To some people eating a salad is just this boring way of trying to be healthy.  For others, it could be the thought of eating rabbit food with no flavor.  For people like me who love the power of greens, there's nothing you can't do without a little imagination, curiosity, and creativity.

I like to enjoy a delicious salad bowl quite often and this is no exception - and it includes some of my favorite ingredients.  Pea shoots, garbanzo beans, red cabbage, sprouts, and delicious avocado, of course.


DOPE BENEFITS: 

Pea shoots are these edible leaves of the traditional Garden pea plant. They're super versatile and bring a lot to the table when raw or cooked. The tender leaves can be used as a substitute for traditional salad greens or as a compliment to other recipes or side dishes.
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Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are legumes known for having great protein, iron, and fiber content. They can be eating raw, roasted, or cooked. If you're trying out plant-based alternatives, they're great for making vegan "tuna" and used in a meatless Burger recipe.

To prep, I soak them in water overnight to allow them to expand. If I'm not near a farmers market, I purchase mines raw from here.
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Sprouts are germinated seeds of legumes or grains. Lots of people love them because of their high nutritional value. They ensure blood purification and strengthen the immune system to protect against several diseases. They're also great for helping you to digest food detox, increase nutrient absorption, and if you love wheat gluten, it helps to break down gluten for easier digestion because we all know that human body can't properly digest gluten on its own.
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Red cabbage, also known as purple cabbage, is a veggie that contains 10 times more vitamin than green cabbage. It's beautiful hue makes it great for eye, bone, and immune health. It also strengthens your gut and supports fighting off cancer.
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Avocado one of my all-time favorite superfoods. Is best known for its benefits of heart health. Plus, my toddler and I totally LOVE eating it alone with a bit of pepper and himalayan salt. SO GOOD!


TRY THIS DELISH SALAD AT HOME


  • Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) - use canned if you prefer
  • 2 Handfuls of Pea Shoots
  • 1 Handful of Sprouts
  • 1 half of Red Cabbage 
  • 1 Avocado
Optional Toppings:
  • Diced Jalepeno (for a little spice)
  • Hemp Seeds 
Season with pepper and a bit of Himalayan salt to taste and enjoy!
go to makeup for flawless face

"Be a classy woman with a little bit of hood and a lot of universe in you.
- Unknown

It's been a long time but I've been slowly making my way back to loving makeup. I use to own TONS of makeup just because... then I became a mom and my new look became au naturale over everything, no matter what. I would only wear makeup on occasions where I'd be at an event or wanting to dress up just to doll up - so "getting glam" wasn't a consistent thing for me.

BUT... BUT... when Rihanna announced a line of makeup with over 40 shades for all women, I figured I'd re-evaluate my beauty life. I hadn't been so excited to dive back into playing in new looks since my mom gave me my first dark lip color yearrrrsss ago. (It was a deep burgundy lipstick by Fashion Fair Cosmetics). 

I've dabbled in a few moments of sharing a light slay in the past few months - all thanks to the makeup products that I run to whenever I want to dress my face up just a little bit. I like to keep it simple, usually always neutral, and slightly bold. 

MY WEAPONS OF BEAUTIFICATION

I don't have to add to all the rave reviews about these two products do I? I will anyway. I LOVE them both! Before, I was using a BB Cream by Black Radiance as my foundation. It did the job but the Fenty foundation is doing the job and then some. The Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Primer has a lovely smooth/silky texture to it and is super light. 

The Fenty Pro Filt'r Foundation is literally a second skin for me. I use shade 400, but I could getaway with wearing 410 as well. Light, covers just enough to keep it naturally flawless, and stays put on me all day. I have "normal" skin.

I use this mostly under my eyes and as a primer for my eyeshadow. Never had any issue with creasing and it keeps my eyeshadow put - so I like it. I may give the Fenty concealer a try in the future though just to see if I like it better or not.
This has been my favorite palette for over 3 years now. I no longer hoard eyeshadow palettes filled with colorsI'd likely never use so when I narrowed down my makeup, I kept it simple. I love Egyptian colors so the mix of matte and metallic in this palette is just perfect. I can do a killer smokey eye with it too! 
This is my new favorite! I love a good deep lip color. It's perfect for Fall/Winter but I'll definitely be wearing this all year-round. It lasts all day and doesn't eave my lips feeling dry or cracked. I also wear a bold red lippie when I'm feeling fierce. I love and recommend Cherry Blossom by Coloured Raine Cosmetics. 
I don't always use a finishing powder but when I do, it's always this one. I've been enjoying it for a few years now and still going strong. It feels nice and gives a nice-looking "set" to my makeup. 


What are some of your favorite products to use and why? Make sure to take a random day and do nothing but look fabulous doing it - that's my little tidbit of advance to you for some added self-care, fyi. 
at home labor and natural birth story

"I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one  of the greatest spiritual teachers there is."
- Oprah Winfrey


It's been 3 months since I gave birth. As I'm nearing the end of the dreaded 4th trimester, I wanted to share this experience as one I will never forget. I gave birth to a lovely baby girl on September 6th at the Atlanta Birth Center - hello full moon baby! There are so many things I remember that it tops my first birthing experience in regards to it being a lot quicker and seamlessly easier to go through.

THE WEEK OF...

I had been experiencing a lot of lower right hip pain. When you have a toddler that wants to always play, pull you up and down the stairs, and be carried close in your arms, you definitely feel it. Getting a prenatal massage helped me a bit. I didn't complain much because I wanted to make sure he felt as loved as possible. It being our last few days together with just he and I was bittersweet.

During this pregnancy, there were symptoms I had that I didn't have with my first born. From nausea to constipation to the hip pain. I knew she was close to arriving as my belly continued to feel as though it wanted to live right between my legs. Not to mention the Braxton-Hicks contractions that began to come more throughout the day.

THE DAY I KNEW... 

It was a long morning. I kept waking up on and off, tossing and turning due to what I thought were just more random BH contractions. Finally, a little after 3AM, I woke up and rushed to the bathroom feeling as though I had to (explicit). lol - I was feeling constipated. Ugh! I attempted to go back to bed but those contractions kept coming and making it slightly uncomfortable to rest.

For the next few hours, I was up pacing back and forth, up and down the stairs trying to allow my body to do what it needed to. I still just thought "oh, it's just fake contractions, it'll pass." Around 5AM, I started timing them. Then comes 6AM and by then, they were beginning to come back to back. Since I wanted to birth naturally, I made use of breathing techniques, movement, and my beloved birthing ball to get me through the contractions. There was no pain, just what felt like intense period cramps that I knew wouldn't kill me.

Once they started to time 3-5 minutes apart, I gave bae a call and basically said, "sooo, I think today is the day." He went to rent a bigger car while I continued to breathe, bounce, and swirl through the feels. I also called my midwife to let her know what was going on and she recommended a hot shower and if possible, rest. I knew rest was not going to happen. My son woke up and while laboring, I went about making sure he was fed, started packing my bag, and prepped my shower. I ended up in my bedroom, on all fours breathing and vocalizing moans through several contractions coming 2-3 minutes apart.

Once daddy arrived, he went to help finish packing as I made my way to the shower. The shower was great. Things were definitely picking up because I was now moaning more than breathing through at this stage. He helped me out of the shower and we were getting ready to make a less than 2 hour drive to Atlanta. While he filled the car, I was trying to remember the important stuff. I had about 4-6 contractions I had to stop for as I made it from my bedroom to the staircase to the living room couch.

It was around 11ish when we left. I was on my knees, laboring in the back of the car while my toddler paid me no mind. The nerve. My midwife called maybe 3 times during the ride to make sure I was okay and getting close. I was a champ, knocking out those contractions like it was nothing. I was also pretty sure I had dilated to 8-9 centimeters. We arrived at the birth center close to 1PM. The midwives were outside waiting for me and were like, "you go girl! Laboring like this."

at home labor and natural birth story

HEY BABY!

After arriving, I was triaged. I was already at 9 centimeters. Contractions kept coming as one of the midwives tried checking me out and getting me squared away. I was suppose to be treated with antibiotics for BStrep but baby girl said hell to the no, she was coming and coming fast. I got on the bed, on all fours, of course and started to push. LET ME TELL YA... THE "RING OF FIRE" WAS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED. It didn't feel like agony or anything. Just a short period of time where I told my unborn kid hurry it up already.

After her head was freed, the rest was just smooth sailing then she slid right on out - lol. Thus my little one was finally here... 10 days early and all. According to Western Astrology, I have a Virgo baby. According to the more accurate 13 Astrology, she's a fierce Leo. She literally arrived 20 minutes after we made it to the birthing center. That was fast. I also kept my placenta.

We all were able to relax afterwards. Since I was positive for BStrep, I was given a shot in the thigh after delivery and for the next few hours, we were both checked on every few hours. Delivering in a birth center has its perks. I was able to leave that night/super early morning once some paperwork and what not was taken care of.

Overall, this experience was definitely not what I expected. When most people hear that you plan to birth unmedicated, they look at you crazy and give all kinds of scare tactics. The nurses I had during my first birthing experience definitely laughed at me for even thinking that. I was glad to have the support and awesome midwife staff that I did this go around. Everyone's pain threshold is different i guess. I'd definitely do it all over again, changing nothing.

at home labor and natural birth story
My toddler decided to fall asleep in my arms while I tried to nurse, He had a long morning. // Still taking it all in. 

at home labor and natural birth story
After baby decided to poop on me (hooray initiation, lol) - the midwife assistants gave her first clean-up.

at home labor and natural birth story
Daddy with his baby girl. First born so he was basking in this  new reality. 

I've experienced both sides of birthing - medicated and not and doing so naturally for me, was pretty empowering. If you want to learn of my experience with the Atlanta Birth Center, I'll be sure to share along with the process of becoming a patient there. I'll also share what I did with my placenta.

What was your birthing experience(s) like? How were they different and are you team epidural or nah?




Hey! Congrats mama on the pending arrival of your little bundle of joy. If you're reading this, it's likely that you're at the point where you may be considering if you plan to breastfeed your baby or not. I may be biased but I've always been a fan of liquid gold for fresh out the womb little ones for various reasons - one being that I'm a crunchy mommy + I enjoy the road less traveled. However, if you also feel you may not breastfeed, IT IS OKAY! There can be many reasons why a woman chooses to not breastfeed as well. One good reason...

THAT SH*T HURTS!! 
Well, for most of us it does in the first couple of weeks. Teehee. 


Other than that, with baby comes LOTS of changes within and outside of bodies. Thumbs up for bigger boobs though, right? If you're planning to breastfeed for the "recommended" 6 months to a year or if you plan to do so exclusively, here are 6 things you'll need to know - or better yet, expect.


AGAIN, IT JUST MAY HURT YA! 

... in the beginning. No one ever told me this when I had my first born. Then again, it may also not hurt you - it depends, I'm sure. But for most new moms, once our "real milk" begins to come in a few days after baby is born, you should prepare for some engorgement. No woman enjoys pain but the things we do for our babies... 

Yes, your boobs will feel full, swollen, and with a newborn sucking on your bosom, a terrible latch along with other things can create a disaster. From sore boobs to cracked and hurting nipples. Ouch! I'll be the first to say that I don't remember having this pain with my first kid but with my newborn daughter... O M G! I literally have to re-learn how to breastfeed because of the pain I've experienced. After week 2, for many of us - it'll get better. Like they say, "you gotta push through it - if you can."


MOISTURIZE! PRACTICE! MOISTURIZE AGAIN! 

With cracked and hurting nipples, comes the need to get them healing. You'll hear time and time again that you should continue to feed through the pain. After all baby still has to learn how to properly latch on without hurting you. Practice makes perfect. For some women, it's just not worth it and that's totally understandable. Some mamas try while using nipple shields. You could also pump instead of putting baby to breast for a short time to encourage healing. 

If you want, nipple creams such as what hospitals give can be used but there is nothing better than freebies - your own breastmilk. You can express some of your own milk to apply to your nipples to get them back to normal. Almond or olive oil are good too. 


BECOMING A NUDIST MAY BE AN OPTION

Don't worry - only do this in the comfort of your own home if you choose. When breastfeeding, you will be partially naked a lot of the time. In my opinion, it's better this way because you never know with your breastfed baby - they could eat around the clock! 

Invest in tank tops and comfy nursing bras too. Those will be your new best friends. Specifically because they will have detachable straps and such to make accessing the boob much easier without you having to destroy your good non-nursing bras. I'm loving these.


PUMP FOR CONVENIENCE, NOT FOR SHOW.

So, there seems to be some mommy who-can-pump-the-most-milk cult going on. I've seen quite a few women be obsessed with pumping huge supplies of milk to store and show-off. Don't be that mom. Then again, there are also women concerned with whether they have enough milk for their baby. To me, what you produce is more than enough (unless you're not caring for yourself properly and drying up). 

I think it's great to be able to breastfeed but to also be able to pump milk when needed for days where you want to get away for a few hours and interact with actual adults or allow daddy to do some extra bonding through bottle feeding. If your insurance won't cover a pump, this double, electric pump has been the bees knees for me and doesn't break the bank either! 


STAY HYDRATED MAMA!

It's quite obvious, okay. You want to make sure you're taking care of yourself too. Drink PLENTY of water and always be sure to eat. I drank a lot of water during my pregnancy but slowed down after baby arrived so I had to fix that feeling of dehydration quick. 

You can feel a bit woosy after giving away so much to feed baby so keep hydrated at all times and your belly satisfied, even if you choose to eat one big meal a day and snack in between. 


FREE THE NIPPLE! 

Don't be ashamed to breastfeed in public. You'll be surprised at how quick you end up not caring what others think when you find yourself in a situation where you either forgot a bottle or baby refuses to wait. Do what makes you comfortable though, so although your nipple may be free, it's okay to cover up if you wish. 

I would find it quite rejuvenating to breastfeed in public without a cover-up most times. No one would be foolish enough to say something out of line to your face, right? If they are, this just gives you a great opportunity to burn off some good old post baby stress with shutting them up.






If you're in the market for finding affordable eyewear, then Firmoo Online Optical Store is the place to be. Firmoo is an online optical retailer offering prescription and non-prescription eyewear for men, women, and children. They have super chic and classic styles starting as low as $19 and nothing over $39. Now compared to most optical stores, this is a steal for anyone not wanting to donate a kidney for a pair of good-looking frames!

I love Firmoo for many reasons. They have new styles everyday, 90 day warranties, and a 30 day refund/exchange policy in place. Any eyewear lover is sure to find a style they love on their website - whether you're rocking a look for fun or as a staple wardrobe + accessories piece. 



I reached out to Firmoo recently regarding a quick collaboration recently. Not only did I want to reconnect with them as a brand but I also wanted to share some insight into what they offer by aiming for trends I've noticed. As of late, clear frames seem to be the GOAT. 

I actually find clear frames quite attractive. Due to my love for minimal and easy breezy aesthetic, my choice of eyewear just fits what I'm all about. Out of all available options, this style stole my attention. I'm rocking style #S1416 Medium in C6 - clear. Last I checked, it's also available in black and tortoise. 


Now, the great thing about Firmoo is that you can easily customize your style of frames. Mines are straight-forward with no prescription but if desired, you can opt for prescription lens, bifocals, etc. You can even choose the thickness of your frames or lens color. I will likely need a prescription lens so once I see an optometrist, I'll take these babies to get the lens replaced.

If you're really fancy, you can also choose to upgrade your packaging and eyewear accessories if you don't want the standard packaging shown above. Only if you're really fancy...


If you're like me and love a good promotion, they currently have a BOGO going on so hop on it if you're in the market for something new to dress your face. They also have several promo codes available on their site so you can actually choose what you'd like to take advantage of. I surely plan to. 


minimal makeup collection for natural beauty neoshaloves

This post has been a long time coming. Outside of holistic beauty tricks, I try to make sure my makeup purchases are always cruelty-free and vegan if I'm lucky. For starters, my makeup collection NEVER use to be this small. I was someone who once loved spending money on clothes, shoes, accessories, and makeup.

Like seriously, I hoarded some of everything!

A few years ago when I was heavy into purchasing various makeup and beauty products, I literally had a collection that could have me looking like a legit MUA. This was before I had kids, of course.

After becoming a mom, I really just wanted to purge and get rid of the overwhelm I felt when going through piles of my things. So, I got rid of a lot, including makeup over the years - hence, my love for the more minimal and simple things in life now. I love having the more natural look and glow. Keep it simple.

Not only does my keep it simple mantra really reflect how I purchase and collect things, everything I have now all merge with each other. From a specific set of colors in my wardrobe to my jewelry to my makeup. I stick to the basics, which allows me to not have to worry about whether I have clothes to wear that I won't have to take hours piecing together alongside going through an entire forever makeup application, and so forth.

Looking back now on the amount of money I spent and wasted - I'm glad I grew out of that phase entirely because.... ridiculous. Let's get into what I use now.

minimal makeup collection for natural beauty neoshaloves

I don't wear makeup often at all but when I do it's for things such as events, photos, my birthday, or date nights. Any other day, it's au natural baby! I always say there's no point in wearing makeup if your skincare routine doesn't exist - I definitely like to make sure my skin is cared for properly before, during, and after. 

Moisture is my personal friend so I make sure to moisturize and prep my face before using makeup. I'm a fan of the Black Radiance BB creams so that is all I use to lightly apply to my face along with a concealer that I mostly use for my under-eyes and eyelids.  

Pictured:
• Black Radiance BB Cream - 8917 Cafe (or 8921 Coffee Glaze), whichever is available.
• L.A Colors Pro Conceal HD Concealer - GC984 Toffee



minimal makeup collection for natural beauty neoshaloves

I own three small and compact makeup palettes these days but this one is my go-to every single time. All the colors reflect the taste of my wardrobe and love for neutrals. I usually rock browns and golds on my eyes. I don't use a primer on my eyes - only the LA Colors concealer. My liner of choice has been a liquid liner as of late. When I have more time, I may use my cream liner and angled brush to get my wing on - both in the color black.

My other two palettes feature one with 5 colors on the smoky + shimmery side (blacks, silvers, coppers, etc) and the other features 4 more "colorful" shades (Indigo, Red, Deep Purple, and Magenta Pink)...just for when I'm feeling fun and wanting to play with my look.

Pictured:
• Coastal Scents Go Palette - Cairo
• Coastal Scents Liquid Eyeliner - Jet


minimal makeup collection for natural beauty neoshaloves

My favorite part of wearing makeup when I do - lip color. I am head over heels with matte lips. I own three matte liquid lip colors that I love - the red being my ultimate go-to usually for just a pop of color. I have a color for a different type of look I go for - sultry, vamped, and laid back. Make sure you prep those lips and make sure they're nice and smooth before rocking a matte lip - or any lip color for that matter. 

Pictured:
Coloured Raine Cosmetics - Cherry Blossom
Coloured Raine Cosmetics - Roulette
Coloured Raine Cosmetics - Mars


Of course I have tools - one set of makeup brushes, my favorite mascara, and even a finishing spray. That's the bulk of it, literally. 

riwbox foldable headphones neoshaloves


My everyday life often consists of a daily routine that either stays the same most of the week or takes a few shortcuts throughout the day - lets say both on a regular basis. I get up every morning and usually have a nice cup of tea, then read chapter or so of any book I'm enjoying. My biggest task to meet on a regular however is being a mom. The greatest and sometimes hardest position ever! Especially doing it alone. I've been handling single parenting quite fine this year also - so I'm quite proud of myself. 

Single mom? Not quite. I have a pretty great partner in my life now that does A LOT for me that's made things just a bit easier. From taking initiative to clean my entire kitchen effortlessly when I'm too tired to or giving my pregnant behind much-needed breaks and enjoying quality time with my super active (sun)shine Channing. It's the little things. 

So in between running behind a carefree two year old to running multiple online businesses, work/life balance is something I don't even think exists because so much requires attention from me. The balance for me comes in the form of a "gut feeling". In my world, it's just much easier to go with the flow of things and not get so hung up on having such a strict "schedule". This is what works best for me.... just saying. 

stay at home mom neoshaloves

Two things that allow me to get work done and still juggle playtime with my firstborn - creative thinking and LOTS of music. Gotta keep the vibrations high. 

I do all of my work from the comforts of my laptop and as of late, on the floor. What's the point of owning a office desk right? - to easily say yes to the seat at the carpet level, duh? With my beverage of choice, playlists, and tasks awaiting my attention - I get to work. 

I bought my son this super affordable art easel from Ikea last month along with a couple of other things meant for his upcoming birthday to enjoy. So while he's being an artist or mechanic, I can actually accomplish some things. Lately, I've been vibing to my playlists on SoundCloud and Spotify using my new RiwBox Foldable Headphones. I LOVE THEM! 

riwbox foldable headphones neoshaloves

The brand sent me a discount code to give them a try. They're foldable, comfortable, noise cancelling, and definitely nice to look at. Plus the packaging wasn't bad either - the leather pouch that protects the headphones are a nice touch. My music sounds pretty good through them and I can work without getting annoyed by them. My last pair of headphones were too "itchy" and left me with questions. So if you're in the market for a new pair of headphones, you have my blessing on checking these out for sure. 

riwbox foldable headphones neoshaloves

riwbox foldable headphones neoshaloves

If you're curious, yes they work with all devices (with 3.5mm jack) - Apple, Android, Tablets, etc. The audio cord that's attached can control both your microphone and volumes. The cushy earpads are a lovely comfort too. You can see how I rock these and juggle mom-life in my latest YouTube video. I'M BACK... so subscribe if you enjoy!!!  


FTC Disclaimer: I was not compensated with monetary offerings to share this product, but given a discount to purchase and review. All imagery and opinions are 100% mine. 







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vegan red lentil tacos with dill sauce

Another delicious recipe from my go-to arsenal of good eats and yes, it's completely vegan. My journey with eating a plant-based diet has definitely not been easy as slicing pie. I took a few corners in my time - craving things I wanted to avoid and such- then ultimately giving into temptation. If you're looking to improve your eating habits, definitely start off slow and replace your faves with healthier alternatives as you go along. The more you read up on and learn about, the better chance you have to find your happy place again with food that won't kill ya. 

I am a HUGE lover of tacos. Any Mexican-inspired dish really so naturally, instead of wasting your money on crappy Taco Bell, give these red lentil tacos a try. What the hell are lentils you ask?  They're a type of bean or what I know as a legume. They also come in various colors - like green, brown, and yellow. Super easy to cook and has a delicious nutty/earthy flavor. There are some pretty cool benefits to them too.  They also contain more protein than most other beans and legumes. 

I love using lentils in recipes like tacos, vegan sloppy joes, soups, burgers, and more. Follow my food diary on UhOhVegan for more food ideas to get your body a little lighter on the deathbed spectrum (lol) - too dramatic? Eh, sorry. Moving on.


RED LENTIL TACOS + HOMEMADE DILL SAUCE


vegan red lentil tacos with dill sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


Ingredients

  • Red Lentils - (recently tried these )
  • White Onion
  • Chopped Mushrooms
  • Taco Salsa 
  • Hemp Seeds - ( I Use These )
  • Avocado Oil


Spices:
Chilli Powder | Garlic Powder | Red Pepper Flakes (optional if you want some extra spiciness)

How To Make Homemade Vegan Dill Sauce: (dill is great for digestion)

You will need mayonnaise (vegan, of course), a lemon, ground black pepper, and fresh dill. I'm not the measure your stuff out type of girl, I simply use enough for what I'm making (for seconds, thirds,and fourths). Take a small bowl and add the mayo (I used 1 cup), the juice of half a lemon, some black pepper, and finely chopped dill, then mix altogether. Add a bit of water if you desire a more fluid consistency.

NOTE: There are several ways to make a vegan dill sauce - you can add avocado, ground cashews, etc. It's all preference. 


Instructions:

Begin by prepping your ingredients for the dressing of your tacos by taking your chopping up your onions and mushrooms. Give your lentils a nice soak in water while you prep. Grab a saucepan and add your lentils along with 2-3 cups of water. This depends on amount of lentils being cooked. Bring to a boil then turn heat down and allow it to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain any excess water when done. While lentils cook, lightly sauté your onions and mushrooms in avocado oil  - add 1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tbsp garlic powder for some extra flavor if  you like. 

Grab your taco wraps (here's a vegan option or simply use lettuce), add choice of lettuce (I used romaine) and some cooked lentils. Top off with your veggies, some delicious salsa, and sprinkle with hemp seeds. Enjoy! 


What's a dope recipe you've tried lately?


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