Tag Archives: plant based

Coffee: To drink, or not to drink?

9 May

My name is Lauren, and I’m a coffee addict.


I used to think there was nothing wrong with drinking coffee, that I NEEDED coffee to get around, to do my schoolwork, to focus in class. I’m still not completely convinced that I don’t… but I’m also aware that could just be the addict in me talking. Because within the past year I’ve realized coffee also tends to make me more anxious and on-edge. Plus, what I’ve read/heard about the effects of caffeine turn me off.

When my parents and I attended the Farm 2 Forks event in Austin, Dr. Essy spoke about how coffee causes damage to the endothelial lining of our arteries. Of course no caffeinated coffee was served over that weekend, but I was surprised to find myself alert and focus despite having lack of sleep and no morning coffee. It seemed the deliciously healthy food had something to do with my high energy levels. 🙂


I’ve also noticed no caffeine has kept my energy levels more consistent — no extreme highs and lows like when I’m hyped up on caffeine (and sugar). Of course, I do sometimes enjoy those highs, but I’ve found overall that the resulting lows aren’t worth it and leave me more cranky, anxious, and tired. And I can actually stay up late more easily without coffee. Who would have known?

So I’ve actually been going without my regular morning and afternoon cups now, and I have to admit I feel wonderful. The first few weeks were tough and i found myself wanting to eat ALL THE TIME, but that has pretty much balanced out now that I’ve adjusted. Do I miss coffee some mornings? Hell yeah. And there have been a few particular times I’ve been low on sleep and have caved and had a cup… But was sad to admit I just didn’t like how it made me feel anymore.


I think it’s safe to conclude the best steady source of energy is healthy plant-based foods! (And exercise!)


Sweet Potato & Kale Tacos

21 Apr

These are the easiest things ever, and so yummy and healthy!

Sweet Potato & Kale Tacos


Serves 2-4 (depending on appetite)

1 sweet potato, cooked (I poke it and stick in the microwave for 5 min)

1 bunch of kale

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

A few dashes No-Salt Seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash Original)

Corn tortillas


1. Steam the kale. I don’t currently own a steamer basket, so I simply heat about 1/2 cup water over medium heat, add kale, and wait for it to wilt down. Then I drain the kale.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients on medium heat until heated throughout.

3. Spoon into tortillas and enjoy! I also like to sprinkle on some sliced green onions, if I have them.

Engine 2: My Farms2Forks Weekend and exciting news!!

20 Apr

I actually have two subjects to report on in this post. Let’s start with the Farms2Forks adventure:

A few weekends ago, I took an awesome trip with my parents to the amazing Austin, TX, for a two-day immersion conference on a whole foods, plant-based diet! It was a weekend of amazing speakers, delicious food, and beautiful scenery! The conference was held outdoors at Boggy Creek Farms, and was run by members of the Engine 2 Diet and the documentary Forks Over Knives.

We ate extremely healthy, and were basically eating the whole time. That’s how I like it — GOOD healthy food, and lots of it! I believe all of the food was made and prepared by Natural Epicurean of Austin.

So fresh!

So green!

I completely fell in love with this simple dessert.. Brownie bites! I believe they’re just walnuts, dates, and cacao blended together.

Oh, and they were rolled in coconut. YUM!

Another simple favorite.. the breakfast. We had breakfast tacos each morning — grilled veggie or potato and mushroom — and oatmeal with green tea or decaf coffee. The best.

And these little delights are simply strawberries stuffed with a blend of banana and cocoa powder, topped with mint! (Can you tell I have an obsession with desserts?)

Gah, I miss that food. But that wasn’t the only great part of the weekend; in fact, the people there were what made it truly amazing. I was super excited to get pictures with a couple of them:

Rip Esselstyn, firefighter and author of the Engine 2 Diet book (which I highly recommend, especially if you are still getting the hang of a plant-based diet), Rip was busy pretty much leading this whole conference so I had to get this picture quickly. I was glad I did, though!

Rip’s father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. This man is so impressive and he has made a difference in so many lives. His book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, is a must-read. As I stood in line waiting to shake his hand and have him sign my book, I noticed how kind and patient he was, answering people’s health questions. A humble man, indeed.

The other people there who I didn’t manage to get a good picture of:
Brendan Brazier – vegan Ironman triathlete, bestselling author, and creator of Vega

Dr. Doug Lisle – psychotherapist and author of The Pleasure Trap (hilarious guy, by the way! I love his dry humor)

Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN – plant-based dietician and nutritionist. This guy makes you wanna give him and huge hug and be his best friend! He’s awesome!

So yeah, I’d say the whole weekend was one of the best times of my life.

I missed those people, the food, and the farm (and Austin) the moment we left. Plant strong for life, baby!

And now for my second bit of info — and I’ll make this short because this post is long enough already — but I’m excited to announce that this summer…

I’ll be interning at Farm Sanctuary in New York!! AAHH!

I’m going to be a communications department intern, and I’m SO SO excited to meet all the animals and people, and to experience New York for the first time!