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Hey guys! It’s Tram, and I’m still here! The past few months have been a blur of activity, so I haven’t posted at all in awhile. This is what our family has been up to the last couple of months:

– Moved from Annapolis, MD, to Southern California
– Traveled to The Woodlands, TX, for my husband to compete in the Ironman 140.6 (he is a FINISHER! Check out my fueling strategies here and here.


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– Said our goodbyes to work, friends, midshipmen, school, and life on the East Coast

– Entering my third trimester of pregnancy with kiddo #2


That is A LOT! We are currently unpacking our stuff from Annapolis, and even though I’m so proud of the fact that I majorly downsized and embracing a minimalist-ish lifestyle, I still want to purge some more. Maybe that’s the nesting phase I’m going through in this pregnancy? Anyways, when the movers came the other day to unload our stuff, they were pleasantly surprised that we only had 4 crates of home goods to unpack, and one crate was going to our newly commissioned midshipman, to furnish her new digs. They said the most they’ve moved was 22 crates for one family! That is nuts (I’m so glad we’re not those people!).

Back in December, I read Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” When I was done with it, I gave it to a friend, and told her to keep sending the book along to other people who needed it, because I learned all the things I needed to know from that book. I sent this picture of my closet (my house in Annapolis was built in 1910, hence the super tiny closet space!) to my MIL back in December when I went through phase 1 of decluttering, and so proud to say that when we moved in May, the amount of clothes that I had had not changed. Of course, there’s a separate dresser for my undergarments, sleepwear, and gym clothes, but that picture’s what I wore for work and everyday-wear.

It was awesome, feeling like I could coordinate different outfits and looks without getting a whole new wardrobe. I was donating and selling my clothes, and even had a great consignment store in Annapolis (Navette) that helped me find some transition pieces for my growing belly bump.

It’s funny where embarking on a more plant-based lifestyle can take you. I feel like it snowballs into other areas of your life. Because my eyes were opened to the health, environmental, and animal welfare aspects of becoming more plant-based, I was becoming more excited about the creativity I could express when cooking and the effects of it all. My husband, while training for the Ironman, did it on mostly a plant-based diet. We’d eat seafood maybe once a week when going out. His recovery time for hard training sessions was so great; he didn’t feel lethargic and was always so quick to bounce back. He lost 30 pounds in the three years we were in Annapolis, and improved his cholesterol lipid panel to become NORMAL. He FINISHED his first triathlon, which was the full-on Ironman 140.6, and I didn’t have to wait forever at the finish line (thanks, babe, because it was pouring Texas rain).

I felt good about the dishes I made, because they were not making a great environmental impact for the large get-togethers I would host (Naval Academy midshipmen eat A LOT). No meat at parties means less carbon emissions from animals, less water waste, less demand for slaughtering of animals. But that didn’t mean I served steamed kale and broccoli, heck no! Teaching plant-based cooking classes to vegans and non-vegans alike at Whole Foods Annapolis allowed me to spread the message that vegan food is great when done right. I’d teach appetizing things such as lemongrass seitan tacos, lemon-blueberry scones, Thai red curry and butternut squash soup, and farro salad.

From all this, and especially the environmental aspect of eating more plant-based (saving tons of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that stem from cow farts, as one of my students used to say), I started becoming more mindful of my use of plastics and non-biodegradable items that we use. I started using more mason jars for storage, reusable grocery bags, and reusable produce bags. I started making my own toothpaste, bought bamboo compostable toothbrushes, making some easy, non-toxic cleaning solutions, and donated MORE items that we didn’t need. Minimizing, making more of my own stuff, reusing, reducing what I consumed, recycling, and next up: composting. Baby steps, people.


So, friends, that is my update. I’ve recently gotten back into the kitchen (thank goodness, because eating out often gets boring and $$), and baked a delicious, easy-peasy strawberry pie yesterday. I’ll share the recipe with y’all next week!


**follow me on Instagram @this_veglife for more plant-based recipe and lifestyle ideas!*