One of the most common themes in the questions I am asked is how to lose weight on the plant-based diet. I always try to address this topic carefully, as it's a sensitive subject. Having struggled with an eating disorder in my teens and twenties and body image issues most of my life, I understand how important one's mental state is to feeling good physically and emotionally. Changing my diet has had an ongoing impact on my life, including healthy weight loss and the ability to maintain it. Additionally, learning about how food impacts the body helped me feel more grounded and comfortable in my skin, and reduced unhealthy eating habits (like binging and purging).

I've also discovered that there is no such thing as a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all trick, and that keeping the body thriving inside and out is a perpetual process. That's why I love coming across weight loss advice that offers long-term, nutritious tips featuring food and healthy emotional guidance. Here are some of my latest favorites, starting with 10 delicious, body-friendly foods.

Published in Health Food
Sunday, 31 March 2013 12:23

Viewer of the Month: Amanda Middleton

One of the best parts of running Eco-Vegan Gal is meeting people virtually. I receive some really sweet digital correspondence from amazing people around the world, and it's always touching to hear their stories. On my birthday this year Amanda sent me a sweet note on Facebook to let me know that I inspired her to go vegan 2 years ago - her words brought me so much joy and I was really interested to hear more about her story. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Hi! My name is Amanda. I am a 30 year old vegan, and I live in Connecticut. I have always loved animals and have been lucky to have them around me my entire life. A few years ago, I started to become more interested in cooking and nutrition. And was learning more and more about what is in our food and where it comes from. I had been curious about vegetarianism for a while and in September 2010 I decided to try giving up meat (except for fish) for a month, or maybe until that Thanksgiving, and then see how I felt. I only knew a handful of vegetarians then (and I definitely didn't know any vegans). That night, I turned to Google. I think I googled "vegetarian" and I came across the Peta video "If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, Everyone Would Be Vegetarian"... Well that shocked me to my core.. I hadn't cried that hard in a long time. I already knew that it wasn't right to be eating animals, but I didn't know how horribly they are treated. I also didn't know all the other issues that come from the meat/dairy/egg industries (environment, world hunger, etc) It and a few more videos I watched, left me disturbed and appalled. And I knew after that I could never eat meat again. A friend of mine recommened that I read Skinny Bitch. I went to the bookstore across the street the next day and read that book in about a day and a half. I continued to eat fish once in a while and was probably 99% vegan at home. Going out, I was still consuming some dairy and eggs.. Pretty much out of laziness or "convenience". I guess I was leaning into it.

I didn't officially go 100% vegan until December 2011. Another friend of mine was curious about my veggie lifestyle, so I lent her Skinny Bitch, and told her about some videos to watch. The next day, she told me that she threw out all of the animal products in her house and wanted to go vegan right away! Well, I jumped right on board with her (it's a lot easier with a buddy) and never looked back! And brought a few more friends with me since then :)


Since I've been eating more healthy plant-based whole foods, I've felt great! I used to get sick all the time. Now I hardly ever do! My nails started growing so much stronger, so I stopped biting them. <--Yay! I have more overall energy. It has been better for my skin (dairy is horrible for skin). This year I started working out and building muscle. Which is awesome. And it has actually really helped with my depression, which I have had since a teen. No drugs for me! While I do believe it has to do with what we put into our bodies, I also think living a more compassionate life helps your overall well-being. I could go on and on and on...

I love food! I consider myself to be a "foodie", and I love to cook. Despite what many people may think, there is soooo much variety in a plant-based diet. I have so many vegan cookbooks, that I need to get a bigger bookcase before I get anymore. As much as I enjoy trying other people's recipes, I love to experiment in the kitchen and just throw things together. Some of the best things I have eaten came from doing just that. I love to share what I make/eat on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of my friends (mostly non-veg) tell me I should start a blog.. so I have been thinking of doing that. I would also like to get more involved in animal activism. I know that by not purchasing products that come from animals, or are tested on animals, and by boycotting anything that exploits/hurts them (circus, zoos, puppy mills, etc) are all great ways to help animals.. But I would like to be more physically involved.

Going vegan was the best decision I have ever made and I wish I did it sooner! :)

A couple quotes I'd like to share:
"If we can live happy and healthy lives, without causing harm to others, why wouldn't we?"
-Jenny Brown, co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

"Don't do nothing, because you can't do everything. Do something. Anything."


The internet (especially Google and YouTube) is so great for the veg-curious! Or anyone who wants to know where our food comes from and what goes into it. There is a quote I've seen a few times (don't know who said it) "In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." And I believe that is true. The information is out there, people! I was shocked and elated to see how many YouTube videos there were on veganism! All you have to do is type "vegan" into the search bar and at least one of EcoVeganGal's videos show up. (she has almost 500.. and that's just on her main channel.. she has at least 3 others-- WhatAVeganEats is also a great one!) I don't remember the very first EcoVeganGal video I saw, but I do know that I came across one, and just kept watching more of them, and subscribed to her channel. Whitney has a video for pretty much anything eco or vegan you can think of, as well as ones about just living a happier life. I truely believe that she genuinely cares about your well-being and wants to share with you all of the wonderful products, companies, books, and people that she discovers. Thanks to Whitney, I found out about Kris Carr, Happy Herbivore, vgirls|vguys, and other YouTube favorites: The Vegan Zombie and the lovely Shelley Williams, just to name a few. And those people brought me to others and so on.. I had no idea how many of us there are. It is so nice to know that there are all of these other inspirational, compassionate people out there and that we are not alone in this.

Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I had a hard time choosing a favorite EcoVeganGal video. I enjoy her product reviews, because she is so honest and does them with integrity, but one video that is speaking to me right now is a bit different from that. The Importance of Living from the Heart:

 

Amanda online:

Published in Viewer of the Month
Sunday, 27 March 2011 20:24

Non-Toxic Nail Polish (EVG Q&A)


Question:

Where do you get the non toxic nail polish?

Answer:

Published in Hair and Nails
Saturday, 21 March 2009 15:45

Recess Nail Spa (Los Angeles): Review


Today I treated myself to a mani/pedi at Recess Nail Spa in West Hollywood. It was my first time there, so I got both for $50 (normally it's $60).  

I was really excited to go because it's a very eco-friendly place. Not only are the polishes and body products non-toxic and organic, but the space is entirely green. "Recess builders used only wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), guaranteeing that it came from well-managed forests, defined by far-reaching standards governing everything from worker's rights to environmental impact. In the loft-style salon, low-emitting paint coats the natural tone walls and skylights let in plenty of natural light. The furniture is made of recycled materials or those made from renewable or sustainable sources." And, "most of the salon's equipment is Energy Star rated"
 
I was very warmly greeted by Jessie at the front desk - he was incredibly helpful and kind. I was the only client there (it was a dreary day, plus the economy), so I got all the attention. 
Published in Hair and Nails