Are you vegan, considering going vegan, or just trying to eat better? If so, you should have these apps on your phone to do the work for you! And the best part, they are all free! Who doesn't love freebies?
1. Happy Cow
One of the greatest challenges you can face as a vegan is finding a place to eat that will accommodate you. Happy Cow is an app that helps you find vegan restaurants nearby. This app is great for finding local vegan restaurants, but it's also a great resource to have when you are traveling. Click here to get the app now and try a new vegan restaurant near you!
2. Is it vegan?
One of the worst things you can do as a vegan is buy a food product assuming it's vegan, getting home to find out it actually isn't vegan. Sometimes it can be daunting to have to read every ingredient in an product especially if you are short on time or don't even know what a certain ingredient is. This app Is It Vegan? actually does the work for you. When you are in a store you can simply scan an items barcode and this app will tell you whether it's vegan or not. Simple! Click here to get the app and learn which of your favorite food items is vegan!
What do vegans eat? I get this question a lot. Pinterest is a great place to find all sorts of things, but it's a great place to find vegan recipes! Whether you need vegan recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, what to bring to a party, easy meals, you name it I can assure you Pinterest has it. Simply search what you're looking for and you will find 1000's of recipes. Download this app here, put your chef hat on, and get to cooking up delicious vegan recipes now! When you get the app be sure to follow the AfroVegansMeet page here!
Let's face it, cooking is a lot easier when you have a recipe to visually follow, a new cook, or just too lazy to read. I've been there, and if you've read my previous blogs you know I LOVE YouTube. YouTube is a great place to find tons of vegan recipes. Check out this blog post for some great channels to start with. If you don't have this app already, download it here now and subscribe to the AfroVegansMeet channel!
Facebook is not only a good place to keep up with your friends and family, it's also a great place to find vegan restaurants, recipes, and support. There are so many vegan groups you can join on Facebook, such as Vegan Beginner's 101, or local groups like one of my favorites, Milwaukee Area Vegans. If you don't have a local vegan group, don't be afraid to start one yourself, you will be surprised! There's also pages you can follow such as So Vegan and AfroVegansMeet. Download the app here if you don't have it already!
Do you use any of these apps? If you know of any other great vegan apps please leave a comment!
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I completed my second race of the season! This was my second time running the Mother's Day run 10K and my third year doing the run all together. It all took place at the lakefront in my city Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Keep reading to learn more about the event, how I trained, what happened last year, what was on my playlist, and so much more!
Last year I had a lot of fun doing this run. These are my official finish line photos from last year, unfortunately this year they didn't have a finish line photo for me. I couldn't see where the photographer was and apparently he couldn't see me neither lol.
My goal last year was to finish in under an hour and I did just that with less than a minute to spare lol. There is a timer right by the finish line, I remember seeing it and sprinting to the finish line in order to reach my goal. Here was my post from my Instagram story last year with my official finish time, I finished in 7th place in my age group.
One thing I will never forget about this race last year was a conversation I had with my uncle about the run. I remember talking to him about how the race went and finishing in 7th place. Guess what he told me, "you can do better than that". I was proud of myself for reaching my goal but when he said that, I realized he was right and that made me want to work harder on my training. A lot of times while I am running I can hear him saying those words and it gives me push to go harder. These words also follow me through my everyday life, when I'm working towards something sometimes I have to stop and ask myself "Are you really trying your best?". Usually the answer is no and it forces me to put more effort into things I want to accomplish.
How I trained
This run came just about a month after my first race of the season, you can read more about it here. From that run my training continued, and I ran 50+ miles to get trained for this race. I would have liked to double that, but I was either busy or unmotivated some days to be completely honest. I hate to make excuses but the weather added a lot to my lack of training this time around. Even though it is mid May, most days still feel like we are stuck in winter instead of spring.
Here is a slide show showing how each of my training runs went. On top of these runs I was still teaching group exercise classes four times a week, you can now find my schedule here! I have also been getting bad stomach cramps while I've been running and that really has slowed me down. After doing a bit of research on it I think it is mostly due to dehydration. My goal is to drink one gallon of water a day and hopefully that will stop the stomach cramps. I also have been adding more fresh fruit and veggies to add to my hydration. If you have any tips for stomach cramps please leave me a comment.
Race day took place on Mother's Day May 12th 2019. It was still a cold day for May, but the sun was shining making it beautiful day for running along the lake. I started off strong, but the stomach cramps started kicking in at about mile 3 almost half way through the race. As more runners passed by me, it almost seemed impossible for me to endure the pain from the cramps. I took advantage of the two water stations on the way to the finish line and was able to push through without stopping. My goal was to finish faster than my race last month and somehow I did it! I ended up finishing in 4th place in my age group and about one minute from 3rd place!
One thing that also helped me get through this run was my playlist. I have a full running playlist I will share in the future, but I usually just hit shuffle and let my playlist surprise me! Check out the slide show below to see what songs it picked. There was a total of 16 songs that played, sometimes my shuffle doesn't match my mood, but it did it's part that day! Which song do you like from my playlist? Leave a comment and let me know!
After the run
After the run, there was no medal, unless you placed. Since this was a Mother's Day run we were instead given roses and cake pops. The rose was nice, I actually brought it to my mom along with some orchids and wine for Mother's Day. There were no vegan goodies at the finish line, just water. But the rest of the participants enjoyed cake pops, chocolate chip cookies, and trail mix. The trail mix was not vegan due to the little milk chocolates inside. Hopefully next year they will add some fruit or veggies to the mix for us vegans.
I really enjoyed this run, I will most likely participate next year as well. I haven't decided what run I will do in June yet, but I will share when I'm signed up. Make sure you follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with me and my training. And please subscribe to get e-mailed AfroVegansMeet updates and new blog posts!
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts or any questions you may have! Special thank you to my subscribers :) if you're not subscribed, please subscribe below!
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My experience at the veg out health fest
This past Saturday I went to the Veg Out Health Fest for the first time. This was their second year hosting the event. This event is pretty similar to the Midwest Vegan Fest I blogged about here. One difference is this event catered to both vegans and vegetarians, but you don't have to be either to attend. If you did not know the difference, vegetarians in general just don't eat meat and vegans don't eat anything that comes from an animal. This event had lots of vendors selling local goods and services, presentations, and even a bar!
This event was held at the Miller High Life theater in downtown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The location is convenient right off of the freeway, but we did have to find somewhere to park. Luckily it was Saturday so street parking was free and although it doesn't feel like spring everyday, the weather was decent enough for the walk. Admission to this event was $5 for adults, which I was unaware of, but it was free for children under 12. Admission included a free reusable bag with a few goodies inside. And you should know by now, I love freebies! One unique thing about this event was the checklist for visiting every vendor. I did not participate, but upon completion you were eligible to win prizes!
Speaking of freebies, my favorite part of this event were all of the free samples. Our first sample was from a local Middle Eastern restaurant Shawarma House. They had free samples of their falafel and hummus and it was good! I had never been to this restaurant, but drove past it many times, now that I know they offer vegan options, I will have to stop by one day!
Next, we had a sample of vegan chili. This chili was made by the staff of 102.1 FM, who hosted the event. Unfortunately, we didn't like the chili. I liked that it was spicy, but the beans in the chili were not tender.
Then, we had a pretty exciting freebie...FREE PIZZA! It came from arguably one of the best pizza places in Milwaukee, Pizza Shuttle. I was aware that they do offer vegan pizza on their menu, but never tried it myself. To be honest, I heard it wasn't all that so I was happy I could try it for free. They offered two cheese-less vegan pizzas, but mostly vegetarian options. We tried both, one topped with tofu and one with mushrooms as the star. I'm not a mushroom fan, but it did have more flavor than the tofu slice. I'm happy that they do at least offer vegan options, but I think it would help if they had vegan cheese as an option.
Our last free sample was some delicious kombucha. If you are unfamiliar, kombucha is fermented sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. It may sound weird if you've never had it before but it is so tasty and so good for your health. It came from another local place Tapuat Brewing Co. They were sampling a strawberry kombucha infused with CBD oil. It was so cold and refreshing. The best part was that we each got a free bottle! I chose the mango ginger one and it was good. You can also find their products at my favorite grocery store, Woodman's.
A hairy situation...
Now for the real tea. Between all of the sampling, we stopped at one of my favorite local vegan restaurants. I hadn't seen this restaurant at an event for a while, so of course I had to stop by. We got a combo plate to share which included mac and cheese, bbq "meat", and collard greens for $10 and a slice of chocolate peanut butter cake for $6. The food was really good, I loved the collard greens. Everything was fine and dandy until we got to the cake which had an extra ingredient..a very long black strand of hair. My friend took his first bite of the cake and BOOM. I can almost puke thinking about seeing him pull that hair out of their mouth, I am so disappointed and disgusted.
After discovering the hair, I decided not to confront this business. I felt embarrassed for the restaurant and there honestly was nothing they could do for me to fix it. I hate to feel like this about this restaurant, but I will most likely will never eat there again. The most disheartening part was I really support this business. In the past, I have heard complaints about this business and I would encourage them to give them another try. I would love to take my own advice, but they really messed up big time. Moving forward, I hope this business will get it together, they can be so much better than what they are.
A few more cool vendors
At this point the even was coming to a close. I had to make my stop to Fit 4 U and get some lavender lemonade! I spoke about them and their amazing lemonade previously in this blog post. This time I even tried it hot and it was so good! I can't decide if it's better hot or cold, I guess it depends on your mood!
I was also happy to see JustVeggiez in the building as well! I did not get anything from them this time, but I know their vegan chicken wings were a hit! Learn more about them in this post. I was a little bummed that Soul Vegan wasn't at this event after all but they were listed as a vendor on the event's website. I spoke with one of the owners, and apparently there were permit issues. He did confirm they will be at the Vegan Sol Food and Drink expo this upcoming fall, so I am looking forward to that. Another cool feature at this event was the bar, they had beer, soda and water for sell. I have never seen one at a vegan expo so that was cool.
Overall, this has been the worst vegan expo I have ever been to. I can not blame the event for the hair situation but it did add to my overall bad experience. The samples were cool, but they were underwhelming for the most part. I heard that last year, the event catered more to vegetarians and didn't have many vegan options. Although I was not there, it seems like they had a lot of vegan options this year. On the good side, this event was very well organized and did have a lot of vendors. I thank 102.1 for putting this event together and bringing more awareness to healthier lifestyles! If this event happens again next year I would not be opposed to attending.
Put yourself in my shoes, if the hair situation happened to you how would you have handled it? Please leave me a comment!
Thanks for reading!
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YouTube is one of my favorite social media platforms, as I stated here, I could watch ALL DAY and learn SO MUCH. Here are 5 black vegan women you should watch and subscribe to whether you are vegan or not.
1. the chic natural
Kim, better known as The Chic Natural is definitely one of my favorite YouTuber's. Not only is she a beauty guru but she is also vegan! She has been vegan for about 3 years and shares healthy and delicious vegan recipes with over one million subscibers! Check out one of her most recent videos below and make sure you subscribe for more!
2. Sweet potato soul
Sweet Potato Soul has been on YouTube for close to 10 years spreading the vegan message. She is a chef, blogger, and new mommy in addition to doing YouTube. Most of her videos are vegan food based, and she is well on her way to one million subscribers. Check out this video to see how she ate as a pregnant vegan and subscribe for more amazing recipes.
3. Edyn jacks
I first came across Edyn in my recommended channels to watch with her infamous "What A Fat Vegan Eats In A Day" videos. After watching a few of her videos, I immediately became a fan. Although she is a 'fat vegan', she has lost a lot of weight with a vegan diet in the past and is now maintaining with a balanced vegan diet. She shares recipes, grocery hauls, taste tests, and so much more. She has been vegan for over 5 years and shares so much good information, positivity, and great topics. Check out one of her recent videos below, it has a lot of goodies in it!
4. Toni Mitchell
Toni Mitchell is a vegan body builder and shares her journey heavily on YouTube. You might recognize Toni from My Natural Sistas, a channel she shares with her sisters Carmen and India, based on natural hair. Within the last 5 years, she started her fitness journey and shares a lot of what she is eating to maintain her amazing figure. Check out this video to see how she does it!
5. that chocolate vegan
Being on YouTube for about 2 years, Erin is a bit of a new YouTuber. I first found her when I was looking for a recipe for a vegan dressing for Thanksgiving about a year ago. I ended up using the recipe and loved it, so I had to subscribe after that. She mostly shares vegan recipes, like this one below in a more recent video. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I'm sure it's tasty! Check it out and subscribe to help grow her channel!
Each of these women inspire me in their own way and I thank them for dropping great content that can lead all of us to a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you check them all out and subscribe!
What is your favorite thing to watch on YouTube? Leave me a comment!
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I recently tried Naf Naf Grill for the first time. I first learned about this restaurant by simply walking through Brookfield Square Mall in Brookfield, WI. Usually when I come across a new restaurant, I immediately Google their menu to see what vegans options they might have. I was surprised to see that they actually have a lot of vegan options including DESSERT! You can also get it delivered!
Naf Naf Grill is a Middle Eastern, fast casual dining restaurant with a setup similiar to Chipotle. You basically build your own bowl where you choose a base, protein, toppings, and sauces. It's a great place to eat for vegans and non-vegans!
Everything Vegan on the menu
Salads & Garnishes
I was happy to see this allergy guide clearly displayed by the menu! You can also find it here.
Everything I got
The customer service was great. Our server was very helpful since it was our first time there and he gave us our food for free! My meal would've cost about $8 and it was filling. The food did seem to lack a little flavor, but next time I will try more of the sauces to try to make up for it. I liked the basmati rice, falafels, hummus, and pita the most. I also want to try some of the dessert next time, I've never had baklava. Overall, I was happy with my experience at Naf Naf Grill. It is very nice to have more fast vegan options for on the go or road trips. If you ever get the chance, try this restaurant out for yourself and let me know what you thought!
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April 20th, 2019, the third annual Midwest Vegan Fest was held in Glendale, Wisconsin. I have been to each one and they seem to get better and better every year. According to their website, "Midwest Vegan Fest is a free one day event celebrating plant-based living, culture and community". This event is similar to the MKE Vegan Expo I blogged about in this post. And although this is an free event, you can donate here to support this event. As I mentioned, I love going to these expos, and this one is a must attend for me every year. There's so much to do, between the vendors, cooking demos, raffles, speakers, performers, kid zone, it's easy to stay at this event the whole day!
One of my favorite things about this event, is it was founded by a black woman. Chef Rain Truth founded the Midwest Vegan Fest in 2016 and the event has been a success since. She also is the founder of the Vegan Sol Food and Drink Expo, which will host it's annual event this fall. This event will be held on October 26, 2019, get more details here and mark your calendars! As a black woman myself, it is very inspiring to see another black woman making boss moves! I am so proud of her for creating such great events and, doing great things in our community, and spreading veganism. I hope she will consider opening a restaurant in the future!
For starters, this event is free and it even includes a free swag bag, and I love free stuff! You could also get an early access pass that included an upgraded goodie bag and meet and greet. This option is not free, but it is a good idea considering vendors can run out of their goods before you get there if you are on CP time. The swag bag itself is actually really nice and can easily be fit into your purse or backpack and can be reused for carrying groceries, reducing plastic use, which will benefit our environment. The African American Vegan Starter Guide was also inside, includes A LOT of good information if you are considering going vegan or want to eat more plant based. You can get your FREE copy here. My favorite part was the two coupons to Ian's, my favorite pizza place in Milwaukee, for a FREE slice of pizza!
After checking in, I did a walk through of the event to see which vendors were there and what they had to offer before deciding what I wanted to try. My first stop was to JustVeggiez, a black owned all vegan restaurant in Madison, WI. I LOVE trying new vegan foods, so I wanted to try their drumsticks everyone was talking about. They were $3 each and came in two flavors buffalo and barbecue. I decided to go with buffalo and they were really good! The "meat" was made from soy and potatoes, but the texture was very similar to chicken. I also tried their barbecue sandwich, which was like a pulled pork sandwich, but cruelty free and delicious. I definitely look forward to trying more things form them!
Another cool thing about this event is the cooking demos. This year was my first time going to a cooking demo and it was with Chef Cassandra Lynne, learn more about her and the other cooking demo chefs here. She showed us how to make curry chickpea dip and organic mushroom soup. I was hesitant to try the soup because it contained coconut milk and mushrooms, which I'm not a fan of, but it was actually very good! I'm so happy I liked it, I definitely want to try to recreate these recipes and experiment more with coconut milk in the future.
My next stop was to Rollicious Creamery, a vendor I had never seen before. They were serving up delicious non-dairy ice cream, in a rolled up fashion. I decided to try the Oreo flavor, it was $7 but it was definitely made for sharing, which I ended up doing. It was so good, we all liked it. If you haven't tried it, I definitely recommend. Check out a video on my Facebook page of how the ice cream is prepared!
At this point, I was full but I must've had a sweet tooth because the shenanigans didn't end there. Next I just had to try the beignets that caught my eye. My Grandma is from Louisiana and they are a very popular dessert there, typically not vegan so I was excited to try them for the first time. It is basically a fritter, fried dough and topped with powered sugar. They were messy but very tasty. I had powdered sugar everywhere lol.
Finally I stopped at East Side Ovens booth for their awesome donuts. PRO TIP: if you can stay to the end of the event you can get a whole box (6) of their donuts for $5! They were originally 2 for $3 which is still a great deal. They also had vegan cookies, cakes, brownies, pastries, and so many other sweets to offer.
I had a lot of fun and good food at this event! I'm definitely looking forward to going to this event again next year. There are more expos coming up that I plan to attend, please subscribe to my e-mail list below to get notified every time I post and other updates. Also like my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram for more!
So would you try vegan buffalo chicken wings? Leave me a comment below!
After about one month of training, I completed my first race of the season! I decided to start off with the Brew City Run, in Milwaukee, WI. This was my second year running this race. Last year, I was not properly prepared, but this year I did more to make sure I was prepared.
What happened last year
Last year, was the first year I got more serious about running. I wanted to run longer distances and improve my pace. My ultimate goal was to bump up from 5K runs and complete my first 10K. I did not have a specific run in mind, but I knew I had to start running more more miles to eventually be able to run over 6 miles. So I had begun my training, running about 20 miles a week, slowly adding miles each run until I was comfortable running 7 miles. One day I got a phone call from my aunt, somehow she registered for the Brew City Run twice by accident and wanted me to run it too. This was about three days before the race! After some convincing, I agreed to do it. It was my running goal of the year anyway, so I kind of felt like it was meant to be. It didn't hurt that I didn't have to pay for it too lol.
Three days later, race day arrived on a very cold, wet, and rainy day. One thing about spring in Wisconsin, the weather is very unpredictable. So although it was mid April, the weather was HORRIBLE. It did not help either that I had a slight hangover. I was keeping an eye on the forecast the night before and had it made up in my mind I was not going to the race anymore lol. But in the morning, I decided to not be a lazy bum and just do it. My goal was to finish in an hour and I had did just that! One thing I did not like about this run last year was the course. A majority of the run took place on the Oak Leaf Trail, making it hard for everyone to maneuver around.
this year i took a different approach
This year, I actually signed up for the Brew City Run 10K myself. My training still consisted of running about 20 miles a week, but this time I was teaching four classes a week. Teaching gave me less days to train, but the classes do help me with my running, I'll talk more about that in a future post. Check out my instagram where I post detailed updates about my training runs! I trained for about a full month, running close to 100 miles before race day. My pace has greatly improved from last year so my goal for this year was to finish in 55 minutes.
Race day brought beautiful weather this year! It was sunny, dry, and not as cold. I've learned how to dress better for colder runs, so I was definitely ready this year. During my race, I was focused on my goal, telling myself to "go faster" lol. I was also way more pleased with the course this year! This run includes a 5K and half marathon as well, all ran parts of the same course but they were timed perfectly where I was surrounded by everyone doing the 10K. And the lake view on this course was beautiful.
As I stated, my pace has greatly improved in the last year, and I am super pleased with my pace this year! I surpassed my goal of 55 minutes with 52 and a half minutes! I took 6th place in my age group, I was about 1:15 away from 3rd place's time. They sent me a text with my time as soon as I crossed the finish line lol.
At the finish line, I realized the medal was a little different than the one from last year. It was a lot bigger than this one. Apparently the medal for the half marathon is the largest in the largest finisher medal in Milwaukee. I also like that I was able to customize my name on my bib ;)
Of course, there was a big party at the finish line with a live band, beer, and brats. I do love beer, but I skipped out on the coors this year since I had an empty stomach. One thing I truly hate about the finish line goodies is there is rarely a vegan option. Well anyway I had this cup of unwashed grapes. I guess there is always the option to pack your own meal.
Or you can do like me and go to Beerline Cafe after your run and get the loaded nachos. These are the BEST vegan nachos, if you are in Milwaukee, they are a MUST TRY. I also loved the jacket you get when you register for this run. I got a x-small unisex and it fits me perfectly!
Overall I was much more pleased with the Brew City Run this year than last year. I am proud of myself for training hard and working extra hard to surpass my goal. I am also extremely happy to see that I am motivating others to want to run and exercise, that's amazing.
Now I'm onto training for my next 10K next month. Be sure to follow me on facebook and instagram to keep up with my training. Should I make it a goal to do the Brew City Half Marathon next year?! Leave me a comment :)
One thing I love about my city, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the vegan community. The vegan community here seems to be growing as well. We have a lot of fully vegan restaurants and more restaurants are catering to us. About a week ago, I went to the 4th Annual MKE Vegan Expo. This was my third year attending the event, this year they had a different location at UW-Milwaukee campus. Not sure why the location changed, but I did like that it was closer to the inner city and I'm sure it drew more people in. This expo always has a nice line up of vendors, speakers, and presentations. And the best part, this event is free to attend!
My first stop at this event was Fit 4 You. I seen them at a event I attended last year so of course I had to stop by and say hi. They are a happy couple that brings the gym to you, they are personal trainers. I also HAD to get some of their lavender lemonade! It is SO good! If you haven't had it, you need to try it! And check out their website here.
My favorite thing to do at this event is EAT! I look forward to it the most and I always come hungry. I love trying new things so it is always my goal to try something new at every event. My first food stop was at Indian Village Restaurant. I usually see them at this event but this was my first time trying Indian food. We decided to try the veg platter. The combo plate included curry, rice, spinach pie, and a samosa for $10. My favorite was the samosa, it was all good. Check out their website here.
One vendor I am always happy to see is Bunny's Bite. Madeline is so sweet and so are her treats. I LOVE her chocolate chunk cookies, I literally have to get them every time I see them, they are sooo good. I unfortunately missed her cooking demo where she made truffles, but I heard they were great. If you come across her , definitely stop by and try one of her treats. She is always out and about, check out her website to see where she will land next.
My final stop was to Daisy's Cafe II. This was my first time hearing of this restaurant, they are located in Illinois. We had a combo plate that included bean curd, mac & cheese, and bbq tips. They had three sauce options too, tartar sauce, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce. The bean curd was just like fried catfish, I had to Google what bean curd is lol it is actually just tofu. I liked the bbq rib tips the most, but everything was good. I would try this place again. Check out their Facebook page.
All in all, I enjoyed my time at this event. I am definitely looking forward to going next year as well!
Which of these foods would you try?
Leave me a comment! I would love to know!