My Fave Vegan Cheeses

My Favorite Vegan CheesesThe number one reason people tell me they could never be vegan is because they could never give up cheese. I get it! It took me months to give up milk and eggs, but literally years to give up cheese.

I’m not an expert on the science, but I do know there are ingredients in cheese that act as opiates, which are highly addictive. So basically, it’s not our fault we can’t kick the cheese habit! BUT! If you have a strong enough reason to give it up, going “cold turkey” is the only way to kick the addiction.

Here are the 2 reasons I wanted to give up cheese:


Cheese is highly inflammatory. As an endurance athlete, I create so much inflammation in my body already, I don’t need the added joint and muscle inflammation. To compete at a high level, I need to recovery quickly from each workout, and inflammation delays that recovery.


I used to think dairy wasn’t cruel treatment of animals because I just figured “cows needed to be milked”. The more I learned about the dairy industry, the more I was repelled about the practices of most dairy farms, and didn’t want to contribute to the abuse of animals anymore.

Once you have decided you want to give up cheese, you are on your way. Unfortunately, it’s not easy! Fortunately it is easier for you NOW than it was for me 10 years ago!

WHY? Because non-dairy cheese subs are 1,000,000 times better than they were even a year ago!!! They are healthier, have much better consistency, and many even taste like cheese!

I have tried pretty much ALL non-dairy cheeses, here are my 3 faves…


I am a grilled cheese fanatic! For my grilled cheese I need a cheese that melts well and tastes like “American”, “Cheddar”, or “Provolone”. Follow Your Heart brand slices have all 3. I love the flavors, consistency, and meltability of all their slices. These aren’t in most grocery stores, but are in most health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.


For meals like pizza, lasagna, and enchiladas, I like to use shreds since I’m pretty lazy and don’t even own a shredder. My fave shrerdded “cheese” is So Delicious brand “Mozzarella” and “Cheddar Jack”. These melt easily, taste great, and are stringy and gooey like real cheese! These are newer and harder to find. The So Delicious website has a store locator for you. I found them at Whole Foods.


This was the biggie for me. For years during my quest to give up cheese, I was fine with the slices and shredded options, but couldn’t find a block with the flavor AND consistency that I loved about cheese. So every once in a while I caved and chowed a block of cheese.

Along came Follow Your Heart Blocks and I was FINALLY able to give up cheese 100%. I love the consistency (hardness) and flavor (mozzarella and provolone are my faves). I can cut up pieces to have on crackers or just unwrap and take a bite directly out of the block with 100% satisfaction! You can find these at any health food store and Follow Your Heart has a store locator on their website as well.

I hope these are helpful! It took me years to find cheese alternatives that were good enough to help me give up the real thing, but once I found these, the rest was history! I haven’t eaten cheese in 3 years and don’t miss it AT ALL!!!

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Enjoy your new “cheese”!!

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Why I Love Native Foods Cafe

Why I Love Native Foods CafeWhen I was in Hawaii last year, I met a fellow vegan, who is also from Boulder, and we started talking about our favorite vegan restaurants in Boulder.

I told her that I loved Native Foods Café, which is a chain restaurant that mostly serves “fake” meat meals such as hamburgers, steak sandwiches, meatball subs, Rubens, chicken salads, and stuff like that.

She told me that she hated Native Foods because it’s just a bunch of fake meat and not a real vegan restaurant.

I completely disagree. And here’s why…

1. I love Native Foods because I can take anyone there with me whether they are vegan or not, and they will have a positive experience, a delicious meal eating plant-based food. This is really important to me because I am passionate about being vegan for the animals, the environment, and my health, and I want to share and spread that message will all the peeps I love in my life.

2. I would love as many people as possible out there to be eating more plants and less animals. I think the world would be a more compassionate peaceful place if more people ate more plants.

3. The majority of people who are giving up meat and dairy are not ready to eat a dish like lentils and Bulger.

4. Most people already love nachos and mac and cheese. I feel like we are going to get more people to consider the plant-based lifestyle, when it easily fits in with their current lifestyle, believes, and way of living. And what’s already comfortable for them.

So are chicken wings made of tofu the healthiest vegan option? Probably not. But the average person would much rather eat vegan chicken wings than blocks of tofu mixed in a kale salad or something similar, which is what many vegan restaurants serve.

Plus, it’s always fun for me every once in a while to have a giant plate of nachos or a buffalo chicken salad with ranch or something fun that I’m not used to having or that I won’t make it home.

So I’m all for these “transitional vegan” restaurants such as Native Foods Café. I think they play an important role in introducing the plant-based vegan lifestyle to people who typically wouldn’t even consider eating this way.

What are your favorite vegan restaurants??

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7 Day Vegan Challenge

7 Day Vegan Challenge.... Hey there vegan-ish friends and wanna- bees!! 1-2 times a year I run a “7 Day Vegan Challenge” for those of you who are wanting to “explore” or “try” being vegan for a week!Hey there vegan-ish friends and wanna- bees!! 1-2 times a year I run a “7 Day Vegan Challenge” for those of you who are wanting to “explore” or “try” being vegan for a week!

I love this challenge because I think support and connection with others on the same path will get you better results than I had when I was working toward becoming vegan.

It actually took me about 10 years to become 100% plant-based and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

Our support group has 7 different options for you to choose from so that your meal plan will fit into your goals, lifestyle, budget, etc.

Here are your options…

    Vegan on a Budget
      Vegan Soy Free
        Vegan Athlete Menu
          Vegan Body Building Menu
            Vegan Low Fat Menu
              Vegan Endurance Athlete Menu
                Vegan Weight Loss Menu (complete with shopping list)

              Please join us! Like I said it was a long process for me and I have learned a lot during the 10 years it took me and during the 3 years I have been vegan. I would love to be able to share my experiences to make yours easier and better.
              And you all are lucky because these days there are so many healthier, tastier, and convenient plant-based options than there were 10 years ago when I was attempting this!

              If you are already vegan and want to help me take my next step into eating more raw foods, I am always in need of accountability, inspiration, and motivation. I have been “trying” to go mostly raw for the past couple years and not been successful.
              I’m not ready to do all 7 days all raw, but during the challenge my goal is to only eat one cooked/processed meal each day and eat 90% whole foods the whole week.
              I am excited for us to take our nutrition and lives to the next level.

              Join us here…


              And stay in touch here…


              If you just need vegan recipes…

              And if you want one recipe emailed to you weekly…


              See you there!

              Viva Vagan!!

Being Vegan is Easy!

Being vegan is easy..Haha! I say that now!! But compared to how hard it was when I first started on my journey, it is! The top 3 reasons people who want to become vegan tell me they “can’t” are cheese, traveling, and non-vegan families.Being vegan is easy..Haha! I say that now!! But compared to how hard it was when I first started on my journey, it is! The top 3 reasons people who want to become vegan tell me they “can’t” are cheese, traveling, and non-vegan families.

I have been working with a test group of 5 people who want to eat plant-based, but haven’t been able to do it on their own (mostly for the reasons I mentioned). I have been mentoring this group for a month now with great success! This is a 90 day individualized program where I create a custom plan for each person depending on their lifestyle, goals, families, budget, health/fitness goals, time restraints, likes, dislikes, etc.

So far, 1/3 of the way into the program, we have 100% success! I so wish I had this kind of help 10 years ago ☺

Let’s talk about these 3 deterrents…


Geez! Everybody loves cheese. Trust me, I am one of them!! Cheese was the reason it took me 10 years to become a vegan. Not only do we love cheese, but we are physically and emotionally addicted to it. Check out the new book “The Cheese Trap” by Neal Barnard (#promo) for deets, but I 100% agree with everything he writes and know for a fact, I had both a physical and emotional addiction to cheese.

What made it easier for me was when non-dairy cheeses started coming out that felt and tasted like the real thing. When I started getting excited about the vegan cheeses, they would make me feel the same way as dairy cheese, and it was a game changer for me. I am working on an article reviewing a dozen vegan cheeses so watch for that!!!


I travel a LOT! In fact, I am writing this from Delta Airlines flight 1069 from Seattle to Kona. There is so much turbulence it’s insane so this is keeping my mind off of wanting to cry and puke at the same time!

For the most part I bring my own food (earlier on this flight I ate “reverse nachos” where I wrapped Chipotle flavored corn nuts in a piece of Follow Your Heart American “cheese”), but have found these days airports, truck stops, and most gas stations carry fruit, energy/protein bars, nuts, green juices, etc.

Here are my best vegan travel tips!


This is also valid AND hard to work with, but not impossible. In the case of having a partner, kids, etc who don’t want to eat plant-based, you have 2 options.

One, you can make yourself a completely different meal than the rest of the family (I did this for years as the only vegetarian kid in a meat-eating family) or two, you can make meals where you can add or not add meat (like chicken salad with or without chicken, taco bar with lots of different choices for toppings, spaghetti with marinara with the meatballs on the side, etc).

These are some of this issues I have been helping my clients through over the past month. I would love to hear what other issues you are struggling with so I can address some of those and help you get to where you want to be in your journey toward a life with more plants!

If you want to join the next round of THE VEG CLUB coaching, I am accepting new clients beginning the first week of next month. Email me at with subject THE VEG CLUB for an application or text me 970-214-7745 for more info.

You can also join the Veg Club here…

For vegan recipes…

For quick and easy vegan meals and snack ideas…

See you there!

I am a Plant Powered Athlete

I am a Plant Powered Athlete | Vegan Vegetarian TriathlonI have been a vegetarian for the past 36 years, a vegan for the past 3 years, and an athlete my entire life.

Since becoming a vegan 3 years ago and finally giving up dairy, I have gotten stronger and faster as an athlete. I recover more quickly so I can train more, I don’t have the GI problems I used to have while training and racing, and I have lost weight, have overall more energy, and am more focused on being a triathlete.

Last week I had a friend who I have known for about 5 years ask me to coach her in triathlon and nutrition for her first ironman. She told me she was interested in being more plant-based but is worried that giving up meat while training for an ironman wouldn’t give her enough strength and energy to get through training.

This baffled me because since I have been vegetarian, I have completed 13 ironman distance triathlons AND since becoming vegan, I have completed 2, both of which I PRd and one of which I qualified for the Ironman World Championships. In addition to those accomplishments, as a vegan I have completed 7 marathons in 7 days, I am on day 646 of a bike streak, I have completed a 10K lake swim, and I have PRd in every distance run from 5K to marathon.

So in case anyone else out there was wondering if you can become a successful endurance athlete as a vegan, the answer is YES! I can tell you WITHOUT A DOUBT that becoming 100% vegan has helped me in all areas of my life, especially in my sport.

My goal now is to incorporate more raw foods into my nutrition plan as I feel like this will take my training and racing to the next level. I have been working toward this for the past 2 years and I have my good days/weeks/months and my bad ones…like everything! Baby steps right?!

If you are wondering if you will get enough calories training for an endurance race, feel free to follow me on myfitnesspal. My username is RealResultsRock, to check out my calories, protein etc.

Just as an example, today I ate 4,293 calories (more than I had wanted, I had a little anxiety PB&Jx4 binge this morning) with 108 grams of protein. My goal is around 3,000 calories with 65 grams of protein, which I always reach with no problem. In fact, I have to limit what I eat as I don’t want to make over 4,000 a habit and gain weight.

Join the Veg Club to get custom meal plans and have access to me daily…

If you want to eat plant-based, I have a 7 Day Vegan Challenge here…

A group with thousands of recipes here…

How to transition to a plant-based diet…

And an awesome supportive community here…

I often post my meals here…

And you can reach out to me ANYTIME with questions!!!!

See you SOON!

What’s The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan?

What’s The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan?Over the past week I have had 2 people ask me what the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan was. I figured there must be other people out there who don’t know the difference, so here it is!

Before I share the difference, I just want to put out there that I know there are several specific types of vegetarians, as some will eat fish or even poultry, but I’m going by the definitions I know to be true for myself.

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat any meat or meat by-products. This includes all meats such as beef, pork, chicken, veal, etc where an animal is killed and its meat is eaten. Most vegetarians still eat eggs and dairy, but won’t eat things like gelatin and other products made directly from animal parts.

A vegan is someone who eats no animal products at all. No eggs, dairy, or meat. Most vegans also get to the place where they don’t wear leather, wool, angora, fur, ivory, or any other parts of an animal whether the animal was killed for that sole purpose or not.

Because dairy and eggs are so rampant in North America, and cheese is so addictive, there are far fewer vegans than vegetarians. Plus many vegetarians can see the harm in killing an animal for food, but not in taking its eggs or milk.

The name “vegan” came from the founder of the Vegan Society in 1944 as a statement against vegetarians who ate dairy products. He took the first and last letters of the word vegetarian to create his orthodox version of vegetarianism (

There are lots of great resources out there these days to help educate you on both veganism and vegetarianism.

Netflix has several documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, Food Choices, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, Food Matters, Cowspiracy, and Live And Let Live.

There are also many great books about the subject, my faves being Skinny Bitch, Thug Kitchen, Meat Is For Pussies, and Main Street Vegan. #promo

My favorite podcast that often goes into depth on plant-based eating is the Rich Roll Podcast.

I’m sure there are many other amazing resources out there (please share if you have one you love) as when I googled “veganism” over 298,000,000 results came up!

I have written several articles about my LONG journey from vegetarianism to veganism, here are the most popular ones…

How My Hubby Kept Me From Being Vegan for Years


3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

My Favorite Vegan Meals

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

If you are looking for recipes, I have thousands in my I HEART VEGAN RECIPES facebook group…

And if you are ready to go 7 days vegan, I have a challenge group complete with 7 different meal plans to fit your lifestyle…

See you on the VEG side!

Transition to a Plant-Based Diet with Ease

Transition To A Plant Based Diet With EaseOver the past 2 weeks, I have had several people ask me for help transitioning to a vegan or vegan-ish diet. I do offer custom meal plans based on your likes, needs, time availability, and financial status, but not everyone wants to pay for a specific meal plan just yet.

For those of you just dabbling or want free resources, here is a list of articles I have written and other resources that will help you!

If you want a custom 7 or 30 day meal plan…

If you want to join The Veg Club (membership includes custom meals, new recipes weekly, constant communication with me, and a supportive community of like-minded, plant-based people…

Hundreds of vegan recipes…

7 different 7 day vegan meal plans…

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

5 Vegan Breakfasts in 5 Minutes or Less


3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

Throw-Together Vegan Recipes

My Favorite Vegan Meals

How My Hubby Kept Me From Being Vegan for Years

3 Easy Steps to Eating the Way You Want to Eat

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Progress not Perfection…PHEW!!

Weekly Easy Vegan Recipe…

I hope these are helpful for you!!!

Reach out if you have any other questions along your journey toward a plant-based life.

See you SOON!

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

Tips For Eating Vegan On The RoadI was asked by a friend for tips on eating vegan while on the road, so I thought I would share my tips in case there is anyone out there working toward or living a vegan lifestyle on the road.

This was one of the biggest challenges for me for years when I was “trying” to be a vegan. I spent 3 years traveling in an RV and before and after that, I typically travel at least once a month, sometimes for 2-3 weeks at a time, so I know it gets tricky.

HOWEVER, I will say that now that I am vegan, it isn’t as hard. I think I was using traveling and being on the road and always tired and anxious as excuses to eat the comfort foods that I wanted that were not vegan. I would stop at a tiny town gas station STARVING (of course) and the only option I found was a bag of nacho cheese Doritos 😉

Before you write me off as being judgy or unempathetic, I want to say it IS harder being vegan on the road, but I challenge you to take a close look at your life, habits, vices, etc before blaming travel on your inability to maintain your dietary goals. Like I said, now that I am fully vegan (not just “trying” to be vegan), it’s been much easier to find options on the road. In fact, in my scenario above, I could have grabbed potato chips, Fritos, or another vegan chip option if I wanted chips and wanted vegan!!

Here are 4 tips eating vegan on the road…

  1. Plan ahead. I pack most of my food with me if I can, if not, I check out dining options along the route. The internet makes this option super super easy!! There are also apps for vegan restaurants like Happy Cow. My hubby and I found a cute tiny raw food restaurant in the middle of a small town in Tennessee with that app.
  2. Read ingredients. If you are relying on a gas station or truck stop for meals/snacks, there are plenty of options. All you need to do is take a few minutes and read ingredients. Plenty of nuts, seeds, chips, even candy (while may not be the healthiest choice) are vegan.
  3. Fast Food. Every single fast food joint these days has vegan options. You may have to get creative with ordering, but you can find something if you find yourself in a hurry at the drive through window. You can also look in advance at the restaurant’s website. Most (and all big food chains) have a nutrition info link these days. At Taco Bell I get a bean burrito, fresco style, add rice. And there are Taco Bell’s and Subway’s pretty much everywhere these days!
  4. Have a back-up in case of emergency. Now most people wouldn’t consider not having food in your car an emergency, but if you have read more than one of my articles, we probably have a little in common, so you understand! If I am stuck with no good options and I am hungry and tired from traveling, I will 100% of the time make a poor decision. I found a plant-based protein drink that I love with just water, and I have packets of it and a shaker cup stored in my car. If I am caught without vegan food options and I am already hangry and cranky, I will get a bottle of cold water, mix in my shake, and that will tie me over for a couple hours until I can make a better decision.

I hope these help!

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See you soon!


Vegan Finally | Vegan EatingHoly Queso! It Schneriously just took me about 10 years to become a vegan. If you know me, you know I have been a vegetarian since I was 8 years old and have “wanted” to be a vegan since I read “Skinny Bitch” about 10 years ago.

So what took so long?

The same thing most people tell me now that is holding them back from going full vegan…dairy.

There are plenty of people out there writing about the horrors of big dairy farming, the lies from the dairy industry, and the health risks involved with dairy consumption, so chat with Siri or google if you do want deets (my advice is to steer clear of video unless you are hard core…I’m not). Basically you can learn why dairy sucks somewhere else, but I’ll share my dairy-elimination journey here.

I am a baby steps kind of gal so I started replacing the things that weren’t a big deal to me first. Like I loved eating cereal, so I started using almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I started experimenting with vegan cheeses (all pretty gross at the time) and starting ordering my pizza (my fave food at the time) sans cheese.

Over the next few years I got better at reading labels and ate more and more vegan. I pretty much took out eggs (except in French toast and my occasional pancakes with over easy eggs on too which was my fave post-race breakfast) and started eating most of my burritos (another fave…think Taco Bell and Del Taco) and pizzas without cheese.

About 3 years ago, I was done with eggs and my only dairy was Saag Paneer from the Taj Mahal in Fort Collins, Doritos, and the occasional binge on a block of cheese that I truly thought I could never live without. At that time I was going weeks, even months, vegan and would get so mad at myself when I gave in to my cheese cravings.

Also at that time I was working on healing my skin problems, stomach issues, and was racing and training hard to qualify for the ironman world championships in Kona so I wanted to remove dairy for the anti-inflammatory benefits. I would go months without dairy but then always gave in at some point with one of my 3 cravings, saag, Doritos, and blocks of cheese. ..BOO!

I was so frustrated with myself for being so undisciplined. I didn’t know why I couldn’t stay vegan.

In the meantime, companies started coming up with dairy alternatives that were actually tasty AND textured well. And I found 2 places about an hour away that made vegan Saag. It wasn’t as good as the Saag Paneer at Taj, but it was still good. I had been vegan the entire month of December 2014, but decided on New Year’s Eve I would order Saag Paneer from Taj like I always did. I had been picking out the paneer for the previous year to at least limit the dairy, but the Saag at taj was made with cream.

As I savored each bite of Saag on December 31, 2014, it was delicious, but I also knew as I was eating it, that this would be the last time. It didn’t feel right anymore, and I was ready!! So on January 1, 2015, I made the commitment to be 100% vegan.

So…happy one year veganniversary to me!! I wish I could have gone vegan sooner, but I wasn’t ready for whatever reason.

Be gentle, patient, and loving with yourself in all your pursuits. Stick with it, and do your best each and every day. You will get to where you want to be!

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See you SOON! And please eat less animals and more plants! THANK YOU!

3 Easy Steps to Eating the Way You Want to Eat

3 Easy Steps To Eating The Way You Want To EatTo a lot of people, the title of my post today sounds weird. Why would anyone eat other than the way they want to?

But time and time again I have people come to me for nutrition help and this is actually exactly what they say to me: I’m not eating the way I want to.

And they aren’t the only ones. If you have read my old posts, you would know that I also struggle with this. For example it took me about 10 years to become vegan AFTER I had claimed I was going to. And more recently struggle daily with (but getting better at) incorporating mostly raw meals into my day.

So why the struggle?? Many people use the excuse that they have no will-power or self-discipline. I don’t believe that. I think we all will do what we need to do when it’s important enough. For example, someone won’t give up meat until they have a heart attack and almost die. Or someone won’t lift a weight, but if their child was stuck under a fallen brick house they wouldn’t stop lifting until their child is free. Or someone refuses to stop driving drunk until they kill their best friend. Or someone would never “run unless being chased” until they are being chased! I can go on and on but you get what I am saying.

If you have an important enough reason to do something, you will do it.

So here is my 3 step process to figure out WHAT you really want and HOW you can make the decision to get it.

1. Write down the #1 reason you WANT to eat that way, read it out loud.

WHY do you want to eat the way you claim you want to eat? Here is an example from my own food struggle I have right now: I want to eat raw because I believe in the health benefits. I want to lose a few pounds, clear up my skin, and recover faster to be a stronger, faster, better athlete. Be as specific as possible and break down your broad reasons into more specific reasons. If you have several reasons like I do, pick 1-3 that are MOST important to you RIGHT NOW. For me today, I would choose to be a better athlete.

2. Write down the #1 reason you DON’T WANT to eat that way, read it out loud.

WHY DON’T you want to eat the way you say you want to eat? This can be a little trickier so write down everything that pops into your head and you can make changes later. Remember answer these questions IN THE MOMENT, your life is constantly changing and just because you make one choice for lunch, doesn’t mean you need to make the same choice for dinner. Here is an example that JUST happened to me this past week on “Raw Wednesday”: I wanted Mac and Cheese for dinner after eating raw all day. The reason I wanted it was because I was tired and a little anxious and it’s cold outside. I came home late and I was hungry and I wanted comfort food. Remember to be specific and sum up your reason in 1-2 words. For me on Wednesday I would say I wanted to be comforted.

3. Ask yourself…IN THIS MOMENT…which is more important to you.

In my example I would ask myself…OUT LOUD…which is more important to me at this moment: being a better athlete or being comforted. Take the time to think about your answer. What would happen if you chose one? Or the other? How would you feel in 10 minutes, an hour, tomorrow? There is no right or wrong choice. I just want you to know (and feel like) you have a choice. You are choosing the way you eat. You are choosing every single thing you put into your mouth and deciding if it’s the best choice for you right then and there. Again, there is no right or wrong choice, just know you ALWAYS have a choice.

The reason this process is so effective is two-fold. First, it gives you a choice. Most people think life is “happening to them” and without feeling like we have a choice, most of us feel desperate and make poor choices. Second, it gives us time. Many of us make emotional decisions when it comes to food.

When we put time between our emotional and our eating, we dissipate some of the stronger emotions and tend to make better choices.

I should have titled this 3 SIMPLE steps instead of 3 EASY steps as these are not always easy decisions. I will promise you that the more you use this decision making process (in all areas of your life), the easier it gets. Decision making is a skill that can be learned and perfected. But like all new skills, it takes practice, time, and patience.


If AFTER you make your choice, and you later regret the choice you made, recap the process. Decide what you would do differently next time when you are in the same situation. Baby steps. Be kind. Love yourself.

For support with all your healthy habits, join our community at…

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See you SOON!