Jess’ Vegan Questions!

Thanks Jess, for asking some more Vegan questions! I shall answer them!

1. Any other thoughts you can share about the benefits of going vegan, beyond the environmental and ethical implications?

I’m gonna say that aside from ethical and environmental benefits – we’re left with health benefits. And those are VAST. I think I linked to this list of 57 health benefits in the last post. Which I think says a lot.  But the largest for me personally are – maintaining healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, excess fat, and inflammation. I want to prevent ever having diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. And I really think that eating a plant-based diet will do that. Veganism will not help with the EDS (aside from hopefully keeping weight down and joint inflammation to a minimum). But my Mom has MS, and while it’s not hereditary, my chances of having it are much higher. Some research has suggested that a plant based diet can help with preventing and “treating” MS and its symptoms, as well.

How does your body feel? Hair and skin?

This one is hard for me to answer right now. Because I’m still so new to this way of eating… so I truly hope my answer changes over time.
But currently –
How does my body feel? 
Well, I haven’t lost any weight. Which, to be honest, I had hoped to. I’m still tweaking my Vegan diet to hopefully find a sweet spot that allows my body to release some fat stores. But, it hasn’t happened yet. Aside from that, I’ve had some good upticks in a few areas.
1. Digestion. I never considered myself to be someone with a touchy digestion. I would get some angry bowels at the sight of dairy. Especially ice cream, excess butter, milk, or super cheesy things. And if I ate a big steak dinner or something… there’d be some rumbles in the jungles. But I kinda thought that was normal. Anyway, nowadays, poopin’ is a breeze I tell you.  After the first 2 weeks or so, I never had gas or painful bloating from things I ate. I never had what I call “angry pewps” or anything like that. Just easy, breezy bathroom trips.  Healthy digestion is a HUGE indicator of your health. Thinks going awry in your downbelows can really muck up the rest of your body!

I also find that I recover faster.  If I blew my knee or shoulder out at the gym, it used to be nearly a week of pills and ice to get it usable again.  Now, it’s better when I wake up the next day.

I take my arthritis meds less. Which makes me feel really good, because I don’t feel nicely on them. They make me drowsy and woozy and blech. Not to mention what they must be doing to my stomach lining.

I have had less issues with my tonsils. I’ve only had tonsillitis once since becoming vegan. I normally would have it at least once every month and a half or so.

Hair and skin?

Also, kind of hard for me to answer, cause I feel like I still need more time.  I’ve never found anything to help my skin. Its just as bad as before, actually, perhaps a little worse.  I don’t know the cause of it, but the skin is an elimination organ… so I am trying to trust that eventually, I will be finished eliminating the “bad stuff” from within, and not putting more in.  My hair, however, is thriving!  It has finally started to grow, after being stunted for 2 years! It is longer, and fuller, and definitely healthier.  I think this is due to both the vegan diet and the more holistic hair care products.

And any economic advantages or disadvantages besides veggies as a whole being cheaper than meats?

First of all, let me be very honest about this. I don’t budget for groceries.  Joel and I budget all other aspects of our spending but we do not follow a budget on groceries.  I don’t know how much I spend now, versus how much I spent before going vegan.

That being said…

I think that there’s many levels of monetary spending on ANY type of eating. You can eat a very expensive omnivore diet, or a very cheap one. You can eat a very expensive vegan diet, or a very cheap one.

Nothing is cheaper than rice and pasta. Both of which are vegan. A cheap block of cheese and a 5lb bag of potatoes are about the same price. But, a pound of cherries and a pack of 2 steaks are also about the same price! I honestly feel like its negligible.  I actually wanted to find a good, thorough, NON-BIASED article about the cost difference of Vegan vs. Omni, but to be honest, I couldn’t find one. People like to bring in the idea of the OTHER costs of eating meat & dairy – like the cost of healthcare and quality of life. To me, those factor in. But a strictly dollar-to-dollar comparison seems hard to come by. I, personally, don’t think I am spending any more or less right now… but since I still purchase meats and dairy for Joel and Bry, I can’t truly compare receipts.

Most Vegans also care about organic fruits & veggies. Which, obviously, cost even more. So that’s another factor. I buy organic and local when possible, but I’d say it’s less than 50% of my produce. In the summer, much higher, because our local farmstand are brimming with tasty organic veggies. In the winter, though, it’s a sad state of affairs, and I just buy whatever is available.

Ok, I realize that I am rambling now, and possibly not even answered the question the way you had hoped. My short answer would be – eating vegan can be VERY cheap. A bag of rice and a case of cans of beans and you’re set.
And if you start to factor in the health, environmental, and ethical points as well, it becomes a much bigger discussion of  “cost”.

I also just now realized that you asked about economic advantages OTHER than the cost of veggies vs. meat. Duh. I see the word economics, and I just assume you meant the cost for an individual/family.  Here’s a good article about the larger economical implications.

Here’s a tiny taste of the most common type of argument :

“Farmed animals are fed more than 70 percent of the grains grown in the U.S. It takes 4.5 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of chicken meat and 7.3 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of pork. Approximately 700 calories worth of feed are needed to produce just one 100-calorie piece of beef. It is more efficient and economical to eat grains and soybeans—and all the foods that can be made from them—directly rather then feeding them to farmed animals so that we can eat those animals. Around 1.4 billion people could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone.” (read more)

Soooo yeah… still not sure I answered Jess’ question, but I sure tried. And I like rambling so… there you have it!

The Vegan Q&A

Despite the crickets on the blog here, I’ve still been getting quite a few questions about being Vegan on Instagram, Twitter, and in everyday life! One day, I won’t be so lazy and I will film a video (because talking is always easier than typing!)  but for today… let the typing commence!

Here’s some of the recent questions I’ve gotten, and my answers.  Please leave your own answers, thoughts, or questions!


1. What made you decide to go Vegan?
Good question, because I’m not sure I have an answer. It actually came upon me rather quickly… yet the triggers seemed to be a slow trickle into a puddle of Ah-Ha.  In the span of a couple weeks, I’d watched Gary Yourofsky’s speech (here if you’d like it), watched Earthlings (website here, the movie is graphic, I cannot speak for the trailer), learned about The China Study (here), and watched countless accounts on YouTube of people turning their bad health around by eliminating meat & dairy.  Again, I’m not sure what even turned me toward learning about these things. But once I started I could not stop. And once I was hooked, I also realized I could not do nothing about it.

On the ethical side, I think it took a very simple realization. If you were to ask me to describe myself, one of the very top describers would be that I love animals. And to make the connection that I love animals with all of my heart… yet I consume them… just didn’t make sense to me.

2. Are you an ethical Vegan, or a health-minded Vegan?
Firstly, the difference – being an “ethical Vegan” refers mainly to animal and environmental welfare, and being Vegan “for your health” means you eat a plant-based diet to cure or prevent disease, lose weight, and just “be healthy”.  I definitely feel like both. No one would believe me if I said that losing weight was no part of my decision to go Vegan.  I want to be healthy, and no matter how you slice it, 100lbs of extra fat will never be considered healthy.


Some health benefits of eating a Vegan diet .

3. What’s the hardest part of going/being Vegan?
This has two answers –
In general : The hardest part, I think, for the majority of people when they first go Vegan is handling the curiosity (and negativity!) of other people. No one questions you about your nutritional intake if you’re eating pizza and cheeseburgers, but if you say you’re Vegan, they’d like to know where your protein comes from.  It’s very strange.  But I honestly think it always comes from a curious place. I like to think that people aren’t pooping on your parade because they want to be cruel. I think they are just curious and oftentimes defensive because the way you eat is questioning the way they eat. Food is a very personal thing, and I think it should be respected as such – on both sides!

Personally : The most difficult aspect for me is not looking the part.  Vegans should be an example. A shining beacon of health and attractiveness! Yet I am obese, and afflicted with disease. Not exactly a the shiny beacon.  I don’t want to tell people that I’m Vegan because they will look at me and think – well, clearly it’s not healthy!  It makes me want to wear a “I’m New Here” sign or something.

4. But really… do you get enough protein?
Yes, absolutely! I promise. And I barely have to try.


5. What’s your favorite meal/go-to dish?
I eat a pretty large variety of food, just like I did before I went Vegan. I can’t say I have a favorite meal… I love everything too much!  But some super easy go-to meals for me would be : falafel & veggie wraps, pasta dishes, pizza or flatbreads, salads, roasted potatoes, tofu scrambles, veggie/grain burgers, curries, rice and beans, burritos, fruit salad, grilled or roasted veggie mixes, stirfry, sushi, and asian style noodle dishes.


6. What about parties? restaurants? events?!
These are surprisingly easy to navigate. For parties – I simply bring a vegan dish with me to share. (people love my salsa or guacamole, or fruit salad!) For events, like weddings or work functions – I ask what the food situation is ahead of time. If there’s something suitable for me (all the weddings I have been to have even offered a vegan option without me asking), then I just go and enjoy. If I don’t feel like there is, I’m perfectly pleased with eating before I go. Very simple.
As for restaurants – also easy pease. I have yet to go somewhere with ZERO vegan options. Even Five Guys has something for me. Sure, there are places with more/better options. But there is always an option I am happy with, no matter where I go!

7. Don’t you own a leather couch? and leather seats in your car?!
Yes, and yes. I bought them before I decided to go Vegan. They were very large purchases and they were made jointly with Joel. They are most certainly not items that I will just get rid of quickly – like I did with my leather purses.  I like to think that most people could understand that.  As devout as some people are, I do not believe that Veganism is Perfectionism.  It’s about doing the best you can. Making the best decisions for your health, the animals, and the environment… while realizing that we can never be perfect… and striving for that can only lead to insanity!

8. What about Joel?
Joel has no desire to ever even consider Veganism for himself. I do not push the subject, nor will I.  They say that you vote with your dollar… so my household tends to vote $5 toward veggies, $1 toward animal products.  (Joel doesn’t actually eat a lot of meat, so we buy very little already). Do I feel guilty about buying and preparing meat for him? Yes, I do. But the truth is… we have a really great relationship. And while I believe it can withstand any lifestyle change I wish to make for myself… it’s also built on a history of roles and traditions. He’s a dude, and one of the many reasons he loves me is that I am a sort of caregiver to him, and he likes my cooking! At this point, I don’t feel comfortable taking that away from our relationship. But who knows how it will shift in the future.

9. Are you going to try and convert me?
No, no I won’t. Being Vegan for me, is a very personal decision.  Yes, I absolutely wish everyone would go Vegan, so that we’re no longer killing animals and so everyone can enjoy optimal health.  But it is none of my business who agrees with me on that and who doesn’t.
Would I jump at the chance to help someone with questions about Veganism? Absolutely!! But I won’t be preaching to you, judging you, or holding my nose when we’re out to dinner together.

10. Are you going to be Vegan for the rest of your life?
I hope so.

11. Can you eat this, that, and the other thing?
People have asked me everything under the sun. Can I eat avocados? Can I eat lettuce? Can I eat fish? It really shows me how desensitized we are to our diets… that people truly don’t seem to know what is an animal product and what is not. And that’s not a diss, its true. And a little scary.
The ones I get commonly asked about :

Fish? Nope. It was a sentient being, slaughtered for consumption.

Honey?  Nope. Its an animal by-product. I, like many Vegans avoid honey in general, but to be honest, if its in something that is otherwise Vegan, I feel less bad about eating it than I do with other things. I’ve seen/read the good and the bad about bee-keeping. And its still a little fuzzy to me.

Eggs? Nope. Similar to the honey, it’s a by-product of an animal, so it’s a no. I do feel like I would consider eating eggs that result from a hobby/pet farm and not an egg “factory” but I’ve yet to be in that situation.

Candy/Marshmallows/Jello?  Things with gelatin, nope.  Gelatin is derived from the skin, bones, and connective tissue of cows, chicken, pigs, and fish.

Cheese/Milk/Yogurt? Nope.  A Vegetarian typically eats those things, but a Vegan does not. However, they do have Vegan versions of all of those things!

Natural Flavors? This is a hard one. When things list “natural flavors” as an ingredient, you have no idea what is included. Animal products ARE considered a natural flavor or coloring. So, a red food dye could come from beets or a completely synthetic source.. or it could come from beetles. You just don’t know!


12. What other dietary restrictions do you employ?
I try to eat relatively low fat, and lower salt (as in, lower than I have been! :-) )
I’ve recently drastically lowered the amount of oils and fats that I am consuming. When you first discover vegan butters and mayos, its tempting to use them often. So I had to cut back on things like cooking with olive or coconut oil, nut butters, avocados, salad dressings, etc.

So, I there you have it!  Of course, if you have any questions too, let me know!


Roasted Garlic Bliss Pizza (Vegan)

This is not so much of a recipe… as an “idea”  for pizza toppings.  Though, if you treat it like a recipe and make this exact pizza – believe me – you will NOT regret it!

Hands down, best homemade pizza I’ve ever made.

What’s interesting, is that this pizza is half cheating, half way-too-much-work. So it kind of evens out into a doable meal.

Crust : store bought crust.  I bought, specifically – Portland Pie Company brand Garlic Pizza Dough. But any dough would work, of course!

Sauce : In lieu of sauce, I used a jarred artichoke bruschetta topping. I believe any tapenade-type thing would do.

Toppings : Here’s where it gets awesome.

Red Bliss Potatoes : sliced thin and pre-cooked. I steamed mine in the microwave, quick and easy. But you can bake or sauté them until soft or even slightly crisped. Lay them out all over covering the sauce as you would with cheese.

• Roasted garlic cloves : Again, I cheated here, I bought pre-shucked garlic cloves which saved a boatload of time. To roast them, simply toss all the gloves and a drizzle of olive oil into some tinfoil, wrap it up and toss it in the oven for 45 min to an hour. (you can also do them in a pan on the stovetop)

• Caramelized onions : This is the hard work part. Making them is not hard, but waiting for them to be made is very, very hard!  If you haven’t caramelized onions before, I recommend using this method.
If you did not want to go through this, I honestly think that some sweet sweated onions would be just delicious as well.


just starting to brown

• Fresh rosemary : Some needles of fresh rosemary add a real brightness to the heavy feeling of the roasted garlic and onions.

• Salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes


Toss everything on top of the potatoes in no particular order. Bake your pizza to your desired crispness, let sit for 3-5 minutes, and proceed to shovel that bad boy into your mouth.


The taste of these toppings together, and even just the look of the finished pizza are sure to impress anyone.  If you don’t want to scare anyone at your pizza party, you can sprinkle on a handful of romano cheese so that you don’t have to call it Vegan… but I am not kidding when I say that it doesn’t need it. It is rich and decadent tasting. Salty, sweet, spicy. Hearty but summery at the same time.


Other topping ideas –
• White beans
• Kalamata olives• Cherry or peppadew peppers
• Fresh summer corn
• Asparagus
• Roasted brussels sprouts
• The possibilities are endless!

Just make it, ok? And invite me over!


Wow, it’s summer time.

I’d love to say that I’m here with a fabulous recipe or some fun news to share… but alas, this is me we’re talking about it!  All I can offer you is a random photo dump from my phone…
So if you’re interested in what I’ve been eating and doing lately, here you’ll have it!





Giant pickle.

More melon. And figs, figs, figs!

Mo’ melons.

Errr… more melon, and more figs.



Gots my hair did.

Made a bunch of cards. Sooo many more to come this month!
Weddings, birthdays, and holidays galore!


Taking care of this guy. His hip is bad. Real bad. He’s got lots of new painkillers and pills to take now, so I’m hoping something helps. In the meantime.. he’s very sad and cuddly.

Look how close they are together!

Love that silly bastard.

Growing stuff!! Look! ‘maters all up on there. I’ve been using my lettuce, basil, thai basil, and cilantro so far. It’s so satisfying!

So, that’s it for my photodump.

I had a really nice Father’s Day with my Dad… went to a lovely Jack & Jill BBQ for a friend whose wedding is this weekend.  I’ve got a weekend trip planned for Joel’s Bday, another wedding, many more birthdays, and then camping! YAY. I seriously can’t wait for camping.

It’s a super busy summer, but it’s all good stuff!

I’m still getting lots of good questions about being/becoming Vegan, so I’ll be doing another post soon about it.. now that I’m nearing a year of doing it! So if anybody has any questions you’d like me to answer, feel free to leave them below and I’ll be sure to incorporate them in! (feel free to insert the *ugh, not more vegan stuff* groan here. I don’t mind)


{Not} Believing I Can Do It.

I watched a girl walked across a parking lot.
I watched her walk in her skinny jeans on her skinny legs. Her body moved quickly and with ease, as if no air was displaced by her. It seems to me that thin people aren’t affected by gravity. Perhaps those high heels are weighted to just to keep her tiny frame on the earth. Her body makes no sound. No zipzipzip of her denim thighs against each other. No heavy thumping of her feet pounding the ground. No whisper of heavy breathing, cracking joints, or sighs of discomfort.
Just a silent sweeping motion of graceful lightness.

I must have wondered a million things in that short 30 seconds of watching her.

Does she feel the weight of her body when she moves?
Is she aware of her arms and her stomach and her thighs in every step she takes?
Do her bones creak under the pressure of the few pounds she does weigh?

Does she feel my eyes on her? Does she always feel eyes on her?
Is she still sucking-it-in to look even smaller?
Does she feel for lumps and bumps through her shirt to assess her size constantly?
How did she feel buying those skinny jeans in such a skinny size?
Can she dance and rollerskate and do cartwheels in open fields?
Is life so easy because she’s small?

These, I believe, are the kinds of thoughts that keep me overweight.

It is often said that you can only accomplish something if you believe that it is possible. Despite twenty-something years of desperate daydreaming… I cannot say I’ve ever believed that I could actually get there. In addition to that, is the 100% false and quite-honestly – offensive notion that “skinny people” have no problems.
I have many average weight, underweight and fit friends.  They still dislike their bodies, they still have chronic illnesses, they have insecurities and they have trouble shopping for clothes that fit.  They have all the problems that I feel like I have as an overweight person. And believe me… I know that. I do not take anyone’s problems lightly, no matter their body size.
But in this silly head of mine lies the everlasting idea of how freakin’ perfect life would be… were I skinny. How light on my feet! (as if my joint-diseases would disappear?) How beautiful and attractive I’d be! (as if my face and skin and hair would magically change?) How athletic and graceful I’d become! (as if losing fat just did that automatically?) How many glorious, fabulous clothes would fill my closet! (as if my body would morph into perfect proportions once thinner!?)

When you lose weight… there’s physiological changes that occur in the body and fat stores are reduced. That’s all that happens. That’s it.

There’s no magic there.

Losing weight won’t make me that mythological skinny creature that I’ve created in my head. It won’t make me the girl with bikini abs that lives on my Pinterest board.
It will just make me ME. But physically smaller.

And when I put it on a base level like that… maybe it does sound like something achievable, doesn’t it? I don’t need to believe that I can get to the “ideal”. I just need to believe that I can become smaller. I can lose fat. That’s it.
I need to stop thinking that I’ll never achieve my goals, because… well, whats the point in having them, then!? Right?


That girl may have had it going on… but I have determination, drive, support, and optimism. And you can’t fit all that into skinny jeans!



Exercise Roulette!

My bro and I were trying to think of a little exercise challenge to do. It made me think about how good it is to spread out some activity throughout the day. Sometimes I do what I call “peelates” (pronounced : pee – lah-tees) which is just doing some stretches every time I get up to go to the bathroom. (we have a spacious bathroom here at work!) It really loosens up the muscles and gives you a little break from the stiffness of sitting at the desk.

What else could we do here and there, throughout the day to help our muscles be strong and engaged?

So, I made two buckets. One with bodyweight exercises in it. Simple movements that you can do nearly anywhere. Some examples – squats, lunges, situps, arm circles, single leg deadlift (no weight), pushups, etc.  The other bucket had numbers of reps.  So each morning, you pull one paper from each bucket and you’ve got your assignment!

You can just add it to your regular workout… but ideally, you do a few here and there throughout the day.  You go to the bathroom? Do 10 squats (pull your pants up first, please!). Waiting for the copier? Do 10 squats! Go out to your car for lunch? Do 10 more squats!  They add up, and they feel great, but you never have to feel like you’re settling in for a long, sweaty workout (mind you, you should get one of those in as well!) but its just…. easier. Less pressure, and provides a little jolt of energy when you need it!

I’ve got a few people in the office joining in as well! I feel like it won’t be too out of the ordinary soon to see people doing lunges down the hallway!

If you’d like to do it on your own (or better yet, in your office or family!) you can download this PDF:  exerciseroulette

Just print it out and cut on the dotted lines.  Fold the papers in halves or threes and drop them  in two buckets!  If you don’t know an exercise, just do a quick search on youtube, a short video will pop right up!


No Poo

I want to talk about my trials in No Poo! First, for those who haven’t heard of this - No Poo simply means not using commercial shampoo and conditioner on your hair.

Why? Typical commercial shampoos strip your hair of so much of the natural oils that your scalp will overproduce natural oils (sebum) to compensate.  For me, this meant that I had to wash my hair everyday or it would become very greasy. Even just by the end of the day. Since I have very fine hair, the greasiness was very visible and who wants that?  Not me!

So, my personal reasons were

1. get to the point where I don’t have to wash my hair daily

2. reduce the usage of chemicals on my body

How? Some people just straight up and quit. Some phase out of shampoo slowly. Some wash with water only.  Personally, I swapped to washing my scalp/roots with baking soda and conditioning the ends with diluted apple cider vinegar.  That is a pretty standard practice for going No Poo.

How’d it go?
The baking soda washes really, really well. I mean, your hair feels SO CLEAN. It’s kind of incredible.  It’s easy to do, takes no longer than regular shampooing, and again – feels fantastic!
The hard part was waiting in between washes.  I do NOT like feeling that my hair doesn’t look or feel clean. Ooh it gives me the heebies. There’s a reason I shampooed and deep conditioned every day! But I was committed. I started around the first of April.  I downloaded an app called “Collect” which I used to take a photo of my hair every day, with notes about what I did and how it felt/looked that day.

I kinda stopped taking pics when in Michigan, whoops!

My goal was to make it 4-5 days  without washing.  I did make it 4 days a couple times, but my average was 3 though. I take that as a big victory! By day 3 I would definitely have to wear my hair up, but thats ok!

Here’s an example :

DAY 1.  Washed with baking soda & ACV in the morning. Floofy and clean.

Day 2.  Tied up hair in the shower and kept it dry. Still looks clean enough to wear down.

Day 3. Looking and feeling greasy and heavy at the scalp. Dry at the ends. So I wear it up.

Day 4 – Freshly washed again.

So… while I really enjoyed the extended time in between washed, and how clean my hair felt on washing day… I did notice it getting very dry at the ends and overall quite dull.  I’d heard stories about how some people’s hair took months to detox and then one day it was like BOOM radiant shiny beautiful hair.  I thought I had the patience for that.  But I didn’t have faith. Because prior to No Poo, I’d already swapped to Lush shampoo. Which is 100% natural, and sodium laureth sulfate free. So you’d think I’d have a shorter “detox” time.

And then, I woke up one day and had some dandruff!  I’ve never really had dandruff in my life so I knew it was my hair routine. I must be drying it out too much.  I panicked a little and continued using the baking soda, but following it with an all natural aloe conditioner.

That helped clear up the dandruff, but it also got me thinking about my plans for where to go from there.  I want to keep the ability to go multiple days without washing, but I also want to settle on something that feels healthy to me.

So I’ve decided to go back to Lush shampoo.

I use this one : Blousey,  which is made with bananas, cocoa butter, and cloves. It smells amazing, feels amazing, and is vegan and chemical free. I am washing just my scalp/roots with this. I don’t go all the way to the ends of the hair.

I added a conditioner by Lush as well :

It’s super light and citrusy, and I’ve only used it twice now, but its really wonderful! I use this on the hair below the ears to the roots.  I don’t put it on my scalp.

This is today :

So, overall – I am very satisfied with trying the No Poo method.  Though I had a beautiful fantasy  about living the rest of my life with glorious, healthy, shiny hair that I don’t ever need to wash…
I’m still pretty happy with how it turned out.  I can definitely see myself doing a baking soda cleanse every now and then to reduce buildup. But I’m happy to use the Lush products as well. I love that company and their products are just so quality!

I’m struggling now, to find a hair dye that won’t take all my progress away from me. There are henna colors which are natural and non-stripping and are honestly beautiful… but I’m too scared to try it myself. My hair is longer now and I make a BIG mess trying to dye it at home.  Plus, the henna takes around 4 hours to soak in!  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  We’ll see what I decide on.  I know a real hippie would be happy with her own natural hair color.
But I’m just not hippie enough to give up my love of changing hair colors!

Have you ever tried No Poo? Would you?

EDIT :  As I picked up my coffee this morning, a woman came up to me and told me I had “the most beautiful hair”  “just gorgeous!” she said!  How nice is that?  My plan is working!



I just got back from a quick 4 day trip to the beautiful state of Michigan! Overall, it was a really lovely trip! It took about 12 hours travel time each way, which was not ideal, but not terrible by any means. Joel and I were there visiting his Dad (Tracy) and Stepmom (Robin).  So all of our time was spent with them, just driving around and viewing the breathtaking sights of Michigan!

On to the pictures!

Our first stop after getting our rental car was for lunch. We found a restaurant on our route named Kensington Grille. It was a BBQ place. They even had a giant sign up that said something like – “I didn’t claw my way up the food chain to just eat vegetables”  so I got a little nervous.  But I found a portabello sandwich, and all was good.
But anyway… FRIED PICKLES.  They were amazing.

This was my first glimpse at Lake Michigan.  No one is able to convince me that this is not the ocean!

Look at the color of the water! *swoon* So beautiful!  This is on the drive to the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Joel and his Dad!! So cute!

These next pictures are all of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

The dunes were incredible. The amount of sand is just astounding. You feel like you’re in some desert location… then you turn and it looks like a tropical ocean! But, ha! It’s just a gigantic mother-fluffin’ lake.

A little area of docks and shops called Fishtown. I fit right in!

Sorry for the blurry photo. I was trying to be discreet! Anyway, I was SO excited when a mexican restaurant we went to had an entire separate menu for vegetarian AND vegan!  Delicious, too.

To be honest, we pretty much spent 4 days going from park to park. They are all so beautiful and well-maintained that we really didn’t need to look for anything else to do. The sun was shining, and the water was just stunning.

Oh yeah… then Joel’s Dad’s car blew up.  It happened so fast. We were driving just fine… and then smoke starting pooling into the car. We pulled over and pretty much leapt out of the car and ran.  When we looked back from a safe distance, the car just exploded into flames.  We were very lucky and got out just in time.  The car, unfortunately, was totaled. But our possessions (and persons!) were salvaged.

Because of this surreal (and harrowing!) event, we missed our reservations on the sailboat trip we were heading to. Luckily, when I called the ticketbooth to tell them we wouldn’t make it, the woman heard the sirens in the background and was quick to offer concern and tickets to a later trip!
We agreed it would bring the day back around if we went on the evening sail that night. So we did!

We sailed on a Tall Ship from the 1800’s on Lake Michigan! Joel got to help hoist the sails and we were served sandwiches and cookies!

The morning after the boat ride we had to pack up and head back home. It was hard to say goodbye.  Spending time with Tracy & Robin was so, soooo nice.  They are incredible people and made me feel so welcome and comfortable. I really love seeing other people’s homes, towns, and lives. It really makes you feel close to someone by sharing in their local culture.

Airport waitin’

Once back home, we were so excited (#sarcasm) to discover that our refrigerator had died! So yesterday was spent shopping for a new one.  (all. freakin. day.)

(third in from the left is the one we’re getting)
30inch fridges aren’t very usual anymore, but that was the max size we could get for our space. So, it was way more difficult than it should have been.  And so we now have to wait 3 weeks for it to arrive!

And so… that does it!

This trip was both exciting and relaxing. Michigan is just as beautiful as you’d expect. The thousands of rows of blossoming cherry trees are really something to behold. And of course, the expansive Lake Michigan! Honestly, the whole place is picturesque. Visit if you ever can!

Long Time No See

Hello SweatyPeeps!  I am so sorry for the lapse in posting. I’d like to say it was for a good reason, but it really wasn’t for any reason! This is the  major struggle I have a blogger…  I am boring as heck.  Its just how I roll.
I’m going to do an old-school Shannon style post and give a little recap on all the facets of life!

WORK :  Work is good. Nothing exciting there either… I’ve got a lot of days off this month, so its a struggle to balance the motivation, but it’s like this every year.  I love my job, and I love my coworkers! I made one fun and healthy change at work recently though! I replaced my chair with a stability ball! I don’t feel any difference in my body yet, but its only been 3 or 4 days. So, we’ll see! It’s definitely more fun and engaging to sit on. It keeps my feet on the floor which I did… zero percent of the time before.  And it keeps me bobbing and weaving and wiggling around.

HOME : The dogs are a little better. For those unaware, my two dogs had suddenly decided that they hate each other. It’s not quite as tense anymore, but it is still very much happening, and very frustrating. We’ve got so much housework to do now that the snow has finally melted. Getting started on big projects is difficult!

HEALTH : The tonsillitis reared it’s ugly head last week. This round brought me a little closer to a decision to have them out.  After researching the recovery time, though, taking 3 weeks of sick time from work is very daunting.
So, if I do go for it, it’s going to have to be next spring, when I can afford the time.

Sad face from angry tonsils

my diet when tonsils have gone awry

As for the rest of the body.. it’s about the same. My shoulders have been feeling better since we cut back on some shoulder-heavy exercises at the gym, however my hips have been much worse. Presumably from focusing more on lower body workouts from being nice to my shoulders!  Eh, can’t win!

FOOD : Food is good!  Yes, still Vegan. Yes, still loving it! Been eating a lot of smoothies, roasted veggies, potatoes, rice, salads, curries… I am going to start picking things out of my vegan cookbooks for some inspiration. I’m eating about 1,500 – 1,800 calories a day. Trying to not be strict about tracking every morsel, because it’s about balance for me right now.  But, I want to lose weight too.. soooooo… yeah, might have to get back to trying to find the magic number.

a typical salad. field greens, tomato, cukes, sprouts, onions, 1/2 avocado, and a tahini & apple cider vinegar dressing.

a typical dinner, mixed roasted veggies. I could eat this all day every day!

coconut curry with cauliflower, onion, cashews and cilantro over basmati rice

soft tacos with seasoned tofu


FUN : I have done some fun things the past couple weeks! Bry and I went to a local exotic animal sanctuary called Animal Adventures.  We got to see and touch and feed and hold(!!) so many beautiful creatures!  Everything from a wallaby, skunk, kinkaju, owl, alligator, armadillo, monitor lizard, lemurs… to an anaconda, kookaburra, lynx, coati, and sooooo many more! I can’t even tell you, it was a dream come true. I just love animals so much it was incredible to see them up close. I’ve always, always loved animals… and by stopping eating them… I feel even closer to them.

You can see more pictures on my Flickr.

This past weekend, Melissa and I went to CKC Manchester again, which is a scrapbook/paper crafts convention.  We have SO much fun together there.  We shop (like whoa), eat (like whoa!), take classes, and just enjoy the heck out of each other’s company for 2 days.


bagel friday on the way to NH!

beautiful Manchester, NH

one of the two classes we took

vegan pad thai at a fantastic restaurant downtown called Mint Bistro

COMING UP/GOALS :  Its a really busy next few months for me. A couple weddings, a trip to Michigan, lots of birthdays, then camping (yay!).  I’ve been thinking about goals a lot lately, and though I feel very happy with my current diet… again… I’m not losing any weight. At this point, I am at a loss as to what I think will be a catalyst for that to change. I could do a long juice fast again, and I probably would lose weight again as well, but for what? It would only come back, because I can’t/shouldn’t maintain just juice for life.  There are definitely a couple things I could clean up, though. Like my one bagel a week, some chips/snacks that I review for the other blog. I try not to have those often, but they are definitely there! So, I’ll take a look at those here and there things. Maybe they are a little more here than they are there!

So, thats it, friends!  A big ol’ update on me!

If you leave a comment, please tell me -

A) What are you most looking forward to this Summer?

B) What exotic (or otherwise!) animal do you dream to meet in person some day?







Getting to know all about youuuuu

The last thing you guys need is to learn more about me. But hey, I love surveys, and I haven’t much else to talk about right now, so… why not?! I stole this little number from A Daily Dose of Fit

So, lets do this!
1) What is your favorite movie and why? 
I can’t even. I don’t know how anybody could ever have just one favorite movie.
But some of my favorite movies would be – The Cell, The Fall, Labyrinth, What Dreams May Come, Death to Smoochie, Boondock Saints, Old Boy, RHPS, Gentleman Broncos, Memento, SLC Punk, The Big Lebowski, Shaun of the Dead, Pitch Black, Audition, Intacto, City of Lost Children, Flash Gordon, I Saw the Devil … Ok, I could probably go for too long here.
As for the Why? Thats hard too. I have very dark taste. Not to say I can’t appreciate something fluffy (ahem, Labyrinth!), but I loves me some serial killers. I love dark, twisted imagery and morbid tales. If you couldn’t sit through it because it was too distasteful – please recommend it to me!

2) Name something on your bucket list.
My bucket list is rather pathetic. The only thing I want to do before I die is get to a healthy weight.

3) How did you come up with your blog name? 
When I first started with a personal trainer I always apologized, embarrassingly for sweating so much during our workouts. She told me so many times to stop being embarrassed about it, that it was a good thing and it meant I was working hard! So I decided to embrace being a Sweaty Girl!

4) Describe yourself in three words? 
Stable (this is my way of saying boring, but in a good way)
uh.. plump!?

5) What is your favorite way to stay fit? 
Well, I gotta get somewhere before I can stay there! My favorite way to get fit is definitely training with a personal trainer that I love. He keeps me motivated, smiling, and laughing through the sweat!

6) If you could go back and visit any time period, what would it be and why? 
I think I would go back to Jesus time. I’m not religious at all. But I am super curious to see if Jesus was a real person, to see what really went down. Everything about the bible (more specifically – people/society’s reaction to it) is such a mind-melter for me to wrap my head around. I’d bring my iphone to take some pictures, and maybe play him some Jesus Christ Superstar on YouTube to see his reaction.

7) What is one thing you really like about yourself? 
Somehow I attract really amazing people to be my friends. I know that sounds like more of a compliment to them, and it is. But obviously there is something about  me that attracts such a quality person. I sure like that!

8) When I dance I look like… 

9) Where do you see yourself in five years? 
Most likely, exactly where I am right now. In my office, working doing a job that I love with awesome people. Joel and I will be close to 40 (whoa!). Maybe we’ll have a different house by then, or at least some sweet upgrades to our current one.
Chai and Z will still be kickin it, driving me nuts.

10) Tea or coffee? 
Coffee. I love tea too. But, if I had to choose!
11) What’s your favorite type of blog post to write and why?
I love to do this type of post, even though its the least informative for my loverly readers. I don’t know why I love surveys so much. I think, that in social situations I’m much more of the listener than the talker.  But everyone loves giving their opinions on things, so its a fun opportunity.

What about you? Any questions you wanna answer for me? I’d especially like to know where you’d see yourself in 5 years, and what time period you’d go back to?