Celebrating my 8-YEAR Veganniversary

August 8th, 2016 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

This past August 1st, I celebrated my 8-year Veganniversary. And as it so happened, this year August 1st fell on a Monday, which was wonderful because that’s Jeremy’s day off and during summer, it can be my day off too. And it was a lovely, lazy, reflective, celebratory day.

8 years.


Early morning snuggle-fest.

8 Years is a long time, and these past 8 of mine have been some of the most magnificent, and most harrowing, years of my life. In these 8 years I have loved, and lost, and loved again, I have made a child and built him inside my body, out of my body, out of plants (mostly burritos), and I have been sick and I have been better, I have moved from a home I loved in Portland to a broken home in Santa Barbara, built a new foundation and formed incredible friendships family, watched my little baby boy grow into a bright beautiful firecracker of a creature, his body still built completely of plants (mostly Magic Beans), and I have loved fiercely and I have fought demons, I have hit rock bottom and also, miraculously, I have recovered. And fought onward.

8 years is a really, really long time.


Summer breakfasts every. single. day. Watermelon is LIFE.

During summer I eat watermelon for breakfast pretty much every day. Big bowls, I mean BIG serving-bowl sized bowls, overflowing with crisp cold perfectly juicy red flesh. It’s one of my greatest pleasures.


I like to sprinkle chia seeds on top. ♥

On this particular day I had a late-morning appointment, so I set out on foot for a slow stroll to my destination. It was such a lovely August day, all warm and ocean-breezy, everything blooming and vibrant and alive. Quintessential summer.

My walking sunbath nourished me as much as the watermelon did. 8 years in, and I’ve learned that health and wellness go so far beyondsomething as simple as the food we put into our bodies. We need sun and serenity, nature and quiet and connection. Good, plant-based food goes a long way, but optimal health is ultimately a product of the mind.

That’s the greatest thing I’ve learned, 8 years in.


Tofu marinating in almond milk, lemon, thyme, and sea salt.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch!

Jeremy was bustling about in the kitchen, getting his food geek on and flexing his creativity which he so rarely gets to do. Preparing for me a feast of a lunch, featuring produce from our garden and flavor pairings unlike any I’ve had before (I love his culinary mind, so different from mine, and so untethered by convention).

When I arrived home, hungry after my meetings and my miles of walking, I was greeted with this:


Mostly raw, but with a protein punch — just the way I like it! This was so amazing and I can’t even begin to describe it. And a beet rosette! A homegrown beet rosette!

Speaking of homegrown beets . . .


Beautiful harvest.

After lunch I was able to spend some serious time down in the dirt in my garden, which is my absolute favorite place to be. There was so much to harvest — so much abundance! — and I’ll do a garden update sometime soon. Sunflowers and strawberries and herbs and greens and of course, the beets. My garden is overflowing!

In the evening we both showered and got a bit gussied up, just a bit, and made our way out for a dinner date. We intended to hit our favorite noodle bar but alas, they close early on Mondays! Oh well, we wandered on through downtown Santa Barbara, not really knowing where we were going, but trusting that we would find something good. And with a little of that Veganniversary luck, we struck gold!


Courtyard dining under the stars, fountain-side.

We found a recently re-opened Mexican restaurant, with a gorgeous patio and an enticing ambiance. Their new ownership is super open-minded, and their new menu boasts nearly 20 vegetarian entrees! All of which can be made vegan by simple omitting the dairy.

Mmmmm yes.


My handsome companion! Plus salad in the foreground and nachos in the background.

Our appetizer was house-made chips with guacamole and pico. Also margaritas! And our first course was a roasted beet salad with arugula, apples, and balsamic, and a plate of nachos where each chip had been dipped in house-made adobo.



Cauliflower steaks over sunflower seed risotto.

We split this final entree and were so stuffed we couldn’t even finish it. Such a unique and satisfying meal! Gotta love that good Veganniversary juju.

After dinner we made our way back home, a nice long walk on a warm summer night. We talked about our future — about our plans and our dreams. We’re so good at that, Jeremy and I. Always plotting to take over the world!

And we will, I think, in our own little way.


Late night snuggles.

8 years I’ve lived in alignment with my heart, uncompromised in my moral core. It is an incredible gift, and one that I am grateful for every day. Because every day I live my values of empathy and integrity.

8 years down, and the rest of my years to go!

♥ ♥ ♥

  • http://www.honestbeans.com Melanie

    Congratulations! I also celebrated my 8-year Veganniversary earlier in July. It feels big, and awesome – sometimes I even forget that not everyone knows just how awesome it is and need to restrain myself from shouting it at everyone (much like Buddy in Elf…”I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”).

  • amber

    Happy veganniversary! Looks like you two celebrated quite properly. Also, that beet rosette!! Wow.

  • B M

    Wow! Congratulations lovely! 8 years is a long time, but look how much you have grown and experienced; what an incredible journey. Jeremy’s beet rosette is a stunning work of edible art :)

  • Rebecca Carnes

    Congrats!! That’s awesome:)) So happy for you and thank you for being so open and honest about your journey on this little thing called the internet <3
    BTW… you are my #GardeningGoals ! One day I will grow and maintain a garden, even if it's only growing one thing ha!

  • stephie137


  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks so much! ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Becca! And I can’t wait to share more gardening pics later this week. I think this piece of land I’m working right now will turn out to be my favorite garden space ever! I have such big beautiful dreams for it!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks so much B M, it’s funny I was just reading thorough old blog posts and read a comment from you, and wondered if you were still around. Glad to hear from you! Hope all has been well in your world. ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Isn’t that rosette just amazing? I felt like a very lucky lady. And thanks for the congrats!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Woo-hoo we’re Veganniversary twinsies! Hooray to 8 years which seems like a long time, and sort of like barely any time at all. I’m so excited to see what the next 8 bring (and also excited to throw a big bash for my 10-year. Are you going to do that? I think you should!)

  • jenn

    you are such a lovely inspiration!

  • Jenn Webb

    Hi Sayward! I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your presence in my social media. You bring a much-needed genuine and honest inspiration and connection to nature, love, and health–I’ve learnt so much from you! That said, August 1st is also my veganniversary and birthday, making this year my fourth year as a vegan :) Thanks for your great posts, and congratulations!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh that’s so awesome Jenn! Happy belated birthday and veganniversary!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww, thank you!

  • Alina Zavatsky

    Ahhh, good vegan Mexican food… something I really miss in Washington state – and a reason to visit California again! Happy Veganniversary, Sayward!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks so much Alina! And actually my very fave vegan Mexican food is in Portland Oregon! If you’re ever down that way, check Los Gorditos. It’ll blow your mind!

  • Alina Zavatsky

    Wow, thank you for the pointer, Sayward! I feel like next time I plan on going to Portland, I should not eat for three days to work up an appetite big enough to feast on all vegan deliciousness that Portland has to offer :)