Introducing A Struggling Vegetarian

struggling_vegetarian

What is up with the page title? A very good question, I was drawn to wordpress blogging because of two things. First, a great male friend of mine saw a woman on MSNBC who was famous because of her blog. He thought that my brain neurons were fully firing and that I was semi-articulate therefore should create blog. Giggle. He saw a potential in me. Thank you friend, if you are reading this. Smile.

Part two was that I am a struggling vegetarian. So what does that mean? It means that I jumped into being a vegetarian without any real knowledge or support. During my journey, I have had some successes as well as failures. Over the years of starts, stops, and failures, I have learned a great deal about doing this “right”. My biggest frustration during that period was the lack of support and resources during my transition. This frustration is the source of the creation of this blog. Half of my goal of this blog platform is to support those that struggling with the vegetarian journey.

Okay, Lisa that is great, so what does all this mean? Weekly, I will provide a blog post related to food and health to support those trying to improve their health. Naturally, my own struggles will be shared to let readers know that they are not alone. In tandem with that, my passion for supporting struggling vegetarians will be going offline very soon. Keep an eye out for information and opportunities to meet in person.

The great thing about this being a dynamic blog is that I can still discuss digital marketing and consumer tech as well as healthy eating.

Looking forward to supporting fellow struggling vegetarians or those thinking of adopting a vegetarian lifestyle!
Have a great week full of infinite possibilities! 🙂

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7 Easy Healthy Eating Tips

fall-harvest

 

 

As autumn arrives and children go back to school, it becomes harder to adhere to a healthier routine. My tips are general, but in an attempt to provide full disclosure there is a bit of focus on being vegetarian. In my travels, I run into individuals who are diabetic or choosing on their own to become vegetarian. Currently, the healthcare system is not preparing patients for living a “vegetarian lifestyle”. Notice, I said “vegetarian lifestyle” it is a way of life not a change in eating for most people. Here goes:

  • Get a Food Mentor
    • A food mentor can assist you with the transition into becoming a vegetarian along with being there for you through the tough times. You will need a friend to call for support. Also they can provide guidance about food options, recipes, and restaurants that are vegetarian friendly.
    • Takeaway: Join an offline vegetarian group, online vegetarian group, or take vegetarian cooking classes to get some guidance.

 

  • Plan for eating
    • Planning certain aspects of my eating is something that I struggle with personally. My mother would say that I have some nerve mentioning planning my meals! It is my hope that is she isn’t reading this because she is right. It is very helpful, if one wants to be a successful vegetarian to plan meals along with carrying healthy snacks on their person. Please don’t forget to eat the food you carry or it will go bad. I found this out the hard and smelly way. Giggle.
    • Takeaway: A tip would be to stock up on the staples that are easy to eat each week, so you set yourself up for success. For example, you can try to have the following available: nuts, fruit, pre-soak beans for cooking, and some CLIF bars.

 

  • Hydration is key
    • This will assist with managing your hunger. Hydration can come in the form of having a cup of hot tea, which can assist with digestion. A person can experience some indigestion, during the transition, so keeping hydrated via ginger tea for example, is so important. Consuming water can assist with keeping you clear headed as well.
    • Takeaway: One should try to drink several glasses of liquid with some of that being ginger or chamomile tea.

 

  • Exercise is helpful
    • The” vegetarian lifestyle” journey is about the mind-body connection. Exercise will help with your mood aka mind. When one eliminates sugar, salt, and fat there will be a change in one’s mood. Generally, exercising can release endorphins that can put one in a better mood.
    • Takeaway: Exercise will help with your mood. It can be as simple as cardio, yoga, walking, or Pilates. Physical activity will assist with digestion as well.

 

  • Meditation/Mindfulness/Prayer is so so important
    • This relates back to the mind-body connection. You will feel various types of emotions during this period and possible feel like you are out of control. The ability to connect with your breath or a higher power can be tremendously helpful. It will assist you in keeping perspective during this time of transition in your life.
    • Takeaway: A moment of stillness will let you connect and manage your emotions. As little as 10-20 minutes of quiet deep breathing a day can help.

 

  • Loving kindness is a necessity
    • Basically, go easy on yourself and take it one meal at a time. If you fall off the vegetarian wagon, then get back on the wagon the next meal. We are all human and will make mistakes, so don’t be too hard on yourself during this process. Hey, I am also rooting for you!
    • Takeaway: You may fall off the wagon and eat meat, but it is okay. Get back out there and try again!

 

  • Embrace the variety of foods out there! Have fun!
    • There is so much healthy and tasty food out there! Have fun and remember being a vegetarian doesn’t mean that you are eliminating options. You are creating more options and ways that you can eat food. There are tons of recipes to make and great vegetarian restaurants out there! Go forth and eat!

An important last note, please check with your doctor before and during this process because you don’t want to do yourself harm accidently.

What is making me smile this week?

What is making me smile this week?

Hope you are taking a moment to smile this week. It is my hope this blog post will assist you in smiling. This feature was inspired by a wonderful show called the Pop Culture Happy Hour, a favorite podcast of mine from NPR. Please follow them on twitter at @nprmonkeysee.  At the end of each show, they discuss what is making them happy.  As a result, I am going to have a weekly feature in a similar vein, what is making me smile this week. The two things making me smile are pinto beans and The Amazing Spiderman 2.

Since I am a struggling vegetarian, I have explored many of the legume options available to me. My new favorite bean the pinto bean found me via a Spanish burrito at a restaurant. My eating out experience inspired me to make some quasi burritos at home, which were wonderful. I had no resulting digestive problems. As a result, this bean has taken first place in my heart and in my digestive system. It was hard fight but the pinto bean beat out the black bean for the number one spot. So here are my top 5 legumes from easiest to digest to hardest in my opinion.

  1. Pinto Bean
  2. Black Bean
  3. Chick Peas
  4. Black eyes peas
  5. Cannellini Beans

The second thing making me smile is the Amazing Spiderman 2, which I found to be very enjoyable. Andrew Garfield gives a more intense, dynamic, and dark approach to Spiderman. He strikes a nice balance between being cool and dorky/nerdy. As result, I highly recommend the movie to everyone who enjoys the genre. Additionally, I am excited about the next installment of Xmen. That will keep me smiling I am sure, since I adore the depth and breadth of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Of course, there is the marketing tie that I cannot be overlooked with Spiderman, so I must address it.

 

Sony did an awesome job of teasing us with trailers for months to keep the fan base excited. Naturally, the movie studios provided the required complimentary Spiderman merchandise and video game, which appeared to get concept of swinging and web throwing correct according to experts. The movie did a great tie in with the US post office on their trucks and television commercials. Naturally, Disney will work with Sony to time the release of the DVD for Halloween to be in tandem with merchandise to support fandom as well as excited youth market. The marketing of movies and related merchandise are always interesting along with being innovative sometimes. I didn’t see the US post office tie in with Spiderman coming, however US post office is feeling a great deal of external market pressures. As a result, the Spiderman marketing buzz was helpful in increasing the post office’s brand awareness to a different segment of potential consumers.

Well on that note, I say smile a little more this week. Have a great day!

Lisa

A Confession….

            My blog originates out of a desire to help myself and others seeking a healthier way of being. As a result, I am confessing that I am struggling vegetarian. The challenge that I face is related to time, access, knowledge, and finances. The time issue creeps up either in small or large ways. A small way is taking the time to plan my meals for the week along with the weekly run to the produce junction. In addition, time is needed to exercise and meditate because vegetarian eating is a lifestyle, so exercise is needed to assist digestion. Time plays a bigger part with getting to a grocery store that sells vegetarian food items such as tofu, tempeh, falafel, etc, trips which I cannot always make because of time.

          Access is another issue, since the store locations that would best support a healthier diet are not in my immediate area. My neighborhood is a wonderful mix of upper income, working class, and new entrants as a result of gentrification happening all at once. Most residents don’t purchase a lot of products in the community including life sustaining items such as food in the neighborhood.

          Finances can be an issue for all parties even me. Sadly, broccoli in many communities cost more than the dollar menu French fries. This is an issue that I am only slightly insulated from, but anyone of us could be struggling with this additional limitation.

          Lastly, the knowledge part is something that I struggle with in particular. I grew up in a family that ate all imaginable and unimaginable parts of the pig. Along with eating the wonderful edible pig, a lot of food was cooked in a white substance called Cisco aka lard. Conversely, my mother was a big advocate of not eating lot candy, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and playing outside. Also I must confess, I do love vegetables and fruits. I guess I got the good with the bad from my family. Thanks, Mom. Smile.

          So, I am confessing, so that you know I am SO SO imperfect as it relates to this vegetarian and healthy living thing. It is my hope to share my journey, support fellow struggling vegetarians, and keep myself accountable in a public way via this blog. Hopefully, my starts and stops along the way will be amusing as well as supportive to others. My next step is to share a weekly post about my food mishaps along the way to being a better vegetarian! The other weekly post will be more general healthcare topics. We can be our best selves together. Join Me. Share this Blog Post!

Great soups to eat during a polar vortex!

MinestroneSoup_UHChick

Happy New Year to Everyone! As a result of the polar vortex recent visit to the US northeast corridor, I have reconnected with my love of soups. Here are my top 3 soups: vegetable minestrone, black bean, and tomato basil Soup.  Of course, listed but not forgotten is vegetarian chili. Also I have included an easy recipe via the Food Network for minestrone soup with pasta, beans, as well as vegetables. Here is a website that appears to be devoted to soups around the world.  What are your favorite healthy soups?  Please let us know your favorite healthy/low calorie soups.

Happy Sunday!

Urban Healthy Chick

The Beauty of Quinoa

When you are either a vegetarian or on a diet holidays can be Awkward!!!
In the weeks ahead, I will be offering some words of support and tweets to assist you with eating healthy. I have embedded a video about an important seed named quinoa, which is very tasty, healthy, and versatile. In the video, there is a soup with quinoa mentioned that you can explore, which is very tasty. Hope the video is helpful.