10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Vegan

I’ve covered the 5 secrets to going vegan successfully before, but I wanted to dive a little deeper into the practical things that new vegans should know to make life a little easier in the “veganning.” 

With the vegan movement is exploding in popularity, it’s important to understand the obstacles you might face in the process before jumping in.

Here are 10 things I wish I knew before going vegan:

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Learn how to cook.

This isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a requirement. Let’s face it, going vegan means that you probably won’t be able go on a quick trip to grab those easy frozen pizzas or drive-thru dinners. More reason to start learning how to navigate the kitchen & finding easy vegan recipes to create.

Need some help? Sign up for Vegan School & check out my new e-book: The Veganner’s Cookbook

It’s more than just about the food.

While you may start with going vegan for one reason, you’ll find out over time that this lifestyle proves positive in other areas of life. The food we eat not only affects our bodies, but our minds, animal welfare, and the planet’s health. Start digging into why vegan is good as a whole, and you’ll be more inspired to keep up this lifestyle.

Don’t force the vegan conversation.

Not everyone will be ready or willing to hear why you went vegan. The best way to go about showing someone what it means is to live by example and to answer questions when asked at the appropriate time. When someone is ready to hear your story, you’ll know when they start asking you questions.

The health benefits won’t happen overnight.

There are plenty of rumors going around that being vegan means getting fit, healthy, and beautiful fast... and that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I first started the transition, I actually ended up gaining 50 pounds in 4 months due to the detox my body needed to go through, and I lost that 50 pounds over the course of 2 years. You can be vegan and very unhealthy, or your body could respond differently than you expect,, so it’s best to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrition your body requires.

Eat colorful meals, not processed foods.

Which brings me to my next point… you will find plenty of vegan food this is overly processed, filled with unnecessary chemicals, and not to mention how expensive they can be to buy. The truth is that you don’t need replacements to go vegan because whole foods provide plenty of texture, taste, & fulfillment.

Try The Veganner’s E-Cookbook to see how to “veganize” your favorite foods.

It’s not as expensive as you think.

Going vegan doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will be if you buy the replacements. Stick to whole grains, whole fruits & veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, plant-based milks, and you shouldn’t be spending more than $100 a week.

How to find vegan options when going out or traveling.

This was something that made going vegan hardest for me in the beginning. It wasn’t until I found HappyCow.net that I started to find the plant-based options I had been wanting. However, this does not mean every place you travel to & try will be vegan friendly. Be prepared by finding a place to stay that includes a kitchen. If you can find vegan options nearby, great. Cut yourself some slack and take lots of snacks just in case!

People will misunderstand you.

In the almost 4 years of being vegan, I’ve heard a lot of hurtful things. At first, it really bugged me that people were weirded out by my choice to abstain from animal products, but now that I’ve been in the game a bit longer, it’s easier to let those comments roll off my back. Learn to accept the fact that there will be a few people who are committed to misunderstanding you & you’ll have an easier time with the backlash (unintentional or not).

It’s okay to make mistakes.

In the “veganning,” there are lots of new things to be aware of: surprise ingredients in products you thought were vegan,  restaurants who may have no idea what you’re even talking about, and good intentions that don’t always add up. That’s okay. You’re going to slip, you’re going to get it wrong sometimes, and you’ll learn what to do better next time every mistake you make. Take this journey at your own pace.

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You’re not weird & you’re not alone.

Being the only vegan in the room will be the normal experience for most social situations, often leaving you feeling singled out. This is why it’s important to find support from others who understand you & why you’re doing this. Why? Because when you’re feeling weird about it all, they’ll be the one’s cheering you on.

Need some extra support? Enroll in Vegan School. It’s FREE!

5 Secrets to Successfully Going Vegan

Change is a slow process requiring intentional actions while allowing room for failure. If I know anything about change, it can be difficult to say the least. That to say, if you’ve ever thought about going vegan, now is the perfect time to do it.

Veganuary 2019 is off to a running start with people supporting one another in the process. Unlike when veganism made it to surface in the 60s, there are so many options for vegans these days that it’ll have you thinking, “Wow I don’t even miss the ‘real thing’…”

So, with the a record number of you who are pledging to take the plunge into veganism publicly, as stated by The Guardian, here are some practical tips on making the lifestyle transition goes as smooth as possible.

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1.  Add lots of plants FIRST.

Like Leslie Durso shared with us in one of our latest LA Talk Radio State of the Oceans show, “immediately to start adding large quantities of produce into [your] diet.” Adding things to your diet is always easier than taking the once-familiar things out all of the sudden. Improving our quantities nutrients from produce is the best thing we can start doing because you’re training yourself to consume vegetables. As they say, “You are what you eat.”

Related: How to Go Vegan in 2019, an interview with Vegan Chef Leslie Durso

2.  Get to Know Your Kitchen

Teaching yourself how to cook is the greatest skill & gift you can teach yourself. Knowing how to cook recipes on the fly requires expert skill, so make use of the big-fat network some like to call, “The Internet.” Google, Pinterest, & Youtube became my greatest teachers & resources for recipes in this lifestyle switch, and best of all… that education & recipe collection was FREE!

Need recipes? Download my FREE 6 Week Vegan Meal Plan. There’s something for everybody to eat & enjoy.

3. Start Becoming a Label Reading Expert

This was something that can be done simply by doing it. Meaning: read the ingredients of the food you’re buying. Unlike fruits & vegetables that don’t need a nutrition label, processed foods can be tricky to navigate. Learning other names for animal products can help you stay on track & keeping animals off the plate.

Related: Supplement & Nutrition Labels: 101

4. Invest in a Food Processor/Blender

Having the basic cooking tools, like pots, pans, and utensils, is important. However, I’d go a step further to say that investing in a food processor and/or blender will be great for those recipes requiring smooth consistencies. Also, owning a blender is essential for on the go smoothies which are easy to make vegan.

Need a suggestion? We use the Ninja brand of food processor.

5. Have Grace. It's a Process.

If you’re new to the enlightened lifestyle of veganism, I have good news for you: you’re not alone! With the 300,000 people estimated to go plant-based this year, be assured that failing in the process is completely normal. Be kind to yourself in the process because the impact you’re making by trying is not going unnoticed!

What to  learn more  about this topic?  Click here  to listen to ThatVeganWife on LA Talk Radio have this conversation about her own journey.

What to learn more about this topic? Click here to listen to ThatVeganWife on LA Talk Radio have this conversation about her own journey.

Happy 2019! Eat more plants this year on me.

Happy 2019! Eat more plants this year on me.

An Interview with Leslie Durso | How to Go Vegan in 2019

Instagram:  @lesliedurso

Instagram: @lesliedurso

It’s that time of the year again where people start to make their “New Year’s Resolutions…” and while I could go on a tangent about how you can make the switch to plants any time of the year, or share my favorite recipes, I’ll let the other vegan bloggers do that.

Some of you are choosing to go vegan in 2019 and I applaud you… but can I give some solid advice?

Actually, the following advice comes from a conversation we recently had on the radio show with our friend & vegan chef, Leslie Durso.

I love having Leslie on because she really knows what she’s talking about and she has expertise to back it up. Once simply known as Leslie the lab girl with Bill Nye the science guy, Leslie took her love of education and shifted from science to plant-based food. After establishing herself as a private chef for the NYC and Hollywood elite, Leslie emerged as a public persona, hosting cooking segments on television and online.

I took advantage of having her on the show to ask her, “HOW people can make the switch to a vegan lifestyle go more smoothly, and how to navigate holiday/public gatherings with people that don’t understand what vegan is.”

  • Listen to the entire LIVE recording of our interview with Leslie here.

For those of you who just here for the advice, here’s a little bit of our conversation…

TVW: For the newbie vegans out there who are just starting out, how do you stick to being vegan? Especially around the holidays? What do you do?

Leslie: "Yeah, the holidays are a tough time because going home, people can be very defensive about their beliefs, especially when it comes to how you eat. I'd say that you have got to be super respectful. Everyone is in a different place in their food journey and everyone deserves to be respected. So, the holidays might not be the best time to make a big scene at the table and tell everyone that 'meat is murder…' You might want to just play it a little bit more low-key.

Usually when you go vegan, things start to happen to you physically. Your skin gets brighter and better, your hair gets shinier, and you'll notice that people will just [naturally] ask you about it.

Let them spark the conversation as opposed to being the one that's preaching to everybody.

As far as what to avoid and how to get through it food-wise. You know, it is tough, especially when you're new and you don't know what's in everything. You might be eating something and your Aunt Betty says, 'Oh yeah that doesn't have any animals in it," except that she forgot that there's actually eggs in it. Don't beat yourself up, do the best that you can. If you can cook for everyone, even better. It's a great way to inspire conversation when someone tastes your delicious appetizer or cookies and says, 'Wow! These are really good," and you can show them that you don't need to put the eggs & dairy in them. It's just as delicious without!

Bring your own food with you so that you're not without when there's appetizers of cheese & crackers and you can't eat anything. Go get your favorite snack and keep a smile on your face!”

Instagram:  @lesliedurso

Instagram: @lesliedurso

TVW: “I know a lot of people that will be trying to go vegan this year in 2019 and a lot of those people are used to having animal products. While some of those things are addicting because of the chemicals found in them, it can be hard to start. Where do you start when you tell people to start [going plant based]? Is it taking dairy out first or should you go all at once? How would you suggest a smooth transition into veganism?

Leslie: "Well it depends on the person and where they're at, but I tell them to immediately to start adding large quantities of produce into their diet, so that you're substituting with really healthy food. I was mentioning that there are a lot of the plant-based cheeses and plant-based meats and those are so fantastic, but if you just sub out meat for those items, you're still not getting the foundation of your diet. The foundation of your diet should always be whole plants. So I encourage people to first do that and then to eliminate things out.

Then I usually ask them to start with dairy because dairy is the thing that people find hardest to cut out. I also believe that it's one of the most unhealthy things, so that it should go first. So, if you can get that out of your diet then everything else seems much easier."

Listen to the LIVE recording by clicking      here     .

Listen to the LIVE recording by clicking here.


So there you have it: solid advice about how to go vegan in 2019. Please take some time to read through more of my beginner’s advice on how to have the best experience of going vegan in 2019 like…


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How to Host a Vegan for the Holidays

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One of your friends or family members just recently decided to go vegan and they’re coming over for the holiday feast. You’re gut drops as you realize you have NO idea what to do to accommodate them, but you would hate to miss their presence at dinner. You’ve heard how sensitive they can be, but inviting them would just be rude right?

So what do you do?

Hi there! Experienced vegan here with more tales of how to survive the holidays with people who’s eating habits differ from yours. This time, I’m talking to my fellow non-vegans on what to do when a vegan comes to dinner and how to accommodate without offending them or their lifestyle choices.

1. Breathe

It can be daunting the idea of hosting someone who eats completely different than you, but trust me: this is not as hard as you think. There are probably a lot of things you’re eating that could be considered vegan, so we’re in the same boat here.

2. Ask them what recipes you can make

One of the most courteous things our weekly (non-vegan) small group has done to make us feel welcome is when they ask what kind of recipes they can make that we like. If you want to get ahead of the game, go ahead and get a Pinterest account and start saving some stuff. Google is also your best friend and is loaded with thousands of vegan recipes every day. Holiday favorites can easily be converted to vegan and tastes equally as delicious for anyone to enjoy!

3. Ask them if they can bring a dish to share

I don’t ever walk into a gathering expecting a whole lot of selection which is why I like to offer & bring something to share. Desserts are often easiest to create and become instant crowd pleasers. We want to share our food with you!

Click here  to read my latest Thanksgiving recipe list find!

Click here to read my latest Thanksgiving recipe list find!

4. No “Vegan” Talk at the Dinner Table

This one is obvious, but can often be forgotten about once diets are on display for all to see at the dinner table. A vegan plate will look different than the traditional non-vegan holiday selection, so it’s easy to vomit out the words, “Whhhhyyyy are you Veeeegaaaannn?” But trust me, for everyone’s sake, diet-talk should be kept below minimum...which is none at all. Holidays are times to enjoy and celebrate what we have in common, not what divides us.

5. Make sure your vegan guests have a dessert (whether you made it or they bring it)

I’ve said this before, but it is always a sad day when the vegan in the room becomes excluded at dessert time. Everyone sitting around… enjoying their sweet treats, while their sitting with nothing to enjoy. It’s a big bummer, but converting non-vegan recipes is pretty easy these days with replacements for dairy & eggs readily available. Review #2, if you need more guidance.

Check out this dessert idea for Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes:

6. After Dinner, Get Curious

If you happen to be curious, after dinner is the time to ask questions. Most vegans are compassionate people & eager to talk to you about it, so after-dinner questions are more than appropriate. Start by asking why they’ve made that choice and conversation usually starts from there.

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7. Stay Open Minded

There are many different kinds of vegans out there who chose plants, and all of their “whys” will be different. Whether or not you agree with what their reasoning is, please keep an open-mind and do the research for yourself if you want to know the truth. Everyone’s journey into plant-based living is different, but every experience has something we can learn from. Asking questions & staying open minded is the kindest thing you can do for people now days.


Did that help? Are you still stuck? Need some resources on where to go for vegan holiday recipes this season? I’ve got your back. Listed below are several amazing resources for you to read up on before your guests arrive.

Need some vegan recipe ideas? Check out my VEGAN Board Collection on Pinterest.

Need Holiday recipe ideas? Click here for the staples.

Download the FREE 6 Week Meal Plan for 6 weeks worth of plant-based shareables.

How to Handle the Holidays as a Vegan

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Three years ago this November, right before the holiday season of eating, I decided to #GoVegan. After an intense amount of self education and exposure to the truth of animal agriculture, as well as experiencing plant-based meals in my own kitchen, I started to get bombarded with questions and concerns from family & friends.

I don’t know why I decided to go vegan at the start of that holiday season when we lived in the very traditional southern state of Louisiana, the heaviest food culture I’ve ever been a part of. It definitely wasn’t to make things difficult for myself or those who knew me, but with it came new challenges socially and realistically which is why I feel I can share some perspective with you now.

Someone asked me just recently, “How do you go home during the holiday season when the rest of your family isn’t vegan?” That’s a really good question that I’ve been waiting to answer. So, here’s my best advice for new vegans going home over the holidays to family & friends who may reject or question your decision to #GoVegan.

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Be Confident In Your Convictions

It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, someone is going to disagree with you. May that be in the form of snide comments around the dinner table, well intended concerns about your health, or straight up name-calling… I’ve been there, and chances are that if you’ve been vegan for any amount of time, you probably have been there, too. Knowing that not everyone is going to agree, I encourage you to practice radical acceptance in releasing control of other people’s reactions while remembering your own convictions about why you went vegan in the first place. Whether that’s for health, the animals, or the planet, you have got to be 100% in agreement with yourself even before you walk to do door & turn the handle to your family or friend’s house Thanksgiving Day.

Prepare mentally and literally for questions & comments. Bring your own amazing food to share. You could even write a list of people whose opinions matter most on a Post-It, stick that in your pocket, and take it out to look at it when ill comments or remarks are said. You got this.

Answer Questions After Dinner

It never fails that any gathering I’m at, someone is bound to be curious of my vegan choices. In the past, I’ve either word-vomited information, started arguments, or taken offense to someone’s comment or question, but now-a-days I save those conversations for “offline.” Meaning, the dinner table is off-limits for discussion about animal cruelty, hard health facts, and a holier-than-thou attitude. It’s not cool when someone tries to shove their convictions down your throat, so don’t do the same to them.

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Cook for Your Family

One of the best ways I’ve introduced my own family to veganism is by cooking delicious recipes for in the form of dinner & dessert. During the holidays you could even make sure to bring a few dishes for them to try (and for you to have for yourself). Just make sure you’re bringing something delicious. A veggie tray doesn’t count.

Don’t Be Judgemental, Be Enthusiastic

With a 600% increase in people who identify as vegan in the United States, someone is bound to tell you about their progress in eating plants. However, there will still be some animal products at the tables of non-vegans and it’s best not to be judgemental towards those choices. Everyone is on their own journey. Your choice by itself, is making a huge impact, so don’t forget that. Celebrate the little victories when they’re mentioned and love people where they’re at!

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If you have any questions, tips, or hacks about this topic, leave them in the comments or send me a private message. I'd love to connect with you!

xo,

Amy Beth





Selfless Self-Care Products I'm Using Every Day

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One of the biggest challenges I’ve had in this plant-based lifestyle change has been an increased sensitivity to personal care products that contain heavy chemicals or ones that included animal products in their formulas. I’ve even had reactions to claimed vegan & cruelty free products which allowed me come to terms with the fact that I needed to do a beauty overall.

It wasn’t a big deal at first, but 3 years later after a lot of damage control, my vessel has become the “cadillac” of bodies, as I found out a few months ago that EVERYTHING I’d been using on my face (from personal care to makeup) was causing my skin to react in a not-so-pretty way.

That’s when I decided to ditch everything I had been using (including the makeup brushes) and start from scratch.

FINALLY-- I have found some products (both Brandon and I use) that have met up to the standards our bodies have been always asking for.

So with that, here is the ever growing & changing list of things I am using every single day that might benefit you as well.

FACE

Coconut Oil -  

Eh oh... this is a controversial one for some, but this has been a longtime, useful, and simple addition to my routine for several years now. It’s not only the simplest makeup remover, but it cleanses and keeps my face moisturized at the same time.

If you’ve done the research and feel confused about whether or not coconut oil is beneficial, I say try it out for yourself and see what happens. Some people can’t and shouldn’t use this due to their skin-type, so make sure you know what skin combination you have before you start slathering coconut oil everywhere.

I would consider my skin as a sensitive-combination type. This just means I’m sensitive to everything while it can be dry and/or oil.

Read this about why Coconut Oil can be good for your skin from BetterMindBodySoul.com

Osmia Rose Clay Facial Soap -

I recently fell in love with this Colorado-local line at an event where we were able to test-drive the recommended facial routine. It was the first time I felt comfortable after using this bar of soap in Colorado because of the dry weather’s nack for sucking the moisture out of everything. Most soaps would dry out my skin immediately after use.

First of all, the Osmia Rose Bar has helped clear up the redness around my cheeks and has helped to detox my skin from chemical build-up from my previous beauty routine. Second of all, it feels gentle going on and going off, and it doesn’t leave residue. I use this in the morning to freshen up my face followed by my next few products.

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner -

This has been in my husband and I’s routine for a little over a year now, and I got to say that I’m glad I found it. The hubby uses it on a cotton pad and wiping off the excess oils and dirt and I use it in the same way, but not everyday.

Osmia Nectar Vital Rose Drops -  

These “Unicorn Drops” have been a skin-saver with this naturally dry Colorado air. No, I do not use a moisturizer with these drops because the oil combined with more oil adds too much to my face, so I use it a different way than what’s probably recommended, but hey it works for me.

Using the Witchhazel Toner, I squeeze 7-8 drops in my hand, then add 2-3 of the Vital Rose drops with it. That’s when I mix the two together by rubbing my hands together and pat the mixed combination with my hands on to my damp skin (this is after washing my face).

Why do I mix the liquid and the oil? Well, from what I’ve learned, the water-base allows the oil to activate and to be easily absorbed into the skin. It’s worked for me and my face doesn’t dry out like it did when we first moved here. In fact, it stays smooth all day.

P.S. This same brand also has one of the best lip balms I’ve ever used. Brandon and I usually keep one of these in our car and use it frequently! It doesn’t make you wanting more and more like Chapstick or Burt’s Bees, and it feels like lip balm should.

HAIR

Innersense Organic Beauty -

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I actually got to meet the creators of this amazing product line at the same local event I found Osmia Organics. It was Joanne & Gregs hands-on story paired with their demonstration & expert experience that inspired me to give these products a try. Something mentioned, after the Joanne’s personal story about her daughter’s reaction to drugstore products, was that the the products we use for washing our hair should be the MOST clean, as chemicals & other ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.

I had been struggling to find a product with a creator who understood how valuable & important that concept was, and I was tired of being “sold” on network marketing products I had seen & heard negative reactions from. Innersense stands for “we can do better,” and that’s just my style.

Both Brandon and I use the hairbaths, leave-in conditioner spray, the dry shampoo and we absolutely have felt a difference in how our scalps feel as well as how often we need to wash our hair. I feel like that’s saying a lot considering how different the makeup of our scalps are from one another.

BODY

Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Soap -

Body wash has always been a toss up for me until I found this vegan, cruelty-free brand of soap… that also comes in a big-fat recyclable bottle. This not only has been something my skin hasn’t reacted to, but I’ve been able to give my dogs a bath with this product too. Use it simply as a body wash, there’s not much to it.

LET ME SHOW YOU HOW I WASH MY HAIR

Want to learn more about the products I’m using? Shoot me a message or click on the links in this blog to go directly to the source. Like I’ve said before, I am NOT a professional, just an informed human being who was tired of accepting “this is just the way it is” and decided to do better for herself. My best advice is to try things for yourself and ask for professional help when you need it.



5 Healthy Words Advertisers Are Using Against You

Photo by  Bernard Hermant  on  Unsplash   Cover Design by Amy Beth Bolden.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Cover Design by Amy Beth Bolden.

If you’ve read up about me on my website, you’ll know that I have a background in graphic design & advertising. Before moving to Colorado, I made a living designing advertisements for a corporate newspaper, built regional magazines, and even created billboards for museums, banks, and regional events.

It’s true. Check out my old design portfolio on Behance.

This was me in 2015 at the ADDY awards while working in Corporate as a Graphic Designer.

This was me in 2015 at the ADDY awards while working in Corporate as a Graphic Designer.

With this background, I’ve learned enough about the goal of what advertising is used for: making money. Companies are getting smarter about how to advertise certain ideas and labels to us that may or may not be truthful. Most of the time we don’t even notice. Qualifications like, “non-GMO,” “Organic,” and “Natural” have blinded us to the fact that most of what’s behind that cardboard box or plastic wrapping is fake, cheap, & easy.

Those definitely aren’t labels I’d tag as descriptions of my husband, nor the kind of lifestyle I want to lead.

I decided to go undercover to rediscover the meanings on these popular labels slapped on products you see all over US groceries stores so we could understand what to be aware of.


1. Non-GMO

The googled answer for what Non-GMO’s are is, “Non-GMO means non-Genetically Modified Organisms. GMOs are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. Scientists and consumer & environmental groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs.”

Keep in mind, non-GMO is a claim that is loosely regulated… which means it’s not promising, at least according to US Standards. There are currently moves to make this label a requirement on all foods, GMO & Non-GMO alike.

Anything that says it’s non-GMO is also considered organic. Which leads to my next definition.


2. Organic:

When you hear this word, do you think that your food will be automatically healthier, or do you question if it’s even worth the money?

USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.” (usda.gov)

This means that non-gmo seeds were used in soil free of synthetic chemicals and additives. However, this does not mean that organic foods are pesticide free. Organic certified farmers are only allowed to use pesticides up to the government’s organic standards.

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3. Natural:

This is a overused word marketers use to depict a “fresh” product. If you ask me, I don’t think there’s anything natural about consuming food that comes in plastic or cardboard packaging. A food that is natural is a food that has undergone a minimum of processing or treatment with preservatives.

However, advertisers pull the rug from underneath you by claiming that parts of their product are natural while including some of those GMO, high calorie ingredients they failed to mention. It’s confusing to call a food natural if it still has high-fructose corn syrup in it, right?


4. Healthy:

If someone tells me those Nature Valley Granola Bars are healthy one more time, I just might hurl. Sorry, General Mills, but 11 grams of added GMO sugar does not qualify for a healthy breakfast, it just creates a sugar rush, crash, & burn. Don’t be fooled, vegan food can be just as unhealthy than most people believe, too.

So, what does healthy actually mean? Healthy Eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.

Where are you going to find those sort of foods with the variety you need? Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. There are many “healthy” options to choose from and make from these whole food sources.


5. No Sugar/Reduced Sugar:

Something that is claimed to be “sugar free” is required by FDA to contain less that 0.5 grams of sugar. However, what has happened is companies who claim their sugar-less eats are often using substitutes instead. I’m talking, sucralose, aspartame, maltodextrin, and even sacharin. Popular items like Pedialyte, Splenda, Yoplait, and even Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn are known to contain these chemically harmful substitutes.

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I have always believed that ignorance is bliss, but in the line of health: ignorance is ignorance. Maybe you weren’t taught these truths surrounding food and have a lot of learning to do like me, or maybe you enjoy being blind to the fact so your taste buds are satisfied. Either way, the truths still remain that whole foods are best and processed foods are not. You won’t find many of these misconceptions surrounding whether broccoli is healthy for you, I promise.

If you’re like me and need help in learning the How-To’s of switching over towards a greener & more sustainable lifestyle, check out the Realistic Holistic 6 Week Course or schedule a FREE consultation with me.

I’m here to walk you through this.

Are You a Micro-Macro-Manager?

We’ve all been there: standing confused in the grocery store reading ingredient labels on the packaged food we think we need. Protein, fiber, and carbohydrates in grams-per-serving trick us into thinking there’s not enough or too much as we decide, “to buy or not to buy?” That is the real question.

You don’t see me in the grocery store confused if veggies are good for me…

You don’t see me in the grocery store confused if veggies are good for me…

For years, diet-culture has trained us to look at macro-nutrients as the next big thing we should consume (or avoid) in order to host a leaner figure. Advertisers over sell audiences in outrageous proportions and have confused the modern consumer about what is healthy and how much of what we should be eating. When did it become so complicated? Another real question.

[In Usher Voice] These are my confessions of a former “Micro-Macro-Manger:”

Calories. For some, these are numbers to live by, and for others they’re the bane of our existence. While science will forever remain true to “calories-in-calories-out,” the types of calories we actually need to thrive are hardly emphasized.

Since my later college years, it seemed that I was rotating through diets emphasizing different nutrients that were supposedly “good & bad” for me. One day, I’m not allowing myself potatoes and the next week I eating lots of potatoes. One month I’m giving up all sugar, and the next month I’m adding tons of protein. It seems like a 100-yard dash to the next faddy food craze these days, if you ask me.

Even though I’ve gone yo-yo for fad-diets in the past, I’ve learned more about the food I’m consuming and have switched over to a more intuitive & sustainable way of living allowing me to have what I’ve always wanted:
Freedom from Food.

The start of something tasty.

The start of something tasty.

A calorie is not JUST a calorie.

“Calories in, calories out,” they say, but counting a perfect amount of calories doesn’t make that idea a true assessment of healthy gains. Just focusing on the calorie content of foods and disregarding the metabolic effects they have is a highly flawed way of thinking. (HealthLine.com) All calories are not created equal, in fact there are many different factors to health other than your consumption of a certain amount of calories.

No food label, no problem.

You know that one area of the grocery store called the “produce section?” Most of the food you’ll find in that area doesn’t even have a food label. That’s because it doesn’t need one. An apple is simply an apple, but contains all the macro & micro-nutrients in order for the body to process it thoroughly. When eating whole food sources, there’s no need to count exactly what you’re eating because plant synergy works together and your body knows what to do with it.

Bell Peppers are easy whole foods to add to any veggie-heavy dish!

Bell Peppers are easy whole foods to add to any veggie-heavy dish!

Let go of that stressful thinking.

Does counting your food intake give you hives? Are you worried about what your next meal will look like? Is going out to social gatherings something you have to strategically plan for? Then you might be a micro-macro-manager. While there are exceptions to precise eating (i.e. body building), I don’t believe that we were created to count calories and macro-nutrients as a lifestyle. For some people, the simple diligence of counting your intake can encourage eating disorders & obsessive behavior. Been there, done that, and it’s kinda stressful. Your mental health is vital for body changes. Don’t take your intake TOO seriously.

A real life picture of me NOT counting calories or macros.

A real life picture of me NOT counting calories or macros.

So what should you be looking for on packaged food labels? First of all, stick with whole foods as much as possible. If you must get something packaged (like pasta, plant-based milk, and vegan-extras), instead of counting the grams of proteins & carbs, make sure the ingredients are what they say they are, and avoid overly processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, MSG, and make sure to buy the non-GMO stuff.

Still deciding if you need to continue Micro-Macro-Managing as a daily practice?

Check out these three questions from FitnessBlender.com:

  • Is it sustainable?

  • Does it make you feel good; energetic and healthy and like your best self?

  • Does it interfere with your quality of life or cause you stress? For instance, during a dinner out with friends, would you find yourself stressing out while eating foods that you haven't had a chance to calculate values for, or don't know the macro breakdown of?

Mindfulness matters.

XO,

Amy Beth

**Professional side note: I know there is a lot to cover on the topic of nutrients and how food affects our bodies. Not only does each food interact with our bodies differently, each of our bodies interacts with food differently. Hormone levels, genetics, and environment play a big factor into how are bodies interact with food. So if you’re at your wits end of “healthy solutions,” please see a super-duper professional who can help you get educated on your own body. Physical awareness is a big step in the right direction.

Schedule a FREE consultation with me if you need a place to start.