10 Years of Love and Marriage through Food & Veganism

Last week Carlos and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. We've been together for 17 years so far, since I was a wee teen of 18, so suffice it to say that we've been through so many adventures together. In last week's episode and post I hinted at the fact that I was going to completely embarrass him and record an episode that was a total declaration of love and that included lots of moments for him to turn bright red as he edited the episode. Sure, there's going to be a little bit of that today, but when I thought about how our story could be fun and also help you on your journey, I figured I should tell you our story through the lens of food, food traditions, and what happened when these two meat-loving-love-birds decided to go vegan.

This is going to be an untraditional episode, since we won't have our usual format of the post in written format. That means, I'm including some show notes and links (and photos of course!) below, but you'll have to listen to the episode to get all the scoop!

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Why We Fail at Healthy Eating When We Only Focus on Food

There's something amazing that has been happening in recent years when it comes to the media and our quest for health. For the first time, there is an acknowledgment that we can be active participants in getting healthier. For the first time, concerns abut food, our activity levels, stress levels and lifestyle are at the center stage, and we are finally getting the message that we can actually make a huge difference in our lives and our own vitality. The downside to this health focused media frenzy, has two main issues I believe need to be discussed. The first is that health is sometimes confused with the quest for being skinny, having a "perfect body", fitting a certain societal ideal (for both men and women), seeing any body type that doesn't fit this ideal as the thing we need to fear and steer clear from. Make no mistake, health and fitting society's body ideals are two very different things. The second issue when it comes to this focus on health that I feel needs to be talked about, is that it has made us focus so much on the food itself. It has created not only food fears, but it has made us step away from the many different aspects of our lives that are behind our choices at the table. It's just not as simple as knowing what you need to know about food and nutrition and making sure you follow that to a tee. If it were only up to that, we'd be a society without diet related health issues, based on the amount of books, experts and diets out there. The truth is we are complex human beings, and when the focus is all on the food, trying to isolate it from all the other aspects of ourselves, it's a lost battle. Health, and healthy eating specifically, is much more than just the food on our plate.

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Q&A!: Vegan Meat Alternatives, Oil Free and Raw Diets, Tofu for Tofu Haters and More!

Have I mentioned how much I love your questions?! If you were to ask me what my favorite parts about Brownble are, I always tell you the same thing, it's kind of a three way tie between creating new content and videos for you, recording our podcast and connecting with you through your questions and comments. 

Every single day we receive a truckload of emails, comments, questions and stories from you and they're not only inspiring, but they help me help other people who might be struggling with the same issues you're going through. Those questions serve as the perfect reminders of what I also went through when I first went vegan or when I struggled with my relationship with food. I love to gather them up and create these little compilations with some of the most common questions we receive.

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Cooking Hacks I've Learned Through the Years (Plus Some Cooking Stories)

I've told you before about my story with cooking (you can read it here and here!) and how it started from very early on. I was obsessed with the kitchen and ingredients since I was a very little girl, and my mother, bless her heart, always let me get in there and make a mess as you might recall from my stories of the "everything goes into them but mom eats them anyway caterpillar cookies".

The first recipe I truly learned how to master well were brownies. I took the recipe from a very old Betty Crocker book about entertaining I found in my mom's bookshelf, and which I still have (in pieces, but I have it). I practiced making them so often that I soon became the official brownie baker in my family and my school. There wasn't an event, party, holiday gathering or beach trip which didn't require me going into the pantry and whipping up a batch. The wonderful thing they don't tell you about being a kid and cooking is that somebody else does the shopping and all you have to do is raid the counters (yes!).

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Lessons from a Raisin

There are some moments in my life in which I realize time is just swooshing by. I start waking up wondering how an entire week just went by, how it could possibly be the holidays if we just had them, how in the blink of an eye the summer has come and gone, and in that second, I feel this huge sense of overwhelm. I feel overwhelmed because I quickly notice I’ve entered a slightly old but familiar territory. I’ve been going through my days, checking stuff off my to do lists, and I haven’t been present. It’s one thing to not be present during a busy run of the mill day, but it’s quite another when this starts becoming a pattern and it seeps into those good, simple day to day moments that bring joy to life, like noticing a bird singing away outside your window or sipping the most perfect cup of coffee while everything’s quiet and still. What about on those big, once in a lifetime moments that you’ll never have back like walking the streets of Rome during your first trip to Europe, getting married, standing at the top of the Grand Canyon for the first time? Our lives have become so busy, so dependent on schedules, technology, gadgets, the millions of tasks we have to do every day, that although our lives are filled with more things and activities, we feel we're in this state of not being anywhere.

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When Switching to a Vegan Diet Feels like a Struggle

Anyone who knows me knows me as an absolute optimist. I'm always cheerful, annoyingly perky sometimes, always smiling, very chatty, but the truth is a little bit different. It's different because with all my positive happy-go-lucky traits I'm also a chronic worrier. Weird combo I know! You know the type right? When it comes to everyone else's problems and issues I'm the go-to person to help you look at the bright side of things, but when it comes to my own, I'm constantly worried about whether I'm doing things right, whether I should be doing more, I worry about the past and the future. This was certainly a trait that made me struggle a lot when I first went vegan.

Yes! I said it!

In spite of all the wonderful things that being vegan has brought into my life, there were certain things I definitely struggled with, and since I'm all about keeping it real at Brownble, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about why we never talk about the hard stuff.

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The Fluffiest Blueberry Pancakes

Anyone who grew up on pancakes like me, knows that not all pancakes are created equal. Sure, drizzle any old pancake with lots of maple syrup and it will taste good, but there's an art form to the perfect pancake.

It should be tall, round, perfectly cooked through, golden brown, and especially fluffy and pillowy. There are so many tricks to always getting perfect pancakes, they have to do with the ratios in the recipe itself, with the amount of leavener used, but especially with letting the batter rest, the temperature of the pan or griddle and cooking them properly (spoiler alert: it might be exactly the opposite to what you've previously thought was pancake-making gospel!).

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The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Sandwiches

I pretty much always have an idea of what to make for lunch and dinner on any given day. All it takes is a glance at my fridge and the ingredients I have and I immediately feel inspired to create something. There's one exception though. One little guy I always forget about, which also happens to be one of the most fun, versatile and delicious things you can eat: the sandwich.

It's so strange that I often think about these bad boys last since I grew up on sandwiches. On our trips to the beach while I was growing up, my mom would pack tuna fish sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches (my personal favorite), ham and cheese, all pretty basic and standard. When it came to sandwiches though, my mother was not the queen.

She had a rival.

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