Celebrating my Blog’s Birthday: What I’ve Learned From Blogging for Five Years + A Vegan Muffin Recipe

Well I suck. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but what I meant to say is that I suck at remembering to celebrate my blog’s birthday, mainly because I don’t have the date of my first post at the top of my head for the most part. Well, after searching it up in a few seconds, now I know that my blog turns five years-old today!

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Unbelievable, right? I’ve been blogging regularly for five years. I created this website when I was just about to become a sophomore in high school. Barely sixteen years-old, I had an undying passion for health and fitness, and I wanted to share my love for them to the whole world. Truth is, I expected nothing out of starting this. No fame, no sponsorships, none of that. Obviously, I’m not a superstar blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers, nor am I backed by large companies, but I am so proud of what I have accomplished with this blog.

First of all, I cannot be more grateful to have met so many like-minded individuals through my blog and collaborate with amazing brands that embody the beauty of wellness through this blog, such as Health Warrior, The Lion’s Choice, and Lakanto. I truly hope to build stronger relationships with all three of these companies as well as countless others.

Secondly, nothing describes how gratuitous I am of my family, my friends, and everyone I have met online who have encouraged me throughout my blogging journey. Since the birth of my site, my outlook on health has transformed tremendously. Even though I feel unbearably embarrassed when I receive a compliment regarding my blog from those I know in real life, I truly take their support to heart.

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  • 2014: It was two years since I embarked on my fitness journey. During the particular moment, my pride was sky-high but my satisfaction was rock bottom. I still felt like there was more I could achieve, thus that served as one catalyst for publishing my first post. Despite that English was one of my weakest subjects, I found nothing but joy in articulating my days and advice through typing a post or writing on paper. The act of recording a memory, an emotion, or just any sensation was liberating and gratifying in every way. Ever since, I pretty much clutched onto my blog as if it were my luckiest charm.
  • 2015: As my site gained a drastic amount of momentum (+27,000 views since the first year!), the pressure to maintaining a particular image as the “fit girl with a buttload of confidence” gained weight. Blogging was more than just a hobby–it was a way to define myself to the world. Obviously, perfecting my first impression became one of my top five daily priorities. Exploring every outlet of health and fitness probably served as number one. At this time, I reached out to countless brands, both big and small, bonded with some, others not-so-much, and exposed myself to all kinds of ways to be healthy. Still, I had a relatively polarized definition of what health meant to me, especially on my terms.
  • 2016: Thus far, 2016 was my most successful year for the blog. Not only was it the year I posted about my high school graduation and transition into veganism, but it was also the year I started re-defining what “health” truly means. I dealt with some personal conflicts with my regimen the quality of my life, thus I had to look inward for any unfulfilling manifestations that I imposed on myself and towards others. I cried every single week. I went to prom alone (not that there’s anything wrong with that at all, but it would have been really nice to arrive with a date). I learned that I despise working in retail. Most of all, I met so many bright minds and like-minded souls that brought so much insight into the diversities of health, veganism, and optimism. Nevertheless, I stepped into university with an open-mind, an ambition, a bubbly personality, and a heart full of as much passion as possible, all ready to seize a new chapter of my life.
  • 2017: While 2017 had a more modest influx of traffic, this year was most definitely the one with the most mental and emotional changes. FINALLY I recognized that starting in high school, I had bitten off more than I could chew. The spring and summer of 2017 served as not just a vacation for my body, but also an escape, otherwise a retreat, so that I could re-learn the foundations of health and fitness. I ate more junk food in the first five months of the year than I had for the last four years of my life. My trip back to Vietnam, the country of my nationality, took my mind off of maintaining a set routine. I’ve made so many new friends that I can call family. I published the least amount of blog content this year, but I gained even more within my personal life than I could imagine. While I probably weighed the most during this year, nothing of that sort really mattered to me. Even though I may have overdone the indulgences quite a bit, this slew could not have compensated for the years of deprivation any better.
  • 2018: Ah, the year of today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Last month, my views reached an all-time high. My most popular post (listed below) catalyzed the surge in viewership, but I felt even more motivated to whip out even more ideas to maintain that momentum. Views don’t mean everything to me, but they do give me more incentive to ignite my creative fires. Anyways, like 2017, there have been nothing but eye-opening shifts in my life, both for the best and the worst. I doubted the meaning of life and had to seek help for it. But, I also solidified my most magnificent relationships, found a work environment that I absolutely flourish in, have found some of the best vegan food in the world, re-visited my childhood, and finally formed a lifestyle where I feel healthy, but also vibrant, lively, and open to trying all kinds of routines. Eating high-quality food, powering through a killer session, sleeping adequately, and walking enough are my top priorities, but internal cues matter most to me. ALSO, I turn twenty-one this year. INSANE.

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OVERALL

For so many times, my mindset regarding my self-worth, health, and wellness have shifted in all directions and speeds. Still, what I have yet to learn expands far beyond what the eye can see. There are so many areas pertaining to marriage, politics, society, religion, health, diversity, fitness, nutrition, veganism, humanity, and family that I am ready to experience. Whether they be sufficed easily or through the hard way, I have absolutely no clue as to what’s in store for me for the rest of the year, but I’m pushing through with as much strength and mental preparation as I can. That being said, I have every reason to celebrate.

I know exactly what kind of people I gravitate towards. Some people are carbon-copies are me, others are total opposites. I find that individuals with a mixture of similarities and differences become the closest to me, but they ultimately have to share my core values and understand what hardships feel like. In addition, I know exactly what kind of content I desire to post. They vary on all spectrums, through my creative streaks constantly self-ignite. Before I know it, I’ve finished ten posts in one day, all scheduled for the next month. When anything takes me more than a week to drag myself to write, I know those are not worthy of continuing.

But anyways, happy (late) birthday to my blog! Check out the recipe and mukbang I’ve posted to celebrate through a great meal!

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VEGAN MUFFIN BASE (makes 10-12 muffins)

  • 2 cup of flour of choice; I use oat flour or gluten free all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of mashed starch of choice; I love butternut squash, canned pumpkin, or kabocha squash, but mashed banana or applesauce also work
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP dry sweetener of choice
  • 1 TBSP flaxseed meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plant-based milk or water

FLAVOR VARIETIES

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  • Strawberry velvet: 1 tsp beetroot powder for three muffins (use 1 TBSP for a whole batch), topped with vanilla protein frosting and freeze-dried strawberries

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  • Pumpkin spice: 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for three muffins (double or triple each for a whole batch), topped with vanilla protein frosting and cinnamon

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  • Chocolate cayenne: 2 tsp cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper for three muffins (triple the cocoa and scantly double the cayenne for a whole batch), topped with Lakanto monkfruit maple syrup mixed with cocoa powder

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  • Lemon cake: Juice of 1/2 a lemon for two muffins (double for a whole batch), topped with sugar free mango jam and mini flowers

PROCEDURE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Create a flax egg by stirring in three tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of flaxseed meal. Set aside.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients well. If separating each flavor, quarter the ingredients (1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 TBSP sweetener of choice, etc.) into four separate mixing bowls.
  4. Slowly integrate the wet ingredients, but refrain from overmixing.
  5. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray REALLY well with non-stick spray or a plant-based oil.
  6. Carefully spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the center of the muffins are completely cooked through.
  8. Let cool completely, around ten minutes.

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