What’s Going On With My Body?

These past two weeks have been something. Has anybody felt a shift in their mood or their health? Because I know I sure have.

Some people have said they felt a shift after the eclipse happened, and others have told me it’s because Mercury is in retrograde (I had to look it up). I don’t know if I believe in all of the astrology hoopla, but I know that I do get antsy and feel a hormonal shift with the changing seasons.

About two weeks ago (August 15th to be exact) I started feeling unnecessarily moody and anxious. I couldn’t really place my finger on anything that was different or out of the norm for my daily schedule that I should be stressed about, so I just kind of let it slide without a thought.

But that week my work schedule changed and I went from working 2 days a week to 4 days. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me it can be mentally tiring. That same week we attended a summer outing for Brendan’s work, and since I don’t always like social gatherings that might have made me feel a little on edge.

Anyway, it was that Thursday night (August 17) that a rash started to appear on my body.

My neck and eyes started itching and I thought it might be an allergic reaction to something. Besides the mild itching and inflammation there were no other symptoms, so Brendan gave me some of his allergy medicine and we went to bed hoping the itch would be gone in the morning.

Well, it didn’t go away and it only got worse as the weekend and week progressed. Friday night I was also fighting an anxiety attack, so that weekend was just a big mess.

The rash ended up spreading all over my body – neck, chest, arms, torso, legs, etc. Thankfully my face stayed clear!

 

This was just the beginning stages of the rash. I didn’t take pictures once it got worse.
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I sent a picture of the rash to my mom, and she thought that it looked like it could be poison ivy. I used to get poison ivy as a kid and there were a couple of times I had to go to the doctor because it spread to my face. But I haven’t had a rash from poison ivy since I was 15, and I couldn’t think of where I would have gotten it from. Besides, this rash looked more like hives to me – small red bumps all over my body, not blisters like I usually get with poison ivy.

If it was an allergic reaction to something, I couldn’t figure out what I would be having a reaction to. As far as I know I’m not allergic to anything, and I hadn’t tried any new foods or used any new health or beauty products.

The only thing that I thought likely to be the culprit was a natural flea/tick spray that we bought for Cheetah (my cat). The only ingredient in the spray I thought might have caused irritation was the sodium sulfate in it. But even that seemed unlikely.

Now, if you know me you know that I avoid going to the doctor at all costs. Like, it has to be a state of emergency for me to willingly go. I just really didn’t want to have sit in a waiting room where I could end up catching something else for hours only to have the doctor tell me that it was poison ivy/hives and have them give me a steroid. While a steroid might have helped by decreasing the inflammation it would have also reduced the activity of my immune system, and I didn’t want to risk catching something else because my immune system was weakened.

So, I set out to do my research on natural holistic ways to cure poison ivy/hives.

On Sunday (August 20th), Brendan and I did a little shopping to get a few things to hopefully help bring healing to my body. Luckily, I’ve been working on stocking my natural medicine cabinet this year and already had a decent amount of things on hand.

I bought the Be Gone Poison Ivy just in case, the Nettle tea to help with allergies, and the Taza chocolate just because 🙂

I tried just about everything for this rash. I used cut up cucumbers to rub on the rash, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Essential Oils, an oatmeal bath, baking soda, aloe vera gel, homemade calendula salve, etc. And while all of these things helped in their own way, I quickly realized that this rash was going to have to run it’s course.

Soothing Lavender Oatmeal Bath

We did eventually buy some Benadryl for me to take to see if the antihistamine would help. I really didn’t want to take it because the Walmart brand we first looked at had gelatin in it (that was a big no-go) and the Benadryl brand has D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake and other useless synthetic chemicals and dyes in it. But at that point I figured taking a couple of pills wouldn’t do too much damage to my body.

I honestly hate the fact that you can’t easily find medicines that don’t include some kind of chemical or dye in them. I was reading that most of the time D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake is used simply to add color. Do we really need a Benadryl to be bright pink? No, we don’t. And we don’t need to be ingesting aluminum either.

Anyway, I took the Benadryl on Wednesday night (August 23rd) and then again before work on Thursday morning. The Benadryl made me feel drowsy, light headed, and a little dizzy. I felt ‘bleh’ all day.

I showed one of my co-workers my rash (she is getting her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in infectious diseases) because I figured she could give me advice on what it was and if I should go to a doctor or not. She said she thought it looked a lot like a stress rash and said she had had one similar herself.

My rash ended up improving by Friday (August 25th), a week after it had first appeared. The burning inflammation and itching subsided and started to dry up and I started feeling a lot better.

Whether or not the rash was caused by stress, it certainly brought my attention to the fact that I need to be taking care of myself, both physically and mentally.

Even though the rash was a bit painful and inconvenient (especially because I had to wear long sleeves and and jeans at work to cover it up, which irritated it more), I learned a lot about poison ivy, hives, and stress from all of the research that I did. I also learned the importance of being patient and in tune with my body. So I don’t look at this as a bad thing.

While I am thankful for modern medicine and the doctors that we have today, I feel that too many people overuse medicines like antibiotics and steroids. It would be wonderful to see more people taking the time to get to know their body and how it works and responds to the world around it, so that they could better take care of themselves instead of running to the doctor at the first sign of something as simple as a cold.

Here is a more detailed list of some of the items I used to try and bring healing to my rash naturally:

  • Cucumber – I placed these on my eyelids and rubbed them on my arms for a soothing affect.
  • Witch Hazel – I applied Witch Hazel daily all over my body. Witch Hazel is an astringent and is soothing and can promote healing.
  • Tea Tree Oil – My grandma taught me about the amazing benefits of Tea Tree Oil years ago. She always used it to help stop the itch from bug bites. I used this all over my body (sparingly on and near my face), and while it did sting at first it brought great relief from the itching.
  • Lavender Oil – I used this the same way I did the Tea Tree Oil. I liked using the Lavender Oil at night to help me feel more relaxed and at ease at bed time.
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – Seriously, what can’t ACV do?! I applied the Raw ACV with a cotton ball all over my body to help soothe the itch and inflammation and to help draw out toxins. And even though it was a bit strong and smelly, it felt wonderful and took the itch away.
  • Baking Soda – I dissolved baking soda in a bath to help draw out toxins.
  • Oatmeal Bath – I placed some organic oats in a tea towel, tied it up, and let the faucet run over them to create a nice soothing milky bath.
  • Nettle Tea – I don’t know if the tea helped or not, but Nettle is known to help with allergies, so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, it tastes good!
  • Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe Vera is great for soothing skin and easing inflammation.
  • Cold Compress – During the last days I had the rash they burned more than itched, so a cold compress felt wonderful.
  • Homemade Calendula Salve – I made this salve for bug bites, but it’s also great for cuts and turns out it helps with rashes too.

Have any of you ever had a stress rash/hives? I’d love to know if you have any tips on holistic healing and keeping stress at bay!

 

 

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DIY Mother’s Day Gift “Basket”

Hello and Happy First Day of June!

This post from Mother’s Day is a bit overdue. With traveling and going on vacation for Brendan and my one year anniversary I just haven’t had the time to write. But, better late than never right?

I had so much fun putting this gift “basket” (jar, really) together for my mom this Mother’s Day. I wanted to give her something that was pampering but also practical for everyday use. Like me, Mom is into essential oils, natural face soaps, tea, and lovely candles. I wanted to include a few treats in this gift that she normally wouldn’t buy for herself (such as essential oils). While I put this together for Mother’s Day, you can make this for any occasion you want! So here’s a little peek at what I decided to include in Mom’s gift.

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Jar from Marshall’s 
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The smell from the candle, soap, essential oils, and tea was heavenly. 

I actually found a lot of these goodies at T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. Surprisingly, they have a great selection of natural health and beauty products. I have seen some of these brands at natural/health food stores, so I trust that they are good quality. I have used some of these brands before, like the Eucalyptus soap by PlantLife and the Cooling Eucalyptus candle by DW Home and I really liked them.

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I also tried my hand at making some homemade Bug Bite Salve. Again, I wanted this gift to be pampering as well as practical, so instead of making some body scrub that I knew my mom probably wouldn’t use I decided to make this bug bite salve. Mom loves to spend her time outdoors, so I knew this would come in handy. I bought the tin and most of the ingredients I needed to make the salve from Health Nut Nutrition located in Lynchburg, which is one of my very favorite natural health stores.

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While I had never used this brand before, I loved this little aromatherapy roller set from Tisserand Aromatherapy. Each roller has a special blend of essential oils to help you de-stress, give you energy, and aides in a restful night’s sleep. I bought this set from T.J. Maxx.

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I also decided to include some dried chamomile flowers (from Health Nut Nutrition) so that mom could make a fresh cup of hot, relaxing chamomile tea. I found the adorable muslin sachet from my local Co-op and then just included a little index card with instructions on how to prepare the tea.

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Earlier this year I took a free online course through Herbal Academy which introduced me to herbs and learning how to draw plant monographs. It included a bunch of wonderful resources and free print outs, such as this Tea Meditation practice. This Tea Meditation encourages you to sit with a cup of herbal tea, taste the rich flavors and complicated flavors and take time to relish in the moment. Then, take a moment to journal about how drinking the tea makes you feel – what does it taste like? Do you feel the tea working in certain parts of your body?, etc. Since Mom loves a good cup of tea and journaling, I figured this was the perfect thing to include. In addition to the chamomile flowers, I also included some of our favorite teas from Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea.

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And finally, I finished off the gift “basket” with some fun packaging! I found the cute bag at Marshall’s and the sparkly tissue paper from T.J. Maxx.

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I had so much fun shopping for my Mom and putting this little gift together! Hopefully this will bring you some inspiration for your next DIY gift basket. Have a lovely day everyone.

 

 

2017 Goals and Intentions

Hello 2017!

Yesterday was a wonderful start to the year for me. Brendan and I visited a new church, we went to a family Christmas/New Year’s party, and then went to my parent’s house to do Christmas presents with them.

Since I was out all day yesterday, I decided that today is the day I am really going to start focusing on my goals and intentions for 2017. I started my morning with reading my Bible, checking notifications on my phone, 15 minutes of yoga, finishing off a bottle of water, drank a ginger “flu” shot, and now I’m sitting down with my cup of coffee while I write this post.

One of my goals this month is to establish a healthy morning and night time routine. I am guilty of taking forever to get out of bed, then drinking my morning coffee while ignoring my water and mindlessly surfing the web. And I tend to do the same thing after dinner, snacking and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I hate to admit it, but it’s the truth.

I’d really like my mornings to start by spending time in God’s word, 15 minutes of yoga, and then drinking plenty of water while I read or blog. And then at night I’d like to spend my evenings journaling, 15 minutes of yoga, and then bed. One thing I know for sure I need to work on is being more mindful of when I am checking my phone. I spend way to much time on my phone and not enough time reading, writing, blogging, and doing anything else creative.

A N Y W A Y …

I have a much longer list of goals for 2017 than I have in years past. And as the days go on I’m sure more will come to mind that I will add to the list. But I wanted to share with you the goals I have written out now – I’ve heard that sharing your goals with others helps keep you accountable. So here it goes!

 

2 0 1 7  G O A L S  + I N T E N T I O N S 

  1. Practice more yoga (daily if possible)
  2. Buy less, Waste less, Recycle more
  3. Shop local more often (Farmers Market/Co-op)
  4. Get involved in the local community
  5. Wear less makeup
  6. Incorporate more natural beauty products
  7. Journal almost daily
  8. Blog Weekly
  9. Read 45 books
  10. Get a job
  11. Waste less food
  12. Meal plan/prep
  13. Find a home church
  14. Take a yoga class
  15. Check out library books > Buy books
  16. Write letters to people more often
  17. Look into taking nutrition/health classes

In addition to these goals for the year, I’m also going to continue with writing out goals and healthy habits for myself each month. That way I have smaller goals to work on that are more attainable and less daunting.

I am feeling so motivated and inspired to make a change in 2017. So I’m going to let go of the things that have been holding me back and I am going to start taking the steps I need to in order to be the person that I want to be.

Let’s fill 2017 with love, laughter, positive vibes, and change!

Vegan Views Part 2: Animal Equality

When I first started learning about what it meant to be a vegan, I thought that people only became vegan if they were hippie animal lovers. And while it seems that caring for animals plays a big part in why people become vegan, that’s not the only factor. People go vegan for their health, for the environment, AND for the animals.

My main reasons for wanting to go vegan are health related. However, I do care about animals and I hate the way the meat industry treats animals, especially livestock and poultry.

There is one aspect of veganism that many people believe in that I have to disagree with, and that is animal equality.

While I choose not to eat animals, for my health and because I don’t like the thought of an animal being killed just for my pleasure, I don’t think that everyone should have to give up eating meat. I’ve seen and experienced first hand animals that are raised for meat that have a happy, healthy life. Of course, they do get slaughtered in the end, but at least they were treated well during their life, unlike factory farmed animals.

I worked at my college’s campus farm last summer and we had some chickens that were being raised for meat. Unlike the birds that are raised for big meat companies, these chickens were pasture raised, and had access to the fields where they could eat grass and bugs. We also fed them non-GMO feed. I enjoyed taking care of these chickens, watching them grow, and seeing their personalities develop. But I was disturbed by the fact that I knew they were being raised to be slaughtered. And while I was uncomfortable with that, my coworkers all ate meat and it didn’t bother them. I was very grateful that my boss was kind enough to let me stay home from work on the days they slaughtered and processed the chickens. While I don’t want to eat meat and I don’t want to be a part of slaughtering animals, I don’t think that it is wrong to eat animals, as long as the animals have been taken care of and treated with respect during their life.

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The whole idea behind animal equality is that the animals should have the same rights and respect as humans. And while I do agree that the way the meat industry currently treats animals is absolutely cruel and so unnecessary (serious changes need to be happening in the way people raise livestock and poultry), I believe that humans have rule over animals.

As a Christian, I believe that God has blessed us with plants and animals to help us survive, and while humans didn’t eat animal flesh to start with it is clear that God placed man above animals. The Bible says “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’.” – Genesis 1:26 (NIV).

When you look at scripture it is clear that Man and animal are not the same. While we do share similar body parts and characteristics with animals, we were not created equally and we did not evolve from animals. God created man in His image, that is why we are superior to animals. And the reason that humans and animals seem similar in some respects is because we were both created by THE Creator. But just because we are superior to animals does not mean that we should torture them or abuse them. Animals are a gift from God, and should be treated kindly, whether they are your pets or being raised for you to eat.

My heart goes out to the suffering animals, and I really do care about them. But we need to put other human beings first – we need to care about the millions of unborn babies that are aborted every year, the homeless people that are shivering on the streets, and the malnourished children in Africa and other countries, etc.

So whether you eat meat or you’re vegan, remember to treat animals kindly. And more importantly, always put people and their needs above that of animals.

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30 Days of Plant Power

On November 1st I made the decision to give up animal products – dairy, butter, and eggs – for a week. I had gone vegan for a week two years ago, but I had never made the commitment to do it again until this year. Well, here I am at the start of a new month and I’m still eating a vegan diet. What started out as giving up animal products for a week turned into 30 days of plant power.

The first week I missed my coffee creamer, honey in my hot tea, and eating cheese pizza. But as the week came to a close I was no longer feeling strong cravings for junk food, I grew accustomed to almond milk in my coffee, and I learned to drink my hot tea with just lemon and apple cider vinegar. Seriously, those are really the only foods I missed.

I was so thrilled that my body started craving more whole foods, my tummy bloat disappeared, and not once did I have the terrible stomach cramps that I had been dealing with all summer long. I’m also really proud of myself for surviving the in-laws visiting, traveling to Georgia to visit friends, AND Thanksgiving day all while sticking to a vegan diet. To me, those were some of my biggest victories.

I had the most fun learning more about this lifestyle and doing a little research to find out which chain restaurants offer plant based options. I discovered that it’s possible to eat vegan at Papa John’s, Dominos, Taco Bell, and even Olive Garden! Getting in the kitchen and cooking vegan versions of some of my favorite Thanksgiving foods was also an exciting experience.

So now that it’s December I’m wondering if I should continue on as strictly vegan, or if I should try occasionally eating dairy again. I’m kind of curious to see how my body will react to cheese after going a month without it. Regardless of whether I stay 100% vegan or not, I want my main focus to be listening to my body and giving it what it needs to thrive.

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Even though we live in a country that is plagued by the western diet, it IS possible to follow a plant based lifestyle. Being vegan may not always be easy, but it’s worth the fight. I’ve gotten some weird looks and snide comments from some of my friends and family about some of the things I eat, but that’s okay. I like standing out. And really, it’s their loss if they don’t want to take the time and effort to nourish their bodies.

I don’t want to push anyone into this lifestyle, but I will always be here more than willing to share what knowledge I have with others. I want to make a difference in this world by helping to educate people on how to take care of their bodies, because we only get one. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and God wants us to take care of His creation. I think it’s high time that we wake up and do something about our health.

 

Vegan Views Part 1: Do it For Your Health, Not Just the Animals

I’ve shared my journey to a vegetarian lifestyle on my blog before, and I’ve shared my experience of what it was like to go vegan for a week, so now I want to share my views on veganism and my reasons for leaning toward a plant based diet.

When I first started learning about what it means to be a vegan, I thought that vegans were people who loved animals and didn’t want to bring harm to them. And while that is true of most vegans, I never really thought about people turning to a plant based diet for the health benefits.

Like most Americans, I was raised eating meat, cheese, butter, and drinking cows milk. And I was a fairly picky eater – I don’t really remember liking any vegetables until I was a teenager. I remember thinking that if I drank enough milk I would grow taller, and as a young teenager thinking that if I ate enough low-fat or fat-free dairy products I would lose weight and be healthier. Why did I think that? Because that’s either what my parents told me or what I heard on TV. But there was never really any convincing evidence behind it, that’s just what my parents had been taught and were led to believe.

I grew up surrounded by people who hunted deer, squirrels, and turkeys for food, so I never really thought much about killing animals for their meat. I even went squirrel hunting with my dad a couple of times, but never shot anything. I was a tough tomboy growing up alongside my three brothers, but I always had a soft spot in my heart for animals. My family even thought that I might grow up to be a veterinarian.

When I became a vegetarian I did it for the health benefits, not really because I felt bad that animals were being harmed. But when I had been a vegetarian for about two years, I started following a couple of vegan bloggers and learning more about what it means to be vegan. After doing a little research, I decided to go vegan for a week to see if I could pull it off. I did it and had so much fun cooking new vegan recipes. The hardest part was doing it at home with my family, not because I was tempted to eat the foods they were eating, but because I always felt like they were rolling their eyes at me or making fun of me instead of encouraging me.

As the years went on I found myself eating more vegan meals every week, but never fully committing to a plant based diet. There was this part of me, deep down, that really wanted to become vegan, but it just seemed like a lot of work and effort at the time. One of my biggest reasons for not being fully committed to a vegan lifestyle is the fact that both my husband and my family still eat meat and dairy products on a daily basis. I don’t have a problem fixing separate vegan meals for myself, but it becomes difficult to stick to this kind of diet when visiting with relatives and friends. Just this morning I was talking to my mom about Thanksgiving and what dishes everyone will be preparing, and, to my dismay, every dish she named has some form of animal product in it.

Now a days, there are plenty of vegan recipes that can be found on the internet, but the problem is that a lot of people don’t even really understand what a vegan diet is and therefore don’t know how to prepare vegan friendly meals. My biggest fear of going vegan would be that I would end up being a burden to my friends and family when going out to eat or visiting them. I don’t want to ruin everyone else’s fun because they can’t go to a certain restaurant because I wouldn’t be able to eat there. However, I’m starting to realize that I shouldn’t put off a lifestyle that I want to pursue just because it may inconvenience  the people around me from time to time. After all, this is my health we are talking about, and we only get one body.

The transition to a vegan diet these past couple of weeks has been relatively easy. Even though I haven’t been fully committed to a vegan diet over the years, I have made it a priority to stay educated and informed on all things vegan. I’ve read books, done research, followed vegan bloggers, watched documentaries, and even tried to incorporate vegan meals into my diet on a weekly basis. I believe I’ve watched just about every documentary that is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime about the food industry/plant based lifestyle  – “Food, Inc.”, “Forks Over Knives”, “GMO OMG”, “Cowspiracy”, “Live and Let Live”, “Hungry for Change”, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (1 &2)”, “Vegucated”, “Food Choice”, “Fed Up”, “Food Matters”, “The Kids Menu”, “Cooked”, “Farmageddon”, “Super Size Me”, “Bite Size”, “Sugar Coated”, etc. Seriously, I’m a documentary junkie! And while some of these documentaries are in favor of animal products, they are still worth a watch.  I encourage everyone who hasn’t seen these documentaries to go watch them! Even if you aren’t interested in pursuing a vegetarian/vegan diet it is still so eye opening to see how the food industry has brain washed us.

Honestly, I get really tired of people who question my knowledge on the subjects of health and nutrition. Yes it’s true that I didn’t study medicine or nutrition in college, but that doesn’t mean that I am not educated on these subjects. I’m not claiming to be an expert or saying that I know it all. And no, I don’t just read random people’s blog posts about health and nutrition and take that to be truth. I do my research, I read news articles from credible sources, I read what both medical doctors and holistic doctors have to say, I read books, I watch documentaries, and I have my own experience as well as that of friends and family to base my judgments on. I studied journalism in college and I know how to research and find credible sources.

I know that in my own personal experience, I have been the happiest and healthiest since giving up meat. And now that I’ve been vegan for the past couple of weeks I feel even better. As a teenager I used to have insomnia, I struggled with maintaining a healthy weight, and I had really bad acne. Once I gave up meat and started eating healthier I noticed that I slept better at night, I was able to eat what I wanted without counting calories and stay at a healthy weight, and my acne got so much better. Over the past year I started noticing that my body had a problem with dairy. Every time I would eat ice cream or have something with cheese on it, I would get bloated and have really bad stomach cramps. I started taking a probiotic everyday which seemed to help, but I was still struggling with occasional cramps and bloating. It wasn’t until I gave up dairy that all of that disappeared!

I’m not saying that a plant based diet is for everyone, but I think we could all incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diets and cut back on meats and dairy. From what I’ve learned, there are plenty of connections to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. and eating animal products. Just go watch some of those documentarians that I mentioned earlier. It makes me so sad to see people that ignore these facts and continue on as they have been because it’s more “comfortable” for them. It’s not until they have a health scare that they open their eyes and realize that they might need to make some changes. And sadly at that point it might be too late. My  goal is to make healthy food choices now while I’m young, so that I can have a long, happy, healthy life. And I’d love to help other people make this choice too.

There’s a quote by Dave Ramsey, author of Total Money Makeover, that I love, and while it is pertaining to money, I think it could be applied to our health as well:

“Change is painful. Few People have the courage to seek change. Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.” ~ Dave Ramsey

Is it time for you to make a change?

Vegan Week Victories

As many of you know, starting November 1st I decided to give up dairy products and go vegan for a week as a way to cleanse and restart for the new month. This was my second time going vegan for a week and it has been amazing. It went so well that I decided to continue on with it! I’m not sure when I’ll end up eating something with dairy in it again, but for now I don’t feel the need to.

Today I thought I’d share a little bit about the meals I’ve been eating and how I’m feeling overall.

While I did do a little bit of meal prep for my vegan week, I honestly didn’t make a bunch of fancy vegan meals. My husband won’t eat most of the vegan meals I fix, so I didn’t want to make huge quantities for myself.

For my breakfasts I had lots of avocado toast, oatmeal, and I even made up a batch of vegan waffles. And of course I had to have my coffee! Instead of drinking it with creamer like I usually do, I used almond coconut milk and a little bit of raw sugar. After a week I finally got used to it!

I don’t eat a whole lot throughout the day, so I just had some Go Macro bars, 1915 Bolthouse Farms juices, and hot teas on hand to have for lunch/snacks.

For dinners I made a huge batch of vegan Chili Mac n Cheese (Brendan actually ate it too) last Wednesday that lasted throughout the week, and I also made vegan Cauliflower Sauce Mac n Cheese for the first time. It definitely didn’t taste like normal mac n cheese, but with some practice I think I will get better at making vegan meals like that.

I ended up eating more vegan “junk food” than I had planned on. Brendan and I had Chipotle o Friday night and then Dominos pizza on Sunday night. And yes, it is possible to eat vegan at Dominos. After doing a little research, we found out that their thin crust does not have any whey in it. So, I ordered a thin crust pizza with extra sauce, spinach, and roasted red peppers. I had them hold the cheese and I just sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top.

I need to focus on incorporating more fruits and veggies into my meals, but besides that it hasn’t been very difficult to eat like this. The hardest things for me were giving up my coffee creamer and raw honey that I use in my hot teas. Besides that, I haven’t felt deprived at all.

Now, let’s focus on how I’m feeling physically.

I lost a lot of weight leading up to my wedding back in May. I felt fit, happy, and healthy. But once the stress of the wedding and moving into our new apartment was over with I ended up gaining all the weight back (and more). I tried working out every single day and using My Fitness Pal to track every single thing that I ate to lose the weight. None of that worked and I was left feeling frustrated, fat, and very unsatisfied. I stopped counting calories near the end of August and I slowly started to feel better. However, I was still not making any progress with my weight.

It wasn’t until going vegan for a week that I actually started to lose weight! I eat relatively healthy for the most part, but seeing the affects that giving up dairy products had on my body is amazing. I’ve lost about 3.5 lbs. in the last couple weeks without trying.

Weight aside, I think the real victory for me is the fact that I haven’t felt bloated or nauseaus this entire week. Recently, I had been going to bed every night with a bloated tummy. It didn’t really seem to matter how much or how little I ate, I would always be left feeling icky. I was turning to Apple Cider Vinegar water every night before bed to help ease my stomach. I think it might be safe to say that I might be a little lactose intolerant.

On top of eating a vegan diet, I have been going to the gym a couple times a week and also working out at home. While I believe exercise is important, I think that a healthy weight starts in the kitchen. Seriously, I see a difference in my abs just since going vegan.

It’s not always easy, but everyday I try to focus on how I’m feeling physically and mentally rather than focusing on the number on the scale. I always feel my best when I know I’m nourishing my body.

If any of you have considered going vegan for a week, I strongly urge you to do so! It may not be easy at first, but your body will thank you for it. 🙂

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