Tag Archives: vegetarian diet

My Evolution as a Meatless Eater + the Eat Drink Vegan Festival

When I first became a vegetarian, I was 10 years old. I was raised in a family of meat eaters (my sister has since become a vegetarian and my mom is mostly one), but I knew from early on that eating animals wasn’t for me. I can remember so clearly sitting at my parents’ kitchen table for dinner, poking at a pork chop looking at the veiny colors, picturing the pig running around at a farm, and not feeling right about eating him. I was probably 7 at the time.

Once I went meat-free, I never went back. But I do remember feeling almost embarrassed if I was at a friends’ house or a BBQ and had to tell people that I wouldn’t be eating a hamburger. I think I mostly didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that I was different, or be a pain in the ass to have over for dinner for that matter. My brothers relentlessly teased me about my diet, and my grandma asked me how I would ever cook for a boyfriend one day (In her defense, as an old Italian lady who cooked for people every chance she got, I think this may have been a real concern of hers!). It felt like everyone else thought it was normal to eat the hamburger, but I just never did.

As I got older and learned more and more about factory farming and the environmental and health implications associated with mass producing and consuming meat, my convictions strengthened. Learning about the Blue Zones – the areas of the world where the people are living the longest – and that one commonality was that the people in those communities ate little to no meat made a big impression on me. I saw family members like my grandpa get quadruple bypass heart surgery due to clogged arteries – which is largely caused by too much cholesterol in the diet building up and blocking your arteries – and realized more and more the role that diet can play in living a long, healthy life.

And so, I became confident in my vegetarianism. I also became more conscious of where my meals and ingredients were coming from, and in the last few years, I’ve reduced my dairy intake a lot and eat vegan most of the time. I realized that I didn’t have to justify my plant-based lifestyle to anyone, and if people want to be judgmental about it, that’s on them, not me.

I focused my energy into turning my love for meat-free food into a passion, and I began this food blog. I got to meet other vegetarian food bloggers, who I drew inspiration and learned a lot from (still do!). I went to nutrition school and became a certified health coach, where I get to share my healthy living tips and tricks with clients and support them in their health challenges. These days, I also get paid to be a food writer, and sharing recipes is something that lets me be creative and makes me happy. I know in my heart that I’m eating a diet and leading a lifestyle that adheres to my values, and I feel good about that.

So while my belief in a meatless diet has never wavered, I feel like I’ve come a long way.

What else has come a long way is the popularity of plant-based eating and the prevalence of veg-friendly eateries. Not only are there more options for vegans and vegetarians at grocery stores and restaurants, veg-friendly events have become more popular in recent years too. It’s pretty amazing!

Last weekend marked a first for me: my very first vegan food festival! The event was called Eat Drink Vegan, and it took place at Rose Bowl in Los Angeles.

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A Day in the Life: Workouts, Health Coaching, & Running Out of Groceries

Hey, hey!

I haven’t done a day in the life type of post in awhile, so today I’m sharing what one day last week looked like for me. I’m also joining in on Arman’s What I Ate Wednesday party!


The reality TV lover in me always finds this type of blog post interesting, but if it’s not your cup of tea, tune back in on Friday or check out my  pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe from earlier this week.

Since I work from home and do a few different things for a living, my schedule can vary a lot. The day before this, I worked for 9 hours straight, then took a class at a fitness studio in the evening. The day after this, I went grocery shopping in the middle of the day, then was working at 9 pm… so the point is, I like to change it up and my schedule all depends on what work I’m doing & what else is going on in my life!

7:30 – Wake up, get dressed & ready, feed my pup, and check my publicist work emails while drinking a glass of water. I always wake up thirsty!


8:15-9 – I do a morning workout of 20 minutes of yoga + 20 minutes of spinning on my bike trainer. I’ve been using that equipment a lot lately!


9-11:15 – I make a chocolate cherry protein smoothie for breakfast, and work on a couple of different work things.

My smoothie contains: 3/4 cup frozen cherries + 1/2 scoop chocolate plant-based protein powder + 2/3 cup chocolate almond milk + 2 TBSP chocolate powdered PB + 1 TBSP cocoa powder.

11:30-12:15 –  I have a conference call with a client of the public relations agency I work for.

12:15 – I get ready to leave for a health coaching session – well, it’s more accurate to say that I hurriedly rush around my house getting my stuff together (I anticipated that my call would be a bit shorter), getting changed into non-workout clothes.

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WIAW + Heading South of the Border!

Happy Hump Day!

We’ve made it through half of the work week, woohoo! I’m a bit antsy this week in anticipation of the holiday weekend. Why? Because I’m heading to Mexico for vacation!

Cabo San Lucas Arch


This summer my hubby is turning 30, so I planned a surprise trip to celebrate the occasion. I had to tell him about it a few weeks ago, since he had to take days off of work. I decided to make a Mexican themed dinner – black bean enchiladas – and put some cute clues around hinting that we’re taking a trip south of the border. It was fun and I enjoyed planning out a trip that A was clueless about. 🙂 Now I’m just excited and very much looking forward to lots of relaxation + fun in the sun with A in Cabo San Lucas! Stay tuned for blog trip recaps, and follow me on Instagram to check out some travel posts.


Any who, today I’m joining the What I Ate Wednesday party! I’m sharing what a day of eats looked like for me last Saturday, so let’s get to it….

WIAW smoothie bowl

First thing in the morning I practiced some yoga. For breakfast post-workout, I made a strawberry banana protein smoothie bowl topped with blueberries, shredded coconut and a TBSP of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter.

WIAW zoodle bowl

After taking Harley for a long walk at the park and doing some work around the house, I worked up an appetite so it was zoodle time! Lunch was spiralized zucchini with marinara sauce, chickpeas, artichoke hearts and a dollop of ricotta. I’ve made this dish a few times lately, and it’s so easy to throw together and a great way to get some veggies in!

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The Best 20 Minutes Ever

This afternoon when I took Harley to a nearby park to get some of her energy out, a photo shoot ensued:

She played fetch…

Made a new friend…

Rolled around like a maniac..

Quenched her thirst…


And in typical Harley fashion, put on a sad face when she realized it was time to go…

I’m fairly confident I’m not the only person who does this (and if I am… guess I’m just a nutty dog owner), but every time I take Harley for a walk or on an outing, I picture the things she’d be saying if she could talk: “This is AWESOME!” and “Best day EVER!” frequently pop into my head, because my dog gets crazy excited every. damn. time. Her enthusiasm really makes me laugh. Today was no different, and after her 20 minutes of afternoon playtime, as she kept looking at me like the happiest puppy on the planet on the way home, I was imagining her saying, “THAT WAS THE BEST 20 MINUTES EVER MOM!”

What I Ate Today

This week’s “what this vegetarian ate today” recap follows. It was a busy day and I didn’t make anything fancy, but it was healthy nonetheless:

Breakfast: a light english muffin with cinnamon peanut butter, banana, & sprinkled cinnamon

Lunch: a chocolate yogurt, almonds, and a chopped apple

Pre-Workout Snack:  a chocolate mint Balance bar

Dinner: Post-workout, I came home feeling famished and wound up inhaling a granola bar and a few dried peaches right before dinner.

By the way, Cascadian Farms granola bars = deliciousness!

Dinner tonight was a mini “pizza” – spinach, tomato, zucchini, and Italian shredded cheese on a whole wheat pocket bread, with edamame on the side:

Snack: some cut up cantaloupe, which I’m munching on now

That’s all I got for ya friends, good night!