What I Wish I Knew Before Adopting a Plant-Based Diet

What I Wish I Knew Before Adopting a Plant-Based Diet

When I decided to go plant-based, I planned on quitting meat products cold turkey. I am typically really good about maintaining self-control so even if I miss a certain meal, I can refuse to partake and be just fine if it’s what I’ve made up my mind to do. When I actually went plant-based however, there were a few key things I feel that I would have handled differently had I known about them prior to making the switch.

That brings me to this post! If you are planning on eating a plant-based diet or even just thinking about it, this is my little letter to you! It may be able to better prepare you for what is to come and make your transition just a tad bit smoother.

What I Wish2

 

My Appetite Would Increase

In my first week I was constantly snacking on popcorn, chips, grapes and pretty much any vegan snack I could find in the moment. If you don’t feel hungrier than normal in that initial first week, you may feel it pretty soon. Although it won’t seem like it at first, this newfound hunger can be a good thing as long as you are choosing all of the right snacks (something I wasn’t doing at all). Just because a food item says “Vegan” on the label does not automatically make it healthy, so please choose wisely. 

Here are a few healthy snacks that help you to feel fuller:

  • Kale Chips
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Guacamole on Toast (lightly seasoned with black pepper and salt makes this SO delish!)
  • a LARA Bar
  • Smoothies! (I’ve found that adding spinach to the mix makes any smoothie way more filling)
  • Nuts

My Skin Would React

how-to-find-the-right-facial-cleanser

I don’t know if it was because of all of the snacking or diet change in itself, but for the first few weeks I felt like I was 13 again, just constantly waking up to new break-outs. It wasn’t anything major, in fact it was very minor but it was abnormal for me. Especially with the skin care regime I’ve kept up with (which by the way, doesn’t consist of any of the products in the photo above).

It is perfectly normal for the skin to go through a short purge stage when you change your diet, so it is nothing to worry about. Just be sure that you are sticking to a skin care regimen and drinking lots of water to help flush all of the toxins- that your body is already trying to get rid of- out.

I Would Have to Meal Plan

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The picture you see up above is of a vegan pizza from one of the VERY FEW vegan restaurants I’ve come to know of in my area. What is my point in placing it here?

It’s rare.

I can’t just order delivery pizza anymore (and i’m not going to lie, I do miss that small little interaction with the pizza delivery people when they give you your pizza…sigh…). I can’t just realize that I’m hungry and wait a few minutes until my microwavable meal is ready. I can’t just be out and about and stop by McDonald’s for a full meal (that ISN’T a salad..). I actually have to account for what my breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be.

Now don’t get me wrong, since I have been vegan I have discovered quick microwaveable meals and have actually ordered vegan food from a few drive-through places (french fries count, right?) and restaurants.  Like I mentioned when talking about the increase in appetite, not everything with “vegan” stamped on it is healthy. I try to stay away from these foods to stay cost effective, but also to keep from becoming dependant on these kinds of preservative-packed meals because honestly, it is so stinking hard not to.

My Advice to Those Considering Going Plant-Based

If you are considering adopting a plant-based diet, first off I want to congratulate you! You are already taking a positive and extremely beneficial step towards a healthier and happier life! That’s pretty noteworthy!

Secondly, please don’t get easily discouraged. I think often times, with any kind of lifestyle adjustment, it is easy for us to become so overwhelmed with having to get used to the change that instead of toughing it out, we end up going back to our “norm”. In order for something to become your new norm however, you have to develop consistency and stick to it. It is only as hard as you make it! You got this!!

Lastly, for all of my fellow picky eaters out there, don’t compare the vegan foods to the meat foods. You will be doing a great disservice to yourself, trust me. For the first few months, you’re going to have to change the way you view eating in that you eat because you have to- not because you want to. Acknowledging that the food you eat may not always meet your expectations is a huge part to sticking to the diet. In my opinion, homemade vegan meals often taste better and fresher, but you may have to mentally prepare yourself for the change in texture and sometimes in taste. If you remember that we eat to nourish our bodies and not to satisfy our palettes than you will be just fine! (:

If You Are Considering Adopting a Vegan Lifestyle…

I’ve got you covered in the beauty department (;

I have partnered up with Siobhan, a lovely blogger friend of mine, to help you guys out in the make-up department if you’re interested in finding really good vegan/cruelty-free make-up products! Check out her super helpful post here.

If you have any questions about switching to a plant-based diet, feel free to ask below! I’d be more than happy to answer your questions and others might be able to help you as well(:

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Steps to Being the Change You Want to See

5 Steps to Being the Change You Want to See

*Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own. 

Sorry to be the bearer of real news, but if you’ve been following this blog, you know that wrapped in pretty words or not, I try to tell it like it is.

So here goes the real:

Has anyone else noticed that there is never a short supply of bad news, and yet good news seems to have the opposite problem? I swear every single time I’ve watched the news recently, I’m updated on about 50 bad things and about 3 good things.

For all of the happenings we hear about on the news that require some sort of help or change, there sure doesn’t seem to be any.

It’s saddening how much we undermine our power of influence as individuals. We forget just how much we can impact the lives of those around us and in turn, the world. Like a domino effect, one person truly does influence the other.

So why don’t we allow the news to inspire us to get involved in outreach programs, charities, and things of the like? If you have a desire to give the news something awe-inspiring to talk about, no matter how big or small the cause, keep reading!

liveout loud

Step 1: Find Your Personal Why 

There are plenty of charitable causes in the world and yes, all of them could use a helping hand. But why do you want to be that helping hand?

It’s one thing to do something because “it’s the good thing to do” and another to do something because “I strongly believe in XYZ”. The difference lies in the enthusiasm.

My personal why is simply that I want my life to make a dent in more than just my grave. If I can change just one person’s life for the better, that would mean everything to me!

Once you understand your why, your cause becomes even more relevant and most of all, important to you.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Find out more about the cause you hope to change! Look for interviews, books, podcasts, blog posts, statistics and even ask people you know about the topic.

If you don’t have a cause in mind, try googling “Non profits in *insert your city/state/country*”.

It’s pretty hard to commit to something you aren’t very knowledgeable of. If you want to nurture a deep-rooted passion for the change you hope to enact, this is such a great way to do so!

Step 3: Use Eventbrite… Really.

If you want to find charitable events near you, I strongly suggest you use Eventbrite. In my opinion, it is way more reliable than Facebook and more proficient in locating events.

Once you search for charitable events in your area, right away you get the price of the events as well as the distance between you and the events that auto-populate. Before you even click on an event title, you know exactly what you’re looking into!

If you want to make an event they even offer their software at a discounted rate for nonprofit fundraising!

Just trust me on this one, Eventbrite is a bomb tool to use.

Step 4: Invite Your Friends

Strength in numbers, my friend. The more you have rallying with you, the better!

Tell your friends about what you’re trying to support and invite them to support it with you. It’ll make the experience so much more enjoyable.

Step 5: Keep Track of What You Do VS. What You Say You’ll Do

This particular step is one I am still learning to do myself. It’s always been easier to express my intentions than to follow through with them. Wanting, doesn’t make anything happen. In fact, it can be a huge trap sometimes.

 It can encourage you to push-off the action and give yourself a pat on the back for the thought. At the end of a day with that kind of thinking, you end up feeling good about yourself for.. well… thinking.

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

-Bradley Whitford

What do you find to be your biggest hesitation in becomming more involved in your community? I’d love to talk about it with you guys in the comments<3

How I Organize My Life With A Bullet Journal

How I Organize My Life With A Bullet Journal

I started bullet journaling when I desperately needed a planner, but didn’t have 50+ bucks to spend on an elaborate planner. Bullet journaling is a very affordable, creative planning system option since whatever journal you own can be transformed into one!

Before I started, I think one of the biggest concerns I had about bullet journaling was the time it takes to make one and keep it up. After all, a bullet journal is a completely customizable planner. Creating every page in a bujo (bu -bullet- + jo -journal-) could take a lot of time depending on one’s needs in a planner. Also, pictures like these popped up every time I searched “bullet journal” on google and they definitely intimidated me:

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetbujo inspo2bujo inspo3

Beautiful, aren’t they?

The only problem is, I am nowhere near talented enough to make pages like those and to make matters worse; I don’t always have the time to make those kinds of pages…

So Why Bullet Journal?

Basically, anything that is specific to your life, you can put into a bujo. If I want to keep up with a new habit I am trying to start, I can simply add a habit tracker page. If I want to make sure that I stick to a certain day or night-time routine, I can add a page for my routine’s. If I want to have a page dedicated to listing blog post idea’s, I can make that arrangement as well!

A regular planner typically isn’t built to suit your life to that extent. I am such a huge advocate for bullet journaling for the reason that no matter how arts and crafty you are, a bullet journal gets your life on paper and in order!

If you’re curious as to how the whole bullet journaling thing works or simply need a little motivation to get organized, you’ve come to the right place! As I’ve said before, I am no artsy person so what you see here isn’t going to look the prettiest but hopefully it will show you how you can make the bullet journal system work for you.

Take A Look Inside!

I purchased this journal from 5 and Below (pretty much a dollar store) and it has nothing special about it. It’s literally just a plain regular lined journal. I know some people prefer to use journals with graph lined paper or dot grid paper, but you can use whatever you like.

Only two pages can be found in almost every bullet journal you look through. These pages are the Index and the Key. I rarely use my Index since my journal came with a bookmark ribbon attached. Whenever I need to reach a page, I simply open the journal where I’ve placed the ribbon and go from there. In my previous bullet journal however, I didn’t have the ribbon so I did use the Index pretty frequently. You’ll see why in just a little bit…

The biggest perk to using a bujo is the endless types (and even amounts) of collections you can add. These are pages that hold lists that you will constantly update. I have inserted a few collections before my monthly, and daily spreads. Some pages are more updated than others, as I have kind of experimented with different kinds of collections to see how they work for me. If one does, I keep up with it and if one doesn’t it typically just sits there. I have a page dedicated to listing my day and night routine, a study log page, and this page which I refer to for a dose of inspiration/motivation.


After those pages, you start to see my monthly and daily spreads. Some people use weekly spreads as well, but I just don’t see the point in making things that specific. In my monthly spread, I just jot down my schedule. That way when I take a glance at it, I have a brief explanation of what I am to do that week.


Some people prefer to insert a few other collections or spreads between their monthly spread and weekly spread but the only extra pages I find that I need every month are pages for monthly goals, and pages for weekly goals. 
Finally, my daily spreads tend to look like so! Here is an old daily spread just to give an example:

Notice how in some of the boxes, instead of a check mark or a penciled-in box there is a little “>”. If you visit my key up there ^^ you’ll see that it means “migrated”. I depend on this particular feature way more than I should but it is so useful!

If you don’t get to a task, you simply put this symbol next to the task and migrate it to either the next day, week, or month. This is yet another feature that makes the bujo so cool cause really, not everyone completes every goal/task they give themselves. It’s a very forgiving feature to have.

That’s All There Is To It!

Not too complicated (or great looking haha) and not too extravagant, yet perfectly suited for my lifestyle. When it comes to the time it takes to make the journal as a whole, I never take the time to make the ENTIRE bujo. Instead, I take one day within the first week of a new month to make the monthly/weekly spreads and the collections needed for that month. That way I can best tailor the bujo to my needs for that month in particular!

Honestly, the bujo system has been the coolest planning system I’ve ever committed to. And that’s the other thing: I am actually committed to it. I think the lack of ability to personalize (and I’m not talking about with stickers here) in previous planners that I have owned contributed to my lack of motivation to plan consistently. Because the bullet journal requires me to update it so it stays tailored to my life, I am actually more motivated to be consistent!

If you are looking into buying a planner, I recommend trying the bullet journal system first! See how much you like it and if you can make it work for you. If not, you’ve only spent x amount of dollars on a journal. No real harm done.

What planning system do you find works best for you?

12 Ways to Unwind After a Stressful Day

12 Ways to Unwind After a Stressful Day

Picture this. You’ve spent an interminable, busy, difficult day at work and you are exhausted. All you want to do is lay down and for just a few hours, forget all about your to-do’s and relax.

You just don’t have it in you to do anything else… but you know that somehow, someway, you’ll have to scrounge up a little bit of drive. Things still need to be done. The world doesn’t stop just because you’re tired as I don’t know what.

I can bet you that wasn’t too hard to picture. It probably sounds like the day you had yesterday, or last week, or even today. Most people spend the precious free time they get to relax watching Netflix, but! Can you believe that there are actually more effective ways to deal with all of that stress?

I know! It’s insane.

There are indeed more effective ways to unwind and release all of that stress build-up. Here are 12 beneficial ways to do so!  unwind after (1)

#1- Drink Some Tea & Read a book.

There’s a reason I didn’t suggest coffee here… Turns out tea, more specifically green tea, has qualities that are scientifically proven to reduce stress.

From its aroma, to the process it takes to make it, to the calming effect of its amino acids, Tea is definitely a good go-to if your goal is to chill and be chill. Coffee, in moderation, is said to be a stress reliever as well however, too much can actually result in stress increase.

Just like tea, reading has it’s fair share of health benefits as well. These benefits include exercising your brain (a no brainer), increased vocabulary, and you guessed it: Stress relief. Studies have proved that those who read have a significantly lower amount of stress compared to other avenues of stress relief.

You could see how the combination of the two makes for the perfect oasis.

#2 – Start an art project

Painting, pottery, photography, and pretty much any DIY project gives you something to focus on. It provides you with a mute button for the thoughts in your brain, making you feel calmer as you center on your project. An added bonus to working on an art project is the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish. It’s worth considering.

#3- Eat Some Dark Chocolate

Find yourself raiding the fridge when you feel stressed out? The good news is you don’t have to trade-off junk food for stress eating salads! Settle for some dark chocolate. It reduces levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and catecholamines (fight or flight hormones).

#4- Meditate

Apps such as Breathe, Headspace, Simple Habit, and Abide provide you with meditations and meditation series that you can use on a daily basis. These meditations are anywhere from two minutes to 30 minutes but you can choose to meditate as long as you’d like. All promote using headphones to give you a full, calming experience. You can also choose to YouTube some guided meditations or google them. There are so many helpful ones available.

#5- Get some fresh air

The outside air can clean your lungs (hence clearer and all around better breathing!), and according to research, make you feel happier. Serotonin, which is basically a natural happy pill, is increased when oxygen is increased. Therefore when you take a walk, sit outside, or do some sort of outside activity, you are increasing your sense of happiness and well-being while decreasing stress.

#7-  Bubble Bath

A nice warm bath is a timeless, age-old stress reliever, even though it wasn’t always the most hygienic in its history… Bathing in a bathtub relaxes any tension and because of the items you can add to the water (bath bombs, oatmeal, lemons, etc.), improves your skin as well.

#8-  Listen to music

Music can actually alter your brain wave speed, allowing you to fall into a meditative state. Music can also reduce the intensity of pain, increase happiness, increase motivation, and provide stress relief. This isn’t necessarily specific to genre either, so whatever music you enjoy should do the trick! Here’s the playlist I choose to wind down to.

#9- Laugh

Laughter really is the best medicine. Lucky for us, technology offers several avenues to get comic relief if there is no one in person to offer any (although that route is always preferred). Laughter eases muscle tension, gives you a relaxed feeling, and increases your oxygen intake.

#10- Take a Nap

It’s no secret that lack of sleep and enact a wide array health problems. Stress is always listed as one of the most common results of sleep deprivation. Making time to rest improves your memory, energy, focus, youthful looking appearance, and attention while decreasing levels of anxiety and depression. It’s important to incorporate naps into a daily or weekly schedule if you know that sleep is something you have a hard time getting.

#11- Planning

I know it sounds strange… most people associate planning with stress (I know I did!) but there are two ways you can do this. One is to plan a trip somewhere you hope to visit one day. You won’t actually be going on the trip anytime soon so there is no time restraint. It’s a more detailed form of vision journaling.  The other method of planning is daily planning. This increases motivation and allows you to properly prioritize your tasks so as you get them done, you feel accomplished, like you have clearer direction, and a greater sense of ease.

#12- Cuddle up and listen to a podcast.

This method is a combination of music and reading, which produces the same benefits as both combined. Grab a warm blanket and listen to a podcast! There are several available on a variety of topics. A few one’s that I enjoy are Having it ALL: Conversations about living an Abundant Loving Life, How I Built This, and TED Radio Hour.  

If you find that you’re going through a stressful program or day in and day out schedule than maybe you can try each of these methods and see which one works best for you! Do you have a relaxation ritual you use to un-stress?

-Courtney</3

 

 

3 Ways to Get More Energy 

3 Ways to Get More Energy 

 Welcome to Mad Cute Monday! A not so new series I am starting on the blog since this is not the first time I’ve done a OOTD post. I want to exercise the freedom of talking about more than just the outfit I’m wearing (even though I totally LOVE these shoes! Oh, and can we just mention how adorable this strapless blouse is??). On Mad Cute Monday’s there will be an OOTD and with it, Continue reading “3 Ways to Get More Energy “