Berry-Chocolate Green Smoothie Recipe, a.k.a. My Favorite Vegan Pregnancy Smoothie

Vegan pregnancy breakfast smoothie

Today I’d like to share with you the recipe for a vegan breakfast smoothie that’s been a lifesaver for me during the past few weeks of my pregnancy. You certainly don’t have to be pregnant to drink it, but it makes a lot of sense to have it every now and then if/when you’re pregnant because of all the nutrition packed in it. Okay, I’ll admit that it may look like the most appetizing thing ever, but hey, some great things in life sometimes come in less than perfectly looking packages 🙂 For almost all of my pregnancy, my go-to breakfast during the week has been oatmeal of some sort – overnight oats, steel-cut oatmeal, or these microwaveable packets of oats in maple-brown sugar flavor that I had a craving for early on. However, around 7 months into my pregnancy oatmeal started giving me heartburn, and I knew that I … Read the rest of the post

My Vegan Baby Shower: Mission Possible! The Menu, the Recipes, Plus the Food Prep Schedule

A couple weekends ago I hosted my vegan baby shower. At 7.5 months pregnant, it was no easy task, but in the end everything turned out wonderful! Today I’m sharing how I managed to put together a delicious vegan spread for this party that was enjoyed both by vegans and non-vegans, plus the food prep schedule I used to make it all happen. To be honest, the idea of a baby shower has stressed me even more during this pregnancy than the thought of eventually going into labor! There were a few reasons for this: I’ve never entertained more than a handful of people at once at my home, wasn’t sure what to do with the menu and cooking (of course I wanted all the food to be vegan, plus it had to be delicious to impress even the non-vegan guests), plus the party entertainment aspect was completely foreign to … Read the rest of the post

Working Out During Pregnancy: Full-Body Workouts for Each Trimester

Working out during pregnancy remains a subject of controversy: it seems like people either believe that it’s important to stay active and maintain strength during these nine months, or that pregnancy requires avoiding physical exertion as much as possible. I lean towards the first group of thinkers as I’m seeing great benefits of staying active into my third trimester: I hardly have any aches or pains, my energy levels are pretty high most days, plus it’s encouraging to see that my body is still capable of kicking some a$$ at the gym despite feeling like it’s not completely mine anymore 🙂 Today I’m sharing my typical workouts that I’ve been doing during my first, second and third trimester. I approached this pregnancy being quite strong after a year of lifting heavy (I had a few injuries during that year though, so I scaled the weights back before I learned that … Read the rest of the post

Working Out and Lifting Weights During Pregnancy: 5 Things to Keep In Mind

When I announced my current pregnancy to my parents back in March, the first thing they said was, ‘You should stop going to the gym now!’ I’m not kidding 🙂 The myth that pregnant women should avoid working out while pregnant runs deep in our society – it’s even deeper in Russia where my parents live. Thankfully, more and more women are witnessing great benefits of staying active for as long as they can while pregnant. More energy, less aches and pains, feeling stronger, having a better body image – what’s not to like? (Please note that I’m talking about low-risk pregnancies here. If your pregnancy is taking a more complicated path, or if working out just doesn’t feel good to you – please take it easy. No judgement here!) When I found out that I was pregnant, I did lots of research about working out during pregnancy to make … Read the rest of the post

Our Travel Adventures in Victoria, BC: Vegan Restaurants, Chocolate Treats, and Pickle Boat Rides

A few weekends ago, Rob and I spent a lovely weekend in Victoria, British Columbia. We don’t have an opportunity to take a longer vacation before our baby arrives in October, so going away to a new place for a weekend whenever we can has been a nice alternative. We haven’t been to Victoria yet since we moved to the Pacific Northwest three years ago, so this was a perfect time for us to finally take a trip there. Beautiful downtown marina area in Victoria, BC To our surprise, Victoria turned out to be bigger and more beautiful than we expected! Plus, we found the area very vegan-friendly, which is always nice to discover about a place you’re visiting for the first time. We booked an overnight trip via Victoria Clipper Vacations, which included two-way tickets on a ferry boat from downtown Seattle to Victoria (it was a great experience … Read the rest of the post

Summertime Cookout Special: Vegan Hot Dogs with Currywurst Ketchup Sauce

Ever since I moved to the United States eleven years ago, I’ve been fascinated by the ways of celebrating various national holidays around here. The 4th of July, like other summer holidays, are particularly appealing because of their laid-back vibe of family gatherings, cookouts, watching fireworks, etc. Rob and I usually spend this day together, and while there’s no need to cook up a storm just for the two of us, we still try to indulge in the traditional American cookout fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. Our recent 4th of July cookout extravaganza: vegan hot dogs with Currywurst Ketchup Sauce, served with a side of my Easy Vegan Potato Salad I’m glad that when we went vegan, we didn’t miss a beat finding plant-based alternatives to these American staples that are usually made from meat. Of course, there are a lot of recipes for vegan burgers and hot dogs … Read the rest of the post

In Defense of What The Health: an Open Letter to Progressive Vegans

In defense of What The Health documentary: why progressive vegans shouldn't dismiss this movie because of some flaws.

If you’re interested in veganism and/or plant-based diets, you’ve probably heard about the new documentary called What The Health. It’s created by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn – the same people who had previously authored Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. While this documentary was officially released a few months ago, recently it’s been one of the top things discussed in the vegan community after it was added to Netflix. (Please note: in case you haven’t seen What the Health or Cowspiracy, my post below contains some spoilers.) While Cowspiracy focuses on the environmental impact of animal agriculture and points at plant-based diets as the possible solution, What The Health investigates the connection between the standard American diet and poor health. Once again, plant-based diets are portrayed as the remedy. I’ve been loosely following the online discussions about this new documentary, and interestingly, it seems like people who have watched What The … Read the rest of the post

Running For Two: 9 Lessons I’ve Learned About Running During Pregnancy

Hi all! I haven’t written much about my personal life lately, so the truth is, a lot of things have changed in the recent few months, and even more are about to change in the nearest future. The biggest change, which I’m finally ready to talk about here on the blog, is the fact that I’m getting ready to become a mommy in October! The road to becoming pregnant has not been the smoothest, and I’ll talk about it sometime in the future. Rob and I happy that things have finally worked out for us, and looking forward to finding out what this vegan parenthood thing is all about! Getting pregnant coincided with a renewed interest in running for me. When I started this blog almost four years ago, being a runner was a sizeable part of my identity, but after completing my last marathon in June 2015, I lost … Read the rest of the post

Never Say Never: Why I’m Against Boycotting Non-Vegan Businesses That Offer Vegan Options (and a Few Cases When I’m For It)

When it comes to spending money at non-vegan businesses, the vegan community seems to be divided on whether or not those businesses are worth supporting. To clarify my point, I’m talking about restaurants, stores, and companies that are not vegan overall but list vegan-friendly options as a part of their menu or product offering. Every now and then some of these companies get called out for selling something  made with a certain degree of cruelty, and various animal welfare organizations plea the average vegan shoppers like you and me to boycott them. Overall, I agree that the calls for boycotting can be beneficial: even if a store or a restaurant doesn’t lose all of its business, the outcry of animal rights advocates raises awareness about the cruelty that animals in food supply chains of those businesses have to go through. There are plenty of success stories too: The Humane League … Read the rest of the post

Easy Vegan Potato Salad Recipe – a Perfect Side Dish for Mother’s Day Brunch, Barbecues, Picnics, etc.

Hi all! Today I’m sharing my easy vegan potato salad recipe that’s been a big hit at potlucks, outdoor gatherings, or just as a side dish for a casual homemade meal. I’m so excited that it’s finally May! All of the opportunities for warm weather picnics and gatherings with all kinds of vegan deliciousness are here again, with Mother’s Day approaching in no time. Over here in Western Washington state, we’ve had a long winter (it snowed at least three times! 🙂 ) and a rainy, chilly spring, so I can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit. I’m usually pretty bad with posting seasonal recipes in time for various occasions when they’d be perfect to enjoy, but this time, with Mother’s Day approaching, I was determined to share a recipe that’s both appropriate for a nice springtime brunch (bring on the mimosas!) and calls for fresh, seasonal … Read the rest of the post