My name is Ashley, and I’m AlmostVegGirlie! I’ve had a passion for healthy living since I was a freshman in high school (I’m now a junior in college). I haven’t always had the healthiest mindset towards food and exercise, though. I grew up small and petite as a kid, going to dance classes weekly and being active through P.E. classes all throughout school, as well as a short-lived career as a soccer player. I was always a picky eater, but somewhat adventurous, and loved all things sweet, including cereal, fruit and candy. Despite always being one of the smallest in my class, I still developed anorexia in early high school and began cutting out my former favorite foods and dropping to a dangerous weight. With the help of my parents, doctor and a therapist, I worked my way back up to being healthy and happy like I was before. Through my struggles with an eating disorder, I learned to love eating foods that not just taste good but do good for my body. And I started loving being even more active than I was before.
How I Eat
Like my blog says, I am about 90% vegan at the moment. I almost never knowingly eat dairy or egg products but since I am relatively new to this way of eating, I might still be consuming dairy unknowingly, especially at restaurants where cross-contamination is possible. I do NOT eat any meat, though–no fish, beef, pork or poultry. Meat just does not appeal to me at all and the practices used to make it sicken me. I was once a Greek yogurt lover, but now I’ve learned to live without it and I feel much better this way. Veganism was never really hard for me, as I transitioned into it pretty slowly. My freshman year of college, living in the dorms and surviving off the boring dining halls (and the groceries my mom bought me) led to me eating a lot less meat, and basically eating vegetarian. That summer, I became more interested in a completely plant-based diet, and sometime during my sophomore year, I became a full-on vegan. Since then, I’ve tried more new foods than I ever have and my love for cooking has grown.
So what do I eat? Contrary to what most omnis believe, vegans don’t just live on lettuce and carrots. I feel like my diet is even more broad now that I’m vegan! And though I’ve been interested in healthy eating for quite a few years, I’ve only recently gotten into ‘clean eating’ and it’s not just a diet trend for me–it’s a way of life. I don’t find it restrictive in the least and actually makes me feel confident in what I’m putting in my body. You wouldn’t put subpar gas in your car, so why not fuel yourself with the best? That being said, I do eat packaged products, but they have to have as clean (and preferably as few) ingredients as possible. Brands I recommend for delicious clean eating include Larabars, Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flours, Sunwarrior protein powder, Hail Merry raw nuts and desserts and Alter Eco dark chocolate. I try to eat gluten free as much as possible, and I find that naturally gluten free products (like quinoa and coconut flour) are more nourishing than their processed, gluten-filled versions.
I try to eat a wide variety of foods, but some things I enjoy regularly include fresh fruits (especially strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, watermelon, grapes and mangoes), veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, eggplant, cauliflower and avocadoes), raw nuts/seeds and nut butters, dark chocolate (look for brands without soy lecithin or other sketchy ingreds added), almond/coconut/buckwheat flours (all grain free and delish), minimally processed vegan proteins (like tofu, tempeh and seitan), raw sauerkraut, beans (black, navy, garbanzo, pinto), Larabars and Vega bars, coconut oil…you get the idea!
Besides the basics, I love to splurge on
expensive vegan specialty products. Cacao nibs, plant protein powders (I like Vega’s line and the Sunwarrior ones too), flavored raw nuts, Medjool dates, almond milk ice cream, peanut flour, flavored dark chocolate and liquid stevia are some of my favorites, and to me, they’re well worth the price. Sure, they’re not technically necessities, but I love them and they make eating a little more fun. Plus they all have their own health benefits, which I love about vegan foods. Almost all of them (except for actual vegan junk food) have some sort of nutritional boost.
I don’t go out to eat often, but when I do, it’s usually at an omni and veg-friendly place. I live in a relatively large city, but it’s kind of lacking in vegan restaurants. Luckily, many places do offer vegetarian and vegan options. My favorite places to eat are ‘fast casual’ places, like Panera, Garbanzo, Tokyo Joes, Qdoba and Chipotle. But my favorite place to eat is the Whole Foods hot/cold bar. They have amazingly delicious vegan options and always have something different!
How I Dress
Besides healthy eating, fashion is one of my biggest passions! You will NEVER catch me in sweats or t-shirts–not even at home! I like to look nice, even if I’m just going to the grocery store, so I always dress ‘up’ and accessorize. My favorite stores at the moment are Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie Kids, Gilly Hicks, VS PINK and ALDO. I also like Express, Ann Taylor and Loft for more work-appropriate clothes. I would say my style is a mix of preppy, girly and boho. Giant designer purses are my favorite accessory and I love big pendant necklaces, rings and bangles. In the spring and summer (even into the fall) you probably won’t find anything on my feet except leather sandals or flip-flops. My favorite season for fashion is summer and I wish I lived somewhere that was warm year-round so I could wear dresses and shorts all the time!
How I Live
I live what I’d like to call an active lifestyle. I do some form of workout every day, whether it’s cardio circuits, tennis, biking, walking or shopping I’m not a hardcore fitness addict, though, but moving around for at least 40-60 minutes a day makes me feel so much better. I love being outside, especially in the summer, so I love outdoor activities.
I am a broadcast journalism major hoping to one day become a news anchor or meteorologist. I interned at a TV station in my hometown last summer and learned more about the TV news field than any class or textbook could ever teach me. I’m now a weather anchor for my college’s student-run TV station and I love being a part of that team. I’m also planning on doing a weather-based internship at another station back home this summer and I’m more than thrilled to start working there.
I LOVE to talk, but I can be kinda shy until you get to know me. When I watch TV, it’s almost always Seinfeld, Friends, the Today Show, What Not to Wear, The Weather Channel, Chopped or a medical mystery kind of show. Shopping (clothes and grocery), yoga and cooking are probably my three favorite things to do. I am an Arizona girl at heart and by birth and I hope to move back after I graduate to enjoy the hot weather and desert surroundings.
Any questions? Shoot me an email at email@example.com or leave it in the comments section. And thanks for reading!