Combat dehydration & muscle cramping with Vegan supplementation

It’s 2 am and you wake up screaming because your muscles are cramping up in your calf. Toes curled and writing in pain you wait for the moment to pass.

Sound familiar?

While this sometimes night time occurrence may be on and off again and tolerable, muscle cramping during training sessions can be debilitating.

If you’re suffering from muscle cramping during exercise under 60 minutes in duration, are drinking at least a gallon of water per day AND are making sure that you’re replenishing your salt electrolytes then there are only a few other options left for you to stop the pain of cramps, which I’ve outlined below.

Supplements that treat dehydration

ELECTROLYTES: Magnesium, potassium, sodium.

You can opt to take these supplements at night or during the day. Magnesium can be taken in tablet form alone OR with a Zinc blend called “ZMA” at night.

Read more about ZMA HERE. 

What to avoid

Your enemy (at least temporarily) will be coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic drinks. These are all forms of diuretics, which means they can dehydrate you more because they all pull water from your body. If you are suffering from serious dehydration, yo might need IV fluids or even a hospital visit.

No laughing matter.

Ensure that you are getting all the liquid you need throughout the day and intra workout as well as making sure you stretch and foam roll!

Give yourself the gift of foam rolling on the daily, listen to this physical therapy article with tips

Try these stretches for leg cramps from Verywellfit

No amount of hope or supplementation alone will help you get past the cramping which is going to hinder your ability to go hard during your training sessions.

Train hard, eat well, rest up, hydrate.

xx

S

VEGAN PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE


Soy free, gluten free, dairy free, cruelty free….GUILT FREE (sort of)…seasonal FUN pumpkin cheesecake. Unfortunately, this recipe is about 8 years old and I couldn’t find an image of it…haven’t made it in quite some time SO please enjoy the image from Fat Free Vegan…this is about as close as a picture I could find.

You’ll need a 9-inch spring form pan for this recipe.

Crust:
1 cup superfine sorghum flour
½ cup arrowroot powder
½ cup pecans, finely ground
1 to 2 teaspoons Sasha’s homemade pumpkin spice (link below)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil (room temp)
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Filling:
½ cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup raw sprouted/soaked cashews
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon  lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons Sasha’s homemade PUMPKIN SPICE

Cook quinoa & rinse in a fine mesh strainer under running water for a minute. Then place quinoa and  2 cups of water into a small pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line  spring form pan with parchment paper.

In  mixing bowl whisk together the sorghum flour, arrowroot, ground pecans, pumpkin spice, and sea salt. Add coconut oil and cut in with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Then add water and maple syrup. Quickly mix dough with a fork. Form into a ball. Press dough evenly into bottom of spring form pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

To make the filling, place the pumpkin, cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, and spices into a high powered blender. Then add the cooked quinoa and blend again until ultra smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust.

Let cheesecake set at room temp for 1 hour,  cover and transfer to the fridge at least 3 hours or overnight.

The big 4-0- A decade in review

 

When I thought of turning 40, my inner voice said “I want to be in the best shape of my life”…. And that manifested itself as looking a certain way that meant “the best” to me. What I’ve come to realize in the last 6 months is that what I SHOULD have been aiming for is to be in the best MENTAL shape of my life.

We live so much of our lives online. I do at least. I am there as a mentor, a businessperson, a private citizen, and as a voyeur. We watch others, we watch them watch us…it puts us into places mentally, physically and emotionally that 15 years ago didn’t exist. We compare ourselves, a lot.

In understanding my own struggles with being happy with whom I am, I am dedicating my online efforts to the truth – cool or not. I am dedicating this year of 40 to finding my spiritual, emotional, mental health, whatever you want to call it. Making the stuff between my ears make sense, lighten up and really LIVE.

2008 – I turned 30

October 2008 I turned 30 in Las Vegas. I was a jellyfish. I can clearly (ha ha) remember this.

I was hopeful, but jaded. I had a LOT of friends…who later turned out to be {mostly} horrible people. I was living with my fiancé in a condo in Yaletown, working my job in Commercial Real Estate, making money but working 7 days a week & all hours for people who didn’t really care about anyone really.

I had been moonlighting with my health & wellness business for about a year and was on the fence about where my heart was in terms of going all in or giving up.

My father-in-law was dying of Cancer, my fiancé was goalless, my friends were high or drunk most of the time……so I dove deeper into training & yoga to try and make some sense out of my life.

I started collecting certifications in Thai Yoga massage, Herbalism, Vegan cheffing….I needed to find my way – I was finally NOT a 20 year old anymore and to me that meant it was time to grow up.

2009 – I turned 31

This was a year of happy endings and harsh awakenings.

I was living in a great condo in Yaletown with my 2 Shiba Inu’s and my (then) boyfriend. I was working at a job I mostly hated but I was making a lot of money. And I thought that would make everything better.

I traveled to 100 Mile Ranch for our annual Thanksgiving trip, was also in Toronto Italy, New York and Hawaii to name a few.

I got married, for the second time

2010 – I turned 32

Grown up and ready to take on the world I decided I needed to have the house of my dreams. So, with a lot of searching and fighting with my husband, we found the perfect little blue house on Charles Street off Commercial Drive in East Van.  It was such a gorgeous home. Decorated with the original stained glass windows, interior renovation, yard, white picket fence and a steal at just $1.02MM.

This same year my husbands’ father died and that created a tectonic shift that we couldn’t ever recover from.

In my mourning for the lost family, the lost love I dove into things that could feed my soul. I pursued both my Permaculture & Herbalism certifications that year.

I held the first Halloween/birthday party at Charles street that year. My birthday has always been somewhat of a “thing” for me and I just love being surrounded by happy friends having a good time…with the help of some amazing witches brew that appeared on both years.

I did a great hiking trip to the Kootenays, completed an over night at Golden Ears summit, a snowy summer hike up the Lions, Cypress & the  Stawamus Chief.

I decided that in honour of my husbands father we should travel to China to see where his life began as a doctor.

2011 – I turned 33

This was a transitional year and my marriage was suffering. I thought that a fall trip to Spain & Morocco might ignite some lost feelings of the way life was when it was “good”.

This year was also a holding pattern for me. I didn’t realize that my husband would become a distant drunk. That I would grow to hate him, that everything I thought growing up was, for me, was a lie.

I didn’t have the ability to give anymore of myself to anyone. I didn’t want to work for the sexual predators I had been. I quit my “day job” and went full time into educating on plant-based nutrition and healthy living. I was so happy.

My husband was devastated by my choice to quit a 10 (plus) year career in commercial real estate. “But you used to make so much money”…was one of the last things I can remember him saying to me.  I was gutted by the lack of substance in my life.

2012 – I turned 34

The onset of  2012 was supposed to be great. A family trip to Russia & Scotland…but I knew in the fall of 2011 that my trip was shadowed with my impending split from my husband.

We had spent months living in separate bedrooms, working opposite schedules, having no days off together. Enough was enough after a year of alienation at least. I truly believe to this day I was used as a pawn to gain access to a trust fund. I think our marriage was a show of maturity to his ailing father.

By March I had filed for divorce. It was all too much. We agreed to separate amicably; I’d take less than my share in cash and our dogs. Nothing else. I slept on couches at friends houses on weekends to clear my head.

While the separation was happening I reconnected with my (now) husband Jeff. It was just good to talk to someone who actually gave a shit.. We had known each other for 10 years and though he was in Calgary and I was in Vancouver, we always stayed in touch.

I went to visit him at the start of April, with no expectations at all. We were both getting divorced at the same time and needed company we could trust and be ourselves with.

In July, after returning from Russia & Scotland, I moved to Calgary to get out of the sad place that Vancouver had become for me then. We spent my 34thbirthday in Waterton lakes at a cabin, played cards and hung out and hiked with the Sheebs.

2013 – I turned 35

We bought a house, together in Bragg Creek., the Canadian Rockies. We were part of a 100 year flood that devastated the rural Rockies and Calgary. I became a stepmother to Anastacia who was battling Cancer and finished chemo that year. We threw her a big party at an Equestrian Center that I planned.

We took an amazing family trip to Disneyland and California theme park.

We spent my 35thbirthday in the most incredible place – The Resort at Pedregal. We talked about life and goals and I decided on that trip that I definitely would NOT be having children.

We brought Frieda Montgomery Jane our beloved German Shepherd home from up north. My sweet angel Tetsuo was taken by something wild in December of this year.

I felt like a princess in a dream this year – we had everything we wanted.

2014 – I turned 36

We made a LOT of money this year in our business. We spent HEAPS of it on child custody wars. We were busy in business, in court, just really fucking busy and times were going by so fast.

We traveled a bit through Nicaragua, bought a few nice things but mostly worked SUPER hard and tried to spend time together as a family hiking , camping, snowboarding and quadding. Things felt STABLE and I just kind of leaned in and took on that life.

We spent my birthday at Capella resort in Ixtapa, Mexico.

2015 – I turned 37

This was the year I became fired up about bodybuilding contests. We traveled to San Franciso, made our first trip to Pittsburgh for work and we made a final trip down to Cabo to The Resort at Pedregal for my birthday, we spent Christmas in Panama as a family.

This was also the year that we arrived home on December 24th to -25 temperatures and started to let the reality of an economic collapse sink in. Our people were being laid off, we were bailing on an office lease, still embroiled in lawsuits and child custody woes, we were overwhelmed.

I’m still shocked we didn’t implode.

2016 – I turned 38

We really dug deep this year. January we spent 3 weeks traveling through India by motorcycle while trying to cling to what was left of the clients who were surviving the blows being dealt by the oil and gas industry.

We got engaged in Philly that year after a second recon trip to Pittsburgh. We were married in August at home in Bragg Creek  and let everyone know we’d made the decision to move to Pittsburgh Sept 30th.

We spent our Honeymoon driving from Las Vegas to Denver…hitting the “four corners”, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend, Aspen…SO many beautiful sites.

There were a lot of lawyers this year, for immigration and child custody. We had been fighting and swimming up hill for going on 5 years.

We drove across Canada. We saw friends along the way, parts of the country we’d never seen and parts we’d not want to see again any time soon. We spent a week in Montreal on an immigration delay that was intensely stressful and costly but, by October 17thwe were crossing the border at Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh.  I celebrated my birthday with no running water in a run down house we rented in the Hill District.

We traveled to Orlando and had a great time being kids at Disneyworld, sat by the sea and got really excited for the future of our business.

2017 – I turned 39

2017 turned out to be a pretty so-so year for business, which is always worrisome but we really pulled through alright.

We still had some major legal battles with custody but those were getting sort of stale and really poisonous and covered in lies. Anastacia contracted another Cancer during the winter of that year.

We traveled to Georgia and Vancouver for bodybuilding contests and to visit friends and family. I spent 7 entire months out of Canada – the longest ever in my life. We ran off to Cozumel for a week to recharge our batteries.

I decided to take a year off from competing that spring and aimed to enjoy my family and all the sights of the tri-state area.  I felt I was coming into my own…and I blogged all about it – which I’m grateful to have to look back on.

We drove my motorcycle 3000 miles from Calgary to Pittsburgh stopping in some pretty amazing places and some really gross places too.  In my opinion, Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood were the best part of that trip.

We went to Chicago for Riot Fest and my parents came to visit us in PGH.

By October we had to wrap up our next pack of legal plans to cross back into Toronto to apply for another Visa – this time for 5 years. Of course, it was a bungle and we were stuck in Toronto with our fur kids for nearly 3 weeks.

I celebrated my birthday in Toronto, downed a bottle of champagne at George restaurant. We got our Visa approval on November 1stor 2ndand were right back in the jeep heading home to Pittsburgh.

2018 – I turned 40

 Ahhh, this year.

This year we gave up the fighting. We had conceded to the child custody war, our legal tangles with the government for Visas was on pause for almost 5 years and there was some breathing room created.

Our renters moved out of the house in the spring and we decided to sell our house to cut down on liability and free up our cash. It was such an emotional undertaking but needed to happen.

We got in the jeep and did a two week family trip down to Hilton Head, SC and the Outer banks in NC while work had died down. We really fell in love with the countryside we were getting to explore. America is so vast and multi-dimensional I’m sure you’d never see it all in one lifetime.

In the spring my Granny died and we raced down to New Mexico via El Paso Tx, to try and sort out her affairs. It was sudden and she planned for nothing. That made for five days of sheer confusion. But New Mexico is absolutely stunning and we were happy to see a new side of life – the full time RV community. Wow what a shocking eye opener. You see, my Granny had been living in an RV for nearly 10 years I think – at first we were appalled, but then intrigued.

We went to Maui for a couple of weeks to meet up with my parents for a get away.

We headed back to PGH, put the pedal to the metal and started to win US clients over, not as quickly or as many as we would have liked, but there was real progress that we could measure.

Our friends came to visit in the Spring which was exciting. We went boating, sent a container of all our things across the border from Canada, sold our house, sold our things in Canada and started the importation process of our Jeep.

My parents came again in the summer and we went to D.C. to check out the city and catch the Stanley Cup parade.

After a summer trip back to Calgary and Vancouver we talked a lot about what our future was going to be. We felt locked down in PGH as a lot of our potential clients offices were located in Texas, Kansas, etc…we knew the cost of doing business development by plane was going to be far too costly to commit to.

We had to make some clear business and life decisions with the 4 years we had left on our visa as there are benchmarks we need to meet in order to be eligible for another 5 years.

After a few months of research, planning, consideration and dreaming, we decided to move into an RV. Since we had stopped the insanity of child custody we were free to travel full time to see clients, staff, complete field trips and adventure when we weren’t working.

In August we purchased an RV, we headed to Lisbon for our anniversary to celebrate and when we came back we headed down to Maryland (more than we wanted to) to pick up “Evgeny” our new home.

Now, here I sit,  on my 40thbirthday on the beaches of  the Dominican Republic reflecting on all that I’ve done over the last decade.

A LOT. By anyone’s standards, even my own. I’m totally uncertain how everything in life will roll out. I’m not entirely sure I haven’t lost my mind. But as death creeps closer every year I AM sure that I am living my life, balls to the wall and (mostly) loving every minute of it.

 

 

Client Spotlight – The Vegan Converts & Making a baby with Gio & Casey Weeks – baby Luca now too!!

A beautiful, fit family who conceived by incorporating veganism!

Sometimes clients become friends, but in this case an “old” friend of mine – Giovanna – became a client. Giovanna and I met in elementary school in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada over 25 years ago. We actually went to different schools but both attended Catachism (click it if you don’t know it) where we met and eventually ended up at the same school. Giovanna has always had a light shining SO brightly within her….but she never had that Knight in shining armour that deserved her until…..Casey. Wow, what can I say. From the minute I first saw an image of these two together with their gorgeous smiles on display, I knew it was love. Casey seemed to be such a positive and loving force in Gio’s life.I’m so thankful that the two of you met and made a family -the world needs more true love like yours.

Happily settled in Houston, Texas, these two and their two pooches just added one more to their tribe; baby girl Luca – sorry folks, I didn’t get an image I could use here….and Luca was just born this past weekend of April 14/15. Congrats to the two of you. All my love and so much more and thanks SO much for taking the Vegan in 60 mentorship program on, I really hope it did help you with your little one.

So much love.

xx

S

How did the two of you meet?

Casey was a spin instructor at a studio and I had a huge crush on him and went to all his classes till he noticed me J

Did you plan on having a family early on in meeting and did age play a factor in this?

We both wanted kids one day but at the time didn’t think about it until I went to the doctor about a year after dating and she told me I had to see a fertility doctor.

How long were you trying for a baby before you went vegan and can you share any part of your personal story with our readers about WHY you decided to a make the change?

I had been doing fertility treatments for over a year. 4 Iuis and 2 IVF cycles and after getting pregnant on the last try but losing it right away I needed a break. Casey ended up watching some documentaries on Netflix that really opened our eyes to going vegan. I took about a 3month break and we went very strict vegan and I felt so great. I was working out again and not thinking about treatments and we really did feel healthier. I didn’t think it would has any effect on fertility at first just wanted to get healthier after all the hormones that were in me.

What have been the best and worst parts of trying to conceive – hee hee?

The worst was all the treatments for sure, not having control. The hormones they inject in you. The weight you gain with all of it. The stress of it. The best was when we took a break and just relax and were able to just do it the old fashion way and it worked! We could enjoy each other finally again and with being vegan I even lost weight so I felt better about myself too.

Once you became pregnant did you decide to go back to a carni lifestyle?

I have been back and forth, only because the first 3 months I was very sick and some things I could not keep down. We still try very hard though but as soon as the baby is born we are committed to going back to vegan again. I just know I felt amazing and even though I love this little baby, it has been a hard pregnancy. So I am so excited to be going back and I know Casey is too.

We know this has to be our lifestyle now, not a back and forth.

Is there anything you have learned in the process of becoming pregnant that you didn’t know veganism could impact positively?

I actually think that if I stay strict vegan I would have had less “problems” and that a lot of it was in my head. I know how healthy I felt before I was pregnant and I really think my body fixed itself becoming vegan. It made me a happier and less stressed person to, I really believe that. So now that I will be a parent I want to get back to that frame of mind and I know veganism with help me.

What is the best advice you have for couples having trouble conceiving?

Even though I hated hearing this so much, letting go and not stressing about it really is the key. Being a healthy, happy person is more important and I think that will help you so much more than stressing about what you need to do to actually conceive. Your partner and you should love just being with each other and not make it a chore to have a baby.

What was your fave and least fave vegan meal of all time?

I thought actually that quick oats for breakfast would have been my least fav but I really loved it. I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like. I really enjoyed all the vegan items we ate. Well…my first attempt at a falafel was probably my least…but if someone else makes them I love them.

Would you raise your child vegan – why/why not?

Casey and I have talked about this just a bit. We will teach them about being vegan but I think we will let them ultimately make the choice in the end.

Please let us know your best vegan recommendations for your best meals in Texas or abroad!

Ripe Cuisine is great! they are a food truck right now but opening a restaurant. Also Local foods is doing a good job of vegan items as well.

If there is anything lingering in your mind about this whole process, please feel free to share it now!

Thanks so much for all your support on this!

Tips for keeping training exciting

Who doesn’t selfie between sets?

Motivate my workout! When you train day in, day out with no end in sight, it can get overwhelmingly – blah.

Without a show date, high school reunion or vacation booked we can easily lose our drive for keeping the gains train going. Have a look through these simple tips for keeping the fitness flame alive for you all here.

Momma didn’t raise no quitter!

Add some “Flix” to your kicks.

Cardio can really beat your brains especially when it’s always indoors and monotonous. If you have the data or wifi, try watching a new series or a movie in pieces while you pedal, step or jog.

Sign up for classes in advance

Commit to be fit! Using apps like Mindbody for yoga, pilates or group fitness classes allow you to sign in before the class goes on, often several days in advance. Book your fitness like you do your haircuts and mani pedis, it’s a necessity.

Create mini goals

An additional 5 lbs, another 1/2 mile, getting down half a pant size. All great mini “now” goals to keep you pushing the envelope on a daily basis.

Get outside

If you’re not a competitive bodybuilder you don’t need to get all of your training in at the gym. If you live by mountains, hike and ski. If you live by lakes, swim and paddle. There are so many fun ways to get your fitness on without the clanging of metal on metal.

Revive your radio

Playing the same old tunes every session can get super repetitive. Now that the world doesn’t run on HMV it’s much easier to sample new music all the time. Cool streaming stations like Spotify even allow us to “discover” music they think we will like.

For something new, check out this personalized playlist on Spotify HERE. 

Fitness is a blessing, remember that many do not have the ability to train as freely as you do. Use it to elevate your mood, your heart rate and your outlook on life.

Keep on trucking.

XX – S

The Fit, Vegan Foodies guide to Maui

Hike Views on the Lahaina Trail – Photo By Jeff Williams – JJW Photography

 

If you’re heading to Hawaii there is no better island than Maui. I might be biased because I’ve only been there and Oahu a few times.

This year, we took 14 days to explore the island and chill out. I was supposed to be mid-prep for a June show and was stressing out over how to balance hard work and play – then I pushed off competing until winter (has it even left us yet?) so I could relax more about my food.

We are lucky to have a close friend with a condo in Kihei (thanks Mark & Vanessa) so we scored a great ground level, ocean view 2 bedroom unit right on S. Kihei road at The Maui Banyan.

Fully equipped kitchen & outdoor BBQ facilities – YES. As well as 2 pools, 2 hot tubs and the sound of the ocean to put you to sleep – pinch me.

Though I wasn’t on prep for a show I still wanted to make sure that I stayed (mostly) on track so, as usual I found a gym to train at while away as well. The Maui Powerhouse is the only gym I would go to on this part of the island. It was biking/driving distance away from us and amazing. There are more details & links below.

Have a great time on the island ~ do your best to enjoy all the fresh food & drinks. Practice Aloha!

Here we go!

First stop ~ Fork & Salad

Refreshing, light & full of options. They have tofu as an adder so you can create pretty much whatever you like. This place is owned by the people at Three’s (see below).

Second stop – Maui Powerhouse Gym

SUCH a great gym. I cannot say enough about this spot. We trained all but 1 day while here, every morning and it was perfect. Kind of sad to be leaving this one behind because there wasn’t too much fighting over equipment and the ownership is great. Good location with lots of parking and right next to Fork & Salad as well as a coffee shop and a bunch of other infrastructure.

How to eat like a Vegan on Maui

If you want to eat, you’re going to need to stop by these places to at least try something out. As a vegan it can be tough to eat anywhere on the island if you’re not in the know.

I hit up Vegan on Maui on Facebook to ask the group for ideas before I left as the last trip to the island a few years back wasn’t as successful.

Kihei: 

Three’s 

They have tofu first of all, so this will make it easier on you to add some protein to dishes and modify. I had the Kale salad, sans cheese. Jeff had a rice/curry dish and added tofu as well. WIN. The space is nice, we sat outside and their Lime & Coconut drink is TDF (to die for).

Hawaiian Moons

Most of our trip we prepared our own meals at the condo. This is the BEST place for all things vegan and healthy. This is NOT the best place for saving cash on foodstuffs so beware. They also have a food bar where they make smoothies, açai bowls, pitaya bowls, sandwiches and salads etc… expensive but nutritious and clean.

Freds

Ugh, this place is THE WORST but I’m mentioning it because they did accommodate us UNLIKE upstairs at Moose McGillicuddy’s where the staff is aloof and the menu options are next to none. 

We shared vegetarian fajitas and the beach view which was really the only reason we went back here – we were there in 2014 and disliked it then as well.

Rice & refried beans are NOT cruelty free but they do have black beans and white riced which are. Found out after that the vegetables were cooked in butter (not oil) and felt ILL – I’m not sure they have a non-butter option.

Other: 

Mentioned by my non-vegan folks: Tiki Bar {Pizza} – my parents noted that the menu said vegan options available but weren’t sure exactly what the options were.

Lahaina: 

Baya Bowls

Great little Food Truck located just a couple of blocks off of Front Street. They appear on Yelp as well as google searches.

Captain Jacks

We only had a couple of drinks on the lanai and people watched from this spot BUT the waitress did let us know that all of the sauces were vegan & that they had Beyond Burgers.

Kaanapali: 

A’a Roots

This was a suggestion from the Vegan on Maui FB group (closed group). It was sort of worth the drive from Kihei (under 20 miles) but, it was pretty outrageously priced (as is everything in Hawaii). Service was quick and they had a lot of “to go” options as well. Lots of Raw vegan, juices, desserts etc…

Kula:

O’o Farm

This was a return trip for us this year. They added tofu to their luncheon menu which was not the case a few years back. Imagine traveling up country into the clouds, eating unripened coffee fruit, touring beautiful gardens and foraging for your own lunch with the  rest of the guests!!

It’s a great way to spend a few hours & to support a sustainable practice. The owners are from Quebec City and Montreal (didn’t know that before) and they also own a restaurant in Lahaina as well as a Luau which is always packed. It’s the “Feast at Lele” and was booked for weeks in advance. Call ahead to pick the luau you really want to attend.

Paia:

Mana Foods

Grocery store with a hot/cold food buffet section. Very hippie, very organic, very GMO free…lots of choices. Not entirely vegan but you cannot find any crappy food here. It’s a great pit stop on the way to Ho’okipa beach to see the turtles sunning themselves and catch some surf.

Cafe Mambo

Meh. They had tofu & lettuce and it wasn’t over the top priced or entirely disgusting however, the service was aloof at best. I’d rather pack a picnic lunch from Mana and skip the crowded streets of Paia all together.

Activities: 

Kihei/Wailea/Anywhere: 

Luau ~ we went to the Grand Luau in Wailea and were almost tricked into it because the name had changed! I think this one is “ok” and hosted by the Waldorf Astoria. I really wish I would’ve gotten to the Feast at Lele (see above). They had about 4 vegan options there which was ok….but it’s a lot of salads at best. Vegetarians & pescatarians would do better here.

Boogie Boarding ~ nearly free if your room comes equipped with one! We picked up a used board at a garage sale in Lahaina as well. Stores sell these things everywhere but they’re a bit over the top (sensing a theme here??). Most beaches are naturally equipped with shore break however, the lifeguards will advise when it’s not safe to swim. Places like Big Beach in Makena State Park have neck breaking shore break that have killed – be careful.

Surfing ~ again, you can rent or get lessons. I’ve surfed in Kaanapali and Kihei where there are rentals and lessons abounding. Best times are early morning but the water is FULL of people – be prepared that at smaller breaks there are beginners and a lot of traffic.

Walks ~ sidewalks in Maui are all in great repair. You can walk the beaches (which have lava rock pouring out to sea), sidewalks and ocean front paths in front of most hotels and resorts.

Beaches ~ no limits here. Makena State Park has a tonne – even nude ones! Imagine the shoreline as your oyster, bring a typical “Tommy Bahama Beach Chair & Umbrella” and hunker down pretty much anywhere for the day. There are many pullouts along the highways that allow for picnics, surfing, boogey boarding etc…even camping!

Bike ~There are a lot of cool places to ride bikes by the seaside and bike paths are plentiful. There are sweet Electra cruisers and more!

Snorkel ~ with $10 per day rentals on all the gear you need you must snorkel and see all the beautiful fish. Just be sure you do not wear too much of your sunblock (opt for a shirt) which damages reefs/fish habitat. We rented from Boss Frogs in Kihei. Also, be sure to check for shark closures – real & can throw a wrench in your day if you pull up to a beach that’s closed.

Hike ~ We completed one HOT hike between Kihei and Lahaina The Lahaina Pali Trail with a goal for reaching the wind turbines and the views. The return trip is about 10 miles. We drove to the trailhead on Lahaina-side and did 50% of the hike to the Turbines and back. Great views – bring good shoes!

Lahaina: 

Walk ~ Front street is the typical spot to walk and look in all the shops. There are a few other side streets you could hit for Shave Ice, surfboard rentals and even Harley bikes!

Art~ Peter Lik & more have claimed a storefront here now. Hawaii has been taken over by photo prints placed on metal. It’s kind of nauseating after a while and Front street is definitely a tourist trap for Cruise goers let out on their usual 2 hours from the ship (sad sad sad)….I’d really do it once and forget about it. There is also glass blowing and if you head to the big Banyan Tree, you might see some handcrafted pieces by the artists themselves.

Food trucks ~ Vegan, tacos, fish and more. You need to try some of this and get away from the VERY over priced commercial mess of front street OR go enjoy the views from Cheeseburger in Paradise…just skip the meat!

Paia:

Walk ~ the crowded streets looking at overpriced nicknacks.

Ho’okipa Beach ~ beautiful turtles, washrooms, showers, big surf. It’s a great place to catch some rays and relax next to some seriously big waves at times.

Roadtrips: 

Road to Hana – First of all if you’re going to do this one you need to download Shaka Guides . 

This $7 app will take you all the way around the trip pointing out everything you’ll want to know and allowing you to skip things you don’t want to see. We chose to do the road in a full circle and I think that you should too.

To be honest, there are some great sites but we were moving in a car so I didn’t get many shots at all hence these poorly uploaded blurry images of what could be water AND some power lines.

If you’ve ever seen massive waterfalls in other countries/places you might be underwhelmed. Being from Vancouver, not one of the sites was epic – sorry to ruin your day. Also, IMHO, spending 8 hours on this trip is kind of a waste. If you’re around at a particularly dry time, you will not see much water at all. Plan to check up on this.

Black sand beaches are just that. Black sand. They are a limited edition so its a good idea to see them before they are gone however, do not be expecting to have your boobs knocked off by them. Sorry. You can see them at the Waianapanapa State Park.

7 pools is a TOTAL BUST. Do NOT do this, honestly. Unless you are going to go up to the Haleakala Crater for sunrise or sunset, then you can use the $25 admission twice – within a 72 hour period.

My FAVE stop was Coconut Glen’s on the Road to Hana. VEGAN ice cream stop with wild chickens, kittens and really groovy, colourful decor. Totally off plan, totally worth it at just past the halfway mark! Bring cash on this journey because there are a lot of food stops that are cash only. Fruit stands, banana bread stands, coconut water etc….don’t miss out because you relied on plastic!



Hana~ Meh, we were here on a Sunday and there was literally nothing to see ~ sorry I cannot be help. There is a red sand beach that can be hunted down but we didn’t do it. If you’ve got bank, fly into the Hana airport from Kapalui and stay the night at the Travaasa Hotel for a night or two.

Kaupo ~ Desert land appears and so do the cliffs! There is one token stop at an old shop here. The Kaupo Store. If you cannot afford to take a chopper around the island (I’ve done it once with Blue Hawaiian and it’s worth EVERY penny) you can see some cool Lava Tubes & cliffs here for FREE.

Maui Winery ~ stop here. Do a tasting or three and play a round of cornhole under some seriously huge trees. Such a nice treat at the end of a long drive. We did one flight of wine and enjoyed the grounds. There are washrooms here as well – you’ll need them!

O’o Farm ~ I cannot brag more than I have already. Enjoy this place & learn about coffee roasting in their roastary. BYO bottle of wine to have with lunch as well as some warmer clothes in case the clouds roll in – which they do. You will need reservations so call ahead!

Wrapping it up

There are SO many more things that I have done on this island but just cannot remember so, if you have any questions, feel free to post them here and I’ll do my best to answer them all.

My greatest joy this trip (almost) was finally committing to playing the Ukulele ~ got my very own!

Happy (cruelty free) travels.

xx

S

Photography by Jeff Williams ~ check out his instagram page/work here: @PIXBURGHER

Finding your happy place

image (1)

I think I’m an over thinker. I mean, well, I know I am. I can analyze, hypothesize, prophesize and write amazing fantastical stories in my head. Some of them true, others just plain crazy.

I’ve spent my busied lifetime riding the glorious highs and soul crushing lows of operating with a very sensitive soul. I’ve spent countless hours sitting alone and reflecting over salty tears and steaming tea, on what I could have done differently. I’ve grown increasingly tired, feeling forced to consider boarding up my heart instead of being “allowed” to be led through life by it. I’ve become afraid of the cold reality of friendships and partnerships having  been involved with people who fear my thoughts, my reactions and my beliefs.

At some point in life I decided to stop and try to accept who I am. That is one of the most terrifying things I have had to do. What I’ve come to understand about myself is that I’m a challenger. I challenge myself, the system, my confidants and my beliefs – every single day.

I challenge my heart to be more open, free, peaceful and warm. To forgive when there is nothing but resentment, hurt and betrayal and to let my heart break without fear of imminent death, as often as it needs to.  I challenge my body to be strong, steady and pristine. To get better with age, to push through what my mind says I cannot do and to take me to places that some can only dream of seeing.   I challenge my mind to learn, grow, analyze, understand, engage and compile. An organic computerized filing system of encyclopedic proportions, one in need of a Shepard for the flock of thoughts that sometimes whirl out of control.

On my most recent trip away, I finally became a part of my happy place. This could seem like a tiny feat but no, it is not. Knowing where your happy place is or what it consists of takes a lot of time and thoughtful consideration – but not forced.

In 36 years I have never put too much thought into independent happiness. I loved dance for decades and thought that was it. I loved love and partnership and thought that was it. I lost myself in books and recipes and thought that my kitchen could be the spot. I have suffered the highs and lows of life – and there were a LOT of lows – not having a place I could go to that would ALWAYS be there. Unconditionally. One that said nothing but gave back tenfold.

I’ve come to understand that my friends, family and lovers are not meant to provide me with unconditional care, peace and plenty. I have faults and idiosyncrasies that make me unlovable from time to time, that turn my vulnerabilities into liabilities and my heart into a ticking time bomb.

What I am blessed to know now is, to find my safe and happy place I only need me. I spent over 6 hours and 25 kilometers walking in the desert over 2 days. In this time I had all the space, solitude, peace and beauty surrounding me to feel at ease enough to consider all of the happenings in my life of late and how I was going to navigate through them.

I meandered through snake dens, wild pig habitats, giant prickly cacti and over rocky outcroppings blasted by wind and rain. I walked slowly and methodically, I ran, I slipped and fell and I stood in awe.

I saw that in all of this, my journey in life could be easily compared to my hundreds of hikes through all the peaks and valleys I have been blessed to see on this planet. For no matter what happens on the trail, how scared to death I am of getting eaten by a grizzly bear, falling to my death in an azure crevasse, losing my way in the unforgiving desert with no water….I still return. Determined to see more, learn more, gain skills and see things that melt my heart and take my breath away.

Wandering the mountains with my wild heart and frantic mind is how I cope. How I came to sometimes understand the people around me and how I eventually learned that every encounter I have on this earth is beautiful and something to be looked forward to, conquered, respected and revered.

Thank you travel. Thank you mother earth and thank you me, for having the patience and courage for long enough to finally find my spirit medicine.

Low carb, high protein Vegan Curry with Naan

With just a few ingredients around the house (some vegan staples for sure) you can whip up a quick, healthy and protein rich meal that won’t break the bank or your summer bod goals.

25 minute meal done up right. Nutrition information for the curry dish is noted.

Vegans need protein too ~ keep your nutrition tight with a plan of attack and always have options available to you in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

3 cups chopped kale
1/2 large yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1/2 inch garlic
1 cup shelled peas
1/3 can regular coconut milk
1 cube boullion 2 cups hot water
Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
Curry – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
1 block extra firm tofu pressed
Salt to taste
“Naan”
Vegan Parm – I used THIS ONE
Olive oil
Garlic salt
(light dusting of each)
Method: 
Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in large saucepan.
Add chopped onion, garlic and ginger on medium low heat.
Add chickpeas with 1/2 aquafaba & cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile – in lightly greased pan fry cubed tofu until browned on all sides.
Add hot water and bullion, turn up to medium, cook and reduce water for 3-4 minutes.
Add 3 pinches of sea salt, peas & kale then stir in coconut milk cook for 2 more minutes.
Finally, add panfried tofu and mix.
To create “naan”:
Set oven to 400 degrees. “Butter” tortillas with oil lightly, sprinkle with garlic salt & vegan parmesan. Bake for 5-7 minutes then change to 525 degree broil for 2 minutes or until tortillas start to bubble/brown slightly.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 285
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9 g 13 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 11 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 3191 mg 133 %
Potassium 540 mg 15 %
Total Carbohydrate 32 g 11 %
Dietary Fiber 10 g 39 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 20 g 40 %
Vitamin A 156 %
Vitamin C 181 %
Calcium 24 %
Iron 25 %

Does Vegan pet food have all the ingredients my animal needs? Guest blog post.

Vegan pet food – a winning solution for dogs, cats and the planet!

If you are a vegan yourself and are a guardian to a dog or a cat, you might have considered a plant-based pet diet for your companion animal. You may have looked it up online and found a lot of conflicting information, and are not sure where to go from here. Internet is full of stories of how cats and dogs get sick from eating lettuce and carrots, and these stories may have deterred you from giving vegan pet food a chance. Do not let these stories fool you: diet consisting of lettuce is a far cry from a well-balanced, complete vegan pet diet. Dogs and cats do benefit from a plant-based diet as much as humans do, as long as their food is properly balanced and nutritionally complete.

Does vegan pet food have all the ingredients my animal needs?

According to Dr. Armaiti May, a practicing veterinarian, animals have requirements for nutrients, but not necessarily ingredients. There is no reason why diets comprised entirely of plants, minerals, and synthetically-derived ingredients cannot meet the necessary palatability, bioavailability, and nutritional requirements of animals. Vegan pet food industry has come a long way to develop formulas that are healthy, balanced and meet the nutritional standards of the pet food industry. For example, our vegan products meet the required standard for protein (30%), sourced from peas, sunflower seeds, soy and maize.

If a required nutrient is not available from plant sources, laboratory created version is used instead of it. For example, you may have heard of ‘taurine’ – an essential amino-acid, necessary for proper cardiovascular function and eyesight in cats. Since taurine does not exist in plants, ‘vegan taurine’ was created in the lab — a synthesized version, which has exactly the same properties as taurine in meat. (Interestingly, most commercial meat-based formulas use the exact same synthetic taurine in their formulations, because the natural taurine is baked off during the production due to high temperature and pressure.) Our 100% vegan pet products contain all the nutrients, minerals and amino acids required by stringent nutritional standards for pet food.

What to expect during and after transitioning?

If you decide to transition your animal to a plant-based diet, the next step is to choose the right product. Sample packs are available to help you decide which product works best for your animal (and your wallet). Does your animal require hypoallergenic or non-GMO food? Would you like to cook meals at home or buy a manufactured kibble? Do you prefer wet or dry food? These are important questions to consider when choosing a vegan pet food product.

You have chosen a product, purchased a sample pack, and are now ready to start introducing the new food. Transitioning period takes about 2 weeks, during which the new vegan food is slowly introduced by mixing it with the old food. The proportion of the new food is slowly increased, until the animal is fed only vegan food. Gradual transition is very important to avoid stomach issues, and also to ensure that the animal has the time to get used to the new taste. While the vast majority of animals adopt a plant-based diet very smoothly, a small number will need extra time and help. If your dog or cat does not like the taste of the novel food right away, add some nutritional yeast to the new food, then gradually reduce the amount of added yeast to zero. Nutritional yeast makes the food taste like cheese, a flavor that animals used to the meat-based diet enjoy.

Once the transition process is complete, you will start seeing the benefits of a plant-based diet in your cat or dog. Our customers report relief from food allergies, less gasiness, improvement in skin coat and breath, and increase in the overall energy level. This is because meat products like chicken and beef are common allergens, causing a host of issues in animals. Not to mention that the ‘meat’ found in commercial pet foods contains byproducts like diseased animal parts, beaks, and bones – waste products deemed unfit for human consumption — and even euthanized and sick dogs and cats. Bacterial contamination is also a concern, as are degenerative diseases like cancer and arthritis. The healthy vegan diet you are feeding your animal now no longer has all this stuff, and you’ll know you have done the right thing for your pet and for the planet.

Thousands of people have successfully transitioned their cats and dogs to a vegan diet, and watch them thrive. Give it a try – you’ll be amazed how easy and good it is!

Here at Vecado Plant-Based Pet Foods we take nutrition of your pet and your concerns very seriously. We guide our customers all the way through the transition, and are here to support you any day of the week. We have lots of experience with transitions and know how to resolve common roadblocks. All of our products are 100% plant-based, sourced from all-vegan suppliers in the USA and Italy.

Exclusively for Sasha’s customers, Vecado is offering a starter pack for dogs and a starter pack for cats at a discounted rate. These packs contain samples of different products we carry, so your dog or cat can try all of them and choose the one he or she likes. To purchase a pack, please follow these links:

Starter pack for dogs

Starter pack for cats

– add your pack to the cart and apply discount SASHAWILLIAMS at checkout.

Our goal is to enable you to live your values, by providing your dog and cat with vegan pet food that is healthy and has no negative consequences on other animals or the planet.

Sincerely,

Vecado Plant-Based Pet Foods

Client Spotlight – Couples Who Go Vegan – Norm & Michelle

I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle at a Bodybuilding competition in Vancouver, BC, Canada a few years ago. It was her first show and she was SO nervous…just a sweetheart. We bonded that day and have been long distance friends ever since. I was super honoured to have Michelle and her husband Norm join my Vegan in 60 program and I’m super delighted with their results in both body and mind.

If you’re curious about what going vegan looks like, these two have some sage words here for newbies…..any time is the right time to go whole food plant based.

Love you both & thanks again….P.S. – I love this snap of you two…you might hate me for it but your fur baby is there and you’re tubbin’ in the snow which is one of my favourite pastimes (before moving to Pittsburgh).

You both rose to the challenge of trying out converting to veganism over 10 weeks, what made you dive into this challenge as carni’s?

We dove into this vegan challenge because it was exactly that a challenge. To be honest it was not something either of us would have considered trying ….until You said challenge….who doesn’t like a Little challenge.

What have you learned about veganism that has struck you as the most impactful? Ie: it’s health benefits, cost, animal rights issues etc…

 What has stuck with us so far are the health benefits. We both had wondered how going vegan would impact our health. So far it’s been great i really notice a difference when I removed dairy products from my diet. Michelle says now she is very aware of where our food comes from now and eating this way is pretty cheap.

Do you find that your working together on this initiative has brought you closer or created more stress at home?

Well it definitely has not added any stress ….has had is working together in searching and planning out our meals …snacks and as team Thiessen we hold each other accountable.

How do you tackle the questions asked of you by family, friends & others who may want to know a bit more about your new nutritional goals?

Family and friends have been supportive.  They ask questions and we fill them in on what we have found out. Most are interested in trying to be more plant based …not going vegan but being more responsible. It would seem our friends will make healthier choices after hearing our choices when we are out for dinner or such . Also creates interesting conversations.

What is the hardest part of being a new vegan?

Stress of finding new things to eat ….find recipes…choosing the options…shopping for the food…preparing the meals ….being new to veganism we don’t have easy go to dishes …yet.  Of course its stressful Try ing to fill our protein macro and keeping down our carb macros.

What is the easiest part of being a new vegan?

Making a vegan dish usually has lots of left overs. You get to grab healthy foods .

Are there any changes (physically) that  you have experienced that are super amazing that you want to share?

Ok some changes I’ve noticed is the bowel movements…2 to 3 times a day . Waking up alert and ready not needing a coffee to clear the morning cobwebs. No bloating( once I’ve adjusted to the beans).

What is your favourite vegan food so far?

For taste Mexican is our favorite . Seitan for the protein. I like to slice up my seitan and fry it in hot sauce.  Mmm mmm.

 Do you think you will go back to eating animal products, if so, why?

Yes I believe we will be going back to eating animal products . Our meal will no longer revolve around the meat. Things like cheese and honey are greatly missed . BUT we will be very mindful where we are purchasing our animal products from …the farm to table idea. With all the new ideas and recipes we have learned it will be way easier to keep our plant based diet most of the time. As Michelle has mentioned some cooked meat has effected her negatively as she has cooked it . I’m pretty sure that meat will be removed lol. By doing this challenge our eyes have been opened to a lot of different aspects of veganism….some we agree with and support others not so much but that’s ok we have a great base of knowledge now and will be more aware moving forward .

Michelle may want to add more as our time goes on.
Norm and Michelle Thiessen