Renewed for the New Year!

2018

This is undoubtedly one of the happiest times of the year. People are excited about all the possibilities of the upcoming year. They’re eager to close the door on the past and set their sights on the future.

For me, it’s a very reflective time. I actually began my reflection the last couple of months of 2017. I started looking back at everything that occurred up until that point. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I looked for the lessons from those experiences.

I also looked at what I wanted to do differently as I move forward. How can I take things to the next level? What am I lacking, and how can I fill the gaps?

I can honestly say that 2017 was the hardest year of my life. I lost a lot. I had to start over, AGAIN. It didn’t feel good. I spent the majority of the year in survival mode.

I felt like I lost myself. I lost my confidence and I was forced to figure out who I am now. Because after everything I went through, I’m no longer the same person.

During my reflection I was able to see that I’m finally on the other side of all the turmoil. I am finally ready to shed my old skin and reveal the new one.

I have been reborn from the inside out. Now it’s time for my outside to reflect who I am on the inside.

I would not have chosen the journey I took last year, but I’m really glad it happened. It taught me that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. I can take a lot.

I’m still figuring some things out, but I’m really clear about other things. The primary thing being my health. I’m ready to live the best life possible. That requires me to be in optimal health.

New You Just Ahead

So, here are my key focus areas for 2018:  

  1. I want to be a better vegan. In response to my troubles with fibroids, I stopped being a vegan for a few months last year. I continued most of my plant-based habits, but I added fish and eggs to my diet. After about 5 months of that, I decided I wanted to go back to a fully plant-based diet. Now, my food choices are primarily about nutrition. I’m striving to eat to live, not live to eat.

  2. I want to be more intentional about my workouts. I was keeping active this past year, but I wasn’t elevating my workouts. I did a lot of walking and some yoga. That’s about it.  I’m more deliberate about what I do and why I’m doing it. I work out at least 4-6 days per week. I strive to give my body what it needs. Some days that’s yoga, others it’s strength training, or it might just be cardio. I’m not forcing anything. I’m giving my body what I believe it’s telling me it needs. The added benefit to this approach is that I show my body more love and appreciation. I’m not judgmental because of what it’s not. I’m grateful for what it is, and how it consistently serves me.

  3. I want to be more aware of my thoughts and mindset. Thoughts are powerful. They ultimately dictate our actions. For the past couple of years I’ve made excuses about my health and weight because of my fibroids. It kept me at the status quo and unhappy. I now see it’s all in my mind. I can do anything I set my mind to. I can overcome any challenge as long as I have the right mindset.

believe you canI started incorporating these changes in my life the day after Thanksgiving. I’m almost at the 10 pound mark for weight loss. That’s a BIG deal for me! Especially because I’m doing it on my terms and at my pace. I’m not feeling deprived. I feel empowered.

Every week I’m making progress in my mind, body and spirit.

I realize how much an impact my thoughts have on my progress in all aspects of my life. My work, my health, and my relationships.

What makes me most excited about this year is the realization that I’m the one who ultimately controls the outcomes I get. I can have the life I desire. Not because I wish it so, but because I make it so.

What I know for sure is that If I’m willing to put in the time, energy and effort to accomplish my goals, anything is possible.

What are you believing for this year?

Until next time…
Peace, Love, & Fitness!

 

A Different Kind of Triathlon – A “Mindful Triathlon”

If you are a regular follower of my blog then you know I completed my first ever triathlon back in July. It was the most challenging and exciting thing I’ve done so far this year. Well, I’m getting ready to participate in another triathlon. This one is much different – it’s a “Mindful Triathlon”.

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Wanderlust Festival

I know that sounds really weird, but that’s what it is. Instead of the swim, bike, run events that are customary for a traditional triathlon, the Mindful Triathlon events include a 5K run, meditation and yoga.

It’s part of the Wanderlust Festival. This one day event has been taking place in urban parks across the country. Upcoming events are scheduled for Brooklyn NY, Austin Texas, Hawaii, and later this month it’s coming to Atlanta.

I had the pleasure of talking to one of the lead yoga instructors for the event. Nora Honarvar from Tough Love Yoga studios shared some insights about this unique event and what we can expect. Please click on the image below to watch the interview.

mindfultriathlon

Wanderlust 108 will be held at Piedmont Park in Atlanta on Sunday, September 28th. Please visit the event website at www.wanderlust.com for registration information.

Now, I have a question for you – What do you think of this concept of a mindful triathlon?

*The photo featured in this blog is by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival.

** The photos featured in the video are by Stewart Noack, Daniel Craig, Amy Hart, and Vincent Tran for Wanderlust Festival. 

Kale Yeah I’m Vegan!

I have a new statement tank top I recently bought that I absolutely love. It says “Kale Yeah I’m Vegan.” I bought it because it’s cute and it makes a proud declaration that I’m vegan. I love being vegan. I don’t have to try to force it on others. It’s just a lifestyle that  works for me and I happen to love it.

kaleyeahtshirtpeta

Since I’ve bought the t-shirt I love the reaction I get from people when I wear it. It’s always a positive response. I enjoy that it’s a conversation starter too. I typically get unsolicited comments from people who tell me they’ve tried veganism in the past, but they couldn’t stick to it. Most make that admission in a way that they seem to judge themselves or feel bad that they weren’t able to sustain it.

Let me say, as proud as I am for being a vegan, I don’t judge those who are not. Nor do I judge those who wanted to do this, but didn’t find it worked for them. Honestly, it’s not for everybody. I believe that everybody can benefit from following a plant based diet. Yet I acknowledge that it’s not sustainable for every body.

Since I’ve encountered so many people who have tried vegan lifestyle, but didn’t continue, it got me to thinking. Why is it people find it unsustainable? I think there are several reasons for this.  Here are some of the most common:

1.  Too much too fast. It’s much easier to transition into this lifestyle. If you’ve been eating meat at every meal, you may not want to stop cold turkey. Try reducing the amount you consume over a week. Try cutting back to once a day, then go a full day without it, then as that gets manageable, add more days. Make it a gradual process.

2. Consuming too many carbs/lack of balance. When people try this lifestyle without preparation, they tend to eat a bunch of carbs because they aren’t aware of all the options out there. I fell into this trap too at first. Consuming a lot of rice, potatoes, beans, bread -it can leave you feeling bloated and ultimately lead to weight gain. Carbs are okay, but in moderation. Make sure you eat the right kinds of carbs. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are excellent.

3. Lack of nutrients. Some people end up becoming “junketarians”; they tend to eat a lot of junk food. They don’t get the proper nutrients, so they are lethargic and drained of energy. If you’re eating more plants and a variety of vegetables you won’t feel so deprived. Also, incorporate healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds. These are healthy fats that leave you satiated, so you feel full longer.  

4. Too few food choices. Many people fall into the trap of eating the same things over and over. This results in boredom. There are so many options available to you. If you’re not creative, there are tons of resources online that offer fun, healthy, delicious meals. One of my favorite blogs to get recipes is The Simple Veganista. There are very few things non-vegans consume that we can’t get in a vegan variety. Everything from pasta to burgers, to breads and desserts. I dare say there are some foods in vegan form that if you try it, you won’t desire to go back to any other version.  

5. It’s not for everybody.  Some people will not do well on a vegan diet. There are a lot of factors that might impede certain people from thriving on this diet. If you find that you’re doing the things I’ve suggested in this blog and you’re still feeling bad or lethargic, then you should not continue. By all means, if you have severe health issues, you want to consult with your doctor before you make any drastic changes to your diet.

Just remember, there is no single path to health that will work for everybody. My primary desire is that you find the best path to health that works for you. Even if you don’t eliminate meat completely from your diet, everybody can benefit from incorporating more plant based foods into their meals.

If you want more information about how to successfully transition to a plant based diet, please check out my e-book on my website. It’s free to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter and email updates.

So, now I have a question for you. Have you tried to follow a vegan diet? If so, did it work for you? If not, what do you think went wrong? I’d love for you to post your comments on my blog. 

 

Healthy Ways to Increase Protein for Peak Performance

As you may recall from my last blog, my biggest goal this year is to participate in a triathlon. It’s part of my overall goal to get in the BEST shape of my life. In general, I’m a healthy person. Now, I want to work on defining my muscles and reshaping my body. So, I’m kicking up my workouts to include more strength training.

veganathlete

Of course, in order to build muscle I have to increase my protein. As a vegan, I’m always asked about my ability to meet my protein needs. Since I primarily follow a plant based diet, I get enough protein. But to increase my muscles I need to double my current intake. This is a challenge because the easiest way for a vegan to increase their protein is to consume a lot of soy products. I’m not a big soy fan. I do consume certain soy products on occasion: non-GMO brands of organic tofu, tempeh, and miso. Other than that, I try to avoid it.

The other challenge for me is trying to increase my protein while reducing my calories. I can get my protein up with beans, nut butters, protein powders, but the calories can add up really fast. So, every day is an experiment for me as I try to strike a balance. I need to find the right proteins and combine them with the right foods so I can build muscle while losing weight. This is key because as I’ve said in previous blogs, you can’t out train a bad diet. I can work out all day, but if I’m not fueling my body with the right foods, it’s to no avail.

I’m learning as I go. Now that I’ve committed to completing a sprint triathlon I’m going to start my official training schedule the end of this month. I need my diet to be consistent and on track by then. I’m making adjustments and progress everyday.

I want to share with you some of the things I’m doing to increase my protein intake and reduce my body fat.

1.  Consume at least 30g of protein at breakfast. This helps me stave off hunger for at least 4 hours. Protein rich foods are good for satiety…meaning you feel satisfied after eating and you don’t get hungry as quickly. A sample breakfast for me includes a sprouted wheat bagel (10 grams of protein, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (4 grams), and a protein shake (17g). I use either Vega protein powder in vanilla, or raw protein powder in vanilla. I mix it with frozen strawberries, ½ banana, water and a little almond milk.  I prefer to consume my largest meal at breakfast. To save on calories, I can just mix the protein powder with water or a little almond milk. A cup of plain, unsweetened almond milk is only 30 calories.

2. Eat lentils as much as possible. Lentils are such a great source of protein. I buy the bag and cook it myself. It has 20 grams of protein for a ½ cup. That is huge! You really don’t need to eat much more than that because they are so filling. Combine it with green veggies or pair it with your vegan sausage at breakfast. I’m learning to eat veggies at breakfast, especially now, because it’s better to consume carbs early in the day.  I try to avoid carbs in the evening.

3. Replace pasta and rice with quinoa. Quinoa is a staple in most vegan diets. Quinoa is a great source of protein because it’s actually a complete protein. It doesn’t have as high protein content per serving as lentils, but it’s a great replacement for rice and pasta. In ¼ cup of Quinoa you get 6 grams of protein. I also buy quinoa burgers. They contain no soy, dairy, or gluten. They have 4 grams of protein and only 190 calories. They’re called burgers, but I don’t dress them as burgers. I pair them with veggies like broccoli or kale.

4. Incorporate a modest amount of nuts. Nuts are another great source for protein. I just realized that sunflower seeds have a lot of protein, about 7 grams per serving, which compares to almonds and walnuts. As with most nuts, they are high in calories, so I have to be careful with consumption. I usually eat way too many.

So, these are just some things I’m trying as I try to increase my protein to about 100 grams per day. My desire is to do it without using a lot of soy. I don’t feel comfortable consuming soy on a regular basis.

Now, if you’re a vegan who is not trying to build muscle or participate in a triathlon, then you will not have any problem getting sufficient protein. Just make sure you eat plenty of leafy greens, black beans, green split peas, quinoa, and nuts.

Question: Do you have any suggestions as to how I can double my protein without soy products and without increasing my calories so much to compromise my desired weight loss?

Why You Should Be Eating Avocados

One of the sources of my inspiration for my blogs is to share with you things that I really like. Without doubt one of my absolute favorite things is avocados. The reason I want to bring it to your attention is because it gets a really bad rap. Well, I’m here to tell you, if you’re not incorporating this fruit into your diet, you’re missing out.

The avocado gets a bad rap because it’s primarily being judged by its fat content. It does have a high fat content, but 75% of the fat in avocados is unsaturated fat –the good fats you need for heart health. Unsaturated fats are needed to process the fat soluble vitamins A, E, D & K.

Aside from the fat content, I think many people don’t know how to buy them or how to use them. I can relate to that.  Before I began experimenting with it, I only used it for guacamole. I make the best guacamole. But there are so many more options for use, including salad dressing, sandwich spread, smoothies, etc.

Avocados are a staple in my house. I always have them on hand and I eat them almost every day. Not only for the taste. I also eat them for the nutritional value. To be fair, if you are counting calories, you do need to be careful of your consumption. They are higher in calories and fat than the typical fruit. I’ve learned to split it to avoid consuming the entire avocado at one time, unless it’s a small one.

For the past couple of weeks I have been consuming it almost every day as a part of my kale salad. The creamy buttery texture makes it a perfect complement to Kale. My recipe is simple: kale, olive oil, onion, tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, nutritional yeast and sea salt. Peel the avocado, chop it up into small pieces, mash it in the bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Once they’re all in the bowl, toss it until everything is mixed together, then sprinkle in the nutritional yeast. Here’s a picture of my kale salad.

kale and avocado salad

Here are a few reasons you should be eating avocado:

  1. The nutrients in avocados help your body digest and metabolize food, turning it into the energy you need to move, work, and play.
  2. It acts as a “nutrient booster” by helping the body to better absorb nutrients from the foods that are eaten with the fruit.
  3. It’s good for diabetics. Researchers have found that a diet high in monounsaturated fats and low in low quality carbohydrates may improve insulin sensitivity.
  4. Monounsaturated fats also improve heart health; diabetics are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
  5. They have plenty of antioxidants, primarily carotenoids, which are found in the deep green part of the flesh, closest to the peel.

Finally, pay attention to how ripe they are when you buy them. If you don’t need them right away, it’s okay if they’re firm. But if you need to use them right away, they should be soft to touch. You should be able to easily press your thumb into it. If it’s mushy, then it’s too ripe and nearly rotten so you may not want to buy it.

So there you have it. Now you know why avocado is such an amazing fruit. I hope you will give it a try.

Question: Do you eat avocados? Will you consider giving it a try?

Referral links:

www.everydayhealth.com/Avocado

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/avocado-health_b_2678819.html

Eat Green, Think Pink!

Today kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is the time when organizations, foundations, and individuals promote breast health. From now through October 31st women will be encouraged to take preventative measures to reduce their chances of getting breast cancer. So, in recognition of this month, I will happily join the bandwagon. After all, Plant Food ROCKS was created to promote the benefits of following a plant based diet to Reduce the Onset of Cancer and Kill Sickness.

pinkribbon

I have two recommendations. My first recommendation is to “Eat Green” – in particular, cruciferous green vegetables. Green vegetables such as kale, cabbage, collards and broccoli are called cruciferous vegetables. In his book, Super Immunity, Dr. Joel Furhman explains the benefits of cruciferous vegetables. He say, “all vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition: they have sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent or bitter flavors. When their cell walls are broken by blending or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs) – an array of compounds with proven and powerful immune boosting effects and anticancer activity.”  

My second recommendation is to “Think Pink”. To promote breast health, there is a simple thing that ALL women can do – perform regular Breast Self Exams. Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month.  Johns Hopkins Medical center states,“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”

While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. If you’re not sure of how to properly perform a self exam, here’s a link. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam.

Now, speaking of mammograms, there has been a lot of controversy in recent years about what age women should begin having mammograms. Depending on your health history, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer, the initial age may vary. Here are some basic guidelines as recommended by the National Cancer Institute:

  • Women age 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years.

  • Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer (for example, because of a family history of the disease or because they carry a known mutation in either the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 gene) should talk with their healthcare providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them.

These are the first of several recommendations I will make this month to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of prevention. In the meantime, remember, “Eat Green, Think Pink!

Question: What are you doing to promote breast health this month and why?

Reduce Red Meat…REVERSE Diabetes!

My absolute favorite quote -and the impetus for creating Plant Food ROCKS – is from Hippocrates, the founder of western medicine. He said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Well, that statement is affirmed all the more with the release of a new study that proves diabetes can be reversed through diet. In particular, a diet that limits or eliminates red meat.

no red meat

Like most of you, I have been affected by this disease. I have members in my family and close friends who are diagnosed with diabetes. I also know quite a few people who are pre-diabetic. I must admit, this is a disease that really challenged me to research ways I can help. Aside from the prevention of cancer, this is the single most important issue to me in my business as a Health Coach. The devastation that diabetes has inflicted upon my family inspired me to pursue this profession.  I believe wholeheartedly that it can be changed through diet, and it’s exciting to have solid evidence to validate my beliefs.

The following reasons indicate why every person should be committed to curing diabetes and incorporating more plants into their diets.

1.  25.8 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, of which 7 million people are un-diagnosed; 79 million people are pre-diabetic.

2. In 2012 diabetes cost  the U.S. a total of $245 billion. Of that amount, $176 billion was in direct medical costs, $69 billion in reduced productivity.

3. Dietary changes can enable diabetics to get off their medications. A recent article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in June 2013 revealed findings of a 20 year study. It found that elevated red-meat consumption contributed to an increase in diabetes. There were 123,000 people involved in the study. Participants who ate at least a half serving more red meat over a four year period were 48% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the following four years. Conversely, those who lowered their meat consumption by more than a half serving per day, decreased their diabetes risk. This study conducted by Harvard Professor Walter Willett (considered to be the world’s most influential nutritionist) and his colleagues at Harvard School of Public Health, is the first to show that eating more meat raises a person’s risk and vice versa.

4. Diabetes can be REVERSED through diet changes. A dramatic diet change (protein shake, low glycemic load, plant-based low-calorie diet, but no exercise) in diabetics reversed most features of diabetes within one week and all features by eight weeks.

There is one final point of clarification I’d like to emphasize. No single food causes disease. Disease is a consequence of a combination of unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle habits and sometimes by genetics.

So, I hope this information reminds you that a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes doesn’t have to be a life sentence of endless medications and injections of insulin. Instead, there is hope and there are practical solutions – solutions that begin at the end of your fork.

If you’re interested in learning real strategies for how you can reverse diabetes through your diet, I am offering a teleseminar on Sept. 7th. You can get more information about the training and also register here.

Question: Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with diabetes? How have you responded to the diagnosis? Will you do anything differently in response to the the information you’ve just read? Please leave your comment here.

Resources/Links:

7 Ways to Eat Clean on a Lean Budget


I would have to say the most common excuse I get from people about why they can’t lead a healthy lifestyle is -“healthy food costs too much.” Granted, there are some healthy options that are more expensive, especially organic foods, but my objective with this week’s blog is to challenge that line of thinking with evidence to the contrary.

One of the reasons I was inspired to write this blog is because I’ve made a lot of changes in my life in the past few months, including buying a house and switching jobs. With the house comes additional expenses, and leaving the private sector to work for the government brings its own set of financial adjustments as well. So, in this season of my life it’s very important for me to live on a budget.

I have grown accustomed to shopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sevenanda and the like – all of which are a bit more expensive. However, I have always considered them worth it because my health is important to me, and following a vegan lifestyle I am very particular about what I eat.

Since I’m watching my spending – and I refuse to compromise my health – I’ve had to come up with some alternatives that allow me to maintain my lifestyle. Truth be told, it has become a rather fun challenge for me. I’ve always loved a good bargain – I love shopping in thrift stores and consignment shops. For me, the best part is telling people how much I saved on whatever items I do purchase.

So, as I was doing my grocery shopping I realized this is a perfect opportunity to share with you some strategies to eat healthy, plant based, whole foods on a budget.

Here are 7 ways to Eat Clean on a Lean Budget:

1. Buy frozen veggies – they are just as good as fresh veggies in the produce section, but a lot less expensive. Just avoid the veggies in sauces and cheese. Keep it simple.

2. Buy the store brand whenever possible. The generic Kroger or Publix brand veggies are the same as those from Green Giant. Just check out the ingredients —they read the same.

3. Shop at discount stores because many of them offer healthy, name brand options. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to find that Wal-Mart carries Quinoa. Not only that, but they carry the SAME brand I buy in Whole Foods, but it’s more than $1 cheaper. I typically spend about $3.50 -$3.99 for Quinoa; the bag I bought in Wal-Mart was about $2.60.

4. Shop the farmers market. This is one of my favorite things to do for so many reasons. Obviously, it’s helping the farmers; it’s fresh, and much cheaper. You’re avoiding the extra overhead costs the supermarkets factor in to the cost of food.

5. Buy what’s seasonal. When buying fresh produce, look for what’s in season. If you buy food that’s in season it’s a lot cheaper. You ever notice how much more it costs to buy something like watermelon outside the summer months. Now you can get it for about $4.99, but if you get it off season, you can pay anywhere from $7-$8!

6. Buy beans and peas in the bag instead of those in the can. Overall, you’re getting a much better value and they’re healthier. I am not a fan of canned food, but the only thing I will buy in cans is beans (black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo). Honestly, I didn’t want to take the extra time to cook them. But they actually digest better when you cook them. So, I’ve decided to stop buying canned food. Buying the bags of beans and peas, is a much better deal. So instead of buying an eight ounce can for 99 cents, I bought a 20 oz bag for a little more than two dollars, which produces a lot more beans than the two servings in the can. You cook them once a week and have enough to eat for at least three days.

7. Buy high fiber foods – they keep you full longer and you require less of it. High fiber foods have less refined sugar; refined sugars and hydrogenated oils increase your appetite, and therefore increase your spending on food. Also, a lot of processed food contains food additives that interfere with the chemical in your brain that tells your body it’s full. Certain additives actually inhibit that chemical from telling you you’re full, so you constantly feel hungry. When you buy genetically modified, processed food, it’s appears cheaper on the surface, but it’s costing you more in the long run. You have to consume much more of it to feel full, and you pay for it in healthcare costs because of all the illness and diseases it triggers, i.e. diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc.

Now that you’ve heard some of the things I’m doing to eat healthy on a budget, I’d love to hear from you. What can you do to eat healthier on a budget?

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness

“Say it Loud – I’m VEGAN & I’m PROUD!”


When you follow a vegan lifestyle you get accustomed to compromising what you want for what is available. This mostly happens when I’m in a situation that was unplanned. You know, an impromptu lunch with a friend, or mostly when I’m traveling for work and find myself in a small town with limited to no restaurant offerings – besides fast food. I’ve grown accustomed to that, and I can usually make it work. But I had a situation occur to me last week that really annoyed me.

I was at a local conference center for a business meeting, and when we reserved the facility we ordered lunch. We use this place all the time and its typical for us to request one vegan meal and one gluten free meal for another member of our team. I have to admit, this place has always prepared the best options for special diets. In fact, without fail, one of our team members will always look at my meal and wish they’d ordered what I have. So, you can imagine my reaction last week when the meals came out and the gluten and vegan meals were plastic containers with a mere side salad – they literally looked like they came from the deli at Publix. I’d ordered deluxe box lunches for the team with a variety of wrap options for them, which included side items of chips, fruit, and a cookie. When I questioned the server about our meals they confirmed that those were indeed the special diet items. Of course, I sent the meals back and requested meals of the caliber of the those we’d received in the past.

I was upset by this incident for a couple of reasons. First, I was really hungry and the meal was grossly inadequate; second, I felt they hadn’t given us any consideration. There was absolutely no thought to what they sent out. That really offended me, especially because we ordered our meals in advance, this wasn’t some impromptu request. Even if it had been they could’ve done better.

As everyone else was eating and I was waiting for our revised meals, I really pondered the incident. Was I wrong to be so upset? Should I have just taken the side salads and “made it work” in conjunction with the side items the other team members had? I came to the conclusion that I should not have kept the peace. Since becoming a vegan I’ve always tried to avoid being “radical” and PETA-esque. That was one reason I feared becoming a vegan and for telling people I was one because I didn’t want to be judged. That moment was a turning point for me. I decided that I would no longer care about what other people think. I’ve chosen my lifestyle and I don’t want to push my beliefs off onto others; but I won’t compromise my beliefs nor will I conceal the benefits of living this lifestyle.

Now, let me tell you the rest of the story. When we wrapped up our meeting and as I was leaving the building, the account representative who I work with at that center asked to see me. She wanted me to know that they were removing the gluten and vegan meals from our bill, but most importantly they would change their policy. She’d spoken to the Chef and they agreed that it was inconsiderate to not provide us with options. Typically at that center when you order special diet options you are at the mercy of the Chef. He can just prepare whatever he wants. Well, as a result of my incident, they will now offer three hot options and three cold options for both vegan and gluten free diets. So whatever meal theme we choose for our meetings we will have options that coincide with those. I have to say I was not expecting that, but it felt really good to know that I made a difference.

Until next time….

Peace, Love & Fitness