What if I told you that if everyone were to go vegan, there would be enough food and water for everyone? What if I told you that this isn't ALL about the animals but it's about the humans too. What if I told you that God gave us a world that has the ability to sustain us to live healthy lives but that we are ruining it every single day? Would you believe me? This is for everyone who thinks being vegan won't make a difference, who thinks being vegan is just for the crazy animal people, and who thinks that the state the world was in when we were given permission to eat animals in the bible, is the same state that the world is in now. All I know is that my God would not want things to be unfolding the way they are today.Read More
Let me start this by first saying, we have to stop being so hard on ourselves. When we become judgmental about if a vegan should or shouldn't eat honey we start to miss the mark and the point behind this entire lifestyle. I am not the kind of person who will agree to something or dive into something without first doing my own research and I have been researching this honey thing for quite some time now. I have found that I am not the only vegan who eats honey and I have also learned that vegans can be very very hypocritical. There is truly no such thing as a purist vegan. Small rodents and animals are killed and run out of their homes every time we need room for more farm land to grow the vegetables we eat. Bees are also pollinating the food we eat so at the end of the day, it's impossible to eat a vegan diet that could be considered pure and 100% cruelty free. We could talk about the fact and statistics all day long but we have to be realistic with where our priorities lie and my priorities do not lie in telling other vegans how to live their lives or shaming non-vegans. In some of my posts I will clearly lay out why I'm vegan and why I think it's better for humanity and our planet (yes that includes the animals), but I will not put your down or shame you for choosing not to be vegan. We have to work towards giving vegans a better rap than they have by being the best examples of the vegan lifestyle that we can be. We need to be kind, understanding, informative, but not pushy.
I have been excited to write this post for a while now because I think it will help clear some things up for those of you who are vegan as well or maybe who are interested in this lifestyle change. When I first went vegan I remember being a little confused on the "rules". How silly is that though? It's a lifestyle change, just like working out regularly is a lifestyle change. There really shouldn't be set rules. Obviously if you are vegan you are probably not eating any type of animal products including meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. but what about honey? Going vegan was not super intense for me because I was never really that much of a meat eater and I knew I was lactose intolerant. But I remember feeling kindof bummed when I kept reading that honey wasn't vegan because it's the one thing that really keeps my seasonal allergies at bay. I use it over any actual medications and it's always been so helpful especially in combination with essential oils! After doing some research on the reasoning behind honey not being vegan and talking with local bee keepers, I came to the conclusion that eating local honey is something that I am ok with and will continue to do. Here's the deal, without bees we have no crops. With no crops, us as plant based eaters, have no food. As a vegan, vegetarian, or plant based eater, we rely on the work of the bees and the pollination they provide to the crops we so consistanty consume. In my opinion the "vegan" thing to do is to support the honeybees and the (ethical) beekeepers who keep hives on their own farms to pollinate their crop and who sell the leftover or excess honey if they want to. I made sure we found a local farmer who cares. We were strolling through the farmers market one day and saw a honey stand and I walked right up and started asking questions. I kept the conversation light and semi-jokingly asked "Do you love your bees?" and once I knew he was ready and willing to answer continued with "What is your farm like?" and he was more than happy to show me photos of everything and kept going on about how he's "a student of the bees" and just loves what he does. He also keeps hens on his farm who he refers to as "his girls" and was telling us all about their personalities and how they are more like pets to him. He was a cool guy and you could see and feel the passion he had for what he's doing. Most small and local farmers truly care and will not take any honey that the bees cannot spare and some mainly keep bees just to pollinate their own crops and sell whatever leftover honey the bees can spare.
At the end of the day we can't all be on the same journey and all plant based, vegan journeys will all be different. There is not 1 way to be vegan. Am I eating honey everyday? No. But do I keep it on hand for when our allergies get terrible? Yes, absolutely and I'm so thankful to have an natural alternative to allergy medication. If we spent more of our lives not basing ourselves off of other's opinions of us we would free up a lot of time and be a lot less stressed out. Be you and do the best you can. At the end of the day the goal behind veganism should be less cruelty, healthier humans, and a cleaner planet.
Some of the blogs I read in my research:
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed!!
Eco-friendly "not harmful to the environment."
Environment "the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates."
Something I am becoming more and more conscious of lately is how our everyday decisions impact the world around us. Our carbon footprints are becoming bigger and deeper than ever before and it's a huge issue. We are polluting the beautiful world we live in way more than we realize. It's more than just recycling and asking for paper instead of plastic at the grocery store. We need to be doing more and there are some surprisingly simple ways to do so! Here are a few of the ways we've been cutting down on waste, plastic usage and decreasing our carbon footprint.
Bars of soap for hand and body wash instead of plastic bottles - This one is such a no-brainer! I couldn't believe that I hadn't thought of it sooner. Hand soap and body wash are two things that most households go through quickly and what happens when you run out? You purchase another plastic bottle full of soap. Some may choose to purchase refill bags/bottles but those are still coming in plastic most of the time. My goal lately has been to eliminate any plastic that we possibly can but start with the simple things. Plastic is hazardous to our health and to our planet. Last time I was at target I grabbed a few bars of Dr. Bronner's castile soap and have been replacing all of the empty hand soap and body wash bottles with them as we run out. So all it took is one simple change and already we have avoided buying three new bottles of soap because we had bars on hand to replace them! Another great thing about this is that bars of soap last WAY longer than bottles of soap. So not only are you cutting down on plastic but you're probably saving a little money as well! You can purchase Dr. Bronner's soap at your local target, health food store or here!
Reusable Shopping & Freezer Bags - This is something I've wanted to do for a while and I'm finally doing it! Taking my own bags to the grocery store because this is one of the easiest ways to cut down on the amount of plastic usage we're participating in. These reusable shopping bags were super affordable and are so useful for even more than just groceries! We are going on a road trip next week and I know we will using them for packing shoes, snacks, and more! We are always freezing fruit for our smoothies and having these reusable freezer bags is a great way to cut down on waste and plastic as well.
Reusable Water Bottles - My husband and I are the type of people that take a bottle of water with us wherever we go and most of the cups and bottles I had been using were plastic. Not only is is not great for your body to be consuming foods and liquids out of plastic containers everyday, it was of course just more unnecessary plastic in our household. A few months ago we found Hydro Flasks at our local TJ Maxx for almost half off and we have been using them every day since! Definitely check TJ Maxx for them first but if you can't find them there you can also purchase here!
Stainless Steel Straws - This one is another super simple one! I purchased a set of super affordable stainless steel straws here and we use them to replace all of our plastic ones for smoothies, water at home, etc. I would love to start bringing them with me when we're in public as well to cut down on the amount of plastic we're using when we're out of the house. Every little bit counts!
Rags for cleaning instead of paper towels - This is a great one! When I took the time to really observe how many times I was grabbing a wad of paper towels to clean up a mess, wipe down the counter, etc. I was amazed. We were going through paper towels like crazy at our house and most of it was unnecessary. We've started using bar mop rags to clean the kitchen, bathrooms and wipe down counters instead of paper towels. We usually only use paper towels as napkins when we're eating now and I have not had to purchase them in a while! We get our bar mop rags at target! They are always super affordable.
Make your own products - I am diving into the world of DIY and have really been loving it so far! Sometimes doing it yourself is going to be the only way to make sure all of the nasty ingredients are left out. I am currently using doTERRA's On Guard Cleaner Concentrate and haven't had to purchase a bottle of multi-purpose cleaning spray in probably a little over 6 months. It works so well and I love being able to refill the same bottle every time I run out! Again, saving money and creating less waste. Send me an email through the contact tab in the menu if you're interested in getting your hands on some cleaner concentrate! We also just made our own 4 ingredient laundry detergent and we were pleasantly surprised at how well it worked and how nice it left everything feeling & smelling. Recipe coming soon after a week more of testing it out!!
Eating plant-based - This tip although it's my last in this post would be the most impactful for the environment in all aspects. Being eco-friendly is the act of choosing to do things in a way that does not harm the environment. The environment encompasses the living conditions of humans, animals, and plants. I believe (and it has been proven) that by choosing to eat plant based, we are not only saving the lives of animals and impacting our planet in such a positive way, but we are also impacting the lives of humans, the hungry, starving, homeless and sick. I am currently writing an entire blog post on this but just to break it down a little here are a few facts:
Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
vegan/plant based: 1/6th acre
vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
meat eater: 18x as much as a vegan
Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption. How crazy is that?!
The simple truth is that we are growing more than enough food to feed this planet, but animal agriculture is such a mass-produced, fast paced industry that animals are getting over half of what is grown. Think about if everyone was eating a vegan diet. No one would have to go hungry. Eating a vegan diet is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and for the world around us. I will go deeper into this in an upcoming post!
I truly hope you enjoyed this post and that it ignites some ideas on how you can make changes towards a more eco-friendly household and lifestyle. :)
Thank you for reading and for letting me share my heart with you all here in this little space!
I love a good app, don't you? Especially when it helps me make hard decisions like what products to use and foods to buy. Labels can be so deceiving and these apps will help you determine what is ACTUALLY healthy and/or chemical free. Seriously lifesavers!
1. The Happy Cow
This app is great for finding vegan or vegetarian-friendly restaurants wherever you are. Its simple to use which is great for when you need to find options fast.
2. Is it Vegan?
This one is great when you come across a questionable food label. Some labels will not say "contains milk" when in fact, there are milk derivatives in certain foods. It can be super frustrating and confusing so having this app has been awesome. It also works on things like medications and product labels!
3. Think Dirty
I believe this app is fairly new and they are still adding to it but it is still such a great one! It actually rates products by number and colors on their toxicity levels and breaks down why they are toxic and what body systems they could effect. So many things that I thought were safe and healthy ended up in the red zone which was definitely a wake-up call to start checking ingredient labels more!
4. EWG's Healthy Living
This one sort of picks up the slack for the think dirty app. It seems to be a bit more updated and has more products already in its database. I love having both handy when I'm shopping because chances are one of the two apps will have info on the product I'm scanning.
Last but not least! This app is great for determining if certain products are cruelty-free. Some brands label it and some don't so it's always nice to know for sure if you are on the hunt for cruelty-free products.
This was a super short and sweet post but I hope these apps help you!! They have changed the way I shop and have really simplified things when trying to buy cleaner products!
Let me know if you get any of these apps or if you've already been using them! Do you use any others that aren't listed? Let me know!
Thanks for reading!
I want to preface this post by saying that while this life change is a pretty big one, it doesn't have to be as hard or daunting as you may think. It won't take long for you to feel the positive effects and the difference it's making in your body and in your life and that alone will make it all worth it and make it all feel a little easier each day. I want us all to be on the same page when it comes to the fact that not everything you read about veganism is true. It's so easy to do this diet and lifestyle the wrong way. "Vegan" junk food is everywhere. Oreos are technically vegan! (No hate on Oreo, sometimes we all need one.) So imagine how easy it would be to be "vegan" but still eat tons of processed foods and end up feeling terrible all the time. Very easy! If you look at the diet and daily calorie intake of someone who claims to be vegan but feels terrible all the time and ends up going back to eating how they were before, you will find simply that they were not doing it right and probably were not getting enough calories. A lot of people when first trying this diet come into it with the same mindset they had before where the focus was always on low carb, low fat, low calorie, sugar-free, etc. but the truth is, if you want to eat plant-based and be HEALTHY on this diet you have to erase everything you believed to be true before when it comes to those health myths. When you are plant-based it's no longer about how little calories you can consume with each snack and meal, it's now about which whole plant-based foods can you eat throughout the day that will keep your energy up and your calorie intake high. Fruits and veggies have lower calorie count than most of the snacks those on an average diet are eating so it takes more of them to get a fulfilling amount of calories. This is where carbs come in because carbohydrate dense foods are also calorie dense foods. If you take anything away from this post, let it be that carbs are not bad! This topic can be frustrating because our view of carbs has become so skewed due to the poor diets we see all around us today. Carbs should make up around 65% of our diet. Fruits and veggies and some sprouted grains that plant-based eaters love are all very carb dense but they are complex carbs that are vital for our energy and the healthy function of our bodies. Empty carbs like those found in donuts, chips, processed breads, processed pastas, etc. are NOT good. But carbs found in sweet potato, broccoli, apples, and other fruits and veggies are all SO good for you. Long story short, forget what you know about carbs, calories, sugar, and fat because it's all about to change. Try to come into this lifestyle change, into this blog post, and into this new health journey with an open mind because you will truly learn SO much! I am still learning something new every day and I know that will never stop.
Ok so now that you're ready to embrace carbs and healthy fats, let's get into the tips and tricks that will help this be a change that you stick to and that changes your life forever! Who's excited?!
Tip #1. Stock your kitchen... & then stock it some more.
This is my first tip because the last thing you want is to have a bunch of stuff in your kitchen that you no longer feel comfortable eating. Having good food on hand is the most important part of starting this new lifestyle! I did so much research when we first went vegan and this was one of the number one pieces of advice being given in books and all over the internet. When you are plant-based, you will eat more veggies and fruits than before. It's inevitable and it's GOOD. I used to keep all of our fruit in the fridge but now I leave it laying out on our countertop (only what doesn't need to be refrigerated) because throughout my day I know that when I feel hungry or need a snack I can go grab some mandarins, a banana or two, a mango, a pear, some grapes, etc. When our fruit selection gets low, I try to restock right away because this is one of the easiest ways to make sure we are getting enough calories, and nutrients throughout our day when we're snacking. The same goes for veggies! I like to keep baby spinach on hand at all times for smoothies, A variety of leafy greens for salads and all kinds of veggies that make good dinner options like bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, onions, and potatoes just to name a few (because yes, homemade baked fries are vegan and healthy. ;).
Tip #2. Educate yourself!
I want this blog to definitely be a community where you can come and ask questions and get opinions! I also think though, that we value things more when we are the ones discovering them and reading them and seeing the numbers and evidence backing something up, first hand. If you haven't already, definitely go read this blog post on why we went vegan to start! But then dive in! Watch documentaries, read books. There is so much information at your fingertips and I encourage you to consume as much of it as possible!
Tip #3. Keep ingredients for plant-based comfort food on hand
We all have days where we want some comfort food whether that means a yummy potato soup, a big bowl of spaghetti, chocolate chip muffins, etc. I like to keep a bag of organic golden or sweet potatoes on hand every week because I know we will definitely eat them whether making a soup, baking fries, or roasting them for dinner or for on top of salads at lunchtime! I also keep ingredients for my favorite banana chocolate chip or blueberry muffins on hand for when I need a sweet treat! In a perfect world, I would be making muffins every week because they are packed full of healthy fats and make such great breakfasts and snacks! That recipe will be my next blog post!! I also like to keep a jar of organic marinara and either zucchini noodles or brown rice pasta on hand at all times for those nights when we aren't sure what we want for dinner and want to make something quick and easy. Another great option is freezing bananas at the beginning of each week for smoothies and for banana nice cream! Seriously so simple. Just blend up frozen bananas, ice, and any other ingredients you want such as peanut butter, cacao powder, strawberries, etc. So easy!
Tip #4. Stay hydrated and keep taking your multivitamins to start out.
Your body will be going through a lot of change when you go vegan. Whether you feel like you're detoxing or not, you will detox a bit. My best advice is to stay hydrated and find a good whole food vegan multivitamin to take while you're adjusting, trying new recipes, etc. You should never ever feel weak, tired or deprived on a vegan diet. This diet and lifestyle is the most life-giving and energizing one there is. It's what we were created to eat and how we were made to function and once your body catches on to these new foods and that you're done putting inflammatory meats and dairy into your system, it will thank you in so many ways. A couple weeks or so into going plant-based we noticed much better and deeper sleep, increased energy, weight regulation, lowered blood pressure, and clearer skin just to name a few! We felt lighter and we could tell inflammation in our bodies had decreased. All around we felt really really good. A whole foods vegan multivitamin is never a bad idea but after a while, it may no longer feel necessary as you begin to explore all of the nutrient-dense fruits and veggies that there are. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to consume fruits and veggies daily! When you start eating this way your taste buds will change and you'll start to function and be more in tune with what your body wants and needs.
Tip #5. Make double batches of everything - you'll eat it, I promise.
You will feel the need to cook A LOT more on this diet. It won't be as easy as running out for burgers and fries when you don't feel like making dinner (but avoiding the heart disease is definitely worth it. ;). I almost always try to cook for 4 (or sometimes 6, not gonna lie! Ha) instead of 2 so that we have leftovers from each meal that we can then eat for lunches or dinner some other day that week. Sometimes it's even super yummy to make a big salad and compile leftovers on top or alongside it! So many options.
Tip #6. Don't stop exercising
As with any diet, you will see increased energy, strength, and other benefits clearer if you keep up with regular exercise along with your new way of eating. I feel like my body responds to exercise so much better now that I don't have so much inflammation in my body. I love doing an even mixture of high intensity and toning workouts along with yoga on different days. I always feel best when I'm doing yoga and really taking the time to stretch at least twice a week between workouts.
Tip #7. Shop locally when you can.
We recently started going to the farmers market more often to do our produce shopping and we are always amazed at the money we save when we shop locally. I try to buy organic when I can and the beauty of buying local is that those farmers are almost always selling organic (or very close to organic) produce. I live in a small beach town on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and our farmers market is definitely still growing. If you live in a bigger city, your farmer's markets are bound to be full of incredible food and you should definitely go check them out if you haven't already. Plant-based grocery shopping doesn't have to be expensive! That is one misconception about going vegan that doesn't have to be true. You'll definitely need to purchase more produce than you were before but you won't be purchasing dairy or meat products which can be some of the most expensive on the grocery bill. My best advice would be to do your produce shopping locally to save money. Walmart actually has a pretty impressive organic section as well and it's much cheaper than most health food type of grocery stores.
Tip #8. Connect with like-minded people
This can be so hard. I get it. I only have a handful of vegan/vegetarian friends and 3 of them are my husband, mom, and sister. I've connected with a few vegans on Instagram that I can always turn to or read posts from their blogs if I'm needing a boost of encouragement or have any questions! People are so connected to food and you might get some flack for your decision simply because it isn't the norm. It's ok for people to be curious and ask questions but never let anyone make you feel bad for bettering yourself.. You can always reference back to this verse. "And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." Genesis 1:30. Also be sure to go follow these Instagram accounts for some encouragement and daily inspiration!
Remember that this is a huge change and give yourself grace daily! What you're doing is amazing and if you slip up just keep on going and keep moving forward. We live in an imperfect world and we cannot expect perfection out of ourselves so just remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace through this journey!
Thinking about the fact that some of you reading this are at the point where you want to take this step in your life and you stumbled upon this post, I have tears of joy in my eyes because I truly believe that what you're about to do will change your life forever. You will feel more health and abundance than you ever have and I believe you will feel more connected, grounded, and in love with your creator and the creation around you. Please please please let this be a place where you feel that you can be open and ask questions. I'm here to answer any of them and help in any way I can!
Thank you so much for reading!