5 Vegan Game Changing Products

So I know its been a WHILE since I last posted on Artistically Organic. Summer for me tends to be a little crazy. Its when the place we live comes alive with tourists. We have to make the best of this time before it ends and we go back to a ghost town.

I have been experimenting like crazy with recipes and new vegan products that let us kindof be like “everyone else” or as some would say “normal people. For those of you interested the recipe book I am writing “Back to Plants” is still in the works. I plan on having news of an official release very soon. I just wanted to make sure my recipes were polished. I wanted to ensure that they would not only help you stay healthy and fit but be delicious and hard to believe acceptable as healthy choices.

Even being vegan myself I have noticed my own weight fluctuating a little lately. Things feel a little tighter and don’t fit the way they always have. Summer time is where I kind of let loose and eat whatever I feel like, I have strayed away from eating the greens and fruits I should be relying on to keep my body healthy and in check. I know many people who are focused on getting their bodies to a healthy goal weight that they have in mind, or maybe preparing for a wedding, event or something coming up. So I want to stress that these products I am listing here are not something we eat all the time. We mostly rely on plant based meals with little additives. However sometimes you need something you are craving and there are some amazing products you can use to achieve that without meats or dairy products. I am going to list several products that are vegan and what I use them for.

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1.) Daiya Vegan Ranch: So before I was a vegan I LOVED ranch on my pizza, ranch with cucumber slices and ranch on many other things. I readily gave it up when I chose this lifestyle and never thought I would enjoy it again. Well, let me tell you, this stuff is amazing. I dip my cucumbers in a little of this and drizzle a little on my vegan pizza (from whole foods) and it is heaven. This feels like such a spoil to a vegan who has given up hope on enjoying ranch delights. They also have two other dressings, blue cheese and caesar which I have not tried but if you are looking for those options then I would give it a shot!

2.) Veganaise or Vegan Spread: Who doesn’t love a fresh coleslaw or potato salad especially during the summer time. Well when you are vegan its rare you get to enjoy such delights. Vegan mayonnaise has created so many possibilities! Fresh vegan coleslaw, pasta salads, potato salad, add a little nutritional yeast to warm pasta and a vegan mac’n cheese is what you will get! If you are having a get together and want to make one of those awesome salads or just want to enjoy it yourself give these options a try!

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3.) Kite Hill Vegan Yogurt: You could call yogurt a staple for not only breakfast foods but lunches as well. Its a wonderful source of helpful bacteria, its delicious and refreshing, and now vegans can enjoy it too! As a vegan family I get so excited knowing I can serve my son a cup of vegan almond milk yogurt from Kite Hill with blueberries and chia seeds added. If you love yogurt but are dairy free or vegan then definitely give this product a try!

4.) Light Life Veggie Dogs & Light Life Vegan Ground Meat: This company has done it right. Veggie dogs that satisfy that summer hot dog on the grill craving and meatless ground meat substitute that makes killer tacos, chili and burritos. If you have a hankering for something that calls for a ground meat of some kind or a veggie dog that even meat eaters could enjoy, then check out the Light Life section of your grocery store.

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5.) Califa Farms Vegan Cold Brewed & Regular Iced Coffee Selections: Okay lets talk about coffee. Coffee can be complicated when you are non dairy or vegan, finding the right cream replacement, the right combination. Califa Farms has done something incredible. Much like the pre-made starbucks iced coffees you can buy on the go to satisfy that caffeine boost you need, they have made exactly that, with almond milk. These coffee selections are deliciously creamy, exciting, and cruelty free. Furthermore, they have very clear recycling directions on the bottles to encourage less waste than other products. We tried these on a long road trip and I was so excited about them. They even make these iced coffees in large bottles you can keep in your fridge and use through a whole week to grab pre-made coffee on the go quickly. Thank goodness for companies like Califa Farms for making products like this to make life convenient for even us non dairy folk.

So I hope this list is helpful to those of you who are looking for substitutions for certain things in your diet. I work hard to pair these products with a substantial amount of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh salads and plenty of water. These products are not really intended to be eaten alone but to accompany and accent other amazing healthy foods for well rounded meals not very different from those meals you may have enjoyed previous to giving up meats or dairy products. I think these items are a great tool to use when making a slow transition into veganism or just a healthier diet in general. None of us want to deprive ourselves of the foods we love so just finding better options that are just as delicious and maybe a little lighter on our bodies is a great idea. Please let me know what you think about these products and other suggestions you might have! So excited to share more with you all soon!

Entrepreneur-Mom Learning Lessons…

My apologies, I have been MIA as of recently. No fun healthy living tips, no delicious recipes featuring plants and healthy foods. Sorry about that, I have been dividing up my attention and sometimes when splitting yourself in so many directions, things fall through the cracks. It happens to all of us right?

I have been on the hunt, for something more. I have been asking myself questions. my questions have been, “why aren’t any of my ideas taking off?” or “Can I really accomplish all that I desire?” even “What am I meant to do?” I am sure some of you entrepreneurial minds can relate. I have always felt like my mind comes up with these grandiose ideas and I cannot always keep up. A few years back I wanted to promote my photography business so I spent months coordinating this huge event, which did not achieve what I hoped it would. I wanted to be involved in an Arts & Craft show but I did not like how they were conducted so a trusted friend and I threw our own. It was a strong first try but not at all what I had pictured. I have never been afraid to jump in, but I have failed and felt the harsh after-effects as well. Now, I am writing and organizing my first cookbook/recipe book. I am excited but admittedly I think it could have been out by now if I had the confidence in my work. Sometimes I wonder, do I have any authority or merit to be telling people what they should do? I think we all have these feelings from time to time.

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So this past weekend celebrating the Easter holiday we were lucky enough to be invited to go to Vermont with my family and relax in a gorgeous lodge tucked into the mountains and just be immersed in nature. From the moment we arrived the crisp fresh air filled my lungs and I felt so good. The pressure I had been feeling released and I felt like I could think. On the nearly 5 hour drive there, as our toddler napped in the back seat we listened to some amazing podcasts. We listened to some amazing stories about how some of the most incredible and recognizable business’ were made. From the story of Clif Bars, Melissa & Doug, to Whole Foods and more. We heard some incredible stories of trials, obstacles, success, and failure even. We realized through the weekend and enjoyed family and the amazing scenery. On the ride home, we did the same, listened to more stories. Ideas were flooding my brain, I knew I wanted to be one of those stories someday.

These stories really made me realize that the only thing holding me back from everything I dream is ME! All of the stories we heard had one thing in common, risk. Every person we heard about took a leap of faith and took a risk. Most of them had no idea what they were doing, they had an idea and just wanted to see it through. They found the right people to help them along the way and they got there. Most of the also failed one or more times first before they found the right formula for success. However they never ever gave up. I related to these stories. Their families and friends often thought they were insane going from one thing to another not just settling down and working on one thing their whole lives. They often questioned themselves and wondered if it was the right thing, however, in the end, they knew what they needed to do and didn’t stop until they got there.

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I have tried several things in my short adult experience and somethings have turned out wonderfully and others not so much. I finally feel like I am on the right path to success and all I need is that leap of faith to get started and see it to the end.

I feel a change in the air, in the universe. To anyone who has ideas, thoughts, dreams but feels like they cant do it, listening to the stories of the people who have done great things in this world makes all the difference. They look back now and can see that they never would have accomplished what they did without all the hard work risk and dedication they put in. I feel as though I am on the cusp of something amazing, on the ledge about to jump into an ocean of possibility.

I’m going to take those leaps, I am going to push forward to see my dreams become a reality. Going forward there may be fewer blog posts, less facebook interaction. There will be several recipe books, new products, new ventures. Artistically Organic is going to become something amazing and I feel it is my responsibility to see it through.

 

Why A Meat Lover Went Veggie…

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This post is for the meat eaters, I understand you and I want to make a connection that is not often made with these two sides. I loved meat, all my life, up until I made big changes in my lifestyle. I don’t attempt to force or persuade anyone to change what they are doing, they have to make that choice for themselves. However, I think its worth a discussion. I was that person who made fun of vegans, I proudly stated that the way they lived was unhealthy and un-necessary. I had no information that backed up my view I just said it. I am certain I posted things and said things about vegans that were very hurtful and harsh. I feel badly about that especially since I am now in the position of the people I made fun of. I now know that people who are vegan and vegetarian most of the time are only trying to do the best they can for themselves, their families and their environment.

So why? Why would I change my opinion on something so crucial? What made me think that what I had always been taught and believed to be true was suddenly wrong? The answer to this question is… I was searching myself because of my own motivation and found the true facts. I can tell you even to this day I am as surprised as you are that I am vegan, but I’m never going back.

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So it all started when I was reunited with the love of my life. Things change when you are a couple, you start eating together, merging your lives together and in turn making life decisions together. We had tried going “vegetarian” once before, but we didn’t do it properly and ended up always been tired, exhausted and hungry. We mostly ate what we liked to call “lettuce wraps” which you can imagine were not filled with any sort of nutrients and did not keep our bodies satisfied. We went from a full meat dairy diet to cutting several of those things immediately. Knowing what i know now, our bodies were freaking out. I can see why it didn’t work then. So maybe about two months in, we quit. That little false representation of vegetarian lifestyle convinced us “we just needed meat.” However we did decide that we needed more real fruits & veggies in our diet. So we started just slowly incorporating more plant foods into our meals. I truly believe this was the spark that ignited the transition that took several years to complete, but was the right way to do things.

So after telling our friends and family that we tried being vegetarian but it “simply was not practical” and “did not work for us”, we set back on a more “regular” diet as we knew it. We did eat meat again, but we were more selective. We choose our meat carefully and we paired it with salads and veggie dishes. Slowly but surely we began to really enjoy some of our vegetable sides, we got more creative and better at cooking.

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Little by little we began to learn more about food in general. We learned what health benefits came from which foods, we tried new recipes. We watched documentaries and read books about different effects of certain lifestyles. The more we learned, the more concern we began to have about the way we were eating. This led to realizations that we really needed to change the way we lived more drastically, if we were going to protect our health in the future. Many of our family members were shocked to hear we were considering going vegetarian again because they knew how it did not work for us in the past and they thought this was just another phase we would be in and out of quickly.

A key moment in our lifestyle transition was when a close family member developed cancer and began treatment. Seeing that person go through what they did. Seeing what it did to our entire family, learning what they went through to attempt fighting the disease. Eventually saying goodbye loosing them to the fight. We wanted to know where this disease came from, what fueled it and what seemed to stop it. Many books and studies on experimental treatments with organic and raw vegan diets seemed to suggest that diet could have a strong effect in the growth or deterioration of the cancer cells that can take over your body. This information linked plants to possibly stopping or preventing cancer cell duplication and processed foods, meats and dairy contributing or fueling the disease. More and more we began to dive deep into information and research.

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The trick was, how do you know that something you read or learn is right and what exactly to change? We checked and double checked all the information we could find on healthy living and the relations or links to disease. Of course there were doubts. However, from all the information we went through there did not seem to be any negative effects from incorporating more plants into your diet so we started there. We learned about studies that showed organic food being far less toxic without those pesticides and chemicals all over them. So we started shopping organic, we bought at local farmers markets as much as possible.

It was then that we really discovered the facts about meat and dairy that we had never seen before. We learned that in a Harvard study, cutting out red meats and processed meats (hot dogs, sausages, cold cuts) lowered risk of death by 20%. That was ONLY cutting out red meat. This information floored us and we decided to make some changes. We cut red meat out right away. Little by little we began focusing on plant based meals and avoiding red meat and as much meat products as we could. Then we learned more about dairy, about how the animals are treated with harsh antibiotics and they end up in the milk, how puss and other substances end up in milk and we ingest it. We learned about the biology of our bodies and why many humans have digestive problems as a result of these substances. We were thoroughly disgusted and this was all before the ethical information came to us about the treatment of animals who produce milk. The forced insemination and taking baby cow calves away from their mothers the moment they are born. It was heartbreaking and we could not stomach being part of this industry any more for the sake of our own health, our future family and environment.

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We sought out all of this information ourselves so I know my explanation in this blog post will not change the minds of others who are meat and dairy lovers. It was really hard to learn this was the way things were. It was really hard, at first, to give up things we thought we really liked. However there was light at the end of this transition and I truly believe the reason we completed it and feel so great about it, is because we saw the potential. The true reason for the transformation in our lifestyle was health. If we could lower a risk of death by disease by 20% by just cutting red meat, what else could we do? If the only thing standing in our way was making vegetarian and vegan food replacements as delicious as the meals we had come to love, then that was a challenge we would gladly accept. The more we cut out the questionable things and replaced them with quality healthy produce, the better we felt. The proof was in the results. We scoured the internet for amazing vegan and vegetarian takes on “traditional meals.” Some we liked and others we didn’t, we even made some of our own and they are now staples in our home. We prefer our vegan nachos or tacos recipes to going out any night!

We are not doctors obviously, I am finishing a certification on nutrition and health, but I do not have a masters degree. I only know what I have read and heard and seen, and of course how I now feel having changed my entire lifestyle. What all this information is telling me, is that we are meant to eat plants. The science and the facts show that we need plants for optimal survival. Eating more plants and becoming vegan, I have eradicated any trace of my asthma I suffered from as a child, I can concentrate better, sleep better, have more energy and remember more accurately. We feel amazing and we only started feeling this way when we found the perfect balance and truly started giving our bodies what they needed to thrive.

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It is so easy to look at vegans and vegetarians and poke holes in their lifestyle because many of them truly, are doing it wrong and depriving their bodies of what they need. They are not eating enough, they are still counting calories and depriving themselves of essential nutrients. The facts are clear you do need to eat more when you have this lifestyle, but focusing on the right things. This lifestyle is not taught when you grow up, its not explained and sometimes its unclear how to do it right. We are not “meatless product” vegans, we do not live on processed foods and vegetarian products. A yummy veggie burger is fine once in a while but its real food from the earth, grown on trees, bushes, in the ground, on vines that is going to sustain true health and that is what we live by.

Until we made sure we were eating enough, plenty of fruits and veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, we did not feel the best we could. Getting good sources of proteins, (beans, avocado, tofu & tempeh, nuts) and healthy carbs (rices, grains, oats) and all the nutrients the human body needs (iron, vitamin c, vitamin K, calcium, and more) is essential to satisfying your body. It is totally possible to do this as a vegan, meats and dairy are not essential to health. Those products may even inhibit your body from being as healthy as it can be.

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Again we know we will not change the minds of others, but if you are curious or asking yourself why vegans and vegetarians are always talking about food and it seems like they are always trying to convince you that this is the way to go, its not because they think they are superior, despite what many people say. The reason they want to share so much is because they care about you, your health, and the environment too. It takes dedication to your health, your family’s health, and the environment to make these changes and live this way. We have a great deal of difficulty going out to dinner because everything is covered in dairy or served on meat. Believe me, we wish it was not so hard, but we do it because its the right thing for us. Not everyone is ready, not everyone will be able to do this now, or as soon as we did, it takes time. We only share because we believe with proper information people can make changes for the better. Its true just like Maya Angelou said “I did then what I knew how to do, Now that I know better, I do better.”

The world is slowly waking up to the reality of food, the harsh realities of the meat and dairy industries. People are choosing organic, they are choosing sustainable they are choosing life and color in their food. I encourage you to choose for yourself, to discover and find out what is in the foods you are eating. I know there is a chance I could be wrong about many of the things I believe about food. However, when I think about it, adding more fruits and veggies into peoples meals everywhere really can’t hurt right? So if you don’t want to give up meat, then don’t! If you want to keep your glass of milk then do so! You can still make changes without giving things up day one. Maybe choose some organic milk next time you are at the store, or buy a smaller carton. Maybe be mindful about drinking more water. You could choose more responsibly raised meats, learn about grass fed, cage free, antibiotic and hormone free. Maybe visit your local farm and see what they have to offer? Then you are not giving up something you really like but instead fueling your local economy. Just making these small changes and adding more fresh foods into our diets can make a great deal difference. I hope this article does not offend you but helps you, I hope its relate-able. I truly only wish to give information to those searching for it like I once was and I only wish to help those who want the help I offer.

Natural Baby-Parenting Hacks THAT WORK!

Recently I had a conversation with my best friend, her baby is about a year younger than mine and she was asking me some questions about remedies and different tips and tricks surrounding teething, I realized I had lots of cool tricks (for multiple situations) I had done in my sons two years of life that really worked! She told me I should put these into a post so here it is! Courtesy of my best friend ❤

Screenshot 2018-02-22 at 6.16.34 PM1.) Frozen Breast Milk Teether:

This one I am sure many of you parents have seen. Babies love to gnaw and chew especially on COLD THINGS. So when teething began but my son was still mostly on breastmilk I was unsure what to give him at first. I had a great stash of frozen breast milk in the freezer so one night when he was particularly uncomfortable I broke off a piece and rinsed it a bit to soften any harsh edges and stuck it in the mesh teethers we had and voila! We got our teethers from our baby shower but I have seen them at ToysRus, Target, Amazon etc! He was so happy!! I also did this same thing later on with frozen fruits!

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Just like above we always need clever exciting and new tricks when those teeth are cutting through. I tried making these little baby popsicles for my son to gnaw on when his gums got sore. I tried breastmilk pops which he loved and also fruit pops with real frozen fruit I blended and poured into the molds (no added anything just the fruit was fine) and he LOVED them!! Warning!! They are VERY messy but worth it for when those little babes are in pain 😦 Molds like these are easy to find at your favorite places to shop for baby.

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3.) Baby Smoothies:

Depending on how your little one is doing with foods and how soon, this could be an awesome way to get some fruits and veggies into your little one start building up that healthy gut and help them develop a taste for the healthy stuff! I started doing this around 8 months. It was really time consuming for my little guy to be spoon fed puree and he made a huge mess eating little finger bite sized foods. Sometimes when I was trying to get something done around the house I would make him a quick smoothie, lay him down propped in his bobby pillow in his playpen with some of his baby music playing. I only did this once he was able to sit up comfortably and I knew it was safe for him. I would sit and fold some laundry next to him or get some computer work done right there all the while to make sure he did not choke or was in any danger. Anyways, some of the common foods I used in the smoothies were bananas, berries, mango, pineapple, kiwi, spinach, I would mix some of these in the blender with a little almond milk. Once he was a little older I would add oats, chia seeds, maybe some peanutbutter or almond butter. He loves these smoothies even still now! When I first started I cut the nipple of a bottle we barely used in an X on he top so he could suck out the smoothie with ease and it worked perfectly!! These were a go to on hot summer days and so so easy!

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4.) Tummy Time Happiness:

We all know that when our little ones are teeny tiny, and we are trying to do “tummy time” it sometimes isn’t always happy. I learned some tricks along the way that made tummy time more enjoyable and helped my little guy get stronger and stronger. First thing I did was to make sure that in the very beginning I used some sort of support, like a boppy pillow or a blanket for support. Then I would use something baby found interesting like a colorful bright book or toy to keep baby’s interest. This worked incredibly to prevent tummy time from being boring or uncomfortable.

 

5.) Baby Safe Splash Pool:

On those  hot summer days we will do anything to help baby cool off and have some fun too! Sometimes they are a little small to be in the pool to cool off so what is the alternative? Filling a small container or bucket with water or even several buckets can be an exciting and mesmerizing experience for baby. I laid a blanket out on the deck and threw some fun toys into the water, endless entertainment! This activity is intended to be for babies who are sitting up well on their own and grasping toys.

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6.) Wear Baby To Nap Time:

Sleep regressions, teething, fevers, gas, growing pains you name it there are so many reasons babies wont sleep. We as parents can be pulling our hair out trying to get baby down for just an hour nap so that we can try to get something done or even just sit down! When my little one wouldn’t settle down and I knew we were in a little phase of something, eventually I learned some tricks. Aside from the usual, nurse, swing, swaddle etc… There was another trick that worked really well. I used to wear that baby to sleep. I would wrap him up in the baby carrier and do whatever I had to do, clean, take a walk, fold laundry, all kinds of things all the while waiting for him to drift off to dreamland. Most of the time this trick worked like a charm. Because babies want to be near their momma so much when they aren’t feeling right, this was so easy. He was happy to be close with me and I got a great workout in while doing regular chores and getting things done. Once he dozed off I would gently remove the wrap and place him in his bed for a much needed nap.

 

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I hope that this short list of easy and effective parenting hacks helps you in some way! I will certainly have more as time goes on and I will definitely be sharing as my little one gets older things always change and new healthy but helpful ideas are always needed!! Good luck!

-Alexa-

Home-Preschool | Where do I start!?

We all want to put together those “easy” Pinterest activities that are going to accelerate our childs’ learning right? Lets be honest, its not as easy as it looks and sometimes activities don’t always go as planned. Some of the most attractive things I have seen on Pinterest have turned into “Pinterest Fails” for me. So since my son has now turned two and his little mind is full of possibility and wonder, I thought it was about time I start adding some structure to our days and track the activities he can do successfully and some that we maybe should work on.

Our days were already filled with fun activities, reading books, being outside as much as possible. I just felt like I needed a way to measure progress and make sure I was working on the right things. So I took to the internet to see what other moms are doing at home with their preschoolers. I found everything from “unschooling” articles saying to do absolutely nothing… to moms that have their toddlers memorizing facts at two years old! I needed a middle ground. I felt overwhelmed.

I was not ready to have my toddler memorizing facts that he was not able to understand, but I did want to add something to our activities to help track how he was progressing. Here are a few things I did and would recommend to other parents looking to start a light regiment of activities that will enhance your child’s early learning experience.

1.) Use what you have: 

So the simplest thing for a parent trying to start some learning activities with their preschooler, is to use what you already have at home. Colored blocks, musical instruments, legos, puzzles, other toys can be really useful with different learning activities.

One of our favorite activities we can do with our colored mega blocks is a color sorting activity. I spread blocks of many different colors on the floor and on our coffee table I place several different colored pieces of construction paper. I instruct my two year old to grab the blocks and place them on the matching color papers. He loves this activity and as we place the blocks we also say the colors aloud. There are countless activities you can do with different colored toys and things your child may already have. By getting creative and using toys and common objects you are easily showing your child that they can learn from their every day environment.

2.) Let your child lead the way on their own learning journey:

The one thing I have learned (especially being the mother of an active spirited toddler) is that he will show me what he really wants to learn and where his limits are. When trying to have a child sit down and focus on one activity, there are some things you should keep in mind. First, disinterest in sitting still and working for a toddler is not at all abnormal or a sign that your child is behind in any way. In fact this is often a sign that your child is very active and creative, maybe an “out of the box” thinker. Sometimes accommodating your activities to where your toddler wants to be works really well! You want to learn on the floor? Or on the couch? You can make many scenarios work for your child so they can learn without feeling like they are being forced to sit down and be quiet. Sometimes we will go outside and observe nature, run around and then come in and see if sitting down and doing some preschool work book is something that he wants to do! The more I let him lead and show me where he is at, the more we are able to accomplish these activities. Now, when we have had some active outdoor time, when we have had a snack and all his needs are taken care of, he will sit for a really great amount of time and work on an activity un-interrupted. It has taken time to get there but we are really making great progress.

3.) Try new things but don’t feel like you have to spend lots of money:

So, naturally there are ENDLESS options when it comes to schooling materials. How do you know which ones are good and which are excessive? No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on supplies especially if its unclear whether they will work for your child. The way I like to deal with this issue is by research and some trial and error. I read articles on preschool homeschooling and see what other parents are using. If there is one product that many parents recommend then I might give it a try if its reasonably priced. A good example of this is the Preschool wipe away books. I kept hearing about these and seeing posts about how amazing they were. I finally spotted them at Target for a great price so I bought two (there were so many different books with different topics.) We tried them and my son LOVES THEM so we will be buying more as he progresses through his learning. Also when I was at Target, I found these AWESOME sticker books that were $1 each! They have a variety of different subjects from, first words, farm animals, vehicles and more! There are places with missing images and you go find the stickers and place them where they belong. They are so great and my son absolutely loves them! After you are done with the sticker activity the books are still a useful learning tool for many different activities. I bought a bunch of these because I know we will be using them consistently! Some other small things I purchased are flash card sets, and some safety toddler scissors. With these items I probably spent around $25 and this group of materials can help us do a large amount of activities that will facilitate learning and play!

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4.) Look in unexpected places for homeschooling inspiration and materials!

I have learned that sometimes when thinking of activities to do with your little one, using the internet but also looking in unexpected places can reveal amazing ideas you might not have previously seen. First of all, Pinterest is an amazing resource for learning tools activities and ideas. That might be a more obvious place but I had no idea Etsy was full of resources for homeschooling! With all my searching I wasn’t completely happy with what was out there for my child. I decided to develop my own line of homeschooling worksheets. I have them all available on Artistically Organic’s Etsy page and I am constantly updating them with new lesson sheets and downloads. These files are all instant download and can be printed again and again to work with your child on different activities.

I wanted to make my worksheets more realistic with real photography so your child will be able to identify the objects they are learning about in the real world. I also wanted my worksheets to be friendly for vegan families and with an eco friendly twist. Many of my worksheets will feature earth friendly lessons and lots of healthy foods! Visit Artistically Organic on Etsy to see our homeschooling section and find downloads priced as low as ninety nine cents!

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5.) Use or make a visual learning board for your toddler!

When starting a routine for home-preschooling, its important to be in some sort of a routine and start establishing activities and timing your little one can rely on. I found that the best way to do this was to have a visual board that I could show my toddler the date, the weather, what we were going to do that day. I made my own board but you can certainly buy these and save the time. I used a posted frame with a plastic panel instead of glass and a simple piece of plain wrapping paper inside. I also used adhesive velcro and packing tape or a laminator. I found some images online of different things that could symbolize different activities. I printed and laminated a picture of our vehicle so that I could let my toddler know when we would be going out. I printed objects for meals, simple hygiene routines and other activities. Once these images were laminated and I placed velcro on them I could easily show my little one how to use the board and now every morning we start the day by changing the date and weather, adding what we will be doing that day. Its a great way to communicate and plan the day.

Well I really hope this article helps some parents beginning their home-preschool journey. I really want to pass on any information and tricks I have learned as we begin our journey. I will be posting again once we are further in our lessons and explain the progress we have made, what has worked and what hasn’t. If you are a pre-schooling parent what do you do to help your little one grow and learn? I would love to hear from other parents! Until next time! 🙂

I tried Thred Up, this is what happened…

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So… I really try to make the best, eco friendly, organic decisions that I possibly can. You know those funny videos that mock moms for packing the eco friendly packaged, vegan, organic snacks? I am that mom. I don’t really care about the jokes people make, what people think. I stand by what I do and I truly believe I am doing the best I can to reduce my family’s carbon footprint, make smart educated decisions and live a happy healthy life.

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When it came to clothes however, I have to admit I was a bit of a snob. I have hated the fact that the places I like to shop at for my son are not great for the environment or as cost effective as I would like. The stores I shop at dont sell clothes with organic cotton or eco friendly packaging. What can you do? Those boutiques are expensive and with a rambunctious little boy who likes to be in the dirt and lay on the floor, a good size wardrobe with durable clothing is necessary!! All of this and at a great price, not too much to ask right?? Before my son was born he had a larger wardrobe than I did. We didn’t have hardly anything used aside from a few hand-me-downs from a close friend. I didn’t know of a place where I could get high quality second hand clothes that didn’t smell thrifty and look ratty. It kind of freaked me out.

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This has all changed now. First of all I heard of Thred up on a Facebook ad. Usually I ignore these ads but I saw a cool video advertisement and thought wow that’s kind of cool! I was always looking for places to bring my clothes that I had gotten sick of or weren’t in style anymore and once I had my son, clothes that didn’t fit any longer! This site made it look incredibly easy, which for a busy working mom, seemed PERFECT!

So I gave it a try and sent in a nice big bag! To start, I have to be honest many of the things I sent in, were not really the quality for resale but I wanted to see what happened and I didn’t really care what they did with the items they didn’t accept. I sent in a combination of women’s clothes and baby clothes. Some items were definitely not in season, some items were missing the bottoms to a set or the top. So I was not surprised when my total for the bad of probably 35 items was about $10. I had wished I could get a little more but I had no idea how far $10 could go on Thred Up!

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So when it came time for me to spend that $10 I was so excited! As I started looking through the toddler boy clothes I was ASTOUNDED seeing gorgeous khaki pants from reputable children’s clothing companies for $2.99, $4.99 and $5.99!! I saw nice dress pants for a fraction of what they usually cost!! I saw amazing companies like Crew Kids, Tea, Gap and more, I just kept adding to my cart! After shopping I had a ton of clothes in my cart. Luckily there was a coupon on the site and I used my $10 credit too!

My total for about 12 items was about $28!!! I was stunned! My only concern was that I would get these items in the mail and they would be so clearly worn, used and not what I wanted. I could not have been more wrong! When my packages came in the mail, I got them in three disbursements, two in envelopes and one in a box. The reason for this is that some of the items were coming from different warehouse locations. The clothes were neatly folded and wrapped in tissue paper with a Thred Up sticker, they smelled nice and clean and absolutely no sign of heavy use wear or tear. I was so so happy and excited!

Needless to say, I will be sending more clothes in and shopping there more as well!! With kids, there are always stains, accidents, messy crafts and more. It feels so good to order clothes that are cute and look good but given new life after being used and then re-bought and used again! I honestly feel like every mom at-least even if she doesn’t want to shop here for herself should try it for her kids. This is an amazing company and these clothes are clean and in great shape!! I don’t worry as much if my son stains a shirt if it cost me $4 on Thred Up!! I definitely love to dress my son up for special occasions and this site has awesome items for those special moments! My son wore some khakis from Thred Up on his birthday!! Definitely try this site because you won’t be disappointed!!

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Eco-Friendly Birthday Party on a Budget | 5 Easy Tips to Follow

Birthday parties, they are so fun, so meaningful, but also… so wasteful. From paper plates, plastic cups to disposable cutlery sets, there is a lot of waste. So what can we do? No one wants to wash dishes for a large party, is there a way to throw a birthday cookout on a budget and still have everything looking classy?

Well you guessed it!! THAT is exactly my mission with my sons second birthday!! So we have decided on a TinkerBell and Peter Pan theme. He loves the TinkerBell movies and Peter Pan is such a timeless and classic theme. The first thing I did, the first place I started was with the disposable plates, cups and cutlery.

Eco Friendly Supplies:

I scoured Amazon for eco-friendly, biodegradable materials. I found a set of plates for under $6 for 50 plates! They are wheat straw fiber plates and they are completely biodegradable, earth friendly and natural. I then moved on to plastic cups, I found completely compostable plant based plastic cups that are sturdy. The set of 50 cups was $6.69 Lastly, I chose a wooden disposable cutlery set with 100 forks, 100 knives, and 50 spoons. This set being only $9.99 it was frugal and economical.

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Don’t buy certain materials:

So there are certain things I won’t use and wont buy for birthdays. Mostly these items are really terrible for the environment when discarded. First one is balloons, I will not buy balloons anymore for parties. If the balloons are let go into the atmosphere and then popped and back into the earth as trash they are very damaging to animals and our environment. I just do not see them being worth it for the damage they cause. Another item I will no longer buy is confetti or glitter. In the past I was all about the glitter and sparkly confetti for parties but after learning how damaging these microscopic pieces of plastic are, they have made it on to the “no buy” list. If I do purchase glitter I will look for something made from plants, something eco-friendly and biodegradable. A great example is the image below, biodegradable star confetti. Just making better choices can lead to unique and original decorations and also better results for our earth too!

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Reduce Reuse Recycle:

Another thing I do very often for parties is I reuse things I already have at home. I am a big crafter so chances are I have things I can fashion into any theme around my home. I have fabric, notions, twinkle lights, paint, markers, printing paper, all kinds of craft paper and much more!! I do not buy anything that I might already have or that I can make myself. For Augustus’ birthday this year I made my own Tinker Bell stickers using this print and stick paper I got FREE at a yard sale!! This was one of the coolest things I did, I really enjoyed the way it came out when I was done. I used some of these stickers to press on mason jars (recycled from jars of sauce or salsa) that I filled with mini light sets and tulle. The rest of the stickers I bought will be stuck on a fairy forest backdrop I bought on Amazon for $13. This will create a scene with the characters from the theme we are using and be a fun backdrop for photos! Being a photographer I know I will use this backdrop later! I can’t wait to see how these things come together this weekend!

Skip the cheap breakable favors:

We all know the items I am talking about, those cheap sets for like $10 with 50 party favors and decorations. Whistles, plastic rings, Stamps, keychains… does anyone even keep these items after the party? If your child received these items at a party would you be ready and excited to dispose of them once the novelty was over? Getting nice party favors can be expensive sometimes, creating decor that’s classy and nice looking without being wasteful and excessive can be a challenge too. I decided to skip the cheap crap for our goodie bags and have the kids who attend create something themselves that they can keep and that parents wont be totally disgusted by! I bought a bunch of mini wooden chests for the kids to decorate, they were only $1 each!! I already have tons of materials for them to use to decorate so that part was easy! I also threw some other cute items in the bag that are useful and fun. So once they finish their chest and it dries they can take it home in their Tinker Bell goodie bag! I think this is going to be really fun!

For decor, get creative think outside of the box:

So aside from my awesome DIY stickers and the backdrop I ordered, I have a few other ideas up my sleeve to add to the fun atmosphere. I took some wooden frames ($1 at michaels) and printed out some cool Peter Pan art from online and framed them. What a cute thing and its going to really make the decorations even better! I also printed out a sketched map of “Neverland” and framed that as well. These are simple ideas and easy to incorporate into your decorating skills. I then used some scrapbooking stickers to write “Peter Pan” on one frame and “You can fly!” on another. These frames can also be painted, you can use stickers there are endless possibilities but I kept it simple because the natural wood look goes really well with my theme!

I also used felt. Felt is really inexpensive and I made flowers, leaves and a leafy garland for the party. I think this is going to add a lot of color and fun!

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So, I shared most of my ideas I am using for the upcoming birthday party this Saturday! Its really possible and even easy to have a tight budget and still make really amazing original decorations! Just having a little creativity using ideas from Pinterest you can really impress your guests! What do you do for birthday parties? Do you make your own decorations? I would love to hear more about what other people are doing to create awesome creative DIY party decor! Stay tuned for a post with pictures from the party and details about how it went!!! Cant wait to share!

Lets get messy | The importance of doing something fun this holiday season with your family

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Lets just face it, when you have small kids everything is messy. From eating yogurt, to drinking water, somehow some way it always ends up everywhere. I think there comes a time in every new mothers life where she goes…. okay, I am over it, you are messy and that is okay. It took a while for me. I am one of those parents, I was always wiping my sons chin when he was a baby, no drool no spit up no nothing on my spotless baby. However now having a toddler I have quickly learned to embrace the mess.

Its harder than it sounds. The other day my son was coloring with markers and thoroughly enjoying himself but also getting marker just completely all over his little hands. My inner self was cringing a little, wanting to wipe it but I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it was simply washable marker and that when he was done it would come right off. He had such a nice time and was so proud of his creation afterwards.

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To celebrate the holiday season this year I really wanted to find a sugar cookie recipe that was vegan. This seemed like a task but strolling through whole foods one day I found a mix that was dairy free, and cruelty free. How exciting, when I read the ingredients I recognized most all of them and was so happy to know something like this existed. I found a vegan frosting tub as well, this was seriously awesome. Some of my fondest childhood memories around the holidays or even just in the winter time, were baking with my dad. He loved to show me how to bake. We used to make brownies, cookies, all kinds of things and I was always so proud tasting our creations when we were finished baking.

I could already see it, my little family baking and decorating cookies together. So I have had this mix in the cabinet for at least a week now and something made me wonder why I hadn’t pulled it out yet. Its been feeling stressful in our home since we are going through a lot of transition. We notice it in our little guy, he is heading into that toddler, two year old phase where things are a little more challenging. He is just asserting his independence and as any parent knows, it can make day to day tasks very exhausting. Furthermore, I am co-hosting a big craft show in 16 days, down to the wire now I spend a lot of my time during the day on the computer, on the phone and at the sewing machine making sure I am prepared for this big event.

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As I was doing dishes and cleaning up after dinner tonight I saw the mix on the shelf and said to myself… “I think we need to do something as a family tonight.” I mean it was a Friday night, dinner was done relatively early, sounded like the perfect thing. So we prepped the kitchen got everything out that we needed, kitchen aid mixer, spatulas, flour for cooking cutting, cookie cutters. I had literally just made Auggie the cutest apron today and he was excited as I put it on him, knowing something good was about to happen because we were all in the kitchen.

So it began, pouring the ingredients, almond milk, vegan butter, vanilla extract, make the dough here we go! Auggie loved the dough spinning and clumping together in the kitchen aid. He helped me pour, he helped pull the dough out of the bowl and suddenly the mess began, flour was going everywhere it was on his hands, on his face on the floor. However in that moment, I wasn’t worried about the mess, because we were having so much fun. Jon and I taught Auggie how to “press” the cutters into the dough and transfer them to the sheet. He kept pushing his little hands and saying “Pressshhh Presshhhh.”

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Then after putting a few cookies in the oven we just let him use his imagination and go at it, he was pressing all the cutters into the dough, looking back at us and laughing. We enjoyed this beautiful moment of peace watching him enjoy the experience he was having. His face was so concentrated, focusing on every little thing he was doing, then even transferring his own “creative” looking cookie to the empty sheet beside him. He was truly learning and having such a great time, we couldn’t have been more proud and happy.

It didn’t matter that everything was a mess after we had just cleaned the kitchen from dinner because we were enjoying each other. The best part was because there was no raw egg in the dough, when Auggie grabbed a little piece an ate it I wasn’t reaching to stop him. I felt like even if it was not a fruit, it was a little sugary and a little bit like junk food, he still could enjoy the holidays like we used to, like other kids without sacrificing his health and our values about what we put into our bodies. So the cookies are baked and ready to go, tomorrow night is decorating night!

This will be a night of memories we show him when he is all grown up and maybe someday when he has a special person in his life we will be sharing these memories with them or his own children one day. I realized tonight that we need to do this more, simple little activities that make a world of difference to us and to him. In a time of transition and stress we all got laughs and memories we desperately needed.

 

You’re almost two my love…

You’re almost two my love, so life is exciting. Everything is new, there are so many things to do, to learn and to explore. Whether it’s building, playing, creating or even destroying there is a lesson to be learned.

You’re almost two my love so, you now have strong preferences. The foods you loved yesterday might not be your favorite today. You certainly let us know when you do and do not want something. Some days you want to eat bananas one after another and frankly that’s alright with us, other days bananas are the last thing you will ever eat.

You’re almost two my love so we have to remember that life is still so new, there is so much you don’t know so we need to be patient. When you’re unsure of how to do something, when it’s bed time but you don’t want to be alone, or when you just want someone to cuddle with you. Mommy and daddy like you to try new things and we try new methods to help you grow and learn but sometimes those things take time and so we must wait.

You’re almost two my love, so dumping out every single toy bin on to the floor, is exciting and fun. Even if it’s not exciting for mommy you had a blast and it won’t be the last time you do it. You’re very certain mommy sewing table makes an excellent race track for your cars and that she loves it when you line up all your cars on it as she is trying to work.

You’re almost two my love, so routine can be tough, oh man it’s time to brush teeth already? That makes you want to throw your toys and yourself on the floor in despair. It’s time for bed and no you cannot stick your fingers or your toys in the sewing machine because it’s dangerous, oh the outrage! These things are sometimes hard for you.

You’re almost two my love, you’re asserting your independence. Like tonight you fell asleep at 8:30 on the dot, boy weren’t we proud. However you then awoke at 9 and resisted sleep for two hours while we desperately went through all the usual remedies and tricks trying to figure out why you wouldn’t sleep. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Hot or cold? Wet or stinky? Maybe is your teeth or do you have a fever? When all these things didn’t work for you tonight we couldn’t help being upset, after all this is the only time mommy and daddy get to just be ourselves and relax, when you’re safe and sound asleep in bed.

You’re almost two my love, so I cried tonight wondering if I was doing the right thing when I laid beside you talking to you trying to get you to sleep, and then again when I left the room because maybe you needed to be alone because I was distracting you from falling asleep. Tears ran down my face when I returned to the room, laid down next to you again and you wrapped your little toddler arms around me and said “mama, my mama, my mama.” You opened one little precious eye to glance at me, pulled me close and gave me a cute little baby boy kiss. In that moment I didn’t care how long it took to help you sleep I knew you needed me.

You’re almost two my love, so I thought about that as I hugged you back so tight and thought about someday when you won’t be almost two, you might be almost twelve or almost twenty. More tears streamed down my face thinking of all the days trials triumphs and tribulations. How you had spent most of the day outside on your tricycle and I was certain you would go down so easy for bed because you must be tired. I thought about you on that bike, so proud looking back at me to see if I was watching. Why couldn’t bed time be as easy as riding that tricycle seemed today? The truth is nothing is easy, everything is hard for you, and that’s because you’re almost two…

5 Common Misconceptions About Vegans & Vegetarians

Sometimes, the comments I read, the remarks people make about individuals who choose a more plant based lifestyle just makes me so sad. I have been criticized by strangers I don’t even know, I have lost friends, even some family members who don’t respect our lifestyle have made it clear what they think. To think, all this grief and hurt because we are trying to eat more plants and be as healthy as possible.

I remember how I was raised, eating rare steaks for dinner, large quantities of chicken, pork, and fish regularly. In moderation of course we still ate veggies, salads, grains and starch sides. That is completely different than how we eat now. If someone had asked me 6-8 years ago if I would ever consider being a vegan I would have laughed in their face. That is perhaps the reason why this bullying hurts the most, because I know I was one of those people. I was not bold and open about it but privately and to my close friends and family I would occasionally remark on how I thought vegans were a little bit extreme and how that couldn’t possibly be healthy.

That is how I was raised, your family doesn’t eat meat? Don’t consume dairy? That is “weird”, its “un-natural”, its even “un-healthy” These are the types of things I was taught to believe about people who chose to live a more humane and plant based lifestyle. Its ironic actually because my family was very politically liberal so racism and sexism were terrible, not okay, not acceptable in any way. However this idea about a specific group of people seems similar to discriminating against someone because of any other difference.

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As I became an adult and entered into those years where you really begin to understand the world, what being an adult is truly like and who you are as a person in this life, I changed many of my opinions. I was so shocked to learn the truths of the food we eat every day thinking its healthy being told its “balanced” discovering that isn’t exactly the full story. I began to feel very concerned about what I was eating and all the disease and sickness I saw around me. I began to educate myself. I read articles, lots of articles, read books, speak to my own doctor, a nutritionist, and people in my life who I once had thought were weird for the way they lived that I was now going to for information and advice.

Once I discovered I was going to have my first child I got even more into my research. My own parents made comments that I was “going overboard” and that It was “unhealthy” to be this concerned for what I ate and consumed. The more I learned, the more I realized that what was best for me was completely the opposite of what I learned growing up about health. The more I discovered about the meat industry, the dairy industry and what was done to innocent animals with no rights or choice, I was sickened. I was astonished that most people are not aware or concerned about these incidences. I was desperate to talk to people about what I had learned and so because of my passion I was most often bullied and told to stop talking about it.

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I lost friends because of my beliefs. I lost people in my life and I was made to seem like a lunatic because my fiance and I had agreed to give up meat and dairy and try our best to focus our diet on raw fruits and veggies. This was so saddening to me, I felt like I was loosing people because I wanted to be healthy, I thought for sure once they learned what I learned that they too would be on board or at least understand why we were doing all this. Sadly, it was not the case, in fact I think it only made them more steadfast in their choices to continue their lifestyle. People would flood my inbox with articles on how organic vegetables actually hold more carcinogens than “regular vegetables”, articles on how vegans are slowly starving themselves, articles on how raising a child vegetarian or vegan is basically child neglect. I was so upset, sad and scared.

I felt like not only was I trying to make a huge shift in my life as far as what I ate and what I consumed, but I was getting so much push back was it even worth it? The answer was, yes, it was. Even though it was hard, even though people didn’t like it, it was the best thing I have ever done, maybe aside from having our son. Immediately I felt the benefits of eating healthier, I will never go back. I should say we will never go back, because my fiance and I are both in agreement that this is truly the best way to live, for us anyways.

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I want to share a few myths about how we live because I know this lifestyle is not for everyone and I would never ever push it on anyone else if it was not what they wanted. Because I am so sick of being made to look like a bad mother, a crazy person, an extremist in the nutrition department and many other things I thought maybe this list would shed some light on the subject. For those of you who are vegans, vegetarians you will totally agree with these and hopefully be happy that someone said it!! Haha!

1.) Vegans & Vegetarians only eat lettuce:

I have heard this one MANY MANY times… “So what do you even eat….. like lettuce?” I seriously just laugh now when people say this because, not to toot my own horn but I FEAST as a vegan… I think the only explanation needed for this one is a few images of some of our REGULAR meals that are incredibly easy and delicious. These meals could even make a meat eater’s mouth water!!

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2.) Vegans & Vegetarians are always tired and starving.

Again, I would like to refer you to the photos above. After one or sometimes two portions of any of those meals i think we can all agree that hunger isn’t possible at that point. Our meals are focused on plant based protein, vitamins and minerals. We eat a ton of beans, avocados, tofu, tempeh, grains, nuts and of course fruits and veggies. Below is an image of a basic shop for us. With all this food eating ENOUGH is essential to being vegetarian or vegan, but once you have had enough you feel incredibly satisfied without the heavy uncomfortable weighed down feeling that meats and dairy can cause. I can officially say I am not starving, hungry, exhausted, or lacking in any way. Taking one look at my fiance and our son you would understand, my son has boundless energy we cant contain and my fiance is a very healthy over 6ft. man who doesn’t look like he is lacking at all!! Trust me when I say none of us are!

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Take a look at those boys! Healthy as can be and enjoying some apples while apple picking this fall!

3.) You are only vegan/vegetarian to be better than everyone else, that’s self righteous and pretentious.

This is a tough one to hear. When someone completely calls out your life and explains that you are only making this big life decision because somehow it makes you “better” or above others in some way. Aside from the fact that if someone is choosing to be a vegan for the right reasons which most of us are, this is completely not true. I have heard this one on several occasions. Members of our own family have accused us of this and said that there is no need for us to take these actions regarding our diet and that we only do this to seem above them. This is incredibly hurtful to say to someone especially when they are only trying to make the best decisions for themselves and their family. I have had lots of time to think about an appropriate response to this accusation and my best success has come from a very direct and matter of fact calm response. Something like this is usually what i go with…

“I am really sorry to hear that, Its upsetting to me to hear that you think I would make decisions in my life just to be “better” than someone else. I assure you my decisions are not for that reason or any reason like it. I do feel terrible about animals raised suffering only so humans can eat their meat, and I do personally feel wrong about eating meat, that is my decision. I personally believe dairy from mammals is for their offspring only, I don’t feel I have the right to separate baby calves from their mommies, and see animals tortured and harmed so I can have eggs and milk when there are so many healthy alternatives. These are my feelings but I would never force them on you, this lifestyle is not for everyone. I do however, expect that you respect my decision and stop remarking on how wrong you think I am if we are going to stay in each others lives.”

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I really think this needs to stop going around. Being a vegetarian or vegan is hard work. Society today is made of quick easy places to eat meat and dairy products and hardly any places where veganism and vegetarianism is accepted and honored. Its hard to even go out to dinner to celebrate an occasion. We often find menu options for us to be minimal, everything is covered in meat and cheese. I can confirm no one would ever choose to do this just to be cooler, or better, because that is quite a sacrifice.

4.) Its impossibly expensive and costly to be vegan/vegetarian

Yet another thought among many people who have not tried this lifestyle. Its widely thought that its unrealistically expensive to eat vegan/vegetarian diet. I have found the exact opposite! Once we did a grocery shop for the first time without meats, dairy, cheese, eggs, and minimal packaged, processed products we found we were saving money!! Once we were regularly shopping this way we would put this extra savings to more fruits and veggies we liked, buying a bag of oranges to juice and a watermelon for dessert! As long as you are good at budgeting you can make this lifestyle work for you! I have a post on this blog about budgeting a shop and what we spend on average every week and how to keep costs down! Read about that here!!

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5.) You cannot be athletic, build muscle, and get enough protein while on a vegan/vegetarian diet

This is another common one. Honestly if someone asks me if I get enough or how I get protein one more time, my goodness! I am actually fine answering questions as long as someone is being respectful about what I am all about! SOO PROTEIN!

There are so so many plant based protein sources that you can learn to love as a vegan/vegetarian. Here is a list of the protein sources we use and eat in quantity and regularly!!

~Beans (Black, Pinto, Kidney)

~Nuts, Nut milk & nut butters (Peanut, Almond etc…)

~Tofu & Tempeh (great meat substitutes, eaten organic and in moderation are so great for protein and nutrients!)

~Dark Leafy Greens (YES! They contain protein! We eat LOTS OF GREENS)

~Quinoa & Other Grains

These are only some of the excellent sources of protein we use in every one of our meals!! Many athletes, body builders, trainers go by a more plant based diet.

So I am hoping these small tidbits of info, these common misconceptions corrected help those who are not versed in the facts of plant based diets to understand. I hope that those of you who are already onto this amazing healthy natural lifestyle are happy to read this and hopefully agree. I think in this society whatever is different is always going to be strange and not understood. I think people are always going to fear something they dont do themselves, questioning your own lifestyle is not easy, but making small changes is! I would say for anyone who is looking into this lifestyle and is confused, doesn’t know where to start, there are easy ways to begin and see if this is for you! I have a post about starting to get into a more plant based lifestyle if you want to read about it HERE. Thank you all for reading, thank you for giving my words a voice. It feels so good to come to this platform and express my feelings about these issues some of us face and be met with understanding. I know and understand not everyone agrees with me but I know some of you are looking for this information and I hope to provide that.

Thank you! -Alexa-