Thoughts on Going Vegan and Feeling Judged

Thoughts on going vegan and feeling judged.I had big plans to shoot a bunch of workout videos for the blog this week but my body had another idea. If you follow me on Instagram you’re already painfully aware from my stories that I’ve completely lost my voice (sorry for scarring your eardrums these past couple days!). My throat has been a bit scratchy for a couple weeks now due to springtime allergies and teaching without a mic Tuesday morning just put me over the edge—it’s been all downhill since then. Luckily I don’t teach again until Tuesday so I have plenty of time to rest the ol’ vocal chords.

Since videos are out of the picture, I figured it’d be a good time to update you all a bit on how my food choices have been gradually changing and some thoughts I have about it.

Going vegan without the label

I’ve mentioned it in passing and you can probably tell from the types of recipes I’ve been posting lately: I’m slowly, and in a very imperfect, unforced way, going vegan. Emphasis on “going” (work in progress). I currently eat eggs and very occasionally fish so I’m not there yet, but that’s the direction in which I’m moving. I’ll do a blog post going into the “why” behind it soon, but today I want to talk about the reason I’m actually a little uncomfortable associating myself with the word “vegan”. I get defensive. I don’t eat animal products but I’m not a veganI’m not like that.

For me, this distaste stems from the association of vegans with judgement. Holier-than-thou attitudes. Throwing buckets of paint on people wearing fur. Bashing meat eaters on YouTube. Trying to force their diet on others through shame tactics. This association for me probably has to do with the fact that my first introduction to the word “vegan” as a kid was in watching PETA protest red carpets and yell/act aggressively at people wearing fur.

The vast majority of vegans are far from this extreme. I know this, yet the negative connotations stay deeply ingrained and I can’t help but want to disassociate myself from them. I’m much more comfortable with the term “plant-based”. Crazy how powerful words can be, right? Yet we are the ones who give them meaning in the first place. In this lies the issue with labeling people, but that’s a tangent for another day. 😉

Ultimately, I just hate the thought that anyone would feel as if I were judging them for what they choose to eat. And I think some people do feel that way when they hear the word “vegan” (ironically myself included!). There have been times when I’ve sensed an immediate switch to defense-mode with people justifying why they eat meat upon finding out that I don’t anymore.

Feeling judged because of food choices

Have you guys ever felt this way? Ever had an experience where you felt judged or shamed because of what you were eating? It’s the worst! I was actually at an event with a group of bloggers a year or so ago and still remember this seemingly small incident clearly because it rubbed me the wrong way hard. You know how at some sushi restaurants the seaweed salad is a dark green/brown color and then at others it’s the neon green color of the slime Nickelodeon dumps on people at the Kids’ Choice Awards? Both equally delicious, but the radioactive green color probably means there are artificial dyes in the seaweed. So is the natural color variety better for you? Yeah. But will it kill you to eat the bright green stuff once in a while? No.

So at this event I order seaweed salad with my sushi and when it’s brought to the table it’s neon green. I honestly didn’t think twice about it. But this other blogger scowls at my dish and through her disgusted grimace says to the person next to her, “I just would never feel OK putting that in my body. Look at it.”

My response:

I’m kidding. I didn’t suggest we go fight in the parking lot. But I was so put off by her comment! I thought it was just the rudest, snobbiest thing. And then I felt all self-conscious eating my seaweed salad. I was surprised at how upset it made me. How one little comment could make me feel so bad about myself and what I’d chosen to eat. Who was she to pass judgement on me? Gwyneth Paltrow?! My blood was boiling through the rest of dinner. When I got back to my hotel room I just kept thinking about how I NEVER want to be the reason someone feels this way. And it’s something I often stress about when I post food-related stuff to the blog and my social media accounts.

***For the record, I wish I had pulled her aside and let her know how her words made me feel. I’m sure she’s a lovely person and we would have had a great conversation from which we both would have walked away understanding the other a little better. But I didn’t. Maturity takes time, OK?! 😉

Sharing my experience, not telling you what to do

I’m really happy about this gradual shift in my food choices (again, I’m not fully plant-based yet!). I feel downright incredible actually. And I’m excited to share more on the blog about why, how, the challenges, etc., etc.

Food choices can be a heated topic because there’s so much that goes into why we eat the way we do beyond taste and survival. Emotions, religion/spirituality, health, society, environment—the list goes on. We should be mindful of what we eat and how our bodies feel because food can be our greatest medicine or truly our worst poison. For that reason, we should learn from others but ultimately always do what’s best for our own body. Know that when I share the occasional blog post on my (evolving) plant-based diet, I am never implying that it’s better than however you’re eating. I want to encourage you on a journey to find what makes you feel your best, not my journey.

My Favorite Things: April

[INSERT JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE “IT’S GONNA BE MAY” MEME]

Happy Monday! Joe and I unintentionally had a 48-hour long date this weekend—very unlike us (we’re the least romantic couple ever). We had dinner at Crudo in the North End on Friday (delicious!) and then went to Mohegan Sun Saturday and Sunday. It was so fun! Details on that later on in the post.

Favorite Products

Burn Book Journal

I needed a new journal and when I saw this on Etsy it was too funny not to buy. For the record, I’m not actually using it as a burn book (hopefully that goes without saying haha). When I’m stressed I try to spend a few minutes each day journaling as writing has always been therapeutic for me.

Samsonite Magpie Suitcase

I was gifted this suitcase as part of my trip to Mohegan Sun and I’m obsessed! It’s carry-on size and I love the hard outer shell. My old luggage was all soft and I’d get so paranoid when packing my DSLR camera on trips.

The Seaweed Bath Co. Shampoo & Conditioner

I’ve been using this shampoo and conditioner for several months now and love it! It’s packed with good ingredients and the scent of the eucalyptus & peppermint is amazing.

Favorite Workouts

Industry Night at EBF

with a bunch of Btone ladies!

EBF had a fitness industry night at their FiDi location and instructors, trainers, bloggers—anyone in the industry—was invited to come for a free workout. Taking classes at other studios has 100% made me a better instructor at Btone, and I appreciate studios who focus on community over competition.

MyStryde

with Caroline

I’ve been meaning to try out MyStryde for so long and finally made it to the running studio this month. I loved it! Everyone said the 45 minutes goes by quickly but I was skeptical—45 minutes on a treadmill? How can that possibly go by quickly?! But it really does! And you leave feeling so accomplished. I actually took class next to an elite runner who was here for the Boston Marathon and 15 minutes into class he was like “Oops, I forgot to take my medal off” and casually pulls a race metal out from underneath his shirt and places it in the water bottle holder (LOLLOL #humblebrag).

Favorite Eats

Blogger Dinner at Tempo

Lexi from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen organized a dinner at Tempo in Waltham for local bloggers. If you’re in the area, you’ve got to try this place out—everything was delicious and can be made gluten-free if you have that dietary restriction. The spring carrot vegetarian bolognese and ice cream sundae were amazing!

Favorite Things I …

Listened To

  • [PODCAST] In the Dark | Continuing my obsession with true crime podcasts, I listened to In the Dark, which chronicles the botched investigation of an abduction.
  • [SONG] A 1000 Times by Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam (not a workout song, just love it)

Watched

  • 13 Reasons Why | The reactions to this Netflix series are varied and HEATED. I thought it was a well-made show (Joe and I couldn’t stop watching!), but have mixed feelings on the message of it. Yes, bullying is a serious issue and you don’t know how your words and actions might be affecting others. But did anyone else feel like it sorta glorified suicide? Maybe “glorified” isn’t the right word, but the show presents it as her only remaining option. And 100% of the blame for her death is placed on other people while Hannah emerges as the martyr of her high school. Am I being harsh? What’d you guys think of the show?
  • Vanderpump Rules | I know. How do I follow up 13 Reasons Why with this nonsense?! I haven’t had Bravo in years so I’m totally out of the loop with all their trashy (but amazing) reality tv series. Just a couple weeks ago, I started watching Vanderpump Rules on Hulu and it’s my new favorite mindless entertainment on lazy Sundays. These people are cray! And I get the impression it’s not staged craziness like some other shows—they’re all just actually that dramatic. (I just got to the part about Jax and Kristen WHAAAAAA?!).

Favorite Moments

Making My First Vlog


I branched off from the workout videos and tried my hand at more of a vlog format this month. So fun to make!

Lunch with Charlie from The Runner Beans

When I told Joe I had a friend in town I was meeting for lunch, he asked, “Oh nice, from college?” To which I replied, “No from … Instagram.” (LOL). I loved getting to meet Charlie (@therunnerbeans) in real life after being friends through social media and blogging. She was in Boston for the marathon and we went out to lunch at Parish Cafe the following day. I hadn’t been to Parish in a while and had forgotten how delicious their sandwiches are!

Trip to Mohegan Sun

Samsonite sent me to Mohegan Sun this weekend for an event with Shaun T and it was so fun! We got in Saturday afternoon and hung out by the pool before getting ready for dinner. We decided on Sol Toro, a delicious Mexican restaurant serving up tableside guac and awesome tequila cocktails. After dinner we went to a comedy show at COMIX that was absolutely hysterical. Joe and I aren’t gamblers but after the show we decided to try our luck at roulette (when in Rome!) and we actually won $250–score!

The next morning I regretted that last tequila cocktail but was excited nonetheless for Shuantervention. 😉 It was like one part workout, one part Tony Robbins convention, one part rock concert.

The workout was a slightly toned down version of Insanity and then Shaun T gave a motivational talk to the crowd and did a Q&A. Big thanks to Samsonite for having me!

Favorite Follows

  • @bromabakery‘s Instagram stories for food photography and styling tips.
  • @alexia_clark for exercise ideas (love how she uses resistance bands!).

What made your highlight reel in April?

Disclosure: Samsonite comped my hotel room at Mohegan Sun but I’m not being paid for this blog post. I just genuinely had a great time and it was a highlight for me this month! My monthly roundup posts of favorites are never sponsored. 🙂 

My Favorite Things: March

My monthly roundup of all my favorite things from March! Products, food, workouts, podcasts, moments--everything!

“In like a lion, out like a lamb.” I’m not talking about the weather, I’m talking about the amount of blog posts I’ve published this month (LOL). Things have been quiet around here the last couple weeks as I try to figure out a balance between blogging, teaching and studying for my aromatherapy certification, and I appreciate you guys bearing with me. I’m falling into more of a schedule but there will realistically be weeks here and there where the blog falls silent until I’ve completed this course. It’ll be worth it in the end because I’m going to have endless quality content about essential oils, DIY skin/hair care, homeopathic remedies, etc., etc. to share with you when I’ve “graduated”. The workouts and recipes aren’t going anywhere, but I’m pumped to expand into this new area of (soon-to-be) expertise.

In the meantime, let’s talk about my favorite things from March!

Favorite Products

Marble Matte Laptop Cover

My favorite things - marble lap top cover caseIf being basic is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I know literally every single blogger and Instagrammer has a marble laptop or iPhone cover, but that doesn’t make me any less excited about mine. Aesthetically it’s great, but I also just love the way it feels (a smooth matte rubber). Best $16.99 I spent all month. (Also comes in black marble).

Detached Turtleneck Sweater by LNA (c/o Shopbop)

When I’m wearing normal people clothing (i.e. not workout gear), there’s a solid chance this top is involved–I love it! It’s more henley than sweater material so it’ll transition easily into warmer weather (pair it with shorts and strappy sandals!).

Naturopathica Face Sunscreen

I’ve been using this protective moisturizer as a face sunscreen for a year now and love it. It’s one of the few natural sunscreens I’ve found that actually rubs in with no white residue. It’s only SPF 17 and is meant to be more of a daily moisturizer I think, but I use it as sunscreen at the beach and it works great! (I tan easily though–wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you burn easily!)

Rolling Under Bed Storage Boxes

My Favorite Things - Under Bed Rolling Storage ContainersThe painfully slow apartment decorating process crawls on for me with the addition of these rolling under bed storage boxes. We only have one closet in the entire apartment so utilizing the space under our bed is a must. There’s chalkboard paint on the end of these so that you can label them, which I will if I ever get around to buying chalk. 😉

Favorite Workouts

6-Mile Run in the Florida Sunshine

Post 6-mile run in FloridaI haven’t run more than three or four consecutive miles since the 2016 Boston Marathon, which is kinda crazy but my knees and feet were like “girl, please stop with the distance” and I’m happy that I listened to them. When I was visiting my grandparents in Florida though, I went on one of those runs that just felt so good I couldn’t stop it short–don’t you love those?! Where everything just clicks and you feel like you’re gliding more so than running. I was in the warm sunshine after a brutal Boston winter (that has still not ended), I had a great playlist going, my legs felt fresh and strong … oh, and I got completely lost. It was an unintentional but glorious 6 miles.

Mitt Work at EverybodyFights

I’ve been taking group boxing classes regularly for a year or so now, but I’ve never had a one-on-one session (and boy did it show LOL). I’m excited to take what I learned from George and apply it in group classes and will definitely be doing more mitt work sessions!

Favorite Eats

My Frozen Take on The Healthy Maven’s Blueberry Muffin Energy Bites

Frozen Blueberry Muffin Bites - a yummy healthy dessert option!

This recipe as-is on Davida’s blog is delicious and I highly recommend it. The other week, I made it and added fresh blueberries and then dipped the bites in hemp seeds and froze them (I have no idea where this idea came from) and loved the result. It was like frozen blueberry pie filling and made for a sticky, but delicious bite-sized dessert.

Flourless Banana Blender Muffins from Chocolate Covered Katie

Flourless Banana Blender Muffins - My Favorite Things MarchThese are on some next level shit, you guys. Joe and I (it was mostly me if I’m being honest here) ate the entire first batch in a day. So, naturally I made a second batch and that lasted … two days.

Hippeas

Hippeas Snacks - My Favorite Things MarchI was sent a big sample gift pack of these chickpea snacks and loved them! They kinda have the same texture as Pirate’s Booty and my favorite flavors were the maple haze and pepper power.

Chaga Mushroom Elixir

Chaga Mushroom Elixir - My Favorite Things MarchI got a box of this in a swag bag months ago and decided to give it a try since I’m now off the good stuff (coffee) and in need of a warm morning beverage to look forward to. I was skeptical at first, but am loving this chaga mushroom drink. I make it with hot water and almond milk just as I would coffee and sometimes add a bit of honey. The brand has other similar mushroom “elixirs” that I’m going to give a try: Lion’s Mane for concentration and focus and Cordyceps for energy.

Favorite Things I…

Read

Realistically, I won’t be reading too many books these next several months as most of my free time is now dedicated to studying for my Aromatherapy certification. Short articles it is:

  • [BLOG POST] I’ll Do It As Soon As I Lose Weight via Andie Mitchell | A good reminder not to put your life on hold while losing weight or trying to reach any other goal, wellness or otherwise. You’re deserving of love and good experiences regardless of your weight.
  • [BLOG POST] What If All I Want Is a Mediocre Life? via A Life in Progress | I think about this a lot lately and talked a little about it in this post about my experience at Revitalize. More and more I’ve realized that my goals might not be as “big” as I thought. Thanks to the internet, the sky really is the limit in terms of the possibility of scaling your blog and social accounts, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle for more followers, more notoriety, more influence, more impact. But do I even really want that?
  • [BLOG POST] My Favorite True Crime Podcasts via Joy the Baker | If you’re obsessed with true crime podcasts like I am, check out the comments section of this blog post–lots of good recommendations! Except I listened to Accused which was repeatedly recommended and really didn’t enjoy it. It covers the (allegedly) unsolved murder of a young woman back in the seventies and while I typically am captivated by these types of stories, it happened so long ago that literally 80% of the key players are dead and there is zero physical evidence left. Plus the narrator drove me crazy–she sounded tired and exasperated the entire time as if her narration was one big audible sigh. I mean, I’d be, too, but it didn’t make for great listening in my opinion. Have you guys listened to it? What’d you think??

Listened To

  • [AUDIO BOOK] The Big LeapI don’t love self-help books because I always feel like they could have been condensed into an article length and still delivered the exact same message (anyone else feel this way??). That holds true for The Big Leap as well: a couple powerful, thought-provoking points and then a bunch of fluff examples that I could have done without. The book talks about how we get in our own way and self-sabotage when things are going too well because we subconsciously have a preconceived notion about how much happiness and success we deserve.
  • [PODCAST] Is There a Downside to Wellness and Social Media? via That’s So Maven | Loved this episode of the That’s So Maven podcast!
  • [PODCAST] S-TownThis podcast from the creators of Serial was released in its entirety this week so naturally I binge listened to the entire thing in two days. At first I felt tricked. The way they promoted it made me think it was a true crime investigation about a murder and it’s not. But I still really loved it. It’s a beautiful portrait of a complicated man.

Watched

  • [TV] 60 Days In | Joe and I have been binging on this A&E show–we’re so into it! A group of civilians are put in jail without the other inmates or the COs knowing they’re not really criminals so that the Sheriff can gather intel on the operation of the prison. It’s fascinating. We’re just on the first season but I think there are two or three out already.
  • [PLAY] Something Rotten | I haven’t been to musical in over a decade but my Mimi (grandmother) loves them and we went to see Something Rotten when I visited her in Florida. I loved the show! It was clever and funny and you’ll especially appreciate it if you love Shakespeare, English literature and/or musicals. They’re touring around the country right now and you can see if it’s coming to your neck of the woods here.

Alright, that’s all for me today!

What were some of your favorites from March?
Fellow podcast listeners–what did you think of Accused? S-Town? Any other recommendations for me?

My monthly favorites posts are never sponsored, however they typically contain a few affiliate links. I get sent a lot of free products, and the first section of this post might highlight a couple of my favorites. I’m never required to or being paid to feature these freebies and only share the ones I truly love and think my readers will enjoy as well.