Body Image Series: A Different Body

In part 1 of our body image series I told you about my very own rock bottom moment and how it led me to finally find peace with my relationship with food and later, with my body. In part 2, we discuss what the research is saying about the role resiliency plays in improving our body image, and today, I'm sharing another part of my story. Today we're continuing our body image series with an episode dedicated to anyone who happens to be in a different body, whether it's due to illness, disability, or changes brought on by particular circumstances, today we honor bodies of all kinds. 

Something not many people know about me is what goes through my mind whenever I walk into an elevator, through the streets of a new city, into a public bathroom, or into a restaurant. It's something very unusual but almost instant. As I stroll down a pretty sidewalk in a new city, I notice whether or not the curb has a ramp, when I walk into an elevator I'm gauging its size, when I walk into a restaurant I notice stairs and whether the bathroom has a wide enough corridor to get to it, ditto, with restrooms and stalls. I do this because for my entire childhood and adolescence, I shared my life with someone who had a physical disability, my mom.

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Body Image Series: Resilience, Self Care and Body Kindness

For today's post and episode, part 2 of our body image series, I'm going to introduce you to the idea that the shame, hiding, negative body image moments, sad dressing room or morning scale moments, might not be a complete waste. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish these on anyone, and we're going to work hard through this series to prevent these from popping back up as frequently as they've been happening to you. What if I told you though, that the actual research shows that we can use these moments as a jumping off point to improve our body image? It's called body image resilience, a concept I found out about thanks to two of my favorite twins on this planet, two amazing women I'll be introducing to you today. A pair of identical twins who aren't only as eloquent as they get but who are body image activists, PhDs and experts on the topic of body image resilience and self-worth. Lindsay Kite, PhD and Lexie Kite, Phd have made it their life's mission to scientifically study how to help women and girls stop the self objectification, and see their bodies as more than objects to be looked at, teaching us how to re-wire the way we see our bodies. 

Last week in part 1, I shared the story of my rock bottom moment and the tools that helped me climb out of that space, and that's certainly the place to start when you're on this quest to improve your perception of your body and that negative self-talk, but I know how hard this can be. It can feel like an uphill battle in which you have one good day and then 5 bad ones back to back. You can feel totally confident and appreciative of your body one day, and then have a body bashing fest in front of the mirror the next morning. It's why I created this series, to share the tools that have helped me.

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Body Image Series: My Rock Bottom Moment and the Tools that Helped me Climb Out

I want to paint a little picture for you. It was right after Christmas, and although I would happily leave my decorations and my Christmas Tree up until September, I quickly had to take it down because Carlos's birthday (which is on January 14th) was coming up, and with that, his birthday party. Since I go overboard on Christmas and I have a tree that is suitable for a house twice this size, it occupies way too much space that needs to be cleared for all the party people. There I was, taking all the ornaments down, wrapping the fragile ones in newspaper, untangling lights, ornament glitter all over the place and boxes everywhere. My wooden dining room table covered in ornaments and decorations. My headphones are on, and a podcast episode is coming through. I  listened, having to sit down once or twice. A couple of tears falling down my cheek, Carlos unaware that any of this was happening, sitting at his computer working away in the other room. Those little tears that were part sadness, part anger, part desperation, with a very tiny but present feeling of relief. It was too minuscule to notice everything was going to be ok, but present enough to give me a glimpse of hope. All I could think at that moment was to take the phone out of my pocket, and take this picture.

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Before a New Year Begins...

You know me and my love of milestones. birthdays, the beginning of a season, the start of a new year or a new chapter in my life. There's just something magical about new beginnings and it's a powerful moment to make promises to ourselves. In no other moment of the year is this truer than New Year's Eve. I always ask people this time of year if they make any resolutions and almost everyone has some kind of tradition of setting their gaze on a future goal, promising to do something they have yet to do, promising to leave stress behind a bit and focus more on the good stuff of life. I get it, I'm one of those people. I do this the night before a birthday, the night before a new year, when I'm sitting on a plane coming back home from a trip. It's so nice to sit with oneself and take stock of what really matters and what we'd like to change.

One of those years something very special happened, I promised myself I would look into that whole "vegan thing", boy was that a good idea and not in a million years could I have guessed where it brought me! It's been many years since that day and now I get to hear the stories of so many people who confide in me and look for support on their journey. You have no idea how much I think of those little conversations you and I have as true treasures. I would have also never thought that Carlos would join me on that journey, nor that we would have this place where we all get to hang out together. 

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Christmas Vlog Time!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope yours was as yummy and magical as ours was! We went all out this year with delicious vegan treats, all our traditions including watching a ton of Christmas movies, going on our long walk with the dogs on Christmas, decorating the tree and hosting the yummiest Christmas Eve dinner. 

This year I decided to take you along with us, so you could see me cook, prep, and so I could make you jealous about our Christmas vegan donuts, and much more, so we prepared a little Christmas vlog with all our favorite holiday shenanigans and tons of family photos!

I hope you love it and I hope your Christmas, or whatever traditions you celebrate this time of year, were special, sweet, yummy, filled with family, friends, and a little bit of magic.

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10 Unusual Tips for Sress-Free Holiday Cooking and Entertaining

As I mentioned last week, we've been hosting tons of holiday gatherings this year due to the fact that we finally have family living near us this year! I've shopped, planned, prepped, tested, decorated and cooked round the clock this holiday season, and even though I thought I knew all there was to know about saving time and energy when entertaining, every year I learn something new.

I've given you tons of entertaining advice in the past, and we've covered the basics including very helpful tips such as setting the table the night before, making your shopping list a week ahead of time in case you're in the neighborhood of some of your specialty stores. Planning out your menu so you don't need 6 stove burners when you only have four, and making sure you enlist some help. These are all part of having a stress-free holiday gathering, but today I thought I'd talk to you about some of the more unusual tips that might just make a world of difference. Sometimes it's those teeny tiny tasks that either make or break you, and if you need a seven hour nap after a seven hour cooking marathon, something's gotta give! It's time to change things up so that you can enjoy your holiday gatherings as a host just as much as your guests do.

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Hearty Holiday Entrées that are not the Classic Vegan Roast

You know me and my hearty holiday vegan roasts, I simply love them. Whether they're store-bought, made with seitan, our lentil and mushroom holiday roasts, nut roasts, mushroom roasts, etc, I love feeling that there's a traditional hearty main entrée in the center of the table. Since most of our friends and family who come over for Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't vegan, I always love to serve something that will seem familiar. It's why when non-vegans come over and they see this giant platter of perfectly sliced seitan roast with mushroom gravy slathered all over it they get VERY excited! Now we even have ready made roasts from brands like Tofurky, Gardein and Field Roast which even come with their own gravy and all you have to do is heat them up, cook up some sides and you have a perfect holiday meal.

What if however, this year you wanted to make something different. What if, you live in an area where these products aren't as readily available and you want to create something hearty, using simple staples you can find at the grocery store? What if you don't have the time this year to make big holiday roast from scratch? What if you simply want to mix things up and surprise your guests with something different this year? Today's episode and post is all about those hearty vegan main dishes you can make when you want to skip the classic vegan roast.

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Creamy Cashew and Chive Cheese for a Festive Vegan Cheese Platter

Carlos's grandmother always got her holiday parties started by serving a HUGE cheese ball and having everybody dig in. There's something about that timeless combination of cheese and crackers and cheese and bread that is so simple yet festive, not to mention the fact that it's the easiest party appetizer because you can make it ahead of time, serve it and forget it!

Yes... I said make it. 

We're going to make vegan cheese at home!

One of my favorite cheeses in my pre-vegan days used to be goat cheese, mostly because I loved the texture of it. It held its shape, but it was also creamy and stuck to the roof of your mouth giving you that blissful decadent feeling. The cashew cheese I'm teaching you how to make today is very similar. It holds its shape since we're using agar-agar (a vegetarian gelatin you can find at any supermarket), but it's marvelously creamy and perfect on a cracker. We're also decorating it so it looks super festive, and turning the whole thing into a yummy vegan holiday cheese platter!

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