How Running Saved My Life.

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At my very first remote understanding of what becoming “healthy” was, I was more than willing to jump on the bandwagon. I had explored diets religiously for years prior but what really kick-started the process was my decision to become Vegan. The way I felt on a daily basis changed for the better almost immediately. Although I still had many bad eating habits to overcome, this new way of eating and treating my body felt magnificent. I kid you not when I say that I even had people tell me I was glowing unlike ever before. Along the way I have tried many other adventures such as fasting, raw foods and even juicing. But overall I am just much more aware of what I eat and how it makes me feel. I’m not saying that I don’t eat crap sometimes because believe me I do. I have an undying love for sweets unfortunately. But when I choose to eat a lot of things that aren’t exactly healthy I do know that I don’t feel well and I don’t like feeling that way. I’ve learned that I would rather eat to feel energetic, nourished and happy. So I had already broken through the initial barrier between the very unhealthy way I used to live and this newly adopted, energized, smart and worthwhile lifestyle.

I never thought I could stand to run longer than maybe a minute at a time. I didn’t think my body could handle it. Thankfully, there were success stories of my friends everywhere I looked and I had heard of the Couch to 5k program. Slowly I built my pain tolerance because believe me, it was and still is at times, excruciating.

While I’m running, nothing else matters. The stretch marks, the little belly I’ll probably never fully get rid of, the patches of cellulite here and there, the countless times I was picked on and called “fat” as a child and beyond… It all disappears. I have nothing to prove to anyone surrounding me. I exist only inside my own mind. The thoughts I produce while running are nothing short of powerful. I feel undeniably amazing. I can conquer anything. It is a high matched by nothing else I have ever felt.

Most of my initial runs have been at the gym, confined to the treadmill, due to the fact that I am not yet inclined to do so outside in the cold. I made a discovery while having interactions with many of the same people on a daily basis at the gym. Sometimes when I’m running so hard and pushing myself further than I ever have, I glance to my right, then to my left. I imagine that we are all an army of soldiers running together, supporting each other. We are the walls that hold each other up. We are a team. I am inspired to be among others who are doing what they love. I feel this is extremely symbolic of our lives. Without our own personal armies of soldiers, we can feel so frail at times. It helps to have those people by your side. Friends, family and strangers alike.

Who knows how far this new hobby will lead but I sure am learning new things about myself along the way. It has already been the most rewarding process of my life. Much respect to all my fellow runners out there.

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The Kitchen Chronicles

I tend to feel very inspired on and around a full moon. I am almost always in a fantastic mood, feel very relaxed and have an overall radiance about me. This is the perfect time for a project of any kind.

I discovered my love of cooking and baking almost four years ago, shortly before I made the switch to a Vegan lifestyle. I come from a long line of amazing cooks in my family, on both sides. Growing up I liked the food my parents and relatives fed me but didn’t necessarily appreciate it or feel any pull to learn the tricks of the trade.

It was when I first lived on my own that I began dabbling in the art of cooking. I had done a few things here and there but besides special occasions and the basics of mac and cheese, sandwiches, oatmeal and cookies, it was all new to me. I fell in love with google searching recipes. At first I would follow recipes fully and completely. Then I started to combine and collaborate. It seemed more fun that way. Besides, I felt more original that way instead of just using someone else’s ideas.

When I became Vegan it opened a whole new world of possibilities as far as recipes and ingredients go. There were all these new rules I had to follow and food I began to discover. I spent several days a week baking some new delicious Vegan treat. Since I did live alone and didn’t really have anyone to share these things with, I would always bring them to work with me. That’s probably my favorite part of cooking; sharing with others.

These days I do have my specialties and specific items that I make for certain Holidays because my friends and family request them ūüôā But I am still constantly searching for a new challenge and I love to try new things. After going strong on almost four years of Veganism some people are still scared of what that means and very skeptical that anything with that word in it could actually taste good. I live to win over these very skeptics. It’s very possible. Believe me.

This leads me to tonight’s project. While residing in New York City I was employed by a Belgium bakery called Le Pain Quotidien. I was quite impressed when I learned about many of their Vegan menu items. Their bakery was quite astounding and I was the person who set up the display five days out of the week. Sometimes it was torture because hardly any of the sweets were Vegan but they would showcase some items here and there. There were these Chia seed muffins that looked so delicious but not Vegan. Chia seeds are quite beneficial to your health, as well as delicious and I always aspired to create my own version of that muffin. Tonight I did.

Vegan Chia Seed Muffins

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup wheat flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 very ripe bananas-smashed
1 cup of dates either finely chopped or processed in Food Processor
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup agave nectar or raw sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil or any other kind of neutral tasting oil
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375. Mix together dry ingredients and then add wet, stir until well combined. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin and sprinkle a handful of chia seeds on top of each muffin. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
ENJOY!!
Here was my finished product:

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Life Is Peachy

Lately, I’m really focused on the everyday things that make me happy. Simply put, taking pictures, exploring the city, laughing with friends, cooking, baking, reading and writing.
Today I purchased a significant amount of peaches. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a peach that was in season. So my initial thought was to make homemade frozen peach margaritas. But in the spirit of my new non-alcohol adventure, I decided on peach cobbler instead. It turned out great and my roommates loved me for it ūüôā

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After the cobbler, we ended up on the roof to admire the Macy’s firework show. We were pretty far away but still had a nice view. It was a good day.

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This Is Disgusting

When anyone asks me what I miss the most since my Vegan transition, I answer quickly and without hesitation. ¬†Seafood. ¬†More specifically sushi. ¬†I’ll never go back though. ¬†Especially after knowing what I know. ¬†Also, if you watch all the way to the end you’ll notice the male reporter say “Chicken for me.” ¬†Sorry buddy, there’s just as many horrible things in the chicken you eat, if not more. ¬†I’m not usually one for pushing my beliefs on anyone. ¬†Just here to share and educate. ¬†It will be two years next month since I’ve adopted my Vegan lifestyle. ¬†Despite the¬†ridicule, weird looks, constant jokes and occasional¬†inconvenience, I am so glad that I am no longer polluting my body with toxins, chemicals and all that other shit. ¬†I can’t wait to see how¬†Veganism/Vegetarianism¬†evolves in our future.