Nobody cares if you are Vegan, Paleo, or Gluten-Free. Here’s What Actually Matters.

 

Last year I interviewed Leila Burrows from the Pad Studios and she said something around dieting that really stuck with me:

“People spend so much time talking about what they are eating and they are not really paying attention to how they are acting in the world. It’s really not that interesting if you are gluten-free, or dairy-free, or alcohol-free…etc. It matters what you are saying what you are speaking, starting with the message that you say to yourself.”

I nodded fervently as she said this but also wondered why I hadn’t heard much of this before? It makes so much sense, but why don’t we acknowledge this more? We care so much about what we put IN our mouths but not so much on what comes OUT.

A vegan animal lover isn’t necessarily better than a person who loves chicken & waffles. And people who drink green juice over soda aren’t automatically good people. Gwyneth Paltrow once said that she’d rather “smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.” A statement like that helps no one. In fact, I think a judgmental statement like hers adds more harm than good. As much as I promote a healthy diet, I am not going to judge people’s character based on what they eat. It just doesn’t work that way.

First off, why are we so fixated on the way we eat? I think this phenomenon can be best explained with a story: Let’s say there is a woman named Anna; Anna has been dealing with major bloating, weight gain, and inflammation.  She’s consulted a few diet books and a nutritionist and decided she needs to go gluten-free in order to look and feel her best. She starts to surround herself with influencers who promote this diet, she begins to skip dinners with friends because the spots they choose aren’t healthy, and she finds herself making curt comments on her family’s food choices.  She silently distances herself from family & friends because they don’t follow her so-called healthy lifestyle. Why does she do this?

Well here’s the thing: change is hard, especially a lifestyle change. It can become all-consuming because it shapes most of your daily decisions – what can I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner? How do I adjust my weekly grocery list change? Can my husband and I still go to our favorite places to eat? It’s really easy to get caught up in the “me me me” mindset when going through a major lifestyle change. In the end it’s uncomfortable, it leaves you vulnerable and possibly a little insecure. And those feelings are channeled in ways that may end up hurting others.

Your loved ones always want what is best for you but in reality, they don’t care if you are 10 pounds heavier or lighter, if you are vegan or paleo, or if you lift weights or run marathons. Those around you care about how kind you are, how much time you make for them, and how much respect you show.

We’ve all made mistakes before when we are trying to find the best versions of ourselves but it’s helpful to remember that there is no perfect diet or no perfect human being so it’s pointless trying to achieve that. My piece of advice: think more about what you do to positively contribute to society and less about how you eat. It’s very likely the two may go hand-in-hand but I think the first step towards positivity is much simpler.

A Healthy Guide to New York City

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healthy-food-guide-new-york

I wish I could live in New York for the summer; the city is perfect for a couple of months: there’s so much to do and most importantly, so much to eat!

Instead of searching for the best bagels, pizza, and street-food in New York City, I’m usually on the hunt for trendy healthy spots. It’s so satisfying finding food that is yummy AND good for you.

I barely scratch the surface with this list but hopefully it gives you an idea of a few places to check out next time you’re in the city. If you live there, I would love suggestions for future visits!

Where to eat in New York City:

Two Hands Cafe: I was walking to work one day and stumbled upon Two Hands cafe. Their bowls and breakfast items are made for Instagram and their waiters are pretty cute :).

The Butcher’s Daughter: A open and airy juice shop and cafe. I’ve only tried their juices but they were delicious.

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Van Leeuwen Ice Cream: All right ice cream may not be the healthiest option out there but I was so excited to find a place with good vegan ice cream. I tried their vegan dark chocolate ice cream with vegan chocolate syrup and it tasted heavenly!

van-leeuwen-vegan

By CHLOE: I was blown away by how busy this restaurant gets. No matter at what time you go, there is a line out the door. The avocado pesto pasta & mac and cheese were good but what really hit the spot were the vegan desserts. I’ll definitely come back when I’m craving cupcakes!

By-Chloe-Quinoa-Taco-Salad_Pesto-Meatball_Air-Baked-French-Fries

Hu Kitchen: Paleo-friendly casual dining spot with snacks, meals, and juices. I’ve tried the almond crusted chicken and chia seed pudding and enjoyed them both.

Can someone send me back to New York please? I would really love some vegan ice cream right about now!

Coconut Cream Chia Seed Pudding (Dairy-Free)

Coconut Cream Chia Seed Pudding_FINAL

The chia seed pudding trend has been going strong for the past couple of years, but have you guys tried it with dairy-free coconut cream?

GAME CHANGER.

I’ve recently became obsessed with coconut cream – I want to put it on everything and eat it by the spoon. It’s so rich but still nutritious – I love it.

This chia seed pudding makes a great healthy dessert option. The recipe requires just a little bit of prep, but it’s super simple to follow. Trust me, I’m not one to create complicated recipes.

Serving Size: 4
Prep Time: 10 mins to prepare, 8 hours to chill 

Ingredients

Chia seed pudding:
1 cup almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tsp of raw honey or maple syrup

Coconut cream:
1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp of honey or maple syrup – optional
Sprinkles & mint to garnish -optional

ChiaSeed_Pudding

Directions:

For the chia seed pudding:

In a medium bowl or glass container, stir together almond milk, coconut milk and chia seeds. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. But since I’m making the coconut cream too, I let it chill overnight. Before serving, stir pudding again.

For the coconut cream:

Before we get into how to make coconut cream, make sure you get the right coconut milk. Don’t get the one in the refrigeration section with the almond milk, and other dairy products but rather, get a full fat coconut milk that you use to cook.

I’ve heard some brands of coconut milk whip better than others but i honestly I haven’t experimented much. I found this helpful guide on which coconut brands are the best for coconut cream.

Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight. In the morning, open the can and scoop out the solid part (the coconut cream) into a large bowl. Discard the remaining liquid portion.

Using an electric mixer, add the honey/maple syrup if you’d like and whip the coconut cream until the texture is smoothy and creamy. I tried using a hand beater and it worked, but an electric mixer would yield better results.

Top the chia seed pudding with the coconut cream! You can refrigerate and save for later but the coconut cream will no longer be a whipped texture. If you let it out in room temperature though for a few minutes, it softens up a bit.

Enjoy 🙂

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