for weeks, and they text you their yummy vegan meals, and let you know they are thinking about you. In your universe, this means something, right? In the world of online dating, there may be three other conversations going on similarly with multiple people. In the just-swipe-to-find-your-soulmate culture, instant gratification in the land of a million options to choose from is the name of the game. The only way to truly be sure they are feeling the same way is to regularly see each other in person.
  3. Trust your intuition. They said all the right things, even have a million coincidences with your life story, yet didn’t text you the next day? Red flags should not be ignored. Chances are they are not as sensitive as they portrayed, didn’t really catch any major feels no matter what they said, and are on date #2 for the weekend. People always present their best selves on dates and are not always as they seem. The red flag you ignored that didn’t feel right to you will ultimately be the reason you visit #5 later.
  4. Avoid narcissists playing games with your sensitivity. I once dated a guy who really hurt my feelings by not making plans for a second date. A few weeks later, he started blaming me for us not working out because I was still accepting dates with other guys. This took me for a loop. He actually had me feel bad for a behavior that was a logical response to his behavior of not reciprocating interest. Complicated, right? Turns out, he didn’t really want me anyway. He just wanted the power to control who I was dating or not dating like some kind of ego stroke. If someone is being heart-centered, they’d never shame you or guilt you into a behavior. Especially if they aren’t even observing that same behavior (ex. they get mad you still have Tinder dates, yet they are still active on Tinder). If someone is saying something contrary to your purest intentions, trust yourself over anyone else’s opinion and don’t let yourself get manipulated.
  5. Heartbreak is sometimes inevitable. You caught some feels while your date did not. You are a deeply feeling human and it’s okay. Heartbreak means you are on the path to finding what you truly want, and you are closer than ever now that you are no longer wasting time on the wrong person. Let yourself feel it, but don’t wallow too long. Meditate on the infinite abundance of the universe and realize true love won’t be denied to you when it’s right. Trust in the reason for the heartbreak and try again. Maybe you were just meant to touch their life for a moment and to move on to something more right for you. Retreat to yourself for awhile to keep your energy high, and try again. And try not to let the last guy’s mistake affect how you treat the next guy, who could be genuinely trying. 💚

Seems a little scary, right? You may be thinking why put myself through this at all? Trust me, goddess, I feel you. Life is busy and there’s a million things you can experience while you are here. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a romantic love experience at all to lead a fulfilled life. But I do know romantic love is one of the most euphoric experiences to have while you’re a human. A shot at a true partner to experience the magic of life with is worth it.

Realize that the ups and the downs, they are all here for a reason. The Universe would never let you go through a door that wasn’t yours to open. Trust the process. Trust the heartache. Even trust the sadness. The wrong ones will continue to be removed from your life one way or another. And with every door definitively shut, you are that much closer to finding the right one to finally walk through. Know this, and be at peace with it. Remember, sensitivity is a super power. And being able to love deeply and care about people you meet is the reason you’ll find romantic love this life. ✌🏼

Vegan Breakfast Burrito

Compassion Begins on Your Plate! 💚🌱

It is no secret that I love Tofu Scramble and enjoy serving it up in a variety of ways. Get ready for some of the most delicious tofu eggs wrapped in burrito perfection that you will ever taste.

You will need: 1 package organic, sprouted extra firm tofu

1 package of your favorite tortillas

1 tbsp garlic granules*

2 tbsp turmeric

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp basil

1 organic avocado

2 organic russet potatoes

1/2 organic white onion

1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1 package of washed organic spinach

1 package Field Roast Breakfast Sausage

Wildbrine Kimchi Probiotic

Sriracha or your favorite Salsa*

Celtic Sea Salt*

Ground black pepper*

*Proportions to taste.

Hash browns: Grate potatoes into hash brown consistency.

Push water out of potatoes in a strainer over your sink. I then usually mix about 1/4 cup of gluten free all purpose flour with the potatoes before frying, but can be skipped.

Fry in pan with a little olive oil until crispy, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Sausage: Fry sausages in pan over medium heat with a little olive oil until preferred browning. I personally prefer a strip of black on mine and cook it a little longer. Slice into small, chewable bites.

Tofu “Eggs”: Slice tofu package.

Pour “tofu guts” into a medium saucepan. Crumble extra firm tofu and place in the pan, turning on medium heat.

Add turmeric, garlic granules, basil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to pan.

Stir as needed.

Once “tofu guts” water has started to cook away, add a dollop of salsa to the scramble mix.

Slice onion. Add to separate sauce pan with a little water. Cook over medium heat until onions start to caramelize. Then add to Tofu Eggs pan.

Cut avocado in half. Spoon out green avocado onto a cutting board. Cut into slices.

Putting it all together: Warm Tortilla in pan on low-medium heat so it’s easier to work with.

Lay out warmed Tortilla.

Slather on some salsa or Sriracha (I personally do a light layer with my spicy Sriracha).

Make sure you leave an edge around the following ingredients for the perfect burrito roll: Add fresh spinach.

Add a spoonful of hash browns and Tofu Eggs.

Top with avocado slices and pieces of sausage.

Pinch ends of tortilla, pick up bottom, place over and tuck under ingredients, finishing rolling the burrito with remaining slack of tortilla.

Place in warm pan to seal bottom.

And, voila! You have mastered the Vegan Breakfast Burrito. Roll a few in foil and save in your freezer for a quick breakfast to heat up on the run.