Florida Vlogs 2017: Day Four – Wildlife Preservation

Today we went to an amazing Giraffe Ranch wildlife preserve that was family owned and operated, with the mission of confronting the issue of mass extinction with many species around the world.

This was my favorite day of the trip so far, and definitely my favorite vlog to make! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Be Bold 2017: Blog and Business Goals

So far in 2017 I’ve done quite a bit of brainstorming about where I want my blog to go in 2017. As you’ve seen this week, one of my main goals was to expand my content to include videos on my YouTube channel. Throughout my blogging career, I’ve learned that taking creative risks is one of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself.

When I started my blog, one of the reasons I did so was my love for writing. However, another contributing factor was the fact that I wasn’t yet comfortable being in front of the camera and making media in that way. This year I decided to challenge myself and start making more visual content to pair with my writing. So far, I’ve loved the challenge that this has presented! (If you’d like to check out my YouTube channel, I would love to hear your thoughts or have you subscribe! 🙂 ).

One of my other goals is to blog about my new journeys. There are a few journeys that I want to take this year, and I hope to venture into new creative endeavors in the process. I want to live my life more intentionally, pursuing my passions and living a life that I love. I want to help others, and I have learned that I have numerous interests that I want to explore over the course of my undergraduate (and post-graduate) career.

I also want to start a big project this year, and am still thinking about the specifics. I want it to be a creative venture that combines all of my passions into one. I’m still in the planning stages, but I have received so much support from the blogging community about starting such a project! 🙂

So there you have it! Those are my three main goals for my blog and business in 2017, which I was inspired to explore as part of the Be Bold 2017 Linkup organized by The Social Butterfly Gal. There will definitely be more posts corresponding to these goals, but if you would like to learn more about what I’ve done so far in 2017 to achieve these goals feel free to take a look at My Journeys!

What are your blog and business goals for this year? I would love to hear them! 🙂

If you would like to participate in this Linkup, click on the button below!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Florida Vlogs 2017: Day Two

I’ve had so much fun making more media content this year! Today we went to a beautiful beach where I actually stepped in the ocean! (For those of you who don’t know, I’m not the biggest fan of water). The water was quite cold, but the views were breathtaking! I hope you’ve been enjoying these vlogs, I’ve certainly loved making them! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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Florida Vlogs 2017: Day One

Florida Vlogs 2017: Day One

One of my goals for 2017 is to create more video content on my YouTube channel, and this trip has given me the perfect opportunity! We took a beautiful hike today, with perfect weather and breathtaking scenery! It was a wonderful way to spend our first full day in Florida!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Nutritious Vegan Pancakes

Do you ever have those days where you start craving something that you wouldn’t normally? Today was one of those days for me, as I was craving pancakes all day (mostly because I was scrolling through Pinterest and kept seeing pictures!). I decided to take all of the ingredients that I could find laying around, and give an experimental recipe a shot! For those of you who have seen me cook, you know that I’m all about experimentation. This is probably why baking goes terribly for me, but cooking is more forgiving in that regard. 🙂

This recipe turned out much better than I anticipated, and I just had to share! It made six pancakes, which were perfect for my dinner. I still have two leftover (since they were quite filling!). They took about twenty minutes once all was said and done, and were delicious! I also didn’t have any non-dairy milk lying around today, so I had to use water. Despite that, they turned out to be great!

These pancakes would be perfect for a quick and nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner! In my dorm we have a tradition where we make pancakes for everyone on Saturday mornings, so this may have to be my new go-to vegan recipe! 🙂

If you give it a go, please let me know what you think! And if you make any variations (as I said, I’m very experimental too) I’d love to know! Feel free to tag me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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Blogmas Day 3: Mis Experiencias con los Idiomas

blogmas-day-three-2Empezó estudiar el español después del nivel cinco, porque quería aprender sobre las otras culturas del mundo en una manera lingüística. En mi vida diaria ahora, puedo pensar en ingles y español sin pensar de los contextos. Pero, al contrario de los pensamientos que muchos tienen cuando digo que hablo los dos idiomas, no fue fácil por muchos años. ¡De hecho, no entendía las reglas y los conceptos por casi cuatro años! Mi mente no pude entender los pronunciaciones y las reglas gramáticas, y en unos casos quería dejar de estudiarlo. ¡De vera, ya no puedo pronunciar mis “rr”s correctamente, y intentaba muchísimas veces jaja!

Pues, mi experiencia con el español es algo profundamente positiva en mi vida. Sin este idioma, no descubrió la pasión que tengo por los idiomas y las culturas del mundo. Tengo una lista de las cosas que quiero intentar de varios países, como la ceremonia de las uvas por el año nuevo en España. ¡Y la Tomatina en Buñol! La Tomatina es una pelea con tomates en la ciudad de Buñol, y es algo que quiero hacer si viajo a España.

¿Entonces, como mantengo mi fluencia con el idioma? Pues, la música tiene un papel grande es mi experiencia con Español. Unas de las canciones que escuchaba cuando estaba en los niveles seis, siete, y ocho fue “La Camisa Negra” de Juanes. ¡Me encanta esta canción jaja! Si quieres saber más sobre las canciones que me encanta, puedes ver mis playlists en mi cuenta de Spotify. Además, cambiar el idioma en mi teléfono a Español, que ayuda mucho porque mi mente necesita cambiar la moda de pensar muchas veces cada día. Algo interesante es que por muchos años (como, desde la nivel once) de vez en cuando tengo sueños que están en Español. Cuando viajé a Italia con mi familia unos años atrás, el uso del Italiano (de las personas que hablemos con) resulta en una cambia en mi mente a Español de inglés. Ahora, estoy estudiando el Italiano en la universidad, y al empiezo fue difícil porque siempre estaba pensando en Español! Pero ayuda mucho con la clase en que ahora es más fácil para aprender a un idioma.

Por unos meces quería hacer una categoría por otros idiomas en mi blog, porque es buena practica para mi y quiero expander mi audiencia. Entonces, Blogmas es una oportunidad perfecta para empezar esta camina. ¡Voy a incluir traducciones cada vez, y espero que les gusta este nuevo proyecto!

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I started studying Spanish after fifth grade because I wanted to learn more about the world through language. Now in my day-to-day life I can think in both English and Spanish with ease. But contrary to what most people think when I tell them that I speak two languages, it wasn’t always easy. In fact, I didn’t understand the rules and concepts for about four years! Since I hadn’t learned a second language at that point my mind couldn’t comprehend the pronunciations and the grammatical rules, and there were a few times when I wanted to stop my studies. In all honesty, I still can’t roll my “rr’s” correctly, and trust me I’ve tried many times!

My experience with Spanish has been something profoundly positive in my life. If I hadn’t made the decision to start a study of Spanish, I wouldn’t have discovered the passion that I have for the languages and the cultures of the world. I’ve started a list of all of the things that I want to do in different countries, such as the celebration of the New Year with grapes in Spain. And the Tomatina in Buñol! The Tomatina is a huge tomato fight in the city of Buñol, and is definitely something that I want to do if I travel to Spain!

So how did I maintain my fluency? Music has played a large role in helping me to keep my fluency. One of the songs that I listened to in middle school was La Camisa Negra by Juanes, and I still love that song! If you would like to see what music I typically listen to, check out my Spotify playlists! I also changed the language on my phone to Spanish, which helped me to keep using the language in my day-to-day life. Something interesting is that for a few years now (since about my junior year of high school) I sometimes have dreams in Spanish. When I traveled to Italy with my family, constantly hearing Italian made my mind switch to Spanish! I’m currently studying Italian this year in college, and it was quite difficult at first because my mind kept switching to Spanish automatically! But knowing Spanish has helped a lot with the conjugations and specifics of Italian.

For a few months now I have wanted to start a language section of my blog, because it will be great practice for me and I want to expand my reach past primarily English posts. I will always include translations with the posts, and I hope that you are excited to join me on this journey!

©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas Day 2: My Experience with ThredUp

blogmas-day-twoLast weekend I found myself on Pinterest, as I often do, and came across a pin about ThredUp. I had seen pins about this company before, but had never ventured to the site to see it for myself. So on a chilly winter evening I found myself relaxing and perusing the site with no idea what I would find. What I found was simply amazing.

I started by looking in the Juniors section of the website, which has an extensive selection of tops, jeans, dresses, sweaters, and more. I am always hesitant when buying clothes online (since I never know how they are going to fit or how they are going to look), but I decided to take the plunge.

Recently I have been shifting to a minimalist lifestyle, and one of those aspects is recycling clothes and only owning what I use on a regular basis. As I was looking on the site, I perused the clothes, checked sizes, and browsed their ‘basement’ section for clothes that are a little more worn.

I ended up picking out six items of clothing: a pink dress with a lace pattern (that I am going to wear to my Winter Waltz this Saturday!), two pairs of overall shorts (I have seen these on Pinterest for years and finally took the plunge and bought some! I have been loving them so far!), a t shirt with a quote from The Fault in Our Stars, a grey patterned sweater (which is super warm), and a floral lace skirt.

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The adorable packaging!

The box arrived in the mail a few days later, and I brought it back to my dorm room in excited anticipation. As I opened it, I was greeted with colorful tissue paper and the cutest sticker to top it off! I took the clothes out of the tissue paper, and to my surprise there were adorable tags on each item of clothing which would make them perfect gifts! (Or in my case, perfect gifts to myself haha!).

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The beautiful lace design

Let’s start with the dress. I am drawn to pink lace dresses (I have a lovely one from Maurices that I wore under my high school graduation gown), and as soon as I saw this one I knew I wanted to give it a try. It’s even more beautiful in person! It is a darker pink color than my other one, making it a good winter dress to pair with leggings, boots, and a cardigan for extra warmth. It fits perfectly and looks brand new! I’m excited to wear it to my Winter Waltz dance this Saturday!

So excited to finally own overalls!
So excited to finally own overalls!

Now to the overalls: I have always wanted at least one pair for the longest time (take a look at my Fashion and Style board on Pinterest and you will see this fact) and found two pairs that I wanted to give a try! The first is a lighter washed out denim, with the full overall style. These fit perfectly, and aren’t hard to take on and off. I tried them on with leggings underneath, black booties, and both a short sleeve shirt and a warmer sweater. I loved all of the combinations!

I love both styles!
I love both styles!

The second pair I got have a darker denim wash with buttons in the front, and just the straps instead of the full front piece. These fit perfectly too, and are great with leggings and a short sleeve shirt! I am very happy that I now have two pairs to call my own, especially since I’ve been pinning countless overall fashion combinations on Pinterest for years!

This is my current favorite sweater!
This is my current favorite sweater!

 

 

The sweater I got (which I am currently wearing because it is very soft and great for staying warm!) is a light grey with a woven design. The sleeves are a shorter style, and more loose than most sweaters I own. It is perfect for work attire when paired with black work pants and boots, but can also be made more casual with patterned leggings. It fits perfectly and is my favorite sweater that I own at the moment!

I love the pattern and design!
I love the pattern and design!

I don’t usually wear skirts, but this one managed to catch my eye. It is a floral lace pattern with lots of ruffles, and is perfect for dressier outfits (and it wears quite well with the grey sweater)! This also fits perfectly, and is very comfortable and in great condition.

Finally, the shirt I bought has one of my favorite quotes on it: “My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations” (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green). It was in the ‘basement’ section of the site, and was only $2.50!

"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations"
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations”

One of the things I haven’t mentioned thus far is how reasonable this purchase was. ThredUp had a 40% off sale for the holidays, and as such I paid $25 for all six items of clothing (including shipping)! I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, and I know that I will never buy clothes anywhere else.

The Clean-Out kit
The Clean-Out kit

In addition, I found that I had some clothes in my closet and drawers that I hadn’t worn all semester. I knew that they would be better in someone else’s hands, so I requested a free Clean-Out kit from ThredUp. I received the kit today, which includes a postage paid bag to put the clothes in. After filling the bag with clothing, you simply seal it, mail it off, and can opt to donate the clothes or receive credit (store credit or PayPal credit)! I feel so much better that I am actually wearing the clothes I own, and I know that someone else might find something they love in the clothes I sent back just like I found clothes I loved from what others sent in!

The tags that came with each piece!
The tags that came with each piece!

I highly recommend ThredUp to anyone looking for new clothes for amazing prices and quality! I hope that you enjoyed hearing about my experience, and let me know if you end up buying clothing items from them! Tag me on Twitter or Instagram with your OOTDs!

If you do want to purchase from the site, you can use the following link and you’ll get $10 off!

©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

This post is not sponsored, and all thoughts are my own.

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The Iowa Farm Sanctuary

the-iowa-2As I drove past crop fields and rolling hills in the Iowa countryside, my thoughts drifted to how I started my vegan journey and found this calling. Within the past year I have experienced the ups and downs of a vegan lifestyle, especially with how it fits in a college setting. It was a steep learning curve, but I feel as though I’ve become more aware about what I am putting both in and on my body.

A few months ago I found a recommended account on my Instagram feed for an Iowa Farm Sanctuary. I had heard of farm sanctuaries around the country, and was immediately intrigued! I found out that it wasn’t far, and knew that I had to schedule a visit!

Prior to this visit I didn’t have many experiences with the animals that inspired me to adopt this lifestyle, and I was beyond excited to finally get that chance. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I am a bit obsessed with pigs. Ever since I was little they have been one of my favorite animals, and yes, it was on my bucket list to meet a pig in person! My dream came true last week, and I couldn’t wait to start writing about this wonderful organization!

The Animals

I have always been an animal lover, and I spent much of my childhood on a farm when I started horseback riding. I was so excited to reconnect with this passion of mine, and my heart was filled with pure joy the entire time I was at the sanctuary!

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Bennie

The first animal that I got to meet was Bennie, an adorable goat who came to the sanctuary as a runt. He was the sweetest thing, and full of boundless energy and love! He was roaming and eating with Carl (a calf) and Hope (a pig) in the pasture.

Carl
Carl

I then met Carl and Hope, who also melted my heart with their affectionate dispositions and incredible stories. Carl was a calf that was very ill when he was brought to the farm. He was nursed back to health, and is now full of love and joy! He loved eating the pumpkins in the pasture, and basking in the sun with Hope and Bennie.

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Hope

Hope was brought to the sanctuary as a runt who had a broken foot and leg. She was nursed back to health and now loves to dig in the dirt and bound across the pasture! She was the first pig that I have met, and I will always remember the moment when she touched her nose to my outstretched hand.

Monkey, Marley, Kayla, and Sammy
Monkey, Marley, Kayla, and Sammy

There are other pigs at the sanctuary as well, and hearing their stories grounded me in why I had started on this journey in the first place. Quite a few animals fall of transportation trucks on the highway when being taken to feed lots or slaughterhouses, especially due to the cramped conditions and the uneven floorboards. Getting to interact with these sweet animals in person made me realize that I, even as just one person, could make a difference in the lives of farm animals. I couldn’t help but laugh with joy as their ears bobbed up and down when they ran across the pasture! 🙂

The chickens and ducks enjoying the brisk November day!
The chickens and ducks enjoying the brisk November day!

The sanctuary is also home to a number of chickens and ducks, some of whom were rescued as chicks/ducklings. They have found a wonderful home at the sanctuary. I got to meet one of the hens, Piper, who has a clipped beak (most likely from the farm she came from, which is a common practice on factory farms). She was nursed back to health, and now enjoys a life of love at the sanctuary.

Otis
Otis

I also met Otis the ram, who had the softest fur imaginable! He is older (eight or nine), and came to the sanctuary when he was found roaming around after escaping from his property.

I had the chance to meet three goats in the barn, a mom and two babies. Though they were timid at first, they loved affection! They especially loved the hay and alfalfa in the barn, and running around together!

Gigi
Gigi

As I met all of the animals living together in harmony, I felt aligned with my vegan journey in a way that I haven’t been before. I have met the animals that my heart aches for, and it was a truly transformative experience. Though my academic study is in Religion and Politics, one of my other passions has always been animal welfare. After seeing this sanctuary, I feel inspired to get involved in every way that I can and to potentially start a sanctuary of my own in the future.

Bennie, Carl, and Hope
Bennie, Carl, and Hope

I left the farm (as Bennie, Carl, and Hope ran to the fence to say goodbye!) feeling inspired and spiritually aligned with my true self and my passions. Being vegan definitely hasn’t been easy, but I would choose this path again in a heartbeat. I’ve been looking forward to sharing this experience with you, and I hope you enjoyed hearing about this wonderful organization! You can learn more about them on their website as well as on their Instagram (which I highly recommend, because who doesn’t love to see amazing pictures of adorable farm animals??)!

©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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My New Journey: Meditation

haldenAs the rain poured down on a stormy yet cozy Vermont day, I found myself once again surrounded by used books in a quaint bookstore downtown. I had visited the store a few days earlier and, with benefit for my bank account, managed to only see the “Spirituality” section right before I left. Needless to say, I had to return to fully peruse what books awaited discovery. As a Religious Studies and Political Science double major, I am definitely a nerd when it comes to books about spirituality. I could spend all of my free time reading in used bookstores, which is why I try to limit my time to breaks and vacations.

books-1031699_640My eyes were drawn to the windowsill, where excess books were stacked in uneven piles. As I searched through these books, I discovered Start Here Now by Susan Piver. I started to read the first few pages (always a dangerous choice, as I can quickly start to read the entire thing!) and was immediately intrigued. I have tried for years to integrate meditation into my self-care practices, but have failed to keep up with a consistent routine. As I have learned more about the benefits, and have focused on remaining present in the moment, I have found the inspiration to start yet again.

What intrigued me about this book is its authenticity and genuine nature. Piver explains in great (yet humorous) detail the practice that she teaches, and how to choose the meditation path that is right for you:

“Of course, my opinion is that my lineage of Shambhala Buddhism fits all of these parameters and so I recommend it. I also heartily recommend the practices associated with other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Zen and vipassana (or insight meditation). But whatever you choose should obviously do more than fit a list of qualifications. We’re talking about your spiritual path, here! Look for something you can fall in love with” (51).

In life, especially with modern technology, it’s really difficult to unwind and simply be. If I look at all of my social media accounts right before bed, I find that my mind is usually reeling with all of the things that I need to do, or new strategies for all of my endeavors. While this creativity is wonderful, it’s difficult to fall asleep and get sound rest when my mind is focused on other things.

shelf-1284359_640For this reason, I want to start a meditation practice, and use it to complete my day and transition to rest. I want to limit my social media engagement to the daytime, and use the evening for self-reflection and rest.

I, like many others, always thought that meditation required a full absence of thought. Piver explains that this is impossible, and that thoughts are not what the problem is. Rather, it is allowing thoughts to take up a significant amount of mental energy.

When it comes to thoughts, let them touch you and then flow away, as if you were standing barefoot in a stream and occasional leaves or pebbles momentarily brushed up against you and then were gone” (63).

As a blogger, creative writing is one of my true passions. Piver relates meditation to the process of creative writing, and the similarities between the two are astounding:

writing-828911_640If the focus of meditation is breath, the focal point of writing is a word. No matter how hard you try, you can write only one word at a time…Even if it happens very fast, each one is still selected. At the same time, how do you know what to say? I have no idea, by the way. All I notice is that the “what to say” seems to arise from space and this is what creates good writing…If you allow the writing to arise in the act of writing, it seems to result in something fresh. So both meditation and creativity share this: each is simultaneously one-pointed and panoramic” (97-98).

My writing process follows this phenomenon: the words seem to appear from space and form my thoughts in their purest form. To me, that is the magic of creative writing. Given that meditation uses the same process, I think that it will help me thrive in both my creative and personal endeavors.

coffee-1242653_640This book also introduces the concept of an at-home weekend retreat. I had heard of the concept of a “staycation” before, but an at-home retreat was new to me. The premise is that you take a weekend to be free of technology, and you focus on self-development and rest. This idea appeals to me because of the overwhelming nature of daily life. Every few weeks, taking a break is one of the best things to rejuvenate your energy and mental health. I think I will definitely have to take one of these retreats in the future, once I have developed my meditation practice.

I have been thinking about how to expand my blog to reflect my current life journey, and I’ve been inspired to add my meditation experiences. I’m excited to share this new endeavor with you!

©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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Vegan Q&A: Being Vegan in College

vegan-qaI am now a few months into eating a completely vegan diet and living a vegan lifestyle, and I thought that it would be fun to answer some of the questions you had about my vegan journey and transition! I adopted a vegan diet for both health and ethical reasons, and it has worked wonders for me in my life journey. I understand that everyone has a different cultural and health background, and I promote adopting the lifestyle that is healthiest for you. That being said, there are many things that people can do to lessen the impact of farming on the environment and on the cruel treatment of animals. If you are interested in learning more, I will leave a few links at the end of this post! So without further ado, let’s get into the questions!

What motivated you to become a vegan? What has been the biggest challenge?

A few years ago if you would have told me that I would be a vegan in the future, I would have laughed and said that I would probably be a vegetarian but definitely not a vegan. My love for cheese and ice cream would never make that possible! However, during my first year of college I faced many health problems that made studying and other day-to-day activities difficult. Despite my attempts to discover what was the root cause, I struggled for many months before determining that it was a sensitivity to meat and dairy. I had been vegetarian for quite a while prior to this discovery, and decided to make the full transition to being vegan. It was by no means an easy transition (there were so many learning curves!), but I would do it all over again a million times over.

I had been a migrainer since age 14, and last year I was having about 1 (or more!) migraines a week. This was very detrimental to my productivity, but I had always assumed that it was stress that was causing them. Once I omitted dairy from my diet, this number dropped dramatically. My last migraine was in July, which is unheard of for me! This alone made the transition completely worth it, and learning more about the ethical considerations for veganism made it a clear choice. I was never excited about eating meat, even as a child, and decided to be primarily vegetarian very naturally in high school. Now that I have made the transition to a vegan diet, my energy levels are consistently higher and my ability to focus is definitely more reliable. That being said, the biggest challenge was maintaining a consistent blood sugar level and adjusting to being a vegan in college.

It’s important to always have snacks with you on the go!

As a vegan you burn through your calories and nutrients much faster than the more complex proteins found in dairy and meat. For me, these complex proteins often left me feeling tired and nauseous, but switching to plant proteins and nutrients left me hungry about every hour. I’ve learned that carrying snacks around with me (KIND bars, mixed nuts, fresh fruit, etc.) helps me to keep consistent blood sugar and energy levels. I also feel as though I am taking better care of my body by giving it raw nutrients and whole foods. 🙂  I’m considering writing a full post about being vegan in college on a budget, so let me know if this is something you would be interested in reading about!

Do you have any tips or alternatives for a girl who loves cheese and crackers, or mac and cheese? 

This is a great question! One of my favorite comfort foods growing up was mac and cheese, and for the longest time the idea of giving up cheese was unthinkable. However, I’ve discovered that Daiya mac and cheese is just as delicious as regular mac and cheese! I’ve also made grilled cheese sandwiches with SmartBalance margarine spread and Daiya cheese melts or shredded cheese! They’re so good and you can’t even tell the difference between them and the ‘real’ thing! Nutritional Yeast is also a great cheese substitute, especially in baking and for pastas. You also don’t have to give up pizza, because Daiya has options for that too! All of their dairy substitutes are so delicious, and quite affordable! 🙂

Have you noticed any differences in your overall health, or how you feel on a daily basis? 

Now that I'm vegan, my mornings are much more energizing :)
Now that I’m vegan, my mornings are much more energizing 🙂

I used to wake up super tired and feeling generally “meh” despite getting enough sleep or nutrition, but now when I wake up I’m always energized and happy. 🙂 Someone asked me the other day to describe how I felt on a daily basis, and the only word that I could think of that came close to describing it is light. Not in a weight sense, but in the fact that I always felt groggy after eating meat/dairy. Once I eliminated these from my diet, I never felt uncomfortably full after a meal. I eat frequently and make sure I’m getting enough calories and nutrients, but I always feel as though I can go through my day without feeling a variation in my overall health as the day goes on. 🙂 I’ve also found that I have had a strengthened immune system, and that my hair and nails are stronger, healthier, and longer now that I have switched to a plant based diet!

Is it difficult to eat out when vegan? How do you know what’s okay for you to eat?

Eating out was definitely a bit difficult at first, but now I’ve learned how to be able to go to most restaurants and find vegan friendly options. I usually like to look at a menu online ahead of time just to make sure that there are going to be a few options that I can choose from (samosas are one of my favorite vegan options, they’re just so delicious!!). Some restaurants have dietary labels and cautions on their menus, and with others I have to double check with the server if the meal has meat or dairy in it. They usually will check with the manager to make sure that it fits a vegan diet. Restaurants are used to getting asked about dietary information, so don’t worry about double checking! I’ve often found that many servers give me recommendations for vegan dishes, and they’ve always been delicious! As a vegan I don’t usually eat out often, but I definitely don’t have to miss out on the opportunity to go to a meal with family or friends. 🙂

Do you have any tips for if you experience a lack of protein and energy?

Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to wake up and start my day!
Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to wake up and start my day!

After a process of trial and error, I have definitely found the routine that maximizes my nutrient consumption and balance. I absolutely love smoothies, so adding vegan protein powders to my breakfast or post-workout snack has been very easy. I have both a chocolate and vanilla variety, and love to use them with peanut butter, chia seeds unsweetened almond milk, and bananas for added nutrition and protein. I find that these smoothies are super easy to make and help to keep me full and energized throughout my day. I bought a personal blender over the summer (Oster MyBlend), and I absolutely love it! The blender compartment turns into a travel mug, so even if I’m in a rush (as many of us are!) I can still manage to have a full and complete meal and keep myself balanced and energized.

I also love to have nut proteins and oats as snacks to fuel my day, as well as fruit and vegetables to make sure that I have enough energy to get through a workout or a long day on campus. It’s definitely a different journey for everyone, but I’ve found that I can now tell what kind of nutrients my body needs as I go through the day. I usually eat a protein-filled meal in the morning, and then snack on some fruits and veggies at work or while working on homework for energy and focus. I also tend to eat more protein after workouts and at the end of the day to make sure I stay full and well nourished. Water is also very important! I make sure to have about a gallon per day (at least two liters), and this helps to keep me full, energized, and ready for the day! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this Q&A post, and thank you to those who submitted questions! If you have more questions, I would be happy to answer them in the comments! Below I will link some of the sites that I have found very helpful as I continued on my vegan journey, and I would love to hear any recommendations that you have!

My Pinterest board on vegan eating

Farm Sanctuary

The Humane League 

It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Veganosity

Oh She Glows

©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Alyssa DeBella

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! I'm a third-year college student passionate about writing, minimalism, vegan living, and coffee. I would love for you to join my online family!
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