Vegan Mofo 2014 Bonus Post: My nomination for a Liebster Award!

So I was nominated for a Liebster Award by the Judgmental Vegan. Thanks! I like the idea of this.

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Here are the rules:

  • Answer the questions provided by the nominator, then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
  • Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
  • No Tag backs (i.e. you cannot nominate the blog that nominated you)
  • Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
  • You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

Why did you decide to go vegan?

I originally went vegan because I saw a documentary about the carbon footprint of food and how much food we produce that is of animal origin as a country and as humans and it really disgusted me. I had already been toying with the idea of it for awhile, but that’s what set me over the edge. I have slipped and stopped being vegan a few times, and have currently been vegan for a year and a half as of October 24 of this year. It’ll be 2 years April 24. But I plan to stick with it permanently now. I recommitted to veganism this time around for all the other reasons I have before (environment and animals) but also my health this time.

Is there any non-vegan food that you miss?

Not really. If there is something I miss at this point then I’ll try to veganize it myself, and usually it comes out pretty awesome. I was missing cheese Danish awhile ago and then made them myself after that, and it was amazing. Also I made chocolate filled croissants…OM NOM! Here is a picture of me eating that! I was pretty excited.

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What vegetable do you feel like you should like, but somehow, just don’t?

Raw grated carrots. Whenever I have them in salads I avoid most of them. Actually maybe all raw carrots…They’re not that bad really, just too crunchy and hard to chew fast.

Is there a recipe that you’re dying to try, but haven’t gotten around to it yet?

Some of the new Chloe Coscarelli recipes from her new book that she emails to her email list. Except I was going to make the carbonara but then I was disappointed to find that a pound of shiitake mushrooms would cost me around $10. 😦

Who is your favorite cookbook author? Why?

Chloe Coscarelli again. I have tried so many of her recipes and she cannot create something that tastes bad. I especially love her book “Chloe’s Kitchen” and cannot wait to obtain her new Italian food book. I don’t own the dessert one because I don’t need the temptation for that! haha. But yeah. There are a lot of vegan cookbooks I’ve bought where I’ve been disappointed that they had so much hype around them and then there’s hardly any recipes that look appealing to me. Sometimes I’ll even make a recipe thinking it sounds so good and it’ll taste gross. Not with Chloe.

What was your first vegan cookbook?

Vegan with a Vengeance. I think that was the book that had me make seitan one of the first few weeks of going vegan for the first time like in 2009. I didn’t actually realize how impressive me making it from scratch was as a new vegan. In fact I met up with some vegans for the first time and told them “I made seitan” and I think they assumed I bought store bought brands, looking back on it now…I didn’t even realize when they asked me whether I made it myself from scratch or not. I hadn’t realized there was kinds you could buy in the store yet, so I was confused if maybe there was another process to making it or something (I think actually you can make the gluten part from flour and it’ll take even longer and be more complicated? I can’t remember if I did it that way or with vital wheat gluten and I’m too lazy to look in the book right now…) but yeah, it’s something I think is funny that I associate with my first vegan cookbook.

What was the best meal you ever made for yourself or someone else?

So this recipe coming tomorrow for Vegan MoFo is definitely the best brunch meal I’ve ever made. That’s all I’ll say for now!

Do you find it easy to be vegan in the area you live in? How do you make it work?

Yeah, there’s a Stop and Shop grocery store nearby me that has so many vegan items in their organic/natural food section. They even sell vegenaise, all kinds of vegan yogurt, daiya, earth balance butter and snacks, silken tofu, nutritional yeast, all kinds of tofurky products, daiya pizza, ice cream, etc! I recently bought the new Dr. Praeger’s Asian burgers there and they were so good! If they don’t have something I need I have to travel into the City (which is only 15 minutes away by car) to go to Whole Foods. I’d say it’s easy and there are lots of new vegan friendly restaurants and restaurants with vegan options here too. Providence is the first city to have a vegan soft serve truck, too!

If you could only eat one processed, vegan product (with the rest of your diet being whole foods). which would it be?

Hmm, I dunno really. Some type of vegan mayo, probably Just Mayo.

What’s one thing about yourself that you feel has very little to do with being vegan?

I don’t really understand this question but I’ll attempt to answer it. My love of arts and crafts. Not that my arts and crafts aren’t vegan themselves, but I don’t usually make arts and crafts that have a vegan message or anything related to that.

Okay, that’s all done and was very fun!

Here’s who I nominate (sorry if you have more than 200 followers, don’t be offended if you have more, some of your blogs don’t actually list that for me to double check if I’m nominating the right people for this). Also my apologies if you’ve been nominated before…It got to be too much to try and double check.

Ellen’s Vegan Kitchen

Evolution of Jill 

Vegan Chai

Easy Vegan

Miss Muffcake

Busy Vegan Mama

My Apologies for the Novel

Deerly Beloved Bakery

And your ten questions to answer (please draw my attention somehow to your answers because I can’t actually follow all of you who don’t have wordpress and I may not look in a timely manner. I’m really interested in your responses to these, though):

  1. What is your all time favorite vegetable?
  2. Pick a holiday you celebrate. What would you like to make for the meals you eat for it this year?
  3. Do you care about giving veganism a positive example through your life and what you put out into the communities you interact with? If so, how do you strive to maintain that positivity?
  4. Do you have a favorite vegan type of saying? For instance, I really like what my Compassion Company shirt says “Anything you can eat I can eat vegan?”
  5. Are you interested in other types of ethical/philosophical justice issues? What are they and how do you involve yourselves in them?
  6. What would you tell someone who confided in you they were thinking of going vegan but felt overwhelmed about it?
  7. What was the first thing you cooked for yourself when you went vegan?
  8. How long have you been a vegan for?
  9. Do you celebrate your veganniversary?
  10. If you could travel to any vegan friendly city in the world, where would you choose to go?
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This is a non food related post. It’s about my personal transformation in many ways

Awhile ago, I was having a conversation with a friend whom I had not talked to in a long time, but we are friends with each other on facebook. She said, “this is your year.”

I told her I didn’t want just this year to be my year.

I actually think this next calendar year will be even better! I have a lot planned for it. But really, I think each year can get better and better, considering all the things I have accomplished this year, and how much my attitude and mindset has changed!

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In 2013, starting in April (I’m not one to care about new year type things really, I need more personal reasons to make change in myself), I have gone from being very unhealthy with my food choices, to being a conscious, healthy (with unhealthy vegan food in moderation, which I personally feel is important) vegan. I have lost 65 pounds. I have made working out a routine. I have tackled many of my fears, for example, being afraid to run, math, making up my own recipes, etc. I have started this blog and though I don’t write in it as much as I’d like to or as much about what I want to write about, I keep up with it and do it. I have even improved my health in measurable ways, like my hemoglobin a1c levels, my bmi, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and my iron levels (they were very low). I took on an important role in an organization I love and that empowers me and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (Girls Rock). I have tried to make practice of being more creative and doing more awesome things. I am starting to work on having a better social life, something I’ve been neglecting to do for awhile.  I accidentally discovered a recipe I created two years ago was semi famous. And other awesome things I am forgetting or not putting a priority on.

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Next year though, I believe will be even better. I will graduate a college program, something I have been longing for a very long time but never quite achieved. That’s a big one for me. I would like to see if maybe I can win the contest to speak at my graduation, but that’s not something I can control the outcome of (I also think I might start bawling if I started to speak about all the things I’ve accomplished during my time in school. It’s one thing to write about it, but to speak it? heh). I will continue to write in this blog.  I plan to either start a new college program, or begin to work on my career goals. I will volunteer at an animal shelter (which I’m actually starting this year after finals hopefully). I will be a vegan for the longest stretch of time so far. I will continue to be a healthy person and have goals for that…including running a 5k by the time I turn 30 on my Birthday in October (or thereabouts), and starting to lift weights. I will have stronger relationships with my friends. Most importantly, everything about me will get stronger. My mind, body, everything.

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My mom and I! She’s a big supporter 😉

I am sharing this because maybe someone is reading my blog and is feeling badly about their ability to meet their goals, or get healthy, or change their bad habits, or whatever else. I want to inspire people, that’s my primary goal. Well, that and help as many people as possible. If 2013 is the year of the Laura and 2014 will be an even better year from what I can see and so on for the rest of my life, then other people can do the same thing! I don’t want to spew too many cliches. But really, believe me when I say that anything you put your mind to is possible.

Okay. Now here’s the part where I talk about what/who has helped me out when I thought I couldn’t do it. I’m not going to mention everything, but there are some clear, concise things I want to share that everyone can use if they want to.

Mostly it’s just support from other people. Like especially my mom, my aunt, my friends, mentors, doctors, etc.

Also myself, which I’ve already alluded to. Like really. It’s all about my mindset. I watch the Biggest Loser sometimes on tv, and I would tell myself I am my own biggest loser, as silly as it sounds. Actually it’s not really silly. It’s true. I did it without having to go on a tv show that’s actually pretty extreme and a last resort kind of thing. Or, I’ll be my own therapist sometimes, by anticipating the advice another person would give me, but instead it’s me giving myself actually helpful advice, and then just doing what the advice tells me I should do instead of waiting to feel bad I haven’t done it, or have someone else telling me to do it. Like today, I beat my own personal record for running. First of all, I walk and run in intervals, and I keep track of my progress with an app called Runkeeper. Usually I have been setting my activity to “walking” but today, I was like “okay I am going to run!” and set it to run. And I ran. I ran as far as I could for as long as I could, as fast as I could, until I needed to walk, and kept going for 45 minutes. Plus, I set a goal to run faster than my usual record when I was walking more. I wanted to go just under 13 min/mile. Instead, I ran 11:51 min/mile! I was proud and sort of in shock. But I am not surprised. If someone else could hear the awesome things I was telling myself while they were running, I bet they’d do just as well (considering some factors, of course).

Another final thing I want to mention, to make it more inline with the purpose of my blog which is spreading, sharing, and showing the awesomeness that comes with being a vegan is this facebook group I belong to. I really like to follow the work of Christy Morgan, author of the Blissful Bites cookbook, and awesome athlete/vegan educator extraordinaire. After commenting on one of her photos on instagram, she asked me if I belonged to her vegan ladies who lift facebook group. I was hesitant because I don’t think I am ready to be lifting weights quite yet, but she still encouraged me to join. And it’s one of my favorite vegan facebook groups! It is so supportive and everyone there is awesome. Not only do I get inspired by so many other strong vegan ladies, but I can also inspire others there. And it’s very informative and just…really cool for lack of a better description. So, I highly recommend it if you’re a vegan lady and interested in also getting stronger.

Okay, well, sorry this isn’t about food this time! But I hope this is just as tasty a read as any of my other entries. And I hope you were inspired in some way from my story. Here’s to having each year be the year of us for a very long time!