Sprout New Roots


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The Art of Snacking

So here’s the deal. Initially, my reasoning for becoming vegetarian and then vegan was for ethical reasons-flat out. As long as there wasn’t an animal product on my plate or involved in the food I was eating, I was good. Check! No worries! Health, as a perk to this lifestyle, came in second to me. But I also knew that as long as I wasn’t consuming animals or too too many crappy processed foods, my health-odds were automatically better. After learning more and more, though, I realized that there was a lot more to be said for the health aspect of it if I reduced out most processed foods and added in even more whole plant foods. I could cut my odds of heart disease, cancer and stroke (along with so many other illnesses and diseases) by alarming percentages! I could possibly inspire others to take control of their health and reverse and prevent diseases as well. I realized now that creating my own vibrant health actually played a huge role in my advocacy for animals. I needed to be an example of how a plant-based vegan diet can not only end some unnecessary animal suffering in this world but also end a lot of human suffering as well. So now, along with my concerns for the environment related to this topic (and there are so many to consider), health also plays a huge factor in deciding what I put into my body every time I sit down to eat. It’s a very empowering thing to know that my health is my choice, and my example is a potential voice of inspiration to someone.

…which brings me to my weakness when it comes to eating a vegan diet. Snacking! There are tons of processed foods out there that are and are not intentionally vegan that have called my name. And I’ve happily obliged! If you put an unassuming bag of chips (especially kettle-baked) or a box of Oreo’s in front of me, don’t expect them to last very long. You can even hold your breath because, guess what? You’ll still be alive by the time I’m finished with them!

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I don’t buy unhealthy processed snack foods for our house because of this. Once I pop I simply cannot stop! They weren’t kidding around with with that slogan. It’s almost like I have no self control around these things-but these foods weren’t made with self-control in mind. They were made to create an addiction. There are chemicals and additives and such a concentrated amount of sugar/salt in these products that they actually trick your tongue and brain into wanting more. I can go for months without eating refined sugar or salty chips, but the minute I take one bite of a cookie or have a chip, I’m done. Hooked. Craving more. And this is exactly what the food companies want of course. They want you and me addicted to their products so we continue to crave them and buy them and become a part of the heard of unhealthy consumers ringing in the big bucks for the heads of the company.

When I’m out at restaurant that serves free chips or at a party where chips are available-I do have some, don’t get me wrong. But here’s the dealio-when I’m at home without the judgments of others, who’s to ever know I’d eat THAT many cookies? No one would-except for myself when I break out on my face or when I feel puffy or bloated later on from it. Gross. What kind of example of a health and animal advocate am I then?  Not a very good one. And it never feels worth it afterwards-but that damn taste on my tongue just knows how to seal the deal. So I have found that what works best for me personally is keeping things like this out of easy convenience-out of my house. I try to keep healthy snacks around and that truly works to satisfy my cravings for salty or sweet whenever they arise. I am by no means perfect when it comes to my plant-based diet and I’m not even suggesting that you try to be perfect in your diet and lifestyle. Everyone has to figure their path out on their own. I’m just sharing my struggles and hopefully offering you some suggestions in case you struggle with the same things.

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So here’s my suggestion to you: Clean out your fridge and pantry. Like, right now. Even if you have to have a “last meal” with the junk food in your house, that’s fine-but make it quick and get it out of your convenience. Then replace it with healthy, whole food items for when the time comes around that you just have to have something sweet or salty. Get creative with snacks! Snacking can be so fun and colorful! Dunk veggies in fun dips that you create from plant foods! Blend frozen fruit to create sorbets and ice creams! I’ve listed below some snacks that I keep around to get you started!

  • Apples and freshly ground almond butter/peanut butter (no oil or salt added)
  • homemade hummus and whole grain pita bread or vegetables for dipping
  • frozen banana ice cream (there are way too many fun concoctions you can make with this-or if you want simple-all you need are frozen bananas!)
  • dates
  • homemade date balls/energy bites or granola bars
  • crunchy baked chickpeas (you can make these sweet or salty!)
  • kale chips
  • edamame (Thx Stacy for reminding me of this one!)
  • Freshly popped popcorn  (not the kind you buy and microwave-that stuff is laced with chemicals…)
  • tofu pudding
  • chia pudding
  • nuts and seeds
  • guacamole or kale butter with veggies for dipping
  • green smoothie
  • fruit smoothie
  • frozen fruit sorbet (blend frozen fruit in a high speed blender until its smooth)
  • homemade fruit popsicles
  • dehydrated veggies or fruit (if you have a dehydrator)
  • fresh fruit (bananas, grapes, apples, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, mandarins, pears, mangoes, cherries etc!)

Do you have this issue as well? What are your favorite go-to healthy snack foods?


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Pinch Me!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Whether you’re Catholic or Irish or Irish Catholic, or none of the above-you probably partake in some kind of Paddy’s Day festivities! We certainly do in New Orleans! Any excuse to celebrate and have fun, and our city is there! So before you head out to your green party of choice, we just wanted to leave you with a green juice Cheers! and an Irish blessing!

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(celery, parsley, ginger, broccoli stems, handful of spring mix salad greens, and sweet potato)

May you always have…
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 


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Eating Out Vegan, Part One: The Social Aspect

Eating out socially as a vegan is certainly an experience that you might find challenging at first. We live in a society where meat and/or dairy are included in almost everything-almost. We, as vegans, make up a very small percentage of people overall in the world (about 2-3%), but that number is growing fast as people are becoming more and more aware of the serious health, climate, and animal issues associated with eating animal protein. Restaurants are even starting to mark their menus with labels such as “vegetarian” and “vegan”, and waiters and staff typically understand what those words mean these days. But, despite this, it’s still a way of life that is foreign territory to a lot of people-especially in America. My sister and I find that at almost any social or dinner table setting that we are in (including just being at work around people, eating in a group, or even with family and friends), our way of eating comes up. This is great because we love the way we eat and we certainly enjoy talking about how great we feel both physically and spiritually living this way. This conversation can go a few different ways though-and all too often it can get uncomfortable-especially for a new vegan. Most people ask questions out of sincere curiosity, but others will ask questions with antagonistic and sarcastic undertones-or overtones actually. Some people can get downright rude or ugly. We’ve experienced it all and have figured out ways to handle each situation as gracefully as we can.We’d like to share with you our game-plan and talk about certain things that can come up when peple find out you are vegan.

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Where to Eat

If you have any control over where you will be eating out at, know in advance some options where you know that you can easily find vegan food. For instance, I keep a list in my phone of all the restaurants that my husband and I like to eat out at and where we can find good food that we enjoy. Whenever we plan a dinner date or something social involving food, we can quickly reference and suggest a bunch of different places.  If the decided upon place is new to us, we’ll check out the menu online or call ahead of time asking if they can accommodate us the way that we eat. 98% of the time, they can and happily do. Upscale restaurants seem to be the most accommodating, as a good chef should have a few vegetable-based dishes on hand that he can whip up for instances like this that do come up, moreso these days than ever, I imagine.

Ordering Food

Most restaurants today have around one to five vegetarian options already on their menu. And, like I said above, most places are very accommodating and can alter their menu items to not include any animal products at all. Our cousin Bonnie suggests, as she stated in a previous post, to tell your waiter that you have a food allergy-such as to dairy or eggs. This can better ensure yourself that the restaurant will do their best to not include it in your meal. If you end up going somewhere where your food options are limited, most places can at least steam up some vegetables and make you a basic salad, or remove the meat/cheese/egg from a salad order for you. When ordering, we try to be as easy and friendly as possible, not trying to make a huge fuss over the food. We really prefer to make everyone at the table feel comfortable.

Happy, Healthy Conversations

When people ask general questions about veganism out of curiosity, this usually leads to a very healthy, happy conversation. Most will ask you what exactly you eat or where you get your protein, etc. So we answer them. A lot of times, as you can imagine, this conversation takes place over plates of food-most of which have some kind of animal or animal by-product on them. People seem to be very curious and pay special attention to what we order. We do our best to be respectful of others as they eat, and if they ask questions that could lead to a gruesome explanation, we try to warn them as they chew or tell them that we would love to discuss it with them away from the table. This sort of thing, if handled aggressively, could be the first and last time your friends ask you questions about this-so you’re possibly closing a window of knowledge to them by immediately going into the horrors that the animal farming industry is. A lot of times, we will simply sum it up by saying that it is a true nightmare and that we would encourage them to do their own research that is readily available on the web, in documentaries, and in books.

Aside from that, most always, we hear things like ‘Well, I could never give up my (fill in the blank with cheese, milk, butter, or some kind of animal)!”And I believe that people truly feel this way because I used to feel that way about cheese-until I educated myself on it and overcame the addiction. So we like to acknowledge them on it and talk about our own personal experiences about it. This is a healthy conversation that could plant a seed in someone’s head and maybe, down the line, they’ll start to make healthier decisions for themselves. Between my sister and I, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve realized that we have influenced someone else in a healthy direction-which feels awesome!

While it’s intimidating being the center focus on such a personal issue, we really want to give people a positive feeling about this because we know that it can help a lot in so many ways. As a rule of thumb, we try to maintain ourselves at what we call being “Happy Herbivores” versus “Angry Vegans”. We feel this will inspire more people to be open about  and to our lifestyle.

Sarcasm and Antagonism

I read somewhere that Ellen Degeneres’ wife, Portia De Rossi, once said that she caught more flack when she went vegan versus when she came out as a lesbian. I totally believe her too because of the amount of additional flack we caught when we simply switched from vegetarian to vegan.  When we encounter people who just want to poke at us or make fun of the way we eat, we can see them coming a mile away. There’s generally a cockiness about them and an “I know more than you and I’m about to show everyone” attitude. These people aren’t interested in learning more or opening up to us, they’re just bullies who, for some reason, think making fun of someone else will justify their actions and the way they eat or live their lives. We used to feel the need to get into arguments or fight back at these kinds of people, but we just don’t even take it up anymore. It goes no where and that bully gets a free show. I remember one time, Jason and I were out with some friends and a friend of theirs showed up who we’d never met. He overheard someone else asking me questions about why I eat the way I do and felt the need to jump in and start bashing me. He ended up looking like the jerk because I didn’t take him up on his sarcasm. I do remember one thing he said. He mimicked a baby voice to me saying “Oh I dont eat anything that’s alive waah”… How rude, right?! My only response to him was, in an easy, relaxed voice, “My food is alive. You’re the one eating a dead carcass.” And done. What else could he say? But you see what I mean? I promise, you might encounter this rudeness but just don’t give it much or any attention. It isn’t worth stressing yourself over it.

Ending Thoughts

Basically, what we have found that works best for us in social settings is to answer whatever questions, posed by a friendly source, that you are comfortable answering. Try to stay calm and simple about things-leaving there something to be wanted or learned from whoever is asking. Direct them to a great blog or movie about it. (See our suggestions at the bottom of our FAQ page). It can be hard, but try not to overwhelm people with info and stats and facts etc. because that’s definitely a turn-off (unless someone corners you and is begging for info. This happens too thankfully! 🙂 )

Here are 2 blog posts by Lindsay Nixon (The Happy Herbivore) that we find

very helpful in dealing with the social aspects of talking about eating a plant-based diet.

How To Talk About Veganism

The Secret to Handling Confrontation and Dealing with Negativity


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Project: Inspiration Art

Hey All! We apologize for being MIA-we’ve both been in major transition! We (Kelli and Jason) just bought our first house in the beginning of July and have been living here now for about 2 weeks-settling in. Pictures to come once we have things more in place!  And Jenn and Chris moved back to Memphis, TN-Chris to continue eye doctor school (layman’s terms lol) and for Jenn to find her first job out of college! So yea-we have many blog posts of projects and recipes built up that we need to just sit down and write out! This post is actually about a project I did around a year ago but keep forgetting to post. I saw it on Pinterest (here) and knew exactly what I wanted to do for my own! A long time ago I bought these from Kirkland’s on clearance for $10 each. I knew I liked the colors and that I’d do something cool with them eventually. It may seem silly to some people, but I really didn’t like the fact that the birds were IN their cages-so I never hung them. Caged birds are not the kind of thing that inspires me, to say the least. But words definitely do inspire me. Whether it’s a clever or moving quote by someone, or a song lyric, or a poem-I’m always finding myself sinking into the meaning of thoughts and words.

I chose this quote by Gandhi, “In a gentle way you can shake the world”, because it’s something that inspires me to continue living a compassionate lifestyle. I get upset and angry sometimes when I think about the way that we treat animals and humans alike and I tend to feel overwhelmed about what I can do in order to fix it or help change the situation. It’s hard to imagine that we live in a world that enslaves so many, and most just don’t see it or they turn their heads-not to face the reality of what’s happening. This quote reminds me that the choices I make every day affect the world and the direction that it’s heading-and hopefully I’ll inspire others to make compassionate choices themselves. So, that is my “gentle way”.

This project was actually really easy and fun and I’d recommend it for a fun, quick and creative project!

If any of you do this-let me know what quote/lyric you choose!

And don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook Page!


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We’re Now on Facebook!

Hey guys!

We decided that we enjoyed interacting with you so much that we made a Facebook page for our blog!

We can’t wait to connect with you through that as well!

We’ll be posting simple vegan foods that we make on a daily basis! Here’s our colorful recipe photo section!: recipes

We also post about inspiration for a healthy lifestyle-such as quotes and photos and videos that we like!

So please come join in our conversation! Our Facebook Page


Here’s a bit of Inspiration to end this cute little mini post!

Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak! Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.

~George Bernard Shaw

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.

~Albert Einstein

All that we do is touched with ocean, yet we remain on the shore of what we know.

~Richard Wilbur


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Treading Lightly; My Thoughts on Simplifying

The quieter you become, the more you hear. -Ram Dass

I took the picture above last Friday after work when my family decided to take a little evening ride on my mom and step-dad’s boat. Isn’t life just simply beautiful? All we need is clean food and water, shelter, sunshine, and some good love-and if you know someone with a boat-even a dingy, take advantage :). And if not, find yourself a body of water and have a seat . Which brings me to this post. I struggle with the urge to live simpler; to appreciate the small things-which are actually the big things. I feel like I constantly have this tendency inside of me that needs to break free from so many of my physical attachments. The idea seems like a relief, and also, natural and more meaningful. Sometimes, I’ve thought, if my house burned down, would I truly miss everything in it? Would I even be able to know what was missing enough TO miss it? I bet I could wear a different shirt every day of the month-or even 2 months. And yet I still want more clothes? I realize the game in all of this, and it is definitely fun to buy new trendy things. I guess I’m just trying to take a step back and see things as they really are and gain some perspective. And why do I need so many different shirts?! And who cares?!

We’re constantly bombarded with commercials for new products, the most current fashion, the latest technology, cheap quick food, and more, more, and even MORE things. We’re bred to be consumers, and this idea of what life is supposed to look like is imposed on us. The competition to have more possessions than others, or to have the best and latest products, or even being embarrassed when you don’t have these things is so stressful and uncool. I hate when I find myself judging someone else based on whether they have a smart phone or not, or something similar. That’s insane! Whose thoughts are these that have been put in my head? I am not that person.

I have been a good consumer and have bought more than my share. The thought has even crossed my mind thousands of times, “If I just buy THIS, I’d be happy and satisfied and won’t need anything else!” Talk about the feeling of an addiction…just ONE more time…. But that’s where I’ve started to question myself more and more, “Do I need or want this?”, and then I think, “If I really want this (thing) for my home, I’ll find a way to make it myself-which is more rewarding anyways” or just simply, “Nah”-realizing this was a fleeting, impulsive feeling. I can’t kid myself any more. The small “fix” of satisfaction or joy that I get from buying things simply because I’m just used to buying is short-lived and then I’m back to square one-needing to fill that void again with something else. But why? Why do we need to accumulate so much stuff in order to move through life? Or rather, to keep us stuck… Why do I need so much, when so many can live happily with so little? This is what I’ve been working on. It has been a little journey unfolding inside of me that has gradually become something that I think is important in my life and my understanding of life. And maybe some of you feel this way too.

Once you have so much stuff surrounding you, your life can become cluttered. And maybe that physical clutter is blocking other real and good things from coming into your life. I believe that what you put into the universe is what you get back. So maybe by removing some of the clutter in your personal universe, you’ll be open to accepting a new experience, a new friend, or new idea. REAL things. The stuff of life. These are just my thoughts.

Something that has grounded me in this whenever I feel like I am needing more stuff is the exciting idea of living more minimally. I imagine that a lot of people in New York City have to do this since their spaces are so small. And that’s always seemed like a fun challenge to me. Something else I think about are so many people around the world, who just live simply on this earth. They tread lightly. Every thing they own has a purpose or some special meaning-or else why would they want it? Because it’s a popular designer brand purse? No way. That sounds laughable when I think about it from the perspective of someone who is really here to live life. These thrills are cheap in the grand perspective. So maybe, if you are feeling this way too, or not, try to think of some things in your life you’re truly grateful for.
Some of the happiest people on this planet live in modest homes and don’t have very many possessions, and yet they want for nothing. Some of the most miserable people can be considered “rich”. It’s just about perspective. Being truly rich in life doesn’t come from owning things. It comes from being grateful for and enjoying whatever it is that you do have-whether you have a lot or a little. Stop stressing. Start living. As the saying goes, the best things in life are free. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this-and other times, well, there’s that sunset.
Here are some tips to help you tread more lightly:
1. Donate clothes and things you no longer use. Goodwill. Vietnam Veterans of America. Salvation Army. Local Churches.
Your stuff will help someone else in need, and you’ll be free of it.
2. Think about what you’re buying and where it came from and who might have participated in making it. Buy second-hand more often. Our society demands new stuff constantly and it burdens our people, animals, and planet. Just step back and think more before buying.
Check out www.fairtradeusa.org and www.lovingeco.com for cruetly-free and fair trade brands and items. Where you put your money matters.
3. Recycle and Reuse. Instead of buying a new, for example, headboard-you may be able to find some old shutters you can paint and mount behind your bed, or you can find a used one you can refurbish and make your own.
Find garage sales and take notice what people are putting out for the trash. If you’re in New Orleans, check out www.thegreenproject.org .

And, last but not least, here are a few quotes that have inspired me in trying to simplify my life.

I am learning…that a man can live profoundly without masses of things.  Richard E. Byrd

Live simply so that others may simply live.  Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness only real when shared.  Into The Wild

See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.  Mother Teresa

All real and wholesome enjoyments possible to man have been just as possible to him since first he was made of the earth.  John Ruskin

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.  Hans Hofmann

The quieter you become, the more you hear. Ram Dass


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goodbye, headaches!

There is this one moment that every vegan has, I think. Or so I have read. That moment when you realize how much the change of diet has affected you positively. Ever since switching from vegetarian to vegan 3 months ago, I have been waiting for that moment. Well people, I finally had it!

You see, I used to get horrible headaches regularly. Like, a few times a week type of regular.  And as much as I hate taking medicine, I would always reach for the Tylenol. Even when I would try to stick it out, I would always end up popping 2 tylenols at a time just to numb the migraine pain.

So, back to my life-changing moment. The other night, my boyfriend turned to me and said “its been a while since you had a headache.” And BAM, my socks were knocked off. “It HAS been a while!” I screamed as suddenly it all hit me.

Chris and I moved to Memphis in August, and I became a vegan in September. I honestly say that I have never had a headache while living in Memphis, (well, there was that one time I drank one wine glass too many, but thats not what we are talking about here ;))  In fact, I don’t think we even have Tylenol in the apartment. But I wouldn’t know, because I have yet to even think about taking any.

Y’all, this is huge. You have no idea how happy realizing this made me! It has been amazing living headache free – and cruelty free! 🙂

And its not just me who has had this revelation! I’ve done a bit of googling and came across several others saying how they used to constantly have headaches and no longer do since becoming vegan.

What about you guys? Any similar situations with headaches? Or anything else? I’m so curious to hear what changes others have noticed about themselves once they became vegan.

– Jenn