Friday, January 27, 2012

Quit saying it isn't easy, you are fooling yourself and it's working

Funny thing about death- it bottom lines the world for us.

We are mortal, we are worrying about insignificant things, we are caught up in being righteous, picking fights that have no meaning and holding on to hurt that is sucking our small bit of time away from us.

People come together when another person dies.  They drop the pettiness that was so important just a moment ago.  They see the small things for what they are: small.

And they love each other again.

Not as lovers, but as people.  We let others have their space to be human and we love them for it.  It's a beautiful time in the midst of horrible sadness.

Then it fades.

We forget what we knew to be true and buy into, once again, the little annoyances that ruin our small time here.  It's so small.  It could literally end at an moment.  Truely.

How are you living today?  With loving abandon that fills your heart with joy?  Are you being outrageously fulfilled?

Let it go.  Let the ridiculous, radiant light in.  It's closer than you think.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What about?

So there is a lot of concern about our choice to go herbivore.  Concerns that it's not good for us, that we'll be deficient, weak and puny.  So let's address the prevailing questions because in all honesty, they are the questions I had too.  I'm just going to spew forth info that I am working from and if you wanna find sources and such, well you're already online...

Calcium- the calcium of a western diet (ours) is primarily from dairy.  Cow's milk was made for baby cows, goats milk for baby goats, etc.  There is no arguing that.  Milk from any mammal was made just for that mammal's baby.  We are the ONLY animal that harvests another animals breast milk to drink for ourselves (and people get freaked out about breastfeeding infants- go figure).  Consider that we aren't meant to suckle from a cow and that our natural food sources (plants) are already perfectly prepared to give us all that we need to survive.  Not only that, but it's in a form that is readily usable, unlike dairy.  I think it's important to notice who is promoting milk as THE source of calcium.  There is a great marketing push from the dairy industry that endlessly plants seeds in our brains that not only do we need lots of calcium but we need to get it from milk.  It's just not true.  Follow the money.

Some sources of plant calcium are:
Collard greens, kale, soy beans, okra, bok choy, tahini, almonds, broccoli and of course any fortified drinks (orange juice, soy milk) and tofu.

Protein- there is also enough protein from plant sources to support a human body's needs.  Our body's make up (intestine length for one) is that of an herbivore.  High cholesterol, heart disease, obesity and the like are not possible unless you are a meat eater.  Animals in nature (not us!) that eat meat have innards that are designed to move the dead carcass through faster than our bodies do.  Meat doesn't sit around in their gut, getting all the "bad" stuff absorbed into their bodies.  Meat eaters in nature will never die of heart disease, high cholesterol or obesity because they can't.  Our bodies weren't designed to have dead muscle sitting around in our insides for so long (our innards are long).

Some sources of plant protein are:
Soy beans, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, peas, peanut butter, almonds, cashews, brown rice, broccoli, spinach and potatoes.

There is SO much more to talk about here.  Like the fact that countries that don't drink/eat dairy like we do suffer rarely from osteoporosis (which seems impossible if we need calcium for our bones, right?).  Or how insanely cruel the food-animal industry is (including the fact that standards that are put into place are written to give the 'farmer' permission to do as he pleases).

If there's interest, I'll go into it more.  I don't intend for this to become a soap box for my choices, and I'm willing to share where I'm coming from.  There are two places that have some potent info, I'd recommend watching both of them at some point, just as a place to think from.  "Forks Over Knives" is a documentary that is available on netflix.  The other is a guy who goes around the country giving lectures for free, someone video taped him at one of the lectures at a college and you can watch it on youtube here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vegan update and some cuteness

I haven't left the house today.  Moments ago I went to change into my night-night clothes (can't....turn to find that I was still in them.  It'd be easy to criticize myself and fill my brain with words of incriminating laziness, and I'm not going to.  My day was perfect.  I got to coddle my clingy, needy and flippantly emotional baby (ahem: nearly two-year old).  As a person who is highly concerned with the day that my baby won't want me to snuggle her and hold her close, I relish the opportunity to do so.  Molars breaking through puffy gums has it's upsides (yes, I've officially decided that she's not getting sick- sorry I've been avoiding you all).

It's been nearly a month since we went herbivore.  It's not as hard as I anticipated.  It's actually pretty simple, unless we want to eat out.  Nothing will jerk you into the reality of the western diet like not eating a western diet.  Meat, eggs, milk, cheese- it's on/in EVERYTHING.  It's really no wonder that the biggest killers (heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes) can be directly linked back to diet and animal foods.  I've learned a lot of really interesting information.  Not the kind of vague, unrelatable information that people spew out when trying to get you to agree with their wild notions of life- but the kind of stuff that makes sense.  Chunks of solid observations that I could have made on my own, had I not been moving through life without the awareness to question what I was eating.  If you were thinking that this would just be a phase for us, thinking that maybe in a few weeks we could hang out again and we wouldn't be weirdos're just going to have to embrace our new path.  It's here to stay folks.

My favorite vegan chocolate chip cookies so far:

I feel like I have to address the ever present comment that endlessly comes up and  goes something like, "I love meat too much to do that" or, "I couldn't live with out cheese".  I'm not terribly interested in defending mine and my husband's choice to eat this way, and this one irks me.  Just because I gave it up, doesn't mean I don't love cheese and chicken and all it's glorious applications.  I do.  For the record I just wanna say, "Yum".  Our choice doesn't come from the place of, "that tastes gross".  It comes from knowing what the ramifications are on our bodies, the incredible cruelty of the industry and the destruction it is causing the planet.  In this moment our response is the only one we know how to take on: don't support it.  Boom.  That said, I am not against being in conversations about our choice, bring it on!

On another note, why does my kid have to be so big?  How can I, me, have a nearly two year old??  AYE! The past few days, when I change her into her night-night clothes and she is laying on the changing table, practically nude, she puts her fingers on her chest and says, "Like Mommas".  I have given up my quest for her to accept that she has a chest and does not have anything "like Mommas".  She won't give on this point.  I suppose I should just be thankful that she isn't saying she has boobs anymore.  That was traumatizing.

Her most favorite thing of late is to help me cook.  She is obsessed with it.  Our kitchen is the most tiny kitchen ever, so it's not really conducive to sharing the sliver of available counter space.  We make it work though.  Her main duties are stirring and scooping.  Not cutting with mommy's knife (this week we had a bandaided finger) but with Ro's knife (a plastic, toddler friendly version), which is waaaaay less cool because, well, it doesn't cut.

Lastly, I had said I would keep y'all informed of my edible vegan-recipe findings.  I have found some goodies!  The cookie recipe above is one of four that I've tried and is by far the best.  I don't use carob chips because Ghirardelli's chips are vegan!!!  Woo-hoo!!  A suggestion: if you are using a cooking stone (I always do) then heat that sucker up in the oven while it's preheating, the cookies will come out way better.  I have found a decent mac&cheese recipe that everyone here ate up in a hurry (for that recipe I'd do less mustard, it was a bit too....mustardy).  I think the key to these recipes is to acknowledge that they are not going to be the same.  Because they aren't the same.  I go into it with the mentality that, "this is a new dish that I haven't tried before" and therefore don't get caught up in the "this isn't like the blue-box mac&cheese". They are really good and they are their own dishes.  If you give it a go and are on the search for nutritional yeast, it's in the bulk foods section.  It's flaky stuff and it took me a few trips to the stores to figure out what the heck it was (is it a solid? liquid? powder? what is it?!?!?!?). 

Have fun!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brick Wall

I want to cry a lot lately.  Ugh.  When I try to stifle it I get raging headaches.  Yuck.

I cried when I watched the Dr. Suess Burning Man video in this post.  In the face of elation that is created through people coming together, erasing the perceived lines between themselves and connecting in the way that was always possible- makes me whimper and my chest feels full.  The very same thing happens in my personal life.  When a "stranger" and I let ourselves be open to each other in the simplest ways.  I get overwhelmed and weepy.

Speaking of the Burning Man video, there is a structure in the beginning that is made of wood (I think) that is burned at the end of the event.  According to my buddy Eric (my Burning Man guru) people put notes, letters, photos of loved ones passed, etc on the structure to be burned up with it in the end.  I immediately thought of Sunny.  Chewy & Leia.  Mark.  I think of writing to them.  Putting their photos on the structure and letting them go via a blaze in a desert night sky.  Like, really letting them go.  All of this brings about a torrent of tears that say to me, "Hey.  You may have not dealt with these saddnesses in the past (when they happened) but they are still here...waiting for you to pour out the tears it's gonna take to move on."

I cried yesterday during the movie "We Bought A Zoo".  I won't tell you why (no spoilers!) but it was incessant.  The whole freaking movie, while I loved it, was a sob fest for me.  If my toddler wasn't requiring constant attention -it was her first theater experience don'tcha know- I would have been consumed.

Then there is the fact that while I was sitting with my wee-one to fall asleep, E did the dishes.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself.  My routine has become (check it out, I am SUPER proud of myself for creating and sticking to this one, hey- it's small but it's big, you dig?) put the kid to bed, do the dishes.  We don't have a dishwasher, so this is more of an event than it used to be.  So here I am, sleeping kid with no dishes to I thanked the man.  He responded by thanking me.  For what?  For everything.  Boom.  Tears.  

I feel so undeserving.  I feel like it's a constant struggle to be the wife I see as desirable and can't-live-without-able.  I'm frustrated with myself for being the stereo-typical "have a kid then be fat forever" person I was so sure I wouldn't be.  I used to be hypercritical of my physical self when we were dating.  I can't believe I was ever so unhappy with that fabulous body.  I am grateful for my body now, it's given me a lot to be thankful for and I haven't shown that gratefulness in it's upkeep.  One of the ways I am committed to loving my body is blogged about here.

I want to be the wife/mother who relishes her duties and keeps them up with ease and satisfaction.  Lately all I want to do is the 'mother' part.  That said, being the best mom I can be is hardly beneficial to my kid if I can't hold up my 'wife' end of the deal.  

To be clear, this has nothing to do with E.  It has everything to do with me.  My knee-jerk sniveling is a red flag to me that connectedness levels are low.  My walls are up and my love-letting is minuscule.  This is all on me.  It's my safe-mode.  

Ironically my safe-mode is keeping me 'safe' from feeling and from my loving marriage.  Sounds cool right?  Time to get out my chisel and hammer and get to work on this blasted wall.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pee-zah Pie-ah

We brought home dough

Pat it, roll, it, smack it

Get some professional assistance

Paint on some olive oil

Scoop on some crushed tomatoes

Test the ingredients, yes- they'll do

Sprinkle on the cheese

Bake 'her till she bubbles!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Blazing Humanoid

You may have heard an atrocious rumor that a few weeks ago I turned *ahem* thirty.  Damned lies.

Actually, I did.  

For my birthday I decided I didn't want "things".  I certainly don't need things and our living space doesn't allow for many more things to be a part of our repertoire.  I want an experience.  I want an experience that I wouldn't have had last year and that I may not have next year.  I want it to be special, extravagant, awesome.  So in lieu of "things" I was a request for money.  To execute my birthday wishes would probably take more money that I had laying around, even though I had no idea what it would be yet.  I know now.

For a bit of time it was a toss up between a spa weekend with the hubs (mud baths, luxurious bedding, massages- you get the idea) or an overnighter to see Wicked and stay at a B&B.  Both sounded like superb choices and yet I was having trouble committing to one.  I like to think that when the right thing comes my way I will feel joy and elation over my decision.  I'm so glad I hadn't chosen (and sent off my birthday money) yet.  

A few days ago I saw a video on youtube.  It brought back all kinds of lost yearnings.  How could I have forgotten how badly I wanted to go to Burning Man?

I watched this video and nearly cried.  If you know me, you knew this was inevitable.  My friend Eric (who has been multiple times) says that this video sums up how he sees Burning Man better than any video he's seen.  I want to go with a burning (ha!) passion.  I want to go so badly!  

And there it was.

I had collected almost exactly two tickets worth in cash for my birthday.  My heart was a flutter.  My heart was racing.  This is my birthday present.

I hope.

This year's ticket sale is via a lottery.  I entered into it today.  I might cry if I don't get in.  We'll know in February.  I am already thinking of the wild outfits I want to put together and the body art I want to take on. I have ideas for my hair and my shoes and my makeup.  It will be the most fun. 

Not everyone is excited for me (and some might even want to retract their birthday donation) but I am convinced it is because they don't really get Burning Man.  I don't even get it (yet) and how could I?  I haven't been.  Eric says it's, "like Disneyland for adults" and the everyone's attitude is, "happy and giving".  

So here I'll sit, waiting anxiously (so anxiously!) for February first.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To vege or not to vege

Happiest New Year- and on that note, does it annoy anyone else that people think this is going to be "better!", "more fulfilling!", "my year!" for no other reason than another day has passed that we humans dub a "new year"?  Word to the wise (this is for me too, no doubt): every single moment is an opportunity to make this life "better", "more fulfilling", etc. and if you weren't going to do it last year...well there is nothing about the fact that the date is 1/1/12 that is going to magically make things happen for you.

I do like the idea of stepping back and reflecting on the possibilities of my future.  Making lists of things to accomplish, chores to do, purchases to save for (see: car) and then making a game plan to execute it all.  One thing that Ethan and I decided to shift on our life is our eating habits.  This came about not as a new year's resolution but as a commitment to being healthy and attractive to each other as well as to be the most energetic, happy, healthy people/examples for our daughter.  Our game plan: eliminate animal food.

I hear you: "Ah!  Why so extreme?!", "Where will you get your protein?", "That's not healthy!".

Rest assured friends, your concerns are unfounded.

Both of us also acknowledged that this would be a difficult task in today's environment.  How often do you see a plate that doesn't feature meat and/or cheese?  Rare.  We also want to be successful in our lifestyle change.  So our game plan looks like: home life is vegan (we can control this), outside the home we do what we can to make vegan choices and won't fret if that isn't a possibility.  In other words, we aren't going hard-core.

Turns out, I feel great when I don't eat animal stuff.  I feel lighter on my feet and (TMI?) going to the bathroom is no problem.  My greatest vice is sugar.  Oh, man is it ever!  This is where my greatest struggle will be.  It's also where my body will benefit the most.  Prepping vegan meals doesn't include adding sugar or eating cookies, candy, sweets in general.  I'm excited for the possibility of being free from my addiction.  I feel like crappola after I indulge and  yet I do- over and over again.

I hope you're looking forward to hearing about this vegan (sorta) adventure.  I intend to share successful (read: delicious) recipes as well as divulge ramifications.  I see a new body shape in my future...

Plus, we've got this gorgeous creature to take care of and giving her the best is a commitment we don't take lightly.

Don't worry, I won't be evangelically pushing veganism onto you.  It's an adventure we're on and I'm just excited about sharing the possibilities with you.