As if Vega wasn’t already number one in my book when it comes to clean, plant-based nutrition products, they’ve found a way to make their signature Vega One, All-In-One Nutritional Shake, even better.

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Why Vega? 

There are nutritional shakes and dietary supplements of all shapes and sizes out there on the market. Some are part of larger pyramid schemes, while others claim to offer a “get fit quick” fix. The first thing I love about Vega is there’s no scheming involved, nor does Vega offer empty promises of an overnight transformation of any kind.

Vega was founded by Brendan Brazier, a vegan, and former professional Ironman triathlete, who was driven by the desire for complete plant-based nutrition. As a result, Vega products are formulated with health and performance in mind. With Vega you get the real deal, absent of suspicious ingredients. You also get what you pay for—high quality products that go a long way. As someone who is anti-artificial and doesn’t buy into gimmicks, I consider these factors to be of the utmost importance.

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If it seems like there has been a two week delay in my delivering a Thanksgiving (or as I prefer, Thanksliving) followup, it’s because there certainly has been.

Let me explain. Immediately upon arriving home for Thanksgiving, Andrew and I were both hit hard with the sinus infections we had been fighting for days. It’s as if our bodies were saying, “Hey, we know we carried you through an art show and half marathon, but now, it’s time to slow down, rest and repair.”

Naturally, the combination of being home and being sick meant that every plan I thought I had for our trip fell through. Beyond that, it turned into a life lesson (our plans always fail us). It also meant extended family time, with both of our families. Above all, it left me with several valuable reminders:

  • Being able to taste and enjoy food is truly such a blessing that should never be taken for granted.
  • Snotty tissues are disgusting, but dogs still love to rip them up and chew on them.
  • No matter how bad I feel, being at home and curling up on my mom’s couch watching HGTV makes me feel leaps and bounds better.
  • Sometimes my body demands a level of rest and recovery that doesn’t include running.
  • My flesh is impermanent, but my spirit is everlasting.

Ultimately, it reminded me—”We have food on the table and we are together. That’s really all that matters.”

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Thanksliving Feasting

Speaking of food, despite the circumstances, we were able to have two feasts—one with Andrew’s family on Thursday, and one with my mom on Friday. Here is a look at Friday’s Thanksliving feast showcasing the plant-based creations Andrew and I prepared.

Before departing from St. Augustine, I stopped by the produce stand to pick up all the veggies we would need for our menu, including sweet potatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli, and yellow squash. As a bonus, the produce man gave me an acorn squash I decided to turn into a hummus-filled appetizer.

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To prepare, I boiled the squash for about 15 minutes to cook and soften, then sliced it in half, scooped out the gooey portion of the innards with a spoon, added a little vegan buttery spread to the rims, and placed it face down on a pan in the oven to bake for just a few minutes. The only thing that would have made this appetizer better was if I’d made my own hummus. In this case, my mom had some Sabra Spinach and Artichoke hummus on hand. Each bite of hummus was paired with warm, sweet buttery squash.

As for the the main features of our Thanksliving feast, I present to you our vegan spread.

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A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014 — 2 Comments

Dear Fellow Herbivore,

I get it. Trust me. Having specific dietary preferences can be unnecessarily anxiety-inducing, and even leave you feeling on the defensive, especially during the holiday season.

Guess what? I’m here to tell you, being vegan during the holidays doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Instead, it can be downright delicious and simply amazing (just like any other time of year). All it takes is a bit of preparedness.

With Thanksgiving upon us this week, I thought now would be a fine time to offer you some suggestions on how to enjoy your Thanksgiving, vegan-style, and maybe even plant some seeds of compassion along the way.

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First, here’s a low quality look at my Thanksgiving dinner plate last year, featuring ToFurky, a broccoli-infused gravy of sorts, sweet potato mash, spinach and artichoke dip, stuffed acorn squash and cranberry.

Whether you are a vegan veteran responsible for all the cooking (no pressure, right?), or a plant-based newbie sitting down at someone else’s table this year, here are a few Thanksgiving recommendations.

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Anti-Dye Pasta Salad

November 23, 2014 — 1 Comment

Although documenting plant-based food creations has taken the back burner lately in the midst of major happenings (like art shows and races), my life has certainly not been absent of nutritious and delicious vegan eats (neither has Andrew’s). These eats include quite a bit of seasonal grub—like pumpkin smoothies, beet salads, and leafy greens.

One seasonal green I’ve come to love this year is mustard greens. The best (and most convenient) part about these particular greens, is that they are as home grown as you can get. What I mean is, there just so happens to be a forest of mustard greens growing in my backyard.

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Did I mention they’re gigantic? These voluptuous greens have been regularly serving as a base for my salads this season, and a green addition to vegetable medleys. One night Andrew even surprised me by wrapping my macaroni and cheese inside one of these leaves, lettuce wrap style.

Anti-Dye Pasta Salad

This afternoon, I decided to clip some greens from the yard and incorporate them into an Anti-Dye pasta salad. Why the name? Because this pasta salad is packed with powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients (mustard greens and turmeric), and turmeric is a natural dye.

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A 5:30 a.m. wake up call.
Coffee in the dark.
Watching the sun slowly rise up to greet the day.
Nervous energy boxed up, ready to be released.
National Anthem blaring. Hands over hearts.
Feet inching closer and closer to the start line.
Bending down and checking your laces one last time.
The rush that envelops your entire body as you take off, step by step.

These are feelings each runner gets to know all over again, at every single start line.
These are feelings I will never grow tired of.

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This time last week, I was “Revving up to Race in the Ancient City,” and eagerly awaiting my mom’s arrival in St. Augustine.

Though the St. Augustine Half Marathon Weekend has come and gone, it’s now time to relive the details and document them while they remain fresh. Recognizing it’s impossible to capture each and every moment, here’s my attempt at recapping this bright and beautiful, mother-daughter race weekend.

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Well, it has been many moons since I signed up to run the St. Augustine Half Marathon. And now, it’s here! I can’t even believe it.

Just as the sun is rising Sunday morning, I will be lining up at the start line at fort Castillo De San Marcos in downtown St. Augustine.

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The St. Augustine Half Marathon will be my first race since the Nashville Country Music Marathon in April, and my second half marathon of 2014 (or fourth if you count the full as two halves). This race will also be the first time I get to represent the Oiselle Flock and sport my bird jersey (aside from last month’s backyard photo shoot).

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Since returning to my new home of St. Augustine two weeks ago, life has been moving swiftly. After battling some anxiety immediately following my drive back across the state (more than likely a delayed reaction to subconscious anxiety I struggled with while back home), I decided that taking a breather and resetting my brain was a must if I wanted to be able to carry forward with a clear mind and body at ease. And so, I’ve been making an effort to slow down my output and streamline my focus.

For me, slowing down has meant catching up on my work, taking a timeout on taking on anything new, and making a list of things that can wait (and letting them be). Most importantly, it’s meant shifting my creative and productive energies toward assisting Andrew in preparing for an art show.

Back in the spring, Andrew was given the opportunity to scale back his full-time work as a middle school art teacher to part-time. Teaching every other day has provided him with the renewed energy needed to pour his heart into the art he loves to create.

As a part of St. Augustine’s monthly art walk, Andrew’s paintings are on display for show and sell tonight in Nettles Fine Jewelry. In just a couple of hours I will be in a room filled with friends, acquaintances, family and strangers, sipping mulled wine and standing in awe of the artistic talent that brought these pieces to life.

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