Some updates // tasty vegan food we’ve had recently

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The past few weeks have been a lot. Here’s some updates:

We finally tried some recipes from the Hot For Food cookbook. The ‘bacon mac and cheese skillet’ is absolutely amazing and the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. We tried out the recipe last Monday, made it for family Friday, and now I’m making some more for myself tonight for dinner (I’m going to try to make it a bit healthier tonight, though [I didn’t add any vegetable oil and no salt]). Next up is the Tofu Benny recipe.

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We visited Phoenix for a week at the beginning of January and my body felt so much better. Maybe it’s the climate in Texas, but as soon as we got back the fatigue, pain, and lack of motivation was intense.

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We also discovered in Phoenix that Whole Foods has “Vegan Mac & Yease” in their salad bar section, and it’s the second best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

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I’ve been eating a lot of tofu in the hopes the turmeric will help with my inflammation (plus it’s a nice hearty breakfast before work)

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along with trying to drink turmeric lattes every night before bed.

That’s everything new with me. Hope you all are having a lovely start to the year. ♡

Some tips for working in retail with rheumatoid arthritis.

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I took a break from posting this past week because of exhaustion from Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Especially Black Friday.

I work a retail job, so Black Friday and the following days were a little stressful, not to mention hard on my body. Because of this I wanted to make a quick post on how I deal with pain and fatigue from rheumatoid arthritis, especially along with having to work a bit extra during the busy holiday season.

1. Make sure to get enough sleep the night before. This one is a no-brainer, but for me it’s sometimes hard to get a good night’s rest even though it’s so important. I’ll go to bed extra early so my body has time to heal and I make sure to get a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep every night.

2. Taking my vitamins. I’ll take a turmeric and B12 vitamin before I go into work. The turmeric helps me with inflammation and B12 helps with my energy and fatigue. If I feel like I need it I’ll also take one with iron in it.

3. Treat myself to a healthy breakfast and pack a healthy lunch. I try to eat a big, healthy breakfast before I go into work, like a smoothie or a tofu scramble loaded with veggies. For lunch I’ll throw something together from the leftovers we have. I make sure to track my nutrients for the day to check that I’m eating enough. I’ll also bring a large water bottle with me so I can drink enough water and stay hydrated.

4. Wearing compression gloves or wrist supports. I always have an extra one in my bag just in case I need it while at work. I recently bought a compression glove because my right hand was in a lot of pain, and that has made a huge difference and helps me get through the day.

5. Making my workspace comfortable and taking frequent breaks. I’m lucky to be where I work, and if I need to take breaks I can. Sometimes I just need to take a few seconds to sit down to recharge. Also, talk to your boss to make accommodations to your workspace to make it a more comfortable for you.

Those are some of the things that help me while I’m drowning from fatigue during the holiday season. Let me know what tips you guys have in the comments! ♡

What I eat in a day when I’m sick // vegan and lazy meals.

It’s that time of year. I have been sick again for the past few days (immunosuppressant medications whoo!) so I wanted to throw out a quick sequel to What I Eat in a Day When I’m Sick (Part 1 is here).

Before I get into this post I also wanted to mention that I have a YouTube channel. Check it out here. I post a lot of What I Eat in a Day videos and recipes, but I’ll probably start making vlogs and I will be doing vlogmas this year.

I’m not even going to separate this into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because I just kind of ate a lot of really small meals throughout the day.

I started the day off with two clementines.

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Then, I ate some leftover Mujaddara (brown rice, green lentils, onions, and vegetable broth) 

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DJ made this the other day for dinner using this recipe from Budget Bytes. I added some veggie stock and water this morning to turn it into a soup. This is so not photogenic, but it was really hearty and nice to have.

Then I had a little plate of leftover macaroni salad (vegenaise, green peppers, onions, and some spices)

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and then a burrito of the leftover mujaddara. I also added hot sauce and a few drops of soy sauce.

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For dinner we ate some leftover Pasta Fagioli. 

We went over to my parents’ house last night for dinner, and my mom made us a big pot of Pasta Fagioli since we both weren’t feeling well. She veganized her recipe she’s always made for us and used Tofurky veggie sausages and vegetable broth instead of sausage and beef stock. This is also the perfect slow cooker meal for sick days or just cold winter days. I found this recipe from Pasta Based that looked simple plus it’s already vegan.

And then I snacked on some candy and dark chocolate while we watched Netflix.

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That’s everything I ate today. Today was a super chill day at home, and my meals definitely reflected that.

tips for bad days // Rheumatoid Arthritis

My rheumatoid arthritis isn’t as bad as it could be. I’m able to work a retail job part-time and do yoga on occasion. For the first few months before my diagnosis, though, I could barely walk around, I had trouble getting in the shower, and I dropped a lot of things. On most days the fatigue was hard to handle and getting out of bed was a challenge. All I wanted to do was sleep.

I’m on proper medications now, but I still have my bad days. I am grateful they aren’t as often, but they hit me hard and make it difficult to function throughout the day.

Here are some of the things I do to make those days more bearable.

Rest and relax.

This one is pretty simple, but I try not to stress when I have bad days. I use that day as a mental health day and to try to get my body back to normal (as normal as it can be at least). I’ll take a nap if needed and just watch movies or play video games.

Take a warm shower.

If I have nothing going on that day it’s sometimes hard to get out of bed. Taking that step to shower, especially a warm one, makes all the difference. It helps my body relax and alleviates some of the swelling, if only for a little while.

Only eat plant-based meals and anti-inflammatory foods.

This one is hard. Sometimes you want to treat yourself on bad days, or make dinner easy and order a pizza or takeout. That doesn’t make me feel any better, though. Giant smoothies and homemade sushi bowls and salads make me feel better. I wrote two posts in the past on meals I make on bad days. Check them out:

Top 7 Meals For Bad Days // Easy Vegan Meals

Do something that makes you happy, no matter how small it is.

Sometimes I still have to go into work on my bad days. I make sure when I get home I do at least one thing that makes me happy. For me, it’s something as simple as making a snack or some tea, listening to my favorite albums, watching YouTube videos from my favorite content creators, or taking my makeup off and laying in bed with a bunch of blankets and reading. No matter how small it is, do something that makes you happy.

Talk to people that understand.

I am a huge lurker in the rheumatoid arthritis subreddit on reddit (r/rheumatoid). Some people don’t understand that even if I look young or okay on the outside, my body is constantly fatigued and screaming at me every time I move. For me it has helped a lot to read other people’s thoughts and feelings, which is one of the reasons I started this blog. Especially when I am at work on my lunch break in pain, it helps me to scroll through and read people’s posts.

Those are some of the things I try to do on bad days. Sometimes it’s hard, but I always try my best to not let my diagnosis get me down. Always know I am here to talk if anyone needs someone to listen.

Magnesium Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

I’m not one to believe in pseudo-science or natural remedies alone without a lot of research. Give me medication for my rheumatoid arthritis. I want to kick its butt.

But sometimes I need something more to help with the pain and manage the stiffness I still feel even though I am taking medication for it, and I don’t like adding Tylenol or any other pain reliever to the long list of medications I’m taking (plus it doesn’t help me that much anyway). I’ve given some natural remedies a try, but to no avail. I have tried turmeric pills and other anti-inflammatory spices and herbs, but that hasn’t relieved inflammation for me personally (I still use tons of turmeric and black pepper on my tofu scrambles, though! And I still hear that turmeric has helped some with flare ups and managing inflammation). The main thing besides medication that has helped me is my vegan diet (specifically a whole food, plant-based diet), which I made a post about here.

So when I was told about magnesium oil I was skeptical. I did a lot of research and did find online that it’s been hypothesized that some of those who suffer from arthritis can be low on magnesium. Here are some more links claiming this:

Arthritis foundation // The Magnesium Miracle

I couldn’t find a lot of concrete information on this, but I figured I might at least give it a try. I’ve been using it for about a week now on my hands in general, but specifically on the index finger on my right hand every morning as part of my morning routine and at night before bed. It has surprisingly been helping. I have more mobility in that finger and the swelling has gone down quite a bit. The joint was round and painful, but the redness and pain has lessened. My hands also don’t feel as swollen and stiff when I wake up as they have been the last month (and getting worse every day). There were days I would lose the feeling in the tip of that finger, but I haven’t had any issues since using the magnesium oil.

I definitely would recommend trying it out, especially for pain between trying new medications and mild flare ups. Here’s a link to the one I’ve been using on Amazon: Three Drops of Life Magnesium Oil

It’s also not tested on animals, which is a plus!

I would also recommend adding more foods high in magnesium into your diet, such as spinach, kale, avocados, nuts, and beans. They’re good for your body in general and eating a plant-based diet has helped me manage my pain and inflammation a tremendous amount.

Let me know what you think in the comments; whether or not you’ve tried this, or if there are any natural remedies that have worked for you in your pain management. I’d love to read what you guys think!

Easy tofu + veggies // vegan + RA

Here is a really quick, low effort meal I made the other day that turned out delicious.

First, I cut up some tofu. I cut mine into cubes, but you could also scramble it or cut it up any other way you’d like. Then I sprayed a pan with a little bit of oil and cooked the tofu on medium high heat until all of the sides were golden brown. I did turn the heat down to medium about 3/4 of the way through cooking to prevent them from burning, so definitely keep and eye on them (I do that when I cook tofu scramble too to cook most of the water out). While they were cooking I added in:

  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • cumin

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After the tofu cubes were done cooking I dumped them onto a plate and cooked a bunch of veggies in the same pan. We had an assortment of frozen veggies so I used peppers (red, green, and yellow), onion, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and spinach.

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I put everything into a bowl and added some sriracha on top. Some extras I’d recommend adding in: rice, beans, or quinoa. I also added sriracha to mine, but a peanut sauce or soy sauce would also be delicious!

I know this was a simple recipe, but everything turned out so well, plus I find that eating a TON of veggies and keeping my meals simple helps with my arthritis. I’ve also noticed that eating a lower carb diet helps with my inflammation personally. Let me know what meals help you feel your best in the comments, and if diet has helped with any inflammation or pain.

what I eat in a day // vegan + rheumatoid arthritis

We’re getting close to the day I take medication for my rheumatoid arthritis, so here are some super simple but healthy meals I’ve been eating since I’ve had such low-energy.

Breakfast:

A smoothie! Today I tried to get lots of nutrients in before I went to work, so here’s what I put in this morning’s smoothie:

  • spinach (about 1- 2 cups)
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • about 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 1 package of a smoothie pack that had pineapple, banana, cranberry, kale, and lemon. We picked this up just because the combo sounded so good.
  • 1 scoop of Vega protein powder (Vega isn’t the best in my opinion, but it’s what we had at the house)
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter

Lunch:

Two rice and chickpea tacos. This is some really lazy spanish rice that came from a box (I definitely prefer homemade rice, but this was so easy to make) with some leftover chickpeas that we had in the fridge.

Dinner:

I ate dinner when I came home from work at 9:30pm, so the lighting isn’t the best. This is a sweet potato and peanut soup, with some chickpea curry and potato fries baked in the oven topped with some cilantro, black pepper, and garlic powder.

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Here are the ingredients for the sweet potato soup:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peanut butter
  • Ginger
  • Minced garlic
  • Onion
  • Kale
  • Cumin
  • Red pepper flakes.

We cooked the sweet potatoes in veggie broth and blended them to get a nice thick soup. Then we added everything else in and let it simmer for a bit. A recipe for the curry will be coming soon.

That’s everything I ate today. I always try to make my meals simple but nutritious on days where I don’t feel well. It helps my body recover faster plus I feel so much better. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. ♡

I also recently started a YouTube channel, so check it out if you haven’t already.

veganism + rheumatoid arthritis

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Let me preface this post with this: I am not a doctor, just someone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. I still take medication for my RA, but I have noticed some benefits from a plant-based diet. I was vegetarian when I was first diagnosed (and had been for 8 months prior to the diagnosis) and a few months later I switched to a vegan diet.

I went vegan for the animals. I couldn’t justify eating animals anymore. It’s a major bonus that I can also live a healthier lifestyle and feel better while not eating animals. Here are just a few things I’ve noticed from eating a plant-based diet:

  1. Weight loss and ease to maintain weight:
    • It is so easy to maintain a healthy weight if you eat a mostly plant-based diet (vegan corn dogs and ice cream are bomb though). I can’t exercise regularly just yet, but it’s easy to keep my weight low when eating right. Plus a lower weight is a lot easier on my joints.
  2. My digestion has never been better.
    • I’m not sure of a better way to describe this, but on a vegan diet you just feel lighter. It’s probably because eating plant-based helps out your digestive system, plus I’m lactose intolerant and still ate a lot of dairy for most of my life. This just helps my overall wellbeing, even on days with flareups.
  3. Reduced pain:
    • I don’t eat a lot of the foods that are found to cause inflammation, such as meat and dairy. I also discovered turmeric from making tofu scramble so often, which also can help with inflammation.
  4. Higher energy levels, even on days with flareups:
    • I always treat myself to a big smoothie on mornings when I don’t want to get up and when I don’t feel well. This is also one of the easiest breakfasts for me to make since I just throw everything into a blender and the blender does all the work for me. Smoothies are full of nutrients and the fresh fruits and veggies help power me through the day. You can find one of my favorite smoothie recipes in this what I eat in a day video and this one that I just posted today.
  5. I don’t get sick as often.
    • As someone who works in retail with a weakened immune system, I don’t get sick as often as I should, and when I do I bounce back fairly quickly. A lot of the time I feel like I’m going to get sick, but it passes within a day or two.

I am definitely not saying veganism cures RA. But for me at least, it helps make it much more manageable.

I’ve made some posts in the past on some easy vegan meals for bad days when flareups are too much too handle:

Top 7 meals for bad days.
Easy Vegan Meals // #2.