Mar 01

Life is a Challenge

Apparently I am a glutton for punishment challenges.


Challenge #1

It’s been 25 days since I’ve had any animal product.  So what do I do?  Sign on for the 30 Day Vegan Challenge being hosted by AmandaRun to the Finish.



Now that I’ve committed to 30 days, I am terrified I can’t do it.  What happens when I go out to eat and all I can have the the wilted side salad?  This may seem like a no-brainer for most, but dining out is like an expensive Olympic sport for me.


I mentioned that while on the cleanse I saved about $350 a week – that’s how bad my foodie habits were.  Hence, the new Vitamix.  I earned that present! :)

Eating a plant-based diet feels good to my body.  I know this, and I want to fuel myself the right way.  Heather Better with Veggies gave me the advice to focus on the things I CAN eat (she also has a great post up today about being a plant-strong athlete).  There are so many delicious veggie dishes in the world, and I am at my happiest when I’m being creative in the kitchen.


Eating green and saving green.  FTW.


…But would it be wrong to give myself another present at the end of this 30 days?  Maybe I’ll take the plunge and book a French vacation…



Challenge #2

This is a much-needed challengeI’m cleaning out my closet!

The great and wonderful Pinterest gave me the idea to do a 6 month closet clean out.  This pin went under my “Brilliant Ideas” board.


I swear I own clothes that aren't black and grey...


The idea is to flip all your hangers to face the wrong way. As you wear items, you return the hanger to face the “right” way when you replace the clothing.  After 6 months’ time you donate anything that is on a hanger turned back out.  I love the added benefit or a charitable donation!

I’ve been at it for 1 week and so far have noticed that I wear the same things.  A LOT.   People at work must think I only own 3 outfits, all of them black.


I love the added motivation of a challenge, as well as the camaraderie when you’re taking it on with friends!

What would you treat yourself with if you saved $1,400 in one month?  Good god, that sounds like a lot when you add it up…

Have you signed on the a challenge recently?  Want to join me in one of these? :)



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  1. JL goes Vegan

    Aw, dining out is easy! :)

    1) Phone ahead, when possible, so they are ready for you.
    2) Look at all of the sides that are included with any entree — I often have them put a plate together for me that is simply the vegan side dishes all on on plate!
    3) Many Italian restaurants now offer gluten-free pasta (which is often vegan); many homemade pastas are egg-free, you just have to ask.
    4) Worst-case scenario, ask for a baked potato, steamed veggies and some hot sauce and / or olive oil on the side. It’s not awesome, but…
    5) Salads, yeah, some are crappy but these days restaurants are getting more creative and often you can get a salad full of veggies and fruit and just have them hold the cheese.
    6) I always have nuts and seeds in my purse. I can sprinkle them over a bland option and suddenly I have crunch, flavor and protein!

    1. Laura

      Thanks JL! These are all great tips. I often think the sides sound like the best part of dishes anyway! Also, I love the idea of keeping seeds in your purse.

  2. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    good luck! and i’ve heard that flip the hanger trip before. i love that idea. now to just actually remember to do it!

  3. Lee

    I need to do that with my closet…and with Jason’s. He keeps clothes that are like 10 years old and he doesn’t wear them.

    $1400 I would buy a new Macbook Pro, no question!

  4. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    30 Days! Hooray! It’ll be fun :) [I thought it was...]

  5. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate

    Woe $350 a week? You kill me in foodieness ;)

    1. Laura

      What? I like to eat. :)

      1. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate

        Haha. I typically max at around $450 per month on food!

  6. Heather

    Love that you are trying out the vegan challenge! I LOVE being a vegan and feel just awesome knowing that not only am I treating my body well, I am also helping out the planet! Enjoy your 30 days!

    1. Laura

      Thanks for the encouragement! I’m really exciting about it. :)

  7. Parita @ myinnershakti

    I love your vegan challenge and all the new recipes that come out of it! And If I saved $1400 a month, I would definitely take a trip…somewhere tropical!

    My personal challenge for the next 4 months is not to go crazy! :)

    1. Laura

      You have a big 4 months! Have fun with it – this is such an exciting time! :)

  8. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family

    If you do complete the 30 day challenge (which I have no fear you are up to) I think a French vacation is in order…you must blog about it though so we can all be jealous that you went (just like Italy).
    I think I will indeed join you in the vegan challenge as my cleanse has me vegan as it is…might as well kill two birds with one stone :)

    I like the hanger idea…I don’t know if I could do it, because I have a hard time letting go of clothing (you never know when you might need it).

    I look forward to your updates on these challenges and maybe you could confirm you own more than black and grey (I have never seen so much in one closet).

    1. Laura

      I am so excited you’re joining the challenge! I don’t think it will be too hard – we’ll have a little support group. :)

      You make me want to email you a pic of every section of my closet… I also own a lot of blue!

  9. Hayley @ Oat Couture

    Definitely, absolutely no doubt in my mind I would book a little holiday!!! :) Were cutting right back at the moment but not for anything fun, only because there is a big chance that come May we will both be moving back to London jobless :/ Eek! Good luck with your new challenge!!! That wilted side salad will be so worth it when your sipping (gulping) a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape whilst eating pain au chocolat somewhere in France :)

    1. Laura

      So how did you know that Châteauneuf-du-Pape is my FAVORITE French wine?! I’ll do it if you promise to pop over from the UK to share a bottle and a few pastries. :)

  10. janet @ the taste space

    Way to go to commit to another vegan challenge! I love how you took your savings and used it towards a Vitamix! I can’t wait to see what delicious meals you make this month… all vegan, all month. :)

    1. Laura

      Thank you! I’m still over the moon about the Vitamix. This thing is a beast!

  11. Mattie @ Comfy and Confident

    You have already been vegan for a while! These next 30 days should be no problem!!
    I love that trick with the hangers. I am in serious need of a closet clean out, this is a good way for me to do it.

  12. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    You’re going to do great on the challenge – eating out get easier and you get to be creative, which I KNOW you love!

    I’m doing the exact same thing with my closet, I switched the hangers last weekend. I can’t remember where I read it, but I’m guessing it was on a blog somewhere. I’m so bad about keeping things I never wear, it’s a great way to force yourself to be honest!

    And remind me to tell you about the trip to Egypt we’re considering… :)

    1. Laura

      That’s what I’m hoping! Thanks for all the encouragement and tips last night – I feel so much better about it now.

  13. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    Yay – I’m so happy that I get to read about your vegan challenge for 30 whole days. I know you’re going to give me some good ideas. :) I too read Heather’s post today, and you guys are slowly but surely making me re-think my steak-loving ways.

    If I saved $1,400 per month… uh… I’d probably keep saving. I’m lame. I’d at least be saving it for an awesome trip though. I always have a running vacation fund.

    1. Laura

      I used to be a steak fanatic – I’m really surprised, but the thought of it no longer even appeals to me. I’m loving your vegetarian eats!

  14. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    I am so proud of you Laura!! You really push yourself to be as healthy as possible. It is really inspiring! Good luck with the challenge. I know you can do it!

    If I saved $1400 in one month I have to say I am with Tiff… I’d keep saving it. I’d probably end up spending some of the money on an awesome trip, but it would be after I’d saved a lot of it.

    1. Laura

      Thanks Carol! I’m so proud of you with all of your progress running – really inspiring. :)

      You guys are such good savers… I need to follow your examples!

  15. Bonnie

    Way to go with your March challenges! I think this is really awesome…I loved Heather’s post today too and between reading that and your recent cleanse, I’m challenging myself to go without dairy for the month and see how I feel! Curious to how it’s going to change my body. So that means no more Greek yogurt or goat cheese (trying to find out where else I eat dairy – besides ice cream! – if that’s it, maybe it won’t be too bad! – where else is dairy hidden?!). ;)

    You saved so much money too! Maybe we can meet in France and then splurge and break our challenges for a baguette with some brie. ;)

    1. Laura

      Bonnie, thank you so much for all the encouragement. I’m really excited to see how your challenge goes too!

      Meeting in France seems the perfect reward… and yeah, no challenges there (except to find the BEST cheese in Paris). :)

  16. sarah @ sarah learns

    i did the hanger thing in my closet too. i did it right at the new year, and i’ve got an embarrassingly small number of hangers turned the right way. i’m already going to go through my closet (i was going to do it tonight actually!) and remove the winter items that i was hanging onto for “maybe” and clearly am not going to wear. :)

    1. Laura

      I need to do that too. I started a pile to donate as I was flipping the hangers… so embarrassing the amount of stuff I’ve held on to.

  17. Sara @my less serious life

    have you seen kendi’s (from the blog, Kendi Everyday) series on closet organization? it really helped me clean mine out and get de-cluttered. good luck with this…it is a huge undertaking…

    1. Laura

      I haven’t! Thanks for the tip. :)

  18. Laura

    We can motivate each other through this Vegan Challenge, you can do it! I think it’s a lot easier than the cleanse you just did, but I hear you on eating out… I just realized that we have a dinner at my daughter’s program this weekend (burgers), lunch at our Chinese friend’s house Sat (meat) and a kids’ birthday party on Sunday (pizza) — I hate making things awkward!

    1. Laura

      For sure! There is safety in numbers. :)

      Good luck this weekend! Maybe you can offer to bring dishes you are able to enjoy too?

  19. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning

    Oh, girl. We don’t even need to talk about how much money I spend on groceries. I figure that since I don’t splurge on much else, I don’t need to budget when I grocery shop. But I definitely noticed that when I was eating a mostly vegan diet, I saved a lot of money (especially since the majority of my protein came from legumes that I bought in bulk!) You can definitely do the challenge- and you’re right- there are SO many great vegan recipes floating around (and I’m sure you’ll come up with some great ones, too). I find that I am 1,000x more creative when I’m cooking vegan than anything else.
    But- if you “slip up” ask yourself if it really matters. I believe that you should eat what you crave. I just started eating a lot more meat than I have in a very long time just to make a change. I gotta say though- I tend to crave veggies more than anything else, still.

    1. Laura

      I feel that same way about spending money on food. I don’t have cable, so why not have a little extra treat and shop at WF when I want to? :) My biggest saving has come from NOT eating out. It’s also done wonders for eating healthier overall.

      That’s a great point about slipping up. I think after this month I’ll maintain a plant-based diet, but not put pressure on myself to the point that I feel deprived if I really want a piece of cheese.

  20. Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    wow. wow. You amaze me.

    There is NO way I could go vegan for 30 days plus be GF – it would kill me… in fact, I’m even giving up vegetarianism because it is too hard for me!

  21. Ashley @ Freckles & Spice

    I really need to clean out my closet. I have so much clothes that are basically brand new and they don’t fit….I want to try and sell them for money for school. I’ve been stalling on this.

    I love eating vegetables. I love it so much that I actually am sort of doing the opposite. I have just started to re-introducing things like egg and meat into my diet for health reasons. My meals are still mainly veggies because that’s what I like and enjoy and feel good eating. But, I did feel I needed to make some changes.

    1. Laura

      I’m bad about that too. There are pants in my closet that still have tags on them!

      That’s interesting you’re going the other way. Good for you for listening to your body! Flexibility in listening to what your body needs is so important.

  22. Kiri W.

    So I am curious – I don’t eat all that much animal product, but I an neither a declared Vegan nor Vegetarian. I’ve always been intrigued though… would you be willing to give me advice? Does honey count as animal product? I have so, so many questions, technical and health-care wise that I don’t think I could just “try” it straight away.

    Ummmm. Let’s see here. Oh yeah, that would pay 3/4 of a ticket back home.

    1. Laura

      I’m no professional, but I’m more than happy to help you where I can! Honey does count as an animal product, though many vegans do make an exception for it since the bees aren’t being harmed/fed hormones/etc to produce the honey. Shoot me an email and we can talk. :)

  23. Kathy

    Let’s see 6 months left in Korea… guess that’d be one way to know what to pack to move and what should just be donated and left here.

    1. Laura

      That would be perfect! I’m excited to see where you head next!

  24. Sarah

    wow vegan now after the cleanse, you are on some kinda healthy high! where do you work btw, if you don’t mind my big nose here.

    1. Laura

      Ha! It’s actually been fun! I work in consulting.

  25. Meg

    I LOVE THE CLOSET CHALLENGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. holly

    TRAVEL. obvs :)

    love that closet challenge! and God, how i need $1400. it’s not even funny.

    1. Laura

      Can we just win the lotto and travel forever???

  27. Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land

    I have no doubt you will knock this challenge out of the park. I look forward to more resulting yummy recipes and ideas!

    I know what you mean about eating out. I have become such a restaurant snob these days based on how well they can/will accommodate dietary requests. It’s also why we don’t eat out very often.

    1. Laura

      Thanks Candy!

      I’m really interested to see how dining out goes… I didn’t eat out at all on the cleanse since it was so difficult. This will be a learning experience!

  28. Jessica Nazarali (@JessicaNazarali)

    Congrats on going 25 days animal product free! That is such a big achievement and it’s great to save money too! If I had an extra $1400 hmmm, I would probably save it for our wedding in Las Vegas in Septemeber and the crazy holiday we are going on afterwards!
    If anyone needs help going vegan, go here were you can register to take part in the 21 Day Vegan Challenge! http://livehealthysimply.com/2012/02/21-day-live-vegan-giveaway-winner/

    1. Laura

      I Vegas wedding sounds like SO much fun!!! Is Elvis going to marry you? ;)

      1. Jessica Nazarali

        Lol no, we did consider it though! We are getting married at the Wynn, Steve Wynn is vegan so they have an amazing vegan menu!!

  29. Khushboo

    I should probably join you on the cleaning out your closet challenge- it’s something I’ve been putting off for a long time (do I dare say since before the start of the year)! I think it’s awesome that you are doing the ‘30-day Vegan Challenge’ as you’re on a roll from the last cleanse! And hey if it means saving a bit of money, that’s all the motivation needed ;)!

    1. Laura

      Do it!!! Though I’m realizing that I should have done this BEFORE the end of the year to tax purposes. :)

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