The Path of Compassion

Switching over to a plant-based diet is by far one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. Not only did I lose weight, gain energy, and a newfound love of living…

It also opened my heart and mind to the path of compassion. I originally chose to become vegan because of my deep love for animals and this beautiful planet, mother earth. Nowhere in my mind was I considering my own health.

I decided to start eating vegan after watching a documentary called “Vegucated.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching it (available on Netflix). I could not believe how much I had been living in the dark before seeing this film. It highlighted everything from health benefits, to the impact on the earth, to the treatment of the animals in the food industry. If you don’t want to sit for a documentary and are still unaware of the impact eating animals has, here’s a short clip to sum it up for you:

At the time I made the switch, I was severely depressed and suicidal. I felt my life was worthless, but I knew now I could still make a difference for others. I now had the motivation and information I needed to start making the world a better place for animals, nature, and those around me simply by changing the way I cook my meals.

It was hard at first. At the time, I disliked most fruit and vegetables. It took me 4 months after I decided to finally cut cheese from my diet (eventually just losing the taste for it). I became what most call a “junk food vegan,” eating mainly prepackaged “chik’n” nuggets and boca patties. I began experimenting slowly with new foods as I went along, and soon started to develop a desire to become healthier in this lifestyle.

Through a lot of trial and error in the kitchen and several Pinterest boards, I learned how to work with nature’s gifts and create meals I could enjoy and share with others. The weight started to come off, and a lot of love for myself and the world around me took its place. The lifestyle of veganism has allowed me to overcome depression, heal my self image, relate to others on a deeper level, and be conscious of and improving my impact on the world around me.

Veganism opened my heart on a very deep level. It taught me to treat others the way I wished to be treated, and to treat myself the way I felt I deserved to be treated. It allowed me to think past diet in ways of lessening my carbon footprint. It developed a lasting and growing capacity for love of this beautiful planet and all of its inhabitants. I have also been blessed with growing intuitive abilities as I navigate my way through life. Never before have I felt so blessed, guided, and full of love. Before veganism, I was at rock bottom. Now, I am always growing and expanding upwards.

I share this with you because this month is World Vegan Month. When you sit at the table to eat your meals, be aware of what is on your plate. How much plant food is there? Everyone should strive to make plants at least 80% of their diet. Even try eating a fully vegan meal every day (or go a day to a week fully vegan!) Doing something this simple could make a tremendous positive impact on the planet, making it a better environment for all of us and generations to come. If you’re feeling very adventurous, I challenge you to go this whole month eating plant-based meals. I promise, it is much easier than you think. If you need advice, you can contact me!

If veganism is not something you feel you could commit to, I understand. Not everyone is ready for it. Please just be aware of where you are sourcing animals and their byproducts from. Get in touch with local farmers. Go hunting yourself and thank the animals for the sacrifice of their lives for yours. In the mean time, check out this list of documentaries on how effective plant based diets are:

https://nutriciously.com/best-vegan-documentaries/

and this website created by Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, who with his team, scours the latest science and medical journals to answer the question haunting today’s society, “What is the healthiest diet?”

https://nutritionfacts.org/

and before you even ask about protein:

Warming Autumn Squash Recipe

Autumn is here and with it the cold weather! Living in Michigan the transition going in was definitely whacky. 90s one day and 60s the next. What the heck? I can’t keep up with this state and neither can my body. For the past few days I’ve been feeling a very tense energy and possibilities of a cold coming on, so take care of yourself during this time as we adapt to the changing of the seasons! This means grounding exercises, releasing what’s holding you back, hot tea and warming, nourishing dishes!

This Squash recipe is by far one of my new favorite meals. Acorn squash is full of vitamins and minerals, but most importantly- Vitamin C! Extremely vital for keeping your immune system running while the B vitamins help convert the food to energy. This dish also features pumpkin seeds to add some additional immune boosting power with their zinc content, cranberries for a little sweetness, and warming spices also for healing and comfort 💜

Autumn Squash

Serves: 1-2

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 3 Lacianto Kale Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Cinnamon, Clove, and Fennel to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the Acorn Squash in half and scoop out the insides. In a glass baking dish you may use oil to grease the bottom if desired. If avoiding oil, fill the dish 1/4 of an inch high with water. Place the acorn squash in the baking dish, inside facing down (if using water, cover), and bake for 45-60 minutes.

When the squash is halfway down cooking, prepare the quinoa according to the direction on the package. Typically it’s a 1/4 Cup dry per serving with a 1/2 Cup of water. Boil on low-medium heat until water is absorbed.

Rinse the kale leaves and chop then into 1/2 inch strips. I like to throw then into the pot with the quinoa once it’s halfway done absorbing the water.

When the quinoa is done, take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Get creative here and adjust it all to your taste. I personally use generous amount of cinnamon, a few shakes of clove, and a sprinkle of fennel seeds (to be exact 😜).

Once the squash is done, take it out of the oven and “stuff” it with the quinoa mixture. I recommend mashing up the squash a bit before adding the mixture to allow it to release some of the heat first. You could also scoop it out of the skin if desired.

Plate it up, serve, and enjoy!!

I used a small squash so this served a very hungry me for lunch, but depending on the squash size and if you wanted to adjust some of the other ingredients (half cup for pumpkin seeds and cranberries) it could easily serve two.

Leave a comment below on what you think! If you try it send me a picture at spoonfulofgratitude@gmail.com ! I would love to see your creations and hear your thoughts. Happy Autumn!

Love & Light

Why to Cleanse

Last week I made a post on how to know when it’s time to cleanse and I talked a little about the cleanse that I am currently on. If you have not read it you can check it out HERE.

Now I will go over some of the things I have learned so far, how this cleanse has made me feel, pros and cons, and share a yummy recipe to satisfy the sweet tooth.
I am on the 6th day of this cleanse, so halfway through. The hardest thing about it is remembering to take the herbal supplements. I will probably have an extra day or two worth of pills to take after my 12 days are up. Another difficulty was adjusting to the foods recommended. My diet before this cleanse was mainly bananas and dates, and both of those are not recommended during the time of cleansing due to their higher sugar content.

Having a limited diet is also a blessing in disguise. It opened a doorway to a whole new abundance of recipes to try out and I have been enjoying experimenting with more vegetables and different foods than I would normally eat.

As for how I have been feeling, to my surprise, I have had a lot more energy. I have moments where I feel a bit more tired or my stomach starts to hurt a bit, but then it is quickly over after I realize I just need to go to the bathroom. This detox has opened my eyes to how connected energy and the gut truly are. If the digestion is sluggish, or there is a buildup from eating foods that are difficult to process, it will decrease energy tremendously. Forty-five to seventy percent of daily energy, on average, is put towards processing food. This percent increases as we eat heavier and more processed foods.

On this cleanse, I have been eating mostly raw, all whole foods; saving the cooked and heavier foods for the end of the day. On the days when I experimented with eating cooked foods for breakfast I found my energy levels started to dwindle much sooner.

Some of the benefits I have experienced on this cleanse thus far include: a LOT less bloating, clearer skin, clearer thinking, connection to the body and its natural signals, better sleep, newfound motivation and passion.

Some of the cons: moments of bloating and brain fog before using the bathroom. … That’s it. I feel better after going to the bathroom every time.

I recommend everyone try out a cleanse at least once. There are so many different kinds of cleanses out there. There are even one-day resets for those of you who feel you do not have the time or feel timid on making the commitment.


Reasons I recommend a cleanse:

  1. It connects you to yourself.
    • A cleanse allows you to tune in to your bodies natural signals.
    • It releases old baggage so you are able to focus on here and now.
  2. It is an act of self love.
    • A cleanse is a commitment to yourself.
    • By turning the focus inward, you are acknowledging that there is work to be done, and by releasing all of the old build up you will be able to start fresh and grow anew!
  3. You will feel so much better!
    • Low energy? Low libido? Yeast problems? Gassy or bloated? Angry for no reason? Cleanse.
    • A cleanse is more than just clearing old waste and toxins from the body. It is clearing all of the negativity that has made its home in your body through time. As we progress through life, we carry old burdens with us. A cleanse can bring those up and release them leaving you feeling much lighter.

If you are thinking of embarking on a cleanse, here are my top tips to make it easy and painless:

  • Stay hydrated. Always keep water on you. If you don’t drink plenty of water, any toxins being kicked up will just sit inside of you leaving you feeling fatigued and sick.
  • Go at your own pace. If you feel you are only capable of a one day cleanse, then start there. We are all in a different place, and some may have a lot more toxicity built up than others. Release what you can handle and do not try to tackle it all at once.
  • Eat plenty of whole foods, low-sugar fruits and vegetables. Keep the heavy foods (starchy, protein-rich, fatty) to a palm sized portion and see how you feel from there. Keep the focus on high-fiber fruits and vegetables with a high water content.
  • Rest. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the noise of daily life, but if you feel you need to take some time to relax and be with yourself, do it. Light some candles, take a bath, read a good book. Whatever it takes to keep you grounded and at peace.
  • Ask for support. Sometimes our biggest downfall during a cleanse can be being around others who are not on one. Make sure the people you surround yourself with know about and respect what you are doing for yourself. That way you feel supported through the process and will feel less tempted to go off-course.
  • Forgive yourself. If you mess up once, do not worry about it. I have already forgotten the pills I was supposed to take at least 3 times, and I ate grapes (a high-sugar fruit, not on my acceptable list) on the first day! That did not stop me from striving forward towards my goal. Never let a bump in the road keep you from yours.

Recipe

Sweet Potato and Millet-meal

Serves: 1

1 Cup cooked Millet
1 Small baked Sweet Potato
Almond Milk, to cover
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
Dash of Vanilla
Generous shakes of Cinnamon

Directions: Stir the millet in a container with the flax, vanilla, almond milk, and cinnamon. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight, or while the sweet potato cooks. Cook the sweet potato whole in a glass baking dish for an hour at 300 degrees (quicker at higher temperature, but not as good for you.) Right before the potato is done baking, put the millet concoction into a small pan and warm on low. When the sweet potato is done, cut it in half and drizzle almond butter in the center. Plate it up and Serve!


 

Signs You May Need to Cleanse

How do you know when it is time to cleanse?

Here are a few warning signs:

  • Feeling heavy and lethargic
  • Being stuck in cyclic patterns
  • Dropping everything
  • Bump into every object and wall you pass
  • Difficulty thinking or talking clearly
  • Bloated or gassy
  • Stressed constantly, even if there is nothing to be upset about
  • Yeast overgrowth (itchy down under)
  • Lack of motivation or apathetic

 

I could keep going on, but I think you get the idea. It could be time for a cleanse when you have a feeling that something is out of balance.

 

Yesterday’s Full Moon had a theme of Transformation and Healing.

Lately, I have been feeling out of balance. I found this to be the perfect time to embark on a cleanse. On the Full Moon, I decided to dry fast the whole day and decide where to go from there.

During this fast a couple things came up for me:

I have been very hard on myself and need to learn balance between resting and working;

And…

Emotions are meant to be felt, not bottled up or hidden. On that note, they are also not meant to be dwelled on. It is perfectly acceptable to not be super happy and enthusiastic all the time; it’s exhausting. It’s also not ideal to be upset or negative all of the time. What matters is to find a peaceful balance between the two to return to once the positive and negative have been experienced.

 

Today, I have decided to continue my cleanse. I woke up feeling a bit lighter emotionally and spiritually, but physically I could tell there is work to be done as I am still quite heavy. I am no longer fasting, as I do lead an active lifestyle and work full time. I will be using the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox for the next 12 days. I invite you to find a cleanse that works for you and join me in this venture on the road to overcoming obstacles and healing from the inside out. It doesn’t have to be intense or cost a lot of money. It could be as simple as cutting out all processed foods for a week and drinking 2 litres of water a day. We are all in different places. It’s important to acknowledge where you are at now, and what you feel ready for.

The focus on this cleanse will be to drink plenty of water, eating only fresh fruits and vegetables, and to eat foods that are mainly alkaline. I will check in throughout the cleanse with updates and inspiration, so stay tuned and make sure to be following me on this blog or other social media (found at the top and bottom of this page).

If you would like to eat according to the detox I am using, I will include a link to the PDF file of the food list HERE.

 

We are blessed with these bodies to embark on a human experience, filled with the good and bad, always in a state of growing. Throughout a 70 year lifespan, a single person clears at least 25,200 lbs of waste from the body. On top of this, we are constantly storing gunk from a lot of the foods people are not meant to eat and energies from our environment, other people, and our own emotions. It is vital to take care of these vessels and give them the love they deserve for working so hard to keep us going. It is time to check in with ourselves and take notice of what the body, and intuition, is telling us.

What is yours telling you?