Vegan Thanksgiving: Round 3

Greetings, all!

I hope everyone had a splendid Thanksgiving, surrounded by friends, family and delicious food.


I apologize for those of you that have missed my blog posts! I’ve been consumed with my YouTube channel and seem to have left my blog posts by the way side. I intend to find a way to integrate the two better in the near future.

This blog post is corresponding to my “VEGAN THANKSGIVING #3” YouTube video.

This year, I celebrated my third Thanksgiving as a VEGAN! How wild is that? I honestly can’t believe how the time has flown by. Fortunately, with a couple of vegan holiday seasons under my belt, I now know my way around the cookie counter (so to say).

As it was just my immediate family and I this year, it was quite easy to keep things simple, which was just the theme I was going for.IMG_2864

Here I will share with you the delicious recipes I followed to create these delightful, delicious, nutritious and cruelty-free concoctions.


Mushroom Walnut Lentil Balls

(Adapted from Oh She Glows)


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 2 cup walnuts halves, finely chopped
  • 4 heaping cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms (one 8-oz package)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cup finely chopped destemmed kale leaves
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste



  1. Add lentils into a medium pot along with 2 and 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, adding more water if the lentils dry out. Once the lentils are fork tender, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher until it’s a coarse paste with some lentil pieces still intact. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325F. Toast the chopped walnuts for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. After toasting, increase oven temp to 350F.
  3. In a very large skillet or wok, add the oil along with the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt. Saute over medium-high heat for about 7-9 minutes, until most of the water cooks off. Now add the kale, toasted walnuts, cranberries, herbs, and sherry vinegar. Stir until combined and continue cooking for another few minutes until the kale is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the mashed lentils when ready.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Stir for 10 seconds and then immediately pour into the skillet mixture. Stir to combine. Now stir in the 1/2 cup oat flour until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be fairly moist and sticky. If it’s way too sticky, add a bit more oat flour. If it’s dry, add another tbsp of water.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape lentil mixture into balls and pack tightly with your hands so they hold together. Place on baking sheet an inch or so apart. Repeat for the rest. If the mixture is too hot to handle, let it cool for a bit first and then proceed.
  6. Bake the lentil balls at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip over, and bake for another 11-13 minutes, until golden and firm on the exterior.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes


  • 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 oz. Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4-1 cup almond milk (varies depending on how moist you prefer)


  1. Peel and dice potatoes.
  2. Steam diced potatoes for about 10 minutes.
  3. Mash potatoes to smooth consistency while slowly mixing in Earth Balance butter, almond milk, garlic and salt.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

White Bean Cauliflower Mash


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 cans of white cannellini beans
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Fresh rosemary


  • De-stem cauliflower and break into smaller parts.
  • Steam cauliflower for about 10 minutes until very soft.
  • Sautee garlic and onion (with water) until translucent.
  • Blend steamed cauliflower, onions and garlic in a food processor until completely mashed.
  • Sautee cannellini beans (in water), and add in mashed cauliflower, onion and garlic, folding all ingredients together.
  • Add in fresh rosemary by folding and as garnish too!
  • Serve and enjoy!

Baked Kabocha Squash


  • 4 Kabocha squash


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Half the squashes with a knife and set them on a baking pan face up.
  3. Place the squashes in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden on the top and sides.
  4. Let cool, garnish and enjoy!

Cranberry Sauce


  • Whole cranberries
  • Apple juice


  1. Place cranberries in large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in apple juice in so that all cranberries are immersed.
  3. Once cranberries begin to pop open, turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Let cool and enjoy!

Garlic Tahini Blanched Kale


  • Fresh kale
  • Tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped


  1. Mix 1/2 cup of tahini with fresh chopped garlic, adding in water to achieve desired dressing consistency.
  2. Bring pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add in kale so that all is immersed.
  4. Wait for kale to turn bright green (30-60 seconds) and remove from water immediately.
  5. Mix together blanched kale and tahini dressing.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Garlic Broccoli


  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced


  1. Chop broccoli heads into smaller, more palatable parts.
  2. Steam broccoli until bright green or to desired amount.
  3. Mix steamed broccoli with fresh garlic and serve.


Chocolate PB Banana Maple Muffins

Recipe already posted.

PB Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe already posted.

PB Chocolate Chip (Chick Pea) Bars

Recipe already posted.



I hope you enjoy these recipes and the rest of your weekend. Be expecting some more holiday recipes soon!


Plant power on, my people! Chow 🙂



My Big Move to YouTube

Happy Monday!

I have a big announcement for you all. If the title wasn’t giveaway enough, here goes.

I have officially decided to start my vlogging career on YouTube! As an avid follower of so many influential YouTube stars, especially in the vegan vlogging community, I have been wanting to make this move for a while.

I kept making excuses as to why it wasn’t the right time, but I thought enough was enough, and just did it. Everyone has gotta start somewhere. Am I right?

For those of you unfamiliar with how vlogging works, I have linked below my personal inspiration.

In short, vlogging is simply blogging, but in video form. I believe it to be more interactive, more creative and overall more impactful.

As much as I love writing and reading blog posts, I know how this day and age works, why BuzzFeed has become the mecca of all insight. People don’t want to read pages of content when they can put in much less effort and stare at a screen to be entertained. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing, but merely a natural, evolutionary shift in media viewing.

I hope to continue with this blog site, and simply intertwine the two platforms. I post a video, I write a corresponding blog post equipped with recipes, discussion, etc. Just consider this an expansion of the CHOWIDO brand.

I present to  you my first ever vlog! Enjoy 🙂 I highly encourage you to subscribe to my growing channel, so you can stay up to date with my latest ventures!


Veganista #TransformationTuesday

Happy Tuesday, or as the world of social media likes to call it, #TransformationTuesday.

This is the elected day of the week where it is deemed socially acceptable to post photos of yourself from the past, maybe next to a more current one if you’re going for the full effect. Often times, you’ll see photos of people from a younger, quirkier age, or within the health/fitness social media community, maybe a darker, heavier time in their lives.

Being the veganista that I am, my mind naturally wanders to the incredible mind, body and spirit transformation that veganism has brought me, a true englightment.

Among all the incredible things this lifestyle has provided me, it has given me gifts of the physical sort. The abundant plant foods I have consumed over the past 2+ years have given me the strength to continue exercising, but also to effortlessly stay lean while eating as much as my heart desires (high-carb, low-fat whole plant foods).

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I noticed the biggest difference in my overall body composition right off the bat, within the first few months of altering my lifestyle, but looking back through photos, I realize that the change has been continuous.

Since all animal products are inflammatory foods, immediately going from constant consumption to none at all will have quite a dramatic effect on your whole system. Your body will immediately start running more efficiently without the previous disruption it dealt with prior. For more information on the inflammation animal products cause, check out

After living a life of 20 years consuming animal products, you better believe it may take at least a couple years to completely detox your body. The changes I may be enduring now I don’t even notice, as I am living in my body all the time, but when I start putting photos together from years past and recently, I’m once again taken back by how powerful this lifestyle is.

To remind you, I did not transition from a conventional unhealthy lifestyle at all, but that of a conventional “healthy diet” with low-fat and lean animal products and daily cardio. I was living my life as healthy as I knew how prior to finding veganism, when sh*t got real.

As I write this post about physical transformation, I must remind you all that veganism is far more than the aesthetic it provides you. Going vegan incomparably benefits your health, the environment and all the living beings of this beautiful planet. It’s a lifestyle that promotes peace, compassion, sustainability and prosperity for all. A true beacon of hope to save the world as we know it.

I’ve compiled a few photos comparing my pre-vegan and vegan self. For reference sake, I went vegan July 5, 2013. Enjoy!

Red Lips Vegan Face Transformation
October 2012 vs. May 2015
Vegan Face Transformation 2
April 2012 vs. July 2015
Vegan Transformation Bikini
July 2013 vs. May 2014
Vegan Transformation Workout Clothes
July 2013 vs. September 2015

Physical changes not visible in photos:

  • Softer, clearer skin (face and body)
  • Softer, stronger hair
  • Stronger nails
  • Clearer, easily-focused mind (ultimate ADD/ADHD healer)
  • Higher energy levels
  • Reduced headaches (used to get them all the time!)
  • Rock solid immune system
  • Possibly greener, more vibrant eyes (didn’t realize this was possible until FullyRaw Kristina shared)

We have all heard that your exterior can say a lot about what’s going on in the inside, and most of the times that is exactly the case. As much as I trust the system by how I look and feel everyday, I wish more than anything I could get a glimpse into what my insides looked like before and what they look like now. Now that would be a real #TransformationTuesday if I’ve ever seen one.

This will do for now.

Plant power on, my people!

Oh, and Happy First of September! Unreal.

V(egan)B Spoiled

Greetings! I hope a delectable weekend was had by all, and your week of classes (college students out there) or work (the sad working folk…jk) starts splendidly.

I just returned earlier this evening from an extended weekend trip to the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area to firstly, drop off my brother for his freshman year of college, and secondly, to visit my good friend Melanie, a native to the area.

Melanie and I have been attempting to coordinate for what seems like the entire summer for my visit to her neck of the woods. Being the overachiever that she is, she had our weekend planned to a tee. She had been researching all the best vegan spots in the area all along to ensure I had the best vegan-fied Virginia Beach experience. Everyone I would excitedly tell about my planned VB trip and the vegan adventures it would probably entail would naturally ask if Melanie was vegan too. My response: Nope. She’s just a really good friend that cares a lot. 🙂 These are the type of people you want to keep around, folks.

My family and I left Thursday morning for Norfolk and headed straight to my brother’s university.

The little bro is all grown-up in his dorm room!

We moved him in Thursday evening, finished settling him in Friday during the day, and I met up with Melanie Friday night for dinner and the start of our V(egan)B weekend together.

Friday night’s dinner was at Luna Maya, an AMAZING very vegan friendly Mexican restaurant in Norfolk right off Colley Ave., the street of restaurants.


Yes, Mexican restaurants are usually pretty easy to order a vegan meal, but this place sets itself above the rest. It offered vegan quesadillas, multiple vegan burritos, vegan enchiladas, etc. We ended up ordering their chips, guac and mojitos to start, as we heard rave reviews on both. After a highly difficult decision, I chose the vegan enchiladas as my entree. Everything was to die for (but cruelty free of course!). Luna Maya is hands down one of the best Mexican restaurants I have ever been to, and that’s saying a lot coming from this Mexican lover.

The next amazing meal of my trip was Saturday’s breakfast, spread out through out the morning. Our first stop was Bad Ass Coffee, a Hawaiian themed coffee shop right next to the Old Beach Farmer’s Market, a favorite of Melanie’s and equipped with vegan, gluten-free, and paleo goodies galore. I ended up getting an almond milk iced latte. Amazing.


We then made our way over to the farmer’s market, and discovered My Vegan Sweet Tooth. This is an all vegan bakery that began online by two sisters local to the area. My Vegan Sweet Tooth has everything from cookies to cakes to donuts to sweet breads and any other bakery good you could imagine. They have recently expanded to a store front, but are still consistent farmers market vendors. Although I’m usually not one to be about high fat, high sugar foods, Melanie highly encouraged I splurge on this treat weekend. I picked up some of their Apple Cider Donut Holes, and they were highly enjoyed by myself and all who I shared with.


One of the sisters, Renee, manning the booth was extremely helpful as we asked for suggestions on other vegan places in the area to go, perhaps even for dinner that night. She gave us an array of options, and ones that Melanie somehow didn’t even seem to catch on the internet during her time of intense researching. It’s undoubtedly refreshing to meet other vegans. It just makes my heart happy.


Next on our morning breakfast time venture, we headed to Zekes Beans & Bowls.


This place is a local favorite, known for their acai bowls. Melanie is well aware of my obsession with smoothie bowls, and how they serve as my latest and greatest breakfast staple, so she figured this spot was ideal. She was very right. We both got the PB&J bowl fixed with whatever toppings we liked. The base is acai, banana and soy milk, and my toppings consisted of coconut, almonds, and granola. Melanie also added strawberry and banana.


After our tummies were stuffed with deliciousness, our next venture of the day was the beach! We crossed the street from Melanie’s big girl apartment complex to Chick’s Beach, a rather low-key, local beach area. It was a bit overcast, but we still enjoyed our time in the sun, sand and waves. It’s so crazy to me still that this is Melanie’s normal. I always associate beach with vacation, but I love the switch up of lifestyle there. The way of living is a lot more laid-back, slower-paced and seemingly overall happier. The D.C. area peeps could take some pointers from the Virginia Beach residents.


Next on the agenda was Saturday evening dinner. After taking into consideration Renee’s vegan suggestions, we headed to Yard House. YH is apparently a chain, and may even be in the Northern VA area (have not met with my good friend Google quite yet). Regardless, it was fabulous! We were drawn to this place because of their Gardein menu.


Like I’ved mentioned on many occasions, I’m not really one to base my diet around processed faux or high fat vegan foods in general, as health is my #1 priority. BUT every once in a while I think its okay to splurge and try something new. I had never actually had vegan chicken before, so this was my chance! Melanie and I split vegan firecracker chicken wings. Is she not the best? I then ordered a vegan chicken rice bowl for my entree. SO much food.


I haven’t had actual chicken/any meat in over two years, so to me, this tasted pretty darn close. Melanie agreed it was very tasty. Gardein chicken is definitely not something I plan on adding to my diet, but I’m happy I got the chance to try it. It’s so fun to experiment with all the vegan foods out there. There really is a vegan parallel to any non-vegan food. There’s no saying it’s good for you, but definitely a lesser evil than the animal-based version.

Our last vegan foodie stop of the trip was Sunday morning’s breakfast. This is the meal I had been anticipating the most all weekend — Yorgo’s Bageldashery.


This Norfolk based New York style bagelry is well-known for their abundant vegan options. There were vegan breakfast sandwiches, all other vegan sandwiches, daiya cheeses, non-dairy milks and vegan baked goods galore. After another painstakingly difficult decision, I decided on The Peterman breakfast sandwich.


Wow. Never would I have thought I would be eating a breakfast item so closely resembling non-vegan breakfast staples of my past with such impeccable flavor and consistency. I enjoyed it with a delicious soy latte. I was a VERY happy camper.

After our breakfast, Melanie and I met up with my parents, who had been staying in a hotel in Virginia Beach as a little mini vacation. Before my parents and I (minus the little bro…tear, tear) began our trek back to Northern VA, I had to take them back to Zekes! My mom and I got acai bowls and my dad got their famous watermelon juice and a greek pita sandwich.


All were left quite satisfied. Thank goodness too, because our road trip back was much less fulfilling. Our 3.5 hour trip turned into a 7 hour adventure. Thank you 64 and 95 traffic!

All in all, this weekend was totally vegan-mazing. Big shout out to my fabulous friend Melanie, the self acclaimed Vegan Whisperer ;). She says she “did it for the blog post,” but I think that secretly that big heart of hers wants to go vegan. Only time will tell (mwahaha?)!


Chow for now.

All Around the World: Vegan Style

Happy Monday, everyone!

I was recently asked in an interview what type of food my home town area is known for. So for those of you from Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. metro area, what would you say?

If you said global cuisine, then I think you’re spot on. Having grown up in an area so culturally diverse, smack dab in the nation’s capital, I never actually realized how fortunate I am to have this exposure until I moved elsewhere (thanks college!).

With the booming Northern VA population boasting nationalities from quite literally all over the world, you better believe the international cuisine in our area is pretty darn authentic.

I am constantly inspired to incorporate different spices and types of food into my own dishes. Whether it be from dining out at local Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean, South American, and so on restaurants, or being hosted at the homes of my friends, I always seem to find something new and exciting to spice up my own life.

Today I have decided to share with you some of my own worldly concoctions. Each dish has a whole food plant-based vegan spin on it of course!

Avocado Pesto Chickpeas, Quinoa & Veggies


Ingredients: — 2 servings

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • Handful of fresh spinach
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 round slice of white onion
  • Fresh basil
  • 3 gloves of garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Pine nuts
  • Nooch (nutritional yeast)
  1. Cook quinoa — boil 2 cups of water and quinoa until soft (or to your preference consistency).
  2. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Place chickpeas in boiling water for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Chop fresh spinach, tomatoes and onion and set aside.
  4. Avocado Pesto: Blend basil, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, black pepper and nooch in a high-speed blender. Add water as needed.
  5. Lay all veggies, chickpeas and quinoa out on plate, and place dollop of pesto on top. Mix all elements to best capture all flavors and textures before eating.

Black Bean Quinoa Taco Soup


Ingredients: — many servings (leftover heaven)!

  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow & red cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 container veggie broth (reduced sodium)
  • 1 tb taco seasoning
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  1. Add quinoa and veggie broth to large pot on medium heat and let cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in black beans, garlic, white onion, and taco seasoning and let cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in cilantro, tomatoes and lime juice, and let cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Tikka Masala (adapted from Women’s Health Mag)


Ingredients: — 2 servings

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 tb canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 tb curry powder
  • 1 tb tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat remaining oil over medium heat and cook onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, serrano pepper, curry powder, and tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Add salt and tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and half the cilantro.
  3. Divide sauce among 4 bowls, top with cauliflower, and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

Sweet Curry Zoodles (Fully Raw Kristina)



  • 3-5 large zucchini (depending on how hungry you are!)
  • 3-4 small navel oranges (I used clementines)
  • 1-2 cups of red/orange cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tb to 1/2 cup of raw, unhealed sesame seeds
  • Fresh herbs of basil, sage and rosemary
  • 3 gloves of garlic (my special touch!)
  • 1 tb of tumeric
  • 1 tb curry powder
  • A pinch of cumin
  1. Spiralize zucchini into zoodles.
  2. Blend the rest of ingredients in high-speed blender (I used my Ninja!).
  3. Pour sweet curry sauce on top of zoodles, and enjoy!

With all this said, keep in mind that the most important thing to remember no matter what type of cuisine you are eating is to…


To put this in nicer terms, care about yourself, care about the animals, care about the environment and this world as a whole!

Go vegan, all around the world, for the whole world.

Chow for now 🙂

The Mites of Misery

Hi, all!

Have you ever had that feeling of total helplessness? That nothing you can do can make things better? Well, I’m usually not one to ever feel this way. Heck, usually if I sense a problem or something I am not happy with, I go straight to analyzing all I can do to fix it.

Well, today’s post is about a little something that I have felt absolutely helpless to. One word. One cool sounding word that packs along so much misery.


Ever heard of them? I hadn’t either until trying to figure out what the heck was all over my feet and ankles, and itched like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

Because of my unfamiliarity, and discovering the itch in the middle of the night, I assumed I had gotten mosquito bites while outdoors for the Fourth or hiking the day before. The next morning I examined the bites and realized they were all in clusters, were smaller than normal mosquito bites and itched a whole lot more.

photo 2

My second thought was bed bugs. Now I’ve had two bed bug scares before and, because of this, am pretty educated on the little critters and the process of getting rid of them. So I went through the protocol — took apart my bed, threw sheets, mattress cover and duvet cover in the wash, and vigorously searched, clorox wiped and vacuumed the area surrounding my bed. Every little nook and cranny was investigated, but I could find nothing.

In times like these, you realize how much you take for granted comfort and peace of mind. I didn’t even want to be in my own room, let alone sit or lay on my bed. I had planned on sleeping elsewhere that night. Until I got a text from a friend.

My friend Lauren (fellow veganista!) who I had hiked the Billy Goat Trail with, on the Maryland side of Great Falls Park, just a couple days before had texted me asking if I had bites on my feet. As much as I wasn’t thrilled about the remaining insanely itchy, red bumps all over me,  I was SO relieved to know she was experiencing the same bumps in the same place. YAY, this meant my bed probably had nothing to do with these bites and I would be safe to sleep soundly. Or so I thought.


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Lauren suggested that we had gotten bitten by chiggers. She had gotten bitten once before while out working in dense vegetation (bio major) a few years back. I started doing my research on the handy-dandy Internet and realized that what I had all over my ankles and feet were most definitely chiggers. I was once again relieved to have a diagnosis, but what I was about to find out about these critters would most definitely not sit well with me.

Here goes:

Chiggers are the juvenile form (larvae) of a certain type of mite, which are a part of the arachnid family, along with spiders and ticks. Chiggers are found through out the globe, but are most common in highly vegetated, grassy fields, gardens, parks and moist areas around lakes or rivers. Well there I had it — my hike at Great Falls was my demise. Note to self: never hike again!

But there’s more — Chiggers are bright red, but not visible to the naked eye, as they are about 1/50th of an inch. In the larvae stage only, chiggers are parasitic to animals or humans (if they come in contact with a plant). They are only prevalent in areas with high humidity in temperatures ranging from 60-90 degrees F.


Chiggers are most attracted to moist areas of the body, so bites are typically found at sock line, behind knees, groin or armpits. Despite common myth, chiggers do not actually burrow into your skin to feed, but inject a feeding structure into the skin and enzymes to break down host skin tissue. This then hardens the surrounding area and results in a feeding tube called a stylostome. The crazy part is you don’t typically react until the chiggers are done feeding and fall off, as their anesthetic then wears off (I didn’t notice mine until 3 days after hiking!).


Your body’s reaction to the LOVELY stylostome is what causes the irritation and the unbearable itching. And trust me, I’ve had my fair share of mosquito bites as  a literal mosquito magnet anytime I’m outside. After this experience, I would take 1000 mosquito bites. Chiggers bites are seriously 100 times itchier. The worst part? You have the fun little guys for not a couple  days, but a couple weeks!

In a continued attempt to gather as much information as I could, I was reading medical sites, testimonials, you name it. I can’t tell you the amount of testimonials that made me want to run for the hills. One was a guy who was in so much discomfort from the chiggers he considered cutting off the skin with a knife, but instead burned himself multiple times with a cigarette. Another lady covered her legs in toxic cleaning chemicals to feel a burning sensation, masking the itch. These chiggers mess with your mind. I too have felt like doing crazy things.

So how have you dealt with the itching, you ask? Any and every way I have read about. Seriously. Thus far, I’ve tried Benadryl anti-itch cream, hydrocortisone cream, Benadryl anti-itch gel, solarcaine, baking soda/water mixture, Vick’s vapor rub/salt mixture and lastly, but most successful, ice cold water and Chigger-ex.

photo 1
First night: Vicks/salt mixture wrapped with towels — was a no-go = no sleep

Everything had taken off the edge for 20-30 minutes or so, but then the itch would be right back. After all these trials and errors, I read that there was a specific ointment for Chigger bites, so I figured I had to give it a shot. This ointment is super thick and creamy, infused with chamomile and aloe vera, giving it a very calming, spa-like scent.

Useful: I now have a routine for the most chiggers bearability (word?). Anytime I’m feeling itchy, I soak my feet in ice cold water for 5-10 minutes until I hit numbness, let them air dry, cover the bites with Chigger-ex and cover my feet with high socks. It seems that once my feet return from numbness, the compression from the socks, and most definitely the Chigger-ex, reduces the itch.

photo 4photo 3

It has been absolutely insane the amount that these bites have affected by daily life. Just little things you wouldn’t think about, like wearing sneakers to workout or sandals to run an errand OR SLEEPING, is unbearable. When I’m driving in the car, I have to blast the AC on my feet or I’ll have an itch attack. My first night with chiggers, I got maybe one hour of sleep. The second night I learned my lesson and took a sleeping aid.

It’s crazy to think I had no idea what a chigger was just a few days ago when now they seem to dictate my life.

I suppose this is just one of those things — one of those things that make you stronger and wiser in the long run. I will tell you one thing, I will definitely never be wearing shorts again on a spring/summer hike, and probably won’t be going hiking for a while.

I hope you learned a little something from this post today, although not my traditional food/exercise related post. I most definitely would never wish chiggers on anyone, so be sure to inform all your friends and fam!

Tips to avoid getting chiggered yourself: (save yourself from the misery!)

  • When in humid, moist climates with tall vegetation, or near bodies of water, wear bug repellent, pants, and long socks that are tucked in.
  • In the case that you brush by plants, wipe off that body part immediately, as chigger larvae are actually relatively easy to brush off before they have formed their stylostome.
  • As soon as you return home from outdoor activity, hop in the shower and wash yourself with warm, soapy water to clear off anything you might have picked up.

Well, I should get back to scratching now. My bites are being needy again. JK. Obvi that makes them so much worse and leads me to a downward spiral of scratch-fest. If anything, this has been a great self-discipline practice. Optimism at its finest, eh?

Chow for now!

2 Year Veganniversary

Because what’s the difference between him and any other animal?

The day has come! A huge milestone in my plant-based lifestyle has been reached, and I couldn’t be more enthused.

July 5, 2015 marks my 730th day vegan, or my 2 year veganniversary!

My veganniversary present to myself! The back has the engraved date of the day I went vegan — purchased on Etsy, created by @fiercedeer

Like I’ve mentioned time and time again, choosing to go vegan and continuing to choose vegan everyday has been the greatest decision I have ever made.

What started as an experiment to spice up my blog site with an edgy topic turned into an overall lifestyle transformation that has brought me to where I am today; happier and healthier than ever before.

I feel beyond grateful to have found veganism; to now recognize that what I choose to purchase as a consumer affects much more than my taste buds, my individual style or my satisfaction at that moment in time.

I now have the consciousness to realize the impact that my actions have on not only my  health, but the well-being of beautiful living creatures and the Earth that sustains us.

I know that I make a difference. Never let anyone convince you otherwise. Sure, I may be one person, but I’m one person that has made a substantial impact on my life and the lives of SO many others.

My dollar is my vote. My voice is my weapon.

In choosing to go vegan, I have made a difference. Over the past 2 years…

  • I have almost completely eliminated my chances of developing heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and many other western world diseases caused by the detriment of animal products. I have more energy for exercise, reduced recovery time, clearer, softer, more radiant skin and hair, a more positive, focused state of mind, while simultaneously extending my life and youthfulness by so many years.

Fun article — 10 reasons why you should go vegan in 2015

Watch the documentary Forks Over Knives to understand the impact the plant-based diet has on your health.

  • I have saved 404 innocent, intelligent, sentient living beings from constant fear, malnourishment, torture, and slaughter (vegetarian calculator). I have saved these animals from being torn out of their natural habitat, confined to cramped, filthy barns, cages and pens being hung upside down on the slaughter line, having their throats cut and bodies mutilated.

Watch the documentary Earthlings to realize the impact going vegan, and making conscious, ethical decisions as a consumer has on the well-being of animals of this planet.

***I believe that this documentary is absolutely imperative for anyone still consuming animal products to see. If you can put it in your body, you can watch how it gets there.

  • I have saved 3,218 lbs of CO2 from entering into the atmosphere, helping to alleviate the devastation of global warming (vegetarian calculator).


Watch the documentary Cowspiracy to understand the impact animal agriculture has on the Earth. Don’t be fooled by what the government and  meat and dairy lobbyists are telling you!

  • Lastly, I have influenced SO many more people than I would have ever thought possible. I have recordered every individual that has chosen to share with me the impact I have had on their own lifestyle. To date, I have 24 names written down. From those 24 people, I know off hand that 5 have chosen to go vegan, 3 have gone vegetarian, and many others are now making more conscious decisions about their food. I realize that my impact probably extends much further than these people, which stands as the very reason I continue to blog and share my story.


In midst of this celebration, I want to take the time to thank all my readers for your continued support! I hope over the past 2 years or so you have gotten something out of this blog site of mine.

Here you can read my full vegan transformation story, featured on 🙂

Well, until next time! This veganista has got thangs to do!


Sweet Summer Treats

Happy Thursday!

I’ve been making some delicious summer treats with the extra time I have had on my hands while I continue on in my career search, which I’ve been promptly sharing on my health Instagram (@chowidohealth). I have gotten many requests for recipes, so here I am attempting to please you lovely people!

***Disclaimer: most things I make, I am able to make educated guesses from previous experience with certain foods, and sometimes I don’t write everything down that I do. So if I’m not following an already established recipe, chances are I’m guestimating measurements and what not, but I shouldn’t be too far off!

First up is a hearty breakfast involving these yummy things called oats. As much I have been trying to stick to bounds of raw fruit in the morning, I do recognize that oatmeal breakfasts give me the most sustained energy for my mid-morning workouts. In efforts to get creative, I thought up this fun spin on traditional oatmeal!

Blueberry-Banana-Date Oatmeal Bake

Obviously I had to immediately taste test 😛
  • 1.5 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flax meal
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 ripened banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (up to you)
  • 3 medjool dates
  • Cinnamon (how much do you like cinnamon?!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together flax meal and water. This will serve as your binding agent. Stir. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Mash ripened banana to a creamy, non-clumpy consistency.
  4. Mix together oats, creamed banana, flax-water combo, and stir together.
  5. Pull apart medjool dates into pieces and add in. Mix.
  6. Add in blueberries. Mix.
  7. Add in as much cinnamon as you prefer. Mix.
  8. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes. (Watch them, because cook time will vary based on oven)

Make sure to let them cool once done cooking! Those berries get might toasty. Enjoy! And if you’re feeling extra indulgent, smother the top with a nut butter of choice. 🙂

Peanut-butter Chocolate Chip Brownies (Vegan, GF) – adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

So moist & rich!
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup natural maple syrup (honey or agave works too!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all natural unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, if desired
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Oil 8×8 inch pan. (I rubbed a dab of coconut oil all over)
  3. Cream together peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and applesauce.
  4. Add chocolate chips into batter, and mix well.
  5. Pour batter into pan and place pan in oven for 18-22 minutes.

They are vegan, so no need to worry about them cooking all the way through! Take them out whenever you desire, depending on how gooey you like ’em.

I mentioned last post that I would be creating a What I Eat in a Day blog post, like this post last winter, as my next feature, but as much as I take pictures of food, I can’t quite seem to remember to take a picture of every single thing I eat and I want to be the realest I can with you all. I’m determined now though, so hopefully you’ll be seeing one very soon!

As for now, I’ll be living up the rest of my summer…maybe at home, maybe at a brand new place! Only time will tell.

Let the earth be your pantry and life be your jungle gym!

Where’s the most creative place you’ve worked out?

I’m out. Chow!

Give Me Carbs or Give Me Death

Clever title, eh? Gotta thank my good man Patrick Henry for that one.

Sheesh! Have I already started to miss being a student? As unpleasant as it was to study, do homework, write papers and attend classes, I think I really will miss being educated on the daily. Here’s to hoping I will retain some of what I’ve learned the past 17 years!

There’s one thing for sure that won’t be leaving my brain anytime soon — my passion for health, wellness and world betterment.

I like to keep myself educated and up-to-date on news in the health community, particularly plant-based movements and any and all information that I can use to better my own self, and eventually others.

My most recent (I guess we can call it) “discovery” has been the high carb, low fat vegan diet. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, there are many ways to do any diet, including veganism. And after nearly two years vegan, you better believe I’ve pretty much tried it all.

As a vegan, you definitely learn how to plan & prepare ahead! — trip to Dewey Beach, DE with some girlfriends 🙂

From the very beginning stages, I was just eating whatever I could find that was vegan and seemed relatively healthy. I then moved on to try and smash in as much vegan protein as possible as I picked up weight lifting. Meanwhile, I thought that since healthy fats are healthy, they should be therefore limitless for healthy consumption. Wrong-o.

***These are all better options than animal protein & animal fat consumption, but there’s a better way!

I had heard about raw veganism, raw til 4 and 80-10-10, but never did they resonate with me quite like they do now.

After following fabulous vloggers, like Freelee the Banana Girl, Annie Jaffrey, and particularly Nina & Randa, I’ve found the secret to the most efficient vegan diet, to successfully live out this lifestyle of abundance.

This was my breakfast one morning!

By consuming 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fats — high raw, your body is able to maintain high, stable levels of energy while feeling ultra satisfied. The best part though? That abundance bit — you can eat as much as your heart desires!

It wasn’t until just recently that I started incorporating starches into my diet. Coming from conventional health info, I always avoided white potatoes and white rice, but I’ve learned that with a low-fat vegan diet, these are excellent sources of energy. (CARBS = ENERGY)

I whipped out my family’s rice cooker I knew we had hiding somewhere and since, have been incorporating rice into my dinners each evening, white or brown. It’s added fantastic texture to my carbed-up meals.

Oil-free, salt-free oven baked sweet potatoes, kidney beans, chopped spinach, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions and white rice
Chana masala chickpeas, steamed broccoli and white rice

Remember, the carbs I’m speaking of are the good carbs: fruits, veggies, grains, legumes and starches, not to be confused with their evil sibling, refined carbs: white breads, pastas, chips, cake, cookies, candies, etc.

I have already noticed a heck of a difference in my energy during the day, during workouts and vibrant clarity of my skin.

9 mile morning bike ride!

The other thing to note is the importance of consuming foods as close to their natural state as possible. This means raw whenever possible and  leaving out the oil and salt. These are two things I’ve recently tried to ditch completely. Yes, there are some oils that are deemed healthier than others, but oil is a refined fat, which should not be included in a healthy diet. Salt raises blood pressure and physically causes bloating.

It is extremely important to understand the detriment that salt and oil can bring to your nutrition, so you’re better off just leaving them out completely. There are so many other alternatives to season your food, AKA amazing herbs, spices and citrus fruits! I can honestly say I don’t miss them one bit, and feel much better without them. Consider them the ex-boyfriend that was weighing you down!

Oven-Baked HCLF Potato Wedges
An easy high-carb, low-fat vegan starter kit food item is mastering the oven-baked fries. Start off by grabbing any potato of your choosing. Set the oven for 410 degrees. Slice the potato into wedges, or whatever shape you like. Season the wedges with whatever herbs or spices you like. Place the potato wedges in the oven for 20 minutes. And wah-lah, perfect crisp and delicious “french fries” that are nothing but good for you. No oil or salt needed!

Delicious oil-free, salt-free, black pepper & paprika seasoned oven baked potatoes with guacamole and cucumbers/red peppers

Like I mentioned, this diet is one of abundance. I can literally eat as much as I want and stay lean and energized. If that doesn’t convince you, did I mention it’s also the healthiest, most economical, most environmentally sustainable, most ethical, and overall best diet (but actually, lifestyle) to save this world? Well, it is.

That’s all for now, folks! Be expecting a “What I Ate in a Day” blog post coming up.


It’s Good to Be Strong

Happy Thursday, my darlings!

These past couple of weeks have been pretty relaxed, as I’ve been really focusing my efforts on my career pursuit. This means lots of time spent at home working on job applications, at the gym, trying to be outside (stop already, rain!), and on artistic endeavors.

While I’ve had the time on my hands to go to the gym when I please for as long as I please, I’ve done a good amount of reflecting on why I do what I do. Why do I put forth so much of my time and energy into a warehouse room filled with big, bulky metal contraptions?

And it hit me. I LOVE being strong. It’s the most empowering feeling knowing that you’re a powerful human being, a force of nature.

My summer starting point — oh the possibilities!

Going through your day to day life capable of whatever life throws at you is a feeling beyond any other. Knowing that you have the ability to exert strength and stamina whenever it is due is beyond ideal. Recognizing that you can defend yourself in this scary world provides peace of mind.

It’s about taking a stand for yourself — investing in you.

This strength is not limited to the physical sort. But of course, it is a plus!

Consciously putting yourself through pain and struggle, knowing you can quit at any moment, but refusing to, is where mental strength comes in. Continuously reminding yourself that this battle is worth the pain, that you will come out on the other side a better individual is where strength is born.

Finally, realizing the benefits of that struggle is what instills the values of hard work and mental vigor.

I believe that transitioning to the vegan lifestyle, despite social norms, social criticism, disrupting my normal diet, changing the way I think about food and the world, has undoubtedly improved my mental strength.

Flex your body, flex your mind!

Sure, I could have quit at any moment the past 2 years and gave into eating some butter or cheese (too far gone to even consider meat) with the constant pressure I face to give in, but I choose not to. For myself.

This strength allows for me to look beyond the adversities of daily life and see the big picture to overcome them. What is the significance of doing or not doing a specific action in the long run? Why have I made the decisions I have?

Why am I abstaining from animal products? Why have I chosen to get up before the sun rises to work out? Why can’t I just be like a “normal” person?

Because I value my strength and determination, and feel so grateful everyday that I have it within myself to carry out the life I have chosen to live.

Post back & biceps workout today!

I genuinely believe that male or female, young or old, strength is vital to a healthy, happy existence. Invest in your mind and body. Invest in yourself.

Chow for now 🙂