I Was a Guest Speaker on the Family Planet365 Podcast!

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I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker on Family Planet365 which aired on LA Talk Radio! The host of the show, and my big cousin, Malena Jackson asked me to discuss some of our journey with infertility and IVF as well as what I’m looking forward to in becoming a first time mommy! I jumped at the chance because anytime I’m able to share our story regarding baby making I do it because I definitely feel that it isn’t discussed enough.

I believe that sharing these types of experiences opens up a dialog that can potentially change how we as a society treat the sensitive subject that is pregnancy. It’s all to common for people to insert themselves into such personal business and while there may be no malicious intent, it can be very hurtful to the person on the receiving end. You never know what a person or a couple is dealing with behind closed doors.  I think that by sharing these stories, one might think twice before asking a woman or a couple when they plan to have children or asking “what’s taking so long??” or pointing out that they aren’t getting any younger so they should make it happen soon… Not knowing that they may have been trying for years or not knowing that the may have experienced several miscarriages, or not knowing that they can’t even have children of their own or not knowing that they don’t have any intention of ever having children.

It is also my hope that by my sharing our story, another woman or couple can find comfort in knowing that someone else knows what they’re dealing with, though my experience may not be exactly the same as theirs.  I hope they find comfort in knowing someone sympathizes with them and their situation and that someone is trying to make a change, however small that change might be, that will potentially keep them from having to answer those uncomfortable questions mentioned above. A change that will make people realize that someone else’s plans for their womb is none of their business, whether they’re family or not, and they shouldn’t question it unless the person on the receiving end is the one to bring up the topic.

I decided to film the conversation, which I have posted below, but it turns out that its pretty tough to hear Malena’s end of the conversation, especially without headphones so I’ve also added the link to the playback of the podcast! However you chose to listen, I hope that you enjoy it and get something good out of it!

 

Full Interview Link: http://latalkradio.com/content/family…

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Cinco De Mayo… on a Boat!!! [Jax RVPs + Drone Footage]

So our homies, Jason and Jenn Cueva, became members of Jax Boat Club and decided to get some of the Regional Vice Presidents in our office together for a morning/afternoon on the water! Funny thing, It was never really meant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo… that part was just a coincidence, lol. It was also a coincidence that the RVPs that ended up on the boat were all originally from the Catalyst Base! lol! (You’ll get that if you’re in Primerica.. ;))  So it was kind of like a mini family reunion! We did have one non-RVP… as one of our colleagues pointed out to me in a comment on the video, lol. Yes, Kelby joined us and brought along his drone as a request from Jason! And we’re so glad he did because he captured some amazing footage that made the day, & Jason’s and my vlog, even more special!

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[All Drone Footage/Photos by Kelby Kniat]

 We headed out just before 8am that morning. It was cold. There was a much needed thunderstorm the night before, that made the morning quite windy and chilly but we toughed it out!!! Because that’s what winners do! Aside from the chill, it was a gorgeous morning and it only got better throughout the day!

Our first stop was our own little private beach! We were the first and only people to touch it that morning and we definitely made our presence known with hundreds of deep footprints in the wet sand. We chilled out, pun intended, and had a bite to eat while Kelby set up the drone. Asley and I had a vegan Tofurky sandwiches [w/ vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato, and avocado] and chips! I also had some roasted red pepper hummus, which I happily added to my sub as well, and gluten free pita chips. Oh, and tequila.. #AlwaysPrepared.

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First footprints of the day!  [Photo by: Jason Cueva]

 Kelby finally got the drone going and all the boys were like kids in a candy store, lol! I must admit.. I caught the drone bug. That thing was pretty badass and I want one.  A couple of seagulls decided to join in on the fun which made for some really cool footage in the vlog! It seems like you’re looking at the birds point of view in addition to the drones. I was kinda excited about that, lol. It felt very artistic!

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[Drone Footage/Photos by Kelby Kniat]

 Once we finished playing with the drone we noticed our boat was getting stuck!  All of our big strong boys were able to free it and we left our little private beach to head back towards a giant sand bar in the middle of the water that we had passed earlier.

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Hanging up front with my Jenny pie! [Photo by: Jason Cueva]

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Braids gone wild in the wind!!!

We hung out there for quite some time of because the weather took a turn for the better! It was warming up quite a bit and we celebrated it with more shots and beer!! lol! I took full advantage of the sun and got a little tanning in… Kelby broke out the drone again and captured even more beautiful footage!  We walked around on the sand bar a bit, still slightly bundled up because of the wind, before heading back to the boat to sit and bask in the sunlight. And drink, lol.. and eat.. and laugh…

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[Drone Footage/Photos by Kelby Kniat]

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PRI Family! [Photo by: Jason Cueva]

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Shots!!!!

We left the sand bar and headed back to the marina to hang out by the pool. By this time it was back to full on Florida weather so the pool was definitely a welcomed treat!!

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Brandon with a killer cannon ball!

All in all, it was a perfect day. Lots of convo, laughter, dranks, and quality time with people we’ve grinded with, grown with, won with and love!! Here’s to many more days like this in the future!! Thanks again Jason and Jenn!!

Eddie Pearl Stopped By for a Visit!

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January 8, 2017

He walked around the room smiling from ear to ear. That smile I know and adored. He never spoke a word but happiness beamed from his presence. He stopped and stood in front of me, arms stretched out and eyes gleaming, awaiting my embrace. I quickly and lovingly obliged. My arms went straight through him, his ghost, but I felt every bit of him.

The home we were gathered in was unfamiliar but the entire family was there. While I couldn’t see their faces, I knew who they were. They were all in the kitchen, which was in full view of where I stood, laughing, talking and visiting.

Granddaddy began walking around the living room again where we had our little visit. Still smiling. I called out to the family, “Grandaddy’s here!!!” They didn’t immediately respond but shortly after, they became aware. They could see him! The family poured into the living room and formed a giant group hug around our sweet Eddie Pearl, unable to embrace him but also feeling every bit of him just as I did. We may have all stood there holding each other but he was very much there. Though we couldn’t physically touch him, we could see his handsome and kind face and we could feel his love for each of us. Happiness, love and family overwhelmed the room.

And then it was just the two of us once again. He stood in front of me, still grinning and holding my gaze as a bright round white light flashed before my eyes.

I woke up immediately. Heart beating out of my chest. All I could do was smile.

I love you granddaddy. Thank you for the visit. I’ll tell everyone you stopped by to say hello.

The Other Side, Part 2

Part two: Eddie Pearl Thompson guides me to my gifts.

It was the day we laid my grandfather, Eddie Pearl, to rest.  After the funeral, the family went back to his home to reflect and be together. During this time, my brother, my cousins, and I walked around the house in search of things that we wanted to take to remember our beloved grandfather by.

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I walked around and around, glancing here and there but I just could’t find anything I wanted. I wanted whatever I took to have meaning and to be special. I voiced to my dad that I couldn’t find anything and he told me to just keep looking. Look close. So I walked around again. This time paying very close attention to the things that one might not see. I made my way over to the stairs that lead to the attic. The stairs that my brother, my cousins, and I had run up and down countless times as children. There was a shelf there that my granddaddy kept all of his family photographs on. It had always been there. As I looked through them all, something caught my eye… tucked way back underneath the lowest of the steps was a frame. Inside that frame was a scripture.

One thing about my grandfather… He was a Godly man. He was completely filled with the spirit and you knew it as soon as you spoke to him. You see, my grandaddy was the ONLY person to ever ask me, every single time I saw him, “are you reading your bible?” Never failed. Each encounter, he would ask and I would answer no and he would encourage me to read the word and to pray. I’d attempted to read it several times but I’d always fall off. I still struggle with it but I’ve always had a close relationship with God. One that is its strongest today.

So when I came across this frame, I felt a slightly overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to find it. The following events proved to me that that feeling was true. I scooped up the frame and continued my journey around his home that I’d explored countless times as a child. I walked into the kitchen and stood in front of the sink. Would you believe it?!? There sat a little mug with my name literally stamped on the front! I almost fell out! I grabbed it and continued around the kitchen. Tucked in the back corner of the room by the window was a white and rusty vintage kitchen cart. I thought to myself, “I’d always wanted one one of these!” I went back and forth with myself about whether or not I would take it… I felt so drawn to it. More on that later. I opened the little doors and looked through the cart and found all kinds of dishes and trinkets. I ended up with a crystal butter dish and candy dish. I don’t believe that these were items I was guided to though. I took them off of sheer impulse. I left the kitchen, with the cart still heavy on my mind, and made my way into the living room.

My grandfather collected all kinds of treasures. Some may have called it junk, but me, I was always fascinated by his little trinkets. I always wondered what it was about them that made him want to bring them home.  While looking through his things, I glanced up at the mantle over his wood burning stove and I saw a little silver locket with a cross on the front of it hanging from a nail. I grabbed it and opened it up. Inside was another scripture! At this point I was feeling some type of way. This was no coincidence. I pocketed it and proceeded on my journey. I ended up at his work desk. I looked all through this work desk a million times in my childhood. We’d always find the coolest things there. Sitting right on top was his bible with a magnifying glass. I am positive he used it to read his bible. I picked up the bible and wasn’t shocked to see that it was worn, tattered, and very frequently used. It was marked in, bookmarked, and falling apart.  I wondered if I should take it, my dad said I should, but something in me said no. As I went to set it back down, right underneath where I picked it up from was a brand spanking new and beautiful bible. I giggled to myself because I immediately knew it was meant for me. One for me to use until it was worn and tattered. Even still, he encouraged me to read the good word. I picked it up, along with his magnifying glass, held them close and went about my search.

I walked over to his bureau that sat by the front door. He kept all his hats there. Inside he kept shirts and handkerchiefs among other things. I took a golden colored hanky with E. Thompson hand written by him in the corner. Had to have it. So it was mine and it completed my search through his home.

Back to the vintage cart. I still couldn’t get it off of my mind but I decided to leave it. We left to head back home and I thought about it all the way there. I was’t too terribly worried because I knew my dad would be back on a monthly basis and if I wanted it, he would bring it to me. That spring, I decided I would start my garden. I’d been wanting to start a container garden on my balcony for years so I finally made it happen. My dad has an amazing garden and so did my grandfather. We all share some similar passions and one is fresh food straight from the earth. Maybe that’s why I had such an urge to begin my own. As I set up my garden I was trying to think of a storage solution to hold all of my tools and plant food. I looked all over town and couldn’t find anything that would work or that I wanted. Then BAM! Hit me like a ton of bricks!! The CART!!! Yes!!! That’s why I couldn’t get it off of my mind from the moment I walked away from it. It was meant for me, just not at that time! I wasn’t ready for it yet but the time had come for me to claim it. I called my dad immediately and on the next trip he took to Cataula, Ga, he packed up the cart and brought it to me. I put it in my garden and it looked like it belonged there the entire time. The best part… when I open the doors I smell nothing but my granddaddy’s home. I’ve had it about a year and I can still smell it. I eventually plan on painting it to match my balcony but I’m not yet done enjoying how it came to me.

I’ll walk you through all of my gifts, in the same order as explained above, in the video below. Special note to my family… watch till the very end for a sweet surprise!!

I believe that our loved ones who leave this earth never really leave us. They may not be around us constantly but they come to us and communicate with us when the time is right.  My grandparents did just that with me and I couldn’t be more grateful that my heart was open enough to receive both of their messages.

Have you had a similar experience? Don’t be shy! Tell us about it in the comments! I’d love to hear your story.

Love, Nevelyn Pearl

 

 

 

 

The Other Side? Part 1

I met and connected with an incredible woman a couple of weeks ago.  We we spoke on several topics but one in particular was something  I’ve considered writing about for a while now.  My conversation with her inspired me to write about it here.  What are your thoughts on spirits?  Specifically good ones… Have you ever felt that someone you love, who has passed away, has guided you or spoken to you in some way?   I have had moments like these on several occasions.  There were 3 specific occasions… But I’m only going to speak on 2 of them.  Remember in my first blog post, “It’s Official,”  when I told you about Nellie Pearl and Eddie Pearl?  Well, my Grandma Nellie spoke to me in a dream the week of my wedding, and my Granddaddy Eddie guided my steps on the day that we laid him to rest. I believe this with all of my heart.  Here are the stories…

Grandma Nellie Pearl’s Master Plan.

September 2010. My wedding was a about week out and my grandma Nellie was busy making plans in heaven. They were elaborate plans… She had it all figured out.  She appeared to me in a dream and stood in directly in front of me.  She was holding something in her hands but  I couldn’t quite make out what it was.  She reached her arms out to me with with the gift in her hands and a sweet smile on her face and said “I want you to have this.”  I smiled back at her and accepted her mystery gift.  I told her thank you and she told me that she loved me and that was it.  She was gone. I woke up from my dream and I immediately realized what it was even though I didn’t know what it was. I was certain that she was providing me with my something old!  I could feel it with everything inside of me. I didn’t tell anyone about this experience until the night before my wedding.

Meanwhile,  my dad, Daniel, and his sister, Nita,  were enjoying a late night phone call with one another.  I’d like to think that this call was on the exact same night but I’m not completely sure… It may have been the day before but it was definitely the same week. For the sake of my story, we’re gonna call it the same night, lol!

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My Auntie Nita and My Grandma Nellie.

Fast forward to the night before my wedding. We had several family members at our house. We had just finished the rehearsal dinner.  My dad, my auntie, my mother and I stepped away into my bedroom because they wanted to talk to me about something.  They told me that they had something for me… My heart starts beating out of my chest because deep inside I already knew what was happening.  I just couldn’t believe it!!!  So I let them go on to tell me that what the had for me was to be my something old. How fitting is it that she gets her son and daughter to deliver her gift to me for her?!  My Auntie Nita pulls out a black purse with a purple ribbon detail (Purple is my favorite color, btw) on the front that belonged to my grandmother.  Inside was a picture of her holding it. This picture.

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Cue the water works!!! The tears immediately started streaming down my face and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I hugged the deliverers of my package and then took a moment to myself.  I soon called them back in the room and I told the 3 of them all about the dream I had earlier that week. They were stunned!  Why, you ask? Because of this conversation between the my dad and his sister on the phone as told by my father in this video…

Nellie Pearl’s plan had come full circle, well almost…

The next day, my wedding day, I decided that I would walk down the isle with my gift of something old that held a photo of my beautiful grandmother.  I also made sure that my photographer got a shot of me holding it close towards the end of that special night.

You can’t tell me that she didn’t orchestrate all of that!!!  What makes it even more real… I had a similar experience with my grandfather on the day of his funeral. Stay tuned for part 2 where I will share that story with you.

Have you had an experience like this with a loved one who passed away? I’d love to hear about it in the comments if you don’t mind sharing! Thank you for watching and as always, be well!

Love, Nevelyn Pearl

P.S. About the cake… lol! Note to self, Neat Egg makes your cake extra heavy and it also changes the flavor! It kinda fell apart so I didn’t take a picture. I’ll try again in the near future with a different egg alternative and let you know how it turns out!

Yes, I am Vegan. Part 2: FAQ

Ok, let’s jump right in!!  These are the questions I am asked most often since I began living a vegan lifestyle.  If there are any questions you have that I haven’t answered, please leave them in the comment section and I will consider answering them in a future blog post!  Here we go!!!! (Make sure your read Part 1 first!!!)

1. Where do you get your protein from?

This is ALWAYS the first question I get once someone learns I’m vegan.  It’s so funny because it seems that this is the case with every  vegan!  Don’t feel bad…   I didn’t know either, so I did a bit of research while being mindful of using credible sources.  Protein is in pretty much everything.  Did you know that most vegans actually exceed their daily protein requirements?  Research shows that you only need 5-10% of your daily calories to come from protein sources.  There are countless fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, pastas, powders, and breads that contain protein.  Rice and beans alone is a complete protein!  I posted a couple of  pictures below to give you a better idea of the different sources it can be obtained from and how much they contain.

2. Where do you get your calcium?

This is also another common one…  I mean it’s been drilled in us since birth that you get your calcium from milk and dairy products, duh!!!  But what if I told you that milk and dairy products actually cause your body to lose calcium?!  I’m not going to go into details about the horrors of milk consumption but if you like you can check them out here.  Don’t worry, it isn’t scary!  It’s actually a kid’s video!  Some of my personal favorite sources of  calcium that I consume quite often are plant milks (Almond, mostly), kale and collard greens (which are grown in my garden), broccoli, bok choy, and avocado.

 

3. No meat or dairy? What do you eat, lettuce??

* Rolls eyes*  This one is pretty annoying…  I mean really, did you come up with that one all by yourself, lol?  My favorite is when I’m out with friends and they tell the waitress that I’ll have the bowl of lettuce! (Shout out to Rossi, lol) I promise you, a vegan is not deprived!  I feel like my food options have quadrupled!  I’ll show some of my favorite go to dishes in the next post.  I eat good!!!

4.  What about your B-12, where do you get that? (Longest answer!!)

Before I answer,  here is a definition of B12 from Health101.org incase you were wondering!

“B12 is a water-soluble B vitamin that’s vital for carbohydrate metabolism and energy production, also playing an important role in the formation of healthy red blood cells, and in all neurological functions.  B12 is made by a microbe – a bacteria; it is produced by microorganisms.  B12 is the only nutrient that contains a trace element – cobalt – which gives it its chemical name of cobalamin.  We require cobalt, although it is utilized only in the form of B12. And if you want to get technical, B12 is not really a vitamin; we just call it that for the sake of convenience; this is why from this point forward you’ll see me calling it just “B12” (same for “vitamin” D).  And by-the-way, since your body needs cobalt to make B12, if there’s not enough in the foods you eat because of the way they are grown, your body won’t be able to make enough B12, and this is one of the contributing factors to why raw foodists have B12 deficiencies.”

If you want to go more in depth, they have a great article all about it here!

Back to the answer!  I found myself in a conversation not to long ago about this very subject with a person I will refer to as Her.  There were 3 others in the convo (Who just added to the comments made by Person 3 and myself) but Person 3, who is also vegan, had the most relevant additions to our convo and will be mentioned in the recap of said conversation…

Her: Just a word to all vegans: B12.

Me: Very true but many people don’t get enough b12, not just vegans 🙂 We all must keep an eye on it!

Person 3:  B12 is made from naturally occuring bacterias in the soil. Over time, the quality of the soil has gotten worse because of farming and it’s use of pesticides. Because of this we wash our produce thouroughly and the result is we dont get enough B12.  Animals are also deficient in this vitamin and are injected with B12 supplements. A lot of  vegans get their B12 from nutritional yeast and other sources.

Her: What is nutritional yeast?

Person 3: A product that is very “cheesy” in flavor and is used in many recipes that would normally use cheese.

*Side Note* I like to use nutritional Yeast to make “Nacho Cheese” or what I like to call Not Yo Cheeze, lol. I also use it in vegan macaroni dishes!   Wikipedia defines nutritional yeast as follows:

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is sold commercially as a food product. It is sold in the form of flakes or as a yellow powder and can be found in the bulk aisle of most natural food stores. It is popular with vegans and vegetarians and may be used as an ingredient in recipes or as a condiment.

While it contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals, it is only a significant source of some B-complex vitamins. Sometimes nutritional yeast is fortified with Vitamin B12.  Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. It is often used by vegans in place of cheese. It can be used in many recipes in place of cheese, such as in mashed and fried potatoes, and atop scrambled tofu. *End Side Note*

Her: I think that we are supposed to eat meat rather than nutritional yeast, and I am more informed now, because it has low B12 quantities and is mostly produced in an industrialized way…  I don’t think cavemen took their B12 by making nutritional yeast.

Me: (After chuckling internally) Or instead of eating the b12 injected meat, buy the pill, the injection, or the sublingual liquid at your local pharmacy and take it yourself to make sure you are getting adequate amounts! 🙂

Person 3:  Also, Cavemen had better soil quality and didn’t wash their plants as much as we do, so they were getting enough B12 from the soil.  Now, the quality of the soil is worse so we often need a supplement!

Her: We didn’t go through years of evolution to get B12 from pills…

Me: (Still amused at all the shade she was unnecessarily throwing)  I was just stating other alternatives to get the vitamin outside of meat, nutritional yeast, or any other fortified source for those who may not eat it.  We get it how we choose to get it and some may prefer pill form.  To further clarify my point, as P3 stated, the meat you eat is supplemented… It’s not naturally occurring!  I mainly pointed out that you could take the supplement yourself instead of getting it from the already supplemented sources that were mentioned.  One way or another, you’re taking a pill/supplement, whether it be yourself or through a 3rd party…

*Her went on with her defensive answers that ultimately put words in everyone else mouths. Gist, she was saying that our diets shouldn’t be rich in supplements (No one said that it should…) because that’s not good for you and that milk (Cow or plant), dairy, and meat are all supplemented (contradicting her argument) and that’s how we should get the vitamins…

Me: (Ends the entire conversation with this) But the plant milks, meat, and dairy are all fortified with the same supplements!  What’s the difference between taking them in pill, injection, or liquid form as opposed to eating or drinking the SUPPLEMENTED food or drink, lol?  That’s all I, and everyone else, was getting at.  I don’t believe one is worse than the other.  We went from getting B12 from different sources to a diet based in supplements…  I don’t think anyone said to base your diet on supplements, not sure where that came from…  As a vegan, you really have no reason to supplement anything if you’re eating a diet rich in a variety of organic whole foods.

Moral of this quick and random story… If you’re going to call out vegans, be ready to defend your point with factual information that makes sense and definitely don’t get defensive while contradicting your own argument!  Was that mean?  lol.  I hope not.

In conclusion, we get our B12 from either supplements in pill, injection, or sublingual form or from fortified foods you can purchase at your local health food store which include plant milks, nutritional yeast, and breakfast cereals!

5.  Isn’t it expensive?

It depends on the person…  It can get expensive but it can also be very affordable.  Having a plan will absolutely keep you on the more affordable side of the scale. I  don’t find that it is to expensive in my case.  Organic produce and gluten free alternatives were already on my shopping list.  Now, I just buy more of it.  It ends up canceling itself out though because I’m no longer purchasing as much meat and dairy (Hubby still eats them) as I once did.  I just replace what would have been my portion with vegan options.  You will, however, spend a bit more if you try stocking up on all things vegan at once.  I just add the vegan pantry staples little by little as I research recipes that I add into my meal plans.  Planning out what you are going to eat, especially if it’s whole foods heavy, will help you spend your coins wisely.  You’ll buy exactly what you need for the week and it will prevent you from buying more than you can eat in that time frame.  Nothing is worse than seeing your beautiful organic fruits and veggies spoil before you could devour them!  Two words. Meal. Prep.  If you always have something ready to eat you will never be hungry!  If I’m going to be out and I’m not sure if where I end up will be friendly to my diet, I’ll grab one of the prepped meals and some fresh fruit to bring with me just in case.  I also prepare them and haul them in a cooler when I’m headed out of town!!

4. Isn’t it tough?

Yes and no.  Yes because change isn’t easy.  Especially big change.  To completely cut out staple foods in my former diet and our cultures diet is huge!  I literally went cold turkey right before dinner.  I had chicken that I planned to cook thawing out in the kitchen!  I ended up just eating brown rice, beans, avocado, and tomatoes (Huge fave!) and I started researching vegan meals to prepare for the next week while I enjoyed my first.  Going to a restaurant now is an adventure!  Almost EVERYTHING on EVERY menu contains either meat OR dairy or meat AND dairy!  It’s crazy!!!  It’s like a food monopoly!!  It doesn’t make eating out impossible though.  This is where the no comes in.

I’ve learned that most restaurants have vegan menus and if not you can email or call ahead and the staff or the chef is usually good about telling you what to say to the waiter to make certain items on the menu vegan. Order this with out this and this and add this…  I had one chef pretty much write out how to make the majority of his menu vegan and email it to me!  Google is also your bestie!  Just type in “Vegan *Your restaurant of choice* Menu.”  Some amazing vegan out there or the actual restaurant decided to make your life easier and posted what to order online!!  I promise you won’t be deprived especially when you plan ahead!  There will inevitably be a place or two that have super slim pickings (Miller’s Ale House is one of them), if anything.  In these cases, I’ll order like 2 servings of sweet potato or regular fries and chow down on my mono meal or I’ll have something small and eat something else later!

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My  double sweet potato fry mono meal at Miller’s Ale House!

Youtube is a God send!  Recipes upon delicious recipes!  My palette is more well traveled now than it has ever been!  Some of my favorite vegan food channels are HotForFood, EdgyVeg, & FabLunch.

My biggest piece of advice would be to make sure you eat ENOUGH!  That will absolutely make your transition easier and keep you from relapsing and choosing animal products.  I’ll list some of my favorite recipes and how I eat throughout the day in the next post!

5. How am I supposed to eat meat around you now??

Ummm…   just do it!  Like I said in my previous post.  I’m not here to judge you for your choice to eat meat.  I won’t be staring you down with contempt, lol.  Enjoy your food. I do however, hope my veganism peaks your interest and you do a little research and possibly consider a change… but I’m not going to force it on you.  Just don’t tell me you thought about becoming vegan once upon a time if you don’t want me to go in!  Cause I will.

6. What if you were stranded on a deserted island…  would you eat fish/animals then?

I’m pretty sure this would never happen so why should I bother answering?  lol.  However, there’s probably a plethora of edible plants,  fruits,  coconuts, and seaweed on islands… I should be good!

deserted island

Whelp, that concludes my FAQ!  I’ve had several more questions asked but I don’t want to make this post too long!  Plus, it gives me a reason to write another post on my life as a vegan!  Stay tuned for part 3 of this series and as always, be well!!!

Love, Nevelyn Pearl

Yes, I am Vegan. Part 1

It is day 22 of my vegan transition.  I am literally a baby on this journey and have already experienced more than I could have ever imagined.  Luckily for me, I prepared myself before letting my decision be known. Why?  Well, because I knew my disclosure would be met with genuine curiosity, defensiveness, and the ever popular side eye.  I’ve learned quite a bit in these very short 22 days.  About myself, the vegan community, and my friends and family.  It’s actually quite scary…  I mean this is all new to me.  I’ve been a “meat eater” all of my life.  Going vegan challenges not only all I’ve known but all anyone around me has known.  Veganism is a very in your face decision whether you want it to be or not.  At one point, I didn’t even want to label myself “vegan.”  I was prepared to refer to myself as plant based but after much thought, I didn’t want to minimize what it means to be vegan.

Vegan-Poster

photo source: spaecochateau.com

I decided to write this post series to answer the many questions I have already been bombarded with more times than I can count.  I figured, if I write it all here everyone will realize that I’m doing this for ME.  Well, also for the planet and the animals that suffer because our society loves the taste of their dead flesh or the more acceptable term, meat. I’m not here to judge anyone who chooses to eat meat so please don’t feel the need to be defensive for your choice.  I’m just telling you my side of things.  You can do whatever you please with the information because I’ll still love you regardless.  I’m not here to preach to you though it may come off that way unintentionally.  I just know no other way to explain it.

A vegan is one who doesn’t consume meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and some with myself included, don’t consume honey.  They may also avoid leather, wool, and silk along with any products that require animal testing.  I’ll explain my personal views and approach later.  Vegans are not the same as vegetarians as they consume dairy, and eggs.  There are MANY different kinds of vegans in this world.  Some give it a great name and some give it a bad name.  At the end of the day, they all have an important message and are fighting for the same causes.  Some are very extreme in their fight and some fight quietly.  Some even have different views on what it means to be vegan and are so passionate about it that they offend many people, other vegans included.  I am not fond of any approach that disrespects a person for their personal choices in food or in life.  I feel that approach only pushes people away.  I’d like to think that I’m compassionate across the board.  I’m not gonna call you this that and the other and put you down because of your choices because I find that to be hypocritical.  I will, however, urge you to educate yourself on what really goes on.  It’s your own choice from there and it’s not for me to judge.

Why I decided to become a vegan:

Food has the power to change your body for the good or for the bad.  In 2012, I learned for the first time just how much the food I put in my body affected me.  I was at my highest weight.  220 pounds.  It hurts to even type that.  I was at rock bottom.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I was depressed and I’d lost myself.  I didn’t even recognize my own face in the mirror.  I wasn’t taking very good care of me and I had lost all self love. I was in a complete fog.  That summer I had a conversation with my father and that conversation ended with him and I deciding to change our ways and lose weight together as he was also at his highest weight.  He told me about the blood type diet and we followed the lifestyle change together.  Through this change I learned that I was gluten intolerant ( I had almost every symptom of the intolerance) so I cut it completely out of my meals.  It was tough!  Very tough, but I was determined.  The weight literally began to fall off.  I wasn’t even exercising!  Eventually, I began exercising as well and ended up losing a total of 41 pounds.  My dad lost 50 . Outside of the weight loss most of the gluten intolerance symptoms had disappeared, my mind was clearer, and I was significantly happier.  I wasn’t 100% but I just felt better overall.  The best part, I began to love my self again but I still felt more could be done.  I knew that My body and my mind could be healthier.

In 2014, I got ahold of Netflix.  I came across the documentary “Food Inc.” I won’t explain it here but you are more than welcome to watch it.  The gist? It is an eye opening documentary about what really goes on in the food industry and why.  It opened my mind and I wanted to learn more. I then watched “Food Matters“and a few other documentaries. Later, I came across “Forks Over Knives.”  My first introduction to veganism.  Though inspired, I struggled with whether or not I could make the transition.  I mean, a life without meat???   I’d experienced a month without meat, processed food, and added sugar when my husband and I went on a collective fast with our church.  We were literally dreaming of eating meat again.  A month is one thing but to give it up forever…  It’s all I’ve known!  It’s all I’ve been taught.  I couldn’t even fathom that!  No steak???  No bacon???  NO CHICKEN!!!  No way!  That’s cray.  So I didn’t.  I closed my eyes to it but it never really left me.  Especially since I was now aware that I could do it if I really wanted to.

Fast forward to 2015.  My weight had become stagnant.  I still had 20 pounds to lose in order to get to my ideal healthy weight.  I’d stopped my regular workouts and gained back about 5 to 7 pounds.  I’d just been maintaining because of my diet.  Veganism had been a nagging voice in the back of my head so I decided to start slowly eliminating meat from my diet.  For the last year or so I was eating just chicken or turkey at dinner time. Occasionally, I’d have bacon or a burger.  Not often.  Steak or pork maybe once a month.  I still ate eggs on occasion and dairy (specifically ice cream, butter, sour cream, and milk in my Starbucks only)  despite the inevitable breakouts it caused on my face.  Hey, I was an ice cream addict…  It was worth a zit or two, lol.

Fast forward to February 2.  A week before this day, I opened up to my husband and my dad that I was seriously considering quitting meat, dairy, and eggs and going full on vegan. They both answered me with the infamous, Really??   Yes, really. In the coming weeks it will be done.  On the night of February 2, as I researched what would soon be a huge decision in my life, I came across a Youtube video titled “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear.” It was a speech by vegan activist, Gary Yourofsky. I listened to him intently and before it was even finished I vowed I would NEVER eat dairy, eggs, or another piece of dead animal flesh again.  I no longer wanted to personally fund the cruelty that happens in that industry or let the byproduct wreak anymore havoc on my body.  In that moment, there was no question.  I was vegan.  Immediately after the speech, I watched Cowspiracy.  I learned not only is the consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs killing animals and our bodies, it’s killing our planet.  Animal agriculture is NUMERO UNO in killing our planet!  Please, please, please watch ALL of the documentaries I’ve listed if only just to educate yourself.  You DESERVE to know the truth.  You owe it to yourself to know the truth.

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Photo Source: aetherforce.com

22 days in…  I. Have. Never. Felt. Better.  It is night and day.  The first 3 days or so sucked ass.  Yes, I said ass.  Detox is real ladies and gentlemen.  Exhaustion.  Headaches.  Bloat. Gas.  Mood swings.  Frustration.  All of that at once.  But by the end of the first week my body had cleansed itself enough for me to feel the incredible difference.  I still get a little moody because it takes a while for your body to heal completely.  I make sure to get enough calories every day which mostly consists of organic fruits and vegetables more than anything else and I drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Because of this, I haven’t experienced any cravings for anything I have given up.  Not one.  It doesn’t mean I won’t, I just haven’t yet.  Most people lapse because they under eat therefore they crave and go back to what they know.  You have to consume more because the calories in fruit, veggies, and other plant based foods aren’t as dense as those in meat and dairy.  I’ll explain more about what I eat in part 2 or 3… not sure yet.  I feel lighter.  I’ve already lost 3 pounds in less than 3 weeks with minimal exercise.  I’m energized after I eat now instead of tired and sluggish.  I sleep better and more deeply instead of fighting insomnia.  My digestion and elimination, which is something I’ve always had issues with, has improved immensely already!  My skin is brighter and I look more fresh and awake without makeup.  I could go on and on and this is only the beginning.  I’m excited to experience all the changes to come.  I’d also love to share them with you if you are open to hearing them.

So there.  That’s why I made the change.  In part 2, I will answer all the questions I’ve been asked over and over.  I have half a mind to refer anyone who asks them to these posts from now on!  I’m kinda sick of answering them!  Especially since some want to argue with me over my answers about something they’ve never researched.  I answer with facts and I am often met with answers based on emotion and habit.  It can be quite frustrating.  So Again, I implore you to watch the documentaries I mentioned even if you have no plans to go vegan.  Do it for the knowledge.  Do it in case someone you love decides to make the transition so you can be more understanding of why and have productive conversations about it.  Trust me, they will absolutely appreciate it.  You never know… your own child may choose to go vegan one day.  My recommendation is that you start with Gary Yourofsky’s speech and begin the process of “taking the blinders off.”  I say all of this out of love for not only you, but for our planet and for the animals that are affected by our unnecessary everyday choices.  Thank you for reading and be well.

Love, Nevelyn Pearl

p.s.  Please leave a comment with any questions or statements you may have but please be respectful.  No need for disrespect or to call anyone out of their name.  These types of comments won’t be published.  I moderate all of them.  I understand that people have different views but let’s express them respectfully.

I’m no doctor or nutritionist.  I try my best to get all of my information from credible sources.  This is just me telling you my story and what I’ve learned in hopes that it can be of some benefit to you.  Also, I am not yet 100% vegan. There are a lot of changes that I will have to make and those changes take time. Right now, my focus is on my diet but I am also looking into switching out all of my daily products for ones that are cruelty free and I will no longer be purchasing any leather, wool, or silk.  I will dive deeper into this subject in later posts.

Feature Photo source: https://holistichealthliving.wordpress.com