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.

Earth Day: Compassion Begins On Your Plate

Compassion begins on your plate!! 💚🌱✨ I’ve always been a bit of a bleeding heart. I was 14 years old when I decided weight loss wasn’t worth eating animals. My entire family was on the Atkins diet, and saw short term successes (but long term health problems, cancers and death). I was repulsed by seeing family members eat flesh for every meal. I went vegetarian without really knowing how to be a healthy one. As a Midwest girl with limited nutrition knowledge, I just decided to eat anything that didn’t have eyes. This included tons of bread, pasta, and cheese. 18 years old wasn’t even my heaviest. I was heaviest in my mid twenties working in the insurance industry. I finally had a moment where I felt like I woke up. I found myself staring down a road I didn’t want to be on, and drastically changed my life.

Working at Whole Foods and learning about The Whole Foods Diet, and finding veganism was the answer I needed all along. It was not only the most compassionate choice for the animals, and the planet, but it was the most compassionate choice for myself and my health. I finally found the answer to all the questions I had about our nutrition, while still limiting our harm, and impacting the planet positively. The energy this diet gave me impacted my physical activities as well.

We are all so hard on ourselves sometimes, myself included. We are all imperfectly perfect. As I learned more, my mind evolved, my behaviors and diet evolved, and then my body followed. It wasn’t a perfect process. It took time. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. It’s as simple as making a decision on what you are making for dinner tonight, or to take that walk you are thinking about. May your life and actions be a celebration of the Earth, every day.

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. 🙌🏼💚🌱