How I Curb Anxiety

I'd love to tell you everything is smooth and jammy over here on my side on the pond, but that wouldn't be entirely truthful. Like many people, I struggle with anxiety. It's usually nonsensical anxiety that my body pushes on me like a large, unwanted gift of straight-up awful. My mind knows it's silly. My mind doesn't want it (No, thank you!), but can't seem to reject it. Thanks a lot body! 

Am I destined to choking down beta-blockers and SSRIs to ease my racing heart and trembling hands? To help quell my social awkwardness? Nah. Here are just a few things that I personally implement to help deal with daily anxiety. As always, check with your doctor before undertaking a new health routine. I'm not a doctor. Only you and your provider and/or counselor can determine what's best for you.

These are some of the things I do daily. I've listed them in order of my day. The holidays can be stressful, so try some of these out and get to relaxing. 

Go Vegan

Shocking, right? Fo' real though. A 2012 study found that eliminating animal products from one's diet resulted in improved mood within two weeks! Animal products can have an inflammatory effect on the body.

Why do fruits and vegetables improve our mood? Because of the inhibitors of the depression-associated enzymes that are found in various plants. So eat those plants up! Really though, you don't need me telling you to eat plants...

...better moods on plant-based diets could also be from the good stuff in plants—a class of phytonutrients that cross the blood brain barrier into our heads. A recent review in the journal, Nutritional Neuroscience, suggests that eating lots of fruits and vegetables may present a noninvasive natural and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain.
— Dr. Michael Greger



It works. Sounds hokey, I know, but try it out. At the very least you'll smell nice!

In the morning and throughout the day I like to dab lavender oil on my wrists and neck. It's a very light and unoffending scent (unless you hate lavender). I use Aura Cacia 100% Pure Essential Lavender Oil. It's an easy buy at my grocery store, but you can find it on Amazon too. 

Lavender is known to have a very calming effect. That's why it's always in the heating pads. For more interesting information on lavender with regards to treating anxiety, check out this video and this video

If you really don't like lavender, orange oil is also known to lower anxiety levels. I use the doTerra Wild Orange Oil the same way as the lavender oil. Find out more about that in this great video. You can purchase orange oil at Amazon


Incredibly, saffron has anti-anxiety properties. I actually started huffing saffron for my crippling cramps. However, I learned that it's reported to be just as effective as Prozac. Legit stuff. Look into it, you'll want to, from the video here. The best part is that you can buy it from the grocery store! Or from Amazon. Plus I really, really, like the way saffron smells. It's kind of pricy, but you don't actual use any of it. Just sniff it. Maybe try to refrain from doing it in public though...



Rooibos, or red tea, can ease stress and anxiety. Researchers recently found that human adrenal gland cells in a petri dish produce about 4 times less steroid hormones, like cortisol, in the presence of rooibos.

I really like this organic Rooibos Chai by Numi. You can read more about how it beats stress here. Also, green tea is good for relaxing the mind. I drink tea throughout the day to keep me in relaxed state. Todd calls Rooibos, "monk tea" because it makes him feel super zen. Like a monk! 

Soothing and/or Uplifting Music

Listen to your favorite tunes to cheer you up or calm you down. These are some of my very favorites. 


I meditate (or practice "mindfulness") at least four days a week for 15-30 minutes. It takes a little practice. Often I hear people say they could never meditate because they just can't stop thinking! Yeah...that's kind of the point of doing it. Your brain will always be thinking of things, even during meditation. The best advice I've heard is to let the thoughts come and go. Don't follow them and don't push them away. Like a cloud, just let them pass. If I'm really having trouble, I will focus on my breathing. 

I really like to use guided meditation, because I find the words of another very soothing. This isn't "image" guided meditation, mind you. I'm not a big fan of that for some reason. If you're interested, there a few apps I use and like a lot. The first is called Insight Timer. I have it on my phone. I also subscribe to Meditation Oasis with Mary Maddox, as a podcast on my phone. She is very relaxing to listen to. Loving kindness meditation is a wonderful thing to practice. Meditation is all about being "in the moment" and not worrying on the future, or regretting the past. 

I always meditate laying down, because it's more comfortable for me. There's no right or wrong way to go about doing it. Meditate however suits you best. Also, yoga is also a great way to slow down. I do yoga three days a week and meditate during the day and sometimes at night as well. 


"The Original Chill Pill". Yep. Read ALL about it here, from Psychology Today. I won't go into detail, but magnesium has been scientifically proven to chill ya out, bro. I take a 250 mg supplement at night. It also helps with sleep (yay!) and constipation (no troubles in that department..) I make sure to get it from the foods I eat too. Foods that are high in magnesium are chard, pumpkin seeds, spinach, edamame, black beans, and quinoa. 

Heating Bag

I was gifted a flannel flaxseed filled bag for Christmas a few years ago and it is THE BEST THING EVER. Things are about to get real strange okay, but it's the truth.

I call it my "puppy" and Todd heats it up for three minutes every night in the microwave and I sleep with it. It's seriously my life. Sometimes if I'm really chilled or just need a snuggle bunny, I heat it up and lay it on my chest or neck. The weight and heat of it is so soothing. This is similar to what I have.


Exercise!! Very important. Get outside!! Also important. Snuggles with your favorite furry companion is definitely a stress soother. Breathing exercises are effective too. I like to take a big breath in and hold it for five seconds, let it out slowly and hold it out for five seconds. Repeat until you're as zen as a monk .

What do you do to help curb anxiety?

Changes I've Noticed Since Becoming Vegan

Sassy Alert! I woke up on the sassy part of the bed today (it happens sometimes) and my ardent animal activist is out in full force today. I am usually quite a mellow little vegan, but not today! You've been warned.

Getting back in the swing of things after my unfortunate week off has been tough. I had a spectacular cookie recipe all lined up, but I forgot to edit and upload the photos! So, it'll have to be saved for tomorrow instead I suppose. But that's okay because I have a different sort of post for today. 

Photo by the exceptionally talented Todd.

Photo by the exceptionally talented Todd.

It's been a little over one year since I became vegan and it's honestly been one of the happiest decisions of my life. It's brought Todd and me so much joy and peace with regards to our health and mental wellness. I thought I'd share some changes in my life since going plant-based.

Changes I've noticed since becoming vegan.

Some occurred instantaneously and some took some time to notice.   

- There's been some concern with relation to my excessive consumption of nutritional yeast. I've been encouraged to research if one can consume too much of the stuff ( NOOCH BELONGS ON EVERYTHING! No joke. It's cheesy, a complete protein, packed with B-12, and I'm fairly certain they put crack in it. Todd told me I should just contact the distributor so I can get it in super bulk quantities.

- I now find animal meat completely repulsive. Physically it grosses me out. Having grown up in Alaska, I wasn't sure that would ever happen to me, but it has. The connection has been made... it's really been made. Seriously, I imagine that a particular chicken once stood, afraid, and cramped in shockingly horrendous conditions before being slaughtered every time I see a cooked chicken leg.

- I used to cough in the mornings. Every morning. For years and years. Since I've been vegan that's gone away. I now know the culprit was dairy. So, bye-bye apocalypse size bottle of Zyrtec. Unfortunately, my allergies to Bobbledore haven't gone away....I still have my eye drops for that!

- My friends and family eat more vegan products and less animal products (at least when I'm around), woot woot! Eating more fruits and vegetables? Words patients have been ignoring from their doctors and/or nutritionists for a long time now. Now you should be able to say, "Yes!"

- If a friend or family member mentions a recipe or dish that they made or enjoyed that contains animal products, I don't fake it any longer and go "Ooo, that sounds so good!" Because it doesn't. I'm not cool with having an animal die simply because I want beef tacos (lentil tacos are way better anyways, fo real). There's nothing good about milk and if you people don't believe me then they should march down to the commercial dairy farm where that milk they bought was produced. Seriously...this isn't the 1950's anymore. We know there's really nothing good about cow's milk, in fact quite the opposite. Be an informed consumer and see the research here at

-  I seriously haven't had to see my primary care doctor since I've been vegan. I was a frequent flyer before. I was always sick. Colds, flus, bronchitis, strep, pneumonia....straight up. You should know that my place of employment is a hospital. I am constantly around plaque monkeys. Last week a little girl coughed in my face at point blank range. Yep. Still not sick though! I'm invincible!! Okay, maybe not...there was a visit to the Urgent Care, but that was non-food related as you may know if you follow me on social media. Don't worry, I know I'll get sick eventually...but I'll be damned if I've not had a single cough for over a year now.

- My hair isn't straw-like anymore. For real. It wasn't pretty. Plus, it seems to have been growing faster too. I attribute this to lots of avocado, nuts, and seeds. 

- I don't count calories anymore. I just eat healthily (most of the time). Calories, fat, and carbs no longer linger on my brain. Plus, I've lost a cool 10-15 lbs. and ain't nothing wrong with that.

- Our pantry is full of all kinds of things I would have never tried if I hadn't become vegan. Nutritional yeast, millet, adzuki beans, kombu, etc. Playing with new food sure can be fun, and hey, variety is the spice of life! Red quinoa, TVP, and millet...oh my!

- I experiment with fermenting and sprouting, something I might not have done before becoming vegan. Almond milk kefir, lacto-fermented veggies, water kefir, mung bean sprouts, broccoli sprouts..some have been more successful than others. I can't wait to try my hand at plant-based yogurt and cheese!

- I feel inclusive and welcomed into a community of like minded people who share the same values and ethics. There's not a lot that feels better than being accepted. Even for an awkward, antisocial little monster like myself.

- I care more. I'm more compassionate and my decisions are more thought-out. Instead of thinking how something will impact only me, I think about how it will impact animals, people, and the planet. It's important to think beyond yourself. We are all connected to this earth and everything on it. We all need to work on being less egocentric. 

- I'm an animal advocate. People are curious about me being vegan and they want to know more. This provides a great opportunity to speak up for animals and boast the joys and gratification not contributing to animal abuse! 

The sad truth of it.

The sad truth of it.

- My mind is clear and my conscious is free from the guilt of contributing to the harm of animals and of our planet as well. You vote for the kind of world you want every time you lift a fork. I want to be happier, healthier, and for no animals to be harmed and I'm voting for that everyday!

- I'm happier, healthier, and more at peace. It's as plain and simple as that. Try it!

Happy World Vegan Day

Produce On Parade

Produce On Parade

Yes my vegan friends. It's our day.

So, my hippies compadres, left-wing nutbags, granola-crunching crunchers, rabbit food eaters, Whole Foods shoppers, bleeding hearts, crazed-animal lovers, tree huggers, green-energy supporters, Prius and Subaru driving peeps, tofu gobblers, and nooch eating maniacs, (yes, I happen to be all of the above) gather yourselves up because it's time to celebrate. Come on, raise your stereotyped fists in vegan pride! 

I decided to share a very small tidbit on my thoughts with regards to being vegan, as they apply to me, mostly. Also, after the jump read a most compelling and irrefutable article written on veganism and social consciousness by Ali Seiter. In addition, watch the annual food and health review by Micheal Greger M.D. from I don't care if you hate me and you hate vegans. You're obligated to inform yourself. I'm imploring you.   

 A Very Small Tidbit of My Thoughts with Regards to Being Vegan

Choosing to be so different from the vast ocean of omnivore driven people can definitely be challenging. Whether you've been vegan since before it was a fad, are just starting out (like me!) or have yet to make that journey, I hope you're met with open-minded people. People that are interested in bettering themselves, people that are not bitter because they lack the courage to change, people that want to help. That's my biggest wish. I find that I do not come across these people as much as I'd hope to. Sometimes I get discouraged. Often times I get teased and made fun of (what's new, am I right). Occasionally, people will get surprisingly spiteful and extraordinarily rejecting with regards to choosing to live a different path! It's nothing new, really, in general terms of everyday life. People reject what they don't know or can't understand.

I've realized that being vegan seems to have an amplifying effect on the good and the bad in people. Some people will do everything they can to help you with the challenges of being vegan. Some will even decide to make that journey with you! Others, however, will put you down any chance they get. They'll make you feel like a total weirdo, an outcast, like something's wrong with you. I find the worst are the people are those who try act like you must be soooo much more moral and better than them and everyone else. It's true, I sometimes step on my vegan soapbox in my real life but I mostly try to keep it to this blog. People that are interested can always find out more here and that way I'll never be accused of being preachy. I do try to offer information where I can though. Like a little vegan ninja. And I certainly don't think I'm better than anyone else. 

However, despite of all that, becoming vegan has been one of the most rewarding, self-respecting and peace-inducing things I've ever done. Period. It changed my outlook on life, my values, and my yearning for knowledge. I really like to research stuff so I guess that makes sense. I'm happier, healthier and most importantly, I finally feel aligned with myself. I know that sounds weird but I find it being a common theme among other vegans. You never think your life could change that much until it happens to you!

Produce On Parade

(I took these photos the other day, and they were too pretty not to share)

Alright, enough of my blabbering. The video. If you haven't visited, which I am usually droning on and on about and how amazing it is (be freed from ignorance), then for the love of intelligence, go visit it. This isn't the dark age people, information can be found if you're willing to look, but most of all...willing to change. Damn, I just made that up. That's a good quote. Anyways, Michael Greger M.D. is a "physician, author and professional speaker who scours the world's nutrition research to bring you informative daily videos and articles." He makes annual review videos that compile all the most notable research he's discovered and presents it. Below is a link to the 2013 video review, as well as the 2012 one. Annual Review Videos

2013: More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases

2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death

These are exceptional videos, and I cannot recommend them enough. 

And now for the article. Ali hosts the blog, Farmers Market Vegan. It is a fantastic treasure trove of ethical articles for animal rights, inspiring reads, philosophical tidbits and all kinds of other wonderfulness.  

Presented with permission from the author, Ali Seiter of Farmers Market Vegan

Cultivating Social Consciousness by Removing Animals from the Dinner Plate

            Fostering a just food system hinges upon our ceasing to exploit and commodify non-human animals for human consumption. Not only would an end to animal agriculture fiercely combat world hunger by feeding the grain currently devoted to raising farmed animals directly to people, it would also eliminate “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale from global to local” (Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department). Additionally, considering that in 2005 the FBI deemed “the eco-terrorism, animal rights movement” as the nation’s number one domestic threat, and that in 2008 animal agribusiness contributed over $8 million to congressional candidates, removing animals from our food system would contest a number of the corrupt corporate-governmental alliances that cause such sociologists as Marcuse, Weber, and Marx to rip their hair out in frustration (Schuster, Joy 89).

           Diminishing world hunger, lightening our impact on the earth, and removing a major contributor to systematic corruption all comprise quite persuasive arguments for switching to a plant-based food system. However, the realization of the moral dubiousness of oppressing and enslaving non-human sentient beings will most foster an equitable society by rendering more obvious the mistreatment of other socially marginalized groups. Indeed, as Joni Seager points out, common justifications for animal exploitation involve arguments of human/animal difference in intellectual and emotional capacities, which “are achingly close reprises of the conceptual bases for racial, sexual, and gender hierarchies” (Seager 169). By engaging in a deeply entrenched system that oppresses a massive amount of individual beings on a daily basis, our meat-eating society becomes desensitized to instances of violence and inequality perpetrated against non-human animals, women, racial minorities, and homosexuals alike.

           Social theorist Herbert Marcuse would refer to the desensitization toward oppression of all varieties caused by the systematic mistreatment of non-human animals as the “happy consciousness” (Marcuse 483). An oppressive society creates in its members this happy consciousness by imposing upon them “false needs”—in the case at hand, the notion that humans need to eat meat—that perpetuate inequality under the guise of offering immediate gratification (Marcuse 479). In obeying these false needs, individuals “facilitate[…] acceptance of the misdeeds of […] society” by essentially eliminating the feeling of guilt from the realm of civilization (Marcuse 483). When one considers that animal agribusiness deems as “standard procedures” such egregiously cruel practices as castrating young male animals without anesthesia, removing newborn calves from their mothers immediately after birth, and cramming five to seven chickens into wire-mesh cages the size of a newspaper page, the “acceptance of the misdeeds” of industrial animal agriculture becomes quite apparent (A Well-Fed World). The fact that most people who eat meat today do not know about these practices showcases how, in actively working to conceal the animal abuse inherent in the industry, animal agribusiness erases the guilt of eating animals from societal consciousness. Indeed, how can we question oppressive systems in order to combat a falsely happy consciousness if we remain unaware of the system’s oppressive nature in the first place? An ignorant complicity toward the enslavement and commodification of non-human animals can extend to a lack of awareness about the other various systems of oppression that still exist in modern society, such as sexism, racism, and homophobia;  once we accept one corrupt aspect of society, it becomes easy to accept others. Questioning the objectification of non-human animals aids in cultivating an awareness of a multiplicity of other social issues prevalent in today’s society.


Works Cited
Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department. “Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (2006): n. pag. Web. 7 May 2013. <>. Cornell Chronicle. “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists.” Cornell Chronicle (7 August 2997): n. pag. Web. 7 May 2013. <;. Joy, Melanie. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. San Francisco: Conari Press, 2010. Print. Marcuse, Herbert. “One-Dimensional Man.” Classical Sociological Theory. Ed. Craig Calhoun, Joseph Gerteis, James Moody, Steven Pfaff, and Indermohan Virk. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012. 478-487. Print. Schuster, Henry. “Domestic Terror: Who’s Most Dangerous?” CNN, 24 August 2005. Web. 27 April 2013. <;. Seager, Joni. “Pepperoni or Broccoli? On the Cutting Wedge of Feminist Environmentalism.” Gender, Place and Culture 10.2 (June 2003): 167-174. Web. 7 May 2013. <;. Well-Fed World, A. “Factory Farms.” A Well-Fed World. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2013. <;.

I hope you leave this post with a little inspiration to lead a more peaceful life, in any way you can. Happy World Vegan Day, everyone.

Your friend, 

Produce On Parade