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zoe & the beatles

just a twenty-something vegan navigating healthy, positive living with a little help from her friends john, paul, ringo & george!

Category Archives: vegan

lesson #1
spontaneous day-time adventures might be one of the best parts about life. especially when they include a trip to the montery bay aquarium! and jellies!


“fish are friends, not food!”

i found nemo! and dori. can you :)?

another lesson? i still love penguins. i do not like penguins in boxed in environments 😦

lesson #2
i really love being vegan. especially when i can make things like this.
“meat”loaf! more like lentil, cannelli bean, onion and spices loaf!
pre-baked

post-baked

on-plate

with these guys…

roasted famer’s market leeks! a new-to-me food. and oh-so-good.

by the way…the non-vegan boy? loved every bite of this stuff 🙂

oh, the recipe? well okay!

what you need
1/3 cup dry lentils (yields one cup cooked)
1/2 cannelli beans (mine were canned)
1/3 cup millet flour (i’m sure any flour would work well)
1/2 onion (i used yellow, i doubt it matters what kind you use!)
1 T tomato paste
1 t cumin
1 t red chili powder

what you need to do
preheat oven to 350
cook lentil in about 2.5 cups water with 2 bay leaves until all liquid is absorbed or until ready
chop onion, drain beans, and add everything to food processor or blender
add cooked lentils to food processor/blender
pulse a few times so the texture remains chunky
put into greased pan
bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, or until ready

plate and serve!

lesson #3
who knew it was possible to fill a costco sized almond butter jar up with juice? not this girl!

in this bad boy is two carrots, two swiss chard leaves, celery, cucumber and looove. so delicious, so nutritious!

lesson #4
giving up sugar was the best decision i ever made for my body and mind. especially when i can eat things like this instead!

avocado-banana-chocolate pudding topped with the non dairy queen’s coconut cream and a square of unsweetened baker’s chocolate!
(pudding: half an avocado, half a nanner, a T of dark chocolate poweder…coconut cream: 3 T raw coconut flour mixed with 6 T unsweetened almond milk and sweetener of your choice. SO. ADDICTED.)

sweetened with a new-to-me sweetener!

lesson #5
going without warmed lemon water in the morning definitely does not help my digestive track. the two days i forwent drinking it, i didn’t “go”. lemon juice helps jump-start your digestive fire by waking up the digestive juices! necessary for people like me who have bathroom issues from time to time!

lesson #6
the most important lesson of all: life is sweet when you let it be.

have you learned any lessons recently?

namaste

zoe

today, when i woke up, i felt this ridiculously strong need to be outside. i was all laced up and ready to embark on a lovely walk/run but then opened the door only to greet my arch nemisis: RAIN. well, guess who didn’t let the dreaded rain stop her? me 🙂

i threw out an extra layer (aka my rain coat!) and started my walk! i know one thing about myself: i hate rain. but not today! i actually smiled just about the entire time. i loved the feeling of cold air in my lungs. plus since it was raining no one else was out. there were very few cars on the road and everything was so pretty and still and quiet. seeing the positive in the grey today set the tone for my day.

after my walk (which ended with a one minute sprint because i forgot it was street cleaning and a 45 dollar ticket didn’t sound too appealing) i did a 30 minute flow with chaz, one of my most favorite online yoga teachers (yogamazing podcast! seriously, check them out!) then i showered up and headed off to work for five hours.

nothing. exciting.

the exciting part? dinner, of course! i had one thing in mind: gena’s polenta stacks! i love polenta. it’s delicious. my dad makes it from time to time and it reminds me of my childhood. however, my dad also makes it with cream and cheese, two things i don’t eat. gena’s version turned out delicious and brought me back. ah, childhood nostalgia. talk about comfort food. i changed it up a little bit because i didn’t have yams on hand so i skipped that part (next time, definitely adding yams!) and instead of roasted red peppers i added raw red peppers to the beans because, again, that’s all i had on hand. but check it out…looks tasty, no?

(in the background is the rest of the sauteed greens!)

dessert was a melted square of unsweetened baker’s chocolate. i add a bit of agave (maybe about a half a teaspoon). it’s so delicious! i love the richness of it. honestly, life without sugar so far has been relatively easy. except for this little temptation…

peanut butter cookies! (not vegan, though easily made so!)

i made these for a friend and co-worker who switched shifts with me when she really did not want to (i don’t blame her — i switched her an open (4:30 AM) for a close!) and this is how i thank people!

what you need
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup peanut flour (trader joes!)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 cup sugar (i used vegan cane sugar. it’s all i have on hand right now!)
1 egg (sub a flax or chia egg to make vegan!)
1/2 cup butter (i used earth balance! one stick :))
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

what you need to do
1. preheat oven to 375
2. combine all dry ingredients except sugar
3. combine all wet ingredients
4. add dry to wet
5. grease a baking sheet or just lay down foil
6. roll dough into little balls and create hatch marks with a fork. so you’ll be pressing the ball flat!
7. bake for 12-15 minutes
8. remove from oven and immediately place hershey’s kiss in the middle
9. allow to cool on a wire rack

i was told these were really delicious!

i’ve also realized i’ve forgot to mention i’ve been on a bit of a mini-detox. i’ve removed sugar, wheat, dairy, (most) soy, and salt from my life for a second. i’ve also started taking probiotics and a vitamin D(3) supplement. here’s my spread of detox and health related items:

i’m hoping the probiotics will help with my digestion (so far, so good!) and i’m hoping the digestive enzymes will help with my bloating as well as just aid in digestion! the detox tea is pretty tasty, too!

i know i can be positive if i try. it also helps to just simply talk. i’ve learned that, for me, it works best to share with someone close the issues i am working through. i cannot do this alone (personally, i don’t think anyone can go through any struggle alone. the emotional weight of emotional situations is so heavy). tonight i spent a good twenty minutes talking to candace about the things swirling through my head. i cried a lot but it felt good to get things off my chest. i journal but journaling only goes so far. the pages never talk back, after all. sometime sharing is the best thing a person can do to inch closer to feeling whole again.

i’m not giving up on myself. yes, i am uncomfortable and yes, i am fighting the own voice in my head, but i refuse to listen to it. truth: i am five pounds away from where i started my weight loss journey. another truth: i don’t look like i did when i started this journey. the final, and most important truth: i know whatever weight i am at will not affect my happiness. maybe it will temporarily but these issues are emotional, not physical. i was miserable at 115 and i am miserable now. in order to be truly happy, i need to heal on the inside. only then will my outsides be able to fully shine.

baby steps every day.

well it’s about that time to start winding down my night. it’s almost friday and i happen to have saturday AND sunday off this weekend. one more almost five hour shift and i’m free. oh, and k comes home tomorrow after a week long absence! he’s been rock climbing down in southern california at joshua tree (am i jealous? why yes, yes i am.) and has done so sans celluar phone. so we’ve had no contact. it’s healthy, i know, but i miss the damn boy!

here’s to a happy, healthy tomorrow.

namaste

zoe

(oh, p.s: i cut and colored my hair! added some blonde in. i used to be SUPER blonde when i was little. i missed it 🙂

i’m pretty stoked about it :))

lately i’ve been putting more of an effort into creating in the kitchen. i love it so much but i’m usually so hungry and impatient by the time i need to start cooking dinner i either opt for something quick (and therefore too boring to present to you all) or i go out (blaming this on k :)).

the other day, however, i buckled down and decided to make curry, a food i love with all my heart and soul and usually only eat when eating out.

k came over and we picked out a recipe and got to cooking! thank you my cozy kitchen for the basis and inspiration for our first attempt at curry!

we basically stuck to the recipe but subbed the potatoes for tofu and added peas and spinach for more veggie bulk! k is not a vegan/vegetarian but he is also not a very picky eater and loves all the vegan and vegetarian foods i’ve introduced to him thus far. sounds like a winner, no? 😉

anywho, it turned out just all right. i wouldn’t say it was as flavorful as curries we’ve tried in our favorite indian and thai restaurants. but it was good! and nicely spicy. spicy foods = absolutelymyfavorite. if anything can be made spicy, i usually will make it spicy 🙂

left oveeeerrrrsss! i know it looks kind of gross, but it’s pretty tasty! especially after chilling out in the fridge for a second. all the flavors meld together well 🙂

in the past if things did not turn out exactly as i wanted them to, i usually deemed it a failure and wound myself up in negative thoughts. however, now that i am practicing self-compassion and patience, i can call this a great first attempt at curry. nothing comes easily without practice. plus, i think i need to invest some money in good curry. any suggestions???

in addition to the curry, i finally got around my laziness (something i am seriously working on) and sprouted quinoa!!! talk about easiest sprouting experience ever. all i did was soak the quinoa in water over night, woke up, drained it, and allowed it to further drain in a collander all day covered with a clean cloth. did it sprout? hells yes! just look at those yummy sprouted seeds…

i’m trying to spend more time in the kitchen, yes, but i am trying to spend more time un-cooking in my kitchen. raw food fascinates me. i love every aspect of it, from the preparation to the taste, to the ingredients. it has opened my eyes to a completely new form of food preparation as well as a new form of living and eating. though i know i cannot go raw over night, i plan in 2011 to make a pretty big conversion over to the raw side. i do need to allow my stomach time to adjust though!

regardless, i am so excited and so inspired! a friend just let me borrow raw food, real world by matthew kenney and sarma melngailis. i sprouted the quinoa specifically for a recipe in there! i’ll let you know about it soon, promise 🙂 also, i just ordered another book by matthew kenney and one by ani phyo. so excited! this dehydrator has definitely motivated me! be on the look out for more recipes for sure!

last night i threw together this little tostada…

brown rice tortilla topped with half an avocado, chick peas mashed with hot sauce (nandos!), spinach, sprouted quinoa, and a quarter of a yellow bell pepper which, to me, looks like the sun! which made me super happy. the yellow and orange peppers were on sale (97 cents EACH!) so i stocked up. i forgot how sweet yellow bell peppers were!

this was my first experience with sprouted quinoa. i can tell you it does taste different — it tastes sprouted! crunchy and good. i ate this alongside some roasted brussel sprouts.

one thing i’ve noticed is this: i do not require as much food as i used to. i do not work out like i used to (meaning, i don’t run 6-7 miles EVERY DAY) so my body requires less food. it’s a nice realization and i’m recognizing when to stop eating and understanding the concept of being satisfied as opposed to stuffed. baby steps!

it’s a nice sunny day (though absolutely fucking freezing) and i just completed an hour of core yoga (a la yogadownload.com). i haven’t done this flow in a while and it was challenging. definitely broke a sweat and got my heart rate pumping! about twenty minutes in the negative voice in my head started saying things like “this is too hard, i can’t do this”. but i forced myself to recognize my own strength and you know what? it was challenging, yes, but i felt empowered and strong and refused to let my negative voice dominate my flow. i ended the hour feeling awake in my core as well as in my being.

i love yoga for this very reason. it makes me feel alive and capable and humble all at the same time. and guess what? i can officially hold crow! and i got into full boat pose today (though i was shaking the entire time). i am most definitely deepening my yoga abilities. although i weighed less in past months, i was never able to do these things. my strength and endurance has improved ten-fold despite my weight gain. again, just another reason supporting the fact that weight doesn’t determine your overall health.

oh, and i just remembered i never showed you my new yoga mat!

this is one substantial mat! it’s heavy and thiiiick. i kind of love it dearly 🙂

but i’ve got to go! work in an hour — and my first review! can you believe i’ve been working for starbucks for six months already? i can’t!

enjoy your monday!

namaste

zoe

a few months ago, candace and i sold our couches to a co-worker of mine. and have yet to replace them. yeah, i guess it’s a bit odd. but we’re floor people so kickin it on the floor suits us just fine. plus, we have so much space! (to do so many activities! — quick, name that movie!)

in place of lounging on a couch, i usually just roll out my yoga mat and stack up a few pillows to lay back on. works like a charm. only, i’ve noticed i roll out my yoga mat for things outside of yoga…

like eating. lots and lots of eating.

please ignore the chipped nail polish. focus on the food instead 🙂 because it was delicious. in the bowl: shredded, massaged kale mixed with a millet recipe (coming to you soon!). on the side: spicy hummus with a piece of flax toast!


why yes, i did rock shorts with long socks. and purple vans. what can i say? i’m obviously just too cool for school 😉 in the bowl: (vegan friends advert your eyes!) cottage cheese mixed with pinto beans and salsa. on the plate: another massage kale salad and a slice of flax toast! used it to scoop up the yumminess in the bowl.


i love condiments. a lot. especially when they make my mouth burn so good! i the bowl: the last of my kale (seriously, i have an addiction.). in the other bowl: broiled cauliflower (because i was way, way too lazy and impatient to wait the 20 minutes it takes to bake it) and on the plate: a two egg, vegan cheese quesadilla. smothered in hot sauce…per request for this hot ‘baby 😉

oh. and tonight’s dinner:

in the bowl: massage spinach salad with baby tomatoes. on the plate: the most delicious stuff ever.

really.

it’s all gone. i am sad.

and can you imagine i almost didn’t end up with this in my happy little belly tonight? you see, i attempted at another dinner. nothing sounded good. i’m feeling so lazy. so i decided to just be creative instead of going to buy food. only i failed at my first attempt at dinner. epically. seriously, it was awful. instead of getting down on myself (like i usually would) i shook it off and started at square one. lately, i’ve been feeling on some seriously crunchy food paired with something smooth, creamy. as i stared endlessly into my fridge (really. i spent a good five minutes sitting on the ground in front of my fridge, just staring at all my options. yes, i wasted energy. my bad.) and then a light bulb flickered on! and i jumped into action.

the spinach was a no brainer. i’ve wanted veggies like a mad woman lately (blame my over active sweet tooth from last week ;)). so i massaged it a la heather and plopped on some tomatoes. simple.

then i stared at the butt of a butternut squash. and stared at it some more. then, epiphany.

butternut squash hummus
adapted from the lovely angela
what you need
the butt of a baked butternut squash (honestly, i have no idea how much this was. uh…let’s call it 1.5 cups…)
1/2 C chick peas
1 T olive oil
1 T nutritional yeast (or more! i love this stuff!)
juice of one lemon
salt (i used pink himalayan sea salt :))

one tortilla of your choice (i used rudy’s organic spelt tortillas)

blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor. broil the tortilla strips for about one minute on each side. then get yo dip on, fool!

seriously, this was delicious. and spot on for dinner tonight.

now, other things have happened on the mat. like naps. and movie watching. and yoga. most importantly yoga. yesterday i completed a lovely, sweaty hour long vinyasa flow. and i mean sweaty.

i know, i’m adorable. i almost can’t stand it, either 😉

and as for today, following a wonderful 4 mile run i stretched it out on my mat for 60 minutes. ah, gentle hatha flows, you soothe my soul. anyway, it’s friday night. i’m about to go hit up the rock wall (i think my lack of movement due to sickness and lack of motivation has finally caught up with me! all i want to do is move. i’m happy about it 🙂 i like trusting in my body and its ability to even out!) for a little sesh before i do some 21-year-old appropriate activities.

have a great friday night, loves, and stay tuned for that millet recipe and a pumpkin/carob bread/cake recipe. still fine tuning but round one didn’t last through the night (i have hungry, hungry friends).

namaste!

zoe

well, i did it. i took the plunge. i marched myself over to my local grocery store and did what i swore i would never again do: i bought eggs. and cottage cheese. AND yogurt. and i did it all happily and with ease.

my loot.

and then i sat down to my first non-vegan meal in months. MONTHS. and it was glorious. egg craving, satisfied.

how did my stomach react? fine, thanks. no issues. no issues later either when i ate some cottage cheese (mixed with a little bit of pumpkin butter and pumpkin seeds. so good. so satisfying. so what i wanted.)

but, i have to laugh a little at the timing of this all. does anyone else find it ironic i chose november first to deveganize? november first marks the beginning of vegan mofo. phft, go figure. i just would. and i’m not going to lie to you…part of me feels a little sad being left out of all the vegan fun. but sometimes you have to prioritize. and my health comes before vegan mofo, i’m a-thinkin’.

you may be wondering how i will continue to eat. i will eat a mostly vegan diet. i will just supplement with the things i want. like eggs, cottage cheese, and yogurt. i still plan on baking vegan and avoiding sugar and chocolate. just because i will be eating these foods does not mean i will suddenly eat things containing milk (like candy). in fact, i’m going to avoid milk as much as possible outside of yogurt and cottage cheese. so we’ll see how it goes. one day at a time.

in other words, i tried a new product today! rudi’s organic spelt tortillas!

neato company. awesome wraps. seriously, it was so delicious! so fluffy and soft and perfect for my eggs wrap! yummers. (yes, i did in fact just say ‘yummers’. blame it on the dairy.)

sigh. what a good day compared to yesterday. without my insistence on seeing each day as a new day and not a continuation of the previous day i am not sure how bright the sun would of been today. it was beautiful today, you guys. clear sky, bright sun, warm temperatures. i focused on health today and forgot the craziness of yesterday. and everything just felt good. plus i talked to the nutritionist. i am so motivated! and i told my mom just about everything i’ve been going through this past year. it was such a weight off of my shoulders.

oh, and did i mention my boys won?

can i get a HELL YES!?!

namaste

zoe

hey guys. happy friday! yay weekends! yay pay days! i am pretty tired. opening and a full day of awesome events can do that to a girl. i ended up working later than scheduled, too, because my boss has the flu and we needed coverage. oh well. i got paid more is how i see it!

but the rest of my day consisted of rock climbing. so, so much rock climbing. my friend and i (the ridiculously awesome climber) went to a climbing gym up north. honestly i am truly falling in love with rocks. and climbing them. i adore top roping and love the strength i feel i am gaining. rock climbing and yoga compliment each other so well it’s ridiculous. no wonder i love it so much! if you ever get a chance to hop on a climbing wall, do it. it’s not easy, i’m not going to lie, but the more you go back, the better you become. just like anything in life, no?

following the epic rock climbing sesh we attempted to eat indian food. epic fail. twice. both restaurants were closed. so we settled for thai. and i settled for hot red curry with mixed veggies, tofu, and brown rice. i was starving! holy shiz guys i ate the entire thing, felt so satisfied and did not have a food baby in the slightest. so. damn. good. thai feast preceded a lovely light yoga session. sigh. what a perfect day.

but this post has nothing to do with my day. this post has a lot to do with my life in general. as you all know, i am vegan. i love being vegan. i love feeling like i am being environmentally, ethically, and morally responsible. i like making healthful, informed decisions. however, as of late, especially after this summer, i have been reevaluating my vegan diet.

as of late several vegan bloggers (jackie, heather) have renounced their vegan diets (not necessarily their vegan lifestyles) in favor of a more vegetarian or omnivore diet. most have decided to include animal products back into their diet because their bodies no longer responded well to their diets. the vegan diet left them irritable, exhausted, weak, break-out prone, unable to think clearly, bloated, gassy. many experienced a number of other negative symptoms as well.

whenever i review my summer and my emotional, mental, and physical state throughout the three months, i feel a twinge. of anxiousness, of guilt, of fright — i do not entirely know. but i know i feel something. and i know that “something” is not a feeling of positivity. whenever i observe my body and my emotional and mental state now i still feel that twinge. although i am light years more healthy in mind and spirit, i am not so much better in body. yes i am much more balanced out and yes my skin is better but all outward appearances can definitely betray all inward activities.

i am reluctant to admit (but do so because honesty is the best policy for me) my diet may be backfiring. i constantly feel bloated, gassy, and puffy. my metabolism varies daily. my appetite does the same. it drives me nuts. i get stomach aches sometimes, feel too full sometimes. my digestive fire is simply not ignited and not processing well. before i became vegan i did not have this issue.

in addition, during my brief counseling sessions at the beginning of this year (did i not mention the fact i stopped attending these? mainly because of time issues but i truly feel like i need to go back. sometimes it’s hard to do this on my own.) my counselor and i discussed how being vegan might be a “cover” (for lack of a better word) for my disordered eating. as much as it depresses me to admit this, i am afraid it is partly true. no, i know it is incredibly true. i love being vegan, but the controlling, insecure, addictive person in me loves being vegan for vain and unhealthy reasons.

since i have started making more of an effort to eat well and eat more often, i have definitely seen an improvement in my overall health but i have not seen the improvement i really hoped to see. i know improvement in health takes time (i am impatient, as i think i’ve mentioned!) but my digestive issues should have been at least some what solved by now, right?

i remember how i felt and looked after returning home from south africa. my stubborn belly fat (i’m truly sorry here to bring this up. it’s just been on my mind lately) kind of melted away. i had a ton of energy. i was happy. really, really happy. my skin cleared up in ridiculous way (i think i got one zit/blemish there the ENTIRE time. that is unHEARD of for me.). the more i think about it, the more i realized my diet while i was there:

i ate whatever i wanted. but never whenever i wanted. i ate nothing containing preservatives or chemicals (not in their foods). my processed food and sugar intake plummeted dramatically. unhealthy high fat foods did not find their way into my diet and if they did, they did so in much, much smaller portions. for five blissful weeks i stopped worrying about food. i never thought twice about what i ate. and i ate a lot. like. a LOT. yet, over those five weeks, my body went through a mini transformation. inside and out. i never felt gassy or bloated or puffy or constipated. what did i eat? veggies. fresh fruits. and animal products. i always opted for chicken over beef or i ate the vegetarian options. i ate cheese. i ate dairy. and i felt awesome.

guys, i’m not so sure i feel awesome anymore. i do not want to give up my veganism, but i think my body does. all signs point to change. i am so reluctant to do this. however in doing so, i am not being fair to my body. at all. i really need to figure something out here. i am seriously considering including fish and eggs back into my diet. i really want nothing to do with chicken, red meat, and cheese (none of that sounds appealing. ugh) but sometimes, i find myself thinking about omelets and sushi. and sometimes i think about yogurt. could this be a sign, a cue from my body? these cravings aren’t arbitrary, are they? i’m not sure.

regardless, a decision needs to be made. and i honestly think an educated, guided decision needs to be made. so i am going to look into nutritionists in my area and finally figure this thing out. i need to, for the sake of my body’s happiness as well as my own happiness. stick with me here as i try and figure this out.

namaste

zoe

i’m alive! barely 😉

i just woke up. it’s almost one. someone needed some sleep! let me recap for you, shall i?

on friday morning i woke up to an empty house (candace has class from 8 am to 11:40) and did so slowly and leisurely. low hanging, deep grey clouds threatened to spill rain at any second. i don’t remember the only other year it rained on my birthday — i was three. so already the day felt a bit different, a bit sleepy. the first thing i did after brushing my teeth was turn on the beatles ‘happy birthday’ and jumped around my living room. then i made breakfast. a birthday breakfast, of course!


angela’s spelt pancakes topped with almond butter and bananas. and my very first homemade chai tea latte! (chai tea bag topped with steamed almond milk). i followed my favorite hippie’s strategy and used our immersion blender to get my almond milk all frothy and delicious. it was awesome!

thanks for making my birthday breakfast special, angela and elise :)!

honestly, i spent the rest of the day just kind of lounging around the house. i really enjoyed relaxing and taking the day slowly. around three thirty candace and i left for dinner. my parents, brother, candace, and i went to millenium, a vegan restaurant in san francisco. i forgot to take pictures of the food but just know i got my dad, a passionate meat and potatoes kind of foodie, to admit it was delicious. and that he would go back. enough said.

and i got to have my first legal drink! cheers!

and see my family

and blow out birthday cake candles

twice.

(note my friend ryan’s expression. he’s the guy on the left. kind of hilarious.)

oh yes my friends, the birthday party was a dress up party. this happened.

and eventually this happened

oh my. alcohol, you’re hilarious. truth me told i remember every moment of my 21st birthday night. i did not drink much (i don’t have to to get drunk! leightweiiiiight!) and truthfully didn’t really want to. i’m not a big fan of alcohol. especially the next day when i woke up with a late night birthday cake and too much beer belly. yesterday i barely ate a thing. i hate that alcohol takes away a day! but it was worth it. oh was it ever 🙂

and on top of everything, i went to a sports bar with my cousin yesterday to watch the giants game. i felt like (and most likely was) the youngest person in there. i lost an earring. one of my favorites. i felt puffy and tired and slightly nauseated. but you know what made all that go away (besides a beer? or two?) THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

best.birthday.present.EVER. ever ever ever! the last time we were in the world series i was in the 8th grade. and we only needed one more game to win. we were ahead something like two games. and we LOST. heartbreaking. fingers crossed for a redemption!

anywho, it’s still raining and i’m still in bed. i think i need to motivate my butt to get up. we’ll see if i can 🙂

have a good sunday, loves!

namaste

zoe

the road to the recovery of positivity never unfolds without bumps. most days i find it less difficult to see the brighter side of things. but some days, seeing the beauty inside of myself and inside of everything feels so unobtainable. i am sure most of you too find it difficult some days to accept yourself as you are in that moment.

this week i’ve struggled a bit more than usual in remaining positive. i am having difficultly accepting my body has — quite clearly — settled at its’ happy weight. i am having difficulty accepting the slight extra weight. i am having trouble accepting the womanly curves of my natural body (no matter what weight i have been, i have not been below a d cup). i feel my health returning but the healthy mind body connection is still broken. i am obsessive over certain body parts and some days cannot shut off the negative mind’s chatter. additionally, i am still running into days where i knowingly restrict my caloric intake. it feels really awful to experience a budding sense of pride and happiness when i know i did not eat a lot during one day.

so i breathe in deeply and move forward with my day, managing as best i can.

oddly enough, though, despite the handful of negative days i run into to and despite the destructive thoughts i accumulate on those days, i feel good. i am allowing myself to do more. to experience life.

yesterday i drank an iced soy chai from my school’s coffee shop. usually i forego all drinks except water. but yesterday it sounded delicious. so delicious that i chucked food rules and food anxieties and drank one. and enjoyed one. and did not think about the calories and sugar in it.

did i ever mention i love rock climbing? last year i got belay certified…and only went to the rock wall twice. a friend of mine kind of discouraged me. and the harness pinched me in all the “wrong places”, making me think i looked “fat”. so i stayed away, afraid of what i looked like and afraid to try again. know what i did on wednesday? went rock climbing. and? well i thought about what i looked like for like…ten seconds. and got over it. and focused on having fun, not obsessing over the size of my thighs in a harness. and was it fun? probably one of the most fun activities i’ve done since returning to school. i loved all the new muscles i used and i loved the challenge. will i go back? oh, hell yes.

on the days i eat healthfully, i eat well. i eat what i crave. and lately, it’s been a lot of tasty. and pizzas.

for lunch the other day i had a toastada of sorts…

sauteed zuchinni, onions, savoy cabbage on a sprouted wrap, topped with dayia cheese and slathered with nando’s hot sauce, of course

next up something interesting…

vegan cream cheese (follow your heart brand), mashed chick peas with nando’s, sauteed bell peppers and onions on a sprouted wrap

the best part? i kind of over cooked the wrap so it was like eating off of a giant chip! the crunchiness was awesome. the food for life wraps are so incredibly tasty. i love, love, looove them. in addition to tasting great, they’re also a complete protein! i really recommend them if you’ve never tried them.

about half way through eating this i got an idea…

peaches!

best. idea. ever. yum!

last night i had one thing on my mind for dinner:

yellow squash stuffed with millet and sauteed onions, kale and bell pepper tossed in a creamy tahini garlic dressing

um. basically amazing. i ate it with some walnuts, too. just cause. they look like brains, right? did you know walnuts promote brain health? cool, huh!

for the squash, boil in water for about ten minutes to soften it. then core it and scoop out it’s insides! while it’s boiling, cook the millet. take one cup and toast it on the stove. then add the toasted millet to a boiling pot of 2.5 cups water. cook for 25 minutes or until the water is absorbed. then take half a cup and mix with sauteed veggies (use what ever you have on hand!) stick in broiler for about five minutes. consume!

for the sauce: take a spoonful of tahini and mix it with a splash of water, a dash of salt, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast. it’s so creamy and good!

and for dessert, something i planned a few days ago…

beet froyo!

i am crazy about beets. always have been. i know a lot of people are not so into beets. but if you love beets like i love beets, this is for you. it’s beet-tastic. (and yes, i really did just type that.)

all you have to do is over bake some bake some beets a little, chop them up and stick them in the freezer. then run them through the food processor. this will take a second. it starts out in little chunks but add a few splashes of your milk of choice and it will come together like froyo! i added a pinch agave too, for some additional sweetness.

topped with warmed almond butter and this was just what i needed.

for lunch i ate a really delicious pizza…again…

food for life brown rice tortilla topped with tomato paste, sauteed onions (addicted), baked farmer’s market eggplant, farmer’s market basil, hummus cheeze sauce, and nutritional yeast.

i just added nutritional yeast to some garlic hummus i have and stirred in some water. it was deviiine. i baked thin slices of eggplant at 350 with just a little olive oil, s & p. simple and tasty. eight minutes or so on each side. after they were done i piled everything but the cheese on the pizza and popped it into the broiler (my new favorite) for a few minutes then took it out, dumped on the cheeze sauce and demolished. i was hungry. for a good reason.

i walked to school for a meeting with a teacher that never happened (he didn’t show up. and to think i could of gone rock climbing had i known he wasn’t going to be there). but i shrugged it off and headed for the gym. and i ran. for 30 minutes. straight. it was okay. i felt really good after, though. and still do. i might think about rebuilding my relationship with running but…baby steps. following the half hour i spent another half hour stretched out on my yoga mat. i brought it to the gym with me today and went through some poses in a back room. the view was gorgeous. and i did something i never do in public: took off my shirt and just did it my spandex shorts and sports bra. and kept my cool when people walked in the room.

talk about a big step. i was a bit self conscious at first but then i got over it. because i looked healthy. i went through some of my favorite balancing poses and a few sets of warriors as well as some floor work. by the time i walked out of the gym i felt really empowered.

i am feeling beautiful inside and out much more frequently. i am forgiving myself much more frequently. i am giving to myself much more frequently. i am trying. honest. and i like to think i am finally building a solid foundation for feeling beautiful for life.

tonight i am going to the giants game with my coworkers. and we just got paid today. looking forward to spending time with good people and maybe, just maybe, having a beer…hmmm…

have a fabulous evening, kidlettes.

namaste.

zoe.

today after my long seven hour shift at work (we’re a drive-thru starbucks. the drive-thru never quit today. yours truly was stationed in drive-thru. all day. but hey! time flew by :)) i went on a good four mile walk. i love walking. and my body loves walking. so i’m going to include more walking in my life. along the way, i stopped at a friends for a bit to catch up before she went off to work. then my introspective wanderings commenced once again.

it took a little over an hour to return home and when i did, i felt about ready to chew my arm off. i satiated myself with the other half of this morning’s banana and ran off to the store to buy what i was craving: KALE. hi, my name is zoe and i have a kale addiction, a hummus addiction, a carrot addiction, and a almond butter addiction.

during the lovely hour or so walk, i utilized my time and thought. firstly, about dinner and what to make. i thought of the giant costco-size bottle of POM sitting in my fridge. just sitting. waiting to be used. and then a concoction was born:

spicy pomegranate sauce!

what you need
3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice (i used POM!)
1 t agave
1 t spicy chili sauce
juice from one lemon
lemon zest
1/4 t xanthan gum

combine all ingredients except the xanthan gum into a sauce pan. bring to a boil. allow to thicken a bit. whisk a bit. after about five or so minutes, add the xanthan gum. whisk vigorously. allow to thicken on stove top for about five or so more minutes. remove from heat, cover and allow to cool for another five or so minuets. sauce be done!

this created a small amount of sauce because i was testing it out. i most definitely plan on making it again and in a bigger batch! it was perfectly sweet and tangy from the juice and spicy from the chili sauce (which i added on impulse!). super delicious! i feel a tofu recipe coming on…

i poured the sauce over millet, which i cooked and ate for the very first time tonight! i used emily’s cooking instructions. to the bowl of millet, i added some raw red peppers and raw red onions (next time i might omit the onions, their flavor was a bit over powering).

served alongside some massage kale salad. taste-buds be happyyyy.

after sorting out dinner, i revisited a talk a friend and i had the other day. during our little catch-up slash heart to heart, i shared with her my struggles with disordered eating and how they’ve especially dominated my summer. although i feel like i am now headed down the true path to a healthy lifestyle, it still felt good to talk to someone, especially a close friend. half way through the talk, i grew intensely emotional. i cried as i explained to her how twisted my obsession with food turned. i found myself saying aloud how i felt ashamed and embarrassed of my own hunger, particularly if eating in front of others who may not eat as much as i did. i told her how i always found myself guilt ridden for taking seconds. my friend balked and responded by saying something so eye opening: “well, zoe, you do need to eat to live. and you put nothing but healthy foods into your body. you have nothing to feel guilty for when eating good food. and even if you ate unhealthy food, you still have nothing to feel bad about.”

her statement only highlighted how irrational my thinking is. whole foods = a whole mind and body. i eat whole foods. i avoid processed foods. i am not feeding myself foods with little nutritional value. and even if i did, it still falls within the non-processed foods.it’s okay to have a sweet tooth. especially when i feed it with more healthful forms of dessert.

i also realized i need to take cues from my episodes of over-eating. if i eat one too many spoonfuls of almond butter, i believe i need to see it as a sign from my body to start consuming more healthy fats. i subconsciously avoid healthy fats. i love them and know their health benefits, but the word “fat” plays mean tricks on my brain. it signals me to avoid, avoid, avoid. which leads me to over consume rich or indulgent tasting foods. you know, i think i just need to start completely trusting my body. it is smarter than i give it credit for. and the more i listen, the healthier i seem to feel, anyway. step in the right direction, folks!

for the remainder of this week, i am going to try and include some form of healthy fat in each meal and see how my body reacts. i need to really start nailing down what works for my body and what does not. i know sugar does not jive at all with me. what’s next?

i brought my ipod along for the walk. i noticed how often i skipped a song. i tend to leave it on shuffle but only stop at songs i know. how routine. and boring. i have TONS of songs on my ipod i do not know or rarely, if ever, listen to. so i formed another new experiment. i learn songs best when they are on CD’s. i listen to them in my car. i am going to go through the albums on my ipod and listen to them! i skipped over abbey road and the across the universe soundtrack (done and done, of course) and am starting with the kings of leon aha shake heartbreak.

well kids, i get have work tomorrow at 6:45 in the morning. tackling another seven hour shift. i still have yet to get a slow shift so i ain’t sweatin it. i am sweating how work has thrown off my eating schedule (like today. the first time i ate food was at 1:40. and it was only carrots, broccoli, and hummus — my quick and easy purchase from target). most early mornings i go without breakfast because i cannot eat so early in the morning. it leads my stomach to eat itself, leads me to feeling starving and then not hungry at all. then i eat every in sight. i usually pack food (nothing — substantial anyway — in starbucks is vegan) but sometimes it’s not enough. blah. any ideas as to how to keep a healthy eating routine to avoid over consuming later?

i’m off to do some quick bed time yoga and shower. hope i can fall asleep easily tonight…it seems whenever i set an alarm sleep never comes.

namaste

zoe

today i woke up curious about one thing: running.

i know, i know. i kicked the habit about a month ago. but something in me today wanted to experiment, to see how my body might react. i promised myself i’d walk if i felt uncomfortable or miserable. so, after rolling out of bed, i chomped down a date, laced up my running shoes (which felt weird) and walked out the door. how’d it go?

a little something like this: brisk walk for five-ish minutes to warm up. then the running began. it definitely felt interesting to move through the running motions again. my pace was slow, though not heavy. it took a couple of minutes to steady my breath but once i did, it felt okay. nothing hurt i’m happy to report. no knee pain, no tight hamstrings. the last mile did not go so well. whatever fun i found in the beginning of the run faded and, in keeping with my promise, i walked the last half mile. in all i think i ran just over three miles (i took my old four mile loop) which to me felt perfect. i came home and stretched it out which felt even better.

will i run again? most likely not. it didn’t feel as fun as i wanted it to be but i’m glad i attempted it. and i’m glad i listened to my body. maybe i’m just not cut out to be a runner. and you know what? that’s okay. now yoga, well…yoga and i are deeply involved in a whirlwind love affair. i’m definitely cut out to do yoga and that makes me happy. i think one of the main reasons i ran is because so many bloggers i admire run. however, i’m learning my body is just that — my body. and i’m listening to it now.

and it totally wanted this perfectly purple smoothie when i got back from my run!

i know it’s a bit difficult to tell, but that smoothie is just about the same color as my bowl! into the blender went one (organic!) banana, the last of my frozen watermelon, some frozen berries, and some farmer’s market kale. topped with cinnamon and coconut. it was good. and filling. however, i’m now freezing. you’d like the middle of august in california might be hot, right? wrong. it is almost one (uh, where’s the day going?) and completely overcast. and cold. the clouds come and night and kind of refuse to leave sometimes. we have yet to have a warm summer night. it’s a complete bummer because warm summer nights are what i look forward to every year. oh well…

i also recently experimented with some mushrooms! i combined the following as a marinade/sauce:
3 t apple cider vinegar
2 t olive oil
1/2 t bragg’s liquid aminos
1 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne
splash of water
squeeze of a lemon
dash of pepper
dash of garlic powder (optional)

then, i roughly chopped some mushrooms and poured the marinade/sauce over them. i let them soak up the flavor for a good day (unintentional. i meant to eat it for dinner later that night but ended up at the giant’s game for jerry garcia tribute night!!!) and the results were really awesome! super spicy (just how i like it) and tasty. i turned it into a wrap. collard green wraps may be my new favorite thing. also, i’m finding i love raw foods. loooove. anyway, it looked a little something like this (hit it!…yeah, i’m a dork, so what? ;))

inside my collard green wrap went the mushrooms, some purple cabbage, and some farmer’s market tomato. how pretty are all those colors together!?! this is why vegetables excite me so much. they’re so pretty.

upclose!

i also tried okra for the first time yesterday! i bought some after wanting to for a while. i’ve heard of their slimy reputation so i baked them. and paired it with ketchup. um. can we say new obsession?

i saved some for another dish i want to make. i’ll share that with you tomorrow, i’m thinking! anyways, it FINALLY looks like it’s clearing up! and i want to get in my dose of sunshine for the day before work at 5. have a great wednesday, everyone!

namaste!

zoe!