Vegan Starter Kit

The other day, a friend of mine posted this on my facebook page:

Melissa! I have a couple of questions for you. 1) Do you know of any good vegan cookbooks and 2) Do you know of any blogs or other resources? I’m playing with the idea of going vegan but definitely need more resources to help me feel confident in my food choices, etc. Thanks! and how’s life? 

It probably goes without saying that I was giddy with excitement when I saw this message.   I decided to put a little starter kit together for her and for anyone else who might be teetering on the edge of a plant based life style.

Before I dive into some of my favorite resources, let me reassure you–if you eat a variety of plants (fruits, veggies, greens, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds) throughout your day/week, you WILL get enough protein as well as all the other beautiful nutrients your gorgeous bodies needs to thrive!  Have fun!
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Dates with Pistachio and Coconuts

When I was a kiddo, I was obsessed with a recipe I nabbed out of a Sesame Street book my neighbor gave me.  Peanut Butter balls were IT–peanut butter and powdered sugar all mixed up, rolled into balls, and refrigerated for an hour or so.  To.Die.For.

I sometimes get cravings for the peanut butter balls of my childhood.  While I don’t think its horrible to give into those cravings from time to time, eating peanut butter and sugar balls on a regular basis is less than ideal for my health…this is why I was THRILLED when I discovered a healthier treat that reminds of the gooey goodness of peanut butter balls.  I realize that my replacement seems nothing like the original, but the sweetness and nuttiness combined with the gooey texture hits the spot!

This is great for dessert as well as a pre-run snack.  Yummers.


  • pitted medjool dates
  • pistachios (I used salted, if you use raw-unsalted, add a pinch of salt to the recipe)
  • dried coconut


  • place shelled pistachios in food processor and process for about 5 minutes
  • slice dates down the center length-wise
  • spoon pistachio mix into dates
  • sprinkle coconut on top
  • Enjoy!

Happy Eating!

Beyond the Fatigue

“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.” –William James

Two Oceans Ultra

Wow!  Did I drop the ball or what?  I had intentions of writing while in Cape Town but unfortunately, I just couldn’t seem to plant myself in front of the computer and get ‘er done!  I am a little overwhelmed at the task of writing about the whirl wind of exciting events in the past month.  I’ll try to stick to my running activities and what I learned through them.

I was pleased to quickly recover from my jet lag upon arriving in Cape Town.  The morning after arriving, Emily and I headed out for a lovely hilly run on one of my old routes.  It was sunny and warm and it felt so good to move our bodies after our long journey.  I think my body is getting better at traveling—no sickness, no insane jet lag, just exhaustion that can easily be treated with sleep and healthy foods.

The week leading up to the Two Oceans ultra-marathon was packed full of excitement—day trips around the Cape, reuniting with friends, and meetings to discuss my project.  We kicked off the race weekend with registration on Thursday and then the International Friendship Run on Friday morning.
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