Plant Based and Kale'n it

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My mom gave me Louisiana strawberries, I hate waste.  Everything was strawberry that week!  These strawberry lemonade cupcakes were to die for and not all that bad for you.  That icing y'all...

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Literally every weekend I'm trying a new waffle recipe.  I'm not sure why I never thought to put fruit and nuts and nut butter and hemp seeds and all things amazing on my waffles until now.  All of a sudden, I'm queen of all waffle toppings.

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When I get tired of toast, I use sauteed sliced sweet potatoes.  

 

 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of  vitamin A, vitamin C,  manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and  phosphorus.

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Charcoal Latte with Almond Milk.  One of my favorite things.  Activated charcoal is amazing for detoxifying the body.  Activate charcoal is porous so it adsorbs the toxins in your body.

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You can spiralize just about any veggie.  This was such a great lunch to bring to work-sweet potato spirals sauteed with edamame, sriracha smoked tofu, spinach, crushed peanuts, and sesame tahini dressing.  Cheap and easy!

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Meal prep is super important for a smooth week.  Fortunately, when you're focused on only eating whole foods, it's really pretty simple!  Even just having cut fruit and veggies is helpful.

 

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I used to think it was wings I loved...then I realized I just really like buffalo sauce.  On anything and everything.  This cauliflower wings are a perfect clean replacement for hormone injected chicken wings!

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One of babe's favorite desserts is Tiramisu, so of course I had to take on a plant based version of this as a challenge.  OMG.  Seriously, the best dessert I've EVER made.

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Talk about easy, filling, and healthy.  It doesn't get any simpler than tacos.  I usually pick a legume, some fresh veggies, and sometimes rice (obvs, brown or wild rice is better for you!).

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Cooking for an omni crowd.  One of the joys in my life (when life is somewhat calm) is cooking for people I love.  My goal these days is for them to just enjoy the meal and totally forget about not having any animal products in their food.  Plant based meals can be absolutely amazing and even more delicious than those with meat.

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Green smoothies are a life saver in a pinch.  These usually are a meal or two for me during the weekend since time seems to fly by and all of a sudden I'm starving! Vega sport vanilla is my favorite!  I also throw in a bunch of healthy stuff- fresh and frozen fruit, greens, spirulina, hemp and chia seeds, and some kind of plant milk. So satisfying!

If I could only find the words to express the looks we got when we said we were going to try a plant based diet....the concerns were real. And when we stuck with it for more than a week, the shock was real too. Now, I'm an honest person, so I going to tell you that I was not 100% plant based until the past month or so. I was really trying to be, but I like to maintain a high protein diet, which has a learning curve when it comes to going plant based. But I give it to my other half-he is really giving it his best shot. I would still have egg whites or even a whole egg if I'd had a hard workout that morning.

We've been plant based since a couple of days after Christmas. The decision to go plant based happened during the holidays around late November. We both want to live our healthiest, best quality life. The thing is, we like to be social too; we enjoy hanging out with friends, having nice dinners out, and a couple of cocktails on the weekend. So sure, there were a lot of factors to consider when we made this decision. And the research, oh my gosh, the research! I obsessively began reading any article I could find on the internet, I created a new board on Pinterest for recipes, I even purchased an online cookbook. Y'all, when I commit to something, I commit wholeheartedly, 100%. I wanted to make sure we had every tool necessary to be successful. Because that's just who I am. As I read through article after article, I quickly transformed our kitchen into a plant friendly paradise. It's just so much easier to stick to a plan when you give yourself no other option. Some people may call me crazy or over the top-but I'm a results driven person and I fully believe that results are a direct result of self-discipline, will power, and hard work. I never said getting rid of $15/lb cheese that tastes like pure heaven on a cracker was easy. I held onto it as long as I could. It took me a couple of weeks to wrap my head around parting with the fancy cheese. What I couldn't bear to throw away, I gave away. Just because this is a choice we're making for our health, doesn't mean it has to be  the choice of everyone around us. This was just the beginning of a new chapter. A new journey. A better us.

The first week we kept it pretty simple. Lots of sweet potatoes, kale, almond milk, and of course, plant based protein replacement products such as "chickun" tenders and "beefless" crumbles. I even made "ChickUn" Scalopini, and guys, it was great. It was eye opening. It proved to us that we didn't need animal proteins to have a satisfying meal. There really are hundreds, if not thousands, of these products on the market and they're within reach for most people. Having some plant based protein replacements on hand was very helpful with our transition to a better lifestyle. The only downside to these products is that they are highly processed because the companies are blending many plant proteins together to make the final product and they aren't all GMO free or sugar free. Now, don't get me wrong-most of them taste great. We love a particular brand of the burgers served up with some homemade potato wedges or baked fries. But we do try to stick to more veggie based and less soy products because the whole point was to cut unnecessary additives from our diet.

We'd tried some of the subscription meal delivery services in the past. I'm a huge fan of podcasts, and let's face it, I fall easily for a good deal, and a suggestion from trusted bloggers really gets me. I guess I'm just a sucker, but it was a large contributor to our success on the plant based journey. Our favorite was HungryRoot, mostly because of how fast the meals came together. I also loved the flexibility of the ingredients, but it's pricey! The great part about the plant based meal delivery services is that they taught me a new way to cook that was unknown to me. They broadened my view of the foods available to us on a plant based diet. They brought CREATIVITY to my cooking! I've always loved to cook. Being in the kitchen is therapeutic to me. Call me crazy, but it helps me burn off steam....pun intended. I'm cheesy, I know. Get used to it.

We are now 4 months into our plant based journey and it's gotten so much easier and definitely more natural. Besides the occasional craving for wings or sushi, which I've discovered I just really love buffalo sauce and everything besides fish that goes in sushi, I never feel deprived. It's simple. Simple, whole foods. I never have to worry about defrosting or marinating meat. It's cheaper too! Have you seen the price or organic, non-GMO animal products these days? I'm a budget conscious person and plant based works well with my financial diet as well.

I will say that while we are plant based on a daily basis, we will make rare exceptions for special occasions or while we are on vacation. It's important to me that I keep the reasoning behind our decision on the forefront of my mind. Our transition to plant based was 100% to live a healthier lifestyle and to put more pure and whole foods in our bodies. These days, so many foods have added preservatives, chemicals, hormones, and other additives that are harmful to ingest. Not to mention the addictive chemical casein that exists in dairy products. We are animal lovers (we have a fanimaly of 4-2 cats, 2 dogs), but this is not a political stance for us. Although, I personally have shifted more towards the vegan feels after a couple of months of being animal product free. I'll have eggs every once in a while from a trusted source, but I think about them differently. I can't say I particularly enjoy them as much as I used to...I just have a different perspective now.

Let's talk about the health benefits I've reaped through this transition...I feel SO good. I feel light and energized. My skin is clearer and brighter. My body is regular (you know what I'm talking about). I've lost some weight and actually maintained a lower weight. My lower belly fat is finally going away and my cellulite is disappating. My workouts are strong. My nails are pinker and the ridges are gone.I just feel great, y'all. Like I'm filling the tank with premium grade fuel. Not to mention the personal gain of being a little more flexible when it comes to eating. You can't be in control all the time. I mean, if you want to have a life outside of your own little bubble, you have to learn how to be flexible when it comes to dining with others. This has never been a strong point for me...I've always been very rigid about my eating..I'm a strange bird, guys.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm always thinking about what I'm eating, when my next workout is, how am I going burn off this cheat meal, etc. My relationship with food has completely changed. I've let go of food tracking and obsessively planning every. single.thing I eat .SWEET FREEDOM. I need this extra time. I need the mind space that was taken over by this beast that has been in control of my mind for so long. Ever since I can remember, I have worried about my weight. As a child, my family called me the "healthy" one. Looking back on photos, I was just a normal child. I wasn't overweight, I was average. But in my mind, I've always been obese and it's really fucked with my self image and relationship with food. I know this has gotten deep, so I'm going to bring it back now...Bottom line...I am plant based and loving it! I feel great INSIDE and OUT! I can't wait to learn and discover more creative recipes and ways to live my best life.

Follow me on Instagram for my favorite recipes and recipes I'm trying out. I go through phases of making everything from scratch, but sometimes life is just too busy for that.  So no matter what you're into, I'm sure you'll find a new recipe to try or at least some really awesome cooking blogs. Because I'm obessed with plant based cooking blogs. Guilty pleasures. I also post our juice recipes and try to show the process in my insta stories as much as possible.

I hope everyone has an absolutely fabulous day! Go out there, live your best life, know your self worth, and make the most of this day. Today is YOUR day!