Coming soon to a post near you!

Hey guys!! I am just dropping in to say hey before I get to work on studying for finals (3 more days of school…3 days…I can do this)

I don’t have a recipe or great topic for you now, but how about a little preview of what you might expect this summer?

-I am going to go visit some colleges (so excited) in Southern California! ROAD TRIP!!! After all, in about 4 days I will officially be a senior which means I have to think about college. I am excited, but scared at the same time. I have to grow up now eeps!!

-This summer is going to include a lot of changes. My family is going to start minimalizing (ala Lindsay Nixon) our house and lives-we have so much extra stuff we just don’t need lying around, and it would just seem to help de clutter our house and de stress our brains before another school year starts. What do I mean?? Check out Lindsay’s Minimalist Monday Series

-I realized I haven’t had a post on why I eat the way I do, why eating a plant based diet is important to me. I mean, its been a passionate part of my life for two and a half years, but its also become so normal that I hardly think about needing to explain it. Still, it is important to me and I want to share why!

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And yes, I do have this shirt. Problem? 😉

-Speaking of making changes as a family, did you know that this

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is directly harmful to them?

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My mom recently learned about the effects the production and harvesting of palm oil has on the rainforest and the poor orangutans in the forest, and it is horrible and sad. I’ll save the stories and gruesome pictures (maybe I’ll post them later) but lets just say it is enough to have made us start rethinking our purchases. A lot of vegan alternatives (and junk) is made from or with palm oil and is neither sustainable nor necessary. I’ve already started making some switches on my own, I’m using coconut oil as chapstick and moisturizer instead of (even organic and cruelty free) lotions full of palm oil, and this summer, as part of our minimalizing, we are going to be switching to more whole foods and fewer items processed with palm oil. Its. In. Everything. I know this sounds all campy and hippyish, but hey, your vote starts with your wallet right?

-You all know I’m a big fan of stevia, but after some research and thinking, we are transitioning off of it this summer.

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Its hard, but necessary for a few reasons. A) the more often we use it, the more we depend on it. Because it is so sweet, it keeps triggering the sweet tooth and more is necessary! I realized this the other day when I was using erythritol to sweeten my oats instead of stevia and I noticed two things-my oats actually tasted like oatmeal and not like super sweet dessert, and wow,the amount of sweetness I needed from the stevia was WAY more than I had thought, the equivalent sweetness in sugar form would have been spoonfuls. If I wouldn’t eat that much sugar in my breakfast (not to mention tea/coffee/soy yogurt/lemonade etc.), why is it okay to eat that much stevia? I was becoming desensitized to it. Also (B) its not as healthy as it seems. Did you know that women in South America use stevia as a natural form of birth control? Obviously it does something to your hormones!! Aack! As a girl who is still growing and trying to overcome an eating disorder/get my period, I think it is really important to start introducing other natural sweeteners (sweeteners with *GASP* Calories?!?!) , in smaller/more normal quantities, that don’t mess with my hormones. Not to say I’ll be cutting it completely, I mean there are a lot of products that sweeten with stevia now even a bit (like some soy milks), but we won’t be buying it in bulk to use on the daily. And I mean, I was eating a lot of stevia daily. Not good. It’s important to get over my sweetener fears, and get my body back to normal.

These changes aren’t about more restrictions. Quite the opposite, actually. I want to get more in touch with my body, allowing myself to eat natural, whole, beautiful foods with thought and thankfulness to where they come from. More farmer’s markets and home gardens, cooking from scratch and appreciating the sources. Not getting caught up in foodie movements (although yes I will still be a foodie likely) like trying all of the bars, butters, powders, extracts, because they are there. Although thats not to say I won’t eat at fun restaurants or take part in vegan cupcakes now and then (cough cough yesterday cough). My choices aren’t about eating only “clean” foods-they are about eating for the environment. Eating for my health and my future. Eating for healing. And eating for the animals, with compassion.

-In other news (enough with the hippy-dippy activism now, sorry) I have lots of recipes coming your way soon, once I can get back into the kitchen!! Also, I’m thinking more seriously about running, it’s been my goal since freshman year to run a half marathon before I graduate High School, and so I’m looking more into that. Its a great challenge, and a lot of learning about myself is going to take place. It’s going to include overcoming a lot of fears, a lot of I can’t’s, a lot of restrictions. I will have to eat more and gain more. But ultimately, I want to prove to myself that I can do anything. I can be anything. And I can overcome anything.

What are your plans for this summer? Are you trying anything new?

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