Designing the orange color for this clementine smoothie, I simply used a higher ratio of this fruit to the bananas and strawberries. As I drank my smoothie, I was thinking about what I gained from the A to Z Challenge. This blog is mostly about my photography, which documents the world according to my eyes. Also, my photograph serves as inspiration for my art projects, so taking pictures is something I really care about.
I always meet some fascinating people during the years I participate in the A to Z Challenge, and it is enjoyable having new people visit your blog. This year my theme was vegan food and Southern California photography because those are two things that define who I am. One thing I enjoy conveying in my blog is how easy it truly is to be a vegan, and share the health benefits and mental clarity I have gained from this lifestyle. I highly recommend the vegan way for those who are mildly curious and suggest checking out Dr. Barnard’s and Dr. Greger’s Facebook pages if you want to know more about nutrition and meal ideas. I do not claim to be a health guru, I just know veganism appeals to me.
Also, I enjoy sharing photography from my nature walks and daily bike rides because I believe being physically active is possible without having to purchase an expensive gym membership. Even if you really are not able to exercise outdoors, there are other things you can do, such as cleaning your house. That might not sound strenuous, but have you ever took the time to really just the top of your fridge and cabinets? Being active and eating real food has really helped to improve my physical well-being, and it is something I highly recommend. In my late twenties and early thirties I started eating more pizza and drinking soda, and even though I still ate fruit and veggies, at this age I put on weight I just could not lose.
I wanted to get down to a healthy weight range, but I did not want to go on a diet. In 2009, I upped my physical activity and started walking many miles per week, but I just could never drop down to a weight that was healthy. I always cringe when people shame people for being overweight, and I remember when I was in my early thirties it hurt my feelings when a man posted on my Hubpages profile that fat is not pretty. I had always been athletic, and I did not enjoy being overweight. On the same token, I did not fit in with the crowd who post pictures of themselves in bikinis, but I knew something had to change. In my presence other women have praised each other for how small they looked in a certain outfit, and back when I was larger I took this as a dig. I realized over time what people say is more about them than anyone else, and there is nothing wrong if someone wants to talk about how they feel good looking a certain way. What is more important is you feel good and healthy yourself.
In 2014, I started eating a whole foods vegan lifestyle, and I have not looked back. Along the way, I learned that I could eat carbs like potatoes and rice, and still lose weight. For me, it was taking the chicken, dairy, soda, and copious amounts of bread out of my diet that made the difference. Vegan food is amazing because it fills you up, but it is not calorically dense. So you can eat a large salad with hummus or beans and feel full. It always looked so grueling when I heard diet recommendations about just consuming only an egg and two pieces of bacon for breakfast, and I so prefer a smoothie and something plant based.
So I am not always a perfect vegan eating bean salads and smoothies all the time. Sometimes I do have cliff bars and fries, but even with these indulgences, I have lost and maintained a healthy weight for over two years now. I never could do this back in my twenties when I cut my calories and was running many miles. Now that I am older the fact that a whole foods plant diet is doing this for me in conjunction with exercise is quite encouraging. I also am so pro-vegan these days because I do not like animals to feel pain and suffering, and I know it is possible to get all the protein I need from plant based sources. Why am I am able to push heavy carts and ride miles if vegans are “so weak”? So ignore the naysayers who say being vegan is not good for you, and follow doctors like Dr. Barnard and Dr. Greger who illustrate how it is a very viable and healthful lifestyle.
As a disclaimer, I grew up vegetarian and became semi-vegetarian in school due to social pressure to eat meat. I really only ate chicken a few times a month, so I was always very veggie-centric. I dealt with my share of opinionated people who felt it was their place to tell me I was lacking protein, or how they enjoyed their meat. People complain vegans are opinionated, but the truth is everyone is, and I had a lot of first-hand experience with this growing up, and even as an adult.
It is refreshing because for all the criticism of the millennials, one thing I will say is they get certain things, and are more open-minded and tolerant about letting people just be who they are. They do not care if someone is vegan, and many of them are even realizing how wonderful this lifestyle is. So I am a little older than the millennial generation myself, but I will say personally I do not care if someone is vegan or not, I am quite libertarian in my stance on this. All I want to say is if a plant-based diet appeals to you, do not like the detractors derail you from exploring this.
Smoothies in action are enjoyable, so watch the video, if this is your thing.