After two decades of living a (fabulous) plant-based lifestyle and 15 years of running an award-winning vegan magazine (check out my story here), some might call me a professional vegan. Let's just say that I've dined at more than my fair share of meat-free restaurants, sampled nearly every vegan product on the market, am versed in the myriad books/cookbooks/blogs/websites on the veg lifestyle, and hosted countless vegan vacations to countries like India, Thailand, and Mexico. So narrowing down a list of my 10 favorite things that help me live a healthy vegan lifestyle was no easy task. From my healthy food favorites to getaways that help me relax and refuel, here are my must-haves for living an amazing vegan life.
Colleen's Top 10 Favorite Things:
- Smoothies. I've been starting my day with a delicious, healthy shake for 20 years, and I still can't get enough. In my book, smoothies are its own food group, and I can't wait to share my favorite blends with you.
- Sweet Potatoes. If I had to live on two foods for the rest of my life, smoothies and sweet potatoes would be them (Japanese sweet potatoes, also known as satsumaimos, to be exact). A day without a creamy, roasted sweet potato—whether sliced into a salad or eaten as a snack between meetings—just doesn't feel right.
- Yoga. I'm addicted to yoga. In recent years, especially when life gets challenging, it's given me tremendous strength—both mental and physical. A regular yoga practice, along with hiking and walking whenever possible, helps me feel my best.
- Travel. Whether a weekend getaway to Mendocino's luxurious Stanford Inn or an all-out adventure to Bali, my travel experiences have shaped the person I am today. I've been fortunate to have traveled to dozens of countries in my life, discovering people, food, and cultures that have provided me unparalled perspective.
- Brunch with Friends. They say relationships and experiences are what bring you the greatest joy in life, and a leisurely brunch with friends encompasses both. I shut off the phone, tuck away the laptop, and connect with the people I love over great food. For me, "brunch" could be swapped with "dinner", "tea," or "drinks."
- Work I Love. Have you ever not been able to fall asleep because you can't wait to start working the next morning? Okay, I know I have workaholic tendencies, but if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. I thank the universe every day that I made the decision to start a media company, hire amazing people who energize and inspire me, and be a part of a community doing such important work.
- Farmers' Markets. Strolling through outdoor markets, chatting with farmers, and knowing where my food comes from makes me very happy. And stocking my kitchen with an abundance of fresh produce each week helps me keep my healthy lifestyle on track.
- Fresh-Pressed Juices. Juicing is all the rage these days, and for good reason. A glass of freshly made juice is an invigorating way to kick off the day. My go-to blend? A jewel-toned combo of beet, apple, ginger, lime, and spinach.
- Massage. For me, regular massage (versus the occasional splurge) is an integral part of my healthy vegan lifestyle. Massages help me manage stress, strengthen my immune system, increase my circulation—and they feel amazing. What's not to love? P.S. Massages can be affordable! Stay tuned for all my spa secrets.
- Chocolate. Yep, my list of healthy living must-haves includes chocolate. After all, you have to feed the soul as well as nourish the body, and I don't believe in deprivation. I relish my cacao-hazelnut smoothie, raw chocolate-walnut brownies, and simple cocoa truffles. Chocolate tastes good, feels good, and is one of life's great pleasures.
Celebrate what makes you happy each and every day. There is no dress rehearsal, so live your best life today!