Friday, February 27, 2015


Today is going to be kind of another rant, but a good one. Maybe more of a blab fest ?Have you ever been living under a rock, and had the rock lifted, and after you're done squinting you just can't believe all that is out there? I feel like that happened for me with these simple quotes read during these yoga videos. They just really touched me, which led to me discovering The Four Agreements, which led to me learning about the author, Don Miguel Ruiz. How had I never heard of this book, or man? And this knowledge led me to wanting to learn more about Toltec teachings. I love feeling inspired, and I love learning new things, and new ways of dealing with this crazy thing called life. And honestly it has been a struggle dealing with some of the more toxic sides of life lately. When you spend so many years using an eating disorder as a way of coping, and then you switch to beer, and nicotine, it can be hard knowing what to do on your own. And my whole life I have been accused by EVERYONE of being too sensitive. I let people and their negative ways bring me down too often. I also take other peoples criticism to heart way too often, even when I know I shouldn't. I see how these issues have slowed down my journey in life. Anyway, dealing with the end of February and winters relentless wrath, I've been feeling very uninspired, and starting to feel very bland, and listless. I was having some thoughts on the darker side than I prefer, so this desire to learn more couldn't have come at a better time. It kind of just shows how none of us ever know how our words or actions can really make a powerful impact on someone else's life. And we all have nuggets of wisdom we can pass on to each other.
I'm hoping to make it to the library if the rumors are true that next week we might see temps in the twenties, and maybe thirties! (heat wave) In the meantime I plan on learning as much as I can find on the webz about this book, and the author. I also hope to be able to make it to Wegman's which has finally stocked their shelves with Chao vegan cheese! I have been reading the reviews, and hearing about all of the insanity, and stores selling out, and feeling like a vegan outsider. It took some effort to get it in the store, but I have a strong feeling it was worth it. It was stocked last week, but due to weather I wasn't able to get to Wegman's. (patience) I will be continuing to blab about The Four Agreements, and I have all my finger crossed, and all feline toes are crossed that I will be stuffing my face with some Chao cheese this weekend. I have read that Chao tastes good right out of the package, and that's what I'm most looking forward to! Cold, uncooked vegan cheese that isn't nut based? Who would have ever dreamed this day would come?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Timing is Everything!

So my patience got tested immediately after writing my last post. Like immediately, as I was trying to publish the post. All of a sudden I had no internet connection. My first thought of course was oopsie, where's the bill? I realized that the bill has been paid, so I'm fine there. In case anyone can't tell be the amateur vibe of my blog, I'm kind of a newb when it comes to technical parts of computers. My expertise is mostly with Google searches. (ha) So, after checking the few things I knew about, I started getting that frustrated, impatient feeling. I always stress when it's computer issues, and I have to have a human walk me through some issue over the phone. It's so embarrassing when they assume I know more than I do, and I have to ask them to dial it down a notch. So, instead of allowing myself to be reduced to tears as usual, I called Time Warner Cable, and it was a super simple fix. I just had to unplug, and plug in my router, and wireless adapter. It would have been such a waste of energy if I would have worked myself up. So, I had to make a choice, and I made a conscience choice to breathe, be rational, and be patient, both with myself and my little old computer.
I hope everyone is having a day filled with patience for yourself, and all other beings. And if you're like me and struggling with patience for this winter, all I can say is keep warm.

All we need is just a little Patience

Patience wasn't something that I was taught as a child, or was it practiced in my household. I've been making a conscience effort to work on developing patience with myself, and others. I'm starting to realize how much yoga is helping me. I don't know what's going on, but it seems like in the past month or so I've really been noticing a positive shift in my yoga practice. I have been working on some of these poses for what feels like years, just stuck at the same spot, not getting worse, but certainly not getting better. I have cursed, cried, and gotten pissed at whoever is teaching the class. I have gotten pissed at myself, and sworn that never would I ever try this that or the other pose again. I have said twists aren't my thang, hip openers aren't for everyone, and so on and so forth. But I do always go back. I always know that my irritation is all the more reason to keep trying. So last week I had a yoga breakthrough, and this morning I noticed my twists are getting way twistier, and poses that I still struggle with, I'm struggling less. I'm noticing improvement. It feels so amazing, and I realized that being patient with myself is what is leading to this progress. I have kept doing yoga, kept trying and I'm reaping the benefits. If I would have gotten pissed, and given up, as I have done with many other things, I would be an struggling, untwisty mess. By the way, twists are detoxifying so every time I feel myself twisting farther, I imagine I'm closer and closer to the happy, healthy place I want to be. It's a great visual. I hope to take my newfound knowledge, and desire of and for patience "off of the mat" as I hear a lot of yogi's say. Having patience seems to free up a lot of your mind for other, more positive thoughts. Being impatient leads to stress, and we all need less of that.
Something that I think kind of goes hand in paw with patience is not taking anything personally. One of my absolute favorite YouTube yoga channels is Fightmaster  Yoga, which is run(led?) by Lesley Fightmaster. At the end of her classes, when you are relaxing in your savasana,(final resting pose) she reads passages from some amazing books. The last few videos have been from a book called The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Miguel Ruiz. I must get my hands on this book. But the passages have been about how nothing, even someone calling you a name right to your face is personal. I look forward to these passages, they're very helpful, and I want to learn more. I feel like all of these things lead to being the most compassionate being you can be.
I'm going to stop here, I don't want to go on a babble-a-thon like I did yesterday.
"Progress, not Perfection".

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Taste the Rainbow

I feel like one of the greatest things about becoming a vegan is that I really stepped up my cooking game. I loved to cook delicious vegetarian food, but looking back I see how heavily I relied on cheese, and unhealthy faux meats like Morningstar.  I didn't worry so much about getting all of my nutrients and anti-oxidants and super this from food. I would take a multiple vitamin, along with several other supplements and call it a day. I also was drinking things like vitamin water, and other strange concoctions brimming with "vitamins". Seriously, I cringe. But, when I went vegan I had to learn some things, and get creative. The delicious vegan convenience foods are a splurge for me, not a staple. So, as a cheese lover I had to find ways to create that taste. Daiya was not even in existence when I first made the leap, so I really struggled! While scouring cookbooks and magazines for recipes and tips, I picked up some important tips along the way, such as making sure to get enough vitamin d, and B12. This piqued my interest, which just led to more and more research, which led to researching the world wide interwebz, and eventually here right now. Still learning, but I'm done with the vitamin water, and I am done with taking a multi-vitamin.
It seemed the more research I did, the more I came to the conclusion that vegan, vegetarian, even meat eaters should be getting the majority of our vitamins and minerals from actual food. Not supplemented food, like vitamin c added to coco puffs, but vitamin c from a natural source. I was doing some reading up on this subject yesterday and the world of vitamins and supplements is seedy, shady, and in many cases full of false promises. One super scary fact I learned is that the RDA recommendations on the back of foods is from 1968. Yes, they are telling us what we need, and what percentages are in foods based on information from 1968. A lot has changed, and a lot of new information has come around since then. It's pretty scary.
What I notice is a lot of people eat unhealthily, and take tons of vitamins and supplements thinking, okay got my greens, now I can eat brown food all day.  A lot of food companies fortify their crappy foods with vitamins and minerals and sell it as healthy, and unfortunately millions of people believe it on a daily basis. And it's pretty scary because in America especially we have a more is more attitude, so for some people who are eating somewhat healthy, and then also taking supplements and drinking vitamin drinks it can be a disaster. Some vitamins have adverse health effects if too much is taken. Like beta carotene. Did you know too much can lead to lung cancer?  Another one I learned yesterday. We as woman, especially vegan woman are getting calcium pushed in our face at all times. Well, we do need calcium of course, but too much can lead to heart disease! That is scary because I know quite a few women who drink milk, and pop those chocolate calcium chews like they're candy. Think about households where milk and fortified with calcium orange juice are on regular drinking rotations.
For me personally, I take a pro-biotic, and an omega supplement, like flax. I do drink kombucha, so I could probably not take the pill form, and I have been trying to eat hempseeds and or chia seeds daily so I can wean the capsules out. I choose to trust that I'm getting what else I need from my food. I haven't been to a doctor in like eons, so I have to go with how I feel which is healthy, and strong. I feel healthier than I ever did when I was taking this vitamin, and that this and the other.
If you do take any supplements, make sure you are getting them from a trusted brand. For all of my frugal ways, vitamins are one area not to go store brand. Vitamins and supplements are not regulated in the U.S. so it's a free for all of scamation. There are tons of articles busting companies for their lies. I think I read my first article exposing these lies in the late nineties, so for whatever reason we just don't care enough to stop buying this stuff. So if you do buy vitamins, buy from a store that you trust. There are tons of websites with specific name brands that have been proven to be what they say they are. I myself look for Now Foods, Nature's Way, and one of my faves, Spectrum. I've been taking their flaxseed oil supplements for years.
I feel very strongly that while none of us are perfect, if we are preparing and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with our preferably vegan grains, and proteins, we're getting what we need. Our bodies tell us when we need more of  something, if we pay attention. I think as a general diet, or health rule eating the rainbow makes the most sense. Things started getting weird when we started moving away from treating food as nourishment, and we decided to treat it almost as entertainment, and consider what our bodies actually  need after the fact.
This was much longer winded than I meant! I could write a book about my strong feelings surrounding poor nutrition. It is so frustrating! Healthy people are happier people, simple fact. It's super hard to be super peppy when you ache with pain, and your body is a toxic cesspool. I just wonder how things could change if we all started caring, and feeling better, and paying attention to what goes into our bodies. You can be blooming with health, and you don't have to eat wheatgrass or spirulina!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm Green with Pesto

This week is what I like to call a creative cooking week. My human food budget was a little tighter, so creativity is a must. I don't really mind, some of my best tasting dishes have come by throwing what I have together, adding some seasoning, and calling it a dish.  And I can never recreate it because I don't write anything down. Well, thanks to having a blog, I'm slowly getting better about taking kitchen notes. I wanted pasta yesterday, and I had some odds and ends of some fancy olives from the olive bar, some kale, and my precious, pricey hempseeds. Could I blend these things into a chunky, hearty pesto? The answer is yes, with the help of some garlic, nutritional yeast, and seasoning. The result is a hearty, winter like pesto. Perfect for whole wheat pasta, or hearty grains like faro, or barley. It would make a great pizza sauce. It would be delicious drizzled over some roasted vegetables. It would be great slathered on a toasted baguette. What I'm trying to say is, this pesto is super delicious! I love it when I accidently make something so delicious, and I love it more when I pull it out of my arse.  Eating healthy, and super satisfying vegan food can be a simple as throwing a few scraps together, boiling some noodles, and feeding your face.
I'm sure this would work with any hearty greens like collards, or chard. It would also work with spinach of course. If you do make this, I recommend making it in the morning, or even the night before you're going to use it. The longer the garlic and olives mingle together, the better. And the great news is that kale doesn't oxidize and turn brownish the way basil does. The recipe I made yields about a cup and a half of pesto.

                                                          Kale and Hempseed Pesto

                                                            1 cup chopped kale
                                                           15 lg. mixed olives (Kalamata, olive stuffed, green)
                                                             2 minced garlic cloves
                                                             2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
                                                              2 Tbsp. hempseeds
                                                               2 Tbsp. olive oil
                                                               Juice of half a lemon
                                                               S& P to taste
                                                               1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

 I made mine in my blender, so I started with a little less than 1/4 cup of water, to get everything moving and grooving. If you have a food processor, just keep pulsing, and scraping the sides down till it's the texture of a chunky sauce. You might need to add more oil or water, a little at a time to make it all come together. If using a blender, start with the small amount of water, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend at a pretty high speed, (I used the smoothie setting on my blender) until you have a sauce. the texture is kind of up to you. I made mine smooth, with a little chunkage in there. You could make it smoother if you wanted to use this a more of a dipping/ drizzling sauce.
It really is tasty, and a good way to sneak greens in. The  olives, lemon and garlic are really the stars of this sauce, the kale really is there for color, and of course nutrition. This is my first time making a pesto with hempseeds, and I will use them again. The hempseeds combined with the nutritional yeast  make the pesto so rich and cheesey you don't really need a ton of oil. I mixed this pesto with some whole wheat fettuccini noodles, and it was so satisfying. So many winter meals are so heavy. This was hearty, and satisfied that winter craving, but it wasn't heavy like a casserole. I'm super glad I wrote this recipe down!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Hulk of Teas

I used to be a hardcore caffeine addict. I started sneaking coffee from my  mom's coffee pot  when I was twelve years old. As an adult, my coffee addiction only grew. When Red Bull hit the scene, I was all in. At one point of my life, I was a barista by day, cocktail server by night. So I would drink coffee all morning, and slam at least two or three red bull to get me through the night shift. Super healthy, right?
About seven or eight years ago, I decided to say bye, bye, bye to coffee, and switch to green tea, and or yerba mate. While both of these do still have caffeine, I don't feel a slave to the caffeine the way I did with coffee. And I can easily start my  day without tea and not get a crippling headache.
I've experimented with so many different teas throughout the years, and within the last year or so I discovered Matcha green tea powder. Matcha is a high quality green tea ground into a fine powder. You whisk it with warm water, and it becomes this frothy, delicious green tea. Once you've made the tea, you can blend it in the blender for thirty seconds with a splash of your favorite plant milk for a perfect Matcha latte.
The health benefits are abundant. Matcha has vitamin c, selenium, and magnesium. Chlorophyll gives it it's rich green color. Chlorophyll is a super hulk of a detoxifier. It helps remove chemicals, and heavy metals from our bodies. It also has vitamin A, various amino acids, and even fiber!
I buy The Republic of Tea u matcha natural powder. It's a splurge for sure, but it lasts a very long time. I use no more than half a teaspoon per cup. In the winter I enjoy it warm, latte style, and in the summer it makes great iced tea. I make big pots of ice tea combining matcha, and hibiscus tea. Yum. Will I ever drink ice tea again? Anyway, if you haven't already, try adding matcha to your tea routine. I feel like I'm giving my body the good stuff.
I forgot to mention, if you find matcha a little too earthy, add a half teaspoon to your smoothies. You won't know it's there, but your body will!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sippin on Seeds and Juice

Wow, I just made what I thought was going to be a strange tasting juice, but it is actually delicious! I made carrot, grapefruit, and ginger juice right in my blender. I added enough water at the bottom of the blender to get it going, three large ruby red grapefruits, and about an inch of ginger. I blended for under a minute, strained through a mesh strainer, and bam! Liquid sunshine! I don't know about anyone else, but oranges have been pretty pricey this year in my neck of the woods. This week my grocery had a sale on grapefruit, which led to this delicious, sunny juice. Carrot, orange ginger has always been one of my favorite juice blends, and I am happy to report that grapefruit is a great substitute citrus! The grapefruit and ginger do overpower the carrot, so next time I might try two carrots. It is a really beautiful color too. It's that orangey pink that you see around sunset on a beautiful summer night.(manifesting)
Winter is not giving up at all, so I've armed myself with an eight pound bag of ruby red grapefruit, and a bag of hempseeds.(my splurge) Hempseeds are pricey little seeds, as are all foods considered to be of the "super" variety. But I know that like Chia and flaxseed, hempseeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are  important for your brain. when I make my Chia "elixir" which is just a tablespoon of Chia seeds, the juice of one lemon, and 16 oz. of water, I always feel a little healthier, and happier. I have tested it out multiple times, and without fail it is a mood lifter. If your feeling winter funky, I really recommend trying this drink. I try to remember to make this for myself at least twice a week. And although I love the health benefits of a big glass of green juice, nothing makes me feel zippier than a big glass of fresh squeezed citrus juice. The ginger and carrot are just an added bonus. Ginger wakes up your sinuses before you've even taken a sip. Bonus if you have kitties who like to bug you in the kitchen like I do. It's like kitty  karma, as cats hate the smell of citrus. They scrunch their little noses and squint their eyes, and leave the room in disgust. It's pretty funny, and just adds to the overall experience.
If you're dealing with the wrath of winter, stay warm, and drink juice!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

These are the Moments of our Lives

I learned an important lesson yesterday that I thought I would share. My day was overall pretty craptastic. Winter rages on, toxic co-workers and even more toxic customers. But, yet today I feel much lighter than I did yesterday, and I credit my yoga practice yesterday. I've been practicing yoga for years, so yesterday achieving this pose that for years has been out of my reach really meant something to me. You see, I was really starting to feel discouraged about many things in my life, and feeling like I was fighting a useless battle. But that one little pose shifted my thinking, and I now feel like not only am I coming over that hill, but I will continue the journey. Watching all of these unhappy, unhealthy people last night just pushed me towards the light. I don't want to be them, I want to be happy, and healthy, and there are a million more yoga poses to master.
The lesson I learned is to hold on to those moments in your day that are amazing, if you hold on tight enough, they will help you battle the rest of your day. And nothing can take those moments from you, they are yours. Sometimes things happen so quickly, it's easy to forget about them, or just disregard them. I think it comes down to making a choice to focus on the good. I had a table last night at work that was so rude, and high maintenance I gag just thinking about it, and the worst part is they tipped four dollars an a forty five dollar bill. Weak. I work at a private club, so it wasn't like this was some hungry couple who were super nice, but short on cash. These are people who made a choice to be terrible, and then tip under ten percent. Usually I would have been more upset, but as Taylor Swift sings, I was able to "shake it off". I thought of how miserable they must be to be so nasty, and just chose to not let them ruin my yoga high.
Progress, not perfection!

Friday, February 20, 2015

More than Zero

I just finished yoga, and I accomplished a pose(posture?) that I have struggled with, to the point where I wondered if it would ever be in my rotation. It's a strong core/balance pose, and like I said it's a tough one. I find balancing poses to be hard especially when I'm a little down, or have things on my mind. When I realized I was not only doing it, but doing it with ease, I broke out into a big, hey it's eighty degrees and sunny smile, in spite of myself! I was feeling so defeated earlier about so many things, but now I see that I have come far. That little moment of joy meant so much, and came at a time when it was so desperately needed! Change the things I can. I can't change the weather, but I can change my attitude. And I can keep reminding myself that being loving to myself, and taking care of myself does matter, and I am improving, even if I forget to notice for awhile.
I'm high on the buzz of that unexpected feeling. I'm still getting used to accomplishing more than pounding x amount of beers, and I gotta say I like it. I like to share the good and the bad. Balance.
Stay warm, and do some yoga!

Less than Zero

I've been sitting here for two hours now, and had written a whole post, and I just sat here and deleted every last word. The truth is I am in a full blown winter funk. I can't remember the last time it's been in the double digits, and yesterday school was cancelled not because of snow, but cold temps. It's pretty bad when the schools close, because let me tell you the local yokels are pretty tough. For the most part, the teens here wear hoodies year round. Not winter coats, but hoodies. I say you are a bad ass, if you wear a hoodie in single digit temps. And everyone here has a story of the winter of insert year here. What I'm saying is, it's been brutal here.
I read a blog this morning reveling in the first signs of spring. The blogger in question is in California, so of course there were beautiful sunny pics to back up the claims. I actually cried, and felt irritated with this person. I think jealousy is more what I was feeling. I'm usually able to be happier and more positive towards people and their joy, but I guess I struggle when it comes to weather.
I truly am trying to keep my whining to a minimum, but I also have to be true to my feelings, and what I'm going through. I don't feel right painting a rosy picture when the paintbrush is dry. I love my kitties, and my life wouldn't be the same without them, but I do miss the days of being totally alone, I wouldn't even be here now. So, this week has been a week of struggle for me. I feel like keeping myself full of positive thoughts has been almost impossible. The bitter wind chills have definitely upped the feelings of isolation.
I fought myself on writing another whiny weather post. But at some point I do have to go to work, and this is how I feel today. Anything else feels false, and inauthentic. And I can't imagine I;m the only one in a winter funk, dreaming of spring.
Stay warm and cozy, and apparently at some point it will become spring.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snack Attack

Another company that is nailing it in the vegan snack department is Beanfields. I think their ranch beans and rice chips are if not my all time favorite snack, at least in the top three. The chips have a hearty texture that I love, and the flavor is better than any chip I've had. They aren't super greasy, but also don't taste super healthy either. You feel like you're having a chip. They have several flavors, I haven't tried them all, because I can only find them at the Co-op, and since I don't go there often, I like to stick to what I love, which is the ranch. Well, on my last trip to the Co-op, I had a coupon for something off of two bags, so I forced myself to not buy two bags of ranch. It was super hard by the way. For my second flavor, I chose salt & pepper. I would like to report that while not as in your face delicious as the ranch chips, the salt & pepper satisfied the cravings for chips and dip. These chips were the perfect vehicle for some Kalamata olive hummus I had floating around. They weren't in your face peppery, just a nice salty chip with a little bit of a pepper kick. They are sturdy enough to stand up to even a thick hummus. I would serve these chips to any vegan skeptics in a heartbeat, and watch the shock. All of Beanfields  chips are vegan, gluten free, kosher, and corn free. A serving of these chips has 4g. of fiber, and 4 g. of protein! I don't like super greasy, super chemically chips, but I also don't want to eat a rice cake. I feel Beanfields walks that line perfectly in between total junk, and total healthy super food.
If you like snacking, and you haven't tried these chips yet, I suggest adding these to your must try list. It's another great vegan company making really tasty, quality products. When I eat these chips, I feel like I'm eating a quality product by a company who cares about what they are putting out there, and I feel like they are making the world a better place for us vegans, and ultimately the animals.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Super Chocolate!

I was at Wegman's about a month or so ago, and this beautiful box of chocolate caught my eye. It said peanut, strawberry, baobab in dark chocolate. I first checked to see if it was vegan, (yes) and decided I couldn't not try this. Any company who makes such a bright, beautiful package has to make delicious chocolate, as far as I'm concerned. I figured I'd find out what a baobab is later.
Fast forward to last night, when a mad chocolate craving took over my body. What I like about this chocolate is that inside the beautiful box, there are three individually wrapped 1 oz. bars. I;m a fan of individual wrapping. The chocolate is rich and smooth, smoother than many other dark chocolates I've had. I loved that it had tender pieces of dried strawberry, not the almost crispy dehydrated berries. And the peanuts were chopped, and added a nice texture. I had to research baobab, which I found out is a common name for a tree in Africa, and Australia. It produces a fruit that is apparently very high in all things anti-oxidant, and super foodie. According to the baobab website, it's the queen of the super foods. From what I read, it seems like it is dried and used in powder form for the most part. It apparently has a somewhat tart taste, almost like grapefruit. Honestly, I did not taste anything tart in this chocolate, so I can't speak yay or nay on the baobab. But I can say all the yay's to this chocolate. The name of the bar is j coco, made by Seattle Chocolates. I can't remember exactly what I paid for this, but I know it was pricey, over five dollars. (It was my splurge) But I will splurge on this again, without a doubt. Every part of this bar is a treat, it is beautiful, the wrapping of the individual bars is adorable, the taste is out of this world, and I got to eat a super food?  This is the kind of chocolate you want if you've had a bad day. Whoever made this chocolate is very thoughtful, and it shows. I enjoyed milk chocolate in my pregan days, so I really appreciate when I can find dark chocolate that is smooth, and somewhat creamy. If you ever see this chocolate at your grocery, try it, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lean Back

A few weeks ago, I watched a video on one of my favorite YouTube channels, Fit on Raw. In the video, she was giving some very sound reasons why she isn't really following the Raw till 4 diet anymore. I commented on the video, specifically one of her reasons, and multiple times a week I get notices letting me know people agree with what I said. Since that happens so rarely, I thought I would talk about it more! Swayze ( Fit on Raw) was saying that one of the reasons she stopped following Raw till 4 was an unhealthy obsession with being thin. I simply agreed in my comment, but given the amount of people who seem to agree, I thought I would go a little more in on the topic here. I have been somewhat interested in the Raw lifestyle, and I've flirted with the idea, but it just seems like too much, in lots of ways. I stumbled across the Raw till 4 lifestyle last spring,  in one of those strange YouTube vortexes that happen. I was looking to make some changes, and for sure drop a few ponds along the way. I watched a couple of videos from Freelee the banana girl, who is so passionate about the lifestyle, it seemed meant to be. The weather was warming up, and after such a long cold winter, eating all that fruit was awesome! And, if you've ever watched her videos, she really recommends packing in the carbs! She eats a lot, is what I'm trying to say. I tried my best to follow it, but I realized a few problems. One, it was hard to afford, and two, I couldn't "smash in the carbs" as much as was recommended. I modified it slightly to better meet my needs, and continued to be an avid follower. After a good four or five months, I was nowhere as lean as I would have thought, and I really started to feel bad. It was stressing me out, and some of the videos directed at people who weren't getting lean were downright mean. I was losing interest real fast. I spent too many years of my life hating everything about the way I looked, including my body, and as a result have many emotional and some physical scars. In fact, feeling bad about myself, and abusing myself were what started my whole journey towards health and healing to begin with! Once the temps started cooling down, I ditched Raw till 4, and I have unsubscribed to most Raw till 4 advocates. It's a shame, because I do think all of us need to consume more raw food, and obviously obesity is an ongoing health issue, or epidemic as some would say. I just feel that vegan or not, no one will stick to any kind of plan, or lifestyle that is making them feel bad. Most people look to make changes that are positive, and make them feel groovy. And it's just one more way that vegans look super judgmental, and very exclusive. As a vegan, I feel excluded from certain vegan lifestyles. I don't like that, and I don't like people making other people feel bad for their weight. We are all on a journey. Maybe being super lean, or thin isn't for all of us. There are different body types, and shapes, thank gourd. Think of how boring life would be if we all looked, and thought alike. Food is nourishment, end of story. I believe it nourishes our body, and our soul. I personally don't feel nourished drinking a freezing ass smoothie on a day that is almost below zero. If it means I'm not going to be supper ripped, or lean, so be it.
I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it. Being vegan, or plant based is at the end of the day very simple. It's us humans who have to take everything and make it as complicated, and difficult as possible. It's super easy to get all the nutrients you need and not eat animal products. The possibilities are endless Raw, paleo, high carb, junk food, all organic, all super food all the time, or any kind of combination. Some do it for the animals, some the environment, some for vanity or trends sake. I love it all, I just don't want the true message of veganism to get lost in all of the body shaming.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Free the Teat!

In my pregan days, I was never a big milk drinker. I always thought the texture was weird, and it just didn't do much for me. It was something you put in cereal, and used for cooking. So when I went full on vegan, a milk substitute was the least of my worries. Soy and rice milk were the main plant milks available at most grocery stores. Some stores like Whole Foods were starting to have some nut milks, but they were way more expensive than soy and rice. Now, there are so many, even in my vegan hostile neck of the woods. And I see more and more people buying plant milk. I guess people are starting to take lactose intolerance seriously.
I just wanted to write about a new to me nut milk. Cashew milk! I know you can make your own, but up until a few weeks ago I didn't know you could buy it! I noticed it with all the shelf stable milks at the Co-op. It's made by So Delicious (so of course) and it was on sale, so it was meant to be. The Co-op where I live had plain unsweetened, and vanilla. I got plain, unsweetened as I always do, and it might be my new favorite. My old favorite was So Delicious plain unsweetened coconut milk. So I'm keeping my love in the family! I like the cashew milk because it has that super velvety texture we've all come to love cashews for. And it has the faintest hint of sweetness, as cashews do. I have been making Matcha lattes, and the cashew milk is perfect. It also is the perfect consistency for home-made mac and cheese, and also a little dash makes smoothies a little more decadent. It's always nice to experiment with new plant milks, and I love how it seems like they're making milk out of everything, and doing it well!(except rice) I think the Cashew milk is available only in the 32 oz. shelf stable box, so look for it on the shelves at your grocery!
If you are like me and dealing with the really ugly part of February, please stay safe and warm, and keep your fur friends warm and cozy too.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I had a very nice experience yesterday at the grocery and it also ended with me learning something, so I thought I would share. I was perusing the shelves, and I saw a couple looking at gluten free pastas, and they were clearly beyond confused. I wanted to offer help, but at first I was too shy, thinking I should just mind my own business. I started walking away, then I just went for it. I asked them if they would like some advice, and I thought they were going to hug me! So, I gave them my opinion, and they went on to explain that their daughter who is a college student, and athlete is dealing with some food allergies/sensitivities. I  introduced them to daiya, as dairy is something she is avoiding. They were so open to vegan options, and were sponges. It felt so great, as I am used to boring people when I talk about food and nutrition. I was also able to suggest a few vegan websites and YouTube channels that deal with food sensitivities, and of course veganism. I feel the two go hand and hand. I truly feel like even if I didn't love animals the way I do, I would still be a vegan just for the love of myself, and my health. And I have to wonder about food sensitivities and animal products. It's not like factory farms are known for being sanitary, ethical, or humane. And I doubt they feed the animals top of the line anything. I've read some pretty scary stuff about what they do feed the animals. You are what you eat eats. It was wonderful, because I helped them, and they helped me! They needed information, and I needed to feel useful, helpful I guess. I wanted to talk for hours! I forgot how much I love to talk about veganism, and food, and how vegan food is beyond delicious, and how you can truly heal yourself through food. The lesson I learned is don't be afraid to talk to strangers. We are so in our own little worlds, with our faces glued to our phones, we barely are having any interaction with the people we know, let alone talking to new people. It felt nice, and I genuinely feel like I helped them, and possibly their daughter. It was a positive exchange of energy, and I loved it! And I also felt like I was able to promote if not veganism, at least quite a few vegan foods, yogurts, cheeses, etc. into the conversation. WIN.
On a different, but still groovy vegan note, I noticed Boca, and Morningstar Farms had a few new vegan items added to their frozen line. Morningstar had a roasted garlic and quinoa burger, and little veggie nuggets, made with cannellini beans, quinoa, and of course vegetables. Boca had little "chicken " sliders. Clearly both companies have gotten requests, and the demand was high enough that they listened. ANOTHER WIN!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Little Rays of Hope

I've done my fair share of complaining this week about some vegans reactions to Beyoncé's meal service, so I thought I would end the week on a high note, and talk about some positive happenings in the vegan world. First off, while watching The Young Turks, I heard a discussion between three meat eaters who all agreed that the best thing for their health, animals health, and the earth would be to go vegetarian, or vegan. It made me really realize we are making progress, even if it's not as fast as we would like. It wasn't too long ago when anyone talking of going veg, or vegan would be the set-up to a punch line. They all seemed to blame their dietary choices on a) a love of fast food b) being familiar with meat, and not being sure how to make the change c) they didn't seem ready to make the commitment yet, maybe even a little fearful. That is all totally understandable. Being vegetarian or vegan is a commitment for sure. And at first it is a little daunting. I remember when I first went vegan, I couldn't believe the extra time on my grocery trips, reading all the labels. It's a lot to take on at first, especially if you also have family, partner, friend resistance. As more and more information is being put out there about the hell of factory farms, even people who aren't hardcore animal lovers are realizing there is a serious problem. So, I feel hope, because you have to start somewhere, so as non-vegans allow the thought of going vegan to enter their minds, it can become a reality. Some people go cold turkey, others it takes awhile. But there is a shift, I feel it. I've been feeling the shift for awhile, in little ways. We seem to be less of a target for a quick laugh. And to me, that is a big deal.
It's so easy to get discouraged, and feel like we're not making enough of a difference, and it's so easy to get into arguments over how vegan someone really is, but what matters is making a difference for animals. And I believe that despite of ourselves, we are getting somewhere.
If Valentine's day is you thang, I hope you have a great one filled with love, and even if you don't have a sweetie, I hope you do something loving for yourself.
I'll end with an another appropriate yogi teabag quote- "You are unlimited"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Back to Basics

Wow, there are a lot of vegan diets out there! And a lot of vegan opinions. When I went vegan, I did not own a computer, and had little interest in the world of the webz. I think it made going vegan easier. I just simply cut out all animal products out of my life. It was super simple, other than the extra time reading labels. I did notice that I felt better almost instantly, I felt lighter. I didn't really question it, I chalked it up to feeling lighter on the inside, my soul felt lighter. It was almost a high at first. I probably drove some people insane, because I just wanted to spread the word of how amazing I felt. I never questioned was it healthy, what about protein, or anything of the sort. And my response when people questioned such silly things was, and still is " do I look like I'm malnourished, or lacking in any way?" It was easy, peasy, no muss, no fuss. I want to continue to spread that vegan message. Since I'm looking into tweaking my diet a little to help fight the blues, I've come to realize that wow, sometimes there is such a thing as too much information. More than too much, more like too much conflicting information. Should I eat lots of protein? High fat, no fat. All carbs, no carbs. Raw, Raw till 4, all fruit, no fruit. Organic, to juice, or not to juice. And it just goes on and on and on. I think choices are great, and of course we need information to educate ourselves. But even as a seasoned vegan, when I start looking into foods to heal myself, it can get so overwhelming, not to mention depressing, as some miracle "super foods" will probably never fly into my mouth, due to the ridiculous cost. So I can only imagine how it must feel to someone who is vegan curious. I'm sure overwhelming would be a good place to start. I think it's great that there is so much information, and the fact that within the vegan diet, there are a million and one different diets, or "lifestyles". It goes to show that a vegan diet is not limited, and choice less, quite the opposite. I just also want the message to be out there that it is a very simple choice to go vegan. It doesn't take years of planning, and taking out a loan so you can stock up on raw, organic produce, and superfoods. In the grand scale of foods to eat, animal products are greatly outnumbered by all the different plant foods. I'm not a doctor, and I know everyone is different, and there are conditions and illnesses, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that for the majority of us eating a vegan diet is super easy, no special super foods required.
Between Beyoncé-gate, and realizing how vicious some vegans get if you question their dietary choices, or how shaming some can be if you don't adhere to an all organic diet, it's been a little bit of a letdown to say the least. I just want to put my two cents in and remind everyone that we are fighting to spread the message that you don't have to eat animals to live, and enjoy food. And we want to spread a message of compassion, which is pretty hard to do when we're ripping each other apart, and in some cases name calling! We want people to know that you can easily cut meat out of your diet, you don't have to be a slave to the kitchen, and you don't have to take on a second or third job to afford food. And most importantly, we eat a lot more than wheatgrass!
I've decided I'm going back to the basics, I'm just going to be vegan. I may follow principles of Raw till 4 for example, but I won't identify as anything other than vegan. My love of animals is and always will be what lead me to veganism, and I don't want all of the other noise to silence that fact.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Full of Quotes

I woke up to the news that Jon Stewart is stepping down from The Daily Show. Nooooo!! It's truly the end of an era. So many feelings wrapped up in that show. I know the show will go on, and I'm sure his replacement will be amazing, but Jon Stewart! I've loved Jon Stewart since his stand-up comedy days. I think he made the news, and politics interesting to a lot of people who otherwise really couldn't be bothered. And, unlike conservative media(Fox News) he was able to make his points in a calm, concise, intelligent manner. And he was able to hold his own against various conservatives, and just calmly, humbly, simply outsmart them.  I wish I could shadow him for a month, and learn from him. So many of these 24 hour news channels have hosts that yell, and bully, and are just downright nasty to anyone who doesn't share exactly their viewpoints that I just can't handle it. I'm sure somewhere the Fox News channel is used as torture. Imagine listening to Sean Hannity, or any of the Fox News and friends over and over. Zoinks. I'm going to quote the all knowing Dr. Seuss on this one. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
Speaking of quotes, my yogi teabag this morning told me very simply to "Keep up". It's funny how sometimes these little teabags really tell me what I need to hear. I have had a rough week or two, Monday really kind of being the last straw. I feel like I've hit a plateau on my journey to happiness. Although I'm not doing anything to sabotage myself, for the last few days I haven't really been pushing myself either. This little teabag reminded me that I need to keep pushing myself. I have many things going against me, so I have to be extra vigilant. It's been at least three or four days since I've written in my journal. I just am struggling. I feel like I'm at that halfway point, where I can either keep going, or give up. I don't want to give up, so I have to push myself all the harder. Today I'm going to think of a little game plan, some kind of tweak to bump up my zest for leading a loving, healthy life. I'm learning it's okay to take a breather after life punches you, but you have to brush yourself off and get back up. I hope to come up with some little tweaks here and there to my diet that will boost my brain a little bit. Looking for foods such as Millet that have high serotonin levels, that kind of thing. I have a Macrobiotic cookbook that I'm also going o look through. Anything to promote harmony and balance to my body. Part of the serenity prayer comes to mind, "accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can" or something like that. My point is I want to work and focus on the things I can change in my life at this moment. I will of course blab about what I learn, cause I'm generous like that.
I'm going to end on a Jon Stewart quote... "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Just Breathe

Something I'm trying to work on is giving myself a pat on the back every once in awhile. It feels strange, and it's definitely not a habit I'm used to. I'm more used to kicking my own ass.
Yesterday I truly had a day that would make most people want to jump off of a bridge. From my first errand, through my last errand it was just one disaster after another. I'm talking missed busses, boots breaking, much walking through ice and snow in said broken boots. I had to deal with a SUPER rude bank teller. It was truly a day where you really question what the hell is going on. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, and inconsolable.
The old me would have handled my frazzled nerves by either bingeing and purging, drinking way too much, and smoking tons of cigarettes.(At the very least) And when I got home I had that wild need for anything to distract, or make those feelings of sheer frustration go away. But instead, I pet some kitties, fed some kitties, took some deep breaths, and just calmed myself down. And I survived! The me of even a year ago would have smoke many cigs trying to calm my nerves. Which is crazy, cause cigs are full of stimulants!
I think a lot of us focus too much on what we need to do, change, fix, accomplish. It's great to be a constant work in progress, but we have to take that time to notice how far we've come. We try to show positivity towards other people, and compliment, encourage, high five, but what about ourselves? I guess I'm learning that to be my own best friend, I have to actually be my own best friend. One thing yoga has taught me is breathe through the discomfort. So high fiving myself feels weird, and uncomfortable, but I'm breathing through it, and one day it won't feel uncomfortable.
High five, from my hand to yours!

Not Just For the Birds

Yesterday I sloshed and trudged my way to the Co-op to bulk up. I was hoping they would have Field Roast's new vegan Chao cheese, but not quite yet. All in all it was a good trip, and I was able to get my hand on what I think is an underappreciated grain. I'm talking about the main ingredient in birdseed, millet. It looks like couscous, but this is a grain, and it's gluten free. I know that millet can be prepared like quinoa, and served as a fluffy side, or mixed into a salad. I have never prepared it that way, I always use it for a creaminess factor in soups! It breaks down, and becomes creamy. It also makes a great breakfast porridge. Millet is very inexpensive. It's like ninety-nine cents a pound in the bulk bins at the Co-op, for organic. Millet will help your life in many ways. It hydrates the colon, preventing constipation. It is alkalizing to the body, and it's high in serotonin. It has minerals, and anti-oxidants, it might just be an unsung superfood. If your looking for another inexpensive grain to add to your pantry, try this amazing, super inexpensive grain!
As winter rages on. I also wanted to remind everyone to be very choosy about your take-out/restaurant food. Last week at work, both of the cooks at my job were sick all week. Like flu/cold hybrid sick. I also was on the bus, and someone who works in the café/prepared food section of a grocery store was on the bus after her shift, coughing, and hacking and talking of how sick she was. Also, several bartenders are sick, and their breathing and hacking into peoples drinks. It's funny how people get obsessed with using hand sanitizer, but they will eat food prepared by a cook with the flu. We live in strange times my friends. I'm saying this to remind everyone to really think about who is near your food. You can't trust that all businesses will do the right thing and send employees home who are clearly ill and possibly contagious. In my experience, that hardly ever happens. Be careful with your health, and eat some birdseed!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Short & Sweet

I am really struggling this morning with some bad feelings. The weather is horrid, and I have errands to run that unfortunately I can't put off. There is just a brutal mix of ice, and snow that makes it treacherous to walk, and I'm sure drive a car. I feel like every grumpy character ever.
There are two quotes I'm going to be saying over and over to myself today, as I'm out and about and I thought that they are appropriate for everyone involved in Beyoncé-gate. One is from my Yogi tea bag, and the other is the quote on my manifestation journal.
"Develop the power of listening"- Yogi tea sage 
"Kindness Gives Birth to Kindness"- Sophocles
I hope that today, and every day we can all listen more, and react with kindness, even if we disagree.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I read about Beyoncé's plan to partner with her trainer, Marco Borge and launch a vegan meal delivery service. My first reaction was, and still is happiness. I instantly thought of the gazillion of hardcore Beyoncé fans, I believe they call themselves the Beyhive, or something of the sort.  I was in my own world, happy as a clam, assuming the rest of the vegan world was also as joyous. After a few blissful hours, my bubble didn't just get burst, it got annihilated! There are a lot of unhappy vegans who are not only very critical of Beyoncé, but also anyone who dares to think this is a good idea. And boy, vegans can be just as mean, and bullying as anyone else. I feel very disappointed, and sad. Beyoncé does wear fur, lets get that out of the way. It sickens me to the bone. When I see someone with fur on, my first reaction is to tell them what dicks they are. I actually have done that a time or two. My point is fur is not okay, and vegan or not, the vast majority of people at least agree on that. So, I strongly disagree with her choice in that department. As far as her being a hypocrite, she has never claimed to be a vegan. When she and her husband, Jay Z (love) did a 22 day vegan diet, they spoke highly of it all the way through, and after it was over. They see vegan eating as a benefit to your health, and the environment. I have never heard either one of them really say anything about animals. I remember as they were on this "diet", Beyoncé was constantly instgramming beautiful pictures of amazing vegan foods. And they both spoke highly of the food, and how they felt. Many celebrities start a vegan diet to lose weight, or to try a trend or whatever flaky reason, and they seem to revel in trashing it when they're done, so when a celeb doesn't do that, I say high five.
The meal plan is expensive, but isn't any organic meal delivery service? I knew right away this would never be for me, but putting the name Beyoncé next to the words vegan food is a BIG DEAL. People might not get this meal service, but maybe they will try bobbing into a native foods, or veggie grill, or something of the sort. It's exposure, which is what we need. I am not a mainstream, trendy person, but we need vegan food to be mainstream. The animals need it to be mainstream There are plenty of very expensive vegan foods on the market, so the fact that this meal service is pricey is not going to start any rumors of vegan food being expensive, cause those rumors are already out there. And I don't hear vegans piping up about those companies and the price. You can't call someone a hypocrite, while being one. It kind of negates your point.
Maybe Beyoncé will evolve, and stop wearing fur. Maybe she won't. But in the right now, she is exposing vegan food to the masses, and I want to give her the BIGGEST hug. She is telling people, food can be delicious without meat. There are people who truly were raised meat and potatoes, and really, honestly can't imagine that  eating plants could be tasty, and satisfying. And, there are people who truly think the vegan diet consists of wheatgrass and spirulina salads, smoothies if we're feeling frisky! Something that I've come to realize is the world is not black and white. There's a lot of grey area, and we have to accept it, and work with it. I want the word vegan to not even exist. I just want it to be the way things are naturally. But we have a LONG way to go. And a beloved, very relevant, very sizzling hot celebrity praising vegan food so much, that she's putting her name on a meal service, I'm sorry I only see it as progress. To make the world better for animals, we need to progress.
One of my biggest frustrations with all politics is it seems like key words get thrown around, and all the words really stop anything from getting done. I hate to think of the same thing happening in the vegan community. We need to be fighting for the animals, not against each other. If you're a vegan, and you think Beyoncé's meal plan is a wonderful idea, yay. If you can't get past the fact that she wears fur, I understand, but it's still no reason to attack people who do support it. We all want the same thing, a compassionate world. There are so many different ways to spread veganism, and food is a big one. People are literally scared of vegan food. One way to get people to stop eating animals is to show them that compassionate food is so much more than quinoa and kale.
As far as I'm concerned, anyone who chooses to not eat meat, for whatever reason, is getting a high five from me. Beyoncé is a dick for wearing fur, but she's still doing a great thing for vegan food, end of story. Progress, not perfection.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Oatmeal just got Real

For years I've been a savory breakfast person. Lentil or miso soup, or a pudla, something savory. Since change seems to be something I'm really working for, yesterday morning I decided to switch it up and make oatmeal for breakfast. I recently discovered that I really love steel cut oatmeal. I like the heartier, firmer texture. It seems less gloopy. FYI- if you have a store with a bulk section, oats are soooo much cheaper in the bulk bins, especially steel cut oats. Normally oatmeal is pretty straight forward, nothing to write home about(ha), but I added a little zing to my bowl yesterday that really made my oatmeal sooooo luscious, I'm having it again today!(I never eat oatmeal two days in a row-ever!) I talked the other day about the newish culinary coconut milk from So Delicious. I made a curry using the light, and I still had a container of the original, which is super thick, like a thick whipping cream. I decided to add some sliced banana, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a dollop(or two) to my steel cut oats, and it was the best bowl of oats EVER! The thickness of the coconut milk made the oats ridiculously creamy, and mixed with the banana, and maple syrup, was the perfect amount of natural sweetness. Oats are something for me that I rarely eat, and when I do I always think, those were good, then I forget oatmeal exists for six months. Adding that little bit of creaminess made me stop, and think, why am I not eating more oats. I think today I'll try it with strawberries. Strawberry and cream oats? Sounds good to me!
I know I've talked an awful lot about all things coconut this week, and I apologize if coconuts aren't your thang, but I guess this was my week for new coconut product discoveries, and I like to spread the good word, and I guess the word this week has been coconut, and seitan bacon, of course!
Another little cool tip about the original coconut milk: it gets even thicker when you stick it in the fridge, after a few hours, it is like a stand alone whipped cream! And no, I am not being paid in or by coconuts!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

BLAT goes the Vegan!

When I was cleaning my fridge the other day, I noticed a package of Sweet Earth Hickory & Sage smoked seitan bacon in my crisper drawer! I think I bought this back in November, or early December. I knew I needed to use it before March( the use by date) so I decided to make myself a good old fashioned vegan BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato), on my fave Veganic bread!
I have all good things to say about this new to me vegan bacon, so I want to get my only gripe out of the way. It is a pain in the arse to open, and the bacon is in a slightly saucy, oily reddish sauce, so use caution. The sauce color reminded me of products that are chipotle or Andouille style. So, have scissors ready, and don't wear your favorite shirt when opening! On to the good. First of all, as your cooking it the smell is like nothing I've ever experienced. My kitchen had this rich, savory smoky smell, minus the heavy fat and dead flesh. My kitties were milling around like what is happening here. I knew it was going to be something special as soon as it hit the pan. It's quick cooking, I cooked it in a pan with a smidge of coconut oil, for maybe three minutes per side. It got crispy around the edges, and had a delicious chewy, but not too chewy, bite. I loved everything about it. I could really taste the hickory smoke, and also the sage. I had a couple of pieces alone, so I could really give an educated review! It made an epic sandwich, with Just Mayo, avocado, romaine, and thinly sliced tomato. Yum. It was a perfect "summer" type of sandwich that I needed to lift my spirits yesterday, when I really needed it. This is by far my favorite vegan or vegetarian "bacon" out there. Sorry tempeh bacon, you need to have a seat. This will be something that becomes a regular splurge item. In the summer, when tomato's are super juicy and sweet? That will be when the BLAT's are really out of this world! It would be great chopped up in a salad, or in pasta. I'm sure it would be amazing paired with a tofu scramble, and some toast. I couldn't remember how much I paid, but it seems the average price is between five and six dollars for a package that has eight slices. I am on a tight human food budget, so this is a splurge, but more than worth it. Sweet Earth appears to be a vegan, or at least vegetarian company that prides itself on a natural approach. I feel a strong urge to support these vegan companies who are making such outstanding products. Not just for those of us who are already veg, but stuff that is so tasty, it could make a carnivore stop and realize that you can eat tasty food, and be compassionate. I honestly give this seitan bacon all the thunbs up!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter Ranting

I'm having a really hard week. It started going downhill on Saturday, and then Sunday winter decided to rear it's ugly head again. It's just dumb little things, but they just keep happening. I now know what the saying "my nerves are shot" means. I feel frazzled. I'll give you an example, Monday I put my garbage and recycling on the curb where I do EVERY WEEK, and I don't know if the snow covered/camouflaged it, or what but they didn't take my stuff! And yes, they took other neighbor's garbage, and yes my sewer/trash bill is paid. Things like that, along with the hideous weather is really making me struggle with any type of cheer.
I find winter to be completely unacceptable. This is the long stretch of winter that I really loathe. I've come to the conclusion that winter makes everything worse. All of life's little inconveniences seem SO MUCH BIGGER!  Life is far too short to spends MONTHS of it hating it, and hating the thought of being outside, in the elements. I believe all animals, including humans need and should desire to be outside at some point in the day. UUUGGG! Where I live, there is easily three feet of snow on some sidewalks, and even where there is less snow, there is the thickest layer of ice. It's like a death layer dip. As a pedestrian, I've learned to seek out the snow, it serves as a buffer from the ice that will knock you on your ass.
Am I the only one who is just OVER IT?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Coo Coo for Coconut!

I made it through Snowpocalypse 2015 last week with barely an inch. But the last couple of days has been shall we say a bit snowy for my taste. The winter blues are in full effect! So, last night feeling chilled, blue, and just all around blah, I decided I needed a spicy curry in my life. My body was screaming for the spice, and I needed something in a sunshine yellow sauce. It also gave me a chance to try a new to me product. So Delicious makes culinary coconut milk, in little re-sealable containers. Which is so great when you have a need for just a little. I've read enough about BPA's and etc. in cans to make me really try to avoid them, and I can't always afford the organic canned coconut milk, so this container is awesome!
It comes in original, and lite. The lite is pretty similar to canned coconut milk once you've shaken/stirred the cream and the water together. It made for a wonderful, creamy and comforting curry.
The original is pretty thick. It could be easily whipped into a whipped cream, or a very rich, thick icing/frosting (are they the same?) for a cake. It's so thick it does not pour, it must be squeezed.
This is a great product, and it will be a pantry staple for sure, as I love curries. I purchased mine at Giant Eagle, and I paid $2.49 per container, which is around the cost for a can of regular coconut milk, so it's a fair price. Being able to store it in the fridge for multiple uses is very handy.
I found this in the baking aisle, close to sugars and oils, so keep your eye out for it, it might not be with other canned coconut milk. This is yet another example of a company just hitting it out of the ballpark with amazing vegan products! If only my coconut curry would have taken winter away!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Nutiva Coconut Oil is Simply Put..... The Best!

I have written often of my love for coconut oil, both for cooking, and most importantly for beautifying!  You will never have softer, healthier skin using anything else. I have been lotion obsessed since I can remember. I think it's very hereditary for me, as I remember a lot of people in my family loving various lotions and potions.
When I first started using coconut oil, in the stores I shop in I could mostly find Spectrum brand, which has done me fine over the years. Coconut oil is becoming much more of a "thing", so it seems every time I go to the grocery, there's a new brand. Well, last week when I needed to replenish my supply, I decided to try a new brand, and I have to say, it's kind of the best thing ever. The brand is Nutiva. It's been around for awhile, it's just newer to me and my market. What I noticed right away is it is remarkably creamier than any brand of coconut oil I've ever used. I always soften my coconut oil in warm water for moisturizing purposes, and I found that wasn't really a necessary step, as it was easy to use in it's natural form. That is amazing news to me, because I do find Spectrum's brand to be almost impossible to use without warming and softening first. My skin feels amazing of course, but in all fairness no better than using Spectrum. It's really just so much easier to use for lotion, and cooking when you don't have to always remember to warm it first.
I bought my jar at Wegman's, I bought the twenty three ounce jar, give or take an ounce. I have a sleepy kitty in my lap. and I don't want to get up and disturb anyone! So I believe I paid around fifteen dollars, which is actually a way better price. And what I have found is it lasts forever! A little goes a long way for cooking, and beautifying. When you use something on your skin that is so nourishing, you don't have to reapply it, or use a ton. And the same with cooking. Coconut oil can give a dish that rich, fatty flavor that a lot of meat eaters are terrified of giving up. I add about a half to a full teaspoon to cooked rice, and I add a touch to my chickpea/ noodle soup which makes it a little rich, and just makes it more satisfying.
Coconut oil is also good for your fur pets skin and fur as well. In addition to daiya, my main squeeze Dylan also enjoys a little coconut oil every time I use it. If I don't give him a little, he will follow me around licking my skin!!
If you share my love of coconut oil, look for Nutiva  at your grocery, you won't be disappointed, I promise!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Read All About It!!

Somehow I missed the news that there is a new vegan magazine on the market! It's called Vegan health and fitness. I notice it on the shelf right next to vegetarian times. I seriously had to do a double take. We are growing, and growing! And I think people are becoming more and more interested in this lifestyle.
I am on a shoestring food budget this week, so a five dollar magazine just wasn't a possibility this week, but I will look for this magazine in the future for sure. I leafed through it, and as the name indicates, it is very much health and fitness related. Lots of body builder/ swimsuit model types, and more bikini shots than a sports illustrated magazine! It is clearly for men and women, which I really like. I like seeing all of the body builder types in this magazine, just looking ripped and strong and eating an all vegan diet! I recently read the sad news that the actor Samuel L. Jackson had turned his back on his vegan diet, due to needing to bulk up for some movie. He said he just got too lean as a vegan, and could not put on the pounds. I wish he would have called me, I could have coached him. Ha. Many people still think that to be a vegan, you have to have sallow skin, and be very thin, and generally weak, or sickly. So it's nice to see this glossy magazine full of strong, in shape healthy glowing people thriving on such simple foods. The recipes I saw were for mostly smoothies, and some powerful salads. By powerful I mean no iceberg lettuce, weak ass tomatoes here. The recipes I looked at were chock full of beans, grains, and veg, both raw and cooked. It made me realize I need to get more creative with my salads!
I couldn't be happier to see this newish magazine. It's been months since I've seen VegNews magazine on the shelf, so it's nice to see that vegetarian times isn't the only meatless magazine.
Robert Cheeke is listed as a contributor, and it doesn't seem like he struggles with muscle mass at all!! And I didn't realize this, but he's been vegan for over twenty years! That means he built those muscles on a vegan diet!
" Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." -Hippocrates