College Vegucated

Hello all & happy summer…or at least to the college students out there!

This summer does not only signify the end of classes, but the end of an era — my years as a student, which honestly feels like my entire life.

I have officially graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing, with minors in Spanish and International Business! I feel grateful beyond words for the opportunity to have attended this amazing university, for the people I have met and the experiences I have had. For these are what have shaped me into the individual I am today.

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On my cap are my words to live by — I realize I must lead by example. Also, featured is The Veg Club of VT logo I so proudly created.

I would like to take this time to bring it back to my parents and what a blessing they have been through it all. Whether it was 7 hours, 4 hours, or a plane ride across the Atlantic away, they had my back through whatever…not to mention funding the whole sha-bang.

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Mom Kathy & Dad Phil

Looking forward, I could not be more excited for what my next adventure might be. That’s right. I still am unsure of exactly what I will be doing with the rest of my life, but somehow I am content with that. If I’ve learned one important thing in college it’s too find a sense of calm in the craziness. Trust that everything will work out.

It’s not that I am a clueless grad that is confused on what to do next. I actually know exactly what I want to do and have had direction in my career goals for quite some time. I am hopeful and feel positive about where my life will go next. Those that have followed my blog through out the past two years have grown with me and experienced my transformation as a college student and health enthusiast and observed me ponder on what my true life calling is.

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Onto the next!

I am undoubtedly following my dream to work in the natural foods industry in hopes to ultimately better the world through improved nutrition, sustainability and overall consciousness. Yes, I’m one of those “I want to change the world”-ers.

I do have one particular company in mind. I’ve had a school girl crush on it for a few years now, and in turn, have been picky to say the least when it has come to finding a job. Sure, I would have loved to have a job prior to graduation, BUT I would also love to have a job that I LOVE.

I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to things I am passionate about, but I like to call it perseverance.

For those that know me well, you know the company I’m talking about. For those that don’t, only time will tell.

Alright, back on topic to health and nutrition — the reason I first created this blog (2 whole years ago!).

As much as I enjoyed college, there were certain aspects that didn’t necessarily thrill me. The societal norms for college life consist of heavy drinking, late nights, fast food, “study” drugs, high caffeine intake, minimal sleep and high amounts of stress. I will not be missing ANY of these things or being in an environment where they are oh so prevalent.

As much as I put forth my best effort to carry out my plant-based lifestyle of health and vitality, I was, too, sucked into the college warp of unhealthiness from time to time.

As silly as it sounds, one of the most exciting things for me post-graduation is to not be surrounded by these negative social norms spring loaded with peer pressure.

Post-grad I see myself focusing on ME, and all the good that will come along with that. It has only been 4 days since I have been home, free of alcohol, late nights, unhealthy foods and stress, and I have been feeling absolutely incredible. I have already noticed a difference in my appearance, energy levels and attitude.

While I know these unfortunate negativities are inevitable in the way our society is currently structured, I know that with the direction I want to take my life, and the focus I have to do so, I should be pretty good at limiting these, if not cutting them out completely.

Plans for this summer? Whipping out career pursuit efforts left and right, while focusing on improving the plant-based lifestyle I already sustain.

As I’ve mentioned before, the raw vegan diet has been an intrigue of mine since last summer. I’ve been telling myself that this summer is when I will transition, so here I am all about that carpe diem life.

I will be kicking off my “going raw” summer with a little trip to Watermelon Island.

What is Watermelon Island you ask? Watermelon Island is a detox for your hard-working bod consisting of mono-meals alone. Mono-meals are meals made from one ingredient only for a set period of time. Pick a fruit of your choice and go for anywhere from 3-14 days, and experience the amazing cleansing benefits for your body. This time on the island allows for your body to rid itself of the toxins it has stored up and ultimately has your digestive system running at optimal efficiency. On top of that, you become more in tune to your body, particularly satiation. Because the watermelon, or fruit of your choice, will eventually lose its flavor, you will stop eating when you are truly full. After the cleanse, foods become more flavorful and more enjoyable. I’ve had friends and many bloggers I follow complete these “islands,” and reap fantastic results, so I figure it’s my turn!

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This looks like about the amount of watermelons I will be buying!

I plan to depart to Watermelon Island this Sunday and come back next Tuesday. I will be sure to post about my venture!

I am going to cut myself off here, as I know this blog post is already quite lengthy. Thanks for those that have stuck with me the whole way through! I apologize for the huge lapse in time since my last post. Senior year really did throw me for a loop.

I promise you this summer you can count on some very cool and regular blog posts coming at ya!

Well, chow for now! :)

The Spring Break Diet

My university spring break is in two weeks.

We all know what that means. College girls (and guys too) freaking out about getting that “beach body,” and fast.

All I hear is “I’m on my spring break diet,” so “I can’t eat too many calories,” “I need to constantly work out,” and all that other college spring break prep bull sh*t.

Yes, work out! It’s what us human beings were made to do each day. However, quick fixes are never the answer and this whole mentality is wrong, wrong, wrong.

First off, what is the point of putting yourself through all this if you plan on drinking your weight in calories once you arrive at said beach? Wouldn’t that just be sabotaging all the hard work you put in to get there?

The bigger issue here, though, is that people still don’t seem to understand how food works.

Calorie restriction should NEVER be a thing. Consuming artificially derived food or animal products should also never be a thing. There’s no need to eat chemicals, animal flesh or their bodily excretions. Once you cut that crap out, you are free to eat as many calories as your heart desires – leaving your body in an utter state of bliss.

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Food should never be the enemy. Food is what fuels you, what heals you, what nourishes you.

When you feel as though you go through your day fearing food, mentally limiting yourself and your intake, that is where the problem lies. Calorie restriction is not sustainable. Sure, these diets that have you cut yourself down to an absurd less than 2000 calories per day are going to work. Starvation will always make you lose weight. It’s science. But guess what? You will also be putting your body through chaos, slowing down your metabolism and cutting into your muscle mass. That weight loss will not last for long.

These trending diet programs, like Kayla Itsines, have you do just that. She gives you a basic workout program and tells you to limit yourself to to something like 1600 calories per day. To be an active, functioning adult, one needs far more than that. Anyone check out these headless results people months later…? Popular programs like this are exactly what brainwashes girls (and guys) into thinking that calorie restriction is key, and furthermore, that all calories are created equal.

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This is one of the biggest misconceptions of the entire diet world existence. Here’s the truth, people. Calories are good. Calories are what give you the energy you need to function. Eating 1000 calories worth of meat is completely different from eating 1000 calories worth of bananas (and you get to eat SO much more).

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Moral of the story – eat until your body is content. Eat when you feel hungry (snack!). Eat what your body needs (plant foods). If you’re craving something, it means you’re missing nutrients in your diet. Listen to your body, it’s a lot smarter than you think. Fulfill yourself. Make your body a happy body.

And in the meantime, your body will reap the benefits. You’ll feel a sense of mental clarity, comfort in your daily routine and a rockin’ bod. Don’t give into these dieting mental games because that is just what they are – games.

Take a look at this video by my raw til 4/high carb, low fat (801010)/plant-based idol, Freelee the Banana Girl, for more on this topic! Excuse her mouth from time to time.

Yes, she looks amazing and serves as a fab example of what anyone can achieve by simply switching to a lifestyle of nourishment through plant-based foods, and plenty of them. She has an awesome YouTube Channel with videos posted everyday following her daily routine and discussing important health topics in today’s society.

Well, I’ll step off my soapbox now. I write blog posts like this because I care. I want my friends and the world to feel as good as I do, without putting themselves through such misery.

Speaking of spring break…I’ll be in South Beach, Miami, Florida. Can’t wait.

Chow for now!

I Love My Classes

Greetings, all!

This has been a much procrastinated post, as it has seemed that job applications have taken precedent over blogging. For that, I do apologize.

As much as I am tired of being a student at this point and so very ready to graduate, I’ve actually found a greater appreciation for my classes this semester.

As a spring semester senior marketing major, I am taking all of the capstone marketing and college of business courses that really tie together all aspects of what we’ve learned during our time in college and apply them. Aka LOTS of case studies.

The two classes in particular that make me feel super nerdy for being as enthused as I am about them are Global Business Information Technology (BIT 4744) and Marketing, Public Interest & Society (MKTG 4644).

Global Business Informational Technology is a course focused on the logistics of global production of various products, with a favor toward sustainable agriculture (thanks to my self-proclaimed hippie-back-to-nature professor). We’ve talked about every fruit, vegetable and grain you could imagine, the different areas of the world which are most suitable to grow them and international trade relations that allow this to happen. To be honest, I heard about this class through a friend that told me this professor lectures on “the sustainability of peanut butter” and I was hooked. This is my last class to complete my International Business minor and the first time I’ve ever enjoyed a BIT class; Good thing too, since it’s my earliest class of the semester at 9:30 AM (rough for a second semester senior).

Marketing, Public Interest and Society is a course based around the power of marketing to create social change — right up my alley. As I’ve grown through out the past years, becoming more aware of societal tendencies and which road they could potentially lead us down, I’ve decided that my expertise in marketing need to be geared toward improving the world as we know it through influencing people toward positive behaviors. So far, we have spoken a lot about corporate social responsibility or the identity of companies as more than just money-makers, but as entities to make a positive impact in the world. Within the last 30 years or so, this term has gained quite the following making involvement in philanthropic missions the norm for companies nowadays. My thinking is that if you have the ability and resources to reach as many people as you do, why not take advantage of that and make a difference?

I’m also quite excited about the group project required of us (who would have ever thought I would say those words…). We have been asked to come up with a social problem and a solution to it, with primary and secondary research all documented and summarized in a big paper and presentation. Here’s the fun part though: I convinced my group to pick the societal problem of nutrition; more specifically, the detriment of animal product consumption. The solution: education on the atrocities of factory farming on one’s health, animal welfare & the environment, and also the endless benefits to a plant-based lifestyle.

The professor is a young, laid back grad student that apparently was vegan for a good while during her earlier grad school years and has raved about the frugality of it, along with the other great perks. She seems to have quite an open-mind, as she loves traveling, has worked for various non-profits and is always sparking philosophic conversation.

Although these two classes both require a decent amount of work, I’m so excited for what more we will learn and how these topics will lend themselves to my future career.

My only complaint is that my Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester are a little hectic with classes back to back from 9:30 to 3:15. My biggest problem with this? My hungry belly. If you know me at all by now, you know I always have snacks on me, but this requires a whole new level of preparation. I have to pack a full-on gallon baggie of food to sustain me and my brain.

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Bean/veggie collard green wraps, apple slices, carrots and bell pepper
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A closer look into my collard green wraps!

This does however mean I only have one class on Mondays and Wednesdays and no classes on Fridays, so I can’t complain too much.

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Gym everyday though ;)

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My university started counting down the days until graduation last week when we hit 100 days, but that doesn’t mean I have to. It’s unbelievably bittersweet to think I am about to leave the only life I have known, as a student, to become a working, contributing member of society. FREAKY.

All I can ask is that I find a career that makes it feel as though I’m never really working; a career that aligns with my personal passions and betters me as a person. Now to find that before graduation…I got this…I think.

I’ve also been very busy with the happenings of The Veg Club of Virginia Tech I founded last semester, but that will need its own blog post. Stay tuned!

Veg love always,

Chow

Vegan Pizza Party

Happy Monday evening!

Over this winter break, I’ve gotten a tad pizza acquainted experimenting with some very yummy vegan pizza recipes.

Vegan pizza? Say what? Yes, what. It’s a thing, and a very delicious one at that.

I was initially inspired when I was gifted with Pamela’s gluten-free, dairy-free pizza crust for Christmas.

From there, it was history.

I so luckily stumbled upon the most amazing pesto topping there ever was and decided to use it for both pizza prototypes.

Avocado Greens Pesto (Broccoli Bulletin)

  • 3 cups packed dark leafy greens (I used kale one time and spinach the other)
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of nutritional yeast (optional — I didn’t have & it turned out fine!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tb water
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste

Process all of the ingredients in a food processor and wah-lah!

So here it is, Pizza #1…

Kale Avocado Pesto Pizza on Pamela’s Pizza Crust

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Pamela’s pizza crust can be bought in stores or here, with recipe printed on packaging!

I recommend prepping the dough ahead of time (maybe in the morning), as to give it adequate time to rise (2+ hours). My mom and I didn’t and rushed the process a bit, so the dough had barely risen. It was delicious nonetheless, just a little flatter and harder.

And Pizza #2…

Spinach Avocado Pesto Pizza on Cauliflower Crust

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Cauliflower Crust (Detoxinista) – serves 2

  • 1 lb cauliflower florets
  • 3 tb ground chia/flax seeds (I used chia seeds!)
  • 6 tb water
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (I used brown rice flower instead)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

***My mom and I actually doubled this recipe since we had 2 lbs of cauliflower and I’m so happy we did!

I recommend giving yourself at least two hours for this pizza, as the cauliflower crust takes a while to prepare and cook, and the whole crust process is pretty labor intensive.

Enjoy my friends, and pizza on!

Chow.

Raw Foodism

Hello, everyone!

Today I want to discuss raw foodism, a recent intrigue of mine. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but let me delve in further.

Raw foodism is essentially taking the plant-based lifestyle to the next level—the ultimate vegan diet. This raw food lifestyle is based solely on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their raw, natural state, untouched by heat or chemicals.

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My reason for gravitating toward this raw lifestyle is solely for its immense healing benefits it provides to the body and spirit. Because of a recent medical scare of my own and my motivation to self-heal , then further educating myself on the physiology of the body and the foods it needs to thrive, this diet makes the most sense to me, intuitively and scientifically.

When one consumes food grown from the earth left in its natural state, the body is given the full, illuminating and ultimate healing nutrients. This food is the most vibrant, powerful food for both the body and mind, free of toxins and filled with life and energy.

Think about it. If you’re feeding your body cooked, dead food robbed of its nutrients, how will that then transpose into the energy your body will receive? Now don’t get me wrong, cooked food isn’t bad, but for me, knowing that there is something much better for you out there, I’m naturally all over it!

On this type of diet (lifestyle), the body is able to completely dispose of all waste, thriving off only the most nutrient-dense, electric foods.

This lifestyle is high-carb (fruits & vegetables) and low-fat (nuts and oils) or 80-10-10, which may sound strange to someone trained in conventional nutrition, but with all doubts aside, it seems to work quite beautifully. Of course, you need balance in any diet, but we don’t actually need so much of the other nutrients that are drilled into our brains by the food industry as we may think (overhyped protein need myth). Whole fruits and vegetables gift us with plentiful nutrients and benefits.

I have these famous raw vegan YouTube stars listed below to educate and inspire you further, as they did me!

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It just seems like high carb, low fat is the way to go to live a life of ultimate energy, health, happiness and healing.

Along with this raw food lifestyle, I’ve been thinking about other aspects of my life and how to bring other areas of my daily routine back to nature. Some of these changes I’ve written off as long-term, as I am still under my parent’s roof/dollar and unable to completely change how my household runs. Soon enough though, I will be graduated (May!), living on my own and able to decide how to go about every detail.

My #1 goal is to completely rid any chemicals from my life. Anything from my beauty routine to my cleaning products to my household items. The idea is to keep everything as natural and organic as possible.

My other big goal is to live the greenest life I possibly can. I’m sure with enough self-education and application of what I already know, I’ll be able to make my household a luminescent green.

Nothing worth doing is easy & nothing easy is worth doing.

With the end goal in mind, I know I can accomplish anything. I think I’ve set myself up for success in my gradual transition to more raw, whole foods and a slow transition to more natural products in my daily life. With time, I’ll get there.

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Been feeling so great running off mostly raw foods lately!

Knowing that I am filling my body with ultimate vitality that will allow me to be the best version of myself radiating positivity from from head to toe without supporting cruel, corrupt food giants or harming the environment is an exceptional feeling.

Who wants to join me?! :)

Well, it’s almost time for me to head back to school and preparations for The Veg Club of Virginia Tech are in full force as our recruitment efforts will begin shortly after classes begin. How exciting!

Hopefully, you’ll be getting an update on that very soon!

Chow for now!

A Day in My Food Life: Winter Break Edition

Happy Thursday, all! Here’s a look into my food life today.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

7:15am I wake up and immediately drink a large glass of water.

7:30am In route to the gym, I pop in a handful of raw sunflower seeds. I l always keep a bag of nuts or seeds in my car as a morning pre-workout food or emergency snack. Thankfully I was able to actually get to the gym today though. Since the snow, it’s made getting my workout in rather difficult.

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7:45-9am I do sprint intervals for 15 minutes on the treadmill, then move onto 50 minutes of strength training for my shoulders and traps. I hadn’t worked this area of my body in two weeks, so it was a bit of a challenge!

9:15am Upon arrival home from the gym, I make a smoothie bowl made with 2 frozen bananas, a handful of frozen blueberries, a handful of fresh spinach, almond milk and PB2. I then top it off with chia seeds and sliced almonds.

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9:30am I take a shower and get ready for the day.

10am On my commute to work (Dad and I drove in together this morning!), I sip on some green tea and continue to do so for my first hour of work. I continue to drink lots of water through out the entire day too!

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12pm My dad’s office is actually down the street from where I am working over winter break, so he took me out to lunch to celebrate my belated 1.5 year vegan mark! As of lately, I’ve been just loving all Indian flavors, so we headed to the Indian restaurant across the street, but much to my surprise, there were very limited vegan options and not-so-accomodating staff.

As a plan B, we headed to the Thai restaurant, “Absolute Thai,” upstairs and very much enjoyed our dishes and the tranquil atmosphere. I ordered the Green Curry veggies and tofu with brown rice and some nice, warm green tea! I can never get enough of that stuff.

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2pm I eat half of my Pink Cripps apple slices as I work.

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3pm I eat the other half of my apple slices.

4:45pm Upon arrival home, I peel apart a juicy clementine and chow down. Make that two.

6pm I excitedly pour myself some of my mom’s famous minestrone soup. Seriously though, this stuff is AMAZING.

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8pm I de-seed a pomegranate and eat every single seed, per usual. I think it’s well deserved too after that lengthy de-seeding process. Someone seriously needs to invent a pomegranate de-seeder already!

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10pm I hop into bed and read various vegan blog sites for about 30 minutes until my eyes get heavy and I fall asleep.

With the extra time I’ve had over winter break, I’ve been discovering more vegan blog sites and even some vegan Youtube channels. One vlogger in particular has inspired me — Annie Jaffrey. After watching a few of these “vlogs,” I’ve decided that I may want to start one of my own in the near future. I mean how much fun would that be? This probably will require an investment in a nice camera though…graduation present perhaps? ;)

Being able to put a live personality to the insight provided and to view actual preparation of recipes and other instructional type posts would be super beneficial and a lot more entertaining, in my humble opinion. This is just a thought, but I’ll keep you all updated with that.

Who knows…maybe “vlogging” will be my first project on my own as a college graduate in my new living arrangement, wherever that may be!

As much as I would have liked to stick with the raw vegan diet, it’s been a bit trying with the vicioiusly cold weather we’ve been having. I’m still attempting to keep all my dishes as simple and whole as possible though, still incorporating more raw foods into my daily intake, just not 100% or until 4pm.  I see the potential for this type of transition when the weather gets a bit warmer. I’m already excited for it!

That’s all for now. I hope everyone’s new year resolutions have some correlation with a happy mind and a healthy body, and that you all can find the determination within yourselves to stick by them. You deserve to be your best you.

Chow!

1.5 Years of Vegan

It’s true. Today marks my 1.5 year Veganniversary!

My only thought looking back is that I only wish I found it sooner.

Funny thing is that if someone were to have told me I would go vegan cold-tofurkey ;) and stay vegan for the rest of my life just 1.5 years ago, I would probably laugh. Sure, I was always a health-conscious individual, but just like so many others, I saw veganism as an extreme diet that didn’t seem practical.

Well, here I am 1.5 years later, alive and well, to tell you that it is indeed very practical, and in fact one of the most practical lifestyles to live; not to mention the single most nutritious, economical, ethical and sustainable.

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Although I am beyond grateful for where I am at now, I truly value the time I had before going vegan—a whole 20 years! Having been raised on a typical American diet (of course with lots of fruits & veggies—thanks Mom!), it gives me perspective on those who continue to carry out the western diet, heavy in animal products, like meat, dairy and eggs. People are just a model of their makers, a product of their society. People only know what they are told. Sadly, we have been brainwashed through the billion dollar meat and dairy industry to find necessity in animal products, and to block out any negative information, about inhumane treatment or less than sustainable practices, within mass-production factory farming.

The truth must be told, but people must be willing to hear it first. Yes, of course these animal products taste good. We have been conditioned to enjoy these flavors, and this industry makes it their job to insure we continue to feel this way. But do they taste good enough to knowingly put innocent, salient beings through torture? To me, they do not. Do they taste good enough to knowingly poison your body with parasites, feces, unhealthy fats and cholesterol that eventually lead you down the road to fatal western disease? To me, they do not. One must look at the big picture over the minor details to understand the impact and good that comes with this life-changing transition.

Being vegan is not hard. It’s just different. 

I have achieved what I would have never thought possible over the past year and a half, both mentally and physically, and I truly give it up to my plant-based diet. Plant foods alone have every nutrient your body needs in the purest, most superior form, powerful enough to reverse disease and aging in its tracks.

I lost body fat, gained muscle, lost time off recovery, gained a clearer mind, and raised my level of consciousness and compassion. I feel overjoyed to carry out a lifestyle of peace and worldliness.

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Veganism has inspired me not just in the way I eat, but in the way I think, how I act and ultimately, how I feel.

Veganism has moved me—as an individual, as a member of society, as a species of this planet. I feel so blessed to have found this lifestyle and will never go back.

Along the way, I’ve managed to inspire countless others to pursue a plant-based lifestyle full of health & wellness—one of the sole reasons I started this blog and the single greatest reward I could receive.

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My one request to all of you is to educate yourselves. Be more conscious of the food you are eating. Think beyond yourself. How was this made? Where did this come from? What was the process this endured from farm to plate? What impact on the world am I making?

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As for me now, I’m onto the next 100 years! :)

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Chow for now.