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8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me about it and just the other day, I sat down and wrote out a few things I’ve learned from my experience. It’s so natural for me as I view it as a lifestyle rather than a dietary restriction. It has become second nature to me, and I feel better and more intentional with my food choices. Vegetarian is the only title I exclusively “subscribe” to when asked about my diet, though we mostly eat completely plant based at home.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years, and I’m going to share 7 of them with you today!

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8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian | www.maplealps.com

Cravings Change, and so do taste bud preferences. This has definitely been true for me. Tastes and even certain smells (like meat cooking) that used to be so good to me now make me feel ill. I remember a time when I thought I could never go completely vegetarian, and I was totally wrong. Now, I can’t imagine going back.



One can still be an unhealthy vegetarian! I know a lot of people who are vegetarian who are unhealthy. I also know a lot of people who don’t understand that it really is possible to be healthy as a vegetarian. Crazy, right? Even as a vegetarian, it’s important to eat your daily servings of vegetables, fruits, and grains! Getting the nutrition one needs is important. Substitute meat products are oftentimes even less healthy than the actual stuff, so I’m careful about them and limit the amount of processed foods I consume. I’ve caught myself from time to time not eating as healthy as I could be, even as a vegetarian! Making sure I plan meals ahead helps reduce the amount of processed and unhealthy food we consume!

 
meal planning guide | www.maplealps.com



B12 is important. There are a few supplements to consider when going vegetarian. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is necessary for us to function properly, and yet it is hard to get on a vegetarian diet (and especially on a vegan diet).  Finding vegetarian supplements (I use this B12 from Amazon) and buying fortified nutritional yeast flakes to add to food help with B12 levels. A few other supplements I’ve needed as a vegetarian have been iron and vitamin D.



Protein is actually pretty easy to get enough of. Besides finding out that protein is easy to get, I found out that so many people became concerned with my protein levels once becoming vegetarian. It turns out, however, that protein is not the main concern when going vegetarian after all! I mean, of course cows get protein somewhere, right? It is indeed possible to get plenty of protein on a vegetarian diet. Some examples of some high protein foods are edamame, beans, dark leafy greens, and my favourite, tofu. By the way, my doctor of many years has never once asked me if I get enough protein and she knows I’m a vegetarian. She doesn’t seem too concerned.



Reading Food Labels is Key! It’s interesting what foods we may assume are vegetarian are indeed not! Reading food labels ensures food really is animal-product free or vegetarian-friendly. Barbeque chips, marshmallows, and even some vitamin capsules are just three examples of snacks that are not usually vegetarian-friendly. Ideally, one should be eating foods with no labels at all (fresh produce, bulk grains, etc.).



It is not that weird after all. When I first went vegetarian years ago, there were so many people who thought it was the strangest thing. Nowadays, there are a lot of people who choose to go vegetarian, either for health or ethical reasons. It is much easier to live and eat out and enjoy lots of different foods now. I enjoy food more because experimenting with foods is enthralling and fun! I’ve met so many new people who have taught me how to enjoy life as a vegetarian.



Being a vegetarian has made me more mindful. Instead of just being okay with everything I eat, once I decided to be vegetarian, I became more mindful of what I was putting in my body. I want to make sure that my food nourishes me, not just fills my stomach. Of course, you don’t need to be vegetarian to be mindful of your consumption habits, but it has helped me on the course of healthier living.



Vegetables are tasty AND pretty! I love experimenting with different vegetable combinations to make delicious meals! And I love the color that is added to my plate. because of them! If I have a meal that has too many brown tones, I immediately start to miss my fresh veggies - I can’t go without them!


Are you a vegetarian? What have you learned about it?


 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

Ten Things I've Learned from Travel

Travel, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps1 Comment

In case you haven't caught on yet, I love to travel. I started traveling when I was very young, so my parents installed that bug in me. I know I'm very privileged to have experienced so many different lands and cultures in my life, and each journey brings its own unique lesson - which I love. 

I've decided to share a few things I've learned from travel. Stay till the end and tell me something you've learned too! 

traveling pin.png

One.

Take the road less traveled, but find some time to see the touristy stuff as well (even if you don’t pay to go up a famous tower, you should at least catch a glimpse of it, or possibly pose in front of it for a cheesy picture).

Two.

Do your research before going to avoid unnecessary complications, but be open and flexible to doing last minute things that aren’t on your itinerary as well. Sometimes these situations make for the best memories.

Three.

Try and interact with locals as much as you can - you will gain insight and a rich experience from simple conversations and interactions - especially on a longer-term trip

Four.

Not knowing the language of a place should not under any circumstances hinder you from visiting!

Five.

Travel alone and travel with a friend. Both have rich rewards.

Ten Things I've Learned from Travel | www.maplealps.com

Six.

McDonald’s bathrooms (or WiFi) are not always as safe a haven as one might think, but each country’s McDonald’s definitely has a different flare. You should see the salads in Italy and the pies in China!

Seven.

Some places charge you to use the restroom, and in others? Well, it’s BYOTP (bring your own toilet paper). You might want to keep some change and TP in your pockets.

Eight.

Wear comfortable shoes, but bring cute ones too-you never know when you'll decide to pop by the opera after a day of walking the streets!

Nine.

Take lots of photos instead of buying useless souvenirs that will collect dust on your shelves (or take up space on your refridgerator). And on the topic of photos - choose only your favourites and ditch the rest. Try to be intentional about the shots you take, but at the same time, you can never take too many. Just choose the ones you decide to keep, frame, or put in a book wisely.

Ten.

Don’t stress too much about money. At the same time, be smart about it (save for your trip and don't spend it all on the first day!) and figure out your own priorities - don’t let someone make those priority lists for you because you may regret it.

ELEVEN.

I know I said I only had ten things I learned, but I think the most important thing that I’ve realized is that as much as it is thrilling to experience new things and explore new cultures, it’s so good to come home at the end of a trip.

 
packing list maple alps
 

What are some things you've learned from travel? Do you love traveling as much as I do? I'd love to hear about it!


 
 

Follow along on Instagram!

 

Fun and Creative Ways to Learn New Things (Without Going Back to School!)

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

My mom is the best (hey mom!). She texted me the other day and asked if I liked my Audible subscription. Of course, I LOVE my audible subscription and asked her why she was even asking. She told me that she decided that she needed to learn more and that audiobooks was the way she was going to be starting.

Her initiative got me thinking: what are some ways to learn without going back to school? I’ve spent my whole life in school, and now that I’m a teacher, I’m still really there! As a teacher though, I believe in lifelong learning and inspiring others to do the same. So, with that in mind, I decided to come up with a list of creative ways to learn without going back to school. The world is full of things to learn and all sorts of opportunities! Take them!

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Listen to a podcast - there are so many podcasts out there on all different things! Explore to find one you love!

 

Take an online course or certificate - There are tons of courses and certificates you can take online. You could go the informal route and pick a creative online course from a place like Skill Share (try it for two months free using this link!), or even get your first aid/CPR training from Red Cross.

 

Sign up for a webinar - There are so many webinars on so many different topics! I’ve taken webinars on a wide variety of subjects. It’s fun to sit in front of the computer with a notebook to take notes on the new things you’re learning!

 

Embrace Audible - I love audible. It’s helped me “read” more since I have a long daily commute. If you're not sure about it, you can try it for 30 days free! (Use this link to try Audible for free and get TWO free audiobooks!

 

Learn a new language - Must I say any more? There are tons of free podcasts and apps (like duolingo) to brush up on or learn a new language. If you want to pull out the big bucks, I hear Rosetta Stone is pretty amazing!

 

Volunteer - find a new place to volunteer and learn new skills while at it! Think soup kitchens or animal shelters, or anywhere, really!

 

Take a class - many local spots offer classes for the community. Check the community college for a list! Try out your community centres and churches for classes as well - sometimes they will offer them for free!

 

Read the news - make an effort to read the news! A great resource I use is theSkimm - it’s a short daily email (it comes every morning) that gives you the days headlines in an easy-to-understand way! It has seriously helped me keep up with what is going on and people are impressed when you are informed ;-)

 

Travel the World - and don’t just stick to tourist areas. Do your research about the customs and language and history of the places you are going to! Connect with locals, try their food, and learn some phrases! You will love it.

 

Watch documentaries - skip the mind-numbing entertainment and watch a documentary. I like to watch a wide variety of topics. A few of my favourites are: Tapped, Minimalism, What the Health, Planet Earth, and Blackfish. 

 

Follow NASA on Instagram - Seriously, go do it. You’ll learn something new when you scroll through your feed! While you're at it, follow me too ;-)

 

Watch National Geographic on Snapchat - I’ll be the first to admit that I am horrible at Snapchat. I’m too old for it I think. But if you are on there, National Geographic has an awesome snap story each day! You can learn about unique animals and such!

 

Talk to People You Meet - I meet fun people all of the time! And listening to their stories teaches me a lot! I usually have the best conversations in coffee shops and hear the best life stories.

 

Join Facebook Groups - there are a ton of Facebook groups out there that act as a fun forum. Pick a topic you are interested in learning more about and learn from a ton of people!

 

Watch a Ted Talk - Skip Netflix. Watch a Ted Talk instead. Be inspired to do something new and learn something new as well.

 

Read Something You Wouldn’t Naturally go to - I’ve branched out and read books on all different topics in the last few years. From the keto diet to theology books, I’ve been consuming books on topics I wouldn’t naturally choose to read. And I’ve been loving it. It expands your brain and opens the world to you! Here's a list of my favourites!

 

Take up a new hobby - We started painting recently. Nothing fancy, since we aren’t artists, but watching tutorials and learning new techniques has been really fun. I’d love to try pottery next!

 

Listen to NPR - Switch on NPR in the car from time to time and learn some new facts!

 

Start a new exercise program - shake up your exercise program by trying something new! Add a spin class to your weight training, or amp up your strength training by adding a pilates class! Meet new people and learn new ways of moving!

 

Subscribe to an Educational Magazine - National Geographic or Time are good ones to start with. I subscribe to The Magnolia Journal and learn something new and inspiring every quarter.

 

Look Up the Back Stories to Songs - Look up some background info on certain songs or songwriters and blow your friends minds with the trivia. Fun fact: on some Spotify songs, you automatically see the lyrics and back stories!

 

Spend time with someone who knows something you don’t - Take a friend out and over lunch, listen all about their expertise. Or, just talk to a random person and listen to their stories. You’d be amazed at what you learn!

 

Try a new recipe - or two or three. Buy some exotic ingredients and experience your world widen through your tastebuds!

 

 

What are some ways and resources you use to keep learning?