I wanted to share some exciting news with you guys! I've been writing this blog since May of last year. If you're reading this, you're probably one of five people and I want to say thank you for your support lol. I never wrote this blog with the intention of getting notoriety. I started this blog because I wanted to be able to share with everyone how easy it is to be a vegan, not just with food but with your beauty products as well.
I had stated before my mom has been my biggest advocate with everything in my life, and me being vegan has been no different. She has really helped me as far as networking, and was able to set me up with someone who owns a few commercial building in surrounding areas where I live. This woman has a newsletter that goes out each month to everyone in those buildings, and she enjoyed reading my blog so much that she asked me to write an article for the newsletter! She asked me to write about eating healthy in the New Year. I am beyond thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity. Whether it's an ongoing thing, or just this one article, it doesn't matter. The fact that someone asked me, regular old Ashley no one special, to write an article about healthy eating, that 100+/- people will be reading, that really means a lot to me. So, I wanted to post the article I wrote in here as well, because living a healthier life in 2016 should be something we all strive to do!
Christmas is a holiday filled with family, togetherness, fun, and food. So much food. Cookies, candies, chocolates, and big hefty meals. Then you have New Years Eve filled with friends, parties, drinks, and laughter. Then you wake up on New Years Day, and something amazing happens. After you get passed the grogginess from the night before, you realize that New Years is a day full of opportunity, positivity, and transformation. Every year when that ball drops and we welcome in a new year, we have a chance to make a positive change in ourselves. We make resolutions with the best of intentions, but they don't always make it to February. It takes 21 days to make or break a habit, which means some of you may be starting off strong now, but might fizzle as January comes to an end. If you resolved this year to make 2016 your healthiest year ever, I'm here to give you some tips on how to make that happen. Let's make this the year we not only stick to our resolutions, but we make those resolutions a way of life!
Tip #1: Eat a plant based diet as often as you can. You may recall an article that came out recently stating that processed meat (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, etc) causes cancer and that beef, pork, and lamb likely do too. Those are cold hard facts from the World Health Organization. There are so many meat replacement options, whether it's veggie burgers you find in the freezer section of your local food store, ones that you make from scratch in your kitchen, or tofu/seitan/tempeh, you've got several option. If you aren't already on a meatless diet, start small. Try Meatless Monday's, and vow to eat plant based on that day. Or, do one meatless meal a day. Start small and work your way up. There is a plant based alternative to every food you love, including meat and dairy. You just have to look! You can do this!
Tip #2: In keeping with tip #1, go dairy free as often as you can. I'm sure you remember those "milk does a body good commercials" but don't give into that hype. Milk is not for human consumption. Milk is for baby cows. There are plant based milks, such as: soy, almond (my favorite), cashew, coconut, and hemp. Almond milk, for example, is fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and the kind that I drink is even high in protein! They make yogurts, cheese, ice cream, Cocowhip (coconut Cool Whip essentially and it's amazing), and even cheese. Look for brands like So Delicious, Stoneyfield Organic Soy, Tofutti, Daiya, and even store brands like Nature's Promise by Giant.
Tip #3: Eat more fruits and veggies. This one may sound a little silly, but most of us aren't getting enough of either. The easiest way to increase your intake? Smoothies! The beauty of smoothies is you can put the whole kitchen sink in there if you want to. Fruits, veggies, non-dairy milk, non-dairy ice cream, legumes, nuts, seeds.. you name it and you can probably find a recipe for it. There's vegan protein powder you can add as well to turn your smoothie into a meal replacement. All you need is a blender, and it doesn't have to be a fancy one either, as long as it can crush ice you're golden!
Tip #4: Incorporate legumes, seeds, and nuts into your diet. You need fat in your diet, but you want the good fat that comes from nuts and avocados, not that comes from cake and potato chips. They're also high in fiber and protein. When I make a peanut butter and jelly for lunch, I sprinkle some sunflower seeds on it. I also sprinkle them in my quinoa. As little as a 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds adds 7 grams of protein to your diet. When I make mashed sweet potatoes, I add some pumpkin seeds in for a crunch. When I have a salad, I load it up with black beans and garbanzo beans, plus sunflower seeds. I mix a handful of nuts in with my smoothies. Make your own soup at home, and incorporate beans that way. Minestrone with veggie broth and kidney beans. White bean soup with potatoes and zucchini. There's so many easy recipes and I know you can find something you'll like. There's even a company called Beanitos that makes tortilla chips out of white beans and black beans. They're so good you won't realize you're not eating a real corn chip!
Tip #5: Get more physical activity in your life. This is the most dreaded one, I know. But once you incorporate physical activity into your routine, it's easier to stick with it. You don't even have to join a gym. There's tons of work out videos that you can find On Demand that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Or, do some squats and push ups during commercial breaks which your shows. All of us ladies have yoga pants, it's time to put them to some real actual use!
That's it! Five easy tips to a better and healthier you! Happy 2016 to everyone!