Vegan Eats in Charleston

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When I travel, I adhere to my health practices. If I didn’t, I’d quickly not feel well and that’s not the way I want to spend my travel time.

That means I continue to eat a plant based diet, wherever I am.

On my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina, I scouted out the best places to get a plant based meal. Based on my location in the historic district downtown, I chose cafés and restaurants within walking distance from my accommodations.

These places serve healthy meals, some that aren’t vegan. All have plant based options though.

Check out these vegan eats in Charleston.

Vegan Eats in Charleston title meme

Eating Vegan in Charleston

My accommodations, Meeting Street Inn, provided a continental breakfast. Although they served a variety of breakfast items, most of them weren’t plant based. They did offer several low or no sugar cereals…but no plant based milk. And they did have packets of plain oatmeal. I had a small refrigerator in my room so one option was to stock it with plant based milk for the cereal. The other option, which I chose, was to purchase some vegan snacks to keep in my room, for a quick breakfast before heading out the door.

I opted to eat lunch and dinner out. Meeting Street Inn also offers an evening wine and nibbles. Other than fresh grapes, however, the rest of the nibbles are not vegan.

I had no problem finding cafés and restaurants to try, that offer vegan meals. Here are the ones I recommend.

Verde

Located at 347 King Street, Verde is a locally owned, operated and staffed health conscious café that features salads and wraps. The café is bright, clean and inviting.

Verde cares about making it easy for diners to experience the benefits of eating, going and being green. And they care about the environment, so their fresh salads and bowls come in compostable containers. They source ingredients locally to reduce their carbon footprint and they use bicycles for deliveries, whenever possible.

Plus Verde gives back to the community. They support their community by donating food and volunteering at local organizations.

Verde offers an assortment of salads and bowls, any of which can become a wrap.

I chose the Bowled Buddha, a yummy combo of roasted broccoli, chickpeas, pickled onions, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, kimchi and power seeds, served with turmeric vinaigrette on brown rice, quinoa and kale. For a drink I selected unsweetened iced tea.

This Buddha Bowl was so incredibly delicious and very filling. I took half of it back to my room at the inn and ate it for supper that night.

Vegan Eats in Charleston verde buddha bowl
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Verde’s Bowled Buddha

Beech

Located at 315 King Street, Beech takes the guesswork out of eating healthy. This café focuses on delivering a fresh, fast and healthy menu based on four pillars of a balanced diet: fruit, fish, rice and vegetables. You can, of course, leave out the fish, as I chose to do!

The Beech Team began as two brothers pursuing a dream of serving their community through healthy foods, served quickly. Beech is clean and cozy.

They offers cold pressed juices, smoothies, fresh fruit bowls featuring acai, and poké bowls.

The poké bowls, which originated in Hawaii, are basically sushi in a bowl. They feature cubed raw fish mixed with rice, veggies and toppings.

I built my own delicious poké bowl using brown rice, avocado, picked red onion, picked cucumber, seeds and crispy onion flakes with sriracha aioli. It was SO good. An unsweetened iced tea accompanied this meal as well.

Vegan Eats in Charleston beech poke bowl
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Beech build your own poké bowl

Basic Kitchen

Located at 82 Wentworth, just off the intersection of King and Wentworth, Basic Kitchen uses seasonal, local produce and the best ingredients to create nourishing and delicious meals.

They love diverse flavors and dishes from around the world. Basic Kitchen believes that the choices we make through food have a positive impact on our health, community and environment. They feature a fun, casual dining environment. On their menu are the words “Cleaner fuel…longer adventures.” I agree with them!

Basic Kitchen offers small plates such as sweet potato fries, cauli wings and pistachio beet dip, salads, bowls and big plates. Big plates include dishes such as pistachio pesto rigatoni and veggie burgers.

Keeping my bowl theme going, I chose a Curry Bowl with green Thai coconut curry, veggies, cilantro and Charleston Gold rice. I devoured it! No left overs and no room for their salted chocolate tahini tart. My waiter brought me a bottle of chilled water. I loved that extra touch!

Vegan Eats in Charleston basic kitchen
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Basic Kitchen green curry bowl

Brown Dog Deli

Admittedly, this café at 40 Broad Street is not one you’d think of for plant based food. However, checking their menu I found some vegan options.

Chef Wes Denney brings a far reaching experience to this unique deli. His diverse menu includes Asian influences and southern BBQ. Brown Dog Deli has a fun classic diner vibe.

The deli features salads, poké bowls, gourmet sandwiches, deli classics and a very nice assortment of vegan options including plant based burgers, non chicken “chicken”, veggie dogs and veggie wraps.

I barely made it to Brown Dog Deli before it closed, after visiting a museum late in the afternoon. So I ordered my meal to go. I chose the Black Bean Santa Fe Wrap. It contains a black bean burger, corn, mango salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, guacamole and cilantro.

As the sun sank, I enjoyed my wrap seated near the Pineapple Fountain, in Waterfront Park. The wrap was wonderful…and huge. I took half of it back to my room for later.

Vegan Eats in Charleston brown dog deli wrap
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Brown Dog Deli black bean wrap

Two Restaurants That I Missed

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the last two restaurants on my list: The Daily and Neon Tiger.

Both of these eateries are located on King, at 652 and 654 King, respectively. The Daily is primarily a breakfast and lunch café and I just ran out of days and times to get there. And on my last evening in Charleston, I intended to eat supper at Neon Tiger. However, strong thunderstorms rolled into area. Since I was on foot, I opted to stay in.

The Daily

The goal of The Daily is to create a place where people come to be refreshed and nourished. They source local and regional products. And they support sustainability and environmental stewardship.

They offer healthy juices, strong coffee, breakfast toasts made with their own freshly baked bread, plus pastries, smoothies, wine and snacks to go.

Neon Tiger

Neon Tiger is a cocktail bar featuring local, natural, organic and fresh libations and small plates. They are wholly vegan. On their website they say that they are fun whether you identify as vegan or not. “Come for the drinks, stay for the vibes and make up your own damn mind.” I love that!

Neon Tiger offers vegan appetizers, salads, main dishes such as roasted cauliflower over red beet hummus and chickpeas, bowls, pizzas, plant based burgers and sandwiches.

Next time I visit Charleston, I’ll make sure I visit The Daily and Neon Tiger first!

Vegan Eats in Charleston basic kitchen groovy
Feeling groovy in Basic Kitchen

Other Vegan Options

I’m sure there are other places to eat in Charleston, with vegan options. Near Meeting Street Inn I saw a Subway, where you can create your own chopped salad, and a Moe’s Southwest Grill, where you can build your own vegan bowl.

And at most restaurants, you can order plain a la carte veggies.

Overall, I found it easy to eat vegan in Charleston and even fairly simple to eat plant based in the airports as I traveled.

I’m grateful for healthy food that fueled me, making it possible for me to explore this gorgeous city on foot, energy high and body functioning well.

Have you visited Charleston? What restaurants are your favorites?

Vegan Eats in Charleston brown dog deli
The fun interior of Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street

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Benefits of Walking Every Day

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Recently I set a goal: walk every day for the next 30 days. The motivation behind my goal? I have an upcoming trip to a new-to-me city in the US. My favorite way to get to know a city is to walk it and explore the streets, restaurants and shops.

I know my body. If I begin my explorations with miles of walking, without a warm up first, my legs protest greatly.

Walking every day before the trip conditions my legs…and my body…for the upcoming extra activity. I met my goal…32 days of walking daily so far.

It turns out there are additional benefits of walking every day, beyond getting ready for a adventure! Check out how the body responds, to walking every day for at least 30 days.

Benefits of Walking Every Day title meme

Not My First Walking Challenge

This isn’t my first walking challenge. It is, in fact, my third such challenge.

The first, attempted almost four years ago, began as a 30 Day Walking Challenge, in which I walked in a different location every day. I made it to Day 27…and then fell and badly twisted my left knee. Sadly, it took me eight months to fully recover from that fall.

The second 30 day walking challenge began in January of this year. I did great…walking in snow, rain and cold temperatures…until my area experienced a severe cold snap that lasted for days. Those freezing cold days ended my daily walks.

This time, I remained determined to walk daily in spite of hot temperatures, rain and muggy days of high humidity. Of course, like every one else, I DO walk every day in the course of my normal activities. The walking challenge, however, is an intentional “get dressed for a walk and get out the door” practice that I do every single day, no matter what.

I feel ready for my trip. More than that, I feel great.

Here are the benefits of walking every day and the changes that occur in the body.

“Walking is almost an insurance policy for aging well.”  Karisa Karmali

Benefits of Walking Every Day neighborhood
Benefits of walking every day – beautiful morning for a walk

Greater Longevity

Harvard researchers discovered that walking 4, 400 steps a day is enough to significantly lower the risk of death. Researchers tracked a group of women…average age 72 years old…for four years. They found the benefits leveled off at around 7,500 steps.

So, start small if necessary. Walk short distances and then gradually increase the number of steps. Wear a pedometer or smart bracelet to count your steps. Or carry your phone. Mine has a built in health app that is always recording my number of steps per day.

Lowers Depression

Walking daily is not only good for physical health, it’s beneficial for mental health as well. A daily walking practice helps relieve stress, which can contribute to depression. Plus the body releases the “feel good” hormone endorphins. And those endorphins help us feel more energized and happier for the rest of the day, long after we complete the walk.

Sharpens the Brain

Walking is one of the best ways to reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brisk walking even increases the size of the hippocampus in older adults. The hippocampus is where memories form. Adults also experience greater cognitive function.

Improves Heart Health

Walking daily improves the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Stronger, healthier heart and lungs reduces the risks of stroke and heart attack while managing hypertension and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Walking also improves circulation throughout the body. Muscles learn to efficiently use the extra oxygen delivered by improved circulation, which in turn increases blood flow even more in the body.

Increases Lung Volume

Walking increases blood flow, which increases the oxygen flow. It helps us breathe deeper and better, eliminating toxins and wastes from the body.

Benefits of Walking Every Day flowers
Benefits of walking every day – I walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the beauty all around me

Strengthens Bones and Muscles

After age 30, bones and muscles weaken and begin to break down. Walking daily helps slow the aging process of bones and muscles without stressing joints.

And postmenopausal women who walk every day have higher overall bone density than women who don’t.

Additionally, as we walk muscles tug on the bones, which stimulates the production of bone cells, keeping bones strong and healthy.

Better Sleep

As we walk, our body temperature rises and then falls after we finish. This rise and fall of temperature during the day helps us fall asleep faster at night.

Improves Eyesight

Surprisingly, walking daily benefits eye health as well by relieving eye pressure. This helps to fight glaucoma.

Aids Digestion

Thirty minutes of walking a day lowers the risk of colon cancer. It also improves digestion and helps prevent constipation by regulating bowel movements.

Walking benefits the pancreas by improving glucose tolerance.

Provides Pain Relief

Walking daily reduces pain, stiffness and inflammation in joints. The increased blood flow also improves flexibility in joints and the back.

My Experience after Walking for 30 Days

You might remember that I experienced pain and inflammation in my legs for more than 20 years, due to chronic sciatica. Switching to a plant based lifestyle eliminated the sciatica, along with the pain and inflammation. However, I still struggle with muscle tightness…a result of years of chronic inflammation and perhaps some nerve damage.

Here’s what I notice, after walking every day for 30 days:

  • less muscle tightness in my legs, and not just when I’m walking. Overall much less tightness in general, even after standing for long periods of time or a day of greatly increased activity.
  • more flexibility in knee joints
  • reduced muscle tension throughout my body
  • more toned muscles
  • weight loss
  • greater stamina
  • greater endurance
  • fewer headaches
  • higher energy levels
  • improved breathing and lower resting heart rate
  • fall asleep quickly
  • increased flashes of creativity, deeper gratitude and bursts of big ideas
  • greater sense of wellbeing
  • high level of satisfaction
  • appreciation for my body and how it works

What’s Next

I’m excited to continue walking…up until my trip, while traveling and when I return home.

I’ve met my goal. So if I miss a day occasionally, I won’t beat myself up. However, I so appreciate the benefits that I’m experiencing that I WANT to continue walking daily.

Do you have a daily walking practice? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Benefits of Walking Every Day

 

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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

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August is National Peach Month, the perfect time to enjoy these fruits as they reach their delicious peak.

As I did last month, for National Blueberry Month, I wanted to create a simple, healthy dessert.

Check out last month’s Blueberry Crumble. And then enjoy Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler this month, with fresh peaches.

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Benefits of Peaches

Peaches are a stone fruit…or drupe…that originated in China more than 8,000 years ago. With their fuzzy peels and yellow or white flesh, peaches are a summer favorite.

Peaches are rich in vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. This fruit provides vitamins A, C, E and K, niacin, potassium, copper and manganese. Plus they are packed with antioxidants that combat oxidative damage to cells and protect the body against aging and disease.

The health benefits from peaches include:

  • aids digestion
  • improves heart health
  • protects skin by helping it retain moisture
  • prevents cancer, especially breast cancer
  • reduces allergy symptoms
  • boosts immunity
  • removes toxins from body
  • lower blood sugar levels

Fresh peaches are higher in antioxidants than canned. For this recipe, use fresh peaches if possible. Or use frozen after allowing them to thaw.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler peaches
Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler – sliced peaches and cinnamon

Ingredients for Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

This simple dessert is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free.

I used four fresh peaches, gluten free oats, oat flour, unsweetened applesauce, pure maple syrup and cinnamon.

Additionally, this recipe requires a couple of mixing bowls and an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

This delicious dessert is vegan, gluten free and oil and sugar free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 4 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray or coat lightly with coconut oil
  • In large bowl, combine oat flour, applesauce, maple syrup together. Add oats and mix well.
  • Press about 1/3 of mixture into bottom of baking pan, forming a crust.
  • In small bowl, mix peeled peach slices with cinnamon. Pour into baking dish.
  • Spoon remainder of oats mixture on top of peaches, spreading evenly over fruit.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, checking after 25. Crust should be lightly browned and peaches tender. Cool slightly then serve warm. Makes 8 servings.
Keyword Gluten Free, oil free, Peach Cobbler, sugar free, Vegan

Tips for Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler

This simple dessert cobbler is similar to a crisp, except it has a bottom crust. The texture of this crust resembles baked oatmeal making it ideal for breakfast as well.

Oats are naturally gluten free. However, they are typically processed in facilities with other products that contain gluten. Look for packages of oats that specify gluten free, if you have a gluten sensitivity, meaning they were prepped in a facility without contamination with other products. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.

I use gluten free oat flour as well. Any flour, gluten free or regular, is fine for this recipe. Unsweetened applesauce is available in packages of half cup containers, making them easy to use for recipes.

Leave the peeling on the peaches, for more a more rustic peach cobbler.

Cover leftovers and store on the countertop or in the refrigerator.

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler
Ready to eat

Easy Vegan Peach Cobbler Taste Test

I love baking with anything containing cinnamon. The aroma drifting out from the kitchen is tantalizing.

After allowing the peach cobbler to cool slightly, I enjoyed a bowl with a cup of hot peppermint tea. The cobbler is slightly tart and so yummy. While the maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness, this cobbler is not very sweet at all. If you want more sweetness, add a bit more maple syrup, or add coconut sugar to the sliced peaches.

This cobbler is the perfect way to use peaches during their time of abundance and also enjoy a healthy, low sugar treat.

Do you love peaches? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?

Bowl of Peach Cobbler
Bowl of vegan peach cobbler

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31 Wellness Ideas

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For National Wellness Month, celebrated each August, I’m sharing different posts highlighting what wellness really means.

Last week’s post, available HERE, shares the eight dimensions of wellness. They include: emotional, environmental, intellectual, financial, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

Wellness encompasses the whole body plus it’s an active process of making healthy choices that support a fulfilling life. Because daily habits play an important role in wellness, I’m offering 31 wellness ideas. Include these wellness tips…one a day or multiple ideas a day…to build robust wellness in your life.

And even though August is Wellness Month, these tips can be practiced every day, of every month, year after year.

31 Wellness Ideas title meme

A Month of Ideas

My intention, for creating this post is to show how easy it is to incorporate wellness habits into your life. All eight wellness dimensions are included in these activities. Over time…a relative short time…daily habits build a healthy lifestyle.

Pick a starting date and try one of these ideas every day for the next 31 days.

Choose Wellness

The whole point of National Wellness Month is to encourage people to choose wellness. Show your intention of following through on your commitment to wellness by creating a simple declaration that states “I choose wellness” and then sign and date it. See my “wellfie” at the end of the post for my signed declaration.

DIY Beauty Treatment

Enjoy a DIY beauty treatment at home, using ingredients from your kitchen. Make this experience a pampering one. Try this easy DIY Natural Skin Serum or check out Pinterest for other ideas.

Go For a Walk

Walking has so many benefits. It’s a great way to increase physical wellness and also clears the mind, boosts mood and fosters creativity.

Meditate

Meditation quiets the mind and body by focusing on breath. And it not only eases stress and relaxes the body, it also balances emotions, boosts memory and increases productivity at work.

Spend Time in Nature

We know being outdoors is good for us…fresh air, vitamin D producing sunshine and peaceful nature…however some of the benefits are lesser known. Spending time in nature also sharpens focus, supports graceful aging, reduces inflammation, relieves stress, anxiety and depression and increases overall life satisfaction. Check out more reasons to get out into nature HERE.

31 Wellness Ideas nature
31 Wellness Ideas – spend time in nature

Night Out With Friends

Have a girls’ or guys’ night out, doing something fun. If COVID is keeping you home, do a virtual dinner together, connecting through ZOOM or Facetime. Or watch a movie simultaneously and discuss. Social interaction is important to wellness, perhaps now more than ever.

Pick Up Trash

In your neighborhood, along a stretch of beach or in a local park, take time to pick up trash. Wear gloves and carry a small trash bag that can be disposed of after clean up. And check out the plant based trash bags at the end of the post.

Eat Plant Based for a Day

Rather than a meatless Monday meal, try eating vegan for a whole day. No meat, dairy products or eggs allowed. It will not only give your digestive system a break and your health a boost, it’s good for the planet too.

Have a Smoothie for Breakfast

Start your “vegan for the day” with a fruit smoothie, or pick this activity for another day. Start with fresh bananas, then add frozen fruit of choice, filtered water and chia seeds. Blend in a high speed blender until thoroughly mixed.

Write Out 31 Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome negative thinking and self sabotage. They also help to create change. Write 31 affirmations that encourage you to live a healthier life. Begin each affirmation with “I am…” and write it in the present tense, not future tense. Example: “I am creating wellness in my life.”

Write affirmations on slips of paper and drop them into a jar. Draw one out each day for the next month. Or create your own flip calendar, using spiral bound index cards, adding an affirmation on each card.

31 Wellness Ideas affirmations
31 Wellness Ideas – examples of affirmations in a jar…and a DIY flip calendar. This one has favorite quotes.

Do Something New

Trying new experiences is good for the brain. Plus they help us move beyond comfort zones, conquer fears and ramp up creativity. The something new can be as simple as using the non-dominant hand to brush your teeth or as complex as climbing a mountain for the first time.

Read

Pick out a new book, either one you purchase, a library loan or an ebook downloaded on your tablet. Commit to reading a chapter a day. Ramp up the fun by reading a book in a new to you genre.

Watch a Documentary

Are you a movie fan? Try switching to a documentary instead. Watch one on a topic you like or mix things up and pick one you’d not typically watch. Amazon Prime is a great source of documentaries, of all kinds. Start your free membership by clicking HERE.

Netflix offers a broad selection of documentaries as well. I highly recommend My Octopus Teacher. You must have a Netflix subscription to watch.

Encouraging Texts

To boost your social wellness and encourage others, send positive, affirming texts to friends and family members. Doing something kind or helpful for others brings tremendous benefits for the giver as well.

Stretch the Body

Try a series of stretches first thing in the morning. Or move through yoga poses. If you aren’t familiar with yoga, look for step by step videos on YouTube.

Wellness Date

Go on an intentional wellness date with a significant other, family member or even on your own. Some ideas: healthy dinner date, walk in the neighborhood, massage, yoga class, meditate outdoors together or alone, financial class, concert in the park, business class, volunteer for a good cause or find a quiet place to sit and talk.

31 Wellness Ideas date
31 Wellness Ideas – wellness date

Wellness Pie Chart

Create a pie chart (see this post for an example) and divide it into eight sections. Label each section with a wellness dimension. Rate your level of wellness in each area, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high. Commit to working on the areas with a rating of 7 or below.

Journal

Write in your journal about each of the eight dimensions of wellness in your life. What can you do to improve wellness in each one?

Hot Bath

Light some candles in the bathroom, play soothing music and enjoy a long soak in the tub, with or without bubbles. Or, if you prefer a shower, take a long, hot shower and wash away stress. Use sugar scrubs scented with essential oils.

Declutter

Pick a room, a closet or a drawer and declutter it. Use the Marie Kondo practice of only keeping the items that bring you joy. Clutter clogs up energy, in a home and in the body. Decluttering allows energy to flow again.

Hydrate

Drink at least eight glasses of water during the day. Most people are chronically dehydrated. Find out if you are by checking these symptoms. If you prefer, add fresh, unsweetened fruit, lemon or lime juice or veggies such as cucumbers to your water.

31 Wellness Ideas hydrate
31 Wellness Ideas – drink eight glasses of water

Donate

Rather than tossing unwanted clothes or items, donate them to a shelter. It benefits the shelter and it keeps items out of landfills. Make sure items are in good repair and undamaged.

Toad&Co provides a Clean Out Kit, in partnership with ThredUp, for clothing cleared from your closet.

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Moving out of your comfort zone brings growth and fresh opportunities and can help you feel more accomplished and happy in life.

What scares you a little bit? Speaking in public? Performing a song you wrote? Standing up for yourself? Pick one thing and do it.

Promote Sleep

Create a peaceful atmosphere in your room that is conducive to sleep. A dark, cool, quiet room is best for a good night’s sleep. What needs to shift in that environment, to help you sleep better?

Deep Breaths

Practice several minutes of slow, deep breathing to reduce stress, ease tension and reset the body. Close your eyes, inhale to a count of three, hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale to a count of six.

Create a Healthy Treat

Have fun in the kitchen, creating a healthy treat. It can be as simple as a sliced apple with dates and walnuts or something like this blueberry crumble. Let your inner chef shine through.

31 Wellness Ideas treat
31 Wellness Ideas – create a healthy treat

Create a Budget

Use a spreadsheet on the computer or an app to track income and expenditures.

After tracking income and outgo, set up budget categories for set expenses. Include a plan for paying off debt and saving for emergencies. And set aside an amount for fun or for a travel fund.

Love What You Do

Write out all the things you love about your current occupation, even if it’s not your dream job. Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives helps to shift attitudes about work and also opens possibilities for change.

Dream Job

Dream though, without creating negative feelings about your current job. What is your dream job? What does it look like and how does it make you feel? Write in great detail, in your journal, about your dream job. What action steps, no matter how small, can you take now to get you to that dream?

Gratitude

Write out ten…or more…gratitudes. These can connect to the day or they can be gratitudes in general. What are you grateful for?

Writing and expressing gratitude frequently can powerfully shift your life.

Take a Wellfie

Take a wellfie…a selfie holding your “I choose wellness” declaration. Post it on social media.

31 Wellness Ideas wellfie
31 Wellness Ideas – post a wellfie

Ways to Play

I believe that play is an important part of life.

So have fun with these ideas. Let them inspire wellness ideas of your own. And try these two ways of practicing wellness activities.

Schedule out the activities in your planner or monthly calendar. Write each on on a different day, in any order that pleases you. And then do the activity listed as you move through the month.

Or, write the activities on strips of paper, fold them and drop them into a jar. Randomly select one each day, for the next month, and do the activity you draw out. No backsies. This is one of my favorite games to play. I love how the perfect activity appears on the perfect day, even if I don’t at first think so.

I hope these 31 ideas help you create more health and wellness, in all areas of your life!

31 Wellness Ideas happy

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Choosing Wellness

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

August is National Wellness Month. What a wonderful opportunity to explore what wellness means. Plus, we can discover ways to create a lifestyle that supports wellness in our lives.

The whole theme for this month long celebration is choosing wellness.

I’ll post several times in August, with information, suggestions and fun activities, all centered around Wellness Month.

Choosing Wellness title meme

What is Wellness?

Wellness is the active process of raising awareness and making choices that support a healthy and fulfilling life. It encompasses more than preventing illness or eating a healthy diet. It’s a process that includes change, growth and a commitment to living the best life possible. Wellness is something to actively pursue, through awareness, goals and daily habits.

Last year, I explored National Wellness Month for the first time, setting five goals for myself, to pursue during August. Read that post HERE.

This year, I’m even more aware of how crucial wellness is to my overall health and wellbeing.

Consider these eight dimensions of wellness.

Emotional Wellness

Understanding feelings and accepting them, without latching onto them, forms the core of emotional wellness.

Other important emotional health aspects include managing stress, remaining in the present moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future and adapting to and dealing with challenges and changes in constructive ways.

Tips for maintaining emotional wellness include:

  • self love, self acceptance, self care
  • relaxation techniques
  • meditation
  • shifting negative thoughts to positive ones
  • connecting with others
  • establishing a solid sleep routine
  • creating boundaries
  • mindfulness
  • recognizing that challenges bring growth

Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness is two fold: caring for and living in harmony with the planet and creating personal environments that support who we are.

Creating an environment in your room, home, yard or workspace that supports who you are and your needs and desires contributes to overall wellness.

And equally important is caring for the earth. It is, after all, home to us and many, many other species. I found that my awareness of my own environment and caring for the planet increased as my own health improved.

Tips for improving environmental wellness include:

  • decluttering spaces
  • creating beautiful, peaceful places to relax and play
  • keeping objects nearby that bring joy and encouragement
  • protecting the earth and all her inhabitants
  • living sustainably
  • interacting with nature
  • raising awareness about practices that are damaging the earth
Choosing Wellness emotional
Choosing Wellness – I created a beautiful space (environmental health) that supports my emotional health

Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness combines nutrition and mental exercises that strengthen the brain with participation in scholastic, cultural and community activities. Additionally, intellectual wellness expands knowledge and skills and boosts creativity and learning, helping us to live a more fulfilling life.

Tips for expanding intellectual wellness include:

  • following curiosity
  • reading, for fun and for information
  • learning a foreign language or a new skill
  • adopting a fresh perspective
  • playing games or working crossword or sudoku puzzles
  • learning to play a musical instrument
  • journaling about creative ideas
  • trying new experiences
  • eating foods that boost brain health

Financial Wellness

Learning to manage money well is a key aspect of financial wellness. Think of creating a budget as putting your finances on a healthy diet. When you take control of your money, it doesn’t control you.

Financial wellness encompasses budgeting, building a savings account, planning for the future…including emergencies, spending within means and healthy borrowing. It’s an important component of wellbeing. Money issues are a leading cause of stress, personally and in relationships, and chronic stress creates disease.

Tips for increasing financial wellness include:

  • creating a workable, doable budget and sticking to it
  • saving for future expenses, including emergencies
  • growing funds through investments
  • spending less than you earn
  • reducing expenses when necessary
  • borrowing responsibly
  • getting out of debt
Choosing Wellness financial
Choosing Wellness – financial wellness

Occupational Wellness

You’ve no doubt heard of the expression, “Do what you love, love what you do.” This quote perfectly captures the foundation of occupational wellness.

Doing work that’s fulfilling, interesting and motivational contributes to overall wellness. Feeling inspired and challenged is important too. Life is enriched through the work we do or it can feel stressed when we don’t enjoy our jobs.

Tips for creating occupational wellness include:

  • finding benefits and positives in current occupation
  • creating connections with co-workers
  • writing out goals and creating action steps to get there
  • working towards the career path you most want
  • increasing skills and knowledge
  • writing out dream job in great detail

Physical Wellness

The most commonly known of the dimensions, physical wellness is about taking care of the body and fueling it with highly nutritious foods. Maintaining a healthy body gives us the energy to do what we want to do and helps manage stress. A body already under attack from disease or illnesses can’t easily handle additional challenges.

Physical wellness involves making excellent choices about nutrition, exercise and body movement, sleep, disease prevention and food or alcohol addictions.

Tips for improving physical wellness include:

  • eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • exercising and moving the body
  • strengthening muscles
  • paying attention to signals from the body
  • eliminating foods that create allergic reactions in the body
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • staying hydrated
  • creating healthy habits
Choosing Wellness physical
Choosing Wellness – physical wellness

Social Wellness

We need positive connections with others. However, it’s also important to balance social and personal time. Being absolutely who you are, and not who others want or expect you to be, builds healthy social interactions as well.

Destructive relationships are never healthy. Counseling may help with family or spouse relationships. Don’t fear walking away from other relationships that are negative, demeaning or energetically draining.

Tips for maintaining social wellness:

  • engaging with people in your neighborhood, community and city
  • valuing diversity and treating others with respect
  • creating boundaries in relationships
  • having fun
  • developing good communication skills
  • finding your tribe, a supportive group of people who “get” who you are

Spiritual Wellness

Building spiritual wellness involves values, beliefs, meaning and purpose.  Spirituality grounds us, connects us to God, strengthens trust and helps us find purpose and meaning in life. Following a spiritual path brings bigger perspectives on life situations and comforts during challenging times.

Tips for creating spiritual wellness include:

  • praying or meditating
  • practicing yoga
  • spending quiet time alone
  • journaling thoughts and beliefs
  • gathering with like hearted people
  • serving others
  • spending time in nature
Choosing Wellness social
Choosing Wellness – social wellness

Choosing Wellness

It can feel overwhelming to make changes in all eight areas of wellness. Instead, gauge your wellness level first, in each area.

Draw a circle and divide it into eight segments. Label each section of the circle with one of the wellness dimensions: emotional, environmental, intellectual, financial, occupational, physical, social and spiritual. Write a number in each segment, with 1 being a low wellness score and 10 a high level of wellness.

Work on improving the areas with a 7 or less.

Pick one area and start there. Make small, positive changes by setting doable goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much at once. Practice self care during the process and focus on gratitude and growth.

Check in with yourself frequently, to see where your wellness level is. The wellness dimensions are all connected. Improvement in one area often leads to improvement in another. Enjoy the process. Play. It’s your life…not an assignment.

And come back next week, for a month of fun activities to help raise wellness in all areas!

Choosing Wellness chart

 

Wellness Finds from Amazon

 


 

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Raw Vegan Diet Benefits

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This summer I celebrated five years plant based! What a difference that switch makes in my health and my life.

I began my healing journey by reading Medical Medium, by Anthony William, and following his 28 Day Cleanse at the back of the book.

For a month, I adhered to a raw vegan diet. Read more about that experience HERE. At the end of the first week, my pain, chronic inflammation and lack of mobility improved so much that I happily continued for the next three weeks. I parked my cane in a corner of the bedroom, where it remains to this day.

At the end of the cleanse, I felt so much better, so much lighter, so much healthier. There was no looking back for me. I adopted a 100% plant based diet. Although I am not fully raw vegan, I eat that way about a third of the time. And several times, during my journey, I’ve returned to a raw vegan diet to give my digestive system a break and boost my energy.

You might want to do the same. Check out the raw vegan diet benefits and tips below.

Raw Vegan Diet Benefits title meme

What is a Raw Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet means no animal products.

Raw vegan takes things a step further.

While eating raw vegan, you focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts and seeds, all uncooked.

This diet originated in the mid 19th century, as a way to prevent diseases. Recently, eating raw vegan has gained popularity again, spawning cook books, YouTube channels and restaurant options.

Uncooked fruits and veggies provide the highest levels of nutrition. And eating raw naturally minimizes the amount of processed foods consumed.

Raw Vegan Diet Benefits smoothie
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits – fruit smoothie

Raw Foods

The list for a raw vegan diet is fairly short:

  • fresh fruits or flash frozen fruits not boiled before freezing
  • fresh veggies or flash frozen veggies not boiled before freezing
  • whole, unprocessed foods such as cold pressed oils, seaweed, cocoa powder and pure maple syrup
  • seeds – unroasted
  • nuts – unroasted
  • sprouted grains and beans
  • home made plant milks, made from raw, unroasted nuts

Foods that are not raw:

  • refined, processed or pasteurized foods
  • roasted or processed nuts or seeds
  • plant based milks purchased in stores
  • cooked foods
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits mixed fruit
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits – mixed fruit bowl

Raw Vegan Diet Benefits

Whether eating raw vegan for a couple of days, a week, 28 days or longer, the benefits for the body are many.

  • raw foods contain the highest level of nutrients, in a form most readily digested by the body
  • the vitamins and minerals, and the antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant compounds cleanse and strengthen every system in the body
  • detoxifies the liver and digestive system
  • gives digestive system a break, as raw foods are processed quickly and easily
  • live enzymes make digestion smoother and more efficient
  • body is able to rebuild itself, on a cellular level
  • stops unhealthy food cravings
  • allows the body to flush out toxins, chemicals, preservatives, sugar and excess fat, which can result in weight loss
  • raises the body’s vibrational energy level
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits spinach soup
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits – blended spinach soup with mushrooms and herbs

Tips for Implementing a Raw Vegan Diet

Are you ready to eat the most healing foods on Earth? Try these tips for a smooth week or month.

  • eating raw vegan is naturally low fat, which allows the liver to recover from a typical American diet
  • limit salt intake, using herbs and a small amount of sea salt for flavor
  • stay hydrated with lots of water, coconut water, fresh juices and herbal teas
  • start the day with a glass of lemon or lime water, followed by celery or cucumber juice
  • drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast that includes bananas, dates, chia seeds and fruit or try a smoothie bowl or a simple bowl of mixed fresh fruits and berries
  • have a mid morning snack of fruit, cucumber slices or celery sticks
  • enjoy a huge salad for lunch with dark leafy greens, chopped veggies or fruits or try a blended spinach soup with fresh spinach, herbs such as dill or basil and mushrooms
  • for a midafternoon snack enjoy sliced apples or pears, grapes, dates or oranges
  • try the spinach soup for dinner, if you opted for a salad for lunch, or try zoodles or coodles (spiralized raw zucchini or cucumber noodles) served with julienne veggies
  • evening snack is the time for a cup of herbal tea and an apple or orange
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits tea time
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits – afternoon tea time – cucumber, tomato and basil “sandwiches” and fruit

My Experience Eating Raw Vegan

Before experiencing the 28 Day Cleanse, I tried eating raw one other time. The recipes that I found in a health magazine were too complicated. I lasted about four days.

When I tried again, using Anthony’s suggestions and meal plan, I had a big why. Having a motivating why is important I think, in completing a raw vegan cleanse. Otherwise, we too easily give up. My why was an upcoming trip to Italy with my daughter and grandson. Dayan was graduating from high school the following year and I wanted to gift him the trip. I knew my high pain level and inflammation would keep me from going, if something didn’t change.

I completed the 28 days. Was it difficult? Not really. I had a headache and low energy for a few days, as my body detoxed. However, as my health improved and my pain, inflammation and immobility decreased, I felt encouraged to keep going.

Anthony offers a sample menu plan and recipes in the newly revised Medical Medium book. Using his info, there are hundreds of possible food combinations you can create, adding variety and flavor. I didn’t get bored with the food.

Was I happy to eat cooked food again? I was. However, I’ve since done another month of raw vegan, a 7 day raw diet and I’ve enjoyed week long juice fasts. The companion book to Medical Medium, Cleanse to Heal, is another excellent resource.

Raw Vegan Diet Benefits coodles and veggies
Raw Vegan Diet Benefits – coodles with veggies

Have You Considered a Raw Vegan Diet?

Have you ever thought about a raw vegan diet? What questions do you have?

Leave them in the comments below and I’ll gladly answer them.

I know several people who only eat a raw vegan diet…and have for many years. They are healthy, vibrant and incredibly fit. Check out Kristina and Jonny Juicer on Instagram.

While I don’t eat this way all the time, I appreciate the benefits enough to start my days raw. During the summer months, when I don’t enjoy cooking as much, I may eat raw vegan for several days or longer.

You have to do what feels most right for your body and your health.

Anthony says,

“You have to think of your body like an old friend in need. Imagine yourself reaching out a helping hand to this friend as she climbs out of a ravine. This is your commitment to use your free will and the power of your intention to give your body the support it’s crying out for.

When we connect to our bodies, truly listen to them, and give them the nourishment they’re yearning for, everything changes. True miracles happen.”

I agree. Everything changed for me. My body has aged backwards, as it finds its optimal level of health and wellbeing. I can walk, without assistance or pain. And that is a miracle to me.

Frozen banana dessert with strawberries.
Frozen banana dessert with strawberries.

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

July is National Blueberry Month. These superfood berries are at their peak of ripeness as summer gets underway.

In honor of the month, I created a new…and super simple…healthy blueberry treat. Using items I keep on hand…that you probably do too…this dessert came together in a few minutes, while supper simmered on the stove.

Try this easy vegan blueberry crumble for your next get together, tea time or for a simple after supper dessert.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble title meme

Benefits of Blueberries

I love these delicious berries. And, it turns out, they love me too.

Although domestic blueberries are beneficial as well, it’s the wild blueberry that brings the most health benefits.

They contain extremely high levels of antioxidants, delivering healing to any damaged part of the body. Wild blueberries effectively eradicate heavy metals and other toxins from the body. Plus they are a powerful brain food and amazing at restoring the liver.

Wild blueberries can help prevent any type of cancer and they are so restorative that they are beneficial for any symptom, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. (Info from Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William)

I keep a bag of frozen wild blueberries in the freezer, to add to morning smoothies or vegan treats such as scones.

If you don’t have wild blueberries, use fresh or frozen domesticated blueberries, which are those typically found in the produce or freezer sections of the grocery store.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble wild berries
Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble – wild blueberries mixed with gluten free flour

Ingredients for Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

For this simple treat I used frozen wild blueberries, gluten free flour, vegan butter, coconut sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. These are all ingredients that I keep on hand.

Besides the ingredients, you just need a couple of mixing bowls and an 8X8 baking dish.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble baked

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

This easy dessert is vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen wild or regular blueberries
  • 2 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup plant based butter
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • coconut oil for baking dish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub coconut oil in 8x8 baking dish.
  • If using frozen blueberries, measure 4 cups into a colander and let thaw slightly.
  • Melt plant based butter. Combine oats, coconut sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Transfer blueberries into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of gluten free flour and mix gently.
  • Place blueberries into prepared 8x8 baking dish. Top with oat crumble.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Makes 6 servings.
Keyword Blueberry Crumble, Vegan

 

Tips for Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble

If using frozen blueberries, wild or regular, allow them to thaw slightly in a colander.

Any gluten free flour is fine. I used a 1:1 gluten free flour, meaning one cup of the gluten free flour equals one cup of regular flour. You may also use almond or oat flour. And if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, use whatever flour you have on hand.

I also use plant based butter. There are several good brands available, in regular grocery stores or health conscious stores. The coconut sugar is darker than refined sugar and tastes more like brown sugar, but less sweet.

You can add chopped nuts to the crumble topping, if desired.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble ready to bake
Easy vegan blueberry crumble ready to bake.
Easy Vegan Blueberry Crumble baked
Easy vegan blueberry crumble fresh from the oven.

The Taste Test

As supper finished up, the kitchen filled with the wonderful aroma of baking blueberry crumble. I let it cool for a short time, and then tried it with a cup of hot peppermint tea.

This blueberry crumble is a winner with me! It’s rich with juicy blueberries and I love the slightly crunchy oat topping. The crumble isn’t overly sweet, which is perfect for me. And I can prepare this treat quickly, whenever I want something a bit more than plain fruit.

Are you a fan of blueberries? I hope you’ll enjoy this easy crumble.

And try something from this round up of blueberry recipes. Share your favorite way of enjoying blueberries in the comments below!

Ready to eat blueberry crumble
Yummy blueberry crumble!

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Ten Benefits of Meditation

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Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and body by focusing on breath as it flows in and out of the body. Focusing on breath, or a visual image held in the mind, helps keep the practitioner anchored in the present moment.

Learning meditation is easy. However, it takes time and patience to learn to still the mind and not allow thoughts to pull attention away. The practice is worth learning, for physical, mental and spiritual health.

Learn a simple meditation below. Then check out ten benefits of meditation.

Ten Benefits of Meditation title meme

How to Meditate

Follow these simple steps, to begin a meditation practice:

  • Sit comfortably in a chair, with both feet flat on the floor. Find a quiet place or play meditation music in the background.
  • Close your eyes and relax your body. Note whether muscles are tense, beginning at your feet and working your way up the body to the top of the head. Intentionally relax any tight or tense muscles.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, paying attention to your breath as it comes into the body and goes out.
  • When your mind wanders…and it will…gently bring attention back to your breath. You’ll learn to allow thoughts to pass on by, in your mind, without focusing on them. Come back to your breath as many times as necessary, without criticizing yourself.
  • When you feel ready, take several deep breaths and then open your eyes. Slowly move arms and legs and note how you feel.

That’s a basic meditation. After you become accustomed to meditating, you can try moving to different locations or staying in a meditative state longer.

Ten Benefits of Meditation

For many years spiritual communities recognized the benefits meditation. However, recently scientists agree that meditation does in fact contribute to greater health and wellbeing.

Here are ten benefits of meditation.

Reduces Stress

Meditation relaxes the body, creating the opposite of the “fight or flight” response we have to stress. Our breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism slows, contributing to a deeper sense of peace and relaxation.

Plus meditation helps to clear away the accumulation of information that we are exposed to daily, quieting the mind and allowing tense muscles to unknot.

Provides Emotional Balance

Meditation trains us to notice and observe our emotions, rather than attempting to change them. We learn to let emotions go…just as we do our thoughts. Any feelings or emotions that surface during meditation are acknowledged and then released.

Ten Benefits of Meditation walking
Ten Benefits of Meditation – try a walking meditation, focusing on slow steps

Increases Focus

Researchers at Harvard suggest that our minds are “lost in thought” 47% of the time. And when our thoughts are drifting, they are replaying the past or worrying about the future.

Meditation trains the mind to stay in the present moment, rather than wandering. There’s scientific evidence that meditation actually causes distinct changes in brain function, improving focus and concentration.

Eases Pain

When stressed, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol that contributes to inflammation and increases discomfort in joints and muscles.

Meditation helps the brain release natural pain relievers called endorphins. Tight, tense muscles and tendons relax, easing discomfort. With continued practice, meditation can increase pain tolerance, lower hypertension and deepen respirations. It shifts the focus away from pain, and what the mind focuses on, expands. Focus on pain and it increases. Focus on relaxing the body and breathing and muscles respond by loosening.

Ten Benefits of Meditation corner
Ten Benefits of Meditation – create a meditation corner in your garden or backyard

Soothes Anxiety

Anxiety happens when we experience too much stress. We feel always on edge, and always on alert to danger. Meditation helps us to become aware of the stressors creating anxiety and release them. We also realize that while we may not be able to change situations, we can change how we respond to them.

Meditation allows the mind to acknowledge the anxiety, without focusing on it. We note those feelings and simply allow them to exist without amplifying them with our attention.

Increases Creativity

Meditation opens the mind to new ideas and possibilities. We don’t have to try to be more creative. Creativity comes naturally as the mind and body releases stress and anxiety and regulates emotions.

And because meditation improves focus it’s easier to recognize fresh ideas and develop them. Mindful activities such as coloring or gardening provide meditative experiences that allow creativity to flourish.

Ten Benefits of Meditation gardening
Ten Benefits of Meditation – increased creativity

Reduces Depression

A regular meditation practice helps the brain better manage stress and anxiety. Both of these can trigger depression. Depression contributes to higher risks for heart disease and illnesses. It can also affect daily life and cognitive function, especially memory.

Meditation helps ease depression by altering the way we react to stressors. It trains the brains to focus and to return to that focus when negative thinking or emotions intrude.

Meditation also changes regions of the brain specifically linked to depression. The medial prefrontal cortex…or “me center”…processes information about self. This is where we dwell on the past or worry about the future. And the amygdala is the “fear center”. This is where the fight or flight response is centered. When it’s triggered, the brain releases the stress hormone cortisol.

These two regions of the brain work off of each other, to create depression. Meditation helps to break the connection between these two regions and calm the brain.

Boosts Memory

Ten minutes of meditation a day improves concentration and focus while boosting the ability to keep information active in the mind. This function is known as “working memory”.

Through meditation the brain becomes more efficient, and neural networks become more refined, requiring fewer brain resources.

Ten Benefits of Meditation trail
A quiet, solitary walk through the woods has a meditative effect on the mind and body

Increases Compassion

A recent study suggests that mindfulness meditation helps us overcome the “bystander effect”, increasing compassionate behavior. The bystander effect happens when we witness someone needing help but do nothing to provide assistance.

Two possible explanations exist for increased compassion. Meditation gives people a greater awareness of their surroundings. And it enhances the ability to see perspectives from another person’s viewpoint. It’s also possible that meditation allows us to better process our emotions, freeing up resources to feel more empathy toward others.

Improves Productivity

How does meditation improve productivity? It reduces stress, which disrupts sleep, promotes depression and anxiety, and clouds thinking. Meditation controls the stress hormone cortisol, easing the effects of stress and boosting productivity.

Meditation also enhances creativity, a characteristic that keeps us moving forward on tasks and projects.

And meditation calms the mind, redirects attention and controls impulsive emotions. This increase focus and attention which helps boost productivity as well.

Creating a Meditation Practice

I began meditating about 15 years ago, initially to quiet my racing mind and to help me confront my fears. What I discovered, through a daily meditation practice, is that I also lowered pain by relaxing tight muscles, let go of negative thoughts, opened my creativity and increased my intuitive abilities.

Although I sometimes meditated for an hour or more, ten to 15 minutes is sufficient. I encourage a daily meditation practice for the greatest benefits.

In the beginning, I found it helpful also to meditate in the same place every time. My body and mind learned that when I sat in a particular chair, relaxation followed, allowing me to quickly enter a state of deep peace.

Meditation is a loving act of kindness toward the self. It’s a time free from judgment or criticism. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor or hold your hands a certain way. Simply relax the body, close the eyes (to prevent distractions) and focus on breathing. When you feel ready to end the session, do so.

Is meditation a part of your health and wellbeing? Share your thoughts below!

Meditate in nature
Moving water creates a soothing background noise for meditation

 

Meditation Helps from Amazon

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Summer Picnic Vegan Style

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July is National Picnic Month. Midsummer is the perfect time for family picnics, a spontaneous meal for one outdoors or a romantic basket lunch laid out on a bright checkered cloth.

Since adopting a plant based lifestyle, I realized I’ve not enjoyed many picnics. Typically picnics include traditional fare such as fried chicken, sandwiches, chips, sugary snacks and staples such as potato or macaroni salad.

In honor of the month long celebration and my healthier lifestyle, here are ways to experience a summer picnic vegan style!

Summer Picnic Vegan Style title meme

Origins of the Picnic

The word picnic comes from the French word “piquenique”. The al fresco practice began in France, in the mid-18th century. Early picnics consisted of a loaf of bread, cheese, fruit and wine.

Today we carry along picnics for sporting events, family gatherings or weekend camping trips. Locations for picnics might include a shady, grassy area near a creek, a picnic table beneath a tree or a backyard patch of lawn.

Bring along simple finger foods, fresh fruits and salads, sandwiches and drinks. Enjoy sharing that meal with family and friends or grab a book and eat a beautiful meal on your own, while you read.

The American Bakers’ Association founded National Picnic Month in 1952.

Summer Picnic Vegan Style garden
My picnic spot…my backyard garden. I love how wildly beautiful it looks this time of year!

Summer Picnic Vegan Style

You can purchase ready made foods and pack them in a tote or basket. Bring along a chest filled with ice for foods that need to stay cool.

Last year, Greg and I toted in a simple, mostly purchased picnic lunch, to Tulsa’s Philbrook Gardens. We found a picnic table deep in the gardens and enjoyed a healthy meal.

Or you can make your own dishes and snacks to enjoy.

Try the following foods, for a perfect vegan picnic. Click links for recipes.

Hummus

Made from chickpeas, you can purchase hummus or easily make your own. Try this simple recipe. Serve veggies with hummus. Carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes or slices of zucchini or yellow squash are great choices. Or bring along vegan, gluten free crackers.

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

This quick and easy sandwich filling replaces tuna or egg salad. Simply mash a can…or two cups cooked…of chickpeas. I use a hand held potato masher. Add several tablespoons of vegan mayo or a small amount of hummus, 1/4 cup each of finely chopped red onions and celery and 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder. You can also include chopped green peppers or diced pickles and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Chill for an hour. Use to make sandwiches with gluten free bread. Or eat as a salad without bread.

Summer Picnic Vegan Style chickpea salad
Summer picnic vegan style – chickpea salad

Veggie Wraps

A great alternative to sandwiches, veggies wraps are easy to prepare and eat. Start with a gluten free tortilla, then add whatever veggies you have on hand: shredded carrots, arugula, spinach, kale, shredded red cabbage, julienne green, red, yellow or orange peppers, zucchini or mushrooms. Add veggies to tortilla, drizzle with favorite dressing, then roll tightly. Secure with a toothpick, if necessary.

Try one of these homemade healthy dressings.

Waldorf Salad

Tote along this vegan version of the classic Waldorf salad. A glass container with a tight fitting lid works perfectly. I love the crunch of apples and celery combined with walnuts and juicy grapes. Use vegan mayo as the dressing. Recipe here.

Summer Picnic Vegan Style waldorf
Summer picnic vegan style – vegan Waldorf salad

Potato Salad

It’s easy to create vegan potato salad. Peel, dice and cook 4 – 6 potatoes until tender. Drain. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, 1/4 cup diced yellow onions, 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 cup vegan mayo and 2 teaspoons yellow mustard. Chill. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with ground paprika, if desired.

Cowboy Beans

A great alternative to baked beans, prepare a pot of vegan cowboy beans and tote along a small container full for the picnic. Recipe here.

Macaroni Salad

For my picnic, I prepared potato salad and macaroni salad at the same time.

Start with two cups of cooked gluten free macaroni. I used brown rice pasta. Add 1/4 cup diced red or yellow onions, 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup vegan mayo and if desired, finely chopped pickles. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with ground paprika, if desired.

Vegan Macaroni Salad
Summer picnic vegan style – vegan macaroni salad

Vegan Desserts

Healthy treats make great accompaniments for your picnic.

These chocolate cookies contain only three ingredients.

Or, if you feel like a different dessert that tastes wonderful and looks gorgeous, try this rustic apple galette.

Fresh berries make a simple, nutritious end to the meal as well.

Rustic Apple Galette
Rustic Apple Galette

Other Vegan Picnic Foods

In addition, include any of the following:

  • cut up vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, radishes or small peppers
  • assortment of nuts and/or seeds
  • energy bites
  • homemade trail mix containing nuts, dried fruit and seeds
  • watermelon slices
  • fruit such as sliced apples, oranges, bananas, grapes or cherries
Summer Picnic Vegan Style
My summer picnic vegan style

My Picnic

I had this post scheduled to write, using recipes from previous posts along with the simple potato and macaroni salads.

Then inspiration struck.

For the month of July, I’m participating in a Yes Month. The purpose is to encourage participants to say YES more than they say NO. Sometimes no is our default response. We say it without thinking. Saying yes encourages us to go beyond comfort zones, stop putting off projects or tasks and accept invitations. Yeses allow for more spontaneity as well.

As I prepared to write this post, I decided to say yes to a summer picnic for myself, and enjoy it in my backyard garden.

What fun to make macaroni salad and chickpea salad for a sandwich and include cowboy beans already prepared in the fridge. I added chilled chunks of watermelon and a bowl of fresh Rainier cherries.

Popping on a wide brimmed hat, I carried my lunch into the garden and enjoyed a picnic for one. It was beautiful, sitting in the corner meditation area where I could see my wildly blooming garden.

Your Picnic

Where will you go this month, for a picnic? And what foods will you pack along, for your outdoor meal?

Share with me your favorite picnic staples!

My Picnic Lunch

 

Picnic finds from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad

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It’s summer! Warm temps, water fun, star filled nights and days of play are here. With that warmer weather and those days of enjoying the outdoors, who wants to spend time in the kitchen?

This easy to prepare salad is perfect for summer days. And Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad is versatile too. Add your favorite toppings or mix things up every time you make it.

Recipe below!

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad title meme

Keeping It Simple

Feel free to prep ingredients for this salad before serving it for dinner. Or…my favorite when it’s hot and muggy outside…buy ingredients that combine easily and quickly so that lunch or supper is served in minutes.

And it truly doesn’t get much easier than this tasty, satisfying salad.

Start with Greens

Using a large bowl or container, start with a layer of greens. I used about 4 cups of chopped arugula. Mixed greens work well too, an assortment of spinach, kale and arugula. For the best nutritional value, skin iceberg lettuce.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad arugula
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – arugula

Add Black Beans and Corn

Next add cooked black beans. You can cook these yourself, however for a quick meal, used one can of beans, drained. No need to heat up canned beans. I use organic canned black beans. Pick your favorite brand.

Next add a layer of organic, non GMO corn, frozen or canned. If using frozen corn, cook first. No need to heat up for canned corn.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad corn and beans
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – non GMO corn and black beans

Add Chopped Red Onions

Chop 1/2 of a small to medium red onion. I use a mini chopper to do this quickly.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad red onions
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – chopped red onions

Add Chopped Tomatoes

Next add fresh tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces. I don’t have ripe tomatoes from my garden yet. I purchased small organic tomatoes and used six of those. Diced tomatoes from a can may be used as well, if fresh tomatoes aren’t available or if you want to sped up the prep time. Drain well first.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad - tomatoes
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – chopped tomatoes

Add Diced Green Chilies

I purchased a small can of diced green chilies, medium spice level. Dice your own favorite peppers, from green bell peppers to hot jalapenos, or add diced canned mild green chilies, drained. Or omit this layer if you don’t want any heat.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad green chilies
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – green chilies

Add Vegan “Chicken”

This layer, and the next one, are totally optional. I seldom use vegan “meats” however, for this salad, it seemed perfect. I used Gardein Plant Based Vegan Seven Grain Crispy Chick’n Tenders. While I assembled the layers, I heated these tenders on the stove top. After they crisped up, I allowed them to cool slightly and then sliced up the tenders. Omit this layer if desired.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad vegan chick'n
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – vegan chick’n

Final Layer Vegan Cheese

For the final layer of my salad, I added shredded vegan cheese. Vegan cheeses have come a looooong way in recent years. Made from plant based milks, such as almond or coconut, these cheeses are flavorful and behave like dairy cheese.

I added a shredded mix of cheddar and mozzarella plant based cheese.

Omit this layer if desired.

Vegan cheese
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – vegan cheese

Other Tasty Options

This layered salad is so versatile, making it easy to use what you have on hand. Normally, diced avocados go into any salad I make. I was out of them when I made this one. Feel free to add any of the following to your layered salad:

  • diced zucchini or yellow squash
  • slivered or chopped almonds
  • black or green olives
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped green onions instead of red onions
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • shredded cabbage
  • avocados or guacamole
  • chickpeas
  • chopped red, yellow or orange sweet peppers
  • any other veggie of choice
  • salsa

The Dressing

For this layered salad, I added sides of non GMO corn tortilla chips, plant based ranch dressing and sugar free barbeque sauce. What a perfect combination…slightly spicy barbeque sauce and creamy cool ranch. That’s why I wanted the vegan chicken as a layer, for the tangy barbeque sauce.

Use a favorite dressing, plant based, or create your own.

Plant based dressing and barbeque sauce
Ready to eat salad with chips, plant based dressing and barbeque sauce
Vegan cheese

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad

Enjoy this quick and easy layered summer salad.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 4 - 6 cups chopped greens: arugula or mixed
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can non GMO corn, drained may use frozen corn instead...cook first
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 5 - 6 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small can diced green chilies, mild to hot, drained may substitute pepper of choice
  • 1 package Gardein plant based chick'n, cooked and sliced may omit this layer
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese, cheddar or mozzarella may omit this layer

Instructions
 

  • Prepare plant based chick'n according to package directions.
  • While cooking plant based chick'n, layer each ingredient above in a large bowl or container, ending with shredded plant based cheese.
  • Serve with non GMO corn tortilla chips, plant based ranch dressing and sugar free barbeque sauce. Or serve with dressing of choice. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Makes 4 - 6 servings.
  • Other options: add diced avocado, black or green olives, chickpeas or any other veggie of choice.
Keyword Layered Salad, Vegan

Check Out These Additional Salad Recipes

If, like me, you want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen this summer, check out these eight fresh salads. Loaded with nutrients, they are perfect lunch or supper meals.

Have a happy…and healthy…season! What summer plans do you have?

Ready to Eat
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – ready to eat

 

Summer Salad Helps from Amazon:

 


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