My Health Quest
I have always been active and healthy. I was fortunate to be born with a great metabolism and no major health problems. I became a vegetarian 9 years ago after attending The World Peace Yoga Conference in Loveland, Ohio. I listened to several speakers talk about the benefits of a plant based diet, as well as the negative affects of factory farming and the meat industry in general. I came to the conclusion that giving up the little bit of meat I ate would be easy for me. I allowed my family to make their own decisions on what they chose to eat. Slowly after watching documentaries such as Food Inc and Forks Over Knives, they too chose a vegetarian lifestyle with an occasional exception for fish.
From Vegetarian to Vegan Diet
A month or so ago I decided to take my journey one step further and give plant based living, or a vegan diet, a try. I blogged about it one week in and now I would like to follow up because it takes 21 days to both make and break a habit. For me, cheese was the hardest thing to give up. I fell off the wagon even before that first week was over if you recall my blog. But, that is all part of the process; awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness. We are only human and when we set out to try to better ourselves, we need to be gentle in the process.
As it turns out, a full plant based diet is not as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part really is the judgment and negativity that you sadly receive from friends and family who do not know how to feed you or receive your new found lifestyle. I wish that others could leave it alone and not judge, especially when we are not pushing anything on them. We are simply trying to live what we believe to be the healthiest most conscious life possible as proven by medical doctors countless times.
There Are No Right or Wrong's, Everyone is Different
Needless to say, I will not continue a full plant based diet. I DO consider it by far the most healthy way to eat and live. However, I am low weight and I feel that eating small amounts of organic grass fed eggs and cheese will not hurt me. I am going to stick with the Hellmann's Vegan Mayo I found though because I liked it equally as much as regular mayo! I strongly believe everyone needs to be highly aware of what they eat and how it affects them. Then, they need to follow a diet and lifestyle that best fuels their energy and needs. Be healthy by being conscious of what you are doing and how it affects both you and the planet. Also be kind and most importantly whatever diet and lifestyle you choose please do not judge others. I highly recommend eating as many natural whole organic foods as you can and buy locally grown produce when possible. Avoid processed foods and GMO foods. Do what is right for you and stand strong for you believe in.
So, I will leave you with my findings, which include vegan friendly restaurants in Cincinnati, as well as in Palm Springs where I spent a week during my my month on a vegan diet. I'll also share some of my favorite foods and tried and true recipes. Should you decide to give this a try I would recommend talking with your physician. Taking a B-12 vitamin supplement is generally recommended and you will need to be sure to balance your nutrients and listen to your body if you feel weak or lethargic.
My Top Three Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Cincinnati/Northern KY
1. Loving Hut - Loving Hut has many vegan options. You can get a variety of vegan burgers, wraps, and panini's as well as salads, but as you know, sometimes we get tired of salad. I ordered the American panini which has vegan tofurkey, organic coleslaw with vegan mayo, pickles, banana peppers, organic mustard, vegan cheez, vegan mayo, and is served with organic corn chips. I don't claim that it's healthy, but it sure was a yummy party in my mouth and it was all vegan and organic!
2. Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar In Covington is not necessarily known as a vegan or vegetarian place which makes it great when you eat with friends or family who have not converted yet. I ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich which was wonderful and healthy served with avocado. For Dinner they offer a nice Roasted Vegetable Plate.
3. Stonecreek - Stonecreek in Montgomery just moved to a new location down the street from the old location. They have an amazing house salad that truly needs little to no dressing as it is zest on its own topped with a delicious spiced bruschetta tomato topping; healthy, light and delicious! They also offer an amazing squash Wellington that they just added to their menu. I have not had it yet but I look forward to trying it!
Top Three Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Palm Springs:
1. Nature’s Health Food & Cafe - Vegan/vegetarian food and juice bar - I had an amazing Philly cheese steak sandwich with vegan cheese. You would never know it was vegan!
2. Raw Remedy Juice Bar - I had the cold killer shot which is made with ginger, garlic, carrot, and pineapple~ So spicy and flavorful! I was a little under the weather and this packed the punch I needed.
3. Loco Charlie's Mexican Grill - I had the shrimp fajita without the shrimp... haha. They have an impressive salsa bar too! Absolutely fresh and flavorful, yet light and healthy tasting.
MEALS THAT I ATE DURING MY MONTH OF PLANT BASED LIVING:
Ever heard of jackfruit? It comes fresh and canned. BBQ Jackfruit tacos are da' bombdiggity.
I do not advocate consuming too much processed food, however, the Quorn Vegan Chik'n Patties are a great "go to" for a hearty homemade sandwich.
Ahhh.... the yummy Philly Cheese Steak from Nature's Health Food & Cafe in Palm Springs. Let me just tell you how incredible this was.....
When you eat out, do not be afraid to ask for simple modifications. I ordered the eggplant parmesan and asked for no cheese. It was absolutely delicious and more than satisfying.
Avocado toast with lime juice and a little salt and fresh fruit is an ideal breakfast before a morning of hiking.
Simple salad of shredded beets & carrots drizzled with basil olive oil with Leon juice and a little salt pairs well with organic humus (I topped it with turmeric, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper), and greek olives.
Gnocci with sun-dried tomato pesto and tossed salad with vegan thousand island dressing.
Homemade strawberry jam on 21 grain organic vegan toast with fresh berries is an excellent start to the day.
PS, What are your go to vegetarian or Vegan recipes? Join me on Pinterest @LibbyMcAvoy and @TotalSoulfulJourney to try some of my favorite recipes