What I Ate - Vegan

It's been a few weeks since my last What I Ate post so I figured that I should make it happen! Summer is almost over meaning that my beloved summer fruits, smoothies, and all things cold are about to decrease a bit. I just get so cold after chilly foods in the cold weather and it leads to a very unproductive situation! 

So since that's all happening, I figured we'd do one more What I Ate to end the summer. This is just a typical work day. Nothing fancy here! But that's nice because these are all simple, delicious meals that we can all whip up in our kitchen in no time. 

BREAKFAST

For breakfast I had banana ice cream, of course. I added molasses, bananas, and chocolate almond milk as a base. Then I topped that with cherries, peaches, and coconut. LOVE.

SNACK

The easiest work snack; Clif Bar. I buy boxes of Clif Bars on sale and always keep them with me just in case!

LUNCH

I made a cheesy rice bowl for lunch with broccoli, cauliflower, and beans hiding in there. Honestly, I didn't care for this too much but I made it work for today!

SNACK

Usually I'm home for my after work snack but today I had to go dress shopping for a wedding I'm going to on Saturday. Ahhh, weddings are not my favorite. But that's a whole other story! So, I picked up this juice at the store in between trying on tons of dresses.

DINNER

A fun, easy buddha bowl for dinner! Cheesy rice, roasted spiced chickpeas, steamed carrots, zucchini, and black beans topped with sriracha for a little kick. 

SNACK

For snack I had some homemade Italian ice. Strawberry banana, pink lemonade, and white peach all mixed together. Perfect bliss!


That's it for today! What foods are you loving lately? Let me know!

Meal Prep is a Lifesaver

Let's talk meal prep. I started making all of my meals for work on Sunday's about 2 months ago. Before that I would make things randomly and if I didn't have anything made either the night before or the morning of my work shift then I was scrambling to find things to throw together. I'd end up with weird things like 2 mangoes and some cereal, rice and beans with bbq sauce, or some other crazy combo that wasn't appetizing and didn't leave me feeling too great.

Something needed to change. I knew it.

So, I made the changes that I needed to make my life easier.

I started meal prepping on Sunday's. I'd make enough food for my four work days. Usually I find a recipe online. It gives me an opportunity to make something from one of my favorite bloggers that I've always wanted to make. Plus, it keeps me inspired to try new things in the kitchen. I can very easily fall into habits with foods. I'll eat the same things every single day for 3 months if you'd let me. No good, variety is the spice of life!

On Friday's I usually pick out a recipe and plan it out. Once I have that done then I make sure I have all of the ingredients. If I don't then I pick them up on my Saturday trip to the grocery store.

All set, totally prepared.

Sunday's around dinner time I never have anything going on and on the rare occasion that I do then I just meal prep in the morning or afternoon. But Sunday's overall are pretty chill days for me so that's why they work best. I make a big thing of whatever recipe I picked for the week and portion it out into four or five bowls. Usually I try to make it five just because I'm able to have it for dinner that night too.

The whole thing takes me anywhere between 1.5-2 hours. It seems like a bit of a commitment but waking up each day that week and not having to worry about food makes it totally worth it.

I think that I'm going to love doing this in the winter. Chilly Sunday evenings I'll be able to warm the house up with comforting aromas of chili and soups. Mmmm. 

Anyways, sometimes I make something for snacks too. Bliss balls, energy bars, etc. But other times I just use Clif bars or Larabars if that's all I have time for. It makes it so much nicer to have snacks stocked in my bag as well because my hunger varies from day to day and I never know if I'll want that snack at work or not. It's always best to be prepared though! 

That's about it. So simple. Absolutely worth it. You could apply this method to going to school or just having a busy week, too. I think that preparation is key. It provides you with filling and nutritious options as well as a stress free week in regards to food. Once I got into the habit of meal prepping I actually started to get excited about picking a new recipe each week to try. If you start to look at the small things that make the work fun then the experience as a whole becomes a lot more enjoyable. It's all about perspective. Try it out! And let me know if you find any good recipes along your journey!

A Friday Well Spent - Spontaneity Is Good

Friday's are usually spent working on this little bloggy blog. Since I don't have to work at my "real job" I am able to dedicate Friday's to my passions and loves, aka Create N Plate and creative ventures.

So, I'm just getting home from teaching yoga this past Friday and my mom asks if I want to go canoeing. Heck yeah I want to go canoeing. But I know that I have work to do. Commitments to fulfill. All of the posts to write. Yet, I say yes to canoeing.

I knew that I'd have enough time to get done the bare minimum of what absolutely needed to be done. So I did that and went on my way off onto the river in my little blue kayak.

I seriously had SO. MUCH. FUN. It was just a peaceful and satisfying experience overall. The water was 80 degrees, so I basically should have took my soap and got a bath, you know; multitasking at it's finest. 

Kidding, kidding.

The water though. So warm! Living in Pennsylvania you don't really get to experience much warm water, even in the summer. That's just not a common thing in this neck of the woods. But I was soaking it up. Lovin' every second. 

We pulled off for a bit and hung out along the side of the river. We skipped rocks, watched the little fish, and soaked up the sun. Bliss.

tumblr_oc9nwvU49V1qzvdwdo4_1280.jpg

I thankfully took a Clif Bar with me. Kayaking makes you hungry! And the bar was warm and gooey from laying in the sun for a bit. Mmmm. 

PRO TIP: Always take a snack with you. Seriously, everywhere you go! 

When we got out at the end of our trip I lost my shoe in the river and some little girl went to get it for me. So nice, humans are nice! Always remember that, and if no one is doing nice things for you; be that nice person. 

We got back on land and everyone else was hungry. They all got ice cream and I got cherry ice. A dairy free option in the middle of nowhere just for me to get to join in on the fun. Yay!

P.S. I got one scoop of the cherry ice but I totally should have got more. That's my only regret of the day.

Always say yes to adventure and an opportunity to make memories with the ones who matter most. The work will always be there but the chances to take a trip down the river with your family on an absolutely perfect summer day might not always be there. So do the things that matter while you can, live in the moment, and enjoy every second.

What's Up With Caffeine?

So, what's the deal with caffeine?

Well, let's start with a little backstory.

I was never a coffee drinker. I don't see myself ever becoming one either. It never tasted good to me and I've never felt the need to use it for energy purposes. I do get an occasional latte from Starbucks these days. But that's just for something different every once in a while.
I'm a tea fan though. Green tea is basically my boyfriend. Although, over the past year or so we've tuned our relationship down a bit. I crave water more than anything so now I drink tea once or twice a week. I guess I get an occasional caffeine hit from that even though I drink it solely for taste purposes.

And now that we have that out of that way, what are my thoughts on caffeine?

I don't think that caffeine is good for you. In fact, I know it's not good for you. Google it and see for yourself that it has some pretty risky affects on the body.

I just find it so bizarre that people rely on it for energy. You see some people who have some serious struggles if they don't get their morning coffee. Then you see other people that end up with racing heartbeats from the jolt. I don't know. Call me crazy but I don't find those things appealing.

I am not trying to bring down anyone who drinks coffee, relies on it, or anything of the sort. I'm just sharing my perspective on it because I think it's cool to get inside other people heads on random topics like this.

I think that it makes more sense to get your energy from real foods that don't come with added health risks. Fresh fruits and veggies. Things that provide you with real, long lasting energy and not just short bursts of it. Those things taste better and sustain me for longer than a cup of coffee would. So that's how it goes for me.

With that being said though, I do believe in balance and if the occasional iced coffee craving hits then why not go get yourself an iced coffee? That is totally understandable and realistic. I'm actually drinking one right now as I type this. Life is not about perfection, it's about balance and being happy. 

Ultimately, you should do whatever you want to do. If you want to drink caffeine, do it! I think it's important to be educated on the affects that it has on the body and know why you're actually drinking it. If you have all of those things down, then awesome! Cheers to that! *raises iced coffee up for a toast*

What's your thoughts on caffeine? Is it a yes or a no? I'd love to hear your perspective!

Meditating Consistently

If you would have talked to me 4 years ago about meditating I probably would have rolled my eyes and laughed it off. Growing up I didn't know anyone who meditated. Well, maybe I did and they never talked about it. So we'll just say that I didn't know anyone. 

I saw it as weird. I don't know why. It wasn't talked about hardly ever. But, I think it's because no one in my life did it and had a biased view on the practice since it was a foreign concept. I've learned that people get super uncomfortable and judgmental about things that they don't know and are afraid to try. That's a topic for a whole other post though!

Anyways, years passed and I remained out of touch with my mind, body, and the present moment. I didn't know any better at the time so that's just how things were. 

Something happened though to make it all drastically change.

Yoga.

The answer to almost all of my struggles in life is yoga, meditation, or veganism at this point. I know it all sounds too good to be true. Seriously though! Trust me.

I started practicing yoga. I did it for the physical benefits, pretty much. Slowly over time I started to get more into the spiritual side of things too.

I had an on and off relationship with meditation for the longest time. Really, a very long time.

I'd download various apps and do the 30 day challenges without an issue. But once those challenges were over I would miss a day and that would be the end of it for a few weeks. This was my life and I didn't understand why I couldn't take 15 minutes out of my day to just do the meditation.

A few months ago I figured something out. I wasn't doing anything wrong, I just needed to mold the meditation to fit my lifestyle.

That's what I did.

First, you need to decide what type of meditation you want to do. There are tons of different methods out there to experiment with. Personally, I just set my phone timer, close my eyes, and observe my thoughts/state of mind for a period of time. That works for me, but something completely different might work for you. Try things!

I learned that I like to do my meditations first thing in the morning. I'm the same way with my yoga, workouts, etc. Get up, do it, and get on with my day. I understand that's not how it is for everyone so I suggest finding the time of day that works best for you. That's always a good place to start.

Once you have that figured out then you get to determine the rest. I realized that the reason I was failing at consistency was because I didn't have 15 minutes every single morning to dedicate to meditating and if I had to carve out those 15 minutes then I would most likely skip days here and there. So I started meditating for timeframes that fit my days. Five minutes, eight minutes, ten minutes. I just do whatever I can do and I know that is good enough.

I truly think that consistency is key. If you're sitting down and checking in for two minutes every single day I think that's a lot better than sitting down once a week for 15 minutes. Building that consistent daily practice will give you daily benefits. 

Most importantly, have fun! Make your meditation a fun thing that you look forward to. Try a 30 day challenge or complete a journaling exercise each day after your meditation. Do something that keeps you interested in the beginning so that you keep coming back to it.

Wake up each day and do the best you can with it. If you miss a day or two, no big deal. Be kind and gentle towards yourself and realize that you can pick up where you left off and take away a learning experience from the time spent away from meditating. 

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.
— Amit Ray