Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vegan update and other things

Well, I was successfully vegan shy of three days, for two weeks. Is that grammatically correct? I dunno, I only got a 75% in grammar for journalists. And what was my impression? FANTASTIC! I love it. My new favorite thing? Veganaise! YES! I've always liked the tangy taste of mayo, but my tummy did not. And now, NOW? I can eat veganaise with no problem! Even my mayo connoisseur roommate said she didn't smell the difference. Wow, that impressive! And what else? Um, I totally love vegan ice cream, either coconut milk or soy milk, both equally delicious! I had no idea how much I loved ice cream until I had those two things.

Why did I not complete the two weeks (and more)? Two reasons. The weekend I didn't stay vegan I had a bachelorette party to attend so I had alcohol, cheese and some non-vegan voodoo donuts (I can't resist!) and a wedding and I'm sorry, but I could NOT say no to cake...I had two slices...But I easily could have stayed vegan minus the cake because the wedding food was a fantastic variety of vegetarian, vegan and meat, but heck, I had chicken and salmon. I indulged. I did avoid cheese though.

Then this week I went to a naturopath because I'm really wanting to know exactly what I'm allergic to and to what degree so she told me to go ahead and eat as I'd normally do, dairy, meat and all and my blood will be drawn in a week. So far, I've had cheese, half and half, pizza, etc... And what has been the result? Every morning I wake up congested. Interesting...I wonder what else I'll be allergic to? But come next Wednesday, I'm back to my beloved use of veganaise and all things non dairy. It's actually been quite interesting and I'm learning a lot. What I like the most, the way my body reacts, so that's great!

And in other news...I was laid off from work due to budgeting issues. I won't get into the details but I'll just say everything happens for a reason and one door closes and others open. I'm really excited to see where I'm going to end up after all of it. So far, during my unemployment, I'm wrapping up some admimistrative things, but also doing my Bar, and hanging out with some friends and learnign new skills that I just kept telling myself "I have no time." Now, I have AAAAALLLL day.

Last week I finally finished reading Kristin's manuscript and wrote out all her notes for her. Next, I'll research some issues for her that are pertinent to the novel.

Yesterday, Kristin took me on a bike ride along the Spring Water trail from Hawthorne to Waterfront and back over and down to my area of Sellwood. I'm really excited to start exploring Portland on my new (her old) bike! And yeah, a little nervous, but I've got good friends to turn to!

Today, I went over to Liz's house so she could help me bake my first loaf of wheat bread. Success! You see, I'm a pastry baker. Give me a cake, a pie, a tart or a cupcake. I'll bake it without a second thought, but bread? With yeast? Let it rise and punch it, and wait for....hours?! No way. The only bready thing with yeast I've ever made were Pioneer Woman's dinner rolls for Christmas (that was fun!) But no bread. And I'm totally inspired by Liz's homemakering ways (see her blog here) and I want to learn to make my tortillas, bread and english muffins from scratch and so far, I now know how to make a loaf of bread. I'd love to have a little garden like her, but well, we're renting and I think we don't get any sun in the area where we could have one. I might think of doing a winter garden... but we'll see. I actually do have time now... =)

So that's my update.

So although I don't have a job per say, I'm quite busy learning all these new things, helping my parents around the house and spending time with my friends and just enjoying this time right now, especially before Europe!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The home stretch

Here it comes, this is my last weekend as an omnivore until who knows when. Starting Sunday at 7pm, I will go on a 24 hour juice fast, then begin my life as a vegan on hour 25.

I feel bad saying I'm going vegan. Most people who go vegan do it for moral reasons: they can't fathom eating animal products, their religion tells them, etc. Me? Well, I have no problem eating meat, eggs, wearing leather...I grew up on it, but I do try to be conscious of these decisions. I try to purchase "cage free" eggs, "range free" meat, etc. I also try to be a localvour as much as I can and summer really helps for that, so I think my cleanse/detox/diet change is perfect timing. So, I don't want to disrespect the vegans that do it for that reason, I respect their choices as I hope all will respect mine.

So what should I call myself? An immoral vegan? I dietary vegan? A "for health reasons" vegan? Why am I doing this you ask? Well, for that very reason: health.

As I've grown older, I've grown intolerant to many foods that I used to have no problem with, case in point: milk. I LOVE milk. My favorite food used to be just plain cold cereal with any thing from Lucky Charms, to Bran Flakes. As long as there was cold milk, I was all over it. Then in college, I noticed things started to change. My tummy would get upset with all things lactose: yogurt, sour cream, cheese and my beloved milk. I finally made a conscious effort so stave off milk and go for soy. With all the research done on soy, I kind of freaked out, so I limit my use. Now, for cereal or smoothies, I use oat milk. I've tried rice, and I've tried almond, but oat milk (from Trader Joe's, holla!) is the best consistency I've found. I still however use half and half in my coffee. I've tried, soy, soy silk, oat milk, but nothing is quite like the creamy thickness of a cow's half and half cream. But since I had the 24 hour hour stomach bug, I've been off caffeine and half and half as well as sugar. But what did I do today? I had trouble sleeping last night and I swear I didn't hit REM sleep, so I thought "might as well get one last coffee before I ban myself", so I did the works: half and half, iced coffee with simple syrup. And boy, am I paying the price. Goes to show that this change of diet will do me good.

This time, however, I'm trying not to over do it. When I did the master cleanse, I had burger king for dinner. Probably not the best idea. Right now, I'm still on fruits and veggies and last night I had my last Dr. Pepper and this morning my last coffee and for lunch, I thought I'd treat myself to one of the new Subway subs, either the BLT or the Chicken one. But I suspect the chicken has tons of mayonnaise and if history is proving correct, I really should step away, so BLT it is. Tomorrow, my roommate is insisting on BBQ food, so I'm prepping for that and come Sunday is my sister-in-law's birthday dinner so there will be some sopes heading my way. I'll try really hard not to gorge or over do it, so wish me luck.

So what do I hope to gain from this experience? Well, it would be awesome not to have any tummy problems. Also, I just want to eat better. I'd love to learn how to make tried and true recipes and make them deliciously vegan. I want to explore all the options I can right now: veganaise, fake cream cheese, fake chorizo. And if I get good enough, perhaps one might not suspect a different? But my real goal is to finally get off milk, in all its glorious forms. I just know it's much better for me. And I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd hope to drop a few pounds while I'm at it. I like challenges and I really want to learn how to cook better and healthy and deliciously.

How long will I do this? Well, as long as I can. I will be introducing meat protein back in to my diet slowly, but I could easily forgo red meat all together, no big deal really so we'll see.

So on the agenda is hitting up food front (*eh-hem*) for some produce and some vegan products, the probably trader joes for the rest.

I'm really excited for this! Here's to my last few meaty meals!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Birthday Reflection: The start of 30

Thirty started out in a whirlwind of family, friends and time off, immediately followed by a cold, stomach bug and hopefully this weekend, a relaxing stroll through the Lavender Festival in Hood River with my mom and roommate.

It's been a week since I've turned 30, and what have I learned so far? Well, for one, people, more specifically, guys DO like me. I've been on a few dates with really nice men that just didn't work out. I have a fear that I'm not attractive to men. Sure, I may have ginormous boobs, but my old self asked, what else do I have to offer. Apparently, a lot. I've gotten things like "you rock" "you're very interesting" "you're very pretty" "you like WWII, that's awesome!"...a good mix physical and emotional attraction by said men. Sadly, there was just no spark but it taught me a valuable lesson: they DO like me.

Second: I need to lose weight. Oh ok, yes yes, you're all "but you're not fat!" ok fine, I'm not fat, but when I see myself, that's not who I see. I want to be fit so I can dance with ease and not get so tired. I want to have sharp lines and movement and honestly, you can't see that if all my muscles are hiding behind a nice layer of fat. It's nothing drastic really, I don't wish to be 100 pounds, I don't even wish to drop 20 pounds. I was 10 pounds lighter at this time last year and even though I wasn't the thinnest person around nor could I wear a bikini, I still felt great and I thought I looked great and for the first time in my life, for a WHOLE month, I didn't think or talk about my weight in a negative way, I finally saw myself the way others had seen me for years, plus or minus twenty pounds. I'm sure I'm all hypocritical as I write this, but this is what I want for me. I know people love me no matter what weight, I know the person I end up with will love me no matter what weight, I know that I love me right now regardless of whether I lose those 10 pounds or not, so I might as well try and go for it. It's just one of those things I'd like to accomplish for myself, give to myself.

Third: On that note, I'm going to try to go vegan for a week or so, a kind of cleanse. It's been a long time coming for me to cut back on certain foods, mainly dairy, so I need a kind of detox for my body from all the crap I had during my birthday festivities. After that, I plan on going pescatarian for a while, then maybe start adding in some chicken. I'm not sure if I'll go back to red meat, but we'll see. But for now, for sure: I gotta cut out the dairy. And after having the 24 hour stomach bug, it hasn't been too hard. So we'll see how this goes. I'm really excited though, I love new challenges!

So basically this is the year to continue the upward trend of being nice to myself, both physically and mentally. No more bashing, no more eating crap just for the sake of it. I want to be physically fit for my dancing and hopefully that will help me run a few miles a week again. I want to have a positive out look at least 90% of the time, I want to let my family and friends know that they are loved and appreciated. So my journey onward continues. There are a lot of things I want to do, but I just gotta put my mind to it because so often it is easier to watch 30 Rock on Netflix, than it is to learn how to sew or cook.

And just for giggles, here are a few photos of the surprise. I hadn't even seen these yet! Courtesy of Payal's video camera, hence the pixilation.