So I have been busy…

Hey, wow…remember me? I promise I didn’t fall off of the earth — I have just been really busy with school and such. I am sitting down with a coffee and I guess I should fill you all in on my vegan adventures as of late.

To start, I was home most of the week before last because of my school’s midterm break! I had a great time catching up on homework binge watching “Dr. Who” and “Sherlock” and snuggling with my cat. And, of course, eating some of my Mom’s delicious food. Don’t get me wrong, I find cooking for myself to be one of the greater things in life, but nothing beats food from home. Before I even got back to St. Louis, I was absolutely craving these delicious enchiladas my Mom makes. Needless to say, I thought about them for a big part of my drive home:

She found the recipe at Schnuck’s, one of St. Louis’ grocery stores and unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe on me but I will get it from her and share it! The original recipe calls for chorizo and regular cheese, of course. I had them when I was just a vegetarian and with Mexican style cheese, these couldn’t be beat. My Mom and I went to the store and found the Holy Grail aka Daiya shredded Mexican-style cheese. Needless to say, a miracle occurred in our kitchen:

Vegan enchiladas with Daiya. Let's take a second also to appreciate that my Mom labeled it accordingly.

Vegan enchiladas with Daiya. Let’s take a second also to appreciate that my Mom labeled it accordingly.

I would have taken more pictures but it was too delicious and I ate it up before I could snap any more.

I would have taken more pictures but it was too delicious and I ate it up before I could snap any more.

I could tell a MAJOR difference between the vegan/dairy versions of this. With the vegan “cheese,” I didn’t feel nearly as sick or bloated or greasy or disgusting as I did after I ate the ones with regular cheese. With all of the delicious veggies and legumes inside of these, you really don’t need cheese (dairy, soy or otherwise) — they are just that delicious.

Happy leftovers, happy vegan.

Happy leftovers, happy vegan.

It was a really refreshing week and was so nice to be at home and have a change of scenery, especially at such a beautiful time of year.

So here we are, October is starting to wind down and I’m thinking about how different things are for me than they were just a few months ago. I actually counted and I have been vegan for exactly 62 days — who would have thought? I’m noticing now that I don’t really spend as much time thinking about it…not to say that is a bad thing! Just that I am getting more used to it and it is starting to feel like I have been vegan my entire life. It was the same when I switched to vegetarian and after a few weeks, I never thought about it. It’s almost as if you forget because it becomes so normal and natural. Since being vegan, I have come to believe 4 things with complete certainty:

  1. I AM A LOT STRONGER THAN I THOUGHT I WAS. When I switched to vegan, I was going through something really difficult and never thought I’d get over it. A few months later, I am starting to look back and think “Wow, I made it.” And I’m not that sad girl I used to be. Switching to and sticking with veganism has helped me grow into myself…something I had been missing for so long.
  2. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THOSE WHO WANT TO SEE YOU FAIL, BUT THERE ARE EVEN MORE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SEE YOU SUCCEED. If you ask me questions about my way of eating and living or engage me in an educated conversation about veganism, there is a 100 percent chance that I want to be your best friend. I love when people ask me questions or are slightly intrigued by veganism, even though I don’t really see what is so intriguing about it. I am also 100 percent positive, however, if you blindly slap a label on vegans or use “bacon” as your argument, I’ll roll my eyes so far back that they’ll fall out of my head. I have been really blessed, actually, to be surrounded by family and friends who respect my choice and accommodate it. This has made the experience all the more rewarding.
  3. VEGANISM ISN’T FOR EVERYONE, AND THAT’S OKAY. That’s all that needs to be said. Veganism is a two-way street. A lot of my friends ask me if I will be offended if they eat meat in front of me. The answer is a simple: no. I don’t care what you eat. Respect that about me and I will gladly return the favor. It took me ten years of learning and growing as a vegetarian to be brave enough to go completely vegan. Being vegan or vegetarian doesn’t make you superior and those who act as such put a bad name on everyone who is. Being vegan is about loving those around you, not about some shaming or competing with one another. I’m just going to leave that there.
  4. KEEP YOUR MIND AND YOUR HEART OPEN. Big changes of any kind are really scary. But it’s usually the biggest changes that define us and present themselves as the most valuable, teachable experiences. You can choose to be intimidated and give up for fear of failure, or you can take the experience one step at a time, learn from your mistakes and keep going with the confidence that you aren’t alone…other people have done this before you. However you choose to approach any situation in life — and that could be anything: going vegan, changing your major, starting a new project — is entirely up to you. It’s okay to walk alone sometimes and it’s okay to be confused, just so that you know you will learn from it even if it isn’t clear to you yet. My yoga teacher at home seals each practice with the most beautiful sentiment that I remind myself of daily: “Learn to accept those things you can control, and embrace those things you can’t. Acknowledge them and then let them go.” Push yourself outside of your comfort zone…you might just learn something amazing!

So what’s in store for me now?

I’ve got one day of classes this week (just on Monday) before I head out of town for a conference on Wednesday morning. I’m going to New Orleans! This is my first time traveling as a vegan, so expect some sort of lengthy post about that upon my return. I will say that I have already done my research about the hotel (for breakfast options) and plan to bring Luna bars or individual peanut butter packets or something vegan just in case. I actually had a nightmare (literally) the other night that the hotel didn’t have soymilk for my coffee during breakfast. Vegan firstworld problem and I’ll stop there before I dig myself a larger hole.

Keep you guys posted, as always! 🙂

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