30 Days Plant Based

So we hopped on the bandwagon – for a month at least. We watched the documentary “What the Health” and that was the final straw for us to eat more plant based foods. I was already a big fan of 100 Days of real Food, but we went a little HAM on recipes like mac n’ cheese so we wanted to see what it would be like for us to just eat plants. It was a gradual process for us. First, we started taking down meat maybe eating it 3 times a week, then we ripped off the band aid. No dairy and no meat. 30 days. Just to see what would happen to our bodies.

Why We Went Plant Based

  1. We want to be healthier – My family is active but would like to find a lifestyle that would encourage slimmer bodies. We are happy where we’re at, but it would be nice to lose a few pounds and keep them off! We don’t want to live a life where we look forward to “cheat days” we just want to be happy and enjoy food.
  2. It’s cheaper (?) – I’ll explain why I put the question mark later. I have a big heart for low income families because that’s where I came from. I firmly believe that industries I won’t name, make profit from sick people and therefore will not go out of their way to help people with preventative health. The main victims of this heinous business practice are low income families. Having a healthy diet; which is one of the biggest ways we can prevent illness, should not be hard and should not require a lot of money. If any way is going to be cheap, sticking to the produce section would be it, right?
  3. We want to raise healthy children – I don’t want my children to have to relearn healthy eating habits because they didn’t learn them when they were young. I know children who have been raised on healthy diets and they grew up never having developed a taste for unhealthy options. I would like to duplicate that, please and thank you.
  4. Ailments- My Hubby has some heartburn and my children has some eczema. We’d like to see if a plant based diet would resolve that.
  5. Behavior – Word on the streets is, things like dyes and gluten can affect your child’s behavior. We believe one of our children may have some sensory issues so we wanted to see how things might change in the department.

How We Did It

We went cold turkey. Most people from my understanding usually go vegan after having been vegetarian for a while. Not us! We went from occasional Chicken to Kale in 24 Hours. I hopped on Pinterest and found anything my picky kids would eat. I did make myself a few of rules:

  1. No Fake meats (except for soyrizo)
  2. No overly processed food
  3. Go gluten free the last week

The first week I tried to make a lot of recipes that resembled meat like “nuggets” made from chickpeas and “mac n’ cheese” but honestly, I’d just rather not. The only thing that was legit was this cashew sour cream I made.

The second and third weeks were a breeze honestly. We felt good and just made house favorites without the meat and dairy. Like spaghetti, cereal etc.

The forth week was when we went gluten free. Would you like to know what’s more difficult than going vegan?! BEING FREAKING GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN. I couldn’t find bread that wasn’t super processed and everything kinda tastes and feels like your chewing cardboard.  So we noticed a lot of changes for the good, but some things sucked. I’m a “bad news first” kinda gal so let’s start there!

The Bad

It got boring for us fast. If we plan to stick this out, we will have to find some flavor variations. After a while everything tasted the same. I think that was my bad though.

I missed tacos and my favorite Mexican foods in general. We live right next to Tijuana, Mexico. The struggle is real when you can’t eat carne asada. I have yet to find a meatless alternative that resembles the real deal and I doubt I ever will. The question is CAN I ACCEPT THAT AS MY EVERYDAY LIFE?! *Stares dramatically into the distance*…… at least salsa molcajete is vegan.

It was labor intensive. Look, if it was socially acceptable to change my name to “maximum results with minimum effort” I would. Lots of food processor usage and roasting and yeah…. No thanks. Again, probably my fault.

It was hard to get the kids on board. They didn’t get why they couldn’t have cheese sticks and pizza. BUT by the end of the month they were saying “WE’RE VEGAN NOW WE CAN’T EAT PIZZA MOM” So. Freaking. Funny to hear from some 4 and 6 year olds.

It was not as cheap as I thought. “Shi-shi poo-poo” grocery stores (*cough cough* sprouts) were racking me up at about $300 bills for 2 weeks’ worth of organic produce and vegan pantry items. I will have to find a solution to that because yeah, no.

That’s about it though! Other than that, lots of awesome things happened.

The Good

My son’s behavior improved. He seemed a bit more mild mannered. He was a little less aggressive. And a little less of a freaking psychopath throughout the day. Just a little though. I think cutting the dyes effected his behavior the most.

My kids skin looked great. The day we started back on our regular diet, my baby daughters entire back broke out in a rash. Same with my son on his face. Turns out their bodies don’t like to eat animal products either.

Our digestion was magical. Things were uh, really regular in the baño if you catch my drift.

We lost weight. The grownups have lost at least ten pounds and the kids maintained their already healthy weights.

Allergies. I usually start getting post nasal drip (aka allergies) when the seasons change. I didn’t then magically when I started up again with the cheese and sour cream everything came back! Same deal with my toddler.

We’re gonna do it again.

This time with no time limit, maybe we’ll stay that way forever. I’ve just got to do a couple of tweaks here and there. The thing with going plant based is that the problems I had, I can fix. The ones with my family’s health? Not so much. My question is, if it affects my health and the health of my family, then is eating meat and dairy really worth eating? Because I had so many questions getting started, I took out the leg work for you for five days! I’ve made a FREE five day meal plan for you to give plant based eating a try! Just click here



Carbonating Kombucha

So last week, we talked about how to make your very own kombucha for a fraction of the price. This post will cover how to kick your kombucha up a notch with flavoring and carbonation! Now that you have an active batch of tea, whenever you add more sugar the yeast in the tea will eat up the extra sugar creating CO2, naturally carbonating your batch of kombucha. Here’s the fun part- the sugar you use will be juice or a juice combination of your choosing. Another option you can use is fresh or dried fruit. This time I made pomegranate kombucha. Behold! DIRECTIONS:


  1. 2 Cups of your favorite juice or fruit.
  2. Flip cap bottles (I got these), mason jars or any glass container that has a sealing lid. Make sure to get enough bottles to hold 1 gallon of liquid.

Optional Step 2 Equipment: A mesh strainer


With clean hands remove your SCOBY and separate any babies that have grown, if you plan on giving them to friends (there’s a picture below of OG SCOBY which is darker looking compared to the brand new baby). Place them in clean jars along with ½ of a cup of your freshly fermented kombucha.



Strain your gallon of kombucha. Sometimes there are floating strands of yeast which are totally okay to drink, but I prefer to not have them in there.


Pour your juice or fruit into your glass containers. The ratio for juice should be 10-25% juice to 75-90% kombucha. The ratio should be 30-10% fruit to 70-90% kombucha. In each of my 16oz bottles I poured ¼ cup of juice. I eyed it the first time I made it which worked just fine too!!


Add your kombucha to your glass containers leaving 1 inch of head space or less (the less oxygen the better). I prefer to use a funnel and my beverage dispenser because I am a serious klutz.



Place your glass containers in a warm dark spot in your kitchen and wait 3 days to a week at the most. Too much time or heat can make kombucha shoot up to your ceiling (true story). CAREFULLY crack them open to release the pressure and then place them in the fridge, it slows down all the activity. You’re done son! Try not to drink them all in one sitting.


KOMBUCHA : Barney Style

You’ll find a recurring theme here on This Marvelous Mess. I like things that are cheap and as natural as possible, I also love preventative health. Kombucha fills all of those lovely little check boxes and since I made a batch this week, I figure I’d share how I make it and how awesome it is.

A friend asked me if I wanted a SCOBY to make kombucha. I of course had no idea what the heck she was talking about. It sounded like she was giving me a secret password to play a new hipster board game that came out or something, so I briefly googled it. Turns out kombucha is a fermented tea that’s supposed to be really good for you. I got the SCOBY from her and I was thinking it was going to be some special teapot that ferments tea for you… I WAS DEAD WRONG. She gave me a jar, in this jar was a byproduct of something apparently made from the slime in the Ghostbusters II movie. I wanted to make sure making a batch of this stuff was worth my time before I put my hands on that disgusting thing. Turns out SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, this little disc is filled with vitamins, probiotics and good-for-you acids. When you place the SCOBY into a batch of tea and wait a week or two BAM! You have kombucha. The SCOBY has now created a beverage that is great for your digestive and immune systems. Seriously, this thing saved me so much stomach pain postpartum. It costs $2-$5 a bottle at the store and I make a gallon of it for dirt cheap, and you can too. Winna winna chicken dinna. Here is a super easy step by step guide on how to make it, and stay tuned next Monday for a post on how to carbonate and flavor your kombucha!

What you’ll need:

  1. A SCOBY at room temperature in at least 1/2 of a cup of some starter tea. If there is no starter tea, purchase a bottle of unflavored kombucha from the store.
  2. 1/3 of a cup of green or black tea. If you are using tea bags just stick enough tea bags in a measuring cup to make the 1/3 mark and SKIP STEP 2.
  3. 1 Gallon of purified water
  4. 1 Gallon glass jar (I got mine HERE)
  5. Coffee filters
  6. A rubber band


Boil the gallon of water and then shut it off once it’s done.


Make a ginormous tea bag by putting your 1/3 cup of tea in a coffee filter and staple it shut, like this:


Steep your tea in the freshly boiled water, for five to ten minutes.


Pour your tea in the glass jar and allow it to cool to the same temperature as your SCOBY and starter liquid,usually 12-24 hours.




Once your brewed tea is room temperature, using clean hands put your SCOBY in the batch of tea.



Add ½ of a cup of starter tea.


Cover the top of the jar with a coffee filter and rubber band to allow the tea to breath and keep fruit flies out. Put the jar in a warm corner in your kitchen.


YOU’RE DONE SON! Now pat yourself on the back and wait 1-2 weeks. The longer you wait the more sour it will be. You’ll be able to smell it becoming more similar to vinegar after a few days. After a week try a bit by using a straw to see if you like it or if you’d like to ferment it more. If you’d like to kick your “booch” up a notch try to carbonate and flavor it!