Tag Archives: Plant Based

HEART HEALTHY

Vans was in Whistler, Canada for six days last week leaving me with the girls for our own little week of adventure.

Who is he with?!
Who is he with?!

Not to worry though as we didn’t waste any time getting our own little party started …

Dinner at my our favorite restaurant.
Dinner at my our favorite restaurant the first night!

The girls understood that Daddy was away doing a bike race at our friends house in another country and that we had to continue on our usual routine as best we could without him. For me, that meant no more morning or weekend runs with the usual girls or using soccer practice as a time to do some of my Rouxbe cooking assignments.

The running part was an adjustment, but luckily I work for a company that provides showers and a locker room so I took my running outside a few days week during my lunch hour. The distance is only four miles and there is only about 9 feet of elevation (picture a completely flat bike trail and business park) so instead, I motivated myself to start running faster.

It worked!
It worked!

I was able to maintain an average pace of about 7:37/mile each day that I ran on my lunch break. The temps were in the 90s too so it was pretty hot when all was said and done but it was a nice stress reliever which I have needed since work is growing more and more insane lately.  I have also been using my standup desk more and taking the six flights of stairs at the office. I keep reading articles about how sitting is slowly killing us by raising our triglycerides and insulin levels and that a mere 30 minutes of activity doesn’t do squat to combat the damage. I commute at least two hours each day to work, I sit at a desk all day long most days and when I come home, I am sitting with the Peanut doing homework. I know it may seem like I am on the go all the time but the reality of it is, I do spend a lot of time in a chair. Think about yourself. How much time do you sit in a car, a chair, at a desk or on a couch? Really think about it. The number may surprise you.

I also recently have been diving more and more into my favorite type of cooking. The online cooking course I am taking through Rouxbe is great but it is your basic plant-based cooking style using things like coconut oils and cashews to create rich and fulfilling meals. My family history of severe heart disease and heart attacks really makes it hard for me to eat that way all the time. I truly believe in the work behind Dr. Esselstyn and when I finally received his wife and daughter’s cookbook, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, I have been on an plant-power cooking adventure!

Mango Salsa!
Mango Salsa!

Rouxbe does have a unit on oil-free cooking and I am eagerly waiting to get there so I can learn even more tips and tricks to cooking fantastic plant-based meals without oils or nuts.

Another Esselstyn inspired meal - Green Onion Hummus
Another Esselstyn inspired meal – Green Onion Hummus

It is really important for me to try and maintain a healthy heart (as it should be for everyone). I don’t need to share the statistics that prove Americans are getting more and more unhealthy and are more and more reliant on pharmaceuticals to try and “fix” their ailments. Drugs do not reverse anything. They are only a band-aid which is why I love Dr. Esselstyn’s message. He’s a doctor, a cardiologist and is first line of defense for any of his patients is to avoid medication and put them on a plant-based oil and nut free way of living. Not a diet, a way of life.

I know I know, so many of you are probably thinking “What?! You already do not eat gluten and meat, what on earth are you going to eat now if you leave out oil and nuts?!” It isn’t that difficult to cook oil free. Oil has no nutritional value to it what so ever. It is pure fat and can do massive damage to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery. Nuts will be a little harder as I do love almond butter. What Dr. Esselstyn and his crew (including his son Rip who is the founder and drive behind Engine 2) say, is that if you do not have a history of heart disease that 100% avoiding nuts and fats like avocado isn’t AS crucial.

I should preface this by saying I am TRYING to be better about living this way. In the years before Vans and the girls, my diet was very much low fat and nut free and I truly felt my healthiest (minus that gluten thing). However running and training for ultra races also presents various problems when you are maxing out high mileage on a weekly basis. In fact, my usual pre-race breakfast is a bar that contains a lot of nuts! What to do?

When asked about “moderation” Dr. Esselstyn’s response is generally, “if you eat unhealthy foods in moderation, you will have a moderate heart attack.” It makes sense. I am just trying to get the hang of it all. Eating this way and being active is doable. Rip Esselstyn is a former professional triathlete and firefighter who ate this way during his training days. It can be done. We shall see where this road takes me.

In other healthy news, the Peanut had another soccer game this weekend wherein she played goalie during the first half. One goal made it past her but her team soon rose to the challenge and returned the goal and many more.

The fierce goalie!
The fierce goalie!

It was a pretty grueling weekend. The temperature was in the 100s both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday started early with soccer photos for every single team in the league!

Say Cheese!
Say Cheese!
The soccer Dad and his girls.
The soccer Dad and his girls.
And the girls.
And the girls.
Squeaker hiding from the heat.
Squeaker hiding from the heat.

We had the soccer photos at 9 am (and it was scorching already) followed by a game at 11:00 am. Come noontime, everyone was fried and exhausted. Since I wasn’t able to run on Saturday due to all the soccer activities, I planned a run with Stonegate, Burning Girl and Pigeon for early Sunday morning. I haven’t seen Pigeon in quite some time so I was totally stoked when she said she could run with us!

Pigeon arrived at my house promptly at 6 am and we ran ourselves down to the trail head to meet Stonegate and Burning Girl. The sun had just come up and Pigeon and I were catching up on some lost time and laughs. I love how we can always pick up wherever we left off.

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We headed out on New York Creek looking to do about 16 miles for the day. My house is about a half mile from the trail head so that added an additional mile for us. Right off the bat my legs felt a little tired but they soon came back to life for a short while. The run out is always nice. It is somewhat downhill and we’re usually super excited and chat the whole way. By the time we passed Spanish House over by Folsom Lake the conversations were starting to slow. I felt like I had a bowling ball in my tummy for a while but it luckily subsided after I ate some food and took a salt tab.

Amazing views
Amazing views

The trails are a bit technical on this side of the lake compared to the route I normally go but it was a nice change of pace and it had some real nice rolling hills that we’d run and occasionally walk. Poor Pigeon had run 26 miles on Friday, 15 on Saturday and was sticking with us on our 16 mile run today. Her legs were beat but she was able to hang with us.

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So lucky to live so close to trails like this.

We chatted and shared stories. The girls laughed endlessly at my fear of birds and Stonegate is longing for the day when a turkey crosses my path on the trails. I am sure she will have her day one of these days especially as we approach Thanksgiving.

The sun was rising!
The sun was rising!

Even though we started running at 6:30 am you could feel the heat coming. The air was thick on our route back and we were reduced to walking a bit more. We also encountered a million mountain bikers on the trail having a few close calls with some head on collisions.

Overall it felt good to be back out running some distance on the trails. I definitely feel the absence and I hope that I can rebuild the stamina I once had when it comes to running longer. I am also looking forward to the next two weekends coming up. Lots of adventures are ahead quite a few of them will be in Tahoe!

Meanwhile, I will be back in the kitchen cooking for Rouxbe as well as trying to incorporate some of my own plant-based meals ala Esselstyn style.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

 

 

 

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CHALLENGING WEEK

This has been quite a challenging week for me in many regards. It started off with the holiday weekend which was absolutely wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it deletes a day out of your “normal” work day routine which is essential when you have a child in first grade who gets more homework than any child I have ever seen. Okay, maybe the homework is “average” compared to most but they must not have a child who drags her feet and complains endlessly for 20 minutes about a ONE page worksheet that she has to do. We’re instructed to do “20 minutes” of homework a night … if I followed that rule, the Peanut would still be doing first grade homework when she turns 45.

Another challenge this week for me has been trying to fit in running when I can. The holiday weekend brought us to Tahoe, our home/heart away from home. The Trailmomma family has been itching to get away to our “usual” Tahoe place and all the stars aligned at the last-minute to allow us this amazing get-away.

Tahoe Sunsets
Tahoe Sunsets

I am not complaining in the least. The girls had an amazing time just running wild and riding their bikes.

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Vans and I had a chance to relax and unwind leaving work worries behind as well.

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We just did what we normally do when we go to Tahoe and that is chill. I was given a day of running while Vans was given a day of biking. The girls just found whatever adventures they could find throughout the property.

My beautiful 8 mile run.
My beautiful 8 mile run.
Super tiny humans playing in the hammocks.
Super tiny humans playing in the hammocks.
Monkeying around at the park.
Monkeying around at the park.
Flexing at the lake.
Flexing at the lake.
Goofing around....
Goofing around….
And of course, shopping for hats.
And of course, shopping for hats.

After a few days spent in Tahoe, we then moved to Donner Lake where we joined our friends in our Annual Camping Trip. You can see the other annual camping trips here: Camping 2013, Camping 2012, Camping 2011 and Camping 2010.

Donner Lake swimming
Donner Lake swimming

The one downside of our trip was when we realized that we had forgotten to bring the ADULT sleeping bags. We had to steal some of the girls’ blankets which they clearly noticed, but if we didn’t, Vans and I would have either frozen to death or gotten divorced … neither one really appeals. 🙂

Good morning!
Good morning!

Overall, the camping and Tahoe trips were a success. While they took away from our usual routine of things, it was nice to get out of town.

When I had to return to work, I tried to run on my lunch hour to squeeze in an extra few miles wherein I think I almost left my lungs on the side of an old deserted street in Rancho Cordova. Why does a flat fast few miles kill me more than running uphill at 3,000 plus feet of elevation?! Ouch.

Combine that with some Rouxbe cooking assignments that I have been putting off. We are in the “Batch Cooking” segment of the course which I love the idea since I batch cook my grains all the time on weekends. Still, my first real graded assignment was a risotto, which I love, don’t get me wrong but a risotto requires time, patience and a little fineness.

This little assignment came about at about 9 pm on a Wednesday evening after I put the girls to bed since I really could not fathom finding time to do this assignment once Vans left for Canada. Yes, he has left for Canada to visit Be-Well-Run and her hubby Dokeg to participate in the Whistler Grand Fondo! I am super excited for him and I hope he has a fabulous time but cooking and cleaning dishes at 10 pm at night on a Wednesday was pretty grueling.

Voila Risotto
Voila Risotto

Now I am a solo parent trying to schedule a night at concert in the park, a birthday party, a soccer game, a girls morning and a swimming clinic this weekend. Easy peasy right?

Or….maybe we’ll just hang out in our monkey jammies all day and call it good. 🙂

Monkey Jammies Rock
Monkey Jammies Rock

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AND THE ROUXBE WINNER IS …..

Before I announce the winner of the Plant-Based Rouxbe Online Cooking School give-away, I want to thank ALL of you who commented on my post, shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I also want to thank all of you who emailed me personally or stopped me while out and about to ask me more about Rouxbe and their plant-based program.

Rouxbe

Like I have said numerous times, Rouxbe’s program is pretty unique with their online approach and use of technology and even though I have been plant-based for over 20 years now, I am learning even more. Not only am I discovering tips on how to cook certain vegetables or grains, I am learning proper cutting techniques as well as storage and handling for certain foods to prevent spoilage and prolong the length of my produce, legumes and grains.

Currently I am only a quarter of the way through the program myself and my oldest (age 6), now declares that she likes brussel sprouts because of the method I learned through Rouxbe.

Also, if your name is not listed below as a winner and you are really interested in this course, Rouxbe has decided to knock 20% off their tuition prices for their October session! How cool is that!? Just use the code BACKTOSCHOOL upon registration (offer good until Sunday, September 7, 2014).

So without further ado, let me announce the winner of the free tuition to Rouxbe’s Online October Plant-Based Cooking Certification Course! The free tuition goes to…(drumroll please)….. Sarah!

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Congratulations Sarah! Please email me at trailmomma@trailmomma.com and I will tell you what you need to do to register and claim your amazingly awesome plant-based prize! You are now on your way to improving your plant-based knowledge and I really hope this helps you educate those 8th graders and show them how eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be a big deal. Please stay in touch and keep me posted on your progress throughout the course!

Thank you again to all who entered. I truly feel honored to be able to offer such an amazing experience and I cannot thank Joe Girard and the whole Rouxbe team for allowing me to do this give-away.

If any of you have any questions regarding my progress or experience with the program, please do not hesitate to contact me or just follow me here as I will continue to share my experiences with Rouxbe on my blog – just as long as you don’t mind some trail running posts thrown in every so often. 🙂 OR better yet, … follow me on Facebook! I am finally going to launch my Trailmomma page on Facebook because I know there is a large group of people in my inner circle who could care less about the amazing plant-based meals I had for dinner or the 20 mile trail adventure that I had on some random weekend. I will be posting my meals, Rouxbe experiences and trail running adventures on my Trailmomma Facebook page and leave the family random personal stuff for my regular one. The Trailmomma Facebook page should be live within a day or so.

In the meantime, congrats to Sarah and I encourage all of you who entered to look into Rouxbe. If the time and money situation is not quite right at the moment, keep it in your back pocket for future reference. If you are truly stuck on how to succeed at a plant-based diet, this course could help you. Of course you are always welcome to email me with any questions you might have as well: trailmomma@trailmomma.com or use my Contact page above.

Thanks once again to Rouxbe!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ROUXBE GIVE-AWAY

Okay, I kind of have to control myself here. When I started this little blog in 2009, it was mostly to chronicle my running adventures and to showcase my girls and how fast they are growing. Most of my readership in the early days (on my blogspot account) consisted of my ultra-training group as we trained together for our first 50K and 50 mile races. It quickly grew however as people from all over the nation followed our training and were commenting on my posts. That blog was a labor of love but sadly, when my running slowed down, so did the blog posts.

When I purchased the Trailmomma domain name, I wasn’t sure what to do with this blog. The name alone lends itself to being a “running” blog which it is and of course it still encompasses my family and our adventures, but I have always felt that something was “missing” from www.trailmomma.com. It wasn’t a true reflection of me. If a stranger were to ask my friends or family what three things define me as Trailmomma, I would think they would say 1. my girls & family, 2. running and 3. living a plant-based lifestyle.

Deep down, I have always wanted to HELP people with my blog and I guess in the early days I did by way of motivation to train for ultra races. Once that stopped though, my following dissipated.

My current readership is primarily my awesome family and some really close friends which is expected when all I write about are my running adventures with a dash of Peanut and Squeaker on the side. Sadly, I don’t garner the comments I used to when I was posting about a 20 mile trail run through a massive rain storm while battling some injury. I miss all the comments that I used to get. I like comments (hint hint). 🙂

Rouxbe

Fast forward to a week or so ago, I wrote this post about my new adventure with Rouxbe’s Online Cooking School and their Professional Plant Based Cooking Certification. After I posted that, I received a comment (yea for comments) from Rouxbe’s CEO and co-founder Joe Girard. Shortly after that comment, I received an email from him. His emails always seem to have these unbelievable offers that he makes really difficult to ignore.

You see, Joe wants to help ME… help YOU! I think he can tell how passionate I am about living a plant-based lifestyle while battling the realities of 2 kids, work and life. For those that follow me on Instagram, Twitter (@trailmomma) and Facebook (no official Trailmomma page, yet), you know that I sometimes post photos of meals that I have prepared with some comment about how “easy” it really is to enjoy wholesome plant-based food even with a hectic day-to-day lifestyle.

Getting the girls involved
The girls helping me with one of my Rouxbe assignments.

Let’s get one thing straight, I do not want to be a food blogger. Don’t get me wrong, I love food bloggers (a lot) but that isn’t who I am. I am just your average Jane trying to help people realize that eating healthy is not that hard. I want people to think about what they are putting into their bodies and how they feel or perform after they eat it. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., “Genetics loads the gun lifestyle pulls the trigger.” You have the ability to change your health, you just have to know where to start.

And thanks to Joe Girard and Rouxbe, you can start right here!

As I mentioned in my last post, Rouxbe is an online cooking school. While they offer many different courses, I am currently taking their Professional Plant-Based Certification course. It is 100% online and you have six months to complete the course working at your own pace (a mother’s dream). The next session will start in October and I won’t lie, the tuition is not cheap but I am here to help you with that.

For the very first time on trailmomma.com, I am offering a give-away!!! Joe and the people at Rouxbe have offered me the chance to give-away ONE free enrollment to one of my readers. FREE! Let me say it again, FREE!! Excuse me?! That is a $1,500 GIFT …. FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!

People, this is no joke and truly the chance of a life-time. Please do not pass up this opportunity to improve your health and the health of your family!

I am going to give you FIVE opportunities to enter. The winner will be chosen via www.random.org but of course the more times you enter, the greater your chances of winning and jumping on the train to better health.

Here is what you need to do. Each of these will constitute one entry into the contest so be sure to comment for each one:

1. Facebook a link about this contest and leave me a comment on this post that you did (provide the FB link);

2. Instagram about this contest and leave me a comment on this post that you did and use the hashtag #plantbasedtrailmomma;

3. Tweet a link about this contest and leave me a comment on this post that you did (tag me in the post);

4. Comment on this post and tell me WHY you want to win this and what it will mean for you (*a bonus entry will be awarded to more thorough responses – so put some thought into it!);

5. Instagram (yes, another) a photo of your favorite plant-based meal and use the hashtag #plantbasedtrailmomma

That’s it! All you need to do is comment here five separate times with a with the above requests and you will be entered in the chance to win FREE tuition into Rouxbe’s next Professional Plant-Based Certification Course that is starting in October (valued at $1,500).

The contest will close Sunday, August 31st at mid-night (PST) and I will announce the winner on Tuesday, September 2nd.

So what are you waiting for?! Do you want to feel better, live better and have a healthy family? Have you always been curious about a plant-based diet but did not know where to start? Do you want to be better and more efficient in the kitchen? Then let the comments begin!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

*The tuition entry prize is given by Rouxbe. I did not pay for any of it nor am I employed by Rouxbe in anyway.

*Open to anyone regardless of residence (that is the awesome part about it being online!).

*Contest ends mid-night (PST) on Sunday, August 31st The winner will be picked via www.random.org and announced on Tuesday, September 2nd.

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ROUXBE

So for the last few posts, I have alluded to the fact that life has been extra busy and that I had a “big announcement.” Maybe I exaggerated a little bit or put too much emphasis on the “announcement” part. The simple fact of the matter is, I am enrolled in a cooking school. An ONLINE cooking school.

Let’s go back in time shall we? It may make a little more sense if I do.

Quite a few months ago, I was surfing the internet reading about Holistic Nutritionists, Life Coaches, Personal Trainers … all the things that interest me. Unfortunately, I have thought long and hard about my goals and dreams as well as the more realistic side of life (kids, house, mortgage, retirement etc).

Vans has been fairly patient with me. I would go up and down contemplating “what SHOULD I be doing in life?” The job that pays the bills, while not a horrible job, isn’t my “dream” job and definitely not one that fulfills my inner happiness.

But what DID make me happy? That was a question I repeatedly asked myself over and over. I had people ask me that question and follow it up with “What are you good at doing?” Honestly, nothing. There is not one thing that I excel at whole heartedly that would earn me a living. Not without some kind of degree or professional education behind me. Although I guess one could say that I excel at multi-tasking and having a lot of things on my plate all at once. 🙂

Sure if you ask me about plant-based eating or fueling for races using a plant-based diet, I will (and have) talk your ear off with a million suggestions, ideas or plans.

When someone questions my dietary choices and asks me “where do you get your protein?” or “how can you run ultras on a  plant-based diet and still feel okay?” I go into hyper explanation mode. I do not get defensive about it, I want to explain it, share it and hope they are inspired.

When I see those around me suffering from ailments that could easily be cleared up by improving their diet, I secretly pray they ask me for help. But why would they? I am not a Nutritionist. I am not a Dietician.  I have looked into going back to school to get those types of degrees but the cost and time alone is more than I can imagine right now, not to mention the experience that goes with having a job like that. I would be 80 years old before I had a few years under my belt not to mention the fact that I have two kids to put through college and two weddings to finance some day.

Quite a while ago, I took the eCornell Plant Based Nutrition course online. Most of what I learned in that three-month course was nothing entirely new to me. Sure it showed me the “science” behind what a plant-based diet can do and has done for many civilizations. It was interesting and I am glad that I took it as now I can say that I have a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from (e)Cornell. 🙂 Sounds so fancy.

Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I kept searching. Vans kept sighing and praying that I wouldn’t just up and quit my job all Jerry McQuire like … “Help me … Help you…” No, instead, I surfed the internet.

Randomly one day, I received an email in my inbox from an online cooking school that was offering a new course, a Plant Based Professional Cooking Certification Course. Wait, what?! So I did what most people do not do, I clicked on the email link.

It brought me to the Rouxbe Plant Based Professional Cooking Certification homepage. I surfed around on the page a bit and then did what most paralegals by day would do … I researched the living crap out of this company. Who are they? Who has taken their courses? What are they doing now? How long have they been around?

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Some what happy with what I discovered, I signed up for a free trial. The free trial allowed me a day or two of access to some of the recipe videos and other teaching videos to give me a feel for how the course would be structured. I mean, come on, who can take a COOKING course…ONLINE?

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After my free trial ended, I received an email from the school asking me what I thought about my free trial. Totally thinking that this was purely an automated email, I responded and basically asked them what is up with this course? It is crazy expensive and the syllabus seems very daunting. I basically said that I was a full-time working mother of two kids, with three jobs, a husband and lots of extra curricular activities … oh yea, and I have been plant-based for 20 years so IS this course worth my time and money?

I received a reply … from the co-founder and CEO of the company! He not only answered all my questions he also said, “I don’t have kids, but I do know that many of our students DO have kids. So that all depends on how busy you are with Peanut and Squeaker (yep, stalked you :-). I would say this is a very good question and I really want Rouxbe to be able to empower busy moms and families on how to cook better. So I have a deal for you…”

Um, what? He stalked me? Sure enough, he read my blog and his “deal” was very Godfather like “an offer too good to refuse.”

Ultimately, he cut a significant amount off the tuition price for me on the agreement that I would track the time it takes to finish the course as well as document any challenges that I may face along the way. This would give them the feedback they need to modify the course in any way for more people like me.

Tuition reduction alone, this said to me that they truly care about educating mothers/fathers about how valuable a plant-based diet is and how important it is for our families to eat this way.

I agreed and the rest is history. I started my “schooling” on July 23rd and I have approximately 6 months to finish (sometime in January). Some people think I am completely nuts and I won’t lie, there are days when I am ready to pull my hair out thinking about all that I have to accomplish in a day, week, month. I may need to reconfigure some of my priorities, but for now, I am thoroughly enjoying the course.

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The format is nothing short of amazing. The video quality for some of the lessons is outstanding and the manner and detail in which some things are taught, is very impressive. I am not that far into the program obviously, but so far it involves performing certain activities and taking specific photos of your work and uploading them for grading. There are tests and quizzes and practical diagrams. Very hands on.

Overall, I am quite impressed and eager to keep moving forward in the program. I do find myself stressing some days about whether or not I will be able to complete it. Some days I find myself studying while at work (you can view the program on your iPhone) during the lunch hour etc. Some days I can’t fit a single lesson in which means that on another day I will have to double up on lessons.

Ironically though, within the last few weeks I have had quite a few friends ask me about plant-based diets. Either they are just curious or they have had some sort of health scare and are looking for a change, I am happy to share my experiences with them. Hopefully, down the road, after this course, I will be able to share even more.

After all of this internal searching for what I am “supposed” to be doing in life, I realize that what does make me happy is sharing and showing people how living a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be hard. It truly doesn’t once you learn some basics and I would love to be able to take someone to a grocery store and show them the products they need to buy (or more importantly NOT buy) and then take them home and show them how to prepare an easy plant-based meal that will heal them from the inside out.

For now, I am content to continue on with my course while maintaining my every day job(s). I answer questions at work almost daily about following a plant-based diet or how to cure something holistically. Maybe I am supposed to be where I am in order to help those around me?

Either way, I am excited about this journey and I am sure Vans is excited to have a few more recipes thrown into our repertoire.

Happy Trails Cooking!

~Trailmomma

 

 

 

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