February 11th: Day 30 – Last Day, Wrap Up & Reflection

Today is officially my last day of being locallyvegan. My written reflection may be coming to an end but my journey definitely does not end here. I wanted to give a brief overview of my personal experience of this challenge over the 30 days with 5 main categories.

Physically: Today I visited my Doctor. He was so supportive on my vegetarian lifestyle choices. He actually stated that they are usually more healthy than meat-eaters. He wrote me a prescription to get my blood tested to see my blood glucose levels, iron, B12, vitamin D and cholesterol. This way I will have evidence in order to decide where to go from here in my diet. However,  with losing 6lbs and 2 inches off my waistline – why wouldn’t I continue in this healthy direction? (Noting here that I did workout 6 times a week)

Emotionally: In the last week I found myself craving less-healthy food more and just an overall feeling of being constantly hungry. More preparation and less attention to my calorie intake and outtake would have helped this situation. Overall, I feel healthy, less guilty of feeding myself with unhealthy food, stronger and definitely happier. Happier that I am making healthy decisions and treating my body like it deserve to be treated. What’s not to like about that?

Spiritually: Unfortunately this is an aspect that I was not able to focus a lot of my attention on. I would like to continue to grow in this area. To remember to appreciate every meal and pray. Overall, spiritually I do feel more of a connection to the earth, naturally and organically, which is just a remarkable feeling that cannot easily be put into words.

Economically: In total I spent $168.92 ($42.23 a week). This includes everything except for beans, olive oil, salba, flax seed, qunioa and baking ingredients that I had at home already. This also does not include any alcohol or eating out. But really when I say everything it includes all the essentials – eggless mayo, nondairy butter, soy sauce, red pepper sauce etc. I even included fruits and vegetables that my mother bought that I ate, and even the 3.50 nondairy milk I bought at my boyfriends place in Toronto (when I knew I could buy it at home for 2$). I should also mention I have lots of everything left over. Overall, this is top of the line vegan expenses. I didn’t go crazy buying everything I wanted but I didn’t necessarily have a budget. I definitely think more resourcefulness is possible and therefore less expenses.  Economically, the things I was buying were more expensive (i.e local fruit and veggies compared to grocery store) but it balanced out when I didn’t buy other ‘non-vegan items’, essentially things that were unhealthy for me. So if you are going to keep your old lifestyle of eating junk time to time but also eating more local, and vegan and vegetarian then yes, economically it will probably put a hole in your pocket. However, if you start to change your lifestyle, eat healthier, cut out the crap, eat more locally and resourcefully with less waste, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Challenges: The times I found being a vegan difficult would be:

a. eating out – having less options

b. hungover – craving that greasy, unhealthy food

c. having company over – making vegan meals and non-vegan meals (double the work)

d. being so strict – feeling like everything I was wearing or eating might have been made with animal products

So do I feel like I met my objective? { to fill these 30 days with knowledge, research, chatting and reading in regards to the benefits and disadvantages to eating vegan and locally. I want to do so through learning about the history behind food in waterloo, places to shop, and also social and community components to being a vegan and eating locally}


Have I accomplished my three main goals?

  1. To  recognize the journey this food has taking to get to my plate. This doesn’t necessarily have to be through prayer form. For instance for me showing appreciation for my food can simply be to take a picture and post it on instagram so my friends can join in how grateful I feel.
  2. le face, through simplifying my food and become a vegan myself.
  3. To gain knowledge of eating locally and as a vegan lly in my city but also in others


Do I want to continue to learn and continue these goals?

No doubt about it.

Will I continue on this journey of eating locally and adding a more vegan lifestyle into my diet?


Do I have future concerns?

Of course! I am worried that now that I am not held accountable I could easily see myself putting things into my body that I wouldn’t have if I was vegan…. because ‘I can’.

Am I hopeful?

I am hopeful. I am a student of my own body.

I am also hopeful in you. We are in this together, to help each other, our community and the environment. So I hope this short blog helped you in some way throughout your own journey. I know your support helped me. Thank you, I am truly grateful.

The Kitchen is a country in which there are always discoveries to be made.” – Grimod De La Reyniere (Circa 1800). 

Happy Discovering!

February 7th: Day 26 – Farmer’s Market

I finally made it to the Farmer’s Market today – first trip since I have been locallyvegan (which I am a bit ashamed to say).  It was such a lovely experience, as always. On my way there I was thinking about my first trip to the farmers market, on my own. I remember feeling almost a little intimidated, due to the unknown. It wasn’t a regular thing that I did so I wasn’t sure exactly how it worked and I thought I was going to feel out of place. However once I arrived it was warm and welcoming. My first time was in the summer, which is obviously a busier and more fruitful time. But my winter experiences of the farmers market is a little different but never any less welcoming with a very cozy, quaint and friendly feeling. If you do feel intimated or anxious in any way, I suggest going with a friend for the first time. Or asking someone who is a regular. They usually have experience and insider information of what farmers crops or meat they like, as well as best prices. You can also grab lunch there or even check out non-food vendors that sell their hand made clothing, furniture or quilts. 

Today I picked up, eggplant, spinach, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and local cucumbers for only $17. 

I encourage you to experience a farmers market near you, here is the link for the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market.


February 6th: Day 25 – MOTIVATION

Need motivation? Check out this awesome video!:


Also, here are some more of the recipes I have tried and love!

1. Vegan schnitzel, corn (out of the can – we didn’t have any other vegetables) and vegan mashed potatoes:


2. Stir fry: tofu, chickpeas, mangos, onions, carrots, kale

3. Steel cut oats: with salba, mango, pineapple, brown sugar, apple and nondairy milk

4. Quinoa oatmeal: raisins, brown sugar, banana

5. Vegan chocolate cupcakes and cinnamon chocolate frosting

6. Quinoa chickpea melody with carrots and sweet potatoes on the side


February 5th: Day 24 – The Environment

One of the main reasons why I became locallyvegan was to improve my ecological footprint and to learn more about my impact on the environment through what I eat.

So I challenge you, where ever you go for the rest of the week, whether it be to school, work, friends house, library, coffee shop… start small and make you lunches or snacks waste-free. Then if you feel up to it, maybe make one meal vegetarian, local – or maybe even vegan. Use this site for some guidance:


And for all my readers out there, I have not yet read but am planning to read “The China Study” by Dr. Campbell. The reviews state that it is a book that ‘cuts through the haze of misinformation and delivers an insightful message to anyone living with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and those concerned with the effects of aging.’ My sister (the Dietitian) introduced me too it – she is currently reading it, enjoying it very much and recommended it to me.

Here is a summary on it from a vegan:


Happy Tuesday everyone!

February 2nd: Day 21 – Taste the Rainbow

And I don’t mean skittles… although skittles are vegan! Here are many reasons why you should include as many different colours in every meal you prepare. 

Red means rich in lycopean (powerhouse against cancer)

– strawberries, tomatoes, apples cherries, red grapes, raspberries, watermelons, red peppers

Orange means rich in beta-carotene (Vitamin A – good for the eyes)

– carrots, orange peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, yams

Yellow means rich in carotenoids and lutein (helpful for the eyes and prevents cancer)

– cantaloupes, corn, summer squash, yellow beans, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, nectarines, papayas

Green means rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (good for the eyes, bones and teeth – also anticancer) 

– dark green vegetables, celery, honeydew melons, kiwi

Blue and purple means rich in flavonoids (good for the brain, memory and cardiovascular health when aging) 

– blueberries, red cabbage, concord grapes, eggplant, raisins

White means rich in Allicin and Selenium (for the heart and cancer preventer)

– bananas, brown pears, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, light potatoes

And if I can’t convince you to ‘eat the rainbow’ (information from True Food) maybe Oprah can..


Skittles resource: 



February 3rd: Day 22 – Exercise

Those of you who know me, know that regular exercise keeps me happy… and sane. In particular hot yoga. When beginning this challenge I was worried that I wouldn’t have the strength and energy to be able to; 1. want to go to yoga 2. be able to actually make it through the class. Luckily, this worry was for no reason at all. Just as I said my first week and my second week, I feel stronger than ever. Not to mention, I feel (and see results) that I am actually loosing fat vs. muscle. I have an upcoming Doctors appointment to follow through to see if this is actually true. In the meantime here are some excellent pre and post vegan workout snacks!


– Dried fruits

 – Banana or apple with nut butter

– 1/2 cup quinoa with black beans

– oats and raisins 

– Whole-grain crackers with hummus


– Smoothie (with fruit, almond milk, flax, chia seeds)

– Nut butter on whole grain bread 

– Brown rice with chickpeas, avocado and broccoli

–  Whole-grain toast with tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese


These are only a few options from MANY. Have fun and experiment with your own options :) 

February 4th: Day 23 – Third Week Review

The time flew right by me and I hardly even noticed that I only have one week left of being  locallyvegan. Similar to my first two weeks, my third week has been full of energy, strength and happiness – not to mention kinder on the wallet. I have lost a total of 6lbs now but do not feel unhealthy in any way.

As my time is coming to an end I have been getting a lot of questions on whether or not I will continue to be a vegan. As I reflect I think that being vegan can be a very strict word. So I think I will continue to eat vegan more often but I will not call myself a vegan. I will probably stick to drinking almond milk, not eating cheese, but probably eat eggs again. And when I do eat eggs, I will choose to eat organic, free run, local eggs. My life has only changed for the better on this locallyvegan challenge and this is why I will continue on this journey as often as I can. The only time where I have felt it is difficult to be a vegan is eating out and eating with company. This is obviously personal to me, it makes me feel singled out, uncomfortable, never truly knowing what people are cooking with and left out of the deliciousness that comes with eating out and with good company. As of right now these are the three instances where I will not be eating as a vegan but who knows what is still in store for my last week of being locallyvegan… 

February 1st: Day 20 – Diversity

Diversity is a sound strategy for a healthy life in the kitchen, but also at the intersection of the culture outside of the home”-  Martin Teitel.

Speaking as a frequent (but not quite nearly enough) traveler I have been introduced to many forms of extending the table, breaking bread, traditions or simply put – diversity. Such a wonderful concept that although we may speak different languages, something we all have in common is food… everyone has to eat. What a remarkable opportunity food gives us to say something that we might not be able to say. For instance, an invitation to friendship, rising, breaking, reconciling, caring for the earth and one another, honoring the everyday and celebration. I am truly amazed as I look back on my time when traveling through Europe, Mexico and even across Canada, to realize how much generosity, hospitality and the meaning of food within a community can bring so much happiness. This may be why I love food so much. So let food help you find happiness and spread that happiness with others in your community or when you are traveling – no matter what uncertainty, poverty or celebration you or they may be facing.

“Lord, today you made us known to friends,

we did not know,

And you have given us seats in homes,

which are not our own.

You have brought the distant near,

And made a brother of a stranger.

We thank you, Lord; your love be praised.

– Mozambique prayer 

Photo taken in Cuernavaca, Mexico while preparing breakfast at a Community Center.


January 31st: Day 19 – Breakfast

I have been receiving a lot of requests for pictures and recipes so I thought I would write about different items you could eat for breakfast, as a vegan – and include pictures and recipes of course. You may think that without milk, eggs, cheese and meat, there are not a lot of breakfast options. I must admit I struggled with breakfast my first week of being vegan as well and caught myself reaching for an energy bar most mornings. Now that I have discovered more and experimented, these are the options I have come up with:

–       scrambled tofu and tempeh bacon (already posted picture and recipe)

–       steel cut oats

–       breakfast quinoa

–       smoothies

–       vegan waffles

–       vegan drop biscuits

–       B12-fortified cereal (i.e. raisin bran), non-dairy milk and cut up banana

–       breakfast polenta

–       grapefruit and nut butter on bread

–       breakfast burrito

–       And of course so many options you can get from your ordinary breakfast restaurant: homefries, tomatoes, baked beans, fruit, bagels, english muffins … shall I go on?

Below I have added pictures and recipes of my steel cut oats (I started buying the blue menu brand a long time ago), waffles (so easy to make but waffle maker is hard to clean. I also like the no sugar maple syrup who, my sister – the Dietitian, recommended), smoothies (have fun with your smoothies, try something new everyday. Also for a more affordable version, slice your fruit in small chunks and freeze, this way when you make your smoothie you just toss it in the mixer) and drop biscuits (total of 20 minutes to make – have lots of time to clean up or get ready for work while they are baking). Enjoy!

Drop Biscuit Recipe: http://www.grouprecipes.com/40106/vegan-biscuits.html

Vegan Waffles Recipe: http://www.vegweb.com/recipes/easy-basic-waffles-morning

Breakfast Burritos: http://www.cheekykitchen.com/2012/08/10-minute-vegan-breakfast-burritos.html

Smoothie Recipes: http://www.yummly.com/recipes/vegan-breakfast-smoothie