Blood Test Results + Vegan Food Swap

Just over a week from now, Hubs and I (along with a group from our church) will be leaving for a mission trip to Dominican Republic. We are very excited about this trip and I can’t wait to share photos and details with you when we return. I am going to try my best to write a few pre-scheduled posts before we leave so this blog won’t be entirely lifeless while we’re gone for a week.

We’ve been to DR before. On vacation. At a beautiful resort. So this will be an entirely different experience. In fact, I just saw the doctor this week so I could get a prescription for Chloroquine (malaria pills) and Cipro (an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections – in case we eat/drink something bad). I’ve never taken either of these two meds, and we’ve traveled to quite a few places. But I guess the mosquitos can be quite bad in this area, so malaria pills are recommended. Our trip leaders who go to DR often don’t take them, so I didn’t think I needed to either. But then my doctor told me how bad malaria is and how you absolutely do NOT want to get it. So I’m going to take them. But I’m nervous about it. I’ve heard it can make you sick. I have a pretty weak stomach, so I’m not looking forward to it. The good news is it’s only three pills – one a week before I go, one while I’m there, one when I get back. So, when I take the first pill on Saturday, I guess I’ll find out if I can stomach the next two.

During my appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I had gone vegan about a year ago. He wanted to do a blood test to make sure I was getting enough iron, protein, calcium, B12 – all that good stuff. I got my results yesterday and this is what my doctor wrote, “Olivia, your labs are excellent. They have been released for your review. Thanks, Dr J.” I reviewed all of my numbers, which are all in standard range, and compared them to my last blood test (2010). Get this – my protein and calcium levels are now HIGHER than before!!! I just had to share this because of the huge misconception that meat and dairy are our only sources of these two essential nutrients. Not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with myself ;)


It’s been a while since my last Vegan Food Swap post. The organizer, Cat, decided to take a swap break for November and December. Can’t blame her. This month, there are over 60 swappers! That’s gotta be a challenge to coordinate. Cat assigns each person two names – one to send a package to and one to receive a package from. Spending limit is $20 and the swapped items (generally food, but I’ve also sent/received cookbooks) have to be VEGAN. It’s a great way to get introduced to new products and new friends. On the last day of the month, all of the swappers who have blogs then post about their packages. Anyone 18 or older can participate, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. There are even Canadian and UK swaps! Click here to sign up.

I had the privilege of sending a package to Melissa at Vegan Fling (I was also her sender back in September). And my package came from none other than the fabulous swap coordinator herself, Cat at The Verdant Life! I LOVED opening my box of goodies from Cat. Check out the loot…

Vegan Food Swap Package

Six of the seven items were new to me, which is always fun! We’ve actually got a container of that very same Hazelnut-flavored Almond & Cashew Cream in our refrigerator right now! It’s so good in coffee. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also gluten-free and non-GMO.

My favorite out of the bunch (so far) is the Hazelnut Praline Dark Chocolate Bar by Lake Champlain Chocolates. OMG. Soooo good – as well it should be with the hefty calorie and fat load. But it’s totally worth it. The ingredients are all vegan, but the package does say it may contain traces of milk, fyi.

I really love the Organic Dark Chocolate Covered Goji Berries from Kopali, too. Check out the stats:
• 100% organic, pure and natural
• Single-origin dark chocolate from Peru
• No refined sugars, no cholesterol, no trans fats
• No dairy, no animal products, vegan, gluten-free
• Fair trade, directly supporting small farmers
They taste similar to Raisinets – only they are MUCH, MUCH better for you. I’ll definitely be ordering more of these.

Vegan Food Swap Package

I was excited to try the Organic Carrot Cake Super Cookies by Go Raw. I love anything that tastes like carrot cake. And I love the benefits of eating raw foods. So this is a win-win. A healthy, not too sweet snack for on-the-go. These are going in my suitcase for our trip next week! They are also gluten-free, nut-free, non-GMO, and they are hand made! Impressive. Fyi, if you’re not used to or don’t like the flavor of dehydrated raw foods, these may not be for you.

Last week I learned about Himalayan Pink Salt, now this week Black Lava Salt! Who knew there were so many different kinds of salt!? Apparently black lava salt is infused with activated charcoal, which aids in digestion and has several other benefits. Looking forward to trying this!

Vegan Food Swap Package

I am saving the Fig Ginger Energy Bar by Love Force for our trip. That’s going in my suitcase, too. I figure I won’t have many vegan options, so I’m taking a few things along. Looking forward to trying this, too! It’s made with all organic raw ingredients and is gluten-free.

Last, but not least, is the Scotch Bonnet Blueberry Jam by Sweet Thing Gourmet. It is both sweet and very spicy. The combination of jalapeños, serranos and habaneros really give it a KICK that I wasn’t expecting. I wouldn’t eat this on toast, but I think it would be good with vegan cream cheese on crackers or in vegan phyllo dough cups.

Thanks so much to Cat for this sweet package full of awesome goodies, and for coordinating the monthly Vegan Food Swap!

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11 thoughts on “Blood Test Results + Vegan Food Swap”

  1. Wow, those look like some fabulous goodies! I think my favorite would be the chocolate too, it looks awesome! I love goji berries and have been wanting to try the chocolate covered ones.

    Have fun on your trip and stay safe!

  2. i had a similar blood test about a year ago for my husband’s health insurance. all of my blood levels were perfect and i was given a health score of 99%. i loved looking at my protein, calcium, and iron levels and seeing how perfect they were. it made me so happy. congratulations on your vegan health success!

  3. I’m new to your site (and love it!), and I just saw this post about going to the DR and malaria pills. My family and I lived in the bush of Uganda for 6 years, and we never took malaria pills (even during my two pregnancies). However, I would agree that for a short term trip, pills are advisable because it would be miserable to ruin a chunk of the trip with malaria. I’ve had it, and my husband has had it twice. It’s not fun, but my guess is that your doctor exaggerated it a bit. I haven’t met an American doc who doesn’t. If you’re a relatively healthy person, it condemns you to bed for a couple days, but you rise again! It’s the number one killer in Africa, but it kills infants, the elderly, and immune compromised people–just like a bad case of the flu does here.

    Anyway, I hope you had a marvelous and life-changing time!


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