Part Vegan… for a month!

Another long over-due blog entry! I am a full-time graduate student, and a working woman who puts way too much on her plate. Please don’t judge 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to share on my experience of going VEGAN for a month. The month of January, I promised myself I would give it a shot, not because I feel I am prepared to make that drastic change…I did it as a way to cleanse my body. I also thought it would be a challenging experience.


So, as I began to investigate, I realized that a vegan diet is EXTREMELY limited…and I felt that it was something too extreme for me, for now that is. Remember, it’s about taking BABY STEPS. Then, I decided I would follow a partial vegan diet. I eliminated eggs, cheese, and milk.

If anything eggs was my biggest challenge, I am big on egg protein, I have eggs about three times a week (yes, I’m ashamed). Cheese, I substituted regular cheese for vegan cheese and let me tell you, vegan cheese tastes very similar…this was definitely not a problem for me. The price of vegan cheese is also about the same price of regular cheese (yay!). Milk, milk was the least of my worries; I am big on soy milk.

After attempting the vegan diet for a few days, I failed! It must have been two weeks into the month of January when I accidentally bit into a jalapeño popper 😦 that was obviously filled with cheese! I didn’t call it quits, I kept on going with the challenge and took that as a simple accident. I failed two or three more times but my effort to complete the vegan diet lasted up until the last day of January.


Do I recommend this? I do. Why? Because I feel that by taking on challenges such as this one helps you slowly eliminate “the bad stuff”. I have not gone back to regular cheese and I have soy milk sitting in my fridge. It felt good to give up some of these “fatty” choices, I felt skinny 🙂 and I felt/feel healthier.

Next challenge? I am giving up alcohol for the next 40 days/40 nights starting tomorrow. I am catholic and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Wish me luck!

New city, new hikes!



I have now officially been a resident of the Los Angeles County for five months. During my time here, I have climbed my way up three different mountains, and enjoyed three different views of the city.





First hike was of course, up to the famous L.A. landmark, “the hollywood sign”. It was back in October that I made my way up to the sign. Weather was perfect, and there was very few people walking the trail. Parked my car on the street, no charge. It was a hassle-free experience and one I enjoyed. Only con to this experience was that the hike was not too challenging, I felt as if it was more of a long and steep walk. The view of Los Angeles was ok, but hey! You get to see the sign up close.




Second hike occurred two weeks ago. This time, I made my way to Glendale “Brand Park”. It was a Wednesday morning, weather was cool. The park was lonely, something I  enjoyed (the less people, the better). This hike was definitely more challenging than the Hollywood sign. Growing up around the Santa Cruz mountains, Brand Park was more of what I was used to. I broke a sweat, but it was all worth it…the view was lovely!






Today I went on my third hike, to Runyon Canyon in West Hollywood. Pros to this experience, the hike was challenging enough. There are three different routes one can take at this park, route A, B or C. We chose to follow route B. We walked on our way up and ran on our way down. Cons to this experience, parking! We were lucky enough to find street parking close to the park entrance but parking was definitely a hassle. There were also way too many people. I enjoy a quiet and relaxing hike, nothing overcrowded… Runyon Canyon definitely lives up to its standard of being one of the most popular trails in LA. The view from Runyon Canyon has definitely been the best, so far.




My love for hiking is only growing! Los Angeles offers dozens of hikes and I am now on a mission to check out only the best and the most challenging!  I came across this blog that gives background information on some…






Profesora adopta el veganismo por razones éticas y de justicia alimentaria…para El nuevo sol salud

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.11.14 PMAfter countless hours spent investigating, interviewing, and editing, the first part to my story on health, Latinos, obesity, and Vegetarianism, has been published.

This 5-minute audio piece tells the story of ten-year vegetarian/four-year Vegan, Linda Alvarez.

Touch basing on issues that we often don’t speak of or ever hear of, obesity and nutrition in the Latino Communities.

For now, this story is only available in Spanish, but in the future I hope to translate it.


You don’t have to be VEGAN to follow a VEGAN diet…

Besides the fact that my research lately has been on health, fitness, and eating habits…I’m slowly growing an appreciation for natural foods and an admiration for vegetarians and vegans.

BUT I am not ready to make that commitment….not yet, that is. BUT still, I might as well consider myself a vegetarian/vegan in the making. Most of what I eat is fresh, not coming from an animal, and it’s definitely not any kind of meat.

Because I have been doing a lot of research on the topic, I am obviously learning a lot. I am therefore, making sure that I am consuming the right amount of iron and protein. That I am not overdoing it with the pastas, sugars, or salts. Also, I am slowly trying to eliminate DAIRY from my diet.

Because I am a graduate student who spends 90% of her time at school or working on school projects, assignments, readings, research…I haven’t been dedicating enough time to the gym or to fitness. My workouts have gone down to two times a week. That is ok though, two times a week is healthy.

For those of you who find yourselves in the same situation as myself….not quite ready to commit to such a strict diet. TAKE BABY STEPS 🙂 Here is a great, friendly guide that I came across earlier today. Hope it helps 😉

Favorite Finds!

50% Fitness, 50% kitchen is my motto!

A new “Pescetarian”, with a busy schedule, I am on a mission to stay fit, thin, but most importantly, HEALTHY.

I have been searching for “healthier” substitutes, and for MEAT substitutes as well.

According to, 7.3 Million million Americans are vegetarians. Although there are numerous health benefits to eliminating meat from your diet, there are also some risks. Number one is IRON. Lack of Iron in the body can result in anemia, and it can affect the normal functioning of the human body. (Want to know more on this, ask your doctor!!!)

Giving up meat, doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite meals (kind of)…. my grocery store of choice used to be Traders Joes, that is, until I came across FRESH AND EASY. Cheaper prices, fresh, and ready to go foods!

Us, Mexican-Americans love chorizo with egg for breakfast…the substitute, SOYRIZO! This meatless, gluten-free substitute cost me $3.29. Chorizo costs  about the same price, and you can’t even taste the difference.

Veggie Smart dogs, they taste a little different…not going to lie! But once you add the ingredients, the fact that you instead will be eating 45 calories, 8 grams of protein, 290 milligrams of sodium, 230 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of sugar, 3 carbohydrates and 6% of the daily recommended value of iron, INSTEAD OF meat, will be WELL worth it. Cost $4.

Italian Style Veggie Protein Sausages, I add these to my pastas, or on the side with some vegetables. Delicious! And one of my favorite finds. Price: $4.79.

Seaweed snacks!!! Substitute for chips, cookies, candy?…ok, it doesn’t taste

 like candy buuuuut if you are a fan of sushi, you will like this! Seaweed snacks

come in different “flavors” with wasabi, salt, seasonings. Price: $.99 a box!

Last but not least, Organic Blue Agave nectar. Buy two bottles for $8 at Costco, and

substitute your sweet & low, Splenda, and other artificial sweeteners for

some organic nectar.


Step número ocho

Step numero ocho is far overdue….my apologies! Before I go into this last step, I’ll give a brief summary as to what I’ve been up to these past two months.

Before initiating my studies as a Graduate student, I decided I’d have the time of my life until the date arrived! I traveled to Mexico, ate all I wanted, worked out very little, enjoyed amazing hikes, went on a few bike rides, met a lot of people, danced a whole lot….I did everything I needed to do before getting back into routine mode!


Why? Because although I consider myself a healthy person, with good eating habits and a healthy workout routine, I am not leading that lifestyle I was two months prior….and that is killing me! Getting back INTO shape is tough work. Make your life easy, keep the work going and don’t let yourself fall out of shape! Taking one week off is understandable, two weeks is pushing it, and three weeks, I wouldn’t go there.

So after taking such a long break, I am back and giving it my all….but saying bye bye to the unhealthy snacks and saying hello to the gym hasn’t been easy. So I started off once again with BABY STEPS. I am slowly getting back into my good eating habits, setting a goal, working out with a group of people, motivating and pushing myself every single day. It’s been one month since ive been “back on the grind” and I still am not back to where I was. They say it’s 60% kitchen, 40% gym….I disagree. In order to not only look good but feel good, one must commit to both the gym and the kitchen equally. So now that I’ve experienced the fall out, I am putting in the work! How?

-gym 5 times a week
-cycling class twice a week
-I ditched my car, I am either biking to my destination or walking!
-no eating out!!!
-fresh foods, lots of tuna, salad, salmon & beans
-water water water
-sleep sleep sleep
-no elevator, just the stairs!
-goodbye beer!

After a fall out, I think it’s fair to put in EXTRA WORK…. Do yourself a favor, DO NOT FALL OUT OF YOUR HEALTH AND WORKOUT ROUTINE!

Concluding my entry with my fave Motivational Monday quotes/images. Enjoy!






In the land of carnivores

One of my biggest fears coming to Mexico this time around was being around my all time favorite foods and having to pass them up! Tacos de carne asada, tacos de tripa, tortas ahogadas de carne, buche, lonche de jamon, pozole, “dogos”, birria, carnitas, tostadas de pollo, wings… name a few! Can i do it? Yeah, i think so….was it going to be tough? Ooh yes!

Today was first day in Mexico…it wasn’t too bad.

I started off my day by going to the local “mercado” and purchased a freshly squeezed carrot, orange and green juice.



I satisfied my craving with TWO corn tamales…so yummy!


As a snack I had pineapple and cucumber.



For lunch, a meatless “torta” with quezo fresco, aguacate, cebolla….etc.



I even made my favorite, guacamole!


My grandmother (my cooking inspiration) gave me this book…

She promised to pass on some of her famous vegetarian recipes.

First day down, a few more to go!