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. 💚🌱✨

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.

Anything You Can Eat, I Can Eat Vegan

Veganism is kind of like the mainstream belief in the normality of the “food chain hierarchy”, but in reverse. How did the animal get this nutrient ? What did the animal eat? If the animal got it from another animal, what did that animal eat? There in lies the answer to any nutrition inquiry.

The design of the Earth and our bodies is so intelligent, our nutrients we need just naturally occur in growing plants, and natural elements. Scarcity during changing seasons and weather conditions is the reason our early ancestors hunted animals. In this day and age, a large variety of plants is at our fingertips within a moment’s notice. Killing is unnecessary. Compassion truly begins on your plate: for the animals, the environment, your health, and the future of the human race.

28 Day Plant Based Challenge

Compassion begins on your plate!!! Tomorrow starts Day 1 of the 28 day challenge. Tonight, get really clear on your goals for the month of February. With this full moon, it’s the perfect time to manifest some healthy achievements for yourself. Whether you are going vegan for 28 days, or are already vegan and refining your diet more, write down your goals tonight.

Me? I will be going oil free. Now I don’t mean I won’t be eating avocados or nuts with natural oils. The right kind of oil can be great for your brain. What I won’t be doing is frying my food, or ordering tempura veggies (which I love). This also means I’ll be grabbing oil free hummus and avoiding vegan cheeses with added oil. Luckily, brands like Kite Hill and Engine2 don’t use oil!

Also, I have a planned cheat day to help keep me on track. We have two veg festivals in my area per year, and one of them falls during the challenge. To keep me on track, that’ll be my one allotted oil cheat day as I try all the new vegan things in my area.

Be compassionate with yourself through this process and do your best! That’s all we can do, and that’s what helps us avoid feelings of guilt as we work towards transformation. Have a happy healthy day, and don’t forget, write down your goals tonight!! Tomorrow is Day 1. What will you do with it?

Vegan Mexican Drinking Chocolate

This spicy drinking chocolate is perfect during the holidays. Get all of the amazing benefits of having raw cacao in your diet while sipping on a dessert drink. 🍫 ☕️ Cacao is packed with phytonutrients, protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that can support slowing the aging process, reduce your cholesterol, improve heart function and reduce your risk of cancer. Now that’s a hot chocolate with a punch!

Ingredients:

❄️2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

❄️1 cup powdered cacao

❄️1 teaspoon vanilla extract

❄️1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

❄️1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper*

❄️2 tablespoons organic raw sugar*

*Can be modified to make spicier or sweeter to taste.

🌱Heat almond milk over medium heat in saucepan.

🌱Once warmed, add sugar.

🌱Add cacao powder to saucepan slowly by whisking into the almond milk.

🌱Add spices and vanilla extract.

Serve warm in mug of choice on a snowy day . 🔥👍🏼❄️

Southwest Tofu Scramble

Compassion begins on your plate!

I genuinely do not miss eggs as a vegan, and a major reason is that I’ve experimented and perfected my favorite vegan breakfasts. I am often asked how I cook my tofu scramble, and after lots of trial and error, I wanted to share my favorite recipe and cooking process that I’ve developed. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

You will need (serves two):

1 package organic, sprouted extra firm tofu

1 tbsp garlic granules*

2 tbsp turmeric

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 chopped basil leaves

1 dollop of your favorite salsa

1 organic avocado

2 organic golden potatoes

1/2 organic white onion

1 package of washed organic spinach

Wildbrine Kimchi Probiotic Sriracha*

Celtic Sea Salt*

Ground black pepper*
*Proportions can be modified to taste.

🌱Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

🌱Slice potatoes into circles. In bowl, evenly toss potatoes in salt and pepper.

🌱Place sliced potatoes on cookie sheet, and cook on top shelf in oven until golden brown. (Cook times may vary per oven.)

🌱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 sauce pan with a little water. Cook over medium heat until onions start to caramelize. Add spinach, and top with salt and pepper.

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

🌱Pour finished tofu into two bowls. Add spinach and onion mixture divided evenly to both bowls. Dress with slices of potato, avocado slices, and finish with Kimchi Sriracha.  I love this Sriracha since it tastes amazing, and adds probiotics to any meal to help aid with digestion and support immunity.

🌱💚And, voila! You have mastered the tofu scramble. 🙌🏼💚🌱

Woman’s World Farmstand Diet: Flavorful and Rich Vegan Shepard’s Pie

Compassion begins on your plate! As mentioned in the cover story in the August 21, 2017 issue of Woman’s World Magazine on shelves now, attached is my recipe for whole plant-based, vegan shepard’s pie. I am so honored to be featured in the current issue of Woman’s World magazine for plant-based nutrition. To have my weight loss transformation be an example of a vegan, Whole Foods diet being the most compassionate and nutritious lifestyle is honestly a dream come true.

Although the article states you can lose 20 lbs in a week, my over-100lbs-lost story was a slow process over a year and a half, making good daily decisions on plant-based food choices. I never intended to drop the weight, just to do better. The weight loss has been a nice bonus. Always love yourself and your body at any weight. Make daily decisions on activities and food choices from love. Do all things from a place of love, not lack.

Also, I could tell you right now I would not have dropped weight if I continued eating cheese, even though the article suggests doing shreds of cheese on your salad. In fact, a huge part of my spike in energy was abstaining from any and all animal products and focusing on whole, real fruits and vegetables. Replace your eggs and cheese with tofu scrambles, like the recipe in the article.  They are seriously delicious and won’t slow you down. 😉 

I encourage you all to read “The Whole Foods Diet” book by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. He focuses on so many health benefits abstaining from animal products. He is so incredibly passionate about it. Case studies have shown people reversing and preventing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancers. Weight loss is the least important benefit to consider. 

Full Recipe: Flavorful and Rich Vegan Shepard’s Pie

Overnight Gingerbread Chia Pudding


Chia is an ancient Mayan word for strength. Introducing it into my diet has helped my hunger and stamina exponentially. It’s a good source of protein, fiber, calcium and omega-3. Eating chia puddings have become a staple for me on days I’m losing weight and feeling motivated to work out. My favorite cookie is definitely my mom’s gingerbread so combining her spices with chia pudding seemed like a perfect fit to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way. 

You’ll need:

4 tablespoons black chia seeds

1 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon* of cinnamon 

A dash* of ginger

A dash* of clove 

*Can be increased with preference.

Combine ingredients in Tupperware bowl and leave in fridge overnight. If you would like to make more for the week, just keep the ratio of 4 tablespoons per cup of coconut milk in mind.  

In the morning, enjoy a healthful, yummy gingerbread chia pudding ! 

Compassion Begins on Your Plate: How Plant-Based Eating Can Transform Your World

As a child, I basically ate whatever my parents decided to put in front of me. Until one day, I started questioning the choices of my parents. I was 14 years old when my dad’s side of the family all decided to be on the Atkin’s diet. I watched my dad order a beef burger without the bun, eat as much bacon and sausage as he wanted for breakfast, not eating many vegetables and completely cutting out carbs. Being someone who never particularly enjoyed eating tons of meat, I was repulsed by it. I called it the “flesh” diet. I declared I was a vegetarian and started preparing my own dinners. I didn’t really know how to be a healthy vegetarian, I just knew I didn’t want to contribute to the killing of animals. Once I researched documentaries like “Kentucky Fried Cruelty”, and saw the brutal treatment of animals in factory farms, there was no turning back. I often ate pasta drenched in garlic and olive oil, or omlettes covered in cheese. It wouldn’t be until years later that I truly would make the connection between food as medicine and vitality.

Back then I never could have imagined cutting out eggs and dairy. It took me seeing years later that it’s common practice that male chicks are ground up alive and baby calves are taken from their moms and slaughtered for veal- that there is no humane treatment of animals in any food industry. We are exploiting the most innocent beings on this planet by giving them a life of misery. This connection started making me think about energy in food and focusing on sourcing food that is “cruelty free”. If everything is energy, why would you ever want to consume a product sourced from an animal who lived in misery? It made me question how much negativity we bring into our own lives by absorbing that which we create from these tortured animals. 

It wasn’t until I started working at Whole Foods Market did I really put the idea into practice. I set out to eat the highest energy, nutrient-dense foods. I finally learned how to not only eat compassionately for the planet, but also how to eat compassionately for myself. I took E3-Live, a super nutrient-dense algae high in 65 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, every morning with my orange juice. I ate chia pods on my breaks instead of bagels and cream cheese. I often grabbed organic pink lady apples, bananas, and cashews if I was hungry. I always had Lara bars on me, and drank chia kombuchas. If I was craving cheese, I bought cashew cheese and gluten-free crackers. I replaced my morning omlettes with my now favorite dish: the tofu scramble. I often ate at the salad bar, but mixed an avocado from produce with lemon juice over my greens instead of dressing. This diet gave me so much energy I had no problem working out for a couple hours after an 8 hour shift. 

I was over 300 lbs when I first started working at Whole Foods. This change to a plant-based diet combined with regularly working out led me to drop over 90 lbs over the past year and a half. Little steps and daily decisions from the heart has led to a huge transformation in my life. It’s been less about the end goal, and more about how to make a loving decision towards myself and the planet in the moment. The weight has fallen off in the process. Every day we have choices to make. Every day we have the ability to channel love and light into every decision we make. It’s our little choices over time that lead to life-changing transformations. I truly believe compassion begins on your plate. What we decide to eat can literally transform our world: from our bodies, to our energy levels, to our environment.

Flavorful and Rich Vegan Shepard’s Pie

  
I personally want full-flavored, Irish goodness on St. Patrick’s Day. When you have decided to eat compassionately for the planet, you may find yourself feeling a little left out (and grossed out) amidst all the corn beef chomping population beside you. Luckily for all you plant-based eaters out there, I have decided to share my favorite Irish, vegan recipe. 💚

Start by boiling 8 red skinned potatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Filling

Add the following ingredients to a sauté pan with a little veggie broth:

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, cubed

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh sage

Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add two cups of veggie broth, slowly.

Add 1 cup of tomato paste. 

Add 1 cup of organic frozen peas.

Add a splash of red wine.

Let simmer until veggies become soft.

Add 1 tbsp flour, and continue to let simmer until thickened.

  
Potato topping

At about 15-20 minutes of boiling, the potatoes should be tender. Check with a fork or knife.

Drain the hot water from the potatoes. I usually cut the potatoes in half with a knife and leave them in the same pan.

Add 2 cups of your favorite nut milk (I use cashew milk).

Add garlic salt and pepper to taste.

The tender potatoes and added ingredients should be easily mashed and mixed by hand with a potato masher.

  
Putting it all together

I put a little veggie broth on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.

Completely cover pan with thickened veggie filling. Make sure it is even by spreading with the back of a spoon.

Evenly layer mashed potato mixture on top of the veggies. Make sure it is spread as evenly as possible on top to keep a good ratio between potato topping and veggie filling.

Cook pan on the top shelf of your oven for 30 minutes, or until potato topping starts to brown and crisp.

Let dish cool for 5 minutes before serving.

  
Voila! A delicious, full flavored vegan St. Patties dish!

Enjoy, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!