Going vegan is delicious and nutritious! With our favorite 7 amazing recipes so far

It’s been almost 3 weeks since I gave up meat again and have been really impressed with all of the amazing food my husband and I have been making. I’m super proud of his commitment and a little shocked every time I hear him say that he doesn’t miss meat. My little one is having a harder time adjusting to our faux meat meals. She loves beans, but like here mama, she is very sensitive to the texture of her foods. My mom, who is living with us, is mostly on board with going vegan, but she isn’t home for dinners most nights because of her work schedule and she gets all of our leftovers. Even she, a carnivore at heart, has been impressed with our meals as well and said it’s not difficult going vegan when we are the ones cooking. To make it easy on anyone else who might be interested in either eating less meat or going all out vegan, here are our top 6 favorite meat to vegan recipes that we have really enjoyed. I hope you do too!

From Meat to Vegan Meals:
1. Pulled BBQ Tacos

2. “Fish” Sticks

3.  7 Layer Taco Dip

4. Breakfast Skillet with “Bacon”

5. Chickpea Nuggets

6. Burgers

By far, the Pulled BBQ tacos have been the most favorite recipe in my family so far. For the BBQ “pork” the recipe calls for jackfruit. This looks and tastes just like it’s fleshy counterpart! I’ll be using jackfruit more in other recipes to come, for sure! Not only does the taste and texture match up to pulled pork, jackfruit is jam packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and even has some protein!

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/jackfruit.html

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Combat the heat and get creative

It has been a crazy hot summer where I live. I know being 30+ weeks pregnant doesn’t help. The heater that I have growing in my belly seems to make it even more intolerable. Not to complain, but summer is usually filled with lots of lake trips and camping and hiking and is typically my favorite time of the year because of all of the outdoors I get to enjoy. Well that really hasn’t been happening since it’s been almost 90 and above days on end for weeks. (Global warming doesn’t exist though… *thick sarcasm*)

With an almost 4 year old and two parents who all get cabin fever, especially after a tantrum, we have been getting creative to challenge our little one and keep everyone sane during these hot days when we aren’t able to handle the heat. Thanks to good ol’ Pinterest, we have found some cool ideas (no pun intended… maybe) and have implemented some of our old traditions, as well.

There’s a great link here that will show you some great kid friendly ideas! Here are a list of our favorites and some that we have tried already:

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Keep Cool Ideas for the Hot Summer Days:
1. Caving: When I was little my dad took us to caves to beat the heat. We took our little one to a cave a couple of weeks ago and stuck to a short 30 minute tour, which was the perfect amount of time for her and allowed us to get out of the house for a bit.

2. Toy Store: My little G, came up with this idea last weekend. We warned her, that we wouldn’t be buying anything, but we could go peruse the toy store to keep cool in their air conditioned shop. We did end up getting a few things, which we ended up using for other ideas like…

3. Water balloons: We bought these to have some fun in the sun, but still allowing us to keep cool. They were a pretty big mess and a little too wasteful to buy again as it only lasted about 5-10 minutes for us to all pop them on each other and sometimes ourselves, but it was worth it and it inspired us to find a more eco-friendly version, which we did here, using sponges and iced water. We will place these sponges in my little ones pool with water and ice and we can reuse them as much a possible.

4. Pool time: We don’t go to the pool much, just because of the chemical exposure but we decided to purchase a life jacket for my little one during these rare outings, plus we will be going to the lake next summer or tubing and its definitely a necessary purchase for her safety. We did end up going to the pool yesterday and she wore it almost the whole time which she LOVED! She bounced around the pool and felt secure with the little jacket on and of course I was by her side the whole time. Now if we could get a pool that doesn’t use nasty chemicals in the area.

5. Indoor Fishing: This was an idea I got on Pinterest. You grab a laundry basket, a blanket, a set of tongs, and any toys that would be easy enough to grab with the tongs. We did this last week with my little one and she loved it! The laundry basket wasn’t really sturdy enough, so be careful with really little ones. I think a bigger box may work better, but it kept her busy and challenged her. Then when she got bored, she decided to give the kitty a ride with her catch.FullSizeRender

These are just a few of the ideas we have used recently to keep everyone happy in the house during our heat waves. For more ideas, I recommend checking out this website here or you can Google more ideas as well.

Every good parents worst fear

For me, one of my biggest fears is that one or both of my children will be sexually abused in some way or another. Too many children, and even people in my family and circle of friends have encountered this tragedy. It isn’t surprising when sexual abuse occurs in so many children. (see below)

MAMA Bear

Picture courtesy of Mama Bear Effect

As you can see from the image above, those numbers are alarming! What’s even scarier, is that only 90% of the abuse is actually reported! So the number of abuse may be higher!

Healthy body talk and education about this topic has been a part of my daughters life since she was born. Learning more about this with research verifies that I should have started the conversation before she was even born, though, by educating my family and friends about this topic.

No child should have to endure this scary reality and the best way to avoid them from becoming another statistic is to learn as much as possible and to teach others, as well. I highly recommend visiting the Mama Bear Effect website to increase your knowledge and then spreading this information with others. They also have really cool educational materials and bumper stickers to spread awareness.

Some of our biggest rules in our house are:

  1. We don’t keep secrets from mommy and daddy. If someone is telling you to keep something a secret you tell us right away.
  2. When ever we changed our daughters diaper we let her know what we were doing and we continue to explain when wiping her off after she goes to the bathroom
  3. We always use the correct names of private parts and voice that thos pares are only to be touched if someone is helping her wipe off or if its an emergency with a doctor
  4. We never force family hugs or kisses. We tell her it’s her body, so she has the right to choose who she wants to hug or kiss “My body, my choice”
  5. We tell her if anyone makes her feel scared, sad, or confused, to tell us right away.
  6. One that I learned, was to teach your child that instead of saying bad people hurt you, this may back fire since the majority of abusers are people these children trust and hence, don’t believe they’re bad people and that some of the abuse doesn’t hurt and it feels good when private parts are touched.

These are just some of the main things that we have started to talk with my little one. The website has so much more helpful information that I really hope you look into to help prevent more children being abused. Spread the word for the children!

https://mamabeareffect.ecwid.com/#

It’s a sad world when those who profit from others pain are winning

Last weekend, I got back from my husbands family cabin and noticed a text from one of my best friends. She was asking if I’d watched a documentary called, “What the Health.” I am all about health docs so I was happy to hear about a new one to watch that she recommended. Later that day, my husband and I sat in the TV room and watched the hour and a half long movie. A lot of the information didn’t surprise me, however, there was some new information that I found quite disturbing. Unfortunately, there are some things from this documentary that I don’t buy, like carbs and sugar have only a small impact to diabetes and weight gain and so forth. High carb diets and sugars (especially processed sugars) can be directly transformed into fat if you’re not burning it up by expending a lot of energy or if you’re eating too much of it.

First, I know that in our environment, we are exposed to toxins on a daily basis, but I didn’t realize the dangers of one that was brought up called dioxin. This toxic chemical builds up in the fat of animals from the environment they live and food they ingest. This means that anytime you eat animal protein, especially the most fatty meats/dairy/eggs/fish, you are ingesting a toxin that sticks around in your body for about 11 years. Most disturbing, is the fact that fetuses are at an even greater risk from what their mother is eating and then later when the baby is breastfed or even with formula with an alarming 77 times more exposure than what is supposedly deemed safe. I have been eating a lot of meat and eggs during this pregnancy, albeit they are organic and locally raised, which unfortunately doesn’t matter because they still contain dioxins. Research has found that animal proteins account for 90% of the exposure to this lingering toxin. Others come from paper and feminine product bleaching, smoking, manufacturing of pesticides and herbicides, burning garbage, and forest fires.

Second, I was disgusted that factory farms or conventional farming was a large contributor to the destruction to our environment by poisoning low income families and the land and animals from waste bi-products from their large farming practices. It didn’t surprise me learning this, but I still was very upset that someone could get away with this type of pollution and found it disgusting that this is happening A LOT!

Third, the fact that animal protein contributed to the main causes of death in the world (cancer, heart disease, and even more surprising- diabetes, plus more) yet, each of these nationally recognized support groups for these diseases supported, not warned, their followers to implement these foods in their diet for optimal health. Later, it was discovered that the sponsors for these groups were large companies which sell and process meat, dairy, eggs, etc. These companies were lining the pockets of these groups who are supposed to be helping people get healthier, but instead are contributing to people continuing to get more sick. What a sad and disturbing vicious cycle.

After watching the documentary, my husband and I decided to follow a vegan diet for 30 days. Originally, we were going to start this Saturday due to meal planning, but after learning of the dangers of dioxins and babies, we haven’t eaten any animal proteins since. My husband suffers from horrible and debilitating migraines and we are curious if these will go away when following this diet. Being pregnant, I freaked out a little when I learned of the toxins in utero and while breastfeeding, so I researched a little more and found that spirulina, chlorella, and chlorophyll help to detox, not only dioxins but other built up toxins in the body. Other natural remedies include lemon, Epsom salt baths, green tea, and more. I will be implementing these as well as the diet change. I have eaten a vegan diet in the past and it worked for me for a while, that is why we are going to try this for 30 days and see how we feel. If it comes down to it not working, I will eat small amounts of lean meat again from a trusted source. That is the key whenever you change your diet, to listen to your body. Everyone is different and certain things work and others don’t. I think the main thing to remember with any diet is that it focuses on whole foods, lots of vegetables, and as local, in season, chemical free as possible and to limit or eliminate junk food.

How to fight against this horrible system:
1. Stop supporting factory/conventional farmers by only buying from small, local, and trusted farms- voting with our dollar has a huge impact!!
2. Stop eating out at fast food restaurants and cook together as a family
3. Watch documentaries with your loved ones regarding food like What the Health, Forks to Knives, Vegucated, etc. and share them with others
4. Speak out to our government officials and other leaders in the community
5. Try the free 21 day Vegan kickstart (starts every 1st of the month)

Resources:
http://www.ewg.org/release/dioxin/analysis

http://www.getwellstaywellathome.com/detox.aspx?recid=127

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/

Why sugar is worse than fat

http://www.natures-balance.com/Catalog/Chlorella_Home/Chlorella_Detoxifies_Dioxin_/chlorella_detoxifies_dioxin_.html

http://theheartysoul.com/natural-detox/