Bein' Green (Story + Tools + Tips)

"It's not easy bein' green." - Kermit the Frog

Well, no offense to Kermit and all, but it's really not that bad bein' green!   My biggest struggle has been with my friends, family and coworkers misunderstanding what I'm eating and how I'm choosing to live.  Sometimes they'll joke about what scary fake-food creatures will emerge from my lunch box, not understanding that my homemade veggie burger is much less terrifying tha the frozen chemical ladden "meal" they're throwing in the microwave.

In their defense, before I decided to live and eat vegan, I commonly imagined vegans to be much like hippies, noodle-dancing through life on this epic ethical struggle with their dinner plates and the "man".  I envisioned them in Birkenstocks, with long frizzy hair, no deodorant, and a faint scent of patchouli on the breeze around them...while they ate salads and threw red paint on people wearing fur coats.  While I do enjoy a little patchouli from time to time, I wholeheartedly embrace deodorant!

Once I started learning more about how my body worked, how food affected it, and how food is actually produced, I realized vegans are just normal people trying to make the best choices they can for themselves, their families and their planet!  Bein' green isn't that hard, but sometimes it can get frustrating when you feel everyone around you is judging you for a positive choice!  Just laugh it off and know that you'll be feeling great when they hit that 1:30pm crash!  Ok, ok, thats not the right attitude to have.   What I meant to say, was be humble.  Live by example and be confident in your health.  You never know who is watching, and who's life you could be changing with your positive actions!


When it comes to food, I've been through so many dietary "lifestyles" it's not even funny.  I went through no carbs, all carbs, no meat, all meat (aka bacon at every meal)...the list goes on and on.  The real trouble came along with the fact that I was never eating for health, I was eating for the scale and my skinny jeans.  I never truly understood the impact my dinner choices had on my life expectancy and daily comfort.

As I gradually gave up the last of the eggs, meat and dairy in my diet, I started to see amazing changes in myself.  I didn't feel the need to take a nap after every meal, I stopped having cramps and uncomfortable digestion, I lost a couple pounds and maintained my weight without even trying (yes, you read that correctly!), and my skin, eyes, hair and nails started looking healthy and bright!  I even noticed a change in my mood.  I mean really, what do you have to lose?!


Now, you should always consult a doctor before dramatically changing your diet however; a green juice or smoothie is always a good addition toy our daily nutrition routine!  If you make the leap to "be green", here are some tips and tools to help you veg-out more easily!  Note, that you can eat vegan without these tools, they just make life a little easier.



Tools
Blender - I've had the same $45 one since college.  It's the one kitchen staple I'll always have on hand.
Juicer (Not necessary, but so amazing. You can always blend your veggies, and strain them to make juice)
Food Processor - Really makes all the difference when making sauces and raw food.
A good set of knives - prepping veggies can be painstaking without them!
Peeler - many veggies and fruits come coated in pesticides and food-grade waxes.  Peeling that gunk off it important!
Spiralizer or Julienne Peeler/Mandolin Peeler - makes veggies into pastas with ease

Tips:
1. Buy in bulk when you can.  Whole grains, legumes, and vegan staples are all more affordable when bought in large quantities and stored ahead of time.  Also, your weekly grocery bill won't be so high!
2. Prep in advance.  Having fresh veggies on hand is no good if you won't use them because they aren't cut and washed.  Do your prep on Sunday night, before the busy week starts, so you can enjoy salads and fresh food with whatever time you have to your use.
3. Live a little!  And be gentle with yourself.  This isn't a race or a contest of perfection.  Do the best you can and learn to love your body....and take care of it! =)


Be green kids, and proud of it! =)  Do you have a story of livin' green?  I'd love to hear it!




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