Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Year Blog Anniversary

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog post to bring you the two year anniversary…

Where has the time gone? It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it has been two years and 2 days since I started blogging. As you can tell I lost track of time hence the two years plus two days. ;-) In a way it seems like a couple of months ago that I began blogging though clearly that isn’t the case. When I started blogging the only idea I had in my head was to share healthy recipes to make it easier for others to enjoy vegan food that wasn’t full of processed junk, sugar, salt or oil since there weren’t many people that were blogging about that particular type of vegan food. Due to requests from readers my blog morphed into more of a vegan lifestyle blog with food. In many ways I am still uncomfortable with sharing my “daily diary” (as Dan calls it) with the world but it has gotten easier over time though I don’t find it terribly interesting to write, probably because I live it. However I do understand that people who are new vegans have no idea what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner so I am happy to share anything I can that is helpful.

Information about us:

Given that this is the two year anniversary of the blog I thought it would be fitting to share more about myself so that you get a better picture of where I am coming from. Many of you seem to think that I have always been healthy and that is simply not true.

I was born in Baltimore but spent the majority of my childhood in northwest Indiana in a little town in Porter County, Indiana. It was not the rural existence that you are picturing since we lived in a planned community (not on a farm) and spent a lot of time in Chicago eating fantastic food, shopping and going to shows. Much of my childhood was idyllic and I loved growing up in the mid-west. However my diet was full of standard American fare like: pizza (made with white flour and cheese), pop-tarts, Triscuits with cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, Ho Ho’s, Ding Dongs, Lucky Charms, Cap’n Crunch, German bologna, steak, macaroni and cheese, and many other equally unhealthy things I would never consume now. Notice the distinct lack of vegetables? When I was growing up I hated most vegetables and didn’t eat them if I could get away with it.

I returned to Baltimore to attend college and got a Bachelor’s in Finance from Loyola, and a Master’s in Finance and Public Policy from the University of Maryland at College Park. When it was time to get a job I had no idea what I was going to do so I temped to get some experience and ended up in hospital Finance where I quickly (under two years) became a Director of Finance (hospital speak for finance department head). I worked extremely long hours in Finance and did that until I burned out and retired. Working ridiculous hours meant I started the day with coffee and possibly a Danish during a meeting. Lunch was normally from the hospital cafeteria and dinner was carry out probably Indian, Chinese of fast food *gasp*. Clearly my diet was absolutely atrocious.

During my working career I was completely stressed out, spend too much time at work, ate all the wrong things, drank wine on the weekends, didn’t get enough exercise or enough sleep. In short my lifestyle was a complete and utter disaster, I felt lousy and I looked worse. To make matters even worse I smoked cigarettes on and off before quitting in my early 30’s. As you can see I was a mess. When you wonder if I know what you are going through when you ask a question now you have a better picture of my life. This is why I understand when you say you are omni or vegetarian and are looking to improve your health. Since most of my life was spent being less than healthy I can relate to you no matter where ever you are in your journey toward health.

Fast forward a few years and the “cancer fairy” visited our home and I went into full on attack cancer mode. There was no way that I was going to give up or give in. Cancer was not going to take away the most important person in my world (Dan) without me giving it the fight of my life. We did a 180 in terms of health and I poured myself into every book, article, or paper written about health or nutrition in relation to cancer. Fortunately Dan is a sport about my OCD ways and agreed to do whatever I thought was best. In turn I told him I would not ask him to do anything that I was not willing to do myself. Eventually our diet morphed into what you see today. It was a slow process and we didn’t go from Chinese takeout to super healthy vegan overnight but we did get here.

Today we both feel better than we have since we were in our 20’s and that is saying something since I will be 49 in a few weeks and Dan is going to be 57 in September. We talk about food and nutrition often and neither of us can imagine going back to the way we used to eat. Most of our friends think we have lost our minds but they also understand that this is matter of life or death for us and I think that is why they give us a break. Now you know why I take nutrition so seriously and don’t feel like there is much room for moderation. Dan is lucky I let him get pizza when we go out because if it were only up to me that would be gone too. There is a reason he lovingly refers to me as “The Nutrition Nazi” … I have earned that title. ;-)

I hope this helps you to understand us better and why we are as serious about health as we are. Many times before I have said that eating this way is very serious for us and now you understand why. It isn’t something that we did on a whim. It isn’t something that we went into without a lot of thought. I did make the move to veganism quickly which I credit to Dr. Joel Fuhrman. His book “Eat to Live” was the turning point for us. He explained nutrition in a way that just clicked for me. Suddenly eating vegetables made so much sense. Why should we waste time or calories eating food that was less nutrient dense when we could be eating more salad, soup, etc.?

One thing I have learned reading about health and nutrition is that there seems to be only one diet that helps no matter what your health concern (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, auto immune disease, etc.). As you probably have guessed that diet is one we are following. I spend a lot of time reading about health and nutrition and the science always points back to the same basic diet. It can sometimes be confusing to read about health since everyone seems to have a natural bias toward or against some particular diet. The funny thing about me is that when my research started my diet was the antithesis of what it is today. I wanted to point that out for anyone that might be thinking I looked for data to support a particular diet which could not be farther from the truth.

Now you know why I am always reading about nutrition and looking for the latest research in regard to diet and lifestyle. Health is something that I am beyond passionate about now. If anything that I write here or link to on Facebook or Twitter gives you pause to think about what you are putting in your body than I am happy. I don’t want to see anyone else have to deal with cancer since it is largely preventable.

Happy thoughts:

• I am happy have so many people following me on the blog, twitter and Facebook. I can’t begin to tell me how encouraging it is to me that we are not alone in our search for the most healthful lifestyle possible.

• Since it is Friday I am happy that we are that start of another weekend. I love my weekends and Dan and I have another fun outing planned on Sunday that I am looking forward to.

• This afternoon I have pleasure of talking to my buddy Laura Jill for quite a while. She is always a breath of fresh air. I love her positivity and perspective on the whole. Every time we talk I can’t help but smile. Thank you LJ for being you.

• Today I am also grateful that I have the time to spend teaching myself about health and nutrition. I believe that the changes we have put into place have made a big difference in our health contrary to what most of medical science would say.

• It was nice to have a little blue sky today after our torrential downpour yesterday. It was a little cool here today but it was nice to have the rain behind us. When I checked out the garden today it seemed as though the plants had all grown inches in the last couple of days.

• Today’s lesson in the 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse was a good one. The more I read that book the more I enjoy it. I am looking forward to reviewing it for you but I wanted to wait until I have finished all 21 days so that I can tell you how it worked for me.

Signing out:

It is getting late here and is about time for us to start winding down. We are both looking forward to the weekend and the chance to relax a little. Tomorrow I will get back to my regular blog posts but today I felt like I needed to share more about us and how we came to be who we are today. With a little luck our story will resonate with one or two of you and will result in some positive change in your lives or health.

Happy Friday and I will talk to you again tomorrow. We both hope you are having a good start to your weekend. Ciao! ;-)


  1. HAPPY TWO YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY!!!you were my first blog friend way back then!!

  2. Thank you very much for sharing you path! I learnt a lot of things reading your blog and I prepared a lot of yummy recipes. Happy anniversary:)

  3. Congratulations on your 2-year anniversary! I sure do enjoy checking your blog every day.

  4. I am a frequent reader and want to say Happy Blog Anniversary! Dr. Fuhrman got me going on this path as well (2 years now) and it has been a fun journey. I relish reading your posts and seeing your food p@rn, ummm... I mean photos! Lovely, inspirational and much appreciated.

  5. Ali, Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself (and Dan, lol!) on the blog. It's an inspiring story that we can all learn from. I look forward to the next 2 years!

    Have a great weekend,

  6. Happy 2 year anniversary!!!! Here's to another 2 years!

  7. Happy Blogaversary Ali!!!! You started yours just a couple months before I started mine! :) Thanks for sharing all that you shared in this post. :) And it was great fun talking to you yesterday, as always!


  8. Happy Blog-versary! Your posts are also so intelligent and informative. Even your "Happy Thoughts" make me think about my life and my own "happy thoughts". It's really important to take time to do that. Thanks for all your share with us!

  9. Happy Anniversary, ALi. Your blog is consistently inspiring and informative. You do research for the rest of us which is super-great!!! Thanks for your dedication!

  10. Oh Alicia, congrats on the 2 year blogaversary! That is quite the accomplishment. I am sure I have said this before, but I can't imagine taking pictures of all my food and the time and dedication it must take to keep up your blog. Thank you! Know that it is appreciated and that I look forward to each and every post from you :-)

    I hope you and Dan are having a wonderful weekend!


  11. Congrats! Thanks for sharing and have an awesome weekend!

  12. Happy 2 years to you! I have really enjoyed reading. Great post, even I learned a few new things! :)

  13. Happy blog-anniversary! I am quite new here but love it so much! Keep going, for the next two years I am with you, and longer!
    Interesting to read about your story and how you got to the point where you are now and what was your reason to change.
    For me it started differently to go vegetarian but I checked out more reasons to be vegetarian, vegan, healthy nutrition and there is so much reasons for not having any animal products.
    Tina in Germany

  14. Happy healthy 2 to you!!! Oh yeah... and many, many, many more to come.


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