Tag: vegan

Vegan Salad Round-up

Vegan Salad Round-up

Salads are the easiest way to get in a ton of delicious veggies. They’re generally low in calories but  high in so many essential nutrients among other awesome things, like protein, fiber, & antioxidants, depending on the ingredients you choose to use. Being so versatile and easy […]

How to deal with runner’s side stitch

How to deal with runner’s side stitch

This one goes out to all my fellow runners out there! How many of you have experienced the dreaded side stitch? I personally would rather have aching, sore legs during an entire run than experience a side stitch. I can push through sore legs. Side stitch? Not […]

What it’s like to be an imperfect vegan.

What it’s like to be an imperfect vegan.

Perfection. Why is everyone always trying to be perfect? We all know it really doesn’t exist, because perfection lies in the eye of the beholder. You might think that statue is perfect, but he might think it’s flawed. I might think the weather is perfect, but you wish it were a bit cooler. Your definition and your values of perfect doesn’t match my own or anyone else’s for that matter.
Perfection sets the bar so high but also sets us up for failure. Why do we set such high standards that are going to be legitimately impossible to obtain. We don’t do that to our children, do we? We aren’t looking for perfection from them, just that they are trying their hardest. This is part of being a parent. Teaching them to try their hardest but also teaching them that shit happens and we are all made of flaws and imperfections. When does this idea get thrown out the window? (Obviously there are parents out there who expect perfection from their children, and here is another example on definition of perfection. I think that’s bad parenting but they think they’re doing well. Im right they’re wrong, but that’s neither here nor there 😉 )
So when do we become so hard on ourselves? Maybe it’s when we realize there are people watching. Or at least, we think they’re watching. And sometimes they really are. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a vegan blatantly disregard another persons feelings and actions because they are not 100% vegan. And honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s a vegan, a paleo lover, or a gluten-free die hard. They all think their way of living is perfect and everyone else is doing it all wrong. Now first of all I have to say that as a future registered dietitian, I do know a lot about diets and how the body works. And I also know how to sift through the research in order to understand if a diet is healthy or not (because there are some absolutely ludicrous diets out there, that are absolute bullshit: we’ll save those for another post). So not to sound pretentious, but compared to the average person, I’d like to think I know a little more about what’s best for each of us in terms of food, because I spend literally all my time reading and learning about nutrition and the body. That being said, I am still learning and I am certainly not perfect (there’s that word again!).
But that’s not the point. The point is that as a future healthcare professional, I understand how hard it is to follow a certain diet and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We each have so many things going on in our lives, and no two people are alike. My goal as a future RD is to demonstrate that health is about trying your best, and this realization is also healthy in terms of mental health. As soon as we realize we are just trying our best, it’s like lifting a weight off our shoulders. And as soon as you realize your “perfect” diet might not be perfect for everyone else, it also frees your mind of negativity.
I’ve had some practice over the years in realizing that I’m only setting myself up for failure if I expect to be a perfect vegan. I want to do what I think is best for me, I want to try my hardest, and I want to inspire others to do the same. This is my definition of being a great registered dietitian as well. You wouldn’t expect your clients to be perfect, so don’t do it to yourself either.
I often try my boyfriend’s food, which is rarely vegan. We live together, and although he rarely buys meat or seafood, there is almost always eggs or cheese in the house. We both love food and he is not vegan. Our relationship is so much more than my personal choices. He is proud of himself for making a delicious egg and cheese sandwich, or making a balsamic mozzarella panini. He made rigatoni for the first time a couple weeks ago, and dare I say it, it was delicious. I don’t think he would mind if I had not had tried it (by the way, there is a difference between tasting and eating), but there is so much more to me than a vegan diet. The food that goes into my mouth 99% of the time is 100% vegan. I leave that small percentage open for the times a friend or family member makes a recipe and I want to have that experience with them. My love for animals, my hate against corporate greed and animal cruelty, they determine the way I chose to eat 99% of my meals and the way I want to live my life. This is my idea of perfection. What makes me, well, me….is that I also have a love for food and nutrition, experimenting with certain food components, and trying to understand how I can balance it all and demonstrate to future clients that it’s not about being perfect. Being vegan takes practice, and I am still trying to find that perfect way to meet my personal health needs. My credibility is literally thrown out the door the moment I expect myself to be perfect though. I have seen other vegans strive for perfection that it has made me literally want to do the opposite. Literally, the opposite! How can I balance my diet with the real world, so that I can show others to do the same? I’m sure as hell not going to learn anything by trying to fit another person’s definition of perfect.
I’m what you call a plant-pusher. I will forever advocate the benefits of whole, unprocessed foods, but I will never expect another person should necessarily be vegan. What bothers me is when another vegan berates someone else for eating meat, or eating meat even once a month, or maybe even owning a leather couch (I know that’s really random, but there are people out there who will find something wrong with you, even if it’s through your furniture, I promise). First of all it’s none of your business. Remember what I said about realizing your own diet may not work for everyone else? That sense of entitlement, that sense of being able to criticize another human being for being less than perfect, it says a whole lot more about you that it does about them. That’s for damn sure. Doesn’t it make more sense to be encouraging or to lead by example? Show others how a vegan diet has benefited you. Show them how you lost a bunch of weight or your cholesterol levels improved.
Second of all, show the world how you are a happier person inside because you are doing the right thing. It’s no secret that animal cruelty is not cool, that global warming is a real thing, and that corporate greed is evil. When you decide to acknowledge this, that is an achievement in itself, because some people choose to ignore it. And by being a vegan (whether is ethical vegan, vegan on the weekends, vegan until 6PM) it just makes you feel proud. You never know when someone who is just starting out a vegan diet on the weekends will become a diehard vegan in a few months or years later…better late than never? But listen, you don’t come off as a happy, positive person as soon as you criticize another individual for their choices (unless of course, they are into animal cruelty, in that case criticize all you want) I can say that since being vegan (almost 4 years now), I am happier, and I am satisfied with my choices, even if that means tasting my boyfriend’s non-vegan food.
So what is it like to be an imperfect vegan? It actually feels really good. The realization that perfect will never exist sheds a whole new light on the world. I’m one step closer to reaching my true goals, and that’s inspiring others to just want to eat healthier, to take their health seriously (we are not immortal my friends!), and not to strive for perfection. And if you’re a vegan reading this, don’t expect yourself, or anyone else, to be perfect. The fact that you are vegan or even considering to be vegan is amazing. Find comfort in your own actions, not in others!
Conscious Bite Out: a volunteer’s perspective

Conscious Bite Out: a volunteer’s perspective

Last night I volunteered at an exclusive event called Conscious Bite Out in Wynwood, Miami. The event took place in an enchanting, modern spot called The Sacred Space Miami, with dimmed lights, tea candles and spider green flowers delicately placed everywhere. It really was such […]

What I learned about Leaky Gut

What I learned about Leaky Gut

Last week I watched a webinar about leaky gut with Dr. Josh Axe. It was super interesting (nutrition nerd alert), & I made sure to take notes in order to simplify this very interesting topic for you that I know everyone else is so curious about! 😉

First of all, what is leaky gut? Leaky gut is referred to as intestinal permeability. Okay, now I know what you’re thinking…

What the heck does intestinal permeability mean? Our gut is meant to be semipermeable, meaning the lining of our intestines allow certain substances to pass through, and not others. Permeable on the other hand, is letting all substances to essentially pass through the gut and into the rest of the body AKA the bloodstream. Leaky gut = intestinal permeability = letting all substances pass through.

The next question is…. is this a problem? Well, what if the gut leaks EVERYTHING into the rest of the body or bloodstream? The membrane of our gut usually prevents toxins, bacteria, yeast, and other large molecules of food (such as undigested food like proteins, including wheat, which is a protein) from passing through the barrier. But when these things are able to pass through the gut, they have consistently shown to  trigger autoimmune reactions and cause mild to severe health problems. Some believe that EVERY health problem begins in the gut and whether the gut is functioning properly or not. This includes whether the semipermeable membrane is doing its proper job. After all, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut.

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

According to Dr. Axe’s webinar, a leaky gut affects the whole body, everything from the skin, thyroid, colon, adrenals, joints, sinuses, mouth, brain, etc. It is the root cause of food intolerance, immune system complications, inflammation, and autoimmunity.


Photo // Dr. Axe

Dr. Axe also claims that the leaky gut triggers include:

  • GMO foods, which might potentially kill the good bacteria in the gut
  • Antibiotics, which he refers to as “ABombs”
  • Gluten, for those with gluten sensitivity, which is not broken down properly and may cause inflammation
  • Processed sugar, which feeds yeast in the body, causes candida yeast overgrowth
  • Conventional dairy. dairy (and meat) these days frequently contain antibiotics, hormones, and other harmful substances due to the common farming agricultural practices.
  • Food sensitivities or allergies (leaky gut can essentially cause food sensitivities or allergies, but if you genuinely have a food sensitivity or allergy and continue to eat the food, it will cause leaky gut. For example if you have Celiac and continue to eat wheat, it may cause leaky gut, but leaky gut does NOT cause celiac)

*Not apart of this webinar, but according to Michael Gregor, M.D., (see video here): animal fat causes the gut lining to become leaky and contributes to the breakdown of intestinal barrier. Studies showed that the bloodstream became abundant in edotoxins (bacterial toxin) following a high animal fat meal (I think the meal was McDonadls sausage and egg McMuffins), which causes inflammation and the immune system going abrupt. These endotoxins come from the gut!

Dr. Axe’s 5 steps to heal leaky gut:

  1. Know your gut type (he did not go into detail about gut types)
  2. Remove inflammatory food triggers, which is different for everyone
  3. Nourish your gut lining with key nutrients
  4. Treat specific organs with supplements
  5. Rebalance microbes and probiotics

Not but not least, his top healing foods include:

  • Bone broth. Contains proline, glycine, and L-glutamine. These amino acids are abundant in bone broth, but they are also found is many foods, including a plant-based foods. They are also not essential amino acids, which means they can be produced by the body. Just a little side note: When we get sick, chicken noodle soup is the go-to, right? But back in the day chicken noodle soup was very different than chicken noodle soup today. Today, chicken noodle soup has processed chicken, or chicken that was pumped with antibiotics or growth hormones and are fed a grain diet. What the chicken eats and the antibiotics/hormones they receive are most definitely translated to the food product you are eating. Not to mention the noodles in chicken noodle soup, which is processed grain, ultimately devoid of any nutrients the grain originally had. Can you tell I am totally against the “chicken noodle soup cure”? Chicken noodle soup today does not equal chicken noodle soup hundreds of years ago, which was essentially “bone broth.” The point is, while proline, glycine, and l-gutamine are important amino acids (as are ALL amino acids), they can be obtained from a varied diet based on healthy, whole foods. You don’t need to go out and make some bone broth in order to get them, although there are some people who might benefit from a bone broth concoction depending on their health condition and needs.
  • Coconut oil. According to Dr. Axe, coconut oil kills of yeast, especially for those with “candida gut.” I need to do more information seeking on this.
  • Sauerkraut & fermented veggies. These are very good prebiotics (food for probiotics that live in the gut).
  • Goats milk, kefir. These are probiotics. *To understand the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, check out my previous article on the topic.
  • Blueberries. Which contain resveratrol, flavanoids, and other antioxidants, and lower in sugar compared to other fruits. (Okay, in my opinion, blueberries are definitely great for you but as are ALL fruits. Don’t just eat blueberries and think you’re doing yourself a favor. A diet including all fruit, which contains many different antioxidants and phytochemicals is ALWAYS the best idea.).
  • Orange/yellow foods. Especially squash family.

+ Supplements. Varies greatly per person, but Dr. Axe recommends:

  • Probiotics. 50 billion IU/daily. (Need to say SBO – soil based organisms & food based strains)
  • Digestive enzymes. These help break down food and gives the gut a rest, especially when consumed with meat or starch products.
  • Adaptogenic herbs. He mentions Ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Licorice root.
  • L-Glutamine. He claims this amino acid supplements is a “band-aid” for the gut lining and helps repair the small intestine.

Supplements should only be taken after you have seen a health professional!

To wrap up, I just want to clarify that this article is based off of the webinar from Dr. Josh Axe. These are not necessarily my opinions, although I did include my opinion where I felt it was needed. I just wanted to share my notes with you. I do think leaky gut is very real and such a major contributor to disease and health complications. This is why I consistently recommend a diet based on whole foods, because a diet based on whole foods will contain all the essential nutrients for a proper functioning gut!

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Vegan Chickpea Tuna Sandwich

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Sandwich

It’s about time I shared this amazing recipe. Some people don’t like the taste of tuna, this recipe is  perfect for you. Some people want to cut back on their mercury intake  (tuna is one of the highest seafoods in mercury), this recipe is perfect […]

What’s for dinner

What’s for dinner

BBQ PULLED SWEET POTATO SANDWICHES WITH COLESLAW & RANCH SALAD Click for each recipe!! BBQ pulled sweet potato Coleslaw Ranch dressing You’re welcome! 😉  

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

Believe it or not, our bodies can synthesize all the fat it needs, and saturated, monounsaturated, and trans fat (including cholesterol) do not need to be consumed through the diet. Omega-3 and omega-6 are the only two which the body cannot synthesize and therefore they are considered essential fats.

Technically, only one kind of omega-3 needs to be obtained through our diet: Alpha-lenolenic acid (ALA), which has the ability to produce other omega-3 fatty acids in the body such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, this conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is relatively limited, and it is often recommended that EPA and DHA be consumed through the diet as well, either through food source or supplements. The Omega-6 that needs to be obtained from the diet is called Linoleic acid (LA).

But how much omega-3 and omega-6 do we need to consume in the diet?

ALA (omega-3) and LA (omega-6) compete for metabolism, which means too much of either one will reduce the metabolism of the other. This is one of the reasons a recommended ratio of 1 (or about 2:1) for omega-6 to omega-3 was developed (1). Unfortunately most Americans consume excessive amounts of omega-6 and are deficient in omega-3, with an average ratio of 16:1!

Both omega-3 and -6 play essential roles in brain function, normal growth and development. The high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, however, promotes the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (3). Omega-3 (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio), on the other hand, has been shown to prevent against these major diseases and also help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis (2).

The high ratio of omega-6 can be attributed to grain fed animals (including the meat, dairy, and eggs that come from them), mayo-based foods, and the increased vegetable oil consumption: safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oils, coming from processed foods and cooking methods.

Remember, the idea is that both of these fatty acids are essential for proper health and play a  role in the prevention of many diseases. The key is balance between the two. It’s very easy to consume omega-6 in our diet, and a bit tricker to get those omega-3’s. Here are the top  sources of omega-3 (which also have low ratio of omega6/3):

  • Flax seeds*
  • Hemp seeds*
  • Chia seeds
  • Algae/seaweed
  • Beans, leafy greens, squash-help meet the RDA (4)
  • Supplements for ALA, DHA, or EPA
  • Fatty fish (good sources include anchovies, herring, salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, and pacific oysters) & shellfish


*Including their oils.

  1. http://www.eufic.org/article/en/artid/The-importance-of-omega-3-and-omega-6-fatty-acids/
  2. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909
  4. http://plenteousveg.com/vegan-sources-omega-3/
  5. https://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick/



#WCW: Incredible Lady Vegans & Vegetarians

#WCW: Incredible Lady Vegans & Vegetarians

Love all of these actresses and especially love that they are vegetarian or vegan. A woman who makes her health and her dietary choices a priority is sexy as heck! #wcw ! I’d like to add Bianca (creator of THe Friendly Fig) to this list!!?