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Vibrant and Veganfull (V&V) provides vegan recipes to support health and contributions to sustainability.  V&V also explores ideas and concepts to provide you informed choices for living more sustainably.

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

Fresh Vegetables in Basket
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G-Rated Strawberry, Beet & Spinach Smoothie

This one's for the kids or anyone with child-like sensibilities for flavor! Everyone knows someone who doesn't like beets, spinach, or anything really "healthy" for them; maybe it's even you! Whip this up and smile a dastardly grin while this smoothie is chugged with joy. Feel like a recipe wizard (or witch; whatever you like) and chant in your head: Secrets, secrets, I can keep; drink this smoothie to take a healthy leap!

I made this smoothie for my littlest (almost 6 yr old) who generally only wants "simple" flavors. My other smoothies he will try and then say "no thanks" shortly after the first few sips (I mean, at least he's polite, right?). This one, he chugged and asked for me to make it again (and again)! He tried something new and liked it.

Sustainability Spotlight: What is it about us as humans that makes it so hard to try for new things; especially as adults? We get comfortable in our habits (some good, some...well terrible, let's be honest). We give in to vices, and we shower our lives with excuses on why, how, when, who, and what we have become. Even when we are unhappy or need something "else" in our lives, we just.won't.change.

I don't know the answer on the questions above; truly. I do know a thing or two about pushing myself to be uncomfortable. See, that's where the change happens; the change that is needed to evolve, move forward and take risks.

I have several tattoos that mean something to me and one in particular that is about this topic - making change / a dream happen. The tattoo is a leopard shark and is symbolic in nature. The symbolism is about holding out my dreams and making them happen. I moved to Chicago for several reasons, but one was that I fell in love with the Shedd Aquarium. The nature based conservancy mission, the quality and variety of species, and all against the backdrop of Lake Michigan stretching vast (like an ocean) behind the buildings. I wanted to work there; one day (I was 12). Fast forward to college and I was struggling. I wasn't living in the city; I was barely leaving campus. I was restless, listless, bored and in need of "something" different. Why did I want to come here for school? To live! To do something different! Ohhh, what about the Shedd!

So, I researched, applied, interviewed, and got the job! I was a volunteer, but I was working at the Shedd and educating visitors about the animals; giving them wonder and tidbits that made them smile at the amazing creatures living within the historic walls (I could go on and on about the Shedd - still my favorite place). On one of my training sessions in particular, I saw a leopard shark swimming in the pools "behind the scenes" as they say. It hit me. In that singular moment, I was struck by where I was, what I was seeing and I realized what I accomplished. I pushed through being uncomfortable and all the excuses to make my long dormant dream happen - all the "can't" and "won't" and "couldn't" that I moved through with purpose got me there!

Now, the shark is with me always and when the feelings of listlessness hit me, seeing it reminds me that I'm in a "comfort zone" and I have to leave it to go for my dreams. Looking at it, I always remember how amazing the feeling is when I move forward, and dreams are accomplished. The wonder of that day (and all the days I had at the Shedd) floods my vision, and the thrill comes back. It's glorious.

I hope you are inspired by this blog, these words, my recipes to move past your comfort zone. The folks that don't like the flavors or ingredients in this recipe, try it anyways! What's the worst that can happen? You realize you like it or you confirm you don't. 50:50 either way as are so many decisions we make, daily. It boils down to this: It could work out, or it could not. But you never know until you try (love you Mom & Dad!)

Never stop trying for yourself, for your kids, for your friends, for your family. Always look to move outside of what's "normal" and that's where you can and will change. And that's where, we will all change the world; together - one smoothie (dream) at a time!


  • 2 cups frozen strawberries

  • 1/2 cup peeled and chunked beets

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Garden of Life Plant-Based Sport)

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 2 cups coconut water

  • 1 large heaping handful of baby spinach

  • Optional Garnishes: mint


  1. Place all ingredients (strawberries through spinach) in the order shown above in a high-powered blender.

  2. If you have a Vitamix with smoothie button, turn on and wait for the blender to automatically stop. Proceed to Step #4.

  3. If you do not have a Vitamix with a smoothie button, turn on blender on low and gradually increase in increments of 20 seconds each all the way up to the highest setting. Use a tamper or scrape down sides as needed and blend until smooth (~4 minutes).

  4. Pour into glasses and top with the optional garnish(es) noted above. Serve & enjoy!

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie


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