The best exercise is impulsive and accidental.
Don't be obsessed with self-improvement.
Life truly is what happens while we are busy making other plans.....
Don't get too into planning your next diet, or how you'll sleep perfectly or how you'll decorate and imagine that after that goal is complete you won't be planning the next one.
Enjoy the now, don't let it slip by.
Try to stop eating when you're full. It'll be much more satisfying.
I re-learn this lesson every meal time.
You can design your own health retreat.
You do not need a fresh location, daily yoga, a new juicer or the perfect ingredients to "get healthy".
You can be healthy right now, in this moment.
Slice up a tomato...they're everywhere :)
Confidence truly is key.
You are your best friend and worst enemy.
We can be the most talented, most beautiful and most amazing version of ourselves
.....if we allow it.
Everyone is judging themselves as much as you believe they are judging you.
Or...they're not judging anyone at all! We need to get over ourselves sometimes ;)
Get out into nature....take a long walk....appreciate the beauty of our world while it's still here.
Animals don't count calories.
Tell other women how beautiful and gorgeous you think they are.
We all need to be told sometimes.
Speaks for itself....
Be proud of yourself for who you are, right in this moment.
Not who you will be tomorrow.
Yesterday was a pretty magical day.
I'm lucky enough that every day is quite amazing and I am thankful for that, but yesterday was a treat.
Since moving by myself to a new city, I've had quite a lot of introvert time. Lots of time to blog, be alone, work hard and do all the things I've been craving for so long. But, it's inevitable that at some stage you do run out of TV shows to watch, life goals to focus on and you just crave a giant dosage of Other People.
And, if that can involve a dash of veganism? Well, you've just got a win-win!
Two of the ladies I work with gave me an incredible surprise the other day and said they wanted to have a "Vegan Night". The divine Sharon said Charlotte and I should go over to her house and have a lovely vegan dinner together just for the three of us. Neither of them are vegan and I don't think have any intention of going vegan, but for whatever reason - this was their wish and do you think I was sad to grant it?
I was overwhelmed with joy. These girls are pretty amazing, right?
Immediately I was excited. I get to cook for people again! I get to show how simple and delicious vegan food is! But most of all: I get to spend an evening with lovely people instead of watching "Dexter" on the couch with a giant jar of Tahini. (Although that is always a good time, let's be honest).
And then: life got in they way. I quickly realised that every day leading up to the dinner I had work and rehearsals and there were no good, solid blocks for "baking" or even shopping time. I could see my overflowing basket of goods slung casually over one arm and organic red wine tucked under the other slipping through my fingers and quickly turning into me showing up in work clothes, stinking of coffee and clutching a packet of pasta and a jar of tomato sauce. This will not be the case!
The morning of the dinner party I woke up early in time to go to Manchester's best veg-firendly supermarket before starting work. It's really lovely place and they always have some vegan treats in the counter. I figured: as long as I don't show up empty handed - that's what counts! This night is more about having a lovely social evening as apposed to cooking the most perfect meal in the world, right?
I had a giant bag to fill with supplies (that I would need to lug around all day at work!), which already held my organic olive oil from home and an avocado that was lying around in my fruit bowl. I knew I had exactly one hour to get whatever I would need for that evening before work started.
As my bus pulled into the city, I saw a fruit and vegetable stall set up on Oxford Street that I have never noticed before! How is this possible?! Fate, anybody? I bee-lined there immediately and got so excited by the perfect looking tomatoes, bunches of fresh produce and lovely looking fruits. I was inspired. I grabbed some tomatoes, basil and garlic and straight away knew: it's a bruschetta night! If the other girls have some food sorted, I can at least make a divine plate of my best bruschetta, which always goes down well. I'm a big advocate of letting the produce dictate your plans....and those tomatoes were definitely speaking to me. And there's nothing like a giant bunch of basil to inspire you. Oh that smell!
After filling my bag with those basics and some strawberries that just wouldn't stop staring at me, I crossed the street to the vegetarian shop and knew exactly what I needed: just one loaf of amazing bread? Please! And maybe some vegan treats? Oh yes they provided. Almost as soon as I walked in I saw a divine loaf of vegan spelt baguette that was just perfect and even a plate of vegan brownies. Brownies and strawberries for dessert? Yes please!
After that, work was a breeze and I couldn't wait for our dinner date. The three of us were all equally excited and closing time couldn't come quickly enough. As soon as we got back to Sharon's, the champagne was popped, strawberries were plopped inside and the cooking began. Sharon had pre-prepared an incredible rice dish that she put on to heat up and I started dicing tomatoes and ripping fresh basil leaves off with relish. Something definitely happened to me while I was chopping those tomatoes and laughing with these lovely girls - I felt like myself again. I remembered that amazing way that food can connect people and the love that comes with bringing amazing company together over a delicious meal. I also remembered how much I really love cooking and sadly, living alone I've become quite a fan of munching on very basic raw veggies and not doing anything too adventurous.
The brushetta went down a treat (win!), Sharon's rice was incredible and I had the most incredible time. An obvious highlight was them saying how amazing the food was and they didn't miss anything animal related....yay! But even more than that I was just so overwhelmed by their openness and acceptance. It's sad but true that most people aren't really open to having a 100% vegan dinner, which I totally understand. It does seem like a lot of effort for just one guest and that's always been my view. But sitting there last night, I was reminded how easy and happy this lifestyle is. And surely the night is even better because no cruelty was involved? EVeryone is brilliantly fuelled up, we can eat as much of it as we want without guilt and even have room for some sneaky brownie!
I think I've lucked out on finding some special Manchester ladies! Next mission: invite them to my place and do some vegan cooking: fine dining style! If they thought the brushcetta was good, just wait until they have mushroom wellington! Oh yeah!
It’s true, I work in hospitality.
Don’t hate me.
I was a Barista before I was vegan, and it’s always been a job I really enjoyed and was good at. It also paid the rent while waiting for Steven Spielberg to call and beg me to star in his next film (apposite Ryan Gosling, of course).
I love coffee. Making it, drinking it, reading how bad it is for me. And happily admit that I’m a good Barista (I do the pretty patterns on top and everything). I work in an adorable café that quickly became all about the people – the crazy love lives of our regulars, discussing latest news stories and serving delicious food and coffee.
Then, I bloody went vegan, didn’t I? I had to go and ruin it. Suddenly my happy customers, delicious creamy coffee and banter over the counter, all looked very different. I saw the jug in my hands and realized I was a part of the problem. I saw a plate of bacon and eggs that Table 2 sent back because it “wasn’t hot enough” get chucked in the bin by my co-worker and her then start cooking it all over again. I suddenly felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how to marry my new vegan ethics with what I did for a living.
I can take the products off my plate, but does that matter when every day I’m serving them to others?
I hounded the ONE vegan cafe in my home city and they were never hiring (people just don’t quit those places, I guess). My brief vision of skipping over to a veggie café was dashed and I really wasn’t sure what I should do.
Then one day my boss randomly informed me that he’d decided to start buying a better brand of soy milk for the café instead of the cheap one we was currently using, purely because I was now drinking it. I gazed at him; so happy I could have burst and just like that, with his simple gesture, I saw how I can make this a good thing. Without even trying, the café was going to better provide for soy drinkers and buy an organic brand. Wow, if I applied myself – what else could I achieve?
When life gives you lemons, right?
If there have to be Baristas and cafés and restaurants (we know they’re not all going to disappear any time soon) perhaps having vegans working in these places is a sneaky victory? A vegan who will be careful and thoughtful about things that most people never even consider in an industry that is disgracefully wasteful?
Okay, time for an example! The café instructs us to take a pot of milk alongside every cup of tea and coffee, even if the beverage should be black. So, a lot of the time when clearing a table – you see a full jug of (now old) milk waiting to go straight down the drain.
Can you say: “waste?!”
Any staff member will throw these products away without a second thought – whereas I go out of my way to avoid such devastating wastage. I deliver black coffees and teas as they are and if a customer then asks for milk, I fetch them a small jug. Automatically: no waste. I love when they say: “can I have my milk, please?” and I just want to say, “well, it’s not YOUR milk, now, is it?” with a big, old smile.
While on shift, I see staff make themselves coffee after coffee even if they are running around and don’t have time to drink it. Lots of “staff drinks” go to waste because they do not see milk any differently to Coke or juice or water; it’s just a free beverage for them to consume. And sadly, most Baristas will stand behind their coffee machine for hours, practicing latte art, making cup after cup of milky coffee and pouring it all down the drain. I’m serious.
This simply doesn’t happen when your Barista is a vegan.
And I promise: my coffees still taste great and look pretty.
One thing I’m happy to observe and report back is how often regular customers adjust their coffee order because: “the milk’s not sitting well with me”, or something along those lines. I smile enthusiastically and try to keep the conversation rolling – I tell them that I stopped drinking milk years ago and feel great, would they like to try a black coffee today? Or even try a dash of soy or almond milk in it? They always respond well and I love being able to give some real advice that can be implemented immediately. (Then I have the pleasure of regular health updates, which is hilarious!)
Ingrid Bergman famously said that she doesn’t believe vegans should all stick together. Vegans can andshould work with non-vegans, date non-vegans, and socialize with everyone! Why keep our amazing selves and ideas in a cosy vegan club? We can share little bits of wisdom with everyone. It would be incredible to know more vegans and work with them, but I also see the benefit of being the only vegan in a very meat-centric work place. I meet SO many people being in hospitality and many of them, whether they’re a co-worker or a random customer, say they now think a little bit more about where meat is coming from. Some have gone vegetarian, a few even vegan!
And I know that couldn’t have happened if I’d quit my lovely, happy café working with people I love to go and work in the vegan place.
They don’t need my Barista vegan powers – they’re all vegan already!
I’ll save going in there for my days off.
Published for Chic Vegan 24/4
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