Welcome to A Little Radish! A Little Radish is a vegan and vegetarian blog that focuses on gluten-free and sugar-free recipes (we love food!), fitness and health, and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. We are three separate authors with different perspectives, in different places in our lives and at different stages in our goals to living a healthy, green and sustainable lifestyle. Get to know us below!
Angie’s Story: Hello world! Here I am to tell you a summary of myself, which is really not an easy thing to do, but here goes. I’ve been exercising all my life, cross country, ballet and half marathons. When I went to university I let other things become a priority, like drinking and eating. I still ran, but not as often and not focusing on the exercise of it, just so I could say I still ran. I finished university and entered the real world, found the man of my dreams and still ran. In October 2012, I was a bridesmaid in Melissa’s wedding and two weeks before the wedding I tried on my dress again and it was too tight. That was the first time I noticed that I had gained weight. So I immediately thought, how can I lose a few pounds before the wedding and fit nicely into this dress? I decided to stop eating gluten and eat only salads for lunch for two weeks. I chose gluten free because my boyfriend (now fiancé) ate a gluten free diet and for years we had just bought gluten filled and gluten free food. After two weeks I fit into that dress and I felt damn good about that. Then I read the book wheat belly and it changed my idea of gluten entirely. On December 1st, 2012 I went gluten free for good. Within weeks I had lost over 10 pounds and I felt incredible, like a fog was lifting from my head and I saw clearly again. I started running again and Melissa and I became gym buddies. We worked out 4-5 times a week and every week we felt and looked better. At this point I had cut out pop and all carbonated drinks. It wasn’t until May that my boyfriend and I decided to try a vegetarian diet. We both loved the freedom of not eating meat. Then we cut out refined sugar. This was the most difficult for us because we both loved candy and chocolate. It was always in our house, in the car, at work, everywhere! But giving it up was definitely good for us. Then we gave up dairy and I had to say goodbye to my beloved cheese. By August we were pretty much vegan/plant-based. In October, I ran my second marathon. I’d actually trained hard for this one and it was one of the best days of my life. I finished it 40 minutes faster than the first one. At the finish line I was surrounded by loved ones, and I was so happy. When they posted my time, I started to cry. It was 15 minutes faster than my goal time, it was an incredible feeling. Running has become that part of my life again that I can’t live without. I run 4-5 times a week. I’m currently training for my 12th half marathon and it will be my first one on a plant-based diet. I can’t wait to see how much time I can cut off my pb. I’ll also be running a 5k in Boston while my dad runs the Boston Marathon. I hope to pb there as well.
My favourite part of this whole transition in my life is learning. I’ve learnt so much about the food industry and the media lies we are fed daily to make us eat unhealthy foods that make big corporations a lot of money. I’ve learnt about the environmental damage the food industry creates. I’ve also had to learn how to cook and bake everything again. I’d been baking gluten free goodies for years for my boyfriend, but now I had to take out the sugar…the dairy… And the eggs! It’s been a fun experiment though and the results are 99% delicious! My goal for contributing to this blog is not to try and make you think the way I think, or eat the way I eat. But maybe you will be inspired by the three of us and reflect on the way food and exercise effect your body, mind and soul, not to mention the environment. I encourage you to do your research and learn as much as you can about this lifestyle because it could very well change your life forever. What you can expect from my posts are a lot of food and running talk. I’m also getting married in August so I might talk about that “a little” too. Now to eat.
Melissa’s Story: It all started with a Christmas dinner. For years I have always found it difficult to eat meat. From a young age I always seemed to see the face of a chicken, cow or pig in the food I was eating. I attempted vegetarianism two or three times in my teenage years however it did not last long. December 2012, two months after my wedding, and 25 pounds heavier than five years previous, I was sitting down with my husband and our family to a Christmas Turkey dinner. Little did I know that this dinner would change my life forever. It was called Turduck’n, that’s right a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. I was surrounded by people who were thoroughly enjoying every piece of this meal and there I was pondering the life of those poor animals. My husband and I had similar sentiments and decided to try out a vegetarian diet starting in the new year. Along with this change, Angie and I decided we were going to attempt an exercise overhaul on our bodies! Week after week we spent hours tirelessly working out in the gym and the results were incredible! We were shedding off pound after pound and the best part, we kept feeling more and more energized, and we were doing it together.
After seeing Angie’s success with removing gluten from her diet, my husband J and I decided that going gluten free was the next step on our journey to wellness. Within weeks we were noticing results such as mental clarity, less bloating and overall started feeling better and better. At this point we had removed all meat, gluten, eggs, butter and milk. The final thing to be removed from our diet before becoming vegan was cheese. Removing cheese was not an easy thing to do however it was the next step. On June 1st 2013 we decided it was time to take the plunge and go vegan, and that was truly the best choice we ever made.
Between each of these milestones, we continued researching and exploring more ways to be healthier. Angie’s experience with removing refined sugar opened our eyes to this addictive substance that is in so many food items. August 1st we took the plunge again and removed all refined sugars from our life which also led to the removal of most processed foods. In under a year we had completely transformed our lives, and truly for the better. I could never have imagined how much I would truly enjoy these new foods, new recipes and oh my… the baked goods.
One of the best parts of this whole experience is self reflection. Focusing on being healthier in regards to food and exercise pushes you to look inward and truly look at the person you are. Meditation and mindfullness is always something I try to focus on and am working on making it a part of my daily routine.
My hope for this blog is to inspire any individual who is considering eating less meat, even one less piece of meat a day, to do it. The results will be amazing and you WILL feel healthier. All the recipes I will post will be vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free.
The journey to health has been an incredible one and I welcome all the new changes the universe has in store for me :)
Shannon’s Story: Hi there! Ok so, my story. I’ve been overweight most of my life, I’d say from the age of 13 onwards. I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food; I learned very young the art of crash dieting. I remember the age of 14 being the first time I binged and restricted, and that quickly became a way of life. When I was in my younger 20’s, I focused on having fun rather than living healthy, and developed a lot of terrible habits (sleep meds, smoking, over drinking etc); I didn’t realize that I could have fun and still lead a healthy life. I was 27 was when I started taking some steps to improving my overall health. I stopped drinking alcohol for the most part (I still have the occasional glass of wine), ended the sleep medications and quit smoking. My life quickly started to turn around, I went to therapy to deal with my food issues, started regularly doing yoga, and began to feel like a new person. I felt like I could achieve anything and could finally start being the person I always wanted to be.
Several months later, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with twins! All of a sudden, it became startlingly clear that every health decision I made directly impacted my babies as well as myself. Every piece of food I put in my mouth would affect them; lack of sleep, stress, everything would affect the health of my babies. I realized while I was pregnant that by putting myself, my health and well-being first, that I would be giving my children the best start at life. I began hugely reducing the amount of meat I ate and increasing fruits and vegetables, I began sleeping when I was tired, and greatly reduced my stress at work. When they were born, my husband and I decided that we wanted to set the best example of healthy living for our children; something that was missing from both our own childhoods. We decided to make meat something we ate only a handful of times a year and adopted a primarily vegetarian lifestyle. Inspired by Melissa and Angie, we made the move to being refined sugar-free (probably the greatest decision of our lives) and have removed most gluten. We also decided that we wanted to be role models for our children on how to live earth-friendly with a focus on sustainability. To say we are now completely different people than we were a year ago is an understatement. I’ve started working out about 20 minutes a day (minimum) and this summer we are both participating in Warrior Dash Ontario!
I look forward to sharing my journey and continuing my health education here on A Little Radish!