Things I’m Loving Lately

1. Detox Water – Alright, I’m calling it detox water, but I really don’t know what the term is for sliced fresh fruit, herbs and lime in chilled water. Might as well be fruit water, because once you sip up all your h2o you’re obvi going to munch on the fruity goodness. I started dabbling with “detox water” because of the Instagram craze that has arisen surrounding the @detoxwater and @detoxtips accounts, and I am so glad that I did. More than anything else it’s such a fun way to stay hydrated.

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I have also been trying to drink about 2 cups of water between waking up and having breakfast, because it coats the lining of the stomach and helps our food be more easily digestible. Fruit-infused water is a fun and delicious way to trick your brain into thinking you’re getting a jumpstart on breakfast when you’re really just hydrating your bod. Same goes for chia water and aloe water, two of my favorite Juice Press picks this week.

2. Juice Press – I’ve said it many a time since I’ve moved to NYC, but Juice Press has been an absolute godsend in my life. I’ve been a cold-pressed juice freakazoid for as long as I can remember, and moving out of the pressed juice mecca of Los Angeles was a pretty scary venture for a vegan chick like me. My mom and I stumbled into Juice Press (conveniently located on the corner of my street) when I was moving into my apartment. We ordered two smoothies that straight up chaaaanged my life because they were so delicious. I got the “Peachin’ to the Choir,” which is still a favorite of mine. Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 3.59.13 PM

I am currently on day 5 of a 10 day Juice Press cleanse. I can’t even tell you how fun it is to go into the store each morning and pick out my 6 juices for the day. I have gotten to try some flavors I have always been curious about, like Body Fit (a fennel and arugula green juice), Sweet Potato Pie (tastes like actual sweet potato soup, it’s so good), Complete Source (basically a delish medley of vegetables), and quite a few more.

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But what makes Juice Press so truly amazing is the community it’s built upon. Each store has a super neighborhoody vibe despite the fact that JP has taken over the city’s juice scene. They always have samples out, everyone is super friendly, and everyone affiliated with the company is fun, innovative and easy to work with. I can’t sing their praises enough.

3. 31 bits – Has anyone heard of 31 bits jewelry?! It is gorgeous jewelry made of 100% recycled bead products made from Ugandan women. Every purchase made goes toward the creators, helping them earn an income to provide for their families. They provide counseling, health education, finance training and business mentorships for the women involved. Their goal is to empower people to rise above poverty. They are making a new name for the fashion industry, and I am 194839% supportive of what they do. Their values are love, equality, hope, honesty, quality and growth (ummm, can every company have those values, please?!?!?). I am so thrilled to rock my new 31 bits!

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4. Microgreens – Through my friends over at Goodwater Farms in Brooklyn, I have been learning about the power of microgreens and what a fundamental role they play in our health. Microgreens are whole plants harvested at the seeding stage that have been proven to contain four to six times as many nutrients as their full-grown counterparts. I have been cooking with them up a storm lately, especially because Goodwater Farms provided me with an abundance of awesome broccoli, daikon and arugula variations. Stay tuned for a full blog post on micro greens next week, but I just wanted to plant the seed (ha, ha) in your brains about the importance of these nutrient-rich little bundles of joy! They also taste ten million times fresher than regular greens, which is a huge plus.

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5. Bedtime tea – I have had to skip out on my nighttime tea while cleansing, which has been a bit of a bummer, but I am always willing to give up my developing vices for a few days to make sure my body is not dependent on them. I have tried everything under the sun when it comes to nighttime teas that are supposed to relax you and help you sleep. A few current favorites are a peppermint tea from Whole Foods, and The Teatox Company’s Nighttime Detox Tea.

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It’s made with 100% organic ingredients, and has a delicious peppermint and spearmint undertone. The Teatox Company also has a daytime variation that I absolutely love sipping on after I have my morning detox water. What is it about tea that is just so calming and rejuvenating? I always associate sipping on tea with winding down or giving myself a relaxation break, and I think that makes my teatime all the more enjoyable. There is nothing as wonderful as taking a hot bath, sipping on a warm tea with a bit of almond milk and cinnamon, eating dessert and reading. But don’t even get me started on taking baths. (I’m a bath-a-holic… Just created a new word. And here’s my adorable niece Kealey in the bath– bath lovin’ runs in the fam.)

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6. Perusing other blogs – Since my blog journey originally stemmed from Instagram, I have been such an “Instagram scroller” type of gal to connect with other health bloggers who are doing similar things. But over the last several months I have reacquainted myself with the actual Internet world of blogging, and holy crap there are so many awesome blogs and bloggers out there. I have been loving connecting with them, reading them daily (and nightly, let’s be real – insomniac) and assimilating myself into the world of health bloggers.

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Makes me feel more legit when I have all of these awesome blogger friends, and it’s so fun supporting everyone else and seeing what they’re all up to. Besides the blogs on my blog roll, a few blogs I’ve been loving lately are Kim’s Busy Bod, Christine’s Apple of My Eye, and Jessie’s Jessie Loves 2 Run blog. Those are just a few of many (and many and many!), but they totally rock and the girls behind the blogs are freaking adorable and so sweet.

7. Poetry – I am in a poetry class this semester at The New School, and I have been loving reading a more lyrical form of writing. Poetry comes straight from the soul, and is such a personalized form of self-expression. If you’re looking for a good book of alternative contemporary poetry, check out Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. It’s written in list form (hell yes) about her connection with the color blue. I wrote a spin-off titled Lime Green – if anyone wants to read it, I will totally email it to them!

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8. Reusable water bottles – Would you believe me if I told you I’ve lost upwards of seven reusable water bottles since I moved to NYC in August? That’s right. As a food blogger, I get sent water bottles by many of my favorite companies (Vega, Greens Plus, Oriya Organics) and I have even bought a few of my own at Bed Bath & Beyond. Dropped/broken, left in the yoga locker room, left on the floor of Duane Reade, totally disappeared; you name it, I’ve done it. I was recently sent one by IIN, the nutrition school I have enrolled in for health coaching, and I am determined not to lose it! So determined, in fact, that I carried it with me for all 13.1 miles of my half marathon on Sunday. Dedication.

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And I always manage to drink a heck of a lot more water when I have a reusable water bottle I can continuously fill up through out the day. Anyone else feel that way? Katie (roomie), I know you do.

9. Reflecting / meditating / journaling – A huge part of the reason I embarked on this 10 day cleanse was to reconnect with myself, reflect on my eating habits and the way that I treat my body, and to chill the f out and allow myself to relax. Most of you know I have an extreme personality, I exercise until my body is bone tired, I stay up way too late, I am a terrible sleeper, and I have a habit of trying to see everyone I possibly can during the day to the point where my “me time” basically flies out the window.

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Switching up my eating habits and stepping out of my comfort zone has been incredible in terms of reconnecting with myself. I have been journaling (that’s right – writing for something other than the Internet or my novel, who am I?!), meditating, and allowing myself to go to Yin Yoga classes versus high powered Vinyasa classes. The relaxation has been doing wonders for my happiness level… yesterday I felt truly like myself for the first time in weeks, and even felt comfortable spending the entire afternoon out with friends and doing to a yoga class instead of working. After some 7 day work weeks up in here, it was so refreshing I almost cried.

10. Finding fun new places in my area – I met up with a friend at Why Not Coffee on Christopher Street the other day, only about a 5 minute walk from my apartment, and it was the cutest little coffee shop ever. They have jazz nights on the weekends and the décor was so adorable and rustic I wanted to hole up in a corner and write there forever. It reminded me that I live in the most awesome city ever, and there’s no reason to go to the same places all the time when I have the opportunity to endlessly explore.

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11. This Buzzfeed article: “11 Things You Will Learn Having a Vegan as Your Best Friend.” My best friend (who I also live with) sent this to me today. Let me just say, she’s an absolute trooper. All this stuff is too accurate. We have a running list of quotes that are eventually going to turn into a “What It’s Like to Live with a Vegan” post… which is gonna be hilarious.

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12. Self-love challenge – Everyone has been doing an incredible job participating in the #fallinlovewithyourself #tbvchallenge. I have amazing pictures to scroll through on Instagram every day, tons of inspirational emails popping into my inbox, and comments on the blog from people all over the world sharing their stories. Learning to love everything about yourself, be your own best friend, and show yourself positivity versus negative energy is SO BEAUTIFUL. And so hard. We are all in this together, and all of your stories make my heart buzz and remind me how incredibly lovely it is to work together and inspire one another in this awesome self-love journey. This 10 day cleanse is part of my self-love journey, and I am feeling more rejuvenated than I have in a really long time.

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13. Family – I have been feeling extra grateful for my family lately. I am very close with my fam, so truth be told they might always make the list of “Things I’m Loving Lately,” but lately (maybe it’s all the reflecting I’ve been doing) my heart is bursting with love and appreciation for them. My mom and my sister are coming to visit me in NYC next week, and I simply cannot wait. It’s hard to be a 23-year-old girl and live across the country from all of your family members… seeing them is going to be so refreshing. I wish they were bringing my dad, my other siblings and my nieces and nephew! But the upcoming girls weekend is much needed and the three of us always have a blast together.

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14. Creative bursts in yoga – I don’t know what has been in the air lately, but every time I step into a yoga class my mind runs WILD with new ideas for the blog/apparel/novel/life stuff and somehow works out all the problems that seem unsolvable in my regular routine. My savasanas have been exceptionally peaceful, and classes have been leaving me feeling on top of the world. I am so grateful for my yoga practice… I would be nowhere without it.

Look, I even make up my own poses… don’t be afraid to PLAY! That’s what exercise is all about. Play time. We’ve all gotta stop feeling like we have to be so serious (new blog post idea?? YES).

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15. TBV Apparel launching next week!!! – This speaks for itself. My excitement is unparalleled by everything else (sorry, numbers 1-14!). One weeeek until you can all order the incredible t-shirt designs we have been working on for all these months. Cannot wait to share with all of you and see you rocking the fab tees. Check out last Friday’s post for all of the TBV Apparel details!

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My good friend & yoga teacher, Vytas (take his class if you live in LA!! Your life will be changed), striking a warrior and a twisting triangle pose in the Yoga Junkie tee. Perfect alignment not included with the t-shirt…. I wish!

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What I Ate Wednesday: Juice Cleanse Style

So… what does one eat on a juice cleanse, anyway? Or rather, what does one drink?

I get a whole lot of questions from people about what exactly a juice cleanse entails, so I have compiled this post to break it down (chicka chicka yeahhh) for you all. Linking up with the lovely Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday!



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And for those of you who are familiar with what a typical juice cleanse incorporates, you might still find this post helpful because I am going to include a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way as a certified cleansing fanatic.

First of all – solid food detox versus liquid juice cleanse. I have done a few posts on this before (check out the juice-related posts in the Lifestyle section if you’re interested), so I will just give a mini-brush up here, because choosing which type of cleanse is right for you is an extremely important component to the cleansing process.

I had a chat with Marcus Antebi, owner and CEO of Juice Press here in the city, before I started my cleanse and he reminded me that cleansing is as much of a psychological practice as it is physical. You have to be mentally prepared for the changes, the social implications and the release of using food as a comfort and a form of therapy (so you don’t end up like Kim K. over here).

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If you are mentally prepared for the cleanse you embark on, there is no way you will come out unsuccessful. I have spontaneously dove into one and three day cleanses that I don’t finish or totally psyche myself out about simply because I wasn’t prepared for them.

If you are cleansing for the very first time, I recommend looking into a solid food detox. Depending on how you eat normally, this could range anywhere from eliminating processed foods to eating a solely fruit, vegetable and nut based diet. You can begin by cutting out red meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and fish and then work your way into eating fully raw for a constrained period of time. In order to choose the right cleanse for you, you must know your body and where you stand in your health and wellness journey.

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If you’re at the very beginning of your journey, leaping into a 10-day juice cleanse would likely not be smart. But hey, I’ve seen it be accomplished! I definitely believe that a cleanse is 100% mind over matter (just like running a marathon or committing to a lifestyle change). If you believe you can do it, you will finish it. I sound like a cheese-ball but it couldn’t be truer – get out of your head & listen to your body. Your body will tell you what it can and can’t handle.

If you want to do a solid food detox, I highly recommend TBV 5-Day Plant-based Cleanse — my unbiased opinion, I swear. I’ve never had someone finish the five days and not be blissed the eff out.

When I started contemplating doing an extended juice cleanse this last weekend, the first thing I did (besides run over to Marcus and tell him about my excitement) was turn inward and ask my body if a juice cleanse was what I needed right now. I tuned in with the digestion problems I’ve been having, the stomach pains, the headaches, and the extreme amount of stress and pressure I’ve felt with some things going on in my personal life, and I decided that cleansing by nourishing my body with raw vegetable and fruit juices was one of the best decisions I could possibly make.

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At the Fred Bisci talk I went to this weekend, Fred discussed how we as humans often turn to food for comfort when we are in a state of stress. Eating when we are stressed is the worst thing we can do for our tummies, because the food does not get a chance to digest properly and starts to ferment in the stomach. Especially after this cycle begins, it’s hard to quit it without doing a proper cleanse. And let me tell you, my body has been in need of a proper cleanse since early January… the last time I fully participated in TBV 5-Day Plant-based Cleanse!

I started my cleanse on Monday (Day 3, goin’ strong!!), and since I knew I was beginning a 10-day journey rather than a shorter one like I am used to, I decided to incorporate a smoothie into my day of juices. Instead of having 6 juices, I had 2 juices in the morning, my smoothie for lunch, and then 3 juices throughout the remainder of the day.

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Holy crap, adding a smoothie into my cleanse was the greatest cleanse-related decision I have ever made! I chose Juice Press’s “Fountain of Youth” smoothie (coconut water, banana, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, agave, hemp protein and coconut oil). The natural sugar from the fruit gave me so much energy, and the hemp protein and coconut oil were completely satisfying and revitalizing. I didn’t have a moment of hunger all day that the juices did not satisfy. I was on cloud nine, and already beginning to freak out about my cleanse ending after 10 days.

I did, however switch up my juices a bit. I loved Monday’s combo, but I decided while I am doing this cleanse it is best to get the widest variety of produce in my diet, so I am going to vary my juices a bit each day.

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Day 1: Love At First Sight (green apple, kale, spinach), Gravity (cucumber, celery, aloe vera leaf, lemon kale), Fountain of Youth, Masterade (filtered water, lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne), Doctor Earth (apple, kale, cucumber, celery, pineapple, swiss chard, lemon, dandelion, parsley, ginger) and Black Label (coconut water, dehydrated almonds, vanilla, sea salt).

And yes, Black Label is as sinfully and perfectly mouthwatering as it sounds. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: if I could marry a juice… it would be Black Label. Holy yumness.

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Day 2: Love At First Sight, Gravity, Fountain of Youth, The Remedy (filtered water, raw honey, lemon, ginger, turmeric, celtic sea salt, spearmint, cardamom, cayenne), Body Fit (apple, celery, fennel, arugula, lime, ginger) and Black Label.

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You’ll notice that I start each day with a green juice, have an energizing pick-me-up in the middle of the day, finish off each day with a green juice and end with a protein-rich juice. The reason for this order is because your body is most willing to assimilate the nutrients you eat first thing in the morning, so it is always best to begin with a green. I have my smoothie midday because I like to work out in the afternoon and it’s always good to have an energy boost for full performance ability. And protein at the end of the day because it helps your muscles recover from a workout, and so that I don’t get hungry late at night before I fall asleep!

That being said, I don’t drink my Black Label within two (usually more like three or four) hours of going to bed, because the same rules apply when it comes to giving your digestion a break before bedtime.

And last night I went out for “drinks” with a girlfriend, and I stuck to sparkling water with lime. Now that is dedication. I’m here to show you all that you can go out and have fun with your friends and either A) not drink, or B) drink minimally and in the healthiest way possible so that you don’t feel like a hung over slug bug the next day.

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Day 3:

Today I decided to try something a slight bit different in smoothie town (wild, I know!). I have been fantasizing over Juice Press’s “Vital Force” smoothie for a while – raw almond milk, banana, pineapple, filtered water, soaked cashews, lime, dates, maca, garden of life probiotic and sea salt. I haven’t had it yet, but I seriously cannot wait to try it. I will certainly report back with my critique.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my video interview below with the lovely miss Nadya Andreeva! We are giving away three copies of her Happy Belly book!!!

Video Interview & Giveaway with Nadya Andreeva of ‘Happy Belly’

Hey, guys! The other day I had the awesome opportunity to interview someone I admire greatly when it comes to health, digestion, wellness and overall wellbeing. Nadya Andreeva is the author of the book Happy Belly that I have been mentioning in my posts for the last several weeks. The moment I picked up the book I knew it was full of knowledge and firsthand health tips that I wanted to share with you.

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(Image source: WorldLifestyle)

In the interview Nadya and I discuss a whole bunch of topics, including her journey to finding a healthy relationship with food, her wellness vision (my favorite part of the book!), my wellness vision, rules of food combining, what a typical day of meals looks like for her, where she got the inspiration to write the book, and info about the GIVEAWAY we are doing!

I am so beyond excited to be giving away three different copies of Happy Belly to you lovely readers! All you have to do is check out the video and comment below telling us why you think you would benefit from reading this book (let’s be real – who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book?). The giveaway will be open until this Saturday, April 19th when I will be choosing three winners.

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(Image source: Mind Body Green)

Creating a wellness vision has been something that has helped my overall relationship with food immeasurably – and that’s just one of the things I learned how to do in Nadya’s book. I also plan on following a cleanse program that Nadya offers in her book once I finish my juice cleanse, because it sounds like her digestive issues are very similar to mine so I trust that it would work very well.

Oh, and did I mention that Nadya is a health blogger too? Her website is called Spinach and Yoga, what a frickin’ cute name is that?

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Around 16-17 minutes into the video, our connection got a little fuzzy, so ignore my late reactions and the brief minute or so that we couldn’t see each other clearly.

Also SUPER excited to be sharing this video with you all – this is my first video on TBV (thanks Nadya for videoing and sending me the mp4). It was such a fun experience and I think it’s so much more personal than just writing and photos. Although you know I do love my writing and photos. Here is a little slice of me chatting with one of my idols and health gurus:

So… what do you think?! Am I the way you pictured me to be? ;)

Why would you like to receive a free copy of this book? Can’t wait to see what you all have to say and to choose the winners!

Crush those Goals: A Half Marathon & A 10-Day Juice Cleanse

Well, I told you all it was a self-loving, goal-crushing kind of April around here. Two things I’ve wanted to do for a long while were a half marathon and an extended juice cleanse. Ran a half yesterday, started a 10-day juice cleanse today! Boom, and boom.

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This was actually my second half marathon, but since I didn’t properly train for the first one I was kind of treating this one like the first. My training got off to a great start, but from overexerting the crap out of my bod and neglecting to rest, I injured my ankle about a month and a half ago and wasn’t sure if I would even be able to participate in the half that I signed up for.

I decided that I was going to walk the majority of it and run as much as I could, but when I showed up yesterday and felt the overwhelming amount of energy from the women participating, I had a new sense of determination. The More Fitness Women’s Half Marathon is the largest all women’s half marathon in the country – who knew?! I certainly didn’t. The trail goes along the outside edge of Central Park and loops around 2.5 times. A.k.a: lots of hills, but amazing scenery.

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I started out running at a slow pace, mildly panicked that my ankle was going to start acting up and I would either have to start walking, or (worst case scenario) not be able to finish the race at all. There must have been something in the air yesterday, because my ankle, for the first time since I had injured it, gave me no trouble whatsoever.

I breezed through the first four miles, loving the energy from the women around me and feeling amazing. I ended up walking every other mile or so from that point on, simply because I hadn’t been able to train for the last month and a half. In the end, I ran about ¾ of it (at a very slow pace) and came out feeling incredible. 

So many people came out to support, and their words of encouragement on the sidelines were absolutely what pushed me to keep going when my legs were killin’ me and my body was saying: WTF is going on, you never run up and down hills like this?!?!

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The entire experience was very inspiring, and it reminded me how important it is to force myself out of my comfort zone more often. Even just waking up at 6 a.m. and being in Central Park as the sun was rising got my heart pumping a little faster and made me think about how beautiful this city really is. Life is a beautiful thing, people! Don’t you ever forget it.

I am thinking I want to find a race to sign up for in the fall, but next time I might look for one on flatland.

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!!!10-Day Cleanse!!!

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The other exciting thing I did this weekend was attend a talk at Juice Press given by health guru and raw foodie Fred Bisci. Fred is an expert on all things health and wellness, and he had a lot of interesting things to say about extended juice cleansing and the amazing health benefits that come from it. A few of the things that resonated most with me were:

A) When we are stressed out, we often turn to food as a coping mechanism. The best thing to do for the body when you’re in a state of stress or anxiety is to cleanse, and let the body heal itself from the inside out. With all of my digestion and stomach problems, I have been told that eating on a nervous stomach makes my symptoms a lot worse. I have had a lot of stress lately, and I think it’s time to step back and give my organs a real break. I’m hoping that once that happens, my mind will be able to relax as well.

B) Many people eat a very healthy diet and feel dissatisfied with the results that they see. That is because they have never cleansed and let their body get back to its natural state of balance, so they are out of touch with what their body needs. They eat too much, or too much of the wrong things, because they are not in tune with their bodies.

C) Cleansing for a short period of time (1 to 3 days) only scratches the surface. Long term cleanses give the most benefits.

D) When you don’t have to worry about food, you can reconnect with your inner being in a way that is not normally attainable. Cleansing is as spiritual and mental as it is physical. My meditation practice is something I have been wanting to reconnect to, and I am feeling like I need a real break to turn inward (and we all know I obsess about food a lot, so this is the perfect kind of break for me).

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For those who don’t agree with cleansing (or extended cleansing especially), I just want to give you this disclaimer: I know my body. I know what works for me, I know what makes me thrive, and I know what I need in order to heal and feel my best. You can read more about my views on juice cleansing here, and also stay tuned for a whole lotta posting about cleansing in the next 10 days!

I know that I have been feeling off balance lately and I know that my body does exceptionally well on cleanses. I have never done more than a 3 day cleanse on just juice, but I have done 7 days on TBV plant-based cleanse (all fruits, veggies and nuts) and I know that giving my digestive system a break is the best way for my body to reset itself and to give myself a clean slate. Also important to note: I am doing this cleanse as much for my mind as I am for my body.

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Mainly, I am doing it because I am excited about it!! I am beyond motivated and very much looking forward to the benefits that cleansing will bring my mind, body and spirit. Cannot wait to share this journey with all of you.

And a h-u-g-e thanks to Juice Press for A) introducing me to the amazing Fred Bisci and B) for providing me with my yummy juices for this 10 day journey. I am so lucky to be working with my favorite juice place in the city. Stay tuned to read about my journey over the next 10 days… I am so excited to share with all of you. And if you want to hop in and join me for a 1, 3, 5 or even 10 day cleanse at any point, DO IT! I would love, love any and all support from fellow cleansers. Love you all! And keep on with the #fallinlovewithyourself challenge, I will be picking this week’s winner tomorrow evening!

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The Blonde Vegan Apparel

Annnddd today is the day! I am officially releasing TBV Apparel’s five different t-shirt styles and phrases. If all goes well, there will be a whole lot more phrases and styles in the coming months – I am hoping to grow TBV Apparel and do as much as I possibly can with the line. It has been an incredibly fun experience so far… my favorite part being interacting with all of YOU and hearing about what styles you like best!

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The Blonde Vegan Store, which will be all online and connected to my site, will be up and launched by Friday, April 25th. That is when you will officially be able to buy the shirts, rep them, wear them out to dinner, to a workout, the list goes on and on!

I am so unbelievably excited about these shirts for many reasons. First of all, with all of the changes going on in my life, I’ve been searching for a new focus. Even though I feel as if I have a million things going on all at once, I am the type of person who needs one sole endeavor or adventure to pour all of my energy to… and that’s what these shirts have been for the last few months and will hopefully continue to be.

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As I have mentioned in a previous post (because I can’t keep my huge mouth shut!) the shirts are eco-friendly, 100% cotton, made of all organic materials, suuuuper soft & comfy (I’ve been living in them – holy crap), health-oriented and versatile. I wanted them to be the types of shirts you can wear out on the town with jeans and heels and also in an exercise class with yoga pants and running shoes.

A percentage of the profit from the shirts will be going to a non-profit that raises awareness about nutrition in schools and funds nutrition programs for high schools. A percentage of the profit from the Hashtag Vegan and Is Vodka Vegan? shirts will support an animal sanctuary in NYC that I am visiting next weekend – very exciting and dear to my heart.

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I want to give the hugest thank you imaginable to my beyond talented friend Tynan Daniels. Without him, I would still be daydreaming during yoga classes about the remote possibility of TBV Apparel. I can’t even begin to give him enough credit for all that he’s done (and continues to do) to help me with this line between designing, printing, photographing, editing, re-photographing, re-printing, listening to me ramble, etc. – and he’s done an amazing job. I am so, soooo lucky to have this amazing dude in my life.

Check out his photography site linked above… you won’t be disappointed. (Did I mention he’s taken all of the photos for this site in general? Other than the daily food photos. That’s me… but only because he lives across the country.)

Last, but certainly not least, check out the shirts and send me an email telling me which styles you like and your size so that we make sure to have enough shirts printed by the launch date of what people are most interested in. Also, once you email me you will be added to my list of people that will get notified the moment the shirts go up – a full 24-hours before I release it on the blog, so that you will have first dibs on the shirts!

Pricing: $32 each. I will have special deals running, and still figuring out the deals that will go down for people who order more than 2, and for those who order all 5!!! Also going to do as many lil’ giveaways as I can get away with. (Although a girl’s gotta make sure she doesn’t go broke creating a t-shirt line… developing new business endeavors is certainly an investment.)

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Shirt Styles:

Hashtag Vegan

This shirt is particularly special to me, because hash-tagging on Instagram is what originally began to connect me to the vegan and health food online community. And in the digital age we live in, you can’t deny it’s frickin’ funny.

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Oh Kale Yes!

We all know kale is the “it” food right now, and who doesn’t use the phrase “Oh Kale Yes” in their everyday life? …Or is that just me? ;)

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Men’s Oh Kale Yes!

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Health is the New Black

I wanted to make sure there were shirts available for everyone in the health community – not just vegans! Even though vegans & non-vegans alike will agree that health is all the rage right now… or at least in this little bubble of the internet it is.

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Yoga Junkie

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This is the shirt I created because I wanted there to be at least one tee that was 100% suitable for my favorite thing on earth – YOGA! And/or working out. The other shirts work for exercising too, but this one is prime. Trust me, I’ve done it. See…!

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Men’s Yoga Junkie

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Is Vodka Vegan?

I have to give credit to my best friend Jordan for this one (who also happens to be the gorgeous male model in these photos). It started as a joke because I started drinking a lot less when I first went vegan, and whenever I would go out I ordered a vodka soda. The phrase “is vodka vegan?” was born out of poking fun at me, and has evolved into something we now say to each other all the time. Sidenote: vodka is vegan, as long as the brand is reputable and there is no isinglass in the alcohol!

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Men’s Is Vodka Vegan?

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Also, post your favorite style on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter and hashtag #tbvapparel and #theblondevegan to be in the running for a t-shirt giveaway, TBV Cleanse giveaways, a free week of yoga, and a free 3-day juice cleanse!

And, because you know me & you know my love for photos… there are a WHOLE LOT more amazing photos from this photo shoot and more, so I will keep posting in the next few weeks and you’ll see all sorts of fun things!

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Self-Love Challenge Update

Hey guys! It’s been a crazy wild OMG-how-can-I-fit-this-all-in kind of week around here… but in the best way possible, because it means we are getting closer and closer to the launch of TBV Apparel!!!

Not to mention lots of other exciting goodies in the works (*cough cough* TBV Summer Cleanse program, *cough cough* my mom’s upcoming fashion blog, *cough cough* super fun collabs with WorldLifestyle, Nadya Andreeva,  Goodwater Farms and The Raw Food Sisters, *cough cough* half-marathon in Central Park this weekend, you know, the usual…)

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Anyway, I wanted to check in with you all regarding “Fall in Love With Yourself April” a.k.a the self-love challenge I have been running on my blog and Instagram account this month. The emails, photos and comments that have been pouring in from those of you sharing your personal health journeys and self-love struggles have been humbling and absolutely incredible.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thanks to each and every one of you for warming my soul with your willingness to share, your openness to make changes and your overall positivity and love.

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Having all of you on board for this self-love challenge has been particularly helpful for me in dealing with my own eating issues and how I view and treat myself… especially in the midst of all of these wacky changes happening in my life (mainly good changes, but changes rock the freakin’ boat of life no matter what).

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I have had my fair share of struggles with the restrict-binge-restrict-binge cycle, and that going plant-based changed my life and settled my lifelong tummy problems. But that doesn’t mean I have been able to totally divorce my mind from the self-destructive mentality that comes along with the “oh shit I just ate something that’s going to make me feel really sick,” or “oh god I just ate something off of my diet plan… I guess this means I’m going to skip dinner.”

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Learning the relax the rules about food that I have made for myself throughout my lifetime and to accept that my body knows best and I need to trust it, love it and support it every waking moment of the day in order to have the best relationship with my self and with food has been the real game changer for me, and this month I have learned a whole lot about myself.

This month…

I have made it a point to not allow myself to have negative thoughts about what I eat, when I eat, how much I eat, how little I eat, or how I feel before/after I eat. Replacing those negative thoughts with positive thoughts, looking in the mirror and practicing self-love versus self-criticism, allowing myself to indulge when it feels right and refrain when I am not in the mood for something, and most of all relaxing versus trying to control my every step has been SO. HELPFUL.

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It might sound ridiculous to you – how does she not know these things? Isn’t she human? Doesn’t she have common sense?!

Yes, I have common sense (too much of it I think sometimes), but when you’ve suffered from digestion issues your whole life and you have found something that works and are trying to get back to that state of balance without beating yourself up in the mean time, you might have issues and it’s OK to admit that.

Scratch that, it’s necessary to admit that.

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Repeat after me: I have issues!!! And I am fine with it. I am working my issues out, because I love myself and I know that I am worth it. I am enough. I deserve to wake up every morning feeling light, amazing, energized, confident, proud of myself and ready to tackle my day.

I am enough.

And you know what helps? Finding others who inspire you. You know who inspires me? The winner of this week’s self-love challenge, Miss Natasha Kadimi of Organic and Happy. (Oh, and it’s also her birthday, so happy birthday Natasha!!! Love you, beautiful girl.)

Also linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons since this post is largely a “Thinking Out Loud” post ;) one of my favorite things to do…

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All photos from Organic & Happy from here on out…!

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The Winner of This Week’s Self-Love Challenge:

I found Natasha on Instagram when I was a new vegan and I had not even started my blog yet. She posted tons of beautiful photos of raw vegan yumminess, but more importantly she wrote inspiring, self-affirming captions that sparked my interest and made me develop an immediate respect for her.

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Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Natasha on a more personal level, and I am so incredibly lucky that I have. Her story is beyond inspirational, and the moment I heard it I knew I had to share with you all.

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To keep it short and sweet, Natasha suffered from disordered eating habits for 7 years of her life. When she was in high school, she ate nothing more than a handful of strawberries a day for two years straight (!!!!). Her self-worth revolved around people telling her how pretty she was because she was thin. Her grades slipped from A’s to B’s to C’s and then to D’s… and she was tired, miserable and knew she was battling a huge problem on the inside.

A few years later her eating disorder shifted, and she began binge eating (who wouldn’t after years of such tight restriction?!). She spent hours in her cupboard devouring everything in sight, mainly processed junk, and then she felt so terrible afterward she wouldn’t eat again for several days. The cycle continued, and her weight yo-yoed way back up.

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One day, after several years had passed, Natasha decided she wasn’t going to do this to herself anymore. She was going to learn to love herself and ditch the self-hate and self-harm, no matter what that meant.

Her new decision lead her to the plant-based diet, and through the beauty of fruits and veggies she has been able to heal herself one day at a time. She now believes that she is beautiful and knows that she has so much love and knowledge to offer to the world, and she doesn’t know her weight nor does she care to.

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I am here to attest to the fact that Natasha is a gorgeous woman on the inside and out. She is a huge inspiration, and she is incredibly wise beyond her years. I know that she is going to do big things and she is going to help so many people become comfortable in their own skin by sharing her story and sharing what she’s learned with us all. If nothing else, she has inspired the crap out of me, and for that I am forever grateful.

#fallinlovewithyourself #tbvchallenge

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Comment on this post, email me, and/or enter on Instagram by hashtagging #fallinlovewithyourself and #tbvchallenge to share your stories and for a chance to be featured on the blog in the coming weeks. I want to share as many stories as I can! And if you don’t want your story to be shared, email me personally, I would still love to hear your story. 

Peanut Butter Cup Banana Oats

Peanut. Butter. Cup. Banana. Oats. Yes, it’s as sinfully delicious as it sounds. Minus the sinful, plus some extra deliciousness. pboatmeal

How did I decide I was in the mood for this delicious creation this morning? I can think of a few simple reasons…

A) I woke up starving and pretty tired after a late night out with my classmates last night, and when I’m all sleepy I always crave sweet. Here we are ;)

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B) I have been following the 80/10/10 diet pretty rigidly for the past week, and yesterday I came to realize that it may not be for me (at this stage in my life, at least). I felt like I wasn’t getting enough protein to fuel my active lifestyle, and when yoga became difficult and I was waking up super sore every morning, I knew I had to switch things up. Maybe in the future when I have more time to focus on my diet I will give it another go, but for now I was feeling exhausted, bloated and sore! (Not to say it doesn’t work extremely well for many people with digestion issues, because I do believe wholeheartedly in the research and principles behind it. And there’s no denying that I didn’t try it for very long.)

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C) I have been craving the shit out of peanut butter, which I am taking as another sign my body was begging for more protein.

D) I made peanut butter cups yesterday (probably because of that raging PB craving!) and I was dying to incorporate them into my breakfast.

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E) I had to add a banana, since I have about 30 super-ripe ones (not a joke) laying around my kitchen because of 80/10/10.

Life Updates!

Before I get to the recipe, I want to give a little update on what’s going on in TBV land (can you tell I’m in a list-making mood today?):

A) SHIRTS! We are finishing up the last photo shoot for TBV Apparel today, which means that I will be launching the ad campaign and taking pre-orders within the next week. If you want to sign up to pre-order now, shoot me an email at theblondevegan1@gmail.com . I’M SO EXCITED IT HURTS!

B) Novel: many of you know that I’m working on a novel, and it got workshopped in class last week after me taking a several week (OK, maybe it’s been a month… or more) hiatus from working on it. The feedback I got from my class and teacher gave me a resurgence of passion and excitement about the book, and I am looking forward to writing some more scenes and fleshing out the new installments of my plot over the next few weeks.

C) Running: Ummm, my half marathon is this Sunday, April 13th. Have I been training properly? No, because my ankle is still messed up from straining it about a month and a half ago. I am planning on walking parts of the race and running as much as I can of it. It’s a huge bummer that the injury happened, but it has gotten me more in touch with my body and reminded me how necessary it is to rest when my body is feeling fatigued…. Something I had been neglecting to do, hence the injury in the first place.

D) Yoga: I am thinking about doing another yoga teacher training to further my exploration of the practice. I got my teaching certification about a year and a half ago, and since I’ve moved to NYC teaching yoga has kind of been put on the back burner. I still practice every day, and every time I am in a class I get that itch of desperately wanting to teach again, and I think this summer might be the perfect time to look into new programs so I can come out refreshed, more educated and more in alignment with my teaching self.

E) Life changes: I know I’ve hinted at some life changes over the past few weeks, and I am almost ready to write about them on the blog. I am just trying to get all my ducks in a row before I come out with it, because I don’t want to jinx anything! But I am dying to share with all of you, as always.

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F) Interviews/Events: Today I am interviewing Nadya Andreeva about her book Happy Belly that I have been so obsessed with lately. I am so excited to talk to her, pick her brain about all things wellness and digestion, and to share with all of you on the blog! And it’s going to be a video interview– yahoo! This Saturday I am going to a talk at Juice Press lead by Fred Bisci, health and wellness guru, about finding the keys to a healthy lifestyle.

G) Self-Love Challenge: I have gotten so many amazing emails, Instagram tags (and hashtags), texts and overall love surrounding the #fallinlovewithyourself #tbvchallenge. You’re all doing an incredible job… I will share this week’s winner on the blog tomorrow and I cannot wait.

WOWEE! Busy-town. And I didn’t even mention IIN starting soon, which I am getting ridiculously excited about!

Now, without further ado…

Peanut Butter Cup Banana Oats

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Ingredients:

½ cup oats (I use gluten-free Bob’s Red Mill)

1.5 tablespoons peanut butter (or any other nut butter)

1 sliced banana

3 sliced strawberries (optional, but they’re yummy)

1-2 raw vegan peanut butter cups

A dash of cinnamon

 Directions:

1. Boil the oats in water over a medium-high heat until the water is fully soaked in.

2. Once the oats are boiled, stir in the peanut butter, ½ of the sliced banana, and the sliced strawberries.

3. Pour in the cinnamon.

4. Top with the rest of the banana and the peanut butter cups. You can chop the PB cups or leave them whole. They’re delicious either way.

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Nutrition Info:

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Which Type of Cleanse Should You Do?! (+ a Juice Cleanse Discount Code)

Happy Sunday, loves! Today I thought I would write to you about cleanses and finding the type that works best for your particular goals and your individual body. I get a whole lot of questions and emails about the health benefits of juice cleansing versus solid food detoxes, water fasting, extended juice cleanses, eating clean, etc.

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I am a fan of one to three day juice cleanses when they are done for the right reasons. The most common misconception about juice cleansing is that it’s a sustainable way to lose weight, and that is simply not the case. A juice cleanse should be done to give your body a clean slate, give your digestive system a rest for a few days, and to become more in tune with your body so that you can properly listen to the signals its giving you.

A juice cleanse should not be done as a quick fix, a way to lose weight or as a method of instilling self-control. The real self-control comes in when solid foods are reintroduced. Do you know how many people juice cleanse (miserably) for three days, obsess about finishing, pass the finish line and then gorge themselves on food (healthy or unhealthy food, gorging is never good) and all of the benefits are canceled out?

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It makes me sad that there is so much confusion around juice cleansing. Many people dive into cleanses for the wrong reasons (and/or think that they are the #1 source of knowledge on health and fitness because they’ve had a few green juices), and others criticize and dislike cleanses for equally inaccurate reasons. If a juice cleanse is done in a mindful way, it can be a great tool to get back in tune with your body, get your digestion on track and to fuel your body with the nutrients of veggies and fruits.

Here are a few tips I have for determining which type of cleanse is right for you:

Where To Begin?!

A) If you’re looking to make a lifestyle change and transition into a healthier and/or vegan diet, I would suggest doing a cleanse that involves solid food. I sell a 5-day plant-based cleanse program on my site that includes 1 smoothie, 2 juices, and 2 solid food recipes per day. This type of cleanse is sustainable and it teaches you how to eat and prepare healthy, balanced meals. A lifestyle change is necessary if you are looking for a healthy and maintainable way to lose weight, eat healthier and feel better in a long term way.

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B) If you already eat a very clean diet and you want to amp it up for a few days to get your digestion flowing or lose some bloat and water weight, a juice cleanse is the way to go. Sometimes one day can do the trick if you are looking for a little recharge, but usually three days is the perfect amount of time to see and feel a real change. By the end of the three day period, you will be able to better listen to your body, fuel it well and give it what it needs.

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C) If you are feeling extremely out of balance and you aren’t sure whether a juice cleanse, a solid food cleanse or a gradual lifestyle change is the way to go, I would suggest beginning with a very clean diet regime (such as a solid food cleanse) from anywhere from one week to one month, and then following it up with a three-day juice cleanse once your body is adjusting to eating healthier foods. At the end of that period, you can reevaluate how you feel and decide which foods you want to reintroduce into your diet. The elimination of red meat, poultry, refined sugar, dairy products and wheat products is the best place to start.

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When I’m feeling out of balance and I need a health boost I usually choose to do a one-day juice cleanse followed by a week or so of eating 100% clean. Since I already eat a very clean diet, this just amps it up for me and wipes my slate clean from anything I may have overindulged in (raw chocolate? Chocolatey steel cut oats? Raw vegan peanut butter cups? Yes, yes and yes.)

The juice I went with this week was a local NYC brand, Jus By Julie. Not only do their juices taste delicious, but they use raw and pure ingredients blended fresh daily to achieve the utmost health and deliciousness. Jus By Julie uses a “blended and not pressed” method so that all of the nutrients stay in tact in the juicing process – meaning that all of the natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants are flowing through your bod throughout the day.

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Jus By Julie is based in Brooklyn, but they ship all over the US. If you’re looking for a yummy and sustainable company that combines greens with delicious fruity juices like “Chia Berry” and “Not So Chunky” peanut butter and banana combo, you should definitely pop over to their website.

My favorite juice by far was the “Choco-Nana” (you know I’m a chocoholic…) which is a combo of chocolate, banana and water. It seriously tasted like chocolate milk. I could hardly even handle it.

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And, Jus by Julie has been kind enough to provide $40 off any order with a $100 minimum for all of YOU! The code is: VEGAN40JUS. Heck yeah, got my own vegan code because I love y’all so much ;)

I was planning on doing a one-day juice cleanse today, but in the spirit of my #fallinlovewithyourself #tbvchallenge (read a few posts below for details!) I decided to totally listen to my body and spread the juices out over a three day period instead. I am eating somewhat of an 80/10/10 lifestyle right now, so the juices were the perfect in between-meal snacks for me this weekend.

Question of the day: What kind of cleanse do you most enjoy? Are you a juice-happy kinda cleanser, or do you need solid food to function best?

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My Vegan Weekend in Los Angeles: II

Hey, guys! I am finally getting around to doing a post on all of my L.A. eats from my trip to Los Angeles two weeks ago! I have been dying to do this post because L.A. is my favorite city (hands down) when it comes to food, weather, lifestyle, yoga, people, and all around awesomeness.

So obvi I want to share all of my go-to spots with you.

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I was in LA from Thursday night to Monday morning, and even with the TBV Apparel photo shoot, the crazy hectic schedule, the birthdays, the running around and the amount of people I wanted to see, I managed to hit up all of my favorite vegan spots. Well, most of my favorites. All would require a bit more time ;)

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Me before I boarded my flight… rockin’ my Juice Press beanie! Oh yeah.

Oh! And an update on TBV Apparel—the photos came together so well, and we are working on some last-minute details, solidifying a non-profit to work with (10% of the shirt’s proceeds will go to a health-related charity) and doing ONE more last t-shirt phrase (because I get so phrase-creating happy) and then the official TBV Apparel Store will launch. I. Am. So. Excited.

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A shot from the shoot… it’s literally killing me not to be able to post the full photos– but I can’t give away the shirt phrases just yet!

Now, for some L.A. goodness!

What I Ate in La La Land:

Thursday:

Whole Foods wholefoods

So, my best friend Jordan (yes, same name, not referring to myself in the third person!) picked me up from the airport, and between hair and makeup for the shoot we made a very necessary pit stop at Whole Foods Manhattan Beach. I had this super delicious salad with golden beets, purple cabbage, broccoli, artichoke, chickpeas and my favorite Oil-Free Balsamic. (Funny story: my other bestie, Jillian, met us at WF and while I was jumping for joy about the oil-free balsamic after she drizzled it all over her salad, she said, “…Wait, this is oil-free?” and proceeded to dig through the dressings to find more oil. #lifewithaveganbestie)

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Photo shoot ready… the most make up you’ll ever see on me ;)

Nekter Juice Bar Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 11.45.33 AMThe fabulous Nekter Juice Bar was kind enough to sponsor the TBV Apparel shoot, which was amazing because A) we needed some good old fashioned juice hydration and B) I definitely wanted my models to be sporting some green juice in mason jars in the apparel photos. Did I chug a Nekter vanilla protein cashew drink around 2 a.m. when the shoot ended? Yes, yes I did.

Friday:

Nekter

nekterWell, it’s a given that I had Nekter for breakfast—leftovers rock.

Rawvolution

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I couldn’t even contain my excitement about being back in Rawvolution. One of the most awesome things about Rawvolution is that it is directly across the street from my yoga studio, Yogaworks, on Main Street in Santa Monica. Rawvolution is by far the best raw food restaurant around. Their smoothies are untouchable, and their salads are out of this world. My friend Laura and I shared the Holy Macro Bowl (kale, baby greens, hijiki, nori, red pepper tahini dressing) and the Tiger Roll (coconut curry roll, Szechuan veggies, avocado, sweet chili sauce).

Yum, yum and more yum.

Café Gratitude

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An absolute staple whenever I am in L.A. No other vegan restaurant even holds a candle to Gratitude. Their dishes are all called, “I am _____,” so for example, “I am Beautiful,” “I am Whole,” or “I am Grateful.” You have to order that way when you’re there, and it’s a fabulous act of self-love and gratitude. I ordered my go-to, the “I am Fortified” – quinoa, steamed kale and veggies with a sesame ginger sauce. The other photo is a apple arugula cashew cheese wrap that my friend ordered.

Saturday:

Juice Crafters

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I discovered the lovely Juice Crafters last time I visited in L.A. because it’s walking distance from my friend’s apartment in Brentwood. Their juices are so fresh and yummy, and the place is tiny and adorable. Also, I’ve noticed the people who work there have all been awesome and super-friendly. I ordered a juice that had acai in it, and when I tried it, it was sweeter than I wanted it to be. They happily remade the juice and subbed blueberries for acai. They rock.

 

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Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 11.49.26 AMmcafeAnother Brentwood spot. I love this place because it’s macrobiotic – they are dairy-free, gluten-free, red meat-free, etc. but they do have fish and more filling dishes for those non-veggie friends. I got this veggie plate with an asparagus soup, and my friend Jill got a tofu teriyaki salad. (Even though she ordered the tofu teriyaki bowl with rice, oops?)

Sunday:

Juice Crafters

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Acai bowls and green smoothies all the way.

Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market

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There was no way I was going to leave L.A. without hitting up one of the many amazing farmer’s markets. I was leaving for Mexico the next day, so I couldn’t exactly buy any fresh produce, but walking around was a blast. I met up with the lovely Sophie of Philosophie Superfoods and we got some juices at Pressed. The fresh fruit and veggies, homemade jams and spreads, crepes, nut butters and smoothies were literally making me drool! Such goodness.

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True Food Kitchen

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This is a great place to go for those who are looking for something that works for everyone. They serve everything from vegan food to grass-fed beef to street tacos with cheese. I love going here with my non-vegan friends, because everyone is happy with what they order. I got a Carrot Ginger Lemonade (heaven!), but they also serve wine and organic cocktails. I ordered my favorite (and not so photogenic…) winter vegetable salad with cauliflower, sweet potato, soybeans, etc.

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Monday:

Airport…woo!

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Monday morning I flew out of the Santa Ana airport. So sad to go. All I had to eat on the plane was my avocado and Larabars. And some carrot sticks and fruit that my sister packed for me ;) love my family for always thinking ahead.

Question of the day: Where do YOU like to eat when you’re in Los Angeles? If you’ve never been to L.A., what is your favorite city to visit / what do you like to eat when you go there?

Also… don’t forget to hop on the #fallinlovewithyourself #tbvchallenge! Details in the post below :) Huge love!

April Challenge: Love Yourself

What if someone told you that for one month you had to love yourself unconditionally, no ifs, ands or butts about it?

Would that make you uncomfortable? Do you think you could rise to the challenge? Well, I’m challenging you to do it. Starting now. The month of April is going to be all about loving yourself, loving your decisions, making choices that scare you, taking care of your body and nourishing it with goodness, loving and accepting the exercise goals you choose for yourself, and doing the things you always dream of doing but put off until “next week” or “next month” or, you know, “SOMEDAY.”

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Today = your someday. It’s goin’ down!!!

There are a few things that spurred this sudden desire to declare April the month of self-love on TBV. Let me tell you in list form, because you know I love a good list:

Why Self-Love Matters to Me:

A) I have been realizing lately (in reading the amazing book Happy Belly) that, although I am a pretty darn positive and confident person, I put myself down a lot more than I need to. It stems from my stomach and indigestion problems and the fact that I have to be so rigid about what I eat if I want to feel good. Instead of practicing self-love after a meal that upsets my stomach, I beat myself up over it and tell myself it’s all my fault and I didn’t have enough self control. In reality, it’s those moments where I need to be showing myself the most love and listening to what my body is telling me. And when you practice self-love versus all of the negative “OMG I can’t believe I just ate that what the eff was I thinking?!” you have way more of a chance to be in tune with your body and develop a happy, healthy relationship with food.

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B) While training for my half marathon I pushed myself to the brink, every single day, loving the running high and the endorphins swimming through my bod. I was also swimming, doing yoga, walking several miles a day, and taking Equinox classes like a maniac. I hurt my ankle a few weeks ago and continued to push and push until I reached the point where I had to stop training. Huge bummer, right? If I had been practicing the utmost self-love, I would have listened to my throbbing ankle and forfeited my long runs until it started to heal. This month for me is going to be about listening to my body to get back to the healthiest state possible. I will not push myself on days that I am tired, and I will continue to practice yoga, run and swim in a healthy (and not obsessive!!!) manner.

C) You all know I place a huge emphasis on my health, and because of that I eat a super clean, oil-free, salt-free, wheat-free, refined sugar-free diet. And because of all of that restriction (even though I do it happily!) I sometimes get too hungry or too run down while I am out and about, so when I finally am able to sit down and eat a meal I have a tendency to overindulge. Even overindulging on vegetables, fruits, healthy granolas, dried fruits, raw chocolate etc. is just as damaging to the stomach, digestion, and the mind as overeating on something unhealthy. If I take care of myself, eat when I am hungry, listen to my body to know how much to eat, and maintain my clean diet, I should have no problems. Time to listen to my bod and not my overactive mind!

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D) I have a lot of changes going on in my life right now. Huge things are happening, great things, but they are pulling me in all sorts of directions. I need to stay extra focused, breathe, and take it easy on myself while I figure out all of the life adjustments that need to take place to accommodate the changes. My go-to super-fast-paced kick-butt-in-the-gym and eat-the-cleanest-EVER is going to do me more harm than good… I need to take it easy on myself, and practice what I preach! This means journaling, relaxing bubble baths, massages, unwinding and more yin yoga (deep stretching) classes.

E) Holding myself accountable by engaging in a challenge like this with all of you is way more fun than doing it on my own. I also know that I am much more likely to succeed if I have a platform to come back to—we can all do this!

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If you love yourself and your body every single day, you are more likely to feed it in the most healthy and nourishing way possible. It will foster a loving, trusting and sound relationship between the body and mind.

Do you normally exist in a restrict-binge-restrict-binge cycle? This is the month to work on that. Tell yourself that this is worth it. You are worth it.

Do you push yourself at the gym until you’re completely dead and your limbs are shaking like jello? Or do you slack off and tell yourself you can go to the gym tomorrow? Find a healthy medium – you are worth it.

Are you putting off making a big life decision because you’re afraid of change? This is the month to make your dreams your reality. You know what I’m going to say here, but… YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Challenge Rules:

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Tag me in your photos, too! The photos can be anything from a healthy meal, a sweaty gym selfie, a relaxing bubble bath, a productive to-do list, a new pair of running shoes, your yoga mat, a photo of a food journal, the list goes on and on… it just has to be related to health, making positive changes, and loving yourself. Include a little story (or you can email me if you aren’t comfortable posting on social media!) about why this challenge is important to you, and I will choose a winner each week to feature. I cannot wait to see what you all come up with!

As act #1 of self-love I have decided to do a one-day juice cleanse this Sunday, which for me is huge because I would normally commit to a three or five day cleanse when it comes to detoxes. I know all I need is a little recharge to help me kick this cold in the butt, and on Monday I will be back to my regular ways. A one-day cleanse is what my body is calling for right now, so by all means I am going to listen to it.

And, as act #2 of self-love, I had this heavenly bowl of oatmeal this morning! I used to be afraid to eat oatmeal because I thought it would be too heavy and would bother my stomach more than a simple green smoothie for breakfast, but through listening to my body, being kind and patient with it, and trying out new recipes I have learned that gluten-free oats are a great meal option for me, as long as I stick to about 1 cup oats once fully cooked.

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Gooey Flax Seed Oatmeal

Ingredients:

½ cup gluten-free steel cut oats

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or flaxseeds

½ cup blueberries

¼ cup mulberries (I use the brand Navitas naturals)

½ sliced banana

1 tablespoon raw local honey (or agave, maple or liquid stevia)

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Directions:

1. Boil the oats in water until the water is fully soaked through. While you wait, slice your bananas and get everything else ready.

2. Once the oats are boiled, stir in flaxseed and raw honey.

3. Top with toppings, and enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:

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