Friday, October 31, 2014

Your Leering Eyes

Has anyone out there heard of the Hollaback campaign? It is a movement to end street harassment, and I for one say where have you been all my life! I had never heard of this campaign until the other day I saw this little video on a gossip blog. The video is a little under two  minutes long, and it shows a girl who walks around various streets in Manhattan for about ten hours. Needless to say, she deals with a lot, and the video is very short, so I can only imagine how she felt at the end of that long day! The video is disturbing, yet unfortunately if you are a woman, the video will probably feel very familiar. What really disturbed me was the comment section for the video. Wow, I can assume some of the comments are standard troll type comments, but I have to assume some are honest opinions, and a lot of very negative comment from women, which really blew my mind. Women were commenting that by a man simply saying hi, and have a nice day is perfectly innocent, and that normal woman like the attention! My thought on that is it is fine for the "normal" woman to want sleazy attention, but it is also okay for us freaks to walk down the street and not want sleazy attention. For most of my adult life I have been reamed when I have spoken up in frustration at street harassment. I've heard it all, "you should appreciate it now, cause one day you'll be old, and no one will be looking at you"(?), "oh it must be rough being complimented for being pretty"(?!), "I think you're a little oversensitive"(?),and one of my faves, "it's just the way it is"(?). Those are just the comments I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway years ago I stopped saying anything because I felt like I was offending people by having a problem with pervs, and I felt very isolated, because I have had a lot of those types of comments from other women. When I'm walking down the street, and some guy says something generically pervy, something that is one of his "classic lines", it doesn't make the woman feel attractive, or special, as he will be repeating the same line over and over and over to anyone of the female persuasion.
What bothers me the most about street harassment is the bully mentality. You see it a few times in the video where this girl who is alone, is walking by a group of five or more men and they're all being creeps. That is just not okay. But, judging by the comment section, it's just part of being a woman, and not to mention, how else are these poor guys going to meet women!
I thought street harassment was bad in Seattle, but the city I live in now, where racism and sexism prevail, it's really bad. When the weather permits I like to walk to my Co-op and avoid the bus. Well there is one stretch of road that is very mill like. There is very rarely any normal traffic, it's mostly trucks with freight(?) and what not, and there have been a few times that I have felt fearful in a Deliverance kind of way, and I walk a whole different way home to avoid what I will now call Perv stretch. I've learned to make jokes and make light of it in my head so I don't explode, but the real truth is that it is scary, and tiresome, and dammit I walk to get to places, not so men can leer and tell me to smile, than call me a bitch or the c word when I don't do what they want. If I could have an open and honest dialogue with men who do this stuff, I would ask them if they have a mother, sister, aunt, any female in their life that they care about and respect, and how would they feel if they knew this female that they care for feels so unsafe and picked on just foe walking down the street?
I wonder what it is about our culture that is so against change and progress, and more importantly why are we so resistant to fair and equal rights roe EVERYONE.
Anyway wow I babbled enough, I guess I have some pent up frustrations! If you have the time, check out the video, it's very interesting. It is hollaback street harassment on YouTube, and they also have a very informative website, I for one am a supporter!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Different Strokes to Move the World

Since I talked about someone yesterday that I've lost that loving feeling for, I figured today I would talk about someone who has one of my favorite YouTube channels. The channel is Fit on Raw, and the woman behind it is Swayze Foster. She also has a blog by the same name, and I believe two of her cookbooks out of a four part series are out. I have made some of her recipes, hello oatmeal crust pizza, and she is good! She also has a ton of  recipes for salad dressings that I find very helpful, as I like variety, and a new dressing makes me feel like I'm eating a whole new salad. Her videos are different, she does some recipe videos, some what I eat videos, and she has recently been doing a debunking series debunking various myths in the raw, and vegan world, and also various myths that omnivores might throw on a vegan. She has tons of hard, scientific facts, and she states them in a very clear and concise manner, and I really have learned a lot, and I look up to her calm speaking manner. I also appreciate her thoughts about veganism, and how she is not in anyone's face forcing it, and she also feels that the best thing is to lead by example. I think about myself when I was smoking cigarettes, when people would say negative things about smoking, I would shake my head in agreement, all while puffing away, or dreaming of my next cigarette. Even though I knew they were right, and I knew smoking was not good for me, I wasn't ready to not smoke. So even those graphic commercials would prompt me to think about quitting, even those images weren't enough. But when I was truly wanting and ready to quit, that's what started the process of me quitting. Alcoholics, drug addicts, anyone who has engaged in any behavior they've wanted to change, it has come from them wanting the change. And I think sometimes some of these crazier antics turn people off from veganism, which is the opposite of what we want. I want to have Swayze with me at all times, because I sometimes have a problem staying calm, and just stating facts when people are challenging me and my beliefs, especially if they are really belittling me. My emotions definitely get the best of me in regards to animal welfare.
However, much like having many options for vegan foods, I think it is amazing that there are so many different styles of promoting health and veganism, as we are all different, and different approaches work for different people, and we all want to save animals, and make the world a kinder place. There are people that like a more aggressive approach, and for the people who are obsessed with their looks and weight, and aging and all that, they will be looking for something different, and so we can all find our little niche. All bless the interwebz!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Letting Go of What Does not Serve Me

As someone who has battled an eating disorder, and self-esteem issues, I am so, so grateful that the interwebz were not a factor in the prime of my disorder. And unfortunately I'm not even talking about the websites devoted to anorexia, and teaching people how to be perfectly anorexic.(sick, and disturbing) It seems that with each passing year, women are being sexualized more and more, and having that perfect body is becoming more and more important to women, and the powers that be are even starting to really put the pressure on the dudes as well, although men are still not expected to be "hot" for everything, as it seems women are.
What is sadly bringing this topic up for me is a YouTube video I watched yesterday where someone who I used to look up to immensely,( although that is slowly shifting) and this person had an issue with a song that is apparently a thing. Not being a top 40 listener myself, I had no idea what the song lyrics were, so I was listening to this persons opinion, with no knowledge of the words myself. Anyway, this person was offended by this song where a girl is singing about "the bass", no treble, and something about skinny bitches, which is the main thing that sent this YouTube person into a mood. She made  a whole video about it not being healthy to promote obesity, and really I kind of faded after a couple of minutes, because this particular person does a lot of these types of videos, kind of calling out certain celebrities and such, all while making sure to mention several times how lean and fit she is, and I guess I've been losing interest in these videos for awhile, this last video was I guess the last straw for me. So, not knowing the song myself, I checked out the lyrics, and it's a pretty self empowering song about not being a "skinny Minnie" She did say skinny bitches one time, but it was definitely lighthearted like the rest of the song. And after seeing the singer, I would not say she is obese, nor would I say that her cheesey little song is promoting obesity. I'm upse with this person because as I have been on my journey to health, I have been really having to fight some old body issues, and I am really fighting to love my body for what it is, not what it isn't, and may never be. I have always looked at anyone who is confident, and comfortable in their own skin with admiration, and have always wished I could just walk down the street knowing that I look good.
I feel like there is like a war with women, some want to be more "curvy", whether by nature, or man, and then there are the model thin girls, I don't understand why we have to be saying "skinny bitch" this , or obese that. I don't care what your body type is, if you love it, that is so freaking great, and I say rock on! If anyone is curious about the song, it's called All about that Bass, by Megan Trainor. Don't say I didn't warn you, the song kind of made my ears hurt. It would be a fun girl power song maybe if I were drunk, but other than that it is typical top 40 fare, but it does seem like it could be easily relatable to a lonely, insecure 14 or 15 year old, so I say to each his own.
I am not a doctor, I'm not an expert in anything, hell I'm feeling challenged by HTML for Dummies, but I do know that the world is a tough place, and there are so many leeches waiting with baited breath to leech on to those who are vulnerable, and don't love themselves, and I know that no matter how beautiful, smart, thin, and kind you are, there will still be people who want to tell you you're ugly, drop a few lbs. on and on. So if you truly love yourself, and know your worth, you are going to have a better foundation to fight off all these bad little dark corners of life. And I don't think we should be doing any body shaming ever. It's not helpful to people, ourselves, or animals or anyone. Let's start shaming the people that deserve it, the cops that shoot innocent teenagers, the people who abuse animals, the people who own and operate slaughterhouse's people who bully, I could go on and on.
I'm going to quietly stop reading blogs/watching this persons videos as they aren't my bag anymore, and I won't bring it up again, and I'm not going to mention a name because maybe other people see thing differently, and I don't want to spread bad vegan ju ju, these were just my feelings after thinking about different videos I have disagreed with, and listening to the song in question.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Dip, and a Scam....

Sunday was a cooking, cleaning, and brewing kombucha kind of day. (My favorite) I wanted to tackle Veganomicon some more, so I decided to make the creamy kalamata spread on page 63. It was so easy, and is so delicious I had to stop myself from eating it all with a spoon! I subbed the juice of half of a large lemon for the white whine, but other than that I followed the recipe exactly. I spread some on a piece of crusty bread, and loaded it up with romaine, shredded carrots, cucumber, avocado, and banana peppers. BEST SANDWICH EVER! And it gets better after sitting for awhile, so if you ever try this, make it a little bit before you want to serve it. I'm going to try kalamata hummus next. Afew months ago my local Co-op had kalamata hummus and it was hands down the best hummus, possibly best food ever. Kalamata olives are definitely on the pricier ends of olives, but if you have a grocery store that has an olive bar, you can save money, because, bulk. I paid two dollars for the amount of olives needed for this recipe, versus the five or six dollars for a whole jar, and the olives in the olive bar looked much more appetizing than the olives in jars.
On the topic of saving money, I also wanted to warn anyone who is interested in using coconut oil for skincare, or vinegar for cleaning. I recently was horrified to see in the skincare section of  some grocery store, a tub of coconut oil for skincare. I noticed that it was in a plastic tub as opposed to glass, and it was two dollars more than coconut oil found in the oil section. And guess what? It is just unrefined coconut oil! Nothing more, nothing less, and it was the same amount of ounces, it was just packaged to look more like skincare I guess. What a freaking scam! So if you ever want to try the single best moisturizer I have ever used, just make sure you go to the cooking oil section, or sometimes it's also in the organic/natural section and just grab the unrefined coconut oil. The other disturbing scam I saw was Heinz having bottles of "cleaning vinegar" next to regular white vinegar, the "cleaning vinegar" being of course the pricier of the two, and they are both vinegar!!! You could use the "cleaning" vinegar to make a salad dressing!!! Just be careful to not pay more than you should for something, and I think doing this is unethical to say the least. They are preying on people being just too busy to even notice these differences.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Smoked Gouda for us Too?

Did anyone else hear the amazing news? I read yesterday on Vegansaurus that Daiya is now making a smoked gouda block!!! I believe it will be available next month at Whole Foods. I don't know if it's all Whole Foods, or limited, but how freaking great is that? Smoked gouda was absolutely one of my favorites and I have missed it. And some of the fancier vegan cheeses are just WAY out of my price range. Even daiya is not something that I can buy all the time, but I can at least have it as a treat every once in awhile without having to take out a second mortgage on my imaginary house! I think it's amazing how many options are out there, that tells me that people are eating dairy cheese less and less. Or I should say dairy in general, because plant milks are on the rise as well. It seems like every time I am at the grocery, there is a new brand of plant milk on the shelves. Choices are always good, and that is so good for the animals. And who knows, if someone is diagnosed as lactose intolerant, and they find a non dairy milk, and a non dairy cheese, they might be open to trying a veggie burger, or dog at some point, which could lead to meatless Monday, and so and so forth. When I first went vegan, there was no daiya, and the first vegan cheese I tried, I'm not going to mention the name, because I know that some people do like this brand, and any vegan company deserves respect in my opinion, however this nameless brand is not my fave, and I just assumed cheesy, creamy goodness was a thing of yesteryear. So we have come so far, and we have so many choices, and I even feel like we are the butt of way less jokes. We still have so far to go, but once again I see this amazing news as progress!
I think when I first find the smoked gouda, I'm going to try it in some mac and cheese. I remember seeing a recipe for a very non-vegan smoked gouda mac and cheese that looked so good, lucky me that I will get to try to recreate it myself!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beans and Rice Like You Never Imagined

Wow, wow, WOW! Has anyone tried Beanfields chips before? They are tortilla like chips made out of black and white beans, and rice! I had never tried them myself, until I saw a review of various flavors on one of my fave YouTube channels, Habitat for Herbivores. So their taste test really made me want to taste test, and all things aligned when two weeks ago I noyiced that not only did the Co-op have these chips, but they were on sale! I was torn between BBQ, and ranch (it was like Sophie's choice) but I finally decided on ranch. Well, yesterday I finally opened the bag to give them a try, and wow is all I really can say. I think these might be my new favorite chip. The chips are hearty, they could really handle dips well, even thick hearty dips without breaking. And the ranch flavor was perfect in my opinion. It was strong, but not overpowering, and it tasted natural, not too test tubey. And they aren't super greasy, or powdery. I don't like to feel like I need to hose off after having a snack. I can't wait to try the BBQ, and also the salt and pepper sounds tasty.
Beanfields chips are gluten free, corn free, and non gmo. As with all good and good for you snacks, these are pricier than standard chips. When I got mine they were on sale for 2 for 4, but they are over four dollars when not on sale. I will for sure buy these again, especially when on sale, but even when they aren't, on those weeks when my budget allows for a splurge, these will be it. This is another chip that I guarantee no one would ever guess was vegan. I just cannot believe how far vegan food has come! It's really exciting, and I think it's helping vegan and vegetarians to not be made fun of as much. Because these foods are just delicious foods, vegan or not!

Friday, October 24, 2014

You Say Potato, I Say Dinner

Even though I have been eating more cooked foods with the cooler temperatures, I have still been eating  high carb. I know that a lot of people, including vegans really focus on protein, and I have read both sides, people who swear we need a lot of protein, and people who swear we need a lot of carbs. Sine I decided to try the Raw till 4 life so many months ago, I have been eating high carb, as is recommended, and I feel great. I noticed almost immediately more energy, and I felt lighter, less weighted down. Some of that light feeling was definitely from so much raw food, but even now with more cooked food in my diet, I still feel higher energy. I think that we are all different, and we all thrive in different ways. I believe people who say that they need more vegan protein to feel their best, but I believe people, including myself who do better with a little extra carbs. I think if you eat a well rounded diet, (vegan of course) and are somewhat conscious of getting enough fruit and veg, I think for the most part you will do well in life, better that the people who follow a standard Mcdiet!
Anyway, I say ALL of that to say that I am always on the lookout for new potato recipes. Veganomicon  to the rescue! I went to the library the other day to get HTML for Dummies(!), and they also had Veganomicon, so I had to get it. Well, I noticed this little recipe on pg. 109 for Lemony roasted potatoes, and I was all in. If you have this book and you haven't tried these, you should do so pronto, and if you don't have the book, I suggest either your local library, or of course the recipe is also online. The potatoes are so zingy with lemon and garlic and oregano, and it is really easy. They do have to bake in the oven for awhile, mine took almost an hour and a half, but the prep to get them in the oven took under 10 minutes, and then you are free to do whatever while they roast away! I had mine with a salad of romaine, and lots of banana peppers, and a red wine vinaigrette, and it was such a delicious dinner, and I felt so fancy! I will be making this recipe over and over for sure. The next time I make it, I'm going to add a little crushed red pepper to the mix. And this meal is so cheap, and it required nothing fancy, so all around, a real winner in my book. I have three different recipes so far that I am going to make from this book. The next recipe I am making is a creamy kalamata spread that is made with soft tofu and kalamata olives! I know that there are a lot of newer cookbooks out, sometimes I can't keep up, but this one is a proven classic, and I'm not able to afford every cookbook that I want, so I appreciate that my library even has vegan cookbooks at all!
If you are ever looking for a little potato dish, and you like lemony, garlicky food, seriously try these potatoes, I know they will be a hit!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shave that Brussel!

Last night I made something for dinner that was so easy and delicious that even though I am a dweeb and have no pictures, and not even an exact recipe, I want to talk about it anyway. I found a great deal on Brussels sprouts at Wegmen's, and I love roasted Brussels sprouts, that is the first way that I ever tried them, and years ago I tried steaming them, and NO. I do not think the texture is okay steamed at all. I think at least 90% of people who say they don't like Brussels don't like them because they probably tried them steamed. Anyway, I wanted to do something different, but similar, and I also was craving pasta, so I needed to put the two things together. I thinly sliced, or shredded almost about a half to 3/4 of a pound of Brussels, and started sautéing them in a pan with maybe a tablespoon of olive oil, then after about 5 minutes, I added three cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and cause I'm a spicy girl, crushed red pepper. Meanwhile I boiled up some water, and made some angel hair pasta, which I undercooked, added about 1/4 of a cup of the pasta water to the pan of Brussels and garlic, drained the pasta, and added it to the mix, and cooked for about one minute. Then, for a final bit of flair, I sprinkled in some beloved nutritional yeast. It was so delicious, and I love sautéed Brussels now, in addition to roasted! I think sautéed Brussels would be good in a hash, with some onion and potato, and maybe served alone, or if your sassy, some tofu scramble, and toast. I was also thinking they would be really good over some brown rice with a tahini garlic sauce. The point is that this dish was easily done in ten minutes, and I only used two pans, so easy clean up as well. And thanks to an amazing sale that Wegmen's had on Brussels sprouts, this meal was super cheap, well under five dollars, and I had dinner, and will eat the leftovers for lunch. I used regular old angel hair pasta, but obviously if you have gluten sensitivities, gluten free pasta will totally work, or whole grain whatever your heart desires.
This experience, and my recent buffalo cauliflower experience has really taught me to not get stuck in such food ruts, and keep on trying foods that maybe you've never liked, but prepared a different way. It will only make you gag at worst, it won't kill you! And sometimes you only need two little ingredients, with a little seasoning, and it is still very tasty and interesting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Now Scream for Gelato

About two weeks ago, I was doing some grocery shopping, and as I was perusing the little natural foods section where most of the vegan specialty items can be found, and I noticed a new to me vegan ice cream. It's called Dream, and the flavor I got was sea salt caramel. It's an almond based gelato. I also saw a black cherry flavor, as well as a coconut almond flavor. I looked them up online, and they have a total of eight different flavors, including a café latte flavor that I bet is to die for. I guess it is Rice Dream(the company) maybe now they just go by dream because they have ventured into more than rice milk? I don't know all the little deets, all I really know is that this gelato was so delicious, and now I want to live in a salted caramel world. I really didn't think I would ever have anything salted caramel as a vegan. I find vegan caramels to be very unavailable where I live, and the one time I did see some they were not in my budget at all. I also tried to make vegan caramel once and in all seriousness it was traumatizing and resulted in a scorched pan, and a scorched ego. So, back to this gelato. It is way lower calories than typical vegan ice creams, coming in at 140 calories per half cup. And the ingredient list isn't too weird, it is non-gmo, and what really surprised me is that it is sweetened with brown rice syrup. I would have never guessed, and I can usually spot brown rice syrup. When it thaws a little, it is so creamy, it seems just like ice cream, and the salted caramel is so delicious! Truth be told, I've never had salted caramel, vegan or not, so I guess I can't compare, but I have had caramel, and this tasted like caramel! The salt wasn't obvious, it was just happy to quietly be in the background, adding interesting flavor. It is also gluten free, if that is an issue for you. I think that this is another one of those awesome vegan treats that could easily please any omnivore. It is creamy, rich and satisfying.
I get so down and frustrated sometimes that we are not getting anywhere with the vegan movement, and people are not giving an eff, but I have to keep reminding myself that something is happening, otherwise we wouldn't have all these vegan treats. I mean, now we vegans can have gelato, not just vegan ice cream. And I was able to find this gelato in the Mccity that I live in. So, it's not happening as fast as I would like, but slowly things are happening, and these companies are making really delicious things, and that is how we can get people to eat cruelty free, by making it delicious. My parents are very suspicious of all things vegan, and actually at times are quite offensive, and they believe vegans want to cram spirulina into everything, and I believe they would eat this and love it. I would just tell them it's vegan after they eat it! Anyway, if you see this gelato at your local grocery, I really recommend it, for everyone, vegans and non-vegans.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Laughter & Cauliflower..

I think most people can agree that laughter is a good and necessary part of our lives. There is nothing better than just cracking the hell up, I'm talking snorting, crying,slobbering, losing your breath, wow my abs just got a workout kind of cracking up. I'm not ashamed to admit that I do a fair share of weeping all by my lonesome, so I have to balance that out with things that are light, and crack me up. I also do not own a television, so I rely on books, online articles and videos. So I have my usual, always good for a laugh TMZ, and another really funny gossip blog is D-listed. So snarky!
Something new I discovered thanks to YouTube, is the seriously make you pee your pants funny Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. If you are a fan of The Daily Show, you will obviously remember John Oliver. Not having a TV means I'm not always that up to date on TV news, and usually when things change in a calm, peaceful manner they don't really make it on TMZ, so I was unaware that John Oliver had even left The Daily Show. Anyway, I discovered this gem a few weeks ago, and in case anyone else has missed out, I wanted to spread the joy. He has such a biting sense of humor, and obviously I agree with his way of thinking, so it just makes me cry with laughter. And since the show is on HBO, he can use the real bad words! He doesn't overuse them, but sometimes nothing really drives the point home like a well placed fuck!
Anyway, I know that the show is on HBO, I don't know what day or time, sorry. But the show has a YouTube channel, and they upload very regularly. If you ever need a quick laugh, you should check it out.
Another little suggestion that is kind of old news by now, is Buffalo Cauliflower! I hate cauliflower. I was forced to eat it as a child, even after it made me gag, and I have never been able to eat it, or really even smell it without wanting to gag myself with a spoon. Well, I have been reading all of these buffalo cauliflower recipes, and I have watched a ton of videos on YouTube, and they all look so, so good, but I always remember,cauliflower. Well, I decided to conquer my fear, and instead of buying a whole head, which felt way too daunting, I bought a little container with some pre-cut florets, and bought a little rice flower in bulk, and decided to try one more time with this gag inducing vegetable. I followed one of the seriously like one million recipes online, I mean even meat eaters have become obsessed with this dish. (Go vegetables!) I made a little rice flower batter, baked the florets, tossed them with some hot sauce mixed with a teaspoon of coconut oil, baked until somewhat crispy, and gave them a try. I'm not going to lie, it took me five or ten minutes to gather the courage, and guess what? I did not gag at all, in fact they were very delicious. If someone actually loves or even likes cauliflower, try this recipe! I can't say I will rush to make it again, because cauliflower, but it taught me a lesson that there is always a way, and for god's sake, don't be scared of food goose! But seriously, it was super easy, and there are so many recipes. I would imagine that you could get really creative with sauces too. Any sauce used on wings could be applied here. With football season in full swing, I could see these being a hit with anyone, no matter what diet they follow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cooked, with a Side of Raw

So I have been eating Raw till 4 for about five or six months, and I have really enjoyed the benefits, and I think increasing my fruit intake has really been beneficial. My cravings for sweets has decreased so much, and I feel happier naturally on days where I have eaten very fruit heavy. Especially strawberries, over the summer for a few weeks one of my local grocery stores was having an awesome sale on organic strawberries, and I always had an extra pep in my step on strawberry days. Along with eating a mostly raw diet, I also increased the intensity of my workouts. I started doing a lot more cardio, and workouts that seriously make me grunt and gasp, and I love it so much! I have always loved working out, however I lost sight of that a little when I decided to make alcohol and cigarettes my preferred coping mechanisms. So, although I don't have a "killer" bod or anything, I definitely have noticed some improvements. But really what is most important to me is that I feel so strong and so good, and I feel proud because I have really committed to finding health. As someone who has always been abusive to myself in one way or another, this feels huge. I feel like I am becoming someone who I never thought I would be, someone who likes themselves, and feels comfortable in their own skin, and confident when it comes to stating their beliefs. I am by no means there yet, but the fact that I have been consistently working towards it is huge.
Now that the temps have been consistently dropping, I have been really stressing over getting enough raw food in my diet. The fruit choices are dwindling by the day, and I cannot fathom a frozen smoothie first thing in the morning, or anytime in the morning for that matter, and it's only October, and the temps aren't even close to the winter apocalypse yet. I also can't imagine living on bananas, apples, and various citrus fruit for the next 3, 4, 5 months. Coming from a past of disordered, restrictive, and effed up eating habits that is just not something I am interested in, not to mention I cannot afford the volume needed to sustain that diet, a bag of oranges has to last me longer than one meal of juice. So, I've been experimenting with my diet a little, incorporating more cooked foods, and so far I feel fine. I have been juicing a little more, as juice is way easier to tolerate than a frozen smoothie, which by the way I also cannot do room temp smoothies. Hell to the no, I tried it thinking that would help but blech smoothies need to be cold, in my opinion. One trick I've learned that works for me is if I make a salad, and then either stuff it in a wrap that has been warmed a little, or in between a toasted baguette, it suddenly feels like a warmer meal, so I've been trying to that a few times a week, and I'm sure I will learn more tricks as time goes on that I will share as I learn. I think I'm learning to actually listen to my body, as in the warmer months there were weeks and weeks where I pretty much ate all raw food, without even thinking about it, because that was what felt natural in the heat. Even if you look at seasonal produce, most fall and winter vegetables need to be cooked in some way, again in my opinion. So, as long as I continue to feel good, am able to keep up and feel great doing my workouts, I see no reason to force myself to eat in a way that doesn't feel natural or fun. I also really love to cook, so I am happy to get back into that creative outlet. I look forward to sharing any recipes I come up with that might be delicious, sometimes I come up with a real winner, and I never write anything down, so it's hard to recreate, but a blog is a great reason to train myself to write things down!!
I want to say really quickly that if anyone reading this struggles with any type of self hating behavior, I want you to know that you can learn to be kind to yourself, and it feels so great. Like I said I never thought that I could love myself, but you have to love yourself, and you have to take care of yourself, because no one else will. I am going to write about my eating disorder story sometime, because I think it might help someone. I just have to find the courage, but when I do I will share. Self respect is so underrated!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winter Apocalypse

Ever since the end of summer, I've been battling the blues more than usual, so much so that fall has brought nothing but dread to my heart. Last year I was new to a snow belt type winter, and was able to enjoy pumpkin, the beautiful colors of the leaves changing, sweaters, soups, and everything else that comes with fall. But now that I know what's coming next, I can hardly breathe. And from what everyone, including the Farmer's Almanac has said, we are in for another brutal winter. Now, as I see the leaves falling, I see death and isolation. The crisp air is just an appetizer to the brutal, bitter, daring you to live cold air that is about to come.  I don't know if anyone has ever, or does watch The Walking Dead, but the first couple of episodes which happen right after the zombies have taken over, every city is just so barren and dead feeling, and every living human is so isolated. Well, last winter there were so many days that I felt that same feeling. It felt like something had come through and caused a lot of death and despair.
I can't stop crying for the stray cats that I feed. I've been trying to buy the best quality food that I can afford to try to give them a fighting chance. I've been trying to gain their trust all summer, hoping I could at least get them to a shelter, but while they no longer run away from me, they all still keep thei distance, and are no where near letting me touch them. What a terrible way to live. It really breaks my heart, because I know that there are poor homeless animals all over this city, and what about the ones who don't have a food source?
I've tried to bring up the discussion a few times with local people, and I have gotten two responses, neither one has been helpful. One brilliant response is "oh, you worry about the animals, but who cares about the homeless people." I didn't know that by worrying about animals, it means that you don't care about humans. And the other response I have gotten is " well, they're animals, they know where to find cover." Okay, what about warmth, and food?  And furthermore, I want proof that all of the homeless animals have shelter. To me that is a fact people tell themselves so they don't have to worry about the problem, and they can get back to drinking and wallowing in their own problems.
I'm sorry this post is such a bummer. This morning is especially chilly, and it is just to the point of no return. Winter is coming, and no matter how many kick ass workouts I do , and no matter how much spinach I eat, I cannot fight that dick, Mother Nature and I can't talk to anyone about how I feel.  I wish these kitties would let me help them find shelter, or I wish  I wish, I wish. Hopeless and isolated are for sure not the greatest combo of feelings to deal with.
I feel like such a scrooge, because vegan or not vegan, the world has embraced fall, and Halloween, and for that matter Christmas, because at least where I live, most stores are already putting Christmas stuff up. I noticed this gem weeks ago, and the couple of times I've grumbled about it, people have given me the side eye, so apparently we are starting the Christmas stuff in September now. So I feel very at odds with society, even the vegan society.
I will find some kind of shelter to provide for these kitties if it kills me. It's not just the brutal cold I remember, it's also the hideous, biting wind that makes it even more hideous.
Well, to try to wrap things up with something that isn't totally a downer, Robin and I have made steps in our relationship! He sometimes sleeps in bed with me, like actually touching me (human cooties), and sometimes I have been able to pet him in rooms other than the kitchen, and at times other than meal time. I still get plenty of side eye from him, and I know he would prefer less human interaction, but we are making progress, and I feel pretty damn accomplished when he tolerates my touch! And pretty much all hissing has stopped, and all fur babies are living harmoniously.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why Eat Greens, I'll just Take a Pill

Something that drives me absolutely up a wall, then back down is when people treat themselves so shitty, and start having health problems, and they say things like, "well that's what happens when you get older", or "well, if it's what god wants", etc. I hear so much of that where I work. I have a 62 year old coworker, who is a bartender that will come to work with bronchitis,  and still chain smoke, and complain that the antibiotics aren't doing anything, because she is not feeling any better?! Last week another coworker was having issues with her gallbladder, and she decided to stay after work and drink, because she wanted to test her body and see if it was gallstones, or her gallbladder!! And then said, well I'm getting to that age when things start to fall apart! She is 47 years old, not exactly ready to be put out to pasture. The alleged chef at my job has to weigh at least 500 pounds, and is one of the most toxic people I have ever met in my life. Any stereotypes of a "jolly fat man" are washed away after two seconds with Russ. He is always having one health problem after another, and again, it's just "one of those things". I don't think I have met one person in this city, young or old that isn't on some kind of medicine, and man I have heard of some weird illnesses and disorders that I never knew existed. I don't believe that your health has to go to shit as you get older, and I don't believe you have to shrivel, and wrinkle, and be unhealthy, and unhappy. I believe we can be vibrant as we age, and still be well oiled machines if we choose to take care of ourselves. And I'm not even talking in an expensive, bougie  superfood kind of way. I'm talking by just trying to get some natural nutrients, eating in a healthy way that feels satisfying to you, and trying to make your life as non toxic as possible. I have loved Dr. Andrew Weil since I can remember, he's a pretty famous naturopath, and has many books on holistic health. I think I discovered him on PBS like a million years ago. Anyway, he is 72 years old, and I swear he looks the same now as when I first discovered him. He absolutely glows with health and vibrancy. When I think of anyone, famous or not who really gives a crap about their health and body, they glow, you want to be around them, at least I do, but when I see these hacking, crabby, chain smoking, whining about aches and pains people, I want to run as far far away as I can get. It makes me wonder if western medicine has created this way of thinking, people think they can be as unhealthy as they want, cause there is a pill, or surgery to fix it. Or, if all else fails, as my dad says, he knows where he's going when he dies, so bring on the quarter pounder and fries. I'm not a religious person myself, but I think God probably wants people to take care of their bodies a little bit right? I also have to laugh, because we are so judgmental of people who commit suicide, but when you are chain smoking, and you have bronchitis, or you've had multiple heart attacks, and still pound in the cholesterol, aren't you just committing suicide at a slower pace? I used to commit suicide on a daily basis for many years. The fact that I'm still alive, and to the best of my knowledge I have my health, is a freaking miracle. I feel so bad for my poor body, I was really an abusive asshole. But I do know that we can heal through food, and making as many non toxic choices as possible. Life is tough, and we all go through a lot, and what I have discovered is that when you are taking care of yourself, you have so much more strength to deal with it all.
I am by no means an expert, I can only speak from my own personal experiences, and I have overcome a lot of disorders, depression, and all around toxic lifestyle choices by starting to really look at my diet. I can't remember the last time I have taken any kind of pill, other than a vitamin, and I can't remember the last time I have had a headache, stomachache, etc. I do still battle depression obviously because I'm not happy where I live, but it's not the same kind of taking over your life kind of depression that I have experienced in the past. I notice on days where I'm struggling a little more, I will drink some lemon water with chia seeds, and for whatever reason that helps. I enjoy nerding out and reading various macrobiotic and holistic books and finding remedies. Unfortunately when I try to pass along my little gems, I don't get a lot of interest, but whatever, they can have their pills, surgery, and botox, I will have my delicious, vegan food and yoga and good thoughts.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

If The Shoe Fits......

I never intended to become a cat lady. Not that I was ever opposed to the idea either. I always have dreamed of having a little house with a lot of land, and having tons of all kinds of animals. I just figured that I would be content where I was living before taking on such a feat. But life is spontaneous, and doesn't always stick to the plan, so here I am, a bit of a crazy cat lady. I have more than five, but less than ten feline babies. Long story short,  I had one cat, Dylan who loves daiya, discovered Stevie, who was a stray living under a neighbors van, adopted her, she had babies, I fell in love, my boyfriend at the time did not share the love, gave me a me or them ultimatum, lost him along the way, then most recently discovered Robin, and here I am. I love them all, and I feel that my previous relationship was toxic, and I think we would have stayed together longer than we should, if this wouldn't have forced us to break up. I also have learned about myself through taking this on. I learned that I needed to gain more patience, and let me tell you something, I didn't have a choice at times, it's either be patient, or go insane. Watching the kittens since birth has been amazing too. Seeing all their little personalities, from itty bitties till now has also been amazing. I feel like having all of this youthful energy around Dylan has been beneficial for him also. I feel like they are keeping him young. And he is such a trooper as well. He has been very open with sharing his food, home, litter box, bed, and attention. There is only one human in this home to give all the pets, so sometimes he has to wait his turn!
I do sometimes feel weighed down by these kitties, as moving out of this city would be so much easier if it were just me and Dylan. I feel that way a lot to be honest, but at the same time, I still would keep them even if I could go back. So it's a weird, complicated way that I feel, so I guess it really is love. Ha!
I have been able to give them shelter and food, and love, and they provide me with so much love and amusement. I can't stand the thought of animals living in small cages, hoping that some human will pick them and give them a home. If I could, I would adopt more, every time I go to petsmart, and they have people from the local shelter, I have to stop myself. When people ask me how many cats I have, I always hesitate and lower the number I guess because I fear the judgment, (or that someone might know my landlord!) I think it's sad that I live in a city where it is more socially acceptable to use horrible racial slurs in public, than to be a cat lady, but what can I do.
My plan still is to save money, buy a van, and move myself and my fam out of here. It will take longer, and need more planning, but again, these are not bad things, I could use more planning, as I tend to be way impulsive, might as well give a new way a try.
The biggest thing I have learned is love. I know it might sound so hallmarky, but this has opened my heart to love in a way that I haven't experienced, and it has given me more purpose, and I feel good about myself and this decision, which I haven't always been able to say in my life. I feel in many ways that these kitties saved me as much as I saved them, and they continue to save me. Most days they are the only living creature who are happy to see me, and want to spend time with me!
If you have a fur baby who is an only child, I really recommend adopting a friend for him/her. I know that Dylan is so much more alert and perky, I think he was lonely before, and I was just to doofy to realize it. And the love you get is out of this world.
Aside from the judgment and jokes, I enjoy my life as a Crazy Cat Lady.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Needed a Chit Chat Apparently

For any singletons out there, I'm sure you also battle the cooking for one syndrome. Almost all recipes are for at least 2 people, most are for 4 or more. I understand and accept this fact. I'm sure many reasons factor into this imbalance. Regardless of the reasons, over the years as my cooking skills have improved, I find that I look at recipes more for ideas, than I kind of just adapt. I like leftovers to a degree, but I have a personal preference of  three days or under to eat the leftovers. I feel that after the third day all flavor and nutrients have left the food. And I like a variety in my diet, I cannot eat the same thing over and over. Even when I'm super broke, and all I can afford are lentils, a couple of onions, and a carrot, you can believe I am going to make as many different things as I can out of those ingredients. And nothing frustrates me more than when I do follow a recipe, and it ends up being just okay, and meanwhile I have all of this to eat. I prefer for the most part to create my own, and even if it is just okay, at least I have only one serving to eat. Sometimes when recipes I see have fancy/expensive ingredients, I also don't need the reminder that I am so low on the totem pole of life, that I can't even get an ingredient for food! I try to make food enjoyable, as I have already wasted enough of my years with really screwed up thoughts and actions regarding food. I find cooking and eating to be very calming, and relaxing, and I want to always keep it that way.
Two recipes I have found that I do like to make and follow full instructions are Snobby Joes from Veganomicon, and vegan baked beans, which I don't have a recipe that I'm loyal to, I usually just Google vegan baked beans, and whatever recipe uses ingredients I have on hand, I make! I am loyal to Snobby Joes. The reason I like these in their full form is that I can change them up. I make baked beans and have for dinner one night, then for the next couple of days I have beans on toast for breakfast(which is so delicious by the way), and also baked beans stuffed inside a baked potato with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top YUM! Same rules for Lentil Joes, sandwich for dinner, on toast for breakfast, or in a quesadilla. Also, snobby joes are great as a topping for a baked sweep potato. That's my idea and suggestion for bulk cooking for one, make a pot of your favorite beans, and use them many different ways, for example garbanzo beans, use for hummus, no-tuna salad, as a topper for a green salad, tossed with garlic, crushed red pepper and pasta. Then you don't get bored, and you also have something already made that you can plan a meal around. I think beans are not only a vegans best friend in terms of nutrition, but they are the wallet's best friend too!
Wow, my intent was not to write all about beans, but I just went with it. I woke up today feeling very isolated and sad, now I feel a little better. I guess I just needed to chatter.
I guess my original point was going to be that it can be frustrating to cook for one, but with a little practice and try, try, again attitude you can cook for one, be broke, and still have some variety in your life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Out With the Old, In with the New

I was doing a yoga video on YouTube last week, (Sara Beth yoga is the channel if you're interested.) and she said something that really spoke to me, and it's something I'm challenging myself to do. She said you have to let go of the old, to make room for the new. I practice that when it comes to clothing, household items, etc. but I don't think to do that emotionally. It made me realize I have to let go of some things, and I have to let go of some ways of handling stress and disappointment. I'm working towards being a healthier person, so I have to get rid of the funk to make way for the health. I know I need to work on maintaining my positive thinking, even when around negative people. That is something that has cursed me my whole life. I am very affected and drug down by negative people, and I can even think of times where I have allowed myself to be shamed for trying to have a positive outlook. And I want to fully drop all negative thoughts and behaviors of my own. I can only be fulfilled if I allow it, and have room for it. Have you ever noticed those older couples who just look so disgusted with life, each other, the world, that even something amazing like winning the lottery, or an exotic trip, or anything wonderful would barely bring a smile to their face? I have seen so many of those kind of people in my years as a server, and that is one of my biggest fears, getting to the point where you just accept misery, that's all you will ever know, and you are completely unavailable for joy. That ship has sailed.
Well, my ship hasn't sailed, not even close. My hope for myself is that on my deathbed, I'm still holding out for a solution to whatever has put me on my deathbed. I get in my moods where everything seems dark and hopeless, but so far those moods are always temporary, and I am actively working on making those moods appear less often. Especially because I can't change where I live as soon as I would like, and I certainly cannot end the isms that this city runs on, but I can work on my own reaction to them. It seems daunting, because I don't know how not to get physically ill when I hear such hateful bigotry, but I'm trying to learn, because I want to change things in this world.
Thee toxic, cynical, negative people change very little for the good.
Today I am grateful that I can vent about some upsetting things on this blog, and then let them go and not hold on to the negativity.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I have to accept the fact that once again I have nothing cheerful to say. I have been sitting in front of this blank screen for a long time, and I just want to whine, cry, and pound my fists. I guess I want to tantrum. As I have unfortunately mentioned multiple times, I live in a city where racism is extremely prevalent. I can't say I've gotten used to it, or accepted it, but I guess I thought at least I had kind of "heard it all", and maybe wouldn't be so affected by the hate. Well, I had not "heard it all", and Friday night at work a co-worker was recalling what I'm sure she thought was a charming little story that involved something her twelve or thirteen year old son said, and it is so effing offensive I won't even repeat it, but I seemed to be the only person who did not find it charming. It's so sad that racism keeps getting passed down, I find it more sad that her young son feels this way. I've heard her use the word many times, so obviously this kid has grown up with that word, and all the hate that goes along with it. And let me tell you something I have learned about racist people, they carry hate and intolerance for many things, not just people who have a different skin tone. They scare me, and that hate is palpable, and sometimes I'm more able to let it bounce off of me, but wow not this time. It's very hard to feel so isolated, I don't think I've not had at least one co-worker or friend that I could share my outrage with, but I don't. And although my feline friends abhor racism, I can only have so many one sided conversations before I really feel like I'm losing it!
I guess what I'm trying to say to anyone who reads this, give your non-racist co-worker a hug, even if he/she is a gossip, annoying, know it all, etc. If they don't have a hateful heart, give 'em a hug!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Behold, Vegan Mac and Cheese in a Box!

After some initial trouble getting Earth Balance boxed vegan mac and cheese in stock, I was informed the other day that my local Co-op had it in stock! I couldn't believe my eyes, they had both beautiful options, yellow cheddar, and white cheddar. And as I've mentioned before, often times when a product is brand new to the Co-op, it's on a new to the store type of sale/promotion, so that's when I can sometimes afford little treats that are not usually in my budget. As a side note, this was the same day when I couldn't afford the unfortunate cost of organic Brussels sprouts, it's kind of weird and sad when processed, boxed food is cheaper than a fresh veg. Anyway, to soothe my feelings over the sprouts, I grabbed a box while on sale.
Well, yesterday was just one of those days where I just couldn't be bothered to cook. I was emotionally drained from a lot of toxicity at work the previous night, and I needed comfort. Boxed mac and cheese to the rescue! It was super easy to make (duh) and while it wasn't quite the neon unnatural orange of the you know who brand, it still had the familiar, nostalgic hue. It was creamy, the powder packet mixed in beautifully with plant milk, and in my case coconut oil, as I don't have Earth balance buttery spread. When I still lived with my non-vegan boyfriend, I made lots of boxed mac and cheese for him as that was seriously something he liked to eat, almost exclusively. (his palate was something I have never witnessed. I've known children who are less picky.) Anyway, I remember quite a few brands, including Kraft, having issues with the powder mixing together without a few small clumps that just wouldn't mix. Not with this lovely vegan mac. It took almost no stirring effort to have a creamy bowl of childhood noodles. The sauce was a perfect consistency, and taste wise, it was delicious and cheesy. I don't know how they have mastered the art of the cheddar powder, but they have. Like the cheddar chips, and cheddar crackers, and cheddar popcorn this mac and cheese fills a void in the vegan community, and could easily satisfy any omnivore. And it is such great news for vegan kids. It's nice to sometimes be able to just "be one of the kids." And, it can show judgy non-vegan parents that vegans eat other things besides oatmeal, spirulina, and kale. All in all I can't say enough good things about this mac and cheese. It looks like the regular, not on sale cost will be $2.99 a box, which I've seen worse, but it is more expensive than it's non-vegan versions, so for me it will be a sometimes treat, but it will be in my splurge rotation for sure!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Organic Shaming

Since making the switch to veganism, I have discovered many blogs and YouTube channels that I love, and really have given me great information, recipes, and often a friend in my head. Especially at this point in my life, when I feel more isolated than I ever have in my life. Sometimes when I come home from a night filled with serving crap after crap food, it's a nice reminder that there are other vegans, and other people who care about more in life than drinking, smoking, gossiping, and hunting, followed by church on Sunday, followed by a Wal-Mart spree. That is what inspired me to start , and then restart my own blog, as a way to reach out to that community, and also I feel like just like certain blogs and people have helped me, maybe my words will help someone. Sometime a connection, however small is all someone needs to be pulled out of a funk. And right now this blog is sometimes my safe place to Hulk out and vent.
I have recently had to cut a couple of blogs out of my reading ritual due to the pressure and judgment surrounding organic food. I want to learn from blogs, and I certainly want to be encouraged to do what is best,  but I draw the line at being judged, because unfortunately I am in the minimum wage,(and as a server, way under minimum wage) sector of the pay scale, and in addition to that, I am the human mom to multiple felines who needed a home and food themselves. And I am not alone in my income bracket. And there are many people who are trying to raise a family on minimum wage, or not much above. So, all of a sudden these blogs I'm talking about have become that one friend you have who makes you feel bad about yourself in little passive aggressive ways, but you hold onto the friendship because "overall they're a good person". Well, I'm over it. I am for the first time in my life really treating myself well, and being my own friend, and I am over people attempting to make me feel bad, even if they don't mean it. I think anyone who is taking time out of their day to read vegan blogs, or even just healthy living blogs in general are trying to do what's best for the animals, earth and their bodies, so we don't need to be shamed if we can't afford 13.99 a pound for organic Brussels sprouts. Seriously I was at my local Co-op yesterday, and I really had a mad craving for roasted Brussels sprouts, but what's the point when you can only afford two sprouts?  Oh yeah, it's ridiculous. Two months ago I saw organic watermelons at the same Co-op for 15.99 a melon. I'm sorry but what the hell? Who can afford that? I feel like even if I could afford that, I would never pay 16.00 for a watermelon. I believe in supporting organic farming, but I also support healthy, toxic pesticide free food for everyone. So I won't mention the names of these blogs, because these are only my opinions, but I will say this, read things that make you feel good, and make you feel supported.
This was another unexpected organic rant, brought on by the price of those Brussels, and feeling bad that I couldn't afford them. It feels good to not have to also read how bad and cancerous it is to buy conventional if I want a damn Brussels sprout!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Small Step for Animalkind

Since I do so much ranting/venting on this blog, I do like to balance it out with little spurts of optimism. I guess that's how I manage my sanity, by seeking out the good in life, however small it might be. So this past weekend I was perusing my fave celeb gossip sights, and I read at least three different articles with different celebrity females going on and on about how great coconut oil is for the skin! One said she started using it during her pregnancy to avoid stretch marks, and it made her skin feel so amazing that she has continued to use it! I can't remember all the celebrities, but I know one was Kelly Roland from Destiny's Child! We live in a Celeb obsessed culture, and the fact of the matter is people look to celebs for advice, especially when it comes to fashion, and beauty. And the way I see it, we need to stop putting nasty chemicals on ourselves, and into the earth, and for me the number one reason is WE NEED TO STOP ANIMAL TESTING! But there is an obstacle blocking the way, the very high price of non-toxic lotions and potions is at the very least a turn off to people who, while maybe they can afford it, they aren't going to pay it when lotion A is what they grew up on, and much cheaper. And the very high cost is for many people just not even close to a possibility. So maybe, when someone reads something from a multi millionaire who can afford all of the most luxurious lotions and potions who says, "hey guys, I've tried all the best, and nothing beats pure old fashioned coconut oil", well people might listen more than say, coming from a vegan who has been accused of being a hippie once or twice in her day. I love it when I see signs like that that maybe we can change things for the better. Trends get started with one person's discovery, and the rest is trend magic. If we can steer the direction towards more natural products, everyone wins, and no one loses except for the evil, money hungry corporate thugs. I don't think anyone really wants animals to be used for testing, especially for cosmetics and lotions. But people are also selfish, and want to look and smell pretty, and also we live in a time when people are able to aggressively ignore the wrong doings of the world, so getting people onboard with these common, natural ingredients is a huge step in the right direction.
I see every mention of a natural product, any celeb talking of the joy of a vegan diet, even if only temporary, as animals being helped. While most of the time I feel pissed because it isn't enough, sometimes I have to remind myself that everything starts somewhere.
Power to the animals!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rice and Tofu Remix

Usually when I bake tofu, I marinate it in some type of soy sauce/sesame oil/ sriracha sauce type of marinade. Depending on what I'm using the tofu for, I might add a drop or two of liquid smoke. The point I'm trying to make is that I always flavor it in some way. The other day my stomach was feeling off, and I wanted to bake some tofu, but none of my usual flavors sounded good. So, I pre-heated the oven, put about a teaspoon of coconut oil on a baking sheet, put it in the oven to melt the oil, (about 30-45 seconds.) and then I sliced the tofu, sprinkled salt and pepper, and baked it for about 30-40 minutes at about 350 degrees, turning once, halfway through. I have to say it's a new fave. It would be great in sandwiches, especially breakfast sandwiches, if you stop baking after about 25 minutes or so, it really is a good substitute for an egg, texture wise. And the small amount of coconut oil adds a fatty richness that tofu lacks on its own. I think it's nice sometimes to have a less flavored baked tofu that you can flavor up however your recipe or imagination calls for.
Another awesome coconut oil tip I learned from The Vegan Zombie, which is one of my original finds on YouTube, and has remained one of my favorite channels. Anyway, I watched one of their more recent videos on how to make an awesome burrito, and I believe his name is Jon, (one of the vegan zombies) suggested stirring in a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil after you have cooked your rice. I was intrigued, and I happened to be having Bibimbap for dinner, which The Vegan Zombie is where I got my first recipe for Bibimbap,(it's so about the sauce!). So I stirred about a tablespoon of the oil, and it just makes the rice so luxurious I really can't explain, you have to try it. Unless you're oil free of course! I don't know if I can ever eat rice any other way now. I think brown rice especially sometimes needs a little help, a little boost, especially if it doesn't have some type of sauce. That's my opinion anyway. So thanks to those awesome Zombies for so many great recipes, and for giving plain old rice new life!
I am starting to look into various blogger tutorials offered online, so hopefully sometime in my lifetime this blog will improve, and I will be able to experiment with pretty pictures, and links, and all those other things other blogs have that mine doesn't. Lofty goals I tell you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To Be, or Not to Be Organic

I have been wanting to talk about the expense of organic food for awhile, and I always wimp out because I want to be part of the organic movement, and I try to buy as much organic as I can afford, but I certainly am not a member of the organic team. I was doing some research on this issue, you know since I can't post pics yet, I like to at least have accurate facts ha ha! What I first discovered were some of the reasons organic is more expensive, such as no chemicals=more labor, organic food grows more slowly, organic certification costs a lot of moolah, higher cost of fertilizer for organic crops, better living conditions for livestock, and that is just the top five, there are many more reasons. And of course I understand, but it doesn't stop me from feeling pissed off because I want all of my food to be organic, but it is just not in my budget.
I was really surprised that when I was reading up on this subject, there is a ton of judgment on both the pro organic, and why bother with organic sides of the fence. I didn't realize this, but there are people who believe organic is no better, gives no more nutrition, so you are throwing you're throwing your money away if you buy organic. I never thought organic food had more nutrients, I always thought the main issue was pesticides and other weird gmo type shenanigans. And the pro organic side feels that everything should be organic, and there is a sense of if you aren't willing to sell everything you own to buy organic, well, you just don't care about your health, anyone you love's health, and you certainly don't care about the health of the earth. I was shocked as I was reading these articles at the judgment. I can only imagine the judgment parents go through, I was a nanny and wow, the judgment some moms make on each other is pretty intense.
All the judgment got me thinking about an article I read way back in the day, I'm talking years and years ago, when  organic first started to become a "thing", and this article was encouraging consumers to keep buying organics, as that would help bring down the cost. Well, that hasn't happened yet. And as someone who used to have the luxury of farmer's markets as a way to save money, well those don't exist everywhere. And another kick ass, vegan , organic money saving heaven, Trader Joe's, well ditto. I wonder if instead of judging, we tried demanding a change in the cost if that would help, because the judgment is really just mean on both sides of the argument.
I don't know about where anyone else lives, but where I live there was not one time that a measly pint of organic blueberries was less than six dollars this past summer.  I did not have fresh blueberries this summer, I found a sale on organic frozen. I'm sure I would be judged on not buying local. Ha. Like a lot of people, I do the best that I can do. I try to stick to the dirty dozen/clean fifteen, buy from bulk bins, and go without certain fruit or veg that is not in my budget for that week. I am a firm believer in all natural all the time. I don't like chemicals or toxins anymore than the next person. But I also don't like feeling judged for my financial limitations. And I am very surprised to have found a lot of judgment in the vegan community about organics. Of course we want to promote organics, but we have to remember that we want to save animals. I would hate for someone who is interested in veganism be turned off because of the fear of an out of control food budget.
I do think organic is the best way, but until the cost becomes realistic, I have to be okay with doing my best to be as natural as possible. Hopefully people who are vegan, organic curious will do their own research, and not get scared off.

Monday, October 6, 2014


I am feeling very blue about the weather change. It's October, I can't live in denial anymore. Whether I like it or not, it's getting cold. I feel so bad for the stray kitties that I feed outside. I just see nothing but misery in the future, so I have been sitting in front of this screen for an hour, and nothing but whining is coming to my head.
So instead of whining, I'm going to give two little updates, one being a jojoba update, and one being a Robin update. Yesterday as I mentioned, I took a detox bath, and as I was out of ginger, I used miracle bath salts, baking soda, and about seven or eight drops of jojoba oil. I soaked and sweated for thirty minutes, and wow did I feel better afterwards. And I noticed right away, while I was in the bath how nice my skin felt. I don't always add baking soda to my detox bath, but I always notice my skin is softer when I do. And the jojoba oil didn't stay separated in the water, it seemed to mix right in. Needless to say I totally recommend dropping some jojoba oil in your next bath, especially if the temperature is starting to drop where you live.
Now onto Robin. He has adjusted beautifully to living indoors, and all of my kitties have adjusted to him. Only one has a real problem with him, and she is all hiss and no scratch. For the most part he pays no attention to me, other than the occasional look of disdain as I walk by. He does allow me the privilege of a few pets when it is mealtime. I assume he feels that he has to earn his keep, and pay the troll guarding the bridge, or in this case the wet food. He's going to really hate me as I have to make an appointment to get neutered, so we will have a whole new set of trust issues. Ha! I am so grateful that I am able to give Robin shelter, and I definitely made the right choice.
Now I hope maybe a chia seed elixir will help pull me out of this funk a little bit.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I'm into the Good, Pure Stuff Man

About three or so weeks ago I noticed a clearance bin at my local Co-op. I spotted a bottle of jojoba oil, and decided to give it a try. I didn't know much at the time, other than it's a common ingredient in lots of different lotions and potions, so it truly was an "impulse buy".  I did my nerdy duty and researched all the benefits of jojoba oil, and let me tell you, there are a lot of wonderful benefits.
Firstly, jojoba is an oil extracted from the seeds of an evergreen shrub. It is completely odorless, and they say tasteless, although  I didn't test that one out personally. It is amazing for skin care, as it is apparently it is very similar to skin oil, or sebum. It's thought that because it is so similar to our own skin, that when applied, it can trick the skin into thinking it is producing enough oil, which helps balance the skin. This is very beneficial to anyone suffering from acne, or very oily skin. Jojoba oil is also rich in natural fats which mimic the fats in the outer layer of our skin, so again, when applied it can help retain moisture. It can help soothe sunburnt skin, and also be used on lips to help with dryness! I even read that it can help with hair growth, as it helps unclog hair follicles, which promote hair growth. It can help condition dry hair also. And one of the coolest facts I learned is that it has a crazy long shelf life, like I'm talking years!
I first started using it on my very dry from dog washing hands, and I noticed a difference right away. Then, I put a few drops on my fingers and rubbed it into my scalp before washing with my no poo, and I had the shiniest hair ever! Seriously those hair shine serums, gels, and sprays have nothing on jojoba oil! For about a week now, I've been mixing a few drops of jojoba with a little coconut oil for my facial moisturizer, and I couldn't be happier with the results.
The temperature has dropped in the past two days, and usually my skin reacts in a very dry way to the temperature change, but I noticed this morning that my face showed no usual dryness. I'm only dry and shriveled on the inside now. Ha. I'm taking my detox bath today, and I plan on dropping a few drops in my bath, so all of my skin can benefit.
The brand that I bought was Desert Essence. I bought a four ounce bottle, and I can't recall the price, but like I said it was in a clearance bin. When I was researching the common price seemed to be around 5.99 to 6.99 for four ounces. From what I read, just make sure whatever brand you buy is pure jojoba oil, not mixed with anything else.
If you find coconut oil a little to heavy on your skin, you will probably love jojoba oil. It is extremely lightweight, and it absorbs so quickly and easily into your skin, and doesn't leave a residue. From everything I read, it is completely safe for sensitive skin, and allergies, but if you have any of those issues definitely proceed with caution, and check things out yourself, which of course everyone should do.
Another small comment about the price, this stuff will last you for a long time. A few drops goes far, so it is a beauty bargain.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Coconut Oil Can Save us All

As I've mentioned, I use coconut oil as my skin moisturizer. I have really noticed a huge improvement in the condition of my skin, especially compared to when I was using store bought, man made lotions.
When I bust out the coconut oil for cooking, or moisturizing, Dylan, the Daiya lover himself, is always going crazy begging for some coconut oil. He likes to lick it off my hand, or if I am ignoring him, he is not above licking my legs like a true addict!! At the grooming shop one of the owner's dogs also like to lick my legs. I never thought coconut oil would harm Dylan, or Eli, but I wasn't sure if it was beneficial either. I just figured it tastes good to them, cause coconut oil!
Well, apparently humans aren't the only people who benefit from all the wonderful fats we keep reading about. It makes so much sense now, because funnily enough, Dylan has always loved avocado too. Coconut oil can disinfect cuts on skin, and improve the cat or dog's skin and coat condition. It can also help deodorize your dogs coat!! From what I've read, most people mix it in with the pet's food, I'm hesitant to try that with Dylan, if he were a human child, his food would never be allowed to touch, but I put some in a little dish, and let him lap it up! He is getting older like all of us, so I have definitely noticed some differences in his skin getting a little drier, and he has developed a few sensitivities, so I am so happy to have discovered coconut oil. I even read that coconut oil can help your feline friends doggy or kitty breath! The fats in the oil are also good for our furry friend's brains just like us!
I am by no means a vet, or any kind of expert, I can only speak of what I have personally witnessed myself, and Dylan's skin and coat have improved greatly, and he loves it so I'm happy. And if you Google coconut oil for your furry friend, you will be amazed at some of the true stories out there.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You Don't Look A Day Over 99!

Today is my 100th post! It really does seem like yesterday, I think it has aged pretty well, must be all that coconut oil! ha ha. When I originally started this blog, I wanted to be like other blogs that I'm a fan of, and have awesome recipes, and beautiful pictures. Obviously that is not the direction things have gone. And for right now I'm okay with that. For right now, this blog has become a safe way for me to vent some of my pent up feelings, and as someone who has a long history of handling my emotions through self destructive behavior, this seems like a healthier outlet. And I always feel better after I blog, especially after some of the more ranting posts. It also feels good to work my brain in this way, looking up the spelling/meaning of certain words, and looking up info so I can sometimes give actual facts, reading my words, then erasing and starting over, it's all been way more invigorating to my brain than getting drunk and smoking cigarettes.
For me the most important thing is that I have stuck with it even though I feel so dorky that I can't even put a picture on my blog, and I just have so much to learn. I feel like I'm gaining more confidence through doing this, and it feels nice. It also feels nice the few times that someone has expressed interest in something I've said or suggested, because I get a lot of eye rolls and disinterested gazes most of the time when I talk.
I have been studying up on things I need to learn, but I have to be honest, it's going to take awhile, because I guess I'm on the slower end of picking computer speak up. I have been trying to spend some time each day learning and tinkering around.
For anyone who reads, or has read this blog, I really appreciate it, and I appreciate the fact that people are willing to read a very imperfect blog, with no beautiful pictures or recipes. I feel way to cashew cheesy for saying this, but here goes nothing, there has been many a day when I have tried so hard to have conversations with people, and all day I just feel like everything I say is either boring, or insane, and it feels lonely and weird, and when I see anyone has read my blog that day, it makes me feel a little less lonely.
I plan on writing at least 100 more, and improving each time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Stand by my Beliefs

Before making the best decision of my life and becoming a vegan, I was a vegetarian. I definitely got some flack over the years for being vegetarian, "more meat for me" and other such jokes straight from the Mensa society. A few times people got a little more aggressive than what I like, but for the most part I felt like I could co-exist and not disrupt the peace too much. At restaurants also, it's much easier to piece together a meal, and even the meatiest restaurants tend to have at least one measly vegetarian option, and I don't recall getting too many eye rolls from servers.
Once I became vegan, all bets were off, and I have had to defend my choices so many times I've lost count. And I had a customer at a bar I used to work at say he was surprised that I was a vegan since I wasn't thinner, I've had to explain to people that I'm not an expert on health, as I am an ethical vegan, I've had people drill me about whether I wear leather, and it goes on and on, as I'm sure almost any vegan has tons of stories. It's like somehow if you don't eat meat, but you still ingest some animal products, then you're still part of the crowd, you're just a little different from the rest. You are still a "safe" person to be around, and you can still let loose and party with the rest of the gang.
When you take the final step and phase out all animal products, well now you've done it. You have become an extreme radical, something to be feared by most, and challenged by the brave.
It does seem since veganism has become somewhat of a hot ticket health item, there is a little bit of a grey area, where if you're doctor, or even Dr. Oz tells you to cut out animal products, you get a little pass, because you still want those things, and might even occasionally sneak some in you're life. However if you make the choice because you truly feel animals have a right to live, well you are too radical for me. And it has always cracked me up because the number one stereotype that I hear about vegans is that we are self righteous, judgemental, confrontational, and we go on an on about tofu and animal rights. I don't know about other vegans, but in my experience, I have had more carnivores than I can remember challenge me on everything from the ethics of meat eating, to the lack of nutrients I'm obviously getting(even though I am in perfect health), I've had people practically demand that I prove I don't own leather, and I have had to hear every "meat is delicious" joke that one can hear before going crazy.
Becoming a vegan is one of the best choices I have made in a life filled with bad choices, and although I do go through phases where I am more of a silent vegan, because I can't handle it, I try to keep those phases short, because I am proud to be a vegan, and while I don't believe in forcing my views down anyone's throat, I don't believe in hiding from my beliefs either.