Bah Humbug. This will be my first holiday season as a vegan and I’ve been dreading it since I adopted the fully plant-based lifestyle a few months back. If your family is anything like mine, there’s not a thing on the menu that doesn’t have meat, dairy, or at least an egg — with the sole exception of cranberry sauce. But I refuse to let my strides in good health be compromised by glad tidings and seasonal cheer. Here are six tips to help you survive the holidays as a vegan.
DON’T ARRIVE HUNGRY
Rule number one of resisting cravings as a vegan any time of the year is to never go hungry. Grab a snack before you head to your company holiday party. Eat a hearty breakfast before Thanksgiving dinner. Arrive with a stomach full enough that you have the willpower to turn down your grandmother’s crab stuffing.
BRING YOUR OWN FOOD
Rule number two of resisting craving as a vegan is to always come prepared by bringing your own food. This might already be instinctual for those of us who’ve been a vegan for some time. We simply don’t expect everyone to accommodate our dietary needs, so we do it ourselves. To avoid being stuck eating the salad — the one dish you prepared — make a few dishes. Make enough for you because it might be all that you can eat at Thanksgiving dinner, but also bring enough for your family to try.
EMBRACE TEACHING MOMENTS
This might be the first time you’ve seen your family, friends, or in-laws in quite some time. And the fact that you don’t eat meat might be completely foreign to them. Don’t feel shamed for opting out of some of the holiday favorites for your own healthier alternatives. Instead, take this opportunity to teach your cousins about your new lifestyle, the health benefits, and share with them some of your awesome vegan food. You don’t have to preach to them dairy’s nasty effect on fibroids or how the meat industry is the primary culprit for global warming. Just let them have a bite of your amazing vegan celery root mashed potatoes, and they can discover the rest away from the dinner table.
REMEMBER WHAT YOU GAIN, NOT WHAT YOU LOSE
The holidays are a time of celebration and family. No sense in being gloomy because you can’t try the turkey. Focus on meeting your niece for the first time, or still having grandpa around to tell his jokes. Another year with those you love most is not a loss, but a gain. And if you still feel like you’re missing out on some of your holiday traditions, create new ones. Create new favorite dishes. Host Thanksgiving so you can make as much vegan-friendly food as you want. Create new memories worth celebrating with the ones that you love.
REMEMBER WHY YOU BECAME A VEGAN
Reminding yourself why you chose your lifestyle might be the lifeline you need to make it through the tempting holiday season. Whether it was a moral, spiritual, or health reason, I’m sure it outweighs the excuses you're making to justify just a taste of the honey-baked ham. You put all this effort into changing your lifestyle — embrace it, don’t negate it.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
The key to surviving the holidays as a vegan is to always be prepared. Be prepared for relatives trying to spoon feed you turkey and gravy. Be prepared to explain to your boyfriend’s mom why you brought three of your own dishes to Christmas dinner. Be prepared to actually crave some of the food you see around you. If you’ve eaten meat for any portion of your life, there will always be nostalgia, especially during the holidays. But don’t be afraid to make new traditions this holiday season.
And if you really want to try a piece of your dad’s famous ham and can’t talk your way out of it, try the ham. Shoot, and the mac and cheese. At the end of the day, it’s about being sound in who we are, our beliefs, and our choices. Although the holidays last a couple of months, we have to live with the choices we make 365 days of the year. So, whether you survive the holidays may come down to this one question: crab stuffing or your health?
Got any other tips to survive the holidays as a vegan? Share...
Trying to start a meditation regime is almost like having sex for the very first time. Not only can it feel awkward, but you have all these unanswered questions. Am I doing it right? How long is this supposed to last? Like how deep is this supposed to go? But fret not, here are some "dos" and "don’ts" of meditation to help you find your “zen” spot.
DON’T TRY TO STOP YOUR THOUGHTS
It’s so hard to silence the mind when you’re trying to meditate. But come to find out, you don’t even have to. Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. It’s about observing them. Suddenly we become the observer of our breath, the noise around us, and especially our thoughts. It’s in those moments of stillness we find peace, regain a footing in our lives, or simply reconnect with our purpose. So instead of getting mad at yourself for getting distracted, observe where you are. Let yourself be there in that moment. Witness your thoughts and let them pass. No judgement. No strain. You will find that with consistent meditation, what starts out as a bunch of chatter in our heads becomes clear, directed thoughts and eventual silence. But it’s a process and something that you can’t control. Meditation is the art of being. You don’t have to do anything else.
DO USE MODERN TECHNOLOGY TO HELP FIND YOUR XI
Unfortunately, there is still no hack for meditation. But modern technology has made it easier for those who can’t seem to drown out the outside noise. You might not be able to be in a room with a dozen chanting monks, but you can still hear them via streaming services such as Pandora or even a quick search on YouTube. Do you like the sound of the rain? Whelp, there’s an app for that. Invest in a small fountain to set your space, try a video/audio guided meditation or even get on the web to find a local group meditation. The resources that are available to us are astounding and some literally a click away. Whatever excuse you’ve created to not meditate for at least five minutes a day has been cancelled out thanks to our modern advances.
DON’T COMPARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH OTHERS
I’ve heard people recount some pretty awesome experiences while meditating — from seeing ellipses of light to even being “visited” by someone who’s passed away. Me on the other hand, I just keep seeing the back of my eyelids. And there’s nothing wrong with that. All three experiences are completely normal. Besides, we meditate for our own benefit, not to swap stories. Your experience is your own and will be as unique as you are. Be open to the world that may or may not open up when you start meditating. As your meditation regime grows, so will your experiences.
DO TRY NEW WAYS OF MEDITATING
When it comes to meditation, there are different forms and there’s no “One Size Fits All.” Some people prefer to meditate through yoga or simply sitting cross-legged on a plush cushion (because we all have one of those lying around). For me, nothing feels more freeing than a brisk jog where I can quiet my mind, zone out and come back to center. Some people meditate through more creative outlets like coloring, writing, or even playing an instrument. What suits you? What activity takes you to a place of mindfulness and introspection? We all live busy and very different lives. Pick a form of meditation that aligns with your journey, specifically. You can even choose a few different forms of meditation if that’s what it takes for you to work it into your daily routine more frequently.
DON’T EXPECT A CERTAIN OUTCOME
The benefits of meditation are astounding and range from increasing creativity, attention span and even immunity. But just because your friend got rid of her anxiety attacks using meditation, it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same results. Meditation is a personal journey. Maybe you won’t notice a difference in your energy or attention the first day or first week. Maybe it’ll take a whole month or two. But you will benefit from consistent meditation.
With our busy lives, it’s the quiet, introspective moments that keep us on track, remind us of who we are and what we are capable of. So however you meditate, just do...
As you can see, our website is looking better and brighter. In honor of that, The Blavity Life team brings you the ways you can get your booty firmer, tighter and sitting higher without ever having to go out of your front door. At least not until you’re ready to show everyone your progress.
1. Dance in heels while you get ready
Dance at your own risk, of course — we're not responsible for any twisted ankles. But we'll take all the credit for the amazing butt-lift this will give you.
2. Stop and drop it wherever you are
Squat while you're waiting for your morning smoothie to blend or for your meal-prepped dinners to get out of the microwave. Grab a weight or something heavy like pots or books if you want to take it up a notch. Take it slow or speed it up like Yoncé.
You can do them anywhere.
Pay these tips forward and get your friends involved. Real friends and good roomies won't let you squat alone.
3. Leg raises while you and boo are on the phone
You and your bae will thank us later.
4. Netflix before you chill
Watching TV like this is probably flattening your booty. We know the popcorn is everything, but get to it after you've burned some calories in advance with lunges or wall sits.
Remember — every little bit counts. Each workout gets you closer to your booty goals. Don't sleep on our tips!
...Unless you sleep like this.
How do you get workouts in before you go out of the house? Share in the comments below! ...
Diversity (or lack thereof) in the medical profession is an irrefutable issue, but one we don’t oftentimes address. But how could we not with black and Latino people making up only 15 percent of all U.S. medical school applicants in 2011? To combat this by Dr. Kameron Matthews, Chief Medical Officer from Chicago and Dr. Alden M. Landry, an emergency medicine physician from New York, established "Tour for Diversity in Medicine." They mentor, inspire and cultivate future minority physicians and dentists in an effort to erase uneven health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities.
Fed up with the lack of diversity in medical classrooms around the country, Dr. Matthews and Dr. Landry decided to get on a bus with a group of their friends and colleagues and be champions for the change they wished to see. Thus, the Tour for Diversity in Medicine was created says Dr. Landry. Tour for Diversity in Medicine has evolved into a premier support system and pipeline for the next generation of minority doctors.
Twice a year, a recruited team of top minority doctors travel by bus across the nation, touring Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, high schools and specific geographic areas with limited underrepresented minorities in medicine.
“We believed the best way to address the problem was to reach out to students, campus by campus, and cultivate a diverse group of prospective medical professionals,” says Dr. Matthews. “It’s always helpful for students to see people achieving what they want to achieve. Our goal is to work with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower-income families and those who are underrepresented in medicine to offer mentorship and support.”
While the life expectancy is at a record high for US citizens, reaching an average 79 years of life, black Americans still trail behind, reaching on average only 74. And health care is an integral part of not only longevity but also quality of life. Believe it or not, the shortage of minorities in health care has a direct correlation with the disparities in access to healthcare in low-income communities. That’s because minority medical students are likelier than any other group to practice in underserved areas. Additionally, several studies have found that patients who are treated by physicians with whom they share racial or gender characteristics report greater satisfaction with their care and higher rates of medication compliance.
If we are ever to see change in our nation, our communities, and for our health, we have to stand up, be accountable and create it. Tour for Diversity in Medicine is leading the way.
For more information on the organization and the next tour, please visit www.tour4diversity.org.
As the temperature begins to drop, you might be faced with a slew of questions that need answers. Do I need to wear my coat or a hoodie? Should I sip on apple cider or hot chocolate? And most importantly, what are your plans for cuffing season ?
#NetflixandChill or nah?
If you've been living under a rock and have no idea what this entails, it's the new-age blockbuster night. Couples (I am using this word loosely) decide to simply have a date-night and Netflix, hang out for the evening and possibly hook-up. *Note* today the word "possibly" means most definitely.
But, what if you want to jazz up your date night for that special boo? I have the perfect cuffing-season approved #NetflixAndChill popcorn recipe for you.
What you need
A bowl of freshly popped popcorn, preferably from a popper (not microwavable). You can find an inexpensive popper at your local discount department store.
A generous amount of parmesan cheese
sea salt (to taste)
ATTN cuffers: Truffle oil is typically expensive and should only be used if you know for certain you want to be "chose." Truffle oil is a culinary signal of undying love and commitment, use it wisely.
What to do
Combine popcorn, parmesan cheese, sea salt and shake well.
Drizzle truffle oil and butter
Top with parsley and enjoy!
Check out my Periscope of me making this deliciousness!
Do you have any go to snacks for Cuffing season? let us know in the comments below ...