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A Vegan's Perspective On How To Be Healthy

Beatrice Verhoeven |
September 10, 2013 | 1:10 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

 Jordan Younger (The Blonde Vegan)
Jordan Younger (The Blonde Vegan)
We’ve all heard the stereotype: “Vegans are crazy, extreme hippies who wear Birkenstocks.” This, among other reasons, is why Jordan Younger started a blog called The Blonde Vegan

Younger blogs about amazing vegan recipes, healthy eating tips and her favorite restaurants in hopes of changing any mistaken ideas about veganism. 

Younger initially went vegan due to stomach problems that had plagued her pretty much her entire life. She was constantly trying to figure out how to eat in a way that wouldn’t upset her stomach: “I tried all these different ways of eating. I was gluten-free, I was vegan my sophomore year of college… But I just didn’t do it right.”

Going vegan isn't like flipping on a switch; it takes time, knowledge and commitment. From personal experience, Younger understands this. She wants to be a source of guidance for other people who might have health issues, or who want to go vegan for any reason. 

Younger's plunge into veganism began with a five-day cleanse—eating only solid fruits and vegetables or smoothies and juices. Rather than going back to her prior eating habits, Younger decided to keep the cleanse going. Much to her surprise, her body wasn't retaliating. For the first time in her life, she felt amazing—her stomach wasn’t complaining about what she ate, and she felt pure.

“Adding in grains, nuts and beans into my diet and doing research on the vegan diet, I learned how good veganism is for not only the body but for the environment and the animals. Ever since then, I’ve been vegan,” Younger says.

Her blog was born shortly after. After discovering her passion for food, she began posting pictures of everything she ate on her personal Instagram. Realizing that her photos were “just as cool “as the pictures on the other vegan Instagrams she was following, she decided to create her own vegan Instagram account, "theblondevegan."

“I realized what a huge market there is on the internet for people that are interested in healthy eating. They want recipes, they want information.”

Quickly, her Instagram went from having 10 followers to 25,000 followers. She knew that she needed a blog where people could ask her questions and a place for her to respond to them. Now, with about 1,000 blog views a day, she’s becoming a blogger that major websites such as Elephant Journal and companies like Nekter Juice Bar write about.

“I want to promote veganism that’s really accessible for everyone,” Younger says about her blog. “There are no rules on it: if people want to be vegan throughout the week and eat whatever they want on the weekends, that’s awesome. It’s about what makes YOU feel good.”

Strawberry Banana Coconut Shake (The Blonde Vegan)
Strawberry Banana Coconut Shake (The Blonde Vegan)
On The Blonde Vegan, Younger often posts tips about healthy eating tips and advice for achieving an inner balance.

“Often times, people will see ‘sugar free’ and ‘zero cal’ and think these are healthy when in fact, they are loaded with additives.”

She believes that eating healthy is about eating real things in moderation. Younger's advice is to read the ingredients on the label: “If it includes simple fruits and nuts, you know it’s good for you,” she says.

Having just graduated from Loyola Marymount University, Younger understands that eating healthy might be difficult for college students. Just having moved away from home, students now need to think about what they’re eating themselves. Here are her tips for eating healthy in college:

1) Be aware of what you are eating, don’t just eat what’s available.

2) Be sure to include protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

3) Living in a cafeteria makes it so easy to forget about fruits and vegetables. Make sure you look around for an apple, or buy a fruit salad instead of French Fries.

4) If you have a car, go grocery shopping! Buy fruits and bars (she recommends Larabar and Kind bars) that you can keep in your dorm room so you don’t have to go venture to the cafeteria to buy pizza at night.

5) If you’re on a tight budget, a local farmer’s market is the best way to buy produce at a decent price.

6) Snack on bars and vegetables throughout the day.

7) Stay away from refined sugar and refined wheat; instead, eat whole-wheat products.

8) Limit the amount of processed foods you eat: instead of buying a croissant that’s full of fats, purchase a whole-wheat bagel.

9) And lastly: Carry snacks that contain a lot of protein around with you. Her secret weapon: almonds. Protein found in almonds doesn’t wear off as fast as the protein found in red meat, and it’ll keep you going longer throughout the day!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. (The Blonde Vegan)
Raw Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. (The Blonde Vegan)
But we all know that a healthy diet requires exercise. Younger has “always been passionate about yoga,” and she tries to do some form of cardio exercise to balance herself out.

“Run outdoors, go on the elliptical, do yoga—it really has helped center me and it puts me in the right place,” Younger says. Joining the campus gym or doing yoga will not only promote your inner health balance but will decrease stress and uneasiness from sitting in class all day!

If Younger has inspired you to eat healthier. or even head straight into veganism, she recommends taking baby steps. On her blog, Younger posts some tips about making the slow transition from being a carnivore to being vegan. Her main advice is to “transition very slowly and not to expect change over night. Start out by cutting out red meat and dairy for two weeks, and then slowly cut out chicken and fish. Your body will get used to it.”

If you're not quite ready to go vegan but still want to be health-conscious amidst the college craziness, Younger recommends starting with a green smoothie every morning.

“It will really set you down a healthy path and make your body crave healthy for the rest of the day,” Younger says. Her favorite smoothie recipe? ½ cup of kale, ½ cup of spinach, 1 banana, a handful of blueberries and ½ cup of almond milk blended with ice to start off the day.

And if you are the kind of person that wants to eat out while still eating healthy, Younger recommends nutritious restaurants in Los Angeles: Café Gratitude, Euphoria loves Rawvolution, Feed and Kreation Kafe.

“A handful of fruit replacing a candy bar really makes a difference.”

To read about her inspirational ideas and delicious recipes, visit theblondevegan.com. You can also follow her on instagram.

Reach Staff Contributor Beatrice Verhoeven here.



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