vegan? you too can enjoy baked goods.

as one might imagine, deciding to become a vegan hasn’t been an easy decision (and i’m still not 100% there). but perhaps surprising to some is why it isn’t easy. i barely eat steak, am not crazy about chicken, and will only have eggs at the occasional brunch (i have to say, however, that i do love all and every kind of seafood.) but what i fear i’ll miss the most is baked goods. i do not discriminate- i love them all. if i had to choose a diet downfall, this would certainly be it. luckily for me, there are plenty of bakeries that offer vegan options (whole foods’ chocolate chip scone is one of my favorites. the date/pecan scone isn’t bad, either). but vegan goodies (like all vegan products) tend to be pricier than their non-vegan counterparts, and in a city like new york where everything is already so expensive, i need to be conscious of not spending too much on something that, at the end of the day, i really shouldn’t even be indulging in that often anyway. this got me to thinking that maybe i should experiment with baking my own vegan treats at home. after all, i’m a pretty good baker, if i may say so myself. but what to substitute for butter and eggs? what about heavy cream? well my friends, the good news is, the internet has an answer for everything. i’ve already found plenty of recipes that i’m excited to try, like this gorgeous raw blueberry cheesecake from deliciously ella and this oatmeal pumpkin bread from happy. healthy. life. (by the way, each and every recipe on these two sites looks incredibly delicious and guilt-free! if you’re trying to do the vegan thing, i highly recommend both sites).

i have a lot that i need to be reporting back on (i.e. all of those vegan restaurants!) but i’m also going to try one of the above recipes in the near future and give my real talk on how vegan pumpkin bread compares to the real deal. now this is my kind of experiment.

some thoughts on veganism

veganism seems to be somewhat of a fad these days (especially among the trendy new york city set). when a good friend told me she’d gone vegan a couple of years ago, i thought she was probably just being trendy like all of those soul cyclers (or whatever the workout craze of the moment was back then). but over the past couple of years, a very real consciousness has evolved around knowing where our food comes from. because after all, we are what we eat. and if the fruits and vegetables we eat were grown with loads of chemicals, those chemicals will end up in our bodies. the same goes for meat: if the animals were given growth hormones, those too will end up in our bodies.

but even more importantly (to my mind, anyway) is the living conditions of animals bred for food. i’m a believer in energy transference, and firmly uphold the notion that an unhappy, fearful animal’s negative energy is transferred to those who subsequently eat that animal (if you’ve seen august osage county, recall abigail breslin’s speech at the dinner table. she totally hit the nail on the head). that being said, i tend to avoid meat unless i know it’s free range or bred on a small farm where living conditions are above-average. i’ve seen far too many documentaries on the horrors of life in breeding facilities. not only does it make me uneasy about what i’m putting into my body, but even moreso, it breaks my heart for the animals. after seeing a particularly upsetting documentary, i’m newly committed to being more conscious of what i eat, and was therefore thrilled to receive an e-newsletter from well + good about the hottest vegan restaurants in new york city. over the next couple of months i’ll be visiting each restaurant and sharing my opinions, so please stay tuned.

as always, thanks to well + good for the healthy and empowering newsletter. while we’re at it and i’m singing well + good’s praises, here’s a related (and highly recommended!) link: 10 really important food documentaries every healthy eater should watch. lastly, be sure to see katie couric’s documentary about the dangers of sugar, fed up, in theaters now.

hearty picnic: eat well, do good

part of why i love new york so much is the plethora of brilliant people doing brilliant (and in many cases, charitable) things. take hearty picnic, for example: at this week-long pop-up restaurant, diners order smaller portion food items that “include a donation to fight hunger in america.” items on offer are fresh and seasonal, and many are vegetarian or vegan (!) of particular interest to me are the crispy cauliflower lettuce wraps, the vegan black bean tostada with avocado cream, and the cashew curry with cilantro chutney.

the pop-up will close THIS sunday, so make a visit this weekend for a delicious meal (maybe treat your mom for mother’s day!) and the knowledge that you’re doing something good for those in need.

visit dine generously at hearty picnic for more info. bon appetite!

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dogs: the pre-mammogram

and with that, my first official post! let’s get to it.

this isn’t the first story like this i’ve heard (in fact, i’ve heard more than i can count!) but this doggie max really tore at my heartstrings. it never ceases to amaze me how intelligent and intuitive (not to mention beautiful and lovable) these animals are. watch max’s owner explain how he helped her discover her breast cancer. woman’s best friend, and a lifesaver. doesn’t get much better.

 

welcome!

while i do, for the most part, enjoy my day job, some days i find that it isn’t particularly…fulfilling. and i’m not always passionate about how i’m spending the hours in my day. this has led to an increasing sense of overall dissatisfaction as of late. the more i discuss this with others though, the more i realize that my feelings aren’t at all uncommon (and the better i feel. after all, misery loves company! kidding. i’m not miserable. but I digress). so in an effort to combat that sense of the doldroms, i’m committing to blogging about things that make me feel uplifted, inspired, and HAPPY. among those things are animals (primarily dogs!) nutrition, yoga…basically any and all things related to wellness, both physical and mental.

the older i get, the more i realize that life really is short, so one must live in the now. appreciate and celebrate the good in life (even the bad! it makes us appreciate the good that much more), and keep a healthy sense of perspective. and i believe that having the love of friends and family (and pets!), eating well, exercising…just living a healthy life overall make that positive outlook much more attainable. so while this is starting off very much as a personal project, i hope that what i share here will uplift and inspire you the reader, too.

thanks for visiting, happy reading, and please feel free to share your thoughts and comments along the way.

happily,
cristina