My Favorite Salads for Weight Loss

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*This photo has nothing to do with the actual salads ūüėČ

Here are two¬†oil-free simple salad combinations that I have been loving lately. My stomach feels super light after eating those! I never thought I could feel full from a salad, but these are honestly incredible, so tasty, and they provide a healthy amount of carbs, plant-based fats, micronutrients and calories. Yum!¬†They’re perfect for getting your daily dose of veggies.

THE FRESH SALAD

Both salads start off with the same base : about 2-3 cups of lettuce. To this one, I add :

  • A small chopped up cucumber
  • Shredded carrot
  • Shredded red and white cabbage
  • Shredded beetroot
  • Avocado
  • Boiled potato or sweet potato (a small one) chopped into cubes
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Chick peas
  • Green olives
  • Red onion

The avocado acts as the dressing, I add enough for it to make the salad just creamy enough. You can add as much of each ingredient as you like, or even skip or swap some of them. I don’t really measure anything. I just love this combination!

THE COMFORTING SALAD

Again, I start off with about 2-3 cups of lettuce (any kind). Here is what I add to it :

  • A small chopped up cucumber
  • A small chopped up carrot
  • Boiled pumpkin or butternut squash¬†(a small one) chopped into cubes
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Chick peas
  • Oil free natural¬†peanut butter mixed with a little bit of water (dressing)
  • Granola or mixed nuts
  • Black olives
  • Red onion

I know they are very alike, and super simple, but they both have their own amazing taste! I eat one of those every day for dinner and I never feel bloated, hungry or uncomfortable afterwards. I might also try one with a mango dressing eventually, yum.

Let me know if you give them a go!

‚ô• Gen

How I Save Money Easily

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I know this does not have much to do with going back to naturals stuff, but, let’s face it, being able to save a comfortable amount of money every month makes it easier to reach goals related to a vegan or ethical journey. You might finally be able to afford a high speed blender or a food processor, which both make vegan living so much easier, fun and delicious : that’s a good start to making you stick to it. You might also now be able to encourage small artists or ethical clothing companies instead of encouraging the big corporations who couldn’t care less about people or the environment. So many possibilities, right?

I’ve noticed that many people around me (especially students) have trouble managing their money – they basically spend every paycheck on beer and fast food. Most of them are even in debt (Uni is really not that expensive here, about $1,500 per semester)! I don’t know if that’s just me, but I find it kind of shocking. But well, if you’re in that situation, no worries, I’m here to help.

Here are a few tips and tricks to save money that I personally use and love!

QUESTION WHAT YOU THINK ARE OBLIGATORY EXPENSES

I know this tip seems kind of dumb, but hear me out. I’ve realized that we often consider obligatory things that could be optional. We also tend to think that our obligatory expenses every month cannot be reduced.

If you give yourself some time to think about it, you’ll realize that it’s actual all up to you.

For example, I once thought buying expensive skin care products was a must for me. I used to never consider buying a moisturizer that was less than 50 bucks. How silly! But that’s how I thought, and it was obviously logical to me at the time. Once I realized I did not need to buy expensive stuff to have good looking skin, my mindset changed and I’m now saving a few hundred dollars per year on that. It’s that easy.

Same goes for shampoo and conditioner. People were convinced by marketing companies, about a century ago, that they absolutely needed to use shampoo and conditioner, and it stuck until today, but I am the living proof that we do not need those to have clean, beautiful hair. Read my post about my no-poo journey if you want to learn more about this. Those products are pricy!

If your rent is also very expensive, ask yourself if you really need to live in a certain area, or if you really need that much room. You have to learn to compromise a little bit. Just question everything from your phone bills to the grocery store you always go to!

ELIMINATE BAD HABITS

This one could be a bit hard for some people at first, but when you have a clear goal in mind, it’s totally doable. If you’re someone who drinks coffee from Starbucks every day, you might wanna ask yourself if you could not brew your own instead. One less¬†dollar that you spend every day adds up at the end of the year!

If you tend to eat out a lot as well, make sure you pre-pack lunches. It helps so much on the long run for your money and for your health!

Same goes for going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. It’s a no-no. Try to make a list and plan your meals ahead, that way you won’t end up throwing away a lot of food at the end of the week.

MAKE BUDGETS FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME

I find that making a budget for a whole year, or even a few months, does not work well for me. It ends up being a waste of time, basically, because a year from now is way too far, right?

I realized that I stick to my budget a lot better when I plan my expenses for the next month, or even the next few weeks. That way, it’s easier to estimate how much you think you’ll spend on food, on clothes, on skin care; and then you know how much money you have left for going out to eat, or going to the movies! While still adding some money to your savings account, of course.

BE AWARE OF HOW MUCH YOU’RE SPENDING

Now, this can make you look like the boring friend who never wants to go to fancy restaurants, but joke’s on the others¬†when you buy your first house at 25 (haha). You are totally allowed to say no to certain things, because you have a goal in mind and you want to reach it as quickly as possible.

It helps to leave your credit card at home when you leave the house, because then you clearly see what you can afford or not. Also try to put things into perspective. If you’re looking to buy a $80 bracelet, think about how much food you could get at the grocery store for the same amount of money. This has saved me from a lot of impulsive purchases!

Obviously, I’m all for spending a few hundred dollars on clothes or makeup once in a while, because we still gotta spoil ourselves! But we have to make choices and pick what we want to splurge on, because we cannot splurge on just anything, as a student, and save up a lot of money at the same time.

I’m also trying to be more aware of overconsumption, as it is my goal for the future to contribute as less as possible to this issue.

Happy savings! ūüôā

‚ô• Gen

Having a Non-Vegan Boyfriend

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I guess this might be a touchy subject, but I just want to talk about my opinions and random thoughts on¬†it, since I think it might be a situation many people have to deal with, including me. I say ‘boyfriend’ because that’s what applies to me, but it could definitely be ‘girlfriend’ or just ‘partner’ as well.

I think, especially when we don’t live with our significant other, diet choices are a very personal thing. Now, I know that taking animals’ lives to eat is immoral. I know this, because I educated myself enough on the subject and because it is part of my values, but not everybody is aware of the consequences of eating meat or dairy. Most people will go ahead and follow the “rules” society has laid out for us and I believe it is a completely normal behavior.

As much as we’d want to, we can’t completely fight back the times we live in. We have to accept it. Yes, we can go live in a secluded forest somewhere and grow our own food and stuff, but most people wouldn’t be keen to do that. I wouldn’t.

My point is, society says it’s okay to eat meat and the majority of people will follow that without thinking about it. It doesn’t make them bad people, they just have that filter, that almost everyone has, to protect themselves from reality. I say that, and I am very passionate about veganism, I would never ever go back, but I was also a meat eater once, so I understand their mindset.

That being said, I think having a non-vegan boyfriend (who is open-minded), to me, is a great opportunity to inspire him. Sometimes we cook vegan food together, and he loves it, but other times we cook our own food and eat it separately. He still chooses to eat meat and dairy, but he has reduced his consumption a lot to help the environment a bit. How could I even be mad at him?

I think respecting each other is key to a good healthy relationship. He might go vegan one day, he might not, but he is fully aware of the consequences meat can have on the body eventually. Trusting someone enough to know he will make the right decision in time is huge. Pushing it won’t help, being supportive will!

We have to be a shining, positive example of what veganism can do for our body and for our mind. I think that’s the best way to go! My boyfriend and I find ways to accommodate each other when we go out to eat, for example, but he is also absolutely willing to try exclusively vegan restaurants (even though we don’t have many in my town). He really likes tofu now and fake meat as well. I never thought I would see that from him, since his family members are very stubborn¬†meat eaters, but I think anything is possible when you encourage¬†rather than criticize.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

‚ô• Gen

 

My Affordable Vegan Skin Care

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Let’s face it (pun intended) : a good skin care routine can make a world of difference. Having good skin has always been a goal of mine since I was a teenager, but I’ve had my struggles. Let me explain.

MY FIRST SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

When I was about 13 or 14, my mom bought me my first face moisturizer. I did not know anything at all about skin care, but since I was never really confident with my skin, I did use it quite regularly for a while, hoping it would help. I never had acne or anything, but I had a lot of redness on my cheeks and on my chin (probably due to rosacea).

The moisturizer I used did not really help with that, as it was one of those not-so-good drugstore ones. I only used that. I did not even wash my face! Having bumpy, dirty skin apparently did not bother me at the time (ew).

MY SKIN CARE JOURNEY

I would say my actual skin care journey, when I was figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, started when I was 18. I started getting more and more into makeup and I was really trying to find a way to get rid of all this redness on my face. Even though I used BB creams and foundations, I wanted to have naturally great looking skin (who doesn’t).

At the time, I was still using the same brand of moisturizer my mom bought me a while back, but I decided to add in some special expensive anti-redness serums. They did not work at all. I still kept going with that, hoping for a miracle that never happened. That was great.

A couple years later, I got hired as a cosmetician in a pharmacy. That’s where the fun began.

I started testing out so many serums, moisturizers, face washes, toners, face masks… From Clinique to Lierac (that’s expensive!!), I tried many many apparently incredible skin care products that were very far from natural. After quitting the pharmacy a year later, I used up my products, and as I had gone vegan not long ago, I decided to make better choices for my skin – and for the animals, of course.

Oh, and my skin did clear up a little bit while I was using all those luxurious products, but I kind of attribute it to switching to a vegan diet. My skin does look even better now!

MY CURRENT SKINCARE ROUTINE

I have been using the same skin care brand for a year, and I’m in love. It’s a very inexpensive, vegan, cruelty-free, Canadian-based company : Just the Goods. Their products are all handmade and the owner is super sweet!

I don’t expect miracles out of skin care, I know water consumption and diet has a lot to do with good skin, but I still like to prevent wrinkles and protect it from the elements. I want it to be soft and smooth! I do use my Clarisonic with the face wash (but any type of cleansing brush could work) and it has really changed the texture of my skin for the better.¬†I have normal to dry skin that’s perfectly moisturized, glowy and pretty much redness free now.

Well, enough babbling! Here is my detailed skin care routine in 5 steps :

  1. I wet my face with warm water (to open up them pores!).
  2. I put just a bit of face wash (for normal/sensitive skin) onto my Clarisonic brush (the extra soft one).
  3. I wash my face and neck for 1 minute, focusing on my chin, my nose and my forehead, then rinse my face with warm water (I should do cold, but I usually do this in the shower!).
  4. I put the toner (for normal/sensitive skin again) all over my face with a coton pad to close up my pores and balance¬†my skin’s pH.
  5. After letting the toner sit on my skin for a few minutes, I apply my moisturizer for normal/sensitive skin all over my face, kind of padding it into my skin, not just dragging it around. I do use the same moisturizer around my eyes.

I also use any of the Just the Goods body moisturizers when I get out of the shower.

This gives me such great results! Every day is like a spa day ūüôā

♥ Gen

My Experience with Veganism and Weight Loss

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I feel like eating habits are becoming a taboo subject these days. It really saddens me, because I believe¬†that part of what makes a person intelligent is their ability to constantly question and readjust their own beliefs. I don’t think everything I currently do is¬†so perfect that it can’t be improved, because it’s not. I actually enjoy finding issues in what I do and coming up with different solutions or plans to make it¬†better!

But well, enough of the philosophical talk. Before getting into the details of my journey, I just want to give you a little background story –¬†I decided to combine weight loss with veganism because they kind of go hand in hand in my case.

BEFORE GOING VEGAN

I grew up eating a standard American diet. For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with my weight. I recall being as young as about 7 years old and finding that I was too fat to wear certain shirts in my wardrobe. From then, all the way to the beginning of college, I was extremely self conscious. I did try to lose weight a few times by restricting my calories (that’s a no-no!), but obviously all the weight came back on afterwards and I never really got as thin as I wanted anyways. When I graduated high school, I weighed 145 pounds (I’m 5’1″).

My diet was not that bad, I mean I was consuming animal products, but I did not eat red meat or cheese that much because I didn’t really like the taste. The main problem was that I was binge eating constantly.

When I got into college, I met the guy who is now my boyfriend. As I started hanging out with him, I had already lost a bit of weight from exercising and changing my diet, but he was the motivation I needed to really reach my goal this time. I just wanted to feel healthier and more confident around him! I started doing yoga, I ate more veggies, I restricted my carbs a lot (another no-no!) and in about 5 months, I lost 30 pounds.

I was 17 at the time. I managed to lose another 5 pounds after that, which left me at 110 pounds, more or less. I was super happy with that weight, I felt like I was finally myself! I maintained it for a good 2 years and a half, I would say. I was still binge eating now and then, because I was restricting my calories and carbs so much, but I did not think much of it. I thought anyone on a diet needed cheat days.

After college, I went on a 4-month trip to Australia, where I got even skinnier (105ish pounds). I know some people my height weigh 100 pounds and that’s their normal weight, but I have quite big bones for my height, so 105 pounds is the skinniest I could be before getting way too thin! Again, I was restricting my calories and running every day.

Mid-way through the trip, my body just had enough of me restricting my food! So, I started binge eating every single day. Obviously, I gained some weight back, very slowly over the course of another 2 years, and I hit 130 pounds a few weeks before my 21st birthday. That’s when I found veganism.

HOW I WENT VEGAN

Just like many people, I discovered veganism through Freelee the Banana Girl on Youtube. I thought ‘Wow, I can eat that many calories and be skinny? Sign me up!’. The first mistake I made was not doing enough research on the topic. I started eating a lot of smoothies packed with 4 to 5 bananas, so many potatoes that I had to force myself to finish them (because I was scared of not eating enough and making my body hold on to fat), etc. I was definitely eating a lot more than what my body needed, and so, I gained more weight.

The problem I had was also that I was not educated enough about the meat and dairy industry and what horrible things it implied. That’s why I kind of drifted away from veganism a couple times during the first few months of my journey. I did also have a couple vegetarian meals at family gatherings later on, because it was easier, but I can say that I have been 100% vegan for 6 or 7 months now – and I’m never going back.

Needless to day, finding the type of vegan diet that works for me, not only for weight loss, but also for my health and well-being, has been a huge struggle (it still kind of is). I tried many different things, from cutting all fats out of my diet to eating raw till 4 to upping my vegetable intake.

I kept doing a lot of research to find out what the BEST way to eat vegan was. Truth is, there is not perfect way to eat, but anyone can find their perfect way to eat by trial and error (without hurting animals, though).

HOW I’M EATING NOW

I have only recently started losing weight again (the healthy way this time!). I think I have pretty much found the ideal way I like to eat to lose weight and be happy. I stick to plant-based foods only (unprocessed foods) : I stay away from pasta or breads for now, but I still have some from time to time, and I will have more once I reach my goal weight!

For now, I eat rice, potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, beans, oats, fruits, vegetables, spices and that’s pretty much it. I do also have some peanut butter, but I never cook with oil or have oily salad dressings. I keep it simple! My diet is about 75% carbs, 15% fats and 10% proteins. It will most likely¬†change again as I educate myself even more about vegan diets, but, for now, I am extremely¬†happy. I feel like being vegan is¬†the most logical way to live my life and I know I’m also the healthiest I’ve ever been thanks to it. My relationship with food has become so much healthier; I see the world very differently now that I don’t restrict my calories anymore.¬†I used to be obsessing about food all day, but I’ve finally realized that food is fuel (and animals are friends ūüėČ )!

‚ô• Gen

My No-Poo Journey

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Let’s talk about “No-Poo”! Now, I’m sure most of you have heard of this method, which is getting very popular on social media. If not, let me quickly break it down to you :

WHAT IT IS

There are different variations of this method, but mainly, it is all about removing all shampoos and conditioners (or other hair products) from your hair routine. Some people use baking soda and apple cider vinegar in replacement of the shampoo and conditioner, while others use natural soaps, etc. Different methods work for different people.

The idea behind this is that shampoos or conditioners as we know them contain a lot of harsh chemicals that should never touch anyone’s scalp! Most shampoos have sulfates in them that will strip the natural oils out of the hair, leaving it very dry, and that’s where the conditioner comes in to put artificial moisture back into the hair. Doesn’t sound very logical, right? That’s what I also thought when I was learning about this method.

MY EXPERIENCE

Currently, I am washing my hair with water only. Yes, you read that right, just water! And my hair smells good, feels soft, looks shiny, stays clean for longer, is super manageable, less frizzy… basically anything I’ve ever wanted my hair to be like, but never managed to achieve beforehand.

Here is the story of my 1-year journey towards the Water Only method (if you’re interested in doing No-Poo – or Water Only – you can surely make it shorter than that, you’ll see why).

Before around this time last year, most of my life, I had been using the same brand of quite expensive shampoos and conditioners (just because my mom bought those). I thought they were great, my hairdresser recommended them, I was happy with how they made my hair smell, etc. Nonetheless, I did experience some issues. I was really tired of my hair getting greasy every two days. I basically felt like I was a prisoner of my own hair (I know, sounds crazy, but well!). I was also dealing with a lot of frizz, I had to do coconut oil masks all the time, use expensive hair serums, etc. Keep in mind that my hair was really damaged from dyes and bleach, but I barely ever used heat on it. I have really thick, wavy dark brown hair, FYI.

So, last year, I started to do some research about hair washing in general, wishing to find tips and tricks to keep my hair from getting oily so quickly and, mainly, to get rid of the frizz! I just wanted beautiful, low-maintenance hair. In my research, I stumbled across a Youtube video of a girl who washed her hair with water only. I got so inspired by it that I decided to completely stop using shampoo and conditioner overnight, because I’m impulsive like that.

That did not go well.

My hair (obviously) got really greasy, it had lots of dandruff, it¬†smelled weird, it was super flat on my head… It was a big mess. I knew there was going to be a transition period, but I had never thought it would be this bad. So, after about 5 to 6 days, as I was getting really desperate, I found an article about co-washing, which is basically washing your hair with (silicone-free) conditioner only. I immediately went out and bought a silicone-free conditioner, I used it, my hair was clean and amazing, it was a miracle!

I had been using different brands of vegan conditioners ever since, until about 2 weeks ago, when I switched to water only. This time, there was no transition period. I assume that’s because my scalp was already used to not being striped of all its natural oils (that’s the whole point of co-washing). I can already go longer than ever without needing to “wash” my hair and it feels so healthy and voluminous. I honestly could not be happier!

MY TIPS

If you wish to transition to No-Poo in the smoothest, easiest way possible, here are the tips I wish I had found a year ago!

  • First transition to co-washing before doing No-Poo. You don’t need to co-wash your hair for a full year beforehand like I did : a few weeks would be enough, but you have to see for yourself! Just get comfortable with co-washing first.
  • Get yourself a good hairbrush. Brushing is super important when doing Water Only! You have to bring the oils produced by your scalp down your hair to condition it and keep your roots from getting greasy. You should brush it a few times every day.
  • Give yourself a scalp massage before “washing” your hair. Take a few minutes to warm up the oil on your scalp and move it down your hair with your fingers. This step is very important!
  • In the shower, repeat the previous step. The warmth of the water is going to warm up the oils even more and make it easier for you to move it down the hair. Do that all over your head for a few minutes. Don’t forget to keep massaging your scalp! Your hair should not be oily once it’s dry. It should be soft, shiny, light and smell good!
  • If you want your hair to have a specific scent, use essential oils or rose water. If you experience dandruff (which you should not, but it could happen), use a bit of tea tree oil diluted in some water in a spray bottle.
  • Avoid any hairsprays or gels.¬†They won’t wash out of your hair.
  • You can totally use heat on your hair. Just get some kind of cruelty-free¬†natural heat protectant.

Apparently, No-Poo does not work well when your¬†water is hard as opposed to soft. I have no idea what kind of water I have, but it’s been working for me. If you do have hard water, you can surely buy a filter to make it soft. It’s an investment, but so worth it when you know you won’t be buying shampoo or conditioner anymore!

You will save money, help the environment by not dumping random products down the drain and have amazing hair. It could not get better than that, in my opinion.

‚ô• Gen

Hey there

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Thanks for passing by. I will start off by telling you a bit about me : I am a 22-year-old Canadian college student who loves writing and has a bit of free time on her hands (just kidding, I have to make time). I have so many different interests that it would be pointless to list them all here, but you’ll discover them as I write more content.

I have decided to share with you my multiple journeys towards a healthier, simpler, closer to Earth (but still kind of mainstream) lifestyle, in hopes I can inspire and motivate someone who wishes to do the same.

On here, I’ll talk about my ongoing personal journey with veganism, my experience with No-Poo, my thoughts on skincare, different lifestyles, experiments, fitness, etc. I have a lot on my mind and I think¬†it could be interesting to some of you. I know I personally love¬†hearing other people’s thoughts on topics that passionate me!

I hope you will something that you like on this blog.

‚ô• Gen