The Veganning

 
Hiking in Runyon Canyon.. First thing I did when I arrived in LA!

Hiking in Runyon Canyon.. First thing I did when I arrived in LA!

In late November 2017 I quit my job, packed my bags, and moved to Los Angeles. Marina Del Rey to be exact. I was on a journey to become a Get Loved Up 200HR trained Yoga Instructor under the guidance of Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Instructor Koya Webb , but also found myself on the path of healing and self discovery. I knew the training would include holistic health practices and that we would have a chef on staff so I thought to myself — How hard would this new lifestyle be? 

Well... it was kinda hard for me and here's why: We started the day at 7am with lime water (only), practiced yoga/meditation for an hour and followed practice with a protein smoothie. Then around 12pm, after two hours of studying and more yoga practice, we'd have a salad and protein bar. Smoothies or protein shakes filled our tummies while journaling through the late afternoon and a more filling hot meal usually came at dinner. We drank lots of water throughout the day, but by day four I was kinda over it... I didn't think I'd be able to survive on salads, smoothies, and food without a real crunch to it. Yes, celery and carrots are crunchy, but I wanted chips and stuff. Trader Joe's plantain chips to be exact or popcorn or any crunchy something... Imma crunchy snack Queen!

Get Loved Up Training at Alo Yoga

Get Loved Up Training at Alo Yoga

Halfway through our training we lost our chef. She had to shoot a commercial (This was LA we were talking about.. everybody and their momma is trying to make it in Hollywood). Anyway, this new obstacle forced the other students and I to get in the kitchen and cook together. We often learn by just getting thrown into it, right! Our leader, Koya Webb, coached us through the initial meals and then we became resposible for cooking all the meals for the group.

Quinoa, roasted carrots, avocado, granny smith apples - I made this for the group.

Quinoa, roasted carrots, avocado, granny smith apples - I made this for the group.

With the help of a very supportive group of sisters, I stuck through it! I lost some weight, toned up, my skin was glowing, and I was super regular, Yes, I hit that bathroom 3x a day like clockwork. My cycle came and I was CRAMP-LESS... no moodiness either! So essentially, PLANT-BASED had me at “Pain Free” and I haven't looked back. (I'll be blogging about my pain free cycle and how I attribute it to my lifestyle in the future.)

Allie, Lauren Ash, Crystal, Me and Aida. Get Loved Getlovedup #squad

Allie, Lauren Ash, Crystal, Me and Aida. Get Loved Getlovedup #squad

The holistic health portion of training definitely equipped me with the tools to continue the lifestyle on my own, but I wasn't ready for what came next. I wasn't expecting, or even ready, for life beyond the Yoga training: navigating social outings, family gatherings, judgement, criticism and more importantly the holidays! Christmas was just two days after the training ended and most of us left to head back to our respective hometowns. My immediate family happened to be in California on college tours and were audience members on The Price Is Right.. where my brother lucked up and WON A CAR... Like who does that!!!!

Anyway, I was enthusiastic about the new lifestyle I had been immersed in for the past month and decided the first thing I needed when I got to San Diego was to hit the local grocery store. I was excited walking through Trader Joe’s and so was my teenage brother who was with me asking me a million questions. My first challenge was finding food I could make in a hotel room and store in a mini fridge that could sustain me. I picked up apples, grapefruit, plantain chips (yaaass) and I also grabbed leafy greens, hummus, and foods that I could easy combine and put in the fridge. I won the battle, but the real war was yet to come. Fast food is king (and somewhat inevitable) in a family of teenagers and adults who like to explore. We drove all over San Diego and then crossed the border on foot and spent Christmas day in Mexico. McDonald's here, Jack in the Box there ... I was able to maintain with my pre packed meals most of the time, but I'd have to admit a few times I was like "French Fries and a side salad please!" 

Plant-based bowls I make in my kitchen.. I found a new love for cooking the last year.

Plant-based bowls I make in my kitchen.. I found a new love for cooking the last year.

Over the last year since returning back to Washington, DC I've spent a considerable amount of time reading cookbooks and online blogs, testing out meals and making friends with others in the plant-based world. I've also spent time being social, going to weddings, eating at different restaurants, getting sick because they said butter or milk wasn't in the food (but clearly it was), and cooking for family and friends who love meat. I've had friends and family make hurtful/ insensitive comments or not invite me out because of this lifestyle, while others praised me for my dedication and commitment. Sharing how I've inspired and motivated them to make changes to their lifestyle. All in all, through this experience I've learned that with anything, balance is key and this will continue to be a journey. 

Sometimes I miss chicken biscuits from Chick-Fil-A or I just want to go out on a date without looking to see if the restaurant has food I can eat. And at times, I even feel like a burden if I have to ask where we're going or suggest a different place. 

Bloggers and Chefs like Janée Claiborne - Sweet Potato Soul  , The Minimalist Baker , and Isa Chandra  have helped me gain confidence in the kitchen with their easy and fun recipes. Restaurants like NuVegan and FareWell give me places in DC to dine without worry and I'm building a community of supportive friends, for which I'm grateful.

The blog was created to share my plant-based journey while exercising, running a business, traveling, dating, and living in a city that has a million bars and beef spots, but not very many green eating spaces. My intention is to be a guide and resource to anyone looking to integrate more plant-based foods into their lifestyle, debunk the idea that this lifestyle lacks protein resources, etc and create a community of support as we strive to live healthier and more sustainable lives. Stay tuned for yumtastic plant-based recipes, maintaining muscle mass and more....

Happy New Year — New Levels in 2019!

Happy New Year — New Levels in 2019!

I invite you to take a few minutes out of your day to read it, leave a comment, make a suggestion and of course share it with your friends. Stay tuned for yumtastic plant-based recipes, maintaining muscle mass, clean fitness/beauty products (curly girl life) and more.…