Top 3 Favorite Vegan Restaurants

(Usual blog readers, this one’s strictly on the fun that is vegan foods. Just a cordial fyi.)

I get asked time to time how Corey and I find things to eat when going out.

Well, I’m so excited to share with you!

For starters, it really isn’t that hard. I know there are extreme vegans out there who will be quick to shut you down with our “philosophy” (and for that I do apologize), but there are people like us who… I guess, really enjoy food, and different types of it! The reason most of you have that restrictive assumption when thinking about the vegan culture is because there are obviously individuals whom have chosen the plant-based “diet” (I really need to find a better word for that because I don’t mean it as a weight loss program, I literally just mean what we eat) for different reasons. Without getting too into detail, there are individuals whom have chosen this path simply for the sake of caring for our earth and fellow creatures. So, yes, unhealthy/overweight/unbalanced vegans can most definitely exist if they aren’t necessarily concerned about the breakdown of the food, rather just the ethics behind it. There are also those whom have found a great deal in living the healthiest life possible and that not only means being plant-based but being particular within such boundaries. There are those who are HCLF (High Carb Low Fat), WSLF (Whole Starch Low Fat), there are those who won’t consume any oils (fat), there are those whom are raw (no cooked foods), and there are Average Joes like me… who have found numerous beneficial effects from choosing this lifestyle, but won’t limit so strictly on our habits because there is more to life than harsh black and white rules.

With all of that being said, there are definitely options when going to your average restaurant. Yeah, sometimes I might have to become that person I used to judge who will have to be choosy when it comes to the what-about’s in a wrap or excluding a condiment in a sandwich, but it is so feasible. Being plant-based really needs to get out of this stigma we are in of being “difficult.” (Maybe also then, would the vegan culture look like we are encouraging instead of condescending.)

I can make a list of my favorite vegan foods to choose within your everyday eateries another time. But for today, I’ve decided to enlighten y’all my my top three favorite restaurants that offer 100% plant-based foods! Yes! These places exist! Also, more exciting news: A friend of mine recently shared with me that there is actually an app out there (please comment below if you know what it is because the name is slipping from my memory!) that can help you locate vegan restaurants/pubs/breweries! But for real, you don’t have to suffer in bland salads and mono-colored smoothies! What a joke that would be! Do you know how much of a foodie I am? I think eating and cooking are some of the BEST ways to explore and indulge in life; I would never encourage something that limits such experiences and joys.

I have listed below both the menu links as well as what Corey and I have ordered during our most recent visit.

Let the drooling begin.

3. Native Foods Cafe | Denver, Colorado

This place made me a believer of “vegan cheese.” I know, I know, it can get annoying when foods are labeled as items they are obviously not, but I do find it helpful and cute that places like these have gone out of their way to recreate dishes for both vegans and non-vegans to enjoy, discover, and ultimately embrace new horizons of how food can be. The nice thing about Native Foods is they are located in a handful of places around the United States, so do a little research and see if there is one near you that you could venture to! I loved how their walls were splattered with so much encouragement on leading a healthy lifestyle, being creative, and loving the community. It really helps to know that your food was prepared by a heart that cares for the bigger picture.

Pictured Below:

Avocado Kale Cheese Dip with Corn Tortilla Chips
Reuben Sandwich made with Seitan and Cashew Horseradish Cheese
Lemon Dill Potato Salad
(& we also ordered their Peanut Butter Parfait… but obviously ate that up too quickly.)

You can find their menu here.

2. Next Level Burger | Bend, Oregon

I know that there have been amazing rumors about this new “Impossible Burger” that is exclusive to those in NY and LA, but until I find the courage to go back out into those wild cities, Next Level Burger will tie me over just fine when it comes to my good ol’ burger and fries craving. They are the definition of commitment. Their tables, the paint on their walls, their utensils, their lightbulbs, everything basically in reach within their venue has been and intentionally chosen and has been done so with the most compassionate decision-making mindsets. Corey and I have only been there once since moving out here but we are so excited to go back to try their dogs, brats, and other sandwiches! I know some non-vegans wonder why vegans go vegan if we enjoy these “animal foods.” Truth is, we also are knowledgable on what goes in them and what hazard it has done to our bodies. So, yes, every now and then these splurges happen. And the best thing about it is that we no longer have to be concerned about how it will negatively effect us, or the planet around us. Yes, we have cravings; vegans aren’t robots.

Pictured Below:

The All-American Burger made with Tempeh and Egg-Free Mayo
Bleu BBQ Burger made with Umami Mushroom and Quinoa
Oil-Free Baked Crinkle Fries & Tots with Organic Ketchup
and for dessert, Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cup Shake made with Coconut Milk

You can find their menu here.

1. Zeal | Boulder, Colorado

Yep. This place is hands-down my #1 favorite. I mean, c’mon, they call themselves, “Zeal: Food for Enthusiasts.” COULD A PLACE BE MORE FOR ME?? No, not their entire menu is plant-based, but they are super great about sourcing all of their produce, their plants, their water, EVERYTHING from upright places. Also, important side note: I never believed in “cauliflower wings” until Zeal. Or “vegan ranch”. Or “raw cheesecake”… Or anything so many other recipe books would try to scheme me into believing as far as deceiving my tastebuds go. They’re as real as you can get as far as ingredients go, and their name boldly embodies who they are. The people are so passionate about caring for and nurturing our earth, our own bodies, and each other. There is a… ZEAL (seriously, lacking words but not hating it) that is so contagious when you step inside. Their menu is ridiculously creative and, though it may not seem like it, that coconut curry bowl looking thing Corey ordered was the best thing I have ever tasted (sorry, Mom). I honestly thought… why is something so simple the most invigorating thing in my mouth ever? Would donate personal monies to have them build another one closer to me. Honest.

Pictured Below:

Cauliflower Wings with Lemon Tahini
Vegetable Rainbow Curry
Plant Burger (in a collard green wrap)
and for dessert, Two Chocolate Shakes (yep.)
and their Raw Cheesecake (…that was CRAZY good, for real. You non-vegans out there, I dare you to take a bite of this and accept the fact that it was and is HEALTHY. YEAH! That can be your life! No shame or guilt for eating CHEESECAKE!)

You can find their menu here.


I hope these posts can be encouraging to you, especially those of you who are curious of innovative ways to improve your health but aren’t certain on how to go about that when there are so many lies and manipulations thrown at us from every which way. Eating plant-based has allowed me and my household to remember what it means to thoroughly ENJOY food, having zero embarrassment in grabbing seconds, thirds, even, and realize that a huge part of knowing who and how we are is knowing what we are putting into our bodies.

Do you have any places worth recommending? Please do! I am always in need of more places to experience when I am on the road with Imogen Works! Let this sister know!

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Taking Back Control of Your Health

I Instagrammed (still mind-boggling that that’s an unofficial verb now) about my thoughts regarding intentional self-love/self-care and mental/physical health a couple of days ago, but in case you missed it, here was my little blurb:

Corey has been in New York (Lake Champion – A Young Life Camp) for the past week for work. People have been constantly asking how tough it’s been. Though I’d like to imagine what it’s like to be the sweet, compassionate wife who suffers longingly for her “other half” (don’t even get me started on that phrase) to come home, I also take comfort in knowing that I — in the deepest, densest part of me — am an independent. And that’s okay. I very much enjoy taking advantage of the fact that while we don’t have children, I can sow all the time I get to grow further into myself.

He comes home tonight (weather willing) and I am so excited to share with him the things the Lord allowed me to experience in my time alone.

I found my routine again. I began introducing my mornings with the Word again. I finished a private online course on nutrition and health. I tried cooking a new 4-course vegan meal, and it was delicious. I dug up my Mizunos and revisited my favorite way to spend quality time with Jesus: running.

My discipline, re-centered.

My joy, abundant.

My faith, rekindled.

My spirit, alive.

I encourage all of my strong sisters (and brothers) out there to never stop growing into yourself. I don’t know about you, but I love romancing myself. Pursuing myself. Allowing me to be me and accepting myself for it. It is so exciting to know that everyday we can become a better version of such. I believe this is why we are still alive; to press in. To play the part o this large space to make good, starting from within. And the ability to cultivate this environment for yourself is multiplied tenfold when you are willing to look within yourself and gain understanding on what kind of personality you are. How to love yourself well. Truly. Because everyone is different.

I am an independent. I am an introvert. (Surprising? It was for me, too.) I love people but I love spending time with Jesus by myself more. I know I do best in wide open spaces and I know I don’t need verbal affirmation from others to know who I am.

I am weird, I am strong, this is me.

I believe strongly that the definition of health ought to be boundless when it comes to how to work on it.

I think for so many of us nowadays, the term in itself seems unappetizing because so often does find itself associated with diet fads, unrealistic expectations, and disappointment. But I wish to change that culture for myself and my household. I believe health is so much more than a number on a scale, the texture of my hair, my exercising habits (or lack thereof). I believe being healthy starts with a mindset. It is nourished from within. Otherwise it’s all just a big cakey lie that eats itself up.

I believe being healthy starts with loving yourself.

It starts with loving yourself and finding the best way for you to get there.

For me, this journey of living a plant-based (vegan) lifestyle has been such a good practice to gain control of the simplest of mental strides. Mental strides that has allowed room in my life to love myself wholly… better, harder, and stronger. Yes, I do have the more tangible reasons why it has been beneficial for our family (listed here). But mentally, it has allowed me to work on disciplines I’ve long forgotten were key to my daily successes.

1. To research and intentionally prepare each and every thing that me and my loved ones are consuming (and have previously consumed) has taught me to not take my one body and one life for granted. It has forced me to educate myself on biology, nutrition, physiology, and self-care. This concept alone has made me read more, purchase more books, and realize that I am capable of understanding ideas I once thought were overwhelming. This has now expanded into educating myself regarding just about anything else this life has for us to explore and recognizing that my brain is capable and ready to absorb more information. I think after graduating college I was just done with “school” in general… but an unteachable mind is, I have learned, is one of the scariest things.

2. It has also given me back my self-control. Before, I lacked in this department completely. I gave into the liberal mindset of “YOLO” and thinking I’m deserving of every sugary taste, every greasy bite, every bit of life to devour. Now, I do wholly believe in experiencing LIFE, yes. (Duh, do you even know me?) But I do think we have a warped mindset on what it means to live life FULLY.

3. One of the best things this lifestyle of gaining back my health has really given me is reconnecting me with the truth that nothing is impossible. And in that, rediscovering my childlike faith. Though I wanted to attempt a shot at trying to change my ways time and time again in the past, I — for the longest season — assumed I couldn’t. Why? I’m still not sure. Maybe because I was uninformed? Maybe because I didn’t think I’d have the time or money? Probably because I just lacked a desire in general because… like anything important to grasp in life, it wasn’t easy. But proving yourself wrong on your potential is an amazing feeling. It’s empowering, it’s satisfying, and it allows yourself to marinate in the newly defined concept of success. This will look different for everyone, but it is an important idea. I have redefined myself as a successful person, for no one else but me. Because I set small, realistic, short-term expectations, get there, and understand that it is about these small victories that lead to a war fought. By seeing myself “get there” with my healthier and wiser eating habits for my personal body, I have seeped this attitude toward my desire to getting to a better place with my faith again. Becoming a better wife. Being a better friend. Being a better neighbor. Being a better person. These are all graspable, real, doable projects that begin with a positive change in our attitude. And where ever that stem can grow from, let it. For me, it started in the kitchen.

It’s true what they say, you really are what you eat. It controls a LOT more of you than you think you do. From the types of proteins to the types of hormones they manipulate. (And you allow it to by eating it!) From the healthy fats to the artificial sugars. From killing your memory to maintaining it. From a life leading to an eventual heart disease to being able to run with your grandchildren at ages unimaginable. From being grumpy to feeling like you can jump off of the walls. From the table to the workplace. From the inside out.

I’ll try to get better at listing recipes. I know I’ve gotten requests but… Let me be honest — I cook like my mother! (Yikes.) I don’t measure, I don’t write things down… I taste as I go, I change it up every time, and I love making cooking into an art! BUTTTT… I WILL try to do better. Until then, take my suggested measurements with a grain of salt. (Unintended pun.) Also, just be inspired! Get crazy in the kitchen! That’s how I find most of my favorite consistent recipes! I try new things, mess up, and create something fab that’s here to stay.

Here is one of mine and Corey’s faves. I’ll call it… Green Babies. (Because they look like they’re coddled up in a blanket… Until they’re eaten. Is that morbid?)

Ingredients;

A bunch of collard greens
1 cup of mushrooms (chopped)
3/4 cup of carrots (chopped)
1 cup of quinoa
1/3 cup of red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup of corn
Curry powder
Garlic powder
Cumin
Basil

Season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast to taste! (As usual.)


Start by sautéing the chopped carrots and mushrooms in a stir fry skillet (or something similar).


Cook the quinoa with the chopped red bell pepper in another pan. Let it simmer with basil, salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.


Take the quinoa/pepper off of the heat once the quinoa is fully cooked. Keep lid on to contain heat.



Wash the collard greens and cut off the leaf-less stem part.


Stir in the quinoa mix with the carrots and mushroom. Add the corn, curry powder, onion powder, and keep it on low heat as the mixture immerses together. Add little bit of water if the texture is too dry.


Blanch the green collards until you can cut into the center stem piece without effort.

 Take them out and pat them dry with a paper towel.


Spoon desired amount in the center of the freshly blanched collard greens.


And there you have it! Little Green Babies to love and devour! You can add pan-tossed tofu chopped up in there as well for extra texture and protein. You can add anything you’d really like, honestly. I just hope these little posts can inspire you! Enjoy!

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First Smoothie Recipe + Other Thoughts

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Hi.

I have been humbled, affirmed, and feeling loved by all of the messages and comments I have received regarding my recent transition into veganism! (Also, auto-corrector keeps telling me that veganism isn’t a word… But facebooking is. So, whatever.)

I don’t intend this blog to be consumed with recipes and vegan-only thoughts. However, soon following all of the celebratory cheers were immediate requests on lists of things I have been eating. Which, at first I thought, Why? I mean, I get it. A new regimen for lifetime is a lot to transition into, whether that be new routines, grocery lists, go-to restaurants, even nights out with my hubby. But I guess I was thinking, There are so many recipes and how-to’s on the internet nowadays! I’m just a know-nothing newbie! But then I also realized that it truly is different when it is someone you know doing something you’ve only heard of. All of the stuff out there could be misleading, inaccurate, and untrue.

If there are two things I need my food to be, it’d be, 1. Flavorful, and 2. Nutritional. The first part can be difficult at times to gain when we are all too conscientious about the latter. However, I think people need to get over the uninformative idea that people go vegan strictly for the sake of losing weight. That’s untrue. People go vegan for many different reasons. You can totally snack, indulge, have your moments, and truly enjoy foods while eating vegan. We don’t need to go sacrifice all sorts of seasonings and flavors for the sake of diet. No no.

We don’t reduce, we replace!

I do realize that there are “vegan guru”s out there who claim that raw diets (only uncooked, unprocessed foods; aka mainly fruits and veggies straight from the garden) are the best way to go, and there are others who say that we should eliminate all oils and fats. Alas, like I’ve said, I’m a know-nothing newbie. Maybe one day I will flow that river, but for now, I still like my food to… taste like food. I mean, I do love me some straight-up greens and mangoes and peaches, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that that type of strict dieting for all day, all season, is the reason people have such misconceived notions of this lifestyle. When in reality, veganism is actually super enriching, enlightening, and enjoyable!

With that being said, I have quickly discovered my new favorite (+ easy) smoothie!

I call this, Coconut Berry Bliss Smoothie. (I know, super catchy.)

I usually add spinach or kale to my breakfast smoothies, but we were out this morning.

Ingredients;

1 frozen banana (I actually kept the peel on for the extra nutrients! You can’t taste it!)
1 cup of berries (I mixed blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
1/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup of flax seeds
Maple syrup to taste!

(Depending on your personal preferences of thickness, I’d recommend slowly adding the coconut milk while mixing until it is to your desired liking!)

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One of the many things I thoroughly love about eating vegan is that it encourages others to consider adopting some healthier habits into their lives (even if it means getting out to their local farmer’s markets every so often), and… wait for it… there are very little calorie restrictions! Coming from someone who likes to EAT, it is so refreshing and countercultural to see a diet that works… where you don’t have to feel so limited in your consumption! All of these foods are high in fiber, rich in nutrients, yet a FRACTION of the calories. So… SLURP UP, FRIENDS! It’s time to get livin’!

I will continue to post recipes and foods I eat even so often. I pray that this doesn’t ever seem as though I am pushing people to go vegan. I simply want all of you out there to see that there really are healthier options to the daily likings we crave. Because… did you know that this is the first generation where we us kids will most likely not live as long as our parents will/did? And the leading cause of this is because of our unhealthy lifestyles that we CHOOSE to participate in daily! I recently found that out, did some research, and felt extremely sad! I mean gosh you guys that is not progress. That’s pitiful. Also, I promise that I would also be the first to tell you when something… doesn’t taste good. So you can trust me when I recommend something that you won’t be sacrificing the flavors for a fad. Cheers to longevity in our laughter and loving, because Lord knows we need more positivity in this life.

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Why I Decided to Go *GF Vegan

This is week 4 of gluten-free, vegan Ji.

I have been hesitant on making anything public regarding my recent change of regimen for two main reasons:

  1. The fear of unknown commitment to it in the future, and
  2. Never feeling as though I could do enough research.

However, a lot of my online community has inquired about it. About the why’s, about the how’s. And after a good portion of this past week spent on prayer and supplication, I feel really good about sharing with you some of the reasons why this journey has begun, and why I am very confident in my continuation of it.

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As much as it’d be nice to say it was for ethics, it honestly started because it summed up to be a healthier lifestyle for me (and eventually my husband hahaha). I essentially grew up on a gluten-free, pescatarian diet having lived with Korean parents; I just didn’t know that that is what it would’ve been labelled. When going off to college and cooking for myself as well as eating the foods on campus/in the “American” life, I realized just how out of hand my physical health had become. Understanding that it wasn’t out of my total control to take the wheel again on where my health was headed, I took a radical leap last month and I haven’t looked back.

I think the biggest concerns most express when regarding the vegan lifestyle specifically are questions such as, Where do you get your protein? and,  Aren’t you tired all the time?

And as much as I am grateful for those whom are so concerned, I’d like to eagerly inform you that:

  1. The average American intakes MORE (like, way more) than the suggested amount of protein daily. The excess actually inhibits so much of what our body wants to process naturally. I mean, how often do you hear of anyone in our country dying from a protein deficiency? And yet how often do you hear of people suffering from heart diseases and cancer from their lack of paying attention to the things they put into their bodies?
  2. Our God is certainly a creative God. There are so many ways to ingest protein outside of meat. So many ways.
  3. From my personal experience I can tell you that my energy has never been at this level in my life. For as long as I can remember.

Truly speaking, I wholeheartedly believe every body is different. Every need is different. Every life is different. So, for someone to encourage a specific regimen — whether it be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, gluten-free, what have you — to someone else who obviously is created differently is absurd. I would never suggest someone to join me in my gluten-free, vegan lifestyle without having known the history of his or her health, eating habits, and so many more personal things that go into something as intimate as food. I just know that for me, this change in my life has alleviated so many things that I honestly didn’t even realize would be impacted. To give you some insight, here are a few perks I’ve noticed just in this first month of experimenting:

• I dropped 10lbs within the first week. Just like that. Now, I say this with caution because I don’t think losing weight should necessarily be the essential reason anyone goes vegan. It always should be something much bigger than that… for anyone to change their diet ever. It ought to stem from when one desires to work on something from the inside out. Because, let’s face it, we really are what we eat. I also should mention here that I began to regularly work out again. Someone could be a size zero and hella sexy on the outside but who’s to say what their BMI looks like? For all we know, the chica has no muscle, excess fat on her body, and is absolutely drained from energy because of toxic foods she may be inserting into her body. What I’m trying to say is that, yes, it is rather common for individuals to experience losing some weight by omitting dairy and meat from their diet. But more than anything, I think it really shows how much extra crap I was really putting into my daily routine that was truly unnecessary because my energy levels have not gone down and I’ve still been eating the same amount of calories, if not more.

• Speaking of energy levels… I’ve been jumping off the walls. I mean, not excessively. But really, you guys, it’s been unreal. I was hitting a point where having a home office, being married, and living in a place where it’s getting colder was all contributing to me becoming less and less concerned about my looks and physical activity (stupid Corey; why does he have to be such a sweet husband and call me “beautiful” all the time??). Something seriously needed to change. I felt fatigue, stress, and I finally began to understand that I, indeed, wasn’t invincible. Like, at all. Literally the shift happened after Day 1. I woke up excited (that was new). I was feeling like my optimistic, perky self again. I felt light on my feet. I felt like I could hike the highest mountain (so much so that Corey and I actually went for hikes in this lovely state of Colorado more this past month than we have this entire season).

• Waking up without feeling bloated. Enough said.

• Cooking is more fun than ever. I didn’t even know that could be possible. It’s like this weird game I have with myself. I love challenges. Especially if I am my hardest competitor (you may as well call me Monica Geller). It’s honestly such a fulfilling moment when you get to experiment with foods you’ve never even known had existed… with foods you’ve known all your life, and discover that your palette has been completely neglected as far as optimal nutrition and flavors go. And, man… when you nail a recipe (whether original or googled), it feels (and tastes) priceless. I win. I win the game against myself. And it feel so good to be on top.

• My skin has actually begun to clear up in places I didn’t realize I needed internal healing to affect the outsides. Specifically, I had some weird eczema-like, scabby situation happening at the back of my neck on my hairline. I don’t know why I never consulted with a dermatologist on it. Maybe because they’re ridiculously expensive. Yeah, that was probably why. But anyway, it’s gone. Completely. And I didn’t even correlate this event with my newly installed eating habits until I noticed my skin was feeling softer overall during a bath last night. I began to examine my body and I was quite amazed. This all may be too much information for you (but I frankly don’t care because you obviously find it interesting), even the darker spots under my armpits and weird marks I had near my upper thighs faded away. I have a feeling that this was from the gluten-free change I had made more than anything. And I am so glad that life is encouraging me to keep this path by showing me positive conditioners.

• It has caused me to dig up my own research and read up on our body, essential nutrients, and its purposes. You see, I used to be the girl who secretly (and heavily) envied people who could tell me the difference between a food that was low carb in comparison to something that was high carb, but it was complex carbs so it was okay/not okay, etc. I always thought, Man, as much as all of that nutritional stuff sounds important and all, I honestly have so many other things I need to be studying and taking the time using up my brain power with. Like, when is Dominos going to speed up the rewards process on the online pizza orders? There were always too many vitamins, proteins, oils, and such that it was overwhelming. I’d give myself a pep talk of false-pride every so often that went something like: You are so care-free and live your life to the fullest, you know that? That’s an awesome trait! The way you can eat things without a second thought of where it came from, who it was made by, what it is doing to your body… it’s freakin’ liberating… sexy, even. You’re simply enjoying the natural gifts from God! People like hanging out with easy folk like you. Because you make them feel better by boasting about how much junk food you had in the last five minutes not give a care like them Hollywood characters would. But when you limit your diet to vegan restrictions, you kind of have to know what is in literally everything. I began learning (A LOT) about what all those complicated words were on the back of cereal boxes, what was actually harming my body (by miles and miles) with each bite, and why knowing the make-up of each consumable object truly matters. They’re all affecting us in different ways. They can make us happy. They can make us exhausted. They can sometimes even have the power to mess with our hormones. Are you consenting that? It’s literally taking advantage of your body with or without your permission. How little of control that is of your own life! I simply liked knowing that with the gluten-free, vegan life, I finally am feeling like I am starting to get mine back.

• More than anything, it has taught me about self-control and serious discipline. My mind is becoming stronger and healthier and I could really cry if I start thinking hard about how reckless so many of us have gotten in terms of our well-being and contentment. Reality is, we are powerful. All of us. The amount of integrity that I have had to show for myself and practice has wholly altered my character. I choose not to cave or to take the easier path. I choose not to lie to myself about what I have and have not eaten/done/said that day. I learn what it means to treat myself gently, to give myself grace, yet enforce hard truths and face real consequences. All of these lessons have leaked themselves unto other parts of my life and seeing all of me rejuvenated from inside out is one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced with the Lord.

So. As you can see, I can really go on for a while. But I hope this echoes the gist of my reasonings. It’s not to say that it’s always been easy. Of course, I am human, cravings occur every so often. But truth be told, meats and animal byproducts really do not smell all that appealing anymore. HONEST! This is coming from somebody who DEMANDED KFC every birthday (I am not a diva but this is literally all I wanted; a single crispy drumstick from my one and only colonel). When your body acclimates to certain behaviors and habits, it could really surprise you. Almost all that we eat and do in life… they’re there because of patterns and “norms” that our culture and society has created to be “right” or necessary. When in reality, almost everything is a market, a business, a scheme. I won’t push an agenda; I never hope to with veganism. But things like milk? Cheese? Even that awesome buttery garlic bread from Red Lobster (my fave)? Your body has never needed it. Rather, there are just people out there who are paying people to tell you that you need to buy it. In fact, I have learned that there are over ten things I can list from the top of my head that can easily replace all of those few “nutrients” brought to you by these processed foods that are whole, natural, and simply better for your digestive system. But the sentiment and the addiction, that is what we often can’t get over. And that’s okay. I am just in the journey of creating a new culture and society for our home.

One day I hope to be a mother. This consumes my thoughts very often. And when it does, I pray that I am doing whatever I can even now to prepare my mind, body, and soul to be the best I can be for my child/children’s heart safety, wholesome health, and happiness longevity. I hope to be there for as long as I can, for as often and consistent as I can. And I just don’t know how much them buttery garlic breads promise me that kind of lifestyle I long for. I believe taking care of my physical body is crucial. Veganism has sincerely retaught me this. The Bible tells us that our bodies are a temple. I have been treating mine like the bleachers in the student section of a high school football field. I believe my kids deserve better than that. I believe my husband deserves better than that. I am starting to believe that I, too, deserve better than that.

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