Deer Run B&B

2015-01-01 17.16.55.jpgOne of the very best vacations I have ever experienced, especially as a vegan, was at Deer Run Bed & Breakfast on Big Pine Key in Florida. It has been over a year since this vacation, but I still vividly remember the adventure. As soon as I learned years ago there was a vegan B&B in the Keys, this place had been on my bucket list. No one told me about it. There was a small advertisement in Veg News and I was entranced by the idea of supporting veganism in this way. I knew I had to go one day.

For my birthday last year, hubby decided it was time. We flew out to Miami and rented a car. There is a small airport on Key West that is closer to Big Pine Key, the largest island in the Keys, but we started in Miami. Our drive down the one lane each way highway took longer than anticipated, so we were extra excited to arrive. Greeted and hugged, right after sharing we were vegan, by the owner let us know we were definitely in the right place.

Our room was adorable with bright green paint and pillows of fish and turtles. We stayed on the first floor so we could walk right out onto the beach at any moment and our room had a screened-in porch to enjoy the sights and sounds at all times. I love the beach for listening to the water.

2015-01-01 17.33.46.jpg2015-01-01 17.34.59.jpgThe beach was gorgeous and sunsets incredible. We were given bottles to use for filtered water during our stay and a small tour of the grounds to find everything, especially where breakfast would be.

2015-01-01 20.20.16.jpg2015-01-01 18.05.04.jpg

Big Pine Key is known for its miniature deer that are protected, no hunting. We were advised not to feed the deer, but that they may come to us. One day I actually had a cute deer lick my toe as I was reading in a hammock on the beach. It was fun to hear them exploring at night and there was a small fresh water bowl next to our room that they loved to drink from.

2015-01-01 19.00.43.jpgThe space is incredible, but Deer Run is also known for the mouth watering breakfasts. Each morning we were stuffed with deliciousness. A menu would greet us as we picked our seats at the table. Savory or sweet switched each day and our first morning was a sweet morning.

2015-01-02 08.35.05.jpg2015-01-02 08.36.06.jpg2015-01-02 08.55.24.jpg

After the first morning, we figured out that we could wrap our muffin for lunch and fill up on the main dish of the morning. Especially since we also got a fresh fruit juice or smoothy each morning. So full!

We walked along the beach, biked up the road, and kayaked in the Atlantic. Bikes and kayaks are available for guests. Adventuring the other islands was also accomplished and I have an album of beautiful photos. I highly recommend this marvelous vegan paradise and the food easily gains five out of five vegan cupcakes. If I am lucky, I might get to return to Deer Run one day.

If you get to go, there are no-see-ums that bite. Be prepared and enjoy the view!

Advertisements

Chocolate Warning

2013-08-19 20.23.49

Ugh. The last thing I want to think about is chocolate making me sick. Apparently over 50% of supposedly vegan chocolate could contain a large enough amount of dairy to actually cause a reaction.

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Suppliers2/FDA-finds-some-dark-chocolate-includes-undeclared-milk/?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12-Feb-2015&c=ifTHnLnYlytl%2BJh0%2FX2AxbKUAd5WHaVU

One more reason to stick with the vegan chocolates that have a mission of kindness, like Endangered Species or Two Moms In The Raw.

Weight Loss

Even vegans can cary a few extra pounds than they want. Many new vegans loose weight and others are able to maintain healthy weights. The new vegans are often just getting accustomed to the new diets and not fully balancing eating, thus lose weight.

Back to my original thought. Even vegans can desire to lose a few pounds. Especially those of us addicted to more processed vegan foods. I am the first to admit that I could eat fewer processed foods. I lead a hectic life that I love and there are weeks I have less time for cooking. Even with my giant crockpot, I can run out of home-cooked options.

Over a year ago I had to have surgery completely unrelated to my diet or lifestyle. In fact, my diet and lifestyle probably postponed the surgery. Anyway, it was my third one in 10 years and I always gain weight after the surgery. I am less active while I heal and it just happens. I expect it. Within a year I have normally lost the weight again and don’t fret. This least surgery was different. A year later I still didn’t fit into my clothes the way I wanted. There were just extra pounds on me that I didn’t like.

I already exercise most days and eat as healthy as I can afford and make time for. So, what was wrong? I decided to try something different. I started using a Jawbone and its UP app on my phone. Through these tools, I figured out I was not moving as much as I thought, eating too many carbs, not enough protein, and not sleeping as well as I thought. Well, these are all things I can easily change now that I have the information.

I still don’t consume as much protein as meat eaters, but I’m healthy. For the first couple weeks I struggled with increasing my protein, but figured it out. Lots of quinoa and beans. Almonds in a hurry.

I’m down five pounds and fitting back into most of my clothes. I don’t want to buy new clothes, so my goal is to wear what I have. A few more pounds and I will be able to wear everything again. This feels good. The weight loss has been very gradual and thus healthy. No one has even noticed but me. Just what I wanted.

If on a similar journey, there are free ways to start figuring out what is needed to change. There are many smartphone apps that can help you measure your food intake and exorcise output, such as MyFitnessPal. There are apps to help measure sleep and heart beat. Even apps to measure your walking/running/biking distance. Even just journaling all your activity and eating can help shed light onto where small changes could be make to help reach a weight loss goal.

Weight loss is never easy and I can get a little cranky during the process. But, I feel so much better when I look into my closet and have lots options on things I can wear. Good luck on your journey!

Try New Things

2014-06-06 13.35.00

I love trying new things. New things are not always perfect, but I have fun trying and sometimes the new thing is incredible. The photo above is is of a carton of water that I was given instead of a bottle. Very cool idea. Cardboard is much easier to recycle than plastic. I had a little trouble opening the carton, but drinking water was a whole new experience and I loved it.

Being vegan encourages me to continue to try new things. Over the years so many new options have become available and I want to try it all. Sometimes they are not all great and I don’t eat them again and other times something becomes part of my regular diet. It’s fun for me and I don’t mind sharing what I think about different items on this blog. Hopefully you all like reading about my opinions. In real life, I mostly keep my opinions to myself. Others see and know my excitement about trying new things, but I usually keep my mouth shut so everyone can decide for themselves. This and the fact that non-vegans seem to have no trouble sharing their opinions about my diet. I try hard not to be like them.

With all this said, last night I got to be one of the first people to try Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s new restaurant, Modern Love in Omaha, Nebraska. When I moved to Omaha I had no idea that Isa lived here and was quite surprised. She is a nice person and truly loves vegan food. We, the vegans in Omaha, have been anxiously waiting for her first restaurant to open for a long time. Almost two years ago the rumors began and then about a year ago a location was selected. Now, we eat! I will share all about it in my regular Monday post, but there are a few teasers in Twitter from last night. @aneverydayvegan

Happy trying new things!

Hemp Hearts

2014-07-19 21.14.44

I have recently been exercising more and need a little more protein in my diet. A larger blog post coming soon about this, once I figure more out about myself. One thing I have added to my diet is hemp. Hemp is high in protein and adds a nutty flavor. I only sprinkle it on top of things so far and Manatoba Harvest tastes better than others I have tried. If looking to add protein and omegas, this is a nice way to do so.

Feedback

I need some feedback. For over a year I have been fairly religious in sharing every week and have followers (super cool – thank you all for being awesome!). But, the viewing has been falling off. Maybe it’s the insanely cold winter we have had in the states.

  • I started this blog to have a place to point to when people have questions and it has been great for that.
  • I have posted most of my favorite recipes and shared my new ones that tasted good.
  • Although I really enjoy writing this blog, it does take time.
  • Should I keep going?
  • Should I drop to one post a week?
  • Instead of having a goal of two posts a week, should I just post when I have something that inspires me to share?

What are your thoughts?

I am traveling this week, so it is a good time to ponder.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being vegan!

Moo Shoes

20140106-100614.jpg

I have been reading about and exploring the website of Moo Shoes for years. Every time I needed a new pair of shoes, I would covet something from this vegan shoe store. But, I have never bought anything. I don’t like buying shoes without trying them on. I know, it’s a problem.

When I found out I would be in NYC for a few days, I had to pilgrimage! And this place is around the corner from Babycakes, so the destination was an easy choice.

20140106-100917.jpg

Walls of vegan shoes, belts, and handbags! All made with fair wages and in fabrics that move like animal based fabrics. It was a real treat to finally experience this store.

Stocking Stuffers

2013-12-18 18.20.30

 

Who doesn’t love to stuff their stockings with treats? There has to be a better way to say that. Seriously, what an odd idea. But I’m the first person to say “ME!!!” I love stuffed stockings on Christmas morning and I don’t let being vegan persuade me otherwise. Instead of the cheap non-vegan candy that I got as a kid, I go pick out some really wonderful yummies that I drool over until Christmas morning. This year we have two different kinds of truffles and six different kinds of glutent-free cookies. Yum! I have also filled my stockings with nuts, fruit, small games, ornaments for the tree, and other little trinkets that are fun to unveil once a year. Maybe I need to do this more than once a year?

Now I’m off to try and forget that I have delicious treats to try next week.

Let’s Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving

 

I love to eat. No, really, eating is one of my very favorite things to do. I don’t really need an excuse to make a giant feast of food, just time.

Thanksgiving is kind of hard for lots of vegans and vegetarians. Traditionally, the entire meal is centered around a giant bird. If not wanting to eat the bird, things can feel tense. What is a non-bird eating person to do? This is only a question if attending an event with non-vegans.

I wrote recently about how I try to talk about being vegan. Today I wanted to share how I cook for the day. I always start by placing some constraints on myself.

1. I remember I am doing this for me. There will probably be people at the event that are unsure about me and the whole vegan thing. That’s okay. These people may be so uncomfortable with my choices that they refuse to eat anything vegan. Even though they have probably been eating vegan dishes their entire lives and just didn’t realize it. This is okay. I am cooking for me and will share with anyone interested. The rest have a bird to eat.

2. Don’t over do it. If I am cooking for myself, I do not need every traditional Thanksgiving dish re-imagined for a vegan. I just can’t eat that much. Not to mention trying to get everything to someone else’s home in a timely manner.

3. What is my favorite? What is the one dish I have always loved at Thanksgiving that I want to make sure I get to eat? The mashed potatoes? The sweet potatoes? The green bean casserole? I am originally from Texas and my go-to Thanksgiving dish is green bean casserole. Yummy! Second is the sweet potatoes.

4. What else do I need? I can’t survive on green bean casserole alone. What other one thing should I have to feel full for the day?

These are my parameters. I make a green bean casserole that is so yummy, people who don’t normally like the one made with canned condensed cream of mushroom soup, love it and I never have any left overs. Then I make one other thing like the macaroni and “cheese” I posted on Monday to round out my contribution. If my host is nice, s/he will make the potatoes with milk/butter alternatives, but I can’t count on it. If I have the time, I will pick up vegan roles and fruit for dessert. If I really have time, I will make a dessert. But, dessert is outside of my constraints and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t have the time or energy.

I figured this out after many years of trying to make everything. I was also experimenting with recipes at this time and not everything came out perfect. Unfortunately, when things are not super yummy and others try them, they then have a bad experience and could be turned away from an amazing life choice. That is the last thing I want. Following these constraints has really helped me continue to enjoy days of food with extended family.

Good luck!

The Dreaded Question

“So what do you eat?”

I am always perplexed by this question. It frequently rolls out of people’s mouths once they understand what vegan is. Here is how the conversation often goes for me:

New friend: “What does vegan mean?”

Me: “It means I don’t eat anything that was or came from an animal.”

New friend: “So what do you eat?”

Me: “Everything else.”

I also get a little sad from this question. Not because I am tired of the question, but because I suddenly think my new friend has a very limited diet and has not been exposed to the amazing world of foods that I know as commonplace. As the holidays get closer and closer, and the prospect of joining a group of non-vegans for a large meal is much more likely to materialize, I thought I would share how I think about such possibilities.

1. These meals can be difficult. That is okay. We have all decided to be vegan for different reasons and the other people at the meal probably have some restriction to their diet. They may not have thought about it as a restriction, but it is. For example, think of people who say they don’t like vegetables. This is a giant restriction. What about someone following a restricted diet for weight loss? Or maybe someone with diabetes is joining the meal. All these make for a difficult meal plan, some potentially difficult conversations as everyone figures out each others stuff, and difficult responses by various people in the room.

2. These meals can tiring. This is okay too. Anything different often gets lots of questions and sometimes weird looks. No one ever said something worth doing would be easy. I try to smile a lot and not be an expert. Each person there feels they are an expert. It’s not my job to tell them otherwise. It is only my job to be me.

3. Questions are never the same. In the past, I have tried to anticipate the questions people will ask about veganism so I can be ready. Sounds like a good idea, right? It does help to have useful information in my brain, but coming off as an expert makes others feel like they are being criticized. Oops. The last thing I want to do is turn anyone away from the love that comes from being vegan.

4. Remember the love. Focus on the love. Let that love for yourself, your community, animals, and the environment shine through all your actions and answers. Everyone comes to veganism from a different place, but we all see how amazing it is for us. Let that shine and others will want to know more.

5. Send them to my blog. And other blogs. Let them see all the information and amazing food available to decide for themselves. Even making small changes brings more love into ones life.

6. Smile a lot. Everyone loves a smile and they are infectious. Imagine this scenario: “I met this vegan the other day and s/he was so happy and positive. I want that! Maybe I should give this a try.”