Picking up the Pieces…

It would be easier to say I had writer’s block but that wasn’t completely the case…To not sidetrack too much, I’ll give you the short version.  What most of you may not know until now is that I had some personal events in my life that made me want to lay low for a while.  If there is one regret I have this year, it would be that I let this blog go unattended like I did…Recently I realized that this blog took off the way it did for a reason and it’s a good enough reason that I need to pick myself up and remember those I lost recently and make that the strength to keep everything afloat.  I’d like to thank my family (especially my husband and daughter), all of my friends (both near and far), my church family, and those random strangers who I inspire for helping me through what seems to have been a really rough patch in my life.  But as the saying goes, there is always light at the end of the tunnel and I have a lot of exciting things to share with all of you…
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Making Veganism Work For your Family…

Not your modern grocery cart…I wonder where she hides the box of wine?

Sometimes I try to talk myself out of looking into other people’s shopping carts.  Call me judgmental, but I tend to look over the fact that some people eat junk because they are students or bachelors/bachelorettes but it just bothers me to no end when I see a cart that is clearly controlled out of control by a mother who is in the grocery store trying to provide what she thinks is best for her family.  I’ve seen the processed foods piled high in the cart with very little produce and I also see her children begging for a super sugary item and I often wonder…Where did it all go wrong? 

Let me just admit my age right now…I just turned 30 back in April and somehow, the one thing I recalled often in my childhood is how often my family cooked for each other.  We really only used our microwave to reheat leftovers or to make popcorn.  During holidays, nothing came out of a can except for the cranberry sauce.  My family was not rich (very blue collar), and they saved money wherever they could.  Needless to say, back then the prepackaged foods were expensive and my family could not afford to eat like that except maybe once a week as a “treat”.

Now looking forward, I walk through the aisles at some of my local grocery stores and I’ll find some of the most outrageous looking processed items selling for a super cheap price like it’s going out of style.  I cringe when I see the “special” sales of soda going for 10 cases for $10….It’s even more sickening when I see the aftermath of the soda aisle (only thing missing is the tumbleweed!) when that sale goes on….

Does any store out there sell out of Kale like this???

I am pretty sure most people my age and older will admit, as major food giants master the art of making processed foods cheaper and with a longer than necessary shelf life, real food has been lost somewhere.  I’ll admit, when I first moved out on my own, I ate as much junk as I could because I never had it in abundance and somehow I was shocked on how cheap it has gotten over the years.  But these past few years, even before I became vegan back in 2008, I grew more concerned as my friends and family were getting heavier and less healthy.  Now as a vegan, my passion for food definitely goes beyond my kitchen and most vegan families I know often feel the same way.

Now the biggest myth out there is that feeding your family a vegan diet is expensive.  One of my missions on my blog is to prove to you and all the other families out there that being vegan (and a healthy one to add!) is not going to put a dent in your wallet.  In fact, you might save money or find that your grocery budget became one big colorful bouquet of different colors of produce.  Just remember that I am a housewife, which means I live in a one income household.  Although I am fortunate to have a husband who supports us very well financially where I can choose to work or stay at home, we still have to be careful about our expenses all while trying to make sure we can retire comfortably in the future.

There have been many great resources out there on the internet regarding eating vegan on a shoe string budget but no one mentions it on a very easy, family level except for one place in particular (courtesy of Meridith at vegheadfamily.com).  I also took the time to ask those who are connected to me via Facebook and the responses were very clear…it was not only easy but EXTREMELY accessible:

Let’s say you are making chili and use ground beef. Ground beef is anywhere from $2 to $6 a pound. If you make it meatless using canned beans, for that same $2 you could buy 4 cans of beans–way more than poundage for your buck than that $2 unhealthy ground beef. -Hilary R.
You can get some great deals on veggies and fruit at farmer’s markets…especially if you go just before closing time.- Cherry C.
I always buy my beans in bulk and cook them from scratch. So much cheaper (and healthier) than canned and really not that hard using my handy-dandy pressure cooker.- Meridith L.

Shopping at a Costco if you have one in your town is a wonderful way to get quality organic produce, affordable for one or twenty.- Teri S.
We have realzied that we use to eat out A LOT before becoming Vegan – we may spend more at the grocery store, but we eat at home so much more now. We enjoy searching the internet for new recepies and we do it together as a family to keep everyone involved. -Katherine B.
1 lb of uncooked/bagged beans…around $.87! Don’t tell me you can’t afford it 🙂 -Karen A.

Right now, I wish that same mom I saw at the store knew about my blog and could read those responses.  Sometimes when I see people like her and I wish I could offer some inspiration without coming off as self righteous.  Before I was the lovely vegan housewife you know and love today, I was working in healthcare for nearly 10 years.  I saw firsthand young business professionals in their 20’s-30’s taking high cholesterol medication.  Also, it broke my heart to see a young child who was suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and her mother bribing her with ice cream after her office visit.  Luckily, I had a few former bosses who were not the coddling type and confronted these people but I know this is not the case in most practices because after all, patients are like customers and you need to keep them happy and as we all know the truth hurts, which can damage “the business”.  Don’t get me wrong, I trust medicine to an extent- I’m just sick of the lack of tough love that they should be giving out!  If any of you out there has given out any “tough love” to anyone as a wake up call to their health, what was your approach???  Most importantly, did it work???


Before I go on…I AM NOT A HIPPIE!!!  Wow…that felt great to get that out in the open 🙂  Some of you stumbling on my blog may not know me and are probably wondering what dragged you here in my lovely corner of the internet.  I decided to use my first post to let you in on my crazy world.  For those who already know me, please feel free to skim this post and follow my blog as I am sure you will get as much satisfaction reading it as much as I do writing it.

I guess by looking at the title of this blog, you already know two things about me: 1) I am a vegan.  2) I am a housewife.  What some of you may not know is that I have the best job in the world.  Sure it has its ups and downs but at the end of the day, I spend my most of my waking hours with those who mean most to me (never in any specific order)….

My loving husband Chuck who always sees the glass half full…Or in this case, two full glasses 😉

My first love…Shadow.  For the past eight years, he has been my rock and my furry stalker 🙂
Roscoe- He graduated twice from obedience school at the top of his class…but still no trashcan is ever safe!!!
This is the girl who truly taught me to be selfless…Raegan.  She is the CEO of this family 😉

You might wonder since I have three family members to think about, when do I have time to do anything for me?  Or in that case, what do I like to do?  Well, the first thing you will find out later on is that I love to cook.  It’s my therapy.  I like creating the food people have always wanted to try but never had the time or the patience to do.  I also like veganizing old family favorites, that I like to call “Trailer Park Food”.  It’s basically comfort food that was never intended to be healthy, but possibly healthier because it’s now got a vegan twist to it.  I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor so I can’t quite confirm the “health factor” to that claim.  And also I never, ever lived in a trailer…I just lived a handful of years in my mom’s house in West Virginia that was sooooooooooooooo small that a trailer might have been more luxurious.  Ironic, huh?

Another thing I like to do is travel…either by plane, bus, car, unicorn, etc.  Before I became married, I had my fair share of worldly travel.  Currently, with a young infant, it’s a little more limited but I look back at the places I have been and I appreciated everything I have learned from each place.  I also look forward to sharing those experiences with my daughter once she becomes more “travel compliant”.  The thing that calms my itch to travel is to explore places that are closer to where I live.  I live in one of the most beautiful states in the US and in such a great diverse college town.  That fabulous place is called Charlottesville, Virginia.  I am within driving distance to so many historical landmarks and in crawling distance to a billion (and counting!) wineries, breweries, and distilleries.  The focus of this town is “going local” with a great emphasis on farmers, local businesses, etc.

I am very proud to say that we have a steadily growing vegan population.  My husband and I are “co-organizers” of our local Charlottesville Vegan Meetup Group along with our friend (and original founder) Doug.  Just looking at the website today, our group is just under 150 members strong.  Not all of our members are vegan, but we simply classify our members as “Vegans and Veg Interested.”  We normally meet up at random places for potlucks, restaurants, or just about anywhere doing anything that is vegan friendly.  Chuck and I are still surprised about the random vegans we see in our area who have yet to hear about this group….So if you are that random vegan living in the area-CLICK ON THE LINK NOW!!!

What I am hoping to get out of this blog is that I can share with other people how easy it is to be a NORMAL family and be vegan.  Plus, I have a few interesting things that happen day to day that might bring a smile to someone’s face 🙂  I hope to also be able to give tips/ideas and be able to squash any stereotypes out there regarding my family’s choice of lifestyle.  The more I post on here, the more I hope you see that there are other sides of me than just being “That Crazy Vegan Housewife.”  Also, there are a million vegan cooking blogs out there and as much as I want to try to share with you my wonderful recipes, I don’t want the focus to be just on food (but I still promise you good food!).  My idea is to help that other vegan mom out there or possibly that other person who is simply looking into a simpler, but cruelty free lifestyle.  I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect….I am not always the perfect vegan, but really who is???  Sometimes, we have to weigh our options and go for what’s overall the best choice (like medicine to treat a chronic condition…I wish good health for everyone regardless!).  Many well respected vegans will tell you that it’s all about “being the best vegan you can be” and that’s the point I will always drive home to each and every one of you.  In return, I am expecting a supportive network from people of all walks of life who can relate to my day to day rants 😉

So without any further delay, I give you myself and my crazy life to read about…Enjoy!!!