They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. There is also a “they” that disagrees, believing that it takes much longer. Whatever the day to habit timeline may actually be, I think that, when you’re looking at making a lifestyle change, 21 days is a pretty solid place to start.
Twenty-one days is three weeks, which, to my mind, is long enough to feel as though you’ve done something, while still being moderate enough as to not be overwhelming. You’re not committing an entire month, but it’s no weekend foray either—which is why I really love the idea of a 21-Day Challenge.
Last November, the yoga studio that I had been spottily attending sent out an email proposing a challenge: twenty-one consecutive days of yoga (and/or Pilates) beginning the day after Thanksgiving. There was no reward—no free class, no t-shirt—just your name on a blackboard near the shoe cubbies stating your commitment for all to see.
I decided to take it on.
(Names other than my own have been hidden to protect the identities of innocent yogis.)
One of the biggest misconceptions about plant-based (or generally healthy) eating is that it is expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, our grocery spending has decreased over the past few months—and that’s despite buying organic most of the time. Plus, since it’s not so convenient anymore, we also spend less money dining out. Savings all around!
Some of the most expensive things you can buy at the grocery store or farmer’s market are butter, milk, meat, and cheese—gosh, is cheese ever expensive! Even eggs, which most people think of as a cost-effective staple, cost a pretty penny when you’re attempting to buy them conscientiously.
Things like beans and grains, however, are so gloriously budget-friendly that it’s a wonder more people don’t go vegan for the sole purpose of saving some dough. If you buy your legumes dried, and especially if you hit up the bulk bins, you’ll save even more. But really, even canned beans are a decent value if you’re looking for convenience.
Chris and I recently started having a Date Night every other Friday. Date Night because, when you've been together for a while, it can be easy to get stuck in that rut of always staying in and doing the same ol' thing. And every other Friday because I'm certain that if we shot for every week, things would come up, we'd miss one here and there, and, because we could never really keep up with the schedule anyway, it would fall by the wayside.
So far it's been great. We've met for movies, had a museum date, and, naturally, have gone out to eat. I do fear, however, that we may be getting into a whole different kind of rut. I'm not complaining. It's an enjoyable rut. It's just that, since starting Date Night in January, we have now spent three of them at Angelica Kitchen.
“Many bloggers have recently adopted a vegetarian, vegan or whole foods way of eating. I would love to know if you’ve experienced the same since changing. Before I went whole foods, I never really had any digestive issues. Now, a small deviation into junk can easily trigger something nasty.”
Nearly six months ago, I set down a path to lose weight and feel better. While my goals soon began to shift and led me to where I am today (veganism), I learned a lot about how challenging and frustrating weight loss can be. It was humbling.
I learned that the most difficult aspect of weight loss is the psychological. Self-judgment, disappointment, and frustration are key players in the struggle, but the team captain, the tyrant driving all the others, is expectation. Expectations over how much and how fast will drive you crazy…if you let them.
A while back, I said that “weight loss looks more like a craggy, downward-sloping mountain range than a slide.” I wasn’t just crafting similes. It’s true.
This is a snapshot of 4 weeks of my own weight loss.
Last weekend, Chris and I took a day trip out to a castle on Long Island. Yes, I said a castle. On Long Island. Oheka Castle--one of many extravagant mansions built in the early 1900s by the wealthy elite on what is known as Long Island's Gold Coast.
We first learned about the Gold Coast mansions on a fun show called Off Limits, where the host takes you to places that are otherwise, well, off limits. See, most of these mansions have been long abandoned and fallen into severe disrepair (or, as the guide said repeatedly during our tour of Oheka, "despair") and are not accessible to the public. After Oheka's days as a privately-owned luxury retreat, a stint as a retirement home for sanitation workers, and a couple decades as a military academy, it too fell into disrepair. Fortunately the 115,000 square foot castle (the second largest private residence in the U.S.) was bought up in the 80's and has been in the process of being restored ever since; it's presently about 70% complete.
Though these things can seem that way, my decision to go vegan didn't happen overnight. To be honest, I estimate that it took me a couple years to get to where I am today. I had to educate myself about a lot of things, not all of them easy to accept, and do quite a bit of leaning into a plant-based lifestyle before I was ready to make the commitment. And it certainly helped to know that, once I took that leap, there would be an abundance of delicious, nourishing food on the other side.
So, in the spirit of abundance, I've gathered together several of my favorite plant-based recipes that I developed over the past couple years. These recipes are sure to satisfy--whether you already have a full-on vegan kitchen or are simply looking to lean.