Category Archives: healthy living

Eating (vegan and gluten free) in Austin, Texas

I recently took a trip to Austin, and I had to share all the wonderful food I found. I’m gluten-free (non-celiac), dairy free, and mostly vegan (I do eat eggs occasionally), so you know I’m always worried about how I’m going to eat while I’m traveling. Well, I’m happy to report that eating in Austin was not only easy, but super enjoyable. Below are some of my favorites. Let me know if I missed any and I’ll be sure to check them out next time!

Case De Luz


This place is special. You walk in through a magical garden of lights to a room filled with smiles. If you’ve lived on a kibbutz or in an ashram, it has that kind of feel. The menu is set and consists of a soup, salad, steamed veggies, greens, a grain and bean. There’s usually some type of pesto, tahini or nut-based sauce that comes with the veggies. Your meal comes with cold drinks (I had hibiscus) and hot tea (kukicha). They also have a-la-carte desserts. I only had the pecan pie (twice), but once I find something good I tend to stick with it! The whole place is vegan and gluten-free, so no need to worry about cross contamination. And, the price tag is quite impressive – just $12. The staff is kind and if you go alone, you’re more than likely to make some friends.


Counter Culture


I have a special place in my heart for Counter Culture because they were my refuge when my Airbnb turned out to be a disaster and I needed a place to chill, eat and charge my phone while I figured sh*t out. Their walnut and beet burger is fantastic. I had it with a collard wrap, but they also have a gluten free bun. Their chickpea “tuna” is also fantastic. They have tons of raw (vegan/gf) desserts to choose from as well.


The best Aryuvedic food truck you could ask for. Right in the center of East Austin, the ladies at Curcuma are so warm and welcoming. The sweet potatoes toasts are delicious, my favorite was the “ricotta”.


Bouldin Creek

OMG, the sweet potato pecan tamales… I only ate here once, but those tamales will be on my mind for a while! Definitely go for 3 instead of 2.  The staff encouraged me to order the pecan pesto (top right), which was good, but the tamales definitely didn’t need it. My server also allowed me to try the regular and refried beans 🙂 I liked the refried best. There’s a huge selection of vegan food, less selection for vegan and gluten free, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything eating these tamales, that’s for sure.  There’s also plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.


True Food Kitchen

Wow. We had the vegan butternut squash, smoked onion and almond ricotta pizza on the gluten free crust. One of my favorite meals, for sure. The crust was out of this world, not like some of the gf crusts that are super thick or dense. Apparently its made with tapioca and rice flour. All I know is that I would go back for this pizza any day. We also had the mezze salad bowl (warm) and the flourless chocolate cake (gluten free and vegan if you leave off the caramel sauce). The staff was sooo informative and friendly.


Snap Kitchen

There are at least 3 Snap Kitchen locations in Austin. They are 100% gluten free and have many paleo and vegan options (that are clearly labeled). Lots of selection, lots of great dishes like this kale, hummus, brown rice and sweet potato bowl. I also really liked their black bean sliders. Only downside is everything comes in plastic (BPA free) and the only way to heat the food is in the microwaves they provide. I just ate my food cold or took it with me to go and ate it room temperature. Not the end of the world, but a bit of a downside. Definitely great options for bringing to the airport!


Thai Fresh

I went for the ice cream. You got me. Cashew and coconut milk based ice cream in 10+ flavors. I tried the horchata, gluten free cookie dough, mint chocolate chip and a few others. They had a cookie batter flavor, turmeric, and a handful of other super unique and delicious ice creams. They also have a ton of gluten free and vegan baked goods. I was eyeing the lemon bar, but it just couldn’t happen that day. Next time, I’m definitely getting it.


Blenders and Bowls

I saw at least 2 of these during my stay. I’m not really into smoothies or smoothie bowls, but sometimes it was just super hot, and I was craving something cold. I got the green smoothie bowls both times I was there, it has the least fruit and sweetener of any of their stuff, but it’s still pretty sweet. I also got one of their pre-made veggie wraps which was really good and perfect to take with me on a hike.


There were also a number of places that had gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options that just required some modification. I had delicious Tacos at Torchy’s (an Austin staple), Veracruz (check them out on Food Network) and Whole Foods (their taco bar piles free steamed kale on any taco!)


Veracruz chips, guac, amazing salsa and migas.


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Natural Beauty Products

How to Make Beauty Products with Kitchen Ingredients

Some people may call me crunchy, and I have to say, I truly wear that label as a badge of honor! Over the past few years I have been experimenting with natural beauty products. It started as I really began to focus on my health. I would get allergic reactions to most things with fragrances and I started to learn that external skin reactions were really a result of something much bigger happening internally. I was also diagnosed with endometriosis, and a lot of chemicals used in traditional beauty products are known to be endocrine distruptors (you can read about that stuff here or here). I started to see that I could take my personal care routine into my own hands. And all health stuff aside, it’s just pretty amazing to be able to make beauty products out of stuff I have in the kitchen! Talk about being self reliant! No more expensive drug store trips for me 🙂 Plus the natural products actually tend to work better than the traditional products! So, let’s explore!


There is actually a huge movement for natural shampoo – it’s actually called “no-poo”! You can’t make something like that up! Chemical and fragrance laden shampoo can actually damage your hair, and make you dependent on it (it’s kinda like the chap stick stories – after a while you start to need the chap stick to keep your lips moisturized). Anyway, I won’t get into the pros or cons of traditional shampoo, I just know that I like to know what I’m putting in my body and on my skin and I’m particularly sensitive to fragrances and dyes.

Ok, so, natural alternatives? The most popular one is a baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse. I personally still use a traditional shampoo some days (without dye, fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, paraben and other potential endocrine distruptors), and use an apple cider vinegar or aloe rinse on other days. I used to use traditional shampoo everyday. Now I’m down to 2 to 3 times per week. Hooray! If you have dry hair, coconut oil works great! You can leave it in for an hour and then wash it out or if you have dry ends, you can just rub some on.

Dry Shampoo

Don’t want to get your hair wet? Try a dry shampoo! Arrowroot works great on its own (or cornstarch). If you have darker hair mix in some cocoa powder (not hot chocolate mix! plain unsweetened cocoa powder please).


I’ve been making my own deodorant for years, and selling it, too! It’s actually quite popular 🙂 And, you could eat all the ingredients! It’s just arrowroot, baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils. I also know other people who rub lemon juice under their arms instead of using deodorant. Just be careful not to use either of these options right after shaving. Ouch!


Apple cider vinegar diluted in water is a great toner. Smells a little funky, but otherwise it’s great!

Face Wash

I personally like to use the oil cleansing method. If you haven’t heard of it before, you basically use a specific blend of oils, massage your face with them, then apply a hot towel to give yourself a little steam bath and take off the oils. It’s such a great way to treat your face at the end of the day and it really works! I use a blend of either grapeseed or almond oil, castor oil and tea tree oil.


I love to exfoliate with a combo of vitamin C powder and almond oil. Just mix them together, rub in gentle circles on your face and remove with a damp cloth.


Coconut oil is my go to moisturizer for everything! I LOVE coconut oil. If it makes you break out, try almond oil or jojoba.


I have yet to make a toothpaste that I like, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there! The very basic combo is coconut oil and baking soda. I’ve also heard great things about activated charcoal. But do some research and play with some recipes! It’s very powerful to be able to make your own beauty and hygiene products.


A friend of mine was looking for a gel alternative and we came across a chia and flax seed gel! How cool is that!? We just soaked the seeds in hot water so they got all sticky and gel-like. From there you can use pantyhose or a cheesecloth to strain out the seeds and you’re set to go! I found the recipe online and it called for aloe and vitamin e as well. I didn’t have that stuff so I went with the bare minimum, but it worked great!

Make up

Again, I’m not big on makeup so I’m not speaking from personal experience here. That said, I’ve heard from tons of women about making their own make up with cocoa powder, coconut oil, arrowroot and mica powder (ok, mica powder probably isn’t in your kitchen). Wellness Mama is one of my favorite resources for DIY and natural products. Here’s her post all about natural DIY makeup.

Makeup Remover

I personally like coconut oil, but here are a bunch of other recipes!

I hope this post was helpful in getting you started on a new DIY journey! Let me know if you were inspired to try any of these ideas!

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