Hello! This past weekend was spent in Phoenix for us. Matt, the dogs, and I road tripped to the good ol' desert for a friend's wedding, which is always extra fun. This is because A.) duh, the celebration of love and B.) out of town weddings mean a reunion with your friends! We had the absolute best time catching up with our Arizona amigos, eating at our favorite local PHX places, dancing, and bachelor party-ing. We are so lucky to have met these beautiful people and we miss them all the time. 💜
Navy blue and white floral print bomber jacket (also seen here): Old Navy
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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
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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. 😅
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 here & here): Gap
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
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!
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!
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?
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. 😉)
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.)
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? ;)