Why I Decided To Adopt A Vegan Diet + Lifestyle

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


It's about time I finally went vegan, right? 😉


Image via Mercy For Animals

Since I am being completely transparent here, I have to admit that I struggled with writing this post. That's because I don't want anyone to take offense or to think I am judging them. Veganism can be a tricky subject to navigate without making people uncomfortable/angry/full of eye rolls/think you're a "damn dirty hippy." And, as anyone with a Facebook account knows, the Internet loves to make fun of vegans; therefore, please let me preface this post with: this is not to call anyone out. I recognize everyone is on their own path in life, and whether they do or do not consume animal products is ultimately up to each individual. This just so happens to be my own path.

There.

It feels good to have the whole "Forgive me for stating my opinion on my own blog" jitters out. Now, let's commence, shall we?

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I became a vegetarian 14 years ago. From day one (I quit meat "cold turkey," which I always find a strange way to describe becoming a vegetarian) I have been very strict with my personal views on consuming meat. From day one I also knew that "one day" I would go vegan. (I just never knew how long it would take me in life to come to terms with the reality and the need.) Throughout the years I also tried to be aware of animal testing, wearing animals as fabrics, and consuming less animal by-products; however, I would still allow myself to gorge on cheese plates and eat ice cream at least once a week.

I have always been aware (and vocal) about my own hypocrisy when it came to knowing that although dairy may not be dead carcasses per se, farmed animals suffer deeply for the dairy and egg industry. I was always just able to set my knowledge about such industries aside when it came to eating certain foods. Then I began to call out my own hypocrisy that my love for animals was overshadowed by my admiration for cheese (oh, cheese... CHEEEEEESE!). Yes, I do love it. I love milk chocolate. I love all the "bad" vegetarian-friendly stuff. But I am done for good this time.

- - - - -

Do you want to know my breaking point breakthrough moment? My path to veganism (Yeah. As a vegan and someone who practices yoga twice a week, I can now say things like "path" and "journey" and "aura cleansing") officially kicked off on January 3rd, 2017 when Matt and I began a vegan version of Whole30. [You can read about our Whole30 journey and how it acted as the starter to my veganhood here.] Privately, I knew I wanted it serve as my personal catalyst into a plant-based lifestyle but, if I am being totally honest, I still had my reservations about my longterm willpower. (I mean it when I say that I freakin' love cheese.)

On the night of January 23rd, however, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. I had recently "liked" the Mercy for Animals Facebook page in hopes that I would stay inspired by the vegan recipes they post -- but also to consistently see the heartbreaking videos they publish about what farmed animals endure everyday for human greed. I knew these videos existed. I've seen plenty of them over the years. These types of videos are the original reason I became a vegetarian back during my freshman year of high school in Small Town, Ohio, USA.

But the video I saw on January 23rd just tore my soul to shreds. I knew I could never go back to contributing to any part of the dairy/egg/meat industries and the suffering and abuse they force on animals. (If you are interested in seeing said video, you can do so by clicking here. I warn you though that, as these videos usually are, it is extremely graphic. Yes, it is difficult to watch, but it is also what factory farmed animals go through every single day.) I couldn't even finish watching the whole thing before it made up my mind for me to commit to fully going vegan, once and for all. No more excuses.

Then and there, I started crying, as I've done countless times before from watching animal videos (both of fluffy, one-eyed, rescue kitties finding their forever homes and torturous pro-animal welfare campaign images). But this time it was different. This time I felt the same sorrow and rage that I felt back when I was 14 and decided to become a vegetarian. What I saw in that video awoke my compassion to a whole different level - and my need to help in any way I possibly could. But then, even after my moment of clarity, I began to sob uncontrollably. Because I felt (still sorta feel) hopeless. Hopeless because every year in the United States alone, BILLIONS of animals are tortured and slaughtered for unnecessary human consumption.

Our "meat and potatoes" culture in America is a serious issue. And it makes me feel hopeless that I can't do enough to help save these innocent animals. So I bawled. And I bawled. And I bawled. Matt heard, let me cry on his shoulder, and tried to give me hope (there are amazing people out there actively creating cruelty-free meat in labs that is supposed to be better for you AND the environment). But I just couldn't stop crying. That's when I knew for certain that no matter how much I ADORE FETA (which, by God, I DO DID), I love animals more and I will not allow myself to contribute to any animal's suffering ever again. I can't. I won't. There is no reason to do so.

Image via Mercy For Animals

I have actually semi-tried (and failed) to go vegan multiple times, but this time I am really going to make it stick. I have to. For the animals and our planet, I have to stop making excuses. Because I believe that when our society begins to love all animals (not just pets) and our environment more than we succumb to the desire to consume delicious burgers (Yes. Trust me. Despite not having eaten a real one in many years, I do still acknowledge they taste delicious. I am not taking that fact away - but that taste is not better than free animals), then we will have "made it" as a society.

- - - - -

It's now been 51 days since I went vegan. I can't fathom going back.
I mean, I'll just let the numbers below talk for themselves!


Image via The Vegan Calculator

 - - - - -

With all of this being said, and as I move forward with this blog, I'm going to try to only share cruelty-free products. I've been conscious of this issue for awhile, and I have done my best to keep them out of posts as much as I could, but now I want to make this a priority of LunaVida. That means I will now only be featuring vegan-friendly products as suggestions, such as faux leather. With this said, I do have articles of clothing from the past that I will still be featuring on the blog occasionally, due to the fact that A) I sadly can't afford to replace everything and B) that would be very un-environmentally friendly and wasteful. As they pieces wear over time though, I am committed to replacing my belongings with cruelty-free items from here on out.

Also, as this is an ongoing new adventure for me, I ask that you please reserve all judgment. I appreciate sincere, helpful, and constructive advice though. If you ever have any suggestions, recommendations, or questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. Which leads me to the inevitable blogger question: would anyone now be interested in seeing more about this side of my life, such as plant-based recipes? Let me know and thanks for the continued support of LunaVida!


Here's to a lifetime ahead of more compassionate eating and living!

PS: I apologize if this post seemed "rambly." I had a lot of emotions flowing through me. 😅


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Checked Out: Cardigan + Cropped Collared Shirt + Ripped Jeans + Heels

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Ayyooo! Who is ready for the freakin' weekend? (In my head that was said in the same way that Kristen Wiig does in the famous Bridesmaids scene on the plane. "I'm reeeady to paaaar-tyyyy.") I am, I am! (Ready for the weekend, that is. I don't party. Like, pretty much never.)

Ever since moving to San Diego almost five months ago, our weekends have consisted of quintessential Southern California outings. You know, like hours spent lounging on the beach, hikes with our dogs in the 65 degree "winter" weather, trying out new local restaurants... and of course lots of glamorous trips to Costco. Seriously though, is there anything better than a Costco grocery haul? (And also the space heater and sled that you are bound to purchase... I say this from personal experience, as Matt and I have legitimately bought those two items in one shopping trip before.) When I say "DO YOU LOVE COSTCO?!" you say "HELL YEAH!'






Navy open-front knit cardigan (also seen herehere): Gap
{Similar $, $$, $$$}
Use promo code "MORE" for 25% off your Gap.com purchase for a limited time!

Cropped navy blue and white plaid collared shirt (also seen here): Old Navy
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Distressed light wash skinny jeans (also seen here, herehere): Target
{Similar $$, $$$}

Sam & Libby burgundy pointed-toe high heels (also seen here, herehere): Target
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Cognac belt (also seen herehere): Gap


24K gold "A" initial bar necklace (also seen here, herehere): c/o oNecklace

Madewell gold cuff bracelet (also seen here): c/o Shopbop




What are your weekend plans? Will you be hitting up the hottest brunch spot in town? (Yes, I am alluding to Costco once again, and the free food samples provided that we all know and love so dearly.)


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Pop of Color: Cardigan + Tank + Skinny Jeans + Ankle Boots

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Hello! I can't believe Valentine's Day is so close. Today's outfit post obviously is NOT inspired by Cupid... seeing as it is quite moody and dark (much like the weather here in Southern California). There is one pop of color though, and it sure is a pretty one! Isn't it amazing what one bright color can do to make an outfit better?




Black and white oversized open-front cardigan (also seen here): Nordstrom Rack
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Blank tank top: Old Navy
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Black skinny jeans: Old Navy
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Carlos by Carlos Santana nude ankle booties (also seen here, here & here): Famous Footwear
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Tortoiseshell sunglasses (also seen herehere): Jeffrey Bay

Rebecca Minkoff "Mini Avery" black tote handbag (also seen here, here & here): c/o Shopbop
Turquoise statement necklace (also seen here, here & here): c/o Mourning Dove





What are your Valentine's plans? Matt and I aren't big celebrators of this particular holiday, so we'll probably keep it casual with some takeout. (Gotsta avoid those crowds!) Hope however you are or are not celebrating you enjoy the good, ol' 14th of February!


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10 Things I Learned From Completing a Vegan Version of Whole30

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Whew! We did it!!! Matt and I successfully completed a vegan version of Whole30. We decided that, like many other people with New Year's resolutions, we wanted to kickstart our health in 2017. As strict vegetarians, we didn't eat terribly, but we (especially me) definitely loved sugar and processed food for quick fixes. Personally I also strongly believe in the benefits of a vegan diet (for animal welfare, a positive environmental impact, and for one's health) and I wanted to commit myself to it; thus, we decided a vegan Whole30 was the perfect fit for us!

As for getting through the actual 30 days, it was... the hardest thing I've ever done tough. But joking aside, Matt and I actually agree that it wasn't nearly as bad as we expected it to be. We started off with the typical apprehensions ("How can we function without CARBS?!" and "Why must we inflict such self-hatred on ourselves?" and "Why does 30 days feel sooooo damn long?"). However, we quickly realized it wasn't too difficult to complete, and would totally recommend trying it out!

Vegan_Whole30_Sedona_Arizona
Outfit details can be found here.

 - - - - -

Below are the 10 things we learned during this month-long Whole30 journey:

1.) I am actually a much better cook than I previously thought. (We always knew Matt was the more naturally talented chef in our family, but it turns out I am not bad at all in the kitchen. That is when I actually put my mind into it.)

2.) Recipes that you find online are SUPER helpful -- especially when you are going the unprocessed and vegan route. (Thank you, Pinterest & Google Gods!)

3.) Said recipes can act as perfect guidelines, because sometimes what you create by loosely using a recipe is even better than the original itself. (My personal example would be the BOMB.COM guacamole I created based off of a recipe I saw on the interwebs. Seriously. It is better than any other guac I have ever had. Modest? Nope. The cold, hard truth? YES.)

4.) Being vegan is so much easier than I could've imagined. (I will admit though that for the first few days of the cleanse while my body got used to the new norm, it took secondly daily self control for me not to dream of my favorite indulgences: chocolate and cheeeeeeeze.)

5.) If you are anything like Matt or myself, you may have random cravings, on and off, throughout the month; however, a quick search online helped us to find healthier alternatives to make it through.

6.) Even though we were buying all organic groceries which, yes, are expensive, we still ended up saving money since we couldn't really eat out as easily. (We knew of very few places that served unprocessed food, so we ended up cooking at home so much more than usual; therefore, we saved a little ca$h money!)

7.) People were much more supportive than we initially expected them to be. We thought some would be all "You dirty hippies and your crazy fads!" It turns out a lot of your loved ones may have already done their own Whole30 and can offer advice to make it to Day 30 and beyond!

8.) Healthy snacks are just as easy as "convenience food." It takes just as long to use that apple core cutter thing (this guy) as it does to pull out chips and salsa. We just have to make it a priority in our home.

9.) Matt and I both agree that Whole30 totally helped to "reset" our tastes, and get us on a path to a healthier lifestyle beyond just the 30 days. For example, we now love the flavor of fruit so much more than we ever have, and we realized we definitely were overeating before. It was such an eyeopening experience, and made us really examine our relationship with food.

10.) Completing a goal like Whole30 is truly an amazing feeling. Not only because you crushed a goal (which is always a fist-pump worthy feeling), but you know this particular goal made you a healthier version of yourself!


Hopefully these insights can help motivate you, in case you are ever interested in doing your own Whole30!

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Are you currently doing or have you previously done a version of Whole30? What was your experience? Any advice you wish someone would've told you before you began?


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If it's somehow not already apparent, I am not a medical professional. Before starting any new fitness or health regime, check with your doctor - and not just the World Wide Web. (Duh, but it needs to be said, juuust in case. 😉)

One Shade of Gray: Blanket Scarf + Sweater + Skinny Jeans + Over-the-Knee Boots

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Whoa. When did it become the first day of February...? Can anybody riddle me that? Also, can anyone riddle me how OTK (that stands for "Over-The-Knee" for anyone who hasn't seen this ridiculous abbreviation before) boots became publicly acceptable? What was once reserved only for an early 90s movie about a certain prostitute red-headed pretty woman has now been accepted by the masses. And that is a-okay with me, because if I am being honest here, this is one trend I actually really like! How naughty. (Just kidding. These boots are from Target. And we all know nothing "naughty" ever came from Target.)







Plaid blanket scarf: ILYMIX
Use promo code "lunavidablog20" for 20% off and free worldwide shipping!

 Gray turtleneck sweater: Target
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 Light wash distressed skinny jeans (also seen herehere): Target
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Coupon code "JEANS25" saves 25% off jeans at Target.com through 2/4!

 Brown OTK boots with buckle detail: Target
{Similar $$, $$$}



T-Shirt & Jeans burgundy saddle crossbody bag with tassel: DSW

Silver tortoiseshell aviator sunglasses (also seen here, here & here): Old Navy








Now that we are finito with Month #1 of 2017, I think that begs the question: who all has been straight crushing their New Year's resolutions? Who already forgot what theirs were? Shockingly mine are still sticking, which may be a personal best for me! And I feel as a Millennial, that means I deserve a participation trophy, right? ;)


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21 Harsh Realities No One Tells You About Becoming A Functional Adult

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Are you an adult? Do you know someone who is an adult? Are you on the cusp of becoming an adult? Well, regardless of your age, there are some things about "adulting" that no one tells you. And they should.

But since no one else is, I will. You're welcome.

This picture has nothing to do with anything. My dogs just look really cute, and I needed a photo.

- - - - -

 1.) Once you start working full time, you will always. feel. tired. ALWAYS.

2.) Pursue your passion and all that. But at the same time, don't forget you have to still pay your student loan debt off. So choose wisely. (This is coming from someone who picked the nonprofit sector as my career choice though, so maybe take my advice lightly.)

3.) You know your BFF from middle school? They are going to grow up, and it's very likely they will have totally different political views than you. That means you gotta learn to bite ya damn tongue, and learn to respect their opinion (despite how much you may loathe their views on certain issues).

4.) Remember those painful, awkward, rite of passage braces that your parents were always telling you how expensive they were, and you built a gratitude shrine to the Gods when you finally got them taken off for good? Yeah. Well, this one hurts to break it to you... but even with your permanent retainers YOUR. TEETH. WILL. STILL. MOVE. [Ugh. This one is personal. I have both top and bottom permanent retainers, yet somehow both sets of choppers seem to continually move more and more every single day! Here I come, Invisalign...]

5.) Your metabolism will slow down. Plain and simple. 

6.) Eat your veggies. (And get them locally and organically grown when possible.) I mean it, teeny boppers. You've heard "EAT YOUR VEGETABLES" for your entire life -- and it will never stop. So you might as well just suck it up and force yourself to semi-like 'em.

7.) Oh, and speaking of food? You really will need to know how to cook. Once you hit the (sad, sad, saaad) age where you metabolism slows tremendously [see #5], whatever year that may be, you'll quickly realize microwavable, super processed food is the likely culprit for your newly formed Love Handle Extremes. (I say this one from a personal experience. This year - #27 - was that very year for me. Now I cook almost every night, in hopes to one day say sayonara to these new, uh, lady lumps.)

8.) You most likely will not have nearly as many friends as you did back in grade school. The friends you do have though will be THE BEST. #QualityOverQuantity

9.) Almost no one I know in real life actually uses their degree for exactly what they majored in during college. It's pretty "normal" to take some time post-school to try out different roles and see what is the best fit for your long term career goals.

10.) Rent is expensive. Like really expensive. It's a shit ton of money. And have you always dreamt of living in an amazing city, or close to the beach, or a place with culture abound? Well, expect those rent prices to skyrocket. And fly right on towards Mars. Because the price of taking a spaceship to Mars is about how much it costs to live in a rad place.

11.) You can no longer say words like "rad" without people rightfully rolling their eyes at you.

12.) If you plan to live "unconventionally" in any way, people will never stop questioning your motives. You just have to get used to it. (Take this from someone who has been with their significant other for 9+ years with no plans to marry or have kids.)

13.) If you plan to live your life "conventionally" in any way, people will never stop questioning your motives. Basically, there will always be some butthead who wants to judge you, no matter what you do. But that's totally okay. Because planning a wedding, having babies, buying a house in the suburbs, and all that can be really fun. (Or so I hear.)

14.) You can't just get by in life by having the best hair. You have to actually form a real personality and be kind to people.

15.) No one cares if you were popular in high school. LITERALLY NO ONE. Life as a functioning adult is not like it was when you were 17 and Homecoming Queen Hopeful. Now it's 100% fine to not give a crap about whatever is trendy.

16.) YOU HAVE TO GIVE A DAMN ABOUT PLANET EARTH. This one is huge. Growing up, depending on your age, you may or may not have been told this will be a priority for generations to come, and with good reason. We (meaning humans) have been messing with our environment for much too long, and now we are paying the price. So please make it a point in your life to constantly think of ways you can help out. Want a simple example? Freakin' turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth. BAM. You're an environmental warrior goddess.

17.) Going out to bars (or clubs - no one goes to clubs anymore though, right...?) isn't the only way to have fun, even though that's what Facebook and TV shows may tell you. If that's not your thing, don't feel bad, or like you're an old hag. Hey, most of the best people I know prefer to be at home with their Netflix and snacks.

18.) Snacks. Don't forget to pack 'em! No matter where you're going, at some point, you're gonna want a snack. (Your parents were right on that one.)

19.) You're gonna be tired. I already told you that. But you still have to make time to volunteer. Whether you participate in an annual Relay For Life or spend scheduled time every week socializing cats at the local shelter, it's important to help whenever and however you can. We all need to be public servants in some way if we want to see our communities improve. (Wanting to see your community improve is also a surefire way to know you've officially reached adulthood.)

20.) There will be no greater excitement than when your Amazon Prime package arrives faster than the anticipated two days.

21.) It's not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be (despite what this post's title might allude 😉). You get to make your own decisions, you actually have enough spare money to spend on a burrito whenever you damn well please, and you are free to go to sleep whenever you want (which is typically going to be around 9 o'clock... because, like I said, you're just freaking exhausted, OKAY?)

Oh. And dogs. You can adopt your own dog -- without your parents' permission!!! Need I say more?

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The Proper Lace & Time: Faux Leather Jacket + Cold Shoulder Top + Skinny Jeans + Ankle Booties

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Hey! Who all attended a Women's March this weekend? Matt and I took part in the Women's March in downtown San Diego on Saturday, and it was so powerful. Despite what your political beliefs are (as we are all allowed to hold our own, of course), I hope you can see and celebrate the beauty of [gigantic] groups of not only females, but the men who support them, coming together in peace, unity, and love. Personally, after months of feeling borderline hopeless and uncharacteristically negative (and fearful) about the future of our country, it was incredibly inspiring and downright motivational to be surrounded by people from all walks of life, ages, abilities, and experiences. And not only in our own nation, but across the whole world, millions of people came together, unified for a positive common cause. It gives me shivers just thinking about it.





Dark brown vegan leather moto jacket (also seen here, herehere): Old Navy
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Multicolored print cold shoulder blouse with lace detail: Target
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Light wash ripped skinny jeans (also seen here): Target
{Similar $, $$, $$$}

Carlos by Carlos Santana nude ankle booties (also seen here, herehere): Famous Footwear
{Similar $, $$, $$$}







For those who did participate in the Women's March on Washington or one of the hundreds of Sister Marches, how was your protest experience? I would LOVE to hear from you.

Maybe one day I will write a whole detailed post on my particular experience taking part in the Women's March and my hopes moving forward. Would you be interested in reading that? I know this blog doesn't focus on politics, and I don't want to offend anyone, but I think it may be cool to share. (I do struggle with how much is appropriate to share though since, yes, it is obviously my blog; however, as we were taught during Childhood Manners 101, we must tread lightly when it comes to discussing politics...) Please let me know how you feel either way, though! :)

Regardless of your political stance, country of origin, religious beliefs, ability or not to tell fortunes while juggling, etc. I hope we can all see eye-to-eye on human rights one day. Because if we can't see eye-to-eye on basic rights for all of Earth's inhabitants, it sure will be hard to move forward - which is something I think we all know we have the power to do, and must continue to work towards every day.


Don't forget to enter the teeth whitening kit giveaway!
(It is super easy to enter, and it ends in one week!)


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