Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Easiest Part of My Pregnancy.

Well, we have hit thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy, friends. 

And just like any marathon, football game, olympic activity, or just about any other major sporting event, we are at the final stretch. You know that spot in the game when you watch an athlete on TV? They're sweating buckets, moving much slower, with an acute pain in their face, as if they don't know if they can make it one minute longer. 

Because pregnancy is HARD.

Like drawn-out, long-as-hell, challenges galore HARD.

Don't get me wrong - it's also rewarding, exhilarating, joy-inducing, monumental, awe-inspiring, miraculous, and gratifying beyond belief.

It has inspired me to greater heights than I have ever known.

It has replenished me and reminded me I am a part of something much bigger in this world.

It has been simply beautiful to experience.

But to pretend my pregnancy hasn't been the single hardest thing I've ever done in my life would be to just plain lie to you all.

This last month has been especially challenging. 

Things that have made it a struggle include:

Exhaustion like I have never felt in my life.

Soreness in my hands and feet that make me feel arthritic.

Random bouts of intense emotion - tears, mostly - as my hormones dominate my daily mood.

A general feeling of helplessness and vulnerability as I find I can't do nearly as much as I could prior to pregnancy.

Feeling a tiny, but incredibly strong, human being move and push and kick and dance around inside of me.

And, for me personally, a pregnancy-related hernia that painfully stopped me in my tracks last week. 

As I said, folks, this is the final stretch.

Out of everything, the EASIEST part of this entire pregnancy, without a doubt, has been...

Eating and living vegan. 


I've been asked about cravings - "but don't you want comfort food?" -  and about classic childhood faves - "what about mac and cheese?!?!" - and also the seeming challenge of a plant-based diet - "isn't it hard to stay vegan while pregnant?" - and then finally, constructive concern - "how do you keep eating vegan during your pregnancy?" 

The list goes on and on. 

And maybe it's because I happen to live in Los Angeles, California, a virtual mecca of new, delicious, innovative vegan food. But really, all you need is a high-speed blender, a health food store or Whole Foods within driving vicinity (even a Trader Joe's will do), dedication, and an imagination to enjoy eating and living vegan while pregnant. 

It has been so easy for me. 

Some of the reasons this aspect of the pregnancy has been particularly easy include:

Annie's Kitchen Vegan Mac and Cheese,

Gardein Turk'y cutlets,

Hearty soups - homemade & from the store,

Homemade dairy-free mashed potatoes with meat-free gravy,

Vegan coleslaw made with Vegenaise,

Daiya or Field Roast Chao grilled cheeses,


French fries,

Vegan chocolate croissants from M Cafe in West Hollywood.
Organic pasta and other noodles (sometimes brown rice-based, sometimes wheat-based),

Vegan reubens at local spots,

Kite Hill almond milk yogurt (I know, I'm a lucky gal for accessing this new product!),


Pan fried tofu with soy sauce & garlic,

Homemade lentils and garlicky brown rice,


Vegan indian food - whether homemade or from a place I love, 

Vegan pizza - again, either completely homemade or from places I love,

Peanut butter straight out of the jar,

Big bowls of vegan-friendly cereals w/ sweetened almond milk,



And now...

One last reason.

A reason so powerful it has not only made eating and living vegan during pregnancy super EASY, but it has determined my choice to live vegan for the rest of my life. 

No matter what.

Because every single creature alive deserves to know what it feels like to nurture their baby after they birth it.

It really and truly is that easy.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Beautiful Juniper.

Last week was a DOOZY. 

Between the up and down hormones, the exhaustion that has begun hitting me mid-afternoon, and the sporadic bouts of nausea, I was feeling at my limit. Despite a relatively calm pregnancy as a vegan mama-to-be, for some reason, this week felt different. Harder. More consuming. Less doing, and more stopping. And I felt stuck.

And then, I went to the journal. 

It's a journal filled with letters for our daughter-to-be. My mom lovingly had it made for us, and Matt and I took it with us for our East Coast trip to have our family fill in the pages with words of love and support. 

I opened up June's journal. I put a pen down to the paper. And I wrote the following letter to my daughter. And then all of the challenge of the past week melted away. Because I remembered the why in all of this.  

Ah, the tiny miracles of pregnancy.

July 21, 2015

My beautiful Juniper,

Today, you are officially 27-weeks old inside of my belly!

The other day, I laid on my back and turned on my sister's music, put the music to my belly, and you started kicking up a storm. It was amazing.

You are changing my life and world in magical ways, my child. 

This month in particular, you are teaching me

To rest,

To be grateful for the quiet moments,

To surrender,

To trust in the unknown,

To grow,

To cry when I need to or want to,

To realize that strength does not always have to be in how much I produce or acquire,

To take naps, 

To connect (with you!),

To relish this time.

Thank you, Junebug.

Thank you for slowing mama down,

For allowing her to pause,

Look around,

And smile.

To stop competing 

With the fast, fast world, 

And just be.

I love you, my baby girl.

I love you without having really seen you yet.

Because to love you is to know you, 

Deep inside of this ever-flowing well that is my heart.

Till your next kick!



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vegan Mama: My Favorite Things!

Bella and Lindsay and Juniper JUMP FOR JOY!
It has been a beautiful week so far. 

Matt, Bella, and I headed back to two different East Coast homes for a special two-week vacation this month - first to my brother and sister-in-law's place in Boston, and next to Matt's family's home in Concord, New Hampshire. On Saturday, our two families officially met for the first time, and we also had a special baby shower for Juniper (our baby-to-be). 

Having a vacation of any kind has been so soothing to my very busy soul. It's been especially healing as I continue to grow this little baby girl inside of my body. We reached the "6 Month" mark on Tuesday, folks! 

The best part about my vegan pregnancy has been all of the support. I feel so lucky - I have people all around me - loved ones, friends, and everyone in between - who, after nearly seven years, have seen what a positive impact my living vegan has had on my body and life, as well as those around me. 

Homemade vegan macaroni salad courtesy of sis-in-law!
When I mention that Juniper will be raised vegan, I've only received curiosity and positivity about it. The questions have been easy to answer so far, and for this I am so grateful. Maybe it's because our world is slowly changing to accommodate those who believe in compassionate choices for all. Maybe in it's all in how I'm choosing to see it. Whatever the reason, I'm sitting here with my coffee and soymilk, so thankful for the journey.

Speaking of my vegan pregnancy, here are some of the things I am LOVING right now while my belly grows:

Earth Mama Angel Baby Butter

I lather this stuff on my belly like it's my full-time job! Not only does it help make my skin soft and supple as it stretches, but it smells yummy! Another great body butter is Organic Coconut Oil, which I occasionally use too.

Rainbow Light Vegan Prenatal ONE Multivitamins.

Six months. :-) 
I absolutely love the Rainbow Light brand as a whole. Specifically, these prenatal vitamins have been easy to digest, filled with great stuff for me while this little kiddo takes up shop inside, and something easy for me to do every day to ensure I'm getting all of the nutrients I need.

Prenatal Yoga Videos Through Yoga Works.

Before I praise the heck out of Yoga Works,  I have to praise my dear friends Nik Shriner and Ashley Platz. Both are members of a weekly goal setting group I'm a part of in Los Angeles, and both have been kicking my butt to make sure I exercise regularly while I experience pregnancy. Ashley specifically has been incredibly motivating. A wonderful actress and yoga instructor, Ashley was kind enough to let me in on a very cool development through her yoga school, Yoga Works, which is an online video directory of classes. Just go to myyogaworks.com to sign up. I especially love that I can go at different levels depending on my energy that day.  And my body is feeling so much stronger for it!

My iPhone Camera & the Samsung Camera My Mom Gave Me for Christmas.

A moment captured during our baby shower.
Taking photos of these past six months has been tremendous. I've grown and changed so much in so little time, and having the visual proof has been a stunning experience. I highly recommend taking weekly belly photos, along with visuals of the doctors visits, new baby clothes, celebrations, and everything else involved in preparing for your baby. Now, I just need some photo albums and a great printing station!

Conscious Parenting Books.

Lately, the two I am immersed in are "The Magic Years" by Selma Fraiberg and "The Conscious Parent" by Shefali Tsabary. Both are teaching me about parenting in a way that allows for the transformative journey for both child and parent. The concept of self-awareness has been something I've been interested in for a while now, so the idea of incorporating that into my parenting really excites me.


Sleep has been my best friend lately. If I'm feeling tired, I nap. If I'm exhausted by day's end, I go to sleep early. I don't judge the process, I just say thank you over and over for the extra sleep as I prepare to sleep less and less in the coming years!

Meditation (w/ help from the Insight Timer App).

My daily goal is to get in anywhere from 7-20 minutes of meditation. I usually manage about 15 on productive days, and when I reach that amount, I feel clearer, calmer, and more ready to take on my day. The Insight Timer App helps keep a gentle timer going as I meditate so I don't have to worry about it while I do it. For those beginning meditators, just know that even a mere 3 minutes can make a huge difference in your day.

My Loving Partner.

Having support from family and friends is awesome, but when the bulk of the support comes from an amazing, bighearted, kind partner? It makes for an experience more loving than I could have ever imagined. 

Juniper Francis.

Deciding on a baby name is always a fun challenge, and the evolution for us has been especially fun. We started with June. Which led to Juniper. Throw in Francis to honor Matt's late grandfather, and we have ourselves a full fledged name. Nicknames our family have already decided upon include: June, Junebug, Junie, and FrancyPants. I also love Ginny, a call to the fact that Juniper berries are used to make gin. Whatever your inclination, I suggest looking up as much as you can about the name - and in my humble opinion, you don't necessarily need to spend days and days deciding on the name itself. June came to me as I was driving down a road and saw a sign for "June Street." 

As we continue the fun of our East Coast vacation, I'll leave you with a quote from "The Conscious Parent". Have a wonderful week, KMIVers! 

"When you parent, it's crucial you realize you aren't raising a "mini me," but a spirit throbbing with its own signature. For this reason, it's important to separate who you are from who each of your children is. Children aren't ours to possess or own in any way. When we know this in the depths of our soul, we tailer our raising of them to their needs, rather than molding them to fit our needs."


Bella here, and I just wanted to say that, in the time I have known Lindsay I have tried new vegan things almost every day. And soon I'll have a new baby SIS! I have also been rooting for Lindsay as she is continuing her journey of making a human vegan baby inside of her. WAIT, I need to learn how to cook VEGAN! I might see you guys again. Bye! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dear Vegan Lifestyle,

At Doomies chowing down on a vegan BBQ burger.
Man, you have been rad

I've been living vegan for over six years now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I wake up each morning grateful to be thinking of a compassionate world when I make my choices.

The food is AWESOME and always satisfying. It didn't all taste so great at first (silly tastebuds!), BUT once I gave myself the time & commitment to keep trying new stuff, it just kept getting yummier and yummier. 


I've seen so many people around me positively impacted by my going vegan, & since changing my eating and living habits, I've seen the world around me change too - so many advances have been made to help animals!

You give me a kind of strength I didn't know I had.

You add a special kind of love to my heart I didn't know I needed. 

You keep me full.

You keep me healthy. 

You give me something to feel charitable and kind about every single day. 

You are helping me grow a healthy, active, beautiful baby girl inside of my very vegan belly.

You keep me humble, curious, and gracious. 

You give me hope. 


What I'm trying to say is...

Thank you for sticking with me these past six and a half beautiful years. 

Thank you for continuing to inspire me. 

And hey - I just made some kick-ass sprouted toast with vegan butter & pear jam, while my boyfriend just made his coffee with organic soymilk. 

We did all that after snuggling with my rescued kitty Vicki. 

It's been a really really really good morning so far. 

And I'm pretty sure you are the reason. 

Kisses and Hugs,


"I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly, nor destroy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life, and guard and perfect all natural beauty upon the earth."

~ John Ruskin

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My Vegan Mommy Manifesto.

So, as many of you know, I'm pregnant. Like halfway there, almost 5 months pregnant. 

It's been a wild ride, folks. I've known I wanted to be a mommy ever since I was like five years old, holding a baby doll in my arms with someone asking me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I looked down at that baby doll, and I just knew. Sure, I also said I wanted to be an actress, an artist, and a teacher as well (in that order, too). And thankfully, I have managed to be all three of those things in the decade of grownup life I've experienced. But something has always been missing - not in a dramatic, loud, painful way or anything - just a little lingering something that I knew I needed to encounter on this life's journey that just hadn't happened yet. In the past several years or so, I would waver back and forth on the timing of this occurrence, but deep down in my heart I knew I wanted kids. And I wanted them soon. And I wanted it to feel easy and fun and exciting and to have a truly openhearted experience raising them and continuing to live out my own personal dreams in the process.

And now, I'm here. Pregnant at a time that surprised me to a degree, but that I also think deep in the heart of my wanting, I found to be perfect. I always thought I needed to be THIS far along in my career or with THIS much money in the bank account, my life ducks lined up neatly, with exact timing set for a baby. I had the planning down to a science, friends. And that's never how it ends up working out, I've learned. The most beautiful, interesting, life-altering, heart-opening moments and chapters happen when you least expect them to, when they may feel at first inconvenient even. I remember sitting in a grocery store parking lot, waiting for my partner Matt to meet me, so we could talk about the news - that I had just discovered we were pregnant. I remember feeling nervous and worried and so terrified at the thought of actually enjoying this news, especially since my acting career was not in the place I thought it needed to be for this moment. And then Matt came to the car. And got inside. And held my hand. And he listened. And after an initial conversation about it, he mentioned that, while he totally got my worrisome reaction to this news, he thought the best next step would be getting a cake to celebrate (vegan-friendly, of course).  And that is why I love this man. 

Okay - to the "Vegan Mommy Manifesto" part. That's the title of the blog, right?

With my nearly ten year old rescued kitty, Vicki. 
Well, after living vegan for over six years, I knew from the moment I settled into this lifestyle that I would want to share it with my kiddos. What a beautiful idea, I thought, to bring a child up, from birth, to experience fully realized compassion, generosity of spirit, and love through a life-long vegan lifestyle. I knew I had, and still have, a ways to go in preparing for this little gal or guy to pop out. I've read a half dozen vegan pregnancy books and a few books about what to expect when the baby arrives. And I know I definitely want to be prepared for the moments of questions as that little baby grows older and becomes very curious about why we live the way we do. 

But for now, I want to keep it simple. I want to create for myself a parenting mission statement, of sorts. I just want a list, or some paragraphs, something, anything, to lay out the kind of life lessons I'd like to impart on my kiddo. Now, I know that a GINORMOUS part of this want stems from the planner in me. And from my 14-year long side career of caring for and teaching children of all ages, I also know that a GINORMOUS part of this parenting thing will be "off the cuff, makin' it up, goin' with the flow, just happy to be showin' up" parenting. I guess I'm looking for a little something grounded for me to refer back to in the moments when I need the extra guidance. So, I'm gonna start making an ever-growing, ever-shifting Vegan Mommy Manifesto.  

Now, I've heard from various sources that a child's personality and general belief system is established and basically set for life by the age of six. So, I figure I have at least six years worth of lessons to impart upon my kiddo - at least at the start. A big chunk of them will involve the act of living  as a compassionate vegan. I will certainly splash them with vulnerability, openness, loving big, and being there for others. I will add a dash of playfulness and spontaneity. And I know for sure I will have at least a few focus on  the acts of self-love and self-belief, which can lead to the greatest kind of growth and joy. 

As I begin and continue to add to this list, I will definitely share my experience on here. And who knows - maybe a mommy or daddy reading this post today will help a gal out by sharing some of THEIR lessons. Seriously, go for it! Share away!  

Now readers, a manifesto doesn't need to be made upon learning you're gonna pop a kid out. You can make one anytime for your life. Why not write it in fancy wording, put it on fancy paper, and hang that fancy reminder on a wall to see everyday.  Or just scrawl it down in a notebook you love and refer back to it when needed. On my end, I wonder what will happen when I set into motion a list like that. When I essentially put into effect agreements I am making with myself and the little human I'm going to get to know over the years. How cool will it be to see it change and shift and get added to BY the kiddo? My Matt? By my family and friends and the other awesome life teachers around me? 

How wonderful.

How exciting.  

To be continued, of course... 



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bella tries the Soymilk...

Happy Saturday, folks! 

Last night, after this vegan pregnant lady passed out cold, Matt made a promise with Bella - that they would try their morning cereal with soymilk for the first time. Bella - an avid fan of drinking cow's milk - decided to try something new, as long as her dad promised to take the first bite at the same time as her.  

Well... they did indeed try it, and Bella's response was,

"This tastes exactly the same to me."

I then let out what can only be described as a victorious battle cry...

... Because it really is the little things that can make someone's Saturday. 

I'm amazed by how open both Matt and Bella are to trying the new foods I introduce them to. It's been an incredibly humbling experience to remember what I was like before I went vegan, and to see them make small changes whenever Bella stays with us. 

It brings me back to that first year of going vegan. Really the first month, to be exact. I had switched over my morning coffee and cow's milk to coffee and soymilk. I remember trying it for the first time... and absolutely hating it. But I had made a promise - that I would honor animals by making positive changes in my diet and lifestyle to protect them. And so I continued to try the soymilk in my coffee for one month. By the end of the month, I had fallen in love with the taste of soymilk. It opened up my world to have this experience - what else had I been cutting myself off from doing or having because, upon first try, I wasn't satisfied? Now, I'm a vegetable-loving, tofu-guzzling, animal rights fact-spouting, happy, happy vegan. It's been a really fun ride. 

On a side note, our baby is growing beautifully. We are officially at 17 1/2 weeks, and beyond the occasional bout of feeling tired, I'm doing awesome. I absolutely love that my vegan lifestyle has translated to a pretty easy going pregnancy. 

"Don't wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace. It is up to you, and it always has been. You may even find the solution at the end of your fork."
- Sharon Gannon

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Vegan Lasagna for the WIN!

One of my new favorite things about getting to know Bella, my boyfriend's daughter, is falling in love with her willingness to help cook. For Easter, my sister and I made a vegan lasagna (very-casual-super-easy recipe will be at the bottom of this post, rest assured!). We decided to make this lasagna again tonight for dinner, with great success all around. I personally credit the deliciousness of tonight's meal to Bella's insanely awesome tofu ricotta hand-mashing. If I'm being honest, at a certain part of the meal prep, I just let Bella run the show. I think I have a vegan chef in the making. 

As for the eating of our meal, it's no question that I thought the lasagna was kiss-worthy. But the big question remains - what did Matt & Bella think?

Matt loved it so much he ate two huge servings of it. WIN!

Bella liked it a lot and especially loved the Gardein beefless crumbles and the Daiya - WIN! She also said that she would have it again - but she asked for less tomato sauce next time. Spoken like a true chef. 

Alright, for the recipe!


Package of lasagna noodles
1-2 jars of tomato sauce (no dairy in it either, duh)
1 cup - or more! - of Daiya vegan cheese or any other vegan cheese ya fancy
1 package of Gardein beefless crumbles
Olive oil to coat pan for crumbles

For the tofu ricotta:

2 packages of firm tofu, drained - organic if possible!
Olive oil - drizzle as much as you want for a smooth consistency
Agave or Maple Syrup (or another vegan sweetener!) - a few drizzles to sweeten
Nutmeg - again, no exact measurement, but I say the more, the merrier!
Garlic, Salt, & Pepper - all to taste
1/2 a lemon's juice

Cook pasta according to directions on package. While pasta's cooking, place beefless crumbles in a medium-sized pan over some heated olive oil and cook until browned. Set aside. In a separate bowl, put ingredients for tofu ricotta in a big pile and - with clean hands! - mash the tofu & ingredients until you have a pretty smooth consistency, reminiscent of ricotta. I highly recommend you take a page out of the Lindsay Wolf vegan cookbook and trial & error the heck out of this ricotta. Taste it as you go, add whatever spices you like to make it taste yummy, and don't hesitate to get creative. (I hate measuring things, which is why I now stick to cooking rather than baking. It has served me very well come dinnertime.) 

Once pasta is cooked and drained, begin layering pasta in a lasagna pan as you normally would for lasagna with a layer of sauce, noodles, ricotta, crumbles, Daiya. Repeat until you are at the top of the pan. Add some sauce to the top and sprinkle Daiya over it. Cook at 375 degrees in an oven for 30-35 minutes with an aluminum foil top, then for 10 minutes without the aluminum to brown it. 

EAT & ENJOY!!!!!

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." 
- Walt Disney

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jon Stewart, I Love You.

I am so in love with everything Jon Stewart right now. 

First, I find out his wife is vegan.

founder and president of Farm Sanctuary

Next, will I see news that Jon Stewart has... 

dun dun dun... 


We shall see. For now, I have a major reason to smile today. 

Thanks Jon!!!!!!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Gentle Barn.

After having already experienced the joy that is The Gentle Barn a few years ago, I was lucky enough to share this beautiful place with Matt and his daughter, Bella, on Sunday. For those of you who don't know, The Gentle Barn is a farmed animal sanctuary with a different agenda than most - this safe haven for formerly abused and discarded animals also serves as a place of healing for at-risk, developmentally disabled, and other groups of children and adults, by providing tours and volunteer opportunities during the week to allow for connection between the animals and humans they encounter. While GB 100% supports a plant-based diet & vegan living as the #1 action humans can take to help our Earth, this sanctuary also wants to leave a legacy that bridges the emotional, physical, and psychological difficulties so many people face with the extraordinary transformation the cows, chickens, goats, turkeys, pigs, and other creatures at GB experience. The best part? This transformation is all a result of the love, kindness, patience, and compassion of their GB human caretakers. 

Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn
Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn, gives regular speeches on Sundays before people are allowed to enter the upper areas of the sanctuary. In this rousing speech, Laks encourages every interested person visiting - child and adult alike - to remain gentle with the animals they encounter, a quality that is inherent in every aspect of her sanctuary. It was captivating to watch an entire audience of such a variety of people unite with Laks' words, especially that one main word - "gentle". I decided to look up the word "gentle" in Merriam-Webster and found the top definition to be: "having or showing a quiet and kind nature; not harsh or violent." I left Laks' speech with a renewed love of what it means to be a gentle being in this world. I left the sanctuary that day with a renewed commitment to the animals and humans I honor every single day with my vegan living. And man, was it fun to introduce this kiss-worthy place to Matt and Bella.

Below are some pictures capturing the day. I encourage all Southern LA residents and beyond to take a Sunday to visit this extraordinary place. 

Bella and I with Buttercup, a rescued cow. 

Matt meeting Lela, one of the sanctuary residents.

Bella & her new friend Zeus, after she gave her very first pig belly rub!

Me with Ellie Laks and her daughter

I couldn't resist giving a belly rub to Zeus myself! 

McKenna, one of GB's turkey residents

Faith, a blind rescued cow who gives new meaning to the word "faith"

Belly loved brushing the cow's hair!

For more information, please visit www.gentlebarn.org.