Thursday, December 18, 2014

Uganda Recap: Top 10 Highlights

Four months ago, I set out on an adventure to Africa for my mater's research project with the University of Minnesota. It was an amazing 3 weeks full of adventures---  definitely a trip of a lifetime!! I am so grateful for the Healthy Foods Healthy Lives (PDF Doc) grant that helped get me to Africa--  and made the research component of my trip possible!
Now that my grad school semester is over-- and things are winding down, I decided to go through some old pictures and highlight just a few of my experiences and perspectives!
Top 10 highlights and lessons learned:
1) Met amazing people!! My awesome Ugandan research team, a few med-students, public health students, "random" travel buddies, a peace-core volunteer.. and more!
2) Learned a lot about the Moringa tree (PDF abstract about my research study). I am still in the analysis stage of the research--- so I can't say anything more! Qualitative research is much more difficult than I had anticipated--- but really incredible!

3) African food!!!! It was delicious --  extremely cheap and easy to eat vegan there too! I consider that a bonus! (see related blog posts: Feasting on Traditional Foods and In Uganda: Plant-based )
Uganda 2
4) Witnessed the globalization of food, diet, westernized culture. We live in a small world. Big food industry and tobacco (yes, still) are taking over the world... This was definitely not a highlight, but rather lessons learned.
5) Ran out of water for a couple of days.... (see related blog post). It had something to do with these pipes....
6) Went on an African safari!!! It was absolutely breathtaking to watch these beautiful creatures in their natural environments. The creatures of this Earth are incredible! Let's be good stewards to them.
moxie 3
7) Elephants!!! I fell in LOVE with elephants!
moxie 2
8) Met 2 designer and had a dress made for me! (see related blog post)
moxie 4
9) Deeper appreciation for life of all forms--- animals, humans, and plants. Richer understanding of community--- and the importance community plays in our need for security and ultimately our survival.
Market 2

10) I feel privileged, yet very thankful to be able to do what I do, to see the places I have seen, and to have met the people I have met on all of my global journeys.... all these people, places and experiences have helped shape who I am today and the perspectives I have on life, health, and living!
uganda 3
Bonus: Jackfruit... new favorite fruit!!
I am already looking forward to my next adventure! Hope you can come along with me! Stay tuned for upcoming Moxie travels!
- Moxie Dietitian
Originally posted on Moxie Musing

Monday, December 8, 2014

Vision Trip back to Haiti

Hi Friends,
I am doing a fundraiser with ViBella-- an organization in Haiti that employs women to make jewelry. I had the opportunity to visit ViBella's organization back in 2013 when I was living in Haiti. It was wonderful to meet the ladies that make the jewelry and to see the facility where they work. I was impressed with ViBella's organization not only because of what they are doing to give-back to the community, but also because many of their pieces are also made out of recycled goods, such as plastic and cardboard.
I am planning to use the money raised from the fundraiser to help cover travel expenses for an upcoming vision trip to Haiti. I am hoping to get back to Haiti in January or February to visit a few organizations that are currently working on sustainability projects-- like reforestation, compositing, and gardening. I have been asked to help implement a health and wellness summer program at the orphanage where I used to live. We would like the children to learn about sustainability, nutrition, and alternative health/ wellness practice--- we have potential plans to take them to an eco-food forest for a hands-on field-trip to learn about the environment, conservation, and plant-based lifestyle. I am really excited about all the ideas that are currently being generated around our summer program--- and can't wait to share more in the coming months!
Anyways, if you are looking to give a gift that gives back this Holiday season---  check out the ViBella store. If you decide to purchase something and you'd like to contribute to my online fundraiser use:
**Enter Party # 428 at check-out! 
To learn more about ViBella, check-out this video:
These are a couple of my favorite pieces from ViBella! The feather earrings are awesome!! :)
Thanks for all the support!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Moxie Musing

Upon returning home from Haiti, I have had this deep desire in my heart to extend my "mission" from beyond the context of the "third-world" and into the realm of the real world. I want my "mission" to extend to all walks of life-- rich or poor, hungry or satisfied, clothed or naked, christians and non-christians. My message is not just for what we can be doing for "the least of these".. but a message for ALL humanity on what we SHOULD be doing for "the least of these" in our home, in our community, in our world... but even within our own self. We are all broken people. Not one better than the next. We all suffer and struggle. We sometimes stumble, trip, and even fall within the shadow of our own hopes and desires. I believe there are many people that have it deep in their hearts to do good and to help others. Perhaps it's just a morsel of care and compassion for another being, a mother/father, a brother/sister, a friend, a child, or a pet? Or maybe it's just for your own personal self? I am not here to decide that for people, but I am here to inspire.... provide suggestions for a lifestyle that encompasses compassion, consciousness, and health.

Living in one of the poorest countries in the world, has opened my eyes to a more worldly view; a "One Human Family" if you will...... It has made me more compassionate about living creatures of all sorts, of the health of our environment, and the people that work to make our lives more luxurious (yes, slavery still exists in this world). I became incredibly frustrated with myself for participating in these actions (ie. shopping at stores that utilize sweatshops.. fast fashion) and not doing anything about it. I care enough about people living in what we deem as "poverty" to sacrifice a year to go live amongst them.. then why couldn't I do MORE that would impact MORE lives by SIMPLY changing the way I live. Setting a new standard and context of life.

Over the past two years, I have spent time talking with some incredible human beings and reading (and reading... and reading.. and reading), and reflecting on what all of this means. I am still trying to make sense of it all, as I am sure I always will be. Throughout the course of these 2 years, however, I have learned an incredible amount of information about this statement:


I have learned about fast fashion, climate change, human slavery, body image/ eating disorder... and the destructive behaviors we do that kill people and kill ourselves, most often times without our conscious consent  (The Bangladesh Factory fire in spring 2013 anyone?). Maybe I am wrong in believing this, but I don't think we, as human beings, want to live in an uncivilized world that causes undo harm to ourselves, our neighbors, and our planet. Or maybe that's just me? 

So after several restless nights and some exchanged messages with friends, "Moxie Musing" was born. Moxie meaning courage, pep, energy, and positivity. For those that know me, positivity is my strength... and I'd like my message to be positive and empowering. Musing means to think deeply or meditate on something. And that's what I hope to do... and hope to inspire others to do too. I want to muse on life.. muse on health, nutrition, fashion, environment, hunger, poverty, social justice, but I don't just want to muse about these things.. I also want to provide alternative solutions to these problems. AND I DON'T WANT TO DO IT ALONE. I am hoping this will become a COLLABORATIVE project that will feature OTHER MOXIE people doing MOXIE things to respond to social injustices, climate change, poverty, and health... I DONT have all the answers. I DONT know all the problems. AND I am continuing to learn about them the more I engage in conversation with people. WE ARE ALL LEARNING... and the more we learn, the better we can do to create a world of peace and justice. By learning, we MUST be willing to change ourselves in an effort to respond. Sometimes this takes great strength and courage... especially in a world full of social norms and social pressures. But you won't be alone. 

(This is the sound of all of us)

Moxie Musing is currently on Facebook! I have already started posting about health/ nutrition things, environment, food systems, body products, social justice issues, slavery, fast fashion.. I've provided some recipes, fashion ideas, gift wrapping options.. etc.

 In 2014, I will be launching a new website/ blog. I hope that you will follow along. 
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO MESSAGE ME WITH IDEAS, RESOURCES, AND STORIES (things related to plant-based eating, social justice issues/ poverty, sustainable/ eco-fashion, environment health, eco-lifestyle). 
I might even learn something from you! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

SNAP Challenge Response

A few weeks ago this comment was left on my blog.... it's about time I respond!

AnonymousNovember 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM
It's fun watching your meals. Do you think you could do it for a month? A year? It must be so hard for people who rely on SNAP long term. The amount of planning and worrying must be overwhelming. What do they do for birthdays and Christmas? There is not much $ to spare.

My Response: 
THANK YOU for following! I think it would be interesting to try this for a month. I actually think it might be easier for a month since I would have a bit more financial resources to purchase a variety of staple foods during the first week of the challenge. I had a lot of staple foods leftover at the end of my challenge (oatmeal, a few soups, a few veggie burgers). I spent under $28 for the week (that was my allowance). It was a bit overwhelming the first few days... not knowing if there would be enough food, but by the time I hit day three... I worried less. It was difficult NOT being able to go out to eat with friends, but going out after the challenge put things into perspective. When you spend a whole week eating $25 worth of food and then you get a bill from one meal at $12-15... that's a reality check. As far as holiday's go, I am sure there would be some fairly inexpensive meals to prepare. Potatoes are cheap, rice is inexpensive, and my oatmeal lentil veggie burgers are rather tasty! The folks at Plant-based on a Budget are proving to the world that eating healthy on a budget is possible.... but it's all about perspectives and people's situations. 

.... Stay tuned! Next blog is on my recap from my experience. I know, it's a little late. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

SNAP: Day Seven (LAST DAY)

Well, folks! That was a fast week! My SNAP Challenge is over tomorrow! I have learned a few things this week and I look forward to sharing them soon. 

It's bitter sweet thinking that tomorrow I wont have to count out the cost of each of my meals and to worry about running out of my food supply. In fact, I wont have to worry because I have so much food left over from this week! I made my parents breakfast this morning with my oats (borrowed one of their bananas since I only had one left).  Banana Pancakes!!

I shared some veggie burgers with my parents, and sent my brother with some leftover soup. I ended up throwing all of my leftover vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cabbage, kale), 3 potatoes, and 1/8 of my squash in a blender with spices/ herbs... and came up with this tasty creation. 

My meals today were pretty much the standard. Banana pancakes and peanut butter, veggie burger and soup, apples, pumpkin seeds, and leftover "beanballs" with soup. 

My last SNAP meal for the week. 

How do I have so much leftover!?

What did I have leftover!? Two veggie burgers, 3 beanballs, a whole container of pumpkin soup, 1/3 of my oats, 5 cups of sweet potato veg soup, 1/4 of the flax milk. .. (I can't wait to drink my Almond milk again this week. Only bought the flax milk because it was cheaper than the other non-dairy milks at the co-op I was at. Went for the deals).

After dinner, I totaled my food cost for the day and I was at about $3.00 again. So I went ahead and made myself some more air-popped popcorn for a snack! :) 

Like I said, it's bittersweet being done with my challenge. I had fun experimenting.... stay tuned though! I have comments on my blog posts that I will be responding to, as well as a recap of my experience this week! In the meantime, if you are looking to eat healthy on a budget, check out this website: and It's fun to seeing how other people are eating plant-based on a budget.. and I love the collaborative approach!  

SNAP: Day Six

Well, folks. Saturday became a leftover kind of day, but I am perfectly okay with leftovers (means less cooking/ cleaning). I enjoyed leftover sweet potato oat casserole, leftover soup and veggie burgers, an apple, carrots, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie "for yo", air-popped popcorn.. starting to sound familiar!

 This week I  have learned that lentils and oatmeal are two versatile foods!

I did have a little fun at dinner tonight and decided to try something fancy. My family was making Oh She Glow's "beanballs" with squash. So I decided I would do my own version with the resources I had available to me. 

First of all, I did a horrible job at making "zucchini noodles." All these other bloggers make them look so beautiful. I guess I will have to practice. 

Now for my version of the meatballs... 

Lentil-oat balls 
1 cup dry oats
1 cup cooked lentils
1/4- 1/2 cup chopped kale
italian seasonings (basil, oregano, fennel seeds, parsley, garlic)
*add crushed red pepper if you like them hot. 

Blend all the ingredients together (accept the chopped kale). Once smooth, mix in the kale. Roll the bean batter into balls (I made about 12). Put on a skillet and cook on the stove over medium heat. Be sure to move them around to preventing burning. 

This whole recipe cost about $0.41 !!! 

I am sure this meatless meatballs would taste great on a sandwich, in a wrap, with some pasta, mixed with quinoa.... versatile possibilities!

Total food cost for the day came at about $3.50! 

It's kind of a bittersweet feeling knowing my SNAP Challenge experience is almost over! I have greatly enjoyed many of these new recipes! 

Stay tuned! I will be doing a recap blog soon to sum up my experiences and lessons learned! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SNAP: Day Five

Wow! The week blows by fast! Day 5 was here and now it's gone! I am moving on to Day 6! Each day I am getting more and more skilled at being resourceful. I actually feel pretty satisfied in terms of hunger. I think it's because I have increased the number of snacks I eat throughout the day. I tend to eat many small meals on a normal day, which helps regulate my energy levels. I am finally mastering that one my SNAP challenge. 

I made a few new dishes today. Definitely, took up a lot more of my time than I would have liked. 


I wanted to do something with sweet potatoes, so I googled it. One of my favorite websites came up with a sweet potato casserole. I looked at a few more recipes on the site and came across a carrot cake oatmeal... and decided that I was going to combine the two recipes. 

Sweet potato and carrot oat casserole

I primarily followed the recipe for the sweet potato casserole, but decided to add 1 shredded carrot to the mix. 

***Modifications I made to my recipe: No chia seeds,  no maple syrup, and I used 1 cup plant-based milk and 1 cup water instead of 2 cups plant-based milk. For my crumble, I just mixed 1 tablespoon peanut butter with 1/4 cup oat flour and crumbled it on the top. 

The total cost was about $0.99 for my version of the dish... plus I made this last for 2 servings! 


I decided to make a similar dish my host family made for me while I was in Spain many years ago. My host mom would always make the most delicious vegetable soups by just boiling vegetables and throwing them into the blender. The great thing about these soups is there is MORE THAN JUST ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT!

Carrot Ginger Soup: (1-2 servings)
5 carrots
1 sweet potato 
ginger (fresh or powdered) 

*boil the carrots and sweet potato and then throw them in the blender. Might as well use the water you boiled them in so you can save the vitamins that leached into the water while boiling. Add the kale and add the ginger to taste. If you need more water, add it. Blend until desired consistency. 

The total soup cost me about $0.75 

I served my bowl of soup with a left over veggie burger ($0.15) and kale chips. 


Well, dinner was interesting and I am curious to see how it will taste a day after sitting in the fridge. My dad thought it tasted like chicken noodle soup (minus the chicken and the noodles). I was trying to make one of my favorite creamy, "cheesy" tofu soups... but didn't have enough tofu to make the soup right. So I just started mixing and matching.. and made a mock "chicken noodle soup" What was in it? 

1/2 block of tofu (blended with water)
1/8 of a large cabbage
1/4 zucchini
1 cup of cooked lentils
leftover soup from above
1/4 cup oat milk** 
onion powder
salt and papper 

I wish I could have added miso and/or nutritional yeast to it. I may have been able to budget for those items if I had been doing the SNAP challenge with more than just myself and if I was doing this for more than one week. A larger budget would have allowed for more variety in food choices. 

 And yes, I used oat milk in this recipe. I wanted to add more calories and to make it a bit more creamy. I couldn't taste the oaty-ness in the dish since the spices covered it up. So if you are looking for a cheap milk alternative, try oat milk. Here is a sweet recipe, I just mixed the oats with water in my version. 

My soup recipe was about $2 and I still have half of it left! 

Snacks were definitely what helped me get through the day!  I made myself some pumpkin pie "fro yo" again. Grazed on pumpkin seeds. Munched on an apple and peanut butter. And enjoyed a nice big bowl of popcorn again! 

My total food cost was still under $3.50 for the whole day! 
... and I actually think I went to bed not feeling deprived of nourishment