How to be vegan

Black Bean Quinoa Salad Pt. 2

The joy of making a salad.  You can read a recipe and make five or more different versions after the original.  At least, that’s how I look at it in my eyes, and I want to do what I want.  So, the other day I wanted an easy and quick lunch to make a head.  This is what came about.

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As you know, I am trying to get back on track, food included.  I’m on a mission to spend less money on frivolous meals and take time to make my own.  Truth be told, I really don’t care for meal prep.  I make my salads or sandwich the morning of and make dinner from scratch, if I ACTUALLY feel like it.  I know, but I blame it mostly on my schedule. My schedule varies on a weekly basis, and honestly, as well what I feel like making.  Some weeks I live off rice and beans, other weeks I can eat out every other day.

A couple of salads like this a week can really do the trick though!

Fresh ingredients are important for a recipe like this too.  I’m talking either local or organic ingredients.  If you are in a warmer climate, local might be best.  You want to make sure your tomatoes are sweet and herbs are vibrant.  I used parsley, just for a little something different, but cilantro would be great as well!

I was going to add a little avocado for this recipe, but I would definitely recommend to add right before serving.  You want to make sure it stays a pretty green with a buttery finish.  It really takes this salad to the next level.  You guys should know, I am a firm believer of a bad ass salad.

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Black Bean Quinoa Salad Pt. 2

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt

To prepare.

Cook quinoa accordingly.  Set aside and let cool. Rinse black beans out of the can and add to quinoa.  Dice both tomatoes into thick chunks.  All together you can add the tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.  Fold all ingredients together and enjoy!

Makes about 2 or 3 servings.  Keep refrigerated for a week.

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And I did the math… To make a batch of this salad can come out to about $7 tops, including the avocado.  With fresh more sustainable ingredients lasting for a week.  I think that tops a single serving for the same price.

Let me tell you about that healthy living with a budget, baby 😉

PS.  Because this really was a meal prep, excuse the poor lighting and multiple settings.  Sunday night and lunch Monday morning were still delicious!

For more or similar recipes, check out my salad from last year!

 

 

How To Be Vegan…

Hey peeps!

Back sooner than I expected!  I hope you all a good couple of days.  Mine were good.  I got to see some friends that I usually don’t get to hang out with often so that was nice.  We decided on a bummy sleep over which was all too appropriate and needed, at least for myself.

How to Be Vegan… At a Sleepover (and be semi-healthy!)

I know I’m not vegan, but I do try to eat a plant-based diet when out.  Some events are harder than others, but this one was actually easy peazy.

1.  Start you’re day normal!: My day started pretty regular with yoga and breakfast.  I even got to make a big lunch (which I will share be sharing tomorrow) to keep me satisfied till whenever I would be able to eat again.   I think this is important, since if you are on the right track from the beginning, less of a chance you will be irritated when hungry and feel less tempted to give into unhealthy choices.

2.  Food will come when it comes:  We didn’t eat again till 10 pm!  I usually try not to eat so late, mostly because I’m in bed by 10 pm (hello grandma status!)  I’m someone who lives on a schedule.  It helps me get my work done and stay on track on what I need to do.  Eating right, is usually part of that schedule.  Yet I actually was kinda hungry, and we were able to order take-out from a chinese place.  Since I had the big lunch like usual, I was still able to eat lighter and not feel like I had to have “dinner”.

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3.  No quinoa and organic vegetables for you!:  And you are still going to live!  I had Chinese vegetable dumplings.  It was cheap and perfect as a light dinner/snack.  Enjoy it.  Not like you get to eat like this all the time.

4.  Drink up or snack on!:  I tried to keep content and healthy on liquids.  I was lucky enough to be at a house of a big tea drinkers!  Yay!  It was actually fun to try different teas, and they even had my beloved ginger tea.  I’ve been scared of getting sick, so trying to stay healthy is not just to be healthy right now.   If hungry, have what they offer.  She offered ample of goods, such as chips, popcorn, canned soups and beans, and even pasta.  We had a late breakfast, so I was able to hold off.  Since all we did was watch movies on the couch (promise, I don’t do this often)  I wasn’t up for much eating anyways.

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5.  Get in the kitchen for a little:  We stayed in and decided to make breakfast!  Perfect time to cook if you ask me.  Might as well start your day off right!  I made myself oatmeal while they had waffles.  Not a bad deal. If they are your friends and know what you like, most likely they are going to offer what they can.

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Boy does she know me well!  She took out the oatmeal, raisins, and peanut butter.  She’s good. Instead of the pb, I swapped it out for some nut clusters instead.  Twas delicious and filling.

6.  Enjoy your time together:  It’s not just you, there are people around to chill with and talk to.  Enjoy it.  I don’t get to see my friends that often, but when I do, I learned not to make a big deal out of anything.  I’m down to do whatever, whether it’s go out for drinks to lay on their couch.  I can drink by myself and lay on my own couch if I wanted to, but I rather do yoga and homework by myself.  Enjoy whatever you are doing with the other person.  Laugh a little more, it can help you live a whole lot.

Eventually things will get back to normal.  You will always be able to come back home to a healthy meal and helpful routine.  I actually came home to some leftovers.

IMG_4947Leftover balsamic roasted veggies, quinoa, and hummus on top.

I actually think the hummus got me sick, I know it didn’t expire or taste so different, but it was a different brand then I’m used to and it was open for quite some time.  All I know is it sat like a brick in my stomach and I woke up to pain in the middle of the night.  No bueno.  Didn’t last too long, so I was able to wake up at normal time and have one of my favorite breakfasts.

IMG_4948OIAJ!! (banana oats to be exact 🙂

I hope this was semi-healthful.  I guess this may be common sense for some, but for those who are used to their own food, diets, and practices, change for a day may hard.  It’s also to show, that you can try and be healthy and have fun, even when it seems you will have to let go of it all.

Hope you guys enjoy your day!

yesenia

There Is A Method To My Madness

Morning People!

How’s your Tuesday going so far? Mine is going awesome so far.  I made it to yoga, which not gonna lie, was kind of a struggle.  I was TIRED and it was COLD.  I haven’t gone to a 6 am. class in forever, but I took my time and really didn’t exert myself too much.  Well worth it and I treated myself well right after.  You’ll see… Muhahahaha

Let’s backtrack, shall we?

Monday

Mix of fun and not so fun.  Fun First!

Breakfast

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A little something before yoga.  I work up late and needed to put something in my stomach asap so it would kinda digest before class.  Ehh, not so great, still felt it.  Whoops.  Yoga was good though.  I got a new buddy, so we got to talk a little before and after class.  Love sharing the experience!

Lunch

Had lunch with my momma!  Chipotle it was and it was delicious!

Before

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After

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Dinner

IMG_4778Work and a graperfruit… Not so fun.

My Method

lalalalala you caught me!  I am not vegan.  I am not vegetarian.  I am not a pescatarian.  I AM though a flexitarian.  Yes, I said it.  I made up my own lingo, like I make up my own diet.  Why? Because I can.

As featured on my blog, instagram, and facebook, everything from nutritional yeast and tofu to meat and eggs can be seen on my blog.  It’s only been till recently, about a month ago.  I pretty much eat everything now, still mostly plants though.  So naturally, people question.  Whether it’s “I thought you can’t eat that” to “You’re not vegan” and my favorite “You’re cheating!”  I know some are just wondering, joking, or even congratulating me.  A funny reaction if you ask me.  So yes, I mostly try and lead a plant based diet right now.  With eggs that I buy from a local farm (free range, veggie-fed, no antibiotics) and red meat (100% grassfed and local) to fish (wild caught preferably), I make sure I know where my food is coming from.

It’s a funny concept to grasp for others.  Even my parents will see me eat meat, so they assume I would eat it anywhere.  This is why I say I try and eat “vegan”.  Just so people think, ok so she won’t want me to feed her a ham sandwich to come over.

Why now?  Cravings, my dear.  After Thanksgiving that temperature dropped.  My body became cold, days were long, and my body needed to keep up.  You know how people freak out about putting on weight in the winter, from all that heavy food, and a lot of it?  It’s winter people!  Your body has to be well nourished to make it through the season!  Just like in Alaska they eat blubber and wild game to keep warm.  Heavy meals, high protein meats, and extra fat does that body good!  If you are anything like me, easily sensitive to extreme tempatures, especially coldness, then you need this.  Which is why I don’t mind having that food right now.  Winter is a dormant season here in dirty Jersey, vegetables are scarce and expensive… now I might be making excuses 😉

This is a short story made long.  My bad.  Had a lot to say, bare with me as I vent and maybe educate you a little?  C’mon don’t you wish to go to Alaska and eat some of that wild game?!?!  I actually would love to try that.  I’ve had crocodile once, bitches get at my level.  Anyways, nobody needs a reason to defend what they eat, I firmly believe everyone is entitled to consume what they like, or love.  Just keep in mind how it affects your body, for better or worse?  Treat your body right and most likely you treat others right as well!

Wanna know the best decision I’ve made since the new year?  2013?

IMG_4789OIAJ!!

Whipped Banana Oatmeal in a peanut butter jar.  I ran out of raisins, so I thought dark chocolate chips would make a good substitution.  Antioxidants, duh!

Enjoy your lovely day lovelies!

yesenia

Truth

I got cravings.  Like every other mamacita (and chico!) out there, I can crave anything from sugar and caffeine to kale salads and some hummus.  I believe in following your  cravings.  Not necessarily giving in to them, but understanding them.  You want some sugar – try eating more fruit.  Craving a juicy burger?  Try eating more healthy fats and proteins like avocados and almonds.  Catching my drift?

Yet, sometimes going right to the source solves that salivating thought.

It’s simple really, and we all have heard it.  We shouldn’t deprive ourselves.  We shouldn’t eat what we don’t like (even love).  We should enjoy every bite of  food we are blessed to have.  It almost seems simple enough, but in reality, most of us find it difficult.  Too busy to cook, too poor to buy healthy food, too stressed, lazy, … the list goes on.  In today’s world and American ways, people are busy!  Convenience has become God’s gift to the world.  We are tempted to eat foods that we ourselves know aren’t good for us.  Maybe, we just give in, and say “Hey, I’m too tired and lazy to cook, chips for dinner sounds awesome.”

My excuse?  I’ve been craving cheese for the longest, mac ‘n cheese, pasta, enchiladas… bring it on!  Why I don’t usually eat cheese, is a matter of ethical and sustainable beliefs on where my food comes from.  I want to know where, how, and in what conditions did this milk come from.  Now, I know most people say, huh?  Now a days cheese gets the rep of something that is utterly delicious, but high in fat and calories.  Especially, when melted and hot and oozing all over your plate.  Not what I’m concerned about, and sometimes it sucks.

Lately when I’ve been craving something, I make sure I know whats going on.  If it’s dessert, I make it myself, usually dairy-free.  Eggs?  Buy them and make them myself.  Meat?  Organic, pastured-raised, or local is what I look for to cook at home.  Not for nothing, that’s money, time, and effort.  I don’t live on a farm or live in an area where chickens are grazing all year long.

I thought this was something that I was getting over through the years, and maybe this was just a slip up, but I actually sat down with my own will-power and consciously ate pizza.  No restaurant messed up my order, no person was unaware of my lifestyle, and nobody made me feel bad about not eating.  I sat down and helped myself to a few slices of pizza.  With the family and a glass of wine, couldn’t have been better, right?  It’s part of the reason I had it, family time.  Well in my mind, yes.  I actually felt guilty.  Not because it was my second dinner or because it was later than my usual dinner time or because it was so fattening, but because I thought about hormones and factories.  I thought about how it wasn’t even necessary since I wasn’t that even that hungry.  I thought I could get over it after a couple of bites, even if I focused on the family time and bonding, but afterwards I felt exactly the same… deprived.

Isn’t it just more convenient just to get something from your local pizzeria, then the closest Whole Foods 20 minutes away?  Fuck yea!  Please nod your  head with me.  Put that attitude on.  Fuck yea!

The point is, when satisfying a craving, you aren’t truly satisfied if your not happy after you’ve indulged.  Guilt, sickness, or punishment, is never ok.  Sometimes, I may eat too much, may not eat enough, or have too many desserts in one day, but I stop and remind myself it’s  my body.  I care about it and want to respect it and be grateful for what I am able to have.

I hope this made some sense.  This is another one of those posts of me putting myself out there.  This is a healthy living blog, and I can’t think of anything more healthy right now than me being honest.  “All this because of a few slices of pizza,” you may?  Yea, because this is my passion.  Food, people, and the environment.  I want to save the world.  Or maybe just a cow for now.  I want to make you and the bunnies eating off the land happy.  Damn, I sound corny, but tis true.  I want to show everyone they can eat the best without being greedy, and without going hungry, because out there is somebody who really could use that meal.

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” ~ Michael Pollan

 

“and satisfy your chocolate cheesy oatmeal cravings!!!”

~ yesenia

Sharing the Vegan Experience…. and Not Be Pushy.

Good Morning Lovaas!

I’m really excited for this post!!!  I know the title is a little lengthy, but it gets to the point.  It’s something I didn’t even think to write about till this morning, thanks to some inspiration!

Let’s just start with yesterdays fine eats!

Breakfast

sprouted cinnoman raisin toast, pb and banana

Repeat of the last few days.  I know, very exciting.  But with work so early in the mornings, not worth the work of oatmeal.

Lunch

Massaged kale salad, roasted brussel sprouts, toasted chickpeas, and avocado. Balsamic drizzle

Salad! I was so happy about this lunch!  I haven’t had a salad in fo eva, and the fall twist was delicious.

Dinner

I was fortunate enough to have dinner with a friend.  This was one of my inspirations for this post.  Check it out!!

We made my Single Girls Pasta x3.  With a little balsamic roasted butternut squash.  Twas delicious!  For dessert, that would be spiced pumpkin blondies.  We got the recipe from my new favorite sweets book.  We followed the recipe to a tee, so I don’t think it’s necessary to post it, especially I have plans to put my own twists on it 😛

 

Sharing the Vegan Experience

First starting to dive into a plant based diet can be difficult on its own.  We learn what to start eating, probably start cooking more, and figure out how to deal in social events.  Then the time comes to start sharing what your diet/lifestyle is all about.  For everyone, it is different.  Depending on your confidence and the people you surround yourself with, it could be a hit or miss.  Hopefully, these tips can help you feel better about showing, rather than talking, about your lifestyle.

1.  Give them a little taste of what you got!  And I’m still talking about food here…  Tis’ the season of holiday parties, cookies, and yummy food.  Show people how yummy vegan food is!  Bring a dish to the party, and don’t even mention it’s vegan.  For me, I always say I’ll bring a side dish.  When you mention vegan, it can start mixed apprehensions and questions.  Even at times I love to bring cookies to work.  I never say they are vegan.  Simply chocolate chip.  They are more inclined to try your dish if you just say what it is.  No labeling!

2.  Start sharing the benefits of cooking together.  Not only will it be cheaper, healthier, and quicker, you can show them how simple ingredients may make a spectacular dish.  Making something you can share is fun!

3.  Go grocery shopping!  People are sometimes very interested on what I possibly eat.  What do I use.  Isn’t it expensive   This can show them how easy and fun a vegan diet could be.  Even if it’s a quick stop, a quick stop at whole foods never hurt anyone, maybe just my wallet 😉

4.  Talking is good!  When asked about your diet, whether it is why or how, say it like it’s nothing.  Don’t be embarrassed or stall.  Simple answers are best and if they want to hear more, they will ask.  Don’t force a deep conversation if  it’s not wanted. Also try not to scare them away by saying anything crazy or degrading about them.

5.  Surround yourself with good people.  If they are willing to listen, share, and try, then the hard part is over.  With any diet, people may question and give you crazy looks, don’t worry about it.  Family and friends who like you for who you are, won’t care about what you eat.  Nobody is superior and no diet is “better.”  Embrace how everyone is different and we can learn a little something from everyone and every taste.

Carnivores, herbivores, health nuts, and foodists alike, #eatyourmothafuxkinheart out!

 

yesenia

 

 

PS.  My other inspiration

Pops made fakin’ bacon!!! hahahahahaha

 

How to be Vegan…. Holiday Edition

Hello everyone!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are 1 month closer to Christmas! I hope you all had a delicious, fun filled Thanksgiving!!  Sorry I haven’t updated earlier.  I was just preoccupied with work and family, so I guess I took a little break.  But I am back, with a special post!

How to be vegan during the holidays!

During the holidays, I believe that enjoyment and temptations may exist equally.  You want to be able to enjoy the delicious and exciting food that everyone brings to offer.  From the food, gatherings, and parties, it may even sometimes be overwhelming.  I think that with any diet, whether losing weight or a lifestyle one has chosen, the holidays seems to be where it is put to the test.  After being vegan on and off for sometime now, I learned what may help in trying to retain such diets.  For me, my biggest challenge was isolation.  Not being able to partake on what seems to be delicious food was hard.  Here’s a few tips to help you stay on track and enjoy holiday fairs!

1. Offer to help

Sweet potato casserole!

Whether you are doing thanks giving at your house or going over someone else’s, offer a hand.  Whether cooking or bringing a dish or 2, anything matters. It’s at least a way to make sure you eat.  I was fortunate to do Thanksgiving at my house, so I offered ideas such as vegan butter and veggie dishes to make important roles.  Helping set up and cook make it so much easier on the person running the show.

Day before baking

2.  Eat a hearty breakfast.

Banana Oats!

Many of you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that holds true during holiday season.  If you have a decent meal before lunch or dinner, chances are you won’t be as tempted to have more than needed during that meal.  You can focus less on how hungry you are and more on how tasty the food actually is.

3.  Skip store bought

Go for the home-made good stuff!  Mostly the homemade meals contain less ingredients.  Now, I understand that many of the dishes may not be vegan friendly but for me, I would rather go for homemade cranberry sauce on my stuffing, than boxed gravy.  Maybe some stuffing over store brought bread.  Even if you want to have that green bean casserole, do it.  I won’t judge 😉

4.  Bring a dessert!

If you are anything like me, dessert is a big deal.  Like fo real.  I love desserts, sweets, and actually like to keep it semi healthy, seasonal, and vegan.  As like number 1.  this helps takes the pressure off you and the host.  They may ensure you have something to eat, and you wont have to feel bad about the slim pick’ns.  I opted for some pumpkin pie… good thing, because that was the one dessert I knew I wanted and nobody bought.

Fresh pumpkin pie with a fresh cut!

 

5.  Enjoy the Company

During the holidays, it really should be about the people.  Family, friends, and loved ones are also important.  Food gets most of us excited, including me, but I try to make a point in other focuses.  Converse while eating, or at least before and after.  Laugh and catch up with people you haven’t seen.  It’s a refresher from your day to day life.  I usually see the same people everyday, so I try to make sure I make the most of when other’s are around.  Feasting, gifting, and parties, is only fun with others!

 

 

 

Hope you guys will be having some delicious and fun holidays.  Between gifting holidays, new years, and cookies, keeping up with a regular routine can hard too.  That is for another day though.

Hope these tips helped!  I’m always reading other peoples experience, and these are mine that are tried and true.  What was once a hassle has been a little more easier.

 

Hasta Manana!

 

yesenia

How to be Vegan…

Hellooo Everybody!!

I hate to burst your bubble… but the weekend is ova!!  Well in my book it is.  I have had my pajamas on since 7 pm and have had the lights turned off since 8pm.  I just have to wait till it’s socially acceptable to actually say goodnight.  Oh, boy.

Well I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.  Mine was half and half.  To recap really fast, Saturday started off smoothly with yoga, manicure, and blow out (I don’t know how to blow dry my hair, and my mom is a hair dresser.  My life.)  To fuel my busy morning I had a filling breakfast, which is my new favorite breakfast.

Breakfast on the go. OIAJ with almond butta!

Then it was off to work, which was busy, and thankfully behind us.   I was starving for dinner which is probably why I forgot to take a picture.  I had a salad with avocado and tomato, Amy’s lentil vegetable soup (low sodium), and sprouted bread for dunking of course.  Nothing crazy, just filling.

Today I woke up.  I wanted to bake.  I didn’t go to yoga because I wanted freshly baked pumpkin bread for breakfast.  Instead I was informed that we were leaving at 9am sharp.  Bummer!  So instead my pumpkin bread turned into pumpkin oatmeal.

Topped with Crunchy Pb!

How to be Vegan at a Baby Shower

When I first started dabbling in a plant-based diet, a lot of planning, emotions, and questions arose during “difficult” situations.  One of them being family gatherings.

What do I eat?  What do I say?  Can I do it?  Will I cave?  Should I eat before?  Am I being rude?  What will people think?

Something that I was starting to feel passionate about, made me crazy and stressed.  That’s not what food is supposed to do.  I am a firm believer in eating what you want.  While some people feel guilty about eating that extra piece of cake (me included at times) most of the time, I felt tempted and guilty about eating dairy, period.  I hated it.  I wanted to be happy with the decision I was making and I awaited for the day to come when I would be able to handle the situations with acceptance and grace.  And so it did.  Without further or do, the How to be Vegan series.

The baby shower took place at an Italian restaurant.  I made sure to have a filling breakfast, since I figured it would be a late lunch (2pm is late for me).  My aunt said that there would be appetizers, salad, main dish, and dessert.  No matter what, I was not going to be hungry.  Like any good Italian restaurant there was bread and to my pleasant surprise, oil for dipping!  Love that combination.

I ate a lot of bread.  Usually I don’t, but since I wasn’t sure what else I would have, I just figured to go down town anyways.  They had brought out some appetizers such as a mushroom dish with parmasan 😦 bruschetta, and an antipasti.  The antipasti had cheeses, meats, and few veggies to nosh on.  I made do.

bruschetta, artichoke, and olive

We had an option for veal, chicken, or salmon for dinner.  I knew that I would be asking the waiter for a some kind of pasta and vegetable dish.  I thought it was the easiest and safest thing from the restaurant.  When it came to my turn, I really didn’t have to say much.  My aunt spoke right up and asked for a vegetarian option for me, and my mother kindly clarified no dairy.  It was nice to know that my family was determined to make sure I was eating.  I used to feel uncomfortable in these situations when ordering.  But now, I even kindly ask if there is butter in a dish.  Believe it or not, people don’t care.  Now a days, there are too many picky eaters to judge.  The waiter swiftly suggested Pasta Primavera.  Score!

Starter Salad with a Vinagrette

Mushrooms, peas, carrots, marinara.  Devoured.

And dessert.  Usually all my defenses were let down during this course.  I caved, gave in, and stuffed my face.  Since I rarely ate desserts like that when I was home, I felt the need to “indulge” when out.  So not necessary   I learned that I may not be able to eat dessert at a restaurant like the good ol’ days, but doesn’t mean I can never enjoy dessert again!  I can get coconut milk icecream on the way home, whip up a 1 minute chocolate mug cake, and top it with fruits, peanut butter, or even more chocolate.  I can have dessert whenever I want.  Although sometimes, when they put that plate right in front of your face with all that creamy sugary goodness, how do you refuse?  Well this kind of helped me…

Shiraz-Cabernet = drunk-love

I am not saying to substitute alcohol for desserts!!!  I am saying to find something to keep your mouth busy (read that with a little class, please) while everyone may be busy with their food.  Red wine has that rich bodied feel that I love and think is great when you want something to cap off a meal.  I had 3 glasses 1 glass throughout the meal, so even when the coffee came I refused that too.  Even though, sweet black coffee might have done the trick as well.

Every now and then there will be incidences where temptation is all around you.  It’s going to take a while to know how and when to refuse.  But in the end it comes down to why.  Stick to your guns(or palate) when it comes to your beliefs.  If you are trying to watch what you eat, you must learn how to do it willingly.  I would even go as far as saying passionately   I am passionate about veganism.  There may come a time when I am craving an egg and there is a time a place on when I will eat it.  If you are confident and proud of what your doing, how people look at you isn’t important, and temptations suddenly become a lot more easier to resist!

In the end, you just have to try and have a good time.  People are the focus.  Family and friends can most of the time make or break it.  It was nice seeing my family, my aunt looked gorgeous, and it seemed like everyone had a great time.  A pretty nice Sunday, when you think about it.

Now it is officially time for bed.  Enjoy your Monday Morning peeps!!

Yesenia