My Plant Based (Vegan) Story

A Brief History
I was never the person who I thought would ever go vegetarian or vegan. Ever. I distinctly recall myself saying in the past several times the infamous, “I could NEVER do that.” It’s funny that we are so quick to respond like that when someone mentions that are “meatless”.

Before I transitioned to this lifestyle (I say “lifestyle” and not just “diet” for a reason which I will explain later), I always thought as vegan or vegetarian as just a personal choice with no real health implications. This sort of naïve attitude continued until I actually learned more about the science and spectacular results behind this way of eating. But first let’s back up.

Where It Started
I have always thought of myself as a healthy eater, hence the primary reason why I decided to become a Registered Dietitian. I wanted to educate people on the power of food, and show them that a healthy lifestyle was worth living.

I started my career in a hospital. It had its rewards, but over time I felt as if I was banging my head against a brick wall with about 75% of my patients. How could they not care that just by eating differently that could save their life? Save their life!!!! I never understood that, and still to this day don’t.

A New Path
I decided to start my own business to try to help more people that really wanted to be helped. My practice grew quickly, but I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled. On the other side of that, with 2 young kids at home, I was often feeling tired and run down. I noticed I wasn’t enjoying the company of my kids like I used to, and it felt awful.

I decided to start searching for that “special” thing that would boost my energy, fill the void, and most importantly, make me happy. By chance I came across a presentation by a very well know Dietitian, Brenda Davis. She spoke about all the wonderful health benefits of vegan eating, while also protecting our earth and fellow living creatures. It intrigued me like nothing else before. I decided to do more research.

The Right Path and Finding Myself
The more I found out about vegan eating, the more excited I became, so I decided to make the transition myself. After about 2 weeks I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. My energy spiked, my endurance during my runs increased exponentially, my recovery after exercise was off the charts, I lost weight without trying, and I was actually excited about cooking again!

The best part is that the longer I ate this way, the more enhanced the results were. And after about 3 months, my skin troubles virtually disappeared! THANK GOODNESS!!! I had struggled with adult acne since college, and have tried virtually every product out there. Some things worked ok, but only temporarily. I never thought that dropping animal products would be the answer to my embarrassing skin problems. Now my skin literally glows. No lie. Glows. It’s glorious not having to worry about how many zits I’m going to wake up with.

Taking It to the Next Level
Naturally I wanted to help others achieve the same tremendous results that I did. I rebuilt my business to focus on plant based eating, and have met some absolutely amazingly wonderful people in the process.  I will forever be grateful to everyone who has been apart of this journey so far-friends, clients, colleagues, professional acquaintances, and of course my husband for being so supportive.

As I mentioned in the beginning this is more than just a diet, it’s a complete lifestyle change that will optimize your health and energy, increase your compassion, strengthen your relationships, and lead you to love your body and most importantly, yourself.

I invite you to find out more about how this journey will look like for you by scheduling a complimentary discovery call. Just click HERE to get started.

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Is the Plant Based Lifestyle the Right Move for You?

I’m back!!!! Its been like 10 years since I last wrote a blog (ok so maybe only a couple months), but I’m excited to be blogging again! My team and I have been busy building the ultimate community for those of you looking for ongoing support, tools, and resources for making the transition to more plant based eating.

I wanted to get back in the blogging game with why I decided to make this transition to plant based eating and some things I have experienced since making this change about 1 year ago. I feel like when I say that that is sounds so miniscule compared to other people I know, but I am proud to announce that I will officially be 1 year plant based next month! 1 year protecting our earth and our fellow animals will be in the books! Yay! And I must admit this has been such an incredible and life-changing experience. Reason being, plant based eating goes so far beyond what you put in your mouth. It’s a total lifestyle change that encompasses how you think, act, feel not only about what you eat, but about yourself and others around you. You are optimizing your health, while sustaining the environment (I don’t know about you, but I like trees), and protecting ALL living creatures on this earth.

When first making the switch, I was confident in my decision, but at the same time felt a little weird telling my friends and family. I got a lot questions, mostly being “where do you get your protein from?”, but the further I got in my journey the more I noticed how many people were supportive of this lifestyle, or looking to make the transition just like me! I sought out Facebook groups and other ways to connect with people living this lifestyle, and ended up being introduced to some of the most passionate and driven people I ever met.

The physical part was incredible too. Being a working mom of two young boys, I was frequently feeling tired and burnt out. But that’s totally normal for a mom of young kids right? To an extent I guess. But I can’t even describe the incredible surge in my energy level I almost immediately noticed. And I want to point out I don’t drink a drop of caffeine either. Never have, never will. Favorable changes in my body were more noticeable as well. I started to slim down around my waist without even trying, and I visually have more muscle tone than I’ve had since high school (that was 15 years ago now!). And the best part….my skin cleared up and literally glows now! I have always struggled with my skin, and who knew all I had to do was to stop eating animal products! My family has been on board as well, which is really great. I will admit my husband still will eat meat from time to time, as well as my children, but this is still fairly new to them, and we are all making strides towards healthier living every day.

So why did I decide to make this transition? As I mentioned above, I was tired ALL the time, and starting feeling unmotivated about work, cooking, and playing with my children. I was also seeking out a specialty area in my health coaching business. What was it that I could provide to clients that would give them the long term, desirable, sustainable, results they were looking for? Well the answer to all the above was plant based eating.

This switch has been a great one for me, and I thank everyone who has helped me grow and change within the plant based community. But you have to decide what’s right for you. If you are looking for some guidance to determine if this is the right path for you, then we would love to chat! Hey, what have you got to lose?

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What Motivates You?

Hello Everyone! Doesn't it feel like when things can't get any worse, they do? Or when you finally get ahead, you have to take 2 steps backwards? Yah, story of my life. I actually read a quote the other day on Facebook, and it said:

"When things feel like they are falling apart, they are actually falling into place"

Wow. Never thought of it like that.

I think this goes along nicely with what I wanted to touch on in this blog post. When I was first starting my business, I was ALWAYS working, mostly just because I was trying to figure everything out. I was spending less time with my family, or even just less time paying attention to my family! I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and felt like I was "falling apart". But what I didn't realize, was that everything I was doing was actually leading me to place where I could spend more time with family, and doing the things I love. 

I took a step back and reflected on what was really important in my life, and why it is I do what do. I bought a couple books on Mindfulness, started to meditate here and there, and really starting be more present in the moment. What I realized was that my 2 boys are what I truly live for in this world. They are what motivates me everyday, and the reason I continue to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to be around for my children as long as I can be, and show them that living a healthy lifestyle is well worth it. So when I felt like I was falling apart, second guessing if starting my own business was right for me, I was actually creating a more "in the moment" mindset that I have never had before, which has led me to much greater happiness.

The reason for me saying this isn't so that you go out and start your own business, but for you to realize that when you start to struggle with barriers on a new life journey, such as creating a healthier lifestyle, that it's natural to take the easy way out and fall back into old habits. When you come to a road block on your journey to better health, just bring to mind what motivates you, what is your "why" for doing what you are doing. That you are not "falling apart" or failing, but yet realizing that this is only helping you learn how to over come obstacles to achieving and maintaining a long term healthy lifestyle. You will find greater happiness in the end : )

Have a wonderful day!

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Photo credit: Portraits by Jenna

5 Need-to-Know Tips for Keeping You Sensible on Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving already? What!? My how time sure flies! This will be my first Thanksgiving as a "non-meat eater", and the thought of not eating turkey on Thanksgiving is still so foreign to me. Growing up, we are subconsciously taught that turkey is the center of this holiday feast, so it will be interesting to see how I handle myself when I'm in the moment tomorrow sitting around the table with all my meat-eating relatives. I will admit though, that I don't really miss eating meat at all, so I'm pretty certain I will be able to stick with my usual plant based eating pattern.

This week's blog post is written by my dietetic intern, Rachael, who just happens to be vegetarian! What are the chances! She has put together some great tips that I know you guys will love, for helping you stay sensible during the big feast. Check out her post below!

 

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it marks the beginning of yet another fun and food filled holiday season! The weather just keeps getting colder up here in the northeast and the days are growing shorter and shorter. For me, this season screams warm mugs of tea, big batches of homemade bean and lentil soups, and of course, many nourishing holiday meals. Since becoming a vegetarian about six years ago, I have lots of experience finding those vegetables at every holiday meal, no matter where I end up! My Thanksgiving favorites are things like roasted squash and sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil and tons of spices, roasted root vegetables like carrots, beets, and parsnips, and a new favorite this season is a plant based shepherd’s pie with a creamy and dreamy sweet potato topping. If you ask me, Thanksgiving does not have to be centered on turkey, you can always find tons of colorful veggies to fill up your plate.

This year is going to be my first year not spending the holidays with my family, instead I’ll be spending it with my boyfriend’s family. A little tip I always use when I’m unsure about the amount of plant based options available at the meal is to offer to bring a side dish or an appetizer. You can always count on the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course, dessert, but there is always room for more veggies! This year I am bringing a veggie tray of my choice with a little hummus for dipping. That being said, even if you are not bringing a dish to the meal, there is always the option to choose a vegetable (or maybe even twoJ) at your Thanksgiving meal. Of course, there is always going to be room for a piece of your favorite pie and a scoop of those mashed potatoes, but staying focused on the veggies always helps me fill up on mostly good stuff!

Here are my 5 tips for staying healthy on Thanksgiving while still enjoying the special time with family and friends!

1.       Don’t skip breakfast or lunch before your Thanksgiving meal! Treat the day as a normal day and don’t show up to the big meal totally famished. If you keep your eating mostly normal throughout the day, you will be less likely to eat way too much at Thanksgiving dinner.

2.       Fill your plate up with vegetables! Make at least half of your plate vegetables and leave the other half for a small portion of all the other goodies you want to try. Try to keep one quarter of the plate for turkey and one quarter for your choice of starches.

3.       Eat slowly! Try to focus on really chewing your food and engaging in conversation with others. The slower you eat your food, the slower you will finish your plate. This is a great way to both eat less and really focus on enjoying the deliciousness of the meal.

4.       Drink water! Instead of going for that soda, or apple cider, or juice, or alcoholic beverage, stick to a glass of water. Water is a zero-calorie drink and it is way better to save those calories for the food.

5.       Keep dessert in its place! Fill up on your meal first and choose your dessert mindfully. Even if there are what seems like 1 million desserts to choose from, try to stick to that one (or two) choices that excite you and that you don’t get to have very often. If you cut the piece of pie in half and take the time to enjoy each bite you will feel satisfied with way less dessert.

I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving and hope these tips motivate you to stay in control of your plate!

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About Rachael

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Rachael is a graduate dietetics student with only a couple months left until graduation. She has an undergraduate degree in human development and education and is excited to see where she ends up as a future dietitian. Rachael has learned a lot working with Emily for the past month and is hoping to have her own food and nutrition blog in the near future! In between clinical rotations and thesis work, Rachael loves cooking new recipes and being outside.

 

 

Check out the VRG!

Over the summer, I attended an event in Buffalo called VegFest. The timing could not be more perfect as this was the time when I was starting my transition to an all plant based diet. The purpose of the event is to provide people (vegan or not) with information on vegan products, food, and plant based resources. As I was wondering around (it was so nice not to have to worry about chasing 2 screaming kids around), I came across a table for the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG).

The VRG is is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on vegetarianism and veganism and the interrelated issues of health, nutrition, ecology, ethics, and world hunger (definition adapted from VRG.org). This was my first time hearing about this organization, and now I can't imagine not being without this valuable resource!

I have now volunteered for them a few times, by writing blog posts and reviewing restaurants that carry plant based food items, so I wanted to share my latest guest blog post-Staying Vegan During Your Hospital Stay! It gives a great overview of how to stick to your vegan foods should you have to be admitted to a hospital. And while you're on the site, check out the abundance of info they have to offer! And when you decide to transition to a plant based diet, I'll be waiting to work with you ; ) Short blog post I know, but don't worry, more good stuff to come next week!

 

Are You Eating These Superfoods?

SUPERFOODS!! I'd be shocked if you've never heard this term before. But if you haven't no need to fret, as superfoods aren't any bizarre or abnormal foods that you have never seen before (well maybe some them lol). Super foods are simply foods that are packed to the rafters with nutrition, and may give us an additional health benefit above other foods. So well we are on this topic, I'm just going to come right out and say it, that I've become obsessed with kale. And surprise! Its a superfood! I try to sneak it in wherever I can. Which is odd because I must admit, that before transitioning to whole foods plant based eating I never touched the stuff. I have always adored spinach though, which is also in the power packed green leafy family. Anyways, getting back to superfoods, I have listed 5 below that I am going to start incorporating more of in my diet, and I hope you do too!

1. Kale: This is a green leafy that provides loads of antioxidants and calcium. Prior to eating kale remember to remove the stem to avoid a yucky bitter taste. Kale goes great in smoothies, mixed in salads, or wilted on top of a sweet potato. If you are not a huge fan of Kale, try another leafy green such as spinach, broccoli, or collards, as all leafy greens have tremendous health benefits.

2. Blueberries: No description needed for this fruit I'm sure. I always hated blueberries when I was growing up. Plus I swore they gave me diarrhea. It's funny how as we get older our taste changes, and I'm so glad mine did, because I'd be missing out on all the wonderful things blueberries have to offer! Another food packed with antioxidants to help protect us against inflammation and chronic diseases, this fruit goes great on oatmeal, in yogurt, or throw in a container for a take-a-long quick healthy snack.

3. Tomatoes: If you don't like tomatoes, then start! Just kidding. I think the gooey center may be what gets some people. If that's the case for you, maybe try scooping out the center, and just eating the outer parts on a sandwich or in a salad. For me, the firmer the better when it comes to tomatoes; it' such a turn off when they get all mushy! Tomatoes are packed with a phytochemical called lycopene, which has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, especially prostate cancer.

4. Avocados: I recently made a promise to myself to eat more avocados. I love them, but just never think to eat them as silly as that sounds. Avocados are amazing source of healthy fat and fiber, while giving you zero saturated fat or cholesterol. Avocados are especially protective against heart disease, and go great with just about anything!

5. Flaxseed: These little slippery seeds are so great because you can sneak them into so much. I love to add them to my smoothies or protein shake, or over top of my oatmeal (with my blueberries of course). Flaxseed also can be used as an egg replacer when baking for an animal product free option. These little seeds are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids that protect against inflammation and heart disease. Choose ground flax or flax meal because we are unable to digest the whole seed.

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