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.

Arm Song Workout with Recycle Studio (Biceps + Shoulders Burnout)

This one-song workout uses a high rep - low weight format for a big arm burnout.Happy Friday friends! If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you were probably already notified of this new arm song workout video, but I wanted to post it here as well.

The first spin class I ever took in Boston was at Recycle Studio years ago and I immediately fell in love. I was totally off-beat, had no clue what a tapback was, and could barely make it halfway through the arm song without dropping my weights, but couldn’t wait for my next class. Fast-forward to today and I’m actually going to co-teach a class there this weekend (the arm portion anyway)! Details on that later on in the post, but for all my non-Bostonian readers, I wanted to give you a little preview of what you could expect from an “arm song” in class.

Lead instructor Emily Southworth (@emboslice on Insta) put together an arm burnout targeting biceps and shoulders, and you guys are gonna love it. Her classes always kick my ass—get to one if you’re in Boston!

This was my first time trying to make a video so that the workout was to the beat of a song I added in afterwards so bear with my C+ editing skills. 😉

Arm Song Workout

This one-song workout uses a high rep - low weight format for a big arm burnout.

If you’ve taken an indoor cycling class that incorporates an “arm song” or done barre, you’re well aware that those tiny hand weights can pack a big burn when used in a high-rep format. For this workout, you’ll need a pair of 2-4lb hand weights. Follow along to the video below and get ready for a biceps and shoulder burn! If you’re looking for a longer workout, go through the video twice.

In a real class at Recycle, the arm song would be a little longer than in this video and you’d have better music. I still haven’t found the holy grail of copyright-free music that I’m allowed to use on YouTube so I did the best I could. All the more reason to sign up for a class at the studio. 😉 Speaking of which …

Come workout with me this Sunday!

On Sunday, I’ll be teaching a class with Emily at Recycle’s Boston Common studio! Well, she’ll be teaching the class and I’ll just chime in during the arm song. Trust me, no one would be happy if they paid to have me attempt to teach spin (lol). PUMA is sponsoring the ride and offering free gear for riders (!!) and TIEM will be in studio for a trunk show all morning. Plus there’ll be raffles and rosé aprés! Not a bad way to spend your Sunday morning!

Book your bike HERE.

As of last night, the class was almost full but don’t be afraid to add yourself to the waitlist! It’s a Sunday—I guarantee at least a couple people will cancel.

Hope to see you there!

High-Rep, Low-Weight Workouts from the Archives

These workouts have a similar structure (although not music-based). The last two also mix in heavier strength exercises.

Chipotle Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

These flavor-packed chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are absolutely delicious!

Holy tacos, Batman! These chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are ridiculous. Once you have the chipotle sauce (recipe posted on Sunday) they’re super easy to make and you can customize them with your favorite tacos fillers. Between the chipotle sauce and the seasoning for the roasted cauliflower, the flavor is out of this world. Make these for Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday or any day of the week.

These flavor-packed chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are absolutely delicious!

Chipotle Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Yield: 6 tacos

Chipotle Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Ingredients

    For the cauliflower:
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 small red onion (or half of a large one)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the chipotle sauce (full recipe here):
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp of the adobo sauce
  • 2/3 c raw cashews, soaked
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (juice from about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (optional--increases the creamy texture)
  • For the tacos:*
  • 6 tortillas
  • Half a red cabbage
  • 2 spears of romaine lettuce
  • 3 tomatos
  • 2 avocados

Instructions

  1. The cashews used in the chipotle sauce need to be soaked. You can either soak them in cold water overnight or pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 1 hour uncovered.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Prepare the cauliflower. Remove the florets from the head of cauliflower. Cut the onion in half and then width-wise to make long strips of onion pieces. Spread the cauliflower and onion on a pan (I like to cover mine in parchment paper first to help with clean up). Drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle on the chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Toss to evenly coat. Roast for 30-35 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower starts to roast, prepare the chipotle sauce in your food processor or high-speed blender. Full recipe can be found here but you just put all the ingredients in a food processor and combine until smooth.
  5. As the cauliflower finishes roasting, prepare the taco fillings. Chop the red cabbage and lettuce until shredded. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and dice. Remove the pit and peel from the avocados and cut into strips.
  6. Heat the tortillas. You can do this on the stovetop by heating a dry pan (no oil) on medium heat and then placing the tortilla on it for about 30 sec each side. You could also do this in the oven. I usually just pop them into the oven with the cauliflower on a different rack (on tin foil) for 5 or so minutes.
  7. Assemble your tacos, top with the chipotle sauce and enjoy!

Notes

*Customize the filling of your tacos! I went with cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado but you can pick and choose your own favorites.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2017/05/02/chipotle-roasted-cauliflower-tacos/

These flavor-packed chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are absolutely delicious! These flavor-packed chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are absolutely delicious!

Look at that beautiful beast of a taco. This recipe produced six tacos for me, as mentioned above, but as you can see, I made them pretty big. If you’re using smaller tortillas, you could easily get eight or more from the recipe. If you have leftovers, you can absolutely store them in the refrigerator for a few days. I’d recommend keeping the ingredients stored in separate containers for the best results.

Unless you drown the tacos in it, you’ll definitely have chipotle sauce leftover. Use it as a dip or in a Buddha bowl if you run out of the chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos before the sauce.

These flavor-packed chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are absolutely delicious!

And that’s all from me today! If you’re looking for more cauliflower recipes, check out Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower. Also this Slow Cooker Corn Chowder can be made with cauliflower instead of potatoes if you’re looking for a low-carb soup. Let me know in the comments if you make these chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos! What taco fillings did you go with?