Staples for a vegan diet

Today’s post was supposed to be about how I stay organized but, ironically, I am a day behind (on my own challenge…). I thought since I am currently juggling many of my own projects at once, plus my actual work, I should review my organization routine closer to the end of this challenge, when maybe I’ll have some new light to shed on the topic. Plus, I have to catch up on yesterday’s post: staples for a vegan diet! AKA, foods I always have in my kitchen.

When it comes to fruits, vegetables, and other fresh food, I usually base my purchases on the recipes I plan to make that week. I also try to switch this up, just to get some variety in my diet. But these are some items that I almost always have.

The obvious: (to me anyway) — I always have grains and canned goods like rice, pasta, beans, quinoa, oatmeal, etc.

Fruits and vegetables: so I don’t just buy random fruits and vegetables when I go to the store and hope that I’ll use them; I am almost sure I would waste them that way. But, outside of planned recipes, there are a few things I usually have on hand: bananas, maybe dates (since they last a while), frozen strawberries, spinach, and frozen mixed vegetables.

The random: these are some of the more unique items that, while others may never purchase them at all, I am unsure if I could make it through the day without.

  • Stevia: the relation to the vegan diet is basically that white refined sugar is often not vegan (it can be processed with bone char), but I choose it instead of other alternatives because I like it and think it’s more natural than some others. I drink a lot of coffee and tend to bake or make other things requiring sweetener, so I always need stevia!
  • Silk soy creamer: I’ve tried many dairy-free creamers, and this one has to be my favorite. I used to be a big fan of the vanilla Coffee Mate creamer (if I did choose to taint my black coffee with any kind of cream), and I think the vanilla silk creamer is a decent alternative. The hazelnut flavor is always nice.
  • Almond milk: another thing I use in almost everything, or just drink on its own. I usually prefer it to other kinds of milk alternatives.
  • Nutritional yeast: if you haven’t heard of it, it is basically a type of yeast that adds a cheesy/ nutty flavor to foods. I really like it, but many people think it is completely disgusting, so I might be alone on this one…
  • Proteins: I always have some kind of protein, such as tofu, tempeh, or a meat alternative on hand.
  • Nuts/ Lara Bars/ other to-go snacks: sometimes, despite my best planning, my meal prep options don’t work out or I have a long day away from home and need something to bring with me. I like nuts and Lara Bars because they are calorically dense so I don’t need to bring a lot of them with me in order to have a healthy snack later in the day.
  • A billion spices: while everybody’s cabinet would probably ideally be stocked with spices, it doesn’t always work out that way. However, a vegan diet would be quite boring without an abundance of spices (to me, anyway) because that is where most of the flavor comes from in vegan food. Spices are the variety of life. Wait, I don’t think that’s how that goes…
  • Sriracha: like the spices, it makes some otherwise bland foods bearable or even great! I usually have many sauces for that same purpose.
  • Coconut aminos: similarly, I use these for added flavor, although I also use it sometimes for stir fry or even to replace soy sauce.
  • Coconut oil: while we are on the topic of coconuts, I should mention coconut oil, which is known on Twitter for being used for literally everything so it should be no surprise that I have it in my kitchen at all times.
  • Lemons: one thing that is oddly difficult to find is vegan salad dressings. Plus, who wants 174833298 bottles of salad dressing laying around when you could just make your own? Mixing lemon juice with some other ingredients (tahini + nutritional yeast, or olive oil, etc) can be a great alternative! On the other hand, they’re great to have in case you want to add lemons to your water, tea, etc.
  • Apple cider vinegar: this is usually my vinegar of choice for dressings and many recipes, but I also sometimes mix it in with water, stevia, and some cinnamon for a tangy drink in the morning that is supposed to be good for your digestion, among other things.
  • Popcorn: when I was a kid, I came home from school every day and ate popcorn. Now I tend to do more of an Olivia Pope thing where I eat popcorn for dinner with some wine… *shrugs*

What do you keep in your kitchen at all times — anything unusual?

-AK

The economics of veganism: eradicating perfectionism

***Quick update (7/26) — one of my favorite vegan YouTubers, Kalel, just uploaded a video about this! If you are interested in the topic, please check it out to hear another perspective!***

If you’ve glanced at my blog, you probably know that I am pretty passionate about living a plant-based lifestyle. But, that doesn’t mean I’m perfect. It doesn’t mean I never crave wings or wish I could just order a regular Domino’s pizza or that I no longer own any leather or non-vegan beauty products. It doesn’t mean I have been 100% vegan ever since the day I decided I wanted to be. It just means that I try, and today I wanted to write about why simply trying is enough. Warning: this is going to be a long one.

I ate cheese two days ago.

Yes I did. I accidentally ordered the nachos instead of the vegan nachos at Busboys and Poets (one of the best restaurants for plant-based options, FYI). Why am I telling you this? Well since it is a sin, I have to confess. Kidding. I’m making a point. I mean, I scraped the cheese off, because when you don’t eat dairy for a while and then you do, it’s kind of a disaster for your stomach. But that’s not my point.

When I first went vegan, I thought that I had to completely avoid all animal products, not only from an ethical perspective but also to maintain some kind of purity. I was afraid that if I accidentally ate something with dairy or certain derivatives in it, I would no longer be vegan and I would have to give up on this entire journey because I would be a hypocrite. This is a common mindset that many people new to a plant-based lifestyle adopt. When you first internalize the reality of the cruelty and harm caused by the meat and dairy industries, it is hard to moderate your views. It is natural to feel very strongly about things, which often causes people to adopt some pretty extreme views.

However, that kind of mindset is emotionally exhausting, and is only sustainable for so long before you have to find a way to reconcile the two separate realities you’re faced with. One: you know that the meat and dairy industries are unnecessarily harmful, you feel passionate about it, and you want to do whatever you can to help rid the world of this problem. You are proud of yourself for educating yourself about the topic, working through your own cognitive dissonance, and taking the actionable steps to live a life that aligns with what you know to be right in your heart. Two: the world hasn’t been on this same journey with you. The people around you haven’t seen the documentaries or read about the consequences of their actions. The world– restaurants, cafes, parties, visiting friends, etc– is not friendly to vegans. Even if there is an option for you as a vegan, you need to exercise so much self-discipline to maintain a vegan diet when the food is not the most appealing, PLUS it is discouraging to know that no matter how many extreme changes you have made to your own lifestyle, it barely puts a dent in the problem that everybody around you seems to be contributing to.

So how could anybody feel inspired to make vegan choices under those conditions?

I believe that this topic can be understood very well from an economic perspective. In other words, what rational person would opt for a vegan diet, and how would they pursue it? 

Rationality and Our Choices

Rationality is defined as the “quality of being based on or in accordance with reason or logic.” In economic terms, rational behavior is “based on making choices that result in the most optimal level of benefit or utility for the individual.” Before this discussion, it is important to understand utility at the most basic level. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a simple way to think about it, as taught by one of my favorite economics professors, is as a synonym for happiness. When somebody gains utility, they gain happiness.

There are some prerequisites for applying rational behavior expectations to the concept of veganism. Under normal circumstances, it is quite rational for a person not to pursue a vegan diet. Here are some potential reasons why (a far from exhaustive list).

  • Maybe an individual is uninformed about the harms associated with animal agriculture and they see no reason to pursue a vegan diet in the first place
  • Perhaps they are informed, but due to convenience, social stigma, or preference alone, they decide not to change their actions (they do not individually internalize the negative consequences of their actions, so there is no incentive for them personally to change)
  • Maybe an individual is ill-informed about the topic in general. Perhaps they heard somebody erroneously say that being vegan is more expensive, that it could hurt their health, etc.
  • Perhaps a person rationalizes the consumption of animals and their by-products through religious justifications
  • They see their friends make fun of vegans and they don’t want to be ostracized in a similar way. Put more simply, maybe they just don’t want to be different
  • They have had personal encounters with aggressive or rude people who follow a vegan lifestyle, and they don’t want to be associated with that
  • Maybe they just like meat and dairy products, and don’t want to change

On the other hand, here are some reasons why a person might rationally pursue a vegan lifestyle. It goes without saying that not all of these need apply in order for veganism to emerge as the rational option for somebody. Whether a person subscribes to one or more of these reasons depends upon their individual preferences and priorities.

  • They hope to benefit from improved health outcomes or weight loss
  • They care a lot about the environment, and they know that following a vegan diet is better for the environment, so they gain a lot of utility from doing so
  • They feel morally superior to others for doing so
  • They were raised vegan and meat and dairy never appealed to them in the first place
  • They learned about the process in which meat and dairy products make it to their kitchen, and were emotionally repulsed by participation in that industry

I’m not casting any judgment on people who subscribe to any of the above reasons for their course of action. This is purely a discussion of why people may act the way they do.

It should be noted that although rationality provides a useful basis for making projections about human behavior, people do not always act rationally. Therefore, people may irrationally choose to or not to follow a vegan lifestyle, and none of the above explanations would apply in such a case. It should also be noted, however, that what we consider to be rational often does not align with what we consider to be moral, just, or “right”– a topic for another day.

In Practice

This is where I tell you why it doesn’t matter that I ate cheese. In fact, here is a list of the non-vegan things that I have consumed since I decided in June of 2016 that I wanted to begin following a vegan lifestyle. Chicken, fish, cheese, yogurt, various dressings, trace ingredients in candy and packaged food… Probably more that I can’t remember. Most of these were one-time instances, and I can talk more in a future post about why there were lapses in my veganism (for suspected health problems) if that is of interest to people. Here, I’m just interested in discussing why I still confidently follow this lifestyle even though I’ve already proven to do so imperfectly. In short, it comes down to supply and demand.

 

This is an oversimplification, but it should help those unfamiliar with economics to understand, at the most basic level, the impact of a vegan diet when pursued both by individuals and/or by society at large. I will discuss how supply and demand interact, with an emphasis on the market for non-vegan goods, from three perspectives: understanding the market for an individual good, understanding the impact of the choices of one individual, and understanding changes in the market overall.

An individual good. 

Let’s take milk as an example. In the diagram above, D1 represents the quantity of milk demanded by consumers at various price levels. S represents the supply of milk, or how much milk producers are willing to provide at various price levels. Where S and D1 meet is “equilibrium,” or the amount of milk that we actually expect to be purchased by customers/ sold by producers, and the relevant price.

If demand for milk decreases among consumers, the demand line will shift to the left — to D2. In this situation, the amount of milk that people want (the quantity demanded) is lower than what it originally was. At the same time, the price decreases. Here, we can simply see that if demand for milk decreases (if fewer consumers choose to purchase milk), less milk will be exchanged. Rather than thinking only about the immediate impact — e.g., wasting some milk that has already been produced — we also need to consider the likely long-term impact of this kind of trend, which is a shift in supply. This would mean that supply would decrease in the future to meet the appropriate demand, as producers do not want to waste resources producing an item that doesn’t get sold.

Actions of an individual person.

If I, as an individual person, want to make a positive change by pursuing more “vegan” actions, how should I go about it? The most important thing to do is to decrease one’s consumption of the big things. Meat, dairy, eggs, etc. Knowing what we now know about the interaction of supply and demand for milk, we can apply this to understand the impact of an individual focusing on decreasing their consumption of milk, for example, versus completely eliminating the consumption of any kind of ingredient derived from animal products.

Here I will introduce another example: Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries. (Let’s ignore the honey factor for now, as that is a subject of controversy in and of itself.) I have loved this cereal since I was a child. I was VERY DISTRAUGHT when I learned that it contained whey, a derivative of milk, after I decided to go vegan. I was faced with the decision: should I stop consuming the cereal? After all, consuming the cereal would not be a vegan thing to do if it contained a non-vegan ingredient.

I had obviously already stopped consuming milk, but at this point I also stopped buying Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries. If it were today, I would just buy the cereal. And here’s why. Making incremental changes to decrease suffering is what’s most important, and eliminating my consumption of milk was a much more significant step in decreasing my contributions to the demand for dairy products than the occasional box of Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries would ever be. This isn’t an excuse to purchase just anything that isn’t vegan. But in this case, there is obviously a line between trying to make a positive impact and, on the other hand, depriving oneself of a food with minimal amounts of trace ingredients in a martyr-like manner, simply to be able to say that one is vegan. Promoting this kind of thinking is a significant reason why many people choose not to go vegan. Instead of advocating for people to cut out products like this, we should be focusing on the big things.

Something to note that I think is completely overlooked by many members of the vegan community, is, again, the long-term impact of our actions. We can use the principle of aggregation to think about this abstractly. If everybody were to stop consuming Honey Bunches of Oats today, and never bought the cereal again, would it make a positive impact in terms of veganism? A little yes, but mostly no. It would marginally decrease the consumption of one product associated with animal agriculture, just as would be the case if we stopped eating malted milk balls. But, it doesn’t signal to producers that animal agriculture is what we are “fighting against” — instead it just makes the statement that, as consumers, we don’t want Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries anymore. Let’s avoid this — not only because it doesn’t help the vegan cause, but because Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries is a very fine cereal and I would hate to see it go.

Actions of society in the aggregate and the resultant changes in the market.

This is where we get into the big picture thinking. If you can, think about the graph above as a depiction of the demand and supply for all animal products in the world. Any shift from D1 closer to D2 indicates good things: less harm to the environment, lower consumption of foods with known association to health problems, and, most importantly to me, less suffering overall. If we think about the entire global market for food, an imperceptible shift downward in demand, and later in supply, for animal products, is a positive thing. Why anybody would encourage perfectionism over small positive changes, when those changes in the aggregate would lead to at least some lives saved and less suffering, is beyond me.

So in short, if what you are after is purity, or the ability to label yourself as 100% vegan, then sure… Avoid those trace ingredients in candy, cereals, etc. If what you’re after is effecting positive change, causing less suffering, and doing so in a way that is sustainable for your lifestyle, then consider actionable steps you can take to do so without regard to the “label” for your choices. Can you do Almond or Soy milk instead of dairy milk? Can you eat vegetarian for one day out of the week? Can you replace your chicken with tofu occasionally? Any and all of these options are great steps toward positive change.

What does this mean?

The good thing about this is that if you feel compelled to follow a plant-based diet or a vegan lifestyle, all you need to do is try your best. By cutting out the major contributors to animal agriculture, like meat and dairy products, you are already making a significant positive impact. What some might see as a downside is that, knowing this, you really have no excuse not to make better choices. There are, of course, instances in which strict veganism is not possible– for example, if one lives in a food desert or perhaps has certain health problems. (In reality I haven’t heard of any health issues that do interfere with following a vegan diet, or at least minimizing one’s consumption of certain ingredients, but let’s give the benefit of the doubt.)

But, one excuse that nobody should use is that of being unable to be a perfect vegan. You do not have to be a perfect vegan to make a positive impact, and any incremental change that you can make to decrease harm to animals and promote a healthier self and environment is amazing.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and please share any tips you have for striking a balance between promoting positive changes and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle!

Alex

Meal prep Monday!

Today is Monday, which is a very food-oriented day for me! (Who am I kidding, that is every day in my life…) I usually plan my meals and go grocery shopping on Sunday, but by Monday I definitely have my ingredients/ meals ready for the week. I always look online for recipes or inspiration in order to make my grocery list. When I decide on meals for the week, I try to come up with recipes that require ingredients that I already have and need to use, to reduce waste. I also try to choose meals that, altogether, lead to a healthy(ish) diet for the week.

For this week, I decided to make:

  • [Vegan] veggie cream cheese to have with bagels in the morning (here is my inspiration)
  • Asian noodle bowls for lunch
  • Easy “loaded” sweet potato recipe for dinner

Here is my grocery haul! I already had some of the ingredients, but the total for these meals was around $34, which I think is great for a little less than a week’s worth of food (I only made 3 days worth of the sweet potatoes, because I know I’ll be tired of it by then… etc).

I don’t always prepare everything in advance, because some ingredients obviously don’t taste as good after a few days. For this week in particular, I just decided to prepare the cream cheese and peanut sauce, cut veggies for the noodle bowls in advance, and roast some broccoli and sweet potatoes so they take less time to cook each night.

Breakfast–

For the veggie cream cheese, I used Tofutti brand cream cheese. I cut up a red bell pepper, some cucumber, a jalapeno, and some carrots, then used the food processor on pulse until they were diced in smaller pieces. Then I just threw the cream cheese in and combined. I ended up adding some garlic powder, dill, and salt, and it turned out OK. I think it will be better with the bagels, but if you ever try this recipe I would recommend using Daiya’s dairy free cream cheese as opposed to Tofutti, I definitely prefer their version.

Lunch–

I plan on having the Asian noodle bowls for lunch. I made the recipe for the sauce listed on the original recipe’s page, and I am ~obsessed~ … I could probably drink the sauce on it’s own. But I will try not to. I just drained the tofu and cut the carrots, I will prepare the rest of the ingredients when I make lunch each day.

Dinner–

For dinner, I just roasted some sweet potatoes and broccoli, and threw some black beans on them. I’ll probably add some steamed kale and some kind of sauce, most likely involving tahini. (Note: almost everything I eat has either tahini on it if it is savory, or peanut butter on it if it is sweet. I have an obsession.)

Here are my meals, ready to go into the fridge where I will marvel at them and the convenience of meal prep as I do every week 🙂

Do you usually “meal prep,” or just make each meal individually? Comment below with any tips or tricks you have for healthy and easy meals!

-AK

My “refresh” routine

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It is the one day where I don’t feel obligated to necessarily be working, so I can actually take the time both to relax and to do other tasks that are difficult to prioritize during the busy week. There are certain things I tend to do every single Sunday, and while not all of these tasks are fun or relaxing, they enable me to start the week feeling refreshed. This routine is particularly useful for me during the academic year, when my schedule is much busier. But, it also helps me feel on-track during the summer, since it is one thing I do consistently each week.

My routine involves 4 main categories: household tasks, planning/ organization, self-care tasks, and preparing my food for the next week. The list below contains most of what I try to do every weekend (give or take some depending on what I was able to fit into the week)! I am planning on discussing my routines in greater depth in further posts, so this is just an overview.

 

The most exciting part of days where I do this whole routine is the end of the day, where I can light a candle, open a window and read or relax while the sun is setting knowing that my home is clean, my life feels organized, and I am ready to take on the week.

These tasks aren’t necessarily fun, but Sunday is still my favorite day. Why? I know that the week ahead will be 10000x easier if I am prepared and acting proactively rather than reactively. It gives me such a feeling of peace, which I definitely need to balance out the otherwise hectic state of my mind during the week. 🙂

Do you have a similar routine? How do you balance the things you need to do to feel like you “have your life together” with your work and day-to-day life?

-AK

My fitness routine

Many  workout routines have come and gone in my life. As an ex- cheerleader/ wannabe- yogi/ former cardio enthusiast, I have tried various approaches to getting fit, but I never experienced the benefits and results I began to see when I started lifting weights more consistently.

As of now, I am using an app called JEFIT to store my workout plan as well as tracking individual sessions. If you’re not like me/ don’t have a boyfriend who took a personal training certification course and made up a plan focused on your specific goals (bless), then you’re still in luck! The app contains various pre-made plans ranging from specific aesthetic goals to overall strength training, as well as individual workouts focused on certain muscle groups. I would highly recommend trying it out. The app is laid out in such a way that it feels like a to-do list. My compulsion to complete to-do lists combined with the app’s ability to hold all of my info and records has been a big factor, I think, in me actually staying on track with the plan and not skipping the parts I don’t like. If you don’t have access to that app or don’t prefer to bring your phone to the gym, I used to find plans on bodybuilding.com and they were great as well!

This is my current plan, but I reevaluate it every month or so (whenever I feel like I need to do something new to challenge myself again). Basically, I follow this for 3-4 days out of the week, and then I sometimes add cardio or other activities in on the side. It’s working well for me in terms of gaining strength, but I do want to go to the gym more frequently just because it improves the quality of my days (#endorphins #seratonin). Here you can also get a sense of what the app looks like.

Other things I do to stay motivated and make the most of my workouts:

  • Supplements: I don’t always use preworkout, but when I do, I definitely notice a difference in my focus and in how strong I feel. It isn’t a good idea to rely on supplements, but if you’re a fellow caffeine addict and would drink coffee prior to a workout anyway, you might find swapping this out to be effective some days. I personally have always used C4. I also use the Cellucor BCAAs sometimes, which help with recovery.
  • Inspiration: I get most of my “fitspo” by following people on Instagram and YouTube who make fitness a big part of their lives. Some of the people who inspired me to lift weights originally are Nikki Blackketter (And Christian, RIP to their relationship, if you know you know), Reese Regan, and Lynette Marie. I’m currently also obsessed with Whitney Simmons and would love if she would be my best friend. These people inspire me because they are other women who are into fitness and lifting, which is just ever so slightly less common among women than men…
  • Water: you know you need it, but I bet you never knew you needed this water bottle 😉 It has helped me drink so much more water!
  • Food: now I could write a whole saga about my relationship with food over the years, but at this point I think it is the healthiest it has been, which has resulted from me putting far less focus on it. I follow a vegan diet and while that’s not inherently healthy, it does eliminate many unhealthy things from my “menu.” I honestly just eat what I want, which usually just happens to involve fruits/ vegetables/ Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, as well as making sure I eat enough, and I wouldn’t change that unless I had a very specific/ competitive fitness goal.
  • Protein: my regular diet would provide enough protein to be healthy, but since one of my goals is gaining strength and I don’t eat meat, I sometimes use a vegan protein powder. My favorite is the Garden of Life cacao powder, but I will settle for their other varieties. I also love the brand PEScience but I haven’t tried their vegan products yet.
  • Yoga: as I was telling my hair stylist the other day, I prefer to go to the gym for a workout and go to yoga for my mind/ soul (she agreed). I just wanted to throw this in there because it isn’t a big part of “burning calories” or “getting strong” for me, but when I do yoga it leads to increased focus in every part of my life, including at the gym.
  • Foam rolling: okay… This is painful. And I often don’t actually do it because it’s painful. But I know that I should, and I thought maybe putting it on this list would inspire me to.
  • Mindfulness: this isn’t something that’s usually included in peoples’ fitness routines, but it is so important. I could go into the gym and robotically complete a workout without gaining much from it at all. When I mentally focus on the specific exercise I am doing and the muscles I am using, I end up feeling sore the next day and I know that I’m actually getting something out of the time I spent at the gym. For me, a big part of this is making sure that, when I go to the gym, I have plenty of time and don’t need to feel rushed. Then, instead of thinking about the 284017 things I have to do that day, I can focus on exactly where I am and what I’m doing. Bonus points for the fact that this is kind of an exercise in meditation as well.
  • Music: these are my current favorite playlists to listen to on Spotify while working out:

That’s pretty much it! I just try to make working out fun, because the benefits I get are definitely fun. It’s easy to listen to that lazy voice inside of your head, but by overcoming those challenges I have grown to genuinely enjoy following a consistent routine and living a healthy lifestyle where I feel like I am constantly improving.

Don’t forget to click “follow” if you want to join me on this month-long blogging challenge!

-AK

 

Is Chlorophyll Just for Plants?

I’ve always found new and (sometimes) strange health fads to be interesting and appealing. But… drinking liquid chlorophyll? Why would anybody even do that?

This summer, I learned about some of the health benefits of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is considered a “superfood,” and I had read articles suggesting that taking it in liquid form could lead to anti-inflammatory effects, help fight cancer, accelerate wound healing, improve digestion and skin health, and naturally prevent odors. There are also claims that it leads to weight loss, but given a basic understanding of nutrition, I’m generally pretty wary of that kind of claim. At the very least, studies showed that it wasn’t harmful, so I decided to give it a try myself and see if I noticed any changes.

I purchased a bottle of liquid chlorophyll at The Vitamin Shoppe for $10 and I still have it. I can’t find the exact bottle online — it is their generic brand pictured in this post — but you can find the drops elsewhere, including Amazon (not endorsing this particular brand, there are various similar options). This particular example is about $14, and holds almost 100 servings.

I personally chose to incorporate this into my daily routine by adding a few drops to my water in the morning, and sometimes having a second glass of chlorophyll water at some point throughout the day. I also experimented with adding chlorophyll to some of my smoothies. This effectively turned them into green smoothies, without involving actual greens. However, as I’m not a scientist, I can’t speak to whether blending the drops might decrease their effectiveness. I just know it tasted good and made my smoothies feel even healthier. *shrugging emoji*

My overall verdict is that this purchase was worth it, at least for me! Here is a little of what I personally experienced:

Increased energy: I’m definitely a coffee person (this is well established). However, I typically try to drink at least 12 oz of water in the morning before I have coffee. When I tried adding a few drops of liquid chlorophyll to my water, it seemed to delay the pounding headache that I would usually get if I didn’t drink coffee by a certain time. (Bad, I know.) It wasn’t a substitute, but it did help me feel more “alive” before my AM caffeine session.

Incentivized me to drink more water: This might vary depending upon the type of chlorophyll concentrate one uses, but I found that the drops I used added a very slight, minty taste to my water that made it more enjoyable to drink, and was more natural than Crystal Light.

Skin: When I started drinking this, I genuinely did notice an improvement in my skin. I felt that it became clearer and less dull. This, however, could have been attributable to the fact that, as I mentioned, drinking chlorophyll water encouraged drinking more water overall, which is generally beneficial for your skin. Either way, the end result was that it helped.

Speeds up healing: While I can’t be 100% sure it was the chlorophyll water, I had longish-term injuries that definitely improved and began to heal themselves in a way that was almost unbelievable when I began drinking it, and it was not during a time when I made any other major changes, so this is the only thing I can think of that might have caused it. Without going into too much detail, I would vouch for this benefit from my own experience.

Placebo effect?: Of course, perhaps these benefits I claim to have experienced could all be due to some placebo effect. I think the chances of that are less likely since I had that possibility in mind than if I had not, so I’m cautious about making conclusions… yet, even if it is just a mind trick, if it’s a beneficial mind trick, that’s not so bad, right? 😉 I suppose the only way to know for sure would be for more people to try it and share their experience.

I should also say that some of the alleged benefits of chlorophyll are longer-term, preventative, or otherwise unable to be encompassed by anecdotal accounts. For example, it has been argued that chlorophyll strengthens bones, treats anemia, prevents kidney stones, balances hormones, and boosts immunity.

Of course, there’s no miracle drug, supplement, chemical, food, etc. that a person can ingest and suddenly experience optimum health. It’s all about overall balance. I would liken drinking chlorophyll water to drinking green tea, eating chia seeds, or being super focused on #hydration. You won’t necessarily experience negative consequences without it, but you might gain unexpected benefits if you incorporate it as a regular aspect of your lifestyle.

What do you think? Would you ever try it, or, if you have, did you experience any benefits?

-AK

Comforting Carrot Coconut Curry

Take any recipe post from me with a grain of salt (actually, this recipe doesn’t really require added salt, but, ya know)… My whole family has always regarded me as the person who would need a personal chef, due to my lack of cooking skills and my lack of desire to learn.

However, now that I’ve been cooking for myself full-time the past several months, I’m actually growing to really enjoy it. Perhaps it’s in my blood… Both of my parents have spent much of their adult lives working with food. I find cooking to be a calming, meditative activity, but one that also makes me feel productive.

This week, for dinner, I made something in between a curry and a soup with carrots fresh from the farmers market (thanks to my thoughtful boyfriend). It is as good today as it was when I made it on Sunday. Plus, there’s nothing better than soup, particularly if it is a little spicy, to help kick out the in-between-season cold with which I had begun to cross paths…  So I thought I’d share!

This recipe was made in the slow cooker, but I’m sure it could be adapted to cook on the stove top as well.

Ingredients:
-2 teaspoons curry powder
-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
-1 red onion
-2 lbs carrots (baby carrots work, or chopped large carrots)
-1 large sweet potato
-4 cups vegetable stock (no added sodium if you’re not a salty person)
-14 oz (about 1 can) light coconut milk

-salt if you are a salty person

Instructions:

1. Chop onions, sweet potatoes, and carrots (if using regular sized carrots) into approximately bite-size pieces
2. Place onions, carrots, sweet potato, fresh ginger, and curry powder in slow cooker. Then add vegetable stock.
3. Cook on high for around 8 hours, or until vegetables are soft
4. Add salt or additional spices of desired.
5. Stir in coconut milk while still hot

It’s so easy! I’ve tried adding nutritional yeast to this (for more of a creamy/ chowdery flavor) and that worked well, IMO. This would also be good with some type of coconut garnish on top. You could also add chick peas or quinoa for additional protein. I recommend eating it with rice or some sort of bread.

Enjoy!

-AK