By default, I’m an anxious human. When not in check, my subconscious mind has the ability to get the best of me. And if I’m not careful—I’m in deep before I even realize. At that point, it can be a steep uphill climb to move beyond the bundle of nervous energy that has come crashing down on me.
For those (millions) of us living with anxiety, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing. That said, anxiety is something that we must live with and manage so it doesn’t cause our bodies harm, or have a negative impact on our relationships (with ourselves or others).
Although some seasons of my life are more anxiety-ridden than others, the following methods and activities help me cope and live with a clearer mind regardless of what is happening externally.
There are a number of reasons I love running, but one benefit of running that oftentimes goes unrecognized is its stress-relieving properties. When I start my day running, it sets the tone for the whole day—clear mind, energized body, focused spirit. This is true for every single run, whether it’s a strong 10 mile training run that’s invigorating and empowering, or a 2 mile shuffle that’s so miserable I can barely keep my feet moving. When I follow up my work day with a run, it’s a similar scenario. A post-work run allows me to reset my brain and shift my attention away from work before the evening begins. No matter how intense, or what time of day, running provides me with instant decompression and gratification. It gets the blood flowing, not only to my brain, but to each and every part of my body.
TIP: If you hate running, try another aerobic activity. What do I mean by aerobic? I mean cardiovascular exercise, be it biking, hiking, swimming, dancing, or even simply taking a speedy walk with your dog— anything to get your body moving, oxygen flowing, and your heart rate up. I find that getting my heart rate up while exercising helps me have a lower resting heart rate, which also means my body is less likely to store up nervous energy to be released in a negative way.
“The proverbial fork in the road suddenly slapped me in the face. In front of me, in the distance, my current life—once defined by a comfortable job, a comfortable apartment, and a comfortable relationship—and that of a new path filled with unknown adventure, storybook romance, and full-time travel. There was no question; with absolutely every ounce of all I was and all I had been moving toward, the choice was epically clear.” — Kristin Lajeunesse, Chapter 1, “Will Travel For Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, & Make Love”
This bold choice Kristin made to take the road less traveled, turned into two years of van-dwelling life spent on the road in search of vegan food, figuring out life and love along the way.
Now, Kristin has turned these experiences into a memoir. “Will Travel For Vegan Food” [The Book] was officially released Thursday, April 23.
Kristin’s compassion for life, passion for adventure, and dedication to live out an authentic existence, resonate from every single page. “Will Travel For Vegan Food” is a must read for anyone with a wanderlust-filled spirit, who favors abundant experiences to material possessions.
This official book trailer captures the heart and the energy of Kristin, and her journey—a journey that spans miles beyond the food itself.
Kristin has inspired me from the beginning of my own vegan journey. While embarking upon various travel explorations, I’ve referenced her website numerous times for ideas of eateries to try. Since the launch of Vegan on the Run last year and throughout the entirety of Kristin’s book writing process, I’ve followed along with her journey even more closely.
The following Q&A with Kristin delves into the experience, the impact, the food, and the travel, that are all part of “Will Travel For Vegan Food.”
Spring is officially coming at us this week! Consider celebrating the arrival of a fresh new season filled with green, by springing for plants—eat vegan for an entire day.
There’s still time to join the masses in making an official pledge to eat plant-based this Friday, March 20, via Meatout.org. Since 1985, this international Meatout event has helped raise awareness of the benefits of eating vegan: helping animals, achieving great health, and saving the planet. Each year, thousands upon thousands make a pledge and join in.
If you are thinking of springing for plants this season—by pledging to do so Friday, or any other day—here are some suggestions to help you eat vegan at all hours, any day you choose.
When a friend mentioned the upcoming Northeast Florida Veg Fest, set to take place in nearby Jacksonville, on Saturday March 7, I immediately marked my calendar. Since this would be our first ever Veg Fest (me + Andrew), we were both eager with anticipation as we counted down the days.
What’s Veg Fest all about? If you aren’t familiar with such festivals, Veg Fests are dedicated to local, sustainable, eco-friendly, compassionate, organic, healthy and humane organizations and businesses. In short, a dream festival for this vegan. Known for their tasty samples and vegan treats, Veg Fests are also family-friendly events, open to anyone (not just vegans).
Although in the future, I’m interested in having my own booth or participating in a cooking demo, Saturday, we were simply there to share the experience, and soak up all the veg-friendly goodness. And of course, I was representing myself, Vegan on the Run.
Reality—we all exist within the confines of complex human bodies. Regardless of shape or size, we are all comprised of bones, flesh, blood, and teeth.
While our spirits may be infinite, we rely on these physical forms to carry us throughout our daily activities. To keep our bodies functioning at their best, it is up to us to feed ourselves what we need to thrive and heal, rather than merely survive, or breakdown. This is my ultimate motivation and drive for supplying my body with plant-based food that is as close to its natural form as possible.
Going vegan at the start of my 20s, coupled with a move toward mindfulness and reevaluating my relationship with food, turned my life around for the better. Still, I am not here to say choosing to eat only plants is a magical shield, nor am I wearing some sort of invincibility cloak. The truth is, everyone gets worn down sometimes.
Even us vegans get sick.
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.
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.
A Guest Post By Maureen McCartan (Sarah’s mom)
In September of 2013, my daughter Sarah asked if she could move back into her old room for awhile, during a transition time in her life, and of course I was happy to have an adult roommate. Also, being the excellent vegan cook that she is, she offered to prepare most meals, and I jumped at the chance to sample whatever she created and even to clean up after. I have been a vegetarian/pescatarian for many years, but decided that eating whatever vegan concoctions she made was fine, and I could always throw some cheese on it. I told her repeatedly that cheese was the one thing I didn’t think I could give up. When she explained to me about casein, the stuff in cheese that sits like glue in your tummy, my feelings began to change.